The shoot-and-scoot is a basic offensive and defensive tactic for any ground vehicles, it allows players to momentarily engage other ground vehicles without extendedly exposing their vehicle to the enemies' line-of-sight (LOS), thus effectively reducing the risk of being destroyed. It can be done by any ground vehicle with the ability to maneuverer on the battlefield. It can be used to great effect on Realistic and Simulator battles and in a lesser extent, on Arcade battles.
This tactic can be considered one of the most natural ways of armour fighting within the game, simply since players will usually try to hide their vehicles and come out to attack, either a clueless or already engaged enemy. As solid visual concealment is most of the times, enough to provide protection.
The idea of the tactic is that the enemy generally cannot fire something they haven't noticed first. At least, after the initial attack has been made or unless an enemy scout communicates the player's location beforehand. If the player position has been noticed, the shoot-and-scoot tactic will remain effective but the risk is increased exponentially the longer the same scooting position is kept. This tactic should result in the increased survivability of the vehicle used and with at least one enemy vehicle destroyed.
The player must find an adequate spot. An adequate spot will provide total vehicle concealment from the enemies' line of sight. E.g, a large rock, a corner or a slope. After the player's vehicle is visually covered, the spot should be strong enough to withstand enemy fire; a wooden shack is unlikely to survive extended enemy fire. Therefore the best locations to perform shoot and scoot are the landscape's covers; either rocks or solid ground. Equally reliable are the indestructible structures as buildings, debris or stone walls. In the heat of the battle, this adequate positioning should be implicit as the first step for the successful use of the tactic.
Once the position is set, the player needs to observe the battlefield and find an unsuspecting target. This can be done integrally by the use of the binoculars or using the commander's optic, another simple and effective way to do so, is using the free lock camera, by default the C key. Ideally, the target must not realise the attacking vehicle - at least not until is too late. When feasible, make sure there is no other enemy vehicle in the immediate surroundings. This checking for any other enemy vehicles is crucial since if too many, the player will get caught during the tactic. If possible, use the range finder beforehand and set the gun, setting everything for the perfect shot.
Once everything in place, the only thing left is to attack. Jumping out of cover and shooting as fast and decisively as possible, and then scooting the previous perfect spot. If done right, this tactic can be repeated several times until is time to change position. This is at the discretion of the players, whether or not the position is being effective, compromised or completely useless. Keep in mind the enemy aircraft will be eager to eliminate the vehicle the longer the player stays in the same place.
As simple as it seems, with an appropriate vehicle in the right spot and under the right hands, this tactic can influence heavily the outcome of many battles.
Variations of the tactic
The fundamental three steps remain the same, in this more defensive variation there is now the fourth step; repositioning. Once the attack has been done, the player will hastily leave the area completely and move to an adjacent position. This increases the safety of the tactic but might decrease the number of enemies destroyed. This more dynamic approach should be based upon the player's preference, patience or vehicle choice.
While being alone performing this tactic works just fine, a bit of teamwork won't hurt anyone but the enemy. This variation of shoot and scoot involves an allied vehicle. Following the three main steps, the friendly vehicle will proceed to cover the player's retreat and so repeat all the steps once again. This tactic works excellent in extreme long-distance gunnery duels, where two tanks can even manage to halt any assault if done correctly.
Optimal vehicle requirements
The tactic involves the quick forward and backward motion of any ground vehicle. This means the player should have a decent amount of horse powers to show up outside their cover, fire and then go back, as quickly as possible. Second but equally important, the vehicle needs to be decisive in the shooting, of usually only one chance. As such the optimal requirements to perform this tactics are:
The vehicle doesn't needs an extreme top speed, but it does need some acceleration to show up timely enough. Any sluggish tank coming out of cover will likely result in an easy enemy frag. Heavy tanks have an issue in this aspect, especially if they have a large size or low top speed (IS-2 (Family), Tiger I (Family) or Churchill VII) Their poor attempt to perform this tactic can surely end in a rather pity vehicle immobilization.
Capable main gun
If a gun lacks the needed punch, the enemy might survive and even fire back. Follow-up shots are risky since they will make the attacking player 4vulnerable to any incoming enemies, therefore is a must to incapacitate the enemy vehicle in the first attempt. Anti-aircraft as R3 T20 FA-HS, BTR-152A and IFVs such as Warrior, Ratel 20 or Marder A1- might suffer on this aspect if their main gun (Generally automatic cannons) is not powerful enough to pierce armour. In these situations the shoot and scoot is not a viable tactic, unless as last resort deterrent.
Essentially for scooting, the vehicle needs to quickly go back to safety. A reverse speed should be adequate enough to give the player a second chance to retreat or reposition, in case they fail the attack; a poor reverse speed is only likely get the player destroyed. Notably, most early British vehicles (Rank I-IV) and late Soviet MBTs (Rank VI+) suffer from the lack of reverse speed.
As a bonus for the tactic, one positive feature in the offensive department is any sort of stabilization system. Even the vertical semi-stabilized guns as those on the T-10A will drastically increase the effectiveness of the shoot and scoot.
Aside from the optimal requirements, this tactic can be performed by anyone and any class of vehicle. Depending only of the need for an offensive or defensive stance, with a right situational awareness and the tacit reminder of the steps. Yet is true some vehicles with decent mobility and powerful main armament are likely to excel in this tactic. Mainly the medium and light tanks, followed by some SPGs and at last, some faster heavy tanks. Most MBT's are exceptionally capable in this tactic since the needed combat capacities have been standardized towards the top-tier ranks.
At the moment of attacking an enemy, some things can go wrong. One of them is the inability to knock out the tank in the first attempt, in this case, the enemy tank can notice the player's position and thus compromise any further attempt to shoot from that spot. Obligating the player to reposition. This can be particularly dangerous when fighting MBTs, as some are equipped with Hunter-killer gunnery systems that allow other members of the crew to fight back, even if the gunner has been disabled.
Another fail scenario involves two or more alerted enemy vehicles. When advancing out to shoot, they notice the player's vehicle coming out and either suppress it from attacking or knock it out in an overwhelming way. This can occur if the attacking player was not patient or thoughtful when observing the target to engage.
When being engaged like this, one of the most effortless ways to counter the shoot and scoot is by the intelligence of the scouting tactic. A scouting-capable tank needs to notice the threat in advance and spot the vehicle to the rest of the team. Since then, is only a matter of time for the tank to come out of cover to fire, only to be expected by already alerted enemies.
Smoke shells and artillery are also effective when countering the static variant of the shoot and scoot. While aerial strikes and scouting help to counter the mobile and more aggressive variants of shoot and scoot.
Pros and cons
- Attacking player is in control of the engagement; the vehicle remains safe before attack
- Can be done almost everywhere on every map
- Doable by most, if not all classes of vehicle
- If done right, the player is likely to preserve the vehicle through the entire battle
- Countered with ease by 2 enemy vehicles
- Vehicles with lacklustre reverse speed can't perform this tactic
- Requires a temporal exposure of the vehicle; risking to get destroyed
- Low-penetrating autocannons and low calibre guns will struggle with this tactic