Central War Gaming Blog

Central War Gaming Blog


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ardean AAR - Swift Fox 19

After Action Report — CWG Swift Fox 19 FTX, 12 - 14 April 2019, Wyandotte OK


For this event, I led a 4 man team performing a "Long Range Recon" for the entire planned 51 hours (3 days, 2 nights). There is no vehicle support, no reserves or attachments, and no mid-course resupply (we can go to a resupply point or aid station near the IP, or to the truck at EXFIL to get water, and other supplies if needed, but it's a long walk with steep hills, either way). All movement was planned to be with rucks on.

Just post ENDEX

We had to zigzag across the entire area, which appears to be very small but is criss-crossed with roads and is very hilly so movement was expected to be slow to avoid detection and not be too tired to perform our mission.

A larger, vehicle-borne force is based in the AO somewhere. Our mission is to determine the strength, composition and disposition of the enemy force, and especially to locate their base of operations. We are supposedly aided in doing this by hitting a series of pre-determined points where activity has been seen or could be expected.


NOTE: Our maps for training usually, and here, have 100 m grids not 1000 m grids. Same MGRS coordinates as always, but less silly to use in the small, dense AO. Don't be confused and think we went 10 as far. 

My summary of the planned route (taken from a longer, denser OPORD) and shown on the map above is as follows:
1.        1 SAW-TOOTH, 514709. IP — Supply
3.        WALNUT, 509707, ROAD AT CROSSING
           a.        Radio in
5.        DOG-WOOD, INTERSECTION IN 508701, Look at AIRPORT
7.        LACE-BARK, 508699, look at LUCALA
           a.        Camp for night in deep valley around here
8.        HACK-BERRY, 508697, Look at 15/22/27 ROAD, FORTIFICATIONS, BRIDGE.
           a.        Radio in
10.      PINYON, VALLEY IN 513696 — Cross open area to get here!
11.      RED-BUD, NEAR THE PONDS IN 515698
           a.        Camp for night behind ponds, in deepest woods
           a.        Radio in
14.      EXFIL — PINE, 498691

There was minor admin collusion; I and the enemy team leader could get on the other's net and call in as though an adjacent unit, then exchange coded info to check in. We used this occasionally for safety information, but also to check in at pre-planned points so that actions could be avoided or specifically happen; if we indeed hid successfully, it was arranged that mid-morning of TD3 the enemy would flood the area we were in to incite a fight, in order to more fully test out all our tactics and gear. For our part especially, this was interesting and new as we could not drop rucks as we're always previously taught, but fought from them to keep moving.

To better understand my ruck setup at least, you may enjoy reviewing this video I posted of it a week or so before: https://www.facebook.com/CentralWar/posts/2292300587724882


For our purposes, being just one person typing on their own vs a proper AAR with the whole team, I am just going to make this a narrative of the action.

This is the actual route taken, as recorded by my movement. It does not count scouting done by other elements. The dashed line is where I briefly forgot to turn on tracking the morning of TD3, but we know the route precisely there so it's fine. White dots are overnight stops.


And this is elevation, with a few gaps again cleaned up to make it contiguous and on the same scale. It is normalized to each "day" without being to the same actual horizontal scale of time OR mileage. TD 1 was in reality the longest, TD2 pretty long even with stops, and TD 3 only a half day. Also... pretty sure the steep climb on the last half of TD 3 is me riding in a vehicle to return to the AA so ignore every thing from there on (it is cleaned off the tracking map above).

Total distance traveled with rucks was only about 10 km (several more km on leaders recons, scouting ahead, etc.). In my youth I carried more weight, for much longer distances (sometimes over 20 miles a day) but not going straight up hills, through brambles and slowly to avoid enemy detection, without listening halts sometimes every 30 m, and certainly not carrying a gun at the ready. And, my best days at that were over 30 years ago. Mad props to those who put down the serious mileage under these sorts of conditions. Way harder than I expected even having done a hell of a lot of hiking, and a decent bit of this sort of EX work and training.

I was tired but however... not especially sore. A few equipment-induced niggles (explained in the FIX section), and the sling practically cut my head off, but otherwise I am pretty solid and not broken by this. E.g. did great at the gym two days after getting back home.

Friday — TD 1 

Admin stuff having nothing to do with the team (so not in this public AAR) meant we were at peril of kicking off very late, only got our initial ammo issue and clearance to depart at about the scheduled 0900 departure. So, I assumed everything was good (I did no pre-deployment inspection, thought someone else had) and said we can do ammo loading in the field. We left around 0910, and were driven out by truck some distance away by a "National Police" driver in a Dodge pickup truck. Dropped our ready bags (backup gear, spare ammo and uniforms...) at the supply point, briefed on the aid station and safety contingencies, then continued to the IP.

I let us get dropped about 300 m short of the actual IP at POINT 1 SAW-TOOTH, 514709 since it would be hard for the truck to turn around, and is a flat, wide valley with an old trail or goat-track. We loaded up, assured everyone's rucks fit and then used the flat, relatively safe hike to shake out things. Most went fine. As we moved the next few hundred yards, I opened orders and briefed on the mission specifics at listening halts, covered the movement plan, and actions on contact (fire, throw smoke and grenades, run away, gather at the last ERP).

We had not much trouble navigating across the high ground to POINT 2 CYPRESS, 51077085 but it was very brushy so hard to observe as was planned. Around here we admitted finally my radio was for shit, and after some planning made a decision to send two members (with rucks cached here) back to the supply point to get a new radio. To avoid loosing too much time, the other two (including me) would move past POINT 3 WALNUT, 509707and wait for them at or near POINT 4 CHINA, 50857057. The theory is, since we've moved through there, we can (if nothing happens) let them move through it somewhat less carefully so it's quicker and easier.

We had no real issues moving, the other team never came up on the radio but contingencies worked and we linked up at the last planned time anyway.

Holding short of CHINA, as a 2 man element.

We continued along the valley to the south, and I began to be concerned there were simply too many objectives for day 1, especially with an unknown campsite to find. So, we continued down the valley to about (IIRC) the 700 northing, cached our packs in a bad but acceptable backup bivouac site, and sent one team to go to POINT 5 DOG-WOOD (near 508701) and POINT 7 LACE-BARK, 508699, to establish brief OPs, and the other team (including me) would hike a long ways to POINT 6 ROUGH-LEAF, to look into the valley.

We brought water and night vision, but it transpired that the movements were speedier than planned and we re-connected well before dark. My team found no enemy, and it was as on the hillside very dense so hard to observe as planned. The other team saw enemy vehicles, but the terrain was poor to observe so they hid and saw the tops of heads and cabs instead, but evaded detection so generally good results.

During our movement, we found a better campsite, in that loop of jeep trail between ROUGH LEAF and LACE-BARK. Despite being right on top of many roads, there were dense low trees across the area, and our only real fear was drones (which were not used, so we escaped well there). One individual had no bivy and a partly bright colored sleep system so I was worried about drone observation, and it might have given us away had that come up.

We used mini lightsticks to mark the campsite, and I checked: despite being a christmas tree inside the campsite, it was invisible 10 m away. Enough that I went too far for a midnight pee and almost got lost!

Saturday — TD 2

Roads came up in the morning, and enemy vehicles drove right by our camp several times (possibly the same vehicle driving across all the roads. Worried about, again, drone use, we packed carefully (to avoid exposing anything for more than a moment) as well as to keep an ear out, got our camo and hats on as quickly as we could, and moved out carefully.

Movement was steep getting back on track, as we've really learned by mid day TD1 that there are too many trails, and too many odd shaped hills; contouring and other cleverness just leaves you turned around or exposed to enemy. So, we started much more vigorously going pretty much straight where we need to go, up and down steep hills. It was hard at any individual moment, but cut down on total distance and kept us out of sight during this more road-dense, dangerous area. Most changes from straight azimuth were to get concealment, or go around the few truly impassable cliffs or brambles.

Straight up the hill. Probably close to 30°. Not percent, degree. Not the worst hill we climbed. 

But otherwise, movement was really excessively easy today, and by 1000 we realized that we'd be done with our objectives by mid-day, so especially with rain planned, and to assure TD3 was not rushed, we decided to move forward and camp further on.

Movement to POINT  8 HACK-BERRY, 508697 was very open and worrisome, and we began to find some bunkers and abandoned buildings we had to clear. Radios or radio procedure failed again a few times so it was difficult to coordinate actions. At least once I had to go get the other team to explain where to move to next.

We had a snack at HACK-BERRY, and then crossed the roads to the east. Luckily no enemy appeared as it was much more open than expected, so our linear-danger-area crossing was almost 100 m of movement. To the east of this was a series of very deep valleys, and to avoid the out-of-bounds area we kept having to displace to the north.

As we took another rucks-off break in a patch of woods due north of Kasai, between the 28 and 30 roads, around POINT 9, COFFEE IN 511697. I became aware that one team member was Amber on water. Others were getting low as well, so I made an admin safety decision to let a two man element take all the empty canteens and sneak into a water spigot at the north end of town, without weapons or anything. We were not observed, and it went fine but: carry more water.

The crossing of the hard road 30 went poorly. No, no enemy found us, but the decent to it was steep and thorny so we got a bit tangled and were hanging out there far too long. We also crossed at a low point by some fences and difficult/impassable terrain, so had to move along the road a dozen yards, then climb back UP fairly open woods to get out of sight. This was harrowing and tiring.

Beyond this, after another rest, we reached the vicinity of POINT 10, PINYON, VALLEY IN 513696 without incident. The field was mowed, which meant we had to stick to the woodline, and the area around POINT 11, RED-BUD was rather awful. The ponds near 515698 were bright green, with some items dumped, and the entire area was low so would be a flood danger.

Further recon showed that it was basically impossible to carry out the planned movement, in no small measure due to the mowed field; we could and did use the camber of the field a bit but crossing it low or crawling as impossinle. So after I sent two forward to explore alternatives to the south and west, we moved out past the warehouse in 515 694, and then across the slightly treed fenceline to the reach of woods to the west. Around here rain started, but we'd all put on Gore Tex earlier so had minimal pause to deal with the rain and change plan. I did not know it until later, but one team member had a water-resistant UK smock, not a waterproof garment, so was getting wet this whole time.

The terrain continued to be open, so the plan was to use microterrain and move from cover to cover — there were numerous stands of trees, abandoned vehicles, haybales, CONEX, etc. south-west across the "heliport" (helicopters do land there regularly and some of the structures mentioned support that, but it's highly exaggerated on the map. Not a helicopter base, no pavement, etc.) till we get to the trees, then make camp for the night, especially as the rain is picking up.

However, as we cross, I observe to our right an enemy vehicle as previously described to me from the TD 1 recon to point DOG-WOOD, parked against a building at the 17 road turn in 516 692. The enemy markings are even visible (yea to Leica glass, as this was subdued marks on a camouflaged vehicle through brush and rain at near 200 m!), so I have everyone hide where they can, and eventually we figure out we can use that cover to move directly away, ending up against the fenceline at the corner near SOAP BERRY.

We get back behind a brush pile, and set a shelter. I find now that the second small shelter we have is no such thing at all, just a poncho which is now loaned to the not-waterproof member of the team so he gets no wetter.

This is only three of us. With four, it was really unsat. 

We wait there, observing periodically, repair and organize gear, I break out the alcohol burner and make some hot food for me and hot liquids for another. After a while, it becomes clear that this is a monsoon, so everyone is getting a bit wet and cold. The team member who went a while without a waterproof top also has jungle boots, and has cold feet. With no obvious ability to move to a place we can make a fire without being detected, and snow in the forecast, I decide to take him out of the event overnight. Another team member moves him and his gear 300 m north to the assembly area (the off-limits zone) where there is a heated building and we plan to retrieve him in the morning.

An hour or so after this, I do a reconnoiter and find that the fenceline to the west has a deeper treeline than expected, so we can move across it with some safety — also the enemy has not gone outside much and the rain obscures well as distance increases. We move along there to around 510 easting and attempt to put up a larger shelter. The shelter is just a Harbor Freight (or similar) tarp and begins having issues, and one of our team members is exhibiting some real signs of cold and wants to go to the warm area also. Loosing 50% and some team gear, I call it and move the entire team to the warm area overnight.

We coordinate with the enemy commander/admin and they are indeed in for the night due to rain, cold, and tiredness — they have a building, but a leaky, unheated one and their vehicles are mostly open-topped — so we won't miss anything or ruin the EX.

Sunday — TD 3

Day dawns (and stays) bright, clear, dry and breezy. Despite WX reports insisting that rain or even snow would last until mid-day, it was very nice and anyone residually damp was able to recover well. If we had spend the night in the woods, we would have had an opportunity to dry off and be pretty happy.

We contacted the enemy commander/admin to coordinate, and re-entered the EX around 0700. Due to the storm they had also been fairly hunkered down and were just now getting up to speed. We had to sneak a lot, which got everyone back into the EX mindset, but the enemy did not detect us even without being told to not look over there.

We moved deeply into the hilly wooded area along the southern edge of the AO, due south of the east edge of the town of Calabar (point SHUMARD), and had to clear a number of abandoned buildings and fortifications along the way. This was good training work, as we got to essentially practice doing it in pairs, with rucks on, and get used to not actually touching anything, moving quietly among the rubble, and keeping the other team in sight as we moved to each objective, with structures in the way.

We set a "bivouac" for about an hour of rest, listening, and breakfast, while we also planned the movement to the next objective so we would be less likely to be seen in what we could find now was a relatively more open area with dangerous visibility from enemy vehicle routes some distance off.

I used Dragon Fuel again to make hot breakfast and warm some liquid for coffee for others.

We then radioed in again to assure timing was lined up, and began moving towards POINT 13. SHUMARD, 508693. This was some bad bushwhacking. In an attempt to use terrain again to keep out of sight, I took us into a valley where we had to get through many thorn bushes for far too long. We heard vehicle noises, and made several stops.

Navigation worked perfectly however and we ended up right where we wanted, near the intersection of 18 and 183 roads. Though the woods did get dense and once up on level ground we rather stumbled into being visible to the town. Radios failed again, as did hand signals, so I ended up rather stomping over to keep everyone from rolling into town not as a team.

I think this is actually from TD1, but we looked the same by day 3.

The plan at this moment was to continue into town, then split with with two two-man teams moving from east to west, one near the 17 road, and one around 50 m south, parallel. We would not set an ERP but in the event of contact would move to each other and then move away as a full team.

Instead, halfway through reiterating this plan, enemy vehicles rolled up on us, and we had to hide at a fairly open area, with a UAZ passing around 0935 without detecting despite passing perhaps 10 ft from our forward elements, and then a Toyota passing appx 10 minutes later which did see us. A brief firefight occurred, where we broke contact as planned (much gunfire, smoke, grenades as available). We took one casualty, and since it was the medic we could not do anything about it, so left him behind. He had no sensitive items.

My MG failed because airsoft, and since it sorta fell apart, I gave up and abandoned it there. That in retrospect seems like a bad idea, but it is what I did.

All enemy in the Toyota appear to have been killed so we had some leeway, but other enemy vehicles began moving to us, and drones were employed. We moved — partly on roads to get distance quickly — NW into the draw extending W from the town.

At this point, I decided we had not completed the mission so made everyone — to their strenuous objections — move back east to go to the town. We successfully entered town, found and inspected an unmapped fuel tank, took notes and photos, and left.

We moved back down the draw to the west, and appeared to have left their search grid behind, with vehicle noises and distant drones to the east still. We took a break to shed warmth layers in an area of dense cover (to avoid any drones or scouts on hills above) near the 505 easting. A few hundred yards further on, we climbed out of the shallowing valley heading NW to avoid ambushes at the end of what must by then be a rather obvious escape route. We began a road crossing, with one member of the team on the other side behind cover just south of the pond at the 17 and 19 road intersection when an enemy patrol came over the rise from the north.

The enemy stopped two vehicles with a number of troops right between our two groups, which were offset so it was an accidentally near-perfect ambush. I had previously taken a spare "40 mm grenade launcher" so I had a weapon other than my handgun, but it failed to fire because fucking airsoft, and I was shot several times by enemy from one of the vehicles. My remaining team members used rifle fire to kill most/all of the remaining enemy and disable their vehicles, then moved to the EXFIL point on their own.

POINT 14. EXFIL — PINE, 498691

ENDEX appx 1200 h.

Issues / Fixes

Again, since this was not a real team AAR process, this is simply a list of Improve/Sustain items, improperly mashing together the issues and fixes. Don't you go do this with your AARs! Do it right.

I also have a long list of things CWG is going to do to improve our setup, check-in, and other organization and administrative processes. But this is just the list of items that are directly relevant to me, and my patrol.

(If you want to do an AAR like this for yourself, to share or not, I must say my method this time worked great: As I unpacked, I took notes on everything, equipment and process, that came to mind for each item.)

Sustain — Drone defeat — In the past many have relatively freaked out about the ability of drones to see us, and how they are going to change the whole nature of warfare. However we've learned pretty quickly how to defeat them, and despite our movement and terrain meaning that the enemy stuck drones directly over us, with no overhead cover, they never, ever detected us.

However, most of the time we were defeating the drones we were trying to move, or actively running away and had to stop doing that until it went away.

So, we've also determined that, especially with larger forces (more drones, more maneuver elements to exploit) that they could be used like mobile mechanical obstacles; even if not detecting you, the defeat methods cause you to freeze, or to move around the observed area, so could be used to pin forces until found by ground forces, or redirect them into ambushes, minefields, and so on. See your FMs for how to use mechanical obstacles.

Sustain — Brief, brief, brief — Every time we stopped, every time we came to a risky place, we stopped and briefed. I do mean "we." I didn't just state what I wanted to do next, but we made sure to catch up, discuss what anyone had seen, heard, or if they needed to take a break or fix something.

But then, yes, I'd brief the next objective, the movement plan, reiterate actions on contact, and contingencies.

And really, not the next objective, but the next two or three. This was important for a lot of reasons. The terrain is so loopy and often open, it often gave everyone an opportunity to look onto (or hide from) the next probable enemy location, or even just to look at the approach so we had a better idea how to climb it or cross safely.

For the briefing generally, occasionally a team member wouldn't pay full attention and do the wrong thing but the rest of the team would catch them, because they all knew, not just the team leader.

Likewise, contingencies really mattered. Several times things didn't go as planned when we did a road crossing, or split the team and we had to fall back two or three levels in the plan. I was bad at remembering to set ERPs, but did it enough the rest of the team would remind me, or set them also.

Near the end, when I was killed, and it was a road crossing splitting the team, even though I had the map and orders, they had been briefed enough on plans and objectives they could complete the mission successfully from memory and their notes.

Sustain — Consistency — We only had a few tactics we used, over and over. So even though this is an ad hoc team, by the end of TD2 we were doing things like road crossings really well, hardly without talking about it. Note that for a badly outnumbered force the last action went pretty damned well because we'd discussed that it so many times and done so many road crossings without enemy, we were ready.

When changes were needed, I kept the same principle: for example, we had a plan to move into a sort of abandoned town area, as two parallel two man teams. Instead of a single ERP we run to on contact, for reasons of terrain and threat unknowns we decided the team with no contact would set in place on action by the other, acting as "the ERP" and once the contact team fell back to link up we'd all depart that direction (or make new plans as the situation dictated). Different, but in principle the team to make contact has the same immediate actions.

Sustain — Stop a lot — Sure, we moved slowly, but we could and were not discovered because we stopped all the time. Often, rucks off. Often, after only 100 m of movement. If it's up a steep hill after running across a road, and there's a good hide, take more time to rest before the next bit. Similarly, we took listening halts when there was enemy activity or other high risks as often as every 20 meters!

Sustain — Have contingencies, every time — Radios fail, the enemy gets a say. One plan is never enough. Have contingencies. We set ERPs, discussed alternatives when that wasn't likely to work, had meeting points and time hacks when we sent another team away or ahead to scout, and more.

For the radio retrieval this was critical. We got to the end of the contingencies before we re-connected. But the first two plans sure did fail us.

Improve — Be ready to change your mind — When we got trapped in the corner on TD2, then it was raining so much we had to hide under the shelter, the plan I made was to wait for dark to sneak out. But then everyone started getting cold and wet and it was 3 hours till EENT so I decided that we'd risk a day movement. It worked, and there were good, defensible reasons to try it (wx visibility, no enemy activity for 2 hours, looking again, better concealment to the move) but primarily I was happy I didn't get stuck, then or other times, in sticking to the first plan but was ready to re-evaluate and find a better solution.

IMPROVE because it took me too long to do this. I should not have spent two hours in the insufficient shelter before deciding that was dumb.

And even for our ad hoc team, I was The Leader so people didn't challenge my plans too much. You need to recognize that cultural issues can make that hard, and unless you challenge yourself or implement format CRM (et al) processes to get everyone's affirmative input, things can get lost in a spiral of completion bias.

Sustain — Safety first — It's a training event. The weather halt was the right choice, and no one briefed afterwards (enemy, training field owner, etc) seems to have thought it was even an option to stay out there.

Even if a real-world operation, we considered finding a shelter to break into, and might have been able to find an old school bus or chicken coop given a little more walking around; it wouldn't have been as good as the heated building, but better than a tarp alone. It would be risky, but keeping everyone healthy and operationally ready is critical.

Sustain — Composite Navigation — Basically what should always happen, but we really nailed it this time. Used map, compass, terrain association, pace count, GPS, and even an LRF. Never got lost. Most GPS was having the one team member with a wrist mounted unit say when we got to a phase line, then we'd turn to a new azimuth. Easy, and follows the old methods of distributing tasks to everyone very well.

I mostly used the wrist compass, since we had backup methods. Only pulled the MC1 to sight on a handful of things, mostly for intel gathering purposes (plotting locations) instead of navigation. The LRF combined nicely with this so I could avoid guessing or triangulating and just take an azimuth and distance, then move. Did that for the enemy vehicle sighting.

Only issue was one team member (don't ask why) used to the combloc style of map reading, did northing/easting so one time thought my coordinates were gibberish for a few minutes.

Improve — Pre-Deployment Checklist / PCI — We've slacked off on this, and people don't pay attention anyway so the first we see of most gear is in the field.

Normally, this works out. But for Ardea, with this weather, we got to the ends of our gear limits. Half the team probably would have been fine, but the other half had gear deficiencies, and team equipment (shelters) were not as good or prevalent as they needed to be. So, we got cold and wet and that wasn't going to work.

Sustain — Footwear / socks — Danner TFX, smartwool I think. Totally comfy and dry (the T3 pants really helped here also I think) even though 100% of the rest of the team complained of their feet hurting, and most/all had wet feet.

Sustain — ICS fly — Really handy in the sudden rain, very waterproof, etc. Good size for up to 3, 4 is pushing it so think about that in future.

Tried later to put up a large tarp and it was a lot to handle, seemed about to be damaged by pulling out at grommets. One mini shelter per two people seems like the right speed and separate conversations reveal this to be known. Hmm... almost like the old shelter-half concept was onto something!

Improve — Cords for tying up fly in rain — Change to prepack cord lengths... add in more clips, and tie on the aluminum toggles so most can be wrapped around stakes/branches with zero tying. Cuts off critical time when wet, snowy, freezing, windy.

Improve — Gloves/Mittens — Wore out the OR Aerators (email out to OR for warranty no less), soaked through others. I suspect that despite the weight I just need to use the Canadian gloves as they have been pretty good, are purportedly Gore Tex, try them the next time it is pouring and see how it goes.

If not, THEN I'll be looking to buy something else.

Improve — Radios should glow — I stuck a glowstick to the ground for overnight but add GITD tape to front and back would be better.

Improve — Radio Pouch — Want to make one which is why I didn't get on the group buy for them. Just have no radios in stock... sometime, get one from Brett.

Pack mounting worked great, so assume that in future. Consider other things to make that easier like... front opening as option to remove more easily?

Sustain — Food and snack — Carried zero mil issue rations, just consumer heat-and-eat, one Bullet Meal (a compressed meal bar of meat and beans and stuff from... europe somewhere), consumer oatmeal, and a made up couscous and stuff meal as a backup. Oh, and plenty of appropriate engery snacks in proper sizes. Worked great. Plenty of energy, no crashes, very little package waste etc. Everyone eating MREs was jealous of my food choices, ease of opening, lack of surprises, etc.

Sustain — Water — I had the heaviest pack, but plenty was water and... I packed right. One of the team went black on day 2, and we had to administratively resupply him, topped off others. Without that, everyone else would have gone black dawn of day 3. Except me. I had a slight surplus at ENDEX, and that's even using some for cooking, heating, which if I was worried about I could have harvested since it is boiled for a long time and yes, I still carried tablets.

This is also an IMPROVE for the Pre-Deployment side. Everyone take as much water as me.

Sustain — Meal heating — OneSource bags again freaked everyone out. A larger MRE heater that works basically. So good that I heated others' food in mine since it has spare heat. Never have had one fail to heat, and they have all the advantages of size, weight, no smoke, safety, etc. that MRE heaters have. Suggested! But...

Improve — Meal Heating - Purchasing — I'll be damned if I can buy another set of the OneSource bags. Company was always sketchy and seems to have maybe disappeared? Luckily, some others exist, but may have to try to find some of them.

Improve — Water heating— Triox is sometimes disappointing, sometimes hard to find, transport, etc. so I tried the Dragon Fuel tabs. Some oddities, not least that they left a rather horrible residue which did dissolve in water, but took a dishwasher to clean out fully. Not very good for the field. So... working on that.

Sustain — Sleeping pad, quilt — Brilliant, not at all cold. Works so well I have no need to do my oiginal plan of getting a better one sometime. But do need to remember to replace every few years, inspect for loft, etc. Steven
Improve Bivy Currently using the USMC one and the size/weight works well, top opening only meshes with the sleeping blanket system but... it's smaller than the rest of my system, so I can stretch into the bivy and have no loft in the blanket and get a cold spot. LW camping bivy I own is so crunchy it's hard to not wake myself up in it. So, need to search out a new bivy sometime. Steven

Sustain — T3 pants — Kneepads, skidding down hills, warm/cool, waterproof for an hour in driving rain, etc.
About as thorn proof as I can hope for. I ended up with a dozen horrible cancer patient blisters between kneepads and boots, but never had to stop to pull thorns out of my pants as with most others.

Improve — T3 pants — Keepers thick, bite on day 3 of ruck belt over them. Need to look into mods. I worry just removing them will ruin the adjusters.

Sustain — French jacket —As with the pants, great fabric, hides well, good temp control, good thorn control (maybe better as no throrny welts on upper body) and generally a useful shape. Too bad it's some weird commercial clone that is sorta Felin, sorta UCP, so I'll never find it again. Thinking of getting a T4 jacket as another on the patrol had one, seemed delighted with it.

Sustain — Holster/UBL — The Wilderness belt, UBL, and ALS holster worked flawlessly. No undue interference with the ruck, no discomfort. At night or in the one shelter when huddled up, the QLS was lovely as I just popped the pistol off. When the MG went down, I quickly drew and fired the pistol, with no problem despite days of rain, mud, dust, etc.

Sustain — Sleepwear — Got a real good sleep shirt and these lovely off-white German army Dryfire long johns that are both just a little too loose for convenient wear hiking around, but compress to nothing and are also super warm, give me another 10° of comfort, at least, so are gonna be part of my permanent sleep system. Thinking I'll bag them, attach to the actual sleep system so I never forget to pack them in future.

Improve — Power Management — The phone worked great for tracking and position finding, but needs power and doesn't take AAs. My plan was a small battery (about 1 full charge of the phone) and a solar panel. On TD1 this worked fine, but on TD 2 it was SO overcast the solar wouldn't charge the entire day, and I nearly ran out of power. I guess... need to carry 2-3 days of power in battery? Not sure.

Improve — Solar Panel Attachment — Securely attached, but not convenient to get things in and out of the pack. For all day hikes, sure, but our pace was different, so we stopped a lot, needed equipment, changed layers, etc. Took too much to detach, flop over. Need different method.

Sustain — Always bring cough drops

Improve — Pack organization — The way I had my DG16 organized was comfortable, un-rattly and... really hard to get to things in the field. I need an external pocket for small doodads. Ideally, some big flat zippered pouch so I can get to my GridIt and use that as I am used to. This weekend, things were rather spread out, or some were hard to get to so I kinda had to take apart the pack to get to things too much. Not awful, just not optimal.

Improve — Pack comfort/fit/security — CLOSE, and in the field we poked at it and got it better, but the DG16 has some issues of fit for me still. And also, one waist belt strap let go. Not broken, put it right back, nice that all attachments are tool-less, but also annoying it can come apart. Now adding to my mental checklist not just is nothing tangled, but is everything attached, before donning.

Improve — New Camelbak valves etc — As before, never seen a leak from a CB or Source bladder but I did have a number of drips and oddities from some, mostly before I left home so I used a different bladder. But when I thought about it, I realized that it's just me being old: some of this hardware is over 10 years old, has over 100 days in the field (maybe much more) so... who is surprised they start getting worn out. Just adding to the list to buy replacements.

Improve — Better MG sling — I have a rash on my neck. My arms hurt (and nothing else) from this weekend because an MG on a ruck sucks. What is the hot shit for padded MG slings these days? BFG?

Optionally: do not carry an MG on this sort of work.

Sustain — Pack cover — Sustain, but only as improved in the field. New UL pack cover fully fell off several times. Cord lock useless, so ended up knotting it. Worked then, will leave like that. It also is waterproof enough, so very happy with it. If you want one, I'll suggest the eBay store because they simply do not answer email.

Sustain — Warlord — Got one of these, mated to a TT X harness (took some sewing). It's old school, but about as good a solution as I deserve for this sort of work. Likely will keep for admin purposes, but may use as heavy recon/commander as well.

A few silly bits, but primary issue is that you cannot really get into it from anything like prone. So not good for plotting or note taking when in really sneaky OPs, etc. Real good on the move, sitting in campsites, etc. though.

And, excellent with a ruck as it's a chest only item so no interference wrapping around the sides.

Sustain — Stuffing sleep system — I have stuffed most things for years, but somehow never tried to stuff a self-inflating pad before. It worked great. Much better than how silly I looked in the video trying to get everything in and out of that pocket.

Improve — Better MG Batteries — Ugh, airsoft. It's so airsofty. Batteries ran dry halfway through. Need to have someone help me learn more about it and replace the batteries with something better.

Improve — Better MG Generally — Ugh, airsoft. It's so airsofty. Some bits fell off it twice. It's all repairable, even in the field, but SO AIRSOFT. Need to wire tie it or something so things don't fall off in the field.

Improve — Better Smoke — Almost ordered some Patriot smokes today but it's $36 HAZMAT FEE! Which is fine for cases but the cost of another grenade when buying a handful. It's a lot of money. Need to set up a group buy or something maybe when the CM-20 (mini smokes) show up.

Anyway, the ones I had were plastic and put out good smoke but it took a hot minute to get the pin out and during this I broke off the plastic spoon!

Improve — Better Grenades — Safe simulation systems means one step better than papier mache. So, after a few days in the rain, and going prone and stuff, several would not fire or simply fell apart in the pou. Several of us therefore never threw one. Are there less cardboardy ones?

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Get to Swift Fox 19

Swift Fox 19 will be held at D-Day Adventure Park, near Wyandotte, Oklahoma. An address suitable for mapping and car nav systems is:

D-Day Adventure Park
66800 E 175 Rd
Wyandotte, OK 74370

Google, and most online mapping systems, tend to take you slightly twisty, dark, dangerous, and dumb ways. Sometimes, across things like low crossings that may even be flooded and impassable. So instead, attached and discussed here is the suggested route. 

Here's where the park is relative to the local highways. The best Kansas City route comes down OK-137, through the small Twin Bridges State Park:

Note the south end of the State Park is quite twisty and steep, so if driving a large vehicle, slow down. It's entirely passable in all vehicles, but do take it slower. 

Once you get past the State Park, the easiest way to get to the field is to turn south off US-60 onto OK-10. Take the first left (it's a little ways down there) onto E 160 Road. Turn right across a bridge briefly onto N 670 Road, then left onto E 166 Road, till it dead ends. Turn right (onto Cayuga Road) and look for the large sign indicating D-Day Adventure Park to the right. 

Once on site, we'll all be checking in at the same location, probably in a large shed next to the D-Day Cafe. Check the map, but you won't be able to miss us. 

Signs will be posted for parking, but we aren't going to separate each army's parking and camping. Once checked in, we will load up in slightly separate locations, so please do not go into your opponent's assembly area after check in. 

Try to park in neat rows, and look carefully at where you have parked. Make sure you aren't blocking others in, or restricting access to buildings, equipment or for other vehicles such as tractors or trucks. Do not block garages, or roadways. Some of these not only will be used by the field staff, but may even be needed for our game so you will slow things down. 

There are large parking areas available if you have an oversized vehicle or need to unload a trailer. Do not try to bring it into the labeled parking area, but use the space to the south, in front of the check in building. There is RV camping, so do not run down the hookups when turning a large trailer. Ask if you need assistance or instructions. 

You are free to camp overnight Thursday. Tents will be to the east of the entry road, in the mowed area with fire rings. If you are bringing an RV, contact us to arrange parking and hookups with the field owner. 

Try to keep quiet during camping, or overnight arrivals. Many people will be resting from long drives, and we all need to get up real early to get ready. 

We are all camping together. We'll slightly separate the two teams around check in time, but until then you can mix. Team Leaders, be sure to keep any secret equipment, and discussions of plans, callsigns, etc. to yourselves. 

Please make sure campfires, are only in existing fire rings (there are a few in the camping area) and be sure to put them out fully before you go to sleep. Take your tents down in the morning, and stow them and any other equipment you are not bringing in your vehicles to avoid damage from animals, weather, or just theft. Pick up all your trash, and place it in dumpsters or stow it in your vehicles for after the event as well.

There are many buildings, vehicles and other equipment on site. Don't mess with any of it unless we tell you specifically that you may. 

Also, do not explore outside this area, and especially do not go wandering off onto the field, as parts may be actively used for off-roading, paintball, or live fire shooting until our event starts. 

You may download a print-friendly version of the maps above at: http://centralwar.com/downloads/EventDocs/DDAP%20-%20Field%20Directions%20-%202019.pdf

Monday, March 18, 2019

Vehicle Smoke

In the vehicle post a few days ago we mentioned the need for a steel can so you can deploy marking smoke for damaged or destroyed vehicles. That's new, and everyone should know why, when they see a smoking vehicle.

We will issue both black and white smoke grenades to each vehicle. Stow them somewhere safe, where they won't get wet, crushed, or overheated.

Depending on the damage to the vehicle in the Vehicle Hit Effects book, you will deploy one of them to indicate what happened. White smoke will indicate damage, and looks like a small electrical fire or a major coolant leak, especially since during repair the hood should be raised.

Black smoke indicates a kill, and looks like the vehicle is on fire.

This is all about improving the war gaming simulation. Smoke drifting across the battlefield always helps with the realism, but it also allows everyone to tell at a glance the status of the vehicle.

A teammate seeing the smoke at a distance knows something happened and whether it is a kill or not. They can tell if they should rush over to help, or everyone is dead and they need to take other actions.

Attackers can see the results of their work, and know if they need to move in to finish the job or not.

The red flag is still used, from the time the vehicle is hit, right through to when the vehicle is resurrected.

Placement of the smoke based on wind etc can change how it looks up close - but at a distance is not that big a concern - the idea is that there is smoke pouring from the vehicle somewhere.

But it can make it look cooler if placed just right ;-)

One caution on placement: make sure that the outlet to the smoke is not pointing at any part of the vehicle. It can get hot so cause damage, so avoid mechanical components, antennas, plastic, and glass especially. It also will eject powdered smoke particles which can permanently stain a small area of the vehicle.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Vehicles at CWG Events

We usually provide a few vehicles for CWG events, and encourage participants to bring their own as well. But, only if appropriate, safe, and used correctly. 

Vehicles are supplied or permitted at CWG events based on the mission and terrain. Sometimes the mission for that event does not require vehicles or the location and terrain make vehicles mostly useless. At Swift Fox 19, for example, the Ardeans are performing a very low profile long range patrol; vehicles would not fit this mission at all. 

Unlike our uniforms, weapons, or many other pieces of equipment, there are many options for vehicle types, makes, and models. CWG core events always use two fictional third world armies. In the real world, countries with this degree of funding do not buy large quantities of modern vehicles, and do not replace them regularly. 

Therefore, almost any military vehicle, and many civilian vehicles, may be encountered. As long as the vehicle is serviceable, complete, safe, and fits the mission profile. Age doesn't even matter, as there are real-world armies using World War II vintage vehicles today. 

Civilian or commercial vehicles may also be used, but must again fit the mission profile. Usually, only 4x4—off-road capable—utility vehicles, trucks, or pickup trucks are usable. 

Vehicles Are What They Are

Vehicles will not be simulated or modified; plywood and green paint on a van does not make it a tank.

All vehicles will be as they actually are and may not purport to be something else. If you drive a pickup truck, regardless of what color you paint it, it will not be an armored vehicle unless it actually is armored.

Armored or uparmored versions of vehicles must carry actual plate of some sort to get the effect of the armor. Armor is only effective over the covered area; open top vehicles, opened hatches and vision ports will be unarmored areas, just like they would be in reality.

At Least Four Wheels and a Seat

At this time, no quad bikes, ATVs or motorcycles may be used. This is due to the higher risk of injury when using such vehicles; we do not have a driver certification program, so cannot guarantee you are a good driver, or have a method of assuring who is driving any vehicle. 

Off road only utility vehicles with seats, like the Gator, are generally permitted. 

Bringing Your Own Vehicle

If you want to use your vehicle for a CWG event, first please contact us to discuss. We want to make sure it meets all requirements, and is integrated into the event plan, before you spend the time and effort to bring it down. 

Also keep in mind that items used in the field are not quite yours personally. The vehicles will be assets to be used by your side. This does not mean we will force you to let others drive, but that you will be tasked as needed for the event, so must carry out missions, and accept cargo or troops to be carried. It is not just a free for all, four-wheeling event. 

Your vehicle may be critical to some operations. If you are killed, busy, or simply tired, it would be good if it could be used anyway. Consider training others such as friends you come with in how it works, so you can permit them to use it as well. 

Your vehicle may be shot by BBs, foam rockets, or other inert projectiles such as chalk TAG rounds. While everybody works to keep the potential damage low, things do happen. Dents to body panels, and radiators are common. We can advise on methods to protect the most delicate items, but minor damage is likely to occur, 

Likewise, the terrain at many CWG events is rough so the vehicle needs to be able to handle that. It should not get stuck, or break due to driving over rocks. Often, branches intrude upon trails, so will scratch the sides of the vehicles a well. 

If your vehicle has limits over what terrain it can safely cover, be sure to discuss that with us, and your chain of command, so it can be assigned for only missions it can perform successfully. 

You will need to apply the magnets provided by CWG to allow identification of your vehicle. They must stay on the entire time, and cannot be removed to pretend to be an enemy vehicle or to remove yourself from the action. 

CWG will provide on field refuel. There is no need for you to bring many fuel cans, or drive into town to refuel. We will determine your vehicle's needs when you discuss with us.

Be prepared in the event your vehicle manages to break down enough it cannot be driven home. If you drive the vehicle to the event, have contingency plans for friends to take you home, for example. The event field can store vehicles for a long time, so it's permitted—and safe—to leave it for later repair or recovery on the field. 

Marking Vehicles

Just like all military equipment, our vehicles are clearly marked to indicate their nationality and unit. We provide temporary markings you can apply and remove easily. 

The main markings will be national insignia. These generally go on the doors on each side. vehicles without doors can make other arrangements, such as the hood or a side panel next to the door. 

If you vehicle is not an obviously military vehicle, it may be badged as a Frontier Police vehicle. This is not always the case but is a likely one depending on the mission and event. 

Solid color vehicles are strongly preferred, and the magnets are all currently set up for white vehicles. Ideally, other marks such as 4x4 stickers are removed or obscured. 

For these types of vehicles you may also have full color national flags, whether or not also marked as Frontier Police.

Finally as seen in the above we have vehicle numbers as well as magnets. These provide a unique vehicle ID, but can also be used to cover up other insignia or badges, in case you vehicle has something specifically not applicable to the event, such as other unit markings, or flags.

We also have some blank magnet panels if you have even more markings to cover.  

Your vehicle should have all normal safety equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, and some tools to help extract from being stuck. To indicate hits, you also must have a red flag, and a can to hold smoke grenades. 

CWG will supply the black and white smoke grenades, as well as a vehicle kill booklet indicating when to use them. 

The can is to ensure that the smoke grenade does not cause a fire on the ground nor damage the vehicles. It may be secured to your vehicle, or can be removable (such as by magnet) but it will need to be able to attach to your vehicle when deploying the smoke.

If you have any other questions on vehicle use at CWG events, please don't hesitate to contact us. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Updating My LBE

Brett recently wrote about a custom chest rig he had made by Kennedy Nylon Designs, and has done some additional changes to it:

I had mentioned that I would be getting a pouch made for my map case specifically.

I also had some improvements I wanted based on my needs.

First, I realized that the mag retention was not my favorite so I looked at options and settled on the
Esstac kydex inserts (5.56) (7.62).

I had KND make me new mag pouches that were open on the bottom, with Velcro inside to retain the inserts. The 5.56 ones were made in 2-mag pairs instead of 3, to allow me to adjust my setup more.

Finally I wanted to use the remaining space in the rig for some pull out pouches, so I had KND make some pouches with Velcro to fit a couple pouches I wanted to use.

And here is how things look all put together with 5.56 mags. I have it set up where 4 mags are on my
left side and 2 more right of center. For me this works best since I am right handed so grab mags with
my left hand to reload.

The new pull out pouches go on right side behind the mags.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Kennedy Rig — Brett Conklin

Sometimes you just have to get something made, as nothing off the shelf meets all your needs or wants.

I have used the 2-piece MAV from Tactical Tailor and it filled most of that list—but there were a few things lacking. I was using the center adapter and X-harness. and then finding various pouches I needed. It mostly ended up being mag pouches, which took a lot of the real estate on the MAV body itself.

More recently I got a S.O.Tech MACHS, a special operations medical setup of their longstanding Hellcat, as reviewed by Steven a few years back. This got rid of some of the issues of space and adaptability, as it provided for internal mag pouches. The front is then blank MOLLE, giving me more real estate for any other pouches. However it only worked for 5.56 mags. In addition, the center closure was not great, with velcro and snaps. When full of mags it pulled open easily.

Steven has modified his to solve some of these issues, but by the time I considered that level of modification, I decided I'd be better off just having exactly what I wanted made instead.

I had been watching the rigs made by Kennedy Nylon Designs, so contacted him and we worked through my needs, and the details of what that would involve. I wanted to stick to the front-opening chest rig like the S.O.Tech or 2-piece MAV, but with my add-on PALS over the attachment to loose no real estate.

And he delivered!

The whole rig is made with 1000 denier Cordura in ranger green, reinforced and with binding tape at all seams and edges. The shoulder harness is padded, with mesh lining and two channels of PALs as well as elastic between each row, to attach small items and route radio cables, hydro tubes, and so on.

The belt essentially extends all the way around, with a three-row PALS panel at the back. The belt and harness are held on with a six-point harness, much as the British PLCE. While there are a lot of them, all adjustments are set up for me to be able to adjust while wearing the rig, and I don't have any extra triglides or other retainers to lock the settings down.

I am still deciding what to do with the upper and lower back panels. I may attach a small hydro carrier and buttpack, but since I wear an assault pack a lot, this may not be needed, and may get in the way.
The pack wears higher than this for real. 

I also was interested in keeping the internal mag pouches as on the S.O.Tech, but wanted to be able to carry all mag types. He built this with an interchangeable system. You can put in inserts—three per side for 5.56 guns, 2 per side for 7.62. They don't fit too snugly in the slots, so you can choose how high to wear them, and how close to the centerline, trading security and comfort for ease of access.

The 5.56 pouches are pretty roomy, so can also hold AK mags as well. The 7.62 mag pouches are also not too tight, and work with FAL, G3, and M14 mags. 

G3 mags, set lower to our left, higher on the right

FAL mags with magpuls, with the pouches set lower to our left, and higher on the right.

The front has a velcro-secured two channel PALs panel. Open that up and there are G-hooks to hold the two sides together. Much less distance than side-release clips, much like the First Spear Tubes, and other such solutions gaining traction now.

The PRC-126/128 is our CWG issue comms and pouches for those are not great. Most you can find are for ALICE gear, and while the later model USGI pouches that came with the RACK system are not terrible, they are not great. They have a simple top flap that makes it not super convenient to pass the cords or antennas, and you have to pop the lid to check or change channel or volume.

So, I also had him make a PRC-126/128 radio pouch with more modern features. It's open topped, and has plenty of room for top attachments to pass through.

Yes, we may be getting more of these made so tell us if you want to buy one for yourself. 

I have the rig set up with pistol holster on the right side now, but that can easily be swapped with a general purpose admin pouch, or likely a SAW pouch, like our beloved but hard-to-find Spec-Ops X6 as shown here.

Starting at the center and working around to my right I wear: a compass pouch, general purpose pouch, pistol holster, and canteen.

As I said above, the back panel is empty right now.

Resuming on my left side, there's the radio pouch, admin pouch, and finally a pouch to carry my map case.  I will be continuing to work with KND to have a purpose built pouch to replace that one shortly also.


So I now have a single rig that can fill most of the roles I need it to instead of having several rigs and doubling up on some gear, or swapping equipment from one rig to another as missions change.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Battle of Westerplatte, 1 - 7 Sept 1939

I have recently found that Amazon Prime Video has a huge selection of obscure (to me at least) foreign war movies. Most interesting, is that many of them are from the other side of the Iron Curtain, things we couldn't see when they were first shown.

Some are awful, but some are fun, and others are classics. Today I want to talk about Westerplatte (1967). There's also a 2013 Polish movie on the same topic, but it's too angsty, too full of flashbacks, and uses bad 3D effects.

But the older film is wonderful. Guns are authentic to my eye as they are both Polish productions, and interesting to see as different from the usual US (or non-gun/airsoft gun). IMFDB page on it. They seem mostly properly employed. Lots of fussing with MGs to load them, to make sure they are moved to the best position all the time, re-water them!

People are yelled at to fire only short bursts. They even low crawl very properly. 
The film even went to the level of making not everyone a hero. People broke after days under fire, or just decided they didn’t want to fight until an officer all but threatens to shoot them. Maybe worthy of the Mindset Quote thread (translated) is a day 3 discussion in the local HQ by the officers:
We talk about surrendering, while our men only worry if they have enough ammunition. Well, gentlemen, we have enough ammunition.

The battle itself is super interesting for reasons that are perfectly relevant today. The political situation was horrid. They were on a weird little bit of only nominally Polish land, with both land and sea on all sides from what was supposedly an open city. 
Danzig was supposedly not really part of Poland or Germany, and had a police force but no army, but the Germans effectively occupied it, in a great example of peacekeepers not doing their job before the Canadians led the UN to generally figure out how to do this. Here's a close up of the Westerplatte peninsula. Danzig (modern day Gdansk) is mostly to the west. 
This strongly misrepresents what a fortification consisted of, but is an easy to read simplified plan:
The League of Nations nominally enforced Danzig being open, but it was entirely toothless. And, too beholden to avoiding war at all costs, so appeasing and backing off, as we all learned didn't work very well in the end against the Nazis, or the Empire of Japan. 
I am reminded of the UN mission to Rwanda doing nothing, and the French having to come and rescue all the Westerners, but leaving everyone else behind to die. Compare to Operation Unicorn, where French peacekeepers counter attacked and destroyed the entire Ivorian Air Force for an attack. Last year, UN withdrew from a peaceful Cote d'Ivoire; enforcing peace with force can totally work. 
German Photo-reconnaissance from 1936 clearly showing many of the buildings
The garrison on the peninsula was restricted in size, and from having significant weapons, or fortifications. All because of a desire to not make the Nazis angry, and give them an excuse to attack. Of course we know now that lacking that, the Germans just made up an excuse when it was time to attack. The Polish Army even reinforced for a few weeks shortly before this, but had to withdraw under international pressure. 
And to add to the awfulness, despite sea access and being in sight of Poland, it’s actually entirely cut off from friendly territory. Everything goes through the Open City of Danzig, which rapidly became  effectively enemy territory. Not only is there no way to fall back, but supplies are restricted even during the build up. 
Another photo-reconnaissance shot from 1936 showing where the New Barracks is situated (by the black arrow) and also showing the old ammunition bunker on the lower far right of the photo with the Old Barracks and Officers Casino about the half way mark on the extreme right of the photo whilst the Red Wall can be seen running the length of the photo.
Even the movie hits on this well. That logistics and the whole tail matters. The medical section complaining their supplies are held up in customs is just another dumb administrative thing to deal with before the war starts. But once the shooting is on, it means all your casualties stay that way, or die, because there’s not even enough dressings, much less antibiotics, surgical tools, or enough staff.
The same for backup radios and commo wire; from the first day they had to use runners to talk to outposts, are risking guys running more wire. And for most of the time they cannot talk to higher at all so cannot get clarified orders or more intelligence. Or, how to feed people once the kitchen is blown up because you expected that the big fort would be bomb proof. And a thousand other things that sap the ability of your men to fight.
Generally, it’s a good example of how individual bravery and the man with a rifle will do a hell of a lot, but artillery, air attack, and machine guns will often win out. The newsreel footage in the older film didn’t match at all, but I didn't mind as it as jaw dropping. Every gun on an battleship firing on the island at a range of about 150 m (really) is, even in grainy film, a sight to behold.
Above is a painting, but I like it.
The whole movie is also on YouTube for free, just start at the beginning instead of from this clip where the bombardment is. 
I cannot imagine sticking it out in the face of that.  And no one expected they would. The tiny, determined garrison was actually planned, at the national level, to only last 12 hours, and that was considered nuts, as it was up from a pre-no-reserves estimate of maybe 6 hours. If I haven't outlined enough horrible things they had to overcome then try this last add on for the tactical situation: The whole island isn't theirs. There's a wall down the middle, and Nazi soldiers on the other side. 
Another aerial photo from 1936, clearly showing the Red wall running the length of the 
Harbour Canal and the Old Barracks in the extreme right of the picture edge
And not a fortification. A wall. like what you might separate your back yard from your neighbors. Here is it after the battle. Yup, it's about one layer of brick, and some wire on top.  
A German posing for a shot by the ruins of the Red Wall
And yet, they lasted an entire week under those conditions. Imagine if they had even twice the manpower, better fortifications, and a dozen mountain guns to wheel around and blast the Germans with?

I bring this up not just to celebrate some really solid heroism, but because horrible situations happen, at small scales and large, for unimportant battles and key moments in history, all the time. 
CWG events, and training, tend to focus on getting the basics right. Not just teaching and letting you exercise small unit tactics, or using fewer and unencrypted radios, or how to navigate with a compass. No, while we are happy to teach those, more important than knowing any one skill is understanding principles. 
With those, you can react to loss of material, loss of mannpower, loss of communications. You can change and adapt to the situation, instead of waiting for direction from on higher, failing to take action because there's no fire support or air support, or just sitting there clueless while you wait for the Blue Force Tracker to get fixed. 

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