This video shows how the Battle of the Bismarck Sea works. We start by explaining the military operation, and then see all possible outcomes. Finally, we analyse the game using a game matrix.
The Battle of the Bismarck Sea was a battle fought in February 1943 in Southeast Asia during World War II, between the Japanese Navy and the US Air Force. In game theory, its modeling was done by O. G. Haywood, Jr. in his article “Military Decision and Game Theory”, 1954. It’s a game used in game theory to analyze zero-sum games with two players.
The game, based on the actual military operation, is based on the decision General Kenney had to make. General Kenney, as Commander of the Allied Forces in the South-west Pacific Area, received intelligence reports indicating part of the Japanese Navy was about to sail from Rabaul, in the island of New Britain, to Lae, in New Guinea. Knowing this, General Kenney decided to make his five-step “Estimate of the Situation”, a technique used in US military operations.
In this game, Kenney has no dominant strategy (the sum of the payoffs of the first strategy equals the sum of the second strategy), but the Japanese do have a weakly dominating strategy, which is to go North (the payoffs are equal for one strategy but strictly better for the other). Since only one of them has a dominant strategy, there is no dominant strategy equilibrium. We must then proceed by eliminating dominated strategies. As we’ve already mentioned, for the Japanese the strategy ‘go North’ weakly dominates strategy ‘go South’. Therefore, we eliminate the strategy ‘go South’ for the Japanese, who will go North. Now that we only consider the Japanese going North, Kenney’s strategy ‘go North’ is strictly dominant over strategy ‘go South’, which will be eliminated. Therefore, North-North is the weak-dominance equilibrium.
Learn more by reading the dictionary entry.