I'm playing German artillery primarily.
One round in Loltraktor, a brief and painful adventure in G.Pz.Mk. IV, a brief hesitation between Wespe and Bison, and a breath of relief as I decided upon Wespe, primarily attracted by lean looks of Pz.Sfl.IVb.
Despite slow reload times and slow aiming times, Wespe was a very nice vehicle because I could follow an enemy with the gun while waiting for the reticle to zero in, then shoot, turn the vehicle and repeat - about 40 degrees gun rotation freedom was very liberating after constantly losing focus with G.Pz.Mk. IV.
That adventure lasted some, then came Pz.Sfl.IVb and it was even better. Reasonable reload times, even better aiming times and nearly 90 degrees turret turn angle! I could sit in one bush motionless and cover almost whole field with my fire!
And then came Grille.
Grille has about +/-5 degrees turret rotation angle before it has to turn whole. Poor reload times, poor aiming times (and ridiculously short distance of the first gun!), poor slug travel time - the only redeeming feature being reasonably strong second gun - if I hit, I hit hard.
Still, hitting anything is nearly impossible. Let the numbers speak: my TEAM win ratio with Pz.Sfl.IVb is 59%. My TEAM win ratio with Grille is 40%. I guess this shows how utterly useless I am in combat with it.
I know about "X" locking the vehicle movement, but I don't know how to use it efficiently; I mean it doesn't prevent the enemy from exiting my field of fire anyway. I know how to hide well, frequently I'm the last vehicle left... that is unless enemy scout drives into our team and makes me their team's first point. I know SPGs make very poor brawlers but I do know they can stand their ground against single, weaker vehicles - well, I can't. I think I survived a 1:1 encounter maybe two times total. Of course due to need to turn constantly my hiding ability suffers. But worst of all is landing a normal hit.
So, I get the enemy into reticle. Nicely, snugly into the middle of field of fire. The reticle closes in, then the enemy vanishes or starts to move, and before I have the shot ready they are far. Or I zeroed in, and then they move while the absolutely sluggish slug flies there. Or they hide behind a cover. Another enemy comes, and I turn to them, the whole vehicle turns, and we begin the game of zeroing in again.
With fast slugs, with ability to follow the opponent, I was a god. Currently I'm a nuisance to the team as they count on my support and it never comes.
And from what I know, next one - Hummel - is about the same, as well as most of what is left in German Artillery.
How to play this type of artillery efficiently?
I don't intend to buy gold. Too prone for slippery slope, pay once, pay forever.
Currently the crew is 69%; another team is being schooled in Pz.Sfl.IVb to 100% to be transferred when maxed out.
I have researched and bought all there was.
I use extensions for faster reloading, faster aiming and better suspension (It was necessary to mount the better gun without earning even more XP on the abysmally bad first gun but if you recommend something else, I can remove it now. Anyway, with the constant turning the masking net is not nearly as useful as in two previous ones.)