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Mortars vs. Cement Pillbox?


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Okay here's the situation. I'm in a CMBB PBEM game and all I got is a bunch of 50mm mortars with about 60 HE rounds each and a couple companies of infantry. My opponent has got a cement MG pillbox in my main line of advance. Is it possible to take it out with the mortars that I have? Or should I just avoid the pillbox like the plague and try and flank it?

-Random Man.

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You can't kill it with the mortars. You can kill it with infantry if you can get the infantry behind it at point blank range.

If you have 60mms with some smoke rounds, rather than 50s with only HE, smoking the pillbox is a great way to neutralize it. Use at a critical period e.g. when trying to cross in front of its LOS.

Otherwise, steer around the area it can see, and roll up one flank or the other.

The best weapon against an MG pillbox is a tank parked inside its covered arc, preferably at fairly close range - under 400m. That will KO it with a firing slit penetration in a matter of minutes. Light AA is also very good at it, since they can get firing slit hits at ranges long enough they only give a sound contact back. Both are invulnerable to its own fire, for different reasons (armor or stealth).

But indirect fire of any kind is hopeless. Even 8 inch artillery is hopeless.

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You won't even scratch them with the 50mms. It's been a while since I played but IIRC, the 50mms don't come with smoke, do they? Flank it, use the mortars to suppress anyone supporting the pillbox. Flank it, isolate it, and take it down. Now that is assuming you even have to approach it at all. Once you are past it you can also just ignore it. The pillbox doesn't even have it's own crew that can leave the pillbox, so it's not like anyone is going to leave the pillbox and threaten your rear.

A lot depends on how good your opponent is. If he knows you have a basic infantry forces and he bought the pillbox, if he is crafty he is intending you to get channelized into a suprise as you avoid the pillbox. But if he doesn't know what he is doing you may just have an isolated pillbox out there.

Edit: Ooops, when I started this post no one had replied. Looks like I was on target.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is no probability of making the crew of a concrete pillbox abandon with an indirect HE weapon, including on map mortars and off board artillery (short of naval guns in CMBO). Even 8 inch caliber.

Any flat trajectory weapon within the firing arc, on the other hand, has a non zero probability of a firing slit penetration that will cause the crew to bail - even ATRs (though there chance is quite small, it is above zero), light flak, zooks, etc.

The best at it are the high ROF decent blast middling size AA weapons (quad 20, 37, 40), with full sized tank guns a close second. Both are at their best within 400m. Outside the covered arc the chance drops back to zero.

The other effective pillbox killer is infantry close assault, within 30m and rear facing. Particularly likely with demo charges. But it is rarely necessary against the MG ones, since a tank parked in LOS generally does it long before this can be set up.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

There is no probability of making the crew of a concrete pillbox abandon with an indirect HE weapon, including on map mortars and off board artillery (short of naval guns in CMBO). Even 8 inch caliber.

I saw this and said to myself, nar come this cant be right.

I have just went and tested it, now i know the big cal stuf lands all over the show but any way here are my results.


British 7.2 inch spotter - 50 rnds

US 8inch spotter - 50 rnds

Took them 18 minutes to expend all rounds.

Facing them in open terrain was 3 concrete bunkers which they could see.

By the end, around 25% of the rounds had landed near only 2 of them (the 3 of them where close together).

I had also placed 3 wooden bunkers with them, next to them in fact.

Factoring in these 3 other bunkers. Around 50% of the rounds landed near 4 bunkers.

All in all, no bunkers - wooden or concrete was destroyed in the 18 minute bombardment and not a single man inside was wounded or killed. One should note i had them setup in a semi circle so the rear of the bunkers would be exposed to.

shocking stuff! :eek:

Never full realised how ineffective Arty is agaisnt bunkers.

That bombardment would have ripped a small village to bits ... killed countless cyber soldiers i reckon but nothing happened to these bunkers ... even the wooden ones! :eek:

Going to got an drop some 305mm rounds and 300mm rockets on them now!

Edit: Just dumped 300 Rockets on again 6 bunkers - 3 concrete and 3 wooden - nothing!

Over the 30 min period 2 spotters for 305mm batteries firing 25rnds each dumped most of there rounds on the targets.

I must point out that i did give this test a TRP so nearly all the rounds landed on the bunkers.

So what was the result of ~340 HE rounds ... 2 wooden bunkers set on fire and the occupants only killed when they left them and where caught in the shelling.

Btw 300 rockets is rather awe inspiring for a game!

[ October 22, 2006, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: the_enigma ]

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....and now for some test results:

June 1941

1 x Russian Conscript MG Bunker

1 x Russian Conscript MG Pillbox

Two groups of the following:

1 x Crack German HQ (+2 all leader stats)

10 x 50 mm mortar (Crack)

HQs are in factory level two

mortars are behind factory

One HQ spots each bunker/pillbox and directs its 10 mortars onto same.

In 20" the bunker is bailing out and in 45" the pillbox is dong the same.

I haven't tested higher morale crews or fewer mortars, but it can be done.

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Mel - AP is considerably more effective against wooden ones, which it actually penetrates. Against concrete, it always takes a firing slit penetration and there seems to be no difference. (When in reality, AP through a firing slit might hit 1-2 men but would not KO the bunker).

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The information here is very, very useful. I would have expended a lot of HE in some scenarios uselessly.

The reason I wondered about abandonment was from playing the CMBO scenario Crossing the River L'Elle (I believe that is the name). The Germans have about 4-5 MG wooden bunkers.

The Allied have no armor, nor guns,but a couple of, IIRC, 125-150mm [something like that] spotters. I assumed that was my counter for the bunkers. Played the scenario a couple of times [very tough when playing it blind initially as Allied]. I believe I got at least one "abandon" the first time through. Though, my more successful second time I mostly knocked the bunkers out from the rear.

But...the initial "abandoned" I remember eems to have given me the wrong mental framework for countering the bunkers--particularly anything like the concrete ones.

But from the above: The smaller more accurate mortars did better???? Still, it took a lot of mortars, on conscript crews. Not very effective/reliable.

[ October 24, 2006, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: Rankorian ]

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Ran a quick test with 21 German bunkers (all concrete, mix of types, close packed) being shelled by 8 4.5in Rocket spotters and 8 8in spotters, all regulars. Fun to watch, if nothing else.

After all shells were expended, 5 bunkers had been KO'ed, all by direct hits, although many took direct hits with no effect. So maybe not a non-zero chance, but it's hard to imagine it ever making sense to shell a bunker in a real game, unless you find yourself with 5000pts of arty to spare for some reason.

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