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.
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.