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tank tactics

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I usually keep tanks close together, so that if one of them is attacked, his buddies will be able to fight back because they most likely will have a LOS to the attacker. If behind partial cover, the squad would usually mop up any single attacker.

I've created a scenario in which german PzIIIG's and StuGIIIB's fight a smaller number of T-34/41's. As i saw in the editor, the Germans had a slighly better chance to hit (33%vs30%), and a higher ROF, while the T-34's had a higher chance of destroying their foes. In the actual battle, i sent my squad to partial cover and waited for the T-34's to appear. When they did, one by one, they easily mopped up the PzIII's (One made a first-shot kill at ~500m). Then i played as russians. The Pz appeared in loose formation and killed all the T-34's, losing 4 out of six. I've tried the scenario three times with both sides and had similar results. Bad tactics or bad luck? How do i use my tanks in a better way than described at the top?

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The downside to that is if the opposing armour you encounter is stronger than that in your grouping. You might then find yourself plinking rounds off the frontal aspect while having your own tanks knocked out one after the other.

I personally like to keep armour in reserve behind cover, ready to move forward to engage targets from different, mutually supporting, directions when uncovered by the forward infantry screen.

With a more open map I might have two tanks moving forward using bounding overwatch. While one displaces forward the second covers it. But even then I wouldn't keep them close together.

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your tank tactic in general is absolutely right.

Local superiority is the key to success.

This ensures, as long as your armoured Kampfgruppen stay strong enough, you keep the initiative.

If your weapons are too weak, like stated above, maneuvering is the key to success: maneuver the enemy out but move a useful AT-gun (50mm) with your fast forces and set it up on a reverse slope with very close LOS to the estimated approach route (max. 100m).

Then your tanks play the bait and when the enemy comes, he's flanked out by the PAK.

If he's a better player, he will also mass his forces and not use single tanks. Then keep your PAK hidden until he passed by with his tanks.

Then he sits in the trap.

This was common german tactics in early russian war and it works in CM, too.

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When I am out-armored in a game, and I have spotted what I think is ALL of my opponent's armor, I try to use my inferior armor as a delay tactic. I will purposely push my armor forward, let my opponent get a visual on it, then find a nice hiding spot, and try to play cat and mouse. I have been able to pull several of my opponents' tanks away from objectives by using this tactic, which allowed me to take the objective with my infantry and hold it once the enemy armor comes back after eliminating my armor. Timing is critical and you have to make sure you are threatening a smaller objective or threatening to gain a favorable terrain position.

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Your observation is right, in theory the close pack should have the better chances but often it doesn't.


1) CM tank duels are very driven by turret speed, due to target switching and the aiming algorithm, and the spread out force amplifies this

2) the T-34 have a low rate of fire. So if the Germans come into LOS not at the same moment but a little delayed then their disadvantage is not as big as if they were facing full-ROF tanks

3) there is no burst ROF for AFVs and guns in CM. In reality, a tank could get out more shots for short while. That makes a huge difference for zeroing in if you need three shots. Again, this is an advantage for an attcker not arriving in a close pack, his punishment is not as big.

Overall, in CM the T-34s have no chance to kill a lone Panzer if the Panzer happens to be too much in front of his platoon. In reality it would be waxed instantly and then everybody would shoot at the next one coming into sight. In CM you usually still tangle with the first one when the second one appears.

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  • 5 months later...

When people hear the reccomendation 'keep your tanks pretty close together,' I think it can be quite misleading, since the speaker gives no indication of the actual distance involved. The problem with the 'bunching' tactic you seem to favour is that it doesn't allow any real flanking fire on high armour opponents, and also leaves you yourself relatively vulnerable on the flanks.

My solution tends to be to organise tank platoons 'close but not too close'. I can have a distance between each tank of anything from 20 to 150 meters. This doesn't mean that the tank platoon doesn't act as a cohesive unit, but it does give me flexibility. If you are familiar with the V formation, I can't reccomend it enough. It means you can shift your entire platoon's firepower VERY quickly to front/flanks by moving very little.

Anyway, hope this helps, and remember, don't be afraid to pull out of tank duels - often it's a wiser option than putting your trust in God:)


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One really key thing is the interaction between the overall positioning of your tanks and the *terrain*. You have to learn to read the terrain in both 2D and 3D. I think this is what Vortex is saying when he talks about appropriate use of the map.

You need to learn to read the CM terrain and understand where there will be obstacles that you can hide behind, and once you are hiding there, where you will have fields of fire.

Then you need to pick obstacles and hide tanks or groups of tanks behind them so that (a) their fields of fire overlap, and (B) so that in order to get you, the enemy has to move into the zone of overlapping fire. Then when he comes into the kill zone facing one of your tanks or groups, he ends up getting zapped from the side by the other tank or group.

The Germans can often use this approach using single tanks, because they spot and shoot so much faster. The Russians more often need to have whole platoons or companies together to get the same effect, because they take longer to spot and their rate of fire is lower.

When it's done properly as the Russians, you can get a company to pour out an incredible torrent of fire on any enemy who walks into the fire zone.

It's best of all when the fire zone is in an unexpected location.

Another useful concept is LOS footprint. You need to have your vehicles positioned so that all the vehicles in each of your groups can see the same area **and only that area**. That's what makes them mutually supporting -- anybody who walks into the footprint gets seen & shot at by all the vehicles in the group. Having the vehicles physically close tends to give them the same LOS footprint, but doesn't always do so.

The key is reading the terrain to see what the LOS footprints will be, picking a place ahead of time where the footprints will be to your advantage, and maneuvering your groups into the firing locations that will give you the LOS footprints that you want.

The US Army calls this "Development of Engagement Areas." Check out Field Manual 3-90.2, "The Tank And Mechanized Infantry Battalion Task Force," at


" (2) The critical planning piece for both maneuver and fire support during defensive operations is Engagement Area (EA) development. Although EAs may also be divided into sectors of fire, it is important to understand that defensive systems are not designed around the EAs but rather around avenues of approach. EAs and sectors of fire are not intended to restrict fires or cause operations to become static or fixed; they are used only as a tool to concentrate fires and to optimize their effects. The seven steps listed below represent a way to build an engagement area. Although listed sequentially, some steps (marked by an asterisk) can and should be done concurrently. "

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A key part of this is to not have 100% of your force positioned such that their fire only stikes one aspect of the target. If something big & nasty wanders into your kill zone, you might wind up bouncing all your shots off the heavy armour, giving him the opportunity to pick you off one by one.

You want to try and place tanks such that when the target is head-on to one fire team, he is presenting a flank to a second.

Don't be afraid to shoot & scoot, especially if your "fire team" is only a tank or two.

Also don't forget to keep a reserve. If I have 3 troops of tanks to work with, 2 will be up on the kill zone, and the third will be held in reserve.


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BFC repeatedly swears on a stack of Playboy mags that the AI does not cheat. But my seat-of-the-pants feeling (a phrase I probably shoudn't associate with Playboy mags) is if you're playing Germans your chance of getting a first round kill is about 10%, if the AI is playing Germans its chance of getting a first round kill feels more like 50%!

Yeh, yeh, I know tests were run in the dstant past showing that wasn't true, but still - that's how it feels sometimes while playing. :(:rolleyes:

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Multiple tanks (or guns)/target was standard Soviet Army doctrine from '43 onward...up to a company/target. I've found this works very well. Any tactical doctrine must be adapted to the terrain/target matrix. You've got to know what can kill your target at what range/aspect ratio...and you must read the terrain, the terrain determines the deployment.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just my quick take:

Personally, I don't like massing my tanks; since you're only allowed to readjust your commands every sixty seconds, I feel that a tightly knit group of tanks might fall into an ambush, or face a superior opposing force; effectively wiping out all of my armor.

I should know, I once had a mid-war Stug in a perfect sniping spot, and took out a cluster of five Soviet tanks out easily at 200 meters. :rolleyes:

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