What Arma 3 Got Right as a MilSim

Back in the time when Arma 3 got released, I have to confess that I was not very fond of the setting, the equipment and the war being fought. Futuristic weapons and equipment was just a tiny bit of it, a peeve that I learned to let go when I experienced that the engagement envelopes and effects were very close to real life platforms. The islands setting did not bother me because I understood it was more a necessity given the scope of the gameplay. The vehicles selection leaned towards the light ones with exceptions here and there. All workable. But the scope of the war, more like a medium intensity conflict than a war like the Falklands/Malvinas, didn’t suit me well. Not that I wanted WWIII in an scenario, but the spirit of the game was on the light side. In my mind taking an island was no joke and Arma 3 was no Operation Husky.

Well, this screenshot is not from the original Arma 3 release but from a subsequent DLC. But the island of Tanoa offers a perfect place to mull over future USMC doctrine.

In real life and as I write this, the US Navy and the US Marine Corps are rethinking their expeditionary advanced base operations. The Chinese are up to something and generating a lot of noise with their exercises in amphibious warfare. Major Joshua C. Waddell, from the U.S. Marine Corps has just written a very enlightening article in the US Naval Institute Proceedings. The article is entitled “Rethink the MEU for Tomorrow’s Expeditionary Operations” and is almost a doctrinal framework for littoral operations task forces.


Some quotes from Major Waddell’s article:

Landings of light infantry would be conducted by small boats, patrol craft, and medium-lift air assets.

Eliminate light and heavy armor and supporting assets.

The MEU should deploy one small-boat-capable company and one motorized light infantry company with UTVs.

For the Navy component, this concept would rely on small hulls such as the Mk VI patrol boat and littoral combat ship (LCS).

The tactics to be used by these real life MEU can be read in the article: distributed operations conducted by small units trained to be resilient and self-sufficient for extended periods of time. The doctrinal changes proposed by the USNI Proceedings are an ode to the economy of force principle. There is a lot to be discussed about this article and I am sure I will feature some content about it in the future.

Arma 3, the original content and its DLCs, portray exactly that type of warfare that feels like you are a guerrilla in NATO uniform. Arma 3 has wandered into some content that makes me scratch my head (Karts, Contact, Laws of War and Old Man), but today I gained some extra appreciation for its legacy.