War Thunder is an immersive 3D vehicular combat multiplayer video game by Gaijin Entertainment available on Steam. There are lots of shell types in War Thunder, starting from simple metal slugs all the way up to the state-of-the-art ATGMs.

If you are still starting out, such a large arsenal might be a bit intimidating. That’s why here in Wowkia, we are here to tell you all the basics you need to know.

Shells in War Thunder

A little of topic, but on most vehicles, especially in RB, you don’t want to go into the fight with more than 12-20 shells.

APHE (Armor-Piercing High Explosive)

Shell Types in War Thunder, APHE (Armor-Piercing High Explosive)
APHE (Armor-Piercing High Explosive) | War Thunder. Official channel.

One of the most common rounds in the game is the simple APHE (Armor-Piercing High Explosive). This shell goes through armor and has explosive filler inside, allowing it to explode after penetrating enemy armor. This way, you can eliminate enemy crew, destroy modules, or set fire to engines and fuel. This shell works wonders against low to mid-range tanks, and very often, you won’t need more than one good shot. That’s until you run across serious armor; you will have to aim for vulnerable spots or switch to heats carefully.

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HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank)

Shell Types in War Thunder, HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank)
HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) | War Thunder. Official channel.

These shells, or at least their basic variants, have an arrow on their icon. One of the best things about this shell is that it doesn’t lose its penetration abilities even in long distances. Furthermore, it is very good at penetrating armor and destroying things inside of the enemy tank. Of course, there won’t be shrapnel flying everywhere, but you can still destroy modules in your cone of affect.

For instance, a heat shot can still explode an enemy ammo rack, but the damage will be on the punctured side, so you will have to aim carefully. HEAT shells won’t just explode from enemy tanks; trees and houses can also make the HEAT shell explode. An anti-tank guided missile is basically a HEAT shell, but you can control it in flight. Try to aim your shot in a way that maximizes damage to modules and crew, like a gunner.

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AP (Armor Piercing) and APCR (Armor Piercing Composite Rigid)

Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.
Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.
AP (Armor Piercing) and APCR (Armor Piercing Composite Rigid)
Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.

These shells are amazing at penetrating enemy steel, but they won’t create as much shrapnel as the APHE shells. As there is no explosive filler, the only damage you deal is with the shell itself as well as with the fragments of armor it penetrates. The British are especially fond of their shells.

APCR shells have a very dense core in a softer shell. This round is used to fight an enemy that is all armored. Compared to AP shells, APCR has better penetration rates but isn’t that good after penetration damage. It’s tough to cause a fire or to explode enemy ammunition. However, this shot and its more advanced version, the APDS and the APDSFS, have better ballistic and perform better at long ranges. In conclusion, these shells are for long-range shooting.

Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.
Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.

Additional info about APFSDS (Armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot), you use it just like a normal APCR, but you only use it at the most armored vehicle. Since it is a high-velocity shell, it’s good to use for long distances.

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HESH (High Explosive Squash Head)

HESH (High Explosive Squash Head)
Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.

HESH rounds are the shells with yellow caps. HESH has a different way of interacting with enemy armor. It doesn’t aim at penetrating; it gets its plastic explosive plastered all over the enemy armor, then it detonates that create loose metal fragments on the other side of the armor.

That means you basically get rid of enemy crew and equipment using their own armor. There is a catch, though; your shell could be nullified by any kind of screen or even a track. To make it count, aim at places with thin armor. HESH rounds are great for fighting enemies with heavy angled armor.

HE (High Explosive)

HE ( High Explosive)
Understanding Shell Types in War Thunder | War Thunder. Official channel.

HE shells deal massive damage eliminating enemy crew and modules on mass. If there is an exposed light tank or a SPAAG, use a HE shot. The bigger the caliber, the greater the damage.

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Choosing shells

When choosing shells for a fight, think about enemy BR and enemy capabilities, what type of armor the target has, how thick and angled it is, is there add-on armor, and where important modules are located. Answer all of these questions and get yourself the best available shell for this situation.

That was the explanation about Shell in War Thunder that players need to know. If there are other things related to this game that you want to know, you should say them in the comments column.