M1 Tank Platoon

aka: M1 Tank Platoon: The Definitive Simulation of Armored Land Combat
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Description official descriptions

A very encompassing game that allowed players to issue orders to Tanks, AA units, Aircraft, Artillery and Infantry in a campaign against Warsaw Pact units in Europe, while specifically controlling a platoon of 4 M1 tanks. The player could jump into the position of the driver, gunner or commander of any of the tanks to view the world from a 1st person perspective, or work from a tactical map to command all his forces. Characters in the M1 platoon actually increased in skill as they survived battles.


  • M-1 Tank Platoon - Alternate spelling

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Average score: 83% (based on 22 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 4 reviews)


The Good
A classic, often-overlooked early simulation of commanding a tank platoon, this game is still great fun nowadays. 'Platoon' is the operative word - instead of driving a single tank around, you command four of them, plus support units. As a 'roving spirit' you can take control of each of your platoon's crewmembers, although most of the time you'll either be the gunner, or looking at the map view. It's in the map view that most of the game is played - you move your platoon from one corner of the map to the other, using hills for cover, and firing shells at the (hopefully confused) enemy. The strategy is just simply enough not to be confusing, but complex enough to provide a challenge, and the interplay of your support units is handled extremely well, although many of them are of dubious usefulness. Your potentially conflict-winning Apaches seem to spend most of their time hiding behind hills, for example. It's interesting to note that the recent sequel, despite modern visuals, was actually less fun to play, despite being almost identical.

The Bad
Whilst most of the graphics are attractive, and you can see for miles, the enemy are rendered, amusingly, in bright red. The infantry columns that were so effective in 'M1 Tank Platoon 2' are simply small red pyramids, and explosions are very cartoon-like. As with other games of the period, you might find it hard to run at a playable speed. Amusingly, the game offers a 'high horsepower' mode for fast PCs - i.e. 286 machines.

The Bottom Line
A classic, ancient sim of tank warfare, that's actually better than the 1999 sequel.

DOS · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2000


The Good
This was the first Tank Simulator that was technically accurate. Until that time tank games were shooters where one tank would drive around a flat world shooting scores of enemy tanks. But M1 Tank Platoon gave us realistic tanks, realistic weapons, laser rangefinders, infantry, artillery and air support. You'd fight realistic military actions. Like F-19, the manual is awesome and really sucks you in. The gameplay was extremely good. It was also (I think) the first such game that was truly 3D.

The Bad
The graphics were very simple, but they were real 3D.

The AI wasn't bad, but your own tanks often did stupid things (like exposing their flanks to the enemy). Often the enemy T-80s would just sit there while you picked them off one by one. But the battles were usually reasonably matched; neither too easy nor too hard.

But for the 1980s and the first of its kind, what do you expect?

The Bottom Line
A trailblazer realistic military simulator. Brilliant gameplay that kept you coming back for more. Even after 15 years, I'll still get into it for the odd campaign.

DOS · by B Jones (14) · 2006

The war that wasn't

The Good
I bought this one in the middle 1990s in a budget edition, and I got much more than I expected. Since I got my first IBM PC clone, one of the genres I was more eager to try was war simulations, because you rarely got them in 8 bit platforms, and when you did they were versions so cut down it took away most of the fun.

With this one, I expected an action oriented game (didn't we all?) with focus on tank mechanics. Instead, I got something much more complex and big, something like a "land war simulation". Yes, the tanks take the central stage, but rather than taking control of one vehicle you'll spend most of your time on the general map, directing and coordinating the titular tank platoon as well as support units such as helicopters, rocket artillery and others.

There's still tons of action, because once you establish contact with enemy units you'd better take control of the nearest vehicle and gunner, but be warned: this is a completely different beast than more arcade oriented titles such as the "Armored Fist" series.

The game also makes the most of its mechanics, despite fitting in just one 1.44 Mb. disk. Friendly and enemy AI are pretty good. Enemy AI can be tweaked, and as for friendly AI your platoon members will get better every time they survive a battle.

The mission objectives, terrain and availability of support units also make every single battle completely different, despite the similarly looking green scenario.

The Bad
So yes, "M1 Tank Platoon" is a great game, but with still some room for improvement. Let me see.

The game was developed with only one scenario in mind, a vast Soviet offensive against western Europe. It was a very feasible situation, maybe second only to an all out nuclear confrontation. Both Soviet Russia and NATO had plenty of tanks in the area, in prevision of exactly this situation, and some sources claim the Soviets had up to 10 tanks for every NATO vehicle. Had such a war erupted, it sure would have been one of the defining events in the XXth century.

This however means that we'll be stuck in a single scenario, European looking green pastures and hills, without desert or jungle scenarios at all. MicroProse later launched a desert-looking version of the game to capitalise on the first gulf war, but that edition is harder to find.

Also, the game only gives you vehicles as enemies or support units: tanks, BMPs, trucks... where the hell is the infantry? Whenever it appears in the briefings, it just means you'll get to destroy some armoured transport vehicles, but infantry is never found in the scenario on its own, nor included among your support units.

The copy protection scheme is also a bit annoying... at the beginning of every game you'll have to check your manual and identify a couple of tanks. Like in some other MicroProse titles, you can learn to identify some of the most distinctive ones, but it still seems to me like a small nuisance.

The Bottom Line
If instant action and top level graphics and sounds are important for you, this is not the game you're looking for. On the other hand, if you don't mind playing an old game or you consider yourself an armchair general, there very few games that can offer you as much as this one in just one package. The game has a sequel with better graphics and more compatible with modern systems, but I'm told the game mechanics are essentially the same.

DOS · by Neville (3552) · 2017

[ View all 4 player reviews ]



Around Desert Storm, MicroProse released a "bundle" called "Allied Forces, which contains Gunship and M1 Tank Platoon, but with a patch to make the terrain yellow/brown like Kuwait instead of the "green" of Europe.


You don't just control your own platoon of 4 tanks. Sometimes additional forces will be assigned to you, anything from infantry (Bradley IFVs and M-113 APCs) and missile carriers (ITV-improved TOW vehicle) to A-10 or helicopter support. Sometimes you may even see some M-60 tanks assigned to you! Artillery is also available on call depending on what's available (HE, smoke, etc.).


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 01/1991 – #5 Best Simulation Game in 1990
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1991 (Issue #88) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • September 1990 (Issue #74) - Simulation Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #32 in the β€œ150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • EMAP
    • Golden Joystick Rewards 1990: Winner Best Simulation.
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1990 - #2 Best Simuation in 1989

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz and PCGamer77

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeff Sinasac.

Windows, Linux, Macintosh added by Plok. Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Amiga, PC-98 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Kasey Chang, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Jo ST.

Game added May 27th, 2000. Last modified September 11th, 2023.