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CanuckHero
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Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sun, 22 April 2007 16:39
Don't get me wrong - I love this game. But after nearly a score of solo games, I have a recurring thought everytime I see artillery on the battlefield: "Why are those Napoleonic cannon firing grape-shot at my tanks?" For those interested in adding a bit more WWII flavour to their artillery, I have developed the following as a possible alternate artillery rule:

1) Artillery fires 3 3 3 3 at all targets with LOS and at ranges of 1 to 4 hexes.
2) Artillery fires 2 2 2 2 2 2 at soft targets otherwise.
3) Artillery fires 1 1 1 1 1 1 at hard targets otherwise.
4) When being close-assaulted, asrtillery lose a figure on either a grenade or a star.
5) Sand-bags, bunkers, field-bunkers and caves reduce artillery dice by 1.
6) Infantry can 'dig-in' (ie place sand-bags) as an ordered activity if they do not move or fire.
7) 'Big-guns' roll 1 die at a range of 7 or 8 dice against all targets, and target as in the base-game rule. If at 0 dice they may still roll a single die against the target type to attempt a cross-hair placement, although this will not cause casualties.
Cool Self-propelled guns (SPG elite artillery) in later-war scenarios can fire and move 1; this takes place after all other moves, and before any other firing.

Optionally:
9) Caves reduce artillery dice by 2; (Notice to all Marine Gunners: get in close if you want to kill infantry hiding in those caves!)
10) Artillery can attempt to 'close' a cave by rolling a star on a single die.

I know that many of you don't care for rules-tinkering, as you enjoy the game for what it is; this thread is not written for you. But for others, I would appreciate any thoughts on this proposal, and particularly any play-testing that is done using it.

Other than possibly making the 9th SS Pz artillery in "Arnhem Bridge" SPGs, I have not considered the play-balance aspects of this rule on any official or unofficial scenarios.
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 23 April 2007 06:37
Welcome to the forums CanuckHero.

Not a bad idea but it might be too much to remember and you are right about balance issues. Guns are so pivotal to scnearios that changing them too much might have quite unintended consequences.

On the other hand...I had started tinkering with the splitting of the artillery to be more specific to the 2 types of roles it fulfilled. Techincally, the guns in the game more closely simulate field artillery (even though they appear to be anti-tank)...and the rules accounts for them very well in my opinion (well, with an 'advanced' tweak or two.

I experimented with this originally in the Road to Ortona trilogy by making the axis guns in town require LOS. I have since developed anti-tank even further and the two types are completely different now. While I have generated them for use in soem of my upcoming scenarios as special rules, I have also accounted for their use in other scenarios as a bit of an infantry or artillery trade off.

They are best illustrated here.
http://www.brummbar44.com/images/bam_card_17pdr.gif http://www.brummbar44.com/images/bam_card_fieldgun25.gif

[Updated on: Mon, 23 April 2007 06:45]

      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 23 April 2007 07:28
Thanks for the welcome.

With a few minutes thought I figured out most of your short-hand; quite elegant. However, I could not decipher
* = CAM
for the 17 Pdr. Could you enlighten me?

I see two main areas where our 'tweaks' differ:
1) You have reduced the soft-target dice for anti-tank weapons. As I understand it, they were just as effective at lobbing high-explosive ordinance down a line-of-sight as other artillery. Have I mised something?

2) You are varying the killing power of field artillery by range, and disallowed terrain effects. I am differentiating killing power by target type, and allowing specific terrain modifiers. I have come to this conclusion following two readings of Erwin Rommel's "Infantry Attacks". His first-hand experiences on the Western Front in 1914 and 1915 clearly describe his belief in the immediate, and extensive, digging in of infantry units whenever they were in danger of artillery bombardment.

The experience overnight of September 7-8, 1914, is particulalry striking. If I trust the translator to have rendered "every command effort was required" correctly, then side-arms were drawn by officers in Rommel's battalion to force the men to dig in. In an overnight bombardment of several hours, on an exposed hill slope, Rommel's battalion sufferd 16 total casualties, dead and wounded (out of perhaps 500 men). The 'lucky' adjacent battalion sheltered by a wood, where entrenching was impossible, was destroyed; the remaining cadre withdrawn to be replenished with conscripts.
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 23 April 2007 08:09
CanuckHero wrote on Sun, 22 April 2007 22:28

Thanks for the welcome.

With a few minutes thought I figured out most of your short-hand; quite elegant. However, I could not decipher
* = CAM
for the 17 Pdr. Could you enlighten me?


Camouflage...In my advanced rules I have the ability for certain units to become cam'd...more on that soon.

CanuckHero

I see two main areas where our 'tweaks' differ:
1) You have reduced the soft-target dice for anti-tank weapons. As I understand it, they were just as effective at lobbing high-explosive ordinance down a line-of-sight as other artillery. Have I mised something?


That's not quite correct. Anti-tank guns used a high-velocity armour piercing round that was almost useless against soft targets like infantry and tanks, yet very effective against armour. The other difference is in how the guns function. The anit-tank gun was a low trajectory LOS gun so hitting a group of moving infantry wouldn't be that easy, the field gun on the other hand fires at a high trajectory and being an area weapon, brings fire down on soft targets (it's all in how the bullet comes in). However, some anti-tank guns did have small alottment of HE rounds...and of course, small arms to deal with infantry.

That being said, that was the basis for how I set the ranges and hit power but I also kept them in theme with the game itself.

CanuckHero

2) You are varying the killing power of field artillery by range, and disallowed terrain effects. I am differentiating killing power by target type, and allowing specific terrain modifiers. I have come to this conclusion following two readings of Erwin Rommel's "Infantry Attacks". His first-hand experiences on the Western Front in 1914 and 1915 clearly describe his belief in the immediate, and extensive, digging in of infantry units whenever they were in danger of artillery bombardment....


True, digging in certainly helps...against everything actually and in fact, it is the least effective with artillery, as I pointed out earlier they fire in at high trajectory (though not as high as mortars which are even more effective in this case). Being low to the ground can actually save you against a shell burst that could land right in front of you, it's all about the ballistics.

While I certainly don't hve the experience of Rommel, I have been very intimate with artillery fire being a gunner for 10 years. The fuses of the time would allow to be set to a slight delay so that in fact the round actually burrows into the ground before it explodes. This renders all but solidly concreted bunkers all but useless agains the ubiqutous shells...even if you look back on WWI, the biggest killer of men was artillery...and everyone was dug in!
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 23 April 2007 17:18
I really like Brummbars Advanced Artillery rules...
another argument for and advanced version of M44????

But with all due respect to everyone... the rules are "abstract" and if you want to break it down then look at it this way.

arty has 1 die at all ranges and hiding may save your butt or it might not, in many cases it does but the real damage is not kills but disruption of the unit being targeted.

arty has another die out to 4 hexes for direct fire or smaller indirect fire weapons. bigger guns shoot farther and most all units had a mix of gun types and sizes so the closer you are the more types of gun you can bring to bear.

and last arty has a third die out to 2 hexes to reflect small arms and machine guns that are attached to all arty units to keep those pesky enemy units from getting to close to the hidden hardware.

Defense... well we look again at the shoot and scoot nature of arty, a hex is a pretty big area and you don't have to move far to negate counter battery fire. and again the arty have screening units attached so you never really get close to the guns themself. And if the arty is in a bunker!!! well think about it... it's a bunker!!!

and what about no terrain defense??? well indirect comes from above. and any good radio man can direct a round any where he wants, and can walk them in meter by meter.

and here we come to the no line of site thing... a unit consists of thousands of men, but a spotter team is only two. And as Brummbar can attest, the most dangerous man on the battlefield is the guy with a radio. So while a unit has cohesion and mass, spotter recon teams are just a couple of dumb grunts with a radio hidding in any hole they can find. And all sides had lots of them to report unit movements and call in arty strikes and close air support.


you want the Artillery to be more realsitic? well then they need a range of 8-10 hexes, drop 3 dice at all ranges with no modifiers and will take a hit on any grenade or star.

and what would that do to play balance?


      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Tue, 24 April 2007 07:04
OK; the CAM equates to Camouflage. I am still missing something in the notation:
* = CAM.

I am not sure that aiming HE down a line of sight is that much trickier than trying to aim AP at a turret-body junction with the same artillery piece. the fuse setting probably needs to be contact in this case, but wouldn't just the shock wave from a nearby detonation be as disabling (in the short-run)to a grunt as shrapnel would be? Also, I had read the the British 6 pounder carried both AP and HE ordinance to fulfill a dual role, particularly as it could be flown in on a glider a la Arnhem; do you know if this is correct?

Also, I think yo must consider that howitzers lose killing ability at short ranges, just as the mortars and machine guns ar kicking in, becuse of the extreme high arc taken by the shellsl their muzzle velocity is too great for accurate short-range indirect fire. That's why a mortar shell doesn't break the sound barrier and you get that funny ker-thunk as it fires. So adding a die for the short-range arms should be compensated for the reduced effectiveness of the howitzers themselves. Of course the direct-rifre weapons are less-affected by this I believe.

Rommel in his book describes how fuse improvements after WWI and before 1937 (when he wrote the book from his diaries) allowed much more devastating airbursts, particulary in woods (and perhaps also in some built up areas, or maybe that was Paulus's error at Shocked Stalingrad). But the grunt's goal in digging in against infantry is to stop the shrapnel, not the direct hit. once in a foxhole with his tim lid on, a grunt is invulnerable agianst anything except an almost direct hit. That is why dug-in infantry will call down an artillery barrage on its own position when in extreme distress. (eg the 7th Cavalry in that famous Vietname battle that I can't remember the name of just now.)

I'm only interpreting Rommel, and that from a translation, so I do not claim to be within an order of magnitude of his experience or knowledge. However, one cannot possibly underestimate his knowledge of the 20th century battlefield. The standard WWII infantry attack tactic - You guys cover us, while we rush the flank/corner - was invented by Rommel in 1914; in September. At a point in time when the average life expectancy of an Allied junior officer on the attack was 20 minutes, Rommel was repeatedly forced to retreat his command from over-chieved his goals, because adjacent units had failed to meet theirs. (After a while you realize, without Rommel explicitly mentioning it, that he was being given the most difficult targets and of the company commanders in the battalion and he continued to out-perfoprm his colleagues.) As one reads his book you follow his slow realization that the spade is as valuable a tool to an infantryman, even on the attack, as the rifle. The same realization that Caesar somehow knew at Alesia; an infantry army that can fully utilize the spade and axe will completly destroy an opponent who will not. Rommel was always at the opposite end of the barrel as you have been, as a gunner, so I would recommend picking up his book and reading it; not everything you currently believe to be gospel is believed by an infantryamn who been under artillery fire. Twisted Evil

You make a comment about digging in being "least effective" against artillery; was this a typo? The context was confused and the rest of your comment seems to imply that you actually meant "most effective". In fact, infantry throw up different types of 'entrenchments' dependign on whether infantry or artillery assautl is expected. When expecting an infantry assault a 'barrier' entrenchment is set up behind which they can man their weapons and return fire; a 'trench' if you will. When expecting artillery bombardment infantry digs a 'foxhole' with what ever is at hand - spade, helmet, or fingernails - with the goal of having no moe than his helmet and a few inches of his arms exposed to shrapnel. A direct hit (the shell with his name on it) will always get him, but the intent is to duck all those shells which only have on them 'to whom it may concern'.

So, I am now on my fourth glass of wine; I hope I have both expressed my point of view adequately, and respected yours. I am learning a new viewpoint, as I have never encontered a gunner's perspective before.

PG
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Tue, 24 April 2007 17:44
Thanks for the reply. There are still a few false assumptions on your part though.

Howitzers do in fact only fire at high trajectories however the model during and since WWII is that they are actually gun/howitzers (the 25pdr. being a prime example). These have the ability to fire indirect and direct quite easily. I've fired a 105 very effectively in a direct shoot and at very short ranges indirect, there was never a problem bringing down fire.

Again, while you are correct about infantry digging in you are not quite correct as to why. making your profile as small as possible prevents you from being hit by everything. When a squad comes under attack from small arms fire the immediate drill is to 'take cover'. Infantry hits the dirt annd tries to burrow into it if possible. It is very effective against small arms fire...not as effective against artillery (not typo earlier, digging in is least effective against artillery but it could have been said better).

When a shell hits the ground, it bursts in a butterfly pattern from where it hit. So yes, if you are in a trench or even lying down on the ground, you could easily survive an imapct in front of you (although, I wouldn't try to prove that myself).

As for the 'shockwave' I've been only a few meters from a 105mm round going off in front of me, there is no shockwave, I think you mean to say concussion? Even that is almost non-existent at least to the point that it would wound you. An important thing to artillery is it's an area neutralization weapon, it may not kill everyone (or even anyone) but it keeps them suppressed, disorganized and frightened. Field guns are masters of this.

You are correct about anti-tank guns (as I also pointed out earlier) they would carry some HE (much like field guns would carry some AP) but it wasn't their mainstay, they were out to defeat armour, having to repel infantry is something they will do if necessary (again, often they would be more effective with their small arms fire in this case).

Perhaps the irony of this thread is the subject line. Memoir's artillery in the game acts more akin to field guns which were nothing at all like Napoenic artillery, that would be a better comparison to the anti-tank gun that I propose.

      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Tue, 08 May 2007 04:12
Hi Brummbar,

Sorry about my tardiness getting back to you; life intervened for two weeks. I just thought I would close down the thread.

You have convinced my on a couple of points, not on others, but provided food for thought everywhere. Thanks for your patience with my inquiries; it is always a pleasure to converse with an expert.

PG
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Tue, 08 May 2007 18:45
Thanks CanuckHero for bringing up the topic. I find that artillery is one of the most misunderstood branches of the combat arms (I used to have a few misconceptions myself before I joined the guns).

If I can help others better understand them, then perhaps they will make a little more sense in the context of the game. I'm a little surprised Mr. Borg has such a good grasp on them...or was it just how the game worked out? Who knows, but he sure got it right.

      
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  Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 11 May 2007 01:40
I like your #4 rule, I've always thought artillery was too hard to kill. Cool
      
Whiterook
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sun, 13 May 2007 03:15
Wow...this thread is very cool. Artillery 101!

CanuckHero, could you please clarify what you mean by "hard" and "soft" targets; and how you determine each? The concept is slipping by me for some reason, tonight.

Brummbar, very cool cards! Could you please elaborate on these a little more? I get the move or battle part, but:

On the 17 PDR, does you graphic say "Less than LOS needs a spotter? How do you employ spotters? What do you mean by "column", a hex? And do you mean replace a lost figure from that unit?

On the 25 PDR, what do you mean by "unit symbol"? Crosshairs on units you designate to target?

And I'm afraid I'm totally lost on what the card's bottom graphics mean...please elaborate.

Sorry if I'm a bit thick here tonight Very Happy
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sun, 13 May 2007 04:38
Hey Rook!!! easy on the beer man....

hard targets are armored ones, tanks halftracks, bunkers and such. Soft is everything else. you know, the squishy ones...
that also includes trucks and jeeps as well as the grunts.

AP works on hard targets and requires direct hits, HE works on soft targets and you only need to get close by... HE will work on open top hard targets like the Self-propelled Artillery if you air burst.

No matter what age you fight in, Artillery is king of the battlefield.

[Updated on: Sun, 13 May 2007 04:42]

      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sun, 13 May 2007 16:47
Hi Whiterook, yes, I realize my cards are quite cryptic at this point. I am working out the fine details on the set of rules that goes with them. More coming soon...
      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 14 May 2007 02:25
Hi Whiterook,

Randwulf indeed captured my intent with his posting yesterday.

A single amendment might be to regard Field Bunkers as open-topped, as per the graphics on the cards, and thus soft targets. The normal Bunkers are clearly concrete fortificatons, pill-boxes and such if you will, but the Field Bunkers (especially with their two-sided nature) appear to be a different beast; perhaps a trench complex of some sort. For emplaced tanks (Brummbar: does artillery ever do this also?) they are presumably a prepared "hull-down" position.

Comments and thoughts anyone?
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 14 May 2007 02:50
CanuckHero wrote on Sun, 13 May 2007 17:25

For emplaced tanks (Brummbar: does artillery ever do this also?) they are presumably a prepared "hull-down" position.


I've dug a gun pit once (once! it was a massive undertaking by hand...then the engineers came in and made one in about 15 minutes with their equipment).

It does provide a good degree of protection and can get built up quite a bit if you stay there awhile (much like a trench system from WWI).

The gun area itself has to be left exposed at the top though.

This is nothing like the concrete emplacements the Germans made for Fortress Europe! Those could take quite a pounding where something the size of Naval guns are needed to be really effective against.
      
Whiterook
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Tue, 15 May 2007 02:36
Thanks Randwulf! I get it now...great explaination. Drinking water tonight....more lucid, no? Smile

Brummbar...I look forward to your rules variation. Thanks for sharing them with all of us!
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 01:05
I've reconsidered some of my 'advanced' rules...they seem to be getting perhpas too advaned and in turn takes away from the simplicity of the game that I have come to enjoy so much!

Thanks to JMcL63 getting a couple of games of my recently released scenario Charnwood I, which does in fact have an AT Gun unit in it. I have thought of a more simplified set of rules for those AT guns.

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the 3 figure indicator are PaK 40 Anti-Tank guns (they have 3 figures in this unit). This unit is ordered and treated like artillery (including ignoring terrain dice reduction) in every way but the following...
- Requires LOS to Battle
- Battles at 3,3,2,2
- Moves up to 2 hexes or Battles
- Is hit on Infantry symbol and Grenade

Thoughts? Arguments? Agreements? Grave Concern?
      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 05:30
Hi Brummbar,

I like the efffect you have created, but isn't a hit on infnatry or grenade a bit steep, even with the 3rd figure. This reduces the expected number of dice to kill the unit from 12 to 6. The other effects also weaken the capability of the unit, so the combination seems to be a dramatically weakened unit. Perhaps star or grenade, setting the expected dice at 9, would be more suitable.

Alternatively, how about the following:

I have been thinking about AT guns, and thought that it's most potent use was to sit in an ambush role, protecting the cone to its front with opportunity fire. What about the following rule to simulate this:

At Guns may, instead of moving or firing when ordered, load an opportunity fire (signified by a green star counter) and change its facing. (Optionally: They may accumulate as many such as they have figures remaining.) Any hard target that enters the control zone to the AT gun's front (the normal two hexes front, two hexes back, one each side orientation rule) must move hex by hex, allowing the AT a chance to exercise opportunity fire as it enters each hex in it's control zone.

This has the effect of strongly encouraging armoured units to out flank AT guns, or move up behind an infantry screen.

Thoughts?
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To Randwulf:

If you drive a black Saturn with the licence plate RANDWULF, the silver van with the lead footted driver on QEW at 4:40 this afternoon was me. I hope I wasn't too close, I was trying to identify the make.
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 05:35
Brummbär wrote on Thu, 31 May 2007 18:05

- Requires LOS to Battle
- Battles at 3,3,2,2
- Moves up to 2 hexes or Battles
- Is hit on Infantry symbol and Grenade

Thoughts? Arguments? Agreements? Grave Concern?


AT guns... ok here are my thoughts...

LOS... yes
ignore terrain? no... they still have to see it to hit it and hidden in trees is still hidden in trees, and just over the hill is still hull down.

battle? 3,3,3,3 vs hard targets, 3,3,2,2 vs soft

move 2??? still have to be towed and unlimbered so I would stay with the move 1 or battle ( move 2 or move 1 and battle for a Hummel or Wespe yeah!!! but not a Pac unit)

hit on infantry or grenade? yes... being direct fire units they are not stuck behind screening units to keep them out of harms way.

Three figs per unit, yes, otherwise they will die much to fast... oh yeah.. they did do that didn't they...

( this kind of blends my original AT guns with your rules )
I was working on north africa scenario using the German AT's but was just never really happy with it...

      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 05:40
CanuckHero wrote on Thu, 31 May 2007 22:30

--------------------
To Randwulf:

If you drive a black Saturn with the licence plate RANDWULF, the silver van with the lead footted driver on QEW at 4:40 this afternoon was me. I hope I wasn't too close, I was trying to identify the make.



I wish it was me... someone stole my licenceplate!!!!
no I am still in Iraq... but live in Texas...
      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 05:43
Since the QEW runs from Toronto to Niagara Falls, your plate is only taken in Ontario; you may still be able to get it in Texas.
      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 06:02
I also like Randuwlf's suggestions. The 3,3,3,3 vs hard targets, in particular, helps to balance the unit definition.
      
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 06:31
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the points...CanuckHero while I like the originality of your ideas I think they may be too complex...I am trying to abandon complexity for simplicity...I really think we can come up with something simple...just not sure it's there yet.

Randwulf...for the most part you are kind of just reiterating what I already had...again a bit too complex in my opinion. However you do have some points that could be close...but maybe not for the right reasons?

Randwulf wrote on Thu, 31 May 2007 20:35



ignore terrain? no... they still have to see it to hit it and hidden in trees is still hidden in trees, and just over the hill is still hull down.


Not sure what you are getting at here? With LOS it would be exactly like a tank firing at a unit in woods...for simplicity sake because AT guns would be treated like artillery, they would just ignore terrain dicce reduction...however, they certainly don't fire the same...perhaps it would be best if they were instead ordered and treated like infantry?

Quote:

battle? 3,3,3,3 vs hard targets, 3,3,2,2 vs soft


Trying to avoid having to do a hard/soft target split. I would lean more toward the 3,3,3,3 but it wouldn't seem right against infantry. If it has to be just 1 set of ranges I think the 3,3,2,2 would still be best...but...it doesn't quite reflect how powerful AT is against tanks...in essence, a tank gun and anti-tank gun are often the same so why would it be weaker? Something to ponder...

Quote:

move 2??? still have to be towed and unlimbered so I would stay with the move 1 or battle ( move 2 or move 1 and battle for a Hummel or Wespe yeah!!! but not a Pac unit)


Here I would disagree...of course it depends on the type of AT gun (obviously an 88 would require a heavy prime mover whereas a 2 pdr. could be scooted along by hand quite easily). Further, AT guns have the luxury of being laid on direct weapons...because they are shooting directly at their target they don't need to worry about recroding the gun for indirect shooting (which is why even SPA's like the Wespe or Hummel shouldn't be allowed to move and fire in the same turn...but that's another story). Hooking in and taking off with a AT and setting it back up to fire is much quicker to bring into action than a field piece.

I'm starting to think more and more about the fact that although AT are artillery they would be best thought of and treated like infantry. This actually would make sense in the military scheme of things, AT guns did appear as an infantry asset. Further, it would minimize the need for some special explanations (ie. what would be required to hit etc...)

I think I'll try this...

Anti-Tank Guns - Artillery units with a 3 figure indicator are Anti-Tank guns (they have 3 figures in this unit). This unit is ordered and treated like infantry in every way but the following...

- Battles at 3,3,3,3



In fact, the more I look at this the more it makes sense...allow the guns to either move 1 and fire or 2 and not fire...same terrain die reduction...same vulnerability (the gun shield is a little more helpful but they can't lower their silhouette like infantry can)...LOS is a given now...the only true mod is the punch they now pack which is suddenly quite simple indeed.

The obvious drawback here is it really more applies to the lighter AT rather than the 17Pdr. or the 88...for those, I think the simplest idea is to keep them like artillery but just require LOS.

What are your thoughts here?

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated!


      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 06:59
I can't argue specific details with you guys; I simply don't have experience beyond my war games and some reading. (Maybe that's why my ideas are original. LOL)

However, I think that to really capture the flavour of AT the units must possess an advantage aiming at hard targets. That's the raison d'etre of the unit after all.

As for SPGs like the Hespe, Hummel and such, I would allow them to fire and THEN move 1; but only if their ordered activity happened in a special SPG phase after regular movement and before regular firing. This makes them vulnerable to counter battery fire while setting up, but gives them the ability to keep up (somewhat) with the battle.
      
CanuckHero
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 07:10
Hey Brummbar,

Here is a simpler mechanism for my opportunity fire idea:

Instead of the preloaded opportunity fire occuring during the opponent's movement, have it trigger (at owner's discretion) on any armour unit that fires on it from it's front. This eliminates the interactive movement phase, and reduces it to occuring once per turn per opposing armour unit (even if more than opportunity has been preloaded). In essence this now becomes a pre-loaded ambush at range.

What do you think?
      
Randwulf
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 11:04
We want simple right???

Ok... so they move and defend as Infantry and attack as Armor but with longer range like Artillery.

and just because I have NEVER heard of an Anti-Tank unit taking ground ( not to say they could not ) I would make it a unit balance thing that they can NOT take ground after an attack. Just Like Artillery.


AT guns
3 figs per unit.
move 1 and fire or move 2 and no fire. Just like Infantry...
Attacks as armor out to 4 hexes, 3,3,3,3
Takes damage as Infantry.
Must have LOS to attack.
Can NOT take ground.

and as they are not really Infantry they can't use the dig in card... card, just like Armor or Artillery.




Damn... I think like that...


      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 01 June 2007 15:07
CanuckHero, I like your ideas...I still think they are a little too complex even though you are very concise...I just don't think they would catch on...but who knows?

Randwulf, excellent point about taking ground...hadn't thought of that! Of course, you are right, they wouldn't be able to take ground...but we would want to be careful to not put too many conditions on them otherwise it becomes a long list of exceptions. I'd let them dig in for example...they will be vicious in an infantry assault as well I just realised!

Any other situations anyone can think of that might preclude them being treated as Infantry? ....hmmm...BEL now comes to mind and that would be outright bizarre!

Perhaps this would be the condition...they are ordered and fight like Infantry except that they cannot take ground and none of the Infantry specific tactic cards apply to them.

Hmmm...I think it is close...very close...but not there yet....

Anny further suggestions?
      
Randwulf
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sat, 02 June 2007 04:55
humm... A BEL card would be bizzare... but they are NOT infantry, thus Infantry specific cards would not apply, thus no "Dig in" they could be dug in during setup just like Artillery or even Tanks, just not with a card???

and now we get to Artillery specific cards... I say yes, as they are a gun unit. But how??? let them move 2 and fire? They would be a killer with a firefight card... But now that I think about it... 4 dice at 4 hexes away? or 6 dice (3+3)at 4 hexes... Holy Moly... hummm...

ok if we make them attack like tanks, should we give them the range of tanks for playability???? I don't want to see our baby abused...

and the original argument of this thread could then be applied to our new guns, in reverse....

we have derailed this train way off course...
I may have to start to refer to AT guns as Nappys. Very Happy

      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Mon, 04 June 2007 07:11
Tough call...I've been giving this one a lot of thought lately.

Perhaps the easiest way to do it is just LOS...plain and simple. They would still be considered guns.

I don't know, isn't AT flavored enough for me. hmmm...more thought needed.

Anyone else any ideas here?
      
JMcL63
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Wed, 06 June 2007 07:05
I'm pleased to see this interesting topic is still alive, and would like to suggest that members here need have no real worries about so-called 'threadomancy'. The way I see it (as a member) is that worthwhile discussions will develop at their own pace, and not according to some external notion of a timetable after which the topic must be started all over again. (But then, I would say that, wouldn't I, given the recent 7-week gap between posts on my own Expanded nationality rules for M44 thread! Rolling Eyes)

I must confess that I am also pleased that this thread has devolved into a discussion of AT guns as a rules variant. This is a more pressing subject in terms of developing M44 than is creating a detailed set of new artillery rules of the sort sketched out here by both CanuckHero and Brummbär. Plus: I confess I'm pretty happy with the artillery rules as they are (oh no, not another satisfied customer!).

Why do I say this? Why do I think AT rules are significant? Essentially because the use of large-scale AT units was a significant tactic used at least by the Germans- eg. the Pak-front tactic used to such devestating effect against British armour in the Western Desert; and by the Russians- eg. at Kursk. It may be that other nationalities were more likely to disperse their towed AT elements among other units. In any event: these 2 examples alone serve to show that AT artillery was deployed in formations on a scale sufficient to warrant their appearance as independent units in games of M44.

One reason why this thread has caught and kept my interest is that AT rules were something I wished for in the Will Battlelore be the killer of M44? thread, which prompted me to set to work on the Expanded Nationality rules. And the reason why I'm finally taking the time to work out my thoughts on the subject of AT guns in M44 is that I promised Brummbär I'd do so after playing his fine SftF Operation Charnwood, which features his take on AT rules.

Whew, but that's quite a lot already! I'm going to leave this post here, and work through the issues before returning with some analysis. Wink
      
JMcL63
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Wed, 06 June 2007 10:33
It's not saying much at all to note that the fundamental difference between AT guns and gun/howitzers (ie. artillery as represented in basic M44) is that AT guns essentially require LOS. If AT guns are to appear as a distinct unit type in M44, this will surely be one of their distinctive features. So I guess one of the first questions to ask is how absolute is this LOS requirement? I mean to say: there are examples of tank units conducting indirect fire (this happened during Market-Garden unless I am very much mistaken); so it surely isn't absurd to ask if this was possible for AT guns too. The line of reasoning here would be that AT guns then wouldn't need to be represented as a distinct unit type after all.

For various reasons I don't think that this counter-case would pan out, so I'll leave it there, and continue to investigate how to handle AT guns in M44.

It seems to me that the next thing we have to deal with in representing AT arty in M44 follows straight on as a consequence of the LOS requirement: battle dice reductions due to the effects of target units' terrain. I mean to say: there is logic to the lack of such reductions in the case of the plunging fire of basic artillery. This logic doesn't apply to the direct fire of AT guns. And this is where all the problems begin IMO. Brummbär's rules are a case in point.

**********

Brummbär's 'Operation Charnwood' AT rules
Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are PaK 40 Anti-Tank guns (they have 3 figures in this unit). This unit is ordered and treated like Infantry in every way but the following:
- Battles at 3,3,3,3
- May not take ground
- Infantry Specific Tactic cards do not apply to this unit (ie. Infantry Assault).

**********

It strikes me that all of the references to defining AT as infantry are essentially fixes to this problem of battle dice reductions. Grappling with this problem Brummbär wisely chose not to go the road of one particular host of exceptions, only to introduce a change of unit type which I believe to be at least as unfortunate. Witness, eg. the extra model added to the unit to make it less vulnerable than it would otherwise be because it's being targetted as infantry- which makes it 3 times more likely to lose a model on each and every dice rolled. Even without crunching any numbers I find this unsatisfactory.

So my solution to this would have to be to retain the AT unit as the 2 model artillery unit with the additional AT designation. The AT designation would effect its attack rules and nothing else. The first thing it would effect would be the application of the LOS requirement. How many dice to roll; at which ranges; and suffering from what terrain effects? I would think about working along lines something like this:
1. Battles at 3,3,2,2: they should have longer ranges than tanks, but shorter ranges than gun/howitzers, plus should suffer the range effects of the latter.
2. Counts as the infantry unit type for the purposes of determing battle dice reduction when it attacks.
None of these points are at all original. But they represent my best attempt to tie all the issues together. Hope this helps. Wink
      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Wed, 06 June 2007 16:47
Thanks very much for getting back on this subject. It really helps to get a dialog going on such topics. The information and feedback you folks are providing makes for leaps and bounds in playtesting terms.

Now to address some of the well written points of our esteemed colleague, JMcL63.

AT guns are are a tricky beast I am finding in terms of applying them in M'44. JM is right in that they were essentially an invention of WWII and started to appear in mass numbers as the war progressed. Without going into too much history or detail suffice to say that I agree that they should be represented here in a fashion distinct from field guns, as already represented very well by the game.

So the key to AT guns...well, yes, they could potentially fire indirect, but it would be a very rare exception, thheir elevation is quite limited and their velocity far too high. Likewise as pointed out in an earlier comment, they could also attack infantry but that was very much in a local defense role.

AT guns are meant to do one thing...destroy tanks...and they did it very well. So well, that often, AT guns would be used in tank turrets in the end (the Tiger for example carried the much successful 88mm...it was like putting a telephone pole on a turret!).

That being said...this is where the territory of determining how they would work in the M'44 framework becomes tricky.

Here is my current thinking...

AT guns should fire like tanks...in fact they should be a little bit better (optics and a stable firing platform would give them an edge on a tank). So I am not sold on the 3,3,2,2 and would stand by the Randwulf 3,3,3,3. This would seem to be more in accordance with the nature of the weapon.

This brings up a key point. Perhaps they should battle like tanks (terrain dice reduction would certainly apply unlike field guns). The obvious exception here is that they couldn't take ground let alone conduct overruns.

Further, I think they wouldn't be as mobile as infantry so I would go back to having them be ordered and move like artillery. Likewise, they should go back to 2 figures being harder to hit.

So my current change would be....

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are Anti-Tank guns. This unit is ordered and treated like Artillery in every way but the following:
- Requires LOS
- Battles at 3,3,3,3
- Terrain dice reductions apply as if the unit were Armored

Thoughts?

[Updated on: Thu, 07 June 2007 01:02]

      
JMcL63
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Wed, 06 June 2007 17:55
Brummbär wrote on Wed, 06 June 2007 15:47

don't have time to get into a detailed reply...but excellent point JM...will reply soon...

More to follow...



Just for the record: there are various issues I have even with that version suggested above. But my feeling is that to pursue these issues would be to go too far down the road of needless complexity. I'm waiting for Brummbär's considered reply before opening up these issues. Wink
      
Randwulf
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Thu, 07 June 2007 09:24
Brummbär wrote on Wed, 06 June 2007 09:47

So my current change would be....

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are Anti-Tank guns. This unit is ordered and treated like Artillery in every way but the following:
- Requires LOS
- Battles at 3,3,3,3
- Terrain dice reductions apply as if the unit were Armored

Thoughts?





Ok... Are we talking about two figs only hit on a grenade?

I think just because they are very front line units needing LOS that any return fire needs to be at a higher die hit probability. Maybe have the Nappys ( I had to do that ) be hit on Stars and Grenades.
I still like the move 1 and fire or move 2 and no fire simply because they did have to load up fast to get away from incoming fire.

so for my money... 2 figs need two die spots, and 3 figs need three die spots, on any single die throw. Any more and they die way to easy and any less they are to hard to kill.
      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Thu, 07 June 2007 15:42
Randwulf wrote on Thu, 07 June 2007 00:24

Brummbär wrote on Wed, 06 June 2007 09:47

So my current change would be....

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are Anti-Tank guns. This unit is ordered and treated like Artillery in every way but the following:
- Requires LOS
- Battles at 3,3,3,3
- Terrain dice reductions apply as if the unit were Armored

Thoughts?





Ok... Are we talking about two figs only hit on a grenade?




Yeah, I think that would be best. It makes less of the 'exceptions' required to make the unit work (the simpler the better imo).

I'm going to try it out...if anyone else gets a chance to try it, let me know what you think.
      
JMcL63
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 08 June 2007 05:41
Thanks for your generous comments Brummbär. I will reply to your key ideas point-by-point. (Rolling Eyes)

-SNIP-
Brummbär wrote on Wed, 06 June 2007 15:47

So the key to AT guns...well, yes, they could potentially fire indirect, but it would be a very rare exception, thheir elevation is quite limited and their velocity far too high. Likewise as pointed out in an earlier comment, they could also attack infantry but that was very much in a local defense role.

I am agreed that AT shouldn't be able to fire indirect at all. My purpose in raising the points to which Brummbär refers was to bring out clearly the assumptions underlying the whole case for AT as a separate unit type in M44 in the first place: LOS absolutely necessary it is then. Smile

-SNIP-
Quote:

That being said...this is where the territory of determining how they would work in the M'44 framework becomes tricky.

Here is my current thinking...

AT guns should fire like tanks...in fact they should be a little bit better (optics and a stable firing platform would give them an edge on a tank). So I am not sold on the 3,3,2,2 and would stand by the Randwulf 3,3,3,3. This would seem to be more in accordance with the nature of the weapon.

This brings up a key point. Perhaps they should battle like tanks (terrain dice reduction would certainly apply unlike field guns). The obvious exception here is that they couldn't take ground let alone conduct overruns.

Tricky, yes- tricky indeed! Nod All the same, you are here Brummbär bringing up exactly the sort of issues I was alluding to in my previous post. I think we have a consensus on the need for the battle-dice reduction which flows logically from the LOS requirement. The question then becomes whether AT is defined as infantry or armour for the purposes of determining this terrain-derived battle dice reduction. I have to say that, mere armchair student of military history that I am: I am unpersuaded by your argument in favour of Randwulf's version. At the very least I would have to suggest that- gunshields notwithstanding- the simple fact of being open to enemy small-arms fire would make the infantry-type a more suitable version than the armour-type.

There is also the question of range effects on battle dice as per the basic artillery type, but I will return to that after addressing your later thoughts.

Quote:

Further, I think they wouldn't be as mobile as infantry so I would go back to having them be ordered and move like artillery. Likewise, they should go back to 2 figures being harder to hit.

Again, I think we can see a consensus here. Smile

Quote:

So my current change would be....

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are Anti-Tank guns. This unit is ordered and treated like Artillery in every way but the following:
- Requires LOS
- Battles at 3,3,3,3
- Terrain dice reductions apply as if the unit were Armored

Thoughts?

I am still in favour of my previous suggestion.
1. As per Brummbär's suggestion above, except:
2. Battles at 3,3,2,2.
3. Attacks as the Infantry unit type.
For the sake of brevity here, I will return to make my case for this in a later post just asap. Wink
      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Fri, 08 June 2007 17:18
Thanks for the stimulating conversation JMcL63, good to see people still interested in the game and I'm glad you have taken the time here.

I do see problems with your latest incarnation on 2 levels. I'll address the easiest one first.

Quote:

Attacks as the Infantry unit type.


While the argument could be made that the gunners are equiped with small arms for local defense they wouldn't have the same fighting capacity as infantry. These folks are relying on operating the massive chunk of metal they have become so skilled with. That chunk of metal is in fact very similar to a gun on a tank.

That gun is a flat trajectory, high velocity gun that fires (usually) a solid shot...sound familiar? It should that is exactly what a tank does as well. A number of men, spread out with small arms would bring to bear on a town or woods, a totally different form of fire than an anti-tank gun even if firing high-explosive.

So once it has been established that essentialy this is a not so mobile tank (with ironically a lot less protection but we need to keep in the mechanics of the game)...it can only be concluded that it should suffer the same terrain dice reductions as armour as opposed to infantry.

Now as to the second point...

Quote:

Battles at 3,3,2,2


This still sits tough with me...but so does 3,3,3,3

Initially in my advanced rules thinking, I had made distinctions between soft and hard targets. I abandon those distinctions to keep with the spirit of the game. This, however, raised this ugly issue.

As I have shown, this is essentially a tank gun and should fire the same thus at least getting the 3,3,3 part. But the fourth 3 I'm not so sold on, seems a little tough.

Then the problem of infantry enters the equation. AT guns can deal with infantry buut not nearly as effectively as they deal with tanks. so the 3,3,3,3 seems even more overpowered against them.

The advantage of JMcL63's ranging is that it is in line with how the field guns fire and therefore easier for people to remember...it also tends to be a little more forgiving on the infantry which may be worth the sacrifice of the other 3 that would be equal to the tank.

Using this method though would also bring in the neccesity of having terrain dice reduction not equal to those of tanks (otherwise, they wouldn't be able to hit anything in town or woods).

6 of one, half dozen of the other there...same net effect.

Hmmm...sounds like a good excuse for me to play this weekend!

Thanks again JMcL63, always appreciate feedback and views.

[Updated on: Fri, 08 June 2007 18:06]

      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sat, 09 June 2007 16:24
Ok, so I did a playtest of this and here are the conclusions.

First, I don't like the 3,3,3,3 unfortunately it just seems too powerful at that 4th range against infantry. And again, I do like the keeping with the existing artillery that would fall in line with JMcL63's call for 3,3,2,2

However the obstacle to that was the 'terrain dice reduction as armor'. While realistic a problem cropped up in the playtest...and I'm a little surprised nobody caught it. So if they are terrain dice reduced like armor, does that mean they would fire out of towns at -2 as well? Again, realistically that isn't such a bad idea either. However, it soon becomes apparent the faqs that would crop up.

So the more appealing version (as far as keeping it simple like the rest of the game) would be...

Anti-Tank Guns - The Axis artillery with the Axis badge are Anti-Tank guns. This unit is ordered and treated like Artillery in every way but the following...
- Battles at 3,3,2,2
- Requires Line Of Sight
- Terrain dice reductions apply as if the unit were Infantry

One could take it even one step further and drop the terrain dice reduction altogether making it even more like artillery...but if you were to go that far, you might as well stick with the full range as well and just have the exception of LOS.

In the end, I would lean more toward the version put forward by JMcL63 as hashed out by the community.

If anyone gets a chance to playtest this or any of the other methods, I would be interested in your findings. Come back to this thread and let us know.
      
JMcL63
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sat, 09 June 2007 16:52
The firing out of towns issue re. the armour firing-type was one of the issues I'd been going to comment on when I'd returned after my last post. Badger and I played Operation Charnwood twice again last night (results and ratings comments can be found in the usual place). We played it with my own preferred variant rules, and we both liked how they worked. No time to go into further detail, but will be reporting more fully in the appropriate threads, and at RD/KA!, naturally enough. Wink
      
Brummbar
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Re:Artillery - Too much like Napoleonic Cannon? Sat, 09 June 2007 18:31
Just a quick note here. I am trying to establish how AT guns would best work in the current framework of the game. I haven't abandon my advanced Memoir concept (as introduced in the cards posted above). More on that as it develops.

Thanks again to JMcL63 and his fellow player Badger for giving Charnwood a good go and his favorable reviews on that scenario. I hope others get the chance to try it and would appreciate feedback.
      
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