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20mm Hispano 20x110 shells????

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Hey all

  Looking for the types used by the RAF in the Typhoon, Mosquito, Spitfire and Hurricanes. What I'm looking for is the correct way to paint the shells on the kit or aftermarket belts. Basically what color were the armor piercing, incendiary and explosive shells. And did the RAF intermix them and in what order.

Ron G 

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On the technical note, loaded ammo is hidden in drum magazines (Spitfire, Typhoon) or in a inclosed feeding belts ( Mosquito, Hurricane), So unless you are building something like this reloading diorama scene, there is not much to see.



Loading sequence was depended on the type of mission, HEF/SAPI/HEF/SAPI belt for the post 1942 British a/c, was the given sequence.



However there is a picture of Russian Hurry being loaded with armour piercing/tracer only.




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Some more if you wish to dig in with fanatical obsession :)





HEF-I- High explosive fragmentation (incendiary)

This is by far the most ubiquitous of the hispano shells, being present in every belt available on british aircraft. It is a conventional HEF shell with approximately 13 grams of explosive and incendiary fillers. It is also quite heavy and (as with all hispano rounds) is fired at a very high velocity of 850 m/s, which in theory makes it quite an effective kinetic round. In practice, this is not the case, as this shell has an impact fuze with no delay and thus usually explodes the moment it hits the enemy aircraft, punching a small hole and spraying a few fragments. Quite possibly the least effective shell available for the hispano (see below).


P- Ball.

Present only in the Default belt, this is a solid mild steel shell designed as a cheap munition for target practice. While this round is often derided as useless, ironically it may be the most effective shell in the default belt, as IRL most pilots found that Ball was more effective than the original HEF-I shells. On impact it is likely to pass through most armour and put a 20mm hole in the enemy plane, causing negligible effect unless it hits a vital component.


AP- Armour Piercing

This round takes the place of Ball shells in the non-default belts. It is a solid shell with a hardened armour piercing core. IRL it had a nose tracer, in game this is missing. Effects similar to ball, but better at going through armour.


HEF-SAPI- High explosive fragmentation (incendiary).

Don't be fooled by the name, this shell (which is present in the omni and stealth belts) has nothing to do with the real life SAPI shell. It is in fact the same HEF-I shell we discussed above, fitted with a delayed action fuze which vastly increases effectiveness by allowing the shell to get inside the target before it explodes, greatly increasing the chance of igniting fuel or riddling vitals with fragments, alongside punching a larger hole in the structure. The best shell available against planes.


T- tracer.

The tracer round is the closest thing we have to the missing SAPI shell. It is a HEF shell fitted with an armour piercing cap and with the normal explosive and incendiary fillers replaced with tracer compound- the very large amount of tracer in the shell means that it burns for an unusually long time compared to most Tracer rounds. On impact it is likely to have slightly inferior effect to a ball shell, as while it has a proper armour piercing cap it is significantly lighter. If you're very lucky, it may start a fire.


The Belts.


Default- HEF-I/HEF-I/P/T

This is the free standard belt, and almost certainly the least effective. Expect to be saddled with it for a long time, especially in late war planes, as offensive belts is usually only unlocked after you go through 2 cannon upgrades. As I noted above, the Practice rounds are probably the most effective shells that this belt contains.


Omni Purpose- HEF-I/HEF-SAPI/AP/T

Probably the most effective belt against planes, as the Stealth belt replaces the tracer round with another one of those gimped HEF-I shells. As with all hispano belts, aim for the engine and cockpit rather than the wings.


Ground targets- AP/AP/HEF-I/T

Does what it says on the tin- this belt will be more effective against armoured targets like light tanks and armoured cars. Also reasonably effective against aircraft, so long as you aim at the cockpit and engine. The standard HEF-I shell offers an advantage against soft ground targets like AAA as it explodes on the surface rather than underground, which increases the radius of effect.


Tracers. HEF-I/T/AP

avoid this belt like the plague. There is more than enough tracer in the omni belt and it fires less of those crap HEF-I rounds.



The jury is out over whether this belt is really better against planes than the Omni belt, because as noted above the added HEF-I shell would realistically be worse than the tracer, however many say that it is in fact better than Omni. The value of this belt is in that your enemy won't notice you shooting at him until you start landing hits.


EDIT: New IRL section based on handbook supplied by Cy30rg.




HEI- High explosive Incendiary.

This shell contains a measure of incendiary compound with a TNT charge pressed in on top. A waxed cloth disc separates the two fillers. When the shell strikes, the HE charge detonates and ignites the incendiary filler, which produces extremely high temperatures for igniting petrol. British HEI shells use a direct action fuze that is initiated by contact. Later models lack the striker, which induces a slight delay to detonation.



This is a hollow steel shell with a metal closing disc on the base to prevent hot gases entering the cavity.



No information provided. May actually be a HEI-T round, in which case it would be as with the HEI except the cavity is divided between a reduced amount of filler and tracer compound by a metal cap.


AP- Armour Piercing

This shell is a projectile composed of armour piercing steel, often fitted with a molded plastic ballistic cap. no filler. Late model projectiles have an inert filling or a spigot base plug.


AP/T- Armour Piercing tracer.

This round is armour piercing shot, as with the AP round above. No ballistic cap and filled with either a day or night tracer composition. Presumably the basis for the AP round in-game.


SAP/I- Semi Amour Piercing Incendiary.

Designed for the ignition of armoured aircraft fuel tanks, this round is a HE shell body filled with incendiary composition, either with or without a detonator superimposed. The head of the shell is closed with a steel nose plug for penetrating armour. On impact with heavy metal structure, the round disintegrates and the incendiary contents are ignited.


Cy30rg says that a 50-50 mix of HEI and SAPI shells would have been used post-1942. presumably they also added tracer if the pilot so desired.

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  • 6 months later...


On 7/13/2019 at 5:41 AM, Martinnfb said:

with approximately 13 grams of explosive and incendiary fillers. 

New IRL section based on handbook supplied by Cy30rg.

Cy30rg says that a 50-50 mix of HEI and SAPI shells would have been used post-1942. presumably they also added tracer if the pilot so desired.

Excuse me, but... Am I allowed to see the source too? I'm a guest user, but....


I'm looking for it because I wish to actually file a bug report for War Thunder. According to the game, the HEFI rounds only had 7 grams of filler. IN addition, there are no HEI rounds in said game. I wish to rectify this and find out where those stats come from as well as having an image or something so I can actually back that up.


Sincerely yours,




You can contact me on discord at Aussie_Mantis#5520 or on the War Thunder forums proper, or just by emailing aussiemediatingmantis@gmail.com


I really, really hope that this isn't against the rules...

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