Home Forums WWII Soviet artillery data preparation time

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #145628
    John D SaltJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Poking around in the cobwebby corners of my laptop, looking for something else, I tripped over the following snippet, excised from “Artilleriya”, by Aleksander and Kapustin, State Defence Publishers, Moscow, 1934. You know I lack the self-restraint to prevent myself from posting it.

    It shows the time taken to prepare data for an artillery shoot, using three different methods. Obviously, the quicker preparation times sacrifice accuracy for speed, as shown by the reductions in range and angle errors for the longer preparation times. “Norm” I read as the time the task should take, and “Limit” as the equivalent to what British trainers would call the “bogey time”, so the observer would be in line for a wigging if it took any longer. The same sort of idea applies to the errors. The angle errors are given as being in “protractor divisions”. The only picture of a Russian artillery protractor I can find in a couple of minutes googling shows one marked in tenths of degrees, but as Russian artillery works in mils (and did so in 1934) I assume that it must mean mils. Recall that there are 6000 mils to a circle in Russia, rather than 6400 as in the West.

                            Duration        Angle error     Range error
    Method                   (mins)            (mils)       (per cent)
                            Norm    Limit   Norm    Limit   Norm    Limit
    Quick, eye/compass        2       4      40      80      10      20
    Quick, from map           5       8      20      40       4       8
    Full                     10      15      10      20       3       5
    

    I have never seen comparable times and errors from any other source, so if anyone has them, I’d be very pleased to see them.

    No set of wargames rules I’ve met allows for it, but I think it would be fun to let a player make the choice between slow, accurate fire, and quicker, less accurate fire. Nor do I know of any rules where the range from observer to target affects the accuracy of shooting. Add in bracketing procedures, times of flight and choice of sheaf and I think one could have quite a fun artillery game-within-a-game. Although, come to think of it, a depressingly high proportion of WW2 tactical games I see don’t seem to include artillery at all.

    All the best,

    John.

    #145631
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    My Soviets never leave home without Arty and Mortars.

    #145632
    grizzlymcgrizzlymc
    Participant

    These sorts of snippets are pure gold.

     

    Couple of questions:

    1.  What does full mean in the method column?
    2. What sort of map would our FOO be using?

    I could see that in Ukraine in 1941, he might have a pretty good 100k scale topo map with prominent features on it, but in Hungary in 44 would he have anything better than a 250k map showing that bend in the river and this town as a dot?

    #145638
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    a depressingly high proportion of WW2 tactical games I see don’t seem to include artillery at all. All the best, John.

    When I create a scenario, and by that I mean invent rather than make real events into a scenario, I use very little, if any, artillery, beyond that which is organic to a battalion, such as mortars and infantry guns.  My reason is that artillery, as in real life, tends to kill everything, and that’s no fun.  In recent times I have moved from a desire to have everything accurately portrayed on the tabletop to having an enjoyable and sociable time with my friends.  Although I’ve managed precisely three games since March this year, and I cannot foresee when we will be able to meet again at this point.

    When they start to take casualties, some player’s chins drop and they mentally take their bats home instead of looking for a way to progress in the game.  This attitude spoils the event for everyone in the end.  My group includes one of those players, and so I’d rather keep him involved and playing by limiting artillery and maximising the enjoyment of just playing together, unrealistic as that may be.

    Hitler was unstoppable at the time. People forget that at that time Hitler was virtually unstoppable. He was going through countries like cheese.

    #145644
    Jemima FawrJemima Fawr
    Participant

    a depressingly high proportion of WW2 tactical games I see don’t seem to include artillery at all. All the best, John.

    Real men wargame with AGRAs…

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    #145646
    John D SaltJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Couple of questions:

    What does full mean in the method column?
    What sort of map would our FOO be using?

    I could see that in Ukraine in 1941, he might have a pretty good 100k scale topo map with prominent features on it, but in Hungary in 44 would he have anything better than a 250k map showing that bend in the river and this town as a dot?

    You raise an interesting question.

    I don’t seem to have an electronic copy of the book lying about, but a much more modern artillery handbook (“Ground artillery officer’s handbook”, by V Ya Lebedev, Voenizdat, Moscow, 1984) says that full preparation requires 1:50,000 maps as a minimum. In the absence of mapping of suitable quality, I imagine the observer is going to have to resort to working by eye. The quality of Soviet mapping (not the maps they showed you, the ones they kept for themselves) was highly regarded, and they put a lot of effort into mapping countries outside the USSR, although how far this effort had got before 1941 I don’t know. Of course the Sovs would not be the only people to have the problem of getting good mapping when fighting in other people’s countries — I understand that a lot of the Allies’ gallop through France after the breakout from the Normandy bridgehead was done on Michelin tourist maps. It might be a nice addition to the artillery sub-game I was blethering about to have scenario instructions limit the maximum level of preparation a side’s artillery could undertake. Probably the guns would have to have been surveyed on to the grid for full preparation to be possible, so one also might have such limitations in a meeting engagement.

    “Full preparation” would need, as well as nice maps and a full selection of Gucci artillery instruments and nomograms, the latest meteorological bulletin (UK “meteor telegramme”, US “metro message”) so as to include corrections for wind, temperature, humidity, and all that jazz. I doubt that this sort of thing varies very much between different countries. Not being a gunner I do not feel up to attempting an explanation of the religious mysteries of their craft, and anyway all I’ve ever seen them do is punch numbers into FACE. I wonder if there any WW2 re-enactment groups that play at being gunners, and enjoy the thrill of historical authenticity in doing full artillery fire control calculations by hand.

    All the best,

    John.

    #145660
    MartinRMartinR
    Participant

    One of my pals did Napoleonic artillery re enactment. The calculations are a bit simpler for that:)

    Our (grand) tactical games generally feature quite a lot of artillery, the last one had no less than five battalions/Field Regiments supporting ten manouvre battalions, although for some reason the Royal Artillery kept firing indirect 25pdr HE at panzer battalions and wondering why it took an awful lot of shells to do any damage, although it did cause some obscuration. The Germans, wisely, fired all their guns at soft targets.

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #145664
    PatricePatrice
    Participant

    I don’t think we had something as clear as this when I did my compulsory service as observer in the French artillery in 1980.

    One officer who came for a talk at the artillery school had served in the colonial war in Algeria 20 years before, he told us that when he was walking in the desert with his infantry platoon, and some Algerian FLN ambushed opponents suddenly fired at them, he knew only two sorts of artillery observers: those who reacted swiftly and sent a salvo right on the spot (um, I think he added “with bits of people flying in the air” etc.) and those who took a much longer time to send anything… very far away from where it was needed.

    (There was mixed – mute- feelings from the audience, we sympathised with his human experience but this war never was very popular in France.)

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #145667
    Etranger
    Participant

    a depressingly high proportion of WW2 tactical games I see don’t seem to include artillery at all. All the best, John.

    Real men wargame with AGRAs…

    But that’s cheating according to those playing the Germans ….

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.