War games in armies are brought to the fore by the Ukrainian conflict

Camouflaged fatigues, concentrated meetings, two Italian officers confronting two Britons. Their weapons? Plastic soldiers and miniature tanks moving around on a small colored board during a “war game” or war game are reviving the conflict in Ukraine.

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THERE ISA total of six military teams (Germans, Americans, Belgians, British, French and Italians) battled in an international meet organized by the International School of War Games through infantry deployed in the vast halls of the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris. War-Earth.

The practice is certainly not new: the “Kriegsspiel” (war game, German) was developed by the Prussian army in the 19th century to train its officers in battle tactics. Since then, almost all world headquarters use it.

A war game with the prospect of a possible return of major conflicts between major nations “Indeed, it has been on the agenda for five to ten years, and especially in the Army, we have been working on it intensively for two to three years.”Colonel Sébastien Chenebeau, director of the War-Ground School, explained that starting this year, about 40 hours of “combat gaming” were practiced in the institution’s trainee course.

“It saves time, money, and allows you to fail so you can learn from it and improve. Its advantage is that it is a very low-cost method of developing a transaction with excellent performance.”he summarizes.

Most of the games used by School of War-Earth are also commercially available for a few tens of euros.

The goal is to prepare for conflict without deploying all troops

As for the military, this type of game can be used by civilians, business leaders, researchers, journalists, etc. has many advantages, explains Pierre Razoux, academic director of the Foundation for Mediterranean Strategic Studies (FMES). or serious games (“serious games”) sessions.

“It really forces you to ask yourself what I’m trying to achieve, what tools and strategies are needed depending on the context and other players’ strategies. It is an original tool, not widely used in France, whereas in the Anglo-Saxon world it is widely used to contribute to strategic thinking.– assures Mr. Razu.

The great advantage of war games is that multiple conflict units can be simulated there, from the support of public opinion to the evolution of the world economy, influence maneuvers or the impact of battles on the logistics chains of armies. .

“War games are important, and not just for the operational or strategic insights they can generate […]This experiential learning (learning by doing) has proven to be a more effective teaching tool than simple lectures or seminars. It’s very powerful”Michael Petersen, director of the US Naval War College, emphasizes.

However, this does not mean that gaming experience in itself is capable of revealing ready-made answers to military problems. According to experts, his interest lies more in his ability to generate discussion and questioning.

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