Clash at Timpan-ni

By Maj John F. Schmitt

You are a rifle company commander in 3d Marines. You are operating in rugged, broken terrain spotted with sparse vegetation and small lakes. Line of sight is rarely more than a kilometer. Vehicle movement is restricted to the roads and tracks, although the vegetation and small hills are generally not a problem for infantry. The enemy is a tough infantry force reinforced with tank and mechanized support.

The division is advancing north on two axes, 3d Marines on the left. Your company is deployed to guard the regiment’s left flank. You have been reinforced with a tank platoon, an assault amphibious vehicle platoon, a TOW section, and a Dragon section (which you have distributed throughout the rifle platoons). As the regiment advances, your mission is to “Attack north toward Timpanni, the village at the Rte. 110-306 intersection, in order to provide early warning and protect the regiment against enemy forces advancing from the west.” Rte. 110 is a 2-lane paved road; Rte. 306 is a gravel road; they are the only improved roads in the area, although the freezing temperatures have kept the unimproved routes trafficable for heavy vehicles. Bad weather has grounded the planned Cobra support, so you put temporary observation posts (OPs) on the neighboring hills as you advance along Rte. 110 (although it slows your rate of movement). You reach the objective, the hamlet of Timpan-ni, without incident and report in. 1st and 2d Platoons deploy west. The section of Cobras (callsign “Slappy”) checks in, and you send it to reconnoiter west along 306. The tank platoon is located with you at the intersection. The TOW section takes up an overwatch position on Hill 323. 3d Platoon bringing up the rear is still on Rte. 110. On his own initiative, the platoon commander has put an OP on Hill 305, which reports “8 T-62s and 10 BMPs heading east in column toward 110 about 3 clicks southwest Timpan-ni.” Just then, Slappy reports “nothing on 306, but enemy mech, at least 20 combat vehicles, to the south, moving east about 4 kilometers southwest of the intersection. They have fired an SA-7 at us. Breaking off.” From your location at the hamlet you can see artillery begin to impact on Hill 305. What now, Captain?


In a time limit of 5 minutes, decide what you will do by issuing any orders, reports, or requests. Then provide a sketch and a brief explanation of your decision. Send your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #97-9, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.