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 Post subject: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:23 pm 
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Greetings Gentlemen, new club member in Vermont, here.

Information I have seen gives the Blalely field gun the same range as 3 inch ordinance or 10 pounder parrots. Yet the game pdt gives them max range 33 (more than 20 pounder Parrots). They are the best counter-battery fire guns in the game!

Given the fact that if they did not have imported British ammunition, the Reb manufactured ammo for Blakelys suffered at least the usually recorded long range problems, I wonder what the reason for the Blakeleys' long and effective range is.

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Lieutenant Warren Bajan
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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Welcome to the club Warren - don't go asking to many questions about the Blakely field gun, it is a dang fine sniping cannon and it would be a shame to find out that it was not that good and end up having it's ability's altered in the game. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:37 pm 
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You are correct that the Blakely's range is exaggerated in the pdt. My references give it a range of 1,760 yards (exactly a mile) at 5 degrees elevation. Another reference says 1850 yards. This is not to say that it could not shoot farther with more elevation (and powder). The game range, therefore, is 14 or 15 hexes. When developing Overland I did a study on all the weapons listed in the pdts of various Campaign and identified some that were redundant or were misrepresented, but under the update system for games if weapons were eliminated it would have to carry over to all the products in the ACW store. That would have beyond the scope of my assignment. I can however make changes in the Overland PDTs.
:idea: I propose that the ACWGC convene an "Artillery Board" to review the nomenclature and capabilities of artillery, somewhat like is being done informally with small arms. If carried through, such a board should have a deadline by which to complete its work--not more than two months away. This work could be used by JTS designers going forward.


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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Here is a wikipedia entry on Civil War field artillery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_arti ... _Civil_War

If the range at 5 degrees is max range, all of the rifled guns, including the Whitworths, would have their ranges severely curtailed. The smoothbores, on the other hand, appear to be modeled pretty accurately.

John's idea of putting together a board to evaluate artillery effects on the PDT is a good one, but I would like the board to reevaluate the whole PDT. I realize that some things might be peculiar to a particular time and place during the war, but weapons, ranges and terrain effects shouldn't vary much. Once you have a dependable PDT, I don't think it is difficult to import it into any scenario using the editor. Then the problem becomes making sure all your opponents are using the same PDT.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:10 pm 
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Such an ambitious project as a full scale pdt review might be a good long range pursuit, but what I had in mind was a limited review of all weapon ranges and firepower numbers, both small arms and artillery, that could be integrated into an update of Overland. Overland 1 pdt would not change, as it is the standard for all the games, unless it was decided at a level above my pay-grade.


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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:40 am 
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Some cannon could and did fire with an elevation setting of greater than 5 degrees. The 20 pounder parrots need a 27 hex extreme range in order to engage the targets from across the Antietam Creek which they historically did.

The Blakelys, with their scarce imported British ammo and vicious recoil, which could and did damage carriages and trails, would be unlikely to engage in long range sniping contests with 20 pounder parrots.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:02 pm 
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For the pdt, I think the answer is that once the range is beyond maximum effective, but within maximum range, the firepower should be negligible. This will tend to separate players by their abilities--the ones that will blaze away at anything that is lit up, and those who conserve their ammo.


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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:59 pm 
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Gentlemen, Ferry and Bajan,

I know you are new members. Please complete you signature information to include your name rank and army information as soon as practical.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:43 pm 
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Be aware that there is how far a gun can shoot and how far it can shoot effectively. Field guns had no way to return the piece to the same location so that a shot could be repeated accurately enough for the gunner to use where the previous shot hit to correct his aim. Throw in the difficulty of measuring or even getting the same result from a given powder load or shot, firing at ranges over probably 1000 yards was just for fun or to keep the enemy from sleeping.

In the game, because of the ammo levels, it is best to keep the maximum ranges to where the gun actually has a chance of a hit so ammo isn't wasted or the player forced to set the AI to minimum distances to prevent useless fire.

Also, there is a Union vs Rebel problem. The performance for a gun is probably quite different when using ammo from Northern factories versus Southern. Probably what is more needed is Southern gun fire tables giving them lousy mid range factors for their bad fuses.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:33 am 
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KWhitehead wrote:

In the game, because of the ammo levels, it is best to keep the maximum ranges to where the gun actually has a chance of a hit so ammo isn't wasted or the player forced to set the AI to minimum distances to prevent useless fire.


I believe that is the biggest problem with the artillery right now. Don't know how the middle selection for artillery fire evolved, but I would much prefer a set range of 10 or 12 hexes. The problem, of course, is ADF, or even opportunity fire. Say you have a stack of three units in the woods at 21 hexes. Each one turns this way and that way six times. That will create 18 chances to draw essentially useless artillery fire. If it doesn't draw any fire, you can probably assume artillery is set at minimum range, and it is safe to move within five hexes of the enemy's artillery.

The alternative is to give artillery units a maximum effective range in the PDT, instead of a max range. Like John did with small arms in some of his Overland PDTs. It sacrifices a bit of historical accuracy for the sake of better automated defensive fire.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:16 am 
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Right now setting the maximum ranges for weapons in the pdt is the only effective way to stop wasting of ammo. I noticed the Overland Wilderness scenario shortened the range of rifles which helps.

My wish list for the game though is more choices on the AI Auto Defense ranges for both Infantry and Artillery. Infantry has only two wich leaves you with two extremes. I would like to set at least three choices for Infantry. Artillery right now has a random medium range which is the worse of both worlds depending on the situation. It won't insure saving ammo and will fail to fire when it could be effective. Artillery should have at least four range settings with no random factor.

And of course the wish of wishes is that the AI used effectiveness against the target to decide whether to fire. No more watching cavalry ride by your batteries because you had to set them at minimum distance to conserve ammo.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:01 pm 
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KWhitehead wrote:
Also, there is a Union vs Rebel problem. The performance for a gun is probably quite different when using ammo from Northern factories versus Southern. Probably what is more needed is Southern gun fire tables giving them lousy mid range factors for their bad fuses.



That is the one thing that Tiller Civil War games does very poorly.

MG Elkin
XVI Corp Commander
AotT

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:03 pm 
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A couple of things bandied about here that I disagree with.
Although I'm touted for shortening the range of some small arms, I did it FOR historical accuracy and no other reason. The idea of arbitrarily shortening artillery ranges is a gamey solution to an minimal ammo preservation problem. The rifled artillery ranges are set where they are for historical reasons. Although 21 hexes is well beyond the maximum effective ranges of Parrots and three-inchers, it is well within maximum range, and was used at Antietam and Gettysburg, as well as many other battles, most of which, strangely enough, took place in national parks! So does that mean that at some time during Overland you have a chance to fire across the Po at reb supply wagons, but can't do it because someone with a slide rule decided to issue pea-shooters?
The other point is suggested special measures to model the shortcomings of CSA artillery ammo. If there were extra slots in the weapon alphabets it would be easy enough to model a tumbling, non-explosive shell for parrots, but I offer that the rebs have problems enough already. First, their batteries are made up of two or three different types of guns, so they are most often represented by sections, so you have two guns firing vs usually six yankee guns. Next, until 1864 the CSA's guns in Virginia were often of lighter cdaliber than the yanks. On all other fronts, the rebs still had a share of six pounders and howitzers. Next, in Overland the CSA batteries are uniformly of lower quality than any other units, north or south. So there are three strikes built into the game. No need to add a 4th.
Just sayin'
J Ferry
2lt 20th Corps


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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:01 pm 
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A couple of topics are mentioned here relative to artillery in general.

PDT: I am of the opinion that a single PDT value for an artillery type can not serve in both PHASE-based and TURN-based play, although all of the games use this methodology. If I were to establish a value of 12 for a Napoleon at 1 hex for Phase-based play, then I maintain that this value will be too weak for use in Turn-based. The AI will by definition only fire at 1/2 value defensively and will do so randomly with no regard for optimal range. On the other hand, if I were to establish a value of 20 for the same gun because this is what is needed to provide adequate fire for Turn-based play, then it would be too strong for use in Phase-based since this would be controlled optimally by the human element.

The only way to handle this situation is to maintain a Phase-based PDT and a comparable Turn-based which would reflect different values for artillery. An individual can accomplish this by having 2 copies of a particular .SCN file (named differently) and modifying one to point to the Phase-based PDT.

Whereas the AI affects fire of all types, reducing the effectiveness of the rifle goes partway towards mitigating the offensive bias of Turn-based play, at least for small arms. Not so for artillery, however. The effect of a Napoleon firing at 1 hex is significantly different than at 4 hexes, and the randomness of the AI will make it no more likely to fire at the former or the latter.

Envision a infantry regiment advancing from 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 hex against an artillery section. Let's assume the game engine gives the guns a chance to fire at 1/4 value on each hex as the infantry advances. Using the effectiveness value of the guns at each hex one can calculate using the HPS formula the average expected casualties in each hex. Added together this would give one the total expected casualties for one fire by the artillery. Unfortunately, given the randomness of the AI we don't know against which hex it will fire. This affects the hits it will actually inflict, however. Frustrating to watch it fire at 4 hexes and then not again. What if we take the position that we don't care what hex the AI fires upon, only that it fire and produce casualties using the HPS formula. Only John Tiller can fix the problem of the AI not firing at all. This leads to a modeling of artillery fire in TURN-based play only that produces the same expected casualties in each hex 4 through 1. Using the Atlanta PDT as an example, a Napoleon has values of 20, 14, 9 and 5 for a total of 48. I would assign a weapons effectiveness of 12 for each of the 4 hexes. Melee can only take place from hex 1 and since guns did their biggest damage at closer ranges -- I have never seen anything that indicates guns caused greater damage at 250 yards as opposed to 375 or 500 -- I would assign a slightly higher value at 1 hex. The line in the PDT would be as follows:

1 14 2 12 4 11 ....

Ranges 5 hexes and beyond would follow the usual PDT pattern. My point in suggesting an approach such as this is to render the AI's poor targeting irrelevant. Any AI fire will produce an average range of casualties and generate more effective fire for artillery in TURN-based play. Should the AI even fire twice from the same unit, it will not produce anything greater than it would do in PHASE-based play.

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 Post subject: Re: The Blakely Rifled Gun
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:35 pm 
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I must be missing something. If you increase firepower factors so arty can fire more effectively on defense, doesn't it also fire more effectively on offense?

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