Further Notes on the WZ-111 1-4
So I’m halfway to the tier X WZ-113 already, slogging it out in tier IX in my huge Chinese brawler.
At least I think it’s a brawler, but then I think most tanks are brawlers.
There is some circumstantial evidence. I got the improved controls on it, and all the crew skills that make stuff turn better are maxed out. As it is, I get 36 degrees of traverse, which is the same as my AMX 50 Foch. Which is also a brawler.
The kinky semi-pike nose and turret front can bounce some big shells, especially if you do your best to try and get in their face and mess up their shots, but you want to be careful so they don’t have a shot straight down at it. Also HESH doesn’t bounce.
Slightly below 12 seconds reload is definitely a stretch as far as brawling is concerned, but my Foch 155 gets 13.6, and it can still brawl, so… Granted, the Foch has more firepower, but it has the same gun depression and doesn’t get a turret.
Still, the comparison I am always making in my head is to a Medium tank. It’s not the WZ’s fault; I approach all tanks from a Medium perspective, and so when things don’t go my way, I always end up wishing I was driving one of my trusty Mediums.
But I am trying to broaden my horizons a little here. And I do like driving the WZ-111 1-4. A lot. It’s hilariously expensive to run, the stupid Chinese 130 mm misses and bounces all over the place, and the thing keeps exploding all the time. I didn’t even survive my Mastery game. Also the thing is wide as a barn, it takes ages to get it rolling, and… well, that’s all I got. It’s just a marvellous tank.
That is not to say it is without problems or frustrations, but I think many of those frustrations come from simply driving a Heavy tank at tier IX in the first place, and not from the actual vehicle. Because as far as i can tell, there is absolutely nothing wrong wih it.
In fact, I think it’s one of the better tier IX Heavy tanks out there.
But more than that, The WZ-111 model 1-4 is everything I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed. It’s not hard to get your head around what it’s all about, and I was just hoping it was going to work.
I knew that if it did work, it was going to be a monster. A tier IX IS-7, or a Chinese IS-8. Bushka called it a tier IX Glacial; they buffed that one recently in case you hadn’t heard.
Oblivious to my tireless efforts to bring tank knowledge to the people, the Chinese Heavy tanks aren’t in Armour Inspector yet, so I haven’t been able to check my angles properly. What I ended up doing was ask my friend and colleague Frodo to take a few screenshots of the armour profile.
From what I can tell, the WZ-111 1-4 has spaced armour along the sides, in contrast to the WZ-113. You can see the edge between the two armour plates in these pictures:
This is about the limit for side scraping the upper hull. See edit below.
If you look at this angle, it seems the HEAT round will go right though, and it might. You have around 250 mm of effective armour, which is right at the edge of what an APCR round would go through. A HEAT round will have more penetration, but the spaced armour might also make it fail, like it did here.
As you can see, you can get some really kinky angles on that front and side armour. The turret you just basically have to point at people for it to work, except for the hatches. That is basically a strengthened T-54 turret, so it’s practically made for brawling. From a Medium tank perspective, there is just the obvious trade off between armour and mobility to deal with.
So: It’s likeable, it’s effective, and it’s fun to drive. Where’s the problem?
The “problem” is I’ve blown at least a million credits driving it already. As it is, I can’t afford to buy the 113 once I get it unlocked, which will be really soon, and it’s because I just don’t grind credits anymore. I drive the model 1-4 instead.
Driving a Heavy tank can be amazing, and the tank itself doesn’t have to be particularly amazing in order for that to happen. It just needs to work. It needs to work, because Heavy tanks fill important roles on the battlefield; They halt enemy advances, they tank incoming damage, and they are supposed to be the main damage dealers.
And for someone who has spent a lot of time being disappointed by the tactics of Heavy tank drivers, it’s nice to shoulder that burden yourself once in a while and be the one who is supposed to be driving straight at the enemy.
It’s a thankless job. People don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the Heavy tanks on their team, or supporting them. But you have the potential to carry the team on your back, shield them with your armour, and take out your strongest opponents.
So from this rudimentary, Medium tank oriented perspective, the WZ-111 model 1-4 is about the best Heavy tank you can get your hands on, and if you’ve already done the Chinese Mediums, it’s a pretty short grind to get it. Someone who is a more dedicated Heavy tank driver than I am might not be as impressed with the 1-4 as I am, but I think they would still agree it’s a really good tank.
So yeah, I got the Chinese Curse for real this time. Never drove a Chinese tank I didn’t like. Never bought a Chinese Premium I didn’t like. And now all I want to do is drive my tier IX Chinese Heavy tank. I’m having such a blast I’ve almost forgotten to be excited about the tier X WZ-113, which is going to be even better.
Or will it?
Stepping up from tier IX to tier X you get a thousand more DPM. More power, faster aimtime, better accuracy, and 20% better gun depression, so yeah, it’s better. But it also doesn’t get to bully tier VIII IS clones with it’s giant 130 mm converted field gun.
I’ll be honest and say if you look beyond the hyperbole and my Chinese infatuation, all that is left is a Chinese IS-8. Or a tier IX IS-7, whichever you like. I appreciate that may not sound terribly exciting to everyone, especially not seasoned Heavy tank drivers.
Then again, you may still be excited about the fact that it works really well. Or that it looks cool. Or that it has a big gun. All valid reasons.
The WZ-111 1-4 may not be radically different from anything we’ve seen before, but it is at least a bit novel. And since it performs really well, there is not a lot of risk in choosing the novel option for once. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. The Chinese Heavys have carved out a small niche for themselves in the pantheon of Heavy tanks, but that doesn’t mean they are niche vehicles. They are very approachable, very likeable, and not very hard to drive.
If that sounds boring to you, then that’s your loss. Or maybe I’ve got some kind of Chinese fever, that doesn’t allow me to see things clearly and just get an IS-7 like everyone else.
Either way, the WZ-111 1-4 is the most fun I’ve had in a while, and if you catch me driving anything other than the WZ-111 1-4 these days, it’s either for a review or because I am grinding credits to but even more Chinese Heavy tanks.
See you guys out there.
I’ll be the one with the 130 mm.
Mao says “Hy”.
I had a conversation with Liz, who is from Vanguard and a much more experienced Heavy tank driver than I, about the WZ armour profile. He noted the turret roof is only 30 mm thick and so will be overmatched by anything bigger than a 90 mm, and that it can’t really side scrape.
In steps Blitz Hangar, which has up to date armour models of the WZ-111, and I had a closer look at the side armour:
It turns out the 1-4 isn’t quite as good at side scraping as I though it was. The bottom of the hull, which is only 20 mm thick, angles up forming the bottom part of the side armour, meaning any gun you will face is going to overmatch it. Also the rear drive wheel is exposed, and the front of that is 20 mm.
The main part of the side armour behind the tracks is 80 mm. That’s not going to work past 20 degrees of side angle, but less than that and it’s an autobounce.
The upper part of the side armour is actually 120 mm, and has 30 mm of spaced armour, so that’s going to side scrape much better. 30 degrees is no problem, but by then your lower side armour is only around 140 mm, effective.
Adjust your playstyle accordingly.
Special thanks to Mr. Liz the squid-sexer and pet-puncher for the input. Also thanks to Blitz Hangar for the new armour models. They are in 3D, go have a look: