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Why are onboard mortars so fantastically inaccurate?


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Just had the great joy of watching 1 of 28 rounds from an onboard 81mm mortar land within 100m of the fire mission. One. The first one. The others were all over the place. The mortar was only firing 300m away. I could have done better than that.

It wasn't a preplanned mission and the spotter was completely safe and not under fire. And it's not like this is the first time I've seen such stupid results. I just can't believe that in any universe this is a remotely accurate result.

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Weird ... my 81mm mortar teams usually dial in on the target after about 3-4 rounds. I was playing a scenario last night with almost identical conditions you are describing ... there was a German MG squad in bocage about 250m away ... after about 10 rounds from my 81mm mortar he was history. .... I've never really seen it work any other way in direct fire mode.

What was the experience level of your mortar guys?? That makes a big difference.

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Supposedly your FO has to be able to see where the spotting rounds land, *as well as the intended target point*. Which means that only having a keyhole LOS to your target generally gives terrible results. It also makes indirect fire missions useless in most bocage scenarios, as your FO can't get to a safe position to see beyond the next hedgerow.

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Just had the great joy of watching 1 of 28 rounds from an onboard 81mm mortar land within 100m of the fire mission. One. The first one. The others were all over the place. The mortar was only firing 300m away. I could have done better than that.

It wasn't a preplanned mission and the spotter was completely safe and not under fire. And it's not like this is the first time I've seen such stupid results. I just can't believe that in any universe this is a remotely accurate result.

One anecdote does not the game make or break. :D

Seriously, there are some indications that spotting is awry and that FO's sometimes are not seeing the spotting rounds land and thus do not correctly call in fire for effect. BFC is looking into that AFAIK.

OTOH most of my experience is that mortars are quite accurate. Anecdotal evidence is not what they go on here, though so my advice is to send BFC's your game saves or set up a reproducible trial with the game editor and see if you can show how this happens repeatedly under certain situations.

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Supposedly your FO has to be able to see where the spotting rounds land, *as well as the intended target point*. Which means that only having a keyhole LOS to your target generally gives terrible results. It also makes indirect fire missions useless in most bocage scenarios, as your FO can't get to a safe position to see beyond the next hedgerow.

This is one reason I have good hopes for my (work in progress) 4km x 4km maps of the area north of St. Lo -- artillery spotting by the Germans was such an important factor throughout the battles of July 11-18. If that's not represented somehow in the game, it's not going to reflect one of the few great advantages the Germans had. IRL, they spotted from the two or three major strategic hilltops, and from church steeples in certain towns (Balkoski has them marked on his St. Lo boardgame map). These were the only places in the Bocage country where spotters could really be effective unless they were practically right on the front line.

Because of this long-range spotting, virtually every move the Americans made in certain parts of the AO was subject to accurate German artillery fire. It was a major factor not only on the operational level, also on the tactical level CMBN is played on.

One idea: On a very large map, we could define the entire 4km x 4km area as "playable" to the game engine, but mark out a smaller company or battalion-level PBEM battlefield using the Label/Landmark function (it would be an honor system not to move outside it). The fighting would be strictly within this defined area. But the strategic steeples and hilltops outside of the battle area would still be on the map, and FOs could be placed in them in special little setup zones. These would be the only units outside the battle area, but if they had LOS to a point in it they could spot for artillery.

I dunno if our computers and/or the game can handle maps on this scale. We'll see, once we have some of them to fool around with.

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It'd be okay, if the spotter waved the mission off in the case of not being able to see spotting rounds, after, say, 6 (+/-) spotting rounds have fallen unsighted. Calling FFE when you don't know where it's going to land is plain, flat-out dangerous to your own side at worst, and a foolish waste of ammo, at best.

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One anecdote does not the game make or break. :D

Seriously, there are some indications that spotting is awry and that FO's sometimes are not seeing the spotting rounds land and thus do not correctly call in fire for effect. BFC is looking into that AFAIK.

OTOH most of my experience is that mortars are quite accurate. Anecdotal evidence is not what they go on here, though so my advice is to send BFC's your game saves or set up a reproducible trial with the game editor and see if you can show how this happens repeatedly under certain situations.

This is what is happening something is funny with spotted missions and it is being looked into to be fixed.

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I dunno if our computers and/or the game can handle maps on this scale. We'll see, once we have some of them to fool around with.

My ongoing build of a 2.5km x 2.5km dense bocage map is about half populated so far. Load times are getting noticeably long, and this is without any units, objectives, or AI.

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This is one reason I have good hopes for my (work in progress) 4km x 4km maps of the area north of St. Lo -- artillery spotting by the Germans was such an important factor throughout the battles of July 11-18. If that's not represented somehow in the game, it's not going to reflect one of the few great advantages the Germans had. IRL, they spotted from the two or three major strategic hilltops, and from church steeples in certain towns (Balkoski has them marked on his St. Lo boardgame map). These were the only places in the Bocage country where spotters could really be effective unless they were practically right on the front line.

Because of this long-range spotting, virtually every move the Americans made in certain parts of the AO was subject to accurate German artillery fire. It was a major factor not only on the operational level, also on the tactical level CMBN is played on.

One idea: On a very large map, we could define the entire 4km x 4km area as "playable" to the game engine, but mark out a smaller company or battalion-level PBEM battlefield using the Label/Landmark function (it would be an honor system not to move outside it). The fighting would be strictly within this defined area. But the strategic steeples and hilltops outside of the battle area would still be on the map, and FOs could be placed in them in special little setup zones. These would be the only units outside the battle area, but if they had LOS to a point in it they could spot for artillery.

I dunno if our computers and/or the game can handle maps on this scale. We'll see, once we have some of them to fool around with.

This 4 by 4 km map sounds like the business You should build it and create a campaign for the battles 11-18 july. This concept is something that should be realised.

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Just had the great joy of watching 1 of 28 rounds from an onboard 81mm mortar land within 100m of the fire mission. One. The first one. The others were all over the place. The mortar was only firing 300m away. I could have done better than that.

It wasn't a preplanned mission and the spotter was completely safe and not under fire. And it's not like this is the first time I've seen such stupid results. I just can't believe that in any universe this is a remotely accurate result.

Just out of curiousity...what kind of mission..

Area or point?

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It'd be okay, if the spotter waved the mission off in the case of not being able to see spotting rounds, after, say, 6 (+/-) spotting rounds have fallen unsighted. Calling FFE when you don't know where it's going to land is plain, flat-out dangerous to your own side at worst, and a foolish waste of ammo, at best.

Amen. At the moment, that is the crux of the matter.

Michael

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My ongoing build of a 2.5km x 2.5km dense bocage map is about half populated so far. Load times are getting noticeably long, and this is without any units, objectives, or AI.

I don't mind waiting for a load as long as the map can play smoothly. How big is the Huzzar! map? Does anyone know? What's the biggest one that shipped with the game?

PS: My plan, to save computer strain, is to only model the battle area in great detail. Then determine which strategic steeples or hilltops would have had LOS to the area, and model from those areas to the battle area (but not in high detail -- just LOS-affecting stuff like hedgerows, buildings, trees, etc. Elevations are already plotted on the entire 4km x 4km map.

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I wouldn't call it one anecdote. It's something I can get to happen repeatedly in the scenario. I initially played it PBEM and noticed the same thing from his mortars (because he complained about it) Rounds were falling in such random places I couldn't figure out what was being targeted or whose rounds they even were.

I loaded the scenario up single player and plotted the same (linear) fire mission several times. Result - rounds all over the place most of the time. The scenario was, by the way, played in bocage. I guess I could have done a point mission and adjusted the target every minute. Not sure if that would have made a difference.

Generally speaking, I don't even bother targeting with my units unless it's area fire. But artillery missions require that I specify a particular target and it's frustrating when I do so and the result isn't even remotely close to what I had asked for.

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Completely agree with the morar innacuracy. It is tied to the 81mm with a spotter. The howitzers track just fine. The 81mm are dangerous as then can and do land on your own troops. Based on the howitzers tracking well it looks like a bug in the 81mm process.

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Completely agree with the morar innacuracy. It is tied to the 81mm with a spotter. The howitzers track just fine. The 81mm are dangerous as then can and do land on your own troops. Based on the howitzers tracking well it looks like a bug in the 81mm process.

Sorry, but I don't agree. When I use 81mm they work as per spec as a certain PBEM opponent can tell you.

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There is a known issue with FFE being called even if none of the spotting rounds were in LOS of the observer. If the observer can see the spotting rounds, he will walk them toward the target. If not, he just keeps calling for more spotting rounds, eventually followed by a call for FFE even if he never saw a single spotting round.

This makes it impractical to fire at tiny spots you can see such as church steeples, etc., without LOS to the surrounding area. The work around is to cancel or adjust the mission to somewhere where you can see the spotting rounds.

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That might be a work around, but this issue needs a FIX. I was bitten by this same problem last night. I called for an arty barrage (off map 81mm). Between the time I called the barrage and the time the spotting rounds finally started landing (8 minutes) my HQ unit took fire and had to be moved. A few spotting rounds came in at least 100m off target. I tried to get my spotter back to his original position, but that apparently didn't work, as just a turn or two later I heard "Roger. Firing for effect" and many of my men got hammered by my own artillery.

If the spotter can't see the spotting rounds, FFE should never be called.

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8 minutes? Egad. Which CO was calling in the fire? Company commander, weapons platoon commander or what? With that sort of delay it sounds like that commander was several removes away from the mortars chain of command. Was this a QB by chance?

The reason I ask is that most 81mm mortars belong to battalion. Logically, if there is no battalion FO dispatched to observe for them, the company commander in the field in command of all of your troops should have the shortest response time, since he would be directly in contact with battalion. (if you are running two or more companies, then you would have a battalion CO on scene, which should shorten response times even more I would think.)

I've seen 6-8 minutes or more delay for things like ship gunfire support, but not for 81's. You'd think they belonged to an adjoining battalion or something...

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I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but have you tried making sure the facing of your mortars is in the direction of your target? Like I said, I don't know if that's the problem or not, but I seem to have had better luck with on board mortars since checking on this prior to fire missions. Conversely, I had some just F'd up missions with fire going any damned where and noted that I'd left the mortars facing 90+ degrees from the plane of the target.

Don't know that would help, but it will give you something else to play with.

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Consider erasing anything but the actual battle map and the FO locations if processing time is crucial.

If you just want to confine a battle to a smaller part - add water around that part. Limit setup zones. No honor system necessary - except for not targetting the FO locations, which can be verified easily.

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I've mentioned this in other threads, but we've improved the behavior for Spotters who aren't observing spotting round fall. In one test example the Spotter called in 7 Spotting Rounds before finally figuring out (through triangulation trial and error) where to call for FFE. Worked very nicely.

Steve

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Okay, so the situation occurs when the FO can't observe the spotting round fall. That makes sense for the scenario I was playing as almost nothing outside of the line of bocage targeted was observable by the FO.

The situation was the same for my opponent as my line of bocage was the only thing his spotter could see.

In this particular scenario, I only had a platoon of troops, some assorted tank hunter and LMG teams, and one 81 mm mortar, so an inaccurate mortar is potentially something that could be of real importance to such a small battle.

Otherwise, everything else in the PBEM game (my first in CMBN) was super fun. Tense for both sides. The cover from bocage making it difficult to accurately spot the opponent. Heroics from my beleagured German troops. One 2-man tank hunter team holding off an entire platoon with its SMGs (with help from mines) and netting 16 casualties. Sniper dropping his rifle and using his pistol at close range to help beat back another assault. That was really cool and unexpected.

More than worth my $60.

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This is one reason I have good hopes for my (work in progress) 4km x 4km maps of the area north of St. Lo -- artillery spotting by the Germans was such an important factor throughout the battles of July 11-18. If that's not represented somehow in the game, it's not going to reflect one of the few great advantages the Germans had. IRL, they spotted from the two or three major strategic hilltops, and from church steeples in certain towns (Balkoski has them marked on his St. Lo boardgame map). These were the only places in the Bocage country where spotters could really be effective unless they were practically right on the front line.

Because of this long-range spotting, virtually every move the Americans made in certain parts of the AO was subject to accurate German artillery fire. It was a major factor not only on the operational level, also on the tactical level CMBN is played on.

.....................................

Surely it would have been fairly obvious where such accurate German fire was being spotted from, Americans had aerial spotters too didn't they. With air superiority those spots could then have been creamed. No CAS?

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Not as easy as all that. Not all spotting positions were church steeples. There are gentle hills.

Also, the Germans were VERY methodical at registering TRPs on likely spots like crossroads, bridges and gullies/draws, or even former positions of their own now likely to be occupied by the enemy. They could then blast them periodically with interdiction fire, or when FOs heard movement (vehicles) in the area. This doesn't require a direct LOS.

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