Exercise: MOSTLY HARMLESS

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The WS Endurance spaceship bridge simulator. Pictured from left to right are: Count of Dendtler, Grand Duke Travis, and LT Kramer.

Exercise: MOSTLY HARMLESS was a series of simulated Command and Control (C2) missions coordinated by the micronation Slabovia. The Naval Detachment of the Westarctican Royal Guards participated in the exercise, as did a crew from the Aerican Empire. The event occurred over the course of four hours on 22 November 2020.

Background

The Slabovian "Navey" had been running simulated Command and Control exercises for many years utilizing a computer program called the Artemis Bridge Simulator. This simulator allows five or more computers to be designated as terminals on the bridge of a ship, with a captain issuing commands to make the ship maneuver, explore, and battle in a simulated battlespace. The basic premise is similar to that of Star Trek with primary terminals devoted to Helm, Weapons, Science, Engineering, and Weapons. Each terminal is manned by one crewmember, and their ability to communicate with their captain is essential to success.

Grand Duke Travis and the Countess of Benton had previously participated in Exercise: Westarctic Chill with the Slabovian "Navey" during a diplomatic visit to Hamilton, Ontario in the summer of 2019. The Grand Duke enjoyed the experience so much that he began training on his own to become more proficient with the Artemis Bridge Simulator.

Creation of MOST

In October 2020, Slabovia announced that three micronations: Westarctica, the Aerican Empire, and the United Slabovian Empire, had formed an alliance to train their crews in Command and Control warfare utilizing a simulated battlespace. This organization was christened the Micronational Outer Space Taskforce (MOST). Its primary goal is to develop and implement standardized training for bridge crew and commanders at the ship and fleet level. Through a series of exercises, it is expected that this effort will result in improved coordination between the three micronations and allow their respective military forces to gain valuable C2 experience.

The Exercise

Approximately 20 personnel were spread out between four ships, each with its own captain. Fleet-level operations were commanded by the Task Force Commander, Lord High Admiral Bragg. The order of battle consisted of the following ships:

Flag Ship Ship Class Captain Number of Crew
Flag of Westarctica.jpg Westarctica WS Endurance Missile Cruiser COL McHenry 3
Flag of Slabovia.jpg Slabovia USS Don Quixote Dreadnought CAPT Clarke 6
Flag of Slabovia.jpg Slabovia USS Matthew Jeffries Light Carrier LHA Bragg 5
link={{{2}}} Aerican Empire SSS Bacon Battleship CAPT Lis 5

Events of the day

The WS Endurance Bridge Simulator showing all terminals

The WS Endurance was outfitted and prepared for the simulation the night before with four separate computer stations and a large flatscreen TV that would serve as the main viewscreen. At 0930 local time, CPL Schroeder and CPL Kramer arrived at the Endurance and were quickly trained on their stations. Kramer was assigned Weapons and Schroeder was assigned the Helm. COL McHenry served as Captain of the vessel and also handled the Science and Communications stations.

The exercise was launched at 1000 local time. All four ships were able to communicate with one another via the Artemis communications station, which allowed text messages to be sent and received by all parties. The fleet, under direction of Lord High Admiral Bragg, successfully cleared all sectors of enemies in numerous scenarios in level 3 difficulty. At level 5 difficulty, the game crashed several times and the fleet lost several ships, including the Endurance, which was destroyed at least three times after charging into lone combat against a vastly more powerful Skaraan vessel.

Under level 3 conditions, the Westarctican crew was able to single-handedly destroy numerous enemy fleets of up to five ships in size, often without even raising their shields. However, at one point, the ship lost all power and was left adrift for a good portion of one scenario. At one point, the ship was saved from an incoming enemy missile by the quick reflexes of Slabovian fighter pilot LT MacGillivray.

Aftermath

During the fleet debriefing, the exercise was declared a success, but there were a large number of lessons learned shared by the fleet captains. Arrangements were made to conduct a follow-up joint exercise in two months.

Grand Duke Travis issued honors to three personnel involved in the event, and the crewmen of the WS Endurance were both promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (O-1).

The following personnel received the following honors: