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Sandhurst Kriegsspiel cover

The Sandhurst Kriegsspiel, Wargaming for the Modern Infantry Officer, Training for War: Volume 1 Oct 2016

by John Curry and Tim Price MBE

"This is not a game; this is training for war. I must recommend it to the whole Army!"

Baron von Muffling, Chief of the Prussian General Staff, commenting on the 1824 von Reisswitz Kriegsspiel wargame rules.

 Wargaming has been an important part of military training since the Prussians first used it to develop their warfighting capabilities in the 19th century. The aim of this book is the first of a series to provide off the shelf wargames that may be of immediate use in military training.

This book contains 4 ready to use wargames:

Game 1: The Sandhurst Kriegsspiel aims to allow officers to test the plan they devised in a TEWT on the actual ground using the tool of wargaming. The explanation includes an example of a platoon as well as a company level game.

Game 2: The Battlegroup Kriegsspiel is next level up game. While still a kriegsspiel, dependent on sound military judgement by the umpire (and players), it includes some hard operational research based tables to help arbitrate the combat outcomes.

Game 3: Current Ops: the Modern Infantry Battle is a more rigid kriegsspiel, with more detailed rules to govern movement, combat, suppression and ammunition expenditure. It is more similar in format to the hobby wargames, but still embeds some key military lessons within it.

Game 4: Counter IED Kriegsspiel is an excellent example of using some of the recent developments in wargaming to create an engaging game to be used as part of training around patrolling when faced by an IED threat.

The Sandhurst Kriegsspiel is published by the History of Wargaming Project, as part of the series documenting current practice in professional wargaming.

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The full colour version of this book, with full colour interior can be purchased direct from www.lulu.com at £24.95
Product details:
     Paperback: 114 pages, black and white interior
     Publisher:
History of Wargaming Project
     ISBN:
978-1-326-77249-9
     Dimensions (cm):
21.59 wide x 27.94 tall   
     Publication Date Oct 2016
 

  Supporting Maps and Counters for these Games

The Platoon Kriegsspiel
      Sample Map
      Counters for platoon and company game
Current Ops
     Blue counters
     Red counters
     Ammo counters
     Information counters
Counters for platoon game                 
The Company Kriegsspiel
     Sample Map
     Sample Map Tiled
Counter IED
     Sample Map- abstract
     Sample Map- aerial photo
     Counters
The Battlegroup Kriegsspiel
     Sample Desert Map
     UK Square Brigade
     Soviet Armoured Regiment
     USA BCT
 
 

Review of The Sandhurst Kriegsspiel by Rex Brynan

First published on the Pax Sims Blog on 16/12/16 and is reproduced with permission

Recent years have seen an effort to (re)introduce a greater quantity and quality of wargaming into professional military education, notably in the United States and United Kingdom. This volume contains a number of British examples. It is written by two well-known experts in the field, John Curry (of the History of Wargaming Project) and the prolific but ever-elusive “Tim Price” (a currently-serving British military officer). Another British officer, Ed Farren, has also contributed to the collection. The book is amply illustrated with maps and pictures, and additional materials are available for download at the History of Wargaming Project website.

The book contains four wargames. The first, the Sandhurst Kriegsspiel, is a platoon- or company-level action meant to be played following a TEWT (tactical exercise without troops) earlier in the day. During the TEWT, officer cadets physically visit the nearby “battlefield” and ascertain how they might defend or assault a designated position. During the kriegsspiel, they then play this out against each other on a map using simple wargaming rules. The authors note one absolutely key point that underscores the value of wargames as an educational, training, and planning tool, namely what a fundamental difference it can make when one introduces an intelligent and adaptive adversary into the process:

Experience running these kriegsspiels shows that BLUE often change their plan for the wargame from the one they have spent the majority of the day considering in the TEWT. When faced by an enemy played by their peers, who have spent the day considering the same situation, the players often realise that they have assumed that the enemy is stupid [and] incapable of thinking from the BLUE point of view. The RED team will know what the likely BLUE attack plan will be and have prepared for it.

The second game included in the collection is the Battlegroup Kriegsspiel, which introduces a simple map-based wargame involving multiple platoons and companies. The Modern Infantry Battle (or “Future UK Army Concepts”) wargame was developed to explore the implications of possible reorganization and reductions in the size of British infantry companies. This is somewhat more dependent on formal rules, and less dependent on umpire adjudication. Finally, Ed Farren’s Counter-IED Kriegsspiel has students play the role of a Blue force attempting to complete an assigned task—and a Red force placing IEDs and ambushes to try to prevent this and inflict casualties. All of these games are quite simple, but in many ways that is the point: even relatively quick and simple wargames can provide insight into military operations in a way that explores their inherently adversarial nature.

The many appendices to the volume include a summary of the UK military decision-making (or combat estimative) process; a (rather critical) British military assessment of the SPI commercial wargame Firefight (1977), notes on British Army weapons, and sample unit counters for the games.

The primary targets of this book are those engaged in tactical and operational military training. However those interested in teaching military operations in other contexts (including in university courses on modern warfare, which are often peculiarly devoid of any exploration of the tactical, operational, and strategic arts) will also find it useful. Hobby gamers may also derive from enjoyment in trying out the rules and scenarios with their opponents, in a “can you beat a Sandhurst officer cadet” sort of way.


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