This Field Manual will instruct you on the theoretical and practical applications and use of the Colonial Artillery pieces currently fielded by the legion. Included in this Manual is the 120-68 “Koronides” Field Gun, the 50-500 “Thunderbolt” Cannon, the Storm Cannon, the Cremari Mortar, and the HC-7 “Ballista” Siege Tank. As well as covering the Warden’s artillery capabilities.
Introduction and Context
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the middle of the field wondering how to get your “Koronides” to even fire, not an issue, this guide will teach you that and more. Artillery is not an easy weapon to use and requires a team effort in order to effectively apply it against the enemy in a meaningful way that sways the battle in the Legion’s favor as a force multiplier. So lets get started, first lets cover some context as to what some basic key vocabulary means in the field of artillery. This will be expanded upon when relevant.
Fire Observer (FO): The Fire Observer, or FO for short, is the brave legionnaire equipped with binoculars and optionally a weapon who has a direct line of communication to the artillery crew. It is their job to spot targets, get coordinates, relay the coordinates, and then correct the fire, in that order.
Battery: A battery is an organized group of two or more artillery guns which fire at the same target for coordinated effect.
Ready Box: The ready box is a box placed nearby the artillery guns which is used to store ammunition. Once a barrage depletes all ammunition in the ready boxes, the crew reloads for the next barrage.
Counter-Battery: The action of disrupting and destroying enemy artillery by finding and bombarding their position either until killed or they re-position.
Azimuth: Azimuth is the direction (AKA: bearing) that your artillery piece is currently pointed or should be pointed at on a 360 Degree circle.
Without further delay, lets get to the smallest unit of an Artillery Battery, the Piece.
The Basics of the Artillery Piece
The Artillery Piece is the smallest unit of the Battery. It consists of a minimum of two people, and a maximum of three, each of which with their own job.
The Gunner: The Gunner fires the artillery and adjusts the range. However, the gunner is blind, but not deaf. He cannot see where the shells impact, and must trust and listen to his FO that the shells they are firing are striking true as well as echo his corrections and orders to the rest of the battery.
The Loader: The Loader has the job of loading the shell into the gun and has the most important job in the battery. His ability to quickly sling shells determines the rate of fire of the battery and thus the destruction of the enemy. If the piece does not have three Legionnaires, the Loader also acts as the Assistant Gunner.
The Assistant Gunner: The Assistant Gunner is in charge of adjusting the azimuth of the gun. He must listen to the FO and Gunner for corrections and adjust in kind as well as echo back the order in case of mishearing it. The Assistant Gunner position, while not required, is helpful for adjusting fire just that little bit faster, though should a position open up on another piece which is required, he should fill that position instead.
Firing the gun occurs in these steps!
Step 1:Gunner and Assistant Gunner line the piece up along the coordinates that the FO specifies. The Loader takes a shell from the ready box and awaits to sling. The Gunner uses the scroll wheel to adjust the distance, the Assistant uses A and D to adjust the gun left and right.
Step 2: The FO informs the gunner of any specific instructions before firing, like “fire only one shot”, and gives the order to shoot.
Step 3: The Gunner presses LMB to fire the gun, then immediately presses R to reload when/if a shell is readied.
Step 4: the Loader, once the gunner’s animation is completed, interacts with the gun and presses “load large item”, to load the next shell.
An experienced Artillery Piece can empty a Ready Box in minutes, get into position and be ready to fire without orders, and have full situational awareness of the battery, working in beautiful orchestral cohesion with each other!
However, this is just the layout of a gun crew and their responsibilities. More is to come.
The Battery consists of 2 guns up to and exceeding, in some historical instances, 12 guns. The recommended size for a Battery is 4 guns, which with two soldiers per gun is 8 people, 12 if there are three per gun. While this may sound hectic to organize, a battery in which every Soldier knows their role works like beautiful clockwork.
Using the recommended size of 4 guns for a battery, the Battery should have at it’s disposal
- 8 Soldiers at a minimum. Any less hurts the efficiency of one or more guns. Loaders should not be loading two guns at once!
- At least 4 Ready Boxes. This ensures that each gun has their own ready box to empty for a barrage. However, it is up to the FO’s discretion if there should be more. More ready boxes means a longer barrage, but a higher reload time between barrages, which can be critically important at the wrong time.
- Obviously 4 Artillery Pieces of Koronides or Thunderbolt variety.
- Two Trucks in order to pull shells from a nearby bunker base or encampment. This is crucial for reloading the ready boxes! Trucks pull a higher volume of shells than one soldier can, faster, and work as ready boxes in of themselves.
- Recommend around 100 120mm/150mm shells. 100 Shells will last a four gun battery for two barrages. By the end of the barrages, more shells should have hopefully arrived thanks to the Angels in logistics if politely requested. COMMEND THEM!
- One preferably experienced Fire Observer who can confidently lead the Battery.
- A supply of Binoculars
- Flare Shells fired from Mortars for observing fire at night.
- And high morale!
The Battery should be organized into a neat formation, preferably a line formation for ease of logistics and movement. All guns should be clear of obstructions in front of the barrel and spaced evenly.
The Battery should be within range of the enemy, but not so close and obvious that enemy observers will be able to spot and acquire your position for counter-battery.
The Battery should be within a reasonable distance of a Bunker Base or Encampment that a Truck can quickly go to and from it in seconds.
The Battery should not be too close, or else risk being in the splash zone of enemy artillery targeting your base!
The Battery should be in a position safe from enemy partisans or commandos which have breached the line. Easily seen by allies, covered by AI defenses, and along commonly traveled routes to the front.
The Fire Observer
The Fire Observer is integral to the use of Artillery. The FO is the eyes, ears and mouth of the Artillery, and ultimately all responsibility falls on theirs shoulders. It is their job to spot targets, direct the artillery to those targets, and give fire support to their allies. They must understand the capabilities and limitations of their guns, the support logistics is capable of doing, as well as how wind and spread effects the accuracy of hits.
First, the FO should have access to an Artillery Calculator. When the target is out of visual range from the position of the artillery, this is needed for long range bombardment. Artillery Calculators are easily found on the internet through a quick google search.
Next, find a comfortable position to observe from that is close or at the front lines that does not put you at high risk of dying. Find your artillery’s position from that point and input the numbers, preferably from the muzzle of one of the guns for extra precision.
After that, find your target. High Value Targets will be covered in a different chapter, but a good rule of thumb is targeting high concentrations of enemy infantry and infrastructure. Put in the distance and azimuth of the target next.
Once given the calculated coordinates for your artillery, relay them confidently to your crew twice and ensure that what they echo back is correct. They will inform you when they are ready to fire. Keep in mind that we have not yet corrected for wind.
Order one gun, or all guns, to fire only once. This is the test salvo which will determine how far you are to hitting the desired target. Identify your artillery’s explosions, which may be difficult in a high intensity environment.
Once you have identified that, find a flag flying from a structure. This will inform you of the current direction of the wind. There is no concrete rules to how to correct for wind, you must find a “feel” for doing it, but it is best to correct in increments of 2-4 degrees azimuth left or right, and 5-10 meters in distance forward or back. If the flag is flying to the left, correct to the right. If the flag is flying towards you, increase distance. If the flag is flying away, decrease distance. It takes time and experience to correct fire.
Once you have successfully corrected fire to be on top of your desired target area, order the battery to fire away and watch the fireworks. As the barrage continues, you may have to correct mid barrage. Inform the battery of the corrections and allow them to resume fire, and continue from there. Watch for the wind shifting.
Of importance to the Fire Observer! COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
Communicate with Logistics! Communicate with your Battery! Communicate with your friendly Infantry and Armored Vehicles! Artillery coordinated with friendly forces is the key to winning battles!
When your battery is out of ammo and reloading, tell your fellow Legionnaires that the artillery is reloading and won’t be firing for some time. This informs them that in a offensive situation, they are clear to push up without danger of friendly fire. In a defensive situation, this means they should be on their toes, as they will be without support for some time. Vice versa, tell them that Artillery will be firing shortly, this will keep friendlies from being shelled accidentally, and will improve the morale of the soldiers on the front!
When your battery is firing, and you see them hitting, tell your battery that they are hitting, killing! Nothing improves an artilleryman’s morale more than knowing that their effect on the target is being felt and that the infantry are singing their praises. Make sure they know what they’re hitting, keep them updated!
Artillery is not just a tangible effect on the battlefield, it affects the spirits of your fellow Colonials and the enemy.
High Value Targets
Certain targets should be engaged with artillery before others, which is up to the current FO’s discretion.
-Bunker Base/Encampments/Safe Houses/Etc: Enemy Bunker Bases and other spawning structures are prime real estate for newly spawning Wardens to gather up around to equip themselves at, on top of being an incredibly high value enemy asset, especially concrete. Artillery is capable of destroying these on their own under extensive bombardment, should you have the chance to find and engage a bunker base, do it.
-Enemy Artillery: Enemy Artillery should be destroyed when spotted, as not only does it present a threat to the success of your allies, but the success of your Battery. If you can spot and destroy enemy artillery before they can acquire you, do it. Warden Artillery is especially vulnerable to counter battery! Usually trucks carrying shells can be caught in the blasts.
-Armor/Vehicles: Tanks, Armored Cars, Etc are dangerous to the success of your allies. You may not destroy them, and it is possible, but you can severely weaken them, annoy them, and cause them to retreat. Upon being hit by artillery, Armored vehicles usually retreat to safety to repair any damage, using up their precious Bmats supply, and have to dismount when doing so. To counter this, simply adjust artillery to follow the vehicle with bombardment and hit the vehicle and kill the dismounting crew. This takes coordination, but an experienced battery can do it with some ease. A tanks worst nightmare is not another tank, infantry with AT, or a Smelter, but an enemy they cannot fight.
-Emplaced Defenses: Defenses, such as the 68mm Turret, or the Flak Gun, are particularly difficult to destroy for friendly forces because they are player controlled and smarter than AI. While not the most important on this list, if nothing else can be hit, hit one of these with the objective of de-crewing and destroying.
Anything else is obvious to anyone with any experience in the game, large clumps of enemy infantry, under construction buildings, logistics trucks, etc.
Logistics Behind your Guns
Artillery are hungry, they require shells. Shells that need to be built somewhere. This is obvious, but what isn’t obvious is the work and resources that go into even one crate of 120mm Shells, let alone 150mm Shells, or even 250mm/300mm shells. Artillery shells as they increase in power, increase in expense and in the time it takes to produce and bring to the front lines.
120mm Shells and Mortar shells are the easiest to produce, but are also the most used rounds in the game. You can usually count on getting a steady supply of these to anywhere that has artillery or mortars as they only use explosive materials rather than heavy explosive materials that require sulfur.
150mm Shells, while more powerful, are hard to produce. They require heavy explosive materials, which is a resource that is commonly stretched thin during the late game. Do not count on getting a steady supply of these to the front-line, but if you do, kiss your nearest logistics driver.
250mm Spigot Shells and 300mm Storm Cannon shells are the most expensive, and are usually more prioritized for production than 150mm shells due to the Storm Cannon’s sheer power, and the Ballista’s absolute dominance as an anti-bunker weapon.
In short: Understand your ammo, where it comes from, and who builds it. This is key to figuring out a good place to set up artillery on the front line and what guns to use. Logistics drivers typically won’t be bringing expensive artillery ammo to a front that has barely anything going on at it.
You hear the whistling of the shell, hoping it’s not for you, but alas, your crew cry out in fear and frustration as an enemy artillery shell blows apart one of your pieces’ crew. You are being shot at by enemy artillery who have the explicit purpose of trying to shut down your guns and silence them forever. Don’t let them win!
First things first, stay calm, reaffirm that it’s under control and get everyone regrouped. Inform your allies that the Wardens suck at artillery and you have nothing to fear. Your first order of business is to get these guns moved somewhere else so that whoever is spotting for them loses track of you. Find a new spot, preferably a place you’ve already scouted out ahead of time to move to in case this ever happened.
Once the guns are in their new positions, get to rebuilding those boxes and moving the ammo over to your new home. Reorganize and re-evaluate your position, can you be seen by their spotter again? Are you in range of the enemy still? Did you lose anyone from a disconnect or just quitting?
Once you’re reorganized, try and acquire that artillery that tried shelling you, and upon doing so, give them a taste of what they gave you and then some. Destroy them for even daring to inconvenience your day. Otherwise, get new coordinates and continue the fight.
These words of advise are intended for those using the Koronides Field Gun, which can be manually moved instead of having to be put on the back of a flatbed. Rather than the more cumbersome Thunderbolt Cannons. The Koronides gives extreme advantage to re-positioning because of this.
“Oops, I hit a Friendly!”
The key to avoiding catastrophic friendly fire is to make sure you know at all times where your friendly infantry are. The FO should be just behind the main front line and have a wind flag within their view at all times. This will assist greatly during Night where friendly forces may push ahead without your knowing since they will be out of your range of vision. To be better safe than sorry, if your artillery ever hits a friendly, cease fire immediately and re correct the guns to better ensure the safety of your infantry allies. Situational awareness of the front line and communication with allies is crucial to prevent friendly fire accidents with artillery.
If you do hit someone, remember to apologize, and do better.
Firing at Night
Firing your cannons at night is risky for multiple reasons. As mentioned above, it makes friendly fire much easier to commit accidentally. Your ability to see the effect on the target is hampered severely, as well as your ability to direct the fire to a target in the first place. In most occasions, it is better to simply not fire at night unless you are absolutely sure you are hitting a worthwhile target for your shells to be used on.
To counter this, mortars using flare shells are paramount to success during night bombardment. Use the brief light from flare shells to find a target, observe effect, and correct much easier. Get someone to use the mortar, fire a flare shell into the enemy positions, and then coordinate to keep the light coming.
Additionally, experienced Fire Observers will simply know enemy territory and landscape by memory in order to direct fire and be able to spot artillery explosions relatively easy in the darkness to hit static targets that they know are there and have not moved.
As a reminder: you are able to see vehicles in the dark from their headlights when they are currently on. This makes them easy to see in the night and make for obvious targets for artillery. The same works for muzzle flash and tracers from enemy positions.
Bridge Battles are of particular importance thanks to the effect artillery can bring to break the stalemate. When targeting a bridge, do not target the middle of the bridge, as this makes for a difficult target for the inaccuracy inherent with indirect fire weapons. Bridges are long and narrow, most shells fired at the middle of the bridge will miss and land harmlessly in the water. Do not bank on direct hits, bank on area of effect.
Instead, target the side of the bridge that the enemy controls, the bridgehead. Because the bridge serves as a fixed choke point, enemy forces will be funneled directly into that area and will usually have static defenses close by. Focused fire on this area will allow your friendly forces to break onto the other side of the bridge while enemy forces will be unable to contest due to your area denial, where you can then move your fire elsewhere to support the future breakout and advance once friendly forces are ready.
Artillery bombardment during a bridge battle is particularly demoralizing, as enemy forces have no where else to go, or else give up the fight for the bridge. Seeding doubt in your enemy’s mind as to whether or not they actually want to fight here. This will sap enemy manpower, making it easier for your friendlies to break through.
Colonial Artillery Vs Warden Artillery
It is this Field Manual’s opinion that Colonial Artillery far outmatches Warden Artillery for a single reason. The Koronides Field Gun.
The Koronides Field Gun, coming in at only 50 Refined Materials is a mobile artillery piece that can be put nearly anywhere. It’s superior mobility and flexibility makes it incredibly easy to find an artillery position within range and engage the enemy with haste.
This very same mobility also allows the Koronides to be moved with relative ease when under counter-bombardment. All that is required is two soldiers to move the gun to a place outside of the bombardment area and out of view of an enemy spotter, as well as Bmats to repair the gun. This makes the Koronides not only Mobile and Flexible, but also Durable!
Compare this to the Warden Artillery Piece of the same caliber. If engaged by counter bombardment, a Warden Artillery Battery requires precious time to pack up the guns, find or even build four cranes (as only one crane simple does not have the time to do this job before the battery and the crane is destroyed). Then move them slowly away from the bombardment. By the time the Wardens can even get the guns packed up, the Koronides can be already out of danger!
Exercise this perk of the Koronides, as well as exploit this weakness of the enemy, and your battery will be a giant thorn in the enemy’s side and a boon to your allies.
The Koronides 120mm Field Howitzer
The Koronides 120mm Field Gun is the best artillery piece available to the Colonials, if not in the entire game, with it’s power only rivaled by the mighty Storm Cannon itself. This FM is intended most for use with the Koronides Gun than any other.
Build Location: Garage
Cost: 25×2 Refined Materials (50 Rmats, but each hammer hit counts for 2)
Disabled Under: 50% Health
Repair Cost: 120 Bmats
Inventory Slots: 1, used as a reserve slot for an extra shell plus the one already in the chamber.
Ammo: 120mm Shells
Reload Time: 6.2 Seconds, though rate of fire is determined more by loader efficiency than the Gunner pressing R.
Maximum Push Speed: 3.4 Meters per Second.
The Thunderbolt 150mm Cannon
The Cremari Mortar
The Ballista Siege Tank
The Storm Cannon
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