Following on from the article on 'Bullets and Supply', I will now explore what would have happened should I have attacked with the 116 and 1 Panzer...
Just to recap, we have seen that the number of 'bullets' a unit has represents the amount of supplies that unit carries in reserve without the need to replenish from a supply source. We have also seen that when a unit performs an 'action' it expends a bullet (this includes when a unit is defending and is attacked). We have also seen that at the begining of each turn, all units that are in a supplied hex will have all of their 'bullets' replenished.
So what happens to a unit when it runs out of bullets?
In this example the German 116 and 1ss Panzer are currently sitting in forest just over the river from Laroche. The Germans have stretched their supply lines and Allied air interdiction has disrupted the lines of supply along the road from Houffalize leading up to the german units position.
Last turn, elements of the 116 and 1 Pnz expended a bullet by either attacking or using their extended movement to get into position. The allied air interdiction was imposed during the allied turn - so it now means that at the beginning of the this current German turn these units are sitting in an unsupplied hex. So they have not been able to replenish their bullets. Each of the units in these hexes therefore start this turn one bullet down (thats the one they used last turn that didnt get replenished).
For the sake of explaining the impact of a unit going into the dreaded 'red' - Im going to attack with these units to force them to expend all of their bullets.
Attacking the allied unit in front of them, the 707 ARM - I get a good result inflicting a 1 step loss and not taking any losses myself. But is this really a good outcome? Lets have a look at what the attack has done.
The little squares - or dots on the units that I attacked with (116th and 1 Panzer) have turned red (left image of the map above). This is telling is something.
The dots on the unit icon represent the following (in order of comfort!):
Green - in supply and have not used their Attacking Action Capability (AAC)
Yellow - in supply but have used their AAC (ie they have already attacked this turn etc)
Grey - not in supply, have not used their AAC and have bullets left to draw supplies from
Orange - not in supply, have used their AAC but still have a bullet to draw supplies from
Red - not in supply, have used their AAC and have no bullets left (no ammo!)
Note that some of my ART have changed the colour of their dots from green to yellow to reflect that they used their AAC in the support of the attack on the 707 ARM.
A closer look at the stack of units itself makes the problem a whole lot clearer (image on the right above). I see Red!
The background of 3 of the German units have turned Red. This represents that the unit has expended all of its bullets and is completely out of supplies! The only want to correct this is to get the units to a supplied hex. I can either attempt to do this now by ordering the units to move to a hex that is in supply. Or I can move my supply truck into a position where it will supply the hex that the units are in.
Moving my units to a hex that is currently supplied solves my problem right now - this turn. Moving my supply truck will not fix my problem until next turn. This is because the supply radius is determined at the start of each turn. So if I move my supply truck - that is changing its supply radius - and that new supply radius will not effect anything until the next turn.
Im going to move one of the units into a supplied hex so that it is no longer 'in the red'. Selecting the 116 Panzer unit - the one thats on its own in the southern hex, Im moving it one hex SE so its in a supplied hex.
You can see now that its 'dot' has changed from red to yellow, meaning it is now receiving supply and is no longer 'in the red'. It has also received a replacement bullet.
Note that this unit is entitled to 2 bullets - but it has only been given back 1 of them. Why? Well lets think about this for a moment. If that unit had moved to or been in a supplied hex at the start of its turn, it would have had all of its bullets replenished - giving it 2 bullets. If it had then taken part in the assault on the 707 ARM (which it did) it would have expended a bullet - leaving it with 1. So the most bullets this unit could have after assaulting is 1 bullet - which is what it now has!
If I leave the other stack - the 116 and 1ss Panzer where it is - unsupplied and in the Red - then these units are going to be very vulnerable to attack during the allies next turn. It is often worthwhile attacking units in an area you would not normally attack if there are units 'in the red' there as targets!
Units that are 'in the red' suffer additional losses in combat. If there were no losses and no retreat as a result of the combat, units in the red will still retreat. If there was a retreat as a result of the combat, then an additional loss is applied. If there were also losses, then these are increased by one. So you can see that the losses inflicted on units 'in the red' are compounded - and its it very worthwhile attacking them where ever possible.
Since units are most likely to be 'in the red' through being surrounded, the results can be catastrophic. It is usually worth attacking isolated units (those in the red) even at normally unfavorable odds.