War Thunder

Decided to make a post on 20mm damage, and what they should be (Approximately relative to a single point)

warthunder 3 - Decided to make a post on 20mm damage, and what they should be (Approximately relative to a single point)

I've done a lot of these kinds of posts before, but never have I actually calculated just WHAT the damages should be, if shells acted as they should historically.

For ease of comparison I am comparing the ShVak, known for being fairly weak, to the 151, known for being brokenly powerful and seemingly unstoppable.

I'll calculate for each cannon what the kinetic, explosive, and incendiary statistics for the HE shells of each cannon.

Fragmentation damage is hard to calculate, in a nutshell the more filler percentage in the round, the smaller the fragments will be, but they will in theory go faster. Regardless larger fragments are more likely to actually hurt modules, thus mineshells should rip sheeting apart, but not damage spars unless its a direct hit.

Firstly the statistics for the ShVak HEI-Frag rounds. This ensures tracers aren't a factor, and this is the strongest ShVak round in the game (which annoyingly only appears once in the stealth belt)


"hitPowerMult": 1.0,

"hitpower": {

"HitPower10m": <1.0,50.0>,

"HitPower1000m": <0.92,1000.0>,

"HitPower1500m": <0.75,1500.0>,

"HitPower2000m": <0.3,2000.0>


Who would have guessed? A completely normal series of numbers! Although there's no way its keeping 30% of its kinetic energy out to 2000 meters, its a lightweight HE shell.


"explosiveType": "a_ix_2",

"explosiveMass": 0.0056,

"explodeTreshold": 0.1,

"explodeHitPower": 13.0,

"explodeArmorPower": 5.0,

"explodeRadius": <0.035,0.35>,

"fuseDelayDist": 0.3

All right, so some basic numbers! For starters AIX2 is a very powerful explosive, ingame it counts as 1.54 times its weight in TNT.

For sake of simplicity, I will convert all HE shells into TNT values.

So the Russian shell is actually…

"explosiveType": "TNT",

"explosiveMass": 0.0086,

"explodeTreshold": 0.1,

"explodeHitPower": 13.0,

"explodeArmorPower": 5.0,

"explodeRadius": <0.035,0.35>,

"fuseDelayDist": 0.3

This gives us a good baseline, 8.6 grams of TNT equals an explosive damage of 13, 5mm of penetration, and 0.035/0.35 (size of the explosion min and max values).

Lets put this into a form we can use to calculate!*Maths intensifies*All right so this means 1 gram of TNT equals…

1.5 explosive damage

0.5mm of penetration (surprisingly enough to actually damage airframe skin!)

0.004 0.04 (4-40mm explosion size)

Awesome! Some basic numbers! Assuming ingame shells are remotely accurate, they should mostly match up.

How about incendiary damage?Well the game doesn't "Have" an incendiary damage number from investigating the game and code, rather it has a number which is effectively a 'proportional fire damage to bullet damage' number. In a nutshell if a projectile does 100 damage with a 1 fire multiplier, it has a 1 percent fire chance according to the target it hits (which have their own modifiers).

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This is generally why API is the best firestarter, kinetic damage is hefty, goes a long distance, and can penetrate modules, whereas HE just 'splats' on the outside and rarely hits fuel tanks too hard.

Logically the more % a shell has of incendiary content inside, the higher the number, but we'll see how that holds up…

Regardless, this shell has this for its incendiary chance…

"onHitChanceMultFire": 1.5,

This round does not feature incendiary content at all, latewar russian munitions went to an all-HE design. However, the HE itself is designed to be incendiary, for these types of munitions, lets just assume half the weight of HE filler works as incendiary, whereas dedicated incendiary works 100% its weight.


So 5.6 divided by 2 equals 2.8 grams of 'effective' incendiary filler.Bullet weighs 96 grams, so incendiary content is 2.9% equals 1.5 fire chance…Each % of incendiary filler therefore should equal 0.51 fire chance.

Again, not discussing fragment damage, that's a whole different ballgame.

So a recap of what we have learned from this round.

1 gram of TNT equals…

1.5 explosive damage

0.5mm of penetration (surprisingly enough to actually damage airframe skin!)

0.004 0.04 (4-40mm explosion size)

Each % of incendiary filler therefore should equal 0.51 fire chance.

So onto the next round, the infamous 151 20mm Mine shell we all know and hate!

Kinetic damage: Literally identical to the ShVak at least per unit of velocity or something, but loses its damage to 10% at 1.5km. Really this doesn't matter, its a HE round.

Explosive damage:

"explosiveType": "TNT", (PETN)

"explosiveMass": 0.03162 ,

"explodeTreshold": 0.4,

"explodeHitPower": 19.0,

"explodeArmorPower": 6.0,

"explodeRadius": <0.15,0.75>,

"fuseDelayDist": 0.3,

That's right, a whopping 31 grams of TNT, because PETN is 1.7 times as explosive as TNT in the game code. I wonder why it does so much damage ingame! *Wink wink* But ahh well lets calculate its TRUE damage, at least roughly.

"explosiveType": "TNT", (PETN)

"explosiveMass": 0.03162 ,

"explodeTreshold": 0.4,

"explodeHitPower": 47.4

"explodeArmorPower": 15.8 ,

"explodeRadius": < 0.1264 ,1.264>,

"fuseDelayDist": 0.3,

Oh boy…If you thought mineshells were bad enough before, it seems they're actually weaker than they should be, by quite a margin.

I mean what the hell did you expect? They have 3.6 times the explosive filling as the STRONGEST ShVak round ever fielded…And funnily enough the game uses the early war fillings, the latewar ones were better, strange they're not in the game! *Rolls eyes*

Now for incendiary damage!

"onHitChanceMultFire": 2.5,

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The PETN used in this shell was not particularly incendiary, so its hard to calculate just what it should be. So here's two calculations, one assuming an incendiary effect of 25% for PETN, and one for 50% for the later war HA-41 filling.

PETN: Shell weighs 92 grams, filling is 4.5 grams, ergo incendiary percentage is 4.9% of the shell weight.

HA-41: Shell weighs 92 grams, filling is 9 grams, ergo incendiary percentage is 9.8% of the shell weight.

Each percent is 0.51 fire chance so for PETN the fire chance should be 2.499 (SPOT ON! Curious!)

Assuming the much more effective HA-41, this would increase to a whopping 5.0 fire chance! That's gotta hurt!

So there you have it folks, the curious nature of War Thunder's code, broken numbers, and ShVaks doing 75% of the damage with 1/4th the explosive filling!

If you guys would like any more comparisons with other guns, I can do so, this has taken a while to write up however. Any feedback would be appreciated!

Edit: Just to be clear, this post is partly a joke, the numbers are accurate, however 'explosivehitpower' is an outdated form of damage which the devs decided to keep in, which was indeed 'biased' in certain ways (Russia I am looking at you). The new 'explosivemass' system indeed makes most projectiles work as they should, hence Mine shells are comically OP right now.

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