How to Not Die From CAS

Hello friends! Recently there has been a lot of complaints about CAS in ground battles, with discussion of a ground - only mode. Here are some simple tips to avoid dying from CAS in the meantime. Hopefully this helps improve your ground experience!

Introduction- the CAS perspective

What is CAS? CAS stands for Close Air Support. Essentially, using aircraft against small, tactical targets such as tanks, emplacements, vehicles, and infantry. In War Thunder, CAS refers to any use of aircraft to attack ground targets in ground battles (or naval, but that’s not important). Depending on the aircraft, BR, and a couple other factors, spawning in an aircraft necessitates one or more kills/captures. CAS aircraft typically utilize bombs, rockets, or missiles to destroy ground targets, though some may be able to use their guns.
When a CAS aircraft spawns, it appears at relatively low altitude several kilometers away from the battlefield. The player then needs to make their way to the battlefield, locate targets, deploy ordinance, fend off any enemy aircraft, and hopefully get back to the airfield alive.
A good CAS player will cooperate with their team, prioritizing important targets and providing support and reconnaissance for their teammates. A mediocre CAS player will take whatever the first target(s) they find. The worst CAS players will focus exclusively on the player that killed them. This is colloquially known as “revenge bombing”.

A CAS aircraft

Another CAS aircraft

Another, nother CAS aircraft?

Part 1- don't be detected

The best way to avoid dying to CAS is to simply not be seen. As described above, the first step for an aircraft once it reaches the battlefield is to locate a potential target. Especially at lower tiers without FLIR, this can be the most difficult step for a pilot to get right.

Tactic 1- stay mobile
When a player dies and spawns in an aircraft, they must first find a target to attack. However, they will at least know where one enemy recently was- you when you killed them. While a good player will survey the battlefield before commiting to an attack, one looking for quick kills or revenge will beeline to your position. So don’t be there. After getting a couple of kills from a position, relocate. The more people you kill from a position, the more likely one will attempt to bomb that position. By staying mobile, the enemy team will not be able to use their deaths to locate you, and you will not be killed by CAS nearly as frequently.
Ground kills before CAS’d (always relocating): 20

Ground kills before CAS’d (never relocating): 4

Tactic 2- avoid obvious spots
Similar to above, CAS aircraft when not provided with intel from ground allies will have to resort to other sources to find targets. Because any time spent over the battlefield is dangerous with the threat of SPAA or FAD (more on that later), players with any experience will prioritize searching for targets in likely spots. Likely spots an aircraft may investigate include recently captured/contested zones, frequently used sniping spots, major travel routes, or, for a scummy player, spawns. Minimizing time in these popular areas will go a long way towards not being the target of CAS.

Who could have guessed there were enemies at the C overlook??? W0W!

Tactic 3- use cover
Much like avoiding fire from ground targets, cover can be your best friend for avoiding fire from aerial ones. The type of cover is different, however. A small rock formation will block line of sight from an enemy on the ground, but will not provide any concealment from the air. Instead, make use of tall buildings and especially forested areas. Foliage found on most maps can make even detection by FLIR nigh impossible.
Roofed areas like the A Factory are also excellent places to be concealed from the air. Can you spot the 5 tanks hiding in the circled area of this image? The 262 couldn’t!

Tactic 4- camouflage
This is pretty obvious, but good camouflage can make it much more difficult to be spotted. Using bushes not just on the front of the tank but the top as well can dramatically decrease the ease of spotting from the air.

The difference between a tank without a proper camouflage (above) and one with winter camo (below) on a winter map as seen from above.

Tactic 5- hold fire
Often, the easiest way to find a tank is to wait for it to fire. Muzzle flashes and machine gun tracers are much easier to spot from the air than a tank. In particular, firing machine guns willy nilly at an aircraft is the best way to get its attention and entice it to attack you. So, instead, avoid firing into the air unless there is a good probability of hit. Similarly, don’t waste time in prolonged sniping battles against an enemy that is very difficult to kill. Relocate and pick a new target. Repeatedly firing form the same position will only draw attention from the air and ground.

I wonder where an enemy might be…

Part 2- don't be killed

So you’ve been spotted. It’s ok! Happens to the best of us! Here are some ways to avoid dying to that aircraft.

Tactic 1- situational awareness
The first step to avoiding being jumped by CAS, just like any other opponent, is to pay attention. Keep your head on a swivel, your eyes peeled and your ears open. The simple change of looking for enemies in 3 dimensions instead of 2 will make an immeasurable difference in your ability to stay alive. Paying attention and seeing the enemy aerial vehicles is the foundation to all methods of avoiding or countering CAS.

This is Nigel. Nigel was too tunnel-visioned on spawncamping to watch the skies. Don’t be like Nigel.

Tactic 2- stay mobile
Wait, a repeat? That’s right. Not only does staying mobile make it more difficult for CAS to find you, it also makes you more difficult to hit. Naturally, a moving target is just more difficult to hit than a stationary one with unguided weapons. That much is obvious. However, even guided weapons are less effective against moving targets. Laser-guided ATGMs are more likely to land a non-lethal hit on a moving target, and there’s a chance that by moving around you will happen to break line of sight on any incoming laser or TV-guided weapons, breaking lock. In addition, weapons with a delay fuse can sometimes be simply outrun if your vehicle is moving fast enough. Of course, this is decreasingly possible against increasingly larger bombs.

Direct hit!

But I kept moving and drove out of the blast radius!

Tactic 3- teammates and positioning
Another method of defense against CAS is to become a less appealing target. This can be rather simply achieved by positioning oneself well relative to teammates. For a good or mediocre player, a cluster of enemies is going to be far more appetizing than a single opponent. So don’t be part of that cluster! Remember spacing! Conversely, sticking nearby to SPAA or other vehicles with air-defense capability will make all but the angyest of CAS think twice before making an attack run.

Tactic 4- use cover
Another repeat? Yeppers. Rather than using cover for concealment, here we are looking to block ordinance. At higher tiers, this can mean using rocks, buildings, or terrain to break line of sight and therefore the lock of a guided weapon. At lower tiers, cover can be used in a wider variety of ways. Trees, foliage, or dense buildings can force aircraft to drop ordinance from higher altitude, reducing their effectiveness. Buildings can act as shields against bombs, both before and after they have been dropped. Terrain can be used to make yourself a much more difficult target for bombing.
Demonstration of how being on the downwards slope relative to incoming CAS can make you a smaller target.

Tactic 5- smoke screening
At higher tiers, smoke grenades can be used quite effectively to break line of sight on guided weapons. By popping smoke and moving around behind or within it, dodging automatically guided weapons is quite easy. This technique is less effective against SACLOS or MCLOS weapons, as players using those weapon types are typically paying more attention and are able to react to smoke quicker than players using automatic guidance. Nevertheless, the probability of a lethal hit dramatically decreases when line of sight is obscured. Just make sure to actually move once the smoke is deployed, as players and some weapon types will continue to aim at your last known location!

Smoke screens like this one a BVM just dropped can provide effective protection against guided weapons.

Tactic 6- bomb dodging
Unguided weapons such as rockets and especially bombs require quite a bit of player skill to land on target. This is especially the case against moving targets. Simply moving erratically and changing speed or direction when an aircraft makes its run can often be enough to avoid unguided weaponry. However, these dodges can be made more effective with some simple knowledge of how bombs typically miss. A combination of psychology, camera parallax, and input delay means players tend to overshoot. This means the best direction to drive to avoid a diving aircraft is towards it. Doing so will work with a player’s natural tendency to overshoot.

Incoming bombs behind me- I gotta reverse

An nought was lost less tracks!

Tactic 7- shooting down ordinance
All types or ordinance will explode when hit by a bullet of any calibre. This means that any bomb, rocket, or missile in the game can be shot down. However, the high speeds and ballistic trajectories of bombs and rockets make it quite difficult to hit them. Far easier to shoot down are ATGMs, which move relatively slowly in a relatively straight line towards the player. With a bit of practice, a helicopter’s ATGMs can be somewhat reliably destroyed by machine gun fire before they hit you!

7mm machine gun vs AS.11

Part 3- fight back!

Tactic 1- FAD
Fighter Air Defense, or FAD, is usually the most effective counter to CAS. As any Air player knows, there is little an attacker, especially one laden with ordinance, can do against a dedicated air superiority fighter of the same BR. Helicopters are even more vulnerable to FAD than CAS aircraft, being essentially stationary targets with limited manueverability. A single good pilot in a fighter is usually enough to keep the skies clear of CAS for their entire team!

Even a Bf-109 is enough to take care of any helicopter and most subsonic attackers! Plus the bonus of God Mode!

Tactic 2- SPAA
The second dedicated anti-CAS method is SPAA or Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft. As the name implies, these are ground vehicles dedicated specifically to destroying enemy aircraft. While the missile rework has diminished the performance of many higher-tier SPAA, the class as a whole is still rather effective at dealing with CAS. I personally recommend using MANPAD systems such as Stingers, as these systems were affected much less by the missile rework.

Even someone bad at SPAA like me can still get quite a few air kills with Stingers! Note: all but one of those deaths were while being spawncamped. It was not a very good team.

Tactic 3- IFVs
Infantry Fighting Vehicles or IFVs are a modern class of vehicles found in the higher tiers of War Thunder. They typically feature a fast-firing autocannon intended for anti-infantry fire and an ATGM for anti-tank work. Without any infantry, the autocannon is primarily used in War Thunder used against enemy ground vehicles. However, just like the autocannons on an SPAA, an IFV’s main gun can be very effective against enemy aircraft. With the pretty standard laser rangefinder and increasingly common electro-optical tracking system, an IFV can rather reliably counter helicopters and low-flying aircraft.

Optical tracking systems on IFVs such as this PUMA can allow IFVs to perform anti-aircraft duties much like radar SPAA!

Tactic 4- Tanks
Finally, there are the tanks themselves. While certainly the least capable of defeating CAS, tanks are not helpless. Heavy machine guns can be quite effective against enemy aerial vehicles, and it’s even possible to hit aircraft with a tank’s primary cannon!

DM33 1, Su-7 0

Hope this helps! Happy Tankin’


Very nice and detailed ‘tutorial’ might say , for newer people and of course seasoned or veterans of the game .

But for myself in BR 10.3 at the moment , laser guided missiles by jets , while they get thermals and be able to shoot you from 5+ km’s or 16k feet ( for my non metric friends ) . It’s not easy to “not die” or like dont get spotted . If no team capable spaa to take enemy cas down … it’s pretty much game over for a team

Nice tutorial ! 😊
Please add the “tutorial” tag !

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Good call!
I’m new to the forums but not the game, so I don’t really know how to work all the tags and such very well lol.

Is whining about about Chinese cheats,Germany suffering or Russian bias mandatory for an American main? Asking for a freind.

Very comprehensive and complete tutorial! I learned (and practice to varying degrees of success) all of the tips you mentioned just through playing the game for a year…and watching Thunder Show. (Which, if you pay attention to the poor players on the receiving end, shows you very clearly what not to do. XD) Nonetheless, it was great to find someone taking a positive approach to the debatable subject of CAS in GRB, and helping the people complaining about it. Excellent work!

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thanks! :D

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Good stuff. Now we need a guide how to play a map correctly. And etiquette, fair play of not spawn camping down tier

There is no 10.3 plane with thermals and laserguided rockets

I assume I can implement these, but what about matchmaking? As a result, although it seems singular, it is a team game. I shot down 4 planes with a T-62 in one match, the anti-aircraft gun next to me did not even fire, I was among the top 3 in the team, but there is a system that tells me I lost. :)

Despite everything, well done, nice tutorial +1

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One item missing under this heading is turning off your engine if you’re away from the main battle. I’ve spotted many tanks by hearing them driving along under cover.

When I’m on the flanks, if I see any planes coming I’ll cut my engine to ensure they don’t hear me. Obviously they do have to be at a somewhat low altitude though.

I believe this is the main cause of deaths for many tankers. They are tunnel visioning on 1 target that they forget air exist. I die very little amount of time from CAS due to paying attention to the skies and ground. Situational Awareness is very critical. More players should read this post, this tutorial is 100% true and easy to put in action as I have done all these myself.

I would add on Tactic 2 - SPAA

  • Fire when target is within range to avoid being spotted early. This will increase the chance of shooting down the plane. Shooting early will just alert the CAS that there is a SPAA in the field and that will change the pilots tactic and target the SPAA first or keep a distance from the SPAA to avoid getting shot down.
  • Stay 500 meters behind your front line and well hidden while CAS gets near. CAS will mainly target the heavies or any defenseless tank so staying near them will make it easy for the SPAA to aim. Once in range fire. If the front line is gone, back away. Don’t stay in the spawn when your team is at the center of the battlefield, SPAA won’t get the job done there.
  • Practice 1 main preferred SPAA to get used to shells velocity and become better at aiming
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