Thursday, December 29, 2016

Skoda T24 - Deadly Guerilla


The_Ghghp here with a review on the Skoda T24. This time I've also included one of my replays on YouTube in the Playstyle section.

Full Stats

Initially, when I got this tank, I thought it would be a piece of total [edited] like most tier 5 medium tanks. But when my average damage in it started surpassing even my T-34, I knew something was up. So it turns out that while this tank certainly doesn't have the raw DPM that the T-34 offers, it has a lot of handy features at its disposal that definitely make up for it. I ground through to the Skoda T25 in just 49 battles, and have decided to keep the tank for now. Its playstyle is somewhat unique - I feel like it's unlike any other tank in its tech tree line. Nevertheless, it really feels rewarding when played right.

Firepower: Good

The Skoda's gun's major weakness is its DPM. It puts out a measly 1245 damage per minute, since its base ROF is only 11.32. This can pose a problem if the tank is forced into a close-ranged, open brawl. Players who mistake the Skoda for an aggressive flanker like the Cromwell due to the Skoda's speed will quickly learn otherwise. Instead, the gun compliments a more supportive role - let's look at how.

First of all, the Skoda boasts the highest AP penetration of any tier 5 medium tank gun - 132mm. This doesn't seem like a huge deal at first, but 132mm of pen passes a particular "threshold" of what you can pen and what you can't. The gun is able to penetrate right through a KV-1's or T1 Heavy's turret at times, for example. It is able to penetrate an Excelsior, T14, and T-150 reliably. The SU-100 and JgPz IV might have trollish front armor, but the Skoda has just enough penetration to go right through. Even an IS's 90mm side armor can be overcome. Furthermore, with 185mm of pen with APCR, the Skoda's gun can even challenge the frontal hull armor of tier 7 heavy tanks.

The good news doesn't stop there. The Skoda has the best overall gun dispersion values out of any tier 5 medium tank, so while the tank still can't shoot accurately on the move, it doesn't need to spend as much time aiming. The gun also has a fast shell velocity of 900m/s, which helps a lot for long-range engagements and while auto-aiming. Finally, the gun has a generous 10 degrees of gun depression, making the Skoda very effective at ridge-line combat. All this promotes a playstyle focused on providing constant fire support for a team, preferably at a mid-to-long range in order to stay in cover. The gun may not rack up damage particularly quickly, but its sheer reliability ensures that the Skoda can deal damage at any opportunity it gets.

Mobility and Scoutability: Great

With a hp/t ratio of 23.62, 58km top speed, and 40 degrees of traverse, the Skoda T24 has fantastic overall mobility for a medium tank, rivaling the American M7. This allows the Skoda to get in position to get early flank shots and scout, and fall back just as quickly. When the game plays itself out and enemy tanks are weakened, the Skoda T24 can easily ambush and flank them to death. In the early game, however, the mobility of the Skoda is best used to stay out of close-range combat. By engaging enemies at a distance, the tank can pick enemies apart while alternating in and out of cover to avoid enemy attention and return fire. When the enemy begins to advance closer, then you have 2 options: flank and finish off the enemy, or run away and start harassing again. By repeating this tactic, the Skoda can easily rack up a good amount of damage.

Because of the tank's decent view range and fast speed, it can be used to passive scout and active scout if necessary. Active scouting by poking in and out of cover in forward positions, as well as strafing ridgelines can provide vision for your team. Alternatively, using binoculars to scout passively can also work, but be careful since the tank is very tall and easily destroyed once spotted - camo skills are extremely helpful for using this playstyle successfully. Never let yourself get caught out without cover, since although the Skoda can flee quickly, it won't dodge many shells.

Protection: Bad/Mediocre

The Skoda T24 has a very large, tall profile that makes it very vulnerable out in the open. Its side profile is huge, bulky, and only 30mm thick, so the Skoda must exercise extreme caution against tanks with howitzers. Furthermore, the ammo rack is fragile and frequently damaged from the sides of the vehicle. In situations where you will inevitably get hit, it is often better to turn and face its 50mm slightly sloped front to the enemy to minimize the tank's silhouette and vulnerable modules. Best case scenario, stay out of close-range combat and behind cover or a ridge-line, where you avoid getting hit in the first place. When you're spotted, always try to move around or find sufficient cover, since the Skoda is an easy target for artillery.

The turret is also weak - 50mm in the front, 30mm on the sides and rear, with a bulgy cupola that is 95mm thick in parts but unsloped. Luckily, the turret is compact and relatively hard to hit if the Skoda is hull-down, especially at longer ranges and if the Skoda moves from side to side. Learning to minimize exposure with the Skoda T24 by staying in cover and using terrain is very important to stay alive. It always helps to have an escape plan at the back of one's mind, since the tank's poor armor and huge profile often causes a quick death of caught out in the open. Be conscious of your surroundings, and constantly be judging if you're overextending or not. If you have any doubt, just run away to another safe position or lay low for a while to lose the enemy's attention. Typical of a tier 5 medium tank, the Skoda T24 has only 450 HP and will die quickly under fire.


An example replay:

Knowing all this, how does the Skoda T24 play in different matchups?

In a tier 5 matchup, the Skoda can afford to play the role of a typical wolf-pack medium. Tier 5 tanks don't have a lot of HP, so the Skoda can easily cripple any tank with a few well-placed rounds. You can afford to flank more aggressively as well. Otherwise, just play normally - put in shots whenever you get the chance, but avoid situations where the enemy has their full attention on you.

In a tier 6 matchup, you should play much more cautiously. Getting caught into a skirmish with any tier 6 medium tank is almost certain death due their vastly improved DPM and HP. This is when you should employ hit-and-run tactics, attacking distracted enemies and running into cover before they can retaliate. Try to snipe from a distance, staying in the second-line until the late game when enemy tanks are weak enough for you to flank them.  The best, and safest way to outplay your enemies is still to shoot and scoot at a distance.

In a tier 7 matchup, simply apply the above techniques to a more extreme extent. Stay in cover at mid/long ranges, and snipe the enemy when you get the chance. In some maps, you can also try to scout by poking in and out of cover. However, don't be afraid to use your mobility to get in advantageous positions. For example, you can try to set up a crossfire to help your team gain the advantage in a shoot-out. Stay alive, but stay helpful.


Below is my personal equipment setup for the Skoda T24:

Coated Optics
Improved Ventilation
Gun Rammer

I chose coated optics in slot 3, since I prefer a more active playstyle with the Skoda, using its mobility to find the best positions to set up crossfires against enemy tanks. However, binoculars is perfectly viable as well if you prefer a more passive, long-range playstyle.

Train sixth sense for the commander as soon as possible. It is very important to know when you are spotted in this tank, since you will know when to duck in and out of cover to avoid enemy attention. Without sixth sense, you may not know that you are spotted when you poke out to take a shot, allowing enemy snipers to punish you. Other than that, safe stowage is helpful due to the Skoda's fragile ammo rack. Players who prefer to use binoculars instead of coated optics should train camo skills, before repairs, and vice versa.

Overall, I feel like the Skoda T24 is a very enjoyable tank for those who prefer a more passive playstyle. Its playstyle can be compared to the tier 6 Strv 74's playstyle, yet the Skoda offers more mobility. While it definitely doesn't have the raw DPM of the T-34's 57mm, the Skoda's gun feels very reliable, and the tank a worthy platform for it. It's a tank that I will keep and enjoy as a unique and powerful tier 5 medium tank.

Thanks for reading guys. See you later, and have a great New Years 2017!

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