Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual

Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual 28 - gameplaylists.com
Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual 28 - gameplaylists.com

Table of Contents

This guide will cover the basic and intermediate nuances of operating a tank in Hell Let Loose. Here you will learn everything you need to know to hit the ground running.

 
 

Introduction and Table of Contents – The Scope of This Guide

 
Tanking 101 is a manual meant to be a learning resource for individuals who would like to learn the ins and outs of operating a tank in Hell Let Loose. It is geared towards those who have never used a tank, and if you are in this category, it will be a useful resource for you. The main focus will be on tank mechanics and overall tactics and strategy. However, there are also some more subtle nuances to tank operation that this guide will cover. 
 
Overall, Tanking 101 will be split into multiple sections: 

  • Introduction and Table of Contents – The Scope of This Guide: You are here. 
  • What Is a Tank? – An Abstraction: This is a basic rundown of what a tank is, what a tank does, a brief and incomplete history of tanks, and how the overall concepts of tanks play into Hell Let Loose. 
  • Engineering a Solution – Tank Mechanics: Everything from the bare minimum mechanics to the subtle technicalities. We get started with jumping in the tank, starting the engine, switching seats, loading ammunition, and hitting the road. This part is split up into three sections for each role – the driver, the gunner, and the spotter. 
  • Friend, or Foe? – Identifying Tanks: A quick reference on American and German tanks and how to identify them, and some relevant stats for each of them. This part is split up into two sections – one for the American tanks, and one for the German tanks. 
  • Strategy & Tactics: The true meat and potatoes of this guide. Here you will learn how to effectively engage in tank-on-tank combat, and when discretion is the better part of valor. 
  • Supporting Your Team: Utilizing the rest of the info in this guide to make the most of your tank, namely by rolling with your team. 
  • Advanced Tanking: A quick word on where to look if you want more detailed information. 
  • Conclusion & Afterword: A brief synopsis and my personal thoughts on tanking overall.

 
Without further ado… 
 
 

What Is a Tank? – An Abstraction

 
We can all be fairly certain of what a tank is: a self-propelled, steel-on-wheels weapon of war. A brutish monstrosity whose guns can mow down infantry and destroy heavy fortifications, with armor making it a veritable rolling fortress, and treads that distribute the weight, tear up the dirt, and allow a steady forward advance. When the “land ships” were first introduced in WWI, they were a game changer. How would you even begin to fight something like that, when the technology at the time was so cutting edge that the only counter to a tank was having a bigger gun? 
 
Perhaps the question should not necessarily be “what is a tank?”, but rather “what does a tank do?” – this will give us a better idea of what a tank really is, and the role it plays. To answer this question, in short: a tank is a vehicle meant to break through enemy lines, support infantry, and destroy strategic targets or hold strategic positions. It accomplishes this through being a mobile gun platform that also serves as a bunker for the crew. Pretty simple, right? 
 
Tanks are extremely powerful, and if utilized fully, can turn the tide of a battle or even a war. From the early days of WWII, tanks saw a boom in development of design due to the insane strategic demands of a global conflict. What started as relics of The Great War saw drastic improvements in their design from the start of WWII, which brought them from being clunky, slow, ineffective tin cans to some of the most efficient fighting machines over the course of nearly a decade. Even now, tanks are seen as integral to modern day conflict, and countries from all over the world innovate and improve designs continuously, shaping them into the tools of destruction they are today. 
 
However, despite the power and capability that tanks have, they are not without weaknesses. As the development of tanks took off, so too did methods of destroying them. Bigger and better guns, cannons designed for destroying tanks, hand weapons such as the panzerfaust, panzerschreck, and bazooka, and even other tanks with superior armament and armor. What this means is that tanks are not the magic solution to everything. 
 
The key point to understand here is the idea that tanks are very powerful, but on their own without support, they are weak. Playing as a tank crew in Hell Let Loose is tantamount to this concept. In a war, it takes many people working together to accomplish a common goal, and this is no exception. Sure, you can be a “Tiger Ace” and run around scrapping enemy tanks, and that might be useful to an extent – but the minute you find yourself isolated and hunted down, you’re finished. 
 
Another way to look at this is that no matter what happens, everything boils down to the infantryman and his rifle. The ultimate goal is to advance and support infantry, and help them reach their objective safely and effectively, in exchange for their protection. HLL is no stranger to this concept and it is the optimal strategy for gameplay. 
 
So how should you approach utilizing your tank to its fullest potential? Just remember what a tank does, and apply teamwork and due diligence with communication. If you do this one simple thing, it will give you a leg up on the enemy, and with some added skill and finesse may turn the tide of the battle in your favor. Just remember that there is no “I” in “team”. 
 
 

Engineering a Solution – Tank Mechanics

 
So now that you are fully aware of what a tank is, what it does, and have a general understanding of the role of tanks in Hell Let Loose, you’re finally ready to put the pedal to the metal. If this is your first time as a tanker, don’t be afraid to join an armor squad and let your tank commander know. Most of the time people will tolerate you if you’re new and do their best to help get you up to speed as quickly as possible. The following section will help you with that. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, this section will likely only get you so far, and to truly learn you’ll have to do it yourself and commit the actions to muscle memory. In this case, feel free to load up the game and jump into an empty server to play along, or test driving tanks around, spotting, and operating the weapons. 
 
The magic number with tanks in HLL is 3. There are 3 seats in a tank, 3 crew to a squad, and 3 separate roles for the crew. Technically there is only 1 tank commander and 0-2 crew, but in a good tank squad, each person will know how to perform each role. Running only 2 people on a tank crew is not advised but can work well if it’s coordinated properly. Solo tanking is bad unless you really know what you’re doing, and on many community servers, having a locked tank squad for the express purpose of solo tanking is not allowed anyway. It’s also proper etiquette to limit yourself to one tank per squad, even though a full squad can technically solo up to 3 tanks at a time. 
 
The 3 seats in a tank correspond to each role. There are 3 roles in a tank, and this is universal to all tanks throughout both factions in the game. These will be split up into their own sections ahead due to character limit constraints. 
 
 

The Driver

 
The first seat you will fill up when entering an empty tank is naturally the driver’s seat. If it’s your first time looking at the dashboard, it may be daunting or even confusing. 
 
Here is how to read your HUD when in the driver’s seat: 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
1. Turret Rotation Indicator: This shows you which direction your turret is facing relative to the hull, with the notch at the top middle indicating the front of the tank’s hull. The rotation of this indicator stays fixed regardless of how you aim your camera while inside the tank. 
2. Health Pools: These show you how much integrity each of your tank’s 3 health pools have remaining. From left to right: Turret (reduction to 0% disables the coaxial machine gun and severely reduces turret traverse speed), tracks (reduction to 0% prevents the tank from shifting up past gear 1), and hull (reduction to 0% means your tank is destroyed). 
3. Compass: The compass is universal to the game and will always appear on your screen no matter what. However, it is especially important in a tank, because your crew will always have the same POV with the compass. This is most often used in conjunction with the commander ordering you to either traverse the hull or turret towards a specific direction, or to indicate where potential enemies are located or attacking from. You can call the number readout the “bearing” or “azimuth”. 
4. Tachometer: This displays both your current RPM and the gear your tank is in (P = Park, N = Neutral, 1-5 = Forward, R = Reverse). Shift will shift gear up and Control will shift gear down. 
5. Accelerometer: Shows your tank’s current speed in kilometers per hour (km/h). The needle as well as the digital display represent the same thing. 
6. Hull Armament: Shows what weapon you are using (if applicable). This will always be an M1919 machine gun in American tanks and an MG34 machine gun in German tanks. The numbers to the left are the number of rounds you have in your magazine over how many reloads you have available. 
7. Hull Armament Alignment: The rectangle shows the limit in angle that you can aim the hull machine gun at, and the dot in the middle represents where the gun is currently aimed (if applicable). The hull machine gun is aimed by moving the mouse and fired using the left mouse button. 
8. Seats: Shows who is inside your tank. If there is nobody in a seat, it will display “EMPTY” instead of a username. F1 is the driver’s seat, F2 is the gunner’s seat, and F3 is the spotter’s seat. You can hold the corresponding function key of an empty seat to switch to that seat. If your tank is full, one of you will have to exit the tank if you want to swap seats. 
 
To get rolling, start the engine by holding down E. Once the engine is started, you can release E. Shift up to gear 1 from Park using your Shift key, and use W to hit the gas. A and D steer left and right. You can use Control to shift back down to Park, and hit Control again to drop your tank into Reverse. Note that you still have to use W while in reverse to move the tank. 
 
Once you are in gear 1, you will have to continue accelerating until your tachometer hits maximum RPM. From here you can shift up to gear 2, then build up your RPM again, then shift up to gear 3, and so on. Gear 4 is the maximum for all tanks that have a manual transmission. You can quickly build up to your top speed from gear 1 by maxing out your RPM, then simply holding Shift to cycle all the way up to gear 4 while holding down W for gas. 
 
Bear in mind that if you ever come to a stop, you will have to shift all the way back down to gear 1 and then do the process all over again to get up to speed. This means that typically you want to be always in motion as a tank. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
However, there are some situations where stopping is the best course of action – hitting a landmine can destroy your tank, and if you get caught on terrain, your tank will most likely spin out and you will waste time putting it in reverse to get unstuck. 
 
There are a couple of key differences between the mechanics for driving tanks, and driving trucks and scout cars. The first thing to note is that the engine turns on much faster in trucks and scout cars. 
 
The second thing is that you also cannot manually shift gears – all trucks and scout cars are “automatic” transmission (in quotes because technically in a truck, you see your character shift gears manually… but it happens automatically). You simply have to use W to drive forward and S to go in reverse. This can be a minor inconvenience at first if you’ve already built up your muscle memory. 
 
The final difference is that trucks and scout cars have 5 gears, and can gear up the fastest. This gives them an overall advantage over tanks in terms of top speed and acceleration. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
When driving, it is imperative that you communicate with the gunner at all times. You can traverse the hull much faster than the gunner can traverse the turret, meaning as driver, you are in charge of the quick, broad strokes while the gunner utilizes precision to put rounds on the target. In the same vein, understand that the pitch of the tank’s hull relative to the turret may be at an angle where the gunner cannot line up the target. In cases where the target is below the gun, but the gunner cannot pitch the main gun down further, this is known as insufficient gun depression. To fix this, try to back up the tank and get off any ridge that might be pitching your hull into the air, or roll backwards into a ridge that pitches the hull forwards and allows the gunner to aim down instead. 
 
 

The Gunner

 
As your tank’s gunner, your job may seem simple: shoot things. However, there is more nuance to that. It’s important to understand the different ammo types you have available, which ammo types you should use for different situations, the positioning of your turret relative to your tank, and where to aim when shooting to maximize your effectiveness. 
 
Like the driver’s seat, there are a few HUD elements when entering the tank that you should get a grips with. Since the driver section of this guide covered most of the HUD, the redundant elements are not covered here. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
1. Primary Weapon: This will tell you everything you need to know about your main gun. Your gun has 3 states: “EMPTY”, “LOADING”, and “READY”, which are fairly self-explanatory. The highlighted ammunition type will show what type of ammo is loaded in the breach, or the next ammo type that will be loaded when pressing R. 
2. Secondary Weapon: Much like the driver’s hull machine gun, your turret has a coaxial machine gun installed. The main difference is that the co-ax is fixed and will always fire in the direction your turret is aiming. 
 
Rather than aiming the turret with the mouse, you will need to traverse the turret using A and D, and pitch the gun up and down using W and S. You can fire your main gun with the left mouse button and fire the coaxial machine gun with the right mouse button. 
 
Select an ammunition type with 1, 2, or sometimes 3 for AP, HE, and Smoke, respectively. Note this does not apply to the Luchs. Once the desired ammunition type is highlighted, press R to load a shell. During the loading phase, you will see a progress bar going from left to right just below the gun’s name. Once it completes, your shell will be locked in the breach and ready to fire. Note that once your shell is loaded, it cannot be manually unloaded. This means that you have to fire a shell to clear the breach so that you can load a different ammo type. You must manually reload after every shot, and you can only change your ammo type when the breach is empty. 
 
The co-ax MG is useful for suppressing infantry between loading HE shells, or tagging out enemy vehicles and tanks, or simply mowing down infantry if your aim is good enough. Just keep an eye on your ammo and try to fire in short, controlled bursts to conserve it. 
 
When engaging enemy tanks, load AP. When engaging infantry, load HE. Your tank commander will usually try to predict what types of enemies you will encounter and advise you on what ammunition to load, but you should always be ready to dump your ammo and reload another ammunition type on the fly. 
 
An adage of tank engagements goes, “the first side to fire a shot usually wins”. This is very true in HLL – speed is essential, and in an equally matched fight, your odds are better if you are quick on the draw. You also must know the weak points of an enemy tank and understand how that plays into your tactics. Tanks have weak armor on the sides, even weaker armor on the rear, and the weakest armor is on the top and bottom of the tank. In most cases, American turret armor is stronger than the hull armor, and German turret armor is weaker than the hull armor. More details on this can be found in the “Friend, or Foe?” section below. 
 
Shooting an enemy tank and penetrating its hull, or hitting its tracks or main gun will cause several sparks to spray out over the course of a couple seconds. After this the sparks will dissipate and you will see fire and smoke coming from the place you hit. This means you have successfully penetrated the hull or otherwise caused system damage, depending on where you hit. On the contrary, if your shot deals no damage, it will bounce or shatter on the hull instead, and there will be a black scorch mark rather than fire and smoke. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
Getting the kill shot on an enemy tank will cause it to explode and erupt in a pillar of flames which is visible from behind cover from a long distance away. This is a universal sign that a vehicle just got knocked out, and show others on the map where the action is happening. This may also draw from you the unwanted attention of other tanks and pesky AT infantry. 
 
When up against infantry, always load HE. AP will only deal damage if it’s a near direct hit since the explosion radius is much smaller than that of HE. When aiming at infantry behind cover or in buildings with HE, try to shoot at nearby objects directly behind them so that the explosion hits them from the rear. If infantry are out in the open, aim for the ground directly at their feet, so that accuracy is less of a concern. Firing your hull MG and/or co-ax will suppress infantry and often make them go prone, pinning them down and making it easier to line up subsequent HE shots. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
 

The Spotter

 
Your role as a spotter is important in many ways. The task at hand is to stay vigilant of your surroundings and advise your driver and gunner on the best course of action to take in any given situation. You have a 360 degree view which can be utilized by scrolling with the mouse wheel and moving it to aim. Since the gunner can only see in a small field of view where he is aiming, and the driver can only see what is directly in front of the tank, it is often up to you to watch the sides and rear since your visibility vastly outclasses both the gunner and driver combined. Note that the viewing portion is essentially a periscope on the top of the commander hatch, and you are still safe inside the battened-down hatches of the tank while looking around. 
 
In addition to watching for potential hazards, you also must assess the battlefield situation at any given time, mark targets for your gunner and advise what ammunition type to use, assist with your gunner’s target acquisition, give concise movement instructions to the driver, and if you are the tank commander, communicate what you see to the commander and other squad leads. 
 
The spotter seat is the only place from inside the tank that you can tag targets using the middle mouse button. Tapping the middle mouse button will issue a temporary ping only visible to your squad, useful for pointing out targets for your gunner or indicating which way the driver should turn. Anyone in the spotter seat can do this, even if they are not a tank commander. However, the tank commander has a big advantage in the spotter seat. He can hold down the middle mouse button and select a tag from the context wheel for the whole team to see. This is most useful when tagging out potential enemy garrison locations, calling the position of tanks, and spotting infantry movement for the rest of the team. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
Overall, as spotter, you must have a thorough understanding of tanks, their strengths and weaknesses, the limitations of gunning and driving, and also know how to coordinate your squad to maximize your battlefield potential. 
 
 

Friend, or Foe? – Identifying Tanks

 
One of the most important aspects of tanking is being able to differentiate between them. It is critical to identify a tank for 3 reasons: 
 
1. Determine if it is one of yours or not, a.k.a. “Identify: Friend or Foe” (IFF). 
2. Know intuitively if a spotted tank is an immediate threat to you, and – if there are multiple enemy tanks – knowing what your target priority is. 
3. Know when to avoid conflict or disengage if you are outnumbered, out-armored, or outgunned. 
 
Here, I will show each armored vehicle that exists in the game, help show you how to identify with visual aide, and briefly go over the stats of each. Note that when calling out tanks to your team, you should ALWAYS tell them what kind of tank it is. For this, I recommend using the short version of the tank’s name which I will capture with quotations. 
 
When in doubt, you can always aim down sights at a tank if it has crew in it, and if the crew are friendly, the tank will have a popup showing a list of your teammates. 
 
It is worth noting that the Americans’ M1919 machine guns sport red/orange tracer rounds, while the Germans’ MG34 machine guns fire green tracer rounds. Watching the direction tracer rounds are flying in from and determining their color can help you quickly identify where a given tank is and whose side it’s on. 
 
Due to character limits, the American tanks and German tanks are split into their own sections below. The resulting descriptions are skimpy for a couple of the tanks as a result, but I may fix this in the future. 
 
 

American Tanks

 

M8 “Greyhound” Scout Car

 
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M8 “Greyhound” Scout Car” title=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual – American Tanks

 

M8 “Greyhound” Scout Car” alt=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual” title=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual” /> 
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The Greyhound is easily distinguished from the other American vehicles because it has a set of 6 wheels instead of tracks. Other defining characteristics are a rounded, cylindrical turret and an angular wedged front chassis with boxy sides and rear. 
Map Icon: Scout vehicle (oval with triangle in the middle) 
Turret Armament: M6 37mm main gun; coaxial M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Hull Armament: N/A 
Main Gun Ammunition: “AP” M74 x26; “HE” M63 x26 
Transmission: Automatic, 5 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~35 km/h 
Overview: The Greyhound is the Americans’ scout car. The armor is paper thin, making it only capable of holding up to small arms fire, and it is vulnerable even to well-placed HE rounds from vehicles such as the Luchs. The 37mm main gun is only effective against infantry and other light vehicles. These limiting factors mean the Greyhound’s use case is a scouting and support role. Like its German counterpart, the Puma, there are two passenger seats in this vehicle ideal for taxiing a friendly recon squad or the commander around the battlefield. The commander hatch also allows the user to take recon photos which mark enemy locations on the map for the whole team. 
 

M5 “Stuart” Light Tank

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - M5  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The Stuart can be distinguished by sloped, angular front armor with rounded plates over the front of the tracks, and a boxy, flat side and rear with tall, thin, exposed treads. The turret is angular in the front and boxy towards the rear with a curvature along the top from front to back, and the turret mantle is large and pronounced. 
Map Icon: Light tank (oval with one dot in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 37mm cannon main gun; coaxial M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: “AP” M74 x50; “HE” M63 x50 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~31 km/h 
Overview: The M5 Stuart is a light, fast tank that is best suited to hunting enemy light vehicles and supporting infantry. Its main gun is capable of destroying a Panther or even a Tiger from the rear with repeated shots, and can easily dispatch the Luchs or Puma without fearing their main armaments from the front. However, facing a Panther or Tiger head-on is asking for it as they can one-shot the Stuart through its frontal armor the minute their shot is lined up. The Stuart’s maneuverability and speed makes a quick getaway easy, and driving circles around enemy tanks is trivial, provided the driver doesn’t get stuck on the terrain. 
 

M4 “Sherman Medium” 75

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - M4  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The iconic M4 Sherman is perhaps the most easily recognizable American tank of WWII. It is characterized by sloped frontal hull armor with flat sides that tapers off towards the rear of the tank. The edges and corners of the hull are rounded off, and the tracks are completely exposed with only a modest plating covering the top front. The turret is a slanted cylinder with a protruding back section, about a 10 degree angle across the top, and the turret mantle is thick and rectangular. 
Map Icon: Medium tank (oval with 2 dots in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 75mm cannon main gun; coaxial M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: M79 “AP” x47; M42A1 “HE” x50 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~25 km/h 
Overview: The Sherman Medium lives up to the M4 line of tanks’ reputation of having weak hull armor but strong turret armor. While the Medium enjoys near complete protection from the enemy Puma and is impervious to the Luchs, it is quickly outmatched by the Panther’s 75mm gun and the Tiger’s 88mm gun, which make short work of the Medium even with shots to the frontal armor. The Medium makes up for this shortcoming with its respectable firepower, and it enjoys good maneuverability and speed for its size, making it easy to reposition on the enemy. A good crew can best utilize the Medium by supporting infantry and occasionally hunting enemy tanks, but it is left vulnerable when it lacks strength or security in numbers, and like most tanks is a sitting duck out in the open fields. 
 

M4 Sherman “Jumbo 75”

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - M4 Sherman  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The up-armored M4 Sherman Jumbo is a spitting image of its Sherman Medium counterpart. It boasts much thicker armor all around the tank, most notably the reinforced sloped frontal armor. This heavier armor gives the Sherman Jumbo its boxy appearance and sharp corners and edges. The only noticeable difference with the turret is a more robust turret mantle, but it retains its rectangular shape from the Sherman Medium. 
Map Icon: Heavy tank (oval with 3 dots in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 75mm M3 main gun; coaxial M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: M61 “AP” x25; M48 “HE” x60; M89 “Smoke” x6 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~20 km/h 
Overview: The Jumbo 75 is an interesting tank. What really sets the Jumbo 75 apart from all other tanks in the game is the unique M89 Smoke ammunition type. By loading a smoke shell and firing it, a vast cloud of white phosphorus is kicked up which obscures the vision of anything inside or behind it. This gives the Jumbo 75 an extreme tactical advantage when engaging enemy tanks, enabling the crew to nearly instantly render enemy tanks blind. The smoke shell is also very effective for smoking big, open fields to cover an infantry push, making it a fantastic complement to friendly infantry. However, all of this comes with the stipulation that the Jumbo 75 can only hold 6 smoke rounds at a time. Overall, the Jumbo 75 is perhaps the most well-rounded tank in the game, and can fill just about any role effectively. It can hold its own during direct engagements with even the Panther or Tiger, and a skilled crew can easily blind and outmaneuver them to put rounds in the vulnerable sides. The frontal armor can stand up to the Panther’s 75mm gun, and sometimes bounce shots from the Tiger’s 88mm. 
 

M4 Sherman “Jumbo 76”

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - M4 Sherman  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The M4 Sherman Jumbo 76 is nearly identical in looks to the Jumbo 75. The most reliable way to tell them apart aside from the greeble attached to the tank and the darker coloring is the much lengthier and bigger 76mm gun ending in a muzzle brake. 
Map Icon: Heavy tank (oval with 3 dots in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 76mm M1 main gun; coaxial M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull M1919 machine gun 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: M79 “AP”; M42A1 “HE” 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~20 km/h 
Overview: The Jumbo 76 is in many ways the Jumbo 75’s meaner, scarier big brother. Its main cannon is capable of penetrating the Tiger’s frontal armor and turret at any range, and can penetrate the Panther’s turret and side armor. This primarily makes the Jumbo 76 a tank hunter. 
 
 

German Tanks

 

Sd.Kfz. 234 “Puma”

 
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Sd.Kfz. 234 “Puma”” title=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual – German Tanks

 

Sd.Kfz. 234 “Puma”” alt=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual” title=”Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual” /> 
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The Puma stands out among the other German tanks by having 8 exposed wheels instead of tracks. The body overall is very angular. The front chassis is sloped and angled while the sides and rear are mostly flat and boxy. Above the wheels on each side is a large, flat chevron type shape. The turret is rounded off on the sides, but flat and angular on the front, top, and rear, while the turret mantle is a cone shape. Towards the rear of the vehicle are bright red fuel tanks and an antenna that resembles the skeleton of an umbrella turned inside-out. 
Map Icon: Scout vehicle (oval with triangle in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 5cm (50mm) KwK 39/1 main gun; coaxial MG34 200×5 
Hull Armament: N/A 
Main Gun Ammunition: PzGr 40 (AP) x26; Sprgr Patr 38 (HE) x26 
Transmission: Automatic, 5 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~35 km/h 
Overview: The Puma is the choice of scout car for the Germans. Like the American Greyhound, the armor is relatively weak and only holds up to small arms fire, and any anti-armor weapons will make short work of it. The Puma’s main gun is powerful enough to engage the Greyhound from the front, or the Stuart from the sides and rear, but the caliber is ill-suited to fighting larger tanks such as any of the Sherman variety. The spotter seat features a camera that can take recon photos to mark enemies on the map. The role of the Puma is therefore primarily to support infantry, scout, and taxi recon squads and the commander around the battlefield. 
 

Pz.Kpfw. II “Luchs”

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - Pz.Kpfw. II  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The Luchs is a very small, boxy tank. Its chassis and turret are made up almost entirely of sharp corners and edges, and there are few angles to speak of. The tracks are completely exposed on the sides and have a skirt across the top. The lower glacis plate is tall and pronounced and nearly perpendicular to the ground. The turret is vaguely wedge-shaped, converging towards the main gun on the front, and the turret mantle is a horizontal half-cylinder shape. Overall the tank has a low profile which can make it difficult to spot when behind cover, especially in urban areas where it can blend in with buildings. 
Map Icon: Light tank (oval with 1 dot in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 2cm (20mm) KwK 30 main gun (w/ auto loader); coaxial MG34 200×5 
Hull Armament: N/A 
Main Gun Ammunition: 2cm Sprgr 39 (HE) 20×8 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~31 km/h 
Overview: The Luchs is a unique tank that has some characteristics which set it apart from other vehicles. The biggest difference is the main gun: a 20mm auto loader with 20-round clips of HE ammunition, making the Luchs the only tank in the game with an auto loader. Even in an intense firefight with explosions of all varieties, the report of the Luchs’ main gun is an unmistakable “THONK-THONK-THONK-THONK” followed by the blasts of the projectiles exploding as they hit their target. This makes the tank very easy to pinpoint even if you are a few hundred meters away from it. What’s more is that the Luchs lacks a hull machine gun. It also does not carry AP ammunition, making it almost useless against anything except infantry and trucks. A skilled gunner, however, can damage or destroy a Greyhound by aiming at the turret ring. Aside from this there is one way the Luchs can effectively engage more heavily armored tanks like the Stuart or a Sherman, and that is concentrating fire on it. Although the HE rounds cannot penetrate, the shock of several explosions hitting the outside of the tank will knock the crew around inside, shaking their camera and giving them the suppression tunnel vision, making it difficult for them to aim or look around for a few seconds. This can buy the Luchs enough time to retreat, or distract its target long enough for a Panther or Tiger to line up the kill shot. The Luchs is very fast which makes for an easy time closing distance, flanking, or retreating. These properties combined create a tank which is largely ineffective against armor, but can decimate swaths of infantry by raining hell on them with the 20mm cannon. 
 

Pz.Kpfw. V “Panther”

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - Pz.Kpfw. V  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The Panther stands out among other tanks with flat, but sloped upper and lower glacis plates forming a 45 degree offset from the ground. This creates a sharp wedge shape in the front of the tank between the treads. The front and sides of the tank are sloped inward from the base to the top. The back of the tank is at an inverted 45 degree angle to the ground, which gives the hull a rhombus shape from the side. The turret is flat on the front but has a thick, rectangular, quarter-cylinder turret mantle covering it. The sides of the turret are flat but wrap around, curving to the rear. On the top of the turret is a pronounced commander hatch. 
Map Icon: Medium tank (oval with 2 dots in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 7,5cm (75mm) main cannon; coaxial MG34 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull MG34 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: PzGr 40 “AP” x41; Spgr 42 “HE” x41 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~26 km/h 
Overview: Although it’s easy to mistake the Panther’s status as a medium tank for its weakness, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Panther is the third fastest tank in the game behind the Stuart and Luchs, giving it a big advantage in closing ground with the enemy. Although the frontal armor is thin compared to that of the Tiger, its steep slope drastically increases the effective armor thickness, making it deceptively effective in causing 75mm shells and even the 76mm shells to bounce even in some situations where the Tiger would not. However, the Panther’s turret, side, and rear armor are easily penetrated by the Sherman family’s 75mm gun. Additionally, the Panther shares the Tiger’s weakness in that it can be dispatched by a mere 37mm Stuart gun from the rear. Still, the Panther’s 75mm main cannon makes short work of enemy tanks all the same, and its capability on the battlefield should not be underestimated. 
 

Pz.Kpfw. VI “Tiger” I

 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual - Pz.Kpfw. VI  
 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
Description: The iconic Panzer Kampfwagen Tiger I is easily recognizable by anyone familiar with WWII tanks. The front, sides, and rear of the chassis are shaped like a flat rectangular prism. The tracks are fully exposed on the sides, but an angled skirt extending from the Tiger’s side armor covers them on the top. The turret is a round cylinder shape with a boxy extension on the back, and the turret mantle is a thick, beveled rectangle shape. 
Map Icon: Heavy tank (oval with 3 dots in the middle) 
Turret Armament: 8,8 (88mm) KwK 36 L/56 main gun; coaxial MG34 200×5 
Hull Armament: Hull MG34 200×5 
Main Gun Ammunition: PzGr 40 “AP” x41; Spgr Patr L/4.5 “HE” x41 
Transmission: Manual, 4 gears + neutral/reverse 
Top Speed on Even Terrain: ~18 km/h 
Overview: The Tiger tank is the most infamous tank of WWII. It is built like a steel brick on treads, and boasts the most powerful gun in the game: the 88mm. The cost of its heavy armor and main gun is speed and maneuverability. Contrary to the mythos however, the Tiger is far from impervious. It is weak on the sides and rear, and a well-placed 76 shot perpendicular to the frontal armor will penetrate. 
 
 

Strategy & Tactics

 
Now that we know the basics of tanking, and can identify the tanks in the game, let’s apply this knowledge to our advantage. So far, we have answered the question of “what does a tank do?”, demonstrated Hell Let Loose’s basic mechanics for tanking, and shown stats for each of the armored vehicles that exist. 
 
One thing that all tanks have in common is that their frontal armor is the toughest. It makes sense if you think about it. Tanks are meant to engage the target head-on and potentially draw a lot of fire from the front. We also know that the side armor is still strong, but much weaker than the frontal armor, and we know that the rear armor is the weakest and most vulnerable spot on a tank. This is excluding the top armor of a tank and the bottom armor, both of which are weaker than the rear armor in most circumstances. 
 
However, there is one more aspect to armor we haven’t fully covered yet, which is slope and angling. If you were paying attention when reading over the description for the Sherman Jumbo and Panther tanks, you will have noticed that armor becomes more effective when it is at an angle. We measure this improvement with a term called “effective thickness” – even if the armor is only N millimeters thick, we can say for instance that by introducing a 45 degree slope rather than keeping it at 90 degrees, it has an effective thickness of N*2. Even though the armor is still only N millimeters thick, the shell hitting it will need twice the power to get through it, effectively doubling the armor. 
 
Effective thickness is interesting because there are 2 ways to apply it. One way is by designing your tank such that the armor is sloped, giving it an inherent effective thickness bonus. You see this in the design for the Sherman tanks, the Stuart, and the Panther, and to a lesser extent the Greyhound and Puma. 
 
The other way effective thickness can be applied is by angling your tank. Instead of facing the enemy head-on, approaching from a 10 to 15 degree angle such that your frontal armor is at a 15 degree angle, and your side armor is exposed but at a 165 degree angle, will cause enemy tank shells to bounce more easily. 
 
As the armor angle slowly moves from being perpendicular to the shot to being parallel, the effective thickness of the armor increases exponentially. The side armor of the Panther may be weak, but when trying to hit it at an angle of 165 degrees, it might have an effective thickness of >N*10. This would make it trivial to bounce shots while also adding to the angle of the Panther’s frontal sloped armor. This concept applies to just about all of the tanks in the game, and is precisely why shooting a Tiger through the frontal armor at a 90 degree angle with a 76mm gun will penetrate, but even at a slight 15 degree angle off it may bounce. 
 
Knowing this, we can use this to our advantage in a couple of ways. First and foremost, we can angle our armor slightly when engaging enemy tanks. This gives the aforementioned benefit of increased effective armor thickness. We can also watch for when when enemy tanks do this intentionally and predict based on the behavior that they are a skilled tank crew, and prioritize taking them out in a firefight since they are the higher threat. Finally, having the overall game sense that comes with the knowledge of effective thickness can help us intuit if engaging an enemy tank will be successful or not. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
The last bit to all of this is the weakest system of any tank: the tracks. A tank’s tracks are more often than not exposed, or the armor covering them is insufficient, allowing the tracks to be damaged. By taking out an enemy’s tracks, we can slow them to a crawl and prevent them from retreating or repositioning on us fast enough, allowing us enough time to line up our kill shot. 
 
By taking all of this knowledge that we’ve learned so far, we can be a more powerful tank on the field. Now there is only one thing left to cover before this guide can be concluded. 
 
 

Supporting Your Team

 
The final concept that I will introduce and instill upon you with this guide is the underlying imperative to tanking. When we asked ourselves “what does a tank do?”, the goal was to truly understand why tanks exist. 
 
In truth, it all comes down to the infantryman and his rifle. 
 
As a tank, you exist to complement, support, defend, and advance with friendly infantry. Rifle squads are the true workhorse in a war. This really cannot be overstated. Communication is key – as a tank commander, always be on command chat, asking the field commander or other SL’s where they need the most assistance. Be the tip of the spear when an enemy line needs to be broken. Prepare to put your tank and your crew on the line for the objective, if it means securing victory for your team. 
 
Your efforts as an infantry support tank will be rewarded. By surrounding yourself with infantry, it makes it much more difficult for AT’s to crawl up your flanks. They can also be an extension of your senses, seeing enemy tanks that you might have missed and running to you, depending on you to engage and neutralize the threat. This symbiotic relationship between man and machine is what tanking is all about in Hell Let Loose. 
Hell Let Loose - Tanking 101 - An Operator's Manual 
 
 

Advanced Tanking

 
As discussed in the introduction, this guide is targeted towards the basics and intermediaries of tanking. If you are looking for something much more methodical and exhaustive, there are individuals who have done extensive testing in many different scenarios of tank-on-tank combat as well as AT vs. tanks. This is outside the scope of this guide and I will instead recommend that you check out docs.google.com – https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vTRPcgmWKL4FP4cU8pPE4Z9yzcPFTjtpY7zCn56OAlNkzKA8DWcVM5IQJdSgeCdDKs8-vqbS8PSxDAz/pub#h.iivpel4dhpfw, and if you find it as helpful as I did, head over to https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2190592166 and rate it up. 
 
 

Conclusion & Afterword

 
If you’ve gotten this far, you should have a solid understanding of how tanks work in Hell Let Loose. Hopefully, in concept, this manual has deconstructed any erroneous preconceptions you might have had about tanks and rebuilt it within the context of the game, and in real life. Since Hell Let Loose attempts to model and emulate real life with acceptable breaks with reality for gaming purposes, much of our knowledge of tanks in the real world is still applicable here. 
 
This has been Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual. 
 
You are now weapons free. Go let loose some Hell. 
 
~ ~ ~ 
 
I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to read this guide. Personally – as you might have guessed – I am really fascinated with tanks. I have a background with World of Tanks, War Thunder, and Armored Warfare, and I have also played Battlefield 3 & 4 as well as Bad Company 2 back in the day. I also play Squad, but for the time being I have a lot more hours in HLL than I do in Squad despite owning it for a shorter amount of time. 
 
I had a lot of fun creating Tanking 101, and hope you had just as much fun reading it. What started as something I thought would just be a brief outline ended up expanding into something bigger and more in-depth, which is exactly what I wanted – I like being thorough. It’s a guide I wish I had when I was starting as a tanker, and my goal is to provide that to the newbies. Overall the guide took me just over 24 hours from start to finish. 
 
When Update 10 drops and the Eastern Front hits with the new Russian meta to shake things up, I will probably deprecate this guide and come back to rework it in stages. Throwing more tanks into the mix is always a welcome addition for people like me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Black Matter does next. 
 
If you truly enjoyed this guide, consider rating it up, and if you believe it might help someone, don’t hesitate to share it. If you disliked the guide or disagree with anything I said, I am always open to feedback and constructive criticism. Add your comment below and I will get to it when I can. 
 
Game On, 
– KoblerMan 
 
P.S. – If you ever see a player with the username “MrMikeX” in-game, please shoot him in the head. Thanks! 
 

By KoblerMan

This is all that we can say about Hell Let Loose – Tanking 101 – An Operator’s Manual for now. I hope this post helped you. If there is anything that we should add, please let us know via comment below. See you soon!
 
 


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