Last night was, on the whole, a fairly frustrating experience for me in World of Tanks. This can be seen that my win/loss total went from +94 to +88 – so there were quite a few more defeats that victories in there, and frustrating defeats at that. Defeats where my own contribution was mostly just to be one-shotted by a tank several tiers above me. Even though one knows it is just a run of bad luck, it remains nevertheless very aggravating. Defeats are one thing, defeats where you manage to do virtually nothing are just annoying.

However, it was not all monotonous drudgery, and in particular one game stood out as a bright spot amidst the gloom: the first match where I earned three Battle Honours. As mentioned previous, Battle Honours are one of the various World of Tanks Achievements.

The map was El Halluf, which I spoke about regarding the 7.4 update. In essence, the map consists of a valley running north-west to south-east, with two ridges/plateaux in the north-east and south-west. The two teams start on the plateaux, which is also the location of each team’s base. There are several different routes up to each plateau. The most common course of play (because the others tend to be somewhat suicidal) is for the majority of each team to hold the heights and snipe at each other, for a scout or two to go into the valley to try to spot targets for the snipers, and then for a few others to head towards the north of the map. This is because the valley narrows in the north-west, making it easier to cross – and since the snipers tend to concentrate in the southerly portions of the map, makes it less like certain death. Of course, both teams tend to do the same, which means the two flanking columns often fight it out in that north-west corner.

It is a tier III-V match. I am in a KV-1, and my team starts in the north-east. Immediately I start heading towards the north-west – but a KV-1 doesn’t get anywhere very fast. Before long 4-5 other team-mates are ahead of me, mostly light tanks and, iirc, a Marder II Tank Destroyer. In that north-west corner, they suddenly run into the enemy flanking group, consisting of several lights and mediums, and real slug-fest ensues. Also, a traffic jam as four or so light tanks get in each others’ way. I finally reach the scene of the fight, but at first I cannot do anything because I can’t move forward enough to shoot. Fortunately it doesn’t take long for someone to let me through, probably because there is a Panzer IV in the opposing group taking out a couple of our side.

It is a mini-bloodbath all the same. At the end of it the opposing force has been destroyed, four or five tanks in all. My own side is also reduced down to just me and a PzIII A light tank. I got, I think, two or three kills out of this melee. However, the overall situation for my team was looking decidedly poor – I think we were down 5-8 or something similar. However, nothing for it but to press on. I am hardly touched as yet, and though there are still tanks out there that can cause me serious issues (in particular a Stug III and another Panzer IV) I wasn’t going to be any good sitting still. So, I started to climb up the hill the opposing plateau – and immediately me and the PzIII A encounter those two tanks I knew I didn’t especially want to face.

What followed was a minute or so of careful positioning and movement, trying not to overexpose oneself, while trying to induce the enemy to do just that so one could shoot him. Otherwise known as “peekaboo”. However, thanks partly to a little luck, both myself and the PzIII A emerged from this mini-battle victorious. The way to the enemy plateau was open.

The overall battle situation was still unfavourable – 8-10 I think. It seemed clear that a second group of enemies had actually launched a rather succesful attack across the valley. A few of my team were clearly still fighting (though slowly dying). It all depended how many enemies had stayed behind on their plateau to defend. It they had gone all out in attack, the chances are they would win – swarm the remaining defenders of our base and then take it over long before we could take their base. However, that kind of all-out attack runs contrary to the common psychology of El Halluf. I thought if – and it was a big if – if our defenders held on just long enough, perhaps me and this PzIII A could take out the enemy base.

So we advanced. Once an enemy has climbed up the plateau it gets quite a bit more difficult to defend, as an attacker now has more options for cover in terms of various rock formations and the like. My hunch was right – plenty of enemy had stayed behind. We were also aided, I am sure, by another factor – those defenders left on the ridge were still trying to snipe the one remaining defender on my time – which made it easier at first to take out one or two. In essence, we rolled up the ridge, taking out tanks as we went, and once the remaining defenders were cleared we started to capture the base. At some point along this trail myself and the PzIII A were joined by another Marder II that had been bring up the rear. There were two enemy left on our plateau, and three of us on their plateau. We captured their base, and the field was ours.

My final tally: 8 kills, 21 out of 23 shots hit their target, and I myself was hit 14 times. All of which was good for awarding me Top Gun, Sniper, and Steel Wall. Three of my kills were opposing Tier Vs.

To be sure, there was a bit of luck on my side. In particular, the PzIII A driver finished off the Stug III for me – because a Stug III can really ruin my day. Also, if it wasn’t for the stalwart defence of a couple fo team members back at base, we would never have had time to work out way down the enemy plateau to their base. I suppose what I am saying is: I am thrilled at my personal performance in this match – but even so, without input from my team-mates of the moment, it would have joined that sorry run of defeats.

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