Central War Gaming Blog

Central War Gaming Blog


Monday, August 22, 2016

Rental Night Vision

You've heard us talk about how CWG field exercises should challenge you, and how we expect you all to be able to live and fight 24 hours a day.

Well we don't just demand that, but are trying to help empower you to do it. After some issues with suppliers, we've managed to line up rental night vision, and one somewhat cheap IR laser aimer. You can see what we have and lay down the money to rent it here:

We'll add more details in the coming day as we get it (though I'll have to wait till I get home to get photos of the laser), but feel free to ask any questions.

This is a great deal because we've managed to get the rental NODs cheaper than usual, and also because support will be on site. It's not a deal where we get them mailed in, and hope it's all good. Instead, you will be handed the NOD, any mounting you need, and a helmet if you don't have one, right there from the big, waterproof box. If problems come up, you'll get help right away.

Even better, we'll provide you free training. If you show up on Thursday evening we will:

  • Issue out the NODs to you then
  • Briefly lecture on how they work, what they do and do not do, and how to keep them safe
  • Help you get them set up with your helmet, head and eyes
  • And do a bit of training in the dark woods so you can get used to it

It won't take too long, so you'll still get a chance to sleep before the exercise. We'll work out the exact times as a group once we see who is renting and when you expect to be arriving.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Take Care of Your Ounce...

Many of us already know the phrase you take care of the ounces, they will take care of the pounds. 

The principle being that it's easy to add a feature, or capability, so hard to loose pounds in your rig, ruck or rifle. But if you make good small choices, they add up. Carry that sensitive item in a small plastic box, not a big metal one. Or a small padded nylon case. A couple ounces, but you make a few more of those choices and you have lost a pound. 

And nothing makes you appreciate loosing a few pounds like carrying it up a mountainside, or having to carry it for two weeks straight. Done both, and it's still a hard lesson to retain. Many joes and boots and probbies don't get a chance to test themselves enough, or consider the occasional ruck run a rare, training-only occurrence so it's hard to drive the point home. 

Well today while walking I found this on the ground: 

A one ounce weight from... something. And you know what? It's heavy. We rarely get to see an ounce as a single hunk of steel. It's hard to tell the difference between 22 and 23 oz, or to get the impression that an oz of fabric weighs anything. But an oz of steel in your hand is a lot. Who wants that?

So, I think this is a good object lesson. I still carry my P38 on my keychain, not so much to open cans as to remind myself I can always open a can, and don't have to starve. 

Now I think I am going to carry this around as well. I encourage you to think about the same, or make your friends and co-workers (if relevant) try this. Get an ounce (a fishing weight, whatever) and take care of it. Carry it in your pocket for a week, and see how much more you think about the weight of items when you next pack your bag, or put stuff on your belt, pack or LBE before work. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Another development in the Kitoy Armed Forces Modernization Plan (KAFMP)

Kitoy doesn't get a lot of attention in my posts basically because we never see them do very much. While they are fighting a pretty regular internal conflict with their neighbor, they have basically zero expeditionary capability so we don't include them in our roundups of the small nations in Afghanistan or for any regional peacekeeping efforts.

But they are fun to watch for equipment at least, as they are trying to implement a modernization program. As I covered in a blog post from January, the Kitoy Armed Forces Modernization Plan (KAFMP) is ambitious-sounding, but being implemented in a very non-linear and almost haphazard way.

This week yet another stage in the KAFMP seems to follow in that same 'pattern' of implementation.

Those of us monitoring the status of forces in the region took notice as the KAFMP issued their calls for submissions for a new uniform for KAF a few years ago. Nothing much seemed to come of it, and a short time later a draft RFP for the Individual Load Bearing Vest (ILBV) was released, again with little tangible results.

As it was clear that the ILBV should be OD Green it was thought that for sure the uniforms of the KAF would not change.

But that seems to not be true. In the background, the "Kitoy National Testing Authority" (a sort of standards setting body for the country) conducted extensive tests, down-selecting from an initial 17 camouflage patterns to four finalists for presentation to the Kitoy Chief of Staff.

And now we hear only days after hearing about the last four, that the KAF will move to the MultiCam pattern. Naturally, there are questions about that choice.

A review of the test results shows that of the four finalists MultiCam was not the highest scoring in the trials.

Pencott GreenZone proved to be the best in the Central Grafsten Highlands as well as good to superior performance in all environments save urban. Given that KAF almost entirely fights in the Central Grafsten Highlands, this seems the most important environment.

While the MultiCam did prove sufficient in all environments it was not the best in the main environment that KAF are engaged.

While OD green was not a stellar performer either — given the limited funding the KAF has — continuing to use what has been working for some time now and instead using the money spent on the new uniforms on the ILBV or upgrading existing vehicular assets seems more productive. One can take note that in the presentation slides we have access to, the idea that OD green shows wear and dirt more and is less suitable for the spit and polish of garrison. This appears to be a injection of a command structure worried about appearance over function.

The KTDC-3 is an interesting development which we simply cannot find enough about. It's a home-grown pattern, and apparently the third revision of something else we've never seen.

While it excelled on the Coastal Plains its proprietary design and all the costs associated with that makes one wonder why it was even considered, much less how it made it into the final down-select. It is pretty easy to speculate that there might have been some personal interests in keeping it in the race.

I chatted with some of my local contacts, and it seems that the only actual fabric production in Kitoy is based on some indigenous pattern; they sell the fabric to Albania for use in traditional wear, I am told. But ethnic weaving is not high precision printing on synthetic fabrics.

Coupled with regular issues getting any gear or uniform at all locally sewn, it is unclear how that would have been able to be a viable option. One can presume there were plans to outsource the production, or maybe they expected to build the industry in Kitoy. We may never know.

But back to what we do know, and that's MultiCam. So why was the decision for MultiCam? A student of the KAF can clearly see that they want to be seen as a truly modern military. OD green is not in vogue in the First World Armies. MultiCam and its variants have taken the place of the old Woodland as the sign of a "modern fighting force."

This combined with the veritable glut of surplus uniforms and equipment in the pattern — it is a small army, so cheaper is better — must have driven the Command and Political Leaders to choose MultiCam. This may prove to be a wise choice in the long run, but only time will tell.

Initial responses from the KAF gleaned from social media and some friends in the area indicate a lukewarm reception. While some Kitoi Soldiers welcome the more modern approach, some (especially among the veterans) seem to be reluctant to accept the change from their "greens."

What is clear is that the KAFMP is moving forward, however herky-jerky it may appear. We'll have to keep an eye on them in the future.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Kitoy Armed Forces Adopt Crye® Multicam™

Today the Secretary of State for Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Kitoy Armed Forces and a cadre of other military and civilian officials announced the next phase in the KAF Modernization Plan. After extensive testing by the Kitoy National Testing Authority, the KAF will be transitioning from the OD Green utility uniform clothing for all troops to Crye® MultiCam™.
As you can see, this portion of the program is apparently only for the uniform, as the KAF handouts demonstrating the look have OD Green insignia, brassards, web gear and helmet covers. Since the KAFMP has bought new tactical vests and other gear in OD green recently, we suspect these components will not be transitioning to a new pattern any time soon.

An update to the CAFR with complete details is promised to be forthcoming, but a summary notice or rules was released at the announcement.

KAFMP Phase 6A - Individual Camouflage Pattern

  1. Starting 1 October 2016, Crye® MultiCam™will be issued and is authorized for wear in place of the OD Green battle dress uniform. 
  2. OD Green uniforms may be retained and worn by individuals until the wear out date 31 October 2018. 
  3. During the transition period, members of the KAF may wear either uniform at their discretion. 
  4. Uniform components may not be mixed. E.g. OD pants may not be worn with MultiCam blouses. Soft hats must also match, but helmet covers may be of any authorized pattern regardless of the uniform worn. 
  5. Unit and base commanders have no authority to require individuals within their purview to wear either of the two authorized uniforms during the transition period. Units will necessarily not present a uniform appearance during the transition period. 
  6. During operations where armor, tactical vests or other items cover a large portion of the torso, the Combat Shirt is authorized for use in place of the uniform blouse. 
  7. There is no wear out date for outerwear at this time. OD green cold and wet weather gear is permitted regardless of uniform color and pattern being worn. 
  8. Individuals may purchase uniforms or uniform components that meet KAFMP requirements. US-issue OEFCP, OCP, and Scorpion W2, UK-issue MTP, Polish-issue Suez, and others with the same basic pattern and color scheme are permitted. Crye MultiCam Tropic, Arid, Alpine and Black variants are expressly not permitted. 
  9. Uniforms for personnel in specialist roles or tasks are unchanged and will be updated as needed, required, and technically possible at a future date. 
  10. This message has been authorized by the CoS, KAF. 
  11. The DCoS, KAF is the proponent of wear and appearance of uniforms by KAF personnel and will incorporate the guidance in this message into the Code of Armed Forced Regulations by 1 September 2016. 
  12. This guidance message expires 31 October 2018. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Recommendations to the Kitoy Chief of Staff

Last week, the Kitoy Conclave of Generals concluded their annual meeting, and as usual provided a series of recommendations to the Chief of Staff in front of the press and other interested observers at a public session in Cyaiga on Friday.

Among the most expensive recommendations presented to the CoS are:
  • Increased availability of on-base healthcare for dependents and their families
  • Funding article 21 of the NAFA, mandating day care for all dependent children
  • Cease acquisition of the YPR-765 after 31 vehicles are acquired (expected in early 2017), and urgently explore options for vehicles capable of self-deploying across Kitoy, in all seasons
  • Reluctantly continue upgrading transport vehicles with the request that a single type of drivetrain and single fuel type be acquired fleet-wide whenever possible
  • Fully funding the block 6B acquisition of night fighting equipment, to include 3 aircraft thermal stabilized cameras, 11 armored vehicle mounted thermal imagers, 57 night vision weapon sights and 121 individual night vision pocketscopes with Steiner laser dots
  • Come to a decision on KAFMP uniform and equipment, and begin acquisition by 3Q16
A copy of a KMoD presentation was attached to the recommendations that outlined the KAFMP (Kitoy Armed Forces Modernization Plan) camouflage downselection.

The Conclave specifically indicated that upgrades to individual equipment have been promised for four years now, and that it is impeding the ability to use other new and expensive equipment such as rifles and sensors. 

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