If you watch video please keep in mind I do not take sides here or any religious believes. This is just example video from 5 days ago fighting in Aleppo, Syria.
When tank comes you just feel small. Really small. When you see on video tank is going through ruined streets you can not feel that strange feeling in your gut, that feeling is mixture of tremendous vibration from that death machine, your adrenaline and fast working brain trying to figure what you gonna do in order to live another day, to not get killed by that machine.
When you see tank destroyed on clip, you can not feel heat, smell burn from ruin and bodies. Whole situation can feel very overwhelming.
I had few times close encounter with tanks.
Once I spent horrifying 45 minutes while group of some 60 men, with one tank destroying some buildings with it around the place where I was hiding together with one friend. They just searched buildings using the tank as device for leveling already ruined place.
After that small groups of them searched buildings. We were unable to get away, and unable to defend. So only way was to try to hide and hope that beast will not go after us, or guys notice us.
Tank was probably 30 or 40 years old, for sure not some modern thing, it had all kind of painted messages on it, I remember clearly one „you are f#cked now“ on front of it.
When that thing smashed wall some 50 meters from us and started to roll, changing directions all the time, I felt so small and miserable.
We were hiding under the rubble, my friend was starting to yell at me at that moment, I thought that he remembered something smart, but of course I could not hear him a single word, I just gave him sign to stay down and shut up.
Anyway they passed by us, we survived. Later I asked him what he wanted at that moment and what he yelled. He said that he sang some song. He is not sure why, but I guess he was just scared to death, and it was unintentionally. People do weird things in situations like this. Some laugh, some cry and some sing.
What can we learn from this? I think one of biggest lessons I learned in my life about survival.
Prepare to be overwhelmed.
Lots of people get into survival and preparedness to feel more secure, more prepared of course. Thing is that survival is often fighting superior forces. Probably not a tank but nature can unleash powers that make you feel small and like playball of elements too.
When you see so much power and how random life gets taken, you realize that your life is not special too. It is easy to forget about this but in nature creatures live and die all the time. Nature is cruel and we are still part of this. Becoming more easy with death and dying makes you more relaxed fighter in survival situation too, but more on that in another post.
Anyway, back to tanks. I saw people get killed trying to destroy tank with RPG but not knowing that you need some space behind RPG when you fire it. That happens when civilians pick up weapons they do not know. Others got killed because tank came too close to their hideout and they tried running away in panic.
So how to fight tanks?
Most of the time you could see group of fighters with one armored vehicle going trough part of the town, sweeping it an using the tank as a cover, and smashing device for hard to enter places.
Smartest thing was to stay low and let them pass and hope they did not notice you. And then to run or attack, when they already go with that thing inside the ruins. Not too much space for maneuvering so that gives you you some time to destroy it.
What I learned from that is simple survival knowledge. When you face superior forces, no matter if tanks or storm or other challenge. Stop and think (hardest part because instinct tells you to RUN or react in some automatic way!) – understand that thing and its power – understand its weakness – take advantage of its weakness to get away, overcome or destroy it.
Control your first response to threats and chances of survival increase (that does not mean your first response is always a bad one, just that you should make smart decision and not just do first thing you feel like doing).
Very simple but while you can learn so many things about survival, some very simple things like this can make difference between life and death.