Friday, March 18, 2011

Maneuver Warfare: OODA Cycles - The Most Important One is Yours - Part 3

This series of blog entries are about the so-called "maneuver warfare" as explained by William Lind. The writings of Robert Leonhard will also be included. I claim neither expertise in the subject nor devotion to this way of waging wars and thus I am not trying to convert you into anything. This series is not an analysis or a review of all ideas about maneuver warfare but rather some explorations about the topic based on computer war games and simulations. Future entries will be delivered based in readership.

Continued from part 2.

Mi right (south) flank is retreating. Very slowly through the forest southeast of their previous position. At least they are out of sight of the enemy.

The Soviets don't waste time pushing towards my rear, where everything left are tactical headquarters and fire support units. I order these units not to contest the enemy's advance, but to keep an eye on them. All I hope is to have enough time to reorganize my fighting units after their march through the woods ...

Aerial support shows up. First in the form of a two-ship flight of A-10s, but it has started raining and they pull out of our sector. Fortunately the storm clears half an hour later and two more A-10s are tasked with a CAS mission right where the main Soviet body is located. I receive reports of 5 Soviet main battle tanks killed.

My maneuver units have not cleared the woods yet.

Two hunter-killer teams of Kiowa-Apache helicopters make their arrival and turn hold the red tide. I keep the helicopters engaging at maximum distance and for two hours they fight with gallantry. The Soviets stop on their tracks. 

Encouraged by the performance of the attack helicopters, I decided to send one flight towards the enemy's rear. During all the debacle on the north, my extreme south flank was screened by three two-M3 Bradley teams. Eventually they pushed through the river and towards the enemy's rear and detected enemy activity. Great opportunity to deprive the enemy of their command and fire support. 

A hunter-killer helicopter team taking care of a SAM unit. This team later destroyed a self-propelled artillery battery and two HQ units. Note my units moving through the woods.

It's 1700 and I still can't reorganize my remaining forces. Maneuver units stuck in the woods. Command structure is paralyzed and jammed. The only fires delivered onto the enemy come from off-map artillery and the helicopters.

Suddenly, the game stops because I achieved victory (!?)

Whaat? Move aside officer, I have units behind your window ...
Pyrrhic victory, I've lost 60% of my units. But the enemy has lost 80% of his ...

Sectors control and number of individual vehicles left.

Take home lesson from this battle is to keep a mean and lean OODA cycle. I screwed mine by not understanding the time needed to reinforce the front line. When I realized my mistake it was too late and after that I had virtually no command over anything other than a sluggish retreat through no-tank country and directing air support units towards hot spots.



Dimitris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dimitris said...

Nice writeup JC.

Would it have been possible to employ the helo team earlier than it was, both to destroy critical assets and to blunt the follow-on wave?

JC said...

Thanks Dimitris. Nice to see you around.

The air support units show up at their own timing and I have no control on their arrival.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Flashpoint Germany. It had a lot of things I liked, but I never seemed to get into it.

It is one of the few (non-sim) wargames that feature some kind of electronic warfare vs C2 feature. Besides this I have only seen it in POA2 and Harpoon.

Do anyone know any other game that manages to incorporate something in that department?


JC said...

Hi Pergite. Thanks for your comment. No that I know. Anybody?