Shot trap

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A tank turret with a front face which curves up and down. The sides are slanted vertically and curved laterally.
A model depicting the curved front of the early Tiger II turret.
A tank turret with an almost square, flat, vertical face, the sides are almost vertical, and curve laterally only slightly.
A clear view of the flat front of the later Tiger II production turret

A shot trap is a location on an armoured vehicle where, depending on the angle of impact, an impacting shell that fails to penetrate may bounce off in such a manner that it hits another area of the vehicle where it is more likely to cause damage to the vehicle and/or injure its crew. Areas on the vehicle where the described phenomenon can occur may be referred to as shot traps, and should obviously be redesigned.[1]

For example, initial turret design of the Panther and Tiger II tanks had a curved gun mantlet and a curved turret front plate respectively, both with a thickness of 100mm. The lower part of the armour plates acted as shot traps by deflecting incoming shots downwards towards the hull roof (16-17mm thick on the Panther, 40mm on the Tiger II), or into the turret ring where the shell could potentially jam the traverse mechanism. On the Panther a new flat "chin" on the mantlet solved the problem. The Tiger II production turret did not feature the curved front of the early turret, instead using a flat 180mm plate sloped back 10 degrees from the vertical.[2]


  1. ^ Zaloga 1993, p. 37.
  2. ^ Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 13–16.


  • Jentz, Thomas; Doyle, Hilary (1993). Kingtiger Heavy Tank, 1942-45. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-282-X. 
  • Zaloga, Steven (1993). Sherman Medium Tank 1942-1945. City: Osprey Publishing (UK). ISBN 978-1-85532-296-7.