Hi all Coxer here from Breakthrough Assault talking about the uses of artillery in Flames of War. (And a pic of some I found in Cyprus).
I’m going to be honest and say artillery is one of my favourite things to use and my favourite thing to moan about too.
To work out if you can spot the opponents team is based on their skill rating, so if you are trying to range in on an enemy veteran unit you need a 4+, you also apply other modifiers, such as concealed, gone to ground, etc – but not long range (in normal shooting) and a roll of a ‘6’ always succeeds. You get 3 attempts to do this as standard, and each attempt affects the ‘to hit’ in the next section. Some nations/ weapons get bonus rolls, e.g mortars re-roll their first attempt, and it’s possible for Brits with an AOP to get 5 dice to range in.
For the infantry team they have their 3+ save, if they are not in bullet proof cover they are dead on a failed roll (and the platoon is pinned), if they fail and are in cover I need to pass a firepower test – even if the team does not die, but is hit, it’s pinned.
Pinning – sometimes it is more useful to stop the enemy acting than kill them. I was using my elite SS-Westfalen list against a friends vast Italian infantry hoard – I couldn’t take them all on, but by pinning the odd platoon here and there I could stop them coming in all at once – greatly improving my odds. This equally applies to enemy AT and artillery – just stopping them acting or reducing their RoF can really improve your chances to move in the open or assault, and unless it’s against Japanese infantry all you need is one hit.
The other thing to consider us direct fire, some artillery is great at this, (the FK40 for instance – an artillery Pak40) same with my Finns in EW they use artillery as direct AT, conversely you may want cheap and cheerful smoke/pin only like nebs.
Stop them shooting – pinning them with either your own artillery/air of rate of fire is very effective. Often artillery is confident/reluctant so even a 50% chance of stopping them bombarding is a good plan.
Assault them – one of the common ways artillery is deployed is spaced out (avoids you being hit by a template yourself) this makes them vulnerable to assault, – that and commonly artillery is RoF 1 – if you can get your own forces close and backed up by smoke you can often be on a +2 to hit from defensive fire giving you a good chance of getting into combat – and as heavy/immobile guns they’re not escaping after!