Getting back to the Basics
It's great to get back to small unit tactics and maneuver. Sure, large scale strategy and operational maneuver is great, but to touch back on the sharp point, where your fireteam and individual actions make a difference during a fight is something that really gets you fired up about the hobby/sport. At Centurion MILSIM's event, Charlie Mike, Airsoft Junkiez & Third Coast ran a fireteam size element with the FARIS Guerrillas, executing as part of an insurgency. Yes, an insurgency, it wasn't always direct action, sometimes we had to contact a local to gain information, set checkpoints and stop vehicles, conduct tactical recon of a location, protest at a political rally, secure a meeting site, patrol to conduct ambushes and counter-ambushes, defend/seize villages, or ensure our leader was able to escape. That sounds like a lot, and it was. The operational tempo (OPTEMPO) was spread out over a weekend, sometimes fast and furious, sometimes you could catch your breath. It drilled home some important TTPs and methods for our element. Boy Scout was new to our team, and Austin was back after a long break, Sam and I were a little rusty, so the chance to 1) knock the rust off and 2)experience a different event, was needed. Charlie Mike highlighted some very important TTPs and gave us a chance to run with TCA Players like Freddy Flux and Doug Smith.
Loadouts and weapons For Charlie Mike, I had decided to run a more unorthodox kit/weapon system, I started Saturday with my AEG FN FAL (folding stock, short barrel, ACOG, PEQ), my mag loadout was 9 total, Glock 17 and 4 mags. Kit wise, it was a modified Rhodesian Rig. The optic would allow me to observe at distance, the FAL shoots fairly far, the Glock was good for those times I had to run as a civilian and carried concealed. The PEQ was a laser/light combo. The Rhodesian rig carried my fighting load but left me without an on board water source. My headgear was a bandanna and boonie hat. The FAL is a heavy rifle for some (a 7.62x51 replica should be), but fits me well. Over the course of Saturday, we went into our mission sets and I found that moving through brush and transitioning to light urban terrain fit the loadout. The cons of the loadout? Well, reloading the mags without a Airsoft Junkiez ODIN FAL Magazine adapter was one, the second, I was a little slower on the magazine changes that I should be (you should be at 3 seconds or less). Sunday, I went with the same vest and pistol, but changed my rifle to an ICS Galil, again running 9 mags (standard minimum mag set for me). The trade off between the FAL and the Galil was the lack of an optic. Now, talking about the team, Sam ran his trusty HPA M4 with a new magnified optic (his range and accuracy is spot on), Boy Scout ran a M4 with an optic, and Austin ran either a M4 or a bolt action HPA sniper rifle. Those guys all ran plate carriers and usually carried between 6-8 mags. Headgear ranged from helmets to ball caps for those times we did direct action missions. There was some hesitation from Sam when we first went into the AO light with just pistols, but he got more into it. A chance to actually having to carry concealed was awesome at an airsoft event even more so by having to rig the pickup truck (mine) with concealed weapons and kit in order to get through checkpoints. A quick class and talk through with the guys about how we could react while possibly having to fight our way out of a checkpoint or contact while in the truck could have been made better by rehearsing it. I would have loved to have seen Sam grab his .45 then transition to my AEG Galil stashed in the front passenger seat, maybe next time. Loadouts shouldn't always be universal, patrolling and long distance movement dismounted will dictate what is needed. Boy Scout took out his cumberbund on his plate carrier, and stopped using his sling in order to take pressure off his shoulders, Austin got caught in a react to ambush with nothing more than his bolt action rifle (versus humping both an M4 and the sniper rifle), I didn't have a magnified optic for checkpoint ops, and Sam needs to find body armor that is more breatheable. Tactics When called to execute a flank, we get it, move out and around, skirt contact and get in that rear area. On the react to contact, we side stepped to their flank and attempted to hit hard. Guys like Doug went with us on the flanking actions, and as the event went on, we tried our best to talk through our battledrills, as the weekend went on, the fireteam got better at it. The swing wide right/left was effective, we made up on not having our other AJ/TCA teammates by communicating to others as best we could.
Overall Looking forward to Crossfire and Dragon Rogue V, there is a great chance to continue to build on the tactics and having the players see the value of knowing a base level. Winning an engagement or even getting your butt kicked (like we did at our checkpoint) can really be an eye opener in so many positive ways. Using an old Army training philosophy of "winning the first engagement" matters and the only way to get there is to rehearse, take note of what worked before, that way we aren't counting on the other side giving us a chance to knock the rust off.