Armour Guide: 1. Preface

Note: This article is an ongoing project. Therefore, some sections will be missing or will appear incomplete.


This guide is intended as a help to those with an interest in World War II tanks, who does not feel confident in the finer aspects of armour. Often, arguments used when discussing armour are based on a simplified perception of how armour protection works, and how it is defeated. The purpose of this guide is therefore to be both a primer and a reference.


To ensure that this guide is as accurate as possible, all information about specific weaponry it is based on the reports and tests made during or immediately after World War II. By doing so, there is little risk of arguing based on knowledge not available during the war. In addition, more recent litterature is used for some of the theoretical background. The most important source for this information are the reports made at the Watertown Arsenal Laboratory (WAL), which was a major research center of the US Army, but other sources of different nationalities are used as well. The list below defines how each source is referred to in the text.

Armor-Piercing Ammunition for Gun, 90-mm, M3
Office of the Chief of Ordnance. Armor-Piercing Ammunition for Gun, 90-mm, M3. 1945. 18 p.
British Intelligence Objectives Sub-committee. German Tank Armour. B.I.O.S. Final Report No. 653, Item No. 18. 260 p.
D 460/1+
Geschoßringbuch : Band I. Dienstvorschrift 460/1+. 1939. 111 p.
Deutsche Edelstahlwerke Aktiengesellschaft. Zusammenfassung der bisher bei der Untersuchung englischer und französischer Panzerfahrzeuge ermittelten Daten über die verwendeten Werkstoffe.
Merkblatt geheim 28/1
Oberkommando des Heeres. Zusammenstellung der Explosivstoffgewichte für deutsche Munition. Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1944. Merkblatt geheim 28/1. 39 p.
Ogorkiewicz, 1968
OGORKIEWICZ, R. M. Design and Development of Fighting Vehicles. London : Macdonald & Co (Publishers) Limited, 1968. 294 p.
WAL 710/456
SULLIVAN, J. Ballistic Properties of Rolled Face Hardened Armor and Rolled Homogeneous Armor of Various Hardnesses at Normal Incidence and at Various Obliquities. Watertown : Watertown Arsenal Laboratory, 1942. WAL 710/456. 162 p.
WAL 710/492
CENER, Clarence & PETERSON, Rudolph E. Mechanism of Armor Penetration : Second Partial Report. Watertown : Watertown Arsenal Laboratory, 1943. WAL 710/492. 66 p.
WAL 710/607-3
ZENER, C & SULLIVAN, J. F. Principles of Armor Protection : Fourth Partial Report. Watertown : Watertown Arsenal Laboratory, 1944. WAL 710/607-3. 14 p.
WAL 710/908
HATCH, W. P. Metallurgical Examination of 2", 2-1/2", and 3" Rolled Homogenous Armor Employed in the Ballistic Evaluation of Armor Against 57 mm and 90 mm Armor-Piercing Projectiles. Watertown : Watertown Arsenal Laboratory, 1949. WAL 710/908. 23 p.
WAL 710/930-1
HURLICH, A. Spaced Armor : Paper Presented at Second Tank Conference. Watertown : Watertown Arsenal Laboratory, 1950. WAL 710/930-1. 23 p.


I would like to thank the following for providing me with information and documents for this article: