Monday, April 15, 2013

Premium and regular Hangar

Leopard 1, Leopard prototype A, Indien-Panzer

Leopard 1






Leopard prototype A





Indien-Panzer




Buff My Tank: TOG II



For anyone who still doesn’t know T.O.G stands for The Old Gang a group of WW1 tank designers who ran a design scheme parrallel to the main design channels in Britain in WW2 based in no small part on the rather abrasive personality of Sir Albert Stern. You can find more on the development and history of the TOG project at my TOG Files thread here.
  
Okay so by now everyone has realised that the TOG II* in game is a slow mammoth of a tank easily picked off by an opposing team as it wallows around trying to get into position. Personally I tend to find most of my team are dead before I even get to the battle.
I accept that on those rare occasions I get to use it properly and someone (a medium) provides some support and cover the TOG is a beast to reckon with-sadly this is very infrequent in pub. games so here I propose a buff.

 TOG I, late 1941:


Speed: The Old Gang being wed to a rather older idea of what WW2 would bring designed a deliberately long and slow tank being able to provide significant firepower (TOG looked more like a French B1 with a howitzer mounted in the front hull and both were originally intended to have sponson mounted machine guns akin to a WW1 tank) and being able to cross trenches (hence the long tail). So don’t expect a fast TOG anytime soon but that said there is a call to improve the speed and maneuverability.

Mass: So ignoring if one can for a moment that the exact weight of the TOGII* is not actually known (it is so heavy it had to be weighed in two halves and the summed so it weighs about 71,125 kg (71.125 tonnes) and that in the game they give it as 81.3 tonnes which is far too heavy. Thus in game it has a power to weight ratio of 7.38 hp/tonne from the 600hp engine.
Given its correct weight (assuming 600hp is correct) it would have a power to weight ratio of 600/71.125 which would give 8.44 hp/tonne. What this would do is improve the top speed from the woeful 14kph up towards the 20 kph mark. Also there should be commensurate increase in acceleration and a lower resistance across rough ground.

Armour: From this very blog, regarding a declassified Soviet document from 1943 gives stats of an unknown British tank in development which is nothing like anything else ever made and so MAY relate to the TOG programme (there are some other similarities).

That vehicle had an estimated armor thickness on the sides of 65 and 75mm, and frontal armor of 110mm which is certainly very close to the real TOG we know. Secondly there is another reason to buff the armour from an eye-witness to its development "she had been designed at a time when fighting was expected to take place around the Maginot line, her characteristics were slow speed, with a range of 50 miles for operating with infantry, great length to cross wide trenches and armour which would withstand a direct hit from a 105mm gun at 100 yards."

Now in game she has frontal armour of 76mm and obviously they have the real TOG II at Bovington to get measurements from. What they omit though is that the armour is not homogeneous armour plate but rather made from a base layer of mild steel and then clad with high hardness steel armour plate. Does this not mean it has weaker armour? I hear you say. Well no.

In the 1920’s and 30’s Vickers developed a face hardened armour plate (about 20mm thick) of a face hardness of 600 BHN and rear hardness of 400 BHN (German homogeneous armour plate was about 400 BHN) but the Vickers plate is so hard it could not be cut or welded and had to be bolted on. By the 1970’s Hadfield ‘Duplex’ armour was being used (which had been developed prior to WW2). This had an effective armour strength being increased due to the softer rear layer absorbing the energy of the impacting shell with a much lower tendency to spall that the very high hardness armour. In absorbing this energy it reduces the propensity of armour fracture due to impact which improves the armour of the outer layer. In other words a hard outer layer backed with a softer layer is actually both stronger and lighter (by up to 38 per cent over Rolled Homogeneous Armour) that RHA.

Or applied to the TOG, even if the 76mm thick armour remains it should have the strength of a greater thickness. Rather than remodel the game mechanics (I know there is a secret armour factor at play as well) it would be simpler to improve the frontal armour to 110mm instead.

Finally on armour as the entrance hatches on the left and right of the hull were there originally because of the sponsons planned it is perfectly reasonable to assume that they would have been better shaped, smaller and better armoured on any production TOG. I suggest small, circular hatches like on the later Churchills and the A33 Excelsior.

TOG II with 77mm

Armament: In all honestly the armament of the TOG is already sufficient. In fact it’s the best feature of the tank and I wouldn’t propose any changes to improve the performance at all. In real life the TOG II was also fitted at some point (prior to being fitted with the 17-pdr currently modeled) with a 77mm gun which may have been the OQF 77mm Mk.II as used already in the game of the Tier 6 British Heavy Churchill Mk.VII. This would be a reducing in performance from 150 damage and 171 penetration (with the current 17pdr) down to 140 damage and 148 penetration albeit with a slight increase in rate of fire.
The best way to buff the TOG II’s armament would be to increase the rate of fire as it has two loaders and more internal space than the Churchill.VII so it could have a rate of fire of 13 rpm which would be a small but nice improvement.

Size: Finally and more importantly at the end of the whole TOG project there were two other versions mentioned. That of the TOG III (no details) but also of a TOG-R (R for Reduced) basically a shorter TOG. By the end of the beginning (to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill) it was obvious that there would be no return to a WW1 trench war so a shorter TOG was envisaged as there was no trench system to have to cross. How short would be speculative but it could look like this:

15.04.13.

- incoming arty nerf in connection with tier 10 arty? "no comment"
- there will be no further (stricter) arty hardcap per battle
- various historical battles might have various XP/credit rewards
- there is further material available on more British heavies and mediums (to be implemented)
- in connection with tier 10 arty introduction, the company vehicle tier limits for various vehicles will be re-worked, but the sum of points for each company time most likely won't
- the overall amount of arties per team in high tier battles should decrease with 0.8.6
- the new Chinese premium heavy (tier 8) will be called "112" (SS: it's the one from the screenies - basically a - probably armor-nerfed 113 hull and a 111 turret), there is also a Chinese (T8?) medium tank being prepared, but no info on that for now (this is how it looks:)



- dynamic objects (apart from fallen trees) have no influence on visibility, eg. if a small tank hides behind a big one, it can be spotted as if the big one was not there
- there are no plans to modify the MM, so one side doesn't have more premium vehicles than the other
- the reason there won't be any free arty given in 0.8.6 is that the devs don't want to increase the amount of arty even further
- 100 percent crew training for credits won't be implemented, as it has no influence on battle outcome
- popularity of a tank by itself is no reason for that tank to be buffed (eg. extremely unpopular tanks won't get buffed just because players don't like them)
- turret being ripped off by explosions effect will come soon apparently
- more XP (but not credits) is awarded for doing damage to enemy tanks of tier higher than you

Random news: Overlord admitted it would have been better to do the 2nd anniversary hangars differently (not as shared for USA and EU server) - maybe next time, guys.

Patagon Light Tank




Today we are going to have a look at the new Argentinian Patagon light tank. The similiarity with the AMX-13 and SK-105 is obvious at first glance - that's because it's a hybrid of the two, a SK-105 chassis with a FL-12 turret from AMX-13.

History

The AMX-13 had always a special place within the South American armies - in fact, 5 out of 12 current users are from South America (plus an unknown number being used in Mexico). A leightweight and successful French design from the 50's, it continues to serve and soldier on in around a dozen armies all over the world. South American armies also have this thing for modifications - nearly all South-American AMX-13's were refitted somehow, either with refitted engines and fire control systems (Ecuador), or with a different gun (Venezuelan variant). Peruvian "Escorpion" AMX-13/105 variant is certainly one of the extreme examples of AMX-13 (as a tank) modification, carrying a 105mm L/44 cannon, a FCS from Ukraine and a twin AT-3 Sagger rocket launcher, plus an improved engine (Detroit Diesel 6V-53T, or the French Badouin 6F11SRY), allowing it to go as fast as 65km/h.

Escorpion


One of those aforementioned armies, which purchased the AMX-13 was Argentina. Argentina had some tank-constructing tradition from last 70 years, one of first being the Nahuel ("Jaguar" in native language, basically a Sherman ripoff), another being the modern TAM vehicle. Argentina recieved around 60 AMX-13/105 "Modéle 58" vehicles, equipped with a new 105 mm gun (GIAT 105G1 - L/44, used on the Kürrasier) and the FL-12 turret. Argentinian AMX-13's were further modified with diesel engine instead of the original SOFAM engines (KHD V-8 diesels, 260hp). Other sources state that the vehicles kept their original engines to be replaced by Deutz diesels during the 1979 modernisation.

Argentinian AMX-13/105

Apparently, Argentine bought a batch of these vehicles in the early 70's and curiously enough, they were accepted into service as tank destroyers, not light tanks (much like the Swiss AMX-13's, or the SK-105 Kürrasier). As mentioned earlier, a refit was carried out first in 1979 and then in 1999, but it is known that by the end of their service, the vehicle was still using the first generation night vision system. The AMX-13 tanks served in the army of Argentine for 40 years, last ones (26 pieces) being phased out in 2012. A number of leftover spare parts, including the FL-12 turrets were left over from them and in early 2000's a plan was made to combine them with another design.


We now have one piece of the puzzle. Let's look at the other one: the SK-105 Kürrasier.

The Kürrasier is a light tank/tank destroyer, developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch (ex Saurer) in 1967. It resembles the AMX-13 a lot, using the same gun and turret as the AMX-13/105, although the chassis is different. It did not gain as wide popularity as the AMX-13 and has fewer users, despite its qualities (in South America it is Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil). Argentine bought apparently (as a second export customer, the first being Tunis) 57 of these vehicles in 1981 as a part of a 120-tank order (other soures claim 118 - 112 SK-105 and 6 "Greif" recovery vehicles based on it), that was finished in 1982. Apparently, the first 100 Kürrasiers were intended for Chile, but because of political reasons, the Austrians decided to offer them to Argentina instead.

And so we get to the "VC SK-105s Patagón". The basic decision was taken in the early 2000's to develop a native SK-105/AMX-13 hybrid. The basic construction is the Kürrasier hull and the AMX-13 FL-12 turret. The turrets were produced (along with the guns) in Argentina from the early 60's, however, the Patagón FL-12 turret is not the original FL-12, but an overhauled model, made by Fives-Cail-Babcock (this overhauled version was used also on the Argentinian AMX-13's and was most likely installed during the 1999 refit) - note that a gun refit program from the same company allows the vehicle to fire the APDS rounds.

A prototype was unveiled on 24.11.2005 by the CIC of the Argentinian Army, general Roberto Bendini in Buenos Aires. The vehicle was to be manufactured in an assembly plant in Comodoro, under the supervision of Steyr advisors. 

What happened then? It is unclear. According to some sources, the production started and continued until 2007, with 40 pieces manufactured. Either way, in late 2008, the Patagon program was cancelled by the Ministry of Defense of Argentine "after a thorough analysis". The reason for cancellation was apparently the costs (the vehicles were very expensive with 20 mil USD per piece), the fact the active Kürrasiers in Argentinian army could perform the same task and also the fact the vehicle manufacture faced some serious delays. The remaining parts left over from the AMX-13 decommissions were instead transferred to the repair shops, responsible for keeping the 155mm F3 and VCL vehicles in running condition.

There are also lingering doubts over the effectivity of the aging 105mm gun, one however has to look at what the vehicle would face - perfectly adequate for the region.

Patagón in numbers

Weight: 16,5 tons
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Range: 520 km
Engine power: 300hp
Armament: 105mm Giat 105G1, 7,62mm MG
Length: 5.582m
Width: 2,5m

In World of Tanks?

This vehicle is way too modern to have any chance to appear in WoT, even though I suppose it could be balanced around T8-T10, considering it has no reactive armor, very thin armor by itself and cannot shoot ATGM's.