For the Record: Fixing the Panzer 38t nA in HD
Hello everyone, some time ago, I wrote a an article about how Panzer 38t could (should) be fixed, because currently, it’s very unhistorical in the game. Today, we are going to have a look at Panzer 38t nA. A little history first. The official vehicle name (factory one, anyway) was TNH neue Ausführung (n.A.), PzKpfw.38(t) n.A. was the German designation. It was a prototype vehicle, based on the original 38t, but – unlike its predecessor – it was designed specifically for the scouting role. The vehicle development was ordered by the Germans by the end of July 1940 (ČKD was the developer of course) and the first prototype was ready in December 1941. Five prototypes were made in total, with the last one being read in April 1942. From March 1942 to July 1942, the vehicle was tested at Kummersdorf along with another Czechoslovak product (the T-15) and the VK.1303 by MAN (you know that vehicle as the Luchs). The final report from the testing (from 27.7.1942) was very positive – it was reliable, agile, did not break down and the crew observation possibilites were excellent. The only weakness was the insufficient durability of leaf springs – and there was the somewhat higher fuel consumption (20 percent more than other vehicles of its class, the T-15 suffered from the same issue). The report also mentioned that while the T-15 cannot be considered for mass production (the design had still many teething flaws), the nA might actually be manufactured. The prototype returned to ČKD for some modifications and in October 1942, final trials took place (again in Kummersdorf). It did better than both its competitors (at some points, the maximum speed reached 70 km/h) and the testing committee and the representatives of the Kummersdorf center both recommended its production. However, OKW (German high command) decided against it, likely after the pressure of the German MAN company and decided to produce the Luchs instead. The prototypes thus stayed with BMM and were used for testing of various parts between 1943-1944, specifically the Tatra T-103 220hp engine. In the end, the Germans gradually took 4 of the prototypes, the fifth one stayed in ČKD until its end of the war. Its final fate is quite interesting, but that’s a story for another time. In the game In the game, the nA is a tier 4 light tank in the German branch and it’s not exactly one of the most popular vehicles out there. What certainly does not help is the fact that the tank is completely screwed and almost entirely unhistorical (it’s way too overbuffed). Let’s have a look at it, step by step: - the weight is wrong: the tank weighed 11,8 tons. In roughly the same configuration, the vehicle weighs 11,62 tons, its top weight is 12,22 tons (that can however be attributed to the 50mm gun) – not exactly a buff, but weight can be compensated by terrain resistance - maximum speed in the game is 62 km/h, while the historical factory maximum speed was 64 km/h and according to test report from Kummersdorf the vehicle reached 70 km/h. Furthermore, the engines are wrong, in the game it has 200hp Praga EPA/3 and 274hp Praga NR. Those values are unhistorical and the engine is fake. Two most historical engines for the vehicle would be 220hp Tatra T-103 and 225 hp Praga NRI. Praga NRI was the original engine intended for the vehicle – it was a gasoline 14,236 liter V8, producing 225 horsepower at 2200 RPM. Its output was later on increased to 248 horsepower by using twin carburators. Now, the armor: The armor is completely wrong. In the game, it is nominally 50/25/10 (both the turret and the hull, which is probably the only thing WG got right – yes, both were the same in real life). In real life, the armor was 30mm thick at the front (not 50), 20mm at the sides (not 25) and 20mm at the rear (not 20). The roof should be 10mm thick (not 8mm). The mantlet was 30mm thick (in the game it’s 25mm). Oh yes and the stock turret is fake (the top one is too, but at least it roughly LOOKS like the real deal). The vehicle did ever have a second turret, but that came only after the war, so historically, only one turret version is correct. As you can see, the historical armor would be significantly nerfed, but I do believe this could be well compensated by increased mobility. Weaponry Only two guns are correct: 37mm A19 and 50mm KwK 39, which was decided to be used for the last prototype. Everything else (47mm, let alone 20mm) is fake. I do believe two guns are enough. As for the 37mm A19 performance – 37mm A19 is NOT the stock gun of the vehicle, that’s the A7 (LT Vz.38 gun), it’s the T-15 gun, which is… looking at it, it’s wrong in the game as well. Great. I’ll get into the T-15 later. I do not have specific data on the A19 however. It LOOKS like the A7, but heaven knows how they changed it, will investigate that further, for now it’s enough to rename the stock gun I guess. Well, that’s about all. Oh yes, the radios considered were FuG 2 and FuG 5, but nobody really cares about radios. Proposed changes I would prospose to change the vehicle as such: - remove fake stock turret altogether, keep elite turret as stock - armor reduced to 30/20/20 (as described above) with other corrections (mantlet, roof) - engines replaced by: stock T-103 (220hp), middle Praga NRI (225 hp), top Praga NRI (twin carb) (248hp) - weight with stock gun changed to 11,8 tons (elite one could be 12 tons?) - top speed increased from 62 km/h to 64 or 70 km/h - significant improvement of terrain passability to compensate for the loss of armor and horsepower, possibly mobility buff (the vehicle was judged as very mobile) - rename stock tracks from 38 (t) n.A. to TNH n.A. - rename elite tracks from 38 (t) n.A. Verstärkketten to 38 (t) n.A. - remove 47mm and 20mm guns, rename stock gun to 37mm A19, elite 50mm gun is fine Well, that’s the basics anyway. The result would be less armored but more mobile vehicle with roughly the same firepower, acting more like a scout.