On 7 – 9 October 2011 the Baltic Defence College’s Joint Command General Staff Course (JCGSC) visited Saaremaa and Muhumaa to conduct their case study on Operation Albion, the German amphibious landing in October 1917.
Saaremaa’s Sõrve Peninsula controlled the western entrance to the Gulf of Riga and hence the island was of great strategic and operational importance during the First World War. Operation Albion has been widely studied in staff colleges and by various militaries included the American Marines and Army, Germans, Soviets, Japanese, British, Danes, Swedes and Estonians as it is perhaps the first modern truly joint operation and a good example of maneuver warfare.
The learning activities used the case method where the students look at the problem from the point of view of the historical protagonist - the actual person who had to devise and apply an appropriate solution to the problem. The purpose of the activity and other similar activities are to develop an officer’s military judgment in solving operational problems. According to one officer in the joint course – “It was great! The case is very appropriate for an operational level course.” Other course members echoed the sentiment. While another officer in the JCGSC commented “It is always good to get out of the lecture hall and on to terrain to visualize problems.”