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"Allocation of artillery to small forces." Topic


19 Posts

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877 hits since 22 Jan 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

UshCha22 Jan 2018 2:28 a.m. PST

I read with interest the Lausdell crossroads WW2 action report. Some of the timongs were immense. A protective barrage of some 30 minutes to allow the defenders to take up more ammunition and evacuate woumded. The ammount of ammuntion required is vast even allowing for it being a low rate of fire after the initial barage to "pit the enemy down". In addition genereally tanks are immune to HE fire. In normal circumstances and barrage densities tanks and most lightly armoured vehicles even Hanomages in WW2 are effectively immune to all but minor HE damage provided they are moving, as the odds of being physicaly impacted is below that we would normay represent on table. Actual dammage did occour but like troops winning Victoria Crosses or the like it was so rare as to be ouside sensible wargame proabilities.

If a vehicle were to remain stationary on view then overr time artillery coulkd be concentrated and eventualy the vehicle would be it a number of times and put oiut of action. Thre were accounts of this in Tigers in Combat Part 1 whre a tiger was ordered to remain on a hill top overniight. A tiger does not have anywhere near enough fuel to run for 8 hrs so was eliminated.

on our own rul;es we do not address very large barrages that run for extensive times Typicaly a platoon or a company will have a couple of dedicated batteries. Even if Self propelled ammunition is supprisingly limited in such cases. In the original source quoted an entire battalion of artillery was concentrated on 3 tanks.

Have ypou ever undertaked scenarios where the artilley allocated is to a small force at Battalion or even higher levels?

How do you scale damage? Obviously linear scaleing would be inappropriate. What ammunition allocations would you use.

Legion 422 Jan 2018 7:27 a.m. PST

A tiger does not have anywhere near enough fuel to run for 8 hrs so was eliminated.
Why would it run for 8 hrs. straight if not in action/contact ? Like many AFVs, even M113s, you'd started the engine every few hours and let it for about 15-20mins. Even SGT Oddball knew that !

where the artilley allocated is to a small force at Battalion or even higher levels?
Starting from Patrol level, i.e. Sqd or Plt generally. You will allocated a certain amount of mortar/FA support. Based on the tubes available as mortar are generally organic assets at Co. or Bn Level. And the support unit(s) mission(s).

Bns will be allocated Bty(s) in Direct Support, etc., based on the overall allocation to the the High HQ, i.e. Bde, Div., etc. E.g. M110s SPFA 8in were not organic to a Div. So the Corps Cdr may allocate those fires to a Div based on the overall mission, etc.

That the way all FA assets [and even CAS at times] is allocated generally. Div to Bde to Bn to Co to Plt … or even Sqd.

A maneuver Bn, i.e. Tank or Inf, would normally get a Bty in Direct Spt. And the Cdr(s) allocate those supporting fires based on the overall OPPLAN/OPORD/Cdr's Intent. To support specific missions of the Bn. And it's subordinate units.

I may need an old "Red Leg" to help me out here. And things may have changed a bit(?) … old fart But FA usually at Bty or even Bn level, was allocated as :

Direct Support

Direct Support Reinforcing

General Support

General Support Reinforcing

IIRC ?

E.g. The Mech Hvy Bde I was assigned to at Ft. Benning, GA, '85-'90. Had 1 organic M109 155mm SPFA Bn. Which originally had 4 Btys of 6 M109s, but was later reorganized to 3 Btys of 8 M109s.

The Bde Cdr would allocate those Btys, again, based on the missions of each Bn. Which was 2 Mech and 1 Tank Bn. Plus an Armored Cav Trp and Armored CE Co.

The Bde Cdr could allocate the FA Spt as I outlined DS, DSR, GS, etc. If Higher HQ, i.e. Corps or Div the Bde was attached/organic to, could decided to give a separate FA asset again from Higher. To each of the subordinate unit(s).

I.e. a separate FA Bn, e.g. an M110 SPFA Bn or Bty could be used to support the Bde or Bn, etc., based OPORD/mission(s).

All Ammo allocation is again based on mission(s) and as always availability.

Major Mike22 Jan 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

I ran a Seelowe Heights game. The Soviets had a rolling barrage that was represented by a 12" deep swath that ran the width of the board. Anything in the swath was attacked. The Soviets could roll it forward any time, never back and it would only fire a set number of times (6 IIRC). Used 15mm figures on a 5' wide x 12' long table. If the Soviets were following closely there was a chance for short rounds. The only on call indirect fire were mortars and the possibility of an odd light or medium battery firing.

Wolfhag22 Jan 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

Major Mike,
You are a wargaming genius!

Wolfhag

Legion 422 Jan 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

You see a similar technique as used by the Major, in the movie "A Bridge Too Far". Based on what actually happened. With the Brits firing a "rolling barrage" in front of the advance of JOE Vandeleur's Irish Guards of Horrock's 30 Corps. At the outset of Market-Garden, Sep'44.

deephorse22 Jan 2018 11:01 a.m. PST

Why would it run for 8 hrs. straight if not in action/contact ?

You've misunderstood the point he was making.

Simo Hayha22 Jan 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

I know the germans in the early war period found calling barrages on massed soviet tanks somewhat effective. Generally forcing them to turn around but not causing significant damage. Perhaps also because they had little else to combat soviet armor

Also, the larger the round the more effective vs tanks. 150mm+ are very effective. Naval rounds made a real mess of bivouacked tigers in nornmandy. its the picture of the tiger turned upside down.


It was very hard to hit moving targets in WWII except for perhaps the americans, due to time on target.

And yes artillery expended a ton of ammunition.

UshCha22 Jan 2018 12:29 p.m. PST

Major Mike, our rules cover rilling barrages as they often move quite quickly (often too fast if you read accounts of Brit batteries on WW2. Proably as a compromise as only so much ammo is avaiable, We have no problem as its time on target and fairly normal shell distribution. Ots unusually high dencities in very small areas we have not catersed for. Like a whole battalion on 3 tanks. As an aside in the Buuk By Genral Slim "Defeat into Victory" he mentions at one point putting several thousand shells into a 500m square. again non standard use.

Legion 4 problm is the Tiger would have to do as you indicated. Trouble daft as it would appear he was commanded to stay on a hill under observation all night, so became a long term stationary target. The Germans has some commanders, like some wargamers failed to understand though good, a Tiger was not an indestructable vehicle in the wrong circumstances.

If I recall later the Tigers were not directly subordinated to field commanders so were more able to aviod being put into psotions where the weapon was not effective.

Legion 422 Jan 2018 12:39 p.m. PST

You've misunderstood the point he was making.
It appears I have … It has happened before too … frown From now on I should leave it up to someone else to answer his questions. As this is not the first time I gave the "right answer" to the wrong question … frown At least not the question he asked … laugh

Legion 4 problm is the Tiger would have to do as you indicated. Trouble daft as it would appear he was commanded to stay on a hill under observation all night, so became a long term stationary target. The Germans has some commanders, like some wargamers failed to understand though good, a Tiger was not an indestructable vehicle in the wrong circumstances.
Yes … now I see what you were trying to get at … And yes, obviously … no matter what … generally a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one. And as Simo pointed out, a bigger shell has a bigger blast radius so yes, you could hit more targets.

If I recall later the Tigers were not directly subordinated to field commanders so were more able to aviod being put into psotions where the weapon was not effective.
IIRC, many Tigers were in separate Bns. And may have only came under command of the Highest HQ in the Chain of Cmd.

Wolfhag23 Jan 2018 7:41 a.m. PST

I use the rolling barrage as a way of abstracting a large artillery barrage. As soon as the barrage lifts or rolls on each team and weapon that was in the beaten zone is rolled for to check coming out of suppression and for causalities.

If they fail to emerge from their protected shelter (rally) they stay until the next turn. When they do emerge then they are checked for causalities in the team.

Causalities chances are determined by the density of the barrage (number of rounds fired) and the beaten zone area against the defender protection (open trench, covered trench/shelter, man-made structure/pillbox). You need heavy artillery to cause causalities if the defenders are in man-made structures. Heavy artillery will take longer to emerge from.

The Russians had a tactic of lifting the barrage from a defenders sector maybe 200 yards wide and having the attackers shoot the gap while the barrage continues on the flanks. This is very effective using tanks with infantry riders.

Of course, moving targets are hard to handle in a game. If you have a 90-second turn and all artillery lands during the artillery phase. A vehicle moving at 20kph will move 500-550m in 90 seconds. A vehicle could move into and out of a barrage zone in one movement turn. Has anyone come up with a way to get around that?

Wolfhag

deephorse23 Jan 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

Naval rounds made a real mess of bivouacked tigers in nornmandy. its the picture of the tiger turned upside down.

That photo is commonly attributed to bombing and not naval gunfire.

UshCha23 Jan 2018 8:27 a.m. PST

Woflhag, Maneuver Groups reaction system options allows for a reaction of vehicles to attempt to escape the barrage and indeed to allow AFV's button up as soon as rounds start to land. The ability to escape depends on there current speed (slow/stop or fast).

In our rules suppression is automatic in an artillery barrage of the minimum required density, recovering form that suppression takes time. The densities are based on US Current freely available artillery effects planning.

Legion 423 Jan 2018 8:49 a.m. PST

That photo is commonly attributed to bombing and not naval gunfire.
Depending the situation, size of shells, bombs, etc., either could probably do that type of damage, of course.

Wolfhag23 Jan 2018 10:40 a.m. PST

Ushcha,
sounds good, I'll check them out. The Russians developed some very detailed artillery barrage formulas in WWII.

Wolfhag

UshCha23 Jan 2018 5:07 p.m. PST

Wolfhag, see section 11.3 Reaction Options. This is a case where multiple reactions to a single threat are permitted.

Wolfhag23 Jan 2018 5:25 p.m. PST

Dumb artillery shells versus armor: https://imgur.com/gallery/gIjCo

Wolfhag

UshCha24 Jan 2018 8:26 a.m. PST

Wolfhag thanks for that. It is itself. is a sort on myth. 50% damage is not being disputed.

However it took a 24 Gun battery fireing 2600 rounds.

So in context that is :-

108 rounds per gun.

Being over generous sustained fire is 2 rds for the majority of M109's they it can manage 3 rds a min but only for 2 minutes. So needs the battery to shoot for 54 Minutes AT A PLATOON SIZED TARGET.

The gun, again being generous carries 40 rounds, so each gun needs to be to have 2 1/2 full ammunition loads available for this one shoot.

This equates to 2600 * 41.86 kg = 108836 kg of ordinace or 108 tonnes of ammo, approxinately.

By no means a normal shoot. It would take an unusual scenario to expose a battery and several ammunition loads to counter battery fire for basicaly an hour.

Perhaps a good reason we have not addressed it in our rules.

Wolfhag24 Jan 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

Ushcha,
I think Ushcha's example shows how historic artillery rules in a game would be outside most scenarios – unless the game is "Artillery Commander".

With artillery, there are generally two different levels: suppression and destruction. A destruction barrage is a major effort requiring hundreds of rounds per hectare (100m x 100m area). It is good if you want to destroy 25% to 50% of the enemy before the game really gets underway. A US Time on Target barrage would basically end most games. Considering the "danger close" ranges for medium and heavy artillery most 20mm and 28mm games would have friendlies exposed to friendly fire and short rounds.

US Army FM 100-2-1 has the Soviet artillery formulas to use as a guideline.

Supply: Artillery was normally supplied in "units of fire" which was like a daily allowance. Again, it depended on the supply and logistical situation. If conducting a planned attack you'll have more ammo on hand than a hasty attack.

Another complication in determining the coverage is that many times US barrages had about 20% of the beaten zone covering in front of the enemy. The reason was the bursts blocked LOS and gave shell holes for the attacking infantry to hide in when they approached the enemy front defensive lines. It might also eliminate some wire and mines.

The way I carry out a company or battalion-sized attack is the defenders are under a prep barrage and suppressed while the attackers advance. At a certain point, the attackers must advance through a defensive barrage. The prep barrage is timed to lift at a certain turn and the suppressed defenders attempt to recover and emerge from their shelters and attempt a final protective fire. If the defenders are unsuccessful in emerging they may be overrun. If the defensive barrage, wire or minefields slowed down the attackers that will give the defenders more time to emerge and defend. The timing of the attack is important and can be abstracted with a single die roll.

I think historically tank units were kept behind the front lines so they would not be exposed to intensive prep barrages.

Wolfhag

UshCha24 Jan 2018 12:15 p.m. PST

Wolfhag,
My understanding is the opposite, particularly the Russians, and APC like the BMP in a typical barrage is effectively immune (i.e losses are acceptable) and they drive through the Danger close and the ful barrage, barrage for a bit so that they can debuss as soon as the barrage is lifted and assault from within the enemy defences. That's why significant protection (.e. lots of armour)against anti tank weapons is not required, such defences are suppressed as they start the advance. Tanks are needed for fire support and to clear any anti tank mine fields as they approach the enemy positions under their own barrage.

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