Oberon wrote:Many years ago, probably the 60's or 70's, the military conducted a study using tabletop wargamers as potential trainers for their officer cadre. The thought process was that these guys played wargames for fun, and that this gave them a huge pile of experience which might be useful to the Army. Recall Parson saying to Stanley and Wanda "I was just about to game a scenario like this. [...] Plan. A war. For fun"? Same situation. But the Army study was a disaster. The Generals were shocked at how many losses the veteran wargamers were willing to take to win a scenario. No General officer could contemplate throwing away so many lives, it went against their training and moral values. And so the concept was scrapped. This is an exact parallel of Parson in Erfworld: A wargamer willing to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how horrific the losses. Because the losses are just squares of paper on a board, and winning is the only thing which counts.
That's really interesting, please tell more. The Cold War in general was a time when mathematical modelling in all its many guises (game theory, system theory, control theory etc) truly exploded and claimed dominance in every domain, and because of that (among many other things naturally) it was a very interesting time in history.
To your example of ruthless wargamers, I will now bring the WW2 Battle of the Atlantic. I cite that thing a lot because really- ... well, just see.
What it was all about- Britain was fighting Germany (a fight that looked bad for Britain), and needed supplies. The USA would send these, but British ships needed to take them across the pond. Germany took a grim view to that, and so the submarine warfare began, with Germany trying to sink as many of the supply convoys as possible.
If your ship was sunk, you were as good as dead (and likely literally dead in minutes). But what mattered, for the war effort, was not that everybody made it home. What mattered was that either enough ships and their cargo got back (if you were the British) or that, reversely, you managed to sink enough shipping tonnage or whatever that was called while not losing too many U-Boats (if you were the Germans). Both sides adopted tactics to achieve these goals. But you can never be safe. Make one convoy impervious to the typical U-Boat pack, but then you have no ships to protect others. Attack in great U-Boat packs, but you cover less sea. You can never be safe, you can just tilt odds and actuarial records. Standard warfare planning so far.
Then the now famous cryptoanalysts at Bletchley Park managed to crack the code the German Navy was using. It took a lot of work, which would need to be done again if the Germans found out and changed the code machines (which happened eventually, it was a code race that one. But, this promised to tilt the odds more in Britain's favour. (It wasn't the only thing in their favour, but that's not important right now). You could spy on German transmissions, see where the subs were, and route convoys around them.
Do that too often though, and you arise suspicion. So, you needed to invent clever ways to make use of that information (a scout plane just "happened" to fly where a U-Boat pack was), or ruthless ways: not use it at all, and leave the sailors to their fate. All to prolong the time you have the ability to eavesdrop effectively. Even more, decoding was not that easy when not knowing the code machine settings. To get those, the British would sometimes try to "plant" information (which could be a ship or two at some position), then assume the next coded transmissions included the information they planted; this gave more information to the code breakers.
The point of the rant above- it was all absolutely ruthless on both sides. Once the thing got going, there was no way to be otherwise. Had either of them been softer, it would have been even worse for that side. But you do wonder how naval command managed to sleep after the war.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.