Recruits, Tankers, Commanders,
We hereby welcome you to Tank Academy. Starting from today, we will be delivering you regular briefings, aimed at expanding your knowledge of World of Tanks warfare, providing you with useful tips and information to help you engage the enemy more effectively on the battlefield. As there are many new faces amongst you, we will proceed with the first sessions by covering the basics. These include: a two-part Nations and Tank Classes Overview and an Overview of Modules and Equipment.
Veterans, don’t worry – we also have something that will definitely catch your attention: once the basics are covered, we will give the Community the opportunity to choose the next topic to be discussed in Tank Academy. For this purpose, we will be opening special polls in which you will be able to vote on one from a number of suggested topics. The topic with the most votes at the time the poll is closed will be discussed in the next Tank Academy article.
Without further ado, let us proceed to today’s subject, which is Nations and Tank Classes Overview:
Currently, there are a total of seven different nations available in World of Tanks, each with its own distinctive features, vehicles, pros, cons and preferable play styles. To master the tanks from a specific nation, you need to learn about all those factors and use appropriate tactics. If you are new to the game, learning about the nations first and picking the one most comfortable for you can be very helpful during your first steps and spare you potential frustration. Read the following overview carefully, and pick the nation you find most appealing to you.
In this, our first installment of the Nations and Tank Classes Overview, we will be taking a closer look at USA, Germany and China. For information on USSR, France, UK and Japan, watch this space for the next installment of Tank Academy.
American tanks are considered to be very versatile as they sport a general balance between armour, firepower, mobility and accuracy. Their distinguishing trait is the superb gun depression (the angle at which a gun can tilt downwards towards the ground), which allows the vehicles to lower their guns at a rather acute angle. This feature makes the US machines the undisputed masters of the hull-down manoeuvres (when a tank positions itself so that only the strong armoured turret is visible and the weaker hull is protected, for example in crevices or behind hills). As a result,American tanks are very effective on irregular, hilly terrain, where they can peek over hills and fire at the enemy while exposing only their sturdy turrets. It is also noteworthy that a few high-tier vehicles of this nation are equipped with auto-loading systems (mechanical loading system that speeds up reload time), making them capable of delivering huge amounts of damage in a relatively short time.
US heavy tanks: Very sturdy machines with strong frontal hull plates and practically impenetrable turrets, from the front at least. The guns have a very good rate of fire, deal a decent amount of damage and are fairly accurate. Their weakness is the generally weak side armour, which makes them vulnerable to flanking.
US medium tanks: Obviously not as sturdy as the heavies, these vehicles are quite efficient as general support and flankers. On average, American medium tanks sport excellent view range, allowing them to spot the enemy more easily and provide invaluable information for the team, decent frontal armour on the turret, good accuracy on the move and good aiming time. However, many of these vehicles are quite considerable in size and incapable of reaching a high top speed, making dynamic gameplay somewhat difficult at times.
US light tanks: Lightly armoured and fragile, but fast and nimble, these tanks serve as quite effective scouts. Their primary role is to spot enemy vehicles on the battlefield and mark them for the bigger guns on the team, while remaining hidden themselves. However, their good rate of fire allows these little tanks to provide additional damage support when the opportunity arises, such as intercepting enemy light tanks, hunting artillery and getting behind other tanks to fire a couple of rounds at their weak rear armour.
US tank destroyers: Very effective damage dealers which provide two different research branches: vehicles with and without a turret. The former type sports good mobility but at the expense of armour, whereas the latter is the complete opposite, focusing on thick armour while sacrificing the mobility. Needless to say, these two types of vehicles require completely different approaches and play styles.
US SPGs: The Self-Propelled Guns from under the star-spangled banner are known primarily for their firepower. Their guns are capable of dealing impressive amounts of damage per shot, and their High-Explosive shells generally boast a wide explosion radius (the so-called splash), which allows them to damage multiple targets at once, provided that they’re close to each other. The downsides are the mediocre accuracy and considerably slow reload time, which leave very little room for error and require the player to make every shot count.
German tanks embody the proverbial German quality in their designs, especially when it comes to their guns. This nation has some of the most accurate guns in the entire game, which allow its vehicles to dish out effective fire even over great distances. However, many German tanks’ armour is just average and the front-mounted transmission combined with gasoline engines make them prone to engine failures and fires when shot. As a result, German tanks are generally expected to play as support and snipers. Germany is not the easiest nation to play, so it may not be the best first-choice for new players.
German heavy tanks: Early German heavies can be generally described as well-rounded vehicles, with decent parameters overall. However, the problem is the fact that they lack sloped armour, which would boost their armour effectiveness. The late heavies, on the other hand, have this problem solved more or less, and so they can hold their ground on the frontline pretty firmly. Regardless, engine failures and fire may still be an issue. Also, German heavy tanks, especially in Tier X, are some of the biggest and heaviest vehicles in the game, which make them quite popular targets for artillery.
German medium tanks: Decently mobile and quite accurate, German mediums are much appreciated support vehicles in any team. Due to the fact that they are generally much bigger than their counterparts from other nations, however, they tend to be a much easier target. There are two research lines available for German mediums: the first one, leading up to the E 50 Ausf. M, is characterised by quite reliable armour coming at the cost of mobility and traverse speed, whereas the other one, peaking with the Leopard 1, includes fast and nimble machines, but with reduced armour thickness.
German light tanks: Even though the early German light tanks are small, nimble and fast, the vehicles at the end of the research line are almost as big and heavy as some medium tanks. As a result, their camouflage values are not too impressive, so it takes a very cautious approach to make these scouts work. However, the size and weight can come in handy while intercepting enemy light tanks – in such situations, the Germans can shoot as well as ram an enemy scout while sustaining little to no damage themselves.
German tank destroyers: These machines are some of the most effective vehicles in their class, capable of dealing crippling amounts of damage to the enemy while remaining at a safe distance themselves. Just like the US, the German TD line offers 2 research options – machines with good armour and superstructure and vehicles with functioning turrets but bad protection. Whereas the former is a pleasant and well-rounded option, the latter tolerates no mistakes but is much more dangerous.
German SPGs: The artillery of this nation is characterised by high alpha damage potential, impressive range and a very good accuracy for their class. However, as it is the case for most German vehicles, their SPGs are generally much bigger than those of the other nations. As a result, they are slower and harder to conceal.
Early to mid-tier vehicles of this nation are mostly foreign designs obtained or captured from other nations. Some of these designs evolved into indigenous models available on higher tiers. So far, the Chinese tech tree does not offer any research options for Tank Destroyers or SPGs. The Chinese distinguish themselves by their guns, which are both reasonably accurate and capable of bringing the pain of high alpha damage (initial damage done by your shell as it hits) at the same time. The major drawback of this nation is the lack of any gun depression, which makes combat in hilly terrain very difficult. As a result, the Chinese show their true potential either on flat terrain or in urban settings.
Chinese heavy tanks: As aforementioned, the first vehicles you will play are foreign designs. Such is the case for the heavy tank branch, which starts at tier VII. However, after the IS-2 and the IS-3-based 110 tank, the Chinese produce designs, which are going in the direction of somewhat more original solutions rather than just copying Soviet vehicles. The late Chinese heavies can be described as hybrids between heavies and mediums, as they combine traits such as mobility and good rate of fire, typical for medium tanks, with a reliable armour and sturdy turrets, commonly associated with the heavies.
Chinese medium tanks: Just as is the case for the heavies, the first Chinese mediums are foreign designs, particularly copies of the Soviet T-34. These also evolve into distinctive machines which boast solid turrets and guns with the highest alpha damage in their vehicle class. These traits, together with good mobility, make the original Chinese mediums some of the most dangerous support vehicles in the game.
Chinese light tanks: Early Chinese light tanks are basically a kaleidoscope of different foreign designs and so they don’t differ that much from their original models. However, starting from Tier VI, the constructions become distinctively Chinese. These vehicles can be described as something between light and medium tanks, with good mobility and thin armour, typical for light tanks and powerful guns resembling those mounted on mediums. As a result, Chinese scouts can also play as mediums at times and have a noticeable contribution to the team’s damage output.
This concludes your first lesson as a Tank Academy student. Next time we will continue our exploration of the game’s different nations, focusing on USSR, France, UK and Japan. Class dismissed!
Learn fast and stay sharp, Commanders!