Artillery Management - T.O.T. (Full Version)

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Capt. Pixel -> Artillery Management - T.O.T. (7/13/2002 6:49:38 AM)

"Tricks O' the Trade" or "Thoughts On Thunking" (not Time On Target, sorry :) )

How well do you know your artillery?

Do you find yourself surprised when that Kampfgruppe wanders right under your pre-plotted barrage, only to discover that the required battery is in contact but out of ammunition?

Have you lost an entire battery of offboard arty due to a single broken down tube? :mad:

Have you saved your smoke rounds for the mid-game, only to find that they aren't being fired? And you don't know why?

Of course you have! ;)

Here's some ideas to stave off the worst artillery mismanagement scenarios.

Ammunition -
Artillery ammunition can dwindle rapidly. Rockets, for instance, are usually one-shot affairs. Some small mortars can empty their magazines in a couple of rounds of sustained fire, and even offboard artillery with large ammunition loadouts run dry after 15-20 turns of continuous fire. What is a boy to do?

Reloads -
Offboard artillery can't be reloaded. One method of extending the useful life of an offboard battery, is to not fire every turn. Simple, huh?

Another method is to turn off several of the battery's tubes. This holds their ammunition in reserve, until you turn them back On again. I usually turn Off tube #1 and #2. This greatly reduces the chances of the entire battery going down due to a Breakdown. If you lose the first tube, you lose the entire battery (fixed in 7.1). :( It also fires two staggered shots spaced two hexes apart. This creates a good, overlapping splash damage pattern. It does not protect against any Counterbattery that happens to damage the first tube, however.

When you're using large caliber (100+), the splash effect is already covering the areas in the reduced barrage pattern. Any unit in that area is going to be supressed and pinned after the first incoming shell. Once the unit is pinned, the artillery has already done it's job. Further shelling may increase their suppression, but pinned is good to.

If you're seeking to kill with your artillery, you might want to rethink your artillery strategy. IMHO subsequent shelling (tubes #1, #2) of the same or adjacent hexes is not accomplishing as much as having that artillery battery still suppressing enemy troops on turn 20. :)

If you come across a really juicy target, like lots of infantry 'supporting' armor, then you can turn the deactivated tubes back On and give 'em all four barrels. Or you might want to turn tube #2 back On to cover the breakdown loss of tube#3.

Your units Rate of Fire (which is NOT what's listed under the unit information :rolleyes: It's usually higher) and the Delay Time both affect your ammunition consumption. By understanding these two factors, you can determine at what turn in the game it's appropriate to bring the reserved tubes back On. Hopefully, by the time tubes #3 and #4 run out, you'll still have the other tubes packing plenty of ammunition for the end game.

Doing this, you can have a 150mm firing two tubes constantly, for over 25 turns!! (disregarding lost Contacts and barring Breakdowns, of course)

The circumstances of the game are also very important. How long is the scenario? In a 10 turn battle, most of these issues are moot. What percentage of actual OB Contact can you expect? If you're only going to make contact 50% of the time, your ammunition will be depleted slowly. How fast your ammunition is consumed, is determined by those factors.

Offboard Rockets and Heavy Bombers are a nearly useless waste of purchase points. But even with OB Rocket batteries, you can shut down some tubes for use later on in the game.

When firing Smoke from an OB battery, ALWAYS turn all the tubes on. You're going to consume the smoke rounds at the same rate regardless of whether you use all the tubes or just one. The only difference is the amount of smoke that actually gets to the target. You may want to keep tube #1 off if Breakdowns are an issue.

Onboard artillery can be reloaded by ammunition vehicles and ammo dumps. A General rule of thumb is that an ammo dump reloads at twice the rate of an ammo truck. There are a few exceptions, 'tho.

Three things must occur in order to reload a unit.

* The ammunition supply must be unsupressed and stationary for the turn (in the case of ammo vehicles).
* The unit to be reloaded must be unsupressed and stationary in or adjacent to the ammunition supply unit's hex.
* The unit is reloaded at the end of your turn, [I]after[/I] your artillery has fired. Your reloads only occur at the end of your turn, not the opponent's.

Reload rates are NOT affected by the experience of either the ammo unit or the reloading unit or Contact with HQ. Reloads are not limited in capacity. One ammo dump (or truck) can reload as many units as you care to place there, with full reloads.

Reload rates ARE affected by Supression of either unit, Ammunition caliber and type (the bigger, the slower), movement by an ammo vehicle during the turn (no reloads), or the presence of multiple, adjacent ammo units.

In multiple tube onboard artillery (eg. US 4.2in mortar), reloads concentrate on filling tube #1 first. There are some exceptions to this, also. Various rocket platforms have a different reload priorities.

You can use the Weapons Off technique with onboard artillery, too. Turn Off all but one or two tubes on your rocket battery or Wurfrahmen and dribble the fire out over several turns, instead of all at once. If you are reloading, this allows the ammo unit to more easily keep up with the ammo demand. Or use it with the above mentioned mortar and double it's effective duration by only firing one of the two tubes at any given time.

Delay time affects both reload timing and Offboard ammo consumption. I'll use the terms Primary, Secondary and Teriary to indicate the barrages coming at the end of My turn, the end of the opponents turn, and again at the end of My turn.

The number of shells that will arrive during a given barrage is affected by the Artillery Barrage Delay Time (0.0, 0.1, 0.5, etc). Delay times of 0.0, 0.1, 0.2 will insure some of your barrage will arrive in the Primary barrage. Delays of 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 won't arrive until the Secondary barrage. Delays of 1.0 and up arrive in the Tertiary barrage or later.

The barraging artillery unit will try to consume it's Rate of Fire over two barrages. As the number increase, more of the total number of shells is 'pushed' to the following barrage.

* A Delay of 0.0 results in ALL the shells arriving in the Primary barrage.
* A Delay of 0.1 results in a high proportion (~80%) of shells arriving in the Primary barrage and the remainder arriving in the Secondary barrage. With low rate of fire units, there may not be any shells in the secondary barrage.
* A delay of 0.2 reverses those percentages and about 20% of the shells will arrive in the Primary barrage and the remainder (80%) in the Secondary barrage.
* At a delay of 0.3, the pattern is repeated with all shells arriving beginning the Secondary barrage. 0.4 delay is similar to 0.1 and 0.5 is similar to 0.2 with the first shells arriving in the Secondary barrage. With 0.4 or 0.5 delays, some shells may arrive during the Teritiary barrage (the end of Your next turn).

Ammunition is reloaded after the Primary barrage. So whatever was actually fired can be reloaded at that point. Assuming you've provided the capability. Ammunition fired on the Secondary barrage will NOT be reloaded until the end of your following turn. This is why you see variable amounts in various units over time. Hardly anyone would plot all their artillery to the same delays every turn.

Offboard artillery plotted with a 0.0-0.2 delay will paste an area for up to two barrage phases. It will also consume it's entire turn's rate of fire. If you delay the artillery to 0.4 or 0.5, fewer shells will be fired in the Secondary barrage thereby conserving your ammunition. This give you an opportunity during your next turn to assess the situation and decide if you want to continue expending ammunition on that target.

With a 1.0+ delay, you can preplot a suspected enemy approach avenue. You then get the opportunity to abort, reset, or adjust the barrage on your following turn, before you use up the ammo. This is particularly useful with air strikes.

On your following turn, you have a barrage is now ready to go at 0.0 or 0.1. If you guessed correctly, or were just lucky, you can then open up some or all those tubes and shell the target mercilessly.

If you are consistently firing with a 0.3+ delay, you'll find that your ammunition will deplete, even with otherwise adequate reload capability. It's because that ammunition isn't replaced until the following turn. You end up being a turn or two behind in reloads.

A single ammo truck will generally extend an artillery units firing duration by 50%-75%. Two ammo trucks or a dump can keep most artillery units loaded indefinitely. Rockets reload at a rate of one per truck per turn (2/T for an ammo dump). There are several small Rockets (BM-8,4.2in) that reload at faster rates.

Plotting -

'Gold Spots' are the priority target hexes selected during Deployment. You get access to three to ten Gold Spots depending on the type of battle (Meeting, Assault, etc.) and the size of the map. During the game, when a barrage is targetted to a Gold Spot hex, the delay time is automatically 0.1. US Army artillery after circa 1942 usually has a plot delay of 0.1 for onboard artillery and less than 1.0 for most Offboard artillery. You might not even need Gold Spots when playing the US Army.

When selecting locations for the Gold Spots, consider where they'll be of the most use several turns into the game. Generally speaking, try to cover as many enemy approaches as possible.

Analyze the map and try to determine at what point your units will be able to make first visual contact with the enemy.

Visibility range becomes very important at this point. If the visibility is already severely restricted, say 5 hexes or less, you might change your tactics and use smaller caliber artillery. Then you can use them to supress nearby enemies while reducing the risk to your own units. You might also consider placing Gold Spots directly behind his forces at the point you believe contact will be made. Then when they make first contact, you've got quick artillery response right behind their lead elements.

If you're advancing and want to use your artillery as a bulldozer in front of your ground forces, you may want to plot a series of Gold Spots that lead deep into your opponent's rear. They should be placed along those routes in or near particularly defensable hexes. Give some thought to adjustment delays into nearby hexes. You might not want to place the Gold Spot right in a rough hex, if you can get more adjustment coverage from a hex or two away.

If you're defending, you usually have a pretty good idea where your opponent is going to slow down and bunch up. A minefield is usually a good bet. :) If you're using 100mm or less, place them right behind where those nasty Engineers are likely to start nibbling. If you've got larger caliber, keep the Gold Spots away from the mines, as your own artillery will assist in the mine removal process.

I'd place the Gold Spots four or five hexes back from the mines. That provides a clear area over the minefield and larger adjustment range both forward and back to cover any assembling forces. Smoke can also be placed quickly to those points and reduce his long-range support fire but not yours. River crossings can be considered in a similar light, by both sides.

If your defending against a paradrop, consider Gold Spotting those hexes in the middle of large open areas that are just begging for a glider drop.

I find that I get better results when using slow artillery (long delay times), if I deliberately adjust a barrage to a delay of 1.0. The mental gymnastics to guess where to plot is the same as if the delay was 0.3, and the effect in terms of hitting his forces are the same. The opponent still doesn't get to move or rally between the Secondary and Tertiary barrages. It gives you the opportunity, once again, to abort or adjust your barrage during your turn, before you've expended ammunition.

Some artillery units do not have smoke. Make sure your units do, before you plan on using them this way. Small bore mortars and SO artillery don't have much in the way of smoke (USA 60mm Jeeps being a notable exception). Smoke cannot be reloaded.

::statement removed after post by BORO::

Again, if you're firing smoke from multiple tube artillery, make sure you've got all the tubes activated. I can't think of a single circumstance where I'd only want a few rounds of smoke rather than a full barrage. The smoke ammunition is used at the same rate whether you fire only one or all of the tubes.

Smoke drift can reveal your artillery units to the enemy. If your artillery is mobile, you have the opportunity to leave the compromised hexes and relocate. (Shoot and Scoot) This does tend to make reloading more difficult and, of course, you loose some effectiveness due to lost shots from movement.

Immobile units have chance of masking their true location by smoke drifts on the map caused by other artillery firing or by deliberately placing smoke rounds in random locations in your own backfield. If your opponent sees enough smoketrails in your backfield, he may just decide it's not worth trying to counter-battery your on-board artillery.

I've attached a text file listing the reload rates and true Rates of Fire of many common units for your bemusement.

Anybody have any other T.O.T.s for Artillery management? :D
Thanks to BORO for the correction of a statement made concerning smoke. :D

[SIZE=1](thanks, I had to get all that off my chest)[/SIZE]

Hades -> (7/13/2002 9:33:39 AM)

I have found that Wurfrahmen, at a certian range only fire 2 HE rockets and a flame rocket. If you have them next two a ammo dump you can fire every turn like this. I'm not sure why it does that. Very interesting post Captain.

John Galt -> changing delay times? (7/13/2002 6:12:06 PM)

Captain, Nice post, some good thoughts there. How do you change delay times? I thought the game did this automatically.

Curieus -> changing upwards (7/13/2002 7:51:54 PM)

Changing upwards is the only one reliably possible. You do this by shifting the artillery barage by two hexes. So either "misplot" and correct, or shift it twice (once away, once back to target)

Capt. Pixel -> Re: changing upwards (7/14/2002 12:29:55 AM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Curieus
[B]Changing upwards is the only one reliably possible. You do this by shifting the artillery barage by two hexes.

So either "misplot" and correct, or shift it twice (once away, once back to target) [/B][/QUOTE]

Yep, that's it. Start your plot at a Gold Spot (0.1 delay) and adjust it by moving 1 or 2 hexes for every increase in delay.

The delay increase per adjustment varies with the Spotters experience. It may be as little as +0.1 or as much as +0.3 for each adjustment.

As Curieus said, I would 'misplot' and then correct the barrage into position, thereby increasing the delay time up to the desired delay. :cool:

stevemk1a -> Stoopid question (7/14/2002 12:41:03 AM)

How exactly do you turn the tubes off? Interesting point about tube #1 malfunctioning and causing the entire battery to go offline, I didn't know that. Also I knew about preplotted fire, but never thought of using it (stoopid). Great post! I'm learnin' something.

Capt. Pixel -> Re: Stoopid question (7/14/2002 12:50:30 AM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by willy
[B]How exactly do you turn the tubes off? Interesting point about tube #1 malfunctioning and causing the entire battery to go offline, I didn't know that. Also I knew about preplotted fire, but never thought of using it (stoopid). Great post! I'm learnin' something. [/B][/QUOTE]

Hey that's great! - You're my intended audience. :D

Weapons can be turned off by going to the unit information screen (spacebar). Any item listed in Green can either be toggeled on or off (like weapons) or modified (like the unit or leader names).

Individual weapons can be turned off by toggeling their listed name. This can be done with any unit and might be considered for various reasons.

For instance, I had a scout team overrun in a recent game. If he had fired a single shot, the company of FJs would have reduced him to his base elements.

First I set the Response range to '0' ('Y' key) and then, to insure they didn't accidentally fire at someone in their own hex, I also turned the weapons off (removed the clips).

Through these actions and a large dose of pure luck, that scout managed to watch and report on the activities of an entire company of infantry and some armor for quite a few turns. If you're interested in more, see my post 'A Scouts Tale'

BORO -> No smoke w/o HE? (7/14/2002 1:10:22 AM)

Capt. Pixel Sir

Enjoyed your post, but have a question.

You said that smoke cannot be fired unless the unit has at least one round of HE left. Is that true of all artillery units?

I am in the middle of a PBEM game where I have 81mm mortars that have ran out of HE but I still have been able to use the smoke rounds to cover my advance. And it seems that I have been able to fire smoke with larger caliber artillery after firing all the HE ammo too.


Capt. Pixel -> Re: No smoke w/o HE? (7/14/2002 8:46:20 AM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by BORO
[B]Capt. Pixel Sir

Enjoyed your post, but have a question.

You said that smoke cannot be fired unless the unit has at least one round of HE left. Is that true of all artillery units?

I am in the middle of a PBEM game where I have 81mm mortars that have ran out of HE but I still have been able to use the smoke rounds to cover my advance. And it seems that I have been able to fire smoke with larger caliber artillery after firing all the HE ammo too.

Boro:D [/B][/QUOTE]

You are correct, Sir. Any type of artillery unit (OBA, SPA, onboard) CAN fire Smoke with an empty HE magazine. I just ran a few tests in 7.1 after your post.

This change appears to go hand-in-hand with the newly added ability of Infantry to pop smoke even when they're out of weapons fire. God Bless those who created ver. 7.1 :D

My notes pertained to ver 7.0. I have edited the initial post to change remarks about smoke availability.

Thanks, BORO! :D

Cromort -> (7/15/2002 5:14:04 PM)

indeed, a very interesting post, thx Capt. Pixel.

One thing : you didnt mention , nor noone else in this post,
the priority target hexes, wich im using since just 2 days :)
and which i am very found of .
I know y get more PH when y buy more artillery (ofboard at least) ...
Someone has some thoughts and uses about these Priority target hexes,
not mentioning the obvious one....

Have a nice day
and make the soil tremble under your Shouts...:D

Capt. Pixel -> (7/15/2002 10:51:21 PM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cromort
[B]indeed, a very interesting post, thx Capt. Pixel.

One thing : you didnt mention , nor noone else in this post,
the priority target hexes, wich im using since just 2 days :)
and which i am very found of .
I know y get more PH when y buy more artillery (ofboard at least) ...
Someone has some thoughts and uses about these Priority target hexes,
not mentioning the obvious one....

Have a nice day
and make the soil tremble under your Shouts...:D [/B][/QUOTE]

Thank you.

The 'Gold Spots' are a vernacular term for priority targets. The discussion on Their use is what you're looking for. As far as more priority target 'Gold Spots' being available with more artillery, that has not been my experience. The number of priority targets available, I believe, is based on mission type and map size. :cool:

G_X -> (7/16/2002 1:10:32 AM)

I've noticed it may have something to do with numbers of forward observers, but I'm pretty sure in an Assault mission you get 8 or higher.

Capt. Pixel -> (7/16/2002 5:20:40 AM)


You know, I've got nothing better to do, so I'll go investigate this issue of how many priority targets you get, and why. Be back soon. :cool:

Capt. Pixel -> The Straight Dope on Gold Spots (7/16/2002 5:44:08 AM)

First to dispel a couple of myths.

The number of Priority target hexes you have to deploy is NOT dependent on the amount of artillery or the number of FOs you have. One battery or ten battalions of artillery doesn't change the Gold Spot amount. No FOs or ten FOs doesn't change the Gold Spot amount. (I just finished trying all these combinations. :eek: )

It IS dependent on the map size and the type of battle. (Scenarios notwithstanding).

All types of Engagements give both sides an equal number of Gold Spots.

Meeting engagements and Advancing engagements give you:

Small map - 3 Gold Spots for each side
Medium map - 4
Large map - 5
- up to -
100x180 map - 10 (the maximum number of Priority Targets available)

In Assault engagements both sides receive twice that number, up to a maximum of 10. (ie. Small map - 6 Gold Spots for each side)

You'll always get 3 to 10 Gold Spots (unless you didn't buy any artillery :p )

G_X -> (7/16/2002 5:51:39 AM)

So If I take no arty, I get no spots, and can't use it even if I call up reinforcements for Arty? (A usual game-plan with me, so I can pack as many troops in as possible)

Capt. Pixel -> (7/16/2002 6:01:16 AM)

Good point. I hadn't considered that little thorn.

I missed the arty purchase a couple of times in my speed tests, and the result was no Gold Spots. Since the Gold Spots must be plotted during the Deployment phase, you'd be out of luck. :(

But, if your playing the US Army, who cares? Your onboard plots are just as fast as calling and adjusting off of a Gold Spot. (in fact, many times the response time is less if you just plot directly)

So, delaying your artillery through reinforcements might work very well for experienced US troops. And this way, you wouldn't have to worry about speeding your vehicles to the front. I like it. :D

But, even a 50mm mortar counts as available artillery, so you could still get the Gold Spots from platoon-level units. And then you could bring in the big guns in reinforcements. You probably won't need them the first few turns, anyway.

You can also call for your Reinforcements during Deployment. If you purchase some artillery then, you'll have access to the Gold Spots during Deployment.

G_X -> (7/16/2002 6:35:42 AM)

I see, I'll just make sure to always have a Mortar handy somewhere in there.

I usually don't play US, but if I ever do I have a little more of an edge now >:)

The only time I'd need my arty during the first 4 turns or so would be an Assault, for Prelim Bombings.

Cromort -> (7/16/2002 1:52:56 PM)

hehe thanks for putting us back on the right path Capt. Pixel
and destroying our myths at the same time.:)

and now i know for the gold spots


fud -> (7/17/2002 12:31:03 AM)

Hi Capt. Pixel,

Thank you for your post - some very useful information.

I was wondering if you (or someone else) could comment about spotters. Specifically, what is the best way to use FO's? How important is LOS? What about when you don't have FO's? Is it really 'fair' to use artillery as it's own spotter when you don't have a FO, or when your FO is out-of-contact?

Here's what I've observed. I find that I tend to keep my FO's well out of harms way - in the backfield somewhere near the CO, where I can give them lots of covering fire should infiltrators appear. I need the quick response times I can get out of my FO's too much to risk them up front, and when I do put them in LOS of enemy units the increased accuracy seems pretty minimal. (If I have a couple of them I might conceal one with a good LOS to the enemy approaches, or I may keep it in the backfield to use should the other loose radio contact.) When I use non-FO's as spotters, the increased delays and the decreased accuracies are quite marked - even for units with apparently 'good' artillery ratings. I've tried a number of times switching my spotters to leg units that had good LOS's to the target hexes, only to find that I got more satisfying results from using FO's that had no LOS to the same hex.

Finally, I know it's only a game, but I always get a twinge of guilt when I use my on-board artillery to spot. Anyone else?

Thanks again for the intriguing post.


Capt. Pixel -> (7/17/2002 12:54:36 AM)

Well fud, I agree with you on all points. I also do not put my FOs in harm's way if I can help it. They're more expensive than just about any other infantry unit, and I also have never seen sufficient improvement in targetting to warrant their exposure on the front.

I might purchase two or more FOs if C&C is On or I have a lot of arty and/or marginal experience levels. From multiple FOs, one may have enough experience to be worthwhile.

I am hoping that someone out there can give me some insight that might change my opinion on FO usage. Anyone? :D

G_X -> (7/17/2002 6:36:21 AM)

I use them as spotters too, since they're recon infantry, they have a higher spot check, which means they check better than even normal infantry. Usually I find my Spotters having good places to hunker down in a defense stance, and use my snipers (I always take a few) and they're good hiding bonuses as well as good spotting to probe enemy defenses, and simulate the sniper calling the FO to call in artillery by using the FO to spot.

I've never had any qualms about using my On Board arty as the spotter, as he may have recieved orders before battle to take targets he thought were proper, I always do it with my highest ranking Arty piece though.

rbrunsman -> (7/17/2002 6:43:33 AM)

I read in the Manual that arty plotted in LOS is 50% more effective. I didn't take that to mean more accurate (i.e. hitting the targeted hex), rather I understood it to mean that the "higher mathematics" used by the game system gives you twice as much power when LOS is available (i.e. more likelihood of a kill, better splash damage, more suppression, etc.)

As for FOs forward or in the rear, I use some of them forward because they seem to be very good at just standing around not being seen. Even better than scout teams (in my experience) for some reason. I move them forward slowly, find a nice hiding place, and then annoy the heck out of my opponent because he can't figure out how his "hidden" units are being seen.

Major Destruction -> (7/17/2002 9:34:30 AM)

Buy one mortar. That should do the trick.

bigtroutz -> (7/18/2002 11:51:16 PM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Capt. Pixel
[B]Well fud, I agree with you on all points. I also do not put my FOs in harm's way if I can help it. They're more expensive than just about any other infantry unit, and I also have never seen sufficient improvement in targetting to warrant their exposure on the front.

I might purchase two or more FOs if C&C is On or I have a lot of arty and/or marginal experience levels. From multiple FOs, one may have enough experience to be worthwhile.

I am hoping that someone out there can give me some insight that might change my opinion on FO usage. Anyone? :D [/B][/QUOTE]

I agree with all your points, Capt, with the following additions:

1) IMHO FO's placed in the center of either a tight hex-ring or a loose ring with good line of sight to the surrounding arty means that more (all) arty units are able to fire each turn. It seems to me that scattered, isolated arty is unable to fire (out of contact, perhaps) much more frequently. if you play with limited ammo, a ammo dump or truck in the center also helps alot. the drawback is the juicy counterbattery target nature of this unit concentration but see #2

2) I tend to buy alot (6 is a good number, 12 seems a little excessive tho, hehe) of jeep/scoutcar 60mm mortars (cheap FEB (forward edge of battle) suppression units) when playing US or Brit or Anzac, and a jeep/lynx FO allows them to shoot and scoot as a group, or move forward as a group when targets are at extreme range, and the round drop pattern starts to scatter too much.

3) why use a 40 point FO team to recon when a 8-14 pt sniper or 2 man elite scout team works just as well, or perhaps better, depending on experience level. I am unconvinced that a FO team is less observable. Seems like a waste of points. Recon is always on the bleeding edge anyway, the first to get snuffed.

4) FO induced arty delay reduction is so important in my tactics that i always buy some extra's in case one or two cannot call arty (out of contact type deal). There is nothing to compare to being able to call down 150mm rounds on a spotted (and doomed) enemy concentration BEFORE it is able to move along.

hope this contributes something useful

Capt. Pixel -> Hiding your artillery (7/19/2002 4:44:14 AM)

I see the issues pretty much the same way. I'm pretty sure that both the '0' unit of an arty battery AND the FO have to be in contact with the A0 unit to deliver or call artillery. But having the FO near the arty battery isn't that important.

For that reason, I tend to put my FOs and arty leaders within visual contact of my A0. I place the FOs as far from the artillery as possible in this configuration. I get always 100% availability with my onboards this way.

Having said that, most would realize that the resulting smoke trails would reveal a rather obvious deployment pattern. A canny opponent might be able to pin, not only your artillery, but your FOs and A0 too. :(

Here we can explore some methods for confusticating your enemy.

Keep moving your artillery. Using your mobility always increases your opponent's targetting problems. I discovered that the IT motoguzzi Trialce is THE premier transport for medium mortars. They can take them half way across the board in one turn.

Place decoy smoke bombardments. By spending a few smoke rounds behind your own lines, you can create images of other 'artillery parks' by plotting smoke in suspicious clusters. Put some smoke right over your actual park to further confound him. The 60mm jeep that bigtroutz mentions is ideal for this. They fire lots of smoke rounds in tight cluster patterns.

If you're the second player in a battle and you plot an opening barrage with a delay of 0.0, your opponent will have the opportunity to spot your smoke trails on his first turn. Deprive him of that opportunity by plotting a 1.0 delay on your barrage. The barrage will then come in at the end of his first turn, and he won't get the opportunity to strike at your artillery first.

You can move alternate units. Some units remain to fire while others can move to new, unrevealed positions. The units left behind then move up the next turn. This way, you can keep at least some of your bombard strength available. If you're relying on radio contact to your arty units, move those units that have already lost contact this turn. You can also move under the covering smoke near the front, near to or downwind of a burning hex, or back into a previously 'smoke trailed' hex.

Another tactic is to start with the units spread out to fire. On their next turn they converge on an ammo supply and begin reloading. On the following turn (or whenever they've gotten a sufficient reload) they move forward and spread out again before firing. By not firing near the ammo supply, the opponent has no reason to suspect a target in that area. This works well with a platoon of Wurfrahmen and a platoon of ammo trucks. Every three turns they can unleash a healthy volley of rockets. ;)

Be aware of when your artillery is going to arrive (and reveal your firing positions), and what you're opponent is likely to see. For instance, if you plot your barrage to arrive at 0.3 or later, he's only going to see the incoming barrage at the end of his turn. This gives you the opportunity to move before he targets you.

I'm sure there are many. many other tactics such as these. I'd like to hear of some more. :D

Gary Tatro -> Artillary the key to combined arms (7/20/2002 12:30:02 AM)

Well I thought I would give my 2 cents. This is what I do and it works. First I always buy 2 to 4 FO, infantry kind. I place one right next to my HQ0 unit. This means that I will always have one FO that is in contact. Next I place my other FO's in areas for good observation points (always in woods, rough, slope, rocks, bolders) and turn off their weapons. Or in a position so first turn they can move to the good observation point. Then NEVER move them. Your FO's are there to call in artillary strikes and not to fight. This is there most valuable use.
If posible I try to always get onboard artillary. Why? It is cheeper and I always play games where artillary is limited. This way I get more tubes. I generally opt for stationary artillary, again because it is cheeper, but sometimes I go for the mobile. I don't play with rockets. Why? one to expensive, two ussually your opponent won't let you buy them, three to easy to kill (they generally have no armor, so you run a MC unit up and shot it) and lastly they run out of ammo to quickly so you always have to buy ammo depots or ammo trucks.

I almost never pack all of my artillary into a small area around a ammo dump or ammo trucks because this is just asking for a whopping. I love playing against opponents that do do it though. Most of your onboard artillary comes with a lot of ammo. Usually more than you are going to need. So if you do pack them together all I have to do is spot the park and then plot an air attack or artillary on it. Each turn I keep ploting two or three tubes to drop on you and you do not get to use your artillary. Also if it is all together it make for an easy target of units with big caliber war heads to wipe out in a few turns.

I will generally be very liberal with spacing my artillary out. First I will only place it in the back and only in good defensive hexes (ie: rocks, bolders, trees, or rough) change all there setting to defensive and then they will be in cover the rest of the game. NOTE if you are in cover and in a good defensive hex you can be hit multiple times by HEAVY artillary and not lose a single man. You will get less suppresion and take less damage. Now when I go about spacing my artillary out I make sure that there is at least 2 hexes between each of them. The reason for this is that most artillary, bombs from AIR and large caliber shells will not extend to a third hex. So I place on artillary in rough move two hexes place next artillary unit in rough. This spreads out my artillary and makes it almost imposible to counter batter fire.

I also will place recon and MC units in the back to pop smoke to add additional confution to my opponents attempts to counter batter fire. This also make my artillary out of contact more often but I have found that having my artillary out of contact for a turn is not a big problem. I usually have 60% to 100% of my artillary in contact and since I have more tubes this make up the difference.

You need to purchase a couple of platoons of infantry or say 4-6 Machine guns to put around your artillary to protect it from thoughs pesky AB, and infiltrators. But use cheep units since most of the game they are just standing there on guard duty. Also if any tanks break into the backfield most of your heavy artillary mortars and howitzers will have 5 round of HEAT ammo and that can really put a whole in some panzers day. Charging a well disbursed howitzer line is more dangerous than charging a well disbursed AT gun line. The howitzers use bigger shells.

Well like I said this is what I usually do and this works for me. You will have to try things out and see what works for you.

Belisarius -> (7/24/2002 10:23:03 PM)

Uhh.. the posts were getting long! :cool:

Excellent thread Pixel! :D There was quite a few things I haven't given a thought! Really useful!

As for FO's, I always always buy at least 3 of them for any type of battle. Why? Because then you can have one shot up at the front, and two in the back field. Why two? Because you can bet anything that one of them is gonna be out of contact with the artillery when you need it the most. :rolleyes: I usually keep one FO in LOS with HQ to facilitate operations.

Kanda' -> (8/1/2002 1:04:01 PM)


When buying forces, After I've created my combat formations, I'll purchase my artillary. Ideally: I'll buy them in this order; Ideally 6 FO's, 5 HQ's(command posts), 5 ammo dumps, 5 Norwegian Ammo containers (cheap and don't explode) and 5 ammo trucks (though they are often too slow) Then a number of SPA's depends on what's available, Lots of AAA, finally to top it off at least 1 btty of offmap 150 or larger. Any extra points goes into buying cheap 2 man recon teams to pop smoke in the back field.

During setup I assign the FO's using the 'W' key to various formations. 1 always becomes A1 or higher (so that I ALWAYS have at least 1 in contact) The others distributed out to the various recce and combat formations. Any vehicle capable of carrying 2 men works. Ketten's are wonderful for this work. Though almost any armored car works too.

Then, each Ammo dump and Ammo truck is assigned to the formation of each HQ, and the SPA's or other tubes assigned then the AAA. At start, the SPA's are Scattered around Not adjacent to the ammo dumps. After they fire, they take turns moving around, 1/3 to 1/2 of them may move. Depends on how agressive my opponent is doing counterbattery. Morters and other Leg Arty have a transport. Most of time I don't let them run out of ammo before moving them back to the ammo dumps. They are never more than 1 turn from the ammo dumps, and I try to keep them within 5 hexes of an HQ at all times. The HQ's are always within 2 hexes of the ammo dump and usually 2 or more ammo dumps within 5 hexes of any HQ The ammo trucks usually try to stay 1 turn behind the combat formations. Loads of AAA surround all the ammo dumps and HQ's to protect from airplanes and to act as a flak area for any aircraft which strays over them.

I'll usually have 3 of these formations fully outfitted, with 2 HQ/Ammo Dump combo's as spares placed a bit forward.

In Practice, the recce group or combat formation will cart the FO into a good location, dump him off unobserved behind a hill or in woods, then, Here's the real trick, you use the FO to call in the Arty, but you use any unit with radio contact and observation to the targt to adust it! Often, my FO is still behind the hill, or slowly moving out of the woods, still getting to his OP. He calls in the SPA's at .02, and the tank or infantry in the battle itself adjusts it onto the target at .03. This way you get the observed firepower bonus without risking the FO too badly. Once the FO is in place, he takes over the spotting duties.

Frequently, I don't fire the Offmap arty at all, it's simply there to Counter battery on any Offmap arty my opponent uses. Once it's done it's trick, or when the final push to rout the enemy comes, then I'll call it in.

I rarely use gold spots to spot arty, I usually place them more for airstrikes than for Arty, as I don't usually need them too much for Arty. Besides, we usually play on size 10 maps so even 10 spots is far too few!

Rockets must be used enmass as they are so wildly inaccurate.
A good mix of 81/82mm Morters for close support suppression, 120mm for close support killing power, lots of 105's for harrassing enemy movement and interdiction. 150/155 for deep strikes and counterbattery, Wurframen/Nebelwurfer/Katyusha I use either to break an enemy assault, or as prep prior to my own assault. Larger tubes such as russian 203mm US 8'' , German 380mm(as on the sturmtiger) and such are devestation against mass infantry. useful clearing roads for my deep penetration recce teams.

I have very rarely ever had any thing onboard be offline, rarely a whole battery of offmap arty goes offline, Maybe 1 or 2 units. My nephew is pretty good at figuring out where I placed my Ammo dumps and he's expended a lot of planes attempting to blow them, but having a few spares in forwad positions has surprised him more than once. Also scattering around a few well placed Norwegian Ammo crates keeps the morters well supplied as they don't explode and give away their locations when hit.

You really need to be a master of prediction when using the arty time plots, and it's not always best to have everything arrive in 0.0 time. .02 and .04 are my favorites for interdiction work. Especially when firing at a crossroads deep in enemy territory and unobserved. Anything actually at the crossroads will be slowed down or stopped which will clog the road and produce traffic jams, and has the effect of causing other units to group around the crossroad. The rest of the barrage coming in the next barrage phase catches these units too which tends to amplify the effect! I use 105's for this purpose, as they usually have a nice high rate of fire, and frequently score hits on vehicles even though they may not actually kill it, they supress it enough so that frequently it's still there the next barrage. If I start hearing a lot of 105 hits, I'll call in the 150's or larger and switch the 105's to another target.

Similarly rockets can be used more efficiently If you vary the timing. Since most rockets empty their tubes in 1 or 2 firings, using a .02 .04 timing gives the illusion of them lasting longer, plus they tend to reload a couple of rounds using the .04 timing during the turn break if they are adjacent to an ammo dump. Of course you want to use the 1.0 /.03 as prep which falls just before your turn to maximise the suppression just before your own assault, and to make sure that there won't be any more rounds falling after you have rushed the hill! The first time your succesful assault gets whacked by your own 1/2 barrage of nebelwurfers will make you intimately aware of critical timing!


Capt. Pixel -> Quick update on 7.1 (8/2/2002 12:51:15 AM)

In a recent game, I lost the first tube in two of my OBA batteries. But they still kept on firing.

So, it seems that the 7.1 update fixes that 'lose the whole battery if you lose the first tube problem". :)

G_X -> (8/2/2002 9:47:37 AM)

*Cheers* I was begining to wonder Capt. as I'd yet to come across this, even playing a 20k vs 20k game Russian vs German with the AI, and me using hordes (20% :D) of 203mm Off Board guns, and losing a few first guns but they seemed to keep firing...

And with 4k points of 203mm Rounds falling I like being able to keep up that almost-constant's nuts really, just hordes and hordes of 203mm's a beautiful day for a shower.

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