Historical Battles – Tobruk Review

Hello everyone,

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).

26 thoughts on “Historical Battles – Tobruk Review

  1. There is nothing more pleasing in WoT for me than HB doing well.

    SS, do you think that WG are dodging modernish historical battles like India or Egypt for political reasons? The real reason, I think tank crews are a bit too irrelevant to be the full truth.

  2. Good to see a semblance of balance between the nations.

    The thing is though, this game mode will forever be broken as long as players are allowed to choose the tanks with which they que. Most people don’t want to be the disadvantaged vehicle.

    A system that placed players in vehicles at random would be fair, and logical. Arguments I’ve seen against this idea that “no body would play it then” are ridiculous. No body plays historical battles now.

    At least this would give everyone a chance to play the stronger tanks, and pulling players from a pool where everyone is equal would decrease game que times drastically. As soon as an appropriate number of players joined the que, they would randomly be placed in a set amount of each tank and the battle start.

    • It’s going to be broken until WG enables a separate stat set for HB mde and balance through soft stats

    • Not choosing the tank you want to play, you say?

      Ok, simple example of how it wouldn’t work.
      Battle has Pz II, Pz III and Pz IV in possible roster, you have only Pz IV in garage, game can’t throw you into the tank you don’t have.

      • the game could just buy the tank for You like it does with the tanks’ ammo und setup, with the credits being refunded after the battle (minus repairs)

    • To me, the biggest problem with HB was that I couldn’t trust my teammates to do their job.
      Couldn’t trust my Sluggers to point the boomstick at the Tiger II before the StuG III, and couldn’t trust my Tiger II to not park behind my Panther and try to snipe through my turret.

      So this, I belive, would fix the problem. Of course, it won’t happen.

      Make a fixed ammount of tanks of each type per battle.
      Then, when all players have joined the session, tanks get given to players in the next way

      The “Best” tanks the team has, are given to the players who has the best stats in that tank, in terms of Wn8. When you go to the next model, you pick between the players left, the ones with the best stats in the vehicle, and so on for all vehicles.

      That way, you make sure your best tanks are always crewed by the most competent players. This would make HB’s a fun challenge because it’d reduce ROFLstompings either because all your Sluggers were lobotomized apes, or your Tiger II had been dropped from the Eiffel Tower when he was a kid and landed on his head, or your ISU-152′s liked playing wolf life instead of WoT and decided to mate in the middle of the battle.

      Buuut, it won’t happen. I said Wn8 and Wn8 is evil capitalist proficiency measure, and so WG dislikes it.

      • Problem with that is that the “best” tank mostly singlehandedly rape the complete enemy team. If you stick only good players in there and the good player on the opposite side dies you pretty much have free kills coming at your doorstep begging you to kill them already. Best players should actually be in the lowest tanks. They can easily out skill much higher tiered tanks in smaller tanks and still score considerable damage.

        Hell in current HB i even raped a crusader in a Panzer 2 and messed up a Matilda in a Panzerjäger.

      • Actually by the end of the last patch the tactics were pretty bloody tight in the Ardennes battle.

        And imo it was better to take out the lower tiers as a priority so the numerical advatage is higher and it is easier to get behign the tiggers!

        • Actually by the end of the last patch the tactics were pretty bloody tight in the Ardennes battle.

          On which server? I tried to enter any HB on EU2 and there were never enough players to run even one battle.

      • Interesting concept. Obviously WN8 is out of question (WG doesn’t like it and don’t support it) so they would propably settle for the current player rating.

        But we are moving away from the main problem of your concept:

        Potatoes would be forced to play the shittiest tanks. WG will never accept such solution.
        Also in the long term, it means that the already small player pool, would dry out completly.

  3. As I generaly like desert maps, I was looking forward to try Tobruk HB, thinking it might somehow work out. U know, Germans using mobility, view range, stug camo and shit, Im almost scared to say cooperation… Heh, forgot one little thing. 90% of the playerbase, the ketchup hordes, cannot do that. And so battle after battle they get slaughtered one by one duking it out with fast firing matildas. So now the game will bring you to the edge of tiers with much smaller w8ting time! Yay!

  4. Zie Zermans will win only if they stick together (read – will apply a tactics), otherwise Brits should win.
    Sounds like perfect balance.

    • No need to worry mate, i can read. Sticking together is good as a start, but one can hardly call that tactic. Stick together head on and the only benefit it has is diing together

  5. And thus the same problem exists here as with Bastogne: random teams can NOT be depended on to coordinate their efforts. Period.

  6. I played a couple of battles on both sides. Imo it balanced, as both sides can easily win with a single good player. First game we had a similar setup to the screenshots. 15 german tanks, some 3 Panzer III, some P4D, P3A, some Stug III B. Enemy side had 4 Crusader, 3 Valentine and a Matilda.

    We utterly raped them. I alone scored 5 kills in Panzer III, they didn’t stand a chance. Panzer 3 could outrange the crusaders while even bouncing some 2 pounder shots from the mantlet or angled hull, while Crusader got penned by everything. Valentine was easy to deal with as the P3 circled faster than they could turn their turrets and for the Matilda just switch to perm and rape its face.

    I thought man, thats too hard for brits, i hopped into my Matilda and gave it a try on the other side. We where 4 Matildas + 1 Valentine against 15 German tanks, mixed setup. My teammates all lemminged off alone into the great wide sanddunes and got killed fairly quickly,so i remained alone at base (took defensive positions near the rocks at south base) against 11 german tanks. They call came at me, even more at a time and i simply just raped their faces off. They had no chance at all. They tried to snipe against me, not just move in, circle me and kill me, they always tried to peek and shoot, but in that time i already put two shells in them by the time they even aimed at me. In the end i won the game with 11 kills and 41 hp lost due to Stug HE shells.

    Bad players will struggle on either side, good players will totally facerape everything in a tank like Panzer III, Valentine, Crusader and especially Matilda.

      • I agree, easier on a Matilda (better armour and very little premium ammo around => Winner). I manage to win a tough match on the pz3 vs a good matilda player (he had 6 kills), I had no premium shells left and I had a broken gun, I rushed and I won but I was lucky, indeed very lucky, I did not realised I was shooting HE and I must have killed the gunner or destroy some module because he could not fire that quickly and he bounced all the time, it took me like 6-7 shells to damage him for 70hp. Bananas.

        IMO they should limit the number of matildas to 2. 3 or 4 Matildas is too much. But it is true, for good players this is a sort of easy game mode, they bring better crews, good equipment and knowledge; and when MM in a way does not exist, then these sort of players can really affect the outcome of the match.

        I think noob players will hate this sort of game mode.
        Maybe good players should be banned from using the top tanks … but it wont happen.

  7. so, the conclusion is, German lemmings and Brits must save their Cruiser III and Crusader ?
    but well, Pz.II, Pz.III A, and Pzjg.I has very big chance to get epic medal because thy can kill Crusader.
    imo, Crusader and Cruiser III is a passive scout here (according to SS’s tactic . but , if the Cruiser III brave enough, can be a semi-active)

  8. Plug: Join the “Historical Battles Queue” channel for in-game griping bosting and so on.

    OK, I’m not sure how many of the posters above actually played the HBs much in the last patch. I played about 60-70, I think and was amazed by the degree to which each side used sensible tactics. The difference to randoms is that you play the same map and tanks over and over so if soemthing doesn’t work you tend to remember it next time. I remember seeing the US side wordlessly split into two groups and move down the two flanks in pretty close formation. Two blogs of green moving in sync. Amazing.

    Anyway in the battles I played last night in my terrible 75% crewed tier 2s, The germans won most of them, because the brits scattered, with the fast tanks 600m ahead of the tillys. Will be interest to see some sounder tactics develop.

  9. Well , yesterday me and my clanmate kinda abused a system a bit.
    Seeing that German queue is underpopulated, we did a countdown and entered in the same German team 12/12 times.

    Good combo is StuG for firepower , dealing with Vals and Tildas + Pz3 for spotting and dealing with Crusaders, if you try to improvise a platoon. Dont attempt to go 1 on 1 with a Crus in StuG – 75/24 has extremely low shell velocity , best for slow targets , and has 3 HEATs for close combat , use them wisely. Pz3 has 5 APCRs , which is sufficient to surprise and wear down Tilda to 20%.
    Playing as Brit in Crus , well, you sort of fear noone. Stock 2 pounder popopop and any enemy you see is chewed in DPM race. Mobility is not that bad , with all stock modules except 2nd radio.

    All in all , not-so-unbalanced , unless 4xMatilda+3xCrusader meets 2xPz3+2xStuG+3xPz2+2PzJg1+1xPz4.
    High TD portion tends to split forces by nature , so higher number of Pz3 and Pz4 – better.

  10. Played 7 battles yesterday, Germans won 6 of them. The problem for brits is that most of the time Crusaders suck. Camping base or yolo rushing the enemies when Matildas are 200m behind. It’s impossible to win then as Brits if you are left with 2 tildas against 15 germans, if they are not idiots.
    But I have to say I love the battle in my pzIIIa, nothing like coming top of the dmg in tier 3 and winning the battle :-)

    • For me it is a pain to play the brits with the light tanks, the reason is that I only have 3 brit crew, I dont want more and I am at tier 6-7 with the mediums. So I have no crew to play with a Crusader and I dont want to get a new 75% crew for the sake of one map and for tanks that I master months ago. So for the moment I only play the brits with the Matilda.

  11. I honestly found the opposite of what Silent says, tbh, in an hour of playing, I won the first time with the Germans – easily – then spent the next four trying to do the same with the Brits, until a skin-of-the-teeth victory in the Valentine (and that one really came down to luck). In all but one there was a numerical superiority for the Germans, and in the one where there wasn’t it didn’t matter a bit – only a tiny amount of teamwork meant it went the same way each time. First any stragglers get picked off, then the Cruisers and Crusaders trying to defend, then after that the remaining Germans would swarm the Matildas if any had survived.

    The Cruiser III was a waste of time, far too few hitpoints to live long (my one attempt ended with being one-shotted by a StuG in the first 90 seconds), the Cruiser II did a little better but it’s slow and equally badly armoured; the Tilly I got to play once and was the last one alive, at which point I got swarmed; and the Vally did best of all but that match came down to our surviving one-shot Tilly managing to take out the last StuG that had killed me. I actually came close to running out of AP in that battle too, last three shells at the point I died. The Crusader I don’t have to try out, but they never lasted long at all.

    For the Germans, the Pz.III really is the king in this matchup, the Tillys seem to be very restricted in numbers but not so these – which seems odd because apart from the gun handling, with the setups used in this battle it seems the equal of the Tilly. Less frontal armour (but not by that much!), terrible aim time in comparison to the 2-pdr, but enough mobility to run rings around everything else. That battle really was the easiest by far, the team went in in two groups – slaughtered all the Cruisers, Crusaders, and their lone Vally – then swarmed the last Tilly.

    I will play some more, this is very much an initial impression, but it was enough to make me think that it isn’t that balanced at all. The Brits are usually forced, by fewer numbers, into defensive positions near or at their cap, but aside from the Matildas and the Valentines they do not have the armour to carry it off, or even the speed to scout (the poor Cruiser III just doesn’t have enough HP). If the maps were actually tweaked with some of this in mind, with more defensible positions available to the team with smaller numbers, then it’d be a fairer fight, but for now in this HB it feels like the Germans hold all the cards – and if that bears out through subsequent plays then the player numbers will just collapse as much as the previous HBs did.