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Arty Units - 4/5/2014 6:34:59 PM   
MikeJ19


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Good day all,

As a retired Artillery Officer, I always enjoy the fire support aspects of games. I like how the artillery is used in Command Ops. It is flexible and does a good amount of damage.

I have an observation though on its defensive strength. I'm planning the Loshiem Gap scenario and my forward elements have run into the US artillery Bns. The Bns have slowed me up considerably. Howitzer direct fire is rarely that accurate and I think that two Infantry companies would fare very well against an Arty Bn.

Also, I think that the Artillery units can deploy their guns too quickly. Towed artillery takes time to deploy and the guns can not fire while being towed. So, my Infantry company facing a moving artillery unit should be untouched, and should do lots of damage to the artillery unit.

Back to the game....
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RE: Arty Units - 4/5/2014 10:54:04 PM   
jimcarravall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeJ19

Good day all,

As a retired Artillery Officer, I always enjoy the fire support aspects of games. I like how the artillery is used in Command Ops. It is flexible and does a good amount of damage.

I have an observation though on its defensive strength. I'm planning the Loshiem Gap scenario and my forward elements have run into the US artillery Bns. The Bns have slowed me up considerably. Howitzer direct fire is rarely that accurate and I think that two Infantry companies would fare very well against an Arty Bn.

Also, I think that the Artillery units can deploy their guns too quickly. Towed artillery takes time to deploy and the guns can not fire while being towed. So, my Infantry company facing a moving artillery unit should be untouched, and should do lots of damage to the artillery unit.

Back to the game....


Based on your experience, what measures would you use for matters like a gun battalion's defensive strength against a typical infantry company, or time required to deploy weapons for bombardment fire?

Unit design criteria in the Estabs includes listing various relative strengths for formations under a range of combat conditions, movement speed, times to deploy into formations, and time required to reload weapons.

_____________________________

Take care,

jim

(in reply to MikeJ19)
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RE: Arty Units - 4/6/2014 8:49:18 PM   
MikeJ19


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Good day Jim.

Good questions. Here are my thoughts.

A deployed artillery Bn is focused on putting rounds down range. If they are attacked by infantry only a few of the howitzers would likely be able to engage the infantry. Furthermore, the direct fire sites on the guns are still not very good, so I think that in WWII they would likely have been worse. If attacked on the flank or rear, the artillery Bn would likely see it echelon - soft skinned supply vehicles, command posts etc - taking the biggest hit. So, overall I would likely give the Infantry company very good odds at destroying or damaging a fair chunk of the artillery Bn. At the least it would be an even fight - even if the Artillery Bn was dug in.

Having spent lots of time on towed artillery, a good time to deploy for a Bn is likely about 10 minutes. Not all guns will be ready to go that quickly, but enough for game purposes. It also takes time for the Bn to hook up the guns to the gun tractors when they decide to move - so likely another 10 minutes is a good estimate.

If a towed artillery Bn is moving it is extremely vulnerable to enemy action. None of the howitzers would be able to come into action - ready to fire - for about 3-10 minutes and the gun crews are in the gun tractors and in most cases unable to respond to fire very quickly. Finally, unlike the infantry, the artillery did not spend much time working on responding rapidly to attacks while on the move - as attacks were not supposed to happen often.

As a side note, the Soviets used their artillery - towed and Self-propelled - move frequently in the defence mode - to delay or block penetration of the Soviet defence lines. So, the Soviet artillery received more training and had more experience by 1944 in defending.

I hope this helps,

Mike

(in reply to jimcarravall)
Post #: 3
RE: Arty Units - 4/13/2014 1:35:22 PM   
MikeJ19


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Tigers against 105 mm Howitzers

In the screen shot below is the aftermath of 3 Tigers running into a 10 gun 105 mm Howitzer Bn. In less than 10 minutes I lost all 3 Tigers. Now, there might be other units out there that I do not know about, but the only units I have seen in that area have been arty for the last little while.

I think that in reality, it is more likely that the Tigers would have done lots of damage to the guns without being destroyed - the 105 mm in direct fire is not very accurate at all - plus I think that the arty bn had been moving - in which case they should have sitting ducks. Oh well....




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RE: Arty Units - 4/13/2014 2:09:15 PM   
Phoenix100

 

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Is it one of those big US FA units? - if so they make powerful little battlegroups in themselves - you have to be really careful approaching them, Mike. They have Shermans (I forget how many - more than 3 though), plus AT guns and Infantry AT capability, I think. What unit is it? I wouldn't assume the arty guns took out your Tigers until I knew for sure what was in the unit. You will have to surrender to get a better idea, but even that will be rough because the surrender info on the enemy still suffers form FOW. To be sure you would have to start the scenario as Allies and take a look at the unit.

UPDATE: I took a look. If it's the 589FA or 592 FA then they don't have tanks, but they have around 25 bazookas each and you're in very close range with no infantry support. So I wouldn't be surprised if your Tigers were taken out by infantry AT fire. Your Tigers may well have done a fair bit of damage before they were hit, but it's hard to tell with the FOW being as it is. You can surrender before the engagement, check numbers, surrender after, check numbers, but FOW still affects those numbers. I would expect they did some damage though.

The range looks like under 300metres to me, by the way (probably much closer if you look at the enemy footprint) - if it was the howitzers, then surely you wouldn't need crack gunners to pick off Tigers on a bare hillside at 300m? They have better visibility than you (they're not buttoned up). I would be more worried if your Tigers were 2km away (from which range they could still have inflicted damage on the unit, but would have been safe from inf AT fire [had it been daytime]). I have no military experience, unlike yourself, so this is all guesswork....

And how good are the Tigers? What was their morale etc? Why only 3 of them - had they been previously decimated? Plus they're in a bad position I would have thought, presenting a nice exposed outline on the ridge line. It's getting dark too - which will favour the infantry getting in close with the bazookas. Like I said, I have no military experience, but you've sent 3 unsupported tanks over a ridge line, across an exposed hillside, in darkness, into the teeth of 25 bazooka teams and possibly 12 guns that have a close range shot with better vis than you. No? Did your Tigers even have los, I wonder (given the darkness)? You could check that. It's possible the Tigers had no LOS and the bazookas did. And if you're thinking that a bazooka couldn't penetrate a Tiger armour (though I believe it could, certainly with a side or rear shot, but sometimes frontal too, if very lucky) then you have to remember that they would only have to take the tracks off - to immobilise - and your Tiger crews would probably be bailing in those conditions (darkness, exposed, alone) - and it does look like you have surviving (fleeing) crew, no?.

It doesn't look like a clear case of something being wrong with the engine to me, Mike. Not on the info you've given, anyway.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 4/13/2014 3:36:06 PM >

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RE: Arty Units - 4/13/2014 10:32:14 PM   
dazkaz15


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I agree with Peter Mike.
I think what you may be forgetting looking at your screenshot is the visibility.
It looks like it is dark, and foggy.

Armour is very vulnerable to infantry hand held weapons in low viz, and built up areas, forests etc.
The bazooka in game has an effective range of 300m with a penetration of 109mm.
Most artillery Bn's have a lot of men in them, each armed with a personal weapon, and usually quite a lot of MG's.

It would be very unlikely that an infantry Coy would come of better against an artillery Bn.
A Bn of infantry against a Bn of artillery would fair much better, especially in covered terrain, where they can close the obvious advantage artillery have with regards to range, if deployed.
It would still be a tough job if they were dug in mind.
The best way to take out enemy artillery is with your own artillery I have found.

Take a good look at the E&S tab of the artillery unit in your example, to see what is in it.

Don't use your Panzers at night without close infantry support.
In fact don't use them at night at all if you can help it.
To make the best use of Tigers keep them at lease 400m from any enemy unit, unless you are attacking with infantry support, or in open terrain in good viz.

That said you may have found a valid problem.
Its hard to tell without more info.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/13/2014 10:50:43 PM   
dazkaz15


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Here is a short extract of an attack with armour, in the fog and dark.
This attack was supported by infantry as well.

three tanks and a platoon or so of infantry came through Company B.
They had passed on toward Rocherath before anyone realized that this was the first of the enemy.
Half an hour later more tanks came clanking along the road, the dark shapes of infantrymen following.
This time Company B took no chances. The first two German tanks struck the American mines.
Then two more tried to swing off the road, only to be knocked out by bazooka fire. By this time the Germans were milling about, apparently completely surprised, while the 15th Field Artillery Battalion added to the confusion by beating the road close to the 1st Battalion foxholes.
It took the enemy an hour or so to reorganize. Then five or six German tanks attacked in line, rolling to within a couple of hundred yards of the foxhole line where they halted and fired for nearly half an hour. Next the accompanying infantry rushed in, but were cut down by the heavy machine guns on the final protective line. Finally the enemy tankers and riflemen got together in an assault that broke through.

The 1st Battalion refused to panic and set to work with bazookas against the flanks of the blinded tanks.
One of the panzers was crippled, but the crew compartment proved impervious to bazooka rounds (perhaps this was a Tiger).
So Cpl. Charles Roberts (Company D) and Sgt. Otis Bone (Company B) drained some gasoline from an abandoned vehicle, doused the tank, and lit the whole with thermite grenades.
When German tanks moved into the Company A area, American artillery responded to the urgent call for help and within three minutes dropped in a concentration that stopped the assault.
Meanwhile the American gunners, firing from new emplacements near Camp Elsenborn, had effectively checked further troop moves on the road from the forest, seven battalions finally joining in the shoot.
By midnight all was quiet in front of the 1st Battalion except for the distant crash of friendly artillery--around the foxholes the silence was "frightening." Stubborn determination, mines, machine guns, and bazookas had checked this first series of assaults, but the battalion commander would credit the gunners at Elsenborn with saving his battalion.2

The full version in here
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-E-Ardennes/USA-E-Ardennes-6.html

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RE: Arty Units - 4/14/2014 12:29:02 AM   
Arjuna


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Yeh I remembered reading that years ago. Thanks Daz.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/15/2014 11:47:30 PM   
MikeJ19


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Hi Guys,

Thanks for the input. It was not the smartest move to send 3 Tigers in on their own. When I sent them in, I was planning on having some Infantry support, but they got hung up and I did not notice in time.

That being said, I still find it hard to believe that they got destroyed so quickly. Yes, there are lots of bazookas in an Arty Bn - but that Bn has a large footprint, so most of them are not really ready to be deployed.

I have fired a bazooka - a more modern one - and it is not that accurate. I have done direct fire using modern howitzers and it is very difficult to hit a target - in day light at 300-500m. Most of the guns in a Bn would likely not be able to see the targets, let alone engage them.

I have been looking on line to find more information to help me clarify my thoughts. The following link is a good one about the general way British Artillery deployed - http://nigelef.tripod.com/maindoc.htm#Deployment – General Organisation.

One thing that is clear, it does not talk much about actually defending a position. In most cases, Artillery - except for Soviet artillery - was placed so that it could fire indirectly but out of the way of enemy direct fire forces. I found a reference in the Guns of Victory about how much damage was done to a Gun Battery when a German foot patrol happened upon it.

So, I should have controlled my forces better - that is for sure. Artillery is a powerful weapon - but it's main power comes when used indirectly and in concentrations of Bns. When work is being done on CO2, I think that we need to look into Artillery deployment - length of time to deploy, length of time to respond to calls for fire and the amount of terrain a Bn would need to deploy in.

One of the great things about this forum is the chance to discuss tactics ... Thanks again for your input.

Have a good day,
Mike

(in reply to Arjuna)
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RE: Arty Units - 4/16/2014 1:38:52 AM   
BletchleyGeek


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Mike,

I'd advise you to look into the EstabEditor and review the accuracy values there for artillery guns in the Anti-Personnel (Direct fire) and Anti-Armour (Direct fire) categories. Those values need to be reviewed. I recently finished a pass on that for the Estabs coming along CO2, generally halving the accuracy values there. We'd welcome very much feedback from an artillery officer in that respect. Note as well that you can do the changes you find suitable in the Estab, and see how they pan out in the game as well.

_____________________________

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RE: Arty Units - 4/16/2014 6:48:41 AM   
DerGrenadier


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During my Army career (German Army) I once was posted to an supply unit. We where exactly drilled for these cases, Tanks suddenly appear in the rear echelon. We where drilled time and time again how to use the Panzerfaust. I still have lively memories when we had to dig foxholes and Leopard tanks rolled over me and I had to take simulated shots at the rear. What Iam trying to say is, dont think that rear echelon units are easy prey.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/16/2014 10:51:20 PM   
MikeJ19


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Bletchley_G, I will take a look at the EstabEditor to see what I think - this may be a little beyond my abilities, but I will take a look. I will test any changes I make - good idea.

DerGrenadier I do not think that rear echelons are easy prey. I spent lots of time developing local defence plans for my battery as a young officer. Later I taught these procedures, while working in our Artillery School and as a Battery Commander. As a young officer, when we deployed a battery we had to balance local defence - against infantry and tanks etc - against the danger of counter-battery fire. This drove our tactics for many years. Today, the advantages that tanks have is much higher than in WWII - tanks and Infantry fighting vehicles can fire and move easily whereas the direct fire sites on all of the artillery pieces I have worked on are still not very good.

I have fired the 105 mm howitzer in direct fire mode - and we rarely hit stationary targets - during the day. I'm not sure without an Infrared site, that we would have been able to hit any target at night. I talked with an Infanteer today and he said that whenever they trained with the Carl Gustav - an infantry anti-tank weapon from the 80's - they were very lucky to hit stationary targets at 300m.

Some more studies...

I have done some more research. I have not been able to find anything that talks directly to this question. I will keep looking - as I'm intrigued. Here are two links and a short blurb from each.

This first article looks at the US artillery support in Bastogne - it is an interesting read. http://www.super6th.org/divarty/Artillery.htm

Because of the weight of the German attacks, the possibility of a sucessful penetration, the narrowness of the escape corridor, the decision as to whether the position areas for the artillery battalions should remain inside the bulge, or be changed to relatively safer areas farther to the south, presented itself to the Artillery Commander. Should the Germans succeed in their efforts to achieve a break-through, much if not all of the artillery, because of its nearness to the front lines, the narrowness of the escape corridor, and the extreme difficult of moving heavy equipment over the icy, snow packed roads, would be over-run. On the other hand, by being concentrated within the bulge, better all around support could be given. Greater range was afforded for interdiction and harassing missions, more prompt and effective support could be given to adjacent divisions; and shorter lines of communication provided more constant and better control.

In this para, the bold portion highlights the concerns about artillery trying to stop a breakthrough. I read this that the US forces in Bastogne took the chance of losing the guns because the need to provide fire support all round was so high.


The second article looks at Russian artillery throughout the second world war - most of the focus is on how the Soviet artillery was controlled. There is very little mention of defending gun positions. As I said earlier, when planning where to put the artillery, most of the time it was put out of the way - close enough to deliver fire support where needed, but not in a place where it would have to defend itself.

http://www.allworldwars.com/Tactics-and-Fire-Control-of-Russian-Artillery-in-1941-44-by-Richert.html

On dark nights and in monotonous terrain, artillery emplaced in covered positions can be counteracted only by artillery or stormed and destroyed by infantry, tanks, and armored infantry. If the artillery is to be successful and if the expenditure of ammunition is to be kept within reasonable limits, it must be provided with modern means of reconnaissance end fire control. The infantry, tanks, and armored infantry, on the other hand, must first break through the strong antitank defense which the Russians always have, and here they are likely to sustain heavy casualties.

Once again, the bold text highlights the vulnerability of artillery against infantry and tanks.

I will try to make some modifications and see what I can find that is a little more definitive. Overall, the game does a very good job of representing the power of the artillery when fired indirectly. I like how that is done.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/17/2014 12:35:12 AM   
dazkaz15


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I think for the purposes of defence of the artillery gun positions, in game, from close range attacks, you have to just look at the number of men involved in the defence, and their small arms, and more importantly the number of MG's they have available.
This is assuming that the effective range of the artillery piece has already been reduced enough so as not to play an important part in the following action. i.e. the enemy is too close to use the guns.

Once this distance has been breached, I can't see that there is any difference to be had between a defending infantry Bn, or a defending artillery Bn.
An infantry Bn would obviously be better in attack as that is what they are trained and equipped for, but dug in, in a defensive position I can't see that there would be any difference, assuming that the artillery pieces are no longer effective.
If however the artillery position is over run then obviously they would not have enough time to pack up and escape, as it takes a considerable amount of effort to bug out of a gun position, and the men, and equipment is extremely vulnerable while it does so.

Un-deployed artillery, moving in road column would be very vulnerable to attack also.

Against armour each piece has its own measure of effectiveness. Take the Flak 88mm 37, and the Pak 40, for example at the top end of the scale.
I have no experience of the effectiveness of howitzers, used against tanks, but I have very limited experience of the 25 pounder, and 105 light gun.
I think experience, and teamwork are the main factors when trying to hit a moving target, as much as the weapon system in use at that time.
Remember that the tanks of the time also had to stop in order to fire their main ordinance accurately.

The Flak 88 was a devastating anti tank weapon because of the velocity of its shell, and thus the penetration, and killing power at extreme range.
The Pac 40 because it was extremely easy to conceal, and dig in, but still has a good punch.

I can't see that other artillery pieces would be any less accurate.
The main disadvantages would be, a large profile, less penetration power due to lower velocities, therefore decreased direct fire engagement range, and less manoeuvrable.

This would mean that provided the visibility was good, a tank could stand off and engage a gun position from a range that they could not effectively return fire.
In low viz however, and short range, where a howitzer's low velocity shell could penetrate the armour of the tank, I can't see that it would be much less effective as an anti tank weapon than a Flak 88, or Pak 40.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/17/2014 5:16:41 AM   
Arjuna


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Just a few comments. In the battle for Arnhem the British 75mm guns successfully engaged and defeated numerous inf and armour attacks using direct fire. I personally had something like a 90% hit rate using a Carl Gustov at 300m against static targets, admittedly on a firing range.

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RE: Arty Units - 4/17/2014 6:43:06 AM   
dazkaz15


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Another huge factor that I forgot to mention between towed artillery, verses tank engagements, is that the tank will have an advantage in the fact it will be firing HE which is an area of effect round, and will do a fair amount of damage to the gun crews even if the round is not a direct hit, where as the artillery will need a direct hit on the tank in order to immobilize it.
It will also be spraying with its co-axil and hull mounted MG's I should imagine at closer range, suppressing, and killing exposed gun crew.
The tank itself is far more vulnerable to a mobility kill than a towed artillery piece though, assuming the tractors are positioned in the rear of the position, and the attack is coming from the front.
This would be different of course if the artillery is self propelled, and armoured.

In my opinion the best way to take out artillery is to kill the crew with heavy and frequent bombardments, with your own artillery, to suppress it with your artillery then over-run the position with either armour or infantry, or kill it from range in good viz with tanks.
The towed artillery piece itself is very hard to destroy with bombardments. Its just a hunk of strong metal with very few moving parts, but the crew are very vulnerable while trying to man it.

Self propelled artillery is not that different from a tank destroyer other than it may be open topped, the gun fires with less velocity, and usually has thinner armour.
I'm not sure about the direct fire optics in a SP gun or Howitzer though.
Are they similar to a tank destroyers?

As is nearly always the case in these things there are many variables, and exceptions to these rules.
I personally think the artillery is handled very well in game.

I would have more of an issue with an armoured car platoon, or certain HQ units, that often put up a better fight in defence than the largest of artillery Bn's.
But that's another issue for another day, and can wait till Command Ops 2 to sort out I think, if indeed it actually needs sorting out, and its not just my own perception of their capabilities that is wrong.

That's why I think these kind of discussions are so valuable, and I love the fact you end up learning so much as you research your case

< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 4/17/2014 7:58:35 AM >

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RE: Arty Units - 4/17/2014 11:45:35 PM   
MikeJ19


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Daz,

There is a huge difference between Infantry and Artillery soldiers. Infantry are trained for the defence and the attack often - not so the artillery. Gunners spend a lot more of their time working on their gunnery skills then on their infantry skills. The artillery position is spread out and focused on the guns - defending the position is important, but the primary role is putting rounds down range. Artillery troops are not not just infantry with a larger weapon. The Deployment-General Organisation section at this link: http://nigelef.tripod.com/maindoc.htm#Deployment – General Organisationtalks about this. For instance, it says that the normal distance between batteries within a Bn was 1000-2000 yards (this is about 900-1800 m) So the actual space required for an Arty Bn is much larger than currently used in Comd Ops. If you look at figure 1 below, it shows how the Bn would deploy with three batteries and Figure 2 shows how the troops in the UK, AUS and Cdn system deployed. Now, this is not important in terms of game play. For myself, I have thought of the position of the counter as the centre of the Bn position. But for defending this is very important as the Bn is very spread out.

The gunners on the guns would have trenches near the guns or would be on the guns.

Daz, your comment about the advantages that the tanks have in being able to use HE is very valid. The sites on the 105mm howitzers that I trained on were terrible for direct fire. It was almost better to try and aim the gun with your eyeball. The gun crews probably did not have much practice in direct fire - so even though the tanks have to stop, they should have the advantage. That does not mean that there is no chance, but it is not as even as it might seem.

Arjuna, Well done with your shooting - I was never very good with the Carl G and we never got much chance to practice.

Daz,

As for towed-artillery, you are correct. It is very vulnerable while moving. They are also very vulnerable when they are deploying or coming out of action - as the focus is on speed and gunnery issues not defending. I also agree that Counter-Battery (CB) fire can be very effective - if it does not destroy the guns, it can force them to move - which takes them out of action. However, I think that direct fire attacks on a gun position are even more effective. CB fire in WWII was usually unobserved fire - based upon sound ranging or muzzle flashes. When it hit the target it could be devastating, but it could often miss by a couple 100m and not cause any damage. Observed fire is always more accurate - as changes to the fall of shot can be made.

I know that my fear as a gunner was a T72 or BMP arriving on the position or near it. In this case our best option was to hope it did not see us. We would have to be extremely lucky to hit the attacking vehicle - while they could move and fire at us with much greater accuracy. It was a more even battle back in WWII, but I think that a German tank would wreak havoc on the gun position.

Finally, at night it would be even harder for both sides - the sites were just not very effective at night.

Daz, I agree with you. This is one of the first games that handles artillery very well. I think that the rules do a very good job of blending reality with ease of play.

All the best and Happy Easter






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RE: Arty Units - 4/18/2014 12:41:16 AM   
dazkaz15


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Great discussion thanks Mike.

I often wondered if the artillery Bn's should be split up into individual Bty counters, and placed under their own RHQ.

This would also alleviate some of the problems we have with the abstracted rigid line in road column, that for these very large formations extends a ridiculously long distance into unobserved, and often impassable terrain.
It would also make a lot more sense with regards to your comments on the dispersion of a Bn gun position.

It would also stop people falling into the trap of thinking all counters are roughly equal size units, where in fact in game one counter can be as small as a Platoon, or as large as an Artillery Regiment, with in excess of 500 personnel.

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Post #: 17
RE: Arty Units - 5/7/2014 12:36:58 AM   
MikeJ19


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Hi All,

Daz, in another post (one on CO2) I have offered my help with the Arty Play. I agree that having the Arty Batteries counters is a very good idea. I would likely have the fire controlled by the Bn HQ still, but the bty counters would improve the deployment issues. Also, it might be good to have a more limited field of fire - the guns can not easily fire 360 degrees - especially hard for towed guns.

In the screen shot below, the Arty Bn has been chasing my Inf Company for about 30 minutes - moving, firing, moving. The routing Inf Coy has routed about 5Ks so far. The good thing is I'm getting lots of Int. However, I really doubt that an Arty Bn would have played chase like that.






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RE: Arty Units - 5/7/2014 7:25:33 AM   
SeinfeldRules

 

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There is case during the fight at Salerno where an American artillery battalion stopped one of the major German counter attacks on the beachhead cold. Howitzers direct firing into German panzer and infantry formations, with cooks and staff manning the foxholes in front of the position. You have to remember, even if they aren't precise, those are big rounds that bring a lot of pain from quite a distance, and infantrymen have no desire to recreate Picket's Charge.

And as a fellow Redleg artilleryman, I feel there are quite a bit of misrepresentations or inaccuracies with how artillery is handled in the game, but most of those are ok, because it's Command Ops, not Artillery Fire Direction Ops. A post for another day. But I can say I have no issue with a full artillery battalion being able to fight off an infantry company or 2, or a platoon of tanks. An artillery battalion has A LOT of howitzers! Even if only a third can fire at a time, that's still a bit of firepower. Not something I'd be willing to charge headlong in to. You don't think about how terrible the direct fire sights are on the howitzer shooting at you, when it's shooting at you! Sometimes we think a bit too much about the science of things and forget that a 105 round exploding harmlessly 200m from us would still scare the crap out of us.

< Message edited by SeinfeldRules -- 5/7/2014 8:26:04 AM >

(in reply to MikeJ19)
Post #: 19
RE: Arty Units - 5/7/2014 8:09:01 AM   
Phoenix100

 

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But is it an arty Bn, Mike? At the very least you need to surrender to check that the intel is good. I often see arty Bns doing odd things, only to find out later it's in fact an Engineer co or some such. Even if you surrender the info you get is still subject to FOW, so hard to be sure without sending a unit right up to it, then surrendering, maybe. I'm not sure what this scenario is, or if it's something you set up yourself, but is that really an arty unit? And what has it been engaging you with? As I remarked before, these big US field arty units sometimes have about 8 tanks at their disposal. Again, be nice to know exactly what the unit is. They should give us the debug version, or whatever version it is that dave, Miguel et al use so they can actually see what is really happening. If people like Daz and others who regularly 'test' could do it with the version of the game that allows you to play both sides then the number of false 'bug' or 'improvement' reports might be halved!!

< Message edited by phoenix -- 5/7/2014 9:11:33 AM >

(in reply to SeinfeldRules)
Post #: 20
RE: Arty Units - 5/7/2014 10:54:28 PM   
Arjuna


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Peter if we gave players perfect intel, do you think they wouldn't cheat while playing?

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Post #: 21
RE: Arty Units - 5/7/2014 11:56:45 PM   
MikeJ19


Posts: 2311
Joined: 1/29/2014
From: Ottawa, Canada
Status: online
Good evening all,

SeinfeldRules, I agree with the power and scariness of having the 105mm rounds landing close to you - I have felt it sometimes. I also agree that an Arty Bn can be very strong in the defence. I also think that Daz made a very good point. An Arty Bn actually takes up a large amount of terrain - and that is not well represented in the game. Which is fine, but can lead to some strange results at times. Finally, I agree this is Command Ops and not an artillery game - so some of the inaccuracies are fine.

Phoenix, you raise a very good point - it is very possible that what I "believe" is an Arty unit is actually something else. I had not thought of that. I really like the FOW and agree with Dave about 'cheating'.

Well, it is time to go back to watch the NHL Playoffs and playing...

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Post #: 22
RE: Arty Units - 5/8/2014 6:55:12 AM   
Phoenix100

 

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They'd only be cheating themselves, Dave.....

I was thinking more that giving some of the players who regularly 'test' in an unofficial way (Daz springs to mind, for example, but there are others) the ability to play both sides (I assume, that, as God, you have that, Dave...)really only because it might reduce your workload by eliminating some false calls. Don't want it for the game, for actually playing it.

(in reply to MikeJ19)
Post #: 23
RE: Arty Units - 5/8/2014 3:39:32 PM   
jimcarravall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

But is it an arty Bn, Mike? At the very least you need to surrender to check that the intel is good. I often see arty Bns doing odd things, only to find out later it's in fact an Engineer co or some such. Even if you surrender the info you get is still subject to FOW, so hard to be sure without sending a unit right up to it, then surrendering, maybe. I'm not sure what this scenario is, or if it's something you set up yourself, but is that really an arty unit? And what has it been engaging you with? As I remarked before, these big US field arty units sometimes have about 8 tanks at their disposal. Again, be nice to know exactly what the unit is. They should give us the debug version, or whatever version it is that dave, Miguel et al use so they can actually see what is really happening. If people like Daz and others who regularly 'test' could do it with the version of the game that allows you to play both sides then the number of false 'bug' or 'improvement' reports might be halved!!


I think he's referring to the historical battle of Salerno rather than a Command Ops scenario.

From Hyperwar Salerno to Cassino, Chapter 7, The Beachhead:

"By 1715 a sizable force of German tanks and infantry was in the corridor unopposed, and by 1800 enemy artillery was emplaced around Persano. Soon afterward, fifteen German tanks headed straight toward the juncture of the Sele and Calore Rivers. Their advance was accompanied by a display of fireworks--an extensive use of Very pistols, pyrotechnics, and smoke--intended either to create the appearance of larger numbers or to denote the attainment of local objectives.40 By 1830 German tanks and infantry were at the north bank of the Calore.

"Between them and the sea stood only a few Americans, mainly the 189th and 158th Field Artillery Battalions. In positions on a gentle slope overlooking the base of the corridor, the batteries of these battalions opened fire at point-blank range across the Calore and into heavy growth along the north bank of the river.41 At General Walker's command, a few tank destroyers of the 636th Battalion coming ashore that afternoon hastened to the juncture of the rivers to augment the artillery. Howitzers of other battalions and tanks in the area added their fires where possible.

"Immediately behind the artillery pieces, only a few hundred yards away, was the Fifth Army command post. While miscellaneous headquarters troops--cooks, clerks, and drivers--hastily built up a firing line on the south bank of the Calore, others hurriedly moved parts of the command post to the rear. The spear that General Clark had visualized poised at the center of the beachhead had struck.

"Finding the situation "extremely critical," facing squarely the possibility "that the American forces may sustain a severe defeat in this area," General Clark arranged to evacuate his headquarters on ten minutes' notice and take a PT boat to the 10 Corps zone, where the conditions were better for maintaining what he called a "clawhold" on Italian soil."

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Post #: 24
RE: Arty Units - 5/12/2014 4:18:47 PM   
Rock64

 

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A word of caution on historical narritaves. They can be biased... For every detailed, heroic stand, there is a vague entry on failure.

"The German attack in the Losheim Gap during 16 December had gone according to schedule. The northern arm of the 18th Volks Grenadier Division envelopment had penetrated as far as Auw and overrun most of the American artillery positions."


I think the game favors artillery too much. Yes, it's deadly and there is no argueing the narratives of how much of a force it could be. But I believe the game takes what artillery "could do" and made it "always does". The heroic effort side of the curve has become the middle of the curve.

(in reply to jimcarravall)
Post #: 25
RE: Arty Units - 5/12/2014 5:03:59 PM   
jimcarravall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rock64

A word of caution on historical narritaves. They can be biased... For every detailed, heroic stand, there is a vague entry on failure.

"The German attack in the Losheim Gap during 16 December had gone according to schedule. The northern arm of the 18th Volks Grenadier Division envelopment had penetrated as far as Auw and overrun most of the American artillery positions."


I think the game favors artillery too much. Yes, it's deadly and there is no argueing the narratives of how much of a force it could be. But I believe the game takes what artillery "could do" and made it "always does". The heroic effort side of the curve has become the middle of the curve.


Problem is, when attempting to create a simulation of World War II, developers are left with either history and analogies from practical experience as a basis for defining the conflict.

Sticking with well referenced, and ideally peer reviewed historical accounts particularly when validated by citations of experience from individuals who indicate they served in the military as artillery specialists is the safest manner to craft a story -- in this case the "story" of how effective artillery was in World War II.




_____________________________

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Post #: 26
RE: Arty Units - 5/12/2014 5:39:42 PM   
dazkaz15


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This is an extract from an article I read a long time ago, and I actually have employed many of the tactics from it in my games.
A typical example of it can be seen in my Greyhound Dash AAR, slide 8 to slide 13.

Its from:

Source: U.S. War Department "Handbook On German Military Forces" (Mar'45)
Officially released from restricted status by the U.S. Army Center For Military History

(3) ARTILLERY-TANK COOPERATION

Artillery support is of decisive importance for the preparation and the successful conduct of a tank attack. A unified command for the entire artillery controls the artillery fire as long as the infantry and tank units are fighting on the same line. When the tanks break through the enemy forward defense lines, the self-propelled artillery or any other artillery battalion designated for the support of the tank unit is placed under the command of the tank unit commander.

The Germans believe that the artillery fire must not check the momentum of the attack. Consequently the heaviest fire must fall well ahead of the tanks or outside their sector.

The mission of the artillery preparation before the attack is to destroy, or at least neutralize, the opponent's antitank defense in the area between the line of contact and the regimental reserve line. Continuous counterbattery fire prevents the enemy from shelling the tank assembly area and from breaking up the preparation of the tank attack.

The artillery has the following missions before the tank attack:

Counterbattery fire on enemy artillery located in positions which command the ground over which the tank attack is to be made.

Concentrations on enemy tanks in assembly areas.

Harassing fire on all areas in which the antitank units are located or suspected. Fire is heaviest on areas in which tanks cannot operate but from which they can be engaged effectively.

Adjusting fire with high explosives on probably enemy observation posts commanding the sector to be attacked. These observation posts are blinded with smoke as soon as the attack begins.

Experience has taught the Germans that the flanks of a tank attack are vulnerable. Therefore they assign to the artillery and the rocket projector units the task of protecting flanks by barrages using high explosives and smoke shells.

The artillery has the following missions during the tank attack:

Counterbattery fire.

Blinding enemy observation posts.

As the attack progresses, engaging successive lines of antitank defense, especially areas to the rear and flanks of the sector attacked.

Screening the flanks of the attack with smoke and neutralizing the enemy's infantry and rear areas.

Delaying the movement and deployment of enemy reserves,, particularly tanks.

The Germans stress that this wide variety of tasks must not lead to the wholesale dispersal of effort. The main task of the artillery is at all times the destruction of the enemy's antitank weapons, tanks, and artillery.

Liaison between artillery and tanks during the attack is established by the commanding officers and the artillery liaison group, which normally moves with the first wave. Artillery forward observers, if possible in armored observation posts, ride with the most forward elements. A German field expedient is for the tank unit to take along a forward observer in one of it's tanks. It often happens that the tankman himself has to take over the observation of the artillery. He himself can request fire and shift concentrations when the situation requires such changes.

(in reply to jimcarravall)
Post #: 27
RE: Arty Units - 5/12/2014 6:38:41 PM   
dazkaz15


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I have gathered up a load of quotes from the web, and everything I have read thus far over the years, has continuously reinforced the views expressed here by these very experienced commanders, of the time.

Nevertheless the 25-pounder was considered by all to be one of the best artillery pieces in use.
The effects caused by the gun (and the speed at which the British artillery control system could respond) in the North-West Europe Campaign of 1944–1945 made many German soldiers believe that the British had secretly deployed an automatic 25-pounder.[5]

"The artillery was my strongest tool. Often it was my only reserve .... I repeatedly said it was more a matter of the infantry supporting the artillery than the artillery supporting the infantry.... I wish I knew the countless times that positions were taken or held due solely to TOT's ...."
Major General R. 0. Barton
Commanding US 4th Infantry Division World War II
(Reminiscing with his division artillery commander)

"The thanks of the infantry, in my opinion, must be treasured more by every artilleryman than all decorations and citations. "
- Colonel Georg Bruchmuller,
Imperial German Army Artillery Officer and Father of Modern Fire Support

"If you don't have enough artillery, quit."
-General Richard Cavasos

The speed, accuracy and devastating power of American Artillery won confidence and admiration from the troops it supported and inspired fear and respect in their enemy.
Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower

Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
J.F.C. Fuller

In many situations that seemed desperate, the artillery has been a most vital factor.
Gen Douglas MacArthur

The harder the fighting and the longer the war, the more the infantry, and in fact all the arms, lean on the gunners.
Field Marshal Montgomery

I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did.
Gen George S. Patton

The World War demonstrated the importance of Field Artillery. The majority of casualties were inflicted by the arm.
Gen John J. Pershing

"Our artillery . . . The Germans feared it almost more than anything we had."
- Ernie Pyle "Brave Men", 1944

"If, -after the battle is over, your infantry don't like you, you are a poor artilleryman."
Captain Henry Reilly The Field Artillery Journal, September-October 1940

Artillery is the god of war.
Stalin

Renown awaits the commander who first restores artillery to its prime importance on the battlefield.
Winston Churchill

My main criticism of the way Artillery is handled in Command Ops is that I wonder if the guns have to much ammunition available than is historical.
I remember reading a long time ago now, a post by Lieste I think, about the weight of ammunition available in game is directly translated to shell weight, not taking into account the packaging, and the propellant, cartridge cases etc
I wonder if that might be the reason that there seems to be so much ammo available for artillery use, or maybe that it is a realistic representation? I don't know.


< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 5/12/2014 7:44:01 PM >

(in reply to dazkaz15)
Post #: 28
RE: Arty Units - 5/12/2014 11:43:57 PM   
jimcarravall

 

Posts: 642
Joined: 1/4/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: dazkaz15

I have gathered up a load of quotes from the web, and everything I have read thus far over the years, has continuously reinforced the views expressed here by these very experienced commanders, of the time.

Nevertheless the 25-pounder was considered by all to be one of the best artillery pieces in use.
The effects caused by the gun (and the speed at which the British artillery control system could respond) in the North-West Europe Campaign of 1944–1945 made many German soldiers believe that the British had secretly deployed an automatic 25-pounder.[5]

"The artillery was my strongest tool. Often it was my only reserve .... I repeatedly said it was more a matter of the infantry supporting the artillery than the artillery supporting the infantry.... I wish I knew the countless times that positions were taken or held due solely to TOT's ...."
Major General R. 0. Barton
Commanding US 4th Infantry Division World War II
(Reminiscing with his division artillery commander)

"The thanks of the infantry, in my opinion, must be treasured more by every artilleryman than all decorations and citations. "
- Colonel Georg Bruchmuller,
Imperial German Army Artillery Officer and Father of Modern Fire Support

"If you don't have enough artillery, quit."
-General Richard Cavasos

The speed, accuracy and devastating power of American Artillery won confidence and admiration from the troops it supported and inspired fear and respect in their enemy.
Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower

Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
J.F.C. Fuller

In many situations that seemed desperate, the artillery has been a most vital factor.
Gen Douglas MacArthur

The harder the fighting and the longer the war, the more the infantry, and in fact all the arms, lean on the gunners.
Field Marshal Montgomery

I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did.
Gen George S. Patton

The World War demonstrated the importance of Field Artillery. The majority of casualties were inflicted by the arm.
Gen John J. Pershing

"Our artillery . . . The Germans feared it almost more than anything we had."
- Ernie Pyle "Brave Men", 1944

"If, -after the battle is over, your infantry don't like you, you are a poor artilleryman."
Captain Henry Reilly The Field Artillery Journal, September-October 1940

Artillery is the god of war.
Stalin

Renown awaits the commander who first restores artillery to its prime importance on the battlefield.
Winston Churchill

My main criticism of the way Artillery is handled in Command Ops is that I wonder if the guns have to much ammunition available than is historical.
I remember reading a long time ago now, a post by Lieste I think, about the weight of ammunition available in game is directly translated to shell weight, not taking into account the packaging, and the propellant, cartridge cases etc
I wonder if that might be the reason that there seems to be so much ammo available for artillery use, or maybe that it is a realistic representation? I don't know.



The major command factor missing from the original discussion was the duration of the defense.

Artillery defeated the German attack on Salerno, but it was only long enough to allow line units to redeploy to better defensive positions in relation to the attack axis than was provided prior to leaving the artillery out to dry.

The narrative I read indicated that the artillery units stopped the Germans in their tracks, but the ultimate defense was dependent on other support units redeploying to a position that precluded the Artillery being on the front line.

In the Saipan scenario, the Japanese force final assault was defeated by the Marine 10th Artillery battalion sited behind the 27th division defensive positions. It was because the mass of humanity sent on the attack had been worn down as it chaffed through successive infantry lines to reach the artillery position.

In the Battle of Gettysburg, Picket's charge succeeded in reaching Cemetery Ridge, but those reaching the ridge had insufficient strength to break the Union position prior to defeat a follow on Confederate assault.


_____________________________

Take care,

jim

(in reply to dazkaz15)
Post #: 29
RE: Arty Units - 5/14/2014 1:59:24 PM   
dazkaz15


Posts: 1267
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quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeJ19

Good day Jim.

Good questions. Here are my thoughts.

A deployed artillery Bn is focused on putting rounds down range. If they are attacked by infantry only a few of the howitzers would likely be able to engage the infantry. Furthermore, the direct fire sites on the guns are still not very good, so I think that in WWII they would likely have been worse. If attacked on the flank or rear, the artillery Bn would likely see it echelon - soft skinned supply vehicles, command posts etc - taking the biggest hit. So, overall I would likely give the Infantry company very good odds at destroying or damaging a fair chunk of the artillery Bn. At the least it would be an even fight - even if the Artillery Bn was dug in.

Having spent lots of time on towed artillery, a good time to deploy for a Bn is likely about 10 minutes. Not all guns will be ready to go that quickly, but enough for game purposes. It also takes time for the Bn to hook up the guns to the gun tractors when they decide to move - so likely another 10 minutes is a good estimate.

If a towed artillery Bn is moving it is extremely vulnerable to enemy action. None of the howitzers would be able to come into action - ready to fire - for about 3-10 minutes and the gun crews are in the gun tractors and in most cases unable to respond to fire very quickly. Finally, unlike the infantry, the artillery did not spend much time working on responding rapidly to attacks while on the move - as attacks were not supposed to happen often.

As a side note, the Soviets used their artillery - towed and Self-propelled - move frequently in the defence mode - to delay or block penetration of the Soviet defence lines. So, the Soviet artillery received more training and had more experience by 1944 in defending.

I hope this helps,

Mike


What size guns did you serve on Mike.
My experience is with the 25pdr and the 105mm light gun.
We were all highly trained with artillery, and infantry skills, having all had to pass the Royal Marines Commando course, so my experience might not be representative of the average Artillery Battery, but if it took us more that 3 min to get into action, for direct firing, from being limbered, (not rotated for long distance traveling) to putting round down range, that would be a very poor show indeed.
I would say that 2.5 min was more the average.
Of course this depends a lot on the design of the Artillery piece, the training of the crew, and more importantly the expectation of having to deploy quickly, during a move (state of reediness).

I know from WIKI that the 8.8cm Flak was able to deploy in about 2.5 min, but that's all I could find about WW2 deployment times on line.

"Many of these improvements were incorporated into the Flak 36, which had a two-piece barrel for easier replacement of worn liners.
The new, heavier, carriage allowed it to fire in an emergency when still on its wheels and without its outriggers, but with a very limited traverse and elevation.[2]
For normal emplacement, one single-axle bogie was detached from the front outrigger and one from the rear, side outriggers were then hinged from the vertical position to the ground; the total time to setup was estimated at two-and-a-half minutes"

Do you have any timings for other WW2 Artillery pieces, or any way of finding out?

One minute of game time is about 8-10 seconds on the slowest speed.
So in about 30 seconds of real time, most field Artillery should be able to deploy and fire in an emergency, and I am finding that in game they take quite a bit longer than that to get rounds down range when given a bombard order from moving.
This is what you would expect considering that the guns first have to be surveyed in for indirect fire, but for direct fire they should be much faster than that.
I've not had time to look into that yet, but ill keep an eye out for it when I start playing again.
Ill try and post some examples, when I get more time.


< Message edited by dazkaz15 -- 5/15/2014 1:48:02 PM >

(in reply to MikeJ19)
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