The issue is whether changes/improvements should be made to the replacement system.
Now, replacements in ROP come from various ways:
1. the game generates a fixed number of replacements each turn, based on regions controlled, national morale, etc.;
2. the player can increase the number of various replacements through the exercise of options;
3. the player can also build depot battalions in construction mode which will generate extra elite or line infantry replacements;
However, even with this system, a very destructive campaign can leave a player with many depleted units. Various suggestions have been made on how to deal with depleted units which were summarised by Bertram here:
Bertram wrote:In my opinion there are several options:
- giving the player the option to merge the elements of a unit into one element. Instead of one unit with 5 elements of 17 men, you would get a unit with one element of 85 men. It would free the spots for replacement regular (or militia) elements.
- have the elite units be able to add regular soldiers, with a experience penalty.
- give the ability to disband regiments without NM penalty (maybe only in the own country, or on depots). Men either added to the replacement pool (this would hurt Austria though, who has plenty of men, but no money) or as replacement chits.
option#3 appears to be the most popular, although I thought there should be an NM penalty, but smaller than the present one.
For some historical background, in the 18th century, recruiting in the Prussian and Austrian army was generally done at the regimental level. Regiments would send out recruiting officers (generally within own country and throughout germany) who would sign up potential recruits. This is how the recruiting of foreign born recruits, who generally made up to two-thirds of the peacetime army was done.
In addition, the Prussian army had a "cantonal" system, sort of a precursor of the modern draft, where each regiment was assigned an area from which it could draft native born recruits. In peacetime, these recruits would train with the regiment 1-2 months out of the year and the rest of the time would return to civilian life. During the war, the foreign born recruits bore the brunt of the casualties during the first campaigns with the native born recruits providing replacements the rest of the war. Native recruits represented 50,000 out of 133,000 troops in 1751 and 70,000 out of 160,000 in 1768. Even then, the Prussian Army was short of men in the later part of the war and had to use various shortcuts such as switching from a 3 rank deep to a 2 rank deep line of battle.
The Austrian Army did not have anything similar to the cantonal system, although Austria and Bohemia provided annual levies of conscripts of dubious quality (from 3,000 to 8,000 per year). Austria had to resort to expedients such as hiring commission agents in Prague, Metz and Strasborg who would round up and deliver lots of recruits, again usually of dubious quality. Even then, the Austrian infantry was roughly 9% short of establishment (about 12,000 men) at the beginning and end of the SYW, with many regiments being badly depleted during the war.
The cost of recruiting depended on the method. In Prussia foreign recruiting cost King Frederick 18,400,000 thalers during his reign and foreign ecruits were less reliable than native recruits. To provide conscripts, Austria/Bohemia received from 12 to 24 florins per conscript.
The reason I explained the historical background is that finding replacements was a problem for all combatants in the SYW and should be for the player as well. We should take that into account in any suggested changes we discuss.