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9 hours ago, TheForwardObserver said:

I'm curious how people arrange their Fire Support personnel and who acts as (or ends up acting as) their primary observers.  I've played around with this loads myself.  What support times do you shoot for/settle for?  Do you send your FOs forward, independently of their maneuver units, do you keep them to the rear of their maneuver elements, or are they trail hip on your HQ units?  

What factors and lessons affect your choices?  What problems do you encounter?  

This is an interesting topic.  In the WWII titles I have a much better thought out system (which is still evolving) for requesting support than in the two modern titles.  In the modern titles a fire team or vehicle can request artillery.  (In CMSF a US fire team can also call for air support.)  In CMBS so many units (US at least) can call for arty it does not take as much planning to get the desired support.  So that is my excuse for not creating artillery and mortar cards for my favorite support assets in the modern titles yet.   

In both the WWII titles and modern titles I will generally set up a TOC with the highest ranking officer, maybe a FO and, when possible, the highest ranking officers of any attached units or their XOs.  This is to facilitate C2/vertical & horizontal intelligence (info) sharing.  In this group I will designate a Target Reference Point Coordination Officer (TRPCO).  It will be the task of the TRPCO to call for fires on the various TRPs in accordance with the Oplan.  (The Oplan is often based on recon push and the TRPs are placed on TAIs and Key Terrain along the designated route of advance and sometimes to facilitate the placement of smoke.)  As a result there is no need (unless of course it all goes FUBAR) for the TRPCO to leave the TOC, risk being KIA and losing control of the artillery units he is working with.  In the CMBS TOC, if I have a drone, I will designate a drone officer.  (No acronym for this dude so far)  His task is usually a little more flexible than the TRPCO as he will observe NAIs and hit high value targets in the drone observation area to include precision targeting.  If I have air support it will also normally be handled by an officer in the TOC with Area Targeting (up to an approximately 1200 meter area if I recall) also using the TRPs. 

A veteran US TRPCO (from a HQ or XO unit) that is on foot in CMBS can generally bring 155mm on a TRP in two minutes.  This is more than fast enough for my recon push.  However in CMBS the fastest call times are made by Forward Observers in a dedicated FO vehicle.     

Then I try to have at least one asset per maneuver platoon (typically mortars) for the platoon’s use.  The platoon will use the mortars to help with tactical problems they encounter.  This is fairly easy, with the US in CMBS, since even a fire team can request support from the mortars.  However since most US platoons have FOs the FOs are my first choice.  In the WWII titles I have an XO or CO with the maneuver platoons to coordinate the mortars and allow the platoon HQs to provide C2 and keep moving just behind the lead fire teams.   

My artillery fire missions are a little more evolved in the WWII titles.  For example a standard US 105mm Howitzer fire mission is up to a 100meter area, 2 tubes (out of 4), light, maximum, general.  This gives the TRPCO 34 minutes of sustained fire to adjust to his TRPs from the TOC in accordance with the Oplan and will leave 140 medium sized craters.  (I like to know the crater sizes to help ID what the OpFor is shooting when it is incoming.)  The fire missions I have recorded for US and German WWII forces are: Standard, High Value Target, Smoke and MOUT.  

I don’t have my fire missions typed out in this much detail for the modern titles yet but I’m hoping to pick up on some ideas from this thread. :)   

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On 7/26/2016 at 2:04 AM, Jammersix said:

FOs with UAVs stay behind. The rest move with their HQs.

I do everything I can to shorten the time; I prefer 30 seconds, anything more than 90 seconds or two minutes is useless.

How the hell do you get it down to 30 seconds? What are all the factors that affect the time to boom? 

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Play at the basic training difficulty level with top notch FOs, artillery and TRPs?  I have no idea how to get call times at 30s the fastest I have ever seen is 2min for indirect fire (that was Elite or Iron with veteran FO 81mm mortars and a TRP - IIRC).

What effects call times?  Here is a list of what I think does (note not including skill level here since that is a decidedly artificial way to influence call times):

  • Skill level of the caller
  • Presence of a TRP
  • LOS of the caller on the call area (this will not effect the time to the first spotting rounds and does not apply if using a TRP, otherwise, the spotting cycle can be quite long if LOS to call are is spotty for the caller)

One more that might make a difference but I have never actually tested this:

  • Skill level of the battery?

Is there anything else?

 

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Doesn't the bfist  or RUS similar shave another minute off if the FO  is inside in time for the spotting rounds? 

I had a 1 min call time once,  as US. I suspect 30s is a glitch,  or maybe fire adjustment? Or playing on way too low a difficulty :-)

Edited by kinophile
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Here is a screenshot of how I mark the locations of TRPs.  I put the marking unit on permanent Pause.  Then I place move waypoints on all the TRPs.  These waypoints are given a 50 meter (100 meter diameter) 360 degree target arc.  When on the defense I also mark the locations of friendly mines using a 360 degree 8 meter diameter Armor Target Arc.  (So TRPs and mines are displayed in different colors) When the marking HQ unit is selected the marked locations appear facilitating the plotting of fire missions.  I just mark the mines so I don't forget where I put them as they are difficult to see and sometimes are placed behind my screening units.  I came across this idea on the forum. I can't remember who's post it was now and I'm to lazy to hunt for it but probably @womble.          

  BN%20TRPCO%20amp%20TRPs_zpsvm4vyynm.jpg  

Edit: Sorry the screenshot I grabbed is from CMFB but same concept. 

Edited by MOS:96B2P
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  1. Caller is an M1200
  2. Caller is elite
  3. Battery is elite
  4. Battery is a mortar
  5. Battery is on board
  6. Target is on or near a TRP

If you want, you can call it in as emergency, but I never bother doing that. An FFE in twenty or thirty seconds is usually enough for me.

I call them in in groups-- on board mortars to hit in thirty seconds, mortars on the same target to lay smoke, and 155s on the same target to finish the job. The effect is smoke and accurate mortar fire in thirty seconds, and constant suppression until the 155s are finished.

I almost never call in indirect fire from a caller that isn't an FO, a FIST or an M1200. I make all my spotters elite, as well as all my batteries. On occasion, I buy extra mortars one at a time to get them as on-board. I'd rather have TRPs than a UAV. Sometimes I sell the UAV and replace it with TRPs, sometimes not. FOs don't need LOS unless the target is outside the grid of TRPs.

I only play on Iron, 1 player-Real Time.

Edited by Jammersix
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Have fun.

I don't really advocate mortars-- the only thing they really have going for them is response time. I use them to hit first, fast, and keep targets suppressed until the 155s show up. So I almost never use them for longer than "short". It's really easy to burn right through mortar ammo.

The first sign that I'm going to lose is the last mortar running dry before initial objectives are secure.

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On 7/27/2016 at 9:00 AM, IanL said:

<Snip> 

  • Skill level of the battery?

<Snip>

 

9 hours ago, Sublime said:

Does changing your battery experience level (off map) actually do anythinf? I routinely set my off map arty to conscript and havent noticed any accuracy or speed problems whatsoever?  <Snip> 

I did some experimenting with the effect of soft factors on Fire For Effect (FFE) times for off map artillery and mortars in CMBS v1.03, skill level Iron.  

Of the four soft factors of off map artillery and mortars the only one that had an effect on FFE time or purchase points was experience.

A US Company HQ team (Experience Veteran, Motivation Normal, Fitness Fit, Leadership +1) on foot requested a (no TRP) fire mission from a 105mm medium three tube howitzer platoon.  The FFE times were as follows:                                                                                                                                      Elite, Crack & Veteran = 9 minutes.  Regular = 10 minutes.  Green = 12 minutes.  Conscript = 15 minutes. 

Elite and Crack cost more purchase points for the same FFE times as Veteran.  Maybe Elite and Crack are more accurate???        

Edited by MOS:96B2P
I had mortar times instead of howitzer. It is corrected to show howitzer FFE time.
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2 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

Elite and Crack cost more purchase points for the same FFE times as Veteran.  Maybe Elite and Crack are more accurate???        

I believe the times given in the UI are just rounded to the nearest whole minute. If you were to time it on a watch I suspect the elite battery would be a little faster. 

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1 hour ago, Vanir Ausf B said:

I believe the times given in the UI are just rounded to the nearest whole minute. If you were to time it on a watch I suspect the elite battery would be a little faster. 

Yes, that seems to be it.  I fired off a few more missions.  Not enough to get a solid average time but in general Elite was about 35 seconds faster than Veteran and Crack was about 20 seconds faster.  Another mystery solved. :)    

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The estimates I've watched (and thought about, but I can't say I've studied them) seem to be "the longest time unless something goes wrong" estimates.

That is, the FFE will begin before that time unless a spotter who is using spotting rounds is killed, suppressed, panics or loses LOS to the spotting round, or loses contact, or some other catastrophe I haven't encountered yet. I started glancing at those estimates and then ignoring them long ago.

My comments on elite batteries are a general feeling, they come from watching the game clock in a casual manner. (I didn't study the issue, I just took note of it on several occasions.) I'd make the call, glance at the clock, estimate when it would hit within about ten seconds, then go back to the game. Elite batteries surprised me by arriving "early", which is how I realized that it makes a difference.

Edited by Jammersix
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I've played a bunch of Coy+ SP RT games over the last few days, hard testing various Arty arrangement suggested here, as RUS v US. 

My take away:

1. Simplify your FS. (all mortar,  or all SPGs) 

2. Crack/Elite only for Tubes & FO. 

3. 2 x Pltns/ FO. 

4. TRPs instead of UAVs (but take 1 UAV for general info). 5xTRPs/FO. 

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As long as we are on the topic of artillery and the game mechanics of it I thought I would mention a reminder about the multiple artillery/mortar adjustment situation.  This was reported to BFC for CMBN.  However I just did some checking and this situation happens in all the Combat Mission titles except Fortress Italy and Shock Force (I don't have Afghanistan).  

The situation: If one observer has two or more missions all firing at separate targets and adjusts any one of those missions to a new target ALL the fire missions adjust to the new target not just the one fire mission as intended.  

Just something to be aware of.  Below is a link to the discussion with screenshots of the situation.  

 

 

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Appreciate the discussion gents, I've been away with limited reception, but I've been following everything that's been said.

The various FIST/FO configurations/where they're placed/how they're used are particularly interesting to me as are the rhyme and reasons.  I see a fair amount of drones are used in tandem with FIST/FOs.  Obviously wise and compensates for the FOs not having proper observation gear-- though I do wonder if this results in the lion's share of fire missions (post initial barrage) going to interdiction of targets behind the enemy's forward line of troops.
 

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--And I've mentioned this before, but it was a while back--

Typically when you add off-map support units those units are unable to accommodate individual units being added to them (example, adding a FIST to an arty platoon).  The one exception I've found is in the Btln Task Force Formations.  If you add personnel to the Arty Battery at the bottom you will notice significant support time improvements amongst non-FIST personnel.  

For example, I just did this, and when the game began my infantry squads were rating 5 minute support times for the howitzers.  I used the FIST I attached to my Btln TF Btry to set up 2 Excalibur missions to be fired once the game begins.  Clicked start, and now my infantry squads are rating 2 minute support times.


 

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TheForwardObserver,

While we're talking spotting and adjusting fires, I'd like to get your take on something which has at times practically driven me mad going back to CMx1 CMBO. That is the inability to spot and adjust unless you can see the AS itself, rather than the (don't know the technical term) burst plume which fountains skyward when a shell or mortar bomb of any size detonates. I recognize that there are certain urban canyon and reverse slope situations which could stop even some fairly large artillery shell bursts from being seen this way, but generally don't you train to spot and adjust from whatever you call those earth geysers whenever the ground strike can't be directly seen? My CM comments do not include TRPs.

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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John IRL if calling an Adjust Fire mission you; you watch for the burst, mark spottings, convert those spottings to adjustments, then submit over the radio/digitally.  If you can't see the burst but can hear the burst you report the round as Unobserved.  If the round lands somewhere over the rainbow and you can neither see nor hear the burst you report the round as lost.  You may submit adjustments to rounds that are unobserved based upon your knowledge of the situation.  Lost rounds are not adjusted.

So in the sense that spotters should be adjusting burst, rather than needing a view of an action square, and are able to infer adjustments based sometimes on the sound of unobserved rounds you are correct.

That being said I don't have any criticisms of the game on this particular point and don't have a good enough understanding of what's happening under the hood to study the issue and make suggestions.


 

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As an aside and extension of my previous comment, overall I've been impressed with how the game handles Fire Support, and I've re-iterated that several times since day one here (well first I asked a modding question, but nearly day one!).  The game seeks to provide a realistic fire support experience without training or placing an FO behind you constantly urging you to convert your fire missions into dramatic acts of self-expression through performance art, and on this matter I think it succeeds.  

The small tweaks I would make concern FIST/FO equipment, off-map support ammo counts, and to some extent the effects of some munitions/fuzes.  If I were to rate which of those I consider the most important to me it'd be the FIST/FO equipment, just because as it stands they don't have quality all-weather day/night capabilities and are therefore rendered unable to actually see as well as or for that matter operate with a good degree of independence from their maneuver units when necessary.

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Are you sure battery quality has anything to do with rounds arriving faster? Ive often with all sorts of different batteries have had rounds come in sooner than the original FO prediction.

Im not saying youre wrong im curious as to if anyone is *sure*

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