|This page is about the American main battle tank M1A1. For other vehicles of the family, see M1 Abrams (Family). For other uses, see M1 (Disambiguation).|
The first M1 Abrams tank originally featured a 105 mm M68A1 gun as part of cost concerns to get the Abrams into service. However, after its acceptance in 1981, the US military began looking into the more powerful 120 mm Rheinmetall smoothbore gun for use in the Abrams. Following a trial period with the M1E1 prototype with the 120 mm M256 gun installed, the vehicle was officially accepted into service in 1984 as the M1A1 Abrams, with production lasting from 1985 to 1993. The M1A1 would set the standard of the modern Abrams design, becoming the most numerous produced base version of the Abrams tank at around 5,000 units manufactured (including retrofits to older M1 and IPM1 into M1A1 standards), and would most notably see combat in the US campaign in the Middle East such as the 1991 Operation Desert Storm and 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom. The M1A1's ubiquity paved the way for various M1A1 upgrades, foreign sales, as well as the improved M1A2 Abrams.
The Tank, Combat, Full Tracked, 120-mm Gun M1A1 (shortened to M1A1) has been present in the game since Update 1.87 "Locked On" and gives the highly mobile Abrams platform the deadly 120 mm M256 gun to use against enemy tanks. The round selection is limited to APFSDS and HEAT-FS, the APFSDS rounds allow for a more even fight against opposing tanks, though may still require the M1A1 to aim at weak points against more protected opponents. The composite armour of the M1A1 retains the effective chemical protection and against downtier opponents, the protection against kinetic shells, especially those in uptiers, would force players to rely on the M1A1 mobility to avoid being hit, as well as excellent "soft" protection like the blow-out panels for the turret bustle ammo racks that can help prevent an ammunition cook-off from outright destroying the tank. The M1A1 remains an impressive vehicle for players to use and outpace their opponents with its mobility and destroy them with the 120 mm gun.
Survivability and armour
The M1A1 is essentially an IPM1 armed with a 120 mm M256 gun, meaning the armour is almost identical to its tech-tree predecessor. The tank features composite armour in gun mantlet, turret cheeks, sides and lower front plate, with composite side skirts affording some protection along the frontal half of the vehicle's hull. The M1A1 retains the Abrams series' exceptional protection against chemical energy projectiles, with the turret cheeks affording some 1,200 mm RHAe against shaped charges and the hull providing around 600 mm. However, the kinetic energy protection of the tank is quite lacklustre compared to its top tier compatriots, especially against the best rounds fielded by other nations' main battle tanks; all of which can easily penetrate the Abrams frontally in practically any location. This makes the tank quite vulnerable to enemy fire. However, the M1A1 also retains the excellent survivability of the Abrams series, with a spread out crew, separate ammunition compartment and shielding for fuel tanks and the engine compartment that make the tank unlikely to die in a single shot. However, don't expect to be able to fire back if you get penetrated: most penetrating hits will knock out at least one of these components/crew members: gun breech/barrel, turret traverse/elevation, gunner or loader, track(s), engine.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The M1A1 features the same 1,500 horsepower AGT-1500 gas turbine equipped on the other Abrams tank, though the tank has gotten several tons heavier. When stock, the vehicle accelerates quite sluggishly and features a horrendously slow hull traverse. Fully upgraded however, the M1A1 is quite nimble with decent power-to-weight ratio and traverse capability. At 68 km/h of top speed and 40 km/h in reverse, the tank is comparable to its counterparts.
Modifications and economy
The M1A1's gun handles very well, with a very efficient stabiliser that allows accurate fire at any speed and a very fast 40 degrees per second turret traverse. The gun has good depression and elevation angles. An aced crew can reload the gun in just six seconds, which is comparable to the Leopard 2A5, Leclerc and T-80U, although slower than the Type 90 and Challenger 2. The penetration of the M829 APFSDS, even though is comparable if not a little better that its contemporaries, is not enough to handle most of the soviet MBTs it is going to face.
|120 mm M256||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|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) (kg)
|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°||±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
As with any vehicle, the M1A1 finds itself at a serious disadvantage while stock. Without access to thermal imaging or to the M829 and M829A1 APFSDS rounds, users will need to play more carefully. While the M830 HEATFS round is powerful, it struggles against composite armour and ERA, as well as having lacklustre post-penetration effects. Generally stock M1A1 tank commanders should avoid areas with lots of foliage, as here the lack of thermals will be especially detrimental. Additionally players will have to aim more carefully to deal effective damage with the M830 HEAT round.
The M1A1 is a glass cannon without the cannon part most of the time. The M829A1 APFSDS round has plenty of penetration against opponents. A shot to the LFP should be adequate to knock out most tanks . The gun, ammo, and reload rate are comparable to other 10.7 vehicles.. The turret protection on the M1A1 is not capable of stopping any of the best APFSDS rounds at its tier. Rounds like 3BM42 Mango are able to penetrate at ranges up to 3,500 m. With this in mind, players should not rely on their armour.
Close Range Engagements:
The M1A1 is not a brawler. It has impressive acceleration and gun handling, giving it an edge over other vehicles. The hull armour gives the M1A1 a fighting chance against HEAT rounds,even though most times it will hit the UGP and bounce right into the player's turret ring, knocking out the cannon breech, the gunner or the turret traverse. It is suggested to use its speed to get to a vantage position or a choke point and eliminate any target that gets through there.
Long Range Engagements:
The M1A1 is capable at long range, but is outclassed very few tanks at its BR. The cannon is powerful, but not especially so compared to German counterparts. The biggest issues the M1A1 will face in regards to long range engagements are the turret armour and lack of commanders thermals. While the M829A1 APFSDS round will fail to penetrate the turret cheeks of vehicles like the T-80U and the Leopard 2A5, their rounds will have no such trouble with the M1A1. The lack of commanders thermals makes it difficult to scout for enemies while in full hull down, although players can bind a button to switch to the machine gun as their main weapon. This will allow them to see through the machine gun sight with a thermal imager, giving them an elevated vantage point through the thermals.
Although the M1A1 is somewhat weak when stock, it is an adequate frontline tank while spaded. The powerful round and gun give it a strong position in the U.S. top tier lineup. However M1A1 tank commanders should remember that their turret cheeks can be penetrated by some rounds. This means it does best in close to medium range fights.
Pros and cons
- Turret exceptionally well protected against chemical rounds
- Decent mobility when upgraded
- Ammunition in the turret, when detonated, generally will not spread to the crew compartment
- The fuel tanks and engine compartment are separated from the crew compartment by steel plates, increasing the time it takes for a fire to destroy the vehicle
- Reload speed of the 120 mm is decent; 6 seconds with an aced crew level
- Very powerful M829A1 APFSDS round
- Stock vehicle is sluggish
- Stock rounds are quite inadequate against many of the main battle tanks the vehicle faces
- Reload time slower than 105 mm armed predecessors
- Hull and turret armour less effective against kinetic rounds, plus are lacking in protection against the armaments of current Rank VII vehicles
- Lacks the M830A1 proximity-fused HEATFS round that the M1A1HC and M1A1 AIM has at the same BR
- Weak turret ring armour and upper hull plate ricochets will often/sometimes lead to fatal shot traps and ammo racks.
- Like with most Abrams series tanks, the engine deck is slightly raised, meaning that you will not be able to depress the gun over the rear of the tank.
Almost as soon as the first production M1 Abrams MBTs began rolling off the assembly line, did American engineers begin working on an up-gunned version of the Abrams. They succeeded in this endeavour in 1981, after a prototype Abrams, designated M1E1, was successfully fitted with a 120mm Rheinmetall smoothbore cannon.
Showing promising performance, work on the vehicle continued. At the same time, an upgraded version of the original Abrams, the IPM1, which featured improved protection and a larger turret was briefly produced between 1984 - 1986. The resulting M1A1 Abrams inherited the upgrades from the IPM1 and combined them with the M256 120 mm smoothbore cannon, a licence-built version of the German original.
The M1A1 was adopted for service in 1984 and was produced alongside the IPM1 for a short while since 1985 until the older modification was phased out of production.
The M1A1 saw its first use during the U.S. deployment in the Gulf War in 1991. Faced against arguably inferior Soviet-era tanks, the M1A1 had successfully proven its worth in tank-on-tank engagements but exposed new problems concerning its performance and vulnerability in urban environments. This led to further upgrades for the vehicle being developed later on.
Production of the M1A1 seized in 1992, with over 5,800 units being produced, including Egyptian and Australian export models. The original M1A1 chassis still serves today, albeit as upgraded variants which have undergone several modernization efforts.
- From Devblog
- ␙M1A1 - (YouTube Cup 2019 prize)
|General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS)|
|MBTs||IPM1 Abrams · M1A1 · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams · M1A2 SEP|
|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 · M4/T26|
|M26 Pershing||T20 · T25 · M26 · M26 T99 · M26E1|
|M46/47/48 Patton||M46 · M46 "Tiger" · M47 · M48A1 · T54E1 · T54E2|
|M60||M60 · M60A1 (AOS) · M60A1 RISE (P) · M60A2 · M60A3 TTS · M728 CEV|
|MBT-70||MBT-70 · XM-803|
|M1 Abrams||XM-1 (Chrysler) · XM-1 (GM) · M1 Abrams · M1 KVT · IPM1 · M1A1 · M1A1 HC · M1A2 Abrams · M1A2 SEP|
|Israel||▃Magach 3 (ERA) · ▃Merkava Mk.1 · ▃Merkava Mk.2B · ▃Merkava Mk.3D|