Part VII: Deal or No Deal


You are the Company Commander, A Company, 1st Bn, 1st Marines. It has been two days since the two families of squatters living in COP Ritz hastily left their rooms in the outpost after a visit from two of their “cousins.” You have taken a team of three MUGA commandos, including Sgt Chef Benazzi. His seniority and experience remind you of an old-school infantry gunnery sergeant, and he has also proven to be one or your most savvy interpreters. You have been outside the wire since dawn meeting with Imam Mehmet Binouadoud, the Imam of the Al Mumeet Mosque, and Mkuu (chief) Uhuru Honore, the leader of the Albu Xuzuri tribe. You are determined to build on your relationships with these two very different local leaders to get to the bottom of the sudden departure of the squatters and to shore up local security in the neighborhood.

Your reports, based on many engagements over the past months, have helped confirm multi-source intelligence analysis findings that the leaders of the Albu Xuzuri tribe may be ready to openly support the MUGA and the CJTF. Your battalion CO has also “read you in” regarding diplomatic efforts at the U.S. mission in the capital, Minna Sultan Usween, to bring the Nuzuris into the MUGA. The Nuzuris are numerous and heavily armed, but they are a minority in the country. They have been historically ostracized as the descendants of enslaved mainland Africans brought to the country by the French in the 18th century. The Nuzuri are further stigmatized due to their unorthodox interpretation of Sufi Islam influenced by tribal and Christian practices. In response, they have developed a strongly self-reliant and isolated warrior culture with a reputation for violence, revenge, and criminal enterprises.

The three of you, along with Sgt Chef Benazzi, are all sitting on the floor of one of the offices on the third floor of the Imam’s compound due east of the mosque, drinking sweet tea. Your commandos, the Imam’s mosque police, and the Mkuus personal guard are posted outside. Soon after the noon call-toprayers, you hear two explosions and heavy small arms fire. You see smoke rising from the northern boundary of the COP, but you cannot make contact with your Marines on the company radio. More automatic weapons fire and several smaller explosions follow, now you are able to see smoke rising from north of the COP. You cannot see the action north of the COP and have no idea how many attackers are involved, what has caused the explosions, or what actions your Marines are taking.

You are still unable to raise your 3d Platoon Commander, 1st Lt Przyby, who you Iert in charge at the COP. As you silently recite the “mantra” of tactical reporting-“What do I know? Who needs to know? Have I told them?”- you use your local network cell phone to call the battalion’s CMOC (civil-military operations center) and, after a brief exchange with one of the contracted interpreters, you provide a “Flash” SITREP to the Battalion Operations Officer: “40-plus enemy; attacking COP Ritz from the north; time: now; automatic weapons and IEDs; COP in danger of being overrun.” You deliberately create a number of attackers to “work the system” the CFACC (combined force air component commander) uses to authorize CAS requests when there is a tactical unit in contact, or “TIC.” You know 30 enemy is the CJTF Commander’s threshold to immediately pull attack aircraft plus either rotary-wing or a UAS terminal controller from one of the “stacks” managed by the CFACC from their palatial combined air operations center at the international airport in the capital. Further, you add a “worse case” assessment about COP Ritz being overrun to ensure your Marines have the best chance for immediate support. As you finish your call, you hear the familiar sound of a .50 cal machingun and the crum-crump-crump of a MK19. You had been expecting the S-4A with a resupply convoy, and it sounds as if he has arrived and is joining the fight.

The Mkuu turns to you and, in heavily accented but perfect English, says, “My men can help you. My Militia is here protecting us at this meeting, and they are ready to fight and kill the terrorists attacking your Marines. I know you are only a captain, but at least you are here with us. I also know you understand what I am offering, and your generals and colonels will listen to you. You will make your reports, and you will see to it that 1 meet with the general of your ‘see jay tee eff.'”

He goes on to tell you that he has 30 militiamen with rifles and RPGs spread between the large, 4-story apartment building north of the Mosque and the COP. Mkuu Honore assures you that his men will support your Marines and help you get safely back to the COP. He goes on to report that the Albu Nuzuri are “blood enemies” of the terrorists and the tribes who support them, and that they are ready to secure this part of the city for the MUGA. Sgt Chef Benazzi and the Imam have been conferring Arabic, and while clearly caught off guard, they both appear pleased.

Suddenly, the Mkuu calls in one of his personal guard who is carrying a Styrofoam cooler held together with duct tape and wire. With obvious pride, he declares “to prove my point…” and opens the cooler to show you the severed heads of the two “cousins” who had visited the squatters at COP Ritz two days ago. Sgt Chef Benazzi starts cursing in Arabic, and Imam Binouadoud reels in shock. The commandos, mosque police, and Nuzuri Militia start screaming at each other in the hall way. You fight back the nausea and lean in to the Mkuu.

Realizing what this means to the CJTF and your battalion, do you accept his offer of support? “Deal, or no deal?”

If you do accept, how do you want to employ the militiamen in the apartment building between you and the COP? What are your instructions, and how do you communicate them?

If your ploy to get immediate CAS to support your Marines is successful, and with degraded communications, how do you plan to ensure effective terminal control of these aircraft?

Where do you put yourself in this fight? Do you get back to the COP as fast as possible, or do you “embed ” with your new allies?

How and when do you tell your battalion commander that your SITREP included deliberate fabrications?

Do you do something completely different?


In 5 minutes or less, write your decision, providing a brief discussion of the rationale behind your actions. Submit your solutions by email to gazette@??? or to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG 09-17, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish solutions in an upcoming issue.

‘Cordon and. . . .’


You are the 3d Platoon Commander, Company G (Mechanized, Reinforced), Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1). Recently the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. You have been in-country approximately 1 month and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nangarhar Province. Recently the BLT has been searching for warlord, Sher Dil, and his needihajum freedom fighters believed to be operating in the Rahadnak Valley. Sher Dil is the primary source of arms transportation into Jalalabad. The arms shipments flow from the northwest tribal regions of Pakistan into the Tora Bora region, through the Rahadnak Valley, then into Jalalabad. The Rahadnak Valley was initially quiet with no armed conflict. However, after successful arms interdiction in the area, organized guerrilla groups ignited an active campaign against coalition forces and inflamed tribal unrest throughout the valley.

Your mechanized platoon is embarked on four assault amphibious vehicles and is further reinforced with one machinegun squad and two assault teams from weapons platoon. Your company is tasked to search a village suspected of harboring Sher Dil and needihajum fighters. Speed is essential as the enemy is prone to resupplying its forces and then quickly fading into the rugged and mountainous countryside. A section of AH-I W Cobras can reinforce the company within 1 5 minutes.

The company scheme of maneuver calls for two platoons to encircle the village, one from the west and the other from the east, one platoon to advance along the main avenue of approach to seal the entry point, and a dismounted mortar section to isolate the objective area with calls for fire as needed. The section of Cobras can be used to further isolate the objective area or provide supporting fires if required. Your platoon is the main effort. On order, you will secure the main supply route (MSR) northwest of Ada while 1st and 2d Platoons isolate the village. During isolation operations, are the reserve. Be prepared to attack the enemy force west and east of the village in support of 1st and 2d Platoons’ mission. Upon conclusion of isolating the village, you will enter the village and search for weapons caches, needihajum fighters, and Sher Dil. Your platoon is reinforced with a weapons cache detection team (fire team of combat engineers), the company intelligence cell (the company executive officer attended basic Farsi language school), and the company interpreter who speaks Farsi and the local tribal language. You have used the tactic successfully in this area in the past and are familiar with your mission and the local area. You have placed the platoon sergeant with 1st Squad, and you are with 2d Squad with the company attachments.

During the isolation of the village, your platoon advances to the outskirts of the village along the MSR and secures the northeast exit of the village as 1st and 2d Platoons execute their mission. Your platoon established blocking positions, overwatch, and observation into the village as shown on the graphic. Approximately 10 minutes into the operation you hear machinegun fire from west of the village, and about 2 minutes later you hear mortar round explosions from the west as well.

2d Squad Leader calls you over and reports, “Sir, take a look. There are approximately six vehicles being loaded down with men, women, children, bags, and boxes. The men are all carrying AK-47s, and I see two rocket propelled grenades so far.” You confirm what 2d Squad observed and note that the vehicles will be completely loaded in approximately 1 0 minutes at the rate they are going. At the same time, fire erupts from 1st Squad’s position, but you cannot see what they are engaging.

The radio operator hands you the radio and says, “1st Platoon talking to company.” You listen in, “. . . on Hills 2 and 3, squad-sized each, machineguns on Hill 2, mortars on Hill 3. Lieutenant and Jenkins down. Need 2 minutes of immediate suppression on south side of Hill 3, grid 354256. Am assaulting Hills 2 and 3. Over.”

Less than 5 seconds later, your platoon sergeant radios you, “Enemy team on north side of village attempting to access a weapons cache. 1st Squad engaging to suppress. Still developing situation. Over.”

Less than 10 seconds after that, the company commander radios you, “Need your platoon to attack enemy forces on Hill 2 in support of 1st Platoon’s mission. Attack northeast to southwest and flank the enemy force.” He then radios 2d Platoon and orders them to focus on taking Hill 4 and attacking enemy forces on Hill 3 in order to prevent their escape into the valley. What now?


In a time limit oí 5 minutes, issue your orders to your element leaders as well as any reports and recommendations to the company commander.

Issues of Consideration

1. What is the enemy’s disposition of forces? What is the enemy trying to accomplish with this attack?

2. What do you believe is the company and BLT commander’s intent for this area?

3. How do your actions support these intents?

4. How do your actions defeat the enemy’s intent?

5. What do you expect the enemy to do as a result of your orders?

6. Do your orders exploit the enemy’s response?

7. Did you consider collateral damage (civilian injury and damage to property) when determining your orders and recommendations?

8. What do you expect civilian response will be to collateral damage (property damage and casualties), and how do you think it will be communicated:

* At conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

9. What is the expected enemy response to collateral damage, and how do you think their response will be communicated:

* At conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

10. What actions can you, the company, and the BLT take to counter and exploit enemy and civilian responses to collateral damage while you are in the area and after you return to base?

11. Are there any recommendations you would give to the company’s commander to improve future missions of this type after the mission is complete?



You are the Squad Leader, 1st Squad, 3d Platoon, Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1). Recently the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation E N-DURING FREEDOM. You have been in-country approximately 2 months and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nan-garhar Province. Last month Company G engaged sizable needihajum forces under Sher Dil during a cordon and search operation within the valley. Company G was able to disrupt arms trafficking via the valley; however, small pockets of resistance continue to slip through the valley (squad-sized, Soviet small arms, light machineguns/rocket propelled grenades (RPGs)). Some of the platoon checkpoints (CPs) have received inaccurate 82mm mortar fire in the last week. Additionally, Company G’s actions last month resulted in significant collateral damage to local poppy fields and goat herds. Several houses and barns within Ada Atah were damaged, and the sole pump in the village center was crushed under the weight of the company’s assault amphibious vehicles. Unequal distributions of solatia payments (appearing to favor Kushtuz farmers in Ada over the minority Nuris-tani) have led to increased thefts and violence against Kushtuz by nonaligned Nuristani tribesmen. The company CP is located 25 miles southwest, and the commanding officer has deployed his platoons throughout the valley to provide security for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), conduct security patrols, and support human exploitation teams in answering demographic requests for information about the local leaders, population, atmosphere, etc.

It is about 1830 now after 3 days in Ada Atah. The villagers are beginning to be less skittish around your Marines and even the World Agro Fund (WAF) and Healthwatch are less irritable. As you head under the cover of an awning by a stable, you hear Cpl Clark’s voice over your internal squad radio, Boss, this is Echo 4 Charlie. I’ve got two males in man-dresses checking out the village from the farm 300 meters to the north. They were out there this morning, but they’re back with binoculars now.

Roger, Charlie. You release the handset, but something has changed in Ada Atah. The village is still packed. There is a hum, a murmur underneath the noise of the crowd. Then you notice the soccer ball lying still in the middle of the road. The flutes of the shepherds aren’t playing. There are no children. A WAF volunteer sprints from the pile of seed to the medical center. As she does, a rifle cracks over the noise of the crowd. A gunman with an AK-47 stands behind a donkey cart and tries to incite the crowd, ‘Bey-baies . . . paida-warunah . . . bon-sat-tunah!’? A rock is hurled from the crowd and strikes the wall next to you. Seconds before the rock above you explodes you see an RPG skip off the top of the pile of seed bags directly across the village. The chatter of machinegun fire comes from the farm to the north. Your radio squeals as your fire team leaders talk over one another, ‘oeBoss, Williams is hit bad. He needs casevac!’

As soon as you look over to Cpl Clark”s position, a teenage boy from the village runs across your path with an AK’?47. He is 1 meter ahead of you and doesn’t see you. What now, Sergeant?


Given the deployment and current activities of your squad, and in a time limit of 5 minutes, issue your verbal orders to your element leaders and any reports to higher headquarters. What are you doing after your orders are issued?

Issues for Consideration

1. What are your priorities? The casevac? The machinegun? The RPG? The boy?

2. What do you want to make happen in the next 60 seconds?

3. What can you make happen in the next 5 minutes?

4. Do your actions and their probable results escalate or deescalate violence in your area of operations?

5. Do you want to kill or capture possible opponents?

6. What considerations do you give to injury to noncombatants and damage to local property (collateral damage)?

7. How much collateral damage do you anticipate as a result of your actions?

8. Assuming your actions result in a fight and victory over insurgent forces, what actions do you take with regard to:

* Dead and injured enemy combatants?

* Dead and injured noncombatants?

9. Based on your actions in question 7, what do you expect civilian/NGO response will be to collateral damage:

* At the conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

10. Based on your actions in question 7, what is the expected enemy response to collateral damage:

* At the conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

11. What actions can you and the BLT take to counter and exploit enemy and civilian responses to collateral damage:

* While you are in the area?

* After you return to base?

* When you subsequently patrol in the area?

12. What actions have you, the BLT, and local forces taken to defeat enemy motivation to attack:

* While in the area?

* After you return to base?

* Over the next week?

Attack and Seize the Pass


You are the company commander of a rifle company that has been reinforced with the following assets: engineers, .50 caliber machineguns, and Javelins that are all foot mobile. Your total strength is 174 Marines and sailors. Platoons consist of 28 Marines to include corpsmen. Weapons platoon is robust with complete sections: 18 Marines with 6 M240G machineguns, 13 Marines with 6 Mk153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons, and 15 Marines with 3 60mm mortars. Attachments, as stated, are the following: 8 engineers, 10 Marines with two .50 caliber machineguns, and 10 Marines with 3 Javelins.

Your mission is to attack and seize a platoon (reinforced) strongpoint. It is reinforced with three BMPs (Soviet mechanized infantry vehicle) and possible SA-7 man-portable air defense systems. The enemy has typical Soviet-style small arms with medium machineguns and rocket propelled grenade assets. It is critical that this strongpoint is destroyed and the ground to the northwest of the objective be held to protect the battalion’s movement on the left flank of the pass.

The area is a narrow pass in a mountainous and desert terrain. The average temperature is 90 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. The enemy is a platoon (reinforced) and has been in the vicinity of the pass for 2 weeks. This has allowed the enemy to prepare minefields, trenches, and harden vehicles in the vicinity or the trenches. All minefields are covered with wire, interlocking fire, and 10 meters in depth. Two of the BMPs are in a hardened position while the remaining BMP acts as a mobile reserve. All intelligence of the site is recent to within 6 hours due to recent unmanned aerial vehicle flights in the area in preparation for the battalion’s movement. The S-2 (intelligence) reports that the enemy position appears isolated, and its purpose is possibly to serve as a “tripwire” for units moving into the vicinity of the pass. In addition, the enemy’s parent mechanized battalion is 20 kilometers away.

As stated, your battalion will be moving to your left along a separate corridor to the southwest. The battalion is mechanized with a company of tanks in the lead. They will be moving through the valley in 4 hours. Your mission is to seize the pass. In addition, your company must be prepared to defend the area and protect the battalion’s flank until they seize their objective. (Not shown on the map.)

As a heliborne force your company must move swiftly to destroy the enemy in the pass while reserving combat power for immediate follow-on operations. To aid in your attack, the company will have a section of AH-1s and one section of fixed-wing for 1 hour prior to and during your initial arrival into the landing zone (LZ). With two LZs identified (LZs Hawk and Sparrow), the company will have a lift capability of three CH-53s and six CH-46s. To aid in communications, one Huey will serve as “command and control” and aid with initial fire support coordination then pass the “baton” once forces are aground and a “battle handover” is conducted. Fire support will be robust initially with one artillery battery in direct support for the attack.


In a time limit of 60 minutes develop a heliborne operation that includes the following: movement of units in the attack (using supporting efforts and main effort), actions on the objective, consolidation, and resupply. Consider fire support assets to be used. Use a graphic depiction to aid in continuous suppression of the objective from insertion of the force to actual destruction of the strongpoint. Lastly, consider the site for possible “resupply LZ” to aid in the hasty defense of the pass. Provide the rationale for your actions and a sketch of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-1, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <>.

Tropical Gold


You are the company commander for Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines and your regiment is attached to 2d Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force that is part of Joint Task Force (JTF) Rambada. Six months ago the Revolutionary Forces of Rambada (ReFoR) began combat operations and were able to seize the enure country of Rambada. It took 90 days for the U.S.-led task force to position themselves and execute an amphibious and vertical assault with the intent of reestablishing the legitimate Rambadan Government. After seizing the port facilities and most major cities within the country’s interior, JTF headquarters (HQ) has decided to make the final push to destroy ReFoR and all of their assets. This has been your mission for the last 2 months, and you have now entered the “seclusion zone,” deep in the Rambada rain forest, to hunt down the last remaining ReFoR elements. ReFoR elements have continued to withdraw into the seclusion zone and have executed delaying actions the entire way. They have limited, but proficient, 82mm mortars and an excellent array of small arms and heavy machineguns (MGs) (U.S. and Soviet block). It has been determined that they have been withdrawing in an attempt to use their familiarity with the terrain to gain an advantage. Intelligence believes the big fight is coming, and the ReFoR is consolidating its forces.

It is approaching the monsoon season and is raining 12 hours a day. The high jungle is triple canopy, and low areas are marsh and patties. Most rivers are not fordable and take hours to rig for crossing. The ReFoR and local farmers have systematically slashed and burned sections of low-lying rain forest to help in the growing of crops.

At present your battalion is executing a blocking mission along a supply route, and your company’s mission is to secure the small village of Bulverde and the main unimproved road intersection nearby to ensure that the enemy is unable to resupply or reinforce to the northeast or withdraw from the north to the south-southeast. ReFoR command and control (C^sup 2^) facilities are considered high-priority targets and should be engaged once discovered.

You have planned to secure the intersection and the village and use the surrounding steep terrain to provide mutual support to defend the village and intersection. Your battalion commander’s intent is for you to hold Bulverde for 48 to 72 hours to allow the regiment to sweep north along your eastern flank.

Your plan is to move your company to the initial release point and set in mortars and HQ elements and then release one squad from the MG section and your four-man sniper team to move to their overwatch/support by fire position to the west of you. Two platoons will then systematically sweep toward the village, secure the intersection west of the village, and begin to clear the town from west to east. Once the intersection is secured you will move forward with your remaining assets and begin to prepare defenses while your remaining platoon helps secure the village and surrounding terrain. This is the fourth village your company has secured, and you have been told there are no defenses in place and the local populace should not react harshly to your presence. You are the supporting effort and have no priorities of fires, except for a section of Cobras set on 5-minute strip alert with an estimated time of arrival of 10 minutes.

You assume your overwatch position without contact, and your two platoons quickly move forward to seize the northern bridge, intersection, and gain a foothold in the village. As they near the bridge one platoon finds itself in a minefield and quickly takes three casualties. Instantly, your second platoon comes under direct MG fire from the west of the village, and both platoons begin to take sporadic mortar fire. Your MG section opens up and attempts to destroy the enemy guns but quickly comes under accurate sniper fire from the north and takes three casualties. Your sniper team begins to report a large concentration of C^sup 2^ facilities within the village and a large concentration of troops moving toward your position.


In a time limit of 5 minutes, develop a plan to deal with the situation. Provide a sketch of your actions and the rationale behind them. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-2, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <>.

The Fallen Angel


Your Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) has been conducting operations in the coastal country of Atlantica. A former general by the name of Franco has been terrorizing the capital city by sending his rogue army to loot and pillage the locals and kill all who oppose him. U.S. carrier-launched aircraft have been making low-altitude, high-speed flybys to make our presence known and demonstrate the resolve of the international community. They have also bombed Franco military units after Franco’s forces engaged U.S. aircraft with antiaircraft fire. Later that day a Navy F-18 was shot down by a long-range surface-to-air missile and crash-landed south of a local airfield. The pilot’s last radio transmission stated that he had ejected safely and was heading to his extraction point (which is near the airfield).

You are 1st Squad Leader, 2d Platoon, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and your platoon is tasked to conduct a TRAP (tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel) mission to recover the downed F-18 pilot who is hiding in Building 13 of the abandoned airport. The MEU S-2 (intelligence) reports that there is no known enemy presence at the bombed out airport. The airport consists of four administrative buildings made of cinder block and corrugated steel roofs. The runway is cratered and covered with debris.

At 2200 2d Platoon is inserted by helo into Landing Zone (LZ) Alcatraz (50Om south of Building 13). Two AH-I Cobras are on station but only for 20 minutes. 2d Platoon moves out in a tactical column heading north to Building 13. 1st Squad with the platoon commander will clear the building and find the pilot. 2d and 3d Squads are responsible for perimeter security north of the building using the remains of cars and debris for cover outside of the building. 1st Squad tactically and quickly enters the back door of the building and immediately clears the first floor of the two-story building. When you reach the second floor you notice a dead body with an AK-47 in hand directly across a door in the hallway. Stacked against the wall the lead fire team leads the way into the room. Suddenly the room erupts with automatic rifle fire. The fire team returns fire and the AK-47 fire ceases. The fire team leader yells out, “Room clear,” and you enter.

From a closet in the back of the room you hear a voice shout, “I am an American!” The F-18 pilot comes out of the closet and explains that he was compromised in his hide site and had to seek cover in this building. The enemy rushed him and he shot the one in the door minutes before you arrived. As you step back in the hallway to tell your platoon commander that you have the “package,” you see the corpsman frantically tending to the platoon commander. One of the AK-47 rounds penetrated the wall and hit him in the stomach under the interceptor vest. he is bleeding profusely and is out of the fight.

As you digest the fact that you are now temporarily in charge, a long burst of machinegun fire lets loose on 2d and 3d Squads’ positions outside of the building. The 2d Squad Leader reports that they are taking heavy machinegun fire from Buildings 10, 11, and 12. The platoon sergeant, located with 2d Squad, has been hit in the shoulder breaking his collarbone. all Marines carry a full combat load. Additionally, the squad leaders have intrasquad radios, and the platoon has two PRC-IlQs and a PRC-113.

You are 1st Squad Leader and you have assumed command of the mission. What do you do?


In a time limit of 60 seconds develop your scheme of maneuver including any request for close air support. Prepare an overlay depicting your scheme of maneuver, designated targets, and rationale for your actions. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <>.

Urban Contact

Note: Readers should use the CD enclosed with this issue of the MCG when developing their TDG solution. See note at end of “Tasks.”


You are the Commander, 1st Platoon, Company A. Your platoon is reinforced with one machinegun squad.

Company Commander’s Order

“Enemy patrols, mostly squad size, have become increasingly bolder as we have withdrawn south. I think we can expect tentative contact here in the village this morning. The battalion is withdrawing south and repositioning in order to turn over this sector to allied forces. Company A is tasked to guard the battalion rear in order to prevent enemy interference with our withdrawal. One platoon is detached to battalion. One platoon guards the town while one platoon moves south to establish the next rear guard position. There is no close air or artillery support.”


“1st Platoon is the main effort; guard the company rear in order to prevent interference with our withdrawal. 2d Platoon is detached. 3d Platoon, move south and establish the next rear guard position in order to permit 1st Platoon’s withdrawal. Priority of fires for mortars is to 3d Platoon.”

(Note: If you are wargaming your course of action by yourself, load Fight 1-1 a which is designed for single play. In single play you will fight with one squad reinforced with a machinegun team. Use Fight 1-1b for three to six Marines; you must have opposing force players when fighting two or more players.)


In a time limit of 2 minutes, issue orders to your subordinates. The players have 8 minutes to predeploy before the scenario will automatically begin. After completing your course of action, describe any additional actions that you had to take while the scenario was being played out. Then provide a sketch of your initial plan and an explanation of the outcome. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-9, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or email <gazette @mca-marines.ore>.

For more detailed information on the structure of Marine Corps units, Marine Corps equipment, and symbols used in TDG sketches, see the MCG web site at <www. mca-marines. org/gazette>.

Additional Information

When the Close Combat Marine (CCM) tactical decisionmaking simulation is loaded on your computer, a training library is installed automatically. The library contains the following:

* User’s manual that covers CCM wargaming and multiplayer use through local area network or Internet use.

* CCM workbook containing:

* Warfighting training philosophy.

* Use of the training and readiness (T&R) manual.

* Eight modules on tactical tasks.

* Thoughts on verbal orders.

* Orders shorthand.

* Facilitation.

* Glossary/tactical tasks.

* Infantry T&R manual.

* Marine Corps Reference Publication 3-0A (MCRP 3-0A), Unit Training Management.

* MCRP 3-0B, How to Conduct Training.

* Map folder containing CCM maps.

Operation LUMP SUM


You are an advisor to the 719th Guerrilla Battalion in a civil-war-torn country, which makes you the de facto commander when it comes to operations in the field. The 719th consists of five 80-man companies (71st-75th), a mortar platoon, and an antitank guided missile (ATGM) platoon. The companies are actually fairly good guerrilla forces, making effective use of ambush and hit-andrun tactics, but for political as well as operational reasons, coordinated operations at battalion level and above are practically impossible, The battalion is lightly equipped, with few vehicles and only one unencrypted VHF radio. The companies are armed with mostly older-generation small arms, light machineguns, and light antitank weapons. Each company also has a pair of 23mm antiaircraft guns mounted on trailers. You have recently received a large arms shipment of shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and medium mortars-enough mortars to form a sixtube platoon in each company and an eight-tube platoon at battalion level. The mortars have a range of 3,500 meters and the ATGMs have a range of 2,000 meters, although line of sight in this rolling, wooded terrain is rarely more than a kilometer. Vehicle forces are pretty much restricted to the trails and few roads.

The 719th is responsible for defending the Millennium complex, with each company based near one of the five villages in the complex. The 719th draws it support from the local population and is resupplied from a series of cache sites throughout the sector. You have one assistant advisor, a squared-away junior captain.

The enemy is attacking generally from the south and outguns your forces in practically every way. The enemy has air superiority, which he relies on heavily. He prefers to operate in massed formations of brigade or even larger to maximize his firepower. The enemy has demonstrated the capability to lift up to a battalion by helicopter at one time. Intelligence indicates he is preparing for a major offensive-up to a brigade-size air assault with gunship support deep into guerrilla territory, probably in conjunction with a ground penetration by a mechanized battalion from one of the several fire bases some 40 kilometers south of your sector. Intelligence has even learned the enemy’s code name for the operation: “Operation Lump Sum.” Recent enemy reconnaissance activity suggests the enemy has been reconnoitering landing zones (Us). Your assistant has hastily mapped the likely enemy Us in your sector. The two largest, each of which will handle a battalion, are between Millennium I and Millennium 3 along Rte. 6.

Higher headquarters estimates the enemy offensive will commence within 72 hours and wants to know the 719th’s plan for defending its sector. The battalion commander turns to you. What’ll it be?


In a time limit of 15 minutes, describe your plan in the form of the orders/guidance you will “recommend” to the battalion commander. Then provide a sketch and a brief explanation of your reasoning. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #00-1, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-630-9147.

One Balkan Evening


You are commanding the 1st Rifle Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines. In addition to your organic weapons, you have one M240G machinegun team attached and a designated marksman in each squad. Your battalion is currently in Kosovo as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) for peacekeeping duty. Your company is billeted in a small village. Your platoon has been assigned to a neighborhood that formerly housed mostly ethnic Serbs. The village is a mix of stone and wood houses many of them damaged. Running through the village is a stream with steep, grassy banks. Your specific orders are to prevent unauthorized ethnic Albanians from crossing to the south of the bridge and entering the Seth section of town, where several dozen Serb families still remain in residence, as well as preventing Serbs, without authorization, from transiting north. The bridge is of stone construction, designed for pedestrians and horse-cart traffic. You have barbed wire obstacles at either end, and at the southern exit is a vehicle control point.

It is 1930 hours, a deepening dusky sky overhead. Your command is deployed as follows: 3d Squad, with the M240 team, is in fighting positions just south of the bridge. Three men from 3d Squad man a checkpoint at the northern entrance to the bridge. 2d Squad, along with your command element and two interpreters, are deployed around a partially ruined stone building to the south of 3d’s position. Some 10 minutes ago, Ist Squad began to make its way back to the chow line to the rear, for the only hot meal of the day.

As you wonder what is on tonight’s menu, the checkpoint comes on the net. “Sir, some 50 Albanians, including several women and some men who act drunk, are at the north end of the square heading toward the bridge. Three men and a woman are in the lead. I can make out several AK47s and hunting rifles. Over.”

In the waning light, you scan the lead group with your binoculars. You immediately recognize the face of Shefki Mahti from pictures circulated by the battalion S2. He is an ex-major in the Kosovo Liberation Army who is believed to be running death squads against former Serb leaders and those alleged to have committed crimes over the past months against Albanians and their property. The others are unknown to you. The ex-major is also the darling of the Western press having given several headlinemaking interviews in recent days. Not surprisingly a CNN television crew pulls up in a European style subcompact and rapidly deploys to begin filming the crowd and your positions. Through an interpreter you issue the following warning: “You are approaching a KFOR permit area-one closed at this hour regardless of KFOR permit. Disperse immediately! Do not attempt to cross the bridge!”

With the crowd still advancing, the exmajor through his own bullhorn answers you in English. “We are coming for the Serb bastard who killed my sister’s husband and raped my niece and the daughters and wives of these men. What will you do, kill us all Lieutenant … Calley?” What now Lieutenant?


In a time limit of 2 minutes issue any orders/reports you might make. Then provide a sketch of your actions and the rationale behind them. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #00-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-630-9147.

>Editor’s Note: If your unit uses TDGs to PrePare “strategic corporals” to handle tough peacekeeping or operations other than war situations, we’d welcome copies to share with our readers. If your unit doesn’t use TDGs this way, it probably should.

Dilemma at Styx River Bridge


You are the platoon commander of 2d Platoon, Company B, 2d Combat Engineer Battalion. You arrived in the country of Devastation 3 days ago. As part of Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/6, you are assisting the local government in earthquake relief by providing a secure environment and repairing serious damage.

A fledgling democracy, Devastation is threatened by “insurgent forces” based in the neighboring country, which the BLT S-2 and higher headquarters fear may take advantage of the destruction in Devastation to expand their frontier. The United States hopes to avoid becoming involved in a border war. Rules of engagement allow deadly force in self defense only. So far, however, there has been no sign of trouble.

The terrain is thick with vegetation, particularly around the river, with many cleared areas for cultivation. The battalion is located in the town of Nice, 25km to the southeast of Nasty. Radio retransmission sites have been established throughout the battalion’s tactical area of responsibility (TAOR).

You are tasked with building a ford near the destroyed River Styx Bridge in order to open the lines of communication within the BLT’s TAOR. Your platoon arrived on HMMWVs at 0700 and has been working all day. The river is 2 feet deep, 10 meters wide, and has a current of 3-5 knots. An NGO (nongovernment organization) base camp is 500 meters away outside the village of Nasty. The NGO team has been establishing temporary shelters for the homeless, organizing food distribution, and providing limited medical treatment for the local population. You have been unable to raise the battalion on your radio for several hours. You are expected to rejoin the battalion before sunset.

Toward the late afternoon, you are visited by a group of Frenchmen from the NGO camp. They are very concerned about a report that the insurgents will attack the village within the hour in order to capture the NGO camp and supplies, and secure control of the ford site. The Frenchmen report that there are 25 other British and French aid workers at the camp. They have two 2 1/2-ton trucks and about 18 tons of food and medical supplies.

What do you do?


In 5 minutes, explain to the French aid workers what you intend to do, and what you want them to do. Issue any orders to your Marines. Then provide a sketch of your decision.

For more detailed information on the structure of Marine Corps units, Marine Corps equipment and symbols used in TDG sketches see MCG, Oct94, pp. 53-56 and the modification reported in Jan95, p. 5.

Supporting the LAR screen

By Capt Terry L. Branstetter


You are the CO of Battery C, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines. Your battalion is the fires element to 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB), which has been operating in a high desert environment (terrain is restricted to vehicle traffic off roads and severely restricted above the first contour line, see map) against a mechanized enemy. 2d MEB is tasked to prevent disruption of JTF units arriving to the south.

Today, Battalion Landing Team 3/2 (BLT 3/2) 2d MEB’s ground combat element (GCE) attacked a strongpoint at Checkpoint 21 (CP 21 ). The remnants of an enemy reinforced meth company, believed to be the advance guard of a mechanized brigade, withdrew to the west after the 3/2’s successful attack.

BLT 3/2 is now establishing defensive positions at CP 21. The Light Armored Reconnaissance Company (LAR Co) was pushed west to screen as shown on the map. Your battery, with a detachment of the BLT’s Combined Antiarmor Team (CAAT) (two TOWS and three heavy machineguns), was sent forward to provide suppressing and disengagement fires to LAR Co. A host nation mechanized platoon is screening the MEB’s left flank (south of the map).

2d MEB expects the enemy will attack to the south tomorrow morning. The LAR Co is tasked to destroy the enemy’s recon elements/advance guard and slow the main body advance. Once your battery fires the disengagement fires for LAR, it will rapidly displace to its previous firing position east of the GCE engagement area.

You are currently in position to support LAR. The CART detachment is augmenting your local security. Because you pushed forward, before you could be resupplied with ammunition, you have only a third of your daily allocation of 155mm ammunition. The remainder of the GCE’s artillery can range to vicinity of CP 43 from positions to your east. The MEB fire support coordination centers are located some 25km to your east.

After a few hours sleep, you check on the status of the early morning’s events. All reports indicate that things are progressing according to plan, except one. Communicators give you a report timed 0440 stating that a recon team to your south reported vehicle movement. It is unclear whom the report came from.

Attempts to inquire about the report fail. Your communications chief reports that the net is down. He says that it will probably not be up until the sun comes up, 45 minutes from now. You talk to the CO of the LAR Co who knows nothing of the possible enemy to the south, but he reports that his scouts see dust clouds to the west. As he prepares to fight his battle, he reports, “My forward observer will be setting the time on target for the first series soon.”

You tell the fire direction officer to continue with the plan. Your XO reports that he has the rear road guard post on the landline and that it reports vehicle movement a few miles to the south.


In a time limit of 5 minutes, make your plan and issue your orders to deal with your current situation. Then provide a sketch and explanation of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #00-8, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-630-9147.

For more detailed information on the structure of Marine Corps units, Marine Corps equipment, and symbols used in TDG sketches, see MCG, Oct94, pp. 53-56 and the modification reported in Jan95, p. 5.