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Using Military Doctrinal Fundamentals of Maneuver in WoT


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bigmc1096 #1 Posted Oct 16 2011 - 18:57

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Hello World of Tankers! While on deployment, I discovered this game from a peer of mine, and quickly grew to love this tank simulator/shooter game.  With its fun shooter mechanics and addictive but frustrating RPG elements, this game quickly occupied much of my free time.  As a Platoon Leader in the Armor Branch of the U.S. Army, this game gives me a chance to “practice” my craft even when I’m not actually on my tank.  While playing, I noticed my peers and I began to use actual military doctrine to shape the fight and win the battle.  Even though these tropes are used for actual tactical operations, they easily apply to the mechanics of the game and have proven to be successful in my admitted limited experience of this game.  While these Fundamentals of Maneuver may not provide a strict strategy for success for advanced players, knowing these will keep you alive and may improve the way you think about playing the game.



Principles of Offense


A successful Tank Commander will employ these 4 principles throughout their offensive operation.




Concentration - Concentration is the massing of overwhelming effects of combat power to achieve a single purpose.  The single purpose is simple, destroy the enemy. Remember that a tank with only 1 HP does the same amount of damage as a tank at 100%. During the game, using ctrl + Target to call out who your platoon or wolf pack is attacking next to take down is very effective. Also note the use of “overwhelming” effects.  Instead of everybody taking pop shots at the same tank, have somebody (usually the lowest tier or damaging tank) pre-loaded with HE rounds to affect the opposing tanks modules or tracks.  This also assists the SPGs in making more accurate shots. Many times I have seen an upper tier taken out because of their lack of maneuverability due to damaged modules and the concentration of AP, HE and Arty.

Audacity - Audacity is a simple plan of action, boldly executed.  George S. Patton, arguably the best tank commander ever known (I know Rommel was pretty B-A as well, but I do hold a bit of a biased opinion,) once said that a “good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”  When you are fighting a clan war, or a company battle, it is a bit easier, but even PuGs can accomplish this.  In the first 30 seconds before a game, come up with a game plan.  Let people know where you and your group are going or get a DECENT group to remain in defense (nothing is more frustrating than watching a the whole team leave your base and watching 2 T-50-2s or a Chaffee obliterate your SPGs or seeing a small group cap your base while the offensive group is in the middle of an epic battle.)  Make a plan, try to stick to the plan, but remain flexible. (A little ironic dichotomy never hurt anybody)

TempoTempo simply refers to the speed of the battle. Controlling or altering tempo is necessary to retain the initiative.  When you push forward and see a group of equal tanks, and everybody begins retreating, you just lost your tempo.  Get behind cover and stand your ground.  When you gain the initiative, push forward.  Violence of action produces results, just remember to make sure you aren’t in any compromising positions, because then violence of action produces quick deaths.  A technique that keeps tempo that translates to the game from the armor world is alternating fires.  I personally like alternating fires when in a position where you Peek and Shoot.  Have one tank peek out and shoot, then back up again. Once that tank backs up to reload, the second tank pulls forward and shoots his round, producing a constant stream of direct fire onto the enemy.  This takes coordination among the two (or even three) tanks using this method, but is very effective.

Surprise - In the offense, commanders achieve surprise by attacking the enemy at a time or place he does not expect or in a manner for which he is unprepared.  This doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you come out from your hiding spot, yell BOO!, shoot and laugh as the tanks die.  What this translates to is attacking where the enemy is not prepared for.  When you have a tank pinned down behind a rock, have a Medium or Light tank flank to his rear and fire away.  If you keep the enemy unprepared for your attack, you will destroy him quickly.  Just because the enemy is aware of your position does not mean you can achieve surprise.  If he cannot deal with you, then you have accomplished your goal.



Forms of Maneuver

Offensive operations at their basic forms are shaped into 5 different Forms of Maneuver. While normally combined, each form of maneuver attacks the enemy differently. Each poses different challenges for attackers and different dangers for defenders. Understanding these and knowing when and where to employ these forms quickly sets the battle up for success.




Envelopment - Envelopments avoid the enemy front, where he is protected and can easily concentrate fires. Single envelopments maneuver against one enemy flank; double envelopments maneuver against both. Either variant can develop into encirclement.  This is flanking pure and simple.  The goal is to attack the enemy at more fronts than they are prepared to handle or even just one front they aren’t ready for.  Sometimes this means backtracking and circling around, but once you can see his rear armor, BAM! its worth it.

Turning MovementThis occurs when the attacking force seeks to avoid the enemy's principal defensive positions by seizing objectives to the enemy rear and causing the enemy to move out of his current positions or divert major forces to meet the threat. This is a great tool go gain the initiative of the initial push.  If your forces are in a bit of a stalemate, give them a reason to pull off their attackers to regain the advantage.  Send a light tank after their artillery or their base.  I have seen as much as three heavies leave the fight to help the base, the push is then won by the advancing team and then they hit the tanks that left in the rear slaying them effortlessly.

Penetration - Commanders direct penetrations when enemy flanks are not assailable or time does not permit another form of maneuver. Successful penetrations create assailable flanks and provide access to enemy rear areas. Because penetrations frequently are directed into the front of the enemy defense, they risk significantly more friendly casualties than envelopments, turning movements, and infiltrations.  As stated, this form is a high risk/high reward technique.  The goal here is to simply split the enemy down the middle assaulting its weakest point.  This is usually used during the end of the match or a last ditch effort to take the enemies base.  Again, remember to assault the WEAKEST point of the enemies’ position, not their wall of E-100s.

InfiltrationAn infil is where an attacking force conducts undetected movement through or into an area occupied by enemy forces to occupy a position of advantage in the enemy rear while exposing only small elements to enemy defensive fires.  Even though this doesn’t completely apply to light tanks…light tanks need to take close attention to this form.  There are plenty of maps where traveling across the map can be accomplished almost completely unseen.  The proper use of intervisibility (IV) lines and cover and concealment will make you invisible and/or unhittable while probing their positions. This point can be another guide altogether, just remember that the average battle lasts between 5-8 minutes, so kamikaze-ing yourself in the first 30 seconds makes you useless the other 90% of the match.

Frontal Attack - An attacking force can use a frontal attack to rapidly overrun a weaker enemy force. A frontal attack strikes the enemy across a wide front and over the most direct approaches. Commanders normally use it when they possess overwhelming combat power and the enemy is at a clear disadvantage. Commanders mass the effects of direct and indirect fires. Success depends on achieving an advantage in combat power throughout the attack. This form is pretty straight forward (no pun intended). Once you notice you have the advantage, sound the bugle call because it’s time to deliver the crushing blow.

No single one of these forms guarantees the success of your battle.  If you use the proper form at the proper time, you will maximize your chances of victory.  Just remember, a lot of outcomes and issues are produce purely by dumb luck.



Battle Position Principles (PTSEARS)

Unlike a lot of shooter games where constant movement are keys to success, tank battles mainly consist of maneuvering from one battle position to another.  Battle Positions (BPs) are simply where you have decided you will fight the fight.  Remember to use the terrain around you to your advantage.  A battle position assumes you are using more than 1 tank.




Primary and Secondary Fighting Positions – A fighting position is simply the individuals position within the battle position. It could be a rock, house, berm, or even a fallen tank.  You want to have more than one place to attack from, thus creating a secondary fighting position.  It can be simply the other side of the rock you are using, or another rock/house/cover nearby. The goal is to not provide the same target to enemies every time you peek out.

Target Reference Points (TRP) – In the armor world, a TRP is used to provide a common point of reference for you and your wingmen.  This is useful for spotting and or reporting enemy tanks that attempt to flank or catch you unawares.  In the game, use the major terrain features. Clock tower, mountain, bridge, forest, hill. All of these make for an easy way to assist in telling people that they need to look in a certain area.  If time permits, and you are using a program such as teamspeak/skype/vent you can easily orient your team’s fires in a specific place.

Sectors of Fire – In battle, fire discipline is a must. Sometimes, it is actually a hindrance for everybody to face the same direction. People become concentrated on one area or target, and fail to account for their weak flank.  If you are in a group and you are in a BP with an unprotected flank, it may be necessary to assign another tank a different sector of fire (a lane which you are required to watch or shoot at) regardless of what may be going on in the main battle.  There is nothing more annoying than to be involved in a fire fight, and then begin to receive fire against your unprotected flank. By the time you adjust it may be too late or you may have lost enough tanks to lose your advantage.

Engagement Area – This one is simple: where are you going to fight the enemy.  If you have an advantageous position, you create where you want to fight the enemy. Let them come to you, because you may be traveling to their own engagement area.  Remember to always fight the enemy where it will hurt them the most.

Avenues of Approach (Enemy) – This can coincide with engagement area. Avenues of approach are locations where the enemy is most likely to come from.  Identifying these comes from common sense and experience.  Once you locate common AoAs, use this to your advantage when creating your Battle Positions.

Routes To and From BPs – I find that this is commonly overlooked and has led to an early demise many of times while playing this game.  Sometimes it is better to displace and live to fight another day.  However in order to do this, you need to identify good routes in AND OUT of your BPs.  If you find yourself backed into a corner and/or pinned down, if you get overwhelmed, you will die.

Supplementary and Subsequent Battle Positions – Supplementary BPs are simply a second set of BPs that focus on the same engagement area.  This works to your advantage. If you can get two groups of tanks firing on the same area, anybody who rolls in will quickly get rolled up.  There are several maps where this is possible and I have been on both the receiving and giving end of these “ambushes.”  A subsequent BP is a different BP that focuses on a completely different engagement area it can be as simple as quickly turning around and focusing your direct fires on a different area of the map, or moving to a completely different area to head off an enemy wave that broke through a different line.  

The key to applying the Battle Position Principles is again to have a plan.  Once you play with a group long enough, you will be surprised how quickly you remember to find yourself telling each other what you plan to do. A key theme here is to “always have a plan.”



Terrain Analysis (OAK–OC)

The analysis of terrain around you quickly points out places of advantage and disadvantage.  Time and time again I see people who just roll on top of a hill in order to get the best shot on somebody and then get pummeled by opposing forces not yet in your viewing area or camouflaged to your flank.  Using the terrain correctly will quickly put the fight in your favor.




Observations and Fields of Fire – Throughout the game, you need to be aware of where you can see and where you can shoot.  That little berm to your right can hide an entire platoon of tanks.  Once you know where these points are, you can employ your tanks to maximize your visual range throughout the map.

Avenues of Approach – Avenues of Approach (AoA) is where the enemy is most likely or can come from. Identifying these helps in reducing surprises when a platoon of tanks approaches your flanks out of nowhere.

Key terrain – Key terrain is any terrain feature that can provides a marked advantage to whomever holds it.  Most likely it is a hill, but can also be an important avenue of approach or a great sniper location.  Just remember, that just because it is higher ground, does not make it key terrain.  If you are on a hill with no cover around you, you can quickly become the victim of enemy artillery.

Obstacles – These are anything on the map that can impede your travel.  I can be tank corpses that block the way, a choke point where tanks can only travel 1 or 2 at a time across, or even water or an uphill climb that will stall the enemies’ movement.  Use these to your advantage when creating your battle positions.

Cover and Concealment – The age old misconception that these two are the same thing.  Concealment is anything that that will hide your tank, such as a bush. Cover is anything that will protect you from enemy fire.  Remember cover can be concealment, but concealment is not cover.  Always go for cover if you can help it. Not only will it protect you from enemy fire, but if you put enough of it between you and the enemy, they can no longer see you and that can be used to your advantage, especially if you find yourself in a Tiny or Speedy Medium tanks(I’m looking at you Type 59s, Chaffees, and T-50-2s.)



Movement Techniques

There are 3 movement techniques in U.S. Military Doctrine.  They form all the ways we move tactically and I have seen them used successfully in WoT. You can use them to provide cover for your wingmen when getting from point A to point B and reducing the number of casualties if you come across a rolling wave of Tier X death.




Traveling – This involves getting from one point to another as quick as possible. You can do this in a file or whatever formation you want.  Normally this occurs when the battle first begins or you are trying to get to the cap as fast as possible.  This provides the least amount of protection as you are focused on getting to your destination rather than the enemy.  Do not travel when you are expecting enemy contact.

Traveling Overwatch  - This provides more protection than travelling as you have more space between the tanks.  This way you can provide some sort of support to the tank in front of you without exposing your entire element.  A technique for this is to have a medium or light tank travel about 100m in front of the main element. This way he can identify the enemy for his buddies so they can begin firing on their targets. Once the enemy is spotted, pull back to the safety of the group so when the targets are gone, you can move up again.

Bounding Overwatch – This movement technique provides the most protection for your forces and is used when under direct contact with the enemy or you are attempting to approach with as little of your element as possible.  The principle to this is to have one element providing supporting fire against the enemy while a second element moves up.  There are two forms of bounding overwatch: Alternating and Successive.

            1. Alternating – The best way to describe this would be ‘leap-frogging’ to the target. One element provides covering fire to the target while another moves past the original support    element.  The assault element then becomes support and the old supporting element moves past them.

            2. Successive – Slower and more methodical than alternating, Successive Bounding occurs when element A provides covering fire for element B to move up. Then the element B provides covering fire for element A to move up on line with B.  This happens over and over again while each element attempts to move on line with the other.  Another useful way to use successive bounding is when you are trying to move through a weak defensive line on matches that have high tier artillery.  Use a fast tank to move up to spot an enemy, then have the rest move up when the coast is clear or the enemy has been removed.  This is a great way to implement an infiltration of enemy lines.

Much like the forms of maneuver, a successful tank commander will change up the movement techniques in response to the environment around them.





Remember that these are fundamentals of maneuver warfare: the building blocks of a successful strategy.  Maybe when I have a little more experience in the game with clan warfare, I can provide more advanced doctrine such as exploitation, shaping vs. decisive operations, fundamentals of reconnaissance. Fundamentals are building blocks, and if you know them well and use them, they provide the foundation for any victory. Depending on how well this guide turns out I may provide more at a later time.  Tanking is my craft; therefore this game is real fun for me.  Send me an invite in game if you want, I’ll roll with you. Now for a few pointers:





• A tank in the open is a dead tank.
• If you are a scout, don’t get killed in the first minute of the match.
• Be cognizant of where your teammates guns are pointing. Their rounds hurt just as much as the enemies rounds.
• Use the terrain around you to your advantage.
• Travel in groups, and COMMUNICATE with the group.
• Arty is a force multiplier.
• As such, don’t leave them unprotected from enemy light tanks.
• Who cares if you get the kill shot.  I want the "W."
• Don’t get in the way while tanks are engaging.
• Always have a plan.
• Always be flexible.
• Always remember this is a game and meant to be FUN!

Reference: FM 3-0 Operations



This is White One, OUT!

*SOON TO HAVE PICTURES!*

Count_Chocula #2 Posted Oct 16 2011 - 19:00

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Errrr... which mouse button do I press to make the gun shoot?  :P

bigmc1096 #3 Posted Oct 16 2011 - 19:03

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[Reserved in case pics take too much room]

GeorgePatton #4 Posted Oct 16 2011 - 19:22

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Dude, this is AWESOME! thanks so much... been thinking about doing something like this myself... just never got the lead out to write it all down.  :Smile_honoring:


Cheers!
Glenn

Hihibob #5 Posted Oct 16 2011 - 20:36

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Love the guide, but I have to say that's it's a lot easier said than done. Especially if you're with a team of 10 year olds who haven't reached puberty.  <_<

NoblePlatoon #6 Posted Oct 17 2011 - 00:17

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View Postbigmc1096, on Oct 16 2011 - 18:57, said:


• Arty is a force multiplier.
• As such, don’t leave them unprotected from enemy light tanks.

Could you say this again, only REAL LOUDLY?  :Smile-izmena:

Thornir #7 Posted Oct 17 2011 - 00:28

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View Postbigmc1096, on Oct 16 2011 - 18:57, said:


• Who cares if you get the kill shot.  I want the "W."


Nicely stated and +1 to you, OP!

The above, however, is the crux of the problem with team play. EVEN though the kill itself is only mildly rewarded, and Damage and WINNING are GREATLY rewarded, the wiener-measuring takes place at the kill total column. So long as kills and not wins or damage done remain the most prestigious stat, team play is gonna take a back seat to individual accomplishment, i am afraid.  :huh:

FreeFOXMIKE #8 Posted Oct 17 2011 - 00:38

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dont forget
Field Manuals ::  5-102

Chapter 2
http://www.globalsec...m/5-102/Ch2.htm


COUNTERMOBILITY FUNDAMENTALS



FM 3-0 OPERATIONS
  Field Manuals ::  3-0 :
http://www.globalsec.../3-0/index.html


for the hard core gamers that may want to read up  


:Smile_great: good work you get you Instructors skill identifier to add to you MOS    :)

Thornir #9 Posted Oct 17 2011 - 00:38

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View PostCount_Chocula, on Oct 16 2011 - 19:00, said:

Errrr... which mouse button do I press to make the gun shoot?  :P

I use ALT+F4, myself!  :lol:

FreeFOXMIKE #10 Posted Oct 17 2011 - 00:41

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View PostHihibob, on Oct 16 2011 - 20:36, said:

Love the guide, but I have to say that's it's a lot easier said than done. Especially if you're with a team of 10 year olds who haven't reached puberty.  <_<

sometime is not the 10 year olds I have had hard time from players  that "claimed" they were  military and did some very off the wall   things, but like the universal answer to all military questions.

DEPENDS ON SITUATION, WEATHER,and TERRAIN.

Redfer #11 Posted Oct 18 2011 - 16:27

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well the thing with team play is that the tactics would not be as effective in random battles but if you were to join a clan or tank company theyd prosper from it

jdtherocker #12 Posted Oct 18 2011 - 17:15

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good guide you forgot to mention by pass and hull ass, think of a way around enemies you can't beat if they are in your way.

SumiXam #13 Posted Oct 18 2011 - 17:51

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@bigmc1096

Great work. I personally use the bounding overwatch techniques when I'm platooned. They work even better if they materialize with a larger number of the team.

Mikhaill #14 Posted Oct 19 2011 - 20:46

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Great write up.

amade #15 Posted Oct 20 2011 - 07:07

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This thread should be stickied at the top.

Seekster #16 Posted Oct 22 2011 - 14:45

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Yes I agree with amade. This thread deserves to be stickied.

SumiXam #17 Posted Oct 25 2011 - 17:39

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I vote for sticky too. This is great tactical advice for new and experienced players.

B22G #18 Posted Oct 26 2011 - 18:36

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Hooah! Tankers lead the way!

Didnt see anything about formations in there (wedge, echelon, etc)

Good write up - wish this game was out when we were deployed -- then again, the cost of all those prepaid internet cards woulda added up :)

This is a great post for the WOT community.

-----

What clan are you in?

corps3runn3r #19 Posted Oct 26 2011 - 20:25

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Well thought out, nice guide..+1

Blackhorse_Nine_ #20 Posted Oct 26 2011 - 20:53

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Quote

(bigmc1096) As a Platoon Leader in the Armor Branch of the U.S. Army, this game gives me a chance to “practice” my craft even when I’m not actually on my tank.

Speaking for Blackhorse, this is exactly why we (also) play WOT ...  :Smile_honoring:


View PostB22G, on Oct 26 2011 - 18:36, said:

Didnt see anything about formations in there (wedge, echelon, etc
Ditto ... Next Block of Instruction, Lieutenant ... Platoon Formations and Actions on Contact ... (+1) to the OP.




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