11/23/2006

Add Fast Artillery and SP Mortars

Add Missing Self-Propelled Artillery

PG/AG classify self-propelled artillery (SPA) vehicles in certain ways that affect overall national balances by creating or filling holes in capabilities.

PG/AG's original SPA:

  • Germany = Germany suffers from either low-ammunition SPA or low-range SPA (e.g. StuG IIIb).
  • USSR = The USSR suffers from an early lack of SPA. The Su-122 finally brings a balance of armor, speed, firepower, range, and ammunition supply. The SU-122 is more important to the USSR than the M7 Priest is to the USA because the SU-122 makes up for the Soviet lack of tracked transport for towed guns and thus a Soviet general will buy an SU-122 for applications where a US general can buy a half-track-towed gun.
  • Britain = Britain suffers the Sexton's 3 Movement Point (MP) error and does not have the M7 Priest that the US shipped in 1942.
  • USA = The USA initially lacks a 105mm SPA (wrongly) but quickly enjoys a full menu of good SPA including the fast M8 HMC and M3 half-track that can backup recon and M18 tank destroyers.
Possible Additional SPA:

Germany:

  • SdKfz 251/9 (or 250/8) Half-Track = PG/AG made the 251/9 "recon"-class and the early Pz IV "tank"-class (both direct-fire fire support) even though they have the same 75mm L24 gun as the StuG IIIb artillery. The 251/9 had little elevation but it was about the same as the StuG so you could make the 251/9 a 1-hex-range SPA to give the Germans fast SPA. The 250/8 was the light half-track with the same gun.
  • SdKfz 250/7 Half-Track = This 80mm-mortar vehicle is another fast SPA option for the Germans (see the mortar post for "leg" mortars in PG/AG).
USSR:

  • BT-7A = The 7A was an artillery fire-support version with short 76mm howitzer to provide combined arms to the standard BT-7 with 45mm gun. PG/AG gives its "BT-7" the 76mm firepower but classifies it as "tank" like the early Pz IV. The 7A was rare but rarity never stopped JagdTiger purchases in PG/AG, so you could include a BT-7 "tank" with 45mm and a BT-7A "artillery"-class SPA to give the Soviets a fast, tracked SPA at the start of the war (1- or 2-hex range, depending upon investigation of gun elevation, etc.).
Britain:

  • Sexton = Fix the speed to 5MP.
  • M7 Priest = Add the US-supplied Priest. However, the British did not get a reliable supply of ample 105mm ammunition, which is why they developed the Sexton with their own 25pdr gun, so perhaps reduce the ammunition supply or make the M7 unpurchasable.
  • Carrier 3in Mortar = This version of the Universal Carrier (a.k.a. Bren Carrier, although it carried a lot more than Bren LMGs) mounted a 3-inch mortar. Canadian documents refer to it in a way which suggests it was a common vehicle.
USA:

  • T19 HMC Half-Track = 324 T19 half tracks beginning in early 1942 provided 105mm-howitzer SPA until replaced by the M7 Priests.
  • M4/M4A1/M21 Half-Track = These 81mm-mortar SPA would add more flavor as a 1-hex-range SPA (see the mortar post for "leg" mortars in PG/AG), although the USA already has the 75mm half-track SPA with a 2-hex range--which, by the way, should be the T30 HMC with 75mm pack howitzer.
  • T30 HMC Half-Track = This is the proper name and vehicle for the Army's 75mm (howitzer) half-tracked SPA, while the M3 GMC half-track with "French 75" (gun) should be "tank destroyer" (TD) class with Sherman firepower and available as a TD at the start of the war (although, after the M10 arrives, the M3 GMC did find other employment and the US Marines liked to use the M3 GMC as fire support throughout the Pacific war).

Initiative: You could modify Initiative by tactical flexibility such as speed of redeployment or relaying. With US half-tracks, the M4 was intended to dismount and only fire from the vehicle in emergencies, while the M4A1 had a reinforced floor for mounted firing but no traverse, and the M21 further added forward-firing with 60-degree traverse. The British Carrier had a 360-degree-traverse turntable.

Updated 3/22/07: I added British information and Initiative information here. Also, see Arty's Anti-Tank, Initiative Penalty.

6 Comments

Anonymous General Stats said...

Hi, it's been awhile. I'm working on an EF AG based game w/others. Some want to include a 120 & 82mm mtr for the SU. Some members are inflicted with a too many units fetish and we need to reduce some units. From this post I linked to your earlier leg mtr post. I want to retain the heavy 120mm mtr as a separate unit, but liked the idea of simulating HW infantry with built in mortars by giving them RA=1. I adjusted one of my stock efiles and created these units: a ST 120mm mtr similar (lower) to the specs you gave; and added RA=1 to 40 Wehr HW & ST Guards and tested these units in a quick AG scen. I though it went well. The 120mm mtr unit went as expected - it didn't seem to have a huge impact. More interesting to me was the effect of the RA=1 infantry. On attack they are not subject to defensive arty hits. Of course they can be attacked by arty or anything else that can be brought to bear on the enemy turn. I think that giving the elite infantry RA=1 attack adds a new twist w/o drastically altering the game. It will force players to adjust some of their tactics - offense & defense. Of course the RA=1 infantry should have their costs increased, else they will be too good of a value. One of the team members liked this treatment for mortars but expressed concern that RA=1 infantry will be too strong vs 39 Inf, ST Regulars, etc. I gave him a good reply. Will test these units again soon. What were your (if any) experiences w/these units? Thanks!

Blogger General SNAFU said...

Hello and thank you for the update.

I tested the HW as artillery class (like the 120mm) and I liked the flavor but realized that having all HW that way could unbalance existing scenarios (too few infantry could move and then fire). That is when I thought of infantry class with RA=1 to reflect medium mortars’ range and mortars’ fast deployment but did not get a chance to test it. No return fire has a downside in that you cannot use HW to bleed ammo from the enemy. Yes, any net advantage can be compensated in higher cost. I suspect, as you do, that infantry-class RA=1 is unique yet not critically unbalancing.

Which SU slot to use is another question. I am not sure if I would replace Guards infantry. You could:

1.Use a partisan slot (bump partisans to replace a cavalry because of the hard-coding for transport, or bump partisans to a partisan “nation,” or simply use conscripts for wherever partisans are needed).

2.Use a non-infantry slot (will show up in the wrong purchase window).

3.Use any slot from any nation (not purchasable).

4.Move the entire SU OB to the USA slots and rename the SU or Britain nation for Lend-Lease (a lot of work and makes your efile less universal but gives you a wealth of slots).

That is all I can think of right now.

Good luck and I appreciate the updates and feedback.

Anonymous General Stats said...

Not sure you understand me - maybe you do. The 120mm mtr unit is designed as a seperate arty class unit w/leg MA=2. To incorporate medium mtr capability into HW type infantry, I gave them RA=1 & changed nothing else - of course cost should increase. Yes these units attacks will not force enemy arty to use up ammo, but the ability to attack w/o taking defensive fire hits is clearly better. This makes infantry (w/RA=1) "mortar" attacks able to inflict more damage to "soft" units covering their arty. And if you use a "hard" unit on unfavorable terrain (e.g. city) to cover its arty, the HW infantry can maul this unit too - moreso late war types w/high HA ! What I plan to do is give all HW, SS, Engineer (but not Bdg Eng), & Guards infantry the RA=1 mtr factor. Yes, I agree that infantry w/RA=1 is new & unique yet not critically unbalancing. Some tactics will have to change, but most of the game will play similarly. Besides in scens I design, (usually) prestige is not "endless" so you can't buy or maintain too many of the best units. Just like in real war, you need some regular units.

In the EF game I'm working on, we're not using the US & UK so we have many slots for expanded units for the Ger & SU majors; and minor nations will be expanded. Later.

Blogger General SNAFU said...

I understood but sorry for being unclear. I playtested artillery-class mortars (thumbs up) but I did not playtest infantry-class mortars.

I would be cautious about giving RA=1 to too many units or giving too many bonuses (engineer, infantry):

Medium mortars have RA=1 because their few-thousand-yard reach of good HE outranges typical WWII tank-gun combat. However, I have been assuming that other infantry with hand grenades (or even SS with MG/light mortars) would be “direct-fire” and often “outranged” by tanks (by initiative difference). Combat engineers usually have massive firepower for very short range (flamethrowers, Bangalore Torpedoes, demolition charges placed against obstacles by hand).

Yes, infantry-class get the woods/towns/mountains close-combat bonus against tanks so be careful that the combination of infantry bonus, ranged attack, HA, and initiative is not too much. PG/AG often discounts the HA of ranged/indirect-fire units (e.g., the US 105mm howitzer’s HA and US 75mm howitzer’s HA ignore their potent, direct-fire HEAT round; the German direct-fire RA=0 SdKfz 251/9 75mm’s HA=12 appears to give HEAT but an RA=1 version perhaps should have less HA). PG/AG also usually discounts initiative of ranged-fire units (compare similar units, tank/recon/AT v. artillery-class).


I hope that made more sense and please let me know the results of whatever you try. Thank you.

Anonymous General Stats said...

Good comments & info. I agree that AG discounts many factors, and this makes it a challenge to use what the game provides to model unit capability. Yes, I don't want to make RA=1 infantry too strong. That's why I don't intend to give Bridge Eng the ranged fire - they have bridging, engineer, & the other combat attributes of infantry you list. I'm just modding that they won't have enough med mtr's to add RA=1. All that extra bridging equipment ;-)

You make a good argument to not give (non bridging) Engineers RA=1. It's a tough choice. Nevertheless often we make certain decisions because we think it will "work" in the game or just seems more consistent. As of now, in the EF efile I'm working on the following units have been given RA=1: Ger Pioniere, Grenadier40 & 43, Waffen SS 40 & 43; SU Guards42 & 44, Engineer42 & 44. Also have an early ST SMG Inf that will not add RA=1.

We try to adjust initiative & other unit parameters to improve on past efiles, yet remain constricted by the engines limitations. Did you see any of the recent discussion (it became a bit heated) on why this old game's rights have not been released? With some updating, P/AG could become a very good operational game. Check out the recent Unit cost/pricing topic I started on JP's.

Blogger General SNAFU said...

I worry about allowing so much infantry to attack with impunity (RA=1) but I could be wrong so try it and see. The Soviet SMG unit is interesting. I will try to check the JP topic. Good luck.