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 Post subject: 5 Artillery. The Guns And Mortars
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Now lets take a look at the Big Guns. The Artillery units.

When you select artillery you may have bought the biggest guns you can afford. This means you have guns that will be causing damage to the enemy and are capable of destroying them. If you have ever been under a barrage of Russian 203's or Naval Guns these guns will kill your units and send the ones that lived running for the rear area. Sort of cool if those are your guns. But is that the artillery you want to spend all of your points on? Probably not. Artillery is a very useful tool in your tool box and you want to have access to it as long as you can. If you use up the points you have to buy those big guns what are you going to do after they are out of ammo and your out of artillery? Your going to be at a major disadvantage.

Consider the value of having more artillery even if it is of a lesser caliber and killing power. The more tubes you have that can fire, the more options you have for laying smoke and for plotting fire.
This is a case of having more tubes rather then having bigger tubes. The real value of the Big Guns
is overlooked by most players. If your opponent has off board artillery and you buy a large off board
gun it will fire counter battery fire on the enemy guns. This can cause them to be out of contact and in some cases destroy a gun. The catch is you can't be using this gun if you want it to act in this way. So you end up with a gun that your not able to use except on special occasions. Not as bad as it sounds if your going to give what I am explaining here some consideration,

Most players will plot fire on the first thing they spot and then each turn after that it is raining steel from an never ending barrage. The problem is that method of use is not effective and is a waste of
ammo and points. But it does seem to work well vs the AI who will pile up routed units for you to kill.

What I suggest players consider is this. Due to ammo loads and the number of rounds your artillery is going to fire in one plotting you have two types of fire. You have Full rate fire and you have half rate fire or less. What I mean by this is that at full rate of fire each tube is firing off about 5 rounds of ammo its as effective as it gets. Once a unit is down on ammo and depending on ammo reload if you use your tubes you will only get a half rate fire out of it since it doesn't have a full ammo load to fire off those 5 rounds. It still looks like your firing and your opponent may even say something. But what is going out is not really all that effective since it is not causing enough damage and suppression to warrant it's use. The suppression is often shrugged off by a single rally attempt if it even was worth the effort of a rally try. Think if it this way. You can make it rain. You have enough power (ammo) to make 5 or 6 really good thunder storms. After that with ammo reloading you can make it drizzle a bit but unless your willing to wait a few turns for the ammo loading to have some chance at restocking the tubes you can't make anymore thunderstorms. The effect on the battle of this half rate rain of steel is mostly in that of creating an area of general suppression. Things will slow down as units lose movement and accuracy and spotting may be effected somewhat due to the smoke and occasional hit. You may even rack up a few 1 or 2 man kills with this sort of fire and get a truck or two with a lucky hit every now and then. This sort of barrage is more of means of slowing down an attack rather then stopping one cold and sending it running back to the safety of its own lines. Not a bad way all in all if you have an enemy who is playing a nation that does not rally well. Note that some nations have the national characteristic that allows them to shrug off the effects of suppression better then others. So knowing who you are going to be shooting at is just one more thing to consider. This sort of half fire blanket of suppression is not always going to be effective use of your artillery fires.

What you want to be doing is saving up your artillery and rather then using it in small bits here and there to annoy an enemy or take out a single unit. Wait and wait some more. Sooner or latter you
will find one way or the other the main point of attack. This is the place where the enemy has put his best stuff and piled it up so that it has the most striking power. This is what you want to drop your artillery plots on. When you do plot your artillery don't get cheap and only plot some of it, use it all. Let them get a taste of everything you have. Plot it in ways that it will cover the area with overlap.

What you have done is spent your points in the most effective manner you can. You hit them hard and you hit them where it matters. As I noted above you can do this about 6 times before its over. If you can not alter the course of the game in those 6 turns by causing maximum damage then there is little hope that you can win that battle in the first place. Needless to say this is the time you want to be counter attacking. You should have saved enough points and learned enough already to have a counter attack force sitting in reserve right?

The goal of your artillery should be more focused on slowing the enemy down rather then killing them. Your not going to be able to kill every unit with artillery fire. Some of it will get routed and some of it will continue on through it as if nothing happened. Use your artillery fire with this in mind, those turns where the enemy is under your artillery fire is when you can move and fight the best. Your attacks should always have artillery support at the point of its contact with the enemy forces. You can not do this if you have wasted it by blasting the scouts and small pockets of enemy you first encountered with your best artillery.

OK you said use it all in big barrages. But does that mean I have to let those targets of opportunity off the hook? No it does not. This is what you have your Mortars for. Mortars are not all that powerful when compared to the guns. But they tend to be a lot more accurate and are portable. Use the Med Mortars to attack the targets of opportunity and use your lt mortars on nearby enemy infantry and on units that have gotten close to your lines. Mortars will reload ammo faster then most of the bigger guns so you may see better use of your ammo with the mortars. Even with ammo you still have the same sort of fire rate as I noted above. So again plotting the guns in massive fires and using the mortars to fire harassing fire and on pin point targets is your best use of the artillery fire you have.

This does not mean that you should plot mortar fire on the scout teams you first encounter. This will
turn out to be a waste of the ammo you have and will give your own mortar positions away to the enemy. What you want to do is let those scouts come on until they are in range of your own mg's and light mortars. These units have the best chance of killing the scout teams. Save your medium mortars for guns and infantry squads who will lose men and effectiveness to the damage the medium mortar can do.

Rockets. New players tend to love them. Most players don't bother with them since they have so little ammo. Rockets have really only 1 use and that is to use them in a massive barrage with the intent of causing a large amount of suppression on an area prior to an attack hitting that same area. Even with ammo reloading your use of them is best left to full barrages and not at half rate of fire. Use them all at once and then let them load back up. In a 20 turn game you should be able to use them at least two or three times with no problems. Adding a few rockets into a Artillery Barrage made up of your guns and mortars will really give it that extra boost. Rockets are not very accurate and will only cause a lot of holes and suppression. Every so often they score a kill on a hard target.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery The Big Guns
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:28 pm 
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So lets recap where and on what you should use your Artillery on.

Light Mortars should be used on units that are close to your own infantry with the goal of suppression
this allows your own infantry to fire on them with a higher chance of success and reduces the chance that the unit in question can op fire on your units. Don't ever overlook the Light Mortars ability to
keep the enemy infantry off of your own units. At the limited range these weapons have they are
even useful in taking out armor with a top hit. These little tubes are worth taking good care of.

Medium Mortars and Light Artillery guns are best used on infantry and guns you have spotted. They will cause some damage and suppression and like the light mortars allow your own units to function better. Casualties are a side benefit the main effect you can expect is to pin the enemy squad and reduce the ability to shoot back at your own units. These units are good to use on anti-tank guns
to suppress them.

The units above tend to be more accurate and are best used when you are firing on pin point locations where accuracy matters. The units listed below tend to be less accurate and tend to effect the area around your plotted hex.

These guns listed below if bought in off board units will counter battery fire on enemy off board artillery if you do not use them. This is something that can't hurt to have available but since you can not control it your not going to want to spend points on them for this use alone. Consider 1 battery of off board guns for this purpose if you have the points to spare but don't make these guns your only artillery.

The Medium Artillery which is in the range of 100mm to 147mm are going to be the most common guns you will find on the battlefield. These guns should be used to alter the course of the battle
when they fire. You want to plot them in mass and on a concentration of enemy units with the intent of creating an area of suppression and hopefully some kills. This sort of use will send some enemy units running to the rear and cause most of them to become pinned. This buys you time to organize your own forces to deal with the enemy attack. Heavy mortars would fall into this category and
while they are somewhat accurate they are best used like these guns rather the as a medium mortar
or light artillery gun might be used.

The Heavy Artillery which are the larger guns in the range of 150mm to 203mm or larger are used in
similar ways as the Medium artillery but cause more damage and more suppression. They often have less ammo and cost more points so there use almost demands that they have good targets to fire on or you will end up wasting the points you spent to buy them.

Super Heavy Artillery such as Rail Guns and Naval Guns can be very destructive and like the Heavy Artillery almost always have a limited ammo supply. Always attempt to plot them at the largest mass of enemy forces you can find since they will kill and destroy the area creating a moonscape of impact craters that can be latter used by infantry for cover. You can expect these types of guns to do a lot of damage but the cost for them is often so high that there use should be planned for those moments when you can follow up the barrage with your own attack to secure the area.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery The Big Guns
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Calling in Artillery

When you call in your artillery plot your committing to fire on a target that will sooner or latter be destroyed or move out from under your plot. This cost you an order to call in and will cost you another order to plot it latter at a different location. Where those orders come from can mean the difference between a unit being able to move or change stance and it can mean that you may have to settle for a less then optimum response time for plots when the unit with the best response times runs out of orders.

You can do something to limit this with out the need to buy a lot of expensive FO units that are not going to be all that useful for anything else. Learn different ways to get what you need out of your artillery with out spending a lot of points on units just to spot for them. You have several options if your willing to filter your artillery calls and plan them better. Using these methods you can also take
some of the sting out of long response times.

In the previous section you learned that it is a waste to fire the larger guns on the first scout team you spot and even a mortar may be a waste since your not going to kill that scout team unless your very lucky. All you will have done is give the enemy a smoke plume to counter battery fire on. Your best bet in this case is to wait to see what is following those scouts. Let the scouts go. Wait for the Infantry or Armor they are scouting for to make an appearance. Infantry who are subject to an artillery barrage will not spot well, suffer from suppression that will reduce there ability to shoot accurately and often they will become pinned down stalling out the attack and allowing you to bring your own forces into the fight. This is the purpose your artillery serves. Even Armor is effected it too will start to take suppression and will force the crews to button up making there own shots less effective. This is why you drop artillery fire on armor. If you have been doing it in the hopes of scoring a top hit your wasting your ammo and squandering the major effect your artillery can have on altering the course of a battle. The number of top hits you score will be minimal compared to the damage your artillery can do to stop the enemy infantry who are much more likely to die when hit with artillery. Pick your targets with the intent of getting the best value from the weapons your using against them.

When players call artillery they often think that the best unit to do that is the FO they bought. They are wrong. All they get from that is a bit faster response time. Players who are plotting artillery with this method are not thinking about what they are doing they are reacting to the enemy which is exactly the wrong thing to do. I will go over that latter. For now lets look closer at the planning that should go into calls for artillery. When you need artillery you often need it either to save your bacon from a strong enemy attack that is almost on top of you. You need to slow them down fast.

This is a priority call for help. Most other calls for artillery are made with the intent of doing damage to the enemy to hurt them but they are not calls made to save your own men from certain death. While important they are not a priority. This is what I mean when I say you need to filter your calls for artillery and decided on which ones earn the right to use the fastest response time and which ones can make due with a longer response time. Fast response times are something that players who have not taken the time to learn better ways of handling artillery all crave. For them every call is a priority call and they want kills now.

Response times vary from nation to nation and even from what unit is making the call. For the most part an FO who's main task on the battlefield is to call for and spot for artillery and air strikes is the best man to use. In theory this is correct. In practice few players want to risk putting the FO in the
front lines to act as a spotter and they want them to remain in contact at all times so they end up putting them near the A0 HQ to insure this happens. When they want artillery they go to that FO and plot the fire expecting a short response time. This is common among players who are not using command and control. Those using it will know that is not the best man to make the call most of the time. Who is?

The answer is a bit more complicated. Lets look at this. Your spending an order for every plot and your adding delay to adjust that fire once it is plotted. The game will give you better accuracy if your spotter has eyes on the target which translates into more effective fires. More hits and more damage done to the enemy. The stated purpose of artillery. So if you consider this you have two forms of artillery fire spotted and unspotted. You also have fast response and a delayed response. So there is more to just artillery then most players think. It comes down to how fast do I need the rounds to begin falling and how accurate do I need them to be. With this in mind your best man would be an FO who can see the target. There may be alternates and until you look you may not of considered them. If your artillery has an HQ unit that unit may have very fast response times for the units under there control. If there is no HQ unit then the 0 unit is acting as the HQ for that formation and it may have good times for itself and only slightly longer times for the remaining units in the formation. These could even be better then the FO's times. You won't know for sure until you look. It may be no one is better then your FO. But do you really need that FO to make every call just to have a fast response time. The answer is no if your planning your fires. Fast response times are always desired by players who want instant results, those who can exercise a bit of patience can fire more accurate fire and do it with very little real cost in orders.

The question you should ask yourself before you click on the B button to call for artillery is how fast do I need to have it? Unless this is one of those priority calls to save a unit about to be overrun by the enemy you do have time. You really do not need to hit the enemy this turn unless you are already in a position to shoot at them with other units.

Did you catch that last part? One more time.......

Unless this is one of those priority calls to save a unit about to be overrun by the enemy you do have time. You really do not need to hit the enemy this turn unless you are already in a position to shoot at them with other units. This is perhaps the best measure of need for an Artillery call. Can other units put fire on the target possibly leading to a sure kill? You always want to follow up on the rain of steel your about to unleash and take advantage of the suppression that your going to put on the enemy units. If the answer is no then the artillery will most likely be a wasted. Unless your using heavy or super heavy artillery you can not expect it to kill enemy units.

What this means is you want to save your artillery either to save your bacon latter when it is needed or on a target that your other units are about to open fire on. There is little point in dropping a lot of artillery on the enemy units if your not going to follow up on it and attack them while they are suppressed. You might as well just give the enemy player your ammo crates because your sure wasting it. You missed the other fact about artillery. It is much better at causing suppression then it is at killing. You will have to suppress an enemy unit before killing it and if your using your best form of creating suppression on units that your not going to be firing at your wasting it.

Ok I get it. Answer the question who is the best unit to use to call artillery?

The answer is if you need it yesterday use the FO and shift it with a unit that has eyes on the fall of shot. You want the spotting unit to be the last unit to touch the plot. This is the only way to get a fast fall of shot and get the built in bonus of having spotted fire, Spotted fire is 50% more effective then non-spotted fire. Makes you wonder why players don't take advantage of this more often.

Too keep the F0 from being swamped or to keep you from buying a bunch of F0's you can use the
scout teams that have eyes on the target and just accept the delay or plot it so it has a 1.0 or 1.1
delay so that you can have it next turn and adjust it for a fall of shot at the end of your turn.
If the enemy is not going to be able to move out of sight of your spotter you don't need to have it
yesterday. Take your time and get that bonus for spotted fire. You can always place plots well in
advance of need and shift them to delay the fall of shot until you have a solid target worth shooting at.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery The Big Guns
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Artillery can alter the the games outcome

This is never more true then with the use of command and control turned on. The reason for it is simple. Orders. HQ units that become pinned no longer receive incoming orders each turn. When you are on the attack and have flags set in front of your forces your committed to moving forward towards the enemy. If you want to break off the attack and move back to your own start lines for the attack your going to need orders to move the flags to a location behind your current position. If your HQ's are under an artillery barrage and not getting new orders each turn your not going to be able to alter the flag locations. Your pinned down and can do nothing about it until you can get the 3 orders to reset the flags. At best you may be able to dig in the HQ with 1 order and turn off the weapons in hopes that it will become hidden and take less damage and suppression and that sooner or latter the enemy will shift fire off of the area the HQ is in. You can not do what the players not using command and control do and that is move out of the area in any direction necessary to avoid the fire. Your in a much different situation. It means that once the artillery starts falling on your leading units you have maybe a turn or two at best to decide if your attack is going to go in as planed or if you need to shift the flags and call it off. With everything hanging on the decision your going to have to make a call that will effect not only your own plans but possibly the outcome of the game as a whole. You have to make this call before your platoon HQ's lose orders and you want to take steps to prevent the company HQ and A0 HQ from losing orders. So you may have to stop them cold in there tracks and change stance on them setting them to defend mode. If you continue the attack and they too come under fire and lose orders you lose any possible chance of getting new orders to reset your flags until the enemy fire lifts.

When on defense you should have your flags set behind you already so that your units can freely fall back if pressed to hard. This along with being in defend stance and being dug in hopefully in good terrain that offers you some bonus when in it, that you may be able to keep most of your forces intact and still mount a decent defense, Your only worry will be if you are pushed out of your holes and have to fall back that the enemy will shift his fires with you as you try to fall back to new positions. Hopefully you have set the flags far enough in your own rear area to allow you to keep running until your out from under the barrage and can stop running long enough to dig in again.

In both cases it should be clear that Artillery is now a much more powerful tool then it is in a game with out command and control on. Counter battery fire is more valuable to you as a weapon and the selection and use of your artillery is even more important to the outcome of a battle. This alone should convince you to alter the way you think about it and how you plot it. Maintaining it through not only ammo supply but by weeding out the unnecessary use of it to make attempts to kill off single units or to drop fire on suspected locations with out having spotted the enemy means your only wasting one of the most powerful weapons you have. A weapon capable of stalling and turning back an enemy attack.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery. The Guns And Mortars
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Here is what I thought to be an interesting post about arty in PBEM with SPWW2. Much of it is similar to NAT's advice. It points out though that different games and different styles of play have different decisions. If you happen to play an opponent that comes to WAW and C&C from another style of play, you may need to know why he is doing what he is doing or going to do.

http://www.theblitz.org/message_boards/ ... ?tid=54998

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery. The Guns And Mortars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:47 am 
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I agree with it except for a few things.

Smoke is not going to make an AT gun worthless if the visibility is set over 24
Unless the Win SP game has smoke that acts like a force field all the time.

Mortars are more accurate if within 20 hexes of the target. Only at long range will they
start to scatter. He admits he is often shooting long range so maybe that is what he based
his opinion on. Maybe he needs to look at where he is putting his mortars. They should be
close to the front lines.

I found the general idea of going with mostly on board arty to allow ammo resupply and his
ideas of where to put it to be something that I would not necessarily recommend.

And the guy with the 30% of points on Arty..... Please.... I don't even want to tell you what
I think of that.

But other then that good stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery. The Guns And Mortars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:41 am 
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IIRC WinSP allows Z fire through smoke and you cannot plot OB arty to land at the end of your turn or something like that so that the enemy has a chance to move first.

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 Post subject: Re: 5 Artillery. The Guns And Mortars
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:09 pm 
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It's been years since I played Win SP. But I do like the idea of not being able to plot
artillery that quick so you actually have to work a bit at it.

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