View Full Version : Tank Engines on Fire

03-23-2010, 10:10 PM
So, this eventually causes the tank to explode (never timed it precisely). I can understand the American tanks (or at least the Sherman) exploding because they used petrol, which is a volatile liquid. However, I thought every other nation in the war's tanks used diesel engines. And diesel doesn't explode, it just burns, right? So, when Mr. Guy-hiding-in-bushes-with-flamethrower lights my Panzer IV's engine on fire, why does it explode instead of just burn up all the fuel? Is there some kind of mixture in the chemical the fire trails along which mixes in with the diesel and causes it to explode?

I love the game. Been playing it for a long time, but this is one thing (by no means a game-breaker) which I never fully understood.

Can anyone tell elaborate why the tanks explode?

03-24-2010, 10:12 AM
Actually, many German tanks used gasoline engines(read: one of the heavy criticism against the Panther tank when comparing it to the T-34 ewhich inspired it).

Also: Both the Winter War(1939-40 Finland, iirc, seeing the country invaded by Russia), and the Spanish civil war saw quite extensive uses of molotov cocktail and flamethrowers against tanks(particularly in the Spanish civil wars, the result of such uses actually once brought french designer to consider a flamethrower version of the D2 medium tank not as pillbox-clearing weapon, but verily as an anti-tank weapon part of a defensive line).

So I wouldn't say if it was a gasoline/diesel exclusive thing.... but certainly was quite widespread enough to say that they can be effective against tank in generals.

Also, to go back on the sherman example, if I recalls well the issue was less the gasoline engine catching on fire(which admittedly was bad in itself) that caused the tank to blow up, but rather the ammo storage that would blow up by cause of said fire that would start up once the sherman would be penetrated. Which was relatively sort of fixed by the use of "wet" storage or something like that if I recalls well.

So, when an "engine catch on fire" result happen, the tank blowing up I think is less the result of the engine exploding than fires from the engine reaching the ammo compartment(as I've seen results of "engines of fire" which near miraculously only resulted in a mere hull destroyed result without explosions, and I think I recall at least once one where all I got was that only the engine was destroyed and could still be repaired).

03-25-2010, 07:52 AM
Oh, I see. The engine doesn't explode, the ammo does when the fire in the engine reaches it. That makes sense. You would think they would keep the engine in a separated compartment though to avoid something like that happening because it's obviously dangerous to the crew. Irregardless, thanks for the quick reply.

03-25-2010, 12:59 PM
Well, I assume the heat from a burning engine would still be quite risky.

Normally, they -are- kept in separate compartment. Still, I guess breaks and such(especially for tanks with gasoline engines that -could- blow up) could somehow permit fire to spread into the rest of the tank(recall, the whole fact that Shermans ran on gasoline that would catch on fire when penetrated is what earned them the "burning grave" nickname with Polish crew fighting in allied units).