Since WWII, the tank has been thought of primarily as a way to rapidly deploy heavy anti material weapons directly into enemy formations, primarily aimed at knocking out opposing AFVs (whether tanks, troop transports, or softer targets as required). This might be laid at the feet of Heinz Guderian, whose theorizing on both Bewegungskrieg and its 20th Century Grandchild, Blitzkrieg, were central to the early successes of the German ground forces in the early days of the war.
It was not always so, however. There was a time from the end of The Great War to the beginning 1939 when countries did not know how to handle tanks, or what they should be.
Hence why smaller, lighter tanks grouped up into tight formations could overwhelm French forces so easily and even topple what was considered one of the best tanks of the era (for reasons still not yet quite understood), the Char-B, as the French military had them rather thinly spread in what was seen as a practical infantry support role.
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