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.
[EDIT: The AMX 30 1er Prototype has since made the SA47 one of my favourite 100 mm weapons. Had I made this list today, it would have been included.]
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!