The Importance of stealth In airsoft

Discussion in 'General Airsoft Discussion' started by K0W, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. K0W

    K0W New Member

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    Hello guys, i'm writing this today due to relative boredom while going through a position shift at work. so i've got some time off.

    A bit about myself. My relevant non-airsoft experience includes copious amount of firearms experience and training mainly for CCW and combative shotgun. I've been an airsofter now for give or take 10 years. I've played in backyard skirmishes to organized sponsored competitive events. i'm part of a 4 man team based In west Virginia. We generally play competitive wood games and are part of a larger group based in the tri-state area. on this team i play the role of the "recon" if you will. Out main field that 70% of our games are played on is a wooded 40 acre lot. So my perspective in the post is based on that of a woodland environment and competitive small team play.

    I would like to discuss the importance of Stealth in Airsoft gameplay.

    First off id like to address that the majority of players i see usually stem from the gaming crowd. which is fine. its a great gateway into what we see now as the productive and valuable sport of Airsoft. However the gaming background gives a certain expectation when going into airsoft which consciously or sub-consciously people tend to gravitate towards. This, as i'm sure most of you are aware is the expectation of fast paced, break neck combat, power slides, dolphin dives, knife kills, and etc etc.

    What i see in alot of players is their insatiable need to run into combat head first, sprinting into the action basically mimicking the games in which they developed the actual interest from. Sometimes this tactic works. ive seen it work in CQB games and some indoor games. However its more or less great timing on a "would-be" planned rush. Sometimes people just have the impeccable timing to get a great back-rage on someone or make an amazing flank out of their impromptu rushing. However heavily outweighing these exceptions are the times in which people will push ahead and try to run a game at a higher tempo and end up either dying or raining hell on their team. once again id like to stress that most of my experience is based in a woodland environment.


    This post is to hopefully make some of you faster paced and "rushier" players take a knee and think.


    When playing in wooded games your general small team tactics should be based in a fluid-like movement system. In our games we almost always split up. which most would find a mistake in itself. however Two players on my team are very good at keeping attention and holding down areas, while me and my "partner" are more keen on movement and scouting. We tend to run tactics that involve distraction, holding and flanking or ambushes. These tactics are backed up in multiple accounts from old military handbooks from multiple countries. guerrilla warfare is a very potent tool to keep in your arsenal and when starting with or left with a small team as ours it becomes your life-line.


    To bring an example into this wall of text let me talk about our last game. it was our 4 man team vs a 5 man team. We set this game to be had in the western part of our field which was wooded but had a large straight trail that went vertically down the length of the field on the western edge. The enemy team started on the top of the trail in the west while we started on the bottom in the east. Immediately we split up. Our 2 man assault team went north on the outer tree line to move as quick as the could to parallel themselves with the enemys expected position while Me and my partner aka our "recon" or "scout" team went straight through the dense wooded area separating us from the trail. when we finally arrived near the trail we took a knee and listened. we were concealed about 2 meters away from the trail and waited 30 seconds to check for any signs if we've been heard or anyone has made contact.


    (The 30 second rule is the first id like to address. Its vital that after you do anything even slightly risky that you take that knee, weapons ready and wait. 30 seconds is roughly how long it should takefor you to decide whether you've been made or not. we use this in many cases and its a valuable trick to know.)


    After we decided we were clear we made comms with our assault team to confirm their position. We proceeded to move very slowly to push out enough to check the Trail for the enemy. the trail is about 5 meters across and completely straight, we have small plywood sections and brush piles littered about it for cover but generally you can see straight up and down it in one glance. i was the first to push out while my partner stayed back to watch my back and cover me. as soon as i positioned to look out i spotted 3 of the enemy team advancing down the trail presumably to flank us. This part is important to understand and note. I was sticking out just enough and they were just so close that if they were looking for me they would see me clear as day. let me emphasize that, IF they were looking for me. however as soon as i saw them i did what some might call the unthinkable. i froze still until they split off a bit to check a side path and then a slowly sank into a prone position.


    Whats important to note in this example is that when faced with the immediate threat of being seen and killed i didn't try to hide. The biggest mistake everyone will make is when they think someone can or will see them they will immediately hide, and i get that. the feeling to instantly duck down and hide is almost irresistible. however two points that are valuable remember is that human eyes are attracted to movement. the faster and more unexpected it is he more likely they will see it. another thing is that they weren't looking at me or expecting to see me there. their eyes were glazing the scene around them looking in more obvious areas than near a brush pile near that one log. Human eyes work best with peripheral vision. the fact that they weren't looking in my direction was more threatening than if they were. peripheral vision almost always picks up unexpected movement as a defense against our primal friends way back in the olden days. so i waited patiently until they checked the side path that i knew they were getting close to before i slunk back down into my spot. if they didn't i would have had to improvise a distraction either a rock throw or having one of my assault team buddies take a random shot or lob a random firecracker off (yes we use those), maybe i would have gotten away with slipping down slowly enough to not be seen. who knows?


    The camo i was wearing was basic to say the least. worn out old multicam pants, A foliage green long sleeve shirt, tan chest rig and a tan shemagh (for sweat reasons, not fashion reasons), however the simple action. or lack thereof. Of me freezing and not moving means they didn't even come close to seeing me. Its very important to understand that Alot of covert movement is a mind game. its all about overpowering your fear or suspicions and knowing how others minds work and determining who is thinking what. once your able to get past such things you will realize how absent minded alot of people are when they simply aren't expecting you to be there.




    Continued below.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  2. K0W

    K0W New Member

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    Continued

    At this time Once i was back into position and out of danger of being seen a nudged myself slowly up to a fallen tree which had about a 13 inch gap of air between it and the ground. i tucked myself neatly next to it prone and positioned my gun into the gap of air so i could just barely see the trail in front of me. This is where teamwork comes into play. its vital that you and your team have silent hand signals down. you don't want to be that guy trying to mime things to your buddy when the patrol passes. I was able to tell my partner to hold who was in a low crouch surrounded by bushes and trees effectively giving him concealment to the unknowing eye. We both waited while the patrol was essentially on top of us. At this point we are no more than a few feet from the trail while we wait.


    This is another Psychological encumbrance of stealth. We were Exposed. I'm sure none of you need to be introduced to the difference between cover and concealment however ill still give a basic explanation. In cover you are not only concealed but you are also relatively safe from fire. however in concealment you are just that. concealed you cannot be seen within reason however you can still easily be shot. Even though i was in the dirt aiming under a tree about half of my body was just hanging out plain as day. and my partner while hard to see was worse off than me. He was farther back, however he was basically in the open. all the trees he was near were smaller in diameter than an arm. so as they helped him stay concealed they provided no cover. We were very literally inches away from this patrol as they passed, one of them almost stepped on my guns flash-hider when walking by. Its very hard for someone to sit still focused on the enemy weapons ready while they walk by. however if we were to attack then and there we would have had trouble there were 3 of them, just as well equipped as us if not better and they could easily pivot to address the threat.


    The optimum time to attack is when the enemy is just passing. when their backs are at an angle where they need to do a full pivot to be able to fire at you but not too far passed to be obstructing visual contact with one another (being in a single file line for example) it would be preferable to be in the right side of the enemy when doing an ambush since (as long as their right handed they would have to completely turn to address you however we were on their left meaning their barrels were already on us when they passed. Another important thing to note is to never look directly at them, i tend to look at their boots or gun. if you look at heads and specifically eyes humans have almost a 6th sense to this and will naturally look in your direction this is actually addressed in several military handbooks on sentry removal. so i'm not crazy. Once they were in the ideal spot for us to engage i gave the hand signal of who will take who followed by a three second count with my hand. We were both used to this and as such instinctively knew exactly when to fire. this is the result and importance of training and playing with the same people over and over. we fire simultaneously immediately take out two, the one farthest up took cover behind a brush pile in what looked like a swan dive. very elegant. the two who died look absolutely astonished. since neither one of us had moved yet and i was aiming under a log the people we killed who were starring in our direction still couldn't see us. we were using a one tag-in system this game and we could see the one behind cover trying to communicate with the dead. they couldn't see us so assumed we couldn't see them and started miming that it was probably clear to try and tag someone in. a few seconds later Mr. Swan dive ran out to tag his friend in. naturally i let him tag his buddy in and i shot them both claiming that extra kill for the fun of it. My partner immediately called in our confrontation and let our team know there were 2 left.


    After the engagement non of them knew where we were and started calling out to us and joking. we did our ritualistic 30 second wait and then added another 30 seconds to that considering the shooting involved. around this time we heard our assault team engage and we called in a confirmation that the rest of the enemy team were there. once confirmed we started to get up and out. we scared the hell out of the patrol we killed since in their banter and joking they assumed we were in ghillie suits and hidden somewhere farther back or in the trees. so they looked surprised to see 2 guys get up from their positions wearing less camo than them in a completely different spot than what they were looking at. we slowly progressed up the trail knowing that the remainders of the enemy team and ours were still at it from the gun fire we still heard. we heard two guys yell "HIT!" and right after on comms we got a clear followed by a starter gun firing off and a very loud yell of "Game over" we regrouped and discussed our experiences while walking back to the staging area. when everyone was back we couldn't help but laugh as that patrol we killed talked **** about how they didn't get a single shot of because they were shot in the back.


    The entire game lasted about 10 minutes.


    The point of this wall of text i've written is to stress the importance of stealth in competitive woodland games. as much as people want to run around rambo style its historically proven that correctly formulated small team tactics can completely devastate enemy teams who started advantageous with better gear or more numbers. Just remember that gear isnt everything if you are able to get close enough and execute correct tactics. remember to be familiar with your team and know hand signals. And lastly Just play often. practice makes perfect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015

  3. CheckpointLima141

    CheckpointLima141 Member

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    4
    Gonzales
    I've pulled this in backyard skirmishes with friends (who have about 5 acres of woods)
    While I was the only one in camo and the others in somewhat dark colors we can across our OpFor and let them walk by before we back traced ourselves and ambushed them at a farther point back
     
  4. I_Am_Coopa

    I_Am_Coopa New Member Supporting Member

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    Escanaba
    Great write up, I tell people who try the same strategy over and get hit, try flanking. Charging forward like crazy can be effective at times, violence of action is key. But so is the element of surprise.

    Being stealthy is much more fun in my opinion. I don't get many kills, but I can provide intel as well as a good distraction.

    The last game I played, me and my friend went off to locate patrols while our other two squad mates went to take out the VIP.

    Outside of getting one stray guy patrolling, we didn't take out any other targets. What we did do was sneak behind them. Our squad mates radioed in a distraction request. We popped off some shots behind them.

    They bought it, our mates got the VIP and we won. Stealth can help a ton even if it doesn't directly involve taking out targets.

    Plus, it's always fun getting the question "How in the hell did you guys get behind us?"
     
  5. CheckpointLima141

    CheckpointLima141 Member

    510
    4
    Gonzales
    It's funny at my friends Bc we do it just for fun (and occasionally anger management lol) to hunt down the other team and just watch them walk right past us then scare them after lighting them up
     
  6. Grudge

    Grudge New Member

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    Winnipeg
    Fantastic analysis of a very good strategic plan.

    This is very much how our team handles most games.

    I'm part of the assaulter team, I'm big and don't move fast, but I know how to keep the enemy's attention on me but not get hit. I usually have between 1 and 3 guys with me. Two of our team mates are, what we call the fast reaction/Recon group. They are the stealthy but fast guys.

    And as I've said in many posts, comms are king. We have gone 5 of us vs 10-15 on the other team. We had comms and they did not. And we've won.

    One of the best things to do with comms, is make sure you are clear, concise and brief with your messages.

    When we play at one field, that has a lot of open ground between objectives. I will stay back and play spotter. Calling out enemy movements and numbers. One game (6 vs 6) we rolled through the other team 12 times (it was a respawn game) while only taking 3 kills ourselves. All through proper concealment and comms. No one else talked, which would have given away their positions, only I was and they couldn't get to me.

    It actually got to be very boring after a while, so we rolled into their respawn killed them all and called the game. They were not happy. Tried to tell us that using comms was cheating. LOL
     
  7. K0W

    K0W New Member

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    I'ts good to hear that others share my views on this. Its an often overlooked subject and it can overall improve ones experience in airsoft when you add new tactics to your play style. yet most seem to limit themselves to run and gun tactics.
     
  8. Grudge

    Grudge New Member

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    Winnipeg
    It involves a change in mind set. I no longer have the view of personal kills or personal objectives when I play. I now view everything from a team perspective. If my task allows us to complete an objective then it is a team win. When anyone gets a kill it is a team kill. We become one airsofter in many locations. LOL

    In my opinion this is how you make a successful team.

    The only times we have be taken down is when someone decides to be teh hero, or the lone wolf. It is why we usually don't like having random players play on our side. Or we will team them up with one of our guys and keep them within our team tactics. If they don't want to do that then we let them loose and don't worry about them.

    They may get mad as we may not support their move but they usually come around after being killed a dozen or so times.
     
  9. I_Am_Coopa

    I_Am_Coopa New Member Supporting Member

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    Escanaba
    Beautifully said. All my friends brag about having a good k/d in a match. Just like video games, k/d is irrelevant when there is an objective other than killing each other.

    If I don't get a kill, but at least distract and provide intel, I consider that more helpful than anything. I love nothing more than hearing the magic words coming over the radio "objective secured/VIP down"
     
  10. Bulldawg26

    Bulldawg26 Active Member

    1,197
    14
    Atlanta
    I couldn't agree with you more on the team mindset. The number/ratio of kills is of little importance. The issue is whether the team accomplishes the objective assigned to it. Sometimes the best plan is one where you are successful in securing the objective without engaging the enemy. That is where stealth becomes particularly important.

    Like you, we have had issues when random players play on our side or when people we don't know get assigned to our squad. Nothing like having players we don't know insert themselves as the #2 or #3 man in our stack. When we hit the room and the shooting starts, they stop in the door. When that happens, the guys ahead of them get "killed" and the rest of our team can't breach past the knuckleheads in the funnel. Now we don't breach unless everyone in our stack are team members. I can't tell you how many times I have seen things go south because someone decided to go loan wolf or run toward gunfire like a dog chasing a squirrel.

    We have also found that assigning team members to roles to which they are best suited really strengthens the team as a whole. This is especially true for leadership, SAW and AT launcher slots. Nothing feels as good as having your team do well because each member performs their job seamlessly.
     
  11. Grudge

    Grudge New Member

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    Winnipeg
    Totally on point.

    We played yesterday. One of the guys on the other team was smack talking about having radios and said that if you have skill you don't need radios.

    We "Recycled" there team over 10 times before we took their base, all because of having comms. My job was to call out the enemies movements. :rolleyes:

    Were was he? He spent and hour crawling down the one side in the bush to reach our base, game was over before he got there.

    Then he talked about how we cheated. Then started in about our guns being hot. none of which are, we just don't run crap frankenguns like he was.

    Fun field, crappy quality of players to go up against.:(