In World of Tanks one can earn a number of “Battle Honours” in a match, to acknowledge good performances. There is “Top Gun” for example, that you can earn for killing 6 or more enemy tanks (and most on your side), or “Sniper” which is about being accurate with your gun. There are also a number of achievements that represent grander accomplishments, called Epic Achievements. Prior to today I had earned two epic achievements on my Marder II (Halonen’s Medal). This morning however on my KV-1 I earned a different one: Billotte’s Medal.
The map was South Coast – one of the maps introduced in the recent 7.3 update. It was a tier 3-5 match, with a handful of heavy tanks on either side. My team started on the north side and so I drove down out of the base into the town area. As I moved forward a lighter tank in front of me made contact with the enemy. There was a rise in the ground that prevented me from attacking them, with a large rock at the top of it. I climbed up that, angled myself mostly behind the rock, and started shooting.
Of course, very quickly I was shot at as well. There were a lot of red diamonds there. I didn’t stop to make an exact count, but I think perhaps half the enemy team were in front of me – and for quite a while it seemed I was mostly facing them alone. I kept getting hit, some which did damage, some which didn’t. At one point I advanced slightly to get a better angle on a particular enemy, and got my track blown off. I used a repair module to fix it and retreat back again to be half-covered by the rock. After a while I said to my wife “If I survive this I am surely going to get Steel Wall”.
It took me a long time to get my first Steel Wall Battle Honour. You get it if you have been hit at least 11 times, with at least 1000 HP of potential damage, have had the most potential damage of any tank on the battlefield, and survive. It’s the last that stopped me from getting this for ages. Twice for certain on battles we had otherwise won when I could have held back to make sure I got the honour, I pressed forward with the rest of them and died. My particular favourite in that regard was a patch with a Panzer III where I took over 50 hits. In any event, it is a Battle Honour I like, for reasons I can’t very well explain.
It seemed like a long time, but in reality was probably only a minute or so, and I became aware that there were rather fewer enemy tanks than there had been, and that we had destroyed of them than they had of us. I became aware of friendly tanks nearby, and suddenly, there were no more enemy tanks in front. One tank (a T1 HT) was sniping from a hill that another tank and I took out, a light tank found a got rid of the artillery. It came down to a lone T1 HT that we surrounded, and finished off. I ended the battle with 30 HP.
The description of Billotte’s Medal reads: “Awarded to players who destroy at least one enemy vehicle and survive the battle to victory despite receiving at least five different critical hits and 80% or more loss of hit points”.
In total I think the final battle report (which I forgot to screenshot 😦 ) showed I took 32 hits. I think I killed 3 or 4, damaged a few more, and even detected a few as well. My hit ratio was in the 60-65% range. All in all not bad at all. I think in the final team tally we lost about half of our tanks.
It got me thinking, not for the first time, of the role of heavy tanks in the tier III-V matches. I am sure the same might be true for the top-tier tanks of other matches, but I don’t really have experience of that. That the role of the KV-1 in such a match, where there are only 3 or 4 other Tier V tanks, is not so much to deal out damage (though that too) but to soak it up. For a quite appreciable portion of the match I had 5 or more tanks, plus at least one artillery, concentrating on killing me. While they were doing that, the rest of my team was fairly effectively killing the rest of theirs.
I realise this too sometimes from the other side. If on my Marder II, for example, I get a choice between shooting at a KV-1 and a T-28 (a Soviet Medium Tier IV) I will if possible first shoot at the T-28. I can kill it quicker, which means less incoming fire. Sometimes also, when one sees the dreaded prime enemy, it is very tempting to try to down it as quick as possible. Sometimes that is probably the best course of action. Sometimes though it can be a distraction.
Of course, in this situation there is always a certain amount of luck, which should be acknowledged. If that rock had not been there – well, I would have died for sure. If I had not popped the small repair kit, likewise. The 100% crew and effective c.70% repair skill doubtless helped too. As to the last, that crew has now seen over 250 battles. It doesn’t happen often, but just now and then those extra little advantages make all the difference.
Without doubt, the most personally satisfying match in World of Tanks to date.