Meeting at the ‘Mounds’–The platoon commander

This scenario is the continuation of TDG #97-3, "Meeting at `The Mounds,' only this time you are the platoon commander instead of the squad leader. The scenario is based on the author's solution to TDG #97-3, which appears on page 91.


You are a platoon commander in company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. The company is making a movement to contact, moving south toward Liberty with the mission of locating and destroying any sizable enemy forces en route. The company commander has said he "wants to bag a big one." The march objective is merely a reference point for the direction of movement; the true objective is the enemy. You are fighting infantry forces that use maneuver and fires aggressively. Your platoon is the advance guard. 1 st Squad, led by your most experienced and reliable squad leader, has the point. You are about 200 meters back, followed by 2d and 3d Squads.

1st Squad has entered an area known as The Mounds. The sudden sound of small arms and machinegun fire up ahead tells you that 1st Squad has made contact. Just then, artillery starts impacting around you. You move through the barrage and notice that 2d Squad has managed to follow you, but 3d Squad has not. You come across a fire team engaging the enemy from one of the mounds and another fire team and machinegun squad doing the same from a mound to the right. The fire team leader points out two enemy positions to the south, which you estimate to have a total strength of at least a platoon. You immediately call for fire on the enemy positions (shifting from your current position, which is a preplanned target). The fire team leader says: "The squad leader and the 3d Fire Team are checking out the left flank."

"How long ago did he leave?" you ask.

"Less than 5 minutes."

2d Squad leader has joined you and points out movement in a small wood between two mounds to your left front, very close to one of the enemy positions. You check your watch and are surprised to see that it has only been 12 minutes since the engagement started. Fire has settled to a sustained rate. You search to the left but see no sign of the 1st Squad leader or the men he took with him. You look behind you and see no sign of 3d Squad through the artillery fire. Your radioman reports: "The CO's on the hook asking for an update." What do you do, Lieutenant?


In a time limit of 5 minutes, issue any orders you would give and make any requests or reports. 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 #97-5, 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.