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Sd.Kfz. 251/2 -- In-game use


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Howdy all,

I'm playing the last battle in "Panzers Marsch!" (yeah, I know...a bit behind the curve) and I have a trio of Sd.Kfz. 251/2 mortar carriers at my disposal. I just want to make sure I use them most effectively. So...I assume the mortars can be deployed inside the vehicle? Can I also deploy outside the vehicle if I so choose? Which is best? Any differences in accuracy, ROF, etc.? Any advice?

Thanks!

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There are no differences between the deployed mortar from the mortar halfie and any other deployed German 81mm. I understand BFC would have liked to have incorporated the track-mounted mortars of each side, but it was too much coding nightmare for too little return on the invested blood and tears. A shame, but an unfortunate reality of life.

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Excellent -- thanks to you both for your help on this.

This will be my first "real" use of indirect-fire mortars (other than the tutorial, of course), so I shall troll the boards if I have difficulties...looking forward to seeing the metal rain down on my pixelenemies in St. Jean de Daye!!

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There are no differences between the deployed mortar from the mortar halfie and any other deployed German 81mm. I understand BFC would have liked to have incorporated the track-mounted mortars of each side, but it was too much coding nightmare for too little return on the invested blood and tears. A shame, but an unfortunate reality of life.

Could the 81mm be fired from inside the vehicle in real life? I had rather assumed that in real life the mortar would be deployed outside the vehicle for firing??

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PanzerMiller,

In WW II, both the Allies (HT M4A1, later HT M21) and the Germans (250/7, 251/2) operated halftrack mounted mortars, firing them from the halftracks usually (M4A1 HT the exception). This gave the mortars mobility and their crews protection.

Both sides' mortars could be fired dismounted, though, since baseplates were carried for this purpose. The CMx1 games modeled fire from mortar halftracks, either by direct sighting from the vehicle (a bad idea), but typically via having HQ eyes doing the spotting. Such fires were treated as onboard fires and were highly responsive. Am pretty sure the mortars couldn't be dismounted from the mortar HTs, but my memory's fuzzy.

In CMBN, firing from the mortar halftrack's simply not modeled (Gah!), so can't be done (manual p. 162 for Allied mortar halftracks). Since I can't find the 251/2 in the CMBN or CW manual, I presume it arrived with MG.

I really do wish we'd stop losing capabilities we had going back to CMBO, but I guess this is the (I hope) a temporary price for so many other goodies. The post war Japanese expression "Shigata ga nai" (It can't be helped) seems to apply. How I miss flame!

Regards,

John Kettler

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PanzerMiller,

In WW II, both the Allies (HT M4A1...firing them from the halftracks usually (M4A1 HT the exception).

The 5 minute Google I did on the matter suggested that the M4 could only fire the mortar over the rear aspect when it was mounted in the vehicle and that doing so was an expedient measure, whereas the M4A1 had the mount arranged the other way round and firing it from that mount was less unusual.

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The CMx1 games modeled fire from mortar halftracks, either by direct sighting from the vehicle (a bad idea), but typically via having HQ eyes doing the spotting. Such fires were treated as onboard fires and were highly responsive. Am pretty sure the mortars couldn't be dismounted from the mortar HTs, but my memory's fuzzy.

Since I can't find the 251/2 in the CMBN or CW manual, I presume it arrived with MG.

Thanks for the info, John. I haven't played CMBB for quite some time, but I also do not remember ever firing the mortars after dismounting from their 251/2 vehicle.

And yes, I also did not find the 251/2 in the CMBN Manual...I forgot to mention that earlier! Since I'm playing the base CMBN game (patched to 1.11), the vehicle clearly arrives before MG.

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womble,

I may've garbled something, considering I was working from that low contrast blurry text (a practice I hope never to see again) in the CMBN Manual, but here's something definitive. Standard Catalogue of Ordnance Items, Vol. 1, p. 52. U.S. HT mortar carriers are:

M4 (fires to the rear and only in extreme emergencies)

M4A1 (rear firing; designed to be fired from the carrier in all ordinary firing problems)

The above are Limited Standard.

M21 (forward firing) is Standard.

All three carry baseplates for ground firing. As previously noted, though, two of the three can't be used for mounted firing despite this being their principal mode.

PanzerMiller,

You're most welcome, and based on what you've told me, it would appear the 251/2 isn't documented in the CMBN Manual and that its absence should be reported as a bug of sorts.

Regards,

John Kettler

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The ability to fire mortars from vehicles will make its way into the game system sooner rather than later. And when we do we're going to try and do it more realistically than CMx1 did.

In real life the advantages of having the mortar in the vehicle were:

1. Didn't have to carry it, lug it in a cart, or ferry it around in Jeeps (if you're on the Allied side).

2. Radio and ammo are all right there, ready to go. Again, no need to lug it around and/or wait for someone else to come pick you up.

3. Quick exit plan in the event that someone has taken an interest in your activities.

All good things to have, but #3 is the one most important to CM from a game standpoint.

Note that I did not say "quick setup". I don't think a vehicle mounted mortar gives the crew that much of an advantage over others in terms of getting the mortar ready for combat. Someone still has to figure out where they are and how the mortar is positioned in relation to the ground. In fact, it might be more difficult for a vehicle mounted mortar to achieve a decent angle for the mortar compared to having it outside the vehicle.

Obviously the total vehicle mounted mortar deployment is better than non-vehicle mounted. That's because the crew doesn't have to haul things out of a truck, set up a radio, dig positions, etc.

Steve

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<snipped>

Note that I did not say "quick setup". I don't think a vehicle mounted mortar gives the crew that much of an advantage over others in terms of getting the mortar ready for combat. Someone still has to figure out where they are and how the mortar is positioned in relation to the ground. In fact, it might be more difficult for a vehicle mounted mortar to achieve a decent angle for the mortar compared to having it outside the vehicle.

Obviously the total vehicle mounted mortar deployment is better than non-vehicle mounted. That's because the crew doesn't have to haul things out of a truck, set up a radio, dig positions, etc.

Steve

I opine "quicker setup" for the reasons you stated. The tube pops into action faster which has to be done before sight can be aligned with aiming stakes. So, while you just can't pop rounds immediately upon parking your carrier, you can eliminate tube, baseplate, and tripod set up delays before mounting sights and planting stakes. The "critical path" then becomes compass orientation time instead of tube set up duration. I look forward to realizing this in the game when released. Thank you.

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Steve,

Excellent, coupled with a level of customer responsiveness your so-called competitors can but envy!

I do think, though that setup would indeed be faster, since many steps necessary for bringing a ground mount into action could be skipped, including bedding the mortar baseplate with an initial shot. Since the mortar is the same, whether fired from in the HT or outside it, I'd imagine the adjustment capability for uneven ground is the same. As far as the mortar angles go, the U.S. 81mm M1 mortar has an elevation range of +45 to +85 degrees, and the installation is specifically designed to provide adequate clearance above the HT's fighting compartment. What may be an issue, in some tactical situations, is that the HT simply can't use certain features the same way a ground mount can, notably a wall or gully. It simply can't get as close for one and may not be able to even use that cover.

Obviously, some sort of site survey or terrain orientation still has to be done, but making major changes in sector of fire is trivial and almost instant for a mortar in an HT, but far more involved when using a ground mount.

Regards,

John Kettler

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womble,

I may've garbled something...

Don't think so, really; you just jumped straight in at M4A1 and I'd seen something about the M4, so I thought I'd chuck it in the pot...

...something definitive. Standard Catalogue of Ordnance Items,...

M4 (fires to the rear and only in extreme emergencies)

M4A1 (rear firing; designed to be fired from the carrier in all ordinary firing problems)

Looks like at least one "quality model" might be wrongly constructed... :)

As previously noted, though, two of the three can't be used for mounted firing despite this being their principal mode.

Now, I'm confused. Are you meaning in-game?

The ability to fire mortars from vehicles will make its way into the game system sooner rather than later.

Great news!

I opine "quicker setup" for the reasons you stated. The tube pops into action faster which has to be done before sight can be aligned with aiming stakes.

Is it not faster to bang the weapon elements together than place the stakes anyway?

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In real life the advantages of having the mortar in the vehicle were:

1. Didn't have to carry it, lug it in a cart, or ferry it around in Jeeps (if you're on the Allied side).

2. Radio and ammo are all right there, ready to go. Again, no need to lug it around and/or wait for someone else to come pick you up.

3. Quick exit plan in the event that someone has taken an interest in your activities.

Steve

Did the vehicle mounted tubes carry a larger amount or greater variation of ammunition?

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Yes, great to see the upcoming addition of in-vehicle firing ability!

During my quick research on this topic yesterday, I found a photo of a 251/2 that had a mortar baseplate strapped to the outside of the rear doors. Of course, now that I want to find that photo again, it has vaporized...but I really did see it. So I wonder if that was simply an extra baseplate, or if it suggests some preference to use the weapon outside the vehicle. Nothing more than idle speculation, I guess...sorry I can't recreate the photo :mad:

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womble,

Regarding your second block quote, the M4 mortar carrier was designed as a mortar transport, not as a mobile mortar firing system. I suspect someone discovered that by setting up the weapon in the fighting compartment (baseplate probably on sandbags to avoid skidding on the deck plate), it was possible to perform an impromptu shoot. The M4A1 and M21, though, had built-in sockets for the mortar ball which fit into the base plate. Since they also carried baseplates, it's clear the capability to fire from these AFVs was designed into them, not conceived as an afterthought.

Yes, in-game.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Rocky Balboa and BFC,

I can't speak to what the M4 and M4A1 carried, but the same page I cited before shows the M21 carried 97 rounds (HE M43A1, HE M58 and WP M57). In CMBN (CMBN Manual, p. 163), an M21 is erroneously listed as having only 60 rounds of HE and 6 of WP.

The ground mount 81 (CMBN Manual, p. 172) also has 60 HE and 6 WP. Thus, the current in-game modeling significantly understates what the M21 had available to shoot. That delta between the smaller load for the ground mount 81 vs the M21 illustrates yet another advantage of mechanization. Carrying capacity.

Regards,

John Kettler

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PanzerMiller,

Wiki says this of the 251/2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sd.Kfz._251

Sd.Kfz. 251/2 - Schützenpanzerwagen (Granatwerfer). 81 mm Mortar carrier. Carried 66 rounds for the GrW34. A base plate was also stored so the mortar could be offloaded and used.

See also.

http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/Homepage_english/Motor_Vehicles/Germany/Hanomag/m__SPW/Sd__Kfz__251_02/sd__kfz__251_02.html

Regards,

John Kettler

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Can we have the ability to indirect fire, without the whole chain of command and associated delay, if called by the immediate HQ unit within voice or visual contact?

Yes, I think so -- as long as the immediate HQ has LOS to the target.

My 81mm group is listed as an on-board artillery asset, so if I want to use a FO for this weapon system I'll have to set up the appropriate communication chain. Not yet quite sure how to do that, but I'll give it a shot (so to speak ;) )...

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Freyberg,

Having just read p. 108 in the CMBN Manual, I'm not quite sure where we stand on the present situation. It does say that mortars can use Indirect fire w/o a C3 link IF they're within 50m of the spotter. In theory, such mortars should be much more responsive than identical offboard weapons, but I really don't know whether that's true.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Freyberg,

Having just read p. 108 in the CMBN Manual, I'm not quite sure where we stand on the present situation. It does say that mortars can use Indirect fire w/o a C3 link IF they're within 50m of the spotter. In theory, such mortars should be much more responsive than identical offboard weapons, but I really don't know whether that's true.

I don't think it is. If you're using the "support" interface, the times for call don't change, IME. You're right that they should, but not down to the same responsivenness as when being used in direct lay.

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