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Amazing Russian Tank Gunnery

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I played a few games were the gunnery ability of Russian tanks is truly amazing.

How can a t-80u hit me from 4800 m away , where as I, in my M1A2 SEP, can not hit back reliably ? :mad3:

I was surprised by the gunnery skills of the AI quite a few times, where I was hit by T-72s and T-80s from a great distance , usually 3500+ m. :heu:

I am kinda getting the impression that Russian/Soviet tank gunnery in SB is quite a bit better than the actually are in real life.

Can anybody explain this to me ? :c:

P.S: in all instances the tanks were firing KE rounds not missiles

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I have run a view tests and it seems that T-80Us seem to start engaging their targets at 5000 m with KE rounds. And again I start being hit around 4600 m out.

I was not aware that a T-80U has a roughly equal or even superior fire control system compared to an M1A2 SEP. :confused:

Any feedback would be appreciated.

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well... the 2A46M1 on the T-80U is an L48 gun vs L44 on the M1A2 so gun accuracy should be a bit higher. also, T-80U GPS has 12x magnification, vs 10x for the daysight on the M1A2. of course it does not have a thermal with 52X magnification.

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You have some points Dejawolf, but you have to admit, it can pretty hard using a 12x scope to see a camoflaged M1 4+ km away, especially on a smokey battlefield or under less than ideal weather conditions.

Also, the ammo itself comes into play, not just the gun. It seems that NATO and other Western tanks have for the most part self contained ammo that's more consistent in it's manufacture from round to round, versus the two part ammo used by the T-80 and other T tanks.


One of the drawbacks of this gun is that a high strain on internal surfaces during firing, as well as sheer size of it demands strict manufacturing discipline which initially caused difficulties for the Soviet industry. This resulted in unsatisfactory fire consistency of original models due to all kinds of manufacturing defects, including substandard materials, poor machining, barrel drooping, and so on. It is worth noting, however, that this problem has received due attention during the upgrading efforts (2A46 mainguns), culminating in the purchase of the Western machining equipment for 2A46M/M-1. Improved manufacturing process and better stabilization and recoil equipment provided for increase in accuracy especially on the move and at medium to long ranges.
With the upgoing gun and ammo design efforts this gun managed to stay quite abreast with the armor developments in the West until the introduction of M1A1HA model of the Abrams MBT, the reliable counter to which did not materialize due to a tremendous economic and political upheaval associated with the collapse of the USSR.

Currently the ammunition for 2A46M gun still corresponds to the level of threat that existed 15 years ago, and there are certain technical hurdles, primarily the autoloader dimensions, that prevent simple solutions to the problem.

Yet somehow, I fail to see how these improvements to the T-80's gun in the real world would compare with an M1A2's Fire Control System and 50x Thermal optics to allow a T-80U to fire so accurately out to 4+ km.

My simple solution, set your difficulty level to "Easy" to lower the AI's gunnery skills to a level that may be more believable, and/or modify a scenario to take the easier difficulty level into account.

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I ran the scenario under absolute darkness and the t-80u started engaging me at 5000 m out. Amazingly enough, it hit me again at around 4900 m with the first shot.

According to the kotsch88 website: http://www.kotsch88.de/f_t-80_fla.htm



The T-80U and T-90S are unable to reliably engage targets from over 4000 m away. This distance gets reduced by 1.5 km under pitch black conditions.

The T-80Us should not even know i am around let alone hit me from that distance with their first round. :c:

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lavictoireestlavie, that's interesting, I think in SB Pro the T-80U had it's thermal sight removed at some point and now it has an image intensifer, though again that range of engagement seems a bit optimistic. Try changing the weather conditions in your test scenario so that visibility distance is 2km or so, then try again. You should have an advantage then as thermal equipped tanks will be able to see beyond the 2km range you set in the visible spectrum.

To help piece the info together considering ammo and effective range.


The principal difference of most Soviet APFSDS rounds from the Western ones was that the former used bore-riding fins and the sabot had only one area of contact with the barrel, while the latter overwhelmingly use spool shaped sabots that touch the barrel in two areas and therefore can afford to have subcaliber fins. At first glance there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. In Soviet model, the sabot can be made much lighter and therefore the loss of gunpowder energy on acceleration of parasitic mass is smaller. On the other hand, large bore-riding fins produce a high ballistic drag causing severe decceleration of the projectile in flight and affecting stability. The developments of the last decades have shown that the Western approach seems to be more sound. Newest 125mm rounds have moved away from bore-riding fins, and there are many foreign variants of 125mm APFSDS rounds utilizing spool-shaped sabots.
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lol, okay, I don't think your weather conditions affect the AI, only the scenario visibility settings will, and if the enemy tanks have thermal sights, the visibility range you set is multiplied a few times to reflect the advantage of such sights.

I have a few of my own scenarios with T-80's ect. but with visibility settings of 3km, and I'm not getting engaged unless I come into their visible range.

You can also use some tactics in such situations, if they see you and you see them, at long range, quickly lase the terrain near them and pop standard smoke, not multispectral smoke. You'll then be able to fire through your or their smokescreens using your thermal sights. It will buy you time, and you might hit some of them. :) But your in trouble against a thermal equipped tank unless you use the multispectral smoke and move.

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I am still dumbfounded how they can successfully engage at 4800+ m. In my m1a2 sep i dont start hitting target until around 4400 m. But for some reason with their steady hands, 80x optical zoom optics and super ballistic computer they can hit me at 4800 m even on the move. :c:

I will try out your method to evade them, but i still have to let them come closer by about 400 m.

BTW, Does the uniform/nationality setting change anything? I had selected the US 2000 for my M1A2 SEP and the T-80Us were set up with Iraqi uniforms.

The T-80Us gunnery skills were still stellar.

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FCS of T-80U/T-90 engagement ranges(limits of firing solution):

-KE/CE- 3000 meters

-HE- 4000 meters

-ATGM- 100- 5000 meters

-Coax MG- 1600 meters

FCS accepts lased range values between 400 and 5115 meters; everything that exceeds 4000 meters is used for ATGM engagements. Min. lased range for coax is 400 meters and min. lased range for main gun is 800 meters.

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Does the uniform/nationality setting change anything?

As far as I know, it only changes the look of the soldiers in your scenario, not the gunnery skill of armored vehicles.

I know it can be fustrating to go against a super AI, but for now the solution I use is limiting visibility in scenarios to anything from 1km to 4km and setting the AI to the easiest setting to sort of simulate an opponent that might have a slower reaction time, lower quality ammo, etc more like a human reaction time, instead of an unstoppable robotic killing machine made with the invincible mustache hairs of Stalin himself lol.


At long ranges, it's also good to vary your speed and maneuver slightly to throw them off too. Are you getting engaged by ATGM's? Or just the Sabot BM-42M rounds?

Just saw Jartsev's info, thanks for that, so in reality the AI should try attempting ATGM launches from 4 to 5km, and KE shots up to 3km. The in between range from 3km to 4, either ATGM or HE. Interesting.

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I tend to go into the mission editor, and load any mission I wanted to play into it. Once the mission is loaded you can set the weather and visibility distances and save it or rename it so you know you changed it from the origional. Then you can just jump in and play the mission anytime with the visibility you set.

I found this searching for what the sights look like on the T-80 and T-90 and came across this:


T-80?? sight?


Above, they claim this is the T-90's sight, isolated from a youtube video on the T-90. Now imagine, do you think you could spot a Leopard 2 and M1 hiding in a treeline 4km away? I know I couldn't with 12x optics lol. But that all changes when you have thermal, at least you'll see some hot spot that you will turn your attention to.

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Nice finds, Zim ! But turning ones attention to a target that is 4500+ m away and hitting it from that distance are two very different things :sad2:

Trying to get a first round hit even with Leopard 2E or Leopard 2A5A2 DK thermals will be a daunting challenge.

Also , i do not seem to be able to lase reliably from the M1A2 beyond 4000+ m when both my tank and the enemy vehicle (this case a t-90S) is moving. I get a lot of different returns.

Is anybody else having these problems?

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But turning ones attention to a target that is 4500+ m away and hitting it from that distance are two very different things

Trying to get a first round hit even with Leopard 2E or Leopard 2A5A2 DK thermals will be a daunting challenge.

I'm in total agreement with you on all points lavictoireestlavie, and I know my gunnery certainly isn't as good as some of the other members here, perhaps they could help give us both some pointers on engaging at very long range.

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