Wargaming in 'Real Time'

One generally has to have a committed interest to WWII history to learn much about the November 1944-February 1945 Battle of the Hurtgen Forest (being among the worst defeats ever suffered by the US Army is probably a part of that), but for those in our hobby a fascinating subplot has emerged about the battle.

Field Marshal Walter Model is accorded great regard for his coordination of German defenses during the campaign, and it transpires that, even as the ill-fated US 28th Infantry was jumping off their attack on November 2, Model was running a wargame simulation of *just such a possible scenario* amongst his senior commanders, behind the lines in Cologne. Rather than scrapping the exercise when he learned of the American action, Model ordered the wargaming to continue, substituting actual tactical data for the hypothetical exercise data in as close to real time as possible, then responding with his available defensive assets as the wargame demonstrated various possible outcomes.

Before the Hurtgen campaign ended, over 33,000 Allied casualties had been suffered trying vainly to take 15 miles of woods. Model is often described as 'that rare form of German, the *defensive* military genius;' perhaps 'wargamer' is equally apt.

(for more on the Hurtgen Forest Campaign, see this month's Armchair General Magazine) +++