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Artillery in SF 2


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I recently had a battle where I was targeting a building that had opposing troops inside. I selected 'armor' option for my medium mortars and the round killed all of the defenders. I think regular HE would've just burst on the roof. That's not the definitive answer though. it needs more testing. I tried doing a search in the manuals but the word 'armor' is in practically every paragraph.

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On 12/5/2018 at 1:25 PM, MikeyD said:

I recently had a battle where I was targeting a building that had opposing troops inside. I selected 'armor' option for my medium mortars and the round killed all of the defenders. I think regular HE would've just burst on the roof. That's not the definitive answer though. it needs more testing. I tried doing a search in the manuals but the word 'armor' is in practically every paragraph.

Did you try searching for "armour?"  I think it's a British thing...

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Shock Force manual page 81 explains it.

General -> generic setting(a mix)

Armor -> weights toward anti armor rounds(they mean plain HE)

Personnel ->  weights toward airburst rounds

 

"General" may fire a mix,  "Armor" fires plain HE shells( you select against tanks and structures), and "Personnel" fires air bursts for troops in the open or trenches or such.

In CMSF i never used "General", either Armor against buildings or Personnel against infantry outside. The General option i never used and still dont.

Edited by Pandur
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  • 2 years later...
On 12/7/2018 at 8:24 AM, Pandur said:

Shock Force manual page 81 explains it.

General -> generic setting(a mix)

Armor -> weights toward anti armor rounds(they mean plain HE)

Personnel ->  weights toward airburst rounds

 

"General" may fire a mix,  "Armor" fires plain HE shells( you select against tanks and structures), and "Personnel" fires air bursts for troops in the open or trenches or such.

In CMSF i never used "General", either Armor against buildings or Personnel against infantry outside. The General option i never used and still dont.

Necro'ing thread.

I did a little bit of testing and artillery in general is largely ineffective vs. infantry inside buildings.

However, I did make some unscientific observations:

 

General/Armor rounds will debris-kill guys on the first floor if it lands close enough. So if you're getting bombarded it may be wise to move them to the 2nd floor. Syrians/Uncons seem way more vulnerable to taking such casualties, whereas NATO/US seem to take the 'minor' injuries hits.

Armor seems better at destroying a building - so if you do a targeted strike to flatten something that seems the way to go. Could use more testing, though.

Anti-personnel rounds have a better chance of exploding higher up and hitting guys on the upper floor. Armor/General rounds hitting the ceiling above guys didn't do much as far as I could tell. The one conceit is if they're in a smaller structure (see below).

If you throw a tremendous amount of rounds at a specific building very quickly, it may cause the enemy to break and flee. I'm sure one can think of many ways to use this coordination with other assets, or even just brute force it with high density AP mortar groupings.

There's a tremendous range for debris being flung by Armor/General: I've seen guys many action squares away getting clipped if they're in the open. I found AP rounds to be more centralized in their capacity for carnage. Might need more testing.

Small buildings like shacks or 1-room houses are not so safe from artillery damage, making them prime targets for destruction. If these take direct hits the occupants inside are liable to pay for it. This is notably true for structures like barns which aren't common in SF2, but are HE-death traps in the WWII games.

 

 

Fundamentally, it seems arty's role is still to fix the target in place. If it kills them, great, but if used as a fire-and-forget asset you're probably wasting its utility.

 

 

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Interesting post, glad you brought the subject back up.....Your comments match my own experiences, particularly this bit:

30 minutes ago, Khalerick said:

So if you're getting bombarded it may be wise to move them to the 2nd floor.

Hiding on floors above ground level, but below the top floor seems the safest bet.....The TacAI likes to have units retreat to ground level, but as you note, this can actually make things worse.

30 minutes ago, Khalerick said:

Syrians/Uncons seem way more vulnerable to taking such casualties, whereas NATO/US seem to take the 'minor' injuries hits.

I'd put this down to body armour, or the lack thereof at a guess.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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12 minutes ago, Khalerick said:

I did a little bit of testing and artillery in general is largely ineffective vs. infantry inside buildings.

[SNIP]

Fundamentally, it seems arty's role is still to fix the target in place. If it kills them, great, but if used as a fire-and-forget asset you're probably wasting its utility.

In the modern titles, anything 120mm plus will hurt *and* demolish structures. Anything caught in a barrage is pinned. Casualties are a bonus. Do expect a lot of bonus.

Infantry in a building isn't an issue as there are too many things (brads/bmps) that will cause the structure to collapse.

The challenge, normally, is how best to clear the building while leaving it still standing.

You want to clear mines or demo a structure - call a short mission (linear or point) with 155s. You want to demo a building - target light with a brad or abrams.

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3 hours ago, Howler said:

In the modern titles, anything 120mm plus will hurt *and* demolish structures. Anything caught in a barrage is pinned. Casualties are a bonus. Do expect a lot of bonus.

Infantry in a building isn't an issue as there are too many things (brads/bmps) that will cause the structure to collapse.

The challenge, normally, is how best to clear the building while leaving it still standing.

You want to clear mines or demo a structure - call a short mission (linear or point) with 155s. You want to demo a building - target light with a brad or abrams.

 

One of the tests was primarily with 155's, but also let me clarify: the tests were to see how effective arty was vs. the housed infantry themselves, with variances in AP, General, and Armor rounds. Expectations of 155mm rounds obliterating ceilings and killing everyone inside, while not unfeasible, should be tempered. One of my tests including a ceiling being destroyed, but the men inside remained healthy. My unscientific conclusion is that it is best to approach infantry in large buildings as though they are in bunkers and plan accordingly regardless of round-selection. I bring up the issue of cost-effectiveness below.

 

As for general usage of arty I think it depends on what you want to do. Here's my thoughts, related to the above, but also largely tied to the QB setting where arty is purchased at a large premium:

Naturally, heavy artillery fire can delete something if you want it to. How useful is it to exhaust artillery to delete a vague # of infantry? Depends. As you say, it's probably better to utilize vehicles to flatten structures. 25mm cannon fire or certainly tank rounds coming through a window are far more effective at killing infantry than salvos of the much larger and pricier 155's hitting the ceiling. When arty batteries cost 1000s of points in a QB, it's something to keep in mind so you get your money's worth. Spending 1000s of points on arty and thinking it's going to magic wand away your foe is about as cost-effective as buying some Abrams and rolling them around ass-first.

It's why, with these results, I look more at the pinning nature of the bombardment instead of its kill potential. Even minor bombardment has a tendency to renegotiate the thinking of even Veteran+ level soldiers. If you order troops to cross to another building and a shot comes in anywhere remotely close, they're very liable to give up and return back to where they came from. Meaning you can use light/harass levels of artillery to basically pin enemies in place for very long periods of time if you want to (and obviously make it a scary notion to go anywhere if one of those rounds has your name on it).

It has changed my usage of arty in this way: you either use it to delete, or you use it to pin. We know that infantry tend to recover from pinned statuses and worse within about 30-60seconds. If you fire a Medium # of rounds into the battlefield and your opponent walks out with 90% of his forces unscathed, unpinned in half a turn and firing back in a full turn, did you get your money's worth? Or should you have just launched everything, destroyed the buildings, killed the infantry, and removed that area from the field of play, or alternatively had your 1000+ point arty launching moderate rounds for 30+ mins to keep that area fully fixed while the rest of your forces apply and maneuver resources as needed?

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5 hours ago, Khalerick said:

 

One of the tests was primarily with 155's, but also let me clarify: the tests were to see how effective arty was vs. the housed infantry themselves, with variances in AP, General, and Armor rounds. Expectations of 155mm rounds obliterating ceilings and killing everyone inside, while not unfeasible, should be tempered. One of my tests including a ceiling being destroyed, but the men inside remained healthy. My unscientific conclusion is that it is best to approach infantry in large buildings as though they are in bunkers and plan accordingly regardless of round-selection. I bring up the issue of cost-effectiveness below.

 

As for general usage of arty I think it depends on what you want to do. Here's my thoughts, related to the above, but also largely tied to the QB setting where arty is purchased at a large premium:

Naturally, heavy artillery fire can delete something if you want it to. How useful is it to exhaust artillery to delete a vague # of infantry? Depends. As you say, it's probably better to utilize vehicles to flatten structures. 25mm cannon fire or certainly tank rounds coming through a window are far more effective at killing infantry than salvos of the much larger and pricier 155's hitting the ceiling. When arty batteries cost 1000s of points in a QB, it's something to keep in mind so you get your money's worth. Spending 1000s of points on arty and thinking it's going to magic wand away your foe is about as cost-effective as buying some Abrams and rolling them around ass-first.

It's why, with these results, I look more at the pinning nature of the bombardment instead of its kill potential. Even minor bombardment has a tendency to renegotiate the thinking of even Veteran+ level soldiers. If you order troops to cross to another building and a shot comes in anywhere remotely close, they're very liable to give up and return back to where they came from. Meaning you can use light/harass levels of artillery to basically pin enemies in place for very long periods of time if you want to (and obviously make it a scary notion to go anywhere if one of those rounds has your name on it).

It has changed my usage of arty in this way: you either use it to delete, or you use it to pin. We know that infantry tend to recover from pinned statuses and worse within about 30-60seconds. If you fire a Medium # of rounds into the battlefield and your opponent walks out with 90% of his forces unscathed, unpinned in half a turn and firing back in a full turn, did you get your money's worth? Or should you have just launched everything, destroyed the buildings, killed the infantry, and removed that area from the field of play, or alternatively had your 1000+ point arty launching moderate rounds for 30+ mins to keep that area fully fixed while the rest of your forces apply and maneuver resources as needed?

 

With good observation and a 'quick' FO, 155 battery is very lethal using point or linear strikes against buildings. It can deny and destroy good enemy cover that is difficult to get to with direct fire units (and kill plenty of the occupants). Of course an Abrams/Bradley with LOS and LOF to the target is a much faster and more accurate way of delivering HE to the enemy compared to indirect howitzer fires. Even the Precision Munition isn't as precise 😉

However, those pesky buildings dotted through the landscape that can provide good observation posts or ATGM / sniper positions? 155 point heavy quick armor lends a helping hand, without chances of the Howitzer getting hit by an AT-14. Hammer of Thor on a ~3min call time, they're accurate enough as they'll usually hit the building targeted. You can even target floors with some accuracy. Of course there are differences between buildings and the very large heavy structures can take quite a beating and offer more protection, so need more rounds.

Facing enemy troops dug in a city block which gives you troubles? A Linear strike on the face of the building as a prep for a city assault can do wonders. Especially when firing angles prevent effective and safe laying of direct firing HE by your units. 
Against buildings 'armor' supposed to do best as it has some delay in the fuze IIRC.

Not to forget the smoke rounds are very, very, useful. 

But like you say they are very expensive and thus high opportunity costs. 

Edited by Lethaface
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Arty has a lot of utility that isnt directly measured in killcount.

- it forces the enemy to spread out his troops making them far easier to beat. 

- its the fastest way to shift your focus on the map

- it can supress massive areas you wouldnt otherwise be able to

- it can cover dead ground 

And for actual killing the best rule of thumb is to target teams only if they are high value targets(atgm), squads only if they are in especially good positions. Otherwise targeting platoons and up is the way to go.

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