The Tank vs. Mecha Center

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why Tanks Beat Mecha Part 1: Ground Pressure

I asked for a statement on why tanks have superior off-road capacity to mecha, and got it in this by a user named Steel Warrior:

Its called ground pressure. The 69.54 ton M1A2 Abrams MBT has a ground pressure of just 19 psi, which isn't much more than the average car. (its less, actually. I think my car's tires are at... 20 something psi). A mecha, due to having a much smaller footprint (pun not intentional) will have a much greater pressure than a tank. Also remember that you can only count one foot, since at some point while walking one will be in the air and all the weight of the machine must be carried on that one platform.

Because of this, a tank can carry much more and not sink into the ground. While there are some areas that a mecha could operate, mostly tanks would have a far greater realm that they can control. In fact, most mecha would not be allowed to go in cities because they would destroy roads with each step.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Inherent Weaknesses of Mecha

Inherent Weaknesses of Mecha:

Tall Profile: A tank is slung as low to the ground as it can go, while a mecha stands upright like a human, increasing the chance it will be seen.

Lack of balance: A mecha's upright form has a much higher center of gravity then a tank's.

Drivetrain Complexity: A legged drivetrain is more complex, fragile, and harder to repair in the field then a tank's.

Weapons Limitation: A mecha cannot carry a high-recoil conventional gun because a hand-held mount is not in a prime position to deal with recoil.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Showdown: Light Tank vs Light Mecha

Welcome to THE SHOWDOWN, where I compare different types of tanks and mecha. Let me start off with the lightweight division.


A light combat vehicle does not have firepower or armor as its main requirements. Rather the goal is mobility and ease of deployment.

Light combat vehicles are often infantry carriers and are armed with fairly light guns (12.7-30 mm) and usually with anti-armor missiles.


Smaller mecha are often depicted as fulfilling the light armored vehicle role on the battlefied. One thing that many of them have in common is that they carry jump jets, enabling them to serve as combination gunships/light combat vehicles. At first this seems like an attractive package-A LAV-25 and Apache all in one. But there are many flaws to this design.

One flaw is availability. After all, you can have a light combat vehicle and a gunship, or an all-in-one mecha. The mecha can only be in one place at one time, while the combat vehicle can be on the ground supporting the infantry while the gunship flies around looking for targets at the same time. If armies were equipped with mecha that could do both, they would need to either:

Field huge fleets of these mecha, designating some to stay on the ground and others to stay in the air, or have the mecha be shifting from ground to skies very quickly. Adopting the latter would put tremendous strain on the pilot and mecha, while if you chose the former you might as well use conventional vehicles.

Another flaw is training. A gunship and ground vehicle are meant to carry out very different roles, and you would need to train pilots to do both of them. A pilot trained like that would not be better in any one theater then a crewman trained in a dedicated vehicle. They would be able to go on the ground and in the air, they just won't do it very well. And training can be VERY important in combat.

A third flaw is in the design of the mecha itself. To be a light combat vehicle and gunship at the same time it would need to carry what it needed for both roles in one hull-the jump jets, fuel for the thrusters, flight guidance systems, etc...., which could be replaced by more armor, weapons, or sensors on either a dedicated ground or air vehicle.

And even if mecha stayed on the ground, they would still be inferior to a light combat vehicle of the same tech level, because of the inherent weaknesses of mecha (Tall profile, complex drivetrain, inability to carry large conventional guns, among others).

So in short, a mecha is not as suited for the light combat vehicle role as a conventional wheeled or tracked design.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Showdown: Introduction

Finally, we are about to begin the showdown between tanks and mecha. Here's how it will go:

I compare a certain category of tank to a certain category of mecha based on statistics, then I stage a fake fight between these mecha. The first tank vs mecha battle will be:

Light Tank vs Light Mecha

Coming soon!!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Welcome to the Tank vs. Mecha Center

This blog is intended as both a commentary on the tank vs. mecha debate and a resource for tankers for arguments. Soon I will have an overview of the whole debate up, so be paitent.