To ease myself into the game, my first campaign was playing as Axis against the computer in the North Africa campaign. I learned fairly quickly that there was no point in me buying reinforcements, because they can't catch up to the front in time to make a difference, anyway, and yet, I needed every supply truck I could get. I spent every production point on either reinforcing units or supply trucks, and used supply trucks on every armor unit every turn because there is simply no way to keep up with the effectiveness attrition without them. (I also used them on air units, but air units are practically useless at that scale, and even without air cover for the enemy, sending ground strike missions out would just result in 2 lost air strength for 0 lost enemy strength.) While I could cut off other units by sending the mechanized Italian unit around the enemy to cut supplies without even fighting (real unsung hero of the campaign), and my CL/DD fleet could interdict supplies to ports they tried to defend, there was absolutely no way I was going to push the last defender off Port Said without spending three rounds buffing my Afrika Corps armor units and slowly grinding the defender down even with the supply trucks, since I couldn't cut those units' supply. (I also had to shift them over to Heavy Tanks and use my one specialization to give one of them Heavy Artillery just for this one unit on Port Said.)
I don't mind the "micromanagement" aspect of them that much, as there's a hotkey for them. It's only slightly more management than having to move every token already is - just a memory game that you have to punch "K" before moving a tank every turn.
If you want to remove or reduce supply truck use, then you'd need to also deal with the underlying reason why players are so heavily reliant upon them, which is the way that effectiveness is vital to combat and also constantly being drained by any unit you rely upon doing literally anything. Especially in places like France where you need to squeeze through a narrow front, making sure your top units are in top shape is more important than having more units that can't fit on the battlefield to help you, anyway.
Hence, if you want to remove constant use of a supply truck button, maybe consider rethinking the entire system from being a single-use supply unit button to being a logistics pool (but not called that to avoid confusion with the logistics already in the game) where you have a certain number of units that get priority supply the way that you can assign priority reinforcement? The basic reason it's an issue is that this game is not designed to make you only use supply trucks once in a while, it's designed to make you constantly pump supplies on your most-used units that are in the thick of the fighting. Effectiveness just does not recover fast enough without using them. (And I mean "keeping units above 70% effectiveness", not trying to top my units' effectiveness off at 100% or anything.)
You could have a supply truck pool that can give up to a certain amount of total strength priority supply at a time, and those units recover effectiveness like they are getting supply trucks every turn until you turn the priority supply back off. Supply trucks then don't need to be built every turn, although you could make use of the priority supply also cost some fraction of the strength they are supplying in production, oil, and logistics every turn when in use, both for realism and so that it isn't "use it or lose it" and players aren't reflexively maxing out their priority supply just because it's there (like with rail movement).
If you go this route, one thing to consider would be that you can keep building supply trucks to increase the truck pool and therefore increase how many units can be in priority supply, but that these trucks can be destroyed by partisans, destroyed when enemy movement/Zone of Control cuts a route to a friendly unit's supply (since there might be trucks that were en-route to those units, and if close to that unit, there could have been a supply depot nearby), destroyed when a unit retreats (especially if they were getting priority supply, as the supply trucks of that unit are overrun by the advancing enemy), or destroyed during strategic bombing. (Historically, one of the most effective things strategic bombing could target was simply the rail lines connecting supplies to the front. It's kind of odd that you can't strategically bomb rails themselves in this game.) This would make it like merchant marine, where players can build more during the game, but constant losses mean that you shouldn't have some overwhelming truck pool that means you aren't forced to make choices about what your priorities are unless you are so overwhelming your enemy that you're clearly winning, anyway. (For that matter, why can we build more shipyards, but not more trains?)
All this said, this might be something for WarPlan 2, rather than this game, as I'm sympathetic to the people who say that you shouldn't make major changes when they've learned the current game's balance. I also made posts about how limited and boring I found Order of Battle's logistics/supply system to be, and found myself outweighed, so maybe I find logistics more interesting than most players, but I think WarPlan and Unity of Command's supply system are some of the better supply systems in strategy games, and I'd like to see certain ideas, like the cost of supply increasing as you move further away from supply points, expanded upon. As mentioned earlier, the US/UK could push more goods through Normandy beach than in ports around Calais will allow because they were willing to use sinkable barges to make quickie piers for unloading supplies. In the Pacific, a key part of the unrelenting US advance in the Pacific were mobile drydocks. Again, why not let us build more trains? For that matter, strategic bomb train stations and rails, and build new rails. I think having some sort of way to actually change the map's natural supply routes adds a lot to the strategy of the game.
To make a modified version of what stjeand was saying, it may be somewhat more complex, but not seriously more complex for the player if your supply pool or logistics pool is taxed more the further you are from Main Supply. This could also replace that artificial limit on the US's logistics by just making an increasing logistics cost to supplying units far from home. (For example, more merchant marine/supply trucks are used to keep units in North Africa in supply because it is further from Home Supply than it would take to keep units in northern France in supply for the UK.) It would also make "Lend/Lease" (especially as an actual game mechanic) make more sense - the Americans can just sell the USSR tanks they couldn't keep supplied in the Eastern Front so that they eat from the USSR logistics pool instead of the US one. Extreme distances by rail away from main supply might also eventually start costing a small penalty to logistics (so that you can't just ship something from Siberia to Berlin in one round and for the same cost as going to the next town). I don't think this would necessarily be complicated to the player, just have an indicator on a unit's info panel that they have a logistics cost of X to keep supplied and a tooltip that explains that they're relying upon long-distance supply and there's a swamp between them and the nearest rail. Having a supply heat map to color-code how much more it costs to field units in different areas is enough to get the idea across even without needing to subject players to specific math. (You might need to toggle for country, though.)
< Message edited by WraithMagus -- 2/3/2021 6:04:45 PM >