How a retired general defeated the US invasion army

In mid-2002, the US Army conducted the largest-scale exercise in military history, costing the treasury $ 250 million. They were called Millennium Challenge 2002 (Millennium Challenge 2002) and included both tactical exercises of personnel and computer simulations of military operations. It was a tremendous test of the transition to new high-tech methods of warfare, which was supposed to show its clear advantage over the "old-fashioned methods". According to the plan of the clash, US forces were designated as "Blue", and an unknown representative of the Middle East - "Red". Despite the fictitious names of both sides, it was clear that the scenario of the games was a veiled exercise to invade Iran.

The "Blues" were led by the current command of the US Army, but the role of the enemy leaders went to retired Marine Corps General Paul Van Riper, who, according to all canons, should have surrendered within 24 hours. But something went wrong ...

According to the scenario of a war game, a flotilla of US Navy warships and amphibious assault ships entered the Persian Gulf to suppress enemy resistance, using multiple advantages in manpower and modern technology. However, Van Riper did not play by the rules from the very beginning. Having served in the US Army for over 40 years, the general was well acquainted with his potential enemy, so he was always one step ahead.

Despite all efforts to intercept the "Reds" communications, there was silence on the air, since Van Riper first of all seized communications from his subordinates, and all orders were transmitted through couriers on motorcycles.

In addition, the retired general chose a partisan strategy, sending a large fleet of small boats to meet the Blues under the guise of fishermen. As soon as the enemy entered the affected area, the Reds used mined ships and kamikaze planes to undermine enemy equipment, and also launched a massive preemptive cruise missile strike against the Blue's ship formations, conditionally destroying 16 ships, including an aircraft carrier, 10 cruisers and 5 of 6 landing ships. The equivalent of such a success in real combat would have resulted in the deaths of more than 20, 000 personnel.

It was a complete failure of the latest American military doctrine based on multiple technical superiority over the enemy. However, at that moment, the exercises were stopped by order from the "top". The scenario of the game was changed so as to guarantee the victory of the US Navy, because it was necessary to somehow justify the completely useless waste of $ 250 million. Van Riper was ordered to turn off anti-aircraft radars and stop shooting down planes transporting enemy troops. In addition, it was announced that the ships that had sunk to the bottom were "restored to buoyancy." After this, the teachings could continue according to the first plan. And General Van Riper received a new introduction: the "Reds" were instructed to strictly follow a previously written script and without any improvisation.

Realizing the impossibility of his participation in a completely staged exercise, Van Riper resigned from his post. He later expressed concern about the fact that the essence of the fighting games was distorted and aimed only at reinforcing the impression of the existing military doctrine and the opinion about the infallibility of the US military leadership, and not at gaining new experience. In response to criticism, the leadership of the US Army asked the general not to meddle in his own business.