Recently, Wargaming.net announced that British tanks were coming to World of Tanks , it's an exciting time to be a Brit who's into blowing things up. To celebrate, Wargaming.net gave us a peek at their planned British army tech tree, and I've speculated a little about what we can expect from the Queen's own angry houses.
Historically, British tanks featured high penetration, low calibre guns, in World of Tanks terms this means that they'll rarely bounce straight off enemy armour, but won't do that much damage when they hit, forcing British gunners to place their shots carefully. This won't be too hard however, as British tanks were famed for their accuracy when firing on the move. This came from the fact that their guns were carefully balanced to brace against the shoulder of the gunner, giving him perfect control when aiming... and a hell of a scare every time it fired.
Let's have a look at the proposed British tech tree.
British tanks are separated into two broad types. The central tree hosts the old 'infantry tanks', like the Matilda and Churchill, currently available as premium tanks on the Soviet side. These rolling fortresses were meant to accompany infantry into combat and support them. As such they don't move very fast, or sport the biggest guns, but they are heavily armoured, capable of bouncing even the toughest shells while their fast firing guns chewed through vulnerable lighter tanks. As the war went on the concept of the infantry tank would eventually be abandoned, and the later entries in the tree, the Caernevon, Conqueror and FV215, are true heavy tanks built with bigger, heavier guns.
The counterpoint to the infantry tank was the cruiser tank. A fast moving, lightly armoured tank with a strong gun, it was intended to exploit gaps in the enemy line and break through, operating further forward than the plodding infantry tanks. These are represented by the right hand tree, with tanks like the Crusader and Cromwell, notoriously fast, and hard hitting, but vulnerable under fire. Eventually these would be superseded by the Centurion, a more versatile 'universal tank' that was one of the best in the world at the time.
I'd expect British medium tanks to be similar to the US, fast moving, accurate and a lot of fun to play, but not as easy to pick up or as hard hitting as the Soviets. The heavy tanks on the other hand represent an interesting challenge, they're likely to be hard to hurt, but struggle to dish out damage, at least until the late tiers. Still, if you enjoyed the Matilda's feeling of slow moving invincibility, then you can expect more of the same.
Let's take a look at some of the coolest looking new tanks:
You might remember the Crusader from Call of Duty 2's tank level, which depicted its desert duel with the Panzer IV. The Crusader was far quicker than the Panzer, and could easily penetrate the German tank's armour, but it was comparatively short ranged. The British solution was to use that superior speed to quickly close the distance in a reckless cavalry charge.
The Cromwell was famed for its Rolls-Royce Meteor engine, an absolute beast of a machine based on the airplane engine that powered the Spitfire. The result was a medium tank that could reach speeds of 40 mph (64 kph). That's comparable to most of WoT's light scout tanks, only far tougher, and with more firepower.
The Comet used a similar engine to the Cromwell, but sported a larger gun and more armour. The result was the loss of the Cromwell's fabled speed, but a much better all round tank, capable of taking on German Panther's head to head.
The Centurion might well be the most sought after tank in the game when the update goes live. Generally considered to be the forerunner of modern tank design, and mounting a world beating gun that could penetrate almost any tank in the world. The real challenge will making sure it isn't too overpowered, but still fun to play.
Finally, all British tanks are required to have a 'Boiling Vessel' (kettle) built in. It'll take more than a war to separate us from our beloved tea!