Awesome Personnel Carrier

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"One APC...alone...betrayed by the Let's Play series it loves, now, its only hope in its final hour of need."

Sometimes in war, neither the Cool Car nor the Cool Tank is enough. You need something that can carry The Squad into and out of battle and even fight alongside it if need be. How do you do this with a simple Armored Personnel Carrier? Easy, slap some more armor on it. Give it a BFG or three and maybe even the ability to crush other things like a tank!

Enter the Awesome Personnel Carrier, the all-around badass vehicle not just meant to be an overpriced and underarmored taxi. In modern warfare settings, expect these to be ripped off from the BMP and M2 Bradley series of vehicles or some of their relations. In sci-fi settings, this might incorporate more elements of the Cool Tank or have an exotic unloading method.

Special mention should be given here as to terminology. The term IFV denotes Infantry Fighting Vehicle, as in a vehicle that directly engages and suppresses the enemy while the squad does its thing after exiting the vehicle. An APC, or Armored Personnel Carrier, simply shuttles the squad to and from battle. It might not actually do any fighting whatsoever. But that doesn't mean it can't be cool on its own. APC is commonly used to cover both types of vehicles despite this being incorrect, although the line between armed battle-taxi and light IFV can be quite blurred.

Naturally, compare Cool Tank. Merkavas cheat by being both, and the Russian Mi-24 Hind ups the stakes again by flying.

Examples of Awesome Personnel Carrier include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The opening scene in one of the Appleseed movie has Deunan and her squad being attacked by two ACPs armed with gatling guns that effordlessly jump through walls and reduce the battlefield to even finer rubble.
  • Gundam Unicorn gives us the D50C Loto, a 12 meter high mobile suit that can transform into a tank like vehicle and carry a squad of special forces troops inside it, doesn't get more awesome than that.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The Colonial Marine APC carried by the Drop Ship in Aliens. It included sliding armored side doors, front minigun turret, heavy weapons turret (with reduced clearance option), no-flat tires, and a fully integrated command station that could provide the platoon leader with real-time video feeds from every grunt.
    • Unfortunately, the realistic low profile of the prop was too small to film inside, so a larger "interior" set had to be made.
    • The vehicle they built the APC out of was a tug for pulling passenger jets... which was so heavy it cracked the concrete under it when they brought it to the set.
  • Soldier's Crawler APC, is just as sophisticated as the Colonial Marine APC: armored side doors, missile launchers, a dual machine gun turret, a remote-controlled mortar, tires larger than its passengers and a command interface fixed onto the driver's pod. The director claims that the Crawler is almost as powerful as a tank. The model was built from a stripped-down tractor.
    • But just like the Colonial Marine APC, it had interior size problems when it comes to people 6 feet tall. The solution: hire 5-footers.
    • Oh, and just in case you're wondering, this is what it looks like.
  • A number of the vehicle in the Star Wars movies would count, with the regular troops often outnumbering crew. The most famous example is the AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. This was subverted occasionally though, in that some vehicles that were called transports in fact weren't.
  • Avatar features the C-21 Dragon Assault Ship, featuring eight 50MM sentry guns, dozens of missile pods, not one but two cockpits, and enough cargo space for a squad of AMP suits.
  • In Doomsday, Sinclair's team enter virus-infected Scotland through the rebuilt Hadrian Wall in a pair of sleek-looking APC said to be the last of their types. They look heavy but a crossbow arrow kills one of the drivers - though the action doesn't let audience wonder about armor long enough to suspend suspension of disbelief.
  • In Black Hawk Down, the Pakistani troops display this trope by playing The Cavalry the smart way: by charging in heavy APCs that could withstand the withering crossfire that the American Humvees couldn't.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the novel The Doomfarers of Coramonde by the late Brian Daley, a sorcerer from a parallel sword-and-sorcery universe grabs an M113 ACAV[1] and its crew from out of the middle of the Vietnam War...in order to fight a dragon. (The sorcerer was actually trying for a full-scale tank, somewhat to the irritation of the APC crew.) They kill the dragon by driving over his head, crushing it.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40,000 has a plethora of them :
    • The Imperial Guard has the Chimera, which is essentially a BMP In SPACE!!
      • Not to mention the Valkyrie Gunship, which is essentially a Hind In SPACE!!
    • The Space Marines have Rhinos, which are essentially metal BAWKSES M113s In SPACE!! They also have the Land Raider, which is essentially a mobile fortress packing twin-linked heavy bolters and lascannons. Alternatively, one can view the Land Raider as just a World War I tank In SPACE!!
      • The Rhino, apparently, is such an Awesome Personnel Carrier that with the exception of the aforementioned Land Raider, Rhino chassis form the basis for every tank the army fields. Need an IFV? Reduce the transport and stick a couple of heavy weapons on top (The Razorback)! Need a Main Battle Tank? Slap some more armour on the front (internally!) and a turret on top (The Predator)! Need a Multiple Missile Launcher? Just... you get the picture (The Whirlwind).
      • Let's not forget that this same "APC" is used by the Arbites - the police - on Imperial worlds. The cops don't drive around in squad cars. They drive around in fucking tanks. And they will use a whole station house's worth of Rhinos to barricade a damn street if they need to.
        • The Land Raider has, recently, undergone the same level of insane modding as its Rhino cousin. Anything you can stick on a Rhino these days, you can stick on a Land Raider - but more. (Helios has a multiple missile launcher like the Whirlwind, Prometheus has a massive comms array like the Damocles Rhino, Redeemer has a pair of super flamers and assault cannons like a Bhaal Predator... and so on, up to one variant which has a fortress-busting siege cannon on its forward miniturret).
      • With the capacity to carry eight guys in power suits originally designed for performing maintenance on active plasma generators from the inside.
    • The Sisters of Battle use the Immolator, which is also built on the Rhino chassis and usually features turret-mounted flamers - essentially, a Razorback modded as a chapel. They also field the Reppressor, an even more awesome version of the basic Rhino, with expanded transport capacity, a flamethrower miniturret, and a massive bulldozer blade.
      • Like the Marines, they also have the Exorcist, which mounts a Pipe Organ/Multiple Missile Launcher.
    • The Tau have the Devilfish Skimmer, which is also a gunship.
    • Orks have Wartrukks and Battlewagons.
    • The Eldar have the Wave Serpant grav-tank fitting into the APC role, with an energy shielded prow and a pair of heavy infantry scale weapons mounted on top, while their Falcon grav-tank fits into the IFV role, being able to carry smaller squads than the Wave Serpent but having superior weaponry for suppressing enemy armor and infantry.
    • The Imperial Guard have the Stormlord Super Heavy Tank, its basic chassis is shared with that the other Imperial Guard Super Heavies (i.e. Bane Blade Shadowsword) and it can carry 40 guardsmen and has enough firepower to slaughter any infantry in sight.
    • Don't forget the Eldar Storm Serpent in Epic, this thing doesn't carry infantry like a normal APC but has an in built webway gate which can pump out as many reinforcements as you need from half the galaxy away.
  • Rifts has nearly as many APCs, if not more. Such as the heavily-armed Coalition Mark V, the amphibious Iwo Jima-class hovercraft, or the German Leopard III, which not only carries infantry, but can also lug around a small tank' for extra firepower.
  • BattleTech also fields a number of APCs and IFVs which include wheeled, tracked, hover, and flying varieties.

Toys[edit | hide]

"You will respect the truck! You will keep the truck’s weapons loaded and its tank fueled up! You will polish the truck’s armor plating each and every day! When the truck saves you from alien brain-drainers – and it will – you will thank the truck sincerely! Now get on board and MOVE OUT!!!”

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Act of War features many Real Life carriers, including the Stryker and the BTR-80, all of them beautifuly modelled.
  • PlanetSide has several : The Deliverers (a futuristic looking Hummer) and their faction variants, with their own unique weapons. The Sunderer or "Bang Bus" is an absolutely massive bus covered in guns with the capability of carrying players in MAX armor. The Sunder was removed from the game and replaced with a uniquely armed variant for each faction, though all variants have a cattle catcher, a EMP blast ability, and ball turrets on the sides.
  • The Battle Fortress, IFV, Humvee and the many other forms of it in Command & Conquer. Some forms, like the Battle Fortress, can crush other vehicles!
    • One particularly hilarious example from Red Alert 3 is the Bullfrog, an otherwise-normal APC armed with an anti-air gun. Its only outstanding feature is its method of delivery: instead of unloading the troops, it fires them out of a cannon on its back. So we've got a scenario in which you can parachute armored war bears onto a group of infantry. And the bears have a stun ability and instant-kill attacks.
    • Also from Red Alert 3 is the Sudden Transport, a hovering APC that can disguise itself as an enemy vehicle to sneak its troops past enemy lines. Completely unarmed, though.
    • The Allied Multigunner IFV, also from Red Alert 3, is billed as an IFV despite only carrying one soldier—but its weapon changes to match that unit's specialty (i.e., loading a rocket trooper gives it (more) rocket pods, loading a Cryo Legionnaire gives it an ice beam) -- it can even gain weapons from troops of other factions.
    • The Nod Subterranean APC in Tiberian Sun combines this with Drill Tank. Even more awesome still for being able to carry the Cyborg Commando, the ultimate Nod unit in the game, right into the center of an enemy base.
    • The Reckoner from Kane's Wrath is a bit of an odd-ball. It is completely unarmed and infantry can't fire from within it, until it deploys—at which point it becomes a permanent bunker.
    • Humvees in Generals could be equipped with drones for self repair and scouting. Not only that, but it could also carry up to five infantry that could all fire out of the windows, essentially making the Humvee a mobile bunker. Additionally, Overlords were so damn large that you could build a bunker on top of its turret.
    • Honourable mention to Red Alert 1's Phase Transport. It shows up in a single mission in the Aftermath expansion, and it can only carry one infantry unit... but on the other hand, the machine gun is replaced with high-powered missile launchers, and it cloaks.
  • Borderlands gives us the Lancer in the Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC. At 4, it seats double the number of players. All players have some kind of weapon they can use against enemies. It has at least 50% more hitpoints than the next strongest vehicle in the game. Requires doing ajob for scooter to get it, though.
  • Crysis: The enemy APC is essentially a Bradley clone, complete with chain gun and missiles.
  • The BTR, BMP, M2 Bradley and Humvee in the Modern Warfare series take their Real Life counterparts and thrust them into a fictional war with each other.
  • The Stryker used by Drebin and the PMC's in Metal Gear Solid 4, you also get to ride on top of Drebins during the epic chase scene in chapter 2.
  • Project Reality gives us the BMP-3, which packs more firepower than most tanks in the game, is amphibious, and still has room for a full infantry squad.
  • The APC the player and his squad ride around in in the second F.E.A.R. game.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla has drivable IFVs, mounted with machine guns, rail guns another other futuristic weaponry, forming an integral part of the enemy EDF's presence on Mars. They are notable for the loving detail of their models and are undoubtedly cool.
  • Mass Effect had the player travel around between important points on planets in the Mako which could be dropped in from high atmosphere (kind of like a Drop Ship but with less emphasis on the ship part and more on the drop) and had significant armaments to justify its own battle sequences (though you could always get out and try killing them all with a pistol whipping if you felt so inclined).
    • DLC from the Sequel gives us the Hammerhead, which is part APC, part hover vehicle, and part ground-effect aircraft, now with a guided main weapon.
  • Most Battlefield games have this in one form or another. BF2 gives us the LAV-25 and its Chinese and Russian counterparts, which are in fact so well-rounded in terms of firepower, armour and speed that most people forget they were initially meant to transport and fight alongside infantry. In Bad Company 2, APCs are referred to as "light tanks", but that name is misleading. With 3 machine guns and 1 autocannon, a fully-crewed "light tank" can murder infantry in any direction and it never runs out of ammo. With the alternative weapon upgrade, it can also utilize its wire-guided missile launcher to fight off enemy tanks.
    • Well, BMP is based on a light tank chassis, and does count as one in international treaties in Real Life.
  • Being a mil-sim, Operation Flashpoint is loaded with these. The BMP-1 is ubiquitous throughout most of the campaigns, either as a friend or as a foe. Particularly nasty are the BMP-2 and the Bradley, as both mount powerful autocannons that can rip apart enemy squads and light vehicles from kilometers away. In OFP's successors, ARMA and Arm A II, the Bradley is replaced by variants of the LAV-25. The OPFOR continue to use BMP variants.
  • Dawn of War uses most of the major APCs from Warhammer 40000, upgrading them to Clown Car status in the process. The Chimera holds 42 soldiers in some incarnations, though they still die like Guardsmen.
  • The Combine APC from Half-Life 2 looks pretty cool. Its design features room for several fully equipped soldiers, a siren, bulletproof armour, a good speed, and the ability to be plugged in and provide external power for other applications when it's not in use. Its armaments include a mortar-esque laser guided missile launcher, forward mounted fast firing dummy missiles, and a pulse machine gun.
  • Most of the CESO tanks from Achron can carry infantry with them, which basically turns CESO armies into battlegroups of Awesome Personnel Carriers.
  • Soldiers of Anarchy has several options in this regard, all of them real-life models.
    • Humvees are the weakest (a single mine or RPG is enough; snipers can kill the crew without damaging the vehicle) and can only carry two passengers plus crew, yet they are fast and have variable weaponry (M60, TOW missile or grenade launcher). They can also carry combat gear, unlike the others.
    • BTR-60s have the second highest capacity (10 passengers plus crew) of all ground vehicles. They use a turret-mounted machine gun and smoke grenade launcher, perfect for hot drops.
    • The BMP-1 is a rather fearsome opponent, armed with a machine gun, a cannon and AT-2 anti-tank missiles. It can't carry as many passengers but it more than makes up for that with its significant firepower.
    • Finally, there is an M163 around mid-game that can carry as much people as the BMP even though it's technically a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. An APC with a minigun, how cool is that?
  • The Armadillo and its technical version, the Junker, from Gears of War. Although driving it isn't quite so awesome.
  • Ground Control had an APC that could fire at ground or air targets and heal/ repair other units all while carrying a squad of soldiers in Power Armor. The sequel APC's where considerable less cool but did come with fun tools like flame-throwers and smoke screens. They also had a separate repair vehicle that could carry four soldiers.
  • Valkyria Chronicles II: With the Utility APC frame, the APC is capable of carrying equipment for almost any situation. It can build bridges and ladders to bypass enemy fortifications, equip items that remove status effects around it just for your troops, can break large rocks to create new paths through the maps, and more. While it is somewhat fragile compared to the tanks and can't equip any of the anti-tank turrets, the flamethrower is very good for taking out clusters of enemy soldiers (especially before you can upgrade your shocktroopers to commandos) and its carrying capability lets you stock a lancer or mauler to deal with any tanks it encounters. The tank/APC debate essentially boils down to "One CP light tank vs. Utility APC", with many preferring the APC because of the flexibility it provides. This functionality was carried over to and improved on in Valkyria Chronicles III.
  • The Bear APC from Saints Row 2. It features an independent driver-controlled MG turret, six wheels, heavy armour, seating for 4 or 5 passengers, and can keep up with most four-wheeled vehicles. You can even install a Nitro Boost in it! It's the closest the game gets to Tank Goodness.
  • As many of the vehicles in Mercenaries and its sequel are just a case of AKA-47, they still apply. Especially the Hind, which is basically going to be your air-evac vehicle of choice; it is basically the toughest chopper available and, like the real thing, is more than capable of clearing out its own LZ, being armed with an autocannon, rocket pods, four to eight anti-tank missiles and possibly even up to four anti-air missiles if you're lucky. The SK and AN Bradley-clones are also a pretty good ground alternative given their powerful autocannons and anti-tank missiles.
  • In Z an APC can be fitted with any kind of robots, including Toughs, which transforms the APC to a light, fast missile launcher, or with Pyros.

Webcomic[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The BMP series of vehicles radically altered the conventional wisdom of APC warfare from just a "Battlefield Taxi" to a vehicle that could actually defend itself against tanks and support the infantry. The BMP was so cool with its 73mm cannon, anti-tank missiles and 360o firing ports it was re-christened as the first Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
    • BMP-1 technically is a light tank (namely, PT-76 amphibious tank) with somewhat reduced armament and other non-essential stuff thrown out to free enough space for a squad of infantry.
    • The BMD is an air-dropable APC.
    • The BMP-2 is similarly awesome, trading in the 73mm cannon for a rapid firing 30mm. The BMP-3 is the most heavily armed of the lot, retaining the 30mm and adding a 100mm gun/missile launcher. That's right: this MICV is more heavily armed than some tanks.
    • The BTR series of APCs were more or less lame, being light, wheeled boxes, armed with a 14.5mm machine gun and a 7.62mm machinegun. The most recent variant, the BTR-90 fixes all that, having heavier armour, better speed, full NBC protection, and a 30mm automatic cannon in place of the 14.5mm. It has proven rather popular with crews.
  • The American M2 Bradley and the British Warrior were developed to counter the BMP, what ensued became infantry carrying, tank busting, all around cool machines.
    • In fact, in Desert Storm the Bradley IFV's accounted for more Iraqi vehicles destroyed than the M1 Abrams battle tanks they accompanied. They took greater losses though, but to be fair, most of the losses (17 of 20) were friendly-fire incidents.
    • The Yanks were pretty bad about this: something like 3/4 of all American vehicles lost during the war were destroyed by friendly fire.
      • That the Bradleys were mostly assigned to cavalry scout units accounts for the high attrition; recon have been notoriously susceptible to friendly fire since the first Gulf War. Even friendly fire from those accompanying tanks.
      • It has also been noted that the Bradley is a jack of all trades but master of none, since it's a track-laying, 30 ton, gun-and missile-toting thing that makes anybody who looks at it think "TANK!", carries only half a squad of infantry, and doesn't carry enough gun to be considered a full tank. It got its own movie mocking it. As the disgusted engineers put it, "It's a troop carrier that can't carry troops, a recon vehicle that's too conspicuous to do reconnaissance, a psuedo-tank with less armor than a snowblower, but carries enough ammo to take out half of DC."
  • The U.S Marines are upgrading their own Awesome Personnel Carrier soon, with the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) due to enter full service in 2015. Not only does it carry several squads of Marines, but also packs a 30mm autocannon, more powerful than the Bradley's 25mm gun, and has a whopping 2700 hp engine and amphibious capability, making it one of the most mobile armored fighting vehicles around. Compare this kind of power to most tanks, which have ~1500 hp, and other APCs, which have 1000 hp or less. Of course, it only uses its full power when traveling on water, and uses only 850 hp on land.
    • It also essentially transforms into a boat mode, sealing up various panels and extending the front into a prow.
      • Does it count if its been cancelled?
  • The Canadian LAV-25 and all its derivatives, also having 8 wheels rather than tracks it can move a lot faster then most other IFV's, and is amphibious.
    • The Aussie version, the ASLAV, is even more awesome by having something most military vehicles lack, air conditioning.
      • The American version would be the Stryker, which, like all American vehicles deployed in support of OIF, has at least nominal air conditioning.
      • The Stryker got itself upgraded to an IFF Tank hybrid with the development of the M1128 MGS.
    • The LAV-25 is itself a derivative of the MOWAG Piranha I, while the Stryker is a derivative of the Piranha III, both produced by Switzerland.
  • Recently, due to the battlefield saturation with IFVs and antitank weapons, a new class of APCs started to appear—namely, a heavy IFV: essentially a full-on main battle tank with all attendant protection, but carrying not a large caliber gun, but a common IFV kit -- an autocannon or grenade launcher and a squad of infantry. Many are, in fact, conversions of an older MBTs too obsolete for their original role, but still too solid and functional to be worth scrapping.
    • Israeli Azcharit and Russian BTR-T are both conversions of the venerable, but sadly outdated T-55. On a similar theme, the Israeli Puma is one of a number of conversions of the Centurion MBT used by IDF Engineers.
    • The Merkava is often affectionately referred to as "heavy APC" as well, despite being a full-on MBT. It has the capacity to carry a squad. but only by ditching most of its main cannon's ammunition. Those big rear doors are intended for rapid reloading, not infantry.
      • As of 2008, Israel started to produce an actual APC based on the Merkava chassis called "Namer", making it a truly Awesome Personnel Carrier.
  • The M113 has to rate pretty well. Despite being an ugly, under-armoured box-on-tracks, it has seen more roles, and been used my more countries than probably any other armoured vehicle. It also remains in use in the country of its production, despite being close on 50 years old. It's also the second most numerous armoured vehicle of any time-period, being outdone only by the T-34 tank (84K to ~80K).
  • And lets not forget the granddaddy of them all, the British Mark IX from the late stages of World War I...
    • Unfortunately these proved to be (as with all the WW 1 tanks) less than successful. The main problems being that WWI tanks struggled to go faster than a brisk walking pace and conditions inside the early tanks being so bad that even if the troops managed to remain conscious they disembarked in no condition to fight. Rather more successful was the series of Kangaroos that appeared late in WW 2.
    • The German Sdkfz 251 shows the difficulty in dividing APC from IFV. The basic model had a couple of machine guns but variants had flamethrowers, triple mounted 15mm HMGs, a light PaK gun and the turret from an armoured car.
    • The good old British Universal Carrier from WW 2, also known as the Bren Carrier. It was, however, the most famous personal carrier, rather than the most awesome one.
      • Also the single most produced armoured vehicle in history, with over 100,000 made. Its not exactly fast, well-armoured, nor even particularly attractive, but it got the job done. It's a stellar example of Boring but Practical.
  • In an unusual example, a Russian combat-transport helicopter Mi-24 Hind can carry a squad of eight men while being a full-power assault bird with gun turret and full array of air-to-air and air-to-surface guided and unguided missiles. Apparently, the concept is successful enough to stay in frontline service from '71, as well as being adopted by countless countries, including basically the whole former Warsaw pact and India.
    • It should be noted, however, that it can't transport personnel while carrying a full armament. In fact, personnel transport is mostly seen as a distant secondary task to infantry support and strike missions.
      • It's still seen as useful enough (especially in extraction, medevac and other SAR missions) that Russian AAF recently ordered a batch of a newly-built Mi-35 (an upgraded and mostly export versions of Hind) in addition to the dedicated gunships like Mi-28 and Ka-50/52. In certain situations Hind's ability to clear up its own LZ and generally look for itself is invaluable.
      • Having too much ammo to perform a pickup in contact with the enemy is a self-solving problem.
  • The German Puma IFV is among the heaviest and best armored APCs out there, with a maximum weight of 43 tons, still maintaining a high power-to-weight ratio. Using four A-400M transport aircrafts, you could quickly transport three Pumas into the theatre - one of the planes would transport the additional armor (which can be flexibly mounted). The Puma's unmanned turret houses a 30 mm autocannon with airburst ammo, Spike anti-tank missiles with a range of 4,000 meters and a coaxial machine gun. Of course, air conditioning, full NBC protection a very smooth and low-profile hull and an active defense system capable of defeating modern ATG Ms can also be found aboard it.
    • The West German Marder was the second MICV ever developed, and predated the Puma's design. It is still in service in many places.
    • Before the Puma the Marder 2 was conceived in the 1980s to replace the Marder 1 to accompany the Leopard 2 tank into battle. Unfortunately it was canceled in 1992 as it was too large, too heavy and too expensive for the post-Cold War era.
    • Speaking of Teutonic engineering, there's also the Wiesel, which is absolutely tiny by comparison. It's half the size of the Puma, and is so compact that 4 or 5 of them can fit inside a C-130 Hercules. Size comes at a price though: most Wiesel variants can't fit more than 2 or 3 crew members, with the experimental personnel carrying variant carrying no more than 6 people altogether. However, it still manages to fulfill a wide variety of roles that would otherwise be given to APC-type vehicles, like fire support, anti-tank and anti-aircraft warfare, command and control, and reconnaissance.
  1. An APC modified to be more of a machine gun carrier than a personnel carrier, with a turret for the track commander's .50 M2 Browning, and a .30 M60 on each flank. M113s without the ACAV modifications only had the .50, and no turret.