This year, like those before it – a handful of milsim enthusiasts gathered at Dday Adventure Park in Wyandotte, Oklahoma to play a military scenario game that is easily the most realistic available in the US at this time. I was slated to be bravo team leader of US Squad 3 prior to the event. I felt nice and comfy with this assignment – I wouldn’t have to wake up early like a squad leader to receive orders and I could hop along caring for my troops with relative ease (and not carry a fricking PRC 77!). My plan was to focus on leading my fireteam and somehow getting a little more sleep than last year!
What actually happened was quite a bit different…
In our story line, nuclear war broke out in full force a week or so before the event began. I found my way back to the 315th RRC (notional) command tent (TOC) around 1300hrs on Friday, March 6 1992. I was the first from my squad to make it, so I filed in with the remnants of 1st and 2nd squad to get the camp in fighting order. We dug trenches, gathered kit and built something of a temporary home. With the level of destruction around us we knew we’d most likely be encamped in this location for a few days so we took the time to do it right.
Throughout that day and into the night, troopers began shuffling into the camp in ones and twos including two from my squad, Hanline and Molner. Hanline, was one of those rare types that couldn’t get everything they wanted from one branch of service and
decided to take the jump to another. Molner had come to us just before “the flash” fresh from boot. It would be trial by fire for him.
The next morning we awoke to the TOC runner calling us in for a briefing. As the only leadership in the tent, I assumed the Squad Leader role and planned a motor recon to be accomplished in parallel with 2nd Squad. Our plan was to support 2nd squad while they conducted a route clearance operation (staking down some barbed wire fences) and then move off to recce our section of the AO. We would take the northern portion since we would be in an M151 mutt which is quite agile and well suited to the narrow roads and steep hills in this area. 2nd squad, in their larger M880 would take the more central portion of the AO that had better, wider roads.
We moved out, stopping at a pair of fences to provide security as planned. Mr. Murphy quickly reared his head, and while we started our mission on time, the fence staking was taking much longer than planned. I conferred with 2nd squad’s squad leader, a Sgt by the name of Ready and we decided to set out on our recce as our route was longer than theirs. Ready decided they would be able to provide their own security for the route clearance, so with that we motored away.
After locating our entrance to the AO (near grid 702, 519), we stopped for a quick map check and to check in with the TOC via radio. We then motored on, finding locked cattle gates blocking our path. Unable to raise the TOC, we returned to our earlier point of contact and were still unable to make contact. I decided that our best bet was to try to link up with 2nd squad and inform the TOC that our infiltration route was blocked (this was a route reconnaissance patrol so a blocked route was considered a priority intelligence requirement and was best sent in to the command element sooner rather than later).
Fortunately for us, Mr. Murphy had struck 2nd squad a second time and they were relatively close to where we’d left them. A tire had blown off their truck and the person in charge of vehicle maintenance had neglected to make sure their spare was good to go before stepping off. After sending in our report via the 2nd squad RTO and correcting the problem with our radio, we set out again to check our routes.
For the next couple hours, we drove all over the northern portion of our AO, noting which routes were passable and by what means (foot, mutt, M880, deuce, etc). We also took pauses at vantage points to look out over the terrain we’d be covering via binoculars whenever possible. Upon completing our route, we began our drive back to base roughly 3 hours before our planned mission end time. We looked forward to a nice meal back in camp and an extended rest period.
However, we ran into 2nd squad again before leaving the AO. It turns out, they had to walk back to camp to get a spare tire and tools, then all the way back to their truck and then fix it which put them hopelessly behind schedule. We decided to help them out and split their section of the AO into east and west portions. Again, we would take the farther out western portion and they would take the east. The plan was to meet up at the south end of the town of Cotbus and move together back to base. What I failed to do was inform the TOC of our new self-given mission and we were very fortunate not to have that bite us in the butt later.
Off we went on our merry little way. We located the scene of a former firefight including several .338 Lapua shells (indicated the presence of British or other Commonwealth forces in the battle) as well as a downed helicopter. On our return leg, near grid 508, 696 we rounded a corner and suddenly right in front of us were two enemy soldiers! They were just sitting around when we pulled up, but quickly scrambled to get away upon making visual contact. We pulled out of there post haste and advised the TOC of our contact.
Searching for an alternate route to our rally point with 2nd squad, we ducked down into a valley and popped up the other side right in the middle of the airport (grid 702, 509). Much to our surprise, we crested the hill and stared directly into the barrels of several C9 Canadian squad automatic rifles! We quickly gave our near recognition sign and winced, ready to be lit up. Fortunately, professional as ever, the Canadian element held their fire and simply stared us down as we pulled into their perimeter.
After setting security, I conferred with my Canadian counterpart and found that 2nd squad was also with them. Apparently, 2nd squad had also made visual contact and the Canadians were scrambled to boost their numbers. 2nd squad had been ordered to pull back to meet up with the Canadians, so we would have been all alone if we had made rendezvous point. All’s well that ends well I suppose. The remainder of the mission was uneventful, we held our little perimeter for awhile and drove back to base.