First thing?s first. You are not invincible, although you are the closest to it as far as factions are concerned. (With exception of T95 since it really is invincible) Now, that being said, here?s a few tips on German heavy playstyle.
You are a team oriented player.
This means that you rely on others to help you. Even though you?re frontal armor is extremely durable and can soak loads of damage, your sides are made of peanut butter and you turn around about as fast as the American economy goes up. So, always keep friendly on your flanks since your area of effectiveness is straight ahead of you. German heavies tend to be easily countered alone, but nearly indestructible with a supporting team.
Ex) You?re on a city street holding off a few other tanks from the front. You would want to make sure teammembers are protecting flanks and that you don?t move up to far ahead of your lines.
You are the main target on the field.
German tankers often get a ?superman? feeling after pinging off shells and leave their cover. At certain times, this is okay. Especially when you?re trying to break the line. However, when in a firefight, it is not. Regardless of how well armored you think you are, stay in cover at all times. Especially since arty will shoot at you first. Also, avoid situations that attract enemy fire. Never expose your sides or try to flank enemies under fire. You?re the centerpiece of the formation, not a flanker. Another thing to avoid at all costs is hill. Never try to round a hill with tanks on the other side since you will be tracked and that sensitive underbelly will get filled with shells.
Ex) You see that ISU152 on the other side of that hill or cover and you?re dying for the kill. Unfortuantely, it?s not worth it. Unless the coast is clear, you should stay in your nice safe, arty free zone. Unless that ISU is a serious threat to the team, leave it and be patient.
Try to always communicate with team members.
Being a very heavy German tank means that you will do most of the bullet soaking and you will be a centerpiece of the team around you. Always give team mates some ways they can help you. Don?t just boss people around, be polite and hope they listen. Arty is especially helpful to you. Since you don?t have the highest penetration guns, communication with friendly arty is absolutely crucial. Try to show mediums where they can flank and deal damage to enemies distracted by you, and call out priority targets to arty.
Ex) You?re in a fire fight with a T30 and an E100. Try to get friendly arty to put rounds in. If they?re in cover, lure them out. If you?ve got a Patton with you, keep the heavy?s attention and give him a flanking opportunity.
Do not get in close quarters brawling
German heavies are slow, and are not designed to be up close and personal. Keep some distance from yourself and the target. Especially in city maps. German heavies are not good at popping out of corners, especially the Maus and VK4502 Ausf B with the rear turrets. Your best bet is to come at corners diagonally to only expose frontal armor and you?re gun. Always try your best to keep a building between you and arty when in the city, and make sure there are tanks at potential flanking points.
Ex) You just saw and IS4 duck behind a street corner to retreat. Don?t try to go flying in with your side pointing him. You want to first make sure your not ahead of you team, then come around the corner diagonally to get shots off. Don?t try taking on many targets brawling however. If you see many, pull out.
Remember your speed (or lack thereof)
We German tankers know that our tanks aren?t exactly T54?s and have terrible handling. That being said, always think ahead and plan what the enemy is doing. If you see a group of mediums on a flank, assume they are going to base, and if close enough, return to it. Your reactions will always be slow, so you have to think far ahead of the battle. Predict where enemies are going, and where you should go to counter their movements. This is one of the most important things since you cannot adapt to a situation quickly.
Ex) You just saw an enemy E50 shoot down a street ahead of you. This street leads to your flank. Don?t think that he just disappeared and continue on with life. Position yourself so he can?t get a good shot if he is flanking.
Do not take the crazy far flank unless you have to.
Going the long way in a German heavy is never a good idea. We are designed to be on the frontlines, taking and dealing damage. Leave the flanking to mediums and faster team mates. You?re much to slow to flank, and you normally expose your weak side armor when doing so.
Ex) You see an enemy IS7 holding position in cover. You should try to draw him out first and get his attention. Don?t try to go around him and hit his side if there are other tanks to do it. That will leave your center frontline exposed.
Find every heavy tank?s weak spot.
German guns are blessed with accuracy but cursed with lack of penetration and damage. Always find spots you can shoot at that will give you consistent penetration from every angle. Do this by getting a buddy with that tank in a training room, and finding what spots work best at what angles. Some may surprise you. Remember these spots and always try to aim for them in battles. This will give you and edge in 1v1 fights.
Ex) You see a T30. Shoot the hull. Duh
Do not camp
Sitting in the back with a Maus is doing no good for the team. You should always stick right on the frontline. Sniping is something that was acceptable up to the Tiger. Now it?s no longer your job. Alow weaker tanks to give fire support and you take the attention. Not the other way around.
Ex) You?re going down the map when you see your favorite sniping spot when you were in your Tiger while the frontline roars on ahead of you. While it?s tempting to stop and put off shells, your team needs those hit points on the front.
Know the routes of a map
To help you plan ahead and counter enemy movements, make sure you know how the map is set up and where the flanking routes are and where the cover is. Looking maps through in training is a great way to learn paths to get to the enemy base most efficiently. And being so slow, it?s always good to have your route planned already. If forced to however, do not be afraid to make changes.
Ex) You just planned your route on the right and your team is doing great on that side, but there?s a sudden collapse in the left flank. You want to try to retreat further back and intercept the tanks that broke through. Unless of course faster tanks are available to or you?re close to capping.
Your engine hitbox is everwhere.
If you play German heavy, and do not carry a fire extinguisher, you need to get one. German tanks can get hit nearly anywhere and catch fire or have engine damage. Use consumables wisely, and only repair your engine if you aren?t under heavy fire just incase ammo gets damaged. If you can?t repair your engine, then you must be extremely careful on your positioning. You will no longer be abler to get out of a situation quickly and are stuck with whatever you encounter.
Ex) Your engine just got hit (used to it by now huh?) you need to wait until the firefight is over to repair it since you may repair it and have your ammo rack hit next.
Just got tired of people playing German heavies like Russian ones, and decided a nice guide specifically for German heavies would be nice. If you have any suggestions, they put that comment section there for a reason. Cheers.