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The other day I played this game (replay here).
This guide will take a slightly different format than most, as I will not discuss the entire replay. Instead, I will focus on a small slice and examine it in great detail. This is an unexceptional game, and I can be criticized for many things in it. Nevertheless, I think its a good example of how to brawl your way out of a bad situation, with all the ugliness that implies.
So very early game, I rushed middle. The initial clash went well, carving ~700 HP off a T32 and taking position. But then I peeked around the corner again, took a hit, and saw I was about to get rushed by up to 4 heavies.
Desperate to stay alive, my first step was to tuck back and flatten out. I did this because I don’t want to back off too far (and thus be out of position for my allies to lay down supporting fire) and also to present a more difficult angle for the hostiles to fire at.
As you can see, from the POV of the hostiles, I am presenting an autobounce sidescrap, hiding my lower glacis, and angling my front.
The pubbies charge anyhow, and I take my first shot, an easy pen through his lower weak point.
The IS-3 rattles his first shot off my gun, damaging it. I repair it instantly. As the second tank rounds the corner, I stand my ground, keeping the IS-3 between us, slowing down his fire and enabling my allies to fire on them.
But as I see the T32 fully commit, I swing the rear of my tank away from him, flattening out the angle. However, its not enough, and he pens my side.
I then tap him out with an easy side shot.
I know the IS-3 is about to reload, and this is my position. I observe he is trying to fire through my hatch in the center of my plate…
…so I jerk to the side, increasing the angle and letting him riccochet a shell off my side. Next, I grind the side of my tracks into him, preventing him from building speed or turning away from me.
Of course, this presents me with a similarly difficult shot, and I don’t trust my ghetto 122 against an IS-3…
…so I break loose and fire a shot into his engine. If the Gods loved me, this would have given me a fire, but its an easy hit and a dice roll regardless, and eventually Fortuna will put out. However, this leaves me exposed on the sides and back as well.
When I realize I am not going to be able to turn before he reloads, I grab the only slim chance I have of a bounce…ass down tactics.
I pivot my ass towards him, presenting a very angled side to him. I closely follow his gun, which he leaves on my side. I also back up to try and deny him my ass. Sadly, this brings me into the line of fire of a hill sniper, who smacks me from afar. The IS-6 also catches my rear, and pens me. However, it takes him a moment or two to find the shot, during which my reload is steadily ticking away.
I tap him hard again…
…and remain ass down. Look at the angle I present to him.
Unable to find a shot, he delays, and dies.
So let’s review some principles:
1. FIRE YOUR GUN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
The engagement lasted 49 seconds. My reload is 9.87, meaning I fired almost exactly on recharge. His tank has a similar reload, yet fired only three times. There were several seconds where his gun was reloaded, yet he hadn’t found a good shot yet. In a critical brawl, this adds up quickly.
The difference is anticipation. I thought about where I would be and how I could pen BEFORE my gun had reloaded. This is why I had planned a good shot, stopped, and zoomed right as the reload finished. He did not, and paid for it.
2. MAKE YOUR SHOTS COUNT!
The IS-3 has a formidable armor layout, particularly as an IS-6 with a low penetration, low accuracy gun. Although I fired APCR, even APCR performs badly against the extreme slope of a russian heavy. Despite this, each of my shots easily penned. Consider my hits:
– Lower glacis weak point on IS-3
– Unangled sideshot on T32
– Autopen shot on IS-3 engine roof
– Shot through the soft butt of the IS-3 x2
Each shot was a very high percentage shot, fully zoomed. Rather than face hugging and trusting to luck, I controlled the flow of the engagement to give me a good look right when I needed, hopefully with as little risk as possible. By contrast, the pubbie reloaded, and then began looking for a shot, which was usually the shot I offered – a bad one.
3. MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE…AND THEN PRAY
In this engagement, I am hit six times and penetrated three times. Two of the three penetrating shots come when I am being crossfired, significantly reducing my chances of protecting myself. Once was when the rush pushed past me and fired into my rear before I could turn.
As you can see from my pictures, I made a decent effort to angle, hide weak points, and bait the opponent into ill advised shots. As you also saw in the pictures, this is often not enough. Its effectively impossible to angle your way out of a crossfire. Gold rounds can often penetrate even a well angled tank. On top of that, weak points or pure dumb luck can negate your hard work.
Despite that, it works. Its a betting game, and never a sure thing, but it works. A well angled, good position can be impenetrable (see the start). Even desperate ass down can pay off.
So there you have it. A frame by frame look at what a unicum might do in a desperate brawl. Every move doesn’t pay off, but over thousands of battles you will see tactics like this bear the fruits of more scrapes survived, more damage done before you go down, and ultimately, more wins.