Tank in the Bog (A)
2003 | Case No. L1A
On November 16, 1996, Doug Crandall, Second Lieutenant and platoon leader of the Army’s 1st Platoon, Delta Company, consisting of four tanks and sixteen men, was tasked with establishing a mobile defense. Their mission was to block enemy scout vehicles’ northward movement along the extensive trail networks of the Fort Polk woods in Louisiana. Upon receiving orders, the platoon had eighteen hours to prepare their positions. Unfortunately, thirty minutes into the mission, the track on the crew’s tank dislodged from the sprocket, requiring the crew to radio for maintenance. Sixteen hours, later, the tank was repaired, but 100 meters into the woods, it sinks into a bog. At the gravity of the second breakdown, Doug Crandall felt sick to his stomach. It was just past midnight. The temperature had dropped to 45 degrees. Amidst heated radio exchanges from his commander and angry interactions with the lead mechanic who had just spent ten hours on replacing the tank’s track, Crandall knew that the soldiers and the situation were his responsibility. He had to keep the people safe; maintain control; and figure out a way to get the platoon out of the bog and get into a defensive position in less than an hour.
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