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RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective

 
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RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 12:37:56 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

Expanding on the St Vith mission example (human US player) and some evaluation:

"Lommersweiler" is of little tactical value, since it neither commands "Steinebruck" bridge, nor the main road leading up to "St Vith" via "Breitfeld". So this worthless village can be left to minor forces, following up a concentrated main thrust toward "St Vith".

Securing "Steinebruck" crossing is a self purpose.

"Breitenfeld" crossroads tactical importance is due to the 2 crossing points nearby. This can be figured by human player without the Vic loc.

Beside these, other important crossings are near "Neidengen" (and particularly the commanding hill about 1km west of it), "St Vith" and a minor one SW of "Lommersweiler". The latter, if not used by US human and once "Lommersweiler" is taken, can also be controlled by Arty (FO) from "Elcherath". Seizure of "Maspelt" with a reccon force could also help to secure the US assembly area and Arty positions by denying observation.

Human player could also choose to send minor forces via "Steinebruck" - "Weppeler" - "Schliersbach" to endanger german supply lines even farther to the east and possibly quicker.

These are major considerations, when just a main Vic Loc is placed near St Vith, although not even this is really essential. The main goal can be already well grasped by a descriptive mission briefing.

Thinking about it, St Vith does not really need a single Vic Loc for a human player at last. Winning goal then would be determined by Cas rates as well as denying the (unknown yet plausible) AI Vic Locs and winning conditions.

The challenge then would be to set up AI goals to deal with a humans possible considerations and actions.


Assuming you might celebrate it, Happy Easter, Harry!

If not, well happy day anyway

This is worth considering in scenario design.

During one of my responses I started drawing an analogy to Blitzkrieg-type operations of 1939 (Poland), 1940 (Belgium / France / Netherlands), and 1941 (Soviet Union) where the strategy was deep penetration via mechanized units bypassing and isolating strong points to allow the forces passed to "wither on the vine" before being eliminated by the slower follow on forces.

Didn't want to post it because it was a tangent to the point I wanted to make.

But, there couldn't be battle "victories" for the German player if strong points are defined by point circles friendly forces have to garrison as the mechanized units move deeper into enemy territory.

Victory comes in the Blitz circumstance by cutting supply routes to the isolated forces, and moving the mobile forces off the map, perhaps at victory point locations that designate enemy supply routes and the optimum maneuver routes for German forces.

Places a huge burden on the German player to move supply bases close to the front line forces and husband available resources to support maneuver instead of attrition operations.

Also kind of explains a discussion in another thread about the differences in Allied and German artillery doctrine.



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Post #: 31
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 1:27:10 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

What I´d find to be useful in future CO, would be a set of Victory Condition templates, to be chosen from the player and give him the choice to either play the "one goal" method, or any other thinkable, with intermediate objectives ect. If well implemented, then just a single mission needs to be made, which has the different goal achievement methods already included by the mission maker. Playtesting times are greatly increased, but also is replayability of any mission that makes uses of offering alternative playmethods (hard - easier).

What an excellent idea Harry. But perhaps we could add a twist of lemon to the mix. Within the sideTask class - ie the side objectives - we have a bool that says whther the objective is for the AI only. Perhaps we should change this to an enum and have three states - ie AI only, Human only, both. Then you could have the flexibility of having a pruned down list of objectives for the Human player but it could be more than just one.


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Post #: 32
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 1:41:36 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Some of us need more help though Harry. The objectives and timings give that help for planning. Without them I'd never consider playing the game. I'd just be way to confused about where I should go and what times I should be there..obj help me here massively, we aren't all as experienced or as good at these games as your goodself. Like when 3we were discussing TU the other day and you mentioned players being lazy by not doing something and I said maybe they don't realise the importance of or are to scared to start messing with that particular setting..always remember games have to also be playable by newbies and those who aren't as knowledgeable as your self.

quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

I follow a different approach with regard to Vic Locs in self made missions. I treat Vic Locs mostly to be the needed guidelines for the AI player, as off course without them, the AI won´t move/attack anywhere. A mission intended to be human played just needs "end goal" objectives and everything between the start lines and the end goal, should be on judgement of the (human) player and not artificially enforced on him. Maybe it´s not for beginning/average players, but the more interested and skilled player might like to take up the challenge to make own terrain, time and force allocation judgements, just like a RL commander.

Example St Vith (leaving aside that this is a tutorial mission): End Goal = St Vith town and related info from mission description = cut off germans retreating east from the bulge.

Without the intermediate Vic Locs of the original mission, the player is free to find the truely important key locations, avenues of approach and such, not binding him to any mission maker intermediate timings on Vic Locs, that a human player might find restricting and not suiting the players own operational/tactical judgements and plans.

This also takes away much the players natural knowledge on the enemy (AI) Vic Locs and likely actions, since human player and AI Vic Locs are very oftenly the same.

This off course limits a particular mission to be human played just from a single side and in case a player wants to play the AI side as well, an additional mission version needs to be made.

What I´d find to be useful in future CO, would be a set of Victory Condition templates, to be chosen from the player and give him the choice to either play the "one goal" method, or any other thinkable, with intermediate objectives ect. If well implemented, then just a single mission needs to be made, which has the different goal achievement methods already included by the mission maker. Playtesting times are greatly increased, but also is replayability of any mission that makes uses of offering alternative playmethods (hard - easier).



Yeah, mate. I meant to suggest an expanded (or more varied) system of victory achievemnet goals, to satisfy rookies and more sort of us armchair generals with deeper interest in the matter. As outlined above, the current system already allows to make missions with less hints to a player, though at the expense of more workload and playtest time investment of the mission maker. A future CO might integrate this mission making approach, by mentioned templates to choose from the player. Likely less difficult to be implemented, like i.e random mission/map generation.

Happy Easter all

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Post #: 33
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 1:47:12 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

Expanding on the St Vith mission example (human US player) and some evaluation:

"Lommersweiler" is of little tactical value, since it neither commands "Steinebruck" bridge, nor the main road leading up to "St Vith" via "Breitfeld". So this worthless village can be left to minor forces, following up a concentrated main thrust toward "St Vith".

I disagree, not violently, but I think you underestimate the importance of Lommersweiler.

Ground of tactical importance (GTI) was always drummed into me in the Army as to mean any piece of terrain that if held by the enemy made your position untenable. If you have a look at this screen dump you can see that enemy in Lommersweiler can see the main road heading north into Steinbruck. So long as the Germans hold this they can call arty onto that road. I'll admit that this may not make the allied positions around Steinbruck untenable but they can make it dam uncomfortable. Moreover, from the German perspective if they fail to secure Lomersweiller there would be nothing stopping the Americans pushing the 1/318th Inf Bn into it and then calling fire onto the German positions south of the Steinbruck bridge and that would make the German position untenable.

Moreover, because of its hight advantage forces can assemble in Lommersweiler out of sight of any forces along the road between Steinbruck and Breitfeld. So they are al;ways going to be vulnerable to a surprise attack from this direction if this is not secured. And an attack onto Steinbruck would cut the road at least for the time of the assault.






Attachment (1)

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Post #: 34
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 1:54:11 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna


quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

What I´d find to be useful in future CO, would be a set of Victory Condition templates, to be chosen from the player and give him the choice to either play the "one goal" method, or any other thinkable, with intermediate objectives ect. If well implemented, then just a single mission needs to be made, which has the different goal achievement methods already included by the mission maker. Playtesting times are greatly increased, but also is replayability of any mission that makes uses of offering alternative playmethods (hard - easier).

What an excellent idea Harry. But perhaps we could add a twist of lemon to the mix. Within the sideTask class - ie the side objectives - we have a bool that says whther the objective is for the AI only. Perhaps we should change this to an enum and have three states - ie AI only, Human only, both. Then you could have the flexibility of having a pruned down list of objectives for the Human player but it could be more than just one.



Yes, something like that might possibly work as good foundation. If an additional Vic Loc array could be created, to offer that as a further play option (or say another difficulty level) to be selected from the game load menu, then all levels of players might get satisfied better. That combined with the supply/weather/reinforcement options surely add to even more replayabilty, at least I think so.

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Post #: 35
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 3/31/2013 2:43:19 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna


quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

Expanding on the St Vith mission example (human US player) and some evaluation:

"Lommersweiler" is of little tactical value, since it neither commands "Steinebruck" bridge, nor the main road leading up to "St Vith" via "Breitfeld". So this worthless village can be left to minor forces, following up a concentrated main thrust toward "St Vith".

I disagree, not violently, but I think you underestimate the importance of Lommersweiler.

Ground of tactical importance (GTI) was always drummed into me in the Army as to mean any piece of terrain that if held by the enemy made your position untenable. If you have a look at this screen dump you can see that enemy in Lommersweiler can see the main road heading north into Steinbruck. So long as the Germans hold this they can call arty onto that road. I'll admit that this may not make the allied positions around Steinbruck untenable but they can make it dam uncomfortable. Moreover, from the German perspective if they fail to secure Lomersweiller there would be nothing stopping the Americans pushing the 1/318th Inf Bn into it and then calling fire onto the German positions south of the Steinbruck bridge and that would make the German position untenable.

Moreover, because of its hight advantage forces can assemble in Lommersweiler out of sight of any forces along the road between Steinbruck and Breitfeld. So they are al;ways going to be vulnerable to a surprise attack from this direction if this is not secured. And an attack onto Steinbruck would cut the road at least for the time of the assault.







Generally I agree with the idea, yet I playtested St vith mostly as german human player and didn´t find the Lommersweiler postion of much use really. In some my previous test runs, the US AI very much beat and impressed me with sort of a Blitzkrieg attack like mentioned here (associated pics further above in same thread):

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=3277823

The influence of Lommerswiler very much diminishes to Nil, once a strong US force pushes past Steinebrück and moves quickly up the main road toward Breitenfeld. The AI once did extly that, isolating Lommersweiler within few hours on day 1, cutting it off (from supply) on all sides except west and south west. The AI was so quick that I barely managed to move german 48th Gren Rgt near Breitenfeld, enabling it to dig in before the strong US armored thrust developed. 48th Regt was beaten and partly destroyed within 1-2 hours and the path to St Vith lay wide open. Unfortunately the AI did not move past Breitenfeld then and took opportunity to seize St Vith 12 hours before Piper arrives on the szene. I think this was due to me having small detachments of germans (Steinebrück force remnants) threatening the main Steinebrück - Breitenfeld road, but no left over german force of Lommersweiler, while beeing under strong pressure from 4th armored unts following up, could threaten the US main line to any effect.

Btw, I checked LOS on St vith map mostly by area LOS (ingame and from scenario maker) and the US assembly area beeing observed from Lommersweiler is only of some minor importance during the opening phase of the game IMHO.

Also weather plays into US hands after dusk in day 1, when any LOS opportunies are diminsihed to a noticable degree.

As said in another thread, if purely armored units would keep pushing (not halting), when under any amount of Arty/mortar harrassing, then both the player and AI could act more aggressively and decisively.

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Post #: 36
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 4/1/2013 1:18:08 AM   
Arjuna


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Harry,

re armoured units and arty fire. This is another one of those thorny issues that you can never satisfy everyone. If you reduce the impact of arty on AFVs in term of suppression and kills then you will get feedback that arty is not being given due effect. If you increase the effect then you get feedback like yours that armour cannot act aggressively enough. Their are historical facts, case histories etc to support both arguments. Arty did destroy tanks, it did cause units to bunker down or retreat. There are cases where the decision was taken to drive straight through and accept the casualties. So obviously there are a plethora of factors impacting on the decision. Eg commander aggro or judgement or the units recent engagements, the mission priority, the perception of danger and just plain old random effects. We try and factor all of these into the reaction code. Sure we can tweak these further but there must come a time when we say that on balance this is about right. My gut feel at the moment is that it is about right.

I'd be happy to hear from others on this though and I'm prepared to countenance some minor adjustments.

_____________________________

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www.panthergames.com

(in reply to RockinHarry)
Post #: 37
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 4/1/2013 6:15:24 AM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Harry,

re armoured units and arty fire. This is another one of those thorny issues that you can never satisfy everyone. If you reduce the impact of arty on AFVs in term of suppression and kills then you will get feedback that arty is not being given due effect. If you increase the effect then you get feedback like yours that armour cannot act aggressively enough. Their are historical facts, case histories etc to support both arguments. Arty did destroy tanks, it did cause units to bunker down or retreat. There are cases where the decision was taken to drive straight through and accept the casualties. So obviously there are a plethora of factors impacting on the decision. Eg commander aggro or judgement or the units recent engagements, the mission priority, the perception of danger and just plain old random effects. We try and factor all of these into the reaction code. Sure we can tweak these further but there must come a time when we say that on balance this is about right. My gut feel at the moment is that it is about right.

I'd be happy to hear from others on this though and I'm prepared to countenance some minor adjustments.


I haven´t made dedicated test runs with Arty vs. armor yet, but from a majority of ingame observations with various missions, I figured that purely armored formations (AFV, SC and HT) do stop way too often, when coming under ANY Arty/mortar bombarments. So it´s my issue with the notorious "halting" and less about morale, suppression or actual damaging effects, which off course all play their role in these situations. Taking aside other aspects, like spotted enemies/threats, the main purpose...or say main countermeasure for armor, is too keep moving, when any sort of Arty starts falling around. To some degree this tactic/doctrine also counts for well experienced and good morale infantry, when coming under Arty fire during an assault. Keeping up moving will cause at last less casualties, than stopping under light to medium Arty treatment. Again here, only highly concentrated Arty/mortar has a lasting effect and less so (assuming well trained/experience/morale troops), say a harassing fire with mortar, IG or Arty with rather few tubes. Off course shell sizes play a role too.

From some my german sources it was figured that it takes massive concentrations of at least 1-2 Arty Bn´s, preferably with 150mm + ordnance, to achieve noticable damaging and killing effects on an enemy armor formation (thus stopping and breaking it up). Anything less is considered more or less suppressive effects, which make vehicles to button up (yet keep moving) and to divide them from non armored/mechanized infantry accompanying.

Since the AI in CO seldomly applies massed fires from my observations, the AI mortar/Arty bombardements on armor, have bits to much effect when it comes for the decision to eiter halt, or better keep moving. An armored formation in column on roads likely receives more of "halting" effect, since it needs time to spread out and deploy (if surrounding terrain permits), but far less so, when the armor is already deployed and moving through rather open terrain.

So even damaging or killing effects occuring from light to medium Arty/mortar bombardements, do not necessarily make the whole (armored)unit "halt", since it would make it even more vulnerable during ongoing or future bombardment of any intensity. Counts similarly for mixed units (HT borne infantry) and the least one would expect the unit to halt, instead of keep moving.

These IMHO are the key elements to keep any sort of mechanized warfare going and it gets more pronounced when CO moves east.

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Post #: 38
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 4/1/2013 6:45:13 AM   
Arjuna


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Thanks for that Harry.

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Post #: 39
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 4/1/2013 7:32:31 AM   
RockinHarry


Posts: 2950
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From: Germany
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quote:

ORIGINAL: jimcarravallah


quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry

Expanding on the St Vith mission example (human US player) and some evaluation:

"Lommersweiler" is of little tactical value, since it neither commands "Steinebruck" bridge, nor the main road leading up to "St Vith" via "Breitfeld". So this worthless village can be left to minor forces, following up a concentrated main thrust toward "St Vith".

Securing "Steinebruck" crossing is a self purpose.

"Breitenfeld" crossroads tactical importance is due to the 2 crossing points nearby. This can be figured by human player without the Vic loc.

Beside these, other important crossings are near "Neidengen" (and particularly the commanding hill about 1km west of it), "St Vith" and a minor one SW of "Lommersweiler". The latter, if not used by US human and once "Lommersweiler" is taken, can also be controlled by Arty (FO) from "Elcherath". Seizure of "Maspelt" with a reccon force could also help to secure the US assembly area and Arty positions by denying observation.

Human player could also choose to send minor forces via "Steinebruck" - "Weppeler" - "Schliersbach" to endanger german supply lines even farther to the east and possibly quicker.

These are major considerations, when just a main Vic Loc is placed near St Vith, although not even this is really essential. The main goal can be already well grasped by a descriptive mission briefing.

Thinking about it, St Vith does not really need a single Vic Loc for a human player at last. Winning goal then would be determined by Cas rates as well as denying the (unknown yet plausible) AI Vic Locs and winning conditions.

The challenge then would be to set up AI goals to deal with a humans possible considerations and actions.


Assuming you might celebrate it, Happy Easter, Harry!

If not, well happy day anyway

This is worth considering in scenario design.

During one of my responses I started drawing an analogy to Blitzkrieg-type operations of 1939 (Poland), 1940 (Belgium / France / Netherlands), and 1941 (Soviet Union) where the strategy was deep penetration via mechanized units bypassing and isolating strong points to allow the forces passed to "wither on the vine" before being eliminated by the slower follow on forces.

Didn't want to post it because it was a tangent to the point I wanted to make.

But, there couldn't be battle "victories" for the German player if strong points are defined by point circles friendly forces have to garrison as the mechanized units move deeper into enemy territory.

Victory comes in the Blitz circumstance by cutting supply routes to the isolated forces, and moving the mobile forces off the map, perhaps at victory point locations that designate enemy supply routes and the optimum maneuver routes for German forces.

Places a huge burden on the German player to move supply bases close to the front line forces and husband available resources to support maneuver instead of attrition operations.

Also kind of explains a discussion in another thread about the differences in Allied and German artillery doctrine.




Thanks, that reflects my thinking pretty well. Some the objective settings in a number of missions enforce the player (no matter if Germs, US or Brits) to go rather the attrition way of things, instead of manuevering. In RL many positions were made untenable by isolation and thus forced a defending player to retreat, even when not directly threatened at any time. While germans were stunningly successful with these Blitzkrieg operations early war, they were then constantly beaten by same methods from the enemies (russians above all else) late war, when german commanders were taken away needed flexibility by higher orders (Hitler in particular).

CO already has the means available to support Blitzkrieg, thus my idea, at least for a human player, to offer missions with less restrictive Vic Loc employment alternatively.

Telling and setting up an AI player to react to this more open nature of battle set up, is bits of a different issue though.

What´s also needed is sort of overrun assaults (yes, I repeatedly mentioned elsewehere), allowing armored units to actually sweep trough enemies, who do not have appropiate on hand means to fight moving armor (like late war Fausts, Zooks and Schrecks). Early war would see more of these situations occuring, but even late war, aggressive and well experienced leaders would rather keep moving in the face of a surprised, disorganized or otherwise rather helpless enemy.

In CO even a small infantry force is too oftenly able to hold up an armored thrust through pure presence on the battlefield and it needs to be "beaten" decisively, before it makes way for the superior armored force, enabling it to get on the move again. OTOH such an infantry force should also be capable to dodge enemy armor, hold position and wait for it´s actual enemy, the attacking infantry, letting pass the armor to be dealt with by rearward AT units. Could be combined with sorts of tick box (dodge/don´t shoot armor), as well as for armor (overrun) to not mess with infantry when not necessary and movement preferred.

Can´t tell if it´s the case, but maybe the game treats dug in/entrenched infantry to also have "abstracted" obstacles (mines ect.) within position, thus making an armored unit to cautiously stop instead of keep moving through?

Well..it´s just stuff from my wishlist, but when CO moves east front (or France 1940), I´d expect a lot of battles not quite evolving like the real thing, when overrun possibilities and other stuff is not given some more attention.

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Post #: 40
RE: Seizing and Holding an Objective - 4/1/2013 1:05:02 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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Joined: 1/4/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Harry,

re armoured units and arty fire. This is another one of those thorny issues that you can never satisfy everyone. If you reduce the impact of arty on AFVs in term of suppression and kills then you will get feedback that arty is not being given due effect. If you increase the effect then you get feedback like yours that armour cannot act aggressively enough. Their are historical facts, case histories etc to support both arguments. Arty did destroy tanks, it did cause units to bunker down or retreat. There are cases where the decision was taken to drive straight through and accept the casualties. So obviously there are a plethora of factors impacting on the decision. Eg commander aggro or judgement or the units recent engagements, the mission priority, the perception of danger and just plain old random effects. We try and factor all of these into the reaction code. Sure we can tweak these further but there must come a time when we say that on balance this is about right. My gut feel at the moment is that it is about right.

I'd be happy to hear from others on this though and I'm prepared to countenance some minor adjustments.


Evidence from the redesign of armored and tactical vehicles to counteract Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) indicates we've learned in the US that tanks or tactical vehicles don't necessarily need to be destroyed to be made ineffective in combat.

In some instances crews are made ineffective from severely shaking and / or bouncing them off the walls inside their armored cocoon / operator's stations by nearby blast concussions.

Given the design of armored vehicle operator stations and soldier protective gear for the World War II era, there's probably some room to allow for certain heavy bombardment / shell explosive load combinations to, as a minimum, demoralize armored formations and in some instances put vehicles out of commission because the crew is incapacitated by the concussive effects of blasts against a vehicle's weight (F = MA).

With the caveat that using calculus to get the right numbers to pass physics wasn't one of my strong points when I studied engineering , I'd guess the zone of demoralizing effect against armored vehicles is possibly the 100-percent kill range of shell effects for bombarding entrenched troops (to eliminate shrapnel as a cause for injury to troops in a buttoned up vehicle) and the vehicle disabling (by crew shaking injuries) is a subset of that range calculated from vehicle weight and shell explosive charge weight if pinpoint accuracy for the F = MA calculation against a specific vehicle is desired.



_____________________________

Take care,

jim

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 41
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