Thursday, 15 December 2022

Wargaming in Military Education for Army Officers and Officer Cadets

A wargame at the US Marine Corps War College (April 2019).
Wargaming has been part of military curricula for about 200 years since the introduction of Kriegsspiel, but it is still something of an art form. This thesis, by Johan Elg,  attempts to theorise the practice of military educational wargaming, and specifically to explore why such wargaming takes the form it does. The thesis is limited to army educational wargaming for officers and officer cadets. Wargaming for analytical purposes, and political and strategic gaming, are excluded. Instead, the focus is on army educational wargaming at the tactical level, which is arguably more comparable between countries. The research method combines an exploratory approach influenced by grounded theory with a comparative case study approach encompassing three successive levels of army officer education in five countries: Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Standing Fast: German Defensive Doctrine on the Russian Front During World War II | Prewar to March 1943

German Pak position during the Battle of Kursk, Eastern Front, 1943
In this Research Survey, Major Timothy A. Wray provides an excellent survey of the intricacies of employing defensive tactics against a powerful opponent. Using after-action reports, unit war diaries, and other primary materials, Major Wray analyzes the doctrine and tactics that the Germans used on the Eastern Front during World War II. At the end of World War I, the Germans adopted the elastic defense in depth and continued to use it as their basic doctrine through the end of World War II. However, because of limitations caused by difficult terrain, severe weather, manpower and supply shortages, Soviet tactics, and Hitler's order to stand fast, German commanders were unable to implement the Elastic Defense in its true form.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Struggling against Inferiority: German Army Policy, 1890-1914

Julius von Verdy du Vernois
This thesis by Gavin J. Wiens offers us some insights about the diplomatic and geographic circumstances confronting Germany before the First World War and the maintenance of a large standing army. In 1890 the Prussian Minister of War, Julius von Verdy du Vernois, introduced a long-term program of army expansion intended to increase the number of active formations and provide all able-bodied German males with military training. Whereas considerable political and social obstacles, together with the inauguration of a naval construction program in 1898 precluded its completion, the possibility of a two-front war thereafter ensured that the "realization of compulsory military service" remained the fundamental objective of the General Staff. Not even the return of budgetary preference to the army following the second Moroccan crisis in 1911 and the subsequent approval of substantial army bills in 1912-13 diminished the intense pressure for a large-scale increase in the peacetime-strength and the implementation of the core principles of the "Verdy Plan."