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[infowar.de] PI 31.01.03 High-Tech Game Prepares Troops (US-Kriegsimulation in Grafenwöhr)
January 31, 2003
High-Tech Game Prepares Troops
By Joseph L. Galloway, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - America's top battle commanders and their staffs are
fighting an intense, high-tech simulated war against Iraq at
Grafenwoehr, Germany, another key signal that actual war is rapidly
The highly classified exercise, dubbed Victory Scrimmage, began Tuesday
and will run for a week. More than 3,000 personnel are participating in
the computer-driven, command-post exercise deep within the United
States' largest military reservation in Europe.
The war game's designers, both in Germany and at their computers in
Kansas, create highly realistic models of both the terrain and the enemy
in Iraq and permit the American commanders and their staff to engage the
enemy in real time.
The sophisticated program is filled with all the variables and surprises
that the designers can concoct to make it as hard and as tricky as real
combat. They can turn the weather bad in a heartbeat and shut down a
commander's air support. They cause the communications links to go dead
at critical moments. They track every order a commander gives and also
count and report the casualties that result from those decisions.
The exercise is halted at key points for a self-criticism by the key
commander, who stands before everyone and admits and assesses his
mistakes. The commander of the simulated opposition force then follows
to add his own assessment and accounting of the commander's errors, and
he often finds more than a few mistakes the general overlooked.
Such exercises were run for every division that fought in the last
Persian Gulf war, as well as higher headquarters.
The chief war-fighting command being tested in Victory Scrimmage is the
Army's V Corps under Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace. Military officials
have told the Inquirer Washington Bureau that if the United States goes
to war against Iraq, Wallace's V Corps will have overall command of the
heavy tank divisions that carry the fight to Saddam Hussein's Republican
Guard tank divisions inside Iraq.
A Defense Department spokesman, Maj. Tim Blair, said the exercise was
intended to "challenge the V Corps war-fighting team. It will improve
key leader and staff actions and prepare them for future combat
The commanders and battle staff members of every Army division already
deployed to the Persian Gulf or on alert to go are being tested in
Victory Scrimmage. Also participating are commanders from U.S. Central
Command, which will have overall command of all forces in the gulf, as
well as the Marines' huge First Marine Expeditionary Force and the Air
A spokesman for V Corps headquarters confirmed that the "geographical
footprint" for the exercise was southwest Asia, the region including
Iraq. He said Wallace was the exercise director, and he is trying to
replicate the environment in which operations would take place.
The spokesman at Grafenwoehr said Wallace and the corps staff were
operating from a mobile command post, and the various division
commanders and staff were operating from their own tactical operations
centers scattered around the post.
Although the Department of Defense spokesman said details of the
exercise were classified, Victory Scrimmage will give not only the
American generals but the war plan itself a final test.
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