Tech Tree Tuesday – FV 217 Badger

The British casemate TDs are distinctly British: odd, unique, some really good attributes, and some choices that just make you wonder why. This line focuses on high rate of fire and thick armor at the cost of speed, alpha, and flexibility. This line peaks at the tier IX Tortoise, but ends with the Badger. This whole line is one of highs and lows: in good matchups, you can carry a flank; in bad ones, you’ll wonder why you even play these tanks. Because of this inconsistency, I wouldn’t recommend this line to newer players or players who get easily frustrated.

General Loadout

The following is the suggested loadout for the line unless stated otherwise in the vehicle section

Consumables
Med kit, repair kit, auto fire extinguisher/food
Use of large or small kits is up to you.

Equipment
Rammer, IRM/hardening/turbo/vents (pick 2)
Rammer is self explanatory. For the last 2 pieces of equipment, you can go with IRM or vents for improved gun handling, IRM or turbo for improved traverse, or hardening for a bit of HP and more importantly, faster and better repairing tracks. Below tier 8, you have very limited gun traverse, so tracking shots are debilitating.

Directives
Rammer or repairs if you want to run them. I personally wouldn’t waste my bonds on it unless I was trying to 3 mark a tank. 6th sense directive is nice for training up a new crew.

Crew

Tier Commander Gunner Driver Radio Op Loader IV 1 Cmdr 1 Cmdr 1 V 1 1 1 Cmdr 1 VI 1 1 1 1 2 VII 1 1 1 1 2 VIII 1 1 1 1 2 IX 1 1 1 1 2 X 1 1 1 1 2 Commander: 6th Sense, BIA, Repairs, Recon, camo
Gunner: Repairs, BIA, Camo, Snap Shot
Driver: Repairs, BIA, off road driving, camo
Radio Op: Situational Awareness, BIA, camo
Loader: repairs, BIA, camo, safe stowage (only one, does not stack)

Waiting until the third skill to get BIA is not a bad idea either

Line comparison

Valentine AT:

An uninspiring start

Pros
– Two viable gun options: 3.7in howitzer and 6pdr mk IV
– Good gold pen on 6pdr
– Absurd ammo count
– Good tank traverse

Cons
– Slow
– Paper gun shield makes for HE magnet
– Low health puts within one-shot range of 105mm howitzers
– Casemate TD
– Generally just a worse T40

Compare with similar

Playstyle This tank is the odd man out of the line. It is still slow, but has terrible armor. You have decent gun options, but nothing that knocks it out of the park. Play it as a support tank using your good gun to deal heavy damage (especially howitzer vs lightly armored tanks). Avoid taking fire because you do not have the survivability to handle it.

Truth be told, I haven’t played this tank since it became tier 4, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Ammo
45/25 HE/HEAT (howitzer) | 120/80/8 AP/APCR/HE (6pdr)
With this much ammo, exact counts aren’t important. You can afford to bring as much of any shell as you could possibly need.

Equipment Note:
Hardening not advised.

Rating: 3/10

AT 2:

A shadow of what once was

Pros
– Excellent armor against same and low-tier vehicles firing standard shells
– Weakspots are still fairly strong
– Two viable guns (6pdr and 3.7in howitzer)
– Decent gold pen (6pdr)
– High ROF (6pdr)

Cons
– Poor armor against high tier vehicles or vehicles of same tier firing premium shells
– Glacially slow
– Casemate TD
– Low alpha (6pdr gun)
– Hilariously low shell velocity (howitzer)

Compare with similar

Playstyle If you are top tier, terrorize the lesser tanks that cannot pen you. Let them fear some of the best armor at tier V. You can be a mobile pillbox, leading the charge against impotent opposition, however…

If you are not top tier or the enemy knows what the 2 key does, your armor falls apart. Frankly it can fail against even the standard pen of some tanks at tier V, but to super consistently. Now you have all the drawbacks of being a mobile pillbox with almost none of the upsides. Play a second line role. You’re too slow to react if you play at the back and too weak to be the tip of the spear. Try and use gun depression and corners to minimize or hide your weakspots.

Wallow in despair of the tank that once gave tier 7s a hard time but now is not even fully able to deal with its own tier.

Ammo
40/25 HE/HEAT (howitzer) | 60/50/5 AP/APCR/HE (6pdr)
Your ammo supplies are no longer as bountiful as they were in the Valentine. You will often want a large stockpile of gold shells because you are too slow and inflexible to flank for side shots or weak spots.

Rating: 3/10

AT 8:

The first tank to possess a pagoda mast

Pros
– 200mm frontal armor
– Surprisingly good side armor (100mm)
– Above average DPM
– Two machine guns on top of tank are fake weakspots (200mm)
– Pretty good APCR pen
– High HP for a tier 6 TD (900)

Cons
– Slow
– Low view range (330m)
– Low alpha
– Mediocre AP pen
– Very limited gun arc
– Low gun depression (5°)
– ABYSMAL gun elevation (7.5°)
– Massive cupola weakspot
– Armor is flat and vulnerable to gold/high pen standard rounds

Compare with similar

Playstyle The AT 8 (and its successor) play pretty much just like the AT 2: if you’re top tier, rejoice and bully! If you’re bottom tier or the enemy knows how to press 2, despair and try to be a support tank.

The upside for the AT 8 is that it has the quite capable 17pdr gun. Be very careful of terrain because this gun has such limited traverse and elevation that the STRVs make fun of it. When you can, abuse your high rate of fire to keep enemies tracked.

The only reason this isn’t the worst UK TD at tier 6 is because the Churchill GC exists.

Ammo
40/27/3(max) AP/APCR/HE
Like its predecessor, low mobility means you need to have more gold shells to fire because sometimes you just need to be able to deal with what is in front of you. Unlike its predecessor, the HE shells are not very useful, and I wouldn’t recommend more than 3.

Rating: 4/10

AT 7:

Apparently Brits can’t count to 10 properly

The AT 7 is a bad tank, that I have a bit of a soft spot for. This was my first armored british TD (yes, I was/am an idiot and ground through the Churchill GC), and I loved it for not being a Churchill GC. Even then, I knew it wasn’t meta, and the tank hasn’t received any significant buffs in the 5+yrs since I played it.

This tank trades away a good deal of the effectiveness of its predecessor’s armor in favor of a much better gun. Sadly, it retains all of the AT 8’s weaknesses and adds a few more to the mix.

Compare to similar tanks

Pros
– Good penetration
– Accurate
– 200m frontal armor + 100mm side armor
– Two machine guns on top of tank are fake weakspots (200mm)
– Decent camo
– Good RoF
– Gun is mounted to the extreme right (have to expose very little on left hand corners)
– One of the “best” meme guns in the game: 10 shot 6pdr autoloader (it’s terrible, don’t use it, seriously)

Cons
– Slow
– Low alpha
– Low calibre
– Very limited gun arc
– Low gun depression (5°)
– ABYSMAL gun elevation (7.5°)
– Massive cupola weakspot (150mm)
– Massive “upper glacis” weakspot (150mm)
– Even the “good” armor is no improvement over the AT-8 making it much weaker for its tier
– Armor contains many odd angles making angling ineffective
– Gun is mounted to the extreme right (have to expose whole tank on right hand corners)

Playstyle

This tank cannot play the assault TD role its stats may initially lead you to believe. Although you can play like that a bit when top tier, any other time, you must be careful. The armor is riddled with weakspots and even the non-weak armor isn’t that tough for most tanks you’re going to face. Play this tank at range whenever possible to make the most out of your excellent accuracy and high pen gun. The range will make it harder for enemies to reliably hit your weakspots and may give you a bit of use out of your armor. If enemies do manage to get to close range, you are very vulnerable to being tracked and flanked due to your small gun traverse

The extremely off center mount for the gun of this vehicle makes it unusually strong going around left hand corners where it only has to expose around a quarter of the vehicle. This comes at the cost of being terrible at right hand corners where you must expose the entirety of the vehicle to get a shot.

Side note: running the 6pdr, 10 shot autoloader with all gold can be a sometimes fun, albeit only occasionally effective, meme loadout.

Ammo
30/17/3 AP/APCR/HE
This is a tank almost entirely incapable of flanking. You may have an excellent gun, but you can’t easily change angles against a hard to pen enemy. You need to be able to deal with whatever ends up in front of you.

Rating: 2/10

AT 15:

Wait, we have a gun arc now?

The AT-15 fixes some, but not all, of the issues this line has had so far. The most defining characteristic is its wide frontal gun arc, which enables some new playstyles

Compare to similar vehicles

Pros
– 25 degrees of gun travers in both directions (you can angle!)
– Unrivaled RoF
– High DPM
– 10 degrees of gun depression
– Thick armor
– Only center of cupola is weak
– Super accurate
– Fast aim time

Cons
– Terrible, worst in class alpha (230dmg, even a Jag8.8 hits harder)
– Low pen
– sub 90mm caliber gun (cannot overmatch 30mm plates)
– Gold rounds have comparable pen to many tier 8 TD standard rounds
– Moves about as quickly as the UK has left the EU
– 10 degrees of gun elevation
– Large cupola (but only one and only on the right)
– Armor ineffective against equal tier TDs and gold rounds and higher tiers

Playstyle
This tank differs from its predecessors in one minor, but incredibly important way: gun travers. This tank can traverse across a wide frontal arc enabling it to play (sometimes) closer to or (occasionally) even on the frontline when top tier. It retains the excellent gun handling and accuracy of its predecessors meaning a snipey playstyle is still viable. When properly angled, you will reach around 240+mm of effective armor across most of your vehicle. The gun traverse coupled with side mounted cupola makes this vehicle quite adept at coming around corners as it can hide most of its weak armor. (You will almost always have at least one weakspot on the front at about 200mm, but few people know about it, so you’re generally safe). Use the excellent rate of fire of the gun to keep your enemies tracked, and chew through them with excellent DPM. Use your excellent accuracy and aim time to snipe weakspots like no other. You are still vulnerable to being tracked and flanked yourself, so be careful. If you aren’t sure, play from a longer range. It will make it difficult for the enemy to hit your weakspots, but if the battle moves away from you, you will not be able to catch up.

When bottom tier, it’s a different story. Your armor will not work, you cannot flank, you will often struggle to pen, and if you do, your alpha will feel like you’re barely doing anything to them. Play at range to minimize the chance of getting rushed down and maximize the chance the enemy hits one of the stronger bits of armor (mantlet). Being bottom tier in this vehicle is not the most pleasant experience

Ammo
35/23/2 AP/APCR/HE
It’s the same gun you had at tier 7, but now you can fight the Maus. The HE shells are mostly useless, but I can’t resist having a few for Borsigs.

Rating: 4/10

Tortoise:

Great in hare-y situations

This is the tank the past 4 vehicles have been building up towards. Much like how the battleship was the pinnacle of the turreted heavy gun carrying ship, this is the pinnacle of the AT series.

Compare with similar tanks

Pros
2nd best DPM in the game (if we don’t count unplayable tanks, you pedant)
Best in tier DPM (over 4.2k with proper loadout)
– Best in tier DPM
– Excellent rate of fire
– High accuracy
– Excellent gun handling and accuracy
– Large gun traverse (which conveniently lines up with optimal angling)
– 10 degrees of gun depression
– Strong frontal armor
– Perhaps the trolliest cupola in the game (only center half is weak)
– High pen HESH shells

Cons
– Slow
– Low alpha for a TD (400)
– Poor camo
– Upper glacis ineffective when shot from above
– Invites gold shells and ARTY focus

Playstyle
You are the DPM god, all will fear you… if you can ever catch them, that is. Your goal with the Tortoise is simple: get yourself into a position where you can have uninterrupted firing of your gun without getting killed for it. When this tank is allowed to keep firing, it will melt the enemy away like no other. This is an amazing tank at perma-tracking, and if they run out of rep kits and you can track and damage them, it’s feasting time. Keep an eye on how your team is doing, as you need a lot of time to reposition if a flank needs support or you need to retreat.

On open maps, try to avoid getting lit if there’s arty. The tortoise has a well deserved reputation for having a great gun, but being very slow. ARTY will glady abuse your low mobility and camo to remove your gun from the game. If there is no ARTY, you can be a little more aggressive, but remember you’re not a T95. You will get gold penned, and the enemy will eventually get shots through your cupola. Avoid hill fights wherever possible. Even when using maximum gun depression, your cupola will be visible long before your gun is able to shoot.

In more urban environments, try to find right hand corners so that you can hide your weakspot. The low alpha makes the Tort poor at trading, so you need to get some tracking shots unless the enemy is incapable of penning you. Your high accuracy and gun handling is great for sniping weakspots. Make sure you keep a teammate or two nearby in case you get rushed. Some tankers may turn around and go to fight another flank if they see a Tort, as they have no desire to fight that DPM, armor, and accuracy.

Note/Rant: I really want to like this tank; I do! It has one of the highest tier IX TD MOE reqs and can be amazing in the right situation, but I just can’t seem to make it work much myself. The armor is too fallible, too easily penned by gold. 330+ HEAT shells, which become ubiquitous at these tiers, are the worst being almost impossible to successfully angle against. You can’t really buff the armor any more though without making it far too difficult to deal with for lower and equal tier tanks not firing gold. It’s so slow and inflexible on top of that… it just doesn’t click with me yet.

Ammo
30/15/5(max) AP/APCR/HESH
Despite excellent accuracy, there are still tanks you will face that you will need/want premium rounds for. The short reload makes swapping shells quite easy, so you don’t often get stuck wishing you had a different shell.

Rating: 7.5/10

Badger:

A tank that looks great on paper, but just isn’t.

Pros
-Excellent dpm
-Strong frontal and side armor when angled properly
-Good base pen
-Unique alpha (480)
-Strong hull down

Cons
-No turret
-Slow (The no turret thing here doesn’t help)
-Easily tracked and then flanked
-Artillery magnet
-Pulpit like front protrusions vulnerable to gold and high pen TDs
-Weak APCR shell

Playstyle
The Badger should be played like an E3. Sit hulldown at medium ranges and shoot at whatever comes in front of you. The problem with TD’s that have “low” alpha (<650) is that people are less scared to trade with you. You don’t have the fear factor the 750+ alpha tanks have and you aren’t punchy enough to stop a push with a few shots. These tanks unfortunately fall into the semi support TD role, hardly ever leading a push due to its limited mobility, and struggling to micromanage multiple angles due to not having a turret. Play the Badger like a support heavy. Sit behind the heavy hitters and go for track+damage shots, farming juicy track assist damage, and pushing when you have support.

Compare with similar

Ammo
35/20/5 AP/APCR/HESH

Rating: 6/10

I really like the idea of this line. I remember going through my armored fighting vehicle visual encyclopedia and reading how thick the armor was in awe. The Tort when I originally played through it, did not meet my mental picture of it. These days it has armor more in line with my imagination, but it still has that one flaw: speed. The whole line suffers from it. It makes it hard to get the tanks into the positions that they’re needed in, no matter how good the rest of the vehicle is.

RAMBLING PARAGRAPH: The other hereditary disease of this branch is the cupolas. The mid tiers get some atrocious cupolas which really hamper the vehicles. Side note: I wish the AT 7 got the option to mount the gun on either the left or the right. The AT 2 used to be godlike with armor, but they nerfed it into the ground and then some. Used to have 200+ effective at tier V! Badger feels wrong for the line somehow. From tier V, you can feel the progression of this line improving on each iteration ultimately culminating in the tort, and then they throw that whole design out the window in favor of something new. The turtle bridges the gap a bit. If I could go back in time, maybe I’d make the turtle the tier IX with excellent 120mm and the AT-15 a tier 7 (wouldn’t even need to change it much). It would make the progression of the line feel more natural. Obviously, you could never do that these days because people love the Tortoise as is. Maybe they could make a reward Super Tortoise like the current one and make the historical tort tier VIII?

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