By Maj John F. Schmitt, USMCR

You are the commanding officer of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) DEEP STRIKE, consisting primarily of two light armored reconnaissance (LAR) battalions, a detachment of UH-1 and AH-1 helicopters with ground support, and a mobile combat service support detachment (MCSSD) consisting mainly of refuelers. You have been deployed to the war-torn and drought-plagued African country of Kushmahdi as one of the leading elements of a joint task force (JTF). Relief organizations have been operating in Kushmahdi for several months, ministering to the star ing and displaced population. Military forces from the neighboring country of Tsanu freely make incursions deep into Kushmahdi and have lately begun raiding relief centers at Yummy, Middleville, Stumpz and Barstool with increasing frequency. Of these, Stumpz is the most important. Relief convoys bound for Stumpz out of Waterside are postponed. While Tsanu has one of the most capable militaries in the region, intelligence estimates conclude it lacks the command and control to conduct coordinated, large-scale operations.

The initial JTF plan calls for the deliberate deployment throughout the country from Waterside as forces arrive at the port and airfield there, but the frequency of attacks against the relief centers necessitates immediate action. SPMAGTF DEEP STRIKE is instructed to strike quickly to secure the relief centers, sweep Tsanu forces from the country, and establish a screen line along the border at the Odaroloc River in support of a Military Exclusion Zone sanctioned bv the U.N. Your task force will be supported by carrier aviation and will be sustained entirely by a combination of in-theater foraging and aerial logistics.

On D-day, Company C from 7th Marines and Company D, 1st LAR arrive by strategic airlift at Middleville. 1st and 3d LAR battalions arrive at Waterside by sealift and airlift and immediately advance inland. On D+l, 3d LAR secures Barstool, 1st LAR relieves Stumpz, and Company D, 1st LAR drives Tsanu forces out of Yummy. By late D+3, Ist and 3d LAR have advanced to the border to monitor crossing sites along the Odaroloc, augmented by stealth reconnaissance and sensors. 3d LAR is in the north, 1st LAR(-) in the center, and Company D, 1st LAR and C/1/7 in the south. The Tsanu Government immediately protests the establishment of the Military Exclusion Zone, which it describes as a provocation. By D+5, as more U.S. forces are arriving at Waterside, intelligence reports describe an unprecedented massing of Tsanuan forces near the border. On D+6, at first light, an enemy force estimated to be battalion strength attacks D Company, 1st LAR in the vicinity of Yummy. Another probes 1st LAR’s positions near Pooker, while a mechanized/motorized force of at least one battalion breaks through at Cheery, heading west along the heavily populated Highway 10 corridor. Satellite imagery shows that the enemy column is moving about 25-30 miles per hour.

You are instructed to deal with the problem. An allied tank company located at Waterside is placed under your operational control. What is your plan?


In a time limit of 20 minutes, provide your solution in the form of a concept of operations, tasks for subordinate units, and any other pertinent planning guidance. Then provide a sketch and an explanation of your plan. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #97-10, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703640-0823.