Boom! is quite an apt phrase for this one, as that’s exactly what we were practicing. Organised by BR-01 and put on by the Shadowstalkers, we traveled up to Burton on Trent to Urban 6’s venue, The Block. As most of it us didn’t fancy the 6am start, we went up the night before to check out the (non existent) night life of Burton on Trent. The highlight of Friday evening was walking into McDonald’s and asking them where to get a few drinks (baring in mind, this was around 10pm), and the response being ‘Derby, this place is full of scumbags’. Awesome.
Saturday morning arrived and those who stayed overnight had to be up bright and early, 8am. Rockin’ up to the Block (see what I did there?), I hadn’t quite realised how super CQB the site really is. The site itself consists of several different components, starting with 2 levels of what looks to be an old office block with joining offices which made for perfect room clearing practice. On the 3rd floor, it really livens up. A massive attic space that has been sculpted to perfection almost, with purpose build crawl spaces and lots of inter-linking passage ways leading to other parts of the site. Of course one common theme running through the whole site, its pretty dark, making it perfect for all those players who prefer the ‘sneaky beaky’ tactic. But don’t think you’ll get away with it for long, the new TRMR grenades rip through rooms. The Block does not allow any hot burning pyro, and the TRMR is one of the only grenades they will allow, which is just as well. Leading off from the attic space is plenty of larger rooms which I believe are currently being worked on to expand the site.
So how did the rest of the day go? Well, after the meet and greets with an almost overwhelming amount of Shadowstalkers (yes, 30 odd!!), we split down the middle and actually had to talk to other Airsofters (cue the inbetweeners moment – ‘FRIENDS!!!!’). The first task was simple (although not for some people), walk in a large figure of eight while keeping your weapon trained on a moving target. The hardest bit here was switching hands depending on what side I was. Right handed shooting for me just feels wrong. Next task, snap reactions when a target called on double tapping. This did lead to a few people taking hits, which was mildly amusing.
We moved on to room clearance. Now this was fun. Starting off with 3 per squad, we move up to 4 and then 5. Stacking, commanding, throwing grenades and room placement was the aim of the game here. With a current serving Commando leading the pack, there was much to be learnt. Having had a fair amount of experience already here, what with plenty of urban experience, the main thing I think as a team we learnt was where to go stand once in the room. We have never been a team to fanny around, we love to just get stuck in. The most interesting bit here was also who takes command of the room clearance. One common factor was; it can be anyone, not just the most ‘senior’ person in the team. The ‘grenadier’ takes control of the clearance (yes, lots of TRMR explosions followed). As you probably notice from the pictures, all training was run dry, meaning no mags. That bit came later. We quickly moved onto how to continue the fluid room clearance, by bouncing into the second and third consecutive rooms without losing any of the momentum built from the first clearance.
Break for lunch and we moved onto stair clearance. Useful bits involved placing people again and silent forms of calling for support. Clearing stairs in 4’s, only means 2 need to go first, while the second 2 act as support. This required a few attempts, the first run with no opposition, but the second attempt with harassing fire from the top of the stairs. It was quite amazing to see how it changes peoples reactions to the situation when you add in a bit of ‘live fire’ (including myself). You occasionally find yourself having to rewind and start again.
The final section of the day was game time. I couldn’t wait to put some things I had learnt into practice, especially room clearance. Teaming up with the ‘Shadowstalkers Committee’ (basically the command group, which it needs for such a large outfit), we took on the rest of the Shadowstalkers in a floor by floor clearance exercise. Stacking up nicely, we cleared room by room rapidly. At one point, clearing towards the other half of our team, not even realising until we started firing at each other.
The day unfortunately had to end and what a day it had been for a number of reasons. One, learnt some invaluable lessons in regards to room clearance and personally, how to slightly tweak my own rig. Secondly, strengthening the relationship between two great teams. Thanks to all those who gave up their time to teach and of course both teams for attending. Props to the Urban 6 team for allowing use of their site and hopefully one day very soon, we can re-visit for a full game day.