Tactical Psychology – fear and common sense in combat
In close combat much of a soldier’s brainpower is taken up with the basic functions of avoiding death and injury. Most soldiers are not keen on killing other people either, and have their perceptual and decision-making abilities degraded by stress and fatigue. Though blindingly obvious, these facts are usually overlooked in tactical doctrine, training and equipment development.
Tactical psychology is the art and science of exploiting human weakness – encouraging the enemy to run, hide or surrender. When done correctly it increases operational tempo, saves lives on both sides and saves ammunition. It can stop a war descending into a quagmire. By developing the Brains & Bullets model of combat participation and providing human factors input to MOD studies, Wapentakes has built unrivalled expertise in identifying and quantifying critical aspects of tactical psychology.
Previous work includes:
Human Factors input to Operational Analysis – a 1990s project that studied fear, surprise and shock. It aslo developed ShockSAF, which allowed computer-generated forces (bots) in training simulators to suffer basic suppressive fire and flanking effects.
Tactical Psychology in Platoon Combat Experimentation (2014) – a Wapentakes study for the Defence Human Capability Science and Technology Centre. Found that the training systems used in PCE precluded adequate representation of suppressive fire and flanking effects. Also identified potentially severe limitations on current models of suppressive fire. Limited circulation report available on request.
Updating STANAG 4513 (2015) – supporting Dstl’s revision of the NATO definitions of suppressive fire. Confirmed problems with suppression models likely to degrade the assessment of intermediate “universal” calibre weapon system. Limited circulation report available on request.
Donkeys Led by Lions – A British Army Review article by Wapentakes associates on soldier burden.
Moral and Morale – This doesn’t really count as work. It’s a failed bid to examine the link between legitimacy of a conflict and the combat effectiveness of soldiers.