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Author Topic: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments  (Read 1259 times)

Fortyone

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CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« on: 05 March 2022, 21:51:08 »
In CO there's a handy little chart that breaks down what is in a typical company plus support and then what is a typical battalion. So my ADHD brain has decided we're going to hyper focus on that and run some numbers.

My question is regarding support detachments. Do companies in a battalion retain their own support detachments in addition to battalion level support, or are battalion level support detachment meant to represent the various support lances of the companies in the battalion? If the former, do battalion level support companies then have their own support lances as well?

five_corparty

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #1 on: 05 March 2022, 22:58:55 »
Ha!  ok, so, good questions, and the answer is a lot of "yes" and "maybes" :-)

FOR THE MOST PART, tho, no: support units are in separate battalions from the line battalions.  You can see this in the Mech Handbook for the most part, and back in the old BattleForce breakouts (like in the 4SW products.)  For smaller units, they would be on seperate lines in a battalion break out, but you almost NEVER (I can't think of any, but there might be a few) see the support units listed insde the company line chart.

(I'm assuming you mean stuff like logistical support, not vehicles and infantry, because yes, some units are combined arms down into the company level)

However, you will see that support teams (like technicians) are often "assigned" to mechs; that doesn't mean they're in that lance or company, just that they're always assigned there from their administrative hub.  In the US Army, they might be listed as an "attachment/detachment," but for pay purposes, they're still listed under tech Platoon leader X.

This is a generalization, of course, for the Great Houses, most great powers, and most mercs: the Clans are TOTALLY different. :-)

(oh, finally, yes: if you have a support battalion, and companies A-C are designated to support the line battalions, the BN Headquarters company consists of two parts: the ACTUAL HQ platoon (BN CDR and his driver and stuff) and then the support platoons that ONLY support companies A-C: their maintenance, their food, pay and admin, etc.  This sometimes confuses people: "why can't I task THOSE guys to help line battalion 1?" "because THEIR job is to support the SUPPORT companies, NOT to help YOU." :-)

hope this helps!

edit:
I will point out that BattleTech -usually- isn't so regimented whereas A-C support BNs 1-3 in that order, and you CANNOT EVER EVER break those up and shuffle them (like the US Army, sigh.  Don't get me started)
BattleTech support units are generally more UK/Aussie in build, whereas they will have, say, an ammo company, a maint company, and a transport company, and then they will divvy up those assets as needed across the regiment.  if BN 3 is in reserve, they might get more mechanics and less trucks than the BN 1 who is attacking.

Why this is important in Btech is, it keeps the handwavium going, and puts less "hard numbers" on things.  Remember, the physics aren't real, the numbers aren't real, everything is best guesses by history majors, etc. hahaha
if you ever get into a spot where the numbers don't line up, pretend they do: that's battletech logistics.  ;) ;D ;D
« Last Edit: 05 March 2022, 23:04:40 by five_corparty »

Fortyone

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #2 on: 06 March 2022, 00:17:44 »
That's a lot of good information. Thanks.

Specifically, I'm looking at the chart on page 69 of Campaign Operations. So you can have 0-3 ground support detachments that are essentially 1 tier lower than your main force. If you were to use augmented lances (4 mechs + 2 tanks) as your base, you could then have 3 support detachments of augmented armor lances (4 tanks + 2 mechs) or companies at the battalion level.

Assuming all companies in a battalion keep their individual support lances and a battalions support companies can have their own support lances, you would theoretically habe a maximum strength battalion of 174 mechs and 166 tanks. Per Sarna, x5 for a regiment and you have 870 mechs in a regiment.

Now the math changes if companies in a battalion have their support lances become part of the support companies of the battalion. Also not allowing support companies to have their own support lances would bring numbers down but you still end up with battalions closer to regiment size.

The whole thing is silly but when I'm working long days and have nothing to occupy my time but mindless tasks and my own thoughts, I go down some rabbit holes of idiocy. It would be a logistical and administrative nightmare to be sure and I don't think any house would be too keen on putting nearly 1000 mechs under the command of a single person who isn't the head of state or their immediate successor.

Daryk

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #3 on: 06 March 2022, 05:32:59 »
Somewhat related, I worked up an organically supported infantry company with CO rules: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-designs-rules/organically-supported-infantry-company/

five_corparty

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #4 on: 06 March 2022, 12:34:44 »
That's a lot of good information. Thanks.

Specifically, I'm looking at the chart on page 69 of Campaign Operations. So you can have 0-3 ground support detachments that are essentially 1 tier lower than your main force. If you were to use augmented lances (4 mechs + 2 tanks) as your base, you could then have 3 support detachments of augmented armor lances (4 tanks + 2 mechs) or companies at the battalion level.

Assuming all companies in a battalion keep their individual support lances and a battalions support companies can have their own support lances, you would theoretically habe a maximum strength battalion of 174 mechs and 166 tanks. Per Sarna, x5 for a regiment and you have 870 mechs in a regiment.

Now the math changes if companies in a battalion have their support lances become part of the support companies of the battalion. Also not allowing support companies to have their own support lances would bring numbers down but you still end up with battalions closer to regiment size.

The whole thing is silly but when I'm working long days and have nothing to occupy my time but mindless tasks and my own thoughts, I go down some rabbit holes of idiocy. It would be a logistical and administrative nightmare to be sure and I don't think any house would be too keen on putting nearly 1000 mechs under the command of a single person who isn't the head of state or their immediate successor.

Ah, I misunderstood your question.

For THIS, I have no idea, but it certainly sounds wrong and not battletech-y; if you don't get any answers here in a week or so, I think you should re-post that post in the ask the SO rules question forum, where the developers can answer.

Fortyone

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #5 on: 06 March 2022, 19:45:23 »
Ah, I misunderstood your question.

For THIS, I have no idea, but it certainly sounds wrong and not battletech-y; if you don't get any answers here in a week or so, I think you should re-post that post in the ask the SO rules question forum, where the developers can answer.

Oh I agree 100% that it doesn't fit the setting at all. I just like to break things. Even with regular lances though, you can get an 84 mech battalion without ever touching support detachments. That's also assuming you're at full strength. From my experience with battletech fiction, a unit at full strength should be prepared to be very under strength really soon.

Daryk

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #6 on: 06 March 2022, 19:57:33 »
The rule of thumb I use is that a fully supported unit is one size larger than the combat element.  A lance of 'mechs works out to a full company with organic support.  I usually use infantry as the AsTech work force, so a lance of 'mechs has a platoon of AsTechs.  Then you throw in a recovery vehicle, and a Heavy APC to move the personnel around, and that adds two more squads of AsTechs.  The vehicle crews, actual Techs and required Admins round out the rest of the company.

jasonf

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #7 on: 07 March 2022, 15:21:19 »
Specifically, I'm looking at the chart on page 69 of Campaign Operations. So you can have 0-3 ground support detachments that are essentially 1 tier lower than your main force. If you were to use augmented lances (4 mechs + 2 tanks) as your base, you could then have 3 support detachments of augmented armor lances (4 tanks + 2 mechs) or companies at the battalion level.
I think those tables are a bit confusing for players who don't have access to older books that give more explicit breakdowns of force composition (e.g., the old Field Manuals, or older house/merc books).

I would say the right way to interpret "Detachments" would be the amount of supporting units from a different force (or forces) you could expect to augment your own force with. Thus, as the note in each table says, an Inner Sphere/Periphery BattleMech Company has 2-4 Lances (and 90% of the time has exactly 3 Lances) of 4 'Mechs each.

If you are playing something like a Chaos Campaign, Narrative Campaign, etc., you can expect your Company-sized BattleMech force to be deployed alongside several conventional infantry platoons, vehicle lances, etc. as "detachments" from other forces. 

As an example, suppose you have formed Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Crucis Lancers (Fed Suns). It will have 12 'Mechs in 3 Lances. If you want to play Charlie Company with a realistic amount of combined arms support, you can expect them to be deployed alongside a company or two of conventional infantry, 1 to 3 combat vehicle lances, and maybe some aerospace support. These units will likely come from separate conventional regiments of the 3rd Crucis Regimental Combat Team (RCT), and not be part of Charlie Company, the 2nd Battalion, or the 3rd Lancers 'Mech Regiment itself.

At least that's how I interpret those tables...

Fortyone

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #8 on: 07 March 2022, 22:15:37 »
The rule of thumb I use is that a fully supported unit is one size larger than the combat element.  A lance of 'mechs works out to a full company with organic support.  I usually use infantry as the AsTech work force, so a lance of 'mechs has a platoon of AsTechs.  Then you throw in a recovery vehicle, and a Heavy APC to move the personnel around, and that adds two more squads of AsTechs.  The vehicle crews, actual Techs and required Admins round out the rest of the company.

That's how I've always looked at it. The Fortress is my go-to company level dropship. I know it says it moves a combined arms battalion but it's really a mech company plus infantry, APCs, artillery, and some scout vehicles.

Daryk

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #9 on: 08 March 2022, 04:22:44 »
Exactly!  :thumbsup:

theagent

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Re: CO Force Organization and Stupid Thought Experiments
« Reply #10 on: 15 March 2022, 21:00:06 »
The more I look at the tables, the more I realize that they probably do need a bit of clarification on them.  Basically, to have a "true" Company, as the base you are looking at anywhere from 2 to 4 lances:  3 Lances is the standard, 4 Lances gives you a "Reinforced" Company (I believe this is more common among mercenary units than the House units), & 2 Lances is a "Short" Company (whether due to lack of funding, prior combat losses, or a combination of those two & other factors, you're missing an entire Lance).  Based on the chart, then, you're looking at the following configuration options:
  • 3 "standard" Lances (Assault, Battle, Fire, Pursuit, Recon, or Striker) (dropping to 2 "standard" for a "Short" Company)
  • 1 Command Lance, 2 "standard" Lances (dropping to 1 "standard" for a "Short" Company)
  • 2 "standard" Lances, 1 Support Lance (for a "Short" Company, you have to drop the Support Lance, essentially making it just like the first option)
  • 1 Command Lance, 1 "standard" Lance, 1 Support Lance (again for a "Short" Company, you have to drop the Support Lance, essentially making it just like the second option)
  • 1 Command Lance, 3 "standard" Lances (also forming a Reinforced Company)
  • 1 Command Lance, 2 "standard" Lances, 1 Support Lance (forming a Reinforced Company)

Note that the only way you are going to get 2 Support Lances is to have a combination of 4 non-Support Lances (4 "standards", or 3 "standards" + 1 Command)...but that's way beyond "Reinforced Company" & moving more into the "Short Battalion" region of firepower.

As for the question about the detachments...the assumption is probably that, whether you're looking at the Company- or Battalion-level Detachments, they're meant to be "temporary" assignments, with only those units provided as needed or based on what's available.  That being said, the canon Field Manuals and Handbooks point, especially at the Regiment level, to whatever detachments are assigned are coming from units that are permanently attached to support the 'Mech Regiment...so it would stand to reason that, at least for the Vehicle Companies assigned to the 'Mech Battalion (& vice-versa), they probably have their own set of detachments working with them.  Although the numbers get really crazy:
  • Assuming no additional detachments supplement the Companies that are detached to support the Battalion, the total force can range from 24 to 68 'Mechs (3 "Short"/no Command Lance to 4 "Reinforced" w/Command Lance), from 0 to 84 CVs (ranging from no detachments whatsoever to 3 Companies at the Battalion level plus 1 Company per 'Mech Company), up to 128 BA suits (32 Squads/8 Platoons, maxes out as roughly 1 Platoon per Company & an extra Company/Reinforced Company at the Battalion level), & up to 1,176 infantry troopers (max number comes out to almost 5 Battalions worth); reverse the 'Mech and CV numbers if you're building a Vehicle Battalion
  • With the supporting Vehicle (or 'Mech) Company Detachments configured identical to a "line" Company of the same type, you're looking at 24 to 104 'Mechs (basically the equivalent of an entire Regiment, but some of the units are in support of others), up to 96 CVs (8 Companies, just shy of an entire Regiment), 66 ASF (almost 4 full Wings), up to 192 BA suits (48 Squads/12 Platoons, basically a Reinforced Battalion), & up to 1,848 infantry troopers (just slightly more than 2 Regiment's worth); again, reverse the 'Mech and CV numbers for a fully supported Vehicle Battalion.

That's a lot of units to coordinate on the battlefield, though...

 

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