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amrcg
22 Aug 03, 12:26
Dear Captain

First of all, let me thank you for the reccent additions and improvements to ATF!!!!

But now, here are some questions and issues related with artillery in ATF ;):

1) In ATF the howitzers can only fire if controlled by an FDC. Is this just a simplification, or does it in some way have a mapping to real life?
By the way, other indirect fire units (e.g. mortars) do not have this restriction. Is FDC dependence controlled by any parameter that can be configured in the ATF Tollkit, or is it hardwired to the howitzers?

2) In TACOPS the howitzers can also perform direct fire with their indirect fire weapon, while in ATF their direct fire capability is restricted to direct fire weapons. Was it too difficult to add the direct fire capability for emmergency situations?

3) I have ordered an HE Fire Mission and the log said that spash would occur 2:10 later. I waited for 1:33 and then aborted the ongoing fire mission, and ordered an identical fire mission. Guess what? Spash time was 2:10 later. The reload time of the previous mission was not taken into account albeit the ammunition was the same... Will this be ever fixed =)?

4) Now a somewhat related issue. Please, please, please! (Re-)Add the "At My Command" missions. Those long OPFOR columns in the "Death Valley: Defense" and other scenarios call for a shorter time to splash. Is it really difficult to add this feature =)?

Anyway, congratulations and thank you very much for the worderful support and improvement that you are conferring to this magnificent simulator.

Best regards,
Antonio

Deltapooh
22 Aug 03, 14:38
1) In ATF the howitzers can only fire if controlled by an FDC. Is this just a simplification, or does it in some way have a mapping to real life?

The M109A6 Paladin, at least from my understanding, don't need FDC available. They should be able to receive fire missions through their Automatic Fire Control System (AFCS).


2) In TACOPS the howitzers can also perform direct fire with their indirect fire weapon, while in ATF their direct fire capability is restricted to direct fire weapons. Was it too difficult to add the direct fire capability for emmergency situations?

I'm not sure that's extremely realistic. I do recall a fire base in Vietnam firing artilery at almost point-blank range when they were about to be overrun. There would likely be problems with fuses. I don't know if they can be set for very short distances like (100ft.)

Then again, you can fire artillery on yourself in ATF if desired.

My advice is to not allow such a situation to develop.


3) I have ordered an HE Fire Mission and the log said that spash would occur 2:10 later. I waited for 1:33 and then aborted the ongoing fire mission, and ordered an identical fire mission. Guess what? Spash time was 2:10 later. The reload time of the previous mission was not taken into account albeit the ammunition was the same... Will this be ever fixed =)?

When you cancel a fire mission, the information the FDC needs is also erased. This is one reason why I support the ideal of pre-determined fire missions. You can select a point on the map, save the info, and call it up with one key. An example (somewhat) of this occured in the movie "When We Were Soldiers......"


) Now a somewhat related issue. Please, please, please! (Re-)Add the "At My Command" missions. Those long OPFOR columns in the "Death Valley: Defense" and other scenarios call for a shorter time to splash. Is it really difficult to add this feature =)?

I wouldn't mind it myself. Right now, if available, I use FASCAM to first slow down the advance, then hit them with artillery.

Pat Proctor
22 Aug 03, 14:47
1) In ATF the howitzers can only fire if controlled by an FDC. Is this just a simplification, or does it in some way have a mapping to real life?
By the way, other indirect fire units (e.g. mortars) do not have this restriction. Is FDC dependence controlled by any parameter that can be configured in the ATF Tollkit, or is it hardwired to the howitzers?

Uh oh! You got me talking about my favorite topic. ;)

Howitzers and mortars absolutely can not fire indirect fire without fire direction centers. Even the Paladin, which can compute its own firing data, can only RECEIVE missions digitally from a fire direction center.

Mortars also have the capability of FDC set because their FDC's are frequently mounted on mortar carriers or dismounted. Also, mortars, especially dismount mortars, are commonly and effectively used in direct lay (sort of like direct fire) and we wanted this to be replicated in ATF.


2) In TACOPS the howitzers can also perform direct fire with their indirect fire weapon, while in ATF their direct fire capability is restricted to direct fire weapons. Was it too difficult to add the direct fire capability for emmergency situations?

Frankly, from 9 years and counting of artillery experience, artillerymen can't hit s^&t in direct fire. I have never seen an artillery crew hit anything except inanimate objects, and never on the first shot. ATF does not model such an inaccurate pH, so I chose to exclude it rather than make artillery more lethal than it really is in direct fire.


3) I have ordered an HE Fire Mission and the log said that spash would occur 2:10 later. I waited for 1:33 and then aborted the ongoing fire mission, and ordered an identical fire mission. Guess what? Spash time was 2:10 later. The reload time of the previous mission was not taken into account albeit the ammunition was the same... Will this be ever fixed =)?

I would contend that the friction caused by cancelling and then recalling a fire mission would take MORE than 1:33 to sort out in real life. Remember in addition to loading, traverse, and time of flight times, that 2:10 also includes time to compute, fat-finger the mission into computers, and call for the mission. If you end a mission, the fire direction center will end it in their box. You would then have to resend the mission through every link in the chain to reinitiate, even at the same grid. Yep. It would take a lot more than 1:33 seconds to sort out.

(In fact, I would contend that the entire artillery model is much more forgiving than real life. In my *other* life, as Direct Support Field Artillery Battalion Fire Direction Trainer at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, we see average shift times between fire missions of around five minutes. The new, AFATDS equiped battalions have shift times of well over seven minutes.)


4) Now a somewhat related issue. Please, please, please! (Re-)Add the "At My Command" missions. Those long OPFOR columns in the "Death Valley: Defense" and other scenarios call for a shorter time to splash. Is it really difficult to add this feature =)?

We never found a clean interface for giving the fire command or indicating that a unit was laid and loaded on a target and couldn't accept other fire missions. If you have any suggestions, we are completely open to them.

In the meantime...

If the OPFOR column is 3 km, and the OPFOR travels at about 1.3 km per minute, aim at the front of the column and you will get the BRDM-2's with ATGM's (the most lethal and least armoredvehicles in the column) at the rear of the column.

Happy hunting.:)

Black Moria
22 Aug 03, 17:04
We never found a clean interface for giving the fire command or indicating that a unit was laid and loaded on a target and couldn't accept other fire missions. If you have any suggestions, we are completely open to them.

Here is my suggestion, keeping in mind I am not a programmer.

Do the normal artillery process from the interface. If AMC button is selected, when when the user clicks on the target area on the map, instead of graphics indicating the 'spread', the click of the mouse leaves a AMC flag or tag on the map. As long as the AMC tag is on the map, that battery is unavailable for missions unless that AMC mission is cancelled. Click on a allocated battery and a warning window "Unit is tasked" box come up with a option to cancel the AMC mission, freeing up the unit.

To fire the mission, the user clicks on the AMC tag, which pops up a box with 'Fire Now?' or something similar with a select button. If the user selects this, the mission is fired immediately and the rounds impact after accounting for time of flight. The AMC tag vanishes and the battery is freed up for normal missions.

Or, as an alternative idea, using the same idea above - have the AMC tag appear beside the battery in question. Tag now doubles both as an interface to fire the AMC mission and as a method of indicating that that battery is 'on task' with a AMC mission.

Registered targets can be handled in a somewhat similar fashion.

amrcg
22 Aug 03, 17:28
Hi Captain Proctor

Thank you for your answer.



In the meantime...

If the OPFOR column is 3 km, and the OPFOR travels at about 1.3 km per minute, aim at the front of the column and you will get the BRDM-2's with ATGM's (the most lethal and least armoredvehicles in the column) at the rear of the column.

Not so easy... The columns often drift a bit a you end up wasting your ammunition.



We never found a clean interface for giving the fire command or indicating that a unit was laid and loaded on a target and couldn't accept other fire missions. If you have any suggestions, we are completely open to them.

Maybe I am oversimplifying it, but I think that it can be done in the following way.

1) You order you mission and choose AMC as the control type.
2) The log lists your mission with to time to be ready. Other missions must wait in the queue, unless you order an urgent mission in which case the AMC mission is aborted and re-inserted in the queue.
3) After the tubes become ready, the log displays them as ready to fire.
4) The right-click context sensitive menu (or hierarchy menu) of the artillery units (be it individual unit, platoon or battery) has an option to "Fire AMC ready mission" that becomes active when the unit is ready to fire. You just choose that option and the corresponding hierarchy fires its ready AMC missions.
5) The log lists the time to splash of the mission just as it does to other mission types.

Have I forgot something? ;)

Cheers,
Antonio

amrcg
28 Aug 03, 20:37
Dear Captain

This is just to remind you of commenting the sugestions that were made in this thread for AMC missions. I think this is a very important matter for future improvement of ATF.

Cheers,
Antonio