Help support TMP

"Tank Data please" Topic

21 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please don't call someone a Nazi unless they really are a Nazi.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Game Design Message Board

Back to the WWII Rules Message Board

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Top-Rated Ruleset

Hordes of the Things

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

25mm Soviet Rifle Squad, Advancing

It's hard to find 25mm Russians in the early-war summer uniform, but here they are!

Featured Profile Article

An Interview with Editor Claire

An interview with the most reclusive of our editors...

Featured Book Review

1,074 hits since 25 Jan 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Last Hussar25 Jan 2021 4:11 p.m. PST

A challenge for you gentlemen,

About 7 years ago I was using a site that gave the statistics for WW2 tank penetrations/hit/kills etc. It was very detailed.

I finally found the rules, and more importantly stats, that I extrapolated from this site.

However I only did UK and German tanks.

Does anyone have any ideas? I believe it was someone at this August Body who referred me to it.

If not, any ideas how I extrapolate the missing countries – "This gun is equal to this gun" , this tank armour is equal to that tank armour"?

Thank you.

Last Hussar25 Jan 2021 4:19 p.m. PST

Further to last.

Upon examining the only document I have with stats on – German vehicles – the site gave git chance as a %, and armour penetrated. The document has 2 range bands – up to 800 (?yards) and up to 1200. I THINK the site may have broken it down this way.

JMcCarroll25 Jan 2021 5:02 p.m. PST

Old, old rules called Tank Charts had all that information and more. I still look at them once in awhile.

pfmodel25 Jan 2021 5:07 p.m. PST

There was an excellent white paper on armour values, which I used to create a white paper on armour and weapons penetration values, link
The source document can be found here: PDF link
But I have to warn you the topic is rather complex and having studied this in detail it caused my brain to explode. In the end I simplified the whole process, calculating the maximum penetration capacity of each weapon and using its muzzle velocity to determine optimal ranges. Then I looked at armour on tanks and my brain exploded again.

Last Hussar25 Jan 2021 5:29 p.m. PST

Thanks pfmodel – at first glance I thought the PDF was it, but the Hit probability is different – the German figures I gave seem to be chance to hit, where as that is the absolute chance of kill at range x from the look of it

My original source also gave me maths headaches – working out a system for penetration v armour. What I'm going to do is compare the penetration with the German stats, and assume the game stats will be comparable.

von Schwartz ver 225 Jan 2021 5:30 p.m. PST

And I suppose you left you poor wife to clean up that mess didn't

Wolfhag25 Jan 2021 6:07 p.m. PST

I've found that the publication "WWII Ballistics and Armor" by Bird and Livingston is the best source. They did extensive research and all of the data is standardized including most WWII guns and armor.

Many sources don't indicate if the penetration is at 0 or 30 degrees. Also, the definition of a "penetration" varied among different nations and even between different branches of the same nation. There are so many variables that it's difficult to integrate all of them into a game but some did have profound effects that should be included.

Here are others to check out:

How much armor will be penetrated is going to be somewhat variable and in reality, the AP shell needs to over-penetrate about 120% to fully enter into the fighting compartment to do maximum damage, especially APHE rounds. Bird and Livingston's publication covers these aspects in a format for wargamers, not statistics Ph.D.'s.


pfmodel25 Jan 2021 6:41 p.m. PST

I must note that in my, overly complex, research on the subject, hit probability rates are more influenced by situation the firers find himself in. If you have the range to the target the hit probability rates are very high up to 1 second projectile flight and reasonable up to 2 seconds. This is why the germans preferred APCR or even APCBC to HEAT, the low velocity of the HEAT round made it harder to hit at range.
If you do not know the range the situation gets tricky, out to 1 second flight you can normally compensate, but once you get to 2 second the projective drop is so significant its easy to hit short or fly over the target. The gory maths is in my white paper, but I assume you mean the percentage change of inflicting damage – which is highly variable, then that is rather more tricky.
You may find this useful, it's a penetrator calculator:
John Salt also wrote a good white paper on the subject, called World War Two Armour Penetration Statistics, but I cannot find the link.

Hornswoggler25 Jan 2021 6:42 p.m. PST

I've found that the publication "WWII Ballistics and Armor" by Bird and Livingston is the best source. They did extensive research and all of the data is standardized including most WWII guns and armor.

I would have to disagree. In my view the endless stream of revisions to this work (up until the point where Mr Bird more or less disappeared "off the grid") seriously undermine the credibility of this work – I gave up on trying to track the amendments. A major weakness was reliance on non-primary sources including things posted with minimal or no citations on various internet forums and the like. Also, a tendency to "bend" the data to fit various theories held by at least one of the authors (eg shatter gap) is apparent. The scope and intent of the work is laudable but I have no idea which parts of it can be relied upon.

RudyNelson25 Jan 2021 6:54 p.m. PST

I have a complete set of Tank Charts including all of the expansions. I had the keys to the Fort Riley simulation center, I was S4 of the MI Bn. We used Tank Charts on the boards there.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2021 7:32 a.m. PST

We talking the old Brian Stokes, GHQ rules Tank Charts?

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa26 Jan 2021 11:37 a.m. PST

Doesn't sound quite like the site mentioned but this one leapt to mind:

Wolfhag26 Jan 2021 12:32 p.m. PST

Panzer War site has what can be described as updates to Bird & Livingston's book and he used a lot of data from it for Panzer War. If you like detail, it's an excellent source and I think gunfire and armor penetration rules are more accurate than Tank Charts.

Last Hussar,
If you purchase it you get the spreadsheet and formulas and you can use your own values:

pfmodel: I helped a friend of mine develop a hit chance model based on 1/4 second time of flight increments. So an 88L71 has range bands of 250m, 500m, 750m, 1000m, 1250m, 1400m, 1600m, 1800m, etc. The hit # are for first, second and third consecutive shots to simulate a ranging shot, bracketing correction, and ranged in by your third shot. If your ranging shot hits you are ranged in.

I calculated a ranging shot hit chance with a 20% range estimation error. Bracketing chance hit # is half-way between ranging and ranged in to reflect the elevation correction. So the 88L71 D20 hit # at 2000m are 7/10/14. If you are firing at a target that is at a known range/range marker you use the ranged in value for all shots.

There are no die roll modifiers. Accuracy bonus and penalties are in plus/minus 1/4 second ToF range increments. So at a target range of 1000m (one second time of flight) an Ace crew would use 3/4 second TOF. A poor crew would use 1.5 seconds ToF. Veteran crews have no modifier. The same method is used for small/large targets.

I used the published range and trajectory tables when I could find them rather than using a formula to get max ordinate, dispersion, etc along with other Error Budget factors to simulate combat conditions.

I have "World War Two Armour Penetration Statistics" by John Salt. It's the 1999 version and I'm not sure of any updates.


BuckeyeBob26 Jan 2021 3:06 p.m. PST

a 1998 document from John Salt where he shows various game, book and other sources. Maybe the one you want is listed?

PDF link

Last Hussar26 Jan 2021 3:32 p.m. PST

Thanks for al the links.

It would be nice if ANY source agreed with just one other! grin

I'm going to look for a source that agrees with what I have already for the Germans, and use that for the US and USSR.

Wolfhag26 Jan 2021 3:44 p.m. PST

Bird & Livingston's work is about 15 years old and there are some better sources now but for accuracy and armor in a war game, it should suffice. It's better than "hits on a 3+" or a tank having an armor value of "8". I like the way he approached things like compound armor angles, cast armor, armor hardness, etc. It's fairly easy reading on complicated topics.

I've also used info from Terminal Ballistic Data from the Chief of Ordnance, Ballistic Research Lab, Ballistics Research Lab, Army Research Lab, nationality range tables, etc. As far as things like Shatter Gap, I approach it somewhat like determining a ricochet chance. The closer the range (inside one-second ToF) and the greater the armor angle the better chance of a shatter, no computations needed. It keeps APCR from being a "Silver Bullet" that works every time.

The scope and intent of the work is laudable but I have no idea which parts of it can be relied upon.

Well, yes, I agree. It's like a lot of conflicting sources, you need to do your research and eventually settle on one. I liked playing around with his formulas but now you can find ballistic and trajectory tables for US, German and Russian guns to replace his formulas. I compared these to Rexford's formulas and he seemed to have a "sweet spot" where they were very accurate but as the range extended from the "sweet spot", they were less accurate. Like most formulas, there is normally a fudge factor but for a non-scientific effort, it is laudable. However, for most war game applications it should suffice.

I've seen formulas from the scientific "experts" for trajectories, suppression, small arms fire, causality rates, etc and there seems to be no consensus as to which one is the right one or which variables to use and there is no governing authority. I doubt if there will ever be a definitive work on these subjects that will not be challenged, they are all a WIP. What's that saying, "Rules are never finished, only published". The closest to a definitive work I've seen is on Error Budget.

According to the Tank Charts intro (I have the game), Lorrin Bird did make contributions to the game and it does have a Variable Penetration Table which I think is an important detail. I think it's still a good game that has stood the test of time and it's been well supported.


Last Hussar26 Jan 2021 4:16 p.m. PST

I'm going with

Thanks Wolfhag for this, and everybody who tried to help.

Luckily with the Yanks they didn't keep changing bits, so relatively few tanks/guns. For the Germans I have had to break PzIV alone into 5 (FIVE) classes!

Pz IV A, Pz IV B-D, Pz IV E-F1, Pz IV F2-G, Pz IV H-J

As they changed either gun or armour, but left the other the same!

Wolfhag26 Jan 2021 10:52 p.m. PST

Last Hussar,
I've corresponded with the author by email so feel free to ask him any questions. I think he's still around.

Good luck,


Doc Yuengling27 Jan 2021 7:07 a.m. PST

Old Hussar,

Tractics rules from Gary Gygax in the 70s have the information of penetration down to mm thickness, angles, and type of rounds verses actual tank angle and armor specifications, from well sourced material for almost every vehicle, tank, or gun in WW2 into the 1960s including varying marks, and or discussion on added armor thickness with logs and such. If I remember, some from the US military or other Allied testing and firing rounds through actual tanks, and or after action reports with specific rounds and findings of the results.
:You might catch a copy on Ebay for about $100. USD

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa27 Jan 2021 11:15 a.m. PST

I'm going with

I've used that site, but I've found some of the tank data entries sketchy.
No idea about the gun data. Its all calculated using the same equation so it should be consistent from that point of view. I'd quite like to look into the equation myself but the site doesn't give much detail. Also warning, the entries that are supposedly HEAT rounds show drops in pen. with range! So I can only assume they just calculated the pen. for those from using the same equation.

Wolfhag27 Jan 2021 4:12 p.m. PST

Send him an email and ask for clarification.


Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.