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Innovation, wargaming, and the development of armored warfare

By Daniel S. (Daniel Simon) Carter

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of simulation in the development of armored warfare doctrine during the interwar period. All the Great Powers faced the challenge of how to integrate new technologies, particularly the tank, radio, and aircraft, into a coherent combined arms doctrinal framework. I compare the French and German experiences in order to assess the role that wargames played in driving doctrinal development. The case studies show that wargames, on the map and in the field, gave the German army a significant edge as it sought to develop new doctrine for armored warfare. This finding is an important addition to existing theory on military innovation, which tends to view doctrine as the product of geopolitical and organizational forces. Wargames provided a means of testing doctrinal ideas in a simulated wartime environment, and the lessons learned during these simulations fed into ongoing debates on doctrinal development. Wargaming well is a technically challenging business, and requires particular technical skills and capabilities. The Germans developed these capabilities earlier than their French counterparts, in part because the German army traditionally favored a rationalist, corporate approach to the management of military affairs.(cont.) This cultural outlook made it easier to develop a rigorous wargaming capability, and also meant that lessons learned in games were taken more seriously than they were in France. Given the right conditions, wargaming can be a powerful tool for developing new military doctrine during peacetime, thus conferring a significant edge on the battlefield should war erupt.by Daniel S. Carter.Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2005.Pages 73 and 74 blank.Includes bibliographical references

Topics: Political Science.
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.mit.edu:1721.1/33688
Provided by: DSpace@MIT

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