Friday, 20 May 2011

World of Medium Tanks - WoT Guide

Updated 20/05/2010 (v.0.6.4.0)

Today it is the turn of the mobile masterpiece, the Medium Tank, to have a look at.

Medium Tanks I have played (Beta / Release): T-28, T-34, T-34-85, T-43, T-44, PzIII, PzIV, PzIII/IV, VK3001(P), VK3002(DB), Panther, T2 Medium Tank, M2 Medium Tank, M3 Lee, M4 Sherman, M7, M4A3E8 Sherman, T20, T23, M26 Pershing.

Check out my other World of Tanks previews and guides.

The iconic Russian T-34 (courtesy of PlasmaBomb)
The medium tank is a rather strange beast. It combines the light tanks and heavy tanks to create a middle ground, where they have a good level of speed and maneuverability combined with reasonable armour and often packing a mean gun.

To write a detailed guide on how Medium Tanks should be played would take a very long time to do and even then I would be wrong. A tier 5 T-34 plays completely differently to the tier 8 T-43/T-44 and even then, they can be played in multiple ways by them self. The German Medium and US Medium lines suffer from this exact same problem. One gun can completely change the outlook on the tank.

The medium tank in general is able to engage in combat with any class of tank, however strong caution must be exercised when taking on one of the higher tier heavy tanks or tank destroyers of similar level. It can outmanoeuvre the heavy tank class, compete well against other Mediums, mercilessly slaughter scouts and bring to bear some rather heavy firepower to a weakening flank in a timely fashion.

The German Panther tank with custom skin (courtesy of britishfish)
The single best piece of advice I can give for medium tank drivers is explore and learn your tank. Each tank has the potential to be transformed from an easy kill into a lethal battlefield adversary by the simple action of upgrading the gun or the tracks and engine combination.

German guns are generally more accurate so may suit sniper roles more effectively, Russian tanks seem to have the edge in close ranger battles with their maneuverability and often heavily sloped armour, and American mediums will rarely bounce a hit but often pack the more damaging and/or faster reload guns as a nice sting in the tail.

This would be highlighted by the fact that most people tell me that the T-44/T-54 tanks far superior to the PantherPanther II and T23/M26 Pershing despite them both being the pinnacle of each nations technology.

To me, this is a simple case of people playing the Panther/Panther II and T23/M26 Pershing incorrectly, or better put, not to their strengths.

Many of the Panther users try to close in and circle an opponent with their super tank, emulating the T-44. Whilst this might work against a lower tier opponent or an inexperienced opponent, the Panther does not have the combination of turning ability at speed like the T-44 does and it lacks the turret traverse speed which allows the T-44 driver to go by at crazy speeds, lock on a couple of shots and be away from danger in mere seconds.

Certain medium tanks are better at some jobs than others. The T-34 is a very nimble medium tank and when sporting the 57mm ZiS-4 is a very effective tank for removing light and medium tanks up to tier 5 and can be used to kill a KV class heavy tank. The T-34/85 is slightly stronger than the T-34 but I feel it drops the edge of maneuverability and acceleration which the T-34 has. If equipped with the 100m D10T gun, the T-34/85 can effectively play the role of a mobile sniper, able to regularly cause some pain to even the heaviest of tanks.

Another notable tank is the PzIII. This tier 4 medium tank is very fast and maneuverable, covered in a reasonable sheath of armour and can be equipped with the 7.5cm KwK L/24 which can turn this medium tank into an extremely deadly scout, capable of knocking out lesser artillery in one shot and able to damage tank destroyers up to tier 5 with relative ease. Whilst the Light Tank Guide is more suited to this medium tank, it is a slight exception to the light tank rule of "don't concentrate on dealing damage" as it is capable of doing significant damage in a successful scouting pass.

A Russian T-43 with 100mm D10T preparing for battle
Depending on your tier and medium tank type, heavy tanks and tank destroyers are an odd foe. Certain lower tier heavy tanks and mid-level tank destroyers can be circled with impunity and worn down through a barrage of shells where if you play things right, you can completely avoid damage in a 1 Vs. 1 situation. Learn through your interactions with other tanks as to what the other tanks are capable of and judge the scenario you are in, also taking into account the capabilities of your tank.

The moral of this guide is: learn what your medium tank is best at and use that to your advantage. Trying to make your tank into something it isn't just leads to disappointment and disillusionment.

I remember someone in an IS-4 heavy tank telling me to stop sniping in my T-34-85 with 100mm D10T and go do my job. When I asked what that job was, he replied 'you're a scout for the heavy tanks'. I laughed at him and told him that an IS-4 should not be hiding at the back of our base. If you are comfortable with your tank's capabilities and job role, do not let someone else tell you how to play in a manner like that. They are usually not the people you should be listening to.

Once again, I hope you find this guide useful. I appreciate and encourage comments on my work so please leave one at the bottom of this guide.

Notable Medium Tanks:

  • T20 - Fast, agile, good penetration for a tier 7 tank and high damage for a medium. Murders medium tanks of Tier 7 and below and will give most Panther tanks a good fight too.
  • PzIV - With the Schmalturm turret and 7.5cm KwK 42 L/70 gun, this tank becomes a mini-Panther. Low acceleration, low top speeds and poor traverse figures mean that this tank should hang a little further back than most tanks.
  • T-54 - Heavily sloped, thick armour and very agile. Packs arguably the worst Tier 9 medium gun but gives any tank in the game a run for its money
  • T-44 - Similar to the T-54 but not as well armoured or armed. Also vulnerable to ammo rack explosions.
  • M26 Pershing - 480m view range, excellent accuracy on the move, best Tier 9 medium tank gun (in my opinion)