War Thunder Ground Forces Comprehensive Guide



War Thunder Ground Forces Comprehensive Guide by Tomogaso

1.First-time tank gamers

Basics of combat

You have a tank. The enemy has a tank. The point is to kill them first. Here are some key principles to have in mind when playing WT-GF:

  • First strike: if you fire first and get a good hit, you are likely to win the engagement
  • Knowing where to shoot and with which kind of ammo
  • Positioning: angling your tank and digging in
  • Knowing the maps:good positions and routes
  • Patience: when in doubt, stop and think

As you learn these you will become better in the game.

2.Former WoT players

Things are different

If you came to WT from WoT, you will find that quite a few things are different. The combat is harder and mistakes are less forgiving. Most of the knowledge you got from WoT will be more or less useless.

Some principles that you must learn anew:

  • There is no camping in WT- it’s called an ambush
  • there is no “gold ammo”, every ammo has it’s use
  • There is no health bar, where you hit a tank is crucial
  • Flanking is hard, circling is almost impossible
  • The lower front plate is usually a bad target, the commanders hatch as well
  • Shells fall- you always need to aim above your target
  • Your crew can be trained in all your vehicles
  • You can have an unlimited amount of vehicles in your garage
  • There is no SPG class
  • You can’t shoot on the move effectively
  • There is no “aim circle”
  • No repair kit, but you can fully repair most modules in battle

WoT tactics don’t apply

You might be a pretty good player. You might even be a unicum- but most tactics won’t apply in WT. You can immediately discard everything regarding WoT-specific mechanics like “view range”, “hit points”, etc.

Let’s see how standard WoT tactics translate to War Thunder:

Camping: You can’t camp in War Thunder, at least not in the way WoT players do. There is no view distance, nor invisible tanks. The maps are much bigger and you can’t snipe over the whole map. Thus you are forced to take hidden positions (in foliage, bushes, tall grass,etc.) near important objectives and routes, to ambush enemies and get the first shot of. In Simulation battles (the real mans mode) you don’t have tank indicators, so players have to spot each other visually. Camouflage actually plays a role here. When you fire you will instantly reveal yourself in a big cloud of smoke, temporarily preventing you to aim. You should use the instant “smoke screen” opportunity to quickly relocate to another position. Remember; your tank won’t disappear, no cloaking here.

Peek-a-boo tactics: In WoT going out of cover to quickly shoot is a viable tactic, as is “wiggling” between shots. In WT your tank rocks back and forth a lot, during which you can’t aim at all. Your gunner also needs time to re-aim at your crosshair. This means you have to sit still to aim, and if you try peek-a-boo, you will most likely miss and get destroyed. Also when you get tracked you are immobile for at least 15s, and there is no instant-repair kit. If people know you are coming, fall back. The first shot is the most important, and your priority should be not getting hit first.

Health bar: It doesn’t exist. You can get oneshot. Good players will oneshot you if you make a mistake. In WoT you have HP that you can “manage” and use to your advantage. In WT the damage you take is unpredictable, and if you try taking an honest hit you may as well get destroyed.

Arty: There are no SPGs in WT, but there is an artillery strike. It is a researched AI ability that a player calls in, and randomly bombs a area roughly 50x50m.It has 2 minutes cooldown and gives an audio warning to players in the targeted zone. 6 s after 3 targeting rounds hit (5s apart) After the last one the barrage hits (about 6 shells in quick succession) This means 2 things:
1.You can stay immobile out of hard cover, in bushes and such.
2.When you do hear a warning in the lines of “enemy artillery is targeting our square” and see a few scattered shots (artillery tweaking its aim)- then you have to move asap. Artillery can do nothing to you, or it can 1-shot you similar to WoT. Also you have about a total of about 8 shells incoming at your general position.

Angling: Angling has the same purpose. The low German tiers, however, have bad side armor (and the ammorack is on the side below the turrent). Angle them more than a few degrees and your turret will soon fly off. Take care with side-scraping as well.

Weakspots: Are smaller in WT. You won’t be aiming for lower plates anymore, since there are no important modules behind it, especially on Russian tanks. (German TD’s however are quite vulnerable because the whole crew is in the chassis). Your priority should be taking out modules and crew. The turret ring is a viable target at close-mid range because you don’t have an aim circle. Your shots are pretty much dead-accurate below 400m. Commander hatches are lousy targets as well.

Garage: You buy crews, rather than garage spots. Each crew can be train in and operate an unlimited number of vehicles, which means you will never sell or rebuy tanks. Having only 1 crew at the start is a good idea, since their crew skills apply to all vehicles they drive. Multi-crew specialization is mainly useful for arcade battles, the only mode where you can take more than 1 vehicle in battle.

Manual aim: The crosshair doesn’t compensate for shell drop-off over distance. Learn to use the crosshair (you need it for the serious game modes). This also means sniping takes a lot more skill, as well as using “derp” guns (howitzers).

No 6th sense and no indicators: You have to use your eyes and ears to find enemies, and determine if you’re spotted. This makes ambushes viable, and lets you drive rather freely trough dense vegetation, without the fear of being spotted.

No scouting rewards: If you are a dedicated scout, don’t bother. You can hardly relay the enemy position to your allies (if in random matches), and you won’t get any rewards for it. Rather focus on finding soft targets, and using your small size for stealth tactics.

No mods: There are no 3rd party mods (apart from skins). No map trackers, no cap countdowns, and no hitskins.

Minimap ping: You can’t. You can, however, use detailed chat command with the T button, similar to the WoT circular message system, but with much more options. For example, the classic “F7 Help” is now 3 buttons in order T-6-4. While it may take more clicks, it has much more options, and it states your map coordinates. While it may seem cumbersome at first, when you get used to it it’s just as fast, and much more informative (very good for clans without proper comms).

3.Game mechanics & principles

Terminology

AB- Arcade Battle
RB/HB- Realistic Battle/Historical Battle
SB/FRB- Simulation battle/Full Realistic battle
RP- Research Points
UFP- Upper Front Plate
LFP- Lower Front Plate
Pen- Penetration Ammorack- Ammunition storage

Game modes:

War Thunder has 3 game modes, from easiest to hardest: Arcade battles, Realistic battles and Simulation battles.
You get the same amount of money and research points (for upgrading your tank) in every mode, but the harder modes give you more research points towards unlocking new tanks.

Arcade battle

The simplest and most chaotic of the game modes. It’s hallmarks are:
-Tanks stats are buffed (speed, acceleration, turning)
-Everyone has a big indicator above their heads
-There is aim assist to let you know where you will shoot and if you can penetrate
-Teams can have tanks from both nations
-You can respawn….a lot, and can take all your tanks currently displayed in the garage to battle
-Shortened repair times

Arcade battles usually end quickly. Everyone just sniped indicators and you can’t use advanced tactics.
They are good for leisure play and grinding tank upgrades.

Realistic battle

Not much different from arcade battles, this mode does have added restrictions:
-Teams are made up of one nation each
-You can respawn less
-Tanks feel heavier and slower than in AB
-There is no aim assist- you have to compensate for projectile falloff manually

Realistic battles require more skill than AB, because you have to aim manually and tanks are harder to drive. If you get crit’d you will have to repair as long as a few minutes. The indicators are still present meaning you can’t play stealthy, hide or ambush enemies.

Simulation battle

The real deal:
-No 3rd person view, the most you can see is from the top of the turret
-No indicators, you have to use your eyes to see enemies
-Long repair times, be prepared to wait a lot if you get hit badly
The simulation battles usually take the longest. They are a heaven for tactics, since you can hide and ambush other players. No indicators means awareness is key.

Ammo types

In WT you will find most of the ammo types used in WW2. They have widely different effects and usage.

There are 5 important things to consider when choosing ammo:
1.Penetration- how thick of a plate it can go trough.
2.Mass- the raw damage potential of a shell.
3.Normalization- when a shell hits armor at an. angle, it “bends” towards the plate and slightly reduces the angle, thus making the armor thinner.
4.Cone of damage- the area in which shrapnel will disperse once the shell penetrates a tank.
5.Penetration drop with distance- the amount of power the shell looses as it travels further.

Shells are divided into 2 categories:

Ballistic shells:

AP (Armor Piercing): Simple slug shot. Breaks on impact and has a cone where it will damage crew and modules. Bad against weakly armored tanks.

APHE (Armor Piercing High Explosive): It’s a slug with an explosive behind it, which explodes a short time after initial impact, ideally inside the tank. The delay is called the arming time, and is represented with a number in the shell name (example MD-5 has shorter arm time than MD-8). Longer arm times are better, as they allow shells to penetrate deep into the tank, to do max damage with explosion.

Spaced armor plates completely negate APHE shells, as they detonate them outside the tank. Avoid shooting them.
APHE is better at wrecking tanks than AP, and is great against weakly armored tanks.

APC (Armor Piercing Capped): Has less penetration up close than AP, but loses less penetrating power over distance, making it superior for sniping. It also has better normalization, and is a bit heavier than regular AP.

APBC (Armor Piercing Ballistic Cap): A middle ground between AP and APC.

APCBC (Armor Piercing Capped Ballistic Cap): Has greater normalization, penetration over distance and weight than the other shells, but still less penetration up close than AP.
Sometimes it is explosive (Pzgr 39), getting the title of APHECBC or APCBC-HE. This makes it a superior APHE.

APCR (Armor Piercing Composite Rigid): Basically a hard, thin rod with great penetration.
Sometimes needed for attacking bigger tanks, but it does less damage than regular AP, has a smaller cone of shrapnel and looses speed over distance quicker.
Also referred to as “subcaliber”, you should use it close quarters, and only when absolutely necessary.

APDS (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot): Same as APCR but with less speed loss at range, better.

Explosive-based shells:

HE (High Explosive): It’s a shell with explosive in it. It goes boom. It’s extremely effective against thin armor, but does little to thick plates. Depending on the caliber:
Less than 75mm-don’t bother shooting HE.
More than 75mm-Use against “soft spots” (turret roof, engine bay) to wreck modules from virtually any angle. Does a better job of damaging external modules (tracks, gun) than AP.
More than 122mm– HE shells will do a lot of damage to any target, and any range (a KV-2 will oneshot most tanks)

HE-frag (High Explosive Fragmentation): Basically the same as HE, but generates more fragments in order to damage surroundings even further.

Shrapnel/Canister: Basically a live buckshot shell, either flying whole with a delay or being shot out like a shotgun. Basically an anti-personnel weapon. If it doesn’t detonate, it’s not that much different from AP.

HESH (High Explosive Squash Head): Same as HE, is significantly more effective against armor than HE, and better against bunkers. It works around armor thickness, basically ignoring it.

HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank): Works the same way as an RPG. It pushes an intense stream of molten metal trough armor. This means it has constant penetration, regardless of distance.
It doesn’t have normalization, meaning you have to hit armor as square on as possible.

It’s deadly when fired at the right spot, but doesn’t have a big cone of damage. Best used for well aimed shots at ammoracks.

Note: All explosive-based ammunition gets negated by spaced armor, avoid shooting it at all costs.
Note: The “T” suffix in shell names means it has a tracer. Useful for seeing where your shots go.

Armor: how does it work?

Armor is the main form of protection for a tank. It’s meant to stop things from entering the tank, usually by force.

The stated thickness of armor ingame is always the thickness of the plate itself.

What you should be looking at though, is effective thickness. As armor gets angled, it gets thicker:

armour angle

This means a well angled tank like the T-34 will have much more armor than a “boxy” one, like the PzIV.

Spaced armor is armor plating suspended outside the chassis of the vehicle. It’s meant to counter HE-based projectiles (example: side skirts on King Tiger).

You can manually angle your armor as well, by angling your entire tank in regards to the enemy:

angle tank

Be careful not to angle much past 30° (depends on your side armor thickness), as it will expose your fragile engine.

Normalization was devised as a way to counter the angling of armor; it’s the projectile’s ability to “bite” into the armor, and change it’s direction towards a 90° angle:

normalisation

Thick projectile rounds like AP usually have the best normalization.
Explosive rounds (HE, HEAT) have no normalization at all.

Killing tanks: Best practices

So you learned how to penetrate armor, great. But there is more to killing a tank than just getting past it’s metal exterior.
You see, tanks have layouts meant to protect their most vital parts; the crew, the ammo and the fuel.
Killing the crew is just as valid as destroying the vehicle.

Before we start talking about where to shoot, it’s important that you know how different parts of a tank are called. Here you can see the names that will often come up in this guide, on the forum, and in the game:

tank parts

In the case of tank destroyers, the turret is gone and replaced with a welded superstructure.

Now on to the fun part. How would you go about killing a tank in war thunder?

Your targets, by priority, should be as follows:

1. Ammorack: If you get a hit on the ammo storage, it’s “GG”. One direct hit to this part of the tank will result in a fireball. Need I say more?
The ammorack is usually located in hard-to-hit places such as the back side of the turret, the sides of the tank, the floor or in the case with many German tanks, frontally behind the meaty engine.

The best way to hit the ammorack is using HEAT ammo, since it penetrates the furthest into the tank. You have to be dead precise with it though.

2. Gunner: While killing one crew member might not seem like big of a deal, a dead or knocked out gunner will mean the scary metal monster you just shot…will have no way to shoot back at you for at least 5-6s. This means you can put another shot in and finish him.

The gunner usually sits in the left part of the turret, right next to the gun (because people tend to use their right eye for aiming). A big bonus is that the commander is usually just behind him.

A well placed shot to the right of the mantle will thus result in the gunners brains going trough the commanders crotch, and a crippled enemy unable to fire back. While shooting be careful not to hit the gun mantlet, as it’s usually much thicker than the turret.

gunner

3. Crew compartment: Placing an AP, APHE or HE round in the main crew compartment is a good way to try and cripple a tank. General ways to decide where to shoot:

  • German “boxy” tanks (eg. PZII, PzIII, PzIV, Tiger)-upper front plate, right beneath the turret
  • Soviet “hollow” tanks (eg. T-50, T-34, T-34-85)-driver hatch in the middle upper front plate
  • Tank destroyers-superstructure, next to the gun and as low to the hull as possible

4. Fuel: If you can get a shot at the fuel tank or engine, you have a good chance of disabling the tank (in which case you can circle him), or setting him on fire (which can be countered with extinguishers). AP shells work the best with this tactic.

Navigating the battlefield:

The maps in WT-GF are quite large, some reaching 4x4km. While this may not seem like much to the WT Air Battles players, who play on maps exceeding 100x100km, it’s noticeably more than for example in World of Tanks.

This, coupled with the fact your tank being as sluggish as you would expect a tank to be, means that getting anywhere quickly wont be possible.

Here are a few quick tips to follow while driving in WT-GF:

1. Always traverse between cover: before you start moving and after you finish your tank should be in cover. Hanging around in the open is rarely a good idea.

2. If you get shot on the move DON’T STOP: People tend to stop once they get hit and try to find the attacker. This is a very bad idea, since you just gave them time to fire another shot, this time on a stationary target. If you get shot on the move, proceed to hide behind the closest piece of cover, and only after you are safe should you try to find out the attackers position.

3. Learn the maps: Pay attention when driving maps, preferably in arcade mode, to learn where the enemy tanks usually arrive from, what positions they take and what positions you can take. There are quite a few spots on maps that ensure good cover as well as the opportunity to shoot many enemy positions.

4. Watch the terrain: Your tank doesn’t behave the same way on all types of terrain. You get the best performance on asphalt roads, but those same roads are usually out of cover. Enemies almost always keep an eye on roads, as you are most likely expected to show up there. You are encouraged to use roads in “safe zones”, away from the front line where you know enemies wont be able to shoot at you. When you arrive on the front line however, cover should be a bigger priority than mobility.

5. The faster you are the better you turn: Your tank doesn’t turn like a car. It needs to brake to turn. This means if you’re standing still and try to turn, only one of your tracks will be moving, and the other will be braking. Since you’re getting traction only on one side, and you have less surface contact with the ground. This makes turning while still hard and slow. I suggest getting to 3-4 gear before attempting a turn, as it will make it a lot easier.

6. Don’t run into stuff: Your tank can actually take damage from running into trees and rocks. If you’re in a German tank it can damage your transmission as well, even disable your turning capability and force you to go into repairs. Going down steep slopes or cliffs is a hazard as well; if you don’t land “smoothly” and bump into the ground, expect repairs. Always find slopes that behave like a ramp, allowing you to safely glide down them.

Manual aiming

If you ever played a simulation game before, you will know what aiming assistance is, and probably how to use it.

In WT arcade there is a small cross actually showing you where your shell will fall. Playing arcade mode and paying attention to where the shell lands in your sight is a good way to get the feel of how to aim your gun, even if you don’t know how to use the sight.

Here I’ll be showing you the correct way, though. Once you enter “sniper mode” (default v), you will see 2 scales, one vertical and one horizontal.

The vertical scale shows shell fall over distance, and each unit on the scale corresponds with 200m of distance. So if a tank was 400m from away, you would put the 2nd notch over him when aiming. The longer the gun is- the faster the speed of the shell-the closer the units will be. Here we can see that aiming with a high-velocity ZiS-30 gun

zis30

is much easier than with the PzII-C’s machinegun.

pziic

Ok, now we know where to aim depending on the distance of our target. How do we find out the distance though?
Well there are 2 ways, using the horizontal scale on our sight or using the minimap.

The horizontal scale has notches, called mills, which you use to measure the enemy tank. If you know the real size of the tank, you can divide the values to get the distance.

distance formula

A practical example:
We are aiming at the side of a T-34.

aim t34

We can see that his hull is 20 mills to each side, making it about 40 mills long. The arcade sight tells us the distance is 143m, which we will use to check our calculations.
We know the T-34 is about 6 meters (6000mm) long:

calculation

Pretty darn accurate considering the length was an estimate (the T-34 is exactly 6.1m long)

Another example, shooting the PzII-C from the rear:

rear

We can estimate the PzII-C to be 4mills wide. We know the PzII hull is 2.3m wide-> 2300/4=575m
We elevate our sight accordingly:

adjust

And we hit the PzII-C square on, taking out his engine.

hit

You might think memorizing all the lengths would be hard as is dividing big numbers in your head. You’d be right. That’s why next I’ll show you how to simplify the process, as well as the alternatives.

Tank buffs will know that many tanks in WW2 were built on the same chassis; for example T-34,Su-122 & Su-85. Some variants should be obvious (PzIII, PzIII-L, PzIII-H, Stugg-PzIII, etc.)

Here is a chart (courtesy of player Halajda) showing the lengths of many in-game tanks, as well as their estimated range related to mills.

WT GF rangefinder chart by Halajda

The lazy mans guide to distance

If you can’t be bothered learning tank sizes, doing math or looking at spreadsheets, there are alternative ways to estimate the distance of your target:

1.Map experience: After a while you will notice most engagements happen on the same places on maps. Thus you can use this to your advantage and remember the distance in those locations, and aim accordingly. Works fairly well for distances less than 600m.

2.Using the minimap: The minimap is 10×10 squares, and if you learn the sizes of the maps you can simply estimate the distance to anyone on it. This is very effective in smaller maps, where the squares may be as small as 200m. Keep in mind that when the enemy is diagonal from your position you should multiply by approx. 1.41.

Approximate map sizes:

Kursk: 5km sqr. (each minimap square=500m)
Kuban, Ash river, Guadalcanal: 2-3km sqr (minimap sqr= 250m)
Karelia: 1-2km sqr (minimap sqr= 150m)

Correct use of vehicle classes

In WT there are currently 5 vehicle classes, not all of which are tanks. They are classed according to their strengths, and play in different ways.

All tanks have 3 most important aspects: firepower, mobility and armor protection. Medium tanks are usually the middle ground in all stats, while the other classes make tradeoffs towards one or 2 stats.

Heavy tanks (HT): The slow, heavy hitters of the battlefield. They can usually take a lot of damage and dish out as much. Their armor is best effective at distance, and their slow chassis usually makes them vulnerable to close-distance flanking and circling. They excel in making slow pushes over corridors and fields.

Medium tanks (MT): The jack of all trades- master of none. Medium tanks have good mobility, good firepower and just enough armor to fight light tanks, and occasionally soak up a few shots from the big guns. They aren’t meant for head-to-head engagement, but rather reward tactics taking advantage of the current state of the battlefield; such as flanking, chasing light and medium tanks, harass, sniping, etc. Their main advantage is their combination of speed and firepower, allowing them to take critical map positions first.

Light tanks (LT): These tanks have little armor and firepower in order to gain huge speed and maneuverability. They can’t go face-to-face with any class apart from other light tanks. Their priorities usually include scouting, taking bases and finding soft targets (usually tank destroyers) which they can outmaneuver and destroy. Patience is the name of the game for light tank players in a match with bigger foes. In the low tiers of WT, however, they excel more than other classes.

Tank destroyers (TD): These vehicles trade mobility, armor, and often a turret to gain considerable firepower. They are the glass cannons, unable to fight close-quarters. Some have a lot of armor as well (assault guns), but it’s limited to the front and thus only effective at long ranges. TD players should almost always “camp” in a good position and wait for enemies to come.

Anti-air vehicles (AA): Usually based on truck chassis, these vehicles have large caliber machineguns for shooting down planes. They are largely ineffective against anything but light tanks, and should actively avoid ground combat.

Note: The artillery call ability, which is very potent, is only available to medium and light tanks.

Crewman skill training

In WT-GF you have a crew which levels up their skills, as well as trains to fight and excel in certain vehicles.

crew xp

So basically after every match you get a number of crew skill points which you can then spend to upgrade your crew’s skills. Additionally, crew can be trained to excel in certain vehicles, greatly boosting their stats. However, they must have a certain net amount of skill points prior to training, and all levels of training past the first one (Expert) cost premium currency.

training

The net amounts required for the first training are 100pts for tier 1 vehicles, and +50 for each subsequent tier. The second (premium) training becomes available at 400pts at tier 1, with +50 for each subsequent tier.

The most important skills for all crew members are vitality and repair speed.

Vitality decides how much damage your crew can take in combat before they get knocked out or die, as well as the amount of time they will take to recover.

Repair speed dictates how fast your crew will repair your modules. It can do as much as half the repair times, which is huge considering that in WT repair can take upwards of 2min, during which you are completely immobile.

After that your priorities should be:

Weapon reloading (loader) will lower your reload time.
Leadership (commander) will boost all the other crew stats.
Tank driving (driver) will increase the response time of your tank as well as how fast you switch gears.
Targeting (gunner) will increase the speed at which your gunner gets the gun barrel lined up with your crosshair.

It’s important to note that your first priority for each crew should be getting them to net 100 skill points. This will let your train them for each vehicle, giving them a huge boost to their stats. Thus it’s best to upgrade the cheapest skills first to get your net skill point amount to 100 as quick as possible. After you buy the training, you can upgrade your crew as you see fit.

Matchmaking

In WT every vehicle has 2 static stats that determine what enemies it meets in combat, as well as one dynamic stat.

The first is rank, and this one is pretty obvious. Vehicles can only meet other vehicles with a maximum rank difference of 1 on the battlefield. It’s a hard limit which cannot be modified.

The second one is battle rating, and this one is a bit more complicated. Battle ratings start at 1.0, and go all the way to 7.7. Your total battle rating is made up of your base battle rating (explained in previous sentence) plus your skill modifier. Your skill modifier is your battle rating multiplied by a value ranging 0.0-0.3, and depends on your success in previous battles.

An example:
The Stugg-III ausf.A is rank 1, and has a base battle rating of 2.0.
If you start driving it your biggest enemies will have a battle rating of 3.3 (2.0+1.3) and of rank 2.
If you did exceptionally well your skill modifier would grow towards 0.3, and thus your new battle rating would be 2.6 (2.0+0.3*2.0). This means you could meet enemies with a battle rating of 3.9 (2.6+1.3), and still of rank 2.

This system is not meant to punish skilled players, but rather to try and balance the teams for more intense battles.

Advanced tactics and gameplay

Flanking

Flanking means engaging the enemy from their flank (aka. side). This is useful because tanks normally have the most armor up front, and critical modules and crew to the side/back.

When should I flank? Whenever you can (properly).

Proper flanking is usually done from a safe position at a distance. It’s rarely a good idea to go out in the open to flank someone, unless you are sure nobody will catch you doing it (and ironically; flank you).

The key to good flanking is the element of surprise. If the enemy expect you to take a shot at them…well they simply wont turn their side to you if they have a brain.

Ambushes are a great way to flank, letting the enemy pass you and show you their back. This is usually done in dense vegetation or behind hills, near a route you know the enemy will pass trough (for example near a capture point). More detail on where to ambush can be found in the map-specific section of the guide.

Active flanking from up close usually leads to circling, which will be covered in detail in the next section.

Close combat tactics and maneuvers

This section will cover approaching enemy tanks and initiation close quarters combat, disabling them and finishing them.

In all upcoming procedures the emphasis is put on correct execution and precision. You should never be panicking during combat. Take your time and make sure you do things correctly, rather than quickly.

Lets begin.

Approaching enemies in close quarters:

Before starting a close quarters, your thoughts should be:
1.Can I penetrate said enemy tank from the front, sides or rear?
2.Does the enemy notice me?
3.Are there other enemies that could fire at me? If yes is there any cover I can take from them while engaged.
(always assume there are other enemies that can fire at you)

After determining that you can pull it off, your next consideration should be approaching the enemy; this depends on whether he knows you are coming:

If the enemy doesn’t know you are coming, you should attempt approaching the enemy from behind, or the side. Get close to him as quickly as possible, and park in cover, even if it means hiding behind said enemy (so he is between you and the other enemy tanks).
After you are in a good position, proceed to disable the enemy tank. Your priority should be staying protected while in the engagement, as you have the upper hand.

If the enemy knows you are coming, you should make sure you get the first shot.
If he is facing the other way, quickly stop and disable him before he can aim at you. Then proceed with circling.
If the enemy is facing at you (waiting for you to pop out of cover), you have to “bait a shot” from him. After he fires, quickly pop out, aim carefully and disable his vehicle, and proceed with circling.

Warning: Never try to “take a hit” from an enemy tank waiting for you to leave cover. He will most likely disable your tank and you will get beaten. If you can’t “bait a shot”…don’t.
Not doing anything is better than making a mistake.

Disabling enemies

Disabling enemies means limiting their combat ability to give you an advantage, either by taking out their gun or their mobility. After an enemy is disabled you should never rush, since most module repairs in WT take well over 30s, with exceptions like tracks lasting around 15s.

Let’s say you found a target, made an engagement plan, approached and got them lined up in your sights. How should you disable them?
There are 3 safe main ways of disabling an enemy vehicle:

Shoot their horizontal turret drive: It’s the motor that rotates their turret, and is located behind the turret ring (the small strip between the turret and the chassis).

Some tanks have a really thin turret ring, or have protective metal “bumps” around it to protect it (mostly big German tanks). If your tank is too short to shoot over the protection, it’s best to go for the tracks.

An example of an easy to hit turret ring would be the T-34,shown below in red:

t34 weak spots

Shooting a tanks turret ring will prevent it from rotating its turret. This means they have to rotate their whole tank to shoot you. This tactic is best used against slow, heavy tanks.

Shoot their tracks: Also called “tracking”, this will stop the enemy tank from turning one track. This can be done by shooting the drive sprocket, the idler wheel (opposite end), or by shooting the track itself. These areas are shown above in green.^
It’s best to shoot the drive sprocket or idler wheel, as the track itself can be hard to hit.
Keep in mind that it’s best to destroy the track further from you, even though the closer one may be easier to hit.
This can cause 2 things to happen, depending on whether the enemy is stationary or moving:

1.The enemy is stationary: When you track them correctly (shown green below) they will need to go in reverse to follow you. This makes circling them easier than if you shoot the near track (shown red) and allowed them to turn by going forward.

forwardbackward

2.If the enemy is moving toward you: Tracking a moving enemy will cause them to turn towards the broken track immediately. Thus it’s again best to shoot the far track, since that will make them show their fragile side to you.

Tracking should be followed up by another disabling shot, and is best used against slow, heavy tanks.

Shoot their engine: Engine hits don’t guarantee success, and may have 2 possible outcomes:

1.The engine gets damaged and the enemy’s mobility reduced. This should be apparent as the enemy slows down, and should be treated like a tracking. Follow it up by another disabling shot.

2.The enemy gets set on fire. If they didn’t research their extinguisher they will die in a matter of seconds, as the fire catches their ammorack. If they do have an extinguisher they will simply put out the fire with little consequences.

Both situations won’t happen reliably, nor have reliable outcomes, and thus shooting the engine should never be your priority, rather a follow up to a tracking/turret ring shot.

Finishing enemies

After you disabled the enemy vehicle and are flanking it, you can go for the finisher.
The best way to finish an enemy vehicle is to shoot its ammorack. The best second way is to get an explosive projectile into the crew compartment.

Ammoracking is best done by firing into the side hull, just below the turret (most German/Russian tanks), or by firing into the back of the turret (mostly works on Russian tanks). If you are using ammo like APCR or HEAT, it’s best to know the exact location of the ammorack inside the enemy tank. For this consult the “tank-specific tutorials” section of the guide.

Killing the crew is harder to accomplish, especially in big vehicles. It’s best to shoot a explosive projectile (example: APHE, APCBC-HE, HE) into the middle of the crew compartment. Watch out not to hit the tracks or spaced armor plating. Best places to target are the middle side of the hull or the lower side of the turret.

Other War Thunder Articles
War Thunder Best Tier 4 Grinders Guide
War Thunder Flight Energy Guide
War Thunder P-51D Guide
War Thunder Fw 190 F8 Guide
War Thunder 109K4 Guide
War Thunder Me 410 B-6/R3 Guide
War Thunder Ground Forces Comprehensive Guide
War Thunder Ground Forces Aiming Ballistics Guide
War Thunder Ground Forces Medium Tank Tips
War Thunder Ground Forces Tank Shells Guide
War Thunder New FRB Player’s Tips
War Thunder New 190A5 vs The Premium Mk IX Guide
War Thunder Full Real Battle Misconceptions
War Thunder Acronyms List
War Thunder Graphics Settings Guide
War Thunder Flaps Guide
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War Thunder Manual Engine Controls Guide
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War Thunder Tips Compilation
War Thunder Dive Bombing Guide
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War Thunder Practical Combat Flying Guide
War Thunder ME109 Strategy Guide
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War Thunder New Player’s Guide
War Thunder Historical Battle Mode Guide
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War Thunder Bombing Tips
War Thunder Skill Cost for Expert and Ace Upgrade Guide
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War Thunder FRB Tips and Tricks
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War Thunder Beginner’s FAQ
War Thunder Beginner’s Guide
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5 Responses to “War Thunder Ground Forces Comprehensive Guide”

  1. This guide is a bit out of date. I’d suggest to the author that he or she needs to go through and update quite a bit, especially the stuff on Realistic and Sim battles.

  2. Sorry, but there’s a lot, and I mean: A LOT of things wrong in this post. I quickly skimmed through the content and already spotted 5 major mistakes, honestly: Can’t be bothered to investigate it further and actually read in depth to find and correct exact mistakes if you even get some of the fundamentals wrong.

  3. The best online guide for new players like me. Thank you.

  4. Yes, this is the best information I’ve found so far for War Thunder. It does need a bit of updating since there are now US tanks. US tanks seem to lack in firepower and armor, so a nice guide to help out the US strategy would be greatly appreciated.

  5. This is an amazing review! Can you please update this blog post for the new UI and tanks Gaijin has released?

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