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Tank Academy: Focus on the M18 Hellcat

Commanders!

It is loved or hated, depending whether you are its commander or its prey. Today in the Tank Academy, we put the spotlight on one of the most iconic vehicles of World War II and one of the fastest tank destroyers in the game.

If you started to play only recently, please read carefully, as you are going to be introduced to one of the most interesting vehicles in the American tech tree. And for those of you who remember the Hellcat from before update 9.3, it is not the same beast anymore, but it’s still awesome, right?

Without further ado, let us introduce our American star:

 

M18 Hellcat

In World of Tanks the M18 Hellcat is a Tier VI American tank destroyer, which can be researched for 25,000 XP from the T67 or M10 Wolverine and costs 950,000forn the stock variant.

Characteristics:

General90 mm AT Gun M3
  • Structure: 570 HP
  • Armour:
    • Front: 12 mm
    • Side: 12 mm
    • Rear: 12 mm
  • Turret armour:
    • Front: 76 mm
    • Side: 31 mm
    • Rear: 127 mm
  • Weight/Max. Weight: 20,26 t/ 21.8 t
  • Engine power: 460 hp
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 22.7 hp/t
  • Fire chance: 20 %
  • Top speed: 72 km/h
  • Hull traverse speed: 30°/s
  • View range: 370 m
  • Radio range: 750 m
  • Rate of fire: 7.06 shots/min
  • Reloading time per shell: 8.5 s
  • Average Penetration/Damage:
    • AP: 160 mm / 240 HP
    • APCR: 243 mm / 240 HP
    • HE: 45 mm / 320 HP
    • AP: 255
    • APCR: 11or 4,400
    • HE: 255
  • Accuracy: 0.35 m (per 100 m)
  • Aim time: 1.7 s
  • Total amount of shells: 30
  • Turret traverse speed: 16°/s
  • Gun depression: -10°
  • Gun elevation: 20°

Equipment:

 

Crew Skills and Perks:

Commander
Driver
Gunner
Loader
Radio Operator

The recommendations above are only suggestions – feel free to experiment on your own and choose what works best for you.

 

Gameplay

The M18 Hellcat is a very effective sniper that can also be a decent scout, however it requires constant alertness and a specific playstyle to be fully effective. So what exactly do you get when you buy it and how should you use it?

On the pro side, it has an amazing top speed of 72km/h, very good camouflage values, good view range and a decent gun with good damage, accuracy, aim time, and depression, mounted in the turret.

Weaknesses include: slow turret and hull traverse speed, poor acceleration and performance on soft ground, as well as terrible reverse speed. The penetration value and average damage per minute also looks quite poor compared to other Tier VI tank destroyers.

However the most important drawback of this vehicle is its vulnerability. Listen up, and remember these next few words very well: you have no armour, and your turret is open.

 

Now you see me...

 

What should you do?
  • Your camouflage and speed are both your best offence and defence. Use them to surprise your enemies with a well-placed shot or two and move quickly to another place, before they can spot and hit you.
  • Whenever you are spotted, move and hide. This one is a must. We can assure you your opponents will take a shot at you every time you give them a chance - all of them. And artillery commanders are going to make you their priority target. Why? You are a sniper and they don’t like snipers. And always remember: you have no armour, and your turret is open.
  • Avoid soft terrain, because your suspension does not perform well on it. Actually, you are going to feel like you are driving through a pool of glue. The situation gets sticky for you very quick when you slow down…
  • Try to stay hull-down. Your turret is the only part of your vehicle that has any resemblance of armour and you won’t expose your transmission to enemy fire.
 


...now you don't.

What you may do?
  • Being a passive scout is a very nice secondary role for the Hellcat. You have very good camo values and your view range is above average. Find yourself a nice piece of foliage early in the battle, sit there and detect targets for your team. As soon as you get spotted (which will probably happen because it’s a shame not to use a gun like yours), move, disappear and start doing your job somewhere else.
What you shouldn’t do?
  • Don’t be visible. You remember why, right? Invisibility is your best defence.
  • Don’t stray far away from cover. When you get spotted, and this is going to happen eventually, you will not have much time to hide, especially with your turtle-like reverse speed.
  • Don’t engage in in fire exchanges. It is you who is supposed to shoot at them. Especially when the second round your opponent loads is an HE shell, and… remember? Exactly.
  • Avoid close-distance fighting. Your hull and turret traverse speeds are really bad. In a brawl almost every medium tank at your Tier is able to circle around you while punching holes in your imaginary armour. Also, half of your opponents are going to ram you (No, you don't want to ask if it is OK if you ram somebody). Don’t allow them to do that - it’s painful and costly. If you see that your opponents are getting close - run!

To wrap it up: The M18 Hellcat is an unusual vehicle requiring a special play style. However, when you do it properly, and cooperate with your team, it can really shine on the battlefield. It’s a real shame that your opponents are going to see it only very rarely, and just before going back to their Garage.

 

This ends our Tank Academy for today. See you next time, Commanders!

 

Now roll out and give them hell!

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