TDG 16: The Long Road Home

Originally posted on American Partisan on July 12, 2022

A TDG is a Tactical Decision Game, a mental wargaming exercise designed to get you practice making tactically sound decisions in a hypothetical scenario.  The ability to make sound and timely decisions based off incomplete and imperfect information is a critical skill to have, especially as a team leader.

You will be given a scenario, confronted with a tactical problem, and given a time limit to think about and write out your answer.  The time limit is to simulate the pressure of a real-world tactical decision, where you must quickly assess the information you are given and come up with the best answer you can.  Then comment below with your answer so you can discuss each others’ solutions.

TDG 16: The Long Road Home

2 months into WROL.  State and federal authorities are still struggling to regain control of the nation.  County officials, small towns, and individual communities have been forced to take charge of their own well-being and work with each other to the point where you have somewhat re-established order.  Your small town is one of these, and has stood up an impromptu militia force to keep the wandering bands of thugs at bay.

Your town has trade agreements with the neighboring communities and towns to get whatever items you need.  These trade agreements are done through vehicle convoys between towns, which must be executed very carefully.  Anything on the roads at this point draws a lot of attention, so the militia is tasked with protecting the convoys.

NATO metal jerry cans are excellent for storing and transporting extra fuel. Affiliate link:

YOU are the second squad leader in the latest convoy to the town of Fairfield, about 20 miles East of your home town.  Prior to departure, the convoy commander tells everyone the plan.

“The town is low on gasoline, so to save fuel we are only taking two vehicles this time instead of our usual three.  We are going to use primarily gravel country roads to avoid the highways, which is where bandits like to set ambushes.  1st squad will take point in Josh’s van, because it has better observation from the higher windows.  2d squad, you guys will follow with the cargo in Jose’s station wagon, about 1km back.  You can get closer if you need to, just stay within line of sight.  3d Squad will be on standby here as QRF in the third vehicle in case something happens.  I will be with 1st squad.”

Each of your 6-man squads is equipped with the following:

  • 5x AR-15s
  • 1x .308 DMR (FAL, PTR, or AR-10)
  • 2x CB radios (1x mounted in the vehicle, 1x handheld for dismounts)
  • 6x smoke grenades

The trip to Fairfield is uneventful, and you make the transaction successfully.  As planned, the precious cargo of medicines, bleach, and electrical components is loaded into the back of your vehicle and you begin the trip home.

On the way home you are heading West along 320th St approaching a planned right turn onto Merino Ave.  Suddenly you hear a crackle of gunfire ahead, and you see Josh’s van come to a halt about 75m short of the intersection.  You tell your driver to halt the vehicle, and order the rest of your squad to dismount and set security.  You hear the occasional snap and whine of ricochets whistling past you from very far ahead.

As you are pondering what to do, the CB radio comes to life.  “It’s an ambush!  They’re in the treeline to our front!  My driver is dead and I’m hit!  You’ve got to help us!  They’re chewing us up!”

CB radios are an excellent license-free option for inter-vehicle communications. Affiliate link:

You consider your options.  Your home is 5 miles NW from you, where 3d squad is standing by as QRF.  You call them, but it will take them a while to get here on the back roads, you estimate they’re probably 10 minutes out.

In a time limit of 5 minutes, draft the frag order that you would issue to your squad.  Write down any special instructions you would give to the QRF and provide a brief rationale for your actions.

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 16: The Long Road Home

  1. The way this ambush is set up, it could be the beginning of an L-Shaped or a V-Shaped. The fragmentary order would be to take the second vehicle and get just close enough to engage, heading north over the tree line to use it as concealment. At which point our guys would engage the ambushing opfor. If we are successful, then we would conduct recovery of our guys who are killed and wounded from the first vehicle. If it’s a v shaped or L-Shaped we might end up surprising them as well.

    Now, there is something else about these scenarios that is presented.. in this case, the ambush was easy for the opfor to conduct because we had no security on foot clearing the way ahead for our vehicles. There were tons of ambush positions for an opfor to hit our vehicles.

    So to me, it seems the biggest lesson from this is that if we are ever in this scenario of disorder and we have to use convoys… then that means we need men to advance on foot and clear the road to protect the vehicles and supplies. There is also that, did our convoy come back the same way we went? If so, then the ambushing party was probably conducting a patterns of life mission to figure out when we go and when we come back. So definitely never take the same path twice and never come back the way you came.


    1. Good answer.

      Also, you’re technically correct in that advanced foot patrolling would make the route safer. However, this would be extremely time-consuming and detracts from the biggest reason to use vehicles; speed. A middle ground solution would be to halt 1km before restrictive/hazardous terrain and use dismounts (or drones) to scout suspected ambush locations.

      100% agree on the route. Never take the same route out and back.


  2. I’d have Jose pull his van into the nearby farm and leave two guys on security. I’d take the rest of the guys and move into the tree row on the north side of the road and start heading west towards vehicle 1 on foot. Since my QRF is to the NW I’d have them approach from the north on Merino road, get online and start sweeping south. My goal would be to take the heat off the ambushed vehicle by getting the ambush to break up. If we can get the ambush to break up with the QRF sweep I’d call in vehicle 2 to start picking up any casualties and getting them moved back to base with QRF as an escort.


  3. Pull vehicle in by farmhouse, continue to pond. Dismount at pond, designated marksman plus one will stay near vehicle, keep it secured and provide long range fire on ambush after our fire team has covered 200 meters. Maneuvering fire team, double time 200 meters, then engage ambush force and maneuver to towards the south of intersection. Lead vehicle break contact on foot with wounded when we engage enemy. Will return for deceased. QRF approach from north


    1. Intent of maneuver of fire team across the field in not so great cover is to get the heat off of the ambushed lead element in a hurry and get the ambushes attention away from the QRF line of approach. DM might make a difference in a hurry as well


  4. Leave driver with the vehicle to man the radio and call for QRF. Move everyone else out to the woodline to relay the following:
    1. We’re moving through the trees to stop the ambush, beware of a complex ambush
    2. Once once we get fire superiority, I and (designate a rifleman) will thrown smokes and attempt to get to the vehicle.
    Follow me, we’re moving.


  5. Radio 1SQD tell them to deploy smoke in order to mask movement to the tree line to the right/north of the van. Road=death. Move via the station wagon to house nearest the pond on the south side of 320th St. I split the squad, and pass radio to DM. Team 1 will be an SBF (support by fire) consisting of DM plus my two other best longe range riflemen. The tree cropping in front of the pond appears to be on a hill, if not then emplace uphill on pond embankment nearest side to enemy. I take the remainder of my squad (me and 2 riflemen, we are team 2) across the road. We will travel through the fields to be faster as we have cover and concealment from that tree line. Rendezvous with 1SQD in the tree line. I take as many men as 1SQD can give then push back to the fields and cross Merino Ave. We face south on line and push through the enemy position. Using 1SQD radio I tell SBF when to shift and cut fires, if unable to reach SBF via radio I will pop a smoke on Merino Ave to signal shift fires, a second smoke will cut their fires. Clear enemy fighting positions, prep for enemy counterattack. QRF should arrive to reinforce and deal with the wounded.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: