The Right Shell for the Job
You also have to think about your ammo choices. The most common types are HE, AP, APHE, APCR, and HEAT. They sometimes go by different names, like APCBC for AP, but these are the basic categories. Each shell type has a wildly different effect!
- HE is used for soft targets. It has very low penetration and a high trajectory. Like in WoT, HE can damage an enemy tank, causing armor to “spall” off the inside, wounding crew and damaging systems. Large caliber shells, like those fired by the KV-2 and ISU-122 can one-shot kill enemy tanks! However, HE rounds are not reliable damage dealers the way they are in World of Tanks – reserve them for soft targets like AA guns, unarmored vehicles, or very thinly armored tanks.
- AP and APHE have good penetration and a fairly flat trajectory. They will be your reliable standby rounds. APHE tends to have slightly weaker penetration, but contains a “bursting charge,” which detonates inside the target and does more damage. If your AP or APCR rounds are penetrating but doing no damage, try switching to APHE to guarantee a critical hit. Note that some early Soviet tanks’ APHE can have an unreliable fuse, causing it to randomly fail to go off.
- APCR should be familiar to all World of Tanks vets – it’s very high velocity and offers excellent penetration. The drawback is that it contains no bursting charge, so it tends to only damage modules directly in its path. It can even over-penetrate lightly armored targets and pass through harmlessly!
- HEAT has very good penetration, but a slow, high trajectory. These rounds are often the only way tanks equipped with low velocity howitzers can do any damage to a well-armored opponent. HEAT penetrations do average damage and can be defeated by spaced armor, just like in World of Tanks.
Whenever you load up a new tank, take a minute to examine the different ammo types offered and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Some retain more penetration at longer ranges, while others are handy for close encounters. Unlike in World of Tanks, “gold” ammo types, like APCR and HEAT, aren't always the best choices!