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Introduction The third campaign is now over and I hope you all had a good and fun experience; hopefully whilst winning a reward tank! As some of you may know, Orrie and I were the main field commanders for the lovely KITTY-clan during the campaign. For those of you who are not familiar with KITTY (shame on you if that is the case :3), we are a clan who do not participate in Clan Wars (CW). This means that most KITTY members that played during the campaign had little to no experience in CW. Surprisingly that couldn’t be felt as much as one would think. Everyone followed orders with a level of discipline that rivals even the better CW-clans on EU. It made it a joy to be a KITTY commander! It was the first time Orrie played as a field commander (he did a great job!) and this, combined with the in-experience of the KITTYs, resulted in us all talking about tactics, manoeuvres and how to handle different in-game situations on several occasions whenever something new arose. I thought I would put pen to paper and write this article in order to share the main pointers of what we discussed for any aspiring Field Commander (FC). I have added videos for some of the points (hidden by spoiler tags) where I have taken a replay from one of the CW battles to show you what I mean with a practical example. DISCALAIMER: Before I start I would like to mention a few things: Firstly, I am not claiming to be the reincarnation of Montgomery or Rommel, there are plenty of more talented FC’s out there. Secondly, there are different ‘schools of thought’ in regards to commanding (just like you see with managers for sports teams). Some FC’s like to give freedom to players, others just want it all to be ‘NEAT UND TIDY’ and disciplined - this can also be said for the tactics. Some FC’s like to be aggressive while others passive, there is no one correct answer and this means that what I write in this thread is NOT the only way to do it – but it is the WaterWay© of doing it Creating tactics The first thing you need to do is to acquire a tactic for the map you will be fighting on (Note: In clan wars you will know the map in advance!). You can either: 1. Use an already existing tactic 2. Modify an existing tactic or 3. Create your own from scratch. I personally prefer a mix of #2 and #3 but when I started FC-ing I mainly used #1 and #2. The important thing is that you use a tactic you are comfortable with. There are a few things to keep in mind for the tactics (either modified or built from scratch): An important aspect behind any tactic is to have a purpose with your tactic. Don’t make a tactic without any idea of what you are trying to achieve (besides victory of course). Do you want to dominate the vision game and thereby restrict enemy movements? Do you want to let them have map control but force them through a kill zone? Do you want a long and slow battle where you use arty to weather them down? Do you want a fast strike in order to prevent the enemy arty from having an impact? Do you want to be proactive or reactive? I am personally a HUGE fan of the principle of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS), keeping your tactic simple allows everyone else to easily understand the tactic. It is important to make sure your team understands the idea behind the tactic. If they know what you are trying to accomplish they can help you during the game with information, independent thought and you will function better as a team overall. It also means that your soldiers will be able to react faster to different situations that might arise during the battles - ideally without you even giving orders. I have seen examples of field commanders trying too hard to be the new Monty or Rommel and failing hard. They often try to perform fancy tactics with several groups spread out across the map that has to all sorts of fancy manoeuvres, this often leaves people confused and without a clue on what is going on and this can lead to disaster. The simplest way to look at every battle is to make sure that you always have more guns active than the enemy. This means that you should try to avoid splitting your forces up into isolated groups of tanks that can’t support each other, your different units should be positioned around the map so that they can help each other if the enemy makes a large push on one flank. In order to help you with having the most guns active, you should build a tactic that provides you with ability to flex and react to different situations. Ensure that your forces are able to move around the map and selecting tanks that can provide you with mobility and tactical flexibility is a great help towards this (obviously!). The IS-3 is a great example of a flexible tank that can handle a great deal of situations; it has the health and gun to brawl, armour to delay an enemy push and it has the mobility to flex around the map (to a certain degree). Having this tank as your main force will give you the ability to react to different situations. My favourite tactic to use whilst trying to fulfil all of the above is a Blob™-tactic. A Blob™-tactic is most likely the simplest tactic you can use. I was first exposed to this thinking when I was in HDU (thank you Kabine!) and I LOVE(D) it so much that I’ve made it my trademark tactic. It works by having a large group of tanks (minimum 12+) that you move around the map. If the enemy has split their forces your blob should ALWAYS outgun them in the first engagement. This gives you a numerical advantage and then it is all about keeping your blob rolling to take out each pocket of enemy tanks. I personally love this tactic and use it whenever I can for several reasons: • When done right it is surprisingly hard to counter – especially if the enemy is not expecting it. • It is simple to understand - We have more tanks than they do so we destroy them with ease (KISS). • Easy to use - After a few battles with this tactic your soldiers will know it so well that it almost commands itself. Happened for us KITTYs after a few too many battles on Mines! • Most importantly - It is FUN to have these massive clashes with other forces that almost always end up in pure (yet controlled) mayhem. The Blob™ is not without weaknesses and doesn’t work on every map, but when it works, it works well. I have used this tactic to great effect on Mines; the spoiler below contains a video where you can see the tactic in action. No matter if you use a Blob™-tactic or another tactic, it is always important to ask yourself (or a commander buddy) the question: ‘If you use this tactic in a battle, what can happen? How would you counter it?’ This will provide you with insight into any potential weaknesses your tactic has and mentally prepare you for different situations that can arise during the battle. Of course you can’t - and shouldn’t - try to come up with a solution for EVERY POSSIBLE MOVE that might happen. Just make sure you are mentally prepared for the most obvious tactics the enemy might throw at you, if you find any glaring weaknesses whilst doing this then try and see if you can minimise the weakness with some tweaking or tank movements (flexing). Another important aspect with any tactic is to evaluate it after each battle - especially if it is a new tactic you are using. Sit back after the battle (win or loss) and discuss with your team about what worked and what didn’t, it is a bit more important to do after a loss (for obvious reasons). It is important that everyone involved is critical but constructive to help people improve/understand your tactic. Nobody can learn from mistakes unless they know they were mistakes in the first place. A final note: Don’t forget to mix the tactics up from time to time, especially if you play the same clan(s) on the same map over an extended period of time. If you use the same tactic over and over, the enemy team will eventually find a weakness and win. If you mix it up once in a while you will always keep the enemy guessing. During the battle Now for some tips and tricks for you to keep in mind during the actual battle. These tips will be shorter than the previous section as most of them are quite self-explanatory. They are (mostly) listed in no particular order. First and most importantly: Make sure your soldiers employ focus fire. It is your job as a FC to remind people to focus fire and if you are part of the engagement you should be the one calling the specific tank to focus. If you are not part of the main force you can/should dedicate a ‘flank officer’ to call out focus fire targets. In the spoiler below you can see how focus fire is important and why it can win battles: During the fighting it can get pretty hectic, it remains important to keep calm and be clear and concise with your orders. If you start mumbling, nobody will understand what you are saying and confusion will spread. Some commanders love to scream during battles but I personally hate it as it adds unnecessary stress to the situation, also make sure that if you’re explaining your next move (e.g. a push or flanking manoeuvre) that you make this perfectly clear. I personally say: “I will now explain what I want next, but don’t do it before I say GO/PUSH PUSH…” You should at all times during the battle acquire reconnaissance. You cannot act on something you don’t see, so make sure to have eyes on the most important approaches/areas to spot enemy movements. This also means you should make sure that enemies are still where they were last spotted. The intelligence gathering should not be putting your tanks in unnecessary danger. Everything can happen during a battle, so be ready to improvise. You can get SHIT spawns on your vital tanks, the enemy can do something unexpected and RNG in general. In the spoiler below is a video of how I had to improvise a battle on Westfield because of tanks spawning in bad locations. Do not be afraid to act because it ‘might lose the battle’. In most situations, especially unexpected ones, taking no action is often the worst you can do and WILL lose you battles rather than doing something with the potential of pulling out a win than do nothing and lose. To quote the wise words of Its_Matra: “Bad leaders don’t make bad decisions, bad leaders make no decisions” During the battle try to pay attention to enemy movements as it will give you hints to what they are planning. Experience helps a great deal with this point, but even people without experience can use this technique to some effect. If you see that their heavy force is moving away from an area (changing flanks) you can expect a push down another flank. This estimate will allow you to shuffle your tanks around so you can better handle a potential push on the other flank, again, experience helps with this aspect a lot as you know what people like to do in CW. You can see a practical example of reading the enemy movements by watching the video located in the spoiler below. You should aim to keep your forces undetected for as long as possible. If the enemy doesn’t know where you have your main force they will be reluctant to do a push – giving you time to prepare for your own push. Staying hidden is especially important if you use a mobile force (consisting mainly of medium or light tanks) that you shuffle around the map. This will keep the enemy guessing and give you the element of surprise when you push. The video in the spoiler below shows how I used this to my advantage on Sand River. One of the main differences for me between clan wars and random battles is the influence/importance of the cap circles - going for a base capture can be a viable tactic and sometimes it is the only way to win. It is not that uncommon on larger maps that both teams move clockwise/counter-clockwise of each other. This way both teams have the main force (8+ tanks) against a small defensive force (2-4 tanks) in the cap area of the opposition. This leads to a “cap fight” and can be quite tricky to handle. It boils down to who can get into the cap first and reset the best - IF you ever find yourself in this situation you should aim for getting at least 3-4 tanks inside the cap before you try to remove the defending tanks, this way you start accumulating cap points immediately and those few seconds can be crucial. If you don’t quite understand what I am trying to say then watch the video in the spoiler below where you can see it in practice. As a final note: I am a strong believer in learning by doing. Sure, theory crafting can be useful but you learn a lot better by simply DOING, just try out different tactics and expose yourself to different maps and enemy tactics. Strongholds are a great way to learn field commanding as there are no penalties if you lose. An all-purpose setup will give you enough tactical flexibility to learn the field commanding trade. If you have a more experienced commander buddy then you could ask him to give feedback during or after your battles, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I hope you all found this article interesting and helpful. If you have any feedback or comments feel free to ask away. This is by no means a definitive guide to commanding, but will hopefully work as a starting point for any new field commanders. I would like to end with a ‘thank you’ to its_matra for his help with proof-reading my article and coming up with suggestions for what could be done. Community tips and tricks If anyone has tips or tricks that they feel I missed or that they want to add, feel free. I will add the good ones to this “community” section of the OP and hopefully we can create a database for future aspiring commanders