Learning Your Environment: Using the Map Tactically
You selected a tank. The battle has begun. Now, you need to know how to survive on the battlefield.
Cartography Expert: Learn the Maps
Early in the battle, your teammates and your opponents will be scrambling for control over hot zones -- common battlegrounds -- on the map. Learning the layout of each map and its hot zones is an excellent first step in staying alive. Of course, you might get blown up a few times first, as trial and error is among the most effective ways to learn new maps.
As a rule of thumb, each map will have a small number of common hot zones, and they are fairly easy to anticipate, even if you have never played a map before. Is there a hill or high ground? Chances are that controlling that area is very important for controlling the entire map. Alternatively, are there narrow corridors or valleys? Those areas are bound to be filled with medium and heavy tanks brawling in a shootout.
Another element to remember: artillery and tank destroyers will be looking for covered or perched locations from which to fire. Find those areas on your side of the map and use them to your advantage if you are commanding such tanks. Otherwise, find those locations on your opponent’s side and root out the enemy!
Run and Hide: Using Cover
Once you have determined where you are going, you’ll need to learn the safest, fastest route to your destination. To this end, understanding the use of cover is crucial to protect yourself from enemy spotting and fire.
Every map will offer a variety of places for your tank to hide from fire. Whether it’s a building wall, a mountainside, or a boulder, you will need to learn to position your tank behind these obstacles to prevent the enemy from seeing and shooting you. Similarly, bear in mind where you believe enemy artillery might be positioned; keeping a high wall between you and artillery prevents the enemy from angling a shot at you.
As you move across the map, you might find low walls and hills. These obstacles are great to hide behind while still allowing you to fire over them. Using low cover, you can protect many of your tank’s vulnerabilities and minimize the accessibility of your tank’s less-armored areas.
Invisible Assassin: Using Camouflage
Along with identifying hot zones and protecting your tank, you must understand how to use camouflage effectively. The use of camouflage keeps your tank hidden from the enemy, and different camouflage elements affect the visibility of your tank differently.
Find bushes. This might be the first lesson to learn when thinking about camouflage. Bushes conceal your tank while allowing you to fire at the enemy. If you can park your tank inside a bush so that you are hidden but can still see the enemy, you will be able to fire at your opponent at least once before you are spotted.
Using foliage like bushes and trees will enable you to sneak around the map while avoiding enemy fire. Beware: once you move or fire, you are likely to attract the attention of enemy tanks. Therefore, a prudent tanker waits for the moment to strike, fires, and then sneaks off to a new location before fire can be returned.
Bear in mind that a tank parked motionless behind an obstacle can gain the benefit of camouflage too! If you find yourself in a close-quarters exchange, try to duck away from your enemy and stop. After some time, your enemy will be unable to see your outline through the obstacle. That is the time to move tactically and counterattack!
Once you have an understanding of where, when, and how to run across the battlefield, you get that much closer to mastering tank warfare. Remember to avoid easy lines of sight by hiding behind obstacles while you work to control hot zones. Use lower obstacles for protection while firing. Utilize foliage and stand still when necessary to gain a camouflage advantage. The best commanders use their environment to their competitive advantage!