Tanks were first developed during WWI to help end the stalemate. Nearly 100 years later, they are one of the best examples of badassery in this world.
For those of you who tended to fall asleep and have wet dreams about your best friend's mom during history class, World War I had become a slaughter by 1916. An entire generation of European men and boys were being mown down by machine guns and blown apart by land mines and artillery and entagled in barbed wire as well as being gassed with chlorine and mustard gases. There had to be a way to help the infantry break through the defensive lines. That was the situation when the British developed this thing...
This is the very first tank ever: The Mark I. It sported a 6 pounder gun and could travel 4 miles per hour. While this is laughable compared to today's tanks, this vehicle was enough to make the Germans piss themselves everytime they saw these ugly things come chugging their way. But it was a fucking nightmare to operate the thing. The fumes of the engine, the vulnerability of the armor, and the fact that it was so goddamned slow made the crews lives a clautrophobic hell. But it was better than getting your face blown off by the Huns in the trenches, and at least it worked. The same cannot be said for the German design, which tended to fall on its side and breakdown after going half a mile. This is where all future tank designs sprang from. Even though they had a large impact in World War I, their glory days would come during the next big war.
It was the biggest war man has ever known. It was also when the tank came of age. They became bigger, faster, and more heavily armed. Entire strategies such as the blitzkrieg were developed around them. And, unlike the previous war, every major warring nation had tanks of their own. Think of it as the tank realized that it was kinda crappy and ugly and proceeded to work out , get cleaned up, and wound up getting laid. The tank started to become one of the very things associated with the word "badass" during this time. Especially with designs such as these:
The King Tiger
The Panther tank
The M4 Sherman
Thousands upon thousands of tanks battled it out across Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific. They had evolved from being slow, clunky, ugly ducklings into full fledged killing machines that scared the living shit out of infantry men who happened to be on the wrong side of a tank charge.
But there were some pretty shitty tank designs such as these:
Italian L3 Tankette
Japanese Type 97
These tanks were known as tankettes: not even close to being true tanks but slightly better than other armored vehicles. These things usually had thin armor and could be taken out by every other tank around. The poor bastards who had to operate these things had to contend with the twin bitches of being in a cramped metal box with poor protection against better tank designs. It should be considered fortunate that the Axis, particularly Italy and Japan, were the main operators of these things.
In the world of tanks, the tankettes rate as a -2 on a scale of 10. These things are like ugly girls at a bar: you would need to be hammered to think they even remotely look good.
Think of this thing on the left as a tankette and this insanely hot chick on the right as a Panther tank.
Which would you ride into battle?
The Korean War mostly saw the use of left over tank designs from WWII because it occured almost five years after the Japanese finally gave up. And even some of the "new" tank designs were actually models that would have been used in the big one had it not ended when it did. Examples include the T-55 and the M-26 Pershing. We won't wallow in that for too long so we'll skip ahead to Vietnam and immediately after when tanks such as these ran the show:
As one can plainly see, these tanks are bigger and more powerful than the World War II and Korean War designs. These tanks sported better armor and guns measuring up to 125mm. These were the days when it was expected that there would be massed tank engagements in Europe when those blood thirsty Commies decided to take over the rest of the continent. But Ivan never started World War III, so many of these tanks saw action across the world in the various proxy wars that took place, most noteably the wars between Israel and its Arab neigbors. And as time went on, tank designs got even better.
The tanks of today are those that were first produced in the late 70s up to today. They are many times more bad ass than their predecessors. One tank embodies this above all others:
This marvel of engineering is the M1A1 Abrams Super Tank, the baddest mother fucker in the world of armored vehicles. When it was first put into service in 1980, there were some doubts about its abilities as is usual with any new armored vehicle design. Some questioned wether it was worthy of bearing the name of the legendary World War II tank commander Creighton Abrams. But when Desert Storm was unleashed upon Saddam's forces, the M1 fucking decimated the Iraqi T-72s that it encountered. And in 2003 it again proceeded to rape the Iraqi armored corps and anything that was dumb enough to get in its way.
There's a good reason why this tank is so damn powerful: it has a 120mm smoothbore cannon firing anti-tank and anti-personnel rounds. It is also armed with a .50 cal M2 machine gun and two 7.62mm M240 machine guns. It has armor made of steel, ceramics, plastic composites and depleted uranium that give it enough protection to survive multiple hits from RPGs as well as great protection from HEAT rounds and other anti-tank weaponry. This thing is a beast.
You can tell a tank is insanely awesome when an insurgent can't even hide in their own home from one
How can this tank possibly get anymore badass? It is also described as being a tank hunter. That's right. A Tank Hunter. So not only does it destroy shit, it hunts other tanks. That's like calling Superman a skull fucker of villains in addition to being a hero. Tanks don't get anymore bitchin' than this.
Besides another tank, unless you have any of these...
you are fucking dead. Period. Dead.