A Night out on the Town with Ms. Logistics

If Logistics was a demure young lady you’d ask her out for a date. What kind of evening would you be in for?

She’d be very precise. Very black and white. Utilitarian dresser, severe hair, sharpened incisors, full-on black rimmed, coke bottle, glasses.

When it was time to ask her what wine she would like with her dinner she’d tell you. In detail.

While you were congratulating yourself on finally finding a female who knew what she wanted, Ms. Logistics would inform you that she had, in the last month, downed exactly 3 bottles of the aforementioned tipple.

Mmmm, you’d think. Mmmm.

Not to be deterred she would proceed to tell you that she had 11 bottles of it tucked away under her staircase at home. As you stared at her, wondering what the heck was going on, she’d stare straight back at you and insist that it wasn’t 10, nor 12 but Eleven bottles, thank you very much. Eleven. Got it?

Yep, you got it. Should have ordered water…

On a roll, Ms Logistics feels obliged to let you know that she has another half dozen bottles currently in transit, courtesy of her friendly local web wine depot.

You ask who that might be, by now desperate to change the conversation to anything other than a full statistical breakdown of Ms. Logistic’s wine habits.

Expected to arrive next Thursday, she replies. After 3 pm. She’s insisted the delivery firm be on time.

There is an automatic order for six bottles every month, says she. Important not to let stocks sink below a critical level. What if there was an unexpected supply interruption? Or guests that suddenly arrive on her doorstep, expecting to be entertained?

Jeez. Guests? She has guests? Who the heck is going to visit? The bore-me-to-death society? Actuarial-Statisticians-R-Us?

Mistaking your frown for a look of puzzlement, she pokes an iPad under your nose. Yellow icons. Tool tips, she says. Tool tips containing further information. Press. Here. With your finger. Yes, finger! Are you slow?

You resign yourself to spending the rest of the evening doing hard yards with the analytical school m’am but console yourself with the thought that Ms. Logistics can be safely scrubbed from your address book.

Which would be a mistake.

Within the last week Ms. Logistics has had a DC3 makeover. She’s all glammed up. Curvy dress, lipstick. Flowing locks of auburn hair. Heels. A hint of a smile.

She’s gone from this…



To this.


Yep, visual on-map displays of your three logistical pipelines.

How does it work? Pretty simple. You’ve got your three stockpiles – Your Main Depot, Forward Supply Base (FSB) and Panzergruppe HQ. Each one is colour coded to indicate how much fuel is available at that particular location.

Grey indicates none. You can see from the above pic that the Main Depot of AGN and the FSB both have no fuel. This is because the total fuel allocation received this turn has been efficiently transported, by train and truck column, to the PG HQ where it is needed. Check the Logistics report above to see how that correlates.

Red would indicate less than one fuel quota present, Yellow between one and two quotas and Green two or more quotas (plenty, nothing to worry about).

Remember what a ‘Quota‘ is? It’s the amount of fuel required for the relevant in-theatre Panzergruppe (in this case the 4th PG) to maintain full operational tempo for a turn, eg. Every division expends all 100 AP (action points) available to it.

This is dynamically calculated every turn to reflect changing numbers of Panzers, halftracks and trucks within the Panzergruppe. It acts as a handy rule of thumb guide for determining your fuel status and negates the need for fiddly calculations.

If you’ve got at least one quota on hand (at the point of use, your PG HQ) then you can be assured that you won’t be having any fuel issues for this turn at least. The German General Staff used an identical system with fuel stocks being reported in available quotas, not actual amounts.


Back to our pretty picture. Your bases are acting as they should and your PG HQ is coloured Yellow indicating between one and two quotas are on hand. All good.

But this doesn’t tell the full story. Having fuel at your bases is one thing, getting it transported through the pipeline is another. Your two transport links, train and truck columns, work on an identical colour coding scheme.

However in the case of your transport links, the colour is referring to how much available transport capacity is available. In the case above both links are showing Green which indicates there are enough trains and truck columns to transport at least two full quotas of fuel per turn.

Simple and straightforward. All the information contained in your number-intensive logistical report, but displayed graphically on the map. Watch your logistical pipeline extend, slithering and sliding, into Mother Russia as you advance.


Here we are in the early stages of the campaign. AGN is similar to the original pic except now their PG HQ is coloured Green, indicating two or more quotas. Even better.

AGC has two Panzergruppes, Guderian and Hoth’s 2nd & 3rd PG’s respectively. You can see the two HQ’s, both Green and well supplied.

The Main depot for AGC at Warsaw is feeling the strain of moving large quantities of fuel (the Forward Supply Base has just finished relocating to Grodno and there was a build up of fuel at the Main depot) and you can see the Rail link is Yellow. It’s handling it but there’s not a great deal of spare capacity available at present. It’ll probably revert back to Green next turn once the big slug of stockpiled fuel has gone through the pipeline this turn.

Notice the icons for the truck columns running from the FSB at Grodno have overwritten the train icons from the Main depot at Warsaw in a couple of places. This is happens from time to time and the decision was made to do it this way rather than have a smaller, more complicated combined, possibly dual coloured icon.

It’s not difficult to see what’s happening in the above case provided you remember the way the logistical pipeline works.


In the big picture above, it’s AGS that is the most interesting. The rail link is having to take the long way around, via Warsaw, to the Forward Supply Base at Lvov because of an enemy presence near Przehysl (red circle – full points to anyone who can pronounce that).

From the FSB to the nearby PG HQ, it’s all good with ample stocks of fuel (Green HQ, two or more quotas present) but the Main depot is showing Red (less than one quota) indicating that the FSB has probably just relocated, like AGC, and the train system is struggling to clear the fuel back log, hence the Yellow train icons (enough trains for between one and two quotas present).


AGC, everything under control

AGC, everything under control


AGC, actual situation. There are buttons and hot keys to easily toggle the unit display on and off.

AGC, actual situation. There are buttons and hot keys to easily toggle the unit display on and off.

Below is an interesting situation.

What’s going on? See if you can figure it out before reading further.

Well the Main depot has fuel, not a lot (less than one quota, it’s Red) but some. Both the PG HQ’s of AGC still have a small amount (same, Red) and are probably going to run dry this turn.

The FSB has nothing. But where are the transport links? Have a look at the FSB. How can a train trace a route along a train line or road (where there is assumed to be lower quality, secondary rail lines)?

It can’t, hence the absence of a train link. What about truck columns from the FSB to the HQ’s? The nearest HQ would indeed have a truck column active but because it’s adjacent to the FSB the truck icons aren’t shown. The other HQ, to the right, is cut-off. Truck columns aren’t possible either.

You’d be notified by your staff of the situation, as below, but you don’t need to have your minions tell you that the situation is dire. A quick glance at the map tells you all you need to know.


Here’s another one. Guess away. Ms. Logistics is standing by with a prize.


It’s AGN and you are in the midst of relocating your Forward Supply Base. Fuel is piling up at your Main depot while this is going on as there are no transport links operating (the Grey indicates that the current transport capacity is zero) due to the disruption caused by the relocation. Contrary to the previous situation the transport links have viable routes, there just isn’t any spare trains or truck columns to utilise them.

Your PG HQ is starting to run low (Red, less than one quota). Did you remember to build up your supplies at the front line before ordering the relocation? Doesn’t look like it.

But, hey, there’s a war on and what Commander in their right mind is going to listen to the feeble bleatings of his Quartermaster General?

Did Napoleon? Did Hitler? Will you?


Close up. AGS campaign start. Stand well back, though, as you're liable to get slapped. Ms. Logistics takes her personal space seriously. And her wine.

Close up. AGS campaign start. Stand well back, though, as you’re liable to get slapped. Ms. Logistics takes her personal space seriously. Like her wine.




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7 Responses to A Night out on the Town with Ms. Logistics

  1. mgaffn1 says:

    Your graphic solution to logistics looks great. I’ve enjoyed your posts, especially this one and the last one about the “Dark Side” – relatively deep reads, but particularly interesting and entertaining, especially for someone who likes to dabble in the Advanced Tactics Gold Editor. If your version of Decisive Campaigns is as entertaining as your posts, I look forward to many hours of game time.
    After you finish & release this game, you should consider writing game reviews.

  2. tv1 says:

    I just recently discovered your posts about the upcoming DC III and I’m certainly going to buy the game. A couple of remarks. The railroad/network seems to have been much more dense historically. Secondly, do you have any plans to include a what if scenario something like “Stalin takes warnings into account and the Red Army is much more prepared”?

  3. Cameron Harris says:

    Hi tv1,

    Russia was crisscrossed with rail lines. Very few of them were much use for supplying an army on the move. The German rule of thumb was one double tracked rail line behind each army. In Barbarossa they were essentially down to one per entire Army Group because of the lack of decent track and station infrastructure. The whole operation was on a wing and a prayer.

    The map portrays the high capacity, double tracked lines needed for resupply and is actually over generous in this respect. Any road shown is also considered to be a rail line but a lower capacity, single tracked version. In the same vein any plain or forest hex is assumed to have a local road network but of very poor quality.

    The game accommodates all these factors in it’s logistical calculations and automatically finds the optimum path for you. The aim is to show, and make use of, the main transport grid and keep the map clear of the rest which is, from an Army/Divisional logistic perspective, just clutter and noise.

    There are planned to be additional what-if scenario’s and your suggestion is a good one.


  4. Chris says:

    I like the map graphics showing rail and truck transport. The limiting factor in getting supplies forward in 1941 was the conversion of the rail to a European standard and the lack of sufficient locomotives and rolling stock. Moving a FSB in my opinion would be a minor disruption in a logistics chain if properly managed. Will rail conversion be modeled in some manner.

  5. Cameron Harris says:

    Hi Chris,

    Rail conversion is dealt with in detail.

    Relocating the Forward Supply Base was, based on the historical records, no small task and did, on occasion, shut down resupply for quite a few days.

    Historically the resupply organisation wasn’t always as portrayed by the game’s mechanics. However this needs to balanced by providing a consistent, easily understood system and the end result wasn’t far from the reality of the day.


  6. wodin says:

    Just started reading Barbarossa Unleashed by C Luther and I highly recommend it. He has an excellent writing style and the publication quality is superb. It also comes with a selection of fold out maps. Chris I suggest you buy it ASAP!


  7. Cameron Harris says:

    Hi Wodin,

    Good recommendation!


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