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JulianJ

Russian Artillery - long time to arrive

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I have just played a QB on Veteran as the Russians v. Ukies.

The artillery took 13 down to 9 minutes to arrive and adjusting fire was likewise lengthy.

In game time 13 minutes is an eternity.  As I don't like to do first turn pre-ordered fire, I had to get my spotters in position and so basically fought half the game without arty. I realised that my on-map 82 mm mortars were also subject to lengthy delays, so I moved them to a good position and fired them direct.

It did seem an unconscionable delay.

 

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13 hours ago, JulianJ said:

As I don't like to do first turn pre-ordered fire.

Unfortunately for you, the Russians do.

Russian (and Soviet, and Syrian) artillery is only available at the higher levels of command. That means any request for fire has to take the time to go up several levels and back down again, increasing the response times. Many low level units can't call for indirect fires at all.

The intention is to centralise command and control, and to enforce actions on a larger scale. You're talking about a military who's doctrine has traditionally emphasised the *Regiment* as the smallest tactical unit. The correct way to use conventional red forces are to mass up as much as possible, be fluid in your plan, but blunt and brutal when it comes to executing it.

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Posted (edited)

A quick guide to Cold War doctrine, much of which is still applicable in CMBS:

https://balagan.info/soviet-order-of-battle-and-doctrine-in-the-cold-war

In particular:

 

Quote

Artillery offensive: In Soviet thinking the primary purpose of artillery is the suppression of enemy anti-tank weapons before and during the attack. Battalion artillery assets will be 500-1,000m behind the combat line, and regimental assets will be 500-4,000m behind the line, however, both will advance to support the advancing attackers. The artillery offensive is divided into three phases: the preparation, fires in support, and fires through the depths of the defence.

Preparatory fire: If there is time, supporting artillery, and possibly artillery from higher levels, will be used for preparatory fire. Preparatory fire is at a sustained rate but starts and ends with a burst of rapid fire at maximum rate. Preparatory fire lifts when the attacking force leaves the departure line, or when the tanks enter direct fire range of the enemy.

Fires in support: From the point preparatory fire lifts attached artillery (possibily including regimental assets) is used to support the attack. Where possible artillery will use direct fire to shoot through the gaps between advancing companies. Supporting fire will continue to shoot until they endanger their own tanks; for indirect fire this is when the tanks are 100-200m from the enemy, but it is closer for direct fire.

Fires through the depths of the defence: Once supporting artillery fire has lifted from the enemy front line positions the supporting artillery fire through the depth of the enemy positions, in other words, it will target enemy rear positions to support the breakthrough.

Tank assault: Normally the tanks lead the assault. They have to enter the enemy positions as soon after the artillery fire lifts as possible. The Soviets believe the tanks have about 3 min to do this before the enemy mans their weapons. Once in the enemy positions the tanks use suppressive fire to cover the advance of the infantry. The tanks will let the infantry lead the assault when in rough, close or built-up terrain, when attacking at night or across a water obstacle.

 

Edited by domfluff

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, domfluff said:

Unfortunately for you, the Russians do.

Russian (and Soviet, and Syrian) artillery is only available at the higher levels of command. That means any request for fire has to take the time to go up several levels and back down again, increasing the response times. Many low level units can't call for indirect fires at all.

The intention is to centralise command and control, and to enforce actions on a larger scale. You're talking about a military who's doctrine has traditionally emphasised the *Regiment* as the smallest tactical unit. The correct way to use conventional red forces are to mass up as much as possible, be fluid in your plan, but blunt and brutal when it comes to executing it.

The fires are called in by the forward based artillery officer, not the manuever unit commander. As such I am not sure how the above is applicable.

Incidentally this is why you get separation between commander's vehicles and senior officer's vehicles down to battery level, one moves with the troops, the other stays with the guns. Such direct and competent control of arty, all other things being the same, allows for faster fires.

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Edited by ikalugin

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What I have tested is, positioning your mortar units either 82 mm or 120 mm  close to vehicle with Satellite (Vehicle-mounted station) - Constellation for Russian side - I use BTR82A. Then in theory mortar crew has access to these data and are little bit quicker and more precise. Icon is showing in their panel.

But I expected more from this - lets say quicker response then just radios.

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I just gave a quick look in a mini test scenario. 
A US and a Russian FO both calling in off-map SP 155/152 artillery. The US FO was looking at 8 minutes delivery time, the Russian FO was looking at 7 minutes. This with an artillery observation vehicle parked next to him ...looking at other artillery types... the call-in time for 203mm Mialka goes up to 9 minutes. The 152mm 2S19M5 was 7, the 152mm 2A65 howitzer was 8 minutes. All this with a 'regular FO playing Warrior level. (I was going to test rocket artillery times  then I remembered that's only in CMSF2)

I now tested a Russian mortar platoon FO with his own on-map medium mortar team and a couple off-map hvy mortar teams attached to another unit. Call-in times ranged from 4 to 6 minutes. If I select a random office unit instead of an FO call-in times for the same pieces jump to 8 minutes. So it seems to make a big different who is doing the artillery directing and what artillery type is being directed.

Compare this to Syrians in CMSF2 calling in rocket artillery - 27 minute call-in time! :o

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42 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

Compare this to Syrians in CMSF2 calling in rocket artillery - 27 minute call-in time! :o

Holly crap - typically they would all be dead in 27 minutes. 😭

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Posted (edited)

preregistered target points are also very good tool to mitigate artillery call times and from my understanding are part of eastern military doctrine in both attack and defence. If possible you should plan your attack with preplanned turn one artillery fires and also use additional pre registered targets in key terrain features along the planned axis of attack so that you can call in artillery where needed in matter of minutes. The emphasis is methodically planning your offensive action and trying to anticipate enemy counter moves and defensive strategy. 

Edited by H1nd

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Posted (edited)

Quite a long time ago, the military regulations of  RF Armed Forces were revised. In which a direct request for artillery (barrel) support was received company commander, bypassing the higher standing commanders. The platoon commander also has the opportunity to request, but only with the approval of the company commander. It is much easier with this in the troops of Airborne Forces, in them the commanders of squads are also taught how to correctly call and direct artillery support. Although in the combat statutes of the ground forces it is also recommended to prepare the most trained sergeants and soldiers by artillery spotters (to give basic knowledge). I, being a company commander, together with platoon commanders, trained sergeants on how to correctly identify the target on the map, call in and correct artillery fire.The sergeants were trained only by those who served in the contract service.
In general, after the war of 08.08.08 and Syria, the military training of soldiers was very much revised. More attention is paid to the practice in the tactical field.

Edited by HUSKER2142

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Did you check the EW strength setting? It could impact the delay too. 

Any way here is my experience, in case I have to endure long waiting time, I will  change my mindset on the arty. Do NOT use the arty to bomb the detected target . Use the arty to strike the target you cannot see, drop the barrage on the suspicious area that enemy could hide into.  Setup an Arty mission first, use light, long or maximum mission, so that I can easily adjust it to bomb the new detected target later   

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11 hours ago, Chibot Mk IX said:

Setup an Arty mission first, use light, long or maximum mission, so that I can easily adjust it to bomb the new detected target later

This is the way forward IMHO.

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On 4/18/2019 at 1:42 PM, domfluff said:

Russian (and Soviet, and Syrian) artillery is only available at the higher levels of command. That means any request for fire has to take the time to go up several levels and back down again, increasing the response times. Many low level units can't call for indirect fires at all.

At the end of war common practice (during major offensive) was to attach battery commander to infantry company and division commander to battalion.

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Considering the Russians (Allegedly!) used RPV-spotted MRLS to obliterate Ukrainian mech battalions, I think Russian artillery could use a second look.

Their doctrine has (allegedly) really developed in Ukraine, and it's a force to be reckoned with.

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3 minutes ago, DougPhresh said:

Considering the Russians (Allegedly!) used RPV-spotted MRLS to obliterate Ukrainian mech battalions, I think Russian artillery could use a second look.

Their doctrine has (allegedly) really developed in Ukraine, and it's a force to be reckoned with.

The conflict in the Donbas may provide false experience for a large scale war.

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If anything, I would expect more fires to come down on the Ukrainians since there'd be no pretense of deniability.

Just speaking from time in Starychi, the Ukrainians are a step up from the ANA/ANP but they aren't a NATO military and it shows. Coming under Russian division fires would be a test for a Western unit. I don't know how many tubes would be supporting an end run on Kyiv, but I think Russian artillery would break the back of any unit not very deeply dug in. Anything moving by road, for sure.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DougPhresh said:

Coming under Russian division fires would be a test for a Western unit.

They don't call it 'The God of War' for nothing.  ;)

A number of friends who served during the cold war had a very healthy respect for what they expected to face, that in the days before massed precision fires.....I fear the overwhelming success of Desert Storm (& OIF et al) may have badly skewed perceptions in the west.

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, DougPhresh said:

Considering the Russians (Allegedly!) used RPV-spotted MRLS to obliterate Ukrainian mech battalions, I think Russian artillery could use a second look.

Their doctrine has (allegedly) really developed in Ukraine, and it's a force to be reckoned with.

Russian artillery "oblitarated" about month several battalion tactical groups, which were deployed on one place near the border and wich can't respond on Russian territory. Yes, Russians used ELINT, UAV targeting, sometime guided ammunitions  122 and 152 mm, but most losses among Ukrainian troops was in vehicles (about 2/3 ), but not in the personnel. The maneuver was limited, so vehicles were easy targets. Of course, several weeks under day by day shellings, hit morale of troops, but they successfully broke through and escaped. Most known strike on Zelenopillia took 36 KIA and 93 WIA because personnel was deployed with big density in the tents and this was first sudden strike from Russian territory.

And yes, despite Donbas war is a war of MLRS, artillery and mortars, but this is low intensity conflict, no one of sides never grouped more artillery battalion for firing simultainously and this was too rarely. So it can be approximated on possible "big war", but very approximately. The usual practic is actions with artillery batteries, which already in 2014-2015 transformed in actions with artillery platoons and this inflicted some changes in tactic of artilelry usage and spotters work. Now each commander, even in the infantry squad is studying to target artillery and adjust artillery fire.

 

I think in the game, time of artillery call should be reduced in 1.5 times relatively to real world norms because speed of action developments in the game about in 1,5-2 times faster, than in real combat. Though, 7-9 min for "serious caliber" calls look like already reduced.

 

 

Edited by Haiduk

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Posted (edited)

Yes, in the "big" war we can expected much more massed (and deep) fires (inlcuding the use of airpower by both sides), more assertive ECM usage, large scale manuevers by army sized groupings and their units within a non-linear battles.

Small scale artillery use, small unit tactics, positional warfare experience etc may be useful in some ways, but very harmful in others. Use of many forms of organisation, such as the battalion tactical groups, would no longer be useful, etc.

Edited by ikalugin

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3 minutes ago, ikalugin said:

Use of many forms of organisation, such as the battalion tactical groups, would no longer be useful, etc.

Not agree with this. BTG/RTG is a basemant of tactic. WWII style battles "division on division" already impossible. 

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Haiduk said:

Not agree with this. BTG/RTG is a basemant of tactic. WWII style battles "division on division" already impossible. 

This is called tactical bias and is one of the problems such conflicts create.

While indeed it is unlikely that we would see "WWII style" battles in the future, after all the deep battle has been superceded by the non linear battle in the past half century, the old truth of strategic->operational->tactical is still there and the "big" war between adversaries would result in manuevers by large scale forces (in our case - Armies). In such a war building your force around generation of tactical groupings would make it less efficient at the higher levels.

For example if you build your brigades to generate (be split into) self sufficient BTGs (or divisions generate brigades, etc) instead of fighting them as a unified force you loose the synergy unified forces offer and the internal flexibility on each level. As such, in my opinion, it is much better to build brigades to generate mission orientated task forces (forward detachment, flanking detachment etc) in their interest or in the interest of the above level than to build brigades to generate (be split into) self sufficient BTGs or other such groupings below their level.

Edited by ikalugin

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Posted (edited)

P.s.

The two large scale offensive operations of the post cold war era (ODS, OIF) were classical manuever operations using envelopment and pierce through methods.

If Ukraine prepares for the "small" war using the current experience in Donbas then it may run into the same problem Georgia did in 2008.

Edited by ikalugin

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5 hours ago, DougPhresh said:

Considering the Russians (Allegedly!) used RPV-spotted MRLS to obliterate Ukrainian mech battalions, I think Russian artillery could use a second look.

Their doctrine has (allegedly) really developed in Ukraine, and it's a force to be reckoned with.

 

4 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

They don't call it 'The God of War' for nothing.  ;)

A number of friends who served during the cold war had a very healthy respect for what they expected to face, that in the days before massed precision fires.....I fear the overwhelming success of Desert Storm (& OIF et al) may have badly skewed perceptions in the west.

 

I wanted to point out how you are both saying similar things here. Squarehead is correct in saying that some (though I must admit it was a minority in the US at least) viewed the success of Desert Storm as proof that massed Soviet artillery would have been less of a decisive factor than originally feared. The basis for this was the ease that Coalition forces destroyed the (very large) Iraqi artillery corps in Desert Storm.

Quick background, the Iraqi military had a lot of hardware in 1991. Not only did they have the 4th largest army by manpower in the world at the time, but they had the hardware (tanks, artillery, both tube and rocket) to back up that manpower. Many Coalition commanders were worried that entire battalions would be annihilated by Iraqi artillery concentrations, and is part of the reason why anticipated casualty figures were so high. 
However in practice, while the Iraqi's had the hardware, they lacked the training to properly employ the hardware. Much of the Iraqi artillery was destroyed by aircraft and counter battery fires, and the Iraqi artillery that was able to fire generally failed to hit anything. Again, this was not a fault of the hardware, or amount of hardware they had, but a fault of poor training (this includes tactics, techniques, procedures, all that).

Now, for the same reason that some in the West underestimated Soviet artillery based on Iraqi performance, some in the West are now overestimating the capabilities of Russian artillery based on Ukrainian performance. I am not saying that Russian artillery is ineffectual by any means. However, I would point out that just like the Iraqi military in 1991 was a bad indicator of Soviet military capability, the modern day Ukrainian military is a bad indicator of NATO militaries today. 
The Ukrainian military, especially during 2014, was a small, ill equipped and trained force not ready for any type of real conflict. Their equipment was mostly vintage Soviet. In a way comparable to the Iraqi's in 1991, except this time in 2014. Point being, the equipment was old, dated and poorly used. 

For the same reason that the Soviet military in the 80s would have performed much better than the Iraqi's did in 1991, NATO militaries would perform much better against Russia in the 2017 conflict depicted in BS. 

By the way, this applies across the board; tank combat, infantry combat, urban warfare, artillery, electronic warfare, etc. 

2 hours ago, Haiduk said:

Not agree with this. BTG/RTG is a basemant of tactic. WWII style battles "division on division" already impossible. 

This is not now, nor will it ever be true. The idea that a small well trained/equipped battalion of 400 men can do the job of 4000 is a myth as old as warfare itself. While everyone likes the story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, they also forget that there were over 6000 other Greeks there as well, and even when the Spartans remained as the rear guard, another 500-1000 Greeks stayed with them. 
In modern times, the same myth persists. Partly because the idea of small special forces teams wiping out entire armies "Commando" style has been so romanticized, and partly because many nations are seeking further ways to reduce defense spending while still clinging to the idea that their tiny military can still hold it's own in a real fight. The fact remains that the most important "force multiplier" is mass.

1 hour ago, ikalugin said:

While indeed it is unlikely that we would see "WWII style" battles in the future, after all the deep battle has been superceded by the non linear battle in the past half century, the old truth of strategic->operational->tactical is still there and the "big" war between adversaries would result in manuevers by large scale forces (in our case - Armies). In such a war building your force around generation of tactical groupings would make it less efficient at the higher levels.

This is exactly correct. A "battalion tactical group" trying to act as a brigade is a very good way to get a battalion destroyed in short order. One can get away with it in a low intensity, static and frozen conflict like what is currently happening in Eastern Ukraine today, but it would collapse in a matter of hours in the larger conflict depicted in Black Sea. 

1 hour ago, ikalugin said:

P.s.

The two large scale offensive operations of the post cold war era (ODS, OIF) were classical manuever operations using envelopment and pierce through methods.

If Ukraine prepares for the "small" war using the current experience in Donbas then it may run into the same problem Georgia did in 2008.

Completely agree. 

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Posted (edited)

I fear that after the Kiev loyalist efforts to first encircle then split away the separatist forces via application of ad-hoc division/corps structures made out of brigades failed the Ukrainian (and not only Ukrainian) military thinkers made the wrong conclusion, that smaller formations would work better in such a war. However in my opinion it has shown the contrary - that the ad-hoc division/corps formations Ukraine had were insufficiently large, did not have the proper C4ISR, did not have the means (fires, remotely deployed minefields etc) to cover the spaces between the units, their flanks and rear.

Which means that if Ukraine wants a force capable of conducting an operation properly what it should do is try to form, co-train etc some sort of better division/corps structures, possible army structures, capable of operating at great range (depth) and speed, not to divolve their forces into means of generating BTGs.

As to the Russia vs NATO this strongly depends on the specifics of a scenario. In the scale of the Ukrainian "big" war deployment of reasonable NATO forces (up to say 2 armoured divisions) may be decisive on tactical level, but less significant on operational and strategic level, especially depending on how those are actually deployed. For a fictional example I would recall the use of US VII corps in the Red Army by Peters.

Edited by ikalugin

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