What could be the goofiest tier X medium to play, the 121 can either drive you crazy or make you look like a hero to your team. The lack of depression will haunt you at times, but also forces the player to learn the terrain on all maps as you never want to crest over hills to get a shot on an enemy tank, less exposure equates to longer survival. In comparison to the Russian mediums, the 121 has more alpha damage per shot and that’s about it. It is normally overlooked in Clanwars or Tournaments as the lack of gun depression and overall strengths can render it ineffective; however, as a tank to play in pubs I find that if in the proper hands it can wreak havoc.
Although the tank only has 4 degrees of gun depression, the 440 alpha is what makes this tank. In comparison to the 140, the 121 has better alpha (440 vs 320) but worse overall DPM (2750 vs 2909). Due to the stock shell being AP rather than APCR, the 121’s shell speed comes in at 1000 m/s in comparison to the 140’s APCR shell at 1535 m/s. The gun handling of the 121 is also poor in comparison with an aim time of 2.70 vs 2.10. The 121's gun dispersion while moving and traversing (0.14 vs 0.08) are also far worse. What am I trying to get at here? The 121 is not a sniping tank and does not play the role of a normal medium. It's best suited to playing as a support tank for a heavy push or as an up in your face brawler. With 440 alpha and a longer reload time than most medium tanks, the 121 excels at Peek-A-Booming (poking out to take a shot before returning to safety to wait on the reload). In regards to the 121’s lack of gun depression, it is important to ensure that engagements occur on favorable part of ground (flat ground such as in a city), or in an area where you can create your own gun depression by having part of your tank on higher ground and aiming your turret to the side to shoot at targets beneath you. This requires practice and excellent map knowledge, but will make playing the 121 much more enjoyable…who knows, you may even find a nice slope where you can abuse your turret.
The 121’s overall platform isn’t too bad in comparison to the other Russian mediums. Mobility wise, it’s fairly comparable to the 140. The top speeds are similar (56 km/h vs 55 km/h) and the tanks have the same 580 hp engine. Where the 121 struggles though in mobility is related to it being a heavier tank than the 140. The 121’s horse power per ton is 14.99 compared to the 140’s 16.11, meaning that the 121 is slower getting to top speed than the 140. Due to the playstyle of the 121, I do not find the decreased maneuverability to be much of an issue. Most of the battles fought in a 121 are on the front lines and any rotation required is possible due to the average speed of the tank. The 121 has 400m standard view range and an excellent turret. The frontal armor can be trollish and is slightly thicker than that of the 140. You cannot rely on armor alone in the 121, however you will bounce shells that you otherwise shouldn’t have if angled properly. The turret is strong as mentioned before and finding a flat, hull down spot to brawl from can lead to excellent results in the 121.
The early game play of the 121 involves watching where the majority of your team goes and following them. The 121 is too big and slow to be a viable scout or to fight on a flank on its own. If left alone, the 121 can easily get caught out in the open. This is a brawling tank, and a very good one at that. Make sure to watch your enemies to time your shots between their reload times. If brawling against most tier 10 heavies (except the 113, FV215b, e5, or any Auto-loader), you should be able to get 2 shots in to their 1 so feel no fear in popping that e100 twice between his reload. Maps that the 121 excels in are city maps, or flatter mid-ranged maps such as Steppes, Lakeville, and Prok to a certain extent. Mines is a close ranged brawling map that with a favorable team can make the 121 a blast to play whether your using your turret to brawl on the hill or playing island to support your team.
Crew Skills to Prioritize
- Smooth Ride, Snap Shot, BIA, Repair
- Camo is useful yet not vital due to the 121's brawling nature
Equipment & Consumables
- Vert Stab, Rammer, Vents
- Med kit, Repair, Extinguisher
If attempting to three mark the vehicle, the optimal setup would be to replace Med kit with Rations and skill Jack of All Trades (drop Repair or Camo). The Extinguisher should never be dropped due to the fire prone nature of the 121.