War Thunder

In-depth comparison of the M1A2 and T-80U MBT’s

warthunder 1 - In-depth comparison of the M1A2 and T-80U MBT's

The content of the article


Quick note for those who browse both the forums and the reddit: this will be/is posted on both sites to get the opinions of both groups because I and others have noticed that each site has its own kind of audience.

My favorite kinds of warthunder posts are those comparing 2 or more tanks (specifically at the same br). However I often desire just a bit more details and testing than is often provided in such posts. Therefore I decided to do it myself for what are probably my favorite tanks in the game to play: the T-80U and M1A2 Abrams (
Ariesv - In-depth comparison of the M1A2 and T-80U MBT's

https://thunderskill.com/en/stat/Ariesv if you don't believe me). I want to review and compare both tanks in the context of the tank design pyramid: protection, firepower, and mobility.


My review of both tanks' protection will be based on the following three aspects: how hard the tank is to hit, the kind of armor and weak spots that matter if it is hit, and how likely the tank is to survive if it does get penetrated. To assist in this I created my own penetration diagram for the front and sides of both tanks using dm33 as the test shot (pardon my image editing skill). I will start by considering the front.

White areas are where armor blocks the shot. Green areas represent non-critical pens: basically if the ability to shoot back is unaffected and you are only losing 1 crew at most. Orange areas are critical pens: losing 2 or more crew or the ability to return fire is knocked out. Red areas are roughly where you can be consistently one shot (basically guaranteed). Red areas are found based on the crew layout and the most likely ammo rack layouts: Half ammo in the abrams and only the carousel in the T-80U.



First I will confirm that these images are to rough scale with the following dimension stats. The dimensions are given first in meters (taken from wikipedia), then in inches (taken from my monitor with a tape measure), the corresponding ratios for each set of measurements are also then given.

Some of my display measurements are thrown off because of the width’s parallax (notice how the tracks slope into hull a bit); I could have done a top down for width but I decided against it because the area of each of the armor pieces on the diagram will have the parallax affecting it and it isn’t worth trying to calculate it out. Either way; everything based on these measurements will probably have an error of +/- around 10% of its value.


T-80U: 2.2m/8"

M1A2: 2.44m/9"

A/T HR: 1.11/1.125


T-80U: 3.6m/15"

M1A2: 3.66m/16.5"

A/T WR: 1.02/1.1

Frontal Area Ratio:

T-80U: 3.6m*2.2m/15”*8” = 7.92m^2/120”^2

M1A2: 3.66m*2.44m/16.5”*9” = 8.93m^2/148.5”^2

A/T FAR: 1.13/1.24

Turret Area Ratio (only in inches, but based on the same images as above):

T-80U: 11.75*3 = 26.9

M1A2: 12.25*3.25 = 39.8

A/T TAR: 1.48

It can easily be seen that the T-80U pulls ahead in both size and armor profile. Its total profile is about 15% smaller in cross section than the Abrams. Its turret is even smaller in comparison to that of the Abrams, by around 40-50%. This makes a difference in both where you can hide on maps and how likely you are to be noticed when you go hull down (this helps even against thermals; I’ve noticed T-80 turrets are more likely to blend into the background noise because of their size).

Consider now the trunk of each tank (the rectangle of the same width as and starting at the bottom of the LFP going up to the top of the turret). Only 37% of the T-80U’s trunk have some sort of weakspot compared to the M1A2 which has 69% of its trunk covered in weak spots (green areas aren’t counted). If you factor in the size difference, the total size of the T-80U’s weakspots are about ½ as big as those of the abrams. Additionally, the T-80U’s weakspots are seperated by its UFP making the size of each individual grouping closer to ¼ the size of the Abrams singular weak spot (i.e. everything but the turret cheeks). The difference in weak spot size gets even more exaggerated the further the range of the shot. In addition, having ⅔ of its frontal arc covered by near-impenetrable armor makes low-visibility shots by enemy tanks (caused by smoke, night, dust, etc.) much more likely to be blocked whereas the Abrams is likely to suffer more damage. That said, the Abrams is the more survivable by far if it gets hit by a single penetrating shot. It is likely to lose 2 crew or its gun no matter where it is hit in the hull or mantlet (some of the orange area can one shot the tank, but it isn’t consistent enough for my liking) with only a small area on the LFP guaranteeing a oneshot frontally (that square is roughly 0.6% of the trunk). Conversely, close to half the frontal weak spot area on the T-80U is likely to one-shot the tank (~15% of the trunk).

I think there is a much greater balance between the armor of the T-80U and the survivability of the Abrams than most people think. Consider the common brawling scenario in any urban map where both tanks’ hulls are exposed and facing eachother frontally (hull down situations will be considered later). Most shots on the Abrams will kill 2 crew. Therefore on average the Abrams will survive 2 shots. Even if you assume that the T-80U can’t survive a single penetrating hit, all it needs to do to match the Abram’s vaunted survivability is block on average a single shot with its armor: a single shot. Still further, the Abrams ability to survive shots degrades rapidly after the first pen. Conversely the T-80U has the potential (against its most common foes) to survive unlimited shots if they hit the armor (this idea of all or nothing is something of a theme of this tank). I once brawled against both a Strv 122 and Leo 2a5 on Berlin for an extended period of time in my T-80U; all the while taking multiple shots on my hull because of my movement and the decent amount of distance combined with dust thrown up by artillery. The Abrams would not have survived for half as long as the T-80U in such a scenario. In addition to this specific situation, my T-80U has survived many shots rounding corners that my Abrams would have been crippled by.

Now I will present both tanks in a hull down situation (it doesn’t matter whether or not the tank in question can shoot back, depression is covered in the firepower section). The mantlet weak spot of the T-80U covers 15% of its turret as opposed to 13% on the Abrams (accounting for errors and rounding, they are probably the same proportion). However due to the overall size difference, the Abrams mantlet weak spot is 1.5 times larger than that of the T-80U. Giving the T-80U a serious advantage in taking shots while hull down.

Let's move on to the sides of both tanks.


Note: the turret side immediately behind the gun should be white

To the surprise of no one, the T-80U can be one shot anywhere in the central hull whereas the Abrams is likely to only suffer critical damage. On both tanks, the critical areas cover about 20-25% of the side of the tank, with the rest covered by armor or non-critical areas (engines and driver). Even though the Abrams is likely to survive a shot to the central hull (if it hasn’t suffered previous crew loss that is) it is very likely to lose some combination of tracks and firepower; thus leaving it open to a second kill shot that it won’t be able to respond to. Still, if you are planning on getting shot in the side, the Abrams is a good tank to do it in.

Both tanks in my experience have very similar survivability when angled or from the back. Crews or ammo or both are lined up perfectly behind a tempting shot at the corner closest to the shooter. Specifically in the T-80U’s case (the Abrams is already a giant weak spot) you are giving up your armor coverage. Do not angle these tanks or get shot from behind.

Finally both tanks have similar extra survivability features but the Abrams often has the better version. Both get two launches of smoke grenades with the Abrams having a tad better coverage. Both use fuel tanks to absorb shrapnel from incoming shells with the Abram’s being armored (I think this prevents their potential detonation from killing your tank). Comically, if the ammo doesn’t detonate in the T-80U (which you notice alot more because its ammo is hit so often) the ammo carousel can also block shrapnel from shells from hitting the crew in the turret. Finally the Abram’s ammo is stored in a blowout rack in the turret. This can (heavy emphasis on can) save you, but it reduces you to 1 shell that you have to use to get you to a friendly cap point to reload.



This section surprised me with just how superior the T-80U is in mobility to the M1A2 Abrams. Starting with the stat card stuff, the T-80U has a 10% higher HP/ton ratio with 27.2 as opposed to 24.6. The M1A2 has both higher horsepower and weight, making it a better pusher. The T-80U is a touch faster at 69 km/h as opposed to the Abrams 67km/h. In my experience driving both this often translates to a higher “cruising” speed for the T-80U. I tested both tanks in test drive and found the T-80U reached and sustained a speed of 54 km/h whereas the M1A2 was only able to manage 49 km/h. It's not a huge difference, but when combined with the T-80U’s superior acceleration you definitely notice it as you outpace the M1A2’s at the start of the battle. Backward speeds when tested matched their theoretical maxes, 10km/h and 40km/h for the T-80U and M1A2 respectively. It is alot of fun to rush into a situation as the M1A2 and rush out at close to the same speed but backwards. This specific quirk of mobility helps to cover somewhat for the M1A2’s lack of hull armor. However this is the only place where the M1A2 beats the T-80U in mobility. I did the following maneuvers in both tanks and recorded the results (each of the 3 numbers in the brackets are the times or speeds recorded for 3 trials, the final result is determined by averaging them).

360 deg hull traverse:

T-80U: -> 9.44s ~= 38.14 deg/s non-neutral

M1A2: -> 17.32s ~= 20.79 deg/s neutral

A/T HTTR: 20.79/38.14 = 0.55 (ratio)

The Abrams may have neutral steering but it is still far slower turning than the T-80U is. I have rarely been in a situation where neutral steering would have or did save me. You get used to doing things the T-80U’s way very quickly. This specific test will come up again in the firepower section.

180 deg turn at top speed:

T-80U: -> 2.84s ~= 63.38 deg/s

M1A2: -> 4.47s ~= 40.27 deg/s; gets stuck into neutral turn near end

A/T FTSR: (40.27)/(63.38) = 0.64 (ratio)

This is sort of the high-speed equivalent test to the previous one. The Abrams makes up the relative difference somewhat but it is still slower to completely change direction than the T-80U. The Abrams could turn even faster, but the sudden slowing can make the tank try to make a neutral turn right near the end; which slows it even more. Not the most crucial maneuver in combat but together with the next test it displays both tanks high speed maneuverability quite well.

90 deg turn at top speed energy retention:

T-80U: -> 34 km/h; 34/54 = 63% speed retained;

M1A2: -> 25 km/h; 25/49 = 51% speed retained;

A/T ERR: 0.81 (ratio)

This is probably the better of the last two tests for determining maneuverability. I simply took both tanks up to top speed and made a 90 deg turn. Both tanks were quite prone to over turn if I wasn’t careful, but probably the T-80U more so (I do know that it is much more prone to drift if you go much faster). In the end, the T-80U was moving noticeably faster after completing the turn than the Abrams was.

In the end I find the T-80U the more mobile of the two tanks. The Abrams backward speed is fine for retreats, but given that both tanks often pop smoke to cover retreats the T-80U can often (in many situations but perhaps not most) back up a bit, turn around and run off at faster speed and easier control. This I think degrades this one pro of the Abrams enough that I think the T-80U is the superior mover.


This area is one of the Abram’s advantages over the T-80U; but not enough to make the Abrams a superior tank. Starting with basic stats, the M1A2 has superior turret rotation and elevation speeds: 40 deg/s and 24 deg/s respectively vs. the T-80U’s 24 deg/s and 4.4 deg/s. It also has better gun depression and elevation: 10 deg and 20 deg respectively vs. the T-80U’s 6 deg and 15 deg. This is the area where hull traverse can matter in the T-80U’s favor. Theoretically the T-80U if it turns both its gun and hull it can traverse its turret at ~62 deg/s (if the Abrams does this it only gets to ~61 deg/s). The reasons to do this are strong: your gun turns faster and your armor follows it. This doesn’t help in all situations (if your driver or engine is out), but it does cover enough to make the Abrams advantage not quite so overbearing. Finally, if the enemy is behind and takes out your engine neither tank has an advantage because the Abrams gun elevates over the engine deck and the T-80U’s turret doesn’t turn fast enough.

Reload speeds for both tanks are very close: the T-80U has a 6.5s autoloader stock and the Abrams has 6s human loader once aced. While the Abrams ostensibly can have a faster reload I do not find this much of an advantage. If the Abrams loses 2 crew (a very common occurrence) its reload will shoot up to 10+ seconds. Similarly if the loader is shot while reloading, not only will the reload time increase, but it will also reset to start from 0. Conversely, the autoloader on the T-80U will reload a shell in 6.5 every single time you fire no matter fire extinguishing or module damage right up until the point you actually die.

The comparison of top ammo is below. M829 is extremely easy to use and will pen most of what you shoot at. In contrast Mangos bounce much more often then I would like due to having to fit in the autoloader. This is a strong point in the Abrams favor.

Top Ammo Pen @ 500m; 0deg/30deg/60deg:

T-80U: 470/407/244; 0 deg norm; 1700m/s

M1A2: 481/417/278; 1.5 deg norm; 1670m/s

As for additional ammo types, the T-80U has a better selection with stock apfs-ds, ATGM’s, and HE-FS. I don’t find this much of an advantage however as each shell has a very niche application (though dinking Strv 122’s in the turret with HE is a joy unto itself when it happens). Meanwhile the Abrams has a proxy-fused HEAT-FS shell that makes shooting down helicopters very easy when they get in range (as opposed to trying to get them with a T-80U atgm). Thus ammo is roughly balanced for both.

Finally, there is the FCS of both tanks. The Abrams gets 2nd gen thermals for commander, gunner, and driver. Bino and gun thermals are self-explanatory in their usefulness. Bino thermals in particular help alleviate some of the disadvantages of the Abrams turret protection, but I rarely spot a target with bino thermals that I wouldn’t have without them. However their utility as a movement-less (i.e. stealthy) way to scan is quite nice Driver thermals can be useful if you want to scan a large area fast, the resolution isn’t the greatest and you have to do a bit more key fenangling to get your gun pointed where you want, but it does have a use in making you more aware of your surroundings. With its multiple high-def thermals I always feel like I know what is happening around me better than in the T-80U; which is a good feeling. Conversely, the T-80U gets only 1st gen gunner thermals. This is perfectly adequate but I have missed shots due to the low resolution. Also you have to rotate your turret to scan, which is a pain and produces movement for enemies to spot. Both tanks get a laser rangefinder and their gunner optics are very similar with the T-80U’s ever so slightly better at x2.7 to x12 magnification compared to the Abrams x3 to x10. However the total field of view of the abrams is ever so slightly larger at 24-7 vs. the T-80U’s 27-6.

All things considered, the Abrams has better fire power and control than the T-80U.


Overall I find the T-80 to have a low to mid advantage in protection: the ability to tank near unlimited shells can be very powerful, but one shot and you are more often done. I once read someone comment that in Warthunder, the Abrams always has a second chance. I would agree but also amend this by saying that its second chance is oftentimes a much worse one than its first. Conversely the T-80U will operate at full capability until it dies and if you play it well enough that “until” can often last more than the Abram’s second chance and the second chance’s of all the Abrams you kill after that one.

Perhaps the other Abrams move better, but the M1A2 is a fast brick. You really feel this whenever you try to turn in it. Comparatively the T-80U just speeds over the battlefield without much trouble. Only time the roles are reversed is when both try moving backwards; but the T-80U is probably better off popping smoke and turning around anyways. The M1A2 can move adequately, but the T-80U is the more mobile tank and it shows.

Nothing makes me more excited for full FCS to be added to tanks than the M1A2 Abrams. Its firepower is already better than the T-80U and I think FCS will widen this advantage. M829 pens just about everything you would expect and the proxy heat-fs is great against helis. You simply feel like you can see the battlefield so much better with its thermals compared to the T-80U; which feels as cramped as its crew by comparison.

Here is how I would rate each on a scale of 1-3 on the design pyramid.

Definitely different than how I last rated them

If you read all of this, thanks! I have been wanting to make something like this for a while because I feel folks unfairly discount the T-80U because it doesn’t use the exact same playstyle as effectively as the NATO MBT’s. My theory on why its win rates weren't the best for a while was that good players were told that it was a bad tank and that they were better off playing Germany or the US. Combine this with a lack of CAS and eventually USSR isn’t doing so hot. However when the KA-50 (and 52) was added, good players left the US to play USSR and Germany and get some relief from the everlasting bombardment. Enough of these seem to have stayed (look at player numbers for Tier 7 USSR, T-80U is most played MBT nowadays) that USSR winrates have gone up. Don’t have much proof for any of this beyond just looking at what thunderskill and gaijin is doing (I find it telling that gaijin gave USSR CAS instead of the T-90 to help the USSR out; perhaps they have more info on what’s going on then we do?).

Happy to discuss any of my conclusions or testing.

Source: Original link

© Post "In-depth comparison of the M1A2 and T-80U MBT’s" for game War Thunder.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2020

2020 will have something to satisfy classic and modern gamers alike. To be eligible for the list, the game must be confirmed for 2020, or there should be good reason to expect its release in that year. Therefore, upcoming games with a mere announcement and no discernible release date will not be included.

Top 15 NEW Games of 2020 [FIRST HALF]

2020 has a ton to look forward to...in the video gaming world. Here are fifteen games we're looking forward to in the first half of 2020.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *