The SU-76 is the Soviet Tier III tank destroyer. In history it was a very widely used Soviet vehicle (over ten thousand were constructed). I have generally found it a fun tank to play, but I do not think I have ever encountered a tank yet in this game in which my experience could see-saw so much from game to game. I mean I have had some terrible games in this tank, where I have been destroyed quite early on in the battle having only gotten off a couple of shots, and there have been other games where I have killed lots of enemy tanks. The reason, I think, is probably down to nothing more than luck and small sample size, but nevertheless it has been an interesting experience.
The SU-76 is a fairly nimble tank destroyer, especially after upgrading the engine. Its armour is nothing special when looking at the raw figures only 25mm on the front. However, a great amount of the frontal armour is actually sloped making it a good deal stronger than it appears. The gun-mounting is set far back on the tank, which does mean fairly poor depression. The gun also has a fairly poor firing arc.
As to the guns themselves – well, the first gun (57mm ZiS-8S) has reasonable penetration and average damage. The second gun (76mm ZiS-3) increases the penetration a little, and the damage by quite a lot. The third gun (57mm ZiS-2) increases penetration substantially, but at the reduction of damage compared to the second gun. Importantly though it also has a significantly higher rate of fire. I did think long and hard about which of these two guns to use and I went ultimately with the 57mm ZiS-2. Whilst I think in Tier III and IV matches the 76mm is the superior weapon due to the increased alpha, in Tier V matches there are quite a few tanks that would make life tricky for its penetration. In comparison with the 57mm ZiS-2 I figured I would be able to get 2-3 shots off before retreating due to the higher rate of fire. Plus it is a bit more accurate, which for careful aiming at those higher-tier tanks is always a plus.
As a plan this worked … sort of. Well, it did work if I had a good position. If not, well, the SU-76 can be one- or two-shotted by most Tier V vehicles. In the lower tiers the 57mm ZiS-2 performed well enough I did not get a sense of missing anything.
I have fought 23 battles in the SU-76. This has included 13 victories and a total of 26 enemy vehicles destroyed. During those battles I have earned one Defender, two Sniper, one Confederate, and one Top Gun battle awards. In other words I packed quite a bit of action into a relatively few number of games. This made those games where I died very early on in the battle even more irritating.
Given this is a Tier III Tank Destroyer I almost have to compare it to the Marder II. It is a good deal more manoeuvrable, but its gun lacks alpha compared to the Marder (whilst being faster firing and more accurate). Where the Marder II really outshines the SU-76 however is gun arc, as it can cover a far wider area without moving. This narrow gun arc is a real weakness in this tank as it can mean frequent reposition, interrupting its firing.
Nevertheless I have enjoyed my time in the SU-76. I will be continuing up the Soviet TD line in the near future.