GPQ - How Do You Use Artillery?

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by EdJaws, May 9, 2015.

  1. EdJaws

    EdJaws Member

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    A search of the forum returned a couple of artillery related questions which didn't entirely fulfill my quest for information.

    http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/artillery-doesnt-fire.1532/
    http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/threads/gpq-changes-to-artillery-player-controled.1392/

    As we know, there have been changes with artillery in CO2 and we know how much artillery can change the course of a battle.

    Manually controlling artillery can turn into a clickfest when your forces are in dire straights and you need to put as much hurt on a few specific enemy units as you can. I often times will group the fire support and orders dialogs together near an enemy unit I want to dissuade from an objective or breakthrough. This hardly seems like a realistic tactic and pulls my attention away from the overall battle.

    On the other hand, leaving the control to my subordinates (AI) doesn't always target the most crucial part of the battle and often times the AI will bombard a lone unit that has retreated far away from the battle, though still in view of my units.

    For both scenarios, I can see solution - a feature that allows us to tell the AI artillery to focus on certain areas and leave others alone. It seems reasonable that a field commander would do just this but I'm not sure if anyone else would agree or it's even doable for Dave.

    So, how do you use your artillery? Any other thoughts? Or am I being totally anal. :mooning:
     
  2. kipanderson

    kipanderson Member

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    Edjaws, hi,

    Yup...I know Dave is hoping to change the code eventually so that divisional /corps artillery can be assigned to individual battalion attacks for the duration of the engagement.

    But as you say currently, difficult to know how to use it without too much clicking.

    All the best,

    Kip.
     
  3. rjantzi

    rjantzi Member

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    As a new player I find that I usually take the artillery under my own control and lay down the barrages where I think they're most needed. As you say, this does turn into a click-fest. If any of the more experienced players have other solutions it would be interesting to hear.
     
  4. ultradave

    ultradave Member

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    That's pretty much the way you have to do it for now. In US organizations, if a battalion is ordered to attack and the box is checked for direct support only, generally (I'm talking US), that is the battalion mortars, and they will provide support of the battalion's attack and reject calls for fire from outside the battalion. There would be a set of preplanned fires for the attack. The separate artillery battalions that are in the game in scenarios are battalions of 3 or 4 batteries of 105mm howitzers usually, or in armored units maybe M7's. They are also direct support units, but in artillery doctrine terms, division level artillery battalions are in direct support of a brigade, or a regiment or a Combat Command (essentially a brigade/regt organization). So they provide direct support to the (usually) 3 battalions of the bde/rgt/CC. In real life, that direct support artillery bn could be ordered to provide fire support to a particular bn attack, but in the case of a 2 bn front with 1 reserve bn, the direct support would be to both attacking bns as on call. It's actually fairly unusual to have that done, in my experience. More frequently, a second DS Bn would be added to an attack. For example, 1st brigade/regt/CC is attacking an important area, 2d brigade next door is flank security, 3rd brigade is division reserve. The DS artillery bn that normally supports 3rd brigade might be ordered to provide DS for the 1st brigade attack, along with 1st brigade's normal DS artillery bn.

    An attack would be preceded by pre-planned fires from this direct support bn on suspected or known enemy positions, and as the attack rolled forward they would be shifted to targets in the rear or then on-call.

    So the click-fest pretty much reflects this. You are in the brigade operations center and as the brigade commander or his artillery liaison, it's your function to provide those fires as necessary.

    A nice feature would actually be to be able to designate an artillery bn as DS for a line bn. The St. Vith scenario tutorial is a good example and one that everyone has played most likely - two attacking battalions, two available DS artillery bns. If one could be ordered as exclusive DS for each bn, that would let the AI handle more of it. Going back to the example in the 1st paragraph, one of the two artillery bn's that are in the scenario may be the "normal" DS battalion for a different CC and is ordered to DS the attack. I can't remember from the TOE if it's the one from CCR and just is there early for the attack or if it's from somewhere else.

    For the player standpoint, just as in real life, you'd need to be flexible, and be ready to cancel the Bn DS order if the other Bn is either in dire need or needs to exploit a breakthrough.

    Which kind of leads back to needing to control it yourself :)

    For background, I was an artillery officer in the 82Airborne once upon a time. I was a FIST Chief (FO team chief), a battery Fire Direction Officer (headed the Fire Direction Center calculating firing data), artillery battalion assistant ops officer, and a Brigade Fire Support Officer (artillery planning and liaison at infantry brigade HQ). Just so you know I actually know a bit about the subject :) And since it was quite a while ago, and the Airborne units used older techniques for fire control, (this was looooonnng before the days of GPS and digital computers and we couldn't airdrop the newly issued analog computers we had and have them live through the drop), my experience isn't vastly different than WW2 or Korea or Vietnam artillery for non-mechanized units. The major differences were our M102 howitzer that has a rolling cylinder in the trail so that it can fire 360 from the same lay, and that we had NCO FO's at platoon level rather than just a lieutenant at company level. As far as planning and doctrine, we used charts, pins protractors, grease pencils and map overlays. A WW2 artillery officer would have been right at home.

    That was long and I hope it helps with some artillery background. Any questions I'd be glad to add more.
     
    Winstons likes this.
  5. Rob

    Rob Member

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    Thanks for the info in your reply...most illuminating.

    I believe you can do that already by attaching the arty directly to the line unit or HQ and then issuing your order to attack,probe, defend etc. and that arty unit will only automatically support that unit/formation to which it has been attached.

    Rob.:)
     
  6. ultradave

    ultradave Member

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    Good idea. I'll have to try that and see how it works out. So far I've just been directly controlling the artillery battalions.
     
  7. Wiggum

    Wiggum Member

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    But it will move the artillery around without any sense...
     
  8. ultradave

    ultradave Member

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    Not far into the scenario but I fired up St. Vith again. This time I included the 22 Art. Bn. with 51st attack order, and 65th Art. Bn. with 318th attack order. The picture shows that the attack is ongoing, the artillery hasn't moved but is providing supporting fires. (targeting line from the 66th is similar). And you can see in the OB window that the artillery battalions are in fact attached to the two maneuver battalions.

    Also, looking at the OB, it appears that the 66th is the CCB direct support bn, brought up to support the CCA attack.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 7.52.09 PM.jpg
     
  9. ultradave

    ultradave Member

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    Not sure that it had a different effect than just using them normally. Hard to tell with both battalions on the attack in the same area.
     
  10. kipanderson

    kipanderson Member

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    Ultradave,


    Great information.. thanks..


    When it comes to attaching divisional / corps artillery units to battalions you will find... as Wiggum stated... that they will be moved around as if a battalion mortar unit.


    It’s only a matter of time I am afraid ;).


    This is what Dave plans to fix when he gets around to it... but when he explained what is needed it’s far from simple.


    All the best,

    Kip.
     
  11. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    I quite enjoy the 'click fest' but I know it gives me an unfair advantage against enemy AI . What concerns me most about arty use in CO2 is that it is like every unit has a magic comms device allowing them to call arty from anywhere in range. Germans had inferior radio gear compared to US units during Ardennes , land-lines where frequently cut by enemy arty. Even in modern times you cant always get 100% comms ."Artillery is the god of war" as Napolean said and later repeated by that well known psychopath Stalin. Getting artillery right in CO2 is important but challenging ( for Dave ).
     
  12. EdJaws

    EdJaws Member

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    Great discussion guys and good to know I'm not the only one sort of "gaming the system". Perhaps gaming the system is too harsh but that's what it feels like when I'm clicking, clicking, clicking.

    @ Kip,
    I know Dave has a lot on his plate right now. Hopefully he can address the code in the future as this is a new feature rather than a bug.

    @ UltraDave,
    Thank you for the in depth insight into an artillery officers duties. Fantastic info.

    @ Wiggum,
    That's been my experience too.

    @ Kurt,
    "an unfair advantage against enemy AI", "100% comms", this is exactly what I meant in the first post but you've communicated it much better. It not only detracts from the realism but pulls you away from overseeing the whole battle, IMO.

    For instance, when I was playing the Beda Fomm scenario, while I was controlling my artillery in the middle of a click-fest my last reinforcements got too close to the road and were being bombarded into oblivion. tit-for-tat :arghh:

    Ed
     
  13. ultradave

    ultradave Member

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    This happens in real life. Even in training, let alone combat. So.... realism :)


    I wonder if one thing that could be done relatively easily (says he who doesn't have to do the programming :) ) is to increase the order delay for the towed artillery (anything not integral to the bn TOE) while keeping the orders delay the same level for the maneuver units, including mortars. That would make your on call artillery not quite as responsive. Just a thought and maybe not practical or desirable.

    The way it works now seems sort of a compromise between having pre-planned fires to support a move, followed by on-call as the situation develops. Those pre-planned fires would already have data calculated and would just be fired one after the other very efficiently. Calls for fire on targets of opportunity take more time because the data is not precalculated, even if you can adjust from a known point or previous target, it still takes time for new data.
     
  14. Attorney_at_War

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    The best way to make it more "authentic" is to limit yourself to certain conditions where artillery fire would be very responsive. For example, in ST Vith right now the better part of a German battalion is attacking a hill my company is occupying, I would definitely consider this a primary target for some serious artillery fire from brigade headquarters. I also artificially add a 10 minute or longer delay on using the same arty tubes after they have fired, its not perfect, but it does help.
     
  15. Daz

    Daz Member

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    I'm afraid this is the best solution at the moment.
    You have to role play out the kind of interaction you want with your artillery.

    The AI won't do a pre bombardment of your objectives, which is a very important role of the artillery in real life.
    Also it has very little idea of what you consider to be the centre of gravity for your battle, and where as a real life commander you would have assigned your FOO's.(Forward Observation Officers).

    FPF Final protective fire refers to a tactical plan for a military unit, set up by the forward observer in support of the infantry, to protect itself against overwhelming attack. A final protective fire is an immediately available preplanned barrier of direct and indirect fire designed to provide close protection to friendly positions and installations by impeding enemy movement into defensive areasmissions.
    This is also an important element of defence, where you would be able to pre register the locations and receive very fast and acurate fire if you should come under attack. This also is down to the player to implement where they think the would need it, and the amount of realism you impart on it is down to you.

    I must confess if I am realy up against it in my games, I usualy manage to talk myself into believing it would be realistic to use it :shame:
     
  16. EdJaws

    EdJaws Member

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    Maybe realism was the wrong term to use. Let's just say I want to be a general, not an artillery officer with no offense intended to UltraDave.

    It seems A_a_W and Daz are doing a good job of playing within my original suggestion, "a feature that allows us to tell the AI artillery to focus on certain areas and leave others alone" without interaction of the AI. Bravo guys.

    But right now artillery is overpowered and I don't think I can control myself.:) I'll be turning over the artillery control to the AI and hope for the best.

    Ed
     
  17. Daz

    Daz Member

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    The problem with that is Ed, in scenarios where you are on the offensive, you will find (hopefully) that you have a lot of artillery.
    This is because artillery is very important on the offensive to suppress dug in troops during your attack.

    If you don't take command of it yourself you are leaving yourself at a big disadvantage, especially in scenarios like Hofen Ho-down playing as Axis, where your infantry is relatively weak and you have very little in the way of armour.
    In this scenario about half of your manpower is tied up In the artillery units.
    You really need to manage the artillery yourself to do well in this scenario.
     
  18. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    I generally opt for a 50/50 approach where I take control of 50% and leave the rest under the AI.
     
  19. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    I think that is the simple approach I will take from now then Dave
     
  20. EdJaws

    EdJaws Member

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    Wow, I never thought of that, thank you sir. Just enough control to help but not too much to pull your attention away from the overall battle. Have a :cigar:.
     

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