A Day in Afghanistan III

Special Forces Airsoft Group report from Spain, where 350 acres of ground provided plenty of area for this MilSim event to play out.

“Things were going from bad to worse, no communication with the other Snakes, 2 wounded and our sniper team having problems.”

“A Day in Afghanistan III” was a 12-hour, non-stop MilSim event conducted by Ops. Aracos in Añover de Tajo (Toledo), with an AO of about 350 acres of playable Afghanistan-looking terrain. With a total 80 airsoft players; 40 as ISAF troops reenacting Spanish, British, Polish and North American units and 40 as Taliban forces.

Our Role
Our team was designated for Special Operations as “Snake 1”. We were going to conduct “Operation Satellite 7” with two other teams, Snake 2 and 3. Our team leader, Dreis, was the responsible of all the three “snakes” and for the entire main operation.

Intel
AO MapDuring the weeks before the event we all worked in an intelligence report, looking for pictures of the terrain, researching on the teams which were going to be present (especially rival teams) and of course, deep studying the terrain. We found out that this was really going to be like the real Afghanistan; mountains, deep valleys, open fields, large distances, desert-looking environment with isolated forests… but with one singularity, that was going to change everything, heavy rain! We had to take this into account, so we first got out our PCUs and protect the radios and all electric gear with plastic bags. Thermal clothing was also going to be useful under our battle uniforms.

Two days before the “D day” we met for briefing. Dreis, our Team Leader, reminded us of the event rules, our team’s set-up and how will the operation go. We´ll work as a 4-operator assault force and a sniper team of 2, although we were going to work as a one-team the most part of the time, since we were only going to be 6 men (our support gunner, Micro, could not attend this event and our first medic Nacho could only come as a war reporter).

The Mission
Our mission was clear. After meeting the rest of the ISAF forces and having a briefing with our superiors, we would have to get on the pick-ups with both Snake 2 and 3 and left the ISAF base in Afghan territory to enter a valley in the other side of the border, in Pakistan territory. We had the coordinates of an antenna, used by Taliban forces in the area to enlarge their communications, that had to be blown off but our primary objective was an HVI (High Value Individual).

A Taliban meeting was going to take place in the valley around 11:00 according to the last INTEL reports. Our man, Hamit El-Mali (code name “Warlord”), was going to be there and we had to capture him by all means necessary. As well, if could also capture any intelligence documents from the Taliban that would be good for the cause. Warlord was the Taliban leader in the region and he was the reason we were getting into that valley.

ISAF vehiclesThe way into the infiltration point in the vehicles was difficult, it had been raining in the last 24 hours and the terrain was all muddy, especially the roads. After getting off the vehicles we set up a perimeter. Our objective, an intersection of roads in the bottom of the valley, was half a kilometer to the east, not much distance but the muddy terrain and the possibility of enemy forces in the area before us, would force us to move slowly, performing TAB (Tactical Advance to Battle) and getting surrounded of vegetation as much as possible.

The plan was that the 3 snakes will work together but separate. We, Snake 1, will take the north sector of the objective, having the responsibility on the north road, to avoid Warlord and his entourage to get away. Snake 2 will go straight through the valley, covering the road that will be our evacuation route into the extraction point. And Snake 3, will assist Snake 1 and 2 in the assault from the south sector, covering another possible escape route. Then while we extract Warlord into the EP, they would get to the antenna to place a C4 charge and blow it.

“Previous infantry attacks couldn’t even get close to their base, so it wasn’t going to be easy. In fact it was going to be kind of a suicide mission.”

We knew there could be troops wandering the area, so we proceeded with extreme caution. Dreis sent our sniper team ahead, formed by Panzer as the main sniper and Nazgul as his spotter. Snake 2 also sent a two-man sniper team ahead. Meanwhile, the assault forces of Snake 1 and 2 wait in a safe location up the valley, checking for movement. We hear via radio that Snake 3 has first secured the antenna and that there’s no evidence of enemy presence in the area.

SFAG Green BeretsOnce the snipers are into the valley and confirm there’s no enemy presence, we, Snake 1, with James as point man leading the formation, head down to the north sector. We designated an ERP (Emergency Rendezvous Point) in the way, in case we have to back up. Our Comms. Specialist Tkila started to report problems in the communications with the other 2 snakes. The terrain was the problem and as we were going deeper into that valley, communications were going worse until there was silence. Last time hearing from Snake 3 they report 3 Taliban on foot, patrolling the south road. Hopefully, we still had communication with our sniper team. Dreis told James to speed up a little the approaching, the meeting may be about to take place and we had to take the largest route. James took a good path through a woody hillside, so we take could move invisibly toward the road intersection.

Just a few minutes later, we clearly saw the place. The sniper team reported movement downhill but neither Panzer nor Nazgul could confirm whether it was friend or foe.

We soon found out…

SFAGDreis spotted 3 tangos on patrol around the area and reported the rest of the team. Tkila tried to contact the other Snakes while James took photographs of the enemy patrol. Those guys may be setting up a perimeter to secure the Taliban meeting but something strange was going on. We had been there for a few minutes and there was no trace of Warlord, his guards or the vehicles. Even worse, then the 3 tangos got out of sight. They couldn’t have got far but when we were trying to figure that out we heard shots behind us. We first thought that they could have engaged Snake 2, which were supposed to be in the other side of the hillside, at our 3. We heard another burst when James got shot from nowhere. We all turn back and we couldn’t see a thing. Finally we saw our sniper team up the hill, they seemed to have engaged the Taliban patrol but those guys were all over the place. Dreis spotted 2 of them at our 12, approaching our position. He shared some fire bursts with them but got hit too. Things were going from bad to worse, no communication with the other Snakes, 2 wounded and our sniper team having problems. We later knew via radio that Panzer took some of them out but got also hit. How many of them were there? Tkila tried to repel the Taliban ambush, while Polo, our team medic, was attending James to don’t bleed out. (According to the event rules, you bleed out 15 minutes after getting shot)

James was being treated with intravenous physiological saline by Polo but unfortunately Tkila’s covering fire was not enough. Some of them may got hit but they finally got around our position and Polo and Tkila got wounded. Our sniper team couldn’t alert us, we couldn’t alert the other Snakes and we couldn’t request backup either. Our first enemy proved to be the communication problems. Snake 1 was taken out.

Fortunately, after being neutralized, Snake 2 entered in the scene and began a firefight with the Taliban. We could finally count around 6 of them. Thanks to this we could request a Medevac on a near road. 10 mikes later we were inside a pick up heading up for the base.

There we took a short break, to eat something quickly and check weapons and ammunition. We were soon called to meet the ISAF command, in order to be deployed again.

International Airsoft - SpainThis time the target will be their main base, located at the top of a hill, 2km away from the base. Intel reported a 50-man force, in a hard to assault position. Previous infantry attacks couldn’t even get close to their base, so it wasn’t going to be easy. In fact it was going to be kind of a suicide mission. The plan was to split the ISAF forces in two, so they would have two open fronts and may let a door open in one of them. Snake 1 and 3 from Special Operations will be attacking first, from a nearby position south east the Taliban camp, in order to create a distraction and gain time for the main force to arrive from the northwest.

During the trip we contact a Taliban force so we had to get out of the pick-ups and neutralize them. So we did!
Then we got to the insertion zone and split up and took positions. Taliban scouts spotted us from the distance, it was impossible to cover completely our insertion but that was the plan, having their forces toward us, focused on our flank. We waited for the ISAF infantry to be nearby to begin the assault. While waiting, we tried to trigger a Taliban ambush on us but although they knew we were around there, they maintained defensive positions.

Finally, the green light came via radio and both teams begin the assault. Snake 3 got contact first, we could hear some intense shooting at our 9. We tried to take advantage of it and crawl up the hill. At some point near their camp there were no more trees or high vegetation to get cover, so we had to proceed with a low profile approach. 3 of us managed to get close to their main tent, while the other 3 had us covered. Too close now, we did the first shot.

SFAG Green BeretsIn the right flank, Dreis, Tkila and Panzer got right into their backyard and many of them got wounded. In the left flank, James, Polo and Nazgul were having some problems, they got pinned down behind a container. In the right side things were getting bad too, the Taliban were regrouping nearby and they were bigger in number. Our only hope was the ISAF infantry, since we lost contact with Snake 3 and we assume they were experiencing problems too. We all try to defend our position and gain some time but we were right in the lion’s den. We got three wounded and tried to back up. Only Nazgul could get out of that and took some more tangos in the process. We had to abort, we request a medevac in the extraction zone and got out of there before we get annihilated.

We got reported that the ISAF infantry couldn’t get the closer we wanted and expected. The terrain was very muddy, they had to leave the vehicles and proceed on foot with the Taliban in a higher position.

We got evacuated to the base. There we meet a war reporter, Nacho, who was covering the events. He told us that the base had being instigated all day long from the nearby mountains.

We taking a short rest, suddenly a loud sound got our attention. Mortars!

The main building was blown up, literally, and we were force to run into open ground to avoid getting hit (note: mortars were controlled explosions with sound and smoke inside the base). This time all the ISAF forces were there and we clearly saw a group of Taliban running toward an empty building outside the base at the other side of the main road. We all knew that if they took that place and regroup there, will had a really bad time.

Our team ran for them first, leading the counter attack. We run into open ground, overtaking their approach. We took some of them out, while having two wounded but our team medic, Polo, did a great job and we could all get patched up and continue towards the building.

SFAG Green BeretsSoon, other ISAF units were behind us and giving us support from the left flank. Another group of Taliban managed to get inside the building from behind. They were well entrenched, but they weren’t much, we could do it. And so we do, be breach through the main door of the perimeter, setting a team giving fire to the doors and windows, while the rest went round the house from the right flank, uncovered. We got some wounded but we finally got to the building. We throw some grenades inside and then entered through the windows. The main corridor became a deadly trap for anyone, we got many casualties but room by room we begin to gain control. Some of them finally escaped but we succeed in stopping their assault. That was too close!

And that was our “Day in Afghanistan”.

We had a very good time and we give thanks to Aracos Ops for the organization of such a great event.

About The Team
TEAM PHOTO with membersSpecial Forces Airsoft Group, AKA SFAG Green Berets, we are a Spanish MilSim team based in Madrid. We’ve been playing airsoft in national and international MilSim events since 2009, in both Spain and Portugal. We reenact the US Army 5th Special Forces Group “Green Berets”, we respect their equipment standards, patches, structure and tactics (always the best we know, and the best we can afford to).

We are currently 8 members and each one has his responsibility in the team, inside and outside the battlefield. Every operator has his role and develops his skills according to his discipline. To keep up fit and ready to be deployed anywhere anytime, when we don’t see attractive MilSim events upcoming we just set up our own trainings. This is when we train for both direct action and greenside operations: MOUT and CQB, sniper course, land navigation, communications, formation and movement, shooting and reloading drills, MEDEVAC-CASEVAC, camouflage techniques, night operations… we love training and we keep doing it all the time.

The fun part of MilSim is that airsoft is much more than just shooting bbs. There are tons of more things to do, to learn, to practice and the limit is where you decide it to be. As in real life military, as hard and uncomfortable training is, the better you will do the “D day”. We love what we do.

Team members are:
SF01 Miguel Angel AKA “Dreis” as team leader. Rifleman, trained sniper and usual pointman, is one of the most experienced SFAG operators, specialized in tactics and greenside operations.
SF06 Gabriel AKA “James.K” as second commander. Rifleman, CQB specialist and casual pointman. James is a very versatile operator, ready to lead the formation when needed.
SF04 Rubén AKA “Panzer” as team sniper. Also a trained rifleman and an experienced operator in open ground, Panzer also takes care of the team’s weapon maintenance.
SF05 Gianfranco AKA “Polo” as demolitions expert. Trained rifleman and an experienced team medic, Polo has proven to be a talented and very technical operator.
SF02 Agustín AKA “Micro” as support gunner. Also a communications expert and with military experience, Micro is vital for the team when things don’t go as planned.
SF07 Nacho as team medic. Rifleman, war reporter, and trained sharpshooter, a PJ once, Nacho is capable of conducting a MEDEVAC no matter what.
12 Juanto AKA “Nazgul” as SF candidate. Nazgul has proven to be a good rifleman and a valuable sharpshooter in recent operations. Patient and technical in the field.
13 Daniel AKA “Tkila” as SF candidate. Fast and decided, has proven his experience in combat and have had a great job as communications specialist in recent operations.

Thanks to the following for their pictures: Nacho Lillo, Gabriel Somolinos and Samuel Gómez.