The T29 armor in 8.0
The paper hull-strong turret combination is one of the most common phrases about American heavy tanks. It’s not incorrect, but we have to specify how strong the hull and the turret actually is. We have to start thinking by 8.0 terms, because sloped armor gets more effective in the next patch. It’s better to look at the armor of the T29 in context. This tank can use the terrain well to boost its frontal protection and reduce the target profile. I’m not talking about just a hull-down position but any natural cover and elevation that helps to increase the slope thus the effectiveness of our hull armor. Sloped armor gets really effective over 50 degrees compensation included, the T29 works now with 44-46 degrees compensated slope (historical is 54). The reduced compensation for sloped armor in 8.0 means that the T29 takes a step closer to have a pretty good front hull armor, and any fine usage of the terrain enhance our standing power dramatically.
You are an American heavy, the terrain does not work against you
What is a hull-down position exactly? A classic hull-down, when a tank uses its gun depression and a terrain elevation to cover its hull (showing only the turret), but any natural (and artificial like a wreck) cover does the trick. In 8.0, we don’t have to cover the whole front hull at all cost anymore. The upper front plate of the T29 is now 147 mm WoT-equivalent vertical armor. After the patch, this value is raised to at least 155 mm against AP, close to the protection level a Type 59 now has.
Despite the thin hull sides the tank is well angle-able over the autobounce barrier 20 degrees (70 degree impact from the front – no previous compensation at autobounce angle). The tracks cover the whole side, they are the saving grace. You can try the skyscraper of sidescraper (which one exactly, I will never know…) maneuver with those covered sides at autobounce angle too.
From 8.0, the 40 degrees angled armor of a T29/34 will have a solid chance to bounce guns with 170-180 average penetration and 203 avg ricochets are gonna happen too. This is a decent level of protection even in Tier VIII, good enough against most stock guns of Tier VIII heavies and most Tier VIII mediums. Your opponents will aim at the upper hull, so try to increase the angle over 40 degrees in the last moment. If you approach with high angle and they seem to aim at the sides, decrease the angle to autobounce range.
If we cannot hide the hull completely, the elevation level of the terrain still adds extra slope to our armor which will easily break the magic 50 degrees effective slope after compensation barrier. Let’s suppose we use our gun depression at its limit, 10 degrees. If that is just enough to shoot straight, our UFP receives 10 degrees extra slope. The initial slope of our 102 mm thick UFP is now 64 degrees. This will be compensated to 59-60 in 8.0 that is at least 198 mm WoT-equivalent armor. We have an increase if our tank has the higher ground as well.
I’s not over yet, let’s consider some healthy angling and 30 degrees lateral angle. Now we are almost at 220 mm effective armor, not bad for a Tier VII at all. In fact, most parts of the UFP will be stronger in such a position than the weaker areas of our front turret profile. The 70 mm only LFP will never get strong enough. Every possible opponent can penetrate it, but it’s relatively small and easy to hide if we keep that weakness in mind.