The Tank Commander’s Guide for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad – Part 2
Driving a tank is easy. Firing a gun, is easy. Pretending that you are a good tanker, that’s also easy. Being an actual tanker is hard. Of course, you can get a hold of the basics through countless Single player games, or testing the tank on an empty server on the Gumrak map. But once you face-off against actual players all your experience gained thus far is thrown out the window, shredded before your eyes and blown back as fine dust straight back into your face. This part of the guide will focus on the advanced use of your Tank, and how to cope in Multiplayer games a bit better than otherwise.
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Lesson 1: Know your Tanks
The T-34 is not anything like the Panzer IV, et vice versa. Both are medium tanks with more or less similar caliber of guns, but their armor plating is different and as such their weak spots also greatly differ. Let us take these tanks apart and see in raw form what each one has, and does not have.
The Panzer IV
The Workhorse of the German tank divisions. Your specific tank is the Panzer IV G, with an improved gun and slightly tougher plating compared to its previous variants. Your tank is slower than the T-34 but it feels a lot better plated, especially around the turret. Meanwhile, its body suffers from very weak flanks and rear, as well as a very boxy shape. Although you could take on a T-34 face to face you have one gigantic weak spot at your front, namely, the driver vision slot. When you glance behind your seat as the driver you will see the entire ammunition storage. An accurate or lucky shot from a T-34 will punch through the Driver vision slit, and possibly fly through the driver, reaching the ammo dump making your tank explode in an impressive manner. This also means that your left flank is one of your greatest weaknesses, since a shot to the area where you ammo is will mean an equally impressive explosion. Your engine is equally vulnerable, since it’s essentially in the open, making it a very delicious target for enemy tanks as well as anti-tank rifles. Although it does not necessarily mean that you will explode it could immobilize you, which in turn could mean your death sentence.
“That Tank”. Some would say the tank which won the war for the soviets. There is a common misconception about the T-34. Although it did “win the war” it did not really excel in any way compared to other tanks, it only lacked weaknesses. Of course, the other key factor was that they were deployed en mass, and since they were easy to produce and repair the Soviet Union could pump in more of them than the Germans could of their own tanks. I do not recall the exact variant of the specific T-34 variant available to the player in RO2 (presumably the T-34/76B or C), but it should not be mistaken with the T-34/85 which did not appear until 1944 and was a huge improvement compared to the previous T-34 models.
Lesson 2: The Art of Angling
We all know what an angle is. What is so important about Angling then, you must ask, and what does it mean? In simple words, Angling means making your tank face the enemy in such a way that enemy shots will have a much tougher time penetrating your armor. Imagine, if you will, that you want to punch a wall. Most walls are straight, vertical. Very easy to punch and if you were the hulk, extremely easy to penetrate. Now imagine that you wanted to punch a wall which is tilted 45 degrees. Not so easy now, is it? Your fist will slide against the wall, making only partial contact, and it would take a lot of effort to punch through it with a single hit. That is exactly what you want to do with your tank.
Take the example of the Panzer IV. Its body is perfectly square shaped. Any shots to the hull would mean a straight angle from the enemy turret. Now imagine that you turned your tank steadily. Now, your seemingly square boxed hull is still square boxed, but the positioning forces the shell to recoil, due to the broader angle. What is the “golden” position? From what I can tell, if you are aiming with your gun straight at the enemy either corner of the front of your tank should point toward the enemy as well. Overdo it and either your rear or front will be vulnerable. You should note however, that angling is only part of the success. It does help it deflecting enemy shots, but sitting in the open will not save you from an enemy who will simply shift a bit and fire at you from a better angle.
Lesson 3: Cover
Your tanks is big, but that does not mean you cannot hide it. Stalingrad is after all full of rubble, ruins and other destroyed tanks. Holding in mind that as a tank on most maps it will be possible for you to be attacked from multiple directions (or snuck upon) you have to learn to minimalise the directions from which shots could fall on you. The best way to do this, is cover. In Commissar’s House for example there are plenty of adequate walls which can hide a decent portion of your tank’s hull and tracks from the front and flanks. Destroyed tanks, vehicles, carriages or trams also make adequate cover, allowing you to also hide your tank and plant an ambush for incoming enemy tanks or infantry. Buildings although offering the best type of cover are a gamble at the same time, since an enemy Tank Hunter could throw a Tank Grenade from above or shoot at you from a window. Buildings also block your own line of sight, meaning that although the enemy will have a hard time hitting you, you will also not have the full view of events around the corner.
Also note, and this is often the bane of beginner drivers, that although you might be hiding behind a tram or carriage you still can have crucial tank spots exposed. A destroyed carriage will cover your hull perhaps, but if you are looking at a completely different direction the entire side of your turret will be exposed.
Lesson 4: Tank Hunting
Once you know how to hide, and you have learned where is it best to hit the enemy tank you can fully focus on hunting enemy tanks. Knowledge of the maps helps greatly in this task, including the most common paths the defending or attacking tanks will choose and the most common hiding places. In order to effectively hunt for enemy tanks listen to reports from the Infantry. They will often be the first to meet enemy tanks, especially if they block off an advance. Ask them from the exact location of the enemy tanks and use your knowledge of the map and your tank to flank the culprit and deliver a decisive blow.
As a defender one of the key ways to ambush enemy tanks is to stay perfectly still and spot for enemy tanks that will be incoming toward your positions from afar. Much like an Anti-Tank gun you only fire when you have a clear shot, and if you are hidden well enough the enemy will never find out where the shot came from, allowing you to pull off a few more before they catch on. In order to do so, fire from the flank of the defending position. If you fire at the incoming tank from the front they will see where the shot came from. Meanwhile, if you fire from the side the enemy will have to stop to find you, be forced to retreat or become exposed to your team’s tank hunters.
Lesson 5: Anti-infantry duties
Infantry, for the most part, is helpless against your tank. They certainly have Engineers and Anti-Tank rifles, however those picking said roles might not know how to use them, or nobody even bothered to pick them. This in turn could mean that you are free to harass the enemy indefinitely. When your infantry needs to advance you make a perfect support gun, thanks to your HE shells and two machine guns. If you are storming a building you can do two things. During the initial assault fire off shells at the windows or openings within the buildings and suppress any hidden infantry until your infantry reaches the walls. Then, during the second stage cut off the path for the enemy’s reinforcements, much to the anger of the enemy team. It could be considered “Spawn Camping”, however in truth you are only suppressing enemy movement, and they do have their own tools to counter you. Artillery and their own tanks, as well as Infantry Tank Hunters.
On the Defensive you will usually have to be a bit in front of your point to be fully effective, or at least in a position overlooking the Victory Point approach. You are essentially doing the second step alone, cutting off the possibility for the enemy to reach the Victory Point. Always keep an eye out for enemy tanks and Tank Hunters. Although you could be successful, and stop even sixty attackers (my own personal record) you could be so carried away that you will never see the incoming enemy tank. You must keep an eye on your flanks constantly, or ask some infantry to cover you and protect you.
Lesson 6: Surviving Damage
However, damage to the plating is not necessary for a shot to penetrate. The fact it is damaged means that you were lucky. If your angling was off the first shot will be able to penetrate straight through, without having to damage the plating. Aside from this type of plating there is also plating on your turret, and the most common damage will come to the front turret plating, which is essentially the entire area around the main gun. When you hide your tank it is very hard for you not to suffer damage to your turret plating since when facing an enemy tank that will be the only flat surface facing them. The T-34 has especially weak turret plating (or so it seems) so your best chance is to not engage enemy tanks directly, and instead hide.
Then, there is damage to your Engine, which comes in two stages. Damaged, which will highlight the engine yellow, and destroyed, red. When the engine is yellow you will hear it working much more weakly, and you will suffer a penalty in engine power, but overall you can still drive ahead. If your engine is destroyed your only hope is to Scuttle (K button when the option appears). That suicides your tank, but at least you do not have to wait for somebody to destroy you.
There is also damage to your ammo rack (though I saw it rarely, if ever) but more commonly you could lose your tracks or brakes. If you lose your tracks you will be pretty much immobile (though you can move a bit). If you lose either one of your brakes (left or right) you cannot turn in a direction, but a smart driver will be able to still manoeuvre using only one turning direction to reach an ammo dump. You can still drive forward normally.
Lesson 7: Losing Crew
When you suffer damage it is likely you will lose members of your crew. Depending on the type of game you will be playing certain crew members are more expendable than others. The loader is always replaced without your interference. In Tank on Tank battles your Hull Gunner is unnecessary, and he should be your first choice to replace any missing slot (he will usually do so anyway). Your driver is essential in one way, and that is to allow your tank to escape when it has suffered too much damage. When things get bad however, you can leave your tank immobile for the sake of firing back at the enemy. This is a wise move when you know you will be destroyed anyway, or you have no chance of escaping, or hiding. Otherwise, that is exactly what you should do.
Often during a penetrating hit when you lose somebody you will have outside view of your tank for a moment, then snap to the driver position. This usually means you lost the position you were manning and the game kicks you into the default seat, which is always the driver. You will often not be able to occupy the gunner seat soon after since somebody would be in the process of taking his place, but you should use the occasion, as the driver to quickly shift your tank. Although you might not be able to tell where the shot came from you can at least guess, or hide your tank behind the biggest obstacle you can find.
Missed the first part of this guide? Read about the different positions within your tank following this link HERE.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski
Tripwire at its finest
Very big potential with future updates!
|Cons:||Limited Tank section|
A bit buggy
|Game producer's website:||Tripwire Interactive|
|Official website:||Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad|
|Game available at:|