Smoke Screen refers to the ability to conceal movement or location by the usage of smoke. It is available to a large number of tanks, in three forms: smoke shells fired from the tank's armament, smoke grenades fired from exterior launchers, and fuel injection into the engine to produce smoke (known as the Engine Smoke generating System or ESS).
Smoke screen is also available on all naval vessels after researching the "Smokescreen" modification. Smoke screens in naval battles produce an effect similar to a tank's ESS when used in a battle.
For quite a long time, the rumour of the addition of smoke into the game had been tossed around by the community and developers. Depending on the year, it went from a speculated to a denied addition.
The first tease of the smoke screen was in the 2017 April Fool's events, where the tanks in the event being able to deploy functional smoke grenades, creating a smoke screen around the vehicle. The event showcased the usage of smoke to the community, which was met with much optimism and support, as well as speculation that the feature would be coming in a future update.
The feature was added into the game in Update 1.69 "Regia Aeronautica".
Effect of smoke screen
Using smoke in the game creates a large white cloud at the area of impact. Smoke varies between the application on screen radius, screen time, and screen holding time.
- Screen radius: How wide the smoke screen is effective
- Screen time: Time it takes for the smoke to become effective
- Screen holding time: Time smoke is effective before dissipating
The smoke screen obscures line-of-sight vision rather well once deployed. In addition of concealing movement to the eyes, markers also disappear if obscured by the smoke, granting full concealment to those who use smoke well. While smoke does indeed conceal the precise position of a vehicle, the presence of smoke is also a good indication for the enemy on the general direction the smoke users are, so its use must be exercised with caution.
Smoke shells are generally not an offensive weapon due to its utility and lower muzzle velocity, however, the smoke shells are treated like explosive shells and could be used to devastating effect on open-topped and lightly-armoured vehicles in some cases.
All forms of smoke screens are effective against passive infrared night vision devices. However, while smoke shells and smoke grenades can block thermals, Engine Smoke generating Systems (ESS) do not block thermal sights.
Ground vehicles with smoke
Effect of smoke screen
After researching the "Smokescreen" modification, every naval vessel can deploy a smoke screen with a similar effect to ESS in ground forces. Upon activation, for the next 30 seconds, a screen of smoke will be laid down in the vessel's wake that lasts for about 25 seconds. Each vessel gets five smoke screen uses and must wait a 60 second cooldown between uses. The default key for smoke screen is "G", and it can be remapped at:
- Controls > Naval > Weaponry > Smoke screening
Uniquely, the PG 02 can equip the 130 mm Mark 36 SRBOC decoy system, which functions in the same way as smoke launchers in ground forces. There is no keybind for this by default, but it can be remapped at:
- Controls > Naval > Weaponry > Smoke grenades
In naval battles, smoke screens can obscure visual contact, break locks, and, in Arcade Battles, hide player names and markers.
Hydroplane smoke screens
In addition to the standard smoke screen, certain ships can gain the ability to launch aircraft by researching the "Hydroplane" modification. Each plane can lay up to three smoke screens which behave similarly to those laid by surface vessels. The smoke screens begin to dissipate after 30 seconds and completely dissipate after 60 seconds, and there is a 100-second cooldown between uses. The default key for hydroplane smoke screens is "Alt+G", which can be remapped at:
- Controls > Aircraft > Miscellaneous > Hydroplane smoke screen activation
To begin laying a smoke screen, the aircraft must be at an altitude of 50 metres or less. If the aircraft exceeds that altitude limit at any point while laying a smoke screen, the smoke screen laying will end prematurely. The height of the smoke screen will depend on the course of the aircraft, so in general, it is recommended to fly as close to the upper altitude limit as possible while laying smoke screens. Additionally, the speed of the aircraft does not affect the density or the laying duration of the smoke screen, so travelling at greater speeds will result in a longer smoke screen.