Artillery thoughts

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Artillery thoughts

Post  Big Dave on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:35 am

Copy of my post to David, more to come as soon as I get time.

Hi Dave,

I'll check on the timing of the artillery. It may be that I'm firing it after moving though I don't really understand that rule.

ok problems with the artillery, not sure how fixable they are Smile

(a) Artillery fires almost every turn but with negligible effect. In reality it was far more effective but fired far less.
• Mortars are especially bad in this game and they weren't.
• All artillery had limited ammunition and even with stockpiling they could not fire so regularly excepting harassing fire.
• What we have in the game is effectively harassing fire where the artillery fires a shell every so often to keep the enemy fatigued and cause odd casualties. While that is certainly an option which was used it wasn't all they could do or even commonly used.
• Guns of calibres of 150mm plus were pretty effective against bunkers, smaller guns had little chance against them. Rockets of any size were not effective against bunkers as they had poor penetrating power.
• Katsusha's are way to effective, they could deliver a good HE hit but took a long time to reload and were very inaccurate. Werfers (actually a much larger calibre than Katushas) were similar. Both had little penetrating power and should not be effective against bunkers or AFVs. In one of the scenarios my principle losses in Panthers were from Rockets, I was losing 1 to 2 a turn and their factors appear to be screwed up as per the illustration below. What is 7/32/12m? or 44/32/12?




(b) Rockets shouldn't be able to FPF or even fire as much as other artillery due to slow load times and inaccuracy. At the moment they fire like regular artillery (ie often) and with the effect of their short heavy salvos. They were good at large area targets which didn't move. Against mobile troops they were not much chop.

(c) Artillery is too easily called in, every man and his dog is an observer which is far from reality and doesn't take account of:
• Lack of radios, especially on the Soviet side.
• Limited distribution of FO's
• Unreliability of radios etc

(d) Mortars have difficulty at present with even hitting infantry in column in the open.

(e) While troops did shelter to some extent in bunkers prior to an attack, pretty much the only troops with Overhead protection MGs as the rest (including AT guns) were rarely in anything other than trenches. I understand your dilemma with regard to timing but the inability to suppress defending infantry is wrong also.  Pretty much every Russian who doesn't have an indirect fire weapon is a hard target. That is plainly wrong especially given the almost reversal of the ratio of bunkers to trench's.  I think the lengths of the games being tight (in most cases) means that the Germans have to push harder and with less care than they did historically. Better performance from defending Russian artillery might well serve to slow them down.

Another overarching problem is the firing tables with regard to numbers. Having played Germans in the main I have to say you have to get unlucky to get hit by a Russian AT guns since they are deployed 2 at a time.  All the AT warfare has this same problem with a single potent weapon like a Tiger being pretty hopeless.  There is just something fundamentally wrong with this.

More to come.
David
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Re: Artillery thoughts

Post  Big Dave on Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:57 pm

Another consideration with regard to the rockets in game is the habit of Katyushas to redeploy after each shot. This due to the ease with which they are detected for counterbattery purposes. The same could be said of the Werfers which left a distinctive smoke trail up till the smokeless varieties late in the war. Reloading of Katyusha's took somewhere between 5 and 50 minutes with I suspect very rapid fatigue onset on the 5 minute mark as a BM13 Rocket weighed 42kgs (93lbs) vs the werfer at about 32 kgs. Werfer rounds were easier to load being spin stabilised rather than fin stabilised as is the case with the Katyusha rockets. On the other hand the Werfer rockets were considerably higher calibre the smallest being 15cm vs just 1.32cm for a BM13 and only 3cm for the heaviest Katyusha rockets. None of these weapons had much penetrating power and with the 15cm Werfer actually being designed to explode above ground (the motor was in front of the explose charge to increase anti personel effect) it had pretty much zero. Both Werfers and Katyushas were inaccurate (though the Werfer was the more accurate of the two with its spin stabilisation) and hit over a broad area.

Since the ammunition was essentially large and bulky they couldnt carry much of it. A battery of BM-13-16 launchers included four firing vehicles, four reload trucks and two technical support trucks. Werfers typically carried 2 or 3 reloads. So neither could fire for long in the absence of stockpiling.

So both were slow to load and tended to redeploy.
Both were inaccurate.
Both had poor penetrating power.
Neither would have been much good against mobile targets or for final protective fires.

At present in game they are:
Good for killing tanks which is plainly wrong.
Fire every turn which is a problem with all artillery in game.
Dont fatigue when firing do they? They should as should all artillery.
Dont tend to be exposed when firing.
Dont redeploy after firing.
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Re: Artillery thoughts

Post  David F on Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:46 pm

All good points for consideration Dave,

Let’s start by laying out what can be changed/tweaked/controlled.

For the physical indirect fire units there are;
• A hard attack value with maximum range and in some cases minimum range (that is the third number you are seeing in the Katyushas)
• A soft attack value with maximum and sometimes minimum range.

In the Parameter Data File there are the following adjustable settings related to artillery;
• Counterbattery. This is a modifier to the chance of an enemy battery being detected and then fired at. The current values are Russian 50% and Axis 150%. This does not impact the fire value just the likelihood of seeing and prosecuting an attack
• Stockpile Fire. This takes the calculated fire value and multiplies it by the percentage here. This need to be compared to the Indirect Fire modifier in the next point. The current values are Russian 100% (i.e. artillery fires at normal value) and Axis 150%.
• Indirect Fire Modifier. This modifier was included to represent doctrine, communications, capabilities etc. This value is used ONLY in the opponents turn when defensive fire is determined. It affects the final fire value.

Other considerations;
• The game currently uses the alt artillery rule ie. All non-mortar units essentially hit all units in a hex in varying degrees. There is a penalty for exceeding certain stacking limits in calculating casualties.
• If designated as Heavy the artillery is required to setup and is restricted in its ability to move.
• Bunkers and armour etc are attacked with the HA value. The Katuysha is probably too high at 7 vs. the average 150mm at 5 .
• Number of tubes are a key factor. The company mortars at 2 are never going to have any impact other than firing smoke. They maybe should have been combined into a battalion level asset (6 tubes) but even then they may be insufficient. This is the same issue the Soviet AT guns are seeing. I have been setting latter scenarios up with 4 tubes (battery) rather than section (2) positions.

Possible solutions;
• Look at all HA & SA values.
• Designate all rockets as heavy artillery which will restrict them.
• Consider supply levels to slow down the number of shots.

The conversation can now begin....!

David
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Re: Artillery thoughts

Post  AaronVberg on Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:59 pm

Mortars have always been the biggest killer on the battlefield there accuracy and immediate fire support is the reason. Not sure how the game figures things out right now but i would like to see Mortars and artillery figured separately. Mortars should give higher casualties and lower disruption and artillery the opposite, low casualties but higher disruption. As for rockets we have some differences between our games in you have very basic rockets and targeting in WW2 while i have the MLRS which is a game changer on the battlefield and should provide disruption just about every time a btty of 3 fire.

Aaron
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Re: Artillery thoughts

Post  Big Dave on Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:31 am

Agree with you Aaron with regard to mortars being the biggest killers. They are plentiful, readily at hand and can be very accurate. Have even seen where they targeted a single Panther and took it out within a town within a few shots. I think however there being the biggest killers is more to do with there immediate response, accuracy and huge numbers deployed and fired.

In reality nothing killed and disrupted like big guns. They certainly had a greater shock and stun effect than mortars but they also killed more when used. Fortunately for the poor grunt on the ground they were not used anywhere near as much as mortars. 150mm+ guns could do a lot of damage to entrenched troops and even those in bunkers (ill except the Japanese sand and log bunkers from that as they were extremely resilient. Even 105s knocked entrenched troops around and were devastating to those in the open.

The hard attack factor should be way less for a rocket than a 105 or 150mm gun. Nebelwurfers (15cm ones) were specifically designed to not penetrate and explode above ground. Katyushas did have the option to fire AP rounds, given however that they were the least accurate platform in the game and could only expect to hit a large area I seriously doubt they carried many of these rounds  more so given there limited ammo storage. Incidentally the SS fielded a version of the Katyusha called a 8 cm Raketen-Vielfachwerfer though since the heer refused to allow their factories to build them they were never present in any numbers to speak of.



MLRS is a wholely different animal, bigger payload, better guidance, better range, submunitions, bomblets and terminally guided submunitions with armour targetting and penetrating capability mean it is far far more potent.

AT bunkers were in reality for the most part only good against artillery. That is they gave shelter till they were in a firing position and from that point onwards they were just like a trench. And that is if they were a sophisticated one. In general they were just camoflaged entrenchments.



Would suggest what is shown above would only work for small AT guns, would not like to try and push a 76mm up that ramp in a hurry.
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Changing Mortars

Post  David F on Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:18 am

One of the problems with German mortars currently are that they are part of the company structure. Though correct it is resulting in them only being able to fire as two tubes.

I am going to move these into the heavy weapons company for a battalion BUT will leave their designation so they can be stacked with their parent companies where required.

This approach will allow the mortars to be combined into up to 8 tubes that will support all formations in the battalion - similar to what is happening to the Soviets.

More to follow...

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