A couple of weeks ago (08 November 2014) I went along to Airborne Airsoft’s Milsim event called Operation Endurance held at Longmoor FIBUA village. This was the first time playing with Airborne Airsoft so I was a little unsure on how the day would go, but it turned out to be one of the hardest day’s airsoft I’ve had, in fact, I could compare it to any number of exercises I’ve been a part of while serving in the British Army, while at the same time bloody good fun.
Booking for the operation required a pre paid deposit and for you to select which team you would be joining. The designated teams were NATO (good guys, wearing MTP or Multicam), or Jafar side (bad guys, wearing anything but MTP OR Multicam). I joined the Jaffar team as they were lacking in numbers, plus it’s always a little bit more fun playing the baddies as you get to take an unconventional style of tactics into battle. Once you paid your deposit and had chosen your team you were sent log-in details (for Airborne Airsoft’s website) for your teams mission objectives, including maps of the AO. The layout of the missions and briefing area was easy to read and understand and is a great feature as it allows you to prepare for your mission prior to arriving at the airsoft site. Prior to game day the Airborne Airsoft Facebook page was full of banter about the game ahead and this is where one of the organisers announced that the teams were largely unbalanced. Instead of just changing the game play they gave the teams some proposed options. One was to tape everybody up into two coloured teams, this option didn’t go down very well as it can create lots of confusion and Blue on Blue situations. The second option was to keep the teams as they were and just adjust the missions/and or scoring system slightly to account for this. This was the preferred option as it would make identifying your enemy easier. I, foolishly, piped up stating I would rather keep the teams as is as it would be a good challenge, I think I actually used the phrase “it will create a nice target rich environment for us! I would like to apologise now to any of my fellow Jafars who may be reading this!! Others on the Jafar team agreed and the organisers ran with it.
Game day came and just how outnumbered we really were came to light (I’m not entirely sure on the exact numbers but I think we were outnumbered nearly 3 to 1). Despite that, we took the challenge on and headed out to our starting point. Our missions were as follows;
- Primary Mission 1: Set up and establish a FOB to launch patrols from and ammo resupply from. We would be awarded 50 points per hour that we held this position secure.
- Primary Mission 2: From 1200hrs we were to Recce potential NATO checkpoints and pass the information onto our team leader. No attacks were to be launched and each checkpoint located gained us 25 points.
- Primary Mission 3: Destroy enemy checkpoints to gain 50 points. Checkpoints may contain intelligence items which would gain us further points. If we used a Javelin missile to destroy the checkpoint (YES we really did have dummy Javelins), then any intelligence within that checkpoint would be destroyed. We could also used any destroyed checkpoints as a re-spawn, so long as they were not under fire.
- Primary Mission 4: Locate and secure the NATO Stinger cache. 200 points for returning the stinger to our FOB.
- Primary Mission 5: Capture NATO Team Leader. 100 Points for getting to our FOB.
- Primary Mission 6: Locate and destroy NATO comms centre. 100 points.
- Secondary Mission 1: Locate and destroy enemy FOB. 100 points.
A secondary perk that both teams were entitled to involved capturing and securing two old decommissioned tanks on the training area. Capturing these two allowed the team one artillery strike per hour.
We started off by immediately setting up our FOB. After that our team leader put individual teams to work on various tasks and myself and 2 others went hunting for one of the two decommissioned tanks (if your team held both tanks you could call in artillery strikes). Within minutes we had come across a NATO patrol and 6 of us lay still in the trees and bushes hoping they’d pass (we didn’t have the manpower to go toe to toe with them). Unfortunately they got too close and we had to engage which resulted in us taking our first lot of casualties. The rest of the day carried on like this, with no break. Our team managed to locate the tanks and some enemy checkpoints but our progress was slow. We were simply too outnumbered to do anything other than launch small hit and run attacks. Now to us, this was frustrating. We struggled to move anywhere without running into enemy forces. I myself had to double back a few times just to avoid enemy patrols so that I could catch back up with my team after re-spawning. This was actually quite fun, although very hard work. After the game while chatting to some of the NATO team, namely the guys from the Reaper Crew Airsoft team, I learned that our tactics were actually quite effective, causing confusion and frustration at times among the NATO team. We managed to destroy a checkpoint and we launched a successful artillery strike on the NATO FOB killing 15 in one go, but midway through the day the difference in numbers started to take it’s toll. Still, we battled on, and for a large part of the day we were up on points, unfortunately though, the NATO team simply overpowered and out manoeuvred us. At one point the NATO team had such a strong defensive line that it was hard for us to move more than 100 metres away from our re-spawn, and to be honest, their defensive line was as good as any I’ve seen in airsoft and could even be argued as being almost on par with professional soldier standards: hats off to that.
Negatives of the Day
To be honest there aren’t many negatives that I could list here and those that I can think of aren’t worth mentioning for two reasons. Firstly, the only negatives were that of minor things such as communication errors and the like and are no different to the same sort of things you get at any other site, especially when the playing field is so large. Secondly, we were so heavily outnumbered that even the smallest problems had massive implications for our side. To be honest I spent most of the afternoon frustrated, as did other members of the team, but as time has gone by since the event I’ve come to realise that the frustration was just because of how hard the day was for us. I’m also not really used to losing in a military type scenario! Another factor that made things difficult for me was that I wasn’t playing with my usual team mates of Sam and Jack (for those of you that may know them). The guys I did play with, also friends of mine, didn’t have comms either. This made otherwise simple objectives and tactics, that little more difficult, especially when we became separated. For these reasons I can’t fault Airborne Airsoft at all, primarily because it was our decision to take the challenge.
Positives of the Day
Looking back on the day it was a great event and the further time goes by, the more I realise the potential the day had. The marshals and owners from Airborne were great. They kept the play fair, were always approachable, and listened. The atmosphere was friendly and so far as I could tell it wasn’t too intimidating for new players. The game play, although hard for our team, was smooth and there wasn’t any stalling or breaks in play, not as far as I could see anyway. They did lay on a lunch as well, however personally I was so caught up in the day that myself and a few others completely forgot to go and eat, but I did hear that it was good. After the day had finished the directing staff applauded our attempt at taking on the challenge and the NATO team followed suit giving a round of applause. I know, I know, it’s only a round of applause, but it does show how much of a community spirit airsoft can have. War stories were swapped between the teams and I got to catch up with a few guys from the enemy (NATO) team that I knew and it was at this point that a bit of satisfaction started to creep in as they told me how hard we had fought. The results of the day were read out and although we had lost, we had only lost by a little over 200 points, which wasn’t bad considering the team balance. I have to say a job well done to the NATO team as well. Not only did they play well, but they were magnanimous in their victory. Their defence line at times was literally impenetrable, which although frustrating for the Jafar side, was good to see. Just before leaving I had a brief catch up with one of the directors and I raised some minor points with him, giving my take on the day. He acknowledged what was said and we discussed my thoughts, and you can’t really ask for much more than that, so a massive thumbs up for that! Oh and I nearly forgot. They have a Javelin anti tank missile!! Now, our team never got to use ours because those pesky NATO troops destroyed it, but you can use it to knock out buildings, and while it doesn’t actually fire anything, it does make one hell of a bang, in fact, I’d say it was probably louder than a real Javelin system launching! Again, another thumbs up!
Airborne Airsoft ran a great event. Their Milsim series runs throughout the year and their new storyline starts in February 2015 with a slight change of teams. Not only were the intelligence and mission briefings prior to the game laid out well, they were good mission that shouldn’t have been too impossible to achieve had the teams been more balanced and I imagined would have created a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. Even despite being massively outnumbered and having one of the most frustrating days I’ve ever had in airsoft, I’m already planning on signing up for their next Milsim series, in fact, some of the team from this event have already started the team Facebook group, which is something that Airborne Airsoft encourage. Airsoft is a fun sport and at the end of the day, no matter how serious an event is, this should always be considered. The community spirit around Airborne Airsoft is a pretty good indicator of that side and while the event did involve some serious tasks, it was definitely kept fun as well. As I said, I shall definitely be playing with Airborne Airsoft again, and would recommend anyone wanting a Milsim to give them a go.
You can watch some highlights from the day below.
Visit Airborne Airsoft to book onto one of their events at www.Airborne-Airsoft.co.uk