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Defending Prosperity

I’m trying to put together a full campaign world, for 6mm. It’s a world in the Caldoom Sector, called Prosperity. The idea is that it is going to produce seriously large military operations. Indeed my hope is that it’ll be the perfect world for Hell in Microcosm, where you deploy divisions on the wargames table.

But obviously something of this scale needs economic underpinnings. So we know the population of the world (Three billion, determined by complex algorithms or perhaps just a d10) and we also have the background. It’s a complex oligarchy where the reason it hasn’t exploded into war is that people are too worried that it might be bad for business. For these oligarchs, thing Carthage rather than Rome.

The various oligarchic states that make up the world are more interested in business and trade. So I am going to assume they collect 100 credits per capita tax on average. This is nowhere near a first world level of taxation, it’s more second or even third world levels of taxation, but they’re not providing what we in the first world would assume to be a normal level of services. They restrict funding to ‘infrastructure’ and ‘administrative expenses’ so you pay for your own education and health care. Then they spend 2% of money raised on defence (the NATO recommended spend.)

This means the average Oligarchic state raises about 32 million credits to spend on defence.

The average state could have a frontier about 2000 miles long, although some of that might be sea coast.

So we then have defence costs.

Unit typeMonthly Unit costRaising cost, equipment onlydepreciation 10% per annumAnnual unit cost 10 monthsAnnual cost With depreciation
‘Leg’ Infantry company4501501545004515
Mechanised combat engineers550250025055005750
Mechanised infantry company500150015050005150
Tank Company,  Heavy500450045050005450
Tank Company, Medium500400040050005400
Tank Company, Light500350035050005350
Aircraft squadron counting as three planes30001800018003000031800
Tube artillery company500160016050005160
Support and recovery company500110011050005110
Heavy recovery company500450045050005450
Drone Light air support/recce company500190019050005190
Infantry in powered armour500450045050005450
Android infantry501500150500650
Robot heavy weapons150450045015001950
Mobile suits500500050050005500
Giant walkers500760076050005760
Drone Shower500160016050005160
  • The monthly costs and the raising costs I’ve worked out over the years, using a combination of comparable modern costs, cunning extrapolation, and guesswork.
  • Because it’s a long term campaign, I felt we needed a figure for depreciation. This helps cover the cost of major refits, vehicle upgrades and similar.
  • You will note that I have, for accountancy purposes, a ten month year. Given that companies and others have to present accounts for businesses which trade on worlds with different year lengths, the accountants came up with a standard Financial Year.’ This has ten, thirty day months. A year lasts 7,200 hours. Given that the hour was standard across the galaxy, this sort of works.
  • Finally you’ll see there is an annual cost for a company strength unit.

It’s then easy to build up battalions. I decided to base everything on a four company battalion.

Four company Battalion Leg infantry Annual cost18060
Four company Battalion mechanised infantry Annual cost20600
Four company Battalion powered armour infantry Annual cost21800
Four company Heavy Tank Battalion Annual cost21800
Four company medium Tank Battalion Annual cost21600
Four company light Tank Battalion Annual cost21400
Four company tube artillery battalion Annual cost20640
4 Company battalion android infantry Annual2600
4 Company battalion robotic heavy weapons7800
4 Company battalion Mobile suits22000
4 Company Battalion Mecha22200
4 Company Battalion Giant Walkers23040
4 company supply battalion20440
4 company engineer and recovery battalions20440
4 company combat engineer battalion23000
4 company Drone Light air support/recce Battalion20760
4 company Drone shower Battalion20640

At this point you can get really adventurous and go for a full division.

I’ll start with the Divisional HQ. (In reality I forgot about it and tagged it on at the end. This is actually quite useful because you can dump all the stuff you forgot on the Divisional HQ.)

Divisional HQ
HQ company (mechanised infantry company)5150
Drone light air support/recce Battalion20760
1 Battalion Giant Walkers23040
Signals Battalion (mechanised infantry)20600
engineer battalion23000
Security Battalion. Mechanised infantry)20600
 15% admin, officers etc.16972.5
Final cost130122.5

The HQ Company is transported in the same Mechanised infantry fighting vehicles that the infantry use. (They probably have more comfortable seats and more leg room) It is not recommended you use it as a mechanised infantry company.

The rest of the divisional troops are so the Divisional Commander has specialists on hand. So he has his own dedicated drone battalion, which means he can order his own recce rather than just relying on what everybody else tells him. He has his own battalion of Giant Walkers, so that he has a reserve he can throw into the fight.
The signals battalion, in the standard MIFV, is a unit that will be spread all over the battlefield, with a handful of men in every headquarters, as well as perhaps a company hanging on the divisional commander’s every word.

The combat engineer battalion is a combination of useful troops who can be sent to help other engineers make things go bang more quickly, and also infantry who can be thrown into the maelstrom as a last resort.
The Security battalion is there to ensure the great man is not bothered by rude interruptions from hostile forces, but again, they’re another battalion he can throw in to plug a gap or exploit a success.

Finally there is the ‘15% admin, officers etc.’ This allows for generic waste, officers who don’t get a mention, (Chaplains, Welfare, military police and traffic control etc).

But then what about the other parts of the formation? I decided to have four infantry regiments, two mecha regiments, two artillery regiments and a logistics regiment.

Infantry Regiment
Regimental HQ (Mechanised infantry company)5150
3 battalions61800
Drone light air support/recce Battalion20760
1 medium tank battalion21600
supply company5110
Engineer company5750
recovery company5110
Antiaircraft battalion20640
Artillery battalion20640
 15% admin, officers etc.24984
Final cost191544

The core of the regiment is the three infantry battalions with a medium tank battalion in support. Then they have their own Antiaircraft Battalion, their own Artillery Battalion (probably lighter infantry) as well as a supply company, an engineer company and of course a recovery company for all those vehicles. They also have their own drone light air support and recce.

Mecha regiment
Regimental HQ (One company mecha)5550
Drone light air support/recce Battalion20760
3 battalions mecha66600
1 battalion mechanised infantry20600
1 battalion giant walkers23040
3 artillery battalions61920
2 antiaircraft battalions41280
4 supply companies20440
2 engineer companies11500
 2 recovery companies10220
 15% admin, officers etc.42286.5
Final cost324196.5

Instead of just going for tanks, I decided to have three battalions of mecha. In simple terms I tend to assume Mecha are probably about 18m or larger tall. (Franchises vary, pick your favourite) whilst Giant Walkers can be 60m or even taller. But the mecha and giant walkers are the cutting edge of the regiment. Because they’re an obvious target they get a battalion of mechanised infantry to support them, plus two anti-aircraft battalions to keep off enemy aircraft. They also get three artillery battalions to help prepare the way for their assaults and four engineer companies to help clear those obstacles that could be a problem. Also they have two recovery companies for those who cannot make it off the battlefield under their own steam and four supply companies because these will get through a lot of ammunition etc.

Also they have their own drone battalion to provide close support and recce.

Artillery regiment
Regimental HQ (One mechanised infantry company)5150
Drone light air support/recce Battalion20760
3 battalions of artillery61920
2 battalions of anti-aircraft artillery41280
2 Drone shower battalions41280
4 supply companies20440
 2 recovery companies10220
 15% admin, officers etc.30157.5
Final Cost231207.5

The artillery regiment is to provide the support at the point of crisis. The Regiment has its own drones, it’s not reliant on others to find targets. The artillery battalions are probably heavier than issued to other regiments. They also have plenty of anti-aircraft, because artillery is another priority target. Again, plenty of supply and recovery.

Then they have drone shower battalions. A drone shower can be a cloud of small drones, each loaded with what amounts to a small mortar round. Short range, the regiment would send companies or even full battalions forward to provide close support to units in the front line.

Logistics Regiment
Regimental HQ (One mechanised infantry company)5150
3 security battalions61800
3 supply battalions61320
1 four company recovery and workshop battalion20440
1 Heavy recovery company5450
 15% admin, officers etc.23124
Final cost177284

Last but not least, the logistics regiment. This has a lot of specialist stuff. It also has three security battalions. They appear on the battlefield as mechanised infantry because they’ll be providing close escort to supply convoys and similar. But even in peacetime they’ll provide the guards for supply dumps and stores.

The regiment has plenty of supply battalions, shuttling stuff from rear echelon to the regiments in the front line. They also do the more major repairs. They even have a recovery company that can shift a giant walker.

Obviously this all costs money and if my spread sheet is right, the division costs 2,184,390.50 credits per annum. Given the defence budget is 30 million credits, and you’ve got to allow something for naval and air support, you’re not going to get many divisions.

A few technical points about the rules. With Hell in Microcosm a company base is 5 cm frontage x 4 cm depth. A battalion attacks with all its bases in base contact, but in defence the battalion deploys within its perimeter. This is 120 cm long. Some people use a piece of string but some people have done really impressive things with pieces of fine chain.

When it comes to the company bases, remember you’re ‘decorating’ the card with the appropriate figures or vehicles. I like at least two vehicles to a company base, but some vehicles are just too big. Similarly with mecha and Giant walkers, in theory there would be at least a couple of mecha to a base but only one giant walker. Depending on the model you have, you might even have to make the base bigger for the giant. In the scheme of things, this isn’t an issue.

Indeed so long as you can tell what companies are what at a glance, then that’s fine.

Some companies will probably need extra bases. So, for example, take the Drone light air support/recce company.

It will have

A command APC with portable ECM

  • Two light armoured vehicles for mechanics and workshops.
  • Two vehicles with trailers, each carrying a drone
  • A light air car.

I suspect a decent sized drone, even with folded wings, will fit one ‘tractor’ and trailer per base.

  • So the company would have one base with three small vehicles, command and two workshops.
  • Two bases each with a towed drone.
  • Then two flying bases
  • A flying air car

Then what on earth would a ‘Drone shower company’ have? Personally I’d be happy with a light ECM vehicle, and the other vehicle would just be a truck, perhaps the science fiction equivalent of those trucks they used for pigeon racing where there were cages all along the sides, you opened all the cages simultaneously and all the pigeons flew out.

So how do you defend your territory?

But in reality, I am describing just one division. But even now that might be considered an outdated formation. What I’d really like to see is what other people came up with. The core of the rules is the Battalion. It is the manoeuvre unit. You can rob companies from other units to stiffen and support, but the Battalion is what matters. So the rules work well for something like the Russian Battalion Tactical Group. Given the rules were written perhaps ten years before the Russians started down the BTG route, I feel quietly chuffed about that.

But would you abandon the idea of the division altogether, have multi-battalion teams? Would you have concentrations of artillery which could provide serious support, or would you regard them as bomb magnets needing too much spent on anti-aircraft protection to be worth the effort. Instead would you hand out more artillery to the smaller formations, or would you even do away with much artillery, relying on drone showers and similar?
Currently small and flexible appears to be all the rage, but in a century, big formations with serious staying power might be ‘in’. After all the advantage of a division level formation is that it can take a lot of damage in a war of attrition.

At the same time the BTG seems to rely on paramilitaries and ‘local volunteer forces’ to protect the flanks and provide security. Which is fine if

  • You have these paramilitaries and local volunteer forces
  • They are competent enough and reliable enough to do the job.

One issue that on Prosperity, you could be looking at defending a frontier of a thousand miles. You might have ten divisions or a hundred battalion groups, or whatever you decide to use. In reality, even with science fiction warfare, I suspect there are still going to be pinch points and routes that an invading army will tend to follow. You’ll be able to get a fair idea of the direction of attack from the logistic preparations made to support a strike. Thousands of men need tons of food, thousands of gallons of water, tons of ammunition. Satellite imagery is going to make disguising preparations even more difficult. 

As I said, I’m interesting in what people think.


If you don’t know Hell in Microcosm, it’s available from Wargame Vault for £4 as a pdf

And from Amazon on Kindle for £4 or in paperback for £9.50

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