|This page is about the heavy tank ARL-44 (ACL-1). For the tank destroyer version, see ARL-44.|
The ARL-44 (ACL-1) is a rank III French heavy tank with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.75 "La Résistance". The ARL-44 (ACL-1) is the second heavy tank in the French tree. It is a well-rounded foe more suited for a medium tank role than an heavy one due to lacking armour (which is still very good). It distinguishes from previous French heavy tanks for having a potent gun. The ARL-44 (ACL-1) is a prototype design that would be finalized as the ARL-44.
The ARL-44 (ACL-1) bears very distinctive characteristics, with a WWI-style track system (similar to the Churchill) which runs across the whole side of its chassis. This tank is a mix of different inspirations, mainly late war German tank technology such as the Panther series or the Tiger II, from which it takes its slope frontal armour and tall profile. As France was reviving from WW2, its engineers were hard at work to catch up with tank technology, the ARL-44 series was a training ground for them. This is why this tank has rather weird design choices, coming from both experience and experimentation.
Survivability and armour
- Rolled homogeneous armour (Hull)
- Cast homogeneous armour (Turret, gun mantlet, MG port)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 60 mm (48°) Front glacis
100 mm (spherical) MG port
50 mm Hull compartment between the tracks
50 mm (63°) Lower glacis
| 50 mm
25 mm Tracks cover
| 35 mm (32°) Rear glacis
35 mm (20°) Hull compartment between the tracks
| 20 mm |
5 mm Radiator vents
5 mm (18°) Engine access panel
|Turret|| 100 mm (0-44°) Turret front
80-100 + 30 mm (spherical) Gun mantlet
|60 mm (3°)|| 30 mm
20 mm Rear hatch
60 mm (52°) Turret overhang
|20 mm (13-15°)|
|Cupola||60 mm||20 mm|
- Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 20 mm thick and bogies are 10 mm thick.
- 25 mm RHA plate separate the engine from the crew compartment.
- Turret ring is 55 mm thick, with an additional 20 mm armour behind it.
The armour on this version of the ARL-44 is average as it can be penetrated by most foes it encounters up close from the front: with 60 mm at 48°, it is similar to a M4A3 (105). With that in mind, this tank should be kept a fair distance from the frontline. In order to put this "land battleship" to good use, it should be angled at about 25° facing towards the enemy. An even better way to maximise its armour is by keeping an hull-down position, using its -10° depression : turret armour is ~100 mm thick, with a bit of distance and angle, most rounds will not penetrate.
Be advised that this tank has 3 main ammo racks: between driver and machine gunner, in the turret's back and in the plain middle of the right track, shooting them down can be an easy ammorack explosion. Another thing to consider is this tank's large elevation mechanism, a penetrating shot to the tank's center of mass may damage or disable it, making it very hard for this foe to return fire.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
At 47 tons, this is not a light tank, even more so that its tracks have bad ground traction. What saves this vehicles from feeling too slow is its 954 HP engine, capable of maintaining its top speed even when climbing slight hills. Do not expect too much from this tank, especially in highly inclined and soft terrains. Don't forget its reverse speed of only -4 km/h won't get you out quick of the situations: don't overextend.
Modifications and economy
|75 mm SA44||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
When compared to other tanks at the same battle rating, it has the same characteristics as other medium tanks' gun, the weak points being its lack of explosive filler and the long reload time.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|75 mm OR Mle.44||APCBC||125||122||108||93||80||69|
|75 mm OE Mle.28||HE||10||10||10||10||10||10|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|75 mm OR Mle.44||APCBC||715||6.4||N/A||N/A||N/A||48°||63°||71°|
|75 mm OE Mle.28||HE||700||6.44||0||0.1||675||79°||80°||81°|
|37||25 (+12)||13 (+24)||1 (+36)||No|
- Shells are modeled individually and disappear after having been shot or loaded.
- Turret empty: 25 (+12) shells
|7.5 mm MAC 31|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
The small calibre of the MAC 31 machine gun makes it largely ineffective against all armoured vehicles but the ones with an open compartment. It still can be used to ping targets as a rangefinding help or to mow down minor obstacles blocking your line of sight.
Usage in battles
- Combat tactics
The ARL-44 (ACL-1) is a relatively well armoured vehicle and should be played as a support tank: take advantage of your strong armour to shrug enemy fire off from a distance while answering with well placed shots. Your frontal glacis and turret armour are strong enough to resist most enemy guns beyond 500 m. But there are weak spots your opponents will prioritize: the front glacis (if not properly angled) and the turret cupola. Refrain from rushing towards the frontline: your sides are weak and your turret traverse speed is slow so avoid close combat. Staying at a distance from the frontline will also prevent from being taken in a pincer move. Your gun has a good penetration power allowing you to stay at a distance but the lack of explosive filler is detrimental to your performance as you'll need two to three shells to take down enemies. Your reload time is a bit longer than most opponents, so aim precisely and make every shot count. Your mobility is rather poor, with a rigid suspension, outdated tracks and a long and cumbersome chassis. Terrain irregularities will make you slow down and hinder your progress. Position your hull carefully when getting to a shooting spot to avoid hull twitching that will impact your targeting process.
- Notable enemies
- Tank destroyers with powerful guns that can penetrate you from afar: M10, StuG III F, YaG-10 (29-K), ASU-57, SU-85A, Achilles, Na-To, 90/53 M41M, Breda 501, Pvkv II and Pvkv m/43 (1946). You can add the Pz.IV F2, the Pz.IV G to the list as they sport powerful cannons too.
- Tanks firing HEAT shells that can defeat your frontal glacis: 75/34 M43, P40,
- Tanks whose cannon is powerful enough when in close proximity: any M24, any Sherman (M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A4, M4A5), any T-34 (1941, 1942, 1943, E STz), any KV-2 (1939, 1940, 754), the Chi-Nu and the AMX-13 (FL11).
- Heavy tank able to resist your fire and get close enough to damage you: KV-1S, MK-II "Matilda"
- How to defeat a ARL-44 (ACL-1)
- One might assume that the ARL's side armour is also very thick, complex, and hard to penetrate at an angle but the ARL can actually get penetrated frontally even with 3.7 tanks despite the fact that the tracks and hull sides somewhat resemble the structure of a Churchill heavy tank. Behind the track and front sprocket wheel lays an unangled armour of only 50 mm thickness. The effective thickness of all these components combined are no more than 100 mm when aiming from the front. Therefore even a 3.7 tank can shoot at the track and the shell will most certainly go through the frontmost wheel, then penetrate the 50 mm armour, sending shrapnel into the crew compartment with its explosion. Of course, solid shots will not work as good since you are shooting at the very edge of the tank after all, you need explosive filler to knock out the crew who are beside the point of penetration. This weak spot remains small and requires close proximity.
- Do not attack the ARL-44 (ACL-1) frontally unless you have enough armour to afford it.
- Sneak around it and target the turret from the back or the side. The ARL-44 (ACL-1) has a slow turret traverse and flat side and rear armour, making it especially vulnerable to flanking.
- If you have no other option than to attack it frontally, blind it with smoke before closing the gap. Target either the turret cupola or the lower part of the front glacis when the ARL-44 (ACL-1) is not angling as they are weak spots.
Pros and cons
- Thick side armour enables strong angling
- Complex side armour can negate HEAT round effectiveness
- 5 crew members increase the survivability
- Good mobility for a heavy tank, suited with a powerful engine
- Hull turning is fast due to wide hull
- Potent gun for the battle rating
- -10° of gun depression angle
- Large silhouette makes it a priority target
- Many tanks can reliably penetrate its frontal glacis
- Thin roof armour
- Weak 20 mm plate in turret back protects one of the main ammo racks
- Many weak spots in the armour, including shot traps
- Track traction is subpar (pre-war track pattern)
- Very slow reverse speed
- No explosive filler in available shells
- Limited ammunition choice
- Long reload time
- Large elevation mechanism, often get damaged
- Bad ammo storage layout makes ammo rack shots frequent
The ARL-44 (ACL-1) was the initial variant of the ARL-44 in 1944, with a 75 mm SA 44 gun, a 60 mm sloped front plate and an ACL1 turret designed by the shipyard "Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire". Isolated from the latest evolutions of tank design, the tank was deemed too weak and sent back to the drawing board to equip the tank with better armour and firepower. The design evolved towards the known version of the ARL-44: a 90 mm gun, a Schneider turret and a 120 mm sloped front plate. While 60 ACL1 turrets were ordered, the ARL-44 (ACL-1) never made it past the prototype stage.
The ARL-44 (ACL-1) saw no service or combat action.
- Vehicles equipped with the same chassis
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
|France heavy tanks|
|B1||B1 bis · B1 ter|
|AMX-50||Somua SM · AMX-50 Surbaissé · AMX-50 Surblindé|