Mechs versus Tanks

Discussion in 'Off Topic Lounge' started by Experimental Designs, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    I like to dig up an old argument in science fiction that is about the most contested debates on the internet since Russian armor fan boys versus Western armor fans. (For the record the Israeli Merkeva 4 is the best tank :mrgreen: )

    The only difference this time I like to exclude anime mecha from this argument. Personally the Japanese mechas, Gundams in particular, are about as impractical as they look. Realistically speaking would tanks still be the dominate weapons platform or will "walking tanks" take their place into the future?

    Some arguments favor tanks will beat mechs outright because the technology is simple, tested and more reliable.

    On the flip side arguments favor mechs due to their flexibility on the field with the ability to get to places a tracked vehicle can't get to.

    So what are the realistic advantages and disadvantages between the two or perhaps there is some middle ground that both will be utilized just in different combat roles?

  2. goodduck

    goodduck Active Member

    The bigger the weapon, the bigger the target to shoot at. Gundam makes very good target for rail gun or laser to shoot at. Someday soon, railgun or laser tech will be small enough to mount on tank, wheeled tanks. Let me pick I'll pick wheeled tank with railgun or laser any day over gundam. Gundam looks like a ten story building I can see miles away. A tank miles away in camo if you can see it, it is but a small dot. I just need one well place shot to the head, take out it cameras than it is game over for gundam. I'll just shoot run hide, shoot run hide. And the best part is, I don't even have to be in the tank risking my life. I'll be driving the tank remotely in a safe distance and drinking Starbucks the same time. :mrgreen:
  3. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    I make the same logical argument and yet the fanboys get all bent out of shape about it "Waaah! nothing can beat a gundam, you hater! Waaah!" I was actually banned from a forum for making that same argument.

    Realistically that is a very likely scenario that you just discribed in the next 50 years give or take. However, I do disagree of taking out the human element. I don't care how sophisticated robotics get even if they develop a combat A.I of some kind I can't see having drone tanks on that level, not unless society becomes completely depended on robots. Drones are easily hacked into and ride into the carrier signal to disable or worse hijack said drone to be used against the user. Too risky IMO. Don't believe what the mainstream says, Drones do not make one untouchable they're easier to break into than they like to let on.

    My take on mechs versus tanks that mechs are large targets with some so high profile they may as well have a big neon sign on them that reads "Shoot me!" On the other hand if a practical mech was to be made it'll have a relatively low profile with an advantage in urban warfare and rigorious terrain types that a tracked or wheeled vehicle will easily be bogged down in. I'm thinking of something on the lines of District 9 or maybe something a tiny bit elaborate like Avatar yet some old guard mecha fans consider those powered armor instead of mechs.
  4. goodduck

    goodduck Active Member

    Yea, one can't speak ill of gundam to a gundam fan. I learned that in the hard way too. Just think about how much one unit cost to build, men power it take, facility it need to maintenance. Armor suit is a good idea and I like the Avatar AMP suit too, but still a little too big and a slow target make it easy to shoot at. Armor suit goes I pick Appleseed exoskeleton landmate suit. Fast moving and pack big punch.
  5. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    I agree where the Landmate suit exoskeleton can be more of a practical approach to a battlesuit. However, some of its elaborate abilities portrayed in the series is a bit over the top in my opinion but then again too it's anime and reality tends not to bode well with anime if any at all, LOL.

    I agree the AMP suit from Avatar is a big and slow moving target on top of being poorly armored. The pilot would be cut to ribbons with that big huge canopy. James Cameron maybe a movie making genius but a practical idiot. One thing he got right was the cargo loader on the Sulaco from Aliens however.

    Ideally the big mechs from Battletech and Mech Warrior could achieve speeds up 100mph. Specifically their scout mechs were very fast. Still they were all big friggin targets!
  6. goodduck

    goodduck Active Member

    mach warrior! no no no. U c how at-at goes down, mach warrior high speed will just make it goes down even faster, lol! i mean it will do faceplant like mother of all faceplant. lol! small size and speed is the way to go, like landmate, madox-01 and maybe armored trooper votoms too. my thinking is like overwhelm your enemy with low cost fast production t-34 vs high cost low production tiger.
  7. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    Mechwarrior had an emphasis of doing away with radical guidance systems and such of today in favor of pilot gunnery skills of the like. Made a gamey mechanic more appealing and fluffwise although not believable in the realism department that we would do away with guidance tech that far into the future in favor of big huge expensive (impractical) robots.

    The crux of it I think is more what looks good aesthetically versus what is good functionally.

    Don't get me started on the Russian tank versus the German tank argument. I'm going to side with the Panther on that debate because if it wasn't for Hitler's incompetence on the emphasis of big scary impractical tanks like the King Tiger and the Maus the Russians would really be hurting which was fine by me. The Panther wasn't all that expensive it's just that more focus went on overpriced junk like the King Tiger and the Maus. The Panther was way better than the Tiger and even still the T-34.
  8. Bhelliom

    Bhelliom Member

    Just my opinion, but, if a mech actually had the power, armor, and agility to do what they are shown to in the animes, then conventional armor would have a problem. Never mind how high profile they are. If you can hit one, but can't damage it, then what? Of course, I personally have no idea how high a modern tank cannon can elevate, how fast it can track and lock on, or how much good a SABOT would do against "Gundamium", "Unobtainium", or "Absurdium" armor plate. Never mind the, what was it, "I Field", force shields some mechs were supposed to have.

    This kind of discussion makes as much sense as the "Us vs Them" arguments various sci-fi universe fans get into, and is just as unproveable. Pointless, but entertaining, if you don't take it too seriously.

    Scott K.
  9. arkon

    arkon Member

    i beleive the panther is based off the t-34 .
  10. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    I did say in my opening post that I wanted to exclude the anime mecha because of the ridiculousness in the argument and going into fandom versus reality as you say. Anime mechas are about as unbelivable as unicorns and dragons which is why I wanted to focus on what would be a realistic take on mechs like gooduck had implied before that tanks would still stand a good chance on a practical basis. At least that's what I gathered eitherway...

    Pitch in. Come on! You know you wanna.... :mrgreen:

    It's a conspiracy. :rolleyes:
  11. Bhelliom

    Bhelliom Member

    Oops, I managed to miss the word "exclude". Sorry, not paying attention to what a post actually says is one of my own pet peeves.

    Modern technology mech vs. modern armor? no contest. Just too slow. Speed and agility are what's needed, but some anime-like "miraculous" discovery may well be needed to ever make one practical.

    Imagine trying to survive on any battlefield in this thing;

    Scott K.
  12. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    Do not fret, you still made a good point. :thumb:

    If you really want to get to the nuts and bolts of it both tanks and mechs amount to death traps. Even in modern tanks a Kinetic Penetrator has that tendency to overpressure and literally cook the crew and immolate everything inside causing the turret to pop off in a fiery fashion ala Iraqi T-64s and the like. A mech would probably leave you trapped in a wrecked heap if it falls over after a leg is blown off. A fate similar to the early fight pilots that they crashed and burned with their plane, a mech pilot would have a similar grisly fate.

    Another thing I like to point out and I want all you sci-fi fans to disect the hell out of this is the modern emphasis of a mech versus tanks. The number one issue for mechs today, if they were ever implimented, is power supply. You will need a powerplant so powerful to generate the power to operate the numerous amounts of joints, actuators, drives and not to the mention a whole bank of computers to keep the systems stable. The sophistication of walkers in all the hydroaulics, joints and the type of materials to make them durable enough to withstand wear on top of basic punishments associated on battlefields is a great deal of cost involved versus the manfacturing of a tank.

    So why is it mechs still remain a hugely popular thing in science fiction despite their enormous impracticality?
  13. micahrogers

    micahrogers Active Member

    Cause they look cool... :p
  14. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    That's the painfully obvious answer...:rolleyes:
  15. Bhelliom

    Bhelliom Member

    Let me ask another question, and turn the discussion a bit sideways. What about fictional armor? In particular, Hammer's Slammers hover tanks, or Bolo super tanks. Does anyone think a hovering tank of any sort (fans or "antigrav") could ever be practical?

    Bolos, depending on how high a mark you're talking about, also depend on armor and force screens that are beyond present day capabilities (not to mention their AI), but they do advance from current designs onward. Not to mention how large Bolos eventually get in the stories. I know super-sized tanks haven't been practical in the past, but, who knows?

    Scott K.
  16. Dented Rick

    Dented Rick Human

    In my Opinion, they both serve their own purpose. Tanks compared to Mechs are cheaper and faster to build. It make take 5 tanks to take down a Mech, but you could have 5 or even 10 tanks for the cost and time it takes to make a Mech. (But it wouls also take ten crews for those ten tanks, compared to 1 crew for 1 mech) Mechs can traverse terrain that would stifle tanks, Tanks can hide easier than a large walking Mech can, etc, etc.......

    Basically the question would boil down to do you prefer all out assaults (Tanks), or surgical strikes, (Mechs)?

    Just sayin ;)
  17. Dented Rick

    Dented Rick Human

    Because nothing would be more Badass, or intimidating that having a Huge Walking Warmachine standing over you. :)
  18. ----zathros---

    ----zathros--- -----SENIOR---- Administrator

    Definite sign that we're both married!! :)
  19. micahrogers

    micahrogers Active Member

    I would think that the idea of a "hover tank" would work with a type of anti grav or even star wars type repulor lift.
  20. Experimental Designs

    Experimental Designs Papercraft Visionary

    First of all you touched on some of my favorite sci-fi series and this will make things interesting.

    Second of all, welcome back Zathros.

    Third of all not all mechs has a single pilot. Some mechs are known to have two like helicopters. Mechs are very sophisticated with a lot of weapon options. Your super heavies can have up to five for a crew, so not all mechs are your ultra fancy Mech Warriors.

    There has been several good points here about armor. The Bolos for example got ridiculously large in the series, some easily being over a mile in length. Impractical as that sounds there is yet a call for super large tanks as the way warfare has gone through the decades many people are focusing on high speed, low drag. (Guess that game series)

    Armor can make a huge deal a difference. For a while it was thick layers of homogenous cold rolled steel that protected tanks from high caliber rounds. A HEAT round could easily penetrate armor in that fashion but as ceramics come into play and new dynamics such as reactive armor have been thrown into the mix, HEAT rounds have become less lethal thus bringing a weapon proliferation not seen since WWII. Now days if you want to knock out an MBT you use a Kinetic Penetrator.

    However armor hasn't been the whole deal. Someone touched on tactics....ah and this is where we touch on the more interesting aspects. Tanks, regardless if they're the tracked variety or hover tanks, they still serve a backbone to heavy assaults. I kinda disagree on the part about Mechs being surgical. Mechs in my mind would be more psychological than surgical, yet that's my take.

    I like where this thread is going...

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