British tanks are relatively new to World of Tanks and do not really bring anything “new” per say in terms of game play but nonetheless some tanks are worth grabbing. There is no common trait for British as a whole across the entire line but each line does go through a progression with tanks all similar in play style at the low tiers and high tiers.
Light/Medium Line (A13 Mk.1 Cr Tank Mk. III -> FV4202 (105))
At low tiers(2-5) this line is actually a light tank line that focuses on high mobility and high rate of fire guns that rely on DPM to be effective. Unlike other nation’s earlier light tanks the British light tanks pack a punch and progressing through them is infinitely better than other light tank lines. Once past the tier 5 Crusader the tier 6 and 7 medium tanks start to move away from the light tank philosophy towards slightly larger medium tanks. Both the Cromwell and Comet retain the excellent mobility and high top speeds of the light tanks but are slightly larger and pack a bit more of a punch being medium tanks. Grinding through them is slightly harder until you unlock the top engines and guns for both but even with this they are easier to move through than other tank lines.
At tier 8 the line shifts away from highly mobile tanks towards a more traditional medium tank. The Centurion tanks at tier 8 and 9 have very good firepower in the form of their top guns and a great mix of mobility with a little frontal armor sprinkled in. The main downside to these tanks are their size as they are larger than other mediums and are very easy to spot and hit. The FV4202 (105) much like the American tier 10 M48A1 struggles with an identity crisis since it is neither a heavy tank capable of soaking up damage nor a medium tank with great mobility and a smaller size than heavy tanks. The FV4202 is very fun to play since its frontal armor set up can bounce shells due to its steep angles and the HESH rounds are very useful for dealing damage to lightly armored tanks. However, the FV4202 lacks a true role but at the same time does not have enough positive attributes when compared to other mediums or mobile heavy tanks. Like the rest of the British Light/Medium line from tier 8-10 the tanks are very fun to play and use but in the end they are simply really good public tanks due to their “jack of all trades” role but the lack of a defining role limits the use in competitive play.
Heavy Line (Vickers Medium MK. II -> FV215b)
The heavy line of the British tree is a story of two different mindsets. At times this line throws armor out the window and instead focuses solely on firepower….While other tanks focus solely on armor but forget to equip a gun capable of being used to defend itself from other tanks. The two Vickers medium tanks to start this tank tree off are very large for their tiers and do not equip much of any armor to protect themselves. Instead they have very good guns for tier 2 and 3 and pack a mean punch which sounds excellent but due to the fast pace of those matches these tanks at times will simply be torn apart before accomplishing anything.
At tier 4 the Matilda shifts away from the low armor of the Vickers tanks and instead is a heavily armored medium which at tier 4 functions as a heavy tank. The stock configuration is very bad for the Matilda until you reach the 2lber X-B which has very good DPM for a tank like the Matilda. The main downside is the speed which handicaps you but at the same time it readies you for the later Churchill tanks. Tier 5-7 of this line sees players enter the Churchill section. These tanks focus on heavy armor(however not angled which limits the effectiveness) and typically guns that are worse than similar heavy tanks of their tier. Some howitzers are available but typically these tanks will be using guns that rely on damage per minute to be effective which coupled with the low speed limits the damage potential. Overall the tier 5 Churchill I is a great tank however the tier 6 Churchill VII and Black Prince are very difficult tanks to grind through due to the lack of great guns available. Both have very good armor but armor does not help you destroy tanks.
Churchill I Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-churchill-i/
At tier 8 the Caernarvon is one of the oddest named tanks in the game and is a welcomed sight after the Churchill tanks. However, you will want to have some free experienced saved up since this tank is brutal to play at its stock configuration since you will be using the guns that were lacking on the previous Churchill tanks while loosing your armor advantage. With the upgraded turret and 20lbers unlocked this tank becomes a decent tier 8 heavy tank but lacks the alpha strike of other heavy tanks. This tank relies on its ability to hull down and bully non-heavy tanks with its fast firing gun but struggles against tougher opponents. The hull armor is capable of protecting the tank from lower tiers but overall should not be relied on.
Tier 9 sees the “heavy” tank mindset once again abandoned as the Conqueror is lightly armored for a tier 9 heavy tank and instead focuses on raw firepower and flexibility. Much like the previous tanks the stock configuration is brutal as you are essentially playing the Caernarvon at tier 9 at first. I recommend getting the top 120mm as soon as possible along with the tracks as you need to have the firepower since you have no other strong attribute. This is quite possibly one of the best tier 9 tanks with the top set up as it has the firepower of a tier 10 tank(DPM and all) at tier 9 while being mobile and accurate. The only downsides are lack of gun depression and no armor.
Moving to tier 10 comes the FV215b which shares the same hull as the Conqueror but is equipped with more armor on various locations. The turret also sees a massive amount of armor added onto it and moved to the rear of the hull. The FV215b reigns king as far as firepower, DPM, and accuracy of the tier 10 heavy tanks. Unlike the Conqueror this tank’s armor is capable of protecting it against tier 10 tanks if hit on the turret and also the upper glacis at mid range…However, the lower glacis still remains very weak and the sides are very lightly armored.
FV215b Tank Guide: http://wotguru.com/tank-guide-fv215b/
FV215b Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-fv215b/
Churchill GC Crossover
The Churchill GC gives players an option of transferring from the heavy tank line over to the tank destroyer line. While this might sound like a good idea buyer beware of the horror that is the Churchill GC. This tank has an amazing gun on it for tier 6 however pays a steep price for it. Starting off you have almost no left/right gun movement meaning that you need to turn your tank’s hull to hit any tank that is not sitting still ahead of you. When you couple this with the long length of the tank you run into major issues. Along with this major downside you also have absolutely the most illogical armor set up on a tank since aside from a few small areas on the hull you have a massive flat box saying “SHOOT ME” that is easily penetrated. I strongly advise to stay clear of this tank and pretend like it never was introduced.
Tank Destroyers (UC 2-pdr -> FV215b (183))
The British tank destroyers are largely well protected but sluggish beasts that pack decent firepower on paper but when you dive deeper you will find out they provide more variety than what it appears to be. Starting out at tier 2 the UC 2-pdr is a tiny frail box that is decently mobile with a nice pew-pew gun on it. At tier 2 it can be slightly a let down since you cannot afford to be shot at….by anything since you will die before your gun can come into play. Play this tank a bit further back and avoid taking hits.
At tier 3 you move into a more sturdier tank on paper with the Valentine AT. The Valentine AT has great all around hull armor but has a gigantic weak spot slapped on top of it where the turret would have been for the standard Valentine tank. This entire top section is very weak and on top of that HE shells(arty) causes massive damage. Even with this major flaw the tank is great and is very fun to play with the howitzer gun since you can 1-2 hit most tank at tier 3/4. After this tank you proceed to another glass cannon with the tier 4 Alecto. The Alecto like the UC 2-pdr is mobile but frail but makes up for it with excellent top gun choices of the 25-pdr and 3.7 inch howitzer. Due to your small size, great mobility, and howitzer guns it is best to play very cautiously but at the same time move around a lot. Position yourself to flank from a distance or to be on the second line, fling shells at enemies that cannot see you, and then run away if you are spotted. This tank can be very challenging to play since it doesn’t have a conventional gun for a lightly armored tank destroyer but can be very rewarding and a change of pace from other tanks. Overall the first 3 tank destroyers of this line are very solid when you unlock their top guns and provide some very fun matches in the low tiers.
At tier 5 this line dramatically shifts towards a slower paced tank in the form of the “AT#” series of tanks. Overall these tanks are not speedy tanks but bring other aspects to the table to make them worthwhile. The AT 2 kicks off things at tier 5 and is an absolute monster as far as armor goes. The AT 2 does not have many good gun options but the upgraded 6-pdr is adequate enough to pester your opponents to death. The AT 2’s job is the plow ahead and take the hits since it is immune to even tier 6’s from the front unless they hit some small weak spots or use premium ammo. This tank might not be for everyone since you won’t light up the score board every match but for those who like to soak up damage it is very rewarding.
AT 2 Tank Guide: http://wotguru.com/tank-guide-2/
AT 2 Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-at-2/
Next in the line is the tier 6 AT 8 which still sports a decent amount of armor at that tier but gains a bit of firepower the AT 2 did not have. This tank is very difficult at first until you unlock the upgraded gun but once you obtain it you have a very accurate/high rate of fire sniper platform that can soak up a few hits in a pinch. The AT 8 is great at chugging along behind the main line or getting into place in good sniper spots and getting a lot of well placed shots down range. The armor scheme provides good protection from the front until enemies get close enough to hit your various weak spots so staying at mid to long range is best. After the AT 8 you are now treated to the AT 7 which is very similar to it. The AT 7’s armor is not as good at tier 7 as the AT 8’s was at tier 6 but is still protects you against lower tier tanks at mid range. What the AT 7 has is the 20-pdr AT gun which is deadly as far as damage and accuracy goes. Like the AT 8 the AT 7 is a very good long range tank but without the initial tough stock tank grind.
At tier 8 the size of your tank dramatically increases with the AT 15. Armor wise the AT 15 has good “on paper” armor but the upper section of the tank is littered with weak spots and at tier 8 struggles at times against same tier tanks and especially against tier 9/10’s as far as protection goes. At tier 7 the armor scheme works with the AT-15a but at tier 8 it starts to show its flaws. To make up for the larger size/iffy armor the AT-15 has an excellent top gun with the 20-pdr Type B which should be unlocked easily if you unlocked the 20-pdr’s on the previous tanks. This gun might be a mere “side grade” but it is very wise to unlock it before you grind towards the Tortoise since you will need it for that tank or suffer immensely. The AT-15 plays similar to the AT 8/AT 7 but is spotted a tad more due to the larger size.
Tier 9 unlocks to infamous Tortoise which is essentially a vastly improved AT 15. The Tortoise starts off “slow” without the top 120mm gun but the 20-pdr you unlocked prior on the AT 15 makes the stock grind bearable. The armor scheme is full of holes like the AT 15 and at tier 9 will only protect you at long range or against badly aimed shots. On the plus side the Tortoise has tier 10 like HP with 2,000 that helps make up for that and comes very handy against the inevitable SPG fire raining down upon you. The Tortoise like the previous tank destroyers is an excellent “second line” sniper with its immense firepower/accuracy but unlike the others changes with the 120mm top gun. The 120mm brings unheard of damage on a tier 9 tank and allows this tank to shred through any tank put in front of its combination of firepower/accuracy/HP. Playing this tank a bit more aggressively than the previous tanks is strongly advised if you limit the chance of being flanked.
Tortoise Tank Guide: http://wotguru.com/tank-guide-tortoise/
The tank you have been waiting for….the FV215b (183) sits atop of this tank destroyer line and throws away the play style of the AT 2->Tortoise tanks. The FV215b (183) is extremely fragile on both the hull. the limited traverse turret, and with 2,000 HP pool at tier 10. It also catches fire fairly easily and is focused on by enemies more than almost any tank in the game currently(for a very good reason). On the plus side it equips the 183mm L4 gun which does a whopping 1,150 damage with AP and 1,750 with HESH. This tank is meant to dish out damage with it’s insane alpha and DPM that stands up against lower alpha guns. The accuracy/aim time are a bit of a hindrance at over 200m but this tank is meant to pop out, chuck a bus at someone, and vanish while it reloads. Overall this tank is not as “over powered” as many make it out to be…yes it has the potential to obliterate tanks but at the same time the downsides put in place to counter this are very hard to overcome consistently. Regardless this tank is very fun to play overall albeit it not as practical at times to actually field. Recently it’s HESH shells were changed from 275mm to 230mm penetration which has hit the FV215b (183) hard since it’s AP shell isn’t that exciting when stacked up against other tier 10 tanks considering the chassis it has. Overall the tank can still brutalize tanks when you are able to land your shots, but it’s damage dealing ability takes a huge hit with the HESH penetration reduction without any buff elsewhere to compensate for the sub-par AP round. Its armor also received a change since release that allows its frontal turret to bounce most shots thrown at it by tier 10 tanks and when combined with the above average armor on the upper glacis it gives this tank very good overall armor. However, at the cost it is slower and less mobile which makes moving around to where you need to be slightly harder than before.
FV215b (183) Tank Guide: http://wotguru.com/tank-guide-fv215b-183/
FV215b (183) Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-fv215b-183/
Medium Tank Line (M2 Light Tank->Sherman Firefly)
With the World of Tanks 9.5 Update came new British light and medium tanks. Starting with the M2 Light Tank and ending with the Sherman Firefly you have mobile tank with great guns equipped on them which eventually lead to the British tank destroyers that share the same type of tank design. At tier 2 and tier 3 the M2 and Stuart I-IV are very mobile/lightly armored tanks with very good top guns capable of holding their own against higher tier tanks. Both tanks are very quick to get through and the top guns being capable of damaging higher tier tanks helps the grind go by very quick.
At tier 4 the Grant is very similar to the tier 4 American medium tank the M3 Lee. The Grant has very good armor for a medium tank at tier 4, has no fully rotating turret(like a tank destroyer), and has a very good 75mm gun for its best gun option. The Grant grind is painless and the main difficultly comes with the Grant playing more like a tank destroyer without a turret than a medium tank. If you can handle not having a turret the Grant is a great tier 4 medium tank. The Grant has good armor, good mobility, and an excellent gun making a very solid tank.
At tier 5 the Sherman III sticks with the good firepower, poor armor, and decent mobility of previous tanks and improves upon it. The Sherman III has the same top 76mm as the American M4 Sherman however it only has 10 degrees of gun depression(compared to 12) but in return has a better rate of fire than the M4 Sherman. It also has a premium AP shell with less penetration(but more normalization) than the M4’s APCR round but it isn’t a major difference. Overall the Sherman III is a very good all around tank and you won’t have many complaints about it.
Ending this mini-branch is the tier 6 medium Sherman Firefly that many people envy. This Sherman variant has the 17 pder as its top gun which is awesome for a tier 6 medium tank since it allows it to deal a ton of damage. The 17 pder has 150 damage, a good rate of fire, and very good penetration compared to other tier 6 medium tanks. To offset the good gun the Sherman Firefly has below average mobility and only 6 degrees of gun depression. It’s a great tank but only if you avoid hilly areas and also if you are being shot at by multiple enemies. After the Sherman Firefly the branch moves over to the tier 7 tank destroyer Challenger.
Tank Destroyers (Cruiser MK.I->FV4005 Stage II)
The newer of the British tank destroyer lines begins at tier 5 with the Archer and ends at tier 10 with the FV4005 Stage II. This tank branch when compared to the one topped by the FV215b (183) is dominated by mobile hard hitting tanks that have very poor gun depression and armor values. However, at tier 2 the line begins with the Cruiser MK.I which is not a tank destroyer and leads to the tier 5 Archer.
Starting at tier 2 the The Cruiser MK. I has the deadly 40mm Pom Pom which packs a mean punch at tier 2. This tank is a quick grind but is very fun/easy to play with the Pom Pom. The Cruiser II also sports the Pom Pom but it’s main feature is the 3.7 inch howitzer which tears apart tanks up to tier 5. Since the Cruiser II is pretty sluggish and the howitzer has bad accuracy/shell velocity it is relegated to close range brawls. On the plus side you can one shot most tanks you normally face with the HE and only struggle against tier 5 heavy tanks. Rounding out this low tier section of the branch is the Valentine which has great overall armor and a somewhat “meh” arsenal of guns to choose from. The Valentine isn’t meant to dish out overwhelming amounts of damage but the sturdiness of the tank helps keep it fun tank to play if you like “heavy mediums” but compared to its tier 4 peer the Matilda it is the worse option of the tier 4 medium tanks.
Moving onto the tier 5 Archer that starts the tank destroyers you find yourself in a very interesting tank to begin with. The Archer only has a 12 km/h top speed going forward and a 32 km/h top speed going in reverse. It does not have the strongest engine but it is still decently mobile…..but only if you drive in reverse to where you need to get to. Since the Archer does not have any armor to speak of or a turret it makes things difficult if you find yourself caught off guard pointing the wrong way. The Archer also only has 7 degrees of gun depression making it hard to fight on hilly terrain. On the plus side it is an easy grind and the Archer gets the 17 pder gun which is overkill for a tier 5 and will decimate any enemy tank you come across. With good damage per shot, a good rate of fire, and insane penetration the damage potential easily outweighs the quirks of this tank.
Tier 6 sees you move into the Achilles tank destroyer which can actually go faster going forward than in reverse. The Achilles also uses the 17 pder as its top gun and sees an increase in accuracy and rate of fire giving it a very good gun for its tier like the Archer. The Achilles only has 5 degrees of gun depression and no armor to speak of(get used to it in this branch). On the plus side the Achilles is very mobile with its strong power/weight ratio and good terrain resistance values. Overall the Achilles is a painless tank to grind through and with its great firepower is a great tank destroyer if you avoid close firefights.
At tier 7 is the Challenger tank destroyer which is much larger than the Achilles but improves upon the tank in every way. The Challenger is very fast not only in top speed but in every aspect due to its very strong engine for its weight. Armor once again is lacking and your height is also a negative factor since it makes you very easy to hit. The Challenger also receives 10 degrees of gun depression which helps with its large size and lackluster gun. This is the last tank in the line to use the 17 pder as its gun of choice and it clearly shows it is lacking in many areas. With only 150 damage per shot and “poor” penetration for facing tier 8/9 tanks the Challenger can be hard to play. It does have very good accuracy and damage per minute to make up for the 17 pdrs damage per round/penetration which helps. On the other hand since you have low HP and armor you are unable to fight close to the front lines since most tanks will bully you around with guns that can kill you in 2-3 shots. While the Challenger is a great support tank capable of doing boatloads of damage from afar it is unable to adapt to fighting closer which limits it greatly.
Finally a tank without the 17 pder as a top gun! The Charioteer at tier 8 sees you gain the 105mm L7 AT gun as an option which has 390 damage per APCR round with 268mm penetration rounds. It also has two HESH rounds with 210mm and 105mm penetration and increased damage that can wreck tanks with poor armor or if you hit weak spots. The Charioteer is also very mobile with a good top speed and engine allowing it to get around the map with ease. The downside is that you are very large(especially the turret) and only have 5 degrees of gun depression making it difficult to use your gun. Once again this tank fights better at long range due to its frailness but since it has an insane gun at tier 8 it can easily out damage any tank if it survives long enough.
Tier 9 the FV4004 Conway sees a dramatic decrease in mobility since your top speed is lower than previous tanks. Your engine is still very good when upgraded which gives you great mobility, but since your top speed is capped in the mid 30’s you will not be able to fully utilize it. You are quick enough however to still move around easily but at a much slower speed than previous tanks in this branch. The FV4004 Conway equips the 120mm L1A1 AT gun like the tier 9 Tortoise but it has a lower rate of fire due to its better mobility. Continuing the trait the Conway also is very large(tall) with poor armor, poor hit points, and only 5 degrees of gun depression. Great tank to dish out damage but it cannot take many hits in return which limits its usefulness.
Ending this line at tier 10 is the FV4005 Stage II tank destroyer that equips the massive 183mm gun found on the FV215b (183). The FV4005 Stage II is massive in size in both length and height making it even taller than the German heavy tank Maus. When you add in that its semi-functional turret only has 14mm of armor it creates an issue with hiding your large size and preventing enemies from annihilating you. The FV4005 Stage II also only has 5 degrees of gun depression making it hard to hit tanks close to your and/or short tanks. On the plus side the 183mm has better overall accuracy and aiming time compared to the FV215b (183) which makes it much easier to fully utilize your firepower. Both tanks with the 183mm have the same damage per round, penetration, and rate of fire which is of no issue either. This tank sticks with the massive gun, good mobility, but poor suitability that the previous tank destroyers also follow. You won’t be able to take a lot of hits and survive but you can get around the map quick and use your massive gun to whack enemies and potentially take them out with one hit.