Importance of Force on Force Training / Squad Tactics Course
February 6, 2020 at 10:12 am #139137AWS18Participant
This post is meant to be more of a conversation and advice between students as opposed to a review of any one course.
In 2019 I took Heat 1 & 2, CQBC, and ultimately the Combat Leader Course (CLC) at the end of the year. I cannot overstate how valuable the force on force aspect of the CLC was.
The live fire courses do a great job of teaching you the mechanics involved with operating as part of a fire team and squad. Training with lethal equipment imparts a seriousness that reminds you this is not a game, but something with life or death ramifications should you ever need to use such training.
The force on force training is absolutely the other side of the coin, not just an addendum to the previous courses. Human OPFOR react and think in a way that force you to adapt on the fly. Paper and steel targets just can’t match the mental challenge posed by taking on live OPFOR.
The lessons you learn from the successes and failures of your fellow students and yourself will be burned into your memory. Things like not setting yourself up to get ambushed, how to react to frantic civilians, accomplishing objectives after taking casualties, and plenty other lessons are really only learned once that human element is added to the training. Dying in a force on force scenario is a lot cheaper than dying in real life because you didn’t train enough.
In conversations with fellow students I have sometimes heard them say they had a fear of not performing well under pressure as a reason why they were hesitant to sign up for the CLC (now Squad Tactics). Others seemed to not be interested in using non lethal weapons because they don’t provide the rush that gunpowder does. I can tell you under no uncertain terms that you are depriving yourself of the best opportunity to practice and hone your newfound skills learned at MVT if you shy away from this amazing force on force training.
I can understand the apprehension as I remember reading the CLC description before I took any MVT training and realizing how much I didn’t know. I got over it and booked the course because real learning is not always an easy feel good affair. Just understand that no one is going to actually stone you if you make mistakes. Everyone messes up and that’s where the biggest lessons are usually learned. With the Squad Tactics course you can even take a rifleman slot and hold back on a leadership role until you feel ready to give leadership a shot at another training date. Max and Scott will also provide assistance with the planning and execution aspects of missions if needed, so you won’t be flying blind.
The airsim rifles used are top notch. It’s natural to be skeptical about “airsoft”, but believe me when I tell you these are pretty much replicas of M4’s. Everything feels right from the weight of the weapon and magazines to the controls. My Marine Corps friend who also attended the CLC said that at times he almost forgot in the moment we were carrying airsim rifles due to how realistic they felt. He was handling his weapon the same way his previous training had taught him because the equipment was so well made and suited to the training.
Obviously having Heat 1, Heat 2, and CQBC under your belt would be the preferred way to approach Squad Tactics. That was my approach and I feel like I got an immense return on my investment of time and money. With that being said, I believe someone would be ok filling a rifleman slot after Heat 1. The other students should be able to cycle duties in a manner that will allow said student to learn as the course progresses. In the CLC we had one student with no small unit tactics training. By the end of the course that student had immensely improved in his capacity to be part of a fire team and the squad. I would be interested to hear the opinions of Max and Scott regarding this as they’re obviously the experts.
Max has posted plenty about the need for force on force training recently. I hope this post helps prospective students see things through the eyes of a student in their shoes just a few short months ago. Don’t deprive yourself of this phenomenal training!
Heat 1 06/19
Heat 2 08/19
February 6, 2020 at 11:07 am #139138PewtinParticipant
Great post, thank you!
FoF is definitely a vital part of overall small unit tactics training. The importance of this part of training is difficult to relay, one will understand the importance of FoF after showing up to FoF event. If you have not been to FoF before, one thing for sure is that all illusions of what small unit tactics are all about will be wiped away. One will see their own capabilities and limitations in action, which self improvements and equipment one needs.
Ohh, and there is one more thing, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. This has been stuck in my mind since my very first time showing up at MVT.
February 6, 2020 at 12:16 pm #139144SpencerParticipant
Thanks for taking the time to post, the insights and experiences are valuable. I’m planning on following your learning path.
H.E.A.T. 1 12/2019
February 11, 2020 at 11:43 am #139733dave37Participant
I was at the same CLC, and agree with everything the OP says about the importance of Force on Force training.
My favorite analogy is boxing. You can hit pads or beat on the heavy bag forever, but you won’t learn to box until you put your mouthpiece in and actually fight somebody.
As an aside, I reread Patriot Dawn and Patriot Rising after attending CLC, and the tactical scenarios were much easier to visualize. In general, when reading military boos, I can now see the units maneuvering in my head. It didn’t used to be like that, and it is all due to participating in Force on Force training.
HEAT 1 2017
Intro to CQB 2017
Texas HEAT 2 2018
Operation TeaSinker 2019
Combat Leader Course 2019
February 11, 2020 at 12:25 pm #139736MaxKeymaster
February 11, 2020 at 3:40 pm #139753gatlinggunParticipant
The dude with the M1919 was killing it. Who needs a tripod!
Pretty sobering video of a pretty nasty war.
TIA – This is Africa
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