From 17 June to 16 August, I will be a Visiting Fellow at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) in Belgrade, Serbia. During my stay, I will conduct fieldwork for a range of projects across the Balkans with a focus on Serbia, Hungary and North Macedonia. I will also do pre-recognisance for future Staff Rides and battlefield tours.
Category: Teaching and Learning
Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a wargame in Sweden that was part of an elective course on Land Operations in our Higher Joint Command and Staff Programme taking place in Skåne in the south of Sweden. It was an intense learning experience that required careful planning and tactical thinking from our students.
This week I have co-organised a Staff-Ride for a course on land operations and tactics for the Joint Higher Command and Staff Program at the Swedish Defence University together with Lt Col Per Lindahl, Head of the Land Operations Division. It has been a very successful trip where we used four different themes – Technology, Logistics, Urban Warfare and Tactics – as a starting point for discussions and seminars at various themed terrain locations.
During 1-4 March I conducted a staff ride in the Netherlands with a focus on urban combat and resistance under occupation together with Patrik Wiklund from the Military History Division of the Swedish Defence University. Special focus was put on the Battle of Nijmegen and the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 and the experiences of German occupation in Amsterdam during the second world war.
We also visit Eben-Emael and Grebbeberg to discuss innovation and creativity in war, the importance of willingness to fight and the role of history and war games in PME.
On 27 Feb – 1 Mar a team from the Land Operations Divisions, with support from the Military History Division, conducted a reconnaissance and experience-sharing exercise in Belgium and France. During the trip, we studied examples from both world wars, studying the 1940 Spring Offensive, the Battle of Somme 1916 and the Battle of Amiens 1918. The aim was to draw lessons from previous executions within the Staff Course of the Swedish Defence University.
I just published a handbook on planning and conducting staff rides in Swedish titled En handbok om fältövningar: Att planera och leda en fältövning.
The full text can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7655034 The Swedish text is a development of our peer-reviewed English article “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” in the Journal on Baltic Security available here
Praktiska pedagogiska redskap är en central del i utbildningen av officerare. Detta är ett område där det finns en lång tradition, både på Försvarshögskolan och inom Försvarsmakten mer generellt. Detta är också ett område där Försvarshögskolan alltid har varit framträdande, där metoder som applikatoriska exempel (applex), krigsspel, fältövningar, stabstjänstövningar och taktiska problem under lång tid har använts. Denna handbok riktar in sig på ett av dessa pedagogiska redskap: fältövningar.
Handboken är disponerad som följer: först ges en historisk bakgrund till fältövningar och vi diskuterar vad en fältövning är och vilka typer som finns. Därefter flyttar fokus till tankar kring att planera och genomföra en fältövning. Här diskuterar vi planeringsfasen, lärdomar kring nyttan av att rekognosera inför genomförande och tankar kring fältövningens pedagogiska genomförande. Handboken avslutas med en diskussion kring hur man bör tänka när man planerar och genomför en fältövning, både praktiskt och pedagogiskt. Här presenteras även en schematisk modell kring fältövningens pedagogiska dynamik för olika målgrupper baserat på deras förförståelse och olika fältövningars komplexitet.
My new peer-reviewed article on “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” has just been published in Journal on Baltic Security. It has been co-authored by Major Jonas Björkqvist and Patrik Wiklund at the Swedish Defence University.
The use of various practical pedagogical tools is an important part of officer training. This is also an area where there is a long tradition in the training of officer cadets and officers in staff colleges as well as in the Armed Forces more generally. This article focuses on staff rides aimed at teaching tactics and operational arts based on historical examples. This type of staff-rides aims to learn from history with a bearing on the present and the future.
The article is organized as follows: first, the article gives a short overview of the history of staff rides, followed by a discussion on different types of staff rides. Then the focus shifts to ways to plan and carry out a staff ride. This includes the planning phase, reconnaissance, and the different pedagogical tools that can be used and their implementation. The article concludes with a discussion of how to think when planning and carrying out staff rides, both practically and pedagogically. The article here presented a schematic model of the pedagogical dynamics of the staff ride for different target groups based on their pre-understanding and the complexity of different field exercises.
Weissmann, Mikael, Jonas Björkqvist, Patrik Wiklund, “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides”, Journal on Baltic Security 8(2022), no. 2, 61-82. FULL TEXT
On 2-6 November Major Jonas Björkqvist and I conducted a Staff Ride in Crete studying Operation Mercury, the German airborn invasion of Crete in May 1941. This trip is part of a development project to enhance our teaching for Officer Cadets at the Swedish Defence University.
The focus was on Constructive Alignment and the use of War Games as a pedagogical tool in Staff Rides and Case Studies.
To learn more about our approach to Staff Rides, please read our article “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” in the Journal on Baltic Security, the peer-reviewed journal of the Baltic Defence College. [Full text]