Hey there folks,
In game, all versions of Challenger 2 has pretty unusual ammunition placement - that unless Gaijin is operating under a source i’m unable to find publically, does not match reality and actually detriments the tanks ingame performance, even contradicting sources by their placement.
I’m most specifically talking about the driver section as seen below. Right now, Challenger 2’s driver has 3 HESH shells always loaded, left of his feet, 3 HESH shells behind/inside his chair(???) and a bountiful amount of charges located to his left.
As Challenger 2 is so secretive, we will be using all publically available information to create as accurate a recreation of Challenger 2’s interior using manufacturer diagrams and photographs to support our conclusion, just as we did for Challenger TES’ Armor package in my other forum post.
Below are two cutaway diagrams. The first, is a scan by Vickers Defense Systems, providing a cutaway view into Challenger 2. Note that while radio equipment and auxillary systems are widely missing to preserve the readability of the cutaway, The crew positions, armament and most important to our discussion - The ammunition - is shown in a clear render.
As you can clearly see, detailed by one of the manufacturers themselves, the driver sits away from the ammunition and does not have any charges nor projectiles near, behind or beside them. It’s established in the diagram that it’s showing ammunition, drive mechanism controls, crew positions, sights and optics, and ammunition bins. Therefore, the lack of ammo storage at the front, clearly indicates that it does not exist there on Challenger 2.
We can confirm that this is indeed a trustworthy source and an official document, by visiting The Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars in Hampshire England, where - out in public, the same diagram is used in one of the museums official exhibits, talking about the Challenger 2 main battle tank, operated by the Royal Hussars themselves.
The info board provides an interesting range of details about Challenger 2, but most importantly, uses the same cutaway scan as official representation of CR2 to accurately represent the tank used by the Hussars. In a military museum capacity, and especially a museum such as this one, I believe this can provide suitable evidence that the scan is indeed genuine.
(photograph credited to David Simons, over on mainlymuseums.com)
Moving on from the Vickers scan, here’s another cutaway, sourced online via an archived 2006 website (Main Battle Tank - Challenger 2), again showing a cutaway of challenger 2 - Same ammunition, gun, optics and crew placements. No front charges or projectiles behind or beside the driver. This also provides a visual representation of the drivers chair in it’s two positions (more on that later), front and aft. In it’s aft position, the chair and it’s supporting structure below it, would leave no space behind or under it for ammunition storage.
These two cutaway diagrams appear to be the only diagrams publically available in my weeks of researching the topic providing a full overview of CR2’s interior. If has documentation/sources Gaijin used when creating the CR2 model in game - It is either extremely buried, Restricted or classified information, or does not exist and relies on assumptions about the drivers compartment which appear to be false.
Below, are all the publically available photographs taken of Challenger 2 Driver’s compartment, that further reinforce the driver neither has the room, or even the mounts available to store 120mm HESH projectiles in their compartment. Note that if War Thunder is to be believed, the ammunition should be just left of the drivers left knee. Note the lack of space or storage.
(https://twitter.com/2805662/status/1221187368767541249?s=20, Twitter isn’t exactly a reliable narrator, but note the same control box on the front of the hatch, same dial locations on the engine readout panel to the left, same metalic canister protruding from the roof, pedal positions and shape, steering controls, etc)
Here’s a man sitting inside of Challenger 2’s driver compartment. Notice the same lid mounted control box, dials on the left. You get the idea, it’s Challenger 2. Note how little space he has seperating his legs in the seated upright position, to the left hand console. The Challenger 2’s L3A17 HESH round, according to CATUXO is 437mm in length. (CAT-UXO - 120mm l31a7 projectile)
To move a 43.7cm explosive projectile from left to right, out of it’s imagined rack in WT, you would then need to recline the drivers chair and lob the ~16KG(https://archive.ph/UDprD) shell up through to the loader over your own head. This falls apart when you realise - 43.7cm would collide with your leg in such a confined space. The HESH round would need to fit into a slot the length of itself to be properly consealed, therefore you would need to slide it horizontally 43.7cm before it’s even able to be rotated, definitely colliding with the drivers legs and interfering with the drivers ability to operate the pedals.
(Diagram for clarity)
Unless Gaijin’s developers have sources contradicting my own evidence, I have to assume the reason they put the charges there was that they were operating under the misconception that Challenger 1’s hull layout is identical to Challenger 2’s.
Notice the charge bins do, very much so exist in Challenger 1’s driver compartment, elevated so that the driver CAN slide the chair back and upright, retrieve the round and pass to the loader, who has a clear space to retrieve it. If they were down low where the game suggests they are, the driver would not be able to slide them out and retireve them due to the structural assembly holding the chair.
Remember: The charge bins are tubes the length of the projectile. They need to slide completely horizontally, the length of their own body to be freed from the tube. This wouldn’t be possible on CR1’s driver compartment due to the driver’s own chair blocking it, if the charges were placed lower than they are. The same can be said about CR2.
Coming back to our image from through the drivers hatch - you can plainly see the ammo bins are not there on CR2.
Remember, if they were lower, they can’t slide out due to the chair’s frame.
Having now proven to a reasonable degree, using all evidence leveraged to the public regarding Challenger 2’s driving compartment that there simply is no room nor bin next to the drivers right knee, we can make the safe assumption that it does not exist and there is no evidence to support such a claim without proof.
The same can be said about the ammo rack behind the chair. The chair is held up by metal supports, guide rails and structuring to allow it to recline back.
The model shown in war thunder does not take this factor into account and has placed ammunition behind the drivers chair, which would be clipping in reality. Furthermore:
The entire turret assembly for CR2 moves 360 degrees, taking the crew with it of course on a platform they stand on - much the same as other modern MBTs.
Using this photo here:
We can see that the 6 x4 projectile storage bins located aft of the turret, the 3 projectiles and even the projectile in the front of the turret cheek (far right of the screen, you can see its destinctive orange cap) are modelled correctly in game.
Knowing that the loader will be standing on a solid platform that rotates with the turret: How then does he intend on retrieving the ammunition behind the drivers chair, when more than 50% of the turret platform is over the top of the ammo rack?
(Shown in lime, the turret ring circumference, shown in blue, the erronous ammo rack, notice the overlap)
Once again from a different angle, The turret ring in solid blue, the turret basket in lime outline and the erronous ammo rack in orange.
The basket is a solid object for the loader to stand on. That means it goes all the way around, as seen in all other MBTs with this design.
What this alludes to, is that the turret basket itself is over the top of the Challenger 2’s behind-driver ammo rack. The loader can’t reach through the floor to get it, and the driver wouldn’t be able to grab it and pass it back given his orientation. The ammo simply should not be modelled there, as it is unretrievable. It makes no sense.
Here’s one more additional screenshot of the loader, standing essentially ontop of the ammo rack. Keep in mind - The ammo needs to be slid the entire length of it’s body horizontally to clear the tube before being able to rotate and be manuevoured to the loader.
Shown in yellow - the ammo rack, shown in red, the position of the round after it would be free of the tube (He’s standing on it and the basket is directly over it, meaning he cannot possibly be manipulating it manually…)
I think this fact alone, disproves it’s existance, given that it’s completely inaccessible to any of the crew, and that none of Vickers’ own cutaway diagrams show the ammo rack existing, but acknowledge the wet bins and projectile storage in the turret.
To cap off my reasoning for why Challenger 2’s ammunition is incorrect, i’d like to talk very briefly about wet storage bins.
Contrary to War Thunder’s representation of Challenger 2’s ammunition storage, Only the projectiles are stored out in the open air. As you can see in the above image, there is a white bin, by the loaders knees which holds the charges. These are enclosed, wet charge bins designed specifically to prevent detonation or cookoff.
In War Thunder, the ammunition charges are in their correct placement but are not wet bin storage as they are in real life.
It’s rumoured that CR2, is actually modelled as having wet charge storage in the game’s code (i’ve not found a source on this claim to substanciate it), but if this is the case, it needs to be visually altered to represent that fact as they have done on Soviet Tanks like the T-55. I’m aware the T-55 uses a different method of wet ammo storage by submerging it within its fuel tank, but a visual outline of “There is a container that encloses this ammunition in a protective wet bin” would be far greater than leaving them as individual pieces and offer no information on if they are modelled as wet bins, unlike the T-55:
The CR2, with all publically available knowledge i’ve managed to compile does not, and never has had, ammunition stored in or behind the drivers compartment. It’s existence there is an erronous carry-over on Gaijin’s part, in thinking the CR2’s layout is the same as CR1’s. It is not, and they are seperate tanks. Drawing conclusions about one using the other is incorrect and leads to misrepresentation within the game.
The recommended fixes are as follows to make the game accurate with all available public sources on CR2:
Removal of the ammo rack left of the drivers knee.
Removal of the ammo rack behind the drivers chair.
All propellant charges in CR2 should be wet storage like seen on T-55
Thanks for taking the time to read my extremely long post. There’s something i’d like to mention before I go - and that’s that multiple model/miniture shops seem to circulate CR2 manual pages to support their models authenticity. I’d have included these pages to prove without a doubt that the bins do not exist, but I was unable to confirm their declassification and therefore will not be using them. I have since reached out for comment by the shops to see if they know the source and state of it’s classification. Until then, those sources will be ignored to preserve the validity of this post.
I don’t want this post to be seen as inflamitory towards Gaijins decision making or reflect poorly on the developers. I believe in this case the publically available data contradicts Gaijins assessment, and unless they have sources stating otherwise: the assumptions made in CR2’s development were incorrect. In the interest of making War Thunder better and as accurate as possible, I believe these very small changes to CR2 would show a lot of good will and dedication to improving the game. I understand it’s nothing conclusive - Nothing ever will be on a top secret active service modern day Main Battle Tank, however there’s enough data to reasonably draw logical conclusions to disprove the current implimentation.
Thanks very much once again and I hope to see CR2 improved with my suggestions.