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"TEWTs?" Topic

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Badgers04 Oct 2016 5:44 a.m. PST

Can anyone with experience describe in some detail what happens in a Tactical Exercise Without Troops? The term is often used but many wargamers (like myself) haven't served in the army and aren't fully conversant with what is meant.

Larry R Inactive Member04 Oct 2016 6:06 a.m. PST

The TEWT is conducted on actual terrain with unit leaders and staffs, without soldiers. A TEWT allows the battalion TF or company commander to train his staff and subordinate leaders. It also allows him to analyze, plan, and present how he would conduct an operation on the actual terrain.

TEWTs are normally conducted internally. Because only the battle staff and selected support personnel are involved, the TEWT is an inexpensive way to familiarize leaders with the area of operations.

Martin Rapier04 Oct 2016 6:11 a.m. PST

Some ideas here:



link (look in the course details bit).

walk about the countryside figuring out how you'd attack/defend something.

For some reason wikipedia seems to think this also involves sand table exercises, but for me, if it isn't outside, it isn't a TEWT. Perhaps that is a US thing

The article from the defence studies journal is probably most useful.

I have done some of these with my wargamers hat on, generally facilitated by ex/current military people.

Perhaps the most entertaining was figuring out how to take on of the Victorian fortresses above Portsmouth with a Prussian infantry corps. It idd involve a lot of walking and pointing.

Major Mike04 Oct 2016 6:24 a.m. PST

Another example was the Division had all units maneuver around the countryside down to Bn HQ's. A Maneuver Cell was created with members of each battalion (usually a couple of Co. Cmdrs and or LT's) who moved the Battalions sub units around a map and fought engagements, sending reports back up to the HQ. We used "First Battle" and it was an interesting week as I worked the OPFOR cell (12 hours on 12 hours off).

nickinsomerset04 Oct 2016 6:28 a.m. PST

Sums it up _

"walk about the countryside figuring out how you'd attack/defend something"

Usually done with G2 and G3 Bde staff throwing wobblies in to the mix!

Tally Ho!

Badgers04 Oct 2016 8:26 a.m. PST

Thanks for the responses, interesting info for me to digest.

acatcalledelvis04 Oct 2016 8:53 a.m. PST

I organised a TEWT game for my then local club a long time ago now. There were 6 players – and two of us umpires – each team had an infantry, cavalry and artillery commander. The umpires kept in contact by phone and we stomped about a large tract of Essex countryside (by foot and car)
It was important that the umpires kept a narrative going throughout the day and gave the players tactical problems and issues they had to resolve. We worked to the live clock so time taken to move around or think all added to the pressure of command (as it were)
The players walked the ground – decided what they wanted to happen, and what of their units were to do it and the umpires then needed to decide and narrate the outcome.(kriegspiel comes in handy here)
We then adjourned to a local country pub to discuss what had happened. I still have all the paperwork – the secret for the umpires is to be ultra prepared!!

BattleCaptain Inactive Member04 Oct 2016 9:54 a.m. PST

Pub? Pshaw! A proper TEWT includes boxed lunches.

John Armatys04 Oct 2016 10:44 a.m. PST

There have been a number of TEWTs over the years at the Conference of Wargamers – the early ones led by Paddy Griffith.

On packed lunches, the following is from Sunday Telegraph, 12/12/1993 on Colonel R E K (Chicot) Leatham:
During a battalion exercise of the Welsh Guards Chicot was standing with his adjutant in the freezing rain and said "Let's go into that pub and have a hot meal and a drink".

"If we do that our haversack rations will be wasted" replied the adjutant.

"If you cannot think as I think, it would be better if you didn't think at all".

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Oct 2016 10:48 a.m. PST

"walk about the countryside figuring out how you'd attack/defend something. For some reason wikipedia seems to think this also involves sand table exercises, but for me, if it isn't outside, it isn't a TEWT. Perhaps that is a US thing."

I think it must be a US thing. What Larry and Martin are referencing I would call a terrain walk or Commander's Recon, a very tactically focused event.

The TEWTs I was a part of were generally Corps-level affairs, with the goal being the administrative exercise of a War Plan (such as the US reaction to a DPRK invasion of ROK). The point was to pull out the plan and it's eight million appendices, work out/review the TPFDD (essentially, where are the troops going to come from, and how and when will they get there?), work out and revise the command relationships and boundaries, supporting/supported elements, exercise the communications, logistics, intelligence, engineering, etc…, plans.

This is where you figured out (in order to update the War Plan) that the division slated to land on D+7 had been deactivated, that COMSEC issues prevented Army radios from talking to Marine radios talking to ROK radios, that the engineering equipment necessary on D+2 was on the MPF ships in the wrong order, coming off AFTER the tanks it was supposed to clear the way for, that the relationship with Naval Gunfire wasn't clearly lined out (1st Division and 3rd Division thought they had priority, and the Navy had totally other plans for it, not related to the ground support).

For what it's worth…


Martin Rapier04 Oct 2016 12:59 p.m. PST

As I suspected. Two nations divided by a common language and all that.

Another amusing acronym for them Is Pointless Exercise Involving No Soldiers.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member05 Oct 2016 6:35 a.m. PST

"Two nations divided by a common language and all that."
Absolutely. But, to be fair, whatever you call it, you guys do it too, or at least you get involved in ours. At some of the bigger ones we had whole rooms full of foreign liaison officers, Brits included.

PEINS? Did you do that just to avoid getting in trouble? ;)


Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2016 9:58 p.m. PST

Having served on staffs from BN to Army level, the sand table is one of those frosting on the cake things. In other words the TEWT was walking around, talking and pointing at things. The sand table was an add on so the higher levels could see how neat everyone's plan was.

Usually one or two Battle Staff NCOs made one for the staff and commanders at a predetermined point so that everyone could get a three dimensional "map view" for the AAR usually required a junior NCO there to help take notes from the final discussion so that you would not miss what needed to change in the OPLAN.

HistoryWargaming Inactive Member25 Oct 2016 2:58 p.m. PST

The book Innovations in Wargaming Volume 1 has a chapter about the use of TEWTS for wargaming. I must declare an interest, I wrote the book.

Russ Lockwood07 Dec 2016 1:55 p.m. PST

A letter or article in an old MWAN by Paddy Griffith was the first time I heard of TEWTs…described a foray to the local park, if I recall (dangerous).

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