Struggle Street – The T-34-2
So I just spent about 100 games getting the T-34-2 fully upgraded with stage I equipment, fully trained crew, and all the modules; that’s with using boosters and a few hours of free Premium time.
It’s been a bit of a struggle, I can tell you that.
But it’s also been fun. At least it’s been a lot more fun that I thought it was going to be. My feeling was the T-34-2 was going to be the “black sheep”, or biggest hurdle of the Chinese Medium line, but I’ve actually enjoyed driving it quite a bit. It’s not nearly as weak as I expected, and when you get into a good position, the thing performs really well.
You may recall I have always advocated buffing the 122 mm gun on the Russian T-44 to make it a viable option for gameplay, because at the moment, it’s just not. The T-44-122 is too weak, it doesn’t work. The T-34-2 with the 122 mm may not be super strong, but it totally works.
I thought I’d walk you through it, and try to explain why I think that is, exactly.
The Sum of the Parts
Out of the box, the thing is reminiscent of the previous T-34-1, only it’s slightly larger. You will have to unlock the second turret in order to mount the 100 mm top gun off the previous tank, and then you can either run the 100 mm off the Type 59, or the 122 mm 37-122JT for the rest of the grind. All you are missing at that point will be the tier IX engine and the track upgrade; I did them in that order, saving the 100 mm for last.
If you decide to run the tier VIII 100 mm, you are basically driving an alternative Type 59; gun stats are very similar, although the T-34-2 aims a lot faster, but doesn’t depress or elevate as far. Dispersion numbers on the move is also worse than on the Hype.
The 122 mm loses a bit of DPM in exchange for that higher alpha, but it aims even faster than the 100 mm; more than twice as fast as the Type 59. Once you get into the playstyle, this thing will snapshot like a boss; I can’t wait to get some Vstabs on mine.
Otherwise, the armour isn’t quite as strong as on the Hype, but remember that is for all intents and purposes a tier VIII T-54, so that’s to be expected. The T-34-2 is lower, shorter, and the smaller turret is mounted slightly further forward on the chassis. Being lighter, and having that tier IX engine, the T-34-2 has better specific power, so it should be more mobile, although the 59 has it beat for top speed.
So what you need to do is basically decide if you want to be driving a Type 59, only smaller, or a T-34-1, only bigger. My initial feeling is both are completely viable options.
Chinese Monster? Well, sort of. Maybe.
Notes on Playstyle
Doing the actual module grind, there’s not a lot you can do except face facts. Even fully upgraded, the T-34-2 is nowhere even close to being overpowered, so you will have to resign yourself to the support role. Don’t try to be a hero, don’t push too far forward, and don’t try to pull off any fancy Medium tank plays, because you just don’t have the mobility, the armour, or the firepower to get yourself out of sticky situations just yet.
I will be honest and say I haven’t been following that advice myself; I’ve been pushing pretty hard to see what the thing can do, and I can tell you it’s no use. Your grind is much better spent working on figuring out how to set up shots with the limited gun depression; five degrees as usual, and getting your head around the curious combination of razor quick aimtime and bad dispersion while moving or traversing. You really want to be standing still for a split second before you let the shot fly, and of course getting the timing right will take a bit of practice.
Another thing you should be exploring is how to angle the armour. Neither the front plate nor the sides look very good on paper; 70 and 45 mm respectively, but that does mean people will need upwards of 135 mm caliber guns to overmatch it, and there isn’t a gun in the game that will overmatch the front plate. In other words, side scraping out to max 20 degrees should work fine. That’s pointing the gun in line with the inside of the front drive wheels.
Against some tier VII targets, the armour can be really formidable. and hull down your turret will present between 200 and 350 mm of effective armour, but on the whole your armour plating isn’t fantastically strong. Count on mobility, keeping your head down, and proper positioning to hold on to your hitpoints and keep you alive instead.
If you have a bit of cover to work from, and they can’t push on you, you can trade shots with Heavy tanks, but this should be either an extravagance or a last resort. What you want to be doing is working the flanks, tanking down Lights and Mediums, and giving supporting fire from intermediate range. Shell speed isn’t fantastic, but it gets the job done if you can either take your time aiming or snap shot at closer range.
Other than that, stick to the Chinese guerilla warfare tactics, and there’s no reason why you can’t be successful in the T-34-2. You are not a frontline brawler or a flanking monster; if you are called upon to carry the game, you will have to carry from the back and take your time to get the job done.
So yeah, thus far my experience has been the T-34-2 is not the struggle I thought it was going to be. I kind of like it, actually. The superior aimtime and faster reload solves the problems the T-44 has with its 122 mm armament, and it is I think the “proper” choice for this tank.
If you disagree, the 100 mm option is also viable, and you can easily grind through to the WZ-120 without unlocking the 122 mm at all.
But I think you would be doing yourself a disservice. Learning to use the higher alpha weapon with the super quick aimtime is I think the key to being truly successful in the T-34-2, and it will set you up for playing the two top tier tanks int he line. I suspect you can drive the WZ-120 as well using one of the 100 mm options, making it a kind of ersatz-T-54, but sooner or later you are going find yourself in the commanders seat of the 121, and then you won’t have any choice but running the 122 mm; you might as well get used to the playstyle early on.
All in all, grinding out the modules and crew on the T-34-2 has been a bit of a chore, but not nearly as difficult as I imagined. Once you start getting your head around it, and a few bits of equipment on it, you can be surprisingly effective; and once it’s maxed out, you will find it can be surprisingly strong.
And for that reason, IrmaBecx says drive one if you think the high alpha playstyle sounds like fun. Otherwise just get the T-44, or if you have the means, why not the T-54 Mod 1 or the Hype 59.
Yea, the T-34-2 is not a Type 59. But it’s not too far off, and with the 122 mm, in some situations it can even be a little better. If you think that sounds preposterous, just give up and drive a Russian Medium instead.