The tier 8 T34 is very different than the former tier 9 T34 that many long time players had a chance to play. At tier 9 the T34 was agile with very good hull/turret traverse speeds and had a very high RoF with excellent damage per minute(DPM). When the M103 and T110E5 were added into the game the T30 and T34 were both bumped down 1 tier and the T34 became a “free” premium tank for those who had it in their garage. Being moved down from tier 9 to tier 8 saw the T34 changed in many ways to make it balanced at tier 8 and in many ways you can feel the forced changes to make it fit at tier 8. This guide will break the T34 down into firepower, mobility, armor, and other stats. Some tactics and general play style tips will also be gone over to help you play the T34 effectively.
The main feature of the T34 is it’s 120mm cannon at tier 8 which packs a mean punch. The 400 alpha is the most out of all tier 8 heavy tanks and the penetration is a staggering 248mm for the AP/297 for APCR. The high alpha and high penetration combo means that you will never face a tank(even tier 10s) that you cannot damage in some way from the front. Other premium tanks suffer from low penetration for their standard AP shells and even the premium shells while the T34 has the luxury of escaping that fate. The base rate of fire is 4 RPM which is raised to 4.74 RPM with Brother’s in Arms and a gun rammer. Ventilation does lower the reload a bit more but the combination of a vertical stabilizer and gun laying drive is a must. The damage per minute(DPM) does come out to be 1,896 which is in line with other tier 8’s which much lower alpha which is a nice plus.
The overall accuracy is .35 which is enough to where you can hit the majority of your shots however at longer ranges against tier 9/10 you will find the accuracy does prove to be lacking. Formerly at tier 9 the T34 had a very low aim time and the on the move accuracy was above average. At tier 8 however the aim time is an uncharacteristic 3.4s for an American tank and the on the move accuracy is also atrocious. This makes getting off well aimed shots difficult if you are caught off guard against t9/10 tanks. The plus side is that due to your high penetration you can take shots against t8 and lower tanks without being fully aimed in. As stated earlier due the the aim time and on the move accuracy a gun laying drive/vertical stabilizer combo is needed.
If you like well armored tanks the T34 does give you a well armored turret, however the hull armor is severely lacking at tier 8 since it shares the T29’s hull. The hull armor is a mere 102mm thick on the frontal glacis with 76mm sides/51mm rear. This is a huge downside since practically any shell that hits your hull will penetrate unless you angle heavily and hope that the shells hits at the heavily angled section. The turret on the other hand is very strong allowing you to hide your weak hull armor and only expose the turret. The frontal turret as that gigantic 279mm thick mantlet which around the edges of it has an additional 178mm behind it. The turret face around the mantlet is only 178mm thick but is decently angled and will bounce most tier 9 and under guns unless they use premium rounds. On top of the turret is a large commander’s cupola but since it is located in the rear of the turret and fitted with 178mm of armor it will bounce most shells thrown at it unless the shell hits it dead on.
The sides of the turret drop down to 127mm which is a bit weaker but still thick enough to where you can angle your turret slightly if you are being flanked to potentially bounce a shot. The rear of the turret is actually thicker than the sides due to a counterweight being needed which makes the rear of the turret come out to be 203mm. This might seem like a huge deal but you’ll find that if you can master hiding you hull that even the rear of your turret can take a beating(although its not recommended to be in that position often).
Gone are the days of a T34 capable of relocating around the map with general ease and now the T34 is more of a slug. The top speed is 35 km/h which you will get close to on level ground but the average speed will be around 29-31 km/h. Acceleration isn’t great as well which is due to the 880 hp engine in a 65 ton tank which leads to you struggling to climb any type of hill/steep incline. This leads the T34 to often be left out of critical fights in which it is needed to get to quickly but due to the lack of speed(especially uphill) it gets there after the fight is already lost.
The hull traverse also is somewhat lacking at 22 degrees/second along with the 18 degrees/second turret traverse. Both of these being low will mean that if you face medium/light tanks(and even some heavies) alone that they can circle you without you being able to catch up. In most cases it is best to bail out of where you are to some sort of rock/wall so that you are capable of preventing this from happening.
The view range of the T34 has always been somewhat low at 360m which will lead to you being spotted by most tanks well before you can see them. Due the your somewhat low speed/mobility you will most likely not be spotting your own targets however and only when you are caught alone does this downfall come into play. Ammunition wise the T34 carries 34 shells which isn’t an astronomically high number but due the the 400 damage shells/long reload at tier 8 it is plenty and you will rarely run out. To make up for the lack of hull armor is the excellent 10 degrees of gun depression while facing froward or to the sides of the tank. This allows the T34 to exploit terrain that other tanks with only 6-8 degrees of gun depression cannot. Mastering “hull down position” and finding spots on every map to use to do this will greatly enhance not only you surviving more often but also damage/win percentage.
As a tier 8 premium tank the T34 is brought mainly for it’s ability to make credits which not surprisingly it does very well. With a premium account for most games the T34 will net between 35-55k profit(after all costs) which is very good for most of your games. If you shoot a bit higher and aim for 3k+ damage you’ll see your profits soar to 65k-90k per game which is well within reach due to the firepower of the T34. For the somewhat more “rare” games where you do an insane amount of damage+carry your team the sky is the limit and the T34 makes between 100k-120k profit. To maximize your profits only use APCR when you absolutely need to and above all stay alive as long as possible.
For equipment you will want to use a gun rammer, vertical stabilizer, and a gun laying drive. Crew skills shouldn’t be tailored to your T34 but rather your other American heavies such as the T57/T110E5. In which case having BiA/Repair is needed. Later on mixing in safe stowage and jack of all trades helps out with both of those tanks. Unlike some other tier 8 premiums the T34 does not get special matchmaker and sees up to tier 10 tanks.
Firing While Stationary: 0.90%
Firing While Moving: 0.42%
Aiming Circle Spread
After Shooting: 3.836
Turret Traversing: 023
Turret Traversing Full Speed: 4.14
Hull Moving: 0.307
Hull Moving Full Speed: 10.74
Hull Traversing: 0.307
Hull Traversing Full Speed: 6.75
Hard Ground: 1.342
Medium Ground: 1.63
Soft Ground: 3.26
Many tend to struggle at first with the T34 due to the long aim time, terrible on the move accuracy, and somewhat sluggish mobility. Most of these problems are “fixed” by equipping a gun laying drive/vertical stabilizer but the mobility will always be a constant annoyance. Learning how to play a tank that isn’t very mobile and with low hull armor takes time but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The most important asset is to learn your maps well and where to go. If you are the top tank you want to take a route that puts you in the best spot to dish out damage without taking away the option to return to base if the other flank collapses quickly. When you are stuck at the bottom of the pecking order in a match you can play a bit more freely and pick the best places to hull down or to support higher tiers. Above all focus on staying in spots that are more defensive which allow you to control how the enemy approaches you than to pick spots that leave you easily flanked. Whether this means you stick near your team’s “blob” or you pick a good hull down spot behind the front lines you’ll notice the payoff.
The main counters the the T34 are highly mobile tanks that can zip around without you being capable of shooting them and artillery. With the hull armor being very weak artillery shots will do massive damage via splash more than other tanks. Preventing being flanked is easily avoided by picking smart locations and keeping an eye on the map. Being hit by artillery however is part luck and part situation awareness. Generally I will play a bit more “aggressive” until I see artillery focusing in my general area which when I see that I will take my shot and move into cover a bit quicker.