The Short End of the Stick, Part II

by Capt Bruce I. Gudmundsson, USMCR

The Tactical Decision Game (TDG) is a follow-on to TDG #91-10 which was presented in detail in MCG Oct81 and discussed on the preceding pages.

The Situation

Nightfall found you and your battalion in the town of San Miguel. In accordance with your continuing mission of clearing the woods, you divided your battalion sector into three company sectors, ordered Companies A, B, and C to send out reconnaissance patrols (one per company), and let the rest of your battalion get as much rest as they could. (See Solution, A, p. 60 and Map below.)

During the night, you received the following reports:

2100: The patrol from Company B reports that it was shot at by three machineguns located north of Argentina Farm.

2115: The patrol from Company C reports that enemy mortar fire fell near Route 5 about 600 meters south of Checkpoint 256.

2125: The patrol from Company C reports that the crossroads at Checkpoint 256 are occupied by field fortifications, heavily manned. Further progress by the patrol near Route 5 is not possible.

2130: The patrol from Company C requests the attachment of a machinegun squad. The patrol also requests an 81mm mortar concentration on the crossroads at Checkpoint 256.

2140: The patrol from Company B reports that it saw two light armored vehicles on road east of Checkpoint 256.

2145: The patrol from Company B reports it has heard the distinctive noise of enemy light armored vehicles moving through the woods to its west.

At 2145 you order all your patrols to pull back well south of the east-west road miming through the crossroads at Checkpoint 256 so that the mortar concentration requested by Company C can be fired. As the patrols return, you get more information. Company A reports that it encountered no enemy in its sector. The lieutenant in charge of the patrol from Company C provides you with a detailed sketch of the area around Checkpoint 256.

A particularly valuable part of the sketch is the broad outline of the fields of fire of machineguns in the concrete bunkers. Thanks to the light of a full moon and the poor light discipline of the enemy, the lieutenant was able to locate the firing ports (embrasures) of the bunkers. This information allowed him to deduce the rough shape of the fields of fire. (See patrol sketch.)

At 2230 you order the mortar platoon commander to fire the mortar concentration. At 2315 you receive an order from the regiment. This order forbids all offensive action before 0900 the following morning. At that point, the regiment, with three battalions on line, will move forward to clear the woods as a unit.

What frag orders do you issue your company as a result of these developments?


In a time limit of five minutes, describe the actions you would take and the instructions you would issue to your team leaders. Include an overlay sketch and provide a brief discussion of the rationale behind your actions. Submit your solutions to Marine Corps Gazette, Tactical Decision Game #91-12, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish the author’s and other solutions in the February 1992 issue.