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Newbish question....on armor battles.


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Friggin' love this game, but I ran into a tough situation playing Melfa Bridgehead. I lined up about eight Sherman III's along a ridgeline to take on two Panther's and a Nashorn. I tried to time my assault over the ridge as best as possible, but the result was total destruction. I manged to take out the nashorn and one panther, but it just seems like a hopeless match up. It didn't help that half my sherman operators were green. The panthers are tearing apart my other squad of sherman's as well. Argh. Any tactical advice for a newb when you are out armored?

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Panthers frontally armor is nasty, you have to manuever to get those side shots on them. The Shermies smoke can be used to blind that critical panther for the minute it takes to move on a flank. Area firing HE near the Nashorn will give it fits. The sherms have plenty of HE so staying just out of LOS of the Nash and hurling HE will get him moving out of the way.

good luck!

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Don't try and duke it out from distance with things like Panthers and Nashorns. The Nashorn has a killer gun which will get you long before your shells start landing anywhere near it. The Panther has an excellent gun and is all but indestructible from the front.

You have to somehow get close and take them on from the side or rear.

The Nashorn is open-topped so you can try to take it out with artillery or mortars, the risk is minimal but so is the chance of success.

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The Nashorn is thin, you can take it out just by having two shooters. It is the Panthers that require actual tactics.

The key is to understand that the Panther front is nearly invulnerable to plain Shermans, but the sides are not. To kill them you need flank shots. How do you get flank shots? By coming at them with widely separated tanks. Also understand, the more nearly "level" the angle to the plate stuck, the thicker the armor effectively is, while a right angle makes it thinner.

Imagine the lines drawn from two of your tanks to the Panther. Those lines cross at some angle, say 60 degrees. Then the Panther can present front face to one of them, but only by presenting something else to the other one. How good can the Panther make it by turning?

If the angle is 60, he can split it right down the middle with his hull, and have you 30 degrees off the front with each. That means you are likely to hit the front, and it'll be even stronger than normal because of the extra angle. If you do manage to find the side, the angle to it will be 60 degrees - very tough. You can't kill it that way.

It is a little better than that makes it sound, though. Because (1) he will probably turn the turret to one of them, letting the other shoot more like 60 degrees off to the side - if a hit "finds" the turret. Also (2) he won't line up the hull perfectly to split the two threats.

Still 60 basically isn't enough. Now consider a 120 degree crossing angle. If he gets the same 30 degrees off to one shooter, the other has a perfect right angle shot to the thin side. If he splits it exactly, each can hit the side with only 30 degrees of side angle.

You therefore want the angle your two threats make to him to be as wide as possible, with 90 to 120 degrees effective angles. Then he can turn whichever way he wants - *one* of your guys will have a flank shot. And a flank shot can mean a kill.

How do you get such wide angles? By separating your tanks, while they can still see the same spot of enemy held ground. And by closing the range, because smaller movements make bigger angle differences when you are close. (If you are 100m away, drive forward 200m and you go through essentially 180 degrees of angle to the tank. Start at 1000m, and you will make only a minor difference in the angle moving that far).

Well, the other guy may know all this - unless it is the AI, then just toast 'em. If he does know it, he will try to use his best, thick front armor (1) from a long way away (2) with other weapons making it harder to get close or to get around to the sides and (3) will mask his flanks with hills, woods, or buildings. The last is called "keyholing" - peeking out through a narrow gap between cover, so you present only the front face and see only a modest portion of the enemy side of the field. Typically a long thin strip or cone.

How can you handle keyholing? If you notice it - with an infantry scout, not a tank you might lose for nothing - then use the sides of the "keyhole" as cover yourself. That is, advance in the dead ground areas his own cover blocks him from seeing. That can help close the range. Then you sometimes have to run clear around one of the side bits of cover, to come at the cat from a blind side (frequently, at point blank range).

What about when the problem is there are too many shooters, and they will kill your tanks too fast when you try to engage from two spots? Well, don't fight 'em all at once, fair. Instead split 'em "visually", and take 'em on one at a time. How do you do that? Toss a few smoke rounds at one of them to block his line of sight. Then go after the other one. You can also use this at the end of a rush past a "crossed" pair of keyholes. A light 81mm FO firing smoke can also help this way, masking half the enemy to let you duel the other half.

Get an infantry unit out someplace where it can see the enemy tanks, while your own stay out of sight at first. See which way the cats are pointing. Plan to come up into view from a direction you know the turret isn't facing. He can't shoot you dead until he cranks the turret over.

Be elsewhere by the time he does e.g you can "shoot and scoot" up to a crest, take one shot, and "scoot" in reverse back out of LOS. That is a very common tactic, called "tophat and lowski" - up to a hull down position to fire, back to full defilade before he sights in on you. Then you play "tag".

When you are defending against superior armor a whole additional bag of tricks comes into play. Bait him forward with an easily spotted tank he can kill, that can't kill him from the front. He will point right at it. Well, you decide where to put the bait, right? He will point at it, right? So put another *hidden* shooter in a place that will see his side or his ass when he comes for you. Reverse past a hidden bazooka team, or put an ATG way off on one flank and forward, so it is shooting parallel to the enemy's start line.

You can park tanks behind separated houses, looking out on the same "inner" side. They can't be seen from the directions the houses block. They have a cross fire on the side they can both see. So if anybody comes there, one will get a flank shot. The guy the enemy is facing toward and so coming for reverses around his house, merry-go-round.

Getting the idea? It is all about knowing beforehand what the match up will look like, driving clever, and using terrain, to set somebody up for that bushwacking side shot while he is looking the other way.

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