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proper use of artillery

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Artillery is one of my big frustration in CMBB. I never get it to work useful for me. I read a lot of topics about people using artillery and it seems that if artillery is used properly it is quite powerful.

That is why I try it some times in TCP/IP games but each time I am disappointed and wished that i rather had bought an extra platoon or tank in stead of artillery.

Also i rarely encounter opponents who can use artillery properly.

So my questions are:

Are there people who find artillery in CMBB usefull?

and how do they use it?

What kind of caliber?

and in what types of games?

Against what targets?

What is the ideal piece of artillery?

I myself did it little bit research to the effect of the 150mm german artillery on a russian veteran squad in trenches in woods. It killed quite a lot of infantry, about 50%, but it didnt break them. So u spend 231 of so points on artillery to just kill half a squad. Not quite effective.

But in one game i played russian in 44 and I was about to attack the last german stronghold and massed smg and rifle squads to do so. Right when I engaged the enemy it rained 150mm shell which broke and killed my men. After the game the forward observer had 80 kills on his name! Still I won the game because the point he spend on artillery could not be spend on proper AT defense so my T34 saved the day.

So my conclusion is that 150mm artillery can make a difference and I almost lost the game due to it. Are there more experiences like this for other people who won or lost the game due to proper use of artillery?

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1. Definitely, artillery is very important to me.

2. On the attack i usually buy some big guns 152mm (i play russians) and 122mm stuff as well as a cheap 82mm spotter or two. At the beginning of the game i pre-plan the big guns to land on suspected enemy positions (usually around the flags or ideal defense locations). The mortar FOs then move up with the infantry to offer some arty that can be called in quick for the changing situations. Most important here is the timing, i usually pre-plan the shells to finish falling just as my men and tanks attack.

On defense i place down a couple of Target Reference points in areas the enemy is likely to pass through. Usually i have more mortar FOs on defense as they're cheaper, have more ammunition and can call in strikes faster. They tend to lack punch but i tend to take more on-map guns to compensate.

3. see #2

4. Pretty much all my games.

5. Pretty much infantry all the time.

6. Depends on situation.

I think the problem you're having is timing, dropping some 150mm rounds on some guys hiding in woods is effective but you have to have your men attack as soon as the barrage is over, Veteran and better troops tend to recover quickly (in my experience) so you have to have your men go in as soon as possible to take advantage of the confusion.

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About what kind of scenarios are you talking? If you buy a 152mm in 44 it cost you about 335 for a green one. Add 122mm for 142 points. For this amount of points you can get a platoon of t34/85. If I am attacking i usually have 1500 points available that is 375 for artillery. Maybe for the effective use of artillery you have to have big scenarios 2500points or something to buy enough of them to count. Do you also use artillery in small 1500 points attacks?

Also you said that you should follow up with men soon after the artillery strike. Do you use smoke then, because if even a few men have survived the artillery barrage they can halt your assault and you cannot rush. So you have to work more slowly and in that case more men can rally and soon you are facing an intact defense. I just want to say that your statement: that you have to take advantage of the confusion is quite difficult to perform, maybe you elaborate on that?

The points you said about artillery in defense are true. Atackers are mostly in worse cover than defenders and have to stay relative concentrated to attack properly, so they are ideal targets for artillery. If they are not concentrated they dont have the firepower to pass your main defence line.

Defenders on the other hand dont have to be so concentrated and can spread out more and they can use half squads. Also they are in better cover. Trenches in open ground are good protection against artillery.

So i think artillery against defenders is not so usefull.

Actually I like to play you because I would love to see your artillery working although i am sceptical.

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My experience is that high caliber arty is only good on fixed targets you need to bombard. Otherwise it takes way to long to call it in (more than 7 min. waiting). The only use I have for 150mm is designate an area in the beginning of the battle and let it rain over there :).

For example; if you have to take a town, bombard the approach to town, if you are close to the approach to town, bombard the town itself. If there are tanks in the area, good chance you take them out as well. Also nice to put on trenches since these are very hard to take out.

The 82mm mortar spotter has his shells raining in 1-2 min wich can easy destroy that nasty AT gun, stop an advancing / moving platoon etc. In short, great against unexpected ''flashpoints'' in the open ground. These shells are not that good against trenches and / or buildings (dont use them on big heavy buildings).

The 122mm spotter is the max I love. It does good area damage and it is still acceptable in terms of ''waiting time'', the bonus is that if hit a tank right, it can kill the tank. You need a bit of luck though.

Concentrated defences are the ideal target for this kind of arty. Position your troops during ''arty waitng time'' and make sure you are ready to go once the 1st round of bombarding is over. (you might need to wait another round) Dropping some smoke in there helps you advance

All are great against armored and unarmored vehicles. Only when they they are stationary though.

So I use the 82mm for flexible support and the 122 for area bombardment. Dont forget that you can target an area and adjust fire before or during the bombardment. Wich saves precious waiting time. Ofcourse you cant adjust over big distances.

And really, arty on defenders is great, it can give good help in prying open a solid defence. The only thing it cant handle is a concrete bunker. Although I would not use my 82mm on a wooden either :).

So in your case I would take 1 or 2 82mm spotters or 1 122mm.

Hope this helps.

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Treeburst155 had this to say about artillery in CMAK forum. Very helpfull:

"This is a little thing I put together for a PBEM buddy. I thought I'd post it here just in case some might find it helpful. If you think anything below is incorrect, please post.

How Off-map Artillery REALLY Functions

There are two types of off-map artillery, rockets and guns. Rockets do not fire spotting rounds, guns do fire them. I'll start with rocket artillery.

Rocket artillery is very inaccurate. Any friendlies within 500 meters are in danger, even if the spotter has LOS to the target. This is because the impact pattern is a large "target wide" pattern, and because the strike can be off-target even with spotter LOS established at the time of targetting and maintained throughout the bombardment. "Green line" adjustments to the target point may help bring the center of the impact pattern closer to the desired point, but there is no guarantee. The only way to be sure of an accurate rocket attack is to fire at a TRP, or to target the rockets during Turn 1 (prep bombardment). The large "target wide" impact pattern will still happen when targetting TRPs or doing prep bombardment; but the center of the impact zone will be on-target. Blind rocket attacks (other than TRP or prep bombardment) are VERY risky, and work the same way as blind gun strikes. Blind strikes are discussed below.

Off-map guns differ from rockets in several ways:

1) Spotting rounds are used.

2) The player can choose between two different impact patterns, "target" and "target wide".

3) The impact patterns cover a smaller area than rocket patterns, making fratricide less likely.

4) The player can be positive that a strike will be on-target before the first full salvo goes out.

Blind Targetting (Guns and Rockets)

Targetting a point out of LOS of the spotter almost guarantees an off-target strike. There will be no spotting rounds fired by guns when targetting blind. Subsequent adjustments to the target point may or may not bring the center of the impact zone closer to the desired point. I have occasionally managed to get an accurate strike with blind targetting; but it doesn't happen often. I'd guess the odds are no better than 1 in 6, probably much worse.

Impact Patterns for Guns

You have two choices here, "target wide" and "target". The first gives you a circular impact pattern. I like to make sure friendlies aren't within 120 meters of the target point when using "target wide". Most rounds will fall inside a circle of this radius; but even at 120 meters distance, friendlies are at risk.

With the "target" command you will get an elliptical impact zone, the deadly area being about 160 meters by 80 meters centered on the target point. The orientation of the long dimension of the ellipse can be north/south or east/west, depending on how the friendly map edge parameters are set. When the north map edge is friendly to one side, and the south edge friendly to the other, the long dimension of the impact pattern will be north/south. If one side has the west edge friendly, the other the east, the long dimension of the arty pattern will fall east/west. In cases of ambiguity, the program will cause the long dimension of the impact pattern to run east/west. This means that in most cases arty will fall parallel to the axis of advance, rather than along the front lines; but a tricky designer can easily make it so the impact pattern is the opposite of what is expected.

How To Hit Your Target Every Time

This section deals with guns ONLY. There is never any guarantee with rockets. I'm also assuming the spotter remains unmolested during the delay period, and while the strike is underway.

Accurate arty strikes require the following things to happen:

1) The spotter must have LOS to the target point when it is targetted (blue line).

2) The spotter must have LOS at the exact moment the first spotting round is FIRED.

That's it! The strike will be on-target EVERY time if you make sure these two things happen. However, #2 can be a bit of a problem. This is because spotting rounds are fired during the action phase of the turn, when you can't give orders. If smoke, or more likely dust, blocks spotter LOS, even briefly, at the exact moment the FIRST spotting round is due to fire, the spotting round will NOT fire, and the strike will be considered a blind strike by the program. There is nothing you can do until the next orders phase. Fortunately, the next orders phase is usually soon enough to prevent much wasted ammo and large scale fratricide due to the blind (inaccurate) strike. The key is to monitor your spotters closely during action phases to make sure spotting rounds do indeed fire. If they don't, you can bet there is an LOS obstruction. Cancel the strike during the next orders phase because, at that point, the strike IS blind and will likely be off-target.

Watching For Spotting Rounds

Don't do it! They are easy to miss on a busy battlefield, and where they land is irrelevant. Instead, select your spotter during the movie phase. This way you can watch for the beginning of the 60 second countdown and monitor the ammo counter. What you are watching for is the FIRING of spotting rounds.

Depending on arty caliber, spotting rounds will fire at the beginning of the 60 second countdown and/or the 30 second mark. As a general rule 105mm and up will fire two spotting rounds, one at 60 seconds and one at 30 seconds. Smaller guns and mortars will fire a single spotting round at 30 seconds on the timer. It is important to know the spotting round behaviour of the particular arty you are using. Run a quick test if necessary.

No arty fires more than two spotting rounds, and only the first one means anything. The second spotting round is pure eye candy stuff. In the case of 105mm, the first spotting round fires at 60 seconds on the countdown (right after the countdown begins). If you do not see the spotter's ammo count reduced by one at this point, spotter LOS is obstructed and the strike is blind. Cancel the strike promptly. With mortars you're watching for the ammo count to drop by one at the 30 second mark.

If the FIRST spotting round goes out, your strike will be accurate no matter where the round lands. You can even move the spotter out of LOS in the next orders phase. The strike will continue to be on-target. His job is done unless you want to adjust the strike.

It is very possible that the first spotting round will not fire; but the second one (at 30 seconds) will. This is because the LOS blockage, which prevented the first round from firing, cleared before the second spotting round was due to fire. The strike will still be off-target! Only the first spotting round matters. Be sure you know when this FIRST spotting round is supposed to fire for the arty you are using. It will either be at 60 seconds or at 30 seconds.

You need never again be surprised by a haywire arty strike that you thought was an observed strike.

EDIT: Green-line adjustments of ongoing ACCURATE strikes will always result in an accurate adjustment.

Treeburst155 out."

Hope this helps,


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CMBB has an advantage over CMAK, in that there's little chance raised dust will block an artillery spotter's LOS in that interval between target designation and the spotting round falling (one of the disadvantages of CMAK's road dust coulds). I suppose a building can get blown up and that dust cloud block the spotter's LOS, but that's rare enough for there not to have been much complaint about it.

Properly using rocket artillery can be tough in CMBB. At least the 'first turn' initial bombardment is pretty accurate. I've often mentally figured how many turns it would take my troops to reach the jump-off point, then delayed my initial bombardment til the time that the troops are positioned to attack (5 turns for instance). I then patiently wait for the bombardment clock to count-down. One spotter dropping rockets and a second dropping smoke seems to sow the most confusion. After the barrage has lifted I then rush my men through the smoke cloud to mop-up the supressed enemy.

Of course it doesn't work too well when my opening barrage misunderestimates (to quote Bush) the enemy's position, and bombards an empty field!

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Thanks for the replies. Spiked is right on using the 122mm. I did a test in a hotseat game and targeted a regular german platoon in scattered trees and foxholes with 122mm howitzers. Results: 2 squads broken, 1 panic and one pinned. There was 25% casualties.

The same setup with veteran resulted in 1 broken, 1 panic, 1 pinned and 1 ok squad with the same amount of casualties.

So it can soften up the defense but if you have veteran infantry with a good commander I would not count too much on artillery.

I also got another tip to use artillery when you already confined the defense perimeter. At twothirds of the game the defenders should be pretty backed up to their defensive positions which you can target then.

As to David I: i dont think you can choose target patterns, but you are right about the orientation of the target area. This is really oval and it is good that you noticed this for me.

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Sure you can.

T key = Target

K Key = Smoke

I Key = Wide Target

I don't use the Wide target option very often because it really disperses your pattern. Best used when you are on the defense against large, moving, Infantry formations.


[ March 02, 2005, 06:07 PM: Message edited by: David I ]

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Originally posted by David I:


Sure you can.

T key = Target

K Key = Smoke

W Key = Wide Target

I don't use the Wide target option very often because it really disperses your pattern. Best used when you are on the defense against large, moving, Infantry formations.


I think I is the command for wide target.
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I've found the big stuff is rarely worth the cost. First off its slow, which means you either have to buy a trp or wait a long time on a battlefield where, at the best of times, events are highly fluid. It can be great, but then it tends to be in games where a few conditions must be met:

1. A small amount of cover

2. A trp in said cover

3. A lot of (enemy) infantry that is forced to advance through that cover

So a defender can get lucky on a map and do some real damage. But then the cost for the big stuff can be a real pain. Often (and I've starting doing this lately to great effect) I use the smaller stuff, mainly 75mm up to 105mm guns, coupled with machine guns, etc. to stop an attacking force. Buying smaller stuff has the advantage of giving you more options, both in terms of targets and freeing up points for other stuff, and bring more gives you a greater space for error.

But for an attacker the roles are reversed. Generally there are no trps for an easy hit so you must use pre planned. Also, the enemy is usually dug in, so the lighter stuff isn't as good. But the guess work for the attacker to use the pre planned really isn't worth it. I know when I play as the defender I assume a pre-planned is comming, and plan my defense accordingly. Generally unless you get a real deal in rarity its better to just spend the points on a good tank or direct fire gun and carrier. At least then you pretty much know you'll be on target.

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You were absolutely right! redface.gif The "I"'s have it! I corrected my post, thanks for removing some of the egg off my face. smile.gif


PS. Oh yeah. For the Germans and Russians the 81, 82 and 120mm mortars rock! For the Americans the trusty 105mm howitzer. For the Brits 25pds guns. :D


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