Mortars.....the most interesting/unigue weapon in ASL?

serpico

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As the title says.....do you think Mortars are the most interesting/unigue weapons in ASL? We all know about the SW kind but this is more about the 5/8 inchers...:smoke:

If not why, other types of weapons more interesting/better? Give a convincing argument......:D

I think they are pretty unigue given the direct LOS/indirect fire aspect...which does give them some advantages...

How do you plan your tactics around their use, or do you try not to depend on them too much?

Paul :smoke:
 

wrongway149

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As the title says.....do you think Mortars are the most interesting/unigue weapons in ASL? We all know about the SW kind but this is more about the 5/8 inchers...:smoke:

If not why, other types of weapons more interesting/better? Give a convincing argument......:D

I think they are pretty unigue given the direct LOS/indirect fire aspect...which does give them some advantages...

How do you plan your tactics around their use, or do you try not to depend on them too much?

Paul :smoke:

I think mortars are a bit too powerful in ASL. Too much ROF- who's humping all that ammo? I tend to use sparingly in my designs-- typically if I don't want to use OBA.

Light mortars are not much use against troops in any terrain besides woods. Typically can't see brokies to DM them. Just a bunch of extra DRs hoping for a CH before a breakdown.

Waste of game time usually.
 

Brian W

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Waste of game time usually.
Obviously it depends on the terrain; it is a poor designer that adds mortars to a scenario in which they are ineffective without extremely low dice. That being said, they were available and widely used. I certainly agree that the amount of ammo used by a sw mortar (at least) in an ASL scenario is unrealistic; however, I think that the answer is not lowered ROF, but lowered B# (i.e. low ammo in ASL does not lower your ROF but your B#).

IIRC, there is a book by a guy that jumped with the 82nd and he described the ammo distribution amongst the platoon for a 60mm mortar--it was an amazingly low amount of ammo (less than 20 rounds?).
 

2 Bit Bill

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Obviously it depends on the terrain; it is a poor designer that adds mortars to a scenario in which they are ineffective without extremely low dice. That being said, they were available and widely used. I certainly agree that the amount of ammo used by a sw mortar (at least) in an ASL scenario is unrealistic; however, I think that the answer is not lowered ROF, but lowered B# (i.e. low ammo in ASL does not lower your ROF but your B#).

IIRC, there is a book by a guy that jumped with the 82nd and he described the ammo distribution amongst the platoon for a 60mm mortar--it was an amazingly low amount of ammo (less than 20 rounds?).
Each current 60mm round weighs about 4 pounds/1.75 kg

Wilbur Wright was in HHC 505th PIR(5 Combat Jumps) and, I thought from our discussion at the Christmas dinner, he told me he humped 81mm ammo. Hopefully I get to ask him at our next meeting.
 

Michael Dorosh

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The 2-inch mortar in CW service was likely used more often for smoke than HE; smoke grenades are over-represented in ASL, so these things tend to even out, I think. The PIAT was used as an ad hoc mortar in NW Europe also; our regimental archives here in Calgary talk about such use favourably and hint that it was done often enough to be considered safe and reliable.
 

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I think mortars are a bit too powerful in ASL. Too much ROF- who's humping all that ammo? I tend to use sparingly in my designs-- typically if I don't want to use OBA.

Light mortars are not much use against troops in any terrain besides woods. Typically can't see brokies to DM them. Just a bunch of extra DRs hoping for a CH before a breakdown.

Waste of game time usually.
In "At the Sharp End", John Ellis lists mortars and shells (lumped together) as the biggest cause of wounds in the British army for the war as a whole and claims to be using official statistics. Other sources I have read seem to suggest the mortar - even the light platoon mortars - were deadly and effective weapons.
 

Michael Dorosh

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In "At the Sharp End", John Ellis lists mortars and shells (lumped together) as the biggest cause of wounds in the British army for the war as a whole and claims to be using official statistics. Other sources I have read seem to suggest the mortar - even the light platoon mortars - were deadly and effective weapons.
Those were 8.1cm and 12.0 cm mortars primarily, which in many cases were replacing artillery pieces in German infantry regiments and divisions.

The 5.0 cm mortars were dispensed with for the most part by the midwar point. The 8.1s did filter down to infantry battalions and companies and became more numerous as the war went on.

I think the type of usage Ellis describes would best be illustrated in many if not most cases in ASL as OBA, frankly.
 

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I like mortars and have had much success with them. They can pose a threat by covering woods which are usually good avenues of approach.
 

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Back in the 1980s and 90s I used to hate Mortars. I thought they were stupid, and I hated the halving of firepower and their relative uselessness against buildings.

Now they are probably my favorite weapons. The high rate, spotted fire, airbursts, long range...it's all good.

In team play I ask to be given control of them, gladly relinquishing the more popular HMGs and MMGs to my teammate.

:)
 

jwb3

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IIRC, there is a book by a guy that jumped with the 82nd and he described the ammo distribution amongst the platoon for a 60mm mortar--it was an amazingly low amount of ammo (less than 20 rounds?).
I can't say this really surprises me. Since the airborne parceled out their
mortars one per platoon, you have to figure they were not intended to be used for concentrated fire (the "on-call" OBA that Chapter H talks about) the way other units used them. I have no idea how they were intended to be used, but clearly it wasn't through suppression by massive amounts of shells fired.

For what it's worth, which is very little, here's some info from Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord for comparison. I have no idea where it got its numbers, much less how accurate they are, but its designers usually seem to have done some research.

Their default loadout for the 60mm is 35 rounds; 2-5 smoke, the rest HE. The same is true for the Airborne units. However, if the Airborne carried less ammo than other units, I suspect CMBO would not bother modeling that, even if the designers were aware of it.
The 2-inch mortar in CW service was likely used more often for smoke than HE...
That interests me, since the CMBO loadout for same is 20 rounds, with only 1-3 of them being smoke. Of course, you of all people know that... so I'm curious to hear what you think of it.

I do know that because it only has those 1-3 rounds, the darn thing is next to useless for making smoke in CMBO.


One thing that does become clear by playing CMBO, assuming it's even moderately close to reality: Even with the larger mortars that have a meaningful number of smoke rounds and larger area of effect per shell, there is no way in hell that a typical mortar in ASL should be able to lay more than one hex worth of smoke per fire phase, 3 ROF or no ROF. Maybe the 107mm chemical mortar should be able to do it, given that it would have a relatively large area of effect per shell and a relatively large supply of smoke rounds available. But the 81mms have to use too many shells to cover a single hex-equivalent to be thinking about going for a second one, much less three or more.


John
 

Michael Dorosh

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2-inch mortar crew(s) of the Regina Rifles; the original caption doesn't give much indication if this was the result of one weapon or not.

In CM, as you know, the mortars are used most often for blooping MGs and especially anti-tank guns in woods positions, foxholes or trenches. There is a good description of the mortar in use in Farley Mowat's "And No Birds Sang" as a smoke laying device to cover a platoon withdrawal, however.
 

jwb3

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2-inch mortar crew(s) of the Regina Rifles; the original caption doesn't give much indication if this was the result of one weapon or not.

In CM, as you know, the mortars are used most often for blooping MGs and especially anti-tank guns in woods positions, foxholes or trenches. There is a good description of the mortar in use in Farley Mowat's "And No Birds Sang" as a smoke laying device to cover a platoon withdrawal, however.
Thanks for the pic, but from the limited discussion you provided with it, I'm gathering that "what you think of it" is that we just don't have a whole lot to go on.

I remember seeing a pic very like this one a few months ago in some other thread. I'm pretty sure it was a different pic of the same situation, because I think there was a whole lot less smoke, and no airplane, and so on. But in the discussion that went with it, someone (Blackcloud?) commented that it must have been a humid day because the smoke clung closer to the ground than it normally would.

However, I'm willing to concede that it does look like the smoke in this pic is covering somewhat more than one hex; perhaps the proper conclusion to come to is that CM is not even moderately close to reality...


John
 

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But in the discussion that went with it, someone (Blackcloud?) commented that it must have been a humid day because the smoke clung closer to the ground than it normally would.
I remember the discussion but don't remember if I commented. Smoke will hand low if there is a temperature inversion. 9WP will still rise as it is "hot" smoke)

I think one tube could make the smoke screen shown in the picture.

From the extended smoke beyond the thick smoke in the picture, it looks like they have been shooting for a bit of time.
 

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In "At the Sharp End", John Ellis lists mortars and shells (lumped together) as the biggest cause of wounds in the British army for the war as a whole and claims to be using official statistics. Other sources I have read seem to suggest the mortar - even the light platoon mortars - were deadly and effective weapons.
I too thought the mortars had an unususally high ROF, however, having been the recipient of such, I rationalize it by using the what I call the "Wake-up" factor of self-preservation of a few incoming rounds.:crosseye:
 

Blackcloud6

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Maybe the aircraft dropped the smoke?

Look like alot of smoke to come from from one tube.....
No the aircraft didn't drop the smoke. I know of no smoke ordnance from aircraft and that is a fighter anyways.

Mortars can fire lots of rounds relatively fast. That is probably less rounds than you think. Plus we don't know how long they have been firing. And it could be a section fire and the other two guns are out of the picture to the left and/or right.
 

Michael Dorosh

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No the aircraft didn't drop the smoke. I know of no smoke ordnance from aircraft and that is a fighter anyways.

Mortars can fire lots of rounds relatively fast. That is probably less rounds than you think. Plus we don't know how long they have been firing. And it could be a section fire and the other two guns are out of the picture to the left and/or right.
Dunno...2-inch mortars were not normally organized into sections AFAIK; they were issued one per platoon and formed part of platoon HQ. Now, they may have been pooled under the company commander; it is done often enough by wargamers but not sure how often they did it that way "for real".
 

jwb3

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Mortars can fire lots of rounds relatively fast. That is probably less rounds than you think. Plus we don't know how long they have been firing.
I agree. If we assume that the separate cloud on the left represents a single shell, then the rest of the dense cloud looks like it could be made up of as few as 4-5 shells.


John
 

Blackcloud6

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Dunno...2-inch mortars were not normally organized into sections AFAIK; they were issued one per platoon and formed part of platoon HQ. Now, they may have been pooled under the company commander; it is done often enough by wargamers but not sure how often they did it that way "for real".
The US 60mm was also a platoon weapon but the Co Cdr could (and did) pool them at company. I'm sure our Northern brothers were just as smart. ;)


If we assume that the separate cloud on the left represents a single shell, then the rest of the dense cloud looks like it could be made up of as few as 4-5 shells.
That's what I was thinking. It doesn't look too far away either when you look at the infantrymen about always down range.
 

jwb3

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That's what I was thinking. It doesn't look too far away either when you look at the infantrymen about always down range.
I found that really hard to judge. With the slopes on both sides of the valley (I only just realized there's a dirt road running along the bottom), it's hard to tell the distance from the mortar crew to the infantry, and hard to compare it to the distance between the infantry and the smoke.

And those squat evergreens are of such random sizes, too... It seems like you ought to be able to compare the one infantryman to the row of them that goes into the smoke cloud, but who knows? That tree in the middle of the smoke might be twice as big as any of the others! :)


John
 
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