Heavy tanks have a lot going for them–armor, firepower, and (especially if you're in a Maus) HP for days. But they're certainly not invincible!
Heavy tanks are easy to play, but at Tiers V and VI, you can be killed in no time by a well-placed salvo from an enemy SPG.
I was always worried about being targeted by artillery fire when playing tanks such as the KV-2 or KV-85, because I knew I could be one-shotted from the sky at any time. I would be killed without getting a chance to fight back!
But recently, I've been fortunate enough to receive some personal training from Community Contributor and heavy tank master Global Aomushi, so I'd now like to share some of his tips with you!
There are four main points to take note of for beginners playing heavy tanks. It may take a little practice to work them into your playstyle, but persevere and you'll soon see your skills improve!
Using Objects as Cover
Many heavy tanks have large hulls, so even if you try to hide behind cover, you may not realise that they are still sticking out and you're not entirely concealed.
Learning to make use of cover and terrain is crucial for heavy tanks. Here's how to do it right!
On the city map Himmelsdorf, heavy tanks on the 8-line are at high risk of getting destroyed. Don't just rush out into the open–you need to stay behind cover and use peek-a-boo manoeuvres to surprise your enemies.
First, here are the basic steps to playing peek-a-boo.
- Align your vehicle's body as vertically as possible with the objects/terrain you are hiding behind.
- Peek out carefully, trying not to expose your vehicle's sides to the enemy, as they are vulnerable to penetration.
- Take a shot and retreat behind cover immediately!
✖ DON'T - most of the vehicle is exposed
✔ DO - minimal surface exposure
Make sure you keep your vehicle angled as vertically as possible, otherwise you'll be exposing more of yourself to enemy fire and it could end really badly for you!
Countering an Ambush
If you know an enemy is lying in wait for you up ahead, what should you do? Most of the time I charge forward, hoping to get the first shot in... not the best idea.
If an enemy is trying to ambush you, don't rush in and fall into his trap! Your waiting opponent already has the upper hand.
So what should you do in this situation?
- Although you're in a heavy tank, you might still take a lot of damage if you move in too aggressively.
- Instead, try to approach the enemy in quick, short bursts, and in between bursts, stay hidden behind terrain or other obstacles.
- By limiting the amount of time your vehicle is exposed, it becomes difficult for your enemy to target your weak points consistently.
- Wait till your enemy makes a shot, then press forward while he is reloading. Strike when you have a chance!
This will ensure you don't lose all your HP too quickly, for what kind of meat shield would you be without meat?
Where the terrain allows, staying hull-down is the safest option for any tank. As the name implies, you'll be keeping your hull safe and hidden, only exposing your turret so you can fire upon your enemies.
It's not easy for a beginner to get a sense of whether their turret is extended out sufficiently, or their hull is properly concealed. How can I be sure if I'm doing it correctly?
- If you switch to sniper mode and half of the screen appears to be blocked by the ground, great! You are now in hull-down position.
- This position will keep your weak points out of sight while fighting.
- You can even use this tactic to counter an ambush!
Avoiding SPG Fire
Open maps such as Sand River are a paradise for SPGs, who will happily rain fire on you from above if given the opportunity. And heavy tanks are certainly always tempting targets! So how do you avoid getting attacked?
There are various ways to avoid SPG fire! Here are some useful tips that you can try in your next battle.
- Make use of the terrain–hide between the sand dunes or behind other objects to interrupt the SPG's line of fire.
- Don't forget about splash damage! Conceal yourself behind terrain objects to avoid it.
- Strike damage decreases as you get further from the center of the explosion, so it's better to run as far away as you can, than simply moving back and forth in the hope your enemy will miss the shot.
Mastering Heavy Tanks
If you've read this far, you've completed the Global Aomushi Heavy Tank Course! Congratulations!
Personally, I learnt many handy tips this time round, so I will do my best to improve my tank skills and master heavy tanks in future. I hope this article will inspire you to try out more heavy tanks and have fun with them too!
See you in the next battle~!