today, we are going to have a look at the new Historical Battle, Tobruk. You probably already noticed that unlike the Russian server, which has two historical battles (Tobruk and Bryansk 1942), the EU server gets only one battle, Tobruk (with Bryansk possibly coming later). The reason for that (according to an official post by Tuccy) is that given the extremely low interest in historical battles, there was a concern that (just like in 9.0) very few people would be playing it and these few people would further split into two historical battles (both with German involvement).
Anyway, back to Tobruk. There is a nice historical post about that battle (Russians had it for two days already, I was just about to translate it today, but for once, WG EU did their job). This post however has one small problem. Actually, the entire battle does. The battle itself ommits the obvious role of Italian forces, since, quite obviously, there are no Italian tanks in the game. Remember, how the developers said we can’t have Israeli-Arab conflicts due to the lack of those parties’ crews? Well, on the other hand, we apparently can have “historical” battles without actual historical Italian involvement. Also…
That’s not a British Valentine crew, is it? Just saying, could have been mentioned.
Anyway, to the historical battle.
You can probably see what the problem at first glance in this battle. The British have a HUGE advantage in massive armor (Matilda, Valentine to less extent), while the firepower is roughly comparable. The German StuG and Panzer IV both have only the short 75mm L/24 cannon, the Panzer III has the long 50mm, if I recall correctly. On the other hand you have the British with their 2pounders, that have more than enough punch to ruin your day. The Germans have a mobility advantage, I’ll talk about that later.
Entering the queue and…
Yea, everyone wants to play the British. I chose the StuG. Let’s begin.
The battle itself – IF you use random game tactics, eg. multiple angles of uncoordinated attack – is balanced heavily in British favour. Without at least basic tactics from the German side, the Matilda’s and Valentines will tear up the Germans apart. Basically, every battle I played, the Germans ournumbered the British (sometimes by a lot). The British used basically only three types of tanks: Crusader, Matilda, Valentine. On German side, you could see Panzer III (rarely IIIA), Panzer IVD, StuG and rarely a Panzer II (which was completely useless, just drove around until he got killed).
This is the usual “larger” setup.
First and foremost, as I said, the game is stacked against the Germans. If you play it like a random battle, you will lose. The Germans HAVE to stick together. Second thing, as you can see, you will run into Crusaders. Kill them first, they are very squishy despite being a tier above the Germans. The 75mm HE shells will murder them quickly, or at least easily detrack them.
A thing to keep in mind is that the British seem to have rather poor viewrange compared to the Germans. Kill the Crusaders, you kill their eyes, it makes the battle much easier. It happened practically every time I played that the Crusaders tried to “flank” and rushed ahead away from the cover of the British “heavies” and got chewed up, weakening their team greatly. If they stick to the “heavies”, you have a problem.
I mentioned the viewrange – keep your distance! I was able to comfortably much away one Matilda with 75mm HE shells while he was just permatracked and didn’t see crap. However, two Panzer III’s attempted to kill that Matilda up close, they got killed by it. Cracking the Matilda hide is tough – I suggest 75mm HE and patience. Gold 75mm shells work as well, IF you get a bit lucky and don’t shoot the tracks (they eat them). Valentines are not as tough as Matildas, but they are nowhere near as vulnerable to HE shells as the Crusader – in this case, the Panzer III’s should take care of them. Be careful though – if you go toe to toe with them, you will lose due to the superior armor. Keep your distance.
In my case, it ended like this (nevermind the teamkill, the 75mm HE shells fly VERY slowly and one poor guy kinda drove in when the shell was landing).
You can see what kind of damage did the Matilda cause before it went down. The British team succumbed pretty much only because one Crusader went “sniping” (he hid behind a rock, did nothing) and the other Valentine and Crusaders rushed alone and got overwhelmed by numbers. The Matilda and the Valentine did take their bloody toll from our forces. In another case however, the Germans got murdered because they went at the British in small groups. In order to be effective, both sides HAVE to stay together.
In practically every case I played, the British “heavies” chose the “short” route (straight from base to the village and then straight up), with one or two standing inside the base. That Matilda from the first case made a mistake or exposing itself, but overall, when playing defensively, it is extremely difficult to destroy. The Germans somehow tended to use the open space od the north-east part, with some defensive units slugging it over in the village (and losing).
Overall, this battle is winnable for both sides. As I mentioned, the Germans have it harder, but the larger the battle gets, the more pronounced their numerical superiority is and the easier time they have (eg. 15 vs 8 is easier for Germans than 9 vs 6 for example).