Tank Sociology?


Tank Sociology




So when I’m not driving tanks, thinking about tanks, and writing about tanks, I am actually supposed to be a social scientist. I am also interested in fashion, design, and technology, and so driving tanks for me has always been about a lot more than just shooting at other tanks.

For one thing, I spend a lot of time dealing with things a lot of people think are irrelevant to the game; like ideas, and feeling, and aesthetics. I never drove the German camper TDs because I don’t like the idea behind their gameplay, I don’t drive my T23E3 even though it’s a good tank because I’m just not feeling it, and I never drove the Daimler VK Mediums because they just don’t look good enough to me.

Some tanks appeal to the imagination in ways that others just don’t. Like the famous Littlepard; I didn’t come up with the name myself, but it’s still the greatest nickname there ever was for a tank. No other vehicle carries its moniker quite as well. Everyone knew the New German Lights were overpowered and that the halcyon days couldn’t last, which gave rise to the “Save The Littlepard” Foundation, and the best part is the Littlepard was actually saved. You can still grind it out and see for yourself.

So this gave rise to a kind of culture. People fashioned themselves supporters of the Littlepard Foundation. It became a thing. You wanted to be a Littlepard driver; bomb around at max speed and clip people out with your aircraft sourced autocannon. All of a sudden, you are not driving a tier V German VK16.02 Leopard anymore, you are driving a Littlepard, and being part of something greater than yourself.

And sure, that sounds pompous, but it’s also true. It makes the game a little more fun to play.


The tank without a nickname – VK 28.01


The Löwe used to be a joke. People would buy it and get killed with zero damage again and again because they had never played tier VIII before. I always thought of myself as a Löwe driver, but held off until I though I was ready for it.

The thing about the Löwe is it was never a bad tank. People just drove it badly. And once you figured out the playstyle, it was like a revelation. You would start doing a lot better and raking in the credits, outplaying people just by careful gameplay, hull down and sidescraping.

You could see this revelation hit people. They would do badly, and they would hate the Löwe and say it was the worst tank in the game. Then they would “get it”, and the Löwe would be their favourite tank. Then they had a losing streak, and they would hate it again. Or matchmaking. Or Wargaming. Whoever.

But either way, the Löwe was never boring. It’s either really good or really bad, and ultimately, it quite obviously depends on the driver.

So the call to “buff the Löwe” pretty quickly became a joke. People knew there was nothing wrong with it that a little “stay back-hull down-sidescrape” couldn’t fix, but the Löwe received a series of quite substantial buffs nonetheless. Last time it happened, I felt compelled to write a statement about it saying the Löwe Appreciation Society had nothing to do with it, but we were of course grateful for all the extra credits we would be raking in.

There is that too. The Löwe, when it works, can make insane amounts of credits. And that is of course part of the appeal; when you learn to drive it, it’s a great credit grinder, and as I said it never really gets boring.

I had high hopes for the Death Toaster, but that never really took off. The Brown Bomber I liked driving, but didn’t want to own it.

The Rudy I could write a whole chapter on, but it doesn’t really have the same type of appeal. I like to say Rudy has personality, I suppose it’s more of a personal attachment. Rudy is a tank for solitary drives, showing off, and indulging yourself. The “I, Me, Mine”-tank.

What about something like the Defender? Certainly enough people drive it, but I never saw anyone trying to start a Defender Driver’s Club. Perhaps the fact it’s part of the “problem” of tier VIII; if you are driving anything other than an IS clone that is, makes this a more personal attachment also.

A tank being strong doesn’t necessarily make it likeable. Compare the KV-2 and the Helsing. The KV-2 is high risk/high reward, so people like it. The Helsing is low risk/high reward, so it doesn’t benefit from any kind of underdog status, it’s just a nuisance to everyone who isn’t driving it. I confess this passage may be highly influenced by my personal aversion to the Helsing; your opinion may differ.

Anyway, it’s a curious subject; tank sociology. What makes people like certain tanks and not others? What makes people like some tanks in spite of their glaring deficiencies? And where would we all be without the Littlepard Foundation to guard our interests?

For me, tank sociology has made me a happier tank driver. I know exactly which tanks I like to drive and why I like them. That is a pleasure in itself. It helps mitigate my feelings of disappointment when things don’t always go my way to remind myself I am driving a tank I really like, because that’s the tank I want to be driving and nothing else.

So do yourself a favour next time you are hanging out in your garage and have a think about the tanks you really like, and why you like them. Compare with your stats and see which ones you drive the most, and which ones you are most successful in. Are there some kind of patterns? You may find these patterns don’t always correspond to your expectations.

The longer you play the game, the easier it becomes to get bogged down in grinds and negativity. It’s important to sometimes remind yourself you drive tanks for fun, and best case, doing so may also give your gameplay and tank collecting both a bit of direction.

See you out there.


100 mm Tank Philosophy


One Hundred Millimeters




So you all know I’m basically a communist these days. Between the Rudy, the Yolo Wagon and the Object 140, I can hardly claim to be a teutonic Panther purist anymore.

And it’s been great. I’ve had some of the most fun in ages driving my Russian brawlers and their, if we are to believe public opinion, toned down Chinese knockoffs. I have zero regrets.

This, then, is an unapologetic look at one of the aspects of Russian tank design I really appreciate: the use of 100 mm weapons. I have selected five of my favourite 100 mm armed tanks, and I thought I’d take you through them; what I like about them, and how they work, paying special attention to their main armament.

I will say I am still a little on the fence about Russian tanks. I do drive them a lot, and I like driving them, but I still do it in the same sense that both a terrorist and a freedom fighter use the same Kalashnikov. Chinese tanks, for some reason, present much less of a moral philosophical dilemma for me, perhaps simply because of them being percieved as cheap knock offs of the Russians. Or maybe I am a latent Maoist, who knows?

Either way, here are my top five 100 mm weapons.



100 mm 44-100JT

You can get a proper Russian 100 mm at tier VI already, but for me the fun starts at tier VII, and in China.

The T-34-1 is basically a redesigned T-34-85 with a Type 59 gun on it, and it’s a veritable monster in a tier where most Medium tanks will have 75-85 mm guns. Even 90 mm is relatively uncommon. The 44-100JT is not quite as sharp as the full spec 100 mm Type 59, but it shoots faster and aims faster to compensate for poorer accuracy and penetration values.

Also the thing is tiny. It’s smaller than a Type 62, and has some real armour too. It may not have the four second reload of a Comet or a Panther, but it’s a strong tank in a tier that already has a lot of strong vehicles.

The reason I like the 44-100JT is it’s so comfortable to work with. You have high alpha for the tier, which means the drive is going to be a little more laid back. You take it slow, enjoy the scenery so you maintain situational awareness, and keep putting out big hits, regular as clockwork.

Once you get into the groove, the 100 mm 44-100JT makes an already potent tank a truly great drive.


100 mm D-54S

You may recognise the name on this one, and yes; it is the T-54 gun. More specifically, it’s the “T-62A gun”; the one that has higher penetration. All you have to do to get one is grind out the most boring tank in the game.

But why would you want to? All you have to do is dispense with the inconvenience of dealing with a turret, and you can have the same gun at tier VII. Imagine the look on those IS-5s faces when you turn up with that!

Yes folks, the SU-100M1 is the most powerful turretless Medium tank in the game – two hundred and nineteen millimeters of penetration pumping out almost 3000 DPM. Grinding out the top gun is a breeze; the tank works fine with both stock guns, but tier IX firepower at tier VII will certainly make your job a lot easier.

You can no-scope people without having to worry about bouncing. You can punch through tier IX Heavy tanks like they were butter. And once you drop the adrenaline, you can burn down any tank you will meet out there in less than 30 seconds.

The casemate design means you have to do all that while frantically traversing, dodging and weaving, taking hits through the front plate, and trying to solve all kinds of gun articulation problems, like broken tracks and driving over small twigs.

But that’s the charm. The D-54S is really only overpowered a small percent of the time, and that kind of makes up for all the other shortcomings of the vehicle. 219 mm of pen aren’t going to help you if you can’t actually point the gun at someone. It will however allow you to play more aggressively, and it will help you penetrate that crucial shot more often.

As boring as the D-54S is on the T-54, at tier VII it really makes the SU-100M1 come alive.


100 mm D-10T mod. 1945

You can get this one on a few tanks as well, but the specific version I am talking about here is off the T-54 Lightweight.

I love the Lightweight, my Russian sports prototype. It will easily outpace any tier VIII Medium tank, and the somewhat mediocre D-10T is a perfect fit. It’s a bit derpy, not super powerful, and the DPM isn’t fantastic. But the Lightweight is much greater than the sum of its parts, and the old D-10T is really all you need for such a dashboard-clawing ride.

Even a Light tank with armour such as the T-54 Lightweight is still a Light tank first and foremost. If you are not using the superior mobility, you are selling the tank short.

And running around doing all those Light tank jobs, all you really want to have is a dependable gun that will most often put the rounds where you want them and do some damage. At tier VIII, 100 mm alpha is stil relatively high for the tier; it’s on par with some Heavy tanks, and the real strength of the Lightweight is not having any actual weaknesses.

The D-10T mod. 1945 isn’t going to impress you, it takes the whole package to do that. It’s not a tank for gun stat people, it’s a tank for brawlers and raiders and people who think Medium tanks are too slow and sluggish. But it doesn’t need to impress, because it doesn’t take a lot of accuracy to land a shot from 5 meters away in the middle of a huge powerslide.

All the D-10T needs to do is not disappoint. The fact it sometimes manages to impress you nonetheless, has everything to do with the tank it’s mounted on in this case.


100 mm 62-100T

So this one was a surprise. Especially since I just called the T-54, which this tank is a copy of, the most boring tank in the game.

But the T-54 boring because it’s so good. And not being quite as good as the best is still pretty good. I am talking of course about the WZ-120.

The gun on this really surprised me. First of all I like the look of it with that perforated, cone shaped muzzle brake. And it’s so slim, it almost makes the WZ look like the L/100 carrying SillyPanther, although not quite as silly as that. Both the 100 mm and the tank itself ended up being a lot better than I thought they were going to be.

You could argue that in some respects, the WZ-120 is actually superior to the T-54, but that is of course silly. The WZ doesn’t have nearly as much Russian bias, and so it’s always going to be second best. For me though, second best is most often good enough, and I would rather drive the Chinese knockoff than the Russian original. This is nothing new; I have long preferred the Type 59 to both the T-44 and the T-54.

In comparison to the D-54, the Chinese gun aims faster and is more accurate, all other gun stats are slightly worse. It will at least get you through the grind comfortably. There are basically two reasons why you should choose the 122 mm gun on the WZ-120, if you are going to drive a T-54 clone, then why not just drive the real thing, and the 121 has a 122 mm too, so you might as well get some practice.

But now that the grind is done, I’ve gone back to the smart looking 100 mm 62-100T, and my aim is to try and get to know the weapon better, on its own terms, because I think it still has a lot to offer. And did I mention I think it looks really smart?


100 mm D-54TS

So this is the newest tier X 100 mm gun in the game, looking suspiciously like the old U-8TS on the Object 140.

The differences aren’t that great. The D-54TS is more stable on the move and has 20% more gun depression, and it fires standard AP shells that are inexplicably more expensive than APCR, and also lose more penetration over distance. Otherwise it’s exactly the same as, or slightly worse than the U-8TS.

So yeah, again not very exciting, but perfectly serviceable. The underdog status of the Obj 140 has turned me into one of it’s most vehement supporters, and the very mediocrity of the weapon just makes me like it even more.

Let us not forget, however, this is a tier X weapon. It has the fastest shell speed in the game. It puts out tier leading DPM. And the snap shots you will hit are just unbelievable, the thing is rock solid on the move. You drive past some situation, wondering if you should pull the trigger and hope for luck. Then you think “wait a minute, I’m in the 140!”, point the gun, press the button, and the shot goes straight in like magic.

Or, you know, like Russian bias. It’s practically the same thing.

The Object 140 is Russian bias on tracks with a thin coat of paint. The D-54TS may sound like a glorified tier IX weapon, and that’s probably what it is too, but it’s still one of the absolute best Medium tank guns in the game. 100 mm isn’t a large caliber weapon at tier X, but strangley, I’ve never felt it was lacking the way I sometimes do with my 105 mm guns.


So yeah, 100 mm. In middle tiers, it’s a big caliber, at high tiers, it’s a small one, and it works equally well in both applications. You can get it in a variety of packages, in all tank classes, even with an autoloader if you prefer.

If you are afraid of turning into a communist, then the French offer a fine selection of 90 and 100 mm weapons. These French long barrels have excellent penetration and shell speeds, and the tanks themselves sometimes struggle to keep up with their superb guns.

Either way, I practically never met a 100 mm weapon I didn’t like. Off the top of my head, the AC SA47 on the AMX AC mle. 48 is the only disappointment I can remember. I thought it was going to be a viable option, but the Baby Foch needs that 120 mm SA46.

Otherwise, there are a lot of intermediate 100 mm guns that are really great, and that help make a lot of grinds much more bearable. Russian tanks often being on the strong side balance wise, a second or third weapon will often have you up to quite acceptable firepower for the tier.

So next time you come across a 100 mm gun, pay special attention. They are most often very dependable weapons, and as long as you have that, the rest of the tank really has to suck to be a complete letdown.

See you out there!

First Look at the T-34-3


Hype Contender? The T-34-3




So rumor has it the T-34-3 is going to appear some time today, and I had no idea. I had almost forgotten about it; my Chinese Medium grind is done, and I’ve just started driving Russian tanks again.

But I am kind of curious. I like the big alpha Medium playstyle; in fact I used to drive the T-44 with the 122 mm gun, and the amount of XP it takes to Ace the tech tree T-34-2 should tell you these tanks can also be effective. And that’s kind of going to be my reference. If the new T-34-3 turns out to have gun stats that are closer to the T-44-122 than the T-34-2, then it’s not going to be for me.

My Chinese bias is well documented by now. I practically never met a Chinese tank I didn’t like, and I drove over 500 games in my Hype 59. At the moment I am looking forward to the rumored Chinese Heavy tank line, but Medium tanks are still my favourites. The only question, then, is do I really need another tier VIII premium Medium tank in my garage?

Well, that’s a silly question. No one needs more than maybe a dozen tanks, at the most. For me, the question is will this tank add something new to my garage? I mean I have plenty of Light tanks, but the Black Bulldog was still a huge kick. And I may like Russian Mediums, but still didn’t go for the T-44-100. The T-34-3 is not a Type 59, obviously, but is the 122 mm enough of a novelty to make it worthwhile?

I guess we’ll see when the final stats become available. And being a Community Contributor, there is of course the possibility I will get to try it out as soon as that happens.


Disappointingly, this turns out to be a crate event. At least it seems straight forward enough; you pay the money, and among all the boosters you will get, there is a one in twenty chance you’ll get a T-34-3. That means I’m out; the price being open ended like this means I can’t decide whether or not the tank is going to be worth it, and so I will have to pass.

This, by the way, is the second Chinese premium tank in a row I end up not getting because it doesn’t have a fixed price or a guaranteed purchase.

But I will still get to take it for as many spins as I like on the press account, so there is that at least. That means I’ll be able to provide a “first look“ review so people can make an informed decision about the tank itself, even of they can’t make one about the price for it.

I am expecting it to behave like a Type 59, it has the same engine power. Five degrees of gun depression like many tech tree Chinese. And 3.91 rounds per minute. That’s more than the T-44-122, but a little less than the T-34-2, and the new tank aims three times as fast as the old T-44 does with the 122, so that should be fine. It also has a bit more armour than the tech tree variant, except the turret front, which is 10 mm thinner.

So it’s not going to be a monster. I see nothing overpowered about it. But there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work; it seems to have all the pieces it needs. If the credit making is on par with the other Chinese premiums, it should make a comfortable credit grinder with that “heavy Medium tank” flavour.



Classic Chinese tank design!


I will say I like the look of it. I’ve become kind of partial to the functionalist Chinese tank design, and the T-34-3 looks exactly like what it is: a T-54 copy with an IS-2 gun on it. So simple. Elegant, even; although that’s not a word I would normally use to describe cold war era communist industrial design.

Everything looks familiar. The rounded turret without shot traps. The angled front plate. The boxy, angular hull. It looks like a baby 121 or WZ-120, which; again, is precisely what it is.

The T-34-2, by contrast, looks more like a project vehicle. An early prototype; a different way of doing the same thing. The T-34-3 has the production model look, even though it too is an experimental design, and I think it looks rather handsome.

Kitting it out is going to take you fifteen and a half days of waiting if you don’t want to drop the 3.236 gold to skip the timers on your 100.000 spare parts investment to get the Vstabs.

But once you do, What you end up with is a capable, if not extremely exciting Medium tank. It had that Chinese “good for being so heavy” mobility, and the familiar quick aimtime. Armour it good enough to get a few bounces occasionally if you use it properly, and even if the penetration numbers aren’t stellar, you can still land some devastating shots.

The first thing I noticed when the T-34-3 dropped on the press account is the massive ammo capacity; the thing carries ninety rounds! That means you should never have to run out of any particular ammo type in it, but it doesn’t make me like HEAT shells any better, and so my loadout is 67 AP, 9 HEAT and 13 HE. 61 mm of HE penetration makes for a useful round, and on a good day you can hit a Light tank for over 600 damage.

Taking it out, there are no surprises. It moves like a Chinese tank, it angles like a Chinese tank, and it puts out damage like a Chinese tank – kind of slowly, but in big chunks at a time. If you have driven a couple of hundred games in other Chinese vehicles, you’ll feel right at home.

If you haven’t driven a lot of Chinese Mediums, there really isn’t much to it. You have a 13.5 second reload to deal with, so you need to sneak around a bit and work from cover a lot. The best thing to do is to be somewhere on the sidelines helping out; taking shots at targets who are otherwise engaged and looking for short flank opportunities.

The gun gives the T-34-3 a kind of Heavy tank feel, but remember you are a Medium tank. Don’t get caught up fighting Heavy tanks from static positions, use your mobility to run away from bad engagements and act as a force multiplier, always be looking for the position where the enemy least expect and least appreciate having to deal with your 122 mm firepower.

When not fighting your strongest opponents, the armour can be quite formidable. Just keeping your front plate pointed at same and lower tier Light and Medium tanks should get you a fair amount of bounces. Going hull down and using the turret should keep you fairly safe, but remember the turret front isn’t quite as strong as you may be expecting. A tier IX Heavy tank will go straight through.

There is no information about the internal modules, but there’s no reason to expect it will be any different than the T-34-2 and Hype 59, meaning most likely all your ammo racks are on your right side, and all your crew is on your left. For this reason, you want to be showing your left side to your opponents if you can help it so you don’t get ammo racked, and if you find you’re not getting a lot of mileage out of the adrenaline, carry an extra medkit for the crew instead.


So what’s the bottom line? Is the tank worth it?

I will say yes, but I’m still not going to gamble for it. Even owning the Type 59 and T-34-2 already, I feel the T-34-3 would add something to my collection, and I would love to be able to grind credits with a 122 mm armed Medium tank. I will be looking to pick it up at a later date if it’s sold in a bundle or something like that.

As it is though, I’ve stated before I don’t want to support business practices I don’t agree with, and so it’s still a “no” from me. If you want to gamble for the T-34-3 I’m not going to stop you, but be aware there is no guaranteed purchase no matter how much money you spend, and although it’s very likeable, the T-34-3 is certainly not worth overspending on.

What it is, is exactly what it looks like: a T-54 clone with a Heavy tank gun, and it plays like one too. I think deciding if that is something that interests you or not should be fairly easy, and if not, you can just grind the tech tree Chinese Medium tanks and find out.

If you already have, and like what you have seen so far, the T-34-3 is more of the same. It’s a 122 mm Type 59. For me, that means it’s a great tank, but for you it may mean it’s a boring tank, and if it does, then not gambling for one is going to be the easiest decision you ever made.

If, like me, you think the T-34-3 looks super cool and you would like to have one even though it’s really not that special, but you don’t like the whole gambling angle, then I feel for you and I can only hope we all get a chance to acquire it some other way in the future.

Here’s hoping.


In the mean time, please enjoy my noobing my way to victory in the press account loaner vehicle:

Russian Defector – The Object 140 Bias


Plain Jane – The Object 140





So as I’m starting this, it’s been maybe five hours since I decided to give up on the T-54 and just free XP the Object 140 and get it over with. I’ve been at the grind for well over a year and a half by now, and since the 140 is now at the centre of attention; albeit for the wrong reasons, I figured who needs credits anyway and bought myself one.

If you’ve not been paying attention, the Object 140 these days is about as pedestrian and unglamorous as you can get at tier X. The thing doesn’t even have APCR standard anymore; it’s hard to believe this tank was once feared above all, and about as hated as the death star is now.

Yes, those were the days. I had the opportunity to drive the 140 when it was the most OP tank in the game, and although that was of course memorable, I don’t like it any less now than I did back in the day.

Partly this is because I was late getting into Russian Mediums. I haven’t done thousands of games in the 140 wrecking Heavy tanks with magical HEAT rounds from behind an impenetrable turret. And yes, I was also more of a noob back then, and couldn’t really tell the two Russians apart at first. But the things that eventually made me like the 140 better than the T-62A are still the same.

It should come as a surprise to no one the very fact the Object 140 was once the best tank in the game and is now a fallen star; a shadow of its former self and considered totally weak, only makes me like it more. And although it’s a long time since I decided I was going to get a Russian tier X Medium at some point, I was really only getting one just to have one. Either one. For the collection.

What happened instead is I ended up getting the 140 specifically, because I genuinely want it, I am excited to drive it, and I just think it’s the best option for me at this point.

Also I think it looks super cool. As far as Russian tenks go, anyway.

And that could have been the end of it. I am not above driving tanks just because I think they look cool. But I still feel like I have to justify my decision, because there is more to it than just my choosing the less popular option for the sake of it.

For one thing, I did a pretty good job of painting myself into this corner with my adamant and constant assurances the 140 is the best Medium tank in the gam.. And it is also my “job” so to speak as a tank philosopher to busy myself with the questions people want answers to; in this case the question why anyone in the world should even consider getting an Object 140 these days.

And that is also the best part of my “job”. Wargaming gave me the opportunity to drive both the tier X Russian Mediums as much as I wanted, for free, and I have put a few hundred games on both. But it’s not the same. Having been able to try out all the tanks that ever interested me actually made me more interested in my own personal account.

I’m sure that sounds elitist and entitled, but it is in fact true. The longer you have a press account, the less interested in it you become; after a while you only use it to drive new or rare tanks and do testing. You can never get the controls just right. You don’t have the same crew skills. And your accomplishments are pretty much meaningless, because no one can see your stats anyway.

So this is where I start driving the Object 140 for real. It’s the live fire exercise. Racing for pink slips. And although it does admittedly look the least glamorous it’s ever done, I still couldn’t be more excited about it. It may sound strange to be looking forward to such a mundane and well known vehicle, but the interesting thing is the position the 140 finds itself in right now. The T-62A is getting buff after buff, the campy TD meta is still going strong, and everyone is wondering if the 140 has finally become completely obsolete.


And here I am, still saying it’s the best Medium tank in the game. Not only that, I also believe that preposterous proposition is actually true. What a time to be alive, folks; IrmaBecx, known Panther tank and gun depression enthusiast turns into probably the last proponent and staunchest defender of a Russian Medium tank. No one would have believed that three years ago.

What’s the plan? Well, I thought I’d drive a few hundred games in the 140 once I get some Vstabs on it, work on my gameplay, and write about how that works out. I tell you, if someone actually paid me for doing all this, it would be the best job in the world.


The word from Wargaming is, the only intention behind the buffs and changes to the Russian Mediums is making them different, and the fact they haven’t buffed the 140 tells me there’s simply nothing wrong with it. People who do play it are still performing well; better than the T-62A or they wouldn’t keep buffing that.

And remember the Object 140 used to be the most overpowered tank in the game; all that took was a little more turret armour and a little more firepower.

So that is kind of my point of departure. You can say the 140 is boring, you can argue the 62 has more penetration and is more accurate; but you can’t say there is anything at all wrong with the 140, there is just nothing to support that.

So while waiting on stupid timers that get in the way even though I have all the spare parts lined up already, I’ve been running the maxed out press account loaner with the legendary camo. I’m not going to pretend I am displeased with that, but like I said it isn’t quite the same.

The tank works the same though, even if the buttons aren’t in the exact right places. And of course I don’t have to worry about ruining my stats because no one can see them, so I can take chances, try new stuff and play as aggressive as I like. I mean I do always play to win, but you do tend to drive press account tanks like a rental car.

Which is nice. I can work on my angles and check the gun depression all I want, try to climb stuff, look for new spots, or whatever. Get some practice. Start getting to know the Obj 140 more intimately, which hopefully will produce a few papers for the enjoyment and edification of everyone, myself included.

Medium tanks as a class find themselves in sort of a marginalised position these days, but that just means you have to work a little harder to get results when driving them. Even back when they were more powerful, they still took a decent driver to get any kind of decent results.

But what they are really all about is the playstyle. Medium tank gameplay. The whole idea behind driving a mobile tank. And the fact is, Medium tanks can still do a few things no other tank class in the game can do.


So yeah, today is the day I guess. It’s been two weeks and the vertical stabiliser is finally mounted on my new Object 140.

It feels kind of strange. I didn’t take it out first thing this morning; I drove the Rudy instead. It’s like I’m hesitating, and maybe that’s not so strange. It is sort of a quietly momentous occasion.

I used to hate the Russian Mediums with a passion, and the 140 especially, so like I said, of course they were among the first tanks I drove as soon as I got a hold of a Press account. I wanted to know my enemy.

But the Russian bias is real, and I pretty quickly resigned myself to the fact that if I kept on driving all these Russian Lights and Mediums, I would sooner or later have to make the age old 140/62 decision. And besides, as a Medium tank driver; why wouldn’t I want to own the most overpowered Medium tank in the game?

Well, whatever you think of the 140 these days, it certainly isn’t that anymore. But it still has everything that made me really like it, and like it more the more I drive it. The general sort of ease and comfort with which it deals with any situation. The super wicked angle on the front plate. The gun that just keep putting the rounds where you point it, no matter what the rest of the tank is doing.

Of course, I am much more positively inclined towards the Object 140 now that it’s a fallen star; a faded primadonna, and about as generic and pedestrian as a tier X Medium tank can be. But there is a lot of things to like about it. It has the highest shell speed in the game. Likely the best camo rating of any tier X Medium tank. Massive DPM. Low to the ground. Excellent mobility.

Except for the typically Russian traits, though, nothing really stands out. All these strengths are of a general kind, and they will be of use in most situations. But there is no real gimmick you can work with; it’s all just standard, everyday Medium tank tactics.

Which, you know; can be challenging enough.

But anyway, with about an hour left to clear my missions, I rolled out for the first time just now. Rudy could have cleared those missions, but it’s more fun in the 140. Anyway, it was simple stuff; cap one base, hit one damaging shot at range, and do 2000 damage in a Russian tank. Perfect.

I lucked out and ended up in a pretty easy game, even had an afk IS-7 on the red team. I worked myself around the flank together with a Leopard 1, and except for a lag spike towards the endgame, everything went smoothly. I recorded it for posterity, please enjoy my falling off a bridge on Canal and missing a side shot on an E100 at 50 meters:



And so there you have it. I am now officially a Russian Medium tank defector. It’s been a long time coming, but I think in the end it was inevitable. And with the state the Object 140 is in these days, the timing couldn’t be better. Who would have thought the most overpowered tank in the game would ever turn into an underdog?

An underdog, yes. But still a snarling, ferocious beast of a dog; a feral, vicious wolf hybrid that no one wants to come face to face with in an isolated spot, on their own, after dark.

See you out there, Comrades.

Remember Russian bias is real.



Director, Bureau of Obyekt 140 Elitism for the People


Tank Psychology?


Poetry versus Pragmatism




When I was a kid we had a game we used to play where you would answer three questions, and the answers would say something about yourself you didn’t realise. A kind of psychoanalysis for children, so to speak.

Like, if you listed your three favourite tanks in order, the first one would represent the way you see yourself, the second would represent the way you appear to others, but the third one would represent you as you really are.

All this goes back to Freud and the idea of the subconscious; people aren’t always aware of what they are thinking, but those thoughts do still influence them in various ways. You can however make yourself aware of some of the things that are going on in your subconscious mind, this being of course the whole idea behind psychoanalysis. We may laugh at Freuds penis envy, but the subconscious is I think more or less universally accepted.

All that really means is that stuff you don’t really think about can be important. This is however tank philosophy we’re talking about, not tank psychology. And so how can this simple psychological experiment be translated into something useful for us?

Well, to the extent philosophy is useful at all, anyway…


I tried making the experiment answer the question which tank, subconsciously, is the best one for me, but it doesn’t really translate very well.

Also, it may sound like a simple question, but all it takes is a little philosophy and you can make it about as complex as you like, or think is necessary. It all comes down to what you mean by “best”, exactly, because whenever someone says “best”, there’s always a caveat.

So thinking about it, what I really mean is something like “the truest expression of me as a tank driver”. That is not necessarily the same thing as the “best tank for me”, although the two are very similar.

Those among you who; like parents and teachers and poets through millennia, pose these types of questions to children and the innocent, will of course know the experiment has already worked. It got me thinking. And that, really, is all it’s supposed to do.

Having cleverly figured that out, the curious child or nascent philosoper will then ask themselves “Okay, so what was this experiment supposed to teach me?”. Trying to repeat the experiment in a different context when you alreadt know how it works, isn’t going to work. You cannot knowingly trick yourself like that.

But there is a clear lesson to be drawn. My first choice in any situation may not be the one that, deep down inside, is the right one for me; or the one that I really, if I think about it, want to make.

So other than the mounting, paranoid fear the Object 140 may actually be the truest expression of me as a tank driver, and that I’ve therefore been a communist Medium tank driver all along, this is all starting to make some tank philosophy kind of sense.


I have actually argued a similar point earlier, in my paper on tier X tanks for noobs. I said for your first one, just choose whichever one you think is the coolest. It doesn’t matter, because you are also going to have to learn to play tier X in the first place. Once you’ve done a bit of that, you’ll be in a much better position to choose your second tier X tank, and that one is likely to be a much better fit for you.

Following the psychoanalysis angle, that would mean your third tier X tank is actually the one that is the best fit for you, and the one that represents you as you really are.

So let’s see what actually happened. My first tier X was the mighty brawler E50 Ausf. M. no surprises there, I would say; that totally is how I see myself. The second one was the Leopard 1. So that’s how people see me? A huge, fast HE target on tracks with superb gun stats? Seems likely. I wouldn’t argue against it.

But my third tier X tanks was the STB-1. I bought it for my birthday; that’s why i only have like nine games in the Type 61. I had been really impressed with the low tier Japanese, and was loving the Chi-Ri autoloader and the STA-1. I was also really into British gun depression Mediums at the time, and besides I think it’s one of the best looking tanks in the game. I figured it was just a Leopard 1 with a slimmer, bouncy turret, so it made total sense to me to get one.

That’s the truest expression of me as a tank driver? The STB-1?

Okay, let’s look at some statistics, and see how I am doing.

I’ve definitely driven the E50 M the most. Trying to be who I think I am, I guess. It’s not gone terribly well; 49% over almost 300 games with 1650 damage on average. Leopard 1 is doing worse, 42% after almost 100 games with about the same damage output.

STB-1? Looking a lot better. 54.55% wins after 55 games with almost 1800 damage per battle. Still missing the Ace but I hear it can be a difficult one to get. Also has the highest hit rate, survival rate, and spot rate.


So yeah, if I were to follow my subconscious, I should be focusing a lot more on driving the STB-1. That sounds pretty reasonable, actually. I hear gun depression Mediums are making a comeback.

Statistics are famously made up of 64% lies, and I’ve not checked the stats on my press account, but it should come as no surprise to anyone I do better in the STB-1 than in both the E50 M and the Leopard 1. It certainly makes sense to me, all three tanks being what they are.

And knowing how the experiment works doesn’t render it useless. Knowing the mechanism, you can turn it into a research question; something like this:

1. Which Tank Destroyer would I say is the best one?

2. Which one is generally considered or statistically proven to be?

3. Which one would I like it to be?

I will leave you all to ponder this or similar questions, and if you come up with something useful, do let me know.

Me, I am going to try and deal with the sudden nagging suspicion the Object 140 is my “totem tank”, or otherwise subconsciously significant. That’s psychoanalysis for you.

And yeah, it has Vstabs now.

See you out there.

The Magic Shot!


So if you read my recent papers on the AMX 50 Foch (155) and the Object 263 ”Yolo Wagon”, you will be aware of my feelings toward the IS-7.

I hate the thing.

Nevertheless, I just bought one on my press account (Yes, that means I’ve never actually driven an IS-7, ever), but it’s not for the reason you may think. I have not sold out.

This is the reason:


If you’re not seeing what I’m seeing, according to Armour I spector, it should be possible to penetrate the viewport of an IS-7, frontally, for 1200 damage with a High Explosive round from a Foch (155).

So being a proud owner of a press account and two ipads, naturally I had to try it. I promise the press account IS-7 will only ever be used for target practice.

Anyway, so I started up an open training room and went at it. I figured it’s not every day you get to take some free shots at a maxed out IS-7, and I had a couple of people join in.

Sadly, I didn’t manage the ”Magic Shot”, but I had some fun trying, and of course I won’t rest until this issue is resolved. In the mean time, please enjoy 12 minutes of violence against defenseless dam OP Russian biased Heavy tanks:



If anyone else manages the ”Magic Shot”; hitting an IS-7 viewport for full HE damage, then I would love to see it.

Please let me know, and/or stay tuned!

The Object 263 Grind


The following is a collection of four papers written during my “Yolo Wagon” 263 grind.


Chasing Dreams: The SU-100M1




About a year and a half ago, I issued a challenge to all Littlepard drivers. The objective was to take down the newly released “Baby Barracuda”; the SU-100M1. Back then, we had ±2 matchmaking, so the worst thing that could happen in your Littlepard was you would end up bottom tier against some seal clubbers in their brand new Russian TDs that will shoot straight through your armour at any angle, while you need a 60 degree side angle to even think about going through theirs.

Armour, as you know, is all the rage these days. While the Baby Barracuda doesn’t get to vaporise tier V Light tanks anymore, neither does it have to deal with tier IX opponents, and people are using less Premium rounds as well.

I like armour. Some of it. Enough to get a few bounces, but not enough to slow you down too much. A bit of gun mantlet and frontal plate, and I’m happy. What a few bits of useable armour does, is allow you to be more aggressive. It makes the tank more forgiving to drive, and you’ll get away with more stupid stuff.

And I liked the SU-100M1 too. It was a quirky tank, a quirky Russian tank nonetheless, and I always thought it looked really good. Also, I liked the fact it had a tier IX gun straight off the T-54, even though no one actually needs 219 mm of standard AP penetration at tier VII. This was before I drove Russian tenks at all. The Rudy dropped like a month later, and that was my first. But these days I just got the Obj 140 and already have several Russian Lights and Mediums, so it’s not a thing anymore.

What is a thing however, is the Object 263; the incomparable Yolo Wagon. That’s totally a thing. I love the Yolo Wagon so much I can’t stand it, and so all this is for the purpose of finally getting my dream tank. Well, one of my dream tanks, anyway. I’ve often said if I had to give up being a Community Contributor, the only tank I would really miss is the Yolo Wagon, so I figure it’s high time I got one for myself. And you’ve got to chase your dreams, right?


The Grind

The 263 line starts off from the SU-100 like I said, and you have to drive the T-34 to get that. I’m not a fan of either, so I’ve been throwing free XP at them from time to time, but I figured I wasn’t going to pay almost 50.000 free XP to skip past the SU-100, so I finally gave in actually bought it. I’m not really sure what to do with it now that I’ve grinded through it; I’ve not sold it yet because it’s not like I need the slot, and it’s fully upgraded except for the 122 mm. But you want to run the 100 mm D10S anyway if you are going for the 263 so you can start learning the “DPM over alpha damage” TD playstyle.

And casemate TDs like the SU-100M1 can be a pain. Before your tank has all the modules and the crew is trained, you don’t really have the mobility to put the weapon to use properly, and it’s going to be a while before you get the top gun on it. Like I said though, the tier IX weapon is kind of overkill at tier VII, and you’ll do fine with either of the two tier VII 100 mm guns. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between them; the second gun is a very slight upgrade.

The reason it can be a pain is that Tank Destroyers can be really team dependent. Weakly armoured, high alpha tanks are the worst in this respect; with a little speed and mobility you’ll have a lot more options, but with an untrained crew in a tank that’s not fully upgraded, you aren’t going to deal as effectively with the situations you find yourself in. If you happen to be the most experienced player on your team, chances are no one else is going to really do anything to create opportunities for you to take advantage of, and so you will have to play further forward than what is strictly speaking opportune. You are supposed to be a support vehicle, and so not really suited to taking the lead.

Rolling out in the SU-100M1 today, I immediately got killed first with no damage because I tried to cap B on Desert Sands. Then I tried to brawl an SU-152 in the riverbed on Oasis Palms, but got backstabbed by one of those cheater Helsing tanks.

Then I’m on Mayan ruins. Our Mediums and Lights go for the C cap even though the reds have a Medium advantage, and so I try for the B cap and get that. Turn around and help out clearing the A cap, and then go for the campers at red spawn, but someone is capping B, and the Meds are all dead, so I rush there, kill the intruder and save the cap. Now someone is trying for A, and I rush there, but miss the shot by milliseconds, and have to cap it again while bouncing shots and trying to kill the harasser, which I do, and then the last red drives out sideways in front of me a few times before the counter ticks over to 1000. It’s a win.

2400 damage, four kills, three missions cleared, and the Mastery. Also crew training completed, which reminds me I should turn those boosters off.

Games like that is what it’s all about. When everything falls into place, the tank comes into its own, and you keep making good decisions that actually work out for you.

All in all, I spent like 75 games getting 100% crew and all modules except the top gun, that’s with boosters and a few hours of free Premium time from the crates. Not too bad at all. After that, it’s just 48K for the T-45 gun, and then 91K more for the next tank. You don’t have to grind the tier IX gun at tier VII, but I’m going to, because both the SU-101 and the SU-122-54 use it as well, and if I don’t grind it now, I’ll need to do it later. I’d rather grind 48K XP at tier VII in a fully upgraded tank than at tier VIII or IX in a stocker.

Grinding for the top gun


Baby Barracuda Gameplay

The actual Barracuda is the SU-122-54. It doesn’t have the rear mounted guns like the others, but it just looks so brutal. A huge slab of the old Soviet union with a nasty tier X Heavy tank gun on it, lurking in the bushes ready to pounce.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there’s really nothing “baby” about the SU-100M1. It’s fast, it has troll armour, and it carries a big stick to beat on the reds with. At tiers VI and VII, 280 alpha is nothing to be scoffed at, and you’re putting out well over 2500 DPM. Juking and wiggling, you will pull off bounces against guns that really should go straight through, and although you are riddled with weakspots, the tank is small and low enough to be a tricky target.

The LB-1C, which is the second 100 mm, gives you 175 mm of penetration, and that does stuggle against tier VIII Heavys and other well armoured tanks. Brit TDs especially you don’t want to fight frontally, because you need to hit their cupola, and they can just DPM you down.

Otherwise, I lean heavily on my Medium tank experience when driving fast casemate TDs. The Baby Barracuda doesn’t reverse very quickly, and the traverse isn’t fantastic, but it’s enough to brawl Light tanks once in a while.

So basically, I either cap and defend, flank, or support. Often all three things in the same game; the trick is knowing when to do what.

And that’s where it gets tricky. You can’t really teach someone else to play opportunistically like that, it has to come from experience. Maintaining situational awareness, proper positioning, knowing what tanks you can take down, knowing what spots you can work, and where your escape routes are so you don’t get boxed in. It’s a lot to think about.

People say TDs and Heavy tanks can’t play Supremacy, but that’s not true. I play Supremacy all the time, and I really like it. The problem is, Heavy tank and TD drivers don’t always know what to do in a Supremacy game, and they don’t know how to actually support the faster tanks as they are capping the bases.

But yeah, in a stock TD without a turret, you are going to struggle with it. On the other hand, Supremacy tends to break up the teams, and so you are less likely to run into too may tanks at once. If you do, then just try to cap all the bases around them and keep away.

It is said (by Jylpah, based on his research) that Medium drivers do slightly better in Tank Destroyers, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. TDs are the natural enemy of the Medium tanks in the current meta, and if you know how to drive Mediums and can anticipate their moves, you’ll have the upper hand. Also, even casemate TDs have a few advantages over Medium tanks: they have better firepower, often higher alpha, and they will likely have a few bits of armour to cover your worst mistakes.

More importantly, driving a tank that is slightly more awkward will slow down your gameplay. You are less likely to be the first one spotted, less likely to take early damage, and so you are more likely to still be there in the endgame where your strengths will be multiplied.

Other than the actual casemate design, the SU-100M1 has a few other drawbacks you need to work around. The gun arc is miniscule, only eight degrees either side, but worse than that, you don’t have any gun depression. Running the two stock guns you have 4 degrees, and the top 100 mm only has 2 degrees.

This means you aren’t going to poke ridges like you may be used to, and you are going to have to learn to keep to the low ground. Aiming upwards is no problem, and if you are at the bottom of a hill, even people with good gun depression can have a hard time aiming down at you.

Let me give you an example. I was on Middleburg with a team of four or five heavys and the rest TDs against a team of almost all Mediums and Lights. I knew they would go for the hill, and I also knew we wouldn’t get up there in time. With the bad gun depression I wasn’t going to be much good up there anyway, especially not all by myself. What to do?

As the game started, I drove up the hill a bit anyway to at least get some spots, but I stayed back behind the ridge. As the reds came swarming, I pulled back down a bit so they couldn’t get shots at me, but I was still close enough to keep them proxy spotted, and I could peek up and tease them so they would pull forward and get shot by my teammates in town. I did get killed eventually, but we were in the lead quite comfortably by then, and my full HP teammates cleaned up the rest.

Although it’s not ideal, you can do some Medium tank jobs some of the time. Just remember you don’t have a turret.

Lack of hitpoints is another issue. The SU-100M1 is supposedly based off the T-34-85, and it has about the same amount of hitpoints. The likeness isn’t that apparent though; the chassis has been stretched to get a better angle on the front plate, and although the engine is in the middle, the driver is still up front and gets hit a lot.

Both sides of the engine has fuel tanks, and then you have a big ammo rack on the left side of the casemate, in fact the entire left side is more fragile and will more often take crew and module damage.

Perhaps worst of all, the Obj 263 line is really expensive to run. The Baby Barracuda has the lowest credit coefficient of any tier VII Tank Destroyer, and although that trend doesn’t continue, you still need to pay for those expensive tier IX and X shells. The Yolo Wagon actually has the highest credt coefficient of any tier X TD although that’s not saying much, it’s still like 53%.

This may not be an issue for you if you have lots of Premium tanks, run a Premium account and have a huge credit buffer already, but it is something you need to take into account otherwise.


Go Big or Go Home

As I said, I’ve grinded the tier IX gun at tier VII, and to me, that’s the whole “point” of the SU-100M1. A tier IX gun on a tier VII tank.

You get punished for it; the reload is slightly longer, gun depression is only half of what you are used to, and the accuracy is worse. The D-54S also weight 160 kg more, which actually impacts your power to weight ratio, but not your traverse speed.

These are only minor inconveniences. The DPM is slightly better, and the shell speed is markedly higher, which is really nice. Working with 310 alpha is also more comfortable, and allows you to trade more effectively. The only real downside is the gun depression, which means you can no longer use some of the spots you have learned with the other guns.

I had a slight period of adjustment switching to the higher alpha weapon, kind of similar to when I switch tiers. What usually happens is I drop down to tier V or VI from like VIII or X, and find I am tuned to the “wrong speed” compared to what’s going on around me. Things seem to have stabilised, however; I’ve got the Mastery with both top guns.

Also, since I switched to the D-54S, all the numbers are up: damage output, kills per game, and winrate are all on the rise.


Closing Remarks

So yeah. 100 games in my Baby Barracuda is fully upgraded and now all I have to do is drive maybe 100 games more to unlock the next tank. So far, it’s been great. It’s not all smooth sailing, but then I didn’t really expect that in a tank like this.

You still see the SU-100M1 out there, but I think that has more to do with the Yolo Wagon than with any of the other tanks in the 263 branch; no one really seems to like them a lot. For me though, they are all keepers. And having unlocked the big gun already, I’m pretty much all set all the way through tier IX.

I will say these tanks are not for the novice player. If you don’t know how to work with gun depression, you’re going to have a worse time trying to do the job without it. A year and a half ago, these tanks were all considered really fast, but these days there are a lot more fast and agile tanks out there, so it’s not the same advantage it used to be.

But if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge, and you know your positional play pretty well, you’re not going to have too much trouble.

For me, this is a labor of love. I’ve driven the Object 263 on the press account, and that is of course the big payoff for me. I already know what I am getting.

For others, the old 268 line may be the better choice. Everyone likes the big, derpy 152 mm TDs. But you will find out pretty fast if you are going to enjoy the DPM TD playstyle; all you have to do is grind out all the guns on the tier VI SU-100 and see if you prefer the 100 mm or the 122 mm.

It all comes down to playstyle. The low caliber option is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work, and for me, it’s also more rewarding. The simple fact is driving quirky and awkward tanks makes you a better driver.

And for that reason, IrmaBecx says think about driving one today.

See you out there!




So coming up on 200 games, and the grind is pretty much done. And I think in the end, the SU-100M1 has met all my lofty expectations.

Thanks to some last-stretch platooning I’m rocking a cool 61% winrate, and have damage numbers edging out my favourite tier VII Mediums, except of course the Dracula. And that’s not a coincidence. The tank works.

Case in point: it’s already one of my best performing tier VII tanks, and I only have stage one equipment and improved controls on it.

Speaking of improved controls, I was talking with some of the “cool kids”, and they suggested that for some tanks, improved controls is really the only spare parts equipment you need.

This would be in line with my recent research. Tanks that are already fast don’t gain a lot from more engine power, but they do benefit from improved controls, because the faster traverse means they bleed off less speed when turning. For casemate tanks the benefit is obvious, and it got me thinking about all my old Tank Destroyers and Light tanks that I don’t drive a lot. Maybe just dropping for improved controls would give them a new lease on life?

So yeah. In about an hour I’ll have the improved armour on the SU-100M1, and I will of course go for the Vstab as well, and maybe improved tracks. It’s not a big surprise, but I am of course keeping it. More than that, I have the same feeling I did after the Foch grind: here is a solid tank, a fun tank, a new go-to tank that I know how to play and can be successful in.

Dropping spare parts on something like the MT-25 was kind of an extravagance. This is a solid investment.

It’s not all been fun and games, though. These brawler TDs take some work; what they call engaging gameplay. And over the last 100 games or so, I have become pretty familiar with their drawbacks.

First of all, the front is weak. Really weak. Trading shots frontally with someone on flat, open ground automatically means trading hitpoints. But that’s often fine; I’ve learned to expect taking a few hits, and plan accordingly. If I can take out a strong tank, and I totally can, my sacrifice may be worth it.

Also it’s very easy to get overconfident. I mean the thing is fast. I tend to push forward too far and end up trading more hitpoints than I bargained with. The gun, being Russian, will surprise you with all kinds of sketchy behaviour, but I guess if you compare it to any of the 122 mm options out there, it’s a miracle of accuracy. As always, the way to happiness is lowering your expectations.

You kind of need to adjust your level of aggression. If you are top tier you can totally push people around, plow through whole teams, and bully them into the ground. And as part of a flank, it’s easy to get the feeling you can do the same thing when bottom tier. I’m here to tell you you can’t. If you’re going to bully a tier VIII team into the ground, you have to do it one tank at a time, preferrably with a few greens to help you focus fire.

Again, this does not make the SU-100M1 “team dependent” to a higher degree than other complarable tanks. You can totally carry a game in this thing. It has the speed, it has the firepower, it can get a bounce or two, and there aren’t any tanks it’s going to struggle to penetrate. You have all the tools you need to carry the day.

Well, until they get behind you. Or track you in crossfire.

But yeah. First part of the Yolo Wagon grind is in the bag, and it feels good. I spent maybe two and a half million so far, and that’s including the SU-100. Burned through all my useless boosters and dropped a few certificated for Premium time. The only hurdle was grinding the tier IX gun, and since both the tier VII weapons work more than fine, it wasn’t a very big hurdle. As previously noted, that means I’ll be starting the SU-101 grind off a lot more comfortably, and then I’ll have to do the same thing with the tier X gun on that. Easy stuff.

I kind of have the feeling I’m going to be disappointed in the D-54S on the 101 because I used it on the 100M1, but that’s just ridiculous. I fight tier X tanks with the tuned-down version on the T-54 all the time, so it’s still going to be really strong at tier VIII. And sure, 80.000 XP sounds like a lot, but after that I will have tier X firepower at tier VIII, and I’ll be all set all the way up through tier X.

Those last, what? 500.000 XP? will be smooth sailing.

Again, until they get behind me. Or track me in crossfire. You know.

IrmaBecx says the SU-100M1 is totally legit. If you are an OK player, and you think all this brawling action sounds kind of fun, start your Yolo Wagon grind today.

See you out there!


The SU-101


So you’re driving your T-44 around the cesspit of tier VIII, and you want to increase your firepower against the Heavy tanks. Or you are tired of playing your 152 mm lottery machine. Maybe you fell in love with the Yolo Wagon and are just passing through on your way there.

In any case, the SU-101 is basically a T-44 Medium tank with either the 100 mm off the T-54 or the 122 mm off the IS-4 mounted at the back instead of a turret.

If you have done your Russian Mediums already, you’ll have all the engines you need for the entire branch, and you can grind the 100 mm D-54 at tier VII, so the actual grind is pretty much a breeze. All you need is the crew training and tracks. My recommendation is to grind out the tier X weapon too, not just to make the tier IX grind easier, but because I prefer to run it.

And here’s where I’m struggling. Because if you take a T-44 and put a tier X gun on it, that makes it an assault tank in my head, just like the Baby Foch.

And it’s not. Allow me to explain:

This is the Baby Foch assaulting a T-54 using the higher penetration gun:

This is the SU-101 assaulting the same T-54:

As you see, the 101 pretty much has no armour in this situation. The front plate is only 90 mm, which will autobounce anything in the game, but only at 45 degrees angle or more, and the upper casemate is 120 mm, but since you only have four degrees of gun depression, the best you’re going to do is maybe 200 mm of effective armour.

It’s not all bad, of course. The gun mantle is really sturdy and will bounce stuff, and if you can hide the hull, it’s a small target. But the weak frontal armour is going to be the bane of your existence; I often take the most optimistic snap shots and clutch shots straight through it.

The fact the casemate is mounted so far back means the gun articulates behind the central turning point of the tank, and what that means in practice is you are going to have to make wider movements to get the gun in firing position.

It’s awkward. Derpy, even. 258 mm of penetration will do you no good at all zooming harmelessly past your target, and I do miss a lot of shots with it. Since I’ve decided to keep the whole branch, I’m putting spare parts on mine, which both helps and doesn’t help. The problem is your gun articulation, and GLD and Vstabs isn’t going to help with that. They will however help you get the actual shot off a split second faster, and with more than 10 seconds of reload, you want to make them all count.

Yeah, the DPM isn’t great. You are giving up 300 DPM for the higher alpha damage, but I found my damage output actually increased when I switched to the 122 mm weapon. Your mileage may of course vary; I would say both guns are totally viable.

Here’s what usually happens. You are behind cover, you sidle out to take the shot, and either you don’t have enough room to manoeuvre, or it just takes too long to get the shot off, and invariably you take at least one shot in return. You do this two or three times, and if you aren’t dead by then, you are basically combat ineffective for lack of hitpoints.

I’m not going to bore you with all the other common problems casemate TDs are prone to, like getting circled, but the SU-101 is not an easy tank to get your head around. Oh, and did I mention it’s really expensive to run?


The Good News

So it’s not an assault tank. Not primarily, anyway. I mean you can totally bully lower- and some same tier opponents, but what you want to do is play the support role; either supporting the Mediums or the Heavys. Once they tank a bit of damage and thin out the herd, you can move in and be more aggressive, but you don’t want to get focused on early in the game.

This may sound super obvious, but it actually took me around 200 games to figure out.

The thing is, you can make an aggressive play early and tip the scales in your teams favor, but since getting shots off is awkward and you have that 10 second reload and overall lacklustre DPM, you don’t always have the firepower to back your play, or you miss your shots, trade badly and get wrecked.

As with any casemate TD, you have to embrace the “Never Give Up” motto in a close up brawl. Juking, wiggling and angling has gotten me out of quite a few hopeless situations, and the gun mantlet as I said is sturdy. The sides are 90 mm, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than enough to autobounce every single gun in the game. Really, though, kinky angles and moving about is what’s going to save you the most hitpoints.

And the thing does move. It has amazing pickup for carrying such a big gun, and you can easily keep up with Mediums and Light tanks rushing towards a cap. The traverse is good enough to sometimes brawl Light tanks, and I’ve even chased them down on a few occasions. This, it has to be said, is mostly because Light tanks don’t expect casemate TDs to chase after them across the whole map.

It may not have the fastest top speed, but it does have the best power to weight ratio of any tier VIII Tank Destroyer. We’re talking twice that of the others, except the Baby Foch and Jagdpanther II, and it gets off the line at a blistering pace. In fact, there are only two Medium tanks at tier VIII that have better specific power: the T-44, which has the same chassis without the weight of the huge 122 mm M62-C2, and the AMX CDC which has almost twice the horsepower.

Even with 75% crew the thing was proper fast, and maxed out you’ll keep up with Mediums and even Light tanks no problem. Like I said this is both a blessing and a curse; you’ll easily outpace your team getting to your first position, and it’s very easy to get ahead of yourself.

Once you get more comfortable with setting up your shots, the weapon is really satisfying to use. Tier X guns on tier VIII TDs is not unusual, but remember this is a Russian tier X gun; this thing has bias levels calibrated against the Maus and the E100. Sure, it will ghost your shells, bounce the reticule because the hull moved a millimeter or you drove over a twig, and inexplicably fail to penetrate lightly armoured targets with well aimed, perfect side shots all the time.

But it will also hit insane snap shots, ammo rack people no-scope while charging, and hit the most ridiculously optimistic clutch shots, blind shots, and long range speculators. I mean, look at this poor T49, straight across the map:


Notes on Playstyle

So yeah, the armour is kind of weak. You don’t want to trade shots frontally if you can help it. The problem is you easily have the speed to be in someones face 30 seconds after the flag drops, and personally, I blame this fact for most of my failures in the 101. What you want to do is set up either an ambush or supporting fire position at the start of the game, and then use your mobility to prey on the weaknesses of your enemy.

Sounds simple maybe, but it’s a real art. Personally, my main problem is I get bored with sniping really quickly and go looking for action, which is kind of a good news/bad news issue. The good news is I’ll have more opportunities that sometimes turn into one of those “everything fell into place”-games, but the bad news is more often, the action finds me and I get caught in a bad spot.

You need to learn a few tricks to get the most out of the gun, and the first one is if you’re not using autoaim with a button, then go switch that on. While you’re at it, think about adding a second fire button as well. Even if you’re not used to two fire buttons, I promise you there will be times when being able to fire with your other hand will save the day.

The autoaim button will both help and hinder you, but it’s totally worth it. What you do is turn off the auto aim when shooting at moving targets at range so the reticule doesn’t bounce around so much. I’ve gotten quite proficient at this, and started doing it at closer and closer ranges to ensure I get a clean shot. With such a limited gun arc, everything you can do to let the reticule settle for a bit longer will be a huge help.

The hindrance will be of your own doing, because you will forget to turn the autoaim back on again, and the next shot the gun won’t autolock like you are used to, and you’ll miss. This is just a question of practice, and if you don’t use autoaim a lot, you won’t have this issue. Likewise, if you are used to turning off the autoaim so it won’t “stick” to multiple opponents and throw you off, you won’t have a lot of problems.

Your biggest worry is going to be poking out from behind cover and taking a shot. Like I said before, what happens is I’ll be behind a rock, drive out sideways, aim, take the shot, and as I’m backing into cover, I’ll invariably take a return shot that penetrates and does damage. It does sometimes happen that the shell bounces off the front plate, but really, it’s such a small target compared to the rest of the tank showing, you have to get extremely lucky for that to happen.

The only way I’ve found to get around this is to sidescrape out and then drive forwards into cover. This will mean you have less control over the actual shot, but you will spend less time and having less area exposed to incoming fire. The side armour at an autobounce angle is a lot more reliable than the front plate, so in a static situation, that’s going to be your best bet. With 1100 hitpoints, two shots from a Heavy tank is all it takes and you’ll be on slivers of health for the rest of the game, and in the best possible of all worlds, that’s only going to get you 1200 damage, provided you hit, penetrate, and roll for like max damage with High Explosive. Seven or eight hundred with standard AP is more realistic.

So trading shots is pretty much a bust. You want to be in situations where you either shoot at people who aren’t focusing you, can’t see you, don’t know you are there, or don’t have the firepower to trade shots effectively, and as I said that depends a lot on what the rest of your team are doing. If they are being aggressive and pushing forward, you can pretty much just drive around looking for targets of opportunity. If they don’t, you’ll have a lot fewer options, and it can be hard trying to carry a game.

I said the 101 is more powerful than all the other tier VIII TDs, but that’s not the whole story. Only the Jagdpanther II traverses faster, and if you look at tier VIII Heavy tanks, they will typically have somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees of traverse.

You have 36.

That means, in a close encounter, you may well be better off just driving past people and then turning around, because even if you won’t beat their reload or their frontal armour, you will beat their traverse.

Good traverse also means you retain more speed when turning, and this is why you can keep up with and even overtake tanks that are really much faster than you are. I chase Light tanks all the time in my SU-101, and again, I have to blame the speed for constantly getting killed doing this.

You see most Light tanks are used to being hunted, but they aren’t used to being chased down. If you follow them around long enough, they will eventually stop. Not many people can drive a full circle around any given map in combat without running into something or getting stuck on a rock or an incline at least once, and you can always help them slow down with a few Russian-biased no scope HE rounds to the tracks.

The High Explosive deserves a mention. You have 420 alpha, and the HE gives you 500. That’s good if you can get a clean shot at the rear of a tank or at a Light tank, but in reality, at least 60% of the HE shots I fire I would have been better off using regular AP. I just often find the AP is more reliable, so think about it before you switch. How many hitpoints do they have? How many shots do you need? Can you finish them in one round, or will a more reliable 400+ damage do the trick? Remember you have tier X AP penetration that will laugh at Light tank tracks where HE may only hit for two or three hundred at best.

Still, it usually slows them down, so… Consider the range. Can you get the glorious ram kill?


The Bottom Line

So the SU-101 has been a lot of fun, and a lot of tribulation. You take your chances, and they don’t always pay off; but when they do, it’s just fantastic. It’s not an easy drive, and shooting is kind of awkward, but when you get used to the way it moves, it’s like nothing can stop you.

Much like a Russian Medium, it’s not as sturdy as you think, but it can be surprisingly strong. Don’t be afraid to go on the offensive, because the thing can dance, and if you are cornered, all out aggression can end up saving your skin, even against much stronger opponents. Fight like a cornered rat, and you will sometimes come out on top.

Ideally, you will play patiently at middle range, using camo and cover to intimidate and harass the enemy, exploding into sudden, unexpected flashes of extreme violence when least expected.

Try to think of yourself as a force multiplier; the gun brought to a knife fight. Don’t rush into the middle of the rumble and start blasting; you’ll only get stabbed. Likely in the back. Pick a few off at range, gang up on people and execute them quickly from the side, chase down runners and shoot them in the kneecaps or the back. If someone jumps you, focus on them and shoot them in the face until one of you are down, and if you played it right, towards the end you can just walk up and finish off the stragglers.

If you think that sounds like fun, I’m here to tell you it is. It’s a thrill a minute; real on the edge stuff. It’s a challenge, but it’s also fun. If you think it sounds way too complicated when you could just sit at the back and practice leading your targets, there are better options out there for you. The real strength of the 263 line isn’t firepower; it’s mobility. Without it, these tanks are all decidedly average, and if you aren’t into the mobile TD playstyle, this is where you’ll start to struggle for real.

I don’t mean for that to sound condescending, it’s just that the SU-101 takes a lot of it’s cues from Medium tank gameplay, and if you don’t utilise that, you’re not going to get the most out of it. If you prefer Heavy tanks and big alpha guns, then this tank; this whole branch in fact, is just a bad option. At tier VIII, it’s not too late for you to give up.

I’ve heard drivers I respect say they struggled with the Baby Barracuda but did really well in the SU-101, and I’ve heard them say the exact opposite. I think with one of the tier VII, VIII, and IX you are just going to struggle; it may be either one of them, and then tier X is of course a challenge in itself. For me, the SU-101 was a harder drive than the SU-100M1, and I’ve been hovering around 50% WR all the way. I would however be hard pressed to say which one I like better.

But like I said when you put everything on the line like this and manage to pull it off, you will end up getting some amazing results, and in the end that for me is what the game is all about. Consistent performance I feel is secondary to having those really great games, where I pushed both my vehicle and myself to the limit and we came out on top. Where I took a chance to try and be a hero, and for a minute, I actually was.

So, if you want to really know if your positional play and brawling is as good as you think it is, and you don’t mind a bit of a challenge as long as you get to blast defenseless Light tanks with tier X Heavy tank firepower once in a while, then IrmaBecx says drive the SU-101 as fast as it goes.

Or you could drive the ISU-152 like some normie.

Never Give Up!



The SU-101 is a good tank, but needs a specific playstyle to be really successful. That means it’s harder than camping.


Barracuda! The SU-122-54


It’s not often you get to realise one of your long term goals, but a few hours ago I did just that by dropping the credits on my brand new SU-122-54.

I remember when it first came out; it was on the forum header when the new Russian TD branch appeared, and I just thought it looked so formidable. Tough. Menacing. Brutal. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Soviet industrial design most of the time, but this one just looked so right. Like a mean old Barracuda hiding in the tall grass, waiting to attack.

Back then, I didn’t drive Russian tanks at all on general principle, so sadly I thought I was never going to drive one. But I always liked it, I always respected it, and I’ve never felt bad about losing to one. It was also one of the very first tanks I drove when I got access to a press account and tons of free tanks and resources; I pretty much went straight for the Russian Mediums and the Yolo Wagon line.

So yeah, it feels good. And it’s not been too hard; I put like 600 games into the whole grind thus far, that’s with dropping a few hours of free Premium time, and I figure maybe 300 more to get the Obj 263. Looking at the tech tree, it certainly looks worse than it is. A lot of the modules are shared between tanks and can be researched beforehand. I did drop some the gold I’ve been collecting on crew training which will of course bee a huge help, and I’m only missing a track upgrade; everything else is unlocked already.

Well, except the equipment slots of course.


Doesn’t it just look fantastic?


Barracuda at a Glance

Again, we aren’t exactly talking about a refined vehicle. You can tell all about it from the numbers; it’s a T-54 with a 122 mm weapon on it. This time, the more traditional front mounting is used, very similar to the Jagdpanther, which is of course where they got the idea.

The gun is the same 122 mm off the IS-4 you get on the SU-101 (provided you choose to grind it at tier VIII), only this one is a little better. It puts out almost 1300 more DPM and is a tad more stable while moving, and you get one more degree of gun arc either side.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s actually almost 15% better. Also the frontal mounting means setting up your shots won’t be as awkward.

The armour is actually not much better than on the SU-101; the front plate is only 100 mm, and again the gun mantlet is pretty much the only useable piece. Limited gun depression means you can’t angle the front plate over a ridgeline and get autobounces; the angle is too shallow.

Before We continue, it’s worth pointing out I am not approaching the SU-122-54 with any kind of distance or objectivity. I already like this tank. I liked it the moment I saw it because I think it looks super cool. I have driven it already, so I know what I’m getting into. And I am a known supporter and long time fan of fast casemate Tank Destroyers.

Liking something doesn’t mean it’s good, or even accessible. Rolling out with a huge gun and no turret is going to land you in all kinds of troublesome situations sooner or later, and you will then be playing at the limit of both your own and the vehicles capabilities. It’s not always going to work out, and this time you’ll have almost no armour to shield you from the biggest guns in the game; this thing is like the Leopard PTA of Tank Destroyers.

In my case, this is the whole point. I love these tanks because they have mobility, and mobility gives you options. I am resigned to the fact that some of these options will mean failure. Back in the day, people used to call this playstyle “high risk/high reward”, and it’s basically the reason I drive so many Medium tanks.

What I mean is this whole line is not for everyone. If you don’t like brawling Heavy tanks, then there’s really no reason to go for the Yolo Wagon. All the tanks before it will work towards preparing you for smashing that 250 mm front plate into IS-7s and Jagdpanzer E100s while blasting out five thousand DPM on the adrenaline. If doing stuff like that isn’t your goal, then I think the 263 line may be more trouble than it’s worth for you, and, ultimately, disappointing.


Thoughts on Playstyle

The SU-122-54 Barracuda may not be very refined, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsophisticated. You need to play with a little finesse to get the most out of it; use good tactics, maintain situational awareness, and work on your positional play, all while trying to set up good shots and then backing off into cover.

In a sense, it’s very much like a Medium tank. Instead of armour, you have mobility and firepower, so you have to play a little smarter. Pick your fights, choose your targets, and most important of all: run away from bad engagements.

That’s not always an option, though. If you get bum rushed by a swarm of Light and Mediums, you’re not running away from that, and then it’s time to dance. If there are like three of them, you are likely going to lose. But backing off from fights you don’t feel confident about is a key aspect of the Barracuda playstyle, and this is why mobile TDs are so dangerous. You have the mobility to use your tank as a kind of force multiplier, moving between situations trying to make the fight as unfair as possible for the enemy, and moving away when it gets too unfair for you.

This is also why casemate TDs sometimes struggle to win games. Moving between situations is fine, but you also have to deal with them effectively once you get there. And if no one else on your team is doing anything, these situations won’t develop for you to take advantage of in the first place; you won’t have any map control, and you are down to trading shots from static positions, which pretty much means negating your key strengths.

While the playstyle has similarities, the SU-122-54 is not a Medium tank, and you will mistake it for one at your peril. Yes, you have fearsome firepower, but it’s all pretty monodirectional. What will most often decide engagements between you and Medium tanks is the surrounding terrain, and this is why your positional play is so important; you always want to be where the terrain will be some kind of a hindrance to your enemies.


Back to Reality

So I got sick of waiting, and fired up the useless boosters so I could at least get some tracks on the thing. I mean that is a tier X gun, and it’s got the rammer, so if I keep back a bit, I should still be all right?

The upgrades are mostly going to help in critical situations; they give you an edge you wouldn’t otherwise have, and so you are able to stretch the limits a little. But this whole line is basically about positioning. My friend Gentlefun says if you get shot in the SU-101, it’a your own fault because you were in a bad position to begin with.

This is also where I lack a lot of experience. I don’t know all the classic ambush spots on the maps, because most of the time, that’s not how I play. You can kind of tell from the way I talk about the Barracuda I can’t wait to get out there and brawl some Mediums with it, and that may not be the best initial focus.

From a philosophical standpoint, it makes sense to learn how to position the weapon and mitigate return fire before you run off to actually get to positions. No amount of improved armour is going to change the fact your front plate is 100 mm thick, or that the gun sits on the left side of it. That means you will be looking to position yourself to the left of things, and you will need different reference points on either side to find the right sidescraping angles.

So, with some vague promise to “take it easy out there”, off I went.


As Stock as it Gets

So yeah, it’s a bit of a struggle. This is one of those tanks where being top tier the first few games doesn’t actually help a lot, because you’re not the type of vehicle to lead the battle. Even if I make a good contribution towards the win, it doesn’t always matter.

But I’ve also had a glimpse of what this vehicle can do; rush to a forward position, kill the spotters, short flank, dodge and weave, keep them spotted, and then just plow through the survivors, hunt them down and no-scope them into oblivion.

Once I got the improved controls on it, things went a little better, and I now win more than I lose at least. It’s kind of a drag knowing I have a week more of waiting for timers, and by then I will have probably ground out the Yolo Wagon already.

The hard part, really, is finding your place in the world. You have the speed, but if you push forward alone, you’ll just get smashed. You can bounce dozens of shots off the gun mantlet with 100 hitpoints left, and then trade shots with a low tier Medium and get penned every shot the next game. The armour is really the definition of “unreliable”.

But it sometimes works, and that’s like the mindset you have to get into. You need to take a few chances, because they will sometimes pay off. Like with the Leopard 1, you can’t be scared driving the Barracuda; you have to show confidence, otherwise it’s not going to work.

Well. At least I don’t think it’s going to work otherwise. Sure, you can play this tank as a sniper at the back, only pushing forward when there aren’t enough targets, or follow other tanks around, or something. But I think if you aren’t using your mobility enough, that’s selling the tank short.

Two things about the SU-122-54 I find are distinctly “Russian”: mobility and firepower. Both, you might say, are simultaneously better and worse than you expect them to be.

48 km/h doesn’t sound that fast, and sometimes it isn’t. But the pickup is great, and you seldom move slower than 30 no matter the terrain. This means you’ll spend more time at higher speeds, and so you’ll be faster than you think you are. More importantly, you’ll be much faster than you are expected to be.

It’s the same with the gun. It will hit the most insane clutch shots, go through E75s and IS-7s like butter, and then turn around and miss perfect side shots at Light tanks and French Heavys. It’s not derpy, just… well, Russian I guess. With the narrow gun arc, it’s easy to compound the problems by moving the chassis accidentally, or snapping the shot off too early, but the thing will also miss or fail to penetrate perfectly aimed shots, at close range, at weak targets.

I guess I don’t pay enough tribute to Stalin. Or maybe Wargaming nerfed me again.

But basically, all you do is hang back at the start, try to get a few shots in, and then you go on the prowl; looking for flanking and crossfire opportunities and isolated enemies. Like I said it’s not a very refined tank; any refinement lies in the execution of the playstyle.

Simple, yet complicated.

Like the game itself.


Going Forwards

So I’ll expect I’ll drop some Premium time and have the 263 ground out by the holidays, and then I’ll spend two weeks waiting on spare parts timers while I continue driving the 122-54.

The Barracuda is the perfect Yolo Wagon trainer, because it teaches you the same playstyle only with less armour. Moving up to the 263 will be like going from the Leopard PTA to the E50 M.

For me, though, the grind is already over. I have the Barracuda, which is the one I really wanted, and in a week it will have Vstabs on it.

I don’t really drive a lot of tier IX except for the E50, and I missed out on the Kpz 70, so it’s really great having a new tier IX tank I’m really excited about and enjoy driving.

But that’s me. Is the Barracuda for you? Well, not necessarily. I think if you get sick of having no gun depression and can’t get your head around playing fast casemate TDs, you will have figured that out at tier VII ot VIII. Tier IX is where it gets real; you have less reliable armour, you have to really work on your positioning and setting up your shots, and even then the gun and the armour is going to let you down from time to time.

Remember this is a tank that good players say is hard to drive. It can be a lot of fun, and it can be really successful, but it takes a bit of work before you get there. The grind itself isn’t bad at all, and you can certainly camp or free XP your way past it, but you will be missing out on the opportunity to prepare yourself properly for the 263, and I think if you’re not playing it actively, you are letting the tank down and missing out.

IrmaBecx says if you are going to drive the SU-122-54, then flank hard!

See you out there.


The End of the Line

I got some bonus Premium time after the update, and so I ground out the Yolo Wagon early this morning. A little less than 300 games, so around 900 in all to complete the grind.

The last few dozen games were just a blur. You learn who you can bully and who you can’t, you camp a little and then relocate, you poke and trade with Heavys, or you run with the pack and swarm isolated targets. The SU-122-54 is everything I dreamed it would be, and after a few hundred games, I’m getting to where I can sometimes do it justice, because it’s a much better tank than I am a driver, and it doesn’t even have a Vstab yet.

And it’s not hard. I mean it’s a Medium tank with a Heavy tank gun on it. Just hearing that should already give you a few ideas about how you might want to drive it. Basically, you have two weaknesses: you don’t have a turret, and your armour isn’t super reliable. You have to agree that as far as weaknesses go, that’s not a whole lot to worry about.

In fact, I think if you worry too much you aren’t going to do the tank justice. Sometimes you need to just drop the hammer and go for it, hit the adrenaline and hope to get that crucial bounce. Live fast. Push the limits.

I can tell you if you don’t push the limits, you’ll never get even close to getting an Ace in this thing…

I’ve had some fantastic brawls in the SU. Taken down hapless tier X Mediums who thought I would be a pushover. Chased down Light tanks. Hit weakspots no-scope doing fifty. Gotten bounce after bounce with less than twenty hitpoints left. Rammed tier X Heavy tanks and DPM:ed them down. I have COD:ed Heavy tanks, TDs, Medium tanks, even Light tanks with a bit of poetic licence.

My favourite thing to do is charge straight at Heavy tanks; they think I’m going to facehug, but I go straight past them because I know they may have a turret, but they’re still not going to beat my traverse. By the time they’ve turned around, I’m already coming straight at them again, hit them, take the tracks off, then go past them again; all the while firing every seven seconds or so.

And yes, I could spend more time being patient and keeping my head down I suppose, but you don’t drive the 263 line to learn patience. You drive it to learn how to flank hard. You drive it for the thrills out on the flanks. Tank-on-tank violence, up close and personal.

This also solves the problem with the shell speed not being fantastic. Sniping is kind of a bust anyway, but it does tend to penetrate when it actually hits something.

Strangely, I’ve not struggled at all with the four degrees of gun depression. I think this is down to a combination of having driven the previous two tanks in the line, and the gun being forward mounted. If you struggled with the 100M1 and the 101, this one will be easier in that respect.

I’ts not cheap to run. I blew prolly a million just driving it. I run the full-race combat setup with adrenaline, and I invariably use it every game to put out more damage. Multiple targets? Drop the adrenaline. Light tank trying to flee? Drop the adrenaline. Going for the brawl? Drop the adrenaline. Last tank left and they’re all coming? Drop the adrenaline.

I also regularly blow both the repair kits, because the driver and gunner and loader all get killed regularly, and the tracks fall off, and the gun gets hit, and ammo racks get damaged all the time. It gets expensive. But yeah, I had set aside like 10 or 12 million for the grind, so it’s all within budget. Yolo Wagon bought. Spare parts lined up. All done but the waiting.

You may think this is a lot of text for what is basically just another casemate TD, but that I guess is a testament to how much these tanks appeal to the imagination. And I think they either appeal to you or they don’t, but the bottom line is this:

The Object 263 line is a lot of fun to drive.

It’s a lot of fun to drive because these tanks all have a pretty unique playstyle, they are highly mobile, and given the right circumstances, they can be ruthlessly effective.

And fun. Lots and lots of fun.

So that’s my takeaway from the Yolo Wagon grind. It’s been really fun. I thought it was going to be brutal, and I thought it would take a lot longer than it did, but it really wasn’t bad at all, and it wasn’t as complicated a grind as I thought it would be. None of these tanks felt like a hurdle, although I think it’s likely you will struggle a bit with at least one of them.

Do you have what it takes to drive the Barracuda? Because all you need is like 11 million credits and the will to go through with it.

Like Medium tanks, fast Tank Destroyers like the SU-122-54 will always have their place in the game meta; they will never be obsolete, because mobility is always relevant. And once you start getting the hang of the playstyle and stop worrying, you will find that Russian bias working in your favour more and more.

Flank harder!


FXCK YOUR IS-7! The Obj 263 “Yolo Wagon”


You may recall back in december I was grinding the 263 line. I also got it done, but then of course I had to wait two weeks for all the timers, and I finally got around to driving a few games.

It’s going pretty well.

You may also recall I am having a bit of down time, just hanging out in my garage, clearing some missions, and trying to drive my favourite tanks and have a few good games in them. Usually that means driving my Rudy or the Black Dog, or maybe the little Vampire Batmobile, but sometimes I rev up one of my tier X thoroughbreds and let them stretch their legs.

Starting to sound like Jay Leno here. I can tell you I am not the president of the “more spare parts than brains” club. Also Leno would prolly still have the Mark I in his garage.

Anyway, it’s all been pretty casual, and so this morning I thought I’d roll out in the Yolo Wagon and hunt some noobs.


The Weapon of Choice

So what can I say about the Yolo Wagon? You all know it. It’s an IS-7 cabriolet with a huge 130 mm modified naval gun on it; the magnificent Central Artillery Design Bureau C-70A.

You would think it’s the gun off an IS-7, but it’s just not the same weapon. Everything about it is better except the gun articulation. For one thing it has one thousand three hundred more DPM. That’s sixty-three percent of an IS-7s total hitpoints. The total DPM of the 263 is one hundred and eighty-eight percent of the IS-7s total hitpoints; that means you can chew through almost two of them every minute.

Anyway, comparing it to the IS-7 is pretty meaningless. They chopped the top off and made it mid engined, so now the crew have more space to work properly, plus you get two loaders. Also they got rid off that pike nose and just kept welding on armour plates at like 60 degrees angle on the front of it instead. It goes faster, turns faster, and has like 20 horsepower per ton. I mean, it’s a total Medium tank. A convertible grand tourer.

There is of course another reason to be talking about the IS-7. Not only is it the genesis of the Yolo Wagon, it is also its natural prey, and it is in fact the very reason I decided to grind the Yolo Wagon in the first place.

Because it’s all about fear.


The Fear Factor

You all know I hate the IS-7. It’s my nemesis. I mean I can take them down, but it’s always a pain, and so often I just don’t have time to chew through all their hitpoints with my 105 mm Medium tank guns. You can pound on that cockroach shell all day; they just don’t seem to want to die, and there always seems to be more and more of them everywhere.

Finally, I just kind of gave up and got myself a 263, because I know if I can position myself properly, it can take out any tank in the game, no sweat.

“Come at me, bro!” Yolo Wagon from the business side


The Yolo Wagon is a thoroughbred, but that’s mostly because it didn’t require a whole lot of breeding. It’s a very basic vehicle.

Is it beautiful? Well, not exactly. But it has that typical Soviet engineering look, and it looks very impressive, although it isn’t really that big. With the rear mounted gun, it’s about the size of a Medium tank. I think it looks fantastic.

But what attracted me to the 263 is it’s a formidable weapon. If you just manage to keep people in front of you, and wiggle and angle a bit, there really isn’t a lot to be afraid of out there. Coming from a Medium background, the massive firepower is a joy, and once you get into it, those constant bounces off the front plates are just so satisfying.

I feel safer in the 263 than in any of my Medium tanks. Not afraid of anything. And you’re not going to scare a tier X Heavy tank with your Medium, but bearing down on them in the 263 doing 50, that’s another story. That’s likely to put the fear of god into them. Or, you know, Stalin. Whoever.

That’s pretty much it. You get firepower, mobility, and good frontal armour, and you give up side and rear protection and having a turret. And that’s all I really need.


The Hunt

I’m not going to try and teach you to drive an open topped tier X Tank Destroyer. On one hand, it’s pretty easy, but at the same time it can be extremely complex.

And that’s what I like about it. A Medium tank is guaged towards balance between its capabilities. In comparison, the Yolo Wagon has a few massive strengths and some debilitating weaknesses; like the huge ammo racks on either side of the crew compartment, not to mention not being able to turn the gun sideways more than eight degrees total. It’s either super strong or super weak depending on the situation, and it’s up to me to try and put myself in those situations where it’s super strong.

As a concept, that’s not very complicated. But the execution can be as complex as you allow it to be; it’s down to your imagination, ingenuity and ability to improvise; adapt; overcome that sets the limits. The combination of freedom of movement and situational strengths is what makes the 263 so fascinating to me.

You can make things pretty easy for yourself, just back into a corner and everyone will be in front of you. Or you can hit the gas, go out on the flanks and see what opportunities arise out there.

Sure, these opportunities include getting HESHed by death stars, but so does staying in a corner, sooner or later.

Then there is the brawling. I love to brawl. Seizing the right opportunity and just going for it, trusting my skill, luck, and my vehicle to handle it. The 263 can totally handle it; like I said its natural prey is the IS-7.

So what happened this morning is of course I got into a face to face brawl with an IS-7. There was a small mound between us that hid my lower plate, and the IS was a total goner, except there was a Centurion 7/1 with a stock gun behind me.

That’s all it takes. I can’t turn around because the IS will hit my side. I can’t go forward, because the IS will hit my lower plate. All I can do it try to take it out as fast as I can, but as usual I exploded before the cavalry arrived.

Too much Yolo again.

You can’t win them all, I guess.


So this is it. The Yolo Wagon grind, in about 11.000 words. If you haven’t had enough Yolo Wagon by now, please enjoy another game I lost; this time along with fellow Community Contributor “Pancham”/Gentlefun and Flytox: