Last night I played a game of World of Tanks, where I made a critical mistake right at the start, and then compounded it by being really stupid, before finally – with two other players – managing to pull off a victory. Eventually I played well, but for the first long while I was definitely subpar, and while I will claim some credit for the win the other two players (a platooned KV-1 and BDR G1B) were more important. I am writing about match partly, however, because it ended up being a lot of fun, and partly because it is a good example of how even a poor-looking situation can be turned around.
The setting is the Abbey map, Tier V battle with a good mix of Tiers V, IV, and III on the both sides, and two SPGs apiece. I am in a T-34, taking advantage of the earnings bonus over the weekend. The main difference between the two teams is that we are have heavy tanks (as mentioned above) whereas the enemy has none, but to compensate the matchmaker has given them more Tier Vs. My team has the northern starting position.
I usually never go into the abbey itself on this map – I always figure that the centre of the map will get enough cover. If I am in a TD I sometimes hang back to defend, otherwise I choose either the hills to the west of the river-path to the east. On this occasion I went westward, along with a T-28 and the two heavies. A lot of our team however made a beeline for the narrow passage to the immediate east of the Abbey, and I started to get a sinking feeling as to what was going to happen. The river-road itself had no takers, but a couple of tanks including an SU-85 seemed to be hanging back in a defensive position near to where the road turns onto the base plateau. This was my first mistake, especially since after a few moments only the SU-85 and artillery were back there. I should have turned back, but I did not. In the back of my head I figured I had the speed to get back to defend if necessary.
Meanwhile myself and the T-28 raced through the hills, encountering no opposition. The fight below the Abbey was initially pretty much even – some enemy tanks had the same idea apparently, but in due course a Panzer IV got into a flanking position and our tanks started to fall rapidly. To make matters worse enemy tanks start to appear at the top of the river-road. Although I have now reached the post overlooking the enemy base, I choose turn around. The two heavies – far behind – have already done so. The T-28 presses on.
By this time the match is at 2-7 in the enemy’s favour. All our SPGs have died, and the base is being defended by the SU-85 and an M4 Sherman. Their situation is pretty dire as they are vulnerable to fire from the south, and although they can hide behind some cover for that it severely limits their effectiveness in fighting the attack from the river road. In due course they are both destroyed, and the score stands at 3-9. Our T-28 has almost reached the enemy base, and I start to get a crazy idea that perhaps if I went back south to join him we could cap the base while the two heavies – which are getting into position to defend – give us the time to do so. The T-28 kills an enemy Grille and starts capping, and I turn around. I was almost at the southern point of the hills when I turned north, and I not quite at the northern point when I turn south again.
This was my big mistake. My other two decisions – to go to the west and not aid the defence of the river-road, and to turn back to our base, are defensible. An SU-85 can be very effective at holding up an enemy, and perhaps if I had kept on straight to the enemy base the idea of myself and the T-28 capping it out might have worked. Instead however I spend a lot of time running up and down 600-700 metres of hill (which with the turns is probably closer to 800 metres) several times.
I am about half-way and heading south – opposite the abbey, when the T-28 comes under attack and is destroyed. A Cruiser Mk IV from our team had also darted down the western route, and quickly follows him into destruction. I fruitless take up a position from the hill to try and shoot at anything that attacks him, but it is useless. The score stands at 5-11, the KV-1 having killed an enemy T-34. The other tank on our team is a Panzer II Ausf. G, but his time is quickly ended. The score is now 5-12, and I am finally heading back north. The time mark is 11.20 – only three minutes and forty seconds have passed, and we are outnumbered more than 3-1. I am expecting another defeat, especially as I can see the KV-1 and BDR G1B both taking damage.
However, I am at last in a spot where I can take part in the battle, in around C3, at a spot in the northern end of the western hills which provides me a view of our base and some of the surrounding ground. The BDR G1B takes out a Panzer IV that had been doing a bit of damage. My first shot of the match is at a T-46 that thinks he is hiding behind a rock, but he left enough of his rear exposed that I felt confident, especially with the accuracy changes. A hit, though he is only damaged. Indeed, it takes two further shots to take him out, but down he goes.
Meanwhile the KV-1 is at the northern extremity of the hills, on the path that winds up to them. The BDR G1B is on the slope up to the base itself. An enemy M4 Sherman is to the north of our base, trying to attain a good firing position I think, while a S-35 CA is in the base circle itself. That is very much a threat given its likely gun take out the damaged KV-1 with a single shot, and really wreck both me and the BDR G1B. Meanwhile a Panzer IV is coming around the corner of the cliff just in front of me, trying I think to flank the BDR, and there is a Panzer III further behind him. Priority is the S-35 CA. I think it is the BDR which takes on shot at him, which its, and I then finish him off with a second. The Panzer IV hits and damages the BDR however. Meanwhile I am being shot at – I think by the M4 Sherman, but so far he is missing. I shoot back at him, but suddenly start taking damage from the side. I reverse, to get cover between me and whatever is shooting at me – a Marder II and Stug III. I consider myself lucky I am still alive after two hits, but my health is now less than half. I still get off a second shot at the M4 – both of mine hit but he is not yet dead. I fire a third shot, but I cannot see the result.
The BDR G1B takes out the Panzer IV, and the KV-1 kills the Marder. We are all below 200 hp. The enemy Stug III has a great position to kill the BDR and is still at full health. The enemy Panzer III has climbed onto the base plateau and now also attacks the BDR. He proves to be my next target – and he takes three rounds to take out. The BDR now has just 94hp, but the Stug III also has just taken a large hit reducing its health to just below 100. I slip down the slope in front of me to get a firing position- as he is pointing the towards the BDR he is exposing his side. Two shots and he is dead before what I imagine would be a killing shot on the BDR.
After a fairly intense minute or so of gameplay the score is tied 12-12. The enemy still has the M4 Sherman somewhere on the base plateau, though he is heavily damaged. They also have a Valentine, status unknown, and a Sturmpanzer II. The Valentine reveals himself almost immediately by make a pot-shot at me, but it bounces. That is the problem with the Valentine, low penetration. Still I am not longer in a position with any sort of arty-cover, a fact made immediately clear by a large explosion where I just was. I stop, and take two shots at the Valentine (bouncing another of his) before repositioning around the corner of a cliff. Meanwhile the BDR takes out the Sherman. I take another shot at the Valentine, just as an arty-shell explodes nearby. That was luck on my part. I move, and fire three quick shots. The Valentine has only a little health left, but I do not want to stay still any longer. I more, fire, move – and an arty shell explodes right where I had mean a moment before. The BDR finishes off the Valentine.
Finally it is all over bar the shouting. I race down the road to the immediate west of the Abbey to try and find the enemy SPG. The two heavies take the eastern route where many of our team had died in the opening stages of the fight – and there they find the enemy SPG. I take a shot at it – but before my shell arrives the BDR finishes him off.
The BDR G1B ends up with most experience with base 962 and over 1500 damage, I am second with 702 and over 1100 damage and the Sniper medal. The KV-1 is third and earns a Steel Wall. I bet the two enemy Panzer IVs feel a bit aggrieved however – both of them score more experience than anyone on our side apart from us three. All in all it is good for over 54,000 credits profit thanks to the special. A great end result despite some very questionable decision making part-way through. One sign of that is I travelled over 3km in all.
Replay is here – a couple of screenshots below the fold.
From the replay (hence the free camera) – showing just how close that arty-shell got.