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Apr 5, 2013

Help me choose the next article

By Zarax

After the third "Buff my tank!" article I'd like to give you guys a choice.

Would you prefer another "Buff my tank!" or a german tech tree article?

For the first option it will continue the format you've already seen, so it's going to be a relatively straightforward process.

The second one would be a speculative article about possible german tech tree branches or reworkings of existing ones. I've got over 30 tank designs not (yet) in WOT, none of which is fictional although in some cases very little information is available.

The choice is yours :)

"Buff my tank!" - Panzer IV

By Zarax

Hello and welcome to the third edition of "Buff my tank!"

The "Buff my tank!" articles are meant as an historical way to look at some tanks considered underpowered in game and ways to improve their combat abilities discussed by the original german engineers.
Beware that while being sometimes ironic in tone, the article treats about both costs and benefits of every choice and it most likely will never be listened by WG as suggestion.

 Panzer IV is yet another excellent "MMO tank", which saw a good deal of upgrades and plans during its service life. Even in its WOT life it saw a pretty big transformation, where the turret often mentioned as "vaderturm" with the 75mm L/70 removed and replaced with a close combat focused configuration.

Currently this tank is not exactly seen as weak but it is still controversial as many consider it dependent on HEAT rounds to be truly competitive, an extra edge that some even consider excessive.
Still, this popular tank was the object of many engineering projects, often left in the drawer.
Panzer IV & its variants by Spielberger plus some material from Panzer Tracts 20-1 will be used as historical support for this article.

 This time we will take a slightly different approach and divide the possible upgrades by section.


One often heard complaint is about insufficient protection, leaving the tank vulnerable to almost anything that shoots at it, especially with the new top turret. Side skirts were often suggested, but their contribute to armor against direct shots would be minimal, while artillery is not yet a problem at this level.

Another problem is of course the flat armor, something that makes shot deflection even more unlikely and angling discarded due to weak side armor.
In this respect, an alternate Panzer IV H was proposed in drawing W1462:

A sloped 80mm front would have given the tank excellent protection and with the long gun it would have been competitive until the end of the war, and Hitler asked this to be increased to 100mm.
Unfortunately this design was estimated to bring the weight to over 28 tons, which was too much for the suspensions.

This would of course leave the turret still weak, but there is room for improvement.
The best known project is the Panther narrow turret on Pz IV chassis, but this configuration was already deemed not balanced by WG:

A more realistic although still effective solution would be to use Krupp AKF31941turret drawing:

This would still give an excellent turret front without looking like a certain famous helm, although it's likely there would have been just a manual traverse system for it.


The late war Panzer IV was already an overweight tank and WG took all possible steps to improve it from historical stats.
One historical plan was to install a torsion bar suspension on Panzer IV chassis. This was designed by Kniepkamp, who later will be one of the inspirators of the E-series.
This could have helped with the increasing weight, as well as the interleaved wheels and larger tracks discussed later.
However, all of this is already in WOT in one form or the other, thus making this section nearly redundant.


Historically, the best cannon mounted on a production Panzer IV was the 75mm L/48.
The experimental 75mm L/70 is the most known configuration and this was also attempted to mount in the standard Pz IV turret.
Tests gave negative results, although it's possible a rigid mount like the one tried in the Hetzer could have worked.
This wouldn't be without drawbacks though, as a much heavier gun coupled with the necessary turret reinforcements would result in a significant hit in tank ergonomics.

A possible realistic alternative for large guns would be to use the Heuschrecke 10 turret:

This would realistically allow for larger guns (including the 105 L/28 as shown) while keeping weight acceptable.
Of course there is a price to pay, in this case a maximum turret armor of 30mm.

The last, more exotic solution would be to opt for something completely different:

A Mk 103 autocannon coupled with two 75mm recoilless rifles would have given this prototype a pretty respectable firepower, but we'll never see this configuration in WOT (although it would be a decent grinding gun). Twin 30mm as in the "Kugelblitz" configuration would make the tank a feared "knife fighter" as well.

Going into extremes, the 3.7cm flak 43 could be used as well, possibly in a similar configuration as the Mk103.
Nearly going into science fiction but still possible: Tungsten APCR used as silver rounds would have decent penetration, while uranium rounds were also available:

It also is very likely that the 8H63 and 10H64 guns were proposed as well in the Krupp november 1944 panzer rearmament project, but by that time all Pz IV plans were discarded.


Historically, the Panzer IV was optimized to the very limits of its chassis and any further improvements would have necessitated of a deep redesign, something that the germans never afforded during the war, especially later on when the Panther chassis was only slightly more expensive for vastly better performance.
By combining various proposed improvements one could make a compact heavy tank with great firepower and armor but bad mobility or an excellent but very vulnerable sniper.

This leads for the final verdict: 
Any improvement in one area would lead to weakening something else, thus only a "focus shift" would be likely.

Something very similar to Heuschrecke 10 is planned for the open top TD tree, while combining the sloped chassis with the Panther turret and 75mm L/70 would imho make a slow but rather interesting possibility for a tier higher, although with extremely bad mobility.

Thank you for reading and see you in the next article!

"How to design a tank..."

Found this gem on the EU forums (thanks to echo7 who posted it), it's from the movie "Pentagon Wars", describing the M2 Fighting Vehicle evolution...

Enjoy :)

Storm on Patch 8.5


Storm made a post on the developer blog, asking people what they think about 8.5. Here's what's in the discussion:

- this patch apparently broke a testing record, the demand to test is enormous
- developers are aware of the test servers being overloaded
- the next patch test (or perhaps the test after that) will have a 3,5 times bigger capacity
- Storm says the new interface (the thingie on the top of the screen) is good for cybersports, it can be disabled
- there are no changes for British TDs (too early to decide about buffs/nerfs)
- there have been some graphics optimisations in the patch
- the firefighting mechanism was not changed in 0.8.5
- Ruinberg will be fixed in 0.8.6 ("for some sad reasons") (SS: it was scheduled to be flattened)
- IS-7 speed was buffed because it's historical and it was demanded
- in future tests, new and reworked maps will "drop" more often
- this year there will be no French "minibranch" รก la T-60 - T-80
- apparently, specifically the Czechoslovak and Polish complaints about the "Stalinec" decal were the reason for its removal
- lowtier Soviet lights (T-19, T-24 and T-46-5), lowtier Soviet TD's (IT-45, SU-76BM) and alternative medium Soviet branch (T-34M etc.) will not come this year
- M47, IS-2 (44) and T-54/3 won't be introduced

A33 Excelsior - upcoming T5 premium


Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, driver, loader, radioman)
Armor (front/sides/back)
Hull: 114,3/108/108
Turret: 114,3/92,2/92,2
Maximum weight: 44,1 tons

Speed (front/back): 38,6/13
Turnrate: 36
Engine: Rolls Royce Meteor A - 600hp

Gun: 75mm Mk.VA
Ammo capacity: 64 shells
Depression/elevation: -13/20
Accuracy: 0,42
Reload time: 3,6s
Aim time: 1,9s
Penetration: 91/144/38 (AP/APCR/HE)
Radio: 570m
Viewrange: 360m

On labels

Okay, this is something I am really undecided about.

The good news is, after switching the blog interface to english (the Czech version is... odd), I found out, how to make it work, so technically, I can easily introduce the labels right now, so you could (for example) read only WoT-related stuff.

The "bad" news is, I am really not sure whether I want to do that. Let me explain:

Currently, it's easy enough to open the blog, open the day you want to display on the right side menu (for example: posts from last two days you didn't have time to check before? you simply open posts from those two days) and read what posts are available. The names of the posts are usually very clear on whether it's a WoT post, a "mixed" one (for example about a historical vehicles and its implications on World of Tanks, a potential historical buff etc.) or a purely historical one (those are very few, because most of the historical stuff I post can somehow influence WoT potentially).

If I add labels and the "search by labels" function, what a lot of people will do is they will select "articles on WoT" (eg. mostly daily translation updates) as default. That way, they will not only skip all the other blog content (which is fine, anyone can decide what to read and what not to read), they will also deprive themselves of the possibility to actually see stuff that might potentially interest them. I'll give you an example: the way it is now, a guy comes here for the Q&A daily updates (which are easy to find because their title always has the date in it), opens the blog, sees a wall of text ("meh, I'll skip that"), but then there's also the really cool tank picture he likes ("amagad this looks nice, what's that") - and decides to read the text despite the fact he didn't want to.

With labels enabled, he won't even see the tank article, so he won't know there's something that might potentially interest him despite the fact he came only for the news. Get my drift?

It's only natural for me and other authors who write articles to want people to read what we write. I mean - everyone wants his work to be seen by as many people as possible, right? In this case, I think implementing labels would be against both our and your interests (depriving us of potential readers and you of potential interesting info).

But I am willing to listen to the voice of the people.

- SS


- there will be no compensation for the reduced XP price of the VK2801 ("when the prices of electronics drop, do you also go whining to the electronics store for a refund?")
- Russian tier 7 medium prem tank was never promised for the 0.8.5, it will come in the future
- in 0.8.5, on the debriefing screen, the tank life percentage stat has been replaced by damage done in battle
- the decision about the gun accuracy (the way it is now) has been made due to the limited scale of battles
- there will be no possibility to trade tanks between players
- immobilized tanks with one track down won't be able to move, just like it is now (SS: a player was moaning about the fact that in real life, a tank with one track destroyed could still "turn")
- SerB stated that if Wargaming did Mechwarrior Online, they would have done a lot of things differently
- HE shell splash radius does not change by +/- 25 percent, the damage however does
- the test client is made separately the way it is because if it was somehow connected to the original client, many people would use the patch on the original game and then would whine because they couldn't play the game properly
- Swamp and Komarin do not return in 0.8.5 (SS: odd, I thought this was confirmed... ah well)
- client physics won't reach this level
- devs cannot unfortunately write the equation for the ramming damage, as it is a complex physics model
- the hull turn rate is a balance parameter, Storm: do not expect battles to be like in real life

Overlord also made an article about (the removal of) Pay to win element from World of Tanks.

A few points from his answers:
- there has to be a balance between premium and regular users, either you invest time, or gold

- tier 10 arty confirmed to come in "near future" (SS: according to RU devs: 0.8.6)
- gold shells pen ceiling and armor buff possible
- no golden ammo caps
- no premium tanks for credits

Poll results (plus small changes)

Hello everyone,

thank you for participating in yet another poll. This time we have not uncovered anything too surprising, looks like the average FTR reader is cca 20-something year old rocker :)

The results were:

younger than 15
  16 (1%)
  113 (9%)
  232 (19%)
  278 (23%)
  233 (19%)
  115 (9%)
  90 (7%)
older than 40
  100 (8%)
Votes so far: 1177 

New poll is related to new articles and navigation. I am a bit worried that by adding three authors, the amount of blog posts might become difficult to navigate. That's why I added "days" into the right-side navigation, so you can see what came out that respective day and not lose track. Personally, I think it's sufficient for me, but is it for you? Please fill the poll and if you have any idea how to make this blog more comfortable to read, share it with us in the comments. I am currently considering adding a newsletter option. But....