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Where to aim HE shells

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17,229 battles

Naturally speaking, all shells that can penetrate through the main belt without passing through the hull will deal full damage instead of 1/3 of the damage. I mean for most of the time, the normal hits deal less damage because they don't reach the vital part of the ship. But if the shells hit the citadel (which is where the weak spot is), the ship will take a lot more damage. HE or AP, it doesn't make any difference if the ship you hit has weak main belt armor.

The Naval Academy is not entirely wrong though. The ship's superstructure is mostly thin enough for HE shells to penetrate. But because the superstructure is not where the weak spot is, all hits inflicted there will only cause "normal" penetration instead of "full" penetration.

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Well I thought HE just explodes on contact as seems in-game without passing through any armor lol.

Oh so it says that if the armor isn't penetrated it won't deal any damage to the hull's hp, but the blast wave and fragments would do damage to ship's part and maybe disable it.

Does it work out this way?


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22,378 battles

Aim to hit the upper half of the hull, the superstructure and along the deck.

Simplistically: If a HE shell impacts the target ship where the plating is =< the shell HE penetration value, it will do maximum damage along with the chance of starting a fire. The shell will shatter if it strikes an area of plating > shell HE penetration value. This will result in zero or minimal damage. The change of starting a fire remains.


Your ship = CA USS New Orleans. HE Penetration = 34mm
Enemy ship = King George V. The plating is:

  • >300mm on the lower half of the centre hull section of the ship.
  • 32mm on the upper half of the centre hull section.
  • 32mm on the bow, stern and deck.
  • 16mm for the superstructure.

Therefore your HE will penetrate if hits are achieved:

  • On the bow
  • On the upper half of the centre hull section
  • On the stern
  • On the deck
  • On the superstructure

HE shells will shatter if you hit the lower section of the centre hull or the turrets.

Irrespective of penetration or shatter, the fire chance of each shell remains constant.

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