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  Home » Combat Strategies

Tank Destroyers Guide

Tank Destroyer's Guide - Premium Account

Tank Destroyer's Strategy Guide

"I’m in a Tank Destroyer. You'll never see me!!!" should be your guiding motto when driving a Tank Destroyer. Stealth is your strongest weapon - remaining unseen your primary tactic - and shooting undetected, your primary objective.

Don’t underestimate the stealth abilities of tank destroyers, so much so that I think the devs have overdone it. But first, I’ll cover the basics that every player should understand.

A tank destroyer shouldn’t be driven like a tank. The strategies for tank destroyers are very different from that of tanks. Exploit your strengths and know your weaknesses. Here are some of the technical differences between TDs and tanks.

Tank destroyers are weak attackers. Here’s why :-

  • Their turretless design means they lack the maneuverability needed when attacking. Because tanks have turrets that can swivel 360 degrees, they have the maneuverability to attack all around them – an essential advantage when attacking.
  • They are slow, and clumsy compared to tanks. This is a generalization, but in general, TDs are slower than most tanks (but not all). The SU-85 has a top speed of 55 km/h, which makes it a fast vehicle, but the German Hetzers, Stugs, are slower than their equivalent counterparts. In terms of maneuverability, a tank destroyer needs to turn its body in order to attack. This makes them very clumsy attackers.
  • Tank destroyers have good frontal protection. Their frontal armor is relatively thick and their sloped design gives them good chances to bounce frontal shots. The sides and rear are generally more vulnerable compared to tanks. Because the sides and rear are often exposed when attacking, this places tank destroyers at a disadvantage when attacking.
  • Tank destroyers have lower hit points. This is a very important difference to understand. Compared to tanks of the same tier, tank destroyers cannot take as much battle damage.

Tank destroyers are excellent defenders :-

  • Due to their number one strength – stealth. Their low bodies makes them very difficult to spot and if used well, they can shoot at the enemy while remaining unseen – a vital ingredient needed in ambushes.
  • They have bigger guns compared to tanks of their same tier. This is another big advantage of tank destroyers. A humble Hetzer that sits at tier IV has a gun big enough to take out a Tiger (tier VII). Try doing that with a tier IV tank such as Panzer III or Leopard, and you’ll see its just impossible to even dent a Tiger.
  • On merit of its stealth abilities, big gun advantage, strong frontal protection, and poor maneuverability, tank destroyers excel at base defense or ambush tactics.

Playing As Base Defender

Play as a base defender to fully exploit the strength of a tank destroyer. Once the enemy team has been reduced, then you can switch to offense or even scout for your arty.

Depending on your map, tank destroyers excel in open terrain with lots of bushes and forests in which to hide. They are not as nice to use in urban city maps due to a lack of hiding places.

Take up position on the right or left flank of your base. Hide inside a bush or forest where you have a vantage view of approaching vehicles. You’ll be guarding the approach road while staying close enough to your base so you can spot any enemy vehicles that try to capture your flag.

Where possible, avoid hiding inside your base itself, or too close to an approaching road. The reason is enemy tanks tend to rush your base or pass the road where you’re hiding, and if your camping spot is too close, you’ll be spotted and become an easy target for artillery.

Use your stealth to maximum advantage – that’s your main strength. If you’re well hidden inside a thick bush, its not easy for the enemy to spot you. You’ll find that you can open fire and the enemy can’t see who’s shooting at him. Moving gives away your position, even just turning your hull for a little bit counts as moving. Turning your turret is not considered moving. Firing however is the biggest giveaway to your position, so aim carefully, then shoot.

Shooting while remaining undetected is a very effective tactic, and more so against slow and heavy tanks. If a tank tries to search for you, shoot its tracks. This will slow him down while giving you (and friendly arty) more time to finish him off.

You’ll be amazed at how close the enemy is and he still can’t see you. If you were caught by surprise and the enemy had come too close, you can take a calculated risk and decide to hold your fire. Opening fire while the enemy is too close will reveal your location. If you haven’t been discovered, you might want to hold your fire, just keep quiet and act as spotter for your artillery. They won’t even know you’re there, just 50 meters away from him.

Note however, that the minimum spotting distance is 50 meters. No matter how well you are hidden, or even hidden completely behind a building, the enemy can see you if you're less than 50 meters away.

If you have been spotted and need to fight it out, always face your enemy, and engage reverse gear to give your sloped frontal armor a better chance of deflecting shots.

Try it – its fantastic.

Playing As Attacker

If you decide to go on the offense, then do so from a rear position. Unless you’re driving the Ferdinand, let your tanks do the engagement. While each team is heavily engaged with each other, you support your team by taking sniping shots from far away – possibly where you won’t even be noticed.

Scouting in a Tank Destroyer

If you play as base defender, then often times you’ll find the game unfolds with only artillery and yourself remaining on the map. When everyone else is dead (except for artillery), you’ll have to play the role as a scout and/or attacker.

Tank destroyers are very good scouts as well. They can hop into a bush, or peek out from behind buildings and act as observers for artillery – all this while, they'll be spotting and reporting enemy locations while remaining undetected. The important scouting rule applies – that is don’t take the major highway. Always sneak in from behind, go through the forest, from the side, the long way, from under the hill, etc.

Equipping Your Tank Destroyer

Top priority for a tank destroyer is its gun. Get the biggest gun you can afford. For a Hetzer, get the 105 mm and load up only with HE shells. For Stug, I find that even the long, quick firing, highly accurate 75mm gun is not as good as the 105mm gun with HE.

For optional modules, get the air filter, enhanced optics, and Tank Gun Rammer for quicker firing speed.

Once your crew reaches 100%, train all of them in Camouflage, Brothers in Arms or other varied perks. Its best to spend the gold to train them to 100%. Tank destroyers, plus stealth are really fun to play.

Tank Destroyer Videos (Ace Tanker)

This is a typical textbook approach on using Tank Destroyers. Play as base defender at game start, setup in an ambush position, and snipe. When the odds are favorable, switch to offense mode, and start hunting the enemy. The result in this battle is this JagdPanther bagged the Ace Tanker, Boelter's medal, top gun and scored nine kills...