Protection came third
The Object 268 has a reinforced T-10 (IS-8) chassis, but I had the feeling that some material were spared out on certain places. In general, the front armor is an upgrade to the 704, but I can imagine, that we will bounce less. For one thing, the 268 faces a lot more super-penetrating guns and it has a smaller mantlet. This TD is taller as well. We are still good against Tier IX guns and Tier Xs with 240-250 average penetration at longer range and with some extra angle, 260+ guns will have casual bounces. In any case, the superstructure will deflect more shots than the hull.
We can do something to increase our chances to bounce, because if we cannot retreat back to cover after trading shots, the reload time is still much. The hull has a pike shape, static angling decreases the efficiency of the “facing side”. However, we have enough speed to do rapid back and forth, left to right turns. So the shot can land on the “wrong side” of the frontal armor, where the impact angle gets higher instead of decrease. The lower hull is more vulnerable but it is really small.
This armor would be still decent for a mobility/firepower-based TD in Tier X, but the 268 has additional and IMO unnecessary weak spots. The “Gigerian” rangefinder has no real protection and it can be damaged. Unlike Russian heavy tanks, the driver”s plate and hatch area is extremely weak. We have to expect autobounce on the very same area for a IS-8, but the major frontal weak spot of the 268 is here. Everybody and his mother can penetrate it.
The Object 268 has a very modest version of the IS-8 spaced armor for the hull sides, otherwise the sides and the rear protect only against mid-caliber HE. The tall superstructure has especially poor target profile. Keeping our enemies upfront is crucial, but the 268 has the agility to do this most of the time unless it’s tracked.
301k experience, Yikes!
And what does it cost to us? Time, money, both, hair turning to grey, you name it. The grind for the Object 268 is a long adventure, so we don’t have to expect a lot of them on the field. This can be a good thing, because the rarity means fewer occasions for our opponents to adapt, and the surprise factor will work for us more often.
It’s possible, that rigid 704 drivers won’t like it though. The 268 is more expensive to run, it faces lot more high Tier SPGs and superguns and it requires a more proactive gamestyle. Does it worth it? In my opinion, yes, but it’s your call. Now it is less good than the AMX 50 Foch 155, which is even more mobile, better armored and it has a 3 shells magazine. The question is, how long?
Test vehicle: Azaka