The British Infantry Company Commanders' School
suggests that greater realism can be added to indoor war
games by using two identical sand-table models in each
exercise. This enables two groups to oppose each other,
one on the offensive and the other on the defensive. The
tables should be placed in separate rooms, preferably
adjoining each other and as nearly sound-proof as possible.
Such an arrangement is a particularly good training
medium for platoon commanders and squad leaders; it is
stimulating in that two sides are actually pitted against
each other. The procedure offers a wide training scope,
because the instructor can take up with each group war
problems extending from the plan of the platoon commander
down to the detailed action of each individual
soldier. To derive the greatest benefit, students should
give their orders and otherwise conduct themselves as in
actual warfare. Wearing of gas masks would give added
realism to the exercise.
2. SUGGESTED PROCEDURE IN DETAIL
An instructor and, preferably, two assistants should
coordinate the exercise. They act as umpires, with the
senior instructor moving from one group to the other to
explain each situation as it would appear to the other
side and assess the fire effect and casualties.
Each side is given a written report dealing with the
situation at the start of the exercise and the mission it is
Realism can be added by having colored pegs to represent
the platoon commander, squad commander, and so
on. Also, cotton or wool could be used to represent
smoke and the burst of high explosives.
|Figure 7. Sand Model War Game|
The instructors should keep students strictly to what is
practical, reminding them when necessary of the factors
of time and space in connection with transmitting information
and executing their plans. Distances, ranges
of weapons, visibility, and the existence of streams, banks,
woods, bogs, railroads, and mire as antitank obstacles or
otherwise, need interpretation to students until they have
as vivid an impression of the country depicted by the sand
model as they would have if they were on the ground
itself. Emphasis should be given to the actual position
of students and the exact routes taken when on reconnaissance.
For instance, would they be riding, walking,
running, or crawling? Are their weapons loaded? If so,
what is the position of the safety catch? Would they use
their binoculars? Would the sun reflect from their
celluloid map cases, and thereby give the enemy sniper
an easy shot with his telescopically sighted rifle?
The instructors should see that the following points, among
others, are brought out:
a. By the Attackers
(1) The plan and orders of platoon and squad commanders;
(2) Routes of advance and formation;
(3) Position of antitank rifle, mortar, and Tommy gun;
(4) Action when fired on;
(5) Use of smoke;
(6) Action on reaching objective;
(7) Withdrawal (if applicable);
b. By the Defenders
(1) Orders by platoon and squad commanders for occupation of position;
(2) Orders regarding the digging of weapon pits;
(3) Concealment of squad posts and fields of fire;
(4) Antiaircraft protection;
(5) Antigas protection;
(6)Position of platoon headquarters and platoon weapons;
(7) Covering of road blocks;
(8) See that squad leaders know the position of platoon
headquarters, that they know who is on the right and left, and
that they prepare range cards;
(9) The position of wire (if applicable).
c. Regarding Administrative Duties.
(1) Ammunition supply;
(2) Evacuation of casualties;
(4) Provision of spare clothing;
(5) Position of platoon truck;
(7) Duty rosters;
(8) Organization of platoon for work.
The instructor and his assistants should see that the
action is not slowed up--the tempo should tend to increase
toward the end of the exercise. To help achieve
this result, the instructor can allow the student less time
to take action on the information he brings them dealing
with the movements and actions of the opposing sides.
The height of interest is reached at the conclusion when
both sides are brought together, and the instructor points
out the dispositions of the opposing forces on the respective
sand models and relates the moves and counter moves
made by both sides during the exercise.