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[HOW TO] Tank


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The tank guide 


In this guide I'll go over the basics of armoured warfare and discuss some more advanced tactic as well. I'll do both real life and in-game aspects (with or without RAM) and finally, I'll go over all the different tanks. This guide is based on my experience with tank games (World of Tanks, War Thunder, and Arma 3) and all the historical books/films I've read/seen. If you think I got something wrong, please tell me so I can check it. Enjoy!



What is a tank?

Before we start discussing about tanks, we first need to know what a tank exactly is. Wikipedia gives the following definition of a tank: “A tank is a large type of armoured fighting vehicle with tracks, designed for front-line combat“. I would describe a tank as a vehicle balanced between crew protection, fire-power and mobility. The balance will be different for each model, and is chosen around a specific goal. So comparing a scout tank to a main battle tank is absurd, because they were designed for other tasks.



Types of tanks

I'll divide tanks into different categories:

  • MBT

  • Light tank

  • Scout tank

  • Tank destroyer

In this guide I'll cover mainly the MBT because it's the only one of the list that is available in vanilla Arma 3.




Modern MBT have a standard crew of four: commander, gunner, driver, loader. In some tanks (i.e. the French Leclerc) is the loader replaced by an autoloader.


The commander: The commander is in charge of the tank. He tells the driver where to go, gives the gunner targets and instructs the loader what shell to load. It is considered to be the most difficult position in the tank as he has to manage not only the tank, but also incoming radio calls. Most tanks provide commanders smoke launchers to conceal the tanks.


The gunner: This is obvious. He shoots stuff and blows things up. He also has access to an MG to mow down infantry. Got optical/night/thermal sights.


The driver: I'm asking myself why I started explaining crew slots. He drives the tank OK?


The loader: Loads the gun and in some cases has a machine gun when turned out.


It's vitally important to work together as a team. Good solo crew members who are not communicating will result in a dead tank!




The list of most common ammunition types:

  • APFSDS: armour piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot. Often called “sabot” or “AP”. Basically has the best penetration for almost all ranges, except extreme ranges. It's penetrating power comes from the extreme velocity it is fired.


  • HEAT: high explosive anti tank. A big shell that explodes shortly after penetrating a target. Very good against soft to medium armoured targets. Has no drop off in penetration and is so thus used for extreme ranges.


  • HESH: High explosive squash head. Ammo used by the British. The shell explodes on impact and releases a massive amount of small iron balls. Used to injure crew and is effective against most targets, including infantry.


  • HE: high explosive. Explodes on impact and has almost no penetration power. Cheaper than other ammo types and very effective against light armour and infantry. Does not bounce.


Note: if an ammo type is followed by ”-T” (like: “APFSDS-T), it means that the shell act's as a tracer and gives a light trail when fired (same effect as rifle tracers).


Armour and countermeassures

In this section, I'll cover the differant types of armour and other measures taken to protect a tank. I'll start with armour:


  • Steel armour: This type of armour isn't in use anymore but I tought I would mention it because it was the main type of armour during WWII. Just a steel plate and nothing more.
  • Composite armour: The main armour used on modern MBT's. Its disigned to have higher armour values then steel by having less weight. This is why a T-90 is way better protected then a Tiger, dispite having a lower weight. It can consist of a lot of materials, but aluminium and titanium are widly used.
  • Depleted Uranium armour: very strong armour made out of depleted uranium, something you get as garbage product from enriching uranium. The only tank that I know it's being used on is the Abrams. A tank is never made entirely from this atmour due to the extreme weight it has.
  • Cobham armour: This is believed to be th best armour in the world, only used on the American Ambrams and the British Challenger. Almost nothing is known about this, butit is believed to be some sort of ceramic armour.

Other protective measures:

  • ERA: explosive reactive armour: a slap-on armour plate that consists of cubes that explode outwarts when hit. This will decrease the penetrating power of the shell or missile. Once hit the cube is destroyed and not more useable.
  • Smoke launcher: Most modern tanks are equipped with smoke launchers. These launchers will fire off projectiles that produces smoke to give a full 360 smoke screen around the tank. Some tanks can also generate smoke by injecting chemicals in the engine.
  • APS: active protection system: a system that detects incoming missiles and shoot those down. Not common on tanks and the only in frontline use tank that uses it is the Merkava mk4.



Basic Tactics

Time for some basic tactics. These will consist of tactics viable in vanilla.


First off all the positioning of the tank. In Arma, its best to keep a distance from the enemy. Thanks to laser-rangefinding a tank can be accurate up to 2km (technically it's possible to range up to 11.4km but the sights don't have the zoom to support that kind of range). At this range it's also quite easy to ID targets and avoid friendly fire.


Also it's always advisible to turn the front of the tank towards the enemy (I know, but you never know I guess). Some more advanced positioning tactics are:

  • Keep the tank hull down: this means only exposing the turret by covering the hull with a rock or something.armor_hull_down.jpg
  • Sidescraping: a tactic to peek corners explaind in this picture: 609407-sammelthread-world-tanks-tiger_si
  • And never ever have cover on three sides of the tank. this will make it impossible to escape and make you and easy target.


Tanks in Arma 3

Before I finish I'll quickly go over all tanks in vanilla Arma 3.


M2A1/M2A4 Slammer: know as the Merkava 4 in real life and used by the Israeli army as their primary MBT. This tank is an unusual design focused on crew protection. To maximize the frontal armour, the tank's engine was placed in the front to serve as another layer of armour. As a direct result the back was free to store ammo OR house some soldiers (this is modelled wrong in Arma). The tank is using a 120mm gun(M2A1) or a 105mm gun(M2A4) and is the master of street and urban combat. In Arma unfortunately, this means every shot to the front will damage the engine and that the amount of real life armour made the top speed and acceleration bad, so I wouldn't recommend this tank in Vanilla Arma 3. Also, the M2A4 has some added armor plating and an commander MG but trades it in for a weaker 105mm gun. Altough irl this would be considered insane, it is better for street combat due to the extra MG, but bear in mind the gun is very weak.


MBT-52 Kuma: Know in real life as the Leopard-2SG. An up-armored version of the German Leopard-2 tank, this tank is fast and mobile has a good gun but has not the best armour (because of REASONS, remeber the UP-ARMORED). Very popular tank in Vanilla Arma 3 and definitely the best choice for any tank group that wants a tank that fit's into the BLUFOR army.


T-100 Varsuk: Fictional tank based upon a Russian prototype designated object-640, named by fans the Black Eagle. It uses a 125mm gun and is reasonably mobile and has good armour. A rail gun variant was planned for release with the game but got scrapped due to considered too futuristic.



That was it for my tank guide. I hope you enjoyed it and are a bit more interested in tanks then before.


-Jochem "Waffles", Bomb 1-1, 2nd Armor Division

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Respectfully, I would like to add a point.

The M2A4 Slammer UP trades extra armour for lower firepower, replacing the 120mm cannon with a less powerful 105mm cannon.


I also added a guide regarding tanks in this thread: http://www.ahoyworld.co.uk/topic/3807-how-to-squad-stuff-loadouts-roles-teamwork/


You may use the information regarding armoured vehicle teams in that thread however you wish to improve your own.

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  • 4 months later...

I am very familiar with the uses of sidescraping (I've played a lot of world of tanks!), but are you sure that it actually has any use in arma?

I've never tested it, but I always assumed that the angle of the armour in arma (that looks weird) has no effect on the damage or penetrating ability of incoming fire.

I may be wrong but I would have thought that it would be better to go front first around cover rather than exposing your weaker side armour (again assuming angles make no difference).

I'd be interested to find out what the truth is.

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While it certainly isn't as usefull as it is in WoT, it has some use. First off all I found an amusing AI bug, being that AI only shoots if it has a clean line of sight to the center of the tank. Also the tracks tend to get destroyed rather then taking hull damage, atleast on the first shot.


Generally the best tactic to use in vanilla tanks is stay at a distance and don't go into towns without good infantry support.

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  • Mark T unpinned this topic
  • 6 months later...

some IA/Arma specific hints for tankers

  • You are not invulnerable in a tank. it certainly feels so when you hop in, but just flooring it into the battle is dumb and will result in a loss of the valuable asset.
  • The tank is not a street fighter, but an anti-armor sniper. Most of successful sniper tactics can be applied to tanks, just scaled up.
  • Keep your distance (check your draw distance in vehicles, 2000+ is recommended). the tank is very effective at range and there is really no need to go closer than 1000m. This will vastly reduce counter-fire chances. Use the high ground, "hull down" and other advantageous tactics described by @Jochem here.
  • Shoot big targets first. Your biggest concern are of course enemy MBTs (be selfish here), then AA assets. Then come other armored vehicles which are a threat to infantry. If you got time and spare HE, start taking out Ifrits and such. Yes, this will result in idle periods after you "soften up" an AO and wait for it to end, but that's how it's supposed to be. In the meantime, you can do recon, monitor and be aware of friendly vehicles in the area, relocate to different overwatch spots and plan your next moves.
  • Don't go into urban environment. you are pretty much useless there - you can't manouver reasonably, guns will bottom out at close angles, you will hinder or run over friendlies and you will be easily picked out by enemy AT.
  • Save your ammo. The load is quite limited and rearming is time consuming. You should be able to last 3 AOs before running out of AP rounds. Think about your shots to learn from them, how aiming and tracking behaves. Learn to detect/work with unreliable distance measurements (e.g. when target is obscured), use manual ranging.
  • Don't snipe infantry. The tank is meant as an infantry support vehicle, you will run out of ammo quickly and take away the fun for other players. It's tempting, but resisting it will make you look more professional ;) MGs are meant for self-defense, taking out close AT troops which ARE an imminent threat. If you need to shoot, do short bursts only, strafes and observe the tracers (note the co-axial gun is not aiming into the reticule center).
  • Be aware of enemy CAS - attack choppers and jets can and will hunt you down and are the biggest threat to you, as you cannot really defend against it. Relocate often, shut down the engine when disengaged to reduce the thermal footprint, hide in vegetation or behind hard cover, etc.
  • Get a repair specialist in the crew. You will get hit (eventually) and your tracks will go out first, which will leave you stranded and then dead.
  • Be nice, offer to switch positions in the tank, especially when doing a re-arm run.
  • Communicate. Preferably with voice, as quick adjustments of position and aims are crucial for being effective.
    • The commander should be responsible for tactical awareness, picking spots, planning routes, moves and keeping track of friendlies and scan for targets.
    • The driver should be responsible for the actual route and adjusting/covering the tank when reaching a firing position (i.e. staying in cover while being able for the main gun to aim at targets). Check the situation on the map when not driving and scan for counter-fire to be able to get out of it quickly (reversing is the key here, even when it's the most dangerous under arma physics)

gl, hf

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11 minutes ago, radek said:

Be aware of enemy CAS - attack choppers and jets can and will hunt you down and are the biggest threat to you, as you cannot really defend against it. Relocate often, shut down the engine when disengaged to reduce the thermal footprint, hide in vegetation or behind hard cover, etc.

I should probably note here that (in I&A) if the enemy has CAS it'll call them in on targets it knows about.  So if the enemy know about you, you have a possibility of being attacked by an enemy jet, regardless of your thermal signature.  The enemy will have a laser pointed at you and the jet (or helo) will decide on its own if it's gonna drop a GBU on that lazer, fire a macer at you or do a strafing run.  

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While I've never had an issue with being Driver, that slot will be a lot more interesting with the release of Tanks.

With the full 3d interior, driving in first person is a marvellous challenge. Being a good first-person driver will require spatial contextual awareness, and is well worth practicing to perfection.

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