There's been a bit of grumbling about leadership recently on the Primary, and I wanted to give my take on a recent play through of Rosche Roulette. From a rifleman's perspective I was limited in my knowledge of the plan, but this was my takeaways from the mission accompanied by some graphics. I think this is a helpful tool for those who wish to lead or improve their leadership in the future.
In their initial positions, the two squads are located almost 500 meters from each other. This is a common problem: elements are too far apart to support one another. The enemy can simply re-position to locations that can engage the maneuver elements without exposing themselves to the covering element.
Because they must choose which element to accompany, the platoon commander is prevented from observing and controlling both of their elements, therefore cannot effectively command during the attack.
Suggestion: Place Squad 2 nearby and offset from Squad 1. Any enemy that tries to engage Squad 1 will also expose themselves to fire from Squad 2, ensuring all fire is being used to directly support the attack.
Squad 2 elements immediately engage visible but covered enemies within the town with an M72 LAW. This produces a large dust cloud immediately revealing the Squad’s position. Squad 2 has begun engaging, but Squad 1 has not received an order to move, nor are they informed of the situation.
Limited fire missions are conducted on the east side of town, however it is not targeted at specific enemies, nor is it done to support friendly movement. The enemy can simply hunker down, or exit the target area then reoccupy it after the mortars stop.
Suggestion: Ensure the base of fire remains hidden and holds fire until the maneuver element is ready. Synchronizing fire with the movement of friendlies overwhelms the enemy’s ability to process the situation temporarily. The longer the time between first contact and movement, the more time the enemy has to organize to meet the attack.
The platoon commander decides to order an mounted attack by Squad 2 into the center of town, it is likely the enemy has already started to shift to the south of town given the previous fire from Squad 2’s position.
Once again, the platoon commander is positioned with an element that prevents him from taking overall command of the platoon. The platoon commander should not be engaging the enemy unless necessary.
Finally, this is an isolated action that is not supported nor coordinated with the rest of the platoon. Attacking piecemeal plays to the enemy’s advantage, as the greater number on the attacking team cannot but brought to bear against the smaller number of defenders.
Suggestion: Coordinate Squad 1 and 2's movement to attack the less dense northern portion of town from two directions. This splits the defenders between responding to two simultaneous attacks, and less structures means less work to clear an area.
The M113 is engaged by an RPG from within the town as troops dismount and the vehicle is destroyed. The remaining survivors are all killed or wounded, mostly by grenades thrown from over wall or fired from grenade launchers. Dismounting from a vehicle within close range of the enemy without very effective covering fire is almost always fatal.
Squad 1, either by order or their own volition proceed southeast along the road. They engage and destroy a BTR that maneuvers on them, but are able to enter the north of town with otherwise little opposition. However the platoon commander and half of the platoon is dead or wounded.
Suggestion: Ensure dismount positions are not in view of the enemy, and are in positions that allow reasonable movement out of to avoid bunching up.
After the loss of 2nd Squad, the friendly and enemy forces are roughly equal. However Squad 1 still has access to a significant amount of mortar fire and 2 M113s. Squad 1 continues to exchange fire with enemies who have concentrated around approx 3 buildings on the east side of town.
The enemy location is not precisely known, however after securing the north of town, the enemy can be reasonable assumed to be concentrated on the objective area. With plenty of mortar ammunition remaining, indirect fire could be used to inflict casualties, screen friendly movements, or drive them south out of the objective.
Suggestions: Consolidate Squad 1’s position nearby and proceed carefully south. Determine which buildings the enemy is using within the objective and target with mortars to reduce their positions.
The M113s move east to engage the enemy positions, however they end up moving too close and are within RPG range. They eventually are both knocked out by RPG fire. Squad 1 moves in mass toward the enemy, and is engaged from elevated positions.
Eventually the enemy is able to flank and destroy Squad 1 from the east, as the M113s are no longer present to cover the open ground.
Suggestions: Use the M113s to engage from standoff distance, suppressing the enemy. Continue to engage with indirect fire, and avoid exposing the entire squad at once while moving.