Review: Force On Force Squad Tactics, July 20 – 21, by Jack
I attended Combat Team Tactics (now HEAT 1) back in 2016. I also attended HEAT 2 last year. I have read the Tactical Manual. I thought that I would be good to go. Going into the HEAT FOF I pictured four man teams patrolling through the woods getting contact right, getting on line, and peeling right.
On the first patrol of the day we had three teams of four going to an objective. It was much harder to move as a larger force. I died quickly because of the lack of cover and not being able to shoot far enough to suppress the OPFOR who were in a log bunker (Max Adds: this was an equipment issue with gassing up mags that was addressed when identified). My battle buddy died because I was not able to suppress effectively. Right at the beginning Team 1 was down to two and could not effectively suppress the one bunker which in turn led to the death of some of Team 2. It was brought up in the class AAR that the Airsim forces you to move closer in order to suppress which is what the team eventually learned to do. After troubleshooting the rental Airsim rifle by eliminating whether the mags were gassed and loaded right, the replacement rental worked fine until I over loaded the magazine with the speedloader. Once this was put out, it was not an issue for the rest of the class.
I really wish I had taken HEAT FOF right after HEAT 1. I was really rusty on when to move within our four man team. The OPFOR threw some surprises for the entire force which was really eye opening because of the chaos of not knowing where the rounds were coming from. I learned that movement equals life and static shooting it out equals death. HEAT FOF really introduced the impact of casualties. How hard it is to maneuver when teams of four are decimated. How easy it is to forget about them during the chaos. The importance of being a link man when it comes to communication. There were times when our team used initiative but forgot to communicate that intent to the Squad leader which in turn could have led to blue on blue. All in all, a great class. My only regrets was not getting any video footage and that fellow students are not my neighbors. If you think that you can use a scratch team of buddies that you never trained with, than you are dead wrong.
-Bring plenty of water to include camelback for use during patrol
-Bring a cooler with wheels to leave down at the cabin
-Check your goggles/eye pro before you come to ensure you can see through them
-Mechanix gloves with impact protection
-Keep a multitool with a blade to clear Airsim double feeds
-Purchase your own Airsim rifle and mags so you know what to expect from it
-A sturdy dump pouch to keep from losing $60 magazines and save time after each mission.
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.
Because of the excellent success of this previous weekend, 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 Combat Leader Course, but we managed three full squad missions per day with some surprises thrown in.
So, two things from this:
1) fresh off the success of this class, I always want to run another. I am going to change the Sept 26-29 newly-scheduled HEAT 1 class into 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.