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Old 04-15-2008, 07:42 AM #1
Al Steel
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Tankers -vs- ATer's

You knew it was going to happen!

I've been on both sides of this fight and here's my prediction based on the way things are going. The tanker's days are numbered. Here's my analysis:

Tanks are fun. They are more fun than you should be allowed to have while wearing clothes on a paintball field. Nothing is more enjoyable than advancing across the field in a machine that carves a swath of destruction wherever it goes with relative immunity, all the while striking fear into the heart of your enemy. It's the reason some players put up a rather large amount of personal cash to build one of these menacing machines.

In the past, taking out a tank was a difficult task. RPG's were very scarce and then they had to hit a specific spot on the tank to take it out. RPG's were almost all homemade and tennis balls (the only ammo at the time) weren't exactly accurate. If you were real lucky you could smack one with a grenade but that only stopped the tank from moving. The guns still fired. Those were the heady days for tankers... now sadly long gone.

Today, AT teams have perfected their art and equipment. Commercial makers have capitalized on the desire of the AT teams for better equipment and are producing some very accurate and efficient tank killing launchers. Additionally, the generally accepted rules have been modified to bring tanks down to the level of mere mortals. Aspiring AT players (who garner more glory than even "Snipers") are popping up all over the place, gluing together all manner of contraptions with one goal in mind... "Take out the tank!". Unfortunately, while there is a growing number of AT teams, there are a dwindling number of tankers. I blame this on a number of things.

Tanks are expensive, they take a lot of money, resources, and TIME to construct. An effective RPG can be constructed in a few hours by a single individual. A tank... well depending upon your tank, could take anywhere from an entire weekend to a YEAR to construct and involve thousands of dollars.

Incidental expenses. Tankers have a whole slew of other issues to deal with as well. Consider; trailering the tank, toll expenses, required safety equipment (fire extinguishers, cut-off switches, ref comms), main gun construction, maintenance, gas, mechanical spares, etc. All of this stuff takes time, effort and money to put together properly.

2 words.. "Tank Insurance" *shudders!* Those are two words that make field owners and tankers alike cringe and are the reasons why tanks are banned from several fields. While fields are semi-protected from the liability waiver that all players sign, the tankers aren't generally covered. IOW, if a tank injures a player, the player may not be able to sue the field BUT the tanker can be sued. Here's the rub... up until recently there was little to ZERO insurance for the tankers. If a tanker wants to be personally insured against injury liability for a single day for an event he/she has to shell out $105.00 per day. Some fields will absorb that cost depending upon the event and how much they want tanks to attend. Most wont. Some fields (like my local field) won't allow tanks at all for fear of a personal injury claim.

On the field, tanks run through a LOT of paint. Tanks are much more effective with their markers than they are with the air cannon. A tanker can easily go through 2 cases of paint in a single engagement... if they last that long. That paint expense (at $50 plus/case) adds up REAL quick.

Ok, so I think I've beaten the "tanks are kinda expensive" point into the ground... I'll move on to field play.

Tanks can be VERY effective at breaking through tough defenses, smashing a strong enemy line, or generally wreaking havoc. A well supported tank can be a machine of awesome destruction. HOWEVER, this all hinges on the tank's relative invulnerability to the average player. Take this away, and a tank is no more effective than a good 3-man team, in fact it's less effective b/c it's such a easy target. Sadly this is rapidly becoming the case. Now, most teams (about every 5 players) have some sort of tank killing ability in the form of a homemade or commercial RPG. Combine this with the RPG's effectiveness (1 hit anywhere on the tank rules) and the tank begins to quickly lose out. Add that to the fact that there are rarely more than 2-3 tanks / event and you can see that the deck is stacked waaay against the tank.

I know, most ATer's right now are saying.. "So what?" I really don't have an answer for that. Except consider this simple analysis. Tanks are fun AND expensive, the fun is what justifies the expense. A lot of the fun is in it's invulnerability. Strip that away and tanks aren't fun anymore, they are simply and expensive hassle that spends more time off the field than on. And THAT is why tanks may be going away. Less fun = less players willing to pony up the cash, time, effort, and risk that goes into a tank. They may make great showpieces but if they aren't effective on the field then you won't see too many of them around anymore. Tanks are the whole purpose of the AT team so take away the tanks and there really isn't much use for an AT team anymore. A classic Catch 22.

Now, I won't propose a problem without a solution, so here's mine:

1. Limit the number of RPGs AND the ammunition.
2. Make tanks harder to take out. Fix a spot on the tank that must be hit in order to disable it.
3. Allow tanks to destroy structures or positions that players are hiding behind.

Those 3 simple things will allow tanks a measure of survivability and keep them coming back to games. Plus it restores the air of fearsomeness (and consequently FUN) that is the essence of a tank. And isn't fun what really keeps us coming to these games in the first place?
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:51 AM #2
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Just played at West Point, first time running as an ATer. my launchers are homemade, the rockets don't always fly straight or far, sometimes you get a beauty shot, sometimes you get a 5 foot burp, so lady luck was a large part. Each team had at least 3 tanks that were decimating everyone and each side only had about 3 LAWS on the field. people brought more, but weren't using them for whatever reason. Consequently, the few of us with LAWS became worth our weight in gold and we had a very friendly rivalry with the tanks. sometiems they'd waste us with double troubles, sometimes we knock them out point blank cause they didnt see us lying in the brush.

But afterwards, I agree with you. despite the tanks getting free paint, the cost of building a law can run less than 30 bucks and a tank, to build, arm, transport, insure, retransport, gas, etc will cost at least a grand. To make it worth while for anyone to use one, launcher and ammo will have to be limited (I was desperate for nerfs a few times and it really put the pressure on to make the shot)

The refs allowed the LAWS and tanks to take out airball bunkers, but houses and fallen trees were off limits. the airball bunkers were pretty straightforward. everyone using it for cover was eliminated. I didn't like the refs retrieving nerfs, or the LAW guys, once shot out, wandering around with impunity picking up rockets. there's no pressure about missing when you have HPA hooked up directly to your breech loading launcher and your pockets are stuffed with nerfs. realistically you'd need several ppl to carry ammo for a reloadable AT rocket or they'd be one shot deals so the limited ammo idea I completely agree with. (And remember im on the AT side of the fence)

the tanks should be allowed to storm around and kill everything and not be shot out by a dozen nerf rockets as soon as they cross the boundary tape.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:00 PM #3
Al Steel
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I hope you don't take it as me singling you out or trying to take away from your success at all. Sounds like you had a great time and I congratulate you on your success. In fact it's great that you recognize the short comings of having too many AT teams. I was just using your situation as a recent example of RPGs proliferating and making a tanker's life REAL difficult.

Please don't take what I'm saying as *****ing and complaining. I'm just trying to point out an imbalance that will eventually lead to tanks being severely limited or just no longer attending events. IMO tanks are a big draw for a scenario game. Everyone I know of enjoys the idea of having armor on their side, and being against armor can be a huge rush, especially for an AT team. Tank appearances at events are already on the decline and I would hate to see them disappear entirely.

I'm not saying that tanks should be allowed to run rampant across the field completely unchecked, just that it should be a little more difficult to take em out. Commanders should have to figure the AT teams into their planning and allocate them just like a valuable resource. If every couple of guys has an RPG and can take out a tank easily then formulating a defense against armor really isn't that difficult. However, if you only have a handful of AT teams to choose from then you are a bit more aware of where they should be positioned and they gain a bit more importance.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:43 PM #4
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i agree with you 100% Al

the tank rules need to be more Tank friendly. heres what i find unjust in some fields tank rules

Tank Cannons Not being allowed to blow small structures- You have to be able to shoot a bunker ect with the cannon to be able to take out the at player behind it. I dont understand whats so dangerous about a nerf shooting at a peice of wood or Large pile of logs. How is that any more dangerous than a nerf firing at a Tank, Many of wich are smaller than a bunker

Limit At weapons!

Grenades killing tanks is lame!

20 foot rules for tanks with their engine off doesnt make sense. when a tank breaks through enemy lines and theres infantry behind they obviously need the tank for cover. i could see the concern for a car or truck based tank but for a 6x6 or a golf cart tank? the 20 foot rule for enemy players sounds fair. that way some tool wont come up to you while your out and shoot inside your tank

Trail rule- i think if a tank is able to drive off trails it should be allowed. why restrict a tank to a few trails? The tank ref is there to help guide the tank.


things are going downhill for Tankers. It reminds me of the BF2 expansion armored fury. i was all exited for a killer tank game. then when we played guys in planes raped us all the time. should have called it airpower fury

Being a tanker is ALOT of fun so is being an AT guy. Hopefully the rules are fair for both.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:47 PM #5
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Brought my tank to West Point for its first major showing this weekend. Here's my thoughts.

Quote:
despite the tanks getting free paint
Make no mistake about it, I didn't even get a reduced rate on paint. And anyone that came within 100 feet of the APE tank can tell you it poured out paint.

Quote:
20 foot rules for tanks with their engine off doesnt make sense. when a tank breaks through enemy lines and theres infantry behind they obviously need the tank for cover. i could see the concern for a car or truck based tank but for a 6x6 or a golf cart tank?
Agree completly, I worked the ground on Sunday while others manned the tank, and several times told to get away from it. It wasn't a 20 foot rule but the refs frowned upon us using the tank for cover in motion.

Quote:
Trail rule- i think if a tank is able to drive off trails it should be allowed. why restrict a tank to a few trails? The tank ref is there to help guide the tank.
I found a jacked off road vehicle for a reason, and that reason was that I did not want to be forced down some tank trail choke point.

A few issues I did notice.

Support your tanks, on both sides at West Point your rarely saw infantry in direct support of armor. When I finally managed to throw something together on Sunday we pushed them back to the tape on the left, thats the tank and no more than 10 guys on foot at that point. Otherwise we were picked off by rocket teams all day or were unable to hold open the gaps we made.

Coordinate your tanks, same push at West Point we managed to get the Lightning Force tank on our right pushing down the road with enough infantry to support.

At West Point we had an issue at one point where our tank respawn was overrun, meaning we were alive for all of 2 seconds before another LAW hit us. West Point was very limited by terrain in where they could place their tank spawn points but that was very discouraging. Again, not much the staff could do about that though.

Do continue to tell us how much you hated/feared/envied/were-helped-by/peed-your-pants-because-of our tank, it makes us feel a little better about all the time and money we wasted.

Don't steal our rockets. They are getting hard to find and somewhat pricey as all you LAW guys know. It's hard for us to get out and grab them and would be nice to get some back at the end of the mission. Ref's retrieving and holding them till we respawn is nice to.

To the tank builders, canister shot for the main gun helps even those odds a bit. If you can make it work quickly and effectively. And the Air-for-Paint exchange works well if you rig a fill station on the side of your vehicles. We did it on Sunday and it kept us going a lot longer than we should have

To people on teams with a tank. A help support your local tanks fund with either cash or paint donations is nice.

Just a few things, maybe I'll come up with more later.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:31 PM #6
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Al, take a look at the rules for tanks at Oklahoma D-Day. Those are some pretty good rules there. They limit the number of AT players. Use a small target on each side of the tank. Anyways, those are pretty good, but not perfect; no air cannons.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:05 PM #7
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a fair idea i think could be to only count hits to the rear and sides. a Tanks armor is thickest in the front. that makes good sense for WW2 Based games at least. but it would still have to be used along with limiting the at weapons to do any good
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:30 PM #8
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damn. sry APE, I though I heard some tanker saying that tanks got free paint. maybe he was pipe dreaming. MSB is trying to build one currently so we will be on the expensive side of the fence.


And as far as the 20 foot rule I used the blue tanks for cover like a religion. When they moved I would drop back about 10 feet so the ref wouldnt yell at me and then as soon as they slowed I'd be hugging them again.

They did have no kill plates in the front which was good.


yeah just to clarify most of those tank kills came in a 30 minute period when a tank directly in front of me could respawn every two minutes during a final battle. we would just kill eachother every 2 minutes the entire time. I think both tanks struggled with LAWS taking them out too often. and I agree with the no grenade rule. Maybe 1 LAW immobilizes a tank (until an engineer arrives to fix it) and a 2nd LAW would take it out. grenades do piddle.

That would make things a bit more intense and fair for the tankers. LAWs to the front do nothing.... a single LAW to the back kills it... 2 laws to the sides?

just ideas. I want to keep playing against, with, in tanks and for it to be worthwhile for all parties. Not a duck hunt.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:06 PM #9
Al Steel
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BlackAngel: Thanks, I think we are 100% on the same page. I'm very curious how the tank rules at Skirmish are gonna play out this year. I REALLY like the idea of a RPG "No kill zone" for the front.

Thatguy: Keeping tanks to trails only is lame. But, I can see the field owners point b/c who wants to have to pull a minivan out of a muddy ditch. But OTOH, it doesn't take a lot of creativity in setting up a tank trap when tanks are stuck to the roads. Yes, and you got to experience the "Camp the knocked out tank" problem with the rules. If the rules make knocked out tanks hold position until they are reactivated then the AT team can just camp you until you are reactivated. ugh... And yes, I would love to hear more tank stories. It's what makes it all worthwhile to the tankers.

DLS: Thanks for the info, I'm gonna go dig those up from OK.

BennyT: Skirmish used to give tankers a free case of paint, I think... it helps, but a case is basically one firefight for a tank. Every other place I've taken the tank it's full price like everyone else. Good luck with your teams tank!

The 20ft rule is pretty standard. I like it b/c it allows me room to move without having to worry about running someone over. BUT if I know you are there, like when rolling through a secure area, walking up next to the tank is no biggie. I like the 0-1-2 rule (0 front, 1 rear, 2 sides) to take you out. It's simple, easy to understand and easy for the tank ref to enforce. Great ideas.

So, does the SPPL have a published set of tank rules? I think we should get some experienced tankers, AT'ers, scenario managers, field owners, etc. together and attempt to hammer out a set of tank rules that everyone would be comfortable with. At the very least, a generic set that individual fields and scenarios could tailor to fit their needs but the basic ruleset would remain the same.

I'd like to compile some of the published rules that are already available (like from OK D-Day, Skirmish, VIPER, Waynes, etc.) and compare them. See what's good and bad. Has this already been done? Anyone have any input or experience in this area b/c I'd really like to see something like this started.

Couple of things to consider also:
- Small motorized PAVs are different than PAVs based off real vehicles, or even REAL armored vehicles. They are often treated the same by insurance and the rules.
- Human powered tanks (HPAVs <-Yes I just made that up). Most rules treat them exactly the same as motorized tanks but they shouldn't IMO.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:56 PM #10
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Couple of things to consider also:
- Small motorized PAVs are different than PAVs based off real vehicles, or even REAL armored vehicles. They are often treated the same by insurance and the rules.
- Human powered tanks (HPAVs <-Yes I just made that up). Most rules treat them exactly the same as motorized tanks but they shouldn't IMO.

Why shouln't HPAVs be treated as motorized tanks? if you didn't, you'd have a ton of people walking around in a tank costume claiming to be invincible to paintballs. You might as well create a new game called NerfRocketBall
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:51 PM #11
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Why shouln't HPAVs be treated as motorized tanks? if you didn't, you'd have a ton of people walking around in a tank costume claiming to be invincible to paintballs. You might as well create a new game called NerfRocketBall
LOL! Yeah I hear ya. There are some really weak HPAVs, BUT there are some really good ones too. Wally, Mr. Tyrell, made a HPAV out of a PVC frame covered with Chloroplast and coated with fiberglass resin. It looks like a miniature Sherman tank. It's very well done and looks more like a tank than an old car that's been painted green with the windows knocked out. The frame is mounted on wheels and you push it along from the inside. It has a rotating turret and an air cannon.

I guess there's a line that should be drawn between what constitutes an actual HPAV and someone wearing a tank costume. Tank costumes should be treated as such.. a costume, nothing more. A "Push tank" however, shouldn't be restricted to trails or have a 20ft rule is what I'm driving at.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:30 AM #12
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Sup guys!

We've started limiting the RPG's to two per tank. Which if you have a game like we did last year with 17 tanks, that is still tons of AT weapons.

The thing is it seems to be the in thing to be an AT guy now days. Everyone wants an RPG. Soon it looks like we're only gonna have AT gunners and Snipers on the paintball field...

Al, you make some good points. I know speaking for my team, the transport fees are murder. I mean we had a semi truck to haul our two main tanks out to D-Day last year. I dont even want to think about the fuel cost. I know how much I paid to haul my medium tank out. It was on the order to $700 plus for gas. Not to mention the two $80 (a piece) trailer tires I had to replace 300 miles away from home. The cost very much does take the fun out of it. That is a big reason I no longer have a tank. I am probably going to build another, but it will live at my home field. If it goes to an away game, it will be very, very rare.

Most people just dont realise the cost involved. And Potenetial tankers only see the construction cost. Its transport that really gets you. Then maintanace cost. Insurance cost. Paint cost. If you do get comped a free case of paint, that is great. But your gonna buy at least another case or two.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:02 PM #13
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Jetster make something that can fit in the back of a pickup. my last game i rented a nice new silverado pickup and got a set of those atv ramps. its was quite steep driving it on. ( i made someone else drive it in of course ). but its pretty resonable. Truck rental for 2 days was like $120. i use to spend that just renting a big uhaul box trailer.17 tanks at a game huh what was that DDAY?

As for Lousy tank rules ive thought of another. I hate it when the Tank and its teams infantry cant insert in the same spot. That really takes the effectiveness out of both
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:05 PM #14
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Why shouln't HPAVs be treated as motorized tanks? if you didn't, you'd have a ton of people walking around in a tank costume claiming to be invincible to paintballs. You might as well create a new game called NerfRocketBall

thers no way that someone who makes some square that he carries around should be considered a tank. Thats like dressing as superman and not having paintball hits count. build a real tank if you want a tank.
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Old 04-18-2008, 01:44 AM #15
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That game with 17 tanks was actual at Command Decisions Paintball and was the first event where MPP came in to put on a game. As FoolyBear put it in the artical in PB2X was it was the most tanks he'd ever seen out side of OK D-Day. I'm sure there've been larger tank games, but not around here. BearClaw in TN may be able to beat 17 tanks... They've suppose to have one heck of a tank field. I honestly didnt think we'd get over eight or nine tanks. I underestimated just a tad.

And my Kawasaki Mule I had would actually fit on the back of a full sized truck. I really didnt think it would fit and that's why I never tried it. Not like my big truck would have made the trip with out dying. Little truck did just fine thou. Surprised me and I didnt find out till the day I sold it... So if anyone gets a Mule Or Rhino, they'll fit on the back of the pick up truck.
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:36 AM #16
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thers no way that someone who makes some square that he carries around should be considered a tank. Thats like dressing as superman and not having paintball hits count. build a real tank if you want a tank.
I agree with you 100%. I've seen guys that do just that. They want to shoot people, but they can't take hits themselves. I've seen them running around faster than motorized tanks can move, and jumping between buildings and bunkers in spaces too small for regular tanks to go. I've even seen that same guy disregard AT rocket hits and play on until a ref told him he was out. (he had to have known he was hit because it hit the front of his 'tank.'

Every time I see a walking tank disregard a law rocket, I aim for the ankles and dump a pod on them.


I feel that if 'walking tanks' are to be allowed, they should have to follow the exact same rules as regular tanks. Maybe institute a minimum weight requirement for the tank frame to limit mobility? I would prefer that these tanks just go away, though.
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:11 AM #17
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I know a team with a walking tank but it is mounted on a pair of bycycles inside the thing which support the frame and allow it to be pushed. They still have to "walk" but they adhere to the look/behaviour of motorized tanks.
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:51 PM #18
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Rhino's are a tight fit in the back of a truck but will fit a 6 foot bed. Just make sure the gate is sturdy cause thats where your back tires are gonna be sittin.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:26 AM #19
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a fair idea i think could be to only count hits to the rear and sides. a Tanks armor is thickest in the front. that makes good sense for WW2 Based games at least. but it would still have to be used along with limiting the at weapons to do any good
We used this idea at West Point last weekend, trying to put a little bit of real world tactics into play.

I'm thinking with the increased proliferation of AT weapons, should we do away with grenades being able to take out a tank? (1 hit disables, a 2nd destroys.) I like the idea of a tank rolling down a path and laying waste to infantry.

At West Point, we currently use "kill boxes" on the sides of the tanks. The kill boxes are large boxes made out of tape on the sides of the vehicle. (Or a cardboard rectangle is attached to the tank.)If the kill box is filled with paintball hits, the tank is out. This gives a large group of infantry a chance to take out a tank. When I reffed I didn't see many tanks get out by way of the kill box, instead I saw BennyT and other AT guys just blast them with AT weapons. I'm curious to see what the general consensus is about tank rules.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:43 AM #20
ThatguyoverthereTTP
 
 
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My kill box got shot off. So did the one on the other 518 tank.

Perhaps just limiting grenades to disabling shots not kill shots, I occasionally enjoyed involuntarily parking on top of a crowd.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:12 AM #21
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Yeah, people forget that there are bad places to disable a tank. One bit of advice to grenaders, dont hit it in front of your base. We love sitting and tossing paint through doors and windows.

I honestly dont like the ideal of a grenade stopping or killing a tank. I can see satchel charges, LAWS, and Anti Tank Mines. But that is it. Grenades give everyone and their brother a weapon against a tank. Normally we dont use grenade hits on tanks at my home field, but the out side producer we have does. Its kinda hard for us locals to remember that one. Use to old habits.

All this tank talk is killing me. I cant wait till I get another tank!!! Get my stupid finances worked out and get going on construction.
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