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Would like some WW II historical examples of fire mission delay times

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I've diligently searched the various threads, but nowhere have I found specific times listed for actual WW II fire missions. What I'd like to know is:

What was the average time from initial request to impact of the spotting round?

What was the average time required to adjust fire?

What was the average time from adjustment until fire for effect arrived?

Since I know that timeliness was a function of the ownership and level of the support fires, I'd love to see this information broken out for 60mm mortars, 81mm mortars, 4.2 inch mortars, 105mm howitzers and 155mm howitzers for both on call fires and targets of opportunity.

Given the staggering amount of military operational research conducted during WW II, I'd be most surprised if the requested data had not been taken and compiled into a report.

Do any of the resident redlegs have the information I'm seeking? I think that the artillery request cycle time in CM is considerably on the short side, but I can't prove it with the data I presently have. That's why I'd love to see some real world examples or period analyses.

Many thanks!

John Kettler

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My guess for all these was not long, for adjusting and firing for effect was only the time it took for the round to reach the target. It all depends on how close the arty is to the target and how good the spotters and crews where.


The names Ash, Housewares

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I would think response times would be dependant on a number of factors.

1. Terrain between spotter and target. This is a major factor for response time because spotting rounds being observed and corrected.

2. Distance between battery and target. An interesting effect with morters would be that close targets might have longer time of flights.

3. Being in the batterys covered arc. If the weapons have to be moved this would be major.

4. Reload times. 155mm and large weapons were not flexible enough to "chase" infantry targets. So really bad spotting rounds could tip off infantry to beat feet before they got bracketed.

I am sure that there are alot more but the point is that it is complicated.


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Really good question. biggrin.gif

Might I suggest the addition of naval gunfire as well to at least cover the fan for D-Day thru the time a given unit moves far enough inland to no longer be using the five thru sixteen inch guns.(Tho I haven't checked to see if naval fire support is modelled in CM...I remember it being discussed tho) Of course, by that time they would be covered by the fan of organic guns (as you know).

BUllethead was a "lanyard yanking Red Leg", wink.gif we'll see what he knows...

[This message has been edited by ARCHANGEL (edited 03-07-2000).]

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I don't have exact data about the delay times but I have a few points.

First, I think that generally the actual flight times were quite short, on the order of 30 - 60 seconds. When I was in the army we usually had to do a weather report for 40 second flight times and if I remember correctly the distances were around 10 km, which was pretty much the commonest range of artillery missions during WWII.

Second, when firing at pre-registered targets the delay times would be very quick. If the artillery crews were alerted and ready they could begin shooting in as short time as half minute or so, so the shells could be exploding in one minute from fire mission. If the gunners had to be alerted from their quarters it would take a couple of minutes before first shot.

In Finnish army there was also a special 'TMP' fire order. The 'TMP' comes from 'tuli mahdollisimman pian' ('fire as soon as possible') and it was used only in direst emergencies as it basically meant: "forget the spotting rounds, we need FFE _now_".

Of course, 'TMP' missions were a form of Russian roulette. Some time ago I read about one 'TMP' mission that was fired with 1887 vintage heavy siege guns to coordinates taken from a poor Russian map after the forward observer had advanced a couple of hundreds of meters in smoke. Amazingly, the shells landed on just right spot. The battery commander later thought that it was the most incredible fire mission that he fired during the whole war.

- Tommi

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Taken from 'The Guns of Normandy'by George G Blackburn this account is for 25pdr guns.

"A troop,rolling down the road "on wheels" goes into crash action the moment the Gun Position Officer (GPO) receives over the radio the map reference of an unseen target miles away,with the order "Right ranging...Fire!"

To the GPO,who has been assiduously following his map to ensure he knows exactly where he is at any given moment,that message means:Get your guns deployed in the nearest field and put them on line to that target,using your map,your compass,the dialsight of your pivot gun,and a local aiming point;and then give them the range so your pivot gun can get off a ranging round that will land on or near the target,which your troop commander can see and use to complete the ranging.

Every troop in the Regiment can routinely bring its guns into action and get off the first round within three to five minutes of receiving such a target while travelling along a road.(Three minutes if there is no unusual delay because of the terrain)."

Presumably that delay would be slashed quite a bit if the guns were already set up,but I'm still reading the book and haven't come across that yet.

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Spike Milligan, in one of his WW2 memoirs, talks about crash-actions (basically what Blindcide was talking about). In fact - I think his gun won a competition with the best time.

But, remember that the 3-5 mins quoted is for the first round (likely to be wildly in-accurate), and the adjusting procedure must be continued from there.

Using current comms and computing technology it takes 8-10 minutes to adjust a fresh target - ready to fire the first round of FFE - using the braketing procedure, which is basically what was used during WW2.

Firing on a pre-recorded target takes 2-3 mins from the call for fire to the rounds landing on the ground.

Note: reload times don't really affect engagement times. They do affect the rate of fire greatly though.

Look out for an article at CMHQ in the next couple of weeks dealing specifically with the artillery adjustment procedure, why things take as long as they do, and how this is modelled in CM smile.gif





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Let's see ...

Transmission to Battalion FDC - 20 seconds

Battalion FDC plots grid and transmits to batteries - 90 seconds

Battery FDC computes data - 75 seconds

Data relayed to guns via landline - 60 seconds

Shot-Time of Flight - 60 seconds

Impact - Around 4 minutes plus change

Add 15 or so minutes if the Battery is moving.

If Battalion already engaged in active mission, add 6-8 minutes.


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