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Hello, fellow tankers, or should I say, "Bonjour, amis tankistes"!

 

Are you tempted to develop the French tank tree? Do you hesitate to buy a premium package there?
As I have accumulated more than 10000 battles with French tanks (including 1500+ in RB, and a few dozens in SB) from BR 1.0 to BR 10.7 (all my tanks fully spaded except for the the AMX-30 Roland), I would like to share with you my assessment of these tanks in different BR ranges (Arcade BR; but I mention Realistic BR when different). You can watch many gameplays with French tanks (mostly in the BR range 4.7-5.3 and 6.7-10.7) on my YouTube channel devoted to strategy and map guides.

 

  • BR 1.0-2.3: Grind the BR 1.0-1.3 and do not play them again! But seriously, who goes back to BR 1.0, except shameless seal clubbers (with obviously other nations than France...)? Yet, thanks to one of my bug reports (more than a dozen of them helped improve French tanks so far; see below), most of these BR 1.0-1.3 tanks are now able to shoot 15 or 19 shells per minute (including with their 47mm gun, since v1.97), instead of 8-10 during the first 9 months after their introduction in the game. The recent addition of the very decent reserve wheeled AMD 35 is also a good news for people wanting to start French tanks. By the way, I strangely like the light AMC 35 at BR 1.3. If you have the event H.39 Cambronne, use it, as it is not bad at all and will accelerate the grinding. The recently added Lorraine 37L and Char D2 at BR 1.3 gives some punch to this Tier 1 line-up.
    The SOMUA 35 is a very decent tank (especially, at its new BR of 1.3) but not as good in the game as it was in real life, compared to its competitors of the mid 30s' (its frontal armor was recently fixed thanks to this bug report). In fact, at the start of WW2, the S.35 was only marginally outmatched by the Pz. IV, but was superior to Pz. I & II and most Pz. III, as demonstrated during the battle of Hannut ("KDR" of the S.35 around 2; a large fraction of the immobilized/destroyed S.35 was in fact attributed to the mighty Luftwaffe, and not to German tanks and AT guns) and the siege of Lille, which delayed the German forces and permitted the escape from Dunkirk (an unfortunately too often forgotten episode...).
    The B1 ter premium at BR 2.3 is pretty OP (and still vaguely competitive at BR 3.0-3.3), but the other tanks at BR 2.0 are very competitive too. The B1 bis is decent despite a weaker armor than the B1 ter, while the SOMUA 40 benefits from its new BR of 2.0 (it was absurdly introduced at BR 2.7). Finally, the recent addition (v1.97) of the British Crusader Mk. II (used in Africa by the Free French Forces – FFL) and the American M3A3 Stuart (mostly used in Europe, but also in Africa by the FFL), both at BR 2.0/2.3 in AB/RB, nicely complement the low BR French line-up.

    In conclusion, the recent changes of BR and rate of fire and the addition of new tanks finally make the BR 1.0-2.3 French tanks definitely playable and actually result in an truly excellent line-up at BR 2.0-2.3. No more excuse not to develop your French ground tree!
     
  • BR 2.7-3.3: With the excellent M4A1 and AMX-13 (FL11) at BR 3.3 both firing a good APCBC with 103mm penetration, the great M4A3 (105) at BR 3.0/2.7 (AB/RB), the line-up there is quite competitive and allows you to grind fast the next level. Note that the French Division Blindée (DB; armored division) had only a very few of these early version M4A1 among their 850+ Shermans... Alternatively, the M4A1 and AMX-13 (FL11) can also be played with the M10, M4A4, and the ARL-44 (ACL-1) in a BR 3.7 line-up (see below).
    The first AMX-13 of a long series is indeed there at BR 3.3... The last one will be at BR 8.0! You'd better start learning to drive your AMX-13 efficiently and to adjust to its (unrealistically) bouncy gun/suspension when you stop (a bug report has been forwarded to the devs; EDIT: this bug was recently addressed; in AB the gun is now pretty stable, but still a bit wobbly in RB/SB). My advice with all AMX-13: shoot in motion with your gun pointing at 90° while releasing the accelerator, but without breaking sharply by pressing on reverse/break (and/or configure a soft breaking). With a little practice, this handling, in addition to sometimes confusing your enemy target, results in the gun being quite stable, even in RB/SB. All AMX-13, as well as some other French tanks (like the Lorraine 40t and AMX-50 at BR 7.0), have an oscillating turret offering high gun placement, reasonable gun depression (but bad gun elevation), smaller turret size, and simple fitment of an autoloader (the latter, available on all the AMX-13 at higher BR; and on many other French tanks, starting with the premium M4A1 (FL10) at BR 4.7). See the section about autoloaders at the end of this review.
    By the way, since you'll meet the acronym "AMX" quite often in the following, know that it refers to " Ateliers de construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux " (literally, "building factory of Issy-les-Moulineaux", a bordering city south-west of Paris; 70000 inhabitants; this city also played a major role in the early stage of French aviation).
    The AMX-13-M24 is a cool chimera associating an AMX-13 chassis with an M24 turret and is now available as a premium at BR 3.3. 150 units of this vehicle were assembled and they mostly served during the independence war in Algeria. After 1962, they were used to train French tankers. Note that the reverse chimera (AMX-13 turret on a Chaffee chassis) was also tested by the French army.

    Finally, the GMC CCKW 353 AA at BR 3.0 is a very decent SPAA which can also fulfill the trolling role of a mean tank killer (71mm penetration at 120 shot/min with the AP belt), if you can survive enemy MG and artillery.
     
  • BR 3.7-4.3: The ARL-44 (ACL-1) is the first post-war French tank (partly designed in clandestinity; 60 were ultimately produced including the ARL-44 at BR 5.3). Despite its shell with a respectable 111mm penetration, decent armor, and new BR of 3.7, the ARL-44 (ACL-1) is a bit of a disappointment, its shell often bouncing enemy tanks that it should have penetrated.
    The excellent M10 at BR 3.7 is exactly the same as the one in the US tree, in a nicer color (list of the 300+ M10 tank destroyer used by the French DB during WW2, with many photos). The recent addition of the M4A4 at BR 3.7 is very welcomed, as several hundreds of them were indeed used by the French DB during WW2... before being recycled to produce the first units of the M4A4 (SA50) or Israeli M50 (see below).
    If you won it in the dedicated special event, the Lorraine 155mm howitzer (BR 4.3) is a fun troll tank, although not really a good tank (yet, I have seen very good players netting 10+ kills in AB and RB with it... playing battles up to Tier 5), but it can help you grind faster your next level tanks.

     
  • BR 4.7-5.3: The French line-up there is simply excellent, especially when including the great Panhard E.B.R. (1954) event vehicle and the awesome (and best French) premium M4A1 (FL10) with an autoloader (12 shots/min; high-velocity APC shells with 182mm penetration). In particular, this French line-up is well suited when being uptiered by BR 5.7-6.3 tanks (and even when played at BR 8.0!), thanks to their impressive shell penetration.
    Indeed, the M4A4 (SA50), despite its recent and historically justified reduction of frontal armor, is an excellent tank shooting deadly APCBC shells with a massive 202mm penetration and featuring a nice -10° gun depression. In addition, the "French" M4 Jumbo is the same as the "OP" tank in the US tree (at BR 5.0/5.3 in AB/RB).
    But... Historically speaking, this line-up is a bit odd: 1) The M4A1 (FL10) was for export only, in particular to Egypt; 2) The M4A4 (SA50) or M50 Israeli "super Sherman", and later, the M51 "Isherman" were equipped with French designed M4 recycled turrets carrying respectively the 75mm gun of the AMX-13 and a shortened version of the 105mm gun of the AMX-30. "Fun fact": the M4A1 (FL10) and the M4A4 (SA50) actually fought against each other during the Suez crisis/Sinai war! 3) The French DB had only one known M4 Jumbo among their 850+ M4 used during WW2 (yes,only one! Here it is!), which makes its presence in the French tree quite amusing. In fact, WW2 French M4 were mostly mid and late versions of the M4A1, A2, A3, A4; some of them equipped with the 76mm or 105mm gun. See the exhaustive list of the 850+ known French M4 used in WW2, including wartime photographs for many of them, sometimes also after their destruction. I guess it would be reasonable for Gaijin to add an “historical” and 100% American M4 in the French tree to fill the French tree around BR 5.0-5.7 (M4A1 (76) or M4A3 (76) used by the French 2nd DB) and to correct the historical inaccuracy. I have made such a suggestion, which you can support on the forum.
    The decent ARL-44 (BR 5.3; a heavy tank strangely treated as an SPG in-game, which is nice for RB players) brings a bit more of armor to the French line-up. It is not very fast but is reasonably agile, although it suffers from a bad suspension.
    This already excellent line-up is complemented with the very good E.B.R. (1954) light tank with a FL10 autoloaded turret (same turret and gun as the M4A1 (FL10) mentioned above) at BR 5.3 (introduced at BR 3.7, then 4.3, then 4.7...; premium tank), which was an easy prize to get in the 2020 Operation WINTER event. It was really about time that Gaijin introduced this iconic reconnaissance wheeled vehicle (quite OP and dreaded in WoT), whose 1200 produced units saw combat in several African countries, with about 200 of them exported. Note that a turretless EBR carried the coffin of Général de Gaulle during his burial. In game, the E.B.R. (1954) brings the scouting ability to the French line-up at BR 4.7-5.3 in addition to another great (autoloaded) gun, but suffers from a relatively mediocre mobility on difficult terrain, despite going as fast forward and in reverse (two drivers IRL), at a maximum theoretical speed of 105/116 km/h in RB/AB (but you will not go past 70 km/h in RB; my bug report on the faulty in-game gearbox of the E.B.R. has been forwarded to devs).
    Finally, the BR 4.7-5.3 French line-up is also excellent (some would say, even OP) in RB, when adding the AMX-13 DCA (DCA is the French acronym for AA). This very mobile and decently protected SPAA can also be a really mean tank killer thanks to the 94mm penetration of its AP belt (I admit that I have not mastered it as a plane killer...).

     
  • BR 5.7-6.3: Nothing much to play there except for the AMX-13 and CA Lorraine at BR 6.0/6.3 in AB/RB that you can also use in a BR 6.7 line-up (see below)… The AMX-13 at BR 6.0/6.3 in AB/RB carries a 75mm gun (202mm penetration APCBC shells) shooting every 5 seconds thanks to a comfortable 12-round autoloader. The CA Lorraine is a very mobile (in fact, too mobile in AB, being hard to control for aiming) but weakly armored straight-shooter SPG with a long reloading time of 12s (100mm gun without the autoloader; see belw). I find it completely useless in AB, and quite decent in RB.
    You can complement your line-up with the premium captured Panther G "Dauphiné" (named after an initially misspelled French region; French tanks are most often named after cities or regions) at BR 5.7, although other French captured Panthers would have offered a much less boring camo... However, this Panther being the only "French" tank at the BR of 5.7, I consider it as a dubious buy, except for collectors.

     
  • BR 6.7-7.3: This BR range features an extremely competitive and fun line-up, if you can appreciate extremely mobile tanks with little armor and a good autoloaded gun.
    The AMX M4 (introduced at BR 6.0, then bumped at BR 6.3, and then at BR 6.7...) and the Char de 25t (built by the company Batignolles-Châtillon; the famous "BatChat" of WoT; BR 6.7/7.0 in AB/RB) both carry the same 90mm gun (215mm penetration APC shells) and an autoloader but with an inexplicably "long" reload time of 6.7s. The AMX M4 features a decent armor for a medium tank, a good forward acceleration and speed, but a mediocre reverse speed. The Char de 25t (as a prototype preparing the transition between the AMX-13 and the AMX-30) has better armor and mobility than the AMX-13 (in particular, an awesome reverse speed).
    The Panhard AML-90 at BR 6.7/7.0 in AB/RB is a cute little 4-wheel light vehicle shooting the same HEATFS as the AMX-13 (90) but with a lower muzzle velocity and without an autoloader. Its max speed of 101 km/h is probably a bit too generous. Its very small profile, mobility, and good gun, along with its total lack of significant armor (beware of 0.5 cal...) makes it more adapted to RB. The three AMX-13 and the AML-90 were the only mass-produced vehicles among these BR 6.0-7.3 French tanks (4300 AMX-13 for the French army and 3400 exported to 35 countries; 5000 Panhard AML and its variants produced between 1960 and 1987, exported to 50+ countries, and still in use in 30 countries or so).
    The Lorraine 40t (introduced at BR 6.3, then bumped at BR 6.7, then at BR 7.0/7.3, and now bumped at BR 7.0/7.7 in AB/RB) and the “heavy” AMX-50 (now at BR 7.0/7.3 in AB/RB; treated as a medium tank in-game) share the same 100mm gun shooting excellent APCBC shells with a massive 273mm penetration (but recently nerfed from 295mm)... every 4 seconds (following one of my bug reports based on some "documents secrets"). Yet, be aware that their autoloader only carries 7 shells (+1 loaded in the gun) and that you should manage your reloading periods accordingly, especially in fast-paced arcade battles (but the refilling of the autoloader is very fast on captured zones; see the final section about autoloaders). The AMX-50 features a better armor than the Lorraine 40t (not too hard...) somewhat able to bounce some shots, a good forward acceleration and speed, but a slow reverse. As for the Lorraine 40t, it is so good, being so well adapted to the game meta with its exceptional mobility, gun, and reload time combo, that you can play it with great results up to top BR (especially in RB)! Both tanks have in fact a much better survivability than their mediocre armor would suggest, especially if you do not carry too many shells (ideally, 15), and because so many players do not know how to fight the French tanks with autoloader (see the section about killing French tanks at the end of this review).
    As for the AMX-13 (90) at BR 7.0, it fires a very decent HEATFS with 320mm penetration at the same rate as the other AMX-13, but currently lacks a night vision module that it should have. This tank is very underrated and I actually find it very good in AB and in RB.
    The AMX-50 Foch SPG (BR 7.3; Marshall Ferdinand Foch was the supreme allied commander during WW1
    pronounce "fosh") has one of the very best effective frontal armor in the game (do not angle it at all, as its sides are made of paper) and is almost impenetrable from the front by many tanks at this BR range (HEAT-FS with 320+mm penetration are notable exceptions) and has excellent mobility, speed (54 km/h) and acceleration power (both better than that of a T-54), and carries a great 15mm MG and a nice 120mm gun shooting the same deadly shell as the US M103 (301mm penetration). Should I tell you its weak spot? Oh yeah, if you shoot at the rangefinder on the top, the shell sometimes bounces inside the tank, which seems totally ridiculous. Finally, this SPG will suit campers (hum sorry, "snipers", as they call themselves) and active players equally and will Foch up quite a few enemy tanks!
    The fun premium AMX-13 (SS.11) at BR 6.7, in addition to having the same 75mm gun as the AMX-13 at BR 6.0, carries 4 ATGM which are preloaded and which hence can be launched successively with no delay (its ATGM reload time is quite long after you have launched the 4 of them).
    Finally, the premium SOMUA SM heavy tank at BR 7.3 brings some relevant armor to this light French line-up, featuring the same autoloaded gun as the Lorraine 40t (4s reload but with now 8 shells in the autoloader). It is slower than its lighter compabions, but remains actually very agile, even in RB.

    All in all, France has the best mobile and fast-firing line-up in this BR range, where Germany, US, and UK have also excellent and better-armored line-ups, so that any comparison would depend on each player play-style and taste in AB. In RB, you will easily build a really excellent line-up in the BR 6.7-7.7 range with these tanks (see also below). The French line-up in RB was arguably the best in the 6.7-7.3 BR range due to a game meta favoring the combo excellent mobility/fast reload/very good gun rather than strong armor/good or even massive gun. Of course, the current BR of the Lorraine 40t in RB (7.7) may change this... although...
    Note however that the repair cost of these French Tier 4 tanks (especially in RB) are simply ludicrous, an indirect and absurd way for Gaijin to penalize people playing this excellent line-up in RB. A few other French tanks are plagued by absurd repair costs in RB, like the AMX-30 (1972) (while Russian tanks, even the most OP ones, are notoriously cheap to play; that's actually the biggest "Russian bias" in the game). It makes you wonder if Vuitton and Cartier are involved in the crafting of these French gems... To be fair, note that ammunition is free up to Tier 5 included... since most French tanks use their stock ammo!

     
  • BR 7.7-8.0:   At BR 7.7, the AMX-50 Surbaissé (meaning "lowered" chassis; pronounce "sur-bay-say" or more precisely, "sur-bé-cé", like in "Be-yon-cé") carries the same shells as the AMX-50 Foch (and as the US M103) but with a nice 18-shots autoloader with a scary rate of fire (6s reload, following one of my bug reports based on extensive "documents secrets"). I advise carrying exactly 19 rounds so that anyone shooting at its lower hull will just kill the driver and will not hit any ammunition rack. In AB, the AMX-50 Surbaissé is fast (when fully spaded) and very maneuverable. Hence, don't camp with it and play it very aggressively in AB where it will shine in good hands, even in battles at a much higher BR, especially in urban environment. In RB, the AMX-50 Surbaissé loses a lot of mobility (more than most other tanks) and its more sluggish pace and its high profile make it a less deadly tank than in AB. In addition, the event tank AMX-50 Surblindé ("over-armored") at BR 8.0 is similar to the AMX-50 Surbaissé, but a bit higher and shorter and with a decently armored V-shaped front hull (anyway, always shoot at the turret of French autoloaded tanks to kill them, since the hull is mostly empty if the enemy takes the right amount of ammo; see the section about killing French tanks at the end of this review).
    The excellent AMX-30 (1972) at BR 7.7 (possibly, the best tank at this BR) is a fast and mobile tank with a 105mm gun firing modern HEAT shells ("Obus G"; also the stock shells on the AMX-30B2, before you switch to APFSDS). Despite the fact that the Obus G was not fin but spin-stabilized, it was however specially designed so that the internal charge on bearings does not rotate, resulting in damaging properties very similar to that of HEAT-FS and a much better long-range accuracy (but it was also much more expensive, which was the main reason this type of shells was abandoned, along with the generalized use of APFSDS). I posted a bug report to correct the penetration and damage model of the "Obus G" which resulted in its penetration being buffed to 400mm (360mm previously) and to a much improved damaging power, now making the AMX-30 (1972) extremely competitive at its BR 7.7. The premium version of the AMX-30 loses the great 20mm gun of the regular model (very useful to kill light targets or even planes, or to eliminate obstacles before firing the HEAT shell), and is hence a dubious buy at its current price.
    At BR 8.0 (after being first rated at 7.7 and then, quite mysteriously, at 7.3), the AMX-30 DCA (AA) constitutes a very nice and fun surprise once you get the best shells (600 shots/min with 110mm penetration APDS shells!). This AA shreds all medium tanks in seconds (including T-54, T-62, T-80, Leopard 2, M1 Abrams...), can inflict a lot of damage on many heavy tanks (do not try it on a Maus though!), is very fast and well armored (for an AA), carries twice more ammunition than its BR 7.7-8.0 competitors, and is also an excellent plane killer (its radar capability makes it deadly in RB). You can see it as the Tier 5 Wilberwind! Take short breaks between long shots as the guns can stop firing due to overheating (and then you have to wait quite a while before resuming shooting). Definitely the best and most versatile SPAA without ATGM in this BR range!
    The AMX-10RC (BR 8.0) is a light reconnaissance/scouting (thanks to this bug report) amphibious wheeled vehicle featuring a 105mm gun firing a decent HEATFS (350mm penetration) and a really good APFSDS (325mm/0° and 376mm/LoS 60° penetration). The suspension is too soft, making the gun wobble (like on the AMX-13 before its suspension was improved), and the recoil was much more pronounced than in real life, before being fixed. Despite a theoretical maximum speed of 85/92 km/h (RB/AB; indeed reached on tarred roads), its mobility is very disappointing (in particular on grass and sand; like most wheeled vehicles in-game) due to a flawed in-game gearbox (see the bug report which resulted in a slight improvement). Yet, being skid steered, the AMX-10RC can perform pivot turn and is certainly a very smooth drive (avoiding the "Puma effect" with a awkward driving at high speed). Note that "RC" stands for "Roues-Canon" (wheels-gun) and not for "reconnaissance", as often incorrectly stated.
    The AMX-13 (HOT) greatly benefits from its new BR 8.0 (be happy, it was for a long time at BR 9.0...) carries the same Franco-German high-velocity HOT missiles (6 preloaded) as the Raketenjagdpanzer and is also equipped with the usual 75mm gun (202mm penetration with the "good" APCBC shell).
    The MARS 15 (developed around 1990) was a brief and unsucessful atempt at replacing the AMX-13. In the game, it features an APFSDS inferior (271mm penetration) to that of the AMX-10RC and shares its scouting ability. Also featuring a good mobility and fast reload (but no autoloader), this tank is decent but shines at nothing in particular and does not offer a new type of gameplay. It is hence a bit redundant in a French line-up in this BR change.
    Finally, you will easily build very good RB line-ups in the 7.3-8.0 BR range with these tanks and the ones mentioned above.

     
  • BR 8.3-9.0: The AMX-30B2 at BR 8.3 carries deadly APFSDS (OFL F1) shells (and the dubious stock HEAT shells at this BR; see above) but their penetration (361mm at 0°; 209mm=418mm LoS at 60° which is still 50% higher than for the T-62) has been unfortunately nerfed compared to real life (bug report forwarded to devs)... and to the dev-server (442mm at 0°). Still, this APFSDS remains the best in the 8.0-8.7 BR range, just after that of the Japanese Type 74. The AMX-30B2 Brenus version has ERA protection added which does not justify at all its BR bump to 8.7 without a stabilizer (and with the historically dubious choice of keeping the Obus G as the stock shell). Both these tanks have excellent mobility (same gearbox and speed going forward or in reverse) but lack a stabilizer and hence are not really competitive at medium range (hence, use them in close fights or for camping/snipping, preferably in RB for the latter use). Both tanks are blessed with the same great 20mm coaxial gun as the AMX-30: please use it without restraint as it can break enemy guns, kill/cripple many MBTs from their side, kill light vehicles and planes/helicopters, and can clear the way by destroying most destructible obstacles in the game. I am really puzzled seeing so many players barely using their 20mm gun when playing an AMX-30...
    The AMX-30 ACRA prototype at BR 8.3 fires powerful missiles (but at a relatively slow rate) and may be more effective in RB than in AB. I am not really a fan of this kind of tanks that cannot be played aggressively, although I am very slowly starting to enjoy it. For sure, you will not carry a battle with it...
    The SK-105A2 (Austrian vehicle boasting a lot of French technology) at BR 8.3 has a decent mobility and features the same excellent shells as the AMX-30B2, a 12-round autoloader (4s reload!) along with a non-stabilized gun, and high-def gunner thermal vision. However, being the last SPG of the tech tree, it takes an extremely long time to spade (I do not understand the rationale for this annoying "feature"). It currently carries 4 extra unusable shells and I posted a bug report accordingly, as well for the fact that it is wrongly named JaPz. K A2 in the French interface.
    The premium AMX-30 Super at its new and justified BR 9.0 features the same gun/shells as the AMX-30B2 but with a stabilizer (and unfortunately loses the 20mm gun), improved smoke launchers, and even better mobility than the other AMX-30, and is certainly an excellent tank, and buy... If you are ready to put that kind of money in a premium tank. Yet, too bad one can only find very vague (starting with its dev blog) or sometimes conflicting references about this tank and that Gaijin did not instead implement the AMX-30C2 prototype or the Venezuelan export AMX-30V (still in service) which also featured a stabilizer and for which many reliable sources exist.

     
  • BR 9.3-10.7: The AMX-40 at BR 9.7 is a bit like a Leopard 2K on steroid, with a good but recently nerfed APFSDS (394mm at 0° and 456mm LoS penetration at 60°; unfortunately, after a long grind) on par with the German DM23 (see the justified reason for the nerf on this post)... It does not help that the stock HEATFS was also nerfed to a mediocre 480mm penetration (like for all NATO Tier 6-7 tanks). The AMX-40 has the best mobility of all high tier MBT (especially in RB), and a small profile. Its main drawbacks: a pretty weak armor (yet, a reasonable survivability); a rather slow turret rotation compared to its German and American competitors; a long braking distance in AB when unspaded (a bit like the KPZ-70); it had a too narrow gunner field of view compared to real life but I submitted a bug report on this issue which recently addressed this issue. The AMX-40 is an excellent tank in RB/SB where its amazing mobility should be exploited (play it like the Lorraine 40t) and remains a pretty good tank in AB.
    The AMX-32 (120mm gun version) at BR 9.3 has the same fire power and rather slow turret rotation as the AMX-40 but does not match its incredible mobility. Both tanks recently received an ESS module, thanks to one of my bug reports. Considering the respective size of the ammo-ready rack of the AMX-40 and AMX-32 (19 vs 17 rounds), I carry respectively 20 and 18 shells, so that the hull is empty, drastically improving their survivability. Both tanks were unsuccessfully proposed for the export market, but were also used to test technologies which would later be implemented in the Char Leclerc.
    The Leclerc S1 (probably a Tranche/batch T3; and ) and Leclerc S2 (Tranche T6 to T9; note the accumeter above the gun and the basket in the back) at BR 10.7, named after the commander of the 2nd Division Blindée during WW2, offers excellent mobility (amazing acceleration and reverse when spaded; especially in AB), very decent armor protection (a good surprise; in practice, much better than M1 Abrams; in between the Leopard 2A4 and 2A5), and a 6s autoloader (nerfed from 5s on the dev server...). My advice: do not carry more than 23 shells so that the hull does not carry any shell, which definitely increases the Leclerc survivability. The stock shell is, again, a mediocre HEATFS (480mm penetration) and the OFL 120 F1 APFSDS shell (575/664mm LoS penetration at 0°/60°) is only available at the 4th research stage. But following my bug report to add the OFL 120 G1 shell of the AMX-40 as a stock or fast researchable shell, the Leclerc now has a decent shell available at the 1st research stage (muzzle velocity updated thanks to another of my bug reports). The OFL 120 F1, jointly developed with the Germans (known as DM43/LKE1 in Germany, but never used by the Germans who preferred to wait for DM53) is a really excellent shell especially since its recent boost following a bug report passed to devs. The gun depression is pretty good (-8°) and the Leclerc can shoot behind at 180° but with a reduced gun depression (but it is not as bad as on the M1 Abrams or Leopard 2A4 and 2A5). The Leclerc only has a crew of 3 (no loader) but the gunner is decently protected so that you can very often still shoot and reload when down to 1 crew and recrewing in AB (provided you researched the extra crew modification, which you should do ASAP). Right now, there is no doubt that the Leclerc is the best MBT in AB with the less common Strv 122 and the Leopard 2A6. In RB/SB, its less impressive but still very good mobility (the AMX-40 is the most mobile MBT in RB/SB) and its only 3 crews (reducing its survivability, since you die with only 1 crew left in RB/SB) results in the Leopard 2A5 & 2A6/Strv 122 being slightly superior to the Leclerc.
    Finally, the AMX-30 Roland at BR 10.0 is a very capable AA firing missiles (they can also destroy light ground vehicles). Yet, lacking a gun, it is certainly not as good as the Russian Tunguska or the excellent American ADATS.

    All in all, the French Tier 6-7 line up is definitively competitive in RB (with the excellent AMX-30 DCA SPAA tank and plane killer; see above) and can be very effectively played in AB, especially if you take some free universal backups for the Leclerc S1/S2 in tough battles. Hopefully, a Leclerc prototype and a Leclerc S3/SXXI will complement soon the French line-up around BR 10.7.
     
  • A few words about autoloaders and about killing French tanks: Many French tanks are equipped with an autoloader which comes with many advantages: you can reload even if your loader has just been killed (!); excellent reload time (12 shots/min for the AMX-13 and M4A1 (FL10); 15 shots/min for the Lorraine 40t and AMX-50; 10 shots/min for the AMX-50 Surbaissé and Leclerc...) and independent of the skill level of your crew; most of the time, the reload is not stopped by the activation of FPE; in AB, you can still shoot and reload with a high fire rate when down to only your gunner (provided you have the extra crew researched, which is crucial on tanks with autoloaders), which will often save your life!
    Your autoloader continuously but very slowly refills one shell at a time between shots (a process which is interrupted if you shoot before its completion) but you can dramatically accelerate this process by standing still on a captured zone (you can still pivot turn without stopping the reload). At any moment, by using the "O" key (by default), you can look at your tank in X-ray and check the number of shells in your autoloader, and even see them fill live! In this video, you can see the 2 circles showing the fast reload on the cap (left circle; reload interrupted if you move or leave the cap) and the slow secondary reload (right circle; reload interrupted if you fire your gun).
    In particular because of this slow secondary reload, I generally advise to carry just a few more shells than the autoloader can accommodate, which will also greatly improve the survivability of your autoloading tanks, by reducing or even eliminating the shells stored in the hull: carry around 15-18 shells for 7-round autoloaders, no more than 23 shells for 12-round autoloaders, and exactly 19/23 shells for the comfortable 18/22-round autoloaders of the AMX-50 Surbaissé/Leclerc (you may carry 2 more shells on the Leclerc in case you loose your ammo burning in the blowout panel).
    As a consequence, avoid shooting at the hull of French autoloaded tanks (except against the Leclerc, which you should shoot between the very thick front flat middle plate and the turret ring), and rather shoot at the (base of the) turret to kill them (on the gunner side!), since the hull is
    mostly empty if the enemy takes the right amount of ammo. Note that the gunner can be on the right or on the left side (when facing the tank), a crucial information to keep in mind when fighting a French tank, especially one with an autoloader against which killing the gunner should be your absolute priority:
    • Right side (Russian-style): Lorraine series, AMX-50 series, AMX M4, Char de 25t, Panther G "Dauphiné"
    • Left side (American-style): M4 Sherman series, M10, ARL-44 series, AMX-13 series, AML-90, AMX-30 series, and all tanks released after the AMX-30 (AMX-10, AMX-32, AMX-40, Char Leclerc...)
       
  • A few words about camouflages: In addition to their standard camo (grayish green), all French tanks feature a really superb unicolor desert camo (see my AMX-50 Surbaissé below), the usual white winter camo, and an elegant bicolor (green and maroon) camo, which are obtained by achieving enough kills. For 200 GE each ("pay to be beautiful!"), one can buy a nice bicolor desert camo (yellow and maroon; but I do prefer the basic unicolor one), a tricolor camo (green-yellow-maroon), and for some tanks, a winter spotted camo. I like playing with the scale of the camos, and in particular, I love the green and maroon camo when the minimal scale is selected. The AMX-30 (1972) has also a nice historical "Montmirail" camo, and some Tier 6 tanks (AMX-30B2, AMX-10RC...) feature the beautiful CENZUB (French training center in urban zone; 500 GE! Also available on the market) and FORAD (my favorite; see my AMX-10RC below; used for "enemy" tanks at the CENZUB; 200 GE) camos. For some high tier tanks, the NATO three-tone CARC camo is available (200 GE), but featuring a too dark green compared to the three-tone camo actually used by the French army. Any lover of French tanks should hence boycott this camo! Fortunately, you will find the beautiful historical "Austerlitz" camo for the Leclerc S2 on Gaijin's market, which features the actual French tricolor camo with the correct shade of green and extra details.

    2018-10-07_184742.thumb.jpg.68932489d54f 2018-12-21_082357.thumb.jpg.47f7ac50d20b

 

My "wish list" for new French tanks (listed according to my personal preference):

 

My favorite tanks in terms of fun and performance (in order of preference):

  • Lorraine 40t medium tank at BR 7.0/7.7 (AB/RB); the best tier-to-tier French tank in-game according to most players (simply the best Tier 4 tank of any nation in RB/SB, by far), even if Gaijin absurdly keeps on increasing its BR and repair cost...
  • Leclerc S1/S2 – MBT at BR 10.7
  • AMX-50 Surbaissé ("light" and mobile) heavy tank at BR 8.0
  • M4A4 (SA50) medium tank at BR 4.7
  • AMX-50 heavy tank, but treated as a medium tank in the game, at BR 7.0/7.3 (AB/RB)
  • AMX-30 (1972) medium tank at BR 7.7
  • AMX-13 (90) light tank at BR 7.0
  • AMX M4 medium tank at BR 6.7
  • AMX-30B2 medium tank at BR 8.3
  • AMX-30 DCA SPAA at BR 8.0 (probably the best SPAA without AAGM in the game)
  • AMX-40 MBT at BR 9.7
  • AMX-50 Foch SPG at BR 7.3
  • AMX-13 light tank at BR 6.0/6.3 (AB/RB)
     

Premium tanks

The "OP" B1 ter, the cool AMX-13-M24, the awesome M4A1 (FL10), the fun AMX-13 (SS.11), the original Somua SM, and the excellent AMX-30 Super at respective BR 2.3, 3.3, 4.7, 6.7, 7.3, 9.0 could have been in the list above, especially the M4A1 (FL10) (great tank and excellent grinding value at a very enjoyable and popular BR), the SOMUA SM, and the AMX-30 Super. The Panther G "Dauphiné" is alone at its BR of 5.7 and should not be a priority. As for the AMX-30 at BR 7.7, it lacks the great and very useful 20mm gun of the 1972 model already in the French tree, and is hence a very dubious choice at its current price and BR (except, of course, for faster grinding and for collectors).

My favorite BR ranges to play with French tanks (AB/RB):

  • Anywhere between 6.7 and 8.3
  • 10.7 (using free universal backups for the Leclerc S1/S2 in tough battles)
  • 4.7-5.3 (especially if you have the M4A1 (FL10) and/or E.B.R. (1954); if you wish to buy only one French premium, choose this M4A1 (FL10) for sure)
  • 3.3-3.7
  • 8.7-9.3 (especially if you have the AMX-30 Super)
  • 2.0-2.3 (I rarely play there, but the line-up is now excellent, if not OP)


Let me add that what I really like with these French tanks is the diversity of gameplay they already offer at all BR (quite unique at BR 6.0-8.3), despite the limited number of tanks available (more soon, I guess; hopefully starting with my wish list). Let me also add that most of these light-armored but very mobile tanks are suitable for active players ( the ones who win the battle!) and not for passive players/campers (the cannon fodders who continuously lose games). Unfortunately, as a consequence of their excellent in-game stats, most French tanks at BR above 6.0 also come with ludicrous SL repair costs in RB, which can discourage many inexperienced RB players from developing the French ground tree to avoid getting bankrupt (unless they quickly become good tankers).

 

Thanks for reading this review. I hope you found it of interest. If so, leave your thoughts below and recommend it. If not, do exactly the same.

See you on the battlefield! À bientôt sur le champ de bataille !
No_Camping

PS: I will keep this review up to date and will try to post here relevant information concerning these French tanks (bug reports, buffs/nerfs, historical notes...).

Edited by No_Camping

P8triot (Posted )

moved to France>General and Upcoming
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Interesting analysis...   but where did you get the idea that the 76mm Shermans were inaccurate and not used much by American forces, and French were the main user of the M4(76)??

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On 05/01/2018 at 03:08, Josephs_Piano said:

Interesting analysis...   but where did you get the idea that the 76mm Shermans were inaccurate and not used much by American forces, and French were the main user of the M4(76)??

Different sources but now, crossing references, I realize that they may confuse the use of HE shells for this gun, and the use of this gun. In addition, the correct statement is that most French  M4 had the 76mm gun. Thanks. I'll edit this part.

I also added the link to the almost exhaustive list of French M4, including wartime photographs for many of them, sometimes also after their destruction

Edited by No_Camping
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Very well written and informative thread. Excellent for the War Thunder Community. Will recommend this thread to my squad.

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France have two really great line-up : 6.0 with the AMX-13, Lorraine AC and AMX M4, and 6.7 with Lorraine, AMX 50 and AMX-13 SS11. The AMX SS11 could get a buff or two (at least fix that wobble and reverse speed).

 

Then you can add the 7.7 with AMX Surbaissé, AMX-13 90 (though the HEATFS are very bad) and Foch. However the Surbaissé can't be played as a heavy, and should be used as a big medium instead. It's at a bit awkward spot since apart from the autoloader it really isn't that amazing compared to M103 or IS-4M. Mobility is nice but meds does better, and the armor is nonexistant. Maybe it could be 7.3 with AMX-50 Surblindé at 7.7 instead.

AMX-30 is currently worthless. They need to fix those HEAT.

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The French Had one Jumbo, yet I've just faced (in German 4.3 line up) an opfor of Allies made up of almost entirely French and US Jumbos!

 

In fact 5 games in a row the German's were up tiered with only the one game we were paired with Soviets so we had one IS1 and one T34-85DT. Suffice to say we were utterly steam rollered by the masses of heavy tanks fielded by the allies, supported by their mediums (mostly FL10, SA50 and firefly).

Edited by Tarby__GB
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16 hours ago, crimfobic said:

Very well written and informative thread. Excellent for the War Thunder Community. Will recommend this thread to my squad.

Thanks man

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On 05/01/2018 at 9:46 AM, ShinGetsu said:

France have two really great line-up : 6.0 with the AMX-13, Lorraine AC and AMX M4, and 6.7 with Lorraine, AMX 50 and AMX-13 SS11. The AMX SS11 could get a buff or two (at least fix that wobble and reverse speed).

 

Then you can add the 7.7 with AMX Surbaissé, AMX-13 90 (though the HEATFS are very bad) and Foch. However the Surbaissé can't be played as a heavy, and should be used as a big medium instead. It's at a bit awkward spot since apart from the autoloader it really isn't that amazing compared to M103 or IS-4M. Mobility is nice but meds does better, and the armor is nonexistant. Maybe it could be 7.3 with AMX-50 Surblindé at 7.7 instead.

AMX-30 is currently worthless. They need to fix those HEAT.

Completely agree with all you wrote. But I think you forgot to mention the nice line-up at BR 4.7, which also works very well in RB.
 

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Its sad to hear that the french jagdpanther is bad. I was interested in that one.

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1 hour ago, AraMacao said:

Its sad to hear that the french jagdpanther is bad. I was interested in that one.

If you refer to the CA Lorraine, it is bad in the sense that despite having a good gun (same as the Lorraine 40t) it's front armor is inexistent, which is bad for a SPG at BR 6.0... Of course, it is the complete opposite for the Foch at BR 7.3. Yet, the CA Lorraine has good mobility and maneuverability, so maybe I am not using it the right way, but I cannot imagine that anyone would qualify it as a good SPG. Closer to the SU-85M or 100 than to any German SPG at Tier-3-4 (although I love the SU-85 at BR 4.3).

Edited by No_Camping
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just wait in a couple weeks or months gaijin will screw up the br's even more and things will get worse before they get better, always happens.

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12 hours ago, No_Camping said:

If you refer to the CA Lorraine, it is bad in the sense that despite having a good gun (same as the Lorraine 40t) it's front armor is inexistent, which is bad for a SPG at BR 6.0... Of course, it is the complete opposite for the Foch at BR 7.3. Yet, the CA Lorraine has good mobility and maneuverability, so maybe I am not using it the right way, but I cannot imagine that anyone would qualify it as a good SPG. Closer to the SU-85M or 100 than to any German SPG at Tier-3-4 (although I love the SU-85 at BR 4.3).

What the CA don’t have in armor it makes up in mobility.  Been experimenting in custom games, timing how long it takes getting it to certain snipe spots on various maps and so far I like what I see.  At current BR it seems very competitive. 

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“Why are French tanks so OP?” 

 

“Because they’re new and will make Gaijin more money if they perform very well.” 

 

“Will French tanks be nerfed?” 

 

“After Gaijin decides they’ve made enough money off them, then they will become subpar, like a lot of British tanks use to be.” 

 

 

Someone one tell me I’m wrong, because you know French tanks will be “fixed” in <6 months. 

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On 08/01/2018 at 5:45 PM, xX_Lord_James_Xx said:

“Why are French tanks so OP?” 

They are not OP:
- They have a good line-up at BR 2.3 and 3.3 (Yes the B1 ter is OP but not at a relevant BR; who keeps on playing BR 2.3?)
- They have a really excellent line-up at BR 4.7, including for RB
- They have very competitive tanks at BR 6.0-6.7 provided you are not the type of tanker relying too much on armor but rather on mobility
- They have OK tanks at BR 7.0-7.7 which can become really good at BR 7.7 if the performance of the HEAT shells on the AMX-30 are improved/corrected (see my post; EDIT: now they indeed have an excellent Tier V line-up)

 

“Because they’re new and will make Gaijin more money if they perform very well.” 

I guess it is particularly true for the B1 ter which will indeed help people grind their low tier tanks. The 2 other premium are good but certainly not OP.

 

“Will French tanks be nerfed?” 

As I said, I fear for the Foch

 

“After Gaijin decides they’ve made enough money off them, then they will become subpar, like a lot of British tanks use to be.” 

British tanks are competitive at BR 4.7 and above especially with the new damage model for their most popular shells.
I just find them boring at BR 7.0 and above as they all resemble the Centurion Mk 1, with more armor and penetration. What I like with French tanks is the diversity of game play they offer at all BR.

 

Someone one tell me I’m wrong, because you know French tanks will be “fixed” in <6 months. 
Hopefully, nothing to be fixed

 

Edited by No_Camping
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28 minutes ago, xX_Lord_James_Xx said:

“Why are French tanks so OP?” 

 

“Because they’re new and will make Gaijin more money if they perform very well.” 

 

“Will French tanks be nerfed?” 

 

“After Gaijin decides they’ve made enough money off them, then they will become subpar, like a lot of British tanks use to be.” 

 

 

Someone one tell me I’m wrong, because you know French tanks will be “fixed” in <6 months. 

This applies to every new nation I agree, but this time all 75mm and above AP got a boost so not only French raked benefit from it.

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43 minutes ago, Radom said:

What the CA don’t have in armor it makes up in mobility.  Been experimenting in custom games, timing how long it takes getting it to certain snipe spots on various maps and so far I like what I see.  At current BR it seems very competitive. 

I would agree but people camping/snipping (which is obviously not my case, as I live by my name!) will regret the weak armor.

2 minutes ago, Radom said:

This applies to every new nation I agree, but this time all 75mm and above AP got a boost so not only French raked benefit from it.

Agree

Edited by No_Camping
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6 minutes ago, Henry_Jones_Sr said:

It's taking me twice along as it usually does to get out of the hole that is rank 1.0-1.3...

 

Given your fairly low number of planes and vehicles, how long would that be, exactly?

 

Took me half as long....   'cos knowing they were crap I did something decisive to minimise it and got talismans for hem all - easy peasy.

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On 1/4/2018 at 7:48 PM, No_Camping said:

BR 2.7-3.3: quite competitive and allows you to grind fast the next level. The first AMX-13 of a long series is there at BR 3.3... The last one will be at BR 9.0! You'd better start learning to drive it efficiently and to adjust to its bouncy gun when you stop (just a bit less than the M18). This is also the first French tank in a long series using an autoloader. The pro: they cannot kill your loader (!) and the fire rate is fast enough (12 shots/min for the AMX-13) and independent of the development of your crew. The con: every 12 shots (or 7, or 19, in other French tanks), you have a long reload period (the crew is refilling the autoloader). You'd better notice it... and find a nice spot to hide! Charging an enemy tank without ammunition can be quite an unpleasant surprise!

 

What's the deal with the autoloader in the AMX13/75 (FL11)? It either doesn't have a magazine size or the mag size is every shell I brought. It doesn't really seem anything like the Sherman FL10...am I missing something?

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6 minutes ago, FrostSabre said:

 

What's the deal with the autoloader in the AMX13/75 (FL11)? It either doesn't have a magazine size or the mag size is every shell I brought. It doesn't really seem anything like the Sherman FL10...am I missing something?

 

IRC both have 2 x 6 round magazines.....   so yeah, you are missing something - what is the difference you think you are seeing?

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2 hours ago, FrostSabre said:

 

What's the deal with the autoloader in the AMX13/75 (FL11)? It either doesn't have a magazine size or the mag size is every shell I brought. It doesn't really seem anything like the Sherman FL10...am I missing something?

The first AMX13 does not have an auto loader.

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20 minutes ago, Byebye360 said:

The first AMX13 does not have an auto loader.

 

Yeah but he specifically mentioned the FL11 version.....

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Just now, Josephs_Piano said:

 

Yeah but he specifically mentioned the FL11 version.....

Which is the first one, did you not look it up it answer the question properly?

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  • No_Camping changed the title to A review of French tanks (Updated 6/January/2021)
  • No_Camping changed the title to A review of French tanks (Updated 24/March/2021)
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