Abstract Strength and ductility data at high strain rates for Weldox 460 E steel was obtained from tensile tests with axisymmetric specimens. The tests were performed in a Split Hopkinson Tension Bar and the initial temperature was varied between 100 and 500 °C. The combined effect of high strain rate, elevated temperature and stress triaxiality on the behaviour was studied by testing both smooth and pre-notched specimens. It was found that the influence of temperature on the stress–strain behaviour differs at high strain rates compared with quasi-static loading conditions. The true fracture strain depends considerably on the stress triaxiality, which is governed by the notch geometry, while the influence of strain rate and temperature is less clear. Numerical simulations with the explicit finite element code LS-DYNA were performed using a model of elasto-viscoplasticity and ductile damage, which is based on the constitutive relation and fracture criterion of Johnson and Cook. The numerical simulations compare reasonably well with the experiments with respect to strength and ductility for both smooth and notched specimens at elevated temperatures.