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Wargaming - The DS Battalion Way

by MAJ Dewey A.Granger, O/C Vampires Team


Chapter 5 of FM 101-5 describes in detail the actions for conducting wargaming for all types of operations. The steps and method apply to virtually all organizations. However, the specific techniques used by each combat arm differ slightly based on capabilities and missions. This article presents a method of wargaming tailored to the unique aspects of DS field artillery battalion operations. It does not merely repeat what is contained in FM 101-5. Rather, it presents a logical list of detailed steps that may be used by FA units and staffs to augment doctrine.

Proper course of action analysis in the DS battalion is fundamental to conducting successful combat operations. Wargaming allows us to maximize combat power at key points on the battlefield by synchronizing all combat elements. It enables us to better anticipate battlefield events and focus efforts on key enemy actions and high payoff targets. The most important outcome of wargaming, however, comes as the staff achieves a common vision of the battlefield. Each staff member knows the plan and his role in achieving success.

What is my lane?

All too often, members of the DS battalion staff are challenged to understand their roles in the wargaming process. They do not fully understand the parameters, or left and right limits, under which they are expected to represent information. Establishing parameters enables each member of the team to concentrate their efforts and expertise during wargaming. This further permits specialization of work whereby each team member is able to focus his efforts on one area of concern. It is this specialization that enables a fluid and streamlined approach to any planning process. The team asks questions and poses issues. Appropriate staff personnel address each challenge with a quick, well-understood recommendation.

Staff members must become the experts in their area's planning factors. They must answer all questions regarding every task in their lane quickly avoiding unnecessary delay during the process.

  • What is the task?
  • What factors are associated with each task?
  • What is the cost in time?
  • What additional resources are required to achieve each factor linked to each task?

Battalion Commander. The commander drives the wargaming process by issuing clear and concise guidance and instructions. He directs, rejects, and/or approves courses of action. Additionally, he gives specific focus to the second-in-command.

Battalion Executive Officer. When assigned, second-in-command is the XO's primary role during the FA-MDMP. He focuses his efforts on achieving staff synchronization and commander's intent by ensuring that all staff actions are coordinated. The XO and the S4 are the primary integrators of CSS into the plan. The XO resolves all conflicts and makes decisions when necessary. The most important role? The XO carries the "big stick," monitoring each staff member's actions ensuring that they stay within the parameters of the wargaming SOP script.1

Battalion S3. The S3 ensures that each and every operational aspect of the plan is considered and war-gamed. He selects the recording and wargaming method that will be used throughout. In his role as blue force FA commander, the S3 ensures that priorities are established and verifies that the DS battalion commander's intent is being met with each phase and/or EFAT.

Battalion FDO. The battalion FDO monitors and integrates all aspects of tactical and technical fire direction into the wargaming process. His efforts are concentrated on the delivery of fires. The FDO must fully understand the scheme of fires. He recommends the best method of delivery within the given constraints of each EFST. For example, the delivery of smoke in support of maneuver operations can be accomplished through several means: platoon, battery, or battalion. Therefore, the FDO must look at the resources required to accomplish each task and assign the most effective and efficient means of delivery.

  • Ammunition Consumption.
  • Effects.
  • Scheme of Fires.
  • Targets.
  • Geometry.
  • MET.
  • Firing Safety.
  • Time Standards.
  • Delivery Conflicts.
  • Special Munitions.
  • Lot Management.

Battalion S2. The S2 is the enemy commander. He tries to win the wargame using techniques as they would be applied by the threat commander. He takes known enemy capabilities and tactics, then tries to defeat the artillery plan. What is more, he also takes on all aspects of radar operations in the event that the radar technician is not available.

  • Effects of weather and terrain on the operation during each phase.
  • Expert on threat Indirect/Direct Fire capabilities.
  • Determines and executes predictive analysis.
  • Enemy effects factors.
  • Threat to all elements during each phase (CAT, FAT, Btrys).
  • Creates Battalion R&S Plan.

Battalion Assistant S3. The Assistant S3 is the primary blue maneuver commander during the wargame. He completely understands all phases of the maneuver plan and anticipates present operational needs of the firing batteries. He understands the scheme of fires and anticipates delivery system actions with regard to survivability and movement. He is responsible for the fluid operation of the TOC. And, finally, Assistant S3 is synch matrix recorder during wargaming.

  • Monitors EEFI and FFIR.
  • Develops Survivability Move Criteria with the DS Battalion S2 by phase.
  • Establishes tactical and survivability moves throughout the operation.
  • Establishes move and emplace times.

Battalion S4. The S4 is the primary integrator of logistics into the plan. He covers all areas of logistics except ammunition.

  • Sets and identifies resupply triggers.
  • Develops time standards for LOGPAC, R3SP, and all resupply operations.
  • Identifies active AXP and EPW times and locations.

Battalion Ammunition Officer. The BAO's primary function is to ensure that the proper amount and mix of ammunition is on hand to accomplish all EFATs. He should apply factors developed through previous training exercises to anticipate conflicts, and generate potential solutions.

  • Expert on ammunition operations.
  • Develops and maintains movement and resupply times for all Class V.
    • FAT to CAT.
    • CAT to Batteries.
    • Upload and Download times.
  • Recommends and maintains standard PLS configurations and CCLs.
  • Maintains current ammunition count at all locations (CAT, FAT, PLS, Cache).

Battalion Signal Officer. The BSO's primary function is to integrate and maintain all aspects of communications. He should also concern himself with preferred future TOC locations.

  • Develop communication site overlay.
  • TOC locations (current/proposed).
  • Retransmission locations (current/proposed).
  • COMSEC changeover.
  • MIJI countermeasures.

Battalion Reconnaissance/Survey Officer. The RSO's primary duty is to ensure that all aspects of survey including mortars and FISTs are integrated into the plan. He must keep tabs on all required items of survey control. The RSO must indicate areas requiring survey resources throughout the depth of the operation. He also records unresolved issues for later consideration by the commander.

  • Movement factors.
  • Emplacement times.
  • Update/30-day bias times and factors.
  • All survey and SCP locations.
  • All survey requirements (Mortars, Cannon, Rocket, Target Area).

Radar Technician. When available, the Radar Technician integrates all aspects of radar into the COA analysis process. The preferred method is to have the radar technician conduct troop-leading procedures with his section. However, a strong section sergeant can free the Technician to participate in the planning process. In many cases, this can provide added benefits and enhance synchronization.2

  • Assesses the threat to the radar in conjunction with the S2.
  • Recommends threat countermeasures.
  • Tracks total radiation time.
  • Develops movement and reposition times.
  • Ensures zone deconfliction.
  • Recommends optimal positioning.
  • Recommends movement triggers.

Battalion Chemical Officer. The Chemical Officer assesses the enemy chemical threat and recommends countermeasures. With his background in enemy chemical delivery systems and threat assessment, the Chemical Officer is oftentimes the logical choice to assist the Battalion S2 in the preparation of his IPB products. This also enhances the Chemical Officer's understanding of the enemy plan.

  • MOPP status.
  • Current CDM.
  • Decontamination site locations (actual/proposed).
  • Factors associated with decontamination (travel time, setup, time to decontamination).

Wargaming Steps

FM 101-5 provides an eight-step framework for wargaming. DS battalion wargaming follows the same step approach. But the techniques are unique to artillery operations.

Step 1. Gather the Tools.

Without question, this is the most misunderstood, yet the most important, step in the entire process. Either the 2IC, or the battalion S3, directs the staff to gather the necessary tools, materials, data, and to select the area for the wargame. Additional tools are required for DS battalion wargaming that are not listed in FM 101-5. The staff cannot proceed without the full tool kit because course-of-action analysis will more than likely stray from its primary focus and become ineffective.

  • Tools.
  • Current staff estimates.
  • Event template.
  • Decision support template.
  • Recording method.
  • Completed COA overlays.
  • Enemy and friendly unit symbols.
  • Area of operations map.

Additional Tools

  • Wargaming script.
  • Survivability matrix.
  • Movement time-distance analysis.
  • Met schedule.
  • JMEMs affects matrix.
  • Battalion standard firing time standards.
  • Ammunition tracking chart.
  • Enemy capabilities matrix.
  • Communications site overlay.
  • Radar survivability matrix.
  • Overlays.

Area Setup. The task of gathering the tools is more than just getting together a series of checklists and overlays. One of the most important tools is the area for execution of the wargame. Under the guidance of the assistant S3, the operations sergeant should take on the task of preparing the area. As a battle staff graduate, he has the background in MDMP to ensure that the battalion standards are met (see Figure 1).

Map Board Setup. Another important tool is the wargaming map, sketch, or terrain model. Accuracy of information is paramount, regardless of the map technique. Units should use maps, sand tables, or other tools that accurately reflect the nature of the terrain. The map segment of terrain should reflect the Area of Operations as closely as possible.3 As a minimum, units must ensure that the information below is somehow reflected on the wargaming map, sketch, or terrain model (see Figure 2).

  • Maneuver graphics.
  • Obstacles.
  • Position areas.
  • Targets.
  • Intelligence.
  • Course of action (each).
  • Friendly and enemy icons.
  • Annotation of EFST and EFAT.

Step 2. List all Friendly Forces.

The unit should list all organic and attached forces to include: COLTs, FISTs, Radar. These are displayed on a wingboard chart.

Step 3. List all Assumptions.

An effective method is to list the data on wingboard charts along with any additional specified and implied tasks that were embedded in the order. As these are updated, or completed, they should be checked off.

Step 4. List EFSTs and EFATs.

Once again, the preferred method is to display these on a chart containing both the EFST and associated EFAT. These items are important and must be accurate, as the staff will use them later for reference purposes.

Step 5. Determine Evaluation Criteria.

If the staff is wargaming more than one course of action, then the criteria given in commander's guidance should be determined and posted before the start of wargaming.

Step 6. Select the Wargame Technique.

The wargame methods in FM 101-5 assist in developing the area of interest and all enemy forces affecting the outcome of operations. These techniques focus on the sequential outcome of events, avenues of approach, critical areas, or critical events. DS Battalion EFSTs are listed in order through the scheme of fires. Since the tasks are sequential by design in the scheme of fires, the natural progression is to war-game each EFST/EFAT as it occurs. This continues until the completion of the scheme of fires and maneuver.

Step 7. Select a Recording Technique.

Because the EFST/EFATs occur across time and space in relationship to enemy, the best way to record results is the synchronization matrix (Figure 3). The staff can easily translate it into plans and orders. The staff can incorporate additional information into the matrix without significantly altering the original details. And it serves as a means of predicting critical events and enemy actions,thereby decreasing the probability of losing focus throughout the battle.

Example Synchronization Matrix

PHASE/TIME
ENEMY COAEVENT
THREAT TO BTRY
INTELNAI
TAI
COL
MANEUVERMISSION
SCHEME
PRI/FOCUS
EFST
EFAT
FIRE PLANSNAME
TARGETS
ALPHALOC/AOF
EFAT (TPME)
TGTS
MOVE TRIGGER
SPEC INSTRUCT
BRAVOLOC/AOF
EFAT (TPME)
TGTS
MOVE TRIGGER
SPEC INSTRUCT
CHARLIELOC/AOF
EFAT (TPME)
TGTS
MOVE TRIGGER
SPEC INSTRUCT
REINFORCINGLOC/AOF
EFAT (TPME)
TGTS
MOVE TRIGGER
SPEC INSTRUCT
RADARLOC/AZ
ZONES
CUE GUIDANCE
ACCUM RAD
MOVE TRIGGER
SURVEYLOC
MISSION
PRI/FOCUS
CSSI
III
V
MAINT
MED
CAT
FAT
C2TOC
CDR/XO/S3
LOC
RETRANS
OTHERSURV MOVE
CRITERIA
CHEM
ADA
MOV/CM/SURV
DECISION PTS
NOTES

Figure 3. Example Synchronization Matrix.

Step 8. War-game the Results.

To conduct the wargame and fully analyze each essential task, the S3 must prepare a wargaming SOP prior to deployment. The SOP must contain an acceptable synch matrix. Use the brigade matrix to fill in the key events before the start of the wargame. This allows the staff to synchronize events with the brigade. Next, the S3 must develop a usable wargame script (see Figure 4). This script brings order to what has can easily become chaos. It allows subordinates an opportunity to integrate their operational aspect into the plan. As a final touch, you need staff wargame checklists. Checklists not only aid memory, but also focus staff members' efforts on a particular portion of the wargame tasks.

WARGAME SCRIPT
OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS
MANEUVER PHASE
ACTION --->REACTION--->COUNTERACTION (FRIEND OR ENEMY)
A/S3
MANEUVERS3
ENEMY COAS2
INTELLIGENCE S2
EFST AND EFATS3
FIRE PLANSFDO
FIRING ELEMENTS (BATTERIES & REINFORCING UNITS)S3
RADARS2/TECH
SURVEYRSO
CSSBAO/S4
C2CESO
OTHER (SURV MOVE CRITERIA, CHEM, ADA, ENG)A/S3, CHEMO, A/S3
DECISION POINTSS3
REVIEW NOTES/ISSUESRSO
ACTION - EVENTS INITIATED BY THE SIDE WITH THE INITIATIVE; NORMALLY, THE OFFENSIVE FORCE.
REACTION - THE OTHER SIDE'S ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE FIRST.
COUNTERACTION - THE FIRST SIDE'S RESPONSE TO THE REACTION.
DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS
MANEUVER PHASE
ACTION --->REACTION--->COUNTERACTION (FRIEND OR ENEMY)
A/S3
ENEMY COAS2
MANEUVERS3
INTELLIGENCE S2
EFST AND EFAT S3
FIRE PLANSFDO
FIRING ELEMENTS (BATTERIES & REINFORCING UNITS)S3
RADARS2/TECH
SURVEYRSO
CSSBAO/S4
C2CESO
OTHER (SURV MOVE CRITERIA, CHEM, ADA, ENG)A/S3, CHEMO, A/S3
DECISION POINTSS3
REVIEW NOTES/ISSUESRSO
ACTION - EVENTS INITIATED BY THE SIDE WITH THE INITIATIVE; NORMALLY, THE OFFENSIVE FORCE.
REACTION - THE OTHER SIDE'S ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE FIRST.
COUNTERACTION - THE FIRST SIDE'S RESPONSE TO THE REACTION.

Figure 4. Wargame Script.

Synchronization Matrix Technique. Using the synchronization matrix for artillery battalions is the same as for maneuver units. But the techniques and critical events differ slightly. Fire support critical events are identified as Essential Fire Support Tasks (EFSTs) which are then translated into delivery system critical events known as Essential Field Artillery Tasks (EFATs). The EFATs then become the critical events by which we focus our wargaming.

The wargame must consist of a set of steps that, when used in conjunction with the synchronization matrix, lead to detailed. logical solutions to delivery system organization and problems. First, the staff wargames each EFAT as executed in the scheme of fires using the synchronization matrix as a guide. The scheme of fires gives a detailed logical sequence of all EFSTs. As each EFST/EFAT is executed chronologically, the staff covers every aspect until reaching endstate on that EFAT. If two or more EFSTs/EFATs are conducted simultaneously, then both are war-gamed simultaneously to resolve potential conflicts during execution. Next, the staff works completely down the matrix with each staff member stating his actions and/or issues in accordance with his checklist. Once reaching the bottom of the matrix, they revisit any issues for resolution. Finally, the staff moves to the next column and/or EFAT.

Logical Steps:

1. War-game each EFAT.
2. Endstate complete.
3. Two or More Simultaneously.
4. Down the Matrix.
5. Issues.
6. Next.

Wargame Checklists. Use a series of checklists to ensure that each staff member stays in the proper lane. Checklists also provide new staff members with an orientation into the unit's process. They also facilitate the process during abbreviated planning timelines.

S3 Section

  • Prepare friendly situation.
    • Current unit locations.
    • Current friendly graphics.
  • Identify/Record key decision points.
  • Make adjustments to selected COAs as needed.
  • Record issues/RFI/Synch Matrix.
  • Identify movement triggers.
  • Anticipate resupply triggers.
  • Record requests for additional support.

Bn XO/S4

  • Personnel.
    • Refine casualty estimate.
    • Verify MEDEVAC routes (clean and dirty).
    • Verify BAS/AXP/EPW locations.
    • Verify anticipated replacements.
  • Logistics.
    • Verify CL III and resupply triggers.
    • Develop LRP and/or R3SP locations and times.
    • Develop ALOC movement plan and trigger.
  • Maintenance.
    • Verify evacuation plan.
    • Verify UMCP location/movement plan/triggers.

BAO

  • Verify ammunition plan.
  • PLS locations.
  • CCLs.
  • Ammunition at CAT/FAT.
  • Resupply timing.
  • Resupply triggers.

CESO

  • Verify TOC locations (current and proposed).
  • Verify TOC movement plan and trigger.
  • Verify retransmission plan and location.
  • Synchronize signal plan.

Chemical Officer

  • Verify decontamination sites and water locations.
  • Verify sanator location and maintenance status.
  • Synchronize decontamination plan with operations.

FDO

  • Verify best tactical and technical fire direction procedures.
  • Verify solution for each target.
  • Verify ammunition requirements with the BAO.
  • Verify shift times.
  • Verify five requirements for accurate predicted fire.

RSO

  • Verify all SCP requirements and recommend priority.
  • Verify SCP locations.
  • Verify survey plan.
    • Times.
    • Locations.
    • Unit.
    • Instructions.

CONCLUSION

Detailed analysis of courses of action ensures that we focus the effort of all combat means. It allows commanders and staff to share a common vision of the battlefield. It presents subordinates with well-defined tasks and a clearly identified purpose for each task. It provides the synchronized "how" to the mission statement. Wargaming is difficult, but all other options are unacceptable.

__________

Endnotes:

1. May be accomplished by the S3 of the XO is not designated as the 2IC.
2. May be accomplished by the DS Battalion S2 depending on his level of experience and expertise. This allows the Radar Technician to conduct troop-leading procedures.
3. Chapter 5, FM 101-5.


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