Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Supply in operational games

One of the things that pop up in conversation...I was talking with Mark about supply in operational games (as you do) and it got me thinking about how this works in practice.

Currently, as long as the unit can draw a line back to its line of supply, it is in supply.  Or if it carries units of supply with it OR it can be supplied by other means (usually by air but also of course by boat / ship for battles with a coastline or river).

But what about if players had to ensure supply for units by having to have supply units to hand? That means dragging their supply elements along with them, having supply dumps on (and off) table and physically moving supplies to fighting units (along roads or across country)? 

The logistical challenge would be to build up supplies at strategic points so they could be moved to where they need to be quickly or safely.  Each truck (or foot unit carrying supplies) would be worth 1 unit of supply (i.e. allowing the unit to fire at full effect for 1 turn). 

Supply dumps would then become targets of opportunity as well as key defensive positions.  In order to attack (or defend) effectively would require the fighting unit to drag a few units of supply along with them AND have access to additional supplies should a breakthrough occur. 

Similarly a defence would need supplies to hand and have access to additional supplies to keep up the defence.  Of course (and you have already thought this I'm sure) its much easier to keep a defensive force in supply than an attacking one.  As the length of the logistical tail grows, the harder it is to keep the front supplied and the greater need to build supply stockpiles near the front for this purpose.  And the greater the logistical problems faced by the C in C. Where best to allocate scarce resources?  Which side gets more supplies?  How can we defend the trucks as they make their way to the destination AND protect the supply dumps from air and ground attack?  Having said that, any unit defending a supply dump would be in full supply!

It may be overcomplicating the issue but it would add another layer (and a realistic one) to operational battles.

Anyway, food for thought...

1 comment:

Ian said...

It would definitely introduce another layer to the games. We would need to decide whether we want to put more effort into maintaining lines of supply and supply dumps rather than fighting - Rommel never bothered worrying about supplies but Montgomery has often been criticised for being too cautious over supply lines - and we know who won in the end. It might be another role for the C in C or even an introductory role for a new player as ADC?