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"Creeping Artillery Barrage" save the day at Gettysburg..?

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by 5fish, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    I recall reading somewhere that there was also an issue with the quality of ammunition in the CS Ordnance trains, especially with fuzed rounds something about the fuzing was longer than it was supposed to be causing rounds to detonate past the target or not detonate at all.
     

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  3. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    The Yanks aren't the ones dependent on the artillery bombardment working. Saying that "we won't be able to make sure the shells are falling where they're supposed to, so it may be totally ineffective." should mean something.

    Thus thick enough to be worth making note of.

    See above. And I would presume someone would have had a better idea on if it would remain still or not who was used to these things mattering than I would (as a suburbanite civilian who has never had to pay any heed to it).
     
  4. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    There was a mishap in Richmond (explosion? fire?) where the fuses were made. Much of the fuses for the shell at Gettysburg was made elsewhere. (Charleston?)

    I think the problem was that they burned slower than indicated. That is, cut a Richmond fuse for three seconds and the shell exploded in really close to three seconds. Cut the replacement fuse for three seconds and it wasn't quite that close.

    As earlier mentioned, with that many guns and that much hanging smoke, the gunners had no idea their shots were going long.
     
  5. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Stand on that ridge and say the same thing. The Yanks were quite busy with counter-battery fire to minimize the Confederate effort. They couldn't see any better. And it means next to nothing. You're assuming that there hadn't been wind all day and that they ought to have known that they'd be able to see nothing. Unless you have a source that says there hadn't been wind all day, you're grabbing straws.

    When? Two hours before? Five minutes before? Five minutes after? Half-hour after? Do you know when the wind died?

    That's quite unbelievable. "Colonel Alexander, make sure you check with the Corps Meteorologist to make sure the wind doesn't die on us."
     
  6. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    And the counter battery effort isn't as vital to the defense as the bombardment is to the attack - witness Hunt preferring less fire from his guns to save ammunition rather than more. As for the wind, I'm assuming that the issue didn't just suddenly come up conveniently to thwart the Confederates. I don't know when it came up, but I'm assuming that someone who was observing would have an idea what to expect.

    Soon enough to matter.

    Apparently, we're supposed to believe that no one actually cared whether or not it was an issue. Forget the corps meterologist. Where's the common sense?
     
  7. kansas

    kansas Corporal

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    Even after drawing it up on paper i can see nothing different in what was done as compared to a walking barrage. What are you walking the barrage through? There is only one line of entrenchments, so nothing to walk through, just a line to concentrate on, they did that and failed. The walking barrage does not cover your troops, the enemy can still see them and shoot into them in broad daylight, now WW1 concentrated smoke would cover your troops somewhat but such effective smoke shells did not exist in the civil war. The true method behind the walking barrage is to shock the enemy so badly he has a hard time trying to concentrate his fire on a moving and partly obscured target, this method is custom made around HE, no civil war field or siege artillery could even hold a candle to the guns being fired in WW1 with HE. A worthy comparison would be holding a firecraker in your fingers while it goes off, then holding a stick of dynamite and doing the same.
     
  8. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Is what I said.
     
  9. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    Not when you're questioning the idea of making sure the wind (or lack of) will not get in the way of the bombardment. Checking to make sure you can actually reliably hit the target should be step 1, and if things get in the way, worth bringing to the man's (in this case, Longstreet's) attention.
     
  10. Republican Blues

    Republican Blues Sergeant Major

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    For a truly effective "creeping Barrage" alot has to come into play. Civil War batteries were positioned not layed with survey data, nor was meteorological data calculated into the firing data, nor was there accurate target observation, acquisition, or adjustment. To add to that, a Civil War era gun only has so much Elevation or Quadrant Elevation that can be applied while a modern piece can be elevated near to 90 degrees (1600 Mills); further, Civil War field artillery had VERY limited Traverse, requiring the trail to be shifted, where a modern piece can ofter traverse a full 360 degrees (6400 mils) Also not coming into play was accurate calculation of Firing Data, taking Gun Location, Target Location, Met Data, Elevation of Target above or below gun, application of site, and a myriad of other neat crapola that makes modern artillery so effective.

    Artillery didnt truly come into its own untill the Great War. As said before, prior to that, Arty was point and shoot, requiring direct line of sight on the GTL. Also as said earlier, the Hydraulic recouperator made it all possible. Accuracy suffers terribly everytime the gun is displaced. When I was with King Of Battle, on M101A1 split trail 105mm towed guns, we relayed right after the first shots, sincethe guns would have displaced a fraction and set the spades. (a problem we DIDNT have when we transitioned to M119s)

    the only effective way that a creeping barrage could have been effective, would have been for the artillery to advance WITH the Infantry, flying out, unlimbering, firing until the infantry caught up, limbering up, and repeat.

    13E10,
    A Btry, 4th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Fire Direction Center...
     
  11. Republican Blues

    Republican Blues Sergeant Major

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    We had a tactic called Shake and Bake.. HE poin detonating, and WP wth Variable Time... (IIRC) shake em with the HE, bake em with Willie Pete
     
  12. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Mechanical Time fuze. VT can't be fused to a Willie Pete Round in mortars or arty because of the fuze threading. We called it fuze mix shell mix.
     
  13. Republican Blues

    Republican Blues Sergeant Major

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    Thanks! I couldn't remember if it was VT or Mech Time... it has been a while.. and we didnt shoot it all that often.
     
  14. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Because Artillery at the time had not become the science it is now. It was a more or less direct lay direct fire, bore sight operation. Indirect high angle fire, or indirect low angle fire was not considered or do able given the limitations of the pieces, even mortar fire was pretty much, "Throw it up there lets see where it lands." until the advent of the Cholometer quadrant sights for mortars and artillery, it was guesstiment fireing.
     
  15. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    And making sure those guesses were reasonably likely to have some resemblance to reality was not important?

    No wonder Hunt was so disdainful of the Confederate artillery's performance.

    One would think that if it was important to the success of the assault for the artillery bombardment to work that it would have mattered if they could tell whether or not they were even hitting where they were trying to hit.

    Obviously its not going to be an exact perfect science, but there's a big gap between "imperfect" and "careless", and the direction things went seems well into the latter.
     
  16. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    1. Depending on where your line of departure is. If it's a mile away and your supporting fire (arty) is taken out by counter battery your attack is most likely going to be full of suck, fail and death.

    2. Modern atry Bn's have Survey and Meteroglist sections attached to each Bn expressley for this purpose so at some point common sense did kick in.
     
  17. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    Not unlike how it was full of those things with the artillery simply failing to do much harm to the defenders.

    Interesting.
     
  18. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    They had what they had. They used the tactics proven in the European Wars, given the tactics of the day and the equipment your asking the impossible from guys who hadn't gotten past 8th grade in alot of cases as enlisted and not much past 12th as officers.
     
  19. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    How is it asking the impossible for them to actually try to ensure the majority of their shots are landing where they are intending them to land?

    They have been doing this (artillery service) for two years, they should know what works in a practical sense whether or not they know the mathematical theories or not.

    And if they can't reasonably be expected to do significant damage to the Union line, then it really rests on Pendleton and to a lesser extent Alexander (as the one commanding directly) to point out that the artillery can't do what its being asked of it.

    Note that I'm not saying they should be able to do something like a creepy artillery barrage - just (more or less) accurate shooting. Others may have higher/more complicated expectations, but I'm just concerned at the degree to which the Union lines are missed - if the shells had hit Hancock's line with the same or similar effectiveness to what they did where they did land, the fact the fuses were unreliable would still leave shells crashing down on enemy formations.
     
  20. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Difference in science and equipment. With a good 10 digit grid I can put a 155mm round within 10 feet of my target today given the equipment. Then it was occular swag on the part of the battery commander, if he couldn't see it, he guessed. With black podwer the fog of battle was 100 times greater.
     
  21. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Equipment. No sights worth sour owl ****, cannon designed as direct fire weapons not indirect and inaccurate at range . Today and since WWI Arty an art as is Tube shootin (mortars) back then it was meant to batter before the grunts closed and killed.

    Today arty is accurate and used to take out problems, but the science advanced and made it so.
     

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