Bits of Armor – WoWs vs. WoT shells

As requested a quick and brief Bit of Armor on the shell characteristics in World of Warships and World of Tanks. Let’s stick to the two most basic ones: AP and HE.

HE and AP – WoWs

Generally HE does less damage to targets but cannot over-penetrate weaker targets and thereby guarantee damage. This type of shell is also the only shell that can cause fires to ships.

AP shells need to penetrate in order to do damage; there is a fuse that kicks in after penetration, causing the shell to explode inside the ship. There is no 25% RNG on penetration value as it is on WoT, but will lose penetration over distance. A trick for shooting AP is to do at it very long range, since the flight path will let the shell  fall in pretty much vertical, hitting the ship’s deck, rather than the ship’s side (“plunging fire”). The deck is of course easier to pen. There is an over-penetration risk, meaning the shell will exit the target, without being able to do a critical hit. Metaphor: compare it to sticking a needle (AP) through a pack of butter (weakly armored target) compared to ramming your fist (HE) on the butter. The fist will cause a more blunt impact, doing more damage.



In short: Use AP against armored targets you can pen, and HE to targets that have low armor values. HE shells will cause little to no damage to heavily armored targets.

HE and AP – WoT

WoT does not allow overpenetrating shells, hence always doing damage when penetrating. There is a 25% +/- RNG on your average penetration for both shell types as well as in damage values. In War Thunder you have APCR causing less critical spalling since there is once again a needle (APCR) piercing the armor, rather than a nail (AP). The more focused energy of APCR gives it more penetration, but less spalling. In World of Tanks this effect does not exist; both will damage on penetration.

In both games the angling of the armor affects penetration capabilities.

So, to keep it short I will end it here. Feel free to add your additions in the comments and let the tips and tricks be shared! Thanks again. Let me know if you would like to have a topic covered in the next Bits of Armor.

7 thoughts on “Bits of Armor – WoWs vs. WoT shells

  1. I think HE in WoT could get a entire dedicated post explaining it mechanics, since it is one of the most complex shell types in the game =P plus if you know how to exploit it’s mechanics you will always do much higher rolls than the normal people that just autoaim and shoot =P

    Just using jap heavys with 150mm derps for example, not only they can with normal AP overmatch any armor deck from any heavy in the game (except the MAUS but HE can do a pretty good job in it too), but the 150mm HE shells can literally ignore any armor if you know how to exploit they, like for example, shooting one below heavy armored tanks, and splashing their weak floor armor, normally having only 20-50mm in the most heavy armored tanks, and not only killing alot of crew, but doing a much higher roll of damage than you would have done shooting direct in a 100mm plate =P, plus of course the fact that they are tall means you can always hit the engine decks doing high rolls and even direct HE pens. =P

    So yeah, HE and AP calliber are two hidden mechanics that can make you do lots of damage and armor bipass =P


  2. Hit the deck? Hah! You can count the number of ships ON one hand that can plunge into deck…without auto bouncing! They have to do it at over 20 kms or so and when maps allow for it. That’s a very long time in shell flight.


  3. The AP and HE “rules” in WoWS are much more complicated than that (14.3 caliber overmatch rule, 1/6 caliber HE pen rule (1/4 for German HE)). There are also overpen (10% shell damage) and normal pen but not citadel hit (33% shell damage). The armor models of ships are also much much more complicated compared to tanks, with lots of compartments and layers – ingame armor viewer will show this.

    We really want the penetration data of guns to be displayed ingame, at least like what shown in Armada videos.

    Regarding plunging fire/deck pen, it’s possible, but generally impractical as most ship actions ingame happen at 10-18km and most shells will land on ships’ deck at such steep angle that they’ll mostly bounce. Anything further and you’re literally playing dice roll with dispersion. Even with North Carolina’s slow velocity guns, it must be 20km+ away to land deck pen hits, and you have to either pray that the target is not moving or moving in a straight line for 15secs.


  4. Is there a mechanic in the game for AP over penetrations below the waterline causing flooding?

    if so does it apply to plunging fire? in theory a shell that over pens the deck armor of small ships and then manages to go right through the bottom before the ap shell timer goes off would just leave a (relative) small hole for the entire ocean to climb into a vessel.

    As i understand it… AP shell either Bounce for no damage, pen the superstructure for maybe 1/3 of max damage, pen down to a citadel and do full damage or go through entirely for maybe 1/10 of full damage.

    Am I wrong?


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