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The rules state that 'Tank' and 'Guard Tank' are both Special units. However 'Guard Tank' is also Elite, which seems to make them superior to normal 'Tank' units, but does it have an effect in combat?
During the Counterattack phase benefits are given to Special units and Tank units. That means 'Tank' and 'Guard Tank' units are treated exactly the same and there should be no difference between them.
The only scenario when 'Tank' and 'Guard Tank' units are treated differently is within [13.3] 'Soviet Advance Priority'.
Actually I did expect that Elite units have higher combat values, did I miss anything?
You will find that the Soviet Guard tanks keep pushing their way to the front of the line, making them really annoying, as they always seem to be in contact with units that haven't been tested or retreated yet. However, other than that, they are pretty much just tanks.