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Fire Mission: Artillery in 4th Edition Fire Mission:
Artillery in 4th Edition
with Andrew Haught

For me, the most interesting changes in 4th Edition are the ones that affect how artillery works. The main role of artillery has shifted from what was primarily an anti-tank asset in 3rd Edition to a role closer to its real-life counterpart.

Let’s look at the main changes and discuss how they will apply to the 4th Edition battlefield.

Lower Anti-tank Rating
The first thing you’ll notice about artillery in 4th Edition is that the Anti-tank rating has gone down. Across the board, artillery is less effective against tanks; they still have the ability to take out light and medium tanks, but gone are the days of relying on heavy artillery to take out those pesky Tigers. To be honest, it was not the most efficient way to knock out a Tiger, whereas I would rather utilise it pinning down my opponent’s infantry.

The lower Anti-tank rating does mean that the artillery is no longer the jack of all trades it used to be. Therefore players will need to have a better mix of tanks and anti-tank guns to deter their opponent’s armour from wreaking havoc on the battlefield.

Improved Firepower Ratings
This is a tremendous improvement. Units like mortars and light artillery have become more viable threats on the table. Artillery now has a strong chance of dislodging infantry and gun teams from their dug-in positions around objectives. 

Fire Mission: Artillery in 4th Edition

Repeat Bombardments
Repeat Bombardments are devastating in 4th Edition. It forces your opponent to re-roll any successful infantry and gun saves against hits taken from artillery that ranged in during a previous turn. This, along with the improved firepower ratings, means that artillery is one of the best ways to clear out dug-in defences.

In game terms, the improved Firepower and the new Repeat Bombardments rules mean keeping your infantry in their foxholes is not as safe as it used to be. Players will now have to think about how they will react to artillery; either by re-deploying their troops defending the objective, forcing the artillery to re-range in each turn, or by silencing the artillery with counter-battery fire or with a direct attack of their own.  

Starting Ranged In Markers
Each artillery battery starting the game with a Ranged In marker means, if you plan carefully, your artillery can be effective from turn one. I remember games in 3rd Edition where my artillery failed to range in turn after turn, rendering them next to useless for the entire game. The Range In marker is great, as you can place them on objectives or use them to prevent your opponent from deploying in areas you wish him to avoid – making it probably one of the most valuable tools in 4th Edition in terms of the effect it can have on your opponent’s decision-making.

As a result, artillery tactics have become more interesting in 4th Edition. Artillery can now be used to control your enemy’s movements; ranging in on locations in front of advancing infantry may force them to take an alternate route, perhaps into an ambush, rather than risk taking the brunt of a repeat bombardment.

Fire Mission: Artillery in 4th Edition

Apart from eliminating dug-in infantry and delaying your opponent’s advances, artillery can also provide concealment in the form of smoke bombardments. The resulting smoke screen blocks line of sight and can help prevent your advance from becoming bogged down due to incoming fire. Dropping smoke is a powerful tool and should not be overlooked; it is a very useful option that more players should consider.

All in all, to the casual player, artillery may have seemed to have become weaker in 4th Edition with the changes to anti-tank ratings, but in even more ways under the new rules it has become much more useful and a lot more interesting to use in Flames Of War.

~ Andrew.

Last Updated On Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by James at Battlefront