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JTS Artillery and Fire on the Move
http://www.wargame.ch/board/acwgc/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=17103
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Author:  Robert [ Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JTS Artillery and Fire on the Move

Bill,

ACW artillery normally had six horses per gun/limber, four when horses were hard to come by. The limbers were “steered” by riders on the left side horses. Foot artillery had horses only to pull equipment, guns, caissons, battery wagons and forges. You often see pictures of men riding on the limbers but this was not normally done unless it was an emergency to move a short distance quickly as it wasn’t a very smooth or safe ride. On the other hand the horse artillery had horses for all the artillery equipment and mounts for all the personal as well.

I can see your point about horse artillery being that much more mobile and as such being able to move and fire but I think within the current game mechanics this would tend to create “tanks” that would be even more mobile and destructive than the current artillery.
While I’m certainly not as knowledgeable as you on Napoleonic tactics, it’s my understanding they sometimes used artillery firing canister as an advancing offensive weapon, which they could get away with because the infantry weapon of the time was a shorter range smoothbore musket while the ACW rifled musket extended the infantry’s range well within the artillery's canister range, making it a very large target when unlimbering.
At First Bull Run the union ran artillery up onto Henry Hill well in advance of their infantry and in short order the guns were abandoned and sat in the no mans land between the infantry lines until the union retreat bequeathed the guns to the rebels

Author:  mihalik [ Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JTS Artillery and Fire on the Move

I agree with Bob, given the current state of the game. While artillery probably could gallop up, unlimber, and get off a shot or two within twenty minutes, to get any kind of accurate fire at any range would take some time. What comes to mind is the twenty guns at Spotsylvania that returned to the Mule Shoe, unlimbered, got off about two shots and then were captured by the Yanks. Most of the times artillery were really effective, such as Malvern Hill, Fredricksburg and Gettysburg, there was plenty of time to assess the terrain and lay in the guns to achieve maximum effect.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JTS Artillery and Fire on the Move

You have to remember the game is trying to simulate a whole lot of possible events that could take place in a twenty minute turn in one big combined instant 20 minutes. If the AI Opportunity Defensive Fire in Turn based play worked and was more sophisticated then having the guns fire after moving would be okay. Otherwise you must remember while a battery could move within a hundred yards of an infantry, unlimber and fire easily within 20 minutes. Even a non-horse artillery could do it. The infantry wouldn't sit there watching and speculating on how many men would die in the first blast of canister. They would probably change facing and give them 20-40 volleys which they also could easily also accomplish in twenty minutes. By the time the remains of the battery got to the hundred yard mark there wouldn't be any horses and probably no gunners.

What could be accomplished on Napoleonic battlefields could no longer be done on battlefields dominated by the rifle. Skirmishers alone could easily take out a batteries horses and crew within a few minutes if they deployed to far forward of infantry. Only in the early battles like First Bull Run do you see artillery trying to move forward of their supporting infantry and in close range of the enemy. Mostly this resulted in crewless guns that were fought over by the infantry for the remainder of the battle as occurred on Henry House hill. The artillery quickly learned that the tactic no longer worked. The game can't simulate the reason it no longer works so it simulated the doctrine. If you look closely these kinds of restrictions are throughout the game. Movement based on march rates would double the ground that a regiment could cover in 20 minutes but it doesn't to reflect all the things that made trying to get a regiment to move 600 yards not the same as what march rates would indicate. The amount of fire that could be generated by a regiment is considerably below what it could actually produce in 20 minutes if it wanted too. And, the list goes on. A good game designer creates the results without bogging the player down with the details.

Author:  KWhitehead [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JTS Artillery and Fire on the Move

Unfortunately the Op Fire AI is very unreliable. Most of the time it will ignore the activity directly in front of it. When it does fire it is halved. Because of the way artillery crew kills are calculated this reduces the chance of a kill significantly. Right now the only thing that really stops the tactic is that the artillery can't fire in the same turn it moves. This means the defender will have a offensive fire phase to try to take out the artillery crew which does make it dangereous to move artillery to close to infantry and unlimber. However, if you changed the game so artillery could move and fire then they become virtual tanks. A stack of artillery could move within two hexes of a line, unlimber and rip the line apart. Then infantry could advance threw the artillery to get adjacent for more fire and melee. An attack coordination impossible on a Civil War battlefield.

Opportunity fire was developed by game designers to solve the problem of "panzer bush" back in the 70's. It works for tanks. As implemented in HPS games it has to many flaws to either solve the problem it was intended to solve, regiments marching right in front of enemy units and not suffering for it, or to simulate the inherent advantages the defender had in the Civil War. Phased play is still the better simulation.

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