Quilted or Two-ply?

PLANETS LOGISTICS – POINT A TO B

My brother-in-law is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces. When a disaster (natural or otherwise) occurs in the world, Canada sends aid; and so, my brother-in-law is often among the first on the ground. He specializes in fuel calculations, equipment distribution, and the surveying of travel routes. It is likely that he choses which type of toilet paper is required for each situation, but in the end, it is all logistics and one of the most crucial positions in the military.

When fighting a Planets war, we sometimes throw our ships into battle without thinking about what happens after the Visual Combat Recording. Most of us have supply lines, freighters that bring resources from the core, but we often forget to think about resupply in terms of momentum. When ships take damage or use up their ammunition and fuel, they cannot push forward. If we are slow to get them “battle ready”, we lose the initiative and the enemy receives an opening to strike back. To a war game enthusiast, resupply is a routine business, but to an ardent tactician, a precisely-timed shipment creates opportunity.

To an ardent tactician, a precisely-timed shipment creates opportunity.

MEDICAL LOGISTICS

Planets warfare inflicts debilitating damage. Starships come under enemy fire and traverse vast mine-ridden distances; catastrophe happens. We cannot begin a war without ensuring that our fleets are serviced by combat medics, field hospitals, and corpsmen.

Combat Medics

A combat medic brings emergency supplies to damaged ships. To fulfill its purpose, a medic ship depends upon its structural integrity and storage space. These medic ships are always moving, which means they are vulnerable to minefields; the heavier the hull, the less damage they take. A spacious cargo hold allows medics to carry a lot of supplies to repair allied ships; the more supplies they carry, the graver the wound they can heal.

The Ill Wind Class Battlecruiser is distinguished by its hull mass of 275 kilotons. This beast endures two mine explosions and plows onward.

The toughest medic in the game is the Ill Wind Class Battlecruiser.

Field Hospitals

A field hospital is a frontline starbase, where highly-damaged warships receive the Repair Mission of a space dock. Medics cannot fully repair severe damage, and so it is paramount to establish field hospitals close to the fighting. If under duress, an acceptable compensation is stockpiles of supplies on planets and flotillas of freighters.

The hold of a Large Deep Space Freighter transports enough resources to construct an entire starbase. If built within 150 light years of the front, it provides immediate relief.

A strategically positioned starbase acts as a medical refuge in enemy territory.

Corpsmen

A corpsman accompanies the attacking fleet and carries the wounded out of danger. These ships require a large fuel tank, two able engines, and the capacity to absorb a minimum of one mine hit. When the smoke clears, the corpsman tows heavy warships out of the range of enemy scavengers. The idea is to quickly get them repairs, from a combat medic or field hospital, and return them to the battle zone within 2-3 turns.

In the Birdman fleet, the Skyfire Class Cruiser efficiently performs this role. With a 370 kiloton fuel tank, it effortlessly tows any heavy carrier. With a hull mass of 150 kilotons and a cargo hold of 250, it survives a mine hit and still has the fortitude to drag the impaired soldier to safety.

The Skyfire Class Cruiser excels in the thankless job of corpsman.

If we have none of these troops in our employ, we are at least duty-bound to acquire scrub-wearing personnel to empty the bedpans; but we must remember that without combat medics, field hospitals, and corpsmen, a military offensive slows to a limp. Medical logistics keeps ships in the fight and applies pressure to the enemy.


PROVISIONS LOGISTICS

The acronym LOGPAC, is military jargon for “logistics package” – sent to soldiers in the field to supply them with information and equipment.

In the game of Planets, invasions are costly: our warships exhaust torpedoes, fighters, supplies, minerals, fuel, and money. Half the battle is won by developing steady supply lines; however, while convoys are essential, they are not enough to sustain forward momentum.

We are most vulnerable immediately after and before battle. After combat, we are most threatened by scavengers and reinforcements; they pick off our wounded or strand us in warp wells. Before combat, we are preparing our ships and ammunition; one unbuilt fighter could be the difference between victory and annihilation. These are the moments when receiving a LOGPAC means everything.

Generally, resupply is accomplished through a concerted effort of many ships, but there are a few ships which eclipse others of their class and have unique ways to make deliveries:

CLASS: HYPERDRIVE – FALCON CLASS ESCORT

The Falcon Class Escort hyperjumps 340-360 light years and drops a payload of 120 kilotons. This is a precision tool, bringing resources to ships in places which are difficult to reach (i.e. webs, star clusters, warp wells, behind enemy lines). In a pinch, it also delivers 50-100 kilotons of neutronium.

CLASS: VERSaTILITY – NEBULA CLASS CRUISER

The Nebula is one of the most versatile ships in the game. It has durability, a deep fuel tank, excess cargo space, and a heavy hull mass. This ship carries enough cargo to distribute multiple LOGPACs. It moves long distances without having to refuel, and it holds its own in a fight.

CLASS: SPEED – METEOR CLASS BLOCKADE RUNNER

With gravitonic engines, the Meteor Class Blockade Runner flies at double the speed of any other ship. Its powerful engines tow across cluster gaps, so ships have no need to cross open space.

CLASS: STEALTH – RESOLUTE CLASS BATTLECRUISER

The Resolute Class Battlecruiser is the vanguard of Birdman attacks. It serves two purposes: It protects the road ahead of the main fleet, and it acts as a cloaked flotilla. As it is equipped with an advanced cloaking device and a whopping 480 kiloton gas tank, it infiltrates far into enemy territory and waits for the main fleet.

CLASS: QUantity, FUEL PRESERVATION, AND DISTANCE – FIRECLOUD CLASS CRUISER

The Firecloud Class Cruiser does three things extremely well: In one turn, it moves hundreds of kilotons of freight, uses only 50 kilotons of neutronium to complete the move, and crosses the entire sector. No ship compares with its logistical prowess.

In addition to resources, LOGPACs bring clans to the front. Clans defend our conquered planets, protect our supply lines, and shield our rear flank. They make us money, supplies, and minerals.

Over the course of a game, our resources become rapidly depleted. When – not if – we run out of ammunition or fuel, we lose the ability to fight on our own terms; our ships become “sitting ducks.” The key to keeping your fleet advancing is distributing LOGPACs at the exact moment of greatest need.

Sitting Ducks by Talespin (click image to enlarge)

For further reading on the topic of logistics:

The Future of the Planets Nu Merchant Marine

This article on “Operational Mobility” will challenge how you think about ships you might consider “useless”.

FLUSH WITH VICTORY

History shows us that we are repeatedly pushed into conflict for which we are unprepared. There is limited time to react before fists start swinging, and so military commanders invent unique ways of supplying their troops (i.e. Red Ball Express, D-Day). On a smaller scale, Planets wars push us to do the same. It is difficult to control the battle, but we can control how we prepare and recover. With precise medical and provisions logistics, we force the enemy into a state of retreat.

The logical end of defensive war is surrender.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the journey! – TS

When all else fails, we resort to drafting animals: Wojtek the Bear!

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5 thoughts on “Quilted or Two-ply?

  1. I think you need to mention Cobols as Class: Extend Range – a cobol can support all other LOGPAC efforts by extending the range and sweep of your offensive operations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing.

      For me, the Cobol is a tough one. I agree somewhat, but I didn’t put it in the article due to two reasons. 1) It tends to have other duties: minelaying and towing ships. If it’s assigned to one of those tasks, it cannot perform the a LOGPAC delivery or a medical rescue. 2) One mine hit disables it. From that one mine, it stacks 86% damage. It cannot repair from that, and it becomes a sitting duck.

      Like

      • Im no colonial expert, heck Im still on my first game as colonials. But in the games I have been a part of with strong colonial players (and the one game I am in as colonies), you should have enough cobols to act in whatever logistical role is needed at all times. They are cheap, easy to build, have decent armements, and can take a mine hit.

        1) towing, escorting
        2) minelaying
        3) acting as fuel generation points
        4) Moving materials and MC as needed
        5) Scouting (long and intermediate range)

        The cobol can often do all of these things at the same time. Carrying a mix of supplies and torps allows a cobol to tow a Virgo, lay a minefield, refuel ships, act as a ‘medic’, and act as a ‘corpsman’ as the situation dictates. Yes, a mine hit will disable it, but it does not destroy it. And a full or nearly full cargo hold of supplies will let you continue to move at W6 or W7 back to safe territory after a mine hit. They can also perform long range recon, although without a cloak you have to be careful to not let your opponent catch you. Plus they have Bioscan! Like the Nebula, the Cobol is amazing as part of the initial expansion phase, but remains just as amazing in the mid and late game.

        IMO, next to the FCC, the Cobol is the best logistical ship in the game (with the MBR 3rd and Nebula 4th)

        The Gemini is also a good ship for a lot of these roles, carrying fighters, supplies, minerals, and fuel. It cant really defend itself as well as the nebula or move like the MBR, but it is a solid all around logistical ship. The cats paw and Emerald are other underrated logistical ships that deserves honorable mention.

        On another note, there is another aspect of the logistical picture in Planets that you did not discuss, foraging. While a good opponent will minimize how much you can forage by stripping minerals as you go along (but not factories/mines unless they do scorched earth with the natives), having ships that can act as foragers to centralize and distribute minerals, MC, and supplies after taking a planet can make the difference between a stalled offensive and one that keeps rolling. And if you can take your opponent by surprise or force withdrawal before he can strip his planets a good foraging operation can allow you to move at lightning speed.

        -Sprout

        Liked by 2 people

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