SW Mortars

Brian W

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In reviewing some technical notes on the Polish wz. 36, I question the B11 applied to it, but also question whether air-bursts should apply as the weapon had a fixed elevation of 45 degrees. It may be a case of a grenade launcher-mortar hybrid that is relatively too powerful in ASL. Would it be more accurate to make it a 3pp weapon, with B12 and no airburst modifier?

I question how much airburst benefit any mortar with a 45 degree firing angle got at its maximum range, but that's too much detail for a game like ASL.
 

Vinnie

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The Belgian mortar doesn't get airburst due to its set fuse rather than the set angle.
 

Paul M. Weir

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While the firing angle was fixed at 45°, the range could be varied by adjusting the effective chamber space. The Japanese 50mm Type 89 worked on a similar principal. The more available chamber space, the lower the propellant gas pressure and thus lower thrust and range.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granatnik_wz._36

The whole question of airbursts is a kettle of nasty smelling fish. To determine whether that was appropriate you would have to know the fuse type, IE whether it was sufficiently sensitive or could be set to be extra sensitive (British term: super quick) to possibly detonate when hitting light branches. Would armies request sufficiently sensitive fuses for cheap mass issued "meatball throwers". Extra sensitive fuses would be a desirable feature for regular and expensive artillery but for glorified grenade launchers?

With the exception of the Belgian mortar (apparently the grenade could land and not explode for a second or so), I would give all light mortars the benefit of the doubt as except for the 60mm varieties, they only non-CH attack on the 2 FP column. For the few cases where they get a good airburst result, I would put that down to hitting a tree trunk or substantial branch. Life is too short.
 

Bob Walters

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This is why bibliographies would be handy then we could see how the research done. However, could it also have been done as a balancing tactic or to simulate an effect that was actually beyond what the spec would indicate. I seem to remember something John Hill wrote about that in articles of why things in Squad Leader were written the way they were.
 
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Paul M. Weir

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Historically WW2 airbursts came in 3 flavours.

Proximity or VT (Variable Time) fused shells which had a miniaturised radar unit that triggered the charge a set distance from the ground. Only available in combat zones from the end of '44 for the Allies. Originally designed for AA shells (down to 40mm Bofors), put in plain artillery shells as well.

True shrapnel shells which were designed to burst in the air forming a forward and downward cone of balls, a bit like a canister blast. Usually used a variable length powder train to trigger the bursting charge. Early WW1 field guns usually had exclusively shrapnel shells, later supplemented or replaced by HE, but shrapnel was still in use in WW2.

Standard HE triggered by trees or light overhead cover. A fair few "Bulge" accounts that I have read mention this as a very real problem, for example. How solid the triggering item (branch, roof slate, etc) would have to be, would vary between shell designs and maybe even production batches. A hit on a solid trunk or substantial branch should trigger all, lighter branches ... depends.

The last is what ASL's airburst rules simulate. While the <= 50mm mortar rounds might not be the most effective examples, there would be some effect and those only have 2 FP in ASL anyway, so I don't have a problem applying the rule.

ASL was written in the early '80s when a lot of WW2 history was under researched or original materials still hidden (eg Soviet archives, ULTRA), but this was, in my opinion, a reasonable approximation to a real and significant combat phenomenon.
 

Paul M. Weir

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This is why bibliographies would be handy then we could see how the research done. However, could it also have been done as a balancing tactic or to simulate an effect that was actually beyond what the spec would indicate. I seem to remember something John Hill wrote about that in articles of why things in Squad Leader were written the way they were.
I have mixed views on providing bibliographies for ASL aspects. While nice, we are talking about a game, not a doctoral thesis. While I mentioned comments concerning the additional hazards that artillery provided during the Bulge, I would be hard pressed to find a specific reference amongst my thousands of books and quite simply am too lazy to trawl through (and not wishing to get buried by a book avalanche that a careless search would trigger :)). It's just that I have seen it mentioned enough times that I find it believable. A slight case of "Trust me, I'm a doctor" type of thing, I'm afraid.

There are cases where references are a definite good thing, something like Order of Battle (OoB) for a CG or set of linked scenarios based upon a specific battle would be an example. For other OoBs, like the typical make up of Panzer Abteilungen in a specific year, might come from the distillation of snippets from many books/sites and only coming together in my mind, bibliographies might not be as useful or definitive.

In ASL there are vigorous debates about various things like VBM freeze, FH/Trench MF splitting and extra RoF die and which I might disagree with, I find little reason to question most things in ASL from a history reading nerd viewpoint. While the armament of the SU-57 (aka T-48 GMC) may stick in my craw, Airbursts don't. My approach is to check in detail specific items that seem wrong (eg SU-57) but to look at more generalised things (eg Airbursts) as how it holds up compared to generalised historical impressions and only then consider specific exceptions.
 

BattleSchool

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In ASL there are vigorous debates about various things like VBM freeze, FH/Trench MF splitting and extra RoF die...
"Vigorous debates" on the use of a third, ROF-only die?

What's to debate? ;)

Re the Granatnik wz.36, I'd be okay with a B12. One may also wish to add some chrome: the ability to fire once during the phase in which the mortar is assembled.
 
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