Chrysler K: Can It Be Historical AND Balanced?

By: Legiondude
Contributing Editors: ThatTrafficCone and Avalon304

Hello everyone, my name is Legiondude and I’ll be in the commander’s hatch today. I’m not quite sure when this article will make it out of the pipe, but it began drafting just at the close of #FochGate. So far, it doesn’t appear that Wargaming has given any concrete plans on how to change the way things are being done yet regarding the Chrysler K, other recent premiums, or their policy for future premiums. Perhaps now is time to propose a new solution then, at least for this tank, to illustrate how historical accuracy can be a beneficial tool in balancing this tank while keeping it fair to those that play with and against it?

Methods

Utilizing that black magic known to the world as Trigonometry, a spreadsheet for mapping armor regions, and Tanks.gg, the vehicle will be measured for its current effective armor levels and then projected with historical armor schemes. These armor schemes will be listed at 4 ways per plate: the base thickness of the area with the general angle, the effective thickness without normalization (vs HEAT, HE, or HESH), the effective thickness with AP normalization, and the effective thickness with APCR normalization.

The Chrysler K will be tested under two major scenarios with two variations each. Firstly, a straightforward assault, and when the vehicle is at an optimum sidescraping angle. Both of these scenarios will have an “in the open” and “with cover” variant to their tests.

Flanking situations are omitted since either the Chrysler is fast enough to out traverse its opponent which results in a frontal or angled engagement again, or it’s distracted by another target, flanked and wrecked like just about any other vehicle.

These armor schemes will be used to measure against the average penetration of standard and gold ammunition for each tier-class(i.e. Tier 6 light tanks or Tier 8 heavy tanks), plus the Chrysler K itself to illustrate the general chance if a Chrysler can be fought against or not. These averages are derived from Tank Inspector. It should be noted that while it is not a perfect measure to show what goes on in the typical game, if the average fails the test then that does suggest that generally half the guns a player could bring to the fight from that tier-class will fail as well.

A red-yellow-green color code is used for these Tier-class charts, with red being little chance to pen with either round, yellow being able to pen with premium ammunition, and green being a chance to pen with standard ammunition. In other words, the more widespread the red and yellow, the more problematic fighting this tank can be in any single match.

Live Client

Frontal Engagement

Here is the current armor scheme, color coded green to red from the lowest armor values to 375 mm or higher (1 more than the average gold round penetration for tier 10 TD’s).

Here we can see the first two weaknesses in a head on fight. The forward sponson floor raises up slightly for track clearance but leaves a slight gap which can be exploited for tanks on lower ground. It is quite small however and on level striking ground is at the 70 degree auto bounce threshold. The next weakness is the lower glacis, which even head on with no angling by the player, will still be able to bounce the German 88 mm L/71’s standard ammunition just under 50% of the time at close range.

Against the competition, this is how it fares:

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In the current situation we can see that for most tanks below tier 8, the only hope is gold rounds IF that. What if we suppose the Chrysler driver is skilled enough to become partially hull down though, such as behind some rubble in Himmelsdorf, or a smaller destroyed tank, where the cupola and a dead on shot in the turret face become the primary weaknesses?

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Basically impervious to most tanks at or below it’s tier.

Angled Engagement

When the player is angled with the gun 20 degrees to either side, the side armor reaches the auto bounce threshold. How does the tank appear here?

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And the competition says?

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If you’re driving a tank destroyer, I’ve got some good news for you. If you’re at or below tier 8, I’ve probably got some bad news for you. Here we see the problem SirFoch was pointing out so plainly, most of the competition at the Chrysler’s tier MUST fire gold to get through the ONE weakpoint here, and many of the lower tiered competition don’t even have that mercy.

If the glacis is hidden(such as sidescraping against a building), then we go back to the Cupola scenario above if he’s sidescraping and firing to his right. If he’s firing off his left, then blasting through the turret face as it zips back and forth behind cover would probably require a minimum of 260mm of penetration to comfortably strike though, effectively a tier 10 exclusive to handle without gold.

Historical Revision

Background

Due to it’s short lifespan there’s very little to tell about the Chrysler K heavy tank, and what is known was discussed by Priory_Of_Sion years ago on FTR. The basics are as such:
60 tons (noted as optimistic by Hunnicutt)
1200 horsepower engine
All crew in the turret
105mm T5E1
3-7 inches (76.2-177.8 mm) thick on all major surfaces, with the thickest parts being the turret face and the lower glacis (30 degrees from the vertical). Sides and rear for the turret and hull equally set to 3 inches

For purposes of filling in the blanks while trying to fit the requirements, I have modeled the unspecified upper glacis after the T32’s frontal plates. These had a ratio of 127/95 mm for the upper and lower plates respectively. Inverting the relation for the lower plate being thicker and applying this to the Chrysler results in a nominal thickness of 133.35 mm on the upper plate. Also based on the T32, the primary ring of the cupola has been reduced to 152.4 mm (at 50 degrees) from 177.8 mm. Lastly, the forward sponson surface is adjusted from 82.6 mm to 76.2 mm.

This revision proposal will also only be considering changes to the major armor surfaces that will be shot. Though stricter adherence would invite raising the minor detail parts such as the 38mm turret roof to the minimum 76.2 mm, this will just be working to apply the requirements to the primary combat zones on the tank(Mainly front and sides).

I also do not go into detail about the distribution of turret armor here, but the gradient of armor thickness would be ideally a spread between the 3 and 7 inch requirements.

Frontal Engagement

Would you look at that? Much easier. The turret face is a new weak zone… IF you can strike it dead on. Due to the angling of the hemispheric shape, it can get trickier when in motion. If you can’t be bothered with the turret, there’s the front sponson, but it may be too low to strike. This leaves the ordinary lower glacis

With all three options available, we get this result:

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Tier 6 mediums now have a chance. Lower tier tank destroyers now have a consistent chance against it, alongside tier 8 light tanks and opposing Chrysler K’s.

If we assume the target player is hull down…

There is no change to the chart actually. The turret face is still a weakness to be used, and then motion straight backward and forwards doesn’t change the dead on aim needed to penetrate the turret face. If we’re talking those kinds of tactics, we get into the angled scenarios.

Angled Engagement

The turret remains the bottleneck weakness, so there’s still no change in competition’s ability to penetrate. Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is consistency, which is something we can clearly see from the earlier charts that the live client vehicle does not have. But we can assume if the driver is angled, they’re moving back and forth to throw off the enemy gunner’s aim, which allows the possibility that the shot will drift to the side and strike the more angled areas of the turret.

So now let’s go crazy and give the Chrysler K driver all the cards. They’re sidescraping against a building at an autobounce angle for their sponson, their lower glacis is hidden, they’re using their zippy 20 hp/t ratio to hide their shallow turret angles. We’d move to the 2nd turret face region as the weakpoint, for a typical standard round with 203 mm penetration?

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Nearly identical to current headlong engagements in the open. Let’s be clear about this, in the most difficult scenario for opposing a Chrysler driver under historical stats, we get nearly the exact same groups that can handle the easiest head on scenario opposing a Chrysler driver in the live server.

Conclusions

What can we read into the Chrysler K from these statistics? On the live server, its presence in a head on engagement invalidates same and lower tiered standard ammunition and invites gold usage. It is also in a position where it cannot penetrate itself without gold ammunition, and in some areas require higher tiered cannons to penetrate it. In forward assaults it can be tough if it hides it’s lower plate, and in sidescraping it can be ridiculous as it requires a higher tiered vehicle to penetrate it.

If we applied the stats it was intended for back in 1946, what have we created? It can still assault positions and be relatively tough against the competition provided it keeps it’s lower glacis covered and uses it’s agility to keep the aim off it’s turret face. It can still be strong in sidescraping against buildings, but not practically immune to it’s own tier. It will rely on the skill of the player to know when and how to angle against cover and when to move out and beat the opponent’s shot, rather than utilize overwhelming armor thickness to force its competition to tap that ‘2’ key or die.

Perhaps there are other vectors to look into changing the makeup of this thing. The 105mm T5E1 could use a buff to standard ammunition, and there’s some historical justification for that as well. Just as there’s consistency problems with it’s APCR against the T32 however, so too would there be problems with making higher pen work on the T29 without changing that.

Nerfing Premiums

Getting Wargaming to move on rebalancing this tank is going to be the biggest roadblock. The simple reason is that Wargaming does not appear to want to nerf premiums ever again. First was the Type 59 in 2012, then the original Super Pershing fiasco in 2013, and the closest they have gotten since then is rebalancing the STA-2’s gun (which is perceived as a net buff) in 2016.

The chief argument for it is that players are entitled to the tank they chose to pay for, if it’s changed, they demand to be compensated. How can WG respond? They’re not going to release the cash, as the justification used during the Super Pershing changes was that players bought the gold value which became the premium tank package. Thus, Wargaming went with giving plenty of angry Super Pershing drivers a pile of gold in exchange. In either the short or long term however, this still hurts Wargaming economically. If they refunded the real cash, that draws out from immediate revenues for future operations, which cannot happen if WG can help it. If they release free gold into the servers in large quantities, then that can impact revenues in the long term because players are buying with gold instead of cash.

WG’s current remedy to the situation is to just pull it from sale and then dangle it out as wallet bait in the future. This is satisfactory for the players who own said tank, and it doesn’t require WG to fork out money and may even collect a little more, but it doesn’t change the state of the vehicle, it doesn’t change the players who have to face it, and repeated exposure can harm a player’s perception of the game in the long run.

I could go deeper into this but I’ll wrap things up with this final thought: look back at the core idea of balancing. It’s a simple give and take process for each vehicle added and maintained. If you remove the “take” for a specific vehicle however then the only way to truly address it further down the line is to give a blanket buff to everything it faces to achieve a nerf-by-proxy. That’s not a practical approach from a workload standpoint, it invites a cascade of power creep to the playerbase and puts more pressure on Wargaming’s balance department to “get it right” the first time. Mistakes have and will continue to happen, because WG’s employees are only human, but how long will Wargaming continue to operate with half of their tools at their disposal?

Here’s to hoping they reconsider their position soon.

Sources

Tanks.gg
Tank Inspector
Hunnicutt’s Firepower, World of Tanks Special Edition pp. 114, 209

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