Thursday, September 11, 2008

Army Men Play Test

Army Men Play Test

A plastic bag of Army Men was procured at the Berlin, Wisconsin Wal-Mart. In the bag were:

1) F-117
1) Mil Mi-24 gunship
2) knee-height sand-bag barriers
2) flagpoles, with flags
2) lengths of concertina wire
24) Army Men - Light Green Army (LGA)
24) Army Men - Dark Green Army (DGA)

The LGA army is a two-squad infantry unit. The enlisted soldiers are equipped with a M16A2, the officers with M9 pistols and binoculars.

The DGA forces have a short squad of riflemen, a rocket-launcher section, flame-thrower section, a mortar section a mine-detection team and two radiomen.

1,274 words omitted.

The second exercise featured the entire complement of the LGA, verses a much smaller force of DGA men - the heavy-weapons squad minus the rifle squad, flamethrower section and mine-detection team. An officer army man coordinated the heavy-weapons teams , a DGA radioman crouched behind the sandbag barrier to direct fire.

The LGA forces were not grouped tactically but clustered behind their flag and one knee-height berm in a formation that would charitably be described as a cluster gaggle. Despite the close proximity of the forces - four inches on the table top - the LGA did not press their advantage in numbers by engaging the DGA in close quarters battle.

The engaged LGA forces were cut down like wheat .. at .. the harvest. The DGA utilized their their superior firepower simulated by a child's fist descending on a steep arc (mortars) or a shallow trajectory (rockets) into the midst of the LGA cluster gaggle and then unclenching, scattering troops across the tabletop. Secondary effects were observed from these strikes as army men lurched into their comrades, knocking them down like bowling pins.


The engaged LGA did not use effective tactical measure to counter the DGA's superiority in firepower. It is acknowledged that the terrain left much to be desired in that the lack of cover and concealment was, well, like being on a tabletop. Nevertheless, if the LGA leader had disperesed his forces instead of allowing them to cluster in a tight bunch they would have been more effective than otherwise.

Also worth noting is that by clustering in a large oval only the soldiers at the front of the cluster could engage the opposition, thus negating whatever advantage the LGA forces had in superior rifle marksmanship and numbers.

The DGA leadership does get a pass, either. Had the LGA forces been able to engage in CQB their superior numbers would have told. The DGA leader was lucky, but in the future should ensure that the heavy weapons teams have infantry support.

It was noted with approval that the child, at the tender age of eight, appreciates the benefits of bringing a big gun to the fight.

Army Man II by J.E.F.F.

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