War Thunder Beginner’s FAQ


War Thunder Beginner?s FAQ?by Overdriver

What do all the abbreviations mean?
FM: Flight Model (how the plane handles and behaves)
HB: Historical battles game mode.
FRB: Full Realistic Battles game mode

How do I sell a plane?
You cannot sell your planes. And you may need them later.

How do I put a new crew on my plane?
Unlike World of Tanks (which many players know), the central concept in this game is not the plane (slot). It?s the crew and the crew slot. You bring all your crews into battle and they can eacah bring one plane. In the hangar you choose which plane they should fly from all the planes you have unlocked and bought. You can only have one of each plane, but several planes are very similar which should assist you in specializing in the types of planes you prefer (fighter, attacker, bomber).

You can train your crew to fly any of your planes (they will not forget their previous training), but you have to pay for each additional plane you train them for. In the higher ranks this can get expensive. It can be advantageous to plan some of your crews to fly fighters and other bombers, as the skills you want to train for these types of planes may differ.

Is ramming good for points? / what do I do about all the annoying rammers?
No, ramming is not good for points. It counts as a crash and only rarely will you get a small reward (causing critical damage to the opponent) or you will get lucky if he survives the crash and hits the ground. In all other cases you get no reward at all.

?I have not lost a game of chicken yet, I never back down!? has to be one of the more uneducated statements I have heard repeated in this game. There is nothing cool in standing your ground. If the opposing player does the same, then you both lose. A better tactic is to avoid the collision, find a way to get on the opponents tail and shoot him down without losing your own plane.

The best way to avoid most ramming incidents is to not go head to head with your enemy. You don?t ?lose a game of chicken? by backing out. Remember the wisdom learned by Marty McFly: Sometimes it?s better not to stand up to a challenge. ;)wt

Why do I have to wait so long to find a match?

There are not enough players active yet. But you can reduce the wait a bit if you select to play on ?any available? server instead of just one. In the ?To Battle? popup window click on the server choice in the top of the window. But be aware this will mean a lot of play time on the Russian server where you may not understand a word spoken. From my experience so far, technically there is no issue with this solution (I don?t get ping problems).

I lost all my planes in a match do I have to wait until the match is over before I can fly these planes again?

No. You can just press ESC and Quit mission. This will return you to the hangar and immediately reward you with XP and silver lions. Once the battle ends you will receive additional bonuses/achievements.

You can check up on your results in the upper right corner on the little letter icon. The Economy tab will show your expenses and the Battles tab will show your mission income/XP.

What does Air force Rank and Player Level do?
Rank in a certain air force determines which planes you have unlocked from that country. Your general Player level only gives you a general idea about progress in the game as well as pilot avatar icons unlocked. It has no other practical use.

How do I paint my plane?

Either double click on your plane icon in the bottom of the screen or select it and click on the little ?Hangar? icon above it. In the hangar you will find a small ?Paint? icon in the lower left corner. When painting you have to select a decal slot. With non-premium you only get 2 decal slots. You will be able to manipulate your decals while painting through the tools in the lower left corner. Along the way of levelling you will unlock more decals to use on your planes.

How can I make money fast?

There are several options to improve your money making (silver lions). But in short, I would say the best one is to fly reserve/rank 0/rank 1 planes only. This will give you better match making (mostly only lower ranks). Rarely do I see anything above a PBY and mostly only reserve/rank 1 opponents. Fighting at this level will hardly cost you anything but it will generate a nice and steady income. Plus it?s great fun, it is a good way to train your dogfighting skills, and it is a great way to level a new nation (up to at least rank 6).

In general ways to improve your income include:

  • Fly reserve planes (see above)
  • Remove the autorepair option (checkmark in the lower left of the garage). Your damaged planes/crews will slowly self-repair over time for free. However this can take several hours (it is dependant on your repair skills) and to take full advantage of it you should cycle which planes and nations you fly. Keep in mind that you will see matchmaking based on your highest rank plane so you should create sets of planes of roughly the same rank.
  • Different planes have different repair costs. Some planes seem very unbalanced in this respect and will drain a lot of money. Focus on the planes that you can get ground/air kills with easily that have low repair costs. You will be able to check the average repair cost of a plane by hovering your mouse over its icon. Also you can keep tab of your expenses in the ?Economy? tab in the little letter icon in the top right of the hangar.
  • Normal (non-premium) planes come with the first 10 repairs for free. Make the best use of these and keep an eye on your expenses. What seems like a good and cheap setup may suddenly become very expensive if all of your planes run out of free repairs at the same time.
  • Bail out of your plane (press ESC and ?leave plane? or bind a key to this function in your controls) when you are sustaining heavy damage and you feel certain that destruction is imminent. This may sometimes save on your repair bill.
  • Buy premium account (obviously)

How do the Repair skills work?

The Repair Speed skill reduces the time it takes you to repair. However this skill will only work for a given plane if your Repair Rank is trained high enough. This goes for both the free self repair in the garage (provided you uncheck the ?autorepair? in the lower left corner) as well as ingame on the runway. Example: You have Repair Speed level 10 and Repair Rank level 5. Then your rank 6 (and above) planes will still take 30 seconds to repair on the runway as the speed bonus does not apply.

Are the ?Gunners? skills good?

The Gunner tab contains useful skills for the gunners on multi-seat aircraft. The accuracy/precision skills for instance, will make your gunners more successful. However these skills are worthless on a single seat fighter, as the skills in the ?Gunners? tab only affect additional crew members ? not the pilot himself.

What are flaps and how should I use them?

Flaps are extensions of the rear end of the wings. On some planes they will visibly extend below the wings when viewed from the outside. Extending your flaps will increase drag (which will reduce your speed) but will also increase the lift of your plane (which reduces stall speed).

Flaps are used in takeoff and landing situations due to the increased lift in these low speed situations. Extending flaps during combat can increase the maneuverability of your plane and can be used as an airbrake (see the question below).

To extend or raise your flaps you can use the flaps toggle switch (f) which is mode dependant. The flaps toggle will switch between Raised/Combat (in normalt flight), Raised/Landing (In flight with landing gear down), and Raised/Takeoff (while on the ground). When you change your flaps settings their state will be indicated in the lower left corner of the screen.

The degrees of flaps (from raised to fully extended) are:





You can also use the ?Flaps Up? and ?Flaps Down? keybind settings in controls to raise/lower the flaps through the various settings manually.

Other planes are much better than mine! / How should I fly to be more successful against certain other planes?

Know the strengths and weaknesses of your plane. Often there will be general traits in a whole tree. Some planes turn more sharply, others climb/dive more rapidly. If your plane is good at turning, then you can turn fast by tilting your plane on its side and applying rudder up. Some Japanese, British and Soviet planes are good at this, as are the reserve planes in general.

Other planes have poor turning and getting into a turning match will get you killed. Try to outclimb or outrun you opponent. Then gain some altitude and use the ?boom and zoom? tactic. Dive down on your opponents, shoot a few bursts, escape and climb back to altitude. Rinse and repeat. You will often find this necessary with especially American and German planes.

Reserve planes are very powerful in arcade game mode. You can easily take down high rank players if you catch them in a low energy state (low altitude, low speed). They will often make the mistake of getting into a turning match with you instead of running away.

Also keep in mind that your plane will handle best at a certain speed. If you engage targets at much lower/higher speed, you will find the plane less responsive. Try to find the best speed and use it to your advantage.

Use of combat flaps may aid you in your maneuvering (see the question above) and in certain cases lowering them all the way to Landing flaps setting can be used as an airbrake (use in combination with lowering throttle and elevator up and even gear down if you really want to slow down fast).

I always overshoot the runway when I have to land fast, how do I slow down?

If you want to land fast and don?t have the choice to make alonger approach, try lowering your landing gear and flaps all the way to Landing flaps setting. And cut your throttle (keep in mind you may have to reapply throttle in order not to crash). Then wiggle your rudder (?q? and ?e?) to create more drag. This will slow you down faster but takes skill to master.

A good way of training this is to enter ?Test Flight? mode from the little icon above your plane icon in the hangar. Remember that mastering this takes practice. Don?t forget the tutorial if you skipped parts of that.

After I land for repairs I cannot takeoff as buildings are blocking / How do I turn and taxi on the runway?
After some advice and testing I found that the following technique enables me to turn almost on the spot:

1. In your controls set two different keys for left brake and right brake (if you play with mouse aim, go to one of the other control modes, set the keys and then switch back to mouse aim, your settings will be remembered and you will still be able to apply both brakes simultaneously by holding CTRL down (in classic mode) and s (in shooter mode)).

2. Come to a full stop, throttle at 0%.

3. If you want to turn left, hold your left brake key and left rudder (q) keys down simultaneously

4. Throttle up to about 30-40%. After a few seconds your plane will start turning sharply and you can release brake/rudder.

Does bomb/rocket/fuel load and landing gear up/down change the flight model of planes in the game?

Yes, they do. Even in arcade mode. This has been tested and verified by players. If you drop your bombs/rockets, your flight capabilities improve. In arcade mode, you will automatically reload your weapons after a while, and then your flight capabilities will at once decrease again. Lowering flaps / landing gear will also affect your flight performance.
Some documentation of the tests performed by various players:

Which bombs are good / How many bombs does it take to kill a target?

In my personal opinion with the current maps/objectives, 1000 pound bombs are very useful as they are the smallest size of bomb that can easily kill a pillbox (and surrounding AAA). I have experienced 3x 500 pound bombs dropped close to a pillbox not take it out.

What happens when my gun jams? / How do I reload?

Your guns/cannons carry limited ammo. In arcade mode, your plane will automatically reload in the air. In all game modes you can land to reload (come to a complete stop and watch the timer in the lower left corner). In the air you can force a manual reload immediately by pressing ?y?.

Your guns/cannons may stop firing before they run out of ammo due to overheating. When this happens, one of your guns will ?jam? preventing it from firing until the jam has been cleared by a reload (automatic or forced) in the air or on the ground. You guns will jam one at a time so you don?t have to clear a jam immediately in the middle of a fight. As long as you have at least one gun firing, your weapons will not automatically reload.

The default reload time for machine guns (in the air in arcade mode) is 20 seconds. For cannons it is 40 seconds. Both these timers can however be reduced quite significantly by training the ?Ground Crew? reloading skill.

How can I avoid gun jams?

You have a visual indicator of overheating included in your nose indicator. It is the little crosshair/circle which shows the direction your plane nose is pointed at. The larger white circle is your view indicator (this displays where your mouse is pointed).

As you fire your guns, the cirlce outline will slowly start turning red and when it finishes the full circle, it starts flashing and immediately following that, a gun will jam. To avoid overheating use short bursts and give the guns some seconds to cool down when they are close to overheating.

A few screenshots to illustrate what this looks like:

Gun not firing (circle unfilled, cool): shot 2013.01.29 13.47.22.jpg

Gun firing (circle half way filled, warm): shot 2013.01.29 13.47.27.jpg

Gun firing (circle filled, hot): shot 2013.01.29 13.47.29.jpg

Gun firing (circle filled, flashing, overheating): shot 2013.01.29 13.47.30.jpg ?? shot 2013.01.29 13.47.31.jpg

A gun jams shortly after, message in lower right corner of screen: shot 2013.01.29 13.48.08.jpg


When your aim is good and your enemy is within range of your guns (if you have multiple types of guns it indicates your longest ranged guns/cannons) your reticle will gradually change color from white to pink to red and the lead indicator will become clearer with the markings of an X on the outside.

Some screenshots to illustrate (the name of my innocent victim has been removed):

In the first image I am outside of gun range. There is no lead indicator present. The view reticle (the large circle) is white. The nose indicator (the small circle with the crosshair in the center) has a white crosshair. The vertical yellow bar with the 3 crossbars is my rocket aim indicator (it will show up if your plane is equipped with rockets).

shot 2013.01.29 14.53.00

In the second image the target is in close range and I am aimed. The lead indicator is present. It looks like a small circle with the outline of an X on the outside of it. It is located between my nose indicator and the hostile plane. Notice that the view indicator (the large circle) as well as the nose crosshair have both turned red.

shot 2013.01.29 14.53.01

The lead indicator will indicate where to shoot for your guns with the highest muzzle velocity. If you have both guns and cannons, you may have to fire further ahead of the target in order for your cannons (with lower muzzle velocity) to intersect with the target.

Regarding rocket aiming I have mostly had success with using the bottom bar or 2nd from the bottom bar to aim. But which one to use seems very dependant on range/velocity/attack angle. At time you may even have to use the top of the indicator.

What do the gun targeting range setting do?
It sets the range at which your bullets intersect. This is basically the range at which you want to engage the enemy. However, in arcade mode, this setting has no effect as the plane automatically adjusts your gun targeting range to your target. When your reticle turns red (in arcade) it means that the plane has autoadjusted your guns convergence range to the current distance to your locked target.

Vertical Targeting tries to compensate for vertical drop of your bullets due to gravity. If it is disabled, you need to compensate when shooting. If it is enabled, it will adjust your guns so that your bullets intersect with your aim at the set targeting distance.

The concepts of Gun targeting and convergence is very well explained (with pictures) in the Warthunder Community Wiki:


Where can I find my screenshots/replays?

To save the replay of a match you must press the save replay button in the lower left of the scoreboard after you leave the battle. Your screenshots and replays will be located in (exact path may vary based on your language settings in Windows): My DocumentsMy GamesWarThunder

The ?Prt Sc? (print screen) button will take screenshots. Another button (default F12 but this can be changed in controls) takes screenshots without the HUD present.

To view your replay, launch the game and in the top left corner menu go to Menu ?> Replays
In your controls settings you will find various keybinds that will enable you to assist you when you view the replays.

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