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Staff College Exercises cover Army Wargames: Two Centuries of Staff College Exercises 24 May 2016 Second Edition
by John Curry

Five classic examples of staff college exercises on a map (1858-1980).

  • Moltke (1858)- examples of his style
  • Defence of Duffers Drift (1903)- Boer War, denying a crossing to the enemy.
  • The Defence of Bowler Ridge (1929) - Infantry blocking vital ground against armour.
  • The Defence of Bloodford Village (1940) - WWII Defending a village in the British Countryside.
  • Special Reconnaissance Patrol No. 5 (1980) A Cold War Russian military exercise.

This book was originally published as, 'Two Centuries of Staff College Exercises 1858-1980'

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Product details: Second Edition
     Paperback: 173 pages
History of Wargaming    Project
     Dimensions (cm):
15.6 wide x 23.39 tall  

  Supporting Material for Staff College Exercises

Further details about the exercises

This booklet contains five sets of tactical exercises as being classics of their time.

A Sample of Moltke's Tactical Exercises Prussian (1858-1882)
by Colonel F.N. Maude, R.E. (1854-1933)

Moltke was a tactical genius of the Prussian Army, who was seen as one of the architects for the resurgence of the German army. His work was translated into English by a Colonel Maude. Colonel Maude was for many years a book reviewer for the Royal United Service Institute Journal. Some people could refer to him as an eccentric such as with his invention of a smoke eating machine and being friends with Aleister Crowley. He was a great admirer of the German military system, with whom he expected Britain to be at war with in due course. He was part of the movement challenging the British Army to reform, but he was a very harsh critic of most of the 'half baked military reforms proposed'. He edited J.J. Grahams 1873 Translation of Von Clausewitz's book On War and reprinted it in 1908. The Graham/ Maude version was reprinted in 1911, 1918, 1940, 1962, and 1966.

As he was about to go to print with a translation of Von Moltke's Tactical Exercises, there was a copyright issue, so instead he submitted a review of three of Moltes's most important exercises to the RUSI Journal Vol. XXXVII, 1886. The work is especially interesting as it was written as a criticism of the then unchallenged military guru of Moltke.

The Defence of Duffer's Drift Boer War (1903)
by Major General Sir Ernest Swinton K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O.

was originally published in the British United Service Magazine under the pseudonym of N Backsight Forethought. It has become a classic essay in minor tactics. It was republished as a book in 1907 and in American in 1905 and 1916. It has been reprinted periodically since. The author was a soldier, historian and a military 'future-ologist'. He contributed to the development of airpower, mines and most of all by his invention and introduction of the tank. He was Commandant of the Royal Tank Corps 1934-1938 where he finished his career as a major general.

The Defence of Bowler Bridge (1929) by H.E. Graham

was designed to show how a determined infantry defence could withstand an armoured assault by correct use of ground.

The Defence of Bloodford Village WWII British (1940)
by Colonel G. A Wade MC (1891-1986)

Colonel Wade served in the South Stafford Regiment in World War One in France and Palestine. He was awarded an MC for valour in 1917 and a bar to the award for his part in crossing the St. Quentin Canal in September, 1918. During the Second World War his time was split between commanding the Birkenhead garrison and writing numerous training pamphlets and books. The most well of which was the Minor Tactics Training Manual.

Separate Reconnaissance Patrol Number 5. (1980)

is an example of how the tradition of tactical exercises has carried on in modern armies. This exercise is from the cold war about the options faced by a Soviet reconnaissance patrol.

Further Reading

The Training Value of Tactical Decision Games at The Marine Corps' Basic School By 1st Lt Christian D Palmer, USMC

The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan (Paperback) by Lester W. Grau (Translator, Editor)

This book is an example from Russia about low level tactics in Afghanistan. Contains some excellent material. It can be found second hand.

'The Other Side of the Mountain' is available from the counter-insurgency section of The Military Press


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