2021 CO2 Game Supply Mechanics Discussion (content moved from "For the players: is the game playable?")

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In the interest of cataloging comments for future reference supporting possible game modifications, I've moved the discussion of supply issues from the "For the players: is the game playable?" to this thread.

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GoodGuy
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#15
Very interesting discussion.

It's understandable that - with the supply flow being abstracted - some details aren't on the cards.

In some armies, Bns had to draw from (the very small) divisional depots, for instance. In the German army, divisional depots never had a fixed place, and not a fully-fledged supply vehicle pool, either. The Division could only store the amount of supplies that was needed to equip the frontline units with the first loadout (before going into combat). The Corp was not involved in the (re)supply process at all.
The Army (unit) set up and maintained fuel depots in each division's AO, which means that it pushed fuel supplies to the divisional area of operations.
For food/water supplies - in non-motorized units, the Bn HQs combined the Coys' supply columns no. 1 (one horse-drawn vehicle) of each company and sent them to retreive and distribute food/water supplies. The Coys' supply columns no. 2 (one 3-ton truck and 1 Krad per Coy) were usually employed/combined by the Regiment and used to retreive and distribute ammo to the Bns.
So food was handled slowly and ammo was shipped double time, if trucks were available/combined, basically

An artillery regiment didn't have supply columns, as each of its Bns had their own columns: a light artillery Bn had 1 light supply column (motorized, in some units partially horse-drawn) with a total capacity of 36 tons, heavy arty Bns had 1 light supply column (motorized, 28 tons total capacity) in each battery, IIRC.

Ammunition supply chain: the industry delivered the ammo to the Wehrmacht's ammunition institutes. Ammunition was often delivered separated (safety measure), so the institutes then had to assemble the parts. The institutes also served as QA entities, so they also verified functionality/quality and adherence to production standards. The ammunition was then transported (train cars) to the ammo depots of the Army (unit). These deliveries were directly hauled to district depots near the divisions in exceptional cases, only.
Usually, the supply columns of the Army or the Division would then draw ammo supplies from the Army ammo depot and haul them to the divisional issuing point.
The light supply columns of the regiments/of independent Bns then drew the ammo for their subordinated units, and delivered the ammo supplies either to the fire bases of the artillery batteries or to the frontline units' ammo supply points. Combat vehicles could pick up ammo supplies, ammunition carriers (as in men) picked up ammunition for the infantry (at the frontlines), at these points.
If the frontline conditions allowed for direct supply runs, supply vehicles were sent right to the frontline.

The US Army used well defined procedures as well, which can be checked in the particular field manuals. Jim pointed to a number of quite interesting FM-manuals, in the past.

The Germans used a wide range of vehicles to deliver ammo to frontline (trench) units, they converted/used a number of tankettes and ammunition carriers (mostly of French/Belgian, British and German make) to save precious trucks and to be able to cover the last say 200 to 600 meters under combat conditions. They even modded such vehicles, so that ammunition could be dumped into trenches and strongpoints under moderate/heavy small arms fire by using a handle from inside a carrier (pretty much like in a lorry), where then the cargo bed could be raised and where the ammo then just slid down into the trench, for instance. This regime reduced manual work and troop losses.
British units used bren carriers, converted Vickers tankettes or similar vehicles for such jobs, afaik.

That said, it's quite clear that it'd be quite a job to render such details.
On the other hand, and with the existing system, you have a situation where trucks are sent into combat, technically.
It is true that say the Russians and the Germans lost huge amounts (relative to their total amount of trucks produced/captured/received) of transport/supply vehicles, but it's also a fact that a large amount of these supply columns were destroyed by situational fire, eg. unexpected enemy advances, air raids, artillery interdiction fire (accurate Allied fire was rather rare, at least until autumn 1944) etc., or by planned interdiction/S&D missions - performed by fast motorized units or by partisan units forming raid parties, and not by single enemy units occupying single supply routes.

Generally, the several armies, especially the Germans, tried to avoid sending precious cargo space into combat zones.
The German Army lost quite an amount of supply trucks through attrition (wear & tear, breakdowns) in 1941- when they had to cover huge gaps (large distances that had to be covered with truck transports because the Russian railway lines had to be converted, first, the transport pool used for this extra job - in the main - comprised of a huge amount of Allied trucks captured in 1940), but also some amount during their onslaught in France in 1940, already, with another huge loss of cargo space during the Russian counterattack near Moscow in December 1941 and in the Stalingrad pocket, means through enemy action, of course. The Germans never managed to replace the loss of those captured vehicles and the subsequent loss of trucks when the Russians started their counterattack near Moscow, their production output was too low, production and assembly of truck parts were too slow.

So, except for unexpected enemy actvities (counterattacks, raids, etc.), supply units tried to avoid the frontlines (especially the horse-drawn ones) wherever possible. Yet, in the game, everybody and his mom seem to be eager to bring their vehicles to the (combat) party. If you investigate ingame and try to find out who's sitting on your supply route, you can very well dash into remote woods and past elevations off-route, without seeing any enemy nearby. It feels like enemy units resting 1 or 2 squares away from your supply route are destroying a vital percentage of your supply trucks, even tho they didn't even move for some say 12 hrs. Now, I may be wrong here, but that's how the system felt at times.

Another detail: with the details about the German supply regime, it is quite obvious that putting the transport pool into a giant base attached to say a Division doesn't do the historical regime justice.
Basically, if say 2 Coys lost their supply truck elements, then the ammo supply level of the sister Coy was affected, too. The regimental officer in charge of the combined supply columns no. II (from the Coys) then either had to spread the ammo evenly (so that all attached Bns received less than the required ammo deliveries) by using the remaining truck, or the Coys' food supply elements (reminder: horse-drawn) would have had to fill the lost trucks' (2) roles and draw ammo from the distribution point, until replacements for the trucks could be acquired.
With the latter option, such Coys would have been undersupplied ammo-wise in combat situations due to the low speed of the horse-drawn vehicles, for the time being, because the pretty small Bn column could only support the Bn HQ.
Since the Coys' food supply columns were combined and controlled by the Bns, the Bn officer (or the division's quartermaster) in charge of the supplies could also opt for using parts (or the whole) of the food supply columns to haul ammo to the Coys, but then the food supply of all subordinated units would have been severely affected, of course.
In the game, the emergency supply runs seem to counter/rule out such historical effects/outcomes, partially at least, which leads to somewhat unrealistic results, imho.

In any case, the game's current supply system doesn't represent historical German or US supply regimes, and since supply units are not rendered the actual cargo pool losses are definetely kind of off-kilter, imho, which means they appear too high.
 
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In the interest of cataloging comments for future reference supporting possible game modifications, I've moved the discussion of supply issues from the "For the players: is the game playable?" to this thread.

==========



GoodGuy
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#15
Very interesting discussion.

It's understandable that - with the supply flow being abstracted - some details aren't on the cards.
I'll attempt to look at your points from the standpoint of how the abstraction addresses them
Goodguy:
In some armies, Bns had to draw from (the very small) divisional depots, for instance. In the German army, divisional depots never had a fixed place, and not a fully-fledged supply vehicle pool, either. The Division could only store the amount of supplies that was needed to equip the frontline units with the first loadout (before going into combat). The Corp was not involved in the (re)supply process at all.
The Army (unit) set up and maintained fuel depots in each division's AO, which means that it pushed fuel supplies to the divisional area of operations.
. . .

From a developer's standpoint, the circumstance of available German army divisional supplies is addressed in the game by defining initial supply levels (initial on hand percentage of daily needs) and modeled as part of the throughput in the SEPs (percentage of deployed force(s) daily needs arriving through the SEP).

At least by current US Army doctrine, the Corps and above supply operations could emulated at the SEP rather than through supply storage points administered at higher echelon command units deployed on the map.

The fuel depots identified at each division AO generally parallels the regimental "base" designed into the game, at least by US Army WWII doctrine, there were three to four "fuel dumps" per division and in general, there are three or four regiments and / or brigades per division.

There is a "push / pull" supply system embedded in the game, but it's defined as on-map pull (from base to base or base to unit) and push from the SEP onto the map.

Goodguy:

An artillery regiment didn't have supply columns, as each of its Bns had their own columns: a light artillery Bn had 1 light supply column (motorized, in some units partially horse-drawn) with a total capacity of 36 tons, heavy arty Bns had 1 light supply column (motorized, 28 tons total capacity) in each battery, IIRC.

Ammunition supply chain: the industry delivered the ammo to the Wehrmacht's ammunition institutes. Ammunition was often delivered separated (safety measure), so the institutes then had to assemble the parts. The institutes also served as QA entities, so they also verified functionality/quality and adherence to production standards. The ammunition was then transported (train cars) to the ammo depots of the Army (unit). These deliveries were directly hauled to district depots near the divisions in exceptional cases, only.
. . .
This gets into the game's "base" structure. At the regimental level, all logistics assets below it are aggregated into a "base" located in one area. There had been discussion in the past about having more refined levels of supply "bases" down to the battalion level and maintaining a company HQ as a kind of supply hub, but defining more administrative units to display on the map would only add to game clutter and programming the mechanics of using them would seriously complicate the supply system programming.

The US Army used well defined procedures as well, which can be checked in the particular field manuals. Jim pointed to a number of quite interesting FM-manuals, in the past.

The Germans used a wide range of vehicles to deliver ammo to frontline (trench) units, they converted/used a number of tankettes and ammunition carriers (mostly of French/Belgian, British and German make) to save precious trucks and to be able to cover the last say 200 to 600 meters under combat conditions. . . .
All transport for the game is defined as "trucks," "carts," and / or "manpack" (which probably could be called "foot" since it also includes supplies hauled by beasts of burden which generally moved at the same speed as the handlers could walk).

Losses in supply columns aren't calculated as type of fire combat damage against target types as in how units losses are calculated, but in terms of likelihood of a vehicle being targeted and the possibility of a target taking damage at interdiction. It takes into account light at the time of day, ground cover along the route, proximity to the firing unit or accuracy of observation for artillery interdiction. The damage used to be calculated based on percentage of supply deliveries missed, but was changed to broadcast the percentage in the number of "trucks" to better illustrate the problem. The problem with that is the "trucks" are calculated as an absolute -- if one is "lost" on a delivery, it isn't available for the next. This doesn't model reality because a supply delivery could be "lost" due to a flat tire and the damage asset could return to duty on the next cycle once the tire is changed. As in the "base" issue, calculating partial damage due to maintenance is difficult to program within the resources available to model the emulation (pc-based programming), particularly since the supply is abstracted to start with.
Goodguy:

That said, it's quite clear that it'd be quite a job to render such details.
On the other hand, and with the existing system, you have a situation where trucks are sent into combat, technically.
. . .

Generally, the several armies, especially the Germans, tried to avoid sending precious cargo space into combat zones.
. . .

So, except for unexpected enemy actvities (counterattacks, raids, etc.), supply units tried to avoid the frontlines (especially the horse-drawn ones) wherever possible. Yet, in the game, everybody and his mom seem to be eager to bring their vehicles to the (combat) party. If you investigate ingame and try to find out who's sitting on your supply route, you can very well dash into remote woods and past elevations off-route, without seeing any enemy nearby. It feels like enemy units resting 1 or 2 squares away from your supply route are destroying a vital percentage of your supply trucks, even tho they didn't even move for some say 12 hrs. Now, I may be wrong here, but that's how the system felt at times.

Another detail: with the details about the German supply regime, it is quite obvious that putting the transport pool into a giant base attached to say a Division doesn't do the historical regime justice.
. . .

The game does calculate the percentage of possible deliveries based on a "truck" load. Though not at a company level, the fewer "trucks" available at the regimental level after losses due to interdiction, the slower the response to next cycle supply demands.

This loss calculation gets magnified beyond reality by the number of "emergency" dispatches -- the more frequently the "truck" leaves the supply dump, the more likely it is to be lost, and quite simply, there were neither the number of "trucks" or available personnel needed to drop their mission to perform support services without suffering losses to operational capabilities while those assets were performing "other duties as assigned" in combat.
Goodguy:
In any case, the game's current supply system doesn't represent historical German or US supply regimes, and since supply units are not rendered the actual cargo pool losses are definetely kind of off-kilter, imho, which means they appear too high.
I agree. At some point, I'd like to see the logistics modeled more accurately, but that has to be delayed until other game mechanics are addressed. At this point, the emulation does a pretty good job addressing the broad issues better than other games I've encountered.
 

Grognerd

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Well, if the game could show the Main supply route when I push the supply button, I would know what the main route is to defend. Might even make a command to re-route parts of it when the enemy is on the move.

Now I think both these supply suggestion are impossible due to the abstract nature of the supply engine. If so, just disregard. Purpose is to give the battle-space commander (me) a better picture of the supply net.
 
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Well, if the game could show the Main supply route when I push the supply button, I would know what the main route is to defend. Might even make a command to re-route parts of it when the enemy is on the move.

Now I think both these supply suggestion are impossible due to the abstract nature of the supply engine. If so, just disregard. Purpose is to give the battle-space commander (me) a better picture of the supply net.
From the standpoint of more real time modeling of supply operations, I agree with you. In real life, the role of MPs on the battlefield was to provide security rear area security including posting traffic direction and / or protective detachments along exposed transport corridors behind friendly lines. The placement of those detachments more or less served as waypoints along the main supply route between disbursing sites and combat units being supplied.

So under ideal conditions it's not unrealistic to have those specific "safe" waypoints identified as a guide for likely places to conduct rear area combat patrols.

Obtaining the added information would be balanced by the amount of added programming and increased map clutter that may result from adding the information.
 

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As an observer on the forum I would like to point out that I appreciate the discussion.
 

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