MilSim Mania – Op Darkwater – Team Bolshevik Anniversary Event Report
THE BEGINNING …
A good few months back Rob from Voodoo invited myself to attend an upcoming event at UCAP. Naturally, I jumped at the chance but knew very little other than they would be participating.
As the months rolled by, more information and game brief revealed the ‘Team Bolshevik‘ – (possibly, if not the only, largest UK Russian Airsoft and Reenactment team) would be celebrating their second anniversary with this 36 Hr MilSim weekender, Operation Dark Water.
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING …
Bolshevik currently number at around 90 + ‘comrades’.
Before I proceed, undoubtedly a fine reenactment group, who happily partake in the MilSim community. It must be said, due credit given, so superb is their gears and kit, I truly lent to the ‘suspension of disbelief’.
Helmets, body armor, weaponry and superb tactics and SOP’s not only gave a realistic impression of fighting the might of Mother Russia, but what it would be like to fight a large military company.
So, the months rolled by, and excitement and anticipation slowly built to fever pitch as more and more intelligence and game brief emerged.
BEHIND THE LINES …
I along with my good friend and colleague Jon, alongside TF Voodoo, Spear, RCT 13 (USMC Reenactment team) would descend on the The Sandpit for 36 Hrs of immersive ‘Plastic Deth‘ (MilSim).
Here, we were to:
Destroy RUSFOR Anti Air Defences within 36 hours.
Withdraw to avoid RUSFOR re-enforcements if mission parameters are not met within the allotted time.
Obtain intelligence on defending RUSFOR in the AO.
Conduct observation posts and recognizance patrols.
Conduct search and destroy operations
Retrieve Parachute – dropped supplies to facilitate current operations.
Use Para dropped explosive and detonator to destroy RUSFOR AA
Avoid or clear through mine fields.
Intelligence on Russian forces is limited. However we believe they are using the dismounted SA-13 Teller Missile System as part of there air defence. The positions of these Missile Systems is unknown as they are likely concealed.
RUSFOR on the ground are known as The Bear company, comprising of:
Mechanized infantry. 50-60 men with Heavy machine guns and light mortars, mounted on BMP’s
A troop of BRDM scout cars
The nearest RUSFOR re-enforcements are the battalion strength 20th Guards.
ZERO HOUR …
So, game day arrived, preceded by the ever capable Rob Voodoo’s planning, administration and logistical support, I’d arranged an over night stay at Elite Action Games Surrey site, utilizing their safe zone to prep and check gear, as well as zero and fettle with blasters to ensure a technical hassle free weekend.
I’d not personally met any of Voodoo, Spear, or RCT13. This proved to be an ideal ice breaker and pre event warm up, and undoubtedly already firm friendships have subsequently been strengthened even more so.
Departing on mass, as a convoy we set off, only stopping for a morale inducing hearty breakfast, and of course the obligatory coffee we arrived at 08:00 Hrs, and ‘jock’d’ up into our gears ready for Infil.
By 09:00 Hrs we had established our initial forward operating point, serving as our interim LUP (Laying Up Point).
Rob, acting as overall group command had equally assigned a small group of UK/US SF in three groups Delta one, two and three, supported our RCT13 Marines …
Almost immediately Delta Three, upon setting out across The Sandpit’s expansive plateau made immediate contact with RUSFOR LRRP’s, we as tasked
were sent forth to support and provide flanking cover, despite one or two casualties sustained, the opposition was quickly and swiftly overcome, allow V3 to proceed to it objective.
11:30 Hrs, after providing over watch to prevent flanking of the other two call signs exploration, recon of areas of interest saw us return to our LUP for further briefing and tasking. Sent out to explore the heavily flooded North Western shore line, for viability to access under cover the RUSOR’s over watch OP and destroy their communications.
Despite my opposite numbers infectious enthusiasm and sense of adventure, Jon found it an almost impossibility. Amazingly proven wrong later on by the incredibly insane efforts of of another call sign, V3 led by Matt.
13:00 hrs we returned, here Jon and I, separating from members of Team Apex, who formed a larger heavier fire team, with RCT1to support the already engaged call signs who’d located two of the RUSFOR’s heavily guarded Air Defense Systems. This would prove serendipitously fortuitous later on …
Escape and Victory
13:30 Hrs saw Jon, and I stripped of our plate carriers, armor and day sacks, carrying only sufficient munitions to ‘bug out’ in the event of contact.
Jon’s protest, at my decision in favor of speed rather than stealth to use the track along the vast gully surrounding the plateau proved to be grimly prophetic. On turning the bend to observe The Sandpit’s FOB brought us face to face with a lone Russian sentry manning a check point. Sending him dashing for cover with a volley of automatic fire we sprinted back along the track. Jon wisely sought cover up the steep verge. Hidden amongst the foliage we sat silently shrouded amongst the shadow of the overhead canopy as we watched RUSFOR troops sweep the track and it surrounds. We patiently waited, as unrelenting pursuers continuously swept the area in hope of capturing us. Technicals and even the BMP arrived delivering more troops, adamant on finding us, whilst we fled across the plateau in heavily held enemy occupied territory. We made it safely back just in time to see the impossible attempted …
At 18:00 Hrs, the return of one of the other call signs, Team Apex and RCT13 fresh from destroying not one but two Air to Air installations. It’s been speculated, that our misadventures coincided with their assault and provided sufficient distraction, as troops gave pursuit leaving both locations lightly manned to allow for their destruction. The loss of not one, but two strategically held assets freed the area from any strategic relevance, and thus opened up the fortified FOB on the eastern hill empty for capture …
Watching The Impossible
Whilst we all gathered at the LUP, setting up Basha’s and preparing an evening meal in anticipation of a night under the stars, and subsequent night operations we observed our third call sign assault the Radar position. Somehow, with determination and fortitude they’d braved the swamps and sunken corner of the expanse behind the North Western shores ridge line and swiftly assault the RUSFOR’s communication out post.
As we observed reinforcements swell from the industrial area to protect this asset, we called over via radio, as spotted enemy movements to our now beleaguered team mates, to no avail as they were embroiled in a heavy firefight exchanging small arms fire and grenades as they desperately Exfil’d across the hillside. It was incredible to watch unfold, but this unsuccessful attempt was by no means our last.
It was at around this juncture the winds picked up and our LUP was swept with rain. Soaked through whilst we sheltered from the elements we ate, naturally, I enjoyed a hearty MRE, Chili Macaroni Cheese, all washed down with my beverage of choice, hot coffee.
Speed March-INSIDE KNOWLEDGEOur local indigenous ‘friend’ Pete D, suspected CIA operative, or possibly Russian usurper offered to Exfil the majority of the TF to the now abandoned FOB. The truck was soon full of our wet, hungry and weary invaders and, as such, more stupidity as much true grit and determination, I and my call sign decided to ‘ruck’ our 85 ILb’s of gear and blasters on foot, just short of 3k.
Now in the relative warm, and dry I was able to police my gear, reload spent magazines and change in to dry gear in advent of the rapidly descending darkness. Here the RUSFOR had the advantage of superior numbers, vehicles during day light. At night we had the upper hand, over 2/3rds of us had Night Vision. Cloaked under darkness we could strike out against their defensive positions unseen and unobserved. The element of surprise was ours.
Between 21:00 Hrs and 00:00 Hrs the TF took time to get much need sleep, food and square away kit admin. I however, at 22:00 Hrs, decided to explore using my extensive local knowledge and the added capability of Night Vision, and in advance of our attack reconnoitre our only path of entry, The Causeway. An undulating and dark shadowy bridle way sitting atop of the reservoirs western facing cliff.
As I set out I was joined by the ever affable Wes, happy to have his amiable company I descended down into the causeway.
SOLDIERS OF GOOD FORTUNE
As I entered, not once but three times I felt something tightly snap at my legs. I realized, they’d set booby traps with wire to initiate grenades strapped to trees. Lady Luck had had smiled on my not once, but thrice, now for warned Wes and I used caution and IR Illuminators to pick up a further seven or so wires, many of which were concealed amongst debris and foliage strewn across the causeway …
These were all dispatched without incident and cleared the area for a larger assault later in the night.
Wes and I approached the crest of the pathway, to meet a very well prepared and perceptive RUSFOR ambush. Despite taking out a few of their number we were repelled back on the causeway, out numbered and out gunned, we’d soon be back and with a little more punch too …
Back at the FOB, now reunited with Jon and the remainder of the TF, the two newly comprised ‘Night Op’s’ call signs had tasked me to lead Mark and Neil’s team, comprising of Wes, Jake and Matt to the industrial area to attack and disrupt the RUSFOR QRF. Whilst Mike took the remainder of his guys, including the ‘Marines‘ of RCT13 and Apex up cardiac hill to finally destroy the Comm’s Station.
We set off at 00:30 Hrs, slowly patrolling the now cleared causeway on mass under the eerie green glow of our ND’s. During daylight this would of been an impasse, but under the cover of night we rolled with impunity. As we neared our mutual departure point, we encountered another enemy emplacement, a captured OpFor WIMIK and more Russian troops. Here, RCT1 in true ‘Marine’ fashion brought to bear their considerable fire power under the advantage of night vision quickly knocking out the vehicle and its support. Spear proceeded on to target, whilst we invaded the industrial complex. Before we did so, a lone Russian officer stumbled across and shot one of our number wounding him, as he proceeded to interrogate him about the where about of us, the remainder of the troop we’d already painted him with our IR pointers before opening up and rescuing our fallen man.
We had become separated from the Matt and Mark, but pressed on, determined to distract the sizable QRF, despite such a late hour, patrolling the surrounds of their base. I put my hand up and admit accidentally startling an unseen sleepy guard, who quickly sprinted off to bring reinforcements.
As all hell broke loose, vehicles with spotlights swept the area, disembarking troops now spooked at the knowledge of an unseen enemy frantically searched their fortress, panicked, wildly shooting and from grenades, smoke and flash bangs as they mistakenly sought our positions. As we evaded their search, the loud report of remote det’s echo’d across the AO. Our distraction had proved successful, happy in this knowledge, feet now sore and aching I headed back to get some much needed rest.
Whilst, I was insufferably in bits, my erstwhile team mates took the opportunity to rack up some well deserved attrition and payback, epitomizing the very tenets of ‘asymmetrical warfare’.
The Battle Wages on …
Day two, I awoke 05:30 Hrs find most of my cohorts, soundly sleeping, having not just long returned before sunrise. I, now rested and somewhat repaired began drying out, re packing and preparing kit over an impromptu breakfast as the sun rose over the horizon.
RUSFOR SF had attempted to retake the FOB at 06:00 hrs in a daring raid, but were swiftly repelled by alert overwatch, supported by Jake, who lept from his cot with his HK and underpants …
I later learned, most of our small force, whilst kindly letting me sleep and rest had already set out before sunrise, hungry for more action and to give the RUSFOR yet more nightmares.
I rejoined the fight at 07:30 hrs, kit now moved ready for EXFIL – I joined our defensive line at the foot of the causeway. We’d surely stirred the hornets nest, and the angry occupiers were on the move, with numbers and muscle the RUSFOR thwarted out attempts to destroy a third and now mobile AA Battery and quickly swept through our lines and up the hill.
Low on numbers, munitions and ordinance, we desperately clung onto our foothold fighting a retreat back to the FOB.
The Last Stand
Tired, hungry, beat up, wet and in some instances injured and with several broken weapons, we proved no match, despite fighting to the last, surrounded by the RUSFOR’s tanks and troops, we were picked off one by one as they poured into the FOB …
wether Exfil, was at this juncture a possibility, our small group of 23 had racked up a considerable number of points on objectives attained, against overwhelming odds and numbers. Despite being a closely drawn affair, and we happy with our success and performance, duly give credit to the RUSFOR on their well deserved victory.
Huge thanks and congratulations to a The Bolsheviks, for the victory and celebrating your second anniversary. For having us along and to share its celebration it in such style. Big thanks to Pete, you truly extended the hand of friendship and worked tirelessly to facilitate us and make feel apart of it all.
To Rob and Voodoo, all your tireless work and preparation truly made this a memorable and flawless event.
Mike Spear, RTC1 and Team Apex, we couldn’t of done it without you, incredible stuff guys, absolutely Lionhearted throughout …
To EAG for hosting our pre op deployment. Made a long weekend a lot more tolerable and a little less insufferable. Very much appreciated.
And to my bro, Jon, for patiently putting up with my grumpy, terse and generally poor attitude and patiently supporting my wild hair brained ideas, thank you – ‘you hate that’ S23
The Bolshevik’s have just released their short play mini documentary which chronologically recounts the events as they unfolded at Op Darkwater – watch it here:
Find out more on the teams in attendance and the site here:
Task Force Voodoo:
Task Force Spear: