In the next issue...

Ricochet Fire and LOS: The Gunner's View

In the article (click above to view/download) I explain why bombardment cannot be effective (in game terms) without siting on the target. Of course it can still have a morale effect.  Fire at 1,050 and 1,575 yards is termed "bombardment." It is quite feasible to see 1,500 yards across an open battlefield. Hitting a postage-stamp sized target is difficult; it may take some trial and error, but if the gunner can see the ball bounding straight across the fields, in a few minutes he can zero-in on the target. 

It is quite easy to see a battalion of troops at 1,500 yards (with the naked eye). It is no problem for the gunner to see where his ball is landing in clear terrain, especially if it is on target. 

For example, de Brack describes exactly what you can see at 800 meters, 1,200 meters, 2,000 meters. See Wargame Design Vol. III, Nr. 3. 525 yards is the diameter of one hex. At 800 yards you can see individual men and horses. Infantry and cavalry are distinct from each other at 1200 meters (1300 yards), that is,  more than two hexes away. If you can tell which units are mounted and which are on foot, then obviously you can see the target okay...

Even at 2,000 meters when men and horses are mere points, a battalion of 800 men is perceptible as a dark mass. That is over 4 hexes, and the game doesn't allow bombardment at more than 3 hexes distance. 

The artillerists of the time did not regard their weapon as a morale weapon, but as the decisive weapon on the battlefield. Napoleon said it: "Great Battles are won by artillery." The hospital statistics show that the majority of wounds were caused by artillery fire, the rest by small arms fire, and only about 1% by cold steel.

—Kevin Zucker