Half Tracks and ASL


Doing Plenty, Kinda Slow
Jan 30, 2003
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Is this similar to the 60mm FPF Barrages the US Marines get in the Watchtower mod?
Defensive artillery FPF lines were a tactic, but were time consuming and expensive (re spotting round shots) to set up. (Theoretically, FPF execution also exhausted ammo and burned up Gun tubes owing to fire intensity and duration.)

IRL, re an "ordinary barrage," one Gun/Observer hurriedly gets the Spotting Round nearly "zeroed" then the rest of the battery dials in the solution (w/one final adjustment, usually) and fires (re that mission) for the first time. The "same solution" will never yield quite the same result for every tube (particularly if the FO's final adjustment is off), so you'll get some drift/dispersion/error when the multiple-tube FFE comes down. ASL likely overstates this error in game terms, but that's why there is some error built into the OBA rules.

IRL, re an FPF, every Gun of the battery would go through the SR procedure patiently to individually "zero" each battery tube -- ideally, the final per-gun solutions were all spot-on. This "extra work" consumed a lot more ammo and FO time but, baring atmospheric changes between set-up and the later call for execution of that FPF, the result was as perfect as physics and human error allowed.

Provided no one messed w/the FO as the FPF was being established, that is.

Establishing an FPF was kinda obvious. Baring some mental misfire, an enemy would never be surprised by one. An enemy FO knew =exactly= what is being done. If the enemy could, their own FO would concurrently call in well-timed faux "SRs" so as to confuse the FO trying to set up the FPF. [If the FPF-planning FO mistook the wrong one of two near-simultaneous friendly (and enemy) SR plumes as a friendly, it could result in a "wrong" solution for the tube that FO was currently trying to zero. The error would likely be slight, but there'd be some.] Minimally, such interference took up more FO time and setup ammo. In the OWT game, the possible one-hex drift of an FPF is =way= too exaggerated (but that's the grain of the game and why an FPF error is possible in game terms).

In Footnote #6 of the OWT module, there's a bit more about FPFs and their role in a static defense. See ASLRB p Z15>16