You’ve probably seen the additional plates mounted on a number of in-game vehicles. But have you ever wondered what they’re for? Well, to answer your question, this is what’s known as “spaced armor.” Essentially, it’s extra protective armor that reduces the impact of incoming projectiles, while saving on weight and cost.
So, where did it come from, how effective is it, and where is it used? With the VIIIS-2 shielded currently on offer in the Premium Shop, WG thought this would be the perfect time to take a closer look at spaced armor.
“Spaced armor” refers to two or more armor plates spaced slightly apart, and representing approximately 10% of the total armor weight. The thinner plate, often made of steel or rubber, is usually welded or bolted onto the side of the vehicle—typically around the tracks, front, or sides of the tank, or where the ammunition is stored—to best protect the most vulnerable sections.
Left: The Excelsior (in-game) Right: The IS-2 shielded (in-game)
Reducing Penetrating Power
The aim of the thin plate is to essentially absorb the major impact of a projectile some distance from the main armor, preventing the full force of the detonation from breaching the main armor. The hollow space between the plates increases the shell’s travel time, thus reducing the charge’s penetrating power. Even 2 inches (5 cm) of spaced armor is enough to dampen the effectiveness of a projectile.
When sloped, the additional armor reduces the full force of anti-tank rounds and shells by deflecting or splintering the round. Conversely, when the armor is not sloped, it increases protection, because explosive projectiles detonate on the spaced armor before they reach the main armor. The most effective angle is approximately between 60-65°, or 300° when dealing with AP (Armor Piercing) shells.
Cost and Weight Savings
Spaced armor is most efficient when the most exposed plate breaks up the attacking projectile. Spaced armor arrangements can save between 10–50% in cost and weight over solid armor, with little compromise in overall protection. This figure fluctuates depending on the angling, type of penetration, and other various factors.
Left: The M48A2 Räumpanzer (in-game) Right: The T-34 shielded (in-game)