Review: Force on Force Squad Tactics – July 20-21 – Dimitry
The past weekend’s Force on Force event was by far the best one I have attended so far. There are many reasons to why it was the best one, but the main reason is the new format. Instead of dividing the attendees into two teams, the cadre had dedicated trained OPFOR for the student body to contend with. OPFOR proved to be aggressive and well trained. The tactics used against the student body were solid and proved challenging to each fire team/squad. Each mission against the OPFOR taught us the students, very valuable lessons. Each part of the mission was realistic, for example: patrolling to the objective, locating the OPFOR, winning the fire fight against the OPFOR, suppressing the OPFOR’s fire positions, maneuvering against the OPFOR. Each little step during the mission had something for students to learn and remember. The most valuable lesson which I have learned is:
Communication between the team members to the team leaders and then to the squad leader (and other way around) can mean the difference between success and failure of the mission. Each team member is a link man and must be ready to pay close attention to communications around him. Information given must be correct and provided in a timely manner to the chain of command (and other way around).
All students were given a chance to volunteer to be a squad leader. Squad leader had an option of choosing his own team leaders or gave the opportunity to others to volunteer to be a team leader. Most missions ran as 4- or 5-man fire teams working together under the squad leader’s orders. Each mission began with a short briefing from cadre about the objective of the mission. Each mission had different objectives and locations, which I really liked. Squad leader had to come up with an execution plan for each fire team, short briefing was given to each team/individual, and then the mission began. This was a great opportunity to practice leadership under stress, quick decision making, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
“Slight” surprises were thrown in during patrols, to teach the students valuable lessons which better to be learned in training rather than the hard way. For example: L shaped ambush was shown to the patrol of 15, and it showed that a much smaller force can do A LOT of damage to a much larger force with properly set L ambush. Outnumbering the OPFOR 3:1, OPFOR was able to reduce the ration to 1:1 in a matter of seconds. Lesson learned here was: during patrolling, have a front element ahead of the main element, to reduce odds of the entire main element ending up in the kill zone.
Another patrol ran into a sentry post, which the patrol dealt with, but the sentry post left a claymore mine in our path, and none of us saw it. As a result of not seeing the claymore, the patrol lost the entire fire team. Lessons learned here were: change patrol travel direction after contact with the sentry, as well as, having flankers on each side of the patrol slightly ahead of the main element.
I cannot stress the importance of coming to Force on Force events. So many valuable lessons to remember, chance to work in teams, practice communication, implementing tactics learned during other classes, getting used to using your own equipment. I highly recommend the Force on Force events to anyone who is interested in improving their skill.
Because of the excellent success of this past weekends new format Force on Force Class, now FoF Squad Tactics, I have scheduled another Force on Force Squad Tactics class on September 28-29.
We have changed the class from the old FoF format to a ‘mini-CLC’ where we have a dedicated OPFOR and a dedicated squad of students. It is of course not as detailed or prepared as the Combat Leader Course, but we managed three full squad missions per day with some surprises thrown in.
So, two things from this:
1) The Sept 26-29 newly-scheduled HEAT 1 class is now another FoF Squad Tactics. This will be a 2 day class on the 28-29 Sept.
2) We also have CLC running 6-13 October. This is our best class, absolutely. If you can spare the time, I cannot recommend it enough.
3) This 28-29 FoF Squad Tactics is a great opportunity for those of you who missed this class, or those who can’t spare more than 2 days to train on the CLC, to experience this. We had a 15 man squad and 6 OPFOR this past weekend.
It came out in the AAR that some had thought (or heard) that the old format FoF was a bit of a melee, a bit of a game. It was from that old format that the CLC grew, to allow the teaching of full mission squad tactics. It is also now where this two day mini-version has come from.
The AirSim has proven to be an excellent tool for simulating close combat both in the woods and CQB, far better than UTM. We have identified some equipment issues as both the Cadre and Students have become more experienced with it:
- Under-gassing mags: this is usually a student familiarity issue and can be quickly overcome.
- Over-loading magazines: this appears to be responsible for mags ‘out-gassing’ when inserted. It took us some time to figure that one out.
All in all, AirSim is a great professional tactical training tool. We loan out the KWA LM4 as the class-issue rifle, but allow you to bring compliant rifles to class. The PTS MEGA ARMS MKM AR-15 is superior and we offer these rifles in the MVT store. There is a lot of value in purchasing one of these professional training rifles and setting it up as a clone of your live fire rifle:
- It will allow you to conduct your own FoF and Force on Target training in your own time, including CQB.
- It will allow you to get used to the system and hit the ground running at class.
- It reduces class cost: also, after the initial purchase of a rifle and magazines, AirSim is extremely cheap.