TDG 13 Recap and Analysis

Originally posted on American Partisan on June 1, 2022

TDG 13: Quick Reaction Force presented an urgent scenario that still required careful planning.  There was a healthy mix of known, suspected, and unknown factors at play, which can be confusing to juggle.  Let’s start with what we do and don’t know for certain:

We KNOW that there are at least 5 enemy at the objective.  We KNOW that there is a group of 14 refugees unaccounted for somewhere in the county.  We DON’T KNOW if this is the same group.  It could be larger or smaller.  However, depending on how good our surveillance is of the county line, it could be unlikely that a group larger than 14 managed to slip through unnoticed by either our own guys or a neighbor who could report it to us.  Thus we can estimate the enemy strength to be 5-14.

The mission is clear, we need to respond to Jared’s call for help swiftly.  Our struggle is to find the solution that balances urgency with the risk to our people.  There are infinite possibilities here, so I will discuss some planning considerations for this TDG rather than list a set of possible solutions.

The drone

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While many readers proposed using the drone in some way, there were a few creative uses such as for a distraction.  There was some debate as to how to best use the drone to our advantage, with good reasoning for each possible use.  However, an argument could be made against using the drone at all.  Reader American Yeoman stated, “On the one hand I think the drone will not be very useful in these circumstances and just a distraction with limited man power. I don’t want to get ‘tech fixated’.”

One could argue with merit that since the drone won’t see very much, and even risks exposing your presence (thus losing surprise), the risk-to-reward ratio does not justify using such an asset.  It is easy to get so hung up on a force-multiplier that you’re eager to use it without stopping to ask if it’s suitable for the task at hand.  I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed giddy officers with new toys do exactly this.  Just because I give you a resource in a TDG does not mean that you need to use it.

The enemy

We may suspect that this is the group of 14 refugees that was spotted yesterday.  If so, and we only know of 5 shooters, we are faced with the troubling question of “where are the other 9?”  Several readers suspected that they might be pulling security for the muscle at Jared’s house, maybe even waiting to ambush the QRF.  This is possible, especially if someone in the OPFOR group has a handheld CB radio and heard the call for help.  They may even be a different group that has been in our area for a while undetected, observing patterns of life.  And maybe, just maybe, they aren’t outsiders at all, just some ne’er-do-wells from within our county.

The bottom line is that we must be wary of the possibility that the OPFOR knows about the QRF and may have prepared for it.  For this reason it would be unwise to drive right up to Jared’s driveway, as we risk getting ambushed while mounted in soft-skinned civilian vehicles.  Several readers planned to dismount a ways away from the objective and finish the approach on foot.  This is smart to do.  Even if there is no ambush, you will more likely surprise the enemy if they don’t hear truck engines approaching.

One last possibility to consider is that we don’t know how many people in the group of 14 were in fighting shape.  Some could be women, children, or elderly and incapable of fighting.  Maybe the 5 Jared reported are the only military age males of the group.   They might not actually be a squad-sized group of thugs, but a roving band of desperate refugees.  Still, it is smart to err on the side of caution.

The approach

Perhaps the biggest point of variance in answers to this TDG is how we approach the objective after we dismount.  There were various schemes of maneuver planned, most of which involved multiple groups approaching from different directions to get as good a picture of the enemy situation as possible.  We must be careful here, because there is a very real danger of friendly fire in the dark.

This scenario takes place at night, and we have a very limited number of NVGs.  This is a very likely scenario.  Most “bad guys” prefer to do their dirty deeds under cover of darkness, so the likelihood of you dealing with a situation at night is pretty high.  Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the risk of friendly fire at night.  “After all,” you might say, “we have radios to communicate with each other!”  Well, as we saw in TDG 12, comms can (and often do) fail you when you need them most, so this doesn’t mitigate the risk much.   We can also mitigate risk through rigorous training as a group, but after only 5 weeks into WROL it is unlikely that our group has much practice working together.  Even if we had been training together for a while, for an impromptu mission like this with no time for rehearsals, the risk of friendly fire would still be very high if we split our forces early.


All told, this is a hairy situation that could go any number of ways.  The lack of intel and lack of time mean that we need to come up with a simple plan that still gives us as much flexibility as possible to account for the unexpected.  However, it is okay to take some risks if you believe that the reward justifies it.  As long as you analyzed your options and  decided that your risks were worth taking, you accomplished the intent for this exercise.

Again, thank you to everyone who played this TDG.  I won’t be able to post one of these every week due to work and training events, but I will endeavor to post one a week as often as possible.

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

2 thoughts on “TDG 13 Recap and Analysis

  1. Great write up Mike.

    To avoid FF, would it be best to have a solid method of ID’ing yourself visually or audibly in every QRF responses? As soon as you begin firing, you’ve ID’d your position so why not make it recognizable to the community so they have positive ID of where we are.


    1. Yes, especially if you are operating at night, which would often be the case because bandits, insurgents, etc. prefer to do their dirty deeds in the dark.

      Identifying friendly forces can be done with a number of means. Colored armbands are probably the most realistic option for irregular forces, since it can be cost-prohibitive for everyone to wear the same camo pattern. At night, most of the time you will only see silhouettes (even through NODs), so it could help if everyone has the same type of hat (i.e. all ball caps, all boonies, all bump helmets, etc.).

      There are infinite ways to accomplish this, feel free to use your imagination!


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