As I have mentioned before there are a series of different achievements in World of Tanks. The most difficult of these to attain are the Epic Medals. Until today I have just four, three Halonon’s medals (which are granted to Tank Destroyers who kill three or more tanks or tank destroyers that are two tiers or more above them), and one Bilotte’s (which is granted to a tank on the victorious side which has killed at least one enemy tank, and which has also suffered at least five critical hits and been reduced to under 20% health).
Tonight I got a third medal: the Kolobanov. The requirement for the Kolobanov is to be the only surviving victorious tank, and to have faced at least five enemy tanks alone. You don’t have to kill those five tanks, just be alone against five and still win the match.
I was in my good old Marder II, it was on the Steppes map, in Encounter game-mode, a Tier III-IV match. In this setting the two sides start in the north-west and south-west corners of the map, and the objective base is on the eastern side in the middle. On the eastern side of the map is a valley that runs most of the length of that side, and the base is half-way up it, more or less. There is not really much cover in the base circle itself, but both sides have a number of good firing positions from the north and south.
In most Encounter games one of the most basic mistakes any team can make is for too many members to ignore the objective base. Do that, and the handful of your team-mates who do go for the base risk being overwhelmed by the opposing tanks that then seize the base before the rest of your side’s tanks manage to get into shooting position. In a sense that was the mistake the opposing team made in my match, though it was a very close run thing.
My team divides very roughly half and half, with some of us (myself included) heading towards the base, whilst the remainder stayed behind to face the opposing tanks that would likely try to attack us. As far as I can tell, the opposing team split was very lopsided, I think only three tanks actually crossed onto the eastern half of the map to begin with. These were all quickly destroyed relatively quickly. In the meantime the other half of my team was getting over-run by a much larger number of tanks, making the overall score something like 5 – 7. Four or five of my time – myself included, now crowded into the base circle. On tank – I think an A-20 – rather foolishly went out to fight the enemy again, dropping the capture rate by 8-9%. Sounds small, but if he had stayed in we would have continued the capture at a much faster rate, and none of what followed would have happened.
First though I have to explain a game mechanic. After a base capture has gotten to 100% the match does not end immediately. There is a delay of five seconds, a delay that gets extended each time a tank is destroyed. If the opposing team manages to destroy all tanks on the capturing team within this time delay, they still win.
The base capture is in the 90s when the enemy tank symbols start getting close. A Panzer 38 nA (I think) charges in trying to get a hit to reduce capture, just as the 100% is achieved. We kill him, but the rest of my team-mates are also getting picked off by enemy tanks from the north. Now I do something which actually makes me smile and makes me think one day I might be brave enough to call myself a decent player. Realising now the capture is at 100% there is no need to remain with the base circle, I move out of it a little. Remember I said the base was in a valley? More than that, the valley widens where the base is, before narrowing again north and south. This means that the western-side edge of the base circle is partially hidden from people who take up position north and south.
There is a Hetzer advancing from the west – but not close enough to the crest of the downslope to get me yet. I hug the bottom of that slope, hoping for a few seconds so that the tanks to the north have to reposition and re-aim. It is, amazingly, enough. I am the last of my team alive, and I win the medal, because when the game ends there are still eight enemy tanks alive on the field. It is a fluke, one perhaps aided by that small reposition – but if that A-20 had remained in the base circle initially it would never have happened.