Big Guns, Slow Tanks, and Crew Training

Now into tier VI with the KV-2 and the JgPz IV, I am no longer earning a new tank to drive every week.  Proportionally you just need more credits and more experience to move up tiers the higher you get.  Those who climbed all the way into tier X deserve their free T-shirts.

I do not play enough… just hit 1000 battles mark… or well enough… 50% win ratio is coin flip time… to vault up that high any time soon.  My goal for this year is to obtain a tier IX vehicle.

Still, there are advances to be made.  The KV-2 started out with the 122mm U-11 gun.

122mm KV-2

122mm KV-2

But I managed to finally earn enough experience to get the 152mm M-10 gun plus the upgrades needed to support it.  The big “derp” gun was mine at last.

152mm KV-2

152mm KV-2

And it worked as advertised.  I managed to one-shot a lightly damaged Churchill on my first outing, catching it broadside as it crossed a street I was camping.  Very satisfying.

Of course, it was just a Churchill.  That model is the staple of the British heavy tank line, which is enough to make me avoid the British heavy tank line.  I love shooting them, but couldn’t see myself driving one.  What crap tanks.  If I went for the British tree, it would be to get one of those fast and annoying Cromwells.  They are always sneaking up on my flank.

The shiny fun of the 152mm gun started to wear off pretty quickly though.  It is really a gun for a specific environment.  If a city map, or at least a map with some confined space, comes up in the match maker, where engagement ranges are close, I am pretty good.  But a wide open map where I might have to engage people at a distance and where I do not have a place to run and hide… and go make a sandwich… while the 152 reloads, then things tend to go less well.  I get lit up with hits like a pinball machine, the first of which inevitable breaks a track, rendering me immobile.

And the 152 isn’t always up to the job even in close quarters.  I had a heavily damaged T-29 come around the corner at one point, allowing me to fire on him at spitting distance.  But I got the “it bounced off” message.  And then came that embarrassing moment where I am reloading and backing up and waiting for the inevitable pain as his turret slewed around and he opened fire.  He lived, I died.

Comedy isn’t always pretty.

So I spent a chunk of time on Sunday working to get enough experience to the 107mm ZiS-6 gun which, among its virtues, looks even more ridiculous on the KV-2 than the other two guns.

107mm KV-2

107mm KV-2

It is like the Pinocchio tank, and I have been telling people I am ‘leet. (And generally, not only is my nose long but my pants… or at least my engine compartment… is often on fire.)

This gun is much more to my liking.  It is more accurate.  I can hit things at range now and again.  It has better penetration, so things I hit usually feel it.  It reloads fast enough that I can get off more than 4 or 5 shots a match.  And it is lighter, which means the whole tank is lighter, so I can move a bit faster.  With the 152mm gun mounted I swear I had a KV-1S pass me while in reverse.

Of course, that 107mm gun was kind of expensive in experience, so I cheated a bit by converting some experience from my gold Churchill III tank.

Wait, what?

Wasn’t I just denigrating the British heavy tanks because of the Churchill?

Yes I was.  And I still feel that way in general.  I enjoy shooting a Churchill with my KV-1 or my StuG. III… or especially with my KV-2… more than driving one.  And I am not going to start on the British tank tree any time soon.  But the premium Churchill III has certain advantages of which I was previously unaware.

Over at The Mittani there is an article up comparing the relative merits of the tier V premium tanks in the game.  Premium tanks are the ones you buy with the RMT currency, gold, which you must acquire with real world cash.

I have generally eschewed the premium tanks.  I do have a Type 59, which I bought back when it was considered over-powered.  I have generally used it to earn credits or to just run out and play in the higher tiers when not working on a specific goal.  But that is the only one I have purchased up to this point.  I have a couple of others that were gifts to players at various points during the life of the game, most recently the T1E6.  But that accounts for all of the premium tanks in my garage.

So what changed my mind?

First, I had been unaware that you could move crews from your other tanks into a premium tank of the same nationality and type, so you can double up on you first daily win experience bonus for your crew.  And since I have been working on Russian heavy tanks, the Churchill III fit right in.

You see, the Churchill III is a Lend-Lease version of the Churchill, so it is in the Soviet tree and not the British.

Second, the Churchill III has an experience modifier that earns it more experience per match than its Soviet heavy counterparts.

And, third, when it comes to the match making algorithm, it is only ever put up against tanks that are tier VI or lower.  So while that QF 6 Pounder seems like a pop-gun amongst the heavy tanks, it has just enough penetration to do damage consistently.  And it fires much faster than the larger caliber guns on the field.

Finally, it was only 1,500 gold, so what the hell.  I bought it.

Churchill III

Churchill III

I bought it without a crew, put the camo net on it, bought the camo paint (it only adds 5% more to cover, but who knows when that 5% might make the different), clicked the “accelerated crew training” box, and moved the crew from my KV-1 over to it.

And I have not done too badly with it.  It does get chewed up by arty rather quickly and it shares the affinity for track damage that the KV series seems to.  And it is slow.

But the 6 Pounder does penetrate as advertised.  I have plinked away at more heavily gunned foes quite successfully, getting off 3-5 shots and ducking behind cover when it is time for them to fire.  And I do not seem to attract as much hate as the KV-2 on the battlefield.  I seem to be viewed as more of an easy victim with a small gun and will get singletons coming after me, only to pepper them to death with rapid fire.

The experience bonus seems to be in effect as well.  My average experience per match with the Churchill III is over 700.  Given my 50/50 win-loss rate and generally crap skills, that is pretty good.  And my KV-1 crew seems to be coming along nicely.  They were around 50% trained on their first secondary skills when I picked up the Churchill.  They are now closing in on 90%. (That climb from 90% to 100% seems pretty steep though.)

It will be nice to get a crew finished with a set of secondary skills finally.  I have half a dozen crews sitting between 50% and 80%.

I did turn off the accelerated crew training for a bit on Sunday to build up and convert some experience for the KV-2 gun upgrade.  But other than that, I have been working on crew training.

So that is where I stand at the moment, still investing in the Soviet heavy tank tree.

9 thoughts on “Big Guns, Slow Tanks, and Crew Training

  1. Qinosen (@qinosen)

    grats on getting the KV2 elited and buying the 107, as you have figured out the 152 is for derping around when you want to have fun, the 107 is a serious weapon that will occasionally get you sniper and top gun (very hard to do with the derp) One other note, since draws count as losses, your 50% win rate is respectable, since 47% is actually average. GL out there


  2. Pendan

    Made me wish I had thought to get a Churchill III between Dec 24th and Jan 2 when they were half off. I never properly looked at it to see that it was soviet. My heavy crews in higher tiers need some help with training up. I have a IS-7 and moved the crew up each time upgraded but kept all the tanks. They had to start over with training. Both IS and IS-3 are now at 82% into first crew skill but that is when starts getting really slow.

    You might want to watch this thread If you can ignore Garbad’s ego, he can be informative. He should provide good tips on the Churchill III once he has spent some more time with it.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Qinosen – I think my actual percentage is 49%/49% win/loss, with a few draws occupying the middle ground. At one point on Saturday my win/loss ratio was exactly equal thanks to a streak of horrible losses.

    On individual tanks with more than, say, 20 battles, I think my StuG III is the best, at 63% wins.

    The KV-2 isn’t elite yet. While I did finally get the srs bzns gun, I still need the final engine upgrade, the T-150, and that SP gun. The last one is some huge amount of exp, so it will be a while.

    @Pendan – Yeah, it is uphill from 80% onward. And I went with the improved crit likelihood skill for my gunners, which doesn’t even come into play until it gets to 100%. I hope that skill works out. I like a good crit where you hit them and then seconds later they brew up and die because you hit their fuel tank or ammo rack and they didn’t make their saving throw.

    I’ll have to look at that thread. Thanks! While I don’t think I am a complete farb when it comes to WoT, I am sure I still annoy the good players when they show up in random matches.


  4. Qinosen (@qinosen)

    @ Wilhelm – As to gunner skills imho, I have found snap shot to be far superior to pretty much anything else, because as someone else (can’t remember who) said, getting the 1st hit counts more than the 1st shot. So anything you can do to reduce, aim time, load time and accuracy will help against every tank. Don’t underestimate face hugging either, if you keep bumping them, their reticle never gets small enough to get a clean shot at your vulnerable spots. Ofc, a bad idea in tanks that will just get rammed to death but the KV2 outweighs everything else in T6 (except the M6) and a good many in T7.


  5. Latrodanes

    welcome to the madness. I think Tier V – VII are the most fun tiers to play. As a suggestion, I would run repairs on all your crew until that hits 100% to minimize your “broken track” time. Then respec into your preferred perks, keeping repairs on any crew that really don’t get decent ones, i.e. radio man, etc.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Yeah, I need to find a guide to the skills to review them. I was away from the game for a long stretch and those secondary skills got added in during that time. So when I came back I just picked whatever skill sounded good.

    I did tend to go with camo for most of the crew members, if only because I am a fan of “how not to be seen.” I aspire to be that jerk who stops right in front of you and disappears. I hate that guy. And it is my nature to say, “screw repairs, let’s just not get hit!” I can be dumb like that.

    Oddly, the skill I notice the most when I do not have it is clutch braking. I had the driver on my StuG III take that. He is at 90% now, and every time I play the StuG III, my other tanks feel really awkward by comparison as they seem unable to turn and move forward without great difficulty.

    @Qinosen – I have a few ramming kills with the KV-2, but they all involved somebody trying to ram me and dying in the attempt. I am usually sitting there, track broken, and waiting for the gun to reload. I really dread when the loader gets hit and I have to get out a calendar to track reloads… at least with the 152mm gun.


  7. HarbingerZero

    One thousand battles really is worthy of a celebration: according to the server stats, two-thirds of all players never make it that far.

    I said long ago that I thought the Ram II was the best of the tier five premiums ( Its quick, has high hit points, sloped armor that causes bounces, high penetration, good accuracy, and a ridiculous rate of fire that often causes panic among new players (one shot penetrating every two seconds will do that). That said – I still believe firmly that whatever is fun for you is always the right pick. Glad you are still enjoying the game!


  8. Steve

    I also highly recommend Tiers 5-7 as a focus. I understand wanting to get to the higher Tiers, but as someone with a couple Tier X tanks.. It is REALLY expensive at that level… i rarely make credits even on a winning match. Granted i’m not on a premium account at the moment.

    My current favorite tank is the Tiger, i highly recommend it. Find a fun T5-T7 tank and just build up that tank and crew and you’ll have more fun than doing anything else.


  9. ignafiltro

    Never use AP rounds on 152mm gun, the unreliable low pen is shit, use HE rounds and you will see how even T-95s will fear you. KV-2 over 300 Battles and telling you i have my higest damage ratio


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