World War 3 Wargame Shows High Losses and Logistic Gap

Students of the US Marine Corps War College held a WW3 wargame over a couple of days. They created the scenario of a simultaneous Russian attack on Eastern Europe, North Korea attacking South Korea and China attacking Taiwan.

They used GMT Games war games.

There were three red teams, representing Russia, China, and North Korea who were against three blue teams representing Taiwan, Indo-Pacific Command (Korea conflict) and European Command. All teams coordinated their activities both before the conflict and during.

Each team was given $200 billion dollars to invest in technology, equipment or diplomacy. Russia and China teams were forced to split their funding. Every team invested heavily in hypersonic technology, cyber (offensive and defensive), space, and lasers. The U.S. team also invested a large sum in directed diplomacy and upgrading logistics infrastructure.

What Was Learned

The US and allies would win but there would be high casualties. In the first week of the war, US and allies would have 150,000 losses (World War I levels of attrition) from fighting in Poland, Korea, and Taiwan.

Actual logistics was hugely simplified for the game. However, it was noted the current U.S. military infrastructure could not support even half the forces for intense conflict.

The commercial wargames were overly realistic and therefore very complex and difficult to master, and time-consuming to play. The designer has agreed to produce a simplified rule-set that will allow for more student iterations without sacrificing realism.

In Korea, the allies must hold for approximately 10 days before the North Korean logistics system collapses. The fighting remains brutal even after North Korea’s logistics system collapses. Moreover, the restrictive terrain and density of forces leads to particularly intense combat.

Cyber attacks combined with maneuver forces always proved to be a deadly combination. A cyberattack on its own was close to useless.

Airpower was a decisive advantage on the battlefield. However, planes rarely assisted the ground war until after a multi-week campaign to break enemy air defenses.

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