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HEAT is one of the most common rounds in the game, used as the premium rounds on many thanks.Yet it has the most complex mechanics of any round and also has the least information published on the wiki about said mechanics as well as the few forum posts on it, of which only detail the weaknesses of HEAT, not giving a complete picture of the round in my opinion. However, understanding how to effectively utilize HEAT against your enemies is vital to success, especially recognizing when it is beneficial, and when it will be less effective than a traditional AP round. I hope this guide helps consolidate all the HEAT mechanics unbiasedly and helps players understand when and why to use HEAT over AP. Please inform me of anything that is unclear or I left out.

 

Without further ado, here are the facts about HEAT.

 

+ Higher penetration values compared to AP

+ Does not lose penetration over distance

+ Doesn't auto-bounce until 85°

- No normalization

- No overmatch mechanics

- Loses 5% of its penetration for every 10cm traveled after penetrating the first armor plate (When dealing with spaced armor)

- Can not penetrate multiple objects in a row as AP and APCR rounds can

 

But more importantly, what does this mean for you?

 

  • Avoid shooting extreme angles (85°) because you are guaranteed a bounce no matter the thinness of the armor.

 

  • Avoid Tracks/Spaced armor whenever possible. These counter HEAT, especially when angled, making bounces more likely. Spaced armor will soak up boatloads of your penetration (Tracks count as spaced armor also) so generally avoid it. This is HEAT’s Achilles' heel.

 

  • Be aware that HEAT doesn't normalize. Thus the same penetration APCR round will penetrate sloped armor up to 70° more easily as the APCR shell will turn slightly into the armor upon impact, reducing the effective armor, while HEAT will not.

 

  • You can’t shoot through destructible objects and penetrate tanks on the other side like AP/APCR can. This is particularly devastating when trying to reset an enemy who is hiding behind your supply depot. A HEAT shell will explode when it hits the object that a AP or APCR round would have continued though after destroying it.

A prime example of HEATS weaknesses can be seen when a T69 meets an IS-3. An IS-3’s side armor hidden behind 30mm of spaced armor is a terrific 180mm effective. The combination of this spaced armor means that hitting the upper side armor when it has an angle will result in frequent bounces and by the time you reach a 45° angle the spaced armor strip is impossible to penetrate through. This makes shooting IS-3’s at range unreliable with HEAT and is a primary reason that IS-3's are used to counter T69's in professional play.

 

Also, HEAT can not overmatch thin armor, although this is made up for by not bouncing until the armor is at least 80 degrees. This rarely happens, but it is good to know that if a round hits at an 85 degree angle or more, the round will not penetrate, regardless of the armor thickness. This gives AP an advantage when shooting extremely angled, but thin armor because it will overmatch and guarantee a pen if the shell caliber is three times larger than the nominal armor value no matter the angle.

 

Overall HEAT makes many trade offs for its advantages over standard rounds. While its high penetration levels make it ideal for punching through thick armor, Its difficulty with penetrating spaced armor and tracks makes it unreliable against the sides of tanks, especially at range. Thus, unlike APCR which you can load up and spam at will because it has almost no meaningful cons, only advantages when compared to AP, HEAT should be loaded more sparingly, being used to punch through that thick frontal armor that AP can’t, rather than spamming at will, unsure why your mega penetration gold round just bounced off of side armor.

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Did you mean 10mm travelled or is it actually 10cm traveled when dealing with spaced armour?

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Did you mean 10mm travelled or is it actually 10cm traveled when dealing with spaced armour?

 

It's 5% per 10cm.

 

Just think how it would be if it was 10mm. In that case 10cm would already give you 50% reduction in penetration.

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HEAT ricochet angle was changed to 85 degrees recently.

Another thing to note is that angle improves the effectiveness of tracks/spaced armour on two levels- both the usual improved effective armour, and the bigger gap between detonation and hitting main armour (which works on the same principle as LOS protection- a track angled at 60 degrees leads to double the travel after the initial hit).

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