"The Cold War, Korean Conflict" - paintball scenario report
A fitting name for a paintball scenario played on a cold winter day: "Cold War Korean Conflict".
The temperature hovered between 2 and 6 degrees Celcius, and we had every type of weather mother nature makes - including heavy rain, sleet, snow, strong winds and then, suddenly, in the afternoon, the clouds cleared and we had sunshine for an hour or two. Weird.
This was the first in a three part scenario season at Tsawwassen Paintball Games. And about 280 players braved the weather and played a wicked hard day of paintball...
Our team (Marauders) were assigned to the N. Korean side (Red). Other teams in attendance were CSPO, Island Militia, Team Hellfire, Stormin Norman, TCS, PBGear. We were lucky to have one of our team members ("Big Daddy Dave") be the general for the N. Korean side because we always knew what was going on and there was a real effort to direct our troops with some purpose. Thanks Gen. Dave.
These scenario events at TPG are fun, especially if you like to shoot allot. However, because of the size of the field (about 800 yards long x 400 yards wide), and with very little concealment, and up to 200 players on a side - your tactical options are limited somewhat. In an evenly started game, once the field front line forms, there is no way to maneuver around the opponents with even a small fire team because every possible route is heavily covered, and there is a constant stream of players returning from rejuvenating at the neutral zone who make sneaking around somehow virtually impossible. It is definitely a "different" kind of paintball than 30 minute games played on a similar sized field with 20+ players on a side instead of 150+. In these scenarios, often 90% of the game is played in the yellow zone on the map below.
Because of the density of players, my bunker play tactic was always tight. After calling for and directing cover fire from my teammates, I would move up while shooting and then quickly get down behind the cover I had planned to run to nice and tight/low. After ensuring every piece of me was tucked in, I would look immediately left and right looking for new angles on opponents, or anyone targeting me. I tried never to shoot over the top of my bunker, although I admit I did it a few times, and got lucky. This bunker play tactic was very effective. Because our team as a whole seemed more than willing to provide cover fire (thanks guys) I could bump up to the front most lines and have new targets that didn’t see me go in. Then I was quickly able to eliminate them. Also, because of the density, I would often eliminate two or more who were unfortunately bunched up behind the bunker they were hiding in before I mowed them down. I am certain that using this tactic saved me a few times and allowed me to eliminate many more opponents throughout the day than I would have otherwise.
General Big Daddy Dave was often directing our troops to the radio tower on top of the ridge throughout the day - and rightly so. The ridge and that tower are a huge strategic advantage. The ridge runs lengthwise down the side of the field about 100 yards from the tape. Its elevation is about 20' at most, but even that does grant a big field of fire advantage because of the lack of concealment in that area. Own the ridge - control the game.
In the morning game, we had 20 players allowed to start in a forward base (the Castle). Gen. Dave placed our fastest players in there and gave them orders to sprint on the whistle to the radio tower (about 200 yards away from them). This gave us the certainty of controlling the radio tower and the heel of the ridge from the start of game one. Dave placed a smaller defensive team to probe the enemy but merely defend on the right side of the field (the Dunes). I was assigned to the middle of the field with a strong team packing lots of firepower (several gunners). We were to direct heavy fire up from the lower side of the ridge to support our front line moving along the top of it. The Castle runners quickly got to the tower and the front line formed well past the radio tower, all the way across, through the heavy gunner teams in the middle to meet up with the defenders on the right. The firefights were intense and nobody pulled any punches on either side.
Numerous very big trees (80'+, 2'-4' diameter) fell near the middle of the field a year or two ago during a big windstorm, and have never been cleared. These fallen trees make it extremely difficult to move through the center of this field in a game like this (with almost no foliage having grown in yet). Climbing over or under them inevitably exposed you to dozens of enemy players waiting behind cover just on the other side - suicide. Crawling under was an option here and there if you didn’t mind crawling through the mud in the pouring rain, but I chose not to. In a few areas there might still be enough foliage on the tree limbs to crawl through unseen, and I tried, but that was rare. Nope, there was no easy way to punch through the middle.
The front line had formed right away and fluctuated only by about 30 yards either direction all morning. The first game ended, we (Red) were up by a few hundred points, but it was still anybody’s game. The rain was really coming down now and thankfully we had a couple tents for us to huddle under and change. That helped.
The afternoon game was interesting. Blue started with 20 players inside our Castle only 100 yards from our start point. Gen. Dave directed several fire teams to surround it right away and cut them off from the 100+ enemy reinforcements coming from the west. However, the plan failed. Almost all the Castle assault fire teams engaged the castle as soon they could in a full frontal assault. Unfortunately, this meant that the defenders inside could focus most of their firepower at us on two or three sides and we got bogged down into an expensive fight.
Also, the enemy forces in the Castle were effectively cornered on our side of the field. This is called the "Death Ground" tactic and can sometimes be done deliberately to multiply the defenders will to fight. Some very wise historical military tacticians have pointed out that "a man who fights with no means of escape fights as three men". So true, those guys were were not going out without a serious fight.
To make matters worse for us, none of our fire teams moved up through the centre of the field, but out of the Castle's range to cut them off from their re-inforcements. Or, any fire teams that did, got too close to the Castle and ended up engaging defensively, ultimately taking lots of casualties and being picked off one-by-one.
An enemy fire team sprinting from their start point arrived at the ridge on the other side of the castle within two minutes. Within another three minutes the enemy had numerous fire teams on the ridge behind the castle set up defensively. This was not good. We started to get pressed in from the right side too.
I suddenly had flashbacks of scenario games where I have been on a team horseshoed into a corner and destroyed. The battle got intense. It was extremely costly for us to attack the castle and our players were taking hits every second. Players were dropping like flies.
We decided the Castle had to go right now, so virtually every Red player assaulted it. Once any of us were hit, we quickly got out, wiped off and rejuvenated with whatever air and ammo we had left from the last assault. Luckily, two things were in our favor, our re-spawn point was only 100 yards away. Also, thankfully, our team was gung-ho, and there were very few times when I saw "too many" red players sitting out or fiddling with their gear.
The Castle is a very strong defensive structure. It is two storeys, 30' square, with an inner catwalk on the second storey along the perimeter. The catwalk is protected by crenellations on the outside and continuous waist high netting on the inside. There are loopholes on the outer wall in the lower floor to shoot out from underneath the catwalk. Two doors on adjacent walls allow access to the inside. To get up to the catwalk, you have to move up a single ramp on the inside.
The defenders tactic was: when they only had a few players left, to send them all upstairs and defend the inner courtyard only and not even bother with defending the outer walls. Nice play. It cost us. That waist high netting you can of course see through, another big advantage.
I joined the main assault force as a gunner and provided heavy suppressing and cover fire. I went through about five pods while assaulting it from outside, providing suppressing fire for anybody brave enough to run up. This was tricky because our assault members were rushing the loopholes in the lower floor looking for defenders cowering inside in the shadows and I had to carefully direct my fire or hit my own assaulters. Our right flank somehow held while 80% of our force concentrated on the Castle only. About ten more minutes went by and we finally whittled the defenders down to a handful (at a huge player cost) and breached through the west door (closest).
I was the third Red through the door on the impromptu breaching team. I came through with my marker up right behind two others who joined me as I ran up. As soon as we entered, the two guys in front of me dove for cover deep into the right hand corner of the building underneath the catwalk. A millisecond later, I saw why. As we entered the courtyard of the Castle, we opened ourselves up to several defenders looking through the far door from the side of the ridge. I felt I had about two seconds to live if I did nothing or tried to hide. So I decided I had to take the risk - a paintball moment. I knew there were guys up there. I swept my marker up and around towards the left as I moved right in the CQB stance circling under the catwalk towards the ramp. I only moved a couple feet when I saw, up on the catwalk, a guy sitting down behind the netting. We saw each other at the exact same moment. He seemed startled. I opened fire over the top of the netting at him and he quickly returned fire over the top too. One for one, he smoked me in the top of the head (nice shot) and I blasted him in the face. (Fair trade I guess). There were three or four more defenders hiding up behind the netting, but by the time I re-spawned and returned, we had not only taken the castle, we had pushed the defenders way back off the ridge reclaiming a couple hundred yards of territory in a few minutes. Once the castle fell, it was easy to push them back towards the middle and snap the horseshoe. Whew.
The blue team might have dominated us and changed the outcome of the entire day in that game if they had kept running re-inforcements down the hill from the part of the ridge they controlled to replace casualties inside the Castle. But, they didn't.
By the end of the second game, Red was up in points by 1000. Unfortunately, with the points available in the last game of the day, the best Blue could hope for would be a tie. And that would be if they pulled off a miracle. The scenario for the last game was exceptionally hard for Blue and we went into that last game virtually assured of victory. Later the organizer apologized for the lopsided rules of game #3, but in the end, Red won fair and square. In the last game of this series last year, there was controversy over the rules too - which we were on the receiving end.
All in all it was a fun day, we won, and I shot almost three cases of paint and have some nice welts to prove I was there.