Bits of Armor – HE Shells

Was thinking of a new concept of posting very short bits on tanks, armor, ammunition and physics and mechanics in the real world and World of Tanks. Goal is to be informative and at the same time provoke room for discussion and additional input as provided by the readers. So here we go!

When to fire HE Shells?

HE shells are perfect for low health and/or weakly armored targets in World of Tanks, but beware that your gun calibre and length make a big difference in the decision of firing HE or not.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the calibre the better, as it can pack more explosives. However the longer your gun, the more kinetic energy the projectile needs to withstand. This is the case in real life as well as in the game. In order to deal with the increased velocity and kinetic energy, a stronger projectile with thicker walls is needed; this limits the amount of explosives that can be stuffed inside the shell, hence losing effectiveness.

The rule is also applying vice versa, AP shells will lose effectiveness on short, stumpy guns as the lack of speed degenerates the penetration values.

Would you like to see more of these short bits? Or would you like to have a “bit of armor” on a specific topic, please comment below and leave your suggestions and thoughts. Thanks.



23 thoughts on “Bits of Armor – HE Shells

    1. The tracks will likely absorb all the damage, but if you shoot the front or rear wheel it will lose its track. This will reset the cap and allow others (maybe people with bigger guns) to do damage to him. Also the rear of the hull has very bad armor (38mm iirc), so if you want to do substantial damage this is a nice place to fire.


    2. Tracks will absorb the hit, might as well shoot the lower plate straight in the mid or the capula on the right side. Dont bother with HE unless you have a 150mm gun or higher.


  1. The try to frontal HE spam on all mid and rear mounted turret/casemate tanks is to aim at the base of the turret/casemate.
    The splash damage will hit the thin roof armor in front of it. I managed to whittle down a VK4502B with a KV3 using 122mm HE that way.

    Don’t bother if you have anything lower than 120mm, or a dedicated derp gun at low tier.


    1. I always shoot VK4502B and Maus with HE in the turret front. I can’t count how many times they started burning because of that.
      One time i shot Maus with my IS-7 (with HE obviously) and burnt him, then shot him again and again burnt him, but this time it was fatal since he had already used his fire ex.

      I HE ammo is very useful in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. one replay would already be enough to make me believe.
        Because I have high doubts you can set an Maus on fire when shooting at his turret.


        1. Well the engine is in the front. The initial hit on the mantlet splashes the shell. The explosion will hit the top armor of the engine deck; there is a chance the blast will penetrate that part and damage internal modules.


          1. I understand the theorie behind the statement. But I doubt that a splash from a normal tank gun is enough.
            He can´t even count how many times he did this, so it should be easy for him to find and post a replay.


            1. if you don’t believe me go to a training room and shoot Maus, VK or JgPz E100 in the turret and they will burn eventually. But i only succeeded with 130mm or bugger guns.

              Also why would we lie about that ? How does that help anyone ?

              Reason i did that so many times is because if refused to use premium ammo until my 19K-th game since that was something evil and noobish in my mind, so i always carried quite a lot HE ammo with me. It’s also funny how people hated it like it was gold spamming😀
              Over the time i realized that HE shells do more damage if you shoot tank in the turret – so i did that. That’s also how i found out about Maus and similar tank’s burning problem.
              I even burnt JgE100 like that when i panicked in my E100 and fired HE shell in him, puf, magic


  2. Yep. Keep it up. Covering the basics can never hurt. I had to explain crew training on premium tank mechanics to some 20k player recently. Still having flashbacks from it.😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. yes these small bits are nice. are the shell mechanics the same in wows?
    can u do a small bit on what those 2 games have in common? seems wg would try to use as much from tanks to start ships.
    and now they seem to use both games to tweak each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ….And yet, ignoring all the physics, the ISU152 BL-10 the version intended to shoot AP, is STAT WISE better than the HE dedicated version ML-20S =P

    BL-10 HE pen 90mm, dmg 950
    ML-20S HE pen 86mm, dmg 910


  5. I like the short articles. HE shell mechanics can be a tricky subject though but hey, who cares🙂
    The reply system though doesn’t look like it’s styles for easy debate with too much space around the text…


  6. HE rounds are good against the sides of turrets, the roof armor, the rear armor, the armor underneath, the side armor, and any weak armor. They can do a lot of damage, it just takes practice. They work well against sidescrapers. HE round can do damage when AP and APCR do not penetrate.

    I made a video on youtube 3 weeks ago under my account ‘cheapbooks’ which shows HE used in game successfully against higher tier tanks.


  7. are you sure about tracks eating HE from the front?

    because I remember permatracking and damaging (120-150 hp) a vk45.02B from the front with puny T62A HE


    1. I guess when the module damage your shell does exceeds the limit of the HP pool of the particular module (track) OR the penetration values exceed the thickness of the module armor thickness the shell will pass on the remaining energy as splash.


  8. “As a rule of thumb, the bigger the calibre the better, as it can pack more explosives. However the longer your gun, the more kinetic energy the projectile needs to withstand. This is the case in real life as well as in the game.”

    this is just wrong.
    Somebody brought the BL 10 excample. The long BL10 has better HE than the short 152mm.
    Or Grille´s 15cm, which is i guess the longest gun in the game, does have the same HE as the WT P4 15 cm Pak L/38 and 15 cm Pak L/29.5.
    Barrel lengh rly has nothing to do with HE effectivenes in WoT.

    So when to shoot HE if you aren´t using something like a KV2 derp? Pretty much never if your target is not out of Papier-mâché like WTs. Your are just better of pressing your Goldamo key and go for it.


    1. You are right in this case, but was implemented for balancing reasons must likely; as this 152mm Derp is also available on Tier 7 already. The BL-10 comes a tier later. Of course the length of the projectile also influences the amount of explosives that can be fitted in the shell.


  9. yep it is balance, game design or what ever reason.
    The thing is, that statement is still false as it does not matter what reason WG had in their mind.


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