“What now, Staff Sergeant?”

Situation

You are the 1st Platoon Sergeant. Company G (mechanized, reinforced), Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1). Recently the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in supporr 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 the warlord, Sher DiI, and his needihajum freedom fighters believed to be operating in the Rahadnak Valle}·. Sher DiI is the primary source of arms transportation into Jalalabad. The arms shipments flow from the northwest tribal regions of Pakistan into the Torà 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 initiated 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 DiI 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 the sea] 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 tasked with encircling the village from the west in order to prevent enemy forces from escaping the village during the search operations. The company main effort is 3d Platoon, which will conduct the search of the village. Your boundary (limit of advance) is southwest of the village ending at a line from the village to the western part to Hill 4. You have used this tactic successfully in this area in the past.

The platoon commander orders the platoon to advance west of the village with each squad tasked with securing Hill 2 (1st Squad), the main supply route (MSR) between HiJIs 2 and 3 (2d Squad), and the MSR between Hills 3 and 4 (3d Squad). 2d and 3d Squads are reinforced with one machinegun team .and one assault team. The platoon commander is with 3d Squad, you are with 2d Squad, and the platoon guide is with 1st Squad.

As 1st Squad advanced toward its objective and 2d and 3d Squads continue toward their objectives, lsc Squad begins taking machinegun fire. 2d and 3d Squads dismount and begin to suppress the enemy on Hill 2. Approximately 1 minute into the fight for Hill 2, mortar round and machinegun fire impact around 3d Squad. You see 3d Squad directing fire on Hill 3 but cannot see what they ate firing at. Over the radio 3d Squad Leader reports, “Lieutenant and Jenkins down, enemy team, squad sized, on Hill 3, am preparing to assault pending further orders.”

What now, StaffSergeant?

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, Issue your orders to your element leaders and any reports and recommendations you would make to higher headquarters.

Issues for Consideration

1. Who do you believe the enemy force is? What is the enemy’s intent for this attack?

2. What do you believe is the platoon commander’s intent?

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

4. How do your actions support these intents?

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

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

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

8. How many civilian casualties do you anticipate as a result of your actions?

9. What do you expect the civilian response will be to collateral damage (property damage and casualties):

* 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. What is the expected enemy response to the collateral damage:

* At conclusion ot fighting, while you arc 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 the collateral damage?

12. 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?

‘Cordon and. . . .’

Situation

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?

Requirement

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?

Fight for Rahadnak Valley

Situation

You are Marwand Paywastun, a local leader of the needihajum freedom fighters led by Sher Dil. You live in Rahadnak Valley and are proud to have never left it. It is now spring, the winter has gone, and your friends, family, and neighbors have planted the annual crops hoping for a bountiful harvest. After a few years of relative peace, foreign soldiers invaded your valley. Over the past month the Americans took over to impose foreign rule upon the dozen villages that make up the Rahadnak Valley. There is no reason to expect they will stop. They come in the hundreds, riding in their armored vehicles, often with helicopters flying overhead. Fortunately, while they have vehicles, you own this land and know every cave, ravine, goat trail, and hiding place in the valley.

This season you have been able to recruit over 60 fighters from your village of Ada and 2 nearby villages. While they include many of the major clans, some of the clans are neutral to your cause and some are hostile, favoring the Americans over their freedom. Your fighters have trained since birth as hunters and are organized as eight groups of seven to eight fighters (ineluding your own bodyguard) by clan affiliation. You have been able to amass 6 rocket propelled grenades with 20 rounds, one 82mm mortar with 25 rounds, two 14.7mm machineguns, 45 AK-47s with 80 rounds for each weapon, 4 cell phones, and 3 radios. Communication in the valley is primarily by messenger. Clan leaders have cell phones, and you have most of their numbers. Ada has four vehicles that belong to the local clan leader, who is also your uncle. The landscape is littered with unexploded bombs and shells left over from past wars.

Sher Dill has charged you with defending the western entrance of the valley from the American invaders. (See map.) He also reminds all of his leaders to be vigilant of the mood of other clans and to take every advantage to both defeat the Americans and increase our own numbers and supporters.

This morning one of your nephews rides to your home with news from your brother, a worker at the American base near Jalalabad. He states that the Americans have just received a new unit of soldiers with their armored vehicles, who began patrolling in the area a day after arrival. Based on previous experience, the Americans usually follow the same pattern, encircling the village with some of their men and vehicles and sending a smaller force into the village to search houses. You believe the Americans will be here by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. What now?

Requirement

In a time limit of 15 minutes, prepare your order to your group leader. Be prepared to discuss the rationale for your decisions.

Issues for Consideration

1. What do you believe the Americans’ goal is?

2. What is your estimate of the American strength compared to your own?

3. What do you consider mission success?

4. How does your vision of success correspond to Sher Dil’s objectives?

5. How sensitive are you to casualties among your own fighters? How sensitive are you to local civilian casualties and property damage? How do your actions reflect this?

6. Is your focus on using your fighters to destroy the Americans or to instigate the local populace to action?

7. Assume that at the end of the engagement you have brought down two Americans but are unable to photograph or claim the bodies, one home is damaged in the fighting, one oí your lighters from a nearby village is killed, another is wounded in the fighting, and your force has fallen back to the surrounding countryside and into the valley.

What actions can you take to exploit the loss of life and damage to property?

What actions can the Americans take that will help you exploit the situation?

How can this action increase your standing with the local populace?

How will you communicate your message to the local populace?

Tax Trouble

Situation

You are Khorasan Parsi, a warlord of the Tajik clan in the city of Sar-e Pol. For the last several years, foreign armies have been operating in your country after ousting the Taliban from the government. Over a month ago American armies moved into Jalalabad, about 30 kilometers north of your city. The continued invasions of foreign powers over your lifetime have left their mark upon your family and clan. Your family has learned to deal with all countries that respect them, and your clan sells good and services to all people. At the same time, some members of your clan are resentful that outsiders from Kabul, Europe, and now the United States seek power in your land for reasons that you do not understand. As a warlord, you know how to stoke the fires of resentment when needed and how to laugh and celebrate with strangers from all over the world, all the while looking to increase your clan’s standing, influence, money, goods, and property.

Your family and clan reside north and east of the Styx River and in the north and east sections of the city south of the river as well. In the middle of your area a French and British nongovernmental organization (NGO) has been distributing food, blankets, and fresh water to those whose homes have been destroyed as a result of the invasion and occupation.

During the American invasion, the Pashtun tribes have gained the uppet hand in the endless power struggle between the clans. Through manipulation of the French and British, they have convinced them to distribute the majority of the aid goods to warlords of the Pashtun clans who establish distribution points in the city center then charge tolls to cross the bridge. Through these tolls your clan loses most if not all of what they receive. The French and British do not understand the extortion, and the Americans are only seen in their armored trucks moving from Tora Bora north to Jalalabad.

A few weeks ago your clan leader ordered that the bridge be destroyed and the NGO camp attacked and looted with the spoils distributed among your clan. The bridge was destroyed, and your clan leader ordered you to take charge of sacking the camp when he orders it. Your warband consists of 30 fighters who have trained with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). As young children they learned to fight with all manner of improvised weapons. You also have 6 pickup trucks from your family, 1 cell phone with contacts with the rest of your clan leaders on both sides of the river, 2 radios, 30 AK-47s with 40 rounds each, and 2 RPGs with 2 rounds each. Your men generally move as a mob and will break into smaller warbands of two to five fighters once the battle is joined.

Yesterday evening, over dinner with the clan chief, he informed you that the time to take the camp is today. Whether to attack during the day or at night is up to you. All of the clan leaders and heads of the community have offered their support with the stipulation that you wait until afternoon or evening. You agreed to their requests and reconnoitered the camp that evening. You discovered that the camp has about 20 workers, 2 trucks, and enough food to see your family through the next year.

The next morning you notice a group of 50 or so American Marines with armored trucks and a lot of construction equipment enter your area and begin work on building a new bridge. It is now noon, the attack must commence this afternoon or evening (within 3 to 10 hours), and the Americans look like they have no intention of leaving. What now?

Requirement

In 20 minutes, explain to your men and supporting clan leaders what you intend to do and what you need them to do. Issue your orders to your warband.

Issues for Consideration

1. What is your goal for this attack? How does the American presence complicate it? How do your actions negate the American presence?

2. What do you consider mission success?

3. How does your vision of success correspond to your clan leader’s objective?

4. How sensitive are you to casualties among your own fighters? How sensitive are you to local civilian casualties and property damage? How do your actions reflect this?

5. Is your warband being used to attack the Americans, instigate the local populace to action, take the NGO camp, or something else? Whom do you use and who will be reliable to deal with other situations that your warband cannot handle; i.e., will they take the NGO camp and keep the supplies?

6. Do your actions force the Americans to fight your warband? If so, what are the possible repercussions of a fight with the Americans?

7. If you chose not to attack the Americans, what other methods could you use to neutralize them?

3d Platoon’s Pickle

Situation

You are the platoon commander of 3d Platoon (foot-mobile), Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th MEU. Last month, after completing operations in Nangarhar Province, the MEU was sent to support NATO forces in B armai District of neighboring Paktika Province. Two weeks ago, B armai District witnessed dozens of small-scale battles. The fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, most of them victims of NATO air and artillery strikes. Because of this, several once pro-NATO villages have begun providing the Taliban with intelligence, supplies, and even men.

Your battalion commander finds this situation alarming and wants to strengthen relations between his Marines and the remaining pro-NATO villages in the battalion area of responsibility. To this end, he has sent each of his companies to billet on the edge of – or if granted permission, within – a large pro-NATO village. Each company has the same mission: protect the villagers and improve their quality of life. Your company was assigned to Soor.

When Fox Company arrived in Soor, your company commander met with the village elders. Impressed by his knowledge of Pashto (and promises of food and medical supplies), they invited the Marines to stay in the village. A few days later, an Afghan National Army (ANA) infantry platoon arrived to augment your force and facilitate cooperation between the Marines and villagers. Consisting of three light infantry squads, the Afghan platoon is highly motivated but knows only the most rudimentary skills of soldiering, and except for its Soviet-era weapons, it is poorly equipped. The Afghan soldiers lack body armor and night vision devices.

Since the Marines came to Soor, the village and its environs have been free of enemy activity. The villages where your sister companies are stationed, however, have seen daily (and sometimes nightly) company-sized attacks by the Taliban. Often poorly coordinated, the attacks have cost the enemy hundreds of dead, the Marines dozens, and the villagers few.

Today you and your men spent the afternoon instructing the Afghan infantry platoon in ambush techniques. With the training over, your platoon began readying itself for a night patrol. Then, around 1700, you received new orders from your company commander. “Lieutenant,” he began, “we just received word from battalion: 20 minutes ago an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) discovered a convoy of 8 pickup trucks a few hours northeast of here. Intel says they’re Taliban, about 50 in number, who came across the border from Pakistan sometime this morning. The trucks appear to be carrying at least a dozen crew-served weapons. And there’s a good chance that the leader of Taliban forces in Barmal District is among the passengers. Higher headquarters wants the convoy taken out for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, we won’t have the aid of the UAS. It’s been sent to help friendly forces caught in an ambush. Now because there are so few good roads in the area, the convoy must pass through Checkpoint Chesty, about 3!/2 klicks northeast of Soor. Ambush it there. I’m giving you three assault teams and a machinegun squad (two teams) for the mission. Since you just finished training the ANA platoon in ambush techniques, I’m sending two of their squads along. You also get the forward air controller (FAC). Two Cobras (AH-IW) are on call, so if you need them, they’re there. At its present rate the convoy should reach the checkpoint a little over an hour from now. As you know, the terrain between here and there is relatively flat and easy to travel, so you should have plenty of time to set up the ambush. Move out within 15 minutes.”

You give a quick patrol order to your subordinate leaders, conduct final equipment checks, and move out. You deploy your force in column formation, with the assault teams, machineguns teams, and ANA squads interspersed between your three rifle squads. 1st Squad is on point.

As the lead elements of the ambush force near Checkpoint Chesty, you hear explosions coming from Soor. You try contacting your company commander on the radio, but he does not respond. You then direct the FAC to check with the battalion air officer. The FAC does so and learns that Soor is taking heavy mortar fire. To make matters worse, the FAC informs you that at least two groups of Taliban (strength unknown) are moving to assault the village from the southwest. Just then, 1st Squad radios in. They report seeing 13 vehicles in the distance. The convoy is fast approaching. Night is falling. What now, Lieutenant?

Requirement

Within 5 minutes, give your solution in the form of a frag order to your subordinates. Be sure to include your intent, an overlay sketch of your plan, and the rationale for your decision.

> Editors Note: This TDG was originally submitted by Damien O’Connell with comments and suggestions by Bruce Gudmundsson and Timothy Jackson.

 

Tactical Decision Game

You are the commander, 1st Platoon, Alpha Company.

General Situation

Company A is on the far right (northern) flank of the battalion as it clears from east to west in order to (IOT) prevent the Centraban Resistance Force (CRF) from destabilizing the Centraban government. The CRF has been conducting a guerrilla campaign that has been marked by small units operating independently to strike government forces quickly and then withdrawing. The CRF has occasionally massed to company strength to conduct deliberate attacks. CRF forces have occasionally conducted deliberate defenses when they can muster significant strength, and the area defended is critical to their operations. The CRF has been operating in this area for approximately 1 year and is seeking to prevent us from advancing westward into their key territories. 1 st Platoon is on the far right (northern) flank of Company A and is the northernmost unit in the battalion. The company is approximately 2.5 kilometers to the south of 1st Platoon. Since your attack will take place prior to the main efforts attack, you will have priority of fires for the company 60mm mortars until the main efforts attack commences.

Orientation

You arc currently located in Assembly Area Silver in Area ol Operations White (AO White). The map shows the entirety of your AO. The Deep River is swiftflowing and crossable only where there are bridges. North and South Bridges are identical footbridges of wood construction. The Western Swamp is mired in chest-deep mud in almost all areas except for some footpaths that are known to the locals and are nearly invisible. Visibility in open areas is 100 meters, 50 meters in the swamp, 50 meters in the thinner tree line, and 25 meters in the thick tree line. Visibility from the high ground is 100 to 200 meters, but essentially stops at the tree line and 100 meters into the swamp. Within the tree line next to the river, visibility is 25 to 50 meters. Sunrise tomorrow is at 0620, sunset today is at 1726, end of evening nautical twilight today is at 1801, moonrise is at 2106 tonight, illumination will be 50 percent tonight, beginning morning nautical twilight tomorrow is at 0532. It is early winter in the Quantico Highlands and the temperature tonight will be 43 degrees Fahrenheit with light cloud cover and no precipitation. Your probable rate of march in the Eastern Forest is 1 kilometer per hour.

Situation

Enemy: Composition, disposition, and strength: Intelligence reports indicate that a squad of CRF in green camouflage utilities is present in AO White and a platoon may be present 10 ro 20 kilometers to the south. The squad is reportedly armed with at least 1 PKM, one or two RPG 7s, and AK-74s. They may have a single antiquated Soviet 50mm mortar system with a maximum range of 800 meters. They are communicating via cellular phones and handheld radio systems with a maximum range of 5 kilometers. They do not have night-vision capabilities.

lasks

1st Platoon: You are [SE3]- No later than 2000, destroy the enemy in AO White IOT prevent them from interfering with die company’s main-effort attack in AO Black.

2d Platoon: You are the main effort. On order, destroy the enemy squad on Company Objective A IOT protect the battalion’s right flank.

3d Platoon: You are [SEI]. On order, destroy the enemy listening posts/observation posts on Company Objectives B and C TOT prevent them from interfering with the company’s main effort attack on Company Objective A.

Weapons Platoon: You arc [SE3]. On order, support by fire 2d Platoon TOT allow them to close with and destroy the enemy on Company Objective A.

Time is now 1600.

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>.

Cartonville Patrol

Situation

You are the platoon commander of 1st Platoon, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. You are currently engaged in stability and support operations in the country of Grapeland. Coalition forces have routed organized enemy resistance, but there are still numerous “dead-enders” who operate in squad-sized units. These units utilize Soviet Bloc small arms to include AK-series assault weapons, light machineguns, rocket propelled grenades, and 82mm mortars. They are mostly former regime military officers augmented by terrorists from other countries. Their actions are well-thoughtout, rehearsed, and usually effective. Hostile threat is high, but you have not been engaged in any manner in the 14 days you have been there. Your battalion is in a defensive perimeter at a rundown airfield located within city limits of Cartonville, Grapeland. Your rules of engagement state that you are only to fire if fired upon or if hostile intent is positively identified. You are to use the least amount of force necessary to gain fire superiority. There have been restrictive fire measures emplaced as well. In any situation, collateral damage is to be kept to a minimum.

Your platoon has been tasked with a security patrol in the city. You have two machinegun teams and two assault teams attached to you. The platoon has a standard combat load of ammunition (squad automatic weapon, M203 grenade launcher, M16), and each squad has one AT-4 rocket as well. You have no direct or indirect fire support due to the restrictive fire measures. Illumination is your only asset from your supporting weapons platoon and company. There is a section of AH-IW Cobras armed with 20mm and 5-inch Zuni rockets, as well as a dedicated medevac bird (on 20-minute strip alert at a nearby forward operating base), that are within a 5-minute flight of you once they launch. It is 1 hour before dusk, and your patrol exits friendly lines. Your patrol is spread out about 400 meters long and staggered on both sides of the road. As you come to the intersection in the city square, you see that two of the avenues are now barricaded with trash, vehicles, and wood and are impassable for your patrol. There are very few people in the streets as well. At this time you halt the patrol to look at your map in order to coordinate new routes. You are hit from the front by small arms and machinegun fire. The machineguns seem to have interlocking fire, and the small arms are in sporadic positions within the buildings. All of the buildings in the square are two floors or higher and made of heavy concrete. (1st Fire Team, 1st Squad is pinned down and taking casualties.) As the patrol advances toward the contact, mortar fire begins to fall in behind your position, pushing you toward the kill zone. First assault team and machinegun team moved to join 1st Squad on their own initiative upon contact. second assault team and machinegun team moved to support 2d Squad upon contact. 3d Squad moved into a reserve position and all are awaiting orders.

What do you do?

Requirement

In a time limit of 5 minutes, come up with a fragmentary order for your squads and your attachments; include scheme of maneuver, commander’s intent, and signal plan. Provide an overlay for your scheme of maneuver. Also prepare any reports that you would send to higher headquarters, along with any requests for support. Send your solution and rationale for your actions to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #04-11, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mcamarines.org>.

First Contact

Situation

You are the 2d Platoon Commander, Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 11th Marines (BLT 2/11), 11th MEU. Your company has recendy taken over the area of responsibility (AOR) of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. After initial operations, organized resistance has ceased. However, insurgent and tribal fighters remain as active combatants.

Your AOR is in an urban environment characterized by densely but haphazardly arranged mud brick houses of one and two stories with flat roofs, with the occasional taller building – usually a mosque or other religiously associated structure. The main roads ate paved and two lanes wide. Side roads are also paved but only 1 !/2 lanes wide. In addition, there are numerous narrow dirt alleyways only suitable for foot traffic.

The enemy you face wears no standardized military uniform and often appears in civilian dress, uses Soviet-era infantry weapons (AK-47s, light machineguns, and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs)), and has the occasional command of 82mm mortars and 12.7mm machineguns. His main tactic is the ambush, initiated by RPG attack or improvised explosive device (IED). The enemy rarely stands to fight, even after such ambushes. When they do, it is often the signal of a major engagement. S- 2 (intelligence) believes such battles center around religious sites.

The BLT has been relatively successful in matters of civil affairs and civilmilitary relations. They initiated a “weapons buy back program,” paying for each weapon turned in depending upon its lethality. Despite such gains, the AOR still has its share of insurgent attacks. Of the seven major clans in the area of operations, the BLT has secured the support of one smaller clan but stili faces resistance from several of the larger clans in the city and surrounding area.

Currently your platoon is on its second patrol. After crossing the Route 6 bridge, you enter the area controlled by the smaller clan that supports coalition forces. You are moving from south to north. 1st Squad is on the left flank, you are with 2d Squad in the center, and 3d Squad is on the right. You have only your organic weapons and are in radio contact with the other squads and the battalion combat operations center, though such contact is not always 100 percent due to the urban environment.

Approximately 20 minutes after crossing the bridge you hear and see an explosion where you expect 1st Squad to be. The explosion is followed by automatic and semiautomatic weapons fire. 2d Squad leader executes a halt in place and 360-degree security. Firing continues for 30 seconds before you receive 1st Squad’s report: “Enemy squad with AKs,. RPG, mortar IED. Watson and Perez are down. Need casevac. Break. Recommend 2d Squad move north oí my position and cut off retreating enemy elements. Over.”

Requirement

What now, Lieutenant? In a time limit of 5 minutes, determine what actions you would take, what orders you would issue, and what reports, if any, you would make.

Issues for Consideration

Who do you believe the enemy is?

What do you believe your company and battalion commanders’ intents are?

In this scenario, how do your actions and orders relate to their intents?

What does the enemy hope to gain from this attack?

How do your actions deprive the enemy of those gains?

How will the enemy counter your platoon’s actions?

Assume that as a result of this incident, two civilians are wounded and one home is damaged. How will the enemy exploit this information in 20 minutes? By the end of the day? For the rest of the week?

What can you do to counter his effects at exploitation? Now? After you return to base?

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>.

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.