The penultimate German vehicle at this time, the Leopard 1A0 can be considered as one of the best vehicles currently available in War Thunder for the higher tiers. The DM13 APDS (Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot) round is capable of easily penetrating the majority of the foes it meets, but these rounds do require finesse as to their placing.
Because the shell lacks an explosive filler, your best bet is to try and either knock out the majority of the enemy tank's crew, or to destroy the enemy by ammo or fuel detonation through hitting their respective storage capacities. This, of course, requires knowledge about the vehicles you may face - so be sure to use the game's X-Ray view in the hangar and analyse your potential foes for their weak spots!
After unlocking the advanced DM12 HEAT-FS (High-Explosive Anti Tank Fin Stabilised) round, you will be able to use your knowledge of enemy vehicle layouts to your fullest potential - as you now have a round at your disposal that can penetrate any vehicle's armour frontally.
Why does it perform so well? It is because of it's fin-stabilisation. Compared to regular HEAT rounds, the projectile's spin whilst in flight is reduced, further increasing the effectiveness of the round's cumulative metal jet that pierces the enemy's armour. There are other vehicles in the game as well that feature HEAT-FS ammunition, so it's a handy piece of information to keep in mind!
However, this ammo does come with its own downside, which you need to be aware of: Given that it is a chemical energy round, its fuse is highly sensitive in regards to its practical application in battle. As a result, virtually anything, such as trees or even a fence, will set it off prematurely, so you cannot fire very effectively through obstructions with this kind of round.
Apart from the ammunition, the main strengths of the Leopard I are its high mobility and the impressive rate of fire of the main cannon. It has the fastest rate of fire of any tank at rank V, not including the Anti-Aircraft vehicles. In combination with a good gun depression of -9 degrees (meaning, you can lower the gun quite extensively), an experienced Leopard I driver can exploit uneven terrain to effectively fight his enemies without showing much of his vehicle - or being in the inconvenient situation to leave his cover to return fire.
So, your general rule of thumb should be: Scan and use the terrain to your advantage. Take into consideration the moderate vehicle height, which allows you to go turret down in certain locations, allowing you to safely use your commander's binoculars to locate targets! Then, after you have located the enemy, fire a few rounds in quick succession and relocate when spotted, especially when the enemy shots come dangerously close. The Leopard is quite fast, so taking hits from a distance while on the move is a risk that you may consider worth taking.
Always remember: The Leopard is not designed to take hits from large caliber guns, nor fight in stand-off situations against heavier enemy vehicles. Frontally, the angle of the hull can bounce shots once in awhile, but you're better off not to rely on this. The turret front is also the same, it's best to attempt to only fire when you can avoid receiving a shot or relocating to a position if possible.
Sometimes moving is not an option, but remember, directly behind your hull front sits a large portion of your ammunition, at least if you're fully loaded. Always have that in mind when positioning yourself against the enemy - and don't forget that you don't have to stack all of your ammunition racks to their maximum capacity! Sometimes it can be wise to take less ammunition with you, as it will increase your survivability when taking hits - especially with the Leopard!
All in all, the Leopard I is a great medium tank and a very powerful machine if in the right hands. Good luck on the battlefield!
Author: Stephen "Azumazi" Hembree
With an upcoming Update, we will include the following decals to War Thunder:
|"Gneisenau" text, as painted
on a Leopard 1's turret
|Emblem of the PzBtl 304,
Federal Republic of Germany
Decals by Branislav "InkaL" Mirkov