Tanks a lot, pal

Who’s Got the Best Tank, and Why (Jan 6th entry)

Strategy Page has a good rundown on the top tanks in the world. In short, here’s the list:

  1. US M1A2 Abrams
  2. German Leopard 2A6
  3. British Challenger 2
  4. Israeli Merkava 4
  5. South Korean Type 88/120
  6. Japanese Type 90
  7. French LeClerc
  8. Russian T-80UM2
  9. Chinese Type 98 (no, not this one)
  10. Russian T-90

I know that a lot of people will debate this list, but go check the SP post for the reasoning behind it. Not only the tank itself, but the training and combat experience of crews were taken into consideration, as was the overall system that the tank is part of.

For instance, it’s pointed out that British crews in Challengers, with some combat experience, would probably outfight German crews in Leopards, even thought the German tank is maybe even superior to the US M1. US crews, meanwhile, would outfight nearly anyone in any tank if they had the technical gadgetry that today’s Army puts into the field.


  1. Yeah. Yeah. Although the title is ‘Who’s Got the Best Tank, and Why’ it’s really more of a ‘Which tankers don’t you want to meet on the battlefield’ as it takes the training programs, crew experience, and surrounding systems into consideration. And why even have these lists if we all don’t sit around and argue about them?

  2. SP mentions that the South Korean tank project was run by the same management team that ran the M-1 project. The M-1 development had delays and cost overruns that are typical for the Pentagon. Because it was so high profile, an extensive investigation was conducted. The biggest factor causing delays and overruns, was a single civilian bureaucrat in the Pentagon who never moved paperwork from his in-basket to his out-basket. The South Koreans promulgated two special rules for the Type 88/120 project. (1) Failing to move paperwork to your out-basket by the scheduled date was made a firing-squad offense. (2) Any decision that was not made in a timely manner would be passed directly to the President of South Korea. The Type 88/120 came in on time and under budget.