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What's an Autoloader Anyway?


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Community #1 Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:00 AM

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Let's have a look at one of the most intriguing tank technologies.

The full text of the news item

Vtsuk #2 Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:16 AM

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IS3A anyone?! How that one works then?

Stalinium magic?



Simona2k #3 Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:23 AM

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cool story

mamuzimon #4 Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:30 AM

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Thank you for the nice article.   Please keep it up WG.   I am interested in these historical reviews.

Falathi #5 Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:50 AM

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View PostVtsuk, on 04 October 2019 - 09:16 AM, said:

IS3A anyone?! How that one works then?

Stalinium magic?

 

It works differently, but in order to discuss all the technological solutions used in the 40s-50s we would need a whole series of articles. 

 

Also, let's remember that there are two things that often fall into the same category of autoloaders: 

- mechanisms that served to deliver few shots in quick succession, but then needed a reload of the whole mechanism. Such mechanisms were designed by the Germans towards end of the war ( they tried to make 8,8cm gun with mechanism to quickly reload the gun with another 2-3 shells after the first one was fired ), also IIRC they are pretty often used in the modern artillery, to make sure that they can provide intense barrage in a very short amount of time. 

 

- mechanisms that were intended to replace the loader completely and allow to load all ammunition available, but not necessarily allowing for quick bursts or much higher rate of fire than tanks with loader on board. In game, a good example is the Stridsvagn 103 - no quick salvos, but all the ammunition is loaded by the mechanism. Also, IRL example of such solution would be the T-72 MBT. 

 

AMX 13 is an interesting case here, because you can say that it combines both approaches: thanks to its double drum magazine it can fire several shots in a short amount of time - but IRL once these two drums are emptied they need to be reloaded externally, meaning they contain all the ammunition available for the tank in combat, even if the tank itself was carrying more shells. 

 



Kissa_ei_kuulu_pakkaseen #6 Posted 04 October 2019 - 10:12 AM

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tl;dr

 

If it's Russian - no drawbacks

If it ain't Russian - lots of drawbacks

 



Forzo #7 Posted 04 October 2019 - 10:44 AM

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Talking about autoloaders. Can't wait until we get this one in a Swedish SPG tree ;)

https://en.m.wikiped...iki/Bandkanon_1

Quote

It had a 155 mm autocannon with an exceptionally high rate of fire, being able to fire 14 shells in less than 45 seconds.[1] With one round already loaded in the gun beside the two seven-round clips in the magazine, the rate of fire rose to an official world record of 15 rounds in 45 seconds. The magazine could then be reloaded with a built-in hoist in about 2 minutes.


SlyMeerkat #8 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:02 PM

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Thats was an interesting read, thanks :)

Vtsuk #9 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:15 PM

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View PostFalathi, on 04 October 2019 - 09:50 AM, said:

 

It works differently, but in order to discuss all the technological solutions used in the 40s-50s we would need a whole series of articles. 

 

Also, let's remember that there are two things that often fall into the same category of autoloaders: 

- mechanisms that served to deliver few shots in quick succession, but then needed a reload of the whole mechanism. Such mechanisms were designed by the Germans towards end of the war ( they tried to make 8,8cm gun with mechanism to quickly reload the gun with another 2-3 shells after the first one was fired ), also IIRC they are pretty often used in the modern artillery, to make sure that they can provide intense barrage in a very short amount of time. 

 

- mechanisms that were intended to replace the loader completely and allow to load all ammunition available, but not necessarily allowing for quick bursts or much higher rate of fire than tanks with loader on board. In game, a good example is the Stridsvagn 103 - no quick salvos, but all the ammunition is loaded by the mechanism. Also, IRL example of such solution would be the T-72 MBT. 

 

AMX 13 is an interesting case here, because you can say that it combines both approaches: thanks to its double drum magazine it can fire several shots in a short amount of time - but IRL once these two drums are emptied they need to be reloaded externally, meaning they contain all the ammunition available for the tank in combat, even if the tank itself was carrying more shells. 

 

Those articles would be a lot more interesting and good for the game and players than releasing 7 premium tanks a week...

 

I'm waiting for Christmas Lootboxes to see the tank that will power creep the Defender,IS3A and Proggeto.

Those tanks have really turned tier 8 Skirmishes and clan wars into $hit! (Let alone oblitarating players in randoms)



Cataphractarii #10 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:22 PM

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badly written, or translated!

falcon_96 #11 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:28 PM

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Nice read.

So, what about that T22E1 you mention in the article? Autoloading 76mm American med would be interesting addition to tier 7, hell, with the bond shop nearly ready it would be a good tank to put in there. 



Denton_0451 #12 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:35 PM

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View PostVtsuk, on 04 October 2019 - 12:15 PM, said:

I'm waiting for Christmas Lootboxes to see the tank that will power creep the Defender,IS3A and Proggeto.

Those tanks have really turned tier 8 Skirmishes and clan wars into $hit! (Let alone oblitarating players in randoms)

 

Privyet comrade!



Falathi #13 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:45 PM

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View Postfalcon_96, on 04 October 2019 - 12:28 PM, said:

Nice read.

So, what about that T22E1 you mention in the article? Autoloading 76mm American med would be interesting addition to tier 7, hell, with the bond shop nearly ready it would be a good tank to put in there. 

 

Hard to say for now. Also, personally I do not know how it would be implemented - a tank with no loader, and very high ROF? ( the tests have shown ROF of 20 shots per minute was possible to achieve ) Or perhaps something like a drum, or some other solution? 
 



Smelly_Cat #14 Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:46 PM

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Read through the whole article, but didn't see what premium tank or crew or whatever WG is selling. Only me?

SiliconSidewinder #15 Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:59 PM

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View PostFalathi, on 04 October 2019 - 09:50 AM, said:

 

It works differently, but in order to discuss all the technological solutions used in the 40s-50s we would need a whole series of articles. 

 

Also, let's remember that there are two things that often fall into the same category of autoloaders: 

- mechanisms that served to deliver few shots in quick succession, but then needed a reload of the whole mechanism. Such mechanisms were designed by the Germans towards end of the war ( they tried to make 8,8cm gun with mechanism to quickly reload the gun with another 2-3 shells after the first one was fired ), also IIRC they are pretty often used in the modern artillery, to make sure that they can provide intense barrage in a very short amount of time. 

 

- mechanisms that were intended to replace the loader completely and allow to load all ammunition available, but not necessarily allowing for quick bursts or much higher rate of fire than tanks with loader on board. In game, a good example is the Stridsvagn 103 - no quick salvos, but all the ammunition is loaded by the mechanism. Also, IRL example of such solution would be the T-72 MBT. 

 

AMX 13 is an interesting case here, because you can say that it combines both approaches: thanks to its double drum magazine it can fire several shots in a short amount of time - but IRL once these two drums are emptied they need to be reloaded externally, meaning they contain all the ammunition available for the tank in combat, even if the tank itself was carrying more shells. 

 

 

Somehow your post reads more intresting than the article though... :confused:



Miepie #16 Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:30 PM

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View PostSmelly_Cat, on 04 October 2019 - 12:46 PM, said:

Read through the whole article, but didn't see what premium tank or crew or whatever WG is selling. Only me?

It was a special bundle with an IS3A, a Progetto and an AMX 13-57, but it won't be displayed if you have all three already. :coin:



In_Flames90 #17 Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:02 PM

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There is also 1 major drawback in real life with autoloaders that everyone ignores (even today in the modern age).

If you lose the loader, you're also 1 man short for everything that has to do with maintenance and field jobs. The loader isn't just putting shells into the breach, as most people would think.

Falathi #18 Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:28 PM

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View PostIn_Flames90, on 04 October 2019 - 04:02 PM, said:

There is also 1 major drawback in real life with autoloaders that everyone ignores (even today in the modern age).

If you lose the loader, you're also 1 man short for everything that has to do with maintenance and field jobs. The loader isn't just putting shells into the breach, as most people would think.

 

This is true. Usually, the loader and driver are most busy with these tasks. However, these tasks can - at least in some cases - be performed by the rest of the crew, or extra crews. Much depends on the tank and the conditions though. 

 

When it comes to drawbacks:  it took quite some time for autoloaders to become something used on regular basis, as initial designs had often serious reliability issues.This for example is one of the reasons why the T22 E1 remained what it was - a one time prototype, and not a regular tank ( the other big reason was the fact that 76mm gun was seen as not powerful enough for the new generation of tanks ). 

In the modern era autoloading systems are usually reliable enough. Of course, they can still fail but let`s face it: in a complicated machine like a modern tank there`s a lot of stuff that can fail and cause a serious problem for the crew in the combat situation. 


Speaking of reliability: IIRC one of the reasons an autoloader was used with success on the AMX 13 tanks was the fact that its design was pretty simple and easy to operate and therefore reliable as there simply weren`t many elements prone to damage, or difficult to replace. The other important factor was - as mentioned in the article - the oscillating turret. You see, these early designs required alignment with the gun which oscillating turret would provide. 

However, such a turret does not offer great protection due to its construction - but in case of a light tank this didn`t matter as it was not expected to offer protection against heavy fire anyway. 

 

And since we`re at the alignment thingy... this was another reason why autoloaders haven`t become ubiquitous earlier: the fact that you have to load the gun only in given position means that after each fire you have to realing your gun and then track the target again after firing and this makes the task of hitting the enemy more difficult. There were also other design issues - IIRC the T62 was famous in the Red Army for its notoriously dangerous autoloading mechanism as it could catch piece of uniform of a soldier leading to injuries. 


This leads to another issue - the safety. As pretty much everyone knows tank can be damage more or less serious and in many cases can be repaired once you have time and the team to evacuate it from the battlefield and get it to a repair shop. However, if the tank burns out or it suffers explosion of the ammunition the result is just a wreck that can only be scrapped. Also, if the tank gets hit and the ammunition explodes ( actually, it`s bit more complicated with deflagration and stuff... but I digress ) then the crew is usually done for. 

 

At least, that`s how it used to be during WWII and decades afterwards. Now, however, the solution is to design the tanks in such a way that energy of the explosion of the ammunition is projected outside of the vehicle without destroying the interior and the crew. The problem is, though, that this adds another level of difficulty if you want to use auto reloading mechanism and still benefit from the increased safety of the crew. For example, one of the more reliable and standard reloading systems used in the early T-72 tanks stored ammunition and propellant charged in a carousel at the bottom of the turret - it worked great for reloading purposes, but any hit in the side of the tank below the turret could lead to massive explosion, dooming the crew. 

 

To end this post before it gets too long - I do not know much about auto reloading mechanisms that were designed around WWII :( Perhaps you guys know a thing or two about it? 
I mean I know that some projects existed. I`ve seen pictures of a German design of the 8,8cm KwK with extra mechanism to quickly reload another two shots, but not much beyond that. Anyone? 



Miepie #19 Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:45 PM

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View PostFalathi, on 04 October 2019 - 04:28 PM, said:

 

 

 

When it comes to drawbacks:  it took quite some time for autoloaders to become something used on regular basis, as initial designs had often serious reliability issues. 

Odd, though, since both revolver handguns and rapid fire naval / anti-aircraft guns had been around for quite some time already… You'd think it would mostly be a case of "adapt to the right scale".



Falathi #20 Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:58 PM

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View PostMiepie, on 04 October 2019 - 04:45 PM, said:

Odd, though, since both revolver handguns and rapid fire naval / anti-aircraft guns had been around for quite some time already… You'd think it would mostly be a case of "adapt to the right scale".

 

True, but I assume there are reasons behind it: 

AA guns were usually in open positions, with relatively simple feeding mechanism and if they jammed they could be fixed relatively easily. Of course - much depends on which gun in particular we`re talking about but as a rule this was not a big problem. Also, smaller caliber AA guns ( like up to 37-40mm ) were usually fed with clips or drums which is a bit different story than the 75mm and larger caliber guns. 

Which leads to another thing - the big naval guns. These weren`t loaded manually in any case as the shells were way too heavy for it (to give a general idea: 150mm shell already can weigh around 40-50 kg without the propellant. 203mm shell gets closer to 100kg, and battleships guns go for hundreds of kgs. 

However, the mechanisms used to few them would be difficult to put into a tank as they operated in a different way, with sort of elevators lifting the shells from the magazines, then there was a mechanism to put the shell on a cradle, next thing was the use of rammer to place the shell in the gun and so on - but all this would take a ton of space inside of a tank and would require a complex crew to make sure it works correctly.

I assume that parts of this mechanism were taken into consideration ( for example the pretty much automated 203 mm guns used on the Des Moines class ) but much had to be reworked to adapt the idea for a tank. Keep in mind, that - for example - in the naval gunnery the height of a turret was not a big issue as it was several meters tall anyway. In case of the tank you can`t simply make it as tall as you with to fit your fancy mechanism in. I guess there were for other, similar issues as well. 






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