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Armor scheme effectiveness

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Was thinking about this in releation to real life intended role and effectiveness vs effectiveness in wows after I visited the Belfast. I noted that the bow area of the ship(stern area is generally locked out) have things that could potentially provide enough resistance for a shell to arm if it hits it, and also potentially slow it enough to cause it to detonate inside, so that made me think about armor schemes.

i have came up with 2 main types looking though the armor models here and the internet, one is all or nothing, another is incremental.


all or nothing:

examplesnagato, US BBs in general

all or nothing is based on the idea that if you blow up the boiler in a boiler-turbine-shaft system, the entire thing is going to stop working anyways. The same thing goes to ammo+propellant , it is extremely difficult to arrange them without having the resulting explosion when they get hit damaging something else.

In the ideal form of the system, all of a battleship's armor was concentrated to form an armored "citadel" around the ship's vitals: an armored box of uniform thickness designed to defend against the largest enemy guns. Anything else that is not crucial to a ship’s combat/movement capability is left unarmored.


  • gives the best thickness around the citadel and vital areas.
  • Ideally, the ship can lose its bow and stern completely and still float.
  • The idea behind an unarmored bow, stern and superstructure is that shells can pass through them without having the fuse in them arm, then the shell could pass through the entire ship without exploding.


  • a shell flying through the ship is still causing damage along the path of the said shell.
  • there can be something in the way that could arm the said shell, a cooking pot, the admiral’s bed, or some scrap metal piled up somewhere.
  • compartmentalising the said bow and stern for better resistance to flooding may end up giving enough stuff to slow and arm the said shell.
  • crew moral may drop if they know that they have to work in the unarmored section of the ship while it’s in combat, refer to 1st point, there can be every chance that you end up in the way of the shell.

incremental armor:

examples: KM BBs, Fuso, WW1 RN BBs

A older system of armouring the ship that dates to when the first steel clad ships came out. It is basically covering the entire ship with armor plates, each with enough thickness to stop gun calibers that were used at that time. The design of those ships at that time had a thick middle belt where the ammo and engines are behind, and medium thickness everywhere else to stop small - medium sized guns, and the deck having just enough to stop splinters. It was later phased out as gun calibers became larger and engagement ranges increased, where only the thickest armor is effective and plunging fire became more of a problem, and treaties limiting the tonnage of warships+physical constraints itself(solid steel blocks are not gonna float)


  • makes the ship immune to small-medium calibers of weapons.
  • Good for close range engagements of the time.


  • Less raw thickness of armor plates.
  • as gun effectiveness increased, it soon became clear that only the thickest possible armor is gonna work, or have nothing at all and hope that the shell does not arm.
  • Increased engagement ranges means that the lack of deck armor can become fatal.


effectiveness of each scheme in wows:

HE+IFHE spam is strong vs All or nothing schemes due to how damage works, and to a certain extent you can lolpen the lightly armored sections of the ship to get large damage. The best example of the problem is nagato, she has a 310mm belt, but her weather deck, bow and stern is only 25mm thick and contains HP, which means she is  weak to HE spam, and to herself oddly enough, due to how overmatch works(410mm can lolpen 25mm armor). However having a thick belt means that shots aimed at it needs to pass through more of it, a good example being GK vs Yamato. GK has 380mm belt, which makes it the thinnest at t10, Yamato has 410mm belt on the other hand, then thickest(assuming all steel quality is the same). When a shell impacts at 45 degrees, the shell has to pass though about 580mm of armor for the Yamato, increasing the chance of a shell shatter, on the other hand on the GK the shell needs to pass through 537 of armor, which makes it more likely that the shell will penetrate, and the effect increases with angle.


on the other hand, incremental armor scheme can be more effective in certain situations, such has the fuso(only had experience with her so far) she has a 100mm plate which covers her upper belt and more armor plates covering her bow and stern area, which makes it so that there is no way that a small-medium caliber HE shell can pen it, and also means that it is always above the threashold limit for autobounce to work. A good example is Yamato and GK again. Yamato can overmatch up to 32mm worth of armor, but GK has 60mm(?) plates covering a large portion of her bow, which effectively makes it nearly immune to yamato’s guns when bow in. However having a thinner overall armor plate over the vital areas means that if you got caught showing full broadside in a turn or got jumped on, you get deleted faster or in the case of Germans, take massive penetration damage.


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