What’s Your Next Move?: “Battle at Narrow Bridge” (Tactical Vignette 14-01)

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ARMOR publishes tactical vignettes to generate professional dialogue. Scenarios may seem vague and lack pertinent information to mimic the confusion of battle. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Use your doctrinal knowledge and educated assumptions to determine “What’s Your Next Move?”


You are the mechanized platoon leader of 1st Platoon, Company A, 2-81 Armor (a combined-arms battalion). You are task-organized with two infantry squads in M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs) and two M1A2s.

The 1-502 Infantry Battalion (Air Assault) is attacking north to destroy enemy forces vicinity Objective Chapultec and has already air-assaulted a rifle company in the plain south of Objective Chapultec. Reports indicate that a superior force has decisively engaged the rifle company.

Your battalion’s mission: 2-81 Armor follow and support to assist 1-502 Infantry attack to destroy enemy forces vicinity Objective Chapultec. On order, attack to destroy enemy forces vicinity Objective Chapultec to prevent their southward advance.

Your battalion commander’s intent is to force passage onto the plain. The terrain south of Missionary Ridge is generally rugged and undeveloped with thick vegetation and severe relief. The enemy you are fighting is primarily infantry with point obstacle and anti-tank capabilities augmented with small numbers of armored vehicles – a mix of T-72, BRDMs and BMPs. It is 2315 hours; there is a full moon. Your platoon advances along the battalion’s left flank with the following task and purpose:

Task: Screen the battalion’s western flank.

Purpose: Enable the battalion to follow and support 1-502 Infantry.

Your platoon moves parallel to a trail – but not on it – and you cross a dry, rocky gully about three to four feet deep and 20 meters wide without making contact. As you approach Checkpoint 67, your lead M2 BFV makes visual contact with what appears to be a listening/observation post that immediately flees northwest toward the Western Narrow Pass.

Your battalion is in contact to your east. Your best guess from listening to radio transmissions and monitoring Blue Force Tracker (BFT) is that the engagement is taking place near Narrow Bridge. You cannot tell whether your battalion has negotiated the bridge, but you can hear explosions and assume that vehicles are taking casualties. From your position, you can see an enemy machinegun and anti-tank fire on the ridge to your northeast.

On the battalion command net, you hear the battalion S-3 directing supporting fires onto enemy positions near the bridge. Looking at your BFT, the overall tactical situation is unclear, but it appears the battalion is attempting a right flanking movement against the enemy position. Except for the listening post that fled, there is no sign of enemy activity in your area.

What’s your next move?

Decide what to do and issue your fragmentary order as if you were speaking on the radio or via BFT message. Following your initial FRAGO, take time and clearly define the problem(s) as you see them. Submit both your initial FRAGO and discussion of the problem, assumptions and rationale for your solution to ARMOR. The author’s solution will be published in the July-September edition of ARMOR; select solutions and a more thorough discussion will follow in the October-December edition. Please submit solutions to usarmy.benning.tradoc.mbx.armor-magazine@mail.mil no later than 30 days after this edition (March-June) is posted on-line.