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Tank Academy: Armour Angling & Side-Scraping

Recruits, Tankers, Commanders,

Welcome to another class in the Tank Academy. Following the popular demand expressed in one of the recent polls, today’s session will discuss how to angle your tank towards incoming fire and use the laws of physics and simple geometry to increase your armour effectiveness in battle. Today you’ll learn about certain variations of the manoeuvre, exactly how they work, and how to perform them successfully on the battlefield.

Also, please note that a new poll has been set up on our homepage, in which you can vote for the next topic to be covered in Tank Academy. We can announce that the following Tank Academy class will cover the topic Two Manoeuvres: Peek-A-Boo and Hull Down.

Before we get into the manoeuvres themselves, we will briefly go through the basics of the Armour Penetration mechanics and calculating the Effective Armour Thickness. If you already have the general idea about the aforementioned aspects, we invite you to move to Armour Angling, which will illustrate how to perform this basic manoeuvre. Lastly, the more experienced recruits should get familiar with the more advanced version of armour angling, called Side Scraping. Pay close attention, as this knowledge can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your survival on the battlefield.

Armour Penetration and Effective Armour Thickness

The term Armour Penetration refers to the ability of a gun to pierce through the enemy armour. The value is counted in millimetres, so if a gun has the penetration value of 110 for AP rounds, it means that it’s capable of piercing through an average of 110 mm of armour over the distance of 100 metres with standard armour penetrating shells. The final value may be either higher or lower by up to 25% of the average value, however.

This means that in order to be able to avoid taking damage from shells fired with that gun, your armour thickness needs to be greater than at least the gun’s average penetration value. However, if you compare the armour thickness of most vehicles to the penetration values most guns have on the respective tiers, you will notice that the former may often seem insufficient in terms of protection against the latter, at least on paper. This is where the term Effective Armour Thickness comes into play.


Effective Armour Thickness

The difference between armour thickness and effective armour thickness is the often major discrepancy between the theoretical and factual values. In short, the effective armour thickness may vastly outmatch the value the given plate has on paper, depending on the angle the plate was installed at towards incoming fire. The higher the angle, the higher the effective thickness. This is precisely why so many armoured vehicles you see and may be driving don’t resemble perfect boxes, but rather have “leaning” and/or “steep” armour plates. Besides boosting your armour effectiveness, this design solution has one more crucial advantage – the higher the angle, the better the chance of a ricochet.

Here’s a handy table illustrating how much an angled armour plate increases its effective thickness value:

Impact Angle

Effective Armour Thickness

90°

(the right angle)

100%

(normal value)

80°

101.54%

70°

106.42%

60°

115.47%

50°

130.54%

40°

155.57%

30°

200%

20°

292.38%

Less than 20°

Ricochet

As you can see, the more acute the impact angle, the more effective the armour. If you’d like to learn more about the mechanic and/or see how it works in the game, you may find the following guide helpful:

Important: Please note that this video is from November 2012. Since its original publication, certain aspects of the game mechanics underwent some changes. For example, AP rounds can now pierce through soft barriers, such as fences/ thin walls, and damage vehicles behind them, or shells which bounced off can still deal damage if they hit another vehicle. Therefore, we advise you to have this in mind when approaching the video material.


Armour Angling

As you have probably noticed by now, various tanks tend to differ greatly in design, especially when comparing them in the span of the tiers and classes. Those differences may relate to the size, shape and armour layout, with the latter providing better or worse protection to the vehicle at large. As a result, driving heavy tanks, for example, does not mean you can expect similar levels of sturdiness and protection between individual machines. In fact, some vehicles are easier to penetrate than others, partially because of the differences in armour thickness, and partially because of the plates being badly sloped, if at all. If you’re driving one of such unfortunate vehicles, you need to learn how to “artificially” slope your armour plates, thus optimizing their effective armour thickness and raising your survivability as a result. You can do that by performing the armour angling manoeuvre, also known as the diamond/ invincibility position.

In order to perform the manoeuvre successfully, make sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Identify the direction of incoming fire. If you can’t see the enemy, try to spot their shells’ tracers and pay attention to the damage indicators when hit.
  • Turn your vehicle’s front towards the enemy. Remember that the front is your sturdiest part and your tank profile is the smallest when facing the enemy.
  • Slant your front left or right by 30-40 degrees. This way you will decrease the impact angle, thus boosting your armour effectiveness and ricochet chances.
  • Mind your side armour. Be careful when slanting – if you overdo it, you may expose your sides too much and achieve the opposite effect as a result.

Important: Please note that there are certain tanks, particularly in the Soviet and Chinese heavy tank branches, which have frontal plates with a peculiar beak-like shape. This design raises the frontal armour effectiveness of these vehicles tremendously when facing the enemy directly, but on the other hand it makes a good armour angling manoeuvre next to impossible. When in a stand-off situation while driving one of these tanks, always try to battle your opponent face-to-face because angling your armour will, in most cases, result in you nullifying the “beak’s” angle-effectiveness bonus. 


Side Scraping

Side-Scraping is a particular version of the armour angling manoeuvre, which requires two things: an obstacle (a house, huge rock etc.) which will serve as cover for the front of your tank and a tank with a reliable side armour (thick plating, spaced armour, side skirts or a combination of those). The manoeuvre has two variants, depending on the design of your vehicle and the placement of the turret:


1st Variant: Turret mounted in the middle/ slightly on the front of the vehicle

Drive to some large object, such as a house or a huge rock, and touch the surface with the front of the vehicle. Next, angle your position slightly in such a way that your rear is sticking slightly out on one of the sides of your cover and then drive back a little. If you do it correctly, your frontal plates will remain covered by the house/rock while still allowing you to fire at the enemies in front of you. Even though side-scraping leaves both your turret and sides exposed, the hull is situated at a very acute angle towards the enemy in front of you. This means that all fire directed at it will have a very high chance of bouncing off or being absorbed by your suspension. As the turret is usually the sturdiest part of a tank, it won’t be easy to damage either. 


2nd Variant: Turret mounted on the far back/ far front of the vehicle

Arguably, the rear-mounted vehicles are especially effective with this manoeuvre. The execution is exactly the same as described above. However, the rear-mounted turret makes it possible to achieve an even steeper angle, which translates to even more dinged or absorbed shots.

When it comes to vehicles with frontally mounted turrets, however, it tends to get a bit trickier. Of course, the standard approach should work too, but mind that in this case it is very hard to side-scrape and still keep the frontal plate hidden – the turret is simply too close to the front of the vehicle for that. As a result, some experienced players use a modified version of the manoeuvre, which can be described as ‘reversed side-scraping’. The main difference between this and the standard one is that you place your tank’s rear, instead of front, by the covering obstacle. Reversing the tank’s position places the turret of the vehicle in the back, which in turn significantly broadens your area of coverage without any negative effects on the hull’s angle. Basically, you act like a tank with a rear-mounted turret.

 

IMPORTANT Please bear in mind that this manoeuvre is very difficult and extremely risky. If you don’t position yourself correctly, you may expose your tank’s rear towards the enemy. The rear is the most vulnerable part of any tank, so if you’re on the frontline and expose it towards the enemy attack force, you will face immediate obliteration. If you’re not entirely comfortable playing tanks with rear-mounted turrets, we strongly advise you NOT to attempt the reversed side-scraping.


This concludes today’s topic. Now you should be able to position your tank properly towards incoming fire and use that knowledge to maximize your armour effectiveness, thus improving your survival rate. 

Remember, next time we will discuss Peek-A-Boo and Hull Down manoeuvres. Also, don’t forget to vote for the topic to be handled after that. This week’s choices are:

  •          Starting the Battle
  •          Crew Skills Overview
  •          Consumables Overview

That’s all for today. Class dismissed!

Simple physics is all that it takes to keep your tank off the scrapyard!

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