Players that showed up early Friday evening for Operation End War: Eleventh Hour, were put through some SWAT training basics with local SWAT members, Larry and Randy. The course began with stacking practice, followed by room clearing techniques. Players were taught that to clear a building successfully, they must “flow like water” through each room. Special emphasis was put on staying tight in your stack in order to maximize the team’s effectiveness.
On the trainees’ first live fire exercise, both SWAT members were holed up in the largest building on the field while the trainees stacked up outside one of the doors. As the players entered, both SWAT members had little difficulty in picking them off one by one as they entered loosely through the door. Sheer numbers eventually overwhelmed the SWAT member in the courtyard while an alternate strategy was used against the SWAT member further inside the building as the trainees entered through an alternate window in the back, knocking him out before he could turn to confront them. Unfortunately, the trainees had suffered well over 50% casualties to just two SWAT members.
The trainees were gathered back up in the courtyard of the building to discuss what they had done correctly and what could stand some improvement. On the second attempt, the trainees kept tighter in their stack and thus were able to put more firepower into the room in a shorter time frame than on the previous attempt, thus eliminating the SWAT members with far fewer casualties.
The trainees were also tasked with making an open approach to a hostile-held building while under fire. Trainees kept good discipline and worked with their teammates to put fire down on the building as they approached it from two angles. While there are different schools of thought on how to react within your stack in the open once a team comes under fire, it was suggested that the stack spread out to some extent and then collapse back in as it prepared to make entry.
The trainees were then educated on basic squad movements in the open when the enemy is not hiding in a building and how to react to gunfire. As part of this exercise, the trainees were taught how to look for out-of-place items in the terrain in order to spot the enemy. Players lined up at the edge of the field as one of the SWAT members hid in the weeds. The players sent the other SWAT member to each location that they suspected that he might be hiding. After several failed attempts, the group would be told to move forward a bit and try again. Eventually the SWAT member in hiding was asked to come out when he could not be located. The plan at this point was to repeat the exercise with live fire and in smaller groups, but unfortunately a thunderstorm in the area made this too dangerous to attempt and the group instead gathered inside one of the administration buildings for some basic Q & A.
After the storm passed and night had fallen, several players who still had an interest in doing some paintballing were given glow necklaces and some smaller games were set up in the field’s “town” area. After several rounds of basic elimination, SWAT training resumed for these players who were then tasked with locating and eliminating a SWAT member hiding out in the “beach” area. The players used excellent communication and coordination to hunt down the SWAT member (dressed all in black) and eliminate him each time.
A huge thank you to Larry and Randy for their assistance in this event! We were very pleased to see several players putting the previous nights training into use during this event!