WitE2 Logistics Guide – The Importance of Weigh of Freight
Understanding logistics is at the core of your Eastern Front experience in War in the East 2. Though the calculations work in the background, they do affect everything that happens on the screen. Not enough fuel and your panzer divisions or tank corps are not moving anywhere. Not enough supplies and the winter is going to attrition your forces away. Not enough ammo, and how are you going to stop an assault?
This WitE2 logistics guide is going to go through the details from the beginning to the end. It’s not going to tell you every formula there is to consider, as those are still in many ways obscured to the player. Fair to say, the system is also subject to much randomisation. Be warned, this is going to be a pretty heavy read. It’s best enjoyed as you play, seeking out answers to questions that might arise.
If you’d put the system in a nutshell, it would be all about moving freight via depots to your units. But it’s quite a bit more complicated than that. Especially if you want to do things right. You can also scroll to the bottom of the article to find some general tricks and tips.
The Basics of WitE 2 Logistics
There are two aspects to consider here. The production system, also known as civilian economy, and the armed forces(navy, air force, and land forces). The civilian economy isn’t something you can influence a whole lot. It works in the background, producing armaments points, supply points, oil, fuel and resources. All of this is calculated every turn, for the duration of the whole game. And it actually uses quite a bit of rail capacity.
What the player does need to concern themselves are supply, fuel, ammo and replacements. All of these are abstracted in what is called freight. Freight is what moves along the railroads and the ports, and it is converted to requested items as needed. Freight is distributed via depots. You can choose to build and manage these depots yourself, or you can leave it up to the AI. We recommend you do it yourself.
This guide is going to be concentrating largely on supplying your armed forces, as it is the only thing you can influence. Paramount to this is to understand how rail lines function, how freight moves, how it is converted, what the different forms of freight mean, and what affects their distribution.
Logistics calculations are done at the start of the turn, automatically, before the air or land phase.
Units consume supplies, ammo, and fuel. They will also be needing replacements to replace casualties, not to mention sending back damaged elements. Freight simulates this capacity to move cargo throughout your entire logistics network. Everything that moves along the rail line and ports is cargo moved by freight. The logistics network is essentially the rail lines and ports through which freight moves, and depots in which it is stored. Railyard and port capacity is what actually moves freight.
When it comes to the civilian economy, freight is used to move necessary resources around. There are some special rules for this. For example, in some cases oil will move to fuel factories via pipelines, thus not using the rail lines and freight. These industries will not only create the supplies you need but also the replacements and equipment requested.
Supplies are the essential product of the system, used for many different causes. The most important for your armed forces are general supplies and ammo. Though tracked differently at the unit level, there is no difference in the system as such. Supplies (from the national pool) and ammo both count as “supplies” when distributed as freight.
The thing you really need to get through your head is that freight is not converted to anything specific until it reaches the unit or the factory. When it does reach the end-user, it is converted to the requested item from the national pools.
Understading How Freight Moves
The War in the East is a war over land. Ports will occasionally supplement the situation, but they are in no way essential, rather working as a fringe case. What players really need to keep in mind are rail lines and depots. When it comes to keeping your armies supplied, the main point of importance is depots.
But before we get to depots, let’s take a look at how exactly freight moves. This can be done over the land from depot to unit, or over the rail line from depot to depot. The number one way of moving freight is via rail lines. These are either a single line or a double line. Single line rail lines have a capacity of 12 000 tons per turn, and double line rail lines have a capacity of 30 000 tons. You don’t necessarily need to keep these numbers in mind, rather understand that the double rail line is always more effective at moving freight. A unit moved by rail will consume this same rail and freight capacity.
It’s not just rail that plays an important role. Trucks are essential in moving supplies from depots to units. There is an exception to this, as when units are within three hexes of a depot they will use horse-drawn or other such methods instead.
Your first priority is always getting your depot full of supplies, as otherwise there will be nothing to deliver to units. Your second priority is making sure that you don’t run out of trucks. Also, keep in mind that what actually moves the freight is rail capacity generated by railyards.
Railyards and moving freight
The origin point of all freight is National Supply Sources. These depend on the scenario chosen, but for example, can include Berlin and Vienna for Axis, and Moscow and Saratov for Soviets. From here the supplies will move to depots along the rail lines, and in some cases over-land by use of trucks. The latter is something you’re not really interested in, as it will consume your truck pool quite fast. NSS, national supply sources, essentially offer unlimited capacity.
When moving along rail lines the freight uses rail capacity, generated by railyards and causes rail usage on each hex. Each railyard level above level one in any location produces 10 000 rail capacity points. These points are what are used to move both freight and units along the rail lines, which cause thes rail usage. The use of rail is tracked individually for each hex. The railyard needs to be within thirty hexes of the origin point in order to be used. All accumulated rail usage will be reduced to 1/6th of the previous value at the end of the logistics phase, though enemy air interdiction can affect this drastically.
At this point you need to keep in mind that the rail in the hex has a capacity of 12 000 tons to 30 000 tons.
The rail lines can use railyard capacity to actually move freight, if the railyard is within 30 hexes.
Cargo, whether units, supplies, replacements or fuel, will eat up both of these capacities.
Once over these capacities, the movement becomes more costly.
Thus only a limited amount of cargo/freight(same thing really) can be moved each turn.
If you go above the hex rail line capacity, the cost of moving cargo will seriously skyrocket. It already goes up considerably for slight and medium usage (yellow and orange lines) This, in turn, means that less freight can move through it, with higher cost. Further increasing the cost, and eating away your rail capacity. Now, we are not entirely sure of the specifics here, as the exact formulas are still unknown to us. What we do know, is that you don’t want to rail all your reserves units to the front along your main supply line. At least not over several consecutive turns.
National Supply Sources also come with an additional boon of proving 20 times the railyard capacity that is normal. So instead of each level providing 10 000 tons, it will provide 200 000 tons. Enough to supply everyone within a reasonable distance. The bottlenecks are found elsewhere.
What are SMPs? Perhaps the most important thing to understand
In WitE2, SMP is short for strategic movement points. When you embark a unit on rail, it will come with a set amount of SMPs. It uses one SMP per hex to move. Freight uses these same points. Again, the exact details are murky, but our guess is that one ton of freight moving one hex costs one SMP. This in turn is tied to the rail capacity. So one ton of supply moving one hex would use one SMP and consume one ton of rail capacity from any railyard location within 30 hexes.
What you need to know is that once a certain amount of freight passes via a rail line, this SMP cost goes up. For example, once 2000 tons of freight has moved across a single line track, all subsequent movement will cost 2 SMPs instead of one. This in turn would also consume 2 tons of railyard capacity to move one ton of freight one hex.
This is the core mechanic on restricting how much freight can move along your logistics network. The extra movement costs will quickly eat up all rail capacity within 30 hexes.
Ports and how they move freight
Cargo ships are used to transport freight between friendly ports. There’s a limited number of these, and they can be destroyed by enemy interdiction. There’s not a whole lot of information available on how more are produced, suffice to say you won’t be having any say in that. Amphibious operations and troop transports are a whole another thing, to be covered in another guide.
In order to receive and send freight, a port needs a depot. For each level, such a port depot can receive 7500 tons of freight via shipping. The freight first needs to arrive in the exporting port, from where it will be shipped to the importing port. It is extremely important that you set the import and export status correctly. The same applies to the depot priority, as the export port needs to be of lower priority than the import port. When done correctly, port supply can move substantial amounts of freight.
Vehicles and the motor pool
Motorised warfare requires a lot more than tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. In fact, it requires a tons and tons of trucks. The easiest way to check currency status is via the production screen. Statistics here will display how many vehicles are in the pool, how many are in units, how many are in repair and how many are in depots. Trucks are used to move the units, but more importantly to supply them. Both the trucks from units and from depots are used for supply operations.
Both sides have dedicated vehicle factories that churn out new trucks. In addition, the Soviets will gain trucks from mobilization as well as lend-lease. All trucks are considered to be 2.5 ton vehicles for gameplay purposes.
The motor pool can be considered the overflow, or the reserve. This is the number of trucks that aren’t being actively used. But do notice that every time you move, either units or freight, you are going to be losing trucks. In fact, you’ll be losing thousands of them each turn. Most of those will end up as “vehicles in repair”. But there are only so many that be repaired each turn, and returned to the pool. If the motor pool runs dry you are in trouble.
Vehicles (which is the synonym for trucks) are repaired every turn. For Axis, 5% of all vehicles will return to pool every turn during 1941 and 1942. This figure increases to 10% for 1943-45. For the Soviets, the repair rate is 25% and remains so for the whole war. This difference in repair rate simulates the lack of standardised equipment for the Axis.
Terrain and weather play a major role in the loss of trucks, as does distance to depots. The worse the weather, the longer the distance, the more trucks you are going to end up losing. Being caught in mud thirty hexes from the closest depot is going to destroy mind-boggling numbers of trucks.
For Soviets there is the additional consideration of building units. Mechanised and motorised units eat up trucks like there is no tomorrow. Keep this in mind when building your forces. Have too many of these units and they will not have any trucks to move, and neither will your logistics chain have any trucks to move freight.
Let’s move on to the depots
Now that you understand what freight is and how it moves, it’s time to look where it moves. On the map, you will find a number of depots, and your job will be to make sure more are placed, and as necessary removed, and prioritised in the right order. Depots come in five priority levels, from zero to four. Freight moves from lower priority depots to higher priority depots, and never from higher priority depots to lower priority depots.
Furthermore, the higher the priority of the depot, the more freight it is going to draw. But this does in no way equal to drawing all, most or maximum freight in a single turn. All depots will always aim to reach the maximum capacity of stored freight. Freight can also be moved by air transport, but like port supply, that’s a special case that we will cover later on.
As you have noticed, we use the term freight and not supplies, ammo or fuel here. That is because, as mentioned, freight is only converted to requested items once they reach the end-user (unit, factory, air group etc).
In order for depots to function normally, they need to be connected to the logistics network. This means the rail network. Depots can only be built on rail locations. Though they can be built on any rail hex, but you need to keep in mind that railyards have a massive effect on the way the depot works. All built depots will come with a level one railyard (unless already present), which starts damaged. It won’t add rail capacity, but it will increase the freight capacity of the location once fully functional. Building a depot costs one AP.
To understand how depots work you of course need to understand what the numbers and information in hex pop-up display mean. Notice that the Green, Blue, Red and Black bars on the depot marker represent Received, Stored, Sent Out and Maximum Freight. It’s pretty straightforward stuff actually, but let’s make it even more understandable:
Depot: Railyard(1) trucks: 91 freight 22036, means that this depot has a level one railyard, has 91 unused trucks and currently holds 22 036 tons of freight.
Received 17521 – 50%, means that during the last logistics phase the depot received 17521 freight or about 50% of its total freight capacity.
Stored: 22036(12827) -62%, means that currently there is 22036 tons of freight stored, with 12827 tons of freight already there at the start of the logistics phase (ie. left over from the end of last turn). And 62% of depot capacity is used.
Sent Out: 8309, means 8309 tons of freight was sent out from the depot during the current turn.
Lost: 11, means that 11 tons of freight was lost during operations.
Capacity: 35000 (35000), means that the current capacity is 35000 and maximum capacity is 35000.
Unit truck use: 20, means how many trucks were used to transfer freight.
Finally, below all this information you have the sources of freight listed. In this case, the depot drew freight from Pitomnik, Kalach and Tasinskaya.
Some of the above information may seem duplicate, but it might turn out differently depending on the situation. For example, when you build a new depot in a hex with no railyard it starts with a capacity of 250, but would on the next turn display (10000) as the maximum capacity, which is reached when the railyard is fully built/repaired.
Alright, but how much freight can the depot receive?
You want to be looking a the maximum capacity to find out how much freight a single depot can at most receive on a single turn. Do notice that the exact details are lost to us, but it seems that a depot can not only receive but also lose and send this much freight each turn, so the different figures do not affect each other.
But this is not the number that you will actually receive. That depends on your logistics network, which is to say available rail lines and rail capacity. Which will always be limited. The best way to influence this figure is to simply have a number of other depots, with lower priority, build up their freight capacity. Then the forward depot can draw from those depots, instead of the national supply source.
There’s a couple of other considerations here too:
Placing a railroad repair unit (FBD for Axis, NKPS for Soviet Union) will prioritse movement of freight to the depot over all other freight movement. It does not add overall capacity of your entire network, simply forces a massive built up on the selected depot. Keep in mind that the unit must not have moved during previous turn for this to work.
Placing a HQ unit on the depot will increase the capacity. Corps, Army, and Army Group all offer increased capacity. The maximum reached this way can not exceed 60 000 tons.
Making sure that your depots have trucks. The maximum number of trucks is capacity/10. To increase the truck numbers on a depot, increase the maximum capacity with HQs.
In fact, placing your HQs on depots is the number one way of perfecting your supply network.
Check the above screenshot. The maximum capacity in Vitebsk has been increased to 60 000 tons by placing the Army Group Center and II LW Field Corps HQ’s there together with the 3rd FBD. This has allowed the depot to receive 41 315 tons of freight on a single turn, drawn from Kiev and Smolensk. However, drawing freight from Smolensk isn’t exactly a good idea, is it?
From depots to units – the final step
Once the freight reaches depots it’s ready to be sent to the units, and finally converted to what is requested. There are plenty of rules that modify the final numbers here, though the basic idea is quite simple to understand. Each unit can draw supplies from up to five depots in a single turn, though usually, this number is far lower. Freight from depots to units will be delivered as road supply or animal-drawn transport. What matters is the distance to the depot, or several depots in case one doesn’t have enough freight to distribute.
When a unit is within three hexes of a depot it will use “horse supply”. For this purpose, each hex costs one MP for the freight/supply to move. However, the freight cost is double as this organic supply delivery is seen to be using fodder to feed itself.
For motorised supply, the maximum distance from the unit to the depot is 30 hexes or 75 movement points. All MP costs are calculated as a motorised movement. In other words, you’ll quickly run into the maximum movement point cost in poor terrain (forest, hills, mountains, rivers). Beyond this range, it will be impossible to draw supply so it is important to place your deposit accordingly.
But, let us open up a bit more about what all the information in the previous screenshots means. Starting with “Current status” you’ll find supplies, fuel, ammo, vehicles and support matched with “in unit”, required, used and attrition. The “in unit” is obviously what the unit currently has, with the percentage value showing the percentage of need that is fulfilled. So the 13th Guards Rifle division has more supplies than it needs, but only 89% of its fuel needs met.
Required is obviously what the unit needs to be 100% stocked. The “used” and “attrition” part only applies to vehicles, showing many vehicles the unit used for supply operations, and how many of them were lost. You’ll also find “Priority”. This is the unit supply priority. Just like depots have priority, also units do. Players can choose which units to prioritise, and these will then obviously have a better chance of scoring supplies.
Under Turn “x” Supply Details you will find details on all depots that sent freight to the unit. The name of the depot, distance in hexes, distance in MP cost, how many tons of freight was received, how much freight was lost during transit, and how many vehicles were received from the depot. Notice that these are trucks that stay in the unit after delivering freight from the depot.
And then we get to the interesting part. Received, which breaks the freight down. But since the 13th Guards Rifle Corps only actually receives supplies, we better look for a better screenshot:
Taking what we’ve learned so far, we can see that the 24th Rifle Corps pictured above received a whopping 1164 freight from Maloarchangelsk. This freight was converted to:
153 tons of supplies, which meets 49% of the unit’s needs.
It received 4 tons of fuel, which represents 15% of the needs.
No ammo was brought in, as we can see that the unit already has 125% of its ammo needs fulfilled.
It received 31 vehicles from motor pool (not the same as from depot), which is 17% of its total need.
Finally, it also received 5517 replacements, which used 1006 freight. Notice that the number of replacements can be negative in case more damaged elements are returned than are received.
The unit consumed 159 tons of supplies. These are supplies that the unit had at the end of the previous turn, not what it received during this turn. The Admin failures and penalty are values used in the calculations. The no freight, trucks etc. displays the supply segment during which the unit did not receive freight due to one of these reasons.
Notice that units can only accrue supplies in excess of 100% of their needs if they have preparation points. That’s a matter for another guide though.
The Logistics Phase And The All Important Calculations
The logistics phase is the first thing that is executed at the start of the player turn. There’s quite a list of things going on during this phase, from attrition to adjusting scenario victory points. We are not going to cover all of these here. Instead, let’s concentrate on the so-called Supply&Replacement Segment, which is a big part of the logistics calculation.
This part of the calculation is broken into several sub-segments. The exact number hasn’t been revealed in the manual, but we suspect there are ten different phases. During each of these, any unit has a chance to draw supply from depots near to it (remember, 30 hexes or 75 movement points, maximum of five depots). A unit can request freight up to five times during the logistics phase.
Units have a priority assigned to them by the player, but this doesn’t mean low priority units would do without supplies. Rather, units of higher priority will get more supplies. If there aren’t enough supplies to go around, then high priority units are unlikely to gain supplies at the cost of low priority supplies. Instead, all will get some. Generally, low priority units will try to get fewer supplies of their total needs, whereas highest priority units will try to overstock.
Whenever a unit qualifies for drawing supplies, it is subject to administrative and support checks. These depend on the administrative values of assigned commanders, how many support squads the unit has versus how many it needs, as well as other factors, that once again require another guide to go through. The most important bit is having leaders with high admin ratings on the whole command chain, from corps/armies to armies/front to army groups. Several checks can be made, as long as appropriate HQs are within range. As equally important is having your full quote of support squads in the units. Though once again, HQs can complement those needs.
The needs of the units and what they try to receive depends on their current status, which is updated between sub-segments. Units that have severe shortages are more likely to try and request their fill, than units that are closer to full supplies and full strength. A unit that hasn’t moved, is on refit, and is not next to enemy units has a higher chance of gaining supplies and replacements. A unit that sits on a depot with an HQ on it has an even better chance of gaining what it needs. Units in the national reserve or other theatre boxes are the easiest of all to refit and resupply.
Replacements are a bit separate entity from all of this. First of all, 25% of all damaged elements can be transferred back to the pool. This doesn’t actually consume any freight. There’s a whole another set of calculations which depends on things like weather, determining if AFVs are returned to pool or destroyed. Secondly, only 60% of manpower from damaged elements is returned to the transit pool, with 40% place on disabled casualties. Additionally, units that are returned to the depot, leave half of their weight as freight.
Like with supplies, the higher the priority the higher the chance of the unit actually receiving replacements. Generally, units need to be withdrawn out of the line to receive substantial replacements. This is because replacements, especially heavier equipment like tanks and artillery pieces, actually consume quite a bit of freight. If that freight is already consumed by supplies, ammo and fuel, there is simply no space left for replacements.
How to make sure your units get supplies
The first thing is obviously to read this guide, and the manual, to understand how the logistics network works, what freight is and how it moves, and what you can do to influence this. The lack of feedback in the system makes it a bit difficult to troubleshoot. Sure, you can see your units are not receiving supplies, but you can’t see why, unless you know the details of the system. With that in mind, here are some basic steps, tips and tricks to go through:
Make sure the rail line is repaired and has enough rail capacity.
Dedicated rail repair units can’t always be sitting on super depots. They need to prioritise repairs, to make sure the rail lines are functioning. Don’t overdo it with ferrying reinforcements to the front, as this will use rail capacity and cause rail usage, making it much harder to move other freight. Finally, make sure that as many railyards are repaired and connected to the network in the important bottlenecks. Build redundancy by interconnecting lines when possible.
Check that all deposits are at the right priority level.
Priority level four should be saved for the most important hubs near the front, if not only for the frontline depots. Depots far behind the front shouldn’t go above level one in order to save capacity.
Set the ports to right priority level and import/export setting.
Ports can ferry a lot of freight if they are set up correctly. Exporting ports also need to be on high enough priority to actually build up freight, but at the same time, they cannot be at a higher or same priority as your target import port. Always make sure that the ports are set to the correct import or export setting.
Keep your depots close to the front, and units close to the depots.
Units that are within three hexes of a depot will draw freight via horse-drawn transport, thus not using vehicles and also paying lower MP costs. The close to the depot the unit is the better supplied it will be.
Keep an eye on your motor pool.
When further than three hexes from a depot the unit will always be using trucks to move supplies. Depots can also move supplies from one to another via trucks. It’s extremely important that both your units and your depots have sufficient numbers of trucks. Run out of trucks and your supply woes will multiply.
Build a backlog of freight.
There is no need to disband depots unless they are about to be overrun. Simply set them to zero priority, and activate when necessary. Whenever there is a lull in fighting and the depots at the front are starting to be full, make sure to build extra depots along your main supply lines. Freight doesn’t just move from the national supply source to depots, it moves from depot to depot. This daisy chain of depots can be a lifesaver, especially when falling back.
Be aware of special rules.
From June 1941 to March 1942 the Axis are going to be paying an extra cost for all logistics operations. The situation becomes even worse during the winter of 1941 to 1942, basically causing a collapse of the entire logistics network. Supply and replacements won’t be moving. Unless you’re sitting on a depot with built-up freight, you’re not going to receive any supplies.
Set the correct unit priorities
Higher priority units have a much easier time requesting more freight. But don’t just set all of your units to maximum priority.
Withdraw units from the line for refit
Don’t just let your units stand their ground and die. Use reserves whenever possible. Withdraw spent units from the line to depots and set them on refit. Repeat this process along the front every turn. Take care of your units.
Make sure you have the right leaders at the right places
Admin checks play an important role in supply requests, and whether they are successful or not. This is especially important for the Soviet player, who often struggles to have good commanders in charge of the whole command chain. You might need to leave quiet sectors in charge or bad commanders to make sure you have the best skillset available at your offensive point.