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Author Topic: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?  (Read 2581 times)

pat_hdx

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #30 on: 16 November 2020, 13:33:11 »
The underlying issue is game balance. This is an intellectual property that will always be constrained by the needs of the underlying table top game. There are other IPs out there that are for folks that need a more realistic depiction of future combat. The Expanse comes to mind.

There are tons of things in the game that are sacrificed at the altar of trade offs. If BT weapons had the legality of real world weapons, games would end after three rounds. "ONE SHOT-TECH: a game of instant death combat" would be a lot less fun.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2020, 13:36:32 by pat_hdx »

Colt Ward

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #31 on: 16 November 2020, 14:25:37 »
Also, while I discussed the effects of explosions . . . yeah, some of this stuff does not feel comfortable to be next to either.

The 31st Century battlefield is a VERY uncomfortable place to be, the 'modern' combat gear will mitigate some of this . . . but some stuff cannot be mitigated.  Basic rules (and even advanced rules) are abstractions, look at the discussions of blast effects, artillery radius accuracies, mobility, etc for examples.  I had a bit of a funny moment when I read a Tom Clancy novel that dealt with the weapon system I was trained on and noticed how he made the specs 'off' . . . reminded me of my discussions with my submariner father about how he was 'close' on subs in the Cold War.

Pre-TW a PPC hitting a infantry squad and killing 10 men (or 20 in the open) was a bad result.  Killing 2 men (or 4 in the open) is better, and yes makes AI weapons have a point.  Yes, infantry got buffed, but I think it makes a better game . . . anything that makes something other than 3/5 assaults with Gauss Rifles and ERPPCs the answer is a good thing.
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Cannonshop

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #32 on: 16 November 2020, 21:05:52 »
And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.

Math might be off, but the principle is sound-that is, "Battletech is a fantasy game." and "Infantry rules are highly abstracted."

if they WEREN'T highly abstracted, we'd have things like Machine guns capable of damaging infantry across mapsheets (Multiple).

You clarify it right there in y our post why it's abstracted the way it's abstracted.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #33 on: 16 November 2020, 22:21:41 »
Math might be off, but the principle is sound-that is, "Battletech is a fantasy game." and "Infantry rules are highly abstracted."

if they WEREN'T highly abstracted, we'd have things like Machine guns capable of damaging infantry across mapsheets (Multiple).

You clarify it right there in y our post why it's abstracted the way it's abstracted.
He rightly pointed out that your idea that depth doesn't matter is wrong, because mechs are firing down at infantry, not straight across on a level.  You're can't just handwave that as "maybe my math is bad, but the point is right."  Your point isn't right.  Mechs are firing down, so the depth very much does matter.
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Cannonshop

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #34 on: 17 November 2020, 00:15:05 »
He rightly pointed out that your idea that depth doesn't matter is wrong, because mechs are firing down at infantry, not straight across on a level.  You're can't just handwave that as "maybe my math is bad, but the point is right."  Your point isn't right.  Mechs are firing down, so the depth very much does matter.

they're only firing down if the infantry is agl and not in an elevated position, number one, number two, they're only firing down if the machineguns are in an elevated position and not mounted on something like the legs.

Three, slant range still gets the same result, only with LESS protection from things like hillocks and folds in the ground.  (It's called "High ground" and it's valuable for a REASON).

The straight-across descriptor is giving everything the same (Ceterus paribus) because low-mounted vehicles do exactly the same damage at exactly the same ranges...because the rules are formulated to either abstract, or ignore, terrain.  aka every machine gun does 2D6 to infantry regardless of what it's mounted on.

even if it's mounted on a battlesuit standing on level ground with the infantry in clear terrain.

This is the same with your other weapons.  Hence, why the three dimensional area (or two dimensional area) of a hex ends up being 'crowded' with 28 men-because the game is structured in such a way...including not accounting for slant range or elevation wrt range.  (a machinegun with a range of 2 will still hit a target on elevation 12 as if it were on level ground from a position of elevation -1)

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #35 on: 17 November 2020, 00:50:03 »
And . . . your math is off too.  A mech of 9-12 meters tall will be firing down at infantry on the ground, so you are not going to get a weapon firing clear across the length of the hex passing through the 'space' of all those different spread out individuals your claiming.  Additionally, weapons effects would be damped by the terrain- terrain that does not register on a mech, but a fold in the ground deep enough for a body or even a small rise since its not going to be fought on a perfectly flat piece of ground.

Missile and AC ammo explosions will be tamped by ground detonation- airburst is what kills infantry in the open and is a specific fuze set on artillery.  It is not the same thing as armor penetrating warheads.

Well, no. For a 9 meter tall mech, firing at the center of the ground 3 hexes away (90 meters), the shells will only be 1.5 meters above the ground by the time they've entered the hex, and that assumes all the weapons are mounted at the top of the mech. At say, 9 hexes away (270 meters), the shells will only be half a meter above the ground by the time they enter the hex. At this distance ballistic drop is negligible. At the very least, my math says that shells will rake through a fair amount of the hex.

In addition, even ground bursts of artillery are extremely dangerous. Airbursts are even moreso, but that doesn't mean you're safe if a shell lands and detonates in the earth 10 meters away. For things like small berms and foxholes, an AC shell will most likely plow through and explode inside it, shredding the poor fellow hiding behind it. A tree hit with an AC shell of substantial size will explode, sending shrapnel and splinters in all directions.

And PPCs and Gauss rifles are fine as they are, I'm not proposing any kind of buff to them. It's only ACs and missiles that I'm looking at, and those weapons are hardly overpowered.
« Last Edit: 17 November 2020, 00:54:24 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #36 on: 17 November 2020, 12:37:55 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

If PBIs are hiding in a building with a CF of over 70 or so, it seems impossible to effectively dig them out of the building, as nothing with AI modifiers can get past the DR of the CF.  So you end up plinking one infantry with each weapon no matter what you do (unless you have loaded frag ammo in a LMR20 or AC20 and how often do you do that in a game?) 

Even trying to save catgirls from the logic bomb I can't get past the sheer damage a PPC or large AC or LRM would do to a building and the amount of concrete (or other building materials) flying around as shrapnel that would be lethal to PBIs hiding in the building.  I mean even just floors/ceilings collapsing from these massive weapons (with out the whole building going down) would neutralize massive amounts of a platoon, from repeated heavy weapon strikes.  But if an Awesome fires all out at a CF 70 building I'm seeing 3 dead troopers and I just cant make that work in my head. 

As a funny aside, one time playing MegaMek I had BA swarm a mech which then ran through a building trying to knock them off.  When the BA fired their swarm attack, since the target was in a building it applied the CF of the building as DR against the damage from the attack.  Obviously this makes no sense as they are touching the mech the building can't be getting in the way.  However if you squint hard at the rules I can see a rules lawyer making the argument that this is the correct way to do damage.   

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #37 on: 17 November 2020, 12:49:23 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

Stalingrad
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #38 on: 17 November 2020, 15:09:11 »
While for the most part I am working with the answer of balance, and using the MST3K mantra to deal with how "reality" works; I will say that infantry in buildings getting both the damage divider and the building reduction, makes them too hard to dig out. 

At which point you bring the building down on top of them.
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Adastra

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #39 on: 17 November 2020, 15:10:35 »
Stalingrad

While I agree with your overall point, nearly half a million Russians died in less than half a year, with more than a million russian casualties total. The Axis lost nearly as many. We%u2019re talking about thousands dead every day on average. A great deal of which were the result of bringing down buildings.

Also, Stalingrad was a big city, and the porosity of the lines meant that you couldn%u2019t just obliterate every building with artillery. Not that the Nazis didn%u2019t try. But when you%u2019ve got so many buildings to hide in, even if you blow them up, there are many more, and every building you destroy is now a pile of rubble that can still be used as cover.

It%u2019s hard to dig people out of urban areas not just because it%u2019s hard to kill people in buildings. It%u2019s also hard because your own troops get ground down just as fast if not faster. Cities are both incredibly dense fighting ground with a lot of men-to-meters, and places where it%u2019s easy for enemies to flank, ambush, etc. Cities are people-grinders
« Last Edit: 17 November 2020, 15:25:31 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #40 on: 18 November 2020, 10:50:46 »
they're only firing down if the machineguns are in an elevated position and not mounted on something like the legs.


So your post is solely about one version of the Viking?
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Sartris

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #41 on: 18 November 2020, 11:14:51 »
don't forget about the victor 9A1 or the Cicada 3C!

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #42 on: 18 November 2020, 12:36:44 »
So your post is solely about one version of the Viking?

no, the post is in response to something abstracted out in the rules-see, it doesn't matter if you mount the mg's in the legs, or in the torso, or on the head, or on a tower up off the shoulder that sits another sixty meters in the air, they have the same range and presume the same effect, because the ranging rules in the game are predicated on a flat plane, not a three dimensional environment, therefore you aren't angling 'down' it's going forward, because all range and damage is X and Y, none of it involves Z.

In the game's rules, there is no defilade, and no enfilade.  a 'mech standing at the top of a level 7 cliff two hexes from a platoon in level-1 pit, can still be shot by that platoon as if both are standing on level 0 facing each other.

and it can shoot back the same way.

ditto if things are reversed.  The elevation only counts for physical attacks (Punching, kicking, swarming).

Therefore the explanation offered doesn't work, because no matter what direction, you're facing the same 28 guys across a 30 meter front, as if standing in formation.

The level of detail necessary to make this not so, is to the point of excessive, so it's abstracted, otherwise a single cycle of movement and fire between single units could easily reach an hour or more, with dozens of exceptions and modifiers in play.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #43 on: 18 November 2020, 14:36:54 »
There is one exception IIRC, in the form of the partial cover rules. At least from what I remember, you can't receive partial cover if the shooter is at a higher elevation than you.

Of course, if we applied that logic to everything, then logically infantry shouldn't get a cover bonus at all from mechs that are at the same level, since mechs are 2 levels tall. Which would only support that idea that weapons should do more damage to infantry.

And I'm still going to refer back to the math I did earlier. At any appreciable distance the height of the mech is basically irrelevant.

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #44 on: 18 November 2020, 14:39:21 »
There is one exception IIRC, in the form of the partial cover rules. At least from what I remember, you can't receive partial cover if the shooter is at a higher elevation than you.

the one exception is a mech in level 1 water (obviously irrelevant to infantry)

pat_hdx

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #45 on: 18 November 2020, 15:55:19 »
I think the "buff'' that ACs and missiles need in general is not to the damage, it is to ammo storage. They should be able to carry half ton loads. Right now if you want to decimate infantry with an AC you sure can, but you have to take flechette rounds. You want the ability? You have to sacrifice something.

The problem is that on too many designs there just is not enough room for almost any alt. munitions, and sacrificing ALL your standard rounds just to carry one ton of Flechette is too harsh  Being able to carry half tons would fix that and allow for way more flexibility. As it is now,  I suspect alt. ammo loads are seriously underrepresented.

Given ACs already get ragged on, I also think the advanced ammo types like precision need to have their reduced ammo penalty removed. You already pay more in C-bills and BV for the advantage, making them take reduced load seems like a pile on.
« Last Edit: 20 November 2020, 00:49:06 by pat_hdx »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #46 on: 18 November 2020, 17:31:31 »
I think the "buff'' that ACs and missiles need in general is not to the damage, it is to ammo storage. They should be able to carry half ton loads. Right now if you want to decimate infantry with an AC you sure can, but you have to take flechette rounds. You want the ability? You have to sacrifice something.

The problem is that on too many designs there just is not enough room for almost any alt. munitions., and sacrificing ALL your standard round just to carry one to of Flechette i too harsh  Being able to carry half tons would fix that and allow for way more flexibility. As it is now I suspect alt. ammo loads are seriously underrepresented.

Given ACs already get ragged on, I also think the advanced ammo types like precision need to have their reduced ammo penalty removed. You already pay more in C-bills and BV for the advantage, making them take reduced load seems like a pile on.

there were possible solutions in Maxtech and such, and of course, in Tac Ops. 

The real problem you've just articulated.  loading Flechette means you're not damaging other 'mechs with that cannon.  Now on a MAD-3R that's not a big deal-you've got paired PPc's and Medium Lasers to handle the mechanically gifted, so loading that AC/5 with flechette is just good prep for an urban fight.

but if your autocannon is also mister main gun (See: Centurion) it's a definite hindrance-you can't afford to waste it on Flechette when there are battlemechs or tanks on the board.

I'm not sure your solution actually solves anything, but it kinda highlights one of the problems we see with a LOT of 'mech designs in that they have single-ton ammo bins and that's ALL your shells. (or one one ton bin per gun.)

This kinda suggests you shouldn't be loading any alternate ammo on any design that doesn't have multi-ton ammo bins.  (and there's not that many that do).

this in turn suggests that an answer that works without changing the rules, is to build a 'mech, where the autocannon is the main gun, and it has the ability to carry two or more tons of ammo-because then, you can load whatever you're using.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #47 on: 18 November 2020, 18:23:14 »
no, the post is in response to something abstracted out in the rules-see, it doesn't matter if you mount the mg's in the legs, or in the torso, or on the head, or on a tower up off the shoulder that sits another sixty meters in the air, they have the same range and presume the same effect, because the ranging rules in the game are predicated on a flat plane, not a three dimensional environment, therefore you aren't angling 'down' it's going forward, because all range and damage is X and Y, none of it involves Z.

In the game's rules, there is no defilade, and no enfilade.  a 'mech standing at the top of a level 7 cliff two hexes from a platoon in level-1 pit, can still be shot by that platoon as if both are standing on level 0 facing each other.

and it can shoot back the same way.

ditto if things are reversed.  The elevation only counts for physical attacks (Punching, kicking, swarming).

Therefore the explanation offered doesn't work, because no matter what direction, you're facing the same 28 guys across a 30 meter front, as if standing in formation.

The level of detail necessary to make this not so, is to the point of excessive, so it's abstracted, otherwise a single cycle of movement and fire between single units could easily reach an hour or more, with dozens of exceptions and modifiers in play.
Have we been talking about shooting infantry in the open this whole time?  Or do you just always have your infantry use Napoleonic tactics?
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pat_hdx

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #48 on: 18 November 2020, 19:31:30 »
there were possible solutions in Maxtech and such, and of course, in Tac Ops. 

I'm not sure your solution actually solves anything, but it kinda highlights one of the problems we see with a LOT of 'mech designs in that they have single-ton ammo bins and that's ALL your shells. (or one one ton bin per gun.)

This kinda suggests you shouldn't be loading any alternate ammo on any design that doesn't have multi-ton ammo bins.  (and there's not that many that do).

this in turn suggests that an answer that works without changing the rules, is to build a 'mech, where the autocannon is the main gun, and it has the ability to carry two or more tons of ammo-because then, you can load whatever you're using.

As I see it, it would make ACs more fun/competitive without requiring a redesign of a ton of TROs/sheets or a major rewrite of the rules.

You only need one errata: AC ammo bins may be divided between two type of ammunition with the exception of caseless ammo. In the case of an AC/20, the player must declare how they wish to divide the ammo, but the allotment must be three of one type and two of the other.

Now a standard Vedette can carry 20 shot of standard or 10 of Standard and 10 of Flechette (or AA, or tracer, etc.). With some units that may leave you a little short of standard rounds, but that is the trade off. An Enforcer could go 10 Standard and 10 Flechette, and still be pretty viable to go toe to toe with competing designs.

Of course we can try to decide to develop more multi-bin units, and that may be more viable with advanced tech, but in 3025 and 3050 that still leaves a ton of cannon designs that will rarely get to take advantage of alt ammos.

I really think this is a change that would make the game way more fun without requiring major surgery to the rules or established designs. It definitely would not make ACs (or missiles if it was applied to them) OP,  just a bit more useful, and a lot more fun.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 00:50:31 by pat_hdx »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #49 on: 19 November 2020, 00:38:47 »
Have we been talking about shooting infantry in the open this whole time?  Or do you just always have your infantry use Napoleonic tactics?

yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)



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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #50 on: 19 November 2020, 01:57:54 »
At which point you bring the building down on top of them.
Which the infantry are not required to stick around in a building you are blasting. 
Taking the same example of an Awesome dealing with infantry in a CF 70 building, sure it can blast the building for two rounds doing 60 damage but then at the beginning of the third round the infantry can just leave the building with 10 CF left, ideally entering another building in an adjacent hex.  And clusters of buildings are fairly common on most maps even if you aren't deep in a urban area.   

Under the old rules even though the building prevented a lot of the damage, you still could tear up PBIs by blasting the building.  With both rules going against traditional heavy weapons it is extremely unlikely you can render the infantry combat ineffective before you just blast all the buildings the infantry can reach.   

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #51 on: 19 November 2020, 02:00:43 »
yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)

Plunging fire is not magical . . . and it was air-burst fuses along with improved explosive fillers that really increased the lethality of artillery because it sidestepped variations at ground level.  Standard HE makes a crater for a reason.  As has been mentioned, ACs and LRMs are designed to be armor breaching weapons . . . there is a reason Snubtillery gets the AoE damage code while ACs do not.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #52 on: 19 November 2020, 02:06:43 »
Which the infantry are not required to stick around in a building you are blasting. 
Taking the same example of an Awesome dealing with infantry in a CF 70 building, sure it can blast the building for two rounds doing 60 damage but then at the beginning of the third round the infantry can just leave the building with 10 CF left, ideally entering another building in an adjacent hex.  And clusters of buildings are fairly common on most maps even if you aren't deep in a urban area.

Very few buildings have CF 70, though.  And generally if you're actually stopping to engage entrenched infantry it's because there's something important that you're doing in the vicinity of the infantry so you can't afford to have them sticking around and being annoying.  So it becomes worth taking a little time to do bad things to property values in the area.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #53 on: 19 November 2020, 02:14:35 »
It is also why you have combined arms . . . that Awesome is bad at killing infantry.  Which is why I am sending my Elementals in there to clear your PBIs out.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #54 on: 19 November 2020, 04:22:07 »
That too.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #55 on: 19 November 2020, 10:12:24 »
yes, we've been talking about shooting at infantry in the open.  that's the 'baseline' situation in the rules, with published exceptions, but in this case, specifically wrt weapons range and base damage.

what you might call the 'naked man distances'. or baseline ranges and effects.

for example, ranges don't magically increase in the game based on firing angle for ballistics-which they do in real life and it isn't magical.  to get plunging fire you have to angle your machinegun up, and at 45 degrees in one gee on earth, this gives you quite a bit more range than aiming straight line-in addition to giving your plunging fire. 

there's no game mechanics for this, but it's been standard practice since...what, the Crimean war? earlier?  The 'volley sights' on early bolt-action rifles were meant to be used in this fashion (hence the extreme angles they worked under) and one of the basic setups for a machine-gunner was to angle the muzzle up to not only get more range, but to create something called a 'Beaten zone'.

none of which applies in Battletech, where nothing but artillery and LRMs (and if you're into Tac Ops mortars) fires indirectly, even though that's been a standard of ballistic weapons since we've had them.

come to think of it, it goes back earlier than gunpowder.  examine the physical poses of archers at battles like Crecy, or Leonidas's famous "...then we will fight in the shade" attributed comment.

Indirect fire, at the correct angle, gives significantly longer ranged effect in addition to ignoring horizontal cover and minimizing the usefulness of things like trenches without overhead cover.

none of this is new or advanced, but it's not covered in the game's rules because doing so is unweildy.  Instead, direct fire weapons are assumed to be firing directly, and cover or concealment is used interchangeably for purposes of determining damage (thus, why a weapon designed to penetrate armor doesn't kill more than one or at most two guys at a time in the open, even though they're not protected by the depth of the terrain.)
Ok, now I’m just confused.  Don’t infantry take double damage in the open?  None of the damage numbers I’ve seen were accounting for that.  I thought we were at least using modern infantry tactics, in terms of spacing, using cover, staying low, etc.  Isn’t *that* the normal understanding in the rules (hence why infantry in the open take double normal damage)?
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #56 on: 19 November 2020, 13:19:59 »
Ok, now I’m just confused.  Don’t infantry take double damage in the open?  None of the damage numbers I’ve seen were accounting for that.  I thought we were at least using modern infantry tactics, in terms of spacing, using cover, staying low, etc.  Isn’t *that* the normal understanding in the rules (hence why infantry in the open take double normal damage)?

In cover, it really shouldn't help much. Most weapons in BT are going to punch right on through most of the stuff that the game considers cover. For example, light woods, which is to say, trees, small hills and crests, maybe the occasional boulder. Autocannon shells should by all rights be able to go right through all of those, and in the case of trees and rocks, burst them apart with sufficient force to make additional shrapnel. Note that the to-hit penalty already covers the concealment aspect of woods.

When you've got weapons the size of BT's autocannons, you don't try to shoot around cover, you just blow it up and whatever's behind it.

Out of cover just about every weapon should be able to scythe through infantry like grass, which they really don't for the most part. An AC/10 does all of 1 damage to infantry in cover, 2 to infantry out of it.


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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #57 on: 19 November 2020, 14:12:48 »
Because the AC shell is a directional- AKA shaped charge- warhead or a penetrator.  You keep confusing the velocity a shell/s travel with it's bursting charge- if it has one!  Current anti-tank rounds are kinetic impactors, not explosives even so all you do have is the velocity and they suck trying to deal with troops in the open.


Not a tanker, but IIRC the HEAT are the shaped charge rounds.  Basically they form a molten stream that burns or forced through the side of armor and cools just enough to ricochet about the inside of the vehicle turning it into a blender.  The KE are the dep-u rounds that punch through the armor, instead of the normal shell shape (only really in artillery any longer) you see the sabot where it mates up with the gun tube to carry the shot.  Not really sure what the two on the right are . . .



Shaped charges are safe, for some definitions anyway, to be standing next to when they go off- I have done that for blowing doors- because all of the explosive force is channeled in a single direction to achieve the desired effect.

A lot of what you see when a kinetic penetrator hits or even shaped charges at the 'impact' point is dust or debris being shaken and even flying off.  You can find all sorts of Desert Storm photos of Iraqi tanks taken out by kinetic penetrators, the hole is there and typically the rest of the tank just burns- problem really is sifting the photos to find ones that are not taken out by air.  I also found a video on youtube that had TOW, Javelin, and LAW firing on armored vehicles put out by a source called WarLeaks, it is pretty instructional.

The point is this, if the blast is omni-directional it is a waste of munitions load.  Your charge that sends that munition down range had to be larger/heavier because you wasted part of the energy that you delivered.  Anti-mech weapons, even based on the tech of the 80s!, will be firing shaped charges where the energy is focused on penetrating and defeating the armor.  IF you hit something sensitive- fuel or ammo- then you get the big explosive effects, but most of those missile warheads are small flashes and smoke but are not too remarkable.    Expecting big explosions comes from watching way too much IRL movie affects.


You want the AoE to affect the infantry on a mech or tank, get snubtillery.
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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #58 on: 19 November 2020, 14:40:24 »
Because the AC shell is a directional- AKA shaped charge- warhead or a penetrator.  You keep confusing the velocity a shell/s travel with it's bursting charge- if it has one!  Current anti-tank rounds are kinetic impactors, not explosives even so all you do have is the velocity and they suck trying to deal with troops in the open.


Not a tanker, but IIRC the HEAT are the shaped charge rounds.  Basically they form a molten stream that burns or forced through the side of armor and cools just enough to ricochet about the inside of the vehicle turning it into a blender.  The KE are the dep-u rounds that punch through the armor, instead of the normal shell shape (only really in artillery any longer) you see the sabot where it mates up with the gun tube to carry the shot.  Not really sure what the two on the right are . . .



Shaped charges are safe, for some definitions anyway, to be standing next to when they go off- I have done that for blowing doors- because all of the explosive force is channeled in a single direction to achieve the desired effect.

A lot of what you see when a kinetic penetrator hits or even shaped charges at the 'impact' point is dust or debris being shaken and even flying off.  You can find all sorts of Desert Storm photos of Iraqi tanks taken out by kinetic penetrators, the hole is there and typically the rest of the tank just burns- problem really is sifting the photos to find ones that are not taken out by air.  I also found a video on youtube that had TOW, Javelin, and LAW firing on armored vehicles put out by a source called WarLeaks, it is pretty instructional.

The point is this, if the blast is omni-directional it is a waste of munitions load.  Your charge that sends that munition down range had to be larger/heavier because you wasted part of the energy that you delivered.  Anti-mech weapons, even based on the tech of the 80s!, will be firing shaped charges where the energy is focused on penetrating and defeating the armor.  IF you hit something sensitive- fuel or ammo- then you get the big explosive effects, but most of those missile warheads are small flashes and smoke but are not too remarkable.    Expecting big explosions comes from watching way too much IRL movie affects.


You want the AoE to affect the infantry on a mech or tank, get snubtillery.

I already went over this, but let me reiterate.

1. Battletech is about as explicit as it can be that standard Autocannon ammo is NOT inert. Total Warfare's descriptions specifically mentions them firing explosive shells.

2. Shaped charges are NOT by necessity safe to stand next to, and they are not actually dependent on heat (HEAT stands for High Explosive Anti Tank). The shaped charges used on doors are very small, and have cases to contain the explosion, but this is NOT required for the shaped charge to function. In many military shaped charges, the case is either lightweight plastic or a fragmentation sleeve, which do not contain the explosion, and in the case of the sleeve, amplify its effect by producing shrapnel. Notably, the US uses the M830 multi-purpose shell (second one from left in your picture), where the explosive charge both serves as a shaped charge and as a conventional high-explosive (as well as having airburst and bunker-busting fuse settings). It is a multipurpose round, capable of dealing with vehicles AND infantry. Limited ammo loads in tanks incentivizes multi-purpose shells so that a tank can have a greater useful load for any one situation, HEAT shells like the M830 provide that.

3. The way a shaped charge works is by using the explosive shockwave to deform a metal liner into a high-velocity jet, which punches through armor. While the metal is basically liquid in this state, it is pressure, not heat, that makes the metal behave like a liquid. The metal doesn't "cool" so much as decelerate and start behaving like a solid again.

Once again, I will point to the use of Bazookas and Panzerschrecks for house-busting back in WW2. Despite firing shaped charges they still had a very significant area of effect.

Also, to sate your curiosity, both shells on the right are experimental STAFF shells (the rightmost picture is the projectile, the left one is the complete cartridge). It was designed as effectively a top-attack tank shell. The tank would fire the shell over the target, and once the shell detected a tank underneath it, it would use an EFP (explosively formed penetrator, which is similar to a shaped charge except it forms a sort of "bullet" rather than a jet) to punch through the tank's much weaker top armor.
« Last Edit: 19 November 2020, 14:47:04 by Adastra »

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Re: Why do certain weapons do so little damage against infantry?
« Reply #59 on: 19 November 2020, 15:08:56 »
Actually, the description of AC ammo does include discussions of penetrators IIRC.  The difference is that it is not inert like Gauss ammo, that is the comparison. 

But however, fine, they do not use the sabot rounds and instead use the HEAT rounds to break through the armor.  I was in no way suggesting you stand next to a tank that is being hit, merely that by their nature shaped charges have zones with much less effect since as much of the energy is directed to a specific place.  I thought about including a range safety diagram for AT missiles but that gets far afield of the point.  I understand your point about the ammo load, but IIRC the Abrams deployed in Europe during the Cold War had a war load of mostly anti-tank rounds- the sabots.

To your 3rd point, yes I know how it works and how the IEDs in Iraq were build a decade ago to use this- typically the deformed metal was copper.  I also know how they changed armor to try to defeat this sort of IED, I was using a very basic description.  The point was that its method of destruction- and why shaped charge warheads are used- is that it trashes the interior.  Armor that keeps things out is pretty good about keeping things in . . . like those reformed copper bits.

The point never the less remains the same, Anti-Mech weapons are going to put all of their destructive energy they can into defeating the armor and going internal.  Large blasts are a waste of that energy.

As for bazookas & panzerfaust . . . they were NOT modern (or again, 80s) armor piercing warheads, the technology was being developed.  For tanks and warships, their AP shells typically used processes to attempt make the tip denser than the armor so it would penetrate.  It should also be noted for them to be effective anti-tank weapons they had to hit weak points on the enemy tank . . . its not like TOW (future of the 80s) missiles which have a better chance, on the different aspects, comparatively of breaching the armor than a bazooka.

LRMs and AC rounds are not area effect weapons- what you are advocating is the AC shell is effectively identical to a Thumper or Sniper shell . . . and its not.  They would be designed differently.
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