Tanks Alot: A Guide for Using Tanks in Battlefield 3

written by xX Cohoona Xx

The Abrams and the T90… whether burning diesel or jet fuel, the main battle tanks (MBT) in Battlefield 3 are the major ground force to be reckoned with. Overall these two evenly matched tanks have some slight differences. When these slight differences are poured into a destructible environment, they become much more than slight. They become metal and shard hurling rivals with the intenyion of dominating the ground by utter force. To the Battlefield player hearing an enemy tank rumble in means flee or fight, either way equals hours of fun. The following guide has been compiled to assist the novice to the expert tanker on how to be a more effective tanker and have even more fun with your gaming experience.


Following very closely behind your main game objective, is our secondary objective; staying alive with the tank. (Tip: abandoning the tank to the enemy can be very costly) This responsibility falls on all the tank crew, but the driver holds most of the cards in successfully meeting this objective. There are a few simple rules to follow that will assist in keeping your tank moving.

The first rule was just mentioned, keep the tanks moving. Accuracy from both guns can be reduced by moving, but a moving target is much harder to hit with any projectile or even C4. Be aware that the MBTs have three speeds: speed walk, walk, and I’m on fire while coming to a full stop. Unless you are navigating some curves or on a grassy slope, there is no reason to walk. This is especially true when crossing an open area that is without cover; these are primary areas favorable to receive a dump from above by the opponent’s helicopter and jets.

Second rule is use cover terrain to your advantage. All maps have cover of some type available. Some cover will keep you from being seen from above like: trees, pipes, cranes, gullies, tollbooths, and buildings. Other cover can make you a smaller target while allowing you to fire at the bad guys, these include: rocks, crates, street debris, and shipping containers. You can use hills, rocks, and moguls to aim higher in order to get a shot on air vehicles. The cover and terrain are there to assist you on the offense and defense from both land and air threats so use it. When you find yourself in an ambush and there is no cover readily available, don’t be afraid to pull away from the action.

Using a tactical retreat is rule three. This action is done to repair you war horse then go back or approach the objective differently (flank). If a MBT is damaged and/or on fire, it usually results in the loss of that vehicle. Try to retreat before vehicle damage is achieved and so that you can safely repair the MBT.

Effective communication is the last rule in driving. Let your team know where you intend to take them next. This will prepare them on which direction to address to cover spawns or common camping areas and alleys. Let your crew know which side they can safely use the repair torch, this will help you provide crew cover during the quick fix and it may be wise to use smoke in certain incidences. (Tip: you will always exit out of the tank on the same side as your current reticule is facing). Orient you tank between the enemy and your repair monkeys. Remember, there are enemies near and even more of a threat is unspotted mines. The spot button is one of the best forms of communication and it could mark most threats if used. All positions within the tank can mark targets, so spot ahead when possible.

Your main vehicle ground opposition will be the opposing teams MBT and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) depending on the map. All the tanks have the same weaknesses. The very back of any tank, beneath the reactive armor (if equipped) is the most vulnerable spot. The sides and top are next, followed by the front which has the strongest armor (tip: always face other enemy tanks with the frontal armor). When aiming at a tank, one should always take the opportunity (if available) to shoot the opposition in the back armor. If this is not available and the opposition has reactive armor then aims for the turret. The turret never has armor. When taking on an IFV, it is recommended to strike at a distance. The infantry fighting vehicle’s main ability to damage a MBT is done with ATGM Launcher or the sabot rounds (APFSDS-T Shell). These two weapons are inaccurate at range, avoid letting the little guy sneaking up on you.

(Tip: Use 3rd person to drive and scan for enemies and 1st person to aim the main gun)


Battlefield was not meant to play alone, but as a team that is broken into four squads consisting of four squad members. Coordinate and work with your squad on how to effectively crew the tank. Whether you have a two or three person crew with you tank establish some flexible roles of who will repair, who will bail to fight, and who will always stay in the tank.

Once the basics of responsibilities are established between your squad, you will soon begin learning how to work as a team to prioritize your targets. Target priority should be judged by several factors:

  • The threat level of the enemy determines the priority that you should engaged. Is the enemy a current direct threat to you? If it is, immediately engage it. If there are multiple threats, again the target that poses the highest threat needs to be addressed first. For example a sniper is on the left and a support with C4 on the right. The support would take priority due to being a higher threat over the sniper. Did a RPG just whiz by me (tip: Rocket launchers leave a smoke trail that leads to the vicinity of the launcher)? Go get ‘em.
  • Can I damage the target? This question should mainly be asked by the gunner. If you are fighting the enemy’s MBT, shooting it with the machine gun will only make noise. The troops on the side of the enemy tank repairing it are very much fair game because you can hurt or kill them.
  • Are there any easy pickings amongst the targets? A damaged target is usually easily taken down. In the case of fighting two tanks and one is already damaged by team mates, assist them in killing that tank then you can all turn your attention to the remaining foe.
  • Is the enemy an aircraft? If it is a jet, ignore it unless it flies in front of your cannon or is attacking with rocket pods; in which case you would find cover and repair. If it is a helicopter that is not attacking you, ignore it unless it gives you a prime target of opportunity. When it attacks, use cover, the terrain, machinegun, main cannon, and friendly airpower to counter.
  • What is the current field condition? Do I have team mates including “randoms” that are advancing to the target with me? Use this to your advantage and apply crossfire and suppressive fire to assist your team.

Establish a standard of directional callouts with your crew. It is recommended using the front of the tank as the 12 O’clock. Relative directions should be understood between all crew members in order to effectively communicate the positions of the threats.

Using different classes to crew your tank can be advantageous. If you don’t use all engineers, you maybe minus a wrench but you could gain endless ammunition by using a support. This works great with using your tanks SOFLAM and the Javelin. (Tip: support can toss an ammunition box on the back of the tank and it will follow you).

The Gunner and CITV Station

These two seats can seem umm… anticlimactic after driving, but they can be barrels of fun and are the key to keeping the tank healthy and running. When riding in one of these seats, one should have their heads on a swivel in order to protect the MBT. As the gunner, it is usually best in covering opposite side of the main gun (tip: 3rd person provides a wider scan view for enemies). The gunner must pay special attention to target priority. The machine gun that currently is equipped on the tanks will kill enemies that are in close proximity, but at range the damage is diminished exponentially. Tracer rounds, especially in the air, tell the opposition’s vehicles your approximate location.

One of the biggest threats to the MBT is C4 and these two seats are the most common defense against them. The gunner can obviously shoot them and if needed can dismount for the kill. The CITV Station does not have a gun but the crew member manning the station does and can also be used to dismount for kills. (Hint: let your driver know when you leave the tank to battle or you may get left behind)

Vehicle Loadouts

There are three different types of vehicle loadouts that we have been provided. These loadouts are gadgets, upgrades, and weapons. Each loadout is unlocked when a specific vehicle score is achieved and each squad member can choose one of each type of loadout to equip during the game spawn screen, use the customize solder & vehicles (land tab) menu or under the ‘my solider’/customize (land tab) at the main menu.

Loadout Loadout type Vehicle Score to Unlock
IR Smoke Gadget 800
Coaxial LMG Weapon 2,100
Autoloader Upgrade 4,400
Zoom Optics Gadget 7,600
Maintenance Upgrade 12,000
Coaxial HMG Weapon 17,700
Proximity Scan Upgrade 24,700
Guided Shell Weapon 33,200
Thermal Optics Gadget 43,200
Thermal Camo Upgrade 54,800
Canister Shell Weapon 68,100
Reactive Armor Upgrade 83,200
CITV Station Upgrade 100,000

If you are unsure what works bests, it has been found a good starter combination for the tank crew is equipping the driver with the reactive armor (reactive armor is only effective when used by the driver) as the upgrade (tip: reactive armor can be repair individually by a torch or the driver can exit the tank then re-enter to reset the reactive armor). Since it is really hard to go through a game without getting locked onto, using the IR Smoke as your gadget is highly recommended. It only takes two shots from a Javelin to do serious damage, equipping either the canister or guided shell as the alternate weapon pending on the map. Crew members are recommended to use proximity scan and alternate weapon and gadget loadout opposite of the driver to provide some flexibility in your game. The CITV Station does not need to be manually equipped, this feature is available to you automatically upon unlock. Finding out the best loadout combination that works for you and your squad mates to address certain situations will take some trial and error. Get familiar with all the potential abilities of the tank so that you may use them when necessary.

The next time you fire Battlefield 3 up I hope you jump into one of your teams main battle tanks and find this guide useful in causing havoc. Enjoy!


~ by legionofhonorblog on August 29, 2012.

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