Maladjusted – an interview with A02 & A03 from The Alpha Group
… introductions, always a painful chore to endure – possibly as much as it is for me to write em’ as much as it is for you to read em’ – right ?
Just kidding, I’m sure you’ll bear with me, as I set the scene once again for our latest interview.
Sure I’m prone to hyperbole, and as such I’m an excitable sort who often enthuses over whatever chosen subject matter I’ve chosen to focus upon.
Still, I’m no less proud to introduce you all to these two long standing ‘stalwarts’ and for the better part stoic champions of the ever changing land scape scene here, in the United Kingdom.
I’m sure we’ll clarify the finer points of evolution and metamorphosis into their current incarnation and establish a little more about their mysterious history.
But, before we do so – as one of the interviewees ably and succinctly clarified that ‘ … bear in mind that this team is an amalgamation of a lot of experience over the years and has fused together with the ideals and attitude of previous teams.
We’re not elitist, nor are we the best out there, but we give it our all and conduct ourselves to a very high standard, and we are going to bring something new to the table …’
I think, this in essence serves quite possibly the most honest and true introductions I could wish for, particularly as these are a group I look up, as when I started out, nearly a decade ago – they’d already been cutting around the UK for some time – give a warm welcome to A02 and A03 from Alpha Group.
S23: Hey guys, thanks for taking time out to sit down with us for an interview – and, I know only too well you prefer to eschew the ‘populist’ vote and limelight thrust up teams preferring your in game conduct to speak for itself, but nonetheless I’m proud to get you on here.
So, just to set the scene – how did you both take up ‘Plastic Deth‘ and what can you tell us about the origins of ‘The Alpha Group‘ ?
A02: I played around with Airsoft a few years ago, then the nature of my work at the time meant I had to take an enforced break. Came back into the fold over 3 years ago, when my cousin, A01, and I chatted. As ex forces like he is, we got together on a few games and sub ops and with A03, we banged heads, put some ideas on the table, and here we are in 2017 doing our thing. Collectively, the team as a whole is experienced both in real steel and Airsoft genres going back many a year, and this is constantly evolving and developing as we bring in new ideas, new players to the team, and the training and organisation it takes to get us all out there. The origins of Alpha Group came from Tier 1, who you know, were one of the leaders in the MilSim scene. However, we are in no way resting on the Tier 1 laurels, but getting out there as a separate identity. I’d like to give a shout out to DC Evans from Contact Front who we have collaborated with recently on ideas and past and a few unique endeavours in the pipeline. Watch this space.
A03: On a personal note, I got introduced to the world of airsoft back in 2010 after a chatting with then a mutual friend and a BBQ now a firm brother Kiero who played as part of the Dark Angels. We got chatting BB guns and he told me you could get these things that’s took batteries and sling Plastic Deth like it was going out of fashion. Up until then I had a couple of springers that my dad had got me from the model shop back when I was 13!
Got invited along to some skirmish fun back in the day at the academy in Lewisham run by Andy from FCS and I’m not going to lie the bug hit me.
Straight on from the that rolled out with Kiero and the DA’s at the mall for some CQB action meeting Lex, Mark, Basho Siwa and Usif to name a few and got invited to step into their family over a post-game Nando’s that’s day is still great memory and a honour that opened up a whole new world or Plastic Deth for me. We rocked out as a team at BattleSim and MilSim games run by Town Assault at Sennybridge, Stirling games at Catterick and then hit up some training offered by Tier1 military simulations. This basically took me from a humble unskilled skirmisher to a full blown MilSim crack whore.
I got involved heavily with Tier1 again had the great honour of being asked into their growing family after a memorable weekend attending a low-key sub op. Never has not firing a single round ever been so immersive and of the chain. I’m pretty sure all who attended would say the same. Ed and the rest of the T1 family was an awesome movement to be part of. We pushed boundaries and had a great blend of skills within our ranks from all different backgrounds.
Tier1 exposed me to many different guys and girls from the milsim scene and I got to make many friends from all over the world.
Fast forward to T1 slipping into the shadows for some much-needed R&R and a few of the guys kept hitting games for shits and giggles as well as running some very low key rural and urban training sessions lead by our very own ‘grumpmeister‘ A01 the main man with the knowledge. From this the Alpha Group grew organically with the aim of likeminded guys who all have a great attitudes and mind set hitting games together. Regardless of skills within the team we all strive to improve, put real world tactics into practice where it’s transferable to the event but mainly have a laugh whilst doing it. Serious faces on the field and s**ts and giggles off.
S23: Now, I’ve quietly followed – or was struck by the teams earlier ‘incarnation’ – ironically becoming very good friends with one of its former members through work (o has to put with him daily – laughs) but, seriously it’s evolution into its current long-standing iteration has garnered my interest f’sure. It’s surely a subtle combination of real steel experience and know-how from both the real world and from ‘the field’ through Plastic Deth. What’s the driving ethos behind The Alpha Group?
A02: the ethos has never wavered from our earlier incarnations, and that is having a correct outlook and attitude, marrying that with having a bit of fun, which Airsoft should be at the end of the day.
A03: yeah, we are a right mixed bag of guys. Out of the current 15 lads that are dipping in and out when work/time being in country allows 3 of us started with the DA’s back in the day, 8 off us were heavily involved with T1 and that’s has defiantly helped mould us in our current incarnation as the Alpha Group. As we stand now we have guys with experience from real world operations, both old school and bang up to date operations. We have carpenters, chefs, lighting techs and rail operators amongst our ranks to name just few civilian trades. This balance for military and civilian backgrounds blended with our just crack on and get the job done attitude drives us forward.
S23: Guns and Gear – always a welcome subject amongst our readers. In particular I’ve enjoyed extensive phone conversations with A03 about tweaking and even abstracting philosophies on the traditional load out. In particular, as hard as it has been for me to do so, I’m continually evolving and streamlining gears to produce something functionally practical.
What’s your take on this, what’s the key driving rule which inspires what I see has a healthy blend of UK inspired practicality which serendipitously in form produces something very SF in appearance?
A02: If there’s one thing that I can quite happily say and that is very simply: “Adapt to overcome”. We are constantly tweaking our kit to suit the environment we’re in. Not major tweaks, as all of our essential kit is in the same place (med kits etc) but as a team, we don’t stick to being full Multicam all of the time.
We’re quite happy sticking on a Gorka suit, picking up a PKM and chest rig or going minimal with an AK and the classic football t-shirt and a spare magazine in the trouser pocket. That way, we can hone our skills outside of the normal good guy/bad guy sphere and see it from both sides, and either do the usual recce and doorkicking stuff, or harass and bang a few rounds down before running away, shouting “Aloha Snack Bar!”
A03: I guess the key driving rule within all of us is use what works and gets the job done. Like 02 says we adapt and overcome. It’s not all about Gucci gear and looking cool it’s about getting the job done, although If we look badass doing it then that’s a bonus!
S23: I’m all too aware, from my current and former members – you’ve a can do attitude, regardless of it being training, attending a skirmish to hone and tune those skills or putting them to good use in the field on an extended more immersive MilSim – what essentials do you always keep to hand ?
A02: combat coffee flask! Always had one from my real steel days. Morale boosting snacks are always secreted in a pocket, along with a notepad and a pencil.
As far as kit goes, we are pretty much squared away with what we use on a personal basis, and we have quite a lot of kit in our stores that we can dip in and out of. With regards to any milsim we do, we always double check who has what and where, and spread that load evenly amongst those team members present.
A03: combat coffee and combat crack (biltong/jerky) is my own personal little moral boaster. As for gear the one thing that always comes with me on MilSim weekenders is my softie jacket Cheap as chips from eBay, warm, lightweight and just works.
Good boots and a good Bergen is essential as well. As you know I love gear and am always tinkering to get the best setup for whatever environment I’m playing in. I think we are all the same.
For the most part, we all seem to RRV type chest rig setups or webbing for rural and stripped back armour carriers for urban ops seem to be the guys choices.
As for camo, well that’s depending on role and environment. Although our current go to camo has become Multicam Tropic based on the fact that at the beginning we were hitting a lot of rural games and rural training.
S23: Recently A02 reached out to us, and kindly cheered on the positive attitude the blog has towards all genres of Plastic Deth – as well as our enthusiasm for the more immersive side of Airsoft ‘MilSim‘ – what is perhaps missed by perhaps more recent entrants to the MilSim community and Airsoft perhaps in general?
A02: And I’ll stick with what I said, all the kit and holier than thou attitude will not get you anywhere, either in Airsoft or in real life. At the end of the day, if you want to wear x, and use y, go for it. I’d rather see a player enjoying themselves, than worry that they don’t fit in, so wear and use what feels right. Too many barriers are being erected by so called “experts” and personalities, some of which are definitely all the gear no idea, and that in itself is degrading the whole ethos of what this concept of a sport is.
Remember, we all turn up to a Skirmish or a MilSim and fire BB’s at each other then go home at the end of the day.
A03: I echo what 02 is saying, it’s all about getting everyone involved regardless of background or plastic death preference. At the end of the day it does not matter if you are playing high end MilSim of quick ball skirmish we are all grown ass boys and girls playing Cowboys and Indians.
The pastime has always had undertones of elitism and snobbery to some extent but for the most part I love the fact you can rock up to most events and have some good banter get your gun off and finish your experience with a smile on your face.
S23: The Alpha Group draws upon a broad collective of individuals, who not only have a wealth of experience both from the real world, individually and just as invaluable – from years of playing Airsoft – be ‘Plastic Deth‘ or MilSim. What does this give the team, in terms of capability, and as team who clearly all read from the same page, what are your expectations, personally and attitude towards what you want to draw from an event?
A02: That’s a good question. I think that it’s because of our collective understanding and capabilities, that we can go into an event and just get on with it, and usually with the least fuss, whether it be slow recce or full on doorkicking. On that note, we are not out there as a just “The Alpha Group” and we have teamed up with some superb teams out there, such as TF Spear, Gray Fox and our Dutch cousins from The Orange Element to get fully immersed into the event and “crack on!”
A03: As a team, we are just as happy not firing a shot and getting the objectives done. And happy to spend the time working hard to not be seen.
But once it’s time to lay the smack down, we are all in balls deep. 0-100mph at the drop of a hat if the situation dictates it.
Violence of action and winning the fire fight is important but so is also knowing when and which fights to pick.
S23: We’ve seen some huge changes to the scene here in the UK – event organizers have come and gone, some even are possibly due to return …
Some have stoically weathered, at best, the tempestuous storm – such as Stirling and we’ve some exciting new comers recently arriving. But, after all this time what keeps you going, coming back for more and as enthused about it all?
A02: Having a great bunch of lads around me, who are able and willing to put that extra mile in, with a cheeky bit of banter and love for the sport is what does it for me, and its essential to keep those spirits up.
A03: I love the Immersive nature and challenge of hard, wet tiring milsim events taking me outside my comfort zone and pushing me to dig deep and solider on. Which is about as far away from my day job as possible.
A lot of enjoyment for me goes hand in hand with the lads you roll out with at any given event.
The banter, piss taking and down time with the lads at all events help bond you as a team, galvanise your resolve to get the job done and not let your buddy’s down.
S23: Before we part out with trade mark question, we’ve not put this out to interviewees for a while – any particular stories or tales or ‘derring do’ you care to share, I know you’ve attended and partook in some particularly stunning events, often in inclement weather or austere conditions to say the least?
A02: Far too many to mention, but one of my favourite fun moments was during a weekend at STANTA. Myself and A04 were in a rural hide, doing what we do best (no, not sleeping!) when we had a contact happen right on our heads between the OpFor and the local police. they were so close, that when one on the police died and lay down, he was almost lying on him! A couple of hours later, when it was getting dark, I had to leave the hide to go to a prearranged dead letter box position to collect an item we needed.
After crawling there and lying up there for a few minutes, as it was a fairly risky thing to do, I was very surprised when an opfor patrol walked over me, and I mean over me! Walked on my back, arm and my L119a1 without noticing. And that is the power of a decent well prepped ghillie suit kids! Oh how I laughed after! Not real laughs as it would have given our position away, but I wrote it down for A04 after.
A03: crikey there have been some awesome moments over my time in the sport. We are still building up as the Alpha Group slowly with some great mini ops under our belts but I think I’ve got to hark back to maybe my T1 days for some of the most amazing experience to date.
Getting lifted at a cheeky sub up was as strange as it sounds a stand out moment for me. Being put through the mill by the OpFor and mentally tested to my limits during interrogations really got my juices flowing.
Wendigo 2 Arctic OP with some of the finest guys I know was also a different level of challenge. 48hrs of proper hard graft followed by the reward of BBQ, beers, hot tubs and ice plunges in frozen lakes takes a lot of beating.
S23: … Really appreciate you taking the time out to talk, obligatory last question I always like to ask (kind of a trademark), I’m a fan of 30 Rounds per mag, what’s your thoughts on this – could you see this perhaps bringing something new and fresh to game play if embraced by the masses?
A02: 30 round mags all the way for me. It feels natural to me, and keeps that mind eye on ammo conservation. It also develops the team as a whole, in terms of how we fire and manoeuvre, without getting bogged down in endless firefights. It’s a sight to behold haha!
A03: Love me a low/real cap and for MilSim that’s what I run for the most part. It forces you to think about your targets and if you need to engage head on or suppress and flank. We do love a bit of flanking action.
Normally up the ammo count for a Sunday skirmish but keep the combat maracas behind. That’s what we have A04 and his LMG’s for.
… Life is Good – A02 & A03
Huge thanks to A02 & A03 from the Alpha Group, keep up with their exploits right here – S23
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