How to take full advantage of Armored Vehicles (AV).
Armored Vehicles Explained
Introduction to the Writer
I have served as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) Gunner as a conscript for a year, and I have had an undisclosed amount of rehearsal trainings. Among some feats I would say I am most proud of is training professional career officers from different branches of Army in my area of expertise. Take everything you read with a grain of salt and fit these tips to your own playstyle. This guide is not a guide for World of Tanks or War Thunder, this is a brief guide in how to utilize AVs effectively in an environment with infantry and urban elements present.
Basic concepts in AV warfare
An AV is always moving or the commander is always planning on moving when it is not firing. No discussion. If you are stationary, you are a target and you will be spotted. This true not only in BattleBit but in real life as well. A well trained commander uses his AV quite strangely: he advances, retreats a bit, advances a bit more, retreats. Sort of like a tug of war. Not only does this movement help against dodging enemy AV rounds, it is quite effective against RPGs as well. Though some might say TOWs or Javelins might be a different case. The commander also gains a tiny fraction of more knowledge with each advancement and can make the necessary adjustments to their battle plan. Rushing in without a clear thought will quickly get you killed.
Generally speaking when engaging enemy positions, infantry or tanks, you need to know in advance your covered, scouting and firing position. This basically means that if you start your engagement against the most common enemy, infantry, you know where to see them, where to shoot them and where to retreat once you need to reload. With BTR or LAV you want to start your retreat to your covered position before your mag is empty.
A covered position is a position where you can’t be engaged, so in an urban environment your covered position might be a 100 meters from where you start firing your known enemy due to windows or buildings providing ample opportunities to destroy you. Usually however, a covered position is just a hill, an upwards slope or a wall of a building.
A scouting position might be a place where you can see enemy movement, enemies can’t engage you well but you can’t fire well either. Translated into BattleBit, a scouting position most likely for you is driving next to your friendlies and asking where the enemy is.
A firing position is a place where you can engage your enemy and they can engage you. You want to be here for a really short time. Don’t stick around. You should have multiple different firing positions so that the enemy can’t pre-aim to where you were last seen.
Just like in real life, BattleBit simulates damage and hits to your side will make you take more damage than hits to the front. However, this is not World of Tanks, angling your armor does not make a difference and you do not want to take any hits. You want to show as little as possible of yourself and you want drive well into cover to get good on-the-move hits to your enemy.
As almost every class has access to C4, even a single enemy infantryman can destroy your tank by rushing it. Therefore, your firing position should be near or behind your allies. In real life a 120mm tank gun releases so much pressure that shooting from behind your mates is a no-no, but thankfully BattleBit does not simulate this. The distance of instant kill is a public secret but I will not disclose it here.
The terrain varies between different maps and at the time of writing the drive model is wonky, to say the least. Just as infantry has to utilize terrain effectively, you need to think about whether or not you want to drive in a forest which restricts your movement but conceals your position, etc. etc. This comes down to experience and map knowledge. Understand however that open fields, even with movement, give the enemy a possibility for a massed or a continuous onslaught of RPGs, so you want to take open fields full speed with your smokes.
In combat, the AV is a force multiplier which acts in a way to enable movement and support the allied infantry. While maintaining a good KD becomes quite easy, understand that just by getting to command an AV does not translate into becoming a killing machine with better kill amounts than you would get by playing infantry. However, the good usage of an AV will translate to faster captures of objectives and better points for your allies.
Start the combat by understanding the objective. Does the objective and the likely direction of enemy advancement give me a possibility to snipe behind my allies? If so, do just that. Do you have a clear corridor where to shoot (such as Basra or the cooling tower in Valley) and still have an ability to stay clear of enemy infantry? Does the planned objective reside on top of a hill where ability to engage is obviously hindered? Not all objectives can be taken or even supported with a tank — Do you even want to play the objective or do you want to hinder enemy movement or otherwise cause them harm? And always: Never be the first responder on the scene, always let your infantry advance first.
Once you start firing, you will become an objective to the enemy. Know where your cover position is. Keep your gun pointed to the threat at all times. Reversing to cover is quite hard like this, but you will get the hang of it. Never chase your kills: this is just rushing into a position you have no idea of and will quickly get you killed as well. In cover after a few mags or rounds fired, you might even want to think about whether or not the objective is feasible. You want to survive longer than you would as an infantryman who can spawn in 5 seconds while an AV takes minutes to respawn in base. Abandoning your teammates in a game is allowed, so if you think you are taking pressure from enemy engineers, relocate and plan what you want to do next.
A good indicator for your efficiency is empty mags. Once you realize that you need to get back to base to resupply, you know that you caused enough distraction to be useful. If you play engineer, you quickly notice that you can’t repair your vehicle over and over again to stay in shape so even the efficient commander needs to take their AV back to base every now and then. In combat, try to repair your vehicle in a position where your own (or the enemy!) infantry won’t steal it or better, have your squad help you. From my experience not a lot of engineers play with the repair tool for some reason, or some just wont respond to my pleads for help.
M1 and T90 – The MBTs
M1 and T90 are what the common folk might call “tanks”. They are tracked vehicles equipped with a gun designed to destroy other AVs. Hence the name Main Battle Tank, MBT.
The role of an MBT is to destroy enemy armor and positions. Both tanks have an excellent mobility even in rougher terrain. Rocks and ditches are no match for the might of an MBT.
A fresh commander quickly notices that MBTs fire two different rounds: AP and HE. AP is designed against vehicles, HE against infantry and buildings. Firing an AP round against an infantryman is like punching a flying bird – most likely you will miss and even a near miss does not have any effect. Meanwhile HE has good splash damage. A common strategy even in real life training is to aim for a tree instead of an infantryman in a covered trench. The fragments from the HE round rain down on them causing heavy damage, and you can shoot enemies in cover in BattleBit like this as well, such as walls or other solid objects.
The gunsight offers you a cross indicator on where the round will hit, while shooting to long distances (or when you are aiming near ground). This does not fully translate to good hits in-game, AP has a better velocity in real life so it suffers less bullet drop while firing HE to distant infantry becomes a skill of its own. Your shots are very accurate and do not suffer from horizontal inaccuracy. Even though the shots are quite fast, do not engage moving enemy helicopters with the main gun. It’s a waste of a good shot or two unless you have full 100% confidence that you will hit your target. You will have a coaxial MG as well, but your MG gunner has a better one. Always try to focus on AVs first and only afterwards use your MG against enemy infantry.
While HE gives some damage to AVs as well, it is better to change your shot before engaging your target. Remember, once you shoot, you become a target and you want to get that first shot in with full damage. MBT to MBT combat most likely will not end in a kill. An AP shot to the side of a BTR or a LAV does quite heavy damage. While those targets might want to shoot you, the clever ones will just run away and reposition. Remember that while rare, they can still have infantry inside of them with RPGs and C4 ready for you, so do not think that they are a free kill. Treat them with the same respect as an MBT.
Overall, an MBT is a good and an accurate sniper platform which offers the highest survivability on the battlefield.
LAV and BTR – the APCs
The LAV and BTR are wheeled, lightly armored vehicles with a chaingun and capacity for 8 infantrymen – Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC.
While a person with less hours in front of their screen might think that their name equals to a fancy taxi that will quickly deliver infantry straight to the objective as their gun is no match for an MBT, this view could not be further from the truth. Their light armor makes them good targets and they need infantry support before engaging. Instead, the taxi role is to take your infantry near the objective into cover and then continue supporting them from afar.
Both vehicles have 200 round capacity with a 20 round mag which fires light rounds with splash damage. These are excellent against infantry and Humvees, but lack the power to do damage against MBTs. You might notice that liberal use of the reload function comes in handy, as firing a full mag takes some time and gives the enemy possibilities to get a clear shot if you stay stationary, and otherwise firing on the move gives you some extra added inaccuracy as well. I have noticed that for some reason APC to APC combat adds some heavy shocks and involuntary movement to your vehicle. This makes it harder to connect next shots but also to relocate, so again treat your opponent with respect, as you might soon find out your APC is sideways on a tight corridor with no escape.
The gun is not accurate to larger distances and has some bullet drop as well. This does not mean that you should resort to hit and run tactics. Instead, harassing the enemy is still possible and points will eventually rack in with assists. The optics offer you worse visibility than a MBT, but you still have the option to zoom in and call out targets if necessary. Defensive hit and run tactics are possible with an APC as long as you drive relatively close to objectives your own team controls. Again, I would not do offensive hit and run drive-bys without absolute confidence for my survival.
Overall, the APCs are a fast platform capable of racking infantry kills and relocating fast to a new target.