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AWACS Tank Guides: Ferdinand

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EdAWACSdenyY #1 Posted 12 July 2015 - 07:11 AM

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AWACS Tank Guides

Ferdinand: The Mighty Ferdy

 

Hello everyone! EdAWACSdenyY here! and today I'm going to be talking to you about the Ferdinand. This is the Tier 8 German Tank destroyer and one of the most versatile and well rounded Tier 8 Tank Destroyer there is! 

 

 

Background History: 

 

During the German Invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans were shocked to discover that the Russians had armoured fighting vehicles much better than the latest Panzers. The Soviet T-34 medium tank had better armour, more fire-power and was heavier than anything the Germans could field on the Eastern front during the early years of Operation Barborossa. Likewise, the Soviet KV-1 heavy tanks was virtually immune to all conventional German anti-tank weaponry except the German 88 mm Flak guns. Even though superior tactics allowed the Germans early on to advance vast distances into the Russian heartland, the idea of their enemies having superior weapons to their own did not sit well with them.

 

The counter the threat posed by Soviet KV-1 and T-34 tanks, German engineers turned to what was already a fearsome weapon in the German arsenal: The 88 mm flak gun.

 

This gun, originally designed as an anti-aircraft gun, was modified by the Germans into a towed anti-tank gun. The Germans had realised early on during the Invasion of France, that if they pointed the barrel down and fired the gun at a horizontal trajectory, they could effectively knock out any Allied tank at well over 2000 metres. However the gun itself, was a 30 tonne monster and required a large truck to transport anywhere on the battlefield and was itself highly vulnerable to enemy fire.

 

 

So the Germans decided to mount this gun on a tank, their first ever heavy tank; the Panzerkampwagen 6, better known to you and me as the Tiger. By putting the most feared gun of the Second World War onto a tank, the German's believed they could achieve armoured superiority. The Tiger programme was thus started and 2 German engineering giants, Porsche and Henschel were ordered to submit designs for the tanks before June 1942. The 2 engineering firms approaches to the design of the Tiger 1 were very different. 

 

The Henschel design was conventional, they had a transmission gearbox in the front of the tank with a gasoline power-plant located in the rear. The engine powered the tank's frontal sprockets providing mobility. The frontal armour was 100 mm thick and the Krupp-designed turret was located in the middle of the hull. They also employed the so-called Schachtellaufwerk overlapping and interleaved arrangement, similar to that pioneered on German half-tracked military vehicles of the pre-World War II era, with the Tiger I being the first all-tracked German AFV built in quantity to use such a road wheel arrangement. 

 

The Porsche design was much more unorthodox. Porsche opted to power his Tiger design with his novel diesel electric drive. The diesel engine of the Porsche Tiger was located in the middle of the tank's hull allowing for the turret to be placed at the front of the tank. This diesel engine powered 2 electric motors at the rear of the tank which drive the rear sprockets providing mobility. The frontal hull armour was 200 mm thick. The wheels were in a "slack track" design with no interweaving road wheels. Porsche's design did away with gears which were heavy and took up valuable space. Porsche was so confident that his design would gain Hitler's approval that he had 100 chassis built ahead of time.

 

On Hitler's 53rd Birthday, the 2 Tiger prototypes were presented. The Henschel Tiger performed every test with flying colours. The Porsche Tiger on the other hand, suffered repeated engine fires due to it's over complicated engine design. Hitler who was a big fan of Porsche, was probably not pleased at all that day. So it was pretty clear at that point that the Henschel Tiger would be chosen for production and that Henschel would get the massive contract.

 

Since the Porsche Tiger design was no longer needed for the Tiger programme, the decision was made to convert 91 of the Tiger P chassis into a new German Schwerer Panzerjäger ( literally Heavy Tank Hunter). This was done by mounting a gun at the rear of the tank in a simple casemate-style box structure with slightly angled sides. 

 

 

An additional 100 mm of frontal armour was bolted onto the front of the casemate which was already 100 mm thick, giving the front of the upper casemate 200 mm of frontal armour and added on an additional 5 tonnes of weight. The 2 Porsche diesel engines were removed, and replaced by 2 Maybach HL 120 TRM petrol engines which drove electric motors powering the rear wheels.

 

The main armament of the the new tank destroyer, named Ferdinand (after the designer of its chassis, Ferdinand Porsche) was the Pak 43/2 88 mm L/71 cannon which had a barrel length of 71 calibres. Compared to the L/56 88 mm guns mounted on the Tiger 1, the Ferdinand's L/71 88 mm gun had a longer barrel, giving it a higher muzzle velocity. The L/71 gun itself also fire a longer cartridge giving it superior armour penetration at long range. The mounting of the gun allowed for 25° traverse and a similarly limited elevation and depression.

 

The Ferdinand carried a crew of 6: a driver and radio operator which sat in the front of the hull; the gunner, commander and 2 loaders situated inside the fixed casemate.

 

Overall, the Ferdinand was an unwieldy and unreliable war machine. The engines consumed large amounts of fuel which limited this tank destroyer's operational range, and were prone to numerous mechanical failures. The vehicle itself was worryingly high maintenance with the wheel sprockets having to be changed every 500 metres. 

 

The Ferdinands first saw action during the Battle of Kursk, where 89 of these vehicles were committed. The Ferdinands excelled at destroying Soviet T-34 tanks well behind the front lines thanks to its high-velocity 88 mm L/71 cannon. However as these tank destroyers advanced through the first of the numerous defensive lines created by the Russians, it's numerous flaws immediately were exposed. 

 

Firstly, the tank had no peripheral periscopes to look from from side to side. Which meant that a Ferdinand was pretty much blind from the sides and the rear. Secondly, it had no turret, only a fixed casemate with a limited traverse gun so anything outside of its 25 degree gun arc was safe. Lastly, the Ferdinand lacked any sort of machine gun or secondary armament to speak of for anti-personnel application. This meant that the Ferdinand was highly vulnerable to Soviet infantry units wielding grenades and Molotov cocktails. 

 

 

But by far the biggest threat to the Ferdinands deployed at Kursk were the scourge of all tank drivers: anti-tank mines. Anti-tank mines could easily blow off a Ferdinand's track or damage the suspension. Many of the Ferdinands were lost due to being immobilized by damaged tracks and suspension making the vehicle useless. Those tank destroyers which did not hit mines broke down due to their own over-complex engineering. Recovery of these vehicles were extremely difficult. It required 3 standard German Armoured recovery vehicles (ARV) to pull a Tiger 1 to safety. The Ferdinand required 5 ARVs to drag it's heavy weight. As the tide turned against the Nazis, even Ferdinands with minor track damage had to be abandoned and destroyed by their crews. 

 

The Ferdinand may have been the most successful tank destroyer employed during the war in kills per loss, reaching an average ratio of approximately 10:1. During the Battle of Kursk the 653rd Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion claimed to have knocked out 320 enemy tanks, for the loss of 13 Ferdinands. This impressive average ratio was due to its extreme firepower and protection, which gave it an enormous advantage when used in head-on combat or a static defensive role. However, poor mobility and mechanical unreliability greatly diminished its operational capability.

 

The Surviving Ferdinands were withdrawn from the front lines by September 1943 and were further modified with a machine gun, commanders cupola, and applied with Zimmermitt anti-magnetic coating before being redesignated as Elefant (Elephant) The Elefants were redeployed on the Italian front to try to stave off the American and British forces landed there. However mechanical failures claimed most of these tank destroyers and many were lost of captured. 

 

Today only 2 Ferdinands survive in the entire world, one of them captured by the Soviets which can be seen today at the  huge Kubinka Tank Museum outside Moscow.

 

 

The other can be found at  the United States Army Ordnance Museum's collection at Fort Lee, VA

 

 

 Now that we have brushed up a bit on the history of this tank, Let's go over it's stats:

 

Hitpoints: 1200

 

Speed Limit: 30 km per hour

 

Hull Traverse Speed: 21 degrees per second

 

Hull armour:

 

Front: 200 mm

 

Sides: 80 mm

 

Rear: 80 mm

 

Top gun: 128 mm Pak 44 L/55

 

Standard Shell Penetration: 

 

AP: 246 mm

APCR: 311 mm

HE: 65 mm

 

 Average Damage: 

 

AP: 460

APCR: 460

HE: 600

 

 Rounds per minute: 5.39 

 

Accuracy: 0.35 (at 100 m) 

 

Aim time: 2.5 seconds 

 

Top Engine: Porsche Deutz Type 180/2 

 

Horsepower: 840

 

Now that we have glanced over the general stats of this tank, Let us review its advantages and disadvantages on the battlefield in great detail:

 

Advantages: 

 

The GunThe Ferdinand like all other Tier 8 tank destroyers (except the AT-15 which hasn't been released yet) wields a Tier 10 gun. The Tier 10 gun which the Ferdinand wields is the 128 mm Pak 44 L/55. Compared to the Soviet ISU-152's BL-10 or the T28's 120 mm, the German 128 mm  Pak 44 L/55 lags behind in terms of penetration with only 246 mm of penetration with it's regular armour-piercing shell.

 

It's rate of fire is higher than that of the BL-10 152 mm gun, but is outmatched in DPM by the T28's 120 mm. However, the 246 mm of average penetration with AP is more than enough to pierce through Tier 8 armour with ease and allows you to remain a threat even in Tier 9 and 10. Against, hard to penetrate targets, the Ferdinand carries APCR shells which have a decent armour penetration value of 311 mm; the second highest premium penetration of it's tier.

 

 While the gun does not have the terrifying alpha damage of the BL-10, it deals a very healthy 460 average damage, enough for most tanks to feel the hurt and back away from your barrel. To compensate for the rather low penetration, your gun is very accurate, which allows you to consistently hit the enemy's weak spots even at long range. The dispersion on this gun is also among the best and really demonstrates the vaulted "German accuracy" up close or far away. No enemy is safe out in the open under your murderous fire.

 

Overall, the Ferdinand has the best all round gun, with very good penetration, excellent accuracy, and very good alpha damage for it's tier. 

 

Mobility: The Ferdinand with its top engine is fairly mobile despite all that heavy armour strapped on it. It can on flat ground go to a top speed of around 28 km per hour and can easily achieve it's top speed of 30 km per hour going down hill. This is not a slow machine like the T28 or T28 prototype. This machine is fairly mobile.

 

Bouncy Armour: The Ferdinand has the best armour, all around currently until the British AT-15 comes out. The Germans wanted the Ferdinand impervious to frontal fire so they gave it a whooping 200 mm of frontal armour from the hull to the casemate. The frontal upper casemate armour, is angled at an 18 degree angle giving it and effective armour thickness of 207 mm. The gun on the casemate is protected by a thick gun mantlet which has an effective armour thickness in some areas of 447 mm. The hull armour is a big more tricky. The middle portion of the frontal hull is completely flat which is only 200 mm thick but the armour plate under the middle plate is angled allowing for it to be 219 mm of effective armour. This armour while on paper seems no match for heavy tank guns of its tier, can be surprisingly bouncy and tricky to penetrate due to the arrangement of the armour. By wiggling back and forth, you can make yourself even more difficult to penetrate by denying the enemy time to aim for your weakspots.

 

 

The side and rear armour isn't bad either, being 80 mm of slightly angled armour. This means that when you are angling your tank, you won't have to worry about your side armour being over matched and this also allows you to deflect hits from some low tier guns as well. 

 

 

Gun arc and elevation: The gun arc on the Ferdinand is without a doubt, currently the best out of all the Tier 8 Tank Destroyers with a gun arc of 15 degrees left and right. This allows means the Ferdinand doesn't need to traverse it's hull as much to point it's gun at a target, disrupting the aim circle and decreasing accuracy. The gun depression of 8 degrees is also excellent, allow this tank destroyer to make use of ridge-lines and other hulldown positions. This flexible gun arc, is what makes the Ferdinand very good at dealing with moving targets compared to some other tank destroyers with more limited gun arcs.

 

Decent Health Pool: The Ferdinand has a decent 1200 hitpoints. This allows it to take a hit or 2 and still keep ticking. 

 

Disadvantages:

 

Sluggishly slow when stock: This tank when stock is very slow in both traverse and mobility. It's so slow that other tank destroyers can circle around and get at its flanks. This can make this tank frustrating to play. You best research the 105 mm gun on the JagdPanther to shorten your stock grind by a good deal. But while your still grinding, stay back and give support fire until you get that top gun and top engine.

 

Practically no slope: The armour on the Ferdinand is very flat, giving the tank destroyer a boxy shape. This means that guns with over 200 plus mm of penetration will have no problem cutting through that vertical armour. This is why angling is crucial to survival. Never just point your tank directly at the enemy. 

 

Large silhouette: The Ferdinand is a fairly big tank destroyer with a tall upper casemate. Compared to the lower profile ISU-152 and T28, this means that your camo value is very poor and most tanks will detect you very quickly. This means its harder for you to hide from enemy attention. The large size also makes you an extremely easy target to hit, especially from the sides.  

 

Sluggish hull traverse: The hull traverse of the Ferdinand is mediocre at only 21 degrees per second. This means that the Ferdinand is easily flanked and all it takes is for one medium tank to get around you to spell your doom. 

 

 Now that we know what's good and bad about this tank, Let's move on shall we to performance and how to effectively operate this tank in battle.

 

Summary: The Ferdinand was my first Tier 8 Tank destroyer. I unlocked it not from the Jadgpanther, but the Tiger P. I must say that when it was stock, I absolutely hated it. But once fully upgraded, I went on a rampage with this tank. This tank is all round, a very versatile tank destroyer. It combines good alpha damage, good all around armour, and decent mobility all into one tank. The best thing about this tank is the accuracy of the gun. This makes you a threat both at long and close range.

 

While you may not be able to do massive amounts of damage in one shot, you will do enough damage with the Ferdinand's top gun to really put a dent in your opponent's hitpoints and most importantly, you will be able to consistently deal that 400 plus damage and not be trolled like you would be in the temperamental BL-10 or be short of alpha damage on the T28. The rate of fire is second best and it's good enough for the Ferdinand. 

 

So unlike the T28 which is heavily armoured only on the front or the ISU-152 which has almost no armour, the Ferdinand is all round well armoured and devastating from afar or at close range. This is not a tank to be underestimated that's for sure. 

 

Now without further ado, here are a few strategies you can use.

 

Angling: This is by far the most important tactic, you should use whenever you are playing the Ferdinand as it has strong all around armour which allows you to effectively angle. Abuse that amazing 30 degree gun arc you have. Never face an enemy head on, it's idiotic and makes you an easy target to penetrate. Angle that armour at a certain degree which allows you to still fire your gun. This will increase the relative armour thickness of tank and make it's bouncy armour even more tricky to penetrate. To insure you the reader gets the picture of the ideal armour angle, I have some images for you to view of how you should usually angle the tank even when firing. as an image is worth a thousand words and will demonstrate more effectively to you how to angle properly than me listing a much of degrees you have to turn the tank. This penetration model is based on the armour penetration values of the IS-3's BL-9 122 mm gun with an average armour penetration of 225 mm.

 

This is what you don't want to do with your Ferdinand: facing the enemy head on. 

 

This is the ideal angle at which you should position your Ferdinand when firing to increase your effective armour thickness.

 

For those who got dazzled by the colours, here's the model version of the same tank angled.

 

Here's an aerial view of how you should angle when firing.

 

 Here's an aerial view of how you should angle when firing.

 

When your backing away after firing, you can angle your armour a bit further to further increase your relative armour thickness just in case your enemies decide to hound you as you reload.

 

Wiggling: If you are faced with a head on confrontation with an enemy tank with little hope of escape, wiggle the tank back and forth back and forth constantly until they fire. The wiggling action will make it difficult for the enemies to properly aim for your weakspots and constantly change the angles of your armour. With a bit of luck, the enemy's shell will bounce or hit a track dealing no damage and allow you to retaliate.

 

Always have backup and hang back: Never rush out in a tank destroyer! Most enemies dread taking fire from tank destroyers as they know the devastation these vehicles can inflict. Sure your armour is good, but it isn't impervious to harm. As soon as your spotted by the enemy, you become the priority target for most of the enemy tanks and before you know it your tank is a smouldering wreck. Best let the other tanks on your team spot the enemy first and absorb the damage for you as you have limited hit points to spare. Let the heavy tanks and mediums spot the enemy for you so you can send a heavy reply back to the enemy. Always travel with others so they can watch your back, give you covering fire, and divert the enemies attention from being all focused on YOU. A dead Ferdinand is a useless Ferdinand for your team. Even when you do have to lead the charge, have back up is crucial not just to survival of your tank, but to potential victory. 

 

Hulldown: Whenever you can, try to use the terrain to conceal most of your tank. In ideal conditions, your enemy should only see the upper frontal casemate of your tank (angled). Use that 8 degrees of gun depression to feather shots over ridges and other concealment at the enemy. The gun is accuracte enough to hit turret hatches and cupolas of some tanks. Abuse terrain whenever you can.

 

Peek a BOOM: This tactic you should employ against enemies with high penetration guns who can easily tear through your armour. Wait for an opening while hiding behind cover. Than roll out from cover and fire before retreating back into cover. Hopefully the enemy won't be paying attention to you.

 

Sniping: Another tactic you should employ when possible. Find a suitable vantage spot usually a place you can retreat into cover, and with avenues of fire which you can fire on should any tank stray through and fire on enemies who get detected by your team-mates from medium to long range. This strategy has the benefit of potentially allowing you to deal damage to the enemy without them noticing your location easily and putting you generally out of harms way. The disadvantage of this strategy is that at such long range, your shots have a higher probability of missing their mark, and aiming for weakspots becomes more difficult.

 

What do do according to your tier placement: 

 

If your top tier than you should play either as a sniper, or an assault tank. Get stuck into the fight but keep your distance. Yes I know that sounded confusing. You should let your team engage the enemy first than follow after them, using your armour angling skills to hopefully deflect enemy fire. Than aim carefully and send that heavy 128 mm reply back at the enemy. Be bold and engage enemies at close to medium range using your rate of fire and relatively high alpha to hopefully shock them into backing off and panic. Beware when facing other tank destroyers of your tier though, as they can pierce your armour consistently and some deal a lot of damage. (I'm looking at you ISU) Otherwise be a cautious leader as you lead the charge on the enemy. Wiggle, Angle, Fire. Those are 3 simple tactics to use or 2 if you don't count the angling.

 

If you are lower tier: DO NOT CHARGE FORWARD. You will be mercilessly ripped apart by Tier 9 and Tier 10 tanks. At these tiers, your armour is not worth much. Best hang back behind your higher tier team mates and wait for openings and gaps in the enemy lines. Aim more carefully for enemy weakspots before firing. Try to avoid being the centre of attention for the enemy and hammer away at enemies who enter your firing range.In the late game where hopefully most of the higher tier tanks have killed each other off, you can go back to playing the assault tank and finish off weakened tanks and clean up with your team. 

 

AWACS Equipment: 

 

Large Calibre Gun Rammer: The rammer is a must have piece of equipment for this tank, boosting your rate of fire which is already quite high for a heavy tank at Tier 9 to be even higher.

 

Gun-Laying Drive: This will allow your gun to be more accurate with the shots by decreasing your already good aim time.

 

Crew Ventilation: To give 5% boost to all your crew skills. I use it but really it's up to you with the Vents.

 

Coated Optics: If you wish to increase your already good view range and spot enemies sooner, you can equip coated optics to extend your view range. But given your decent view range this shouldn't be needed

 

Binoculars: If you prefer a sniping style of game play, and prefer to find a spot to fire on the enemy without having to relocate a lot, than equip binoculars to give you that greater boost in view range when stationary. However if you prefer to move around a lot and play this tank as an assault gun sometimes, than don't equip this.

 

 I hope you guys found this guide helpful, and hopefully allowed those of you who struggled with this tank to now find it somewhat bearable at the very least. If you feel that there were any parts to this guide which were inadequately explained, or there were some areas I left out. Please let me know and I will try my best to rectify. 

 

Thanks for reading AWACS Tank Guides and I will see you on the battlefield.

 

 

IF YOU LIKED THIS TANK GUIDE PLEASE LEAVE AN UPVOTE! IT REALLY HELPS THE WRITER

 

THANKS!


Edited by EdAWACSdenyY, 12 July 2015 - 06:10 PM.

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Ksftwe #2 Posted 12 July 2015 - 07:25 AM

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Yas this is what a real guide should look like. Refreshing read; I'm getting the Ferdinand tomorrow, and I hope I still remember the TD skills from my old Object days. +1

 

[SCAMO] > [PRAMO]


EdAWACSdenyY #3 Posted 12 July 2015 - 07:33 AM

    Resident Nice Guy of the Forums

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Sorry for the long delay in writing my guides. So to make it up to you guys and gals, I went all out. This is probably currently my longest guide of them all. Be sure to expect more guides these coming days!

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WolfPredator #4 Posted 12 July 2015 - 11:51 AM

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How many weeks needed to create this guide?

+1 of course


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Praeceladon #5 Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:04 PM

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Sounds like the Ferdinand belongs in tier 5 with t-34s to accurately depict the greatness of German engineering.

Seems like we need some new high end German tanks to fill the high tiers so we can move this down where it belongs.



Shield380 #6 Posted 12 July 2015 - 12:43 PM

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Good grief, you have done it again! These are always amazing. Thank you for your contribution through your guides! Huge +1 and o7.

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Asiaticus #7 Posted 12 July 2015 - 02:06 PM

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Excellent guide. Thanks and +1. 

 

A couple of nitpicky point of grammar:

 

  • You are = you're, not your.
  • There are no degrees of uniqueness. Unique means "one of a kind." Just as it makes no sense to say that something is very one of a kind, there is no way for something to be very unique. It is either unique or not unique. 

 



EdAWACSdenyY #8 Posted 13 July 2015 - 07:28 AM

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View PostAsiaticus, on 12 July 2015 - 07:06 AM, said:

Excellent guide. Thanks and +1. 

 

A couple of nitpicky point of grammar:

 

  • You are = you're, not your.
  • There are no degrees of uniqueness. Unique means "one of a kind." Just as it makes no sense to say that something is very one of a kind, there is no way for something to be very unique. It is either unique or not unique. 

 

 

thanks for your help!

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devildog512 #9 Posted 19 August 2015 - 07:28 PM

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THIS is how write ups should look. Excellent info,  illustrations, and a great glimpse into the history of the tank. From top to bottom a superb contribution to the community. Thank you sir,  for taking the time to write this up for us.  Up voted.

Minecraftexpert_25 #10 Posted 19 August 2015 - 08:55 PM

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And this is why people never read my guides. They're too busy reading yours.


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EdAWACSdenyY #11 Posted 19 August 2015 - 09:56 PM

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View Postdevildog512, on 19 August 2015 - 12:28 PM, said:

THIS is how write ups should look. Excellent info,  illustrations, and a great glimpse into the history of the tank. From top to bottom a superb contribution to the community. Thank you sir,  for taking the time to write this up for us.  Up voted.

Thanks you

 

View PostMinecraftexpert_25, on 19 August 2015 - 01:55 PM, said:

And this is why people never read my guides. They're too busy reading yours.

 

Lol


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Herodotus4 #12 Posted 19 August 2015 - 11:39 PM

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4,172 words this "guide" is a quarter of the length of a novel

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Captain_Dread #13 Posted 20 August 2015 - 10:45 PM

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Great guide, +1.

 

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."  Mark Twain

 

 


XXX_Corps #14 Posted 26 August 2015 - 11:36 AM

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View PostAsiaticus, on 12 July 2015 - 02:06 PM, said:

Excellent guide. Thanks and +1. 

 

A couple of nitpicky point of grammar:

 

  • You are = you're, not your.
  • There are no degrees of uniqueness. Unique means "one of a kind." Just as it makes no sense to say that something is very one of a kind, there is no way for something to be very unique. It is either unique or not unique. 

 

@#%&+!@ please. This is a video game review, not a lesson in English literature.  



P450 #15 Posted 27 October 2015 - 02:49 AM

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Great work appreciate your effort! Good detail and constructive substance 10/10 ;)

popisdead #16 Posted 24 November 2015 - 09:08 PM

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These reviews are good.  
I love kemping bush





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