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When To Use HE Rounds

HE AP Shells Damage Penetration Newbie

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Crex #1 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:04

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I'm having a rough time trying to figure out when I should be using AP shells and when I should be using HE shells under normal circumstances.

Here's my internal list; does this stack up to yours?  I'm genuinely curious, and if I've got this mixed up somehow, that would be a very easy way to improve my gameplay:

Use HE When...
  • Your target has an open turrent (many TDs, some others)
  • Your target has very low health, and your next shot is do-or-die
  • Your AP rounds have a high chance of bouncing in general
  • You're trying to track your enemy
  • You're trying to interrupt capture points, especially against a heavily armored enemy
  • You're driving an SPG
Use AP When...
  • You can reliably penetrate your target
  • You're at long range
Now, looking at those lists, it seems like I should be using mostly HE rounds in any gun that'll hold them, but in practice, that's not the road to victory.  I end up using HE rounds in only a scant few of my tanks, though I load up at least a dozen HE rounds in anything I drive that allows it.

This question came into focus recently with the new PZ4.  I slapped on its biggest gun, but I'm at a loss as to whether I should be using AP or HE in my day-to-day battles with the thing.  I've gotten one-hit kills on targets both ways.

Any thoughts, tips, or advice would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Edited by Crex, Oct 04 2012 - 20:05.


azntrigboi #2 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:08

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Here's my list.

HE: reset cap; close to death; arty

AP: everything else

Honestly, HE doesn't do much good against well armored anything, so it's use is severely limited nowadays.  I usually only carry maybe 3 rounds at most of HE.  If you can't pen, either flank or choose another target.  That's all you can really do.

King_Of_Chaos #3 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:11

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The 105mm is a situational gun. For dealing with certain tanks which you can penetrate, use AP, for everything else, use HE. The 105s are meant for lobbing HE rounds at people, however side and rear shots, as well as lightly armoured targets can take a massive amount of damage if you penetrate with AP shells. At tier 5, do not expect to penetrate many other tier 5s using AP rounds. In general I recommend finding out how well armoured tanks are, and only using AP shells on lightly armoured opponents or when you get the chance to hit someone from the rear or side.

Valtiel_ #4 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:12

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The Pz IV, being a tier V, has the possibility of being in tier VII matches which, with HE, would suck as you may only do a little damage to them as HE decreases in damage depending on their armor. I'd say load half and half to be safe.

DeathMutant #5 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:16

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I was under the impression that AP rounds have lower penetration and damage values at long range while HE rounds maintain their penetration and damage at all ranges. I sometimes switch to HE at "El Halluf" when firing across the valley at extreme range -- unless I'm driving a TD which suffers less (1/2?) of a reduction due to range.

azntrigboi #6 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:27

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View PostDeathMutant, on Oct 04 2012 - 20:16, said:

I was under the impression that AP rounds have lower penetration and damage values at long range while HE rounds maintain their penetration and damage at all ranges. I sometimes switch to HE at "El Halluf" when firing across the valley at extreme range -- unless I'm driving a TD which suffers less (1/2?) of a reduction due to range.

Yes, but despite the loss in pen over distance, it will pretty much never be as low as HE round pen.  That in addition to the fact that the way HE damage is calculated makes it pretty much useless unless the tank was built for HE like arty or the howitzers on various tanks.

warofwars #7 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:31

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I load more HE rounds than most. The game is build to reward in credits the amount of damaged caused. He usually fills that requirement, though not all HE rounds are created equal. Some only end up doing very little damage, but it is damage that is rewarded. Use HE on long range targets. AP does not penetrate as well in most tanks the further away a target is. The bigger the caliber the gun the better the HE damage is. You really need to play around with the different rounds on each tank to decide which is best for that particular tank.

ReserveB #8 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 20:47

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Depends on Gun

Long Gun (i.e. 7.5 cm L70)
AP all the way unless there is a target i just cant pen no matter what.

Short/Fat Gun like the German 105 (hetz and mid teir tanks)
HE all the way

Other guns
AP on most targets
HE if it has really thin armor (HE can pen and do max damage)
HE if target has really thick armor (Neither round will pen, but HE can do some damage)

So, in general, HE if it will pen or HE if AP won't pen.

Happy killing.

jerry1014 #9 Posted Oct 04 2012 - 21:30

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View PostCrex, on Oct 04 2012 - 20:04, said:

I'm having a rough time trying to figure out when I should be using AP shells and when I should be using HE shells under normal circumstances.

Here's my internal list; does this stack up to yours?  I'm genuinely curious, and if I've got this mixed up somehow, that would be a very easy way to improve my gameplay:

Use HE When...
  • Your target has an open turrent (many TDs, some others)
  • Your target has very low health, and your next shot is do-or-die
  • Your AP rounds have a high chance of bouncing in general
  • You're trying to track your enemy
  • You're trying to interrupt capture points, especially against a heavily armored enemy
  • You're driving an SPG
Use AP When...
  • You can reliably penetrate your target
  • You're at long range
Now, looking at those lists, it seems like I should be using mostly HE rounds in any gun that'll hold them, but in practice, that's not the road to victory.  I end up using HE rounds in only a scant few of my tanks, though I load up at least a dozen HE rounds in anything I drive that allows it.

This question came into focus recently with the new PZ4.  I slapped on its biggest gun, but I'm at a loss as to whether I should be using AP or HE in my day-to-day battles with the thing.  I've gotten one-hit kills on targets both ways.

Any thoughts, tips, or advice would be appreciated.  Thanks!
to correct you on one thing, use HE at long range not AP as you stated. Rule of thumb, most times, AP short range HE long range. I personally like to carry 5 rounds of HE in all tanks that can, just for resetting cap purposes. Happy Hunting :Smile_blinky:

nethervvoid #10 Posted Oct 05 2012 - 19:01

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AP rounds loose 5% pen each 100m after the first 100m, so really not a lot compared to the pen value on HE. It doesn't matter much how far away from the target you are if you're talking about the pen of your gun.

HE primarily is for resetting the cap and large caliber guns which have a large damage value on their HE rounds. If you can't pen a tank with your AP you're either not firing at weak spots or not flanking as you should be. HE is almost a waste IMO. I carry 4 or less rounds in most tanks.

TSSTEELEII #11 Posted Oct 05 2012 - 21:29

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I seem to remember someone saying to use A.P. to pen then following with H.E. specialy around commanders copulas,drivers view ports and M.G. positions. This is after makeing 1 or 2  pen holes. Has anyone eles tried this ?

AGK47 #12 Posted Oct 06 2012 - 22:16

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I carry a moderate number of HE rounds with me generally. 9-15 is a good number.

No_Quarter25 #13 Posted Oct 06 2012 - 22:33

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From what I can tell by looking at the stats of all the guns I've had, in general the AP penetrates more, but has less damage;
The HE penetrates less, but when it does, it delivers more damage.

LtShinysides91 #14 Posted Oct 09 2012 - 01:43

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I myself had been clueless about when to use what round. To be honest i nearly fractured my right hand pinky finger because of the fact that i wasn't doing damage with the AP. Now i know what went wrong. Range. The tank was too far away to pen with the AP. Now i will carry some HE for just such a case. Thank you.

Tazilon #15 Posted Oct 09 2012 - 02:16

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My decision matrix for HE use:

1) In game?

Yes - use HE.
No -  don't shoot at all.

But..I play the Cougar...

Mindtunnel #16 Posted Oct 10 2012 - 08:27

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I have used the splash damage of HE rounds to kill a light tank that was keeping an obstacle (it was a building) between us. I was in a heavy and there was a building in the capture point. We were the last to tanks and the light was going to keep circling the building to let the time run out and end the game in a draw. So I switched to HE and shot the ground near him which lead to his demise.

Crex #17 Posted Oct 10 2012 - 22:33

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View PostMindtunnel, on Oct 10 2012 - 08:27, said:

I have used the splash damage of HE rounds to kill a light tank that was keeping an obstacle (it was a building) between us. I was in a heavy and there was a building in the capture point. We were the last to tanks and the light was going to keep circling the building to let the time run out and end the game in a draw. So I switched to HE and shot the ground near him which lead to his demise.

That's really clever.  I rarely think about the splash damage aspect beyond SPG use.

mangomanau #18 Posted Oct 11 2012 - 04:23

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In my opinion at long range depending on gun HE can be a better option if it has high average damage (im talking in the range of 300-400 like on the tier 6-8 russian heavies).
At long range on some vehicles often you wont hit the softer part (Hull or turret option). And i believe AP loses penetration for every 100m of range.

Plus if its hard to hit sometimes HE is cheaper, although i have a habit of switching to HE then the target decides to turn or move just after i load it, which is sooo annoying.

ReserveB #19 Posted Oct 24 2012 - 20:33

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View PostTSSTEELEII, on Oct 05 2012 - 21:29, said:

I seem to remember someone saying to use A.P. to pen then following with H.E. specialy around commanders copulas,drivers view ports and M.G. positions. This is after makeing 1 or 2  pen holes. Has anyone eles tried this ?

I've wondered this myself.  This may seem silly, but sometimes I've had a hard time doing any damage to a heavy, even with HE.  Then i get one that works, and the rest keep working too.  Its like the first round's hole is allowing further damage, but i doubt that the game engine is that smart.

Anyone know or have an opinion?

Crex #20 Posted Oct 25 2012 - 16:16

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View Postreservebastard, on Oct 24 2012 - 20:33, said:

I've wondered this myself.  This may seem silly, but sometimes I've had a hard time doing any damage to a heavy, even with HE.  Then i get one that works, and the rest keep working too.  Its like the first round's hole is allowing further damage, but i doubt that the game engine is that smart.

Anyone know or have an opinion?

I don't think that the holes you made with previous rounds reduce the armor in that area to 0... but it's certainly worth testing.   You'd need a very accurate gun to hit the same spot twice without getting so close that the round would penetrate anyway, though.

Best way is probably to grab a very heavy tank, another tank that can pen the first one, and a third that cannot ever pen the first tank.  Have Tank B punch a hole in Tank A's armor, then see if Tank C can pen there.