The tier 10 American medium tank M48A1 can either be a very well rounded solid tier 10 tank or completely useless in the wrong hands. Unlike other tier 10 medium tanks that specialize in select categories the M48A1 instead is a generalist tank. While it does not have any significant weaknesses it also doesn’t have any clear strengths when put up against other tier 10 tanks. This leads to the M48A1 being a good “support” or team tank since it can do different tasks without being handicapped to much. On the downside since it doesn’t have any clear advantage over other tier 10’s other than being “ok” at everything it can be outclassed when pitted against an enemy in their element.
This tank guide will break down the M48A1 into firepower, armor, mobility, miscellaneous attributes, and tactics to use to excel at the M48A1. Also included are several videos that included M48A1 gameplay with commentary. Keep in mind that the M48A1 was previously a very different tank that was toned down from it’s initial release and that this written guide is going over the current 8.1 M48A1.
For its top gun the M48A1 equips the M68 105mm which does 390 average damage with a base rate of fire of 7.19rounds per minute. This gives the M48A1 good firepower when stacked up against other tier 10 mediums since while it doesn’t have the best damage per minute, it does have good damage per shot and a respectable amount of damage per minute. The accuracy of .35 is a tad annoying when you are taking shots at mid to long range since it doesn’t allow you to accurately hit smaller weak spots, but 200m and under it gets the job done. While moving the accuracy of the M48A1 especially with a vertical stabilizer is very good and allows you to continue to fire while moving with minimal loss of accuracy.
Penetration wise the M48A1 has 268mm for its APCR shell, 330mm for the HEAT shell, and 53mm for the HE shell. With APCR being the standard round this will be your most used shell and also your most effective shell. With the HEAT shell being much more expensive and the gain of penetration not being that important since 268mm of penetration is high already it makes the HEAT shell an afterthought. APCR gets the job done except against very tough opponents where you know you will not hit any spaced armor and/or tracks since they make HEAT useless. The downside of APCR is that it receives slightly less normalization when compared to AP shells so shy away from shooting heavily angled armor.
Armor wise the M48A1 isn’t an exemplary example since it’s listed 110mm/76mm/35mm for the hull and 177mm/76mm/50mm for the turret sound low and essentially are low in-game. Against some tier 8 tanks and “scouts” you can get the odd bounce on some of your frontal armor but against the majority of enemy tanks your armor is meaningless. The turret front around the mantlet can soak up the odd shot and auto-bounce angles can protect you, but when compared to other tanks you will find the armor very poor.
Something that a lot of people overlook is the size of your tank and in this case for the M48A1 it is a huge negative. The M48A1 is actually larger than the tier 10 American heavy tank T110E5 and it’s large size when combined with the poor armor make it take a lot of damage out of cover. The M48A1 is one of the larger tier 10 mediums in both height and width which hurts the tank much more than it’s armor values. It’s turret also has a large cupola on top of it which when a M48A1 crests a hill is the first thing the enemy sees. Since it is large and easy to hit, often the enemy will get a shot off on the M48A1 before it can fire back.
While the M48A1 isn’t a slow tank it also isn’t the quickest of the mediums either. This is in large part due to it’s weight and lack of a strong engine which makes it a touch less mobile than the previous M46 Patton. The top speed limit of 45 km/h while high does cap you on some downhill slopes from going faster which is also another negative factor. Since the mobility is lower than most tier 10 mediums and with it’s large size it forces the M48A1 to play more cautiously in many areas since it is more slanted towards playing like a support tank rather than a small mobile medium.
One of the upsides of the M48A1 that helps with it’s large size is it’s superb 420m view range which allows it to help see enemies sooner. If you add coated optics on top of this it gives the M48A1 killer view range which helps it a lot considering its size and mobility. Another important factor is the 9 degrees of gun depression which gives the M48A1 the ability of fighting on uneven terrain like many other American tanks. The downside is that since the turret is situated in the center of the tank as opposed to sitting slightly towards the front. This takes away from the gun depression a little bit and thus hurts the M48A1’s hill fighting capability.
With 2,000 health points the M48A1 sits very close to tier 10 heavy tanks and has more than almost all other medium tanks. Considering the other negative factors of the M48A1 the 2,000 HP is needed or else the tank would be torn to shreds to quickly. Another small positive aspect is the 50 degrees/second hull traverse and 40 degrees/second turret traverse which makes the M48A1 a very good tank to circle tanks in and also to react to enemies that surprise you.
Starting off the tactics section is what equipment you should run on the M48A1. There are 4 top choices which are a vertical stabilizer, gun rammer, improved ventilation, and coated optics. A vertical stabilizer and gun rammer are a must since they improve the gun and the M48A1’s capability of taking shots and getting back into safety. That leaves a choice between improved ventilation and coated optics. Ventilation will give you small boosts all around and give you a bit more damage per minute while coated optics will see you gain a ton of view range. It all comes down the how you are going to play the M48A1 but most(and I’ve moved to this set up recently) choose the coated optics since it stacks well with the already food 420m view range.
Playing the M48A1 is a blend between being a medium and heavy tank. Since you are not as mobile/small as other mediums you cannot play as a traditional medium tank and since you don’t have the armor of a heavy tank you cannot deflect incoming shells. However, since you are more of a generalist you have to straddle the line between the two and adapt depending on the map and your team. Starting off I usually shadow the side where the faster tanks on my team head to so that I can support them without getting into to much trouble with the M48A1’s larger size. I’ll leave myself a good buffer zone to allow me to either flank any incoming enemies, support from range(safety), or move to another flank if it needs help. After the initial skirmishes passes you can play more aggressively and use that 2,000 HP as your protection as you help swing the tide of the small skirmishes with your well balanced gun.
Always keep in mind that the M48A1 plays well on hills and uneven terrain but due to the large cupola/mid-turret/low armor it is not a master of it like other American tanks. This is why keeping a distance from enemies will help increase your chances of enemies missing you although it does make your .36 accuracy a bit annoying. Since your traverse speeds(especially the hull traverse) are so high it allows the M48A1 to perform very well in close quarters combat and to be able to circle/weave in close spaces better than some other tanks. It might not be very fast compared to other mediums but it’s acceleration isn’t terrible and since it can turn well it does better than expected at close range.
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