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Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/23/2011 9:33:42 PM   
boroda

 

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In the Annex E of the BFTB manual in the Area fire collumn it says that targets in the forest/wood terrain are 15% more likely to get hit by area fire than targets in the clear(if we drop all teh other factors like deployment etc). Am I reading this right? Could someone explain what the reasons for this are? Are the tree bursts to blame?
Does the target projection factor into this? Like when a trooper goes prone in the clear he presents a much smaller target to shells with point detonation fuzes than the prone soldier in the forest under the treebursts? Do trees provide any cover to someone in such situation? What does "hug a tree" mean in this context?
There is also http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/7-90/Appb.htm Is there anything in there that can explain why troops in the open are less vulnerable? Deep snow, lack of proper proximity fuses in 1944 etc?
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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/23/2011 9:53:02 PM   
wodin


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Tree burst..flying wood splinters etc.

Troops hated being hit by Arty when in woods etc. An example have you seen the Bulge and Foy scene from Band of Brothers? Not a healthy place to be in those woods during a bombardment.

The link is talking about mortars not Arty. Not sure of the value of mortar fire into woods or if it has the same severe tree bursts effect, maybe thats why in that link your required to fire more mortar rounds.

Actually it does say mortars have little effect against troops under heavy forest\jungle even the modern medium mortars. That explains why the chart says to fire more than into the open.

I think Arty is different altogether and thats why tree bursts can be extra lethal.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/23/2011 10:01:25 PM >

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/23/2011 10:12:51 PM   
Arjuna


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As wodin said it's the tree burst effect we are simulating here. When a mortar or arty round hits a tree say several metres up from the ground and it detonates then in addition to its own shrapnell it causes a plethora of splinters to be projected down and around as well. This adds to the lethality of the round. As to whether personnel lying prone are less likely to be hit from area fire, then yes that is the case and is factored into the deployment modifier. But bear this in mind, from an air burst point of view being prone provides a much bigger target than say against a round which impacts on the ground.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/23/2011 10:22:46 PM   
Arjuna


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Just reading your link and it says:
quote:

c. Dense woods cause impact-fuzed HE rounds to detonate in the trees, producing airbursts. These airbursts can be dangerous to exposed troops since large wood splinters are added to the round's metal fragments. Wounds caused by large wooden splinters are often severe. Extremely dense woods, such as triple canopy jungle, cause most impact-fuzed HE rounds to detonate high in the trees without much of an effect at ground level.


Note the last sentence where it talks about triple canopy jungle and the fact that this will often deonate most rounds way up above the ground. Triple canopy jungle can be over 50m high, which is larger than the lethal burst radius of all but the 120mm mortar. Hence why they recommend more orunds to increase the number of rounds that actuially get through the canopy and impact close to the target on the ground.

The forest represented in BFTB are not tgriple canopy jungle but rather pine and fir plantation timber, where rounds would typically impact say 5 to 15 metrese above the ground and thus still be very lethal to personnel on the ground.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/23/2011 11:19:03 PM   
RockinHarry


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BUT...the tree burst effect is not hard coded? You can change area fire effect to any value in the map editor, some value below 100, if you think tree burst effect shouldn´t be reflected. Recompile map, save and gone is the tree bursts...

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 1:38:52 AM   
boroda

 

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tree bursts are fine by me

a bit earlier today i had a discussion with another bftb player who wondered why infantry in the clear is less vulnerable to area fire than same infantry in the woods.
i replied somewhere along these lines:
1. a prone soldier presents a much smaller target to shrapnel from ground burst than to tree/air burst 
2. no widespread usage of proximity fuses guaranteed that places like woods were among the few places where infantry would be exposed to shrapnel raining from above

are above reasons correct? could anyone provide field manuals or some document from that time period regarding artillery employment? were proximity fuzes allready in use by any side during the battle of the bulge?

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 6:03:08 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Just reading your link and it says:
quote:

c. Dense woods cause impact-fuzed HE rounds to detonate in the trees, producing airbursts. These airbursts can be dangerous to exposed troops since large wood splinters are added to the round's metal fragments. Wounds caused by large wooden splinters are often severe. Extremely dense woods, .... []


Note the last sentence where it talks about triple canopy jungle and the fact that this will often deonate most rounds way up above the ground. Triple canopy jungle can be over 50m high, which is larger than the lethal burst radius of all but the 120mm mortar. Hence why they recommend more orunds to increase the number of rounds that actuially get through the canopy and impact close to the target on the ground.

The forest represented in BFTB are not tgriple canopy jungle but rather pine and fir plantation timber, where rounds would typically impact say 5 to 15 metrese above the ground and thus still be very lethal to personnel on the ground.


Actually, the Germans produced airbursts deliberately, and they were not produced by using impact-fuzed shells, but by using time-fuzed shells. Timed fuzes were available for ALL Flak artillery guns, and -if i am not mistaken-, for some non-flak guns as well later on (I can't verify that atm, tho). Also, the Germans had started to employ that method in Russia, and it was usually employed in dense woods only, as the flying splinters, branches and other tree parts would produce an evil amount of flying objects, having a devastating effect on the INF, turning even foxholes and trenches into pretty unsafe places. If I am not mistaken, the Artillery crew could use the "Kommandohilfsgerät 35", a mobile (predictor) device,

(which can be seen here on this picture: http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/SdAh_53___KdoHiGer_35.jpg )

in order to determine the settings for the (variable) time-fuzed shells (and their trajectory). The shells would then detonate ABOVE the ground, as "predicted" (well, and desired), usually somewhere at around head-level (of a standing soldier) and/or higher (in the middle or the bottom half of a tree), depending on tree-level. Initially, this method was developed to inflict casualties in trench systems, where it proved to be pretty successfull, as the shell exploded above, but still near the trench, so that a direct hit (with a regular HE shell having to land inside the trench) was not necessary. Now, if used in woods, this method produced major mayhem, plus a huge amount of casualties (= with the majority being injured soldiers, due to the massive amount of pieces flying around). According to accounts from a couple US vets I've seen on TV, some of the new(er) units, but also experienced units, that got hit by airburst bombardments in dense woods, were put out of action for a whole day or even 2 days; a result of the terror and the losses created by these airbursts.

By 1944, the Germans had really mastered that method, and they presented that skill in the Battles of Hürtgen Forest, as well as in the Ardennes.

The following link contains a quote from the publication "Tactical and Technical Trends" No.6, August 27, issued by the US War Department in 1942:

http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ttt08/air-burst-ground-targets.html

This shows that the US had intel about that German method as early as 1942.

My guess is, that this isn't rendered in BFTB, is it?

quote:



such as triple canopy jungle, cause most impact-fuzed HE rounds to detonate high in the trees without much of an effect at ground level.


Sorry, but that's nonsense, as the Germans usually picked time fuzes, if a dense wood (with INF in there) was the target, and the time fuzes would then set off the shells somewhere between the middle of an average tree and soldier's head-level, actually. The effect on the ground used to be devastating, as described above.
Also, afaik, the Germans could also start with reducing the "crown" (top of the trees/wood), and then proceed with the method above (mid-level or right above the ground), in order to maximize effectiveness.
It's not surprising that the Germans were actually pretty skilled there, because they had been using (and experimenting with) time fuzes since 1941.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/24/2011 6:48:24 AM >


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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 9:22:57 AM   
Arjuna


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Hey GoodGuy I am commenting on a US field manual here not the German practice. So I don't think it is nonsense. Have a merry Xmas.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 12:15:42 PM   
RockinHarry


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@ GoodGuy: Worth to add to german artillery techniques would be the "Abprallerschiessen" (edit: delayed fuzes, low trajectory fire angles, target area flat and harder gound), the bouncing shots. Wasn´t just applied by artillery, also tanks could use this technique effectively vs. infantry masses in the open. Off course there´s considerable random elements in there. Think russians did take the most of it and less so the western allied.

Personally I think making dense forests to have area fire effects boosted, benefits both forces alike, so it´s not really necessary to reflect individual artillery technics.

If you can´t properly entrench in a forest, you´d like avoid defending there. BftB "entrenchments" do offer overhead cover vs. air-/treebursts, so I think the game should be capable of modelling hurtgen forest style battles quite well.

@ Dave: In case you need particular info relating to german combat techniques, training ect. from original german wartime sources, take a look in here:

Parts of my library

Merry XMas all btw.

< Message edited by RockinHarry -- 12/24/2011 2:17:35 PM >


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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 12:50:25 PM   
wodin


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Goodguy as Dave pointed out triple canopy jungle is 50 metres high, Ardennes forest isn't. Thats why it maybe less effective in the jungle (as the USA feild manual states).

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 1:23:20 PM   
grenvill

 

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That quite surprising really,off the top of my head Command Ops is probably only one wargame who counts troops in forest more vulnerable to artillery fire than in the field. Tree burst effect is looking probably very spectacular (very much so in movies ), but Joint Munitions Effectivness Manuals tell a different story. Do you have any hard data for this?

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 2:04:32 PM   
wodin


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Have you a link to the manual? The one already linked is regards to mortars and jungle ineffectiveness it states that tree bursts in wooods\forests that aren't as tall like triple canopy cause tree splitners as well as shrapnel thus making them an uncomfortable spot to be in. If you read the manual fully you will realise it's not talking about forests like the Ardennes nor is it talking about Arty.

I always think the best evidence is from those who have been in the situation and from all accounts tree bursts at Ardennes weren't very nice at all.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/24/2011 2:09:17 PM >

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 2:45:18 PM   
boroda

 

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so, grenvill, what is the еxact story that is being told by Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manuals?)) does it tell us that prone infantryman in the woods with shells exploding above him and producing a lot of secondary fragments is less vulnerable than prone infantryman in the open snow covered field presenting a much smaller target to shrapnel from the shell with point detonating fuses exploding not in the air above but beside him? why would GI's be taught a so called hug-a-tree technique if they are already more protected as is?(btw i have no idea what this hug-a-tree stuff is about. seen it in some article on the wiki describing BotB or Hürtgen Forest))

oh wait. there is a guy here http://www.poeland.com/tanks/artillery/targets.html who claims that
quote:

Quick fuze on HE shells in woods may cause detonation in the trees. This may decrease the effect if the shell goes off high in the trees, or it may increase the effect by acting in the same manner as an air burst.

VT fuze is useless in woods unless the angle of fire is very great, in which case most bursts occur at their normal height.

Woods have little effect on low-angle quick fuzed HE fire (other than making observation difficult), since the cover effect is offset by the detonating effect of the trees. High-angle fire, on the other hand, is about twice as effective as on open ground. Personnel in the edge of woods are in great danger from direct-fire HE, as almost any shot into the tree will act as an air burst.

and the source of this is Field Artillery Gunnery FM6-40, Department of the [US] Army, January 1950. i admit i could not find it online. neither could i find the JME manuals.

so which manual we've not read gives us the correct assessment of artillery effectiveness re woods vs open in the winter 44-45?

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 4:26:52 PM   
wodin


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I think the edge of the wood is a worse place to be in game aswell...not sure but I'm sure this was mentioned in a thread when HTTR came out.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 5:50:25 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Hey GoodGuy I am commenting on a US field manual here not the German practice. So I don't think it is nonsense. Have a merry Xmas.


First off, merry x-mas to you, too.

Well, nonsense was the wrong word, and I know you were QUOTING the field manual. What I meant, by using the word nonsense, not that you were talking or quoting nonsense, but that the effect/method you mentioned did not apply to the Germans, in the main, as they had a different approach for bombardments of dense woods, they clearly had made excessive use of airbursts where it came to targeting or harrassing Allied units/movement in dense woods in the West. This goes even more for the Battles in the Hürtgen Forest, where the Germans layed carpets of airbursts on the US troops in the surrounding woods, while their Engineers were called numerous times to blast away rocks to help expand the Kall trail, in order to get the stuck tanks to the front.
The Ardennes did see less of that method, because units/fronts were moving quickly initially, but I've seen veteran accounts from both sides on TV, that this method was employed there (Foy and other sectors), too, hence my question whether it's rendered in the game or not.
I can imagine that it may be problematic (or cumbersome) to add/cater for an ability/effect on one side of the forces only, but that's what it was like historically.
It's just like say a programmer adds mines to a game, where then one side can use mines that cannot be detected (German wooden mines, glass mines). Major disadvantages for the other side, but still historically accurate.

Since I wrote that in early a.m. and since I was in a hurry, I couldn't come up with a better wording there and picked the word "nonsense". No offense intended.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/24/2011 6:00:50 PM >


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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 6:10:24 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Goodguy as Dave pointed out triple canopy jungle is 50 metres high, Ardennes forest isn't. Thats why it maybe less effective in the jungle (as the USA feild manual states).


Hi Wodin,

yeah I understood that. My objection just dealt with the fact, that the described effects apply to US methods and their use of HE only, but not to the German tactical approach on woods, since early in the Russian campaign, already. It's then on Dave to decide whether it's sufficiently rendered or not, or to leave it as is.
I just tried to point out that there was a different general approach on the German side.

quote:

ORIGINAL: grenvill

... Tree burst effect is looking probably very spectacular (very much so in movies ), but Joint Munitions Effectivness Manuals tell a different story. Do you have any hard data for this?


Well, the Germans used airbursts in Russia already with quite some success. I don't think they'd have kept employing that method, if it would have proved to be useless. On the German side, VT-fuzes were widely available, and it was then up to the forward observer/front line CO to request VT or impact-fuzed bombardments. I've seen veteran accounts stating that airbursts turned out to be the only method (aside from [costly] direct infantry assaults) that would dislodge Russian troops from dense woods.



< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/24/2011 6:25:06 PM >


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---
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Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/24/2011 8:54:27 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: boroda

In the Annex E of the BFTB manual in the Area fire collumn it says that targets in the forest/wood terrain are 15% more likely to get hit by area fire than targets in the clear ...


Clear or forested, the AARs on my games to date reveal that most casualties -- from both sides -- are from bombardment (when arty is available).

Historically, weren't most battle casualties from arty?

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/25/2011 3:02:16 AM   
SeinfeldRules

 

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Yes. If I can recall correctly the common percentage is around 80% of casualties in the European theater were from artillery of high explosives. The US Army put together a study of casualties during the war, and it includes a survey of 1,000 American Casualties killed in Italy. 86% of those were killed by high explosive or shrapnel wounds, the rest by small arms. Here's the link, interesting reading and includes links to photos of real casualties: http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woundblstcs/chapter6.htm.

There's a reason Field Artillery is called the "King of Battle" in the American military.


< Message edited by SeinfeldRules -- 12/25/2011 3:04:46 AM >

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/25/2011 8:13:49 AM   
Lieste

 

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Bear in mind though that the bulk of Apers firepower for some units would be considered as 'artillery' in those statistics, the distinction between Apers and Bombard being an aiming method, rather than a separation of casualty causing agents.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/25/2011 11:27:42 AM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SeinfeldRules

... There's a reason Field Artillery is called the "King of Battle" in the American military.



Did Stalin call it "The Queen of Battle"?

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/25/2011 5:27:31 PM   
boroda

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL:  Joe D.


quote:

ORIGINAL:  SeinfeldRules

... There's a reason Field Artillery is called the "King of Battle" in the American military.



Did Stalin call it "The Queen of Battle"?



Пехота - царица полей.
Infantry is the queen of the battlefield.

On the conference re results of the Winter war Stalin said:
А что такое современная война - интересный вопрос, чего она требует? Она требует массовой артиллерии. В современной войне артиллерия это Бог, судя по артиллерии. Кто хочет перестроиться на новый современный лад, должен понять - артиллерия решает судьбу войны, массовая артиллерия.

He called artillery a God of war. (well he did not say exactly "Artillery is a God of war" but if you compress everything he said into a simple slogan you'll get something like that)



< Message edited by boroda -- 12/25/2011 5:38:43 PM >

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/25/2011 11:08:51 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: boroda

... He called artillery a God of war. (well he did not say exactly "Artillery is a God of war" but if you compress everything he said into a simple slogan you'll get something like that)


I get the idea.
Thanks.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/27/2011 1:14:33 AM   
T-28A


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry
@ GoodGuy: Worth to add to german artillery techniques would be the "Abprallerschiessen" (edit: delayed fuzes, low trajectory fire angles, target area flat and harder gound), the bouncing shots. Wasn´t just applied by artillery, also tanks could use this technique effectively vs. infantry masses in the open. Off course there´s considerable random elements in there. Think russians did take the most of it and less so the western allied.

Note the invention of ricochet fire is dated back to 17th Century (usually accredited to de Vauban's genius, but I think I read about earlier implementations by Gustavus Magnus as well). For Soviets with their relatively wide employment of 76mm divisional guns with large muzzle velocity, inadequate against field fortifications (both due to flat trajectory and weak impact), the ricochet fire was the natural way to boost the effectiveness of large chunk of their artillery. In the same time, western Allies enjoyed mostly hi-trajectory pieces (25pdr, 105mm, 155mm) at the divisional level, and should have little interest in ricochet fire.

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RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 4:11:51 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: T-28A

... For Soviets with their relatively wide employment of 76mm divisional guns with large muzzle velocity, inadequate against field fortifications (both due to flat trajectory and weak impact)...


I'm not quite sure what you mean by saying "weak", here. If you're using impact-fuzed HE, which was the usual method for bombardments of trenches and field fortifications, a 76mm-HE shell will explode on impact on the fortification's surface, be it made of wood, concrete or other materials (say steel parts/plates from wrecks or scrap material to reinforce a bunker). A 76mm shell's blast radius will then, depending on the target material's thickness (as well as the density of soil layer and/or sandbag protection behind the wall), either remove parts of the fortification or just leave a big dent in there (concrete, earth wall or filling), if the shell does not contain a penetrator and a delay fuze. With such shells it's not about the kinetic energy, but about the amount of HE carried.

With the 76mm field guns, you must have the 76-mm divisional guns M 1936 (F-22), but rather the M1939 (F-22 USV)(Ф-22 УСВ)and especially the SiS-3 (ЗиС-3) in mind, which were issued since early 1942, gradually but continously replacing the other 2 models. So, for the East Front game, we're mainly talking about the SiS-3 and - even though the Germans had captured large amounts of M1939 guns (USV) - the USV, as the production figures of the F-22 (M1936) were pretty low.

What you describe as "weak impact" was experienced when the SiS-3 and the USV were used as an AT gun, and that was a result of their shell's weight/size of the chamber: Despite these 3 guns having muzzle velocities of 680 to 720 (M1939 with HE, afaik) meters/sec (2x sonic speed is a pretty high muzzle velocity for an artillery piece), the guns lacked some punch. But imho such lack of punch was irrelevant if used as (HE) inf gun. Since the 76mm guns had a range of 4200 meters, with a max. elevation of 37°, and since the usual engagement range was ~2000 meters (according to what I read at least), the piece still provided for an acceptable trajectory, sufficient for most close support roles, maybe except for elevated trench lines, imho. The pretty good Russian mortars were able to jump in with such targets, if needed, too.

quote:

... the ricochet fire was the natural way to boost the effectiveness of large chunk of their artillery.


That would mean that they would have had to use delay fuzes. Did they really a) use these fuzes other than in AA and naval gun rounds and b) did they have such rounds for 76mm guns at their disposal?

quote:

In the same time, western Allies enjoyed mostly hi-trajectory pieces (25pdr, 105mm, 155mm) at the divisional level, and should have little interest in ricochet fire.


If I am not mistaken, the usual Russian divisional artillery in 1939 (rifle division) used to involve a light arty regiment and a howitzer regiment that provided long-range and high-angle bombardments. The light regiment had 1 Bn with 3 batteries of 76mm guns (four guns each), 2 mixed Bns with 1 battery of 76mm and 2 batteries of 122 mm guns each, at one point. They must have reduced the number of 76mm guns ~1940 (minus almost a full Bn[?], they deemed such guns to be absolutely ineffective against the German heavy tanks with 2 turrets - which the Russians thought were produced in Germany at the time, so they even delayed testing and adoption of a gun like the SiS-3), but even added a 3rd mixed Bn in early 1942, which contained a battery of 76mm and a bty of 122mm. So, if this is correct, that would mean that they still had a good amount of high-angle gun support.

Whatsoever, even when or where - due to general reorganizations or due to operational decisions - a rifle division's Howitzer regiment had been taken away, when guard rifle divisions had "only" 3 mixed arty Bns at their disposal, when motorized divisions had 2 mixed Bns, or when Cavalry divisions had 1 light arty Rgt only (16 x 76mm + 8 x 122mm) in 1943, such divisions could still count on organic "hi-trajectory" support with their 122mm guns. For the crucial period in 1941 and early 1942, where arty pieces were rather scarce and put under High Command (employed on Army level?), rifle divisions would be supported by such assets, or by the Army's Arty Regiment or its guards mortar Bns (multiple rocket launchers).

Also, according to Glantz, with the Russians trying to refine the operational art of war, reshaping (until 1944) the standard defensive and offensive postures of formations in Winter 1942/1943, involved putting the howitzers (if available) in long range support (alternatively the 122mm), while the 76mm pieces served as close inf support in "infantry support artillery groups" around 2 km behind the first line, with one group on the left flank and one group on the right flank, while the long range arty was grouped and positioned behind the division's second echelon, around 5-7 km behind the first line, in a divisional defensive posture. In an offensive posture, the division's light regiment's arty pieces would be split into 3 artillery groups (left, center, right) and positioned on the same line as the divisional reserve (a Rifle Bn) 5-7 km behind the immediate mission area, while the long range arty would be combined and placed 7-9 km behind the immediate mission line/area. The 76mm were then moved forward into range, if close support was needed.

While it's true that rather flat trajectory artillery may be less effective on trenches and some types of fortifications or conceiled positions, the Germans still hated the Russian "Ratsch-Bumm" guns (dubbed according to the sound of firing the gun ["Ratsch"] and almost immediate subsequent impact ["Bumm"], due to the speed and trajectory of the projectile, making it impossible to take cover), plus the Russians DID have high-angle arty support in the form of 122mm guns and either an organic howitzer regiment or howitzer support from Corps/Army level. Even though the SiS-3 was pushed towards an AT role, its performance as field gun was way better, imho.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/28/2011 6:01:07 AM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to T-28A)
Post #: 24
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 6:38:07 AM   
T-28A


Posts: 835
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quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy
I'm not quite sure what you mean by saying "weak", here. If you're using impact-fuzed HE, which was the usual method for bombardments of trenches and field fortifications, a 76mm-HE shell will explode on impact on the fortification's surface, be it made of wood, concrete or other materials (say steel parts/plates from wrecks or scrap material to reinforce a bunker). A 76mm shell's blast radius will then, depending on the target material's thickness (as well as the density of soil layer and/or sandbag protection behind the wall), either remove parts of the fortification or just leave a big dent in there (concrete, earth wall or filling), if the shell does not contain a penetrator and a delay fuze. With such shells it's not about the kinetic energy, but about the amount of HE carried.
With the 76mm field guns, you must have the 76-mm divisional guns M 1936 (F-22), but rather the M1939 (F-22 USV)(Ф-22 УСВ)and especially the SiS-3 (ЗиС-3) in mind, which were issued since early 1942, gradually but continously replacing the other 2 models. So, for the East Front game, we're mainly talking about the SiS-3 and the USV, even though the Germans had captured large amounts of M1939 guns (USV), the USV, as the production figures of the F-22 (M1936) were pretty low.
What you describe as "weak impact" was experienced when the SiS-3 and the USV were used as an AT gun, and that was a result of their shell's weight/size of the chamber: Despite these 3 guns having muzzle velocities of 680 to 720 (M1939 with HE, afaik) meters/sec (2x sonic speed is a pretty high muzzle velocity for an artillery piece), the guns lacked some punch. But imho such lack of punch was irrelevant if used as (HE) inf gun.


What really matters are few simple factors:
a) The trajectory of 76mm hi-velocity divisional guns was too flat to hit field fortifications (trenches, foxholes etc) directly. For the positions deployed at the backsides of a hill or behind the frontal covers, as Germans often did, there was no chance to hit them at all.
b) Even when there was a technical possibility to hit, direct hits against the covered objects were ineffective due to flat trajectories, small weight of the shells and small amount of HE.
c) Contrary to >105mm howitzer artillery, when scoring near hits, the 76mm HE were too weak to destroy or damage trench walls.
d) While there was little to no chance of damaging/destroying trenches themselves, the only natural way to make 76mm shells useful against them was to elevate the point of explosion, hitting enemy manpower, occupying a trench, from the above.

quote:


That would mean that they would have had to use delay fuzes. Did they really a) use these fuzes and b) did they have such 76mm rounds at their disposal?


Of course they did, how could they use ricochet fire otherwise? The ancient 3GT fuse was used for ricochet fire yet during WW1, the KTM-1 (mechanical delay) during the early WW2 and improved KTMZ-1 (with dedicated delay mechanism optimized especially for ricochet fire) during the late-WW2.

quote:


If I am not mistaken, the usual Russian divisional artillery in 1939 (rifle division) used to involve a light arty regiment and a howitzer regiment, where the light regiment had 1 Bn with 3 batteries of 76mm guns (for guns each), 2 mixed Bns with 1 battery of 76mm and 2 batteries of 122 mm guns each, at one point. They must have reduced the number of 76mm guns ~1940 (minus almost a full Bn?), but even added a 3rd mixed Bn in early 1942, which contained a battery of 76mm and a bty of 122mm.
Whatsoever, even when - due to general reorganizations or due to operational decisions - a rifle division's Howitzer regiment had been taken away, when guard rifle divisions had "only" 3 mixed arty Bns at their disposal, when motorized divisions had 2 mixed Bns, or when Cavalry divisions had 1 light arty Rgt only (16 x 76mm + 8 x 122mm) in 1943, such divisions could still count on organic "hi-trajectory" support with their 122mm guns. For the crucial period in 1941, where arty pieces were rather scarce and put under High Command (usually Army), divisions could count on support by these Army assets (Army's Arty Regiment group or reserve).


Again, let me put it simple. While German division had 36-48 105mm-150mm howitzers capable to deal with entrenched infantry, Soviet division had 8-12 122mm howitzers for the same task. How could Soviet division alter the situation and make it more favourable? The simplest and most effective solution - big guys from supporting artillery - was not always available even in 1944/45, not talking about 41/43. While the ricochet fire, if terrain allowed, did not depend of anything, hence its relatively wide use. I can even recall military schooling movie from 1942 or 1943, named "Artillery fire using ricochets".

quote:


Also, according to Glantz, with the Russians trying to refine the operational art of war, reshaping (until 1944) the standard defensive and offensive postures of formations in Winter 1942/1943, involved putting the 122mm in long range support, while the 76mm pieces served as close inf support (~2000 meters) in "infantry support artillery groups", with one group on the left flank and one group on the right flank in a defensive posture, while the long range arty was grouped and positioned behind the division's second echelon, around 5-7 km behind the first line. In an offensive posture, the 76mm pieces would be split into 3 artillery groups (left, center, right) and positioned on the same line as the divisional reserve (a Rifle Bn) 5-7 km behind the immediate mission area, while the long range arty would be combined and placed 7-9 km behind the immediate mission line/area.


All this very interesting stuff is a sheer theorizing and extrapolation of few selected cases to the whole variety. In practice, as a Soviet divisional commander, you often would be using your venerable horse-driven 76mm batteries for various sorts of tasks, with most of that fancy "thousands of roaring guns" thing either lagging behind or out of supply. In particular, for the future East Front title (winter 42-43), in reality there were Soviet artillery units at the frontline that made not a single shot at Germans for periods of 3-4 weeks long due to the absence of shells and/or fuel, as well as there were divisions operating with their 76mm artillery only (with howitzer batteries either lagging far behind the advancing infantry or having no precious 122mm shells to fire.

quote:


While it's true that rather flat trajectory artillery may be less effective on trenches and some types of fortifications or conceiled positions, the Germans still hated the Russian "Ratsch-Bumm" guns (dubbed according to the sound of firing the gun [Ratsch] and almost immediate subsequent impact ["Bumm"], due to the speed of the projectile, making it impossible to take cover), plus the Russians DID have high-angle arty suppor in the form of 122mm guns and either an organic howitzer regiment or howitzer support from Corps/Army level. Even though the SiS-3 was pushed towards an AT role, its performance as field gun was way better, imho.


Here you seem to refer to their use for direct fire, which is different tactics from the one discussed above, and has its own limits and lead to high losses among artillerymen as a "side effect".

Best regards

< Message edited by T-28A -- 12/28/2011 6:41:53 AM >


_____________________________

_________________________________________
"Russia has only two allies: Russian Army and Russian Navy".
---Emperor Alexander III

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 25
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 8:42:40 AM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1502
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
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quote:

ORIGINAL: T-28A

The ancient 3GT fuse was used for ricochet fire yet during WW1, the KTM-1 (mechanical delay) during the early WW2 and improved KTMZ-1 (with dedicated delay mechanism optimized especially for ricochet fire) during the late-WW2.


Thanks for the info.

quote:

Again, let me put it simple. While German division had 36-48 105mm-150mm howitzers capable to deal with entrenched infantry, Soviet division had 8-12 122mm howitzers for the same task.


Yes, 36 x 105mm leFH, and 12 x 150mm sFH if a hvy arty Bn was present, IIRC.
I didn't claim they had more or the same organic support as the Germans, I just said they had SOME hvy support.
Plus, there were more 76mm than 122mm, where the former delivered more punch in the close support role than the Germans' 75mm leIG guns, imo, despite the 76mm downside - if compared to the leIG, the low max. elevation.

quote:

I can even recall military schooling movie from 1942 or 1943, named "Artillery fire using ricochets".


I see, interesting. Question is, was it really turned into practice? The Tiger I manual explained how to use ballistic fire on targets at ranges from 2400 to 2800 meters. That did not necessarily mean that it was widely used, though. (It was used in Russia though, especially on gun sites like arty or AT positions.)

quote:

All this very interesting stuff is a sheer theorizing and extrapolation of few selected cases to the whole variety. In practice, as a Soviet divisional commander, you often would be using your venerable horse-driven 76mm batteries for various sorts of tasks, with most of that fancy "thousands of roaring guns" thing either lagging behind or out of supply.
In particular, for the future East Front title (winter 42-43), in reality there were Soviet artillery units at the frontline that made not a single shot at Germans for periods of 3-4 weeks long due to the absence of shells and/or fuel, as well as there were divisions operating with their 76mm artillery only (with howitzer batteries either lagging far behind the advancing infantry or having no precious 122mm shells to fire.


Well, the Germans had the same problem during the BFTB, after the initial bombardments, vital ammo supplies were either used up or in transfer later on (and then partially stuck on horse-drawn vehicles that got trapped in the traffic jams, just like vital fuel supplies), rounds were rationed even down to 7 rounds a day in some sectors (eg. Hürtgen Forest, flanks of the bulge), in order to re-route supplies for the actual offensive. What I was talking about was the general Russian doctrine of 1942/43 in the East Front game. Particular Russian supply situations then have to be researched and considered by the scenario designer.

quote:

Here you seem to refer to their use for direct fire, which is different tactics from the one discussed above, and has its own limits and lead to high losses among artillerymen as a "side effect".


Well, if you consider a deployment and engagement at a range of ~2000 up to 4200 meters (with no direct LOS) to be direct fire support.... I'd still call it indirect fire support, despite the low arc and max. elevation of 37°, and despite the fact that many sources refer to them as "direct fire" infantry (field) guns.
Still, 37°, or even 30° angles provide curved flight paths, allowing for indirect fire, I'd say.

37 degrees:





Attachment (1)

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 12/28/2011 9:05:25 AM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to T-28A)
Post #: 26
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 12:22:19 PM   
T-28A


Posts: 835
Joined: 11/1/2002
From: Ukraine
Status: offline
quote:


Yes, 36 x 105mm leFH, and 12 x 150mm sFH if a hvy arty Bn was present, IIRC.
I didn't claim they had more or the same organic support as the Germans, I just said they had SOME hvy support.

Surely they did. Now, since the discussion drifts and loosely relates to the starting point, don't you mind if I repeat the original theses: the Soviet artillery seemed to employ ricochet fire more often than Western allies. And my explanation to this: because this would increase the effectiveness of the large chunk of their divisional artillery, the chunk ill-suited to deal with field fortifications otherwise. Contrary to Western allies, whose divisional artillery already is optimized for that sort of task by design.

quote:


Plus, there were more 76mm than 122mm, where the former delivered more punch in the close support role than the Germans' 75mm leIG guns, imo, despite the 76mm downside - if compared to the leIG, the low max. elevation.

Soviet divisional 76mm guns and German leIGs had different tactical purposes, and the complete tactical analog of German leIG is Soviet regimental 76mm gun.

quote:


I see, interesting. Question is, was it really turned into practice?
The Tiger I manual explained how to use ballistic fire on targets at ranges from 2400 to 2800 meters. That did not necessarily mean that it was widely used, though. (It was used in Russia though, especially on gun sites like arty or AT positions.)

From these your sentences it could be concluded that Tigers were used for indirect fire, when there were proper conditions and when there was a need to, weren't they? Likewise it was used by US tankers in Vietnam, btw. And, fyi, I can't say for Western armies, but firing tank guns indirectly was the standard training exercise for post-war Soviet (and still is for modern Russian army) tankers. So, when needed, they are prepared to do this.
The logic is simple: it is nice to have all the various neat things like MRLS, air support, orbital lasers, etc, but when you haven't and yet have to fight off waves of enemies, you will use every possible weapon in every possible way, and better be prepared for this.

quote:


Well, the Germans had the same problem during the BFTB, after the initial bombardments, vital ammo supplies were either used up or in transfer later on (and then partially stuck on horse-drawn vehicles that got trapped in the traffic jams, just like vital fuel supplies), rounds were rationed even down to 7 rounds a day in some sectors (eg. Hürtgen Forest, flanks of the bulge), in order to re-route supplies for the actual offensive. What I was talking about was the general Russian doctrine of 1942/43 in the East Front game. Particular Russian supply situations then have to be researched and considered by the scenario designer.

That's for sure. I might remind here that the original point was neither to provide "Ricochet Fire" as the independent button in CmdOps GUI, nor the alteration of game mechanics to model that. It is rather to explain what reasons led Soviet divisional artillery to pay relatively much attention to this technique historically.

quote:


Well, if you consider a deployment and engagement at a range of ~2000 up to 4200 meters (with no direct LOS) to be direct fire support.... I'd still call it indirect fire support, despite the low arc and max. elevation of 37°, and despite the fact that many sources refer to them as "direct fire" infantry (field) guns.
Still, 37°, or even 30° angles provide curved flight paths, allowing for indirect fire, I'd say.

There are long-established terms that have clear meaning. Direct fire is exactly the fire with direct LOS disregards of the distance, exposing yourself to enemy's observation.
The elevation angles you propose to use - 30°..37° - mean the firing range of 12200..13000m. Divisional guns never were deployed at these ranges from the frontline because of:
- huge dispersion of shells at that range
- inability to maneuver their fire into the enemy's rears and flanks;
- automatic exclusion of 76mm guns from the AT system of the division (which was among top priorities);
- C2 difficulties.
Typical (indirect) firing ranges for 76mm guns are 4-6km, i.e. angle of fall 6.8° .. 14°. How much curved they are? At the mentioned ranges of 2000..4200m for ZiS-3 (using HE shells) the angle of fall was 1.8° .. 6.8°. Again, how much curved these are? At these fall angles the only thing you could do against field fortification is to suppress their forward-firing MG nests, bunkers or observation posts. Then, if you use direct fire, you could add here the destruction of the frontal-firing targets via their firing slits. Adding ricochet fire you could destroy enemy manpower in the trenches as well.

_____________________________

_________________________________________
"Russia has only two allies: Russian Army and Russian Navy".
---Emperor Alexander III

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 27
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 12:37:25 PM   
Lieste

 

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The 105mm light howitzer has been quoted in a Canadian field manual as having a minimum range (of some number I forget) which equated to a 15 degree angle of fall against a target on level ground in the lowest charge.

The maximum range of the 76mm gun does of course allow for indirect fires well in excess of this angle of fall, but the problem with it is that the 'minimum range boundary' of effective indirect fire is much further out - something like 3-4x that for the 105mm howitzer.

This is a problem shared with all field guns - they lack flexibility at ranges above those at which direct fire is accurate, but below which their area fire is concentrated sufficiently. They do have good long range and reasonable accuracy in indirect fires, but ammunition usage is higher for all weapons at longer range, and the low shell weights do still hamper their effectiveness against deployed troops and field fortifications.

The same objections can be raised against FK40, Flak18/37, and other guns with unitary shells and high velocities. Some efforts were made to supply limited quantities of reduced range shells - either separate low propellant/velocity rounds, or spoilers for the shell nose. Both work, but I have some notes that suggest both reduced accuracy and consistency.

The leIG18 is a completely different weapon - with the best characteristics of a mortar and a light field gun, the "minimum range" is similar for both high and low angle fires at a little over 300m, the shell has zoned propellant, and a light anti-armour round became available later in the war... The weapon is also roughly the same size and weight as the 3.7cm PaK. The later leIG37 is less capable - although the range is higher, the carriage is the simpler PaK carriage and the ability to use high angle fire was lost.

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 28
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 1:13:07 PM   
T-28A


Posts: 835
Joined: 11/1/2002
From: Ukraine
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Lieste
The leIG18 is a completely different weapon - with the best characteristics of a mortar and a light field gun, the "minimum range" is similar for both high and low angle fires at a little over 300m, the shell has zoned propellant, and a light anti-armour round became available later in the war... The weapon is also roughly the same size and weight as the 3.7cm PaK. The later leIG37 is less capable - although the range is higher, the carriage is the simpler PaK carriage and the ability to use high angle fire was lost.

I would add here that with leIG 18 the high allowed elevation angle and 5 possible charges allow you to freely balance between the charge / elevation angle / fall angle for the same range. For example, the same range of 2300 m with leIG 18 you could achieve with four possible combinations:
- charge #4, fall angle 43 deg
- charge #4, fall angle 57 deg
- charge #5, fall angle 20 deg
- charge #5, fall angle 77 deg
with appropriate differences with hor/vert dispersions, of course. So that you could choose the combination most fitting your tactical needs and terrain.

_____________________________

_________________________________________
"Russia has only two allies: Russian Army and Russian Navy".
---Emperor Alexander III

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 29
RE: Artillery effectiveness in woods/forest terrain - 12/28/2011 2:13:48 PM   
PeteG662


Posts: 1263
Joined: 6/7/2004
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I was an artillery officer in the US Army for 26 years and you are all talking in the same vein here and really agreeing on most points. To clairfy some points though:

- The size of the shell is directly proportional to the lethal blast radius. The bigger the shell the more potential harm further from the impact point.
- Almost all artillery is capable of using muzzle burst like a shotgun to blast approaching infantry and even armor so the minimum range is really about 50 feet (enough time for the spin of the projectile to arm and detonate the fuze). Obviously for indirect fire the minimum range will be higher but with the advent of high angle fire comes additional fire computation issues (spin of the earth, weather effects, altitude differences between firing unit and target, etc.)
- The US Army/Navy/Marines used Time fuzes from early on in WWII (don't have exact dates but early battles showed mixed effectiveness. The Army and Navy developed Variable Time (VT or proximity fuzes) based on the mixed results from the time fuzes used early on. The effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire increased significantly because of this evolution as the war went on. VT fuzes would be useless in a wooded area, they are great for bursting over trenches and other open topped field works. For tree bursts, artillery would use point detonating fuzes, not time fuzes. This is what would create better tree burst effects.
- Air bursts in the forest and in open ground are different. While air bursts (tree bursts) in a forest can be more lethal there is also the offsetting effect of cover from the very same trees. Air bursts in open ground there is no such thing as cover unless you can dig real quick and pull some logs or something overhead for protection. Basically, tree bursts can be lethal if you are in the wrong spot but being behind a tree and the tree burst hitting a nearby tree you should be okay from the shrapnel and splinters. When we had short rounds, I would rather be in the treeline than out in the open due to the added protection.  
- The angle of fall (trajectory) also had an effect on the round lethal zone. Think of it as a cone. If you are on the exact spot of a point of impact for a round and it has a time fuze which means it will explode before hitting that spot, you would be more likely to survive the shrapnel effect if it exploded 9-20 meters up (standard height for an air burst) versus it hitting the ground right next to you since when the shell explodes it would spray more to the sides than directly in front of the shell. In the case of a ground burst, distance is your friend since it sprays almost 360 degrees from point of impact. Little folds in the ground help for a ground burst since the shrapnel will pass over you. Being in the open for an air burst there is no place to hide. Statistically speaking, it really doesn't matter if you are prone or upright with an air burst since it is luck whether you get hit or not but being prone for a ground burst is better.
- Artillery is called the King of Battle since it is the largest casualty producer on the battlefield. Infantry is the Queen of Battle.

Pete


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