Action in Limbe

By Capt Daniel T. Canfield


You are the commander of 1st Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) that has just landed in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Your company quickly secured the airfield amid the uncertain situation. For the most part the local populace was excited and very happy to see the Marines, believing that you were there to throw off the “yoke of oppression” that had beset the country for years. However, tensions between Marine forces and the local government and police forces were high. Two days ago, a patrol got into a firefight in front of a police station deep within the city itself. Several of the local police were killed in the action, but an uneasy calm has been restored in Cap Haitien.

Around 1200 you see a UH-IN carrying the commander of the SPMAGTF come in for a landing near the company. A few minutes later you are summoned to the command post. In order to curtail widespread distribution or smuggling of small arms during the country’s transition, your platoon is to conduct a show of force operation in the small nearby town of Limbe. Upon insertion you will move to the police station, surround it, and provide security for the SPMAGTF commander, who will be on the scene to negotiate with the Limbe police. We believe the local police will surrender their weapons to the SPMAGTF commander and his Haitian liaison officer peacefully without incident. If not, they will be disarmed. The goal is to retrieve as many weapons as possible before they make their way onto the black market.

Your platoon is organized in the following manner: 1st Squad has 10 Marines, 2d Squad has 12 Marines, 3d Squad has 8 Marines, platoon headquarters consists of your platoon sergeant, platoon guide, radio operator, platoon corpsman, and yourself. Additionally, you have a seven-man machinegun squad attached. There is no map of the town, only a sketch map shown below. The S-2 believes there are 5-10 police occupying the facility. The buildings along the narrow roads in that section of the town are of an old French masonry construction. The time is now 1230; one CH-53 will be here at 1315 to load your platoon. The peacetime restriction of 24 Marines on a CH-53 has been bumped to 35. However, you are told to include the following on your manifest: company commander, battalion executive officer, two U.S. Army Special Forces captains, and a major claiming to be the “regimental historian.” The SPMAGTF commander and the Haitian Army officer will fly in the UH-1N bird. What now, Lieutenant?


Describe your task organization and a general timeline for the platoon. Issue a frag order (Mission and Execution) to your subordinate/element leaders. Submit an overlay with your scheme of maneuver within the objective area to include landing points for the CH-53. Include any questions or concerns you would pose to your company commander. Time limit is 20 minutes. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #99-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.