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Posts : 38
Join date : 2018-03-10

Artillery clarification

on Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:44 am
It appears a good deal of effort was made to make the whole call for artillery process much as it is in reality, but I have a few questions.

Why do pre-registered targets not need an observer? They are pre-registered, but not equipped with CCTV watching the point. It would make more sense to require an observer, but not adjusting rounds with deviation. My own experience with a fire plan is about 30 years more modern than WWII, but quite a bit of our methodology comes from that era (in fact, I normally used a plotting board, as it was faster for a simple mission than the HP41C computer we had.) A pre-plotted target, either silent registered or with actual adjusting rounds, still required someone to call for fire.

The rules make a good point about the role and availability of artillery at the game scale, though the reality should be very much dependent on the level of game chosen, with much greater use at Company and Battalion levels. That said, I have to ask why "penny packets" are made available? Is there historical justification for a gun section (2 guns) being employed independently from the troop/battery which would normally be the smallest unit of employment for artillery (4 guns)? Mortars are a different thing, of course, as they were distributed in a variety of numbers at various levels. I have no great beef with the idea, but I'd feel better knowing the rationale.

The requirement for each gun to have an Open Fire order to conduct an indirect fire mission seems counter-intuitive. In several years as a mortarman in an infantry battaion I never once encountered a situation where my mortar group (4 tubes) fired for effect with any less than the whole group. The same applied to the guns available to us at brigade level. The "order" is received by the command post, and the whole gun line will fire. I can see some allowance for misfires, but are they common enough to justify independent orders for each gun - effectively slowing or stalling the action at the FLOT?

Finally, the book mentions FOOs hanging back on a vantage point like a church steeple in the rear. That's certainly not how they were employed in Commonwealth forces in WWII, and they suffered higher casualties by proportion than the infantry as a result. The FOO would be attached to a company or battalion HQ (usually) and right up at the sharp end.

I admit I may be conflating my own experience (1980s) with WWII, though quite a bit of how we did things in the '80s was based on WWII experience. I can't claim to have done extensive research into the tactical employment of artillery and mortars for every WWII army, so I may be off piste a bit, but I'd appreciate an understanding of the rationale for the rules as written, rather than me just going off and house ruling things to fit my preconceived notions.

If all of this has been addressed in the past I apologize. I did search this forum, and didn't find what I was looking for, though it may have been something hashed out in the now-defunct forum that preceeded this one.


PS - 10 character minimum for the subject line? Odd.
Posts : 24
Join date : 2018-02-13

Re: Artillery clarification

on Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:37 am
Hi Jay

Yes there are anomalies but I think they are needed to make the game playable. It calls for a little imagination at times.

I think of the pre-registered tgs as DFs or DF SOSs. So any one can call them. (Admittedly in the game no one needs to see the tgt point.)

As regards penny packets I agree but have always pictured one Arty Gun as a section (3) and so on. To put the models on would take up a lot of room and also perhaps introduce other anomalies.

I think the open fire order per gun is a game mechanic simply to cut down on artillery fire, which appears to work.

OPs wise yes I agree, I think Brit Army wise the BC would get in the COs pocket and the OPs would go forward to Coys or Sqns.


Gun-Pit Paul
Posts : 66
Join date : 2018-02-19

Re: Artillery clarification

on Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:09 pm
As for the BC and FOOs,
The BC was the Inf Btn/Armd Regt cmdr's Arty adviser.
The Arty Regt CO was the Bde Cmdr's Arty adviser.
They still are.
Posts : 38
Join date : 2018-03-10

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:41 am
Looking at the available artillery choices, I can understand making on-board guns limited in numbers for playability reasons, but I was under the impression that things like "balance" and "playability" were, up to a point, secondary considerations over the historical "feel." In the historical case, even on board artillery should be placed in formed units, as I don't think widely dispersed artillery became a "thing" until relatively recently. In the scale of the game (at least at the squad and platoon level scale) such a deployment of artillery would more be an objective rather than having an effect on the board, like a Brecourt Manor scenario.

As far as off board artillery, the timed barrages make sense as written, but the description of the pre-registered mission looks like it could be as you describe, but in a WWII context it would be "anyone" who had a radio tuned to the appropriate frequency who could make the call. That leaves a FOO or maybe the higher HQ officer in most cases.

My experience is Canadian Army, and it's as Gun-Pit Paul describes. Some variation depending on how the brigade parcels out the batteries, but essentially yes, the BC advises the CO of the battalion/regiment and each battery has a number of FOOs to parcel out within the battalion or regiment, never below coy/sqn.
Posts : 5
Join date : 2018-02-13
Age : 51
Location : Harrogate UK

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:08 am
We House Rule things so that use of a Pre-registered Target requires an Officer (any Officer, so often a spare Platoon Commander who is doing nothing else) who uses an Order and then the guns expend their own Orders to fulfil the fire mission. This reflects the disruption over the command nets of the fire request - whether a carefully-crafted signal via radio or field telephone or panic-stricken flares shot up as part of a Final Defensive Fire mission. It also makes the PRT a little less powerful since zero-deviation allows for a little too much predictability.
Posts : 204
Join date : 2018-02-14
Location : Cologne

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:13 pm
I think, the cause that dedicated Off-Board Artillery is only 2-3 guns strong, is also a balancing one. Large artillery batteries are very strong in BG, and if every one would have access to 4 or even 6 gun batteries, the game could degenerate into an artillery duel.

Stuart J
Posts : 23
Join date : 2018-02-13
Age : 61
Location : Staunton VA USA

Re: Artillery clarification

on Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:13 pm
Hey there Jay, nice to get some input from another Gunner vet here! I learned my trade with the British army in the mid-70's, just a little before you and can confirm a LOT of what we did was the same as in WWII. I trained as a Forward Observer and also worked in Troop, Battery and Regimental Command Posts as well as TAC HQ.

After more than five years of playing the game, I found the BG artillery rules as written perhaps the most realistic out there, but with the same concerns as you posted, so by agreement with the rest of our local group came up with a few house rules: firstly the 10" radius from the spotting round was reconfigured to a 10" x 5" template to give a more historically correct 'beaten zone' and encourage players to disperse their units (no more FOW "tank parks"). This can be oriented to give a lateral or linear sheaf by the player announcing that with the call for fire. A 20" circle means two guns could potentially hit targets a country mile apart and dominate the table, even if I could make a template that big:shock:

Artillery has it's own officers and it's not the business (or even ability) of an battle group commander from another branch to order individual guns to shoot (these officers don't contribute to the overall orders count though, they have their own job to do) This makes the game flow a little faster, just issue one order, make (or flunk) the comm check and fire away. Keeps the guys happy.

As Typhoon says, PRTP's still need someone to make the call/shoot the flare or whatever to tell the guns that there is someone actually ON that target point Smile

Most of our guns are based in fours (from and old system) so we just have the FFE's fire one rpg instead of two tubes firing twice. Doesn't change the rules as written.
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Re: Artillery clarification

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