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DeadlyPeanut

Tank Mini-Review US Tier 6- M4A3E8 "Thunderbolt VII"

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Time for another "Mini" Review :)

M4A3E8 VII "Thunderbolt VII"

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As as disclaimer again this review is based on my own experience of this tank, your play style may differ. This tank is "Slow" for my standards and usual play style but in reality its speed is probably good, I just play fast tanks.

So the Thunderbolt is a new Tier 6 US Premium medium tank. It is an up armored Sherman E8. Overall I quite enjoy the tank. It is an all rounder, its not really good at one particular thing but it does many things right and is very flexible. Its got a great gun with great DPS but low alpha. The thing fires faster then some auto loaders, without the reload. 2.97s reload with crew, BIA and vents, pop on food and its a damn machine gun, approx 2.85-2.9 im guessing.

Its got decent frontal armor, will protect you from same tier opponents and even tier 7 opponents. It will see tier 8 opponents and your armor is unreliable at best at that point. Also its not downright amazing armor, it suffers greatly from a press 2 to win syndrome. It will protect you very well from normal rounds if they dont hit weak spots but once gold is loaded your armor isn't useless but it is unreliable.

But at tier 6 you will see your auto cannon armed tier 5s and your auto loaders which at tier 5-6 and 7 are generally lacking in the pen department and this tank protects you well from them. Its weak spots are noticeable and up close a savvy tanker will know where they are and can hit them. But at range your pretty safe. Mid tier tanks dont have the laser accuracy to reliably hit a weak spot at 200-300+m. Sides are laughably weak along with the rear but this is nothing shocking to other US tanks. 

Overall speed is meh but its just enough to be enjoyable, for me. Its not super-pershing slow mode but its not going to win any races. Its engine does chug along going up hills though, but you will hit top speed going down hills and at 42 its very respectable. Flat ground you will struggle to maintain the 42 but you will get close. Its turret traverse and overall hull traverse are very good though. You can quickly turn to face any opponents and show them that good front armor.

The gun is great. Very good DPS and amazing gun handling for this tier. Aim time and dispersion values are great, decently accurate at 0.38. Its not a dedicated sniper but it gets the job done. Alpha is low-ish but nothing too different from similar tired tanks. 76mm guns are very common on mediums of this tier and tier 7s. Penetration is lacking on the standard round, 128mm is subpar compared to most tier 6 meds with their top guns. Gold rounds have 177 pen which is workable and being a premium tank you can afford to use em once and awhile. Its enough for side armor on almost every tank you will face, minus some Russian and German heavies. But frontally you are going to struggle verses some if not most heavies.

 

To sum this tank up its a Jack of all trades master of none.

It can brawl, it actually brawls very well verses same tier or lower tier enemies but it will get the smack down put on it by heavies and higher tier tanks.

It is a good support tank, though I wish it was a little faster it struggles to re-position or flank fast enough. When you can just pelt the sides of heavies with that great DPM and machine gun speed where your pen is more then enough this thing melts tanks.

Playing this tank I would avoid head up engagements unless you are top tier. Even top I would only push and really bully people with the armor against lower tiered lightly armed tanks. This tank can muscle and spear head its way threw but you better know what your trying to bully. But higher tier anything, TDs hiding behind the lines and heavies will stop your spear head fast. It is a great support tank and where it armor really excels is at mitigating damage when poking to fire some shots, especially hull down over ridge lines. Though don't tempt fate if you know a TD or heavy is aimed in on you and has your number disengage for a bit become unlit, preposition slightly then start poking.

Never get flanked or swarmed in this tank you have tinfoil on your sides. I would say its armor is not a primary line of defense. It is great at mitigating damage but because of gold rounds ease to penetrate from almost every tank you will face it CAN NOT be relied upon. Thinking you have good armor and poking into unknown positions like some heavies can do will end bad almost all the time.

 

For equipment-

Rammer is a must... but a gun rammer is a must on any tank.

I would recommend the vert stab over the GLD, its aim time is fast enough.

Final piece I would recommend the coated optics over vents. Vents do squeeze a little bit more out of DPM and mobility and handling but its not much at all. Enhancing this thing already good base view range is better imo.

 

The Good:

Amazing gun handling, Aim time overall dispersion values, turret traverse are all very good. Accuracy is good enough.

Great DPM and machine gun like reload. Gun handling allows you to fire and you will be fully aimed for any followup shots.

10 degrees gun depression. Can poke over ridges and hills and has the turret armor to provide some limited protection hull down.

Decent frontal armor, especially verses same and lower tier opponents, is almost immune to auto cannon and auto loaders of tier 5-6 and most 7s.

Good base view range, 370m, great for this tier.

Good value from WG. Its a budget premium compared to the normal tier 8 tanks which are not cheap. 18$ for a respectable credit earner,  crew that has BIA already as a zero cost skill, and an overall enjoyable tank is a good deal for someone who want's a premium but doesn't want to drop 50$.

The meh:

Round penetration on the standard round is lacking. Overall 128pen may sound low but it does the trick most of the time. But it does have limitations you need to be aware of. It struggles frontally on most heavies tier 6 and especially 7. Struggles A LOT against Tier 8 mediums, frontally. And heavies, frontally and from the side. I would load gold (177mm pen) or avoid engagements with these tanks. 

Side armor is weak

Overall mobility- Hull traverse is actually quite good but you lack the speed and engine power to out maneuver tanks. You will struggle to re-position and are committed to your line of attack on a lot of maps. Mobility also prevents you from escaping a situation that you know will turn south most of the time.

750 total HP- When stuff does make it through the armor it does not leave much wiggle room to work with. Considering you will meet some 90mm armed and even 122mm armed tanks. A penetrating 120mm+ round is essentially half your HP.

Frontal armor should not be relied on due to the limited HP. Its good but will be beaten by most gold rounds. Will be beaten by tier 8s, some tier 7s standard rounds. Will be beaten by most anything that hits a weak spots, The strip below the mantlet, machine gun port on the hull. The turret cheeks close to the mantlet are a sort of weak spot. Overall Its armor is a great back up but not a line of defense.

The Bad:

Engine really struggles up hill. Even slight inclines are rough.

Trying to shoot or be shot at by anything tier 8. This tank really struggles when low tier, but due to the new MM you will only ever see 3 total tier 8s in a battle. If they are mediums or heavies avoid them like the plague :) 

 

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