The combat tank debuted in World War 1 (1914-1918) where trench warfare required a vehicle of considerable power and length to manage battlefield obstacles and trench networks. The result was a collection of crude, lumbering beasts that helped to turn the tide of the war (though their actual combat debut was mixed). By the time of World War 2, armored warfare had evolved considerably and gone were th e multi-turreted creations of old - in their place were faster-moving, well-armed and armored steel beasts that were used to great effect by all sides. From this fighting was born the concept of the 'Main Battle Tank' which still takes center stage on the battlefield today, despite the rise in many tank-killing weapons that have prematurely called for the end of such vehicles. The tank remains as the spearhead of any offensive and a single such example can turn the tide of some ground battles. There is very little sign that the MBT will be replaced at the frontlines any time soon.
The listing below takes into account the influence and combat history that the particular entry has had in modern warfare. As such, the entires run the gamut of wars throughout the 20th century as well as more modern additions seen today. They are presented in no particular order.
The Carden-Loyd Tankette and French Renault FT-17 are listed here as honorable mentions due to their influence during their respective periods of history. Some notable omissions such as the French LeClerc and German Leopard 2 have been left off of this list due to their relatively limited combat service records.