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  #1  
Old November 15th, 2012, 09:18 AM

Taskforce Taskforce is offline
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Default "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

As far as I know, the only nations using welded on spare tracks as an extra armour protection were Germany and the Western Allied nations. I haven't heard any example of the Soviet army doing this, at least not in any greater numbers - maybe the occational tank crew did this, but that would have been it.

I've read in a book about the fighting in East Preussia early 1945 that tests carried out after WW2 proved that welded on spare tracks provided protection against HE rounds but not so much against AP rounds, since the steel used to make the individual tracklinks wasn't as hardened as the steel used to make the tank armour.

So, in my mind that raises the question just how much extra armour protection a tank should get if spare tracks were welded on and what type of extra armour protection.

Should it be maybe 1 extra point of Steel armour or 1 extra point of HEAT armour?

What are your views on this issue?

Cheers, Taskforce
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Mobhack Mobhack is offline
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Default Re: "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

Patton banned the practice in his units, as he considered it strained the engines and slowed them down, so consider deducting 1 speed point, if there is more than a token amount.

Feel free to do it to taste in a scenario.

It was likely only of use for morale purposes - and Patton probably had a good point on the practice. So maybe nil effect on armour, -1 speed +3 or so morale?
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Old November 21st, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taskforce View Post
As far as I know, the only nations using welded on spare tracks as an extra armour protection were Germany and the Western Allied nations. I haven't heard any example of the Soviet army doing this, at least not in any greater numbers - maybe the occational tank crew did this, but that would have been it.

I've read in a book about the fighting in East Preussia early 1945 that tests carried out after WW2 proved that welded on spare tracks provided protection against HE rounds but not so much against AP rounds, since the steel used to make the individual tracklinks wasn't as hardened as the steel used to make the tank armour.

So, in my mind that raises the question just how much extra armour protection a tank should get if spare tracks were welded on and what type of extra armour protection.

Should it be maybe 1 extra point of Steel armour or 1 extra point of HEAT armour?

What are your views on this issue?

Cheers, Taskforce
As with most questions about armour and the protection it gives, the issue is complex.

1. As you point out, the metal used for tracks does not equal armour plate. Add to that, the fact that the materials used for tracklinks could vary. One would assume that Sherman tracks with thick rubber pads would react differently than tracks made of good quality steel.

2. The shape of tracklinks vary enourmously - very few are simply flat surfaces (like the T34), most have a wide range of shapes, perforations and protrusions. How exactly would different types of armour piercing projectiles act when facing different types of track?

3. The shape of the tracklinks themselves and bumps, nooks and crannies they make when placed against the armour could very well do more ham than good. An armour piercing round that would otherwise bounce off the armour could very likely be caught by the tracks and penetrate the armour instead. Same goes for HEAT rounds, which didn't work very well when hitting the armour at an angle, but iff caught by the tracklinks, it might stay put, rather than bounce off and might go off, when it otherwise wouldn't.

4. Attaching the tracklinks to the armour could easily do more harm than good. In January 1941 German troops were forbidden to weld things, including steel plates on to their tanks. The welding itself could weaken the main armour and if plates made of softer steel was used, it could actually decrease rather then increase protection.

5. Protection value of things hung or welded on the tanks were often one-shot affairs. The Germans found that extra armour - even properly made armour plate, attached in the shop - would usually shatter, brake or be blown off by the first hit by HE or HEAT. The allies found the same when it came to the tons of sandbags that some crews liked to stack on their tanks. They might have some effect on the first hit by a Panzerfaust, but would be blown off, leaving the next hit to go straight through. In the meantime, they mobility and reliability had been impaired by the extra weight.

The only way to model track-link and other improvised armour in the game would be let its effect be dependent on a die-roll, giving, say a 33% chance of increased protection, a 33% chance of no effect and a 33% change of decreased protection. And of crouse the mobility penalty, if a lot was carried (like US Army sandbagging) Which raises the question whether any player would ever buy a unit with this added "protection" and whether it would actually mean anything in terms of gameplay.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

Good to hear from you Claus..

Don
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:56 PM

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Default Re: "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

Finally found the pic I was looking for...



This pic shows a Tiger II that first was tracked with a well-aimed AP round towards the tracks and then knocked out with a 90 mm AP round by a M36 Hellcat (you can see the hatches blown open, I don't think the crew survived that one...).

From the looks of things, the tracks seem to have absorbed the impact energy of the first AP round, since the drive sprocket is largely intact, most likely with some seriously damage within the gearbox itself, since the Tiger II couldn't move afterwards.

This seems to confirm that welded on spare tracks may very well work against an AP round once, but after that it is just dead weight.

Cheers, Taskforce
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Old March 19th, 2013, 05:44 PM

Akmatov Akmatov is offline
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Default Re: "Welded on spare tracks" armour in-game

I wouldn't discount the value of a modification that might preserve a tank from even just one hit.
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