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StuG III Ausf. G Complete! -A Guide for Newcomers

StuG_III_G TDs Guide

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Mikosah #1 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 02:08

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In commemoration of my very favorite tank finally getting its full set of barrel rings, I've decided to make a full guide and tutorial to share my experience with others. I've now played just under 2400 games in the StuG III Ausf. G, far more than any other tank that I've ever laid hands on. With any other tank, I'd never dare call myself an expert. This is the one time I'll make an exception. Herewith, then, is my tutorial. When I get my MoE ratio to 100% (and that will happen, just a question of when) I may start on the StuG IV and repeat the process again to achieve the title of StuG_Emperor_NA.

 

The StuG III Ausf. G

AKA "The Nightmare of Malinovka"

 

For starters, a tiny bit of fudged-up paraphrased historical background. Not long into WWII the Wehrmacht found themselves with an abundance of Panzer Mk. IIIs and their assorted spare parts that were ripe for conversion into assault guns. Originally these were armed with short-barrel 75mm howitzers meant to fire HE at low velocity at personnel and fixed emplacements, but as time went on the presence of tougher enemy armor presented the need for a antitank weapons of greater caliber and mobility. Later varieties of Sturmgeschutz, literally "assault gun", armed with the high velocity 75mm L48 gun soon filled the niche and went on to being the most abundantly produced armored vehicle in service with the Wehrmacht during the entire war. Roughly 9000 were either manufactured from scratch or converted from existing Pz. IIIs, and these were responsible for the destruction of well over 20000 allied vehicles on various fronts. Arguably the most successful armored vehicle fielded by any of the axis powers, even in spite of the fame and fortune going to more 'intimidating' designs such as the various Tigers and Panthers. Score one for the little guy! For further historical fluff, I recommend the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08wP9JODO78

 

Now, the story of 'Gretchen'. I won't make this long-winded, I'll just say that getting to the StuG was the first time I really felt comfortable playing WoT. Simply having the resource of a comfortable tier 5 vehicle meant a steady stream of credit income as well as a great platform for crew training. For newcomers trying to understand how the game works, this is exactly the place to do it. Particularly with tank destroyers- having an edge in firepower means not having to do so much footwork to fight vehicles above your tier, and having an edge in camouflage makes it easier to prey on the unprepared. This is precisely why my StuG 'Gretchen' has gotten so much mileage. Even though now its purpose is now relegated to further training on the crew to benefit my E25 'Greta', the sheer reliability still makes the StuG an asset.

 

So as for the StuG itself, why play it? No gun/chassis package at tier 5 TD could be more conventional. The combination of the .33 accuracy, 1.7 second aim time and 150 penetration for regular shells is as good as can possibly be believed for any TD at this tier that doesn't have some backbreaking quirk to balance it out. Camouflage ratings of 21.89 stationary, 13.11 moving, and 5.41 firing are second only (and just barely at that) to the SU-85, which has less view range and worse accuracy. Mobility is excellent, the one exception is the speed while moving in reverse, but that one flaw is perfectly tolerable. If you really have to pull out quickly, the traverse speed is so good than you can always just swing a 180 and then drive forward. The StuG even has some armor, the casemate is 80mm thick at the front, not too shabby in a hull-down. The infamous KV-1 only has 75mm of frontal armor for comparison.

 

What are the drawbacks? In practical terms, there isn't that many. The issue with reverse speed could be one, but its not terribly often that you need to be moving backwards in a massive hurry. The low ammunition count could be another, but unless you're taking a lot of blind shots, knocking down buildings, or firing clutch, this will only be a concern in very prolonged matches. The mediocre alpha and DPM might be seen as a problem, but just about any other TD at this tier that solves that problem is going to make you suffer in other departments. The one sticking point of why not to play StuG is the issue of view range. 310 meters is not a lot. Even in spite of your camouflage factor, if an enemy gets close enough for you to spot him yourself, he'll probably see you as well. If you stack crew skills, vents, BIA, chocolate, and binoculars to fix this, you could get your view range just barely past the 445 meter spotting cap, but that's a massive investment. And one that makes sacrifices to your loadout and profits as well.

 

How does a StuG succeed while being so blind? The simple answer is that you focus instead on gun performance, camouflage, and let teammates do the spotting for you. Play this TD just as our evil overlords at WG intended. Stay just behind the front lines, wait for some other guinea pig to find targets for you, snipe them from a position of complete safety. If you do make the aforementioned investments to actually gain workable view range, kudos to you, now you have the chance to be more independent on the open maps. But you still desperately need to keep distance. Your accuracy and penetration advantage is only relevant at range, and TDs at this tier just don't have the hit points to last long in a brawl.

 

What about a worst-case-scenario? How do you get out of it? You'd be amazed just how little effort goes into most dogfights. If it so happens that you close the distance to point-blank and the enemy only has enough gun depression to hit your mantlet, you might just outlast them in a DPM trade. Particularly if you wedge into them from a direction other than their front. With some tanks, if you're right behind them you'll be so short and have so much engine deck in the way that they might not be able to hit you at all. Sometimes the enemy will rush right at you, if you reverse to keep your front towards them there's another trick you can pull. Right as you come nose to nose with them, make a sudden 90 degree turn. Because you traverse so quickly, most enemies will keep on going and you'll end up with your gun pointed into their flank. This sort of 'T-bone' trick has saved me numerous times in the past.

 

In summation, I thoroughly recommend playing at tier 5. I thoroughly recommend playing TDs at tier 5. And I thoroughly recommend playing the StuG within that category. Every newcomer will need to invest the hours to figure things out, to generate credits, and to train crewmen. Tier 8 is not the place for that. Try it, and you'll find yourself miserable. I'll now open the floor for a Q&A session with anyone who wants to learn more specifics. How to use certain positions, how to take advantage of the vision/camouflage system, other quirks about the StuG and how it matches up against similar tanks, whatever other related topics are requested will be answered here.



Slayer_Jesse #2 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 02:17

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Casual stug player here but...

Rammer, camo, binos, or rammer, vents, and gld?



sherman_elimanator #3 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 02:21

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 02 2016 - 17:17, said:

Casual stug player here but...

Rammer, camo, binos, or rammer, vents, and gld?

 

Depends if campng or moving.

Mikosah #4 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 02:28

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 02 2016 - 19:17, said:

Casual stug player here but...

Rammer, camo, binos, or rammer, vents, and gld?

 

Between the two, I'd say rammer/net/binoculars is more practical. Mostly so because the laying drive is completely wasted here. Even the howitzer still gets the 1.7 second aim time, no need to waste an equipment slot on that. The question is why choose binoculars over vents if you're not also decking out your crew for max possible view range. In the case of view range, you probably shouldn't stop halfway. Either max it out completely, or don't even touch it.



660driver #5 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 03:00

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I know the stug is a good td but i seem to struggle with it. When it works I can keep the gun firing and do tons of damage but I havent found the armor to be very reliable when I need it. I know its not a frontline brawler and I dont use it that way I just seem to always be in the wrong spot with it. Now my t67 was absolutely glorious right out of the box. I do like the tank just dont do it justice .

Mikosah #6 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 03:10

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View Post660driver, on Jan 02 2016 - 20:00, said:

I know the stug is a good td but i seem to struggle with it. When it works I can keep the gun firing and do tons of damage but I havent found the armor to be very reliable when I need it. I know its not a frontline brawler and I dont use it that way I just seem to always be in the wrong spot with it. Now my t67 was absolutely glorious right out of the box. I do like the tank just dont do it justice .

 

Ah, the T67, the one thorn in the side of every StuG enthusiast. Getting 340 view range is a major comfort for this kind of machine. And the fully rotating turret is icing on the cake, isn't it? But keep in mind that the T67 just doesn't have the same kind of penetration, alpha, or accuracy of the L70 gun. The StuG can afford to fire at tougher opponents and from longer ranges. You already seem to have pinpointed the problem here, you probably need to choose your positions more carefully. That's the price to be paid for not having to choose your targets as carefully.

Beesnest #7 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 03:21

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Nicely done commemoration, Mikosah.  Wow, almost 2400 games; that's awesome!  Congratulations, a well earned achievement, no doubt.

I have, and like playing the Stug III G also.  I have found a lot of what you say about her to be true (armor, traverse, etc.).  I don't have much trouble

playing her on open ground, but I would like to ask: How do you handle city maps with her?  I tend to struggle on close-quarter, city maps.

Thank you in advance, sir.



NL_Celt #8 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 03:47

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With a few subtle differences you could almost replace StgIIIG with SU-85. I'm going through the Hetzer right now with the goal being the StgIIIG. Got 1200 battles in my SU-85. Gun almost as accurate with a slower aim time but a nice bit of extra alpha to compensate and only a little less penetration. Traverse speed not so good so cannot turn like the Stg so unlike the Stg really want to avoid that. Better speed for positioning and relocation. View range even worse, but both near blind. Armour not thick but get a surprising amount of bounces off the front and especially the mantlet. I go Rammer-Binocs-Net with mine. Seems a workable setup. It will be interesting to see how they compare once I get the Stg. Suspect it will be fairly similar with those few subtle differences.

Mikosah #9 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 04:05

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View PostBeesnest, on Jan 02 2016 - 20:21, said:

Nicely done commemoration, Mikosah.  Wow, almost 2400 games; that's awesome!  Congratulations, a well earned achievement, no doubt.

I have, and like playing the Stug III G also.  I have found a lot of what you say about her to be true (armor, traverse, etc.).  I don't have much trouble

playing her on open ground, but I would like to ask: How do you handle city maps with her?  I tend to struggle on close-quarter, city maps.

Thank you in advance, sir.

 

That depends on exactly which map you're talking about. Some maps you can just avoid the urban areas and wait for targets to pop up elsewhere. Siegfried and Highway, for instance. Plenty of open field to work with. Others don't make it so simple. I think the map that bugs me the most is Ensk. The 'field' side is deceptive, not so easy to camo-snipe and of course the other side is tight urban streets. But you can try your luck in the center along the train tracks and the long streets that run straight from one cap to the other. Himmelsdorf actually isn't that bad. You can snipe across the open square, and near the train tracks you can take positions that give you shots at guys on the close side of the castle on the hill.

 

In situations where you're absolutely forced into urban combat, follow the basic underdog rules. Use that third person camera to look around corners, see when an enemy is being distracted by your teammates. If he's not paying attention to you, there may be a chance to pop out and take a shot at him. Even better, if you can isolate one opponent and have teammates hit him from multiple directions, don't be afraid to get aggressive so long as his gun is pointed elsewhere. Go for tracks, immobilize whenever possible. When desperate you may try a side-hug at point blank range to stay under their gun. Suicidal, but it might just buy time for teammates to intervene. If its your side that's outnumbered, there isn't much you can do. Play patient, there's always the off chance the enemy team will make a terrible mistake.

 

Another option to consider is using the 105mm howitzer. Against soft targets the HE shell is a massive threat. When they have moderate armor the HEAT and AP shells are threatening as well. Even the ones with the best armor can be massively trolled if you can catch just a few pixels of them sticking out around a corner. Lob HE at them, you'll probably take out their tracks and deal damage as well while the building keeps you safe.

 

View PostNL_Celt, on Jan 02 2016 - 20:47, said:

With a few subtle differences you could almost replace StgIIIG with SU-85. I'm going through the Hetzer right now with the goal being the StgIIIG. Got 1200 battles in my SU-85. Gun almost as accurate with a slower aim time but a nice bit of extra alpha to compensate and only a little less penetration. Traverse speed not so good so cannot turn like the Stg so unlike the Stg really want to avoid that. Better speed for positioning and relocation. View range even worse, but both near blind. Armour not thick but get a surprising amount of bounces off the front and especially the mantlet. I go Rammer-Binocs-Net with mine. Seems a workable setup. It will be interesting to see how they compare once I get the Stg. Suspect it will be fairly similar with those few subtle differences.

 

Agreed that they are very similar, but the SU-85 is the more crude of the two. The gun is more powerful, but fires less often and takes much longer to aim. Much more potential for RNG to intervene and make you miserable. But the edge in raw power does solve the problem that Beesnest just now brings up, raw power is more useful in urban environments. If you do transition to the StuG in the future, you just need to be a little more cautious. As for the loadout you suggest, rammer/net/binoculars does work well but I prefer to replace the binoculars with vents for tanks like these. Often enough you'll have forward spotters so your own view range becomes irrelevant.



hammertime623 #10 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 04:10

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View PostBeesnest, on Jan 03 2016 - 02:21, said:

Nicely done commemoration, Mikosah.  Wow, almost 2400 games; that's awesome!  Congratulations, a well earned achievement, no doubt.

I have, and like playing the Stug III G also.  I have found a lot of what you say about her to be true (armor, traverse, etc.).  I don't have much trouble

playing her on open ground, but I would like to ask: How do you handle city maps with her?  I tend to struggle on close-quarter, city maps.

Thank you in advance, sir.

 

From my experience in the Stug, you want to avoid close range fights until the battle develops.  There's usually some place you can sit back until you can see what's going on in the fight.  Then, if needed, you can basically play it like a medium/battle TD.  Because it has great mobility, and the terrain is ideal in city maps, you can be sneaky.  Look for chances, to snap around the corner and start popping shots into flanks/rears.  With a good crew and equipment, you can even get away with at least two shots into a heavy before he can even point his gun at you.  Be tricky, make them think you're in one position or driving in one direction, then switch it up thanks to your ability to turn on a dime.  As mentioned in the original post, the facehug into their rears/sides may work if you're close enough, but it's pretty dangerous.  Only use it as a last resort.  I can't tell you how many times being that slippery devil nobody can catch has saved me in 1v3 to 1v5 games.  But these tactics only work effectively on tanks that aren't tier 7.  If you're that outmatched, it's hard to do much besides be annoying and keep out of their sights.

NL_Celt #11 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 06:19

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View PostMikosah, on Jan 02 2016 - 23:35, said:

 

 

Agreed that they are very similar, but the SU-85 is the more crude of the two. The gun is more powerful, but fires less often and takes much longer to aim. Much more potential for RNG to intervene and make you miserable. But the edge in raw power does solve the problem that Beesnest just now brings up, raw power is more useful in urban environments. If you do transition to the StuG in the future, you just need to be a little more cautious. As for the loadout you suggest, rammer/net/binoculars does work well but I prefer to replace the binoculars with vents for tanks like these. Often enough you'll have forward spotters so your own view range becomes irrelevant.

 

As much as anything I want the binocs for late game when there are few tanks around or I'm the last, or a bit isolated on a flank. Lots of time not enough bushes and despite great camo, she's really very blind. So on those occasions I like to have a little more chance of spotting something before they spot me or at least not be so blind that I can't see them even if they fire. Often by that time of the game all I need is one hit to take out the other tank. The extra alpha can really help out there.

 

I could easily see Vents working, but so far I've found the combo of great camo with at least some vision to work out quite well enough.

 

I will definitely get to the StgIIIG. Just trying to get a sensible enough crew ready in the Hetzer. Only about 85% 1st skill, all camo. Will probably keep both. Hetzer is fun. Only problem I have is the traverse at close range. Swings too fast and even with the lightest touch I'll swing past the target, and then past again on the return attempt. Just had this happen to me against a KV-1 where I should have killed him but couldn't manage to get the gun on target in time. 


Edited by NL_Celt, Jan 03 2016 - 06:19.


Red_chrome #12 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 21:08

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View PostMikosah, on Jan 02 2016 - 20:08, said:

For starters, a tiny bit of fudged-up paraphrased historical background. Not long into WWII the Wehrmacht found themselves with an abundance of Panzer Mk. IIIs and their assorted spare parts that were ripe for conversion into assault guns. Originally these were armed with short-barrel 75mm howitzers meant to fire HE at low velocity at personnel and fixed emplacements, but as time went on the presence of tougher enemy armor presented the need for a antitank weapons of greater caliber and mobility. Later varieties of Sturmgeschutz, literally "assault gun", armed with the high velocity 75mm L48 gun soon filled the niche and went on to being the most abundantly produced armored vehicle in service with the Wehrmacht during the entire war. Roughly 9000 were either manufactured from scratch or converted from existing Pz. IIIs, and these were responsible for the destruction of well over 20000 allied vehicles on various fronts. Arguably the most successful armored vehicle fielded by any of the axis powers, even in spite of the fame and fortune going to more 'intimidating' designs such as the various Tigers and Panthers. Score one for the little guy! For further historical fluff, I recommend the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08wP9JODO78


Thanks for the info, I wasn't aware how many were built IRL. I've only seen StuGs a couple of times in my limited gaming career here, but I was impressed by:

  • How low they are (and thus hard to hit).
  • How functionally attractive they are

 

I'm a long way from being ready to play at Tier 5, and I don't think I'd be a very good TD player (lots of strategy and ability to "see" the terrain needed), but thanks for sharing the info about your beautiful tank!

 

So what would the 'NA' in StuG_Emperor_NA stand for? North America? or Neuer Art? (tho 'neuer Art' is usually written 'nA' ).



Mikosah #13 Posted Jan 03 2016 - 22:45

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View PostRed_chrome, on Jan 03 2016 - 14:08, said:


Thanks for the info, I wasn't aware how many were built IRL. I've only seen StuGs a couple of times in my limited gaming career here, but I was impressed by:

  • How low they are (and thus hard to hit).
  • How functionally attractive they are

 

I'm a long way from being ready to play at Tier 5, and I don't think I'd be a very good TD player (lots of strategy and ability to "see" the terrain needed), but thanks for sharing the info about your beautiful tank!

 

So what would the 'NA' in StuG_Emperor_NA stand for? North America? or Neuer Art? (tho 'neuer Art' is usually written 'nA' ).

 

In this case I was referring to the North America server. I don't know if I have the energy to claw up the leaderboards in more than just one server.

Gtraxeman #14 Posted Jan 04 2016 - 19:31

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Nice write up, I love my Stugg also. With a great crew, it can be devastating. My crew spends a lot of time in the Dmax (with xtra crewman for the Dmax), and now also driving the Stugg iv (which I am enjoying too).
On reverse, when spotted, I find that zig zagging in reverse, to angle the hull a bit, it bounces shots really well.

memegene #15 Posted Jan 05 2016 - 16:57

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I too love the Stug. The best reason for binocs over vents is during the mid to late game. Quite often you will lack spotters. And you will be pitted against heavies or tds who also are vr challenged. The binos can give you a decisive advantage in these cases. To mitigate the horrible reverse speed, when side scraping or peaking a corner give so much room to allow yourself to drive into the corner dont try to back around.  

DAGMARK #16 Posted Jan 05 2016 - 18:02

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Picked up the hetzer last week and slowly working towards the stugIII g and eventually a tier 10.

Thanks, good read.



lungustefan #17 Posted Jan 05 2016 - 21:10

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View PostSlayer_Jesse, on Jan 03 2016 - 01:17, said:

Casual stug player here but...

Rammer, camo, binos, or rammer, vents, and gld?

 

dont use binocs  on td's,they have by default bad view range,and you wont get much out of it with binocs.

 

use vents instead,that extra of everything will help you out everytime you play.



memegene #18 Posted Jan 06 2016 - 21:06

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View Postlungustefan, on Jan 05 2016 - 14:10, said:

 

dont use binocs  on td's,they have by default bad view range,and you wont get much out of it with binocs.

 

use vents instead,that extra of everything will help you out everytime you play.

 

use binos at low tiers and optics at higher tiers. You will get more mileage out of vision late game than vents provide. It will save wins and allow damage farming in a loss. 

 

BTW I love when someone with more posts than battles tries to give advice. 


Edited by meangean, Jan 06 2016 - 21:08.


Mikosah #19 Posted Jan 07 2016 - 01:05

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View Postmeangean, on Jan 06 2016 - 14:06, said:

 

use binos at low tiers and optics at higher tiers. You will get more mileage out of vision late game than vents provide. It will save wins and allow damage farming in a loss. 

 

BTW I love when someone with more posts than battles tries to give advice. 

 

I'll admit, I might have been hasty in condemning the binocs on the StuG. I'm just spoiled with 132% crews. But here's an opportunity to get in another good point of discussion for the new guys- at what point do you transition from binocs to optics? The magic number is having a view range of at least 380 meters. Let's do some math. 380 meters multiplied by optics' 10% buff brings you to 418 meters. 418 buffed by BIA and vision skills becomes 450 meters. Just past the 445 spotting cap. Which means anything is fair game to be spotted, of course the closer and fatter the better. And there's still some leeway for vents and food to improve your view range a little more than that. At that point, binocs are redundant (unless you still have a crappy crew).

Red_chrome #20 Posted Jan 07 2016 - 02:00

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View PostMikosah, on Jan 06 2016 - 19:05, said:

 

I'll admit, I might have been hasty in condemning the binocs on the StuG. I'm just spoiled with 132% crews. But here's an opportunity to get in another good point of discussion for the new guys- at what point do you transition from binocs to optics? The magic number is having a view range of at least 380 meters. Let's do some math. 380 meters multiplied by optics' 10% buff brings you to 418 meters. 418 buffed by BIA and vision skills becomes 450 meters. Just past the 445 spotting cap. Which means anything is fair game to be spotted, of course the closer and fatter the better. And there's still some leeway for vents and food to improve your view range a little more than that. At that point, binocs are redundant (unless you still have a crappy crew).

 

Thanks for the math. Those are some good rules of thumb to use.

My understanding is that enemy camouflage knocks percentages off your effective view range. So if the enemy has 20% camouflage (easy enough with a light tank and a camo net), that would knock your spot distance for them down to 450-(450*.20)=360m. If you had binocs instead of optics, your view range is now 380+(380*.25)=475, plus ~450-418=~32, so 475+~32=~507. 20% off 507m is 406m, so that's quite a bit farther at which you could still spot a camouflaged vehicle.

 

Of course, this is a case of rapidly diminishing returns. 6th sense will tell you the light tank is there, even if you can't spot it, and the amount of damage it can do may be limited, so you can spend that equipment slot on optics and have something that works even while you're racing across that ~50m distance difference between what the optics give you and the binocs give you.

 

My math is probably missing some key values, but I'm just throwing this out for the sake of discussion. Experienced players, please inform me where that difference matters and where better to spend credits/effort. Theory is all fine and dandy, but reality informs us how often the corner cases accounted for in theory, are something we need to worry about.

 

As a side note, it occurs to me that from a realism standpoint, it would make more sense for binoculars to give an additive improvement (like a flat 100m improvement to view range) since it represents the TC sticking his head out the hatch and looking around, and coated optics a percentage improvement (like the 10%) since it represents an improvement to existing equipment. It's pretty obvious that this is a game and not a simulator tho, so let's not quibble about such things.







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