Airsoft Operations: Close Quarters Battle

Part I: Equipment

Close Quarters Battle, or Close Quarters Combat as it is sometimes referred, is a very specialized combat environment, full of a special set of dangers and requirements.

Any field shooter that has suddenly found himself inside the confines of a building can tell you that the rules of the game change drastically. Reaction times have to be faster, movements more deliberate and careful, and the likelihood of being hit in an engagement multiplies tenfold.

Because this is such a different environment, commanders should develop plans and loadouts to accommodate an operation which will include even a small amount of indoor combat.

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Recommended Reading

They say that the US Army has a manual for everything. Though that is usually a derrogatory statement, for the most part it is quite true (yes, even the rumor that the Army has a manual for the proper approved method of having sex with your spouse).

However, the Army does put out some of the best manuals in the world, and inspired many others.

What follows is a short list of very excellent and important books based on US Army field manuals that outline the basic and intermediate tactics of a field soldier. Some of these books are written with the civillian reader in mind, and some are direct from the DoD, and may contain lingo and concepts that may be a little harder to grasp for the inexperienced operator.

Light Infantry

Light Infantry Tactics for Small Teams: I found this book recently at the Kitsap Regional Library, and picked it up. It is an excellently written manual of basic infantry tactics, leadership procedures, and battle drills. Written by vets for a civillian reader, it is very easy to read, and explains concepts as they are introduced, and provides plenty of graphics for ease of understanding (something that DoD publications frequently fall short on). This book starts small and progresses along a logical path to more complicated drills for teams numbering from 2-40.  Most of the tactics are straight out of US Army infantry training, and a definite US bias is detectable in the recommended makeup of squads and teams, leadership concepts, and radio lingo. Additionaly, the book also covers the basics of radio communications and land navigation/map reading.  The leadership section covers the basics of troop leading procedures, warning and operations order writing, pre combat inspections, and contingency plans, presented in concise and step by step formats that are much easier to grasp than those in the Ranger Handbook (see below).

Overall, I highly recommend this book for any civillian airsofter that wants to get a better grasp of teamwork and military tactics, as well as leaders of military simulation units that need a quick and effective way to learn the basics of planning and organization.

 

 

Leaders Field Guide Combat Leaders’ Field Guide: A nearly direct translation from DoD literature, this book condenses material from several publications into a small digest that most any unit leader can find useful. Though the format can be somewhat hard to navigate, and I feel the book is organized in an illogical manner, it does contain a wealth of information worth digging for. Most of the material covered is the same as I got in US Army Primary Leadership Development Course (the first rung of Army NCO schools), and is effectively everything a basic infantry Sergeant needs to know about field leadership (the parts about soldier development and career counseling would bore an accountant to suicide).

The language and concepts are somewhat more proprietary, and might require some translation for an unindoctrinated civillian. The book assumes you already know many basic Army acronyms, and grasp general concepts of leadership and tactics.

 

 

 

 

 

Ranger Handbook

 US Army Ranger Handbook: This here is the real deal, the exact same as the manual we all had to carry through Ranger School, and always had on our person in Ranger Battallion. This manual is referenced nearly as often as Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, or Sun Tzu’s Art of War. And for good reason too. This is one of the most densely packed sources of information in the basics of leadership and field operations ever produced. Within its pages you will find everything from how to build a field expedient booby trap with your MRE spoon, to a complete step by step guide to writing an operations order for an entire division strike force.

Additional useful nuggets include: How to handle enemy prisoners of war, how to behave and survive capture by the enemy yourself, how to treat a variety of common battlefield injuries (and how to properly move them to a medevac unit so that the medics know what is wrong with them, where they came from, and what treatments have already been administered), how to employ claymores and other battlefield demolitions including booby traps, how to conduct an ambush and raid, how to assume command when a leader is taken out of the fight, and how to read a map and orient yourself to the terrain.

Please note that this is a full military manual, and is issued to experienced soldiers attending the US Army’s premier field leadership course. It is assumed that the reader is fully indoctrinated in military lingo and concepts, and does not lead you progressively or even logically along a learing path. Think of it like a church hymnal. The pastor tells you which page to turn to, and that the lesson of the day regardless of what comes before or after it in the book. Therefore, it is recommended that unless you are a properly indoctrinated individual that you pick up the previously noted manuals and get a good solid grasp on the basics before you crack this book. Don’t bother trying to read it cover to cover, but read each and every section thoroughly and commit as much as possible to memory. And, the most important thing you can learn from this manual is the Ranger Creed, a guideline for the duties and expectations of every Ranger, which has become the basis for the Army’s current Army Values campaign.

 

SF Handbook

 US Army Special Forces Handbook (AKA the Little Black Book): Like the soldiers this manual is designed to educate, this manual is the best of the best, and the dirtiest of the dirty. In terms of unconventional warfare, special forces organization and tactical know how, this is the top of the heap. However, don’t expect any copy you can pick up off Amazon or Barnes and Noble to be complete or up to date. Even non-SF members of SOCOM can’t get their hands on the complete current version, and this manual is constantly updated and changed to match the fast pace of SF evolution. However, even an abridged and outdated copy has more useful information than most people can comprehend or commit to memory. Because so many variations are in circulation, I can’t even write an effective synopsis of what you will find inside. But, know that the information you do find will be well worth the cover price, bribe, or risk in obtaining it.

On the other hand, unless you really know your stuff, half this manual will go right over your head. This is definitely the advanced version, and will require quite a bit of studying to work your way up to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully you have the motivation to go out and get yourself some good reaidng material now, just be careful to avoid the 99% hinky bullshit put out by people like Richard Marcinko, Steven Lonnsdale, and pretty much anything from Paladin Press. Most of these won’t teach you jack, and are just published to boost the egos and pocketbooks of the authors. If you have any doubts as to the validity of the material in a book you have, talk to someone in the know, and get the straight skinny.

My scope of reading material is necessarily limited to the military and more specifically US Army, I encourage others who are more experienced in the doctrines of other branches of the military, law enforcement, federal agencies, and private sector to contribute their selected reading lists as well. After all, we deserve the best of each and every member’s experience to improve our abilities to work and think like a team.

Operation Distant Thunder: October 4, 2009

It is time to start mustering up and dividing out personnel for this operation (see entry below for details.)

If you are interested on playing on a particular team, or running in a particular role, please respond. Also, if you have a non Delta Seven player you will be bringing along that day, enter them in as potential OPFOR.

OPFOR will muster for briefing and move out at 1000, we will be entering the play area NO LATER THAN 1030. Make sure your equipment is prepped and ready to go within that time hack.

For OPFOR related questions, contact Brude at (360)670-8026. Text works best.

Teams:

Delta Seven:

Commander: Kenneth

NCOIC: Jack

Sniper: Colin

Spotter:

Demolitions: Karl

Gunner: Ken

Assistant Gunner:

Grenadier:

Rifleman: Luke Brown

 

Downed Pilots:

Pilot: Michael K

Navigator: Parker S

 

Taliban:

Commander: Brude

SAM Operator:

Radar Array Operator:

Commmunications Array Technician:

Patrol Leader 1: Mark P

Patrol Leader 2: Tim R

Observer 1:

Observer 2:

Command Post Security Officer:

Airsoft Roles: Gunner

Airsoft Team Roles: Gunner

 

An Automatic Rifleman provides support and security for his fire team.

An Automatic Rifleman provides support and security for his fire team.

When you say gunner, automatic rifleman, or machinegunner to most people, the classic Rambo image pops into their head. One man, firing an M60 from the hip at close range, and yelling incoherently.

Except for a few untrained morons, this just isn’t what being a gunner is all about.

Read on, and learn more about what it takes to man the pig and be serious about it.

 

Role: First off, we need to consider the role of the gunner in a squad. An average US infantry squad has 2 automatic riflemen, or SAW gunners. The job of these gunners is to provide a base of high volume suppressive fire for their fire team, and advance with the patrol. A US infantry squad will usually also have an M60 crew assigned to them as well. Due to the weight and complexity of the medium machinegun, this crew is usually used to provide support fires for the entire squad under the direction of the squad leader or platoon leader. Gunners also end up being the base of most security halts, firebases, and patrol bases. In an ambush the gunners will be massed toward the center to put maximum firepower into the kill zone.

 

A Russian squad maneuvers with their RPK armed AR.

A Russian squad maneuvers with their RPK armed AR.

Equipment: Equipment varies depending on whether you will be a light or medium machinegunner. A light gunner (or automatic rifleman as they are commonly referred) will generally carry an M249 or RPK, or possibly an L85A1 LSW. This is a one man weapons system (except in the US Marines, who assign a 2 man team to each SAW), and does not include a tripod. The AR will generally have 1-2 additional drums for his weapon, and a night sight. ARs will remain relatively lightly loaded, since they are required to advance, assault, and maneuver with their fire team.

A medium gun team, on the other hand, has a lot of special equipment, and at least one assistant gunner. The gunner usually carries the weapon, and a few hundred rounds of ammunition. The AG will carry the tripod, traverse and elevation connection, as well as a spare barrel and several hundred rounds of ammunition. An AG generally only carries a sidearm if in a 3 man crew, or a standard rifle if in a 2 man crew. When a unit has enough manpower to field a 3 man crew, the third man is known as the ammunition bearer. This crew member will carry many hundreds of rounds of additional ammunition, and a standard rifle.

US and Soviet machineguns

US and Soviet machineguns

 

Deployment: In standard drills ad practices, the automatic rifleman will deploy along with the rest of his fire team, and move and act as they do. When the team is engaged, the AR will deploy the bipod on his weapon, and assume a prone firing position for greater stability. The AR will then set about placing bursts of 7-10 rounds onto enemy positions in order to suppress them while the other team members maneuver for a better shot at them. When the team is ready to move out, flank, or bound, the AR has to rise and maneuver with them without falling behind.

Tactics for deploying a gun crew differ greatly. The squad leader or platoon leader will emplace a gun crew while the remainder of the squad performs maneuvers on the enemy. The gun crew will select a location that gives them a wide and long sector of fire on the enemy, and preferably slightly above the remainder of the element. The AG will emplace the tripod, the gunner will attach the gun to the tripod, and then attach and adjust the T&E. If present, the AB will turn 180 degrees and provide security for the team.

When the squad begins to engage the enemy, the gun crew will provide support fire on enemy positions, and grazing fire to prevent enemy movement. Once the squad has completed their maneuver, and moved to a security position, the gun crew can unemplace, and move forward to join the rest of the squad.

 

Training: An AR has to train to be able to move as fast as his fire team, carrying a heavier load and assuming a lower position. Therefore an AR will be chosen for their strength and endurance. ARs are trained in maintaining a steady volume of fire in 7-10 shot bursts, so as not to overheat their barrel, or rapidly deplete ammunition. Shorter bursts also allows an AR to keep his weapon on target better.

Gun crews have to train and drill together to choreograph their movements. A well oiled gun crew is like a Russian ballet. A poorly trained gun crew is more like a Chinese fire drill. Gun crews are also chosen for strength and endurance. The equipment is very heavy, and a gun crew has to keep up with a lightly loaded squad to be of any effect. Even though a gun crew does not have to maneuver and assault with the squad, they have a heavier combat load to bear.

ARs and gun crews alike train in the various types of fire and targeting, to be able to use their assigned weapon to it’s greatest potential, and provide the best possible support for their comrades.

 

An exploded view of the inner workings of an M249 SAW

An exploded view of the inner workings of an M249 SAW

Conclusion: Whether you choose to be an automatic rifleman or a full gun crew, there is a lot more to consider than just what weapon you choose. The tactics, combat load, and mindset of a gunner is quite different from the riflemen and grenadiers in the squad.

To be a truly effective gunner, and not just some Rambo wannabe requires training, coordination, planning, and discipline.

The next time you are out, and a gunner joins your team, make sure you appreciate their role, and help make their job easier. The thanks you get in return will be an enemy unable to withstand your support fires.

SAW gunner draws a bead on a distant target and prepares to engage with accurate controlled bursts of fire.

SAW gunner draws a bead on a distant target and prepares to engage with accurate controlled bursts of fire.

Airsoft Roles: The Rifleman

Many people have some preconceived ideas about the position of rifleman, and most of them are far from correct. Many believe that the rifleman is just cannon fodder, point man, or the newb who can’t do anything else.

role_rifleman_2

Fully loaded, a rifleman kneels and covers his comrades as they advance.

In truth, the rifleman is the backbone of any military force. It is the rifleman with his light load, individual weapons system, and manportable gear that assaults the objective, engages the enemy at close range, and holds the ground that let all the rest of the forces advance. It would not be inacurate to state that all other forces in a theatre are there to support the rifleman. Intelligence finds out where the enemy is, artillery bashes his position and destroys his defenses, air support removes his support structure, and machinegunners suppress the enemy so that the rifleman can advance, and take land away from the enemy.

Riflemen are also some of the most versatile soldiers on the ground. Given their lighter combat load, they are frequently called upon to haul extra equipment for overloaded roles such as heavy gunners, medics, communications, demolitions, and engineers. It is also not uncommon to see riflemen doubling as antitank or antiaircraft gunners, rear or flank security, scouts and forward observers, and designated riflemen (distinguished from snipers in that their role does not require them to remain carefully hidden and strike at individual targets. A DRM is concerned with taking longer range shots to accurately remove threats before the rest of the unit enters their engagement range.)

There is little special equipment for a riflemen, but the equipment they do have will see more use than much of the specialized equipment of the rest of the unit.

Weapon: The rifleman’s weapon is usually a battle rifle or assault carbine Such as an M16A2, SCAR-L, Ak-47, H&K G3, or Sig 550. Barrel lengths range from 13″-20″, and magazine capacities tange from 20-75 rounds. This weapon is primarily a semiautomatic weapon, with the capability to fire on full automatic or burst fire modes. Because a rifleman is concerned with taking quick and accurate shots, his weapon will almost always be fired semiautomatic, to control ammunition depletion, muzzle climb, and “spray and pray” behaviors.

sopmod_m4

Options available to outfit a basic M4 make a rifleman's main weapon more versatile.

Ammunition:  While the rifleman only has to carry ammunition for his own rifle, he will tend to go through more of it than any other role except the heavy gunner. Because of this, riflemen frequently have several full magazines on them at all times (and in airsoft they also often have a spare battery or two), in order to allow them to place the volume of fire needed to destroy the enemy.

Load Bearing Gear: A rifleman’s load bearing gear is often simple, generally only carrying extra magazines, basic medical supplies, a few grenades, and maybe a set of binoculars. This is not because the rifleman isn’t useful or skilled, but because the rifleman is expected to manuever on the enemy, scout ahead of or off the flanks of the unit, and to move quickly between cover.

GEAR_MOLLE_Systems_Worn_lg

Riflemen moving and observing as a buddy team.

Extra gear: Besides being everyone else’s pack mule, there is a variety of equipment the rifleman can carry that will increase his usefullness to the unit; Binculars or an optical sight could help a scouting rifleman identify the enemy at greater ranges, and even to engage them from farther away than the enemy can hope to return fire on. The addition of a grenade launcher or shotgun to the lightweight rifle can add a bit more punch and options to the rifleman in close combat, and can make him an excellent choice for breacher when the fight turns into close quarters battle. Radios for riflemen are a blessing and a curse. On one hand it is excellent to be able to relay information back to their leaders without having to run back to the main element, and on the other, constant radio chatter ruins the rifleman’s ability to hear the slightest sounds that give away enemy on the move, an ambush about to be sprung, or incoming artillery shells.

Training: The rifleman must be absolutely proficient at the three basic infantry skills: Shoot, Move, and Communicate. When shooting, the rifleman is the epidemy of controlled aimed fire, often letting off a single round or rapid semiautomatic succession of rounds that take an immediate toll on enemy numbers. The rifleman does not waste ammo, nor does he skimp when providing covering or suppression fire for his teammates. When moving, the rifleman is capable of tactical movement appropriate to his environment, lighting conditions, and likelihood of enemy contact. The rifleman can move at anything from a dead sprint on the charge, to a low crawl when pinned down by enemy fire. Because the rifleman is always moving, he avoids hunkering down in one spot and waiting for the enemy to come to him or lose his momentum. The rifleman moves in combat in short bursts moving from cover to cover in 3-5 second rushes, beginning and completing his movement before the enemy can draw a bead on him. Since he is often ahead of the main element, it is also very important for the rifleman to be able to read a map and orient himself to the terrain. To recognize terrain features, landmarks, potential ambusg points, and fields of view.                                                                 Communication covers everything from good radio protocol, ot clear hand signals, to keeping the commander informed of the situation ahead of and around the main effort. Riflemen use radios to call for support, inform the commander of changes in the tactical situation, and to report enemy movements.

rangers1

These Ranger riflemen will go anywhere and do anything to destroy the enemy.

Conclusion: The oft underrated rifleman is a position of vast responsibility and potential for the ambitious airsoft player. Exposing him to the possibility of racking up the single highest body count in his team, or to be the most frequently respawned because of failure to pay attention or to perform to the demands of the position.

hrs_071010-A-2013C-114

Dueling in the desert.

Warning Order

Operation Distant Thunder

 

 

Situation:

At 1935 hours Zulu time a US reconnaissance craft collecting intelligence on Taliban cross border activities was taken down by a hidden SAM site.

NRC assets have located the wreckage of the downed craft, and the landing site of the pilots. Unfortunately, this entire incident has taken place on the Pakistani side of the border, so no official US armed forces can be tasked to this mission.

NRC has collected photographs of the area, and analysts have determined that besides the enemy SAM site, the Taliban have also established a supply base and a communications transmitter tower.

Since shooting down the recon craft, several Taliban patrols have been active in the area, likely seeking to capture the pilots, and salvage whatever they can out of the wreckage.

Taliban forces should be considered on high alert.

 

Enemy: A Taliban Imam by the name Yasir Al Ruffi ibn Illad is known to be active in this region, and will likely take an interest in the possibility of capturing US pilots and technology, as well as exploiting the chance to show US combat forces active on the Pakistani side of the border. Dozens of other disciplined fighters, as well as many civilian recruits are also active in this area, constantly resupplying the Taliban forces on the Afghan side of the border. It is known that these forces have access to Stinger AAMs, RPG-7s, and PKM machineguns. Snipers armed with dragonuv rifles are also likely to be encountered. Enemy troops are being transported using civilian trucks and technicals.

Pakistani forces in the area are likely to be hostile toward US troops, and should be eliminated if necessary. Delta 7 should attempt to avoid contact with Pakistani national forces whenever possible.

 

Friendly: US and UK forces are operating on the Afghani side of the border, but cannot cross over to assist in any way. Nor can US forces provide close air, or artillery support across the border. Delta 7 forces will be forced to truck to a location near the border and walk across.

Pakistani forces are involved in fighting against Taliban forces in the lowlands farther North, and should have minimal presence in the area.

State Department assets are spread thin in this region, but may be able to render some assistance. No forces or assets have been dedicated at this time.

 

Mission:

It is the Commander’s intent that deniable assets from the Delta 7 operational detachment be assigned the mission of rescuing the downed pilots, destroying any intelligence present in the aircraft wreckage or enemy hands, and of neutralizing the Taliban supply base operating in this region.

Success in this mission requires that the US be able to plausibly deny any assets being present in Pakistani territory, the successful return of the pilots or their remains to US shores, and the crippling of Taliban resupply efforts.

 

Execution: To be determined by Delta 7 Commanding Officer

OP2 Map 

 

OPTEMPO:

Enemy: Enemy units will be on high alert. Patrols will be searching for the pilots, searching the wreckage, and watching for rescue missions.

Enemy SAM site will be actively searching nearby airspace in case of an airborne or helo insertion or extraction.

Enemy supply base will be operating to coordinate patrols and static posts, as well as analyzing any intel captured from the wreckage or downed pilots. Prisoners and recovered intel will be taken here.

The enemy can respawn at any active objective not yet destroyed by Delta Seven operators. Respawn time is 3 minutes. Wound rules do not apply.

 

Friendly: Delta Seven forces will need to insert and go about removing enemy forces.

Delta Seven Operators will respawn at the last completed objective. Respawn time is 3 minutes. Wound rules apply. The effected limb is rendered unusable until a medic ‘bandages’ the wound for 1 minute. A second hit on the same limb will permanently remove it until respawn. Head, neck, and upper torso hits are immediate death.

Due to the nature of their mission, Delta Seven operators will not be able to take prisoners. Operators are still considered US forces, and are not authorized to capture, interrogate, and execute enemy personnel.

Pilots cannot respawn. Once a pilot is dead, they must remain in position until prompted and transported by another player. Wound rules apply. A medic can ‘bandage’ a wound for 1 minute and regain use of the limb. A second hit to the same limb renders it useless.

Any hit to the head, neck, or upper torso is an immediate elimination.

Players transporting wounded or corpses cannot run or shoot.

 

Game Holds: A hold will be declared midday for both forces to stop and have a meal break.

This will also be a good opportunity for commanders and teams to meet, discuss possible changes to the rules or mission, and discuss overall strategy. Break will only be declared for 30-60 minutes, decided by the commanders.

Delta Seven and OPFOR commanders will be in contact via secure channel in order to coordinate, and in case of emergency.

Real world medical emergencies will be grounds for calling a hold of game until the crisis is dealt with by first aid personnel. Game will resume once both commanders determine the field is safe.

Running out of ammo, weapon failures, getting stuck, needing a drink etc will not be grounds for game holds. Any players experiencing these situations should handle the situation in place, or declare themselves eliminated and return to the nearest spawn point to effect repairs if necessary.

 

Markings: Delta Seven will have a predetermined uniform. Taliban operators cannot match or impersonate Delta Seven operators (i.e. if D7’s uniform is full DCU with tac vest, no Taliban player can have the same outfit, nor can they try to fool the D7 operators into believing they are a friendly by their uniform.) If it happens that a player only has a uniform which matches D7’s specified uniform, their top must be worn inside out.

Taliban operators should strive to visually resemble their roles. The presence of Warsaw Pact small arms, wearing of keffiyeh shemagh or other distinctive Afghan gear, or the wearing of non-military garb is appropriate and encouraged.

Scenario proposal

I will be getting to the meeting late this week, so I thought I would throw a proposal up for y’all to consider.

Proposed Date: 1100 30 Aug 2009

Proposed Location: Elwha River (killhouse)

river

Proposed scenario: Delta Seven has been activated and assigned the covert mission of extracting a person of interest by the name of Hector Sanchez. Sanchez is a known member of the Medellin Drug Cartell, and has been connected with attempts to fund multinational insurgent forces with guns, money, and drugs from the cartell. USASOC suspects the Medellin Cartel to be attempting to divide national attentions away from their operations, or of getting involved with more exacting threats to our national security.

This operation is considered deniable and covert. Therefore no national assets will be available for support or extraction. SAD has arranged transportation for insertion and extraction, but cannot provide any support assets at this time. USASOC requires Sanchez to be extracted in an interrogatable condition.

POO Delta8 reports that Sanchez’s perosnal security consists of several independent contractors that patrol the outer perimeter and provide security on his home. It is also noted that Meddellin friendly forces are stationed within ten minutes of Sanchez’s location, therefore actions on the objective are going to have to be sudden and brief to avoid encountering larger forces.

Order of Play: D7 detrucks and moves out towards the Primary’s location. Contact with security patrols is likely, and must be handled as quickly and quietly as possible to avoid alerting internal security forces. Once Sanchez is secured he must be moved to the Extraction Point to be taken back for interrogation.

Teams will be D7 operatives vs OPFOR.

Stage 1: Movement to Contact D7 Operatives will move from the detrucking point to the objective. Enemy contact with security patrols is likely. D7 should move tactically and be prepared for enemy patrols. Enemy patrols must be dispatched as quickly and quietly as possible to avoid alerting security forces on the objective, or other security patrols nearby.

Regroup and Recover

Stage 2: House Assault Once D7 Commander has verified the location of the objective, and the presence of the Primary, D7 will have to assault the house. Neutralize all enemy contact and secure the Primary for extraction.

Regroup and Recover

Stage 3: Counterattack Alerting nearby patrols is almost certain during the assault, D7 Commander should prepare his team for enemy counterattack and defend the strongpoint of the house. Once enemy forces have been reduced or destroyed, D7 Commander should mobilize his team, and begin moving the Primary to the Extraction Point.

Regroups and Recover

Stage 4: Prisoner Escort Getting to the EP with the enemy now under high alert will likely result in further enemy contact. D7 should be prepared to repel the enemy and keep them from freeing or executing the Primary.

Regroups and Recover

Stage 5: Clear the Extraction Point SAD assets will be unable to land until remaining enemy forces have been repelled and aircraft can land without being engaged. Once clear, the Primary can be loaded and D7 can be extracted.

After Action Review

 

Please post any comments or suggestions below. Also express your support or not for prewritten scenarios like this for play.

Battle Drills

In order to accomplish a task successfully and smoothly with the least amount of chaos or confusion in the heat of battle, a unit must share a common doctrine on the accomplishment of specific tasks. These common doctrines take the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and drills.

A battle drill simulates a specific encounter, such as a bunker, an ambush, or a house entry. During the drill, the unit practices specific SOPs relating to this type of encounter, and rehearses each member’s specific duties. By running and re-running these drills over and over, every member of the team is fully aware of their duties, as well as those of the people around them, and the entire series of activities blends into a smooth and repeatable drill. The end result being the unit acting in a coordinated manner when a similar situation occurs on the field of battle with minimal direction or confusion.

As an example, I will detail a movement to contact drill involving a squad sized element.

 

Conditions: 1 infantry squad (consisting of an alpha and bravo team) on the move through broken terrain.

Standards: Destroy the enemy with minimal casualties and continue movement.

 

The drill begins with the squad proceeding in a tactical manner toward a distant objective. In the course of this movement an OPFOR force will engage the squad.

 

Step 1: Take cover! All squad members should immediately seek solid cover and prepare to return fire. Any soldier able to locate the enemy should immediately notify the rest of the squad. The enemy already knows you’re there, this is no time to be bashful.

 

Step 2: Return fire! As soon as the enemy’s location is fixed, the squad must return fire in sufficient volume to overpower the enemy, and make them seek cover. Only once this is achieved can the unit begin to advance on the enemy and take action.

 

Step 3: Alpha Team plus attachments achieve firepower superiority! The use of SAWs, and liberal application of automatic weapons fire on the enemy position is intended to keep the enemy from being able to respond to Bravo Team’s movements.

The presence of a machinegun team can significantly increase the suppression of the enemy through the use of graving and suppressing fires applied to the entire enemy position.

 

Step 4: Bravo Team begins flanking maneuver! On signal from the Squad Leader, Bravo Team begins moving to the left or right of the enemy position through the use of bounding overwatch and maximizing available cover. Bravo Team must keep a keen awareness of any enemies fleeing the objective, or listening posts placed outside the enemy position.

Once Bravo Team has approached close enough to launch an assault on the flank of the enemy position, Bravo Team Leader signals the Squad Leader, so that Alpha Team can adjust their fires away from the approaching friendly troops.

 

Step 5: Bravo Team assaults the enemy position! In a coordinated manner Bravo Team assaults onto the enemy position using volume of fire and violence of action to overcome any remaining resistance. Bravo Team will continue their assault until they have swept entirely across the enemy position, and are able to take cover beyond the opposite limit of the position.

 

Step 6: Alpha Team Assaults! Once Bravo Team has successfully crossed the objective and taken cover, Alpha Team will begin to assault the objective, and continue across the objective in order to destroy any surviving enemy personnel or equipment. Once across the objective, Alpha Team will take cover and provide security. At this point there should be an L shaped formation facing outward providing security.

 

Step 7: Prepare for counterattack! The commotion of assaulting the enemy position may draw other enemy patrols, or prepared reinforcements, to the squad’s location. The Squad Leader should direct both teams to split their elements to provide 360 degree security, with machinegun teams taking position between the two elements. The Squad Leader can at this time assign a detail to search the objective for sensitive items and secure any survivors for EPW processing. During this period every member of the squad should make a damage assessment of themselves, and reload fresh magazines. The Team Leaders should collect an accounting of injuries and remaining ammunition from each team member, and report status to the Squad Leader. If necessary the Squad Leader can order a redistribution of ammunition, or assign a casualty team to evacuate injured or dead squad members.

 

Step 8: Continue movement! Once the Squad Leader is satisfied that any reinforcements have been repelled, all sensitive materials have been collected, and all EPWs have been processed, he can order the squad to regroup into tactical formation and continue movement to the objective.

 fig4-2

 

As you can see, there is a lot involved in a relatively simple encounter. However, practicing these steps as a unit will help each member of the unit complete their job efficiently, and with the knowledge that each other member of their team is completing their own portion of the drill. After thorough drilling, a Squad Leader has more freedom to assess and control his unit when a similar encounter occurs on the battlefield.

 

Hundreds of other battle drills exist, and many military manuals and resources outline them. With some research and creativity, these drills can be modified and adjusted to fit airsofting purposes.

So you want to be an airsoft sniper

What now?

First, don’t play with a bolt action airsoft rifle your first time out.  You’ll feel undergunned when everyone else is using an AEG.  Try airsoft out a few times before you rush out to buy that BAR.  While using an AEG try it in semi auto and get a feel for giving your shots some delay.  Does this appeal to you?

Second, go out and buy that BAR.  I would suggest a Mk96 or BAR-10 as good starting guns.  Both are fairly easily upgraded and fire pretty well stock.

Third, forget most of the stuff you think you know about real steal sniping, most of it doesn’t apply to airsoft.  You won’t be making 300 foot kills every pull of the trigger.  You are shooting a round ball through a smooth barrel.  The physics are working against it flying straight each time.

What you do get by using a bolt action gun are three things: quietness, more power generally(most fields let you use higher fps on bolt action guns), and patience to place a better shot because you’re not going to get another for a second or two.

Next, learn some field craft(sneaking, stalking, ambushing).  There is too much in that statement to go over here, so I’ll just give you a wikipedia link. Ghillie suits are a part of this.  While not needed, they really do help, especially in the close ranges that you must fire at in airsoft.

Airsoft sniping is generally a slow game that requires lots of patience to get the one good kill.  You won’t be taking out a whole team most days.  Sometimes you might not even shoot.  The primary roll of a sniper is to recon.  Your radio is your best weapon.  Calling in enemy activity instead of killing the enemy is usually a better bet.

Don’t forget, there is a difference between sniping and being a squad designated marksman(DMR).  A sniper generally works alone or with one other person call a spotter.  A DMR will work within a squad with a bolt action or semi auto gun to take precision shots at enemy positions.

In conclusion, being a sniper in airsoft is very rewarding when you do accomplish your goals, but a lot of the time you will be slowly moving not taking any shots all day.  Don’t go in expecting something that it is not.

On a side note, sniper rifles are great items to upgrade, but they get expensive quickly.  The average cost of most upgraded sniper rifles is in the $500 to $600 range.  So don’t expect that a $130 gun is the end to your money spending while being a sniper.

Port Angeles Airsoft

Port Angeles is a great place for airsoft.  Our natural vegetation makes great cover and works well for concealment.  Mountains on one side, and salt water on the other, we have a nice variety of places to get out into the woods.  Douglas Firs and sword ferns make great places to hide from your opponent.  The various fields we have access to range from muddy riverbeds, large open gravel pits with sage brush, to old growth forests with fern undergrowth.  It’s a great place to play!