TDG 5: Convoy Ambush

Originally posted on American Partisan on April 6, 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 5: Convoy Ambush

Situation: Guerrilla Warfare Scenario. You lead a small band of guerrillas fighting against the PLA.

  • OPFOR Situation: Your AO is a PLA “rear area” with only minimal forces for security, as the bulk of their units are about a hundred miles Northeast at the front. Reconnaissance has determined that the PLA routinely sends supply convoys through your area carrying fuel, munitions, rations, and medical equipment in unarmored trucks. Normal composition of enemy convoys are 6-10 supply trucks with armored security vehicles at the front, middle, and rear of the convoy. The troops you will be fighting likely do not have combat experience. However, their ROEs are not very restrictive, and are more designed to prevent friendly fire than collateral damage.
    • Reinforcements: there is a QRF located at the logistics depot approximately 10 miles south of the location pictured on the map. They use the same armored vehicles as the convoy escorts. They do not have rotary wing support this far in the rear, but they do have an ISR drone available to launch upon the QRF getting triggered. They do not have constant drone coverage available for force protection.
    • Supporting units: There is a supply battalion at the depot 10 miles to the south where the convoys originate, co-located with an engineering company.
A GAZ Tigr, an armored car commonly used by the PLA and Russian militaries, and the most likely escort vehicle for this exercise.
  • BLUFOR Situation: You lead a squad plus of 17 guerrillas, consisting of four 4-man fire teams and yourself. You all live in the area and have trained/operated together previously, but you do not have any heavy weaponry. One of your fire teams has just returned from spending a week in an observation post overlooking the road, so you have the convoy schedule and you know that the next one will drive through in three hours.
  • Independents Situation: There are no houses in the map, and civilians are unlikely to be in your operating area. The populace is not in favor of the occupation and is sympathetic to the guerrillas, so it is unlikely that they will report your group if they see you. There are no adjacent friendly militias that you are aware of.

Mission: Ambush the next convoy and destroy as much of the supplies and vehicles as possible in order to bleed the enemy and pull some pressure off of the front.

Execution:  The current time is 0300, your people are assembled and ready to go.  The convoy will be at the bridge in the bottom of the map at 0600 local time, traveling the highlighted route in the direction indicated by the arrow at about 50mph.  Sunrise is at 0630.  Everything else is up to you.

Admin & Logistics: You have the following resources available:

  • every man’s personal AR-15 with 600 rounds/man.
  • 5x 2-seat Four-wheelers
  • 2x pickup trucks
  • 4x FRS walkie-talkies
  • whatever you happen to have in your house/barn/workshop in the way of tools, building supplies, chemicals, etc.

Note: Just because I list something here doesn’t mean you need to use it.

Command & Signal: You are the Squad Leader. You can delegate to your four Team Leaders if you so choose. Your comm plan is up to you, remember to use a PACE plan.

I want you guys to get creative here. Don’t get hung up on how little you have to work with, think outside the box and find a way to accomplish your mission.

Feel free to post your answers in the comments and discuss (or don’t, if it compromises OPSEC). Stay tuned for the Recap on Thursday!

If you like these TDGs, sign up for a Team Leader II class sometime to practice these skills in person with a real team of fellow students.

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 vonsteubentraining@protonmail.com

14 thoughts on “TDG 5: Convoy Ambush

  1. Again, speed is key. Suprise, violence of action, and speed are key here. I’m going to make a couple of assumptions. 1) You are on a farm so, you (and/or your buddies) probably have a couple of chainsaws. 2) You are on a farm and probably have diesel fuel and fertilizer (I’m NOT going to go into specifics on how to utilize this/set it off – Mike if you want to vet me to verify I know how to do this, email me). 3) I can detach small elements from the main body for a supporting mission.

    Prior to dark, I’d conduct an unarmed leaders recon of 1 to 2 guys several miles south of the bridge as well as just south of Benton Hollow (VIC of the Route 19 marker on the map). We’d bring chainsaws and the pickup. This would be to identify several trees to drop across the road. We’d pre-notch the trees to 1) identify which ones we wanted to fell 2) ensure they fall in the correct direction 3) speed up the process for in the AM. This will help to isolate the ambush site from the support base 10 miles away. If we do it after the convoy passes, they will not know they have been isolated. Also, if we get caught, our cover for action is we are cutting firewood…. Totally innocent since we are unarmed. Also, by dropping the trees to the north at the same time, hopefully the convoy does not realize that we are blocking their path until they are on site.

    I’m planning that due to the terrain and the path of the road, the lead vehicle will not see the downed trees until they are fairly close to them. We emplace several ANFO based IEDs along the road from the bend just south of the trees to just west of the 800′ elevation marker. IEDs are filled with nuts/bolts/nails/etc. If we can also emplace several fougasse expedient mines (mix of gasoline/motor oil) along the route oriented up/down the road, we do that as well.

    Ambush is setup on the far side of the river to provide a natural terrain barrier between us and the enemy, which will restrict their movement. This combines with the narrowness of the site, will cause problems for their ability to maneuver/move downed vehicles out of the way. Obviously (left/right security are emplaced. This combined with the fact I’ve detached 4 guys for the trees -2 north/2 south, means I have about 9 for the ambush)

    If we can shoot the gunners, we do that in the opening salvo. Everyone on the ambush engages for a mag or two (mad minute) and then withdraws to the ORP.

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    1. Wouldn’t pre-notching the trees have to be done on the side facing the road? That might tip off the enemy convoy that something is up when they pass the trees heading north.

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  2. Not a lot of guys and not much time. A hit & run.
    Position the assault team with the sun at their backs. Line the assault on both sides of the convoy. catch them in a crossfire. Incapacitate lead vehicle. Our trucks will haul up barbed wire and tires etc and line each side of the road and below the bridge to prevent the enemy from taking cover. Old garden hoses and lumber lined with nails are laid across the road. Hoses with nails are also laid out where ever an enemy may seek protection from fire.
    Our trucks will be held back for medical evac. Drivers and trucks occupying high ground will also be spotting enemy reinforcements and ariel surveillance and radio support info.

    Concentrate fire and neutralize security vehicles. Take out drivers of all vehicles. Our people have modified our ARs to full auto when needed.
    Living in a rural area we have the chems to create our own smoke screen. Confuse the kill zone.
    Destroying the supply trucks is out of my wheelhouse. Thinking out of the box as a bow hunter possibly firing torched arrows into the fabric of the supply trucks. I would try to burn them regardless.
    I would not risk men assaulting the trucks unless it was clear all enemy combatants were neutralized. Given the enemy’s quick reaction time, I’d probably haul ass out of there and call it good after weathering fire into all vehicles concentrating on gas tanks and engines.

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    1. Just as an FYI… Most, if not all, wheeled vehicles are equipped with run flat tire inserts.

      Popping the tires isn’t going to do much to degrade capabilities.

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      1. Thanks, I didn’t know that. I was Navy and retired Merchant Marine.
        The scenarios are way out of my wheelhouse but like to problem-solve them.
        Might come in handy someday.
        Again, thanks for the fyi.

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    2. choke point’s like bridges are force multipliers to restrict troupe movement to advances or retreat, depending on how you set it up,to repel or trap. most mobile units will be confined to the roads and in the east, cover from a treeline is never more than 25 yds away. scout teams on the approaching side with some good comms. to give the main force a heads up on what is coming and to give cover fire. fire from the front and rear will give them little place to hide, especially with a dedicated sniper in each team.
      those sort of things will never happen here (i hope) but they are great mental exercises in tactics.
      thanks for the articles, they are really great!!!

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      1. Thanks for your considerate comments. I like to hesitate to post my thoughts on these scenarios since the subjects are way out of my wheelhouse and everyone here was stationed on the ground.
        My goal in a WCS is just to be useful.

        Your comment :
        “those sort of things will never happen here (i hope) but they are great mental exercises in tactics”.

        Need to measure what I say from here on. I came early to the party.

        They did happen here. In my home. The Dalles, Or. in the 1980s The Rajaneesh tried to take over all of Wasco County. They had aspirations for the entire state. They poisoned my friends spiking restaurant salad bars, disabled county vehicles, and set fire to the county building. They drove restaurants out of business. They’d drive through town in their school buses with mounted ARs visible through the windows trying to intimidate the citizens. It was the first time I ever heard of an AR. I was angry wanted to get even.
        We formed. We drilled. If a certain condition was met we’d activate.

        One of my takeaways here is that we did not have an exit or after-action plan. I couldn’t afford an AR. Too rich for my blood. I was going to take theirs.

        Not too long ago there was another possible situation where I was asked to contribute a plan for some of our vet volunteers. I sound like a loose cannon. Maybe.

        Take away. It wouldn’t hurt for me to learn what I can. You see an old bearded guy I see the world as an eighteen-year-old still.

        Thanks for taking a good approach to correcting us non-army/marine vets.
        I’ve probably said too much.
        Monitors, edit at will.

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  3. An alternative to felling trees would be commandeer the school buses parked at the canoe rental on the near side of the bridge, and use them to blockade the bridge. Leave the foot bridge open, and if trooper dismount to cross or move the buses, engage them from cover, after prioritizing the gunners. If someone has the capability to implant ied(s), place it or those on the uphill side of the road. It probably can’t damage the tiger from what I’ve seen in videos, but you might be able to flip it off the road and down the hill. My $0.02

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    1. Good location, but if you give the enemy that much time before you engage them they will call for QRF and drone support, and immediately start scanning for you. Any obstacle encountered is assumed to be under enemy observation and fire, so they will know that you are out there.

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      1. Understood. I should have clarified that the buses would be a quick way to put an obstacle up behind them once they had passed, closing their escape route. Drop trees further up the road. The primary advantage of using the buses to block off their escape route is that there is a lower chance for them to suspect a trap. You would need the cooperation of whoever had the bus keys, but I would expect bus keys are far less of a potential problem to be caught with than felling equipment.

        Always enjoy these. Thanks for doing them.

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    2. as for felling trees. it doesn’t take a large tree to block a road. axes or crosscut saw’s are a lot more quiet.
      don’t advertise your presence. power tools can be heard at a long distance. just my 2 cents

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  4. No Armor for you.

    There’s plenty of information on the Interwebs speculating on what could be in the nose cone. I’m not going to offer anything in particular. Use your imagination. The individual with chemicals and mechanical engineering components, under the given: The PLA is present in the USA, likely would have already built something like the vidyo descibes. For the record: I don’t have a garage or chemicals.

    Hit the lead vehicle 200 meters prior to the bridge from the tree line. Hit the tailing armored vehicle; Hit the center armored vehicle.

    Ambush crew wipes out the remaining fighters. I’ve taken the creative liberty of changing the plan to the extent that there is valuable cargo and if possible, drive off the PLA; Load the cargo into the available vehicles and split man.

    I haven’t provided all the details of the ambush, but that is due to the fact y’all know dat already.

    What the Fox said.

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  5. I would use tannerite to blow the trees over. And like someone else said, hit the lead, middle and tail vehicles. You’d hit the turret gunner, the windshield and driver and then the radiator. And then work from there to kill off the fighters and anyone who’d cares to join in. Use the vehicles we have to cart away the goods.

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