2 February 2018

AMX-50 Foch: Racing Tortoise

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Today’s devblog marks the final installment in our devblog mini-series dedicated to the historical development and in-game performance of the AMX-50 family of tanks in War Thunder. Now that we’ve covered all the main development stages of the AMX-50, it would only be fitting to finish off the series with the only side-development of the project, namely -  the AMX-50 Foch self-propelled gun!

History

Right after the first AMX 50 prototypes were built, years before the Surbaissé was even drawn up, the idea to mount a 120mm anti-tank cannon on the AMX 50 chassis resulted in a proposal for a new tank destroyer design based on the newly developed chassis. The new tank destroyer would be based off the AMX M4’s chassis, but would receive significantly increased armour protection on the front as well as a far more powerful 120mm cannon, compared to the 90 or 100mm cannons the medium tank equivalents were equipped with. In 1950, the first prototype of the new casemate self-propelled gun, called AMX-50 Foch, named after the famous field marshall from The Great War, was built. The prototype was proudly presented to the world during the Paris military parade on 14 July 1950. Although the prototype was conceived as a long range support vehicle that would back up the AMX-50 medium tanks on the field, the entire project would soon be abandoned entirely. Once an AMX-50 version armed with a 120mm cannon was being developed, the Foch essentially became redundant. Offering no other distinct advantage over its medium tank counterpart, the project was cancelled soon after. In total, only 2 prototypes of the AMX-50 Foch SPG were built.

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In War Thunder, the Foch is a truly menacing tank destroyer of the fifth rank of the French ground forces research tree, offering players a very compelling package of strong protection, powerful firepower and good mobility. Tanks similar to the Foch in cencept have been around in the game for some considerable time. Tanks like the Jagdtiger, the T95, the Tortoise and many more all share similar characteristics, particularly in the protection and firepower department. More often than not, these tanks are true behemoths on the battlefield, advancing at a steady pace, dishing out painful damage and shrugging off return fire with ease. However, these capabilities often come at the expense of mobility, which leaves many of the aforementioned vehicles susceptible to flanking attacks from nimbler opponents. The Foch comes in as an oddball to this group of vehicles. While it too features excellent armour protection on the front, even being capable of defeating some more potent ammunition types at the higher ranks, and a powerful armament, it adds in good mobility to the mix as well.

Instead of being, what is commonly referred to as “a mobile bunker”, the Foch gives its commander considerable freedom of movement and choice during battle. A flank has collapsed on the other side of the battlefield and you wish to assist in defending? No problem. The enemy’s defences have been breached and you need to rapidly exploit the breakthrough? Sure, go ahead. In short, the Foch will go whenever and wherever its commander wishes it to be, no questions asked. Once in position, players can make devastating use of the powerful 120mm cannon. However, although it’s the same cannon found on the Surbaissé, the Foch is not equipped with an autoloading mechanism, but uses a conventional loading procedure instead. This means that Foch drivers won’t be able to benefit from a high rate of fire which Surbaissé drivers enjoy. Instead, the Foch can fire between 3-4 shots/min, depending on the skill of your crew. Provided you engage your foes one by one, this rather slow rate of fire shouldn’t be an issue though, as the cannon has enough penetrating power to severely cripple your foe, if not straight out blast him back to the hangar with a single shot.

Despite breaking the established mould of this tank category, the Foch still suffers from the same drawbacks as all of the tanks belonging to this class. As a casemate tank destroyer without a fully rotatable turret, the Foch is only able to engage targets directly in front of it, meaning it’s still very susceptible to attacks from the flank. The extremely thin side and rear armour of the hull will incentivise opponents to bypass your firing arc and go around instead, as they know that this decision will be well rewarded. To prevent this, use your own excellent mobility to change positions as frequently as possible, making yourself a difficult target to locate. Furthermore, positioning yourself in a location where your sides and rear are covered, by say a small building complex or other allies, would also go a long way in preventing a surprise attack from happening in the first place.

The AMX-50 Foch has arrived to War Thunder with update 1.75 “La Résistance” and has set out to find many fans among veteran tankers, especially those who enjoy trying out a refreshing new take on something that has been around for ages. This devblog concludes our mini-series devoted to the AMX-50 and its variants and we are keen to hear what you have to say. What do you think about the AMX-50 project as a whole? Fought with or against the AMX-50 and its variants in War Thunder? Let us know in the comments. Until next time!

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