World of Tanks: The American T34 Premium Heavy Tank - Hull Down Credit Earning Powerhouse

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The T30 heavy tank on display in Fort Knox. The T30 platform was the basis for the T34, with the only difference being the gun.
The T30 heavy tank on display in Fort Knox. The T30 platform was the basis for the T34, with the only difference being the gun.

T34 Overview

The T34 is a tier VIII American premium heavy tank. The best features of the T34 are the gun and the frontal turret armor. The worst features of this tank are the hull armor and the reload speed. The T34 is not a fast tank, although it is not stuck to the flank it set course for at the beginning of the battle. The T34 is a valuable support vehicle, even when facing higher tiered opponents, but should not be played as a front line tank. The T34 really comes into its own in the late game when most targets become one-shot kills, especially when the T34 has been conserving its health well.

The tank featured in the game is based on the T30 platform. The T30 was developed alongside the T29 in 1944. The T34 was designated after mounting the 120mm gun on the T30, replacing the 155mm gun used on the first design. All three models (T29, T30, T34) had working prototypes undergoing trials, but none ever saw mass production or entered service. World of Tanks features all three models. The T29 is a tier VII heavy tank, and the T30 is a tier IX tank destroyer.

T34 Gameplay - Mastery Badge - Malinovka

The Gun: 120mm T53A1

The gun mounted on the T34 is the T53A1. The gun is rated at tier IX. This is a premium tank, so there are no other gun options for the T34. The T53A1 can fire armor piercing rounds (AP), armor piercing composite-rigid rounds (APCR), and high explosive rounds (HE).

Armor piercing and armor piercing composite rigid rounds have an average damage of 400 HP when they penetrate. The lowest possible damage of a penetrating round is 300 HP, and the highest possible damage of a penetrating round is 500 HP. Average penetration for AP rounds is 248mm, with a low of 186mm and a high of 310mm. Average penetration for APCR is 297mm, with a low of 223mm and a high of 371mm. These rounds can penetrate even the thickest armor on the largest tanks if fired at a flat surface. The only tanks that will give the T34 trouble from a frontal firing angle are the IS7, the Maus, and the VK 4502 (P) Ausf. B. No tanks will give the T34 much trouble from the sides and rear.

High explosive rounds are not recommended with the T34. The average HE penetration is 60mm, with a low of 45mm and a high of 75mm. The average damage is 515 HP with a low of 386 HP and a high of 644 HP. Due to the very low penetration, it is common for the HE rounds to explode outside of heavy targets, dealing around 100 to 150 HP of damage. Since the T34 is a tier VIII, there aren't many soft targets that call for HE rounds other than artillery pieces and German Waffentragers. Most high tiered tank destroyers are heavily armored and feature a closed top.

The base reload time for the T53A1 is 15 seconds with two fully trained loaders. This is the gun's biggest weakness. A fast-firing tank will be able to overwhelm the T34 with a higher damage per minute output in the open. The reload time can be mitigated by equipping a large-caliber gun rammer on the vehicle, training the entire crew with the Brothers in Arms perk, and using the Cola consumable item. All of these recommended factors will bring the reload time just under 12 seconds.

The gun's dispersion is 0.35 at 100m. This is not terrible, but there are more accurate guns on other tanks. The aim time is atrocious. It takes a fully trained gunner 3.4 seconds to fully aim the gun. Just like the loading time, this can be mitigated with either a vertical gun stabilizer or an enhanced gun laying drive, along with the skills Smooth Ride for the driver and Snapshot for the gunner. The gunner skill Armorer is also recommended for those times the enemy damages the main gun in battle.

The Armor

The T34 has excellent frontal turret armor. Almost no shots will penetrate the gun mantlet, and very few will penetrate the turret cheeks due to the thick armor and rounded surface. The turret is not invincible from the front. The commander's cupola at the top of the turret, and the thin turret roof armor will not block anything that hits them. This is my favorite spot to shoot rival T34s at when encountered on a battlefield. When reloading with an exposed turret, make sure to turn the turret slightly to the left and right to make the cupola harder to hit. Don't turn the turret too far in either direction, though, as most tanks will be able to penetrate the side turret armor.

The hull armor is not as good. Most shots to the upper glacis plate and the lower glacis plate will penetrate. Angling the frontal armor helps, but be careful not to expose the side armor on the hull. The side armor and the rear armor are even worse. Large caliber howitzer weapons are known to penetrate the sides and the rear. Artillery normally targets T34s on the battlefields because of the tank's large silhouette, but a T34 that is showing an artillery piece its side or rear is an even more tempting target.

A T34 in a hull-down position, hiding the weaker hull while only exposing the stronger turret.
A T34 in a hull-down position, hiding the weaker hull while only exposing the stronger turret.

Best Tactics

The T34 is best used as a second line tank, pushing along with the main assault force but not holding the front line. Tanks with heavier hull armor should be in front of the T34 and soaking up shots. The T34 can then hit vulnerable targets while the enemy tank group is reloading and fade away before return fire comes in. Due to the gun's high penetration, the T34 does not have to worry about firing at targets from a distance behind the front line tanks.

The T34 should not venture off alone, but is capable of holding its own in a duel. Make sure to only duel around areas with hard cover. The T34 can use fade away tactics to keep itself safe during the long reloads. If being swarmed by a faster tank, be sure to turn the hull while turning the turret at the same time to keep the gun on the target. Very few tanks are fast enough to outrun the gun this way.

If the T34 has the opportunity to go hull-down in the face of the enemy, then it should take the opportunity. A hull-down position means the T34 is using hard cover to hide its hull while only exposing its turret and gun to the enemy. The frontal turret armor can soak shots for the tank. Be sure keep the turret moving during reloads so the enemy does not have easy shots on the commander's cupola. Also be sure to have an escape route in case faster tanks try to overwhelm the position.

Other Benefits

Outside of battle, the T34 helps in other ways. Being a premium tank, it has elite status from the very first battle. This can be used to accelerate crew training, building up experience for the crew faster than normal. With accelerated training, the crew accumulates experience at a rate of 120% of normal. This is stacked with the experience bonus already obtained by using a premium vehicle. The T34 can also use a crew trained on any American heavy tank without penalty, making it a great crew trainer for those tankers working on any of the American heavy tank lines.

The T34 will also earn credits at a fantastic rate. Average games with low damage output will still yield around 50,000 silver credits while fantastic games with a 200,000 silver credit purse is possible. Running expensive consumables such as Cola is possible while still remaining profitable. The tank can also carry a number of premium rounds (APCR) without going into the red after games. For those tankers that do not run consumables or premium ammunition, then the full earning power of the T34 will put around 500,000 silver credits per hour into the bank.

Conclusion

The T34 American heavy tank is a fantastic tier VIII heavy. It has a large gun that deals good damage with enough penetration to tackle any tank it can face on the battlefield. Tactics will need to be used to hide the weaker parts of the armor, but in a hull-down position or a strategic second-line position the tank will survive most encounters. It will serve as a crew trainer for the main American heavy tanks while earning a large amount of credits. Any tanker who spends time in the American heavy lines should look into purchasing the T34 from the premium shop.

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