In early September Iggy had the pleasure of heading up to Harvey bay to take part in a milsim that was a spontaneous reaction to the cancelation of a large milsim event due to the border closures for COVID 19.
This alternative event was put on for the players within Queensland that had organised and bought gear and now had no where to go. The whole thing was organised in less than a month, from idea to boots on the ground. The event itself was a credit to the organisers and although much smaller than the original milsim it was very much a success.
Operation: Phoenix rising was designed as a 16 hour MILSIM run by Combat simulations and hosted in conjunction with Susan river Gelball. The site was home to operation hard yaka. A location for the not so privileged youth that has found themselves in various detention centres to gain the skills and self control as well as self pride and responsibility. It was a well set up location not too dissimilar to a military training camp, the entire atmosphere feels like an Army setting, perfect for a milsim game.
After nearly a 5 hour drive from the Gold Coast, I arrived at the location indicated on the map. I was driving along a dirt road in the dark and admittedly drove straight past the site as, in the dark I couldn’t see the sign. After I eventually turned around and stopped where I thought it was. I phoned my contact up and saw a figure appear in the dark with a very powerful torch…… “Yup, I’m in the right place”.
I drove in and parked among other vehicles that had been parked in a way that resembled a car park layout. It was good to see my contact approach as I had no idea where I was!
I could hear the comforting sounds of automatic fire and shouting coming from a dark forest behind some buildings. Yes, in most cases people would be discomforted by such sounds however as a skirmisher…… You know you’re in the right place.
Phill A.K.A Preacher showed me where we book in and to where we were staying. Most people got there early on the Friday and had spent the day setting up their accommodation, which in most cases was either a sleeping bag in a hammock or a bivvy bag on a roll mat on the forest floor with a ground sheet tied above in an apex roof style, often called a “hoochie”. This is common practice for military personnel as it is quick to set up and take down but just as importantly. Easy to carry in your backpack.
By now everyone was either chatting around a campfire in the HQ area, already sleeping in readiness for the next day’s gaming or in some cases some diehard gelballers were still running around the kill house and FOB in the dark. One by one they dwindled down until the blasters fell silent.
I set up what’s known as a Backpack Bed from www.seasonfort.com. This is basically a single person tent that rolls up into a backpack which has other pockets for food water etc. It is completely protected from the elements and any unwanted guests. I set it up in a matter of minutes tying it between two trees. I had prepacked my sleeping bag on the inbuilt roll mat in the sleeping compartment of the Backpack Bed to save time. Then it was simply a case of jumping in and getting some sleep for tomorrow’s game briefing.
After a good night sleep I woke up to get a champions breakfast of tea using long life milk, a couple of cereal bars, banana and a danish pastry. Once completed and cleaned using the excellent amenities at Susan River gel ball. I packed my bag for the day, with extra gels, batteries, water and food. Placing the first battery in my blaster and donning my plate carrier with 10kg of training plates, my spare mags and rubber knife, not forgetting my eye-pro, I was ready!
The initial briefing was in depth but did not draw on as it covered all the necessary health and safety of the site and rules of the field. This was followed by our individual team briefings. Our mission was pretty straight forward. As OPFOR we were to use gorilla tactics against the coalition forces that were trying to hold and secure a large area of woodland fringed by fertile farming pastures. There was a dam located in the area that was the local communities fresh water source. Under no condition could we let this fall into the hands of the coalition.
After our brief we all conducted a radio check. Some players did not have a radio. It didn’t prevent them from playing, but I can’t stress enough the importance of a radio. It allows every player to have the situational awareness of what’s happening on the battlefield, where our team is and often reports of enemy sightings. Personally, a radio is almost as important as your blaster.
We were moved into the area of operations (AO) by vehicle. After a short drive we were told to evacuate the vehicle. From here on in, it was on foot!
We dismounted and hastily formed an all-round security in case we were thrown into an ambush. Apart from a couple of us taking a knee (kneeling down) into a cobweb there was nothing, just trees and dust. Our team commander (IC) called in the section commanders and shared his plan. We then patrolled in staggered formation along a dirt track deeper into the forest towards the supposed location of the dam we wanted to capture and hold. Everyone looking out and blasters at the ready. The heat of the day was already rising and the anxiousness that would become the normal feeling for most of the event as you search for a well-equipped, well trained enemy started to build. I was second in the patrol with Preacher as point man…. First into anything that lay ahead of us.
After venturing through this bushland along the track we eventually came across the dam and reservoir. Suspecting that there would be an ambush waiting for us. We split into 2 sections. One pushed right around the reservoir and set up on the dam itself. The other pushed left and our fire team, consisting of Preacher, Callsign Rattlesnake and myself continued past the damn and into the bush. It was becoming clear that we were the first people in the area as there was no evidence of any recent tracks or movement and no sound of movement other than us. Preacher called out over the radio. “STOP!” Rattlesnake and I froze and assumed an all-round defence. “Snake” said Preacher. Surely enough a large brown snake had popped its head up as Preacher lead our triangle formation, then it slithered round to Rattlesnakes position and directly across the path he was going to walk along. Once our little dangerous friend had left we continued around and back to the dam to regroup.
No contact seen anywhere by all our fire teams that pushed out in different directions. Where the hell was the coalition forces? This wasn’t a good feeling and none of just wanted to sit here and wait for the enemy forces to eventually surround us right on the main objective. So in our fire teams we decided to push out until the enemy was finally spotted. The HQ section remained at the reservoir in defensive positions in case the enemy evaded our patrols.
After pushing further and further away we found a large amount of the enemy force coming along the main supply route (MSR), the largest track through the AO. They had a buggy and their forces were mainly behind the buggy with some fanned out pushing parallel through the bushland fringing the MSR. We passed word of our sighting to our IC and the rest of our team. An improvised explosive device (IED) was set up in their path further up the road at a choke point, represented by 2 cola cans half buried at the side of the road and tree branches places in an X across the road. This will mean the enemy have to clear the road and gather in the same area, perfect for an ambush.
Our fire team pulled back to get ready in our flanking position at the ambush. Once the enemy got to the IED, our forces let them build up in the choke point then they opened fire. Chaos followed as the enemy attempted to return fire only to realise, we surrounded them. They retreated down the MSR where our fire team struck them again. Leaving their injured that pushed too far in responding to our attack, Rattlesnake took advantage of the situation and pushed to the injured coalition member and simply took out his “rubber” knife, stabbed him, killing him outright in front of the other enemy forces that were struggling to get to him. Preacher and I saw red and couldn’t help but pursue the remainder of the retreating force. We pushed too far from our support and a group of 6 coalition spotted us and closed in around us. We attempted a retaliation, but it was futile. Preacher got hit, his plate carrier with weighted plates meant that he had another medic revive on top of the given 1 for every player. In my attempt to get to him I got hit too. We became subject to a kill celebration as if we were wild animals hunted on a game safari, as the enemy posed with us dead. (all in good sport of the game obviously).
After a walk all the way back to our HQ section to respawn we took advantage of the fact our teams ute arrived carrying our daypacks. After a fill of water and any gels we needed. We reported to the IC who straight away sent us back down the IED, to assist with our remaining forces in the area. We ran down to get back into the fight.
Upon arrival we could see the enemy pushing in force using the MSR and surrounding bushland to assault through. This time they meant business. Our forces mirrored their movements after we set up the IED again. Intense fire fights erupted everywhere. Eventually our side pushed the coalition back again simply due to the fact they lost more units than us. Rattlesnake took great pleasure in being in character OR and chased them down the MSR shouting at them.
We decided to sweep the area to see if they were trying to flank us. We found that they had split into two. Pushing either side of the MSR. As soon as we realised this, we reported it back to the IC and were called back to the dam. Once we returned, we were given new orders which were to defend the damn as our scientist prepared to poison the water supply. As they prepared to do this we all pushed out around 180 degrees in the direction the enemy were coming from. Preacher, Rattlesnake and I pushed until we saw the advancing enemy. We got low, took cover and waited until they closed in. When they were almost upon us we opened fire. The other two took them all out as my blaster fired nothing!! I was totally saved by Preacher.
There were a couple of enemy that were awaiting a medic, so we went over to them and took them out with our knives. We re-grouped but as soon as we were back with our team we were surrounded and slowly picked off. However, our scientist had enough time to poison the reservoir.
The coalition forces had taken control of the dam. We evacuated the area over an open paddock, hastily crossing the open ground in a V formation, expecting the enemy to either pursue us or have an ambush waiting for us. Our IC had information regarding our next objective. We were to hold a shed surrounded by heavy machinery. As soon as we got there, we secured the area and set up sentries which were rotated every half hour. As we took on food and water as well as got some well-earned rest.
After some time without any sign of enemy forces we questioned what was happening? A few of us started to plan a probing patrol to search for the enemy forces. However, before we could leave, fresh intelligence came in of a medical convoy running through the AO to repair our sabotage from earlier. With this information we all took the advantage to set up an ambush and clean up the entire convoy. We got ferried in over a few trips. Once we re-grouped, we patrolled down their supposed route until we found a suitable ambush point. Using our whole team, we set up the main killing zone and teams to block any escape routes should the convoy attempt to escape.
Once set up we waited and listened, and waited and listened. After what seemed hours (although it was around 35 minutes) and admittedly I dosed off in my bush I had chosen to cover my position we heard the rumble of an engine as the convoy slowly made it’s way cautiously along the track.
The Coalition clearly had a sharp eyed scout as the fighting started way ahead of our planned kill zone. They must have spotted one of our cut off teams that were meant to let the enemy pass.
With such a strong force the coalition convoy easily crushed our cut off team as most of position our force were waiting in the kill zone. My fire team were a bit further out from any as we were tasked to support where needed. We saw our cut off team all head past us having been taken out. We pushed further down and Saw the enemy pushing up. We were by now on their flank and had been completely missed by them. One enemy was trying to push wide of our forces. I saw him approach and took up a position behind a fallen tree. Through a hole in the roots I watched and waited. I was sure he could see me, So I took a step back and leaned around the root system, put two gels into his centre mass on semi auto. We then waited in position as he called for a medic. When a medic came out to him Preacher flanked round and took him out. We then closed in and knifed both of them. We assisted the rest of our force in clearing out all coalition forces. After this victory we all congregated at the corner of the track awaiting further orders. It was at this point the game was officially called off for safety reasons.
The light was beginning to fade and some of the guys only had tinted eye pro. So we all walked back enjoying the evening sunlight.
We had some dinner which was followed by a debrief of the event. Some people left then. Others including myself took the opportunity to have some extra skirmishes at the FOB and kill house as night fell.
A great end to a very fun event. I look forward to more from Combat simulations. They really have a nice balance of skirmish and milsim, fit for the hardcore milsimer but enough action to keep the skirmisher happy too. Well done guys.
For more info on future events keep an eye out on the Combat Simulations facebook page.