I’m not very good at driving tanks and LAVs in Battlefield, I’ll happily admit. I’m much happier at taking that secondary position – the gunner, as it’s usually known. And, I think I’m quite good at it too. So, here are some tips – both at being a gunner and how to treat your gunner if you’re the driver. A lot of the this advice will also work for Battlefield 3 and, indeed, for other vehicles.
So, let’s start at the beginning. The difference between a supported tank and an unsupported tank is night and day. When two people work together in a tank, you can absolutely wreck the battlefield, mowing through enemy forces and armour like Gods. Flawless 8k-10k point games will become the norm, and against a weaker team, 15k-20k is not unrealistic.
Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people don’t really understand how tank support is supposed to work – they hop into the second seat to gun, and just sit there trying to pick off opponents until the tank blows up – which is usually just two or three kills later, if you’re lucky.
The primary job of the secondary position is to protect the tank whilst the driver steers and uses the main turret for maximum, and often long distance, destruction of the enemy. To this end you’re equipped with a heavy machine gun and optics of your choice.
- Let the driver do most of the killing: If your driver is good, he is going to be able to kill enemies long before you ever get a shot in. Besides, you’ll know that the HMG isn’t particularly affective for long period of times – a group of enemy soldiers may look tempting but you’ll soon overheat soon after the first kill. Unless they’re threatening your vehicle, keep the gun cooled.
- If the driver has an LMG secondary weapon then they can protect close range themselves. Therefore, protecting in the opposite direction to them is the recommended option – if they’re facing forward, you face backward.
- Get used to the over-heating of your gun – run it too long and it will overheat and you’ll have a lengthy delay. Fire it in shorter bursts and you can prevent this happening.
- Which optics you use it a personal choice, probably between “Zoom” and “Thermal”. Personally, I favour the latter as you can look for, otherwise hidden, heat signatures. Drivers normally have Zoom as they have more need to see distant objects.
- * Again, the gunner upgrade is a personal choice. I’ve tried the incendiary, which can protect you from infantry getting too close, but I find that by the time you’ve switched to it and deployed, they’ve already planted their C4, or whatever. It takes 10 seconds to reload and only deploys to the area you’re pointing to at the time, so only protects a small area around your tank. Proximity scan is, therefore, my own favourite.
- Play as engineer and equip yourself with the repair tool. When your tank takes on another, equally, powerful vehicle and there is little infantry about, get out and prepare to repair. Hide yourself from potential fire by standing the opposite side of the tank from where the “fire fight” is occurring.
- If infantry get too close or are just generally becoming a nuisance (hiding behind a vehicle and appearing to fire missiles at you) then get out and track them down on foot. However, don’t risk yourself un-necessarily – if you’re killed you’re leaving your vehicle open to attack.
- You exit the tank on the side that you’re pointing, so bear this in mind when potentially exiting the tank on the side that you’re being hit!
- Don’t give away your position – every time you fire the HMG, you give away the tank’s position. The idea of a tank being sneaky might be hard to imagine but there is nothing better than sneaking up on an enemy tank and quickly disabling it.
Treating your Gunner
It’s often the case that I’m not playing with team mates so will end up hoping in a vehicle along with a “random”, often not on mic together (especially with BF4 where only Squad communication is allowed). And, I can say with hand on heart, I’ve been treated to some really bad treatment. As a gunner myself, here are some suggestions on how the driver should treat their secondary – after all, they’re there to help YOU (hopefully!).
- If the gunner gets out to repair, protect them. If they are on comms, tell them the best place to stand. Do NOT drive off and leave them unprotected, repair torch in hand.
- If you’re on your own and you don’t feel like driving any more or just feel like hunting someone down at foot, feel free to bail (although remember you’re leaving your tank to be potentially taken by the enemy). However, if you have a gunner don’t. Unless the tank is about to explode you should remain at your position. Suddenly bailing and not coming back will take the gunner a while to realise – during which time he is extremely vulnerable.
- When you are in communication with your gunner and there is no imminent danger from other vehicles, switch to the secondary position when your gunner is repairing. That way you can protect him, and your vehicle. Once he’s done you can switch back and allow him to re-join in this prior, secondary position.
That second point is quite important. Nothing is likely to cause more animosity within a game than abandoning a fellow player.
I, and others, have even known people to drive off the map, purposefully abandoning, leaving the gunner to die as they can’t get back within the map boundaries in time. Why? Because they didn’t want a gunner and this was their way of getting rid of them. This is stupid – if you don’t want to be a team player, maybe this wasn’t the game for you.