Graviteam Tactics: Mius-Front

Graviteam Tactics: Mius-Front

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Tactics - Combating tanks
By Fritz and 1 collaborators
The General principles of combating tanks - learn how to play right!
   
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Combating tanks
The tank is the main offensive work horse of ground forces and a very powerful weapon, designed to solve the most important problems in various types of combat, combining firepower, agility and good armour.

Therefore dealing with enemy tanks is one of the most important tasks you will face on the battlefield.

Firstly you need to clearly understand that Graviteam make serious tactical wargames and not simple RTS games, they are really simulations of reality and great emphasis is paid to the realistic the depiction of warfare in every aspect; Secondly the game takes place during the Second World War, which was the dawn of the development and design of the tank, in terms of engineering, role and doctrine. During these early years, driven by the necessity of the global struggle, the tank, it's use and new ways of countering it were rapidly developed and advanced, as new designs were forged from bitter combat experience tanks began to acquire the classic look, constant innovation and improvement led to heavier, faster, more powerful tanks and weapons, completely new types of tank designed to fulfill specific roles emerged and this process was constant and ongoing. This arms race did not reach a conclusion during WW2 and the ever changing battlefields often meant that weapons which could counter yesterdays tank were less effective against todays, and virtually useless against those of tomorrow, this is a dilemma that you will encounter and will need to overcome while playing this game.

You must understand that each of your tanks is a valuable piece of hardware, the fruit of the intellectual and manual exertions of a large number of people (and of course vast amounts of expensive resources), and therefore it is entrusted to the commander with certain expectations of its productive use against the enemy. And this means that you as the player and commander of virtual soldiers need to remain aware that each tank is both a high value target and a prized possession, able to cause great damage to the enemy and something which should be kept operational for as long as possible. Therefore every single tank, either yours or your enemy's, matters, you will soon understand that even disabling an enemy tank can be a great achievement, just as losing one of your own can be devastating.

The campaigns in this game are not limited to a single engagement, but consist of many consecutive and interconnected battles, you may have to fight dozens of them during the course of each campaign, and success or failure in each of them is a step towards ultimate victory or defeat in the campaign, remember this bigger picture and you will find the game makes much more sense, and bear in mind that the men and machines you are commanding now, may be required to fight again before the day is done, so don't waste your precious men or machines.

You must understand that infantry during the period 1939-43 would not always be issued with effective anti-tank weapons, despite the existence of light weapons with the ability to defeat armoured vehicles, the key weapon in the hands of infantry was the anti-tank gun, and the main task of anti-tank infantry tends to be the protection of their anti-tank guns. However, in the game as in life not everything happens according to plan, and occasionally infantry have to deal with tanks one on one without the advantage of a ranged anti-tank weapon, so let us consider what is it that the man can do to stop the tank?

No armoured vehicle is an impenetrable monolith, with any machine there are vulnerabilities and weak points (hatches, observation devices, ventilation, technological and exhaust ports, etc.), while in battle machines are in a dynamic state, constantly changing the angles of projection of the slopes of the armour plates for example, thus no matter what the tabular data on the thickness of armour plate on a particular part of any machine, it is impossible to make an unambiguous conclusion about its vulnerability or invulnerability in the face of an anti-tank weapon. Besides, there is always a human factor, which directly affects the combat durability of the machine, and a tank without a crew is just a lump of iron. Thus any AT tools have a chance to destroy any armored vehicle, the only question is the magnitude of the probability of success.

Another important thing that you need to understand is that not every armour penetration leads to the destruction or even substantial damage of armoured vehicles, a tank is not a boat, and from a hole in the hull it will not sink, and therefore the smaller the projectile, the less chance that it will bring any serious damage, and this fully applies to anti-tank rifles (ATR) and light grenade launchers.
Infantry against tanks
The tank has significant firepower, and has differentiated armor protection, with the greatest thickness in the frontal projection, and therefore the head to head clash of infantry and tank at long range will lead to serious losses in manpower and is unlikely to bring an end to the tank problem.
  • For infantry the main condition of victory over the tank is to close the distance as much as possible, which will enable them to use various means to stop the tank while remaining almost impossible to engage or even to be detected. Favourable locations include in forested areas, urban zones, in and around buildings, on the reverse slopes of hills, of course it is necessary to also pay attention to camouflage, concealment and stealthy movement, and the use of positions that enable the use of whatever AT weapons are available, giving line of sight towards enemy armours flanks or rear is preferable.
  • If you are looking to engage enemy tanks with only basically equipped infantry (minus heavy AT support), and you have the opportunity to pick the time and wait for the best conditions to do so, then do it when visibility is at its worst, eg in heavy rain, fog or even at night, this will give you a significant advantage over the tanks crews in terms of visual ability.
  • Do not open fire on the enemy until he gets close enough for your weapons to be most effective, especially in the case of hand thrown weapons such as Molotovs, mines or grenades (assuming that the tanks are without close infantry support), in this case there is a good chance of knocking out tanks tracks, engines or even crew, who may be exposed via hatches to additional small arms fire.
  • It makes sense to give infantry the order of "priority target" for the tanks, this will cause the soldiers to actively use not only specialist AT weapons but also small arms, and the higher the density of the fire, the higher the probability of hitting any of the tanks weak points, while increasing the chance of causing the crew to panic. However, it is important to carefully manage your attack, if you see that the tank is out of effective range for engagement with hand grenades it is better to withold the attack, if you allow your units to engage a tank with small arms only you invite only disaster.
  • If you manage to knock out the tracks of enemy tanks, don't be tempted to instantly send in infantry to finish him off, an immobile tank is still a very dangerous beast. It is better to lay low and wait to see if the crew vacates the tank to administer repairs, then you will have a real opportunity to neutralise the threat.
  • If you have long-range AT weapons think before engaging, open fire on enemy tanks weakest points (sides and rear), allow the enemy to come as close as you can, unless absolutely necessary refrain from opening fire from distances greater than 100m. Use the command "priority target" to create a concentrated fire from multiple squads upon a single enemy tank.
  • Place all squads of infantry platoon within an area of no more than 350m, so that the squad leaders remain in constant contact with the platoon commander, it will improve coordination and therefore the concentration of fire, the detection speed of the enemy will improve and the chance of panic or breakdown in lines of communication shall be minimized.
Anti-tank artillery against tanks
The most effective tool against tanks is the anti-tank gun and the most effective kind of battle tank is properly equipped with Anti-tank capabilities.

The basic principles of antitank defense:
  • Prepare and position anti-tank forces carefully during operational phase of the turn, concentrate AT units in those areas that are particularly at risk of armoured attack, preferably in the 2nd line of battle formations - this is to avoid the dissipation of the battery in the case of the seizure of an advanced square, pay attention to the timely completion of resupply of AT weapons.
  • During deployment try to disguise the position of your AT guns, place them so that the guns have a narrow (keyhole) field of fire, so that they have some kind of cover or concealment to their flanks - this will greatly increase their survival on the battlefield.
  • Select locations for placement of AT guns that will increase the chance of them being able to direct fire against the flank of an advancing enemy.
  • Avoid placing guns too close to each other, aim for a minimum distance of 100 m between them (otherwise there is a risk of losing multiple assets to a single artillery shell impact or enemy aircraft).
  • Wherever possible position your AT units behind the reverse slope of a hill, this will enable you to keep the enemy tanks at the optimum distance of the fire, and reduce the chance of being spotted in the first place.
  • Be aware of the technical capabilities of your Anti-tank assets, know how effective they are against the tanks you are targetting, familiarise yourself with the penetration statistics in the game and choose the moment of engagement carefully, for optimal chance of a successful attack..
  • Create a layered defense (infantry - weaker AT/support - powerful AT/support), place infantry in front of your AT positions, not less than 200 m, the objective of your infantry is to protect the support/AT weapons from the enemies infantry, as well as offer short range support in the fight against enemy armour.
  • Use the position of natural obstacles (mountains, rivers, rocks, swamps) and manmade fortifications (ditches, hedgehogs, dragon's teeth, mines) to create as difficult a path as possible for advancing enemy armour.
  • Ensure the commanders of your AT units maintain a good view of the area in front, good field of view combined with solid lines of communication will provide high quality information about enemy positions, which will lead to greater success in engagements.
Weapons
As mentioned above it is absolutely necessary to study the offensive and defensive characteristics of all weapons and equipment encountered in battle, and always take into account the capabilities/limitations of certain tools when it comes to engaging tanks. *

Example:

Effective range of fire for the AT gun against a medium tank (approx):

Pak .35 / 53-K / 37mm Gun M3 - 300 m
Pak .38 / M42** / ZIS-3 / 57mm Gun M1 / QF 6 pounder - 500 m
Pak .40 - 800 m

The most effective range of fire is of course just an estimate, it depends on the type of enemy tank, the angle of the shot, the type of projectile fired, where on the tank the shell strikes, the angle/thickness of the plate struck, air temperature and pressure and other variables. If your weapon has a significant advantage in firepower (range) against the enemy's vehicles, it makes sense to attempt to choose the moment of attack that exploits the capabilities of the weapon at your disposal.

* Use the game feature "Show armor penetration" to dynamically determine the capabilities of weapons to defeat a particular object in the current situation.
** Don't confuse between a Soviet 45mm gun 53-K and M42, the first AT gun is a mediocre weapon with very limited capabilities, but the second is characterized by a long barrel and increased powder charge, which makes it equal to the German gun Pak.38.

The most powerful anti-tank gun encountered in the game is a German gun Pak .40, it is adopted not only by the Wehrmacht, but appears also as captured trophies for the other parties, take great care of these guns and use them wisely, this is your trump card in dealing with any tanks.

There is another very powerful AT weapons that appears in the game, it's a soviet 85mm 52-K AA gun, and germany 88mm Flak.36 AA. it's super dangerous for any tank at any distance, but absolutely immobile, has a high silhouette, and very rare on battlefield, remember this in combat.

To a certain extent, anti-tank weapons can also serve as a heavy howitzer, but it should be understood that they have a lower rate of fire and the angles of trajectory are limited too, therefore when shooting at long range they can score some successes, but over short ranges AT guns operating as howitzers will surely make easy prey.

IMPORTANT!

When using howitzers for anti-tank defense at close range you need to disable the AI control, this will allow you to make the calculations and choose the targets, rather than relying on external adjustment.
AT guns on the offensive
Ready in their battle formations, the enemy tanks (despite the availability of the combat maneuver modifier), seem reluctant to attack, and therefore the player needs to be able to implement AT units in an offensive role. In addition, understand that the AT gun can also be used as an effective means of fire support.

Principles behind the implementation of AT guns in an offensive role are relatively simple:

  • Advance your guns to an advantageous position, that offers a good field of fire in the desired direction;
  • To select a safe avenue of approach, trying to avoid advancing in open spaces, because obviously enemy tanks/armored vehicles or other heavy weapons have sufficient range and firepower to easily destroy your advancing infantry and AFV on the move.
  • Move troops up ahead of your AT guns.
  • Always conduct a preliminary recce of your chosen route and destination, covertly push forward scout units that can reveal enemy positions and prevent unnecessary damage to your main force.
  • Do not try to push the AT gun into position while under enemy fire, the guns have a very weak resistance to enemy fire and the men themselves are extremely vulnerable at this moment, AT guns key advantages are stealth and firepower.
  • During deployment try to position AT guns so that during the battle they will require little or no movement whatsoever, repositioning heavy weapons is both complex and time consuming, moreover, do not forget that some ammo crates will remain where originally placed.
  • Where possible use vehicles to tow the guns as it is quicker, but again, don't neglect the importance of moving them out of sight of the enemy.
SPG's versus tanks
One of the most effective and dangerous anti-tank weapons of the Wehrmacht that appears in the game are the anti-tank self-propelled artillery (SPG's), all of these vehicles (except the JgPz.I) are fitted with a very powerful anti-tank gun that is able to deal effectively with any tank, at almost any distance, and combined with its high mobility, they become a truly decisive weapon in the fight against armoured vehicles.

Also the tank destroyers (TD's) of the US Army, although significantly inferior to German equivalents in terms of firepower and mobility, are still an effective tool for combating tanks when used correctly.

Machines such as the SU-152 and StuIG.33B are not tank destroyers as such, they are assault guns designed to destroy fortified enemy positions, when used as anti-tank weapons their effectiveness is on a par with towed howitzers, and should only be used against tanks as a long range support for other forces.

Basic principles on the use of SPG's:

  • We should not overestimate the SPG, they are not equal to tanks in battle and are not able to perform the same tasks. SPG's don't have the appropriate body armour and typically do not have effective machine-gun armament, an SPG is basically just a gun under its own track and nothing more.
  • Place SPG's on the battlefield as ranged support for their own troops, they can also be deployed successfully in ambush against tanks at shorter ranges.
  • SPG's should be used in the same way as a regular AT guns, namely not by throwing them into open combat, but keeping them in cover and/or concealment, where they can offer support discreetly and from a safe distance.
  • Never leave SPG's without infantry support, they are extremely vulnerable to enemy infantry.
  • Various German armoured vehicles with gun armament are not anti-tank weapons at all, and almost entirely unable to deal with enemy tanks, it is therefore not worth using these cars for that purpose, they are best employed only as a means of fire support of infantry.

When used properly, TD's will reveal their full potential and will surprise you with their devastating efficiency.
PzKpfw VI "Tiger" - how to destroy?
The first response is there are no universal solutions. In the operations depicted in this game the allies completely lacked an effective and reliable means of tackling these types of tanks, as a result, the destruction of any such machines should be seen as a great success, but we should not forget that despite the impressive armour plate of the Tiger, like any other tank, it is not a monolith, he has vulnerabilities, we just need to know how to exploit them.

Consider some General principles in the fight against this monster:
  • The most correct solution is to avoid a fight with Pz.VI if at all possible (at operational and tactical levels).
  • Failing that - the Tiger should be hit from as close range as is possible.
  • To achieve the destruction of the tank you need to apply a massive concentration of fire from several AT guns (using the command "priority target") against a single machine, this is the only way to hope for a positive result in direct engagement.
  • You need to try to attack the tank in the sides and rear, in these areas they are considerably more vulnerable to fire, even in the absence of penetration there is the possibility of damage to the interior of the tank due to secondary fragments of armor and spalling.
  • In the fight against the Tiger it is infantry oddly enough that has the highest chance of success, in the absence of a proper AT gun, with only grenades and Molotov cocktails infantry can destroy a tank when circumstances favour them. By throwing manual AT weapons they are able to inflict considerable damage to the tracks and chassis, disable equipment and the engine, burn to death or cause panic among the crew.
  • There is a probability of hitting the Tiger with concentrated fire from several AT guns from close range, vision devices, technological hatches etc can all be damaged and impair the Tigers ability to function. Units will automatically target such weak spots.
  • Off-map artillery and aircraft are also good anti-Tiger tools, if you can cover the Tiger in this shot, he more than likely will get damaged or destroyed, incendiary rounds in particular can be very effective, so whenever you are expecting to face Tigers, place line of fire target zones on probable avenues of approach.

In the fight with the Tiger, even his injury and subsequent forced withdrawal from the fighting can and should be considered a success.
Achtung KV!!! What to do?
Of course, the Tiger did not have the monopoly of striking fear into enemy hearts, the sight and sound of approaching KV tanks had an equally dreadful impact upon Germans during the war, although this was manifested most strongly during its initial period. As with any tank threat, and especially due to its heavy armour, the ways of dealing with it are of similar importance.

In the game the Germans have an effective means to defeat this steel giant, there is the terrible Pak 40, Marder's, the Pz.IV with long barrelled 75mm guns and, of course, the Tiger - all of them capable of dealing with KV's under favourable conditions, moreover, even less potent guns such as the Pak 35 and Pak 38 have ammunition able at best to hit the tank in the forehead. However, war is often chaotic and rarely are the absolutely correct tools in exactly the right place at the right moment, so it pays to be able to improvise.

The basic principles of dealing with a KV bare similarity with the methods of fighting a Tiger, but there are some important differences:
  • The basic German infantry units have no weapons able to hurt a heavy tank, and, accordingly, the aim of the game is to predict the probable locations of KV tanks and be ready for them with any available anti-tank weapons of sufficient power. However, there is another problem: despite the great AT guns, for the infantry of the Wehrmacht, unlike the Soviet, it is almost impossible to employ manual means to stop the heavy tanks.
  • German AT guns Pak.35 and Pak.38 have ammo shells (St.Gr.41 and SABOT's Pz.Gr.40), capable of close range (100 to 200 m, respectively) with a high probability of hitting the KV even in the frontal projection, however, the tank has a large internal volume and therefore the effect of these shells is minimal. As a result the tactics needed to defeat the KV's with such weapons is the same as those required to stop a Tiger, namely concentrated fire from several guns in a close range ambush, targetting the side and rear projection of the tank.
  • German infantry for the most part are completely powerless against the KV, the blast of the M-24 is not capable of doing any real harm, only three types of existing ordinance that can harm the tank - cumulative magnetic HHl-3 mine, the lump-charge G. L. 3. and the Tellermine '43. Magnetic mines in limited numbers are available to platoon commanders of the infantry divisions, allowing the rare possibility of successful attacks by conventional infantry. But HHl, along with 3kg explosive charges and Tellermines are far more common among Engineers, which makes this kind of German infantry perhaps the most dangerous for enemy tanks, even heavy ones.
  • Pz.III's, as the most prevalent of the Wehrmacht tanks in the first half of the war, are also unable to stand against the KV's, in view of the weakness of their main 50 mm guns, and accordingly, to apply them successfully you need to set them in an ambush, pouring concentrated fire onto single targets, side and rear projection from relatively close range.

Overall, given the good anti-tank artillery at their disposal, the Germans circa 1942-43 find it easier to counter Soviet heavy tanks, than the allies found it to fight against Tigers.
Methods of dealing with the Churchill do not differ greatly from the measures employed against KV tanks, and the same principles can be applied.

Remember these simple tips and you will create an effective barrier against enemy tanks.
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5 Comments
Pensfanvw Jan 23 @ 12:09pm 
Excellent guide. Much appreciated!
GustyDusty Jan 11 @ 9:27am 
very nice well done good patron
Meatpuppet Oct 2, 2019 @ 9:17am 
Good Stuff !
schimmel72 Jun 21, 2019 @ 10:15am 
Informative guide, good work.
a cat Jan 18, 2018 @ 1:34am 
Thank you very much again! Those help me a lot.
Just destroyed the KV first time :)