What exactly is a tier 10 heavy tank’s role in a battle?
Most expect a tank with large amounts of armor either covering the entire vehicle or for tanks like the T110E5 have great frontal armor making them capable of soaking up damage while dishing it out. The tier 10 British heavy tank FV215b throws a wrench into the tier 10 heavy tank group and goes in a entirely different direction. The FV215b does not have hull armor capable of protecting it from high tier tank at ranges under 200m due to the large weak spots on the hull. It does have a decent turret armor wise if you are pointing directly at any enemy shooting at you. The FV215b’s main role comes with it’s excellent gun that very accurate, has excellent DPM, and has no serious flaws.
In the end what matters is if the tank is useful or not as armor is only one feature of a tank. But do the shortcomings of the FV215b ruin the overall package?
Detailed armor layout found here http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-fv215b/
As you can see in the weak spot guide the FV215b has decent armor in some areas but in other areas has absolutely nothing. The upper frontal glacis is capable of bouncing some tier 10 shots and tier 9 and lower tank at mid range and while the lower glacis is made of butter it can be hidden. When you add in the adequate frontal turret armor the FV215b is capable of “hull down” in it’s own way since the rear turret + gun depression takes hills out of the equation. Finding small cover such as destroyed tanks or rocks make the FV215b into a much stronger tank and covers up the nasty holes it has in it’s armor.
Due to it’s rear mounted turret it is capable of “side scraping” given that there is hard cover to hard behind. This tactic hides your frontal armor behind hard cover(a building, destroyed tanks, rock, etc) while slightly angling the rear of the FV215b out of cover so that only your turret/tracks are capable of being shot. This tactic is a double edge sword on this tank since the side armor is a minuscule 51mm thick(with an additional 6mm of spaced armor). It is crucial to not over angle or else you will be torn apart rather easily and make sure you keep your turret pointing at enemies and not the side of it. SPGs are capable of splashing you in this set up much more than other tanks due to the 51mm side armor and 6mm spaced armor.
One other important aspect to keep in mind is the engine location on the FV215b. The engine is located just in front of the turret and while it does not receive any damage from penetrating shots on the frontal upper/lower glacis(fuel tanks/driver) it does receive damage when angled. Angling over 15° exposes the side armor and more importantly the raised section of the hull infront of the turret. This area is highly susceptable to engine damage from side shots and this is the key area to protect since the chance of your engine+fuel tanks being damaged increases greatly once this area is exposed.
The doom and gloom for the FV215b is now over now that the armor part of the guide is out of the way! The primary feature of the FV215b is it’s gun and only it’s gun. It mounts the 120 mm Gun L1A1 which it’s base stats are an impressive 400 damage with 6.9 rounds per minute and 269mm penetration with AP rounds. The gun has slightly more damage potential as the T110E5 with the faster reload and has much better accuracy overall and while moving. The premium APCR round while it does not have overwhelming penetration is a plus considering HEAT ammo is very unreliable.
The FV215b also comes with some of the best on the move accuracy for any tank. The aiming circle hardly blooms while moving at full speed and/or with the turret rotating. This allows it to pick up targets rather quickly and get shells down range accurately faster than any other tier 10 tank. The on the move accuracy is so good on the FV215b that while traveling at full speed you can snap your turret to a target and fire at 150m+ and reliably hit it. These two features(RoF and Accuracy) combined make this tank the ideal long range support tank capable of moving around from a distance doing damage.
I consider the FV215b a very mobile tank overall since it accelerates very well from 0-30 km/h and performs decently on climbing hills. It’s hull traverse is also 38°/sec which is great for a tank this size and the turret traverse is also very good at 34°/sec. One downside is the below average reverse speed which is capped at -12 km/h and usually sits at -11 km/h….this is a major downside since at times you are unable to get out of tough situations since your reverse speed is so slow. The top speed is also only 34 km/h which is rather low for traveling long distances and is reached very quickly making it feel a lot less mobile than it really is.
Given the low armor values found on the FV215b it makes sense that the 2,600 HP of the tank is higher than most tier 10 tanks aside from the E-100/Maus. This HP advantage helps negate some of the lack of armor and high damage from incoming SPG fire(due to large size and low armor) and gives you a clear leg up when in one on one fights. Unlike most heavy tanks the FV215b comes with a base view range of 410m which is best out of all heavy tanks and helps it in a long range support role since it can keep watch over flanks much better than other heavy tanks.
One major downside is the low ammunition count at 35 pieces due to the high rate of fire of the gun. At times you will find yourself expending a lot of ammo at the start of the match and being low towards the end. Overall it is only a negative if you waste to many shells and do not land your shots since even with 35 pieces of ammunition it has a potential of 14,000 damage with AP/APDS which is far more than you need in any single battle. Gun depression and elevation are also nothing to be excited about and at times can be a major factor leading to your death. Gun depression being at -7 degrees and the rear turret makes it feel like it is -0 at times when facing over the front of the tank.
I briefly mentioned the high chance of fuel tank and engine damage earlier in the guide which is a very common occurrence for this tank. The driver also can be taken out via frontal shots and the commander being taken out very often due to the large commander’s hatch on top. Ammo rack damage is highly likely if you take to many side shots beneath the turret but by then you are most likely in a bad enough spot that you’ll be dead anyway.
Firing While Stationary: 1.1%
Firing While Moving: 0.58%
Aiming Circle Spread
After Shooting: 3.836
Turret Traversing: 0.077
Turret Traversing Full Speed: 2.61
Hull Moving: 0.096
Hull Moving Full Speed: 3.29
Hull Traversing: 0.096
Hull Traversing Full Speed: 3.64
Hard Ground: 0.959
Medium Ground: 1.151
Soft Ground: 1.918
Learning how to play the FV215b can be very difficult for most players going in expecting a tank like other tier 10 heavy tanks. To drive the FV215b effectively you need to be aggressive while also being conservative at the same time(much like a medium tank). Unlike mediums however the FV215b has the higher HP and slightly better durability which allows it to advance to positions slightly more susceptible to fire but at the same time allowing it to fire on advancing enemy tanks. I find that being on the front line only works in certain situations where the enemy does not focus on me as the FV215b can be quickly dispatched via engine/fuel tanks, SPG fire, or general damage.
It is crucial to learn how the “side scrap” to hide most of your tank while being able to fire back on your enemies. Any kind of large hard cover works and you simply place the front of your tank near the edge of the cover and then slowly rotate the rear of your tank out of cover allowing your turret to fire on your enemies. You can see this done in many of my FV215b videos. While it does not provide complete protection it does minimize the amount of your tank showing while not effecting your ability to fire back. Learning small areas that allow you to hide your lower glacis and “hull down” in a sense is critical as well since it turns you into a formidable foe armor wise.
Typically it is best to find a spot that allows you to support from 150m+ and/or provide you a great flanking route to support your team. Due to the 2,600 HP and great mobility you can flank surprisingly good and use your great DPM to decimate enemy tanks before they can react. In a way the FV215b is another medium/heavy hybrid much like the T110E5 but instead of increased frontal armor it sacrifices some armor and flexibility in return for more firepower/accuracy.
And one last thing…… Make sure to avoid SPG fire at all costs much more than other tanks. Due to the large size and low overall armor the FV215b is annihilated by artillery much more often than other tier 10 tanks. Penetrating hits will very likely take out most of your crew or engine/fuel tanks if it hits in the frontal part of the tank. Splash damage is also very high due to the 6mm side spaced armor being rather useless against T8 SPGs.