TDG 3: Security Patrol

Originally posted on American Partisan on March 23, 2021

I started this series, TDG (Tactical Decision Game) Tuesdays, to get you more in the mindset of how you could potentially handle a given tactical scenario with a limited amount of resources and manpower. My goal is to get you to read these scenarios and think about what resources you have available, what sort of scenarios you might encounter, and what gaps you need to fill in your equipment/training.

I will use the basic 5-paragraph operations order format, or SMEAC, to present the scenario as follows;

Situation: Disposition of all friendly, hostile, and adjacent forces.
Mission: What we are trying to do.
Execution: How we are going to do it.
Admin & Logistics: Who/what is getting where and how.
Command & Signal: Who is in charge and how they are communicating.

TDG 3: Security Patrol

(each grid square is 1 square kilometer)

Situation: Guerrilla warfare scenario. Lightly armed but determined guerrilla forces are engaging occupying PLA (Chinese) forces in the area under the pretense of “stabilization” in the wake of a societal collapse.

  • OPFOR Situation: A PLA motorized infantry company is known to be operating in the East part of your AO. They arrived 2 days ago and have set up a command post at the location marked on the map, and local informants have observed them sending out squad-sized foot patrols, 2 of which returned 4-5 men short. This likely means that they are setting up observation posts to watch for guerrilla activity.
    • EMLCOA (Enemy Most Likely Course of Action): The PLA is most likely here to locate and destroy our camp in order to disrupt our ability to refit fighters and deny guerrilla forces a safe haven for rest between operations. They will likely do this by scouting the area with foot patrols and ISR drones to observe our movements and track us back to the camp.
  • BLUFOR Situation: You command a squad-sized element of 13 fighters (yourself included) currently encamped at the location marked on the map. The camp is used as a small rest/refit station for other guerrilla forces moving through the area due to the remoteness of its location. Your camp is sufficiently concealed, but you don’t want enemy observation posts potentially tracking your movements in the area.
  • Independents Situation: The region is sparsely populated, but the few people who do live here support the guerrillas. There are no effective US military or LE units nearby.

Mission: Lead a security patrol into the hills around your camp to locate, close with, and destroy enemy observation posts in order to deny the enemy effective reconnaissance intel about your camp.

Execution: (Up to you. You decide your route, when you leave, how many men you take with you, and what to carry)

Admin & Logistics: You have the following resources available:

  • 13 AR-15 carbines and about 2,000 rounds of 5.56
  • 2 captured QBB-95 automatic rifles with 300 rounds apiece
  • 4 .308 bolt action rifles, with 200 rounds
  • 6 Baofeng UV-5R radios
  • 3 NVGs

Command and Signal: You are the squad leader in charge of three 4-man fire teams, each with a team leader whom you can delegate and assign tasks to. Your comm plan is up to you, remember to use a PACE plan.

Feel free to post your answers in the comments and discuss. Stay tuned for the recap in a few days!

Published by vonsteubentraining

Mike is the owner and chief instructor of Von Steuben Training & Consulting (VSTAC). A self-described “Tactical Scholar,” he spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator and small-unit tactics instructor. He has dedicated his life to honing the tactical prowess of himself and his fellow patriots, guided by the wisdom of his commanding officer, Jesus Christ. He can be contacted via email at

10 thoughts on “TDG 3: Security Patrol

  1. I’m glad to see this training return to the forum. I’ve thought a lot about what I read here. I especially learned a lot in the lengthy series dealing with squad and company moves and makeup. I always wondered how you guys got from A to B and home again without getting lost. I learned how to set up various ambushes. Good stuff.

    I was in the Navy. The men & women on this forum by and large were stationed on the ground. You share a training and mindset different than a mariner’s. We don’t have your skillsets and until you have a navy there’s not much we bring to the table.

    Looking forward to these presentations. The black on green is hard to read though.


  2. Build a fake camp in the vicinity Wonder Pass., near the Jeep Trail? Dashed line. The approach to the fake site would be: Off beaten trail, follow game trails, blah blah, using three teams of three, bounding over-watch, leave around 2 am with destination arrival set for 4 am, on a course that follows an offset to a draw. Use paracord to lead the two without NV in each group. Return one set of NVG to base at daylight.

    The camp should be set up with slow cooking food as bait. Since the location is in the hills, the air currents will be downward until the day heats up. Scatter some trash on the trail, and place naturally fallen debris over Jeep Trail that requires relocation, crush or disturbance to pass.

    Monitor area. If signs of enemy appear, monitor and bait area to draw rats in further to the trap. Create radio chatter of incompetent 1% r’ in area. Hey, we got some alcohol for tonight. Meanwhile, go back to camp and get the machine guns, set up kill zone. Set up ambush on approach to be used to kill, capture, retreating enemy.

    Never in the military so this is just a guess.


  3. SITUATION; to me it looks like , the PLA is operating in alberta canada, just west of calgery, setting up on the main east /west road in canada and is using portland as a deep water port for something bigger in the future. they are roughly 3.5 miles away to your east. that is dangerous close with almost a direct shot to you. noise sound smells carry. they will stumble into you eventually.

    i think we need to be sending info up the chain. that this area is active and possibly something much bigger.
    MISSION1: consider moving your main camp north and west to lake elizabeth. it gets you off the direct path.
    mission 2 : you need more info on where their observation post are. to be able to make a plan.
    just west of the last drainage at 44/75 set up a 5 man ar15 squad. to act as sentries, to ambush and protect base access.

    i guess we could set up2 / 3 man ambushes armed with 2 308 and 1 ar15, off of 1 of the trails north and south of the pla base. only looking to target and overwhelm small patrols with well placed crippling shots. your operating in a canyon low land. i dont see the radios being anything but xtra weight. if those 2, 3 man groups. pull off a hit. they go west as fast as possible, on the trail. where the 5 man can clean up any followers. we need a visual challenge and pass. vs17 panel. orange we are coming in. pink we are coming in with followers.
    if they make it back to the safe area. maybe the 2 nd 3 man can swing around and set up a counter ambush of the returning to base PLA.


  4. I was looking at Key terrain, Obstacles to movement, and Avenues of approach. Marvel Lake looks like a suitable landing for an amphibious plane. This might be a resupply point for the OPFO or the BLUFOR. Wonder Pass is ovbiously key terrain in that it is a chokepoint. Expect OPFOR to have emplaced at least two OPs in Wonder Pass, probably one in the pass at the northern edge of the treeline, and another on the southern end where they still have concealment in the trees but have comms with their base. As noted on page 10 of “The Guerilla’s Guide to the Baofeng Radio,” Chinese military use frequencies in the 35 to 108 mHz range, which your Baofeng’s will cover down to 65 mHz on the FM setting. If able to rig field expedient Yagi directional antennas, it should be possible to DF them when they submit regular reports. It might be possible to bypass them, but another idea would be to pass the northern confirmed OP, then button hook and neutralize them. (This will confirm presence of guerillas in the area, so there should be a relocation of base camp going on at the same time.) Before or after neutralizing the northern OP, it would be wise to also DF the presumed southern OP. Once this location is known, neutralize as well. If there is any sign of the OPFOR sending a QRF to find out what’s going at the OPs, there is an opportunity to ambush them, given the terrain to the north of Marvel Lake is highly channelized. If possible, an OP/overwatch of our on the Towers to the west of Wonder Pass would give the patrol better situational awareness than they might otherwise have once in the trees.

    If the OPFOR don’t take the bait, or send a force too large to engage, withdraw back through Wonder Pass and evacuate the area.


  5. I am basing some of this off -specifically current weather- of the geological area where the map is based on (the Alberta/British Colombia border, west of Calgary).

    1a1) Temperatures during the day are, for the next 10 days, currently forecasted to be around 32F, with a combination of some rain and multiple days of snow. Nighttime temperatures will obviously be lower. A key prerequisite to any operation is the proper outfitting (cold weather equipment) to any force. For the purposes of the exercise, I am going to assume that all patrols/personnel, are properly outfitted to survive in the operational environment. In fact, this is 1A1 -at least for USA- in the OPORD.
    The terrain is extremely rugged which will imped movement of dismounted infantry forces without airlift capability (we would hear the helicopters) and will restricted movement of mounted forces to the valley floors.
    1a2) Motorized Infantry Company. Likely to possess motorized armored vehicles (BMP etc), air assets, and indirect fire support (both organic mortar and supporting artillery).
    1a3) Probable course of action is conducting foot patrols, ambushes along trails in the valleys, and OP/LP from points of observation (to coordinate indirect fires).
    1a3a) Most dangerous course of action is that the enemy has emplaced OP/LP into the peaks of the mountains and have the capability to call in supporting indirect fire and/or air support. In this event, we break contact to the second covered and concealed position, and then attempt to move in a hard lateral direction to our previous course of travel. We do not break contact directly to our patrol base. Notification is made by radio of the COMPROMISED/RUNNING callsign three times. No response is expected.
    1b) SEE ABOVE – No adjacent supporting forces.
    1b1) ASSUMPTION – Utilize gathered intelligence to coordinate future and/of follow on operations.
    1b2) N/A No supporting forces
    1b3) N/A No supporting forces
    1c) N/A No attachments/detachments
    2) SEE ABOVE. Given the disparity of force, I would prefer to focus on gather intelligence. We are SEVERELY outmatched/outnumbered here. We fight only if we are forced into it.
    3) Conduct area recon/area denial along with attacks of opportunity
    3a) Put out two three man recon patrols IVO 437748 (FT1), 430800 (FT2), while a four man FT remains at base as security (FT3), and myself two others move to a high point west of Wonder Pass to cover FT1’s movement through the pass. Once FT1 has moved through the pass, we would move to IVO 430780 to serve as a reaction force to either the recon patrols or base. Granted if both get hit, we cannot help both, but they can withdraw to our position for an ambush (hopefully).
    3b) Recon patrols will need to move on foot to their hide sites. TL of the patrols will select their best route utilizing routes that conceal movement (as best as possible) without tiring out the patrol (i.e. we aren’t climbing the mountains here).
    3a2) FT1/FT2 are 3 man patrols, FT3 (base security 4 man), QRF/Blocking (3 man)
    3a3) TL selected, back brief to to SL and patrol
    3a4) N/A – No subordinate units
    3b) N/A
    3c) N/A
    4) None
    4a) Unit organic
    4a1) Field stripped field rations for 3 days/man.
    4a2) Forest uniforms with over-whites (if true over-whites are not available, a white bedsheet poncho will work). Also everyone needs to carry cold weather gear and at least one sleeping bag per 2/men.
    4a3) Each recon patrol will carry 1xAR15/man + a .308. 200rd/AR (this will use up 1200 of 2000rds 556) and 50 rds 308 (100rds of 200 308). QRF will carry the same x.5 (800 rounds of 556 and 75 rounds of 308 – the purpose of this is so that if a FT is withdrawing, they can resupply off the QRF). Recon and QRF each get one set of NVGs, assigned to TL. Remainder of weapons at the Patrol base with ammunition. If need be, the Patrol base personnel can move to QRF and reinforce the blocking position ( or move to another blocking position if things get really hairy).
    4a4) Assuming we can capture equipment, one person on each FT has an empty pack/duffel/bag to toss captured manpack equipment into. Special attention given to radios/intel, ammunition, NVG, and weapons (in that order).
    4b) LPCs baby (for those of you who don’t know, that’s Leather Personnel Carriers).
    4c) This is gonna suck….. Build a travois and haul them out.
    4d) SEE ABOVE 3a
    4e) Controversial, but… When/if you assault an objective, make sure they are dead before you pass them. That being said, the LoLW apply.
    5) Establish phase lines and PACE frequencies. It is likely that (due to terrain) the FTs will be hindered in comms with each other, they can communicate with Base/QRF. Use of direction (YAGI) antennas in desirable.
    5a) Establish codewords for various objectives. Utilize a BREVMAT and dig signaling to reduce chance of SIGINT intercept.
    5a1) P 152.80-462.750 / A 475.60-148.50 / C 136.750-136.750 / E Green star cluster
    5a2) Green star cluster – Far Identification, Purple smoke near identification, 3 mirror flashes near identification in response to 5 flashes.
    5a3) Old/Fashioned, Running/Compromised number combination that equals 11.
    5a4) Randomized based off BREVMAT Excel program.
    5b) Command located at 430780 (ultimately). In the event that I am killed/incapacitated, C2 moves to the TL at the Patrol Base.
    5b1) See above
    5b2) Me, PB TL, SQ TL1, SQ2 TL


  6. The PLA camp appears to be in the flood plain of Marvel Lake. No mention of explosives in the brief, but maybe the dam can be infiltrated and opened? This should at least force the camp to move, which may force them to recall/reposition their OP’s, which in turn should allow for ambush opportunities.


  7. Disclaimer:
    I was a USN Bubblehead Nuc in the mid-late ’80s. I have no tactical training or experience.

    But I have a couple ideas on this TDG, and wanted to float them for consideration. If this isn’t the proper place, I apologize.

    #1 If you can route OPFOR through fields or other areas that you can dig, dig random holes about a foot across, 18″-24″ deep. Place a sharpened stake covered in human feces in and camo them well. And if you happen to have venomous snakes in the area, leave them in some of the holes as an additional gift.
    Bait OPFOR through the field. At best, the holes are leg-breakers, and if the pungie stick gets them, the wound will infect almost instantly, and if they discover their “gift,” well, they can cause chaos even if they don’t bite.
    #2 Build stone pyramids a foot tall or, so, tapering in towards the top. make sure the rocks are sun-warmed! Put anything shiny at the bottom that will tempt OPFOR to reach in, then (Carefully!) drop in a snake (Yes, I hate snakes) and quickly cover the top. In theory, the snake should wrap himself against the warm rocks, out of sight. If anyone reaches in for the shiny, 50-50 they get bit for their trouble. After that, they’ll worry about ANYTHING being booby-trapped.
    #3 Give me a Baofeng, 100 feet of telephone cable (removed between power poles), an automotive door-lock solenoid, a car battery and some duct tape, and I can make a device that will key every time the solenoid gets powered. If OPFOR is playing DF games, use the modded radio to key off and on in a morse code pattern, making GREAT bait for an ambush.

    OK, that’s off the top of my head. They sound reasonable to me, but again, I have no tactical experience.

    Thanks for your site. I’m learning tons just reading!


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