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

From: Adrian1 <al.ll@t...>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 22:14:56 +0100
Subject: Re: [GZG] What are the pitfalls of standardised forces?

Gzg-l mailing list
ert Mayberry wrote:
> 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 original reason for choosing wheeled CFE was because that was the 
lowest tech option.  It should theoretically be possible to repair and 
resupply the equipment using local resources - SLAMs are low tech dumb 
fire weapons that could be supplied locally too.  Like most theories 
though, fact just doesn't fit.

I was hoping for a modular design where if say a turret was damaged, you

could just take an undamaged turret from a identical vehicle that had 
suffered different damage.  This wouldn't have any effect in a battle, 
jus the campaign.  If you had forty identical damaged vehicles, you 
could take the working modules and make a few working vehicles quickly 
instead of trying to repair each one seperately.
> 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.
That goes to prove my post was very badly worded.  In my mind, militia 
troops are fully combat capable troops who lack experience (similar to 
the US national guard or UK territorials both of whom can serve in war 
zones).  They will as time goes by become regualars.  Policing and 
paramilitary stuff is left to the locals.
> 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?
Yes there are three. 

First is that I reckon good campaign construction and supply rules 
should make variety a real pain to deal with.  To make this have an 
effect, the items built are tracked through the supply lines and can be 
lost to enemy action.	So it's not impossible for a force to be in 
urgent need on GEVs for desert warfare but end up with boats.  I know 
this sounds (and is) complicated but I always preferred the campaign to 
the battles anyway.

Secondly is the combined arms problem.	I'm absolutely terrible at using

it.  I can deal with it ok but I just can't effectively USE it.  I'm 
much better at using Jack-of-all-trades tactics and equipment than 
specialist equipment.  The less variety, the better I am.

Thirdly, I like them all the same. What can I say, I'm a minimalist.

> Rob
> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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 -
>> 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.

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