Monday, December 31, 2018

Active Defense Doctrine - Revisiting It 30 Years Later - Decisive Action, by Jim Lunsford (HPS Sims)

The Active Defense Doctrine made its debut in the US Army in 1976. It proposed a covering force area in which units would trade space for time, giving time for the forces in the main battle area to concentrate and fight the ENY's main effort in a reserve-less, counterattack-less, all guns upfront battle with occasional bends in the battlefront without allowing an ENY breakthrough. The echeloning of Warsaw Pact forces was certainly a problem the Active Defense Doctrine could not take care of and so it went away replaced by AirLand Battle.

Gone is Active Defense but to the history books and recounts of warfighting theories. But once you start seeing it in your war gaming, you know you are doing something wrong. Enter this scenario of the magnificent grand-tactical/operational war game Decisive Action. This military-grade war game by Jim Lunsford used to be published by HPS Sims. The webpage for Decisive Action is inactive at the time of this writing, and I don't know about its current availability.

The scenario is called "Saddam's Revenge" and it puts you in command of the US 53rd ID with OPCON of a so-called "Kuwaiti Brigade".

The scenario is situated in 2006, thus the 30 years later from 1976. I still retain the ability to count, despite my age. :) Any armchair general will recognize how tall of an order is to stop 4 Iraqi divisions on such a wide frontage until reinforcements arrive.

My units are shown as blue NATO icons. The ENY is approaching. Note the obstacles (green icosn) placed in front of the defensive positions. Compared to the first screenshot, I re-deployed some units. The Kuwaiti Brigade was moved some 10 Km back, between the 1st and 3rd US Brigades. Also, most importantly, the 1-4 Cav now occupies prepared positions in our west flank.
As you can see in the above screenshot, no reserves and just a shallow crust of deliberate defensive positions.

The ENY continues its advance. Don't get fooled by the sparsity of red icons, our reconnaissance was not able to keep up with the speed of the ENY's approach. With a combination of airborne battlefield interdiction  and indirect fire, some ENY units arrived to our prepared defenses in a piece meal fashion. We better get this forward artillery unit some shells!

Yet, for the Iraqis it was just an inconvenience. With the advantage of numbers, they had plenty of room to pause, regroup and resume their attack. The obstacles belt has already been breached in many places.

As the night arrives, the first ENY brigades break into our rear area. On our east flank, the 141 Guards Mechanized Brigade (plus support and recon elements) is moving through the outer suburbs of Kuwait City. On our west flank, the 133rd Guard Tank Brigade, is moving southeast towards the oil fields. Their losses were considerable, but they appear to move steadily.
Is not the prospect of fighting in a retrograde movement with my maneuver units what worries me. Not even worried about fighting ENY units that were able to pull through our defensive line. Is the unrecoverable losses I'm about to suffer in my rear area.




kure said...

Thanks for posting Decisive Action. In effect, HPS webpage's game is inactive. I bought the game a few days ago in a US wargames store and it will arrive soon. Wishing to check!

JC said...

Hi kure,

Please remember to change your monitor's resolution down to what is specified in the first game prompt. Then you can change it back with no problem.

Only thing I would wish for this game is more zoom levels.



kure said...

Thanks for the advise JC. More or less I expect as is the game due to 47-page manual and for this forum:

I think there are no current gameplays/AARs for this rare game so your posting is innovative (and vintage at the same time) :).

CBrown said...

This may not be the place for my question. If so I apologize.

Does anyone have guidance on installing/running Decisive Action on Windows 10 64bit? I cannot get my copy to install - it gets stuck looking for a previous installation.

JC said...

Are you installing from a CD?


Anonymous said...

Hi, Julio. Yes, I'm installing from a CD.



kure said...

I think it's because Windows detects the "da.exe" or "da27.exe" file in the OS and therefore does not proceed with the installation. Find the file if it exists and delete it and try again.

Iconoclast said...


I am currently preparing a DA let's play for youtube, but would be more than happy to maybe play PBEM against you in another one? Let me know if you are interested.

lymacsau said...

Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

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