Pershing reincarnated – The M48A1

This is probably the last complete article of ours from the test server before World of Tanks 7.5 goes live. The M48A1 Tier X medium tank was a long waited improvement over the M46 Patton for me. As a primarily medium tank driver I personally disagree with the new top tier medium tank concept of the Wargaming. Despite this I had a good time with the Patton III (unofficial name for the M48). Probably everybody will compare this tank to the M46, but it feels more like a Tier8 Pershing, which is always top tier in the battles.

The mobility. Not fast, but it’s okay

I think, the M48A1 will be liked by those who can live with compromise designs with always present flaws. The new American medium is not fast, its top speed is only 45 km/h, but the M48 reaches this speed rapidly and does not “bleed speed” during turns. It’s significantly heavier than the M46 with the same engine power, but the lower horsepower/weight ratio does not show in the game. For example, the M48A1 is pretty good at climbing hills. The turn rate is excellent, the handling of the tank is pleasant, just nothing extraordinary.

The low top speed is a clear disadvantage at hill races on bigger maps like Karelia. However, on smaller maps like Mines the M48A1-E-50M races (start point near the flag, 100% crew+ventilation) were a clear draw. It was interesting to see that in the open the E-50M gained advantage over the M48A1, but the latter always started to catch up on hilly terrain. We can improve the automotive performance with extra fuel, the M48A1 rarely catches fire.

The M48A1 is agile, but don’t expect to win duels against bigger opponents only by circle-strafing. Always go for the tracks.

M48A1 historical armor scheme

Casual protection

I would call the armor of the M48A1 decent for a medium tank, if two nasty weak areas did not spoil it. The Tier8 Pershing medium tank has about the same level of casual armor protection as the M48A1 in its own tier has. Some areas of the frontal armor can bounce the guns of the lowest tier opponents possible (Tier5 for Pershing in 7.4 and Tier8 for the M48A1 in 7.5). Hits at bad angle on the turret can bounce, and the front turret overlapped by the gun mantlet edges can absorb the biggest punches of the game. The M48A1 does the same. It can get away with hits made by stock guns of Tier8s. Occasionally it beats the most serious rap with the help of the gun shield, but we cannot count on the armor.

What sells this tank?

Cockroach on cocaine – The T-62A

The future is unclear. The cataclysm of the 7.5 patch will change the landscape of World of Tanks, for the better or worse. The current dominance of the heavy tanks is definitely challenged. Fast living and killing beasts will make the life harder for those who cannot adapt fast enough. Protection-maximizing and advanced armor facing tactics matter less and less in this environment, position and spotting does. But do we want an FPS with casual armor and a hitpoint-system instead of a tank game? WoT Armory takes a look at the new medium tanks, T-62A in particular.

Update: HE-penetration was “normalized” in 7.5 test2. For now, they function as “normal” HE instead of increased penetration of HEP/HESH.

New phase of escalation

I think, WG  moved  with the new Tier10 medium tanks into the wrong direction. These new mediums carry such superior weaponry, that effectively nullifies the armor advantage of heavy tanks. In my opinion, this is a misconception. Medium tanks should not armed with equal or superior guns to the heavy tanks. A medium tank is position-taker, it uses its mobility to bring the gun into a favored position. After then, the mediums hold the line until the support arrives in the form of other class vehicles. It rushes, flanks, looks for holes in the defense. However, a medium tank should be not able to face a heavy tank head on by the virtue of pure penetration power and accuracy, damage output.

A Tier10 medium tank should have about the same damage per minute as the current Tier9 Patton has, but with an upper penetration limit which should be ~255 mm.

Demise of dedicated heavy armor, the main battle tank?

This is happening on the test server. Tier10 medium tanks can fire at any target of opportunity but they lack the proper mobility. I can understand, if a same tier medium can penetrate certain parts of a Tier10 heavy tank from the front. However, the gun parameters should be held on a level, where the medium tank has to work (it should have mobility for it) for the advantageous position. But for now, the combination of the accuracy, penetration power and aim time together allow them to take almost any target in sight without much effort.

So, instead of a fine-tuned, balanced gameplay we get a takeover

The arrival of Tier10 mediums and tank destroyers with their “superguns” can make the heavy tanks obsolete.  Armor-based, slower heavies like the Maus or E-100 become relics, and the rest will have a hard time too. I can imagine mixed task forces of medium tanks and tank destroyers on Clan Wars.

What is not fast enough will be food soon. The deep-cutting teeth of swift predators make the slow and cumbersome prey bleed out. However, a takeover means more grinding and spending for those who want to stay in the ring. We know the drill,  the nerfhammer will strike mercilessly after a patch or two, but we won’t get a balanced game definitely. The qualities of the new mediums tanks are such controversial, that a bungler nerfing hand can send them into oblivion instead of fixing. The firepower is tremendous, but they are not fast enough IMO.

One of the contenders, the T-62A medium tank