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Thread: Artillery rules

  1. #1

    Artillery rules

    Anybody here develop any simple rules for artillery in a miniatures game. Or know of any? Josta? You are always working on rules, anything for arty?

  2. #2
    Member madman's Avatar
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    Jan 2019
    An hour north of Toronto
    I have been following discussions on various game forums which have dealt with artillery. I have no final results (read rules) but one thing that stood out is a description of "racial characteristics" for different armies (the entire discussion was WWII but you could consider modern artillery attacks to be variations). In general artillery needs a target point upon which to concentrate fire, use as a base point with each weapon in the battery is slightly dispersed from or as an initial point or line from which moving fire is based. So basically your artillery fire unit (of whatever size) has to determine that base point. As I recall here is generally what was stated.

    German and British would use a map to determine their location wrt the target point. Since the maps were inaccurate, especially at the start of the war, they would try to survey the intended target point wrt the fire unit's location. This would give them a reasonably accurate chance that the first "spotting rounds" would be on target or pretty close. Early in the war the Germans had no accurate maps for the eastern front and the British had to create them for North Africa.

    The Soviets did not use or had limited or inaccurate maps and so relied on spotting rounds, but again the layout of the artillery unit would allow them to place the barrage on target once the target was "ranged".

    The Americans, coming late to the war had access to very good maps. That and apparently the artillery made massive use of pre written tables which had a myriad of factors already accounted for such as wind, weather, shooting up hill or down, etc.. The gist was between the wars US artillery spent countless years conducting live fire exercises under all sorts of conditions and recording all the results. The result was the ability to look up on a table what settings to input into their guns to produce the desired attack. It was hinted that every artillery unit carried a massive file cabinet with all these tables. The game result was almost always the spotting round would arrive on target. The down side was a delay working or finding the table but the up side was the artillery would arrive where wanted.

    So all the above require a trained forward observer who is in constant communication with the artillery unit. Unless the target point was very obvious Joe six pack with a radio was not trained to accurately identify specific target points. Yes in a pinch it might have happened but very rarely and even then it would take someone of company level head quarters or above to be knowledgeable enough.

    Now if your spotting round was on target you still need a trained FO to direct fire and make adjustments. In the case of anyone but US they would be required to get the spotting rounds on target. These were usually single rounds from the same gun with the remaining guns poised to add to the fire once the target point was established. The Soviets could bring their spotting rounds on target as quick as anyone else given a trained FO but their initial shots were not as accurate. The German penchant for surveying the target area made for accurate shots given prep time with both the artillery unit deployed and the target point in sight. The British were intimated to be somewhere between the Soviet and German capabilities so again given prep time spotting rounds would be accurate.

    Sorry for both the large answer and the fact nothing is written as a set of "rules" just a series of thoughts and notes with the end result up to you.

    I tried to find my link to the discussion but no joy. I thought it was about a year or two ago on TMP but can't find it now. If you want to search there good luck and please post a link here.

  3. #3
    Member madman's Avatar
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    Jan 2019
    An hour north of Toronto
    Oh and as to how accurate with modern laser rangefinders and GPS systems all that would be thrown out the window and again every joe six pack in every unit could call down hell from above exactly where wanted I refer you to part of the history book "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton. In the weeks following 9/11 US special forces were inserted and worked closely with various anti-Taliban groups. The book details a few groups who were working with the northern coalition, a group operating near Mazar-i-Sharif working with Abdul Rashid Dostum. The groups were special forces, the best of the best.

    In any case the goal of the day was to bomb a Taliban bunker. So the Air Force forward observer using the latest laser rangefinder combined with a GPS had to ID the bunker which was holding the attack up, send the info to a B-52 operating overhead which would drop a 2000 lb precision munition on the target. So the bunker is IDed and the info forwarded. The bomb landed 1 km away, destroying a second bunker but not the desired target. After a lot of "what the hell" it turns out the combination of up drafts, heat waves and smoke and dust in the atmosphere caused the error in the position. After taking a few sights from dispersed locations and working out inconsistencies the second bomb was right on target if a half hour or hour later. This is just a heads up that nothing works right once combat is joined so always remember no matter how good your equipment or intel is things can still go to poo!

  4. #4
    Thanks madman, the time period I'm interested in is 1916-18. I know what you are saying about Artillery in WW2 I'm trying to find out a way, or method to replicate such and tweak it to the period. I have been thinking about trying to convert rules from a boardgame I have titled No Mans Land, it just uses a chart and its all based on a die roll.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator josta59's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
    A mountain in Tennessee
    Hi! On a whim, I just decided to search the site for my name to see if I missed anyone talking to I just saw this thread!

    The homebrewed rules I use the most treat all explosions the same, which I find simplest. But I guess that's not so satisfying when comparing grenade tosses to an artillery hit. I've never written any rules that included specific rules for artillery.

    But I have used some that other people made! The one that comes to mind first is Sabresquadron, which has a heavy focus on armor. It's been a few years. I think they sent me a free copy for some reason, and I don't have it anymore. I just remember you had to put an actual target on the table and then roll for how close the strike gets to hitting the target, and in which direction it misses. I found that really fun. It's probably fairly standard, actually, but I don't play a lot of games with armor.

    I'm a fan of Nordic Weasel. His FiveCore Company Command rules have two pages on artillery fire. I don't recall if I ever used them, but I've generally liked his approach to wargaming.

    Several years ago, I used someone's homebrewed rules called Able Archer. I helped organize his rules for better usability, and I've included his artillery rules for you below. There might be something useful for you here.

    Artillery (Able Archer rules)
    Can fire outside LoS. Includes mortars and missile launchers.

    Targeting: Place a target marker where the attack is to be centered (does not need to be an element). Each artillery platoon may place a single target per activation. The target point will scatter 1d6 inches (1d3 if command vehicle has LoS to target site) in direction 1d12 oíclock.

    Avoidance: Each element in the area of effect (AoE) takes an individual CQ [crew quality] avoidance test. Failing elements are hit and may be damaged. For each additional undamaged weapon attacking, the attacker may either add 1 to the CQ avoidance target number for all elements in the AoE or increase the AoE by 1/2Ē, with a limit of 3Ē total. If an artillery observer has LoS to the target site, increase the avoidance target number by 1 and halve the scatter distance rolled.

    Avoidance test: Taken by individual elements in AoE or artillery strike. Failure results in hit. Target number modifiers are target-based.

    Avoidance test modifiers
    Used intensive fire in activation +2
    Infantry unit +1
    Each team over 1 in area of effect +1
    Under overwatch orders +1
    Firer at long range -1
    Used double time in activation -1
    In soft cover -1
    In hard cover -2

    Damage: To determine damage, roll 1 damage and 1 training die for the artillery and add the results, similar to infantry combat. Apply this value to the firefight outcomes table. Add 1 for each firing element. Treat armored vehicles as soft targets, but add 1 to the defense value if a vehicle has an armor value of 4 or higher on all sides.

    Orders: Artillery may receive overwatch orders allowing them to fire upon enemy artillery that has just fired. There is no scatter in this case, but no adjustment to AoE or CQ avoidance target number may be made, and the target artillery receives -2 to the avoidance test.

    Artillery may receive intensive fire orders. These are treated as normal fire but persist into the following turn. Any unit moving through the AoE must pass a CQ test to avoid being hit.

    Other munitions: Artillery may fire smoke, FASCAM mines, or gas. After each fire, roll d10 to check for remaining ammo. Ammo is depleted if the result is ≥6 for smoke, ≥5 for FASCAM, ≥5 for gas.

    Smoke munitions create a smoke area equal to the AoE. +1 to the to-hit or defense value of a target for each inch (rounding up) of LoS measured through smoke. Roll for removal during the initiative phase; remove smoke on a d6 roll ≥5.

    FASCAM strike places 1 1Ē minefield for each inch of AoE, all in contact.

    Gas strikes affect units at ground and attack flight level. Elements in the AoE failing a suppression or morale test or receiving a K [killed] result are suppressed until the end of the turn in which they leave the AoE or the gas effect expires in initiative phase similar to smoke. A vehicle suppressed by gas operates as if damaged.

  6. #6
    Thanks Josta for getting back to me. Sabre squadron sounds like a good one for me with my WW1 minis. I have a board game where your rounds can drift and it is actually quite fun and even if you miss your initial target you may just hit something on the drift.

  7. #7
    Got to get my arty into the game. Banging together a set of my own rules after watching Josta having fun with his own.
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