On Watch

Situation

You are the S-3A (assistant operations officer) and battalion watch officer (as well as battalion landing team (BLT) training officer and education officer) of BLT 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1 1 th MEU. Recently, the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. You have been in country 1 month and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nangarhar Province. Recently, the MEU has been focusing on the southern sector of the area of operations intercepting arms and explosives flowing from Pakistan into Afghanistan through the mountains of tribal Pakistan into the Tora Bora region. This region has three major tribes in the area – the majority Pashtun, the Wakhi, and the Tajik tribes. The tribes are further divided by clans, led by family patriarchs, that fight each other, regardless of tribe, over water rights, territory, and trade rights. The MEU has started to establish allies and informants in the area.

Acting on intelligence from a local tribe, the BLT commanding officer (CO) has tasked Echo Company, a helicopterborne company, to conduct a cordon and search operation in the village of Alikhel on the Afghan istan- Pakistan border in order to interdict insurgents and weapons flowing into the country. With BLT and MEU CO approval, Echo Company first deployed scout/sniper teams into the area in order to detect weapons and insurgent activity prior to commencing the cordon and search. Once the sniper teams detect insurgent activity, they are to report to the combat operations center (COC) and then the COC notifies the Echo Company CO (also heliborne unit commander) who then deploys into the area 2 hours after sniper reporr. If the sniper team is compromised, the MEU has a helo team on standby to retrieve the sniper team. It will take the helos 30 minutes to reach the extract landing zone. It is 1 1 30 and two sniper teams have been in place southwest of Alikhel since 2300 last night. Currently the CO is in a meeting with the MEU CO, and the S-3 and executive officer (XO) are out of the office but can be reached by cell phone to inform them they have to come to the COC, but no other information can be passed by phone.

You overhear one of your radio transmission operators (RTOs) talking to the sniper teams and wander over to his position. The RTO turns to you and says, “Sir, Dagger 1 has contact.” You grab the radio, identify yourself to the sniper team, and receive the report.

Approximately 20 enemy armed with clubs and rifles are attacking a local family. Estimate 2 minutes before they slaughter the family. Am engaging pending your orders. Both teams will need evac in 40 minutes. Over.

Requirement

In 10 minutes, explain what order you give to the sniper team leader; what action you take in the COC; what you report to the S-3, XO, and/or CO; what actions you recommend higher headquarters take; and what actions you recommend Sniper Team 2 take.

Issues for Consideration

1. If you order the team leader not to fire, do you think he will obey you?

2. What do you believe is Sniper Team l’s intent?

3. How do his actions relate to that intent?

4. Do you believe his actions are in keeping with the MEU COs intent? Why?

5. Are the sniper team leaders actions in keeping with the rules of engagement? Why?

6. Do your actions and order support the troops on the ground? Why?

7. What are the potential consequences of Sniper Team 1 s actions?

Attack and Seize the Pass

Situation

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.

Requirement

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 <gazette@mca-Marines.org>.

The Fallen Angel

Situation

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?

Requirement

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 <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

Battle Damage Assessment

Situation

You are the platoon commander of 3d Platoon, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). Your platoon is tasked with conducting a battle damage assessment (BDA) of an AV-8B Harrier strike that was carried out on a terrorist training camp. You are to helo into Landing Zone (LZ) Talon with your platoon, reinforced by a squad of machineguns (two M240Gs) and an assault squad (two shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon rocket launchers). Also attached to your platoon are a two-man intelligence team, a combat camera team, and a human intelligence team. Your platoon carries a full combat load of ammunition to include grenades (fragmentary and smoke), M203 high-explosive rounds, and signal flares, and each squad has one AT-4 antitank rocket and one claymore antipersonnel mine. In support of your mission is a sec tion of AH-IW Cobras providing aerial fires, but due to the flight having to take a circuitous route to avoid an unexpected ice storm, they are almost out of fuel and must return immediately to amphibious shipping to refuel. The S-2 (intelligence) briefed that current imagery shows the area is secure, with all remaining terrorists having fled to the mountains.

You have been inserted into the LZ without problems, and the CH-46s have left to refuel aboard the ships; they will not be able to extract the platoon for 45 minutes. As you prepare to conduct the BDA, the Cobra flight leader suddenly reports to you that there is an enemy platoon (reinforced)-sized convoy moving toward the objective. The enemy is traveling west on the road and is estimated to arrive in 20 to 30 minutes. They were driving six to seven technical vehicles (pickup trucks) that appear to be mounted with either 12.7mm or 14.5mm machineguns. Each vehicle contains about six terrorists. The Cobras have made one gun run on the convoy, destroying or damaging two to three vehicles, but are now critically low on fuel and have to return to the ship, so they cannot provide further close air support. It appears as if the remainder of the convoy (4 to 5 vehicles totaling 25 to 30 enemy personnel) is still proceeding in your direction. Time has priority, and you have 45 minutes on the ground to gather the BDA and return to LZ Talon for extract.

Task your squad and attachments to accomplish this mission. This is a daylight operation for photographic purposes, and all personnel in the area are declared hostile.

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, come up with a fragmentary order for your squad leaders and compose your reports to higher headquarters. Include your commander’s intent and scheme of maneuver with an overlay. Send your solution and rationale for your actions to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-8, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

Catching a Link

Situation

Intelligence reports that one of alQaeda’s top generals, Omar Sharruf, will be in the Ka Bada (KB) training camp. The camp has a squad (plus) element providing security. The camp’s last reported activity was training and strengthening the defense. The camp is in northern Remotistan in the mountains. It’s now 1300. It is believed that Omar will leave in 24 hours. At KB they have Soviet Bloc small arms (AK series and RPK light machineguns (MGs)), as well as RPG-7s (rocket propelled grenades) and third-generation night vision goggles (NVGs). The enemy’s most probable course of action will be to defend the compound long enough for Omar to leave via roadway or foot trails into the mountains. If Omar gets to the mountains he’ll be there for months. They have the ability to reinforce via roadway from the northwest. Special forces (SF) teams have been watching the compound for 24 hours, and they have eyes on and are updating the situation. SF positions are around the compound. There will be one SF team at the landing zone (LZ) to mark it and guide you to the objective.

At 1700 the 28th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) launches a platoon-sized heliborne raid against the compound. You are now 1st Squad leader, Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. Your squad has 13 Marines, and you have an assault team and a squad of MGs as your attachments. Your reinforced squad has a combat load-two claymores, one AT-4, three shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon rockets, and 1,000 rounds for each MG. Your mission is to extract Omar (alive if possible) to LZ Tiger, destroy all KB equipment, and capture or eliminate all KB personnel. To prevent escape along the roads, 2d Squad will position themselves to the northwest of the compound to set a blocking position. 3d Squad will set up a blocking position to the southeast on the road. Both squads setting up blocking positions will land via helicopter onto their objective. They each have an assault team and an MG squad. You have two Harriers that are in direct support of you. They will stand by at Holding Area Lion.

You arrive at 0100 on the deck in northern Remotistan. The hills are steep with loose rock and boulders that provide good cover. It’ll take a little time and effort, but the hills can be climbed. It is a cold night with the moon giving a little more than 60 percent illumination. While sitting in the LZ you give radio checks to all of the key leaders, and communications is excellent. You then scan the area with your NVGs, and you see two flashes of an infrared beam. You respond back with three flashes; the light shines back one time; you have made link up.

As the SF team guides you through the valley, you notice that it’s very flat and is all loose sand. At 0305, as you move into your objective rally point, the KB compound begins to shoot up flares and spotlight the valley floor. This lasts for about 5 minutes. Your MG attachments break off to go to their overwatch positions from which they can provide overhead fire until your squad reaches Phase Line Red. The SF team will provide security. You spend 40 minutes crawling to Phase Line White. Listening to the radio, 3d Squad notifies you that they have set in. 2d Squad had to turn around and abort due to a mechanical malfunction with the helicopter.

Hearing something that alarms you, you look to your west and see vehicle lights. Taking a closer look through a AN/ PAS-13 you discover a BTR-70 (Soviet armored vehicle) and an old Russian flatbed truck with a ZSU-23 (self-propelled antiaircraft gun) mounted on it. The truck has four to six men on it. Both vehicles are heading toward your position. As the vehicles close to 500 meters, the BTR-70 and the truck dismount all troops. They assume a combat formation and continue a course that will bring them straight to you.

The observation post to the northwest reports that through their NVGs they have spotted an individual they believe to be Omar, and he is getting ready to flee. They also report that the compound is scrambling to their defensive positions. The radio goes quiet as more flares go up and the spotlights come back on.

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, organize your squad for a hasty ambush of the vehicles, extraction of Omar, and destruction of the compound and its equipment. Include your intent, scheme of maneuver on an overlay, and your signal plan. Send your solution and rationale for your actions to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-10, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

Shaping Actions

Situation

You are a scout/sniper team leader of Sniper Team 1 assigned to 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 1 month and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nangarhar Province. Recently the MEU has been focusing on the southern sector of the area of operations intercepting arms and explosives flowing from Pakistan into Afghanistan through the mountains of tribal Pakistan into the Tora Bora region. This region has three major tribes in the area – the majority Pashtun, the Wakhi, and the Tajik tribes. The tribes are further divided by clans, led by family patriarchs, that fight each other, regardless of tribe, over water rights, territory, and trade rights. The MEU has started to establish allies and informants in this area.

Acting on intelligence from a local tribe, Echo Company, a helicopterborne company, has been assigned a cordon and search operation in the village of Alikhel on the AfghanistanPakistan border in order to interdict insurgents and weapons flowing into the country. The company commanding officer (CO) has decided to deploy scout/sniper teams into the area first in order to detect weapons and insurgent activity prior to commencing the cordon and search. Your teams are specifically looking for trucks filled with personnel, weapons, or boxes moving into Afghanistan and stopping in Alikhel. You radio the BLT combat operations center, and Echo Company will commence the attack approximately 2 hours after your report. If your teams are compromised, helos will be on station in 30 minutes. It will take you 20 minutes to get to the evacuation landing zone. Your sniper team is four personnel with one 7.62 sniper rifle, one .50 caliber sniper rifle, two M1615s with PEQs, four night vision scopes, digital camera with 16x zoom lens, binoculars, and communications capability to talk to air and ground and send digital pictures, as well as your combat load for sniper teams.

Yesterday at 2300 your team and Sniper Team 2 inserted into Alikhel and established positions as shown on the map overlooking the village and main supply route from Pakistan into Afghanistan. It is now 1130 and your team noticed one vehicle approximately an hour earlier either entering or leaving the village going south into Pakistan with no suspicious activity so far. Approximately 10 minutes later you notice about 20 males armed with clubs and AK-47s surround and enter a home in a village. There is a lot of yelling in the home, at least six shots are fired, and a family is dragged from the home and placed in a clearing surrounded by the armed men. A crowd of at least 50 villagers forms around this scene while the perceived leader of the armed men begins to shout something to the villagers that you do not understand. The family consists of one older woman, four male children, and two female children. You have clear shots on several of the gunmen, including the leader. You believe the family will be killed if you do nothing in the next several minutes.

Requirement

In 10 minutes explain what order you give to your team, what you report to higher headquarters (HHQ), what actions you recommend HHQ to take, and what actions you recommend Sniper Team 2 to take.

Issues for Consideration

1. Based on your understanding of the local culture, could this be an insurgent activity, or could it be a local situation? WTiat could lead an insurgent to take this action? What could lead a clan to this action against another family?

2. What do you believe is your company COs intent? What is the MEU company commander’s intent? How does it apply to this situation?

3. In this scenario, how do your action and order relate to their intent?

4. What does the enemy hope to gain from this attack, assuming it is an insurgent activity?

5. How do your actions deprive the enemy of those gains?

6. What if it turns out the armed men are not enemies but an allied clan?

7. How do your recommendations to higher translate into actions your HHQ can take?

8. Assuming this is insurgent activity, what actions could your company, battalion, or MEU take to prevent enemy forces from continuing actions in this area?

9. Assuming this is a local feud, is it in the company’s, battalions, or MEUs interest to prevent these actions from occurring? Why?

10. Assuming it is in the MEUs interest to prevent vigilante justice in the outlying provinces, what actions can the MEU take to discourage this?

11. What are the possible results of your action given that this is a blood feud culture?

Another Day Afloat

Situation

You are the commander of a Marine expeditionary unit (special operations capable) (MEU(SOC)) sitting 25 miles off the coast of the country Exbeyond.

Exbeyond is a mountainous country recently liberated by coalition forces with an interim government friendly to the United States. The countryside, however, is still sympathetic to the terrorist forces that were recently driven from power. The country is war torn and in need of humanitarian assistance and military support while it rebuilds its infrastructure.

It is now 1900. There are currently two missions that the MEU is conducting. The first is a humanitarian assistance operation. A platoon-sized element (1st Platoon) is providing medical, dental, and food services to the port of Jassim, the second largest city in the country. Jassim is located 70 nautical miles southwest of the amphibious ready group’s position. They are supplied daily after nightfall.

The second mission is a close air support (CAS) mission being conducted by three of the MEU’s four AV-Ss. The fourth AV-8 is down for maintenance. The CAS is in support of an Exbeyond battalion engaging a terrorist base camp 200 miles to the southeast.

At 1930 collection assets detect a terrorist base camp consisting of 30 to 40 men, 75 miles due south of the MEU. Intelligence indicates that Abdul bin Wazaid is present. Wazaid is the operations chief for the entire terrorist organization in Exbeyond and is responsible for a number of attacks on U.S. forces. Intelligence also indicates that Wazaid will be moving at 0300 to another location. This is the first time that Wazaid has been positively identified, and it will likely be some time before he is located again.

You give the warning order for a heliborne raid to be conducted no later then 0200. Your plan is to use four CH-53Es for the raid and four AH-Is for CAS.

At 2037 Ist Platoon reports that a large crowd of Exbeyondians has gathered requesting health care and food. The majority of these Exbeyondians appear to be refugees from the local countryside. The platoon is out of medical and dental supplies and requests resupply in order to continue providing services to the Exbeyondians. The crowd is currently peaceful, but it is becoming increasingly hostile as the platoon is forced to turn them away.

At 2105 one of the returning AV-8s is shot down by a manportable air defense missile. The remaining two AV-8s are returning ofter locating the crash site. Both AV-8s have taken damage from antiaircraft artillery fire while conducting the CAS. The pilot has established contact with friendly forces and is moving to an evasion and recovery site. The S-2 (intelligence) informs you that the terrorist forces are aware of the pilot’s position and will close in on it by 0200.

The MEU is the only friendly unit in the area capable of conducting these missions. Joint and theater assets are hundreds of miles to the south supporting a coalition offensive near the southern border.

The CH-53E is the only asset that can recover the downed pilot.

You have a hostile crowd, ‘a downed pilot, and one shot at catching one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. What do you do, Colonel?

Requirement

In a time limit of 3 minutes issue your orders to your platoon commanders. Provide a fragmentary order, overlay of your scheme of maneuver, and the rationale for your actions. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-1, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mcamarines.org>.

Sidebar

Standoff in the Swamp

Situation

You are 1st Squad Leader, 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. Your battalion has been conducting patrolling operations in the country of Jungleland. The battalion is assisting the Jungleland Marines in defeating an indigenous guerilla movement that has been linked to an international terrorist organization. The terrain in the interior, where the guerilla movement is based, features steep hills covered with triple canopy jungle cut by numerous, small, easily fordable streams and swamps in the low-lying areas. Visibility is limited to 100 meters or less in the hills and 200 meters or less in the lowlands.

The guerillas operate largely in 10- to 12-man groups based in villages. They depend on their home villages for food, fresh water, and new recruits. They are armed with a variety of small arms from bolt action rifles to rocket propelled grenades. They are not known to possess a significant heavy machinegun or indirect fire capability.

Company A is operating with a Jungleland Marine company in the area of the small town of Villagton that has several small, outlying hamlets. The company’s mission is to deny the enemy the use of the village in order to cut the enemy off from the supplies and potential recruits in the village. 1st Platoon is tasked with occupying the outlying hamlet of Hamletia and conducting combat patrols in order to prevent small enemy units from infiltrating into Villagton. 2d and 3d Platoons have the same mission in hamlets to the south of the village. Your company command post and the Jungleland Marine company are located in Villagton itself. 2d and 3d Squads will remain in the village while you patrol and will prepare to conduct their own patrols upon your return. Located north of Villagton are 60mm mortars. They are in general support of the company with priority of fires to 3d Platoon, then 2d Platoon, and then 1st Platoon.

Your squad has been tasked with conducting a daylight patrol north of the village along a route that squad-sized enemy units have used previously to move into the Villagton area. You will insert by helicopter and patrol on foot back toward Hamletia. Your mission is to conduct a heliborne and foot security patrol in order to prevent any enemy forces from infiltrating along the known route toward Hamletia and Villagton. Commander’s intent is as follows:

The enemy’s center of gravity is the support, in the form of supplies and recruits, that he receives from the Villagton area. His critical vulnerability is that he uses known routes to infiltrate toward the village. I intend to send out patrols along these routes to find enemy patrols and prevent them from moving toward the village by destroying them.

You will be within range of 60mm mortars during your entire patrol.

You insert at 1200 and begin moving south following a small stream. Radio communications in the dense jungle has been unreliable throughout the patrol. At approximately 1400 you move into a swampy area bounded by two small streams featuring knee-deep brackish water, waist-high grass, and some tall trees, although the area is not so densely wooded as the hills. You are moving on the south side of the swampy area when one of your Marines spots a group of guerillas moving on the north side of the swampy area approximately 200 meters away. You immediately halt and begin to deploy for a hasty ambush facing east across a larger stream along the route you think the enemy forces will take toward Villagton. As you begin to position for the ambush, the enemy force suddenly halts and goes to ground. You are not sure if they have seen you or what they intend to do, but you cannot see them moving away. You attempt to call higher to report, but you cannot get a response.

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, issue your orders to your patrol. Provide a brief rationale for your actions and a sketch of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-8, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-Marines.org>.

Operation Extract

Situation

You are the rifle company commander for Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. Your battalion has been operating in this area for the last 30 days with great success. The enemy has been reduced to operating as elements smaller than platoon size. Currently your battalion is attempting to conduct a helicopterborne extract and plans to secure two landing zones within its area of operation (AO).

The AO is heavily forested with clearly defined trails overlooked by steep mountainous terrain. The enemy is foot mobile and is armed with AK-47 rifles and medium machineguns. There is an unknown enemy force that is consolidating to the northwest and looks to be in a recovery mode. You are currently moving south to north en route to an open area large enough for 1.5 CH-53Es.

Mission: Charlie Company (Rein), 1st Battalion, 6th Marines conducts a foot movement to secure and prepare a landing zone to accommodate two CH-53Es in order to facilitate the expeditious extract of the battalion.

Table of organization and equipment:

* Three rifle platoons (75 percent strength). (Each fire team has one AT-4.)

* One weapons platoon (75 percent strength).

* One Javelin squad (100 percent). (Each team has a demo kit with C4 (Composition 4) and detonation chord.)

* One section of 81mm mortars is in general support from the south.

Requirement

In a time limit of 10 minutes, identify your specified and implied tasks and develop your scheme of maneuver and fire support plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-12, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail to <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

Operation PURPLE LIGHTNING

Situation

The Krulian Army imvaded Napa a week ago in a surprise attack that quickly overcame the weak Napian Defense Force and seized Napa’s Capital, Krosova. In response, a divided U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning the invasion yet not authorizing military action. Meanwhile, Krulian soldiers committed the ill-judged act of storming the American Embassy in Krosova, killing about a dozen Americans and holding several hostage. With outraged America demanding retaliation, the American President decided to take the lead in stopping the Krulian forces. The President tasked the military to:

1. Ensure the safety of American and other selected national citizens in Napa.

2. Eject the military forces of Krul from the country of Napa using all means necessary.

3. Restore the Napian democratic government.

Intel Estimate: The 1st Brigade (Mech) of the Krulian Guards Division (KGD) has been tasked with the security of Krosova. These are the Krulian’s best trained and equipped troops. The 1st Brigade’s headquarters is in the Parliament buildings. One mech battalion, reinforced with a SAM battery is defending the airport and has blocked all runways. The remaining two mech battalions and a tank company are dispersed at various locations throughout the city and have been conducting continuous mounted and dismounted patrols. The 2d (Mech) and 3d (Motorized) Brigades of the KGD are both within striking distance of Krosova to the northwest and northeast respectively. Terrain around Krosova consists of rugged hills with agricultural valleys. While the hills are severely restrictive, the valleys offer excellent mobility corridors and drop zones. Weather forecast: clear skies with moderate temperatures. There are several sections of the coast that offer potential amphibious landing sites.

Friendly Forces: The Joint Force Land Component (FLC) consists of the 13th and 24th MEU(SOC)s formed under the II MEF(Fwd) Headquarters, the 2d Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division, and two battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Joint Special Operations Component USOC) has a slice of Delta and SEAL. teams. The Marines are 60 miles offshore. The remaining forces are forward deployed to an airbase 2 hours flying time from Krosova.

Mission: On D-day, the JFLC secures a beachhead at Krosova to enable an MPS offload in preparation for future operations against the Krulian Army.

You are on the operations staff of the Joint Force Land Component Commander (JFLCC). In his commander’s planning guidance, the JFLCC stated that the enemy’s center of gravity is his KGD. His critical vulnerability is the lack of an integrated air defense, leaving him open for attack by American airpower. The JFLCC wants to simultaneously isolate the capital, seize the port facilities and airport, rescue the hostages (still at the American Embassy), and secure the parliament buildings. Once this is accomplished, he wants to focus on the destruction of the ]st Brigade of the KGD, located in Krosova. The air component commander is confident that we can maintain air superiority and provide sufficient air assets to attrite or destroy the 2d and 3d Brigades of the KGD before they can interfere with operations in Krosova. He also has the capability to lift both Ranger battalions and the Airborne brigade.

Requirement

In a time limit of 30 minutes develop a course of action for the JFLCC. Then provide a sketch and a brief explanation of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #99-2, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.

Action in Limbe

Situation

You are the commander of 1st Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) that has just landed in Cap Haitien, Haiti. Your company quickly secured the airfield amid the uncertain situation. For the most part the local populace was excited and very happy to see the Marines, believing that you were there to throw off the “yoke of oppression” that had beset the country for years. However, tensions between Marine forces and the local government and police forces were high. Two days ago, a patrol got into a firefight in front of a police station deep within the city itself. Several of the local police were killed in the action, but an uneasy calm has been restored in Cap Haitien.

Around 1200 you see a UH-IN carrying the commander of the SPMAGTF come in for a landing near the company. A few minutes later you are summoned to the command post. In order to curtail widespread distribution or smuggling of small arms during the country’s transition, your platoon is to conduct a show of force operation in the small nearby town of Limbe. Upon insertion you will move to the police station, surround it, and provide security for the SPMAGTF commander, who will be on the scene to negotiate with the Limbe police. We believe the local police will surrender their weapons to the SPMAGTF commander and his Haitian liaison officer peacefully without incident. If not, they will be disarmed. The goal is to retrieve as many weapons as possible before they make their way onto the black market.

Your platoon is organized in the following manner: 1st Squad has 10 Marines, 2d Squad has 12 Marines, 3d Squad has 8 Marines, platoon headquarters consists of your platoon sergeant, platoon guide, radio operator, platoon corpsman, and yourself. Additionally, you have a seven-man machinegun squad attached. There is no map of the town, only a sketch map shown below. The S-2 believes there are 5-10 police occupying the facility. The buildings along the narrow roads in that section of the town are of an old French masonry construction. The time is now 1230; one CH-53 will be here at 1315 to load your platoon. The peacetime restriction of 24 Marines on a CH-53 has been bumped to 35. However, you are told to include the following on your manifest: company commander, battalion executive officer, two U.S. Army Special Forces captains, and a major claiming to be the “regimental historian.” The SPMAGTF commander and the Haitian Army officer will fly in the UH-1N bird. What now, Lieutenant?

Requirement

Describe your task organization and a general timeline for the platoon. Issue a frag order (Mission and Execution) to your subordinate/element leaders. Submit an overlay with your scheme of maneuver within the objective area to include landing points for the CH-53. Include any questions or concerns you would pose to your company commander. Time limit is 20 minutes. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #99-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.