The term mobility has been applied to armored warfare to such an extent that it has become a cliche. Yet the tank's mobility it is often forgotten as soon as virtual tank crews come into contact with the enemy.
I'm sure you have seen it in online servers: contact! Fire! Reload! Driver, take a nap, thanks for bringing us here! The more capable crews will have the courtesy of pulling in and out a hull down position while the reloading happens. Yet in the majority of cases the crews dwell in a single battle position until they either run out of targets or die after being outshot by a more capable enemy gunner.
Nothing wrong with running out of targets, mind you. But chances are something bad is brewing while your crew was busy with the killing spree.
But well, the type of online servers I have seen this happening is either on arcadish armor games, or not so arcadish games unwillingly converted into tank quake just because of the audience.
Let's crack open a copy of a real armor simulation like Steel Beasts, and let's play the classic scenario "Stryker Ambush". In this scenario, the player is in command of a very nimble section of US M1 tanks plus TOW-equipped Humvees trying to stop the advance guard of the Iraqi Medina Division.
The premise is simple: ambush the hell out of the enemy advance guard. And the word ambush immediately brings up the image of a few battle positions with great fields of fire. If you try that with this scenario, even using battle positions in defilade, you will be defeated. There are simply too many enemy armored vehicles for a single shootout.
I've said this too many times already and I'm sorry I need to repeat it: battle positions have very short expiration dates. You may get away with a few shots, but the enemy will notice your position and will get back at you with direct and indirect fires. So -here comes another thing I already said- hasten contact. Don't stay in a single battle position.
What is new then, for this entry? That the mobility of your armor should be part of the entire engagement, before and during contact. Mobility should be part of your way of acquiring targets and shooting them.
The image above shows my tank in a defilade position north of the Urdumi village. The initial contact was productive and it was tempting to stay put and milk it to no end.
The enemy started firing artillery onto us. This is something that I was expecting, and fortunately I moved out way before the barrage started. This gave us the opportunity to reload the main gun shells. See below screenshot.
All reloading from a position where we could carefully watch the development of the situation. Our reloading was cut short and we moved onto a new ad-hoc battle position, from which we could damage plenty of enemy vehicles that made it past the Urdumi village.
Despite the extent of the destruction, the enemy still had eyes on us and fired its artillery onto our position.
By no means we were to crest that small ridge ever again! So we went out in search for a new battle position. Speed was crucial, as the enemy vehicles were rapidly approaching the infantry blocking position north of Urdumi.
And after a few more kills, a thorough clean up after almost all enemy armor was gone.
The Humvees came in handy protecting us while we re-loaded ammo yet again. They were placed a few hundred meters in front of us and in the same depression of the terrain, forming a great reverse slope defense.
The mission was accomplished. Thanks to our high mobility, no pre-planned positions were needed and they were rather chosen on the fly and based on the development of the situation. Our high mobility was a way of fighting in addition to just a means to bring guns into the fight.
Some post-game AAR images follow. Enjoy!