GameTalk: Recon and Doctrine

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Byron Grant, 22 December 2014

Recon by design?

(caveat: I have a Napoleonic frame of reference on this discussion, but it’s more broadly applicable with some changes in terminology)

So on the real battlefield, you’ve got recon units and scouts and light cavalry that all play different (but similar) security roles in trying to identify enemy threats on the battlefield before you encounter them the hard way, and enable your forces to react appropriately to newly-detected threats.

cavOn paper, you can get away with

  1. violating doctrine,
  2. chasing around anything that pops up,
  3. ignoring the recon missions of these sorts of units and instead using them as highly-mobile, light combat units.

This skews force ratios from the historical battles, changes the information available to the participants, and introduces all sorts of battlefield wackiness.

What might a system look like that has a main body with a fixed objective, whose recon assets have some more flexibility of maneuver, but who cannot deviate from the base orders without ‘knowledge’ of what else is out there. So if the scouts don’t get high enough on the ridgeline to see the cavalry regiment hiding behind the hill, the corps main body never reacts to it.

How do you designate that route of march? The recon objectives? The triggers between the recon units looking for the enemy and the corps HQs reacting to reports of the enemy and issuing the changes in orders to change the movement?

On a more modern battlefield, we’ve discussed ways that recon/intel can use NAIs. Depending on what’s detected within those NAIs, additional orders may be triggered for certain units to change the plan to react to those actions.

What sayeth the crowd? How do you keep scouting/recon units in their historical/doctrinal role? How do you limit the knowledge of the HQs such that the scouts are once again the “eyes and ears” of the command without resorting to a double-blind game?


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