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Author Topic: Artillery Revisited  (Read 432 times)

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Offline choppinlt

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Artillery Revisited
« on: February 17, 2017, 05:57:41 PM »
To my surprise  :o I have not discussed the overall artillery concept in over a year. While the post is still mostly accurate, the concept has evolved. Previously players would prescribe a primary mission and were allowed to choose a secondary mission if they wanted, but the artillery concept has evolved by allowing players to create their own fire plan for each firing element (i.e. battery). The current concept has been used since the beginning of the the current scenario, but it may not have been apparent to the casual reader.

Furthermore, the scenario has allowed me to do some real critical analysis on artillery and its desired effect, especially as it relates to different missions. It is very easy to have big picture concepts, but putting it in to effective practice can be a whole different matter. What about cumulative effects on morale? What about material losses? What about capturing the effects of different missions? I will say that I have found the stereotypical concept of aggressively shelling the enemy to cause casualties has been the easiest part to develop. I guess what I am trying to say is that this has taken more time than I had originally anticipated, and the scenario has helped force me to focus on the finer details of different fire missions.

Fire missions are performed in 15 minute blocks. Op fire, defensive fire and area fire are FM's where ammo is expended in an attempt to cause maximum destruction to personnel and equipment. Since Area fire is a planned FM, players can tell a battery to hit a particular position at a specific time and duration (like what has happened in the scenario).

Harrassing missions are planned missions too, but their primary effect is to slow or prevent any activity from an enemy unit. It affects a larger area, but overall ammo usage is roughly 25% of the FM's mentioned above. Light arty is more efficient (I didn't say effective) in conducting hararssment than heavier arty because the harrassment effect has more to do with the # of rounds fired vs the caliber of the round. Accuracy is of lesser concern as well since the primary desired effect is suppression. For the duration of a harrassment FM a company sized unit will move no faster than the infiltration movement rate for the first 300m of movement, will prevent any work progress (e.g. digging in), and prevent recovery of fatigue, cohesion, and resupply. Furthermore, this FM will cause virtually no casualties or material damage, unless a unit is attempting to move through an area under harrassing fire. Finally, units will suffer a slight chance of fatigue and cohesion loss too. For larger units, effects are directly proportional to the size of the unit being hit. In other words a battalion of tanks with a 900m footprint is NOT going to be stopped by a single harrassment FM, but it will slow it a little.

I will stop for now, but I will discuss the Interdiction FM a bit later. Please let me know your thoughts!  :)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 01:37:28 AM by choppinlt »

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Artillery Revisted
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2017, 03:23:06 PM »
Before I start talking about more Fire Missions, I want to take a step back and give some design thoughts. Yeah I know  ::) you don't have to know all of this to be an effective player, but this is meant to enhance your understanding. The basic design assumption is that artillery is going to attempt to execute fire in such a way to maximize its effect for a given situation. While this assumption may sound silly to state (DUH!), it is important when considering effects. For instance I may not want my observers to just blast a 100mx100m area when attacking infantry marching in column on a road. Greater effect is likely to occur by a striking linearly along the road (which would likely be 200mx50m).

Let me also include a couple of definitions that are important for context as to how FM's work in the game. I have mentioned this before but All FM's are either unplanned or planned. unplanned FM's mean that they automatically execute under the proper circumstances over the course of the game turn without player input. Players tell batteries to adopt this *stance* but the execution is, well...unplanned!  :) Conversely, planned missions are when the player tells the battery to fire at a specific place, at a specific time, for a specific duration. OK, on to Interdiction...

The Interdiction FM will be for precision fire against a very specific static target to render it ineffective. The only targets I can think of are roads and bridges. Each Interdiction FM will require 30 min to perform and will use 25% to 50% of the ammo used for an Area FM. These FM's may only be performed if they are able to be observed. These FM's are most efficiently performed by medium and heavy arty.

I discussed the Area FM in the original post, but I will give a review. This FM is planned for a specific area and duration (in 15 min increments) to concentrate fire with the goal of damaging personnel and equipment in approximately a 10,000m2 (e.g. 100mx100m) sized area. This will take about 36 rounds from US 105's to accomplish. Additional batteries from the same battalion may combine fire using this FM and will gain a bonus for effectiveness when doing so. In other words if batteries from the same battalion fire together at the same target, the batteries gain extra effectiveness by firing together. The general assumption is that extra batteries are going to increase the coverage area, thus exposing more enemy troops to being hit, not solely concentrating on a 100m x 100m area. Furthermore, every firing element counts as expending its full allotment to achieve effect. So a battalion of US 105s is going to expend about 216 rounds in about 30 minutes.  Example: 4 batteries are performing an Area FM on the same location at the same time. 3 of the batteries are from the same battalion and 1 is from a different battalion. The 3 batteries from the same battalion gain an effectiveness bonus, but the 4th battery from the different battalion does not.

Op FM's are similar to Area FM's except they are reactionary (i.e. unplanned). Op FM's may be requested in 2 different cases. Case 1 is when an enemy unit is spotted moving, an Op FM request can be made. Case 1 Op FM's are only performed by a single battery, although I may allow for additional batteries to respond for American and British FM requests. Circumstances will dictate whether or not the FM request is fullfilled. but when it occurs the results are calculated exactly like an Area FM.
Case 2 is that an Op FM may be requested by a unit that comes under ground attack, but unlike Case 1 there is no hard limit on the number of batteries that respond in support. The amount of support a ground unit receives will depend on various circumstances.

Defensive FM's are exactly like Case 2 Op FM's, however batteries with a Defensive FM will only respond to support a unit under ground attack.

When a Counterbattery FM is given to a battery, it sits silently until an enemy artillery unit is detected firing. It then responds by firing at one of the detected batteries in an attempt to destroy or lessen the effectiveness of the enemy battery. The enemy may sustain material damage as a result, but the most common outcome is a reduction in artillery effectiveness in trying to complete its mission.

That is all for now, but I have yet still more post. Next I will explain the differing levels of support (general, direct, and dedicated) and what it means to the player. In the mean time, please feel free to ask questions or share your thougthts.... ;D

Online Asid

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Re: Artillery Revisted
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 05:43:44 PM »
Great stuff my friend. This is well thought out like the whole project  8)

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Offline choppinlt

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Re: Artillery Revisted
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 03:16:32 PM »
Great stuff my friend. This is well thought out like the whole project  8)
  ;D Thank you Sir!

While I have focused on the different FM's, I need to mention the differing levels of support that artillery can provide. There are 3 levels: general, direct, and dedicated. All artillery units are either general or direct support, and dedicated is its own special category that I will discuss more later. Players do not explicitly state the level of support, the level of support is reflected where the artillery unit is attached in the chain of command.

Typically speaking, general support means that artillery unit is attached at the division level (or higher), and it is eligible to support any unit that is in its chain of command.

Direct support refers to any artillery unit that is attached at the Regt/Bgd level. For example, the Cannon Co in US infantry regiments is a direct support unit by default. Artillery from higher echelons may be attached as direct support as well. Direct support typically means higher responsiveness for Op and Defensive Fire FM's by the units they are directly supporting. Furthermore, direct support artillery can dedicate firing elements more quickly than general support.

Dedicated support is a category all its own because it is assigned to individual firing elements support a specific unit. An attacking unit in a ground engagement will ONLY receive arty that is dedicated to them. Units that get attacked recieve any dedicated support they currently have. Furthermore, attacked units are still eligible to receive more Op/Def FM's in support. Whether they receive it or not is a different matter, but they are at least eligible.

To clarify, an artillery unit in general or direct support may have elements that are in a dedicated support role. However artillery in direct support has a significantly lower command delay when dedicating any firing elements to units in its chain of command.

Please know that there are going to be some additional tweaks to this process to account for differing artillery doctrines. For instance American, British and German artillery was similar in many ways, but in practice the American and British artillery were in class all their own due to timeliness and flexibility. Then you had Soviet artillery that was highly inflexible, but if all went according to their fire plan it was just as deadly. It is my intent to fully capture these differences.

In my last installment, I will finish this discussion by going through some final explanation examples that I hope will help bring everything together.