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Home of the (virtual) Royal Canadian Artillery in WW2OL
(The 7th Field Regiment, the "Black Hand")

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The area at stake before v1.2 (by BruceR)

The Black Hand Online Tests, Vol. 3:
The Big Changes in v1.25

(Toronto, Sept. 15) -- Once more unto the firing range dear friends, to see what's happened to the WW2O vehicle set. As before, we set out to pry open the hidden details of the tanks and guns that the guidebooks and websites don't tell you, but are still crucial for evaluating your capability in battle. We added a new subject (the Pz II), a few new tests, and retested all the old ones. Nearly every vehicle has something about it change in v1.25: this is data you need to know.

As before, we also include a few stats from the textbooks (gun penetration), and a simplified armour rating for the AFVs (minimum effective armour), calculated using standard formulae, so players can have them available in a handier comparison basis. At the end, we draw a few conclusions based on the data that may be helpful when playing (or facing) these specific units in WW2O.

Note: Figures in bold changed with v1.25. Figures in italics are theoretical.

1. The Data

a. The Guns

Gun Pak 36 Flak 36 SA-L 34 SA 37 QF 2-pdr
Calibre 3.7cm 8.8cm 25mm 47mm 40mm
Ammo 45 APHE, 15 HE 40 APHE,
15 HE
40 AP, 10 HE 40 APCR 30 AP
Pen@500m (mm) 29 93 29 50 40
Rate of Fire (rds/min) 20 20 15 15 15
Traverse (deg/s) 9 13 9 9 30
Main Mag. 2x (20x) 10x (24x) 2x (20x) 10x (20x) 5x (20x)
Sight Devn. (mils@250m) 4 N/A 4 Adj. Adj.
Shot Drop. (mils@500m) 6 N/A 5 Adj. Adj.
Shot Drop (mils@1km) 15 N/A 14 Adj. Adj.
Frame Rate (fps) 18 20 18 24 22
3 0 3 1.4 3.3
Maneuverability (deg/s) 18 0 18 18 18
Deploy Time (s) 4 2 4 3 3

b. The Tanks

Tank PzKW II PzKw 38 PzKw III R35 B1-B (1) A13 Cruiser
Main Gun Calibre 2 cm 3.7cm 3.7cm 37mm 47mm (75mm) 40mm
Ammo 120 AP, 60 HE (10rd clips) 75 APHE,
15 HE
75 APHE,
15 HE
20 AP, 38 HE 40 AP, 10 HE (45 HE, 22 APHE) 87 AP
Pen@500m (mm) 14 33 29 19 33 (33) 40
Rate of Fire (rds/min) 300 cyclic 20 20 12 15 (12) 15
Traverse (deg/s) 30 36 30 24 10 30
Main Mag. 6x (20x) 6x (20x) 6x (20x) 10x   10x  5x (20x)
Second.  Mag. 2x (Dvr) 3x (Dvr)/6x
(Bow MG)
2x (Dvr)/4x
(Bow MG)
2x (Dvr) 2x (Dvr) 2x (Dvr)
Sight Devn. (mils@250m) Adj. Adj. Adj. 11/Adj. (2) Adj. (10/Adj.) (2) Adj.
Shot Drop (mils@500 m) Adj. Adj. Adj. 24/Adj. Adj. (22/Adj.) Adj.
Shot Drop (mils@1km) Adj. Adj. Adj. 52/Adj. Adj. (50/Adj.) Adj.
Frame Rate (fps) 14 13 14 13 13 14
40 42 40 20 28 48
Min. Eff. Armour (mm)
Front Hull 27 21 26 32 58 20
Front Turret 30 23 30 37 44 25
Side Hull 12 12 24 28 42 13
Side Turret 13 12 28 35 36 16

(1) B-1B tested stats are for 47mm turret gun unless otherwise stated. Statistics for 75mm bow gun are in parentheses where present.
(2) Adjustable sights are only useful for AP on these tanks. HE rounds for R35 and Char 75mm cannot be aimed with adjustable sights
Adj: Sights are adjustable

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2. The Tests 

a. Best Ammo: Defined as the ammo with the best anti-tank penetration at medium to long range available to the vehicle or gun. R35 does not currently carry its AP ammo. PaK 36 APCR in theory is most effective at ranges under 500m.
b. Penetration@500m (mm): Text book armour penetration of 30-degree sloped armour at 500m range, from German or comparable Allied testing of the gun's Best Ammo. Allied weapons with AP ammo (ie, the 2 pdr) are degraded 20% to account for known problems with "shatter gap."
c. Rate of Fire (rds/min): This test was accomplished by timing the number of rounds that could be fired in 30 seconds, and multiplying by two. Multiple trial runs were attempted with each weapon. The fastest rate of fire was achieved by rapidly pressing and repressing the trigger through the entire 30 second period. German weapons have a significant edge throughout.
d. Traverse (deg/s): This test was accomplished by timing how long it took for the main gun, from a standing start, to complete a 360 degree traverse. In the case of towed AT guns which only have a 60-degree total traverse (the PaK 36, M1934, and M1937) the time to complete a full left-to-right sweep was timed and multiplied by six.
e. Main Magnification: This test was accomplished by driving the vehicle to the 250m range, and measuring the width of the target with a ruler. Numbers are from the main gunner position, with the commander's binocular vision given in parentheses. The two French tanks do not have a viable battlefield binocular capability. The other vehicles must expose the crew commander to gain access to the highest magnification. Towed gun commanders, always being exposed, always have access to it.
f. Secondary Magnification: Magnification from other crew positions, specifically the driver, or sometimes bow machinegunner. The game uses a field-of-view reduction factor of c. x2.5 for vehicle crews, meaning all magnifications in game should be around 2.5 times what the historical optical instruments are deemed capable of: e.g. a "6x" on the table above would equate to a real-life sight with a 2.4x zoom.
g. Sight Deviation (mils): This test was accomplished by moving the vehicle to the 250m target and aiming and firing at the bulls-eye, then measuring how far the shot missed the point indicated by the crosshairs. The centre-top vertex was used for German shooting. Measurements were converted to mils (the angle subtended by 1m at 1000m) to account for differences in magnification. The lower this number, the more accurately you will shoot, using just the game sight picture to guide you. Horizontal deviations were all under 1 mil, and hence not measured, except for the French R35, which has a significant horizontal deviation, as well.
h. Shot Drop (m@1km): This test was accomplished by measuring the vertical aim off required to hit the centre of the 500m and 1000m targets, and converting it to mils. At 1000m, 1 mil variation equates to 1m of vertical drop… at that range, the number achieved is the number of metres you would have to aim above a target (assuming zero actual sight deviation) to hit it. This should, in theory, relate to the gun's muzzle velocity, or flatness of trajectory. 
i. Frame Rate (frames per second): This test was accomplished by taking a close-to-recommended specs test platform that consistently gave under fixed conditions a frame rate for the 2 pdr gun of 25 fps offline, when at maximum gunner's zoom looking at a fixed point through the garage door where it starts. All other vehicles and guns were then evaluated under identical conditions. Offline at least, it can be seen that vehicles with large numbers of textures take a significant performance hit on low- to medium-end machines, at least in offline testing.
j. Speed (km/h): For vehicles this is from the manual. For guns, This test was accomplished by "racing" anti-tank guns from a running start for the length of the 250m range, using full forward acceleration through out, and converting the results to kilometres per hour.
k. Maneuverability (degrees/second): Towed guns only. This test was similar to the traverse test, except the speed with which a gun could turn in place while limbered was evaluated. As one can see, there is a significant anomaly with the French 47mm gun, which may be the cause of its current instability in-game.
l. Deploy Time (s): Towed guns only. The time between the deploy key being pressed and the gunner having a stable sight picture with which to shoot.
m. Minimum Effective Armour (mm): Tanks only. Armour numbers can be difficult to evaluate against armour penetration values, because of the impact of obliquity. These numbers are the average of all armour on a particular facet of the vehicle, adjusted to their equivalent at a 30 degree obliquity. The formula used is the standard quick method (used in numerous armour-related games) of cos^1.5, i.e., making a plate at 30 degrees equivalent to 1.24 times the protection of the same plate at zero degrees. Known cast armour is given a 15 per cent penalty: turret fronts with large mantlets are given a 10 per cent bonus to reflect double-thickness. The resulting number should be the thinnest possible armour a vehicle will offer, not counting weak spots, such as vision slits, to a horizontal piercing shot from that side. (A lower thickness will be offered to shots from a height advantage.) The numbers do not take into account any damage inflicted by non-penetrating hits (ie, spalling, concussion), but should be capable of being compared with the penetration numbers given above, to help answer the simple question: theoretically speaking, discounting any of the circumstances given above, and differences in my gun's penetration due to range, can my gun kill this tank from this angle?

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3. The Equipment

a. The PaK 36
What changed:
The PaK lost 45 rounds of ammo, including its APCR this round. The main magnification was taken down to a 1x equivalent. Traverse, and its maneuverability when limbered were both sped up.
What still needs fixing: The new sight for the PaK is incomprehensible, denying the gunner any ability to aim roughly over the gun barrel. The best solution would be to broaden the gunner's field of vision when he's not at full zoom (as if one was eyeballing over the top of the scope). Right now it seriously hampers the use of this weapon. Also, the rate of fire is higher than the listed specifications (15 rds/min).

b. The FlaK 36
What changed:
The FlaK remains a one-shot kill weapon against all enemy armour. It gained 5 rounds of HE, a greatly improved sight (with optical rangefinding capability). Its traverse was slowed down somewhat.
What still needs fixing: The FlaK still has a ludicrously high deployment speed for a large artillery piece. Even increasing the time to go spades-down to 5-8 seconds (in reality it would be c. 20) would be a significant advantage for the Allies. Also, the rate of fire is higher than listed specs (15 rounds/min).

c. The SA-L 34
What changed:
The 25mm gun still has few advantages. The sight picture was made more accurate, but magnification greatly reduced. Traverse and maneuverability were both improved. 
What still needs fixing: Like the PaK 36, the new sights deny the gunner the ability to eyeball onto target. Again, what's required is for the field of vision restrictions to be reduced except at maximum zoom. Ammunition allotment also seems rather low for such a light gun, and should be increased. Currently, for both  these reasons, the gun as it stands is unplayable. There is also a longstanding question about whether this weapon ever actually had HE rounds.

d. The SA 37
What changed:
The SA 37 was greatly improved in this patch. The zoom factor on the gunner's sight was improved to be comparable with French tank sights. The gun's bizarre maneuverability bug has been fixed, making it towable, finally. The rate of traverse has also been increased. On the downside, the weapon's pushed speed has greatly decreased, making the weapon only capable of small positional adjustments without a tow.
What still needs fixing: In real service, the gun was relatively rare: one would expect it to be at least as rare once rarity is implemented as the 88mm. The rate of fire is lower than its listed specs. The trails do not fully deploy when in action, unlike the other AT guns. There is no reload sound.

e. The 2-pdr
What changed:
The 2-pdr's formerly incredibly high traverse speed has been cut in half. The sights have been slightly degraded (6x to 5x), but this is more than balanced by a better reticle and a zeroed gun. Maneuverability while limbered has also improved.
What still needs fixing: The 2 pdr continues to have a very low ammo allotment for a gun of its size. Its rate of fire is also lower than its listed specs. There is no reload sound for the gun. The commander can move his point of view up or down by pressing the "open hatch" key: it's uncertain if this has any other effects.

f. The Pz 38
What changed:
The Pz 38's commander's ability to access the gunsight while unbuttoned has been deleted, appropriately. The Bow MG sight's magnification got a big increase (not sure why), getting a magnification equal to the main gun sight. The main gun sight itself has been greatly improved, and the gun zeroed to it.
What still needs fixing: No remaining problems are apparent, unless that bow MG sight was somehow a new error.

g. The Pz III
What changed:
The Pz III had the vision ability of driver and bow machine gunner decreased this patch. The main gun sight was greatly improved, and the gun properly zeroed to it.
What still needs fixing: There are no remaining problems with this vehicle now. The bow MG's elevation control is reversed, but this may be intentional.

h. The R35
What changed
: The R35 was greatly improved in this patch. 20 rounds of AP ammo were added, apparently improving the tank's fighting ability. The vehicle's gun sight, formerly the worst in the game, was greatly improved and zeroed. On the downside, the "underarmour binos"(20x magnification without unbuttoning) has been nerfed... this is also historically accurate.
What still needs fixing: There was some question before the patch about the effectiveness of French 37mm HE in destroying buildings. It is unclear if that has been resolved yet. The new gunsight is not useful for HE rounds, which have to be lobbed at the enemy, instead. Also, a recent set of offroad tests showed it to get around 18km/h top speed over flat ground, faster than expected.
i. The B-1B (The "Char")
What changed: 
The Char sights were greatly improved and zeroed. A gunsight was added for the hull 75mm gun as well, making it effective for the first time... on the downside, the "underarmour binos" (see the R35) added in the last patch were removed, again a historically accurate move.
What still needs fixing: Before this patch, the bow MG fired hopelessly high. Now it fires hopelessly low: it's still useless. The 75mm gunsight is only good for APHE rounds; the gun's HE rounds are fired on a different, high parabola. The rate of fire should probably be at least as low as the R35's, given that they both have single-man turrets. Plus there is a known bug in the commander's view that it has alreay been announced will be fixed in the next patch.

j. The A13 Cruiser
What changed:
The Cruiser had a significant, expected, and historical reduction in the zoom power of its main gun sight. The sight itself, however, provides more range information and is zeroed to the gun, which helps mitigate this.
What still needs fixing: There's no obvious reason this weapon should have a slower rate of fire than the PzIII, which also had a 3-man turret. Other than that, there are no problems that have been identified in these tests that remain to be fixed.

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What do you think?

Anyone wanting to go overseas as part of the great Black Hand should contact the regimental recruiting office at brucer@snappingturtle.net.

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artilleryWorld War 2 Online is a massively multiplayer online computer game depicting the events of 1939-1945 in the form of a fictional "what-if." All people and events discussed in these pages take place in a virtual realm and are not meant to offend veterans, serving soldiers, or other groups, but to honour them for the sacrifices they made and continue to make in Canada's service today.


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