|This page is about the American medium tank M1A1 HC. For other vehicles of the family, see M1 Abrams (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Tank, Combat, Full Tracked, 120-mm Gun M1A1 HC is a rank VII American medium tank with a battle rating of 10.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Direct Hit".
The M1A1 HC is a modification to the preceding M1A1 Abrams with features requested by the United States Marine Corps. The designation M1A1 HC, which stands for "Heavy Common", is to indicate the M1A1's "commonality" of features as the M1A1 HC was used by both the US Army and the US Marine Corps.
Survivability and armour
The armour of the M1A1 HC is a drastic improvement from its predecessor. Like the succeeding M1A2, the M1A1 HC has 2nd generation depleted uranium (DU) inserts in the turret, making the turret practically impervious to most attacks. It also retains the same crew layout of its predecessors along with the blowout ammo rack, meaning it is quite survivable. The hull remains unchanged however, and due to the increase in BR, most enemies will be able to penetrate it even at long range.
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull||___ mm|| ___ mm Top
___ mm Bottom
|___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Turret|| ___ - ___ mm Turret front
___ mm Gun mantlet
|___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm||___ - ___ mm|
|Cupola||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm||___ mm|
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|120 mm M256||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
The M1A1 HC is armed with the same 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun as the M1A1 and has access to the same ammunition of APFSDS and HEATFS. However, the M1A1 HC also gets access to a new HEATFS shell, M830A1. The M829 APFSDS round is still an excellent anti-tank munition, boasting the third highest penetration figures out of any sabot round in the game, at 493 mm of flat penetration at point-blank and decreasing to just 458 mm at 2 km. Its angled performance is also excellent, penetrating 284 mm of armour at 60 degrees point-blank and 264 mm at 2 km. It is sufficient to reliably engage any vehicle in the game frontally. The M830 HEATFS shell penetrates a meagre 480 mm of armour. It is not recommended to use this shell after unlocking the M829. The M830A1 is a special type of HEATFS round. Instead of using a conventional impact fuse, M830A1 is a sub-calibre HEATFS round that has been saboted into a 120 mm casing and fitted with a proximity fuse. This allows it to effectively engage low flying aircraft and helicopters up to a range of 4.5 km. The sub-calibre nature of the round means it travels extremely quickly at 1,400 m/s, making it the fastest HEAT round in the game. However, its effectiveness against armoured vehicles is limited as it penetrates a mere 350 mm of armour.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Ammunition|| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|40||35 (+5)||18 (+22)||1 (+39)||No|
|12.7 mm M2HB|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Pintle (Commander)||1,000 (200)||577||-9°/+65°||-160°/+180°|
|7.62 mm M240|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
|Pintle (Loader)||1,400 (200)||941||-9°/+65°||-77°/+135°|
Usage in battles
The M1A1 HC is essentially the M1A2 without the CITV but with a soft-kill active protection system (APS) that is only useful against early missiles but useless against laser-guided missiles like Hellfires or Vikhrs. The M1A1 HC also has good acceleration which allows for flanking manoeuvres. Due to its increased turret protection and better APFSDS round, it is also suited for sniping at long ranges especially when hull down. With a higher BR than its predecessor, it faces tanks that have no problem penetrating its hull necessitating proper utilization of hard cover found in maps. Its M829A1 round allows it to more comfortably engage targets at range and penetrate armour more reliably up close.
Pros and cons
- Powerful and versatile ammunition selection
- Has an active protection system that can provide protection against some ATGMs, also comes stock
- Better turret protection when compared to the M1A1
- M829 is a Tier I modification, with NVDs being Tier III
- Carries 4 charges of smoke grenades (4/16 compared to the 6/12 carried by its brothers)
- No commander's sight
- APS is visible through night vision devices and cannot intercept modern ATGMs
Development & Procurement
Though the M1 Abrams became accepted into service of the United States Army in November 1981, the United States Marines Corps (USMC) were not able to immediately look into procurement of the Abrams tanks due to budget. It was not until February 1985 that the Commandant of the Marine Corps sought to officially replace the M60A1 in USMC service with the M1A1 Abrams, with plans for 490 M1A1 to replace 760 M60A1 beginning in November 1990.
The USMC's plan to acquire the M1A1 (or the M1A1 ) also requested design changes to the tank to fit the USMC's needs. These requests culminated to eighty engineering changes, such as deep-wading adapters for fording kits, stronger chain tie-downs, and a position location reference system. Instead of producing this modified Abrams tank just for the USMC, the changes were integrated into the overall M1A1 HA production lines beginning in November 1990, when began producing Abrams for the USMC. These M1A1s were not distinguished by the service branch, being sent to both the US Army and US Marine Corps. As such, the US Army began referring to the M1A1s produced after November 1990 as the M1A1 HC, with HC for "Heavy Common" in reference to the commonality of the M1A1 HA tank design between service branches. The USMC came to reference the tank as the M1A1 Common, while referring to any pre-November 1990 builds of the M1A1 HA as a "Plain Jane". The primary distinction between a US Army and a US Marine Corps M1A1 HC is the smoke grenade launchers, the US Army uses the M250 smoke grenade launcher while the USMC uses the M257 smoke grenade launcher.model with armour since October 1988
Though the USMC requested for 490 M1A1 HC tanks, they would only receive 269 units by the delivery end date of 1992. An insufficient number for their needs, the USMC would receive additional support from US Congress between 1994 to 1995, which allocated enough funding for the transfer of 134 M1A1 tanks from the US Army. As these were "Plain Jane" M1A1 HAs, an upgrade program was started between 1995 to 1997 to apply "Common" design changes into the "Plain Janes". Another transfer would occur in between 2002 to 2005 for 181 M1A1 HA from the US Army to the USMC, which were likewise modified to HC standards.
The USMC's stock of M1A1 Abrams tank would see first use during the 1991 Gulf War. However, their primary tank deployed to the theater was the M60A1 RISE (P) as they were still procuring and transitioning to the M1A1 tanks. To bolster the Marine's number of Abrams, the US Army provided 60 "Plain Jane" M1A1 HA to the Marines 2nd Tank Battalion while the two companies of the 4th Tank Battalion of the USMC Reserve was equipped with 16 of the newer M1A1 HC. As such, the Abrams made up of 76 of the total 353 USMC tanks in the Gulf War, the rest of which was composed of M60A1s.
The USMC's Abrams were committed into action during the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm. 4th Tank Battalion's Bravo Company saw action in the pre-dawn hours of February 25th when a T-72 battalion from the 3rd Saladin Armored Division approached their location. The M1A1 HCs, benefitting from their thermal imager gun sights, were able to engage and decimate the battalion, destroying up to 34 of the 35 total T-72 tanks in a span of 90 seconds. One crew was even credited with hitting seven tanks with seven rounds in about a minute.
The M1A1 HC would continue to see use wherever the USMC deployed their armoured units, such as in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The M1A1 HC's usage in Afghanistan stand out as the US Army did not bring any Abrams, and were present from 2011 to 2013. The tanks deployed to these two operations are distinguished by the fitting of a CREWS 1 electronic receiver/jammer unit, intended to prevent the transmission of frequencies from detonating improvised explosive devices (IED). These are distinguished by two large antennas usually located at the turret rear.
Further upgrades and the Future
The USMC stuck with the M1A1 HC throughout its service life, lacking the budget to upgrade to the US Army's M1A2 Abrams. However, the USMC integrated several M1A2 and other US Army features such as the Stabilized Commander's Weapon Station (SCWS) and Tank-Infantry Phone (TIP). One unique upgrade the USMC implemented on their tanks was the Abrams Suspension Upgrade (ASU), intended to improve the Abrams' supported weight to 77 tons. A Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP) was also implemented to improve the fire control system and recognition.
In 2020, the United States Marine Corps was reorganized under Commandant Gen. David Berger as part of Force Design 2030, with the decision made to deactivate all tank units under the USMC. The process began in July with 4th Tank Battalion's deactivation and ended in on 21 May 2021 with the 1st Tank Battalion's deactivation. The 452 M1A1 HC tanks in USMC inventory are to be transferred to the US Army by 2023.
- Green 2015, Loc 241 of 1808
- Green 2015, Loc 1187-1201 of 1808
- Conners 2021
- Zaloga 2009, Loc 908-916 of 1274
- Cooke 2008
- Green 2015, Loc 1201-1208 of 1808
- Zaloga 2009, Loc 1160-1168 of 1274
- Naval History and Heritage Command 2015
- Green 2015, Loc 1214 of 1808
- Green 2015, Loc 1222-1258 of 1808
- Harkins Mar. 2020
- Harkins Jul. 2020
- Athey 2021
- South 2021
- Athey, Philip. "Marine Corps deactivates its final active-duty tank battalion". Marine Corps Times, 25 May 2021, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Chief of Naval Operations. "THE UNITED STATES NAVY IN "DESERT SHIELD" / "DESERT STORM" » Appendix A: Chronology - February 1991". Naval History and Heritage Command, 02 Mar. 2015, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Conners, Chris. "M1 Abrams". American Fighting Vehicle Database, 13 Nov. 2021, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Cooke, Gary W. "U.S. Vehicle Grenade Launchers". Gary's Place, 03 May 2008, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Green, Michael. Images of War: M1 Abrams Tanks - Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives. E-book ed., Pen & Sword Military, 2015. Kindle.
- Harkins, Gina. "Marines to Shut Down All Tank Units, Cut Infantry Battalions in Major Overhaul". Military Advantage, 23 Mar. 2020, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Harkins, Gina. "Marine Corps Begins Shutdown of All Tank Battalions". Military Advantage, 21 Jul 2020, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- South, Todd. "Goodbye, tanks: How the Marine Corps will change, and what it will lose, by ditching its armor". Marine Corps Times, 22 Mar. 2021, Website. Accessed 14 Nov. 2021 (Archive).
- Zaloga, Steven J. M1 Abrams VS T-72 Ural - Operation Desert Storm 1991. E-book ed., Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2009. Kindle.
|General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS)|
|MBTs||IPM1 Abrams · M1A1 · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams|
|Tank destroyers||M1128 Stryker MGS|
|USA medium tanks|
|M3||M3 Lee · ▃Grant I|
|M4||M4 · Calliope · M4A1 · M4A1 (76) W · M4A2 · M4A2 (76) W · M4A3 (105) · M4A3 (76) W|
|M26 Pershing||T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1|
|M46/47/48 Patton||M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47 · M48A1 · T54E1|
|M60||M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 RISE (P) · M60A2 · M60A3 TTS|
|MBT-70||MBT-70 · XM-803|
|M1 Abrams||XM-1 (Chrysler) · XM-1 (GM) · M1 Abrams · IPM1 · M1A1 · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams|
|Israel||▃Magach 3 · ▃Merkava Mk.1 · ▃Merkava Mk.2B · ▃Merkava Mk.3D|