What’s up guys, Rogue-9 here! Did you know that the heavy tank variants in Battlefield 1 have access to three different types of ammo for the main gun? And what about the secondary weapons, how much damage do they do to enemy vehicles or infantry? There’s only one way to find out, it’s time to dive into the code and conduct some tests, because we are going to learn all the details about the German Sturmpanzerwagen A7V heavy tank today! Let’s go! This video has been a long time coming and that’s because I also like to analyse how the community uses certain weapons rather than just relying on the stats.
Sadly, as hard as I tried, I was not able to dig up any kind of usage info about vehicles in BF1 but I’ll talk about this at the end of the video. For now, let’s just jump straight in with my comparison German A7V heavy tank variants in Battlefield 1. All the details finally laid bare. As you will know, there are three different variants of the A7V in BF1, each with their own combination of secondary weapons and gadgets. But something that not every player may have noticed is that there is also a significant difference in their primary cannons. The Heavy Assault Tank’s driver can fire either 57mm High Explosive ammunition or an anti-infantry canister shell.
The Heavy Flamethrower Tank can fire the same HE shell or a short range stream of incendiary liquid but the most interesting variant to me is the Heavy Breakthrough Tank that can fire either the same canister shell as the assault variant or a 57mm high penetration Anti-Tank round. So let’s compare these different types of ammo first! Against infantry, a direct hit from the HE rounds is enough to take out even the toughest sentry and their splash damage of 112 points up to 1.75m distance is enough for a one-shot-kill even against enemies running the Flak perk.
This makes the HE shell quite useful against infantry but that comes at a cost of damage against vehicles. Against heavy tanks (A7V, St. Chamond or Mark V landship) you will need all 6 of your HE shots to get a kill and a single miss or bounce can mean that you will end up having to reload first. Against lighter armoured vehicles (Artillery Trucks or Assault Trucks) you will need 3 shots to kill. And finally, as demonstrated in my video about the assault class gadgets (link at the end), the FT-17 Light Tank as a bit of a special case. The front and sides of the tank feature the same armour as the other light armoured vehicles and therefore require 3 shots to kill.
The turret has thicker armour and will result in 4 shots to kill and the worst place of all to target a light tank is the angled plate at the back where you will need 5 shots to kill, The reason for that plate at the back, by the way, was to stop the FT-17 from flipping over onto its back when trying to cross trenches or climb steep enemy defensive structures. Over to the AT rounds and for them, direct hit damage against infantry is excellent but the baseline splash damage is only 70 points up to 1m, so even relatively close misses will do very little damage or none at all, especially against enemies running Flak and Juggernaut. Heavy armour can be consistently taken out in 4 shots (a great advantage over the HE shells) but light armour will still take 3 shots from full health. The FT-17 light tank will be a three shot kill when targeting the front, sides or turret but can take 4 shots to the tail plate.
The canister shell was very effective during the beta for BF1 but was then nerfed considerably but it seems that, at some point along the way, it was buffed again because now it’s pretty effective. Each canister shot contains 36 projectiles and you only need three of those to land at distances up to 36m for an instant kill. At longer distances, you need at least 12 pellets for a one shot kill which becomes quite challenging to achieve, given the increasing spread of the shot. As you will know, shooting other vehicles with the canister shot is completely pointless since it will do no damage at all. Both the HE and AT rounds have a muzzle velocity of 222 m/s while the lighter canister shells offer a velocity of 450 m/s.
So when you’re trying to hit fast moving squishy targets at distance, you need exactly half the lead with the canister than you would with your other types of ammo. As mentioned earlier, the flamethrower variant also has a flamethrower for the driver which can be devastating against infantry, as long as you get close enough to them and they more or less hold still for you, since the turning speed of the A7V is not great, leaving it incredibly vulnerable to being swarmed by infantry if the secondary guns are not manned. The short range nature of the weapon also makes it quite impractical against enemy vehicles but in an emergency situation, where you are face to face with an enemy tank and you have run out of ammo, you could theoretically do 36 points of damage against heavy armour and 45 against light armour over 10s. Highly impractical, but better than running out of 57mm shells and having no backup at all! Having a flamethrower as a secondary crew weapon on either side of the tank (besides the two standard HMGs) also adds to the close range anti-infantry and limited anti-vehicle defence but getting that close to your enemy is not only risky but also quite challenging given that most of the maps in BF1 are large and open.
Add to this the fact that the flamethrower tank has no weapons covering the rear and you end up with what is probably the weakest of the three A7V variants in terms of the crew manned weapons. Probably the only map where this tank can consistently make use of its unique armament is Amiens. On all other maps, you’re going to spend most of the time fighting at ranges well beyond the reach of your flamethrowers. The Heavy Assault variant with its two HMGs on either side plus two at the rear offers a far more balanced defence that can be effective from close to longer range.
At distances up to 20m, each HMG will do enough damage to kill infantry with 4 body shots but beyond that, you may need five or even six hits. Head shots do more damage, but you will still need at least 3 hits to kill. The rear gunner controls two of these guns of course which means double the damage. This not only makes him highly effective against infantry but also against enemy planes. Against armour though, all of these guns are completely useless. The final variant, the Heavy Breakthrough Tank comes with one 20mm Becker Type M2 autocannon on each side and the double HMGs at the back. Although it is harder to hit small moving targets with the cannons compared to the HMGs and you only have 15 rounds before you need to reload, the cannons have the considerable advantage of being able to damage other vehicles.
Firing all 15 cannon shots takes 2.3s and it takes only two full salvos to destroy light armoured vehicle and four for heavy armour. This makes these cannons a viable anti-vehicle weapon and if you are running a breakthrough tank with a squad mate, it is well worth coordinating with your buddy and angling your tank so that both of you can engage an enemy vehicle at the same time. Against infantry, the gun is somewhat disappointing. The direct damage is barely more than that of the HMGs and if the enemy is running Flak and/or Juggernaut, even the direct hit damage is reduced by 10% for each perk, resulting in 4 or even 5 shots to kill. The splash damage has a reach of 2.5m and can kill in 4-6 shots depending on the enemy’s perks. That’s not that great considering that you are sacrificing two HMGs in order to mount the single cannon on each side but on the other hand the high explosive rounds of the cannons allow you to tackle enemy infantry sheltering in, under or behind cover such as sandbags, walls or buildings.
So that’s the main and secondary weapons covered. The gadgets for the different tank variants are all kind of useful but not in any way important enough to really influence my preference. All three variants have a quick repair ability that instantly restores 9-11 points of health as well as fixing destroyed tracks or secondary weapon ports. The assault tank’s smoke generator can be useful when retreating, the flamethrower tank’s poison gas emitter is great for when you are surrounded by enemies close to you or also to cover your retreat and the ammo/health supply drop for the breakthrough tank can be really useful to friendly infantry fighting alongside you.
It is worth mentioning here that the crates dropped from your tank are not just the same as those that the infantry can provide but slightly more powerful. Each crate has a greater total supply of health and ammo points to give out, supplies these faster and also has a significantly greater range of 10m. Dropping supplies in strategic locations now and then can be an amazing source of points and can easily get you a highlight for heals or resupplies, as well as of course helping out your team mates. So where does all this leave us in terms of ranking the three tanks in terms of their usefulness? Well, I personally think that most tanks work best at medium range irrespective of whether you are dealing with enemy infantry or vehicles and for that reason alone, I think the short ranged nature of the flamethrowers make the flamethrower tank risky to use.
The other two tanks are quite well balanced in terms of their abilities against infantry. The HE cannon shells of the assault variant definitely offer a better anti-infantry capability for the driver and at longer range in open terrain, the six HMGs can also perform excellently (as long as they are manned by attentive teammates of course). But at the end of the day, I have to say that my number one pick out of the three A7V heavy tanks would usually be the breakthrough variant. More often than not, the outcome of a 64 man conquest match hinges on one or two tank drivers and since a well driven tank can be extremely difficult for infantry to take out, dealing with enemy armour should always be your primary goal when bringing out an A7V. This is exactly where the breakthrough variant with its 57mm AT shells and 20mm side cannons shines.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is that both you as the driver as well as your side gunners will be less capable against infantry at range but in my opinion the added power against enemy tanks is well worth this trade off in most situations. And that’s my thoughts on the A7V, all in all a great choice and no surprise why it is such a staple choice in most matches in Battlefield 1. Now as I mentioned before, I did want to give you the usual usage insights as well but sadly, none of my enquiries panned out. Normally I get my stats from Battlefieldtracker.com but for the vehicles, they only have the stats for each type of vehicle and not broken down by variant.
I reached out to the guys running the site without result and even sifted through the raw data behind the website in order to try to dig up this info. Sadly, no joy. I also reached out to a couple of the community managers at DICE with a request for this info. One of them initially promised me to see what he could do but then never got back to me even when I sent several friendly reminders and the other responded quite promptly but made it clear that he would not be able to provide the info I was looking for either. So I gave it a good go but due to the lack of info out there, I cannot speak to the player preferences apart from drawing on my own experience that players seem to be using the basic assault variant most of the time. What is your favourite variant and which one do you see on the battlefield most often? Let’s discuss in the comments below and if you learnt something interesting or useful today, do give the video a like; dislike if you disliked it! And finally, what tank or plane do you want me to cover next? Again, comment to vote! With that, thank you so much for watching, I hope you enjoyed the video and I will see you in the next episode! [Music swelling]
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