French tanks were the first tanks in World of Tanks years ago to have auto-loaders. In today’s game they aren’t the only nation with auto-loading guns anymore. They are however still king when it comes to large magazine sizes and burst damage. Low tier French tanks still haven’t bucked the appropriate stigma of being difficult to grind through. Once you reach mid and high tier French mediums, lights, and heavy tanks you are rewarded with deadly mobile tank platforms. Unfortunately French tank destroyers didn’t get the memo and still haven’t recovered since Wargaming dropped the bucket of nerf hammers on them. This World of Tanks which French tank line guide will help you figure out what line is best for you.
Don’t grind down the wrong line just to find out you hate the high tier tanks. Read this guide and learn whether or not your valuable time is worth investing in French tanks. This guide will be updated and added to when new French tanks or changes are made in World of Tanks. For a complete guide on which tank line is right for you for all nations see the link below.
World of Tanks Which Tank Line?
Light Line (FCM 36/R35 -> AMX 13 105)
FCM 36 & R35
The medium line of French tanks starts out with the FCM 36 and R35 light tanks at tier 2. The FCM 36 focuses on armor while the R35 is more of a traditional light tank at tier 2.
AMX 38 & AMX 40
Following both of these tanks is the AMX 38 and AMX 40 which are heavily armored for light tanks and trade firepower and mobility for that extra armor protection.
AMX 40 Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-40/
AMX ELC bis
Moving up to the AMX ELC bisat tier 5 this line shifts into the speedy, no armor, high firepower that many players love allowing players to easily move around the map with their speed, do damage, and retreat. The AMX ELC bis has two gun options that change how the tank plays drastically. The 76mm allows the tank to have a fully functional turret at the cost of damage per shot. Using the 90mm only allows the turret to rotate across the front of the tank. With the 90mm you gain more damage upside if you can harness it. The AMX ELC is extremely tiny, super fast, and a blast to play with either gun.
AMX 12 t
The AMX 12 t increases in size compared to the tiny AMX ELC before it. However it gains a 4 round auto-loader that will remain until tier 10. Penetration and poor accuracy limit the AMX 12 t’s ability to deal consistent damage. But with 4 rounds at 135 damage each you can land a high amount of damage very fast. For most the AMX 12 t is a stepping stone since by the time you finish the grind you are just learning how to play it.
AMX 13 75
The AMX 13 75 keeps things mainly the same coming from the AMX 12 t. Same 75mm 4 round gun configuration and unfortunately the crappy 144mm penetration. While the AMX 13 75 looks slightly slower than the AMX 12 t the terrain resistance is better. This leads to to it performing slightly better mobility wise compared to the AMX 12 t.
Bat Chat 12 t
At tier 8 the Bat Chat 12 t leads to not only lights but also both French medium lines. While it doesn’t ditch the 75mm gun coming from the AMX 13 75 it does improve the penetration finally. 170mm penetration is adequate whereas the 144mm from the AMX 13 75 was terrible. Surprisingly your DPM actually decreases with the Bat Chat 12 t compared to the tank a tier lower. This is primarily due to your rounds doing 170 damage per shot, the added penetration, and slower reload. Overall it adds up to more damage since you need less shots to get to a larger value. Your mobility also improves drastically with a higher top speed and power to weight ratio.
AMX 13 90
Reaching the AMX 13 90 you finally get a 90mm gun at tier 9 that starts to ramp the damage up. With 4 rounds per magazine at 240 damage each you pack a mean 960 alpha strike in a light. The reload time compared to the French Bat Chat mediums is very short and allows you to remain in fights easier. Your penetration finally bumps over 200mm at 205mm which is enough to deal with most tanks you face. While you can still scout effectively your main role is to assist your team with dealing that 960 damage magazine where it counts. Learning when and where to deal damage is crucial since you either succeed or die looking like a fool.
AMX 13 105
At tier 10 the AMX 13 105 drops down to only 3 rounds per magazine but increases the damage per shell to 360 damage. With 234mm penetration you can deal with all but a handful of heavily armored tanks easily as you zip in and out of the fight. While your magazine size shrinks the reload time between magazines slightly increases by 3s(100% crew) to 25.89s. While longer it is still much more manageable than the 38.36s of the tier 10 bat chat medium. Compared to the AMX 13 90 the AMX 13 105’s mobility is noticeably better with a higher top speed and power to weight ratio.
(Bat Chat t AP -> Bat Chat 25 t High Tier Medium Branch #1)
Bat Chat t AP
At tier 9 the Bat Chat t AP splits off of the bat Chat 12 t light tank. Moving to a medium you lose the on the move camouflage values that light tanks receive. However, the Bat Chat t AP still retains the excellent mobility that french lights/mediums are known for at high tiers. Armor is still non-existent but it won’t matter if you play the Bat Chat t AP as a opportunist flanker. Your gun ditches the 4 rounds per magazine that lights are capped at in favor of a 6 round magazine. At 300 damage per shot you have 1,800 potential damage in each magazine. The reload time between magazines is long, but the upside is high if you time pushes right.
Bat Chat 25 t
At tier 10 the Bat Chat 25 t doesn’t change much coming from the tier 9 tank. The main change comes with 390 damage per shot(from 300) and dropping down to 5 rounds per magazine. You’ll be able to dish out 1,950 damage now(from 1,800) per magazine in a shorter amount of time. Penetration also rises to 259mm but accuracy slightly dips making it hard to fight at long ranges. Much like the tier 9 Bat Chat you’ll be zipping in and out of the fight, dealing damage, and running away to reload.
(AMX 30 Prototype -> AMX 30 B High Tier Medium Branch #2)
With the World of Tanks 9.7 update the French medium line saw two new high tier mediums added to it that branches off from the Bat Chat 12t light tank at tier 8. Fast-forward to the 9.20 update and the AMX 30 changes dramatically in how it plays. The AMX 30 has long been a lightly armored, mobile medium with an excellent gun. Mobility remains excellent but the armor and gun characteristics change slightly. In 9.20 the turret armor has been buffed frontally to give it a chance at deflecting rounds.
The 105mm top gun sees its accuracy lowered significantly for a high tier medium and also penetration dropped to 248mm. In return the AMX 30 gains a huge reload boast giving it excellent DPM for its tier. While most of the top DPM tier 9 mediums have low alpha guns(320 damage) the AMX 30 has killer DPM with a 390 damage gun. While accuracy and penetration pose a problem the AMX 30 now has a clear role to learn to exploit on the battlefield.
AMX 30 B
The tier 10 AMX 30 B is an improvement over the AMX 30 and keeps things mostly the same. You see modest increases in turret protection, mobility, HP, and gun stats. Its role is being a high DPM medium while also having a 390 damage gun to go along with it. Mobility allows you to get to where you need to be and your gun shreds things from there. Keep in mind that the armor is extremely poor outside of the turret front. Try not to get caught out of cover or away from hilly terrain for too long.
Heavy Line (D1/H35 -> AMX 50B)
The French heavy line presents two options to progress down from tiers 2 through tier 5. Both lines merge at the tier 6 ARL 44 and become one continuous line to tier 10.
Low Tier Heavy Line #1 (D1 -> BDR G1 B)
D1 & D2
The D1’s main role is a damage sponge for your team due to its above average armor. Your mobility is poor for a tier 2 and it can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of low tier matches. Your two top gun options aren’t anything spectacular but get the job done. Luckily this tank is a quick grind and you’ll be out of it in a jiffy.
The D2 which follows at tier 3 is much of the same. Minor improvements to armor, firepower, and view range. Unfortunately the slow speed actually gets worse with a 23 km/h top speed instead of 28 km/h. The D2 is still a quick grind but it will be a little more annoying than the D1. The slow speed combined with the average gun doesn’t make the D2 very appealing.
D1 Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-d1/
The first heavy tank of the line is the B1 Heavy at tier 4. Coming from the D1 and D2 you are used to slow tanks with moderate armor. The B1 Heavy improves upon this with very good armor for its tier and also significant buffs to its mobility. While the B1 Heavy is no light tank it has an excellent power to weight ratio and a modest 30 km/h top speed. The chink in the B1’s armor is its dinky gun that doesn’t hold up well against tier 5/6 tanks. Against tier 3/4’s it will hold its ground but with only 55 damage and 66mm standard penetration you will encounter problems.
B1 Heavy Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-b1/
BDR G1 B
The BDR G1 B starts off slow without its top 90mm gun which is the main perk of this tier 5 heavy. The BDR G1 B has excellent alpha for its tier(240) and decent 135mm standard penetration. You also have 8 degrees of gun depression which is great considering the gun you have at tier 5. Unfortunately the BDR’s armor isn’t that reliable against its peers and high tiers. Your view range of 320m also severely handicaps you in tier 6-7 matches.
Low Tier Heavy Line #2 (H35 -> Renault G1)
The H35 starts out with a very heavily armored light tank for tier 2 that packs a decent punch but lacks mobility. You’ll be able to shrug off most shots that aren’t tank destroyers or premium rounds. The downside is that you tank is very slow for a tier 2, which often leaves you playing catch up.
The Somua S35 changes drastically from the H35 and sees much improved mobility and a gun that is fitting for a medium tank(since the Samua S35 is a medium tank). Since the Samua S35 has good mobility and a reliable gun it sacrifices armor to achieve both of these traits. This design continues through this mini-line until you reach tier 6 and merge with the existing French heavy tank line.
Moving to the tier 4 SARL 42 medium tank you again have a poorly armored tank with decent mobility and a well rounded medium tank gun. This means you don’t have a ton of alpha damage but you do have good penetration, decent accuracy, and a good rate of fire. The downside of the SARL 42 is that coupled with the poor armor you have a very tall profile and it is very difficult to stay in a safe position due to your size.
Capping off this pre-heavy tank line is the Renault G1 medium tank at tier 5. The Renault G1 is very similar statistically to the American M4 Sherman medium tank but is larger in size and with a few differences. The Renault G1 has two choices for a top gun with the 105mm howizter and the 75mm standard gun. The Renault does have a higher rate of fire on the standard 75mm gun compared to other tier 5 mediums using similar guns but the 105mm howitzer is lacking compared to other tier 5 mediums. The Renault doesn’t have a lot a lot of armor to work with but is decently mobile for its size with enough firepower when using the top 75mm to stand up against tier 5/6/7 tanks.
High Tier Heavy Line (ARL 44-> AMX 50B)
The ARL 44 is the successor to the BDR G1 B as far as how the tank performs. The ARL 44’s frontal armor is excellent for its tier but the sides/rear are very weak. 10 degrees of gun depression allows the ARL 44 despite its large size to fight semi-effectively on hilly terrain. The main strength of the ARl 44 is its top 90mm gun that has 240 damage along with a killer 212mm standard penetrating round. Unfortunately it does come at a cost of reload time which sees it at the bottom of DPM for tier 6 heavies. The mobility isn’t anything special either. Some players decide to use the alternate 105mm as the “top gun” but it requires heavy premium rounds usage. The accuracy is worse on it but you do gain a good amount of DPM and the penetration/alpha is excellent.
AMX M4 45
The AMX M4 45 at tier 7 starts to shift towards a heavy tank with more mobility and less armor protection. This trend follows from tier 8 up to tier 10. The AMX M4 45 is an odd tank in that it has the same gun options coming from the ARL 44 before it. Both the top 90mm and 105mm are used depending if you want to use pure APCR with the 105mm. Personally the 90mm is the better choice due to the accuracy, better standard round, and reliability. Since you don’t gain a huge improvement in firepower the AMX M5 45 can feel a little under-powered. Its armor doesn’t hold up against tier 7+ tanks. Your mobility is great compared to other tier 7 heavy tanks but your large size makes it difficult to use.
AMX 50 100 & AMX 50 120
Both the AMX 50 100 and AMX 50 120 mark a huge change in how this line plays. Both introduce auto-loaders to the picture with very high burst damage. The AMX 50 100 respectively has 100mm gun options, while the AMX 50 120 has 120mm gun options. Both tanks are fairly large with very high mobility and poor armor protection. Due to their gun’s large magazine sizes you can dish out a significant amount of damage in a hurry. The AMX 50 100 has 6 rounds doing 300 damage each in its magazine with its top gun. The AMX 50 120 only has 4 rounds doing 400 damage per round in its magazine. Due to this large strike damage the reload between magazines is significant. This makes staying in the fight difficult and playing both tanks is hard to learn at first.
The end of the French heavy line is the AMX 50B. The AMX 50B improves upon the AMX 50 120’s design in several ways. Armor is still lacking on the turret but the hull armor on the front hull is capable of bouncing poorly placed shots. The magazine size remains at 4 rounds with 400 damage per shot coming from the AMX 50 120. Your reload time is modestly increased bringing the low 2,203 DPM at tier 9 up to 2,657 DPM(100% crew) on the AMX 50B. While this is still low for a tier 10 it is high enough to make the reloads between magazines feel manageable. Coming from the AMX 50 120 the AMX 50B is more mobile with a better power to weight ratio which makes it as fast as many medium tanks.
Tank Destroyer Line (RenaultFT AC -> AMX 50 Foch (155))
Following the trend of the previous French lines the tank destroyer line starts out one way and then shifts roles mid way through the tank line. From tier 2-3 you are a playing glass cannon that has decent mobility, an excellent gun, but no HP and armor. At tiers 4-6 you loose this mobility, retain the poor armor and HP, but keep the awesome guns. This portion of the tank line can be difficult due to the low mobility/armor of the tanks.
AMX AC 46 & AMX AC 48
Once tier 7 and the AMX AC Mile. 1946 is reached the tank line shifts back to being more focused on mobility. From here on the tanks are highly mobile with above average frontal armor and great top guns. The main downside is the lack of a turret and the increased mobility often gets you into trouble as you can be flanked easily the further you push away from your spawn point. These tank destroyers are capable of bringing great firepower to the front lines and are high risk high reward.
At tier 7 the AMX AC 46 has two excellent top gun choices and can pump out a ton of damage even to higher tier tanks. The main drawback is no turret and very weak weak side, rear, and top weak spot armor. HP is also very low for a tier 7 and you can be taken out very quickly if not careful. The tier 8 AMX AC 48 sees an auto-loading gun added into the mix that can dump a lot of damage into opponents. Outside of the auto-loading gun you see minor increases to frontal armor and mobility over the tier 7 TD. Sometimes overlooked the added side armor(55mm) allows you to shrug off angled side shots better.
AMX 50 Foch, AMX 50 Foch B, & AMX 50 Foch 155
At tier 9 the AMX 50 Foch improves upon the previous TD with its 120mm auto-loading gun. The tier 9 is basically the same tank for its tier with above average frontal armor, no turret, decent mobility, and a killer gun. The top weak spots that are very easy to hit still remain which hurt your survivability. Side armor coming from the tier 8 rises from 55mm to 80mm. While your gun constraints won’t allow you to angle much it does help considerably. Before the 9.20 update the sides of the Foch TD’s could be dealt with easily if visible for most guns.
Lastly at tier 10 you have the AMX 50 Foch B which replaced the AMX 50 Foch 155 in the 9.20 update. The AMX 50 Foch 155 remains playable to those who own it with the 155mm gun. Both models are virtually identical outside of the gun differences. The tech tree AMX 50 Foch B has a 6 round auto-loading 120mm gun. Coming from the tier 9 you gain 2 shells(6>4) over the tier 9 Foch. This provides a massive alpha strike if you can land all or most of these shots. The downside being slightly low standard penetration and the clumsiness of the Foch chassis.
AMX 50 Foch Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-50-foch/
AMX 50 Foch 155 Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-50-foch-155/
SPG Line (RenaultBS -> Bat Chatillon 155)
French SPGs all follow the same “format” for the most part. Highly mobile SPGs with great rate of fire and accuracy but at the cost of damage per shot. The overall progression of this line is very slow due to the low damage per shot of these SPGs which at times can make it’s user feel useless against heavily armored tanks at the lower tiered SPGs. These SPGs do not have that massive first hit other SPGs have but do excel in being capable of re-positioning and also maximizing their high RoF/accuracy on non-heavy tanks.
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