Encounter at Bertie

by Capt Bruce I. Gudmundsson

The Situation

You are the commander of a Marine infantry battalion with the mission of destroying enemy forces that are attempting to move north through the Ardunes Forest (off the map to the west). Your battalion of four rifle companies, a weapons company, and a headquarters and service company are mounted in 5-ton trucks. The major exception to this is your heavy machineguns and Dragons, which are mounted in HMMWVs.

You are en route to intercept the enemy in Ardunes Forest. To protect the north flank of your move through Lucy Woods (southwest, along Route 26), you have posted Company A (reinforced with Dragons and heavy machineguns) in the village of Champs. The rest of your battalion-with Dragons, heavy machineguns, and 81 mm mortars attached to the rifle companies-is in column. Accompanied by an artillery liaison officer, your air liaison officer, and a forward observer from the mortar platoon, you are riding with Company B at the head of the column.

As you exit Lucy Woods, you see a single light armored vehicle entering the woods along the road that leads to Champs. You identify this vehicle as belonging to the enemy. A few seconds later, the road ahead of you is filled with explosions. As you dash back to the shelter of the woods, you see three or four helicopter gunships firing rockets. They seem to be aiming for you.

As you gather your wits about you and try to decide what to do next, you receive the following report from Company A: “Two enemy light armored vehicles emerging from north edge of Lucy Woods along road to Champs. We will engage.”

The Requirement

Within a time limit of five minutes, decide what actions you would take to cope with this situation and prepare the frag order you would issue to your subordinates. Include an overlay and a brief explanation of the rationale behind your plan. Both the frag order and the explanation must be short and to the point. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #91-1, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish the author’s and other solutions in the March issue.