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Theoretical Hit Rates Against Hulldown Targets

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Quite a bit of past discussion has centered around the chances of hitting hulldown targets, and I've seen hull hidden Marders die quickly at the hands of far off T34's.

So, we did some calculations for first round hit rates against hulldown Shermans and T34's (assume 20% average range estimate error for first shot):

T34

Tiger 88L56 vs fully exposed T34 at 800m, 49%

Tiger 88L56 vs Hulldown T34 at 800m, 18%

M4A3(W)75 Sherman

Tiger 88L56 vs fully exposed M4A3 at 800m, 54%

Tiger 88L56 vs Hulldown M4A3 at 800m, 18%

The hit percentages against a hulldown target vary from 33% to 37% of the hull exposed target case.

The above analysis did not consider hits upon highly sloped turret surfaces where a hit would probably bounce off without significant impact or damage.

The above estimates are ideal hit scores for a crew that does everything right, uses single dispersion and does not include "sloppiness" modifiers (or double vision effects).

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Read the thread on Tiger range estimations - my question here is what would happen to the % to hit if the Tiger crews aimed at the center of a hull down target instead of at the bottom, as you calculated for a fully visible target?

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Originally posted by Dschugaschwili:

How much of the hull-down tank is assumed to be exposed in your calculation? Half the height? Only the turret? Unfortunately, without that information your numbers are meaningless.

Dschugaschwili

Hulldown suggests nothing but the turret is visible, which was measured at about 0.70m from some scale models.

It worked out to about one-third the total height for T34 and Shermans.

Against a "hulldown" Marder, where 0.82m of the vehicle is visible over the ground, a T34 firing APBC would have a 14% first round success rate at 800m once the Marder was clearly seen.

But at 800m, 0.82m of the Marder would appear to be 0.75mm tall, or 0.03", even after T34 gun sight magnification is considered. Hold out a ruler at one foot from the face and look at a 1mm line, and then picture a 0.75mm tall Marder figure poking out from behind a small hill.

A 0.75mm high figure (measured at 12" from the eye) is small, and the T34's might have trouble locating the tank apart from the dust and smoke associated with the shooting, especially if there is elevated ground behind the Marder so it is not standing out against the top of a hill.

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Originally posted by Snarker:

Read the thread on Tiger range estimations - my question here is what would happen to the % to hit if the Tiger crews aimed at the center of a hull down target instead of at the bottom, as you calculated for a fully visible target?

The calculations were based on the Tiger aiming at the center of the observed target area.

Using the standard German practice, the aim would initially be aimed at the bottom of the observed target and then half the perceived height in mils times 100m would be added to the range estimate.

A 0.7m turret at 800m looks like 1 mil, so add 50m to the 800m range and obtain 850m for the mean point of impact. Aiming at 850m with an 800m target results in a shot 0.37m from the bottom, which is close to the mid-point at 0.35m.

The aim at bottom without range adjustment worked for fully or mostly exposed targets, and would not work very well for hulldown targets.

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Hulldown suggests nothing but the turret is visible, which was measured at about 0.70m from some scale models.

It worked out to about one-third the total height for T34 and Shermans.

Against a "hulldown" Marder, where 0.82m of the vehicle is visible over the ground, a T34 firing APBC would have a 14% first round success rate at 800m once the Marder was clearly seen.

But at 800m, 0.82m of the Marder would appear to be 0.75mm tall, or 0.03", even after T34 gun sight magnification is considered. Hold out a ruler at one foot from the face and look at a 1mm line, and then picture a 0.75mm tall Marder figure poking out from behind a small hill.

A 0.75mm high figure (measured at 12" from the eye) is small, and the T34's might have trouble locating the tank apart from the dust and smoke associated with the shooting, especially if there is elevated ground behind the Marder so it is not standing out against the top of a hill.

Another effect is that there is no one spotting for the T34 gunner in a T34/76. The TC is also the gunner so the tank is typically buttoned up when firing.

It is not easy for the gunner to pick up the tracer. Even Carius states that gunners in Tiger I often had problems due to blast or human reaction or the sight moving due to recoil. The TC was the prefered spotter and with binocs was the one who would call in corrections. Note that AFV with radio would also spot for each other or relay range info once it was determined.

The two man turret is such a disadvantage in attacking and aquiring targets that it is surprising the Soviets kept it as long as they did.

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Originally posted by Oddball_E8:

iirc in combat mission, hull down means only that the lower hull is covered... upper hull and turret are still exposed...

A hulldown Panther would, in reality, have only the turret front/mantlet exposed, sometimes stuff below the gun would be hidden.

For a hulldown Panther to only be hidden at lower front hull level, with the giant glacis fully seen, doesn't seem realistic.

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