After Action Report for the events of 29 August 2009.
Exercise Name: Operation Blind Fury 6
Duration: 1000 - 1800
Exercise Date: 29 August 2009
Type of Exercise: Military Simulation (MilSim)
Location: Springfield, OH
Ive attached this map so that the uninitiated wont be completely lost.
A - Airfield
1-5 - Artillery pieces
B - Browntown
R - Refinery
E - Emerald City
C - Comm Dish
The Staging Area
Ill start our story not at the beginning, but a little ways in to spare you (the reader) any of the droll details surrounding the preparation and drive up. We got to the hotel in Springfield at around 10 (thats pm). We checked in and decided we would like some sort of sustenance in our stomachs so we made for the nearby Arby's. Upon our entrance into the establishment we found it was staffed by a paltry three people who had just mopped the entirety of the entrance way. The manager let us know this fact several times. She was a very outspoken black woman with the fruit of her amorous entwine inside her (I tried hard to get that one on there Richard). By the time we left, though, I think we had made ourselves a new friend in Springfield. We made our way back to the hotel and commenced the chore of getting our gear together. This is the part of the story where everything will be, regrettably, about me and my experience rather than the group simply because the group is much to large to tell everyones story. Too large for me to even know everyones story.
My gear was (mostly) the way I wanted it. I had to lose a mic for a radio to Brad who would be our Communications guy, but other than that I got to hold on to everything. I had 8 magazines on my person with no room for anymore. Loading those was my last priority, as it always is. I started loading pouches, utility and otherwise, with as much food as possible. The menu for the day would be peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, and whatever else Jeff made me eat (more on that later). I loaded my mags and put them in the proper place. I was to be Prevett's go-to guy out in the field and he mine so I carried extra ammo for the both of us. At that point my gear was ready, loaded with food and ammunition, what more could I need? When everyone else had everything loaded and ready to go we headed to bed. It was around 1 at this point and we had to be up and out the door by 6:15. Yes you read that right 'we had to be up and out the door by 6:15'.
I awoke the following morning having gotten a far-from-adequate 4 hours of sleep. I stumbled around for a few minutes before getting dressed. We took all our gear down to the cars, loaded it in, and left for the field. Its about a 15 minute drive from where we stayed and we were there in no time. We werent the first ones this time like we have been in previous years. From what I had read, recon teams (for both sides) were supposed to be deployed at 7 am. They opened the gate at around 6:30 and we pulled in only to have to stop and wait for another 15 minutes. They then opened a second gate which we moved inches toward only to have to stop and wait for another 20 minutes. The people in charge of the even started coming down the line making sure we had everything we needed: death ropes, waivers, etc. Then we waited for another 30 minutes. Finally, after almost an hour of sitting in the car on a gravel drive, we were admitted to the field and found ourselves a place to park. I always like the hour or so before the event starts. Its a wonderful opportunity to people watch. I would be writing for days if I described some of the people / things I saw. Regardless, I had to get my gear on, get my gun ready and head over to the chrono station. They have to chrono our guns every year to see how fast theyre shooting. Automatic weapons (like most of ours) can only shoot at a maximum velocity of 450 fps. The debate on the max fps for single shot rifles still rages to this day, while bolt action rifles are allowed to shoot well over 500. Mine chrono'd at a reasonable 290 - 300 so I wasnt completely ashamed. Safety goggles on, we made our way down the hill to the 'airfield'. A quick aside about the safety goggles. Youre supposed to wear goggles that 'fully seal' to protect you from stray BBs flying willy-nilly around your head. The only problem with the fully-sealing goggles is they have this terrible tendency to fog up at the most inopportune times (i.e. every second of the day) so, I carried a pair of shooting glasses down to the field with me in my pocket. As soon as I got to the airfield I took those monstrosities off my face and threw on my shooting glasses and, wouldnt you know it, they didnt fog a single time that day.
The Battle of Browntown
With our team (all 170 of us) assembled at the airfield we were given our initial orders. Our first objective would be to defend Browntown. Browntown is a small clump of buildings just inside the woods east of the airfield. One platoon (or maybe squad, I cant remember) would stay and defend the airfield while the rest of us would make our way to the town and, hopefully, get there before the enemy did. So we ran. Our Lieutenant (LT) was a rather short little man that liked to curse a lot so, the whole run, I heard him about 100 yards behind me cursing about one thing or another. We finally made it to the treeline and met a little resistance which was quickly dispatched. We forded a creek and pushed into the town. There was fire coming from the woods all around so we dug in. I took up a position at a tree watching the road heading north out of town. There were a few enemies making their way down the road but nothing to get excited about. The bulk if their numbers were still on their way. As more and more of them started to show up they started to hit our flanks. We had people coming from the east and some moving out into the field and were coming around on our west. I moved from my tree and headed into the woods overlooking the field. There were a few of us in the trees and they, apparently, knew we were there because there we shots hitting all around me. The chaos had started to show itself a little bit at this point. Our squad had been separated when we took up positions in the town so hardly any of us knew where the others were. I moved through the trees, under vines and over weeds and came to one of the roads leading in from the field. There I found Prevett, behind a tree, picking people off as they tried to make their way in. It was about that point that I got a call over the radio telling the entire squad to come back to the center of Browntown and hold there.
I ran through the woods, hopped the creek, and made my way to the middle of the town. When I got there I wasnt too excited about what I found. Approximately 80 - 100 of us had made the initial push on the town and, when I got back to the center, there were only about 20 of us left. I saw Richard laying in a makeshift sandbag bunker and he yelled at me and asked me if I needed to load. I, of course, said yes. Over the past several minutes I had shot out almost every one of the mags I was carrying. I ran over to the bunker and hopped in. It was my job to load whatever mags were empty between the two of us while he covered. So load I did. At first it was easy. I only had a few to load and was getting them finished fairly quickly. Then the enemy (we'll call them 'tans' from now on) started to really push on the town. With tans everywhere, Richard had no choice but to shoot anything and everything he could see which meant more empty mags for me to load, all the while I was yelling out enemy positions. Between the incoming fire bouncing off the various wood and metal buildings, Richards gun shooting inches from my head and all the yelling going on Im not exactly sure how we heard it. It didnt sound very close at first, it must have made its way around the field. Then it got louder and we knew it was headed right for us. The enemy (and us since we're being fair) had a 'gunship'. Gunship loosely translated to dude driving a 4 wheeler and a fat guy with a SAW on the back. The thing about the gunships was you couldnt just simply shoot the people driving or riding, you had to use either a 'rocket launcher' or 'grenade launcher' that shot little nerf footballs and hit the 4 wheeler to stop them. Luckily for us we were prepared for just such an occasion as Richard had fixed my (yes my) M203 on the front of his rifle. He sat down next to me, our backs to the north, and we waited. The gunship came down the north road that I was watching earlier. We didnt dare stick our heads up because we didnt feel like getting shot in the face by a fat guy with a SAW so we only had the sound to go on. We heard him getting closer and closer until finally it was time. Richard spun up stuck his gun around the tree (and my face) and pulled the trigger on the M203. It was a direct hit. The look on the driver's face was priceless. He couldnt believe what had just happened. I was still trying to regain my sight and hearing since the shot went off right in front of my face, but I could see and hear enough. The gunship decided he should probably get out of the line of fire so he retreated back to his base. Thats when I realized that, while I had been doing all my loading and battling gunships, we had been completely surrounded.
I didnt know where most of our squad was and I could only see about 15 people from our team still in the town. At some point in the chaos, Richard had been shot and so took over loading duties. The north and south roads seemed to be the most popular means of entry for the tans into Browntown. Richard had just been healed by a medic ('thats what she said' guy) so we took turns covering both directions. I was watching the north and could see a lot in the way of movement headed down the road. Prevett had shown up and needed his magazines loaded (no ammo seemed to be a common theme in Browntown). He used what remaining ammo he had and his scope and watched the north road. Richard loaded like a champ and divided up the full mags to their happy owners. "If you guys pop up now you can kill like 10 people" I heard Prevett say. "Theres no way" I thought, and apparently Richard thought the same thing. We thought we would humor our sharpshooter by swinging our guns up and, sure enough, there were about 10 people not too far down the path headed right toward us. I pulled the trigger and didnt let go. I went through about 4 magazines at this point, putting one in, holding the trigger until it was empty, dropping it and jamming in another one. Im not sure how many we killed, but it was a fair few. When I was on my last mag one of the tans decided it would be a good idea to slowly step out into the middle of the road and stand there. He must not have seen or heard the mass of fire coming from where we were. I pulled up my gun and shot a burst. I followed the BBs as they flew through the air and slowly dropped and hit him directly in the face. I could hear the "GAHH!!" from my position and immediately burst into raucous laughter. I shot out the remainder of the ammo in my gun and went for another mag only to find I didnt have any full ones left. I checked on the guy Id just killed on the path and saw that he was being dragged away by a medic. There was nothing I could do but look at Richard and scream "SHOOT HIM!!" several times, directly at his face. There wasnt a full mag between us and the guy was dragged away and healed. Now is when things started to go bad. We had been surrounded for a long time now and that tends to thin your numbers. I dont know how many of us were left at this point, 10 maybe? We had been moving sandbags around to give us cover where we needed it but at a certain point its inevitable. I cant remember who went first, me or Richard, but we were both eventually shot and Browntown was lost. We threw our red death rags on our heads and made the walk back to the airfield which was still in our control. All in all the 15 or 20 of us held Browntown for an hour and a half with the tans throwing most of their team at us, so it wasnt too sad a walk.