For the second or third time the message blinks – stnylan, fall back! The Grille player must be thinking I am an idiot, and to be sure there is a certain amount of risk in my positioning, but it is not without purpose. Calmly I write back – as I bounce a further shell or three – that while the enemy team are concentrating on me they are not doing anything else – like winning the game. At that point in time there was about five and half minutes remaining.
We were defending Malinovka in Assault, and I was in my KV-5. It was a Tier VIII match, but only four Tier VIII tanks on each side, and due to some silly platooning some tanks present above their Tier on each side. The attackers probably had the slightly worse line-up, but this was soon equalised when a VK3001P on our team decided to suicide raging against the matchmaker. It is not even like he left his wreck in a useful place. Looking at the lineup though I decided to try something I had seen others do very successfully, but which I had not quite yet managed to make work, though I had realised this was partly because in a Tier VIII/IX heavy lineup there was probably too much high penetration alpha for it to work. In this match though, well along with the four Tier VIIIs aside there were a couple of Tier VIIs for each time, the rest being Tier VI and below. Each side had two SPGs, ourselves two Tier VI pieces, and the enemy a Tier V and Tier III.
Defending Malinovka is deceptively easy – there is a hill you all start on which overlooks the base. Most folk tend to stay on that hill – which provides relatively poor cover though some camouflage, and seek to snipe the attackers. There are two main routes for attack, both of which are heavily forested. A good light tank player on Malinovka Assault can act as a serious force multiplier just by being in place to spot the enemy, for either team – though the role of spotter does not have to be played by a light tank. Indeed I once got Patrol Duty on my KV-5 when attacking, whilst my more cautious team-mates sniped at the enemy I revealed by getting shot at by advancing when they did not.
Actually my aim in this match was very similar. On the western flank of Malinovka there is a church building just about where the forest ends. As the match started I drove down to that building, and slanting myself behind it. Along the way I saw the aforementioned VK3001P commit suicide. My aim was twofold – to hopefully help spot the enemy, but also to stall the enemy. As any KV-line driver knows part of the role of this entire tank series (excluding the KV-2 and KV-1S which are no part of the “true” KV-line) is to be a target. The KV-5 is a great target – large and inviting – with also possibly the largest and most famous weakspot in the entire game. The only sure way to deal with this is to put that weakspot behind cover, which is what I did, angling my tank to hopefully bounce shots from the forest. At the start of a match a T-50 buzzed about the place, and I broke cover briefly to flush him out and kill him, hoping he had advanced too quickly. He had and I made it back behind the building safely. Shortly thereafter an enemy KV-4 took up position the opposite side of the building. No doubt he had much the same idea that I had but in reverse. Despite being so close to each other for most of the match, however, we never really tussled. By then leaving out positions for that purpose would have been a death sentence.
Soon the hits started to pound in. My tracks in particular got broke more times than I cared to count. At some point the story I relate at the top of this post occurred. By that time I was feeling pretty good – I had lost a thousand hitpoints (the KV-5 has 1780 hitpoints in total) – but far more stuff was bouncing than hitting. I figured that most of the damage was either from enemy artillery, about which I could do little other than to try and hug the building for what cover it offered (which was none if the enemy SPGs were located on the east side of the map, which their Hummel was), or from a shot to my radioman turret. I had repositioned myself to further hide the vulnerability, and I took very little damage for the rest of the match.
Plenty of times the enemy shot me though. A enemy Cromwell and KV-5 from one side, a Jagdpanzer IV from the other, plus occasional artillery shells from the Sturmpanzer II, and probably others too. I guess I was just too tempting a target. In that regard I was successful. Where I failed was in spotting the enemy, because largely I didn’t. Probably part of this was I kept so close into the building my viewing arcs were restricted, and partly probably because the enemy generally kept far enough back to avoid being seen. Also when a enemy tank or two did advance, to try and push, I was perfectly placed to flank them. Otherwise what I did do was act as a block for the enemy advance, just like I told the Grille player. While the enemy were shooting me our other flank beat back the enemy, and the match ran onto a successful conclusion.
I came out of the game with two medals – Sniper and Steel Wall. I had not expected Sniper, but I just met the conditions (minimum eleven shots – all of mine hit). The Steel Wall though was partly what I had been after. It proved to be a new record – over the course of the match I was hit 66 times, for a total potential damage of 15,550. Another way to think of that would be nearly 8 ¾ KV-5s.
As I said, in a match with more higher tiers I would not expect to have been so successful. Also I was fortunate the enemy Hummel did not pummel me – but then the defenders on Malinovka do not really get much defence against SPGs. However in the right match this is a tactic that think most heavies could pull off.
A few screenshots below the fold.
This where I spent much of the match, with lots of red and black showing up on the screen like now. I might have helped hold off this flank, but the other reason we won the match was that some of our tanks advanced into the eastern forest too. An active defence often trumps a passive one.
This was the only time the enemy KV-4 and I came to blows, and I tracked him before he could get me. He died soon thereafter.
The final stats.