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Posted on Nov 19, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Interactive Combat Story: Korea: The Next War, Part III

By John Antal

Stone stands up in the turret and looks east. He senses that the enemy is going to make another move across the bridge. In the dark, he sees a North Korean tank burning 500 meters away suddenly explode in a shower of sparks as the ammunition inside the hull cooks off.

“Two-Four, do you know if the stream is wider and deeper north or south of the bridge?” Stone radios.

“I tried to cross the stream in the north during maneuvers last year,” Buckner replies. “It was very deep then. With all the rain we’ve had lately, I think any infantry trying to cross would be washed downstream. I’m not sure about south of the bridge.”

“Thanks,” Stone radios Buckner. “Stand by, I’ve give you my decision ASAP.”

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Stone pops back down into the turret and sits in the tank commander’s seat. He spreads his map across his knees and shines a red filtered flashlight on it. His orders are clear: He must secure the bridge. He knows from the armor officer basic course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, that the definition of “secure” is “to gain possession of a position or terrain feature with or without force, and to deploy in a manner that prevents its destruction or loss to enemy action.”

Based upon his understanding of the mission, enemy, terrain, friendly troops and time available, Stone rapidly visualizes two workable courses of action.

Course of Action One: Fight From Present Position. Hold the current positions overlooking the Route 51 bridge. Plan the artillery right on the bridge, at Target AF100. Fight the platoon by employing a crossfire, with Stone’s tank and Tank 2 taking the center-to-south sector and Buckner’s tank (Tank 4) and Tank 3 destroying targets in the center-to-north sector. With the Abrams’ advantage in thermal sights and overwhelming firepower, Stone believes this course of action will allow the platoon to hold the enemy on the east side of the bridge until the rest of Charlie Company can arrive.

24_ICS_01b_d_JP_coa1.jpg
Image Credit: PETHO CARTOGRAPHY
The first course of action is to hold the current positions overlooking the Route 51 bridge and plan the artillery on Target AF100.

Course of Action Two: Withdraw Into a Tank Trap. Move back 600 meters. Place one tank in a concealed “keyhole” position in the north edge of the valley to fire south of the bridge. Place three tanks in the middle of the valley to shoot straight at the western exit of the Route 51 bridge. Plan the artillery fire on the southern target, AF101, to delay and disrupt any dismounted infantry that might try to cross the stream in the south or try to get into the woods southeast of the bridge.

24_ICS_03b_d_JP_coa2.jpg
Image Credit: PETHO CARTOGRAPHY
The second course of action is to move back 600 meters, placing one tank in a concealed “keyhole” position and the other three tanks in the middle of the valley. Stone would then plan the artillery fire on Target AF101.

Distant North Korean artillery shells explode somewhere to the southwest. Stone must decide now.

If you choose for Stone to take Course of Action One: Fight From Present Position, go here.

If you choose for Stone to take Course of Action Two: Withdraw Into a Tank Trap, go here.

[continued on next page]

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