Fulda Gap and the OODA loop - an AAR

0400 July 20 1989 - Ivan’s really going to go through with it. I never thought he could be this stupid. Hell, no one could be this stupid. I knew something was up when the arty rounds went over our heads but the fear set in when the phone rang and the Old Man’s voice started screaming through the other side of it. I always thought it was strange that we didn’t have safety words to be sure it was the real thing, but “Get moving you Jackass!” seemed to work just as well. Right now, other than my command 577 I’ve got the reserve platoon of Bradley’s and three sections of humvees to hold off the whole Russian army. The radio sounds worse than a Duran Duran concert, but the runners are finding their way. Early reports are that the humvee sections blew the three eastern bridges and then pulled back in the face of Russian recce elements.

0420 - Confirmed the bridges are down east of Bad Neustadt and BRDMs were spotted on 279. That should slow him down a bit, but I’m not kidding myself. Ivan doesn’t sweat river crossings, he’s got plenty of his own to practice on. I told Parisi to get his Bradleys overlooking the 279 crossing cause Ivan will want our side of the highway, and I made sure the humvee sections were racing to the Neustadt bridges to get them into the water. My XO is cracking the whip on the rest of the squadron getting up, but it won’t be enough. Slow them down Wade, just slow them down they keep telling me, but all I can see in my mind is a steamroller. If we can get the other bridges down and if the rest of the squadron comes up like we trained and if we get a little luck, some of us might survive this. But that’s a lot of ifs.

Well as you can see at the top right this game is Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm. Now, I know what you’re thinking- Tanker you must have hit your head and got lost on the internet, because this game has no control setups or gauges and it doesn’t care if my Track IR is on or not! Ok fine but hear me out- This game has some very unique simulation elements to it that I think you will find interesting if you are not familiar with the title. The most important feature (and the real impetus for this AAR) is its simulation of the OODA loop.

The game is turn-based, but unlike most hex and counter wargames the turns are not divided into abstract numbers such as turn 1 and 2 and so on. The turns are divided into blocks of time that are affected by several factors on the battlefield. If you take a look at the box on the left with the highlighted arrows you will see we are on the C3 tab and it shows that we are able to give orders every 17 minutes and the Russians every 18 minutes. This will change as the scenario goes on - If several of my headquarters are destroyed the length of time to my next orders phase will increase and his will decrease. Ew hindrance, number of runners available, command radius and many more factors will modify this as the battle plays out. The really cool factor that results from this is the concept of momentum in a turn based game. When you are doing well it is easier to initiate or react to changes in the battle. When you start to not do well, it snowballs. Your opponent will be inside your decision loop and giving out more orders than you. It becomes increasingly harder to regain the initiative.

There will be times as the AAR plays out you may think “why didn’t he move men there?” The answer will be (other than I am bad at the game) either I simply couldn’t, or I did and they either haven’t received the order yet or they can’t. The hope is that these successes and failures make for a good narrative of a war that didn’t happen.

0455- Crap. I’m blind. Well not actually blind but I might as well be. A couple of recon cars showed up in Heustreu and Parisi’s boys took some shots at them nailing one. Good for them. But I told him to get his ass up on that hill and tell me what is going on down on 279 and that hasn’t happened yet. The Russkies could be throwing a party down there with all the bridging equipment in the world and we wouldn’t know it. The good news is that XO kicked the armor boys out of the rack and now we’ve got some punch overlooking the highway. The thermal change is playing hell with their sights but there’s nothing to look at anyway. Be nice if I could throw some fastcams down there or get any kind of postcard from divisional arty but those assholes probably aren’t even up yet. I got a note that one of the humvee sections made it to the Neustadt main and are wiring it up. They get their second bridge down in an hour and I might have to put in for some jewelry for them. Lets hope so.

It’s too quiet.


*Grabs popcorn

Low voice
Hey, uhm… is this seat taken? I’ve just arrived…

That’s awesome!! $49.99 on Steam- does it go on sale often?

Not sure Aero but my guess would be not too often to be honest. Slitherine/Matrix tend not to sale very much and Steam for their offerings is a relatively new development. There was a Matrix sale earlier however and I would wish list on Steam anyway if I were you.

This is the non-Steam version from Matrix and there is an expansion pack of scenarios which I do not yet have. I would like to work my way through more of the existing scenarios before buying into the pack. The Devs are working on the next in the series called Southern Storm that depicts the war south of the Fulda gap.

British Army of the Rhine and West German forces are also modeled with scenarios for each that depict events within the larger narrative. You can also command all of the Guards and Shock armies you wish. Attack choppers are modeled as units in the game, and airstrikes can be called in off map.

I may AAR a British scenario next, but lets see if I can tell this story with any competence first.

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