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Beginner's Guide to Tier V Light Tanks


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KarateF22 #1 Posted Dec 10 2012 - 21:42

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Light tanks are among the most difficult kind of tank to properly play in the game. Tier V light tanks in particular require great skill and finesse to use properly, as they are regularly placed against things that can two or even one shot them in the blink of an eye. This guide will help introduce you to a variety of scout lights and acquaint you to each one's particular feel. This guide is not meant to help you master any of the light tanks, that is generally left to other guides or for yourself to figure out after you grasp the basics.

Before we even begin, I recommend that you make sure you are familiar with visibility mechanics.

Currently, there are four tier 5 light tanks that can be considered "scout tanks" or at the very least have exceptional capacity to do so. These are the T-50-2, VK 2801, M24 Chaffee, and ELC AMX. The first three are bound to slightly different rules than the latter, but the latter is similar enough to warrant putting in this guide. All of these tanks have an excellent blend of attributes that allow them to see further than most tanks in the game and do so while maintaining an excellent camouflage coefficient. It should be understood that these tanks primary role in most games is to light targets for the rest of your team to hit; they should only enter direct confrontations when opportune and/or necessary.

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The tank I will begin with is the infamous T-50-2. For most people, this is the ultimate purist scout... it is difficult to argue against this considering it is tied for highest speed, has the best acceleration, a close second best in turning speed, is the second smallest, and has one of the highest chances of bouncing random shells among the lights. The T-50-2 is easily considered the best at active scouting, which is when you scout using your tank's speed and agility to light the enemy team and avoid their fire. Its combination of speed, size, acceleration, and agility allow it to reach some areas even the other tier V lights cannot reach, and it is arguably the most dangerous because of this fact.

The best way to use the T-50-2 is to always keep your foot on the accelerator, skirt at the very edge of the enemy lines and retreat whenever you spot something. Stay aloof and moving so that any shots the enemy takes are hastily aimed and very unlikely to hit. You are effectively mobile bait to get the enemy into a compromising position; once they slip up or you light the right target your team mates will bring on the pain to the enemy. Your gun should only be used for self defense, engagement of other light tanks, elimination of enemy artillery, and the rare flanking maneuver against lone tanks. This tank is also among the best for infiltrating; late in a match it is likely there will be a section of the enemy line that is lightly guarded or not even guarded at all... when this occurs it is often a good idea to break through at this point and make a bee-line for the enemy artillery, if you are able to eliminate them your team will have a much easier time pushing on the enemy.

Recommended equipment: Vents, Optics, Binoculars/Torsion Bars
Recommended consumables: Med Kit, Repair Kit, Removed Speed Governor / Fire Extinguisher / Lend-Lease Oil

The choice between Binoculars and Torsion Bars is really just a matter of play style. The former allows the T-50-2 to passive scout, though many would argue this is a waste of its active scouting capabilities. The latter maximizes its survivability by increasing the hitpoints of its tracks; for a scout speed is life and for the T-50-2 this is never truer. The difference between a damaged track and a destroyed track is dramatic and can decide life or death.

As an additional note, a brief lesson on the Removed Speed Governor. This consumable is a toggleable +10% to the vehicles horsepower, however constant use of this consumable will eventually damage your engine ending up in a crippled tank. Using it only when your speed drops below 70 km/h or when moving in to circle strafe ensures you can use it over the course of the match without suffering from a crippled engine. Be sure to turn the RSG off when you do not need it or you will end up with broken engines far more often than you would like.

Advanced Guides: To be added

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The next light tank I will discuss is the VK 2801. This tank is drastically different from the previous tank; while it does have the same top speed it is much larger and has a more difficult time reaching this speed and turning. However, what the 2801 lacks in direct scouting capability it makes up in utility. Unlike the T-50-2 the 2801 is much more lethal when flanking enemy tanks and as such it is more of a light tank with medium tank characteristics than a true purist scout. This is not a bad thing, the VK 2801s exceptionally powerful 105mm gun and greater mass make it much more lethal to enemy light tanks, and as such the 2801 makes an excellent passive scout and anti-scout.

The 2801 has two equally viable playstyles that can be played. One is a more aggressive playstyle akin to that a medium tank would use, but just a tad more careful; the VK 2801 would play near the front and make moves on distracted and overwhelmed enemies with its powerful gun. The 2801 itself would be used as a distraction and lure, lighting targets and presenting itself just outside the enemy's range to tantalize the enemy into making a stupid move. Any enemy lights that breakthrough would be immediately intercepted and destroyed before they can inflict too much damage. The second playstyle is that of a passive scout. In this, you would seek to find a well camouflaged spot with trees and bushes that can see much of the map. You would hold your fire except when spotted or in extreme emergencies and allow your team mates to dish out the bulk of the damage. When your team mates clear out an area or open a big hole in the enemy lines, that is when you make the move to breakthrough and head towards the enemy's artillery. It should be noted that while you should try to lean towards one style or the other in order to use the correct equipment for the job, you should always be willing to switch it up mid-match to suit the situation even if your equipment is a tad suboptimal.

Recommended Equipment (Aggressive): Vents, Gun Rammer, Optics
Recommended Equipment (Passive): Vents, Optics, Binoculars
Recommended Consumables: Med Kit, Repair Kit, 100-octane Gasoline / Fire Extinguisher

The equipment of each style seeks to maximize the stats for what you wish to do. The aggressive playstyle tends to use its gun much more than the passive and as such a Gun Rammer becomes important for increasing your damage output. For the passive style, binoculars are recommended as this increases your view range even more when immobile, which shall be common hidden in the bushes. Another option not listed above the for the aggressive playstyle is the Spall Liner, this is really only for supremely aggressive VK 2801 who not only wish to use their gun, but also their above average capacity for ramming compared to other light tanks. This allows the 2801 to inflict incredible damage to many french light tanks and really any other light tank period by simply striking them with sufficient speed. However, this does detriment its ability to scout to a great degree and as such is not recommended.

Advanced Guides: Tazilon's maps (The God of VK 2801 drivers)

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The M24 Chaffee is a bit unorthodox as far as scout tanks go. It has the lowest top speed among the lights but has extremely high acceleration; as such the Chaffee will suffer on flat ground and downhill but can almost match the T-50-2 in an uphill race. It has the best view range of all light tanks and what is arguably the best gun of the bunch tied with the VK 2801; the Chaffee's 76mm has incredible accuracy both on the move and while stationary along with great penetration. Unlike the VK 2801 the Chaffee is a dangerous flanker even at a great distance, as its ability to spot for itself at the greatest distance of all three lights, fire accurately even on the move, and quickly get up to speed make it great for shoot and scoot warfare. The Chaffee's mix of characteristics and incredible gun accuracy make it the best combat scout.

The Chaffee does not really have a set playstyle. Its true strength is its supreme flexibility and ability to be both a highly effective scout with its view range and a dangerous flanker with its highly accurate and good penetration gun. That said, one should seek to either skirt at the edge of your own view range, or spot from behind cover. Due to its unique mix of extremely good view range, camouflage and gun, the Chaffee can sometimes fire on a distant target without penalty, simply because the target cannot see as far as the Chaffee can even with the camo penalty upon firing. However, due to its high profile and low speed the Chaffee is not a great breakthrough light, as once spotted it is comparitively easy to hit on its way to the enemy's artillery. As such, its usually best to simply stay behind your own lines and assist your incredible view range. As a final note, the Chaffee is the only light other than the T-50-2 that can fairly safely circle strafe most heavy tanks in the game; the VK 2801 is not agile enough most of the time and the ELC AMX lacks a turret.

Recommended Equipment: Vents, Optics, Vertical Stabilizer / Binoculars
Recommended Consumables: Med Kit, Repair Kit, 100-octane Gasoline / Fire Extinguisher

The choice between the Vertical Stabilizer and Binoculars is really just a matter of how much you wish to use your gun. If you are using your gun a lot you should definitely equip the Vertical Stabilizer as it is far and away the best gun affecting module in the game. However, the Binoculars still has its use as the best view range increasing piece of equipment and as such should not be discounted for those that want to see as far as possible.

Advanced Guides: To be added

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The final light tank of the bunch is the ELC AMX. The first thing one should notice when looking at this tank is that it has both the highest penetration and *reliable* damage of the group. At 170mm of penetration and 240 damage even tier 10s cringe at the thought of being hit by your gun. Historically, this tank was actually supposed to be an airborne tank destroyer to be dropped behind enemy lines. In game, it is an odd amalgam of tank destroyer and light tank; it has agility, acceleration, and profile that many light tanks would die for but the gun and gun traverse of some tank destroyers. It should be noted that it does terrible in light vs light combat unless the enemy light tank can be one shot due to this tanks extremely slow reload speed. It also cannot see tier 10 tanks and has less HP than most other Tier 5 lights. This is because the ELC is considered a "true" tier 5 as opposed to the tanks above which are more akin to tier 6 tanks. That said, the ELC's passable view range and T-50-2esque agility earn it a spot among the true scouts.

Like the Chaffee the ELC AMX does not have a set playstyle. Unlike the Chaffee, it cannot really do two things at once... it can spot targets with its great speed, or snipe with its high penetration gun, but it has a difficult time doing both at once due to its lack of turret and atrocious accuracy on the move and aim time. The trick to the ELC is knowing when to hang back and snipe more like a Tank Destroyer, when to scout like a light tank, and when to brawl using your excellent agility and low profile. When it comes to actually scouting the ELC plays much like a T-50-2, your "armor" is your speed and difficulty in being hit and you spot enemies by skirting at the edge of their vision. However, using your gun is drastically different than the other light tanks, which typically have good moving accuracy characteristics to make them good run and gunners. The ELC must come to a stop if it has any hope of hitting a distant target; its accuracy simply does not support a moving playstyle with your gun. The only way to reliably hit with your gun on the move is to basically "joust" with the enemy. You charge at them at full speed until you are fairly close, then fire at a range where it becomes impossible to miss. This is dangerous under normal circumstances, but against a distracted or slow enemy it is an effective way to utilize your firepower while keeping your mobility. As a final word, I will slightly contradict the statement made earlier in that while this serves as an excellent scout, you should try to be a bit more conservative than the others above as your gun is excellent and threatening to all manner of tanks you see. Wasting your life when a more suitable tank is available is folly; if someone else is scouting and doing a good job you should serve as more of a mobile tank destroyer and backup light tank.

Recommended Equipment: Vents, Gun Rammer / Binocular, Optics / GLD
Recommended Consumables: Med Kit, Repair Kit, 100-octane Gasoline / Fire extinguisher

Equipment on this tank is really a matter of choice. Vents, Gun Rammer, and Optics allow it to be a generalist, doing decent in all of its roles. Adopting a GLD over the optics allows it to be more of a TD while adopting Binoculars over the Gun Rammer allow it to scout much better and makes up for its anemic view range. This is one of the few where I truly say there is no best combination, as the ELC can do so much and what you want it to do is really up to the user.

Advanced Guides: To be added

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Well, now that wall of text is complete and out of my head. I hope you enjoyed this guide

Whee #2 Posted Dec 10 2012 - 21:50

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Great guide! +1

MedicOnDuty #3 Posted Dec 10 2012 - 21:53

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I remember once in a tier 2-3 game there was an enemy M3 Stuart that suiscouted towards our lines and, predictably, died in a matter of seconds. He then started tearing into his team in the chat, saying things like "you guys should have supported me" and "where was my team?". I had died after him, so I replied, "So you expected your team to magically support you through a hill as you ran right at us?"

His reply: "but that's how you're supposed to scout".

That's I why I think this guide is a great asset to people who want to learn how to scout and not just charge the enemy lines. If anyone comes on the forums asking how they should scout, I will link them to this. This is a good resource, and it should be used as such.

KarateF22 #4 Posted Dec 10 2012 - 21:55

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View PostMedicOnDuty, on Dec 10 2012 - 21:53, said:

I remember once in a tier 2-3 game there was an enemy M3 Stuart that suiscouted towards our lines and, predictably, died in a matter of seconds. He then started tearing into his team in the chat, saying things like "you guys should have supported me" and "where was my team?". I had died after him, so I replied, "So you expected your team to magically support you through a hill as you ran right at us?"

His reply: "but that's how you're supposed to scout".

That's I why I think this guide is a great asset to people who want to learn how to scout and not just charge the enemy lines. If anyone comes on the forums asking how they should scout, I will link them to this. This is a good resource, and it should be used as such.

Yea, light tanks generally should GTFO the moment they spot something in the open... the only exception is when you *know* you can get past them to light up even juicier things such as artillery.

IanSane #5 Posted Dec 10 2012 - 21:58

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great work

Sturm_Teufel #6 Posted Dec 11 2012 - 02:12

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Thank you, very helpful.

Tazilon #7 Posted Dec 11 2012 - 03:14

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I don't use 100 octane gas - I like having fire extinguishers.  Unlike what so many people claim, fires are NOT lethal on a 2801.  I also do not use spall liners and I have more Kamikaze medals than anyone on the server.  Ramming should not be a primary method of attack so other equipment help you more.

Edited by Tazilon, Dec 11 2012 - 03:19.


TSSTEELEII #8 Posted Dec 11 2012 - 04:29

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Thats a great post for those new to the game looking to get into the scouting arts. Yes to the reader its a art lol. Now if someone would only write a" Hey tanker there are more ways to scout than hair on fire suiscouting". They see guide to any type of scouting think im not a scout and never read any further than the title.Yet love to tell you to go scout stop camping and such. I enjoy scouting finding it a blast.Iv read your Cougar guide and useally read any post for scouting. Im improveing gettin my survival rate up,  I dont go out tring to get the scout badge. If you think about the t5 scout tanks they are kinda like golf clubs each one haveing its uses for a type of scouting. I plan on adding all the t5 scouts to my stable. Tho most of my best scouting battles have been in the M3 Stuart. Getting into the enemies lines and lighting them up and liveing is more fun than killing any tank. Tho im in no way a pro may I add always use the terrain not just not going up hill to avoid slowing down but stay low use any ditch, arty crater, & bush always plan ur route and have a escape path. Post mortem is a new scouts best friend when you die right click and if you can watch that other scout. Thanks for all the great post Merry Christmas. Keepem lit

KarateF22 #9 Posted Dec 12 2012 - 01:56

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View PostTazilon, on Dec 11 2012 - 03:14, said:

I don't use 100 octane gas - I like having fire extinguishers.  Unlike what so many people claim, fires are NOT lethal on a 2801.  I also do not use spall liners and I have more Kamikaze medals than anyone on the server.  Ramming should not be a primary method of attack so other equipment help you more.

I use gas due to its poor acceleration, not because I think all fires are lethal. The spall liner now has a better description as a very niche option.

Tazilon #10 Posted Dec 12 2012 - 15:00

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View PostKarateF22, on Dec 12 2012 - 01:56, said:

I use gas due to its poor acceleration, not because I think all fires are lethal. The spall liner now has a better description as a very niche option.

The gas does so little it just doesn't seem worth it.  I've tested it several times; just seems like a waste of money.  Something for everyone to decide for themselves!

KarateF22 #11 Posted Dec 12 2012 - 20:38

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View PostTazilon, on Dec 12 2012 - 15:00, said:

The gas does so little it just doesn't seem worth it.  I've tested it several times; just seems like a waste of money.  Something for everyone to decide for themselves!
Fair enough, I will definitely concede that the fire extinguisher is certainly a viable option and as such have marked it as an alternative.

The reason I go for gasoline is that I am a bit of a min-maxxer, and as the tier V lights typically don't earn much money (except the ELC AMX) I have even less incentive to try to keep it profitable. That said, the fire extinguisher is a more economic alternative that can also help in the extremely rare case of a fire. I have maybe gotten two fires in all my tier V light games combined, usually big hits just outright destroy the vehicle. Ironically, both those fires were on the T-50-2... unfortunately its Removed Speed Governor is cheap and effective enough where justifying other options is difficult.

Transcends35 #12 Posted Dec 12 2012 - 21:33

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As an elc driver I use camo net/binocs/gun rammer with 100% cammo on crew so that I can both passive scout and shoot reliable without being spotted so quickly. It is a tactic that works quite well imo.

USSMidway_CV41 #13 Posted Dec 12 2012 - 21:44

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Nice guide!

I don't recall ever catching on fire in my T-50 or T-50-2.  I'm only running a repair kit as a consumable, but rarely use it.  My repair skills are at 100%, so if tracked, it's fixed in just a few seconds.

_RTFM_ #14 Posted Dec 16 2012 - 07:22

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+1




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