TDG 12 Recap and Analysis

Originally posted on American Partisan on May 25, 2022

In TDG 12: Rock and a Hard Place, you were faced with a pretty messy situation.  An intimidating foe appearing where you weren’t expecting them, orders that restrict your options, and communications went down when you needed them most.  Today I will analyze the situation in depth and weigh the pros and cons of some of your answers.

First, let’s look at the enemy patrol.  Their current path will eventually place them very close to the compound.  We can probably assume that this is a raiding party and not a reconnaissance patrol.  It is unclear whether the enemy knows about the ambush or just chose a more concealed route to their objective.  We must also consider that the enemy we see may not be the only enemy in play.

Obviously the enemy patrol is positioned where it poses a significant threat to not just the ambush patrol, but the compound itself which we left lightly defended.  The compound has the bulk of our supplies, it is a friend’s home, and most importantly our families are there.  We must choose a course of action that provides the best chance of stopping the enemy from taking the compound.

Option 1: Follow orders and sit tight

If there is ever a wrong answer in a TDG, it is usually to do nothing.  If we stay in place and try to sort out the communications failure where we are, odds are good that the enemy patrol will get into a very threatening position to the compound before we can begin to react effectively.  We only have a matter of minutes, and we cannot bet on fixing communications in time to make a difference.  This is a very dangerous situation that demands immediate action to rectify it, so this option is a non-starter.

Option 2: Link up with the ambush squad

Many readers planned to link up with the ambush squad and attempt to bring them south to confront the threat, or at least get them to wheel in place to face SW and engage the patrol when it comes into view.

This course of action is a bit risky.  First, it requires us to approach the ambush position from the direction that they are expecting the enemy, so we’d better have some solid recognition signals in our PACE plan to keep our own guys from shooting us.  Second, we are betting on our ability to reach the ambush squad, tell them about the patrol, and get the whole squad to relocate to better positions before the patrol reaches the compound.  If we fail, the enemy will probably commence their attack before we can intervene.

Even if we are successful, there is a chance that the enemy could still maneuver into dead space south of the hill to the west of the compound, where they are safe from our fires and can still threaten the compound.  Their attack would be interrupted, but not necessarily stopped depending on what they choose to do next.

This course of action is one we would only choose if the risk of this happening was more acceptable than the risk to our fire team if we take more aggressive action independently.

Option 3: Ambush the patrol ourselves

This is the most ballsy approach we can take, but it is not without merit.  We have a very limited amount of time to act, and attacking the patrol as far away from the compound as possible could be more desirable than letting them get closer and risking our families.

User “Greg” said it best; “Don’t worry your command and ambush teams will wake up soon enough and it will be as good a signal as you can send under the circumstances.”  A sudden firefight breaking out from an unexpected direction will immediately alert everyone else that something has gone wrong.  What they do next is out of your control, but it is assuredly better than letting them get surprised by the enemy force.

The obvious downside to this course of action is the risk to ourselves.  We are outnumbered by almost 5:1, and although we have surprise and terrain on our side, we cannot expect to take on these numbers without casualties.  It will take a few minutes for the ambush squad to come to our aid.  Eventually those 15 shooters will see your muzzle flashes and you will come under a massive hail of lead, night vision or no night vision.  Thus, while this course of action gives maximum warning to our friends, it guarantees that our team will take casualties and we could very easily all die.

Option 4: Shoot and scoot

Similar to Option 3, but with a twist.  This option has us harassing the enemy patrol with a couple volleys of rifle fire and then breaking contact over the ridge before they can react and return accurate fire on us.  This will immediately get the enemy to stop their forward movement and react to the ambush, but they are suddenly left without a target.  Realizing that their attack is now compromised, and probably with a few casualties to take care of , the enemy is very likely to abort the attack and return to their holes.

This course of action doesn’t result in the enemy being annihilated, but it does stop the attack on the compound.  As user KBYN said, “We’ll have a chance to make careful plans and slaughter them some other day.”  This course of action also incurs the least amount of risk to our team, as we only present a target for a few moments before vanishing.

Closing points

The main point here is that, in the face of the new information, your old orders were rendered obsolete.  The fact that you have the best picture of the battlefield puts you in the best position to make a decision on what happens next.  Not your squad leader, not the TOC at the compound, YOU.  Small units must empower subordinate leaders to make such important decisions on the fly in the face of new information, or they will miss out on exploiting windows of opportunity before they close.

In closing, I want to thank everybody who took the time to play this game and comment their answers.  There were too many individual answers with creative solutions for me to cover them all, so I just hit the major trends.  In the future, I encourage you to debate each others’ answers in the comments, or ask questions to see why someone else chose to do what they did.  Learning different ways to solve these problems helps us all to add tools to our tactical toolboxes.

And if you do that, you become a little bit more dangerous.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: