Wagen of Death
So I drove the Durchbruchswagen 2 back in 2014 or early 2015 already, and yea, it was because I wanted to get the Tiger I.
Back then the thing was a total bust, especially since I was an equally total noob, but mostly because it had that puny 50 mm weapon on it, even though it was supposed to be a Heavy tank.
I have since come to really like the “5.0”, especially on the Pz III, but back in the day I thought it was completely useless. And, arguably, unless you know what you are doing when trading shots, it pretty much is. Lower alpha with higher rate of fire means you have to work harder and show more skin to get the job done.
Any self-respecting “Low Tier Efficiency Training”-aficionado was driving the Pz IV D instead. Partly because it had a better gun on it, but also because the “D for Deathbringer” as we used to call it was a licence to print credits. I used to keep my tier VII and VIII tanks running just driving the “D” at tier IV.
But then two things happened. First the credit printing coefficient of the Pz IV D was nerfed back to the stone age, it’s something like 79% now. And then, out of the blue, in addition to a hefty boost in credit making capability the D.W. 2 got a new gun.
“New gun” may be a bit of a stretch; it was just the regular old 7,5 cm KwK 40 L/43 off the Pz IV D and several other tier IV and V German tanks. Real bread-and-butter stuff.
But what it did was transform the D.W. 2 from a tank that almost everyone hated and thought was absolute crap, to the quintessential seal clubber. Any half decent player just took one look at the new stats and immediately savvied this thing was going to be a beast. A monster. Practically cheating.
But we’re not all jaded elitist seal clubbers, and so for the benefit of newer players, I thought I’d take a minute or five and try to explain just what exactly the Death Wagen 2 is, and why it’s so good.
Because take my word for it: the thing is really good.
One hundered and forty percent creditmaking coefficient aside, it may well be one of the most successful tanks in the game, and no self respecting seal clubber would be caught dead without one. Even I, well known hater of Heavy tanks and Medium tank elitist, have one in my garage. It’s not even that long since I drove it.
Death Wagen Basics
So out of the box, what you get is… well, a box. 50 mm of armour all around, with flat, German sides, and big tracks that go “clack-clack-clack” in a way that is both imposing and slightly endearing. It’s like the sound gives you confidence and makes you smile at the same time.
Eight degrees of gun depression. Not stellar, but really good for a Heavy tank. 35 km/h top speed. Around seven and a half rounds per minute, giving you about an eight second reload stock, seven point five with a rammer.
And trust me, there is no reason at all to run calibrated shells on this one.
That’s pretty much it. Once you get the crew up to standards and collect all the modules, you are set to go. I personally don’t spend spare parts on equipment below tier VI, but improved controls and a bit of aim assist will work wonders for your D.W. 2.
Heavy Tank Training
Part of what makes the D.W. 2 so good is that it’s a proper Heavy tank. What I mean by that is it can do all the jobs you expect a Heavy tank to be able to do, and in terms of basic playstyle, there really isn’t a lot of difference between driving a Death Wagen and driving a Tiger II or E75.
You sidescrape. You hull down. You angle the armour. You push forward and tank the damage.
“Tanking damage” just means you take the hits for your team because you have the strongest armour. The idea is for those hits not to actually penetrate, but in a pinch you can use your hitpoints to keep someone else alive and keep their gun in the game.
Eight degrees of gun depression means you can hull down really well. This is the D.W. 2 hull down against a French tier V BDR G1 B “Badger” Heavy tank:
As you can see, the French shell will go straight through unless it hits your side armour or the edge of your gun mantlet, so moving back and forth to mess up their shot is your best bet.
Side scraping will work out to 20 degrees; this is the Death Wagen backing out from cover against a KV-1:
If you are really pro, you will note the gun sits slightly to the left in the turret, and so showing the left side will give you a few millimeters of an advantage. I’m going to be perfectly honest and say I hadn’t noticed myself.
Also note how the big tracks help cover the sides.
The flat frontal armour is pretty useless against higher tier tanks, and many same tiers also. You want to be around 45 degrees of angle, not facing them head on, because your transmission sits right behind the front plate and it will often catch on fire:
Yeah, that says “Engine”, but it’s actually the transmission.
This is another way the D.W. 2 is a good proxy for higher tier German Heavys; it has the same front mounted transmission and ammo racks on both sides below the turret, so you will take damage and get killed in the same way as in higher tiers.
The Good News
Playing around in Armour Inpector is both fun and educational, but in the case of the Death Wagen, knowledge can also be your secret weapon.
Returning to the KwK 40 L/43, you have three very useful rounds, and learning how to switch between them is crucial for long term success. Everyone knows that weakly armoured targets like open topped TDs don’t deal well with High Explosive rounds, but in the case of the Death Wagen, things are actually much more interesting than that.
38 mm of penetration may not sound like much, but you can actually penetrate some targets frontally with that, and hit them for up to 250 damage on a good day. My favourite is the Russian T-28 Medium tank:
Spending some time looking through all the tier III, IV and V tanks you will be facing, will let you know exactly which round you should be using in every situation, and with a seven or eight second reload to deal with anyway you will have plenty of time to switch back and forth. With eighty seven rounds capacity, there is no reason why you should run out of any one shell type in the heat of the moment.
Nowadays, you can choose to have the ammo bar open at all times, but for an old-timer like me, the ammo button double tap works just as well.
So yeah, they don’t call it the ”Death Wagen” for nothing. I know of no other lower tier tank that has such exquisite balance between armour, firepower and mobility; nothing really compares to it.
Once you learn the basics of Heavy tank gameplay, you can bully same- and lower tier tanks, and outplay higher tier tryhards with as much ease as can be expected with 13 other players around you trying to steal your damage and dodge your shells.
The best part is, with the amazing credit making capability of the D.W. 2, you won’t have to worry about economy; run the most expensive loadout you can, throw a cool paintjob on it, and you will still rake in the credits.
So if you’re not already a ”low tier efficiency training”-aficionado, IrmaBecx says why not become one today. Just watch out for the other seal clubbers.
See you out there!