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Does anyone have any good references for indirect fire?

Questions:

  • How to use? - General Command and control - dos and don't
  • How to decrease delay?
  • How to improve accuracy?
  • Limitations and considerations of the "Cancel' and "Adjust" order.
  • Other helpful hints.

It seems that my troops have a lot of difficulty hitting what they target, if they fire at all.  

I've done a search on the forums and come up with;   more than 70 results for Arty and 125 for Mortar.  It would be nice to find a comprehensive guide, tutorial, or video. Or series.

 

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3 hours ago, macjimm said:
  • How to use? - General Command and control - dos and don't
  • How to decrease delay?
  • How to improve accuracy?

Very big topic with many sub-topics and circumstantial situations.  Probably why you found so many related posts.  I will try to give some general answers to encourage discussion in this topic because I do think this is interesting.  My answers are far from conclusive but here they are:

Command & Control: 

To fire indirect on map mortars must be within close visual C2 (12A/S) of their COC or within voice C2 (6A/S) of any authorized HQ, XO, FO team or within 2A/S of a radio equipped vehicle. (Off map mortars always have their COC & C2) 

A requesting HQ, FO, & some XO teams do not need a radio, COC or C2 to make a request for arty (field telephone abstraction).

Rank determines ability (authority) to access arty (that doesn’t require an FO).          

As long as the CO is alive a HQ can always request and adjust artillery even without a radio or C2. 

Some XOs can call in artillery and mortars.  This includes tank platoon XOs.  The tank platoon XO is normally in Tank #1.   

If I have on map mortars that I am going to use in the indirect fire role I typically try to deploy them in the Setup phase and check that the HQs can access them before I start the game. 

How to decrease delay:

Only off map artillery/mortars have delay option & have it the entire mission.  On map never has it (including during pre-planned setup). 

When an arty/mortar mission is delayed the UI continues to display the delay time even after fire is adjusted making it seem the adjusted fire will take longer than it actually will. 

There are some threads that discuss adjusting a fire mission constantly to keep it in a delayed state until you want it to fall.  I have never gotten this tactic to work properly.  I just mention it in case you come across it.  Maybe somebody else is able to make this work and will comment. 

Also related to Time: 

FFE times, in the support panel, are rounded to the nearest minute. This can make elite, crack & vet. appear to fire at the same time.   

In WWII titles there is no difference in the artillery call times between a backpack radio, a command vehicle radio, a Bn. and a Plt. HQ.  

Command vehicles only improve arty support response time in CMBS.  (Maybe in CMSF2?)  

Experience is the only soft factor of arty & mortar assets (on & off map) that effect FFE times.

How to improve accuracy? 

To paraphrase something @womble said that helped me: The accuracy is determined during the "Spotting" phase.  Your observer needs to be able to see the fall of shot. He can be hiding during the "receiving" and "preparing" phases of the mission but should be heads-up and eyes-on during the "spotting" phase. If your observer has a bad line of sight to the target area (and the splashes of the ranging shots), you'll get a less accurate mission. Trying to hit an area or line where you can only see the two opposite points you clicked to define the line risks shells falling where they can't be seen.

The Spotter also needs to be spotting (head up eyes on) when adjusting fire. 

 

3 hours ago, macjimm said:
  • Limitations and considerations of the "Cancel' and "Adjust" order.
  • Other helpful hints.

Limitations and considerations of the "Cancel' and "Adjust" order.

Most of what I can think of was said above about "Adjusting"

Cancel just ends a fire mission.  This can stop rounds from being wasted and allows friendly troops to advance into the area.  I found this most useful to keep from losing control of off map artillery when a spotter comes under fire.   I have had several incidents where a spotter directing fire was KIA.  After that happened I was never able to adjust or have a different spotter take over that off map arty.  Essentially losing the arty for the rest of the mission.  So my SOP is if I'm foolish enough to get my spotter in a jam I try to be quick enough to cancel the mission he is calling for so I don't lose both spotter and tubes.  

I like to use a off map arty fire mission shooting at a low tube count and a low rate of fire and adjust it around the map as needed. 

Other helpful hints.

Off map arty/mortar ammo count shows total available rounds & of that total x amount may be fired as smoke or precision.  

Pre-planned fires can be plotted anywhere on the map and do not require TRPs.   

In WWII titles personnel airburst rounds must be requested during preplanned bombardment or in range of a TRP to work.

In CMFB a (VT) equipped asset can fire personnel airburst rounds anytime without a TRP.  

Personnel airburst will destroy transports & light armor.  Personnel airburst will damage tracks on armor but not other subsystems. 

Artillery/Mortar status: Receiving, Preparing, Spotting, Firing, Adjusting, Firing.  

Additional artillery/mortar status: Not positioned=Not Deployed, Denied=No authority, Out of Contact=Tubes Need C2, Empty=Empty

If an on map mortar’s indirect LOF is blocked the target cursor will read “No Line of Fire”. A direct fire block will read “No Line of Sight” 

Light mortars (US 60mm) can be very useful in the direct fire role using Target Light

A Point Target will follow a moving target as long as the spotter has LOS.  A Point Target will not cease fire if the target is destroyed.

Artillery smoke is NOT IR blocking. 

The below was a bug that I think is still out there but I did not test it again before posting this (It may also be in CMFI since 4.0): 

Arty/Mortar adjust bug in CMBN, CMRT, CMBS & CMFB: If one observer has two or more fire missions all firing at separate targets

and adjusts any one of those missions to a new target ALL the fire missions adjust to the new target not just the one fire mission.   

If anybody notices anything I screwed up please mention it so I can update my information.  

 

 

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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I dunno if it's gamey, but one can order indirect fire with a (say 15 min) delay in the set up phase out of any friendly spotter LOS, then over the 15 minutes move a spotter to LOS to the target. If there is no enemy there, you can then adjust the fire which is a lot quicker than starting a new fire call. 

IIRC, the adjusted fire (ordered during the set up phase only) will continue to fall more accurately - it is as if the prep fire accuracy continues even after adjusted.

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Excellent in depth answer from the MOSman. One other thing to keep in mind. Some 4th, or (Weapons) platoons will include both MGs and on map Mortars. Don't make the mistake that I often have, of sending the HQ forward with the MG's if it is going to mean losing contact with the Mortars, and therefore prevent them from firing indirect missions.

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This is a conundrum.  We are told that we should keep units in C2 with their HQ's.  But that is usually impractical when the HQ controls mortars and MG's. 

Have always wondered how to people handle MG's since they nearly always have to be sent out of C2 of their HQ's.  And sometimes there are multiple HQ's for a support formation.  Am never sure which HQ's are "safe" to send forward. 

I always thought that the senior mortar HQ should go forward to stay in touch with the recon elements, but apparently that is a bad thing to do as sometimes the mortars can then not be accessed.

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7 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

How to improve accuracy? 

To paraphrase something @womble said that helped me: The accuracy is determined during the "Spotting" phase.  Your observer needs to be able to see the fall of shot. He can be hiding during the "receiving" and "preparing" phases of the mission but should be heads-up and eyes-on during the "spotting" phase. If your observer has a bad line of sight to the target area (and the splashes of the ranging shots), you'll get a less accurate mission. Trying to hit an area or line where you can only see the two opposite points you clicked to define the line risks shells falling where they can't be seen.

The Spotter also needs to be spotting (head up eyes on) when adjusting fire. 

Also I guess to mention in relation to that avoiding the "emergency" setting for the mission as that skips the spotting phase entirely. Sure it's quick because that phase is skipped, but the rounds are not likely (from what have experienced so far) to go anywhere near the place you ordered.

Edited by Oliver_88

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6 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Excellent in depth answer from the MOSman. One other thing to keep in mind. Some 4th, or (Weapons) platoons will include both MGs and on map Mortars. Don't make the mistake that I often have, of sending the HQ forward with the MG's if it is going to mean losing contact with the Mortars, and therefore prevent them from firing indirect missions.

 

5 hours ago, Erwin said:

This is a conundrum.  We are told that we should keep units in C2 with their HQ's.  But that is usually impractical when the HQ controls mortars and MG's.

Maybe leaving that platoons headquarters with the mortar section and send the company headquarters (if available) along with the machinegun section to provide they're C2 instead (à la this)?

Or maybe vice versa leaving the company headquarters (again if available) with the mortar section and sending the platoon headquarters along with the machinegun section? As at least (from what I have just tried in the British formations) the mortar section can continue to be used for indirect support when they are not in C2 with the mortar platoon headquarters so long as they are at least in C2 with the support company headquarters.

Or just sending that platoon headquarters with the machine guns anyway, and resort to leaving the mortar section with no C2 and just providing the indirect fire support using the horizontal channels through having them within voice range of the unit that are going to do the spotting,?

 

Edited by Oliver_88

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10 hours ago, Oliver_88 said:

Also I guess to mention in relation to that avoiding the "emergency" setting for the mission as that skips the spotting phase entirely. Sure it's quick because that phase is skipped, but the rounds are not likely (from what have experienced so far) to go anywhere near the place you ordered.

Good point.  IMO the emergency fire is a waste of rounds.

 

8 hours ago, Oliver_88 said:

Maybe leaving that platoons headquarters with the mortar section and send the company headquarters (if available) along with the machinegun section to provide they're C2 instead (à la this)?

Or maybe vice versa leaving the company headquarters (again if available) with the mortar section and sending the platoon headquarters along with the machinegun section? 

+1  Something along this is what I generally attempt. 

 

15 hours ago, Erwin said:

IIRC, the adjusted fire (ordered during the set up phase only) will continue to fall more accurately - it is as if the prep fire accuracy continues even after adjusted.

This is interesting................... I've not heard that the accuracy continues after adjusted. 

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55 minutes ago, MOS:96B2P said:

 

16 hours ago, Erwin said:

IIRC, the adjusted fire (ordered during the set up phase only) will continue to fall more accurately - it is as if the prep fire accuracy continues even after adjusted.

This is interesting................... I've not heard that the accuracy continues after adjusted. 

While it is possible I suppose I think anyone reading this should verify it first before assuming it is true.

The biggest determinant of accuracy of the fire mission is how much visibility the FO has to the surrounding area to spot those spotting rounds. The game will not call off a mission if your FO does not see the spotting rounds (probably not the best behaviour) but will eventually just call FFE. So if your FO has good visibility to more than just the call area you will not face that problem. The comments above by @womble are the important ones.

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31 minutes ago, IanL said:

The biggest determinant of accuracy of the fire mission is how much visibility the FO has to the surrounding area to spot those spotting rounds.

Very sound advice from our Canadian cousin. I've often seen videos on youtube where the video maker is ranting and raving at his FOs or HQs but, is not bothering to to pay attention to .. 1. How much of his target area the spotter can see. And 2. Not actually bothering to see where the spotting rounds are falling.

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Yes, you can intercede if your FO's visibility is not great and you see a couple of cycles of spotting rounds somewhere you know they cannot see. Cancel and start again could be better than letting it come where ever it might end up.

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4 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Very sound advice from our Canadian cousin. I've often seen videos on youtube where the video maker is ranting and raving at his FOs or HQs but, is not bothering to to pay attention to .. 1. How much of his target area the spotter can see. And 2. Not actually bothering to see where the spotting rounds are falling.

Hopefully not me!

I always thought the game manual explained it quite thoroughly, but kudos to @IanL for explaining it so easily. Your FO has to see the splash to adjust; so avoid getting cheeky with area fire looking for that single point of clear line of sight unless you're very confident in your FO!

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This is an aspect of the game that definitely takes some learning.  In Normandy battles there's not much high ground and short LOS due to hedgerows.  I noticed I was finishing battles with most of my artillery leftover.  So I started plotting fire during setup phase -- I assume this was registered by spotter plane?   I set for light or harrass and maximum for rear areas so I don't burn up all the ammo right away.  That way if I do get LOS/observation on solid target, I can cancel the original fires and make new ones.  If I never get a good LOS, at least I am pounding the rearward defenders that I will face sooner or later.

 

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19 minutes ago, danfrodo said:

  I noticed I was finishing battles with most of my artillery leftover.  So I started plotting fire during setup phase -- I assume this was registered by spotter plane?  

 

Don't over think the why; this could be for any number of reasons. Pre-planned fire is perfectly legitimate on the offensive and is what's called a fires plan. You should get into the habit of making one for terrain like you described, complex with limited LOS. In other games with less flexible militaries, or as the Germans (who are less flexible with heavier artillery), such a plan might be the only way to get your artillery into the battle.

The easiest way to describe how best to form a pre-planned bombardment is to look at the map and go "If I was the defender, where would I be?" Then, strike these areas with what you feel is best. If you want to keep them suppressed and their heads down so you can move, try a light/long or harassing barrage. If you're absolutely certain someone will be in that area (or are capable of moving fast), go heavy and quick/short to either kill units in the bombardment or induce shock. If you want a middle ground or are keen to preserve ammo, try a medium barrage.

19 minutes ago, danfrodo said:

This is an aspect of the game that definitely takes some learning.  In Normandy battles there's not much high ground and short LOS due to hedgerows.  I noticed I was finishing battles with most of my artillery leftover.  So I started plotting fire during setup phase -- I assume this was registered by spotter plane?   I set for light or harrass and maximum for rear areas so I don't burn up all the ammo right away.  That way if I do get LOS/observation on solid target, I can cancel the original fires and make new ones.  If I never get a good LOS, at least I am pounding the rearward defenders that I will face sooner or later.

 

Sounds like you're on the right track to me.

There's another advantage to a fires plan in WWII: The ability to use airbursting munitions, which in Normandy you won't be able to ask for once the battle is on, unless it's hitting a pre-registered point.

None of this is hard and fast and should be molded by your own experience, which means you might have some frustrating miscalculations early on until you live and learn. You'll eventually get a grasp for what type of Artillery mission and caliber is capable of what. 

Edited by Rinaldi

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On 11/30/2017 at 8:44 PM, MOS:96B2P said:

A Point Target will follow a moving target as long as the spotter has LOS.  A Point Target will not cease fire if the target is destroyed.

If you place a point target on a building, the fire mission will automatically cancel when the building is destroyed. I believe this also goes for targeting sections of walls, so be careful to target the ground if you want the fire mission to continue even if the wall is destroyed.

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6 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

If you place a point target on a building, the fire mission will automatically cancel when the building is destroyed. I believe this also goes for targeting sections of walls, so be careful to target the ground if you want the fire mission to continue even if the wall is destroyed.

Thanks, you're correct about the building.  I just did some more tests and updated my notes.  When a building was targeted with a Point Target, Maximum Duration fire mission the fire mission automatically stopped when the building was destroyed.  When a vehicle was the targeted with a Point Target, Maximum Duration fire mission the fire mission continued to fire after the vehicle was destroyed.  It fired until it ran out of ammo. With a wall I could never really target the wall.  The target line always snapped back to an action spot.  So it seems it always targets the ground next to the wall.  For practical purposes it's still close enough to destroy the wall of course. 

 A Point Target on a vehicle will not cease fire if the vehicle is destroyed.  

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Very useful video as it simplifies the concept to give usable info that we all need to know.

Question:  Does the vehicle with the radio also have to be part of the same formation to be used to contact the mortar team or can it be any vehicle with a radio?

Also, it is safer to keep the extra ammo (the bearer and even the vehicle) a little further away out of resupply range in case one forgets to cancel an order - you don't want to fire off too much ammo.  Hence the question if any vehicle with a  radio will work so one doesn't have to use the vehicle with the spare ammo.

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3 hours ago, Erwin said:

Question:  Does the vehicle with the radio also have to be part of the same formation to be used to contact the mortar team or can it be any vehicle with a radio?

Any radio vehicle that is in the same battalion.  Also, in the video the mortar team was the mortar section HQ.  To get the same quicker call times with a US 81mm mortar team you have to also use the mortar section HQ which is a separate 2 man HQ team (no mortar).  You can still by-pass the US mortar platoon HQ however.  So the video is still accurate just some small adjustments for different TOEs.   

Excellent video.  Valkatox said he was going to make more.  I'm looking forward to them. 

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16 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

If you place a point target on a building, the fire mission will automatically cancel when the building is destroyed. I believe this also goes for targeting sections of walls, so be careful to target the ground if you want the fire mission to continue even if the wall is destroyed.

And bridge - once the bridge is destroyed the fire mission will stop - if it was a point mission.

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