Why war games? How can a game teach us anything about conflicts that took place decades, if not centuries ago? Can we gain any insight into how battles could have been won or lost? The answer to most of these questions is yes, but why war games? War games, in the purest sense of the term, allow you to recreate historical scenarios through mathematical probabilities tethered to reality. I can think of no other way to "watch" a war in progress, and see how things operate from a command point of view.
Lets take the example of Waterloo, which was the fateful end of Napoleon's reign. What brought Napoleon to his knees was the unexpected interjection of Bulcher's Prussians on the weaker French right flank, before Napoleon had a chance to disorder and overwhelm Wellingtons British troops on the opposite end of the front line. War games afford us the unique opportunity to see how things could have gone differently, and also provide the assurance of proof given that the rules are tailored to reality.
|The battle of Waterloo.|
This is why I find military history so fascinating. No other kind of crisis, only war, can produce earth shattering changes to the course of history. Small things have big consequences, and it speaks highly of generals who are able to take note of this and shift their plans on the go to fit the situation. If any of us are to truly understand the world around us and how it came to be, one must study the literal maneuvers of humanity's single largest tribulation, war.