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That time of year has come around again folks, where veteran World of Tanks players will receive their Well-deserved Reward! The value of these rewards are scaled depending on the level of veterancy, with players who created their accounts prior to 1st Jan 2018 also receiving the four "Well Deserved Reward" vehicles:- T-50-2 (WDR2018)- Super Hellcat (WDR2019)- Super Chaffee (WDR2020)- VK 28.01 mit 10,5cm L/28 (New)
This article and the attached gameplay review focusses on the new entrant to veteran garages, the Reward Tier VI German Light Tank VK 28.01 mit 10,5cm L/28 which for brevity we'll call the VK 28.01 105 through this article…
The "Scout Hetzer"
The standout feature of VK 28.01 105 is its 10,5cm L/28 howitzer, borrowed off the Tier IV Tank Destroyer Jagdpanzer 38(t) "Hetzer". This weapon combined with Light Tank characteristics and pushed up several tiers results in a complete change of brief for the gun. While the Hetzer might be able to obliterate its Tier IV opponents, VK 28.01 105 takes on a much more specific mission – To smash enemy light tanks and wreak havoc against weakly-armoured second-line vehicles and SPG's.
The damage-per-minute output of this tank is frightening, with a base of 2,434HP/min with its AP/HEAT shells however the destructive potential can be seriously amped up to 2,850HP/min with the HE shells. The characteristics of its shells are laid out as follows:Standard AP 350HP Alpha 64mm Penetration 470m/s VelocityPremium HEAT 350HP Alpha 104mm Penetration 376m/s VelocityStandard HE 410HP Alpha 53mm Penetration 470m/s Velocity
A new shell enters the tube 8.63 seconds after firing, allowing you to smash same-tiered Light Tanks within 10 seconds of entering the brawl with them. Once the Light Tank screen has been cleared and enemy lines penetrated, SPG batteries can be cleared in seconds thanks to the one-shot potential of VK 28.01 105's main armament. Also worth noting is that the 105mm calibre will overmatch any armour plate <35mm thick regardless of the angle of incidence, thus lightly armoured vehicles must rely on other characteristics to survive an engagement with this vehicle.
Of course those who've experienced the 10,5cm L/28 on the Hetzer would be astutely aware of its atrocious dispersion which translates substantially to the VK 28.01 105. Base dispersion of 0.53m/100m combined with lumbering shell velocity leaves this weapon best suited to engaging close-range or static targets. Fortunately the dynamic dispersion brought about by movement of turret, hull or the entire tank is on par with other light tanks at tier and the 2.21s base aim time is respectable for a derp cannon.
Unfortunately the penetration values of the tank leave much to be desired, and can result in some very situational gameplay in the face of opponents with a semblance of armour. Frontal engagement of Heavy Tanks and many Medium Tanks is a feckless exercise even with the Premium HEAT loaded, so the "Scout Hetzer" will be forced to pick its battles.
…but still a Scout
Despite the situational nature of its main armament, VK 28.01 105 retains an impressive set of credentials for a Light Tank. With 380m viewrange, appropriate equipment choice and crew development can buff this in ways that the vehicle remains highly relevant to the battlefield and medium-long ranges. In the tradition of many German Light Tanks however, VK 28.01 105 is a big tank and dwarfs many vehicles that other nations might regard as Medium Tanks. To this end, some soft cover found on the map might not be compatible with the stature of this vehicle and terrain undulations that might hide other light tanks from sight might still leave VK 28.01 105's catching the breeze. This is also reflected in its concealment values, which are slightly below average.
Either way, VK 28.01 105 becomes a more effective scout when there are no more enemy scouts left on the field. Mission priority should therefore focus on either knocking them out or enabling your team-mates to knock them out on your behalf. Your equipment choices will often predetermine whether going loud or going soft is the right answer, to which end Field Modification progression will provide maximum flexibility and adaptability for the tier spread on your loading screen.
Equipment & Crew Loadout
With so many ways to play, there are few completely right or wrong answers as to how the VK 28.01 105 is set up. During my review of this vehicle, I sought to boost the anti-scout properties of the vehicle, running with the following:
Optics are essential for effective light tank play, so either Coated Optics or Binoculars in the "Scouting" slot wouldn't hurt. The next two slots will define whether you're aiming to scout passively or aggressively. My loadout went with emphasis on the latter, using Improved Aiming to reduce minimum dispersion to 0.50m/100m and the Gun Rammer to keep the 10,5cm L/28 firing as frequently as possible. The addition of the Gun Rammer has proven to be saving grace many times during testing, where fractions of seconds can count as to whether or not you win a duel against any enemy light tank. Remember scout-on-scout engagements often occur at close ranges, because that's what it takes for viewrange to ultimately defeat concealment in World of Tanks. This provides limited time to react, but fortunately the closer-ranged fights suit VK 28.01 105's main armament best.
Players with residual discomfort as to the size and concealment of the vehicle may seek the benefits of a Camouflage Net or Low-Noise Exhaust, although the latter would be preferable to reduce the risk of being seen before you're fully established in soft cover. If you're stuck for choice, Improved Ventilation will provide benefits in all key areas. Aim Time and Dynamic Gun Handling characteristics of the vehicle are acceptable, so a Gun Laying Drive or Vertical Stabilisers might not act as beneficially to the vehicle as other equipment choices.
As with most Light Tanks, crew skill development should focus on Viewrange where possible and Concealment when not. Intuition is not a wasted skill on VK 28.01 105, as the ability to quickly act on a decision to change shells could make a huge difference to the outcome of a fight. This might include rapidly switching to a HEAT shell in the event of a Medium Tank rush where AP/HE won't cut the mustard (or the armour).
Countering VK 28.01 105
Same-tiered light tanks should be extremely wary of the "Scout Hetzer" as it will garage them with just two shots. For a derp tank, VK 28.01 105 reloads remarkably quickly so your game could be over within 10 seconds of first contact. Maintaining distance and avoiding over-extending beyond the line-of-sight of friendlies will minimise your risk of the tank singling you out and out-brawling you. Playing a more passive game might allow you to find advantage over its below-average concealment values.
Active scouts would do well to fight with a Medium Tank in close support, many of whom are quite capable of shrugging off the standard rounds (and even the premium rounds) of this vehicle. T-34-85M is one of the greatest nemeses of VK 28.01 105 as it simply has no option to survive an engagement with it other than running, flanking or some incredibly lucky shots with a main armament not known for pinpoint accuracy.
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