M6A1

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RANK 4 FRANCE
Somua SM PACK
Heavy Tank M6A1
us_m6a1.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
4.7/4.7/4.7BR
6 peopleCrew
122 %Visibility
front / side / backArmour
101 / 69 / 44Hull
101 / 82 / 82Turret
Mobility
56.8 tWeight
1 526 hp800 hpEngine power
27 hp/t14 hp/tPower-to-weight ratio
37 km/h forward
4 km/h back
35 km/h forward
4 km/h back
Speed
Armament
76 mm M7 cannonMain weapon
75 roundsAmmunition
5.9 / 7.6 sReload
-10° / 30°Vertical guidance
verticalStabilizer
37 mm M3 cannonSecondary weapon
202 roundsAmmunition
2.9 / 3.7 sReload
verticalStabilizer
2 x 12.7 mm M2HB machine gunCoaxial weapon
6 000 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
200 roundsBelt capacity
577 shots/minFire rate
-10° / 35°Vertical guidance
12.7 mm M2HB machine gunMachinegun
1 000 roundsAmmunition
8.0 / 10.4 sReload
200 roundsBelt capacity
577 shots/minFire rate
-10° / 50°Vertical guidance
-120° / 120°Horizontal guidance
Economy
26 000 Rp icon.pngResearch
100 000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png2 040 / 2 523/1 930 / 2 387/1 700 / 2 102Repair
29 000 Sl icon.pngCrew training
100 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
400 Ge icon.pngAces
142 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
150 % Sl icon.png130 % Sl icon.png70 % Sl icon.png

Description

GarageImage M6A1Heavy.jpg


The Heavy Tank M6A1 is a rank III American heavy tank with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". A rather unusual tank design mounting two cannons in the turret, however, it has a durable frontal armour for the battle rating it occupies.

The M6A1 is one of the most unique tanks in the game, with its large hull and being as tall as a Tiger I. Another interesting feature is that it is one of the most manoeuvrable heavy tanks in the game with a powerful Wright G-200 engine (the same engine powering the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber) with a max speed of 35 km/h, making it very mobile in a battle situation. The tank has two 12.7 mm's in the hull which are effective for taking out lightly armored vehicles such SPAAs. The M6A1 is one of the first American tanks as well in the game to have the transmission at the rear of the tank.

Something to keep in mind is the shell arc of the secondary 37 mm cannon. Its shell will usually hit the same spot on distances up to 1400 m (~1 mile). But do not forget that the gun is offset to the left in close combat, or it will not hit the target.

General info

Survivability and armour

Armour type:

  • Cast homogeneous armour (Front, Transmission area, Turret)
  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Front, Side, Rear, Roof)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 82.5 mm (5-35°) Front
101.6 mm (5-35°) Transmission
44.4 mm 44.4 mm 25.4 mm
Turret 250 mm (6-65°) Turret front
50.8 + 50.8 mm (7-62°) Gun mantlet
82.5 mm (0-12°) 82.5 mm (0-68°) 25.4 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 82.5 mm 25.4 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 17 mm thick.
  • Frontal armour plate is unevenly curved for better ricochet chances and efficient armour thickness.
  • Side skirts are 25 mm thick rolled homogeneous armour and will trigger fuses on APHE projectiles. In most cases, APHE shells set off before reaching the main hull and destroying the ammo stack beneath. Still, both skirts and hull are not sturdy enough to withstand a regular AP shell.

Mobility

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 37 4 56.8 1,033 1,526 18.19 26.87
Realistic 35 4 708 800 12.46 14.08

Armaments

Main armament

Main article: M7 (76 mm)
76 mm M7 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Stock Full Expert Aced
Arcade 75 -10°/+30° ±180° Vertical 14.57 20.16 24.48 27.07 28.80 7.67 6.79 6.25 5.90
Realistic 10.71 12.60 15.30 16.92 18.00

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M62 shell APCBC 149 146 133 119 106 95
M42A1 shell HE 7 7 7 7 7 7
M79 shot AP 134 132 121 109 99 89
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
M62 shell APCBC 792 7.00 1.2 14.0 63.7 48° 63° 71°
M42A1 shell HE 800 5.84 0.1 0.5 390 79° 80° 81°
M79 shot AP 792 6.80 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M6A1
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
75 40 (+35) (+71) (+74) Yes

Additional armament

Main article: M3 (37 mm)
37 mm M3 Reloading rate (seconds)
Capacity Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Full Expert Aced
202 N/A N/A Vertical 3.77 3.33 3.07 2.90

Ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
M74B1 AP 79 76 65 54 45 37
M63 shell HE 3 3 3 3 3 3
M51B1/B2 APCBC 87 84 73 60 50 41
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
warhead
Velocity
(m/s)
Projectile
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
(m)
Fuse sensitivity
(mm)
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Ricochet
0% 50% 100%
M74B1 AP 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 47° 60° 65°
M63 shell HE 807 0.73 0.1 0.5 38 79° 80° 81°
M51B1/B2 APCBC 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A 48° 63° 71°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the M6A1
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
6th
rack empty
Visual
discrepancy
202 85 (+12) 161 (+41) 121 (+81) 81 (+121) 41 (+161) (+201) Yes

Machine guns

Main article: M2HB (12.7 mm)
12.7 mm M2HB
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Pintle 1,000 (200) 577 -10°/+50° ±120°
Hull 3,000 (200) 577 -10°/+35° ±15°
Hull 3,000 (200) 577 -10°/+35° ±15°

Usage in battles

Gameplay

Although this is a heavy tank, and able to bounce some shells, its armour will not protect it from all incoming fire. Enemies to specifically watch out for are the IS-1, Panthers, Tigers, and Jumbo Shermans, as they can all easily penetrate this vehicle's weak frontal armour. Make sure to protect the rear flank too: M6A1's engine is very large and prone to catching on fire when hit.

But despite the imperfect armour layout, the M6A1 does bring an impressive cannon to the battle. The powerful 76 mm gun is able to penetrate the front of most Rank III tanks and can destroy most enemy targets in a single shot. The secondary cannon is weaker than the 76 mm, but can be effective. When engaging targets from the side, this smaller gun should have no trouble penetrating and destroying an enemy unit. And as with all multi-gun tanks, the secondary gun should be fired separately from the main cannon to maximize efficiency and facilitate aim. By firing the secondary cannon, it is occasionally possible to bait the enemy into advancing out of cover and revealing a weak-spot--they will not expect that you have another shell loaded in the main gun. Additionally, the vehicle mounts three 12.7 mm machine guns, which can be very effective in dealing with enemy aircraft if positioned correctly.

In most situations, the M6A1 driver will find that a slower play-style suits this tank best. The vehicle is large, turret rotation is slow, and enemies will be eager to flank it. As such, the support of teammates is necessary for an effective attack. In a defensive situation, the M6A1 is effective when located behind a ridge or other cover. This will help to obscure the tank's large profile and allow the player to ambush advancing enemies.

The M6A1 is often compared to the M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman. Although less armoured than its higher-tiered counterpart, the M6A1 is arguably better than the Jumbo during the early game and at range. While the M4A3E2 may have trouble dealing with enemy heavy tanks such as the KV-1, this vehicle is very-well suited for engaging those targets. The M6A1 may be thought of as a Jumbo Sherman that was traded some of its armour protection in exchange for a more lethal armament.

Modules

Tier Mobility Protection Firepower
I Tracks Parts Horizontal Drive M51B1/B2
II Suspension Brake System FPE Adjustment of Fire M79 shot
III Filters Crew Replenishment Elevation Mechanism
IV Transmission Engine

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Great main 76 mm gun and ammunition capable of consistent 1 hit kills
  • Great secondary 37 mm gun with good reload speed and decent penetration
  • Good gun depression
  • Reload rate isn't generally affected when losing crew members
  • Has .50 cal AA machine gun, as well as a dual-mount .50 cal in front
  • First standard heavy tank in the US tree, which can dish out and take punishment equally
  • Lower portion of the hull sides are protected by additional 25.4 mm armour sheet
  • Adequate roof armour of 25 mm means aerial strafing will be of a little issue without large-calibre weaponry
  • Rear mounted transmission means it is not affected with a frontal penetration
  • Big hull increases the chance of surviving after a penetrating hit
  • Good acceleration and power-to-weight ratio
  • Good hill-climbing abilities
  • Very good cross country performance due to large tracks

Cons:

  • Lots of weak points, such as gun mantlet, upper side armour, driver port, MG port, and front armour cheeks
  • Armour profile overall is quite flat, no angling benefits
  • Ammo is stored in the lower side armour
  • All automotive module mounted in the rear, easily prone to damage, set ablaze, or exploded when shot
  • Slow top speed
  • Mediocre turn speed
  • Pretty large in general, will stand out in the battlefield

History

Development

When World War II broke out, limited development in the United States meant that the military possessed very few tanks and so development hastened and eventually gave them tanks such as the M3 Lee and M4 Sherman. On May 20, 1940, the US Army Ordinance Corps began to work on a 50-ton heavy tank for their army. Initially, it was going to have a multi-turret design, two turrets with the 75 mm gun and one secondary turret with a 37 mm gun with a coaxial machine gun, then one more with a 20 mm gun with coaxial. Plus, four .30 cal machine guns were to be put on ball mounts on the front glacis and rear corners of the hull. This project was approved on June 11, 1940, and moved on as the Heavy Tank T1. However at the same time, similar concepts in Europe of heavy breakthrough tanks such as the Soviet T-35 and the German Neubaufahrzeug tanks were falling out of favour due to lack of combat effectiveness and unfavourable performance for their cost, and the US did the same in October so the design was changed.

The tank now had one turret with a 3-inch (76.2 mm) gun alongside a coaxial 37 mm gun. The turret housed three crew members and was powered by an electrical traverse system. The commander's cupola was copied from the M3 Lee, featuring a hatch with it sown machine gun. Two .50 cal machine guns now protruded from the bow mount (fired by bow gunner) and two .30 cal machine guns as well (fired by the driver). The entire tank held six crew members, the commander, gunner, driver, assistant driver, loader #1, and loader #2. While the construction of the vehicle was feasible, the engine was not enough to power the vehicle reliably due to heavy 57-ton weight.

In 1941 to 1942, three prototypes were constructed with the different transmission, one with electrical and the rest with a torque converter. The ones with the torque converters were designated the Heavy Tank M6 and M6A1. The electrical transmission design designated M6A2, was never approved by Ordinance, but was to be manufactured anyway. It was hoped that 115 of these tanks could be built for further testing and production started in December 1942 with design changes. The commander's cupola now featured a regular hatch rather than the machine gun one, which was removed along with one of the machine gun in the front hull. By the time the M6 was ready for production, the Army was moving forward and interest waned on these heavy tanks with the M4 Sherman's performance in the war. The M6's armour was only slightly thicker than the Sherman's and the 3-inch gun didn't offer too much improvement over the 75 mm gun, plus it had a large profile and low ergonomics, not to mention mechanical issues.

Production and cancellation

In early 1942, the M6 production was set for 250 a month but was cut down in September from 5,000 to a mere 100 when manufacturing focus moved to planes. By the end of 1942, Sherman's performance in the war proved its role in the war was more adaptable than the M6 heavy tank while remaining cheaper and lighter for transportation and supplying. This caused the M6 production to lower even more to just 40, before being shut down. Though testing with a 90 mm gun found the M6 to be a good gun mount, the poor layout of the tank restricted it, and the project was shut down before further development could be made.

In August 1944, the Ordinance Corps planned to modify some of the M6 heavy tanks with more armour and heavier armament to breach fortified areas. These were to be the M6A2E1 and weighed 77 tons with a 190 mm front armour and a 105 mm gun. Eisenhower rejected these as impractical and cancelled it. The M6 was found to be obsolete by December 1944 with only 40 units produced and never seeing combat service. They served as a propaganda piece during the war and were all scrapped after it except one, which is put on display at Aberdeen, Maryland at the United States Army Ordinance Museum. During development, the M6 turret was modified to become the turret for the M10 Tank Destroyer.

In-game description

At the end of May 1940 the US infantry chief of staff responsible for armor put together requirements for future tanks in light of what was happening in Europe: the German army was relentlessly moving toward France and using armor with great success along the way. The Wehrmacht's use of new Pz.IV tanks with 75 mm guns instantaneously made the American tanks and their 37 mm cannons obsolete.

The new tank type had to be heavy (around 50 short tons), with 76 mm and 37 mm cannons arranged side-by-side in the turret. It had four machine guns (two heavy caliber and two rifle caliber), a Wright G-200 engine, a Hydromatic transmission, and a top speed of 25 mph. The green light was given for the construction of four prototypes in February 1941.

The prototypes developed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works were designed with different transmissions and hulls in the interests of finding the best option for full-scale production. Two modifications at most were permitted, and on April 13, 1942, the T1E2 and T1E3 were standardized as the M6 and M6A1. The latter added a welded hull, Wright G-200 engine, and torque converter to the M6.

Mass production was scheduled for November 1942, though a report by General Jacob Devers on December 7 indicated that the M6s would enjoy only limited tactical use due to their size. Moreover, two M4s equipped with 75 mm and 76 mm weapons could be built in place of two heavy tanks. As a result, the Armored Corps hurried to revoke the contract.

Between 1942 and 1943 the Baldwin Locomotive Works ended up producing 12 M6 heavy tanks. They did not join the army or see combat.

Media

Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links


USA heavy tanks
M4 Jumbo  M4A3E2 · Cobra King · M4A3E2 (76) W
Small-scale series  T14 · M6A1 · T26E1-1
Post-war  T29 · T30 · T32 · T32E1 · T34 · M103