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#4416287 - 04/14/18 05:47 PM A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won  
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In 2002, the U.S. military tapped Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper to lead the red opposing forces of the most expensive, expansive military exercise in history. He was put in command of an inferior Middle Eastern-inspired military force. His mission was to go against the full might of the American armed forces. In the first two days, he sank an entire carrier battle group.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Van_Riper


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#4416289 - 04/14/18 05:54 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Yes, leadership! It's not all about who has the best tank and who has the fastest fighter jet. It's how they're used, naturally. Iraq got it's butt kicked because of leadership, or lack of. I doubt if they had any West Point quality generals.
It was Schwarzkopf who beat em, not just the M-1's and F-15's.


"From our orbital vantage point, we observe an earth without borders, full of peace, beauty and magnificence, and we pray that humanity as a whole can imagine a borderless world as we see it, and strive to live as one in peace."
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#4416298 - 04/14/18 07:19 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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The reset and accompanying “script”was some real life government in action crap too.


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#4416301 - 04/14/18 07:35 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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#4416304 - 04/14/18 08:11 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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its also the weapon and the vulnerability of forces in any particular theater of operations..... in the 1982 Falklands war with Argentina. That war lasted 10 weeks and five British warships and 1 container ship were sunk.





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#4416318 - 04/14/18 09:33 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Opfor never wins in an exercise like this, and I bet Van Riper, when he was in charge of his own wargames, didn't let win Team Enemy either.
"Winning" is, and isn't the purpose of these exercises. It is because it intends to build confidence; it isn't, because you try out different courses of action to see if there are weaknesses in your plan; those were exposed: "Mission Accomplished, team Opfor". Then you restart the exercise and OpFor doesn't get to pull the same stunt again because you wouldn't learn from that.

Of course, this makes less of a compelling story when reporting about the incident, and ultimately that's what such reports for the general public are a form of storytelling. There are certain, successful archetypes, templates, of stories. One that everybody loves is the underdog winning over the champion (e.g. David vs Goliath, even if Goliath represents the home team, actually). Also, let's not forget that it's actually a very good thing to be Goliath, most of the time. Because if you're intimidating as hell, that means that deterrence works and that you have to fight less because of it.
So, emotionally we all want David to win. We want to see cleverness and audacity rewarded. We're looking at US Army top brass and think, "what a bunch of sore losers". Because of the story that we're being told here. It's a good story. It pushes all the emotional buttons. But still, it's a story - not a lie, but a tale that that omits half of the picture, because it makes the story work better.


On the opportunities that I got to play Opfor (and frankly, pretty much anyone with a competitive streak in oneself loves playing Opfor), I always wanted to win, and was never allowed to. I resent that, emotionally, of course. But still the question is whether the Blufor team actually gets a chance to learn anything when playing against a mock enemy who doesn't have to abide to any rules. Anyway, these exercises always are a rigged game that isn't designed for a fair competition of wits, it's designed as a learning experience for Blufor. The question is, is Blufor learning anything from losing, except maybe humility.


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#4416320 - 04/14/18 09:42 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Why is OpFor not allowed to win? If BluFor makes serious boo-boos, shouldn't they have their ass handed to them? Being Goliath and being cocky might well mean being dead - isn't that a lesson worth drilling in?


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#4416353 - 04/15/18 06:48 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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The learning happens in the after action review, not during the execution of the exercise. Restarting a scenario is already admission of an irrecoverable error, and everybody in THAT exercise knew it when the carrier dove towards the seabed. There are different purposes to a wargame
  • you may want to test your doctrine [requires a lot of confidence in the validity of the simulation... something I usually warn against (...because unless you have a way to perform a live test of the whole exercise to validate the computed results, overconfidence is indistinguishable from justified confidence, and people tend to be lazy; overconfidence and laziness make a really great pair, so my conclusion is that some extra caution is warranted)]
  • you may want to test a certain operational plan for weaknesses (so you usually play through two or more alternative plans for several times for a rough quantitative analysis)
  • you may want to test communications within team Blue (the quality of the mission briefing, the quality of giving sitreps, the quality of HQ staff to process the incoming reports, the quality of orders given by the commander(s) in response to the analysis of the situation, possibly (though rarely) including the quality of the execution of those orders)
  • you may want to train people in the procedures of performing an operation (the earliest stage/lowest level of wargame use)

So, once that the umpires conclude that Blue has been defeated the exercise gets rolled back to before the error was made; if it's a minor thing it may be 10 minutes. If it's a really bad mistake, more (like in this example, back to H hour, which is about as bad as it gets). The fact THAT the exercise was restarted is already an admission of total defeat. No need to dwell more on it. Would the US continue the hypothetical campaign after losing a carrier group? At the very least it would cause a major delay in operations, and probably a complete revisal of the OpPlan, so it's pretty clear that unless the purpose of the exercise was to find out how quickly the Blufor leader team could cobble together an emergency plan while reeling from the destruction of the centerpiece of their entire force you would stop right there.


...that's not to say that the US Army handled the AAR well, or that the restart conditions of the exercise inspire confidence that they were willing to really think about the lesson. But then again, such an exercise (more than 13,000 US personnel involved x $100.- a day) is expensive, and if the purpose of the exercise was also to analyze the post landing phase, it makes sense to set conditions that guarantee that the live part of the exercise can be conducted.

Last edited by Ssnake; 04/15/18 07:01 AM.

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#4416355 - 04/15/18 08:08 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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From the wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002#Exercise_action

''In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces' electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. This included one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships.''

My question here is: What was the exact number of missiles launched that overwhelmed the blue forces?Was that number realistic?The red forces were not Russia or China,it was supposedly a Middle Eastern country/Gulf state.Does any of those countries have the ability to launch such a massive number of missiles?Probably not.Again,I would really like to know the exact number of missiles that managed to sink a Carrier Battle Group (including the carrier)!

Also from the above link: ''Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue's navy was "sunk" by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue's inability to detect them as well as expected.''

What was the number of the ships of this armada?Was that number realistic?Again,could in reality any of the countries of that region (red forces in the scenario) carry out such an attack?

Amazing as what the USMC General achieved is (and with one hand tied behind his back by the rules of the scenario imposed by the umpires/white forces of the exercise),questions are raised as to what the details of the exercise were.


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#4416358 - 04/15/18 09:40 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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I suppose that the answers to your both questions is: Classified (and rightfully so).


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#4416362 - 04/15/18 11:05 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: Ssnake]  
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Originally Posted by Ssnake
I suppose that the answers to your both questions is: Classified (and rightfully so).


Oh, I totally get that.

Still,I can't be the only one who would like the answers to such questions.


Stupidity is invincible.

#4416364 - 04/15/18 11:43 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Oh, you're absolutely not the only one, that's pretty much guaranteed.


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#4416377 - 04/15/18 02:04 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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The boats in question are basically speedboats. Iran has a bunch of them.

https://www.naval-technology.com/features/featureiran-fast-attack-craft-fleet-behind-hyperbole/

#4416382 - 04/15/18 03:00 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: EAF331 MadDog]  
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Originally Posted by EAF331 MadDog
The boats in question are basically speedboats. Iran has a bunch of them.

https://www.naval-technology.com/features/featureiran-fast-attack-craft-fleet-behind-hyperbole/


Yes,Iran's ''gunboats'' are a given (I think there was a scene in the 1990 film Navy seals http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100232/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2 where they are shown ambushing/attacking a USN helicopter).
The question is how many can it use for a successful attack against a CVBG or how many did the Marine General ''had at his disposal'' in this scenario.


Stupidity is invincible.

#4416397 - 04/15/18 06:25 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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The OPFOR is allowed to win regularly at The National Training Center at Ft Irwin and the Joint Readiness Training Centers. The OPFOR is allowed to beat the Blue Forces and often does so.

“The objective is to make sure a soldier's worst day is at the Center and not in combat.”

I have been through three rotations. In many ways worse than actual operations.


https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/jrtc.htm


Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Someday your life will flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
#4416424 - 04/15/18 10:48 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Live force on force exercises are not a wargame. Whether or not Opfor may win depends on cost, purpose/scope/training aims. What I've been trying to say is that just because Opfor isn't allowed to win in an exercise, it doesn't mean that Blufor is governed by sore losers. One doesn't preclude the other, but it's not a prerequisite either. wink


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#4416433 - 04/15/18 11:51 PM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: Pooch]  
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Originally Posted by Pooch
Yes, leadership! It's not all about who has the best tank and who has the fastest fighter jet. It's how they're used, naturally. Iraq got it's butt kicked because of leadership, or lack of. I doubt if they had any West Point quality generals.
It was Schwarzkopf who beat em, not just the M-1's and F-15's.


Norman had a little help from a pilot named John Boyd


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#4416456 - 04/16/18 06:25 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: Pooch]  
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Originally Posted by Pooch
Yes, leadership! It's not all about who has the best tank and who has the fastest fighter jet. It's how they're used, naturally. Iraq got it's butt kicked because of leadership, or lack of. I doubt if they had any West Point quality generals.
It was Schwarzkopf who beat em, not just the M-1's and F-15's.

Sure, "not just" the M1s and F15, but having them certainly helped.
I'd be the last to say that leadership doesn't matter - it does, and it can be critical (in both ways). But at the same time technology shapes doctrine to a significant degree as well.
  • I doubt that the "Hail Mary" offensive through the south eastern Iraqi desert could have been conducted the way it was without access to GPS receivers.
    They weren't available during the build-up of forces (Desert Shield), but dispersed only shortly before the start of the offensive. Dead reckoning and compass navigation might still have made the assault possible, but there would have been a lot more coordination problems.
  • Thermal imagers (and their absence on the Iraqi side) made a huge difference, this cannot possibly be overstressed
  • The technological difference in tank ammunition and armor technology were another huge technological gap. Some Iraqi tank units were sent into the grinder with target practice ammo even, while the M1s shot from 3km range through sand berms and completely through the T-72 from front to rear
  • NTC rotations prepared the armored and mech battalions extremely well, making them effectively veterans even over the Iraqi Republican Guard

In short, Desert Storm worked so well because it was technologically asymmetrical, but conducted on the operational level (from the Iraqi side) as if it were a symmetrical conflict. Note that in 2003, Iraq changed its conduct of the operation massively. In the end they still lost (to the extent that the regime did not survive), but it wasn't quite the slam dunk that the US believed it had been after the rapid fall of Baghdad. My perception isn't so much that Schwartzkopf was a supreme leader but that Iraq made a serious error in assessing the technological gap, and thus applied a fundamentally flawed operational concept; yes, leadership contributed a lot - but negatively, on the enemy's side.


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#4416457 - 04/16/18 06:46 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: 462cid]  
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Originally Posted by 462cid
Norman had a little help from a pilot named John Boyd

+1 on that. Not only was he one of the finest and technically accomplished military pilots, by all accounts undefeated in any engagement although some refute this, he was far more than that. IMHO, John Boyd was one of the most under rated people in recent history and too few fully appreciated his thinking. The military in particular seemed extremely slow to grasp his ideas.

Last edited by BeeDeeBee; 04/16/18 07:11 AM.
#4416472 - 04/16/18 10:26 AM Re: A Marine general led a fictional Iran against US military – and won [Re: No Fear]  
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Part of the problem is that Boyd left relatively little in writing. He seems to have perfectionized the art of delivering briefings, but he didn't leave behind a book like "On War", or the "Maneuver Warfare Handbook" that could be used as mandatory reading material in military education. That's not to say that there isn't anything left to study, of course.


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