The British tank destroyer line ends with a bang in the form of the FV215b (183) which packs a mean punch. The somewhat slow, well armored, and fast firing guns that span from tier 5 to tier 9 are thrown out the window resulting in a unique game play experience not found on other tanks. The FV215b (183) equips a 183mm HESH cannon that trades low alpha/high rate of fire for a high alpha/low rate of fire weapon. To balance this deadly firepower out the tank is lightly armored, very vulnerable, and requires constantly thinking to stay alive.
This guide will break the FV215b (183) down according to firepower, armor, mobility, miscellaneous stats, and also go over a general outline on how to best play this tank.
The main focal point of the FV215b (183) is it’s 183mm gun on it. It packs a whopping 1,150 alpha and 2,788 DPM for the AP rounds with a 100% crew, brothers in arms, gun rammer, and ventilation. This fits it in just ahead of the E-100 in terms of DPM and below the T110E5 and lower than any other tier 10 tank destroyer by a wide margin. The premium HESH rounds bump the alpha up to 1,750 and the DPM to a staggering 4,242 DPM with the same set up as before. This DPM puts it ahead of any other tank in the game by a fairly large margin and on paper makes it look completely broken.
HESH rounds share the same shell mechanics as HE rounds meaning that they do not normalize which makes it more of a challenge to actually penetrate a piece of angled armor. They also share the same characteristic of having the damage largely negated by spaced armor plates, mantlets, and track armor. This is because HE/HESH shells do not pass through multiple layers of armor, but rather have the penetration calculation be in place only for the first piece of the tank hit and after that it explodes. Hitting any areas of a tank with spaced armor cuts the damage down to the 150-800 damage range which greatly reduces the usefulness of HESH rounds. For example if a HESH round is fired at a Bat Chatillon 25t and hits the tracks even though the round has 275mm of penetration the damage inflicted would vary from 150-800 since the tracks “soak up” the damage.
The main hurdle to overcome is to know when you should load HESH and when you should use AP. HESH rounds against most tier 9 and tier 10 tanks with over 275mm of effective armor in the front simply do not work since you will constantly be hitting them for under half the damage as the 1,750 that is listed. HESH is great against tier 8 tanks, tier 9+ mediums, and tier 9+ tanks if you can get to their sides/rear. Remember while shooting the sides/rear you must not aim for the track areas regardless of the armor behind it since the damage will be reduced greatly. Tanks like the E-100 which sport thick side armored that is slightly sloped and also spaced armor+huge tracks are very difficult opponents to face with HESH and are best left for AP. HESH rounds also have a 5m splash radius which must be taken into account at face-hugging range and also if allies are near.
Now that the AP/HESH round difference is covered you need to take into account the other aspects of your 183mm gun. Keep in mind you have a base rounds per minute(RPM) of 2 which when equipped with a 100% crew, brothers in arms, gun rammer, and ventilation drops down to 24.76 seconds. Coupled with this is a .40 accuracy and a 3.4 second aim time which makes long range shots and snap shots difficult. The penetration values are 310mm for the AP round and 275mm for the HESH round. These are enough for most tanks but due to the bad accuracy/aim time it can make dealing with tanks like the Maus, E-100, IS-7, etc. difficult since you cannot hit specific locations.
Due to the unconventional and high alpha gun on the FV215b (183) cuts had to be made elsewhere. The armor suffers greatly and aside from a few small areas this tank is vulnerable to any tank facing it. A full weak spot guide which breaks the armor down for the frontal, sides, rear, and angled views of the FV215b (183) can be found here. As seen in that guide the only “well protected” areas are the mantlet and to an extent the beak on the frontal glacis. Both can still be penetrated by tier 10 guns and premium rounds laugh at even the most protected areas of the FV215b (183). Knowing this you should always plan multiple places to hide in and to fall back to since you cannot rely on your armor to protect you.
Due to the low overall armor around the entire tank destroyer drivers will find module and crew damage to be a huge issue. Frontal hull penetrations cause many fires due to the fuel tanks being located there as well as the driver and engine just ahead of the turret. From the sides penetrations in the vicinity of the turret/beneath the turret will see ammo rack damage. Due to the low turret armor the commander and loaders also die often due to the large target it presents.
Surprisingly the mobility on the FV215b (183) is adequate that you often find it is faster then it should be. The top speed is only listed at 34.3 km/h which is low however the acceleration and ability to hit that speed easily allows it to keep up with tanks like the T110E5. It is also slightly more mobile than the FV215b tier 10 heavy tank as far as acceleration goes and overall mobility. The traverse speed of the hull and turret are also high enough that being flanked isn’t a major concern as other tank destroyers. One key thing to keep in mind is to not let this mobility get you into places you cannot get out of especially since side shots frequently cause fuel tank, engine, and ammo rack damage.
Gun depression for the FV215b (183) is an area that many drivers will wish that they had. This tank only has -5° and +15° depression/elevation which leads to issues on hilly terrain especially taking into account that the turret is a rear mounted design. Advancing over any small bump/hill is terrifying and driving at the bottom of a ledge can spell doom as well since in both cases you cannot fire back in time. Many overlook the 12 total shells that the FV215b (183) can bring into a match. Most battles you will only find yourself using 6-8 due to the long reload. However there are times where if you are expected to carrying your team to victory or that match comes down to the final 3 minutes you will be on the verge of running out of ammunition. Save your shots, make them count, and only rush them if the risk if worth it.
The price of each round is also a cause for concern since the AP shells cost 2,250 and the HESH cost a staggering 8,000 a piece. Even landing all of your shots and having a premium account you will find you lose between 5k-30k credits even for victories while firing a 50/50 split of AP/HESH. Due to the large size of the tank destroyer the camoflauge values are also non-exsistent and being spotted at long ranges is an issue. Even with the 400 base view range FV215b (183) drivers will often find themselves spotted without seeing anyone in return.
Equipment wise I suggest a gun laying drive due to the 3.4 second aim time, and also a gun rammer/ventilation due to the long reload time which will help bring it down even further.
Firing While Stationary: 2.0%
Firing While Moving: 1.22%
Aiming Circle Spread
After Shooting: 5.753
Turret Traversing: 0.384
Turret Traversing Full Speed: 6.14
Hull Moving: 0.249
Hull Moving Full Speed: 8.55
Hull Traversing: 0.249
Hull Traversing Full Speed: 7.98
Hard Ground: 1.151
Medium Ground: 1.342
Soft Ground: 2.301
Playing the FV2215b (183) is very difficult since it must be played differently than most tanks. The rear mounted turret, lack of armor, huge alpha, long reload, and good mobility make driving it different than any other tank in World of Tanks currently. The golden spot to engage enemy tanks in falls between 100m-175m. Further out from this the accuracy isn’t enough to damage tier 9+ modestly armored tanks and closer and you run the risk of being flanked/face hugged. Knowing how to side-scrape(reversing with the rear sticking out from cover so you can fire with a rear mounted turret) is key since it will give you just enough armor to survive. Above all be fearful of SPGs since you will be targeted and no they will not forget about you after you disappear for a few seconds. As mentioned before the ability to know when to use HESH and AP is important and will come with putting games under your belt in this tank.
At the start of the match it is very useful to dart out to a “safe” spot that has a good firing line on a well used path for mediums/mobile tanks. Load up a HESH shell and take your chances at whacking a medium/side of a heavy/etc. and then pullback into cover. After that you will want to re-position to where your team has tanks that can support you and your long reload. Setting up in cover on the flank your team is defending will scare away and delay most attacks since most people know by now this tank packs a mean first punch. Being on the side that is more aggressive I find is a tad more useful since you can help take out one tank very quickly and turn the tide of the engagement in your team’s favor. Just be ever aware of any SPG fire and also do not outpace your teammates which you will need to cover your reload.
One trick which can work in a specific situation is to intentionally miss with your HESH shell. If you are faced with a tank like an angled E-100/Maus that you cannot penetrate with a loaded HESH shell…instead of reloading to AP and waiting you can fire the shell beneath the tank. Due to the 5m splash range you will then “splash” into the floor armor of the tank and do more damage than you would trying to hit the thicker angled armor. This isn’t ideal but can be beneficial to uprooting an entrenched tank and also works for splashing low HP tanks you cannot hit directly.