Battle of Sanna’s Post

By Capt Douglas J. MacIntyre


You are the commanding officer of a rifle company with an assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) platoon and a combined antiarmor team (CAAT) made up of three TOW HMMWVs and two heavy machinegun (HMG) HMMWVs. The battalion is currently moving south-southeast as 2d Marines’ advance guard. The regimental landing team (RLT) is pushing hard to engage enemy mechanized forces moving east before they can consolidate near the port city of Fontein. Your company’s mission is to provide flank security on the right of the battalion’s movement to contact and to be prepared to assume the lead element as directed.

The terrain in the area is a flat, rocky desert, with sparse vegetation. Two rivers, flanked by steep banks, run through the area and are swollen by recent rains; they are fordable at only a few points. Elsewhere trafficability for wheeled and tracked vehicles is good. It is 0100, partly cloudy with good visibility. You are currently moving 10-15 kilometers per hour south, approximately 3-4 kilometers west of your battalion.

The CAAT team, currently moving in advance of the company, has sent scouts along the high ground to observe the Modder River area, including Sanna’s Post, a small village to the west, and the road running perpendicular to your route. The CAAT leader reports “Enemy sighted, vicinity of Sanna’s Post, 2,000m west of Modder River Ford. Looks like a logistics site with two T-72s, a BTR-60 platoon, and many fuel trucks and supply vehicles. They are stationary near several small buildings. Will maintain observation and move vehicles into firing positions. I don’t think they have seen us. Please advice.

As you digest that information, battalion reports “lead companies heavily engaged with elements of motorized rifle battalion and tank force . . . Regiment will attempt flanking maneuver with its follow-on forces as we fix the enemy . . . I am counting on your company to prevent enemy reinforcement from the west . . .”

What is your plan, Captain?


In a time limit of 10 minutes, decide what you will do, prepare appropriate orders as well as any requests/reports you would submit. Provide a sketch and an explanation of your plan. Mail your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #974, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or send fax to 703-640-0823 or Email to (

For more detailed information on the structure of Marine Corps units, Marine Corps equipment, and symbols used in TDG sketches, see MCG, Oct94, pp. 53-56 and the modification reported in Jan95, p. 5.