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Tank Academy: Nation Overview

Recruits, Tankers, Commanders,

Welcome to your second class in Tank Academy. Today we will be finishing the topic we started 2 weeks ago, which is Nations and Tank Classes Overview. Last time we discussed USA, Germany and China. Today, we will close the topic by covering USSR, France, UK and Japan.

Important : As promised, we have opened a poll on our website in which you will find 3 topics to vote for. The topic which receives the most votes over the course of a week will be covered in a new Tank Academy installment, following the next in the series, which is a Modules and Equipment Overview. The topics are:

  • Starting the Battle
  • Consumables Overview
  • Platoon Success

Be sure to vote for the topic you’d like to discuss next! Now, let us proceed to today’s topic:

USSR: The Raw Force

Soviet tanks basically embody the stereotypical image of a tank as thickly-armoured combat vehicle carrying a big gun. The vehicles of this nation, especially the heavy tanks, are just that: their armour is reliable and their guns distinguish themselves with high alpha damage (the amount of initial damage dealt per shot). As a result, USSR is considered one of the easier nations to play and a good starting choice for new players. The downside is that Soviet tanks generally have relatively long reload and aiming time, and the gun’s accuracy is poor.

Soviet heavy tanks: perfect first-line assault vehicles and frontline pushers. The Soviet heavies can generally take a lot of punishment due to good armour and generous HP pools. In addition, they are equipped with guns capable of dealing horrendous amounts of damage per shot. The downside of these vehicles is generally mediocre mobility, as well as the aforementioned bad rate of fire and poor accuracy.

Soviet medium tanks: very versatile even by medium tank standards. Soviet meds can perform a variety of roles on the battlefield thanks to their good speed, manoeuverability, decent gun handling and damage dealing potential. Their downside is a very weak hull armour and bad gun depression, which limits their hull-down possibilities.

Soviet light tanks: many of the Soviet light tanks are among the fastest vehicles in the game. This unique quality together with a small size makes them perfect for scouting – both passive (staying hidden and spotting) and active (moving and attacking) alike. Their damage-dealing potential is miniscule in higher-tier battles, so they should be used primarily with scouting in mind.

Soviet tank destroyers: the Soviet tank destroyers are all about the bite. These beasts are meant primarily as supporters, capable of dealing huge amounts of damage. There are two research options available: one favouring mobility and damage-per-minute and the other focusing on a devastating alpha. However, what both lines have in common is the fact that these vehicles do not have turrets. This means that switching between targets may require turning the entire vehicle, which will affect the aiming focus. Another downside of the Soviet TDs is their relative vulnerability when spotted – these machines can be easily destroyed, because their armour is generally unreliable, especially on the sides and the rear.

Soviet SPGs: in general, Soviet SPGs retain a well balance between accuracy and damage potential through most of the tiers. However, high-tier vehicles tend to shift more towards greater alpha damage. Most Soviet SPGs also distinguish themselves by sporting a high firing arc – this means that their shells rise relatively high in the air and then fall on the target. This means that in many cases, they can hit an enemy hiding behind relatively big forms of cover.


France: The Damage Dealer

The characteristics of this nation vary greatly between the early and late vehicles in its tech tree – the former tend to be well-armoured but slow and with poor guns, whereas the latter are pretty much without armour but are fast and carry powerful autoloading systems, capable of delivering great amounts of burst damage. The lack of proper plating make these vehicles difficult to play, but once mastered, the French can greatly influence the tides of battle.

French heavy tanks: the first French heavies you will drive can be described as uncooperative at best. The reason for this is their lack of speed and armour. The guns can dish out some good damage, but unfortunately their accuracy and aiming time leave much to be desired.  However, once you unlock the models equipped with autoloading systems, the experience will change dramatically. The late heavies are still big and soft, but unlike their earlier counterparts, they are much more mobile and thanks to the autoloaders, they are capable of reducing enemy HP to critical states in a matter of seconds.

 French medium tanks: currently, there are only a total of three French medium tanks available in the game. The earliest one, D2, shares the same characteristic as other early French vehicles – it’s slow, well-armoured and badly armed. However, the other two are in fact the crest of the French light/medium research line, and as such, they are very powerful. This power lies in the combination of mobility and high burst damage potential stemming from the autoloading systems. However, just as is the case for French heavies, the mediums have little to no armour as well.

 French light tanks: once past the early tiers of slow bundles of steel, the French lights develop into unique support vehicles. Just like the heavies of this nation, mid to high tier light tanks prioritize mobility over protection, which combined with the small size makes them very effective scouts. Moreover, French light tanks are also equipped with auto-loading guns, allowing them to support the team with additional firepower when the opportunity arises.

 French tank destroyers: the distinguishing trait of the French TDs is definitely the firepower, which is very good even in the lowest tiers. Their guns have great penetration values and good accuracy, allowing them to dispatch enemy vehicles from afar and aim for their weak spots effectively. Even though the early machines lack armour and mobility, the more advanced models tend to be faster and with better frontal armour. Unfortunately, their sides and rear are very poorly protected. 

 French SPGs: very mobile and accurate, the French SPGs are capable of putting some serious pressure on the enemy team in battle. Due to their good rate of fire, these vehicles can effectively harass spotted tanks by landing shell after shell in relatively short time intervals. Their downside is that they do not do that much damage per shot, at least compared to other nations.


UK: The Tireless Stinger 

The armoured vehicles from the British Isles generally favour rate of fire and penetration (the ability to pierce an enemy vehicle’s armour) over alpha damage. Advancing up this tech tree, you will also notice differences between the characteristics of the early machines and the late tanks: the former ones are designed either as heavy and slow infantry tanks or fast and fragile cavalry tanks. The latter on the other hand follow the doctrine of a universal tank and as such, they are more well-rounded.

British heavy tanks: the heavies of this nation start off as infantry tanks, meaning they’re slow and not particularly well-armoured. They compensate with the aforementioned rate of fire and good accuracy. As the tiers get higher, the models become more mobile and even more accurate, especially on the move. The armour remains relatively weak, but unlike the first tanks in the line, they have sloped plates which can bounce off a shot or two.

 British medium tanks: British mediums start off pretty similarly to their heavy brethren as slow infantry armoured vehicles. However, later on they develop into more universal support vehicles, with very high rates of fire, excellent accuracy but rather uninspiring alpha damage. Still, their good mobility make them very valuable support vehicles.

 British light tanks: these vehicles are so far effectively limited to starting battle tanks, with no real scouts available for mid to high tier battles. They may be a bit faster than their foreign counterparts, but the poor traverse speed (the ability of the tank to turn on its tracks) makes it mostly unnoticeable.

 British tank destroyers: early British TDs are mostly conversions from other vehicles, which makes them fast but poorly armoured. Higher in the research tree, however, the models become significantly slower and heavily armoured. As a result, they’re perfect both for the frontline and defensive positions. The line ends with the FV215b (183), which is considered one of the most dangerous vehicles in the game thanks to its extremely powerful gun.

 British SPGsSPGs of this nation can vary a lot, showcasing different characteristics from vehicle to vehicle. However, most of them have very wide horizontal gun arcs, which allow them to switch between targets without having to move the hull. The late models are characterized by large superstructures and reasonably high alpha damage.


Japan: The Elusive Dragon

The latest nation introduced to the game, Japan, just like China, starts off with a foreign construction, namely the French Renault. Unlike China, however, Japan jumps into their own designs as early as Tier II. The general characteristics of this nation are good gun depression, balanced relation between rate of fire and alpha damage and excellent penetration values. The common downsides, on the other hand, include thin armour, relatively large silhouettes and mediocre top speed. As a result, these vehicles require careful handling and as such, they may not be the best choice for new players. 
Currently, the Japanese tech tree offers only light and medium tanks.

 Japanese medium tanks: excelling in purely support roles, Japanese medium tanks are great at harassing enemies engaged with the team’s heavies. Despite lacking good top speeds, these vehicles are nimble enough to execute swift flanking manoeuvres, accurate enough to snipe and target enemy weak spots at good distances and their rate of fire can cause some serious panic in the enemy lines. Moreover, good gun depression allows them to use hilly terrain to their advantage. However, the weak armour forces these machines to avoid direct confrontations and provide support from the second line.

 Japanese light tanks: currently, there are only four Japanese light tanks available in the tech tree, three of them being indigenous designs. Even though these are basically the same as the starting vehicles of other nations, they do distinguish themselves with relatively good speed, agility and firepower. However, thin armour and generally small HP pools do not make them particularly good for scouting.


IMPORTANT : Please note that this overview discusses each nation in general terms. As the vehicles differ in design and purpose, you may encounter exceptions from the rules presented in this article. This means that you may find tanks in your chosen tech tree which may differ to various extent from the character of the nation of origin. Therefore, we encourage you to experiment with your vehicles and adapt your play style accordingly.

That concludes our Nation and Tank Classes Overview. Now you should be able to make an informed decision when choosing your first tank’s nation, allowing you to play to you – and your tank’s – strengths. Remember, next time we will be discussing Modules and Equipment, so join us again to hone your military skills. Also, don’t forget to vote for the topic you would like to discuss after that!


Until next time – roll out, commanders!