The Scenario: Dahaneh (Scenario A)
The Mission: An un-supported heliborne insertion to investigate a suspected Taliban compound. Forces available are one US Marines Rifle Platoon plus a US Marines Weapons Platoon (-). No indirect fire support, no close air support available. Forces to be inserted with three CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters armed with .50 cals. Time available for the mission is one hour of simulated time or 12 turns.
What's up? An assault on a single sniper position by a US Marine squad came at the expense of one grunt.
Enough to make nervous even the toughest Marine, this mission has a lot to comment about and learn from. Just to mention two:
- Unsecured, non-prepped by fire helicopter landing zones. During the Russo-Afghan War, the Russians developed a knack for surprise heliborne insertions damn close to suspected enemy held towns. Many times the surprise turned out to be that the Mujahideen were ready and waiting in ambush. In this scenario, given the lack of reasonable fire support and the meager forces available, I had to land just 200 meters outside Dahaneh because landing away from the town and thus approaching through the open ground would be time consuming and the enemy would be on alert by the time we set up a scheme of fire and maneuver.
- The slugfest of advancing through built up areas. How demanding on time, sweat and blood urban combat is. We landed in the southeast corner of our sector and quickly moved west to gain a foothold within the protection of the built-up area. Plan was then to gain our way north, advancing in a left-leaning wedge to provide some sort of support on our west flank.
We just started the fight, and we have only 30 minutes left for the whole mission!