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Are tanks always more viable than mechs in a realistic scenario. Could a war within certain environments lead to construction of mech like machines? Tanks are usually simply faster and more versatile than bipedal machines, but could rocky terrain realistically effect this?


marked as duplicate by James, sphennings, Community Aug 24 '17 at 17:54

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Shift. We have covered Mechs quite a few times. I am voting to close this as a duplicate. If you check out the linked question you should be able to find what you need. A search of "is:question mech" will also bring up a ton of questions. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 24 '17 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Also check out the tour and help center to get more info on the site. Good world building to you. $\endgroup$ – James Aug 24 '17 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Ok thanks, you can call it duplicate if you want, I will use the other thread, $\endgroup$ – Shift Aug 24 '17 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ Find a U.S. Marine, or any professional soldier (I was a sailor) and they will authoritatively inform you that if it can be built, there is a shoulder fired weapon that can put a hole in it. Bigger and more expensive makes great fiction, but something that big couldn't stand up to having it's frame shot up, and joints would be easy to misalign. You wouldn't even have to penetrate the armor. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Aug 24 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ A thought, after the close... don't be discouraged. Almost all highly successful fiction worlds employ technology that can't or shouldn't work as well as it does. Nobody watching Gundam or playing BattleTech cares that the war machines are unrealistic, they just want the hero to get the girl, or to defeat their cunning opponent with nothing more than skill and forethought. A good scene might be the general asking the analyst "This shouldn't work. How does this work?", followed by an infodump in the form of sci-fi conjecture. $\endgroup$ – Sean Boddy Aug 26 '17 at 16:55

Mechs are strictly worse than tanks of comparable size. There is no environment where a mecha is going to be superior to a tank.

The upright posture makes them easier to detect and target than a tank.

A smaller contact area with the ground means that they will get bogged down in soft or unstable terrain easier.

Their upright posture makes them a less stable firing platform. The higher center of gravity makes them more likely to be knocked on their side due to driver error or impact.

A tracked vehicle is more energy efficient and less mechanically complex than a mecha.

We live in a world where man portable anti tank missiles exist. If there existed an environment where a mecha could travel it would be an easy target to any well equipped infantry group.

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    $\begingroup$ I beg to disagree about "no environment". If there are many boulders and small cliffs (1-2 m sized) in a landscape, the terrain becomes non-passable for tracked vehicles. Of course we can increase the size of tracks to WWI-type, but that would make tanks a better targets and increase their weight. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 24 '17 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander If a mecha is walking through a field of boulders large enough to stop a tracked vehicle it's going to be a slow moving target as it carefully picks its steps. This will make it an easy target for anyone armed with anti tank weaponry. If you up the armor you end up with something extremely heavy and costly. Think about the superheavy tanks from WWII and how they were a logistic nightmare. Just getting them to the battlefield was a challenge unto itself. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Aug 24 '17 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ What about terrain where it would be beneficial to be able to jump? Frequent, impassable cliffs and crags in the terrain that can't be cleared by tank treads, for example. $\endgroup$ – Chris M. Aug 24 '17 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisM. If you think something weighing 60+ short tones can jump you're sorely mistaken. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Aug 24 '17 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings - tracked tank, when moving through anything but a flat terrain, is also slow and can be a good target. My point is that in some environments tanks are simply not viable. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 24 '17 at 17:54

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