Cossack Sweep

By Lionel A. Raymond


There have been reports of infiltration and possible enemy efforts to consolidate forces in area “Cossack.” As the commanding officer (CO), 2d Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), you have received orders from regiment to perform a battalion sweep, south to north, of area Cossack; make contact; and destroy any enemy and stores he may have in the area. There will be very few civilians in the area. You are to round them up and keep them out of harm’s way, but do not send them to the rear. 1/7 will be to the immediate east and in contact with your right flank.

You relay these orders to your company commanders. You have given orders that will put the battalion on line, with Fox Company on your left flank and Echo Company on the right flank. Each company is to provide its own reserves, rear, and point security. Fox and Echo Companies will provide flank security for the battalion. Fox Company will maintain left flank control by keeping its left tight on an abandoned railroad track that parallels the axis of advance. All companies will guide on Fox Company. Air and artillery are oncall. 81mm mortars will be 1,000 meters in trace of weapons company. No enemy armor or mechanization is expected, so Weapons Company is to leave behind their heavy machineguns and antiarmor weapons and will equip themselves with Mk19 machineguns, AT-4s (self-contained shoulder fired antitank weapons), and Mk153s (shoulder launched multipurpose assault weapons). No HMMWVs will accompany the battalion. All other members of Weapons Company are to assume the role of riflemen and provide rear security for the battalion. Battalion command will be with the left flank of Echo Company. The battalion executive officer will be with Weapons Company. All radio nets are up and working.

The battalion has been moving forward at the expected pace with no civilian contacts, even though some small villages have been passed, when Fox’s flank security walks up on a well-concealed, reinforced, company-sized ambush behind the railroad embankment. Action is immediate with very heavy firing from the enemy and Fox Company. Fox’s CO reports that he is taking intense machinegun and rocket propelled grenade fire; he has turned all three platoons into the ambush and is assaulting the position. In some areas his men have crossed over the railroad embankment. Contact is close. Casualties are light.


As the battalion CO, in a time limit of 5 minutes, issue orders to all companies and supporting arms addressing this new situation. How do you deal with the original mission? What information do you provide the regimental CO who is overhead? Provide a brief rationale for your actions and a sketch of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #01-10, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or email <>.