Or any other tank, for that matter, but in this particular case I was in the Valentine AT and a player in a new-fangled LTP just plain forgot (or perhaps didn’t realise) I was there. The result was a 50-50 battle swinging dramatically our way.
The match is Encounter mode on Prokhorovka, and it is a Tier III match. Indeed every every vehicle in the match is Tier III, and my team is the northern team. My spawn point is close to the railway. As soon as the clock has ticked its way down to zero I drive up the ramp, cross the railway line, and drive down the ramp. Quite a few people usually head then across the steam into the hilly area in the north-east corner. I rarely do this however – partly I figure usually enough people will go there anyway, but also because there is a much more vital piece of real-estate on this map – the hill along the eastern side. Generally the southern team reach the hill first, but if the southern team control the hill it provides useful cover to any tanks trying to capture the base.
Of course, the Valentine AT is not quick, so by the time I have ambled half-way to the hill there is a skirmish taking place at the northern foot between a couple of light tanks. I take a shot at an LTP, but miss, and he withdraws back onto the summit. I continue to amble my way, somewhat exposed by hoping the rest of my team is distracting enemy tanks sufficiently. Once I get the foot of the hill I am faced with a choice – I know there is a LTP and a Renault UE 57 at the top, but I also know there are a huge cluster of vehicles in the base area itself. The town that sprawls around the base provides lots of cover, so it is often not easy for snipers from the north-east position to make an impact.
I make a gamble – given that the LTP and Renault UE 57 seem intent on shooting my team-mates I climb the hill part-way to give me some elevation, and then turn onto the base itself to try and provide some flanking fire. I have some success, taking out three tanks, and the battle line which had initially gone against us looks more even. I make the decision to try and take out the LTP and Renault UE 57 now matters seem more under control. As it happens the tank destroyer is taken care of by one of our snipers, but the LTP is still up there.
What follows is what happens, I think, slightly embarrassing. My first shot with Valentine hits, but leave the LTP with a single hit point left. He begins to circle and damage me, and I really should die. However by reversing and turning I manage to get my strong front shield pointing towards him and bounce a shell or two – and then I miss when I shot again. My mistake, I should have paid more attention. At this point I really assume I am dead, but the LTP just keeps in front of me. Unfortunately for him he is silhouetted for our snipers, and he is taken care of just before my gun finishes reloaded.
Then I take up position above the town, and help kill off the remaining enemy hiding in the buildings, sometimes through the simple device of blowing said buildings up. When the battle is over I get a very nice surprise – an Ace Tanker Medal but also a de Langlade’s Medal (earned for killing four or more vehicles in a base circle). I find it slightly amusing that I earned my other de Langlade’s Medal in another Tier III TD.
Mostly though showed how useful the northern slope of the eastern hill can be in Prokhorovka can be to provide flanking fire into the town. In the Encounter mode especially it becomes critical territory for the northern team. Whilst the match may well have gone our way if I had not secured that position I do think the outcome would have been more in doubt. So if you do see an opposing tank taking up position on that slope, really it is often worth the effort it trying to get rid of them. In the process you can expose yourself to snipers, but just by being a little aggressive (not suicidal) you can deny that slope to the northern team as they have to concentrate on you rather than the town.
The link to the replay is here.