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Thread: Howitzer cry-babies

  1. #41
    Supai
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by DinoMight
    I respectfully disagree, the explosive shells of howitzers, like any other military weapon, were developed and advanced throughout time to become more accurate and more deadly, now howitzers emerged from the families of Serpentine and Basilisk artillery pieces (Serpentine for its trajectory and Basilisk for its explosive shells) these weapons were around since the 14th century yet they were still accurate and deadly!!!. (Serpentine was used against cavalry as well as troops and was devastating) , don't you think that 400 years later their technology has been advanced and better engineered to become more accurate and more deadly; that just makes sense!! (fighter jets today for example are much more powerful than they were just 50 years ago)
    Hmm, I must disagree with this.
    Take in mind that howitzers and any other artilley guns from that period were not so accurate.
    Only occassionally artillery guns can hit on target with one shot, but this was not common case.
    Normally artillery guns fired many shots to hit on target and sometimes they did it quite long time. Therfore artillery fired many times and they needed so many ammunition wagons. Especially howitzers and heavy cannons needed lot of gun powder and heavier projectiles. They also needed more men crew and horses.

    That does not matter from what howitzers were emerged. They still were not so accurate and deadly, especially against moveable targets. They of course could be dangerous and could made havoc, because they can inflicted heavy wounds and can killed some men or horses. But against moveable targets their accuracy was poor. Time to time shells can hit on such targets and inflict even heavy loses, but howitzers were more effective for special purposes or against fixed targets as like fortifications, buildings, or even enemy artillery deployed on position, or slowly moved targets in terrain. They were also used against enemy covered in or behind forests, villages, towns etc.

    In open and relatively flat terrain, at short range, canister or grape shots fired with common cannons could be more effective than howitzers' shells.

    At long range solid cannon balls wich could made ricochets, could bounced or rolling on the ground breaking legs were more dangerous for men and horses too.

    That's why on battlefields were used so many cannons and not so many howitzers.

    Earlier or today weapons it is quite different case.

    Quote Originally Posted by DinoMight
    As for the 25%, if you research some more history books, and i am sure you are well researched, you will find that the typical Battery of Artillery had 6 cannons and 2 howitzers. this was pretty standard. This amounts to 25% of the typical artillery battery.
    Oh, what it is typical battery?

    I could say that typical Russian battery consisted of 8 cannons and any howitzer, because they used 4 licorns instead howitzers. However licorns or unicorns were little bit different guns than howitzers.

    French horse artillery battery comprised 4 light cannons and 2 howitzers.
    French foot artillery battery consisted of 6 cannons and 2 howitzers.
    Average British foot artillery battery at Waterloo had 5 cannons and 1 howitzer.
    Average British horse artillery battery at Waterloo had 2 9pdr, 2,5 6pdr cannons and 1,5 howitzer etc.

    In other hand Prussian had few batteries entirely armed with howitzers, and their infantry regiments had their regimental cannons.

    Austrian and many others also used regimental artillery companies armed mainly with light cannons.

    There were also some siege or costal, or garrison artillery, they had different organization.

    Then what it is typical artillery battery and how you can count 25% numbers of howitzers in the army?

  2. #42
    LotsofxXandzZ's Avatar Kirā
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by LotsofxXandzZ View Post
    First off, Howitzers were not an accurate weapon, you're lobbing a shell up in the air where its affect by wind, second its a smoothbore so you already have low accuracy and third, you had to have an experienced to crew to cut proper fuses to have the shells detonate at the right time. Even then they took a very long time to prepare and load if you were to expect the shot doing proper damage. Why do you think only ca 25% of a battery was howitzers ( not even then )? Its because direct fire artillery was alot more powerful whch this game doesnt show quite well.

    Also, even if the howitzer landed right in a column of infantry or cavalry the damage wouldn't be extensive.... I think it was Chlapowski in his " Memoirs of a Polish Lancer " mentions that a shell landed right in the line of cavaly, all that happend was a couple horses wounded and 2 men injured by shrapnel. Remember that the shells were rather small, Average was 150 mm, but the powder was in the center surronded by the metal of the shell so the amount of explosives wasn't large ( Except maybe those 20 pdr unicorns ) and black powder isn't all that powerful, nothing compared to modern HE.

    Point is, Artillery in general in NTW is just crap...
    Well i kind of already explained how howitzers are kind of overpowered in this game.

    They were good support to the direct fire cannons, but they would never take over them just because cannons were just much more effective than howitzers. In Ntw a howitzer shell blows away a whole section of the line when it hits the center, that would never happen, but when a cannon ball hits the line 2, maybe 3 guys die and the rest just stand up. That wouldn't happen, maybe with a 2 or 3 pounder but a 12 pounder would blow away everything in its way. You would see holes through men, broken ribs, heads taken clean off the shoulders and one of the more terrifying sights was a rolling cannon ball. Legs torn off and broken in every rank that it passed through.

    A howitzer on the other hand, didn't blow men to pieces like modern HE shells, most of the damage was either from shock waves destroying internal organs or shrapnel tearing through skin. But that would only affect the men standing near it and under perfect conditions. A lot of times the shell would explode too high and do no damage unless you were unlucky enough to get shrapnel buried in your head.They were no where near as effective as cannons. The only real indirect fire weapons to be feared were the 20 pounder unicorns which were a blend between a cannon and a howitzer, it had a longer barrel which allowed for more accuracy and a much larger shot/explosive amount. When that fuse is cut properly you will wreak havoc on anything you hit.
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  3. #43
    Ramesses II The Great's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Well and that's why I use howitzers because CA did a crapy job on cannon. I have a post on cannon that I wrote. I describes how I find it absolutely ridiculous that a 12 pounder shell would hit and throw about 20 guyz in the air, yet ALL of them get up and walk away... That's when I said F this S I'm going all howitzer.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Britain used them in 1812 on their ships and used them at Leipzig, Wellington didn't want them at Waterloo so he took the horses and carts for his cannons instead. Russia apparently experimented with them and didn't see them as useful and France knew of this technology but didn't use them. The British saw their effectiveness when Tipu Sultan used them in huge numbers but the problem is Tipu had huge numbers of that weapon, strong stands, metallic rockets with blades and Britain did none of that and so were not as effective.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by money View Post
    Britain used them in 1812 on their ships and used them at Leipzig, Wellington didn't want them at Waterloo so he took the horses and carts for his cannons instead. Russia apparently experimented with them and didn't see them as useful and France knew of this technology but didn't use them. The British saw their effectiveness when Tipu Sultan used them in huge numbers but the problem is Tipu had huge numbers of that weapon, strong stands, metallic rockets with blades and Britain did none of that and so were not as effective.
    I think that was a big mistake on behalf of european powers... i would have mass-used those howitzers and blown everyone to hell.
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  6. #46
    JaM's Avatar Empire Realism
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Thing is standard match fuse shells were incredibly unreliable. it was quite hard to cut fuse correctly so it will explode at desired range, while it was quite common fuse got damaged or fell off upon impact. Practically just every 10th shell exploded correctly, while not every explosion produced effective blast - in case ground was wet, shells dug in upon impact and explosion was suppressed into the ground. even on ideal conditions, only about 1/3 of fragments flew towards enemy, remaining fragments just went into ground.


    Anyway, massed howitzers were effective, especially if used correctly - for example at Borodino, Napoleon used grand battery composed only of howitzers (around 70 of them), which were placed behind terrain ditch, so enemy artillery couldn't fire at them - they wrecked havoc in ranks of Russian Guard Infantry, effectively destroying several regiments...

  7. #47
    Minas Moth's Avatar Sabre of Secession
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    If I may offer my opinion on this very matter... The main problem with every howitzer (or howitzer weapon) is actually three fold:
    1. the first one arises from the length of a gun barrel itself. howitzers were often (although there were exceptions) made with shorter barrel than a standard cannon. this shorter barrel effectively means lower accuracy over larger distance. also, the howitzers were often made and considerd "more easy to move" around the battlefield due to the shorter barrel (smaller weight of the barrel itsefl) and therefore less robust limber construction.
    2. the second problem comes from ineffectivness of fuses that were used in any "explosive type projectile" used by a howitzer. if you fire a round shot from a howitzer, its parabolic trajectory will make it to dig in the ground in almost 9/10 cases. i say 9/10 as there are always some deviations that have to be taken into account: such as an elevation of the gun (which has serious relevance only on shorter ranges) and the type of the ground. for instance, if you fire a howitzer with some 10-15 degrees elevation into a field tha is riddled with stone boulders and enemies infatry would advance through it, you actually would do much more damage with solid shot that would hit and smash the boulders causing iron and stone shrapnel flying all around. I have seen a live firing of an 17th and 18th Century howitzer, and I can really say that the solid balls would often dig themselves quite deep... The unreliance of the shell fuse was ofcourse another very big problem, that was solved only with modern (and that I mean 20th century) shell fuses. even during American Civil War (1861-1865) howitzers were highly in-accurate due to the fact they were smooth-bore weapons and that they still used unrelaible fuses. however, the effectivness of howitzer was extremely great when they were used as cannister weapons...
    3. the most important thing (in my own opinion) that posed serious problem for any artillery unit, but especially howitzers was "judging the distance". hitting an enemy infantry that advances towards you, with no clear line of sight (as was the case with howitzers in maby cases) is extremely tedious and hard job to do. this last factor is more determined by the experience, or in-experience for that matter of a howitzer crew and gunman then by the accuracy of the weapon itself. that is one great mistake I find people tend to make. they tend to consider the accuracy of the weapon itself and the man using it the same thing. the history has shown that these aren't the same thing at all. Napoleon's howitzer battery of Borodion was already a veteran unit of many campaigns, and veterancy is actually the only thing that matters in determing the distances when firing with howtizers. even todays super howitzers still have problems with pinpoiting the exact required settings to hit a target you don't see. modern howitzer syystem use complex mathematical algorithams that take in account almost every factor available at the battlefield but you still get some miss shots going off the target as far as 100 metres (although rarely it still happens)



    however, should all the conditions fall into place, and you align your gun properly, cut your fuse right and fire it at the right moment, you can hope that an effect on the enemy will devastating. the shell that explodes some 10-30 metres above the regiment will actually do a lot damage on, not just the regiment in question but in many cases sourounding regiments as well. the damage will be not from the cassualties but from the morale effect, that the enemy can reach you and hurt you. and when you have to advance over the field, under enemies howitzer fire taking out a men or two here and there, your morale will suffer a lot... it will suffer even more if an lucky shot hits a regiment's captain or something like that.

    also, the effect of shell explosion if it were to explode when it hits the ground is game of chance.

  8. #48
    Supai
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by JaM
    Thing is standard match fuse shells were incredibly unreliable. it was quite hard to cut fuse correctly so it will explode at desired range, while it was quite common fuse got damaged or fell off upon impact. Practically just every 10th shell exploded correctly, while not every explosion produced effective blast - in case ground was wet, shells dug in upon impact and explosion was suppressed into the ground. even on ideal conditions, only about 1/3 of fragments flew towards enemy, remaining fragments just went into ground.
    You are right. Shells had some problems. Howitzer loading, aiming and firing also got some troubles.
    Therefore they were used on battlefields for special purposes. Normally artillery used cannons.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaM
    Anyway, massed howitzers were effective, especially if used correctly - for example at Borodino, Napoleon used grand battery composed only of howitzers (around 70 of them), which were placed behind terrain ditch, so enemy artillery couldn't fire at them - they wrecked havoc in ranks of Russian Guard Infantry, effectively destroying several regiments...
    This was special case. Russian Guardsmen stood on the ground and died. They were ordered hold the weakened front line.
    This was king of massed infantry, unmoved and fixed target. Nice target for artillery which can fired placed behind ditch cover.

    Nevertheless they still hold the line and French did not break Russian centre.
    Casualties were horrible but, Russian Army managed stand ground and later they withdrew in order.

  9. #49
    JaM's Avatar Empire Realism
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    This was special case. Russian Guardsmen stood on the ground and died. They were ordered hold the weakened front line.
    This was king of massed infantry, unmoved and fixed target. Nice target for artillery which can fired placed behind ditch cover.

    Nevertheless they still hold the line and French did not break Russian centre.
    Casualties were horrible but, Russian Army managed stand ground and later they withdrew in order.
    Actually, breaking the Russian centre and forcing them to retreat from battlefield was not the original Intention - Napoleon wanted to effectively destroy Russian army and to kill their men in the field. That was one of the reason why he declined Davout's proposal for a flanking maneuver, as he was afraid Russians would withdraw from battle, and decisive battle was exactly what napoleon wanted... thus he used this battle tactics, where he constantly attacked Russian center so Russians had to keep reserves close, which were constantly bombarded by his artillery... it was a good tactics, but didn't helped him much due to heavy losses French took while attacking entrenchments.. He probably should listen to Davout...

  10. #50
    Minas Moth's Avatar Sabre of Secession
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    the Borodino couldn't be the decisive battle napoleon wanted it to be... at Borodino his strength was greatly diminished; as Carl Maria von Clausewitz wrote in his On War: "Bonaparte's centre, in the year 1812 at Witepsk was arround 250,000 strong, at Smolensk 182,000 strong, at Borodino it had diminished to 130,000, that is to say, had fallen to about equality with the Russian centre." (Book 6, Chapter XXV)

    This information is extremely important in contrast with other ways the warfare was conducted. In order for Napoleon to achieve decisive victory as you said JaM he would need sufficient numericall superiority to threaten Russian's line of retreat. with breaking of the Russian centre, Napoleon couldn't achieve that, but had he enough numericall superiority, then Davoult's flank attack would achieve exactly that, cut of the Russian line of retreat and that would bring a destruction of the Russian Army. but the way it happened, Russian Centre held long enough for the Army to retreat, although defeated...

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by Minas Moth View Post
    the most important thing (in my own opinion) that posed serious problem for any artillery unit, but especially howitzers was "judging the distance". hitting an enemy infantry that advances towards you, with no clear line of sight (as was the case with howitzers in maby cases) is extremely tedious and hard job to do. this last factor is more determined by the experience, or in-experience for that matter of a howitzer crew and gunman then by the accuracy of the weapon itself. that is one great mistake I find people tend to make. they tend to consider the accuracy of the weapon itself and the man using it the same thing. the history has shown that these aren't the same thing at all. Napoleon's howitzer battery of Borodion was already a veteran unit of many campaigns, and veterancy is actually the only thing that matters in determing the distances when firing with howtizers. even todays super howitzers still have problems with pinpoiting the exact required settings to hit a target you don't see. modern howitzer syystem use complex mathematical algorithams that take in account almost every factor available at the battlefield but you still get some miss shots going off the target as far as 100 metres (although rarely it still happens)
    That reminds me about a British study done in late 40s on how to improve artillery accuracy, and curiously enough they found out that improperly stored ammunition contributed more to artillery (in)accuracy than inexperienced forward observer. Powder quality and how well it was stored was easily as relevant back in the day as storing ammunition is with modern cartridges, shots, or shells.

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by JaM
    Actually, breaking the Russian centre and forcing them to retreat from battlefield was not the original Intention - Napoleon wanted to effectively destroy Russian army and to kill their men in the field. That was one of the reason why he declined Davout's proposal for a flanking maneuver, as he was afraid Russians would withdraw from battle, and decisive battle was exactly what napoleon wanted... thus he used this battle tactics, where he constantly attacked Russian center so Russians had to keep reserves close, which were constantly bombarded by his artillery... it was a good tactics, but didn't helped him much due to heavy losses French took while attacking entrenchments.. He probably should listen to Davout...
    I don't know Napoleon's real intentions, but we know that he sought decisive battle from the begining of that campaign. Then he wanted to destroy Russian Army on the battlefield. Davout's advice was too risky. Russian could retreated again, even without decisive battle. They did such things few times in this campaign. Then Napoleon chose attack on their redoubts in the cetre. This was bloody battle, but Napoleon could not use all his reserves. However this was not simple battle for attrition. Matter was not casualties. Napoleon needed decisive victory. He planned break Russian centre and French almost did it.

    Then Russian cavalry attacked on French left wing and Napoleon stopped or did not reinforce French attacks in the centre.
    Kutuzov managed close the hole in Russian font line using his Guardsmen and reserves. Then French still bombarded Russian, but they can not breake front line. Napoloen of course knew that his artilley alone could not do it while French infantry and cavalry needed rest.

    Then matter was not more casualties at that moment. Russian could suffered much more casualties, when French managed break their front line in the cetre and pursued fled Russian army. This is clear that their army could suffered more casualites this way. Fled soldiers can not defended too long.

    Therefore Kutuzov ordered his men stand ground and die, but did not fly. They died, but French artillery alone could not break them.
    Last edited by exNowy; February 26, 2013 at 08:00 AM.

  13. #53
    Ramesses II The Great's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by JaM View Post
    Thing is standard match fuse shells were incredibly unreliable. it was quite hard to cut fuse correctly so it will explode at desired range, while it was quite common fuse got damaged or fell off upon impact. Practically just every 10th shell exploded correctly, while not every explosion produced effective blast - in case ground was wet, shells dug in upon impact and explosion was suppressed into the ground. even on ideal conditions, only about 1/3 of fragments flew towards enemy, remaining fragments just went into ground.


    Anyway, massed howitzers were effective, especially if used correctly - for example at Borodino, Napoleon used grand battery composed only of howitzers (around 70 of them), which were placed behind terrain ditch, so enemy artillery couldn't fire at them - they wrecked havoc in ranks of Russian Guard Infantry, effectively destroying several regiments...
    Exactly, and i believe the latest patch for the game reflects exactly that. Howitzer shells miss about 80% of the time.... and about half of the ones that do hit explode either too early or too late.... and the damage isn't really all that great!!! you can see great results from howitzer en masse.

    Thank you for the Borodino info... i didn't know that!!
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  14. #54
    Ramesses II The Great's Avatar Centurio
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    Quote Originally Posted by Minas Moth View Post
    the damage will be not from the cassualties but from the morale effect, that the enemy can reach you and hurt you. and when you have to advance over the field, under enemies howitzer fire taking out a men or two here and there, your morale will suffer a lot... it will suffer even more if an lucky shot hits a regiment's captain or something like that.

    also, the effect of shell explosion if it were to explode when it hits the ground is game of chance.
    I think CA completely missed that point.... because in my campaigns i regularly see regiments of 50/400 men (i play with 400 man regiments) advancing towards my line under heavy howitzer fire, and when i mouse over them it reads (confident, marching)???!!!!!! just makes me wanna go in the game to the men of that regiment and ask: excuse me??!!! what the F are you F'n confident about you dumb#$% 90% of you regiment is plastered in pieces all over this battlefield and your confident?!

    Sorry just had to get that out.... ok.
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  15. #55
    JaM's Avatar Empire Realism
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    Default Re: Howitzer cry-babies

    they are confident that they will die soon...

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