Category: Term of the day
A tank destroyer, or a self-propelled anti-tank gun, is a type of armoured fighting vehicle. Tank destroyers are used primarily to provide antitank support in combat operations but do not fit all the criteria of a tank. They may mount a high-velocity anti-tank gun but have an open turret, no turret at all or run on wheels instead of tracks. Vehicles which carry a antitank guided missile launcher are referred to as ATGM carriers.
Tank destroyers cannot fulfil the many roles of tanks; they are much less flexible, and usually lack a strong anti-infantry capability. A common feature of a tank destroyer is the absence of a turret, and compared to tanks, an even stronger disposition for heavy frontal armor (compared to side and rear armor). However, as a result of having no turret and fewer parts, tank destroyers are much less expensive to manufacture.
Gun-armed tank destroyers have been largely supplanted by the more general-purpose tanks since World War II, but lightly-armoured ATGM carriers are used for supplementary long-range antitank capabilities.