Poachers by the Bank

By Dr. Andrew H. Hershey


You are the leader of 3d Fire Team. Your squad is going to provide left flank security during the company’s movement to an attack position prior to a surprise night assault. As a promising squad leader, you have been instructed to attend the lieutenant’s orders briefing. There you receive information on the route of advance and the enemy’s estimated strength and disposition. You are informed that the company will be moving north, generally parallel and east of Lost Stream. The need for noise discipline and maintaining the element of surprise are stressed repeatedly. The briefing ends, and you return to your team to make final preparations. The night sky has scattered light clouds, and there is a half moon already up. Visibility is excellent, allowing your squad leader to adopt an echelon left formation with good dispersion. Your fire team will be in the left rear. The squad leader will be up between Ist and 2d Fire Teams.

The movement has gone well; you are approaching the last checkpoint before the attack position. It is 0245. Currently, your fire team is strung out along Lost Stream. The vegetation along the banks is a light mix of pines and brush. Numerous game trails also crisscross the area. As you turn from glancing at your SAW gunner behind you, your rifleman signals “Freeze.” Next, he signals “Enemy in sight.” You follow his gesture as he points to the stream, where in the process of crossing from left to right you make out six or seven figures, one of whom appears to be a radioman. You currently have sight of your rifleman and SAW gunner. The assistant gunner to your rear is momentarily out of sight. There is no sign of 2d Fire Team or the squad leader. What now, Corporal?


In a time limit of 1 minute, describe what actions you will take and by what means. Then provide a sketch of your actions and the rationale behind them. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-8, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax (703) 640-0823.