Difference between revisions of "Tanks"

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*[[Cromwell Mk. IV]] (medium)
 
*[[Cromwell Mk. IV]] (medium)
 
*[[Sherman Firefly]] (advanced medium)
 
*[[Sherman Firefly]] (advanced medium)
*[[Cromwell CS]] (infantry support - HE)
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*[[Cromwell CS]] (infantry support - direct fire)
 
*[[Churchill]] (infantry support - armored)
 
*[[Churchill]] (infantry support - armored)
 
===Soviet Union===
 
===Soviet Union===
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*[[M4A4 Sherman]] (medium)
 
*[[M4A4 Sherman]] (medium)
 
*[[M4A3 Sherman 76mm]] (advanced medium)
 
*[[M4A3 Sherman 76mm]] (advanced medium)
*[[M4A3 Sherman 105mm]] (infantry support)
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*[[M4A3 Sherman 105mm]] (infantry support - direct fire)
*[[M4 Sherman Jumbo]] (infantry support)
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*[[M4 Sherman Jumbo]] (infantry support - armored)

Revision as of 08:46, 25 May 2012

There are several types of tanks, and each has its own specialized use that differentiates them from their counterparts in every faction. There are, however, some universal traits that apply to all types.

Tankettes

Only the Soviet Union utilizes a Tankette in the form of the T-60. This is a very light, fully-enclosed tracked combat vehicle armed with a turret-mounted 20mm automatic cannon. It is extremely fast and perfect for engaging enemy infantry and light vehicles while providing full protection from small-arms fire. The British Wasp could also be considered a Tankette as it is tracked, although it is not fully enclosed (and thus susceptible to small-arms) and is armed with a heavy flamethrower.

Light Tanks

Light Tanks are the smallest type of combat tank. Generally their best use is against enemy light vehicles -- the arrival of a single light tank can greatly impede an enemy's light vehicle force as they will generally not have the firepower to combat it. Against medium tanks and larger vehicles, they are woefully inadequate.

Medium Tanks

Medium Tanks are the "workhorse" of each faction's tank forces. Generally they provide decent anti-armour and anti-soft target capability, able to effectively deal with anything their size or smaller while also being able to deal heavy damage to enemy infantry. Against heavy tanks they can be somewhat inadequate, but their ability to be produced in large numbers can make up for this.

Advanced Medium Tanks

Towards the end of the war each side began to modernize their standard medium tanks, either by modifying existing models or replacing them entirely. For the US, British and Soviets this meant the former; the M4 Sherman, Cromwell and T-34 are superseded by upgunned versions of existing medium tanks to provide for a more powerful combat vehicle with essentially equal armour amount. The Germans on the other hand took the revolutionary step of essentially redesigning the medium tank with the deployment of the Panther. This was a highly advanced design that combined the mobility of the medium tank with the armament of a heavy tank.

Heavy Tanks

Both the Germans and Soviets fielded Heavy Tanks. The most well-known is the Tiger I -- this slow behemoth became infamous from the moment of its introduction for its thick armour and incredibly potent main armament. Heavy tanks, owing to their larger size, are less mobile than medium tanks, which can often run circles around them. But their biggest advantage is their increased weapon size, which allows them to engage the enemy from far greater distances.

Infantry Support Tanks

The US, British and Soviets introduced various kinds of infantry support tanks, of which there were two general kinds:

Light and Medium Infantry Support tanks used heavy short-ranged armaments on light and medium tank chassis, which provided heavy direct fire support in the form of extremely powerful high-explosive ordnance.

Heavy Infantry Support tanks like the Churchill and to a degree the IS-2 were much heavier tanks, designed to be able to withstand heavy enemy fire and form the first waves of attacks on heavy defenses and fortifications.

Super-Heavy Tanks

The only Super-Heavy Tank fielded was really the Tiger II. At 70 tons and with up to 250mm of frontal armour plating, it was nearly invulnerable to all forms of ground-based weapons, and with its extremely long-range and powerful 88mm gun was able to successfully engage enemy targets at ranges far beyond their own. However, Super-Heavies are extremely slow, their huge weapons requiring massive slow-rotating turrets which limited their offensive capability and adaptability. They are easily outwitted by faster, smaller targets; however used properly (i.e. not thrown pell-mell into a close-range brawl) they can devastate entire formations of lesser tanks at long range with near-impunity.

Using Tanks During Battles

During an average game, it will usually be a few minutes before you can actually field large, varied armoured forces. Your first armoured combat vehicles will undoubtedly be in the form of the specialized light armoured units available from a faction's Vehicle Yard. Unlike battle tanks, these are usually quite limited, serving more specific purposes in specific situations. It isn't until the construction of a Tank Depot that you really open up your possibilities for armoured forces.

Even then, though, you will likely be using your first built combat tanks as support units for your existing frontlines. Often the arrival of a medium combat tank will solidify your front and begin to push the enemy back. But these are still limited roles for combat tanks and it will be a little bit before you begin to materialize a real tank force.

This usually comes in the form of gathering up several medium tanks and support vehicles into a single group. These often contain several varieties of vehicles, such as light tank destroyers to give them more anti-tank punch, to infantry support vehicles and logistics vehicles to keep everything armed, and even some mobile anti-aircraft to deal with any attack aircraft that might come your way. Some players will attach halftrack transports with infantry for support, but this is rarer -- armoured spearheads are made to smash things and move on, not try and hold ground.

Once a sizable armoured column is gathered, the offensive begins. Through reconnaisance and probing maneuvers a flank or weakspot is detected and exploited by the armoured thrust. Their combined offensive capability allows for making quick work of frontline formations while their speed allows them to sneak through holes or around flanks and start hitting the enemy from the rear, taking out important structures such as yards and depots as well as logistics storage, infantry barracks and emplaced guns which they hit from behind or the side. Reinforcements headed to the front are picked off and destroyed one by one, and if things go well, your enemy's front completely melts. He desperately attempts some damage control by sending some anti-armour at you but it is too late; the damage is done, your mobile force moves on to destroy the enemy's frontlines from behind, sneak back home through the hole they created or moves to a section of the allies' rearguard to cause more havoc.

With their combination of firepower, mobility and defense, armoured forces can pose serious threats to your enemy when on the offensive. On the defensive, their capabilities are seriously undermined -- tanks are weapons of attack and movement, not mobile pillboxes. A static, defensively-positioned tank will often find himself overrun by basic infantry, light vehicles and anti-tank weapons unless well-supported by infantry. On occasion defensively employed tanks supporting your infantry lines (especially heavies, which have limited mobility in any case) can be effective, racking up a gruesome toll. However, be advised that a halfway competent enemy will attempt to either outflank your lines or bombard such visible targets with aircraft and heavy artillery.

While specific armour capabilities, or "doctrine" varies from faction to faction, the basic premise that tanks are best used as offensive weapons is universal. Even a force of light tanks, deployed together, can drastically turn the tide of battle with proper execution and maneuvering.

Tanks by Nation

Germany

Great Britain

Soviet Union

United States