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Cross November 19th, 2008 03:57 PM

Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
I started this thread as a result of a post on another thread, and didn’t want to divert that thread.

Here’s the post that caught my attention:

Quote:

Originally Posted by RERomine (Post 654111)
Here's the link to the Blitz site if anyone wants to see what's out there:

http://www.theblitz.org/

I know Cross knows where the site is and I agree about the FOO guidelines. They went from no guidelines allowing things to be too gamey to too restrictive eliminating things that could really be done.

This got me thinking about realistic WW2 artillery management by a FOO. I’m no expert, but I’ll try to share my understanding.

I think the "gamey" concern is the apparent control, by the FOO, of individual guns; which appears to allow him to plot each gun at individual targets all over the map. I agree this is somewhat gamey.

The optional FOO rule at the Blitz (in a nut shell) only allows a FOO to plot artillery on one hex. So you have to buy multiple FOOs to have even slight control of artillery on the battlefield.

IMHO this option essentially uses a 1000Kg bomb to KO a pesky jeep.

My understanding of reality, is that a FOO would normally control a minimum of a troop of guns or platoon of mortars (about 4 tubes), rather than individual guns.

However, and this is important, the FOO would give directions to the troop/battery commander who would control the individual guns. And this control could be precise and varied. Artillery was the most sophisticated arm of the army.

The FOO could order all sorts of different types of barrages, which effectively controlled the targeting of individual guns.

Lines

* * * *

The FOO would choose the spacing, the troop or battery commander would make it happen.

A troop of 4 guns would space their shells apart in a line. The spacing would depend on the target, terrain, size of the round and desired effect. A 200 yard line for a troop of guns wouldn’t be uncommon, but then the FOO could diverge the barrage for a less concentrated effect.

* - - * - - * - - *

Gun troops usually sited their guns in a line to help facilitate this.

This sort of barrage was often advanced ahead of attacking infantry. The infantry would ‘lean into the barrage’; which means 4.5 inch (115mm) field guns may be targeted in a line only 150 yards ahead of friendly infantry. FOOs could even change the angle of the line as it moved!

I often use this pattern in SP myself; it’s also useful against an attacking enemy line.

It was also used to lay down curtains of smoke.

Bracket

--- *
Target
--- *

A FOO may choose to bracket a target. Individual guns will fire slightly longer or shorter to achieve this.


Linear

Another pattern was linear:

*
*
*
*

FOO’s could even lay down two parallel lines of smoke (wind permitting) - several hundred yards apart – so tanks could advance between them protected from ATG flank shots.

*s*m*o*k *e*

TANKS -->

*s*m*o*k*e*

Concentrations

Tar*get

All guns would stonk a target at a specific point. Map coordinates accurate to 10M would be used. Adjustments would be in 25M increments.

Diverged Concentration

Undo or diverge concentrations

--- * -- *

* - Target - *

--- * -- *

The FOO can then chose to spread the concentration, perhaps as the enemy target is dispersed. Again, the FOO doesn’t plot individual guns, but the troop/battery commander follows a practiced procedure to achieve the desired result.

The FOO would usually handle the batteries troops independently. He could target one troop out ahead and another on a flank. Not only would he handle troops independently, but he would also adjust each troop’s pattern in the target area as described above. He had a whole toolbox of options at his disposal; his only option wasn’t to stonk one target. But neither could he target individual guns all over the map.

I doubt there’s a coding solution, and besides the current situation is fine; in fact we have the best artillery routine in any game I’ve come across.

If I were to suggest optional restrictions for SP they might include some of the following:

1. FOO can only target two areas at a time.

This would cut back on individual guns plotted all over the map.
I know for a fact that FOOs could handle more than one target area, but not sure if they could handle more than two. If anyone has any info, I’d love to hear it.

2. Guns within the same section/troop/battery must target the same target area.

This means a FOO must plot all the guns from a unit in the same general area.
A target area for a section could be 150M, a troop 300M and a battery 600M.

Therefore, if a FOO had a Battery and an additional troop on call, he must plot all of the battery guns within 600M of each other; and all the troop’s guns must be plotted within 300M of each other.

3. Only Battalion or Company commanders may target battalion or company mortars.


I’d be interested to hear if anyone could correct me, or educate me further regarding WW2 artillery management.

cheers,
Cross

RERomine November 19th, 2008 05:48 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
I don't think it's inappropriate for "Zero" units to call artillery. Training to do so is standard and can be found in US Army field manuals at platoon level. I've done so myself, but only in training. We did call in live rounds, however. Way cool!! Not sure if they 86 it when it hits real combat situations, however.

As far as artillery target patterns (sheafs), that might be something we would want to take over to the Blitz forum. Nothing in the game restricts anything you've suggested. Below is a link that discusses more about artillery sheafs.

http://www.poeland.com/tanks/artillery/sheafs.html

Mobhack November 19th, 2008 07:09 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

I doubt there’s a coding solution, and besides the current situation is fine; in fact we have the best artillery routine in any game I’ve come across.
Actually the SP artillery model is one of the poorest I have ever come across in a wargame...

Most tabletop wargames rules have had far better artillery models since the 1970s, in fact.

In real life, one observer fires one fire mission (which may involve multiple batteries) at one target point at one time. With multiple battery shoots, he may ask for all to fire Time On Target, or let the batteries start firing when ready.

Part of the call for fire is the target location and the observer's angle of sight on the target (so calls for adjustments left 150, right 50 etc makes sense to the firing party). An observer does not move while controlling the shoot, obviously!. (Those in little airy planes make special cases).

Normal fire is preceded by a single guide weapon in the battery firing ranging shots for observed shoots. Fire for effect is not called until the ranging piece is "on" in order to conserve valuable ammo. Then the observer calls for N rounds at rate Y, and each tube in the battery expends that number of rounds at that rate then stops. He may then call for a repeat - which would fall where the last lot went, since the guns are still lined on that point. That was the WW2 case, and even today with fire control computers is much of a muchness. With GPS and laser range finders, the ranging component can be skipped and the battery can go straight to Fire For Effect in theory, but if own troops are "Danger Close" then single round ranging would likely still be used!.

So the observer should only be able to control one fire mission on one observed target at one time. (There are exceptions that most train-spotter wargamers would jump on and use as the norm, as is the usual case with wargamers).

At the gun end, each troop likely has only one artillery plotting board and the guys to do the arithmetic (the 25pdr had a sort of slide rule as part of that for charge calculations). Each mortar section in our battalion had the one, for each 2 mortars. Individual guns are not the independent fire units as is the case in SP. Troops, Batteries, or Sections might be. The real limit apart from these calculators is the number of frequencies available - SP does not model radio networks very well either, everyone with a radio has a virtual "mobile phone". Voice radio networks just don't work that way at all!. If you have used CB or ham radio, you will have an idea.

All SP artillery is "Under Command" artillery - you have the exclusive use of these things. Real arty might be under Command, but is more likely to be "Direct Support" - Highly likely to fire your missions but not 100% guaranteed since it is in D/S to several units, or "General Support" where it is shared out between more users.

SP weaknesses
- An observer can engage multiple targets
- Observers can move while directing fire
- An Observer can call for fire (speed) and then any old radio 0 unit can take over directing fires for accuracy as it has LOS without generating an entirely new fire sequence
- The individual gun element is the fire direction unit (One reason I prefer mortars to be in section type elements and not as individual mortars in the OOBs - stops silly people firing #1 at X,Y, #2 at A,B and #3 at W,P all 200 degrees apart... ). There is no fire computation centre at the battery.
- The comms network is oversimplified (any old 0 element can request the arty directly, rather than pass up the chain of command. He is on the arty network, as if he had a mobile phone and not netted voice radio)
- No ranging, or rather ranging by Fire For Effect
- Apart from the turn 0 fire, no programmed fires. No barrages etc.
- Simplistic counter battery
- Over easy detection of on-map arty
- Instant set-up of batteries, just plonk the guns down in any old random way. No paralleling of the sights, no site survey. Before GPS there was a reason that arty lined up in relatively close order in nice straight lines, like having LOS between the gun sight mirrors to get set up with all the the weapons sights in parallel. Otherwise #2's 1200 mils will be rather different from #1's which is not good :(
- No programmed fires, like creeping barrages for the assault

Yes - as part of 1/51 Highland, we did do a joint shoot with both mortar balloons (1/51 was unique in having 2x4 platoons of mortars when most inf bns had 1x6, we also had 2x4 platoons of 120mm MOBAT/WOMBAT) on the same baseplate, with 2 MOPs each engaging a different target on one frequency with one FDC running 2 mortar boards simultaneously. Oh joy!:(. The "White Hats" of the directing staff were running round like blue-arsed flies ensuring range safety, but the FDC still managed to take corrections from MOP A and apply to Platoon B...

A pretty poor arty model, overall. It would need a completely new game engine to rectify it.

This site is good for artillery: http://members.tripod.com/~nigelef/maindoc.htm

Cheers
Andy

RERomine November 19th, 2008 07:50 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Well, that all pretty much makes sense to me except the part about quick set-up. The artillery "hipshoot" has been around for some time. I dug up some information on it published in 1978, which was before GPS I think. Never can tell what the military had when and didn't bother to tell anyone. The intent was to get rounds out pretty quickly. I'm sure accuracy had to suffer some because all the quick set-up couldn't have done all the stuff you described. They basically kicked out a spotting round and adjusted to target from that, assuming the round wasn't lost.

One other thing that was mentioned was the "hipshoot" wasn't a universal concept. The US Army used it in 1978, but I'm not sure who else used it. Information on it can be found in FM 3-09.70 "Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for M109A6 Howitzer (Paladin) Operations". The time standards are in an ARTEP doc I can't get to. I would have to believe with GPS, the concept has to be more universal now, however I doubt everyone calls it a "hipshoot" :)

Cross November 19th, 2008 08:32 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
[quote=Mobhack;654252]
Quote:


In real life, one observer fires one fire mission (which may involve multiple batteries) at one target point at one time. With multiple battery shoots, he may ask for all to fire Time On Target, or let the batteries start firing when ready.
Hi Andy,

Here's a quote from the site you referenced that appears to contradict this.

An observer could use the two troops of his battery simultaneously against two different targets and the battery's two observers could each engage a different troop target simultaneously. If a battery's observers were presented with more targets than the battery could engage then the 'multi-battery' procedures enabled them to call for the fire from other batteries via their own BCP and RHQ.

However, if you are right that an observer could only plot one target point at a time, I'm surprised that it's not possible to code that into the game in some way.

cheers,
Simon

Mobhack November 20th, 2008 06:44 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
[quote=Cross;654275]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 654252)
Quote:


In real life, one observer fires one fire mission (which may involve multiple batteries) at one target point at one time. With multiple battery shoots, he may ask for all to fire Time On Target, or let the batteries start firing when ready.
Hi Andy,

Here's a quote from the site you referenced that appears to contradict this.

An observer could use the two troops of his battery simultaneously against two different targets and the battery's two observers could each engage a different troop target simultaneously. If a battery's observers were presented with more targets than the battery could engage then the 'multi-battery' procedures enabled them to call for the fire from other batteries via their own BCP and RHQ.

However, if you are right that an observer could only plot one target point at a time, I'm surprised that it's not possible to code that into the game in some way.

cheers,
Simon

Sure - an observer could plot each troop of his own battery onto 2 different (but both in LOS so he could observe each). But as I already said - that would be one of the exceptions to normal practice that most wargamer train-spotters would elevate into Standard Operating Practice.

- The 2 troops are part of the same battery, on the same radio network etc
- Both targets are in LOS of the observer
- It will take more time to set up the shoot, and to observe since he (and the BCP) must ensure that each correction is applied to the correct troop. Each "shot" and "splash" message the battery sends out will have to be preceeded by an identifying code for the troop, and if the targets are widely apart then the observer might have to face in a different direction (or run to an opposite side of the house he is spotting from etc).

Or if the 2 targets are rather close together, then it is just a variation on adjusting the concentration (what the USA calls the "sheaf") by moving one particular troops' Mean Point of Impact and not that of individual guns. We had a similar thing with the mortars called "check belt" - if you wanted to fire into a wood edge (where the rounds impact was not easily observed) then you would range in say 50 yards in front of the wood line, and when satisfied call for a "check belt" and each individual mortar in sequence then fired 1 round so you could then issue individual corrections. Once satisfied with the belt of fire you issued a final adjustment to lift the belt X metres into the tree line and then Fired For Effect.

It is much more straightforward for any set of wargames rules therefore to state that an observer can only operate one observed shoot at one time. otherwise the train-spotters will use it as the 100% solution, just like say they will have 12 of the extra-super-rare (18 items produced) 88 on a truck as part of their standard German core's troops :).

Unobserved shoots are a different kettle of fish of course, but those do not have observers, only Target Reference Points and type of fire as the constituent fire order.

About the only way one could do this in the simplistic SP Command and Control System is to introduce the "Comand Points" system of SP3. Say an observer had to use 1 CP to call for fire - problem is that SP treats each individual indirect fire game piece as a battery in its own right. A typical on-map battery has 6 individual guns so our observer would need to have 6 CP to call these 6 "batteries" that SP treats them as, rather than the collective of 6 that the battery actually is.

And SP still has the ultra simplistic communications system, whereby any old "0" element can casually talk to the artillery because it has a magical radio that acts like a modern mobile phone. An AOP should be considered on the arty network, but a platoon commander should have to pass the request up to company, then to bn, then across to the arty representative depending on the radio network. And since these would be separate nets operating on fixed frequencies in WW2, then it would just be a request to stonk ABC123 since there was no direct conversational route for the platoon commander to talk to the guns. he could only do so by relaying the message through several nets.

That is why WW2 FOOs tended to operate from a carrier, with a few supporting other ranks as driver/operators. The carrier carried the long range radio which was netted to the arty frequency, and also usually a short range radio to net into the infantry company frequency (or just voice contact with the supported arm if not). Plus some telephone wire and a phone to use to link to the carrier from his perch e.g. up a steeple.

And that was still the case in the 1970s - a radio was set (netted) on the one frequency and stayed there since the netting-in process was tedious. You did not switch to "channel 9" unless you had to, since doing so needed a lot of playing with the SWR dials to tune the antenna etc (and if you had a land rover FFR, these meters were out on the bonnet so you had to stop and go to the front of the wagon and shout readings to the guy in the back). Then you had to find the other net that was supposed to be on 771.6 or whatever as they had netted to their own particular idea of 771.6 was for their local conditions... The positioning of platoon hides was often dictated as much by what spot had the best radio reception than what was ideal tactically.

I can remember when in Phillips MEL in the mid 80s we had one of their radios that could choose from 16 channels off the handset, and it then did whatever was necessary with the antenna all by itself:happy:. I would have loved one of those 10 years earlier, it would have saved me standing out in the rain with a torch in the night at the front end of a land rover FFR shouting at the radio operator.

It would really need a completely new game engine to properly implement a set of Command and Control rules and a realistic artillery model. As with most wargames command rules, they are would also there to tone down the "player as God" effect. (Enemy on my flank unexpectedly? - no problem everyone instantly moves left to take them on since I as God-player can see it even if the piece called A0 "Col Klink" has no knowledge of the event yet, let alone the game piece BB0 "Lt Duffer" and so I instantly move Klink and Duffer by my "hand of God").

Cheers
Andy

DRG November 20th, 2008 12:19 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RERomine (Post 654262)
Well, that all pretty much makes sense to me except the part about quick set-up. The artillery "hipshoot" has been around for some time. I dug up some information on it published in 1978, which was before GPS I think. Never can tell what the military had when and didn't bother to tell anyone. The intent was to get rounds out pretty quickly. I'm sure accuracy had to suffer some because all the quick set-up couldn't have done all the stuff you described. They basically kicked out a spotting round and adjusted to target from that, assuming the round wasn't lost.

One other thing that was mentioned was the "hipshoot" wasn't a universal concept. The US Army used it in 1978, but I'm not sure who else used it. Information on it can be found in FM 3-09.70 "Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for M109A6 Howitzer (Paladin) Operations". The time standards are in an ARTEP doc I can't get to. I would have to believe with GPS, the concept has to be more universal now, however I doubt everyone calls it a "hipshoot" :)


That was called a "Crash Action" in commonwealth artillery units early on in WW2 and if you want to know just about everything there is to know about that and FOOing I would suggest the three book series by George G Blackburn.

This quote from "The Guns of Normandy"........"as early as the summer of 1942..." Every Troop in the regiment can routinely bring it's guns into action and get off the first round within 3 to 5 minutes of receiving such a target while travelling along a road ( Three minutes if there is no unusual delay because of terrain )"

That's one to two turns tops

Try that with the game. Set up 25 pounders "towed" by gun quads and run them down a road then deploy in a field. On the turn you do it you will not be able to call for indirect targets that turn but will have to wait for the next to call it then typically wait 2.2 turns before you will get the rounds on target so in that respect the game is a bit slow.

The problem is there is ONE and only one "procedure" for arty in the game. There is no real attempt made to model how each nations artillery handled things like this and there were huge strides forward made in some nations between 1930 and 1946 in that regard and other nations didn't change much at all so every nation is treated the same which greatly handicaps the nations like Britian, and the commonwealth nation who had vastly superior methods of handling artillery. So in this game everyone is treated the same when everyone who's ever cracked open a book on the war knows there is no way The USA, Commonwealth, Germany, Russia and Japan had equal methods of handling arty.

But it's a game folks. Generally what we have works pretty well and we ARE aware of it's limitations


Don

Mobhack November 20th, 2008 12:57 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

But it's a game folks. Generally what we have works pretty well and we ARE aware of it's limitations
Yes it is, and as I mentioned above the main point of many game rules is to limit the human player's Godlike powers.

A crash shoot could be done by Commonwealth arty - but it was not the norm. And since there would be no survey or paralleling of the guns, that was likely just a fire onto a general area - OK if someone called for an Uncle target since there will be a load of batteries servicing the target.

But if the option was available in the rules then every rules-lawyer wargamer would take the rare "once in a blue moon" event as the common and everyday and fire each and every arty shoot as a crash shoot.

Unless you write a rule along the lines of:

Requesting a crash shoot: Throw 1D6
- If you get a 6, then the crash shoot occurs
- On a throw of 2 through 5, you have wasted an orders point
- If you throw a 1 then the battery has experienced radio problems and will be unavailable for 3 turns.

Which is another way to use games rules to limit the human player-God, in this case by allowing for bad outcomes to happen.

Andy

RERomine November 20th, 2008 01:34 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
I can see where it would be difficult for one observer to call in artillery on more than one target. The whole, "Shot, over", "Shot, out", "Splash, over", "Splash, out" process when adjusting fire would get complicated if trying to deal with two targets. We never requested a sheaf type, so I figure that was based on target type and objective of the fire. Maybe decided at the FDC or something. Not sure.

One aspect of the SP artillery model that has drawn complaints is the wide spread of rounds coming from the same gun and guns within one battery. WinSPWW2 has tightened it up quite a bit. Use to be rounds from one gun could land far enough from the target hex to not even influence it. Rounds from an entire battery could impact in a circle with a 600m diameter. That rarely happens anymore and when it does, it's generally at a extreme range for the gun/mortar or the firing unit has poor accuracy. Artillery now is much more accurate than it use to be.

Still, one annoying aspect is having to readjust fire in what would in effect a continuing FFE. Basically, artillery is called by an observer who doesn't have line of sight. In theory, adjustments are being relayed to the observer by someone who does have LOS. First turn, rounds are off target. Second turn, after adjustment rounds are on target. All fire against that target after the second turn should be on target until the gun/battery fires elsewhere, but the adjustment process has to start all over again. Again, in theory, the azimuth and elevation on the guns haven't change so why have to adjust again? That's just how the model works and as players we except it. None of this is a factor if the observer has LOS because all rounds are pretty much on target.

As far as the God aspect of the game, isn't that a byproduct of most top down, turn based games and the time period? As the time period represented by the game gets closer to present, the less unrealistic it becomes. WinSPWW2 isn't nearly as bad as American Civil War games that have the same problem. Units in the woods still "know" the enemy flank is over the ridge ahead. This is when battlefield communications consisted of "wig-wag" and "runners". During WW2, radio communication became more common and allowed command to know what 1st platoon, Alpha company on the right flank and 3rd platoon, Charlie company on the left flank were dealing with. Although the information about Alpha's situation my not be directly passed to Charlie, they might pick it up by monitoring the net. Today, with computer systems and GPS, it's pretty easy to know where friendly and enemy units are and allowing the God-like approach.

RERomine November 20th, 2008 01:56 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 654399)
That was called a "Crash Action" in commonwealth artillery units early on in WW2 and if you want to know just about everything there is to know about that and FOOing I would suggest the three book series by George G Blackburn.

This quote from "The Guns of Normandy"........"as early as the summer of 1942..." Every Troop in the regiment can routinely bring it's guns into action and get off the first round within 3 to 5 minutes of receiving such a target while travelling along a road ( Three minutes if there is no unusual delay because of terrain )"

That's one to two turns tops

Try that with the game. Set up 25 pounders "towed" by gun quads and run them down a road then deploy in a field. On the turn you do it you will not be able to call for indirect targets that turn but will have to wait for the next to call it then typically wait 2.2 turns before you will get the rounds on target so in that respect the game is a bit slow.

I knew there had to be something out there used by other nations. The periodic need by the military of all nations pretty much dictated there had to be, but I didn't know what it was called. I'm sure the Russians and Germans had different names as well.


Quote:

The problem is there is ONE and only one "procedure" for arty in the game. There is no real attempt made to model how each nations artillery handled things like this and there were huge strides forward made in some nations between 1930 and 1946 in that regard and other nations didn't change much at all so every nation is treated the same which greatly handicaps the nations like Britian, and the commonwealth nation who had vastly superior methods of handling artillery. So in this game everyone is treated the same when everyone who's ever cracked open a book on the war knows there is no way The USA, Commonwealth, Germany, Russia and Japan had equal methods of handling arty.

But it's a game folks. Generally what we have works pretty well and we ARE aware of it's limitations


Don
We are all just "spit balling" on things. I wouldn't realistically expect you to go and change everything to suit everyone's desires. One artillery model is fine. If you did separate models for each country, it would all go out the window as soon as the player finds an angle to exploit.

The game gives us infantry, armor and artillery, but every nation had different strategies on how they were employed. Players, on the other hand, do what they want. WinSPWW2 is a chess board with the units the pieces. It is up to the player whether than want to use the "Ruy Lopez" or the "Sicilian Attack" :)

Marek_Tucan November 20th, 2008 03:43 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
A lot can be simulated in human-to-human game, by "house rules". For example that "one target per FO" rule and so on.

Weasel November 20th, 2008 06:51 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
We are discussing this at THE BLITZ currently too. The FOO restriction rule (attached) was created by Vesku, Walrus and myself, and play tested with about 10 players to try and come up with a system that does away with the single purchased FOO calling in single arty tubes onto 50 different hexes at the same time.

Give it a gander.

RERomine November 20th, 2008 07:00 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Weasel (Post 654488)
We are discussing this at THE BLITZ currently too. The FOO restriction rule (attached) was created by Vesku, Walrus and myself, and play tested with about 10 players to try and come up with a system that does away with the single purchased FOO calling in single arty tubes onto 50 different hexes at the same time.

Give it a gander.

I'll check it out because I'm full of opinions and probably some other stuff as well :D

Marek_Tucan November 21st, 2008 04:35 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
The rule sounds good and may allow for further breakdown say by unit types or by country - say US infantry Coy commander may call in artillery (albeit limited - say only "his Bn" mortars, only onboard or only one bty of offboard. Russian inf. coy commander may only command mortars directly attached to his company. Or to neighboring coys... Actually pretty interesting topic. Lets brainstorm ;)

So... for example:

1) artillery/mortars assigned to "hq company" (ie subordinates of A0) may be called in only by units with FO authorities. Alternatively, "proper" artillery just by FO's, mortars also bz co. commanders.
2) Mortars (50-82mm) and inf guns may be attached to individual companies. Depending on army comm situation, only the given Co. commander or (if comms are better) also commanders of neighboring Coys may call them in.
3) Mortars directly attached to Coys are inaccessible for FO's, but accessible for A0.
4) in better comm armies (now that's more in the MBT era) the authority over arty may shift one level down, so for example in Fulda Gap 1980, Plt. leader may call in company mortars and coy leader may call in offboard arty.
5) (again modern) GPS-equipped FO's can call in arty at two targets at once (maybe only if calling in "modern" guns? IE if you say buy GPS FO and Allied/Captured ZIS-3 76mm battery, you cannot, if it is a MSTA-B battery, you can?)

What think ye about such an amendment?

chuckfourth November 21st, 2008 06:56 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Hi
There is a simple change that will make the artillery routines much more realistic. Remove the little blue "incrementing" cross from the bombard screen.

For targets in LOS the blue cross is redundant anyway. The shells will still land on the target hex.
As a bonus removing the blue cross also removes several cheats.
Most important being walking shells onto an unseen target(those gamey smoke signatures). But also keeping an artillery stike (or para drop, or bomber strike) "floating" in the air untill needed, and so avoiding the "wait" time.
Best Regards Chuck.

Marek_Tucan November 21st, 2008 09:58 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
For targets in direct LOS it is redundant if the target is stationary. Simple solution: don't use it. But I would not like to be denied the option to shift fire with the advance of my infantry.

As for floating strike or smoke counterbattery, again, simple solution. Do not use it and play with players who doesn't use it as well.

Cross November 21st, 2008 10:20 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
What's wrong with a 'floating artillery strike'? I've used this practice and have assumed it was realistic.

Surely a FOO may plan for a future strike at a specific place, and make sure his guns are sighted in before hand...just waiting for the order to fire.

You have already paid the price of delay, which I assume includes a couple of ranging shots that aren't seen in the game.

You are also taking a risk, as your guns have been committed to shoot at a target location where the enemy haven't even arrived yet.

Mobhack November 21st, 2008 10:50 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cross (Post 654611)
What's wrong with a 'floating artillery strike'? I've used this practice and have assumed it was realistic.

Surely a FOO may plan for a future strike at a specific place, and make sure his guns are sighted in before hand...just waiting for the order to fire.

You have already paid the price of delay, which I assume includes a couple of ranging shots that aren't seen in the game.

You are also taking a risk, as your guns have been committed to shoot at a target location where the enemy haven't even arrived yet.

You are entirely correct, it is the SP way of simulating
- A silent barrage or
- Time On Target arty

That just one of this forum's resident troll's little pet foibles. Chuckforth has been told what it is before but keeps whining on about it. Ignore him.

Cheers
Andy

Weasel November 21st, 2008 02:40 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek_Tucan (Post 654567)
The rule sounds good and may allow for further breakdown say by unit types or by country - say US infantry Coy commander may call in artillery (albeit limited - say only "his Bn" mortars, only onboard or only one bty of offboard. Russian inf. coy commander may only command mortars directly attached to his company. Or to neighboring coys... Actually pretty interesting topic. Lets brainstorm ;)

So... for example:

1) artillery/mortars assigned to "hq company" (ie subordinates of A0) may be called in only by units with FO authorities. Alternatively, "proper" artillery just by FO's, mortars also bz co. commanders.
2) Mortars (50-82mm) and inf guns may be attached to individual companies. Depending on army comm situation, only the given Co. commander or (if comms are better) also commanders of neighboring Coys may call them in.
3) Mortars directly attached to Coys are inaccessible for FO's, but accessible for A0.
4) in better comm armies (now that's more in the MBT era) the authority over arty may shift one level down, so for example in Fulda Gap 1980, Plt. leader may call in company mortars and coy leader may call in offboard arty.
5) (again modern) GPS-equipped FO's can call in arty at two targets at once (maybe only if calling in "modern" guns? IE if you say buy GPS FO and Allied/Captured ZIS-3 76mm battery, you cannot, if it is a MSTA-B battery, you can?)

What think ye about such an amendment?

:) I think 90% of the people who read the FOO rule ask this. When play tested we determined that it didn't work for several reasons:

1. Too hard to police. Although most players are stand up fellows we all know of those who fudge their games. It would be too simple to use the FOO to plot the mortars for the reduced time, and then say the Coy CO did it.

2. Too hard to determine the number of shoots. The player has 2 FOOs but 5 shoots going on, which are from the FOO and which are from the Coy CO.

The rule must be as simple as possible.

We also created a buying guide that forces players to buy realistically instead of hordes of snipers and AT teams running around the map. It has been dumbed down also, yet players are still confused by it. Because we cannot make it more simple very few players use it; yet once you try it a few times it is quite easy.

Cheers.

Weasel November 21st, 2008 02:42 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
BTW - the one big rule we have at THE BLITZ is that players can use any rules they like, as long as both players agree before game start. So if you found someone who was willing to try your modifications then it would be good to go. Otherwise, if it was agreed to just use the FOO rule, then the above attachment would be in effect.

Weasel November 21st, 2008 02:46 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Gun tubes are always laid on a target when not shooting; so if the FOO called in a whiskey strike on plot A and the guns were already sited on plot A the time on target would be minimal. The way to simulate this in the game is to plot the guns but turn off the tubes.

As for walking the barrage, this was still standard practice in WW2 - the creeping barrage. While there were FOOs with the infantry, the guns were adjusting not on corrections but on time and thus were firing blind so to speak.

Brummbar November 21st, 2008 08:41 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Weasel (Post 654488)
We are discussing this at THE BLITZ currently too. The FOO restriction rule (attached) was created by Vesku, Walrus and myself, and play tested with about 10 players to try and come up with a system that does away with the single purchased FOO calling in single arty tubes onto 50 different hexes at the same time.

Give it a gander.

That sound's simple enough. I think I will suggest using that rule when I start playing PBEM games. :up:

iCaMpWiThAWP November 21st, 2008 09:16 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
One Great Thing would be an "adjusting round"-"FFE"(Fire for effect), option, as it would let you get accurate shots with no waste of ammo

RERomine November 21st, 2008 11:42 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by iCaMpWiThAWP (Post 654820)
One Great Thing would be an "adjusting round"-"FFE"(Fire for effect), option, as it would let you get accurate shots with no waste of ammo

IF your observer has LOS of the target, it's not much of an issue. Rounds tend to be pretty much on target the first time they come in. The observer having LOS tends to be a big IF, however.

On the other hand, if your "observer" doesn't have LOS (hard to call them an observer if they can't see the target :)), the first series of rounds can be expected to be off target. If you are using off-artillery, turn off all but one tube and adjust that. When the second series of rounds come in, all will be on target. That way, you only waste ammo from one gun instead of two, three or four.

This doesn't work with on-board artillery because it's not bundled into batteries. In this case, they may be purchased as a battery, but all are independent of each other. The lone exceptions would be the mortar paired units.

PanzerBob November 22nd, 2008 09:13 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Just read this thread though and have discovered that my handling of arty has been more like the suggested methods. Especially in regards to LOC's and such.

While by game rules there is different units who can call fire, I've over the years have relied largely on the "experts" with other "able" units as back up if my "experts" got taken out. Granted these guys don't always have the LOS desired I have found as they gain experience this doesn't matter as much at least not for my purposes. Interesting thread.:up:

Bob out :cool:

Weasel November 24th, 2008 02:34 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Weasel (Post 654488)
We are discussing this at THE BLITZ currently too. The FOO restriction rule (attached) was created by Vesku, Walrus and myself, and play tested with about 10 players to try and come up with a system that does away with the single purchased FOO calling in single arty tubes onto 50 different hexes at the same time.

Give it a gander.

I have modified the FOO rule to include a basic version and the more advanced version.

chuckfourth November 28th, 2008 08:50 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cross (Post 654611)
What's wrong with a 'floating artillery strike'? I've used this practice and have assumed it was realistic.

Hi Cross
I have no beef with delaying the timing of the strike what's unrealistic is moving it around, Ill call it 'floating'.

You can just stretch a "Silent Barrage" to cover it, but with the important proviso that you are assuming that the infantry squad you blundered into just happens to be exactly where you pre-planned artillery strike is. Or looking at it another way, every single hex for the entire width of your line of advance has been nominated as a target in the fire plan, otherwise your registering a new target and a delay is appropriate.

Interestingly a google search on 'Silent barrages' and 'artillery' returns nothing. So even if it did explain "floating" artillery strikes a 'silent barrage' appears to be a case of the exception being modeled rather than the general rule.

Also dont forget that 'floating'(ie zero wait time) para drops, medium bomber strikes and fighter bomber strikes are also unrealistic.
Best Regards Chuck.

chuckfourth November 28th, 2008 09:06 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek_Tucan (Post 654607)
But I would not like to be denied the option to shift fire with the advance of my infantry.

Hi Marek
OK I can do better, how about this,

The game knows if your artillery is targeting a hex in LOS or not, It should also know if the on-map bombardment marker is there or not. What you could do for each artillery peice is make the blue arrowed 'shift button' conditional(visible) depending on wether the target is in LOS or not and wether the bombardment marker is there or not.
So if the hex you want to target isnt in LOS then,
You have the blue arrowed 'shift fire' buttons visible -only- while the Artillery target hex marker -hasnt- appeared on the map. So as soon as you plot the strike into the same hex it fell in before, because its out of LOS you lose your shift fire button, until the next turn.
(You also need to change the delay for targeting the same hex from 0.1 to 0.0 so no rounds "carry over" into the next turn.)
This means you can still keep firing turn after turn without any delay in hexes out of LOS but you cant walk the bombardment marker onto the exact hex you want. So unobserved fire becomes what it should be inaccurate, but in the ball park.
LOS firing remains unchanged.
(alternately just remove enemy artilleries smoke signatures)
Best Regards Chuck.

DRG November 28th, 2008 02:50 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chuckfourth (Post 656085)

What you could do for each artillery peice is make the blue arrowed 'shift button' conditional(visible) depending on wether the target is in LOS or not and wether the bombardment marker is there or not.


It's always easy to dream up things the game should and shouldn't do when you have no clue whatsoever how the code is put together and note I used the word "game" because it is a "game" and therefore will always have "gamey" aspects not found in real life. The basic concept of a top down God view game is "gamey" and it's one reason thousands of people like the "game" in the first place.

We have already mentioned a few times that the next upgrade has changes to the shift fire code that make shifting arty from one place to the other that is out of LOS a much more time consuming activity than it is now. Having an observer with eyes on the target hex WILL be more of an advantage than firing blind is.

However....

You're not going to get the shift fire buttons removed from out of LOS targets because *I* suggested this to Andy long before you thought it up and after a good look at the code it was decided this wasn't going to happen for a number of reasons directly related to the code but also because without the ability to shift fire like that with out of LOS targets you could not do a proper walking barrage because as soon as you start to kick up smoke you loose LOS and would loose the ability to shift fire without a much bigger delay than that manoeuvre requires.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chuckfourth (Post 656085)

(alternately just remove enemy artilleries smoke signatures)

Do that and it calls into question why smoke from a bombardments is shown to both sides if it is out of LOS and how the AI or a human player could counter battery on map arty. Smoke signatures is already a topic you have brought up on a few occasions. If we thought the idea was valid we would have said so the first time.

Perhaps it's time to either accept there will always be "gamey" aspect of this game ( we have.....) or find something else to occupy your time.

End of discussion Chuck

Don

Marek_Tucan November 28th, 2008 05:37 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Re smoke, is it so hard to imagine that those puffs of smoke above enemy artillery are just an abstraction to cover: flash spotting, CB aerial recon, noise detection, or, in more modern days, CB radars (used already in 1944) and other technical means? Those are available to artillerymen in real life and would be extremely hard to model in-game.

DRG November 28th, 2008 06:06 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
It's a game, accept it as part of the game. We do

Don

PanzerBob December 2nd, 2008 06:37 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek_Tucan (Post 656179)
Re smoke, is it so hard to imagine that those puffs of smoke above enemy artillery are just an abstraction to cover: flash spotting, CB aerial recon, noise detection, or, in more modern days, CB radars (used already in 1944) and other technical means? Those are available to artillerymen in real life and would be extremely hard to model in-game.

That is how I've looked at it. So I have no problem at all.

Bob out:cool:

Marek_Tucan January 2nd, 2009 10:38 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Some more lazy thoughts about arty...
What about "house rules" allowing just offboard arty and mortars to attack reverse slopes, limiting onboard guns to "direct LOS" only fire? Would be of course complicated, you'd have (prior to setting target) to check manually (Z key) whether the target is in LOS, but OTOH you'd have then to use field and infantry guns in the way they were designed to, ie place them on a place with good field of fire and then blast away... Would apply to rockets most likely as well, in fact (atleast modern) rocket artillery has usually huge dead ground (min. range of MLRS is about 10 km, ie 200 hexes, minimal range of BM-21 less - 1500 m (30 hexes) and 500m for direct fire).
Opinions?

Cross January 2nd, 2009 09:09 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marek_Tucan (Post 663391)
Some more lazy thoughts about arty...
What about "house rules" allowing just offboard arty and mortars to attack reverse slopes, limiting onboard guns to "direct LOS" only fire? Would be of course complicated, you'd have (prior to setting target) to check manually (Z key) whether the target is in LOS, but OTOH you'd have then to use field and infantry guns in the way they were designed to, ie place them on a place with good field of fire and then blast away... Would apply to rockets most likely as well, in fact (atleast modern) rocket artillery has usually huge dead ground (min. range of MLRS is about 10 km, ie 200 hexes, minimal range of BM-21 less - 1500 m (30 hexes) and 500m for direct fire).
Opinions?

This will force players to use off-board artillery for indirect fire; the good thing about this is that it forces players to target by the troop (instead of individual guns) which is more realistic.

Apart from that, you will be introducing - to many - the joyous art of direct fire howitzers :)
which I love to use, but prefer to use when there's decent visibility and hills.

It's actually not a bad idea; and it's simple, and will no doubt address some of the concerns of those who want to limit artillery.

But why shouldn't I be able to use light artillery for indirect fire on a 7KM by 7KM map?

It's good to have on map artillery, because it forces players to think about a front line and take break-throughs seriously. It helps model the real concern that Battalions usually had about protecting their rear echelon units.

One of my opponents suggested that you shouldn't be able to use on map arty for indirect fire if you move it. I understand that guns have to be sighted in, but guns in the RA always had a second site ready to move to, when needed. Tough to model these details.

cheers,
Cross

Marek_Tucan January 4th, 2009 04:32 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Sorry for delay, got a bit of webus interruptus here over the weekend, seems that my ratties have tried whether the ADSL cable is edible ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cross (Post 663547)
This will force players to use off-board artillery for indirect fire; the good thing about this is that it forces players to target by the troop (instead of individual guns) which is more realistic.

Apart from that, you will be introducing - to many - the joyous art of direct fire howitzers :)
which I love to use, but prefer to use when there's decent visibility and hills.

Was not thinking as much about restricting the guns to "gun shoots where it sees only" but "where flat trajectory allows", ie they may be called by another unit (or may fire beyond their visibility), but only to places with direct LOS.

Quote:

It's actually not a bad idea; and it's simple, and will no doubt address some of the concerns of those who want to limit artillery.
It requires manual checking with the guns, that is a bother, but needed forit to work...


Quote:

But why shouldn't I be able to use light artillery for indirect fire on a 7KM by 7KM map?
That's of course the "grey area" ;) But as most onboard light guns (atleast in WW2) are fixed charge guns (even if capable of high elevations), they'd have quite a problem getting at the reverse slopes even if they were low-velocity and high-elevation (as leIG-18) - I always got the impression that the high elev was intended to be used rather for direct fire in mountains etc. than to allow wildly inaccurate indirect fire. Would require further research and won't concern too many weapons I think. Or the rule might be altered to "whatever has "howitzer" in its spec may dire reverse slope missions, whatever is gun has to fire only where the direct trajectory allows".

Quote:

It's good to have on map artillery, because it forces players to think about a front line and take break-throughs seriously. It helps model the real concern that Battalions usually had about protecting their rear echelon units.
This would also force player to think about another historical matter - that "infantry escort" field guns (like French 75 or leIG or Russian 76mm shorties) had to be moved relatively close behind the infantry and hunt for places with good fields of fire rather than be sitting in a battery in a wood back behind the lines and shelling whatever spot the commander wants them to...
And it would also show why the mortars became so darn popular - because they do not need to be in the line of fire (old truism that if the enemy is in range, so are you).

Quote:

One of my opponents suggested that you shouldn't be able to use on map arty for indirect fire if you move it. I understand that guns have to be sighted in, but guns in the RA always had a second site ready to move to, when needed. Tough to model these details.

cheers,
Cross
Possible via house rules (of course, depending on player honesty);) For example re. the second site an agreement might be made that each player chooses alternative site for each of his indirect arty units and may fire indirect missions only from these two, or direct from anywhere else.

Thanks for your reply, at the very least now I know the idea is not entirely insane. Just mildly so ;)

PanzerBob January 4th, 2009 07:35 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
IMHO these ideas have merit, implementation either by rules, or hardwiring (Not sure if that would feasible) is the problem. The other thing that comes to mind is what kind of slope does it have to be before the reverse slope is a problem?

As far as the "shorties" go, with the new arty routines getting those guns more forward maybe a more effective way to utilize them, especially against mobile forces. If I'm not mistaken this was how they used at certain times anyway.

Bob out:D

Marek_Tucan January 6th, 2009 03:31 AM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
[quote=PanzerBob;664021]IMHO these ideas have merit, implementation either by rules, or hardwiring (Not sure if that would feasible) is the problem.
[quote]
Not even thinking about hardwiring ;)

Quote:

The other thing that comes to mind is what kind of slope does it have to be before the reverse slope is a problem?
Here I have to frankly admit that I do not know ;) One of the reasons why I posted the idea here in fact :)

Marek_Tucan January 24th, 2009 03:27 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Okay, a bit o' good ole' thread necromancy.

The thoughts were still nibbling at me and having too little imagination, I called in the physics to my aid. What did I end up with is kinda Excel-based ballistic calculator. You put in a gun you want, set up the gun at its max range settings (45°or so elevation) and tweak ballistic coefficient until your and theroretical max range agree. Then you can play with angles.

The recults are shown in three graphs. One for "long range arty", reaching up to 80 km, and two "SP-scale" reaching to 10 km (200 hexes). You can even set up terrain of your choice there ;)

Tried to factor in even changing air density, but the formulae are still rather "approximate", not least because not only air density changes with altitude, but also the aerodynamic coefficient changes with speed. But what the hell, it is "accurate enough" for my purposes. If you want to play a bit with it, you have it here :)

Marek_Tucan January 25th, 2009 02:00 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
1 Attachment(s)
Help! Where did the "Edit" button go?

Anyway found out I should not post such things when I'm already half asleep - the columns got messed up a bit. Should be OK now.

mosborne February 4th, 2009 03:34 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
Hi:
I posted a message on mbt and someone mention checking out this forum also. Glad I did.

Walking the line between reality and simulation is not easy. Nor is drawing the line between abstraction and detailing. While reading I could see the battle between these concepts playing out.

I think all the comments are good, but some are good but harmful in the way they are proposed to be implemented. The community on this forum is pretty broad as well as the experience. Trying to translate the broad experience into code though can have some nasty side effects, one of which is to discourage newcomers with too many restrictions, tedious matters, or actions that don't make sense on initial appearance, or inability to use imagination. I think the best wisdom is as someone quoted what the most important rule was - that both sides agree.

I think that as you continue to change the code in hopes of making it better you don't end up pigeon holding everyone into the same mode. I would actually like to see more emphasis on coding what the physics permit and focus more on implementing more capability in the models. I believe that is the path to making both variants even greater. Perhaps even thought should be given to integrating the two. This would allow more resources to focus on one product as oppose to splitting it across two. I am sure they are more alike than different.

I suggest that before you code something out, you consider whether or not there is any possibility of it being done or to rephrase it - if you needed to do it, how would you do it. If you can figure out a way to do it, then don't code it out, because more than likely some one figured out how to do it in real life. Please code in more flexibility, not more restrictions.

I think a great example of flexibility added (which I was overjoyed to see) is the filter for firing, just as an example.
Reading through this thread, there were a lot of artillery features that can be added to make things work more smoothly. It would be nice to specify some artillery patterns as oppose to trying to manually fudge it.

I offer as an alternative to coding in restrictions in how the system operate is to instead add an auditing feature that would allow you to print out a step by step replay of clicks at the end of the challenge. In fact, this could even have some side benefits (more features) of allowing players to create actual tutorials, movies, etc. - flexibility. So now if you want to check cheating - its recorded on video as to who did what when. But I think a feature like this would be worth more than just checking cheating. I suspect that a lot of the coding is already in place and the technology (larger hard disk space) is at hand. People would surely pay for this option alone to save and replay some of their greatest challenges or campaigns.

Thanks for reading.

RERomine February 4th, 2009 07:42 PM

Re: Realistic Artillery Management by a FOO
 
:hide:

Weasel October 13th, 2017 01:37 PM

Latest SP rules May 2017
 
These are the latest rules mostly Walrus and myself use to make the game "realistic" as we see it. You can use none, some or all including the optional rules, they they must be agreed upon before game start.


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