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Commanderski

How do you get your artillery to be accurate?

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From my own direct experience, Emergency is a waste of near priceless ammo. Instead of missing with the spotting round, you'll waste an entire shoot, however you configured that. Real artillery shoots until it gets a 100 meter bracket of the target, after which comes FFE. Use your spotting rounds. Fire adjustment is critical, but you need to think about where the enemy is going to be by the time your fire support actually puts down fire and steel.

If the scenario permits, TRPs are a must-have, for they will greatly improve firing accuracy and response time. They can also be used to create a line of fire between them, a line which can, I believe, even cross LOS blocked areas if either TRP is visible. Something else to know is that LOS to trees and structures is calculated based on seeing where it intersects the ground, so be prepared to be unable to shoot at that plainly visible tower whose bottom is obscured!  When you're in a jam, organic artillery (usually mortars) will be your immediate savior, not fires from higher, since it's typically slower. The exception would be having a dedicated battery in support, but that's really for, say, 1980s and thereafter. 

If the above doesn't help, get a time machine and deliver by FedEx!

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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I think sometimes what happens is that you try to have an arty barrage in a area that the spotter can barely see. He can just see a single action square for instance and the LOS is through a tiny gap between clumps of trees or two houses but you order the arty strike anyway. I suspect what happens is that the spotter can't quite see the spotting rounds because of it and that's why it is off. I could be wrong here, it is just a hunch. But when I try to not be clever and fire at a zone where the LOS is less far fetched, it happens a lot less.

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Commanderski,

Something I forgot to mention, since I note you've been a Forumite since 1999, is that CM2 uses absolute, not relative, LOS. In other words, your FO must have a clear LOS to the desired impact point and be able to see where what spotting round landed. Do not shoot until you either have LOS or are certain you get there in time to establish it. Pre-game Barrage is an exception, for it's all pre-calculated before the guns speak.

If you can't see where that spotting round landed, cancel the mission and start over. There's no point in flinging shells randomly on the map. Reserve point fire for such targets as MG nests, pillboxes and such, to include an immobilized tank if you have access to something suitable. 81 mm mortar delivered close by will sieve light armor. Heaven help OT anything in the middle of any sort of artillery fire, especially if bursting overhead. Tree bursts are death for OT AFVs under them, also such things as ATGs. Concentrated 105 will ruin a Panther's day (have done it: area looked like lunar surface, centered on a dead Panther), and 155 will destroy the heaviest tank. Also, if you have a TRP,  you can bring down fire on it and as far as 50 meters away from it without a Spotter being needed.  

Hope these help and that you pay attention to Zveroboy1's observations.  It cost or digital troops considerable pixel blood to learn this stuff!

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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There are other factors you can't control though such as the experience of both the firing unit and the observer - if both of these are conscript or green then you can expect longer preparation times and longer spotting times.  So where you have a mix of observers your best bet is to choose the right type of observer eg FO for guns, JTAC (or whatever they're called in-game) for aircraft.  Then:

  • Make sure that they are in the same chain of command.
  • Pick the observer with the highest skill rating.
  • Pick the observer with the lowest suppression levels (ideally none)
  • Put the observer where they can see as much of the target area as possible.

Also - during the spotting phase - if you have a couple of turns where the spotting round hits the same point and shows no signs of shifting, cancel the mission and start again.  Otherwise, you'll just waste a bunch of rounds for spotting and in all likelihood the firing unit will dump the whole fire mission on that spot if you don't cancel it.

A final thought ‚Ķ the Royal Artillery are nicknamed 'drop shorts' in the British Army for good reason¬†ūüėČ

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Yes, calling in arty reminds me of quantum uncertainty.  All I can say is that rounds will land in the game universe.  But sometimes you just need to call in a strike if only to feel like an officer.  Even direct fire boggles the mind sometimes.  I have had main gun rounds go long, and take out an entire squad of my troops which the tank was supposed to be protecting!  Friendly fire is very well modeled in this game!  :(

A scenario is 30-60 minutes.  A spotting road goes way off, and you say start from scratch?!.  How many scenarios have 5, 10, 15 minutes of slack to wait for a fire mission?

Edited by markshot

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All great comments and advice above. 

I would only add that if you are playing a quick battle, purchase on-map mortars instead of off-map artillery... much more accurate, timely, and flexible.  Down side is that they can be neutralized by enemy action, and you need to maintain a radio link if using them indirectly.  I am always willing to risk those though, plus you could also purchase trucks to provide resupply rounds to some mortars.

Bil

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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Selecting which artillery piece to use will make a difference. US WWII 75mm will (theoretically) have a tighter dispersion pattern than an 8 inch howitzer. Also there's the question of which forces you're using. Syrians in CMSF2 and Italians in CMFI aren't the best artillerymen.

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I think it's a lot to expect of World War 2 artillery to show the kind of accuracy we tend to want in a CM scenario. Point-fire was a really novel technique and even if the math was worked the guns doing it often needed a very long time....a period measured over days, to hit the aimpoint. Siege guns for instance were often used to plink individual bunkers and forts...but they took a lot of time to do it and often flattened the entire surrounding area in the process. 

For anything larger than mortars I almost always use area-bombardment in CMWW2 since the corresponding error space is wide enough to allow the mission to commence in a reasonable period of time. Fires in WW2 were conducted with little regard for precision anyway and the preference was clearly to just smash the reference point. The heavier the guns get, the less reason you have to show much finesse with them I think outside of endangering your own troops. Airbursting 155mm or 122mm rounds will absolutely depopulate a wide area and General Purpose fire will demolish structures, destroy equipment and even damage tanks. It's verges on inappropriate (but certainly not against any kind of rule) to use such heavy calibers trying to plink an individual tank or bunker in a timed scenario. I mean at least I think it's unwise in a 2 or 3 hour timeframe but that's just me. 

4 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Selecting which artillery piece to use will make a difference. US WWII 75mm will (theoretically) have a tighter dispersion pattern than an 8 inch howitzer. Also there's the question of which forces you're using. Syrians in CMSF2 and Italians in CMFI aren't the best artillerymen.

To be fair, the Italians had virtually no methodology for the tactical fire we typically see in CM due to a lack of field telephones and radios and while the Italians had a wide selection of impressively heavy guns and field pieces they are best utilized in the pre-planning stage of a scenario rather than reserved for later in point fire. The games sort of abstract this already by limiting the heaviest guns to FOs and Battalion Commanders and forcing long preparation times on both which softly directs the player to use them in the planning phase. 

The Syrians can do tactical fire...but generally would do this by TRP or again, battle pre-planning stage. But since both the Syrians and the Italians are almost always on defense we are rarely able to see the full capabilities of their support in action. Plenty of ways exist to design scenarios that play into the strengths of planned-type fire support we just don't usually see them playing the Americans, British, Germans, etc all the time. If the idea is that planned heavy fire is always inherently inferior to responsive fire control and detailed forward observation though I can imagine Marshall Zhukov or Ferdinand Foch pretty openly laughing at that. 

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I imagine planned barrages had a strong a psychological affect on those who witnessed them.  It would me.

Seeing the ground from a distance be torn apart by the hand of G*d, the concussions, noise, and shaking of the ground.  Because a barrage is like a mine field, you never know when it will be your turn.

Apparently, the Japanese learned to dig in and wait inland until the marines came ashore in the Pacific.  But I suppose if you had not been through an island campaign before, watching this for 2-3 days from the transport ships, it would boost your morale.

I think "shock and awe" wasn't really invented in the 90's.

Edited by markshot

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Main thing you get from a planned bombardment is reliable execution of complicated and detailed fires because the math and organization is conducted at high levels, so you have few cases of things like batteries engaging the wrong target, commencing or lifting their bombardments too early or too late, reduced instances of fratricide, etc. Certainly you are right to highlight that this makes for outrageously heavy bombardments all falling with great accuracy on select parts of the front. Pretty important stuff if the infantry have been instructed to adhere to scrupulous movement plans and advancing too late would mean the defender is given time to reorganize or advancing too soon means your men advance into their own fire. Heavy bombardments can essentially perform the same job as combat engineers by degrading and removing entrenchments and fortifications but without exposing valuable engineers even if they do all that a bit less thoroughly than engineers would. Certainly none of this is anything special, any Army with a modern staff system should be able to do it and for plenty of Armies where education was rather poor and qualification and standards correspondingly low it may well be the only option. Giving the 1942 Italian Army a doctrine similar to the Americans idea of fire support would not have worked very well for them though even if the tools existed to make it happen. Talent was relatively uncommon in an Army where many Officers were in charge because they bought their commission rather than earned it...

The nature of fighting the Pacific in combination with the collapse of their transport and logistics meant that the Japanese essentially had to revert to the trench warfare tactics of 1915 in order to so much as survive since none of their own support systems were getting through American interception. It is the inevitable and basic reaction of a defender facing an opponent with overwhelming advantages in heavy firepower for which the only way to reduce casualties was to use ground for safety. Most Infantry Divisions had guns heavy enough to pulverize basic or improvised defenses. From there only the most thorough forts could ensure protection from Corp or "Strategic" guns in Stavka parlance. How many Fort Vauxs or Poznans or Maginot Lines can possibly exist?

On Iwo Jima Mt. Suribachi was a formidable and entirely natural defensive position that there was no way to bypass, and Okinawa had been allowed extensive time to heavily fortify with concrete bunkers and shelters. Due to their own objectives the Allies had a tendency to select major offensives in regions where the terrain suited the defender, such as at Monte Cassino. On the Eastern Front few to no such notable set piece features existed other than say, the Pripyet Marshes and German defenders had to just hope they didn't happen to be the guys to end up under the impending avalanche of 122mm, 152mm, and 203mm guns. Eventually cities became the only viable defensive terrain on the front...with horrifying consequences for the inhabitants... 

 

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