Potential Hull Upgrades: Soviet Medium Tanks

In a previous article, I explored potential hull upgrades for Soviet light tanks. Today, I will go one weight class up, and do the same for medium tanks.

The first medium tank encountered in the Soviet tech tree is the T-28, at tier 4. Tanks produced before 1938 had riveted cemented armour, tanks produced after had homogeneous welded armour. However, the game does not distinguish between the two, and the changes would be largely cosmetic. A much more noticeable change would be brought by, once again, applying armour screens.



Addition of 20-30 mm armoured plates increases front armour to 60 mm, but also increases the tank’s mass to 32 tons, which would definitely result in a performance hit. For those of you looking for photographs of these up-armoured tanks, go no further than here, as this website contains photos of 60 out of 111 vehicles that received additional armour.

Next is the T-34. Despite very impressive armour for its time, it was up-armoured to 60 mm of front armour with the addition of 15 mm armour plates, based on intelligence that new long 50 mm cannons can penetrate the front with APCR ammunition. Such ammunition proved rare in practice, and the up-armouring was discontinued, but not before a few hundred such vehicles left the factories.

The up-armouring was tried again in 1943, but then was abandoned once again, as it didn’t have the desired effect.

Going up a tier, we get to the T-34-85. The only new threat to this tank that the T-34 didn’t face was the large amount of man-portable anti-tank HEAT weapons encountered during city fighting. Various anti-HEAT armour screens, most pretty silly looking, are described here. Even though SerB has mentioned the possibility of having the same +15 mm armour screen on the T-34-85 as on the T-34, I am not aware of any T-34-85s that received this upgrade. A T-34-85 with “borrowed” skirt armour is also possible, if unlikely.

At tier 6, there is finally an alternative medium, the A-43. Picking out another hull for this tank is quite easy. Two modifications of this tank were developed: A (45 mm of front armour, 60.5 kph top speed) and B (60 mm front armour, 55 kph top speed). The tank available in the game is B, so we can expect to see faster and lighter A-43s running around with the new hulls. Interestingly enough, the suspensions are already named “type A” and “type B”. It’s quite likely that this tank will receive a stock type A hull and upgraded type B hull.

One tier up, and we get to the T-43. The T-43 was developed in two modifications, but they both had identical armour. The largest difference is that the second modification returned the full sized driver’s hatch, which was drastically reduced in the first modification. The second modification hull would present a larger weak spot, so it could be used as a stock hull, but 75 mm of armour isn’t particularly good at tier 7, so it doesn’t really matter. It is unlikely that this tank will receive a second hull option.

T-43 first modification. The reduced driver's hatch (opened for improved observation) is clearly seen.

T-43 first modification. The reduced driver’s hatch (opened for improved observation) is clearly seen.

Panning across tier 7, we reach the A-44, a much more interesting topic than the T-43. In addition to its unconventional design, it had not one, not two, but three hull options designed for it. The first option had 120 mm of front armour, and 100 mm of side armour, with a maximum speed of 53 kph. The second option had 90 mm of front armour and 75 mm of side armour, and a maximum speed of 59 kph. The third had 75 mm of front armour, 60 mm of side armour, and a maximum speed of 65 kph.

Looking at the armour model and mass of the in-game tank, it is the lightest option: 75 mm of armour in the front (aside from the completely vertical plates), and 60 mm on the sides. Its max speed is limited to that of the medium armoured option, not the light one. Since a tier 7 medium tank with 120 mm of front armour sloped at 60 degrees would be massively overpowered (tier 8 premium, perhaps?), the other hulls make reasonable choices for a stock and upgraded hull.

At tier 7, we also have the KV-13. The KV-13 was also developed with two hull options. Unfortunately, both had the same amount of armour. If this tank gets an upgrade, it will be entirely cosmetic.

KV-13 first variant (top) and second variant (bottom). Retrieved from Solyankin et al, "Soviet Medium Tanks 1941-1945", Zeughaus, 2008

KV-13 first variant (top) and second variant (bottom). Retrieved from Solyankin et al, “Soviet Medium Tanks 1941-1945″, Zeughaus, 2008

Going up to tier 8, we get the T-44. The T-44 had several steps in its development, each receiving more and more armour. The first had 75 mm on the upper front plate, and 30 mm on the lower. The second increased the lower plate to 45 mm. The T-44A came with even more armour, 90 mm on the top and 75 on the bottom. You’d think that the lighter armoured hull would make the tank go faster, but nope, the fastest T-44 was the T-44A, with 60.5 kph top speed (compare to the in-game T-44, with 51 kph top speed). A variant of the T-44-100 with side armour screens was also made, giving the option for a visually distinctive hull upgrade.

T-44-100 with skirt armour.

T-44-100 with skirt armour.

The other tier 8 medium, Object 416, was an experimental prototype only, and I am not aware of any alternative hulls available for it.

The T-54 stands alone as the USSR’s only tier 9 medium. Right now, it’s a “best of both worlds” setup, with the 120 mm of front armour from early T-54 prototypes, but speed from late versions. As SerB said, odds are that when the hull patch hits, you will have to choose: armour (with speed reduced to 42.5 kph) or speed (with armour reduced to 100 mm).

Since tier 10s are supposed to be elite by default (with a few exceptions), it is unlikely that either the T-62A or Object 140 will receive upgradable hulls.

That is it for Soviet medium tanks. In the next article, I will explore the options for Soviet heavy tanks.

69 thoughts on “Potential Hull Upgrades: Soviet Medium Tanks

    • And also, the T-54 hulls will take a Lot of time to think over. Because if you choose armor, you’ll still be used to the speed, while having none. Same goes with the speed, you will need some time getting used to having no armor, that will be nice

      • So implementing unlockable hulls will whack the T-54 with the nerfbat? I wonder how WG will compensate for the change…

      • Never relied on armour for my t 54 . Won’t make any difference except when facing lower tier autoloaders and those don’t pen the front anyway( see type 59) unless spamming prem ammo.

        • Dont have a T54, but if I had one, I wouldnt rely on the hull armor even as it is, so scaling it down to 100mm wouldnt bother me much as I would still rely either on mobility or hull-down positions to take hits to the well-armored turret (played the same way with the T34/85 with good results)

  1. lol t-54 whit 100mm is like t62a armor everything penetrates , why they got to nerf this tank ,cause even if they make him slower that will make him a med-heavy and whit that low penetration gun will be desastre

    • Well, say that to the guys playing this fantastic tank premiumammo-only. So, even if WG would make this tank a little bit slower it´ll still kick ass with 330 Pen.
      Otherwise – how terrible

      • It’s also a massive target and has an absurdly-weak lower glacis plate, AND a frontal transmission (like most German tanks).

  2. Fuck these hulls, why would tanks need more armor? There are enough bouncy russian tanks in the game alreaddy.

      • Implying that there is(except few tanks) bouncy t4s. And that people care that much for T4(probably worst tier) at all. And i really doubt that T3azz thought about T-28 when he was writing his post. But knowing the Kellomies, HC soviet fanboi this reply was somewhat expected.

        • B1, AMX 40, Hetzer, Matilda, Valentine… even the ever-hapless M3Lee depending on what’s shooting.

          More to the point rather few of the tanks discussed in the article can be described as particularly ‘bouncy’ (and those that can aren’t excactly candidates for buffs), and in most cases would be paying for somewhat marginal increases in protection with varying hits to mobility.

          But knowing you wehraboos, butthurt commentary was somewhat expected.

          • Try 9-10 and you might have a case; T-43 is made of paper and the frontal fueltank doesn’t help at all, A-44 relies mainly on the other guy not knowing where to shoot the weird thing, and T-44 isn’t going to win any resiliency awards either – no idea about Le Pancake 416, don’t have it and haven’t yet fought one. KV-13 is pretty tough but then its whole gimmick is combining speed and armour, the firepower is pretty meh.

            Also please review what the article has to say about the historical alternate hulls for the lot…

            • I am pretty sure that no one will use the uparmored mediums or lights . Because you give up usefull mobility for useless armour and nobody will be so stupid as to opt for that … ….. Right ?

  3. lets make russian tank op with more armor :)
    and nerf others

    game made by russian, the only op nation will be russian



    • Most OP nation yea .. I suggest you tryout the rofl tractors on the test server. And the soviet tree has never been nerfed yea sure … Try harder wehraboo.

        • string comment = shitty comment;
          int negative_feedback;
          if (positive_feedback==1)
          cout<<"dont take this so serious!"<<endl<<"i was juking! xD";
          return 0;

          • //An edit button would be useful, some text did not register.

            string comment = “shitty comment”;
            int negative_feedback;
            if (negative_feedback==1)
            cout<<"dont take this so serious!"<<endl<<"i was juking! xD";
            return 0;

    • Implying the Russian’s are the only ones who would get optional hulls, while every other nation would stick to the stock hulls.

      BTW, you just stated the main reason why so many peopl- Dimwits whine Russian bias.

    • The only tank mentioned which anyone considers OP is the T-54, which will either LOSE armor or LOSE top speed, users choice.

      Did you even read the article?

  4. Don’t get the point of these hull options. Seems like WG realising they are running out of paper tanks to introduce as new OP must-grinds, and desperately trying to find some other means of making some tanks unbalanced to keep the kids clicking

    • I agree with Kellomies on this one. You really don’t know what your talking about.
      By choosing a different Hull you make things more balanced because you either gain speed and maneuverability or lose speed and maneuverability to gain armor. Which means you have to actually play and learn to use your tank even more so then it is now. If you want armor then pick armor and if you want speed take speed. You cant get any MORE balanced then that.

      • There’s that too, but I was referring more to the way he seemed to completely fail to grasp the meaning of these kinds of articles.

    • Er, you do know that you get the new hulls as freebies for researching suspensions with the currently planned system, right? Nobody is going to be grinding anything.

  5. I’m interested in other hull upgrades; for example the spaced armour that could be added to the conqueror :)

  6. The second hull option for the KV-1S looks to have a slightly lower profile with (at least going by the pics) possibly better sloping. That would mean enough to have the option to choose a different hull. Downsides could be simple things, like engine fires or ammo-rack hits being more common (due to more confined space). It doesn’t have to be all about armor thickness.

    • If anything it probably has *more* internal space, given the wider over-track sponsons…

      • My point was not so much in this specific case of the KV-1S as it was that hull options could be more than simple trade-offs between armor and speed.

  7. T-44 with side screens looks like a beast though… for that alone you would pick the hull option just to look bad ass xD

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