Malevolence -> RE: Mechanized troops should be movable strategically using rails (7/11/2020 2:08:36 AM)
First. Currently a single battalion of mechanized light infantry have a prohibitive high cost of strategic movement. While it's okay in case of basic truck logistic, railways instead are main way to move troops on large distances. Plus tanks chassis have quite low durability (relatively of course) so it's a huge waste to allow them move on their own in peace time.
My suggestion - mechanized & tank troops should be allowed to use only rail logistic points for strategic movement combined with massive reduction of it's cost (T2 or event T1 station should easily send at least a brigade per turn). Ideally you should be able to use strategic movement for them only in a hex with at Rail Station / Railstop.
I'll add the following simply for consideration.
Wargames' use of strategic movement is never accurate. It's almost always based on a simplified interpretation of WW2 texts and designed as a simple economic choice to allow the rapid movement of counters across the board and sometimes as they enter as reinforcements from off-board.
Given your quoted comment, you probably know that rail movement of a unit's equipment is not the same as road movement (i.e. road transport) over distance.
Rail movement requires significant effort at both load and unload, and is most useful for movement over relatively significant distances (e.g. moving 3ID from Georgia to South Carolina for further sealift).
While locomotives and cars have different capabilities, all other things being equal (track gauge, etc.), the cost for a tank, or a truck, or a standardized container filled with equipment is negligible given the overall cost in mass (e.g. short tons) and number of train cars used. For example, per the image, it's only going to be two vehicles per standard flatcar. Given tanks, trucks, or artillery the cars' effort is equal. Issues with rail movement could be guessed-- tunnels, significant grades, limited clearance, bridges, turns, and busy lines and facilities. Rail movement is unforgiving of bottlenecks and poor scheduling (e.g. capacity and train density).
Rail is a great target. Nuclear targeteers love them.
A few points about some elements in the game and in the real world that could influence the game design and your suggestion:
The spur (i.e. railhead in this game) can be used to load and unload a train. They are usually connected to specific, important facilities (e.g. assets, bases, etc.) and allow easy mode transfer of people and cargo without disrupting the main line. For example, a spur from the main line to a steel works, or to a military depot, or to an assembly plant. Important consideration is that it is paid for and managed by the owner of the facility--based on agreement with railroad company. The size and capability are determined by the needs of the owner. It requires almost no infrastructure beyond the track and whatever handling equipment is on-hand.
Given the scale of the hexes, if it were me, I would consider any hex with rail line capable of being a spur/railhead.
You can load a brigade combat team's equipment on a spur no larger than 10 square kilometers in about 48 hours. (see picture of fancy railhead in subsequent post)
Stations are not yards, but contain terminals to focus on load and unload. The main line connects stations. In other words, you can have a station without a yard, but it will have a passenger or cargo terminal (or both) to load and upload. Some large stations are typically co-located with yards.
Yards are really a separate concern from load and unload. They are used principally for shunting/switching, sorting and transferring cars. They can also have an engine house to fuel and service the locomotives. Per this game, they generate the train points (and in IRL). This is the realm of the railroad companies. It gets sliced and detailed well beyond my experiences with respect to strategic movement.
Also, over time, cargo terminals and passenger terminals have separated geographically (i.e. separate stations). Passenger terminals are typically in urban centers (e.g. cities, suburban towns, airports, etc.), while cargo terminals have moved away from urban locations and to intermodal centers (sea ports, fluvial ports, inland production centers, truck distribution center, etc.).
As I think you also pointed out, road movement is different from rail. Given that LP's are used here, I agree and don't think this game's design views strategic movement as using organic equipment to the unit.
Somewhere on the forum, I made a post about units using several different modes (march, battle, assault, etc.) for movement, and their related costs in action points.
HETs (heavy equipment transports) ultimately work like trains (tractors and flatcars), but effort can vary significantly. More dynamic, it is much faster to load and unload, but costly in terms of resources. Best used for shorter movements and anywhere rail movement is unavailable or not secure enough. This is the primary method, at the operational level, to pivot on interior lines. Heavy units (tanks, IFVs, etc.) use HET's whenever possible. It saves significant costs in terms of fuel, spare parts, and maintenance work.
If units did not use HETs for road movement, significant numbers of their equipment would be deadlined and dragged into the tactical assembly areas by wreckers. Units prepare for further action in assembly areas.