Wargaming support to Army
EX BLUFFERS DRIFT-KRIEGSSPIEL FOR THE COUNTERSURVEILLANCE INSTRUCTORS COURSE
Soteria were contracted to deliver a wargame to provide an event which would cohere the elements of the new Counter Surveillance (CSurv) Instructors (Instrs) Course, which is sponsored by the Reconnaissance and Armoured Tactics Division, Land Warfare Centre (LWC).
The course itself is aimed at training All Arms C-Surv Instructors; a mix of Officers, WOs and NCOs focussed at Battlegroup (BG) level and below. The two-week course is a series of lectures on subjects such as Electronic Warfare (EW), technical aspects from Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) and field survey work from LWC Science & Technology.
Figure 1: Players engaged and challenged, fighting a thinking opponent
The challenge was to provide a wargame that would cohere as many of the course elements into an event that might give an indication of the relative value and effectiveness of various CSurv tactics. There was no chance of covering off all the Cse Training Objectives (TOs) but we eventually matched 10 TOs completely, 6 TOs partially and 8, such as Advising on Cyber Policy, not at all.
Given the nature of CSurv and the elements of deception and concealment we quickly settled on the kriegsspiel as the optimum method to exercise these elements: activity has to be hidden, with imperfect information being the norm. The added benefit of a kriegsspiel was the students would be fighting against each other, which would challenge them to outthink a capable opponent.
Figure 2: Wargame Area of Operations
In terms of a rule set we took the Camberley Kriegsspiel Rules and simplified them for our requirements. We also had to add an unclassified EW FIND representation into the rules, as this would be a key mechanism to cohere with what the course wanted to re-enforce. We use a representative Peer Red, with an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), OS (Offensive Support) and EW overmatch of Blue, again for realism and to re-enforce training on the course, as well as to properly challenge Blue: if it’s easy, no one will learn anything.
Blue is a deliberately given a BG of CVRT Recce Pl, 2x Lt Inf Coy and a squadron of MBT to ensure that the students focus on the C-Surv part of the wargame, and it doesn’t become a normal manoeuvre activity. The BG is given a range of protection, concealment and deception options to deploy. Blue has a Delay and Defend mission, with limited combat power as we were keen to focus on the CSurv aspects not the kinetic.
In terms of Operational Staff Work (OSW), we gave them the absolute minimum (Fig 1 is part of it). They are not expected to generate BGHQ OSW, but we found that actually it was entirely sufficient for a disparate group, headed up by a young officer to generate a viable BG plan. Something we have found with other wargame activities, less is more; otherwise you expend considerable effort on producing something that will still inevitably be wrong. They can make still assumptions and create a viable plan.
Figure 3: Wargame Turn Sequence
Each wargame turn last 15 minutes with a maximum of 12 turns being conducted. Each turn the team rolls to see:
- The inevitable Command Points (CPs) roll, to see what they can achieve in the turn, and to force them to prioritise.
- Higher level Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) feed, with Red advantage here due to their EW,
- Roll to see if they have OS for the turn.
The teams then allocate CPs to resource their FIND through UAS or Recce, EXCON then adjudicate any feedback from this to each table in turn.
Next there is the Movement and Strike phase. Often there is an update as movement creates another find feedback opportunity. The Strike can then be either OS or ground units (or for RED only, an EW attack), with the outcomes fed back to each side dynamically. At the end of the turn the team reflect on their CSurv success and failures. At various stages each sides gives a SITREP back to the Directing Staff.
Figure 4. BLUE hoping to shape RED with Minefields (Dummy?)
The forces are designed with an asymmetry between them and their missions, so both could achieve their mission. Understanding this, and the course aims, Victory Points (VPs) are used to reward success for C-Surv activity: Blue wins VP when Red finds and strikes a dummy position, Red wins VP for successfully finding BG HQ and key assets, surprise, or anything deemed by the course DS as interesting/unique. Importantly, the wargames also ran out of time/were stopped by EXCON before the battle was won/lost, which is standard practise to ensure that the audience remains engaged (both sides can argue about the winners in the bar afterwards). At the end of the wargame each team back briefs what they thought was happening and what went well and not so well.
Overall, all players appear to find the experience beneficial and we have had a number of enquiries for similar events to be run at their unit. They can see the value as at little cost, in terms of time and effort, some very expensive assets and emerging capabilities can be easily brought in and played with.
Figure 5. What a manual wargame can deliver to you