Artillery numbers

Here we solicit numbers from members concerning anything regarding historical numbers that affect a Civil War simulation: hit rates, rates of fire, casualty rates, movement rates, you name it. The idea is that we're really trying to get the numbers for the game right.

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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by BOSTON »

Kerflumoxed wrote:
Look in Chapter 8, page 249, Bob.

After readng that page, which is the same AJ posted I think, thought about this. If cannister is effective 300-600 yds, our riflemen are good for up to 400 yds, those rifle reg.s usually were not very large in # of men, I'd think an CSA artillery battery would have the upper hand, still sustain casualties, but would prevail. Keeping in mind that 10-20 (guess) riflemen were going down for every cannister fired, plus add in the effects of morale and fatqiue, prolonge by fire.


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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by Marching Thru Georgia »

Isn't the dispersion he mentions "diverging from each other, in the form of a cone, the greater part of the balls being in the centre, and the extreme ones separating about one-tenth of the range" what you were looking for? I guess he's saying, for example, if the canister balls travel travel 100 yards they will disperse 10 yards? Of course I would imagine this would vary by type of tube.
The dispersion is determined by 2 variables, the length and diameter of the tube. Draw two lines whose origin is the center of the cannister round in the tube before it is fired. Draw these lines so they just touch the edge of the tube opening. This will be the dispersion angle to first order. You will also need to know how long the powder charge and cannister round are in order to find where to put the origin.

Happy calculating :)
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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by Willard »

All -

I posted this elsewhere in the forum, but I just wanted to let you know that based upon my MP experience with artillery, it is working in the game. As I continue to mention, the two biggest problems are players improperly using/placing the guns AND not giving them enough time to do the job.

First, each gun type has a role and most complaints about ineffective artillery are from people who do not use the guns in their proper role. For our purposes, the guns can do three things: counter-battery fire, long-range infantry support (>200 yards), close-range (<200 yards) infantry support. For the three major Union gun types, I will list their strengths and weaknesses:

3-inch Rifles: These guns are designed for counter-battery fire and are the single most effective weapon for scoring hits on enemy guns. The can provide effective long-range support provided they are placed in an enfilade position. Close-range support is below average when compared to the other two types.

10-pd Parrott: These are the “jack-of-all-trade” guns of the artillery. Their counter-battery and close-range support are above-average. Out of all the gun types, long range support is the best no matter where they are positioned on the line.

12-pd Napoleon: These guns are the artillery mainstays of both armies. Without question, their close support is simply devastating, especially at double canister range. Counter-battery and long range support are below average when compared to the other gun types.

Second, the single most important factor in the effectiveness of artillery is their placement. When at all possible to optimize results, the following factors should be considered: elevation (on a hill), cover/concealment (in a tree line); concealment (behind a wall/fence), flank/enfilade position, open field of fire and distance.

Elevation: This is the single most important factor in my gun placement. If I can get the guns on an elevated position, you get the high ground fire bonus.

Cover/Concealment: One of the benefits of placing batteries in tree-lines is that it provides the defensive terrain bonus AND reduces the ability of the enemy to see you. If the enemy guns can’t see you, they cannot target your guns in counter-battery fire.

Concealment: Placing a battery behind a wall or fence will give that unit the defensive terrain bonus. Although you may still be visible to the enemy, at least they will have a much harder time hitting you.

Flank/Enfilade: I prefer putting my batteries on the flanks as it really leaves the enemy units exposed. The morale/fatigue hits really can disrupt enemy infantry formations, especially if they are in line.

Open fields: The bottom line is that artillery effectiveness is greatly reduced if you have to fire through woods/obstructions. I need open fields of fire – and that includes not having to fire through my own troops!

Distance: The single largest over-rated factor reference artillery usage is that of distance. A common practice is continuously re-position your batteries and get them as close as possible to the enemy. Yes, it is true that batteries closer to the enemy are more accurate. However, that also means they are subject to more enemy artillery fire and infantry fire. Rolling the guns up too close is the single biggest mistake that commanders make. They don’t give the batteries adequate time/space to deploy and can be quickly over-run. More importantly there are advantages to allowing the enemy to come to your ground/position of choosing. You are eliminating additional morale/fatigue hits from the equation when you get too close vice letting the enemy move 500+ yards to your position under fire. Plus constant re-positioning leads to increased fatigue to your batteries which slows down the ROF and leads to increased morale/damage hits.

Finally, for any type of artillery engagement, players are simply WAY TOO impatient and demand immediate results after only a few minutes of artillery fire. For example, counter-battery fire is probably the least understood and easily the most frustrating part of the artillery game. The bottom line is that two things are required for effective counter-battery fire: TIME and PRESSURE.

TIME: If you want me to knock out guns, you need time to get results. This means locate the enemy guns quickly, place artillery and get fire on target and apply a sustained and consistent rate of fire on them (i.e. have your batteries exclusively target artillery).

PRESSURE: IF you want effective counter-battery fire, we need to get as many guns as possible bringing pressure on opposing batteries and firing counter-battery for a sustained period of time. Although 12 pd guns aren’t great at counter-battery fire, they present more targets which diffuses the opposing counter-battery fire and although they don’t ring up a lot of hits, their fire increases fatigue and morale malus on opposing batteries. The end result is that enemy batteries suffer increased morale hits, fatigue faster and decrease their ROF, making the job of the 3inch and 10 pd guns a lot easier.

Anyway, just some food for thought on in game artillery usage. Hope to see you in the MP lobby!!!


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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by RebBugler »

Willard ...Outstanding, this dialog should be attached to every SOW artillery bashing thread in this forum. Too many folks want the causalities to happen uncharacteristically, this game strives for historic accuracy.

...19th C battles evolved and moved slowly, not the 20th C Blitzkrieg way...
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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by Willard »

RebBugler wrote:
Willard ...Outstanding, this dialog should be attached to every SOW artillery bashing thread in this forum. Too many folks want the causalities to happen uncharacteristically, this game strives for historic accuracy.

...19th C battles evolved and moved slowly, not the 20th C Blitzkrieg way...
Reb -

You make a VERY VERY important point that I think is being missed in all of these discussions. SOW does a very good job of modeling 19th C battles provided the player uses 19th C tactics. Any game engine can be manipulated through the use of ahistoric tactics, but you will end up with ahistoric results.

Most of my experience with MP has been that players move way too quickly to engage in a battle with the result being that guns are rushed to the front line to plug a hole or to create a hole. I am not saying this didn't happen in the CW, but the reality is that artillery guns aren't tanks either.

I have received several complaints when my guns knocking out enemy artillery with players complaining the game doesn't work properly. Seriously, I can't help it if the player rolls a single battery out in the open. Of course I am going to direct my guns to either specifically target that battery or target artillery in general. And of course after about 10 minutes, my 4 batteries are going to knock out that one battery.

I think that in general is the underlying cause of problems in the MP community and why players aren't making the jump. Tactics that you use in SP will get you crushed in MP. You want to column charge my artillery? Guess what, I have already adapted to that tactic in MP and it will wipe out your regiments (of course I am not going to give out all my trade secrets!). You don't want to keep your guns back or think counter-battery fire is useless? Fine, I will sit back and knockout your guns and then it will be only a matter of time before I systemically destroy your infantry - and I don't need to roll the guns up to canister range to do it either!

If players want to Blitzkrieg in SOW? Fine, do it operationally like Lee did at Chancellorsville, but tactically stick to the 19C tactics and I think people will see much better results and have a more satisfying gaming experience.


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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by Jack ONeill »

Excellent post Will.

I agree. many players seem to expect artillery to be the all-crushing weapon on the battlefield. It is not. Both Will and RB are correct. It is the TACTICAL use of field artillery which makes it effective. Those of you who have played with an against me will have noted how I deploy my guns, when I have some attached. I use historical tactics (because they work). Once I find the enemy, I will race my guns forward to the nearest local high ground and open fire. In the mean time, the infantry deploys. I will have previously scouted the terrain, (by personally riding forward), and chose the best ground I can so the guns can be effective. The key trick here is to not deploy too far in front of your infantry. If the enemy commander, (either AI or Human), is awake, you might lose some guns. (This does happen sometimes in my eagerness to get to grips with the foe - LOL).
How many times in whatever you are reading about linear warfare have you run across a passage that reads something like this..."the artillery provided covering fire for the infantry as they advanced"... or ..."the artillery roared to life, engaging in counter-battery fire as the Infantry took up their positions"...
As Will and RB stated, this is a slow-moving battle situation. At least until the main forces engage.
Also, a note to remember - In order for your Guns to move quickly on the road you must detach them from the division. You will have noticed by now when all your troops are moving on the road, the speed of each brigade or battery is determined by the units in front and their relative position within the Division structure. You can always re-attach them later. They will always move quickly overland, but they will be REALLY tired if they are going a long way.

My cent and 3/4's.

Jack B)
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Re:Artillery numbers

Post by larrytagg »

Thanks for the education on the artillery types and uses, Willard. Excellent post.
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Re: Artillery numbers

Post by noonanda »

Necropost, but here is some info on canister that was done a few years ago. Im a retired Artillery Marine, and relic hunter, so any and all thing Civil War artillery interest me.

here is a link to the PDF dissertation corresponding to the video.
Bill Baehr Canister dissertation.pdf
the video itself can be found here
Canister firing

Related to this is the fact that while relic hunting almost 2 years ago, I found a live Union 12LB Case shot round. I took it down to Richmond to get it made inert by (at least in the CW Artillery and Relic community) the renown Peter George. While we were drilling the Case Shot, he explained alot to me.

One thing was that Confederate Case shot, especially after mid 1862 were not as effective as Union ones. This is because mid 1862 there was a lead shortage, and as a shortcut/stopgap the confederacy started using Iron balls inside their Case Shot. These were lighter than the correspondingly sized Lead balls and did not contain as much kinetic energy when they burst in the air and projected onto the ground.

We then discussed this Canister video and he said that they used a sheet metal can which held together more than the Civil war Tin can, resulting in less dispersion. IIRC he also mentioned they used Steel Balls instead of Iron, but I cannot remember what difference he said this would have made if any.
Amateur Relic Hunter, History Nut, Retired US Marine
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