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"How does artillery work, and is it correct in games?" Topic


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mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 12:47 p.m. PST

I was watching a movie, and realized that I've seen this fairly often in movies: spotter calls for fire; the round impacts; he adjusts it once or twice; then calls "fire for effect," and they blow the hell out of the target. On the other hand, I've also seen movies (Platoon) where a whole barrage seems to come down on friendly troops. Well, which one is correct?

If you have spotting rounds, it seems unlikely that the barrage would somehow end up at the wrong place. In that instance, artillery scatter rules don't make much sense except maybe in a skirmish game where a round falls short.

On the other hand, if the fire comes in all at once, I can see it scattering. But wouldn't it make more sense to use spotting rounds instead?

I guess I'm confused about how a fire mission works. Could you have both types? Is not using spotting rounds just a risk you take? Does the answer change from WW2 to the modern era?

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 1:03 p.m. PST

An observer can adjust fire based on his observations. In this scenario the observer gives map coordinates and the artillery fires one round, often smoke, and he adjusts from there. Once it lands where he wants it to land, he tells them to fire for effect and the whole battery or more fires a lot of rounds on that one location.

Artillery can also have pre-planned fire locations. Typically a hill top, or cross roads or such obvious location. The observer calls for fire on Position One, and without any spotting rounds needed a whole load of artillery falls on that crossroads, or clump of trees.

The problem with both of these techniques is they require accuracy in map reading, perfect transcription of data, proper dialing in of the coordinates to the guns. There are many decision points were something could go wrong in artillery from WWII until computers and GPS took over much of the work.

It's not unusual for observers to think they are on hill 25 when they are on hill 28. So they think they are calling in artillery on the enemy but are calling it in on themselves. Or the powder is damp, the wind is blowing, the guns are worn out, or many other possible errors, omissions, or misunderstandings happen.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

redbanner414507 Apr 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

What a great answer Bunkermeister.

Legion 407 Apr 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

Yes what Mike said, is pretty much all correct. [He may have been in the military ?] 99% of the time the FA batterie(s) never see their target(s).

And it is called in by an FO/"Spotter", as we were all trained to call-in Indirect Fire assets. Basically from E-4 on up. Usually it is called in by a Plt Ldr or Co Cdr. Or the FO that is attached to the unit. Based on the PL's/Cdr's guidance.

Again as Mike pointed out, we could also have pre-plotted locations. On key terrain, etc. Those pre-plotted locations, were numbered like AB1001. And the grids to AB1001 were already plotted. And the guns just put in those grids and fire. By the FO requesting fire on AB1001.

There are a number of things that make a call for fire "accurate" or not. As already noted. Giving the wrong grid coordinates is one of the easiest ways to mess up. As was seen in the movie "Platoon".

Yes, and at times a spotting round(s) could be called in and adjust off that. When not firing pre-plots. Or just a battery will fire all it guns [usually 4-8 depending on the time frame, etc.]on the initial grids, given by the caller. Sometimes you don't have the time or even in a situation in closed terrain like the jungle to use a spotting round.

The old "joke/saying" was if a round(s) land in front of your location. Then behind it. The next one will be on target You !

RudyNelson07 Apr 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

In our 1981 set of WW2 tank vs tank rules titled Fire! Goon! And Freur!, we us d the artillery call for fire section out of the mortar gun nary manual. The time delay, request to rounds landing was based on various post war reports on combat.

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Apr 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

Yes what Mike said, that is all generally correct. 99% of the time the FA batterie(s) never see their target(s).

Nonsense – I see them crammed on the table to all the time! ;)

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 3:06 p.m. PST

Thanks L4, but I'm just a well-read amateur.

So, if all of that is potentially correct, should random scattering rules be used (on a roll of 10-11, you scatter one hex, on a roll of 12….)? Should I make a rule that allows spotting rounds (one turn delay, but no scatter)? Something else?

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 3:24 p.m. PST

Good description Legion. It all comes down to having a damn good FO and a good FDC section. When I was in the service stateside our FDC was not permitted to use the computers. The Sergeant in charge only wanted them to use paper and pencil because he believed they needed to be ready in the event the computer crashed.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 3:54 p.m. PST

I don't know if this was country-wide or not but the rate of friendly artillery fire incidents where I was in Vietnam (at least during my second tour) was high enough that the first round fired was a "safety round", usually a white phosphorus airburst, that could be used as a spotting round but was actually intended to warn the occasional idiot who was holding his map upside down (in one case I remember, both upside down and the wrong map) that he was about to get a battery six by six dropped on his head.

LT

badger2207 Apr 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

Skeets I did something similar but not quite. The problem is the computer doesnt get tired and soldiers do. And besides, you should always use 2 methods, compare the results to see if something is screwed up, then shoot.

So I always had the manual team race the computer team. Often I worked the chart myself as I has very fast, and it is a lot more fun than punching buttons.

As for the OP. Missions can be called in adjust fire, if you are not sure of everything, or fire for effect if you think everything is perfect. Before GPS almost everything wasa adjust fire. Also, the observer can call anything he wants, it is up to the FDC to decide what he really gets, if anything. One time in desert storm I had 6 missons stacked up. Folks in contact can call them in a lot faster than we can shoot them.

We also dont carry a huge amount of ammo. It might seem like it until you start shoving them out the tube, then it can run down fast. Running out one night was about the ugliest feeling I ever had.

mwindsorfw if you have large scatter it is human error. Yes lots of things push the rounds around, but all together they dont move them more than a couple of hundred meters, and often various things cancel each other out.

Owen

Dn Jackson07 Apr 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

I was Marine FDC in the 80s-90s. I agree with most of what Mike said. However, I don't believe we ever used smoke as spotting rounds, they have different weight so different ballistics compared to HE. And, again from long ago memory, our smoke was base ejecting so it didn't impact on the target, but went off above it.

Also, during Desert Storm, we often got fire missions directly from battalion HQ, so no direct communication from the FO.

We could do all sorts of cool things with artillery. Land the rounds along a roadway in a line or following the curve of the road, in an oval or, like we did 99% of the time, in a circle over the impact point. We could do 'time on target' missions where we hit a target at a specific time. This could be devastating if an entire battalion fired so all the rounds hit at once. We could do 'high angle/low angle' missions where the gun fired one round at a very high angle and a second at a low angle with less powder so that both rounds hit at the same time.

I would suggest some drift might be reasonable in a skirmish game, but if the FO walks it in there should be very little.

Pre-plotted targets should also have very little the major drift factors being things like powder temperature, air density, wind speed, barrel droop, etc. All relatively minor variations.

My father told me a story once from when he was in Vietnam, (USMC did three tours). The FO called in a destroyer, (5 inch guns), for a fire mission. The spotting round landed and was adjusted, "Left 200 drop 100" A second spotting round landed and was adjusted, "Right 100 add 50". Another round landed. "Left 50 drop 25". Another round was fired. "Secure guns. You got him." They had used a 5" gun and adjusted it in on a single target. A sniper I believe.

Dn Jackson07 Apr 2017 4:36 p.m. PST

Owen, I agree about running out of ammo fast. We had a fork lift assigned to us that was dropping ammo on the gun line on a regular basis. One of the most sobering things I've ever seen was when the sun came up, (it only got a little brighter because of the oil fires), and one of the gun crews looked at a full pallet of 155 ammo had been dropped next to the gun during the night, and realized that about three feet away was a partially uncovered anti-tank mine. Just a few feet to one side would have been a disaster for the battery.

badger2207 Apr 2017 4:51 p.m. PST

That just made my blood run cold. Our 1sg came driving up to a 109 waving like crazy, so the driver pulled off of the little track he was on. When top stopped staring at him in disbelief he point to a AT mine setting on the top of the ground that he had just straddled.

I hate mines. And morters


Owen

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 5:16 p.m. PST

Badger22 begs another question. How is a mortar mission different?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Apr 2017 5:27 p.m. PST

Dn Jackson: Had a Vietnam vet NCO tell how his unit got lured out of range of their mortars when they got hit in ambush. In panic the FO called for any help they could get. Voice on the radio said " back off and give me a 4 digit grid". Now a 4 digit grid is a 1000m square. Grid sent and "Shot Over". RTO says to the FO "Are there trains in 'Nam?".

Fire support courtesy of the USS New Jersey

TNE230007 Apr 2017 6:20 p.m. PST

I've also seen movies (Platoon) where a whole barrage seems to come down on friendly troops.

Giving the wrong grid coordinates is one of the easiest ways to mess up. As was seen in the movie "Platoon".

as I recall
the friendly fire in platoon was intentional
YouTube link

Mako11 Inactive Member07 Apr 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

I suspect a lot of friendly fire occurs due to sleep deprivation of the troops.

People get rather stupid surprisingly quickly, when they don't get sleep. It's like being drunk, but without the hangover.

gamershs07 Apr 2017 9:35 p.m. PST

Was in FDC in late 70's and there are other factors that effect the accuracy.

Do the guns know where they are. In the days before GPS this could cause problems especially if the guns were moving when the fire order came down.

Have the guns been firing recently, what is the wear on the barrels, what is the air temperature (at different altitudes), propellant temperature and wind velocity (at different altitudes). These factors can add hundreds of meters in some cases.

One thing that I have never seen in any game was that after firing a mission where we knew what adjustments had been made we could add those adjustments to our future missions (used a special slide rule – called it a "hot stick" after making adjustments) and for the next hour or so be extremely accurate on first rounds.

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 12:14 a.m. PST

I think most things have been covered here, human error is by far the biggest factor in things going wrong. My favourite joke when I was the CO's MFC "rounds in the air sir, where do you want em"

Martin Rapier08 Apr 2017 12:17 a.m. PST

One of my gaming pals is an ex gunner.

On one mission they fired one gun crew misheard the charge settings and managed to shell a friendly battalion HQ (the other guns were all on target).

Lots and lots of things can go wrong when shooting at stuff you can't see, and the people calling the missions aren't quite sure where they are, where the target is, and the gunners aren't quite sure where they are either.

Even calling up, down etc is difficult as the guns are rarely sited perpendicular to the observer.

Andy ONeill08 Apr 2017 1:29 a.m. PST

There's plenty of scope for human error. If you're sleep deprived, extremely stressed, physically run down and ultra stressed then you're going to make mistakes.

In ww2 it was very difficult to spot rounds in forest ( or bua ). One tactic the Germans used was for the spotter to go directly towards an enemy position trailing a cord of a known length. He'd use this to get a good measurement of range and then head back to his mortars. They would then fire. He heads back to check effect.

Vigilant08 Apr 2017 3:17 a.m. PST

They don't call the artillery "drop shorts" for nothing:)

badger2208 Apr 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

Something not often commented on is amount of filler. The US 16"/50 only had about 1% explosive in an AP round and 2% in whatever the navy called an HE round. In contrast my 155mm shells had several times that as a percentage, but of course way less as a total. And mortars have an even higher percentage. So those little 81mm rounds dont go very far, but they do have a pretty good bang.

Owen

foxweasel Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

Lethal effects for modern 81 and 105 is the same.

RudyNelson08 Apr 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

Wimpy 81mm mortar men. Play with my big boy 4.2" rounds and you will never want to go back. Lol. Sounds good but the real reason why you do not want to go back, is that 4.2" men ride and 81mm guys hump the mortars on their back. The lack of explosive on an AT round is common. We did not have any explosive in a SABOT round for the tank gun. HE-P round had a lot. The HE-AT round had some but used mainly the hot gas stream to penetrate.

Legion 408 Apr 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

Nonsense I see them crammed on the table to all the time! ;)
Yeah, in theory all that FA on the board should be in a room next door ! wink

Thanks L4, but I'm just a well-read amateur.
I see that. thumbs up

So, if all of that is potentially correct, should random scattering rules be used (on a roll of 10-11, you scatter one hex, on a roll of 12….)? Should I make a rule that allows spotting rounds (one turn delay, but no scatter)? Something else?

Well here's generally what were do. Based on a few gaming systems. It seems to cover the "situation" pretty well …

The FO does a commo roll. To see if the call for fire even gets there.

1d6 1-5 it's good. And the fire comes in.
If a 6 is rolled. Something went wrong.

Roll another 1d6 :

1-3 = The commo failed. Nothing happens … frown

4-6 = Place a circular scatter template* on the target.

Roll 1d6 for direction and 2d6 for distance.

The scatter template distance is from the edge of the original target template to the edge of another scatter template. On the area where the scattered rounds go.

* Scatter Template … We play 6mm. And generally use a 6cm diameter round template. For the blast radius. And the template has 1-6 on the edges.

1= towards enemy side

6= pointing to friendly side

2-4 evenly placed clockwise on the template. We use the templates that came with one of the games.

But there are other ways to divine direction and distance. But you get the idea.

And you can even use different sized templates based on size of the rounds. E.g. Light … Medium … Heavy …

Legion 408 Apr 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

I suspect a lot of friendly fire occurs due to sleep deprivation of the troops.
That is just one of a number of reasons. However, in many cases with our 81 & 4.2' mortars you has 3 gunners working on a firing solution. They all have to agree to fire the rounds.

But again, they don't see the target so they are relying on the FO's grids. As Skeets noted … If the FO sends the wrong coordinates or they are taken down wrong … SBleeped textT Happens ! frown

Korvessa08 Apr 2017 8:14 p.m. PST

Random thoughts

Worked with a guy a number of years ago who was an arty officer in Korean War. Couldn't read a map to save his life (almost 40 years later)

My dad (US Paratrooper) says he saw a guy take a mortar hit to the head – dud – survived. Kept saying "Jeez I'm lucky" over and over again

Martin Rapier08 Apr 2017 10:50 p.m. PST

One thing not often modelled in Wargames rush are safe zones, for larger calibre rounds these are enormous (Iirc at least 400 yards for 155mm). Instead, we like to park our little lead heroes right up at the edge of the barrage.

Artillery drift rules discourage this, although it would probably be more realistic to have, say, a battery beaten of of 200x200 yards, but then a danger zone of another couple of hundred yards around that.

UshCha08 Apr 2017 11:04 p.m. PST

Our rules Maneouver Group has a reasonable figure for the danger area based on gun type (morter or gun) and range. However we often cheat and use the minimum which is 200 yds eother end of thr braten zone in the gun line, none perpendicular to the gun line. It could be done more accurately but for our simulation the whole basis is KISS. Like in many simulations and approximation is sufficent.

Legion 409 Apr 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

When calling in FA near your own units. The closest you could be is 300m. Known as Danger Close. For CAS it was 600m.

The NVA based on Russian doctrine, IIRC. Used a technique that was called "hugging" or some version of that term. They tried to stay close to the US units in combat. So the US may not call in supporting fires for fear of hitting our own troops.

Instead, we like to park our little lead heroes right up at the edge of the barrage.
Yes, generally we all see what can be simulated on the table vs. real world can only go so far. frown

Simo Hayha09 Apr 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

Platoon
I can remember 2 arty calls in the movie. One the guy gives the wrong coordinates the other the captain? calls a final protective fire. This an arty call on ones own position, generally used to cover a withdrawl, but in an emergency it can be used to call arty in on your own troops when they are in cover. This would be a preplanned mission (immediate fir for effect i think).

YouTube link

Simo Hayha09 Apr 2017 11:16 a.m. PST

In WWI they wanted to follow barrages as close as 100m. They accepted taking friendly fire casualties from short rounds. Can't imagine going over the top into that.

gamershs09 Apr 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

Actually a rolling barrage was used in WW2. At second battle of El-Alamain it was used by the British to get through the mine fields and front lines. It didn't work that well.

Errors can happen. Was at a training area in Germany and a battery was firing missions behind us and rounds going over us. We were at a baseball diamond and most of section was out shagging balls while I was reading in the bleachers. I suspect the battery was firing time delay rounds and someone set the wrong fuse setting (example 3.2 seconds not 32 seconds). Round went off above us and I hit ground and made myself as small as possible. About 3 seconds later I looked up and everyone in the field had done the same. What saved us was that the round had been climbing and so the fragments scattered away from us. NOT FUN! :<

christot09 Apr 2017 10:52 p.m. PST

The British used rolling barrages throughout WWII, not just at El Alamein, with varying degrees of success. Troops were encouraged to "hug" the barrage, friendly casualties were expected and deemed an acceptable risk

Lion in the Stars09 Apr 2017 10:52 p.m. PST

People get rather stupid surprisingly quickly, when they don't get sleep. It's like being drunk, but without the hangover.
Takes longer to get functional again, too.

It's why a lot of training happens while you're semi-sleep-deprived, just to get the reflexes in while you're brain-dead.

I had a new CO call a fire drill at 0400 one morning. First Hose team (First Hose team was also not the guys getting off-watch, IIRC) showed up in their skivvies, because a fire on a sub is the most terrifying thing you can imagine.

Ever been completely unable to escape from something that will kill you? Now imagine something that leaves you blind and choking in about a minute. That is also attempting to kill you by burning so hot that your bones are welded to the freaking steel deck.

As you might imagine, the crew was NOT happy at the new CO for the false alarm. I think he ended up buying steaks out of his own pocket as an apology.

Skarper10 Apr 2017 1:27 a.m. PST

It's quite difficult to get dice to produce the right kind of scatter effect.

Once the FO has observed a couple of spotting rounds they will be able to get the rounds on target – subject to a rare random event of some kind.

But the initial rounds could be way off target, though with a fairly high probability they will be fairly close. Missing by a wide margin is usually due to human error, wrong grid, wrong adjustment on the gun/charge etc. In the heat of action these would be common but the people involved were usually well trained and doing the job every day so generally got it right.

As far as I can make out, the British tended to ignore a lot of details the US tried to account for and just dumped extra rounds/batteries on the target area hoping the errors would cancel out. Doubtless this led to some avoidable friendly fire casualties but I gather it was held to save lives in the long run. It seems from what I've read the British didn't use spotting rounds [or not much] but simply opened up with full salvos.

The US tended to take a minute or two longer to get their guns 'firing for effect' but were then more likely to be precise. This allowed them to use artillery in circumstances the Royal Artillery system would have been too risky. Mortars of course can fill this gap.

I read in some book years ago that PAVN troops at least sometimes tried to overrun US positions THROUGH their own mortar fire since this was less risky than letting the US troops use their small arms firepower. I can't remember the book now but it was the memoir of a US officer so I gave it reasonable credence. How often this happened I'm less clear on.

Legion 410 Apr 2017 7:18 a.m. PST

Platoon
I can remember 2 arty calls in the movie. One the guy gives the wrong coordinates the other the captain? calls a final protective fire. This an arty call on ones own position, generally used to cover a withdrawl, but in an emergency it can be used to call arty in on your own troops when they are in cover. This would be a preplanned mission (immediate fir for effect i think).
The wrong grids were called in by the Plt Ldr. A 2 or 1 LT. LTs are the "PVTs" of the Officer Corps generally. [I know I was one old fart]Unless they are Prior Service … But there are no guarantees …

Yes, you can call for fire on your own troops/positions. But that really is a last resort. The SBleeped textT has hit the fan and then some. It's not doctrine, but SBleeped textT seems to happen in the field.

It may or may not be a Pre Planned Fire. Sometimes you are in a Deliberate Def Pos. So you just call for fire on yourself. Other times … well … it's a bad situation … and you hope that never happens. Purple Hearts, Bronze & Silver Stars, etc. all around. But those don't mean much if you are KIA'd or maimed … frown

Apache 610 Apr 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

Huge differences between WWII and modern on the accuracy of artillery and mortars.

Improvements in mapping, GPS and laser range finders for the forward observers, make first round effects on targets likely.

During WWII, the observer had to track his location and was usually estimating distance to the target (except in prepared defense). They passed call for fire to a battery that was located by map coordinates, the map may or not have been accurate.

Additionally digital fire controls, and transmission to the gun lines reduces the chances of miss-hearing the coordinates, charges, or azimuths.

Modern artillery and mortars is FAR more accurate, and thus effective, then WWII artillery. That is just firing normal rounds. Guided artillery rounds are available, but remain expensive and rare.

The increased accuracy allows for less rounds to be fired to accomplish the same mission, making the battery or mortar section's combat load last much longer.

I think GPS and laser range finders became 'common issue' for US units around mid 1980s, pretty well integrated by the Desert Strom time frame. We (USMC) had GPS and laser range finders down to the Rifle Company level in Desert Storm. If I remember right our rifle company had two GPS sets when we deployed, then received four more while we were deployed. We had two laser range finders. I was a mortar section leader at that time, we got one of the GPS and a laser range finder. We never fired in combat, being used to process a LOT of POWs instead.

I think most countries military would be using the same by 2000 or so.

One thing that gamers sometimes 'don't get' is that a piece of kit may be fielded on a certain date, but it often takes some time for the units to use that kit effectively and integrate it into their operations.

I'm sure someone on this list might know from personal experience when the artillery battalions would have gotten the capabilities. Does anyone else have better time for artillery?

Legion 410 Apr 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

One thing that gamers sometimes 'don't get' is that a piece of kit may be fielded on a certain date, but it often takes some time for the units to use that kit effectively and integrate it into their operations.
Yes, you see something like that with many, e.g. Mid East and even African Forces. They may have the equipment, but do not really know how to use it effectively, etc., …

number410 Apr 2017 6:49 p.m. PST

They don't call the artillery "drop shorts" for nothing:)

Hey, as a gunner veteran myself, I can assure you we don't drop our shorts for just anybody!

I was in when the first computerized FDC systems were being fielded circa. 1975. They worked. Sometimes. The old map & slide rule routine was still followed in parallel with the computer even on those days when it did work.

As other posters have pointed out, there is still a lot that can go wrong, although human error in our case was minimized with *every* order being written down and read back. You see newsreels from WWII gun positions and the gun commanders have a piece of paper in their hand – this isn't a map it's a note pad and every setting set to them is written down before being applied to the gun sight. Germans, Russians, you can see they all did it. If something went wrong, they can walk it back and find out why.

There are still unpredictable factors at work though – is the met. report accurate and up to date? The weather up there beyond the clouds can do screwy things to shells. We even had one go off in mid flight one night – over a civilian area too. That's when the brown stuff really collides with the turbo prop.

On the gaming table, artillery shoots 'on the fly' at opportunity targets are vastly over represented. Most of it is plotted well ahead of any attack, both by the attackers in their fire plan and the defenders who will have adjusted their own guns or mortars on likely avenues of approach and forming up points. FPF is the last ditch barrage in front of your positions (not on top of them) which gets automatic priority in calls for fire.

Legion 411 Apr 2017 5:58 a.m. PST

I can assure you we don't drop our shorts for just anybody!
And us former Grunts are glad of it ! wink

But yes, I remember our Bn 4.2' Mortars on the DMZ, during a live fire exercise. Had a round fall far short of the target. And no one made an error. The round for some reason malfunctioned. Fortunately no one was hurt. As it landed no where near anything it could do any damage to.

And e.g. recently with the US TLAM Strike in Syria. Of the 60 TLAMs launched. One failed and fell short into the sea.

Again, SBleeped textT happens. And Murphy frequently raises his's ugly head, at times …

lincolnlog12 Apr 2017 2:23 a.m. PST

The U.S. uses three primary means of call for fire. The Grid method as mentioned above is the most commonly used by non-FA FO's. When TRP's (Target Reference Points) were used, a method called Shift from a Known Point was utilized. And of course you could use the old Polar method which assumes the FO's position is known, and he provided an azimuth and distance to target from the observers position.

We always had a FIST team attached to our Company, and the FIST team normally assigned an FO to our PLT HQ section. But we were still taught how to call for fire and it was a task on the EIB test. I remember the old multiple guess SQT tests, and the level 2 and 3 tests had call for fire on them.

Some of the things I see wrong in modern games: helicopters in the area when indirect fire is called. No way, the skies have to be clear. HE destroying MBT's, nope, may take a track off, jam the turret, shave off the radio antennas, really mess up external stowage. The US Copperhead round would kill an MBT, but had to be laser guided by a FIST FO. There was a Fist track that looked exactly like an ITV (the M981 FIST-V) that had the laser designator in the hammer head. But, Copperhead rounds should be limited in number per turn. See many games where players call artillery in on a unit that is too close to your frontline trace. IRRC danger close was 600meters.

Delay on company level 81mm prior to Div 86 TO&E should be very short, delay on BN level 4.2" a little longer, and delay on 155mm/8" should be determined based on whether the battery is in direct or general support. Depends on the OPORD for the operation. Back in the ROAD organization days, you had artty batteries that worked with brigades, but the BNs actually reported to a Brigade Level command DIVARTY. Per OPORD/operation these units were tasked to certain support roles.

Warsaw Pact on the other hand, would use artillery pre-assault in massive quantities. The barrage would roll from the FEBA through the enemy position and slightly behind. Then came the rolling thunder. In my opinion, Soviets get too much artillery after the assault begins in most games.

Legion 412 Apr 2017 7:15 a.m. PST

Yep, those were the 3 call for fire methods I was taught as well, '79-'90.

And as I posted. This is how I remember Danger Close … When calling in FA near your own units. The closest you could be is 300m. Known as Danger Close. For CAS it was 600m.

But I'm an old fart

helicopters in the area when indirect fire is called. No way, the skies have to be clear.
We used to call that, "The Big Sky … Little bullet" theory … And planning had to be in full effect when coordinating those assets. I was a Bn S-3 Air after I lead a Rifle Plt in the 101.

We had to do some de-confliction in our planning at times. Flight Routes, Restricted and Coordinated Fire Lines, etc., etc., etc. You know the deal. But sometimes it was de-confliction "on the fly", literally …

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