US ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
DEPARTMENT OF DISTANCE EDUCATION
C600: The Military Decisionmaking Process
C634A2 Course of Action Statement and Sketch
Instructions: The C634A2 course of action statement and sketch (COA S&S) is an individual
assignment worth 20% of the overall C600 grade. All work must be your own. Do not discuss
this assignment or your answers with anyone other than a Department of Distance Education
(DDE) instructor or your academic advisor.
The COA S&S includes a grading rubric, which begins on page five of this document. You do
not have to submit a CGSC Form 1009W Writing Evaluation for this assignment.
A course of action statement normally does not exceed one page, with the accompanying sketch
on a separate page. Your statement is limited a total of four pages:
• Your statement must be submitted as a word document not to exceed three doublespaced pages.
• You may draw your sketch on the attached graphic by hand, or you may use
PowerPoint to make and place the symbols on the sketch. For this assignment, you
may submit the sketch as a PDF, JPEG or PNG file a PDF for the sketch.
The primary references for the COA S&S are:
• FM 6-0 Commander and Staff Organizations and Operations (Apr 2016, w/ Change 2)
• ADP 1-02 Terms and Military Symbols (Aug 2018)
• Chapter 6 “Cabanatuan” of Leavenworth Papers #11. Caution, the attached special
situation modifies, simplifies and clarifies some of the information from the Leavenworth
Papers. In instances where the Leavenworth Paper and this assignment differ (such as in
unit designations and composition) use the information provided in this assignment.
You should refer to FM 6-0, ADP 1-02, and the online instruction on MDMP, especially the
supplemental lesson called Course of Action Statement and Sketch, located in the C633 lesson
folder in Blackboard. You should also refer to Leavenworth Paper #11 upon which the C634
MDMP Exam and this assignment are based. When using primary references (listed above) for
format, definition, and symbology, there is no requirement to cite or footnote their use. Use of
any other references and outside sources must be cited IAW ST 22-2. You may use parenthetical
citations, endnotes, or footnotes.
CGSC does not tolerate cheating, plagiarism, or unauthorized collaboration. Therefore, you
should review CGSC Bulletin #920, Academic Ethics Policy (dated 2016) and the DDE
Academic Ethics brief posted on the course information page. Violation of academic ethics will
result in an investigation and possible removal from the course. 2
Overview: In Leavenworth Papers #11 “Rangers: Selected Combat Operations in World War
II,” Dr. Michael J. King notes that “The rescue of 511 American and Allied prisoners from a
Japanese POW compound near Cabanatuan in the Philippines by elements of the 6th Ranger
Battalion, reinforced by Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas, was the most complex operation
that Rangers conducted during World War II. It was also one of the most successful.”0F
CPT Prince’s raid plan called for the Alamo Scouts to provide much needed information, for
the Rangers to assault the camp to secure the POWs, and for the Filipino Guerillas to isolate the
objective area from counterattacking Japanese. 1F
“ [The guerillas’] part of the plan was exceedingly risky, but [Captains] Pajota and Joson,
working in tandem, had to seal off a solid mile of road and hold it long enough for the Rangers to
attack the camp, remove the prisoners, and then cross back over, melting safely into the rice
paddies in the deepening night. The two Filipino forces were to function as a synchronized pair
of shutoff valves in a great water main, temporarily blocking the flow in both directions so the
Rangers could go in and do their extraction work with little worry of a surprise surge in the
Captain Eduardo Joson (future Governor of Nueva Ecija Province) was to prevent a Japanese
counterattack from Cabanatuan City. CPT Juan Pajota (who suggested the 24-hour delay, the
use of caraboa carts, and the Black Widow distraction) was to prevent a Japanese counterattack
CPT Pajota’s 350-man guerilla force consisted of five ‘infantry squadrons’, one ‘weapons
squadron’ (with three M1917 .30-caliber, water-cooled heavy machine guns and a Rangers
), and one Alamo Scout Team capable of establishing three observation posts and
controlling two available P-61 Black Widows (each armed with four 20mm cannons and four .50
caliber machine guns) . [Other P-61s support Captains Prince and Joson] The guerillas also had a
dozen antitank mines and one improvised explosive device with timer.5F
1 King, Dr. Michael J, Leavenworth Papers #11 Rangers: Selected Combat Operations in World War II, CSI 1985 p55 2 Sides, Hampton, Ghost Soldiers, Doubleday 2001 p176-7 3 Ibid, p177
4 Ibid, p128, 130, 179, 333
5 http://olive-drab.com/od_other_firearms_mg_m1917.php lists the effective range of the M1917A1 machine gun
at 2500 yards. War Dept TM 9-294 gives the bazooka an effective range of 300 yards 6 Johnson, Forrest Bryant, Hour of Redemption, Warner 2002, p186-8, 194-7 (squadron sizes estimated)3
Special Situation: Consider the guerillas as a battalion-sized force (as depicted in figure 1), each
squadron as a light infantry company comprised of light infantry ‘platoons’ (with 25-30 guerillas
and one medic in each platoon), with machine gun crews depicted in squadrons 201 and 201A
(each carrying 1,000 rounds of ammunition), and the bazooka team (with 20 rounds of
ammunition) depicted in Squadron 201A. Again, this special situation modifies, simplifies
and clarifies some of the information from the Leavenworth Papers. In instances where
the Leavenworth Paper and this assignment differ (such as in unit designations and
composition) use the information provided in the assignment.
Pajota’s Guerillas were tasked to block the Japanese Imperial Army’s Dokuho 359, an 800-man
infantry battalion augmented by six Type 97 medium tanks.6F
7 Although most Japanese were
retreating northeast, General Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered Commander Oyabu’s Dokuho 359
forward to strengthen his defenses at Cabanatuan City. Dokuho 359 bivouacked east of the Cabu
River on 29 and 30 January and had orders to begin its advance to Cabanatuan City at midnight
on the 30th. To do so, they would cross the new 75 feet long, 21 feet wide heavy timber bridge
at Cabu, which replaced the bridge the guerillas had destroyed in 1944.7F
8 The composition of
Dokuho 359 is depicted in Figure 2 while its disposition is illustrated on the enemy course of
action and on the sketch.8F
9 Dokuho 359 does not have any mortars, artillery, or air support.
7 Ibid, p165
8 Ibid, p96
9 Ibid, based on CPT Pajotas’ Cabu Bridge Battle Plan, pii4
Enemy Most Likely Course of Action
Mission: On order, Dokuho 359 destroys allied forces in the vicinity of the Pangatian Camp to
prevent them from securing the allied POWs.
Commander’s Intent: The purpose of the operation is to demonstrate Japanese resolve. In
order to do so, the battalion must cross the Cabu River, quickly penetrate allied security forces,
destroy the allied assault force, pursue escaping allies and secure the camp and POWs until
relieved. At end state, the allied forces are destroyed, the POWs detained, conspiring civilians
punished, the battalion controls the camp and is prepared to reinforce the Japanese defense of
Decisive Operation: D Company (armor) counterattacks west along the Cabanatuan-Cabu
Highway and destroys the allied assault force to prevent the escape of the POWs.
B Company secures the Cabu bridge in order to facilitate D Company’s counterattack, and
then follows D Company as the battalion reserve with priority of commitment to D, A and C
A Company fords the Cabu River and destroys allied forces north of the highway to prevent
them from engaging D company.
C Company fords the Cabu River and destroys allied forces south and east of the camp to
prevent them from engaging D company.
Fires: Dohuko 359 has no indirect fires capability or dedicated air support.
Information Collection operations focus on: 1) detecting allied forces within our area of
operations; 2) disposition of the Cabu bridge; 3) location of escaped allies; and 4) civilian
Sustainment Operations: Immediate resupply of Class III and Class V at the POW camp for
follow on operations. Casualties requiring Role 1 care will be treated at the battalion aid station;
Role II and higher will be stabilized and evacuated to the regimental medical company.
Tactical Risk is assumed by advancing the armor along the Cabanatuan-Cabu highway to
rapidly overwhelm the Rangers and the POWs. The infantry will mitigate this risk by destroying
any ambush positions between Cabu River and the camp. 5
Requirement: As the S-3 of Pajota’s Guerillas located at a clandestine patrol base near
Platero on 28 January 1945, develop a doctrinal course of action statement and sketch for
Remember, this Special Situation is different from the one which the guerillas actually
faced in the Leavenworth Papers. This assignment requires you to create a unique solution to the
problem in the special situation rather than attempting to recreate CPT Pajota’s solution.
Since this scenario is different from the one CPT Pajota faced, do not try to replicate the
COA he used. For example, placing guerillas near Manacnac to help prevent Dohuko 359 from
crossing the Cabu River may accept significant risks for little benefit.
Although some situations and examples have phased operations with shifting main efforts
and more than one decisive operation, try to make your COA relatively simple by identifying one
decisive point, one decisive operation at that point, and one squadron to conduct that decisive
This grading rubric follows the Figure 9-5 sample from FM 6-0.
______ (60 points total) COURSE OF ACTION STATEMENT
Your answers to the questions must be typed and double-spaced throughout, and must use Times
New Roman 12-pitch font and one-inch margins.
______ (5 pts) Write a mission statement for Pajota’s Guerillas. Pay special attention to the
time and task in this mission. The time must be synchronized with the Rangers assault (do not
use ‘on order’ or ‘be prepared’). Although history records that Pajota’s Guerillas virtually
destroyed Dokuho 359, doing so was not required. Remember, the task in the mission should
accomplish as little as needed to fulfill the purpose, rather than as much as possible—since the
difference is often measured in lives.
______ (10 pts) Develop a Commander’s Intent. Remember, the Purpose here should be
‘broader’ than the one in your mission, that Key Tasks normally become the focus of Decisive
and Shaping Operations, and that the End State must include Friendly, Enemy, Terrain and Civil
______ (10 pts) Decisive Operation (DO). Consider the following questions, and then write a
mission statement for the squadron conducting the DO.
What single task is most decisive (if you could do just one task, what would it be? How
does that task contribute to the end-state for Pajota’s Guerillas?)
When should it begin?
Which squadron do you envision conducting this operation?
______ (15 pts) Shaping Operations (SO). Write a mission statement for each of the five
squadrons which shapes the decisive operation by accomplishing a key task, sets conditions for
the decisive operation, or serves as a reserve. In each case, the purpose of the squadron’s
operation must logically connect to the decisive operation as well as the overall mission of
_______(5 pts) Fires. Write a mission statement for the pair of Black Widows which have very
limited ammunition, but can make a significant contribution. This force should have a very
specific task against a very specific target.
_______ (5 pts) Intelligence. List specific priority information requirements (PIRs) needed for
Pajota to make the two anticipated decisions: (1) commit the reserve and (2) commit the Black
Widows. The Alamo Scouts should be positioned to collect and report this information
_______ (5 pts) Sustaining. Provide a brief plan for the treatment & transport of guerillas
injured near the Cabu River.
_______ (5 pts) Risk. Address the most significant risk as well as measures to mitigate it.
______ (40 points total) COURSE OF ACTION SKETCH
The sketch follows on the next page.
_______ (20 pts) Depict each squadron with the proper task organization composition
symbol (see Fig 1 of this assignment and Fig 10-1 of ADRP 1-02) and doctrinal tactical
mission task symbol (see Chapter 9 of ADRP 1-02).
• Keep in mind that you may want to change the task organization of some squadrons by
moving platoons and/or weapons teams to another squadron, and that the number of
platoons and special weapons (machine guns and bazookas) should be based on the task
and purpose of the squadron, as well as the enemy the squadron is responsible for and the
terrain that squadron is operating in.
• Remember that you must depict six ‘squadrons’ which collectively have 12 infantry
platoons, 4 machine gun teams, and 1 bazooka team. Although task organization is often
required, refrain from disbanding or merging two or more squadrons such that a squadron
commander works for another or has no men or mission.
_______ (10 pts) Doctrinal unit boundaries clearly delineate each squadron’s area of operation
as well as the boundaries for Pajota’s Guerilla Battalion
_______ (5 pts) Doctrinal control measures (such as battle positions, objectives, engagement
areas, axes, target reference points (TRPs) and checkpoints) to help connect the COA statement
to the sketch.
_______ (5 pts) Command post and observation posts doctrinally depicted.
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