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The Art of Tanks (A work in progress)


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Bridgeburner_ #1 Posted May 24 2012 - 09:26

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To begin with, I consider my self an above average tanker, but by no means a brilliant player. I've noticed in other games, theory-crafting and an attempt to exploit  game mechanics via understanding the mathematics behind the game design. Rather than do that, as not only have the devs put barriers in place to prevent this,  I want to apply a less technical but no less analytical approach to understanding world of tanks. I look forward to input from the community and seek to spark discussion with relation to this topic

If one wants to analyze my data, I can provide a WOT dossier file for those interested. I personally, wouldn't take advice from a person who's stats are terrible. 53.3% winrate, 10,600 battles played. You judge whether or not I fulfill your criteria for being bad@tanks. Mainly, this is directed to those who want to improve their gameplay, and towards those who would like to participate in a discussion of Tactics applied to WoT. A bit of info about me though, my first 4000 odd battles played were ones in which I ran under the misapprehension that I played for fun, and that stats didn't mean anything. That attitude changed, and with it, I won more, and started enjoying the game more. I also spent more, so, ye of little faith, tread with caution.

I am looking forward to receiving responses and criticism through the course of creating this guide. As it stands, I am in the process of shifting address, and as such, it will be a week or so before this is fully updated with all my thoughts.


Contents
1. History
2.What is Victory (and how to achieve it)
3.Knowing your tank
4.Knowing your map (coming soon)
5.Tactics! (For TC) (coming soon)



History

To start off, force concentration has determined battles in the modern era. If the aggressor can bring a great enough force to bear upon a particular point in the defense, he will win.

Whoever can bring the most force to bear on a particular point, generally wins the fight. Usually, this was numerical superiority. Hence the success of the blitzkrieg and manouever warfare. Technically inferior German tanks achieved a greater force concentration than technically superior french tanks, and thus managed to achieve victory. However, as time goes on, force multipliers play a greater role than numerical superiority. If ones force multiplier (technology) is high enough, one can overcome a numerical disadvantage. Case in point is the Gulf War. Force mutlipliers allowed a numerically inferior force to pick apart with ease a numerically superior force.

Now, you may be thinking, this guy sounds about right EXCEPT for the time when the US and the USSR tried to invade Vietnam and Afghanistan respectively, both locations where the two foremost powers in the Cold War era were stymied by an inability ragtag bunch of rebels. Like highlighted earlier, all the force in the world is not useful if you don't know where to utilize it. Both the Cold War behemoths were crippled by their inability to deploy correctly their overwhelming force advantage.  The deployment of the force is as important as its concentration.

What is victory?

There are a few factors I think which are responsible for determining victory. If you are looking for victory, make sure you satisfy the prerequistes before we even begin to consider tactics and strategy.

1.Relative equality of "hard" force multipliers
There was a man named Cortez who landed with around a 1000 men, 15 cannons and horses and managed to subdue an entire empire. Read up on the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire. My point is, before numerical parity, or even tactics can be considered to affect the result of a victory, force multipliers must be equal. The Spaniards who landed had steel and shot, the Aztecs they faced wielded clubs. There was no contest whatsoever. Before one can even discuss tactics, one has to have the tools to present a threat to the opposing force. In WoT terms, there are no successful clans with land that have a roster full of tier 5 tanks. Tier 10 tanks are the Spaniards, anything 8 and below are Aztecs.

The "hard" force multiplier is the technology, rather than the human element of warfare. This is equality is achieved by CW capable clans with full Tier 10 tank rosters.

In Pub matches,"hard" force multipliers reach a rough level of equality (note: true equality from any matchmaking system is about as realistic as world communism. There will always be imbalance, one has to accept and deal with it) via the Matchmaking system. Real game balance is only achieved at two ends of the matchmaking system, the lower tiers (1-2), and the end tiers (10). Why? Because both tiers have interaction one way. For the low tiers, its upwards. For the higher ones, its downwards. Balance is easier to achieve when the interaction with other variables is one way.

Q. Can you field a full 15 man tier 10 team?

2. Numerical parity.
For all intents and purposes, WW2 was not a war won by individual skill. It was total war, an industrial war, a war of attrition that had only one end result: Germany losing. History never features opposing forces equally matched. In World of tanks, this numerical advantage/disadvantage is mostly negated in pub games. In CW, failure to field a full team USUALLY results in defeat. 10 top tier tanks vs 15 is a result almost always decided before the battle has even begun. Clans with greater chip stacks and active rosters can dispatch ones without any with ease.

Again, in pub matches, numerical parity is achieved.

Q. Is it wise to take on a force much greater than you with one chip stack?

3.Relative equality of "soft" force multipliers
WW2 was the rebirth of combined-arms warfare in the modern era. The striking success achieved by the Germans was a rediscovery of combined arms warfare. The ability of different forces to act in concert was made possible by advances in communication technology. This isn't a "hard" physical advantage offered by better weapons systems. Its an advantage conferred by the ability of one individual or unit to relay information to another. Yes, we do have a minimap in world of tanks. However, spending more time worrying about enemy force composition and less time worrying about the actual battle is the sure way to end up a burning hulk.

In World of Tanks, communication between players is an extremely important and underrated factor. Communication between artillery and scouts, heavies and mediums, TDs and scouts is important. Recieveing intel via scouts is great,and most scouts manage to do that, interpreting that information received is a whole new thing. In Clan-run TCs and UC, this information is relayed to a designated commander who acts upon this and FINALLY, brings into play the tactics that can make or break a game. In Pubs, no decision is made. This is not a judgement on pubs, simply the style of the game. Most individuals are averse to receiving orders from complete strangers.

Teamspeak, as most clans realize, is a pre-requisite. Tank companies are the ideal "middle-ground" to demonstrate the ease at which Comms-equipped TCs with TS dominate those thrown together by a group of random players.

In pub matches, communication, if achieved, is one of the contributing factors to victory or defeat. Needless to say, it rarely ever is. Again, a reason why pubs and UC differ so much.

Q. Do you have comms? Do you have a designated leader? Battle Comm discipline?

4. Individual Skill
The skill of an individual soldier from a particular force is considered a force multiplier. A case in point is the training standards of German tankers compared to their Allied counterparts. This was definitely a contributing factor to the initial success of OP. Barbarossa.

This is factor is 4th on the list, BUT probably the one that determines the outcome IN pub matches, where the above 3 requisites are essentially negated. However, if a team achieves an advantage in one of the above three (AFK top tier tank, someone taking charge and making the right decisions), this MAY be overcome.  This is also the reason why XVM is so accurate within Pub matches, and why I am part of the "stats mean something" crowd. The team that has the better players wins, they land more shots, they can read the battle and make decisions to counteract the changing flow of the fight, and generally are a greater impact as pub matches generally manage to equalize all the above vagaries of conflict.

5. Tactics
Finally, we have arrived. At the start of my post, I began with a bit of dabbling into manouever warfare (note: I have no combat experience to base any of this on, like I said, it is pure theorizing based upon seminal works like On War and what history I have read. If at any point you disagree, state your contention and I'll respond as best as I can). I think that good leadership and execution of tactics can trump "ubermensch" unicum tankers. However,officers require good soldiers to execute their plans as well. A certain degree of average competency is required (the unknown magic number) @ internet tanks by ones team. Otherwise, victory can be pulled from defeat and vice-versa. A brilliant commander can't work with people who can't find weakspots on tanks. Neither can unicum tankers be lead by a modern-Day Rommel fanboy.


Knowing your tanks
Men fought with clubs, rifles and now UAVs. We will be dealing with tanks. Know your tank. Breathe your tank. Sleep with your tank. The first step is to understand your tanks This is not an in-depth guide, as I do not have the time nor qualifications with various classes of tanks to provide thorough knowledge. If anyone wants their specific guide mentioned, please PM me. I will only be providing this brief overview for 4-7 lights, 8+ heavies and 7+ TDs

Regardless of whatever tank, you can do three things that drastically improve performance
-Elite it
-Buy equipment for it.
-Don't skimp on credit (75%) crew training.


"Scout tanks"

Active Scouts
T-50-2
T-50
Amx 13-75*
Amx 13-90*

Passive Scouts
Pzkpfw 38NA
Leopard
M5Stuart
Chaffee

Hybrid
VK2801
t-50-2

Anti-Scout
Amx 13-90*
Amx 13-75*
Chaffee


*tanks with asterisks are not dedicated purely to this role. It is not (imho) their primary purpose. They can perform in them adequately if required however.

The Active Scout:The Active scout is a scout tank which is on the move, constantly. It will skirt ridge lines, and make passes on the edge of enemy advances before returning back in a loop. Tankers often play these tanks as "suicide scouts" that die within 2 minutes of the game starting. I believe this is a waste of potential. Remember, the longer you stay alive, the more rounds your team can pump into the enemy (especially on certain maps). Active scout tanks have great manoueverability and acceleration, and can provide information on demand, as they can seek out the enemy rather than waiting for an enemy advance to reach a certain spot.

Recommended equipment: Torsion bars, coated optics, vents

Replays:Coming soon

The Passive Scout: The passive scout is a tank with good camo-rating that hides behind a bush (or two), spotting an enemy advance. They DO NOT fire upon the enemy, merely lighting them up for friendly artillery, only giving away their position if and when it becomes apparent that they will be spotted. The Chaffee is king of this department.

Recommended equipment: Binocs/Optics,Vents, Camo

Replays: Coming soon

Hybrid: Agood scout player will switch between active scouting and passive scouting a lot, not solely confining him/herself to one playstyle. Nevertheless, you will lean to one playstyle or the other for your tank, depending on what works best for you


Recommended equipment: Either of above.

Replays: Coming soon

Anti-Scout:These tanks have a lot of burst damage and the speed to catch up with invading enemy scouts.  The 13-75 and 90 have 6 shots each to cripple an enemy scout within 15 seconds. The Chaffee has a machine gun that is extremely useful against fast-moving, nimble targets.

Recommended equipment: Rammer, Vents, Optics/Binos, GunLayingDrive (For french)

Replays: Coming soon


Recommended reading: Tazilons Complete Cougar Scout Guide.http://forum.worldof...ith-maps-v7301/


"Heavy tanks"
Unlike scouts which have a fairly static role regardless of team composition, your role heavily depends on what position in your team you are. These are basic guidelines. For example, in a tier 10 match, a King Tiger isn't a "front line tank" but a second line one now. Use basic sense to gauge when you fit what role.

Front Line /Spearhead
IS-3
KV-5
IS-4
IS-7

King Tiger
E-75
Maus
VK4502(B)*

t110
m103*

Second Line
IS-8
T34
Lowe
m103*
E-100

Third line
Amx 50-100
Amx 50-120
Amx 50b

*The 4502(B) struggles as a breakthrough tank due to its speed and poor profile design. The m103 can perform both roles, whilst being dedicated to solely perform neither

Front line/Spearhead:It is your job to utilize your excellent frontal armor and hp to advance and take enemy hits so that your second line tanks can fire and advance in relative safety. You make or break an offensive, and are responsible for pinning down enemy forces whilst more mobile tanks flank. Expect to recieve a lot of artillery love. DO NOT advance without support OR unless the area ahead is clear of enemies thanks to scouting. Otherwise, you will be tracked and killed via a thousand needles. Notify artillery and allies where and when you intended to advance.

Whilst on defense, again, you are at the front. Don't forget to be in cover to avoid artillery. You have to protect the tanks behind you so that they and artillery can make easy work of advancing enemy tanks. If on defense, you let weaker tanks advance in front of you and meet the enemy head on, prepare to lose that flank, because you are equally vulnerable without anti-flanking support.

Recommended equipment: Vents/Rammer/Vert Stab/GLD

Replays:

Second Line: You do not have the frontal hull armor to compete with the big boys, however, you have an excellent gun (Mostly, anyway,) that allows you to put big dents in them when correctly aimed. You are also responsible for preventing your big tanks from being flanked by mediums and other tidbits, as they can then focus on the primary enemy heavy and not have to worry about their flanks.

Recommended equipment: Vents/Rammer/Vert/GLD

Replays

Third line: Like the second line, you want to be well away from the danger of being focus fired, because you are prime arty targets. However, at the same time, you cannot be too isolated from combat. NEVER, EVER, LEAD a charge, even when you are the top tier tank. You are like the second line,with the exception that you commit yourself at the last possible instant, after enemy arty has zeroed in on more heavily armored targets. A fine art to master, being hidden, but not so far back so that your entire flank is annhiliated before you fire a single shot. Especially since the post-nerfs. You can perform adequately with mediums.

Recommended equipment: Vents/Vert/GLD/WAR

Replays

"Heavy Mediums, Light Heavies"

These guys are quite suited to pubs due to their versatility to perform whilst both as a top tank, and as a middle-lower echleon tank

Light heavies
T-32
VK4502(A)
IS-3*
IS-8*

Heavy Mediums
Panther 2
E-50

Light heavies: The IS-8 and IS-3 can both perform adequately as front and second line tanks thanks to their gun, however, the 200 and 198 avg pen guns that the T32 and VK4502 have force them to adopt a more mobile playstyle which they are suited to. They essentially, act as heavies where no heavies can go. They excel at destroying other mediums, and can act as mediums when there are none. With smart play (particularly t32) you can take out other tier 8s, however, against tier 9 heavies, you require support, Learn to use your speed.

Recommended Equipment: Rammer/Vents/Vert-Stab

Replays:

Heavy mediums: Whilst possessing less mobility than other mediums, these tanks trade it for good high pen guns and some adequate armor. This allows them to act as proxy second-line heavy tanks, whilst still maintaining the mobility to move around the map like a medium and respond to any unforseen threats. Your armor won't protect you from tier 8+ guns however, and expect to be penetrated frontally by them. In the e-50s case, your angling works well to occasionally bounce higher tier guns. The high accuracy possesed by these german guns allows them to be mobile snipers, a playstyle which works with the 88/71 and the 88/100.

Recommended equipment: Rammer/vents/Vert-Stab

Replays:


"Medium tanks"

Mediums are much more versatile than their heavy cousins, and the US mediums can adequately perform in the Brawling department. However, the same cannot be said of German, Russian and French mediums when it comes to going hull down. Remember, protect your heavies and TDs from flank attempts, and break through defenseless points in enemy lines.

Brawlers
T-44
T-54
T-59

Hull-Down
M26 Pershing
Patton

Burst mediums
Lorraine 40T
Batchatillion 25t
Amx-13-90
Amx 13-75

Brawlers: These tanks excel at mopping up the remains of an enemy team. Do not attempt to go head to head with enemy heavies. However, co-ordinated wolfpacks work best with these tanks, as they have highly sloped frontal armor that can bounce high-pen guns that allow them to get to the flanks of bigger tanks whilst sustaining minimal damage.Again, like all mediums they have to seize opportunities as the battle evolves, as they get exponentially stronger the longer the game goes on and the greater chance to exploit mobility they have. A high top speed allows you through punch through weak flank defenses an envelop an enemy from the rear. Work well in platoons, especially t8 ones due to the easier matchmaking they get.

Recommended equipment: Wet Ammo Rack/ Rammer/Vert-Stab/Vents

Replays

Hull-down: Unmatched when it comes to abusing terrain on maps. Sand River, dragons ridge,redshire, to name a few where US tanks can make use of their bouncy turrets and excellent gun depression. High DPM guns allow you to rip into heavies if you flank. However, don't attempt to lead a charge if possible, as you are behind the Russians and Germans when it comes to frontal armor. IMO, definitely the best mediums, thanks to the mobility they have and the excellent viewrange they possess. Considered the best flankers due to the "unseen" soft stats particularly when related to dispersion on the move, which is tiny with a 100% crew.

Recommended equipment Optics/VertStab/Rammer/Vents

Replays

Burst Mediums: Maneuverability of a medium, coupled with the alpha burst of a TD and the viewrange of a light tank. These tanks perform a lot like their heavy cousins, except better. You can never lead a charge, ever. If you do, you will die, and die fast. The biggest mistake made is thinking these tanks are suicide scouts, or scouts thanks to their top speed. They are not. They are extremely mobile TDs that can pen a lot of heavies from the front, and all from the side. Your effectiveness exponentially increases the longer you are in game. An initial scout pass is O.K, however, any more than that and you are asking to die. Maintain being hidden,and constantly relocate from flank to flank whilst reloading.. When engaging targets, it is best to choose ones that have their attention occupied with other tanks. If you fire on an enemy tank and let him home in on you, chances are so is artillery and all his buddies. You cannot be the first to engage.

Recommended equipment: VertStab/GLD/Vents/Optics

Replays

"Tank Destroyers"
I rarely play TDs due to the lack of a turret and HP handicap they are affixed with. However, I forsee a new lease of life with the release of the new game modes.They are mostly defensive weapons because of this, as they cannot afford to duel with heavies or risk being flanked. In certain maps however, they can take on a more offensive role. Again, if you are a TD player, I want your input on how you play these tanks.

Assault TDs
T95

Static TDs
T-28 PROT
T-28
T95

Mobile TDs
Ferdinand
Jagdtiger
T-30

Ambush TDs
OBJ 704
ISU-152

Assault TDs: Currently, only one TD can charge down tank-alley in himmelsdorf, and its the t95. It is the only one with respectable front armor that has a chance of withstanding high-pen, high ROF guns introduced since 7.0. However, when playing this tank offensively, one must constantly watch out for attempts on being flanked. As long as there are 2 enemy tanks in the game,this tank requires flank support.

Replays

Static TDs: These TDs are highly vulnerable to arty, and require positioning in secure locations where they are either hidden, or can defend a flank. Once committed, there is no turning back, since you have no speed to relocate. If you are flanked, you are dead. To compensate, they have good guns with great DMG

Replays

Mobile TD:Unlike the ambush TDs and the Static TDs,, the Mobile TDs don't have the frontal armor of the static TDs,or the camo/alpha combo that the ambush TDs have. Nevertheless, they excel most when exploiting their high DPM to their teams advantage. This means, getting into the right spot - and they have the speed to do so. Also, they can afford to miss shots and still not worry about not contributing thanks to the ROF of the guns they have (T30 has an option for high ROF slightly less alpha, or high alpha). Best played as heavy tank support, rather than pure defensive tanks.

Replays:

Ambush TDs: Thanks to the camo, these tanks need not usually worry about getting hit by arty. And not many things in the game stand up to the bl-10s alpha. In addition, the object704 has excellent mobility that allows it to get into positions where it can decimate enemy advances.However, they have the worst traverse rates and are the most vulnerable to flanking.. Good defensive tanks that can work as second line support.

Replays:

If any member wishes to provide a more summative guide, please let me know so I may incorporate it.

"Artillery"

I splash in your general direction
S-51
SU-14
OBJ-212
GW Tiger
GW Type E
M40/43
T92

Laser-guided
GW Panther
OBJ 261


Artillery is probably the most balanced "class" of tank in the game at the moment. There are minor variations on pieces, but by and large they perform their duty in a similar fashion.

The former category has high-alpha, high splash weaponry, whilst the latter has high-accuracy, high ROF guns.

If any member wishes to provide a more summative guide, please let me know so I may incorporate it.


Knowing your maps (WIP)
Good, so you know your tanks. Now, learn the terrain you will be fighting on. Below will be a brief overview of each map as well as a good strategy for each side. It will be divided into maps that favor offense or defense. Lets start with the most hated ones first.

Yellow:Routes for mediums and hediums
Red:Main lines of advance for heavies
Green:Good Scouting routes
Blue:Defensive locations (for TDs/Snipers
Orange: Arty camps here

TACTICS! (WIP)

Edited by Bridgeburner_, May 24 2012 - 09:29.


Bridgeburner_ #2 Posted May 24 2012 - 09:30

    First lieutenant

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Reserved

TlGERACE #3 Posted May 24 2012 - 09:39

    Major

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Good work and +1 my fellow tanker

Tiger Ace

Nyuu #4 Posted May 24 2012 - 10:05

    First lieutenant

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looks like a nice compilation
out of +1s today

Maverick92 #5 Posted May 24 2012 - 10:16

    First lieutenant

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Looks good, but just one tip...Maybe add in some spoilers?

unclesamuk #6 Posted May 24 2012 - 10:19

    Corporal

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    11-16-2010
good info for those who don't get the mechanics of this game. A must read for those who are still lost.




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