Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tank Destroyer Guide - World of Tanks

If you have been following my guides so far, you will have lived in a light tank, managed to handle the medium tank and hustled with the heavy... today you join the ranks of the class which makes everyone go "wtf just hit me? where is it? wtf I'm dead?", the Tank Destroyer.
The tank destroyer is simply a gun on wheels. The turret has been removed to give you a larger gun with which to smite your enemies! You have superior frontal armour than your equivalent rivals and normally a very low chassis, making you even harder to hit than normal.

My JagdPanzerIV lines up alongside Mr Maus. It's a good full turret taller than me
However all this means you have a small gun traverse so you really have to be facing your enemy to kill them and your side/rear armour is so woeful for the most part that you will be repeatedly penetrated by tanks from a much lower tier than yourself if they are allowed to flank you.

A Russian SU-152 preparing for battle
Bullet points suit the tank destroyer better than most:
  • Your front armour might be strong but you are not a front line storming unit. If you want to attack, join a group of 2-3 friendlies and stay back. Lend your firepower to the situation and the presence of your allies reduces the chance of being flanked.
  • Stealth is perhaps your biggest asset. When you are on the defensive, hide in bushes, preferably near some cover and stay still. Let your allies light up the enemy for you.
  • If a tank is trying to flank your position, don't let him! Back up against a wall/rock/house and traverse on the spot to track him. When done appropriately my JagdPanzerIV is capable to traversing fast enough to stop a T-34 from circling me and doing any significant damage.
  • Binoculars and Camouflage Net are two pieces of additional equipment which compliment any Tank Destroyer perfectly and can be moved from tank to tank. Purchase these as soon as convenient.
  • REMOVE the Camouflage Net and Binoculars from the Tank Destroyer BEFORE you sell it. Otherwise you are wasting a lot of credits. Yes, this deserves a bullet point of it's own.
  • Take the extra second to aim when it is available. You do not want to blow your cover only to miss and find artillery locking onto your position.
  • When surprised by a clearly superior opponent with little to no backup. There are two scenarios to consider: Have you been spotted? If so, fall back immediately using any solid cover possible and regroup with teammates. If you have not been spotted, you may wish to stay as a spotter for artillery, switch to HE rounds and fire off a round to track them (then run away) or just simply fall back. Use your own judgement based upon the battlefield around you at that time.
  • Gun and ammo choice is critical. In the early tiers and even into the mid-tiers, you may only get 1 or 2 shots off after you are discovered. Make sure you are using the best gun available to you combined with the right ammo choice for your gun and the target. Whilst it is always important, it is significantly more so with the Tank Destroyer's play style.
  • Certain TD's have an extremely low profile as indicated in my Maus next to JagdPanzer IV picture. In certain close combat instances you may be to pin an enemy tank physically against a wall or other object. Their gun may not be able to depress far enough to hit you or at least it will make penetration much more difficult than it would have normally done. These instances are rare so you may never get to use this tactic but it is amazingly good fun to do with a tank that thinks it has the complete dominance over you.
The obvious German Vs. Russian debate comes along in the discussion about any class of tanks. In this instance, the Germans claim a clear victory. To me the Russian TD's feel a bit flimsy and the guns do not seem to pack the same kind of punch as their German counterparts. The Ferdinand and JagdTiger are both feared opponents on the battlefield with 200mm and 250mm thick front armour respectively and big enough guns to warn off any heavy tank. The JagdPanther also packs quite a punch but it's armour leaves a lot to be desired.

The Tier 8 German Tank Destroyer, the Ferdinand. More commonly known as the Elefant. (Courtesy of Skott)
The Tank Destroyer line of tanks also has a few drawbacks in the current patch. We face warping at long distances which means as snipers we are reasonably useless at times. The detection system is not always functioning properly or 'as intended' so can sometimes lose our cover advantage when we shouldn't. Some tanks do not benefit from the Camouflage Net upgrade which further hinders their blending into the surroundings. This is a bug which is being looked into. With the camo net and binocs, you must be still for approximately 5-6 seconds before they take effect. Tank traverse will remove their benefit but gun traverse is acceptable.

At the very least, version should significantly cut down or eliminate warping which is the major cause of frustration with Tank Destroyer users. The other fixes will come in time, maybe improved as a side effect of several of the changes introduced by

A Russian AT-1
This concludes my series of World of Tanks guides on how to use various tanks. I have thought long and hard about adding in an SPG Guide but I do not feel that I would be able to make a significant impact in the SPG community to improve things. Also with several of the major changes in it would be improper to write a guide currently.

I am intending to write up a few more basic guides, mainly aimed at newer players to pull them through the basics of the game. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading my guides and further, I hope you have learned something to take into World of Tanks to improve your game. Comments are encouraged and well appreciated if you feel they are deserved or required.

Addendum: 19/12/2010

Following writing this guide I have recently obtained an ISU-152 through blood, sweat and tears (more of others than my own it has to be said) and my earlier comment regarding German Vs. Russian TD guns incorrect. As usual, the German guns in general have superior accuracy but for raw damage the Russian guns are impressive in comparison. 

Besides the armour arguement, the other big advantage that the German TD's have over their Russian counterparts is the interchangability of components. In a German TD you could have the same gun unlocked for 2 or three different tanks whereas this is quite a rare occurence and can lengthen the feel of any grind should your stock gun not be capable (which in most cases with most tanks, it clearly isn't)

As far as I am concerned the v. patch did not change too much with regards to TD's and the way TD's play. Warping has been fixed which makes things much nicer for everyone and much more awkward for the faster moving tanks. As a TD will only be camping or advancing generally, we never really warped much anyway. 

The detection bugs plaguing us right now seem to be hit and miss. Most often with out unique vantage point in the game, being in a bush and having 450-500m typical view range we do not often encounter the detection bug directly when spotting and it is not often that we are detected unexpectedly though this is a very annoying occurence when it does happen. My SU-152 had it's face melted by invisible tanks earlier despite being still, having the net on, 75%+ camo skill on my crew and the binocs engaged with zero damage to any observation devices.

We have recently had an announcement regarding US TD's. These are expected after World of Tanks has been officially released and left beta testing stages sometime in February/March at time of writing. No information is known about how these will be in game so there is not much point speculating as yet.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the guides, they've helped me become a better player.

ginfest said...

Nice work on these guides

Anonymous said...

What tanks do not benefit from the use of the Camouflage Net?

ElcomeSoft said...

Cifu from the WoT forums remarks:

"One side note (perhaps it's worth to mention):

The JagdPanther has broken camo net (and perhaps binocular) as HeroEnVec showed in their test.
The Ferdi has broken camouflage at all, it's cannot simply hide, as my test showed it.
The JagdTiger has broken camouflage too, as reported by Hungarian players."

Dhani Van Halen said...

Thank you very much for the guide....

I find it very useful...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great guide! Short, to the point and nicely illustrated, it was a really good read!

Sakuya_GOTR said...

I love playing with my AT-1 right. I plan on getting these to 100% crew. Just last game, I one-shotted a 100% Ltraktor with the 76mm HE.

Anonymous said...

I honestly like RUssian TD's more they have good speed decent armor its just good enough for the lower tier foes or your same tier foes.And the guns are just beasts.With ISU-152 i can take a heavy tank like IS-3 or Tiger II with 2 shots!.If i fire its sides ;).THe german TD's are just so freaking big they are more like heavy tanks with no turrets:\.Thats why i like RUssian ones high speed low profile,decent armour and a hell of a gun thus.

Anonymous said...

Ferdinand =/= Elephant

DJ_Barber said...

I am really growing to love these TD's. I currently have the first Jager. Whew, stock is no as much fun. Another hint, use craters and building rubble to lower your profile further.


Anonymous said...

It is very rare to find someone this helpful. I take my hat (although I'm not wearing one) off to you.

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