It is no secret that the military of all major armies play games. We are talking about staff games, and military simulators of tactical, operational-tactical and other levels, and desktop "wargames." Many probably know about products such as CMANO (Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations), one of the best operational-tactical wargames, or Armored Brigade, Brigade Combat Team Commander, Battle Group Commander and others. Many of them are created on the basis of real staff simulators, and something is used unchanged practically in the headquarters of our "probable partner". Unfortunately, our domestic products, created on the basis of simulators and wargames for our military, are not on the market, probably because there are not so many fans of this genre in our market, and not in the western markets.
General who could
The US Marines also use such programs, in particular, extensive practice is being conducted at the University of the Marine Corps University (Marine Corps University, MCU). And no wonder what exactly there, and here's why. At the time, this same university was headed by the unforgettable General Paul Van Rieper - the one who, at the large-scale team-head games Millenium Challenge 2002 ("Millennium Challenge 2002"), acting for conditional Iran (the "reds" under which then Iran was guessed) , smashed the blue Americans to smithereens, drowning 16 large ships, including an aircraft carrier, 10 escort ships of classes from frigate to cruiser and 5 out of 6 landing force ships with preemptive strikes. A veteran of Vietnam and a number of other campaigns, Van Rieper miserably smashed the then-emerging high-tech concept of "network-centric warfare," using, like old, world-class solutions, like broadcast and delegate communications on buggies and motorbikes, instead of transmitting orders by radio, light signals, etc. .P. For target designation of anti-ship missile batteries, he used a large fleet of small and especially small vessels, many of which were indistinguishable from fishing vessels and neutral vessels. Moreover, after all, Van Riper drowned his "blue" counterparts, proceeding from, probably, an order of magnitude lower capabilities of Iran at that time. For example, Iran did not have anti-ship high-precision ballistic missiles, or subtle, albeit subsonic, anti-ship missiles, as did a lot of drones. But that was enough for him, the general showed that it’s not technology that is fighting, but people, and those people whose heads work better and grow from where they should, win.
After the catastrophe (and this was precisely it - the “blue” Americans conditionally lost more than 20 thousand “ji-ai” in a day) the exercises were frozen. But the victory was not awarded to the “red". At that time, the then deputy chairman of the US Armed Forces General School, General Pace, opposed the already retired Lieutenant General Van Rieper (later he became chairman, 3 years later). He said: "You killed me and defeated me on the first day, I can sit the remaining 13 days, but you’d better return me to the system and I will get 13 days for training." The exercises "reloaded" without even counting the victory in the round as "red." At the same time, they changed the rules in a fraudulent manner, doing everything so that the “Reds" no longer win - such is the "training". For example, the “red” Iranians were not supposed to turn off the air defense radar, they were forbidden to arbitrarily change the deployment of anti-aircraft missile, radio-technical and anti-ship parts. It was also impossible for the “red” to shoot down BTA “blue” planes carrying troops to the landing points. Moreover, the “Reds” were obliged to disclose the points of deployment of a significant part of their forces by the “Blue”, banned the use of a number of weapons, a significant number of tactical techniques and non-radiating means of communication! In general, where gentlemen cannot win by the rules, they change the rules. Even when playing with other gentlemen.
The exercises turned into a profanity designed to show the viability of an initially vulnerable and “leaky” concept, on the basis of which the American war machine was to be built. Van Rieper, as an honest officer (in those days, there were still enough of them in the US Armed Forces, but over time, as we can see, their concentration began to decline, although not to zero), refused to participate, saying that it was a "useless waste of 250 million. dollars, "intended only to prove flawed concepts and the infallibility of military leadership. Moreover, he later stated that all this had already happened - when Secretary of Defense McNamara at the beginning of the Vietnam War did everything to prove that the US Army could not lose this war, simply because it could not. However, as we know, it could.
General Paul Van Rieper is alive and well now, although he is already over 80, and periodically gives interviews in which he recalls this history, and according to current events, "pacing" is extremely unflattering. He was also a critic of the war with Iraq, it was not about the first war in which he himself participated, but about the second, and Afghanistan did not forget. In general, those who wish can delve into the English-language segment of the Network themselves and read the speeches of this military leader.
For the fifth year now, the United States Marine Corps University has held its annual War Wargame Tournament, Exercise Sea Dragon, and considers it one of the best ways to test its cadets and students, and not only them, but also the concepts used by the US Armed Forces. Participants will learn much more about themselves, their erroneous assumptions, plans, biased tactical methods and operational art. The rules of the tournament changed slightly every year, adapting to the capabilities of the exercise software and the changes in the scenarios and capabilities of conditional opponents - after all, the opponents were not abstract, but concrete countries, with specific points of conflict, scenarios, sets of forces and means. The headquarters games themselves are built on the "seminar", team principle, with the parties fulfilling a number of mandatory or relatively free scenarios, built so that the trainees act as harmoniously as possible and act in the most correct way. The tournament itself is built in a circular system with the departure of "knocked out" teams. Moreover, the scenarios, which are interesting, are built in such a way that they take into account either the modern capabilities of the US Armed Forces (and the United States Naval Forces in particular) and their potential adversaries, and those that will be in the near future - by 2025. Of course, we are only talking about the United States opportunities and tactical decisions of opponents - they certainly cannot know for sure.
In this scenario, (not all) allowed the use of tactical nuclear weapons parties, that is, the US tactical B61 bombs (there is nothing more), and the arsenals of the enemy. In the case of Russia, the list was very long and varied. They included the scenarios and tasks of suppressing the enemy’s air defense, if at all it was possible to suppress it — which in the case of Russia was almost always an unrealistic task. And actions in conditions where there is neither habitual air support, nor air supremacy, and the enemy is seriously outnumbered by “iron” (heavy equipment, especially tanks, BMP, armored personnel carrier) and artillery. Characteristically, the organizers of the Sea Dragon do not make the mistakes of the organizers of the aforementioned Millennium Challenge, fettering the enemy with shackles and putting him on a short chain at a pillar so that he does not hide. This, by the way, is loved by various domestic sofa analysts, considering scenarios like "one of the districts of the RF Armed Forces or part of its forces in the region without the participation of other forces - against the armed forces of some neighboring large country or a coalition of allies." However, they are not teaching future officers, they have a different task - they are terrifying to catch up.
Do you want to live - know how to spin
And this is what became clear during the tournaments. Air support so beloved by the Americans is not a panacea or even a given inherent in the American army, nor is air supremacy - it is also not guaranteed to the Americans. US forces are accustomed to relying on various weak opponents Aviation - the adversary is either weak, or chronically stupid and krivoruk, or passive, and he can be thoughtfully and consistently defeated from the air. The experience of operations suggests the possibility of gaining dominance in the air and providing ground forces with the required number of sorties and airstrikes. But, as the experience of modeling, including the Sea Dragon, shows, this has never happened in rounds against an enemy imitating the RF Armed Forces or possessing a similar set of combat air defense systems, electronic warfare, etc., that is, an enemy possessing a modern layered integrated air defense system (Integrated Air Defense System - IADS). During such rounds, students quickly unlearned how to see the enemy simply as a set of available goals. The situation with the air component in all rounds against the “Russians” was simply disastrous. Thus, the attack helicopter fleet in all matches was either completely destroyed or lost more than half or two-thirds of the combat fleet (which, in general, is no different from the destruction from the operational point of view - aviation ceases to exist as a combat ready force). The same was true for helicopters in general. As for the aircraft fleet, there the indicators were slightly better - the drop in the combat fleet below 50% in all matches at least.
Left without aviation, the “blue” in all cases were forced to use only the weapons available to the ground forces, that is, primarily artillery. At the same time, they found themselves under the strong air pressure of the "red" participants and the influence of their artillery and "means of destroying the command and control of troops" (apparently, this is about EW). They were forced to maneuver by forces and means, trying to get away from the blows, and very actively, but this did not always help. But on the whole, I had to turn around to save myself. And choose the right position. The one who chose them incorrectly had disastrous results as a result of the match. It also turned out that the headquarters of brigade combat groups (brigades) were destroyed at the “blue” in almost 80% of the rounds, and the headquarters of battalions and companies were destroyed or lost their combat effectiveness and ability to control even more often. Similar results were obtained during the tournament for two years! At the same time, the beaten participating teams were forced to look for solutions to decentralize control and ensure autonomous combat operations in the conditions of disrupted communication and control - in general, they came to decisions that Van Ripper partially used at one time.
Light at the end of the tunnel or light from the oncoming train?
Participants of tournaments see a way out of the situation in the future because once an adversary is strong, technically advanced, tactically trained, smart and does not allow him to achieve numerical superiority in technology and people, it should be compensated in the future by massing unmanned and minimally manned combat assets. Including land and disposable. In several "promising" rounds, the "blue" tried the so-called. Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) - a manned unmanned military unit, and quite successfully - managed to survive under the rampart of rocket-artillery destruction or mislead the enemy. In general, it’s something like the forms of promising divisions, regiments and brigades being worked out in our country, with battalions and companies of combat robotic complexes (BRTK). But for now, the results of the first combat use of the BRTK in a real war show that it’s too early to form companies and battalions - for some types of operations in the war, tracked and wheeled “terminators” are suitable, but for the rest there aren’t. But work is going on and going actively, up to the level of, as you know, tanks-BRTK and other things. The Americans, too, as we see, came to similar conclusions, including in modeling for staff games. The future will show whether the proposed solution is suitable or whether it will become another chimera, like a number of previous concepts of the US Armed Forces, such as the “Airborne Ground Operation” and “Fighting the Second Echelons”, or the current “network-centric” concepts.
There is, however, another plus of tournaments like the one described above: cadets and students will someday become officers and generals. And to imagine that “these Russians” are in fact the last adversary to be contacted with, they do not just have to — they are obliged from young nails. The military in our nuclear age needs a sober view of the world and its capabilities. They must convey their opinions to politicians, and do not do stupid things for themselves, for which millions and hundreds of millions will be paid under the worst-case scenarios. True, the American military, unfortunately, does not listen well to American politicians. Apparently, they also need to "play toys"? And then still play out ...