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Why are artillery units so powerful when defending in a hex alone?

 
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Why are artillery units so powerful when defending in a... - 5/13/2019 7:43:00 PM   
Icedawg


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I'm playing Bulge 44 as Germany, and I consistently find myself attacking single American artillery units. Time after time, I get my butt kicked by these lone artillery units. What's up with that? I thought historically, artillery was highly vulnerable when directly defending alone. They should be subject to being overrun quite easily (especially by armor).

I have tried attacking with infantry, armor and combined arms. The result is the same. The defending artillery takes virtually no losses, and my guys get torn to shreds. My attacking units have organization and supply values at 80+, so it's not like I'm attacking with worn out units. These are rested, supplied and high-proficiency units attacking artillery that should be hung out to dry, yet my attacks are consistently repulsed.

Any ideas?
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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 9:28:30 PM   
Lobster


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The U.S. Artillery battalions were well endowed with AT weapons and HMG.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 9:28:45 PM   
Shadrach


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I've seen the same, in the scenario "Goodwood 44", where the Germans have a lot of Nebelwerfer battalions. These are 150mm and have has a AP strength of 22, but their passive defence strength is only 2. I found I had suffered a massive amount of casualties when taking these on. Especially since they often ended up in large surrounded stacks.

It maybe could make sense if the units were used in direct fire, and like big guns they would inflict massive casualties used like that, but I can't see how it would happen realistically if a support unit was overrun by line units.

Usually artillery units would have howitzers which would be pretty useless on defense, as well as not having the correct ammunition to take out armour. And the troops would certainly not be prepared for such combat.

Maybe something about them being set to to able to do direct fire on defense when they really shouldn't be? Something specific about these scenarios?

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 10:20:58 PM   
Lobster


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The 105mm M101 Howitzer had the M67 HEAT round and T-18 Canister round. Considering their deployment I would surprised if they didn't have both available since they were in a defensive position. Charging a 105mm shotgun would not be pretty. Because they are divisional guns I imagine they were well equipped to defend themselves. And looking at the TOE they were certainly concerned there would be action vs armor because they had a large number of AT weapons. Probably need to ask the scenario designer if the .eqp file is standard.

Sorry, I guess during WW2 it was called the M2A1. Changed the designation after the war sometime.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 5/13/2019 10:22:37 PM >


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 10:32:02 PM   
Lobster


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Here's the TO&E






Attachment (1)

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 11:25:55 PM   
Icedawg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

The U.S. Artillery battalions were well endowed with AT weapons and HMG.


Yes, they do have a pretty hefty HMG package, but no AT (at least not in the ones I was looking at). One of the more outrageous beatings I took involved 12 105 mm howitzers and 20 or so HMG completely spanking a well-ordered, well-rested armored regiment with 50+ Panthers. That many Panthers should have completely overrun such an artillery unit with little-to-no losses. Instead, the defending artillery lost a couple jeeps and trucks, and my armored regiment lost 6 or 7 Panthers and most of its supporting infantry. Just seems a bit unrealistic to me.

< Message edited by Icedawg -- 5/13/2019 11:26:14 PM >

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/13/2019 11:52:48 PM   
Lobster


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I would suggest talking to the scenario author to see if that is WAD.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 4:35:11 AM   
cathar1244

 

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That's an old scenario, btw, year 2000 or so.

Doesn't appear to have a modified equipment file. The artillery units had their complement of pieces, some machine guns and bazookas, a jeeps. Proficiency was around 70 to 80%.

The only thing that may be contributing is that some of the artillery units are in fortified posture in difficult terrain, as well as having a high recon rating.

But they shouldn't be able to repulse a strong enough tank attack. Two batteries of the 333d FA were overrun early in the battle. Brave men in the 333d, but terribly outnumbered.

Cheers

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 4:31:21 PM   
Lobster


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It would help if you would post screen shots of some of your attacks. I've tried with two infantry battalions and a Panther battalion and kicked the fortified arty out of the hex. The Germans have a huge amount of supporting artillery. And there wasn't much cooperation between the German units.






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< Message edited by Lobster -- 5/14/2019 4:35:37 PM >


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 8:31:11 PM   
Shadrach


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For instance, in the example above, why does a single, unsupported artillery unit with 8/4 (assuming this is Attack Strength / Defence Strength) get an Assault AP value of 32, even higher than the attacking units, 17/11 + 6/8 + 7/9? I'm guessing a fortified status, but still seems massive.

On a related (frustrating) side-note, explaining the values that go into calculating the odds I feel are the most lacking part of the manual. It never really explains what these values stand for. It just heads straight into the formulas used, without even explaining what "Soft DF", "Hard DF" or "hardFraction" even stands for. I guess for old-timers they all know this and just think it's obvious, the rest of us have to guess?

Now at least I know what AP stands for, Anti Personnel (at least I hope so...), and not Armour Piercing - which would be the first guess. Not a single place is DF explained in the manual. Section 7.13.2 is the only place I've found where a new player can maybe guess on the meaning of these values, and that's just for the unit display options... no wonder these kinds of questions arise...

< Message edited by Shadrach -- 5/14/2019 8:32:40 PM >

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 9:02:33 PM   
Icedawg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

It would help if you would post screen shots of some of your attacks. I've tried with two infantry battalions and a Panther battalion and kicked the fortified arty out of the hex. The Germans have a huge amount of supporting artillery. And there wasn't much cooperation between the German units.



Okay. I'm starting a new game. Next time it happens, I'll give a screenshot.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 9:23:53 PM   
Shadrach


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Here's an example of something similar I tried to recreate from Goodwood '44.

One single, unsupported, unentrenched Nebelwerfer unit, odds 40 to 1, manages to take out 30 squads, along with many other units, losing just 4 Werfers and a rifle squad. And these rocket launcher units should be completely useless as direct fire on the defence as far as I know. This unit should just be overrun and surrender.


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 9:47:58 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadrach

Here's an example of something similar I tried to recreate from Goodwood '44.

One single, unsupported, unentrenched Nebelwerfer unit, odds 40 to 1, manages to take out 30 squads, along with many other units, losing just 4 Werfers and a rifle squad.


Can you show us the Combat Report or Combat Chart.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 10:03:04 PM   
BigDuke66


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Maybe the detailed combat report could explain it, but I'm not sure how because th losses do really look strange, even if the attackers got pounded by a massive German artillery concentration they would have to be in a very bad state to get such results but the screen shows them all in dark green, does not make any sense currently.


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/14/2019 10:07:14 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadrach

Here's an example of something similar I tried to recreate from Goodwood '44.

One single, unsupported, unentrenched Nebelwerfer unit, odds 40 to 1, manages to take out 30 squads, along with many other units, losing just 4 Werfers and a rifle squad. And these rocket launcher units should be completely useless as direct fire on the defence as far as I know. This unit should just be overrun and surrender.



Wow. Talk about bad luck. A Neb Btn has a handful of LMG at most plus the crew personal weapons. I agree, they should have been toast.


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 5:21:55 AM   
cathar1244

 

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quote:

Now at least I know what AP stands for, Anti Personnel (at least I hope so...), and not Armour Piercing


Shadrach,

Yes, AP is the anti personnel rating, but should be understood as the effectiveness rating against all soft targets, not just personnel. The AT rating is anti tank (anti-armor).

Cheers

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 10:34:47 AM   
Shadrach


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Had another look at the results, turns out the Germans have a lot of tactical support from other artillery units, so that would go some way to explain the extra losses. This attempt, even more losses for the Allies...



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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 2:12:58 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadrach



It also seems that the 140 Support figure for the Attackers would not actually be used in the attack: None of the artillery are in support deployment (red X through all of them). So, the Attacker AP was lower than shown above, and the Defender AP was much higher than shown above.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 3:13:53 PM   
Shadrach


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quote:

It also seems that the 140 Support figure for the Attackers would not actually be used in the attack: None of the artillery are in support deployment (red X through all of them). So, the Attacker AP was lower than shown above, and the Defender AP was much higher than shown above.


Well, for my second example above, I set all arty in range to T and they provided S/2 support during the battle. I didn't screenshot this (of course )... I just shot the enemy part of the chart.

Losses were even higher...



< Message edited by Shadrach -- 5/15/2019 3:15:22 PM >

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 3:47:31 PM   
Lobster


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I don't think the amount of artillery support granted the Allies is the point. On the other hand, did you try giving the Neb unit a way to retreat? Probably makes a difference.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 4:20:09 PM   
BigDuke66


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Ok the amount of German Artillery explains the Allied losses but they don't seem so high that all attacking units would break off their attacks(especially as they seem all to be set to normal losses and not minimize losses), so why didn't they kill the lone German artillery unit?

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 4:26:56 PM   
Lobster


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I'm thinking if the Neb unit had been given a way out one of the Recon units could have RBC it. Still, how could it resist even being surrounded and fighting to the last?

On the other hand, there are examples of units and individuals, some of them not even combat units, being attacked by overwhelming forces and winning the day. There are also examples of units or individuals attacking against huge odds and winning the day.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/korean-war/marine-who-held-machine-gun-alone-was-found-next-morning-with-over-200-dead-enemies-around-him.html



< Message edited by Lobster -- 5/15/2019 4:42:20 PM >


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 5:28:23 PM   
Shadrach


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Sure, obviously if I opened up the encirclement to allow it to retreat, it would mean less losses. But that's kind of beside the point isn't it?

That's another thing in this game I think is not well enough explained. There seems to be no concept of surrender, and not sure if units will always fight to the last unless having the option for retreat? I know they "evaporate" but does this mean every single squad/equipment has to be engaged and destroyed first? I know if a unit is forced to retreat and has nowhere to go, it will evaporate, but there is no "surrender" as such, and squads/equipment will return to the pool I think?

After all, not all units are SS fanatics, and being surrounded and outnumbered would lead to a surrender in most cases. And obviously there are exceptions, highly motivated units in excellent positions and with enough supplies can hold out for a long time.


< Message edited by Shadrach -- 5/15/2019 5:35:15 PM >

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 7:43:09 PM   
Zovs


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I've always viewed evaporation as the concept of surrendering and in some case outright destruction.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 7:49:59 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shadrach

Sure, obviously if I opened up the encirclement to allow it to retreat, it would mean less losses. But that's kind of beside the point isn't it?

That's another thing in this game I think is not well enough explained. There seems to be no concept of surrender, and not sure if units will always fight to the last unless having the option for retreat? I know they "evaporate" but does this mean every single squad/equipment has to be engaged and destroyed first? I know if a unit is forced to retreat and has nowhere to go, it will evaporate, but there is no "surrender" as such, and squads/equipment will return to the pool I think?

After all, not all units are SS fanatics, and being surrounded and outnumbered would lead to a surrender in most cases. And obviously there are exceptions, highly motivated units in excellent positions and with enough supplies can hold out for a long time.



The point was, there are ways around what happened. If you completely surround a unit and deny a path of retreat you are going to incur more casualties regardless the outcome. Unless it's a weakened unit it's not a good idea because it will cost you more in the long run.

When a unit evaporates it loses cohesion and cannot function as a combat unit. I imagine much of it is surrender. Some of it probably turns into stragglers that make their way back to friendly lines. That's probably the 50% the manual mentions. If the unit is out of supply nothing goes to the pool. That certainly sounds like the whole thing surrenders or dies.

What really irritates me is the equipment that goes back to the pool. If the enemy takes the battlefield how do I recover tanks that are damaged? If I play with the new over extended rules I can be 400km behind enemy lines yet somehow all of my lost equipment makes it's way back to the pool because I have a line of communications. Maybe the Red Cross tow truck is given free passage. Dunno. That's a long way to push a tank.

One more thing. I've played war games for 60 years. I have seen things like the nebel unit resisting happen in any type of war game. It also happens in the real world. If it becomes something that is not rare then there is a problem.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 5/15/2019 7:51:46 PM >


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 8:19:06 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Another factor here is the Attrition Divider = 56. So losses accumulate 5.6 times slower than normal.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/15/2019 9:29:49 PM   
Shadrach


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Well, I don't know. It's surely more than a fluke, as it happens with all the Nebelwerfer units in the Goodwood 44 scenario. I noticed it when playing, they were extremely hard to take out compared to what I thought they'd be. Especially if in a stack with several of them... So I figure it *might* be related to what Icedawg is seeing in the Ardennes scenario.

You're free to experiment yourself of course, if you have the interest. Goodwood '44.
I'm attaching the save I used to test this, just got some units to surround the closest one.


Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Shadrach -- 5/15/2019 9:33:24 PM >

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/16/2019 1:02:25 AM   
rhinobones

 

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quote:


Another factor here is the Attrition Divider = 56. So losses accumulate 5.6 times slower than normal.



Interesting, first hard number I’ve ever heard of a value for Attrition Divider adjustments. I believe the default Attrition Divider value is 10, this scenario value is 56. Please give the math that developers can use that shows how 56 reduces (slows) losses by 5.6 times of normal.

Would be good to define “normal” and logic, so that developers have a baseline for the 5.6 reduction.

Regards, RhinoBones


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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/16/2019 3:25:19 AM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rhinobones


quote:


Another factor here is the Attrition Divider = 56. So losses accumulate 5.6 times slower than normal.



Interesting, first hard number I’ve ever heard of a value for Attrition Divider adjustments. I believe the default Attrition Divider value is 10, this scenario value is 56. Please give the math that developers can use that shows how 56 reduces (slows) losses by 5.6 times of normal.

Would be good to define “normal” and logic, so that developers have a baseline for the 5.6 reduction.

Regards, RhinoBones


Losses = Raw Losses X 10 / Attrition Divider.

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RE: Why are artillery units so powerful when defending ... - 5/16/2019 4:11:40 AM   
sPzAbt653


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quote:

I guess for old-timers they all know this and just think it's obvious, the rest of us have to guess?

I guess I am an old-timer but I don't know any of this, and I never use the Combat Planner, never have in 17 years of TOAW. Not that that means anything, just saying.

So I grabbed your save file and canceled the attack you had set up and then Overran the defender on the first round




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