The Attack on Narrow Pass-Continued

by Capt John F. Schmitt

This scenario is the continuation of TDG #91-3, “The Attack on Narrow Pass,” published in the March 1991 issue, and is based on a common solution for that scenario submitted by several players.

The Initial Situation

The initial scenario, described in detail in the March issue, is summarized here: You command a reinforced rifle platoon guarding the left flank of the battalion as it advances north through Narrow Pass to relieve a helicopterborne force encircled at Sanctuary City. As you parallel the battalion, your point squad chases off an enemy listening post near Checkpoint 37. About the same time, the battalion gets involved in a significant firelight near the bridge. The time is about 2030. You spot two enemy machinegun positions on the outcrops to Narrow Pass that are opening up on the battalion. You contemplate taking some sort of action to assist the battalion, but you decide that your orders to guard the flank are explicit and that you had best stay put. You decide to try to suppress the westernmost gun position with an attached machinegun squad, and you let battalion know you can adjust supporting arms on the easternmost position. But beyond that you will stick to your original mission. You set your three squads in a blocking position in the trees along the east-west road near Checkpoint 37, preparing to repel any enemy approaching from the west.

The New Situation

The enemy machineguns fall silent as you suppress with supporting arms and your own machineguns. Battalion has successfully outflanked the enemy and is advancing north again. Your platoon engages an enemy patrol of about squad size approaching from the northwest; the enemy patrol withdraws hurriedly from whence it came. Checking out the scene of the firefight, you recover two enemy corpses. Artillery impacts several hundred meters west of your position. That was about a half hour ago; you have had no enemy activity since then. Suddenly, battalion comes under heavy fire as it nears Narrow Pass. The enemy machineguns that you engaged open up on the battalion again, this time from either flank. It is apparent that the enemy has a sizable force at the pass. From the radio traffic you discern that battalion has been hit hard: two companies are unable to advance and are taking casualties. Anxious to help, you contact battalion to offer your services. “Just wait out,” the S-3 snaps agitatedly. “We’ve got other things to worry about right now.” The time is now 2200. What do you do?

The Requirement

Within a five-minute time limit, prepare the fragmentary order (if any) you would issue to your squad leaders and attachments, including the intent of your plan. Include any plans for the use of supporting arms, an overlay of any schemes of maneuver, and any further communications you would make with battalion. Then give a brief explanation of your rationale. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, Tactical Decision Game #91-9, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish the authors’ and other solutions in the November issue.