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A Ricochet occurs when a ballistic projectile rebounds or deflects off a surface, instead of perforating or penetrating the struck object. Ricochet is dependent on the projectile velocity and material, surface hardness and angle of impact. The phenomenon can occur with virtually any ballistic projectile, from small arms to artillery shells and rockets.
— In-game hint
The ability for projectiles to Ricochet was first introduced in Battlefield 1.
Ricochets have a chance of occurring when fired projectiles, which can include infantry weapons, gadgets and vehicle-based weapons, impact against other vehicles. This is most likely to occur when the target is a Tank, although light vehicles, stationary weapons and aircraft are also technically capable of inflicting ricochets.
When a ricochet takes place, only a small fraction of the expected damage is inflicted on the vehicle. The total damage post-ricochet is dependent on the base damage of the shell, the target's armor multiplier and any critical damage multipliers. Under poorest conditions, it can be as little as a single hitpoint.
A ricochet is indicated by a high pitched whine when the shell strikes, with players also being able to observe visually the shell bouncing off - a projectile will always be deflected upwards upon ricocheting, regardless of hit angle.
The four main factors determining whether or not a shell will be deflected is the weapon type, the target's armor, the incident angle and range. Low damage weapons like K-Bullets, 20mm Cannon, or anti-infantry weapons like Case Shot, have a high base deflection chance. Even when using dedicated anti-tank weapons, shells can still be deflected if the target was struck at an extreme angle, especially against the frontal armor - the A7V Heavy Tank and St Chamond have good frontal protection in part because of their sloped front plate. Finally, ricochet chance increases alongside projectile flight time.
To maximize the chance of ricochets, Tankers can keep their distance from AT threats, orientating their frontal armor towards damage while also slightly angling the tank to move the incident angle away from the perpendicular. In a similar vein, players targeting enemy tanks should aim for flat armor surfaces on the sides or rear of a vehicle to reduce the odds of ricocheting.
— In-game hint
Specialized ammo types for vehicles further influence tank combat. AP, APC, APCR and Sabot rounds do not reduce the chance of ricochets, but still increase the amount of damage inflicted in the event of one, due to a higher base impact damage. Similarly, HEAT-T deals almost the same damage for a successful penetration as it does a deflection.
- Ricochets have appeared throughout the Battlefield series as a visual effect when striking sloped terrain with any weapon firing bullets or shells. However the deflected projectiles do not cause any further harm.
- Weapons that deal no vehicle damage against heavy armored vehicles, such as the Heavy Machine Guns, still only ricochet some of the time.
- Because non-penetrating shells will always deflect upwards, it is possible to destroy aircraft with ricochets.
- Ricochets can also occur when shooting at friendly vehicles.