Trouble at the VCP

Situation

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 Enduring Freedom. You have been in-country approximately 2 months and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nangarhar 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, and rocket propelled grenades). Some of the platoon checkpoints (CPs) have received inaccurate 82mm mortar fire in the last week. Additionally, Company Gs actions last month resulted in significant collateral damage to local poppy fields and goatherds. Several houses and barns within Ada At ah 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 Nu ristani) have led to increased theft and violence against the 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, conduct security patrols, and support human exploitation teams in answering demographic requests for information about the local leaders, population, atmosphere, etc.

It is 1030 and your squad has been at work in Ada Atah for about an hour and a half. You have been in radio contact with your platoon commander and the vehicle CP (VCP). The VCP is closing up shop and is about to push out to continue patrolling along the main supply route. It’s about time; you believe they’re just a target there. In the street in front of you, children kick around a soccer ball that one of your Marines produced out of his pack earlier in the morning. You can hear music from flutes of shepherds who are intermingled with the growing crowd of locals at the seed distribution center and the building housing the health workers. As you clip the handset back to your flak vest you hear the dull thud of two mortar rounds to the north and look up to see a brown pickup truck tear off of the main supply route into a poppy field, heading south. Your radio crackles to life with the voice of one of the heavy machinegun (HMG) corporals up at the VCP, “Orphan 1-3 this is Thor 1. Brown pickup with four Afghans heading south along the dirt road.”

One of the HMG HMMWVs wheels around to the south in the poppy field west of the dirt road and stops. Its gunner traverses the .50 caliber and fires a six-round burst over the pickup that impacts about 100 meters short of the creek bed. The brown pickup jumps onto the northsouth dirt road and continues south at about 40 kilometers per hour. You have about 20 seconds until that pickup makes it to Ada At ah. What now, Sergeant?

Requirement

Given the deployment and current activities of your squad, and in a time limit of 5 seconds, 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. Do you engage the pickup truck? Did the truck’s occupants commit a hostile act/show hostile intent? How does the indirect fire play into your decision? Do your actions change if the passenger points an AK-47 straight in the air out of the window? What if the passenger fires the AK- 47 back at the HMG section?

2. What do you tell the HMG section to do, if anything?

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

4. What do you expect the enemy to do as a result of your orders? How do your orders exploit the enemy’s response?

5. How do you expect the nongovernmental organizations to react to the actions of your squad?

6. What do you expect civilian reaction/sentiments to be to the collateral damage and/or the actions of your squad? Within 2 hours after you have arrived? At the end of the day? At the end of the week?

7. What is the expected enemy response to collateral damage and/or actions of your squad? Within 2 hours after you leave? At the end of the day? At the end of the week?

8. 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?

9. What actions can you, the company, and the BLT take to deter future enemy activity in this area? While you are in the area? After you return to base? During subsequent patrols in the area:

No Bugles, No Drums

Situation

For the past 7 weeks the 2d Marine Division has been conducting conventional operations against an invading enemy force in the country of Hartland. The enemy has been fighting a delaying action as 6th Marines has pressed its attack across the open countryside; however, they are beginning to consolidate in more urban areas as they approach their own borders. Intelligence believes they will continue to consolidate forces and attempt to reinforce while they prepare to defend more earnestly.

Brownsville is a small town that sits along the White River, 15 miles south of Orange City, the metropolis in a string of urbar communities along the White River known as the “Upper Valley.” The Upper Valley and Highway 5 have been serving as important transportation and supply routes for enemy forces operating within this area of Hartland.

You are the company commander of Company G, 2d Battalion, 6th Marines (2/6). 6th Marines is conducting an attack on the southern sector of Orange City, and 2/6 is supporting that attack by seizing Brownsville and isolating enemy units in their area of responsibility in order to prevent enemy interference with the main effort to the north. Your battalion scheme of maneuver is sending Companies E and F into Brownsville from the northeast via assault amphibious vehicles, while a combined antiarmor team screens to the northeast. You have been tasked with conducting a heliborne insertion south of Brownsville and isolating the town south of Phase Line Blue (PL Blue) along route Baltimore. 3/10 is in general support of the regiment, and two sections of rotary-wing aircraft are in general support of 2/6. Company E has priorities of fire from the 81mm mortars platoon. PLs Red and Blue are serving as company boundaries for this operation.

The S-2 (intelligence) reports that the majority of the indigenous population has fled the town. Those who remain are sympathetic to the enemy invasion and should be considered dangerous to U.S. forces. Expect at least a company-sized enemy force within the town itself. They have been using BMPs/BTRs (Soviet mechanized infantry vehicles/Soviet armored vehicles) and 82/120mm mortars but have been operating without adequate resupply for some time. Their morale is waning due to the lack of support and bad weather, but their increased defensive posture indicates they expect an imminent U.S. attack. There have not been any reports of reinforcement or resupply within the past 72 hours.

You inserted into Landing Zone Eagle, 7 kilometers (km) to the south of Brownsville and have proceeded north in a movement to contact formation for 5km. The terrain on the western side of the White River consists mostly of rolling hills that gradually rise into a low intermittent mountain range off to the west. The local country alternates at varying intervals between cleared farm communities and wooded areas. The forests contain moderate undergrowth that thankfully does not limit foot trafficability. Heavy rainfall in recent weeks has swollen the river and streambeds while hampering vehicle mobility on all unimproved surfaces.

Along your route toward Brownsville your company has been involved with two brief engagements with the enemy. 1st Platoon, at the lead of the company formation, came into contact, and both times you directed 3d Platoon to maneuver to the west with one assault squad and one machinegun team in accordance with your unit standing operating procedure. In both instances the enemy disengaged and withdrew ahead of the company as 1st and 3d Platoons pressed forward and pursued by fire. As you approach PL Blue, 3d Platoon is still out forward to the west and you have been unable to communicate with anyone over battalion Tactical Net 1 (Tac 1).

3d Platoon now calls you over the company Tac and tells you he has spotted what looks to be a platoon (minus) dismounted from three BTRs attempting to drive northeast toward PL Red. They are traveling along an unimproved road not recorded on the map. At that moment you hear single shots and automatic weapons fire erupt from 1st Platoon’s direction, and the battalion operations officer suddenly comes through over battalion Tac 1 asking for an update. What do you do?

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, develop your plan. Include an estimate of the situation, your intent, scheme of maneuver with overlay, and all reports to higher headquarters. Send your solution and the rationale for your actions taken to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-5, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gaze tte@mca-marines.org>.

Cossack Sweep

Situation

There have been reports of infiltration and possible enemy efforts to consolidate forces in area “Cossack.” As the commanding officer (CO), 2d Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), you have received orders from regiment to perform a battalion sweep, south to north, of area Cossack; make contact; and destroy any enemy and stores he may have in the area. There will be very few civilians in the area. You are to round them up and keep them out of harm’s way, but do not send them to the rear. 1/7 will be to the immediate east and in contact with your right flank.

You relay these orders to your company commanders. You have given orders that will put the battalion on line, with Fox Company on your left flank and Echo Company on the right flank. Each company is to provide its own reserves, rear, and point security. Fox and Echo Companies will provide flank security for the battalion. Fox Company will maintain left flank control by keeping its left tight on an abandoned railroad track that parallels the axis of advance. All companies will guide on Fox Company. Air and artillery are oncall. 81mm mortars will be 1,000 meters in trace of weapons company. No enemy armor or mechanization is expected, so Weapons Company is to leave behind their heavy machineguns and antiarmor weapons and will equip themselves with Mk19 machineguns, AT-4s (self-contained shoulder fired antitank weapons), and Mk153s (shoulder launched multipurpose assault weapons). No HMMWVs will accompany the battalion. All other members of Weapons Company are to assume the role of riflemen and provide rear security for the battalion. Battalion command will be with the left flank of Echo Company. The battalion executive officer will be with Weapons Company. All radio nets are up and working.

The battalion has been moving forward at the expected pace with no civilian contacts, even though some small villages have been passed, when Fox’s flank security walks up on a well-concealed, reinforced, company-sized ambush behind the railroad embankment. Action is immediate with very heavy firing from the enemy and Fox Company. Fox’s CO reports that he is taking intense machinegun and rocket propelled grenade fire; he has turned all three platoons into the ambush and is assaulting the position. In some areas his men have crossed over the railroad embankment. Contact is close. Casualties are light.

Requirement

As the battalion CO, in a time limit of 5 minutes, issue orders to all companies and supporting arms addressing this new situation. How do you deal with the original mission? What information do you provide the regimental CO who is overhead? Provide a brief rationale for your actions and a sketch of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #01-10, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or email <gazette@mcamarines.org>.

Platoon Lost, Position Unknown, Situation–We Are Winning

Situation

You are the commanding officer of Bravo Company, Ist Battalion, 2d Marines (1/2). The Marines have landed in the country of New Sherman in order to assist the host nation’s military in defeating an invading conventional force consisting of two mechanized rifle divisions (MRDs). Marine forces have been conducting offensive operations in order to secure the Sheridan Airport and allow unimpeded fly-in of reinforcements. The bulk of the MRD is at least 48 hours away to the north and being interdicted by the bulk of the air assets with poor results due to weather.

While the Marines have made substantial ground gains, the advance has halted south of Chamberlain Ridge. Highway 1 is only one usable route for our tanks due to road width and bridge capacity. It was thought that airpower would make quick work of enemy resistance, but the weather turned extremely foul 6 days ago to include “buckets” of rain, sleet, fog, and an ever-present cloud cover. Additionally, intelligence collection has been severely restricted. Infantry and division reconnaissance (recon) units have become your primary information sources. The Marines have paid in blood waiting for external feeds on enemy dispositions.

Situation: Cumberland Pass is defended by a motorized rifle battalion (MRB). The MRB is estimated at approximately 70 percent strength with questionable morale due to casualties and the weather. The S-2 (intelligence) believes that the enemy will defend as long as he has a strong combined arms capability.

2d Marines’ mission: At D+9, 2d Marines secures Sheridan Airport in order to allow the fly-in of reinforcements.

Regimental commander’s (CO’s) intent: “We must introduce more forces into the area of operations in order to deal with the remainder of this MRD. I intend to open Highway 1 by attacking the enemy from the rear with a light force aimed at his artillery-his backbone-and moving rapidly through Cumberland Pass before he can react. A rapid attack to the airport, that I believe to be lightly held by ground forces, is essential. My desired end state is control of the airport.”

Task to 1/2: “You are the supporting effort. No later than 0400 on D+9, attack to destroy the enemy’s indirect fire support assets in order to allow the remainder of the regiment to move through Cumberland Pass. Your company has been tasked with conducting an infiltration and attacking the objective. The remainder of the battalion is in trace of the regiment as a reserve.”

Situation update: Your company’s movement along infiltration lane “Bluegray” began on D+7, and you have made no contact along the way. Your company links up at the objective rally point (ORP) at 2100, D+8. You confirm the assault plan (depicted as a dashed line on the map) with your platoon commanders. You move out at midnight (D+9) from the ORP with lst Platoon in the lead. The rain begins … again. It is the hardest rain yet. Visibility is reduced to the man in front of you. At 0230, Ist Platoon checks in on the net and says he’s disoriented. He just passed Checkpoint 5 (CP 5). (There’s no CP 5 on any map.) You strain to look at your map in the dark and decide to personally walk up and find them. When you reach the rear of Ist Platoon, the trail squad leader says that they halted about 1 hour ago, stood up to continue, and the rest of the platoon was gone! Upon returning to your command post, you discover that you have no communications with Ist Platoon or regiment. You do hear the following conversation between your executive officer (X0) and a recon team:

XO: “Station calling. Say again about that artillery battery.”

Recon Team 2: “SA-9 and towed artillery battery located at grid 736 987 with no troops visible. Over.”

You look at your map. That puts the enemy battery less than a click away with Ist Platoon somewhere to your front-lost! You grab the handset.

CO: “Recon 2, are you sure about that position? Over.”

Recon Team 2: “Almost positive. The global positioning system is down, but I matched up the terrain. I can call for fire right now!”

All of this terrain looks the same. As you begin to tell the recon team to adjust fire on the enemy position, the XO grabs your arm and asks, “Shouldn’t we locate Ist Platoon before we call that mission, Sir?”

What do you do?

Requirement

In a time limit of 10 minutes, issue your orders to your company. Provide a brief rationale for your actions and a sketch of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-2, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

The Race Is On

Situation

You are a squad leader conducting a foot patrol in wooded, rolling terrain. You have a machinegun team from weapons platoon (two M240Gs) attached to your squad. You are in radio contact with another squad from your platoon that is patrolling approximately 2,500 meters to your north. The remainder of your platoon is occupying a firm base some distance away. Due to the threat posed by enemy counterbattery fire, your squad is unlikely to receive any indirect fire support during this patrol. Recently, your unit has encountered enemy who are well-trained and usually operate in teams of six, although they regularly combine two or three teams together.

The time is 1600 hours when you suddenly hear the sound of a helicopter flying low to your northeast. Although you can’t see the helicopter through the trees, something tells you it’s in trouble. As you expected, you soon hear the abrupt thud of the aircraft hitting the ground not far from your patrol. You shake your squad out and cautiously patrol toward the accident sight. After only a few minutes your patrol reaches the edge of the tree line. You can see that a friendly utility helicopter has crash landed heavily 300 meters to your east. There is smoke emanating from the engine of the wreck. Some aircrew and passengers are frantically trying to pull other survivors from the wreckage, and it’s obvious that several personnel have been seriously injured in the crash. Just as you’re deciding what to do, your scout draws your attention to a group of enemy moving from the cover of a tree line into a creek about 700 meters to your northeast. They are moving cautiously and appear to be equipped with small arms. You’ve counted five into the creek line so far. What do you do?

Requirement

Within a time limit of 5 minutes, issue the orders you will give to your subordinates. Provide the rationale for your decisions and a sketch of the plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-10, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-marines.org>.

Han Lu River Bridge, part II

This scenario is the continuation of TDG #97-6, “Contract at the Han Lu River Bridge,” (MCG Jun97; Solutions, Aug97)

Situation

You are the commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. Your battalion has attacked north to secure a bridgehead across the Han Lu River for the regiment’s attack into the enemy’s rear areas. Your company has just successfully seized the Jomsom Bridge over the Han Lu River, while Company B (the main effort), supported by Company C, has seized a bridge 6 miles east. Your platoons are consolidating the bridgehead when you receive the following message on the battalion tactical net:

Bravo and Charlie are engaged with an enemy mechanized battalion about 10 clicks to your east. The enemy seems to be fighting a delaying action west toward Jomsom. You are in a position to cut off his only avenue of retreat. I expect him to break and run at any time. Your mission is to ensure that no enemy forces be allowed to escape west of Jomsom. When the enemy main body commits to its retreat, you will become the main effort and receive priority of fires. [The battalion has one artillery battery, a section of Cobras and two sections of Harriers in direct support.] In addition, I’ve already sent you a tank platoon and CA-AT [combined antiarmor team].

You tell your XO, “Get the orders group assembled for a frag order and have the company ready to attack immediately.”

You move to Hill 305 for a look. You see wire and ditches stretching across all open areas from Hill 451 to Rte. 2. An enemy unit, apparently squad size, is entrenched atop Hill 451 overlooking the obstacles. East of Jomsom, Rte. 2 is devoid of traffic, but Jomsom itself is a flurry of activity with 20-30 trucks and about 6 BTRs being loaded with equipment and personnel. You see enemy soldiers but no civilians. There are about 10 trucks already heading west out of Jomsom. Looking to the east, you see the smoke and hear the sounds of battle but no enemy forces heading your direction . . yet.

At the base of Hill 305 you find your commanders standing by. You see four MlAls and five HMMWVs (three with TOWs and two with Mkl9s)just now crossing the bridge. Your FAC tells you the Cobra Section has checked in and is ready for action. The Harriers are on strip alert with a 15-minute flight time. As you begin to brief the situation, you hear the following report over the battalion net:

Enemy breaking contact and heading your way. Estimate two BMP-2 companies and one T-72 company. ETA Jomsom: 20 mikes. It is 1535-about 90 minutes of daylight remaining. The weather is clear. The woods are not thick and allow passage of vehicles although the going is difficult. Your ammo is at 70 percent.

What is your plan, Captain? Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, issue any orders and make any reports or requests. Once this is done, provide a sketch of your plan and an explanation of your decision. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-1, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823. US tMC

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 Jan 95, p. 5.

Advance guard at Colenso Crossing

Situation

You are the commander of Company A, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, currently assembled about 45 miles west of Middleburg. Your unit is part of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), which is supporting Arconian defense forces in resisting an invasion from Baltonia, its neighbor to the east. Reinforced by infantry, tanks, and artillery, the battalion is ordered to secure at first light the two bridges near Colenso Crossing in order to facilitate the attack by follow-on mechanized forces east along Highway 8 to defeat Baltonian forces and restore the Arconian border.

The time is now 2115. Your battalion commander briefs you on the situation: Arconian forces have broken contact and withdrawn to a hasty defensive line along the Longhorn River following a Baltonian attack. An Arconian regiment is located in Middleburg with forces on Hills 299 and 304. Since the Baltonian attack, only small enemy patrols have been sighted near Colenso Crossing, with no reports of enemy movements further west. Baltonian forces are equipped with secondhand Soviet-style gear and adhere loosely to Soviet doctrine. The Baltonians are not equipped with the latest thermal devices for night fighting, but there is a good chance they have captured some thermal devices from the Arconians. The Baltonians can achieve local air superiority for up to a few hours at most.

Highway 8 is a paved, two-lane highway in various states of repair between Middleburg and Colenso Crossing. The terrain is mostly rolling farmland with patches of forest. Because of steep banks, it is believed the Longhorn and Mineral Rivers can be crossed only at bridges or identified fords. Sunrise is at 0500 and sunset at 2000. Colenso Crossing is culturally significant, being the site of several historic Arconian landmarks.

Your company will form the battalion advance guard and main effort, and at 0500 will conduct a surprise attack to seize Objectives Gin and Tonic, the two bridges at Colenso Crossing. You will be reinforced with an infantry platoon on assault amphibious vehicles and a tank platoon, both of which are on their way to your company assembly area. The battalion main body will follow an hour behind and will consolidate positions around Colenso Crossing or reinforce your attack if needed. Supporting artillery will provide on-call suppression. Radio listening silence will be in effect until contact with the enemy. The battalion commander instructs you go forward with him at 2145 to coordinate the passage of lines with the Arconians at Middleburg, leaving you very little time to make the necessary arrangements. What is your plan, Captain?

Requirement

In a time limit of 10 minutes, issue any orders and make any appropriate reports/requests. Then provide a sketch and explanation of your plan. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-2, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.

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.

A World of Hurt

Situation

You are a platoon commander in Company K, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines. Attached to your platoon is one squad from the machinegun section of Weapons Platoon (two M240Gs). The company is conducting a movement to contact, through gently rolling wooded terrain broken by small streams, in order to locate and destroy enemy forces infiltrating your battalion’s area of operations. Yours is the lead platoon. Visibility is generally limited to less than 75 meters because of the thick vegetation. Streams have occasional pools, but are easily waded.

The company march objective is Hill 410. A half hour ago the company commander told you to step it out and reach Hill 410 as soon as possible to begin setting up the company’s defensive perimeter for the night. As a result, you are about 500 meters in front of the company when your lead squad seems to run into a large ambush directly to your front. It sounds like an enormous amount of fire is being delivered on 1st Squad as the whole platoon goes quickly to ground. 1st Squad begins to return fire, and you can hear the squad leader screaming commands. From your position with the machineguns, you start to make your way forward toward 1st Squad when a similar amount of fire erupts on your right flank back around where 3d Squad should be. From your position you cannot see either contact, but you can hear rounds whizzing overhead.

LCpl Vargas, from 1st Squad, crawls back to your position and reports: “Sir, Sgt Carden says 1st Fire Team is down, and we can’t get to them. He thinks there’s got to be a platoon in front of us!” At the same time, word is passed forward from the rear of the platoon: “Platoon sergeant says two men are down in 3d Squad; at least two enemy squads closing in from the right and rear.” Your company commander is on the radio wanting to know what’s going on. What now, Lieutenant?

Requirement

In a time limit of 3 minutes, issue any orders you would give and any reports/requests you would make. Once this is done, provide a sketch of your plan and an explanation of your decision. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.

Bridgeton Crossing

Situation

You are a rifle company commander in lst Battalion, 3d Marines. Your company is mounted on AAVs and has been reinforced with a tank platoon, TOW section, combat engineer section, and Dragon section (attached to the rifle platoons). The MEF has been advancing generally north. Your regiment has been ordered to swing west and seize a crossing of the Diesty River at Bridgeton in order to facilitate the continued advance. Originally the regimental commander had hoped to force a hasty crossing with 1st Battalion, but bad weather has slowed the advance. The previous night, friendly reconnaissance elements were driven from Bridgeton by an enemy mechanized force estimated to be platoon to company strength. Intelligence now reports an enemy mechanized battalion heading south on Highway 1 to reinforce Bridgeton, expected to arrive sometime midmorning. As a result, the regimental commander has decided he will now have to conduct a deliberate crossing and has ordered more forces forward. In the meantime. your company has been ordered to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force toward Bridgeton along Rte 6 in order to ascertain the nature of enemy defenses along the axis of advance as well as at Bridgeton. You are told to advance as far as you can without getting decisively engaged. You are also instructed, if able, to look for sites near Bridgeton suitable for crossing by AV since the banks of the Diesty are frequently accessible to amphibious vehicles.

The weather is lousy and you doubt if much will be flying until it clears. By 0805 you have advanced within 5 kilometers of Highway 1 and are surprised that you have not made contact with enemy security forces. In response to your inquiry, battalion reports no new information on the enemy battalion approaching from the north. You deploy 2d Platoon onto River Bluff to protect your blind right flank. At 0825 Ist Platoon, your lead element, reports: “Just flushed a scout car off Bridgeton Rise toward the town.” Moments later, Ist Platoon calls again: “You better get up on the double to look at this.” You move forward and find the platoon commander watching Bridgeton from a turretdefilade position offering excellent observation of the entire town. He says: “Take a look. I’ve been watching for 5 minutes now and I’ve spotted 3 scout cars and maybe a handful of troops. . . enough for a recon detachment. Otherwise the town is dead.” With your binoculars you confirm the lieutenant’s observations: no sign of infantry, mechanized vehicles or heavy weapons; no signs of any defensive preparations. Just then, 2d Platoon comes on the net: “We got enemy mech on the River Road about 3 clicks east of Bridgeton. So far I count six APCs and two tanks, but there could be more coming into view. They’re heading for the town like a bat out of hell. Do you want me to engage?” It is 0835. What do you do, Captain?

Requirement

In a time limit of 3 minutes, issue any instructions and make any reports/requests. Once that is done, provide a sketch of your plan and a brief explanation of your decision. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #984, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.

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.

Bridgeton Crossing, Part II

This scenario is a continuation of Tactical Decision Game #89-4, “Bridgeton Crossing,” based on the author’s solution to that problem published on p. 83 of this issue.

Situation

You are a rifle company commander in 1st Battalion, 3d Marines. Your company is mounted on AAVs and has been reinforced with a tank platoon, TOW section, combat engineer section, and Dragon section (attached to the rifle platoons). As the MEF advances generally north, your regiment has been ordered to swing west and seize a crossing of the Diesty River at Bridgeton in order to facilitate the continued advance. The previous night, friendly reconnaissance elements were driven from Bridgeton by an enemy mechanized force estimated to be platoon to company strength. Intelligence now reports an enemy mechanized battalion heading south on Highway 1 to reinforce Bridgeton, expected to arrive sometime midmorning. As the regiment prepares for a deliberate crossing, your company has been ordered to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force toward Bridgeton along Rte. 6 in order to ascertain the nature of enemy defenses and find possible river-crossing sites for AAVs.

The weather is lousy, and you doubt if much will be flying until it clears. You approach Bridgeton with 2d Platoon deployed onto River Bluff to protect your right flank. Gaining a vantage point to the town, you discover that Bridgeton seems to be unoccupied except for a reconnaissance patrol. Just then, 2d Platoon reports “enemy mech on the River Road about 3 clicks east of Bridgeton. So far I count 6 APCs and 2 tanks, but there could be more coming into view. They’re heading for the town like a bat out of hell.” You order 2d Platoon to engage and 1st Platoon to take the town immediately, with tanks and TOWs in overwatch at Bridgeton Rise and 3d Platoon and engineers in reserve. Your FO calls for fire east of the town. Once your platoons are on the move, you report your decision to battalion.

At 0850 you meet up in the town with your 1st Platoon commander who reports: “Town secure. We got 2 scout cars. One escaped north. Otherwise, the place seems empty.” The battalion commander comes on the net: “Imperative you hold Bridgeton until we can reinforce. I’m getting you all the support I can, including anything that’ll fly. You’re now division main effort. Hang on; we’ll be there as fast as we can. Good work.” The firefight to the east has died down. You check in with 2d Platoon, which reports: “We knocked out one APC. Enemy has pulled back. We’ve got three tanks and an APC visible in the treeline 3 klicks northeast of the town. The rest of the column seems to have withdrawn; I can’t tell where.” The time is now 0900. Battalion still has no word on the enemy battalion to the north. What next, Captain?

Requirement

In a time limit of 3 minutes, issue any instructions and make any reports/requests. Once that is done, provide a sketch of your plan and a brief explanation of your decision. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-6, P. O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.

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.

Bridgeton Crossing, Part IIa

Like TDG #98-6, this scenario is a continuation of TDG #98-4, “Bridgeton Crossing,” based on the author’s solution to that problem published in MCG, Jun98. Only this time, things have turned out differently.

Situation

You are a rifle company commander in 1st Battalion, 3d Marines. Your company is mounted on AAVs and has been reinforced with a tank platoon, TOW section, combat engineer section, and Dragon section (attached to the rifle platoons). As the MEF advances generally north, your regiment has been ordered to swing west and seize a crossing of the Diesty River at Bridgeton in order to facilitate the continued advance. Intelligence now reports an enemy mechanized battalion heading south on Highway 1 to reinforce Bridgeton, expected to arrive sometime midmorning. Your company has been ordered to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force toward Bridgeton along Rte 6 in order to ascertain the nature of enemy defenses.

The weather is lousy and you doubt if much will be flying until it clears. You approach Bridgeton with 2d Platoon deployed onto River Bluff to protect your blind right flank. Gaining a vantage point overlooking the town, you discover that Bridgeton seems to be unoccupied except for what looks like a reconnaissance patrol. Just then, 2d Platoon reports “enemy mech on the River Road about 3 clicks east of Bridgeton. So far I count 6 APCs and 2 tanks headed southwest, but there could be more coming into view.” Convinced that you have a momentary opportunity to seize a critical crossing site, you order 2d Platoon to engage and 1 st Platoon to take the town immediately. You put the tanks and TOWs in overwatch at Bridgeton Rise and hold your 3d Platoon and engineers in reserve. Your FO calls for fire east of the town. Once your platoons are on the move, you report your decision to battalion. 1st Platoon races for the town and appears to have crossed the bridge into the town without resistance. Your tanks and TOWs succeed in holding off the enemy column from the east; a couple of enemy tanks have been knocked out. The battalion commander comes on the net: “Imperative you hold Bridgeton until we can reinforce. You’re now division main effort. Hang on; we’ll be there as fast as we can. Good work.”

Hardly moments later, Bridgeton Rise begins to come under artillery fire and you hear and see explosions and sounds of combat erupting from the town. You are unable to contact the Ist Platoon, but it has obviously come up against well-concealed, wellprepared defenses-some sort of urban ambush-deeper in the town. After a couple of extremely long minutes an unidentified voice, which you believe to be from the 1st Platoon, reports, “We’ve run into a mess. All the amtrac have been hit. It’s awful. The lieutenant’s dead. We’re in buildings just across the bridge, but everybody’s hurt. We need help.” The time is now 0920. As of 10 minutes ago, battalion still had no word on the enemy battalion to the north. What now, Captain?

Requirement

In a time limit of 3 minutes, issue any instructions and make any reports/requests. Once that is done, provide a sketch of your plan and a brief explanation of your decision. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-7, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640823.