Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

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Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

In this glimpse at the forthcoming War in the East 2 we are going to look at logistics. Arguably WitE2 has the most complex and realistic logistic model in any wargame depicting large scale ground combat. This post will only skim over the basics so feel free to ask if you want to know more.

WitE2 tracks individual people, vehicles, aircraft and weapons across the battlefield as well as the different elements of logistic supply. The difference in WitE2 is that there is much less abstraction than ever before. The system is a development of that seen in WitW but it has been significantly improved with a number extra tweaks to give the player more control. Let’s explore…

Production

At the top of the logistics tree is the production system where mines and oilfields produce resources that are converted by factories into the means to wage war. These are the vehicles and aircraft to equip the forces and the ammunition, fuel and supplies required to support them. The factories are located in their historic locations and produce against historic rates. The output of production accumulates in pools for onward distribution. The game has a number of screens where you can follow production.

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The Supply Grid

The WitE2 supply grid links the pools to forward depots by train and ship. The final link from the forward depots to units is by truck or horse. The movement of that supply is tracked as freight. Freight represents the capability to move the different elements through the system. When freight is received it is converted into the required elements.
The big difference in WitE2 from WitE is the fidelity in the movement of freight through the supply grid. Freight is tracked by individual ton to specific locations.

Railways

The vast majority of freight is initially moved by rail. WitE2 has a new feature: some of the rail lines having single track whilst others are double (shown as a thicker candy stripe). Double rail can handle more freight without congestion. The capacity of the rail system is provided by railyards. When there is increasing congestion – showed by the lines changing colour from green, through yellow and orange to red then more railyard resource is required to move a similar level of freight. The movement of units along rail lines adds to this congestion. This therefore limits the amount that can be moved in a turn along any given rail line. The rail network is no longer a source of almost limitless supply.

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Depots

Freight moving through the supply grid is stored at depots. The capacity of the depot depends on the size of the railyard and/or port co-located in the hex. Depots receive, store and distribute freight to units. Depots can be seen on the map as triangular symbols. The number in the triangle is the supply priority whilst the bars on top show received in the last turn (green), on hand (blue), sent out (red) and capacity (black).

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Resupplying Units

Units look to get freight from nearby depots. The majority of freight is moved to the unit from the depot by truck. The further a unit is from a depot and the greater its need, the more trucks are required to service this final supply loop. Depots have an allocation of trucks to do this but if there are not enough then units will use their own trucks to help out. In doing so this can reduce the mobility of the unit in the following turn (in addition to any penalties incurred by having insufficient supplies or fuel). You can see which units are drawing supply from the depots with the freight shipment view. Red Lines are depot to unit, white are depot to depot by rail and blue are depot to depot by ship.

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You can also see detail at the unit level.

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Managing Logistics

So now we have explained the basic building blocks of the system we can now look at how players need to master logistics to benefit their operations. Although the game handles most of the logistical detail the player can affect logistics in WitE2 using a number of tools. Much like we have tried to demonstrate in our very first showcase here too there are a number of trade offs to be made and decisions are not binary.

- Rail Repair. As hexes change ownership the rail lines become damaged. The player has control of a number of manual rail repair units which allow control of rail repair. Choosing which rail lines to repair first is an important choice during an advance. Opening new depots close to the front line is important to ensure units remain sufficiently supplied.

- Depot Creation/Disbandment. The player can create new depots to handle freight. Choosing the best locations is a key skill and needs to planned with your rail repair strategy. Conversely holding locations that are most suitable for depots can help delay advances by impacting your enemy’s logistics. You can build depots by clicking on the build depot triangle on the top bar.

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- Supply Priority. The player can set relative priorities for depots and units to help distribute freight in support of operations. It is extremely unlikely that there will be sufficient freight to meet the demands of all units. Choices will have to be made between who should be prioritised to receive what is available. There are 5 levels of priority and the screenshot below shows the ability to highlight the unit supply priority with bright green borders showing the highest and red the lowest priority.

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- Unit Placement. Where units are located relative to depots, the surrounding terrain and the number and type of units present are very important as freight in forward depots is finite. This means that large formations cannot be supplied in areas with poor infrastructure that limits the number of depots that can be created and their relative size. Also if the terrain for truck resupply is a challenge this will be costly too – trucks benefit from the new roads. Working alongside the rules for gaining Command Preparation Points the setting up of an offensive is now much more than just ensuring units are within a set distance of a working rail line.

- Use of HQs and Rail Repair Units. Co-locating some HQs with depots can boost their capacity whilst a co-located Rail Repair Units that has not moved in the turn will attract freight but at a cost to other depots. Using an HQ too means that the capacity of the depot is boosted to process freight and prioritise that depot (even more than its notional priority). So in an advance there is a real trade off in balancing the use of a rail repair units in their two functions. The choice for the player is between having a depot operating with significant capacity against repairing rail behind the advancing forces. A tension that is felt in the number of trucks required to deliver the final loop against the freight they need to carry. This tension applies just as much to German blitzkrieg tactics in 1941/42 or Soviet deep battle in 1944/45. In the screenshot you can see the effect this co-location in the depot at the end of the yellow rail line in Jablonowo: handling significantly more freight.

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- Facility Repair. The repair by construction battalions of railyards, ports, factories and rail (an automatic process) can improve logistics.

- Air Resupply. Limited supply can be flown if sufficient freight and aircraft are available. The resupply GUI has been completely re-designed to make it much easier to use- it is often as simple as just clicking on a target hex and the mission will be executed. To help with this, airbases are marked so you can easily see them and, usually, you are better off targeting these locations as more freight will be safely received that way.

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Finally, if all of this talk of logistics has filled you with horror rather than anticipation the game includes AI support to help you manage depots…we’ll cover this in more detail in a later showcase when we look at AI functionality in more detail.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by JamesM »

Out of curiosity an issue with supply depots. In WitW reading various post it was better to have a small number of depots close to the front instead of having a chain of depots. Will the same be true in WitE2?
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by Kronolog »

Looks great! Regarding logistics: What function does Bulgarian production fill?
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

Out of curiosity an issue with supply depots. In WitW reading various post it was better to have a small number of depots close to the front instead of having a chain of depots. Will the same be true in WitE2?

Not really as the distances in WitE2 are so much greater. A lot of the behind the scenes calculations in WitE2 have been changed as we have re-balanced the system to sustain historic activity rates. Whilst the basics are very similar to WitW it doesn't handle exactly the same. The use of RRUs and HQs is a big gamechanger. Also size 1 railyards don't contribute to rail capacity so you cannot create lots of depots to increase rail capacity.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

ORIGINAL: Kronolog

Looks great! Regarding logistics: What function does Bulgarian production fill?

Hmmmm - nothing that I am aware of - this is the internal Bulgarian production which is not used as they are not playable (although they are included as a nation within the code and base data).
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by kbullard »

Two quick questions.

First, my understanding is that a substantial portion of German transport was horse-drawn, especially early in the war. Is that reflected in moving supplies from depots to units? Or was horse-drawn transport typically used for other functions within a unit?

Second, how will partisan activity affect logistics? I'm thinking of those photos of a derailed train carrying Panzers. Is it as straightforward as reducing rail capacity?
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by Kronolog »

I suppose the game is more or less feature complete at this stage, but there is one thing pertaining to logistics I've wished for since WitW. Given the German's chronic lack of trucks, it would be interesting if it could be possible to pool all or a majority of a divisions trucks in a singe regiment, so as to give it increased mobility at the cost of making the other two regiments static or very slow. That way one could assemble a quick reaction force whitout haveing to draw trucks from a foreign source through motorizing the unit.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by loki100 »

ORIGINAL: kbullard

Two quick questions.

First, my understanding is that a substantial portion of German transport was horse-drawn, especially early in the war. Is that reflected in moving supplies from depots to units? Or was horse-drawn transport typically used for other functions within a unit?

Second, how will partisan activity affect logistics? I'm thinking of those photos of a derailed train carrying Panzers. Is it as straightforward as reducing rail capacity?

horse transport is in the game - as in WiTW if a unit is within 3 hexes of a depot (with sufficient supplies) then it will use horses not trucks. My caveat is important here, if that depot can't supply the unit then this doesn't happen.

we'll come back to partisans as they are part of the Theatre Box mechanics. if you go back to the first showcase (https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4923466) you'll see we mention something called administrative movement. That is a cheaper, faster, less fatiguing way for units to move in their own controlled territory where there is no interdiction. Well that bonus applies to trucks/supply etc too.

One effect of partisans is to generate low level interdiction, so if they are present, all your trucks pay a higher MP when resupplying, they break down more and so on. So in effect the partisans generate friction in the supply system.

ORIGINAL: Kronolog

I suppose the game is more or less feature complete at this stage, but there is one thing pertaining to logistics I've wished for since WitW. Given the German's chronic lack of trucks, it would be interesting if it could be possible to pool all or a majority of a divisions trucks in a singe regiment, so as to give it increased mobility at the cost of making the other two regiments static or very slow. That way one could assemble a quick reaction force whitout haveing to draw trucks from a foreign source through motorizing the unit.

You can do a variant, similar to WiTW and if I recall WiTE1. Break a division down into regiments, make two static and then make the third motorised. Its not quite the same as you are asking about but the end effect is similar, 2 regiments shed their mobility and the third has extra mobility.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by ruzen »

Enjoyed reading the diary with a whiskey

A question though,
Will logistics via ships be affected by anything simulated or script based on a timeline ( Allies gaining more control over it as time goes by?)
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by loki100 »

ORIGINAL: ruzen

Enjoyed reading the diary with a whiskey

A question though,
Will logistics via ships be affected by anything simulated or script based on a timeline ( Allies gaining more control over it as time goes by?)

both sides have some capacity for naval movement of freight, there are even some neat rules for Lake Ladoga and the Soviets even have a little bit of transport capacity in the Caspian.

It is a pretty hands off feature though [;)]
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

I promise to answer that more fully in next week's showcase when we look at Theatre Boxes and the Events system. In the meantime for the 'in play' area of the map, naval patrol air directives act as they do in WitW by restricting naval supply.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by vvs007 »

it is good that you returned to the theater boxes as elegantly implemented in the divine WarInRussia 1993 ;)

the PRODUCTION system, good it becomes clearer and more logical, but what do the Players influence in it? Besides the evacuation of Soviet factories?

At least give high-level priorities, for example, + 5% in the production of tanks, for the expense of -10% in other industries, or something like that. Again, if we remember WIR, then there was the possibility of manually replacing production with a new model due to the loss of Quantities, and the Players themselves decided whether they needed 200 panzer 3 or 20 tigers in the next 10 weeks. Think it's not very difficult?
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by VigaBrand »

Could I capture freight, if I capture a Depot or a city?


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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

ORIGINAL: VigaBrand

Could I capture freight, if I capture a Depot or a city?

Yes - but when a depot is captured, most of the freight is destroyed (causing the destruction of some fuel and supplies from the player’s pool), but a small amount of freight is captured resulting in the placing of fuel and supplies in that location for the capturing player’s use.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by RedLancer »

ORIGINAL: GDHF

the PRODUCTION system, good it becomes clearer and more logical, but what do the Players influence in it? Besides the evacuation of Soviet factories?

You have no control of production within the game other than soviet factory evacuation or directing repair.
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by Franciscus »

ORIGINAL: RedLancer


Finally, if all of this talk of logistics has filled you with horror rather than anticipation the game includes AI support to help you manage depots…we’ll cover this in more detail in a later showcase when we look at AI functionality in more detail.

Thank God for that! [:D]
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by wodin »

THe importance of Logistics becomes obvious after reading quote below..



"Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics."
- Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Commandant of the Marine Corps) noted in 1980

"I am tempted to make a slightly exaggerated statement: that logistics is all of war-making, except shooting the guns, releasing the bombs, and firing the torpedoes."
- ADM Lynde D. McCormick, USN


"Because of my wartime experience, I am insistent on the point that logistics know-how must be maintained, that logistic is second to nothing in importance in warfare, that logistic training must be widespread and thorough..."
- VADM Robert B. Carney, USN

"Logistic considerations belong not only in the highest echelons of military planning during the process of preparation for war and for specific wartime operations, but may well become the controlling element with relation to timing and successful operation."
- VADM Oscar C. Badger, USN

"… in its relationship to strategy, logistics assumes the character of a dynamic force, without which the strategic conception is simply a paper plan."
- CDR C. Theo Vogelsang, USN


"Logistics is the stuff that if you don't have enough of, the war will not be won as soon as."
- General Nathaniel Green, Quartermaster, American Revolutionary Army

"Strategy and tactics provide the scheme for the conduct of military operations, logistics the means therefore."
- Lt. Col. George C. Thorpe, USMC


"Only a commander who understand logistics can push the military machine to the limits without risking total breakdown."
- Maj.Gen. Julian Thompson, Royal Marines

"There is nothing more common than to find considerations of supply affecting the strategic lines of a campaign and a war."
- Carl von Clausevitz

"In modern time it is a poorly qualified strategist or naval commander who is not equipped by training and experience to evaluate logistic factors or to superintend logistic operations."
- Duncan S. Ballantine, 1947


"The war has been variously termed a war of production and a war of machines. Whatever else it is, so far as the United States is concerned, it is a war of logistics."
- Fleet ADM Ernest J. King, in a 1946 report to the Secretary of the Navy


"A sound logistics plan is the foundation upon which a war operation should be based. If the necessary minimum of logistics support cannot be given to the combatant forces involved, the operation may fail, or at best be only partially successful."
- ADM Raymond A. Spruance


"The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…"
- Sun Tzu


"Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics."
- Tom Peters - Rule #3: Leadership Is Confusing As Hell, Fast Company, March 2001

"Logistics sets the campaign's operational limits."
- Joint Pub 1: Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces of the United States

"Logistics comprises the means and arrangements which work out the plans of strategy and tactics. Strategy decides where to act; logistics brings the troops to this point."
- Jomini: Precis de l' Art de la Guerre. (1838)

"Behind every great leader there was an even greater logistician."
- M. Cox

"Logistics ... as vital to military success as daily food is to daily work."
- Capt. Alfred Thayer Mahan, Armaments and Arbitration, 1912

"The essence of flexibility is in the mind of the commander; the substance of flexibility is in logistics."
- RADM Henry Eccles, U.S. Navy

"My logisticians are a humorless lot ... they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay."
- Alexander
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by Franciscus »

Absolutely. If I was a real commander I would take great care about my logistics. Fortunately I am just a gamer that likes to have fun with warGAMES and very happy to hand over most of the logistics involved to my (in)competent AI staff.

More to the point I really hope that many aspects of the game can be handled (optionally) by the AI.

To each his own
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by mbatch729 »

Um...It's next week...[:D][:D][:D] Can you tell I'm excited about this one?
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RE: Showcasing WitE2 #3 - Logistics

Post by governato »


questions for the developers (after tipping my hat for building such an entertaining and complex system) who have access to ongoing test games.

1) is the new implementation of logistics going to stop the infamous 1942 "Panzerball" of GWITE? It should just not be possible
to concentrate several panzer Armies in areas often smaller than 1-200 miles as the best players do for the '42 summer offensive.

2) Similarly will the Soviet player find a good incentive to stop carpeting his front four units deep with weak infantry divisions to stop the Axis breakthroughs?

I saw both tactics are still heavily used by good GWITE players, but in my opinion they are wildly unrealistic, but if a player plays to win they are strangely effective...so can you tell us if they have been tested in current beta games of WITE2? :)
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