Close with a capital “C”

   Urban 6 “The Block” this was the location for the first of the Shadow Stalkers Close Quarter Battle (CQB) training days planned before the Brit-Tac weekender in May. The Block is Close with a capital “C” It was a day of firsts, number one I had never been to a training day, number two I had never met Bristol Recon who had travelled up to join us and number three I have never had to play Airsoft at such short range. When the action got going 6 meters was considered a long range shot, but more on that later.

  The day was broken down into two, the first, the training and the second the gaming. The training consisted of instruction from both ex and currently serving members of the Armed Forces assisted in part by the fantastic marshals at Urban 6. The first drills for my group consisted of keeping eyes on targets while moving. The trick in this was to keep the weapon on target while conducting transitions from left to right shoulder depending on your position. This was livened up by the need to engage set targets in the room at random when their name was called, it was during this I caught a ricochet from half way across the room in the leg and realised just how painful the day was going to be.

  Next step, room clearance, well I say room, cupboard clearance would be a better term. The site is so tight and close there is no room for error. It was during this stage that the Shadow Stalkers got a look at their new best friend, I am of course talking about the TRMR (Provide by our sponsor JD Airsoft). These fantastic little blank firing grenades are perfect for room clearance and were used in place of pyro during the room clearance drills. Having never done anything like this before there was a lot to learn, you start to understand how quick and clear movements need to be and how much you need to trust your team members less you end up with a face full of BB. As we continuously were told “Speed and aggression, WILL win you the room”

   The groups swapped over and we covered more advanced room clearance without the use of Pyro and well as how to clear and advance up stairwells. After a lunch break the games and the pain really began, the well drilled Bristol Recon and the Shadow Stalkers committee on one side, the rest of the SSAS members on the other. First task, Shadow Stalker members assault four floors of Bristol Recon and committee, this resulted in some hard lessons learned about crossfire and just how many people you can put down a hallway. The next game was the reverse of this. I was part of a small team that decided to make a last stand on the top floor, we organised ourselves to make best use of the cross fire, cover and darkness. Using the natural choke point we held off a good number of pushes from the Committee but were eventually overwhelmed by numbers and TRMRs as Bristol Recon began to arrive to reinforce.

  The next game a full out assault on Bristol and the Committee in the warehouse once again this was a steep learning curve for the members. After a brutal fire fight room to room we had pushed the committee and Bristol out and it was our turn to defend for as long as we could. Once again me and my usual group Brenn, Arron and Jamal decided that we were best at doing our usual thing of being sneaky and laying an ambush in a kill zone we set up. The plan worked for the most part what we didn’t expect is Bristol Recon clearing behind us, we were slowly picked off one by one, but enjoyed taking a few down for each one of us lost.

The day ended when I suddenly became the last man standing, never have I felt such tension, hearing movement and bangs going off, trying to predict the next assault. Good positioning meant I could fire on multiple approaches, because of this the attackers were not sure how many of us were left meaning Bristol Kept clearing into the wrong area meaning I could keep racking up the kills. Until my luck ran out and while trying to keep the Committee at bay Bristol got the drop on me, I turned to fire and caught a good number of rounds in the shoulder.

My thoughts on the day, a lot learnt, and a good chance to put it into practise but my abiding memory... DEAR GOD MY SHOULDER, THE PAIN!

Great day, looking forward to the next one, big thanks to Urban 6 for having us and Bristol Recon for travelling to join us on the day, not to mention the work put in by the committee for organising the event.

Alex Booth