Unit strength indicator issue

SamuraiN

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Currently, the strength indicator appears to be calculated based on the personnel left in a unit, which can be quite misleading. There was an enemy Panther company that got all its Panthers out of action but with half of the crew left, and the indicator still showed yellow instead of red.

Combat power has the same issue. For that Panther company, the combat power showed 2.
 

SamuraiN

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For unit strength indicator, I think we can take the weighted average of current anti-personnel and anti-armour values, and divide this value by the weighted average of full strength unit values. Personnel number and armour value presumably have high correlation with those two values, respectively. And the same applies to bombardment value.

Combat power is bit tricky, as one Tiger II can be worth quite a few Shermans, and I personally would not mind getting rid of that function altogether. And relying on a single number is not a good idea, because a few Panthers can have the same value with a couple Pz IVs, but they mean very different things - I can pair the latter with infantry to conduct assault, but much less so with the former. And that combat number is quite difficult to balance anyway. Plus the unit symbols usually give a good idea about strength.
 
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TMO

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I think this relates to something I commented on in a thread way back (on the Matrix forums - might even have been Battlefront!). My point then was artillery losing its prime movers during combat but surviving guns still being able to move despite no prime mover. The obvious conclusion is that they shouldn't be able to move in this instance.

In the case described by SamuraiN, however, if you lose all your tanks surely that unit should cease to exist regardless of how many crew survive.

Regards

Tim
 
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GoodGuy

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I think this relates to something I commented on in a thread way back (on the Matrix forums - might even have been Battlefront!). My point then was artillery losing its prime movers during combat but surviving guns still being able to move despite no prime mover. The obvious conclusion is that they shouldn't be able to move in this instance.

I think they should be able to move, but at a very reduced pace, ofc.
Russian troops approaching Odessa:
B9PN9T Artillerymen pulling their gun through the mud at the approaches to Odessa.jpg
British troops in WWI:
K1H3W0 Moving a big gun by hand - Western front WW1.jpg

BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE July-November 1917 WWI: British troops salvage an 18 pounder gun from the mud:
https://www.alamy.com/battle-of-pas...ww!-british-troops-salvage-image67770680.html


A German 10.5-cm gun being moved by its crew:
10-5-cm-gezogenes-artilleriegeschütz.jpg

I don't have much time right now, I just found these mud (season) pics and the pic above, but it's a historical fact, that certain pieces could be moved without prime movers, where movement means anything between several hundred meters and several kilometers.
There are plenty of vet accounts describing that le.IG 18 guns had to be pulled by their crews over distances of 20-80 km during late 1944 and early 1945, because their movers broke down, ran out of fuel or because they got destroyed during air attacks.
The Pak 40 was often relocated manually, despite its weight, a special harness - which 4 or 5 ppl could use to pull the gun over longer distances - was part of the gun's equipment. The weight of the gun made that kind of towing quite slow, ofc. Still, the procedure was part of the training in 1943 and 1944 for AT units in France, for instance, as documented by a series of pictures (I posted one or another here or at Matrix, ages ago) taken in France.

I guess the speed (which would be slower than walking speed) is not rendered by the engine, currently, but I think it should be considered to add such feature.
Pieces of up to 75-mm should be able to be pulled by their crews, at least. As you can see on the pictures above (Russians or Brits pulling bigger pieces), even some larger pieces could be (and were) pulled by their crews.
 
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TMO

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Hi Gunnar, I wasn't aware such large artillery pieces were manhandled over such great distances, so I stand corrected! Your idea of allowing some movement without the prime mover would be dependent on the number of men left in the unit, wouldn't it? Also I imagine the unit would fatigue very quickly.

Regards

Tim
 

GoodGuy

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Hi Gunnar, I wasn't aware such large artillery pieces were manhandled over such great distances
Well, my example (le.IG 18) was taken from a vet account, where the remnants of an IG coy had managed to save one le.IG 18, but where they had lost all vehicles - wandering around in the Ardennes or Luxembourg area, man-handling the gun (weight: 410 kg in travel mode, 440 kg when deployed) for some 20-40 kms. There are quite a few of such German accounts, especially from early 1945, but also from the EF in 1944, where equipment was moved manually over longer distances. The Russians suffered of a lack of transport vehicles (not necessarily movers/tractors) until around early or mid-1943, so I would imagine that larger pieces had to be relocated or moved up manually, too, at times, until the Lend-Lease truck batches had filled the most urgent open slots.

The le.IG 18 gun wasn't heavy, IF compared to say the PaK 40 (1,500 kg) or the s.IG 33 (first revision 1,700 kg = horse-drawn version, ~ 1,825 kg = towed by vehicles ; the designs of later revisions - eg. "C" - were changed to reduce the weight to around 1,590 kg), so moving the smaller guns over long distances was possible, very well, if there were enough men to be rotated for the towing jobs.
Same with the PaK 36, which was often moved up to the first line during the early stage of Barbarossa (like here, possibly):

PAK36-nach-vorn-px800-727x771.jpg
Check out the harnesses, the pic was taken during Barbarossa.

These guys here (German paras initially earmarked for the planned Malta offensive but who were then sent to support Rommel's units in North Africa, instead) lost their prime mover, as some ships of their convoy to Tunisia had been sunk by the Allies, so they were forced to pull their PaK 36 (the 36 has pretty distinctive rubber wheels) through the desert:
FJ-ziehen-PAK-36-in Afrika_nachdem Schiff mit Zugwagen versenkt wurde.jpg


This was the regular prime mover, the 1-ton halftrack, and even though the troops were not supposed to use the Kübelwagen, quite some units "misused" the Kübel (faster, somewhat easier handling) to tow the PaK 36:
pak36-Ein-Tonner.jpg


PaK 36, heavy duty uphill:
Pak-Berg.jpg

That PaK is being pulled with ropes and pushed by the troops.


The harnesses used to tow a PaK 40 (I mentioned in my previous post), 1943, France. This thing is a beast (weight-wise), though, so I wouldn't expect a unit to manhandle this for more than a few kilometers (if at all). It looks like that one guy is moving backwards, "steering" the gun through the mud and checking/keeping the gun in balance:
Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-296-1688-25,_Nordfrankreich,_Soldaten_mit_7,5cm_Pak.jpg

Heavy duty here, 25-POUNDER GUNS OF B TROOP, 14TH FIELD REGIMENT, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY:

kokoda-25-pounders.jpg
2 guns were moved by tractor to get in range to hit the Japanese on the Kokoda trail (out of range), a third gun was then stripped down and man-handled forward (on the trail), taking 50 men five days to move it just three kilometres (2 mi) through the mountainous jungle terrain.
Once the gun was set up, the Japanese were out of range again.
AWM_027023_Pack_horses_and_mules_being_led_along_the_first_stage_of_the_track_from_Ower's_Corner.jpg

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/026850
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/026855
Since the AUS troops got the gun over the mountains, it can be assumed that 50 men would have easily manhandled that piece on flat terrain, similar to the Russians on the pic in my previous post (looks like a divisional 75-mm SIS-3?)


The Russian 76-mm regimental gun M1927:
75-mm-regimental-gun-M1927.jpg

Your idea of allowing some movement without the prime mover would be dependent on the number of men left in the unit, wouldn't it? Also I imagine the unit would fatigue very quickly.

It would be mainly dependent on the weight of the gun, not necessarily the calibre, imho. The crew is a factor too, though, if you lack the men to move the pieces, then every gun with a lack of crew members should become stationary. It's a pity that the engine cannot divide units to seperate guns that can be moved (manhandled by troops or towed by the prime mover) from guns with say just 2 loaders and 1 gunner remaining, means from guns that cannot be moved anymore (but still be fired/used at the current position).

P.S. : I sent you a PM a while ago, did you check it?
 
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TMO

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Hi Gunnar, from the images you posted it seems that in most cases you need more than just the gun crew to manhandle a gun over a significant distance. What would you estimate, two or three times the regular gun crew? Or do you think in the European theatre over moderate terrain a single gun crew would be sufficient to move the gun a couple of km? Depends a lot on terrain.

Regards

Tim
 
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GoodGuy

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Hi Gunnar, from the images you posted it seems that in most cases you need more than just the gun crew to manhandle a gun over a significant distance. What would you estimate, two or three times the regular gun crew?

You need to include the additional troops.
Example: A PaK 36 (or 37) AT coy (horse-drawn) had 3 guns in each platoon and 18 crew members (2 of them in a dual role, as MG gunners) and 3 extra guys responsible for ammo handling/supply, in 1944, so each gun had a crew of 6 plus 1 section (gun) chief and 1 ammo guy. One "aiming circle" officer, 1 officer for distance measuring, 6 cabmen, the mentioned ammo guys (3 in total), 1 platoon leader and 2 radio operators per platoon, if I got my math right, here.
So, if you transfer these numbers/positions to a motorized unit, then such unit will end up with quite a few extra troops, once you take away its vehicles. The drivers (or cabmen) are unemployed, the radio operators can help too, and if those ammo guys aren't too lazy, they can help manhandling stuff, as well, and we aren't even talking about the personnel of such unit's supply columns, yet.

If you look at the pic from the NA theatre, you can see 7 soldiers (1 of them an officer, most likely, unless he took the pic ;) ), then there'd still be say 1 driver and an ammo guy available. Once such unit lost its movers and transports, the personnel driving, guarding (usually 1 MG gunner + assistant/loader per platoon = 3 guns) and supporting (radio or telephone operators, messengers) the gun sections could be employed as well. The heavier the gun, the more men were needed, ofc.
The regular setup was 6 gunners plus 1 section chief (NCO) and 1 ammo guy per gun:
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn154c1aug44.htm
EDIT: I start to think that the NCO took the picture, actually. :p

Or do you think in the European theatre over moderate terrain a single gun crew would be sufficient to move the gun a couple of km?
Some arty pieces had similar crew sizes, the bigger pieces - eg. 105-mm le.FH 18 or the s.IG 33 (iirc) - had 6 crew members (incl. loaders and section/gun chief), but some had even more, like 8 gunners plus section chief, eg like for the Schwere 105-mm Kanone 18 (which was too heavy, most likely, it weighed 5,642 kg).
 
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GoodGuy

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Or do you think in the European theatre over moderate terrain a single gun crew would be sufficient to move the gun a couple of km? Depends a lot on terrain.

Oops, I didn't answer that question sufficiently:
Yes, the crews could move certain pieces on (rather) flat terrain over longer distances (rather kilometers than meters), where then the loss of towing equipment or horses used to set free some additional helping hands.

For instance, the s.IG 33 (with steel wheels for horse-drawn units and solid rubber tyres for motor transport) was pretty limited speed-wise, the solid rubber tyres (or even steel wheels on the horse-drawn version, wooden wheels towards the end of the war, iirc) and missing springing denied towing speeds over say 16 - 22 km/h (in theory, it seems like quite some troops ignored those restrictions), but also made movement on muddy or soft terrain more difficult. Still, the total weight (1,800 kg) and design/size totally allowed for manhandling them over longer distances, imho.

Despite its weight (3,490 kg), the 10,5-cm le. FH 18 could be manhandled quite well (but slower, ofc), due to its compact design and favorable balance, as you can see on the pic above (last pic in my first post), where it looks like the gun is being moved/relocated by 5 men, only.
For comparison, manhandling the PaK 40 was a bit tougher, due to its long/heavy barrel, its rather unfavorable design/balance (steel carriage/shield) and its solid rubber tyres, even though the gun weighed "only" 1,425 kg.
The British 25-pounder could be manhandled quite well, imho (1,633 kg), it could also be stripped down to reduce the weight (as seen on the Kokoda trail).

The US 105-mm M101A1 howitzer had a very unfavorable design, its short carriage beds even complicated (just) rolling the howitzer and taking it on the hook, so I am almost sure that manhandling on longer distances wasn't an option for that gun, at all:
105 mm M101A1 howitzer-an-den-Haken.jpg
9 men, and the gun still seems to barely move, here, so it wasn't just about the weight (2,260 kg), but also about the design.

The US 76.2-mm M5 AT gun (3-inch) was a tick lighter (2,210 kg) but its weight/design and bad balance even made relocations on short distances very difficult, where rotating those biggies ended up in a labor-intensive process already, afaik, which resulted in a substantial number of total losses during the BftB.

EDIT: Many 122-mm and 152-mm howitzers and cannons (all nations) weighed over 5, 6 or 7 tons (or even up to 12 tons), even the German 10-cm Schwere Kanone 18 weighed 5,642 kg, manhandling wasn't an option for these guns, anymore.
Only the special versions for airborne troops, which had particular design concepts for weight reduction (eg. shortened barrels, cast aluminum parts, pneumatic rubber tyres and/or mechanisms to break down the guns in several packs - to be carried by pack animals), offered significant weight reductions or improved handling, so that guns could then be pulled by troops (in 1 piece), easily (eg. the 75-mm Pack Howitzer M1, weight: 653 kg), if necessary.

I don't think that there were many bigger leight-weight pieces around in WWII, the Germans worked on several alu-versions of some of their guns, but they gave such projects low priority until Barbarossa, in order to reserve the precious resources for airborne equipment (guns) and the construction of airplanes, they still produced a low number of leightweight gun versions for mountain divisions, paras and to reduce the weight of the s.IG 33:
A mix of steel and aluminum was used for the s.IG 33 "Ausführung B" which was towed by halftracks, but the production had to be stopped after a few hundred pieces (to pick up the original "A" design), because alu was needed for Luftwaffe projects. Very low numbers of "Ausf. C", where most parts consisted of "Elektron" (a magnesium alloy : 90% magnesium, 10% aluminum, which reduced the weight from 1,825 kg to 1,590), were issued to field units for testing, but not produced in significant numbers, afaik, as the gun was not accepted by the Wehrmacht.
Similar projects for other (same or even bigger calibre) guns were shelved to reserve alu for airborne EQ and aviation.

I am not sure if there were weight reduction projects for guns with calibres of more than 75 mm on the Allied side, apart from the pack howitzer or similar concepts.
 
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