This past weekend, and over the coming couple of months, we have / will be making some further improvements to the Velocity Training Center (VTC), Romney, WV. The VTC is constantly evolving, and is a result of planned improvements to infrastructure, and evolution and improvements to the training POI, enabled by improvements in the layout of the ranges.
This past weekend, we dug additional target pits on Tactical Ranges 1 & 2 in order to support enhanced advance to contact / assault through exercises from team (4) up to squad (6 – 9) level. This took the form of:
- Creating an additional four target pits in the area of the first two target pits on Tac Range 1. This has created a simulated enemy position designed for up to a squad level advance to contact / assault through exercise. The way it works is the contact is initiated by the electronic pop-up Ivan targets. The team / squad will react, suppress and bound forwards towards the enemy objective. The pop-ups give feedback on hits and also simulate that the position is being suppressed – because you would not be successful in getting up there by fire and movement, if you could not suppress the position in order to move without casualties. Once the team reaches the launch point (final assault position) for the assault through, the pop-up Ivans drop, and there are manikins in the vicinity of each target pit which represent the actual enemy you were fighting. This target array will most likely be used as part of HEAT 2 classes, on Attack Day, in conjunction with other exercises involving Hasty Attack and Raid.
Below: Target array set up on Tactical Range 1: there are 6 x Ivan pop-up in this photo.
- We also dug in four target pits on Tactical Range 2, making another target array of six including two pits that were already in that spot. This is in the vicinity of and behind the existing target pit next to the old bunker on the edge of the creek bed, and the existing target pit behind that. Those who have done CTT will recall these are the two targets that pop when we are initiating break contact front on the final day of the class. Currently on the final day of CTT we have been conducting a team advance to contact and assault through on stick-in Ivans that are up on ‘Heartbreak Hill’ behind that old bunker position. We are pulling the stick-ins, moving the objective down the hill a little, and using it as a culminating exercise for the HEAT 1 classes. This target array will be 6 x pop-up Ivans along with accompanying manikins.
- Noting the above, we are pulling the stick-ins on the squad hasty attack objective, and digging target pits so the whole attack will be run on electronic pop-ups and accompanying manikin targets. We are also doing same on the raid site. The raid site will still feature the enemy bunker / basha positions with the manikins, but the scattered stick-ins will be replaced with target pits, so we will have that additional aspect to the raid site. The Hasty Attack and Raid feature on Attack Day on the HEAT 2 classes.
Below: testing out the new target arrays in 10 degree weather on New year’s Eve.
Happening over the next couple of months:
- Improving access to the campsite / Team Cabin area: we are pushing in a culvert by the red main gate to the VTC, creating a ‘Y’ in the current road, which will allow a straight shot across the creek and onto the campsite area. We will dump a shale road up through the campsite and then improve the turn to the current culvert, so it will be a drive-around route through the campsite, then back up to the main parking lot.
- Utility electric is getting installed in the Team Cabin. Volunteers are doing the wiring installation in the cabin, and the electric company is pulling service to it, over the next month or so. We are installing lights, sockets and an HVAC system. Once we have done that, we will insulate and sheath the Team Cabin. It was cold as brass monkeys in there this weekend, and this will give us an all-weather classroom and general utility area for training.
- Push an ATV trail down from the ridge above the schoolhouse (the 1000 yard sniper impact point) to connect that ATV trail in a loop.
- Pushing a proper truck capable road from the upper flat range up to the LZ and long range firing point. This will give us truck access at a decent grade up to the LZ, which can be used as a parking lot, and also to a smaller parking area up behind the long range firing point itself. Thus we will not rely on the Ranger to get up there, and students can drive up there for long range shooting and classes.
- Further clearing and leveling the Ridge LZ area so that helicopters can not only conduct fast roping, but can also land there, this will also have benefits for air evacuation if ever needed.
- Putting in some small individual pads in the wooded area below the LZ where we will put three 12’x 16′ roofless training buildings. This will provide a scenario / UTM village objective directly below the LZ. So it will give an alternative fast rope / combat landing objective to going across to the live raid site. This will provide two UTM scenario / CQB sites for incorporation in Force on Force, CQB and Combat Leader training. The LZ and this new hut site is on the northern side of the VTC, above the upper flat range, opposite to the current CQB site and Tac ranges, which are on the southern side.
Classes at the VTC are going from strength to strength. As we develop and improve the POI, this will also have direct impacts across to mobile classes. We use a different target system for mobile classes, utilizing stick-in Ivan with angled steel behind (for hit feedback), fewer pop-ups behind mobile steel shields, etc. But we still achieve the training effect. We can create the whole advance to contact / assault through scenarios mentioned above, using the stick-ins with steel, fewer pop-ups to initiate, and accompanying manikins on the objective.
We have the fourth year of Texas Classes coming up mid-February, with two 6 day packages built around a HEAT 1 class in the first package, and a HEAT 2 class in the second. These have been excellent training events every year.