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 Post subject: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:49 am 
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So, I am playing as the CSA against my brother playing as the USA in the historical Gettysburg scenario. All is well until turn 76 when all at once I am out of artillery ammunition. I have accumulated over 10,000 VPs with a CSA Major Victory, with CSA losses of 15,000 compared to USA losses of 25,000. At this point, however, I have no choice but to surrender.

Obviously I have a gap in my knowledge concerning artillery ammunition in these games. How does it happen that every single battery runs out of ammunition at the exact same time? How do I prevent this from reoccurring? How do I monitor ammunition supply? I appreciate your feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:25 am 
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Greetings from one of the decadently well-supplied Yanks, General!

Unfortunately, the Yanks often start out with twice the ammo supply that the Rebs have. In long games like three-day Gettysburg scenarios the Rebs will run out of ammo way too early, especially if they’re not careful about how they use it (i.e., don't try engaging us in long-range counter-battery duals). However, you can do some things to mitigate that glaring disparity in ammo supply levels:

- Look at the hex info box. The bottom of the box helps you track your available rounds of artillery for your entire army.
- Look for a Fire Modifier of 2.0 or greater [see parameter data] before firing offensively; otherwise you’re wasting ammo.
- Under the AI menu, you can adjust your Auto Defensive Fire for Artillery from Max range (default) to Med or Min range to help conserve ammo. (At the Min setting, ADF will only fire at units within the minimum range for artillery as established by parameter data. This minimum range is usually 4 hexes.)

While the math is always against you in long fights, you can at least try to make your shots count. Hope that helps!

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:13 am 
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The shortage of artillery ammo for the Rebs at least has a historical basis. We all know how the artillery ammo ran low during the preparatory bombardment for Pickett's Charge. But the main reason I stopped playing the full scenario is that the Reb infantry ammo is inadequate. If that was the case it is news to me, and I have read a lot on the subject.

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Forrest's Cavalry Corps
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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:42 am 
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So, how do we differentiate between artillery and infantry ammunition in the Civil War series?

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:32 pm 
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Infantry go first to low ammo, meaning they can't fire offensively, randomly. If not resupplied, they can go to no ammo. Infantry resupply comes from supply wagons at the rate of 1 supply point resupplies 10 men. Artillery ammo for each gun comes from a single pool of ammo automatically.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:17 am 
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The game engine does not track artillery ammo by the battery. I have seen systems that did so. I actually still have a copy of the artillery ammo chart for the Gettysburg '77 boardgame advanced rules. Basically each battery had enough ammo to fire both offensively and defensively for just over 2 hours of game time. This corresponds with the approximate time given in most accounts for the bombardment prior to Picket's charge which was initiated because the guns were running low on long range ammo. In addition each side had enough reserve ammo that could be doled out to guns that were pulled out of the line. The Union had a slight advantage in reserve ammo having about 170% reserve ammo while the rebs had about 140% reserve.

I haven't done a study on the Gettysburg scenarios but I know Robert's system for factoring ammo for scenarios is pretty close to these numbers and have used it in scenarios I've designed from scratch.

The problem is not so much the ammo in the scenarios as it is the tendency of gamers to fire at long range. In most cases artillery seldom fired at maximum range, for that matter neither did the infantry. Most accounts of Civil War combat indicate except for sharpshooters most infantry fire was under 300 yards. Most gamers continue to fire at max range risking Low Ammo for little result. Since the addition of the Auto Defensive Fire setting I have seldom run out of artillery ammo as I set artillery to Med or Min depending on the field. This keeps the AI from wasting ammo. During Offensive Fire I can decide whether or not to take a long range shot and seldom fire at over 3/4 range unless it's a flank or column shot.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:20 pm 
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The problem is not so much the ammo in the scenarios as it is the tendency of gamers to fire at long range. In most cases artillery seldom fired at maximum range, for that matter neither did the infantry. Most accounts of Civil War combat indicate except for sharpshooters most infantry fire was under 300 yards. Most gamers continue to fire at max range risking Low Ammo for little result. Since the addition of the Auto Defensive Fire setting I have seldom run out of artillery ammo as I set artillery to Med or Min depending on the field. This keeps the AI from wasting ammo. During Offensive Fire I can decide whether or not to take a long range shot and seldom fire at over 3/4 range unless it's a flank or column shot.

Ken says it all -- well most of it -- right here. What he doesn't add is how the AI in Turn-based play works. If you are playing Phased-base, then you can control the situation. However, Turn-based is entirely different although it has never been stated as such. One needs a different PDT reflecting weapons actual effectiveness, or in the case of artillery how trained gun crews made use of the ammunition they possessed. As a general rule gunners did not engage a target unless it was within about a 1/2 mile (7 hexes in these games). Rifled guns would fire at longer ranges, but seldom beyond a mile (14 hexes). To do otherwise was a waste of ammo. These were line-of-sight weapons and the chances of causing significant damage was not worth the use of valuable ammo. The ranges listed for weapons in these games is reflective of their maximum capability, not their usage or effective capability.

I have developed my own Fire Effectiveness table for use in Turn-based play. If you are developing your own scenario, or wish to play some existing scenario (changing the PDT is not a big deal), please let me know. As I have stated in a couple of recent MDT threads involving artillery and movement, I examined a number of these questions a number of years back. They are stored at the ACW Engineering site.

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:56 pm 
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So, let me get this straight. In the JTS/HPS system artillery ammunition depletion is decided by the result of rounds fired from the total amount of rounds available (optional "artillery ammo by cannon"); infantry ammunition depletion is decided by a chance algorithm? Further, artillery opportunity fire reflects rounds fired, while infantry opportunity fire is not subjected to any chance depletion at all, no matter the ranges set. Is that correct?

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:22 pm 
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Both artillery and small arms ammo have the same manner of depletion regardless whether one is playing Phased or Turn-based. Small arms ammo depletes by a random percentage based upon data in the PDT. Most, if not all PDTs, across all the campaign series have the following line:

24 1 1

This establishes a 1/24 chance that a unit will change ammo status when it fires. The 1 1 is for Union, Confederate. Always the same. If one wanted to make ammo change more pertinent in a game, this line could be changed to, for example, 16 1 1. The chance would be 1/16 when firing. If one wanted to play a game where small arms ammo never runs out, this could be changed to 99 1 1.

Artillery ammo limits are set when the scenario is built. They are listed in the SCN file of whatever scenario one is playing. The historical Gettysburg, for example, shows the following line:

5700 3200

If one decided to play FIRE BY UNIT then the Union, in this case, would be able to fire 5700 times before running out of ammo; the Rebels 3200. If the option to fire by individual gun is selected, then the game engine will convert both number to some larger figure based upon the number of guns in the scenario. Although most club members don't edit scenario files, it can be done. If I wanted to change an existing scenario so that artillery ammo is never depleted, I could change the above figures to 9999 9999, for example. Save the scenario -- it is merely a text file -- and launch it. You can fire away all day long.

The point of Phased vs. Turn is that one cannot control the AI in the latter. All one can do is limit its options so it doesn't make bad decisions and waste ammo on unproductive shots. It can be forced to make reasonable decisions via the PDT by putting limitations on the range of weapons. Limitations, I might add, which are consistent with historical use. For example, limit artillery ranges to a distance where the parameter data is no less than "2". In this case, if the AI fires at that particular range, it would do so with at least a value of "1".

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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:29 pm 
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Robert Frost wrote:
Both artillery and small arms ammo have the same manner of depletion regardless whether one is playing Phased or Turn-based. Small arms ammo depletes by a random percentage based upon data in the PDT. Most, if not all PDTs, across all the campaign series have the following line:

24 1 1

This establishes a 1/24 chance that a unit will change ammo status when it fires. The 1 1 is for Union, Confederate. Always the same. If one wanted to make ammo change more pertinent in a game, this line could be changed to, for example, 16 1 1. The chance would be 1/16 when firing. If one wanted to play a game where small arms ammo never runs out, this could be changed to 99 1 1.

Artillery ammo limits are set when the scenario is built. They are listed in the SCN file of whatever scenario one is playing. The historical Gettysburg, for example, shows the following line:

5700 3200



If one decided to play FIRE BY UNIT then the Union, in this case, would be able to fire 5700 times before running out of ammo; the Rebels 3200. If the option to fire by individual gun is selected, then the game engine will convert both number to some larger figure based upon the number of guns in the scenario. Although most club members don't edit scenario files, it can be done. If I wanted to change an existing scenario so that artillery ammo is never depleted, I could change the above figures to 9999 9999, for example. Save the scenario -- it is merely a text file -- and launch it. You can fire away all day long.

The point of Phased vs. Turn is that one cannot control the AI in the latter. All one can do is limit its options so it doesn't make bad decisions and waste ammo on unproductive shots. It can be forced to make reasonable decisions via the PDT by putting limitations on the range of weapons. Limitations, I might add, which are consistent with historical use. For example, limit artillery ranges to a distance where the parameter data is no less than "2". In this case, if the AI fires at that particular range, it would do so with at least a value of "1".


Glad that dude is on my side.....

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Union Army
Army of the Cumberland
7/3/XIV
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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:56 am 
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Gents,

Great topic. I think the clarification has been given now regarding the amounts of artillery ammo, its replenishment and how it gets depleted. I would like to focus on the discussion of possible upgrades to the logic.
First, I think that the ammo levels should be added to the OOB files by unit based x shots by unit or the number of shots per gun option.

Secondly, I think that artillery should be supplied by caisson wagons, like a suppy wagon, instead of having a pool of shots to draw from.

I've played a scenario where my Rebel friend had run out of ammo but I captured his gun and fired upon him. My units were nearly at the other end of the map and couldn't of supplied the the guns but...*puff!*..the guns were fully stocked and firing on the enemy.

I don't agree with the fact that infantry can fire endlessly, if the dice are in their favor, throughout a battle or that a unit goes low ammo on their first shot of the battle.

This is why I think the ammo levels should be added to the OOB file by unit. Adds more realistic behavior and supply can be distributed to the areas of use. Also, a captured gun would only have the ammo level it had when captured and not instant shots from a pool of shells far away on the map.

That' my old 2 cents to this topic. Would love to put this together as a formal request to JTS ACW series for possible updates to the games. It would need support or signatures to gain some steam. ;)

Happy 4th of July to all!

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MG. Derek Hampel
Cmdr. Second Div., XV Corps
Army of the Tennessee


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 Post subject: Re: Artillery Ammunition
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:44 am 
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Well you got my vote, for what it's worth.

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Forrest's Cavalry Corps
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