The Combat Vehicle, Anti-tank, Improved TOW Vehicle, M901 is a squadron rank VI American tank destroyer with a battle rating of 7.7 (AB) and 8.0 (RB/SB). It was introduced during Update 1.89 "Imperial Navy".
Survivability and armour
The M901 is based off the M113. It may look like a lightly armoured vehicle, but it features 44 mm of alloy on the sides and 38mm on the front and back with an effective thickness of 48 mm on the front and 40 mm of effective thickness on the back. This is only enough to stop large calibre machine gun fire and if angled correctly able to stop some SPAA's from penetrating you. The top is also quite strong with 38 mm of alloy, this means that you might be able to survive some badly dropped bombs or rockets, but will not save you if receiving a direct hit.
The crew, however, has excellent survivability when the vehicle is placed in a hull-down position. Two crew members, the loader and the commander, are located in the back part of the hull and there are no other critical components located here. In the middle of the tank is the gunner, since the I-tow missile is launched from a launcher mounted on a tower, this protects the gunner very well. The driver is located at the front of the vehicle and is next to the engine block. Behind the engine block is the ammunition storage, if hit from the front with SPAA rounds or conventional rounds, the engine block will eat up (absorb and protect the rest of the vehicle) most of the shots, however, if shot from the side or from the front with HEAT, APDS and APDSFS rounds, this usually ends in disaster as it will cause an ammunition explosion or destroy a majority of the critical components by one-shotting the vehicle.
When played from a hull-down position with only the launcher exposed, this vehicle is practically immune to damage, however crossing open areas may result in taking a hit, thus losing a crew member or resulting in an ammo-rack explosion or crew knocked out.
The mobility of this vehicle is okay. The power to weight ratio of this vehicle is 17.45 hp/tonne. On the information card, the top speed for the M901 is 64 kph, though there are not many circumstances you will reach these speeds. Offroad, the M901 will reach 20 kph quite fast due to it's high lower to weight ratio and will reach its top speed of 38 kph. In reverse it will easily reach 14 kph, allowing you to get out of a bad situation.
This vehicle does not have neutral traverse, but still does turn quite fast.
However, this vehicle suffers in traversing hills with high angles such as getting up the west side of point "C" on the el Alamein map. This does limit the ability of this vehicle to get to good positions without being spotted and fired upon.
The main weapon on the M901 is the BGM-71C I-TOW ATGM. It has up to 630 mm of penetration at 0 degrees at any distance since it carries a HEAT warhead. The post penetration of this missile is not amazing and in some circumstances, a follow-up missile may be needed. The missile is a second-generation ATGM so it is mouse controlled. It travels at a speed of 296m/s. Due to the fuze sensitivity being 0.01mm, any bush, fence or object in the way will trigger the missile into detonation and the lack of a machine gun will mean that these obstacles will become quite a nuisance.
The turret can angle down 30 degrees, which means it can fire down from almost any mountain or fire horizontally even when standing on a steep cliff. It also does not have failsafes and can fire at tanks which are trying to ram your carrier directly, which allows you to make them instantly regret their decision. However, remember, your hull cannot sustain explosive damage and chain reaction will definitely annihilate your tank as well, so immediately move away from exploding tank before its too late.
The vehicle is trying to put launcher on the pad whenever it is moving, however it is still possible to fire for a few moments before it started doing this. In case if someone is ramming your tank, try to push them back to reduce your speed as much as possible.
|BGM-71C I-TO mm BGM-71C I-TO|
|10(2 preloaded in launcher)||-30°/+35°||±180°||N/A|
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Default magnification||Maximum magnification|
|Main Gun optics||X4.0||X8.0|
Usage in battles
- Hull down
In a battle, this vehicle is best played hull-down, preferably behind a rock so that rounds won't dip and hit the main chassis, if this is not possible, try to find a ridge to hide behind or a depression in the terrain. Since your launcher is the only thing exposed, expect for your launcher to get hit and receive a 10-second repair. (Note for stock vehicles, you will still be able to fire). Some players will be smarter and will shoot HESH rounds at you, the splash damage will be enough to either hull-break or knock out the rest Since you only have 12 missiles (2 in the launcher, 10 stowed away) you will have to be patient and skilled at using this missile. If in the right hands, it is incredibly strong and can hold an important spot and single handily deny the enemy any chance of taking an area. This will reward you a large number of kills as well as gaining a large number of points from people shooting at you launcher.
However, there is a couple of issues. The launcher can only be deployed when stationary and has a deployment time before you are able to train the gunsights on the target and open fire. The reload also requires the launcher to traverse to the rear of the vehicle and further lengthening the reload. one way to combat this is to have the rear end of the vehicle to the target, therefore reducing the time taken to traverse the launcher back to the firing position.
- SPAA duty
Apart from shooting at tanks, the ATGM can also be used on helicopters as there is no drop on ATGMs. If playing hull down, it might also be quite hard for helicopters to spot you, therefore making it a potent weapon against an enemy helicopter. Planes will be harder to hit as they will be moving at a faster speed.
The M901 does not fare too well in urban combat - due to the speed of the ATGM it is quite hard to readjust the missile path in case of a miss and having to stop to fire the ATGM will result in an unpleasant experience. However, if you are forced to take this vehicle out in an urban environment, the best strategy will be to follow your teammates, hide behind cover and wait for your teammates to bait the enemy out.
Pros and cons
- Use pairs of I-TOW, designed for fast long-range attacks
- Of all horizontal ATGM launchers currently in the game, has best launcher depression
- Tower is very tall, making it hard to exploit APHE and HESH to destroy the tank instantly
- Superior to export Italian version in almost every way possible
- If forced to participate in close quarters combat, can fire even point blank, although it may end up destroying itself
- Has night vision and thermal sights
- Hits to the tower base can annihilate the tank, so it needs taller hull-down spots, than other carriers
- While carrier is travelling, the launcher is put onto a pad on the back, and it takes about 3 to 5 seconds for it to deploy back, which means, any surprise attack on the tank will likely succeed with minimal resistance
- Only reloads after second launched ATGM hit something, can't be ordered to reload just one missile or to cut off the leading early
- Sniper scope is located in the launcher, so during reloading it moves together with the launcher, forcing the operator to keep watch on target with binoculars
- Sometimes, just a bit short of firepower to penetrate tanks with heavy ERA or NERA plating in one hit (although in RB most of such tanks are your allies)
- Repairs for the launcher can become quite frustrating and lose some easy frags
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Other vehicles based off the M113 platform:
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|USA tank destroyers|
|Early projects||M3 GMC · M8 HMC|
|Based on M4||M10 GMC · M36 GMC|
|T95||T28 · T95|
|Post-war||M50 · M56 · M901 · ADATS|