A small introduction: I am an aspiring FC for a decently sized clan in WOT, we are currently in the process of carving out some territory for ourselves in Europe. The purpose of this column is to examine the tactics behind organized WOT battles and their applications.
There are 3 basic resources available to a team in World of Tanks: Tanks, Time, and Territory (call them the 3 T’s).
- Tanks - how many tanks you have at your disposal.
- Time - how much time you have to achieve your goals, whether this be capture of the enemy base or their destruction.
- Territory – the amount of space between the enemy and your base, as well as how much room for your tanks to maneuver.
The winner of a battle is the one that has balanced the 3 resources - having tanks doesn’t matter if your base is under attack, being in their base alone means nothing if your team is dead and theirs is returning, and staying alive yourselves is useless if you are not making use of your tank properly.
Concentration in time and concentration in force are two ways of resource management that ultimately achieves one purpose - numerical superiority; the winner of a fight is necessarily determined by who can get more of their guys into a fight, attacking your enemy’s weak points while protecting your own. Whenever you hear FC’s assigning tanks to positions, they are trying to get a numerical advantage on your opponents, or mitigating a numerical disadvantage.
Concentration in force is quite basic, it's taking the bulk of your forces and attacking the enemy, achieving local superiority and quickly destroying them. The following examples are thought experiments, representing ideal teams and environments, the winner should be determined by who has the better tactics, fights in WOT rarely happen as planned, but the fundamental ideas behind them are still valid.
Assume a standard CW team, 12 tanks and 3 artillery, and a map that has 2 major avenues of engagement (WG has stated their map design philosophy to be 2-3 major path’s with a similar number of minor paths), for example east and west sides of Steppes, north and south of Arctic Region, hill and town of Malinovka (the field is not a viable attack route). You split your tanks into 9 and 3, not unreasonable, and attack with your 9 tanks while defending with 3.
After your 9 tanks steamroll their 6, it swings around to help the defenders, or capture.
The success of concentration in force relies on your defenders being able to survive and buy time, while your attackers complete their objectives quickly. The important part is to fight in sequence, delaying the second front to allow your larger force to engage again. Now, how do you counter concentration in force? With concentration in time.
Concentration in time is the 'counter' to concentration in force. While still maintaining an even split of tanks, the FC identifies the enemy’s weak flank and forces simultaneous engagements, tying down the enemy’s main force to prevent them from assisting their weak side.
The important thing to note here is that in a fight, the combat advantage of the more numerous side is proportional to the square of the number of participants (refer to Lanchester’s laws), that is (F1/F2)2. Having more tanks means you can kill the enemy faster, and incur less damage from return fire. The 9v6 engagement on top has the blue team at a (9/6)2 = 2.25 combat advantage, while the 3v6 at the bottom has the red team at a (6/3)2=4 combat advantage. What this means is that the bottom fight can be concluded faster, and at less loss than the top fight. Afterwards, the survivors may swing top to assist their defenders, achieving numerical superiority as well as attacking from the flanks.
The success of concentration in time depends on the FC properly identifying the enemy strengths, and engaging the enemy at the same time on two fronts, maintaining enough strength to engage the larger enemy front at an advantage after the weaker front is destroyed.
These two principles can be applied outside of the battlefield as well, you can gather many chips and allies together to roll through an enemy’s territory, but you could also have your allies attack another front, forcing your enemy to split chips or lose provinces. Go and look at your history books (if you still have them) and realize that every battle won was because the commander was able to concentrate his resources better than his enemy.
Next article in series: Force multipliers, or what allows one tank to fight a dozen.
** note, there is much more to this topic than i can explain in the article, i would welcome a discussion in the comments section**