If aircraft guns were to be reworked, would you prefer a simplified approach for shell performance or differentiate performance based on their specific design?
- Simplified (Same shell types will have uniform behaviour, only differentiated by caliber, ballistic performance and general stats)
- Accurate (Different shell behaviour based on shell construction. Same shell types can have different properties. So a German or Japanese 20mm API will act different than a Soviet 20mm API)
At the moment we have a mix of both. On one hand rounds are often simplified, with no differentiation based on shell construction and RL performance. On the other there is no uniform system, which means whatever data the developer assign to a shell is used.
Only AP rounds have some sort of uniform system where caliber, weight and velocity determine the armor penetration. However the damage of penetrating rounds is still entirely based on values assigned by the developers, creating inconsistent behaviour.
With a simplified aproach all Incendiary ammunition could be modeled as piercing shells with low armor piercing ability. Depending on the amount of incendiary compound the fire chance increases.
Incendiary ammunition would therefore act almost identical to API but with increased fire chance.
With accurate shell modeling more time needs to be spent to model the behaviour of each shell based on real life properties. Some Incendiary rounds use impact fuzes, others rely simply on the impact force to ignite the incendiary material. Some use long burning phoshporus, others fast and high temperature burning flash powder. Accurate modeled incendiary and API rounds have limited “reach” and might only cause fires in the area 10-50cm behind the impact zone, meaning the burning incendiary might not reach the fuel tank depending on the angle and the velocity of the round.
In a simplified approach the late-war German 30mm Mine-Incendiary round would still be classified as HEI, just like the regular 30mm Mineshell, while carrying only 50% explosive filler.
This means in a simplified approach the round would basically be less effective in general. The incendiary performance could be increased but it probably wouldn’t make up for the difference in blast performance.
In a more accurate approach the 30mm Mine-Incendiary round would still deal less damage with it’s blast but the incendiary capsule behind the explosive charge would give the shell some incendiary effect beyond the range of explosion.
Therefore the shell combines the effect of the 30mm Mine shell with the 30mm Incendiary shell, which, individually, might not have the desired effect based on the target area.
This of course would require some extra care and modeling compared to a more simplified implementation.
Personally I’d be happy with either approach. I prefer the more accurate implementation but a simplified approach requires less time and effort and is less susceptible of modeling errors that require a lot of time and research to fix.