This article from the ‘Wavell Room’, part our our wider PME network, highlights the key themes of the British Army’s Headquarters 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade wargaming experiences. HQ 20 Brigade tests their plans using the tool ‘Camberley Kreigsspiel‘, which is a turn-based, dice-led wargame.
The author presents four themes that must be present in order for an effective wargame:
Theme 1: It must be Command Led. To enable the Camberley Kreigsspiel to be effective, the Commander needs to lead their team in the wargame. Without commanders leading their teams the wargame may not be taken seriously.
Theme 2: Generating Friction. Friction is created by the combination of adversarial action and the chance generated by the roll of a dice. The element of chance tests default planning assumptions at the same time as the adversary creates friction by successfully targeting a Critical Vulnerability.
Theme 3: Develop a Credible Narrative. Without a credible narrative Camberley Kreigsspiel could be seen simply as a roll of the dice, rather than the simulation of battle.
Theme 4: Truly Adversarial. The Camberley Kreigsspiel really does enable the ‘enemy to have a vote’ and tests all staff. Within HQ 20 Brigade this method of wargaming had a flow on effect of professional discussions to develop a deeper knowledge of their adversary.
The article concludes by highlighting that wargaming needs to develop our understanding of war’s ‘frictions, frustrations, and the impact of chance’. The Camberley Kreigsspiel enables these element to be present during the wargame and therefore enables the HQ to be better prepared for the conduct of operations.