Tweet of the Day: Episode: Bluescreen
Tanks are a staple of modern warfare, so it is no surprise that when the action calls for a vehicle that can deliver a ton of damage, soak up a hail of bullets and change the course of battle, the characters breath a sigh of relief when the get some Tank Goodness. The ideal tank is a mixture of armor (to better ignore the puny fire of the enemy), mobility (speed x maneuverability to get where they need to go) and firepower (nothing says I love you like a big gun). Of course, if you also want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, have said engine of destruction roll up and then blow up in a spectacular faction. The Japanese love lining tanks up in neat rows and then having a gigantic robot blast them to bits. Either way, when tanks show up, you know that the situation got a lot worse.
Tanks are also a short hand for modern warfare. Tanks are expensive, require an extensive logistical train, and well trained crews. A single tank may rampage through the streets of a civilian city, but in a real warzone most tanks work as part of a combine arms team (artillery, infantry and armor). While modern tanks pack lots of thick armor, only the clumsiest or foolhardy tank commander would drive their behemoths into a city without a few grunts for backup. A rocket, mine or even a bottle full of gasoline could disable a tank, leaving the crew stranded in the middle of hell. A good way to pump the drama.
So save your tanks for the right time so that they have the best impact on the story, either as saviors or a burning reminders of the folly of war.