From: Ottawa, Canada
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,