Well, I was going to write up a totally different battle this evening, but I have just had a somewhat surreal experience that clamours to be written up now, while still fresh in the mind. The map is Port, a Tier VII battle (but only one Tier VII per side), and I am in the team starting in the south-east. It is a standard game. I am playing my Hummel, taking advantage of the extra credits from this weekend’s special offer.
My first reaction on seeing the map and starting location was to curse the tank gods. It is quite possible the south-east of Port is my least favourite starting position for an SPG on any map in any mode. Still, no point moaning, so after a certain initial indecisiveness I head further to the south-east corner of the map (discovering the process some destructible buildings I previously thought were not – which mostly signifies how unfamiliar this portion of the map is for me). I go into arty-mode, and make what amount to a couple of pot shots at enemy tanks as their cross the wall around E9-10. Neither hit. Then I realise an enemy M5A1 Stuart has taken advantage of my team’s position and is racing around the buildings towards me. I exit arty-mode and setup best I can to take my one shot at him. He comes careening around, and I wait as long as I dare to press the fire button to increase my chances. My aim is true enough, and he bites the dust. I immediately move away, a good thing as the enemy SU-8 sends a shell very close to where I was.
The larger battle, as often happens, has developed into two fights. One is around E1-2, and the other G7. At the first my team has the numbers, and is pushing the enemy back and taking out the enemy Jagdpanther in the process. Around G7 however the situation is reversed, and not aided by our KV-3. Indeed a look at that player reveals someone less than adept. I go back into arty-mode and try a shot at an M10 Wolverine, but again it misses. At this stage I realise that very soon I am going to have incoming enemy heavy tanks and TDs. I leave arty mode again, drive somewhat recklessly up to the road that runs along the H-line, and take a pot-shot over the sites, as it were. It lands short, and so I frantically reverse back around the corner of a building, pressing F7 to hopefully summon help.
By this time the rest of my team have more or less dealt with the enemy in the 1-2 lines, but it going to take a while at least for some of them to head back in my direction. The thing to note is that most of them are now moving back. The KV-3 is still alive around K7, and an enemy ARL V39 is heading in his direction. Meanwhile an M6 is moving down than H-line road towards me.
My plan is simple enough. I am fairly close to the wall of the building. It will take the enemy a little while at least to kill the KV-3, which means I do not have to worry about getting flanked just for the moment. Meanwhile I wait with the gun trained on the road, waiting for the enemy M6 to come into view so he can shoot me. He plays chicken for a bit, but I manage to restrain myself. Then he ekes out a little more track than I think he realises, and I fire. He does not die, but most of his remaining hitpoints are gone and he is tracked. I curse myself for firing just too soon, as I reckon I actually missed him and mostly he was getting splash damage (this turns out not to be the case, but I do think if I had sent a shell straight into the side I probably would have killed him). However, then it becomes apparent he either does not have a repair kit or has already used it. Even better, as soon as he has repaired he withdraws. In reality that was a mistake – I was still reloading so if he had moved forward and taken his shot I would likely be dead. However, he did move back – and the entire sequence meant my team-mates had just enough time to join in.
The KV-3 has since been killed, and that ARL V39 is moving up the J line. I move to the other end of the building I am behind, essentially intending to pull off the same trick. The enemy TD engages in a bit of a firefight with some of my own team though, so never actually moves forward enough. I wait until he has just fired, and then nip around the corner myself and unload my shell. It hits and he is destroyed. The M6 has since been taken out as a well, and a second fight is now taking place around.
An enemy AT 2 however tries to flank our position, coming round the building in H4. In effect we now get an almost exact reprise of the situation with the M6, only one building further north. He rounds the corner, and I take my shoot. He drops a fairly large amount of his hit points, but he also has a chance to shoot me. Knowing I will die if I do not move, and knowing he is slow, I dart down the H-road (towards to the enemy) and around that same building from the other side. A reckless move, but probably the only realistic hope I had of staying alive. I then circle the building. The AT 2 is now firing at the weaker rear armour of my team-mate, but soon I am returning the favour and he dies. I then scoot behind my original building to avoid being killed by an enemy KV-1.
It is clear we are now going to win this match – the enemy is down to that KV-1 and the SU-8 while we still have six vehicles alive, myself included. The KV-1 also has minimal health. It is clear though that he intends to go out with my scalp, as he starts to head towards our base. Once again I am alone here for the time being, but more of my team-mates have realised this and are on the way. I move around the building hoping to take a side-shot at the KV-1 as he advances down the H-road, but he realises and I withdraw. We then engage in a cat-and-mouse game in J4. My shot is not the best, but the splash is sufficient to end his life. I start to move away – and the enemy SU-8 takes me out. A few seconds later our team finishes capturing the enemy base, and the match is won.
I could have sworn I was playing an SPG. It felt more like a TD however, and was a lot of fun. It was also entirely due to desperation. This sort of situation usually does not end so happily. In particular, if that M6 was a little braver I would be dead, and I feel the game would have been a lot closer. Fun though it was, however, the next time I play my Hummel I am kind of hoping to go back to being a regular SPG. After all, if I wanted to play a TD I have several to choose from 🙂 .
The replay can be found here.