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fablkak's guide to light tanks

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fablkak #1 Posted Jan 18 2012 - 06:13


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fablkak's guide to tactical scouting Version 3.14159:

Best replays:
2929 exp in my t-50-2:

2509 exp in a chaffee by jacg123:

The power of two chaffees:

This guide attempts to explain the role of light tanks at a strategic level and offers a few tactical tips as a means of achieving those broader strategic goals. First off let's dispel the misconception that light tanks are only there to suicide scout. If you choose only to suicide scout then nine times out of ten you will be a waste of a team mate and your death will have been in vein. The rare exception to this occurs on Malinovka because the two teams start with viable shots on one another so a quick rush on this map may catch the opponent with their pants down allowing your team to pick them off while they are still at spawn.

Phase one: Counter scouting and early reconnaissance.
Counter scouting does NOT mean sitting back with your artillery. Set up your lights covering likely routs of enemy scouts at the limits of your territory. At this point you should also run around furtively cresting ridges or hiding in bushes near hard cover. You will usually gain a good understanding of enemy distributions and rather importantly you can start any engagements with their scouts well before they reach your (occasionally) precious artillery. When you catch one of their scouts engage them as soon as they hit the net and converge on them from all angles. Try to avoid protracted dogfights in their territory in view of enemy guns, if this means breaking off the chase then too bad, exercises some patients and live to fight another minute. T-50’s and T-50-2’s are especially good at recon while the VK2801 excels in close combat light on light fights.

Phase two: Be a bastard.
Be like Chinese white van drivers and use hit an run tactics on the weak (what too soon? I apologise, my doctor says I have a malformed humerus and a natural deficiency in moral fibre). Once their scouts have been taken care of and the battle has been raging for a while you should take it upon yourself to run along the fringes of your territory prioritizing beleaguered opponents on low health. Some people may call this kill thievery but who cares, that's one less tank dealing damage to your team; who knows maybe that one opponent on 6 hp would have gone on to gets a Billotte’s medal if you hadn’t taken care of him. If you find opponents on higher health by all means take a few percent from them but don't stick around for long enough to get swatted. The M24 Chaffee is superbly suited to this role.

Phase three: Counter battery.
It's time. Maybe half of their team is dead or dying thanks to some awesome scouting you can now get in there and do what your team was probably asking you to do five minutes ago only now you have a much higher chance of actually accomplishing it. That’s right, it's arty killin time.
Pick what looks like the safest, least defended path to their base.
Tell your arty you're going to go scouting in x seconds or request them to confirm when they are ready.
Go for it, spot those arty and start shooting them. Three times out of four your arty will miss their targets, all needlessly hit the one target you spotted first or perhaps they were simply too busy picking their noses to watch what you were doing so be prepared to stick around and spend as long as it takes for either you or your arty to finish the job. If a good medium shows up to chase you off then whether or not you stay to try and finish the job depends on the competency of your arty. If you didn't have any support I'm afraid it's up to you, otherwise run like hell and hope they finish the job.

Final phase: It's business time.
You know when I’m down to just my socks it’s time for business time that’s why they’re called business socks. While the rest of your team has their forces occupied elsewhere you can go get that invader award to win the game. If you are engaged just run away, you haven't succeeded in capping yet but you have brought one of their heavier tanks away from the action for a while. This might not seem like much of an achievement but by forcing a redistribution of force away from where it was needed you just increased the chances of your team's push succeeding without even firing a shot. ‘But’ you say, ‘my team was smart and we kept a tank back at base to protect against just this sort of thing’. There there padawan, I hope you made it a Patton or a T54 and that you kept it nice and safe back at the quietest part of the map behind a house for the whole game. Is there a button for sarcasm or do you get the point by now?

If you manage to survive all of the above then that's not a good game, that's a great game. The smallest tanks in the game just handed your team the win and you probably even have a kill or two to show for it.

Note that these aren't exactly the best games ever, they should just give a tip for play style or maybe a nice little hiding spot you didn't know about before.

T-50-2 replays:
Great example of passive scouting by Wazoo117 (watch the t-50-2)
Passive scouting Fjords.
Active scouting (just an average game)
The above is a good example of what an active scout should do in a tier X game, I stay on the fringes of our territory keeping targets lit for a long time. I'm trying not to expose myself too much when I know everyone is reloading and at the end I decide to finish off a low t34 when another one comes out of hiding to murder me. I don't care about scout medals, giving arty targets they can hit is more important in games like this. I'll post a better 7.2 replay that makes me look awesome just as soon as I make one.
Top gun in low tier game thanks to a hellcat
What to do when there is no arty: 1650 exp + orliks for a loss :+(

Chaffee replays
Chaffee style replay by jacg123
North america map in a chaffee

AMX 90 replays
Scavenger style + trolling an E100 ftw (desert)
Aggressive flanking (lakeville)
Passive AMX (malinovka)

Leopard replays
leo ramming replay
I do it for the lols.

Coming soon: A useful replay for every map.

Lesser tactical tips and mindless blithering in order of relevance:

Dogfighting: Light on light action
Much like your first foray into the world of homosexuality you want to be the guy at the back. This isn't so much for the higher chances of penetration, it's so that you can see where you are shooting AND where you are driving whilst your quarry has to choose between the two. It also means that the person you're chasing probably has auto aim on, this should be easy to determine because they will be the ones driving competently and shooting hopelessly where as if they don't have auto aim on then they are either not even looking at you or even better, they were looking at you and they weren't looking for the rock they just ran into.

What to avoid:
Needlessly spotting and dying where or when your team doesn’t have shots on, this is what makes suicide scouting a useless tactic most of the time. You might get the scout award but you didn’t help your team win. On the other hand carefully scouting to reveal enemy distributions even when your team can't hit them is valuable especially in the early stages of the game, just don't die for this cause.
Engaging in protracted fights with mediums that have fast turrets, ESP t44s and t59s and the like, ok if they are on like 3% then who can resist.
Try to stay out of long narrow corridors where you might engage someone head on with little hope of escape. The best example of this is the low far east path in Abbey. Places like this are scout no go zones. The city region in Ruinberg is another example of this however cities and towns with numerous paths available like the city area of Ensk or small village areas like in the NE corner of Mines for example actually make scouting here viable.

Useful mods:
Not really needed after 7.2 patch, just make sure you display how much hp people have left as default (hit points left and NOT percentage). This can really help when you need to take someone out with one shot, if they only have 70 hit points left and you know your gun does 80 av dmg then that's a whole lot more useful than running up and taking someone from 9% to 2% before being shot.

Equipment and consumables
You have to choose the gear that best suits your play style and tank. If you're like me and you're constantly on the move while spotting and nipping at larger tanks ankles go for a setup that compliments this, I recommend a rammer, coated optics and vents for this role. The chaffee can also equip a vertical stabilizer so if you fire on the move a lot this is probably a better choice than vents. For consumables I would choose the 100 octane fuel, repair kit (under key 5 so you can double tap it to fix tracks in a hurry) and a med kit. I am tempted to get the remove speed governor for those times when you have just fixed a track and are trying to get the hell out of there at warp 5. If on the other hand you choose not to take advantage of your scouts maneuverability then perhaps the soft comforts of a camo net and a pair of binoculars will keep you company as you sit behind the bushes gawking at topless sunbathers cleaning your cannon. Sorry I mean tanks, looking for tanks and polishing your barrel. Oh come on we all know they do it, the first thing all campers do when they arrive is pitch a tent.

Skills and Perks
One of the most useful perks you can have as a scout is the sixth sense perk for your commander. Knowing when you have been spotted is crucial if you want to stay alive, it also gives you a good idea how close you can get to some units before you are spotted. A word of warning though, the perk takes three seconds to warn you so if you wait until someone gets REALLY close and you see the warning I'm afraid it's probably too late for you. Also the perk can be a little buggy occasionally and may take longer than three seconds (or at least it seems that way to me).
The rest of the skills depend on your tank and play style. For a pure scouting role (like the t50-2) camo is still the next best choice for everyone else and should be the secondary skill for your commander. If you're a chaffee or an AMX player who focuses on dealing damage and only scouts occasionally I would go for smooth ride for the driver and either snap shot or maybe even dead eye for the gunner then camo as secondary. The loader skills aren't so great, go for camo first then take your pick. Radio operator; camo then take your pick, I went for anything that extends view range but some of the other skills look ok too.
          The key to the skills is just picking things that compliment your play style, if you use your light tank like an aggressive fast medium go for snap shot, smooth ride and give a higher priority to repair when you get the chance. Conversely if you only want to scout then camo and view range skills are for you.
You might find this useful:
7.2 skills (what they actually do)

Engaging opponents with hull mounted guns:
Lock up enemy tds and arty by sitting next to them, this greatly reduces both of your mobilities but prevents them from getting the angle they need to hit you.
If he is smaller than you rammy ram ram rammedy ram. Ram.
If you're busy killing their arty and they are not alone then try to play piggy in the middle with the target arty between you and whoever else is posing a threat. This is accomplished by semi locking them up in the position you want, you can't do this all the time but its worth a try. I say only semi lock them up (by putting your front to their side rather than side to side) because if you have fully locked them up then they are not the only ones that are stuck and you don't want to be sitting there for too long once you no longer have 'live' cover.

Visibility mechanics
The great thing about light tanks is that they keep their low visibility rating even when on the move. Use this to your advantage when scouting, if you have just spotted a heavy trudging along their is still a chance he hasn't seen you.

Strength in numbers:
Try to run in a platoon of three and don't underestimate your terrier pack. It might not have the most fearsome bite of a wolf pack but boy can it nip. Three little tier four t50s without rammers can do 225 damage every two seconds, if you land all your shots for ten seconds that's 1125 damage, enough to ruin most people's day, provided they don't all bounce. Two chaffee's can make a fantastic combo for wiping out whole enemy teams while a t-50-2 and two tier 6-8 arty players tend to annihilate.

Making Money in your Tier 5 Light
If you do damage to a tank and are the only one spotting it you get 100% of the exp and credits.
If I am the only one spotting a target and someone (say arty) hits it he gets 100% and I get 50% of both exp and credits.
If there are many people spotting a tank the person who does the damage gets 100% and another 50% is split evenly among everyone spotting the target.
If you spot enemy arty and they are damaged I believe the bonus you get for spotting is doubled.

So here is how you make money AND lead your team to victory (also why suicide scouting doesn't earn money): You have to be the guy spotting people while they take damage. Sure you might get a token amount of exp or credits for being the first to spot but the real use of fielding a scout is that your team can put damage on from relative safety. If your team wasn't in a position to shoot at the people you were scouting I'm afraid that's your fault and not theirs, you're the one that ran there. Try more team communication to get your team where you want them and where they will be able to help you.

Warning, advice, rant, the nearest thing to stomping a puppy to make yourself feel better:
When you're locking someone up, you've done everything right, you're using them as a shield from their other arty and you have just one more shot to get the kill there is just one thing you have forgotten, your own dangerously stupid artillery. Rather than letting you get what was basically a risk free kill, most of the time your arty will choose to ignore the fact that a 203mm shell containing about 100 kgs of high explosive will also do splash damage to the friendly unit one meter from the impact. Congratulations you have just been noob f*€#ed. If you were damaged but survived go tk them and maybe they won't do it again... Maybe. May their retarded souls derp their way to a special circle of hell reserved especially for them and those guys that tail gate your heavy around cover during peekaboo fighting.
On the other hand if you're zipping around like mad dogfighting with their light and you're hit be a friendly AP round (like that's not a contradiction in terms oxymoron) don't rage, s#!t happens. Similarly you can't blame arty for trying to stop that scout from getting any closer.
I'm not just a scout ripping on arty, I have about 700 games in arty and very rarely did I see a scout that knew of keys other than W. The arty-scout relationship should be symbiotic, scouts should protect arty from their scouts and light up targets, arty should be able to prioritize targets correctly and know a good counter battery opportunity when they see it.

Ramming in a light tank
If you want to have a bit of fun try putting the ramming skills and a spall liner on a Leopard. You don't even have to shoot at anything under a tier 5 heavy just ram it for kicks and your leo will come out on top. See leo replay above where I even got an ace badge just for ramming everything. If you're making your leo just to ram you need a spall liner and the ramming skill. As brave and kick ass as ramming is, never ram a KV or a VK3601 in a leo. Building a tank like this isn't really the worlds best strategy to make the absolute most out your tank but it is hilarious and it frees up your shooting hand so you can finish working your way through the box of tissues you took from the living room while you thought no one was watching.

PS: Disclaimer.
This is not intended to be a definitive guide to light tanks and I do not purport to be their master, it is merely one strategy that I have found to be very effective. Obviously different light tanks have different characteristics and will have to approach the above phases of battle in a way that best suits their tank.

PPS: Mindless prater.
I have invented two words that I am trying to get into common usage:
fufflecups: (verb) The flatulent act of making out after Mexican food.
fablkak: (adjective) S#!t pants awesome. (Usage) did you see that light tank get top gun? Yeah that s#!t was fablkak.
(verb)(usage) omg omg omg, dude I think I just fablkaked myself.

PMS: ewww gross.

Edits: Equipment and consumables, visibility mechanics, places to avoid and skills added.

Comments and further tips welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Version history
Did some stuff.
Did some other stuff.
Made it better.
Ate some pie.

Edited by fablkak, Aug 09 2012 - 01:11.

Nisae #2 Posted Jan 18 2012 - 06:16


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hase two: Be a bastard.Be like Chinese white van drivers and use hit an run tactics on the weak

Oh you.

bring another van too~

zentraedi #3 Posted Jan 18 2012 - 06:30

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Like that remark about Chinese white van drivers, not so sure my Asian friends would agree tho...  :Smile-playing:

fablkak #4 Posted Jan 18 2012 - 06:32


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Just a joke, wrote the guide around the time that happened. No harm intended.

yayyap159 #5 Posted Jan 18 2012 - 07:56


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great guide!! your uploaded videos were quite insightful to me I'll try out those tactics later when I buy my t50 back!

fablkak #6 Posted Apr 17 2012 - 06:51


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Bumping for 7.2
More replays are on the way.

Orion03 #7 Posted Apr 18 2012 - 03:14


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here's one of mine:

T-50-2 in El Hallouf, passive scout first, then run and gun in the end. Can't remember how much XP I got, but it was up there.


fablkak #8 Posted Aug 09 2012 - 01:01


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Bump because of some new replays added

Best replays:
2929 exp in my t-50-2:

2509 exp in a chaffee by jacg123:

The power of two chaffee's:

Edited by fablkak, Aug 09 2012 - 01:01.

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