Saturday, 11 April 2015

The PBEM Campaign Supply System

Deployment and depots at start of campaign

The administration of our PBEM campaign is entirely manual, so the supply system has been kept simple.   Despite this some of the players seem to find it difficult to master.   It is not unusual for corps to run out of supplies, and suffer the consequences in loss of casualties due to attrition.

Each player is an Army commander with four corps.   They start the campaign with each corps holding four days supplies, and a reserve of sixteen days in the depots.

To resupply a corps must be within one day’s march of a depot.    They must halt for 24 hours and not fight with the enemy.

Depots can be established in any town controlled by the Army commander.   To do so takes one full strength infantry brigade one full day.   A brigade must remain in the town as the garrison.   Each depot provides one days supplies each campaign day.

Army commanders can move up to four days supplies between depots each day.

Each army uses four days supplies (one per corps) each day.   So to maintain the supply levels that they start the campaign with they would require four depots.

The aim is to present each Army commander with a simple solution to his supply problem.   However he must balance the following:

To maintain his supply level he must devote one quarter of his infantry to garrison duty.

He must control the issue of supplies by confirming which corps is supplied from which depot with how many days supplies.

He must ensure that his depot system keep within one days march of each corps.

The aim is to reward the player who plans his supply system, and punish the one who does not.   When a corps runs out of supplies they lose 10% of one brigade to attrition each day until they are resupplied.

A corps cannot resupply during a battle, nor on the day following a battle (because the loser has to retreat and the winner has to regroup).   So it is advisable to ensure that all corps have the maximum four days supplies whenever possible.

Obviously the corps have to manoeuvre and react to the enemy movements.   So there is a constant balance between wanting to move a corps, and maintaining maximum supplies.

Given such a simple supply system, it is surprising how often corps are allowed to run out of supplies, and to suffer the consequences.

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