A new branch of six Japanese heavy tanks will enter the game in Update 1.23.1. It begins at Tier V with the Mitsu 108, a heavy, which you can research after the Chi-He, a Tier IV medium tank. The branch’s top three tanks feature a brand-new mechanic─double aiming (also known as gun cooling). On top of that, the top two also have hydropneumatic suspension. Let’s take a closer look at the vehicles from the branch!
Kicking off the new line is a full-fledged heavy that only weighs about half of the O-I Experimental, its counterpart from the Japanese superheavy branch. For its weight and size, the Mitsu 108 is pretty mobile, with a base top forward speed of 35 km/h. While its armor protection isn’t great, it has impressive armament (with a 105 mm top gun) and an excellent maximum gun depression angle of −10°.
The Ju-Nu gives us a lot of hints about where this branch is headed. It keeps the mobility and strong gun depression angle of its predecessor. At the same time, it is less bulky and has a sturdier turret, and it compensates for its smaller damage per shot value with a significantly better DPM from its top 88 mm gun.
The Ju-To is an incremental step in the same direction. Its powerful engine allows it to retain the mobility of the tanks before it in the branch while also having thicker turret armor. (And while its nominal hull armor is less than that of its “elder brother”, its effective armor values are better because of the angles at which the plates are sloped.) The basic formula of the branch—“a well-rounded and mobile heavy able to play hull-down”—is ready, and it’s about time for a special ingredient to be introduced.
Double Aiming (Gun Cooling) Mechanic
The brand-new double aiming mechanic is based on an ingenious tank gun cooling system proposed in post-war Japan. Ventilators paired with heat-dissipating radiators would allow the barrel to cool off faster, mitigating the negative impact of thermal deformation and thus reducing gun dispersion.
In the game, double aiming works as follows. If you delay the shot after your gun has fully loaded, the gun dispersion will decrease. Once the mechanic activates, you will see a second, smaller circle inside your aiming circle.
Double aiming gives additional tactical flexibility to the Tier VIII–X vehicles in the new branch. Depending on the situation on the battlefield, you can engage in terrain-based play at close range while firing on cooldown, sacrifice part of your DPM and snipe enemies from afar, or opt for any in-between approach. The Type 63, a Premium “relative” of the new Japanese heavy branch, also possesses this mechanic.
Even if you disregard the double aiming mechanic, the stats of the Type 57 are impressive. It has well-sloped hull armor, its turret armor is 300 mm thick at the front (yes, we are speaking nominal values), and its maximum gun depression angle is outstanding (−12°). Plus, suppressing the urge to shoot immediately can bring down the Type 57’s base gun dispersion from a not-so-great (but not terrible) 0.42 m at 100 m to an almost Leopard-like 0.28 m at 100 m.
Being a Tier IX vehicle, the Type 68 has better damage per shot, shell penetration, reload time, and specific power than its predecessor. Yet it plays very much in the same way. The main difference between the tanks is that the Type 68 achieves its −12° of maximum gun depression with the help of hydropneumatic suspension. The base value is −8°, and to bend its gun down to the fullest, the Type 68 needs to decrease its speed (like the STB-1).
Sitting comfortably atop the branch (as it will atop a hill) is the Type 71. With a gun cooling system and hydropneumatic suspension, it’s a large 67-ton chunk of innovation with a tough turret and not-so-tough hull. The tank’s specific power (17.5 hp per ton) gives it enough mobility to reach favorable terrain folds in good time. Once in position, the suspension can activate automatically and crank the maximum gun depression level from −7° to −12°. The damage per shot (400 HP) and the base reload time (8.8 seconds) provide a nice foundation for some solid damage per minute. Alternatively, you can occupy a back slope far away from the enemy, forfeit DPM records, and snipe: when the gun cools down, the base dispersion is 0.28 m at 100 m.
Go up this new branch of tactically diverse machines and try them all out in battle, Commanders!