The T-34 in Aces High II
The T34/76 is a challenging tank to use in Aces High, but is very rewarding for those who take the time to learn how to make the most of it. It has some major disadvantages compared to the other tanks, but also some major advantages.
The primary major advantage of the T34/76 is its speed. It is the fastest moving tank with a speed of 35mph, and for rapidly advancing on a town or an enemy base, it can only be beaten by the M18, M8, or M3. However, none of those r vehicles can withstand any sort of punishment from enemy fire.
The next major advantage is that it's reasonably heavily protected thanks to the sloped armor. It doesn't feel like it when going up against the heavy hitting tanks, but one must keep in mind that the late war tank guns are extraordinarily powerful. The effectiveness of the T34/76 armor is most apparent when it goes up against middle tier tanks (M4's, Panzers, etc). The longer the ranges the more effective the sloped armor of the T34 becomes. Combine decent armor coverage, speed, and range and the T34/76 is hard to destroy.
The turret on the T34/76 is very fast, second only to the T34/85. This is a really great feature, especially when the player is using the T34 just as the Soviets did: as a fast moving tank to break through the lines and exploit the flanks and rear of the enemy (they learned that from the Germans). Once the T34 gets to a flank it can keep moving and keep its gun on the static enemy targets.
The T34/76 has three major "Achilles Heels". They are a slow reload (9 seconds), the weakest main gun for AP use (except short range HVAP), and absolutely horrendous main gun optics. The slow reload time speaks for itself. The weak AP (yes, even less than the US 75mm) is all but worthless against anything with any sort of armor with the only exception being the HVAP rounds, they do rather well inside 1200 yards. The optics are the worst in the game as far as tank sights go. First, the sights are very foggy so the clarity is rock bottom. Secondly, the cross hairs are like horse hairs and offer no ranging reference points like the Germans optics, or even the T34/85.
The best strategy for killing enemy tanks with any sort of armor is to get within 1000 yards, get to a flank or even the rear. Use the HVAP as much as possible, it is flat shooting and easier to land hits with. But beyond 1000 or 1200 yards, it loses its kinetic quickly so the heavier AP round will do better. The T34/76 works best when used in tandem with other fast moving tanks, name other T34's or even the M18 TD.
Another thing the T34/76 is good at doing other than trying to flank enemy tanks is to use HE vs towns. The T34 does a good job at shrugging off the 20mm auto ack as it approaches town. The HE shell of the T34's 76mm gun does a typical amount of HE damage with 156 lbs, it takes 2 shots to destroy a building.
Overall, the T34/76 can be a frustrating choice in an all-out tank slugfest, because against the well armored tanks it's only really effective if one can sneak around and flank these tanks, from relatively close range. The T34/76 needs to be within 1000 yards to have good luck in a slugfest. If there is any sort of firepower going up against the T34/76, it will have a tough time coming out on top unless it is able to get in close and use HVAP. Against towns and bases, the T34/76 is a fine choice, carrying a generous amount of HE rounds.
But for a very good tank driver, who knows how to make the most out of the T34's advantages, and minimize its disadvantages, and who has great situational awareness, and is sneaky, the T34 can be a lot of fun. But the fun is in overcoming the challenge. There is a very good reason why the statistics from Late War Tour 110 show the Tiger killing the T34/76 a total of 861 times, and the T34/76 only killed the Tiger 31 times (a nearly 28 to 1 ratio), and the results of the Sherman Firefly vs. the T34/76 were 3422 to 316 kills (nearly 11 to 1). The T34/76 had a much more successful tour against the Panzer, only losing to the Panzer by a nearly 2 to 1 ratio (3497 kills to 1790). To end on a positive note, at least the T34/76 killed the M8 armored car about six times as often as the M8 killed the T34 (185 kills to 31).