The War Thunder “Hot Tracks” update brings Italian helicopters, Battle of Jutland heroes and more

by Chris Camilleri
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An update to the War Thunder engine introduces realistically simulated caterpillar tracks that get quite hot in the heat of the battle

Gaijin Entertainment announces the release of the “Hot Tracks” major update for the military online action War Thunder. Players are getting new visual effects for ground and naval vehicles, the Italian helicopter tech tree, legendary battlecruisers Von der Tann and HMS Invincible, as well as a many other new military vehicles.

The new caterpillar tracks on War Thunder armoured vehicles consist of separate segments, each of which has physically accurate properties. When passing over humps and potholes, the caterpillar bounces on the wheels. During acceleration and braking, it tightens or whips, and also sways for some time after the vehicle stops. When a shell hits a track, the track breaks exactly at the segment where the impact hit. If a tank drifts on stone or concrete, or turns sharply on asphalt, the all-metal track will give off a sheaf of metal sparks. The update currently brings new tracks for selected popular ground vehicles, while others will get the upgrade later.

The previous major update brought new fire effects for aviation, this time ground and naval guns got a similar overhaul. The Dagor Engine that powers War Thunder now also generates small landscape-native objects, like rocks, pebbles, debris, plants, moss, mushrooms,  placed on the scene using only the GPU to make the landscape look more natural. All these visual updates would probably be better to test using one of the new ground vehicles, i.e. the long-awaited top Chinese ZTZ99 MBT or the Japanese ST-A3 medium tank with an auto reloading mechanism.

The new Italian helicopter tech tree enters the game and introduces three machines. Although the AB 205 A-1 is just a modification of the well-known US UH-1H “Huey” helicopter, both the A109 EOA-2 and the A129CBT Mangusta are great examples of Italian engineering original design. Mangusta is especially interesting because it was the first attack helicopter both designed and produced in Western Europe. Nowadays it’s a part of the Italian and Turkish armies’ arsenal and has been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Mangusta is armed with a 20mm autocannon and carries a good arsenal of both guided and unguided weapons, including Stinger air-to-air missiles and Hellfire II ATGM’s.

Jet fans are also getting several signature machines, like the Buccaneer S.2 “Banana” attack jet, the carrier-based A-7 Corsair II attack jet (one of the first US aircraft with a HUD) and the F-84F Thunderstreak fighter jet. Fun Fact: Richard Bach, author of the ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ novella, was a pilot in the F-84F Thunderstreak during his service in Europe.

The blue-water navy in War Thunder has gained two ships that participated in the Battle of Jutland, which was the greatest World War 1 naval battle.

HMS Invincible is the first ever battlecruiser-class ship in maritime history. It’s primary armament of four twin 12’’ (305 mm) cannons allows it to effectively damage even battleships, while the speed still is enough for pursuing smaller cruisers. HMS Invincible tried both of those roles. At the Battle of the Falkland Islands it sank two German armoured cruisers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, while at Jutland it fought against the German fleet alongside battleships and was ultimately destroyed by the combined fire of the Lützow and Derfflinger battlecruisers.

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Von der Tann was the first German battlecruiser that was built as a direct response to the Invincible-class threat immediately before World War 1. German engineers decided to focus on better armour and speed while sacrificing the firepower a bit. Jutland demonstrated that this decision was pretty sound: Von der Tann sank the British battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable, survived the battle and stayed a part of the Imperial German Navy until the end of war.

Finally, naval history fans are also getting the Japanese Hyūga battleship wielding twelve 356mm cannons – that’s a new record high for the gun calibre in War Thunder.

The full list of changes and new features in the update is available at the official War Thunder website: http://warthunder.com

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