The Nooblog: Ammo Tips You Need To Know

Hey Tank Commanders!

I'm Maya (IGN:b_khaleesi) from the World of Tanks Community team, and welcome to the Nooblog, a series of beginners' guides on how to improve your tank skills!

I am sure every skilled tanker was surely a newbie once, and as a tank rookie myself, I'd like to share my experiences in the battlefield: the things I struggle with, but also the things I’ve learned in World of Tanks. We all want to get better–after all, isn't playing and improving together one of the best things about this game?

My driving skills have slowly been improving, but when it comes to taking shots at enemies, I still find myself in a situation like this once in a while:

“Didn’t my reticle just turn green?”

“Why didn't my shot penetrate?”

“Why did my reticle revert to red?”  “What sorcery is this?”

Now before all this, I literally thought that all ammo would work the same way. Big mistake! I didn’t understand the different purposes and effects of each type of shell. How could I penetrate my enemy's armour consistently using HE shells, while not even knowing what situation they were best suited for? Quite embarrassing–I used to assume all of these ammo types were not important.

Fortunately, I'm here to help you avoid my mistakes! Let's talk about a video which really helped me to understand this topic better.

Explaining Mechanics: Armor Penetration

I LOVE watching videos; I find it so much easier to understand complex concepts. This particular video explains the basics of four types of shells: Armor Piercing (AP), Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR), High Explosive (HE), and High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) shells. Unlike in other FPS games, ammo in World of Tanks differs not just by caliber, but also by the effects each shell produces on impact. The amount of damage dealt and whether or not the shell is able to penetrate enemy armor varies greatly, even between shells of the same caliber.

What I liked most about this one, though, is how they compared the performance of different types of ammo. Take a look from 2:21–the small experiment shows T57 Heavy and AMX tanks firing the same gun (120 mm), but using different ammo types. Do you see the difference?

The video shows that AP and APCR shells can pierce through most obstacles (such as cars and fences), but their ability to penetrate enemies decreases over distances. In most situations, you definitely want to use these shells to get your enemies, especially when they’re hiding themselves! Peek-a-boo!

We can also see that when the HE shell detonates, it creates splash damage, just like a bomb. And when the HEAT shell detonates, it destroys the fence but leaves the tank undamaged.

This doesn't mean that you should stay away from HEAT shells! HEAT shells can be said to be an improved version of APCR: they explode, but can’t penetrate spaced armor. I’ve asked some players in our community, and they said that HEAT can be super useful for dealing straightforward damage to tough tanks like the  X E 100  or the  X Maus  (neither of which I have yet). Just be sure to avoid hitting the tracks, or any spaced armor.

As for HE shells, newbies (did someone say my name?) are often tempted to choose them because of the high damage listed, without realising that they have limited penetration. I started to use HE shells when I finally got my magical  VI KV-2 ; it feels super good to be able to aim–and possibly one-shot kill–in this tank! *smug face* The downside of this shell is, though, it’s very hard to hit speedy targets like light tanks.

Skilled players usually use HE shells to reset a base capture, or to finish off an enemy low on health, as the explosions caused by HE shells can do damage without having to penetrate the enemy's armor. Which can take time for us newbies, but we will get there soon... *cough*

Later in this video they go into the depths of how the ammo penetration system actually works. It's really tough to fully describe, but it basically gives you a much better understanding involving science and math, and erm, numbers.

For players who are as confused as I am, let’s simply equip the fast shells, AP and APCR (the faster and better version of AP), and then as a second option, HE and HEAT explosive shells (yes, they literally explode). Try out all the different types of ammo for yourself! Once you have a better understanding of how each works, you'll be able to make more appropriate decisions of which to use in battle.

What makes a shot penetrate? You need to understand the different types of ammunition available to you here, as it’s important to ensure that every shot you make counts.

To be 100% honest with you guys, I had no idea about the various penetration properties of different ammo. It’s like having a "seemingly-perfect" World of Tanks life when all of a sudden this game-changing mechanic is revealed, and everything suddenly clicks, just like that.

The fact is, I really like playing World of Tanks, and it can be super frustrating when you feel you're not offering a strong enough contribution to the team. But what is important is that you still have the avid passion to learn and play World of Tanks, so don't give up hope!


Maya / b_khaleesi

A World of Tanks Evangelist from the Community team. I'm currently researching Japanese vehicles and learning to play an offensive support role in the O-I! Other passions include good movies and Oreo McFlurries.