America’s answer – The M103 protection report

With its dramatic appearance, the IS-3 threw a gauntlet into the face of western powers. The new generation of russian tanks cast into form by the most extensive armored warfare of World War Two became the reality of the new strategic situation in Europe. The Korean War proved to be the alarming bell for a rude awakening, that something has to be done on the tank front. The West had nothing on the field to match the Armada of soviet armored forces. So the M103 was born, both in reality, and in World of Tanks.

Beneath the atomic mushroom cloud

The M103 was the product of the most distrustful period of the Cold War, the 50s. It was the only american heavy tank, which had reached the potential combat theatre, although in modest numbers, only one battalion stationed on the old continent, the Marines had a force equal. From a tactical point of view the american heavy tank had a different role. The M103 was a stand-off weapon. Its role was to cut down the numbers of the soviet armored onslaught with its long-range weaponry from prepared positions.

Before the age of armed field computers on tracks

The american heavy did not serve a breakthrough purpose like the former german and the russian counterparts did. The design of the M103 followed the same “all or nothing” scheme we have described by the T110E5, the protection is concentrated on the front. The M103 of World of Tanks somehow reflects these historical qualities. Patch 7.2 meant, that the poorly designed and flawedly executed american heavy tank tree received a major boost not only in Tier10 but Tier9. The hard to play Tier9 T34 was substituted – for the better or worse – with a completely new tank. Expectations were high, but  the product itself proved to be different than wished for.

A change for the better?

For those, who had climbed through the good enough T1 heavy, the abomination called M6, the first american tank felt like a heavy T29,  and through the specialized, but undergunned T32, well, there was a surprise. The new heavy tank differed in its qualities and optimal gameplay. US heavy-drivers got used to the heavily armored turret, the great gun depression and the mediocre weaponry. The M103 did not follow this tradition. Now as it stands, it offers a terrific gun unmatched in its tier, decent hull armor but a vulnerable turret, more limited hull-defilade firing, but surprisingly good firing on the move. The tactical cortex of the american heavy tank driver’s brain had to be rewired.

Picture from “Firepower” of Richard Hunnicutt

Armor scheme on the next page!