Seizing the 70-Ton Bridge

by Capt Bruce I. Gudmundsson, USMCR

You are an officer serving in a large Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF). The ground combat element (GCE), a “mech heavy” force that includes a battalion of M1A1 tanks and an infantry regiment mounted in assault amphibians, is advancing toward the east. Its present position is some 50 kilometers west of Highbank River. Your mission is to seize the 70-ton bridge over the Highbank River and hold it until the GCE can complete its advance and link up with you. The expected time of linkup is 1200 on H+6. (It is currently 1200 on H+5.)

For this mission you are given one rifle company reinforced by an attached Dragon section (eight teams) from the battalion’s antiarmor platoon, sufficient transport helicopters to lift this force, and four AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships.

The intelligence officer gives you the following information: “As far as we can tell, the enemy has yet to cross the Highbank River with major units. The bulk of his force consists of light armored vehicles that can cross the river at many places, so he doesn’t need the bridge for his own purposes.”

Your plan is simplicity itself. You intend to land at Landing Zone (LZ) Hawk and set up a perimeter defense around the bridge.

On the last leg of your flight toward LZ Hawk, your force flies south along the path of the Highbank River. Just north of the Eastbank woods, you see 10 enemy light armored vehicles travcling south along the road. What do you do?

Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette. TDG #91-5, P.O. Box 1775. Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish the authors’ and other solutions in the July issue.