The Black Hand Online Tests, Vol.
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
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
1. The Data
a. The Guns
b. The Tanks
||120 AP, 60 HE (10rd
|20 AP, 38 HE
||40 AP, 10 HE (45 HE,
of Fire (rds/min)
||Adj. (10/Adj.) (2)
Drop (mils@500 m)
(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
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
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
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
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
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3. The Equipment
a. The PaK 36
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
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
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
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
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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do you think?
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