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The FV438 Swingfire is a Rank VI British tank destroyer with a battle rating of 8.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.63 "Desert Hunters".
Swingfire is the first dedicated ATGM of British nation tree. It doesn't have any cannons, just a mediocre machine gun. Instead, it has two ATGM launchers that are reloaded separately and fire upwards with missiles that are guided by mouse. Missiles are slow and relatively easy to control, as long as they are visible by the ATGM camera. You can only directly control the missile that you fired last.
The main point is that you can fire while being completely concealed and fire on people that try to hide from you, whether they are hiding behind rocks (vertically) or houses (horizontally). You just need to turn the missile into their cover, which surprises people who expect you to just fire from 2 km range like other ATGMs. But other side of that is, it's very easy to see your missiles coming and hide from them, making it twice as hard for you to hit enemy with them, unless you can judge distance well and drop missile right on them.
Because of that, main purpose of the Swingfire is either control of hills, castles, streets and so on to block enemy offensive pushes or assist in team assaults by hiding behind teammates or rocks and blasting enemy out of covers, without having someone to get shot.
Survivability and armour
Swingfire's hull can be easily damaged by anything, as it has almost no armour. This leads people to thinking that Swingfire is useless in close combat and firing just MG at it, or ignoring it altogether. Despite that, most of the hull can sustain 7.64 mm MG fire, but whatever you do, avoid exposing the right side of the tank's hull, as a short spray of 12.7 mm MG there will destroy the tank immediately.
Area around launchers have the least armour on the tank, so even shrapnel of MG rounds hitting the launcher can accidentally hurt commander and loader.
If tank got set on fire, it will likely take long time until fire reaches ammunition rack, in best case scenario allowing you to fire back 6 times until engine melts completely and quickly sets ammo rack off.
Tank can be hull broken by 105 mm chemical shots and artillery. It is also possible to get hull broken by 120 mm kinetic shells, if they hit missile launcher. With some luck, hostile ATGM (HEAT warhead) can be blocked by engine, stopping hull break, but probability of this isn't that high.
- Rolled homogeneous armour
|Hull|| 12 mm (42°) Front glacis
10 mm (38°) Lower glacis
| 12 mm Top
12 mm (13°) Bottom
|10 mm (2°)||10 mm|
|Turret||10 mm||10 mm||10 mm||12 mm|
- Suspension wheels and tracks are 15 mm thick, though the torsion bars are 10 mm thick.
Mobility of this vehicle is low. It can't go fast backwards and it has very poor turn rate. If someone flanks you at close range, you won't be able to turn your launcher in time. It can follow heavy and some medium tanks, when goes forward.
|Weight (tons)|| Add-on Armor
|Max speed (km/h)|
|Engine power (horsepower)|
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
The Swingfire is a giant box, which has two enormous launcher tubes on its left, that face upwards and a big control camera near to them, which is also your gunner's camera. Whenever you want to fire, you want that camera to see as much as possible, as losing the sight of missile will make you lose easy control over it. Without direct sight, you will only be able to control them with mouse movements, but not with the targeting reticle point. You also can only initially launch missiles forward.
People may think, that your missiles inside launchers explode violently when shot by MG, but it won't destroy you even if that happens. Still, the launchers are very fragile and they are a large target, that can be easily shot by HE, instantly destroying the tank in process. For that reason alone, enemy might stop and stare at your cover, waiting for your move, like with most ATGM tanks. What they generally don't realize, is that you don't even have to drive out of your cover or into their territory to attack them.
Since your launcher faces upwards, to attack enemy you just have expose your camera, or even nothing at all, and send missile over cover straight at them. If they are at least 150m away and camera have direct sight on enemy, missile will correct itself back on target without hitting the ground, otherwise you might need to aim in specific ways, or manually correct it, by pulling mouse to steer it away from obstacles or ground, depending on missile flight path.
Because of how launcher and camera work, missiles cannot be fired precisely backwards or close to your sides, even though missiles can turn that hard. If your target is far enough, you can try and use Third Person view to force missile into sharp turn behind you. If you can't allow yourself to miss - make sure your opponent is at least 100m away from you, turn your hull until you can aim camera directly at your enemy in sniper mode, then launch missile in opposite direction and only then turn camera towards enemy and aim straight at them in sniper mode. Firing such shot without sniper aim is only as precise as calling artillery strike, which makes hitting people behind you more of a miracle than skill, since you cannot control missile after it went behind you, and it's not guaranteed, that it will be aimed straight at them, or just fly into space by that point.
Each launcher has 7 missiles, that reload separately. In AB, if you spent entire magazine for one launcher, game will rearm exactly that magazine completely. In RB you can only rearm at capture points. Rearms can happen for both launchers at the same time, but you only see one timer at once.
|170 mm BAe Swingfire ATGM|
|Capacity|| Fire rate
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)|
|Mode||Stock||Upgraded||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
|Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Stock||Prior + Full crew||Prior + Expert qualif.||Prior + Ace qualif.|
- Turret is represented by camera to the right of missile launchers. Improving its rotation speed affects responsiveness of missile, whether you see or don't see the target directly.
- Inability to see your target and missile at same time disables automatic guidance system, forcing you into manual mode.
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Penetration in mm @ 90°|
|Ammunition|| Type of
|Initial Velocity in m/s||Acceleration in straight line, m/s||Maximum Velocity
Mass in kg
|Range (m)|| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive Mass in g
| Normalization At 30°
- BAe Swingfire missiles are specifically designed for cover-busting and attacking out of unexpected places, so it's initially slower than most ATGMs out there, and its max speed isn't very impressive.
- Missile tends to fall down after flying about 150 m forward, so if you aren't attacking someone in their cover, but need to fire relatively close (about 250 m) you might need to aim higher, to avoid dropping it on the ground.
- In case you are firing at range <150 m, missile will fly roughly double the distance you aimed for. (so if you fire at target that stands in 50 m range, you should aim at ground before it in 25 m .)
- Dead zone of launcher is ~5 m, but even if someone got that close to you, it's still possible to aim reticle right below you, to force missile to drop straight down, resulting in generally fatal turret roof shot, assuming you hit the target and it doesn't ricochet.
- Despite its low speed, this model of BAe Swingfire is one of few ATGMs that can fly for 4 kilometers. This means, that you can snipe across the map and even attack ATGM helicopters in hover mode, even if they are out of map bounds, because it has 4 km range and they like to sit at about 3 km. Beware of instant retaliation, since maximum speed of this missile is also below average, and helicopter pilot must be very busy to not notice your attack, dodge it and attempt to fire back at you.
|14||5 (+9)||2 (+12)||No|
|7.62 mm L3A1|
|Capacity (Belt capacity)|| Fire rate
| Horizontal |
Usage in the battles
Whatever you do, always try to hide behind something, whether it is terrain, allies, or indestructible obstacle.
The most important quirk of your missiles, is that when you target someone on your level and they are too close, your missile initially drop really hard on ground and may detonate. To avoid this aim your reticle a bit higher than your target, at least initially. Alternatively - have the high ground, which will solve this problem, but adds a problem of firing precisely. If you need to duel someone at 100 meters or closer you can abuse the quirk of missile and aim your reticle into the ground in Third person view. This will force missile to land in front of you. Any more precise firing will require practice.
To fire at enemy in cover or above hills you just need to fire above it, then, when missile is actually near to them and above cover, aim straight at enemy or below them, depending on how close missile is to them. It is possible to do so from long range. In case if your aim is bad, just expose your camera and aim straight at them in sniper mode.
If you must fire at enemy behind a building or a high rock, that makes you unable to fire at them directly or from above, first take about 100 m distance from the corner of their cover, then fire a bit away from it and force missile to take sharp horizontal turn into enemy. If done right, enemy will get hit by missile in their side. After a bit of practice you will always hit someone. The further away is the cover, the sharper the turn you can make. For point-blank fights its usually better to just face the passageway or the corner with your camera before firing, since you can wiggle the missile in between houses, even if your launcher faces house, as long as you have control and at least 40m away.
It's very tempting to fire second launcher immediately in case of a miss, but if you are alone you should let first launcher to reload at least half-way before firing again, so you wont get overrun if you miss again. If they are already rushing you - fire at will. This is very important against fast targets.
In RB, it's possible to destroy planes with missiles, achieving "unguided" reward. It's not recommended to do in AB, since planes there can do harder maneuvers without crushing themselves into ground or ripping their wings off. Helicopters can be shot down with 4 km range ATGM, but remember that Swingfire missile is rather slow and cautious pilot will just dodge your shot.
If enemy can be hullbroken - just hit them with missile anywhere. But be aware, that all hullbreakable SPGs, most light tanks and SPAAs can instantly destroy your tank by just firing in your general direction. Do not leave your cover.
If enemy is behind smokes: in AB try to fire closer to ground, that way you at least de-track it, which is crucial in case of fast tanks. You can try to disable the gun for slower tanks, but be aware that 12.7 mm MG can still destroy your tank. In RB you might want to fire at turret first regardless, because if missile takes out their gun barrel, enemy becomes very uncomfortable with chances of jamming their gun completely, along with long repair times, and you sort of know where they are now.
Specific enemies worth noting
Soviet tanks: You should aim for hull, as hits there are usually deadly and their turrets have way too high ricochet chance. If you can't angle missile right, at least hit their track when they try to move, so they turn over and expose their side to your fast follow-up shot, or unable to chase you, while your second launcher reloads. If you have to fire at turret - aim for the gun, and then try to destroy MG operator, to make them unable to do anything to you. If it's too late and they are already reaching point-blank range - attempt to fire at the roof top, and if they carry enough ammunition, they will blow up.
German medium tanks: They rely less on machineguns and move fast. Spook them away with single missile shot, remember how it went to adjust your aim. After that, if you missed, keep second one just in case if they try to rush you. Ideally, you want to disable the driver.
Heavy tanks in general: they will usually be afraid of you, but if they will manage to call in medium tank friend, and you aren't skilled enough, you should just run away, as it's not possible to fight both heavy and medium at same time as Swingfire, because heavy tank can just hull break or MG your crew, and most medium tanks can flank the missile launcher easily. You just cannot reload fast enough.
Fences and trees: If street is full of high fences, it's not worth defending that street. Destroy them all with your machinegun. If they are solid - you can't do anything about it yourself. Trees also obscure your vision, but you cannot do anything about them. If you use them as cover - do not push your launchers in front of one, it will make you waste ammo.
ATGM: Avoid attacking other ATGM carriers directly - abuse the fact, that you can fire over tall obstacles in front of your carrier and they usually cannot. Destroy them before they can reach you or try to curve missiles into your cover, as your hull is very long and tall, which makes it vulnerable to top-down attacks of other vertical ATGM.
Fighter planes: drive backwards and pray they wont hit the ammo or tank commander in your back.
Swingfire cannot really damage vehicles that are directly behind it or directly on its sides. The closer you are to it, while being behind it, the harder it is for the gunner to pull off a miracle shot.
Explosives and SPAA guns destroy it easily. Same with artillery, if Swingfire is stuck facing its cover.
Being in front of Swingfire in 200 meter range is a very bad idea, regardless of your cover, as if its launchers will reload in time, you can suddenly be destroyed. If you have to do that, at least face it with your armor and never show your sides, so missiles have harder time destroying your tank. Having tall cover further improves your chances of survival. Forcing it to move around by dropping artillery on it or its retreat route before pushing is also a good idea. In the worst case scenario - try to shoot down its ATGM with your MG.
Don't think, that it cannot fire forward in 30 meter range, it actually can. It's just very hard to do accurately.
If you want to destroy it with machine guns from front - fire straight in middle around the place where camera is, then spray the bottom of it. It's more likely to break something important or disable the gunner (commander) that way.
If you see Swingfire driving around and going on a murder spree, while being on fire - it just means that someone underestimated its operator. Don't repeat someone's mistake and attack with everything you've got, before it set you on fire as well - Swingfire can destroy a quite a few tanks, until it burns out, don't dismiss it for that reason alone.
Any solid obstacle can stop missiles, and trees make it hard to see you, so the more things there are between you and Swingfire, the better.
Pros and cons
- Dual launchers, each reloading separately
- Can blast enemy out of covers, without having to deal with them personally
- Can fire at close to medium range, while being completely behind cover or allies
- It's hard to see how long a reload will be, you have to guess by looking at launcher's animation
- Missiles are rather slow, which can be a problem at long range
- Missiles are facing upwards and have long reload rate, so if anyone rushes you, and you happened to spend all of your ammo, you are unable to defend yourself.
- Sluggish and unarmored, so if someone flanks you or calls artillery on you at opportune time, you are doomed
Developed in the early 1960’s, “Swingfire” was a relatively slow missile that would allow directional changes of 45 degrees on the horizontal and 20 degrees of elevation which created the apt name. It was a 60 pound (27 kg), 3.5 ft (1 m) long rocket with range of 2.5 miles (4 km), capable of penetrating up to 500 mm of enemy armour. The FV 438 was a British light anti-tank vehicle, equipped with the wired-guided “Swingfire” missile. The 438’s primary weapon was launched through two Swingfire ATGM launchers, or bins, which could be reloaded from inside the vehicle. Apart from the 2 missiles stored in launchers, it could carry up to 12 additional reloads. Its only secondary armament was a 7.62 mm M1919 General Purpose Machine-Gun.
FV 438 Swingfire was based on the FV432 armoured personnel carrier, a vehicle that was very lightly armoured - it was meant to deliver its crew to combat, while keeping it protected from machine-gun fire. This platform was used for several other modifications amongst which is its sister vehicle already in game - the Falcon. FV 438 “Swingfire” was powered by a Rolls-Royce K60 multifuel engine with maximum of 240 horsepower. It was a quick and nimble vehicle with weight slightly exceeding 16 tons, which could reach up to 32 mph (52 km/h).
Although the Swingfire missile was used during various engagements on other platforms, the 438 carrier was never used in combat and was decommissioned in the 90’s. The vehicle was built in rather smaller numbers.
An excellent addition to the article will be video guides, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.
Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:
- topic on the official game forum;
- other literature.
|Britain tank destroyers|
|Based on infantry tanks||3 inch Gun Carrier · SP 17pdr. Valentine|
|M10 Achilles||Achilles · Achilles (65 Rg.)|
|End war||A30 SP Avenger · A39 Tortoise|
|Post-war||Tank Medium Gun Charioteer Mk VII · FV4005 Stage II · FV4004 Conway|
|ATGM||FV438 Swingfire · FV102 Striker|