Is there a reason why you never see any tanks in Fallout? For a civilization constantly at war and so heavy on the weapons development they seem to focus on infantry all the time.

You could argue this was because of the fuel being scarce but there are so many nuclear cars around this seems a tad void (since military always comes before civilian toys). The closest thing to a tank is the Chinese chimera tank, which is a converted oil drill/rig.

All I've ever met in my travels are army trucks, and once a Jeep. I doubt I missed them so is there any reason for the lack of military vehicles?


10 Answers 10


Looking at the weaponry and vehicles used by the Enclave, I would guess that the creation of heavy-duty personal armour, along with an increase in the power of handheld weapons lead to a focus on mobility.

If you can wear the armour of a tank, and carry the weapon of a tank, why do it in the open inside something that can't manoeuvre nor be transported as easily as a person?

Thinking about it. You could make an even better armoured tank with even bigger guns. And presumably make it taller to increase its effective range. And give it legs so it could cross terrain steadily.

But that would be some kind of ridiculous giant death laser robot that wouldn't even get finished before the war ended...

  • i forgot about that robot. however, the chimera tank was quite strong even tough it was just putting an oversized laser on a mobile platform. it seems strange if you look at how they still have cannons around at nellis and hoover damn. on the same point, the planes at nellis all seem to come from the 1900s before fallout split of from us and before we stopped using propellors.
    – Andy
    Mar 22, 2011 at 13:11
  • the operation anchorage reminded me of something else. Power armor was not used in combat until that battle.
    – Andy
    Mar 22, 2011 at 14:29
  • 15
    Besides if you made a giant walking armored nuclear battle tank, it'd just get destroyed by one guy with a bandanna and a Stinger missile launcher.
    – Steve V.
    Mar 22, 2011 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Andy: It's a fair point. Perhaps this means they were at the transition between tanking and mobility; with tanks being phased out in favour of suits and robots.
    – Stu Pegg
    Mar 22, 2011 at 17:52
  • just remembered that the enclave had a massive mobile base, connected to the orbital launcher so it seems that for 'tanks' they went for enormous so it would make sense if there was only a few. still, with all the odd storys on notes and computers, i wish there would have been a reference to this.
    – Andy
    Mar 23, 2011 at 8:31

The New Reno Arms shop stores in its basement an artillery cannon. This is an example of heavy weaponry. There might also be some tanks there. New Reno is on the West Coast, to the south of the expanse explored in Fallout New Vegas. You can reach this location in Fallout 2.

From this I deduce: the cannon is stored in the basement because the shop was previously a military base or outpost. Its underground because nuclear fallout and its consequences potentially led to erosion.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas happen a great many years after the war. Any tank found was probably dismantled for its artillery, its iron, etc. After the first hours of war the country was almost totally nuked. Tanks would be at the border with Canada / Alaska, not inland. Otherwise they might be underground, hidden in remote bases.

One must also take into account the Lore divide, with Fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas on one side and Fallout 3 on the other side of the country.

  • 1
    Welcome to Gaming! This question is about Fallout 3, not Fallout 2, so I'm afraid your answer doesn't really apply here.
    – Grace Note
    Mar 24, 2011 at 13:20
  • 8
    I respectfully disagree. The other answers so far pertain to the feasibility of having tanks inside the country during World War III. My answer fits within Fallout 3 / New Vegas lore. While Andy, the wiki creator, will never see any tanks I might have found in his Fallout 3 / New Vegas playthroughs, my answer at least instills the doubt, in terms of Lore, that there might really be tanks in the East Coast. Mar 24, 2011 at 14:28
  • 2
    You might want to shape up your answer, then, to focus on that. As it stands, an answer of "There might have been tanks in Fallout 2" to a question of "Why are there no tanks in Fallout 3 / New Vegas" is highly non-sequitur without an explanation of how that is relevant to the actual question. We're a Q&A, so having the pertinent information to the question inside the body of the answer is quite preferable.
    – Grace Note
    Mar 24, 2011 at 14:32
  • 4
    Grace, I'm not sure I follow. F2 certainly has an impact on F3, they are all sequels following the same basic story line. If you really think answers should be limited to F3, then this question should be closed as it can't really be answered.
    – Andy
    Jun 12, 2011 at 18:40

The Real Answer: They probably just never modeled/designed the art asset.

The 'Excuse': All the tanks were at the front in the war with China. There was no reason to have them so far into the interior as Vegas and DC.

  • it seems reasonable that it's a bit of a status by design, but i hoped there might have been a reason for it all.
    – Andy
    Mar 22, 2011 at 15:59
  • If all tanks were at the front, then how did they train the personnel?
    – mbx
    Apr 20, 2011 at 19:13
  • 2
    @mbx: Full-emersion simulation pod?
    – Stu Pegg
    May 12, 2011 at 17:59
  • Most likely! If you haven't played Operation Anchorage, it will give you an idea of what the US military was capable of in that respect. May 12, 2011 at 21:57
  • @Stuart Pegg: good point - It worked for the bomber, then tanks will be easy. But even though using a simulator is a plus in military training nothing beats real life field exercise.
    – mbx
    May 13, 2011 at 19:16

Well, there were the Chimera Tanks in Operation Anchorage for Fallout 3...

  • Darnit, I forgot about those.
    – Stu Pegg
    Mar 22, 2011 at 13:16

Because the Fallout 3/Oblivion game engine doesn't handle vehicles well. It's all deeply hard-coded to revolve around your character's model, and requires significant custom code to make even the simplest vehicles work smoothly. The New Vegas developers put their custom coding efforts into other things, like an improved lighting engine for the Strip, a crafting system, companion order controls, and the disguise and faction rep features. Adding tanks (which would have required a lot of new art assets and significantly changed gameplay balance considerations) appears to have not ranked very highly among the new features they wanted to code.

(A lack of general vehicle code is the same reason there was no horse combat in Oblivion – the custom horse code didn't integrate with the combat system. It's also why Skyrim shows off riding a cart for so long in the introduction scene – they finally developed general vehicle code in that iteration of the engine, and they're very proud of it.)


if you were at war and NOT invaded would you have your heavy cavalry at home? more than likely the tanks were all deployed to foreign fronts before the bombs dropped. considering the giant death laser robot; it was a prototype weapon under development during the war and was not finished in time to be deployed, thus this is why it was still in DC.

  • nice point but with the invasion of alaska would't it be wise to keep some heavy cavalary at home? but i do remember reading that the invasion of china was going on, so that could mean all armor was there.
    – Andy
    Mar 22, 2011 at 14:31

Notably, Fallout 4 contains lots and lots of old tank wrecks all over the place. So I think we can dismiss all lore arguments - the boring but likely explanation is probably that they simply weren't modelled for Fallout 3 indeed.

If the tanks were sent to the frontier, then that doesn't explain why there are (almost) none in the Capital Wasteland but plenty in the Commonwealth. One would think that military-wise, Washington DC must be a much more important location to defend, compared with Massachusetts.


Hang on a second, there was a tank in one of the fallout games. It was a Brotherhood of Steel tank in one of the games around fallout 2 which was a modified M4A2 Sherman Battle tank.


I often wondered the same thing, but its mostly just they never designed them for fallout and they came up with lame excuses. Like how you don't see very many planes, jets, trucks, cars, motorcycles, or helicopters. They just never made tons of models for all that stuff even though they should have. Everyone saying that they wouldn't have deployed the tanks though i have to say your wrong, even if the war only lasted two hours they would have deployed tanks. I mean in DC their are national guard blockades every where.


Well in reality in the threat of nuclear war all major assets are to be distributed and sent out. So most armor would not be near any major center of activity or military center. Along with this oil was very scarce that why many vehicles were at base since most oil was diverted to weapons to be used in war. The whole reasons power armor came about was to replace tanks do to how scarce oil was. Along with this any armor that would still be in use would be at the front, and any assets not in use would most likely be stored safely away in remote areas and bunkers.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .