As time goes on, the release date for the next update is approaching. As we said earlier, one of the central objects of this update will be a German tank destroyer - a self-propelled artillery Sd.Kfz.184 "Ferdinand". As many of you know, this monster was the result of the loss of Ferdinand Porsche in the competition for the creation of a heavy breakthrough tank for the Wehrmacht. That competition was won by the "Pz.Kpfw.VI Tiger" developed by Henschel. Porsche’s loss was caused by the extraordinary, even for the Germans, the complexity of the chassis. However, in the course of this rivalry, Porsche produced a significant amount of the chassis of a new type of heavy tank. This was subsequently used to create the most powerful and protected, at the time of the Battle of Kursk, anti-tank armored fighting vehicle in the world.
On the Porsche chassis, an armored fighting compartment was installed, protected in the frontal projection by a 200mm armored plate, the weight of which was similar to the weight of a large truck. Even the Tiger gun is not able to penetrate this 200mm obstacle when using armor-piercing shells and 152mm armor-piercing shells of the ML-20 howitzer can't do it either. To bring the frontal armoring of the front of the hull in line with the existing 100mm armor plates, an additional piece of 100m armor was installed. The sides and rear of the vehicle were protected by 80mm armor plates, which were an extremely difficult, almost insurmountable obstacle for 76mm Soviet armor-piercing shells. The roof and the bottom of the hull were also armored considerably.
The weak spots include the roof of a large-scale engine compartment, which was located in front of the tower and could be hit by large-caliber high-explosive fragmentation shells when they burst on the front armor plate of the fighting compartment. Also, the tank’s weak point is the relatively thin armor of the cooler exhaust manifold of the electric propulsion motors - a significant part of ammo is 'conveniently' located just above it. It is worth to note the completely unprotected gunsight of the main and only gun, located on the roof of the fighting compartment.
The Ferdinand is armed with an extremely powerful 88mm KwK-43 L / 71 gun, that was created on the basis of the Flak 41 long-barreled anti-aircraft gun, while the shorter Tiger gun (also 88mm) was created on the basis of the shorter Flak 37 anti-aircraft gun. Firing a similar armor-piercing projectile, but with a more powerful charge and a longer barrel length, the KwK-43 L / 71 gun accelerated it to 1000 m/s against 800 m/s in the KwK-36. The Ferdinand had no machine guns at the time of the Battle of Kursk. The disadvantages of its armament include a panoramic sight that is not very useful in anti-tank combat since it doesn't allow entering corrections in the field of view (it had a significant degree of amplification though), and a low horizontal aiming speed.
But the most remarkable feature of the "Ferdinand" is it’s progressive and promising, but very controversial electrical powertrain. This is one of those cases when technical thought was far ahead of technical capabilities. The idea of refusing the mechanical transmission of torque from the power plant to the propulsion system, which is widely used today in heavy equipment, at that time led to very serious problems. The electric drive motors gave an increase in speed, but with a significant loss of torque on the tracks. So the efficiency of the power plant as a whole, even when on a flat surface, was so low the vehicle could not reach speeds more than 20 km/h. Even with a huge fuel reserve of 950 liters, the range was just 150 km on the highway. Also, due to the features of the electric motors, the power plant had a reduced efficiency when driving backward.
To supply the required amount of electric energy, two engines from the Pz.Kpfw.IV tanks were installed in the Ferdinand, each with a corresponding DC generator. Both generators were connected to a single line that supplied current to the electric motors, and each of the motors had its own regulator to control the speed and direction of movement. This made it possible to continue driving even if one engine or generator failed. The high cost of materials required for the production of windings, conductors and switches of the electrical powertrain, the use of two engines, plus its huge mass of 65 tons led to extremely serious technological and operational difficulties even for such a rich and industrialized country as wartime Germany. That is why the competition was won by the more traditional and easier to produce Tiger-I of Henschel design even though the Tiger from Henschel was also not a cheap tank by any means and the labor costs for its production were many times higher than required for a mass-produced T-34. On the other hand, the simplicity and ease of control of the tank, as well as the softness of the ride were a bonus to those who manned it. The ability to turn the vehicle on the spot without using advanced mechanical systems required for a traditional powertrain was a welcome bonus.
Nevertheless, with all the technological and operational difficulties it had, this combat vehicle during the Summer of 1943 was the most dangerous on the battlefield - if it was able to reach it in time to participate in a head-on tank battle. It was important for us to recreate it as close to the real one as possible, just like all the vehicles we already have in Tank Crew, and it was really hard to do. There is only one early Ferdinand remaining in the world - #501, it is located in the armored forces museum in Kubinka near Moscow. Another one, later modification called Elefant with a commander cupola and MG installed, is in the US. The available documentation is very segmentary, short and incomplete. However thanks to the effort of our partners in Digital Forms and application of cross-checking analysis, we have one of the best recreations of this combat vehicle available. From our side, we contributed to the recreation of its maneuverability, armament and systems functioning peculiarities, which required a lot of work as well. On the screenshots, you see exactly that Ferdininand #501 that was captured in the Kursk battle and ended in the Kubinka museum.
The last what we want to tell you about this tank destroyer - its release will complete the lineup of the combat vehicles we planned to recreate together with Digital Forms for the Tank Crew - Clash at Prokhorovka project. This moment will be a very important milestone in the history of our project. It won't mark the end of the work on this project - as usual, we continue to support, improve and deepen all our projects after the official release date. IL-2 Sturmovik and Digital Forms teams hope you'll enjoy the result of our joint effort.
We've decided to release the new update 4.007 relatively soon after the previous one, because the fixes and improvements it brings, while not being major, are nevertheless important for the project as a whole. We have heard your feedback on the view system improvements, added new options to the multiplayer functionality, which govern the usage of graphical mods, in addition, we did additional research on the workarounds for the Direct 3D functionality not supported by one of the graphics cards vendors. Damage modeling has been improved to take into account the control systems damage (rods, wires, etc.). We have also added a new German pilot model in the early summer uniform. The full list of changes follows:
1. Ju 87 D-3 dive bomber has been upgraded to 4K external texturing thanks to Martin =ICDP= Catney, including two additional official skins;
2. Aircraft control systems DM has been upgraded. The probability of losing control in a certain control axis depends on the control wires or rods configuration of a particular aircraft and existence of a reserve control channel (or its lack thereof);
3. Workarounds for the remaining graphical artifacts on AMD cards (like black contour around the aircraft when viewed from its cockpit) have been implemented;
4. New multiplayer server option “Restrict Injectors” allows the server hosters to restrict access for users with graphics injectors like Reshade or 3dmigoto;
5. Five new mappable (RCtrl+NumPad_Del,1,2,3,0 by default) zoom commands have been added that allow quick zooming to various degrees (minimal, maximal and 3 intermediate levels). Zoom value set by a mouse or joystick axis or keyboard keys is not affected by the new quick zoom and after releasing a quick zoom button the FOV will return to the one set by an axis. These new commands work in either 2D or VR mode. The old 'VR zoom' command has been deprecated (its equivalent is the new maximum quick zoom, RCtl+NumPad_0);
6. There is a new setting in the Camera options that governs the speed of the new zoom commands;
7. Tank commander binoculars give three times more powerful zoom than before (they give a minimal FOV that is technically possible in the game);
8. The current FOV (Field Of View) value is shown next to the in-game FPS counter (that is activated by Backspace key by default);
9. Gunsight FOVs have been corrected for all tanks;
10. German fighter pilots of the Battle of Moscow, Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Kuban have a new visual model and a sidearm during Summer (new Winter model, also with a sidearm, will be added later when it is ready). Because of this, the default camera position and user-customizable snapviews (.svc files) were changed on Bf 109-G14, Bf 109-K4, Me 262-A, Fw 190-A3, Fw 190-53, Fw 190-A8 and Fw 190-D9. The updater should overwrite the old files for these planes with the new updated ones for you, but in case this action was blocked by antivirus software on your PC and you see a wrong view in the cockpit of these aircraft in the game, please copy the new default .svc files for these aircraft from \data\LuaScripts\snapviews\defaults to \data\LuaScripts\snapviews manually. If you haven't customized the view positions on other aircraft, you can just copy all the files from snapviews\defaults to snapviews folder;
11. Bomb holders on both Bristol Fighters appear correctly depending on the ammo loadout;
12. Pedals on both Bristol Fighters appear correctly in a neutral position;
13. The issue that made the detached parts of Flying Circus aircraft invisible in the multiplayer has been found and fixed;
14. Fw 190 D-9 canopy glass appear correctly at medium distances;
15. Fw 190 D-9 oil on windshield visual effect has been restored;
16. Destroyed static KV-1 model won't have white tracks when viewed from a distance;
17. Tank turret turn indicator won't visually 'jump' when passing the back position;
18. APHE rounds stopped by the armor won't damage outside objects;
19. Train wagons won't appear detached from the locomotive in some missions;
20. Guest crew members in multiplayer will correctly hear the sound of the tank turret turning;
21. Guest crew members in multiplayer will correctly hear the sounds of the hatches closing or opening;
22. Certain HE rounds explosions can be heard from an aircraft cockpit;
23. The arm model has a correct sidearm in it in VR mode;
24. The arm model won't drop a shadow when there is no body rendered;
25. The arm model has the correct size in VR mode;
26. Missing road segments that sunk inside the terrain have been corrected on Kuban map;
27. Random CTD in multiplayer fixed in case when other player tank have been spawned.
Please discuss the update in this thread.
As you know, the recently released update 4.006 brought many important and interesting changes. Our work continues and soon we will start to prepare the new update 4.008 that is planned to include P-47D-22 "Razorback" fighter for Battle of Normandy and tank destroyer Sd.Kfz.184 "Ferdinand" for Tank Crew. You may have noticed and wondered why the mission number isn't 4.007? The answer is that we plan to release an intermediate update before that, it will add some important functionality and new features. They will be based on your feedback mostly and will bring some features long-awaited by the community. The update 4.007 is already in beta testing and we hope it will be ready in the coming week. Among other changes it will include 4К quality external texturing by Martin =ICDP= Catney for the legendary Ju-87D-3 from Battle of Stalingrad, here are some screenshots of it:
Speaking on the update 4.008, which is planned for late June - early July, we have also something to show you already. Another legendary plane, P-47D-22 "Razorback", will begin the Early Access for Battle of Normandy:
You can discuss the news in this thread