Battlefield 3 Vehicles: Tank Edition

Vehicles are one of the differentiators in the Battlefield franchise and one of the many reasons I love to play. Here is the start of a series of blogs in which I share some tips on how to use them. I’ve broken the classes up into offense and defense. Offense focuses on gameplay using the vehicle, defense focuses on gameplay against the vehicle.

Main Battle Tank (MBT)

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Tanks pack a big punch but their slow acceleration and turret rotation speed make them unwieldy in tight spaces. Used correctly and you can dominate the battle field.


Offense, defense, driver, gunner, it doesn’t matter. Get into a voice channel and communicate with your squad. The engineer in your squad won’t hear how loud you’re frantically hitting the spot key on a tank rolling up on your position.

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Tank hunter. Go to where you’ll be the most useful. Provide support for infantry who are struggling against a MBT or IFV.

Don’t lead the charge. Move up with infantry to support you. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you’re surrounded by enemy AT infantry. That said, know when to blitz an enemy position. A tank rushing will scatter enemy infantry and make way for your infantry to move up.

Know when to pull back. Your tank is probably the only reason why the enemy isn’t overrunning your position. Use the smoke unlock and back up to evade incoming projectiles.

Face your enemy. Your front armor is the strongest, your rear armor is the weakest and your side armor is somewhere in the middle. An RPG hit in the rear will do 3x as much damage vs the front.

Prioritize targets. Take out the big threats first, MBTs, IFVs and AT infantry. If you suspect the vehicle your fighting is being repaired, place a couple of HE rounds at the ground near the rear of the tank to kill the repairman.

Range. Your shells can travel half the length of the largest maps. With the zoom optics or guided shell unlocks you should have no problem hitting distant targets in wide open maps. Remember to lead your targets and account for gravity.

Blow up stuff. If you saw someone run behind a wall or into a building, blow it up. Even when you can’t destroy cover the HE shells have area of effect damage so the wall or floor near the enemy to kill them.

Make it rain. When an HE tank shell goes off next to you, your view shakes and blurs, your ears ring, debris flies everywhere, dust clouds your vision. You’re suppressed. Keep firing shells where you think the enemy could be hiding. It will make it pretty miserable for them and sometimes they’ll break and make a run for it and give you the opportunity to gun them down.

Use the spot key. You can’t shoot everywhere at once. When you initially roll into an area and the enemy scatters you’ll have a better chance of keeping track of everyone if you spot them first.

Using the thermal vision makes it easy to spot both enemies and AT mines.


Use the spot key. If you’re the gunner, you literally have nothing to do with your left hand but push the spot key.

Prioritize targets. Ignore MBTs and IFVs. After spotting these vehicles don’t waste your time shooting at them. You can’t hurt them anyway. Look for AT infantry to gun down.

Repair. Hopefully you brought your repair tool with you. Usually you’ll need to hop out and repair when going toe to toe with another MBT.

Always be scanning. You don’t have to worry about driving so you are free to look for enemies. Look down alleys, into windows and along fence lines. Keep your eyes peeled for infantry waiting for you to pass by and give them an open shot to your rear armor.

Watch the sky. Look out for helicopters and planes that are lining up for a strafing run. Your LMG can be effective at taking out air vehicles but don’t bother shooting at something half a map away when you should be looking out for immediate threats.

Watch your back. Unless you’re driving backwards, the driver is probably looking forward. It’s your job to look for sneaky C4 planting infantry that only want to ruin your day. If you’re extra paranoid the third person view will allow you see the sides and rear of your tank.

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Use the spot key. Armor and AT infantry on your side are just itching to blow stuff up. Even mortars can destroy tanks if they’re damaged, but they won’t know where to drop their rounds if you don’t spot the tank.

Unless you’ve got something that is going to do some damage, don’t shoot the tank. Small arms fire It will just give away your position.

Flank. Hit the sides and rear armor when possible, they’re the weakest. An RPG will do ~22% damage to the front, ~44% to the side and ~60% damage to the rear. A javelin will always do ~33% damage.

Scatter. The MBT can only track one target (two with a gunner) at a time. If your whole squad runs to the same spot, you’ll all die together.

Drop some AT mines around heavily trafficked areas. One mine to disable, two to destroy.

Spawn with something to fight back with. Stop hiding behind destructible cover and bring the fight to them. If you start hitting them with RPGs or rockets they’ll think twice about sticking around. You might even get them to abandon their tank.

Don’t panic. Wait for an opportunity to contribute. If you can sneak up to a tank with C4 be sure to plant two. One won’t cut it. If you don’t have something that will damage the tank, sit tight until someone else does some damage. After the tank is disabled you might see someone jump out of the tank to repair. Shoot that guy. If you catch them both out of the tank you might even be able to repair and steal it.

Don’t be an asshole

If you see a teammate jump out of a tank to repair it, don’t steal their tank.

Don’t get in the way. Work with other vehicles, not against them. Don’t block their retreat by pulling up behind them and don’t block their view by parking in front of them. Space out so you can cover a wider area.

What did I miss?

Let me know in the comments.