David has been a wargamer and wargame designer for around 50 years – although ironically not for the 10 years he spent in the British Army. David founded his software & consultancy company Daden in 2004. Working with MOD to automatically generate social media to support urban wargames David developed a wider interest in the issues of urban conflict and how they could best be wargamed. David started his part-time PhD on wargaming urban conflict at Bath Spa University under Dr John Curry in early 2022, and is currently researching the unique features of urban warfare and how it has been wargamed in the past. Alongside the research David is also designing new urban wargames looking at different aspects of the challenge. David is an ex-Royal Signals officer, a Chartered European Engineer, a TEDx presenter, and is currently also series co-editor for Taylor & Francis on their Metaverse Series of books.
Subject Area Keywords
Complex operations, Methodology, War studies
Recent years have seen increased interest in the professional use of wargames, and wargames are a potential tool to enable a better understanding of past urban conflicts and to plan for future urban security. Whilst access to professional wargames are limited, hobby wargames have been identified as useful and closely related areas to study. Previous work has identified around 214 manual hobby wargames that deal with urban conflict, but only 5 battles are covered by 5 or more wargames, and so provide a reasonable sample for comparative reviews. The Battle of Hue battle had many of the hallmarks of a modern urban battle, with both symmetric and asymmetric opposition, combined arms, a civilian and media presence, and the use of innovative technology. This article examines how 6 different wargame designers have approached the Battle of Hue, and how their design choices relate to the key characteristic of the Battle of Hue. The article also identifies where the principal deficiencies are. The article concludes by considering the issues highlighted by these games that wargaming has in representing urban conflict, and how these could be addressed in order to make wargaming a more useful tool to model urban conflict and security.
This paper represent the opinions of the author. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of Bath Spa University or Daden Limited. Any errors are the fault of the author.
I acknowledge to support of my Supervisor, Dr John Curry, and my fellow wargaming PhD students in the preparation of this paper.
Burden, David J.H.. "The Battles of Hue: Understanding Urban Conflicts through Wargaming." Journal of Strategic Security 16, no. 3 (2023)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol16/iss3/9
Figure 2 - Comparative Areas covered by the Hue Wargames
Fig 1b - Vietnam Battles - Hue.jpg (1658 kB)
Figure 1b - Vietnam Battles Hue
WiH Turn 1 Phase 4.png (1337 kB)
Figure 1c - A Week in Hell
Figure 1d - CoC.jpg (220 kB)
Figure 1d - City of Confusion
Figure 1e - Battle of Hue.jpg (4002 kB)
Figure 1e - The Battle of Hue
Figure 1f - Block by Block.JPG (2619 kB)
Figure 1f - Block by Block
Fig 1a - Hue.jpg (1742 kB)
Fig 1a - Hue.jpg