The following rules are suggestions on how to make artillery usage more realistic. Feel free to tailor them
to your use.
The "Cry Wolf" Modifier
Artillery was an important asset that was not to be wasted, especially if there was an ammunition shortage
such as that which afflicted the Western Allies in late 1944. In the book "Payoff-Artillery-WWII" by
(a unit history of an independent US field artillery battalion), the author describes how some observers
became trusted by the FDCs to call only valid targets. When they called for a fire mission, they almost always received
the support they needed, even when supply shortages had severely limited the ammo supply. Other observers were known to
exaggerate and their calls did not receive priority.
The British primarily used long-service professionals as forward observers, and trusted their judgment to
call missions that were appropriate to their targets. The Americans allowed almost anybody to request
missions, but relied on experienced personnel at the Fire Direction Center to decide the type of mission and
assets to be used. However, wargamers being what they are, you can expect them to attempt to call all of their
artillery on every possible target. If the referee
finds a player routinely calling in major artillery assets on technically legal but frivolous targets, (such as
a corps level Time-on-Target mission on a SPOTTED horse-drawn limber), the referee can feel free to award
him a "cry-wolf" modifier of -1 to his call-for-fire die rolls for the duration of the game.
The Cry-wolf modifier:
- Should not apply to shelling missions, smoke, pre-planned fire, and battery concentrations.
- Should only be "awarded" when the culprit is using a mission that requests General Support, uses
a Battalion Concentration, or uses one of the special patterns (MIKE, UNCLE, TOT) on a target that contains
less than three potential targets and does not contain an armored vehicle or a gun. You let the player resolve the
mission, but then roll a die (0-4 on a d10 would be good odds) to see if
he has "cried-wolf".
- Will apply to all call-for-fire rolls for battalion and special missions by that player for the remainder of
the game. If you want, you can make it specific to an on-board FO instead of a player.
Target Priority Modifier for General Support
This is similar to the previous modifier in that it attempts to limit the use of General Support artillery against
unknown or frivolous targets. It is probably more applicable to the U.S., where the FDC controlled the assets based on the observers
reports. Place the templates, including the call for General Support. When resolving the
call-for-fire, add the following modifiers to the die roll when resolving General Support only:
|Target Type||Die Roll Modifier|
|Suspected Target Only||-1|
|Single spotted Troop or unarmored vehicle||-2|
|More than 4 targets in beaten zone (including passengers and towed guns).||+1|
Another option would be to not allow calling General support against beaten zones with no spotted units.
Certain Fire Support Elements can be made harder to contact by applying a -1 modifier to calls for their fire. For
example, independent U.S. general support elements might be harder to use than the 155mm General Support battery that
is a dedicated part of a US FS-01.
You can count missions, or to avoid paperwork you can apply a negative modifier to the call-for-fire roll.
Artillery vs Fortifications
BF artillery rules are designed to simulate the fire against troops in the open or in light field fortifications. As it is possible
to get very large modifiers, especially with the TOT mission of the U.S., this system doesn't work that well in simulating
attacks on fortifications and bunkers. Concrete fortifications
provided protection against almost anything except a direct hit, although the
occupants could be made extremely uncomfortable. To simulate this, you might limit the final attack with IDF against units
within concrete fortifications to a maximum of -1, no matter what the nominal attack value would be for the mission.
Similarly, limit attacks on non-concrete bunkers to 0. There are several ideas discussed on the
Engineering Playtest Page
, and a referee
should feel free to impose scenario specific limitations on the effectiveness of IDF against fortifications.
WP was a special kind of ammo that combines the effects of a smokescreen with an attack. When using WP, apply a -1 modifier to the
attack factor and resolve the attack normally. Then place a "dissipating" smoke screen in the area of the attack
(only lasts for one turn and only effects spotting by -1 level and attacks through it by -1).