War Thunder Best Tier 4 Grinders Guide by Falcolumbarius
With the anniversary sale coming up, I’ve been noticing that many folks around here have questions about what Tier 4 planes are the best grinders, both in regards to premium vehicles and placing talismans on vehicles present in the regular tech tree. This post is an attempt to provide a definitive, comprehensive guide for buying premiums and talismans, and will hopefully answer many questions that I’ve seen around here recently.
Please note that this post is aimed at those who want to grind using fighters – I am a firm believer of using fighters to grind to jets, as it teaches you proper ACM, good habits, and you’re generally not a hindrance to your team 9/10 times. While I will never condone ground attacking as a method of grinding, it undeniably yields impressive results, so I will include a small note about ground attackers/bombers in this post.
I’ll also be doing these RB Air guides for all the other nations in-game, so look out for those in the upcoming days.
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
P-38J/L: Both of these are absolutely fantastic energy fighters that climb well and have decent speed with excellent energy retention – meaning that they can hold their own in a dogfight with most single engine fighters (use common sense here, you’re not going to win a low-speed dogfight with a Merlin Spitfire or any Zero). In the case of the P-38J, you have an extremely generous BR of 4.0. You get the same engine power as the 38L, but actually climb better with a slightly higher top speed than it. The downside? You don’t have boosted ailerons, so the high-speed compression during dives is pretty bad. However, at 4.0, this isn’t much of a problem due to the slower pace of combat. The P-38L, in comparison, still has all the positive characteristics of the J’s speed, climb, and energy retention but at a higher BR of 4.7. To offset this, however, it has boosted ailerons that make it roll like a champ, allowing you to maintain an easy firing solution on anything that you can latch on, save 190 Antons perhaps, which can outroll you at medium speeds. The excellent centerline armament is both reliable, and hard hitting with the added versatility of being able to pop light pillboxes (albeit not effectively due to the limited 20mm ammo count). In the end, either of these planes are worth tali’ing if you really like P-38s. The 38J is arguably the better grinder due to its ludicrously low BR, but the 38L is still extremely competent, and the harder opposition can be a fun challenge.
P-51D-30: At 4.7 BR, this is nothing short of an absolute monster. Its engine settings are that of the post-war F-51s, running on 75” mercury. In other words, this is an American prop that can climb amazingly well – even better than either of the P-38s. The epitome of a boom and zoom plane, you need to be disciplined to fly this and get good results. If you do, you will reap the benefits that the excellent climb, godly dive ability, and fantastic level-flight speed at all altitudes award you. Not an –out-and-out energy fighter for the vertical, this nevertheless can energy fight cautiously in disciplined hands. Furthermore, now that the overheating has been alleviated, the 51D-30 has great battle endurance, save for the somewhat limited ammo on the 6x50cal machine guns. An overall solid choice for a talisman.
F-82E: I cannot emphasize how good this plane is at 5.0 BR. It’s essentially two P-51Hs strapped together, and is one of the fastest planes in the game. With the current airspawn it gets, the excellent climb it has up until 7K (P-47M/P-51D-30 will start out-climbing you by 6K) where your climb rate is merely average. This doesn’t really matter, however, as your airspawn means that you’ll always be above everyone else on the enemy team, except for spaded Ta-152s and Japanese planes if you get max-uptiered and/or New Guinea. Once you get to altitude, you can use your fantastic dive speed and level speed to chase everything down and force the entire enemy team to stay under you. In this way, you will not only bag a few kills, but will also make it easier for the rest of your team to come in and clean up. Mounting the gunpod is a must, as even with it, you are still faster than 90% of the things you can face, and it provides both extra ammo count and stopping power. The only negative aspect of this plane is the abysmal roll rate, which can make headons (something this plane excels at with enough range) and defensive flying a pain against enemies that get the jump on you. All told, this doesn’t really matter if you fly in a disciplined manner, as your speed will allow you to dictate all your engagements.
P-47N: Although this plane has had mixed reviews, this is perhaps my favorite U.S. fighter at 4.7 (in comparison to the P-38L and P-51D-30). It’s a dog when stock, but spaded, it definitively performs better than the D but worse than the M model P47s. The biggest feature of the plane is the re-designed wing which allows for fantastic roll at all speeds, better turning, and overall just a more maneuverable P-47 that allows you to energy fight freely instead of strict boom and zooming. The major downside is that it still doesn’t feel nearly as powerful as the P-47M due to the nearly 800kg weight increase despite the massive power its engine boasts. This translates into bad acceleration, bad level speed at low altitudes, poor vertical energy retention when doing sharp zoom climbs, and a mediocre climb for the BR, although the latter is offset by the airspawn. Despite these seemingly negative attributes, the P-47N is an absolute monster of a plane, with fantastic armament, the ability to defensively fly and energy fight, great dive speed, and a competitive enough speed for the tougher opposition it faces such as late-109s, Yak-3/9Ps, and 5.3 Griffons.
P-47M: Take all the deficiencies of the P-47N’s speed and climb away in addition to the advantage of the clipped wings, and you have the P-47M-1-RE – essentially a P-47D on crack. Unlike the other US planes listed, this is a premium only obtainable by purchasing a pack through the WT store. In my opinion, this is the best US fighter for its BR in the entire US prop tree. At 5.3, with an airspawn and a godly climbrate, you will consistently find yourself above every single one of your opponents. The raw power available at all altitudes means you have amazing energy retention, amazing speed, and the ability to dictate any engagement at your will through BnZ attacks and energy fighting. All around, a fantastic grinder that is worth every penny and can punch far, far above its weight.
US Spitfire Mk.IX: This is your classic LF.9 spit, just an American premium running the same level of performance as the in-tree British version. Not much to say here – it’s the best climbing prop in the game, has mediocre armament, can outturn nearly anything, and is often times pretty slow compared to the opposition it faces. Amazing dogfighter though, you can hold off a swarm of Germans in this and still come out on top. Definitely worth the GE when half-off, but I wouldn’t buy it without a large discount.
F8F-1B: The only naval plane to make this list, the ‘Cannoncat’ is found at a BR of 6.3. This currently represents the pinnacle of American piston-engined aircraft design in WT, and certainly lives up to expectations. It can outclimb every prop in the game up until 2.5K, whereupon it will climb on par with a Griffon Mk22 until 5K. After 5K, you still climb decently, but being a naval plane that is geared for lower-altitude operations, you are not outright superior to your opposition in terms of climb, speed, and acceleration. Many players will tell you that the F8F is shit at higher altitudes – do not listen to them, as this is a meme. Yes, the plane’s optimal combat area is below 5K, but it is competitive enough up until 7K (I wouldn’t bother going higher than that). If you play your cards right and truly know the plane’s capabilities inside and out, you can even compete with enemy planes tuned for higher altitudes. Overall, the plane’s acceleration is godly with fantastic level flight speed at low altitudes, fantastic armament once upgraded, and superb energy retention which allows you to dogfight like a champ. Of course, you’ll have to use your own judgement when choosing what to dogfight – don’t expect to win a dogfight against a N1K with half a brain, for example. My only issue with recommending a tali for this plane is the matchmaking it gets, as you’ll be pushed into jet matches 50% of the time. Against Meteor MK3s, this isn’t an issue, as you are objectively superior to them if you fly in a disciplined manner (they are still tough opponents though). However, facing German 262s, Hortens, UK Attackers, and the rare MiG-9/L can be an issue as most of them know to keep their speed up and will stay out of your reach. Overall, the Bearcat’s flight characteristics make it the best jet killer in-game, but, as with any prop in this BR range, winning against skilled 7.0 jet pilots will be damn-near impossible if they keep their speed up.
Ground Attackers/Bombers: The US doesn’t really have any dedicated ground attackers outside of the AD-2 (not worth it due to the BR) and the A-26C (event-only premium unless you’re a PS4 player). That being said, as is typical for US fighters, its planes are able to mount a solid range of ground attack weapons as is evidenced by 50% of US “fighter” pilots – I’ll let you make of that what you will. Another option is bombing with B-17s and B-29s, but that is a terrible way to learn valuable air combat skills despite how profitable bombing may be.
Overall Recommendations: P-47M premium, tali on the P-38J, tali on the P-51D-30, or a tali on the F8F-1B.
Bf 109G-6: Don’t let the stigma of its FM from 1 year ago fool you, this plane is nothing short of incredible right now, as it’s running on late-variant G-6 engine settings. In other words, the G-6 performs identically to a G-14 up until 6K, where it will then fall behind in climb, speed, and acceleration to its later 109 brethren. That being said, it’s still a 109 with an excellent power-to-weight ratio, and since most combat in WT happens below 5K anyway save for the rare high-alt dogfight, this is mostly a non-issue. If you enjoy energy fighting, the G-6 is the best German fighter to use as a grinder right now, as it benefits from most of the late-109 performance at a BR of 4.7 rather than 5.3. Furthermore, the ability to mount a 30mm Mk108 or 20mm MG151 along with pods can be a huge boon depending on your specific playstyle.
NOTE: Late-war 109s like the G-14, G-10, and K-4 can be excellent grinders as well. That being said, they have a very high skill ceiling, as the 109s are out-classed by LF Mk.9 and Griffon Spitfires, which are their main opponent. American fighters such as P-51Ds, P-47M/Ns, and F-82s can be counteracted pretty easily usually, but Spitfires present quite the challenge. You need to have truly mastered the 109 to be able to compete, and need to have several ACMs and keyboard maneuvers up your sleeve. The distinctions between late 109s are somewhat minute, but still noticeable – G-14 has best maneuverability and high-altitude performance while the K-4 has best acceleration, speed at all altitudes, and climb up till 6.5K. Meanwhile, the G-10 combines 90% of the characteristics of the G-14 and K-4. If anybody is interested in more detail about late 109s, I’d be happy to respond in the comments, as I am quite the fan of the K-4 and G-10.
Fw 190D-9: Yes, its elevator got nerfed. Yes, it now experiences control stiffening at high speed. No, you cannot pull out of 950kph dives at 12G anymore. Despite this, the D-9 is still an absolutely fantastic fighter with solid climb, excellent acceleration, speed, and great energy retention thanks to a phenomenal engine that is tuned for low to medium altitudes (still works very well up high though). The reworked elevator simply means you have to calculate your attack approaches now and plan ahead for a potential exit should the attack run fail. As a helpful tip, the elevator issue can be mitigated if you do maneuvering attack runs at sub-650kph – any higher than that and the Allied opposition will be able to run circles around you. While the D-9 doesn’t boast impressive armament of its 190A predecessors, it is still more than adequate for making short work of any fighter and can even take down bombers with ease if aimed precisely. Overall, in the hands of a skilled Dora pilot, the D-9 will still deliver excellent results.
Fw 190D-13: Available only by purchasing a pack, the D-13 is the definitive Dora, and for good reason. The D-13 has all the characteristics of the D-9, but improves on it a bit by using boosted ailerons for a quick roll-rate at high speed, 3x20mm MG151 allowing for greater firepower, and an engine that is tuned for slightly higher altitudes than the D-13 (but still performs admirably in the low altitude meta of WT). As with the D-9, you need to plan your attack runs and anticipate on being on the offensive at all times since a Griffon, Tempest, or F8F that latches on to your six will be extremely hard to shake off. The only downside of the D-13 is that its BR of 6.0 allows it to be uptiered into jet matches alongside Me-262As, Ho-229s, and Ar-234Cs about 50% of the time, and sometimes those jet pilots on your team will fail you hard leaving you to compete with a gang of Allied superprops, a Meteor, and a few F-84s for added pleasure. Despite the matchmaking the D-13 receives, I still prefer the D-13 to the D-9 due to the better controllability, armament, and challenge of taking down superior enemy planes.
German Captured Tempest Mk.V: This plane is definitely not worth the price without a discount, and the fact that it’s a GE premium that will likely be 50% off during the sale is the only reason I’m including it on this list. Overall, it’s identical to the British Tempest, but lacks the superior engine settings afforded by the 150 octane fuel mod for its English counterpart. This means that the German Tempest has noticeably worse performance than the British one, but it is still a lethal plane. For those unfamiliar with the Tempest Mk.V playstyle, it excels in the fast, low-altitude dogfighter/BnZ-er role, where its superior speed and energy retention at sub-5K(meters) altitudes can help it run down Allied planes that extend away. It’s decently maneuverable, but is also going up against more maneuverable opponents such as the Bearcats, Griffons, and other Tempests – meaning that you have to work extensively with your team to take down enemy players. The captured Tempest Mk.V arguably has the best armament of any German plane with 4x20mm Mk.5 Hispanos that yield amazing results provided you’re not plagued with sparking (either connection or DM wise). All in all, this plane provides an excellent synergy with German fighters, and can be a tough opponent for Allied pilots who aren’t used to seeing it on the German team. My final verdict? I wouldn’t buy it (even on sale) over the D-13 or tali’ing the D-9 or any T4 109.
Ground Attackers: Ironically, due to the way German 30mm was reworked a few patches ago, Germany has the best groundpounders of any nation, since any 30mm armed German plane can pop medium tanks and light pillboxes with high-explosive 30mm shells (Air Targets on 103s, any belt on 108s). As such, the Me-410B-6/R-3 is a solid tank buster that can double as a fighter, and both Do-335s can bomber hunt and bust tanks easily as well with their single Mk103 30mm. The real cream of the crop is found in the premium line, though with the Do-335B-2 and He 219A-7 being terrific ground attackers. Out of all ground attack options for Germany, the He 219A-7at 4.3 is by far the best, as the Mk108s and Mk103s can do double duty on the tanks, increasing the longevity of your effectiveness in battle if you ¬¬bind the guns to different keys. The He 219 is also extremely cheap for a Tier 4 premium, and it’s by far the most efficient grinder. The question you want to ask yourself with this though (and any of these aforementioned ground attack options) is “Do I really want to be a hindrance to my team and be free food for the enemy team?” If this sentiment appeals to you, go for it.
Overall Recommendations: D-13, tali on the D-9, or a tali on the 109G-6.
I know that I’m being harsh on ground attackers, but that’s because I truly believe that no matter how profitable it may be, it doesn’t make for enjoyable gameplay (for either team) and teaches terrible habits, with players being absolutely clueless in battle once they unlock jets. Go ahead and comment your thoughts and opinions!
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