Dynamic Morale

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Supply and Morale

There has to be a point to getting supplies to all your units in SEOW, right? Well, yes, there is a point. If you don't supply your units often enough, they will run out of supplies. If a unit runs out of supplies, several things happen:

  1. The unit stops moving - stops dead.
  2. The unit stops fighting - it is a defenceless target.
  3. The unit's morale declines.

If items 1 and 2 aren't bad enough, then 3 is the real killer. But before I tell you why, here is something background to Morale in SEOW.

What is Morale?

Morale is a measure of how motivated and committed a unit is to the aims of the campaign. Units with high morale will fight on regardless of enemy numbers and regardless of their own proximity to safety. On the other hand, units with low morale may simply give up. Good commanders keep their forces at high morale levels.

In SEOW, each unit can be in one of 5 morale states:

Morale State     Internal Morale Value 
Excellent                     4 
High                          3 
Average                       2 
Poor                          1 
Desperate                     0 

The starting morales for Allied and Axis forces units are set at campaign initialization time using DCS options new in SEOW3.1.0. Thereafter SEOW tracks the morale of each unit individually throughout the campaign. Morale information is displayed inside each unit's tooltip (see Supply Tracking thread).

How Does Morale Change?

Morale can drop under the following circumstances:

  • The unit is out of supply and cannot access supply from nearby sources.
  • The unit suffers combat losses.
  • The unit suffers artillery barrage (friendly fire can cause morale drop too).
  • The unit receives enemy propaganda.
  • The unit is close to a civilian party that is in distress.
  • The unit is isolated from friendly command units, airbases and supply points, and is close to enemy units.

Alternatively, morale can increase under five circumstances:

  • The unit receives supplies.
  • The unit is close to a friendly command (or morale influencing) unit.
  • The unit is close to a marked rally point (see drivable vehicles).
  • The unit is close to a civilian party that is feeling positive.
  • The unit is within 100 km of a friendly AM radio broadcast station - occasional +1 morale effect, reported in Campaign Notices.

The method for calculating the morale update is as follows:

  • At the end of each mission, each unit is allocated a morale increment of zero (0).
  • If supplies are needed, each unit searches for nearby supplies. If it finds some, no matter how few, the unit's morale increment goes up by +1. If no supplies are found, and the unit is completely out of supply, -1 is added to its morale increment.
  • Any active barrages near the unit are evaluated to see if they delivered an explosive load sufficient to affect morale. The total barrage morale effect is added to the morale increment.
  • Any nearby rally points will each contribute +1 to the morale increment.
  • Each nearby enemy propaganda drop will each contribute -1 to the morale increment, to a maximum effect of -2.
  • All nearby friendly units are polled to find out if they are leadership units. If any leadership units are found, the morale increment is increased by the Morale_Influence value for that unit type.
  • If no friendly leadership units are found, nor any friendly airbase or supply points nearby, the presence of each nearby, non-desperate enemy unit with supply will contribute -1 to the morale increment.
  • Morale is changed according to whether any civilian parties are found nearby. For each civilian party found, a die is rolled. Eighty percent of the time, the civilian party is feeling positive and its Morale_Influence value is added to the unit's morale increment. The other twenty percent of the time, the civilian unit is deemed to be in distress and its Morale_Influence value is subtracted from the unit's morale increment.
  • The total morale increment is then added to the unit's previous morale state. This may give values less than 0 (Desperate) or greater than 4 (Excellent).
  • Finally, if the new morale value is outside the allowed range, then it is moved up or down to sit at 0 (Desperate) or 4 (Excellent), whichever is closer.

Example: T-40M near civilians under barrage

Let's try an example. Suppose a T-40M tank platoon has morale state Average (morale=2). It finishes a mission with 23% fuel capacity, and is near 2 GAZ buses (civilian parties), a GAZ-M1 Kommissar car, another T-60 platoon, and an 85mm Flak gun. But it has been barraged by a Panzerwerfer three times in the last mission. The default Object_Specifications table lists the following Morale_Influence values (these can be edited by campaign designers):

Object_Type            Morale_Influence 
T-40M                         0 
T-60                          0 
GAZ Bus                       1 
GAZ M1                        1 
85mm Zenit                    1 

Here is the morale update logic that SEOW DCS applies:

    • Starting with a morale increment of 0, the T-40M platoon searches for supplies but doesn't find any. That's bad, but it has 23% supply and morale of Average, so it keeps its chin up after this setback: morale increment still equals 0.
    • Next it seeks leadership influences from friendly units around it.
      • The T-60 platoon has a Morale_Influence of 0, no help there: morale increment still equals 0.
      • Next the GAZ bus, a dice is rolled and it comes up 13%, so the bus is in distress! The T-40M platoon sympathizes: morale increment drops to -1.
      • The second civilian GAZ bus gets a die roll of 35% - perfectly happy state: morale increment is raised by one, getting back to 0.
      • Looking for more leadership, the T-40M finds the nearby GAZ-M1 Kommissar who waves his pistol and rallies the T-40M platoon further: morale increment = 0 + 1 = 1. *** Finally, the T-40M sees the heavy flak unit nearby, always an encouraging sign: morale increment = 1 + 1 = 2.
    • Now the Panzerwerfer barrages contribute -3 to the morale increment, yielding a final value of 2 -3 = -1.
    • The morale increment is finally -1, so the T-40M platoon will reduce its morale state by one to Poor (and it's fuel state is a matter for concern).

The process is repeated for every other undestroyed unit on the map, including civilian and leadership units. No unit can influence its own morale.

Civilian and Leadership Units

Here is a list of hard-coded civilian units in SEOW DCS:


Leadership objects (with non-zero Morale_Influence values) are listed in Object_Specifications table of SEDB, typically flak, command units etc.

Any non-flying object can be set to have leadership properties in SEOW simply by editing the associated Morale_Influence field of the Object_Specifications table. Values must be positive integers or zero. Lastly, the measure of "nearby" for assessing morale increments and supply proximity is the normal radius of control.

What Happens to Desperate Units?

  • The last thing a commander wants is a desperate unit (morale=0). Desperate units are liable to either desert, which means "spike their weapons and run away, never to return", or even surrender, which means "spike their weapons and give themselves up". Both outcomes are devastating for the friendly commander, as all equipment is lost, even whole ships.
  • In technical terms, after all resupplies and morale increments are made, SEOW cycles through ALL desperate units and calculates the number of non-desperate enemy units within the normal control radius.
  • If there are NO nearby non-desperate enemy units, i.e. the desperate unit is not under threat, a die is rolled to determine whether the desperate unit will desert. The critical die roll percentage depends on the desperate unit's fuel state. An unthreatened desperate unit will desert with a chance of approximately 10%.
  • If the desperate unit is threatened, it will surrender more than 50% of the time. The more non-desperate enemies nearby the higher the chance of surrender.
  • To sum up, the whole point of morale is to simulate the effects of combat stress and lack of supply on fighting forces. Keep your forces in good supply and close to leadership units and flak support. If you fail to do so, your forces will lose heart, stop fighting and then desert or surrender. Then you will be a failed commander, joining the list of those forgotten commanders who have failed to maintain their own supply lines and troop morale before you.