Afghan OPFOR Impression Guide

This is for those of you that will be registering as OPFOR for April’s event. The event has not been posted yet but will soon be released to the public. I say in many of my posts I’m tired of seeing woodland camo. So those of you that plan on signing up as the OPFOR in April here is a guide on how to put together your impression. The first thing I noticed with the Afghan rebel look is that there is more white then I care to wear in combat, but I also notice lots of earth colors too. It seems that all have some type of head wrap. If you have a shamag that would probably due. If you can cover your face that would be awesome, but crazy facial hair is a plus. Please do not use spirit gum and pubes.
Looks like AKs and commie weapons are a bonus but not required. Bolt-action sniper rifles wrapped would be good substitute. I just want throw it out there so you have great impression. Event will be posted soon.

Airsoft Roles: Designated Marksman

DMR
The Designated Marksman, or DM, is not a sniper. They may use a sniper rifle, or rifle similar to what a sniper would use, but they are not a sniper. The DM has a very specific role that they fill within a squad, which is to take accurate shots(sometimes from a long distance) while sticking with the squad. This is the major difference between a DM and a sniper, the DM will almost always stay within the squad, while the sniper usually works in a smaller two man team.

If you the squad leader or fire team leader needs somebody dead, they will usually ask the DM to make it so while the rest of the squad gives them support and cover fire. The DM almost never acts alone though, they need to support their squad as well.

The DM usually uses a semi-auto long range rifle, such as a m-14, or SR-25, or even a M16. Usually they have a 4x scope to spot and take shots with. Although these guns all go full auto, they should almost never have to go full auto unless under duress. Most DMs prefer their guns to be shooting in the 400-550 range, to give them more range over full auto aegs. But this means they need to use engagement limits such as 50 feet or some other agreed upon distance. Under that range they should draw a sidearm, preferably a pistol so it takes up less space.

The key to being a good DM is taking accurate shots and working with your squad to get people in range and in the open for you to kill. DM is a more glamorous role than the sniper, as they get more shots, but will probably use similar gear to the rest of the squad. Basically they are a slightly longer ranged rifleman with a specific role beyond taking shots.

Airsoft Roles: Grenadier or Heavy Weapons


I was going to write an article talking about the role of the grenadier on an airsoft team, but found an article that sums it up better than I could have.

Remember, sometimes just the sight of your Launcher system will cause a squad to back up. Learn your weapon’s capabilities, utilize it safely and effectively on the field and stick to it. There are very few true Airsoft Grenadiers on the field due to the limitations of the Airsoft Grenade Shell/Launcher system, but it can be one of the most promising/rewarding roles to play in a skirmish/operation.

Link to full article

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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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.

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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.