|For other light tank, see Light tank.|
The Light Tank is the smallest and quickest tank in the game; its small footprint and high speed allow it to dodge enemy tank shells if directed properly. It is among the fastest armoured tracked vehicles in the game, only beaten by the APC and the Minelayer. Like other armoured tracked vehicles, it can run over infantry and it is well suited to this due to its speed.
The light tank's sole weapon is a 75mm gun, which fires a HEAT projectile against hostile targets. Compared to the main guns of other tanks, while a single shot from the 75mm gun causes the least damage, the 75mm gun also has the fastest reload and this gives the Light tank the highest damage output rate.
However, the Light tank's relatively weak armour means that it cannot match Soviet tanks in one-on-one duels without extreme micromanagement to avoid return fire. A Light tank can also be destroyed by a full discharge from a Soviet Tesla Coil. Allied commanders often combine medium and light tanks, using medium tanks to absorb enemy damage, prolonging survivability of the light tank to exploit its higher rate of fire. However the key feature of the vehicle is its high mobility which can act as a natural tactical weapon against almost any threat when used correctly.
The light tank's firepower, speed, low price and fast production often make this tank a weapon of choice of many Allied commanders.
Light tanks are cheap and quick to produce, allowing Allied commanders to have numerical superiority in armour vs. armour engagements.
The high speed of light tanks makes them useful as scouts or raiders and complements well with the Ranger and the APC.
Light tanks cannot withstand too much punishment. They can take some hits from tank and other small arms fire but they can be easily destroyed by base defenses like the Soviet Tesla coil. However under a skilled commander, this can be countered by using their speed to most projectiles with ease. This is often the case especially when fighting against Heavy tanks and Mammoth Tanks where a combination of hit-and-run tactics and sheer weight of numbers can allow light tanks to still prevail against the heaviest of vehicles. This agility can have an extended effect when light tanks can even speed themselves through enemy defenses to strike critical areas of a base while sustaining little damage.
Red Alert Universe
Behind the Scenes
The light tank is depicted by two different vehicles. In cinematic cutscenes, it bears some resemblance to the M41 Walker Bulldog scout tank, which is indeed a light tank with a marginally-effective anti-armour ordnance of 76mm caliber and just enough protection against small arms fire. Another possibility is the M24 Chaffee, an even lighter vehicle. There are also many European tanks which very well could have served in this role at the time, including the British Cromwell tank, which was a very fast tank at its time and also lightly armoured with a 75mm gun, the Comet tank which had a much more effective 76.2 mm gun, and the French AMX-13 with a 75 mm auto-loading gun. The German Panzer IV with its 7.5cm cannon, although classified as a medium tank in the 1940's, could have been reclassified as a light tank in Red Alert's timeline.
The sidebar image is that of the M2 Bradley IFV, but this is likely an error; presumably Westwood initially re-used the Nod Light Tank from Tiberian Dawn until a proper tank for Red Alert cutscenes was created, but then the sidebar image was never subsequently updated. It would make much more sense for the Light tank to be depicted as a World War II tank, as the M2 Bradley and similar Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV's) were only developed in the late 1970's and were designed for different battlefield roles. The M2 Bradley's main weapon is a 25mm chain gun; there is also a co-axial machine gun next to it and a pintle-mounted .50 caliber M2HB Browning machine gun by the commander's hatch, giving it a limited anti infantry capability. IFVs are much less heavily armed and protected than main battle tanks, nonetheless when equipped with larger cannons or anti-tank guided missiles they can pose a significant threat to all but the heaviest armoured fighting vehicles. However, both light tanks and IFV's are supposed to avoid engagements with enemy tanks whenever possible, in contrast to in-game where the Allies initially only have light tanks to go toe-to-toe with Soviet heavy tanks.
The game designers' choice in giving heavy tanks to the Soviets and light tanks to the Allies may have had historical precedent in the Western European theatre of 1944-45; the American M4 Sherman medium tank had weaker armament and protection than the German Tiger I heavy tank, however the the Allies used the M4's numerical superiority and speed to make up for this shortcoming.
- Good against vehicles and buildings.
- Cheaper and faster than a medium or heavy tank
- Can crush infantry.
- Can be used for swarming hit-and-run tactics.
- Powerful in when used in large numbers.
- Fast to produce.
- High rate of fire and in the long run, it will deliver more damage in the same amount of time than a medium or heavy tank
- Can be used for scouting and raiding, complements well with Rangers for striking in dangerous areas that the latter is not designed to do.
- Agile enough to dodge cannon fire and other projectiles with as equal ease as the Ranger and APC.
- Ineffective against infantry, although they can be used to crush them
- Vulnerable to aircraft
- Weak individually
- Less firepower and armour than the medium and heavy tank
- Vulnerable to anti-vehicle weapons
- Does not fare well against Mammoth tank, though singling out single Mammoths in large numbers will work well.
- Destroy in one shot by Tesla coil
- Weakest tank in the game