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CM Artillery Synopsis [Treeburst155]

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For those that forgot how artillery works in Combat Mission, below a recount by Mike Meinecke, aka Treeburst155.

Overview of Artillery in CM

Artillery in Combat Mission is a very important arm. It is unlikely that you will be successful in CM unless you employ artillery effectively.

The CM games include the following types of artillery:

- on-board direct-firing weapons (usually covered under guns).

- on-board indirect-firing weapons, meaning mortars, which usually range in caliber from 2“ (51mm; light) to 81mm (medium) and for which HQ units can spot.

- off-board light artillery (caliber 81mm and under), usually used for smoke and harassing fire

- off-board medium artillery (usually caliber between 88mm and 120mm) can cause serious casualties, bring down buildings, and knock out thin-skinned vehicles.

- off-board heavy artillery (caliber around 150mm) can kill and panic whole infantry formations and knock out armored vehicles.

- Off-board super-heavy artillery (caliber 200mm+), including naval guns in CMBO, can unbalance the game because their impact is so severe; any unit near the shell burst is in trouble

The phrase ”indirect fire“ means that the guns or mortars don’t have a direct line of sight (LOS) to the target. A spotter (a HQ or designated artillery forward observer) sets a target for the shells, either with or without LOS of its own. Some scenarios provide target reference points (TRPs) that represent a landmark on which the guns have already zeroed in before the battle.

A forward observer (FO) calls in a barrage with some time delay. Generally, the amount of delay depends on: 1) caliber; 2) the level of experience of the spotter; 3) the presence or absence of LOS or a TRP; and 4) the type of artillery (corps or divisional). The delay can be as little as a few dozen seconds with a TRP to more than ten minutes for the largest calibers in the worst of cases.

Different calibers of artillery have different missions. The light artillery and mortars work well to suppress infantry and take out guns. If you can spot an anti-tank gun, your best course of action (assuming you have time) is to call on light artillery, which will usually knock out the gun. If infantry is in tree cover, shells can hit the branches above them and explode as ”air bursts“, which are more effective in causing casualties and panic than standard impacts on the ground. Light-caliber artillery is also excellent for smoke cover, which can allow your troops to close with the enemy without suffering long-range casualties.

The medium and heavy artillery is better for smashing firmly dug-in troops. These calibers can cause serious casualties to even a prepared defender and will at the very least seriously disrupt a defense. It is best to time an assault immediately after such a barrage, while the enemy infantry is still suppressed and cowering. It usually only takes a few minutes for infantry to recover enough to put up a good defense so timing is important.

The very heavy calibers can knock out tanks and force even veteran troops to break and run. Due to the serious impact on play balance, these calibers shouldn’t normally be used in a competitive game.

While super-heavy artillery was extremely effective in CMBO - occasionally, a village full of German troops has been wiped out by 14” (350mm) naval guns - in the later games it does not seem to be as powerful. In a recent CMAK game, one player spent 570 points for 8“-howitzer battery, which killed only six men and failed completely to destroy the trench it was aimed at. He recommends that you never buy it and encourage your opponent to use it.

Choosing the Mission

It is important to choose the right mission for your artillery. Artillery is expensive in CM and it can be wasted unless you employ the correct tool for the job.

The first item to consider is whether you are on the defense or on the attack. Generally, the attacker has more artillery capabilities than the defender due to the fact that the attacker outweighs the defender in points.

You need to assess the caliber of artillery that you have. On-board mortars are best at quick reaction fire - such as when you spot an enemy anti-tank gun and need to immediately suppress that weapon as you pull your vehicles out of danger. Use an HQ to spot for your mortar and keep it behind cover so that it can’t be hit by return fire. Choose the location of your HQ wisely - you want it to be able to view areas where the enemy defenders probably lie. It is generally a waste of ammo to shoot your on-board mortars at only suspected or likely enemy hiding places, because your ammo load isn’t that high to start with.

Your light artillery fire comes down fast and usually has a lot of shells. The 81mm mortar batteries might have as many as 200 rounds! These are ideal for smoke if you have to cover a lot of open ground. Put down the smoke screen and charge through - it dissipates in a few minutes so you’ll have to move quickly. With so many rounds and a relatively low cost, a battery of 81mm mortars (3” in British service) is good for harassing or softening up likely enemy positions. It won’t cause too much damage, however.

The medium and heavy artillery have to be used with foresight. You need to plan ahead because it will normally take several minutes to bring it down on a target. You don’t want to waste this valuable asset on potential targets - you want to smash a juicy enemy troop concentration or key element of their defense. You should be slow and deliberate on the attack if you want to use this artillery effectively, because you will have to wait until it lands, often several turns, before you launch your attack.

Artillery is most effective on field guns, infantry in trees, open-topped or soft vehicles like tank destroyers, half-tracks, and trucks), or anything in the open. Artillery is not very effective against units in trenches, which provide excellent cover. Except for the heaviest artillery, units in buildings are reasonably protected against artillery, so using it on such targets is usually a waste. Unless you have large-caliber artillery or an excess of artillery, do not go after heavily armored tanks, although lighter tanks will often be knocked out or immobilized by direct or nearby hits.

Spotting

Spotting is absolutely critical. Unless you have TRP’s, it takes significantly longer to bring down artillery on a target out of LOS than for one in LOS. In turn, this demands careful placement of your artillery spotter. You want the artillery spotter to be able to see the action, but you don’t want the enemy to be able to see your spotter, because it will immediately come under intense fire (this is a very high priority for the Tac AI).

A TRP is a target reference point. Target reference points cost 10 points each in CM terms. This can be a very valuable investment, because you can call down artillery on a TRP in a matter of seconds. Even the heaviest of calibers can be brought down “on call” in very quick order if your opponent happens to be standing on / near a TRP. You can shoot at TRP’s out of sight of your spotter - this can be a big help since your spotter can only be at one place at a time. If you put some other cheap units (i.e. LMG or sharp shooter) where they can see the TRP they can act as a de-facto spotter to precisely time when the artillery comes down.

If your spotter is killed, you can’t use the rest of your artillery, even if you have shells left. Plus, killing a spotter gives the enemy a lot of points. The way to get around this is to “pre-register” your artillery at the start of the game - even if the spotter is killed, your artillery will still come down. You can add minutes to your artillery strike so that it comes down on turn 10, for example, which could be timed so that it lands just before you assault the village. The down side to pre-registered fire is that you can’t adjust it nor cancel it after setup, so it will shoot off every round at the target you designate WHEN you designate it.

If your shells don’t land where you want OR the enemy has moved, you can “adjust” fire. There is a narrow width where the line is green where the time to adjust is short; beyond that and the clock basically re-starts for spotting. If your LOS is blocked between when you call down the fire and when it lands your artillery will often not land where you want. Check on the spotter while you watch the movie and if you see “firing” but the shells aren’t landing where you want figure out where they are landing and adjust accordingly. You can ‘cancel’ the fire mission if it is totally off kilter.

At night you can’t spot much at all. In this case you probably should either pre-register your fire or just shoot blind. Make sure it is way ahead of your troops because it is going to land randomly. Artillery at night can do a good job of de-motivating your opponent to fight and causing panic if you get lucky and it lands on them. Mortars are absolutely useless at night because they CAN’T shoot at targets that neither they nor the HQ can see.

Rockets are different. They come down in big waves and you really can’t adjust the fire. They are highly inaccurate in the best of times. Their advantage is that they can really disrupt the defender if they land on them - follow up immediately for best results.

If you are firing to disrupt the enemy you might want to consider “target wide”, the (I) shortcut key. This covers more ground and could hit more defender locations, although the impact on each defender will be less concentrated. Don’t use this for specific targets like spotted AT guns.

Another tip on spotting is that you should try to “spot ahead” because you need to guess where the enemy WILL be if they are moving and it takes several minutes for your fire to be on target. There is no cost to having a target out there and “ticking down” and you probably should look at each spotter every turn and figure if you want to keep your current plot or if you want to move it somewhere else. A “spotting round” or two comes out about a minute or so before the barrage begins. The one catch with this method of playing is that if you forget that you have a plot out there, you could waste a lot of your artillery before you remember it and cancel or adjust the fire. This technique is most necessary with artillery that takes 4-5 minutes or more to come down… you really can’t wait for the enemy to get where you want them to be and begin plotting or your artillery will never arrive when it is most useful.

Beginning in CMBB / CMAK - artillery spotters cannot spot if they are “hidden”. They must be up and with an LOS to spot. This increases their likelihood of being spotted in turn, but if they are in good cover terrain and pretty far back it is unlikely that they will draw fire. Another item to note - DON’T put your observer NEXT to another target that is sure to draw fire, such as a MG or AT Gun. Your observer may inadvertently be hit by fire aimed at the other weapon.

From the Battlefront forum it was noted that if the spotters LOS to the target was ever blocked (SMOKE or a building crumbling and kicking up high debris, or sand in the desert) the shells typically land off target. If you think that your LOS has been blocked you may want to consider re-starting the targeting “clock” with a new target, especially if you are trying to hit a pretty small target and shells landing elsewhere are essentially wasted.

Note that there are halftracks with mortars, typically 81mm. These halftracks CAN be spotted for by HQ’s - this is actually the way they should ALWAYS be deployed. Note that the half tracks have to turn around and face the opposite way in order to fire the mortar. Keep these vehicles out of harms way and they can substantially help your cause. They have more mobility than a typical mortar so you might put them closer to the action and then drive away, assuming that you have a covered route back to your side of the battlefield. This is rarely needed, however, due to the long range of the 81mm mortar.

Note that all mortars have a “minimum” and a “maximum” range. The 50-60mm light mortars typically cannot shoot all the way across the battlefield so you either need to emplace them further forward or wait until the enemy closes in. The 81mm mortar can typically see across the entire battlefield but has a longer “minimum” range - when the enemy closes in too far, its days are numbered, especially since it is very slow to move one of these on the battlefield (unless you have a vehicle).

It should NEVER be done that you sight a mortar where it can see the enemy and the enemy can see back, except possibly for a light mortar in a front line position (these are essentially throw-away weapons, anyways). ALWAYS use an HQ to spot for a mortar - the mortar is a very high value target to the tactical AI and it will be heavily targeted as soon as it pops into view.

If you are playing the computer, the computer doesn’t really know how to use mortars and you can often catch them out in the open, dragging them to who-knows-where which typically results in destruction of the mortar unit. They don’t use HQ’s to spot for mortars, which is a HUGE problem, as noted above. The computer rarely controls artillery well, either, and if you play the computer you need to give them a bonus at least equivalent to the artillery points that are wasted on their behalf. If you play the a computer a lot you will get “sloppy” because you will rarely be smashed by well placed artillery - so beware when you play a clever human who is ready for you…

Another item to note is that if you move a mortar, it can’t range on the TRP any more. I don’t think that artillery spotters that arrive after turn 1 can use TRP’s, either.

Where Artillery is MOST and LEAST Useful

The “fantasy” artillery setup is to have a wide open terrain with an excellent line of sight (i.e. clear view) and your spotter hidden up in some trees on a hill out of the way or in the top story of a building. In this fantasy setup, many Target Reference Points (TRP’s) have been placed at likely places where the attacker will stage through or where the defender will make a stand. These TRP’s will allow you to bring down even the heaviest fire right as the enemy nears the TRP or pops up for defensive fire at the right time and for maximum casualties.

To continue the artillery “fantasy”, the defender doesn’t have trenches or foxholes and / or as the attacker they don’t have heavy buildings to hide in. If the enemy hides in trees or sets up weapons there on the attack, trees are the artillery observers’ best friend because they cause “air bursts” for additional casualties caused by the sticks and trees that are shattered by the impact.

When the troops break or rout from the artillery, they will have to run out into open ground (in a panic) where your MG’s and other direct fire weapons can hit them at their weakest. You have created a veritable death trap for your opponent and the artillery is the “Queen of the Battlefield”.

On the other hand, there are a lot of areas where artillery is of little or marginal value. At night, for example, mortars are absolutely useless because when the LOS is short they can only shoot at targets they or their HQ can see, and often this is shorter than their minimum range ! (in the case of 81mm mortars). At night other artillery can shoot “blind” towards targets, but it takes a LOT longer to bring on “blind” fire (out of LOS) and it rarely lands on target and can’t really be adjusted very well (you can cancel and restart, usually). At night TRP’s are your best bet and hope the arty doesn’t land on your own guys.

In cities, for example, artillery isn’t much use. A canny defender won’t stack his best guys on the front buildings that you can see, but will only leave spotters and a few front-line defenders up there, with his main line of resistance further back. Since you can’t see the main line of resistance (cities have LOS blocked by the front buildings) you need to drag your observer forward which is harrowing in the best of circumstances because he is the highest priority target by the Tactical AI. And even if you DO bring forward your observer, are you really going to wait 3-5 minutes for the artillery to come down on the opponent and take the risk of it landing on you, too (distances in the city can be close). As the final drag on its effectiveness, units in heavy buildings typically don’t take much in the way of casualties unless the building hex is rubbled, in which case they take major casualties. Generally only 150mm shots rubble heavy buildings (there are exceptions, but don’t count on them) and you only have a few 150mm shells and they are very expensive and slow to come down.

The best use for artillery in the city is 1) bring down smoke with 81mm mortars in front of the assault 2) if you KNOW where the enemy is hiding (like a building with a main flag) and have a TRP, this can be very useful 3) else just try to pick some targets and hope to catch someone in the open, or in rubble. Point for point, however, artillery in the city (especially 105/150mm) is usually wasted unless you have TRP’s or get pretty lucky.

Artillery isn’t much use in forest where LOS is poor for a lot of the same reason as why it isn’t much good in the city. Your men don’t see the enemy until they are ambushed in close quarters, and then the bloody battle begins. Unless your observer is right up front (in which case he is heavily targeted and usually dead already) then you have to move him up and then wait for the artillery to come down and hope it doesn’t land on your own men. This is not likely to be a good tactic and is too slow for a typical scenario.

Self-Propelled Artillery

Self-propelled artillery is different for each country. The British get the BISHOP and then later they get the PRIEST. The priest has a 105mm gun and the Bishop has a 25 pounder.

The Germans have some odd self-propelled artillery vehicles early, with a 150mm gun on a barely armored chassis and only 10 rounds. Later they get the StuG with 105mm gun that is very useful and the Brummbar with a 150mm gun, but these were few and far between (the StuG was more common). The US has their own Priest with 105mm gun and a Sherman with a 105mm HE round (very valuable), and a 75mm HE GMC vehicle that is nice and cheap.

The Germans also have the 105mm Wespe and the 150mm Hummel. These are closer to the Priest in that they are indirect fire, mobile artillery pieces that only should appear when there is some desperate situation (i.e. an overrun). They weren’t meant to be direct firing self-propelled artillery.

The KINGS of self-propelled artillery are the Soviets. The SU-122 and the SU-152 are simply awesome weapons. The ability to bring direct fire HE to bear WITH NO COMMAND DELAY at that caliber totally changes the game.

Direct firing HE is much more valuable than artillery in SOME circumstances, such as the city, because there is no spotting delay and a big enough round (122 or 152mm) will rubble a building. The SU 122 and SU 152 were heavily armored, so they can stand up to different AT weapons much more so than the US or British equivalents. These weapons totally change the character of urban warfare and are highly desirable.

Direct firing HE is also very valuable when facing enemy units in a TRENCH. Units in a trench are VERY hard to dislodge with indirectly firing artillery. You can pin these units, or make them cautious, but you need to expend a tremendous amount of shells to knock out a single trench. On the other hand, direct firing HE will typically knock out a trench right away, in a turn or so under area fire, if you have a 122mm or 152mm gun.

You also need to realize that a 152mm shell is MUCH more valuable than 2 75mm shells. The scale of firepower is not linear, it is closer to exponential. It takes forever to knock out a building with a 75mm gun - if defenders see a direct firing 150mm gun, however, they are best off to withdraw immediately (even taking the risk of panicking) if they think that their building hex is being targeted.

In late war scenarios I would consider diverting some artillery points over to direct firing HE, depending on who you are playing (definitely yes for the Soviets, especially since their command delay on indirect fire is so long, probably for the US in the case of the Sherman 105mm and less so for the Priest, since it is open topped and very poorly armored, and for the Germans it depends on the circumstances, since they are usually on the defense).

Remember that these weapons are valuable and shouldn’t be brought out unless you have “battlefield superiority” in armored and anti-armored weapons. If you think that there are dangerous tanks or guns ready to shoot don’t lead with these self propelled artillery guns, use other tanks or infantry instead.

How Off-map Artillery REALLY Functions

There are two types of off-map artillery, rockets and guns. Rockets do not fire spotting rounds, guns do fire them. I'll start with rocket artillery.

Rocket artillery is very inaccurate. Any friendlies within 500m are in danger, even if the spotter has LOS to the target. This is because the impact pattern is a large "target wide" pattern, and because the strike can be off-target even with spotter LOS established at the time of targeting and maintained throughout the bombardment. "Green line" adjustments to the target point may help bring the center of the impact pattern closer to the desired point, but there is no guarantee. The only way to be sure of an accurate rocket attack is to fire at a TRP, or to target the rockets during Turn 1 (prep bombardment). The large "target wide" impact pattern will still happen when targeting TRPs or doing prep bombardment; but the center of the impact zone will be on-target. Blind rocket attacks (other than TRP or prep bombardment) are VERY risky, and work the same way as blind gun strikes. Blind strikes are discussed below.

Off-map guns differ from rockets in several ways:

1 Spotting rounds are used.

2 The player can choose between two different impact patterns, "target" and "target wide".

3 The impact patterns cover a smaller area than rocket patterns, making fratricide less likely.

4 The player can be positive that a strike will be on-target before the first full salvo goes out.

Blind Targeting (Guns and Rockets)

Targeting a point out of LOS of the spotter almost guarantees an off-target strike. There will be no spotting rounds fired by guns when targeting blind. Subsequent adjustments to the target point may or may not bring the center of the impact zone closer to the desired point. I have occasionally managed to get an accurate strike with blind targeting; but it doesn't happen often. I'd guess the odds are no better than 1 in 6, probably much worse.

Impact Patterns for Guns

You have two choices here, "target wide" and "target". The first gives you a circular impact pattern. I like to make sure friendlies aren't within 120 meters of the target point when using "target wide". Most rounds will fall inside a circle of this radius; but even at 120 meters distance, friendlies are at risk.

With the "target" command you will get an elliptical impact zone, the deadly area being about 160 meters by 80 meters centered on the target point. The orientation of the long dimension of the ellipse can be north/south or east/west, depending on how the friendly map edge parameters are set. When the north map edge is friendly to one side, and the south edge friendly to the other, the long dimension of the impact pattern will be north/south. If one side has the west edge friendly, the other the east, the long dimension of the arty pattern will fall east/west. In cases of ambiguity, the program will cause the long dimension of the impact pattern to run east/west. This means that in most cases arty will fall parallel to the axis of advance, rather than along the front lines; but a tricky designer can easily make it so the impact pattern is the opposite of what is expected.

How To Hit Your Target Every Time

This section deals with guns ONLY. There is never any guarantee with rockets. I'm also assuming the spotter remains unmolested during the delay period, and while the strike is underway.

Accurate arty strikes require the following things to happen:

1 The spotter must have LOS to the target point when it is targeted (blue line).

2 The spotter must have LOS at the exact moment the first spotting round is FIRED.

That's it! The strike will be on-target EVERY time if you make sure these two things happen. However, #2 can be a bit of a problem. This is because spotting rounds are fired during the action phase of the turn, when you can't give orders. If smoke, or more likely dust, blocks spotter LOS, even briefly, at the exact moment the FIRST spotting round is due to fire, the spotting round will NOT fire, and the strike will be considered a blind strike by the program. There is nothing you can do until the next orders phase. Fortunately, the next orders phase is usually soon enough to prevent much wasted ammo and large scale fratricide due to the blind (inaccurate) strike. The key is to monitor your spotters closely during action phases to make sure spotting rounds do indeed fire. If they don't, you can bet there is an LOS obstruction. Cancel the strike during the next orders phase because, at that point, the strike IS blind and will likely be off-target.

Watching For Spotting Rounds

Don't do it! They are easy to miss on a busy battlefield, and where they impact is irrelevant. Instead, select your spotter during the movie phase. This way you can watch for the beginning of the 60 second countdown and monitor the ammo counter. What you are watching for is the FIRING of spotting rounds.

Depending on arty caliber, spotting rounds will fire at the beginning of the 60 second countdown and/or the 30 second mark. As a general rule 105mm and up will fire two spotting rounds, one at 60 seconds and one at 30 seconds. Smaller guns and mortars will fire a single spotting round at 30 seconds on the timer. It is important to know the spotting round behaviour of the particular arty you are using. Run a quick test if necessary.

No arty fires more than two spotting rounds, and only the first one means anything. The second spotting round is pure eye candy stuff. In the case of 105mm, the first spotting round fires at 60 seconds on the countdown (right after the countdown begins). If you do not see the spotter's ammo count reduced by one at this point, spotter LOS is obstructed and the strike is blind. Cancel the strike promptly. With mortars you're watching for the ammo count to drop by one at the 30 second mark.

If the FIRST spotting round goes out, your strike will be accurate no matter where the round lands. You can even move the spotter out of LOS in the next orders phase. The strike will continue to be on-target. His job is done unless you want to adjust the strike.

It is very possible that the first spotting round will not fire; but the second one (at 30 seconds) will. This is because the LOS blockage, which prevented the first round from firing, cleared before the second spotting round was due to fire. The strike will still be off-target! Only the first spotting round matters. Be sure you know when this FIRST spotting round is supposed to fire for the arty you are using. It will either be at 60 seconds or at 30 seconds.

You need never again be surprised by a haywire arty strike that you thought was an observed strike.

EDIT: Green-line adjustments of ongoing ACCURATE strikes will always result in an accurate adjustment.

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Very good and thorough write up on arty! The part about spotting rounds is definitely good to know. Might I guess that green line adjusted fire from a TRP is also always accurate? (Well, TRP strikes almost always start at the very end of the turn you target them anyway which places this under the category of an accurate arty strike.)

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I found high caliber arty to be very useful on the defence in large battles. 200mm+ and target reference points can reak havoc on dense enemy formations even with the slow reloading. Its great in urban terrain because the enemy often builds up and feels safe in the areas of town he's secured. I used to play with a guy in 5000 point huge city fights and it wasnt uncommon for my 210mm to get 90 casualties total and his troops werent actually all that close together. You could deliberately leave a gap in your defences only to let them walk right onto a TRP. fun fun fun smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

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It says if the first round fires you're ok. So if it kicks up dust doesn't matter even if LOS is blocked for the second spotting round. That's how I interpreted it anyway. smile.gif

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Originally posted by Dschugaschwili:

Onboard mortars (teams and vehicle-mounted) under control of a HQ can fire indirect, but not guns.

Mortars thus utilising a HQ for spotting, can only fire at target areas that this HQ can actually observe with direct LOS. Personally, I can undertand that high velosity guns would find it difficult or impossible to fire indirectly at the tactical level the size of CM battle maps. On the other hand I don't understand not being able to fire indirectly at least using HQ as spotters or at a TRP with Infantry Guns, that's what they were designed to do and mostly did fire from hiden positions indirectly. I am thinking here especially in the case of the German 75mm L/11 low velosity light Infantry Gun. It is a minor gripe of mine but to get around it I take the guns as off-board support if I intend to use it indirectly.

Thanks WineCape for your excellent post, the only thing that I would like to add has to do with senario design. Give extra ammo please! Take note of these ratios:

Infantry and their HQs can be given an extra 50%

Support Teams (MGs, ATRs, THs, Snipers) extra 50%

All on-board guns & mortars (non-vehicle) extra 100%

All off-board Artillery spotted support an extra 300%

In the case of Infantry, HQs and Support Teams it is 50% of given normal full Quick Battle amount rounded down. (ie 35 + 17 = 52 not 53.)

In the case of all on-board non-vehicle mounted guns and mortars it is able to be double the amount of ammo rounds that can be given, also rounded down. (ie 27 + 13 = 40 not 41, and in the case of most guns they can have 100 shells.)

In the case of off-board Artillery support ammo levels rather than have a miserly 20 rounds for 150mm+ have 80, or for 60 have 240 rounds etc. smile.gif

[ July 29, 2005, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Zalgiris 1410 ]

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Originally posted by SpitfireXI:

What happens if the first spotting round causes dust which blocks LOS? My understanding from reading above is that it will continue to fire accurately, is this correct?

Correct.

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The mortar needs a red command line to the spotting HQ, thus each mortar has only one HQ that can spot for it at any given moment. You can switch the spotter by moving the mortar or by moving the HQs, no permanent assignments. But no spotting for distant mortars outside of command radius either. An on map mortar can fire indirect without a spotter, only at a TRP, and only if the mortar hasn't moved since set up.

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This post really taught me some new things...

Originally posted by WineCape:

- on-board indirect-firing weapons, meaning mortars, which usually range in caliber from 2“ (51mm; light) ...

Not to forget the Italian 45mm mortars. Very common!

Originally posted by WineCape:

- Off-board super-heavy artillery ... can unbalance the game...

... in either way:

- It has very few rounds and a long response time, so compared to lighter artillery it's more likely to not hit anything essential.

- It's very expensive, so if it doesn't do lot's of damage to the opposition the user is in trouble!

Originally posted by WineCape:

Mortars are absolutely useless at night because they CAN’T shoot at targets that neither they nor the HQ can see.

British 2" mortars have a minimum range of 0m, so these can be used, even in a very foggy night.

Originally posted by WineCape:

Self-Propelled Artillery

... The Germans have some odd self-propelled artillery vehicles early, ... Later they get the StuG with 105mm gun...

Early on they get the StuG III (with 75mm gun), which in various versions was used throughout the war. Later on they got the StuH 42 with a 105mm howitzer.

Then let's not forget the "piece-de-resistance", the Sturmtiger!

Originally posted by WineCape:

The US has their own Priest with 105mm gun and a Sherman with a 105mm ... and a 75mm HE GMC vehicle that is nice and cheap.

All howitzers, not "guns", and because of that the last one is M8 HMC.

Originally posted by WineCape:

How Off-map Artillery REALLY Functions

A most valuable chapter!

Originally posted by WineCape:

Impact Patterns for Guns

... the deadly area being about 160 meters by 80 meters...

Differs a bit depending on what guns/howitzers are used, doesn't it?

Originally posted by WineCape:

Accurate arty strikes require the following things to happen:

1 The spotter must have LOS to the target point when it is targeted (blue line).

2 The spotter must have LOS at the exact moment the first spotting round is FIRED.

This #2 was news to me. Good to learn something new! smile.gif

(Unrealistic as can be, but since it is the way it works in the game it's well worth knowing.)

Cheers

Olle

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Guess this chapter is for CMBB.

In CMAK I had spotting rounds coming down but yet the strike was way off target. When in doubt I always tried to start FFE at the end of a turn to save ammo.

Mike, can you comment on this? You saw my inaccurate arty trying to get at your 105mm bty last battle and I had spotting rounds deducted.

Gruß

Joachim

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Early on they get the StuG III (with 75mm gun), which in various versions was used throughout the war. Later on they got the StuH 42 with a 105mm howitzer.

Then let's not forget the "piece-de-resistance", the Sturmtiger!

Don't forget the Wespe, brummbar and Hummels. All good at lobbing shells at the enemy from "safe positions" i.e. hull down or covered by foliage and hiding.

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I'd like to note that when you're on the defense it's great to have a target reference point and place it about 50 - 100 meters infront of the main line of resistance. Medium to heavy caliber artillery will target any attacking formation at a critical moment of the battle and may easily destroy it utterly. This tactic worked wonders for me during a recent Anzio scenario I played TCP/IP.

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Originally by Joachim: In CMAK I had spotting rounds coming down but yet the strike was way off target. When in doubt I always tried to start FFE at the end of a turn to save ammo.

Mike, can you comment on this? You saw my inaccurate arty trying to get at your 105mm bty last battle and I had spotting rounds deducted.

What do you mean by FFE, if you don't mind me asking of course??

[ September 20, 2005, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: michael_wittman44 ]

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First, let me say that my contribution to the original post here is limited to the section, "How Off-map Artillery REALLY Functions", and everything below that. Somebody else wrote the rest.

Joachim,

CMAK and CMBB work the same way. It's just that in CMAK there is dust, which causes more blocked LOS at the critical moment. Copied from my work above:

How To Hit Your Target Every Time

This section deals with guns ONLY. There is never any guarantee with rockets. I'm also assuming the spotter remains unmolested during the delay period, and while the strike is underway.

Accurate arty strikes require the following things to happen:

1 The spotter must have LOS to the target point when it is targeted (blue line).

2 The spotter must have LOS at the exact moment the first spotting round is FIRED.

That's it! The strike will be on-target EVERY time if you make sure these two things happen. However, #2 can be a bit of a problem. This is because spotting rounds are fired during the action phase of the turn, when you can't give orders. If smoke, or more likely dust, blocks spotter LOS, even briefly, at the exact moment the FIRST spotting round is due to fire, the spotting round will NOT fire, and the strike will be considered a blind strike by the program. There is nothing you can do until the next orders phase. Fortunately, the next orders phase is usually soon enough to prevent much wasted ammo and large scale fratricide due to the blind (inaccurate) strike. The key is to monitor your spotters closely during action phases to make sure spotting rounds do indeed fire. If they don't, you can bet there is an LOS obstruction. Cancel the strike during the next orders phase because, at that point, the strike IS blind and will likely be off-target.

I wish I had time to chat about all this, like in the old days. :( Ah well, it's great to see my old arty post revived.

Regards, Treeburst155

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Oh, one more thing for Joachim:

You can have a bad strike even when you see a spotting round. This is the SECOND spotting round you're seeing. The first doesn't fire due to LOS block, then LOS clears, the second round fires; but the strike is still off-target. The first spotting round MUST fire for a strike to be accurate.

EDIT: The "Wicky Strike" proved that LOS to the target point does not have to be established at the time of targetting; but the spotter still has to have LOS at the time the first spotting round is DUE to be fired. No LOS at that exact moment (dust) means no first spotting round, means inaccurate strike unless you get REALLY lucky. Any second spotting round is of no significance....pure eye candy type stuff. Only the first spotting round is important.

Another little tidbit I posted once....As soon as the first spotting round has fired, the spotter is free to break LOS permanently. The strike will continue until stopped...and it will be on-target. Of course, no green line adjustment would be possible.

Treeburst155 out.

[ July 18, 2006, 12:27 AM: Message edited by: Treeburst155 ]

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Treeburst155,

Welcome back! Long time no see! I have a semirelated to the thread topic to discuss with you.

Got a major burr under my saddle lately and found myself obsessively trying to track down all the Invitational and ROWs I and II threads I could find. Made great progress (see especially page 2 here)

http://www.battlefront.com/cgi-bin/bbs/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=30;t=003745

Have spent hours on end reading and savoring (Rockets! Kettler's firing rockets!, BBC reports, merciless dissections of my inept force choices and tactics, glorious victories, abject terror, shattering defeats, nads in the mist, the rapier wit and droll comments (we had to be clever when under gag orders)) the various in progress and AAR threads, with many messages to and from you therein, so am blown away to find you posting. Since you're here...

Did the players submit actual AARs to you for the Invitational Tourney? I simply don't remember. Did you receive AARS from ROW I? If you have either or both, would you please pass same to Kingfish and WineCape so that we can post them somewhere for the benefit of all of us and cc me (E-mail address in profile)? Am also looking for my AARs from ROW II for North of Epron, Emilville Exit, Lab Rats and anything not in the ROW II AAR thread. Can't find them anywhere and suspect they were lost in the server crash of 2002. Finally, can you tell me what the scenario was in which the Allies had a Green FO tied to a great big gun? Location was France, and I want to say Lion sur Mer. Believe I fought Kingfish there and think it might've been a ROW I scenario but am not sure. Couldn't find a single AAR and suspect the threads I've been able to locate are fragmentary.

I don't know whether you have any of the items I mentioned, but even if you don't I want to take this opportunity to thank you again for the incredible amount of time, energy, effort, and even love you put into serving all the Invitational Tourney and ROW participants. I shall forever treasure the memories you did so much to make possible.

Regards,

John Kettler

[ July 19, 2006, 03:06 AM: Message edited by: John Kettler ]

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Treebursts reappearance reminds me to continue work on a certain map. I'm still on the project... but the weather is too good and there is too much work...

Gruß

Joachim

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SO how do I get a spotter for moblie Arty like a hummel? I have found no way to get and HQ or spotter to spot for them. I am sorry if it in this thread somewhere. It is just a lot of reading for these tired eyes right now.

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