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Re: [GZG] What are the pitfalls of standardised forces?

From: "Robert Mayberry" <robert.mayberry@g...>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 14:58:49 -0400
Subject: Re: [GZG] What are the pitfalls of standardised forces?

I'm deeply ignorant about real military strategy, but I'm pretty well
trained in how supply chains work.

Keep in mind that whatever other technological breakthroughs you
envison, the rise of mass customization and flexible manufacturing is
already here. It sounds like you're trading the fixed costs of having
a very small number of designs for gigantic variable costs of building
those generic vehicles. That would have been true even before the flex
breakthroughs of the late 20th century.

Also, remember, every technology has a supply chain associated with
it. Those SLAM packs, for example, have to be delivered as needed to
the troops who will use them. Having three incompatible drive
technologies means three sets of spare parts, three types of
technician to maintain them, and three kinds of fuel that must be
delivered or you suddenly have a 40 ton roadblock.

The way you use militias in your system seems to imply two things: 1)
labor is cheap and abundant, and 2) you can withstand large numbers of
casualties politically. Modern manufacturing can turn out a new set of
infantry equipment very quickly, but experienced, competent combat
troops still take well over a decade to create. Your strategy implies
that the militia forces will be largely untrained, possibly conscript
forces (though I could imagine re-purposed police or state security
being represented by militia, you seem to envision them as an
institution). Such forces might not be the best choice for the kinds
of misions you envision them performing, unless you don't expect them
to see combat.

Using CFE for militia is a setting-dependent decision. In most
settings, the cheapest possible vehicle will probably use whatever the
local civilians use. It's more likely that if they're genuinely
disposable forces, they'll use "technicals" (pickup trucks) for most
of their vehicles. Their artillery will be infantry mortars, and their
anti-vehicle capability will be GMS/L infantry teams. It's not just
cheaper, it has a smaller unit cost (which makes it easier to buy with
limited working capital) and has a shorter logistics tail.

If the civilians in the area use GEV trucks, then the militia will
probably use those, too; they might even commandeer civilian vehicles
rather than being equipped with their own. Setting up a supply chain
for CFE is actually more expensive (when all the costs are counted
except any intrinsic cost of the technology, which I'm not qualified
to judge and is setting-specific anyway) than simply running more fuel
down the existing HMT fuel supply chain if you need one of those any
and there's a pre-existing system for it.

Now that I re-read your original post, you seem to be looking for
reasons OTHER than economics to specialize. What is your motive for
standardizing that aggressively? Is there a game rationale you're
trying to justify?


On 7/11/08, Adrian1 <> wrote:
> I want to build an army based on the minimum of variation for a
> setting that would include "factories".  These can only build one type
> of item at a time and take time to change over to another type of
> item..  However I know real world armies have lots of variations.  Is
> there a reason other than economics.	Please feel free to nitpick it
> death.  It's better to find the flaws at the planning stage than the
> battlefield stage.
> There will be three levels - militia, regular and guard/elite.
> There will be one basic vehicle frame size 4 with class with 4 armour
> and 2 infantry squads.  This frame is used by ALL the vehicles
> The militia will use fast wheeled CFE armed with either HVC/4 or a
> SLAM/4 (50/50 ratio).
> The Regulars will use fast GEV HMT armed with either MDC/4 or SlAM/4
> (75/25 ratio)
> The Guards will use GRAV FGP armed with either DFFG/4 or SLAM/4 (75/25
> Ratio)
> The militia are, in theoy, to hold secure areas and deal with rebels,
> bandits, resistance and mopping-up operations.  The regulars are,
> regulars and supposed to do most of the slow, dangerous take and hold
> fighting that is pretty much the norm for warfare.  The guards are
> planned to be rapid assault/counter-attack units who are expected,
> the tools at their disposal, to close with the enemy and cause a great
> deal of damage in a short amount of time.
> All support units such as artillery, ADS, radar, transport, etc will
> basic frames with Fast GEV HMT.
> I couldn't standardise them any further siince economics are involved
> and a miltia force will cost a LOT less than a regular force.
> You think this is bad - My battletech force was VERY minimised - mechs
> had one engine type (300), two mech weights (50 and 75) and two
> types (PPG and ML) whle vehicles were 50 ton gevs using 300 engines
> PPGs or cargo.

Robert Mayberry

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