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Old 09-14-2016, 10:28 PM   #1
VariousRen
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Default [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

My DM and I have been looking through Mass Combat in preparation for the next few sessions which will involve finding and raising troops. The logistics costs seem unusually large, costing 5k for every thousand the troops cost to maintain. Because most troops have a maintain cost equal to 1/5 their raise cost, the cost to raise the logistics forces is equal to the cost to raise the unit itself. In the swamp (where some of the fighting will take place) the maintenance cost is doubled, so the logistics force will cost twice as much as the unit itself to raise.

This all seemed a little high, and I wanted to check that we aren't missing anything important about how the logistics force is raised and functions. Additionally, are mercenaries subject to logistics concerns since they are "maintained" properly but instead paid in cash?
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

Bumping this back up, because it seems like it might be a common question and my forum searches didn't turn up anything on the topic.

Just confirming that the cost to raise logistics forces for an element should be expected to be equal to or more than the cost of raising the element itself.
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

The logistics forces are somewhat abstract. So it presumably includes not only some number of supply clerks, but vehicles (trucks, rail, DC-3s and C-141s), as well as constructing supply dumps, and depots.

Also perhaps improving infrastructure (say, the corduroying of roads so popular in the American Civil War, or strengthening bridges along a route for heavy vehicles), though some of that might be counted as part of the maintenance cost. So while maybe 40% of the forces are non-combat forces*, the cost of those forces can be quite high.

The 2016 US DoD budget breaks down into 20% for procurement (that is, buying equipment), compared to 25% for personnel (pay and benefits), 39% for operations and maintenance, and 13% for R&D. So, just raising the combat troops is not necessarily a large percentage of the total budget. Mass Combat deals in generalities, but having the logistics cost more than the combat equipment doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

You know the old military saying: Amateurs think about tactics, but professionals think about logistics.

--
* the number varies by time period and army. Here's a nice survey of the US Army "tooth to tail" ratio from WW I to the present day, though focused more on numbers of troops than dollars.
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

The ratio of teeth to tail varies over time but in general successful armies do usually have more tail than teeth.
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

That's reasonable for armies traveling in enemy territory or poorly supported wilderness, but most of our game takes place inside of a country with well established cities and towns. I wonder if there should be an innate amount of logistics strength provided by towns and cities that already exist and are allied, and reduced cost for raising logistics forces inside civilized non-war lands.
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

Necro'ing this because I've done some math and things definitely don't seem right as written in the logistics rules. It turns out it's cheaper to not maintain a force at all and replace it as the people starve than it is to provide maintenance for them.

Consider a force made out of 5 medium infantry. Each unit has a raise cost of 30k and a maintain cost of 6k. Our full force will cost 150k to raise and 30k to maintain each month. So far so good.

If we maintain our force at full combat readiness they will need a logistics force with an LS of 30. Raising a logistics force costs 5k per LS, so raising the logistics unit will cost 150k to raise and 15k to maintain. Doubling our raising cost and adding 50% to our maintenance. Total cost for the army is 300k raise and 45k monthly.

Now instead we provide no logistics forces at all. Page 14 of mass combat gives us the effects of no maintenance. Halve TS of every element and 5% desertion per month. We'll need 10 units to equal the effectiveness of the 5 before. To replace the deserting troops we must pay a percentage of the raise cost, 5% per month of 30k is 1.5k each. Total cost to raise the force is 300k, and 15k to maintain.

By not maintaining our troops at all we save 30k a month, don't have a logistics force to worry about defending in a battle, and have 10 elements ready to go if we decide we need them and provide maintenance again. The problem gets even worse if operating in an area with higher maintenance costs like a swamp.

Obviously there would be plenty of in game ramifications that a DM could apply to stop this from happening, disloyal troops, lack of recruits, and so on. It does point to something being very wrong with the logistics rules in Mass Combat though. Are there any suggestions or alternatives from people who have used these rules in the past to provide more reasonable logistics costs?
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Old 09-20-2016, 12:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

I don't have Mass Combat (I've read it in the past, however), but a lot of logistics is about transporting supplies, so if the unit is located in or very near a location where supplies are readily available you could probably manage a lower cost. This is really only going to influence maintenance cost, however, not raising cost - if you want the unit to be able to actually go anywhere, there will need to be a logistics unit to support them. In fact, even if the unit is permanently located somewhere, they'll at the very least need a reduced-size logistics unit to handle administration of supplies and the like. Basically, being in or near a friendly production center is going to reduce maintenance cost just as being in a swamp increases it, but that's about the limit of the effect (aside from the reduced cost to raise a stationary logistics unit).

As for the "No Maintenance" hack, that's potentially a Murphy's Rule. More realistically, the desertion (and passive casualty) rate should probably continually rise as the unit continues without support; the current rules are probably intended for short-term effects. Additionally, even using it, what you'd actually be doing is raising a partial unit in a secure location and then sending them off without support to try and find and catch up with the starving unit. You can't very well raise an army out in the field, but logistics support does allow you to maintain one.

EDIT: Another point of note is that not all military conditions are going to have the RAW cost to raise and maintain the necessary logistical support. In Starcraft, there exist abundant and readily-processed materials all over the place, allowing an army to bring a small logistics unit and have that set up, increase its own size, and produce supplies for the army for a minimal initial cost and practically no maintenance cost. In The Stormlight Archives, magitech can be wielded to transmute readily-available materials (stone, mostly) into whatever is needed, from metal for weapons and armor to food and barracks (which are transmuted to stone from air) for the troops - the characters even make reference to how the technology is so necessary to wage war without a supply train. Even without superscience and magic, deployment in a particularly bountiful area can allow for a unit to function as its own logistics support, with the soldiers taking out a small amount of time to hunt, forage, and prepare food/supplies and the officers keeping things running (although this would arguably reduce the unit's TS, as it splits its attention; a better way to handle it would be to bring along a small dedicated logistics unit to handle procurement of supplies, much as I suggested for units stationed in production centers).

Last edited by Varyon; 09-20-2016 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:17 PM   #8
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

Okay, before I start designing house rules I should put down a few assumptions to make sure I'm actually achieving my goal of making things more reasonable across more situations. If any of these don't make sense I'd appreciate some feedback.

1. The raise and maintain costs are reasonable in Mass Combat.
2. The LS needed in Mass Combat is reasonable for an army on the march through non-allied territory.
3. An elements maintain cost represents it's pay, replacement equipment, and food needed. LS is the force that delivers these supplies, nothing more.
4. It is easier to supply a force inside or near a city than it is to supply one on the march.
5. It is easier to move supplies by port than it is to move them by land (Mass Combat and me disagree here, Mass Combat applies a 2x cost to raising water logistics forces AND requires land logistics from the port to the army).
6. These rules will require rough knowledge about where cities are positioned, major roads, ect, and the distances involved. It will focus more on logistics than the rules in Mass Combat, which may be viewed as the map-less version of my coming rules.
7. The goal is to get a relative correctness, suitable for gaming. As long as being stationed in a city is cheaper than being camped outside one I'm happy.
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Old 09-20-2016, 05:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

I'm finished a first draft which can be viewed here: https://the-fall-of-brekhan.obsidian...mbat-logistics. The main changes are references to distance from a town or city that can provide supply, and speed while on the march. Both of these apply a multiplier to the LS needed to keep a force in supply (but doesn't increase the actual maintenance cost of the unit).

The major value I'm not sure about is the size of town or city required to produce a certain amount of supplies without paid intervention.

Right now I've got it pegged at 1 LS worth of supplies is produced per 50 people, based on very rough estimates from old medieval battles (involving ~3000 people per side) and sizes of major capitals (Paris and London, ~50000 each). Let me know if you think that's about right, overly generous, or still not enough.
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Old 09-20-2016, 05:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Cost of raising logisitics forces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
EDIT: Another point of note is that not all military conditions are going to have the RAW cost to raise and maintain the necessary logistical support. In Starcraft, there exist abundant and readily-processed materials all over the place, allowing an army to bring a small logistics unit and have that set up, increase its own size, and produce supplies for the army for a minimal initial cost and practically no maintenance cost.
I don't think you can make sense of Starcraft in realism terms. Currently it takes 25 seconds to train a Terran Marine (via neural resocialization), and I have no idea where the recruits even come from (do Supply Depots have recruits in suspended animation?). Even if this was actually possible from a logistical standpoint wouldn't it make more sense to just send trained Marines in the first place?
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