Scouting Discussion

This is a thread for discussing the proliferation of Scouting in game, and which vehicles should or should be regarded as reconnaissance vehicles. The Scouting mechanic can be discussed but is not the primary focus.

What type of Scouting availability best fits your opinion?
  • Light tanks and IFVs only
  • Light tanks, IFVs, and light tank destroyers
  • Light tanks, IFVs, SPAA
  • Light tanks, IFVs, SPAA, and light tank destroyers
0 voters

Reconnaissance (aka recon, or recce) is an interesting topic and an essential component of real tank warfare. Good recce can make the difference between life and death, or victory and defeat.

Currently War Thunder has an imperfect but workable Scouting mechanic, and light vehicles can use Scouting to identify targets to their heavier and better-armed teammates. This benefits both players in the form of a kill for the tank and an assist for the Scout.

However, all is not well in the recce realm.

Low-tier battles often lack scouts, as in many cases the historical recce vehicles of early WW2 are stuck behind the Rank I Scouting Threshold. No light tanks in Rank I can have Scouting due to this policy, partly order to keep the game simple for new players.

Examples of historical recce vehicles that are stuck in Rank I;
M3 Stuart tanks (multiple nations)
M22 Locust
M8 LAC (USA & China)
M8 HMC (USA & China)
Panzer 38(t) n.A.
Sd.Kfz. 140/1
Sd.Kfz. 222 (Germany & China)
Sd.Kfz. 234/1
Sd.Kfz. 234/3
Tetrarch I
Daimler Mk II
AB 41
AS 42/47
AMD.35 (SA35)
AMR.35 ZT3
Pbil m/40
[Israel does not currently have Rank I vehicles, but has plenty of potential recce vehicles if Rank I is added to the tree]

As we progress up the tree, we notice some countries have very few Scout vehicles in particular Ranks eg. Japan has no recce at all in Rank II, USA, UK, and Japan have only 1 recce in Rank V, UK and France have only 1 each in Rank VII. Israel in particular have no recce vehicles at all at Ranks V and VI, and only 4 recce vehicles in their entire tree.

Some countries by contrast have a very healthy selection of Scout vehicles eg. USA and Germany have 7 each at Rank VII, USSR has 5 at Rank V, USA has 6 at Rank IV, and USA has 7 at Rank II.

Many vehicles which historically have little to no association with reconnaissance have Scouting either to make up for deficiencies in their tech tree, or due to mis-categorisation of their vehicle as a light tank. An example is the M18 GMC, a doctrinal tank destroyer which has Scouting in game because it is (some would say mis-) classed as a light tank.

At mid-to-high Ranks, many nations lack light tanks or IFVs (not for lack of potential vehicles), and instead their light tank destroyers function as supplementary Scout vehicles. At higher ranks many SPAA have Scouting in order to supplement their anti-aircraft abilities and give them a secondary purpose in game.

Many nations have large “blank spots” of recce in their tech tree, and are forced to use low-BR Scouts at high tier.

In Summary; a large number of viable Scouting vehicles are locked in Rank I, but would still be useful or fun to use in Rank II and III.

Additionally, at many ahistorical vehicles have Scouting, in part due to the lack of real recce vehicles the trees.

Personally I’m a bit of a fundamentalist on the subject (no Scouting for SPAA!) but I’d like to see other opinions.


I think in general light tanks and IFV’s for all ranks.

BUT i also think the ability should be given to modern vehicles with the ability to datalink.
Not sure if its a good idea but the same goes for CAS. if the specific plane has datalink then it should be able to spot Ground vehicles. Even moderns drones should be able to.
I think this ability should stay above rank 7 though if ever introduced.

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Unfortunately that scouting ability would be quite op on Drones, or helos. Even some planes.
Imagine guy just sitting on spawn and just flying drone and spotting whole enemy team whole game.
It would be more realistic, but have negative side on gameplay…
( Yes I would like it also, and even if that drone scouting could have 2 or 3 times longer cooldown compared normal spotting)

Yes, there would have to be some sort of limitation on it, like the form of drone scouting we already have it could be that it doesn’t give rewards to scout something from a plane or drone. That way a guy sitting in spawn and only scouting would be counted as “afk” or “not active”.
It could also have longer cooldown and shorter time the target remains scouted.

I think all vehicles should have basic scouting as that is a realistic part of warfare. As in marking enemy for teammates. I do believe some vehicles should have a more enhance scouting, i.e. the scout drones, allowing light tanks to gain the decrease in SP for aircraft, or other possible additions to those light tanks/scout vehicles to enhance their scouting perk.

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Yep, but if there’s no rewards, why would I (or anyone) help team on spotting threaths if it doesnt benefit my gameplay or grinding at all?
And also it is minor thing, but would be nice to have better sl/xp rewards from scouting and having some little extra if CAS kills your spotted target and also for CAS player to get extra on killing spotted ground targets. Instead of intelligence , It could be eye on sky, or something like that. :D


True, although some players already do that with the scout drone.
then perhaps not give the ability to the small drone and only the big one? so that its not immediately useless once you’re out of missiles and you could keep the rewards.

I still prefer taking CAS over that drone. 750/1050sp for something what is shot down in 95% change before achieving anything doesnt feel a good plan. That scouting ability should be on both or just small drone what that thing is actually developed for , but it would need a lot of work to be balanced.

On this topic I would prefer that each vehicle had its real role, making only the vehicles that were used for reconnaissance have the possibility of using it, giving them more profits per enemy detected, but being in higher Br. For example, having the M8, the sdkfz 222 and 234, etc. What happens is the same as always, this change would be interesting with larger maps and a realistic damage model.


I really do agree with you there, though I’d like to ensure that niche vehicles and in particular airborne light tanks and tank destroyers based on light tank chassis such as the ASU-57, or FV102 Striker, also get Scouting. I think that their supplementary role as recce adds to their usefulness.

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It wouldn’t be bad, after all airborne tanks are designed to be deployed quickly, so they would act practically as reconnaissance vehicles.

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IRL any unit with a radio can and is expected to be able to send a spot report.

I enjoyed scouting missions in last BP ,resisting the urge to fire was fun.Shame the rewards were so low.Maybe the stat chasers might be worried about how scouting missions effect their kill ratios? I am suprised the German WW2 command tanks don’t have a scout options as they have the big comms aerials and were made to relay messages.

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Yes, Sighting and Contact reports are part of the repertoire of any soldier, with the following caveats;

  • Some vehicles are only equipped with a single VHF radio, for communication with their Company-level formation.
  • Some vehicles are equipped with two or more VHF radios, for communication with multiple Company-level formations, plus the Battalion or Battlegroup.
  • Some vehicles are equipped with one or more long-range HF radios, though most are not.
  • Some vehicles are equipped with a data radio, though most are not.

Bearing this in mind, we know that the communications equipment varies from vehicle to vehicle, and not everyone is capable of speaking with everyone else.

We also know that soldiers are trained as specialists in their particular role. Recce soldiers will be better at reconnaissance than your average tank crew, and the way we depict that in game is through the Scouting mechanic.

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Good point there, maybe if command vehicles were the only ones that could issue Fire Orders for artillery then they’d have a place in the game? Just a thought.


Yes its a good idea👍

everyone should be able to, but just light tanks should get big bonusses out of it.

Rank Is need to have Scouting, them not having it is one of the dumbest design decisions in the whole game.


I think the policy is in place to avoid Scout spam in low tier games, but its secondary effect is that you can’t bring the real life WW2 recce vehicles up to Scout after you get out of 2.0

Maybe, but it feels like an idea someone thought up without considering any outside context, in that… no other mechanics are restricted like this. Scouting is just “click on enemy to spot them”, it’s hardly a learning curve issue for new players. There are so many other things they could disable/restrict, but nope, just Scouting.

Heck, disabling Arty at Rank I instead would be a much better option, if there has to be something.