TDG 14 Recap and Analysis

Originally posted on American Partisan on June 15, 2022

Another tough situation with no perfect options, TDG 14: Personnel Recovery hit you with ethical decisions as well as tactical decisions.  We have an imperfect plan cobbled together without force multipliers, an enemy with unclear capabilities, potential compromise, and on top of all that we have something of a moral commitment to our action.

Due to the situation we have a limited set of options available to us.  It is, however, not as limited as some readers may think.

Option 1: Proceed with the attack as planned

We do not, after all, know for certain that the drone is 1: controlled by the hostile force, or 2: able to PID us.  Although the chances are high that the drone is looking down at us, it’s entirely possible that we are sufficiently covered or camouflaged enough that it hasn’t been able to identify a threat yet.  If we wait the remaining 5 minutes we may see if the enemy goes on alert.  This course of action seeks to get more information before we proceed, cautiously watching for a response from the enemy.

The only downside to this course of action is that if we are compromised, the element of surprise is lost.  We will have surrendered the initiative to the enemy and we will be forced to react to their actions rather than making them react to us.

Option 2: Begin the attack early

This course of action assumes that we are compromised and seeks to seize the initiative before the enemy can react.  We can start by sniping the lone guard, shooting the drone, maneuvering to a different position, or any combination of the three.  The point is that we take action to deny the enemy a timely response to our discovery.  Depending on what we do or how we do it, we may even get the NPT guys to help us by opening fire early.

We must be very careful here, however.  Our lack of communications is an obvious limiting factor.  We do not have radios and there is no time to send a runner.  Thus we must proceed in such a way that our actions communicate our intent to the NPT guys.  There are other ways we can communicate as well, such as smoke signals (not a joke, color-coded smoke grenades are incredibly versatile), flares, or whistle blasts.  Just because we have no radios doesn’t mean we have no comms.  Hopefully we arranged these forms of signal in advance.

Tactical Radios would have been a great help in this scenario. Afilliate link:

Option 3: Withdraw

If we assume that we are compromised we may decide that the risk to ourselves is too great, and we pull back.  There is no need to stop the NPT from opening fire as planned; if anything they’ll be covering your retreat without knowing it.  Once you’re back at the ORP you can send a runner to the NPT to tell them to abort.

This is the safest route we can take for us.  Unfortunately, there is the problem of Kelly.  Withdrawing under observation will no doubt lessen the chances of a rescue in the future.  The enemy could use that time to strengthen their guard, dig fortifications, or relocate entirely.  Even if we are able to come back say a week later to try again, what do you suppose would happen to Kelly during that week?


There come times when the tactically correct decision may not be the right decision to make.  The facts of this scenario require you to make a decision that is not only tactically sound, but ethically sound.  If our ethics/morals require us to commit to this action, we may be forced to accept a greater amount of risk than we usually would.  On the other hand, emotionally accepting a ridiculous amount of risk on an action that is unlikely to succeed may be worse than doing nothing.  In the end, the best course of action depends on your assessment of the risk involved and whether it is worth the chance of success.  I was pleased to see some readers debating the moral issue, as that was mostly the point of this exercise.

A secondary point I intended to convey was that suppression by drone is a real thing.  The drone in this scenario is not armed, and yet its very presence forces us to change our plans.  Keep this in mind if you have a small drone in your inventory, it can be a psychological weapon as well as a practical tool. I cover this topic in the Jäger Course.

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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

3 thoughts on “TDG 14 Recap and Analysis

  1. Clear back when we read this one the first time, I was at a slight loss. It bothered me that the husband/wife hadn’t already agreed to some allowance for their individual loss. Basically, not endanger the group with their capture…take the pain.

    However, a few days after this exercise it occurred that the best move forward could benefit both groups. That’s right, a parlay. It may be that the two groups consolidated into one, may in fact, be of greater value. Not everything has to boil down to war first.


    1. I just… what?

      You want him to “take the pain” of having LOST his WIFE? Yeah, you try telling him that and see how well he takes it. That’s how you lose yet another member when he goes alone to try to save her.

      And then you want to negotiate and consolidate with a BAND OF KIDNAPPERS? Absolutely not, peace was never an option in this scenario.


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