Artillery versus ? (Full Version)

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MLovett -> Artillery versus ? (10/15/2011 6:11:59 PM)

If there is an enemy infantry unit as well as an artillery unit in the same target hex, which one should I target with my own infantry? Thanks.

rhondabrwn -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/15/2011 6:26:10 PM)

It depends on the circumstances i.e. strength of the infantry, range to target, and whether you are assaulting to close for melee.

Personally, I will sometimes snipe away at the artillery crews in hopes of killing the crews, but if I'm launching an assault, I try and disrupt the infantry with my fire and take care of the artillery when I close to melee. The chance of killing the crew to suppress their defensive fire as you approach is just too low to be worth wasting your ammunition. Also, don't forget that you get an attack bonus if you melee with units that have withheld their fire.

If you are playing one of the HPS Civil War games, the odds of killing the crew have increased in recent updates, so you can gain some advantage by going after the artillery. If you can kill a crew while keeping their accompanying infantry disrupted, you can prevent recrewing of the battery and set them up for capture with a successful melee, or even if you just force the infantry to withdraw under threat of being isolated.

MLovett -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/15/2011 6:58:14 PM)

Wow. I've got a lot to learn. I just started the Battleground Series and don't have much skill or reasoning. Thanks for the insight.

Andy Moss -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/17/2011 11:22:07 AM)

And another thing. Limbered artillery is more likely to suffer hits than unlimbered, so it's worthwhile firing at them, especially if in the adjacent hex.

The games can be as complex as you make them. The deeper you go the more you learn. And there's a lot of stuff that's not in the manuals.

rhondabrwn -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/23/2011 9:09:20 PM)

My personal guiding philosophy is to visualize what is going on and then try to develop a realistic response as if I was there on the battlefield. I am primarily a Civil War gamer so I'll use Gettysburg as an example rather than a Napoleonic game which is a whole different world of combined arms tactics.

Example: Launching an attack

In game terms you might just meander along exchanging fire all along your line until either you or your opponent begins to rout.

Realistically, battles weren't fought that way (though "games" tend to be unrealistically bloody as usually played). Imagine General Lee issuing an order that "every unit that can see an enemy unit and is in even extreme range MUST fire every 20 minutes throughout the entire battle... artillery must fire constantly at anything they can see etc etc" - A lot of gamers do just that and I've played games of Gettysburg where I completely wiped out every enemy unit just to see if I could do it. Obviously, real battles were never fought that way.

Now visualize a "real" attack. You would attack on a perceived weak point on the enemy line with a preliminary artillery bombardment to disrupt as many units as possible, followed by a brigade advancing as fast as possible to close with the enemy line while taking as few casualties as possible. You might fire once as you advance if the distance is long (like 7 or 8 hexes) but you wouldn't advance one or two hexes per turn while firing... that exposes your units to heavier losses... makes it more likely that your units will become disrupted (and unable to melee) or even rout away in disorder. Your goal is to get adjacent to the enemy with undisrupted units accompanied by a commander (and hopefully, who haven't fired that turn). This maximizes your chances of success in your assault. Now that's a how a "real" attack would be unfold.

TIP: Have a second brigade in line behind the first and as the first brigade takes fire and may become disrupted, the 2nd brigade will tend to not draw fire and will then be in good shape to reinforce the first line for maximum melee strength. If you are making a divisional assault, you also have a 3rd brigade back in reserve that you can commit once the enemy line is broken.

TIP: Watch your fatigue levels and don't be afraid to pull a Division out of the battle and put them in the rear to rest and recover fatigue. It's a slow process, so you might have to wait a whole day for them to recover, but pushing units past the breaking point just because you can is just "gamey". Routed units do not recover and charge back into the assault over and over again, but that's the way these games are often played (and I've been guilty of that). Remember that Picket's division led the charge at Gettysburg because they were the only "fresh" division left to Lee. Everyone else had been beaten up over the prior two days of fighting and had high fatigue levels that made them useless for an effective attack. The famous "20th Maine" regiment fought furiously at Little Round Top for a few hours out of a three day battle and were then pulled out to rest. Buford's cavalry fought the 1st day and then were sent back to guard supply units for the remainder of the battle. Most players would just burn them away to the last man... not realistic.

Your games will be much more enjoyable (and play faster) if you maneuver for position, keep reserve units massed behind the battle line in reserve, and then launch carefully planned assaults like the above rather than just mindlessly having two battle lines shooting at each other. That gets real boring if you play that way, while if you create a strategy, carefully position your units, stage planned assaults at enemy weak points, and keep fresh units in reserve for attacks or counter-attacks the game will be much more fun (and you will really feel like you are replaying history).

Hope this helps you.

Andy Moss -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/24/2011 12:13:28 PM)

Nice in theory. In practice most games I've been involved in start as a bum's rush and degenerate rapidly into bloody dogfights. Few go past 20 turns. That's for Napoleonics. Maybe ACW has a different tempo, but the initiative lies with the attacker normally.

MLovett -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/26/2011 2:20:55 AM)

Thanks for the tips. I've only played a few battles and they've gone straight to line up and fire, over and over. I was hoping there was more to it than the way I had been playing. So I guess the key is to develop a strategy that will defeat the "bum's rush" tactic and another strategy to deal with a thinking opponent.

Andy Moss -> RE: Artillery versus ? (10/26/2011 9:22:14 AM)

Yes. And no. A thinking opponent will have surmised the key to success is simply repeated attacking. In the NWC club it's called the Full Barrett after the instigator. Basically a thinking person's bum's rush. It's pretty hard to counter; probably better countered in the ACW where disordered units can't keep meleeing. My experience however is with Napoleonics.

rhondabrwn -> RE: Artillery versus ? (11/6/2011 11:25:23 PM)

Obviously, you need to find opponents who want a realistic game and not just a victory. I'm actually a bit dismayed to discover what Andy is saying about how these games are played out within groups like the NWC Club.

I guess it all comes down to whether you are a "gamer" for whom the entire reason to play is to win (climb a ladder etc) using any kind of tactics no matter how non-historical they might be...

and "historians" who want to replay an historic moment and explore realistic alternatives.

The two don't mix if you are doing PBEM!

However, if you are playing against yourself... then you are free to play historically! That's the way to make these games truly fascinating. I've got an HPS Gettysburg battle going that started last March and is only in to the 2nd day (turn 68). I play one turn for one side and then go away for a day or two and then play the other side. That way it is easier to forget unit placements and allow me to really focus on playing from the opponent's viewpoint. I also use my own rules such as "Disrupted Units" can fire, but not advance until they recover. That really changes game play.. a lot... and requires attacks to be adequately supported with reserves.

These games are a tool... how you use them makes all the difference in your level of enjoyment from them.

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