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Indirect MG fire?


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I have gathered from some threads that MG's can fire indirectly like MTR's? Does this mean they can shoot targets out of their LOS if directed by a leader with LOS? What about interdicting terrain? Can they somehow shoot over it as can MTR's? Can they be directed via radio over distance?

A clear explanation of this would be WONDERFUL...

Thanks!

Javaslinger

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I have gathered from some threads that MG's can fire indirectly like MTR's? Does this mean they can shoot targets out of their LOS if directed by a leader with LOS? What about interdicting terrain? Can they somehow shoot over it as can MTR's? Can they be directed via radio over distance?

A clear explanation of this would be WONDERFUL...

Thanks!

Javaslinger

I don't think this is correct (99% sure). What you can do is area target certain location knowing that due to the spread of the bullets they will land somewhere where you don't have LOS.

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Real MGs could not fire indirect as such; they are kinetic energy weapons and thus require direct fire. However, real MGs did fire at things the weapon's operator was too far from to see well or at all -- there would be an observer standing nearby with binoculars observing the fall of shot. And at long ranges, the "line" of fire had sufficient arc that it was at theoretically possible to fire indirectly, assuming that the observer could get sufficient height to see where the bullets were going. I am not aware of any actual instances of this, but I am sure it must have happened.

In any case, in CMBN there is no indirect fire for MGs. They can shoot only at targets or areas they can see. However, it is true that MGs (like all direct fire) can affect places the MG cannot see, by firing somewhere in front of it that the MG can see. Bullets which don't hit anything keep going until they do, or they leave the field of play. If there's men near a bullet zipping by, regardless of whether or not the MG sees them, they may be suppressed or (if an enemy) even hit and wounded or killed.

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Wreck,

that's not true. Using indirect fire ("verdeckte Feuerstellung") with MG34 & MG42s guided by FOs was common practice in the Wehrmacht.

It was highly effective, allowed shooting above the heads of the own units and even allowed to combat units taking cover.

IMO it would be cool, if CMx2 would simulate HMGs ballistics and allow that (would make most sense on 2+ km maps).

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Indeed I have read that the U.S. used quad .50 mounts to do indirect fire in Vietnam, to protect a firebase, and that it was effective.

I doubt, though, that BFC is going to make a situation where every friendly HMG appears on a spotter's roster of available weapons.

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Wreck,

yes that's correct. Just like artillery.

http://youtu.be/zV9rwIvtS14 (1:25)

Here you can see a calculation triangle: http://www.mbertram.de/online/MBertram_0006/warenkorb/betrachten_engl.php?artikel=7191

At a shooting distance of 2000m the projectiles had their highest point of more than 30m in the air (combat range 2000-3500 m).

The tripod was constructed that way, that it spread the bullets automatically over a wider area without the need of manual adjustment while shooting.

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my understanding is one is called 'grazing' fire... parallel to the ground for a bit then dropping when its energy is spent.

the other called 'plunging' fire, was done at a maximum range, to where the rounds arched, and would affect an area, similar to indirect rounds. but harmless to any units between the weapon and target zone.

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Wreck,

yes that's correct. Just like artillery.

http://youtu.be/zV9rwIvtS14 (1:25)

Here you can see a calculation triangle: http://www.mbertram.de/online/MBertram_0006/warenkorb/betrachten_engl.php?artikel=7191

At a shooting distance of 2000m the projectiles had their highest point of more than 30m in the air (combat range 2000-3500 m).

The tripod was constructed that way, that it spread the bullets automatically over a wider area without the need of manual adjustment while shooting.

Yep; Some allied MGs like the British Vickers HMG have similar systems. At least at the doctrinal level, the British especially seem to have been enamored of long-range indirect MG fire.

This said, from what I can tell, its use on the WWII battlefield seems to have been uncommon at best, and I suspect that even if it were in the game, players would use it only rarely. There have already been a number of frustrations posted here on the boards regarding use of the 75mm leIG18 and 150mm sIG33 in on-map indirect fire, due to the difficulty of making sure that the projectile will clear intervening terrain. This would be a much greater problem with indirect HMG fire, which has a flatter trajectory than the infantry guns. The trajectory of an 7.92mm round fired to 2000m might be 30m high at the apogee, but even this is only barely high enough to clear something like a tall pine tree, and this is the absolute highest point -- for much of the trajectory, even something much lower like a 2-story house or small bluff will block the shot.

Overall, I suspect it's something that players would use once or twice for the novelty, and then go back to using the tools we use for indirect fire right now -- mortars, primarily.

Closer range, "blind" MG fire across planned fields of fire is a somewhat different subject. It would eventually be nice to see some allowance for this sort of thing in the game -- firing into smoke screens, across planned fire zones at night, etc. It's tricky, though, because if you give the player too much control over direct fire weapons it can result in unrealistic tactics due to the player's omniscient perspective. So some sort of limitations are important. Not sure what the best balance is here myself.

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Indeed I have read that the U.S. used quad .50 mounts to do indirect fire in Vietnam, to protect a firebase, and that it was effective.

The same technique was employed in Korea. The Last Parallel describes an incident where it was used to cover the withdrawal of a night time patrol. As YD says, the British used it during WW II, mainly as part of the fire plan for major set-piece attacks.

It requires an observer in communication with the MG(s) to talk the fire onto the target, then for the MG(s) to be locked into position. From that point, anyone with eyes on the target and a connection to the MG(s) can call in the fire, or it can be scheduled for a set time.

In game, I supposed it could be modeled by each MMG or HMG receiving something like a TRP which is placed by the owning player during setup. At any time during the game, the HG can be ordered to fire at that TRP as long as it has not fired anywhere else during the previous turns. The fire would be effective on the AS containing the TRP and the eight adjacent AS. As YD indicates, normal trajectory and obstruction of LOF rules would apply, so this would be tricky to use in practice. Whether it would be worth the programming effort I can't say.

Michael

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The area that the arcing bullets hit is called "the beaten zone". Apparently it is not a nice place to be because the rounds come in at a pretty good arc, so unless you have something like a roof to get under there is no place for an infantryman to hide.

my understanding is one is called 'grazing' fire... parallel to the ground for a bit then dropping when its energy is spent.

the other called 'plunging' fire, was done at a maximum range, to where the rounds arched, and would affect an area, similar to indirect rounds. but harmless to any units between the weapon and target zone.

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As YD indicates, normal trajectory and obstruction of LOF rules would apply, so this would be tricky to use in practice.

A solution to the difficulties with indirect fire weapons would be to show a LOF trajectory too, when checking LOS.

Whether it would be worth the programming effort I can't say.

To my knowledge the indirect fire of HMGs was one of the main reasons for incredible losses of Soviet infantry against very weak german lines. At least for the Germans it was a very important defensive tool. It also allowed to deny the attacker to know how many defenders really are there.

Additionally to the ability to simulate camouflaged and fully dug in ATGs, i think these two tactical procedures would increase the realism quite a lot.

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Indirect HMG shooting, though anchored in german training and doctrine was considered more of a "black art". Surely has been used much by germans on the eastern front, where appropiate terrain and frontline conditions did support. There´s a minimum range for indirect shooting (2500m IIRC), as well as a safety zone before friendly troops.

Nice to have modelled in a wargame, but I see numerous problems. Ballistic modelling, map sizes and AI usage. Beside that one has to consider that tactical "fire units" for german support arms is platoon size (4 HMG) minimum, as well is tactical ammo units, measured in "belts" (50-100 rounds). With the current "weakness" of HMGs in CMBN (no continuous fire, inaccuarcy), adding indirect fire capabilities wouldn´t add or improve anything.

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The same technique was employed in Korea. The Last Parallel describes an incident where it was used to cover the withdrawal of a night time patrol. As YD says, the British used it during WW II, mainly as part of the fire plan for major set-piece attacks.

And Second World War, as well.

Section 5.Use of Cal. .50 MGs in Defense

Caliber .50 MGs [Machine Guns] were used extensively on the Winter Line south of Bologna and on the Anzio Beachhead. They were used mostly for long range overhead harassing fire. In some units they were formed and fired in batteries, and were available on call to fire on any appropriate missions. In other units they were placed under the control of smaller units. Crews were obtained mostly from battalion anti-tank platoons, anti-tank companies, and heavy weapons companies. Most of these men already had training with the weapon, and therefore little additional training, both individual and team, were necessary.

Most of the firing was indirect and at night. Targets selected were usually supply trails, probable assembly areas, and the immediate vicinity of buildings used by the enemy or believed to be occupied. These targets were usually located from ground OPs [Observation Posts], maps, aerial photos, and from PW information. Supply and communication routes were sprayed continuously during the day by short bursts from different guns. PW reports indicated that the Germans were considerable harassed by this type of fire since they could not tell when, or where it was coming from. In some instances the .50 Cal. guns were used most effectively to fire directly into the openings of caves in the cliffs. [p. 173] The use of the .50 Cal. guns in harassing the enemy proved very effective in that it restricted his movements on trails and roads and prevented him from supplying his troops with ease or security.

-"A Military Encyclopedia Based on Operations in the Italian Campaigns, 1943-1945," (1945) 15th Army Group.

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Note that current maps are rarely large enough to benefit from this fire, and we'll have to wait for East Front etc to really give a chance for ANY longer ranged weapons systems to shine. Even CM1 with it's huge maps made Nashorn SPAT's deathtraps as one rarely had the long LOS/ranges to use em effectively.

As someone said, it probably would be used so little, that it's hardly worth the programming effort.

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I read that the Australians used indirect HMG fire very often during the battles in New Guinea during WWII. It was described in great detail in "Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific" by Eric Bergerud. Americans also used this tactic. It was not used for battlefield support, primarily being used as a method of interdiction. Trails and paths used by the Japanese to bring up supplies and such were regular targets. This proved successful enough that HMG Battalions were brought back into Aussie Divisional TOEs for the first time since the end of WWI.

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I read that the Australians used indirect HMG fire very often during the battles in New Guinea during WWII. It was described in great detail in "Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific" by Eric Bergerud. Americans also used this tactic. It was not used for battlefield support, primarily being used as a method of interdiction. Trails and paths used by the Japanese to bring up supplies and such were regular targets. This proved successful enough that HMG Battalions were brought back into Aussie Divisional TOEs for the first time since the end of WWI.

I ... don't think so. The MG Bn had been a part of the CW inf div orgn from pre-WWII, and remianed a part of it throughout the war. Armd divs gained an MG company about midway through the war.

The incluson of an MG bn was specifically so that it could be used to undertake higher level missions. That is, massed indirect fire missions. The book ' A CANLOAN Officer' by RF Fendick descibes numerous indirect missions he conducted as an MG platoon commander in NWE.

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Red army also used indirect MG fire. "Maksim" machine guns had levels. I read a memoirs of an officer who was a commander of the "Maksim" platoon. According to his memoirs, indirect fire was effective. Of course, they had no radios and commands were transfered through voice or courier. By the way, would be nice if in CMBN artillery fire could be requested by the couriers, like the intel sharing works. :)

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Wreck,

that's not true. Using indirect fire ("verdeckte Feuerstellung") with MG34 & MG42s guided by FOs was common practice in the Wehrmacht.

It was highly effective, allowed shooting above the heads of the own units and even allowed to combat units taking cover.

IMO it would be cool, if CMx2 would simulate HMGs ballistics and allow that (would make most sense on 2+ km maps).

That's true... i've even pictures of the german manuals explaining those indirect fire procedures.

They even had special clinometers and optics to do the job... specially at ranges of 3.000 meters, when they align 4 Tripod MGs to beat the same area with all of them...

At those ranges the bullets rain from the sky at step angles, and you can be hit even behind an horizontal cover.

Those indirect fires were done as measure for reverse slope defenses... and the clinometer was used to pass the fire over the hill to the other side where the enemy defense is suspected, as supression method.

One of those practices of MG indirect fire was part of one chapter of the TV series Brother in Arms (don't remember what exactly).

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