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"BBC: Can war games help us avoid real-world conflict?" Topic

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Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 7:32 p.m. PST

BBC news article,"Can war games help us avoid real-world conflict?"


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 7:45 p.m. PST


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 7:47 p.m. PST

I posted that before I read your link. Which took me to an article bemoaning that Bulgarians aren't playing Barry White and Sinatra tapes nearly as often as a nation wishing to sustain its population needs to.

Personal logo Mardaddy Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:00 p.m. PST

Second Winston.

USAFpilot06 Sep 2017 8:16 p.m. PST


Back during the Cold War both sides extensively wargamed a conflict between the East and the West. Both sides concluded that such a conflict was unwinable and settled on a policy of mutual assured destruction.

Wargaming is a step in the Strategic Planning Process used by military staffs to find flaws in military plans.

Ottoathome06 Sep 2017 8:28 p.m. PST


The "Next War" in the late nineteenth and early 20th century foretold for all sides that what would become World War One would be a bloodbath and they ought not to do it. World class Authors did all the analysis to prove the same thing.

Didn't help.

The problem is no one listens to the guys who fight the games because it's not what they want to hear.

In World War two the Japanese assigned three or four captains to wargame constantly the course of the war. They did this. Their predictions from their ongoing game were prescient, and anticipated what the allies would do at each step. They were ignored. The reason was that the Japanese were always looking for "The decisive battle." They did not want to believe that it had already taken place-- at Midway. At each step of the way these games proved quite prescient. By I believe the last days of 1944, the Japanese decided to take a firm hand.

They cancelled the games.

After all, how could a few mere captains know more than the Admirals and Generals.

Personal logo Mardaddy Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 8:33 p.m. PST

Wargames (at least ones I read about in the 1980's) played by think tanks with Generals and Colonels at Staff levels concluded that players on what would be the, "allied," side hesitated to the point of suicide to deploy nukes. Even to the point of NOT deploying them at all when available at their level of play and just losing the battle or theater because of the perceived stigma of being the first one to suggest it or voting for a first strike.

So, my opinion, based on what I read many years ago… No.

repaint06 Sep 2017 9:27 p.m. PST

Yes, there are several instance during Cold War and in the middle east, probably somewhere else either where wargames where used to determine if a war was winnable and how.

Without being as "accurate" as the actual event, it certainly could give insights and food for thought to eventually recommend different courses of action.

On the other, if you "find" a plausible way to win, they it is a step closer to a conflict.

advocate06 Sep 2017 10:05 p.m. PST

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

emckinney06 Sep 2017 10:13 p.m. PST

"Didn't you have time to learn that there are two kinds of graded drills? The first kind are the ones where the grades directly affect the promotions and awards for the top bosses, whoever they are. People always get passing scores on those. Dead people could get passing scores on them. Because the bosses want to look good, you know? The second kind are the ones designed to show you how important the scorers are. People always fail those and get torn apart for all the things they did wrong."

Substitute "wargames."

Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2017 10:15 p.m. PST

I know some of the people running the game featured (and helped a little testing an earlier version). I suggest the article does not give an entirely accurate report of who was involved.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 1:26 a.m. PST

No, I doubt that North Korea &/or ISIS are playing wargames…

Dynaman878907 Sep 2017 3:07 a.m. PST

Yes – but only if taken seriously. Sadly that does not happen very often.

Tired Mammal07 Sep 2017 3:09 a.m. PST

As Mardaddy said such gaming in the cold war showed that it takes a civilian to order the use of nuclear weapons because the military won't do it. With the exception of MacArthur of course.

Bindon Blood07 Sep 2017 3:11 a.m. PST

What about if the wargame says you will win?

Do you start a war on the basis of predicted success?

In that case not only is the answer 'no' but it's caused the war!

Whirlwind07 Sep 2017 4:44 a.m. PST

this one here? link

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

Yes. Didn't you watch the movie?

"How about a nice game of chess?"

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 6:31 a.m. PST

I've just come from this event. Alas I couldn't take part in the 'Dire Straits' game although I did sit in on the afternoon sessions and got to see how the game worked. Especially impressed by the realism (at least as one would perceive it) in the 'White House', and the importance of the media aspects (well done to the media team!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 9:06 a.m. PST

I was also saddened to read about Bulgaria's race to commit national sepeku….

Seems the link got garbled above. THIS should be the accurate one.

Sorry about that. I don't know what it is these days, what with TMP bugs and faulty copy-and-paste from the BBC sites.

Bob the Temple Builder08 Sep 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

I have written a blog entry about my part in the Megagame here = link

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