I recently said I wanted the keep the SU-85B a little bit longer in an attempt to the Ace Tanker award. Well, I took a shot at that last night, and good things happened.
It was a Tier IV match on the Encounter mode of Ruinberg, southern starting position. Both teams were a good mix of Tier IV and III tanks, with one Tier III SPG on each side. XVM showed that I was the only non-red player on my team, and there was only one non-red player the opposing team – but he was in a Tier III tank. However, it was clear that I should be able to get a good game out of this match-up. This is one thing I am starting to appreciate now – in these sorts of match-ups I should be demanding more of myself, rather than just coasting. Looking through the enemy tank-list I was particularly happy to notice only one Matilda, but wary of two Alectos and a Hetzer as each one was capable of one-shotting me with their derps.
The game starts and I head straight up alongside the road towards the town. An enemy Panzer I Ausf. C charges across the central ridge-line in what I assume is suicide-scout mode. I stop briefly and take a shot at him as he careens across the field, and manage to hit him. I don’t bother following him for a follow-up shot, figuring / hoping the rest of my team can finish him off without too much trouble. Meanwhile an A-20 from our team is doing much the same, lighting up half the enemy team. Ignoring him I am the forward-most vehicle in those of our team who are approaching the town, and I want to get into position quickly. I initially cover the north-south road, but realise I cannot see over the ridge I reposition leftward into the open square of buildings around E/F9. Both suicide scouts have since been destroyed, but I advance up the road and get spots on the Hetzer. I get a good shot off, pull back a bit and try a second shot which bounces off the Hetzer’s front. Not wanting to get derped I pull back into some bushes on the back-right side of that open square of houses.
This open square is basically where I sit for most of the match. Looking at the replay I realise what a great location this is to defend, as you can have shots both ahead and to the left and right. I mean, look at the below screenshots. It is a great defensive location, but I am sure like all defensive locations it can become a trap.
I stop a moment and wait to let the rest of the tanks of my team on this flank catch up. That is a LTP to my left and an Alecto and another SU-85B to my right – both in bushes along the road that runs down the 0-line. Meanwhile a BT-7, M2 Medium, T82, and our SU-26 SPG are scattered in the backfield. The enemy team advances – an Alecto and M3 Lee on the opposite side of the 0-line road. I peek between two buildings, but a building on that road side blocks my view. I wait a moment to see if they advance to clear cover, but they do not and I realise that the Hetzer I shot at earlier is approaching the open square from the left, and an A-20 and Pz S35 739f are approaching from the front. The Pz S35 driver is the best player on the enemy team according to XVM.
I turn around, but the Hetzer cannot yet touch me for another defensive feature of this open square – the destructible walls that are everywhere. There is one between me and him, and he appears to be concentrating just now on the LTP anywhere. The Pz 35S remains behind buildings, but the A-20 advances into the northern gap. There had been a destructible wall here too, but I had knocked it down when advancing to take my shot on the Hetzer and retreated through the same gap. Now I shoot through it. The A-20 makes a quick shot at me and misses, but I get a second shot in on him, taking him down more than 300hp in two shots. He withdraws but the Hetzer advances – or at least I think he does. It turns out he too is now withdrawing, face towards the LTP he is facing, but showing his side to me, and he dies.
Now I move to the top-left portion of this open square, where I have a sight-line on three enemy tanks – that M3 Lee and Alecto, and a Type 2597 Chi-Ha. Another Alecto is hiding behind a building on near-side. The M3 Lee dies before I have a shot – I need to advance far enough to knock down another destructible wall, but then I wreck the Chi-Ha for most of his health. The Chi-Ha then most takes cover behind a building, but leaves just enough of his rear exposed for me to take the killing shot. The first Alecto, unfortunately, has too much cover from the two wrecks for me to take a shot.
The enemy Pz S35 tries to sneak through the top-opening of the square whilst I am occupied, but the LTP helps cover my flank, and forces him to withdraw. I reposition myself to meet this possible threat when the A-20 floats across my sights, and I finally kill him. Meanwhile the two Alectos to my right are both taken out by the tanks of our side, and a Medium Mk III has come up to join the fray on my left.
At this stage the battle looks very favourable to us – a 7-3 advantage to my team. The situation in the town appears to be a congenial stand-off, but on this flank the enemy’s position is collapsing. The only tank we know about is the Pz S35, but his position is basically untenable and he is ripe to be flanked.
I move up into the northern gap in the open square, trying to either keep the Pz S35 occupied for someone from the right side to flank or to pop around the corner to kill myself, depending what happens, when suddenly I get hit. The enemy Matilda reveals itself behind a building at the top of E9, with an excellent firing position on me. I skidaddle back as fast as the SU-85B, but in total he gets three hits in on me, taking off 60% of my health and leaving me with just over 100hp. The Panzer S35 player may be the enemy’s “best” player, but the Matilda player is the most experienced in a tank that can rule this Tier if the person has a good game, so what looked like a flank about to collapse suddenly gets a bit of backbone.
I have withdrawn behind cover of the buildings on the left side of the open square. Our Alecto finishes off the enemy Pz S35, who had kept on the F-row road. I do think if he had withdrawn back to the buildings opposite me on the road – to around D9 – this would have been a much tougher fight. Our Medium Mk III charges forward, rather effectively distracting the Matilda. I have been repositioning in the open square, and now behind some bushes put one shot into the Matilda. The Matilda kills the Medium Mk III and the LTP gets into my way. I move a little, but cannot get a clear shot. I pull back as the LTP gets hit, and then as we manoeuvre we get in each others’ way a bit. However we disentangle as the Alecto advances to face the Matilda. I find myself with a good shot, and hit, and then the Alecto finishes the Matilda off. Finally, the flank is open.
I move forward to take up position in E9, using the corner of one building, bushes, and the wreck of the Matilda as cover. I have three kills and done maybe a bit over 1000 damage (it is not fully displayed on my hitlist for some reason). I have a clear view across the field into the enemy start area. I know a Bison is there, and I know the lone heavy tank on the field – a Durchbruchswagen 2 was last seen there, but we have no idea if either are still about. Meanwhile in the town the situation remains merrily stalemated.
Now I wait. Our Alecto advances down the 0-line, while the rest of the tanks from this flank head straight into the town. I request for a scout of the enemy base, but I am ignored. I edge forward a bit, and either myself or the Alecto spots the DW2 and an enemy LTP. The DW2 takes three shots to kill, and is clearly poorly played. The LTP appears to be either afk or disconnected – either way inactive, and also dies. Meanwhile in the town the extra numbers have told, and the enemy tanks are cleared up. Our team begins to cap. Only the Bison is left, so I decide to advance forward to see if I can find him. I do. I rush the first shot and miss, but take my time on the second and the game concludes with my sixth kill.
My final stats for the game were six kills, 18/19 shots hitting with all but one penetration causing 2105 damage, 465 spotting damage, and two detections. All this was good for 1395 base experience. In addition to the Ace Tanker Mastery Badge I also got Sniper and Top Gun.
Now of course I should have done well in this game. Most of the players on the enemy team were inexperienced. My tank’s crew was “only” around 91%, but even so that was probably at least 10-15% more experienced than most of the crews of the opposing team. The odds were in my favour, the main thing about this game is I was able to capitalise on those odds. If I cannot take advantage of situations like this in the lower tiers I will continue to struggle in the lower tiers. The two moments I remember most fondly were those two times I fell back, because they allowed me to survive, and if one is not alive one cannot do anything.
Full replay here.