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JayM
Posts : 40
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.

Cheers,
Jay

PS - 10 character minimum for the subject line? Odd.
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Atkins
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.

Atkins




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Gun-Pit Paul
Posts : 67
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.
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JayM
Posts : 40
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.
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typhoon2
Posts : 5
Join date : 2018-02-13
Age : 52
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.
wolflord
wolflord
Posts : 205
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.

Greetings
Wolflord
Stuart J
Stuart J
Posts : 55
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 Shocked

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.


Last edited by Stuart J on Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kreslack Kross
Posts : 6
Join date : 2019-01-08

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:29 am
I played a game the other day and found out that you skip all the steps and jump straight to FFE. It just struck me as brokenly OP. No order needed from some form of observer spent to call it in and no communication check either. I had spent a good deal to have observers myself. But after finding that out and doing the math. I could taken 2 or 3 pre-registered targeted points and targeted 'behind' the two primary terrain features and saved myself a pile of orders and no chance at failure at any point.

Worse is another player took several and spaced them across his opponents deployment zone so he could hit every backline unit and arriving reinforcement that was well out of LOS.

I don't like having to add house rules but I'm getting close on these cause they are just too easy to abuse.
Powermonger
Powermonger
Posts : 164
Join date : 2018-02-12
Age : 46
Location : Buenos Aires
http://www.thewargamespot.com

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:56 pm
Kreslack Kross:

I would suggest you the following:

First of all: try to play already set-up historical scenarios. With pre-arranged historical lists. That wy, you avoid boring, min-maxed lists games.

If that´s not possible (or not fun for your group), and you like pick-up games where you make your own points-based lists then I will suggest:

- Allow only 1 PRT per side per 6x4 table (ie, 2xPRT´s if you play on a 6x8 table)
- Add +1 PRT if the side is defending (ie, 3x PRT if you play on a 6x8 table)
- Do not allow PRT´s deployed on enemy starting or reinforcing zones
- Learn how to maximize the use of "reserve move" reaction orders, in order to avoid PRT´s-

Hope that helps,

Regards,

Diego

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JayM
Posts : 40
Join date : 2018-03-10

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:11 pm
A simpler solution for PRTs is to require the target to be within sight of someone who is qualified to spot for the type of guns/mortars firing. If you want you can add the comm check as well, but it doesn't need to be more complicated than that - someone has to see it and call "all available ZB01" or something like that.

Piers suggested that the lack of requirement for an on-table observer is covered by the "narrative" aspect of the rules. I can buy that, as long as all players understand the "narrative." If people are playing things like designating cheap PRTs on reinforcement areas I think it needs something to drag it back to a more realistic application.
Stuart J
Stuart J
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Age : 61
Location : Staunton VA USA

Re: Artillery clarification

on Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:49 pm
I have to disagree there as reinforcement areas (i.e. forming up points and likely approach routes) are one of the primary uses for artillery even now, and far more so in WWII before GPS positioning and laser targeting was available. In part of a defensive fire plan it's the most commonly used tool in the box and on the offense it was used to 'seal off' the battlefield to prevent the enemy reinforcing the point of your attack or block their line of retreat. In fact the use of previously recorded targeting data was far more common in WWII than engagement of opportunity targets 'on the fly' so beloved of Wargamers.
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JayM
Posts : 40
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Re: Artillery clarification

on Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:09 am
Troop FUPs are certainly targets, and would be part of the fire plan, but would you designate a target you know you can't keep under observation? And you certainly wouldn't call fire on a target point that wasn't observed. As I said, you can use the narrative (such as a notional observer off the board/airborne sees it), but sometimes even that doesn't make sense or "feel" right. Plus some countries have artillery doctrine that makes such things less believable than others. National doctrine is outside the scope of the game, but at this scale it's not unreasonable to make artillery less flexible.
Stuart J
Stuart J
Posts : 55
Join date : 2018-02-13
Age : 61
Location : Staunton VA USA

Re: Artillery clarification

on Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:53 am
I wouldn't, and the simple rule is, if you can't see it you can't shoot at it, the exception being for harassing fire, which as you know from your own real world experience is pretty random shelling of know map locations.

I was once amused by seeing grown adults trying to hold a tape measure in space off the edge of the table to try and figure out where the spotting round went! The guesstimated it was close enough to the edge of the template and promptly rolled a bunch of sixes........they weren't too happy when I ruled the fire mission was a wash because the spotting round (for any one of a dozen reasons) wasn't observed by the FOO
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nickdives
Posts : 92
Join date : 2018-02-12

Re: Artillery clarification

on Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:38 am
March 2003:

I was once amused by seeing grown adults (Phoenix (UAV) Crew) trying to hold a tape measure in space off the edge of the table (Observe the fall of shot) to try and figure out where the spotting round went! (It was never found, a great mystery of the Battle for Basrah!
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