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!!!