Invasion 5 was my first airsoft game at D Day Adventure Park in Wyondotte, Oklahoma. The D Day AO consists of 1000 acres of large fields, thick woods, steep hills and 2 urban areas. This game also involved trucks and armored personnel carriers, another first for me. Although this was a 2 day long game I would only be able to attend the second day due to prior commitments, but to say that I was excited would have been a gross understatement…
One of the game admins had invited me to be on the Civilian Militia for the duration of the game and I had accepted. As I walked to the field with my unit, I attempted to focus my mind on the mission to come and not on my excitement or nervousness. I was carrying my newly completed custom designate marksman rifle, modeled after the US Navy Special Purpose Rifle. For me this rifle symbolized my latest step into becoming the milsim airsoft player I always wanted to be. No longer would I be a simple rifleman, now I was a specialized operator with high performance equipment.
My squad leader told our unit to spread out among the allied green army forces and prepare to defend the town. I would learn later that the collection of bombed out buildings we were defending was called Caen, and it was one of two large towns on this AO. Knowing that I had superior range, I took up a position just behind the front line on the right flank, hoping to be able to fire across the field of battle and take out targets in the enemy’s center or right flank (roughly 300 feet away).
The attack came all at once. Never before had I seen a head to head battle anywhere near this magnitude. Cargo trucks and armored personnel carriers drove towards us among a serious smoke screen. As the smoke lifted, over a platoon of enemy soldiers were taking up positions to our front. The battle was on. I noticed that the enemy liked to run up behind a certain two story shack and take pot shots at the center of our defensive line. I began taking the enemy out as one after the other rushed up to this position.
All of a sudden, fire erupted on my right side and I was hit. I noticed that a group of tan had closed within yards of our line by using a ravine to avoid detection. They used the top edge of the ravine as cover and caught about 6 of us by surprise dispatching us in several well coordinated bursts.
I fell back to my team’s re-spawn point and joined up with the rest of my unit. According to our mission list, the tan army was supposed to move up the road we were on and attempt to take the next landmark in the AO. As such, we decided to lay a little ambush for them. We set up in a heavily wooded area, about 300 feet off of the road. Our hope was that we would be far enough away from the road that the tan security forces would not notice us. However, their probing patrols strayed much farther from the road than we originally thought and one such patrol walked right up behind us. After noticing we were civilians they tried to coerce us to surrender. Being that I dispatched the individual that was talking with me and fired a quick burst at the man next to him. As he returned fire, I took cover but was hit by the last round in his burst. As I looked around, I noticed that one of the other members in my unit had been hit by the same burst as he had taken up a position directly behind me. Lessons learned? Don’t ever set up in a straight line behind somone else and once you have fire superiority, don’t give it up by taking cover.
My next lesson learned would be a long and brutal one. One of my squad mates and I started off towards the other town on the AO known as Colleville which according to him was “right up this road”, which changed to “right around the next bend” and “I think it’s up that hill”. We ended up being lost for roughly an hour, and finally met up with a platoon of green army soldiers moving to take the airport which is just outside the city limits of Coleville. We moved on the airport en masse and found it already in green hands. We also found some more members of our squad there and joined up for the remainder of the game.
The word was passed down that the green army had the tan army surrounded in the town of Colleville. The green unit we were with was tasked with sweeping into the north part of Colleville to finish the tan team off. After speaking with them, I determined that the area northwest of Colleville had not been closed off and that there was a chance that the tan could pull out of Coleville and retreat en masse in that direction. This had to be stopped. Our squad leader was nowhere to be found so I put our squad in a line formation and we pushed straight towards Coleville, forcing a tan unit to pull back inside the city. I found that if some of us moved while others shot at the tan, we created a continuous wall of fire while continuously advancing. Whether we hit the enemy or not was not of consequence what was more important was that they saw a wall of troops that kept getting closer and they were unable to shoot back. I later learned that this is called fire superiority and that it is one of the most important factors that go into who wins a firefight. Just as we approached the outskirts of the city itself we were informed that the game was over.
Lessons learned? First of all, it is very important to keep your unit together. If I had been with my unit in the first battles, there’s a chance one of them would have seen the bad guys moving up the ravine. Second, positioning and spacing are very important in an ambush. When setting an ambush, your team needs to be on line oriented towards the kill zone. This will prevent shots aimed at one member from striking another. Last, while my extended range served me well it was teamwork that made the difference between success and defeat.