No mercy given, non taken – the IS-8 protection report

Did you get your presents in World of Tanks, russian tank drivers? How do you like them? I bet, everybody is busy with the new toy tryouts. We have our hands full, as well. About the IS-8 heavy tank you chose last time I recall mixed experience from forums, but the most general complaint is the poorer than expected armor protection. I’m not arguing with that, although myself as primary a medium tank driver has found, that the tank has several unique qualities to stand competitive.

Attack of the mutant Type 59s

Yeah, like a science-fiction B-movie. What does the new russian heavy tank, the IS-8 offer compared to its predecessors in Tier9? The experienced IS-3 owners receive better top speed and acceleration, almost on medium tank level. We raced a fully equipped IS-8 with an M26 Pershing in Malinovka on test server. The russian was left behind, but not by much. Although like other russian heavy tanks the IS-8 lacks the pivot turning ability (at least in the game…), the mobility is exceptional for a heavy.

The 50 km/h top speed makes this tank capable of rushing for key positions on each map, and what more, it can hold them! The position rusher medium tanks have to face a new menace in 7.3 patch, low-built medium tanks in packs with huge boomsticks and in heavy tank disguise. Tier9 medium tanks holding key positions like hills can be pushed away by frontal attacks of same or higher Tier heavies, but this guy can hurt anything, can protect itself from anything.

A new evolutionary turn in World of Tanks

IS-8 reminds me about a particular beast of the pleistocene megafauna, the now extinct dire wolf. Fast and rugged carnivores with deep and huge bites prey on any member of ancient giant animals, capable of wearing down even young mammoths…But like in nature, wolves don’t grow armor, they rely on their terrific, bone-crushing jaws and their pack mates for survival. Other predators out in the wild might have more tools, but they lack the wolf’s stamina and the numbers, so during encounters they are often outmatched, hit and ran and harassed to death.

Remember what have we written before? A medium tank with a big stick in heavy tank disguise? The IS-8 it is. It hasn’t got armor for slugfest and brawling. The IS-3 might have good armor in its own tier, the IS-8 cannot tell this about itself. After the soft skinned frenchies probably this russian tank has the worst armor protection among Tier9 heavies, but the same can be told about the mobility, just with the opposite indication. It’s not the first time we have a tank in the heavy line with medium tank-level armor but with a big gun.

We will match them with our lancers

Think about the KV-S, and no wonder, in the revised and split russian heavy tank tech tree they are on the same passage, faster, more mobile tanks with casual armor. If you don’t like paleontological metaphores, think about the  tanks like cavalry, where mediums are the hussars, tank destroyers are the dragooners, “slow pacing” heavy tanks act like cuirassiers, and the IS-8s are our lancers. No armor plates, but great at picking up scattered infantry and fighting both light and heavy cavalry with their long reach and powerful stabs. But just like tempered cavalry officers, IS-8 drivers should not expect long life. A real cavalryman with more blood than piss won’t live more than thirty…

And the hard numbers