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Old 08-30-2020, 05:30 PM   #21
Join Date: May 2007
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cutting supply lines

Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
I suspect land vs. sea vs. air logistics pricing was based 100% on game balance and 0% on realism. Someone figured sea logistics was better because there are fewer choke points at which you could block it, and therefore it must be more expensive for the sake of game balance.

Which brings us back to the issue of what rules we should use for blocking choke points.
I predicted GURPS:Dungeon Fantasy several hours before it came out and all I got was this lousy sig.
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Old 08-30-2020, 05:45 PM   #22
The Colonel
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cutting supply lines

Water has always been the cheapest way to move heavy or bulk goods - indeed until very recently it was the only way. Of course, you then have choke points where you need to handle large quantities of material loading/unloading ... and you are confined to waterways (noting that, if you are prepared to cross deck onto narrowboats, you can get surprisingly large loads up surprisingly small rivers).

Rail is your next contender - although much lower density than sea, it competes well with inland water and tends to move faster. It is a lot better at hauling heavy loads but, like water transport, lacks flexibility. It is also vitally dependent on a secure route - one sabotaged rail can destroy and entire train and block the line.

Road transport is most versatile but least efficient, with the exception of air. Tech level is important, but not as much as you might think - transporting your own fuel is a big issue at this level. Where there are no roads, the same applies but with even less efficiency.

Air is the fastest but least efficient form of transport - rotary wing is short ranged and low volume but can get virtually anywhere. Fixed wing improves range and volume in exchange for being fussier about where it can land.

In terms of "living off the land" - which has cropped up a couple of times - this becomes less and less viable as TL increases (at least until we all have nanofactory replicators to make stuff out of thin air). In most cases all an army can obtain like this is food - although a successful attack can sometimes seize fuel, ammunition and other useful stuff from the enemy. It's actually not a terribly efficient way to feed an army (again, unless you are hoovering up enemy supplies) and tends to disperse the effort of your forces. Notable examples include: the Japanese offensives at the start of the Pacific end of WW2 successfully relied on capturing supplies from their enemies - until, at places like Arrakan and Kokoda, these supplies were denied to them and they starved. The French army in the Peninsula War fed itself by foraging - which was merely inefficient until they reached the lines of Torres Vedjas, where the Anglo-Portuguese army had stripped the land bare and the French were forced to retreat over land they had already depleted. At the end of WW1, the Kaiserschlat was stopped, at least in part, when victorious but starving stormtroopers, having long outrun their own supply chain (which was pretty poor anyway) came across the Allied forward supply dumps and stopped to gorge themselves on foods that they had not seen for years. In fact, successful examples can be quite hard to locate - and are usually short term (the aforementioned early Japanese, Rommel's Ghost Division filling up its tanks from French civilian petrol stations...).
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Old 08-31-2020, 12:22 AM   #23
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cutting supply lines

If I had to create a set of rules for my own use, I would have to come up with new concepts. For example - Depots. For supplies to be moved from point A to point Z (Z being where the unit needing resupply is located), you would have to have rules for supply movement, supply storage, and more importantly, the effects on creating a depot in the grand scheme of things.

Of the top of my head, Logistical movement of supplies required wagons or portage (pack mules, humans carrying supplies etc). So, in effect, LS units will be moving at Foot speeds, not cavalry speeds. GURPS MASS BATTLES goes on to state that these LS units cost four times more if they are air capable later in the tech chain.

So, how do you handle LS units in battle? Treat them as ACTUAL units. They move at a given rate, and they can only carry a given amount of supplies. I would also venture to say that each LS carrying supplies have to specify what type of unit they're capable of resupplying. In other words, an LS intended to resupply Cavalry is going to have to be designated as Cav LS as opposed to Archer LS as opposed to HVY INFANTY LS etc. Why? Cavalry resupploy requires foodstuffs for horses that humans won't eat. It requires materials for saddle repair, horseshoes, horse show nails, etc. Is that something that a Hvy Infantry can benefit from?

So, the rules are rather specifc - each unit has to have resupply once per MONTH. If you have an LS that handles resupply for infantry - and the time it takes to travel from a "Depot" location to a unit in the field is 10 days - congratulations. You only need it to travel ONCE right? In real life, wagons are necessary to carry supplies in bulk over land. Wagons aren't a one time expense and then evaporate over the span of one trip. They need to go from point A to point Z, and from point Z back to the depot located at A. Once they get to where it takes a month to go from point A (Depot) to point Z (unit's location in the field) - then you should be allocating two units of resupply to the unit instead of one. Why? Your supply chain is just too long.

Now for the fun part. Page 35 suggests that in a raid battle, the raider can inflict in lieu of casualties against its enemy force, but instead, against the LS supply units. So, presumably, that means a a victory inflicting 35% casualties against a unit with LS units as well, can have 35% losses inflicted on the LS. Elsewhere, page 39, we have rules for "looting the casualties". So, if the raiding elements want to make use of the value of the enemy casualties (LS values), they can gain roughly 20% of the value of the fallen units for direct use.
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Old 08-31-2020, 12:44 AM   #24
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cutting supply lines

Adding more to this would be the idea that military commanders who want to insure their supplies get through to them from the "Depot" location - will need to create "anti-raider" defense units.

Treat "raiding" units like any other battle in GURPS MASS COMBAT. Send scouts out looking for the raiders. If the territory is friendly, you gain additional intelligence on troops within your area. If not friendly territory, then the locals may help or even hinder your scouting abilities to know where the opposing units.

In essence? You treat the movement of each "group of LS" as its own "army units" complete with light cavalry, light infantry, or anything else the theater commander wants to use to escort these vital supplies.

Now, what are the effects of having a "Depot" in any given location? MONEY in general, represents buying power. You convert money into food, and then transport the food to soldiers. Some of the money gathered is really "Kind" - a measurement of things worth money, but were never gathered or received as money. If someone owes a tax worth $5000, they might recieve that as 30 bushels of grain, 14 cattle, and $50 (just pulling numbers out of thin air as an illustration of concept here).

So, can you have a group of LS travel with the main body of an army? Hell yes. It would be the camp train or seige train that often follows with the main army. As supplies are used up, those LS units (empty) should be returning back to the DEPOT.

My intention at this point, when I have more time to look more closely at the rules and see what I can devise based upon rules for logistics (such as "Maintaining a Force in Bad Terrain") and see what comes into play.

DEPOTS: Food supplies gathered for the Depot likely end up at the Depot after a harvest. Having a "raid" of player characters who in turn, destroy $50,000 worth of supplies in a warehouse fire - will have struck a blow against their enemy without even having had to fight a full fledged battle. A raiding party comprised of 80 men (8 units of light cavalry) could be sent to harass the road bottleneck where the road enters a valley, goes through the valley, and also has but one exit further away from the Depot. The opposing force, if it doesn't have an escort of say, 100 Infantry to protect 80 LS units - then the raiding party of 80 light cavalry can hit the supplies and destroy it or disrupt the movement of the LS unit as it delivers the supplies.

Well, that's enough for now. Should be in bed sleeping. But you can see the gist of what I'm proposing. Detail the LS units and treat them as moving units.
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logistics, mass combat

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