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Ground forces

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Ground forces are necessary to safeguard the empires borders and for their hostile expansion. Ground forces units are represented by Battalions, and can be grouped into Brigades and then into Divisions. They can be deployed to garrison colonies according to their security needs, quell unrest enforcing your occupation(by, we must assume, shooting dissenters), conduct combat operations.

All ground units are recruited at a Ground Force Training Facility and require maintenance. Each unit can be led by an officer to improve its combat effectiveness.

Organisation

The Battalion is the "basic" ground forces unit represented in the command hierarchy. Up to four battalions can be organized in a brigade, and up to four brigades in a division. This is controlled from the 'Ground Units' tab, in the Economic window. From here units can be organized, redeployed etc.

Similar to Naval Organisation and civilian Sector Commands, higher echelon HQs radiate so much wisdom that their subordinate units get a bonus. When a Battalion is supported by its Brigade HQ in combat, it will gain the combat bonus of the HQ commander as well as its own commander. In much the same if Divisional HQ are present, a battalion will get the ground combat bonus from both HQ commanders as well as it's own commander, so it is worth trying to preserve divisional integrity if you fight a battle with that many units involved.

 Division HQ - Commanded by (R3)Major general.
     - Brigade HQ - Commanded by (R2)Brigadier general.
         - Battalion - Commanded by (R1)Colonel.
         - Battalion
         - Battalion
         - Battalion
     - Brigade HQ
         - Battalion
         - Battalion
         - Battalion
         - Battalion
     - Brigade HQ
         ...
     - Brigade HQ
         ...

Note that an Engineer Brigade is five times larger than a battalion, but can be subordinated to a Brigade HQ like a battalion.

Unit types

Listed bellow are the various ground units in Aurora. Research into Logistics and Ground Combat might be necessary before you can gain access to all types. Note, that all Attack and Defend stats are base values.

Pre-Transnewtonian Era

Low Tech Infantry Division Attack 1.2, Defend 2.5, Cost 60, Size 50
Low Tech Armor Division Attack 3, Defend 3, Cost 90, Size 50

Standard ground units of the pre-TransNewtonian era. They are low-tech, large and of low combat strength, useful only in that they are your only option. If you aren't playing in a conventional start you won't need to worry about using them. With advance of technology, a low tech unit can be converted into a cadre, preserving the officer corp to reduce the training costs for a more advanced TransNewtonian unit.

Basic Combat Brigades

Assault Infantry Battalion Attack 10, Defend 5, Cost 100, Size 5
Mobile Infantry Battalion Attack 5, Defend 10, Cost 100, Size 5
Heavy Assault Battalion Attack 12, Defend 12, Cost 180, Size 5
Garrison Battalion Attack 0, Defend 10, Cost 60, Size 5

These are the "basic" Combat Brigades. They are one tenth the size of their low-tech conventional predecessors, while their attack and defence values are much higher (except for the Garrison Battalion's attack stat).

Depending on your budget and you expectations of whether you're going to be on offence or defense, you'll want to pick and choose your ground units from these four options, generally. RP-wise, I tend to throw a pair of Garrison Battalions onto each colony as a peacekeeping gendarmerie. It keeps the rabble in line.

Special Operations units

Marine Battalion Attack 10, Defend 10, Cost 180, Size 5
Marine Company Attack 2, Defend 2, Cost 36, Size 1
Combat Engineers Attack 10, Defend 10, Cost 180, Size 5

Heavily armed, specially trained and equipped units. Can be utilized in general operations but offer the best offensive\defensive capabilities when employed in the respective areas of expertise.

Marines specialize in boarding and defending ships, double their attack and defense stats when they are in combat aboard a ship, that is when conducting or defending against a boarding action. Combat Engineers specialize in combat defending or assaulting a Planetary Defence Center (PDC), double their attack and defense stats.

The Marines have a company sized formation to accommodate the tighter space on board ships, as compared to on A PDC or in the open on a planet's surface. A Small Troop Transport Bay, a Combat Drop Module - Company, or a Combat Drop Module (Cryo) - Company can hold a ground unit no larger than size 1, which is to say only a Marine Company.

When you expect to be conducting operations in the respective areas of expertise of these units, the appropriate unit for the job is better (per unit cost) than the more general purpose Heavy Assault Battalion. On the other hand, when out in the open on a planetary battlefield, a HA Battalion is noticably better than a Marine Battalion, even though both cost the same.

Command and Support Brigades

Brigade Headquarters Attack 0, Defend 2, Cost 150, Size 5
Divisional Headquarters Attack 0, Defend 3, Cost 250, Size 5
Replacement Battalion Attack 0, Defend 0.5, Cost 40, Size 5

Headquarter(HQ) include command staff and various support assets. They have no offensive capability, but provide combat bonus to supported Brigades, and affect their training

Replacement Battalion allows to replenish TN units that suffered combat losses. If one of your ground units takes readiness (i.e. hit point) damage, the Replacements sacrifice their readiness to replenish the combatant unit's casualties. If you're going to lose a unit, it might as well be the one that costs one third as much as a HA Battalion, right?

Civilian Units

Construction Brigade Attack 0, Defend 5, Cost 150, Size 25
Forced Labour Unit Attack 0, Defend 1, Cost 40*, Size 100

These units have little military use, however, they serve an important function. They expanding construction capacity of worlds, and does not suffer due to production or unrest modifiers. In effect they function as Construction Factories without the need to provide the population (and potentially infrastructure) you would normally need to establish a manufacturing sector on given colony. This is useful, for instance, they are only way to establish colonies on low gravity worlds, or to assemble a prefabricated PDC on an unpopulated world. Additionally, Construction Brigades have an additional use: recovering installations and technology from alien ruins.

Forced Labour Units(FLU) functions as a Construction Brigades (CB) but with the following differences:

  1. It can only be built at populations that have an occupation requirement (currently Conquered, Occupied and Subjugated).
  2. Building one of these units consume 10,000 population and raises unrest by 2%
  3. FLU do not count toward occupation strength and do not reduce unrest. Their defence strength (equal to 1/10th of a Garrison Unit) is used in ground combat defence only.

While it can be moved to other worlds (or the dilithium mines on Rura Penthe), the transport requirement is considerable. Of course, there is also the consideration of whether your Empire is one that would create forced labour camps.

Unit Statistics

Base unit stats depends on the type of unit and various modifiers. Each Unit has three main stats: Attack Strength, Defence Strength and Morale.

Attack and Defence

Attack(AtK) and Defence(Def). Unit Offensive and Defensive strength. Base values that are used for combat die rolls. Determined by the unit type and adjusted based on the Racial Ground Combat Strength (RGCS) modifier. The RGCS, which starts at 10, can be increased through research, and will increasing both stats while maintaining the base proportions.

Morale

Unit combat effectiveness modifier. Affects the unit Attack and Defence strengths, and its likelihood of being destroyed.

Each unit starts with a Morale of 100. As long as its morale stays at this level it has no effect on combat. If the morale is increased or decreased, it affects both the attack and defence strengths of the unit. The modifier is equal to Strength x (Morale/100). For example, unit with 80 Morale will fight at 80% of its usual strength. In addition, lower morale units are more likely to be destroyed than higher morale units. When the roll is made after combat to determine if a unit is lost, the chance of being destroyed is divided by the unit's Morale/100. For example, if a unit with 120 Morale has a fifteen percent chance to be destroyed, the modified chance = 15% / (120/100) = 12.5%, so this unit has now only a 12.5% chance of being destroyed.

Units will lose morale when suffering casualties in combat or being placed in non-cryo combat drop pods for long. Morale will be regained over time, and may increase above 100% with training.

Size

Unit size in terms of manpower and equipment. This determines how much transport capacity a unit requires onboard ships. This is important when transporting units or assembling an invasion with limited troop transport fleet. For reference, a common size 5 TN era battalion, has 500 personnel.

Readiness

Readiness(Read). Unit max "hit points". Each unit starts with a Readiness of 100. When a unit is damaged as a result of combat it will lose a random amount of readiness from 1-50%. This is modified by current morale using the formula: Modified Readiness Loss = Readiness Loss / (Morale/100)

A unit with a readiness of less than 40% will be unable to attack. Defending units will continue defending until destroyed. Readiness losses can only be recovered with Replacement Divisions in the same location. A commander with a ground force training rating can speed up the recovery rate.

Summary Table

Unit Name Type Atk Def Size TP Special
Low Tech Infantry Division LIT 1.25 2.5 50 50 Maybe be converted into Infantry Cadres
Low Tech Armor Division LTA 3 3 50 90 Maybe be converted into Armor Cadres
Assault Infantry Battalion AST 10 5 5 100  
Mobile Infantry Battalion INF 5 10 5 100  
Heavy Assault Battalion HVA 12 12 5 180  
Garrision Battalion GAR 0 10 5 60  
Marine Battalion MAR 10 10 5 180 Double strength when attacking or defending ships
Marine Company MRC 2 2 1 36 Double strength when attacking or defending ships
Combat Engineer Battalion CEB 10 10 5 180 Double strength when attacking or defending a PDC
Brigade Headquarters BHQ 0 2 5 150 May command up to four battalions forming a brigade.
Divisional Headquarters DHQ 0 3 5 250 May command up to four brigades at a time.
Replacement Battalion REP 0 0.5 5 40 may be used to replenish other units
Infantry Cadre ICD 0.1 0.1 5   may be used to reduce the cost of training a new unit
Armor Cadre ACD 0.1 0.1 5   may be used to reduce the cost of training a new unit
Construction Brigade CB 0 5 25 150 act as a construction factory while on a planet
Forced Labour Unit CB 0 1 100 40 act as limited Construction Brigade

Recruiting, Training and Maintenance

Recruiting

Recruiting Ground Forces requires a colony with Ground Force Training Facility to recruit in, and some minerals. Each colony with GFTF can recruit one unit at a time, though multiple units can be queued up. Set on the 'GU training' tab on the Economic window.

The base cost and production time of a unit depends on its type:

  • Base cost, all units require an amount of Duranium equal to one quarter their training cost and an amount of Neutronium equal to three quarters of their training cost.
  • Production time. Can be increased with additional GFTF facilities and effected by the colonial governor modifiers;

Training

To train ground units, they need to be placed under the command of a headquarter with a suitable officer assigned. Training will then start and morale will increase over time, based on the Ground Forces Training Rating of their brigade and division commanders.

Every non-HQ unit is checked every 5-day increment. Those that have at least 100 morale (i.e. have fully recovered from combat) and are on the same planet as their Brigade Headquarters have a chance of morale increase. The base annual chance of increase is equal to the Ground Forces Training Rating of the Brigade commander. If the parent Division HQ of the Brigade HQ is also on the same planet, half the Ground Forces Training Rating of the Division commander is added to the chance of increase. If the Morale of the ground unit is above 100, the chance of morale increase is reduced by double the amount of morale exceeding 100.

This does not applies to battalions, Brigade HQs and Division HQs that are on board ships or in PDCs. So a battalion in a PDC cannot gain morale from training and a battalion on a planetary surface outside a PDC cannot gain morale from training if the Brigade HQ is on a ship or in a PDC.

Maintenance

Units cost a modest amount of wealth for upkeep. ...

Combat

see ground combat.

Ground forces can be employed to eliminate hostile ground forces in planetary assaults and ship boarding operations. During planetary assaults they can be assisted by orbital bombardment, but will be needed to storm any planetary defense centers and later force a surrender through occupation.

Deployment

There are two ship components that allow you to deploy troops. Ships equipped with Troop Transport Bays can be used to transport ground forces from planet to planet and carry them into combat zones, while Combat Drop Modules are used to deploy your forces to the surface of a planet/ship quickly.

Troop Transport Bays

Troop Transport Bays are primarily used to transport ground forces across the empire. Simply, bring a ship over to a planet or another ship with troop transport bays. Select the ship you want to load from and select Load GU into Troop Transport. You select the Ground units you want to add from the selection box that fits into the screen one by one. Note ground units come in different sizes, make sure your ships have sufficient Troop Transport capacity. Ground units may only be moved from a ship to a planet, or vice versa, if the ship is in orbit.

Troop Transport can also be used to land forces from orbit into combat, however, transport bays use the same rules for loading and unloading apply as cargo holds, i.e. without a spaceport or cargo handling system, it might take your brigade two weeks to disembark on a hostile planet. That might do if the planet is not defended, but you'd better research combat drop technology if it is.

Combat Drop Modules

Combat Drop Modules are assault transports that are primarily used for quick orbital insertion during planetary assaults where achieving tactical surprise is often an important factor. Ground units loaded into drop pods can be combat dropped, which doesn't require any unloading time for them to hit the ground and begin fighting. There are battalion-sized and company-sized drop modules (for Marines), which have to be researched first.

You don't need troop bays, but troops held in drop modules will lose morale over time. So you'll want to move them around in troop bays and only transfer them to drop modules when you need to. Don't forget to include Cargo Handling Systems on the transports because troops begin to lose morale as soon as the transfer to drop modules begins. Note that a battalion-sized drop module fits nicely in a FAC.

Cryogenic Combat Drop Modules are drop pods which do not result in a morale loss if troops are kept in them. You cannot mix cryogenic and non-cryogenic drop modules.

Contributors

Altius, Icecoldblood, Journier, Malamis, Mor, Polaris, Sowelu, Soyweiser, Tssha, Wedgebert, Zook