Hello everyone, today, we are going to have a look at the new tier 5 tank destroyer that came with 8.9 – the Pz.Sfl.IVc. Since 8.9 came out, this strange vehicle has earned several names: Flaktoaster, Bangbus, Flakbus or just “the Toaster”. Nevertheless, this vehicle continues this German TD line trend of very fragile yet open-topped vehicles. If you think about it, the trend is actually clear: T4 to T7 vehicle move from very comfortable to very uncomfortable traverse-wise (the higher the tier, the worse the traverse), this is changed only by the T8 vehicle, that has a turret. Back to the Sfl. The first thing you notice when you buy it is the fact it’s HUGE. And I mean really big. This does cause some issues when you are trying to hide behind a bush: remember that one virtual spotting check point is located on the vehicle roof – so if the bush is too small and a part of the “roof” (open-topped) is sticking out, the vehicle WILL be spotted. In other words, you have to pick your bushes carefully and go for the big ones. Always make sure the bush or tree is high enough. Furthermore, the size causes the camouflage to be somewhat poor: I was running it with a camo net and full camo crew (crew is another issue, we’ll get to that) and I still got spotted much more often than in the StuG III. You absolutely HAVE to stay behind (not relying on stealthy approach), otherwise you will get spotted. This is partially offset by comfortable viewrange (380m), that allows you to snipe However, make no mistake: despite being so big, this vehicle is a race car. It’s fast as hell and despite its paper stats, its agility is amazing. You will outturn pretty much anything short of light tanks and on flat land you can easily reach 50-55 km/h. This is due to the fact that the vehicle is relatively light (cca 23 tons), but has a very powerful (for its tier) 400hp engine. There is a price to pay for that however. This vehicle has no armor – on some spots literally. The hull is only like 20mm thick (14mm on the sides), but the superstructure on it is 6-10mm thick. That means one thing: everything will penetrate you and pretty much every HE shell will do MASSIVE damage. This vehicle only has 350 health and can be easily oneshotted by any howitzer above 75mm – even regular 75mm guns with HE shells will do outrageous damage to you. You literally cannot afford to take any hits. True, you are fast, but unless you react quick or are lucky, the first shot you recieve will be your last. This makes the vehicle NOT being good for beginners and it somewhat causes its bad reputation. Fragility is the hallmark of the entire branch, but it is on this vehicle you will begin to really feel it as a problem. One thing you have to beware especially are the light tanks. While other tank destroyers such as StuG III can deal with scouts to some extent (by facing them with frontal armor, that can stand some punishment and is resistant to lowtier autocannons), it is the autocannons that prove to be a moral danger to the Sfl – especially the spamming Panzer IC, its machinegun will tear you to pieces in seconds, or at least crippling you. This aspect also makes the Sfl mobility largely a strategic thing and not tactical: you won’t outrun light tanks or lighter meds, it merely allows you to get very fast to where you want to be, much like the Hellcat, that – however – compensates this drawback with a turret. The armor and low health pool is also connected to the fact that once you get spotted, EVERYONE will see you as free XP pinata and they will start shooting at you immediately. With its fragile reputation, this vehicle attracts possibly the most fire in the game I’ve ever seen. Other tanks have this “one of the many” factor, but this one makes the enemies instantly focus on it, which also is the effect of the gun. There is one more quite serious issue with it: the crew. Unlike the Marder 38T with a standard 5-man setup (commander, loader, gunner, radioman, driver), this beast needs a crew of 6 with two loaders and two gunners (dropping the radioman), while the vehicle after it (Nashorn) returns to the 38T crew scheme, so does the tier 7 Sturer Emil. Tier 8 has only 4 crewmen (dropping the radioman again), tier 9 needs two loaders and so does tier 10. In other words, the loader you will need for this tank won’t be used until tier 9 and the secondary gunner won’t be used ever again. This is quite annoying when it comes to proper crewmen training, because at tier 9 you will suddenly end up with an untrained crewman from the Sfl. Not very comfortable. But of course, this vehicle has good sides too – apart from the mobility. Its good side is called the GUN. Sfl can mount three guns. The lackluster (but doable) stock 75mm, the 88mm L/56 Flak equivalent and the 88mm L/71 equivalent. And all that on a tier 5 vehicle! The last gun however is unique to Sfl and optional – you don’t have to research it in order to progress to the Nashorn. So, here and now, let me tell you two of the perhaps not-so-obvious things that turn this vehicle from “meh” to “holy crap”. First: you do NOT need the top gun First gun: 88mm FlaK 37 L/56: 132 PEN, 220 DAM, 8,82 ROF, 0,35 ACC (1940 DPM) Second gun: 88mm FlaK 41 L/74: 194 PEN, 240 DAM, 8 ROF, 0,32 ACC (1920 DPM) And now compare it to the top StuG III DPM: 1799 The top gun L/74 has better penetration, but for tier 5 vehicles that meet usually T5-T6 opponents, 194 penetration is overkill. You don’t need that. It also has slightly better accuracy (not that much of a difference), but it has two MAJOR disadvantages. First, you have to research it and it is not cheap. It costs 16500 XP to research, which is more than a half of what you pay in XP to unlock the Nashorn (26500 XP). Note again that you do NOT have to research the top gun, so you have to choose whether you leave that 16500 XP for the Nashorn. I suggest you do. Second argument against the top gun is its terrible traverse. This needs a bit of an explanation. You Continue reading →

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