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AWACS Tank Guides: Tortoise

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EdAWACSdenyY #1 Posted 12 December 2015 - 01:09 AM

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AWACS Tank Guides

Tortoise: The new (snapping) Doom Turtle?


Hello everyone! EdAWACSdenyY here! and today I'm going to be talking to you about the Tortoise! This is the Tier 9 British tank destroyer and a real DPM monster which despite it's benign name, is more like a vicious snapping turtle than a sluggish sleepy tortoise. Let's get this tank under the scope shall we laddies?



Background History: 


The British as early as 1943, one year before the D-Day invasions firmly turned the tide of war against the Germans; predicted fierce resistance from their Teutonic foes in the bitter struggle for Continental Europe that was sure to come. The Germans had proven to the Allies numerous times that it was capable of striking with deadly force even with minuscule forces. While heavily outnumbered and deprived of air superiority, Germany had tanks which were superior to any American or British armored vehicles. To make matters more difficult, the Germans would be fighting closer to their homeland and therefore would be able to take advantage of many heavily fortified areas such as the Siegfried Line.


To tackle the objective of breaching heavily defended German lines, the British began work on assault tanks, heavily armored vehicles which traded mobility for heavy armor protection in order to breach heavily fortified lines. The British already had several of these "assault tanks" in the works but they were all unsatisfactory due to the British (which didn't learn their lesson) reusing existing chassis and weapons from their inventory of cruiser and infantry tanks.


One such attempt was the A33 Excelsior, a tank designed to replace the Churchill tanks. It had 114 mm of vertical armor plating and the second variant of the prototype was armed with the 75 mm HV gun (essentially a 6 pounder gun with the barrel bored out to fire US 75 mm ammunition). The tank, base on the the Cromwell cruiser tank chassis, was intended to be a replacement for the old Churchill infantry tanks. However once the Churchill tanks were upgraded, the Excelsior project was canceled.


A33 Excelsior equipped with 75 mm HV gun. seen in Bovington Tank Museum.


Another proposed assault tank was the A38 Valiant. This was an assault tank designed to operate in the Far East. The Valiant was based on the chassis of the long-obsolete Valentine infantry tank, compromising the project from the start. The A38 Valiant was specified to have the same 114 mm of armor plating as the Excelsior frontally while weighing in at only 27 tonnes. This was achieved, but only by making unsatisfactory compromises elsewhere. Thankfully the war no longer needed a tank like the Valiant and the project was cancelled. The A38 Valiant was the worst tank ever built by the British and the tank design was so awful that they kept the prototype so students at the School of Tank Technology can find out how what was wrong with this tank. This tank is so bad that even Wargaming probably won't bring this tank into the game as no one would possibly want to buy it I would hope.


A38 Valiant in Bovington Tank Museum. The WORST TANK EVER BUILT BY THE BRITISH!


However for once it seemed, the British finally learned their lesson and started out with a completely new sheet of paper In April 1943, The Secretary of State for War and the Minister of Supply issued a Joint Memorandum with vague specifications for a brand new assault tank that was to operate in heavily fortified areas. This tank would be under the control of Britain's 79th armored division (the same division under Percy Hobart; creator of Hobart's funnies).


The Nuffield Organization (designers of the Crusader cruiser tank), the personal enterprise of William Morris aka the 1st Viscount of Nuffield aka Lord Nuffield rose to the occasion with their proposal of the AT assault tank series. Nuffield submitted proposals for over 18 different versions of their assault tank concept ranging from the AT-1 all the way to the AT-18, each one better armored, better armed, and heavier than the last.


To see what most of the AT series of tanks would have looked like, consult this link below:




The progression of the designs was rapid. The AT-2 designed in May 13, 1943, was a 41 tonne casemate tank destroyer armed only with a 94 mm (3.7 inch) howitzer. Following the AT-2  in May 31 of the same year was the 43 tonne AT-6 equipped with an auto-loading 6 pounder (57 mm) gun, 20 mm cannon, and provisions for a flame-thrower. But the designers at Nuffield didn't stop there when they proposed the 45 tonne AT-10 on June 26 1943, which mounted the same 6 pounder gun without an auto-loader in a sponson (allowing for a wider gun traverse arc), as well as several machine turrets.


AT-10 tank blueprint.


Design of Nuffield's AT series of assault tanks would logically, only get bigger and heavier. Within the same month of designing the AT-10, they had also designed the 63 tonne AT-13 armed with a 17 pounder (77 mm) gun. In December of 1943, the British tank board inspected the 65 tonne AT-15A armed with the same 17 pounder gun that equipped the AT-13 and concluded that mounting such a small caliber gun on such a large vehicle was a waste and the design should be modified to mount the newly developed British 32 pounder (94 mm) gun.


The 32 pounder gun shared parallels in origin with the 88 mm guns the Germans mounted on their Tigers. Both guns were adapted from anti-aircraft guns, in the British case, the Vickers QF 3.7-inch (94 mm) anti-aircraft gun. The British modified their anti-aircraft gun to fire a 32 pound projectile which tests proved to have superior ballistic performance. The Nuffield organization, agreed to mount the 32 pounder and after much persistence, created design AT-16 with the aforementioned modifications.


Blue print of the AT-16.


The AT-16 design was approved by the British Tank Board which ordered that the vehicles were to be produced directly from the wooden mock-up without the usual creation of a prototype for testing. Work began on manufacturing the vehicles after War Office placed an order for 25 vehicles to be built. These 25 assault tanks were expected to be operational and ready for combat by September 1945 under the designation "A39 Tortoise".


The A39 Tortoise


The A39 Tortoise was the heaviest tank ever built by the British weighing in at over 78 tonnes. It was approximately 4 meters wide and 3 meters tall. The tracks on this heavy assault tank were almost a meter wide to support its weight. The Tortoise was aptly named since it was heavily armored and very slow indeed. The armor on the tank was quite heavy compared to contemporary British tanks of that period. The front of the tank had armor thickness ranging from 178 mm to a whopping 228 mm; this would have made the Tortoise virtually immune to the 88 mm guns mounted by German Tiger and Tiger 2 tanks with the sole threat being the Jadgtiger with its 128 mm gun. The side and rear armor were also quite thick being 152 mm and 101 mm respectively.


The Tortoise was powered by a Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 petrol engine (the same engine which powered the British Cromwell and Comet cruiser tanks), developed from the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin engine (that powered the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane) but fitted with speed governors to control the rev limits. The Meteor engine generated over 600 horsepower, but could only propel the heavy Tortoise to a maximum speed of around 20 km per hour on a road, and 6 km per hour off road. The suspension consisted of four bogies on each side each of the hull. Each bogie had two pairs of wheels, with each pair linked to torsion bar suspension.


Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 petrol engine


The Tortoise was divided into 3 separate compartments: transmission, crew, and engine. The Merritt-Brown transmission was mounted frontally with the crew of 7 in the middle and the engine located at the rear of the tank. The crew consisted of the commander, gunner, driver, 2 loaders for the main armament, and 2 machine gunners.


The Tortoise was armed with the Ordnance QF 32 pounder gun developed from the Vickers 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun. It fired 2 piece ammunition [with a separate charge and projectile; the latter weighing in at 32 pounds (14.5 kg) ] which was what necessitated a second loader in the crew. The projectile proved during firing tests capable of penetrating a German Panther Tank at 1000 yards (91.44 meters).


Sadly as was the fate which befell most (if not all) super-heavy tanks as the war in Europe ended, the Tortoise never got to see any combat even post war. What was worse for the Nuffield Organization was that their contract order was scaled back from 25 to only 6 vehicles. One of the Tortoise tanks was sent to Germany for field tests after the war had ended and the machine proved to be mechanically reliable and an accurate and stable gun platform. However the vehicle's large dimensions and 80 tonnes weight made it incredibly difficult to transport to where it was needed and it was very clumsy and slow, making it unsuitable to the rapid mobile tank warfare required in 20th century conflicts to come.



Today only 3 of the original 6 Tortoise heavy assault tanks exist in the world. One of them is in the ownership of the British Bovington Tank Museum. In 2011 that Tortoise was overhauled by the museum staff and restored to working order. It is currently the only fully operational A39 Tortoise in the entire world. The working Tortoise was first shown to the general public during Bovington Museum's Tankfest 2011 on June 2011.


Another Tortoise was used as a target on Lulworth Ranges, Dorset in the early 1970s. By August 1974 it was little more than a shell.


The 3rd Tortoise lies on the Kirkcudbright military training area near Kirkcudbright, Scotland.[3] Other damage to the tank and the designation of the Kirkcudbright training area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest mean that removal of the Tortoise to a museum is now unlikely.


The Tortoise marked the end to the British doctrine of having 2 classes of armored vehicles, infantry (heavily armored and slow) and cruiser tanks (weakly armored and agile). With the Allies breaching the Siegfried Line by early 1945, the singular purpose of the A39 super-heavy assault tank escaped its grasp. Unfortunately for this Tortoise, unlike in the fairy tale, it failed to cross the finish line in the race against the most fickle and devious hare: Time.


The days of super-heavy breakthrough tanks were at an end even before they had time to begin. Despite the Tortoise being a reliable and effective gun platform, the sheer massive bulk and weight of this British behemoth lead many to question their value on the ever-shifting face of the battlefield. Simply transporting the Tortoise to its intended locations would have been a logistical nightmare for the British--proving (or rather reconfirming) that super-heavy tanks were an evolutionary dead-end in tank-building. By this time the advent of the Main Battle Tank in the form of the British Centurion equipped with an excellent 20-pounder (83 mm) gun  with the legendary 105 mm L7A1 variant not far behind. The hare with it's agility and speed was favored all across the world instead of the steady but ultimately slow Tortoise.


The Tortoise serves as a defiant but ultimately hopeless testament to an obsolete theory that the tank as a weapon of war, had to be heavily armored and restricted to the role of infantry support. As the years progressed this was less and less the case with armored personnel carriers enabling infantry to catch up to tanks. Today this iron giant slumbers in Bovington as it's brethren rusts in cheery meadows amid flowers and other local fauna. Peace at last. 


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


Hitpoints: 1800


Speed Limit: 20 km per hour


Hull Traverse Speed: 22 degrees per second


Hull armour:


Front: 228 mm

Sides:152 mm

Rear: 101 mm


Top gun: 120 mm AT Gun L1A1


Standard Shell Penetration: 


AP: 259 mm

APCR: 326 mm

HE: 120 mm


 Average Damage:


AP: 400

APCR: 400

HE: 515


Rounds per minute: 8.45


Accuracy: 0.31 (at 100 meters)


Aim time: 1.7 seconds


Top Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor M120


Horsepower: 810


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:




The Gun: The Tortoise mounts the 120 mm AT L1A1 cannon--the same 120 mm gun mounted on the Tier 9 Conqueror and Tier 10 FV215b British heavy tanks. It's the first gun mounted on a British tank destroyer that feels like a tank destroyer gun compared to gun's mounted on previous tank destroyers in this tech tree. The gun has a very good average penetration value of 259 mm with armor-piercing shells and 329 mm of penetration with APCR shells. The average alpha damage of 400 points this gun inflicts with each shot is acceptably healthy for it's tier and vehicle class, but compared to its Tier 9 contemporaries such as the Object 704,T95, or even the Jagdtiger, nothing to boast about. Your usual alpha damage per shot will mostly be in the 360-380ish range and occasionally with a bit of blessing from RNG, you will roll 400-450ish damage. 


But what the Tortoise lacks in raw alpha, it more than compensates with a raw DPM. The Tortoise currently has the highest damage output per minute out of any gun in game (not counting auto-loaders). The Tortoise's rate of fire is about 8.45 rounds per minute without equipment or consumables. Combine this rapid damage output with an excellent aim time of 1.7 seconds as well as 0.31 dispersion means that for every shot received, the Tortoise can reply back with 2-3 or even 4 accurate penetrating shots--insuring that the tank is a threat from long range or up close and personal. Equipped with such an accurate, quick-firing, high penetration guns allows the Tortoise make mincemeat of any tank foolish enough to expose itself in front of this tank's gun. The high rate of fire also makes the Tortoise excellent at holding a defensive position and lock down multiple enemies pushing a front, since the gun's DPM can easily suppress and send your foes to back up and scurry. for cover.


TLDR; The top L1A1 AT gun does a respectable amount of damage and has ultra-high DPM which means that you will often get a 2nd or 3rd shot off before your enemy has a chance to retreat or reload.  The decent damage and high penetration on the L1A1 will allow you to engage Tier X tanks in high tier matches and still be highly effective. It has the same penetration and alpha as the top gun on the Conqueror and FV215b, but vastly superior in terms of aiming time, accuracy and rate of fire.


Excellent gun arc: The Tortoise has a very good gun traverse arc of 20 degrees left and right. This allows the tank to poke around corners and cover--exposing only a small portion of well-angled hull armor to the enemy. The gun arc also allows you to quickly bring you gun to bear and engage new targets which pop up. It also makes shooting at enemies moving perpendicular to the Tortoise much easier, since you don't have to turn your hull as much and disrupt your aiming cycle. The gun arc also allows you some degree of protect against flanking medium tanks provided you react in time and have cover to back yourself into.


Excellent gun elevation and depression: The Tortoise has very good if not, one of the best gun elevation and most importantly, gun depression angles of any tank destroyer in the game. When firing at enemies above, the Tortoise has a maximum gun elevation angle of 20 degrees which allows the tank to shot up at enemies from a much closer distance forcing tank with poor-gun depression expose themselves further on the hill to even hope to shoot back. But that's not what's really special about the Tortoise. What makes the Tortoise special is that it's the only Tank destroyer so far with an amazing 10 degrees of gun depression. This makes the Tortoise excellent at firing on targets from over hills, ridge-lines, and undulations in the terrain without having to expose the entirety of itself--an obvious advantage in battle.



Large ammunition stowage capacity: The Tortoise is able to store a large amount of ammunition for a tank destroyer. This means that you almost never have to worry about running out of ammunition despite your high rate of fire.


Well armored all around: The Tortoise has some of the thickest hull armor all around for a tank destroyer. The figures given in the tank description places the front at 228 mm thick, the sides at 152 mm thick, and the rear at 101 mm thick. This thick shell which protects the Tortoise allows it to bounce shells from low-caliber guns from its rear and sides from time to time, and with a bit of wiggling and angling a few equal and high tier guns as well. The thick sides and rear also guarantees some degree of protection against flanking. The front of the tank however is not all 228 mm thick. The only listed armor that is 228 mm thick is the lower glacis of the tank with a rounded shape, offering greater protection. Only guns with 246 or more penetration can reliably punch through that. Than there is a area of sloped armor underneath the gun with while being only 76 mm thick, is sloped back at such a steep angle that the effective armor thickness is over 447 mm!


For those who played through the AT-15 Tier 8 British Tank Destroyer, rejoice from your long suffering due to endless gun mantlet penetrations! The Tortoise has an impervious mantlet compared to its predecessor with the combined armor of the mantlet itself as well as the hull armor behind it equating to over 508 mm of armor! Anyone who aims at your mantlet will regret it.


Despite the soft nature of the Tortoise, careless shots thrown at the tank will ricochet off a surprising amount of times especially if the enemies fail to utilize sniper mode to zoom in on places to penetrate your tank. It's not T95 levels of armor, but it does it's job provided you learn how to do the wiggle dance as well as angling your armor.


High hit-point pool: The Tortoise has one of the highest hit-point pools of any Tier 9 tank destroyer with 1800 hitpoints. This is even higher than that of most Tier 9 medium and heavy tanks! This means the Tortoise can absorb a considerable amount of punishment before going down, allowing it to weather to onslaught should it's armor fail. 


"HESH" ammunition: The Tortoise is the first of the British Tank Destroyers which can load the regular "HESH" ammunition (that you also get on the Conqueror and FV215b) which is essentially a high penetration HE shell. This will allow you to completely devastate weakly armored targets who were unfortunate enough to be caught in your cross-hairs. The penetration is pretty good at 120 mm and deals awesome alpha damage should it penetrate. 


With your regular HESH rounds you will be the bane of equal to lower tier medium tanks which turn their backs on you not to mention other British and American Tanks. Just remember, like HE ammunition, HESH is not subject to normalization of enemy armour and can be mitigated by spaced armour as well as tracks. They also cost more than your standard AP rounds.




Easy to exploit weakspot: One of the biggest flaws of the Tortoise compared to it's tier 9 equivalents is the tank destroyer's blatantly obvious weakspots which are easy to hit and easy to pen even by tanks 2 tiers below it. The first and most obvious weakspot is the rather large machine gun port protruding from the top right of the tank. The MG port has only 171 mm of armor with no mantlet protection making it easy to penetrate by even Tier 7 guns. Worse still, the Tortoise's loader is situated inside that machine gun port so he often dies when the machine gun port gets penetrated lowering your rate of fire. This large weakspot makes close combat and face-hugging dangerous situations for you.  Hiding this protruding topside weakspot crucial to your survival otherwise your vast pool of hitpoints will quickly be depleted in no time. 


The protruding machine gun port is the Tortoise's large and easily exploitable weakspot.


Well thick, armor has almost no slope: This is pretty self-explanatory. Despite the thick heavy armor covering most of the tank, it's rendered almost ineffective due to the hull configuration. The cheeks of the Tortoise are poorly sloped at the front of the tank. The right cheek is only 177 mm of effective armor making it easy to penetrate by Tier 8 and Tier 9 guns. The left cheek has almost no slope at all being only 150 mm of effective armor, however it is partially covered by a 228 mm thick machine gun port embedded there. 



The sides of the tank despite being 152 mm thick are completely flat and any tank getting the your large side profile will usually have no problems penetrating you.



The rear of the Tortoise is also pretty much flat with 2 blocky easy to aim at squares.  Without angling any tank utilizing sniper mode will bring you down very quickly especially equal tier tanks which will mercilessly rip through your poorly sloped armor.


TL DR: Despite it's namesake, the Tortoise is actually quite a soft tank. Lessons learned from the preceding AT-15 must be taken into account if you wish for a higher degree of survival. Angling of the armor is also crucial due to the poor sloping.


Slow yet steady with low maneuverability: The Tortoise's speed is a double-edged sword so let's start by discussing the sword edge pointing away from the Tortoise. The good traits about the Tortoise's slow but consistent top speed of 20 km per hour is that combined with it's highly accurate quick-aiming 120 mm gun, means that the Tortoise can fire on the move while advancing on an enemy position and still manage to reliably hit and even penetrate targets. The down side to the Tortoise's terrible cruising speed is that it takes the tank a considerable amount of time to get anywhere, which means that you will have to plan ahead regarding where you want to go, cause once you set your course, your very much committed to that path. 


Your slow traverse and acceleration also mean that you are very easily swarmed and defeated by packs of agile medium tanks whom will have no problem getting around you if you aren't paying attention. The low speed also means you cannot respond well to quick changes on the battlefield very well and it will be impossible for you to run away if you are caught in a sticky situation.


Frontal Mounted Transmission: If you have ever grinded down the German E100 tech tree, you should be all too aware of the disadvantages of a frontal-mounted transmission. Well the Tortoise also has a frontal mounted transmission hit box located near the curved lower glacis plate of the tank. Penetrating hits there will very often set you engine on fire, dealing additional damage and lowering your already slow speed. 


Low Alpha Damage for a Tank Destroyer: The Alpha damage on the Tortoise's top gun is not that that high for what most people would expect from a traditional tank destroyer like the Soviets with their massive 152 mm guns and the Americans with their 155 mm guns. This means when it comes to a battle where raw alpha damage matters, the Tortoise can fall short by quite a bit especially in the late game when most of it's high hit-point pool has been expended. 


Low penetration compared to other equal Tier Tank Destroyers: The Tortoise has the 3rd worst penetration of all the Tier 9 Tank Destroyers in regards to the top guns. (The 2nd worst is the German Jagdtiger and the worst penetration belongs to the French AMX 50 Foch at 257 mm.) So you have to aim specifically for weakspots carefully especially against Tier 10 tanks unless you prefer spamming premium ammunition at lot (which is inadvisable).


Poor Camouflage rating: The Tortoise being large and bulky, not surprisingly has terrible camo rating. Most enemies will easily be able to detect you and with that rapid-firing gun you need to maintain your DPM, your camo rating is not even worth mentioning. 


Zero Resistance to High-Explosive Splash Damage: The Tortoise also has almost no resistance to the splash damage from HE ammunition despite it's thick armor and so can easily be brought down by guns which exclusively fire HE ammunition or deal considerable splash damage upon impact. 


Terrible stock grind compared to other equal tier Tanks destroyers: The Tortoise when stock isn't exactly the most threatening vehicle in the game to face. If you have not grinded out the top gun on the AT-15 before, than prepare for one of the worst stock grinds a Tier 9 Tank destroyer has to face. At Tier 9, the 32 pounder is only barely adequate if not outright inappropriate armament. and even with the 20 pounder gun which carried over from Tier 8, the Tortoise still is incredibly mediocre. Your alpha won't scare any equal tier tanks or even lower tier tanks. This can make the stock grind very frustrating and potentially turn off certain people. You either have to slug it out with your accurate peashooter, or you can free experience the 120 mm.


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 British TD line is surprisingly conservative compared to the rest of the British tech tree. They transition quite early on from fragile sneaky snipers to slow and heavily-armored assault guns and remain mostly consistent to that play style. However up until Tier 9, as with many other British tanks they utilized British medium tank guns such as the 17 and 20 pounder, but with improved rates of fire. The Tortoise is the last "assault tank" of the British Tank Destroyers with the following tank completely changing it's play-style in the true tradition of Tier 10 British tanks. Most people may see the Tortoise as a mere tier upgrade from the AT-15 which in many ways it is. Both have the same listed armor values and pretty much the same weakspots and they share very much the same play-styles, however the Tortoise is also its own beast which takes what the AT-15 lacked or fell short and retains the benefits of it's predecessor. Firstly, gone is the relatively weak slotted mantlet you fretted over from the AT-15, replaced now by a mantlet that is virtually impervious to any shell fire which allows you to poke your gun around corners without fear of mantlet penetrations. The relatively flat side cheeks at the front are now considerably thicker and better sloped than before (but still relatively flat).


But the most important improvement is the gun. The Tortoise finally gets a gun that feels appropriate for a tank destroyer of it's tier with healthy alpha damage no one will laugh at. And it's a gun that's almost a dream for TDs combining high accuracy, high penetration, high rate of fire, and excellent aim speed. Combine that with 10 degrees of gun depression and a wide gun arc, and you have arguably, one of the most versatile tank destroyers of Tier 9. The Tortoise can feel comfortable in almost any environment, be it brawling around corners on city streets, leading the charge on an enemy positions, working ridge-lines shooting enemies from the high ground, or just simple sniping from medium to long distances, the Tortoise can do all those jobs fairly well. Despite the soft armor, the Tortoise can be surprisingly bouncy at times especially if you enemies don't aim their shots carefully, as the hull configuration requires careful aim from the enemy at most times. You have to use that to your advantage to put in 1 or 2 shots  for every shot they fire back. Those who try to trade damage with a Tortoise will sorely regret it as the Tortoise has enough durability to weather the storm and can deal more damage over time. The single shots themselves may not seem like much but given time, the damage eventually adds up and it adds up quickly when you face a competent Tortoise player. Overconfident and careless players whom decide to stand in front of this behemoth and decided to trade shots (since they can penetrate the weakspot) with it will be at severe risk of destruction and severe mauling. One thing can be sure, the Tortoise is not a TD to be underestimated.


Now without further ado, here are a some tips and strategies you can use.


Hide your weakspots: This is the most important tactic when playing all of the British tank destroyers. Your large protruding machine gun port is your biggest  and easiest weakness to target and hit and the key to taking down the Tortoise very quickly. To survive as long as possible, try to find cover and obstacles to conceal your MG port behind. Try to minimize exposure of your tank as much as possible. The less you give the enemy to zoom in on, the more time you have to pump out your DPM.


Angling: This is by far the most important tactic, you should use whenever you are playing the Tortoise as it has strong all around armour which allows you to effectively angle. Abuse that amazing 40 degree gun arc your tank has as well as the excellent 10 degrees of gun depression. 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 British 120 mm L1A1 120 mm gun with an average armour penetration of 259 mm.


What you should never do in the Tortoise: Pointing the tank straight at the enemy.


Notice how big of a difference changing the angle of the tank has of the overall effective armor thickness. This is the ideal angle you should place the tank at either to the left or right while still allowing you to fire on the enemy (but preferably avoid angling to the right unless you can hide your MG port behind cover).


Aerial view of how you should angle the tank.


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.


Hanging back: You are not meant to be a front-line tank destroyer although when the occasion calls for it, you can play the role of a substitute heavy tank and lead the charge. You can accurately fire on the move, use that fast reload to scare off your enemies from poking out and effectively engaging you. However like the AT-15 you are more comfortable as a dedicated support tank. However with the way matchmaking works these days, you will on occasion be the top tier tank. However that does not mean you have to charge into the fray. You will not last very long if you try to do that. Neither will cowering and sniping from range help much either. It's best you accompany your team and let some of your other tanks detect and report enemy tank positions for you. You can than unload on these targets while they are preoccupied with other matters ripping them apart. Around the late game where some tanks are down to low health, you can really shine in shredding wounded tanks.


Always have backup: Never rush out in a tank destroyer! Most enemies dread taking fire from tank destroyers and especially the Tortoise due to your high DPM as they know the devastation you can inflict if you are allowed to live too long. 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 especially if they know where to aim their shots, and before you know it your tank is a smouldering wreck. 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 Tortoise has no further impact on the game and your team mates cannot always be expected to perform the way they should. Only you can hope to help you control the game. 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 and insure that the enemies don't get confident.


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. Your fantastic gun arc allows you to easily poke your gun around corners and fire on enemies who will only get a portion of your tank's silhouette to fire. Your superior aim time will often allow you to get the first shot before they can finish aiming carefully.


Sniping: Another tactic you should employ when possible usually in the early game. 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.



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.


Now to get the most hated song used in a World of Tanks video stuck in your head.





Edited by EdAWACSdenyY, 12 December 2015 - 01:31 AM.

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King_Zacarias #2 Posted 12 December 2015 - 03:21 AM

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Yea Wooooo

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_Nekomata #3 Posted 12 December 2015 - 04:06 AM

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+1 for the GuP song

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Shadow__Lugia #4 Posted 12 December 2015 - 07:56 AM

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How long does it take you to write one of these Ed. Took me like 20 minutes just to read it. And I even stopped at the armour inspector part lol.

BootlegTampico #5 Posted 12 December 2015 - 03:31 PM

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Holy [edited]that is long. Nice write up though!

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epicheeru #6 Posted 12 December 2015 - 04:41 PM

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The pic of the rusted Tortoise is so depressing :(

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Pitorkas #7 Posted 12 December 2015 - 05:53 PM

    3 de Asada Con Todo

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Ed, is it HESH instead HE? 


Prammo in this one is APCR.


Please confirm. 

EdAWACSdenyY #8 Posted 12 December 2015 - 07:19 PM

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View PostChipthed0g, on 12 December 2015 - 10:53 AM, said:

Ed, is it HESH instead HE? 


Prammo in this one is APCR.


Please confirm. 


it's HE and APCR is the premium ammunition but since the regular HE has such high pen I call it HESH with quotation marks cause it's not premium HESH.

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Armed with the Royal Ordnance 105 mm L7A1 Gun


Forgotten_Fox #9 Posted 12 December 2015 - 09:51 PM

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Edited by Legoaustin11, 13 January 2016 - 02:08 AM.

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Black_Scorpion_Squad #10 Posted 05 January 2016 - 02:33 AM


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Oh crap more history from the professor.

Guess I'm going to drop outta tank school too.

PS  could repeat that, I wasn't paying attention

Yeah I know the info might save my life one day but worth the risk because its killing me right now.

Excuse me I got to let the cat out and I don't even have one

FunkSoulChicken #11 Posted 06 January 2016 - 05:40 AM


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Fantastic write-up, ED.  Thanks for doing this one!



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FunkSoulChicken #12 Posted 06 January 2016 - 05:41 AM


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View PostBlack_Scorpion_Squad, on 04 January 2016 - 08:33 PM, said:

Guess I'm going to drop outta tank school too.


You sure you haven't already???


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popisdead #13 Posted 11 January 2016 - 07:52 PM

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As always nice work.  I'm at an AT15 happily grinding towards it with excitement.  

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CalmSeasQuest #14 Posted 11 January 2016 - 08:01 PM

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Great job Ed!

I've really enjoyed the Tortoise. Sad to see the Nerfbat being swung so hard at it in 2.5.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw



popisdead #15 Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:52 PM

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You neglected to say how you survive the 75k XP grind to getting a cannon you can use on the tank in tier 10 (since in NA you'll not see tier 7) without loosing every game and second I think the Spall Liner is a great addition for both the AT15 and Tortoise. 


I've noticed the being-hit triangle is black more often when I run Spall Liner.


Nice review, thanks for doing it.

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