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Subject: Artillery Variant rss

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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Anybody have any ideas on how to 'simulate' various artillery 'tactics' in the game. Right now you either fire directly or indirectly, that's it. But, what about variations to both or either of these?

Such things as 'convergence', 'divergence', 'sweeping barrage', 'walking barrage', 'rolling barrage', 'suppression fire', 'time on target' to name a few.

How would you differentiate between doctrines and practices of artillery that uses 'deliberate registration' and those that use 'rapid registration'? I know, some will say that these are taken into account in the design factors in the individual units. But its more than just the numerical factor values. Its the 'time' taken to perform either method and the effects on the applicable factors in determining the effective attack factors.

What do you think?

Dennis
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Brian Train
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This wasn't that kind of game.
Panzerblitz was supposed to be a tank game; there are other games that treat artillery in much more depth, but they are more complex than PB in every respect.
The particular tactics you discuss are generally subsumed under indirect fire, period, and the variable amount of time each turn takes is also assumed to be the time it takes to register artillery fire - an enormous handwave I know, but at the time people just wanted to drive tanks around.
(Kind of surprising though, because IIRC James Dunnigan was in the artillery for his military service, and was in Korea for a while too.)

Perhaps one simple way to figure this time constraint is that any artillery unit, except mortars, that moves during the scenario cannot fire indirectly for the rest of that scenario.
It takes a good hour to get a battery of artillery settled in and ready to fire: guns sited, maps and directions surveyed and sorted out, ammunition prepared, communications established with forward units and FOOs, etc..

The Arab-Israeli Wars featured different types of barrages including interdiction fire and loose or tight barrages.
Maybe you should find a copy of that game and see what you can retrofit to PB; I don't know how far down that road they went with the Panzerblitz: Hill of Death remake.

In my Steppe Leader variant I had a Mongolia 1939 scenario that featured night fighting and pre-registered fire:

Quote:
Night combat: The Japanese are advancing under cover of darkness and so may not be fired at unless they are either adjacent to a Soviet unit or "illuminated." Japanese units may only fire at adjacent Soviet units. The Soviet player may use one or both of his mortar units to fire illumination flares into any hex within its range (LOS is not required): this will create "daylight" in that hex and all adjacent hexes, and so allow Soviet units to trace a standard LOS to those hexes. Illumination lasts only during the Soviet player turn; it can be fired at the beginning of the Fire Phase so that other units can fire directly on the revealed Japanese units.
Japanese pre-registered fire: After the Soviet player sets up, but before the Japanese player enters the board on turn 1, the Japanese player may select SIX hexes on the board that will be "pre-registered targets" (write them down). These hexes must be within the LOS of a notional unit located on any hex on the east edge of the board, and can automatically receive Japanese indirect fire (from any or all of the three batteries available) without any unit having to have an actual LOS to the hex, though the Japanese player still has to roll for drift.


You can do a lot with some simple rules. At least, those did the job for me.
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Peter Lloyd
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In general I think the combat system is too 'broad' to get very far into exotic or enhanced artillery missions. Still as an option you might check out this site for some ideas. (Sorry, the guy doesn't seem to have his name in any obvious places.)
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Scott Clinton
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While I loved this game and Panzer Leader they both screwed the pooch when it came to simulating artillery.

The simple fact that indirect fire factors are split among all occupants of a hex renders artillery ass-backwards in these games (the more targets packed into the fire zone the less effect). One of the tried and true ways to hold a VP location against massed arty is to stack'em high.

This was addressed in Arab Israeli Wars, but to retro-fit the fix you have to adjust the attack factor of every unit in the game that can fire indirectly (I think you multiply them by .66 and use the adjusted rules in AIW). I have done this and it works, it just makes the game a bit more fiddly than I ever liked (having to figure the factors on the fly).

My 2 cents.
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yep, you are right, it wasn't that type of game. But it can be, and to whatever level of detail you would like to have, couldn't it!? And as optional variants its possible to design the rules to be as 'modular' as possible. So that their incorporation into the game can be done with minimal impact on other rules. Or even work in conjunction with them.

In a scenario that involves either a prepared defense or has an opening artillery barrage, of some kind, it would be nice if it where simulated as much as possible. At least in regards to the events necessary to make such things happen.

Preconditions to a scenario can take a lot of the work out of it. In as your example the allotment of some number of preregistered targets or area's. A good idea. And I really like the idea that if you 'move' indirect-fire capable units, you no longer can use them in that way.

Another area to be addressed would be artillery observers and their capabilities. As always there are exceptions, but basically there where dedicated organizations or units within an artillery organization that performed that activity and as such should be the only ones capable of performing the indirect-fire spotting.

Now such rules and their incorporation are not for everyone. Sometimes you can get too detailed and the rules become unusable, a situation that should be avoided. So, maybe, thinking of the basic rules as just that, the basic rules. Then in addition to those you could have ever increasing 'sets' or rules or variations of functions within a variant. Why? Because at times the way things get done, or how fast, is a much a determining factor as to a units abilities as its built in factors.

All that said, does anyone have some examples of games that use artillery in a more 'detailed' manner. That takes into account the requirements and the various types of attacks. Or ideas of your own.

Like say the U.S. time-on-target (tot). Unless you have the ability to perform the coordination it takes to perform such procedures. Maybe, all other non 'tot' should be resolved by individual combat results of all units attempting to fire a concentration. So simply, maybe too much so, those that are 'tot' capable can combine the attack factors of indirect fire units into one factor and the combat odds derived using that. Then units that deemed not to be tot capable even though firing at the same hex, cannot combine their factors for one attack and must conduct individual attacks against a target.

Much can be simulated without always having really complex 'rules'. And you can detail rules to fit the situation, eh?

What do you think?

Dennis
 
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Brian Train
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dgk196 wrote:

What do you think?

Dennis:)


I think you should get busy writing and testing!
I seem to recall the Tactical Combat Series by Dean Essig had elaborate rules for pre-planning operations, especially where artillery was concerned.
I've never played any of them so I couldn't recommend one in particular.
Some miniatures rules sets also seem to handle this better than hex and counter board games.

Brian
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Frank Clarke
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One big thing is that the Soviet heavy artillery fire was mostly pre-planned. So in a typical 30-minute engagement the Soviet player shouldn't be able to call in offboard artillery.
The Corps commander would tell you if you deserved support, not the other way around. "In Soviet Russia, Artillery direct YOU!"

Edit: Same with many of the things mentioned. The British didn't whip out a rolling barrage at 6 mins notice. Hill of Death has pre-registered fire which makes sense. You could have a rolling barrage scheduled "turn 2: list of hexes, turn 3: list of hexes".
But at an hour's notice you wouldn't get anything special.

Case Orange is great, I have that printed out. It does change a lot. With artillery it has different ways of combining fire, although there are pages of artillery rules involved.
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello....

Okay, I'm up for giving it a try... I'd like to try it this way... hope it works out in the end. So, the idea behind this is so the 'rules' aren't made in a 'vacuum', so to speak. I'll post a component of the rules and if possible would like feedback. Of all kinds... opinions, factual references and so on. Your help will be much appreciated.

Artillery Variant #1

Each indirect capable artillery unit must have a specific, dedicated 'Forward Artillery Observer' (FAO). This FAO is the only unit that can spot for its associated artillery unit when indirect firing.

An FAO must have an associated 'Liaison' specific to it and the Artillery unit its spotting for.

The 'liaison' must be stacked with the HQ unit which it will be supporting with its associated artillery unit.

The FAO, Liaison and the HQ (being supported by the artillery unit) must have a Line of Site (LOS) to the target hex designated for an indirect artillery attack.

The target must be spotted successfully (as per the spotting rules being used, of course) by the FAO, in order to enable its associated artillery unit to conduct an indirect artillery attack.

What do you think?

Dennis
 
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Byron Henderson
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I'm not sure one needs to add another counter (FAO) to the mix. When I made alternate IF and Spotting rules, I simply limited the number of artillery units that each CP could call in (to 3) and added an Unobserved Bombardment option.

My understanding is that the FAO is simply replacing the CP in the game, correct? So it would essentially follow the current rules for CPs but only be able to call in IF from a single (H) or M unit? That seems too restrictive to be very effective. Massed artillery is the only thing that makes it effective--especially against the Russians. Just my thoughts.

 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Yes, I see what you mean...

Right now though, I'm just trying to describe the components for indirect artillery attacks. The FAO and the Liaison provide a parallel path to call in indirect fire. The FAO's position being visible from the HQ / Liaison position also provides some redundancy. The FAO's position would / should be forward of the HQ / Liaison position. This makes the 'spotting' have a higher probability of spotting targets than a position further away, assuming that some sort of die-roll is needed to 'spot' targets.

Also, should the FAO become incapable of spotting, even if momentarily in the game, say due to disruption or being blocked from seeing the target hex, the Liaison can 'call it in'. The target would need to be specified by a unit (being supported) that could spot and 'mark' the target and that hex would have to be visible to the Liaison. Such a target would not need a die-roll spotting resolution, but merely the Liaison being able to trace a line of site to the designated target hex.

Just throwing some ideas out there, and looking forward to more questions and comments. Eventually a set of Indirect Fire Artillery rules will come out of this, I hope. So, keep those ideas and questions coming. I look forward to your feedback.

Dennis
 
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Byron Henderson
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So, if I'm understanding you correctly, the Liaison is essentially the existing CP and the FAO is essentially attached to the Infantry platoon?

I took the following directly from the existing rules: In all situations where a CP is required, the CP must have a direct LOS to the target hex in order to direct Indirect Fire (it is not necessary for the CP itself to be able to “see” the units in the target hex; in effect, the spotting units radio or flare-signal the CP which radios the target information to the unit(s) firing indirectly). Only combat units may spot for the CP.

It seems to me that you are staying within the existing structure that is in the rules already (reflected in the statement above), correct?

This quote is really another way to restate the existing rules in the game concerning Spotting: Also, should the FAO become incapable of spotting, even if momentarily in the game, say due to disruption or being blocked from seeing the target hex, the Liaison can 'call it in'. The target would need to be specified by a unit (being supported) that could spot and 'mark' the target and that hex would have to be visible to the Liaison.

So far, if I'm understanding correctly, you have reinforced the existing structure of the rules. Where do you hope to go from here?
 
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Well I hope to go on fleshing out the Indirect Artillery Fire rules, with any luck...

Yep... at this point, I was trying to show the redundancy of the organization... so that, disruption or elimination of one unit does not mean an interruption of capabilities... maybe a delay though..

The Liaison, depending on what Artillery unit or Organization it is associated with, will enable all related artillery units to be used in an attack and / or allow the enabling of 'concentrations' and other tactics. While the FAO can call in an attack by its associated artillery unit, it takes the Liaison stacked with the CP of the supported unit (both undisrupted) to call for and coordinate a 'concentration', 'rolling barrage', 'sweeping barrage' and so on.

The CP, well in this instance that represents you, the player. But, in making it work with PB type situations the CP winds up being somewhat redundant, in this instance. Ironic eh!? Though there are 'other' things to do with them (you) in the game!

We're having some fun now, eh? More to come....

Dennis
 
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Byron Henderson
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Grumbling Grognard wrote:
While I loved this game and Panzer Leader they both screwed the pooch when it came to simulating artillery.

The simple fact that indirect fire factors are split among all occupants of a hex renders artillery ass-backwards in these games (the more targets packed into the fire zone the less effect). One of the tried and true ways to hold a VP location against massed arty is to stack'em high.

This was addressed in Arab Israeli Wars, but to retro-fit the fix you have to adjust the attack factor of every unit in the game that can fire indirectly (I think you multiply them by .66 and use the adjusted rules in AIW). I have done this and it works, it just makes the game a bit more fiddly than I ever liked (having to figure the factors on the fly).

My 2 cents.


I did something a bit simpler (than dividing factors by .66) in my optional rules. Here's the pertinent bits.

Quote:
Resolving Indirect Fire

1. Indirect Fire attacks are directed against specific hexes, not specific enemy units. Thus, if there are multiple units in a hex but only one unit fires and is spotted, IF may be directed against all of the units in the hex.

2. To resolve IF attacks calculate the number of IF factors attacking the hex and divide the total attack strength according to the unit type and size. Calculate the final attack odds individually against each defending unit.

• Against company sized infantry units, use 3⁄4 the total attack strength of (H) and H class units capable of Indirect Fire (round down).
• Against company sized armored units, use 1⁄2 the total attack strength of (H) and H class units capable of Indirect Fire (round down).
• Against platoon sized infantry units, use 1⁄2 the total attack strength of (H) and H class units capable of Indirect Fire (round down).
• Against platoon sized armored units, use 1⁄4 the total attack strength of (H) and H class units capable of Indirect Fire (round down).

• Mortar units < 100mm use their full attack strength against infantry units and 2/3 their attack strength (round up) against armored units.
• Mortar units >100mm use the same modifiers as (H) class units.

• Passenger-carrier count as one unit. Calculate odds against these units based on the type and size of the carrier unit.

• Fortifications (plus the units within them) count as one unit. Fortifications (including Improved Positions, if used) are considered company sized armored units.

3. Indirect Fire may not be combined with Direct Fire against the same target hex in the same combat phase.
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Dennis Kochan
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Hello...

Okay, its been awhile... my fault! So, first what is it that will be effected by these 'rules/mods'? They will be weapons classes of M,(M),H,(H),R,(R)... that is to say Mortars, H-class guns and Rocket Launchers.

The types of attacks taken into account will be 'Direct-Fire', 'Directed-Fire' and 'Indirect-Fire' attacks.

'Direct-Fire' will be attacks in which the attacking units spot either the units being attacked or the a hex, both of which requires an unobstructed line of sight from the attacking units.

'Directed-fire' can be that of the battery FO being able to spot either a target-hex or the units in a target-hex.


'Indirect-Fire' the attacking units do not have a direct line of sight to either the targeted units or the hex they occupy.

And so it begins... probably need more detail than this... looking forward to your comment and questions.

Dennis
 
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