The T-34-85M is a heavily armored version of the standard tier 6 Russian medium tank T-34-85 that is available in the tech tree. This premium tier 6 is great option for those needing a Russian crew trainer since it does have an extra crew member slot for the radio operator that lower tier Russian tanks have(but high tiers do not). However, how does the T-34-85M stack up against the regular T-34-85 and is it worth your hard earned cash?
This guide will break down the T-34-85M into firepower, armor, mobility, miscellaneous attributes, and tactics to use while playing this tank. By the end you should have a good understanding of the T-34-85M and whether or not it is a worth purchasing.
Being a premium tank the T-34-85M has the sacrifice something somewhere over its standard counterpart and the gun is where the T-34-85M is lacking compared to the T-34-85. The T-34-85M equips the 85mm S-53 gun which is a non-top gun on the T-34-85. The S-53 is a decent gun facing tier 6 and 7 tanks but does struggle against well armored opponents and tier 8 tanks. It does 160 damage per shot, has a iffy .42 accuracy at 100m, and has a 2.5 second aim time. Penetration wise the T-34-85 has 126mm for the AP around, 167mm for the APCR round, and 43mm for the 280 damage HE round.
Compared to the T-34-85M sporting the top 85mm D5T-85BM gun it is a bit lacking in the firepower but it isn’t as bad as you might imagine for a premium tank. While the T-34-85M does 20 less damage per shot it does have a higher rate of fire which leads to a higher damage per minute compared to the T-34-85. Using 100% values(no equipments/crew skills) the T-34-85M premium tank has a base damage per minute of 1846 and the standard T-34-85 has a base damage per minute of 1800. While the T-34-85M does have a slight advantage you do need to keep in mind that it is harder to actually reach that full DPM since you need to land more shots.
Outside of damage per shell and rate of fire the T-34-85M does lack behind the standard T-34-85 in other key areas. Penetration wise the T-34-85M has a 126mm AP shell compared to a 144mm AP shell on the standard T-34-85. For the premium APCR shell the T-34-85M has 167mm compared to 194mm and the HE shell has 43mm of penetration compared to 44mm on the standard T-34-85. This penetration disadvantage is crucial since the premium T-34-85M also comes across tier 8 tanks and the lack of penetration makes it hard for even the premium shell to penetrate some tanks. Accuracy wise the T-34-85M has .42 accuracy compared to the better accuracy of .37 of the standard T-34-85.
Overall the firepower of the T-34-85M works great against tier 6 tanks, is “ok” against tier 7 tanks, but falls flat on its face against tier 8 tanks even with APCR. You can however play cautious against tough opponents to mitigate this negative aspect albeit you can’t always plan ahead and will be face to face against a tank that can one shot you at some point.
For a tier 6 medium tank the T-34-85M has very good armor capable of deflecting its fair share of shells thrown its way. The hull armor is 75mm on the upper glacis, 45mm on the small lower glacis, and 45mm on the side and rear sections. This is vastly superior to the standard T-34-85 that only has 45mm on the frontal upper and lower glacis, 45mm on the side sections, and 40mm on the rear section. The T-34-85M also has a 90mm and 100mm thick section of armor on the front upper glacis to further improve its armor.
Turret armor for both tanks is virtually identical with 90mm for the frontal sections, 75mm on the sides, and 52mm on the rear section. The armor holds up well against tier 6 tanks unless they hit a flater piece of armor or use premium ammunition. The commander hatch on top is fairly large but is protected by 90mm of armor so it will give you decent protection against some tanks or poor shots. In the armor department the T-34-85M wins by a huge margin over its counterpart and is comparable to the M4A3E2 “Jumbo Sherman”.
While the T-34-85M does have more armor than the T-34-85 it doesn’t weight more than the standard T-34-85 with the S-53 gun. However, the T-34-85M does have a 500 horsepower engine compared to a 600 horsepower engine the standard T-34-85 can equip. Its tracks have a 40 degree per second traverse speed which makes turning a little sluggish when combined with the poor engine power. Compared to the T-34-85 the traverse speed is actually 2 degrees greater since the upgraded tracks on the standard variant only traverse at 38 degrees per second. The top speed of 53 km/h allows you to take advantage of downhill slopes and to easily zip to spots some other tanks with low top speeds couldn’t take advantage of.
Overall the mobility is low compared to other tier 6 medium tanks, but it isn’t a huge negative factor in the tank. You can still navigate maps without being hampered by your mobility and you will only struggle climbing steep hilly terrain. I like to think of slow mediums as tanks that prevent me from getting myself into trouble to fast, and the T-34-85M fits this way of thinking perfectly.
Small attributes that are often overlooked can greatly change the way a tank performs on the battlefield. Gun depression is a very important stat and the T-34-85M has 7 degrees of gun depression which isn’t to shabby for a Russian tank. This will prevent you from worrying about hilly terrain and help you out a ton in battles. View range is a negative aspect of this tank since it only has 350m which is slightly lower than the 360m of the standard T-34-85. Both view ranges are poor for a medium tank especially when you factor in that they both face tier 8 tanks.
You can hold 60mm of ammunition which is just enough to allow you to carry a decent amount of AP/APCR with a few HE shells thrown into the mix. Cost wise the ammunition is dirt cheap with the AP costing 109 credits, HE shells 98 credits, and the APCR of course costing a pretty penny at 2,800 credits. This helps profit margins if you avoid using a lot of the premium APCR shells and the T-34-85M can make a decent amount of credits per battle if played properly.
Health points are inline with most tier 6 mediums with the T-34-85M having 720 HP. Radio range is 525m which is the same as the top radio for the standard T-34-85 and overall shouldn’t give you many issues with keeping in touch with your teammates. One of the main drawbacks many people bring up is that this tank does not have special matchmaking and can see tier 8 tanks. While the gun does struggle against tier 8 tanks overall I don’t feel like it need special matchmaking. The T-34-85M trades firepower for armor over its standard variant and isn’t inferior by a huge margin to justify not seeing tier 8s. Does it suck facing a tier 8 tank you have no chance against? Yes, however if you play your cards right and don’t do stupid things you can still contribute when you are in a tier 8 match.
The T34-85M is played according to how many tier 7 and tier 8 tanks are in your battle. If you are in a match with tier 6 tanks or very few tier 7 tanks you can utilize your decent armor and play a bit more aggressively. On the flip side if you are against several tier 7 and/or tier 8 tanks you will have to play either further back from the fighting or pick your moments to pop out of cover. While your gun is lacking a bit in the penetration and accuracy department it does do very well against your peers when shooting at their frontal armor. Against tier 7/8 tanks you will need to pick your battles, flank them, or chuck some HE at modules/weak armor points to do whatever damage you can.
I mentioned this is like the M4A3E2 “Jumbo Sherman” and it does play like a heavy medium tank. Keep in mind that your armor is a tad bit worse than the M4A3E2 and you will need to keep that in mind so you do not start to take a massive amount of damage. You can bully around other tier 6 mediums and lower tier tanks with your armor/gun combo since 160 damage per shot still is above average for a medium tank. Overall this tank is very well rounded and can fit into many different roles depending on what type of match you are in.
If you have made it this far through this lengthy tank guide for the T-34-85M you should have a good grasp as to how it plays and whether it is a good tank for you. It is a premium tank that doesn’t change drastically when compared to its standard variant and that is a good thing since the standard T-34-85 is a good tank. Does this premium have its faults? Yes, however if you are looking for a non-tier 8 premium tank this is a great choice. Not only are there very limited options for a Russian medium crew trainer but the T-34-85M performs well and makes a decent amount of credits. The only reason I would stay away from this tank is if you are one of those “people” who can’t adapt to difficult matches being the small fry on the team. You won’t light up the scoreboard every match due to matchmaking but you are still given room to chip in even against higher tier enemies.