Artillery Barrages and Indirect Fire
Availability: SEDCS6.0.0, SEDB60, MP4-v6.0.0 or later
The HSFX and SEOW development teams collaborated on a new feature for simulating indirect fire barrages within HSFX6 and SEOW6. This feature has been extensively tested and has worked very well in campaign environments.
Until now, IL-2 has modelled all artillery pieces in "direct fire" mode. That is, all light, medium and heavy artillery would acquire and shoot at enemy objects in their firing arcs, out to their maximum ranges defined in the technics.ini file. This gave the unrealistic behaviour of artillery pieces shooting at will at individual vehicles over hills many kilometres away.
In actual WW2 operations, long-range artillery would be given map coordinates to shoot at for a specified period of time. This is called an indirect fire barrage, and various artillery pieces were specialized for this role, e.g. howitzers. HSFX and SEOW now support this mode, as well as the direct fire mode.
The main effect of a barrage on the enemy is loss of morale, although explosive destruction of units is also reasonably common if direct or close hits occur. The morale effect is modelled in SEOW by reference to British Army range tables of WW2 guns and their lethal effect statistics.
Commanding Barrages in SEOW
The commander simply uses the Logistics:Barrages tool in the MP to select friendly barrage-capable units and issue map coordinates for the artillery unit to shoot at, by clicking on the map. The MP Barrage interface is an evolution of the Rocket interface - both rockets and artillery are handled by the one tool, so howitzers, katyushas, V1 and V2 rockets are handled in the same way now. See the original Rocket Barrages page for relevant information.
Artillery with BOTH Direct and Indirect Fire Modes
While some artillery pieces were incapable of shooting at short ranges, e.g. the Leopold Rail Gun could not shoot under 10 km range, many guns could be lowered and bore-sighted. Therefore it makes sense that SEOW should allow direct fire modes at short ranges, and indirect fire modes at longer ranges where terrain obscured line of sight. SEOW supports this, and commanders are able to switch their artillery between modes simply by issuing or cancelling barrage (indirect fire) orders. The actual distances for these different modes are set, per gun type, in the technics.ini and rockets.ini files in HSFX. Therefore, campaign designers need to ensure that they are using appropriate game configuration files. HSFX6 ships with the "Advanced Barrage Mode" mod that has some preset defaults to assist with this, i.e. ensuring that direct fire ranges and indirect fire ranges do not overlap for long-range artillery units.