Artillery thread

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Kensal, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Kensal

    Kensal Member

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    I thought I would start a dedicated artillery thread, as I think it would be useful to exchange information about how the AI operates artillery on behalf of players.

    When I started playing Command Ops I micro-managed artillery and found that by doing so it was pretty much impossible not to win, so I limited myself to Corps artillery management but still found it difficult to lose. So noting that John Connor's advice on the sitrep thread, I have played a few games now without touching my artillery. I have also pasted below Keydet's questions as these focus on the AI's artillery management.

    The games I have played without artillery are now much tougher, but like Keydet, I have noted that some of my artillery never seems to fire at all, so I was wondering whether it is possible to increase the possibility of the AI calling in artillery. So:

    1. Battalion attached mortars seem to engage relatively regularly which is fine;

    2. Therefore, do I increase the possibility of a division or corps artillery battalion engaging if I attach it to a particular battalion to which I have given a mission? My experience is that does seem to be the case or at least it will normally fire at targets close to the unit to which it is attached rather than elsewhere.

    3. Do I decrease the possibility of a division or corps artillery battalion engaging if I give it a move and defend order to a particular location and leave it unattached thereafter? This does seem to be the case.

    4. Similarly if I leave the artillery battalion attached to a division or corps HQ, and then detach battalions of that division to carry out missions, my experience is that the artillery battalion won't or is less likely to carry out indirect fire missions.

    5. If I attach the artillery battalion to a brigade HQ, it does sometimes fire, even if the brigade's battalions are detached in order to carry out missions. But the fire missions may not be in support of the brigade's battalions.

    6. Query therefore whether the separation of a line battalion / battlegroup from a brigade HQ means that enemy units sighted by that line battalion / battlegroup won't be engaged by artillery units attached to brigade HQ - ie. does the separation prevent artillery requests moving up from units within the battalion / battlegroup to brigade HQ? To counter this possibility I tend to re-attach battalions back to brigade HQs as soon as they have completed a mission - but note the brigade HQ must have a defend in situ order to prevent the battalion / battlegroup then being ordered back to the brigade HQ's location. I don't know however whether re-attaching battalions / battlegroups back to brigade HQs in this way actually does have any effect on artillery requests passing back to the brigade HQ.

    6. Interestingly, the AI does not seem to move the player's artillery battalions when they are attached to units that have been given a move or attack order, save in order to keep them within range of the unit to which they are attached. This is in contrast to the AI side's own artillery which often moves inappropriately into close combat zones. On the other hand the AI side's own artillery seems to be more likely to fire indirectly as well.

    Keydet's questions:

    "There are a number of things about fire support that sinks my pinball. [I too think it should be left to AI but I don't] The concerns are:
    1. There is no transparency to what the AI is doing with My fire support. I don't know nor can I set the priorities of fire.
    2. I have no ability to build and manage a fire support plan
    3. Final protective fires in the defense can't be set much less know which units have which FS units giving the FPF.
    4. FS unit logs don't have each fire request/fire mission described with Target description http://www.poeland.com/tanks/artillery/targets.html, mission (suppress, destroy, etc), sheaf used http://www.poeland.com/tanks/artillery/sheafs.html, and FO results report.
    5. the logs of requesting units don't report instances FS request made and result fired or denied (and why: no comm, ammo rationed, no tubes available, etc?)."

    My comments: these points all seem to be correct, unless anyone else knows better. The only way to get round these points is by using the artillery manually.

    "6. There is not a FS realism slider like orders delay: perfect world to realistic.
    7, In every game I see some battalion mortars never fire for any of its battalions engagements which is inexplicable while most other battalions have near 100% response.."

    My comments: My experience is that battalion mortars seem to be more active than other artillery units but there may be units where battalion mortars don't engage. Theoretically the better trained / experienced units should presumably be more effective at getting their battalion mortars to engage but I don't know if that is actually the case.

    "8. Some regiments never succeed in getting any of the attached artillery to fire while others get near 100% response."

    My comments: this is my experience. Currently playing Meuse to Rhine as allies. Guards Armoured divisional artillery is very rarely engaging whereas 43rd division, 1st Airborne and 101st Para artillery does seem to engage.

    "9. Artillery battalions are dragged around by the HQ's these are supporting rather than independently considering the missions and locations of supported units, ranges, lines of communications. and enemy actions and locations."

    My comments: This does seem to happen occasionally but not always. This is fine if the artillery battalion is close to being or is out of range the unit to which it is attached. It is annoying when it happens when the artillery is well within range.

    "10. Artillery battalions with ongoing support missions don't move by batteries."

    Not sure I understand this point.

    Anyone's thoughts on how to get the best performance from your own artillery without using it manually would be welcome.
     
  2. SamuraiN

    SamuraiN Member

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    In my experience, the distance of the ARTY to the target plays a role. It fires reasonably frequently within 2 km or so, and more during the day than at night. It also appears to prioritise high value targets such as HQs, enemy ARTYs, but not necessarily enemy concentration. The code for ARTY understandably has room for improvement. Though this is not an easy task, as real world ARTY support is also a complicated task in WWII.

    Nonetheless, you should not be too fixated about it. Currently in game, ARTY does not help you break through prepared defences that much, though they are quite effective in repelling attacks. In real world, the defensive sides does have an edge in ARTY support because of better observation posts. In game, manual ARTY is not always terribly beneficial as because of limited views and the need to avoid friendly fire to maintain effective defence. It can be a problem with enemy counterattacks, but those do not occur often.

    I would suggest that you can play more mobile warfare in which ARTY is less decisive, such as dessert battles in the Cauldron pack. And in some scenarios you have few arty, such as the Molenhoek Counter-attack scenario on the Axis side in the Highway to the Reich pack. In general, I would recommend try more defence scenarios, that way you would find you have too many targets for ARTY support so that the sheer intensity of micromanagement does not guarantee success. On the other hand, if you find you have to reply on intense manual ARTY management in the offensive, likely you are assaulting echeloned defences, which is not ideal.
     
  3. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    Simplest example A US infantry regiment will have a 105mm howitzer bn in Direct Support. The regiment has a delay or withdrawal order. The artillery battalion will have to move as the retrograde movement of the regiment progresses. Nevertheless the artillery is charged with providing continuous fire support through out. The artillery battalion will move by batteries ensuring at least one battery will be in battery and providing fire missions throughout. (this is also true in the advance)

    In the Battle of the Bulge the GHQ battalions behind the regiments of the 106Th USID left batteries in place while the rest withdrew. Some were overrun.
     
  4. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    Curios opinion. Players are very capable of massing fires as well as conducting a time on target (ToT). In real life the 2nd USID had an unauthorized dedicated comm net for the execution of ToT's. All 3 105mm battalions and the 155mm battalion would fire 2 volleys for simultaneous impact on a single target instead of having a single battery or battalion fire the same number of rounds over an extended period of time. The result was devastating. I've only seen a ToT demo by a single battery. It is eye opening.
     
  5. SamuraiN

    SamuraiN Member

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    Yes, though I meant the current ARTY effect in game, not in reality, perhaps not enough emphasis. Though I admit I did not use ToT frequent enough for various reasons. But as I could see, an AI conducted bombardment of 20 mins with one 25 pdr ARTY regiment only killed about 20 soldiers an destroyed 1 gun by luck to my forces. Reduced cohesion by some that can be recovered quite quickly, the same seem to apply to suppression. And game ARTY cannot destroy defensive structures, so as long as the enemy holds their positions, they can retain their entrenchment effects. So forts are almost invincible. If they retreat, but defence are arranged in echelon, you cannot pursue them.

    Of course, the bombardment reflects ARTY barrage, as I understand, and in reality they usually focus on identified targets. Though I feel in game they can perhaps do more damage to equipment if not to personnel that they do now.
     
  6. jimcarravallah

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    In performing your assessment of damage, are you considering Fog of War?

    The intel on enemy units and assessment of damage inflicted by friendly force is affected by visibility taking into account both time of day and distance of observation, just like real life.

    You only get an accurate assessment of damage in the game after action review screen. It can be used during the game by stopping, saving at that point, and then surrendering and comparing the change in statistics from various "surrenders" over time.
     

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