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World of Tanks - Artillery (SPG) Tank Guide

How to use the SPG tank type in World of Tanks.

The SPG tanks in World of Tanks are arguably the most unique tank type on the battlefield. SPG stands for Self-Propelled Guns, and these tanks are also referred to as artillery or arty tanks for short. SPG tanks provide long-range, indirect fire support for their team, and appear as a green or red square on the minimap. 

View and Mechanics

Wait for your reticle to narrow in on an enemy within your line of sight before firing.

Artillery tanks have the unique ability to aim and fire over obstructions across the battlefield. The Left Shift key changes the player perspective to a top down, bird’s-eye view, allowing them to fire at enemies hiding behind certain obstacles or structures in a limited range. Unlike their roll-and-gun counterparts, artillery tanks tend to be at more of a disadvantage during close-quarters encounters, so it's best to stay a safe distance away from the opposition as much as possible. 

While aiming in the top down view, there is a line drawn outward from your tank toward wherever you choose to aim. If this line is green, it means you have a clear line of sight that is free of obstructions. While artillery tanks can aim behind most obstacles, some objects will still block your view. A partially red line indicates that an object is obstructing your line of sight and that you need to reposition.

Note that the degree of your gun angle also affects your ability to arc your shots over obstructions, so position your tank appropriately before entering the firing mode. Narrower gun elevation arcs help to achieve long-range shots, but steeper arcs allow you to shoot in an upward curve that causes your shells to land downward onto a target that's behind cover.

You’ll also notice a dotted circle that stretches and contracts around the center of your reticle. This represents the Reticle Bloom of your SPG, which generally indicates where your shots are going to land. The bloom circle expands each time you move or reposition, and you must wait for the circle to shrink again to ensure the accuracy of your shots. Wait for this targeting reticle to shrink down as small as possible before firing to improve the accuracy of your shot. The reload times for arty tanks are notably long, so keep an eye on your reload timer before popping off your next shot. 

The Glass Cannon Tank

Artillery tanks wield devastating firepower, but are relatively fragile when it comes to their armor protections. SPG tanks often use high-explosive (HE) shells or high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shells that explode on impact and can melt through and penetrate an enemy tank's armor. As with any explosive, these shells can inflict splash damage on both allied and enemy tanks, so be aware of other tanks in the vicinity before firing off these powerful shells. Hitting an enemy with splash damage from these shells can also prove useful for baiting them out from behind cover. 

Wielding a powerful gun comes with a few caveats, however. Artillery tanks have a very slow aim. When the gun reaches its horizontal turn limit, this causes the vehicle hull to turn instead, which can be a very slow process.  Moving the hull results in accuracy and camo penalties, making it very difficult for an SPG to fire at fast moving targets, especially at close range. A light tank at close proximity can easily overwhelm a stationary artillery unit by simply driving quickly around them while shooting.

Clicking ‘X’ on the keyboard will lock the hull in place, preventing it from turning while shifting your aim. While this doesn’t add any benefit to accuracy, this can help prevent the reticle bloom that would normally result from hull movement, allowing you to line up shots within your reticle bloom circle without having to wait for the circle to re-aim.  

Long Range Support Role

The SPG’s extended reload times, low accuracy, and minimal armor leave these tanks very vulnerable in close-quarters situations. When finding a place to hunker down, make sure you are behind enough cover to stay camouflaged.  Maintain a safe distance from the enemy team in order to avoid being spotted by their scouts, but stay close enough to your own teammates to aid them with cover fire in battle. 

Given their shortcomings, the best strategy for SPG artillery tanks is to hang back near your team’s base and provide ranged support for more aggressive teammates. Due to their limited view range, artillery tanks rely heavily on allied scouts to spot enemies in the distance. Communicate with the light tanks on your team and prepare to provide them with cover fire when they drive toward enemy territory. 

Most artillery tanks have very long reload times, so missing a shot can often seal your fate. Be patient when firing at enemies, and try to make every explosive round count. If you see a low health enemy that your teammates have lined up, wait to see if your teammates take them out first. This way you won’t have to suffer a long reload time for shooting a target that your team may already have under control. Keep in mind that while some artillery tank variants fire and reload faster than others, they may not have the explosive power that other artillery tanks have, and thus should be played somewhat more conservatively. 

Playing as an artillery tank requires practice, positioning, and patience. Success in an artillery SPG tank largely comes down to knowing where to position yourself on each map to efficiently take out opponents while staying camouflaged. Line up each shot carefully, and be aware of the positioning of your teammates when hunting for enemies to eliminate. Consider researching an artillery SPG tank line in World of Tanks if you are interested in a unique supportive role that offers a more tactical approach to battle.

Light Tanks | Medium Tanks | Heavy Tanks | Tank Destroyers

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Larryn Bell

Trying my best to avoid being a Tomato.