Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts

Here is my proposed intro to the game. It states clearly what I intend to do and especially what I intend to not do with the game. I am curious what people think.

MOUT: Mobility Operations on Urban Terrain

When Rome was sacked in July of 390 B.C. it was Gaul invaders. Though they likely didn’t have a term like MOUT to describe what happened after they got through the city walls they certainly knew that taking a big city was not a walk in the park. Back then the narrow streets and alleyways were a great hindrance on the ability of both the Gaul and the Romans to fight. Well over 2000 years later we are still perfecting the ability to fight in urban terrain. The equipment has changed but the problem remains doggedly similar.

In this game you will lead teams opting to secure town and city blocks. MOUT reflects the reality of urban fighting today – close encounter ranges, a need to utilize available cover as much as possible and an environment where the enemy could be anywhere. In fact the enemy could just as easily appear in your rear as well as to your front. MOUT also attempts to show the basic differences between combatants with highly developed combat skills, equipment and complex Rules Of Engagement against combatants that lack both sophistication and tactical doctrine. When your platoon shows up on the battlefield with its own attached lawyer you can be sure this isn’t your grandpa’s Army. Likewise when you face an enemy with a high birthrate, a low regard for human life and a fanatical zeal you can be sure of one thing: you will be up to your ass in Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts in no time.

This game is not about guns in their bountiful configurations. It is not about camouflage pattern differences. It is not about right or wrong. It is about tactics and culture as it influences strategy and about problem solving. Comparing the 5.56mm vs. the 7.62mm or the effectiveness of DPM vs. ACUPAT are not important factors we consider. The game scenarios are as familiar as the headlines. This game is being written during a time when several nations are at war in the Middle East. These wars involve state and non-state actors. This game is an exercise to simulate the urban environment and the tactics needed to conquer it. It is not an attempt to play out the conflicts and judge their merit. At this point in time we do not know the legacy of these conflicts nor what the morale judgment of time will be. For all we care about is “embracing the suck” and slaying the same beast the Gaul Invaders had to 24 centuries ago.


  1. Evernevermore says:

    I wasnt suggesting any differentiation – I was looking for clarification. The blips and contacts cover what Im asking about. While Im not interested in a modern day game I am interested in using a system that emphasizes the modern control systems with a slightly more sci-fi weapon systems like those found in the Starfist and Bolo sci-fi novel series.

  2. On your second question let me ask you what you think the benefit of advanced communication is. The game already has choppers, UAVs, UCAVs in it. I also differentiate between “blips” and “contacts” where a “blip” is a hand-off contact transmitted by radio or Force XXI-esque gear and “contacts” are combatants you can see.

    What would you suggest for further differentiation?

  3. Great question. Lets compare 3 weapons: M4 with HWS, AK-47 with iron sights and the Styer AUG with all the gucci kit a modern nation can add to it.

    Key differences appear in minute of arc (a better term than accuracy), rate of fire, stability, recoil absorbtion, time to acquire the target, energy and size of round, etc.

    Now put yourself in an environment where the furthest you are going to encounter the enemy is about 50 yards. Pretty much all of those differences cancle each other out. My puny 5.56 with good shot placement is going to ruin your day just as well as your fat 7.62 would mine. The AUG is a brilliant weapon but a lot of that kit would get in the way when you have to react rapidly.

    Put another way, I am not going to walk into a firefight and upon hearing the distinctive sound of the AK-47 say “thank god they have that crappy gun!”

    So there will be a difference between an assault rifle and a SAW and a pistol and a HMG but there won’t be a variety of different assault rifles. In the end all the pros and cons are a wash – you model your tactics on what you show up with.

    So the real problem with urban combat is not solved with equipment and cannot be at this point in history. Since 24 centuries of this crap has been going on I am going to hazzard a bet that it never will be solved with some magical piece of equipment. Call me crazy.

    The solution is tactical. Those tactics aren’t learned in an afternoon reading FM90-10/MCWP3-35.3. Fort Knox has a giant outdoor simulator used to hone the skills and tactics needed for these operations (look up the Zussman combat center online). They are not easily obtained and showing up on the battlefield without having learned them is a lousy time to start your education.

    Consider this; if you were to give the other side my M4 with HWS and you give my team his AKs we will still dominate because the tactics are the same. So long as we follow “best practices” the edge goes to us.

    Now then, the enemy can prevent me from winning the fight by changing his tactics. We have seen that happen quite a bit in the last 4 years. First there were IED. Then there were off-route IEDs. Then there were off-route IEDs that can penetrate armor. Most recently they tried flying IEDs. That didn’t work out so good, but A for effort.

    Learn the OODA loop and think of how it can apply to a ten minute space of time and then expand the concept to 4 hours and finally in terms of months. When you are inside his loop (i.e. he is on D while you are still on the first O) it will go badly for you. However if you have him inside your loop you have the opportunity to teach him the full meaning of “embrace the suck”.

    Finally there are many cultural differences. This clash of cultures is not new. Consider the Souix and their experience hunting bison vs. 7th Cavalry and their experience in the Civil War trying to get those tactics to work for them during the Plains Wars. Consider the other differences as well with one culture interested in “coup strikes” and preservation of life vs. another culture that accepted massive casualties for military objectives. Culturally both sides had different view even on what was victory. “Same difference” here.

    I’m going to have to stick this into the notes section. Thanks for asking.

  4. Evernevermore says:

    Very interesting project, I’ve got a couple questions though.

    – When you say guns in their bountiful variations wont be considered important, just how generalized will they be. While I know you arent going to have stats for most variants what about something like the AK 47 and AK74 – will the caliber difference matter?

    – Will you be examining the effect that advanced communications equipment can have on a battle?

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