Thankfully, there is plenty of practical data to go off here, and not just theory. The experiments involved 152 mm shells, whose devastating effects we have already seen, as well as Soviet 100 mm, 115 mm, 125 mm, and 130 mm shells. Of course, only knowing where you stand is of limited use if you cannot compare your progress with that of the potential enemy, so the British 120 mm gun with its HESH shells also makes and appearance. These shells are fired at armoured plates 2700 by 2500 by 170 mm, with sensors behind them to measure the impulse, which is judged by the scientists to be proportional to the damage caused inside the tank to its crew and equipment.
Since we've seen what a 152 mm HE shell can do, let's take a look at experimental data for this caliber first. Players of World of Tanks will be used to HE doing the same amount of damage to the tank no matter at what speed its hits, but in reality, this is not the case:
"An analysis of natural shots, static detonations, and calculations shows that the contribution of the explosive filler of a 100-152 mm HE shell contributes around 5-10% of the overall impulse (at an impact velocity of more than 700 m/s), and the main damage to the armour plate is dealt by the impact of fragments.
When increasing the impact velocity starting from 600 m/s, the impulse of a 152 mm HE shell grows considerably, and when decreasing it from 400 m/s to 250 m/s, it decreases by 2-4 times. When the impact velocity is 950 m/s, the impulse is 50 and 40 kNs for 0 degrees and 60 degrees respectively, which is 2-2.5 times greater than the 125 mm OF-19 shell.
At angles of impact close to zero, and the velocity of 250 m/s, the impulse of a 152 mm HE shell is less than that of a 100 mm HE shell with the velocity of 900 m/s. When the angle of the target is increased from 0 to 60 degrees, the impulse of shells hitting it at 850+ m/s decreases, but the impulse of shells hitting it at 250-700 m/s increases. Therefore, the 152 mm HE shell has a higher effect against armour than a 100-130 mm HE shell at impact velocities greater than 650 m/s and a comparable effect at lower velocities."
|Caliber, mm||Type||Impact velocity, m/s||Impulse, kNs|
Upper front hull plate
Turns out, not much better. 120 mm HESH is comparable to the slightly faster flying 125 mm HE, and it still greatly surpassed by 152 mm HE.