TDG 8: Retrans Raid

Originally posted on American Partisan on April 27, 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 8: Retrans Raid

Situation: Guerrilla warfare scenario. Chechnya, Spring 1995. The Russian army has successfully taken the capitol city of Grozny. Chechen rebels are retreating to the mountain areas, and the Russian army is slowly and methodically pursuing them. You are not a member of the semi-conventional rebel forces, you are part of a small “battalion” (actually squad-sized element) of local militia. You are a team leader within your “battalion.”

  • OPFOR Situation: The Russian army has pushed large amounts of its forces through your AO. However, the Russian Brigade Operations Center is still located many miles further back, beyond the range of normal VHF radios. This has forced them to set up a retransmission (“retrans” or RTX for short) site, which is a manned repeater station, to extend their communication range.
    • RTX Site: The site is located on the ridgeline at the location marked on the map. The antennas, which are skylined, tipped you off to its presence. Upon further observation through binoculars you can tell that they have 2x BRDM-1 armored scout cars to carry all the necessary equipment. You know that the maximum seating in a BRDM is 4, so you estimate between 6 and 8 enemy soldiers occupy the site.
    • Other units: The Russians have shown a lack of aggressive patrolling in the area, and you have not seen any Russians within at least 5km in the last week besides the RTX site. Your cousin Shamil says he thinks he saw some Russian mortars across the valley, but you’re not sure how accurate that is.
  • BLUFOR Situation: Your “battalion” has no antitank weapons, so you allowed the main Russian armored force to pass by unmolested. Rather than leave your village to fight in the mountains, your group has decided to stay in place to care for your families, while causing a nuisance for the Russians in their rear areas. You are a team leader, in charge of 4 other volunteers
  • Independents Situation: There are no adjacent friendly forces that you are aware of, all other rebels passed through a week ago heading for the mountains. There are no civilians near the RTX site.

Mission: Assault and neutralize the RTX site in order to hinder the Russian commander’s C2 capabilities, resupply ammunition, gain intelligence, and demoralize enemy troops.

Execution: Up to you. Your “battalion” commander has directed you to lead your team in this task.

Admin & Logistics: You have the following resources:

  • 5 fighters, including yourself
  • 4 AKMs with 3 magazines each
  • 1 PKM machine gun with one 100-rd belt of ammo
  • 1 mosin-nagant sniper rifle with 4x PU scope. You will need to take rounds from the machine gun belt to feed this rifle.
  • 4 hand grenades

Command & Signal: You are in command of your team, operating alone. You have no electronic communication devices, so any non-verbal communication will need to be analog.

In this week’s TDG, you will notice that you have pitifully little ammunition. This was a common struggle for the Chechens, and got even worse as the war dragged on. In situations like this, you must avoid lengthy engagements at all cost. This can be accomplished with one or a combination of the following: stealth, speed, violence of action, accuracy, and fire discipline.

It is also worthwhile to note that, while you do not have night vision in this exercise, the Russians you are fighting likely don’t either. At this point in the war, Russian troops had very few night vision devices, and probably wouldn’t waste them on a RTX site.

Feel free to post your answers and discuss. Stay tuned for the recap next Monday!

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

8 thoughts on “TDG 8: Retrans Raid

  1. 30k feet overview:
    You’re locals. You know the terrain and weather. infil between 0200-0400, preferably when it’s raining. Place sniper and PKM on adjacent high ground for emergency support. The mission is to wreck or steal the gear, resupply and demoralize, right? Weapons free only as a last resort. Use blades, garrottes, whatever. Just as long as it’s silent. Load the bodies into the armor, w/ one in each front passenger seat, like he’s asleep. Grab everything that will fit, and lastly, disconnect the radio gear, take it too, and wreck the antenna.
    Take both BRDMs and exfil, stopping at a convenient place to offload everything and haul it out, except for the bodies and 2 drivers. Take both BRDMs and sink them in the pond the east of the RDX. Sanitize the area and evaporate back into the populace. If the pond isn’t deep enough, just get them as far away as you can and hidden as well as possible.
    Nothing is more frightening than people just vanishing. This should demoralize their replacements, and possibly have them take troops off the front line and chase ghosts in the hills.
    Disclaimer: I have no experience or training – I was just a bubblehead Nuc in the mid-80s. What “tactical” knowledge I have is from stories my Dad told me about Korea, what my uncle told me about Vietnam, and from people-watching my entire life and trying to see life from their perspective as well as mine.


  2. As the team leader, the first thing I’m going to do is assume there are mortars there because that would be the biggest threat. So we’re going in close. Dangerous, but it would eliminate any mortar fire on us because they risk killing their own guys, a la danger close.

    With there only being 5 fighters, I’m going to have my team have 3 AKM’s, the mosin, and the PKM. 15 rounds to the mosin rifleman. This also frees up ammo for the AKM riflemen.

    Now, our team is going to approach at night after doing surveillance on the site to get their patterns down. When they sleep, do they do so in shifts, how well armed are they, are they drunk, are they high, how much are they paying attention, etc. Definitely at 0200 to 0300.

    Quietly get as close as possible, and preferably eliminate them in their sleep as much as possible. Then destroy their commo equipment and exploit any material gains.

    Of note, the weapons that our team would probably be recovering are probably going to be AK-74 rifles, so replenishing the AKM ammo used may not happen. If they have 54R ammo though we’d use that for the mosin and the PK machine gun.


    1. Going in at night, the Mosin is probably useless. I’d alter your plan to go with the AKMs and PKM. Stealth and quiet kills as much as possible, wreck the BRDMs, loot everything else and vanish on foot.


  3. If possible I’d avoid the team at the RTX site due to probably being out gunned and out numbered. If you can get close enough, we could start a wildfire partway down the hill, and let it spread up to the RTX site. Either their team will GTFO, or get caught in the fire.


  4. Send two man recon of retrains site. Recon group will be armed with akm and grenades. If retransmitter folks are undisciplined and making terrible life choices,recon element can punish them appropriately with grenades.Examples of this would include all personnel sleeping in vehicles unbuttoned without sentries, or all sitting around a camp fire or stove.If disciplined, Study the sentry positions and habits, and go from there. If possible, quietly eliminate sentries and get grenades or fir or both into the bdrm-1s


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