The Chinese Navy trains its own US Navy officers for realistic wargames

Since the early 70s, the Nanjing Naval Academy, which trains officers and senior officers of the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army, has actively practiced wargaming to train its trainees.

In recent years, however, a new category of trainers has participated in these training sessions. Specially trained to reproduce the doctrines and behavior of US Navy officers, they systematically play “blue” forces, i.e. American, to give the simulations increased realism.

The limits of wargames touched by the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army

The Nanjing Naval Academy, in Jiangsu, is one of the two equivalents of the French Naval School, which also has a higher curriculum, similar to the war school. It trains officers of the Military Navy of the People's Liberation Army in the conduct of naval operations, as well as in combat techniques.

It has used the wargame tool for several decades as part of its training, whether for trainees in initial training, or as part of the training of senior officers. Thus, each year, it organizes an exercise lasting around ten days, called “Sea Plan” (筹海), to give its trainees the experience of conducting large-scale naval operations.

Chinese Navy Admiral Shen Jinlong
Admiral Shen served as Chief of Naval Staff appointees from 2017 to 2021

Chinese trainers are, however, perfectly aware of the limits of the wargame exercise, particularly when simulated between trainees from the same training. Indeed, both camps, including those playing the opposing forces, or OpFor, tend to apply the taught doctrines, therefore the Chinese doctrines, effectively reducing the effectiveness of the simulation.

It was to meet this need that Rear Admiral Shen Jinlong, who would subsequently become the Chief of Staff of the Chinese Navy from 2017 to 2021, set up, while he was directing this academy. naval from 2011 to 2015, a specialized team of trainers to play the famous Forces Bleues.

Chinese Navy officers in US Navy uniforms

Admiral Shen went to recruit among Chinese naval officers with the best international experience, while having a sharp tactical mind. This team, which pushed realism to the point of wearing the uniform of the US Navy, made it possible to significantly improve the perceived effectiveness of the wargaming sessions, in particular for this navy which lacked combat experience, to support its training.

The initial experience quickly attracted the attention of the Chinese general staff, especially since it had made simulation one of the pillars of its operational preparation since 2014. This is how the small team of specialized trainers, built around Admiral Sheng, quickly became the Center of Blue Teams.

Nanjing Blue Forces Center
The trainers at the Nanjing Blue Forces Center have only one mission, to reproduce as faithfully as possible the behavior of the opposing naval forces.

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