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Apr 9, 2013

HE in real life

By EnsignExpendable

A while ago (so far back, a great number of you might not even have been playing then), HE was pretty awesome. The rays generated by the explosion didn't need line of sight to weaker armour in order to penetrate it, so, starting at the earliest derp guns, you could easily mess up any enemy tank with more or less reliable damage, even if you could not penetrate his armour. The change to HE mechanics made it pretty unreliable. Turns out, this is the more realistic approach.

As many of you know, the M3 Lee was kind of a terrible design. The 75 mm hull gun was only meant to fire HE at infantry. The 37 mm gun in the turret was meant to combat tanks. Seeing how the Soviets got a whole bunch of Lees, they decided to test their two guns against captured German tanks. The results of the 37 mm gun were not very encouraging. In that same test, the Soviets saw how the 75 mm gun's HE shells fared against the StuG. The result of that was not very encouraging either. The shells either failed to do significant damage to the tank. Some welding seams popped, some armour plates were dented, but the overall structural integrity of the StuG was not compromised.

Superficial damage of the StuG's side armour from a 75 mm shell next to a penetration from a 37 mm shell.

"The track is damaged! It can break any second!" Certainly not very impressive. However, let's see what happens when the T-34's turn comes. The results are obtained from the same report (CAMD RF 38-11355-832). Sadly, the quality of the scan is not so great, and the uploader chose not to include most of the photographs, since you can barely see anything in the ones he left in. I wish they were in there, because what happened is quite different from the Lee's attempt.

"Results of shooting at the German PzIV tank from the Model 1940 76 mm tank gun (F-34), installed in a T-34 tank.

76 mm HE-fragmentation steel grenade.

Range: 800 meters. Target: right turret side. Shell struck the turret side hatch. The hatch is torn off. The armour plate at the lower portion of the turret is bent by 50 mm.
Range: 800 meters. Target: commander's cupola. Direct hit. The cupola is torn off and thrown 5 meters to the side. Turret hatches are torn off and thrown 30 meters from the tank.
Range: 800 meters. Target: engine compartment, right side. A breach 130 by 350 mm formed in the hull."

Yikes, looks like there's quite a difference in the guns' effectiveness with HE shells. In game, the M3 Lee's historical gun does 175 damage with an HE shell. The T-34's historical gun, only does 156 damage with an HE shell! Both HE shells have the same penetration.

Looks like Russian Bias didn't make it into the game.

What you can see from this report is that the HE mechanics for medium caliber guns are more or less accurate. You can deal quite a bit of damage, if only you know where to aim. However, large caliber HE appears to be effective regardless of where you aim. The D-25 test (peels a Tiger II slightly, sets the tank on fire) and ML-20 test (tears a Panther turret apart) both proved that HE can be quite effective against tanks.

39 comments:

  1. >Looks like that bit of Russian Bias didn't make it into the game.
    It's like Santa Claus, sooner or later every children discover that he doesn't exist.

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    Replies
    1. You must be new to this game. Anyone who had the dismal pleasure to fight against the old KV, KV-3 or IS-4 knows well that russian bias used to be a fact. True, WG finally admitted those tanks were blatantly OP and took steps to balance them, so russian bias no longer exists (I believe), but people who deny it ever existed are, well, not very smart nor perceptive.

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    2. You mean like the incredibly OP AMX'es, like the incredibly OP T110E5/E4 or the T57?

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    3. Yea, you know, those Russian tanks with autoloaders.

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  2. Now I wonder how realistic arty damage is shown. Any research done on large caliber SPLASH damage against tanks in real life?

    -MKI

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but the original source is down, i will search the pdf for you.

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    2. Wow, I really found it. I already searched for it multiple times but was never successfull after the original source went down (http://sill-www.army.mil/famag/2002/NOV_DEC_2002/NOV_DEC_2002_PAGES_8_11.pdf).

      So after a long journey through the interwebs, I can present you:

      "Who Says Dumb Artillery Rounds Can't Kill Armor?"
      By Major George A. Durham (retired), Fort Sill.
      Published in the November/December 2002 issue of the "Field Artillery" magazine.

      The article begins at page 8:
      http://sill-www.army.mil/firesbulletin/archives/2002/NOV_DEC_2002/NOV_DEC_2002_FULL_EDITION.pdf

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  3. This is surprising. I was under the impression that the 76 mm and 75 mm HE were broadly equivalent, although the Soviet explosive was slightly more powerful.

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    Replies
    1. TBH I doth suspect a thin Pz III side *would* be a more receptive target than the comparatively tough front of a StuG...

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    2. Both guns were shooting at the 30 mm thick side armour.

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    3. .__.
      Taken directly from the linked blogpost:
      "It's the Lee's turn next, firing HE shells from its 75 mm gun.

      The first shot, from a distance of 800 meters, hits the front armour. The 50 mm thick plate shows no signs of damage."

      So, yeah.
      Anyways given that the sponson gun wasn't exactly a howitzer but more or less the same thing the Sherman was later armed with I must slightly wonder why they only tried HE? Surely there was no shortage of AP available - or was it already sufficiently well established the 75mm had little trouble with that amount of armour?

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    4. The latter shots were at the side. The document talks about shooting at the rollers. You can even see in the side of the StuG in the image, with the HE splash.

      As for AP, there were sometimes difficulties with getting one kind of round or another. It is very possible that the Lees did not come with any AP shells to test.

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    5. From what I could make out only one shot is actually described as striking the hull (or rather superstructure) side, the rest seemed to end up in various parts of the running gear either by accident or design.
      *shrug*
      I'm willing to believe the 76mm gun packed more explosive than the 75mm, presumably by being designed for lower velocity ergo having thinner walls and more payload; but I must be a tad sceptical of the difference being *that* dramatic, as the last I checked the US 75mm was a direct evolution of the old French Soixante-Quinze field gun and by all accounts both packed a quite sufficient explosive charge for the usual "battlefield demolition" duties such guns were required to carry out.

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  4. Personally i don`t really believe all these reports,i think theyr all propaganda,after all history is written by the victors and i don`t know about you but if i ware the one doing the testing i wouldn`t want to give Stalin any other report but one that states that our armor out classes the enemy in every manner possible which looks like the case which so called KT, Ferdi and Panther testing.

    If those tanks ware as crap as all these reports make them to be what the hell took the russians to long to win the war,going by these reports it should have been a walk in the park for them given their superior armor and vastly superior numbers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An important aspect in WOT that is not modeled in the game is crew compartment and comfort. Crew endurance would be a nice element to the game.

      I have a T62A but I highly doubt it has the sustained ROF that it does in the game.

      Also, if one designs a tank to be smaller, then you must limit the size of the crew which directly impacts the ability to load.

      A larger person is generally physically stronger than a smaller person. This means they can load larger munitions more consistently than a smaller individual.

      This disadvantage can be mitigated if semi-auto/automatic loading exists.

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    2. Why would you make propaganda that's incredibly technically dense, and then classify it as top secret for 70 years?

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    3. So, US, UK are also the victors, does this make their reports less reliable?

      LN.

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  5. "Looks like that bit of Russian Bias didn't make it into the game."

    Well, this one did:
    PzIV: 75mm gun, 1940 DPM @ 0.40 acc & 110 pen.
    T-34: 57mm gun, 2220 DPM @ 0.34 acc & 112 pen.

    In your next article, perhaps you'd care to elaborate how those early Russian 122mm guns in this game have double the ROF compared to real-life performance? Was it decision based on "historical accuracy" or "game balance"?

    --
    ActionMan

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    Replies
    1. Saw this bit just after posting:
      "Looks like Russian Bias didn't make it into the game."

      Seriously, dude? Changing text AFTER it was published?

      --
      ActionMan

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    2. To which 122 mm guns are you referring? The U-11, or the D-25? Both could achieve the rate of fire of 6 RPM in real life.

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    3. As for the gun penetrations, the ZiS-4 gun did indeed penetrate more than the 75L/43. By Soviet tests, the ZiS-4 penetrated 115 mm at 100 m, while the L/43 penetrated 103. Contrary to popular theories of Russian Bias, the penetration of the ZiS-4 is nerfed, while the penetration of the L/43 is not.

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    4. "by soviets test"--nuff said....

      And now try to explain how the zis is more accurate than the 7,5?

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    5. Maybe the field gun version of 122mm d25 could do 3-4 RPM, but the IS series hade a ROF of only 2 RPM

      /Alex

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    6. If you want to refer to German penetration tables of the ZiS-4, you are more than welcome to.

      As for the ROF, it varied greatly based on the skill of the loader. During the initial tests, Koshkin famously replaced the test crew with his own workers, doubling the rate of fire. In later IS and ISU models, the gun recoil mechanism was improved, giving the loader more room to maneuver, and increasing the ROF.

      Of course, those were also Soviet tests, which more people regard as propaganda for some reason.

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    7. "And now try to explain how the zis is more accurate than the 7,5?"

      Higher velocity = flatter trajectory, shorter flight time etc.; the Usual Suspects. Plus in this case less recoil to affect the gun I'd guess.
      Anything else?

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    8. >Of course, those were also Soviet tests, which more people regard as propaganda for some reason.
      Some people, Peter, only some people think that. Keep up the good work and ignore the kids.

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    9. Peter, get serious.

      122mm gun firing 25kg, two-stage (!) ammunition, without any kind of automatic or semi-automatic loader, 6 times per minute? And this is ridiculous without even taking other factors into account, like massive recoil of the gun, cramped turret or stress of battle. Even all of this is still an ideal situation, since you also have to acquire target, estimate distance and movement, and then fire.

      Workers fighting in a tank? LATER models? Oh, dear...

      So, once again: please explain us some discrepancies between this game and real-life performance and don't waste time on stupidities like overmatching HE shells hitting thin armor.

      --
      ActionMan

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    10. Pretty much all RoF figures in the game have been buffed. Usually its at around 2 times faster for WoT, though it can be slightly less or more. So, all vehicles have buffed RoF

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    11. The 88L56 had a ROF of 25 rpm as AA/ AT gun, should we have this in game as well?

      Delete
  6. "Range: 800 meters. Target: commander's cupola. Direct hit."


    Buahahahhah, nice accuracy of that T-34. In WoT most tanks wouldn't even believe to hit a tank from that distance :P

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    1. That is after effect of people not having screen off the size of RL tank, on 30" screen tank at 1500m would be way too small to aim at it, so ranges got compressed.
      Effectively you can multiply ranges by 3 to get historical ranges they represent.

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    2. LOL tanks in game are visually cut off at around 500m

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  7. The biggest problem with large caliber HE mechanics is they would apply to arty, giving them a MASSIVE buff.

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  8. Well, makes my wonder...
    why did anyone bother with AP guns. 88L56? How about 88mm howitzer spamming HE shells at KV and T-34 tanks - of course with a much bigger explosive charge compared to 88L56 (historically 88L56 fired fragmentation-oriented HE shells, our fictional howitzer would be all around explosives) - such gun would be small enough to fit in pz IV tanks I guess, and would be super-devastating according to those tests (if 76mm shell can just easily demolish Pz IV, then what would 88mm HE shell have achieved!).
    Why would ANYONE bother with high velocity, huge guns like 88L71, inaccurate HEAT shells for 105mm guns etc. if you can achieve much greater results with a simple, cheap, accurate HE?
    105mm howitzer = ultimate anti-tank gun of world war II apparently. Yet for some reason both Soviets and Germans and US and Brits all eventually went for high-velocity, long-barreled lower caliber guns. 17-pounder, 85mm Zis, 88L71 and 75L70. 122mm gun of IS-tank was mainly a bunker/fortification busting tool, at least in theory, because IS was supposed to be a breakthrough-tank, not "tank-on-tank" fighter, but it had a long barrel to use powerfull AP. Why would ANYONE bother with powerfull AP out of 122mm gun, if HE would just break Tiger tank apart and take it out of a fight in 1 shot, no matter where it hits, as long as the fuse is ignited?

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  9. Red Orchestra had a mod, which made the tank optics historically accurate.
    After months of playing every day 2-3 hours...
    in a Panther with it's Carl Zeiss optic, I was able to hit a ~20*20cm part of a standing tank from 800m (maximum drawn distance, game engine limitation).
    in a T-34, I thanked God, if I hit the enemy from that distance.

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    1. Wrong, the game didn't have 800m drawn distance because of engine limitation, Darkest Hour, which was the same engine, allowed for 1700+m shots with Pz IV, and boy, it was fun. In RO shots from 1200+m were possible from what I remember, however, on many maps the "fog" made firing at longer range very difficult.

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    2. Maybe it was map limitation, but I remember, that at ~800 meter tanks vanished into the grey fog.

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