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C-Ground Units

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Basics

Ground Forces and Ground Combat are undergoing a huge expansion in C#. The VB6 Ground Unit becomes the Formation and the VB6 Ground Unit Type becomes the Formation Template. However, there are no longer any fixed unit types or unit values. Instead, there is endless scope for Formations and Formation Templates, based on a detailed design process at the Formation level and below. This will allow the simulation of ground forces from many science fiction genres. As this is a long topic, I am going to break it into several posts each covering a different topic.

The most granular level is the Ground Unit Class, which is an individual soldier or vehicle. One or more of the same Ground Unit Class are grouped into Formation Elements, which in turn are grouped into Formations. Formations remain intact for movement purposes, but combat involves each individual unit (each soldier or vehicle). As individual units are now tracked for casualty purposes, readiness no longer exists. Morale is tracked at the Formation Element level (which is a group of the same unit class), so the infantry in a Formation may have a different morale than the anti-tank guns or artillery.

Date 10.12.2018


you can have any formation size you want, from company or platoon up to army or army group. Date 14.01.2018

You can make a formation without an HQ. However, that would prevent a commander being assigned. Date 11.02.2018

Ground Unit Class

Basics

The most granular level is the Ground Unit Class, which is an individual soldier or vehicle. One or more of the same Ground Unit Class are grouped into Formation Elements, which in turn are grouped into Formations. Formations remain intact for movement purposes, but combat involves each individual unit (each soldier or vehicle). As individual units are now tracked for casualty purposes, readiness no longer exists. Morale is tracked at the Formation Element level (which is a group of the same unit class), so the infantry in a Formation may have a different morale than the anti-tank guns or artillery.

The process of design starts with the Ground Unit Class. Two important factors in this design process are the Racial Armour Strength and Racial Weapon Strength, shown at the top of the Ground Forces window.

Racial Armour Strength is based on the strength of the highest racial armour technology. Conventional Armour is 3, Duranium Armour is 5, et cetera. For this screenshot, the Commonwealth has researched Ceramic Composite, which has a strength of 10. (Armour values have chanced for CA to DA here)

Racial Weapon Strength is based on the highest tech level (TL) among Laser Focal Size, Railgun Type, Meson Focal Size, Particle Beam Strength and Carronade Calibre. For example, 15cm Laser Focal Size is TL3 as it is the third tech of that type. Racial Weapon Strength is the value of armour at the same tech level. In this case, the Commonwealth has researched 20cm Laser Focal Size, which is TL4. The fourth Armour Tech is Ceramic Composite, which has a strength of 10, so the Racial Weapon Strength is 10. The reason for using Armour as the basis of Weapon Strength is partly because that means Ground Armour and Ground Weaponry are aligned, and partly because it is straightforward way to assign value based on very different weapons.

Date 10.12.2018

Ground Unit Class Design

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GroundRules007.PNG

The Ground Unit Design tab of the new ground Forces window is shown.

Base Type

First, a 'base type' is chosen, which is infantry, several sizes of vehicle, or static. Static in this sense is a weapon that is not self-mobile, such as a towed anti-tank gun, towed artillery, et cetera. Static weapons remain in place when firing so they are easier to hit than infantry or vehicles. Each base type has six main characteristics:

  • 1) Size (in tons): Size is the basis for transport requirements and cost, although there are other modifiers to cost (discussed below)
  • 2) Hit Points: Unit hit points are compared to weapon damage during combat to determine the chance of destruction (the Damage Check). The chance of a weapon destroying a unit is (Weapon Damage / Hit Points) ^ 2.
  • 3) Slots: The number of component slots available for the base type
  • 3) To-Hit Modifier: Used to modify the chance of the unit being hit during combat (based on the mobility of the unit). This only applies if the unit is not fortified.
  • 4) Maximum Fortification: The maximum strength to which the unit can be fortified by construction factories or construction units. The Chance to Hit for a firing unit is divided by the Fortification Level of the target unit.
  • 5) Maximum Self-Fortification: The maximum strength to which the unit can be fortified without construction factories or construction units.

Date 10.12.2018

Armour Type

The next section is 'Armour Type'. The Armour of a unit is compared to the Armour-Penetration (AP) value of a weapon. The chance to penetrate is equal to (AP / Armour) ^2.

For example, a weapon with AP 4 attacking a unit with Armour 6 has a 45% chance to penetrate.

The overall process for checking if a shot destroys a target is Chance To-Hit, followed by Armour Penetration Check, followed by Damage Check. All three must be successful to destroy the target. Each type of Armour has two values.

  • 1) Base AR: The Base Armour Rating is multiplied by Unit Size (including components below) to determine cost. So a unit with 6 armour would be 50% more expensive than the same unit with 4 armour.
  • 2) Racial AR: Racial Armour Rating is the Base Armour Rating multiplied by the Racial Armour Strength (shown at top of window).

Date 10.12.2018

Components

Below the base type and armour is a large section showing Components. Infantry, static and light vehicles all have one 'component slot', vehicles and heavy vehicles have two slots, while super-heavy and ultra-heavy vehicles have three and four slots respectively.

Each slot can hold one component from the list and the same component can be put into multiple slots. Certain components are only available with certain base types.

For example, the Super-Heavy Anti-Vehicle component can only be used by super-heavy and ultra-heavy vehicles.

The primary component is selected from the main table, while any additional components are selected from the dropdown(s) below the main table.

Each component has a name and an abbreviation and is rated in nine different areas:

  • 1) Size: The size in tons is added to the size of the base unit type.
  • 2) Armour-Penetration (AP): If the component is a weapon, the chance to penetrate a target's armour is (AP / Armour) ^2. The AP Rating is the underlying AP of the component (not shown), multiplied by the Racial Weapon Strength.
  • 3) Damage: If the component is a weapon, the chance to destroy a target after the armour has been penetrated is (Weapon Damage / Hit Points) ^2. The damage value is the underlying damage rating of the component (not shown), multiplied by the Racial Weapon Strength.
  • 4) Shots: The number of times a weapon will fire during each ground combat phase
  • 5) CIWS: 'Y' indicates this component is a Close-in-Weapon-System, capable of defending the planet (on which the unit is based) from missile attack. This CIWS will use the values in the CIWS section, which will become visible when a CIWS component is selected. More on this in a later rules post.
  • 6) STO: 'Y' indicates this component is a Surface-To-Orbit energy weapon, capable of engaging ships in space within weapon range of the planet on which the unit is based. The weapon type used for the STO component can be selected in the section to the centre right, which will become visible when an STO component is selected. More on this in a later rules post, although see the second screenshot.
  • 7) HQ: The headquarters capacity of the component in tons. This is the total size of the formation (or formation hierarchy) that can be effectively controlled by a commander based in a unit with this component. To assign a commander to a formation, one of the units within that formation requires a headquarters component. More details on command hierarchies will be provided in a future rules post.
  • 8) FFD: 'Y' indicates this component is a Forward Fire Direction (FFD) component. Forward Fire Direction allows a front-line unit (more on that later) to direct the fire of bombardment units from a formation in a support position, fighters on close air support missions, or ships in orbit. A later rules post will explain this function.
  • 9) Const. The construction value of the component in Construction Factory Equivalents (CFEs).

Date 10.12.2018

GSP: The GSP requirement for a weapon component is equal to Penetration Value * Damage Value * Shots. For example, Personal Weapons is (1 x 1 x 1) = 1. Crew Served Anti-personnel is (1 x 1 x 6) = 6. Medium Anti-Vehicle is (4 x 6 x 1) = 24. Heavy Bombardment is (2 x 6 x 3) = 36. Date 16.09.2018

For a List of Components see C-GU Components

Surface-to-Orbit Weapons

A ground unit class has an option to mount a surface-to-orbit component.

If this option is selected, the class must also select a weapon type. The weapon can be of any type researched by the owning race, including turrets and spinal weapons.

Additional systems will be automatically added based on the weapon chosen, creating an integrated component (similar in concept to CIWS). These systems include:

Beam Fire Control: For normal weapons, this will be created using options for 4x Racial Fire Control Range and 1x Racial Tracking Speed. If the Point Defence Weapon checkbox is clicked, the fire control will be created using options for 1x Racial Fire Control Range and 4x Racial Tracking Speed. In all cases, the beam fire control will have a 25% range bonus vs a ship-mounted equivalent. The cost and size of the fire control will be 50% of the ship version due to its dedication to a single weapon.

Active Sensor: This sensor will be resolution 1 and have range at least equal to the maximum range of the weapon. The minimum size will be 5 tons. The sensor is fully functional and will detect targets in general, not just for the weapon. Size and cost are normal.

Reactor: This component will be designed to generate sufficient power for the weapons capacitor. Size and cost are normal.

ECCM: This is optional and can be added by checking Include ECCM checkbox. Size is 50 tons and cost is half normal to reflect the dedication to a single weapon.

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/STOWeapon003.PNG

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/STOWeapon004.PNG

Date 20.10.2018


I've decided to remove ground-based CIWS and allow any weapon, including turrets, to be a surface-to-orbit weapon. You will be able to set STO weapons to point defence modes. If set to defend others, they will try to shoot down missiles attacking nearby targets (such as ships, orbital shipyards, etc.). Date 19.10.2018

Capabilities

At the top-right of the window is the Capability section. One or more Capabilities can be selected for the Unit Class.

The Boarding Combat capability is required for a Unit to be able to board another ship.

For all other capabilities, the Chance to Hit is doubled in the environment specified. If a unit has multiple capabilities, such as Mountain Warfare and Jungle Warfare on a world with a dominant terrain of Jungle Mountain, the bonus is cumulative (i.e. 4x to-hit in this case).

Each capability selected for a Unit will increase the cost by the multiple specified. Some capabilities are only available for infantry units.

Date 10.12.2018


Infantry units can be given capabilities, known as Genetic Enhancement, which increase their hit points and make them more resistant to damage. So far there are three options:

  • Basic Genetic Enhancement: RP 5,000, HP x 1.25, Cost x 1.5
  • Improved Genetic Enhancement: RP 10,000, HP x 1.6, Cost x 2.0
  • Advanced Genetic Enhancement: RP 20,000, HP x 2, Cost x 2.5

Once researched, the new capabilities can by chosen from the available capabilities list during ground combat design.

The above may change as a result of testing and I may add other enhancement options

Date 11.01.2019

Unit Summary

In the bottom right section, a summary of the unit is shown in a similar style to the Class Summary for naval designs.

When the sizes of all the units in a formation are aggregated, that is the transport requirement for that formation in tons. Cost is in BP. When the costs of all the units in a formation are aggregated, that is the build point requirement to construct the formation.

Armour and Hit Points have been described previously.

Below that is a list of components, followed by the materials required for construction and the research cost to develop the unit once designed.

Date 10.12.2018

Example:

This screenshot shows a static unit with an STO component selected. The chosen weapon (which is any non-turreted weapon developed for shipboard use) is selected on the right. Spinal Weapons can be selected for ground use without penalty. The STO mount includes the weapon, a reactor of the exact size needed for the recharge rate, an active sensor with range greater than the weapon range and a built-in beam fire control with a 4x range modifier. The cost is equal to the static platform, the weapon, the reactor, the active sensor and half the fire control. STO weapons have a 25% bonus to fire control range. The damage shows two numbers, which is the damage at minimum and maximum range.

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Ground010.PNG

Date 10.12.2018

Ground Supply Points and Ground Unit Class

The GSP requirement for a weapon component is equal to Penetration Value * Damage Value * Shots. For example, Personal Weapons is (1 x 1 x 1) = 1. Crew Served Anti-personnel is (1 x 1 x 6) = 6. Medium Anti-Vehicle is (4 x 6 x 1) = 24. Heavy Bombardment is (2 x 6 x 3) = 36.

The GSP requirement for a Ground Unit Class is the sum of its weapon components. For example, a tank with a Medium Anti-Vehicle component and a Crew Served Anti-personnel component would have a GSP requirement of 30. In all these cases, that is the GSP cost to provide sufficient supply for ten combat rounds.

Ground units with either logistics module can be added to any level of the ground force hierarchy, either embedded with the front line combat formations or held at a superior formation, such as a headquarters.

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/SupplyVehicle02.PNG

Date 16.09.2018

Formations

Basics

Formation Templates are the equivalent of VB6 Ground Unit Types, although it might be easier to think of them as serving the same function as Ship Classes. They are a detailed design that serves as a template for building Formations based on that same design, which is the same relationship as Ship Classes to Ships.

21.02.2018

Formation Templates

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GroundRules004.PNG

The screenshot shows the Formation Templates tab of the Ground Forces window. This tab is split into two halves.

21.02.2018

Unit Class List

On the left is a list of available Ground Unit Classes created using the Unit Class Design tab.

All of these were created using TL4 technology, with three exceptions. For comparison purposes, the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank and the Warrior AFV were created using Conventional, rather than Trans-Newtonian, technology, while the Challenger – Base TN Upgrade was the Challenger design with TL1 technology.

It should be possible to simulate most modern army units with the new C# Aurora ground combat, so you could theoretically be landing on an alien world with Abrams and Bradleys or T-14 and T-15 Armatas.

The ten columns for the Unit Class List are as follows:

  • 1) Type: An abbreviation for the Base Type (infantry, Vehicle, Heavy Vehicle, etc.)
  • 2) Name: The name assigned during Unit Class Design. This can be changed using the Rename Unit button.
  • 3) Size: Transport size in tons.
  • 4) Cost: Cost in Build Points.
  • 5) Arm: The Armour Strength of the Unit. This is based on the armour available at the time of design and is not upgraded when newer technology becomes available (as with ship designs).
  • 6) HP: The Hit Points of the Unit. This is set at design time and does not change.
  • 7) Components A to D: Abbreviations for each of the components included in the Unit Class. These are the same abbreviations as used on the Components table in the Unit Class Design tab. As with armour and hit points, any components use the technology available at the time of unit design. To see the detailed view of the components, click on the Unit. The Unit Summary will be shown in the bottom section on the left hand side.
As an example, the Leman Russ Battle Tank is a Heavy Vehicle of 104 tons, with 60 Armour and 60 Hit points, costing 12.48 BP. The components are Heavy Anti-Vehicle (HAV) and Heavy Crew-Served Anti-Personnel (HCAP). Looking at the summary, the HAV has 1 shot per combat phase with Penetration 60 and Damage 60, while the HCAP has 6 shots with Penetration 20 and Damage 10.

21.02.2018

Formation Template List

The right-hand half of the tab shows Formation Templates. A new Formation Template is created by clicking the New button. In this case, four have already been created. Each Template comprises one or more Template Elements, shown in the bottom right section.

The totals for each Template Element are added together to create the total for the Formation Template as a whole, shown in the top right section. In the example shown, the Guard Armoured Regiment has a total size of 8,942 tons, which is the combination of all four template elements.

The Formation Template list has an additional column for Rank. A default rank will be suggested by the program, although this can be overridden by the player. This rank will be used by Automated Assignment process for any Formations built using this Formation Template.

To add new Template Elements to a Formation Template, use the Add Units button in conjunction with the adjacent text field to specify the number of units in the new element. This number can be subsequently edited by selecting the element and clicking the Edit Amount button. Both Formation Templates and Element Templates can be deleted using the appropriate buttons.

21.02.2018

Formation Elements

Each Template comprises one or more Template Elements, shown in the bottom right section Each Template Element has a specific number of specific Ground Unit Class.

For example, the Guard Armoured Regiment is currently selected, which has four template elements: 60x Leman Russ Battle Tank, 1x Macharius Command Tank, 12x Hydra Flak Tank and 24x Hellhound Anti-Infantry Tank.

Each template element has the following attributes:

  • 1) Name: The Unit Class for this element.
  • 2) Units: The number of units of that Unit Class in this element
  • 3) Size: The total size on tons of this element. For example, 60 Leman Russ Battle Tanks at 104 tons each is 6,240 tons.
  • 4) Cost: The total cost in Build Points for this element.
  • 5) HP: The total aggregate hit points for the element.
  • 6) HQ: The headquarters capacity of the element’s Unit Class in tons. If there are multiple units in a template element, only one is considered for the headquarters capacity. Any additional units are for redundancy. The headquarters capacity is the total size of the formation (or formation hierarchy) that can be effectively controlled by a commander based in a unit with this component. In the case of the Macharius Command Tank, it has an HQ capacity of 10,000 tons.
  • 7) FFD: The total number of Forward Fire Direction (FFD) components in the template element. Forward Fire Direction allows a front-line unit to direct the fire of bombardment units from a formation in a support position, fighters on close air support missions, or ships in orbit.
  • 8) Const. The construction value of the element in Construction Factory Equivalents (CFEs).
  • 9) CIWS: The number of Close-in-Weapon-System components in the template element, capable of defending the planet (on which the unit is based) from missile attack.
  • 10) STO: The number of Surface-To-Orbit energy weapon components in the template element. STOs are capable of engaging ships in space within weapon range of the planet on which the unit is based.

To add new Template Elements to a Formation Template, use the Add Units button in conjunction with the adjacent text field to specify the number of units in the new element. This number can be subsequently edited by selecting the element and clicking the Edit Amount button. Both Formation Templates and Element Templates can be deleted using the appropriate buttons.

21.02.2018

Formation Template Summary

The totals for each Template Element are added together to create the total for the Formation Template as a whole, shown in the top right section.

In the example shown, the Guard Armoured Regiment has a total size of 8,942 tons, which is the combination of all four template elements.

Both Formation Templates and Element Templates can be deleted using the appropriate buttons.

21.02.2018

Example

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/GroundRules005.PNG

This screenshot shows the Macharius Command Tank on the left and the Brigade Headquarters formation template on the right. The Macharius is a super-heavy vehicle, with two super-heavy anti-vehicle weapons and an HQ4 component, which provides a headquarters capacity of 10,000 tons. This is a large and expensive vehicle at 518 tons and 93.24 BP, but is well-protected as the loss of the HQ in a formation will result in the loss of any commander bonuses (and maybe the commander himself).

The Brigade Headquarters formation template includes two Guard Brigade Headquarters units, in case one is destroyed, plus thirty-six large artillery pieces, twelve flak tanks and a company of Guardsman. Combat involves three locations. Front-Line, Support or Rear-Echelon. Units in a Support position can only attack using bombardment weapons, or defend themselves against air attack. This formation is intended to serve in the Support location and is organising accordingly. However, it is possible for a Support Formation to temporarily find itself moved into a Front-Line position, so the Guardsman Element will provide additional protection in that case.

21.02.2018

Ground Supply Points and Formations

The GSP requirement for a Formation Element is the GSP for the Ground Unit Class in the element multiplied by the number of units. The GSP requirement for a Formation is the sum of the GSP for its constituent Formation Elements. In all these cases, that is the GSP cost to provide sufficient supply for ten combat rounds.

Ground units with either logistics module can be added to any level of the ground force hierarchy, either embedded with the front line combat formations or held at a superior formation, such as a headquarters.

Ground Units will attempt to draw supply from the formation that sits highest in their hierarchy and is at the same population. If no supply is available, they will move down the hierarchy to their own parent formation, checking at each stage. However, when drawing supply from outside their own formation, units can only draw on logistic modules mounted on light vehicles. Logistics modules with an infantry base type can only supply their own formation.

For example, a formation element of 10 tanks engaged in combat is part of an armoured formation with a brigade HQ formation above it and a division HQ formation above that. The tanks will check for a vehicle-based logistics element within the division formation first, then a vehicle-based logistics element within the brigade formation and finally either type of logistic element within their own parent formation. If no logistic elements are available, the tanks will use their inherent supply, although they can only use that inherent supply for ten combat rounds, unless resupplied. If a unit does not require a full resupply (for example, it still has sufficient inherent supply for eight combat rounds), it will only draw an appropriate fraction of its normal GSP requirement (in this case 20%).

When a formation element of logistics units provides supply, a number of units will be consumed based on the supply required.

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Logistics003.PNG

Date 16.09.2018

Formation Element Transfer

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Elements001.PNG

With the Elements option selected. Now the formation elements for each Ground Formation are shown in the hierarchy.

For formations with no subordinate formations, the formation elements are shown directly under the parent formation. For formations with subordinate formations, the formation elements are shown under their own node, to avoid cluttering the tree view.

To move elements between formations, you can drag and drop elements from one formation to another, although they must be on the same system body. Normally, the whole element is transferred. However, if the Amount checkbox is checked, a popup box will appear after the drag-drop, allowing you to transfer only a portion of the element. If the receiving formation already has an element with the same ground unit class, the additional units will be added to the existing element.

Date 17.09.2018

Order of Battle

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Logistics004.PNG

http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/Logistics005.PNG

Date 16.09.2018


Moral

Ground forces officers have a Ground Combat Training bonus, which affects morale. Each construction phase, any formation element with less than 100 morale will regain that morale at a rate of 100 per year, plus the commander training bonus (so a 20% bonus would increase morale recovery to 120 per year).

Formation elements can continue to improve morale above 100, using the following process:

  • The training bonus percentage (after any reduction for command rating and HQ rating penalties) is converted into a morale bonus at 1% = 1 morale point (so 10% training bonus = 10 morale bonus).
  • Maximum formation element morale is 100 plus 5x the morale bonus.
  • Formation element morale increases at a rate equal to the morale bonus per year multiplied by the 'Morale Gain Modifier'
  • The 'Morale Gain Modifier' is calculated as 1 - ((Element Morale - 100) / (Maximum Morale - 100))

For example, a formation element has 140 morale and the commander of the parent formation has a Ground Combat Training bonus of 30%. However, he is commanding a formation that is slightly too large for his Ground Combat Command rating, so he has a Command Modifier of 0.8. The training bonus is 24% (30% x 0.8), which converts to a morale bonus of 24. The maximum morale for the formation is therefore (100 + (5 x 24)) = 220. The morale gain modifier is 1 - ((140-100) / (220 - 100)) = 0.667. Therefore, the formation will gain morale at 24 * 0.667 = 16 points per year.

Date 07.10.2018


Ground Forces Detection

For C#, the ground forces signature is equal to the total signature of all ground formation elements on a planet, divided by 100. The signature of each element is equal to (unit size * unit number) / (fortification level * dominant terrain fortification modifier).

In other words, well-fortified ground forces will have a smaller signature than those out in the open, so you won't always know if you face a small force, or a well-fortified larger force. Date 13.10.2018


STO elements that have not fired are detected with other ground forces as a ground forces contact.

When an STO element fires, any races that are currently detecting it as part of normal ground forces will flag it as an STO element. Thereafter, those races will detect that element as an 'STO Ground Forces' contact, which is a new contact type. All known STO elements on a planet are grouped as a single STO Ground Forces contact. Players can choose to target either the known STO elements or the normal ground forces (which may contain undetected STO elements).

An STO element may be known to some races and detected accordingly, while still being part of the normal ground forces contact for other races.

The active sensors of STO elements are detected by EM sensors in the same way as any other active sensor. However, this is not sufficient to flag the STO element.

Date 20.10.2018

Ground Formations at Game Start

A new player race in Aurora receives a number of Starting Build Points equal to two years wealth. These can be spent on instant build for Ships and Ground Formations.

If the available Instant Build Point total is greater than zero, that total, plus the Instant Build button, will be shown on the GU Training tab of the Economics window. When the Instant Build button is clicked, a popup box will allow entry of the number of formations to be built. This button will also appear if SM Mode is active, so additional formations can be instantly built if required by the game setup.

If you choose to have automatically constructed ground formations at game start, their cost will be deducted from the starting build

Date 12.02.2018

Contributors

King-Salomon