Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Tactics Night 2017

Last night I took part in an educational wargaming event at University College London. I lecture to the MSC naval architecture and marine engineering students on warship survivability, and I also take part in "Tactics Night". This is a wargaming event where the MSc students engage in a naval wargame to see how their ship designs fare in the crucible of simulated warfare. I've done this for the last couple of years and it certainly is an interesting learning experience for them.

Red Team at the start of the game

Yesterday's scenario pitted the students against a red force played by another four students with me as adviser (we wanted to give them all a chance to see how the game plays out as they will be repeating the exercise in a few weeks with their final designs). Red force had a small task group with a UCAV carrier which they had to get within strike distance of Blue's capital city; blue obviously had to frustrate Red's plan.

Red kept a whiteboard of notes, plus a random ship GA for no particular reason :) 

I won't go into details of what happened as it turned out to be a bit of a bloody encounter for Blue Suffice to say the students learnt some valuable lessons learnt regarding weight of fire, the value of ESM, fusion of intelligence data to form an incomplete but nevertheless viable tactical picture, mutual support of ships at sea (and limitations on weapon engagement ranges that mean your supporting units probably aren't), the perils of bearing-only-launch, situational awareness (or lack of it), the criticality of early reconnaissance, and red-teaming (which the red team were actually pretty good at doing with a little prompting).

blue Team on the tactical floor - their ships ans air assets moved on the floor, Red's moved on a map

Blue players being very careful not to tread on the 3D printed models!

They also picked up on some valuable methods of assessing the survivability of their ship designs (the damage model in the rules devised for the game are very similar to some of the preliminary design damage models used in regular warship design), and also gained an appreciation of red-teaming their designs (how would an enemy attack this ship? how would it fare against a ship of comparable design, etc.) All in all a very educational evening for the students!