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Kilpanic

T-34-85: The Gateway to the Soviet Medium Tank Line

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The Alexander Nevsky, my trusty T-34-85, has been a solid, fun tank for a big chunk of my time in WoT. This month's Tank Focus has inspired me to make it my most-played tank, and as I bring this chapter to a close (25 more games to go at the time of this post) I thought I'd share my thoughts about this superlative Jack of All Trades.

Equipment, Skills and Loadout: 

Equipment: GLD to help with the poor aim time. Rammer of course. Vents for an overall boost to all-around decent tank. Standard consumables - a hit that will set you on fire will probably mess you up too much for an Auto Extinguisher to be worth it.

Skills: Sixth Sense of course. I like Deadeye for the gunner, though Snap Shot is also a solid choice. The Driver could use Off-Road Driving first. Safe Stowage is always a good choice on a Loader. The Radioman can go straight for camo/repairs, as you are not seeking vision control in this tank.

Brothers in Arms is an excellent perk for this tank, and its cumulative effect with other skills and equipment should not be underestimated.

Finally, I have prioritized Repairs over Camouflage for my crew, as I tend to be close in to mitigate the 85mm's relatively poor accuracy.

Loadout: I played 46 AP and 2 HE before premiums for credits, then went to 36/12. As the '85 is the Tank of the Month for May, I have found that I can afford to shoot more APCR, and so I'm using 30/18.

Hints for playing this tank stock:

-Play the T-34 until you have enough free xp to research all the modules.

Notable features of the T-34-85 and how to use them:

Robust turret front. The T-34-85 has 90mm of frontal armor, coupled with a narrow mantlet and a lozenge-shaped turret that offers highly-sloped turret cheeks. This tank *will* bounce shots off its turret front thanks to this combination of strong armor and sharp angles. In all situations it's worth seeking locations that allow you to fight from cover. Remember to use destructible terrain to your advantage - cars and walls can soak the shot you need to return fire and find a new spot to fight from!

The ideal place to fight from is behind a piece of vertical, sloping cover, like the rubble piles in Himmelsdorf. The front of your tank emulates this slope and allows you to 'pop-out' while exposing the minimum possible surface. Your profile is your best armor!

'Utility' depression. 7 degrees won't help you attain a hull-down firing position, but it is useful in maintaining target acquisition in rough terrain. This is most useful in a point-blank dogfight, where you have to keep moving to maximize the chance of forcing a bounce or a clean miss. Avoid hilly terrain, however, lest you find yourself aiming at the sky in a critical situation.

Rate of fire. When you were in the T-34 you probably learned the joys of the 57mm, and the efficiency of the sudden flanking maneuver, appearing suddenly at close range and clicking madly until the enemy blows up.

Don't do this in the T-34-85.

Make no mistake, the D5T-85BM has an excellent RoF for a gun with its alpha (highest among Tier 6 mediums!). But it's no spamcannon like the M1A2 on the Shermans or the 75L70 on the Panzers. Its ~5s reload time is, however, perfect for a rocking maneuver: aim, fire, and duck under cover until your reload is half done (about 2-3 seconds), then pop out again for just long enough to aim carefully. You can repeat the maneuver ad infinitum or use the momentum of a 'duck' to reposition fully.

Here are some playstyle ideas in replay form:

Victory!, T-34-85, Redshire, 5/19/13 7:15 PM: 1,510 nXP, 1,173 dmg

Here I'm playing an attrition and spotting game, mostly waiting for my teammates to get in gear, then deciding that vision and arty are going to win the game. Note that this is not an ideal spot for the T-34-85, but it's such an important strategic position that I make it work, mostly by staying constantly in motion and engaging very carefully.

Victory!, T-34-85, Abbey, 5/19/13 9:18 PM: 1,116 nXP, 1,688 dmg

In this game I use the brawling capacity of the '85 and some fortuitous teamwork to take apart the enemy. When I am engaged in the open by the Churchill, I know that my only hope is to click my way out, as his rate of fire can keep me permatracked.

Victory!, T-34-85, Port, 5/19/13 2:03 PM: 984 nXP, 1,033 dmg

A somewhat pedestrian game but I think a good example of how to fight from the bottom. I'm in the front at first, but I make myself a very difficult albeit attractive target. I move to stay with the 8s in the endgame and help ensure victory.

Feel free to ask me any questions you like about this tank.

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This is a straight repost of a recent short guide I wrote for the WoT forum. I have no idea if it's pitched at the right level for this audience - please let me know! 

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love this tank, at first when going up the USSR med line I planned to sell every tank on the way to T-54, but this tank so good that now it have a permanent slot in my garage.

 

having 66% win rate in it so far.

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I love this tank, it's just has an awesome mix of stats that make it a very well rounded tank, ideal for random battles.

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We have gateway tanks now?

 

"Sure, son.  'It's just a 34-85!'  That's always how it starts.  But before you know it, a little 34-85 won't do anymore.  You'll be at a party, and some cute platoon mate will suggest something stronger.  A month later, you'll be robbing banks to pay for gold rounds in your HEAT54."

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Love this tank and it is a workhorse moneymaker for me. I find it fairly well balanced with speed, nimbleness, decent armor and a good fast firing gun. I am halfway up my 3rd skill set. All my Commanders start off with 6th sense (to me the most important of all for any tank that will encounter any passive/active scouting duties) which almost always buy you more battle time if not give you a chance to squeeze of 1 or 2 more rounds.

I am working in getting a KV-1S but do faily well when I bring this into company battles that typically have the KV-1S/Hellcat teams assembled. In those company battles I typically am in the top 4 of my company in damage dealt and often in the top 3. I love outscoring the KV-1S' on my team. I usually load out with binocs, camo and rammer. My ammo will consist of 5 HE, 15 Gold rounds and the rest AP. I do not start off any battles loading Gold but rather will use it at the last if needed or to swing a critcal duel after a few bounces. They are expensive after all.

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Megabump. I think this tank is better than the 1S. Needs more attention.

thats a back from the grave sized bump there.

 

I didn't play the T-34-85. I went through the KV-13, but the T-43 is practically a T-34-85 at tier 7, or, its close, and apart from the fact it couldnt carry sometimes, I liked it overall. I can imagine that the 34-85 is a T-43 a tier lower, so I can see how good it may be.

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I'm with Rexie on this. My win rate is higher in the 34-85 than the 1S (by lots) and it is much more fun.

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Actually had a crewless KV-13 in my garage, but decided to buy this tank anyway.

 

Once you're done with the stock grind, even without the engine, this tank feels great. Alpha is nice, gun handling is workable and its APCR rounds are useful in tier 7 and 8 matches. I may keep this along with the T-54 and Object 140 when I get them.

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+1 Great review/guide!

 

I like to see "map tactic" type stuff or edited replays on Youtube instead of the full replays...

 

Any popular routes you like to travel on a certain map in this thing?

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At almost 50 battles I think I'm starting to figure this tank out. Still need to figure out what to do when I'm in a T8 battle but its coming along. Top gun is punchy, mobility is good, can get the occasional bounce, me likey!

 

Thinking this one will be on my keep list.

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We have gateway tanks now?

 

"Sure, son.  'It's just a 34-85!'  That's always how it starts.  But before you know it, a little 34-85 won't do anymore.  You'll be at a party, and some cute platoon mate will suggest something stronger.  A month later, you'll be robbing banks to pay for gold rounds in your HEAT54."

Its totally true. Have this marvelous little tank just sitting in my garage for a long time now with a decent 2-skill crew. But no intention to sell it either.

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Best tank in the game #Trufax

 

I remember annoying my clan by telling them that the T34-85 is the "best tank evar!" on a daily basis.

 

Then finally one of them bought a T34-85 and asked me "how do I play it" and I realised that despite having played about 500 games in it I couldn't answer the question. It ended up like this:

 

"Do medium tank things"

"like what?"

"Do all the medium tank things!"

"Should I be aggresive"

"Yes! But don't get shot"

"So I should be careful"

"Yes!"

"But you said be aggresive"

"..."

etc etc

 

So thanks for writing out something legible and helpful that I can direct them to.

 

I think it's also natural to not like the T34-85 when you first get it. Probably because the gun is so different from the T34. But it's well worth sticking to.

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I finally feel like I'm starting to better understand medium play after coming down off the Centurion 7/1 and playing through the Russian medium line (eventually for the T-54/Obj. 140/62a). The T-34-85 feels like butter after coming off of the camo-less Centurions. I don't even have sixth sense yet and the camo for the T-34-85 still feels OP in comparison!

 

This particular replay of the T-34-85 shows me finally coming to grips with the medium style. I start the match off by going to poke at a common TD perch using my camo. My goal was to push them back or bait them into hull traversing to face me so that they would get lit if they were there. After 3 blindfires with no result, I assume that there's nobody there and scoot forward to privide crossfire for my heavies on the eastern flank.

 

Turns out there was a Tiger and KV-1S coming down the trench! They make short work of a TD on the mountain to my west, but I know that my heavies can make short work of them if I keep them distracted. I take a few potshots at them and hide whenever I see them aiming at me. It does the trick! Our heavies take almost no damage from the Tiger and KV-1S while they chew the other team to bits.

 

Unfortunately for our team, some TDs came back to the mountain perch and ate our overexposed heavies for breakfast while I pushed west to support the western side of the map. I circle back around to go up the trench and run face-first into a full health AT-8. I snap shot and it bounces, so I find some cover and proceed to work over his cupola with sprem rounds. He backs off and goes dark.

 

At this point, I know he's up there waiting for me, so I make it look like I'm going straight up the ramp until he goes unlit. Then I circle around to the far northern trench and catch him in his side with a killing shot.

 

south-coast-soviet-union-t-34-85-8588404

 

The game stats don't exactly paint a bragworthy picture and I'm sure there was a better course of action I could have taken, but this game still made me feel like a badass in the punchy little T-34-85. Love that little tank! I think I'll keep it!

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I'm happy you guys confirmed my impression about the tank being nice and fun to play, since that was my take as well, and i'm currently grinding through his dat the T-34 :) Can't wait to get it.

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