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Why Do Tanks Split Up in World of Tanks Rather than Mass Forces?

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Serpentine_Shel #1 Posted May 11 2020 - 15:50

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I found some convincing authoritative answers from The Chieftian (Nicholas Moran):   The Chieftian -- Wargaming's in-house tank expert and former US Army combat tanker -- says that it usually makes sense to mass firepower on the cap in Encounter, and also in Standard (on the enemy cap) if you protect your own base sufficiently.  Watch the vids to draw your own conclusions. See esp these three videos but all of The Chieftian's strategy videos are great.

 

ps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsWrr7Am7zM

https://www.youtube....h?v=5iLeY-uCpV8

https://www.youtube....h?v=ClGMCld114I

 

 

In WOT the conventional strategy is for Heavy Tanks to go one way and Mediums to go the other, regardless of map and team composition. Some tanks even go off on their own - usually a suicide mission.  (I am putting LT, TDs and Arty to one side because they are special cases.) These choices are almost never discussed in game chat.  I know the HT/MT split follows long-standing tactics and can make sense because the types of tanks perform differently in different terrain. But a basic tenet of military strategy is to never split up your forces if you do not know the disposition of the enemy force, and to seek local superiority to concentrate fire and defeat in detail.  See either of the excellent movies about the battle of Roarke's Drift for illustration.  Seems to me that on maps without small choke points it makes more sense for HT and MT to stick together as a single force that is able to support each other, so long as the team's base is covered.  Since the other team is likely to split, then the massed team would have local superiority and can reliably flank and defeat the opponents in detail. Some TDs with high armor could effectively join this "Deathstar" group as well.  Even in some cities with enough room to maneuver this could be effective. 

Is there a tactical reason I am missing why this is never done? Thanks for any advice. - S.S.

 

Thanks for the comments. To add some thoughts in light of some valid comments: 

"Massed" to me does not mean right next to each other -- to me it means able to help each other.   I agree that massing forces can lead to easy targets or being outflanked and capped.  Of course you need to not bunch up too close (so arty cannot get two for one shots) and there needs to be "security" for every advance in the form of light tanks, flankers and TD/slow tank over-watch.  What I am puzzled by is the splitting of forces so that they cannot help each other - on other sides of the map or separated by lakes/mountains, except where the map demands it.

 

(Also, I have seen tanks stick to fighting for their tank types usual place of business (Town, Hill, etc.) at the expense of getting easily capped.)

 


Edited by Serpentine_Shel, May 20 2020 - 19:39.


Highly_Illogical #2 Posted May 11 2020 - 15:52

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You are confusing the game with an actual teamwork game. Those are valid points, but people want their own damage rather than a win.

Kramah313 #3 Posted May 11 2020 - 15:57

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There are other better players probably able to discuss this in better detail, but from what I have seen the “lemming train” works if two conditions are met. First, the mass force needs to recognize its numerical advantage and push aggressively. Second, the backside needs a couple of snipers and maybe a spotter dug in to hold off the other team’s advance until the main force is finished obliterating the smaller force. When these conditions are met it seems to work really well. Unfortunately what seems to happen most of the time is that the giant force seems to get stalled by a small number of tanks because no one wants to be the one to take the hit. Then the other side gets rolled and the large force gets flanked from multiple angles. Also, the opposing team can get spotters and snipers or arty picking off the giant blob if the blob doesn’t roll through quickly. 

 

In short, I think this doesn’t happen because the average pub team won’t commit to it. Maybe some good players can comment on this in terms of high level clan wars matches where there is more coordination - I haven’t ever done those. 


Edited by Kramah313, May 11 2020 - 15:58.


Whistling_Death_ #4 Posted May 11 2020 - 15:59

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Because the one-flank lemming-train auto-fail does not work.  Oh someone will chime in and say that during XX battle, it worked.  Okay, fine.  Even a broken clock tells the correct time of day two times a day.

 

I once kept track of the teams that used the one-flank lemming-train fail and the won/loss record with it.  After 150 losses in a row with my teams using the one-flank lemming-train fail, the truth about this failed strategy was glaringly evident. We need to watch our Mini-map's and if we see our team starting to abandon a flank and overpower the other flank, we need to break off, reverse course and go cover the abandoned flank, so we don't get flanked and lose.

 

Abandoning flanks is foolish.  It leaves about 50% of the map unguarded and unspotted, which shuts down the powerful team artillery from being able to hit enemy tanks on half of the map. This is almost always a fatal error.

 

Tanks all bunched up, "massed together", also make a very easy, juicy target, especially for the enemy team artillery.    Imagine if you were in your one tank and three enemy tanks were coming your direction.  Would it be easier for you to defend against them and shoot them if they all came from the same direction, "massed together", or would it be harder to defend against them if they were not, "massed together", and they were coming at you from the north, east and west?  Think about it.  Logic.

 

The one-flank lemming-train fail auto-loss does not work.

 

 



ArmorStorm #5 Posted May 11 2020 - 16:09

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1. It’s a game, not reality. 
2. I don’t believe that is actual doctrine.  Getting surrounded isn’t a good plan. 
3. You can’t steal a battle by capping the army. 



GeorgePreddy #6 Posted May 11 2020 - 16:12

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You are confusing real life battles and organized WoT battles with WoT Random Battles.

 

In RL battles and even in WoT ORGANIZED battles there are commanders in charge of the troops.

 

In WoT Random Battles, it is every man for himself, each battle has 15 individuals thrown together randomly on each team, and they all have their own personal goals. Some are trying to complete a mission, some are stat padding their WN8, some are just having fun shooting stuff (playing for fun), some are trying out a new and different wacky strat. Etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Serpentine_Shel #7 Posted May 11 2020 - 16:31

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View PostWhistling_Death_, on May 11 2020 - 14:59, said:

Because the one-flank lemming-train auto-fail does not work.  Oh someone will chime in and say that during XX battle, it worked.  Okay, fine.  Even a broken clock tells the correct time of day two times a day.

 

I once kept track of the teams that used the one-flank lemming-train fail and the won/loss record with it.  After 150 losses in a row with my teams using the one-flank lemming-train fail, the truth about this failed strategy was glaringly evident. We need to watch our Mini-map's and if we see our team starting to abandon a flank and overpower the other flank, we need to break off, reverse course and go cover the abandoned flank, so we don't get flanked and lose.

 

Abandoning flanks is foolish.  It leaves about 50% of the map unguarded and unspotted, which shuts down the powerful team artillery from being able to hit enemy tanks on half of the map. This is almost always a fatal error.

 

Tanks all bunched up, "massed together", also make a very easy, juicy target, especially for the enemy team artillery.    Imagine if you were in your one tank and three enemy tanks were coming your direction.  Would it be easier for you to defend against them and shoot them if they all came from the same direction, "massed together", or would it be harder to defend against them if they were not, "massed together", and they were coming at you from the north, east and west?  Think about it.  Logic.

 

The one-flank lemming-train fail auto-loss does not work.

 

 

 

This is a good point. I left out the role of light tanks.  I agree with this critique but massed to me does not mean all next to each other to me it means able to help each other.  There needs to be "security" for every advance in the form of light tanks, flankers and overwatch.  What I am puzzled by is the splitting of forces so that they cannot help each other.  But I see why the massed force could get flanked or capped while they are steamrolling a smaller force.

I do not agree that defending against three tanks is easier than one, since you cannot shoot three at a time.



xtc4 #8 Posted May 11 2020 - 16:32

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^what he said. There is no commander to give orders and make a coordinated strategy work in pubs. A player has to read his own team as well as the enemy and act accordingly.

xtc4 #9 Posted May 11 2020 - 16:34

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View PostGeorgePreddy, on May 11 2020 - 10:12, said:

You are confusing real life battles and organized WoT battles with WoT Random Battles.

 

In RL battles and even in WoT ORGANIZED battles there are commanders in charge of the troops.

 

In WoT Random Battles, it is every man for himself, each battle has 15 individuals thrown together randomly on each team, and they all have their own personal goals. Some are trying to complete a mission, some are stat padding their WN8, some are just having fun shooting stuff (playing for fun), some are trying out a new and different wacky strat. Etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^what he said. There is no commander to give orders and make a coordinated strategy work in pubs. A player has to read his own team as well as the enemy and act accordingly.



SKurj #10 Posted May 11 2020 - 17:00

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the lemming train can work but ..

 

teamwork trumps all



Mumbochicken #11 Posted May 11 2020 - 22:53

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As others said the lack of a commander in random play makes it difficult.  You'll see it a little more in the more organized modes but even then there are other reasons to still split up your tanks.  In my opinion, maps aren't big enough for that to be a major point to focus on.  You don't want all your tanks trying to use the same building/rock as cover in the same way you wouldn't want all your infantry in a single foxhole.  You need to spread out to be able to provide firing angles to support your teammates while covering their flanks.

bad_73 #12 Posted May 12 2020 - 00:06

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Leaving a flank open leads to massive spamming of the map.Dont lemming and spamming wont happen.Now ,2k battles players should uninstall if they think this a tactic.

Roggg2 #13 Posted May 12 2020 - 14:57

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What you describe is often how clan wars battles play out.  There's typically a main force and some scattered resources to hold certain positions.  And when the main force is split, they are usually in positions where they can reinforce one another.  But these are coordinated battles with a battle-caller making decisions and tankers using voice communications to coordinate.

 

In random battles, 15 people are doing what they think is best, or what they know how to do.  The game is often won by whichever team wins a side first, so not splitting can allow the enemy to wrap around and get cross-fire on a consolidated force.  That said, it's usually better to be in the lemming train than to be the speed-bump on the other side, but realistically when your team lemmings, you don't have much influence over the outcome.  If the push is done well, you win by overwhelming, and if it stalls or pushes into a kill-zone, you lose no matter what you do with your own tank.



Altwar #14 Posted May 12 2020 - 15:28

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View Postbad_73, on May 11 2020 - 15:06, said:

Leaving a flank open leads to massive spamming of the map.Dont lemming and spamming wont happen.Now ,2k battles players should uninstall if they think this a tactic.

 

Any player who thinks others should uninstall for any reason would do well to take their own advice.  ;)



Necrophore #15 Posted May 12 2020 - 15:29

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Lemming trains might actually work if they didn't stop and scatter at the first red dot they see. Too many times our 13-tank train never makes it out of our side of the map, just forms bigger piles behind the rocks.

SquishySupreme #16 Posted May 12 2020 - 15:49

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The issue stems from years of reward missions and personal missions that focus on bonuses for stupid tactics instead of winning.

A great example of this are the heavy tank "play your class right" missions.  You got points for finding the other heavies and trading a lot of shells with them in a knife-fight.  So they all go to a corner where arty can't reach, do that, and get XP whether they win or lose.  The Light tank rewards initial spotting, so passive spotting stopped being used.  Mediums?  Shoot 5 tanks once versus focusing fire on 2 to kill them.  

Stuff like that - that became ingrained in the player base.  As well as an utter lack of care about capping/playing the objective because it gets you less points than wiping out the enemy team.

Play Warships and you'll see what I mean - there doing stupid things leads to a quick demise, few points, and teamwork is necessary.

Also, lemming trains DO work if it isn't lemmings but a herd of stampeding bulls.  IF you decide to clump and push forward, you cannot stop, must accept your losses, and break through.  Anything else gets met with utter failure.

Edited by SquishySupreme, May 12 2020 - 15:52.


dunniteowl #17 Posted May 12 2020 - 16:28

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These maps, in general are SMALL maps when it comes to how far a tank can accurately fire.  However, they are counterbalanced by terrain and object placement that 'chops' the maps up into sections, reached by 'corridor' funnel areas from each side of the map.  This prevents standard modern warfare type tactics from being all that practical in this game.  Add to this that many of the tanks are things that never saw battle and many that never saw a prototype -- or more than just that one.

 

You then add into the mix: 1st Aid Kits that can heal and revive injured and dead crew; Repair Kits that can repair as if it were never damaged, parts of your tank that would knock it out of a 'real' fight; modules that others can add to their tanks to change characteristics and tanks that pretty much NEVER break down from just being driven.  This creates a much 'richer' field of opportunity than real tanks and tank tactics can provide in this game.

 

All the other points made above are also in that mix and stands in the way of 'standard' real world style tactics on the maps we have.  Lemming Trains are anathema in this game.  They would work more if they were, like most things, properly conducted.  My experience is that the moment a 12 to 14 tank Train runs into ANY opposition -- it stops dead in the water completely.

 

And that is why they fail.  Suddenly superior numbers becomes fish in a barrel, locked into a tight mass, unwilling to burst the confines of their self-imposed containered position and just overwhelm the 2 to 5 opponents that math and logic says, cannot withstand such a charge and might not last long enough to even destroy one tank with all that focused fire to bring to bear.

 

It just rarely ever happens.  More rare than spotting a Tasmanian Tiger.  More rare than seeing a Snow Leopard.  More rare than snow in the Sahara.

 

It means it's not ever really worth doing.  The 'success' moments would be told like this, "One time, in band camp..."

 

 

Single largest issue to cooperation in this game:  Most folks still play this game as if they are the only ones that know what's going on and that all others are either bots or idiots.  In short, most folks play this game as if it were a Single Player Game that happens to be online and, oh yeah, there are other folks there, too.

 

 

Most folks think they already know all they need to know to play this game.  In one sense, they are right.  You don't need to know more than what the WASD keys and mouse keys do, how the mouse is used to aim and look around and you can ultimately fail to learn play your way all the way to tier X without missing a beat.

 

If you really want to KNOW how to play the game, though, that's going to cost you in terms of time spent learning more about the game when you are NOT playing it.

 

The VAST MAJORITY OF PLAYERS, as I mentioned above, think they already know all they need to know to play, so they are NOT even going to be LOOKING for more information to play better.  All they have to do is claim that the game is 'rigged' against them somehow, blame RNG, MM, gold rounds, Seal Clubbers, Platooning Stat Padders, etc. and it's all better.  Now you have a great tale of, "If it weren't for them darned kids, I'd have gotten away with it, too."

 

This is pretty much the answer to the why of your question.  Too many folks think they know all they need to and many of those same players treat the game as a single player experience.  That's not conducive to team work principles.

 

 

GL, HF & HSYBF!
OvO


Edited by dunniteowl, May 12 2020 - 17:10.


uberdice #18 Posted May 14 2020 - 09:36

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What you need to consider is that just about every useful position on every map has a maximum capacity of tanks, and adding more will only reduce the effectiveness of whatever you already have there, assuming things remain fairly static.

 

You can generally expect things to start off pretty static, hence it's natural to split off to not overload certain points.

 

For example, the rubble pile on the north side of the banana in Himmelsdorf can comfortably accommodate 1 hull down tank. You can play 2 there, but if they're average players who aren't on voice comms with each other, they'll get in each other's way a bit. Not enough to be disastrous, but enough to be annoying. Put 3 tanks there, and they'll get in each other's way so much that at least one won't actually be able to do anything.

 

Another example: Studzianki, rubble pile on the eastern side of the factory, facing south. Two hull down tanks can use that pile semi-comfortably to shoot south, but three will struggle to find space, and four will definitely get in each other's way.



PrideOBedlam #19 Posted May 14 2020 - 14:30

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View PostGeorgePreddy, on May 11 2020 - 09:12, said:

 

 

 

 

In WoT Random Battles, it is every man for himself, each battle has 15 individuals thrown together randomly on each team, and they all have their own personal goals. Some are trying to complete a mission, some are stat padding their WN8, some are just having fun shooting stuff (playing for fun), some are trying out a new and different wacky strat. Etc, etc.

 

^^^^^^^^This is the nutshell. Individual player with their own goals, playing styles and experience.^^^^^^^^^  Good question though. I've wondered that myself.


Edited by PrideOBedlam, May 14 2020 - 15:00.


Serpentine_Shel #20 Posted May 14 2020 - 14:55

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there were a lot of very useful observations here thank you!! I understand better now how the maps shape the strategy, especially the ones with narrow corridors.  I have been in numerous situations where I could not get in a shot or could find no cover because of too many tanks.crowding together.  so I see what you mean.  And the wide open spaces are usually death raps due to snipers.  It is necessary on almost all maps to split forces, but I would say not robotically depending on player mix and scouting results (if any).
The absence of voice communication and a commander — or even desire to coordinate — is of course also an issue. I have also seen many players ignore capping and tell others to NOT CAP in favor of inflicting damage — and as a result throwing away a sure win for their team.  Also flanking tactics are very rare, and camping for late game xp (ie, using your teammates as cannon fodder) is also common.  The game and ratings systems seem to encourage those tactics.

Team-wide Voice chat works fine for Mechwarrior Online, and is not usually abused due to rigorous enforcement of chat standards.  It think WOT would benefit from that.

Thanks again for the thoughts !!







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