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Author Topic: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.  (Read 460 times)

Offline olicana

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In my firepower table, I have 'superior position' as an up modifier. It's a blanket factor to cover all manner of sins, including shooting at troops exiting a bridge / narrow defile, shooting at troops crossing the river you are defending the bank of, and the like - everything to cover 'rats in a barrel'. It is not a factor overly defined.

In the past, I've used it as a positive factor for troops shooting from an elevated position such as a hill. However, after reading Nosworthy's books on tactics and combat effectiveness, I'm not sure I should. It seems that firing from hill slopes (up or down) had a negative effect on accuracy and the like, most of the time (shooting from a slightly elevated position for artillery being the obvious exception because it aided observation without a negative effect on 'bounce through').

My 'superior position' modifier encompasses, to some degree, the morale effect of the shooter being uphill so, in general terms, lets say the firepower modifier is an inbuilt morale modifier and only appears in the firepower table. A point of discussion perhaps.

What is your take on it? Should you, in general terms, get a positive modifier for shooting from an elevated position such as the forward slopes of a hill?

I'm really interested in your thoughts on this.

Offline Schogun

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 02:01:08 PM »
With rules I've played that model this, it's usually a penalty for shooting up because the shot will/may fall over distance and be deflected or stopped by the wall or obstruction. Shooting down gets no bonus except being able to fire over intervening terrain/obstructions.

Offline Patrice

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 02:41:46 PM »
I don't think it should get a bonus.

Or just a symbolic one: I consider that firing ranges from the top are measured horizontally (from the shooter to a point vertically above target), but from the bottom it's the real distance between shooter and target (if you understand what I mean). Most of the time it does not make a big difference but sometimes it does (depending on the actual height of your miniature terrain elements) and anyway if you use this rule the players remember that a difference exists. ;)

Another problem (not always taken into account), if the shooting unit is positioned on the top of the hill, and not on the edge of the slope, it may be unable to see the enemy coming just below the slope (and to fire at it).

Offline vtsaogames

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2021, 01:46:16 AM »
I think for some scenarios a position can be said to command another. If so, count it as having an advantage. But not just any plain vanilla hill.

Edit: this refers to artillery. Little Round Top was said to command Cemetary Ridge, Hazel Grove was said to command Sickles' position at Chancellorsville.
One would think trained gunners would not make the same mistakes as ordinary musketeers.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2021, 01:26:30 PM by vtsaogames »
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Online Cat

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    • Goblinhall
Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2021, 04:30:25 AM »
When shooting downwards, the bullet of cannon shot will bury into the ground rather than having a chance to hit other targets deeper in the ranks.  Doesn't seem like an advantage other than being able to shoot over somewhat lower intervening objects.

Offline bluewillow

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 09:03:18 AM »
As a shooter I find firing downhill or uphill on a steep ridge or coming out of a creek line less accurate as the target angle is greater. I tend to kneel or sit to get a better angle.

 On rolling hills no real difference, Nosworthy brings up a valid point about the angles though, and I would possibly give a disadvantage if you are writing rules for a body of troops, skirmishers uneffected.

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Offline SteveBurt

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 10:02:50 AM »
I’d say it’s an advantage for thrown weapons but not for muskets. It would be an advantage in melee too, but only if the slope is fairly steep, and only for infantry.

Offline carlos marighela

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 11:39:42 AM »
Plunging fire is never as effective as grazing fire, save for the target being entrenched.
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Offline jon_1066

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 01:21:57 PM »
Plunging fire is never as effective as grazing fire, save for the target being entrenched.

... or the Hood!

Offline carlos marighela

  • Galactic Brain
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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2021, 07:11:34 PM »
Indeed.

Offline Antonio J Carrasco

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Re: A question of 'superior position'. Shooting from elevated positions.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2021, 11:10:23 AM »
I read in a book on mountain warfare in the Caucasus that one of the problems Russians found in the 1830s was that the soldiers weren't trained to compensate for the change in height, either shooting up or down the slope. Of course, the Caucasus maybe a bit extreme example -as any other mountain range for that matter- and in most battles the change in elevation was very small. However, in several action reports from the war in Spain during the Napoleonic invasion, Spanish officers complained that units with high proportion of recruits or volunteers, or that were low on veteran NCOs used to shot too high or too low and that gave up any advantage they could have had from controlling the high ground.

My guess is that only well trained units had a firing advantage from controlling an elevated position, but in return neither had their opponents -except if equally well trained- and the problems were compensated by the psychological advantage, and, if properly deployed, were better protected from enemy shooting and skirmishers.


 

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