Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Löving your Löwe - A Guide to the Lion

The Panzerkampfwagen VII Löwe (Lion) was a design for a Super Heavy Tank created by Krupp for the Nazi German government during World War II. The project never left the drawing board, and was dropped in late 1942 in favor of the Panzer VIII Maus.
The Löwe was designed in two variants:
  • Leichter Löwe – crew of five, 1000-hp engine, weight of 76 tons, 100-mm frontal armor, rear-mounted turret, 105 mm L/70 high velocity gun and a coaxial machine gun, top speed 27 km/h.
  • Schwerer Löwe – crew of five, 1000-hp engine, weight of 90 tons, 120-mm frontal armor, center-mounted turret, 105 mm L/70 high velocity gun and a coaxial machine gun, top speed 23 km/h.
When shown the designs, German Führer Adolf Hitler ordered the Leichter Löwe dropped and the Schwerer Löwe re-designed with a 150-mm main gun, 140-mm frontal armor, and a top speed of 30 km/h.
No prototype of either design was ever built. Some elements of the Schwerer Löwe design were used in the Tiger II, however, and that model proved to be expensive to produce and too large to fit across small bridges.
Source: wikipedia

The Löwe or Lion tank is a Tier 8 Premium Heavy tank which costs 7,500 gold in the game. It's expensive (the equivalent of three months premium account!), it's very slow to accelerate (slower than the Maus) and heavy... but how does this tank stack up against it's rivals and why would anyone buy one? Let's look into that in a bit more depth.

First off, the Löwe gets a poor reputation because a lot of Löwe players are poor players. They hide when they should push, rush when they should stay in cover and generally don't do very well. Whilst these accusations could be levelled at every single tank in the game, it seems to be quite pronounced and noticeable in the game. This guide won't miraculously make you a better player but it may help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your Löwe and how to exploit them or conceal them appropriately.

Compared to its rivals the Lowe looks slightly weak, as should be expected from most gold tanks but in all honesty, the differences in real game performance are negligible. The Lowe can go up against any Tier 8 Heavy tank and come out the victor, albeit rather dinged up in most cases.

The Löwe's front armour is nothing exciting with a large engine weak spot, sides are like paper and the rear is weak too. Turret is great at the front but the sides and rear are typically weak. The Löwe does well in a hull down situation, much like the US Heavy Tanks but it lacks the gun depression which some of the US heavies possess which means it's less effective in those roles.

The front armour can bounce a lot of sub-200mm penetration shots at a distance of 300m or more but it is by no means impervious. Angle it whenever possible to provide you with additional 'effective' armour. The sides and rear are weak points which you should seek to cover at all times. It is not always easy as the Löwe is a slow beast but other players will exploit them whenever possible.

Acceleration in this steel behemoth is poor at best. When 'racing' away from the base at the start, I have been out-run by the venerable KV tank and the hulking Maus. The top speed of this tank is acceptable for a heavy tank but nothing to write home about. 

The gun is the 10.5cm KwK46 L/70. With 234mm average penetration, 320 average damage and a 5.71 rate of fire, the Löwe packs a serious punch. It might not be as scary as the famous BL-9 carried by the IS-3 tank but it can readily penetrate most tanks frontally and is accurate enough to snipe when required. I find the Löwe to be a reasonable 'peekaboo' tank when fighting against similar tiered opponents. I have even taken on IS-4 players and came off favourably. A difficult task but possible if you set things up favourably for yourself and get a bit lucky with the IS-4 player's skill.

Now, you didn't spend roughly 30 euros just to get yourself a Tier 8 Elite Heavy Tank without the large experience grind, there has to be another reason...

It is an exceptional credit grinder. This tank earns credits like crazy and you can line your pockets with credits quite easily after taking this tank out for a ride. And here's how much it earns...
  • Games: 98
  • Victories: 44 (45%)
  • Defeats: 50 (51%)
  • Experience: 71367 (average 728)
  • Credits: 5081582 (average 51853)
Note: Premium account was enabled for the purposes of testing

Now I would consider myself to be a player of average skill and my win ratio in the Löwe during those matches was relatively low, so if you're a good player and you can secure a much higher average credit income than I can.

Löwe Strengths: Reasonably strong front hull, very strong front turret armour, accurate gun.

Löwe Weaknesses: High chance of engine damage from front hull penetration thus greater occurrences of fire, poor acceleration, vulnerable sides.

Advanced Section
Crew Skills: I would wholeheartedly recommend repair for the very first skill. You only get one repair kit and that must be used wisely so repairing modules as soon as possible is the benefit. With the Fire Extinguisher advice further on in the document, I would advise against picking Firefighting as your second skill and pick Camouflage.

Update: As pointed out by Jager on the US Forums, you can actually equip two repair kits, one which costs credits and one which costs gold. Personally, I would not recommend using the gold consumables on a Löwe unless you are a leprechaun and have a very large pot of gold.

Recommended Consumables: With the Löwe being the credit machine that it is, I always recommend carrying a First Aid Kit, Repair Kit and Fire Extinguisher. These 3,000 credit items can allow you to stay alive longer and increase your experience/credit income per match. They are life savers. 

I know quite a few Löwe players use 100-octane gasoline. This provides 5% more horsepower to the engine and 5% faster turret traverse speed. The theory behind this consumable is that it improves acceleration speeds to enable to Löwe to move more easily. Whilst I support the theory, I feel loathed to drop either one of my recommend consumables as either one of the three has enabled me to remain combat effective in so many matches.

Specialist Equipment:  My Löwe has been outfitted with the Large Spall Liner, Improved Ventilation Class III and Large Calibre Shell Rammer. The sluggish speed of the Löwe lends itself easily being bombarded by artillery for which the Spall Liner helps. The Shell Rammer is a must on almost all tanks to increase damage output and the Ventilation improves crew skill, and we all know how beneficial that is.

Vertical Stabiliser might be a consideration but due to the Löwe's low speed and high accuracy, I did not find it useful enough to warrant a place on my tank.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into the Löwe tank, it's strengths, weaknesses and potential. Please leave a comment and check out the rest of my guides.

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