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The Batignolles-Châtillion 25t, almost universally simplified down to ‘the Bat’ or ‘Batchat’ is the Tier X endpoint of the French Light/medium line. Hands down the fastest medium; since its rebalance to tier X, this French Assassin has maintained a comfortable niche in the end tier metagame for quite some time – thanks in no small part to the near universal experience of first reaching tier 8, and finding oneself clipped out by one, and wanting one. It’s the Paul Walker of tanks, and how you interpret that analogy is totally dependent on how you play it.
The consensus for equipment is vertical stabilizer, improved ventilation, and coated optics. While it’s good to a point, once your crew is past 3 ½ skills, drop optics for a gun laying drive and coffee – your camouflage is already ensuring you should never be losing the defensive side of vision control, and ~460 meters is enough to win the offensive side, unless clan wars is its sole use. Consumables are repair, med kit, and coffee.
Commander: 6th Sense BIA Camo Sit. Aware. Recon
Gunner: Snap Shot BIA Camo Deadeye Repairs
Driver: Smooth Ride BIA Camo Off-Road Repairs
This is a heavily over-skilled crew, with BIA and Deadeye retrained in. Repairs only become a factor in the late-midgame – if you’re tracked in the open without a repair kit, odds are you’re doing a Wile E. Coyote impression. Although it is definitely worth mentioning that with 100% repair skill on all 3 crew members, the Bat has one of the fastest track repair times (~3s) in the game. Thus having high repair skills early is recommended as well.
+ 1950 Burst, only the Waffle, Foch 155, 183, and arty can put more hurt down in that time frame.
+ Great relative view range
+ Reasonable Depression
+ Reasonable clip reload –Accuracy (at .38, worst in tier Med, even the STB and 121 are better)
-Ammo Count (Can make a good Fadin’s medal farmer at least)
-Worst Tier X Med dispersion and gun handling
-Worst on-paper damage-per-minute tier-X med
The gun will troll at times and bloom-related dispersion will tend to shooting below the aim point, on account of the Bat’s low stature. Cramming all those crew-wide and gun specific skills and equipment brings it to adequate levels, and will make ¾ aimed shots far more reliable on peak-a-booming. A partially loaded clip in the Bat is like that almost empty roll of toilet paper; you might just be able to get by, but you could just as well come short. Moral of the story though, reload your clips – and your toilet paper – as often as possible. Use that time to reposition and the Bat will shine. Your damage per minute is bad on paper, but 1950 in 11 seconds is dwarfed only by the WTE100, Foch 155, and lucky artillery.
A small note on ammo selection: I run all APCR, but I strongly caution against the 20/10 split. If you’re cycling clips prematurely, you may find yourself spending ~38 seconds loading 1-4 shells on your last clip. In addition, the HEAT round from the Bat has a speed of 800 m/s compared to 1460 m/s found on the APCR round. Therefore shooting at long range targets effectively requires significant adjustments in targeting leading and luck.
++ Speed, both forward and reverse
-Hull Traverse, especially on bad terrain.
= rear mounted turret
– Frustratingly large turning radius
Its speed makes most other tanks seems like a rickshaw on a highway, but upon hull traverse the Bat bleeds significant amounts of speed. In close range, forward and reverse jukes with the Bat’s high acceleration will dazzle your opponents while keeping relatively good accuracy. The rear mounted turret doesn’t suffer from most traditional limitations as reverse peeking makes use of the brisk 65 km/h forward and 23 km/h reverse to get back in cover.
+Camouflage (the Object 430 has slightly better, but it’s the object 430, so who cares?) +low profile, which will play well while moving against spotting checks -No Armor, the rare places you’re not a walking demonstration of 3X overmatch, happen to also contain the engine or gunner and ammo rack right behind it
The Bat’s protection is: Camouflage-> Mobility -> Burst -> RNGesus in that exact order. Upon mid to late game, the Bat starts to gain ever increasing potency from HP trades coupled with the speed to shop around. When you have enough HP to survive a volley from an isolated group, you should push vulnerable individual or groups, and keep enemy attention off your low HP tanks – all but the most seasoned of players will focus on the Bat primarily due to its clip potential, and the ones who don’t tend to watch their teammates fall to the Bat before doing so themselves.
Putting these elements together, it’s time to run through some gameplay for the Bat.
As I mentioned before, the Bat has horrendously slow HEAT rounds. This is somewhat ironic, because historically the French actually had a great ‘high velocity’ HEAT round for this time period, the Obus G, so I guess WG can’t claim ‘historical accuracy’ on this one. Either way, the result is that the HEAT rounds are dramatically slower than what you might be used to, so long range shots are not going to be nearly as effective, even before you take into account the ‘HEAT into tracks’ problem.
Speaking of HEAT into tracks, reason #2 for why to carry APCR. As I mentioned before, bursting down isolated targets is a key component of good Bat play-style. Since there will be a number of situations that arise, as you roll around, a large portion of the time is going to be on the flanks of heavies and tank destroyers which – surprise – also means shooting through tracks.
Now that the APCR/HEAT conundrum is clarified, we now dive back to some gameplay. For initial deployments, the Bat follows many of the same principles of light tanks: use your speed to gain initial vision control points and dump that first clip into some poor bastard of a slow(er) tank who’s still moving into position. If you’re solo, you want to be very cautious about taking contested positions against other tier X meds, especially if team support is dubious. This cycles back to the importance of bail-out routes – the places you know beforehand that are reasonably safe to run to if you’re overmatched or while clipping.
In the opening stages, once you fire a shot YOU CAN NO LONGER CLIP A T10 MED. So to rehash, vision control, but don’t take too risky a forward position that traps you.
Once the shots are out and there is a lull in the action, start reloading and looking for your next opportunity. 37 seconds (100% crew + BIA + food) at Bat speed is usually enough to be reloaded upon arrival of your new destination, where you could either snipe or add some burst to an overmatch/stalemate in progress. Remember to use techniques such as reverse poking and abusing your camo.
As the mid-late game approaches, start to look around for burst trades. If you’ve been banking your HP well, you’ll be golden as many opponents will not be able to trade well with the Bat.
One crucial problem that the Bat suffers from is poor elevation. Meaning you cannot artificially increase your gun depression by ramping up slopes as well as other tanks with gun elevation, and you cannot shoot targets above you even if they have exposed tracks with terrain on the north mountains of Sand River for example. Beware of these limitations.
The table below is some very basic clip math to give help to separate the “I’m Batman” clip opportunities from the “Milk was a bad choice” ones.
Finally, a little bit about brawling with the bat. When you’re throwing down in close range, most often you want to be doing forward/back jukes once you’ve secured a corner. It’ll let you take the time to aim and bait shots, and most heavies that are trying to rotate to hit you will fire right when they think they can, so the quick initial speed bursts will serve well. Autoaim ganks are ok for one shot, but remember the clip math above – when ‘Do you feel lucky?’ is listed, it’s not just about RNG, but about hitting those shots at optimal armor angles. Bigger heavies carry a legitimate risk of autoaim being too low due to the bat’s small stature, and shots hitting through tracks without shell line passing the hull itself. You don’t want to be Rocco, where you have to laugh the last two guys to death.
The Bat has a strong tendency to over-reward good habits and grossly punish mistakes in equal portions. Despite map meta increasingly moving from vision control to corridor brawls, the Bat remains a bizarre yet potent speed craving, snail-eating assassin, and the quintessential guerrilla of mediums.
 The 4202 has slightly worse dispersion in movement with traverse.