Earthbending-powered tanks, nicknamed by some as Earth Kingdom tanks or slinky tanks, are vehicles owned and operated by the Earth Kingdom military. They were used during the invasion of the Fire Nation after being designed by Sokka and the mechanist, who consulted several earthbenders on how to perfect this vehicle.
The earthbending-powered tanks were first proposed shortly after the fall of Ba Sing Se when Sokka figured that vehicles were needed if the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes were to successfully penetrate the defenses of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun. Sokka designed the tanks himself and introduced his plans to the mechanist, an expert inventor and ally of Team Avatar. The mechanist immediately set to the task of building these vehicles. A total of five tanks were known to have been produced for the invasion.
During the invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, five earthbending-powered tanks were deployed onto the shores of the Fire Nation Capital from the waterbending-powered submarines. The tanks proved to be durable and were able to withstand repeated attacks by opposing tundra tanks. By raising their frontal section and driving over them, they managed to crush many of these tundra tanks and entire battlements that lined the capital grounds. The tanks successfully led the invaders to the Royal Plaza and proceeded up the mountain to the Capital.
When the invasion force moved forward to invade the Capital City, these tanks once again overwhelmed enemy troops and eventually captured the royal palace. However, the Fire Nation was ready for the invasion and once the solar eclipse ended, they launched a fleet of airships to drive out the invaders, who tried to escape the capital both on foot and in their tanks. However, it proved to be too late for them to reach the submarines, as the airships destroyed the vessels with their bombs. After the invasion failed and the Avatar's group escaped, the invasion force was left behind to surrender to the enemy.
A year after the Hundred Year War, the tanks were fully incorporated in the Earth Kingdom line of warfare and used in a large scale military campaign led by Earth King Kuei against the Fire Nation colonials of Yu Dao to enforce the Harmony Restoration Movement. They later participated in the battle for Yu Dao.
Earthbending-powered tanks are multi-segmented tracked vehicles powered by four earthbenders. Articulated in the middle, the tanks can rear up and crush objects in their way. The treads are made of plates of earth strung together by a metal wire, allowing the earthbenders to control the tank. These vehicles can house many troops and cross almost any terrain. Their armor is highly resistant to fire, making them ideal for assaults on enemy positions. Notably, the tanks were able to withstand bombardment from several Fire Nation airships during the failed invasion of the Fire Nation.
The tanks sport side hatches that open up so that those inside can launch projectiles at enemy troops. Being made of very strong metal, they can also be used as barricades to protect warriors.
If the tanks are knocked on their sides or back, they become useless on the battlefield until they are returned to their upright position. The tanks can, however, be used as protection for soldiers from incoming projectiles when they are overturned.
- Earthbending-powered tanks are inspired by caterpillars, as well as Leonardo da Vinci's tank designs.
- They also bear similarities to the prototype CLB 75 Tank built by the United States in 1917.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Earthbending-Powered Tanks.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
- Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part Two (May 30, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part Three (September 26, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 152.