Difference between revisions of "Tank ammunition"

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Tank shells come in two general categories: '''kinetic''' energy shells, and '''chemical''' energy shells.
 
Tank shells come in two general categories: '''kinetic''' energy shells, and '''chemical''' energy shells.
  
'''Kinetic energy shells'''' ability to penetrate, and depending on the type of shell, also to do damage, depends on a combination of the shell's mass, speed, and hardness. Since mass and hardness are constant for a shell, this means that the longer a shell flies, the more speed it loses due to air resistance and the less damage it will cause.
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'''Kinetic energy shells''' penetrate and deal damage based on a number of factors; shell type, projectile mass, round velocity and material hardness. Mass, shell type and hardness are constants, but velocity reduces with distance travelled and as such at longer ranges kinetic rounds will lose penetration ability and in some cases post-penetration efficacy.
  
'''Chemical energy shells''' do their damage based on a chemical reaction, and unlike kinetic shells, their ability to penetrate and do damage are not affected by the shell's speed. This means that they do the same amount of damage regardless of the distance to the target if they hit.
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'''Chemical energy shells''' do their damage based on a chemical reaction, and unlike kinetic shells, their ability to penetrate and deal damage are not affected by the shell's speed. This means that they do the same amount of damage regardless of the distance to the target if they hit.
  
It can be worth noting that there is no '-T'-suffix in the names of tank shells. It is assumed that ''all'' tank shells have a tracer component in the shell base.
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It is worth noting that there is no '-T'-suffix in the names of tank shells. It is assumed that ''all'' tank shells have a tracer component in the shell base.
  
 
===Kinetic energy shells===
 
===Kinetic energy shells===
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[[File:Icon AP Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing (AP)'''
  
*[[File:Icon AP Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing (AP)''' <br>
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Armour Piercing is a basic solid steel shot which is entirely reliant on kinetic energy to penetrate and deal damage. Providing the round possesses enough energy to penetrate any given armour, it will deal internal damage from steel fragments and spalling of the internal surfaces which can damage vehicle components, stored ammunition and crew members.  
  
Basic solid steel shot, which uses kinetic energy to penetrate an armour plate. The shot causes damage by fully or partially penetrating the armour plate, causing steel fragments of the shot and the armour plate (spalling) to hit crew members, automotive components, ammunition, fuel tanks, etc. The standard early-World War II ammunition for most nations.
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''AP is a standard early World War II ammunition for many nations. In War Thunder, AP rounds should be used as a general use anti-armour round, with careful round placement to maximise post-penetration damage.''
  
*[[File:Icon APC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Capped (APC)''' <br>
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[[File:Icon APC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Capped (APC)'''  
  
Here a nose cone (or cap) of softer metal is fixed to the front of the solid shot. When this struck the target armour the shock of the impact is transferred away from the tip of the round to the neck, thus helping to prevent shattering. An added bonus is that the softer caps improve "grip" against sloped armour, squashing on impact to allow the main shot to penetrate rather than glancing off. A downside with the cap was the decrease in long-range accuracy due to the cap interfering with the shell's aerodynamics.
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APC rounds have a nose cone (or cap) of softer metal is fixed to the front of the solid shot. When this strikes the target armour the shock of the impact is transferred away from the tip of the round to the neck, helping prevent shattering. Additionally, the cap will collapse on contact with armour and the deformation will cause the round to angle towards the armour, more efficiently directing energy into the armour and improving the angled performance of the round. A downside of the cap is a decrease in long-range accuracy due to the cap interfering with the shell's aerodynamics.  
[[File:APC Normalization.gif|thumb|Display of shell normalization as an effect of a capped (APC) shell (clickable gif)]]
 
  
*[[File:Icon APBC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Ballistic Cap (APBC)'''<br>
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''APC is commonly found as a mid-tier shell for both the British and French on their mid-to-late WW2 vehicles. In War Thunder, APC is best used as a short-to-mid range round for combatting angled armour that regular AP rounds may not easily penetrate.''
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[[File:APC Normalization.gif|thumb|Display of shell normalization as an effect of a capped (APC) shell (clickable gif)]][[File:Icon APBC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Ballistic Capped (APBC)'''
  
To improve the aerodynamics of the AP shells, a ballistic cap can be added to the tip of the shot. This cap gives the shell a more pointed shape, allowing it to flow in the air more readily than a normal round. The cap is made of a brittle metal, which breaks on impact, and does not aid penetration nor give any slope "grip" as an APC round does.
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APBC rounds utilise a ballistic cap, designed to improve aerodynamic performance and hence round performance at longer ranges. The cap usually utilises a soft or brittle metal which collapses on impact and does not aid penetration or angled performance.
  
*[[File:Icon APCBC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Cap (APCBC)'''<br>
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''APBC is found on some early Russian vehicles, but is relatively uncommon otherwise compared to APCBC. In War Thunder, APBC is best used as a longer-range alternative to APC or APHE rounds which often exhibit less favourable ranged performance.''
  
A combination of the ballistic cap of APBC and the cap of APC, giving the round improved long-range accuracy and the slope grip. Note that some APCBC ammunition was only listed as APC and that APCBC shells can come both with and without a high explosive filler.
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[[File:Icon APCBC Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APCBC)'''
  
*[[File:Icon APHE Shell.jpg|left|frameless]][[File:Icon APHEBC Shell.jpg|frameless]][[File:Icon APCBC-HE Shell.jpg|frameless]]'''High Explosive Filler (-HE)'''<br>
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APCBC rounds combine the standard cap and the ballistic cap, improving the round's aerodynamic and penetration performance. As such, APCBC rounds tend to exhibit the best 'all-round' characteristics of any conventional kinetic rounds.
  
AP shots are often just solid metal shells that penetrate armour and causes damage by tearing through the interior and releasing shrapnel via spalling. The lethality of AP, APBC, APC, and APCBC shots can be increased by adding an explosive filler into the shell, intended to explode upon penetrating the enemy armour. This filler will, however, also decrease the mass of the shot, decreasing its ability to defeat the armour plate. In APCBC shell designations, the HE part is ''often'' just dropped e.g. the German Pz.Gr.39 round is "APHECBC" but is simply listed as an "APCBC". In-game, the images of each round and stat cards give a good indication on which shells have or don't have the explosive filler.
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''APCBC is found as a high-tier shell for British, French and American mid-to-late WW2 vehicles. In-game, APCBC should be the preferred option of solid shot rounds in all situations, when available, and should be situationally switched for APHE rounds if they're available.''
  
*[[File:Icon APCR Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Composite, Rigid (APCR)''' or '''High Velocity, Armor Piercing (HVAP)'''<br>
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[[File:Icon APHE Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, High Explosive (APHE)'''
  
A very dense core, usually made from tungsten carbide, in a soft metal shell. Upon impact, the soft shell will deform, causing the core to penetrate the armour plate at very high speeds. Compared to solid shot AP they create ''much'' less shrapnel so sniping for weak points is necessary. These shells were the primary high-velocity penetrator used during World War 2 before the transition to APDS rounds.
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APHE rounds utilise a similar form to AP rounds, but incorporate a small chamber of high explosive filler within the round. This often slightly reduces the round's mass and construction strength and as such APHE rounds tend to exhibit slightly worse penetration performance than their solid shot counterparts. However, upon successful penetration, APHE rounds often cause significantly more damage within a vehicle. APHE rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.
  
*[[File:Icon APDS Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS)'''<br>
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''APHE is primarily found on Russian vehicles earlier in the tech tree, and on some earlier American and German vehicles. It should be prioritised for use when penetration is likely, or switched for AP or APCR if improved penetration is required.''
  
Similar to the APCR in principle. Rather than a softshell, however, the thin, long shot discards it shell (sabot) upon leaving the gun barrel, reducing the shell's drag and thus reducing the loss of speed over distance, while not causing significant change to the mass of the penetrator compared to APCR. Compared to solid shot AP they create ''much'' less shrapnel so sniping for weak points is necessary. Most APDS penetrator rods were made from tungsten carbide, the same material for APCR, though some of the more modern ones still around use depleted-uranium instead for the penetrator.
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[[File:Icon APHEBC Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]
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'''Armour Piercing, High Explosive, Ballistic Capped (APHEBC)'''
  
*[[File:Icon APDS-FS Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armor Piercing, Discarding Sabot, Fin-Stabilized (APDS-FS)'''<br>
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APHEBC rounds, similarly to APHE, utilise APBC concepts with the addition of high explosive filler. Again, the rounds tend to exhibit slightly worse penetrative performance than their solid shot brethren, but significantly more post-penetration damage. APHEBC rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.
  
Essentially an APDS round, with the exception of the shot having fins attached to stabilize its flight path. These are the most modern type of kinetic penetrator still in use today, with a majority of the battle-use rounds today made of depleted uranium, though there are still some that are made of tungsten carbide. These also generate far more spalling than standard APDS due to the longer penetrator,
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''APHEBC is primarily found on Russian vehicles earlier in the tech tree as a mid-tier round, and on some American and German vehicles. It's ideally used against targets where angled performance is required and HE filler is preferable.''
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[[File:Icon APCBC-HE Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]
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'''Armour Piercing, High Explosive, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APHECBC)'''
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APHECBC rounds utilise standard APCBC designs with added explosive filler. APHECBC is often referred to as 'APCBC' in-game, and can be identified instead by the graphic or the explosive filler content in the round stat sheet. As with other APHE rounds, APHECBC significantly improves the post-penetration lethality over that of a standard APCBC round. APHECBC rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.
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''APHECBC is found throughout the Russian tech tree as a high-tier round, and on some American and German vehicles. APHECBC should be used preferentially and interchangeably with a high-penetration round where available.''
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[[File:Icon APCR Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Composite, Rigid (APCR)'''
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APCR rounds often use tungsten carbide or other extremely hard metals as a sub-calibre penetrator, wrapped within a softer full-calibre sabot - the APCR concept is essentially a predecessor to the APDS design. Upon impact, the soft shell will deform, allowing the hard metal penetrator contained within to penetrate the target's armour with force spread over a smaller surface area, resulting in significantly better penetration ability. APCR rounds often suffer from less post-penetration damage than a standard AP round of the same calibre, and due to their design perform much worse when facing angled armour.
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''APCR is found throughout most tech trees, most commonly available to vehicles from mid-WW2 through to early cold war vehicles. APCR rounds are best used against minimally angled armour, where other rounds will be unable to penetrate.''
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[[File:Icon APDS Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS)'''
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APDS rounds utilise a hard core as a sub-calibre penetrator, with a full calibre sabot. Unlike APCR rounds, APDS rounds discard their sabot after exiting the cannon barrel. The result is an extremely high-velocity round with particularly high penetration values and good ranged accuracy. APDS produces a minimal amount of post-penetration damage. There is also a small chance for APDS rounds to shatter given certain circumstances.
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''APDS is first made available on post-WW2 British vehicles, and is available to most vehicles in possession of an L7-derived gun.'' ''In War Thunder, APDS is best used as a long-range round, with multiple shots often being a necessity due to the lack of post-penetration damage. APDS is quite ineffective against lightly-armoured vehicles.''
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[[File:Icon APDS-FS Shot.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Armour Piercing, Discarding Sabot, Fin-Stabilized (APDS-FS)'''
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APDS-FS (usually referred to as APFSDS in-game) is the pinnacle of the kinetic anti-armour rounds. As with APDS, APFSDS utilises an extremely hard penetrator and a discarding sabot, however the penetrator is usually significantly longer than that of APDS and incorporates fins for added long-range accuracy. The additional penetrator legnth improves the post-penetration damage effects. APFSDS rounds are the most powerful kinetic rounds available in-game.
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''APFSDS is first available to some late Rank V vehicles, and is often the primary round for most Rank VI or VII vehicles. It's effective at all ranges, and due to most APFSDS rounds having an extremely high velocity they maintain their performance at even extreme ranges. APFSDS is quite ineffective against lightly-armoured vehicles.''
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'''Shrapnel'''
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Shrapnel rounds are a kinetic round utilising a thin shell and a chamber of metal fillings or ball bearings. Upon successful penetration, Shrapnel rounds cause a significant amount of damage. However, due to the thin outer shell, shrapnel rounds only perform well against particularly light armour and are completely ineffective when used against even moderately armoured targets.
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''Shrapnel rounds are available exclusively to early Russian vehicles. Shrapnel is exclusively useful against lightly armoured targets, and shouldn't be used against front-facing armour of any other tank.''
  
 
===Chemical energy shells===
 
===Chemical energy shells===
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[[File:Icon HE Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive (HE)'''
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High Explosive rounds are primarily intended for use as an anti-infantry/anti-emplacement round. As such, HE rounds tend to have minimal armour-piercing capability and are better used against particularly lightly armoured vehicles, although on occasion it can prove effective against the sides of a vehicle. Particularly high-calibre HE rounds may cause enough area damage to destroy a tank regardless of the round placement.
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''HE rounds are available to almost every vehicle in-game. However, low-calibre HE rounds are particularly ineffective and they should only be utilised by vehicles with large-calibre guns, such as the KV-2 or Sturmpanzer II.''
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[[File:Icon HESH Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)'''
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HESH rounds are designed as an anti-emplacement round. The 'squash head', usually comprised of some form of plastic explosive, is designed to squash onto a surface and detonate, causing the opposite side of the surface to rupture. If the given surface happens to be metal, this will often result in metal shards flying off the surface at high velocity. Due to this design, HESH rounds perform better the further they can spread, and as such they're more effective when applied to angled armour, within reason.
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''HESH rounds are available to most British vehicles from Rank V, and other vehicles in possession of an L7-derived gun. HESH should be primarily used against lighter armour or side armour, although occasionally the HE splash effect can cause unexpected results. HESH is completely ineffective against heavy armour.''[[File:HEAT Diagram.jpg|thumb|Display of a HEAT charge striking armour]][[File:Icon HEAT Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive, Anti-tank (HEAT)'''
  
*[[File:Icon HE Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive (HE)'''<br>
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HEAT rounds are designed as a multi-stage anti-tank round. Initially, a chemical reaction superheats armour on contact, melting a hole. Afterwards a shaped charge detonates, causing directed HE damage on the interior of the tank. Early HEAT rounds have limited effectiveness, however their penetration values stay consistent at all ranges.
  
While originally meant as an anti-infantry measure and not intended to destroy tanks, high explosive rounds can damage tanks by destroying their tracks or damaging periscopes and automotive parts, and even crack and destroy armour plates if sufficiently powerful. Probably the main exponents of this approach were the Soviets, who not only issued every gun with some form of an anti tank round, they were also happy to shoot HE at tanks. A 152 mm HE shell will spoil anyone's day.
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''HEAT rounds are available to a variety of WW2 German vehicles, as well as higher-performance HEAT becoming available to some late French and American vehicles. HEAT is limited in effectiveness and its usage should be carefully considered as many vehicles have armour it cannot penetrate.''
  
*[[File:Icon HESH Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)'''<br>
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[[File:Icon HEAT-FS Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive, Anti-Tank, Fin-Stabilized (HEAT-FS)'''
  
A thin-walled shell filled with a plastic explosive that upon impact causes the explosive to "pancake" onto the armour, which a fraction of a second later is detonated by a charge in the shell. The explosion will cause a shockwave in the armour and knock loose metal fragments on the other side of the armour (spalling), showering the inside of the tank with them. It has the best effect against flat armour surfaces, and relatively thick armour since thin armour does not cause sufficient spalling. This shell type appeared after WW2 and was mainly used by the British.<br />In game it ignores any armour-angle, except for ricochets, and deals damage by metal-flakes which are blown off inside the armour by the exterior explosion. In short, the fighting compartment is showered in metal rain. Currently, only true armour thickness (opposed to a line of sight thickness, again armour-angles are ignored) will provide sufficient means of protection.
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HEAT-FS rounds are an improvement over the HEAT concept, using improved penetrative chemicals and utilising fins for improved ballistic performance. HEAT-FS rounds maintain their penetration values at all ranges, and are well-suited to long-range engagements.
[[File:HEAT Diagram.jpg|thumb|Display of a HEAT charge striking armour]]
 
  
*[[File:Icon HEAT Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive, Anti-tank (HEAT)'''<br>
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''HEAT-FS rounds become available to many nations from Rank V although notably the British do not receive HEAT-FS at any stage due to its incompatibility with rifled cannons. At Rank VI and Rank VII, HEAT-FS may prove ineffective in many cases due to the prevalence of ERA and composite armour. Despite this, it can still be used for ranged engagements as particularly late HEAT-FS rounds have extremely high penetration power.''
  
Rather than relying on penetration by pure kinetic energy, a HEAT shell achieves penetration through a combination of chemical and kinetic energy. When a HEAT shell detonates on impact, a metal cone (often copper) is cold-formed by the pressure created by the detonation of the HE-charges surrounding it, turning the metal cone into a metal beam which penetrates armour at supersonic speeds. Thanks to the HE-charge creating the penetration potential on impact unlike conventional kinetic rounds, HEAT rounds do not lose any penetration potential even on very long distances. Another advantage of a HEAT round is its multi-purpose damage characteristics; the explosion by the HE-charge makes HEAT also effective against soft targets like trucks. Facing armour, the metal beam creates on penetration a deadly cone of armour fragments, destroying any modules or crew members in its way, though in-game the after penetration damage can be quite annoyingly punctual requiring a very precise aim. This ammo type was greatly improved past the sixties to improve on many issues the first WW2 iterations had like limited after penetration effects, low travelling speeds and penetration.
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[[File:Icon ATGM Missile.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)'''
  
*[[File:Icon HEAT-FS Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''High Explosive, Anti-Tank, Fin-Stabilized (HEAT-FS)'''<br>
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''Main article: [[Anti-tank_guided_missiles|Anti-tank Guided Missile]]''
  
A more sophisticated form of the HEAT round above. The HEAT-FS round has an advantage over HEAT by having a higher muzzle velocity as well as a more lethal warhead. A HEAT-FS round can penetrate an average of 300 mm of armour at any range, making them a very good round to use on long-range target as well as close-range. This is often the stock round of some MBTs.  
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ATGMs largely utilise the same concept as HEAT, however they integrate some form of propulsion and are usually guidable, either manually (MCLOS) or semi-automatically (SACLOS). ATGMs usually pack a large amount of explosive and often have particularly powerful penetrators. However, they require specialised equipment to fire and tend to have long reload times.
  
*[[File:Icon ATGM Missile.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)'''<br>
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''ATGMs become available through Rank V, and are primarily carried by specialised ATGM carriers, however some tanks have ATGM-capable main cannons. ATGMs are powerful and SACLOS guided missiles are easily aimed, however they travel slowly and well-aware targets may be able to move into cover prior to the ATGM reaching them.''[[File:Icon Smoke Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Smoke'''
  
''Main article: [[Anti-tank_guided_missiles|Anti-tank Guided Missile]]''<br>
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''Main article: [[Smoke screen|Smoke]]''
This is a HEAT-FS round with a twist. Instead of being sent to its target via a straight trajectory, the HEAT warhead is guided by a missile projectile, controllable by the player. This allows far-range target that had to be manually ranged by distance to be targeted with pinpoint accuracy with a missile that can change direction by command. Though a general disadvantage is the large missile size that restricts ammo count, the lethality given by this option allows players to seek out and destroy enemies at distances they would not even think of being engaged at. Despite a long effective range, ATGMs have a much slower velocity than standard anti-tank ammunition.
 
  
*[[File:Icon Smoke Shell.jpg|left|frameless]]'''Smoke'''<br>
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Smoke shells are not designed as a damaging shell, and largely consist of chemicals designed to create a smoke screen. The produced smoke has a limited lifetime.
  
''Main article: [[Smoke screen|Smoke]]''<br>
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''Smoke shells are available to various vehicles throughout most tech trees, however their effectiveness is somewhat limited compared to dedicated smoke launchers.''
A specialized shell that causes no damage to armoured vehicles, but allows the player to create their own smoke screen to conceal a friendly position from enemy fire. Smoke lasts between 20-30 seconds and it obscures line-of-sight vision.  It also hides markers from friendlies and enemies. A noticeable trait in all smoke shells in comparison with regular shells is the reduced muzzle velocity due to most of the shell being taken up by smoke-generating material, rather than charge.
 
  
 
==Ammo Racks==
 
==Ammo Racks==

Revision as of 02:58, 25 October 2019

Ammunition shell types

Tank shells come in two general categories: kinetic energy shells, and chemical energy shells.

Kinetic energy shells penetrate and deal damage based on a number of factors; shell type, projectile mass, round velocity and material hardness. Mass, shell type and hardness are constants, but velocity reduces with distance travelled and as such at longer ranges kinetic rounds will lose penetration ability and in some cases post-penetration efficacy.

Chemical energy shells do their damage based on a chemical reaction, and unlike kinetic shells, their ability to penetrate and deal damage are not affected by the shell's speed. This means that they do the same amount of damage regardless of the distance to the target if they hit.

It is worth noting that there is no '-T'-suffix in the names of tank shells. It is assumed that all tank shells have a tracer component in the shell base.

Kinetic energy shells

Icon AP Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing (AP)

Armour Piercing is a basic solid steel shot which is entirely reliant on kinetic energy to penetrate and deal damage. Providing the round possesses enough energy to penetrate any given armour, it will deal internal damage from steel fragments and spalling of the internal surfaces which can damage vehicle components, stored ammunition and crew members.

AP is a standard early World War II ammunition for many nations. In War Thunder, AP rounds should be used as a general use anti-armour round, with careful round placement to maximise post-penetration damage.

Icon APC Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Capped (APC)

APC rounds have a nose cone (or cap) of softer metal is fixed to the front of the solid shot. When this strikes the target armour the shock of the impact is transferred away from the tip of the round to the neck, helping prevent shattering. Additionally, the cap will collapse on contact with armour and the deformation will cause the round to angle towards the armour, more efficiently directing energy into the armour and improving the angled performance of the round. A downside of the cap is a decrease in long-range accuracy due to the cap interfering with the shell's aerodynamics.

APC is commonly found as a mid-tier shell for both the British and French on their mid-to-late WW2 vehicles. In War Thunder, APC is best used as a short-to-mid range round for combatting angled armour that regular AP rounds may not easily penetrate.

Display of shell normalization as an effect of a capped (APC) shell (clickable gif)
Icon APBC Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Ballistic Capped (APBC)

APBC rounds utilise a ballistic cap, designed to improve aerodynamic performance and hence round performance at longer ranges. The cap usually utilises a soft or brittle metal which collapses on impact and does not aid penetration or angled performance.

APBC is found on some early Russian vehicles, but is relatively uncommon otherwise compared to APCBC. In War Thunder, APBC is best used as a longer-range alternative to APC or APHE rounds which often exhibit less favourable ranged performance.

Icon APCBC Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APCBC)

APCBC rounds combine the standard cap and the ballistic cap, improving the round's aerodynamic and penetration performance. As such, APCBC rounds tend to exhibit the best 'all-round' characteristics of any conventional kinetic rounds.

APCBC is found as a high-tier shell for British, French and American mid-to-late WW2 vehicles. In-game, APCBC should be the preferred option of solid shot rounds in all situations, when available, and should be situationally switched for APHE rounds if they're available.

Icon APHE Shell.jpg
Armour Piercing, High Explosive (APHE)

APHE rounds utilise a similar form to AP rounds, but incorporate a small chamber of high explosive filler within the round. This often slightly reduces the round's mass and construction strength and as such APHE rounds tend to exhibit slightly worse penetration performance than their solid shot counterparts. However, upon successful penetration, APHE rounds often cause significantly more damage within a vehicle. APHE rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.

APHE is primarily found on Russian vehicles earlier in the tech tree, and on some earlier American and German vehicles. It should be prioritised for use when penetration is likely, or switched for AP or APCR if improved penetration is required.

Icon APHEBC Shell.jpg

Armour Piercing, High Explosive, Ballistic Capped (APHEBC)

APHEBC rounds, similarly to APHE, utilise APBC concepts with the addition of high explosive filler. Again, the rounds tend to exhibit slightly worse penetrative performance than their solid shot brethren, but significantly more post-penetration damage. APHEBC rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.

APHEBC is primarily found on Russian vehicles earlier in the tech tree as a mid-tier round, and on some American and German vehicles. It's ideally used against targets where angled performance is required and HE filler is preferable.

Icon APCBC-HE Shell.jpg

Armour Piercing, High Explosive, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APHECBC)

APHECBC rounds utilise standard APCBC designs with added explosive filler. APHECBC is often referred to as 'APCBC' in-game, and can be identified instead by the graphic or the explosive filler content in the round stat sheet. As with other APHE rounds, APHECBC significantly improves the post-penetration lethality over that of a standard APCBC round. APHECBC rounds have a fuse which will only activate on sufficiently thick armour.

APHECBC is found throughout the Russian tech tree as a high-tier round, and on some American and German vehicles. APHECBC should be used preferentially and interchangeably with a high-penetration round where available.

Icon APCR Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Composite, Rigid (APCR)

APCR rounds often use tungsten carbide or other extremely hard metals as a sub-calibre penetrator, wrapped within a softer full-calibre sabot - the APCR concept is essentially a predecessor to the APDS design. Upon impact, the soft shell will deform, allowing the hard metal penetrator contained within to penetrate the target's armour with force spread over a smaller surface area, resulting in significantly better penetration ability. APCR rounds often suffer from less post-penetration damage than a standard AP round of the same calibre, and due to their design perform much worse when facing angled armour.

APCR is found throughout most tech trees, most commonly available to vehicles from mid-WW2 through to early cold war vehicles. APCR rounds are best used against minimally angled armour, where other rounds will be unable to penetrate.

Icon APDS Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS)

APDS rounds utilise a hard core as a sub-calibre penetrator, with a full calibre sabot. Unlike APCR rounds, APDS rounds discard their sabot after exiting the cannon barrel. The result is an extremely high-velocity round with particularly high penetration values and good ranged accuracy. APDS produces a minimal amount of post-penetration damage. There is also a small chance for APDS rounds to shatter given certain circumstances.

APDS is first made available on post-WW2 British vehicles, and is available to most vehicles in possession of an L7-derived gun. In War Thunder, APDS is best used as a long-range round, with multiple shots often being a necessity due to the lack of post-penetration damage. APDS is quite ineffective against lightly-armoured vehicles.

Icon APDS-FS Shot.jpg
Armour Piercing, Discarding Sabot, Fin-Stabilized (APDS-FS)

APDS-FS (usually referred to as APFSDS in-game) is the pinnacle of the kinetic anti-armour rounds. As with APDS, APFSDS utilises an extremely hard penetrator and a discarding sabot, however the penetrator is usually significantly longer than that of APDS and incorporates fins for added long-range accuracy. The additional penetrator legnth improves the post-penetration damage effects. APFSDS rounds are the most powerful kinetic rounds available in-game.

APFSDS is first available to some late Rank V vehicles, and is often the primary round for most Rank VI or VII vehicles. It's effective at all ranges, and due to most APFSDS rounds having an extremely high velocity they maintain their performance at even extreme ranges. APFSDS is quite ineffective against lightly-armoured vehicles.

Shrapnel

Shrapnel rounds are a kinetic round utilising a thin shell and a chamber of metal fillings or ball bearings. Upon successful penetration, Shrapnel rounds cause a significant amount of damage. However, due to the thin outer shell, shrapnel rounds only perform well against particularly light armour and are completely ineffective when used against even moderately armoured targets.

Shrapnel rounds are available exclusively to early Russian vehicles. Shrapnel is exclusively useful against lightly armoured targets, and shouldn't be used against front-facing armour of any other tank.

Chemical energy shells

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High Explosive (HE)

High Explosive rounds are primarily intended for use as an anti-infantry/anti-emplacement round. As such, HE rounds tend to have minimal armour-piercing capability and are better used against particularly lightly armoured vehicles, although on occasion it can prove effective against the sides of a vehicle. Particularly high-calibre HE rounds may cause enough area damage to destroy a tank regardless of the round placement.

HE rounds are available to almost every vehicle in-game. However, low-calibre HE rounds are particularly ineffective and they should only be utilised by vehicles with large-calibre guns, such as the KV-2 or Sturmpanzer II.

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High Explosive Squash Head (HESH)

HESH rounds are designed as an anti-emplacement round. The 'squash head', usually comprised of some form of plastic explosive, is designed to squash onto a surface and detonate, causing the opposite side of the surface to rupture. If the given surface happens to be metal, this will often result in metal shards flying off the surface at high velocity. Due to this design, HESH rounds perform better the further they can spread, and as such they're more effective when applied to angled armour, within reason.

HESH rounds are available to most British vehicles from Rank V, and other vehicles in possession of an L7-derived gun. HESH should be primarily used against lighter armour or side armour, although occasionally the HE splash effect can cause unexpected results. HESH is completely ineffective against heavy armour.
Display of a HEAT charge striking armour
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High Explosive, Anti-tank (HEAT)

HEAT rounds are designed as a multi-stage anti-tank round. Initially, a chemical reaction superheats armour on contact, melting a hole. Afterwards a shaped charge detonates, causing directed HE damage on the interior of the tank. Early HEAT rounds have limited effectiveness, however their penetration values stay consistent at all ranges.

HEAT rounds are available to a variety of WW2 German vehicles, as well as higher-performance HEAT becoming available to some late French and American vehicles. HEAT is limited in effectiveness and its usage should be carefully considered as many vehicles have armour it cannot penetrate.

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High Explosive, Anti-Tank, Fin-Stabilized (HEAT-FS)

HEAT-FS rounds are an improvement over the HEAT concept, using improved penetrative chemicals and utilising fins for improved ballistic performance. HEAT-FS rounds maintain their penetration values at all ranges, and are well-suited to long-range engagements.

HEAT-FS rounds become available to many nations from Rank V although notably the British do not receive HEAT-FS at any stage due to its incompatibility with rifled cannons. At Rank VI and Rank VII, HEAT-FS may prove ineffective in many cases due to the prevalence of ERA and composite armour. Despite this, it can still be used for ranged engagements as particularly late HEAT-FS rounds have extremely high penetration power.

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Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)

Main article: Anti-tank Guided Missile

ATGMs largely utilise the same concept as HEAT, however they integrate some form of propulsion and are usually guidable, either manually (MCLOS) or semi-automatically (SACLOS). ATGMs usually pack a large amount of explosive and often have particularly powerful penetrators. However, they require specialised equipment to fire and tend to have long reload times.

ATGMs become available through Rank V, and are primarily carried by specialised ATGM carriers, however some tanks have ATGM-capable main cannons. ATGMs are powerful and SACLOS guided missiles are easily aimed, however they travel slowly and well-aware targets may be able to move into cover prior to the ATGM reaching them.
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Smoke

Main article: Smoke

Smoke shells are not designed as a damaging shell, and largely consist of chemicals designed to create a smoke screen. The produced smoke has a limited lifetime.

Smoke shells are available to various vehicles throughout most tech trees, however their effectiveness is somewhat limited compared to dedicated smoke launchers.

Ammo Racks

Ammunition for ground vehicles is stored in Ammo racks.

Media

Tank Shells Guide - War Thunder ammo types explained - HowToPlay1337