World of Tanks Patch 7.1, French Tanks review.

The moment french tanks were released I expected one of two things. Either everybody would think they are “OP”, or that they are utter failures. Surprisingly enough, both “arguments” came up, though which specific french tanks were considered “OP” and which not is still under harsh debate. Although I read all the news and info about these tanks that other users were providing the common user with, I decided to run my own tests, and get my own taste of french armour.

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French B1

Vive la France!

  I decided to follow the “Heavy” tank line, having more experience in heavy tanks overall. I had enough free xp not to play the Tier 1 LT RenaultFT, and hopped straight to the D1. After a day of gameplay I could crawl up to the D2, and even as I write this I am trying to fund raise enough credits for the B1. Even when I did not try to play my french tin cans, I had a chance to observe them playing my other tanks (ranging from tiers IVs to VIIs) so I could both assisst and fight them. With this introduction done, let us jump into the juicy details, and my thoughts, on the French tanks.

The first thing I noticed with the French tanks,is their speed. It is plain horrible, compared to all the other nations. But it is not only horrible due to the low speed limite, it is horrible due to the low engine power of their engines. A French tank, will always have a weaker engine than a German, US or Soviet tank. Unlike those other tanks, the French tank will also, on average, be heavier. Combined with the already low speed limit of the early tier French Tanks you will both look, and drive, like a slug. Researching your engine and tracks fully, together with gaining an experienced crew will make life easier, but it will not solve the speed problem entirely. As you can imagine, driving through the field at less than 30km/h means that, just like with a Tiger I you have to decide on a plan at the start, and stick to it. You will not be able to return to base quickly, or drive into the enemy base when you decided to be the defender.

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From left to right: LT RenaultFT (Tier I), D1 and Hotchkiss (Both Tier II).

Then, comes the other “thing” about french tanks. On their earliest tiers (from tier I to IV, about) they will have supreme armour, compared to all those around. This has sparked some criticism, since a lot of low tier guns (which will meet these monsters) will be unable to penetrate the French tank. However, after Tier V, the stories shift. French tanks become steadilly less, and less armoured, compared to other tanks of their tier. Sadlly, the speed of the French tank does not become significantly better, however, when we look at the Tier X French heavy tank, the AMX 50B, it has a top speed of 65 km/h, compared to the 35km/h of the T30, 20km/h of the Maus, and 40km/h of the IS-7. The moment you reach Tier VII French heavy tanks you get an almost double boost in speed. On top of that, the AMX 50B becomes the fastest (I presume) heavy tank in the game, also because of a much lighter weight, and higher engine power, compared to other Tier Xs.

So far, what we can conclude is that French heavy tanksare incredibly sluggish and mildly well armoured on low tiers, which ten swaps around on much higher tiers. Well, since we now have this part sorted, what about firepowers? French guns are not horrible. The tier III French heavy tank has a gun capable of penetrating most equal or slightly higher tier tanks. The poor B1 (Tier IV) suffers from a sub-tier gun (it uses the same one as the D2), making it possibly the worst heavy tank on the market. But that changes, the moment you reach Tier V, with the BDR G1B. With its tier VII gun, with high damage and decent penetration you end up with an excellent long-range gun. Then, when you go even higher, the Tier VI ARL 44, you get a gun which none of the other tanks of its tier (except the KV-3) can even dream of. The 90mm DCA 45 might not be a revolution in terms damage, however its penetration, going over 200mm, makes this a murderous gun. For a Tier VI tank, when you compare it to the T-34-85 or the VK3601, it is an excellent weapon, if used correctly, capable of penetrating the plating of any tank.

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French medium tank D2 at El Hallouf, with an upgraded gun and turret.

When you look back at all the information I have given you, you might come to the same conclusion I did. At first, French heavy tanks appear to be defenders. They are slow, yet well armoured, making them suitable to hide in rubble and fire off with their guns, only if to slow down the enemy’s advance. Then, the French heaviest get a huge firepower boost, slowly losing their armour, but steadilly gaining speed, which makes them look more like TDs, than heavy tanks. Their guns, once you reach the top Tiers, and look at the French Tier X, lack anything “exceptional”. They will certainly penetrate most tanks, and do some damage, but when you look at the E-100 or the T30, they can do much more damage with single shots, while the French Tier X would need at least two.

What is my opinion of the French Heavy tanks?Since I play almost exclusively German tanks, I consider them easy targets. They are slow, and against higher Tiers poorly armoured. If I were to play a French Heavy tank (past the horrid B1), I would play them the same way I play a Tiger I, but with huge restrictions. Stay back, act as a Sniper or a long-distance support gun, never take to the front, unless there is no choice. I would still be a defender, since I lack either armour, speed or firepower. French Heavy tanks do not appear to have been designed with attacking in mind, only defending, and perhaps (just maybe) ambushing.

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My Tiger I playing Peekaboom with an ARL 44.

What about the French medium tanks? Although I did not play them I saw them in action. With the numbers that I do have (and when I take a peek at their research tables) up till Tier IV they appear to be like the Heavy Tanks, but better. They have more armour, slightly higher top speeds, and comparable guns. However, once you reach Tier V you get a sudden wake up call, since your armour will become suddenly weaker. This is not to say, weaker when compared to other equal tiers, it remains constantly pathetically weak. When you look at the armour of the Tier IX Bat Chatillon 25t you realise how somebody forgot to give the tank any protection. It’s hull armour is comparable to that of the German Tier V light tank, the VK 2801. However, they have incredible firepower for Light/Medium tanks. The affore mentioned Bat Chatillon 25t has a gun which could argue with those other Tier IX heavy tanks have, while maintaining incredible speeds.

What then, is the role of the Light/Medium French tank line?At first, pretty much the same as in the case of the Heavy tanks, but after Tier V the way I would play them is flankers and scouts. Although they are not the fastest tanks, and not at all armoured I am certain they could circle enemy tanks of equal and higher tiers and pummel away at them, almost risk-free. They are most certainly not front-line tanks. Their lack of armour is a substantial setback, and as many have said on the forums, these tanks can be two-shotted by many tanks. With these tanks you either have to invest to become unstoppable (in terms of speeds) or concealed. Alternatively, stay back and snipe, these guns are still mildly accurate.

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After numerous attempts to destroy my D2, the T-127 finally had to give in due to combined enemy fire. Sure, French tanks might not be able to take down most tanks alone, but they make effective damage sponges (at first).

What is my final verdict? French tanks have just been introduced, and there will be a bit of tweaking to be done, here and there. The problem with these tanks, is that they do not fit the “pre-set” rules people followed during tank battles. At first the French tanks are slow, lack firepower and/or armour. But among those who have adapted their strategy to fit these tanks would know, that the French tank is indeed a worthy opponent to most enemy tanks. They might not be as destructive as Soviet Tanks, as armoured as German tanks, or as… American, as the American tanks, but they can get the job done. I will certainly stick to having at least one French tank in my garage, even if only to surprise my enemies how can a mobile wine cooler achieve anything on the field.

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Alex “WriterX” Bielski

Rating:9/10
Pros:A whole lot of fun!
A mix of light-realism with Arcade
Wide choice of tanks and classes
Even more tanks to come!
FREE!
Cons:Grindy, unfortunately
Still in need of some tweaking
Game producer's website:Wargaming.net
Official website:World of Tanks
Game available at:

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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