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Question about real life Tank Armor


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Metallic #1 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:04 PM

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Yo All,

This might be a very stupid question, but I always thought that since tank cannons are so powerful. Any direct impact from them into another tank will result in knock-out of the enemy tank.

I figured all of that armor was used to fend off grenades,infantry and maybe splash damage but it wouldn't help with direct hit from another tank cannon.

But playing WoT over the years, and seeing some historical movies I guess even in real life tanks could ricochet and bounce shells.

From what you know, the really heavily armored tanks - how many actual shell hits could they withstand from another tank? is it like 2-3 shells or could they survive a barrage of direct hits and keep on rolling?

Same question goes to modern tanks, in my mind all modern tanks are moderately armored and bolster crazy cannons, which also means that any direct hit = enemy tank is destroyed. Isn't this the case?


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Harlequin #2 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

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Usually 1 penetration would knock out the tank, you are right there. Most of the time the tank would go on fire etc.

But many tanks could bounce shells consistently.

I.e tiger vs pretty much everything except a few tanks. Many tanks had to get within like 500meters to penetrate. Where as that said tiger could knock everything out from something stupid like 2 miles.

Forduc #3 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:09 PM

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couple of classic stories without checking from anywhere

Tiger got hit 60+ times without any serious damage.

KV-2 held some bridge for day or two while panzers couldn't damage it.

So they could take quite a lot of its. On the flipside there's stuff like Sherman which used to burn down from first hit it got.

Edited by Forduc, 13 February 2013 - 06:09 PM.


Mezzou #4 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

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the one who fires faster an more accurate will usually wins, there will be bounces of armor but crews also wont even fire from bad angles, besides when beeing spoted or pointed at by an enemy tank the first thing the commander will do is order the driver to drive back into cover if the own tank is caught with his pants down

Metallic #5 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

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View PostHarlequin, on 13 February 2013 - 06:07 PM, said:

Usually 1 penetration would knock out the tank, you are right there. Most of the time the tank would go on fire etc.

But many tanks could bounce shells consistently.

I.e tiger vs pretty much everything except a few tanks. Many tanks had to get within like 500meters to penetrate. Where as that said tiger could knock everything out from something stupid like 2 miles.

View PostForduc, on 13 February 2013 - 06:09 PM, said:

couple of classic stories without checking from anywhere

Tiger got hit 60+ times without any serious damage.

KV-2 held some bridge for day or two while panzers couldn't damage it.

So they could take quite a lot of its. On the flipside there's stuff like Sherman which used to burn down from first hit it got.

But than how would it look like on the outside of the tank, just many many dents? but no holes in the armor?
You say 60 hits? sounds crazy amount to me.

Corvi #6 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

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The fewest hits where actually penetrations actually. For example, most allied tanks couldnt penetrate Panthers and Tigers at more than 500m, 75mm shells simply bounced off. There where tons of bounces and non-penetrating hits where the shell simply didnt strike trough the armor. There is an example of a Matilda tank in africa which took over 100 hits by german 3,7 and 5cm guns over the course of a battle and still was fully operational. Also, it was very dependant on where the shell actually penetrated the tank for it to be taken out of action. Also there are accounts of a KV2 holding back a whole army group and taking tons of hits without being knocked out of battle. There was also a Ferdinand at Kursk which took over 100 hits and had no serious damage.

So all in all, in historic battles there where a crapload of ricochets and bounces.

As for modern tanks, armor technology advanced a lot, and im pretty sure no tank gun would be capable of penetrating a Leopards 2's turret front, despite it being "nominally only" 80mm .. There is a lot more behind that plate of steel.

SirWili #7 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:19 PM

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If a tank is shot to side or back its probably a kill, frontal armor and turret can bounce some shots from a cannon. Modern tanks dont actually rely on normal at rounds, they can use missiles or smart ammunition which strikes the weakly armored top of a tank.

some photos, first penetrations then testfiring a 90mm cannon against a panther.

http://photos.jibble...r IMG_6015.html

http://www.lonesentr...tion/index.html

wims80 #8 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

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View PostMezmaryse, on 13 February 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:

...
crews also wont even fire from bad angles
...
I don't know about tank training in any countries besides Norway, but we never even talked about angles in my training, let alone not taking shots.
-Former Leopard 1 A5NO gunner

Metallic #9 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

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Thanks for the links, some nice info there. :)

Are there any movies showing armor testing?

Nerevar22g #10 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

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I saw a documentary about Abrams tank some time ago, its 120mm gun has a penetration value of around 550-600mm (depleted uranium kinetic penetrator) and there was a recorded event when Abrams shot a T-72 at 1.5 km distance and the round went right through the T-72 and penetrated another T-72 behind it. also, Abrams has around 600mm of special composite armor on its front turret which is equivalent of 1600mm of steel. so there, compare that to WoT tier 10s lol

Edited by Nerevar22g, 13 February 2013 - 06:33 PM.


KavouroGamoSavros #11 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

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The amount of non penetrating hits a tank could take, also depended on the quality of the steel. If they used bad quality steel, some non penatrated hits on the same area, can shutter the steel plate. (Metal Fatigue). Or they could dislocate the plates if the weld is not good enough.

Modern armour is much more different than steel plates. It is made of different kinds of steel (combination of hard and soft steel) and they are reinforced with glass fibers and ceramic materials! 50mm of modern armor, can have more "thickness" than 350mm of WWII steel plates. Also modern canons and ammunition are different.

But there is a general motto in tank battalions. First hit, first kill! ( I think the translation must be something like that). The one who shots first, is the one that makes the kill.

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Edited by KavouroGamoSavros, 13 February 2013 - 06:40 PM.


Metallic #12 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

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View PostNerevar22g, on 13 February 2013 - 06:30 PM, said:

I saw a documentary about Abrams tank some time ago, its 120mm gun has a penetration value of around 550-600mm (depleted uranium kinetic penetrator) and there was a recorded event when Abrams shot a T-72 at 1.5 distance and the round went right through the T-72 and penetrated another T-72 behind it. also, Abrams has around 600mm of special composite armor on its front turret which is equivalent of 1600mm of steel. so there, compare that to WoT tier 10s lol

Which movie?

I really want to see armor testing... you know showing different caliber guns shooting at different angels at an armor piece and showing in slow-mo camera the effects. If such a movie exists I'd be very happy to see it. :)

Metallic #13 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:37 PM

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View PostKavouroGamoSavros, on 13 February 2013 - 06:30 PM, said:

The amount of non penetrating hits a tank could take, also depended on the quality of the steel. If they used bad quality steel, some non penatrated hits on the same area, can shutter the steel plate. (Metal Fatigue). Or they could dislocate the plates if the weld is not good enough.

Modern armour is much more different than steel plates. It is made of different kinds of steel (combination of hard and soft steel) and they are reinforced with glass fibers and ceramic materials! 50mm of modern armor, can have more "thickness" than 350mm of WWII steel plates. Also modern canons and ammunition are different.

But there is a general motto in tank battalions. First hit, first kill! ( I think the translation must be something like that). The one who shots first, is the one that makes the kill.

Well, I'm sure that today's armor is greatly better compared to WW2, there is no debate there.
But I'm also saying that today's guns are also much better. And what I think is that today's motto is the best defense is offense.
So basically today's tanks are built to do damage and less so to take it, no?

What I mean is that they do not build fortress tanks anymore, they prefer to mount big guns and provide moderate armor.

Corvi #14 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

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View PostNerevar22g, on 13 February 2013 - 06:30 PM, said:

I saw a documentary about Abrams tank some time ago, its 120mm gun has a penetration value of around 550-600mm (depleted uranium kinetic penetrator) and there was a recorded event when Abrams shot a T-72 at 1.5 km distance and the round went right through the T-72 and penetrated another T-72 behind it. also, Abrams has around 600mm of special composite armor on its front turret which is equivalent of 1600mm of steel. so there, compare that to WoT tier 10s lol

I call Bullshit. Thats simply not possible. Not even a DU round would go trough a tank and be able to penetrate anything after the first hit, let alone a halfway modern MBT.

KavouroGamoSavros #15 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:52 PM

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View PostMetallic, on 13 February 2013 - 06:37 PM, said:

Well, I'm sure that today's armor is greatly better compared to WW2, there is no debate there.
But I'm also saying that today's guns are also much better. And what I think is that today's motto is the best defense is offense.
So basically today's tanks are built to do damage and less so to take it, no?

What I mean is that they do not build fortress tanks anymore, they prefer to mount big guns and provide moderate armor.

Yes that's why they say this motto. Modern guns and ammunition, have very big penetration, which is almost certain that if you hit the enemy, you will penetrate and kill.( ok there is same extra protection with reactive armor). But if the enemy is not fully equiped or same generation as you, it has no chance. And thats why they invest mainly in better and fastest aiming. (guided ammunition, automatic enemy lock etc etc).

Just for numbers, T80u armor is equivelant to around 750-800mm of steel armor ( upper glacis and turret)

Metallic #16 Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:56 PM

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OK, thanks!

So basically my understanding of the real life tank arena is somewhat correct but only relevant to modern era tanks (vs. other modern era tanks).
But during WW2 you could actually survive several tens of hits. cool. :)

I guess today no chance you could really survive even 1, so 2 or more is pure luck.

KavouroGamoSavros #17 Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

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View PostCorvi, on 13 February 2013 - 06:48 PM, said:

I call Bullshit. Thats simply not possible. Not even a DU round would go trough a tank and be able to penetrate anything after the first hit, let alone a halfway modern MBT.

Maybe their where  wooden mock-ups! Modern DU sabbots can panatete around 800mm of steel equivelant, T-72 has around 350mm armor thickness, so penetrating 2x T72, from 1 mile away is not even mathematically possible!

Nerevar22g #18 Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

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I dont know the details, maybe abrams hit them from side where armor is weak and there is no engine in the way, btw doesnt depleted uranium flake away from center in a way that always leaves a sharp tip instead of flattening on impact? I think its possible

StickyFinger #19 Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

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View PostNerevar22g, on 13 February 2013 - 08:22 PM, said:

I dont know the details, maybe abrams hit them from side where armor is weak and there is no engine in the way, btw doesnt depleted uranium flake away from center in a way that always leaves a sharp tip instead of flattening on impact? I think its possible
no its not

Bartleby #20 Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:38 PM

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A friend (who knows about these things) told me about a Challenger in the Gulf that sustained 30 odd hits from T72s.  It was damaged but the crew was unscathed and it stayed in the fight.  (Sorry - no reference to back that up).




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