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Artillery Issues - 4/14/2017 7:12:22 PM   
MikeJ19

 

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Happy Easter,

In 1988, I was a young officer in an Artillery Battery in command of the gun line – 6 M109s. Later, I commanded a M109 Gun Battery and taught at the Canadian Artillery School. In the late 1990s, I worked on the NATO Fire Support doctrine manual. There are differences between how US and Cdn/British Batteries operate, but within the game these differences are fairly minor. Overall, I'm impressed with how the artillery is handled. However, I do have some observations and suggestions to improve the Artillery:

1. Movement – The delay for moving guns does not make sense to me. I expected my battery to continue responding to calls for fire (targets) until we had to move. Recce elements would leave right away to prepare the new location, but the guns would keep on shooting until the last moment. Upon arriving at a new location, it should take the guns about 5 to 10 minutes to be ready to engage targets. The quick moves to an alternate position are well done in the game.

2. Resupply – The time it takes to resupply is too long. My M548s would depart to a central ammo depot to get more ammo and then return to pass the ammo to the guns. It is very rare that the guns ever ran out of ammo. My guns would continue to fire, even as ammo is being transferred from the M548 to the M109s. In towed gun batteries, the process is even quicker, but it would take longer for the guns to come out of action and be ready to move.

3. Fire Missions – it would be very nice to be able to assign ammo to each target. For example, in real life I could conduct 3 missions with the first one is a simple High Explosive (HE) mission, the second an ICM mission and the third a smoke mission. It would be nice to do that. Also, IIRC if I have planned 3 missions and ask to use smoke or ICM and the battery runs out of it during the first mission, the other missions do not happen – this is just not realistic.

I sometimes get frustrated with the 5 minute time between missions, but it does a good job of highlighting that most fire missions with M109s will take time to adjust and fire. So, even though the game shows the rounds landing at the 5 minute mark, really they are landing over a couple of minutes!

I have not run into a situation where my Artillery units have been defending against Soviet tanks or IFVs yet. It would be interesting to see how the game handles this, as I firmly believe that although a M109 battery has lots of firepower, it would be a speed bump to a T-72 company.

None of these things are really big things and I do really think that the power of artillery is well portrayed, but it would be nice if they could be modified.

If you have questions about my comments, let me know.

Have a good day,

Mike
Post #: 1
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/14/2017 7:23:49 PM   
ctcharger

 

Posts: 11
Joined: 3/12/2017
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Thanks for posting this, since I am only a gamer with no real hands on experience, I enjoy it when people who do post here.

One question I have for much of what I see in these games is how much physical activity is required to do all of this? Meaning, how long can you sustain peak efficiency before people just worn out from the work? How many days can they keep it up? The autoloader on a T-80 has its issues for sure but if it works, at least it won't get tired although it may need maintained I suppose.

I understand that these guys are much younger than me.



< Message edited by ctcharger -- 4/14/2017 7:24:19 PM >

(in reply to MikeJ19)
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RE: Artillery Issues - 4/14/2017 7:35:32 PM   
MikeJ19

 

Posts: 748
Joined: 1/29/2014
From: Ottawa, Canada
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Ctcharger,

Very good question about how long people can keep it up. My time on operations was limited to Bosnia and the pace there at the time was very relaxed. I spent lots of time on exercises, some where we were simulating combat for days. I remember being drained after the exercise and on some days, but it was doable and I was much younger than...

However, no one is shooting at you and their were no casualties to drain you (emotionally and energy-wise). So, I will let the combat veterans respond to you on this one.

Have a good day,

Mike

(in reply to ctcharger)
Post #: 3
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/15/2017 2:19:24 AM   
Iron Mike Golf

 

Posts: 820
Joined: 3/19/2010
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MikeJ19,

1. Movement: The delay you are seeing is command delay for "maneuver" type movement, as opposed to a survivability move. If you let the FSCC run the FA units, you will see them shoot, move, and shoot again in a faster sequence. This version of the game engine does not have an "on order move to" function, which would have units all prepared to move and no delay when you tell them to execute. The fact is, different sorts of units (combat arms vs combat support vs service support) move differently on the battlefield. Meaning, for example, artillery displaces in response to the movement of maneuver units. We don't have such a thing in this version of the game engine. So, for now, every movement order is being issued by the highest HQ in the scenario and it is out of the blue with no warning for the unit executing. There is no quick adjustment of position by lower commanders (to ensure interlocking sectors of fire, for example).

2. Logistics: Again, this is a the result of simplification. The current engine treats all units the same and in a one-size-fits-all game, it needs to fit the maneuver units. This is certainly something worth looking at for the next version.

3. Fires orders: again, this is a simplification and we are looking at several different ways of doing orders in the next version. It is not finalized, but something like an orders queue, similar to setting the unit's posture at the end of movement.


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Post #: 4
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/15/2017 2:51:55 AM   
Iron Mike Golf

 

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Joined: 3/19/2010
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ctcharger,

One of the greatest benefits of maneuver warfare training centers, like NTC at Ft Irwin and CMTC at Hohenfels, Germany, is teaching units and especially leaders who to fight a sustained fight. When I was a young soldier in the late 70;s and early 80's, it was common for many exercises to be 3 to 4 days in duration. Everyone would just "tough it out" until ENDEX. You can operate around 3 days continuously. After that point, effectiveness drops sharply and quickly.

When NTC opened, exercises became 2-3 weeks long. You have to do things differently when you are in the long haul. 2-3 weeks of continuous combat (attacking or being attacked daily/nightly) is about the limit for a unit until unit effectiveness drops. And that is not counting the reduction in unit effectiveness due to casualties and replacements.

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(in reply to Iron Mike Golf)
Post #: 5
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/15/2017 12:16:48 PM   
MikeJ19

 

Posts: 748
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From: Ottawa, Canada
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Iron Mike Golf,

Thanks for the response, I figured as much and I understand that it would be very complicated to have a different type of move/logistic setup for every type of unit.

If you have questions about artillery as you work on the next version, let me know and I will try to help.

Have a good day,

Mike


(in reply to Iron Mike Golf)
Post #: 6
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/15/2017 6:35:28 PM   
Mad Russian


Posts: 13239
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From: Texas
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I actually went to Ft. Sill and talked with artillery instructors on the post about the deployment and delays that artillery would encounter. Everybody has a different idea of what is important to model and how to model it. In the end we chose this approach.

Good Hunting.

MR

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The most expensive thing in the world is free time.

Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

(in reply to MikeJ19)
Post #: 7
RE: Artillery Issues - 4/17/2017 1:08:08 AM   
MikeJ19

 

Posts: 748
Joined: 1/29/2014
From: Ottawa, Canada
Status: offline
Mad Russian,

Like every economist, gunners all will have different opinions... The approach you have taken is very good and the game is excellent.

Fort Sill is a very interesting place and I wish that I had spent more time there talking to the instructors.

All the best,

Mike

(in reply to Mad Russian)
Post #: 8
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