A Collection of Tactical Heuristics

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Iconoclast, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Daz

    Daz Member

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    Very interesting thank you!

    Do you think these methods would have been used in the fast moving front lines of the Battle of the Bulge scenarios?
    I assume they would have been given lower priority for the congested roads than the combat units and the artillery pieces themselves.
    By the time they had set up the battle would have moved on I expect.
    The wooded terrain with, rolling hills, deep valleys and the extreme weather conditions would have made it very difficult to locate targets I would imagine.

    I expect they were of much more use in the Desert, and for defensive positions.
     
  2. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Yeah I agree. Sound range finding was in its infant stage in the war. It was very primitive. Hell it was still primitive in the 1970s. ;)
     
  3. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Well, maybe in Australia ;-).
    But seriously now, I beg to differ.

    While first setups and devices used in WW I and in the 1920 can be seen as early (or rudimentary versions), the method was fully developed in WW II, according to sources from the German Bundeswehr and the Federal Archive (GER). German observation Abteilungen were quite successfull at pin-pointing Russian artillery units. In 1940, some artillery observation Bns were disbanded, in order to provide each Panzer-Division with a Panzer-observation Abteilung, containing a flash detection and a sound detection battery, a balloon platoon and a measuring section.

    In Africa, observation battery 326 was attached to (Panzer-) Artillery Regiment 33, which was attached to the 15. Panzer-Division. The battery was formed by using the 3rd flash detection battery of observation Abteilung 10 and was employed throughout the African campaign, so the Germans used flash detection sections for counterbattery fire in Africa, definetly. I do not know whether the obs bty contained sound detection elements or not, right now. Panzer Artillery Abteilung 155, which was employed at Korps level at first, but then attached to the 21. Panzer-Division, might have had an obs bty as well, but the sources I checked just indicate 3 arty Bns and no obs detachment. Maybe the desert provides for a different "sound environment", as temperature, speed of sound (due to less humidity) and barometric pressure are different and have a strong impact on measurement capabilities. For instance, sonic speed will only kick in at 333 meters/second, if there's a base temperature of 3.5 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 78%, and 0 wind speed. Maybe the desert demanded too many calculations, I don't know

    Whatsoever, in WW II, the Germans had fleshed out the technology, but the problem was the limited range (12-15 kilometers, depending on weather conditions and layout of the terrain). Only post-war devices and setups could increase the range to around 20 kilometers. But still, 12-15 kilometers matched or almost the range of light and medium arty pieces (4-18 kilometers). According to accounts I read, the Russians attributed some successful counterbattery missions to successful patrols of German recon planes, where in fact they had been triangulated by either sound detection or flash detection units, which made them move their artillery units in those sectors further away from the main line of battle and from aerial recon zones. I've also read accounts from veterans who served in fast units, reporting about destroyed Russian arty pieces residing in perimeters that had been plastered by German artillery, obviously, and where these Russian pieces could not have had direct contact with the fast units, as they had not fired a single shell in these instances.

    German sound detection, flash detection, measuring and aerial recon units worked together closely.

    In 1942, an observation Abteilung (then "light observation Abteilung, motorized" ) employed 637 troops, 55 cars (quite some armored cars, special versions of Sd.Kfz 251 and 250 with obs or detection equipment), 51 trucks (some amount with detection or radio equipment) and 26 Krads. After the return to the old structure (structure of 1940 , a full Abteilung with complete detection + measuring complements) in December 1943, the Abteilungen held even more troops and equipment.
    Now, you could say that the Germans just believed that it was a useful technology or method, and that there was no empirical study or backup to prove that it worked (due to the fog of war and/or propaganda), similar to the issues science has with homeopathy. I doubt that the Germans would have put up such efforts to allocate such comparatively high amounts of troops to each Abteilung (24 + 1 Abteilungen in 1939 already) , which could have been used elsewhere very well, to form observation units, if the method was inadequate for locating enemy artillery units.
     
    #23 GoodGuy, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
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  4. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    OK I'll bow to your superior knowledge on this subject.:)
     
  5. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The Germans used flash and sound detection throughout the war. I do not know where the Allied arty sections say covering the US 28th Inf sector were positioned, for example. The Ardennes region is partially somewhat contoured (hilly), I'd say, or features quite some gaps or little valleys/creeks, which all might reduce the max range to some extent, I'd say. But 8-12 kilometers may still have been possible with sound detection, but I'd expect that flash detection (with its 13-18 kilometers range) had a better chance (and bigger impact), IF German detection units were placed accordingly, and IF Allied units really resided within this range, at the time. I'd have to contact people with access to/copies of the war diaries of the participating German artillery units. Fact is, though, that the Germans liked to occupy castles, (church) towers and hills right before the BofB in this sector, and that they tried to use such terrain features during the onslaught and also after the offensive was called off, because aerial recon was either non-existent or resting with fragile Fi Storch planes, that could not risk long recon runs. and because the Germans wasted a vital amount of their last operational fighter planes , bombers and aviation fuel during the BotB, while Göring hoarded large amounts of aviation fuel in underground facilities in Berlin.

    Despite the serious lack of aerial recon, some hills on German soil offered view ranges of 20 kilometers (some 30 and more), and they were indeed used by artillery observation units, there are corresponding Allied and German accounts, the Allies tried to boot the Germans from such positions with aerial bombardments eventually, before these missions they either ignored these obs posts or did not realize that they were used by the Germans. I also don't know where the Germans had set their priorities for the actual onslaught, as they were running low on motor engine fuel and transport/vehicles at the time, the Germans attempted long range interdiction fire on crossroads and hubs, though, so priorities (and opportunities) may have rested with such unobserved fire and even more with direct fire support requested by individual units.

    But since the Allied resistance stiffened in some sectors after a few days, since the German horse-drawn vehicles started to clog main hubs, slowing down motorized movement, and since quite some of the remaining German supply and fuel trucks suffered of breakdowns, due to the rough and muddy terrain, the front lines moved slower eventually, maybe except for Peiper's grioup and few elements of the northern tank units, resulting in getting more opportunities to fill in counterbattery fire.

    Correct, but when the movement started to slow down, or even stall (Elsenborn?) usage (and pulling forward) would have made sense.

    Like I outlined above, flash detection and pure visual observation (from elevated strategic positions) must have been less difficult. It would take some research to see if sound detection and flash detection were used, but technology and units were still available in December 1944, and some of the Army-artillery brigades and the Volks-Artillery Korps (plural), which were formed in autumn 1944 to provide artillery Schwerpunkt coverage, had received the observation battery that was supposed to be attached to each of these units. So even the Volks-Artillery Korps, which were lower quality arty units, if compared to the Wehrmacht's earlier (or remaining) original artillery units, had received such a battery here and there.
     
    #25 GoodGuy, May 21, 2015
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
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  6. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Imagine a detection battery (flash and/or sound) in a future update pack getting within detection range and uncovering (after a certain time frame simulating the time needed for calculation + triangulation, with a randomized level of accuracy) a big enemy arty unit (through triangulation), without having to get within view range. That would be a pretty nice feature. :)
    The Allies could use offboard recon (a click reveals enemy units after say 20 - 60 mins, the time the recon needs for the approach), or field regular units depicting recon planes (with a realistic amount of fuel, historical speed and recon/combat time before it has to exit the map - means return to base). [Dream mode off]
     
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  7. BigDuke66

    BigDuke66 Member

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    Indeed all this would be an interesting option for future improvements of the engine.
     
  8. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Member

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    Ladies, Gentleman,

    I updated the list a bit. A few more and I will introduce subcategories.

    On another note: I am thinking about doing a tutorial about the Military Decision Making Process (and Maybe the planning cycle in general) and how it can be used in wargaming. Would anyone be interested in that kind of tutorial? honestly? Because, if done right (and I am an amateur when it omes to editing and such things) this will take me some time. We could start with "how to read orders" and have a closer look at the MDMP in wargaming. The product would then be uploaded to Youtube.

    If that would interest you, raise your hand.

    Cheers,

    A
     
  9. Matt D.

    Matt D. Member

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    _.-._ _.-._
    _| | | | | | | |_
    | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | |
    | _.-' | _ _ | '-._ |
    ;_.-'.-'/`/ \`\`-.'-._;
    | ' / \ ' |
    \ '. / \ .` /
    | | | |

    (those are raised hands - ascii art didn't translate well)
     
  10. BigDuke66

    BigDuke66 Member

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    That would surely be helpful, especially for the beginners.
     
  11. john connor

    john connor Member

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  12. pekische

    pekische Member

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    I am raising my hand!
     
  13. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I would be very interested in seeing it mate.
     
  14. Txema

    Txema Member

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    Also rising my hand !!
     
  15. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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  16. Ramses

    Ramses Member

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  17. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Member

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    Roger that. I am on it.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
     
  18. rjantzi

    rjantzi Member

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    consider my hand raised as well.
     
  19. DerGrenadier

    DerGrenadier Member

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