Drop weight impact tests and numerical simulations have been performed to examine the plastic behavior and failure of clamped rectangular cross-section tubes subjected to transverse loads. The selected indenter is a hemisphere with diameter of 20 mm. The tube lengths are 125 and 250 mm, and they are struck at the mid-span and the quarter-span. The impact point along the width direction is located at the central position and displaced 10 mm from the centre, respectively. The results show that the impact location affects strongly the plastic behavior and failure of the tubes. The impact location displaced along the width increases the energy absorbing capability of the tubes accompanied with an asymmetrical deformation mode. The experimentally recorded force-displacement responses and failure modes show good agreement with the numerical simulations, performed by the LS-DYNA finite element code. The numerical results show the process of crack initiation and propagation and provide the details to analyze the structural plastic deformation and failure of the tubular specimens under transverse loads. The impact characteristics of the rectangular tubes are well presented based on the relevant failure modes observed in beams, plates and circular tubes. Moreover, the influence of the impact location on the strength of tube specimens is characterized and the collapse mechanism of rectangular tubes is described.