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Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by J. van Limpt, Feb 8, 2020.
Can someone tell me whether the supply system in CO2 also includes replacement soldiers and repairs?
I might be wrong but I think supplies only cover basic (food) supply as well as ammunition and fuel.
Thank you. That's also my impression.
No replacements or repairs in the engine at the moment. That's why it can sometimes end up a bit ahistorical if scenarios are very long. I always think that, as long as we don't have replacements and repairs it's more realistic to stick to scenarios not much above 3 days long. Just my view. Depends on the nature of the scenario, of course. For example, From the Meuse to the Rhine, around 9 days long, iirc, is still quite historical for the Allies, because most of the para troops didn't get any repairs or replacements in real life (didn't in any event have a great deal of afvs or arty/AT assets) . But other scenarios miss this feature, I think.
What was the timescale for replenishing casualties at the company and above level, back then? I was under the impression that that only really happened in the rear, and that replenishment mostly consisted of rotating reserve companies/battalions/etc. in, and withdrawing the depleted ones.
Edit: same question, but for equipment replenishment alone. Do supply trains have skeleton crews bring up new AFVs to units which need replacements? Or tow along guns?
True. It's could be different for troops. Not sure about troops, though a quick browse of internet material suggests that US policy during WW2 was to individually and actively replace casualties in the line from replacement depots, though some commanders chose not to do this due to the disruption caused and would try to wait to rebuild unuts out of the line . I read a great book about tank repair in WW2 though, which made it clear that normally there was a massive effort to recover and repair damaged afvs, plus get replacements forward during offensives. 'Death Traps' by Belton Y Cooper.
In combat, there are two forms of replenishment rates for personnel -- the replacement rate for bringing in new personnel to fill out formations weakened by casualties, and caring for wounded soldiers so they can return to the fight.
A nominal estimate on returning wounded soldiers (those who cannot fight well enough to effect the outcome of a battle, but could be returned to duty if damage from their wounds are corrected) is at least two weeks within the theater of operations and longer if the casualties are evacuated to the rear for care.
Requisitioning soldiers to fill out formations from "ready reserves" is even longer considering the administrative lead time necessary to document the need, communicate it to the echelon responsible for managing the reserve, assigning troops to fill the needs, and transporting them from the personnel depot location to the gaining unit.
At least for the US, the focus on manpower was in bringing reserve and national guard formations up to strength in the US and then deploying them overseas. The replacement troops necessary to flesh out already fielded formations were held in reserve untilt he fielded formations were pulled out of line for rest, refitting and replenishment in rear areas.
Given the length of the typical CO2 scenarios, a vast majority of the manpower replenishment couldn't have taken place within the timeframe of the battle.
Here is some discussion of the strategic issues the US faced with replacements during the war:
Equipment replacement and repair is somewhat more likely to occur within the timeframe of the typical CO2 battle, but not at a rate that would return any formation losing equipment to 100 percent during the term of the battle.
Replacement alone, where the equipment is destroyed and replaced with a new piece is highly unlikely during the term of a CO2 battle.
Traditional equipment "float" -- having unused pieces of equipment available for movement to the fight when called, -- was planned at 1-3 percent of the authorized strength at a battalion level, during the production planning for filling out battalion strengths, but those planned levels were often ignored in favor of building new battalions rather than holding back "reserve" equipment for already fielded battalions. Even so, the equipment available for a a regiment with 120 tanks may have 1-3 "spare" tanks after calculations are rounded to whole vehicles authorized to fill out a depleted battalions. For the most part, that was a paper estimate (and still is) with the real "float" consisting of equipment evacuated to a division repair location for major repairs requiring two weeks or more to complete, and being returned to a front line unit which suffered the most losses during that time.
It meant a battalion suffering losses of 10 tanks in a battle may get up to three returned IF those 10 losses are the most significant among all the losses within the division. ,
While it would be great to model repair and replacement in CO2 (I was a logistician for the Army, that kind of stuff was my professional interest) in practical terms it doesn't make much difference.
All the combatants suffer loses at relatively the same rate in a battle, and having replenishment troops, replacement troops, and replacement and repair of equipment within the timescale of the typical scenario wouldn't alter the play balance at all.
What may alter the balance slightly would be modeling the various repair capabilities of the competing forces. Some were staffed and equipped better than others. But, going that deep into the historical background of maintenance and repair is ability of a typical scenario developer to research in terms of both available historical data and making any significant impact during the term of the typical scenario.
Thanks Jim. So my assumption from reading various books - that in the US services some effort was made during longer operations to replace casualties during the operation by moving men up from reserve areas and to both replace and repair AFVs - is wrong, perhaps? In which case, I would stop asking the Devs to put repairs and replacements on the wish list and happily start playing all those longer scenarios again.
But Belton's book - which you actually recommended to me ages ago, I think - seems to give a different picture as far as tanks go, no? That is, that there could be meaningful and rapid repair of tank units during operations, depending, of course, on the cause of damage or fault. It is highlighted in this book that this was a difference, at least late war, between US and Axis capabilities - that the Axis were not good at this and the US was.
The difference was in strategic timeframes vs. tactical time frames.
For the timeframe of already existing scenarios, none of which I see exceeding two weeks, the differences in repair system capabilities didn't make much difference to the immediate combat. A battalion might get a single tank back to one of its companies which has lost three of its four over the typical scenario timeframe, or a company may get five men to replace some of the dozen lost in a battle over that timeframe, but by the time that was all accomplished and factored into combat capability it wouldn't make much relative difference, particularly if the replenishment rate was essentially the same for each side in a combat.
Where the US excelled in repairing equipment was in the level of the sustainment echelon where major repairs could take place rather than what repairs could be accomplished. Where the Axis may have to send a damaged tank back to Germany for major repairs, the US could perform the same repairs at a corps or army HQ location because it invested in more portable and flexible repair facilities and had more "spare" manpower to perform repairs than the Axis could late in the war.
The repairs weren't accomplished any quicker, but the shipment time from the site of damage to the repair site, and return was shorter. Essentially, you still had a minimum of two weeks to repair major battle damage, but the US capability could get the item shipped to the repair site in a day or two before that two-week repair effort started, and the Axis may require a week for each leg of the shipment.
Where the Axis also lagged was in having enough manufacturing capacity to fabricate spare parts to be used for the repairs in addition to having parts to build more modern equipment.
Addressing the problem got reflected more in the make up of a typical Axis TO&E where, for example, the number of vehicles in a tank battalion or the number of battalions assigned a tank regiment was scaled back later in the war to maintain formation designations but not necessarily the same combat strength in each unit.
This gets reflected in the "at start" configurations for battles rather than adjusted during a typical scenario timeframe, except as depleted units are disbanded and available assets are merged into peer formations during gameplay.
The disbandment and merger of units is actually quite a major accomplishment in the programming because that essentially mimics what was done under field conditions during the typical timeframe of a scenario to maintain units of a more standard combat strength.