Kermit sang about how hard it is to be green, and I was humming that to myself while playing in my M4A4E8 (Easy 8) Sherman tank the other night. I was having a heck of a good game and I suddenly realized that it was a lot of hard work. Medium tanks are the unsung heroes in World of Tanks in my opinion. Everyone fears and/or hates arty, shudders when a Maus (Tier 10 heavy) rounds the corner, and screams 'I found the Object (Tier 9 Tank Destroyer), nuke it!'.
Mediums don't get a lot of love unless you've played them and then you realize two things:
1. You have to know how to play them.
2. They can vicious when used in packs.
There is a bit of forgiveness with a heavy tank. You can pop out, take an arty shot and think: "Whoops, won't be doing that again." You can hide as a TD and snipe from a distance, and as for arty, well you're generally at the back and your only fear is counter-arty and light rushers. Medium tanks aren't very forgiving as they generally rely on speed and maneuverability to survive and succeed. They aren't spotters, exactly, as their speed doesn't equal that of the lights, and their armor definitely doesn't lend to behaving like a heavy tank.
You have to work at being a medium and each nation's tanks play quite differently. It rrequires good tactical awareness to survive and an understanding of your opponents weakness. I have found that my best (and most successful) battles are when I am in a platoon of medium clan-mates or (on those wonderful yet rare occasions) when you find a few mediums who know what they are doing in random battles. That loading tip that a medium pack of tanks can take down any opponent isn't kidding. They are formidable.
Getting good at them isn't easy and I really admire the guys who have a lot of kills with them. My best kill record is with the Ram II with 203 kills in 250 battles. My next favorite is the M4 Sherman (Tier 5) which is really quite good and gets some great match ups. I have now unlocked the Tier 7 T-20 American medium after playing through the much-balyhooed Easy 8. I have to say I was disappointed in the Easy 8 despite its popularity with players. It's fast, fairly maneuverable, has a high rate of fire, and okay armor but it just doesn't seem to shine. A lot of that could be the match maker pitting me against Tier 9 and 10's a good deal of the time.
I jumped into the Russian medium line at Tier 5 by using my free experience to unlock the T-34. I don't have my exact stats handy, but it wasn't pretty. Its armor is paper-thin and just doesn't suit my play style at all. My only experience with German mediums was the free one (Pz V/IV Tier 6) that came with the gold pre-order package and it is absolutely awful. There is nothing about that tank to recommend and I haven't seen one in any battles since a few weeks after launch. The VK3601 (H) is technically a medium but it plays so much like a heavy that it may as well be one.....and in fact I think the next patch is addressing that (it is the tank just before the Tiger I).
It's not easy being green, nor is it easy being a medium. It's especially not easy being a green, Easy 8, so next time you see a medium tank, give them some love, or better yet, team up with them and watch them shine!