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A guide to the Churchill I

Churchill heavy brawler sniper

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Panzer_Fenris #1 Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:01 AM

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If you ever plan to go up the British tree, now is as good time as any to start. In 8.2 the XP required to unlock the Churchill I from the Matilda will get a sizeable increase, and unless you really want to spend every battle either never reaching the enemy, or getting to them at the half-way point when you're the only tank left on the team, and you'll struggle to do anything, then you really want to get to the Churchill, where things start to get more interesting.

In that regard, I hope this introduction and guide will be of use to you.


The Churchill I
Posted Image


Contents
  • Introduction and a brief history lesson.

  • What to consider before buying a Churchill.

  • Armor.

  • Guns.

  • Mobility.

  • Crew and gear.

  • Using the Churchill.
1. Introduction and a brief history lesson.

Planned before the outbreak of WW2 as a replacement for the Matilda II and the other various infantry tanks used by the British armed forces, the Churchill, or A22 as its final production version was aptly named, was possibly one of the oddest tanks to see service in the war.

Long, but relatively narrow, with tracks that went all around the hull and rolling on numerous coil-sprung boogies, it didn't come as any surprise that the Germans when they first encountered them believed them to be obsolete designs that the Brits were throwing at them in desperation. It was built to break trough stalemates on a battlefield scarred with shell holes and trench systems, like its WW1 predecessors, but found itself struggling to cope in the far more fluid and fast-moving tank warfare that became the trademark of WW2.

Several times, production came close to getting cancelled. Early versions had awfull reliability problems, and even though these were sorted out, it was still a very expensive tank built for a role that didn't really excist any longer. The Churchill was given one last chance to prove itself when a detachment of 6 Churchill III's, named "Kingforce", were sent to North Africa for further evaluation.
These proved themself remarkably resilent against the German anti-tank guns of the period. No tanks were lost, despite one of them receiving over 80 confirmed hits.

Several Churchill were sent into North Africa, and keept giving the Germans some rather nasty surprised. Thanks to its incredibly off-road mobility, perhaps the very best of all WW2 tanks, it could scale terrain that was believed innaccessible to vehicles, and where thus lightly defended. More than once did the Axis forces have to abandon otherwise excellent positions because some "Crazy Brits" had scaled the mountain behind them, and they couldn't get anti-tank guns up to counter them.

The roomy, stable platform also saw extensive use when converted into various engineering vehicles. AVRE's, ARK's and Crocodiles to mention a few.

The Churchill keept performing admirably in this niche it had made for itself, and became a robust, dependable tool for the Allied commanders with them at their disposal. Lend-lease Churchills even came to replace the KV's of several Red Army units due to their superior anti-tank performance with the 6-pounder, but also due to their reliability after the inital problems were sorted out. A Churchill unit once did a forced march of 300 miles in the space of 2 days with minimal mechanical issues. That is an impressive feet nowadays, and almost unheard of in those days.

Among its merits include the fastest advance recorded by any Allied tank unit during the Italian campaign. It was also the allied tank to have the highest crew survivability. The crew being the most important and valuable part of any tank, I believe one could make a case for the Churchill being one of the very best Allied tanks to see extensive service in WW2.

2. What to consider before buying the Churchill.

You've got a golden opportunity right now to test it out on the test server. I'd advice giving that a go to see if it's something that suits your tastes.

If you don't really want that, here's the short summary of the Churchill.

Every gun but the last one is rubbish against anything that has armor.
But the last gun makes it a pretty darn good second-line heavy, and possibly one of the best tier 5 tanks right now.
It's slow... Very slow.
The armor is thick, but not angled. Protection is decent.
You'll be king when top tier, and clown when bottom tier.
Very painfull stock grind. Free-xp'ing your way trough most of the guns and getting the upgraded turret, tracks and engine is a very, very good idea.

Sounds like something for you? Then read on!

3. Armor.

This is an early Churchill, without the significant up-armoring that came in later models. But it can still be a tough nut to crack if you use it properly.

The Churchill I with the upgraded turret use the following armor scheme. T(h)anks to the guys at Gamemodels 3D for providing this excellent tool.
http://gamemodels3d....odel/gb11

As you can see, it's got some pretty hefty chunks of armor in places. Though, almost none of it is angled, and there are some rather large weakspots that can be exploited at medium to short combat ranges. Unfortunatly, with the everything but the top gun, it's not really an option to stay back as a second-line sniper were your weakspots are hard hit either.

One thing that can be done to protect yourself is to angle it. You've got decent side armor and can thus use pretty wide angles. If you've got the choice, always angle yourself to the left of the enemy in front of you. That will make your right track cover up one of the more obvious weakspots on your front, the drivers position.

Speaking of tracks. As you can see they are very exposed, and you will find yourself tracked pretty often. With the turret squarely in the middle of the hull, this might leave you in a bad position where the enemy can keep sending shots into you, but you can't return fire because your line of fire is obstructed. Keep that in mind before you decide to engage in a peek-a-bo fight.

I haven't had many problems with module damage apart from the tracks, but both your driver and gunner can be taken out pretty fast if you take a proper beating.

It's also worth nothing you've got 700 HP with the upgraded turrets, which is very good on a tier 5.

4. Guns.

Well, the gun choices available to the Churchill I... Let's be fair and say it' a mixed bag.
It took me exactly 1.2 seconds to make up my mind on whether or not to free-xp my way trough the worst of them and up to the 6 pounder Mk 5 L/50, a weapon I was allready rather familiar with from the Premium Churchill. On the LL version, it's a great gun. But that's only because you'll never meet anything above Tier 6 with its enhanced MM.

Not so with the Churchill I. You can out-dpm anything you can reliably pen, but will start struggling as soon as you meet any kind heavy tank and either start bouncing half your shots or chose to loose the advantage of your rate of fire for enough accuracy to hit weakspots. As soon as you meet tier 7's, you can't really do much at all.

The 75 mm is kind of similar. Sacrificing some penetration and ROF for an increase in damage, you can be truly devastating against lightly armored targets. However, you'll be even more useless against anything with armor.

The only gun that one could argue is truly sufficent for anything above tier 5 is the last one, the Vickers 75 mm. And what a gun it is! In many ways, it's very similar to the long 75 that the PZ4 lost. Good penetration, decent damage and ROF, and good accuracy. It changes the playstyle of the tank completely, and I will get to just that in a later section. One downside to it though is its incredibly poor gun depression. Whereas the previous guns are barely into the double digits, the long breach of the Vickers and the low turret restrict it to a paltry -4 degrees. Keep that in mind before trying to bring the fight to the enemy on hilly terrain.

It's also worth nothing that the Churchill has a 3-inch hull-mounted howitzer. This is purely decorative as of now, but will be activated should multi-gun support come along. Never hurts to have a small derp-gun up your sleeve!

5. Mobility.

It's, if you didn't know, rather slow. The upgraded engine is cheap as chips, get it fast.
Even with the upgraded engine, you're still marginally slower in a straight line than the LL Churchill. However, it doesn't feel slower on the battlefield. This is due to the slighly increased turn-rate of the upgraded tracks bleeding less speed.
You'll always be late to the fights, and almost always unable to turn around to defend a base getting capped. You pick a route of attack at the start of the game, and you're pretty much stuck with it. It's a good idea to wait to see where the rest of your team runs off to, and thus where you are most needed to hold the line before setting off.

One thing worth noting is that your reverse speed is pretty decent. 14km/h is easily held on level ground.

Unfortunatly as of now, the Churchill doesn't have the awesome off-road capability it had in real life. This is something the developers are aware of, but it's deemed low-priority at the moment, and it's unlikely we'll see it added anytime soon. I for one look very much foreward to appearing out of nowhere, and laying hell on the enemy team from a position they couldn't imagine anyone could get to. :Smile-playing:

6. Crew and gear.

The Churchills got 5 crew members. Not all that unusual in itself. What is unusual however is that there's no dedicated radio operator, but there is another gunner. As the hull-mounted gun and with it the gunner dissapears on the Churchill VII, this might create some problems if you chose to transfer your crew over after unlocking it. Keep that in mind before using credits or gold to train your crew, and end up with a spare crewman if you don't want to keep the tank.

As I've said earlier, your tracks are very exposed. My first choice for any crew skills would definatively be repair, going a long way to reducing the problem associated with this. If you get a second skill set I'd recommend Jack-of-all-trades for the Commander, and either clutch braking or off-road driving for your driver to negate some of your bigger weaknesses.

I also chose to mount a toolbox as one of my equipment modules. A rammer isn't all that usefull on the lower-tier guns, most allready fire faster than you can aim anyway, but it's worth considering on the top gun. A Gun-laying drive can be usefull, but if you chose to use this as a sniper tank, then binoculars can be an option.

7. Using the Churchill.

There's pretty much two ways to play the Churchill, depending on what kind of gun you've researched so far.

Streetfighter and Sniper.

The first one is pretty straight foreward, and a lot of fun when going well.
With your smaller guns, you rely on your DPM and armor to win your battles.Just keep rolling towards the enemy, preferably at a slight angle so you're effectively angling your armor while moving, and keep pumping those shots out as fast as you can. Don't stop, don't peek-a-bo, and be carefull about anyone trying to slip past and attack you from behind. If possible avoid head-on confrontations with heavies and anything of higher-tier than you.

It's brutally effective in towns against inexperienced/lower tier enemies, but you'll fall flat on your face when meeting anything that is bigger and nastier than you. You'll bounce too often, which reduce your biggest strenght, your DPM.


The sniper way is pretty much only viable after you've unlocked the top gun. The playstyle changes completely. Suddenly you've got a gun with decent penetration and alpha damage, and sufficent accuracy to boot. All this placed on a slow platform, with a hefty chunk of armor strapped on its front, but some rather obvious weakspots that are easy to hit on close range.

Hmm... Sounds somewhat familiar. I find it plays quite similar to my beloved Tiger P actually. While you shouldn't be afraid to get up front and soak up damage or peek-a-bo when top tier, you can also stay back and outsnipe your opponents. Chances are they'll bounce more often on you than you will on them.



And with that, I conclude this guide. At least for the moment being, I might come back, edit and add to it later at some point.

I hope you found it usefull.

Now, fire up the kettle, load those shells, put on some fitting music and roll out!


25.11.12 Edit: Corrected some spelling errors.
26.11.12 Edit: Added snippet about the top guns poor gun depression.

Edited by Panzer_Fenris, 26 November 2012 - 05:07 PM.


cjo1964 #2 Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:49 PM

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Nice guide.
I just got one of these and went straight for the upgrades and its a fun tank to play as you say, but you have to play it right as its sooo slow.
Had to seel a few tanks of lower tier to buy it, but it was worth it i think.
Hopefully they will give it a bigger engine next upgrade ?
I can wish.

piritskenyer #3 Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:05 AM

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I have it maxed out and it just started to really shine. True, sometimes I get beaten up like an idiot but that is more my fault than the tank's. The gun is just wonderful (a little more grinding on the blokes and my reload time will drop under 4 seconds), it penetrates soe T7 (T29 hull is an easy target) and most T6 tanks and all T5s now. Only problem is that low primary damage (my newly bought KV-1 does better with its 85mm, I love the "-300" markers that occasionally appear), that should really be sorted. I also dislike the low speed, but hey, yesterday I saved a match just by being the last guy on scene, thus bringing fresh blood into battle (the enemy wasn't worn down though). Well handled, this thing can rule in an upper-middle and top tier battle. But if you happen to be in a lower-middle or low tier battle, you are royally screwed (although you can kick a Tiger around with ease - I killed one just today).
If I wanted to see a buff it would be speed and alpha damage, but I can live with the current values as well.

moenbeer #4 Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

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One thing that REALLY annoys me is the bad or.. lack of gun depression on the 75 mm.. On El halluf it's really a problem when trying to shoot enemy's in the walley without exposing one self... Or when brawling up close on a cliff. I just can't aim down on the enemy  :Smile_confused:

custardSPARTA #5 Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:33 PM

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My fave teir 5 at the moment, nice post

What equipment do you use everyone?

Panzer_Fenris #6 Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:03 PM

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View Postmoenbeer, on 26 November 2012 - 11:58 AM, said:

One thing that REALLY annoys me is the bad or.. lack of gun depression on the 75 mm.. On El halluf it's really a problem when trying to shoot enemy's in the walley without exposing one self... Or when brawling up close on a cliff. I just can't aim down on the enemy  :Smile_confused:

Very good point, and one that slipped my mind when writing the original post. Adding it now.

piritskenyer #7 Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

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I have a rammer, ventilation and camo net (which will be most likely replaced by a gun laying drive).

And true about that lack of gun depression, sometimes it bugs the hell out of me.

Edited by piritskenyer, 26 November 2012 - 05:05 PM.


TrailApe #8 Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:18 PM

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Quote

One thing that REALLY annoys me is the bad or.. lack of gun depression on the 75 mm.

This lack of depression is possibly it's biggest drawback. It's one of those things that you don't think about much, but when it becomes a constant factor, its really determines your approach to the game. Just as the slow speed of the Matilda's determine on where you are going, the lack of depression on this tank makes you think about where you should put yourself.

Good review though and I'll have kept my Mk1 even though I have bought and am fighting my Mk7.

hatuf #9 Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

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View PostPanzer_Fenris, on 25 November 2012 - 02:01 AM, said:

If you ever plan to go up the British tree, now is as good time as any to start. In 8.2 the XP required to unlock the Churchill I from the Matilda will get a sizeable increase,

How much XP is needed to unlock Churchill in 0.8.2?

Panzer_Fenris #10 Posted 28 November 2012 - 05:40 PM

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View Posthatuf, on 28 November 2012 - 05:39 PM, said:

How much XP is needed to unlock Churchill in 0.8.2?

11500 XP

ricksname #11 Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

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Thanks for this. Just got my Churchill I, and I'm just taking death after death without much to show for it. Hopefully I'll have more luck once I get some upgrades in.

piritskenyer #12 Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:15 PM

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The basic gun is shite. I can tell you that. You'd better come from the Valentine line where you can research the 6pdr, otherwise you are gonna have a baaaad time getting all the XP needed for it.

BloodMoney #13 Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:59 PM

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View Postmoenbeer, on 26 November 2012 - 11:58 AM, said:

One thing that REALLY annoys me is the bad or.. lack of gun depression on the 75 mm.. On El halluf it's really a problem when trying to shoot enemy's in the walley without exposing one self... Or when brawling up close on a cliff. I just can't aim down on the enemy  :Smile_confused:

I agree the gun depression is so poor on this piece of junk tank.

lourdbaltimore #14 Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

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Making a case for the OQF 3-inch Howitzer Mk. I

I'm sure many of you will call me daft.  However...

I got to the Churchill I via the Matilda.  Which means the best gun that is carried forward is the 76mm catapult.
I suppose there is the 2-pdr Mk. X, but after using the Mk. X-B from the Matilda, that seems like a downgrade that would fill me with rage.

So I'm going with the Howitzer for the initial grind.  Ol' Familiar that I'd derp around with on Tilly.

I started playing like I did on the Matilda.  Cruise around the second or third line playing like a very mobile artillery piece.

However, now bring at Tier V, I found the punch of the Howitzer HE shells...lacking.

I had plenty of silver coins that I've been generating with my other tanks.  So I loaded a dozen HEAT shells.

Now I can hurt others.

Urban warfare is a specialty.

The Howitzer loads quickly and at short ranges the slow shell speed is a non-factor.  110hp and 100mm penetration.

I've taken out a Churchill VII and a Crusader that was capping our base and saved the match.

I can still spam HE shells until I get in close.  Then it's time to get to work with some HEAT shells.

Some of you purists may say that using gold ammo (even if paid with silver) is against the spirit of "grinding" a tank.
Too bad.  I'm having fun.

BloodMoney #15 Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

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Just had some luck with this tank.
Some times you have a good battle.


        



Had more battles in it today, its still a really bad tank.

Edited by BloodMoney, 05 December 2012 - 05:08 PM.


Sir_Fury #16 Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

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Was just wondering as you haven't mentioned anything about the seemingly lower armor stats of the turret armor on the upgraded turret - from 101/89/89 to 89/89/76. Seems like a downgrade, atleast on paper. Or do the health & view range buff (& if anything else, like profile or angles) make up for it?

Panzer_Fenris #17 Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

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View PostSir_Fury, on 06 December 2012 - 12:17 PM, said:

Was just wondering as you haven't mentioned anything about the seemingly lower armor stats of the turret armor on the upgraded turret - from 101/89/89 to 89/89/76. Seems like a downgrade, atleast on paper. Or do the health & view range buff (& if anything else, like profile or angles) make up for it?

The chief reason to upgrade is that you'll then be able to mount the better guns. The 2-pounder and the howitzer just doesn't cut it when you encounter tougher enemies.

Lord_Dominator #18 Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:43 PM

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Very nice guide mate! Thumbs up for the effort you put in it.

What I would add to this guide, is that going trough the Valentine will provide you with the chance to unlock some weapons, which will help a lot until you get the last gun. I definitely recommend getting the Churchill trough the Valentine (although I think the Matilda is an overall better tank).

Other than that, all I can say is the Churchill is kind of lacking compared to the other tier 5 heavy tanks. Now, I haven't played much with it, but I would chose the KV-1 or T1 Heavy over it anytime. And the BDR G1B also seems much more effective once it gets its top gun (the grind is also a pain though).

But hey, it's a Churchill, looks cool, and it has history after all :Smile_great:

Edited by Lord_Dominator, 13 December 2012 - 09:43 PM.


Panzer_Fenris #19 Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:58 PM

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Thanks for the feedback, I intend to add that in due time after I've had a go in the alternate line myself. :Smile_Default:

I've got a good amount of games in the KV-1, and they seem to be pretty evenly matched. 1 on 1, the Churchill will come out on top, but the KV-1 usually does better in the chaotic carnage of WOT matches due to a more thorough armor coverage and better mobility.

Indeed! The Churchill has always been one of my favorite tanks. Chiefly because of looks, but also the interesting story on how it came to be and soldiered on trough a war it wasn't designed for. It's a survivor, tough and gritty.

Cocodog13 #20 Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

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View PostLord_Dominator, on 13 December 2012 - 09:43 PM, said:

all I can say is the Churchill is kind of lacking compared to the other tier 5 heavy tanks. Now, I haven't played much with it, but I would chose the KV-1 or T1 Heavy over it anytime. And the BDR G1B also seems much more effective once it gets its top gun (the grind is also a pain though).

this. i think its maybe on par with the kv1 but the t1 and bdr g1b will walk all over the churchill every time they meet 1v1.





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