Observing from a hilltop in Pagorki.
World of Tanks Scouting Guide and Tips
First here are some myths about scouting.
Light tank are scouts. Fact is, you donít need to be a light tank in order to scout. Medium tanks and even tank destroyers can act as scouts too.
Light tanks have the greatest view range. Fact is, many heavy tanks and even artillery and tank destroyers can see further than light tanks.
Light tanks are the fastest units in the game. Fact is, many medium tanks are just as fast as light tanks. Take the VK1602 Leopard which many consider as the best scouts in the game. With a top speed of 68 km/h, but fact is, it seldom reaches that speed.
Many medium tanks can match that speed too, such as :-
You need to move, and never ever stop when scouting. Fact is, you can stop, and hide, and observe and provide more useful intel than rummaging through the enemyís base for a lifetime of 5 seconds.
Our scouts are noobs. Everybody blames the scout because they die first, but that's a fact for scouts with thin armor, and yet are expected to be in the front lines. Playing as the scout among heavies is the hardest role to play.
The Role of a Scout
Excluding other goals of a light tank such as artillery killer. When playing as a scout, your task is to reveal enemy locations so that friendly artillery and tanks can shoot from out of viewing range. This has a great advantage because the enemy canít return fire if it canít see whoís shooting at it.
Even if you do get killed in the process, but if artillery and other heavies had managed to take out several enemy units with the intel you provided, then its more than a good tradeoff.
But there are many times when as a light tank, or even as a scout, you should not just blindly rush into the enemy base.
When Not to Scout
If at the start of the game, you see a few light tanks all charging forward in the name of "scouting". Thatís when you should not scout. Go hide in the bushes, defend your base from enemy scouts, or follow your arty. Or play as the observation scout. More on that later.
Your teammates would have lighted up the map with red dots. Enemy positions are already known, so it is pointless for you to follow the dust trail and then get all your scouts killed in the opening salvo.
Also as long as enemy locations are known, then there is no need to scout. If your mediums and heavies are in the midst of engaging enemy tanks, and red dots are already lighted up, then just be patient and sit quietly in the base.
When all the red dots disappear, and your team is starved for intel, thatís when youíd serve your team the most as a scout. That usually happens toward mid to late game, after half the team is dead. During that time, your arty would be following you closely, because youíre the only scout left. This means you have their full attention, and their full attention means a better survival chance for you.
Iím not saying you should wait until half your team is dead, but donít scout as long as enemy positions are lighted up by your teammates. Artillery would already have targets to keep them busy and thereís only so many they can hit at the same time.
Take note of artillery numbers in your team. If thereís no arty at all, or just one or two, you might want to hold back awhile because your main goal is to light up the map for friendly artillery. The more arty on your team, the more useful as a scout.
The Scouting Rush
If you decide to do an early blind rush, then at least wait for 5 seconds to let your arty, TDs and heavies get into position. Sometimes they can be slow lumbering jacks.
Regardless, if you decide to rush, don't approach the enemy base head on. Always approach from the side, and sweep to the other side. If you go head on, thereís a good chance they will spot you first before you spot them, and theyíd be shelling you from every angle (flanked). And because you are going head-on with them, youíre an easier target to hit. As soon as you reach their base, youíd run out of room to run, so youíd need to make a turn (like a T junction). When you turn, you slow down, and chances are youíre dead at that point.
Sweeping from the side is the opposite of everything thatís in a head on rush. Youíre exposed to only a small number of tanks at a time. They may only take opportunistic shots at you (as opposed to aimed shots), and before they know it, youíve passed them by and out of their line of fire. You donít need to turn, no need to lose momentum speed, and yadda, yadda, - you get the point.
When youíve reached the end of their base, exit it. Find some place safe, out of enemy viewing range, then u turn and sweep in again.
During a rush, never ever stop. Try not to make steep turns that will slow you down. And watch where youíre going. Donít run into bolders, buildings, soggy or steep ground which can slow you down.
Never bother to engage enemy tanks. Let your arty and heavies do it. Move in an unpredictable S curve. That means move in a slightly curved arc, occasionally hitting the S or D key to throw off their aim.
Ideally you should use a fast unit for this. Load up on the optics and spall liner. High octane gas?? I donít know. I feel its too expensive but might be useful.
IMHO, its actually too easy to win the Scout medal. Youíd only need to detect nine enemy tanks and anytime you do an early blind rush, youíd always get that medal. IMHO, devs should revise it to detect enemy tanks over a period of time Ė not just the number of tanks.
Observing the Enemy
Iíve played the observation scout many times, and I love this role. If pulled off well, youíd actually serve your team more than the blind rush.
Any unit can be used for this, including heavies and TDs and others, but heavies have a tougher time remaining undetected. One may argue that heavies and TDs are better put to other use, but my point is any unit can play this role.
As an observation scout, your goal is to lie undetected, and report on enemy movement. Think of a sniper who just hides in the bushes and reports what he sees. Ideal equipment is the camo net, and binoculars. TDs are very good for this role due to their relatively high stealth ability.
Youíll want to camp out of sight, hide in some bushes, but near traffic choke points. You should be familiar with every map you play, and you know there are certain paths or routes that tanks usually take on the way to the other side. Stay somewhere near there, but not too close so you donít get spotted.
Stay in a 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, or even 2/3 position of the map (depending on the situation). Choose a good vantage point that gives you a wide line of sight. Note that you canít see behind buildings or boulders, even if they are just 50 meters away. Bushes in high ground, partially obscured by obstacles are the best hiding spots.
In Erlenberg, yellow arrows show bridge crossings where enemy tanks are bound to cross. Red dots are hilltops where you can get a vantage view. Artillery usually hide behind or on top the hills. They depend on other players to provide intel. If you hide infront of the hill, you could be arty's spotter.
In Pagorki, yellow arrows show major traffic routes. You can sit on the hill (red dots) and provide tons of intel. Problem is sometimes the hill gets taken, but you can still sit anywhere as long as you can observe a major artery. Use caution when on the hill because you're very easy to be spotted when moving on a hill. Its best to observe only during mid to late game.
Be aware that the map is only 1 square kilometer. One grid is 100 meters. With the binoculars, you can spot up to 500 meters. Is that so?? I noticed that sometimes I can't even see 400 meters away in clear line of sight, so hopefully devs can clear this out. In any case, you actually have significant coverage due to the small map.
Once you're at your sweet spot, donít move, and donít shoot. Just observe, and soon youíll see enemy tanks passing by. Resist the temptation to open fire. With your camo net in the bushes, they canít see you unless theyíre very close (50 meters maybe??) or you open fire. Sometimes you can even spot their artillery momentarily when they open fire.
Let your artillery and other teammates do the shooting. But there are times when you can open fire. If the target is far away (say 300 meters), you still can open fire without revealing your location.
Iíve done this in a light tank, tank destroyer and also medium tank. I managed to report on enemy movements for a long time, and noticed Tigers moving out of their base and rumble down. TDs and other tanks moving around in their base. All this while being undetected. Artillery must have had a feast helping themselves.
You might not win the Scout medal this way, but you serve your team better. My own personally tally as an observer was six enemy tanks detected, and I survived the battle. I was in a Marder II.
Sometimes you may meet enemy tanks on the way to your sweet spot, so this doesnít work every time, but when opportunity presents itself, this is a good scouting tactic. If your cover is blown, then its time to run.
The keyword in the observation tactic is "hilltop" and "road crossings".
Hopping From Bush To Bush
Is it a good idea to sneak up on enemy positions from bush to bush hoping that you wonít be noticed? Artillery have greater sight than scouts, and its generally a bad idea if youíre driving any kind of tank. Youíd be spotted first and sitting in a bush makes you an easy artillery target. Youíd have better chances rushing than to bush hop as its not easy for artillery to hit fast moving targets.
But if youíre in a tank destroyer like a Hetzer or Stug, then itís a different story. TDs have very good stealth abilities and they can sneak up on enemy positions unnoticed. When bush hopping, always approach from a hidden position into a bush, such as behind a hill and into a bush. Or behind a building and into a bush.
Donít hop from bush to bush in open grounds as youíd be easily spotted. Donít underestimate the Hetzerís stealth ability. The Hetzer is very stealthy and I hopped into a bush from behind a hill, and three enemy tanks were just 140 meters from me Ė they never spotted me while I hid in the bush, and reported their positions for a long time. I had the camo net btw.
The Role of the Spotter
When you know you are outgunned, and when you still have friendly artillery, then you can play the role of the spotter. Light tanks and medium tanks don't have very good chances engaging heavy tanks head-on, and its usually better just to spot the enemy, and let artillery do the job.
In the spotter role, as usual you should never approach from the main road. Sneak up from behind, from the side, from beneath a hill, from behind a building, etc. Use cover wisely and take a peek in. As soon as you spot the enemy, back out and hide behind somewhere safe where you can't be hit. Let artillery do the work. As soon as the red blip disappears, peek in again, then back out, out of sight. Rinse and repeat, never engaging the enemy yourself.
This is a very potent strategy, as artillery are very often the last remaining units, and you can play your role as a scout for your team.
Equipping Your Tank
There's nothing really different here from any other tank and is very much a no brainer. You want a fully upgraded engine, suspension, radio, gun, crew, etc. See, just like any other tank. But more importance goes to mobility (again just like any other tank) and the radio (more important for scouting role).
In the modules compartment, get either the improved optics or binoculars (depending on your tank and current view range). The spall liner is a must, and I'd still prefer the camo net (just in case I decide to play observation).
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