This past Thursday, a group of Gamemasters from the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) took part in an Army Senior Leader Professional Development session by running six historical wargames.
The set up for this event, organized by Sam Fuson, was to run battles from six different eras in history using the same battlefield and the same order of battle (adjusted for historical differences in army compositions) and to see how differing technologies impacted the decision making of the commanders, strategies used, and the outcomes of the battles. Some of the goals of the event were team building, leadership training, decision making, and reinforcing the principles of battle.
|This the battlefield and troops deployment that was used for all six battles.|
I ran a battle set during the War of the Roses in the Medieval Period, Dave Wood ran a Napoleonic version, Eric Schlegel and Ed Duffy ran a battle set in American Civil War, Duncan Adams did a WWI setting, Same Fuson and Geoff Graff co-hosted the WWII table, and Kurt Schlegel GM'd the table with a version of the battle set in the Arab- Israeli War of '73. Buck Surdu acted as lead Gamemaster for the event, and rotated from table to table to observe the games so he could conduct a group discussion afterwards. All the tabletop battlefields and armies were based on the terrain and armies of the actual battle of Quatre Bras from the Napoleonic period.
|Lancastrian commanders debate their next move, in my game set during the War -of the Roses|
|Yorkist forces sweep up over a small rise on the Lancastrian left, and capture their first, and only, objective flag of the game.|
The participants: more than 60 Army officers, NCOs and senior civilian staff, where divided up and each assigned to a table, with a senior officer and civilian taking the command of each side in the battle, and others acting as their sub-commanders. Four identical objective locations were marked on each of the tables with small flags, The objectives started in control of the defenders, and it was the attackers' job to try and capture them. A fifth victory objective of eliminating more stands of enemy troops than you lost was also set.
|Dave Wood, (in blue shirt), explains a rule to one of the participants at the Napoleonic table|
The rules used for the games were all from the "Look, Sarge, No Charts" series of rules sets, including: "Bear Yourselves Valiantly"(Ancients & Medieval version), Fate of Battle (Napoleonic Version), A Union So Tested (ACW version) and "Look, Sarge, No Charts;WW (WWII version). The WWI game used a modified combination of the ACW and WWII sets, and the Arab-Israeli War both used modified versions of the WWII set. The figures used were either 10mm or 6mm and were from the collections of the gamemasters.
|Eric Schlegel, (in hat), and Ed Duffy, (in dark sweater), help players conduct an attack during the ACW game.|
For many of the participants this was their first exposure to historical miniatures wargaming, yet most were able to quickly pick up the concepts and rules, and after a few turns were fully engrossed in the games and the command of their units. There was lots of friendly trash-talk among the participants, as well as table-wide cheers and groans as fortunes rose and fell.
|Duncan Adams, ( holding tape measure), measures the range for an artillery barrage during the WWI engagement.|
Everyone had a good time, including us, the gamemasters. This is an event that I have taken part in now for 5 years, and seventh such events, and it is always a blast. Thanks to Sam's efforts it is always well run, and the participants are always enthusiastic.
|Same Fusion, (standing at the end of the table), advises a player in the WWII game.|
At 1430 hours, Buck called the time for the games to end. The participants gathered in the center of the room and Buck led an after-action discussion. Commanders were questioned about their mission goals and how well their objectives were met; obstacles that arose and insights that were gained. The similarities and differences of command in the different eras were also looked at.
|Kurt Schlegel, (in yellow shirt), helps players conduct fire during the Arab-Israeli War game. |
The HAWKs are already looking forward to our next chance to take part in another of these events.
|Buck Surdu, (in blue shirt),conducts his after-action discussion after the games' conclusion.|
For another report on this event, see Buck Surdu's Blog