Tank Tactics pt. 3: A day at the Races

Welp. Girls und Panzer certainly one-upped themselves with this fight. They’ve managed to do a lot of things right, and even though they have several parts rather wrong, it’s still a great and entertaining effort. Unfortunately, the deciding moment is pretty much a clone of Ooarai’s match with Saunders.

What’s special about this match is that you can smell Ooarai’s big mistake way before the match even starts, even the dimmest of people should be able to see what’s going to happen when Miho listens to her team’s “idea” of essentially running straight at the enemy as fast as they can, if not when she specifically notes that Pravda’s specialty is counterattacks in her notes.

So when the match starts Ooarai drives off towards the enemy at combat speed, ready and willing to shoot them full of holes. It takes a while, but first contact comes in the form of 3 of T-34/76’s, Pravda’s weakest link.

There's so many of them

Still better than most of what Ooarai has though

They take two ofthe T-34’s down without so much as a scratch. This only serves to fuel Ooarai’s bravado, and they immediately move to chase down the third T-34 when it runs. All is going well for the Ooarai team so far, their outing only tainted by a “this is going too well” by Miho.

It's not like they're protecting it very well

I wonder why they didn’t just aim for the center tank here.

The Ooarai team is led to what is the definition of an “irresistible target”. Two T-34/85’s and three T-34/76’s, one of which is their flag. And, true to the meaning of the phrase, they fail their Willpower checks and jump right in.

One of the 85’s goes down before the rest beat a hasty retreat, now the willingness to lead with their face is in full force with Ooarai as they chase them straight into a huge mistake. That is, a town, or in otherwords: a nest of blind spots and cover.

not scum and villainy I swear

A hive of cute girls and russian tanks.

Miho loses control of her own team at this point. She clearly knows something is terribly wrong but at this point the head can only follow where the body drags it and try not to get into too much trouble.

While her team shouldn’t have chased too far in the first place, all this could have been avoided if miho grew a backbone and bigger lungs. At any rate, into the town they go, where 3 of the 4 tanks mysteriously disappear…

The flag tank however, is in plain view as it (very expertly, I might add) plays peekaboo around the corner of the building and manages to play hell with their aim. After like 8 shots into dirt, Pravda finally springs their devious trap, all of their tanks come out of hiding places behind buildings and in holes and all over the place to reveal that they have their prey surrounded an a death net of bad feelings and sad times.

Luckily for Ooarai, Pravda proves to have marksmanship only slightly better than Saunders, only managing to break a couple modules (main gun, tracks, turret ring, etc.) before Miho and company manage to take cover in a large church.

At this point Miho is given a choice of unconditional surrender, or the destruction of their tanks. There is also a short break where they do some plot revealing, morale boosting, and on foot recon (as well as an episode’s break somewhere in between) before plans are prepared and everyone rolls out again.

This is where the fight really takes off. As expected, Katyusha put up a net around the only door in the church large enough to fit a tank. As Miho and co break out, they head straight for the strongest part of her net, which was the obvious thing to do. (both plot-wise and possibly strategy wise. Katyusha does reveal that she left a hole in her net on purpose, so which way to go is dependent on your confidence in your troops and how deep you read into the situation)

After another rather miraculous set of misses as Ooarai leaves the church, they get in formation and zigzag straight towards their exit point. Due to surprise (as I’m going to believe it), Ooarai breaks through the net easily, and to delay at least a part of their pursuit, the Pz38(t) goes on a rather interesting streak.

This is marked when the president takes over the gunner’s seat (why momo was ever in there is a mystery to me) and knocks out a T-34/85 rather nonchalantly on the way out with a point-blank shot into the side of its turret.

And shoots!

She stares down her prey through those german optics

For those who play WoT: learn how to do this

Important! This tactic is very effective.

After that, the 38(t) takes on the IS-2, a t-34/85, and two t-34/76’s. The Student council team does some truly brilliant maneuvering here, better than any I’ve seen so far in the show. Knowing the strength of her gun, the president only takes shots when close enough to matter. She even goes for the tracks to stop them from moving, a first (non-accidentally, anyway) in the series. (btw if I were doing that 12 days thing, going after the tracks would definitely be in there)

After all of that, the Pz38(t) is knocked out of the battlefield, leaving two knocked out T-34/76’s, a tracked T-34/85, and unfortunately, and IS-2 with naught but a damaged exhaust pipe.

Meanwhile, Miho and co are busy leading the rest of Pravda on a merry chase. That is, until our tank commander hits upon the idea of taking the StuG with her and going off in search of their flag tank.

And so when they come upon a hill, they wait in a blind spot on either side and wait for Pravda to pass. While I’ll admit it’s hard to see when you’re focused on a chase and inside a tank, come on I know how much people like to poke their head’s outside someone should have made a perception check.

at least she doesn't have to worry about getting shot

I hope it is immediately obvious how unsafe this is, especially as the tank is moving.

Anyway, they get away clean and now it’s a chase to see who can kill the flag first (sound familiar, anyone?). Of course, realizing they only have a foggy idea of where Pravda’s tank is, Miho asks Yukari to go out and recon once more.

After finding the elusive tank, Miho immediately gives chase. Meanwhile, Ooarai loses the M3 Lee. And so the chase starts properly, with the type running across the snowy plains, and the T-34/76 running between cover and leading the enemy into her friendlies.

yes. learn where to shoot pls.


Speaking of leading, First up on the list of obstacles was the KV-2. Normally a very tough armored beast, it is here reduced to an example of the second revelation: weak points! Yes, armor has weak points! Are we finally going to take advantage of them? YES FINALLY. It may be because they’ve finally learned to shoot well enough to take advantage of weakpoints, but it’s taken them long enough. (also note how the KV-2 has angled its hull to maximize chances of bouncing, they clearly know what they’re doing)

At any rate, the KV-2 is dispatched without the chance to fire, and Miho is back to chasing the flag tank, and Ooarai has lost their Char (lol) B1! Tension!

Miho realizes what the enemy flag is doing, and has the StuG play the waiting game like a good TD while she leads them into their trap. A very good strategy, one that finally takes advantage of the StuG’s ability to hide, but also extremely dependent on how your target reacts to being shot at, so very risky at the same time.

that better have penned

best example of StuG camo yet.

Both the IS-2 and the StuG shoot at nearly the same time, and both hit the target. The episode breaks here for a cliffhanger, but as I clearly saw (and a couple people doubted me on: https://twitter.com/R1CK_D0M/status/278971960229249025), the IS-2’s hit was shallow, only tracking the type, therefore giving Ooarai the win.

That concludes the battle between Ooarai and Pravda! Now to wait for the episodes with their fight against Kuromorimine. Hopefully I’ll be able to confirm what tanks Maho is using by then.

PS: Why is it that whenever the enemy notices a tank missing or something else out of place it’s always “who cares?” or “Probably just broke”? Please care for once. They are most likely doing something.

PPS: Also, what is the obsession with making your flag tank the smallest weakest thing to run around with and get shot and die? Why not make your flag tank the biggest baddest thing on the lot, something that can fight on its own and draw in enemies to their death while being supported by friendlies, like the IS-2? Or better yet, a tank that’s easy to hide, like the StuG in the above picture? Finding that thing would be dead hard.

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  1. Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if theres a rule that you have to change your flag tank each round.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted December 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Hmm..no clue. There are other reasons to change around flag tanks though. Off the top of my head:

      a)To keep them unpredictable and prevent the opposing team from creating a strategy specifically to hunt down the designated flag tank.

      b)There is some reason I am not currently thinking of that makes each tank the best tank for facing off a particular team.

      c)Because it’s boring being a flag tank whose job is to huddle around all day and miho wants to share the love.

  2. Kevin Yamagata
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    One more thing is how the PzIV leads the Pravda’s flag tank to the StuG’s place. I noticed that they shoot their MG to the left of their target, so that they will turn right. I think that’s also very nice tactic.

    For the flag tank issue, I think St. Gloriana practiced the usage of strongest tank as the flag tank. But, in Ooarai case, the strongest tank in their lineup is the StuG, which has to be hidden to serve its purpose as tank destroyer. The flag will cancel out all the camouflage effort, just like St. Gloriana match.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      >nice tactic? Pretty much anyone that wants to force someone to go a certain way will think of that. The only problem is, as I said, you have no idea how that person will react to getting shot at. Luckily it worked.

      >a tiny flag really doesn’t cancel that out, and the stug’s ability to hide would make it arguably safer. take that snow camo for instance, it’s still hard to spot a small flag from far enough away, and even if they were worried about it they just had to pile it on a bit higher. The flag is nowhere near as flashy or even tall as their first paint and etc setup hahaha

  3. Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    My favorite part is where Katyusha or whatever takes a nap…in an open-air vehicle without a blanket, wearing shorts, in the snow. That fire in the belly must keep her warm.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted December 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      There were blankets. and borscht, oh and a fire. Maybe that’s enough for russians? I dunno.

  4. SayuriUliana
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Putting the strongest tank as the Flag Tank sounds logical, till you realize that human mentality is to keep the Flag Tank as far away from the action as possible. This limits the actions that said powerful tank can do due to being tied down as a VIP, and therefore its possible strength is wasted. And in a fight where the only winning condition is killing the flag tank, having your strongest tank be limited like that isn’t really a good idea. Keeping the flag tank on a smaller, average tank ensures that even leaving out the flag tank out of the battle will not impact the team’s overall firepower and combat ability. Katyusha had the right idea of keeping the Flag Tank away from the fight, they just didn’t expect Ankou and Kaba to double-back towards it.

    Even in Episode 10, where they finally put the flags on the Nishizumis, the flags still aren’t on their best tanks: Black Forest’s Tiger II is way better than the flag tank Tiger, and say what you will about the Tiger (P), but it’s still the best armored and best armed vehicle in Oarai compared to the PzIV.

    • celebrinen
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      That is a good point but I think it can only be effective when employed by larger teams that can afford to have one tank in hiding. Ooarai has a small team so every tank must fight hard, especially when out-numbered. I’d say choose the most survivable tank for the situation. If you expect a slugging match, go for a heavy, in open terrain use an elusive light tank. By choosing the weakest tank you tie up your team by constantly having to defend it when you really should be attacking.
      Or just make Ankou team the flag tank all the time. Their plot armour is probably equivalent to several cm of RHA (without increasing the weight at all!)

    • Posted January 3, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Regarding putting the flag on the Tiger (P), perhaps the rules would make this a bad move considering the unreliability of the type in the show. If it was disabled due to its own mechanical issue, would that be considered a loss, and an instant win for the opponent? I would imagine that transferring the flag after it’s been declared is a no-no.

      • R1CK_D0M
        Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        if it’s rendered immobile it shouldn’t count as shot down, as it can still fire the cannon etc. Although I imagine if it breaks down it’s an incredibly easy target, so it’s almost the same thing hahaha

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      >Which is why I made the argument about putting it on the strongest tank and NOT hiding it away. Just like Pravda uses their tank as a decoy. For example, if you had the flag on a weak tank it would have to run away or lose the game for the rest of the team, whereas a strong tank would protect itself. As for the hiding part, if your tank is strong and hard enough, a good tactic would be to fight with the flag tank as your center, forcing the enemy to move where you want to if they want to kill the flag, while fighting back on its own. Not only that, but it’s a rally point for the rest of the team, which it can use as meat shields.

      >It’s true about black forest, although someone earlier pointed out that the judges may pick the flag tanks? as for Ooarai’s Tiger (P), while it may be better armored (at least in the front), the gun isn’t too much better than the PzIV’s (unless the P gets the same gun as a Tiger (H)?), and its mechanical unreliability far outweighs that advantage, as it’s very likely to break down in the most inconvenient places, only to get shot.

  5. Posted January 2, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    The Russian team gave their flag to the team with the best driver/mobility (or so the show’s official twitter account says). In this case, it actually makes sense to have a relatively weak tank there, since it was supposed to be used as bait to begin with. The illusion of a fast and easy victory was a necessary component.

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Pravda definitely uses the tank well, but I was making a case for in general, as it seems every team uses a weak tank that only runs around and eventually gets shot. (except for arguably Saunders, as the M4a1 76mm was arguably the second strongest tank on the team, although the entire group is so similar hahaha) So maybe some variety is in order, you know? People start to get used to the same tactic after a while.

      As for giving the flag to the team with the best driver/mobility, I don’t know about that, as the T-34/76 is inferior to the t-34/85 in almost every regard, and even if the driver was the best, why not just put that crew in a t-34/85 anyway? It won’t take that long to get used to it.

  6. RyC
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Are you going to continue these posts for the remaining episodes that have aired i.e. the battle against Kuromorimine? I find them really enjoyable to read, and would love it if you would continue them :D

  7. R1CK_D0M
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Really? Man they should actually explain the rules at some point.

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