Ground Force Rangefinder Guide

ATTENTION: This project is no longer updated.

To skip the talk and just get to the real thing, click here.

This is a tool for those RB/SB tankers, that are tired of being oneshot across the entire map and want to oneshoot back.

If you ever played Realistic or Simulator battle in Ground Forces, you will know there is no aiming assistance, you need to elevate the gun by your own estimate to hit an enemy at distance. This is of course entirely correct, historical and realistic, WW2 tank (and anti-tank) gunners had to be properly trained to be able to score a hit at say 1km distance.

In sniper mode, you can see two scales. The vertical scale indicates shell drop over distance, and tells you how much you need to elevate the gun to hit a tank at known distance. One unit on this scale corresponds with 200m distance. Generally, longer guns (also known as high velocity, high performance, sniper guns, etc) do have less of a shell drop over distance, so are more accurate and allow bigger margin of error at vertical aiming, than shorter barrels. Compare the scales on some notorious examples, like Panzer IV C and ZiS-30, respectively.

You can see it would be easier to hit a target at distance of say 655 meters with a ZiS-30, than with a Pz IV C.

Now, how do you know a target is 655 meters away? That's what you use the horizontal scale for.

In armed forces all around the world, knowing the distance to the target (may it be a tank, a car, a person, or a building) is essential for being able to knock out the target quickly and safely. You don't always have the luxury of lasers, radars and GPS to do this for you and you certainly didn't in WW2. That's when you use the mil system.

If you know at least approximate size of the target, you can measure how large it appears in your targeting optics, and by pretty simple calculation figure out the distance. At 1000 meters, a 1-meter sized object would take up 1 mil.

The actual (albeit simplified) formula is , where S is size of the target (in milimeters!), mil is the amount of mils the target takes up in targeting optics, and D is resulting distance.

So use this tool, properly, you of course need to know the size of the tank you're aiming at! Luckily, WW2 tank dimensions are well known and documented. So time for a practical example.

Here I am aiming at the side of a T-34 mod. 1942, my gun is pointed at the center of its hull. It's in arcade mode so the aiming assistant tells me immediately the tank is 143 meters away - this is so we can cross-reference the results. This T-34 takes up about total of 40 mils in my scope - 20 to the left, 20 to the right of my crosshair. Now, we know the lenght of a T-34 hull is 6,10 meters (this is not including the gun in total tank length!!!). Let's round down to 6 meters (6000 milimeters) for easier calculation.

6000/40=150, so this indicates the target is 150 meters away - pretty close to actual distance and good enough for you to hit it. This is of course a textbook example, you can hit a tank 150 meters in front of you without any maths. But what if it was more distant?

Here we are looking at Pz II C from the rear. We estimate it is 4 mils wide. We know Pz II C hull width is 2,3 meters. 2300/4=575. So the target is about 575 meters away.

We elevate the gun accordingly.

And fire.

Direct hit, we knocked out its engine, our second shot sets it on fire a it burns down.

So now we memorize width and length of each tank in game and whenever we're going to shoot, we pull out our calculators first? Well, of course not. That's what my little guidance chart is for.

Ground Forces Rangefinder Chart

This is Google Drive sheet giving you guides for hitting particular tanks at various distances. It's not complete of course, I'll be trying to continuously update it and proof it whenever I get the chance (so whenever I play Kursk and the enemy is kind enough to stand still). For simplification, I am not differentiating between various tank models and variants as long as their hull dimensions are about the same. And since many different AFVs in WW2 shared a common hull chassis (T-34, SU-122 & SU-85 for example), those are included together as well.

Feel free to use it, print it, share it. If you spot a mistake or propose a change, don't hesitate to PM me, since I may not notice in the thread.

:salute:  See you on the battlefield and may you accomplish many sniper hits.

Edited by Halajda
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Tanks included at the moment:

German

Pz II

Pz 38t, SdKfz 140/1, Hetzer

Pz III, StuG III

Pz IV, JgPz IV

Tiger H1

Tiger II, JgTiger

Panther, JgPanther

Flakpanzer I

+M4A2

Soviet

T-50

T-60

T-70, T80

T-34, SU-85, SU-100, SU-122P, SU-122

KV-1, KV-2, KV-85, SU-152

IS-1, IS-2, IS-2M, ISU-122, ISU-152

SU-76

Edited by Halajda
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This should be stickied.  Great work.

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Thx man.  :salute:

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Thank you very much, this'll be handy!  :good:   :salute:

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Very nice! :salute:  I try right now:D

le: yep:D working perfect!

Edited by ecsodus

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Thx for the feedback. I published something similar in back CBT and it had pretty positive response, so I figured the community is interested.

Fixed German M4A2, it had numbers from the Panther.

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How did you get a T-34 into testing mode?  Is there another player in that T-34?

Good work, not many people know how to use milldots.

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No, it's an AI T-34 from Kursk, I've setup custom arcade battle on Kursk to take that picture.

The Pz II pictures are from a test drive with my T-34E - test drive puts you on Kursk with all sorts of tanks all around the place.

Btw hope nobody minds the low-end graphics. My gaming PC burned down on me some time ago and I've been playing on my G505s laptop ever since.

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No, it's an AI T-34 from Kursk, I've setup custom arcade battle on Kursk to take that picture.

The Pz II pictures are from a test drive with my T-34E - test drive puts you on Kursk with all sorts of tanks all around the place.

Btw hope nobody minds the low-end graphics. My gaming PC burned down on me some time ago and I've been playing on my G505s laptop ever since.

How did you setup a custom arcade battle?  Can I do the same for custom RB?  Do the AI tanks move?

In test mode it doesn't let me use the mission editor on ground forces...

EDIT: No wait, I figured it, thanks!

Edited by AimShootPray

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Good stuff man, very useful!

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Menu -> Custom battles-> Create session

Roll down to tank battles, select whatever map/mission you wish and set it up however you wish.

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No, it's an AI T-34 from Kursk, I've setup custom arcade battle on Kursk to take that picture.

The Pz II pictures are from a test drive with my T-34E - test drive puts you on Kursk with all sorts of tanks all around the place.

Btw hope nobody minds the low-end graphics. My gaming PC burned down on me some time ago and I've been playing on my G505s laptop ever since.

All sorts of tanks? I only see 2 Panzer IV Ausf. C, 1 Panzer II Ausf. C, 1 Panther Ausf. D, 1 Jagdpanther/PanzerJager Konigstiger Ausf. B "Jagdtiger".

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Hi, can i borrow the first optic picture to explain it in Chinese language forum?

it is very useful

cant wait GJ implement the historical optic

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Why isn't this stickied yet?

An absolutely essential guide for inexperienced SB Tankers like myself.

Well done good sir.

:good:

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Hi, can i borrow the first optic picture to explain it in Chinese language forum?
it is very useful
cant wait GJ implement the historical optic

obviously yes.

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Wait...

I just redid your math, something is wrong with the sight.

The T-34 is shown as 143 meters away and occupies exactly 40 mil dots.

Plugging in the numbers that should give us a T-34 which is 5.720 meters long.  The T-34 is 6.68 according to Wikipedia.  Another source is claiming it's 5.9 meters long.  Could this discrepancy be due to the over-hang on the barrel?

And if we account for the barrel over hang in that picture which adds an extra 4 mill dots then we're at a 6.292 meter long T-34.

I guess it's only roughly accurate...

Accurate enough I suppose...

Edited by AimShootPray

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Yeah, this is serious problem, when many proper and respected publications on WW2 armor don't indicate whether they include the gun is vehicle length. I basically have to cross-reference each vehicle in several sources to get what I need.

Plus, tanks commonly "grew" through their modification cycle, may it be even in matter of dozen centimeters. But at several hundred meters it doesn't make much of a difference so I ignore that, unless it's a blatant case (Tiger < King Tiger).

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Wait...

I just redid your math, something is wrong with the sight.

The T-34 is shown as 143 meters away and occupies exactly 40 mil dots.

Plugging in the numbers that should give us a T-34 which is 5.720 meters long.  The T-34 is 6.68 according to Wikipedia.  Another source is claiming it's 5.9 meters long.  Could this discrepancy be due to the over-hang on the barrel?

And if we account for the barrel over hang in that picture which adds an extra 4 mill dots then we're at a 6.292 meter long T-34.

I guess it's only roughly accurate...

Accurate enough I suppose...

Its not accurate enough or even a good way. Just play and learn the distances and make shots with your gut instinct. Otherwise you are going to be dead very quickly as most people will not miss you.

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Its not accurate enough or even a good way. Just play and learn the distances and make shots with your gut instinct. Otherwise you are going to be dead very quickly as most people will not miss you.

For me it's just a curiosity.  Tanks rarely give you the kind o time needed to range properly with a mill dot system.  Grid counting is still the easiest way.

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I hope minimap abuse will be removed eventually, at least for SB.

In early CBT RB, we've had a near perfect spotting system - give us that back.

Till then - yeah, grid counting is quicker and since Kursk is only decent map we have, this thing has only occasional practical use.

Fingers crossed.
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I hope minimap abuse will be removed eventually, at least for SB.

In early CBT RB, we've had a near perfect spotting system - give us that back.

Till then - yeah, grid counting is quicker and since Kursk is only decent map we have, this thing has only occasional practical use.

Fingers crossed.

Do you think a proper Zeiss style reticle would be faster for range finding?

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Grid counting is still the easiest way.

By grid you mean squares on a minimap? How big is a grid?

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By grid you mean squares on a minimap? How big is a grid?

Yes, the grid.  Grid sizes vary, we can only guess.  Gaijin doesn't bother to tell us and it does vary by map.

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By grid you mean squares on a minimap? How big is a grid?

On Kursk about 500 meters. Anywhere else pointless.