Tips I've learned for new SPAA players

After playing for a bit, I’ve noticed more than a few people having a hard time hitting their targets when using an anti-aircraft vehicle, so I figured I’d share a few things I’ve learned over the years for anyone who needs the information.

Avoid hiding in spawn: Although it is certainly safer, you will find it difficult to connect any shots with aircraft due to the distance between you and the action area. Attacking aircraft will usually be firing at the frontline tanks, so they wont be very close to your spawn, and by extension, won’t be close to you. Try to maintain a close proximity behind the frontline. This will allow you to engage enemy planes much closer, and you will need less lead on your shots. Radar guided SPAAGs and SAMs are an exception here, as they can reliably hit shots from extreme ranges.

Time your attack: Don’t fire upon enemy aircraft the moment you spot them at far range, doing this will alert them of your presence, and they will likely dodge your shots then. Try and wait for an aircraft to pick its target, then wait until it pushes the nose down and commits to it’s attack run. Doing this will not only make it hard for your target to dodge, they may not even notice you firing at all. This also allows the enemy air to have a relatively linear path of flight, making your job much easier, all you have to do is lead.

Pick a location where you can see the enemy’s air spawn location: You’ll want to keep this direction under careful watch, as newly spawned enemy aircraft can come at any time, and last thing you want is to be ambushed. Find a defilade or a valley, or even a trench, as long as you have ample view of the surrounding area.

  • Watch for allied aircraft: Sometimes you will have friendly aircraft up, and they will engage aircraft as well. Generally avoid firing at a hostile plane that’s being chased by a friendly, you very well may hit your ally instead.

  • Light armor: One advantage many SPAA have is they can easily dispatch light armored vehicles, so when out and about, keep an eye out for a BMP-1 that may be bullying your guys, as you can very well put an end to that.

Hopefully this bit of information can prove useful to anyone who needs some help with dropping a plane or two. Good luck.


Great points. Some others:

Don’t get polarized on one target:

No point shooting at one enemy if there is another coming in from the other side. Watch all enemy and use your sound to warn you of where the enemy is coming from.

Engaging multiple air targets:

Depending on the type of SPAA, sometimes you need to time your engagements. Multiple enemies flying around, maybe it’s not the best option to try and engage all of them, unless they are actively targeting you. You might not be assisting your team, but it might be better to wait for the opportunity to catch that one out of group that is unawares.

Last, dumb teammates in SPAAs:

Move away from those that just shoot at everything regardless of the distance or whether they can hit anything, especially from the spawn. These ones are generally fixated only on one particular plane or shoot at that PE8 coming at high altitude, just begging for that bomb. They also just tend to encourage CAS to seek them out.


@Sandsnake7 @_Mr_Fahrenheit Great advice! I’d also recommend that players try the BR 5.0 Bosvark from the Great Britain tree. This spaa is fast in open terrain and the cannon is very powerful. At lower ranks, I recommend American or Japanese spaa. My overall favourite spaa is probably the R3 T20 (Italy)

New players should get premium time, even if it’s just 7 days. Once they’re up to Rank II or Rank III vehicles, they might as well try some different nations. The reason I’m so good at the game is because of my dare-devil tactics and my use of unusual or under-utilised vehicles. I often die 5-6 times but end up 1st or 4th on my team.

That’s a favorite of mine, but it depends on the map as it’s horrible turning radius can be detrimental when used in confined areas like cities.

Another good one for China is the ZSD63/PG87. Great guns like the Bosvark, and the BTR-ZD (fast and has 6 crew).

France’s AMX-13 DCA 40 is good, but the Swedish version you need to have good aim and be near a cap to rearm due to it’s limited ammo.

All good points here especially the first two. Move out of the spawn right away. Almost all pilots are going to target your spawn and you will die fast especially with multiple planes in the air. How many times have I seen people giving away their position firing away with almost no chance of hitting a distant plane. Just no. Also don’t bunch up. Work together but from a distance so one bomb doesnt kill you both (all) Remember pilots don’t die in planes the way crews in tanks do. The game lets planes continue to fire and drop bombs after the plane is dead and that means he’s still doing his best to kill you. Lastly, keep moving and use buildings for cover as much as you can. Your much harder to target if you change your location limit your exposure making the plane come at you only by coming into your guns.

How you play SPAA depends largely on what game mode you choose. Arcade is very different that RB or SB.

I play Arcade in the BR 5 range, love my Wirblewind. Little facts I’ve learned in Arcade is you need to lead the game supplied lead point. The game is alway off, use the
game indicator your shots will lag the target unless they are on top of you literally. You need to play with the unit of choice to find the sweet spot for each but they all do it.

Another issue more often than not the air spam is spawning behind your spawn and coming over you, being out into the scum only makes you an easy target for the OPFOR , the bombers have dropped before you can get a shot off and the lawn dart kiddies are all over you.

If I may note somethings. In arcade mode there are periodic air spawns (Aircraft or helicopters). Depending you battle rating you may see prop planes or jets, otherwise early or modern Helis.
I want to point out that you can see exactly what spawned by bringing up the team roster (for me it’s set as the “Tab” button). It will show you the aircraft/heli model and what armaments the enemy aircraft/heli spawns are carrying. Why is this important?

  • The helicopter icons look similar and you can have difficulty determining what spawned initially. Plane icons are a little easier to determine, though sometimes the rocket plane icon looks like a regular fighter icon.

  • You know exactly what model and armament you are facing. For example: If two fighters and a bomber spawned, you may want to go after the bomber since it has potential for the most destruction. You would likely survive a fighter strafe vs a bomb dropped on you. The ATGM helicopters have a similar effectiveness as a bomber if not better since it could fly/hover out of general gun range.

  • You can take evasive action against more difficult spawns. You can avoid getting sniped from higher BR aircraft or helicopters with guidance computers for their rockets (They fire rockets accurately from far greater distances). You may be able to evade/get to cover from a bomb run, rocket barrage or ATGM attack.

  • You may start remembering specific aircraft/helicopters. Some are more fragile than others. Some are slow, some are nimble. This may help you determine priority targets over semi non threatening ones.

Note that in arcade battles the airspawns are rewarded to players earning points from kills, captures, assists ect. It can happen in relentless waves. Putting pressure on SPAA players to do something. Your edge: Knowledge of the enemy air spawned.

After scoring enough points, you may be able to call in an aircraft or heli. I find if I play pure SPAA I could often get more ground target kills than I would with a tank. From CAS reward spawns. My warning is this, make sure if you call in an aircraft or helicopter, that your vehicle is in a safe place. While you are in the air, your SPAA is just sitting there. I find that enemy air will usually go after if. Especially since left in the open and not firing, its an easy target.

If you spawn an aircraft in, you can always leave your plane to get back in your SPAA. Sometimes Its better to just stay in the SPAA vs risking losing it. You must decide what is the best action.

Realistic ground battles can be very difficult to a new player. I recommend learning how to play ground RB through threads on the forum or videos online. Note there is no aim assist. You may very well have to learn to shoot again. Once comfortable shooting it will help considerably if you play arcade again in my opinion.
Another difference is the team roster does not show what the enemy has in Realistic mode. You will have to figure the aircraft or helicopters are limited to their BR. It will always be the current BR or lower and not the other way.

A plus is aircraft do not spawn like they do in arcade. They spawn far away. You will have a sporting chance to be in position before you see any.

Low tier SPAA does not have radar so you will be dependent on your ears. You can actually hear the aircraft in the air. Early aircraft will have to come close to shoot at targets (I usually say at least 1 km) They have limited ammo, so they won’t be hosing things down all the time.
You may also see rocket and bomb aircraft coming in close to drop ordinance.

That’s some of my advice and info. I wish you all luck

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Good stuff! Pretty much everything I’ve learned. It is awesome to get some confirmation on things I’ve been doing. My little add on piece of advice.

Be a boxer! Stick and move! It doesn’t matter where you are; once you’ve shot down a plane or helo, you ARE going to be on somebody’s bookie list! Or everybody’s! I’ve found myself taking fire from two or more planes or helos after shooting down a couple, only to have more come looking while the ones you shot down grab tanks and come looking for you. Don’t be there.

So with the exception of the SAMs and other vehicles you have to stop to shoot; learn to fire on the run if you can. Your teammates will love you for it, but everyone else will hate you! LOL

Stick and move. Float like a butterfly and sting like a Bee. And have fun! 😈

Thanks for your advice warriors!

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I’d like to add a few things.

I notice a lot of SPAA players shooting toward the enemy plane. DO NOT EVER DO THIS unless its flying directly toward you.

Instead, aim AHEAD of it to allow the shells time to fly and your target will fly right into your rounds.

Another tip is that some vehicles that are not designated SPAA can act as AA. Vehicles with fast firing cannons or IRST (preferably both) are fantastic at providing frontline Anti Air battery fire.

2 cents from me:

  1. Spaa is usually best spawned as a second vehicle, because it is the time when people start hop in the aircraft and start coming in.

I often see complaints from players not wanting to play SPAAs for not getting any targets to shoot at, so this way you are maximizing your chance to get enough targets.
This way you can also prevent the damage before its done, people often spawn in SPAAs after they get destroyed by an aircraft, but at this point it probably already did a good damage to your team, so your SPAA won’t have as much effect on the outcome of the battle.

  1. US tanks are a great way to practice shooting at aircraft as many of them are equipped with big caliber machine gun on top and they are not open top like many SPAAs, so they are more likely to survive strafing run from retaliating aircraft.

3.7 M24 Chaffee and 5.0 M6A1 or T1E1 are good examples of that, as they have good machine gun elevation, allowing them to shoot it even at very steep angles.

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Another thing to add is don’t shoot DIRECTLY at the aircraft unless its coming towards you.

Shoot ahead of it, to give the rounds time to travel.

I find it difficult to estimate just before they begin shooting. The can go up or down, so I fire pretty randomly. Usually with good luck (even on 160 - 200 ping)