Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog! At the end of March I attended a MilSim Op run by West Midlands Airsoft at Swynnerton MOD base near Leek, Staffs called Operation Breakpoint. In the interest of full disclosure, I do just want to let you know that I work closely with WMA and helped them organise Breakpoint/manage the event on site but I will try to keep this write-up as objective as possible, but here are my thoughts on West Midlands Airsoft's first MilSim style op!

The back story of Op Breakpoint: Towards the end of 2018 Eastern Europe has become increasingly unstable. A little-known Baltic state destabilised and become a focal point of the tensions between both the East and West. Satellite imaginary picked up large amounts of unknown combatants moving into a small town on the south-west border of Russia known as Swynnetza. The Russian Government denies any involvement.

In Feb 2019, credible intelligence emerged that a well-known group of break-away Russian special operations commandos led by rogue Spetsnaz ‘General Chernov’ were responsible for the aggressive ongoing actions in Swynnetza. On the 28th of March 2019, Britain received solid intelligence that a top HVT ‘Abu Ransa’, wanted for manufacturing chemical weapons for terror groups is in Swynnetza and is more than likely assisting General Chernov. The UK requested Russia intervene to minimise tension but refused, leaving Britain to react with support from the American government.

On March 30th 2019 at 10:00 hrs the British and American Special Forces units deployed. At the same time, Russia became aware of this and immediately changed their decision to get involved and called for an emergency UN meeting to request formal authority to deal with the matter themselves. With the town being so close to the Russian border and the local population being predominantly of Russian descent, the UN and local government were expected to accept this offer of help to avoid further friction. The meeting was granted and scheduled for 10:00 hrs on March 31st, with the expectation that a formal document would be signed by the local government authorising Russian troops to cross the border and deal with the matter. 

Knowing if Russia took control of the region it would mean the WMD’s ‘disappear’ forever, and for the first time this century there was a realistic threat of armed conflict arising between East and West if Russian troops come into direct contact with British and American forces operating in the area the Western troops could not still be in the region once the agreement was signed. Whatever the outcome, western Forces would withdraw at 10:00 hrs on the 31st.

As part of the Rebel Militia, I had 24 hrs to cause complete unrest in the region along with my comrades and complete the tasks. Finish manufacturing, arming and distributing the remaining WMD’s, transport the sold munitions from the area, destroy whatever infrastructure we could, and when the time is right to detonate the remaining WMD’s to remove all trace of our presence.

The gates to the camp were opened by WMA at 6pm onwards on the Friday evening (29th) where players were signed in by staff in the safe zone and then given marshal escort to their respective FOB’s. Gates were closed at 10pm, to be opened again the following morning at 6am until 9am allowing players the opportunity to arrive Saturday morning before the event started. With the last players signed in from 9am, the safety brief for both sides was given at 10am. The safety/game brief was comprehensive and reinforced the rule set that was sent out via email to each player before the event - the only rule that had changed was the capture rule (in which as soon as the player was captured they were then back in game, as you can’t interrogate/search a dead body right?) Although there was some confusion over this during the game.

Throughout the game, there were game marshals in each FOB who gave out sealed envelope taskings to each team on the hour throughout the game. Enabling the commanders from both sides to gather forces and direct them accordingly. These taskings ranged from patrols, escorting HVTs and WMDs for the rebels and such.

My character came into play early in the afternoon of the first day of the event, whilst the rebel FOB was under attack, I quickly got stuck in with my rebel comrades and collectively we neutralised the opposition that was in the tree line and road next to our FOB. Whilst we were busy fighting TF a pair of TF saboteurs had infiltrated our FOB by changing their base camo layers. As I was stood within our compound speaking to our commander, ourselves and a few of the command team were shot and killed. Luckily we were surrounded by rebel players and they were neutralised. The TF players were then asked to change into their teams base colours and escorted to their own FOB by a marshal. Attacks went on through the rest of the afternoon, and our rebels were in and out on taskings.

At 4pm on Saturday an envelope was delivered to the Militia FOB with a tasking for Katerina Petrovna. My tasking was to go to building E9 - on the other side of the site to our FOB and control it. I gathered a team of players who are regulars at WMA I knew would absolutely smash it - including Ben, Ivan, Loren and Jimmy & his bunch of mad dogs. We loaded up the main team into the Landrover Discovery and left for the building, we were a team of around 30.

We arrived at the building, with virtually no opposition. When we arrived STAG were already there and in position to defend the building. As we piled into the building, shots were fired from the perimeter and all hell broke loose. We defended the building for almost 30 minutes before TF made it to the doors and shot me. I was then escorted outside.

As I waited on the side of the road (very aware of my bleed out time) I saw a TF soldier driving one of the vans towards me with a huge grin on his face. Just as I uttered ‘you’re not f**cking putting me in that’ I was bundled into the van violently. As soon as I was captured, I was ‘in play’ once more (there has been some fierce discussion online about whether I was in play again or not, but checking with the organisers post-event and watching my GoPro footage through has left no doubts that I was indeed in play) and as I wasn’t searched before being stowed in the van, I took out my pistol and shot the driver twice in the plate carrier telling him ‘you’re dead mate’. This sparked an intense conflict around the van to get me out. I saw TF soldiers walking around the side of the van so I struck an Enola Gaye MK5 and posted it under the broken van doors - killing 3 of them. Hearing the TF commanders voice on the right-hand side of the van I turned around and shot him through the passenger window. I then killed another soldier who opened the doors. I continued this kill streak until I got distracted and a TF soldier put his weapon through the driver window and aimed it at me, at this point I surrendered.

My interrogation was really interesting…I was pulled from the van and then made to stand facing a wall in the TF compound as TF players argued over whether I was Katerina Petrovna. After a few minutes, I told them I was indeed, Katerina. I was then taken to a small interrogation room at the back of the building - where TF then continued to argue over who would be interrogating me, wasting valuable capture time (captives were only allowed to be held for a max of 30 minutes). Whilst they decided who would be interrogating me, I decided that I would test who was in control of the interrogation by sitting down and no one told me not to. The next thing I know, a TF soldier sat next to me and showed me a map of Swynnerton - as I told him I didn’t know anything regarding the locations of the WMDs, another soldier poured cold water down my back. As the first interrogator wasn’t getting anywhere with me, another stepped forward threatening to drop a mag flash next to me - I politely informed him that he wouldn’t be doing that as I had no hearing protection and he would also most likely kill his commander. The first interrogator then returned with a live grenade which he asked me to hold - and of course, I was more than happy to be given a weapon that could kill everyone in the room and keep my intel safe. I heard ‘Kell your time is up’ and with that, I walked out of the TF base with my intel, and alive (because they forgot to kill me). It was a very pleasant interrogation 10/10 would definitely be interviewed again.

Once my interrogation had been completed, I returned to guard house 4, hung up my tactical kit and donned my marshall gear - for the rest of the event I was in the X5 medical vehicle making sure all the players were looking after themselves and dealing with any medical issues that arose with Dave the ranger.

The weekend ended on a high for the rebel side, despite losing the WMD’s to TF in the last hour of gameplay, we won overall with most objectives completed. The final battle involved the vast majority of both sides, in a continuous firefight for near enough an hour, the rebel side had to move two WMD’s to the northeastern side of the map with TF made aware of this movement through received intelligence moved to intercept this movement. 

What went well - overall I was very happy with the morale and cohesion within the Rebel team and FOB, the tasking envelopes gave the game structure and let everyone know what they were doing. The facilities on site were really good, from a fully stocked shop including BBs, pyro, gas, slings and other game day essentials there was also snacks and drinks. JD Airsoft was on site for any players wanting to spend their hard earned cash on more airsoft goodies and there was even a catering tent.

What could be improved – even though the medic rule “chip” system has been successful at previous games held at Swynnerton, I think that there is room for improvement in this area. The current system is a neoprene bag that the medic carries in which a green or a red poker chip is held, obviously, this system very much relies on the honesty of all parties involved and it’s my understanding that some players were not being totally honest when using the medic system. 

From what I understand, TF struggled with reliable command net signal for the duration of the event, which no doubt hampered their ability to quickly and appropriately respond to Intel or enemy movement – despite being provided with radios/comms room by game staff. It was suggested that the TF move their ops room to one of the rooms closer to the outside of the building to minimise any interference (we are now unsure whether the building was lead lined).

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