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How Should Guard Mortars Work?

 Post subject: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:47 am 
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There are at least a few experimental/development lists out there where Imperial Guard mortar teams are being represented (Elysian's and Catachans are at least two). Modeling mortars is very different across lists currently.

Here are but a few of the recent versions....
2 x Mortars, 30cm AP5+ - Indirect Fire
Mortar, 30cm, 1BP, Indirect Fire
Paired Mortars, 60cm, 2x AP4+/ AT5+ Indirect, No minimum or double range for Indirect.

I'm here to hopefully solicit some thoughts on how people think mortars should be represented in the game? Since no approved list has them, it's kind of an open discussion currently, and once a list achieves an approved state it will set precedence for everything that follows it.

What are your thoughts on stats and how they should work? I'm trying to avoid looking at how they "should" work in army list A vs B with all the dynamics a list brings to the conversation, but rather the weapon itself and its consistent application across lists.


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:02 am 
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Going by 40k stats, 30cm AP5+ IF is what fits the established patterns for EA stats. How should they work? In real life infantry portable mortars provide close anti-infantry support, which is what those stats do as well.

The BP approach gives them decent AT en-masse, which I think is a little too powerful for 60mm/81mm mortars. 2-3 of these things on a stand shouldn't be at the same level as a Basilisk.

The weird one-off rules for a weapon version isn't needed, and not something I think should be given any consideration for something as generic as an infantry mortar. If it was an iconic unit/weapon, sure, but this isn't.

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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:13 pm 
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I'm a fan of 2 x Mortars, 30cm AP5+ - Indirect Fire

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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:37 pm 
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Yeah that makes sense to me as Jimmy posted ... However, I'm more of the mind that it should be 1x Mortar ...

As we know mortars come in different calibers. But we may not want to go too much into the weeds/devil is in the detail. I am a bit "biased", I'll admit having been an 81mm Mortar Plt Ldr at times with the 101 ... waaay before most of you were born ...

Regardless ... always do what works for you & your gaming crew ... 8)

I also see these mortars as in standard Indirect Fire mode not the original Mole Mortar. But either way we don't use those old Mole Mortar rules. Which I'm not sure if anyone still uses for older rules ...


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:17 am 
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Are you saying one mortar should be 30 cm, AP5+ (that's basically how it's written, a stand has two mortars on it for 2 AP5+ attacks).

I think the last option is just too powerful, and the second one puts a stand on par with a Basilisk (minus the range of course). These weapons are in two totally different leagues when it comes to artillery and shouldn't even be close in terms of stats.

So from the limited responses, people all seem to agree they should be 30cm AP5+ IF weapons.


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:44 am 
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I'm no Epic expert, but I do have some experience with mortars, and I'm in agreement with 30cm, AP5+ Indirect. I would only give a single attack to stand.

I could potentially see AP5+/AT6+, if there is any basis in 40k lore for specialist anti-tank munitions to be available.


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:17 pm 
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Yes, I agree ...


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:58 pm 
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Just for sake of clarity in the discussion, 2.2.1.0 states:

Indirect Fire

Some weapons that can fire barrages are noted as having the indirect fire ability. Units armed with indirect fire weapons are allowed to fire indirectly if their formation takes a sustained fire action. Units belonging to a formation that fails the action test may shoot normally as part of their hold action, but may not fire indirectly. Units firing an indirect barrage receive the +1 modifier for taking a sustained fire action. In addition, no line of fire is required for an indirect barrage, as it is assumed that the barrage is fired high in the air so that the shots rain down on the target and ignore any intervening terrain. Co-ordinates for the barrage are provided by spotters that are either in other friendly formations that do have a line of fire, or from orbiting spy satellites or planes. Finally, the high trajectory used by weapons firing indirectly greatly increases their range, but means they cannot fire at targets that are too close by. To represent this, weapons firing indirectly double their range, but have a minimum range of 30cms.

In this case, if we go with the AP5+ model, and away from BPs - do the mortars still follow all the Indirect Fire rules as written here?

So would mortars be able to fire directly (at 30 cm or less range) and not be using the indirect fire rule. Or if they use the indirect fire rule, they can fire 60 cm, but have a minimum range of 30 cm. Since we're in this odd space with not having a true barrage weapon with the AP5+ route, I'd like to get clarity.

Note, it feels odd to me to say "mortars firing directly at 30 cm or less" as I think most of us understand how a mortar works...and its never a direct fire weapon!


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:21 am 
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Well back in my day, '79-'90 in the US ARMY. We could fire mortars "direct" by using "Open sights" ... i.e. you could see your target. So in effect you ARE firing the mortar "direct" since you can see the target. Regardless of it's a high angle trajectory. I've done it, but only rarely ... Of course the higher angle with the right elevation and charges will certainly increase its range. That is one capabilities of modern artillery and mortars.

As with the Howitzer, it generally fires at a high angle to go over terrain, etc. And generally does not see it's target. As with mortars they generally don't see their targets either. They are called in by an FO of some type. As a Rifle Plt Leader and later Mech Co. Cdr, etc., I was capable of call-in mortars, FA, CAS, Gunships and even Naval Gun Fire.

The same goes with all Field Artillery, whether howitzer or cannon, their firing mode generally is in indirect high angle trajectories. But it was not unheard of in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. For all forms of Indirect Fire weapons would/could fire directly at their target. I.e. they can see the target and may have to fire "open sights". The trajectory of the rounds is not a factor. I.e. mortars will fire using open sights, and the rounds trajectories will still be at high angle.

The US WWII 60mm Mortar in many cases would fire direct. As with it's relatively short range they may see the attacking targets. It was kind of like a Grenade Launcher, e.g. M79 and M203 ... But regardless if need be the WWII 60mm mortar could fire indirectly when called in by an FO, etc. And did ...

Even the old 105mm howitzer had a HEAT round just in case it had to fire directly at enemy armored vehicles. E.g. it happened during the Korean War.

In Vietnam the 105mm howitzer had a Flechette round which turned the weapon into a very big shot gun. Usually firing directly into massed Infantry attacks by VC or NVA.

Interestingly even the quad .50/M2 .50 MG could be fired indirectly as well. As it has a very long range even with a flat trajectory, IIRC e.g. 6800m ... It again was used in Vietnam, e.g. at Khe Sahn. But again it usually could see it target. But again ... not always ...

Being an indirect fire weapon, e.g. mortar, howitzer, does not relate to the trajectory of the rounds ... but whether they can see the target are or not. If they can see the target it is direct fire again regardless of the rounds' trajectory ... Flat or high angle ...

8)

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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:46 am 
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You bring up a good point, I guess I associate "direct fire" more with trajectory. Howitzers and large artillery can shoot at a horizontal disposal...mortars....well I've never seen one do that!


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:47 am 
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Non-barrage weapons can have indirect fire, Deathstrikes have had it as far back as '07 I think. If they shoot without an LoF the target needs to be greater than 30cm and less than twice the range of the weapon. If they shoot with an LoF the target just needs to be less than twice the range of the weapon. They get the +1 to hit while sustaining.

Given IG support stands have two autocannon shots, the mortar stand should have two mortar shots. They both represent a heavy weapons team from the fluff/40k.

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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:15 am 
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Cosmic Serpent wrote:

Note, it feels odd to me to say "mortars firing directly at 30 cm or less" as I think most of us understand how a mortar works...and its never a direct fire weapon!


You can aboslutely direct lay a mortar to engage targets at extremely close range (minimum range typically 80 - 100m, which isn't much in Epic terms).

[Edited because it's a long time since I used a mortar and my terminology was off]


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:54 pm 
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Yeah the 100m range in "reality" is basically what FF in epic is trying to represent. Could I plink steel at longer range? Yes. Was the whole unit engaging at that range with sustained fire? Nope, that's occasional harassment fire because you didn't want them to forget you're there ;)

Dave, as always, spelled out the 2x stat-line.

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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:54 pm 
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Cosmic Serpent wrote:
You bring up a good point, I guess I associate "direct fire" more with trajectory. Howitzers and large artillery can shoot at a horizontal disposal...mortars....well I've never seen one do that!


Yes you may have been trained differently than I. Yes Howitzers and field guns/artillery can fire in the horizonal direct fire mode. Where yes mortars always fire at a high angle. But as I said Indirect Fire is basically not based on the trajectory of the round but if you can see the target or not.

As I said I was a Rifle Plt & 81mm Plt leader in the 101. Then later again as a Mech Co. Cdr, with a Mech Hvy Bde of the 18th Airborne Corps. Also graduated from USN/USMC Basic Amphib. Training. In the 101 my Bn deployed to Panama 3 times to the Jungle Ops & Training Ctr at Ft. Sherman, the CZ. So I may have had more training & experiences than some in my 10 + years on active duty in my long past youth. ;D

Now let me really add to this "paradigm" ... the USN PCF Patrol Boats had an 81mm mortar that could fire in a more direct mode. When I was in the 101, we operated with them in Panama ... back in the early '80s ...

I don't think the USN even uses PCFs anymore ? Probably not ?

Really has nothing to do with Epic rules ... at least directly ... 8) But some interesting information that some may not know ... :-\

PCF Swift Boat ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrol_Craft_Fast

From the link : " The original ... design had been enhanced with two .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns in a turret above the pilot house, an over-and-under .50-caliber machine gun – 81 mm mortar combination mounted on the rear deck, a mortar ammunition box on the stern ... The 81 mm combination mortar mounted on the rear deck was not a gravity firing mortar as used by the Army and Marine Corps, in which the falling projectile's primer struck the fixed firing pin at the base of the mortar tube, but a unique lanyard firing weapon in which the projectile was still loaded into the muzzle. The gunner could "fire at will" by the use of the lanyard." :o

You can see the 81mm towards the aft/stern of the Swift Boat in this pic from GHQ ...


[BTW if you want to add PCFs to you Epic IG forces ... you can use the GHQ historical version ...

Or GZG has 2 nice models too ...

https://shop.groundzerogames.co.uk/6mm- ... f-r01.html

https://shop.groundzerogames.co.uk/6mm- ... f-r02.html ]


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 Post subject: Re: How Should Guard Mortars Work?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:28 pm 
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The Epic-UK Vannaheim Guard Mortars are 30cm 1BP IF (based on 3 mortars on a stand) if it helps. That seems ok to me for the combined fire of 3 though could do it either way.


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