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The magic of separate artillery - 2/6/2021 6:08:02 PM   
golden delicious


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For complicated reasons, I wound up running some tests.

A unit of 108 Rifle Squads, 12 75mm Guns and 12 Porter Squads attacks a unit of 324 Rifle Squads and 12 75mm Guns. This is a suicide attack right? Well, not entirely- one out of ten times the defender actually retreats, but normally this is a bad idea for the attacker. Everyone mobile in open terrain on limit losses, everyone has 70% proficiency, 100% supply and readiness, MRPB=3, AD=8. 25km/hex so no density penalty.

Well, I wave my magic wand, say "Abracadabra!" and break those 12 75mm Guns out into their own unit (we don't need the porter squads either). Now the attack goes in, same equipment (except the porter squads) on both sides- and it's still a suicide mission, right?

Six out of ten times, the defender retreats. I checked, it worked this way in TOAW III, too.

More tests pending.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 2/6/2021 6:32:57 PM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/6/2021 7:28:48 PM   
Lobster


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Oh no. 100 jeeps vs a Tiger tank.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 6:45:42 AM   
cathar1244

 

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I've noticed when one tests unusual situations in terms of the equipment involved (or not), the combat resolution at times provides bogus results.

The notion of pieces employing direct fire "attacking" and forcing a retreat is probably not valid at hex scales over 2 kilometers.

I'm also curious why some equipment like 75mm pieces have different anti-personnel ratings based on their employment (indirect vs direct [90 vs 66]) while others like the 105mm, are more or less 1:1 in terms of AP comparison. It gives the appearance of an equipment rating 'rule' that was not completely applied to the equipment database.

Cheers

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 9:22:42 AM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cathar1244

I'm also curious why some equipment like 75mm pieces have different anti-personnel ratings based on their employment (indirect vs direct [90 vs 66]) while others like the 105mm, are more or less 1:1 in terms of AP comparison. It gives the appearance of an equipment rating 'rule' that was not completely applied to the equipment database.


Are you suggesting that specific items of equipment have different AP strengths recorded in the database depending on whether they are used "directly" (i.e. in a unit without an artillery icon) or "indirectly" (i.e. in a unit with an artillery icon)? When I edit the piece I see one figure only for AP strength: 11

Anyway, if the contention is the disparity in effects (which is what I'm interested in- whether the defender should retreat or not is a separate question, but the result should be the same), I'll run the same test with 105mm Gun from your example.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 9:36:46 AM   
golden delicious


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Based on my understanding of cathar1244's comments, I ran a further test, replacing the 75s with 105s.

Unified attackers: 2 retreats out of ten
Separated attackers: 9 retreats out of ten

I think this is sufficient to say that this problem is not restricted to certain types of artillery. I would guess the overall higher rate of retreats is down to the higher AP strength of the artillery; although the defender was also up-gunned, the ratio of attacker to defender firepower was increased for this test (though not dramatically).

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 2/7/2021 9:47:33 AM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 9:44:00 AM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

Oh no. 100 jeeps vs a Tiger tank.


This isn't a corner case but a very serious design question. If I open the rather popular Directive 21 scenario, I can immediately see that although each German infantry division is a single unit, the designer has nevertheless broken out the divisional artillery regiment into an HQ piece (Soviet Rifle Divisions are single units including the artillery).

I'm sure the designer had his reasons for doing this, but the net effect is going to make German infantry dramatically more effective at forcing Soviet units to retreat. It's an open question as to whether the results are more realistic or less than if the division was all one unit, but the key thing here is that the results will be very different based on this one rather innocuous design decision. It's also not my contention that TOAW is somehow irretrievably broken based on this result (as per your alluded case which led to major changes to the combat mechanics after TOAW Volume I), but rather that designers will have to very seriously consider how they handle artillery.

Anyway, more testing to come.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 2/7/2021 9:45:55 AM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 10:53:52 AM   
cathar1244

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious


quote:

ORIGINAL: cathar1244

I'm also curious why some equipment like 75mm pieces have different anti-personnel ratings based on their employment (indirect vs direct [90 vs 66]) while others like the 105mm, are more or less 1:1 in terms of AP comparison. It gives the appearance of an equipment rating 'rule' that was not completely applied to the equipment database.


Are you suggesting that specific items of equipment have different AP strengths recorded in the database depending on whether they are used "directly" (i.e. in a unit without an artillery icon) or "indirectly" (i.e. in a unit with an artillery icon)? When I edit the piece I see one figure only for AP strength: 11

Anyway, if the contention is the disparity in effects (which is what I'm interested in- whether the defender should retreat or not is a separate question, but the result should be the same), I'll run the same test with 105mm Gun from your example.


Hi GD,

Examples from the equipment database.

75mm field piece (ranged fire capable):

<NAME>75mm Howitzer</NAME>
.
.
.
<AP>90</AP>

But, Sherman tank with 75mm gun (no ranged fire):

<NAME>M4/75 Sherman</NAME>
.
.
.
<AP>93</AP>

Now: That "93" is the sum of 66 and 27. 27 is the part of the AP rating provided by the heavy machine gun (tank AP rating is the sum of its main gun and a single machine gun).

So: What this is saying is that the 75mm gun, with no ranged fire has an AP of 66 vice the 90 of the ranged piece.

Now let us consider the 105mm howitzer:

<NAME>105mm Howitzer</NAME>
.
.
.
<AP>128</AP>

Okay ... but when mounted in the Sherman tank:

<NAME>M4/105 Sherman</NAME>
.
.
.
<AP>155</AP>

Again, subtract 27 from the AP rating to remove the effect of the heavy machine gun. Result is 128, exactly the same when used in ranged fire mode ... but not flagged as ranged fire equipment in the equipment file.

-----------------

So my question is, why is the 75mm treated differently than the 105mm in these cases? That is why I mentioned it looks like a "rule" for equipment rating was only partially applied in the equipment database.

Cheers

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 11:13:20 AM   
golden delicious


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I've been through quite a few iterations, but here's another relevant one.

The defenders were put on "ignore losses" and set to "defending" status. I also tripled the amount of artillery- 36 guns on both sides.

Ignore losses makes quite the difference. With a single unit, the attacker was unsuccessful in 10/10 tests. With the artillery in a separate unit, this fell to 7/10.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 11:19:22 AM   
cathar1244

 

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I think your example of the D21 situation is very relevant. That sounds like a serious advantage for the German side.

Now, German artillery response was more flexible than that of the Soviets; certainly up until mid 1944 or so. But is that difference deserving of the advantage provided through the game's mechanics?

Sounds like the late war Soviet breakthrough artillery divisions should be able to pretty much force a retreat on almost any defender.

Cheers

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 11:21:21 AM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

Oh no. 100 jeeps vs a Tiger tank.


This isn't a corner case but a very serious design question. If I open the rather popular Directive 21 scenario, I can immediately see that although each German infantry division is a single unit, the designer has nevertheless broken out the divisional artillery regiment into an HQ piece (Soviet Rifle Divisions are single units including the artillery).

I'm sure the designer had his reasons for doing this, but the net effect is going to make German infantry dramatically more effective at forcing Soviet units to retreat. It's an open question as to whether the results are more realistic or less than if the division was all one unit, but the key thing here is that the results will be very different based on this one rather innocuous design decision. It's also not my contention that TOAW is somehow irretrievably broken based on this result (as per your alluded case which led to major changes to the combat mechanics after TOAW Volume I), but rather that designers will have to very seriously consider how they handle artillery.

Anyway, more testing to come.


My guess is that Steve separated out the German artillery and not the Soviet because until late 1942 the Soviets did not have enough personnel to provide the proper support that would enable indirect fire for each and every division. So artillery was concentrated in RVGK units so the indirect fire assets could be concentrated.

When artillery is in a purely artillery unit as depicted by the counter graphic it might be treated differently than if it is part of a different unit type/graphic? Maybe Norm decided it was more likely to be used indirectly separated out and less likely to be used indirectly when not? And at the same time when used indirectly could impact the other guy's support weapons (equipment not flagged as active defender)? Someone *coughBobcough* would have to look at the code.

Some things to consider. When a howitzer is used as indirect fire it has a higher trajectory so is better able to impact units in cover. I'm assuming you used a 75mm infantry gun? Do all artillery have the same impacts or just specific pieces or types of pieces (howitzer vs gun vs mortar)?


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 1:31:14 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

When artillery is in a purely artillery unit as depicted by the counter graphic it might be treated differently than if it is part of a different unit type/graphic?


Yes, I think this is the very clear finding.

quote:

Some things to consider. When a howitzer is used as indirect fire it has a higher trajectory so is better able to impact units in cover. I'm assuming you used a 75mm infantry gun?


I tested this explicitly with 75mm Gun and 105mm Gun. However I get similar experimental results from testing with "real" units pulled out of a scenario. I strongly suspect that all long-ranged equipment is treated the same way.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 2/7/2021 1:39:24 PM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 1:35:21 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster


My guess is that Steve separated out the German artillery and not the Soviet because until late 1942 the Soviets did not have enough personnel to provide the proper support that would enable indirect fire for each and every division. So artillery was concentrated in RVGK units so the indirect fire assets could be concentrated.


I suspect the artillery was kept separate in German divisions with the expectation that the German would frequently need to divide the division down to regiments and so act as a four unit mini formation. The Soviet Rifle Divisions are indivisible so this consideration does not really occur.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 1:57:30 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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You don't say anything about unit types. If you separate the artillery into another infantry unit, I doubt there will be any effect. But you probably put it from an infantry unit into an artillery unit. That's the difference between bombardment and direct fire (line-of-sight). Bombardment for sure gets the shell weight effect. Direct fire probably not.

Perfectly reasonable for designers to put early Soviet artillery into a direct fire condition. They lacked enough skilled personnel for calculating indirect fire till much later. In fact, that's the problem with a lot of Barbarossa scenarios: Too much Soviet indirect firing artillery.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:12:33 PM   
Lobster


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So, been testing one german battalion vs 2 german battalions all equal. Not seeing anything that wouldn't be expected.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:23:00 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

You don't say anything about unit types. If you separate the artillery into another infantry unit, I doubt there will be any effect. But you probably put it from an infantry unit into an artillery unit. That's the difference between bombardment and direct fire (line-of-sight). Bombardment for sure gets the shell weight effect. Direct fire probably not.


Sure sure- but what if those guns wouldn't be firing directly. For example, if I choose not to break my artillery out from the division- or corps?

Since you've actually made more than one scenario at a very high scale, this problem should be pretty relevant to you. In Soviet Union 1941, is it right that almost all artillery is treated as direct fire?

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:24:54 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

So, been testing one german battalion vs 2 german battalions all equal. Not seeing anything that wouldn't be expected.


Yeah, now try putting the infantry guns from the attacking battalion into a separate unit. That's the point here: not that any of these results are invalid on their own terms, but that the big difference between the two cases needs to be considered by the scenario designer.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:41:44 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious

Sure sure- but what if those guns wouldn't be firing directly. For example, if I choose not to break my artillery out from the division- or corps?

Since you've actually made more than one scenario at a very high scale, this problem should be pretty relevant to you. In Soviet Union 1941, is it right that almost all artillery is treated as direct fire?


Exactly. In Soviet Union 1941 German corps level artillery was included in the Army HQs - giving it bombardment ability. Only Soviet Front-level artillery was done so. Big edge for German artillery.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:54:26 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

Exactly. In Soviet Union 1941 German corps level artillery was included in the Army HQs - giving it bombardment ability. Only Soviet Front-level artillery was done so. Big edge for German artillery.


So all the divisional guns are firing directly, then.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 2:58:20 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious


quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

Exactly. In Soviet Union 1941 German corps level artillery was included in the Army HQs - giving it bombardment ability. Only Soviet Front-level artillery was done so. Big edge for German artillery.


So all the divisional guns are firing directly, then.

Correct - for the Germans. Divisional, Corps, and Army guns for the Soviets.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 2/7/2021 3:10:39 PM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/7/2021 7:53:22 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious

So all the divisional guns are firing directly, then.


Kind of. They could still set up an artillery piece and have the fire directed by an FO. It just has to be close to the action because the Soviets were short on radios and used wire.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 3:38:30 AM   
sPzAbt653


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quote:

Directive 21 scenario ... the net effect is going to make German infantry dramatically more effective at forcing Soviet units to retreat.

Certainly intended. Reading Glantz indicated all the issues the Soviets had with building an effective force all across the board. So, the initial artillery units have their disadvantages. The later iterations are are all available as the scenario progresses, as seen below




Attachment (1)

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 8:32:08 AM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

Kind of. They could still set up an artillery piece and have the fire directed by an FO. It just has to be close to the action because the Soviets were short on radios and used wire.


I'm referring to the German divisional artillery in this case.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 1:16:03 PM   
Lobster


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But that would be true of any guns included with any unit in any scenario wouldn't it? Unless it had a ranged symbol? I mean firing directly.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 2/8/2021 1:19:05 PM >


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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 1:43:08 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

But that would be true of any guns included with any unit in any scenario wouldn't it? Unless it had a ranged symbol? I mean firing directly.


Exactly. The same unit will have different capabilities depending on how the designer represents it and, as a result, depending on the scale.

Bob seems nonplussed because he was well aware of how significant this is but I think most designers aren't: for them, the significance of the artillery icon is that it lets you fire at targets two or more hexes away, as well as supporting friendly units on the defence. Actually, the artillery icon gives major advantages to the attacker even if the unit only has 1 hex range.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 1:56:12 PM   
Lobster


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Agreed. An artillery piece separated out has the same shell as an artillery piece included as part of a combined unit. What he says is shell weight isn't calculated unless it's bombarding. If it's part of a unit that does not use a ranged symbol that shell weight isn't used in the calculations because it isn't bombarding. And that is a problem if that is what is happening. So if that is correct you are correct in your statements. It should be fixed.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 2:35:59 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

Agreed. An artillery piece separated out has the same shell as an artillery piece included as part of a combined unit. What he says is shell weight isn't calculated unless it's bombarding. If it's part of a unit that does not use a ranged symbol that shell weight isn't used in the calculations because it isn't bombarding. And that is a problem if that is what is happening. So if that is correct you are correct in your statements. It should be fixed.


I'd suggest that- ideally- rather than assuming that artillery in a non-artillery icon unit fires directly, it should be based on;
1) the equipment (infantry guns versus other artillery)
2) the unit's proficiency
3) the force communication level

Thus the game would be able to make an assumption that Soviet divisional artillery, with low proficiency and low communication level would have artillery firing directly. Naturally as soon as the unit icon is an artillery icon then these calculations become moot: the designer has shown his preference that the unit be able to fire indirectly. If the designer doesn't want that he can assign e.g. an infantry heavy weapons icon.

Having said that I wouldn't say this is a major problem in TOAW today- I consider this an enhancement rather than a "fix" per se.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 4:06:56 PM   
Lobster


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The easiest thing to do would be to make any equipment with the long range flag apply it's shell weight for AP regardless of what unit symbol is present unless it's artillery or HQ. A shell weighs the same whether it's fired directly or indirectly. And then you have to get into what exactly is direct fire. Just because a gun is not an infantry gun does not mean it isn't capable of direct fire. A 105mm howitzer is quite capable of killing a tank with direct fire. To fire any artillery in direct fire the barrel simply has to be suppressed enough.

The following is from the wiki and fairly describes the differences between direct fire and indirect fire. So direct fire can occur as far as a target can be observed regardless of the artillery short of a mortar. If a target can be observed but there's also a FO is it direct fire? If a gun crew can see a target but it's fairly far off and a guy next to the gun pit has binoculars and is giving correcting information is he a FO?

Keeping it simple is best. Just use the shell weight regardless of the unit's symbol when artillery is involved vs soft targets except for HQ and artillery symbols. Having artillery in a unit with a non artillery symbol implies direct fire but the shell weight is used to resolve combat. Since HQ are treated differently regarding artillery there's no need to change that. Just leave it as is.

Wiki:
Direct fire refers to firing of a ranged weapon whose projectile is launched directly at a target within the line-of-sight of the user. The firing weapon must have a sighting device and an unobstructed view to the target, which means no obstacles or friendly units can be between it and the target. A weapon engaged in direct fire conversely exposes itself to direct return fire from the target.

This is in contrast to indirect fire, which refers to firing a projectile on a curved ballistic trajectory or delivering self-accelerated munitions capable of long range and various degrees of homing abilities to alter the flight path. Indirect fire does not need a direct line-of-sight to the target because the shots are normally directed by a forward observer. As such, indirect-fire weapons can shoot over obstacles or friendly units and the weapons can be concealed from counter-battery fire.

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 4:33:16 PM   
cathar1244

 

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quote:

the designer has shown his preference that the unit be able to fire indirectly.


GD, so, in these tests you did that forced units to withdraw, did the towed gun units advance into the vacated hex? That would be a gamey outcome.

Cheers

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RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 6:10:11 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

The easiest thing to do would be to make any equipment with the long range flag apply it's shell weight for AP regardless of what unit symbol is present unless it's artillery or HQ. A shell weighs the same whether it's fired directly or indirectly. And then you have to get into what exactly is direct fire. Just because a gun is not an infantry gun does not mean it isn't capable of direct fire. A 105mm howitzer is quite capable of killing a tank with direct fire. To fire any artillery in direct fire the barrel simply has to be suppressed enough.

The following is from the wiki and fairly describes the differences between direct fire and indirect fire. So direct fire can occur as far as a target can be observed regardless of the artillery short of a mortar. If a target can be observed but there's also a FO is it direct fire? If a gun crew can see a target but it's fairly far off and a guy next to the gun pit has binoculars and is giving correcting information is he a FO?

Keeping it simple is best. Just use the shell weight regardless of the unit's symbol when artillery is involved vs soft targets except for HQ and artillery symbols. Having artillery in a unit with a non artillery symbol implies direct fire but the shell weight is used to resolve combat. Since HQ are treated differently regarding artillery there's no need to change that. Just leave it as is.

Wiki:
Direct fire refers to firing of a ranged weapon whose projectile is launched directly at a target within the line-of-sight of the user. The firing weapon must have a sighting device and an unobstructed view to the target, which means no obstacles or friendly units can be between it and the target. A weapon engaged in direct fire conversely exposes itself to direct return fire from the target.

This is in contrast to indirect fire, which refers to firing a projectile on a curved ballistic trajectory or delivering self-accelerated munitions capable of long range and various degrees of homing abilities to alter the flight path. Indirect fire does not need a direct line-of-sight to the target because the shots are normally directed by a forward observer. As such, indirect-fire weapons can shoot over obstacles or friendly units and the weapons can be concealed from counter-battery fire.

If the trajectory is not ballistic then there is no earth-churning of entrenchments - therefore no disentrenchment effect.

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(in reply to Lobster)
Post #: 29
RE: The magic of separate artillery - 2/8/2021 6:41:56 PM   
Lobster


Posts: 4908
Joined: 8/8/2013
From: Third rock from the Sun.
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No one is talking about earth churning. The vast quantity of artillery is less than 150mm. So you off handedly dismiss the vast number of shells. Furthermore, at scales greater than 1km per hex who is to say they shell is not ballistic? And how would you account for mortars greater than 120mm?

< Message edited by Lobster -- 2/8/2021 6:42:54 PM >


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Wearing blinders and earplugs everything you do is correct.

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 30
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