The May 15th Run and Gun followed the BlackSheep6 Squad Tactics Training Course one day prior. There my fireteam and I had learned some great skills to implement during the Run and Gun.
When we arrived at Feel Good Farm, we knew that rain was in the forecast and were hoping to get a little rain-combat badassery in during the day. We usually prefer to airsoft in the dry, but occasionally it’s good to remind ourselves how serious we are about the sport.
When we arrived we chrono’d and registered without issue, then the 40-50 players that showed up grouped in the parking lot for safety and game briefing. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the staff had formulated a mini-Op for the first half of the day, which sounded like fun.
The scenario was that an American pilot had gone down behind enemy lines and was wounded. The Russians (green team) and the Chechnyans (tan team) both wanted the American pilot and did not want the opposing force to capture him. The American pilot was ‘bleeding’ and was leaving a trail of blood through the woods that the teams could follow. The American pilot was also being protected by one or more American SpecOps soldiers that had been air-dropped in to help him. The two teams were also looking for a ‘hard drive’ (played by an old cordless phone with a ribbon on it) that was on board the American plane when it went down. The hard drive was somewhere in the woods, away from the crash site. The teams were to capture the hard drive and kill the American’s defense so they could capture him. They were to then radio in the find to command and wait for further instructions. An excellent Airsoft scenario on paper.
After briefing, the teams gathered separately as staff got organized. Acting Field Marshal, and staff member, Skinny (since usual Field Marshal, Nightshade, was absent), called for the team Commanding Officers (COs) to gather on him. As I looked around the 20 or so green team members, I realized that not only was no one else qualified to lead a team, but they were all looking at me. I didn’t feel like taking on the paper-pushing, radio-talking, administrative job that is team command but – in the absence of another qualified player – I did. I was informed that my team was to start at Adirondack Shack and could only assume that Tan was to start at Moose Mountain. It was specified that Urban would not be a significant starting objective, but that the crash site was there and that the blood trail would initiate there. Adirondack and Moose Mountain Shack are roughly equidistant from Urban, so it was logical.
I split my team into three fireteams, one of which was almost entirely made of newbie players. Two of the players were there in sneakers, shorts, and black t-shirts. I would have loved to have shot them myself…
When we reached Adirondack Shack, I designated squad numbers and gave objectives. I told the newbie squad (Squad 3) to make their way along the main trail to Rock Assault in search of the pilot. Navigationally, this was the more difficult assignment, however I needed the more experienced and equipped, Squad 2, to move Northwest past Cowboy Hat Junction in search of the hard drive and pilot. I anticipated they would run into resistance much more quickly, so I wanted to send the experienced squad. I took my squad straight at Urban so we could find the blood trail and radio back its direction to the other two squads. The plan was for my squad to get in, find the trail, and bug out.
Upon game start, I took my squad around to the North side of Urban and began pushing in. As we made it to about 30 yards from the first buildings, we began taking fire. One of my guys yelled ‘Contact twelve’ and we came up on line as we had learned in squad tactics training. I yelled for team one (consisting of my XO (Josh) and Medic (Ben)) to move up as team two (consisting of my Grenadier (James) and Rifleman (Anthony) for today) suppressed. Seconds later I yelled for team two to move as one suppressed. We bounded in strongly, firing, moving, and yelling consistently. My fireteam did a great job utilizing violence of action to push up quickly but unfortunately we took two casualties in a row and after Ben took his sweet-ass time healing everyone up, we were forced to pull back.
During the engagement outside Urban, my KWA M4A1 went down for the first time since I started airsofting. It simply ceased to fire and was non-responsive. I was forced to pull my KWA MP7 and continue with my M4 slung on my back. As we were pulling out of Urban, we received a radio call from Squad 2, stating that they had recovered the hard drive, as well as one from Squad 3 saying that they’d spotted the pilot but encountered too much resistance to get to him. We started moving towards Cowboy Hat Junction to assist both squads but got stopped when we got there by Tan forces attacking from the North and West. I again ordered my fireteam to begin bounding, but team one bounded 100 yards on their second movement, compared to the maximum of 10 yards that they should have gone. They got hit out of sight and well beyond where my medic could get to. I then got hit, and one at a time team two started dropping. We spent 30 minutes healing ourselves back up with the help of a retreating Squad 2, before we were finally reassembled and able to pull back.
Squad 3 got knocked out and met up with my fireteam and Squad 2 in Adirondack. I brought my M4 back online by reconnecting a loose motor connection and we sat waiting for a few stragglers to join us while I thought of what to do next. The hard drive was handed over to me but we still needed the pilot. I was then informed by command (Skinny) that we needed to get the pilot, along with the entire green team, into the bus in Urban and that Tan currently had the pilot and had the same objective. I ordered squads 2 and 3 to flank and attack in a Pincer maneuver, while my squad went up the middle as we had at the beginning of the game. I was expecting a lot of Tan to be in Urban but we were able to push in with little resistance.
Had we known that there would be so little initial resistance, I would have amassed in Urban then ambushed Tan, taken the pilot, and piling into the bus. Since I had the team fan out, we were divided and everything went to shit. Tan ended up in the bus within 30 minutes and we spent the rest of the day in the pouring rain trying to get into it. The problem was that Tan was mostly made of newbie players who were not calling their hits due to a misconception that we were blind-firing into the bus (which would be against the rules). The whole day would have been saved by the one live grenade possessed on our team. The issue is that the owner handed the grenade to the noob closest to the bus and the noob tossed the grenade backhand, with his non-dominant arm, missing the doorway.
As the last hour of the first half of the day rolled around, we started getting more bold in our efforts. At one point Gentleman and I sprinted past the doors of the bus, firing in as we went. A successful maneuver, were it not for the mildly cheating Tan team not calling their hits. It went on this way for a while, with green team making bold, effective maneuvers and Tan not calling all their hits. A frustrating end to the first half of the day.
I made the call that my fireteam would head home because I find no enjoyment playing in the rain against people who don’t call their hits, with staff that isn’t actively enforcing hit rules. What could have been a great mini-Op was ruined because the staff on hand decided to turn the game around to be Urban-centered – a surefire way to ruin peoples’ day and incite cheating.
My fireteam did well at the beginning and end of the day considering how little we’ve practiced proper squad tactics. I maintain that the victory would have belonged to the green team, had rules been properly enforced and had the game scenario not been changed for the worse.