I think it's time that we build on the success of the Bovington-based Top 5 Tank lists. Selected experts have provided their personal short lists of top (or bottom) tanks based on their own selected criteria (for example: influence/impact, strategic mobility, the fundamental balance of firepower/mobility/protection, success in combat, number of user countries, etc.). The level of tongue-in-cheek with this one is completely up to the individual.
Gentlemen, we can do this...it's time that the contributors here voice their opinions (short and sweet), on this great site.
I'll go first...
Note: this list excludes my own person tanks that I was very fortunate to TC back in the day (Basha II, Beowulf, Dillinger, and A Pale Horse).
5. The Future Soviet Tank (FST-1 and FST-2) (these concepts, programs, prototypes...worries, drove tank development on both sides of the Cold War. While the FST-1 designation ultimately came to refer to a level of technology embodied by the T-72B and T-80U, just saying FST meant you were talking about something bigger, better, and scarier. What the US knew about the FST drove the adoption of the 120mm main gun and the addition of DU armor to the M1A1. The main gun seen on the 152mm testbed vehicle would have been a game-changer.
4. IS-3 (a very important tank for the Soviets...as opposed to being a mysterious and secretive Cold War development, the IS-3 was the Soviet tank poster child. It "fired" the first volley of the action-reaction cycle that defined tank and AFV development during the Cold War. Historically either overrated or underrated, the IS-3 was about making a statement...during a parade in Berlin, a parade in Red Square, or during the fighting in Sinai.
3. M1A1 (for me, this is truly the American "gunfighter." Representing a model balance of modern firepower, mobility, and protection, without being hindered by technology, the M1A1 can do it all. Capable of defeating any opponent...arguably, the best tank in the world for a period of years.)
2. T-64 Series (the first widely produced and deployed Soviet Premium Tank. It was truly revolutionary and caused significant headaches for US and NATO war planners. It was very clear to me that it could easily penetrate the frontal armor of my M60A1 and M60A3TTS, but I couldn't return the favor. For a short period of time, it was probably the best tank in the world.)
1. SU-122-54 (I know, I know it's not a tank, but it's mysterious, historic, and simply "bad-ass;" probably the best single vehicle representation of the Soviet side of the Cold War. In its day, it would have been a very capable opponent being more accurate and providing a higher rate of fire than the T-10M. In 1967 the same main gun (basically) and ammo were knocking out Israeli M48s in the Sinai. I love this vehicle!)
There you have it...let's get started!