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Anatomy of a Tank in World of Tanks

Learn how to identify the main external parts of a tank.

Understanding the external anatomy of a tank can help World of Tanks players identify an enemy tank’s weak spots and can improve their chances of injuring crew or knocking out modules when attacking. This guide will provide a general overview of the external anatomy of a tank so that players can know the best spots to target. 

In World of Tanks, the external appearance of each tank will differ based on tank type and nation. Some tanks may even have parts that aren’t found on other tanks. Nevertheless, every tank is composed of the same basic set of components. 

The placement of specific parts may vary between tanks, but most tanks share the same overall structure. The image below outlines the general components that can be seen on the outside of a tank.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

General Tank Structure

When you look at a tank, there are four main parts that you can identify immediately, regardless of tank type: 

Hull

The ‘body’ of the tank. The hull forms the general structure of the tank and holds its main components. The hull has armor plates of varying thickness around each side. The Driver sits inside the front of the hull, along with the Radio Operator. while the engine, fuel, and transmission are usually in the rear of the hull. The triangular armor plates on the front of the hull are the upper and lower glacis.

Turret

The large ‘head’ of the tank where the weapon is mounted. The turret sits atop the hull and can usually rotate if the turret is not fixed to the hull. Several smaller components can be seen atop the turret as well, such as the periscope, hatch, and cupola. Most of the crew sits inside the turret basket (typically the Commander, Gunner, and Loader). The turret is armored to protect its internal crew. 

Gun

The barrel that sticks out from the turret is the tank’s gun and serves as its primary weapon. This will usually be a high-caliber cannon. Certain tanks may also have a coaxial gun or machine gun mounted in the turret as well, but these are not useable in World of Tanks. There's no real way to destroy the gun itself in World of Tanks, but you can aim to damage the turret, the turret ring, or internal crew instead.

Tracks

The tracks are the row of wheels along the left and right sides of the hull. The tracks are what tanks use to move. The drive wheels are the cog-shaped wheels at either the front or back end of the tracks. Damaging the drive wheels causes the tank to become “tracked”, immobilizing the vehicle until the tracks are repaired. The tracks may also have a “skirt” of spaced armor covering them for added protection.

All tanks are formed with these four main parts. Tanks will look different depending on the placement of its smaller components throughout these sections. For example, some tanks will have the ammo rack sitting on the back of the turret, while others have the ammo rack in the hull.

Modules

Damaging certain modules can significantly hinder a tank during battle, so it’s important to have a general idea of where these modules are located on a tank even if they aren’t externally visible. The WOTInfo.net website offers helpful visual guides to the hit zones of each tank, which is where we got the images below.

IS-6 crew and module locations. Source: Wotinfo.net
T34 crew and module locations. Source: Wotinfo.net
  • Ammunition Rack: Ammo racks are typically located either at the back of the turret, or within the hull on the side. Destroying the ammo rack can cause the whole tank to explode, so you’ll want to keep your tank’s ammo rack out of harm’s way during battle. The images above from WOTInfo.net show the ammo rack (the white section) on the IS-6 positioned towards the front of the hull, while the T34 has its ammo rack at the back of its turret. 
  • Engine, Fuel Tank, Transmission: Most tanks have their engine located in the rear section of the hull, along with the fuel tank and transmission. There are, of course, some exceptions to this depending on the tank. For example, the 59-Patton has its fuel tank in the front of the hull near the driver. Damaging the engine can cause the tank to lose engine power, slowing the tank down and causing it to lose mobility. Destroying the fuel tank can cause the tank to catch fire, which will diminish the tank’s HP quickly if the player doesn’t have a fire extinguisher handy. 
  • Turret Ring: The turret ring is the opening where the turret meets the hull. Damaging the turret at the turret ring can reduce the movement speed of the turret. Destroying this spot can block the turret, causing it to become stuck and incapable of turning. Aim at the crease where the turret meets the hull to fire at an enemy tank’s turret ring during battle. 
  • Suspension: The suspension allows the tank tracks to function. Damaging the suspension can reduce a tank’s mobility, and destroying the suspension or drive wheels can completely immobilize the vehicle. 
  • Observation Device: Tanks have an optical periscope or another observation device used for spotting. Damaging this device can reduce the tank crew’s overall spotting and view range. This is usually found on the turret or near the front of the tank.
  • Radio: The radio helps to communicate the location of enemies to your teammates who are within the radio range. Damaging the Radio Operator will affect the tank’s signal range and ability to communicate enemy locations. Radio Operators typically sit inside the front of the hull next to the Driver. 

Damaging and destroying enemy tanks requires an understanding of how the tank is structured, the type of armor it has, and the precision of your own tank. Now that you know the basic anatomy of a tank, you should have a better idea of where to aim at an enemy and what parts you should keep protected in World of Tanks.

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Larryn Bell

Trying my best to avoid being a Tomato.