Wednesday 21 August 2013

An Analysis of Bwendi Military Forces on Beltene

Crikey, my last post on here was in May. That is months ago. Well, I guess I have been busy and we have not been gaming much lately, but that is still a pretty poor show on my part. Inspired by a post on Waystar High Port about the Imperial army in the sectors that he is building, I started to think what forces would be available to Steve and I in our quest for domination of Beltene. I have dealt previously (here, here and here) with lower level forces for the Bwendi, so this post makes a start on the larger formations available.

The first port of call was JTAS 10 as seen in kobold's post. I decided to use the table as written. So, we have a balkanised world with UWP: B 866673-9 Ag Ni Ri G630 Na. Tech Level is 9 and the Population is 6. This gives 15 battalions available on the world. Striker identifies battalions as approximately 500 people, so that means that of the six million inhabitants on this planet, 7500 are in the army. That does not sound like very large armies at all, when they have to be divided between two sides.

Striker II offers some additional thoughts on what is available: approximately 1% of a warlike population. Yes, both Bwendi and Albion count as warlike: the former because it is forced to defend itself against the latter all the time; the latter because it is always attacking the former. Using this figure, we see that about 60000 people are in the armed forces. Beltene has a high hydrographic percentage, so we shall use the highest figure suggested of 10% of the available forces being in the wet navy. Striker II suggests 20% to 30% in the air forces, which will include orbital and space operations in our case. Let's go with 25%. The remainder are in the army. Our force breakdown now looks like this:

  • Navy: 6000 personnel;
  • Aerospace Forces: 15000 personnel; and
  • Army: 39000 personnel.
Focusing on the army, Striker II offers a standard division equivalent of 20000 personnel, so let's count the army total as two division equivalents. A division equivalent includes 10 manoeuvre or combat battalions of 500 personnel each, 10 support battalions of 500 personnel each and 10000 personnel in the infrastructure behind these units. This means that there are 10000 front-line troops on Beltene, which is slightly higher than the JTAS figure gives, but I am happy to go with it, because it suits how I envisage the state of Beltene with all that Albion aggression going on. So, what does this mean for the Bwendi?

We divide the numbers in half to give the personnel available to each side. Both nations have 30500 personnel involved in their armed forces (rounding up to make the numbers work the way I want. I'll just increase the population to suit later.). I don't know how Steve will want to break his forces down, but I am happy to go with percentages like those given in Striker II.

The Bwendi Navy
It has 3000 personnel, of whom about half will be infrastructure and one quarter will be support troops running cargo and supply vessels. That leaves a front-line force of 750 personnel for me to crew ships with. That is about enough to crew a WW2 light cruiser. I don't envisage traditional capital ships as part of the world's background, because technology changes mean that smaller ships can pack a higher punch. Also, the action is all focused around the one land mass so far, which means that sea-going vessels are not entirely necessary. Additionally, aerospace forces would probably make them too vulnerable, so the navy will consist of smaller vessels equivalent to modern guided missile destroyers and fast attack craft. With the number of crew available, I imagine that the navy will have two to four destroyers (each with a crew of 100 to 150 personnel) and maybe a dozen fast attack craft (each with a crew of 25 to 30 personnel). I need to look at what inspiration and models are available to make a final decision on this though. Still, it will be fun to bombard Avalondon from sea once we get a proper war going on Beltene.

The Bwendi Aerospace Patrol
The BAP has 7500 personnel, of whom 1500 are frontline crew. These are divided between the crews of pure aircraft, space fighters and bombers, and system defence craft. I need to start designing craft to work out what is available in total.

The Bwendi Republican Army
This consists of 20000 personnel, of whom 5000 are front-line troops. Striker II offers percentages for troop morale and equipment quality. Using these, I can expect that I shall have:
  • 2000 experienced (i.e. regular) troops;
  • 2500 veteran troops; and
  • 500 elite troops.
I can also expect to have:
  • 2000 poorly-equipped troops;
  • 2500 averagely-equipped troops; and
  • 500 well-equipped troops.
I shall give the best equipment to the best-trained troops. The backbone of the army is the veteran troops with extensive combat experience in the many brushfire wars of Beltene. These are the armoured infantry of the regular army. A Bwendi armoured infantry company consists of 149 troops, so a battalion of three companies will have 447 troops and will need a battalion command unit. I shall also allow for battalion-level weapons teams of unspecified type (at least until I find some models I really like) and add a Scout platoon of three scout teams (total of 18 troops). The battalion troops will also need some heavier EW/ECW troops. Based on the standard AFV, each section will have no more than nine troops plus the AFV crew of two. The weapons teams will probably be three or four crew per weapon. Assuming towed weapons with indirect fire capability, I shall allow for a battery of three, each with its own transport AFV. The final battalion consists of:
  • 1 Battalion Command Section (6 troops, 1 AFV)
  • 1 Battalion Communications and Electronic Warfare Team (8 troops, 2 AFVs)
  • 1 Battalion Heavy Support Battery (18 troops, 3 AFVs, 3 heavy support weapons)
  • 1 Scout Platoon (18 troops, 9 scout vehicles)
  • 3 Armoured Infantry Companies (447 troops, 52 AFVs)
That's 497 troops, which fits well with the Striker II numbers. A regiment will then have three battalions, being around 1500 troops with the regimental command unit. As you can see, I am short one battalion to produce two regiments, so I shall include in one of the regiments a battalion of experienced troops with poorer equipment. These are the newer recruits. Having a percentage of the regular army with poor equipment indicates that a percentage of their transport vehicles may be in for repair or have been knocked out and not replaced yet.

A tank battalion will consist of three tank companies, each with three tank platoons and an armoured scout platoon. The basic tank platoon has 8 tanks with a total of 31 crew. The company command consists of a command tank and an armoured communications vehicle (2 vehicles, 7 crew), bringing the company size to 100 crew. The armoured scout platoon consists of 3 scout troops each with 3 light tanks (9 light tanks, 27 crew). The battalion probably needs a heavy weapons platoon. I like the idea of an MLRS system, so we shall have a battery of three of those (3 vehicles, 12 crew, and now I know what my next purchase from GZG will be!). Battalion command will consist of a command tank and a communications vehicle just like the company command. The battalion will consist of:
  • 1 Battalion Command Troop (2 vehicles, 7 crew);
  • 1 Battalion Heavy Support Battery (3 vehicles, 12 crew)
  • 1 Armoured Scout Platoon (9 tanks, 27 crew)
  • 3 Tank Companies (26 tanks, 300 crew)
That gives me a well-equipped battalion consisting of 346 crew, leaving me space for adding an airmobile elite company of around 100 troops and a small commando force.

The remaining 1500 troops are members of the Bwendi Uniform Militia Regiments. BUM units are generally organised on a local level with the number of platoons present being determined by the local population rather than military necessity. Their role is usually local defence but the overall nominal organisation of the BUM battalion is as follows:
  • 1 Battalion Command Section (5 personnel)
  • 3 Infantry Companies (285 personnel)
A regiment consists of 3 battalions with a regimental command section of 5 men for a total of 870 personnel. The astute will notice that the militia regiment numbers exceed the total available personnel. Most militia units are below strength so the total strength of both regiments is approximately 1500 personnel. Heavy support for the militia is provided by the regular army and transport generally consists of whatever is available in the local area, although a pool of army trucks is available in some areas. It is not unknown for some BUMs to drive their section into battle in their own personal vehicles.

So, now I know that the Bwendi army consists of:
  • 2 understrength Militia Regiments;
  • 2 Armoured Infantry Regiments;
  • 1 Tank Battalion;
  • 1 Airmobile Company; and
  • 1 Special Forces Commando.

Using all this in games
The following ideas are ways to incorporate the above meanderings into scenario design and game play. They have not been tested and are likely to change as I develop the army further.

At the start of the game, assemble a full strength force of the appropriate type as determined by the scenario, and then dice according to type using the numbers outlined below to see what quality the troops are and what equipment is available or missing.

Armoured Infantry:
Dice for all vehicles using 1d6. On a 6, the vehicle is not available.

Troop Quality (1d10):
1-2 Experienced
3-9 Veteran
10 Elite

Militia Infantry:
Dice for each figure/stand (depending on rules in use) using 1d10. On an 8 or 9, that figure/stand is not available for the current battle.

Dice for each section using 1d6. On a 6, enough vehicles are available to carry that section, otherwise it walks.

Troop Quality (1d10):
1-8 Experienced
9-10 Veteran

Tank Units:
Troop Quality (1d10):
1 Experienced
2-7 Veteran
8-10 Elite

Always have transport.

Troop Quality (1d10):
1-6 Veteran
7-10 Elite

Special Forces:
Always have transport if needed.
Always Elite