Surviving the French Connection

Potshot and I have been making plans to try and coordinate activity in World of Tanks so as to… you know… actually play together.

One of the problems I have with the game is that the lobby interface is so focused on your tanks that I forget to check my friends list to see if anybody is on.

BT-2 in the garage

It is all about the armor

And, for most of the time I am on, I am in a match in any case, where you cannot… to my knowledge… actually check your friends list in any case.

So, for the most part, I play in matches solo, going where ever the match making algorithm sends me.

Potshot and I have played a couple of rounds together, but they have been very uncoordinated affairs in dissimilar tanks attempting to use platoon chat.  I don’t see how people have time to kvetch in chat channels during a match.  I am always too busy.  Unless I am dead.

So we are trying to get on at the same time and get voice coms working to coordinate.    I would like to try the in-game voice option, just to see how it works, but we always have Skype as a backup.

But part of this is also getting on the same page tank-wise.  I have already surged ahead on the German TD and Soviet heavy branches, but there is no plan so complicated that you cannot add another dimension to it.  Potshot had begun exploring the French TD line and was interested in continuing there.  The guns are certainly seem good, even if the vehicles themselves seem a bit flimsy and were designed with a certain Gallic whimsey.

S-35CA Tank Destroyer

Giant gravy boat? Mobile Jacuzzi?

I, in turn, had played a bit of the French light tank branch back when it came out and would like to get to the ELC AMX, a thin skinned but highly concealable race car of a tank that carries a 90mm surprise gun.

So I agreed, we would focus our efforts on the French tank tree.  I would scout, he would lay back under cover and snipe, and perhaps fun would be had.  We would call ourselves The French Resistance or something.

Then it came time to take stock of where I stood on the French light tank branch.  I had gone elite with the initial tank, the Renault FT, and then sold it for the garage slot.  I appeared to have done the same with the Hotchkiss H35, as it was no longer on my list.  The AMX 38 was still there in my garage though.  That was as far as I could bring myself to progress previously.

The AMX 38 is slow, not very well armored, and not especially well armed, which makes if a rather odd duck in its tier.  Its performance was probably the reason I gave up on the branch.  But I appear to have persisted with it long enough to research all its upgrades and the next tank up the branch, making it elite.

Which meant I was able to jump straight to the AMX 40.  Maybe this would be different.

It certainly looks different.

Enter the AMX 40

Enter the AMX 40

The armor is nicely sloped and seems to be pretty thick for a tier IV light tank.  The initial gun isn’t bad.  It still isn’t very fast, but it is faster that the AMX 38.  So I took it out for a match.

And lost, destroyed early on.

And lost again, destroyed.  And again.  And again.

This is a vehicle that clearly requires a special style of play.  And it gets put in something of a rough neighborhood.  It gets thrown into matches with tier VI tanks, and legitimately so.  But that means hiding from KV-1, KV-2, and KV-1S heavies.  The AMX 40 is pretty much a one-shot target for any of those.  I can attest to that personally.

Meanwhile, the initial gun feels out of its depth in that environment.  I had matches where I scored 8 or 10, or 12 solid hits and felt lucky when one actually penetrated and did some damage.  I did have some luck against British tanks.  As I said before, British tin makes for amusing targets.

So this will be a tough one to learn.  And it got worse when I finally was able to upgrade turret and gun.

Fully operational AMX 40

Fully operational AMX 40

I thought being better armed would help, but the weight of the upgraded gun and turret slows the AMX 40 down quite a bit.  So I was left trying to find its role on the battlefield.  I moved over a camo net and a binocular periscope set to try and help it be a stationary scout.  I basically hid in the bushes and hoped I would spot targets for arty and other tanks.  That worked okay, at least until I decided to take a shot for myself.

The upgraded 75mm gun isn’t a killer.  I got a couple of flank shots on a KV-1S in one match and couldn’t even break a track.  My one bit of luck is that his first shot at me left me with 9 hit points and didn’t kill any of my crew.  His next shot was interrupted by the arrival of more dangerous reinforcements, so I was mercifully ignored.

That actually lead to my greatest achievement of the night in the AMX 40.  I survived the battle!

I actually managed to limp to the cap and sit on it for a few points as well.  It was the only time I survived a battle that night, and it was my only win so far in the AMX 40.

But other than that, all it did was further tarnish my otherwise mediocre game stats.  It is definitely le canard étrange.   But I have to stick with it and figure it out if I want to get to that ELC AMX.

In the mean time, Potshot and I are looking for anything else that will help us coordinate.  I poked my nose into the whole clan thing, but details seem pretty sparse outside of the Clan Wars aspect of it.  As far as I can tell, besides Clan Wars access, creating a clan gets you a tag and another chat channel to ignore.  That does not seem like enough benefit for the 2,500 gold cost to create one.

Our plan so far then is to get online, get on voice, and go French.

What could go wrong?