In my continuing tour of Tier II tanks and tank destroyers the next vehicle I tried out was the AT-1. This is the Soviet initial tank destroyer. Historically it was a prototype adaptation and technically rated as artillery, and saw no active service.
The immediately obvious differences between the AT-1 and the other two Tier II tank destroyers I have played – the Panzerjäger I and the RenaultFT AC – is that they both have a high silhouette and make a tortoise look agile and speedy whereas the AT-1 has a low profile and is surprisingly nippy, especially with the upgraded engine.
The initial gun is high-firing, but will often fail to penetrate and when it does it only inflicts a relatively small amount of damage. Subsequent guns are much more powerful, however, and one can choose between a faster-firing higher penetration gun with reasonable damage potential compared to a slower-firing gun with good HE damage potential. I have mostly played with the higher penetration, higher rate-of-fire weapon to very good effect.
With its speed combined with a low silhouette and fast firing weaponry this tank excels at ambushing opposing tanks, quickly relocating to avoid being destroyed, and then doing it all again. It will not really stand up in a head-to-head match with anyone though it has one saving grace if such a situation occurs – its high rate of fire (even the slower firing gun is still pretty quick firing) will often mean if you survive one hit you should be able to destroy the enemy before suffering a second. Of course, surviving that one hit can sometimes be tricky.
My own record in the AT-1 is 9 matches (5 victories) with 13 enemy tanks destroyed. When it comes to selected a Tier II tank to retain I doubt I will go for a tank destroyer, but if I were this one would now be top of the list.