World of Tanks SPG/Arty/Artillery Tips Guide by Tumoroh
Positioning / CB
Find the nearest spot to your start point that has bushes to hide in, a great vantage point to spot enemies approaching or some cozy hard cover so you don?t get flanked. Now don?t go there! For your first shot you are almost better off firing from your start position out in the open than going to that nearest bush. It?s a lot easier for CB (counter battery) to return fire if they see your smoke trail leaving from that bush compared to just a trail out in the open. A good SPG will hit you in either case if you don?t move however. They will expect you to be in the bush however and probably are already zeroed in on it because it is so obvious a choice. Good vantage point? Same thing, a good CB will hope a new or bad SPG players to take these positions. As indirect fire you don?t NEED a good vantage points unless you have no spotters. You are far safer if nobody has line of sight on you. Then it?s just you against their artillery until the forces push to you. CB does however expect tank destroyers to take these spots so we?ll be keeping an eye on them. The hard cover is a tricky one. it limits your targeting are and may or may not make for a lucky guess as to your position. It does however offer advantages so I shouldn?t say never go there. Just be aware if it?s a good position your enemy knows about it too.
If you see a smoke trail, but didn?t see its origin point, and trace the line back through a bush or likely elevated area, sometimes it?s worth going for the high probability bet over waiting for that second shot to be sure. That second shot could be the one that sends a team mate to spectator mode. (I will concede this is what leads to my lower accuracy score and higher ammo resupply cost?)
Beware the scout rush
The game in some misguided notion of realism separates the artillery from the main pack. This would make sense if it was well behind the friendly force but it?s often on the exposed flank. My suggestion is unless 1/3 or so of your team is moving between you and the line the enemy would take to get to you that you move immediately towards the bulk of your force or if they all rush at least position yourself behind them making the path to you as long and likely to encounter resistance as possible. SPB and to a lesser extent TD are sweet candy to enemy scouts and SPG alike. On the same note be prepared to stop and setup for a shot while making your trek to company if your scouts rush in. Some try not to die and some don?t care. Be ready for that shot as you may only sightings long enough for one. Don?t let them die in vain, regardless of how silly you may think the tactic is. They die expecting to take out enemy arty by either their gun or by yours. Do your best to see that happens and they may even get lucky and scoot right back out of the enemy territory after their blitz.
Where to aim
If you are not immediately focused on CB then I try to cover the lighter force. Try to keep your firing arc so that to one extent you reach just in front of your pressing friendly or friendlies. This way when they make contact you at least don?t get the full reticule bloom of rotating your tracks. Next move your sight slowly in front of the friendlies at what you approximate their detection range to be, or just beyond their next hill crest. This will greatly minimize your time spent waiting for your sites to zero in. Learning the lead time as relating to the speed of strait moving targets vs. your distance away is a tricky thing. Something I still rarely do right the first time. It?s a good talent to master however as stopping a light tank charging you when he?s still out of range will make you all warm and fuzzy. Same goes for a mobile enemy SPG. If you think there is even a chance you were spotted remember this and don?t drive that long strait path yourself when repositioning.
I?m being charged!
If you are charged go through this mental check list.
Are friendlies nearby? If yes, drop out of artillery mode and retreat towards them, attempting to face the aggressor for a chance to shoot him when he gets in range with direct fire. If no, proceed below.
Is it a unit I can destroy with one shot head on? If yes then prepare to joust. Drop out of artillery mode and gun your engine and go dead on towards him swerving just enough to make his mid range shots have a chance to miss. Fire when you think the odds of connecting outweigh letting him get any closer. Assume you have one shot, hit or die. If you miss, swerve off just enough to dodge a collision he will no doubt be looking for in the event his shot doesn?t kill you. Now, keep going, looking for cover in the direction he came from. This maximizes his turn and turret rotation time as opposed to if you were sitting still. If however he won?t die of one shot head on proceed below.
Can you kill a target up field where you are already aimed before he gets there potentially helping your team before you?re done in? If so I say take the shot then take your medicine. Your odds of surviving the oncoming assault is slim anyhow. If no target presents itself, proceed below.
Are you the last line of defense before an enemy cap? If so will stalling the enemy result in your team getting a cap? If this is true then run your ass off. They will chase. This buys your team valuable time. If he doesn?t chance you can circle around and disrupt their cap with a few well placed shells. If they are after you and the cap is not their priority proceed below.
Try to shoot at them on the withdrawal. Maximize the range for as long as possible. You need to hope for lucky shots on your part and unlucky on theirs. Also remember that if you need to turn hard, moving in reverse while turning opposite will be more efficient than a stopped rotation.
Outfitting the SPG
Consumables are First Aid Kit, Repair Kit and Fire Extinguisher. I?ve almost never needed the FE, rarely needed the FAK. I often need to fix my tread with a RK when enemy CB gets too close to comfort. Equipment, if you are going to drive this for awhile, should be increased reload time, decreased aim time then my preference is camo netting. Once your crew is at 100% I?d suggest camo skill first. While you will be damaged now and then you are far more often either 100% or a smoking wreck. This makes the other two skills less useful to SPG drivers.