Maneuver Warfare

A forum for discussing how game designs allow the practice of maneuver warfare (or not) and how this makes for a more challenging and enjoyable game (or not).

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Latest Activity: Jan 22, 2018

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Emotion in Conflict Simulations 8 Replies

Started by David Allen. Last reply by Heikki Malaska Apr 11, 2010.

Which Current Games Portray It Best? 19 Replies

Started by Jim Werbaneth. Last reply by Gunnyhighway Oct 14, 2009.

What is maneuver warfare? 10 Replies

Started by David Allen. Last reply by John Bobek Dec 6, 2008.

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Comment by Eric Walters on July 12, 2013 at 5:32am

Depends on the kind of lessons learned.  I tend to favor the problems of command and control in real life, so I tend more to the Tactical Combat Series by The Gamers/MMP.  My other favorite is the Grand Tactical System by MMP.  All the other games are great fun and you can learn a lot from them about weapons, organization, and the it depends.

Comment by James Silsby III on July 12, 2013 at 12:07am
Group, any recomendations on the best game for broad tactical decision making - the era is not as important as the ability to gather lessons learned?
Comment by Eric Duckworth on May 27, 2013 at 10:36am

James, you are spot on.  As planners we have a saying - you will never be right, but it is a question of degrees of wrong... More often than not we fight against someone we never quite anticipated, but shooting an azimuth (and monitoring changes) is better than staying place or randomly building in an unintegrated fashion.  Of course we select between most likely and most dangerous scenarios; and it must be linked with our National Strategy and interests. Choosing the Japanese and British and French in the interwar years went a long way toward a flexible and effective Navy and naval plan in WWII.  We know focusing on the Soviet threat paid its dividends in Desert Storm.
  You are spot on the threat selections:  Most Likely a hybrid/collapse w WMD (n Korean Collapse - (also Pakistan and Syria), Middle of the road regional challenge and likely limited war (Iran) and Most Dangerous (China from South Asian sea/Taiwan/Korea). 

Comment by Eric Duckworth on May 27, 2013 at 10:20am

James - just google:  Military Review Maintaining the Combat Edge 2011 - you should get it that way.

Comment by James Silsby III on May 26, 2013 at 11:21pm
You raise a lot of interesting points I hadn't fully considered, particularly our unwillingness to define future adversaries IOT more realistically train against their doctrine. While it's not as easy to pick out a potential adversary like the Soviets or Imperial Japanese, I'd say that we could definitely boil it down road short list of 3 or so (those who would employ soviet-style doctrine with 4G twists (china), those who mimic soviet doctrine but don't have the heavy punch to be fatal (n Korea) and those who would employ purely 4G tactics to create an un-winnable scenario for the US (Iran).
Comment by James Silsby III on May 26, 2013 at 11:12pm
Hate to be that guy, but dead link - at least from IPAD.
Comment by Eric Duckworth on May 26, 2013 at 7:02pm

@Eric,  by all means.  My comments are not merely my own.  This is a common concern as we try to move the pendulum back toward Combined Arms Manuever after years of mainly focused on Wide Area Security that emphasized Counter Insurgency.  In Korea, 2ID in particular, over the last few years we try to recruit field grades from CGSC partially on the theme that it remains one of the few places in the Army with a mission and ability to train your branch in combined arms application and major combat operations.  Basically, after OIF I and other than some of the major combat in the Surge (i.e. Arrowhead Ripper), Korea has been the economy of force and standard bearer of sustaining and testing operational lessons in Combined Arms (though the U.S. mission there is taking on a different tone as we also prepare for Phase IV ops post regime collapse).  ...Sorry I am all over the place.  This attached Military Review article penned by the former 2ID commander articulates the problem- how do we regain a cutting edge and rebuild atrophied combat skills?  The Army is looking at this though various concepts, such as regional alignment again.
  Again, feel free to share my thoughts for professional discussion.  It is a discussion worth having.

Comment by Eric Walters on May 26, 2013 at 5:28pm

@ Eric Duckwork.  Your comments pretty well match my own observations within the Marine Corps.  Am about to start teaching for U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Lee, VA, in September.  Am hopeful to sow the seeds and we'll see where, when, and how any of them sprout...

Would very much like to share you comments--anonymously if you prefer--among a wider audience....

Comment by Eric Duckworth on May 26, 2013 at 5:03pm

(2 of 2)...What is more worrisome is that with a future of fiscal constraint, our capabilities will not grow as we cut CTC rotations, road/flight hours, and real training events.  We will not have a lot of time to improve that learning curve in event of true contingencies.
   While the hope is that somehow fiscal constraint will drive innovation (i.e. post WWI Germany), we will be hard pressed to do so.   When it comes to leader development, the same will be true.  We will be cutting brick and mortar school attendance in favor or power point and other distributed learning- losing out on what really grows intellectual thinking; exposure to individuals, networking relationships, post classroom discussions and collaboration.  These things are not adequately replicated on-line... not yet, if ever.
  I have always seen a lack on the part of many officers to take interest in their craft, regardless of what time frame from the 80's to today.  But it does seem prevalent on a few problem areas:
1.  We do not teach critical thinking and professional writing to a practicable level.
2.  Other than in the more "elite" planner schools, such as SAMS, we do not adequately teach important enabling philosophies and what they truly mean for application (Boyd's OODA/ Decision Cycle, we don't read Clausewitz... just what others interpret about Clausewitz, Jomini, Fuller, Lind are generally dismissed)
3.  Doctrine development has become more and more a cottage industry and self licking ice-cream cone; and thanks to the practices used in the development of FM 3-24, we've continually establish a precedent of using outside consultants instead of internal development across the force...however, that may change if the Army's "wiki" like ADP/ADRP doctrine development takes off.
  A.  We glaze over it, still somewhat shamefully thinking that Americans don;t follow doctrine so why pay attention to it, instead of realizing doctrine and principles provide the foundations for deviation and adaptation.  We do not actually "indoctrinate" anymore- like James Silsby says, we allude more to thinking on the fly- instead of building the disciplined understanding of principles that actually ALLOW for deliberate and rapid adaptation in lieu of iterative and chaotic trial and error "on the fly"
B.  Finally, alluding back to both the industry and our unwilling indoctrinate, our institutions are constantly producing doctrines and changes so rapidly that the force is confused.  Much discussed by Robert Doughty's Leavenworth Paper No 1, The Dynamics of Doctrine - the constantly changing mismatch between Pentomic, ROAD, and AirMobile/Counterinsurgency formations, doctrine, and tactics in the 50s and 60s greatly impeded the learning and professional development of Army leaders.  I feel we are at similar crossroads as our tactics, formations, capabilities, are not integrated with doctrine and there remains and unwillingness to define and affix a threat beyond "complex, uncertain, and persistent." This causes our forces to become schizophrenic as they are left to their own devices  - planning to be everything to everyone and ultimately untrained for anything... thank God we at least stopped using the term "Full Spectrum Operations" as a "type" of operation.

Comment by Eric Duckworth on May 26, 2013 at 4:46pm

@ James Silsby III and @ Eric Walters,  I generally agree with comments.  The benefit of the COIN struggle on our leadership is also the bain of our professional development and training as we stuggle to bring the pendulum back to core competencies. 
  Per the last Army Capstone Concept, Our Army prides itself on the "operational adaptability" of our Soldiers, leaders, and modular formations. As with most U.S. conflicts though- the operational adaptability was really at the the tactical level of individuals and talent.  However, while tedious there certainly was proof of the ability to changes in the institutional level too.  However, much of our "adaptability" has been more a result of throwing tons of money and resources at everything for "capability" development and then seeing what sticks.  And of course, our enemy is nearly equally adaptable and only need be successful at the tactical level to have a strategic success and cause us to spend exorbitant amounts of resources to create (more often then not) material solutions across the entire force.
  My perspective on 2 deployments is definitely watching us become more "Soviet" style and bureaucratic than we ever imagined due to the tether of "real time" intelligence and mission command.  By 2010, I was watching Iraqi Army leadership implementing a level of "mission orders" we would never be comfortable with.  That is not to say their capabilities outmatched us, but certainly their comfort level and risk acceptance showed the level of initiative I rarely saw underwritten in our own commands, because of a growing centralization of C2 and lack of trust in subordinate abilities.
   There is little doubt we've become adept at hunting individuals and networks, and still have a long way to go to understand how to transition into interagency (Phase IV) operations.
    Now after a decade plus of war, we have field grade officers and senior NCOs who have not had the opportunity to build collective training plans above platoon level, have never conducted gunnery, gap crossings, a full MDMP or can operate with field craft in  contaminated or austere environments without the aid of contractor support.


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