Author Topic: Operation Eastwind IV (Pace of Operations)  (Read 1523 times)

bgallion

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Operation Eastwind IV (Pace of Operations)
« on: December 11, 2012, 09:22:39 PM »
The following is an account from Operation Eastwind IV.  Written by Allan Swayze.  Have fun.

I have related this story a time or two elsewhere on the web but it occurs to me that I have not yet related it here.   It serves as an excellent retort to the usual "not much action at East Wind" comments we occasionally get. 


Example:

Night raid on Colleville from the perspective of a single US private:

13:00 hours. With unit sitting on border in peacetime. High Soviet activity level on opposite side of border. Command does not have effective comms with higher.

13:07 hours. Soviets push across border en masse. Your unit, backed up by British armored infantry are holding the line but just barely.

13:15 hours. Local commander decides to commit his armored scout car to the fight. Knowing that by doing so he's potentially loosing his only effective runner to higher HQ.

13:20 Hours. Ratelo finally gets through to higher. Word is reinforcements are coming.

13:35 hours. Your unit is down to 40% You've lost contact with the Brits but things don't sound so good over there. An RPG just took out the Ferret so you're only wheels are now a burning wreck. Ammo is getting critical.

13:37 hours. You hear the familiar roar of a deuce rolling up behind town. Troops dismount and begin to sweep forward.

13:40 hours. The situation is not advantageous, Reinforcements push up to the Brits and get them then everyone hastily withdraws from town. It was a bad fight but managed to break contact pretty well and at least you're not leaving anyone behind.

14:00. You're back at camp and after grabbing a pile of ammo and making good your reloading, you grab some lunch. All the leaders are in the TOC, something is up.

15:00 Two other squads push off to probe the enemies defenses and look things over. Your squad, who's been up since 0:200 hits the rack for some sleep.

20:00 You get up from bed and grab a quick meal. An oporder is being issued at 22:00 and you are told to prepare for a night raid. You check your rig for jingly things and tape over anything that shines then wait...

22:00 Oporder is issued. It will be a full company raid on the town we left earlier today. Recon says that the enemy is set up primarily in two main buildings. Estimated 2 full sections of Soviet troops, no vehicles present. One squad's got near security to make sure the doors open to get back out, the Brits have got far security to make sure that no help gets to the towns garrison once we hit. Another squad's got the church, your squad gets the larger of the buildings. You'll be going in hard and fast. Zip in, kill some Ruskies, pick up priority intel, grab any important prisoners and zip out. Mission will kick off at 02:00.

23:00 You draw a set of nods, camo up your face and go through your rehersals with your squad. Who's on our left? Who's on our right? What's the recognition signal when we head back out through our near side security? How far can we advance? What buildings are ours and which ones do the other squads have? What's our rally point if things go haywire? Information is pouring at you and you are working hard to digest it all.

24:00 the entire company gathers for a rehearsal. Mini glow sticks show the layout of the town and you run through each step so you understand how it's all supposed to go down. You're squad leader is concerned about the 75 meters of open ground you'll be crossing to get to your building. If the Soviet's are up and lively that's going to be pure murder. The CO hopes that you'll be across that ground before the Soviets can react. You dearly hope so...

01:00 final checks. Nod batteries are good. Mount is straight right? Have you shot with nods before? No? Crap get with Gallion over there and have him walk you through the basics! You double check your mags, double check your gear, double check your everything. Everything is dark dark dark now, the whole unit is lights out right now so eyes can adjust. Tension is really high. The single German blurts out a quote from the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. "Master Blaster rules bordertown" Morale is high.

01:15 3rd squad pushes out to sweep the road ahead and link up with the recon team that's been keeping eyes on the Soviets for the last 6 hours. You are jamming as much coffee down your throat as you can stand. You're beat, you did not get enough rest and you know you've got a hard night ahead.

02:00 everyones on the trucks for the movement forward. Slowly, the trucks grind their way into the blackness, the moon is not yet up and it is seriously dark out.

02:25 the truck slows to a halt at your drop off point. A member of 3rd squad is there to act as your guide to get your squad up to your assault position. The units break up and disappear into the inky blackness. You move forward adjusting yourself to the green glow of the nods and the feeling that every stick that snaps, every stumble, every breath sounds like the loudest rock concert. How are we supposed to sneak up on this place?

02:50 You're guide got you lost and you're coming up on show time but your unit is not to your assault position yet. If they kick off the attack with us not there, we're screwed! There's no way we'll cover that ground!

02:59 You reach assault position with little to no time to spare. Your SL waits for the signal to move out...

03:07 No signal but you hear a volley of fire from another squad and see in your nods as the race forward. You know you're screwed now but your squad leader yells "let's go!" and over the berm you go running forward with all your might watching the distance close to your objective. Almost immediately, you find yourself running into an enemy position. Silhouettes move in the blackness, waking and stirring, grabbing weapons, reloading. You fire as you move killing several but knowing that you cannot afford to get bogged down here. A machine gun opens up from the upper floor of the building you're headed for. Rounds zip through the night you hear some of your squad mates go down. Forward... Forward you run, nothing but death here, you've got to get to that building.

03:08 grenades flash in the night (pea grenades) there's a lot of yelling and violence. You make it to the building and race in finding yourself face to face with a room full of guys. You rifle cracks and you clear them out one by one. About the time you've got the last one down you notice the familiar shadow of a PASGT helmet and realize you just wiped out a good portion of the US squad that was supposed to be taking the church across the street. They had heard the fighting over here and had raced over to help disregarding the plan. You're pissed that this happened but the flash and boom of a grenade just outside the door reminds you that you've not got time to focus on that crap now. The machine gun upstairs starts hammering away again. The one guy left that you did not kill screams in your ear that we need to get up there and get that machine gun or we'll never get out of here. You nod and the pair of you round the corner heading towards the stairs. Suddenly, almost in slow motion a grenade arches down the stair well. You grab the lead guys Y harness and pull him hard back towards the door but just end up pivoting him into the doorway where the grenade detonates right in front of him. In a flash he is gone and you are alone.

Alone... There is firing everywhere rounds are impacting the building and zinging through the windows, the machine gun upstairs hammers away again and some unseen target and all you can think of is two words that seemed so foreign to you when the operations officer mentioned them in training just a few days ago. Combat Isolation....

03:10. This is a mess. You're whole squad is gone, you killed the squad that's supposed to be holding the church across the street and you can see that the squad that supposed to be covering your way out is engaged in a fierce firefight with the guys who are upstairs. It's time to get the F out of here while hopefully everyone is looking another direction. You crouch and peek out the door eyeing the woods that long 75 yards away. You take a breath and sprint for all your worth. Running, running, running... The machine gun hammers and you’re just waiting for the rounds to stitch you the back but they don't come. You bust into the wood line and dive over a low berm.

03:15. You catch your breath and peer over the berm across the battlefield. The firing from the near side security team has ceased and you hear Russians yelling back and forth to each other. The woods crunch and pop with movement and you know you are in serious trouble. You slowly begin to make your way south to the rally point.

03:22. You stop suddenly when you hear the familar "Click-pop" of squelch breaking on a PRC-68 radio. You scan and spot a shadow in the darkness. You challenge the shadow and get the correct reply. It's your squads ratelo. He's working his way back as well. He tells you he thinks there's a sizable Soviet force moving through the woods just north of here and you guys need to make tracks.

03:45. Slowly you ease your way into the rally point. Nothing much to see... Creeping forward slowly, looking. Suddenly a quiet voice with a British accent comes out from the darkness. "Over here mate" You close up meet with the supply sgt who hearing the fracas on the radio decided to move a truck up to help evacuate everyone. He sets you off on the perimeter to pull security for a while till we get everyone gathered up.

04:15. Nobody else comes... The supply sgt gathers up all who are present and loads everyone in the truck. The engine cranks and the truck creeps back home.

04:45. You are back. Tired and dejected. You know that raid was a disaster. The Brit guy next to you in the truck referred to it as a "[deleted] dance".

05:15 More units return on foot. Many tell stories just like yours, darkness, violence, confusion. You are exhausted. You meet up with some other members of your squad including your squad leader who finally tells you to go get some sleep.

05:20 you are fast asleep.

The next morning, a recon team clears the town. The Soviets obviously cleared out in a hurry just before dawn, mags are strewn about here and there as well as the odd bits of East German and Soviet equipment.   

Once the event is over you learn the whole story of the disastrous raid. Turns out that most of the NATO force got out ok. In fact your friendly fire rampage killed almost as many NATO guys as enemy action. The guys that were just up that stairwell turned out to be the last remaining Soviet troops in the town. All that crunching and scary noises you heard in the woods was just other NATO troops heading back. All the Russian yelling was just the Soviet guys calling out to see if any of their other positions had survived the attack. (they hadn't). The guy upstairs, a combat veteran of the Russian Army who was wounded in Chechnya says of that battle: "McClane and I were ready to fight to the last BB! That was one of the most memorable moments at EW for me."

So... Out of the 16.3 hours tracked here. 40 minutes involved fighting. The rest was spent doing other activities leading up to the fight or supporting the fight. Our protagonist was lucky that he actually even got to catch some z's even. The point here is that East Wind is not a high action event. We don't just Yosemite Sam charge the enemy without a plan, respawn 5 minutes later and do it again. When you head out on mission, there's a lot involved. All of that "lot" requires attention to detail and interest in what's happening. If this is your thing, you are going to LOVE East Wind. If it's not, than you probably are not. It's important to us to make sure that we convey that to people looking at the event since we want the people to attend to have a great experience and a big part of that is making sure that we are up front and honest about what we are providing so that guys can make the decision as to whether East Wind is something that they are going to enjoy. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 03:58:14 PM by bgallion »
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aswayze

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Re: Night of the [deleted] dance as an example of pace of operations
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 11:50:07 PM »
[deleted] Dance does not have as good a ring to it as when Azubi initially gave it its famous name. 


Let's just say the long form of the name would be to refer to it as The Night of the Richard Dance.   

There is a follow up story to this one that continues the story a bit:

After the previously mentioned night raid gone awry, I went out with a few other HQ guys supported by the Ferret armored car to conduct some light armored recon.    We slid up to the edge of town in the famous Ferret run silent, run deep mode and I dismounted along with the cook to go have a lookie around town.  We moved in hard and fast moving from cover to cover and quickly/quietly sweeping all the danger spots in town before signaling the Ferret to move up to a point where it could both provide some fire support if we encountered enemy troops moving up and also a rapid egress if needed. 

After the fierce night fight, we had rightly assumed that the Soviets would probably bail out of town and all evidence seemed to indicate that they had peeled out of there prior to dawn.   There were mags here and there that had obviously been missed in the dark and the general disarray in the East Germans position seemed to indicate that nobody had particularly “cleared” that spot before pulling out.   The truck that picked the remaining troops up was small and traveling by itself with no dismounted escort so obviously there were not that many troops remaining in town when they lit out of there.     We did not venture far tracking where it went, we just knew it went somewhere into East Germany as one would clearly expect. 

From there we decided to go have a sneaky peek at several other likely border crossing points and look for signs of recent Soviet activity.    This is not as easy as you would think since Oklahoma is mostly made of dust, flaming grass and rocks.  None the less, with a little effort, we managed to track down some choke points that were damp and loamy enough to leave tracks and after a little skittering about happened upon what looked like actionable intel.   



The above pic shows a section of the border we had code named “Dave”.  While not a likely avenue of approach, the road marked 25 on the map here did travel directly into NATO territory from somewhere in the deep dark communist forest and therefore could be used by enterprising vehicle drivers to get units moved up to the border.     Several of us had long suspected that this was possible but many felt that the extremely steep and rocky hill leading up from the extremely steep and rocky valley 400 meters or so across the border from here would prevent vehicle traffic.    When we arrived on scene, the cook and I again skirted the road forward up towards the hill and in a damp spot encountered a very narrow lug treaded tire track.  Initially, we assumed it was from a motorbike but a little further down we encountered another spot that was soft enough to see the track width.  It was something small, but definitely a 4x4 vehicle.  Looking at the patterns of tracks, it had been moving slowly but had wandered a bit on the roadway often clipping some of the vegetation on the sides of the road in spite of it’s small size.    No signs of dismounted troops at all.   The Ferret driver suggested leaving some squares of toilet paper in a few high traffic spots so we could tell when new tracks arrived then we gathered up all of our notes and slipped off to try to put together all the pieces.   

Once safely back in camp, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all.  Small vehicle, traveling erratically, on a rough minor road…  We talked a bit about the other roads in the area and how this one was different (other than the obvious parts like the fact it starts and ends in different locations) and the only thing we could come up with out of all of this is that this particular road was one of the few that traveled in an area almost completely bereft of light pollution.  Most other roads had some silly ass farmer dusk to dawn light off in the distance flickering at you when you drive on them.   Most of the NATO guys drive with Gen 2 night vision so this does not prove to be much of a hassle to them but as far as we knew, most of the Warsaw Pact driver night vision was either Gen 0 (Active IR) or Gen 1.     Perhaps the Warsaw Pact was using this route at night to bring in recon teams?   From a security standpoint it made very good sense.  It would not be considered a likely avenue of approach, it traveled straight where they would want to go, there was little light pollution to interfere with driving, it was mostly in a valley so they could use active IR drive lights and not really be broadcasting to the entire world, and most important of all, the entire approach run to the border was screened so NATO troops directly watching the border would not see them coming from miles away. 

We provided our findings to the operations officer and he asked me to provide a portion of the situation brief for the OPORD he would be issuing to US first squad who drew the short straw and got selected to go out on ambush that night to see if our hunch was good. 

Some 8 hours later, 1st squad moved up to Point Dave to deploy.  3rd squad screened the route ahead so 1st got to travel in the relative comfort of a deuce arriving just before last light.   1st squad moved down the path to the ambush site selected about 2/3rds of the way up the hill and began setting claymores and trip flares.   They had heard the briefing but were quite sure it was false since nobody in their right mind would drive up that road in the daylight much less at night on nods but in true soldier form they set up as ordered. 

Let me take a moment from the story here to talk about ambushes.  For those of you who have never sat in one, it is hard to explain how pointless and dull they are.  90% of ambushes net nothing and even the ones that do generally do not net you anything real quickly.    The ambush site is always too rocky, too muddy, too ant infested or something unpleasant.  The weather is almost always too cold and it’s generally at least threatening to rain on you.  In short, everyone hates ambushes.  In normal airsoft, ambushes are great fun since you know that the way the event is scripted or due to the simple mass of people involved someone will most certainly bumble along any old minute now and you’ll be having a jolly old time riddling them with bullets but as we have already mentioned, East Wind is not that way so here sat a tired and dejected 1st squad… The day before had seen them chased out of town by a Warpac attack, the night before their raid had been a disaster and now here they are guarding what might as well have been a cliff as far as they were concerned because some pencil neck things trucks can drive here at night… 

Camoed up, they crouched in their shell scrapes taking turns watching the road and dozing off….  Of course the next great thing about ambushes is that nothing ever happens till it happens and when “it” happens, a whole lot of “it” happens all at once.   As it happened this time around,  nothing went on for hours on end till one guy had to go pee.  He quietly got up and wandered off a bit at the same time, an armadillo came trundling on down the road in typical oblivious armadillo form threatening to set off all the trip wires while at exactly the same time the rumbling drone of a truck engine descending the opposite end of the valley hit everyone’s ears.   

Pants buttoned back up, dive back into the spot, sticks tossed at the armadillo finally ran it off without it setting off the trip wires.  Waiting…  Waiting…   Intel guy said no signs of dismounted troops but everyone is straining in their NVGs looking for them anyhow.   The truck groans as it begins it’s ascent up the hill, the blacked out headlights play over the kill zone, it drones on…   Blam… Blam…  two claymores strike the truck and 1st squad tastes it’s first success at East Wind 4. 

As I said, 90% of ambushes net nothing….  The other 10% however generally do and when they do, they are typically a pretty good score.   In this case, a nice tasty Soviet troop truck loaded with 2 full sections of troops.    In another typical yet ironic twist of fate, the truck was supposed to have stopped and dismounted it’s load of infantry at the bottom of the hill but the driver was feeling nice and thought he’d drop everyone at the top of the hill to save them some effort.   Had that happened, 1st Squad would have had quite a different fight on their hands.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 08:18:41 AM by Joe »

Joe

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Re: Night of the [deleted] dance as an example of pace of operations
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2012, 07:50:42 AM »
[deleted] Dance does not have as good a ring to it as when Azubi initially gave it its famous name. 


Let's just say the long form of the name would be to refer to it as The Night of the Richard Dance.   

We try to keep this forum family-friendly.

Nothing personal.  I've a bad habit of swearing (I'm working on correcting it). 

EDIT:  I have to admit, "Night of the Richard Dance" is a pretty intriguing title. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 08:20:33 AM by Joe »
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aswayze

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Re: Night of the [deleted] dance as an example of pace of operations
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 01:49:05 PM »
Oh I understand completely, it just had such an distraught Englishman ring to it...