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I just experienced my first use of 8 inch artillery. Oh my God!! My 400 watt Klipsch speakers let me feel the power. I started a QB and literally leveled a village. If this game models real life, how the heck did anyone ever survive getting shelled by 8 inch howitzers? I blew up a three story building with one hit! With one hit! I am so impressed!! With the 8 inchers and the nuclear bombs in the basement the village was gone in a matter of minutes. No survivors.

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During my time with my favorite uncle I eye-witnessed what the 8 inch can do. They have phased them all out of active duty now but in the early 90's they were still around. (SP)

We were sitting in our tanks at "Graff" when the projos flew over head. They impacted around 3000 m or so away and I could feel it in my chest. I watched a old target M-60 flip and do summersaults when the round hit near it like it was a toy. :D

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Commander:

I just experienced my first use of 8 inch artillery. Oh my God!! My 400 watt Klipsch speakers let me feel the power. I started a QB and literally leveled a village. If this game models real life, how the heck did anyone ever survive getting shelled by 8 inch howitzers? I blew up a three story building with one hit! With one hit! I am so impressed!! With the 8 inchers and the nuclear bombs in the basement the village was gone in a matter of minutes. No survivors.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


You think the 8 inch arty is a nice, try out the 240mm arty, or for a real bang the 14 inch artillery(only available in June and July 44 & August).

One shell from a 14 inch will take out several of the heavy buildings. Trust me I have been on the recieving end, when these monsters come down. Plus shelled some opponent of mine will these bad boys.

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To JasonC (I know my stuff, but your backgound impresses me) & to other erudite posters, fix us straight regarding northwest Europe.

'In CMBO game terms', I feel that in mid sized (1000 - 1500 pts) & maybe in even larger cmbo MEs (& I'm not talking about attacks & assaults here), 8 inch guns & 150-155 mm (big guns) are just 'too' big & too destructive & they grossly imbalance such scenarios. :eek: :eek:

Further, 'in historical terms', such big guns were just not normally attached & were not flexible enough to be used in such MEs or, for that matter, in most any ME. Such big guns would be appropriate for the attacker (not defender) in assaults & attacks. In fact, such big guns should not 'normally' or frequently be available to the defender.

Now in both 'game' & 'historical' terms, in mid sized MEs, medium guns/mortars (105s, 4.2s, 120s), should be appropriate. smile.gif

Personnally, I submit that such big guns should not be present in almost all moderate sized (& in most large sized [3000 - 5000]) MEs in CMBO. smile.gif

We await the learned responses. :cool:

Cheers, Richard redface.gif

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Actually, the dividing line on rariety cuts above the 155mm line, not below it. German 150mm and US 155mm were quite common. The bigger stuff was more rare, yes. Not all the smaller stuff was common, though. Players grossly overuse the intermediate mortar types, rather than the standard medium howitzers (105mm and 25-lber). And even the 81mm mortars are overused compared to the howitzers.

I got a handle on this for the Germans by the following procedure. I looked up ammo production for the various artillery calibers represented in CMBO, and divided them by the module sizes. This gives a figure for the number of modules of that type available for the whole war, all front. It is less misleading than a tube count, let alone a TOE outline, would be, because it is properly weighted for how often the various guns were fired (being an ammo count). Then I take the total number of modules and divide by each classes total, and get the portion of artillery support that could reasonably be expected to be of a given kind. I picked the Germans because good ammo counts are available for them, by type.

Here are the results of the procedure for the Germans.

Fully 1/2 of the modules should be 105mm. The standard batteries of at the division level fired the majority of the support missions, obviously.

Another 1/4 of the modules should be 150mm. This was not a rare caliber. It was the standard heavier type, present in most divisions, sometimes in a ratio of 1/3-2/3 compared to the 105s, sometimes 2/5-3/5, sometimes missing.

Only 1/8 of the modules should be 81mm mortar. While often shooting, they fired in smaller groups (batteries of 6 instead of battalion shoots and larger from the div arty) and for shorter periods before running dry. They did not get the same volume of resupply div arty did, generally being too far forward to receive resupply as often. There were many tubes, but they could fire the available ammo far more rapidly than it could be pushed forward, so they would often be "dry".

Only 1/8 are from all other types combined. Of these the most common is the 150mm rocket, only 1/5th as common as standard tube 150mm, but still a significant presence later in the war. However, even the smaller rockets were often used for interdiction and spoiling barrages, outside of the tactical scope of CM fights.

Next come the 120mm mortars, probably the most overused type by CM gamers, looking for the faster response time and a still substantial shell. The standard 105mm module, meant for basically the same mission, was 18 times more common historically, going by ammo. Use of captured Russian stocks might boost the availability in this case, but still not to anything like the amount CM players use it.

All 170mm and up tube artillery combined make up only 1/40th of the total. Of these the two reasonably common types were the 210mm howitzer - a standard heavy type in WW I, but replaced by lighter 150mm howitzers for the bulk of the WW II force - and the 170mm gun, for ranged counterbattery work in particular. The 210s had 1.75 million shells made, the 170s around 0.57 million. Few of the 170s were probably fired at tactical front line targets, however. This piece was especially adapted to long range counterbattery and interdiction. The 210s alone should be around 2%.

Heavy rockets are even more rare, on the order of 1%. And like the 150 rockets, were often used for interdiction.

In sum, players should only very rarely make use of German 150mm rockets, 120mm mortars, or 210mm howitzers. They probably should not use the 170mm guns or the heavier rockets at all. The overwhelming majority of the supporting fires would come from divisional artillery or the battalion mortars, heavily weighted toward the former. The div arty should be split (chance wise - one or the other is generally what you'd see at the CM scale, not a mix) about 2:1 in favor of 105mm rather than 150mm.

If you want to "roll arty", it would be 1 = 81mm, 2-4 = 105mm, 5-6 = 150mm. Or you could go by your budget through the sequence of realistic amounts of support, in escalating cost (as regulars) -

81 = 71 pts

105 = 113 pts

150 = 182 pts

2x105 = 226 pts

81+150 = 253 pts

81+2x105 = 297 pts

3x105 = 339 pts

2x150 = 364 pts

81+3x105 = 410 pts

3x150 = 546 pts

81+3x150 = 617 pts

As for the commonness of 155mm plus artillery for the Americans, first off every infantry division had 1 battalion organic. But in addition, by the end of the war there were 71 corps and higher level 155mm howitzer battalions, another 36 with longer ranged 155mm guns, plus 38 battalions of 8 inch howitzer. 8 inch -guns- and 240mm howitzers were indeed rare.

But the above totals mean a US division in the front line might easily draw support from 1x8" and 4x155mm battalions, in addition to its own 3x105mm div arty, plus 3 6-gun 105mm cannon companies in the infantry regiments, equal to 1 1/2 more. About as much 155+, as 105 support, by tube count, therefore, but 8" and up are rare. Again, the most overused item is the larger caliber ("chemical") mortars, with relatively limited ammo and attached one battalion per division or less.

The US should use the same sort of mix as the Germans, with only two changes. One, the 105 module gets so much ammo that the 155 module costs about the same, so they are effectively interchangable. And two, mixes of caliber involving 1 battery of 155mm with 1-3 batteries of 105 would be somewhat more likely, since the single divisional 155 battalion sometimes split its fires among regiments, a battery each.

In sum, there is nothing wrong with bringing 155mms to a CM level fight. Stuff bigger than that should be very rare, and the medium mortars should also be rare. Most arty support should be the standard div arty guns - 25 lber and 105mm, and most of the rest should be 150-155-4.5 or 5.5" tube artillery.

The current 25-lber module is a problem, though, since the rate of fire is only about .6 what it should be to be useful. So the Brits might overuse the 4.5 and 5.5" howitzers somewhat, to make do.

I hope this is helpful.

[ 09-09-2001: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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As for the issue of the US field artillery phasing out the 8" howitzer (which I served on in the reserves back in the late 80s, incidentally), a large part of the reason was probably survivability. The M110 SP 8" is open topped. The way the shell loads requires this - it needs a crane-like attachment to lift the 200 lb shells hydraulically, after they are brought up from the ammo carrier. There is no room to speak of for rounds on the gun itself, besides those in process of being fired. By comparison, both the MLRS and the M-109 155mm SP are closed topped vehicles.

The threat from counterbattery has been increasing with time. Counterbattery radars are more capable today, locating shooting batteries fast, which means just being self-propelled and moving after a shoot is not the protection it once was. Once, range might have protected the 8", but modern ammo has extended the range of the "threat" artillery tubes considerably (e.g rocket assisted rounds). ICM developments have made it much more dangerous to be exposed to fragments from counterbattery fires than in the days of vanilla HE. All in all, the survivability of an open-topped SPA has declined substantially.

And then the MLRS, which its substantial accuracy improvements over previous rocket systems, and sub-munitions developments that have made pinpoint accuracy less essential, has filled much of the heavy firepower role of the 8" howitzer. And smarter shell warheads are the obvious next step, not merely using a shell twice as big. The 155 SP remains, because it gives sustained high ROF and still substantially greater accuracy than the MLRS.

[ 09-09-2001: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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Thanks for the information. The wealth of infomation and analysis is most useful.

Now historically, would the real big guns (8 inchers, 210 mms, 170 mms, & such) have had any reasonably high probability of being attached to a realtively faster moving and/or advancing combat-team/kampfgruppen like CMBO presents in MEs?

My feeling (yep, no real at hand facts) is that such real big guns had a very small probability of being attached to a CMBO ME type force in an ME.

Also, my feeling is that such real big guns should somewhat reasonable availability for the attacker in an assault or attack, but none for either side in an ME. Further, a defender in an assault or attack should have almmost no chance of receiving such real big guns. Although, having some 8 inchers on defense whould be real fun.

Cheers & Thanks, Richard :cool:

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Well, they are relatively rare, and above division level. So I guess your question is, would meeting engagements ever wind up involving corps level shoots, or would defenses? The answer is yes to both, but rarely, and usually in the sort of overdetermined case you are probably thinking of.

The two examples that I can think of both involve US troops. In one case its was US armor division forces advancing in Lorraine, against a defense largely based on village strongpoints held by infantry and a few PAK. They went along the ridges between the villages, then hooked back (coming over the right side of a slope) to fire into each village, while another part of the team stormed it. At this point they only had support from their organic armor division 105s. This was working beautifully - so well that the Germans decided they better do something about it. The forward team was about a battalion strong, mixed tanks and armored infantry, comparatively light on the latter.

The Germans came after them with a company of StuGs and about a battalion of infantry. The tanks and TDs dealt with the StuGs, but the US infantry was outnumbered. So they yanked the fire support chain. 18 artillery battalions responded. That ended that battalion's attack.

But the Germans weren't through yet. They attacked several more times in the course of the evening and all through the next night, in some cases getting into the villages the US troops were holding and stalking the US vehicles with fausts. The weight of US artillery eventually broke the attackers, preventing reinforcement of those that had penetrated, and a bit more US armored infantry showed up in the morning to clean out the survivors.

As a result of this episode, the Germans had to fall back in the whole area, since first one regimental position had been penetrated and then their "back" regiment, the reserve for the whole sector, was chopped to pieces in the failed counterattack attempts.

Now, I don't know for certain that 8" guns fired in that episode, but it would not in the least surprise me. I am sure plenty of 155s did, both howitzer and gun, and that corps and army level artillery was involved.

The original scrap with the StuGs was something of a ME, because it was a counterattack colliding with guys who at first thought they were still attacking themselves. The subsequent fights were definitely defensive on the US side, but they had enourmous fire support. It was being used to try to redress a serious imbalance in infantry - a regiment vs. 2 companies. It managed to do so.

That is the first example. The second was in the Bulge, when a US armor division attacking out of the Bastogne area collided with the last major German attack in the sector. At first only three battalions were firing to defend the first US battalion that got in to trouble, in the ME like portion of the engagement (which took place in woods, with only limited tanks able to support on both sides). Then the Germans kept on attacking for five days or so, while the concentration of US artillery firing against them relentlessly crescendoed.

At times 14+ battalions would fire a time on target at a single location, 150-200 heavy shells arriving within seconds of each other over the same spot. Total ammo expenditure was running as high as 5000 rounds per artillery battalion per day, despite the serious overall shell shortage. Three corps level artillery groups - which normally featured ~1/4 8" howitzer, as a rule - were involved, in addition to div arty and guns from neighboring divisions.

They were firing in support of no more than 4 battalion task forces along the front line, who were definitely on the defensive. Nearly a week of this was more than anybody could stand, and the German attack failed and broke up. A week later the US went back on the offensive.

So it definitely did happen. The thing is, most of these cases wouldn't make anything remotely like balanced CM scenarios. The attackers had some edge in infantry (first case), or that plus better tanks (second case). But the weight of artillery being thrown at them basically meant automatic tactical failure for operational-level reasons. So occasionally realistic? - yes. But makes for good CM games? That is a different story.

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A quick calculation of the Lorraine battle makes it about an 8000 pt. ME. This is a rough estimate, but Germans get 3 infantry battalions and maybe 9 105 FOs. (They'd get assorted PaKs, too, but I don't want to look that up).

US side gets 2 companies of infantry and about 7000 points of artillery.


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Err, you sort of left out the main part of the US force in the Lorraine case - the better part of a tank battalion (2 companies of mediums, plus lights, plus a few attached TDs). Whereas the Germans had about one company of StuG or a little more (10-15), in addition to all the infantry. Not that it matters with that much arty coming down - LOL.

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Jason, I find your ideas on the relative abundance of different calibers of artillery interesting since they closely resemble my own practice. In playing the Americans, I usually support a battalion of infantry with one battery of 81s (organic to the battalion), two of 105s, and one of 155s. Occasionally, if I expect the defense to be especially well dug in, I will throw in a battery of 8". Now and then, but not often, I will employ a battery of 4.2" On one occasion I used a battery of 14". All in all, it's hard to have too much arty.


[ 09-10-2001: Message edited by: Michael emrys ]

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