After Bradford’s recent post on the artillery’s special rules, I felt that there is a need for a more general post about it’s use. It is prompted by what I see as lack of framework, which would allow to see picture as a whole without overly focusing on details.
Artillery can be tasked with one of the following:
- Kill opposing player’s units
- This task is the most straightforward. Most people take artillery with the intention of destroying certain enemy units.
- Help your units to avoid being killed
- This task concerns game mechanics of pin and smoke bombardment. Often, it is much easier (and cheaper point-wise) to save your units by pinning enemy units and/or by blinding them, than to try to destroy them outright.
- Alter opponent’s behaviour in a favourable way
- This task draws from the “fleet-in-being doctrine”. Mere presence of an artillery battery on a board forces opponent to get ready for a barrage. Most known example of this is “anti-template” formation, when infantry or tanks are dispersed to minimize number of bases/tanks under the template. However, while reducing [possible] casualties it makes such units more vulnerable to assaults, reduces their own assault capacity and (in case of tanks) adversely affect ability to shoot effectively.
- Another example is an attempt to hide batteries from enemy counter-battery fire thus robbing oneself of nice direct fire asset (even with 24” range many howitzers are quite good in killing infantry/guns thanks to breakthrough gun rule).
- My personal favourite is when opponents leaves his HQ near his guns to keep unpinning them after mortar barrages instead of putting associated re-roll in an assault unit.
One of the biggest reasons why people choose not to get artillery is their dissatisfaction with its ability to kill enemy teams. Even with American-style special rules the dispersion of the outcome remains very high, as outcome is mostly defined by the success of the range-in attempts. However, present post shows that very often benefit of the artillery cannot be measured in a number of killed teams. Frequently it manifests itself in a victory through the successful assault after opponent decided to disperse to avoid that nasty template.
General Ideas and Conclusions!
To conclude, artillery can plug the gaps in your list in very different ways. Hence, when choosing artillery piece, it is important to remember that the gap in your list can be plugged in a non-lethal (but still very hostile) way. So, don’t fall for that 5 2+ template if your problem can be solved with less.
As always discuss things in our tactics forum here.