Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blog Update


Quick update for those wondering why there hasn't been any content these past weeks. I've been on vacation and haven't had time to really dedicate an article for a bit. Right now I have a few being worked on to get out for everyone. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have the Chi-Nu II finished and put up. Hope everyone had a nice holiday season!

Scheduled:
- Type3 Chi-Nu II
- Type60 SPRG
- Type74

Thursday, December 15, 2016

[Dev] Japanese Tanks Review


  DISCLAIMER: This article is to answer player's questions about missing/incorrect data as of the DEV SERVER. Note that much of this is placeholder. Gaijin has put much effort into this tree, and will continue to do so!

Gaijin has shown its players the Japanese Ground Forces Release Tree this past weekend. With it, players got to finally see the heat that Japan will be packing in this upcoming patch: a fully fledged tree, 33 vehicles from tiers 1 to 5, including both regular and premium vehicles. Not a year prior, Gaijin was voicing their doubts about an independent Japanese tech tree, seeing it as impossible. However, this past half year, Gaijin has been hard at work making it for you, the players, who demanded their arrival. Finally the player-base gets a real taste of their work.

On December 10th, Gaijin gave access to the 1.65 dev server from 19.00 GMT to 07.00 GMT the next day to give players hands on playability with the new Japanese tanks and the etc. Players' responses to these tanks were exceedingly positive, even those who had been doubtful of Japanese tank potential prior to testing these vehicles. I, too, am amazed at Gaijin's work and time spent on these vehicles, but it is not all good. Today I'll be giving my thoughts on the Japanese tanks currently as of the first iteration of the Dev server.  To clarify beforehand, I am not going to bash Gaijin. Working with them has and will be a wonderful opportunity for both parties. War Thunder is a game, and like all game not everything will ever be completely accurate. Balance will always come before historical numbers. That is just the play of the game. So with that said, let’s get into it!


Ha-Go - artistic screenshot by user umiraku


The major problem Japanese tanks currently have are their incorrect stats. While the models of the tanks themselves are generally perfect, with a few exceptions, hard and soft stats have proven to be the bane of their current implementation. Most of the common errors in the vehicles’ stats involve things such as gun depression, rate of fire, top speed, and other numbers. The greatest concern is improper penetration numbers; in most cases Japanese tanks are underperforming.

Nearly all of the guns currently in the game lack their proper shell list.Gaijin gave the majority of Japanese tank cannons in game only basic HE or APHE. While the Japanese heavily emphasized armour piercing high explosive munitions throughout the war,  it was not their only option, especially during the later years. Due to this basic implementation, Japanese tank cannons have lower than usual penetration numbers, due to both the missing AP shells and the unhistorical lowered penetration of APHE. This has really limited the usefulness of the tanks in the tree and will force players to use more caution than needed when taking these tanks onto the battlefield.

Here are some tank profiles I find the most notable after seeing the Dev server.


Chi-Ha Naval Short


Model and Paint is very accurate, despite gun flaws. 
The Tier 2 premium for Japan is the Type97 Chi-Ha Naval Short modification. This vehicle was equipped with a Naval 12cm mercantile cannon by the Japanese marine force, the SNLF, as a defense unit on Japanese naval bases and littoral assaults. A series of 14 confirmed units were built in 1944-1945, and stationed in the Sasebo and Yokosuka naval bases. The tanks only saw limited combat by the war's end.

In War Thunder (as of the Dev Server), the Chi-Ha Naval Short is crippled compared to its historical counterpart. The tank currently is only given a single shell selection, HE. Because of this players who purchase this tank was restricted to a standard fuse high explosive shell with the maximum penetration listed at 30mm. The tank is deadly to low tiers with its filler of 2.5 kilograms. Most lightly armoured tanks are often single shotted, while anything above initial tiers will rarely be affected by its blast. Hence the tank's BR of only 2.0. However, the tank historically does not rely solely on HE. In fact the gun had a wide selection of high penetrating shells;

- Commerce Raiding HE (
- Anti-Submarine APHE
- Type88 HEAT
- Type2 HEAT

This tank has potential if it is given its proper selection of shells and a raised BR. However currently the tank is nothing more than a novelty toy.


Heavy Tank No.6

The Tier 3 premium candidate for players is Heavy Tank No.6. In 1943, the Japanese embassy in Berlin had arranged for vehicle testing with German military units. The embassy officers favored the look of the German Tiger and Panther tanks, requesting the Japanese Government to pay for samples. On February 28th, 1944, Japan completed the transaction of the Tiger E. The tank was later given back to Germany as the Japanese Military realized its uselessness to the war effort.


The tank is fairly straightforward to players accustomed to the German tree. For all intents and purposes the heavy Tank No.6 is just a slower Tiger with less mantlet protection. Statistics-wise the tank is good, however the model is questionable since Gaijin has modeled the tank as if it were a later model. Things such as the reinforced turret roof, steel rims, track protection, headlights, and the smoke launchers are all little details inaccurate to the model the Japanese purchased. Nevertheless, the tank seems to fit well at 5.7.


Type5 Chi-Ri II

The Type5 Chi-Ri II was one of Japan's last medium tank development projects of the war. Designed in tandem with the Chi-To, the Chi-Ri emphasized Japan’s choice of the Type5 75mm cannon as the main anti tank gun for the last stages of the war. The Chi-Ri went through numerous variations, The most known being the model with the large turret containing an autoloader. What made this tank stand apart from others was its 3 shell belt-fed autoloading mechanism encased in a large box-like turret. The tank was the second design, hence the name Chi-Ri II. Only one prototype of this design was built.


The Chi-Ri is the staple of the Japanese ground forces. Its unique gun mechanism coupled with large unprotected silhouette and average mobility offers players a unique experience. Many players point out the odd rate of fire and reload of the tank, Currently the tank has a full reload of 25-30 seconds and a belt reload of 4 seconds. Currently this is a balance decision as the tank's historical numbers being as high as 30 rounds per minute. The shell speed historically was too fast and caused mechanical issues and was taken out and rejected. Because of the system not working properly, this gives Gaijin an allowance to play with the numbers to a degree.

Other errors include the turret being mounted too far towards the center of the hull when it was actually further forward; the gun also has a lower barrel cylinder which historically was not mounted. However, the biggest issue is the gun performance (this is a problem for all Type 5 75mm tanks) as the penetration numbers are off. The only shell the gun has at the moment is the Type1 APHE. This has a listed penetration of 139mm at 100 meters. Of course this is fairly overbuffed from the historical number of only 124mm. The Type 5 75mm is currently missing two AP shells, Kou and Otsu. Both shells offer dramatic and needed increases in penetration for the vehicles which use this cannon.


ST-A2


The ST-A2 was one of the first prototypes built for the SDF in hopes to creating a modern main battle tank in the midst of the spread of communism in the East. As its name implies, the ST-A2 was the second of the series to have been completed, in February of 1957. It featured a low suspension. The tank's tracks proved to perform above standards in cross country terrain mobility, and it was selected to further the project that led to the Type 61. 

In War Thunder the ST-A2 is, at the moment, the worst tank model wise. Both the A1 and the A2 have considerable proportion inconsistencies for their turrets and cannons. The A2's turret is much smaller than the historical counterpart, including its gun length (for some reason Gaijin shortened it but kept the A1's?). Because of this, the internal module and crew placement is unusually inaccurate. The crew are all kept tightly packed because of the inaccurate turret size, and this in return causes the ammunition stowage to be crammed around the turret ring, making the thinly protected sides an easy target for any caliber of gun. Currently this tank needs the most work done to it, otherwise it'll end up being the sore thumb of the tech tree.

The ST-A2 mounts a slightly different 90mm tank gun than the one used on American-produced post-war tanks. However Gaijin ingame has simply copy-pasted the American gun for the Japanese. For some time now the penetration mechanics and statistics on these 90mm guns have been glaringly inaccurate, with substantially lowered penetration compared to their historical values. This cripples the guns’ performance quite noticeably.



-Tank Errors as of the Dev Server-
  • Ha-Go:  Low Penetration, Lack of Shells.
  • I-Go: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells.
  • Ho-Ro: High Penetration, Low Depression.
  • Type94 Truck: Low Speed. 
  • Ke-Ni: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Speed, Overbuffed Hull Armour.
  • Chi-Ha: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Depression
  • Ka-Mi: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells.
  • Chi-Ha Kai: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Depression, Low Elevation.
  • Ho-I: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Depression.
  • Ho-Ni I: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, 
  • Ta-Se: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, 
  • Naval Short:  Lack of Shells.
  • Chi-He: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Depression, Low Elevation. 
  • Ho-Ni III: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Depression.
  • Chi-Nu: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low Elevation.
  • Chi-To: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low ROF, Low Depression, Low Elevation.
  • Na-To: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells, Low ROF, Low Depression, Low Elevation.
  • So-Ki: Incorrect Gun, Low Penetration.
  • Heavy No.6: Small Cosmetic Errors, Overbuffed top turret armour. 
  • Chi-Ri II: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells.
  • ST-A's:  Low Penetration, High Hull Armour, Wrong Xray, Small Turret/Guns, Low Depression, Low Elevation.
  • Type61:  Low Penetration.
  • STB-1: Low Depression, Low Elevation. 
  • Type74: Low Depression, Low Elevation. 
  • Type60: Low Penetration, Lack of Shells. 

Most of these errors seem to be due to placeholders. What was seen on the Dev Server is not entirely indicative of what the actual patch release may bring. Many hardstats such as vertical guidance not being able to depress far enough seem likely to simply be temporary, as their implementation was practically random.

This post would have been more in depth and posted earlier, but some issues have arisen which have occupied my time. However, Gaijin has released the 1.65 trailer recently, so the patch will be coming soon. I had originally planned to make a detailed writeup on each tank individually, but things came up and I'm just went ahead and typed something up quickly to get out. Once the patch is live, I will make a more detailed follow up post for everyone. The Type 74 article will be worked on this weekend when I have time to spare. Stay tuned.




Saturday, December 10, 2016

[WT] Japanese Ground Forces Arrived.

Japanese Ground Forces 


Gaijin has shown the playerbase its release tree and dev servers for the upcoming patch! There is a lot to cover and I will have an article post within the next day or so. I have many articles planned for players to help make the transition to Japanese tanks simple. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

[WT] So-Ki SPAA


   Gaijin has shown its players a lot in the last couple of days. As it has been confirmed, Japanese Ground Forces will arrive in the upcoming 1.65 patch. Gaijin has decided to share some of the more interesting vehicles for players to toy with upon their release. Today we will go over the first Japanese anti aircraft tank shown by Gaijin, and what will be one of the first SPAAG’s available to the Japanese, the small but deadly So-Ki.




As far as back as the early 1930's, Japan had been experimenting with anti aircraft mounts on multiple testbeds. From railroad cars to trucks, cars, horses, and especially tanks. In 1938 it was decided to design a new self propelled anti aircraft tank to accommodate the Imperial Army's needs of having a mobile anti air vehicle to aid in protecting troops and armored convoys. The first design that was built was based on a modified Type97 Te-Ke chassis mounting a single Type98 20mm cannon. Under trials, the vehicle was found to be too unstable and could not accurately hit targets. While two prototypes were constructed, the vehicles were scrapped after trials. The Type98 had been the standard light automatic AA cannon used by the Japanese, but due to its low range, the cannon could not hit targets at high-altitude.

However, development of SPAAG’s that could accompany tank units to offer protection from air attacks had not been abandoned. The idea of a mobile anti-aircraft vehicle was given a second wind with the production of the Type2 20mm light anti aircraft cannon. This was a modified Type98 light AA cannon with enhanced muzzle velocity and range. In 1941, Japan decided to retry producing an SPAAG based on an already existing tank platform. The platform which was chosen for the SPAAG was the newly built Type98 Ke-Ni light tank. Two designs were made using this platform, one with open dual mounted 20mm cannons and the other with a single 20mm cannon mounted in a turret. Both designs were labeled as prototype anti aircraft tanks. The dual mounted prototype (second design) received the designation So-Ki, whereas the turreted design received the designation Ta-Se.


The Type98 Ke-Ni hull had been altered substantially during the development process, even more so for the second prototype than the first. The turret and roof plating were removed from the Ke-Ni in order to install a superstructure for the tank. While the new plating added kept the original shape of the tank, the new superstructure was somewhat larger. The driver’s position was near the center in the front of the tank, while the AA mount was placed above and behind. A gun-shield was added to offer the gunner protection from small arms fire. In addition, an armour plate was welded on the forward end of the driver's position. The side and rear armor were arranged vertically. A bench for the crew was mounted on the rear of the platform. This bench could also be folded inwards to create a container that could hold up to 20 magazines for the cannons. The total ammo complement was 22 magazines (assuming the cannons were already loaded).



The So-Ki performed well when it came to the gun performance. The Type2 cannon had performed tests with a recorded muzzle velocity of 900 m/s for its AP-T shells, an improvement over the Type 98's muzzle velocity of 830 m/s. However, upon further research into the Japanese National Archive, I have came across a 92 page report detailing the differences between the Type98 and the Type2 cannons, with some graphs reporting the muzzle velocity for the Type2 cannon to reach 970 m/s with it’s AP-T shell. However this is still being looked into as it takes time to process every page word for word. [12/7/16]. The prototype, while successfully tested, was not accepted into service. This was due to the lack of available resources and the restrictions even the improved SPAAG faced. Japan by this point in the war would have needed significantly better gun performance with a higher fire ceiling than that of the Type2 or the Type98.

A common mistake that many tend to make is with the name of this SPAAG. The tank is known as the So-Ki, yet many have confused it with the Type 95 So-Ki, an armored railroad car. The two vehicles are not related. The So-Ki in this case stands for Sokosha, or armored vehicle / car as its chassis is taken directly from the Ke-Ni. The Type 2 20mm also has the nickname Soki, which is not accidental as this gun was developed first for the So-Ki SPAAG.


Weight: 7t
Crew:
Length: 4.11 m
Height:  2.8 m
Width: 2.12 m
Engine: Mitsubishi Type100
Cylinders: Inline V6 Air-Cooled Diesel
Power Output: 130hp/2100rpm
Max Speed: 50kmh
Armament: x1 Twin Type2 20mm

Gun Shield Armour:
AA Gun Shield: 6mm
Superstrcture - 16mm

Hull Armour:
Front - 16mm
Cheeks - 12mm
Side - 12mm
Roof - 6mm
Rear - 10mm

Suspension:
Front - 30mm
Side - 12mm
Rear - 30mm


Saturday, December 3, 2016

[WT] Type61 MBT


   Upon the request of many to see the end tier tank game Gaijin is going to give to you all in the Japanese Ground Forces patch, they recently previewed a tank known to many as Japan's first main battle tank. I would have posted this article sooner, but due to health issues and me simply procrastinating it'd been held off until now. I'll make an article dedicated to the Type61 along at a later time. But here today we will get a closer look at the first mass produced medium tank of post-war Japan, the Type 61.





Up until 1954, Japan had been barred from any military action within its own borders that was not supervised by the United States. All of the tank industry Japan had during the war had been completely shattered by the time of the Empire's collapse in 1945, and left the nation at an all time low for all military production. It was not until the creation of the Japanese Self Defense Force that Japan could start building its own military force independent of American jurisdiction. This decision was agreed upon by the two countries as tensions in the East started to accelerate with the Korean conflict growing more intense. Japan knew it needed a armoured force in case it would need to defend itself from potential Soviet actions. The arsenal at the time of the forming of the SDF only made up a small number of increasingly obsolete American tanks such as the Chaffee and Sherman. Both were deemed too outdated and complex to use extensively in Japan.


Statistics of the fourth prototype as compared
to American tanks.
Japan sought to use the American Patton tank series for influence in designing their own tank. The American built 90mm was heavily desired by Japan for use on any potential tank. However the weight of the M47 and M48 tanks was too heavy to base their own tank off of. Japan's terrain required a lightweight and small vehicle which could be easily transported through Japan’s many rail tunnels. The M47 and M48 were too large for this. Instead, the United States gave Japan permission to design their own 90mm anti tank gun, as they refused to give the license to the nation. The tank project began in 1955 with the envisionment of a light tank, however by the time the first prototypes were completed in the December of 1956, the design had evolved into a medium tank. From then until 1960 the tank project would include a total of 4 prototype designs, each unique in their own fashion. The first two medium tanks were constructed under the names ST-A1 and ST-A2. However, after the tests proved unsuccessful in the end, the ST-A2 prototype was chosen to extend design changes to meet the Ground Staff Office's requirements. 
ST-A4 Prototype.


Initially, the prototype tanks introduced a two stage torque converter manufactured by Sweden 's SRM company, however a problem in power loss and mobility proved to be unsatisfactory for the Ground Staff Office. The next two series of the prototype line were to fix this issue, however it took until 1959 for the ST-A4 prototype to be completed, another year afterwards for the ST-A3. The second stage of the tank prototype series focused on polishing the ST-A2. The changes made in these later models included a design change for the 90mm gun's muzzle break, an increase of the engine’s output, and an increase in quality of the tank shells used with the first generation 90mm. Added to this, with the ST-A3 prototype, Japan tested a new system of a remote controlled 20mm cannon located above the turret accompanied by an autoloading mechanism for the main cannon. This proved to be too expensive for Japan to justify the improvements, and the prototype ended up being canceled in favor of the more practical and simple ST-A4. The ST-A4 was later accepted for completion and after minor changes such as engine enhancements and the removal of the remote-controlled 20mm cannon in favor of a crew-served heavy machine gun, the tank was designated the Type61 Main Battle Tank.


The Type61 production model. 




  The Type 61 proved to be Japan's first post war tank produced on a large scale. However, the tank was already outdated by the time it entered widespread service, with design and mechanical flaws. Due to conflicting requirements issued by the Ground Staff Office, the tank had bounced back and forth between specifications, lengthening the development process. Moving between a series of different weight requirements and levels of gun caliber, armour, speed, and dimensions crippled the tank throughout its development, and this was reflected in the series production model. The tank proved to even be more expensive than what it was worth, and not long after its introduction was it decided to develop a new tank that would surpass the Type 61 and its flawed development history.
The crew compartment was arranged so that the driver of the Type 61 was located on the right side, which was done to abide by the traffic laws of the period. This caused the 3 crew (of the 4) to have been unevenly distributed throughout the right side of the vehicle.

One of the largest flaws of the Type 61 was its overall armour protection. The tank had to keep a low armor thickness in order to reduce the weight of the chassis. The tank's hull was inclined at 30 degrees from the horizontal, with welded construction, allowing for the effective thickness to reach 90mm. The turret was casted into a bowl-like shape and was kept to 40mm on the sides, with a slope of only 80 degrees, offering  80mm thickness in theory. The result was that the Type 61’s armor protection was inferior to most other tanks of the period; Japan had only taken into consideration the T-34-85, as that had been the major opponent in the Korean war. The Type 61 in the end was only protected against basic infantry anti tank weaponry, and was incapable of defeating dedicated anti-armor projectiles from most of its probable opponents.


Armour layout of the Type61 Main Battle Tank. 


The mobility of the Type 61 did not make up for the low thickness of the tank's armour. The tank was given a modified version of the Mitsubishi 20WT engine, a 4-stroke 90 ° V 12-cylinder direct injection air-cooled diesel engine, supercharged by two turbochargers, with a displacement of 29.6 liters and a maximum output of 604 hp. This was changed into a 12 cylinder air-cooled turbocharged diesel with an output of 570hp at 2100rpm (650hp without cooling device and air purifier) and a maximum shaft torque of 200 kg/m. Designed to power a lighter vehicle, this modified engine ended up having detrimental effects on the Type 61’s performance. On roads the tank had a top speed of 55kph. Off road, the tank kept a stable 45kmh. The tracks of the tank were 500mm in width, and afforded the Type 61 a 10 meter turn radius. The minimum fuel consumption rate at full load was 210 g / PSh. The main tank is 450 liters, and the auxiliary tank is 200 liters.  The acceleration performance of the Type 61 was 0 to 200 meters in 25 seconds. While this may seem fast for an armored vehicle, the numbers should be measured against those of the third generation tanks of other countries which were deployed later, as the Japanese Defense Agency did. For instance, the Leopard 2A4 is estimated to have a time of 23.5 seconds, and the M1 Abrams' prototype XM1 Is estimated to time at 29 seconds. Both of these vehicles are significantly heavier than the Type 61, however. Considering the power weight ratio of the Type 61, the tank clearly emphasized acceleration performance rather than the maximum speed. Given the mountainous nature of Japan, this was clearly a good development decision.

Mitsubishi 12HM-21WT.


The transmission system of the Type 61 is frontally mounted, the only tank to use this transmission system since the end of WWII. As a result, the height of the vehicle could not be lowered, and part of the front armor plate of the car body became a bolt fastening panel for maintenance of the transmission, and brought accompanying flaws in the armor protection. The transmission was a double differential manual shifter with 5 forward speeds and 1 reverse. This was a departure from the earlier two prototypes of the tank, which were equipped with a two-stage torque converter manufactured by Sweden's SRM Company. however when it was installed, there were problems with power loss and agility, which was not a satisfying appearance to the Council and their requirements. Finally, after trying to emulate the automatic gearshift of the M47 and M48 Patton tanks, more complex systems were abandoned a manual gear-shifting system was chosen instead.Steering was provided by a lever for each track, as in the Sherman tanks. This made the Type 61 considerably more difficult to maneuver than the M24s and M41s originally provided to Japan by the US military.

Interior cutaway view of the Type61. 


The armament of the Type 61 was influenced by the American 90mm. The layout of the Type 61’s 90mm was kept identical, however the barrel was elongated. It used the same standard ammunition as the US 90mm.  Production rights were given to the Japan Steel Works company, with American aid in providing munitions. In accordance to the Defense Agency's file of the gun, XB3002, dated April 26 1961, the gun's barrel was made to 4730mm in length, 52 caliber, weight of 2,500kg, and a barrel weight of 1,150kg. The gun shield had weighed nearly 750kg. According to the Defense Agency's file XD9001, the maximum speed of the turret traverse was 24° per second, The depression speed of the gun being 4°  second.  The gun could also elevate to 13 degrees while having a depression of -10 degrees. The firing rate of the gun ranged from 10 to 15 rounds per minute.

The shells used on the Type61 90mm Tank Gun had been kept similar to the American counterpart, however Japan had produced them under their own conditions. The main shell used in the gun was the Japanese model of the AP-T M318A1. It had a recorded penetration of 189mm at 1000 meters. Calculations of the shell has it listed to 222mm at point blank range, and 158mm at 2000 meters. 

Weight:  19.9kg
Length:  942.6mm
Shell Weight: 11kg
Shell Length: 364mm
Output: 914m per sec.
Range: 21,031m
Pressure: 3,300kg/cm2


Secondary weapons for the Type 61 included a coaxial 7.62mm M1919A4 machine gun, with a range of 800 meters and a rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute. Located on the top of the turret was a 12.7mm M2 heavy machine gun, which had  +55 ~ -10 degree angles, a rof of 550rpm, and range of approx. 1,200 meters.  The 90mm tank shells were stowed into two locations in the tank, directly behind the gun crew in the rear turret box, and to the left and right of the turret in the hull. 

Type61 90mm Tank Gun as drawn by the Defense Agency. 



Weight: 35t
Crew: 4 men
Length 8.19  m
Height: 2.49 m (3.26 m with MG)
Width: 2.95 m
Engine: Mitsubishi 12HM-21WT.
Cylinders: V12 Air cooled Diesel (Supercharged)
Power Output: 570 hp/2,100 rpm (650 hp max)
Max Speed: 55kmh
Armament: x1 Type61 90mm Tank Gun, x1 12.7mm M2 , x1 M1919A4 MG

Gun Shield Armour:
Mantlet: 125mm
Top Front - 40mm @ 60° (90mm)
Cheeks: 90mm
Top Side - 40mm
Bottom Side - 60mm
Roof - 18mm
Rear - 35mm

Hull Armour:
Front - 45mm @ 30° (90mm)
Side - 30mm
Roof - 12mm
Rear - 25mm

Suspension:
Front - 35mm
Side - 35mm
Rear - 20mm