Team Diablo in detail – an anatomy of a gunfight (an interview with Team Diablo)
Introductions are always tedious affairs, and sitting down with Chris D07 From Team Diablo has essentially negated any unnecessary pre amble, as this guy is highly articulate and more than capable in not only answering questions in no end of detail, but covered my thirst for information so well, following questions were often rendered redundant …
Anyhow, Team Diablo are a long established UK based team who born on the fields of weekend skirmishing evolved into one of the UK’s MilSim mainstays by way of the fondly remembered ‘Wannabe‘ gear forums.
Much like many of their fellow compatriots this is not about accolades, or the pursuit of fame and reputation but rather that the UK’s ‘Airsoft’ community is growing into a rather healthy collective of mutually enthusiastic groups whose goal is to strive for realism and an entirely immersive experience …
This has many facets, and some of those we’ve already explored in this series of interviews, but here we have started to ‘scratch the surface’ of one of the main themes of why we do what we do – The Anatomy of a Gunfight !!!
So with out further delay …
GM75: So to start, a little bit of an introduction – how long of have you been playing Plastic Deth and how did you discover the Airsoft/MilSim community ?
D07: I guess I’ve been playing for coming up to 10 years this year. Sounds mad when I say that out loud!
It was actually Tangman (F22) that got me into Plastic Deth. He was always into gear/kit too and I got the bug from him. Tim and I (D08) we’re playing pretty much every other weekend in Reading at that point.
Then I joined the Wannabe forum and the gear bug really took hold. I remember Tang inviting me to join them in a SEAL photoshoot based on Operation Redwing but I didn’t have all the details like a Norotos mount for my lid for example. After buying that and a few other details, I started to develop a passion for SEAL kits and the details that come along with them. 7 years later I still love it.
When I met the Diablo guys around 2008, I started going to MilSim games at Longmoor and Town Assault weekenders with them and that was me hooked. Of course the nature of MilSim games, only compound the desire for better kit. It’s a very slippery slope that it’s safe to say I fell down pretty hard!
GM75: Now you are part of a team that’s renowned as somewhat a national collective, traversing sites across the length and breadth of the UK – what’s the ethos behind this and how did such reputable team come to be ?
D07: The team was started years ago. Probably around the time I picked up airsoft. It started how most teams start I think; a few good friends enjoying airsoft who then decided to start a team. The MilSim aspect developed over time to the point we’re at now.
Our ethos is centred around having fun. It sounds obvious but everything we do has to be enjoyable otherwise what’s the point. PMA makes a huge difference.
What we really enjoy is CQB/FIBUA at places like Longmoor. Our attitude is “go big or go home” I guess you could say. FIBUA/CQB sites especially, allow us to attack objectives at full tilt which I know is a style of play that we all really love.
As much as we enjoy our regular haunts, we’re also always keen on trying new sites and applying our tactics to a new environment. That means we do travel quite a lot although saying that we’re pretty blessed here in the South East for decent venues. A lot of time and effort has been spent honing and improving our methods of attacking in our aggressive way and making that work in all situations no matter where we are. If something doesn’t work then we’ll discuss why it didn’t and try and make it work next time. We’ve been doing a lot of training recently, although I always seem to miss it due to other commitments, which has really made an impact. We often train with the Cobalt lads and the sessions are organised by Maximus (D06) who’s got a knack for putting this stuff together. We’ve got some training coming up too and I can’t bloody wait!
GM75: So, having fought alongside you at previous events, and thematically this is what I wanted to talk to you about and is echoed in your comments on the team, how does your training assist and contribute to performance when engaging the OpFor, particularly as you excel in an Urban/CQB environment ?
D07: For me, the priority has to be communication. Our training involves a lot of different aspects but communicating effectively is always at the crux of whatever we’re doing. When something doesn’t go as well as we had hoped, so often it’s down to lack of comms.
To give an example, last year we were at one of Ambush’s CQB sites. We were fighting our way through one of the buildings and I decided to sneak round a side corridor to try and take out the OpFor from another angle. It went really well and after taking out the 2 guys that were holed up, I tried to regroup with the team. I must have appeared where the OpFor had been firing from because a certain member of my team, who shall remain nameless, took me out. Initially I was like “Dude what the hell?!?” but then when I thought about it, it was completely my fault. That could have been avoided but I neglected to communicate my position to the team. It was one small thing but I’ve learnt a lot from that personally.
Training together has helped us to develop a lot of new tactics and ideas that we probably wouldn’t have had the time to come up with if we’d just chatted about it during a standard game day. Dedicating time purely for training has a surprisingly strong effect that I would recommend to any team that wants to improve how they play. You might want to make sure you’ve got a Power Point pro in the team though!
Another example would be a little bit of shield training we did a few months ago an hour before a CQB game.
We got hold of a Protech shield at a great price from a close friend of the team so we decided to put it to good used. D08 setup some more training specifically for it which proved super useful. It went so well that at lunch break on the day we were politely asked to put it away, despite us providing the other team with a shield, as it meant the other team were really struggling. Without that training we wouldn’t have been able to use the shield anywhere near as effectively……it bit us in the arse though as we had to stop using it!
GM75: Now, Blue on Blue in our community is often common place and as you correctly A&R’d afterwards its rectifiable and can be ironed out in further training … but to further break down and examine the team ethos what are your tactics and approach to taking down a building, for example what’s the teams dynamic when say approaching an uncleared room or even in the approach to the building itself ?
D07: There’s no better feeling in Plastic Deth than successfully assaulting and clearing a building for me.
In terms of our approach it’s pretty simple really. If we’ve been spotted, then it’s a case of noise and aggression. As a team we all carry loads of bangs so obviously that’s where most of the noise comes from. We make a point of not being static unless there’s no other option. It’s easy to get to a choke point and become static for long without realising. D05 is really good at noticing if that happens and keeping the team moving actually. It’s quite common you see people running in like maniacs and walking back out the door 5 seconds later with their hands in the air. I used to do that to be fair but I have seen the light and have opted to put the head back on the chicken so to speak.
To actually get into the building we’ll put down as much fire as possible on all the visible doors and windows. Fire superiority is a shockingly effective technique that works every time for getting into buildings. Once we’re in it’s a matter of working through the rooms systematically as a team until the floor is clear. The trickiest part is going up stairs to get to the next floor as nine times out of ten that’s where the enemy will be hiding using obscure angles to take out any assaulters coming up. I must admit my gorilla like frame doesn’t lend itself to attacking up stairs and point man is typically taken by D03 or D05. They have been doing it for so long, they really have honed that particular skill to perfection. Once we’re up on the next floor obviously you just repeat the same steps for clearing.
On the other hand, if we’ve reached a building unnoticed then softly softly catchy monkey. If you’ve not been spotted then clearly there’s no point in giving away your advantage. The further into the building we can get without being noticed, the easier the fight is gonna be. Also works out much cheaper on 9mm blanks and ammo!
All of us make good use of our side arms when in building because of the acute angles and lack of space. In most of our videos, if we’re assaulting especially going up stairs, we’ll have transitioned to our glocks/sigs etc.
I love the different techniques surrounding sidearms so I often end up watching Larry “going hot” Vickers vids on YouTube. I watched his video on recreating the famous alleyway scene from Collateral just yesterday which, needless to say, was pretty sick. Looking forward to having a laugh trying it for myself and failing miserably.
I joke about it but I do like trying new techniques. There was a forum discussion recently on the “high-ready” technique for CQB so gave it a try at our last walkon and got on well with it.
The emphasis on our use of sidearms and a need for more compact weaponry led us to start using gas MP7s. I like to think I was the visionary in this team wide spread of gas powered goodness but the others may feel visionary is a touch strong!
I’ve noticed that after using an MP7 for a while, with it’s 40r mag capacity compared to your standard midcap, has definitely forced me to improve my close range shooting. General things like target aquisition time and even accuracy are much better than they were previously. You don’t have as many rounds to put down so you have to be more conservative which in a funny way makes you more precise and notably more effective.
GM75: Interesting to hear you ‘revise’ also real steel tactics and skill sets, muscle memory takes a lot of repetition, naturally seeing you guys in action you can clearly see its paid off …
So, you mention learning from mistakes, what doesn’t work and what’s best practice – is this something you A&R as a team, a mutual debrief as such ?
D07: Yeah nothing formal necessarily but we’re always nattering about what went well and what didn’t work etc. Those kind of discussion points usually cause something to be added to the next training session. “Add that to the PowerPoint!”
It’s more of an ongoing process as opposed to dedicated “debrief” time. For me, I’ve realised that my views on our tactics tend to take a while to form fully. It might take me a week afterwards to think on things before I’ve come up with anything comprehensible to mention……even then, comprehensible is perhaps a bit strong!
GM75: Was there ever a point, or even a turning point whereupon you actively sought out training, or organically started to see what worked, identified strengths and weaknesses on the team and started to build upon that ?
D07: I don’t remember there ever being a specific point. It was something that we had talked about on and off for a while and just kinda evolved. It still is evolving as we speak and will definitely continue to do so.
It’s always been the case that we discussed things after a game and from that, physical training is the next natural step.
GM75: So, only a few months back our teams met a Longmoor, it was undoubtedly a great day further bolstered by the company of Black Scorpions NLD and some of the Team Wannabe guys too … fighting alongside you it was great to see communication, team work and getting jumbled up in stacks taking down buildings seamlessly was a real treat, it would appear we were all on the same page, what was your perception of the day ?
I was so stoked so see so many familiar faces and meet new ones too. The fact that the Black Scorpions came all the way over to Longmoor for the day from the land of clogs was astonishing. That’s what I call commitment and I still can’t get my head round it. We had just shy of a full team turn out, on top of Cobalt, your lot, Black Scorpions plus my mates and a fellow Wannabe admin of old!
That day was great although personally, I prefer less players. If memory serves there was circa 140 people attending which was nuts. If it was up to me, I think a max of 100 people at Longmoor otherwise it runs the risk of turning into plastic flying chaos!
I was having comms issues on the day which was driving me up the wall as I couldn’t communicate with the team fully. That’s hugely frustrating to me but I tried to forget about it and still had a cracking time. It’s cool when you meet up with other like-minded teams, maybe even guys you’ve never played with before, and somehow you just work together really well.
We took a lot of buildings that day one after another after another. I was knackered by the end of it but then I am getting older and greyer now.
No matter what happens during any day though, if you’re surrounded by your mates then it’s always gonna be a good day. It’s just even better when you absolutely smash it!
GM75: Excellent, last question, and a trademark for this series – 30 Rnd mag counts, what’s your take on this, perhaps specifically with CQB in mind ?
D07: For CQB I’m definitely all for it. As I mentioned earlier I’ve been using 40r MP7 mags and even then I tend to change mags with about 10r left and indoors I don’t notice any disadvantage against a hicap or midcap user.
As soon as you go outdoors I don’t think it works as well. Mainly down to people simply not feeling one single shot at range so you might put to put 3 or 4 into them before they realise. That makes 30r mags kinda impractical in my eyes.
It also raises the question of if we do that, should we then restrict ammo caps to what a rifle’s real steel counterpart can actually hold. For example if you have an HK417 should you be limited to 20 rounds? Maybe if you’re under one joule you should be allowed 30? I’m digressing but it’s an interesting point and one that would be great to properly try out properly.
I do think it would improve gameplay a lot at CQB sites but then I can’t imagine the majority of players actually wanting to make this change. There are more and more invite only/private games popping up at the moment and it’s only a matter of time before they start experimenting. I’m all for trying new things in that respect so hopefully some we’ll see this pop up soon.
As the Aussies would say; “Let’s give it a red hot crack mate!”
So there you have it, big thanks to Chris ‘D07‘ for taking the time out to do this – S23
Team Diablo can be found here:
S23 IS PROUDLY SPONSORED BY TOYSOLDIER