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Apollo vs Thor, no holds barred.


yurch
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This thread has two purposes or sections; the first is a side by side comparison of Apollo and Thor for educational use (particularly, the 120mm variant), the next is a heavily biased and easily ignorable analysis by yours truely.

At the time of starting this, there's nobody on. ;)

In the first corner, we have Thor, the thuggish transgressor of tribulation and therapeutic torment!

Chassis:

Top speed of 25 (km/s?) acceleration(??) of 3.

Armor: (120mm)

Front 300

Side 150

Rear 125

Top 150

Bottom 100

Turret: (120mm)

Front 400

Side 150

Rear 50

Top 75

Bottom 400

And in the contender's corner, we have Apollo, the antagonizing aggressor and assailant, appointer of agony, the author of anguish!

Chassis:

Top speed of 40, acceleration(??) of 4

Armor: (120mm)

Front 150

Side 100

Rear 50

Top 100

Bottom 100

Turret: (120mm)

Front 300

Side 200

Rear 100

Top 200

Bottom 200

Apollo has the same chassis subsystem strengths and radial sizes as the Thor, with the exception of 20pts weaker engine. In the turret, the thor has a 10pt stronger ammo subsystem but with substantially larger target size. Both have the same ammo capacity, reload times, and apparent ballistics properties.

For reference, the lower the armor value, the more likely a round is to penetrate depending on how bad the angles are. For example: an armor value lower than 240 means 120mm HEAT has a chance of penetration with a good flat shot. Lower values allow the shot to penetrate at increasingly worse angles.

The Thor, predictably, has the highest frontal turret and chassis armor. The Apollo light tank therefore gives up a whopping 150 armor on it's front, 50 on each side, 50 off the top, and 75 of it's rear armor for a speed increase of 15 (+60%) and a substantially smaller profile.

Thor's 300 front is not enough to reliably stop 120mm AP closer than 1200 meters on the ice map and 900 on raid. It's primary purpose is a shield against HEAT rounds, 20mm, distant 120mm and 76mm, and low-trajectory hurricane shots. This is all well and good, as something needs to be able to stand up to these things.

Just barely, however. Over 4 seconds of sustained(player) ion fire to the chassis front will make the thor vulnerable to all of the above threats. (120mm reload time is 6 seconds) 10 seconds will reduce it's front armor to apollo's level. The introduction of ions put Thor in his own personal hell of having a high profile, low speed, and the loss of it's armor protection.

Ion fire is difficult to avoid in distant engagements, but hanging around in close engagements puts the clumsy Thor in danger of frontal penetration and side attacks.

Apollo fares slighty better at close range, not due to it's armor, but due to it's speed, low profile and higher numbers. Apollo is the flattest unit in the arsenal, and can find cover and concealment easily, which is an asset at any range. 120mm is a dangerous weapon on such a mobile platform. Players don't often take the ion Apollo, most likely due to the fact it invites retaliation in kind. Apollo can not stand up to an extended ion slugfest, and is better served by only allowing the relatively short exposure time needed for a 120mm shot.

ATGM and Mortars can attack with a downwards angle. The smallest mortar has a penetration of 175, enough to penetrate either chassis.

Ridiculously, though, it is the Apollo turret that offers a 200 top armor and better protection versus these kinds of attacks. And this is only the beginning. The Apollo turret is superior in nearly every regard to the Thor turret except for front and bottom protection, but still remains respectable in these areas. It has the same ballistic capability, ammo capacity, and overall better protection at nearly a quarter of the target size. It is generally easier to kill the entire tank then the turret.

The Thor may be better off with the Apollo's turret.

With this analysis, it is apparent that the Thor should only be used in long range situations (ion/mortar) or in prepared fortifications with hull down capability. The latter is questionable, given the low fire rates of the weapons availible to it and the very quick tendancy to lose its turret in a suprise attack.

Some thoughts:

Apollo and other units (basically, anything not non-mortar Thor or ATGM) without dedicated 'large' turrets would most likely be storing a significant portion of thier ammo inside the chassis. Inclusion of an ammo subsystem in the chassis would make them an order of magnitude less survivable, however, but I do think it's 'fair'. (Destruction of the ammo subsystem currently destroys the object it is located in, much like the battery.)

Thor's turret, even if it stays less protected, should probably confer some advantage for its size. 120mm could obtain slightly higher velocity from a longer barrel; Experimental weapons like rapid fire dual 76mm mounts, (die hurricanes%#@!) improved ion cannons, or direct fire mortars have far more space to work with.

Discuss. ;)

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i don't really understand which one of them should be the MBT of the game. the description says it's the thor, but the thor is too slow to be an MBT. my argument against the apollo is that it can be penetrated by the 20mm from the front..and i utterly hate that!

the strong apollo top turret armor makes some "WTF" moments, when i hit an apollo with 120mm HEAT from some big distance (e.g. 5 kms) and the round doesn't penetrate even though it falls almost vertically at that distance (so it should hit the weakest armor).

i agree with yurch's arguments about the turrets of the 2 tanks and the ammo storage of apollo. thor's bigger turret might have a more efficient autoloader and thus give slightly better rate of fire. maybe it could even have a 20mm as a coax.

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It's not just the apollo, most vehicles in dropteam have that style of turret and should have additional internal ammo subsystems, the loss of either being enough to lose functionality. I suspect most of that stuff on either side of those turrets are supposed to be protective rather than functional parts of the loading mechanism. Consider a turret pointing upwards - the rear of the barrel is more located inside the chassis than in the bits located on top.

I wouldn't expect a top penetration with HEAT from distance shots - it may look vertical from the zoomed in gunner's view but I doubt it's a greater angle than 40 degrees or so. Consider that classic geometry problem of catapaulting something as far as possible given a constant force and no air resistance - the optimal distance is 45 degrees. Air resistance in practice might make the incoming drop a bit steeper, but it's certainly not going to be a 70+ angle.

Modern tracked vehicles aren't all that slow compared to wheeled, especially considering the cross-country benefits they have. A "main" battle tank is exactly that - a hopefully well rounded configuration of armor, armanent and speed. If I understand correctly, wheeled vehicles are usually chosen for ease of maintainance, not necessarily top speed.

I don't know how to rate wheeled speed from the pysobject files, but most of the paladins seem to top off at around 83ish in raid (100+ downhill), with the heavier Hermes (which apparently just has weaker wheel power?!?) varying wildly between 47-70 depending on the incline styles you're operating on.

Even with the gameplay concern of giving the wheeled a higher speed for fairness (and, ignoring the hermes), there still is a huge disparity between track and wheeled. The command track and Apollo aren't matching quite half of their wheeled counterpart's top speed. Thor and the engineering vehicle are practically stationary.

The Apollo, to me, seems like nothing more than a tracked chassis slapped to a 120mm and sent out the door with the most basic of protections and no additonal armanents. This best would explain it's high availibility and turret styling. It is not a vehicle meant to be shot at. I would actually not estimate it's top speed that much higher than a MBT, an Apollo engine is probably quite small compared to a Thor's.

At 40km/hr (modded), the Thor is actually quite imposing, and it's actual value should probably be a bit under that to retain whatever balance between the vehicles, but I think availibility takes care of some of that. I wouldn't put the light tracks at over 50, or even over 45, because players at that point will practically be using them for jousting. An Apollo at 60 is seriously booking it, and would be very difficult to hit at any range with it's profile. On raid, with this speed, the bots only get a few shots in effective range at each other before they're basically face to face.

I do think, however, that track acceleration should be generally higher due to thier off-road capability. Berm drills are sluggish, and the tracked vehicles often take a surprising amount of time to reach thier already low top speeds.

Edit: I think acceleration starts low and increases as the vehicle drives - it probably should be the other way around.

[ May 06, 2006, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: yurch ]

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If the off the line acceleration is increased much,it will be almost impossible to hit a appollo at range, the driver will be able to dodge all incoming, instead of most. But it would be more realistic. At the very least the 12omm thor should have more ammo, if nothing else is changed, i think it should have at least double apollos ammo

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20mm is so short ranged I'm not sure it would be worth it, at least, with the standard weak round.

The thor turret looks like it could possibly be large enough to do quad 75mm or some other intermediate caliber. It would make a serious mess out of light targets though, the 76mm isn't a bad round. Not sure if players would appreciate being sent against it.

A small automated ion or point defense mounted in the 'commander' slot wouldn't be bad. I suspect the Thor is going to have trouble versus infantry in the future without this or a coaxial gun.

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Once infantry make it to the game, the strategy will just have to change. What exactly would the purpose of infantry be if most of the vehicles have a weapon that can mow them down? The Thor's will have to be protected by teamates with smaller caliber weapons. This might be where that quad 20mm vehicle could be useful.

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Infantry defeat modern tanks not by sheer merit of the tank not having any weapons against them, but by doing, you know, infantry things.

If infantry can just amble up to tanks because of it not being able to pick them off individually with 120mm rounds fast enough, it's going to look a little rediculous.

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Dispersed infantry and a few supporting vehicle could seriously impact the feel of the play. The addition of infantry will require new weapons and tactics - like coaxial machineguns on almost everything (and 'cow-catchers' to plow through groups of slow grunts) :rolleyes: . On the infantry side the introduction of infantry carried Javelin ATGMs could complicate life in armored vehicles when the troops can hide in the grass at 2000m with a top attack missile or suddenly popup at 200m out of a ravine, crater, or depression for pot-shots with AT-4s. Ouch! Maybe too much realism.

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