The tier 3 American premium light tank M22 Locust is certainly a fun low tier premium tank to play, but does it perform well enough to justify playing over other tier 3 tanks? Being a tier 3 light it means that you will see tanks mostly at your tier or higher which isn’t exactly a huge problem if you play the M22 Locust like it is designed to be played. Since this tank isn’t a standard tank that you cannot unlock through experience and credits you first want to decide if it is worth the purchase. If you own other American light tanks you can transfer them into the M22 Locust to continue to train them and to have an experienced crew in the Locust from the get go. The M22
Locust is primarily a scout/spotter tank that due to it’s great mobility and small size can zip around the map and be your team’s eyes on the front line. While it cannot fight head-to-head against most tanks it is still a great flanker since it’s gun has decent penetration and you can assist your team quickly and zip away before taking damage. The downsides are that you have a small amount of ammunition for the damage/rate of fire you have, your view range is a tad low, and you are very fragile.
Protection wise the M22 Locust doesn’t rely on actual armor but rather it’s overall size. It’s hull and turret armor is only 25mm at it’s maximum thickness and you will only get the random ricochet from shells hitting at an auto-bounce level. The M22 Locust is a short tank length and height wise which makes it difficult to hit at long range and especially while moving. Use this as your armor since you cannot damage what you cannot hit.
The M22 Locust equips a 37mm M6 gun which for a tier 3 light tank isn’t all that bad. Yes, it only does 40 damage per shot and when you are facing tanks above tier 3 it feels like you are simply throwing rocks at some tanks. It’s accuracy is also a abysmal .41 which makes it difficult to hit tanks at range and although the on the move accuracy isn’t terrible considering the bad .41 overall accuracy you will need to get close to do damage consistently. While a lot of low tier tanks do have bad accuracy values around .40, the .41 value on the M22 Locust is a detriment to the tank since it forces the tank to get close to enemies to do damage. At long range you will miss many shots and that simply isn’t an option with the low amount of ammunition the M22 Locust carries.
What makes up for the bad accuracy and low damage per shot are the other characteristics of the 37mm M6 gun. It’s standard AP shell has 56mm of penetration which for a tier 3 premium light tank gets the job done against most tier 3 and tier 4 tanks. The premium APCR shell bumps the penetration up to 78mm which allows you to damage tougher tanks at tier 4 and tier 5. The base rate of fire is 26.2 rounds per minute which makes up for the low 40 damage per shot somewhat until you run out of your paltry 50 rounds of ammunition. In the end the gun on the M22 Locust makes it a good close range get-in and get-out flanker and also to chew apart lightly armored tanks. On the other hand it is useless against tanks with heavier armor at higher tiers and the low ammunition amount limits how much a M22 Locust can actually do in a battle since running out of ammo is a huge concern.
Mobility is key since you will be spotting enemies ahead of your team and also doing flanking runs that put you into harms way. The top speed of 64 km/h is easily reached since the M22 Locust doesn’t weight very much and has a decent engine for it’s weight. Keep in mind that due to this high speed you will often launch yourself in the air even over the smallest bumps and thus increase the chance of you taking module damage. Although doing damage is very important the most important part of the M22 Locust is it’s mobility. Mobility allows you to not only spot the enemy but to also get to where you need to be on the map to deal a bit of damage quickly to help your team mates out that are in need.
Like many American tanks the M22 Locust has very good gun depression at -10 degrees which allows it to fight on hilly terrain very well. Due to the small size and the lightly armored turret being situated towards the center of the tank it doesn’t allow you to actually effectively use that gun depression while hull down like higher tier American tanks. It does allow you to peek over ridges/hills to spot easily and to possibly get a quick shot off before zipping away. The 330m view range isn’t necessarily low since it is a tier 3 but it does make it harder to do your role of a scout/spotter since you need to get closer to enemies to actually see them.
As mentioned earlier you only carry 50 rounds of ammunition which due to your very high rate of fire will run out very quickly. Make sure to only take shots that are worth it since you do not want to end up being out of shells at the end of the match when they are most needed. Equipment wise you should equip coated optics and improved ventilation to boost your view range and your gun slightly. For your third slot I would equip enhanced vertical coil springs since it will make your tracks stronger and will prevent you from unintentionally tracking yourself.
Playing the M22 Locust you have to be able to know when to take risks and when you should move to a different area of the map. Your high mobility and small size will help you stay alive but only if you keep your speed up and use the map’s terrain to give you some protection as well. Knowing when to push up to light up enemies and when to fall back to pull them into a trap will be a key element to doing well since you doing damage directly is secondary in this tank while scouting. Once the match is a few minutes in you can find flanking routes to exploit and to dart in, fire off a few rounds, and then to get out of there before people notice you.
Always keep your speed up and sometimes it is better to continue to zip ahead through enemies than to attempt to reverse/turn around to run away. Since you are small and very fast going forward you can often escape situations other tanks cannot.