The Attack on Narrow Pass

The Situation

You are the rifle platoon commander of 1st Platoon, Company I, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines. 6th Marines have been attacking north with the intention of destroying enemy forces in Sanctuary Plain and have already landed a helicopterborne company in the plain near Sanctuary City. The helicopterborne force has become besieged, and 3/6 has the mission of launching a relief attack into the plain to reinforce the helicopterborne force and continue the offensive. Implied in this mission is forcing passage into the plain. The terrain south of Sanctuary Ridge is generally rugged and undeveloped with thick vegetation and severe relief. The enemy you have been fighting is primarily infantry with small numbers of tanks. It is 2015, a full moon.

Your platoon-reinforced with two machinegun squads from weapons platoon and two Dragon teams (with night trackers) from weapons company-advances along the battalion's left flank with instructions to guard that flank. Moving parallel to a narrow foot trail-but not on it-you cross a dry, rocky gully about 3 to 4 feet deep and 20 meters wide without making contact. But as you approach Checkpoint 37 your point squad makes contact with what appears to be a listening post that immediately flees northwest toward the Western Narrow Pass. Moments later a major firelight breaks out in the thick woods to your east. From radio transmission it is clear that the main body of the battalion has been halted by a significant enemy force and is taking casualties. Your best guess is that the engagement is taking place near the Narrow Bridge. From your position you can see several enemy machineguns on the ridge to your northeast opening up in support of the firefight. On the conduct of fire net you hear the battalion directing supporting arms onto the enemy position. Transmissions on the tactical net are somewhat unclear, but it appears the battalion is attempting a right flanking movement against the enemy position. Except for the listening post that fled, there is no sign of enemy activity in your area. What do you do?

The Requirement

Within a 10-minute lime limit, prepare the fragmentary order you would issue to your squad leaders and attachments, including the intent of your plan. Include plans for the use of supporting arms, an overlay for your scheme, and any communications you would make with higher headquarters. Then give a brief explanation of your rationale. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, Tactical Decision Game #91-3, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134.