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Behavior of AP shells


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Here are a few anecdotal observations on AP shells in the game.

It seems that an AP shell will burst if it hits a tree or any type of foliage. It seems odd then, that if one hits a tank and ricochets it will not burst until it hits the ground.

I'm also surprised at the lethality of these AP shell bursts at range. I've seen them take out men 30 to 50 meters from the point of hitting the ground, two out of about four times. (85mm but still, not an HE round.) Maybe a couple of outliers but I'm wondering if others have got a similar impression.

Am I seeing this wrongly? Does anyone know more about the logic of these things?

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My uninformed, unresearched 'gut feel' is that:

(1) 85mm AP could still have a relatively big bursting charge, and

(2) It might not be the most efficient fragment-generator when it explodes, but would at least cause relatively few, relatively large pieces to fly much further than an HE shell.

So maybe its fragments can hit troops fairly far away, although it is unlikely to do so.

Why it is set off immediately by a tree, and not from bouncing off armour plate, I have no idea.

FWIW, according to some googling, the 85mm AP in question may be BR-356, a 9.2kg AP tracer wi. flat nose & ballistic cap shell, containing 0.164 kg of "phlegmatized hexogen with powdered aluminum".

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And it surprises me how reduced lethality have the bursts that happen INSIDE of the penetrated tanks ;). Sometimes it really seems that crew is a bit safer inside of a tank being penetrated than being caught outside by a falling ricochet ;).

Especially average the number of crewmembers wounded during tank penetration is very small, several times smaller than average number of killed ones.

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It seems odd then, that if one hits a tank and ricochets it will not burst until it hits the ground.

I think I can go you one better. I played the training campaign just to see what it's like and noticed some oddities...or at least what I consider to be oddities. In the first, shooting range, scenario there are a number of unmanned Mk. IVs for the Reds to shoot at arranged at relatively close range, ~200-400m. On several occasions I noticed complete penetrations: in one side and out the other, both hull and turret hits, with the shot finally striking the ground maybe 50m on the other side of the target and exploding there. Note that this is with the 76mm gun. Now I don't know if such double penetration is possible at the given range with the given gun against the given target, but the fact that the fuse does not detonate the round inside the tank or immediately upon exiting it, but only upon striking the ground, has a suspicious smell for me. And I agree that it also seems suspicious that if all that steel won't trigger the round's fuse, how is it that 25cm or less of wood does?

Michael

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Could it be that the bursting observed by the AP shell when it hits a tree is representing the wood fragments and splinters? These could be quite lethal.

Yeah but the round travels no farther when it strikes wood, unlike its observed behavior when it strikes steel. It's not hard to imagine a round being deflected by striking wood, but stopped cold?????

Michael

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A co,

AP shells should not be exploding as a result of hitting a tree. After all, they're designed to pierce armor before detonating. HE shells, unless fuzed Delay, which isn't modeled in-game, should be detonating if they hit a tree, since they're fuzed SQ (Super Quick). This is why treebursts occur. Am very glad ChrisND is looking into this issue, since it shouldn't be happening at all.

Regards,

John Kettler

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The results of the behavior I've seen has seemed realistic enough, and I've suffered several infantry casualties due to bounced AP shells.

It doesn't seem to me that the engine is treating the shell like an HE shell; I've had a few land in the middle of a squad with the only result being one or two casualties (often just WIAs). An HE burst would kill most of the squad.

It's not clear to me whether the AP shell is actually exploding when it lands on the ground in the middle of my squads :-(, or if that is just a graphic. The relatively low level of casualties I've suffered would be consistent with simply being hit by really hot pieces of metal.

In general, I do like the effect: historically, infantry did not like being around tanks, since they were a magnet for all kinds of fire. I've mostly avoided the routine casualties I used to take by not putting infantry too close to my tank unless it's absolutely necessary, and I'm glad that the game forces this behavior.

Having said all of that, I can't say whether the effect is too strong, nor do I know whether it might be overmodeled for particular shells. So I'm glad it's being looked into, even though I personally haven't seen anything that seems beyond the pale.

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Most of fuses in AP shells would need a decceleration caused by penetration of at least 20mm of armor to be triggered. This means it won't trigger hitting a branch of a tree, and won't tigger hitting an armored car or halftrack. But should trigger after penetration of nearly any tank side armor (everything thicker than abolut 20mm).

The fuse of German PzGr39 was often damaged when it hit highly sloped armor (like T-34's front hull) - the great side acceleration caused jming of some moving parts in the fuse - and didn't detonate then, causing damage only with kinetic energy. That's why German tank commanders observed that it's hard to set a T-34 on fire shooting it from a front, but it explodes and burns very easily when hit from the side.

Even if the AP shell detonates, it doesn't mean it desintegrates completly and won't fly any further. Usually only the hollow rear part of the shell (containging the HE filler) is fragmented, the whole front part of the shell (a solid piece of steel containing most of shell's mass) would continue on it's path (sometimes it may start tumbling, sometimes not). It may penetrate the other side of the tank and continue flying, and if it retains enough energy it may kill some other lightly-armored vehicle.

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Thanks for bringing fresh eyes on this. I'd filed reports on it back in CMBN. Time to refresh those. (I forget what the reasoning for the APHE detonating on ground impact after ricocheting was, but there was a reason way back then...)

Ken

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But does the AP shell actually cause damage after it goes through a tank? It just might be part of the hit decal mechanics. I don't think I have ever observed damage to something behind a tank except as a direct result of the initial impact.

I ve oberved this several times in CMBN. On one especially reamarkable occasion i had a Panther penetrate two Shermans and damage a third one with a single shot .

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