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Arty- Willy Pete and friends...


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Kevin, from what I have read, the answer is yes -- at least for tanks. I do not recall discussion on white phosphorous for arty.

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The enchanter may confuse the outcome, but the effort remains sublime.

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Pixman:

Thank you for your reply. It has been my understanding that American artillery had incendiary ammunition as a standard fixture, whereas the Germans did not (except in rare cases - I think some type of round was developed for Nebelwerfers, and the version of the Hanomag 251 ("Stuka zum Fuss" or "Stuka on Foot"- that mounted those crated rockets on the sides had a round that was similar to napalm).

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Guest Big Time Software

At the moment we're leaning away from modeling white phosphorous (WP) separate from "regular" smoke. The reason is mostly that we want to keep the user interface from getting too complicated.

I don't think that US artillery fired WP in the indirect fire mode (what in CM would be "off map" artillery). But someone please correct me on that if I'm wrong.

My understanding is that WP was fired most often by tanks in direct-fire mode. I'd rather not have separate orders and separate ammo tracking for smoke and WP rounds, so we might give slightly different behaviors to smoke rounds fired from American tanks (like a chance to cause fires).

Charles

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Guest Big Time Software

I also forgot to mention that, for smokescreen purposes, WP was generally less effective than smoke. So this complicates putting it into the game as it's the sort of thing where the player would usually want regular smoke, and only occasionally want to use WP (probably to start fires).

Charles

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I must say that I don't really like the idea of modelling WP as smoke rounds. WP is a very special kind of ammo which was put to all kind of creative uses. Obviously many of these are isolated to particular crews or units but should still be possible for all the obsessives around here :) . The following account details the effect of WP delivered by 4.2" mortars in the Ardennes: "a deadly burning screen of phosphorus enveloped the Panzer tanks and attacking infantry, blinding and searing. The tank drivers lost their sense of direction and charged blindly into each other, off roads, into trees, into gullies, into men. The infantry, caught in the same screen and flames, lost their will to continue the attack, beat at the flames, screamed and milled, vainly seeking cover." Even allowing for the embellishments of the author this hardly seems equivalent to conventional smoke.

Also I have read a number of accounts (admittedly anecdotal) of tank crews and units which habitually always had a WP round up the spout. This was because they were quite effective against tanks (especially Panthers and Tigers as they had almost no chance of penetrating the frontal armour of either with AP) either blinding them temporarily or inducing the crew to bail out thinking they were "brewing up". Also they were very effective against infantry, especially anti-tank gun crews. The WP round could then be followed up with the appropriate round against the now distracted target (HE or AP).

One modification of the many techniques evolved to deal with the bocage (see the "Rhino" thread) was for a tank to fire WP into the opposite hedgerow corners of the field as this was felt to be more effective than HE.

All in all this makes WP pretty hard to model as it had very significant psychological effects (like flamethrowers). If you decide it is not worth the trouble to include that is fine as I would far prefer that than a half-hearted effort (ie just another smoke round). Even so I can cite a few battles where its use was an important factor :).

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Guest Big Time Software

I'm not sure I'd want to bother including WP as an off-map mortar (or artillery) round because I think such use was infrequent (though I could be wrong about that so let me know if you come across differing evidence). The case you cite was 4.2" mortars, which were intended as "chemical mortars" and therefore more likely to use WP than anyone else, but 4.2" mortars were pretty rare. Also, the attack you described seems quite similar in effect to a conventional high-explosive attack in terms of the damage caused. In fact it's entirely likely that the 4.2" mortars used WP because, being "chemical mortars", they had no little or no high-explosive on hand.

I'm also familiar with a few cases of Shermans firing WP at heavy tanks and tricking them into bailing out. But this isn't the kind of thing that can reasonably simulated in a game like CM, because it was a very rare occurrence. It's not as if Panther crews were bailing out of tanks all over the Western front due to WP hits, so I don't want to encourage "one in a million" tactics which are unrepresentative of typical combat.

However, it appears the use of WP from direct-fire ordnance, especially tanks, against enemy infantry was fairly common. So I'm struggling with a way to include WP without overburdening the ammo supply/display/user-interface in the game.

I'm wondering what everyone thinks. Would it be reasonable to implement Combat Mission so that American tanks (and maybe tank destroyers) always use WP instead of conventional smoke? It would be easy to include WP "for real" if I don't have to worry about units carrying both WP and conventional smoke at the same time. If it's one or the other, I can put it into the game. But is this acceptably realistic?

Charles

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Guest BigAlMoho

Would it be possible to add an identical gun, that fires WP only, to the unit? It wouldn't have to be visable... :)

Al

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I'm wondering what everyone thinks. Would it be reasonable to implement Combat Mission so that

American tanks (and maybe tank destroyers) always use WP instead of conventional smoke? It would

be easy to include WP "for real" if I don't have to worry about units carrying both WP and conventional

smoke at the same time. If it's one or the other, I can put it into the game. But is this acceptably

realistic?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Charles-

Just my opinion,but if it's a case of 'smoke or WP',I'd prefer you leave WP out for now.Unless someone can convince me that WP was used more than smoke from tanks,anyway.

Mike

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From my readings, it seems that the effect of WP is distinctly different from both a true smoke screen and regular HE. When WP explodes, pellets of WP both explode outward and float downward like snow while forming smoke. The pellets stick, burn and cannot be put out easily. My general impression is that WP has a greater impact on infantry w/o overhead cover than HE because of possibly more fragments, slower settling of the fragments and the eye/lung irritants. It seems to me that the smoke produced is almost a minor side effect to the actual physical/psychological impact on defenders. WP may not cause the same level of physical injury as HE but would seem to have a greater level of disruption. Sort of like being caught in a bunch of bees. You can't think of anything but the bees even though greater danger may exist.

I would lean towards distinct differences between smoke and WP. But if there are interface limitations, I would consider using the same user interface for smoke or WP. But make only smoke or only WP actually available w/i the scenario as designated by the scenario designer. In many scenarios, regular smoke would be the single form of smoke available but in some cases, WP would be the only form of smoke available.

Ken

[This message has been edited by Ken Talley (edited 07-23-99).]

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Guest KwazyDog

Hmm, maybe a vehicle could randomly carry either WP rounds or smoke round if there is a problem with them carrying them both at the same time? At least this way, you could see what each is carrying at the beginning of each battle, and use them accordingly.....

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Hmm... I'd rather see smoke and WP handled seperately.

If that meant having to choose one or the other,

I'd choose smoke only. But I want to be quick

to point out that I wouldn't mind a little more

complexity to the ammo menu at all in order to

have both. I think it's safe to say that 95%+

of the people who play CM will be very glad they

have the option of smoke or WP and won't mind a

slightly more complex ammo interface at all. smile.gif

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Guest KwazyDog

Yes, I agree Lee, as far as interface is concerned, I certainly wouldnt mind the extra complexity in exchange for the WP rounds. Im not sure what the complexity of actually programming this feature is though smile.gif

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Guess I'm w/ the crowd here that would like to see WP implemented in the game, but only if the following is true / met:

1) WP was actually used to some degree in normal operations by the US/Brit/Other Western forces. I.e. put it in if it really was used and it makes sense to do so. Along these lines I would be curious what the standard load-out for an American / Brit tank was in terms of WP rounds? Did they only have a couple every now and again? Did they have a good 10-12 or more almost all the time? If the "average" tank, or other weapon, crew didn't have much access to WP rounds then it maybe doesn't make much sense to have them in the game.

2) Only if it is modeled correctly. If there really are/were substantial differences between WP and smoke (and it certainly sounds like there are) then these differences need to be accounted for in the game model. For example, if WP was used as an antipersonnel weapon against German infantry then it should have some effect on said infantry in the game if they are out in the open and get hit by this stuff.

If both of the above conditions are met then I definately think WP should be included in the game. However, if WP actually was nothing more than another form of smoke (doesn't sound like this is the case), or it is going to be treated in the game only as another form of smoke, then don't bother including it in the game.

If it is what everyone seems to be saying it is and it is going to be "correctly" implemented in the game then I think WP would be a very welcome tool to the allies in routing the Jerries out of those nasty hedge rows. On a final note I seem to recall that WP was included in the Squad Leader series, but can't remember if it had any effect on infantry, etc., or was just treated as some form of smoke there as well.

Mike D

aka Mikester

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Guest Big Time Software

WP was only issued to very few weapon systems in very small quantity. So a 75mm Sherman might only have one or two rounds, if any. Same goes for Smoke rounds, but to a much lesser extent. The logic is simple; there is only a limited capacity for ammo, for any weapon, so stock up on what works best in the most situations. For an AT weapon, this is HE and AP. For an artillery piece, it is HE and Smoke.

Direct fire WP and Smoke are distractions more than anything else. They might frighten off something, but so would a couple of HE or AP rounds. Because of limited capacity, and limited usefulness on a daily basis, a gun would only have a couple lying around for special purposes. Once used they might not be replaced for a while. So the ASL concept of always having them around is not accurate.

What is also not accurate about ASL is what weapons are allowed to fire WP. Charles just looked it up and no artillery under 155mm had WP. Maybe, possibly, 81mm mortars, but absolutely not 60mm ones (ASL says they do). For 105's WP is listed as "obsolete" and is therefore not a standard ammo type (smoke is). For direct fire weapons, the US 75mm AT gun can fire WP, but the 76mm can not. In short, WP was obviously not a very highly regarded ammo type as hardly anything can fire it, or was (like the 105) supposed to fire it.

So again, tanks were not likely to have WP on hand, and even if they did only a couple of rounds. However, the tactics of firing WP in hedgerows is a special case that we are thinking of supporting. In this case tanks could stock up before hand because they knew that their mission wouldn't require a lot of AP, so WP could be stored instead. And reading Doubler's book quickly, I see no mention of WP being used specifically (though I don't doubt it). In any case, firing HE would likely achieve the same end result, so WP is not a requirement for hedgerow clearing tactics.

As far as using WP to shoot at something like a Panther to scare its crew out... we are sure this happened every once and a while. But lots of things happened every once and a while when there is enough whiles being looked at wink.gif Seriously, if firing WP at a tank was so effective, US tanks would have had most of their ammo WP and simply scared the Panthers to death! As we know, this did not happen, so it can not be very widespread.

In short, we aren't all that thrilled about adding WP. Not because we can't technically do it (simulation or UI wise), but because we don't think it is important. One of the problems with a simulation is that all elements must be used realistically in concert with each other. Games like ASL encouraged abnormal behavior because there were few restrictions to using stuff like WP. So we have to consider the reality of WP very carefully. It isn't just a simple "it existed therefore it should be in the game" kind of a question.

Steve

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I am currently reading Michael Doubler's book Closing with the Enemy. In it he mentions the use of WP rounds by artillery on page 19 and the use of WP rounds fighting in the bocage on page 49. To me this indicates that the ammunition was used and found to be effective. However, I have never seen an explanation of why it was effective or what affect it had so I do not know how it should be simulated in the game. I think if no explanation can be found of it's affect on personell and armored vehicles that it should probably be left out.

Robert

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IIRC from my past readings, WP consists (partly) of White Phosphorus, which is an acid and will "burn" through a good deal of materials, including clothing, human skin etc. I don't think it's strong enough to burn through metal - however, the White Phosphorus is contained in what looks like white snowflakes (which is part of the "smoke" generated by WP rounds) and therefore can "fly" through air circulation systems, open hatches etc. - hence the fear of tank crews...

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The main difference between WP and other smoke types is the fact that WP has an incendiary capability and other smoke types don't. WP rounds contain phosphorous and a bursting charge. The round explodes the same way an HE round does. The difference being that phosphorous replaces shrapnell. When the WP round explodes it creates a great deal of heat and that heat creates a column of rising air. Unless there is a wind (even a slight one will do) the smoke created rises in a column or "pillar". A WP smoke screen is very effective as the smoke created is copious, instantainious and can linger a long time. Other smoke types such as base ejecting and the like take much longer to create an effective screen. The creation of that smoke, however, does not create a huge amount of heat and the so the smoke does not pillar the same way that WP smoke does. On this note of smoke screens, does the player have the opportunity to choose a distribution of fire for the effect ammo? For instance, a platoon of mortars fires a smoke screen to cover friendly movement. The rounds fall in line of specific length and on a certain bearing to best cover the movement.

Thanks

Rob Deans

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Guest Big Time Software

Hi Cannon,

We are certainly not disputing that WP was indeed used, and used effectively in some cases. Quite the contrary. However, just because something was used, and used effectively, doesn't mean it should go in the game wink.gif Troops on all sides used all sorts of things in all sorts of ways to achieve some sort of desired end result.

What we have to do is pick and choose which of these things meant something in the overall scope of the war at CM's level. Even if we can simulate the technical side of things (and we can do that with WP), it isn't always worth doing. For example, we dropped smoke grenades because they were of such limited use for anything other than marking positions. Our opinion right now is that WP isn't something we should model.

WP was, so far as our research shows, rare on the battlefield. Very few weapons could fire it, so right there we question if we should bother with it in the first place. And when used HE or Smoke could have done just a good of a job at CM's level.

The two examples you cite in Doubler's work are typical exceptions. The first is the massive bombardments of something like Monte Cassino with the full range of ammo types. This is well out of CM's scope.

Something like the hedgerow tactic would work just as well with HE. So why was WP used in the latter case? I think it was as a marker for the infantry. In that section Doubler talkes a lot about coordination. I am going to guess, though he doesn't explain it this way, that the WP would mark an area that had been "tagged" by the tank as well as causing damage/cover in some form. The charging infantry would then know that there was at least a distraction going on there. But in CM this kind of knowledge is 100% known to the player, and therefore all units, so HE/Smoke would be just as effective, if not more so.

So this is how it stands... few weapons could fire WP, it is rare to have even for capable systems, its unique properties of questionable value in CM, and game impact towards the negative side (i.e. interface). The debate is still open, but thus far we haven't seen any compelling reason to put WP in.

Steve

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I don't see any compelling reason to sacrifice common smoke rounds for the inclusion of rare WP rounds..

It might be nice to have both but if we are choosing one or the other I'd have to come down firmly in favour of smoke rounds only being included. To do otherwise would be to unbalance the game, in the same way that having masses of KingTigers unbalanced CC2 and CC3.

Going for the most common loadout options is the way to get the "best fit" game.

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I've been thinking about this WP issue for awhile

and it seems to me that the characteristics that

seperate WP from normal smoke are:

1. Instantaneous smoke screen deployment (as opposed

to the delays inherent with normal smoke). This

could come in very handy if your troops needed

some kind of smoke screen to obscure enemy los

ASAP. This might make the difference between getting

that smoke cover now, before the enemies next turn

to shoot at you, and having to wait till after

the next round's (or half a round's) carnage. wink.gif

2. An added psychological affect that smoke doesn't

provide. I imagine having burning phosphorous

on you would be rather demoralizing (not to mention

physically damaging). That's something that smoke

won't do for you. WP gives you that 1-2 punch.

smile.gif

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Along the lines of WP being included in the game I also seem to remember that cannister rounds were included in Squad Leader Series of games if I'm remembering correctly. Seem to recall that at least the Germans had this devasting anti-personnel shell type available for some (maybe most?) of their AFV's and maybe even some of there fixed guns. Not sure if the allies had it too, or not. In any event is it in CM (can't remember if it has been discussed here before, or not)? How does it compare to firing just a normal HE round at infantry. I would think that at longer ranges the HE round would be more effective against enemy infantry. While close in, say up to 100 meters, that the cannister rounds fired by a tank or other gun that had them available would be devasting to enemy infantry. If there is really no difference between cannister and HE then maybe there is no point in having it in the game just as there seems there is little / no point to including WP rounds. However, if there were major differences between Cannister and HE, and it was a fairly common shell in terms of use and availability to the Germans (and anyone else that had them), then I would think it might be a good idea to have it in the game.

Mike D

aka Mikester

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Mike D

The only weapon that comes readily to mind that fired canister and included the ammo as part of it's standard loadout was the 37mm M6 gun as carried by the M5 Stuart and the M8 Greyhound. I can't recall ever having read of any actions where the Germans used canister (which doesn't mean that's the gospel, obviously).

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