War Thunder: Ground Forces – 10 Survival Tips
Surviving in War Thunder as a tanker can be a bit of a challenge. There are a few reasons for that. The enemy could get the drop on you, you do not have the experience to use your tank effectively, while hiding in a suitable location a plane flies in and bombs you. Even this short while of playing in War Thunder offered me plenty of insight when it came fighting and surviving Ground Force battles. Of course, that does not mean I stopped having unfortunate incidents, associated with flanking T-34s, or diving IL-2s, but I feel a bit more confident now, than I was when I started off. As such, I would like to share some of my knowledge with you, regarding Ground Force battles, so that you can survive just a bit better and longer.
1. What game type is it?
While you might assume that every tank battle is the same there is a huge disparity between Arcade, Historical and Simulation games. Arcade games are the “lightest”, quickest and in a way the easiest, because not as much pressure is put upon you in these types of games. I would say that it’s a good game type to practice in, but if you are after far more challenging and difficult battles then you would want to go to Historical battles.
There are two key differences between Historical and Simulation battles. In Historical Battles enemies that are spotted by you or your allies will be both shown on the Minimap and on your main screen. As such even if you do not see the enemy “physically” due to cover you will see the “box” representing the extent of his size and position. As such you can fire blindly. Planes will also see these “boxes” if an enemy was spotted by friendly troops on the ground. As such, when you are a tank spotted by an enemy tank the enemy plane could swoop down and bomb you, even when you think you are well hidden. The second difference is that in Historical Battles you can have a much wider “top view”, allowing you to see further and in a wider angle.
In Simulation battles you still get enemy position highlights on your minimap but you have no “view aid” on the main screen. You have to spot the enemy tank yourself, and planes will have no help in identifying targets. This also means that a plane can only tell if a tank is “friendly” if they are within one kilometer of it. As such Simulation battles allow you to hide far more effectively, to make repairs or ambush the enemy. In simulation battles you also can only look around from the “Commander’s Hatch” or through the Gun Scope.
So, Simulation battles are the most demanding, but you can play Historical battles if you need to practice on different maps, and if you want a slightly less financially demanding time. I have a hard time earning enough silver lions on Simulation battles, while on Historical battles I found this to be much easier. Arcade games are when you want to play without almost any restrictions (like you would fly planes in Arcade).
2. Learn how your tank moves
Most tanks are surprisingly agile (at least for now). Light and Medium tanks will move very rapidly, turn quickly, and climb over hills at a surprising rate. However, Light and Medium tanks will have a very hard time crossing rivers or other bodies of water, something Heavy tanks usually do not have a problem with.
The more you play with tanks the more you will learn about their quirky controls and handling. You should always try to experiment with your tanks, especially on Arcade and Historical battles, to see through what manner of terrain your tanks can drive through. This is especially useful practice when it comes to rivers, because I have found out, first hand, that some parts of a river, with certain tanks, are uncrossable or dangerous.
Another important thing to learn is which terrain you can roll over. Such as, stone walls, trees, brushes. There have been many tales of Stalinium trees stopping a tank dead in its tracks so experiment carefully.
In general the rule is; Light and Medium tanks are capable of quick turning, acceleration and climbing. As such they can travel through most terrain mildly well, but due to their size, especially on earlier tiers, they might not cope well when crossing some bodies of water. Heavy Tanks are not always slower. A Tiger I on flat ground can move at almost 50 km/h (usually around 47 km/h) which is an equivalent speed to what the Panthers and Panzer IVs can move at. However, when it comes to turning, or climbing hills Heavy tanks will have a problem, which does not mean they won’t climb a surface, just that they will do so very slowly.
3. Study the map
The Map on which you play on might have many different routes you can use, and the AI tanks will typically choose the same routes every time. Furthermore, you can learn about the different hiding spots the enemy will use, and the tactics they could employ on different maps. It is important to experiment, observe what the enemy does and then attempt to do so yourself. The more you learn about a map, its different hiding spots, routes and objectives the easier a time you will have when attacking, defending or ambushing. Each map will tend to have some distinguishing feature. As an example, the Jungle map has a mix of open areas and deep jungle areas, so you can expect some sniping action, and some dangerous close combat fighting. In turn, Kursk is a map with vast empty areas, which means that most of the fighting will occur over long distances and that planes could be especially dangerous to you as there is very little cover.
No two maps are the same, so you will have to learn something new about each one. Studying and memorizing the map is also VERY important when it comes to flying planes during Ground Battles. Knowing where the enemy might be hiding, what are the locations of objectives, where the enemy AA guns are and how to identify different landmarks will be important.
4. On-field maintenance
Only because you got hit does not mean you should abandon your tanks and give up. A tank with destroyed modules can be repaired, it is just a question of finding a safe spot and sparing enough time to get yourself repaired.
You will typically use two items to keep yourself repaired and safe: Parts and FPE (Fire Prevention Equipment). I advise to research both of these modifications as soon as possible. Without the Parts modification you can only repair your tracks. Without FPE you cannot put out a fire on your tank. I had some very stupid moments during certain games where a shot would do almost no damage to my tank, but the fire that the shot caused would burn out my tank over the course of a very agonizing minute.
The time repairs take depends on the extend of damage on your tank. Some damaged modules can be repaired in a minute or two (depending on your crew skills as well). However I have had moments when full tank repairs could take well over 10 minutes, and some have reported repair times that last over 20 minutes. So, I can understand perfectly well why you wouldn’t want to wait that long. However, if you have the opportunity to return to battle (if the repairs are relatively short) you should take it.
Heavy tanks are especially scarce and fragile, in the sense that they have only one life during battles. You can have a spare Medium tanks or Tank Destroyer, but once you lose your single Heavy Tank it’s gone. As such having Parts and FPE allow a Heavy Tank to stay in a battle for much longer than would be otherwise possible.
When you start repairs you will be unable to move, but you can still fire normally. If a situation arises where enemy planes are attacking your position, or you know enemy tanks are driving toward you it’s possible to cancel repairs, by pressing the repair button again. After 4 seconds you will be free to move again, but all the repair times will reset (you will have to start over, unless your crew managed to repair something).