Why Jozi's Tin Man? This has caused a little confusion. It is in reference to a Savage Worlds game I played with my wife, Jozi, where she played a flying monkey and I was a Tin Man. Hence Jozi's (possessive) Tin Man.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tactical Decision Exercise Contest Winner #1 Announced!!!

Ok, as a quick reminder here is the original post.

Please read the comments on that post for all of the entries...


As a quick reminder, here is the situation, see original post above for more background.

Feel free to debate the solutions and my decisions to your heart's content in the comments!

Current Situation:    

While out on patrol, you receive an alert on the platoon radio net that a UH-60 helicopter was hit by an RPG and has crashed at a location two blocks southwest of your current position.  Immediately, your Platoon Leader gives orders for all squads to converge on the crash site to secure the wreckage and evacuate any survivors.  You immediately begin moving your squad toward the crash site along a narrow side street.  The area is deserted, a sign that all of the local civilians are aware of the impending danger and are trying to keep out of the way.  As your lead team nears a corner, they signal a halt and indicate enemy activity to their front with a hand signal.  You rush up to the corner, peer around the corner and see this:

A small group of fighters are positioned in an open area approximately 75 meters to your front.  By their distinctive red headscarves, you recognize them as members of one of the militias that you have been fighting over the last several days.  There are 9 men on the ground:
  • Six of them are brandishing AK-47s 
  • Three others are carrying RPG-7s (like the one reported to have struck the downed UH-60).  
  • Also, there is a small pick-up truck with an SPG-9 recoilless rifle mounted in the back. 
This element is stationary and they have not detected your presence.  They all seem to be focusing their attention in the opposite direction from your squad’s location.

There is a small concrete barrier just to the front of where you are standing that offers a well-covered position where you could position your squad in a linear formation facing the enemy. Beyond this barrier, the ground is open with no cover.  With no time to spare and no way of bypassing this enemy force, you decide to attack. 

(Determined using my own probably very unsound military judgment...)

1st Place (a tie buy lucky for me one of the gents if from the UK)

Jim Hale: 

I like his thought process, but as he is in the UK, no magazines for you, just the honor and glory that goes with the prize!  Using the MG on the technical is good, and I like the way you assessed the threats from worst to least and privided rear security for your unit.

"Hi! Just for fun for me, I'm in the UK.

Okay I'd task the M240 team to take out the SPG9-Technical, then act as its boss thinks best. The two rifle teams will target the RPG guys, followed by the guys with AKs. The DM and the RMAT are watching flank and rear. 

We'll use the concrete barrier as cover and open fire once we've reached it.


a) The M240 is the best anti-vehicle weapon. The SPG-9 is the most significant threat. If nothing else it will make things hot for the crew. 

b) The RPGs are either HEAT or Frag projectiles and only need to be near to my position to cause casualties. 2 * M249 + 40mm + M4 should make short work of them.

c) The AK guys are really going to struggle to hit my guys at 75m, they would usually prefer <60m, possibly even <40m if they aren't hardcore. Some of them might blow when the Technical and RPG guys take hits in any case. 

d) The Team leaders (inc the M240 boss) know their jobs, or they wouldn't have them. I don't need to micromanage them.

e) Flank and rear security are necessary, just in case the bad guys are waiting on support."

Nick Riggs 

(Contact me with your address and I will mail out your magazines.)

I liked his rationale as well, identifying the RPG's as probably the biggest threat, the M-240 is used for rear security, which is a trade-off not being able to use it for the attack by fire, but given the unpredictable nature of urban combat, it is a reasonable decision and leaves it in reserve in case it is needed.

"MG team, take up position 30m back and face back to cover our rear. The squad will creep up behind the barrier ahead. When I open fire on the SPG-9 gunner, FT1 will fire on the RPG guys and FT2 will fire on the AK guys. Keep shooting until all targets are down."

The fighters are an identified enemy carrying weapons and with heavy weapon backup, so I assume the rules of engagement allow me to attack them without warning. There's no point in being particularly stealthy as everyone would have seen the helo go down so we don't have any time to spare. 

I want the MG to protect our rear in case we get attacked from behind. The MG should be able to deal with any attackers approaching from up the narrow street. 

I guessed the RPG gunners would be the biggest immediate threat as it would take longer to bring the SPG into action and the gunner should be down by then. The squad should have some protection from the AK gunners but any delay in dealing with them and they might spread out, take cover or some other action against us, so I wanted to simultaneously hit all parts of the enemy. Ideally a well-placed grenade from each of the fireteams would take out each of the enemy groups at the same time, so the rest of the squad should be able to mop up any remaining forces."

Honorable Mention, Whoa Mohammad:

It was tough, I really, really like this solution, as he has a plan to break contact if need be as well as rear security.  It was a tough decision, the only thing I would have done differently is put more fire on the RPG gunners, I am not sure a single SAW is enough.  But, I could be wrong, they are bunched up pretty tight and the 240- can work right easily enough after disabling the technical and SPG-9

"1st Fireteam deploys to the left on my command engages the six infantry firing from left to right.1st Team will be prepared on order to engage the technical with 775mmRR in the center. 

The M240 team will Deploy to the right of 1st team. This teams primary target is the technical with 75mmRR. It will be prepared on order to support 1st team.

2 team will deploy its SAW on the right of the M240 team it will engage the 3 man infantry team to the right of the technical. the 2nd team leader with the 2 remaining men will provide security but will be prepared to support by fire and or smoke if the platoon needs to break contact and displace."

Why all these answers are better than cadet solutions I found...

The student's solutions ignored flank and rear security 100% of the time and focused on which fire element should engage which enemy group.  This is the whole point of exercises like this in the classroom and MILES exercises in the field.  More sweat on the training field, less blood on the battlefield. 

Next Time

I will post another Tactical Decision Exercise soon and set it in another era. Until then, Nick send me your address and your magazines will be winging your way!


  1. Hmm, I ponder about the individual targeting... Before everyone understands what's going on the immediate situation will likely have

    Time allowing you might want to inform your Platoon leader or Company commander if you are allowed on the network of what you are up to. They might ask you to wait for tactical reasons - unless you "feel" it is safe enough to go all in. No magic bullet here.

    You ~might~ assign a particular target to your marksman that will remain in the back with an assistant to ensure security (rear and long range).

    Hit them hard with anything you have as you have been trained to, with covering fire and assault immediately to finish off the survivors.

    -you have revealed yourself to surrounding enemy troops. On the other hand, if you have to go in, you go in.

  2. Hi in my rush to consider the tactical situation I missed the bit about being in the US! I'm in the UK as well, so perhaps you can pass my winnings on to a more local tactician!

    It was fun though. All the best,


    1. Nick, got your other message, I will post your magazines to your friend in the USA for you. Thanks!