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Wyche Innovation Centre, Walwyn Road, Upper Colwall, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6PL Tel: 01684 878 003 Web: www.airsoft-action.co.uk © Calibre Publishing Limited 2015 Distribution: Distributed to the newstrade by Comag Magazine Marketing, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE T: 01895 433 800 Copyright © Calibre Publishing Limited 2015. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express permission of the publisher in writing. The opinion of the writers do not necessarily reﬂect those of the publisher. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions prior to print.
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PLAYER PROFILE: MATT THE MUSKETEER
SNIPER: SERGEANT DAN MILLS
CONTENTS OCTOBER MARCH 2015 2014
AIRSOFT ACTION – OCTOBER 2015 6 NEWS What’s happening in the World of Airsoft 8 ROGUE’S GALLERY Cool photos taken by Airsoft Action readers. 11 THE ADVENTURES OF MAG Mag continues his adventures in Airsoft Action’s exclusive cartoon. 12 ARMOURY: G&G GEC36 After releasing almost every other conceivable variant of riﬂe under the sun Guay Guay ﬁnally release their G36 under the name GEC36. Scott Allan asks “Should you care?” 16 ARMOURY: ARES VZ.58 Following last issue’s “Loaded or Unloaded” feature, Iggy Roberts takes a closer look at one of the weapons used in the TV series “Strike Back”. 20 ARMOURY: ASG CZ P-07/P-09 Jerry Noone gets to grips with fully licenced airsoft versions of the latest variants from Action Sport Games in the form of the CZ P-07 and P-09. 24 EVENT: ALL WALES AIRSOFT 2015 Kelly “Femme Fatale” Hardwick reports from the recent All Wales Airsoft Event, hosted by Midwales Airsoft. 30 SITE: AIRSOFT PLANTATION Not all plantations grow cotton or tobacco, as Les Lee found out as he reports from a site just outside Billericay, in Essex. 35 COLD WAR WARRIORS: US CAVALRY, VIETNAM 1970 In his continuing series, Gadge Harvey turns his attention to one of the most hard-fought and bitter conﬂicts in recent history, Vietnam. 38 INSIDE AIRSOFT: BADGERTAC Les Lee heads to Buckinghamshire to meet a couple of airsoft’s most colourful characters. 42 GITAG: KUSTOM KYDEX HOLSTERS Got a new pistol model where holsters are not readily available? Want a holster that is absolutely unique to you for a very speciﬁc loadout? Jerry Noone says that this is the very time to… GIVE IT TO A GEEK! 46 ARMOURY: SHOTGUN HEAD-TO-HEAD Jerry Noone takes a look at two models replicating the venerable Remington 870, the best-selling shotgun of all time! 50 SNAPSHOT: SECTION 8 AIRSOFT Angelo DV gives us a “snapshot” of a site in Scotland where he was impressed by more than just the size of the area. 53 LOADED OR UNLOADED: FIRST TIME IN ‘NAM? Jerry Noone delves into the world of Vietnam airsoft and how you can get involved without breaking the bank. 58 FEATURE: MESH EYE AND FACE PROTECTION Gadge looks into the pros and cons of mesh eye and face protection. 61 DEBATE: LEARNING FROM THE ARMY Following a recent report from where a group of
airsofters had a day’s training from members of 126 Field Company REME, Gadge asks “What can we learn from the professionals?” 64 AIRSOFT ACTION BOOK REVIEWS Gadge takes a look at a few new titles that will not only be of general interest to most of our readers but also pretty handy when perfecting a new airsoft “impression” to take onto the skirmish ﬁeld. 67 PLAYER PROFILE: MATT THE MUSKETEER Kelly Hardwick interviews the YouTuber behind one of the UK’s most popular Airsoft channels, Matt “The Musketeer” Widdowson. 68 EVENT PREVIEW: AIRSOFT SURGEON EURO CHAMPIONSHIP Nige previews the 3rd Airsoft Surgeon European Championship, which takes place from the 11th 13th September. 72 SKILLS: TACTICAL CARBINE – PART 2 In the second part of his series, Andy Nightingale of Pro-Tact Shooting runs through some of the basic functions and drills. 74 KIT & KABOODLE Richard Bell gives us his regular round up of what’s caught his eye kit-wise recently. 76 SURVIVAL: WILD FOOD Survival specialist, Paul Yelland, opens “Mother Nature’s Snack Shop” and tells us what we can eat while we are skirmishing in the woodlands of the UK. 80 SNIPER: SERGEANT DAN MILLS After a series lasting nearly two years, “Sniper One” closes his column by writing about a sniper he knows intimately. 82 COMPETITION: WIN A G&G CM16SRL WORTH £200! Retailing at around £200 the G&G CM16 SRL represents excellent value for money and now, thanks to our good friends at Guay Guay, we are giving a lucky reader the chance to win one. 84 WORLD WAR ONE: BATTLE OF ST. JULIEN Dan Mills continues his journey through World War 1 with the 2nd Battle of Ypres, where gas was frequently deployed by the Germans prior to an attack. 87 BOOK REVIEW: WE FOUGHT AT ARNHEM Kris Roberts writes about a book that follows the stories of three British Paratroopers as they faced the deadly challenges of what has been marked in history as a glorious defeat. 88 BILLY BASICS: THE RAID ON ENTEBBE AIRFIELD Billy continues his series of famous raids that could make good scenarios for airsoft, with a look at one of the most audacious hostage rescues ever. 94 SITE DIRECTORY If you’re looking for somewhere to play, you’re sure to ﬁnd it here. 98 DEALER LISTING www.airsoft-action.co.uk
UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP!
SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE HEARD that at the end of 2014 MAW in Melton Mobray was given some new blood. Since that time Mark, Phil and Nilla have been working hard, building on what was already in place with a tidy up of the existing game ﬁelds, the introduction of newer game ideas and themes, separate Ladies and Gents toilets and a general injection of enthusiasm! Both Mark and Phil have been players and more recently marshalling on the site since day one and jumped at the chance to step up to the plate. Nilla has over 10 years of Airsoft playing and running games experience in colder climates and between them, with the assistance of the superb marshalling team, have some bold plans for the future. This September 13th they will be hosting a “Shoot the Piggy” day, which is essentially an early birthday, with hog roast, introduction games, a rafﬂe, shooting competition and spare food for those that want to bring family along for a bit of a social alongside the games. Booking for this event is essential as running out of food is not on the agenda! Full details and booking information for this event and further games are on their website www. midlandsairsoftwargames. co.uk, on Facebook or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASG appoint a UK Sales Manager NEWS FROM ASG: Paul Wignell has recently joined our growing company as ASG UK Sales Manager. Paul brings with him a Military/International competition shooting background and a wealth of Sales, Retail & Business Development knowledge. Based in UK but a regular visitor to our ofﬁces in Denmark, Paul is helping us expand ASG business through the development of the UK Airsoft market, as well as continuing to promote Action Sport Games (ASG) in the Replica Firearms, Air Riﬂe & Airsoft business scene. If you would like to speak to Paul please call 07495 221495 or mail on pw@actionsportgames. com (Ed’s note: Many congrats on your appointment Paul, from all at Airsoft Action. We look forwards to working with you to promote airsoft in all its many forms here in the UK.)
ANOTHER AIRSOFT ACTION COMPETITION WINNER! MOST PEOPLE, WHEN THEY ARE TOLD they’ve just won something, usually say something like “Me? I never win anything!” but not the winner of the Force Core 119 Competition we ran a couple of issues ago. What he said was “Sorry I’ve not called back sooner, I’ve been on the beach all day!” (it’s a hard life for some…) Nonetheless, David Langdown was delighted to be told that the riﬂe on which Scott Allan commented “the externals are spot on, the adjustable stock is positive and solid-feeling and the whole riﬂe feels like it is well made. The 2.4 kilo weight means it isn’t the heaviest either, which
is great news for those longer summer days of playing... The polymer stock and pistol grip are similar to their real counterparts in terms of look and feel and will survive the roughest of game players” would soon be winging its way to somewhere near Southampton – along with our congratulations. On Page 82 of this issue we’re giving away a G&G CM16, so send your entry in and you never know, I might be calling you in a few weeks with some good news! (We didn’t have time to get a photo of David with the FC-119 before we went to print, so here’s a picture of him in his usual gear.)
AA GALLERY READERS’ PHOTOS
All pics on this page: CERBERUS AIRSOFT by Andy Bennison
O AT GROUND ZER READY TO ROLL of Ed Crooks Photo courtesy
KJW M700 TH AT GORILLA TANK IS HPA FROM A 3000PS I USING A RED REGULATOR LINE AT SKIRMISH AIRSOFT Photo courtes y of Ross the Airsoft Sloth
M-A01 & J-A02 FROM BRAVO 46 IN THE MIS T! Photo courtesy of Jack
AA Gallery READERS’ PHOTOS
’S COM3 SITE’S SEAN AT R.I.F.T 100th GAME of Suzi Hudson Photo courtesy
Information LEE SHIPSTONE, LUK E SHIPSTONE AND PAU L SHAW AT MATLOCK COMBAT GAMES Photo courtesy of Lee Shipstone
THE ADVENTURES OF MAG
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HITTING THE G&G SPOT! AFTER RELEASING ALMOST EVERY OTHER CONCEIVABLE VARIANT OF RIFLE UNDER THE SUN GUAY GUAY FINALLY RELEASE THEIR G36 UNDER THE NAME GEC36. SCOTT ALLAN ASKS “SHOULD YOU CARE?”
THE G36 IS THE STAPLE DIET of most Airsoft sites as a hire riﬂe, which does seem to put some people off buying them. However, with a version 3 gearbox and solid design maybe more people should consider them and that, coupled with G&G’s unquestionable quality, surely makes this a “win-win” riﬂe!
WHO ARE G&G? G&G are a Taiwanese giant who produce some of the best Airsoft riﬂes available (as well as a few lemons). They have two product ranges to allow for all users to own, love and play with. Think of it a little like an Audi; you can have a 1.6 engine basic model or the 4.2 litre with all the trimmings. Are both perfectly good cars? Of course they are. It is all about choice and G&G provide this – often too much choice that confuses the customer and reviewers like myself equally. “Top Tech” is the upper echelon of the range while the “Combat Machine” is the lower tier (but should never be scorned lest ye be damned by high speed white death!). The GEC36 seems to fall into the Top Tech range although it doesn’t have the tightbore inner barrel we see on their Gen 2/3 range. This has the name GEC36 and not G36, apparently to get around the licensing and trademarks owned by Umarex and 12
the dark, evil Lawyers who eat small companies for using logos and names incorrectly. As great as G&G are, this is a relatively unexciting riﬂe for them to produce. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the overall system they have developed, they haven’t done anything exciting with it either. Look at it this way… Say you’re chatting up a woman in a bar and there are two guys queued up to speak to her in front of you. The ﬁrst says “I’m a doctor and drive a Porsche”, the second says “I’m a doctor and drive a Lamborghini” then you rock up and produce “I watched House and drive a Focus”. Now while House is brilliant and the Focus is a ﬁne car, you aren’t going to trump a doctor with a sports car! I feel G&G have missed a trick; they could’ve produced a Gen 3 GEC36 with tightbore and MOSFET and been the only company to release one with this spec. The spec is ﬁne - but that’s all. Anyway I digress slightly… On with the review!
A LITTLE ABOUT THE REAL G36 It was developed and manufactured by the world famous Heckler & Koch in the late 20th century, to replace the booming 7.62mm G3 riﬂes in the same way the British shed the 7.62mm
armoury G&G GEC36
SLR in favour of the 5.56mm L85 platform. The G36 ﬁres from a closed rotary bolt and is gas operated and as a “standard” riﬂe design, it shares common internal parts throughout all the variants. The folding stock is light weight and tough, yet allows the riﬂe length to be reduced dramatically for vehicle use and storage. The German army uses the riﬂe today in theatres such as Afghanistan. Additionally British police forces use it, as do dozens of forces in other countries, proving the platform is reliable. The magazine is a 30 round polymer magazine, the same capacity as the L85 but the polymer magazine is more like a PMAG, very tough and very light. The design of the G36 magazine does allow for magazines to be clipped together allowing for faster magazine changes. The 20mm top rail allows for easy attaching of scopes and red dots, unlike the L85 system that required a conversion rail.
BACK TO THE AIRSOFT VERSION It may sound like I’ve bashed the GEC36 a fair amount and it isn’t really valid because it is a great riﬂe. First off it weighs a ton (in a good way) and the polymer ﬁnish is up there with the real thing, however there are some odd things - and I say “odd” simply because they’re neither
good nor bad. The pistol grip is the main one; it feels more “square” than any other version. For me it just felt slightly more foreign than I was expecting. The cocking handle is by far the best out of all the G36s I’ve ever seen. Locking back and releasing with a satisfying clack may not be much use during the game but it is a very nice touch. The rest of the design is very familiar, from the folding stock to the extensive rail placement that allows all 20mm devices to be attached quickly and easily. The magazines appear to be the Tokyo Marui compatible type although in my experience some third party magazines are not always crosscompatible, even though they should be. G&G generally don’t make a bad performing riﬂe these days and you cannot go wrong with the G36 design. So what did G&G do well and badly? As you would expect, the all-round performance is solid and fair. Sporting the green hop rubber similar to the M14 range the hop system as a whole doesn’t look overly pretty but it works very well. The hop up unit pushes up against the gearbox that ensures a good seal and stable FPS. The adjustment is smooth and easy with the locking bolt - just don’t stick your ﬁnger into the ejection port while you hit the release catch! It also comes with the G&G upgraded motor as standard
armoury G&G GEC36
that will provide a snappy trigger in single shot and a good rate of ﬁre in fully automatic. The worst-feeling part is the ﬁre selector, I am unsure if it was just the model I reviewed but it was anything but smooth. In fact it may have been the grittiest and roughest ﬁre selector I’ve ever used. It works perfectly ﬁne it just isn’t very smooth. Looking at the features it is clear to see that this is a very standard-looking G36 - this is not the worst thing in the world but it isn’t headline making either. The upgraded motor is worth a good few quid that makes the price tag easier on the eyes. At £225 it is a good value and fair price given the support and back up that a G&G dealer will give you. The 8mm gearbox is solid and should last a lifetime, maybe even longer. Metal piston heads, bearing spring guides and steel gears are all present too and this ﬁll me with conﬁdence about the longevity of the GEC 36. The wiring loom in the front is a little bit tidier than a standard G36 and that means the “battery knuckle shufﬂe” should prove to be simpler for the end user. This riﬂe happily accepted 7.4v and 11.1v LiPo batteries without sounding bad on either. The shots are obviously snappier on the 11.1v and the accuracy was around what I would expect and average groupings on a man sized target out to about 40 metres – beyond that it was a bit of luck. Moving up to 0.25s and adding a tightbore barrel would see this increase a little. Upgrades are often on the cards for most people and the GEC 36 will accept all Version 3 upgrades happily. Personally I’d keep the motor and get set on the Ultimate parts list and swap out most things except the steel gears, unless you want it make it a white laser by short stroking it, adding 13:1 gears and maybe even the ASCU unit. First on the cards should probably be a tightbore and that will solve most of the issue and increase the potential almost immediately.
“IT MAY SOUND LIKE I’VE BASHED THE GEC36 A FAIR AMOUNT AND IT ISN’T REALLY VALID BECAUSE IT IS A GREAT RIFLE.”
The G36 platform as a whole is great both indoor and outdoor. With all the ﬂash light, red dot and laser space you can really adapt it well to anything that suits you. The only sticking point is the magazine can sometimes get stuck in the pouches because of the joining lugs. That aside the GEC 36 is ambidextrous in almost every way and the layout is M4-like, so this translates into easy use throughout the day. The weight is quite high, it is probably the heaviest G36 I’ve seen out the box. The folding stock isn’t any use apart from to help store it for transport. I’ve seen the odd player run around with it folded but I always presume that this makes it much harder to aim.
CONCLUSION While it is pretty much last to arrive to the party it isn’t the worst. The G36 scene is sadly blander than your Gran’s boiled underwear and the G&G does little to add any new lacy spice to the party. It is a solid performer at an attractive price point, couple all this with the G&G warranty and it will serve you very well. So if you are looking at the G36 range give the G&G GEC 36 some consideration, it won’t disappoint you… unless you were expecting your Gran in lingerie.
features POWER 340FPS WITH 0.20G BLASTER BB LENGTH 725MM WEIGHT 3.2KG GEARBOX VERSION 3 8MM BEARING UPGRADED SHORT AXLE MOTOR MAGAZINE G36 110 ROUND MAGAZINE PROVIDED CONSTRUCTION POLYMER & STEEL PRICE £225
FOLLOWING LAST ISSUE’S “LOADED OR UNLOADED” FEATURE, IGGY ROBERTS TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT ONE OF THE WEAPONS USED IN THE TV SERIES “STRIKE BACK”
ARES VZ.58 JUST ABOUT EVERY AIRSOFTER the World over will know what an AK-47 is, even if they have never actually seen or held a real one themselves but the chances are that you may not have heard of the Czechoslovakian-produced VZ.58. So what is it? Well, it looks like a modern “AK”, it even feels a little like a modern “AK variant” but it is not. In fact it only shares the calibre with the AK47, in that they both use the 7.62mm short round. Other than that no part can be shared with the AK47, not even the magazine. Essentially, back in the 1950 every country behind the “Iron Curtain” had to fall in line with Soviet doctrine and produce their own, locally produced version of the AK47. However, with their long history of ﬁrearms production, Czechoslovakia was given a bit more latitude and were allowed to produce their own design, providing it used the same 7.62 cartridge. Using a short-stroke gas piston, the VZ.58 was designed
and manufactured to replace their earlier designs of the VZ.52 self-loading riﬂe, the 7.62×25mm Tokarev VZ.24 and the VZ.26 submachine gun. Development of the weapon began in 1956 and it was initially accepted into service later that decade. The Soviet Union in its day was insisting that the Warsaw Pact forces standardize on a common ammunition. As a result, the prototype, known as the “Košt ” (“broom”) was designed to chamber the Soviet 7.62×39mm cartridge, rather than the Czech 7.62×45mm VZ.52 round, used in both the earlier VZ.52 riﬂe and the VZ.52 light machine gun. After the assault riﬂe entered service in 1958 it saw use for over 25 years and during that time over 920,000 weapons were produced. They were primarily used by the armed forces of Czechoslovakia, Cuba and several other Asian and African nations. The VZ.58 was produced in three main variants: the standard VZ.58 P, which was the infantry model with a ﬁxed stock made of a synthetic material; the VZ.58 V, used by
armoury ARES VZ.58
airborne forces and featuring a side-folding metal shoulder stock, folded to the right side and the VZ.58 Pi, an infantry model with an infrared sight, which is similar to the VZ.58 P but includes a receiver-mounted dovetail bracket (installed on the left side of the receiver) used to attach an NSP2 night sight. It also has a detachable folding bipod and an enlarged conical ﬂash suppressor. Variants of the VZ.58 are still in active use in conﬂicts and can be found in use by security forces to this day throughout the world.
THE AIRSOFT VERSION The VZ.58 is made by Ares (Ares was the Greek God of war), a company based in Hong Kong and one of the more recent companies to be established in the Airsoft World. That said they have quickly earned a reputation for high quality, accurately designed products, which is exactly what we all want. They are also well-known for introducing new designs of established weapon systems, such as the VZ.58. The VZ.58 is one of their AEG models and comes in a well presented cardboard box featuring some close-up images on the lid and rear. With it is a small booklet on the weapon along with a “mid cap mag” and a cleaning rod. Straight away it feels solid and sturdy, just what you want for a skirmish weapon and although the release button for the folding stock is initially a bit stiff to push, this eases up after a little use. It takes a 7.4V stick LiPo battery, housed under the top receiver cover of the main body, just behind the Hop Up adjustment wheel. The magazine provided with the gun holds 160 BBs. It ﬁts in the same way an AK magazine does, by placing the top front edge of the magazine to the front of the magazine well and using a pivot motion to slot the magazine home. Taking it out can only be done from the left side of the weapon due to the trigger guard design. It is also possible to get an adapter to allow the use of STANAG or M4-type magazines. Both the upper and lower receiver are metal along with the
armoury ARES VZ.58
outer barrel, trigger guard, trigger and folding stock, while the pistol grip and front grip are made of Nylon ﬁbre. The Hop unit is a great design using a wheel system on the top of the weapon under the upper receiver. This allows the hop to be adjusted easily and with every slight turn of the wheel there is a clear “click”, making it great for accurate adjustments. The fps of the review model was a little high but after a simple downgrade would comfortably ﬁre at around 320 fps, perfect for urban and CQB sites.
ON THE RANGE The VZ.58 ﬁred true and consistent (a real plus whilst in a skirmish environment) and the only issue I had was with the feeding from the magazine. I believe it was just this model and it was a very minor issue in that every now and then the weapon would mis-ﬁre, then ﬁre as expected. That having been said, the rate of ﬁre is very satisfying and there were no major rattles to be concerned with, especially as the magazine ﬁtted perfectly in the mag well.
IN THE FIELD Simply put, the VZ.58 is very good in the ﬁeld and the qualities mentioned earlier make it a very good weapon against most others you might come up against. Its size is just right. Not so long that it becomes a challenge to get through a forest site without tangling yourself in the bushes or smacking your barrel on the trees. Not too short that you lose the valuable range that would be the difference between falling just short of your enemy and hitting them square in the centre mass. The hop up adjustment was very convenient and easy to use - in fact it was a lot more convenient than most of the AEGs in my own armoury. With the large wheel it was easy to get to and operate without being ﬁddly and great for making those minor adjustments whilst engaging targets at range during a skirmish. My only concern (and it is quite a minor one) is the bottom of the pistol grip. It is open to the elements and may be an issue in the muddy conditions that you ﬁnd at some sites in the wet. Beyond that, it is a very good choice for anyone wanting something a bit different.
You would probably recognise both the VZ.58-L and the smaller VZ.58-S from their use in the Strike Back series, in which Scot, Stonebridge and the team can be seen using them in a few episodes. The VZ.58-S used in the series seem to have STANAG (M4) mags instead of the curved AK-style looking mag you get when you buy the riﬂe, however it is possible to buy an adaptor to use STANAG mags for the airsoft version (otherwise you would have to use the speciﬁc magazines for the riﬂe because like the real steel version no other “AK” magazine will ﬁt). Red Wolf UK sell the adapter for £34.95, which help complete the “Strike Back” loadout that I imagine may well become a popular choice on our skirmish sites. The VZ.58 is available from a few locations globally and RedWolf Airsoft sell it in the UK for around £265. For this price you get a good all-round weapon that is unique in design and keeps you clear from the “just another AK/M4 group”.
CONCLUSION Overall the ARES VZ.58 is a nice alternative to what’s on the market for AEGs. If I were to buy one (and the only reason I don’t already own one is I have no room in my armoury) I would take advantage of the M4 magazine adapter, simply because I have a number of STANAG mags in my possession.
features ARES SA VZ.58-L FPS 390-400 MAGAZINE CAPACITY 160 RDS METAL UPPER AND LOWER RECEIVER, OUTER BARREL AND STOCK NYLON FIBRE FRONT GRIP AND PISTOL GRIP ADJUSTABLE HOP UP SEMI AND FULLY AUTO LENGTH 860 MM WEIGHT 3,000G RRP £265.50 To view or purchase the Ares SA VZ.58-L or the SA VZ.58-S please visit: uk.redwolfairsoft.com
UNVEILED TO THE SHOOTING WORLD IN 1975, THE CZ75 QUICKLY ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS A FINE COMBAT HANDGUN. JERRY NOONE GETS TO GRIPS WITH FULLY LICENCED AIRSOFT VERSIONS OF THE LATEST VARIANTS FROM ACTIONSPORTGAMES IN THE FORM OF THE CZ P-07 AND P-09.
CZECH-MATES SOMETIMES I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE that my relationship with ﬁrearms, both real and replica stretches back some forty years now and yes, I am an old git! As a boy I was introduced to handguns by my father, learning to shoot with his Walther PPK and Browning Hi-Power in the days when pistols were legal to own. Over the years it has been my privilege to shoot many different models of handgun both at home and more lately, abroad. Some ten years ago now my wife and I had the opportunity to live and work overseas; of course as a shooter this was for me like going to live in paradise as handguns were legal to shoot and I could get onto a range just about as often as I liked (and my wallet allowed). I shot regularly at the local range, meeting new friends and taking the opportunity to attend pistol training courses whenever I could and it was there that I ﬁrst encountered the CZ75; my mind was drawn back to the Browning as the two pistols are remarkably similar in terms of ergonomics, although in fairness the CZ took this up a notch or two. Ceska zbrojovka a.s (CZ) was established in June 1936 as a branch of Ceska zbrojovka Strakonice armaments, in the small
Moravian town of Uhersky Brod in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). Throughout WWII and into the Cold War, CZ manufactured a solid line of military small arms including the VZ.58 assault riﬂe, the distinctive Skorpion VZ.61 submachine gun, the reliable CZ75 family of pistols and even now continue to innovate with new models like the Scorpion EVO. Following WWII, brothers Josef and Frantisek Koucky became two of the most inﬂuential design and development engineers at CZ and in fact were involved (to some extent) in designing all the company’s post-war weapons. Interestingly the brothers signed their designs together using only the surname, making it impossible to determine which one of them developed particular ideas! This changed in 1969 when the recently retired Frantisek Koucky was offered a role in designing a new CZ 9×19mm Parabellum pistol. Unlike his previous job, he had complete freedom to design the pistol from the drawing board onwards and the design he developed was in many ways new and innovative. Chambered in 9mm (the issued pistol cartridge for the Czech forces at the time was the Soviet 7.62×25mm Tokarev) the new model was designed speciﬁcally for export
armoury ASG CZ P-07/P-09
purposes and was not sold in Czechoslovakia until 1985! Ofﬁcially launched in 1975, production of the CZ75 actually began in 1976 and since then it has undergone many tweaks and upgrades, culminating in the CZ75B (The “B” designation is an indicator that the model is equipped with a ﬁring pin block safety) available today. The 75B features a steel frame, a black polycoat ﬁnish, 3 dot sights, 16+1 9mm capacity (10+1 in .40 S&W) and, of course, the ergonomics and DA/SA action that have made it (in the words of CZ themselves) “the most copied handgun design second only to the 1911”. Of course everything moves on and CZ have not been slouches in using the very latest technology to bring things up to current spec and with the heritage of the CZ 75 as a building block, they have stepped up to bat with two new excellent tactical models, the P-07 and the P-09.
BANG UP TO DATE Released in 2009 to great acclaim, the P-07 Duty as a totally new handgun model really brought things fully up to date. In its latest iteration the CZ P-07 is the updated version of the original CZ 75 P-07 Duty and brought reﬁned lines and interchangeable backstraps to the polymer “OMEGA” line. This year the compact-sized P-07 was updated with new features and a nitrated slide ﬁnish that wears longer and has increased corrosion resistance. The pistol as a whole was tidied up, removing any sharp edges to make it more comfortable for all-day carry. The P-07’s updated trigger shape is now more comfortable than the original and it also now has a snag-free hammer and forward cocking serrations. Metal 3-dot sights, a beefed up magazine spring have updated things and the safety and de-cocker are interchangeable within a few minutes and minimal tools. Add to that small, medium and large backstraps
and an integrated 1913 Picatinny rail and the P-07 is adaptable to the shooter and their needs, from service pistol to protector to the envy of the shooting range. Although a diminutive pistol, the P-07 holds a healthy sixteen rounds of 9mm; that’s a goodly number for a tactical handgun but CZ thought they could do even better so they upped the game with the CZ P-09 which carries a massive nineteen plus one rounds of 9mm! For those who prefer a larger bullet, the P-09 is also available in .40 calibre holding ﬁfteen plus one. The P-09 is virtually the same pistol as the P-07 but up-scaled in all the dimensions that matter. The barrel and slide assembly is about 20mm longer than that of the P-07, giving a longer sight radius. The grip is also slightly longer which is better for those with larger hands or when using gloves. With the increased ammunition capacity the CZ P-09 really is a true, modern day combat handgun.
THE AIRSOFT VERSION One of the things that I really like about airsoft replicas from ActionSportGames (ASG), is the fact that they are more normally than not fully licenced models. This means that ASG works directly with the real-world manufacturer and have access to all the design drawings and speciﬁcations of the original. It also means that when you receive your replica the trademarks will be present and accurately achieved. These worldwide exclusive license agreements actually mean that ASG have been authorised by many famous original ﬁrearms and accessories manufacturers to replicate their ﬁrearms, components and accessories into outstanding realistic 1/1 scale replicas of the highest quality. Luckily for us one of these manufacturers is CZ. ASG offer a great range of CZ models in their lineup, from
armoury ASG CZ P-07/P-09
pull is quite long with a fair bit of take up (may have to work on this!) but once you get used to it it’s easy to get rounds away - and boy does this thing go off with a crack! Running .20g BBs through the chrono gave a mean of 332fps over a ten round string; this was on a relatively cool day so I’d suggest that you need to keep this bad boy regularly chrono’d to ensure that you’re not going over site limits. The barrel is only 83mm long but I was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy at 10m with centre mass shots easily placed. As with the real thing, the P-09 ups the game in terms of both size and magazine capacity, increasing overall length to 205mm and round count to twenty-ﬁve. It’s a full-size tactical pistol again with an integrated rail for mounting light and/or laser. Manufactured under license from CZ, the P-09 is designed from the original technical drawings, resulting in a realistic look and smooth handling. Its blowback function makes the plastic slide move with every shot ﬁred, creating a pretty strong recoil; the plastic slide is also more gas efﬁcient and better suited for cold weather use which is a plus for the UK! The P-09 also has a long trigger pull which you need to be aware of. The barrel length goes up to 100mm and added to this the increased sight radius and 3-dot sight system gives you quick and easy target acquisition and the result is slightly improved accuracy over the P-07 which is not unexpected. Again using a ten round string on .20g BBs, the P-09 came in nicely at a very respectable, site friendly mean of 292fps.
“THE TRIGGER PULL IS QUITE LONG WITH A FAIR BIT OF TAKE UP BUT ONCE YOU GET USED TO IT IT’S EASY TO GET ROUNDS AWAY – AND BOY DOES THIS THING GO OFF WITH A CRACK!” the original CZ 75 in GBB form, through the 75 Compacts, both the P-07 and the P-09 and onto the very latest models of the P-01 SHADOW. Not only this but you can have blowback, non-blowback, plastic, or full metal and they even give you the choice of C02 or green gas variants, so you can pretty much have what your heart desires. I thought I’d make things interesting and check out both power systems! My ﬁrst choice was the CZ 75 P-07 DUTY, which is a superbly compact tactical pistol that has an integrated front weaver rail for mounting light and/or laser and the barrel has threads for a silencer (speciﬁc accessories also available from ASG). The grip and metal slide carry authentic CZ markings and every gun comes with its own unique serial number. Two versions of the new P-07 DUTY are available; a non-blowback and a blowback model. Both versions are powered by a 12g C02 capsule stored in the grip using the ASG easy-load system. The P-07 features a “polymer” frame and a metal slide and it really ﬁlls the hand well; it has a sense of purpose about it weighing in at 815g but at just 186mm long it’s very, very “point-able”. The magazine, a stick type due to the C02 cartridge being housed in the pistol grip, holds the correct sixteen rounds of the real thing and spare mags are available as accessory parts. Once the C02 cartridge has been ﬁtted and the magazine loaded the P-07 is all good to go and it’s simply the usual case of pulling the slide to the rear and engaging the safety until you’re ready to go, as the hammer stays in “Condition 1” until you empty the gas cartridge. When you’re ready to ﬁre the safety catch, situated to the rear of the slide is pressed downwards to reveal a bright red “ﬁre indicator”. The trigger 22
Overall I was very impressed with both pistols, although for UK skirmishing the P-09 probably has the edge due to the higher magazine capacity and the fact that the fps count is well within site limits. That said I believe that the P-07 would be a great CQB pistol for the colder months of the year and certainly makes an absolutely cracking range gun. The ﬁnish of both models is very, very good indeed and the best bit is the price. Expect to pay iro £75.00 for the P-09 (the price includes a carry case!) with spare mags costing iro £25.00; if you want to run this on C02 then a cartridge compatible magazine comes in around £30.00. The CO2 version of the P-07 will set you back about £80.00 which given the performance is an excellent price! If you want something just a bit different from all the Glocks, SIGs, and 1911s out there then you really should have a good look at the licenced CZ pistols from ASG; they are well made, feel great, look good, shoot well and are sensibly priced so what more could you want? For further information please visit www.actionsportgames. com and to purchase in the UK I’d suggest that www.jdairsoft. net probably have the best range of CZ models available right now.
! W E N
CZ P-09 Gas Blowback
CZ P-09, Dessert
CZ P-09, Black
• • • •
295 FPS – 90 MPS Reliable performance Accessory rail Rail made in high-resistance polymer
We recommend using ULTRAIR gas for better performance and reliability
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KELLY “FEMME FATALE” HARDWICK REPORTS FROM THE RECENT ALL WALES AIRSOFT EVENT, HOSTED BY MIDWALES AIRSOFT
ALL WALES AIRSOFT 2015 ON THE LAST WEEKEND OF JULY, I was invited by Tish and Tim Nicholls from Midwales Airsoft to attend their very ﬁrst “All Wales Airsoft Event”, near Llandrindod Wells, Powys. Midwales Airsoft is an online Airsoft store that was set up by Tim Nicholls in late January of this year – they operate through their online store and also through eBay. Midwales Airsoft also have a skirmish team of 19 players, 6 of which are “Young Guns” (aged between 12 and 16) and they are based at the “Tuff Terrains” site near Llandrindod Wells in Powys, where the event took place. The Midwales Airsoft Skirmish team established themselves in February this year – shortly after the store opened, initially as an admin team for the All Wales Event. As this is the very ﬁrst All Wales Event, the team are unsure if there will be another event next year or if this would be just a one-off. But their vision for the All Wales Event was to have a game day with something a little extra and I was lucky enough to join them for the weekend. From my hometown in the Midlands, Tuff Terrains is around 112 miles – which is roughly a two and a half hour drive. The 24
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drive was relatively easy however there was a diversion on the way. I took the M42 straight onto the M6 past Birmingham and Walsall through to the M54 through Telford and Shrewsbury but the diversion outside of Shrewsbury meant I had to take the A548 through Welshpool and Newtown. This added an extra hour to my journey but it gave me the chance to see more of the beautiful Welsh countryside than the dull British motorway had to offer! The MidWales Airsoft team carefully took the time to sign post the last 3 miles of the winding country roads leading up to the game site with Welsh ﬂags and “MidWales” signs, which was much appreciated as it meant the site was really easy to ﬁnd. When I arrived I was given a very warm welcome by Tish and Tim and was directed to the camping area, where there was ample space for car parking and tent pitching. The cost of the All Wales Event was £28, with overnight camping/parking included. Tickets were available to purchase in advance via the MidWales website and on the day onsite but those who had pre-booked got entered into a draw for a WE Glock 17! Shortly after my arrival, I was treated to a tour of the site before setting up camp which is always great, just to get an idea of the terrain you will be dealing with the next day. Tuff Terrains is situated in the rolling hills and valleys of Radnorshire, Wales and boasts a total playing space of 193 acres - huge! The site is primarily used as a 4x4 off-road training school and has facilities for ﬁshing, clay pigeon shooting and now, Airsoft! Whilst walking around the site, which is impressive to say the least, it was clear to see how varied the gameplay would be the next day because of the different types of terrain that the site boasts; thick, dense forests that contrast the large open ﬁelds; long dirt tracks to attack and defend; streams and brooks to navigate; a manmade network of trenches that double as a “CQB-esque” environment deﬁnitely not for the faint of heart and ﬁnally, a lone bunker at the bottom of the valley ﬂoor surrounded by natural trenches. The safe zone was located at the bottom of the valley near the bunker and consisted of a barn conversion, a toilet block and a few gazebos set up in a netted area. The barn was a quaint building with all the creature comforts you could need sofas to relax on, a log-burning ﬁre and all the facilities to make tea and coffee, just what you need on a cold, drizzly day. The gazebos were set up ready to make lunch the next day and also to have The Airsoft Shack, an Airsoft retailer based in Wales, set up. Lunch was available on site – burgers, pot noodles, crisps, chocolate and drinks to purchase for a reasonable price. The staple game day diet of Airsofters! On the tour of the site, I met James from Spartan Four Airsoft team who kindly invited me to camp with them – which I graciously accepted. By the time I was ready to set up camp
the Spartan Four lads had set up a base in a clearing in the woods with a roaring camp ﬁre where burgers were already being cooked on an open ﬂame and the banter was ﬂowing. I will admit that I am not an avid camper but I got stuck in for the event – in fact I’ve only been camping once before and I didn’t fair too well! The site has hosted games of 200+ players in the past and the designated camping area was large enough to accommodate the players. The Spartan Camp was only a short walk from the main camping area, protected by a canopy of trees. The weather on the Saturday was absolutely glorious! It was wonderfully sunny and around 20 degrees Celsius, perfect camping weather. What I enjoyed most about this event was the atmosphere on the Saturday evening was nothing short of amazing. All of the campers migrated to “Camp Spartan” for the evening and the drinks started ﬂowing. During the evening I got chance to meet members from the Midwales Airsoft Skirmish Team, Telford Wreckin Airsoft Team and members of
“WE STARTED THE NIGHT AS COMPLETE STRANGERS WITH ONLY THE LOVE OF AIRSOFT IN COMMON AND WE ENDED THE NIGHT AS BATTLE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF SATURDAY SQUAD READY TO FACE OUR ENEMIES THE NEXT DAY! BRILLIANT!” the UKAC as well and what was great about this evening (and what I love about our community in general) is that we started the night as complete strangers with only the love of Airsoft in common and we ended the night as battle brothers and sisters of Saturday Squad ready to face our enemies the next day! Brilliant! On the Sunday, the weather changed dramatically and we awoke to soggy earth and drizzle in the air! Nonetheless we excitedly packed up camp and cooked breakfast before packing the cars ready for the game day to begin. At 9am, Saturday Squad made their way down to the safe zone in the valley and geared up. When we arrived at the safe zone, the rain had become a lot heavier and the ground was laden with puddles and mud – but this didn’t kill everyone’s spirit, in fact, the torrential rain only added to the experience and gameplay. There were around 50 players at the All Wales Event, which meant the safe zone was a little crowded and with the rain, this meant The Airsoft Shack stall had to be set up inside and the gazebos used for players, which worked well. The Airsoft Shack staff brought a variety of products that were available to purchase, ranging from BBs and gas to RIFs and accessories, all for a reasonable price. The air in the safe
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event ALL WALES AIRSOFT
zone was abuzz with anticipation and the onsite marshals were running around organising everyone and making sure everything was ready for the day. One thing that really makes or breaks a site for me is their staff, at the All Wales Event Midwales Airsoft had their own Marshals to cover the event. From the moment we arrived, I was welcomed warmly and during the Saturday evening, Tim, Tish and a few of the Marshals joined us for campﬁre drinks. We were joined on the day of the All Wales Event by more of the marshals who were happy to engage in conversations with players and were more than happy to help with any queries or problems anyone had. The safety brief that was conducted before the games kicked off was comprehensive and clear. Tuff Terrains’ site limits were 350 for AEGs, 400 for DMRs and 450 for Sniper Riﬂes with a 20 metre minimum engagement distance for Snipers, which are in line with sites across the UK. As the site was Woodland based, full auto was allowed, however the site did have in play a “bang” rule for engagements of under 5 metres – which is very unusual for a British Woodland site. I have only seen the bang rule used in a couple of sites in the UK and I’m personally not a fan of them (I, like many players, am prepared to shoot and get shot at very close range). The games run at the All Wales Event were varied and objective-based, which suited my style of play perfectly, however because this was the ﬁrst event the team had run, there was some confusion in briefs but these are all teething problems. The ﬁrst game I played was “Assault the Bunker” where Saturday Squad (unbanded team) worked our way through the open rolling hills into the uneven ground of the welsh countryside to a lone bunker at the bottom of the valley, the game progressed quickly and was run well by the marshals. This game was probably one of the most intense woodland games I’ve have played in the time I have been Airsofting. On our unbanded team we had a fair few users of Tippmann HPA systems, GBBR users and even LMG support, this in conjunction with the pea grenades and smokes being thrown backwards
and forwards by both teams added to the ‘realism’. The sound resonating in the valley was quite incredible. Other games played included defend and attack games, where each team took it in turns to protect and assault various points of the site. In these games the communication between the marshals and their teams became a little hazy so there was some confusion about spawn points, medic rules and the general direction of the game, however these issues were sorted out quickly and professionally. As this is the ﬁrst event the MidWales team had run, little issues like this were to be expected. The event was a learning curve for them and what I really liked was after the games ﬁnished, they were already discussing solutions and plans for future games, which shows their passion and commitment to the event. The All Wales Event was an amazing experience which I thoroughly enjoyed and am very grateful to have been invited to. The drive to the site was pleasant and relatively easy. Tuff Terrains, although it was quite a distance from my hometown, was well worth the drive as it was very different to the Woodland games I’ve played before. The event was very reasonably priced considering overnight camping/parking was included in the ticket price – and the giveaway of the Glock 17 was a great touch and drummed up a lot of interest! My favourite part of the event was deﬁnitely giving camping another go, getting stuck in and meeting the other players – the atmosphere on the eve of camping was fantastic and I met some new skirmish buddies! The site itself was fantastic, with a variety of terrains to ﬁght our way through and although it was a little large for the amount of players on the day, the team utilised the space well. Despite the confusion in the game briefs, I really enjoyed the games played and I look forward to seeing the team use the feedback to move forward and improve as with a few tweaks, the games have the potential to be something really special. I really hope there is another All Wales Event because I, for one would deﬁnitely return and it is certainly an event I would recommend to others, so they can experience it for themselves.
Contact & Information www.midwalesairsoft.co.uk/ www.facebook.com/MidWalesairsoft www.facebook.com/Midwales-airsoft-skirmishmilsimteam Tuff Terrains, Troedrhiwfelen, Abbeycwmhir, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 6PG Contact: Tim & Tish Nicholls 07762760157
Unit C1, Northway Trading Estate, Northway Lane, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 8JH. United Kingdom.
Tel +44 (0)1684 273070 Fax +44 (0)1684 273052 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
u k . r e d w o l f a i r s o f t . c o m www.facebook.com/redwolfuk.retail
AIRSOFT PLANTATION NOT ALL PLANTATIONS GROW COTTON OR TOBACCO, AS LES LEE FOUND OUT AS HE REPORTS FROM A SITE JUST OUTSIDE BILLERICAY, IN ESSEX WELL, I SAY IT WITH MY HAND on my heart that this was probably the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on! Airsoft Plantation, or AP as it’s also known as, located on the outskirts of Billericay in Essex, is one hell of an Airsoft site and I’m going to tell you why... As always, I’ll start at the beginning by saying a Sat Nav would be a nice piece of kit to have on board, although only to make your journey easier as the site is well signposted and mapped out but it is away from civilisation (hence the term “Plantation”) and this gives AP the opportunity to use an amazing array of big bangs and ﬂashes (and a few other unique features which will be revealed later) without upsetting any neighbours. It also incorporates the 45 acres of varied terrain, some as Mother Nature created but mostly meticulously designed from blueprint to build and thus built to incredible tactical awesomeness incorporating a variety of theatres of war.
Park your car in the ample secure parking area, alongside the real life burger van (yes you read that right) and follow a short pathway to the very inviting safe zone, completely themed out in militaristic style with huge army tents and benches, tables and dry ﬂooring. The whole area has been designed with meticulous detail and has every feature you could wish for, including, lighting, fresh cold running water, toilet and wash facilities, battery charging, minor gun-smithery (the list could go on but I would run out of pages), so let’s just cap this off by saying that everything you need or don’t need is here! Check in at the welcome desk inside the ﬁrst tent, which also houses the on-site shop courtesy of Rules of Engagement (or RoE – don’t you just love acronyms) where you will be greeted by the guys behind AP, Steve Hayward and John Drury. They will ensure that you have everything you need, including information and answer any questions. Steve ﬁrst set up AP back in 2007 but it was “reborn” in 2010 when John Drury came on-board. With the help of both service and ex-service personnel/ Marshalls, things went from strength to strength and AP was (and still is) a work in progress, always putting their focus on creating individual but interacting game zones with incredible authenticity, some of which I have never ever seen in my years as an embedded journalist for Airsoft Action! Let me give you just one example… Can you imagine stalking your prey and being stalked in a man-made maze that would give Hampton Court Palace’s
site Report AIRSOFT PLANTATION
famous maze a run for its money? Yes, I kid you not as around every tight corner could be a BB with your name on it. Now THAT gets one’s juices ﬂowing! CQB doesn’t get any better. Steve and John are a great team and each brings their own speciality to the party, an example being that Steve is an expert when it comes to pyrotechnics and special effects (which are simply overwhelming) and if you want “bang for your buck” then look no further. Whereas John is the self-confessed pain in the arse who designs the games (along with Rob Drury from RoE) and takes care of the “business” side of AP (web design, promos, PR, etc.) and general oversight so, in effect, John creates the game days and puts theory into practice. In Steve’s words, John is “the face of AP” which leaves Steve to very effectively focus on managing the games and make all sorts of wonderful things happen between them and their loyal team of staff both on and off the ﬁeld, including fellow Head Marshalls Darren Matthews and Mark Spurgeon, special events Marshalls Andy Cole and Stuart Smalldridge and of course keeping everyone fuelled up are Emily Drury, Darren Wright, Vicky Greenlees and Casey Lamprell. And not forgetting a special “thank you” to Mr G for all his help and support. Every one of this ﬁne team make AP more than just a day out at an Airsoft site and I will say with complete unbiased honesty, that Airsoft Plantation is in my top three of sites that I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to visit whilst reporting for Airsoft Action in the South
“INFIL COULD BE VIA ONE OF THE PERIODICALLY COMMISSIONED HELICOPTERS, WHERE YOU CAN ACTUALLY SHOOT FROM AND LAND DEEP BEHIND ENEMY LINES FROM THE AIR. TO ADD TO THIS THAT AP HAVE ACTUALLY USED REAL FLYING AIRCRAFT TO CONDUCT BOMBING RUNS OVER THE SITE...”
East of England over the last three years. After the comprehensive brieﬁng, with average attendance ﬁgures of around the 70-80 players, the teams are lead out into the ﬁeld and loaded into a genuine Bedford Army truck, or one of the four militarised 4x4 Jeeps to take them to their starting point. If you think this is making you feel all fuzzy and nice, did I mention that from time to time your inﬁl could be via one of the periodically commissioned helicopters, where you can actually shoot from and land deep behind enemy lines from the air. To add to this that AP have actually used real ﬂying aircraft to conduct bombing runs over the site... If ever a site was to use HALO insertions then this would be it, of that I have no doubt. Yes it really is that good! After my introduction I was escorted to a vantage point to take photographs which would place me in a very strategic position. I had no idea what I was about to see. Suddenly, out of nowhere came this huge troop carrier and an armada of 4x4’s carrying the blue team into a defensive post held by the reds. Then all hell broke loose... How was I to know that I was surrounded by explosives? I near crapped my pants as I was so focused on capturing the ﬁre ﬁghts taking place in front of me with my trusty DSLR, so imagine my shock
when BOOM! A mortar landed next to me and that was just the ﬁrst of many. I have never seen so much smoke and heard so many explosions during a game but wow, did it create one very realistic battle scenario! Steve really is a very creative and professional special effects aﬁcionado and he had this nailed. I’m pretty sure that if some big war movie producers had seen his skills in action he would be head-hunted for a big screen movie scene. The site itself has a mass of props, trenches, structures, ditches, static vehicles and natural terrain including natural woodland, urban and open ﬁeld and scrub land, all of which are to be used but I will emphasise that before any exercise is undertaken, strict risk assessments and health and safety checks are carried out because Steve and John want you walking away at the end of the day with a big cheesy grin on your face, rather than checking out in an ambulance (and demanding a refund)! It would be impossible for me to name the individual types of games as each one is different, apart from the occasional game/team reversal to keep things fair for, let’s say a rolling attack and defend sortie. I will however list some of the speciﬁc areas, which include Fort Havago (love it!), a missile silo housing a life sized V1 rocket on a launch ramp, a full sized village, a selection of buildings including a Bank, a Jail, 2 forts, 2 sniper towers, a communications satellite dish-laden tower and a bunch of strategically placed pill boxes along routes, plus much, much more. AP also host 3 or 4 weekenders a year where the mission allows for you to maintain and defend a base camp throughout the night, which of course will need tactical awareness, lookouts, patrols and enhanced team work, or else you can be a bore and just camp in the safe zone – you pays your money you make your choice. There are also a number of night games which are proving to be very popular, most probably because of the special effects at AP and appropriate lighting throughout. Add to this the special and themed events throughout the year such as Halloween, Anniversary, Easter, Christmas, birthday and corporate days and AP has it all. With such a huge range of pyro. activity, game zones, props and variety of structures, all of the Marshalls are ﬁrst aid and ﬁre trained and one particular feature that really impressed me was that the vehicles carried full sized ﬁre extinguishers mounted on the vehicle body for quick grab ‘n’ go ﬁre ﬁghting. This alone reinforces with me that health and safety are priority at AP and of which I would like to see this become a fashion. Anyone that knows me will know that I am the world’s biggest critic on Health and Safety but here at AP, that issue didn’t once
site Report AIRSOFT PLANTATION
“SUDDENLY, OUT OF NOWHERE CAME THIS HUGE TROOP CARRIER AND AN ARMADA OF 4X4’S CARRYING THE BLUE TEAM INTO A DEFENSIVE POST HELD BY THE REDS. THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE...” raise its ugly head. Nice one guys! Pats on the backs all round. Rules of Engagement, or RoE, is managed by Robert Drury (John’s brother), has a mass of consumables in his on-site shop and a balanced stock of new and used gear. The top quality “real deal” MTP Army Surplus is supplied by East West Trading and the prices are better than competitive (yes of course I bought some – and an impossible to ﬁnd in the UK pistol found its way into my collection of handguns courtesy of Rob @ RoE), so if you forget something or need or “don’t need but buy it anyway” piece of kit, then you will ﬁnd it here. I was so impressed with RoE that I will be paying them a visit in the near future for an “Inside Airsoft” feature so as they say, “watch this space”. I didn’t even need to ask about the future plans for AP as it is easy to see that these guys are not only here to stay but are clearly and constantly reinvesting into the site to keep it in tip top shape – and that the dynamics behind the scenes are constantly revisited to see what can be done to improve and create new objectives, so that any ‘softers that visit have one
of their most memorable game days and thus can’t wait until their next. Both veterans and newbies are equalled, there is no clique or politics here, just excellent management which puts each and every visitor ﬁrst and foremost as after eight years, AP is going from strength to strength by sticking to perfect ethics, remarkable sportsmanship and without doubt, one of the industry’s ﬁnest and most professional organisations in the world of Airsoft. If I really had to make one criticism, of which I don’t incidentally but I will ‘cause I can, is that the Airsoft Plantation website www.theofﬁcialairsoftplantation.co.uk really doesn’t do this site enough justice; you need to see it to believe it because there is just so much of the good stuff here. It is truly epic! And as I write this, John and Steve are in the process of purchasing another military and fully functional vehicle but I’m sworn to secrecy so sorry, the only way to ﬁnd out is to visit – but I am assured that it is “something special”! I will ﬁnish this report, which was an absolute pleasure to put together in every way (especially having the opportunity to shoot my new G5 and get shot in such a superb setting), by using a quote from the guys at AP, who told me that a very experienced, respected and well-travelled Airsofter once told them that Airsoft Plantation was “probably one of the best Airsoft sites in the world”. Personally, I think he might be right! Les OUT!
Cold War Warriors AIRMOBILE
US CAVALRY, VIETNAM 1970
IN HIS CONTINUING SERIES, GADGE HARVEY TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO ONE OF THE MOST HARD-FOUGHT AND BITTER CONFLICTS IN RECENT HISTORY, VIETNAM IN THE POST WAR YEARS the helicopter changed modern warfare and among the ﬁrst to embrace the concept of the “vertical ﬂank” were the US army’s cavalry, who traded in their horses for “Hueys”. Perhaps one of the most classic images of the 1960s, is US army “aircav” descending on paddy ﬁelds, taking the ﬁght to the enemy as they “sweep and clear” communist held areas. And in ﬁlm, who can forget the airborne assault in Apocalypse Now as Kilgore’s “1st of the 9th“ secure a contested beachhead – just so he can go surﬁng. This month in Cold War Warriors we’ll look at a typical airmobile riﬂeman, or “grunt”, of the 1st Cavalry division (renowned for their distinctive “horses head” emblem) as he prepares for battle in Vietnam. The 1st Cavalry division was formed in the aftermath of WWI where the US Army still saw a need for fast manoeuvrable units to outﬂank the enemy, despite the deadlock of the trenches and many of their generals still saw the tank as a passing fad. The build up to WWII saw all nations attempt to motorise or armour their cavalry formations and the US were no exception. The 1st Cavalry served with distinction in the Far East and would continue to move via tyre and tread rather than horses when deployed to South East Asia to ﬁght in the Korean War.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WARFARE It would be America’s next war, the Vietnam War that would catapult the division to a “celebrity status” as the “rock and roll war” in Vietnam was televised daily and the newly tasked “airmobile” units epitomised US military power and the ability to go anywhere, anytime; to defy the constrictions of the country’s mountainous terrain and tropical jungles. The divisions units fought in many of the war’s major campaigns, including the ﬁerce ﬁghting for the A Shau Valley. Able to engage North Vietnamese units with relative surprise (while the noise of an airborne formation in ﬂight gave some forewarning, an enemy formation would have mere hours to hide or construct defences as opposed to days if infantry and armoured troops were dispatched to an area) and many wounded “grunts” would come to owe their lives to brave Huey pilots who plunged into “hot LZs” under ﬁre time and time again to take out the wounded. The workhorse of the division’s helicopters was the BELL UH1 Iroquois “Huey” troop carrying helicopter (capable of dropping a fully loaded infantry section over and operational area of just over 300 miles), which were usually lightly armed (if at all) with M60 machine guns that the door gunners could ﬁre. More heavily armed “gunship” variants carried rockets and gun pods to support the troop carriers and later in the war the AH1 “Cobra” attack helicopter could be used to assist an airmobile deployment alongside Bell OH58 “Kiowa” scout helicopters. www.airsoft-action.co.uk
could tick of each month as it passed and he could return home after his year’s “tour of duty”; for career soldiers like our trooper, however, they would be there for the duration. It’s often said that America lost the Vietnam War as it fought 13 one year wars rather than one long war due to its troop rotation policy, a policy that meant many soldiers were actually only any use for half of that time. In their ﬁrst three months they were too inexperienced and in the last three reluctant to take risks so close to going home.
THE LITTLE BLACK RIFLE
While not “archive footage” the aforementioned movie Apocalypse Now contains a phenomenally good representation of an airmobile assault on a “hot LZ” (although the playing of Wagner during an assault is perhaps more for the cameras than history!). Our Cold War Warrior this month represents a typical American career soldier of the mid-1960s. Older than many of the teenagers drafted into the armed forces against their will (a popular song of the 80s once claimed the average age of a combat soldier in Vietnam was 19!) this professional combatant has spent enough time “in country” to know what kit to keep, what to dispose of and how to wear it.
JUNGLE COMBAT His basic combat fatigues are 3rd pattern jungle fatigues, noticeable due to their covered buttons (earlier models had exposed ones which could snag on foliage) and the absence of shoulder epaulettes. The harsh South East Asian sun has already began to bleach these combats from their original deep green to a lighter shade and on our troopers left sleeve is the famous divisional “horsehead” patch – here in a subdued scheme as the original yellow and black design was too conspicuous in the jungle. Our soldier’s feet are clad in the later model of tropical jungle boot which have also began to bleach slightly, the red soil of Vietnam often made these boots go a tan shade all over with ingrained dust earning them the nickname “boonie buffs”. The jungle boot was an excellent preventative to foot rot caused by earlier leather combat boots in jungle warfare and consisted of webbing and canvas sides supporting the ankle while a leather toe and heel added strength and protection. A rubber sole provided excellent grip (particularly the 2nd pattern with a redesigned tread which didn’t trap mud) but the Viet Cong and PAVN (NVA) exploited the lightweight properties of the boot by creating “punji spike” booby traps on trails, loosely covered pits containing faeces-smeared bamboo spikes that would easily penetrate the rubber sole of the boot and cause infected wounds. The US Army countered this by making later patterns of boot with a metal plate to protect the foot and apocryphally this was countered by communist forces by burying “toe popper” bullets into trails on ﬁring pins… Walking over one would ﬁre the bullet into a soldier’s foot and horriﬁc wounds could be caused if a metal plate was present. Absorbing sweat in the oppressive heat of Vietnam and protecting our soldier’s neck from the sun is a standard issue army green towel, known as “drive on rags” by the GIs, the neck towel would become and iconic feature on combat soldiers, almost as much as the grafﬁti-daubed M1 helmet (an improved version of the WWII classic) covered with a reversible “Mitchel” camouﬂage pattern liner, here showing the green dominant side. The elastic camouﬂage band is used here to hold a bottle of gun oil but anything from toothbrushes, through cigarette packets to spare ammunition are seen in archive pictures. Helmet slogans were disapproved of by the high command but proliferated anyway, most displaying “counter culture” anti-war slogans, expressions of military bravado or in many cases simply a calendar where a solider 36
Our trooper carries the (then) relatively new M16 riﬂe. The M16 had a disastrous start to its service life in Vietnam with as many as 50 per cent of the initial riﬂes being “non-ﬁrers”. Soldiers were initially equipped with only two 20 round magazines and expected to reload from loose ammo in ﬁreﬁghts, something tricky to do when facing off against North Vietnamese forces carrying between three and nine 30 round magazines for their AK47s (a riﬂe which performed far better than the M16 in the atrocious conditions of jungle warfare) and many felt that the light 5.56mm round was inadequate to penetrate cover and inﬂict lethal wounds. A ﬁnal “problem” with early M16s was the inclusion of a “fully automatic” setting on a riﬂe issued to conscript soldiers. Many men in Vietnam used this as a default setting and wasted hundreds of rounds of ammunition in long uncontrolled bursts rather than taking aimed shots. (Readers interested in the full story of the poor performance of the “little black riﬂe” are encouraged to google “The Saga of the M16” to read one Marine Corp majors dismay!). Supporting the trooper in combat and supplying him with ammunition, water and food (in that order of priority) is his
Cold War Warriors AIRMOBILE
HAWAIIAN SHIRTS AND AIRSOFT
LES LEE HEADS TO BUCKINGHAMSHIRE TO MEET A COUPLE OF AIRSOFT’S MOST COLOURFUL CHARACTERS ANYONE REMOTELY INTERESTED IN AIRSOFT in the UK will probably know the name “BadgerTac”. These guys have been around as industry leaders since 2009 and are probably one of the most respected and reputable Airsoft companies in the UK. The name BadgerTac, interestingly enough, was the result of a two part inception; the ﬁrst being that both joint owners, Ian “Ratty” Armitage and Billy “Gumbo” Gumbrell were, coincidently, part of BADGER Tank Squadron (albeit a decade apart) and the second part being that “TAC” stands for Tactical Airsoft Corporate as found on the homepage of their very comprehensive website. Both Ratty and Gumbo have 22 years of military experience between them and also a combined 44 years of Airsoft (playing and trade), which is a formidable amount of knowledge linking the real world with our recreational passion. So if you are looking for authenticity based on experience then I challenge you to ﬁnd a more informed partnership within the industry. Westcott Venture Park, is located just off the main A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester, both are just 15 minutes away in their respective directions and as a former RAF airﬁeld, it is a large site and hard to miss from the main road, as well as being clearly sign posted! Their shop can be found in this very unique location of historical and military hard standing and when you arrive at the barrier, you will be met by a Security Guard who will give
Inside Airsoft BADGERTAC
you clear instructions on how to ﬁnd the BadgerTac unit – and contributions in the ﬁeld of rocket propulsion, including I would urge you to listen as you are entering a rather eerie input on the rocket design for the Blue Streak missile and landscape which has many roads, buildings and structures and the propulsion systems on Chevaline. It was also known as it’s not too difﬁcult to miss a turning and ﬁnd yourself in a the Guided Projectiles Establishment and PERME Westcott place not dissimilar to a ﬁlm set hosting a remake of the Cold (Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment, War era or some kind of Sci-ﬁ movie. The true history behind Westcott). For many years this establishment was regarded Westcott is far more complex and intriguing and would make as so secret it was not marked on Ordnance Survey maps, for an interesting story in its own right but I’m here to write although it was marked, from necessity, on maps for the use of about BadgerTac so that’s what I will do. However, I would pilots. recommend a visit here if you want that “hairs up on the back Anyway, back to the shop itself, the solitary unit which has of your neck” feeling – and that’s before you get to the shop! more parking than Heathrow Airport, has been broken down When the guys aren’t at the shop they can often be found into four separate sections. at their nearby Airsoft skirmish site “Blue Streak”, which The ﬁrst is probably the most important. This is the “meet has been operating for a couple of years now. Based almost and greet” room, complete with luxury leather sofa, hot or alongside the shop at Westcott, it was aptly named after the Blue Streak “THE NEXT ROOM IS WHERE MY TESTOSTERONE LEVEL PEAKED AS IT rocket which was developed here onsite and was a British mediumWAS ABSOLUTELY PACKED WITH GBBRS AND GBB PISTOLS. AGAIN I HAD range ballistic missile (MRBM) and THAT EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY PERVERTED URGE TO PICK UP AND FONDLE later the ﬁrst stage of the Europa GUNS… LOTS OF GUNS BUT I DID MANAGE TO STAY ON POINT AND satellite launch vehicle. By naming the site Blue Streak, it was felt to be REMAINED OBJECTIVE.” a ﬁtting tribute to this iconic piece of British history. The guys are ﬁercely patriotic in all that they do, so it’s not cold drinks served by scantily clad blondes and the warmest of really surprising that their chosen charity that they support is welcomes where you have a chance to chat to the guys about a local hospice for children and young adults named Holland anything Airsoft and tactical. Okay, I lied about the scantily Douglas House. clad blondes but I’m conﬁdent that both Ratty and Gumbo Before we get to the good stuff, here’s a little info about will don blonde wigs and “mankinis” with great pleasure if this very unique shop location. you so desire – they’re good like that but I’m sure you catch RAF Westcott was a World War II Royal Air Force station in my drift... It is an incredibly welcoming and unique part of Buckinghamshire, used by 11 OTU (Operational Training Unit), what BadgerTac do best and that is not only to meet your along with its satellite station RAF Oakley. needs when it comes to making your purchases (or just a social RAF Westcott opened in September 1942 with crews using visit – that’s just as important to the guys) but to make you Wellington bombers for training. Many of these crews saw feel very welcome, because indeed you are. Ratty and Gumbo active service in Lancaster bombers in the ﬁerce aerial campaign recognise that Airsoft is both a recreational and social activity waged by RAF Bomber Command over occupied Europe. The in sometimes equal proportions. Personally, my more agile RAF moved out in August 1945 shortly after nearly 53,000 days are long gone but that will never stop me from donning liberated allied POWs who arrived by air into Westcott as the my gear and going on a killing spree and then spending the ﬁrst UK staging post in their repatriation in Operation Exodus. majority of the day recovering and enjoying the social banter… The station closed on 3 April 1946 and in the 1960s reminds me of a song with the words “I’m not as good as I and 1970s, it became the home of the Rocket Propulsion once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was” which kinda Establishment. This site has made a number of notable describes me to a tee.
Inside Airsoft BADGERTAC
Of course, you are more than free to simply by-pass this area and go straight to where the hardware is but Bill and Ratty are very scrupulous when it comes to every customer leaving with a piece of kit or a gun that is right for them. Offering a bespoke service is their primary obligation to their customers, of which many become friends and acquaintances over the years, such is their characters and you can be sure of a laugh or six whilst you’re there. Anyway, the second room is primarily the AEG room and the respective accessories, parts, etc. The walls are ﬁlled with a variety of electric RIFs to suit all budgets and styles and as with all the guns, any of them can be taken out to the range and test ﬁred (it is in fact encouraged by the guys). This is where a lot of their expertise is exercised as quite often as newcomers to Airsoft “ideally” should be focused and the guys will explain the plain and simple reasoning behind this. I think we all agree a ﬁrst purchase gun should be inexpensive, simple to operate and maintain and ideally be an AEG. So let me offer a typical scenario… A ‘softer will walk into the shop (hopefully after using hire guns on a few previous occasions) and who now “thinks” that
they want a top branded GBBR with all the bells and whistles because it looks and sounds the cahonies – and this is where the guy’s experience, professionalism and integrity comes into play. Yes this person has £400-£500 to spend and are keen to do so and do not want to leave with change in their pockets and (of course) they can if they wish but this is where Ratty and Gumbo put the player ﬁrst by asking lots of questions and encouraging the customer to test ﬁre a selection of RIFS before that important decision is made. There is a good chance that the customer, having been enlightened on many fronts and ﬁred off many rounds from many different muzzles, might just walk out with a £200 gun that “ﬁts” them and meets their needs, a decent scope and a quality pair of boots because they have been playing in trainers up until that day. That is where honour and ethics are put before proﬁt. The next room is where my testosterone level peaked as it was absolutely packed with GBBRs and GBB pistols. Again I had that ever-so-slightly perverted urge to pick up and fondle guns… lots of guns but I did manage to stay on point and remained objective. This room is very well laid out and oozing with temptation because both Bill and Ratty have their very own unique passion for gas guns. Personally (and I may be wrong on this) but I do believe that once you have shot real steel guns with lead-tipped rounds then this is as near as you can typically get to the real thing and even though the kick isn’t as harsh and the bang not so big, it’s as (legally) close as you can get, other than joining
the military or successfully applying for a Section One Firearms Certiﬁcate (good luck with that one!). No wonder I’m back using air powered guns and having fun once again, having gone full circle myself over the years. The last room in this utopia holds the rest of the gear. Tac vests, footwear, combat fatigues, accessories and as I’ve said many times before, things that you don’t need but you buy them anyway... just because! The selection of combat clothing and kit will meet your needs and if you want something speciﬁc and don’t mind waiting a few days then it can be ordered and shipped directly to you as can any of the in-stock items, it’ll just take a little longer but worth it in many ways especially as BadgerTac prices are very competitive and hard to beat. One of BadgerTac’s ﬁnest features is that it has a decent shooting gallery to test ﬁre any of the 200 demo guns. It is a covered outdoor range with full-size steel targets at various (but typical) distances for anything from CQB to sniper and I think that this is the only Airsoft retailer that I recall having such a valuable facility on-site. Most retailers have an indoor test area but if you really want to test guns then you ideally need to factor in windage, projectile drop, weapon dexterity, power and of course, accuracy. This is currently prominent due to the increase in demand for DMRs which give the best of both worlds but makes for a more strategic demand on the shooter. No more spray ‘n’ pray, just good old fashioned and skilful marksmanship which can be measured quite accurately here at BadgerTac. Having had your gun and sighting system set up professionally by the guys, there should be no more call to blame the tool of your trade. Both Ratty and Billy will set your gun up with meticulous ﬁne-tuning using the right power source, ammo, scope and a little offer of advice on correct and effective weapon handling, stance and other variables that all go towards making you a better player. They will use their combined years of military training so that you will leave BadgerTac a better shooter than when you went in – whether you buy a gun or not. They are in it for the passion of the sport, or “lifestyle” as it is to many and not to make loads of money. As Billy said (and these words stuck with me) “If you want to become a millionaire in Airsoft, start off as a billionaire”. So that about wraps up Badger Tac and a little insight as to what to expect when you pay them a visit. Service described by Ratty himself as “akin to the local butcher” and no, I don’t mean sawdust on the ﬂoor and funny smelling carcasses behind the counter (but enough about the guys), just a genuine warm welcome where the tea urn is always hot and you are welcome in any capacity. Whether to spend money or just peruse the goods and have great banter with these very experienced and genuine fellas that want you to leave with a big old smile on your face. I promise you, you will not be disappointed with what you ﬁnd at BadgerTac and even if you test ﬁre 20 guns, so long as you’re having a great time then the guys’ ethos of “it’s all and only about the player” clearly rises to the surface. And if you’re wondering why this article is titled as it is, well I’ll just leave you to ask them that. Les OUT!
Badger Tac Tuesday - Friday 12:00 - 18:00 Saturday 10:00 - 17:00 01296-658600 | www.badgertac.com email@example.com
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KUSTOM KYDEX HOLSTERS GOT A NEW PISTOL MODEL WHERE HOLSTERS ARE NOT READILY AVAILABLE? WANT A HOLSTER THAT IS ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE TO YOU FOR A VERY SPECIFIC LOADOUT? JERRY NOONE SAYS THAT THIS IS THE VERY TIME TO… GIVE IT TO A GEEK! 42
I’M VERY LUCKY TO HAVE been playing about with this pastime we call “airsoft” for some considerable time and sufﬁce to say, that my very ﬁrst RIF was a lovely SIG226 Spring Pistol. Back in the day I was quite happy with a simple nylon belt holster for it and had no idea of how things would move on in the future. These days we have the option to legally own pretty much any pistol model we like and the manufacturers just keep on churning out new models and variants. Over the last eighteen months or so I’ve been assembling a new loadout based on the PenCott GreenZone camouﬂage pattern, which is absolutely ideal for the summer months on the south coast woodland sites I play at. At ﬁrst the colours seem to be far too bright but if you get the pattern in verdant greenery on a bright sunny day when the light ﬁlters through the canopy, they are absolutely ideal. I’ve taken my time to assemble this loadout as GreenZone is a pattern that more and more manufacturers are using, their numbers growing day by day, so I’ve bided my time, picking up a uniform here and a helmet cover there and ﬁnally I am in sight of a complete set of kit with just a chest rig to add when HUEYS get them back in stock! As much of the loadout has been sourced from Eastern European manufacturers like UFPRO I made the decision a little while back that I would also source some new RIFs to go with it and following that geographical theme, I decided to go with fully licenced CZ products from ActionSportGames in Denmark. I’ve had one of their CZ75 GBBs for a little while and having seen both the P-07 and P-09 (you’ll see my review of those this month too) at IWA, including the new Desert Tan P-09 I decided that my setup of choice would be one of each to back up my EVO. As I searched around though the choice of holster was the problem; should I go with Tan or Green for that? Actually neither option seemed to really work so my search began for a suitable “geek” to help me ﬁnd a solution. I didn’t have to look too far really as my good friend Phil recently set up a new custom holster business, Clearwater Holsters, speciﬁcally to ﬁnd bespoke solutions for handguns and magazines using Kydex. After several discussions with him we settled on a plan. I would get hold of some 500D GreenZone fabric that he would then laminate onto the Kydex of the ﬁnished holster; This was a process that he’d not attempted before but his approach was “I’m game if you are” so we went for it! The CZ P-07 Compact and the fabric duly arrived and I shipped everything off to Phil; he then set to work to bring everything together.
NOTHING TO SOMETHING! At every step of the build Phil kept me completely up to date with the process and progress. The ﬁrst step was to tape up the pistol with two layers of masking tape which would protect it from the hot plastic during the moulding process and also give a miniscule gap around the CZ when everything came together (Pic 1, 2). Next up was the measuring and cutting of the Kydex itself with a slightly bigger back plate to provide a sweat guard (Pics 3, 4, 5). Once the sheets were cut everything was heated to 300 degrees F before being placed in the mould process; the moulding apparatus consists of clamped wood sheets 18mm thick and 30cm x 30cm along with thermomoulding foam with each clamp exerting a maximum force of 135kg (Pic 6). 10-15 minutes later out popped the moulded back piece ready for the front to be done (Pic 7)! The next step is the measuring and marking of the horizontal line which becomes the centreing point for everything else, including rivet hole placement and the ﬁnal shape. This is traced out in white pencil and is removed before shipping (Pics 8, 9, 10). Then the screw holes are marked and the top piece becomes a template for the bottom to make sure it all aligns. Then the back piece is marked out ready for a rough ﬁrst cut (Pics 12, 13). When the ﬁrst cuts are made (Pic 14) the back and front of the holster are ready for sanding and ﬁnishing (Pic 15). At this
GITAG CUSTOM KYDEX HOLSTERS
GITAG CUSTOM KYDEX HOLSTERS
stage both pieces are drilled, belt sanded to near enough end design, and then ﬁnished by hand using medium and then ﬁne sanding blocks. Normally this is where everything would be close to completion but in the case of my holster obviously there was one more step to be taken before ﬁnal assembly and riveting - and that was laminating the fabric to the front panel. Phil used several pieces of fabric to test the adhesion of different glues; test pieces of Kydex were used to check the glue with the fabric and plastic to get the best “hold” (Pic 16). The fabric was then cut to shape (Pic 17) and laminated into place (Pic 18). Phil was incredibly diligent and painstaking during this part of the process to ensure that the glue used to laminate the fabric was the right one and it really was a good old touch of “trial and error”. He wanted the fabric to be perfectly smooth to the plastic with no lumps or air bubbles but also needed a glue that wouldn’t leave a visible residue or stain on the outer surface. I know that he put a great deal of effort into ﬁnding the right formula and when he did everything was put together; at this stage he even emailed me to ask if I would like black rivets or tan! As you’ll see from the ﬁnished product (Pics 19, 20) he has really excelled himself as the ﬁnal ﬁnish of the holster is superlative. The holster itself perfectly holds the CZ with a high level of retention but not so much that the draw is hindered in any way; the shaping from the moulding process is 100% spot on. Two belt loops are ﬁrmly attached to the rear plate and are sized to ﬁt most pistol or Riggers belts. The holster rides at hip height meaning that the draw is clean and unrestricted and it’s low proﬁle enough that you can wear it beneath a sweatshirt or ﬂeece in “concealed carry” style if you so choose. The lamination of the fabric to the Kydex is also perfect with not a rough edge, stray ﬁbre or glue bubble in sight; everything is neatly and smoothly ﬁnished and I’d be hard pressed to say that this wasn’t made in a big manufacturing process by one of the industry giants! The usual price for a straightforward design such as mine is £38 plus P&P which is absolutely in line with other custom builders on the market. If you want a holster that will accommodate a pistol with a torch, or one that is made from
camouﬂage-patterned Kydex or even carbon ﬁbre Kydex then this will cost a little more and Phil we be more than happy to quote on your speciﬁc requirements. I am really, REALLY happy with the ﬁnished holster I received from Clearwater Holsters and I have to say that the service throughout was absolutely impeccable. Although there are other people in the UK working with Kydex products, I think that the combination of courtesy, professionalism, and adherence to quality shown by Phil makes him stand out from the herd and in this instance, for this particular project I’m really glad that I was able to “GIVE IT TO A GEEK!” If you need a custom holster then please contact Phil via firstname.lastname@example.org or look up Clearwater Holsters on Facebook where you’ll be able to see more examples of his outstanding work.
IS THERE A PLACE FOR SHOTGUNS IN AIRSOFT? JERRY NOONE VERY MUCH THINKS THERE IS AND TAKES A LOOK THIS MONTH AT TWO MODELS REPLICATING THE VENERABLE REMINGTON 870, THE BEST-SELLING SHOTGUN OF ALL TIME!
A TALE OF TWO SHOTTIES
I’M JUST GOING TO COME STRAIGHT out and say this; I am a very, very big fan of airsoft shotguns! Over the years I have owned and skirmished with many different makes and models, both spring and gas powered and I absolutely love ‘em - although personally I prefer spring versions as they are so simple (and yes, I have tried the TM gasser and yes, it is very nice!). I’ve had everything from full length “trench guns” for WWII games, “sawn offs” for Namsoft, and “tactical folders” for modern day and I have to say there’s something very satisfying about racking the action and just letting ﬂy. The real Remington 870 pump-action shotgun was introduced in 1951 to ﬁt into a space in the manufacturer’s range; they needed something at the time that was modern, streamlined, rugged, reliable and relatively inexpensive and the model 870 neatly ﬁtted the bill. Sales of the 870 have been staggering; by 1973 two million had been sold, seven million by 1996 and a whopping ten million on 13th April 2009! Yes, you read that right, there are now over ten million of these wonderful shotguns in circulation and Remington just keep on building them! Remington 870s have been (and still are) used by numerous military units worldwide and are also extremely popular in Law Enforcement circles. The 870 was used by the SAS as a breaching weapon and was known by the UK Forces as the L74A1 and there’s even an “SAS private purchase” model in the Imperial War Museum! The popularity of the 870 series is down to its simplicity, rugged construction and reliability; available in 12, 16, 20, 28, or .410 bore they are extremely versatile and the number of aftermarket parts available for them is an industry in itself.
Armoury SHOTGUN HEAD-TO-HEAD
I’ve owned my long 870 Overfolder for a while now and it’s always been a bit of a favourite as it’s the model that you’ll see in numerous movies and TV shows; mine is the model with the extended tube and metal overfolding butt carried by Linda Hamilton playing “Sarah Connor” in “Terminator II: Judgement Day” but you’ll also see it in home grown shows like “Ultimate Force” and “Strike Back”. The basic airsoft 870 looks almost identical to the current real-deal “Express Tactical” model offered by Remington. My G&P model is full metal throughout apart from the parts that in real life are polymer; these are smoothly ﬁnished in a very good quality matt black plastic which shows minimal moulding lines. The metal parts are all satin ﬁnished to a very dull black and the whole thing feels solid and dependable in your hands. There is a manual “push through” safety on the rear of the trigger guard, coloured red when the gun is in ﬁre mode. The short model magazine holds twenty-two BBs (spare magazines are available at minimal cost), although longer, higher capacity magazines can be purchased as aftermarket parts; to me though this spoils the attractiveness of the 870 as when inserted the short magazine just looks like the plate of the loading port. In action the G&P 870 is an absolute beast sending .20g BBs downrange at an impressive 382 fps – and you can send them just as fast as you can pump the silky smooth action. I did some unsupported accuracy testing at ﬁfteen meters, probably the maximum for most CQB encounters and all twenty-two BBs ended up in tight circle no larger than a £2 coin! Taking the range out I was easily able to hit a sandbag at a good 50 meters; this thing is absolutely full on and upping to a .30g BB gives a super ﬂat trajectory with minimal loss of range. Impressive, especially considering the G&P has a ﬁxed hop!
Although the G&P 870 is a lovely replica the fact of the matter is that the “classic” models such as the overfolder now go for some serious money – if you can get your hands on one. G&P are making more modern “tacticool” versions based on the same action as the original but these are like shotguns on steroids as they come with pistol grips, tactical stocks, rail systems and all the rest and anything from this “Goliath” series is pricey, up to nearly £500 for the ﬂagship models! However if you’re not willing (or able) to spend that amount of money on what is essentially a humble springer then all hope is not lost. I was speaking with the team at Gunﬁre from Poland whilst at IWA earlier this year and they’re a ﬁne bunch so I keep a regular eye on their website as they do tend to offer some unusual models that we don’t always see in the UK. A couple of months back I noticed that an 870-like model had popped up, in the shape of the CYMA CM352 so I popped an email
“G&P ARE MAKING MORE MODERN “TACTICOOL” VERSIONS BASED ON THE SAME ACTION AS THE ORIGINAL BUT THESE ARE LIKE SHOTGUNS ON STEROIDS AS THEY COME WITH PISTOL GRIPS, TACTICAL STOCKS, RAIL SYSTEMS AND ALL THE REST.” off to them asking if I could get one to test. Within a week or so the package turned up and of course, as Poland is in the EU there was no malarkey with customs or import duties. WIN! CYMA have always been good value for money but I have to admit that that I’ve never had anything from them for some reason, although I’ve met many players over the years who swear by the brand. What arrived showed solid craftsmanship, attention to detail and proved to have very respectable performance. In appearance the CM352 is exactly like the G&P but is polymer as opposed to full metal; that said the polymer of the body, pump, pistol grip and outer barrel is
Armoury SHOTGUN HEAD-TO-HEAD
very solid indeed with nary a creak or ﬂex. It is very solidly put together. There are numerous ZnAL metal parts used though including the inner barrel, grip slide, shell ejection port, tactical sling swivels, barrel clasp, and chamber cover. The overfolding collapsible stock is made of steel just like that of the G&P. Controls are simple with a push through safety and bullet chamber lock button; these are located right next to the trigger, which makes their operation very simple and intuitive. The steel stock folds over onto the top of the body which allows for fast reduction of the size of the shotgun which is great for CQB or transport. What I REALLY like about the CYMA “870” though is the operation, as it has 3 inner barrels! As you’d expect accuracy is not up there with the G&P but this is by no means a slouch in that respect; in fact the tri-barrel arrangement allows you to ﬁre three BBs at once, which directly results in a greater chance of a hit. BBs are loaded into a replica shell of thirty BB capacity, which is in turn placed in the chamber of the shotgun; pull the trigger and BAM, three .20g BBs ﬂy downrange at a mean velocity of 300fps. Repeat nine more times, change out to another shell and off you go all over again! What’s also great about the CYMA is the price, as it will only set you back about £53.00 given the current exchange rate with the Euro at the time of writing. Gunﬁre’s shipping costs are very reasonable too so you could have your very own “870” delivered to your door for less than 70 quid! The CM 352 is also compatible with thirty shot BB shells from other manufacturers such as Double Eagle; you can pick up a pack of six spare DE shells for £15.00 or thereabouts, add a nice sling and be fully set up and ready to go for less than a ton!
RACK AND GO! Whatever the size of your wallet it’s pretty easy to add a shotgun to your armoury and believe me when I tell you, that when you do you won’t be sorry as they’re great fun to own and skirmish with. In my opinion you just can’t beat the quality of the full metal G&P but I’d also say that for occasional use, as it tends to be with airsoft shotguns, the fact that you can have the CYMA for less than half the price makes it a very attractive proposition indeed. In my opinion every airsofter worth their salt, whether they be a hard-core Mil-Simmer, a serious Sunday Skirmisher, or an AIPSC shooter should own a good quality spring powered shotgun model. There’s no battery to contend with, no gas to vent on cold days, just a big old spring that’s cocked by the pump action. Spring guns have very, very little that can go wrong with them and they can be easily upgraded with the minimum of parts; simply change the spring to raise or lower the power and install a tightbore barrel to improve the accuracy. At the moment I’m in the process of upgrading another G&P model that I picked up at Land Warrior which is proving to be great fun; Land Warrior recently managed to snag a “job lot” so currently have many of the older G&P models at reduced prices if you fancy a bargain! These days many good sites run “spring and gas only” days which are tremendous fun, and normally that means you’re going to run out with a gas pistol and a spring shotgun. A good “springer” (and bear in mind here that a lot of airsoft
“IN APPEARANCE THE CM352 IS EXACTLY LIKE THE G&P BUT IS POLYMER AS OPPOSED TO FULL METAL; THAT SAID THE POLYMER OF THE BODY, PUMP, PISTOL GRIP AND OUTER BARREL IS VERY SOLID INDEED WITH NARY A CREAK OR FLEX.” 48
sniper riﬂes are spring powered) can be superbly accurate, especially with a longer barrel. Given the fact that you need to re-cock the spring after each shot it also means that your teamwork and tactics need to be spot on and knowing how to shoot of course is very important; I actually prefer this kind of play as it eliminates the “spray and pray” players from the equation. Many Mil-Sims are played on semi-auto only as a matter of course, so running a shotgun in the scenario doesn’t necessarily put you at a huge disadvantage – especially if it’s accurate. For AIPSC, numerous participants are now looking to a shotgun to bring them into “three gun” territory and I have to say that I ﬁnd this development hugely exciting as it just lends just one more avenue to the airsoft experience. Whatever type of airsoft you’re involved in, a good spring shotgun is a great investment and the “870” models have always been my favourites! G&P 870 Shotguns are stocked by most good airsoft retailers but mine came from www.proairsoftsupplies.co.uk My thanks also go to Gunﬁre for supplying the CYMA; if you haven’t done so already you should really check out their website at www.gunﬁre.pl
SECTION 8 AIRSOFT ANGELO DV GIVES US A “SNAPSHOT” OF A SITE IN SCOTLAND WHERE HE WAS IMPRESSED BY MORE THAN JUST THE SIZE OF THE AREA Pictures by ScoutTheDoggie BEFORE I DO ANYTHING ELSE, I would just like to say this is probably going to be the most difﬁcult review I’ve ever done, due to the fact that there is absolutely nothing I can fault our day on. Now you may think that sounds mad but its true! Anyway here goes… I have been chatting to Ricky Cairns, who is one of the site’s main men for some time now and promised that we would take him up on his offer to play the site as his guests. So that’s exactly what I and some other members of Team Rhino did. The Section 8 site is a 1,400 acre(!!) woodland site, located within the Dura Forrest, Allanton, in between Glasgow and Edinburgh “ONE TEAM IN THE BUILDING (Dura Rd, Wishaw, ML2 9PJ ). We were staying in Hamilton so it was a DEFENDING IT AND THE short 15–20 minute drive to the site. OTHER COMING UP THE HILL After following the directions on the Section 8 Facebook page, we TO WIPE EVERYONE IN THE found ourselves driving down a track BUILDING OUT. VERY SIMPLE that took us straight to the site. When we got there we were directed by BUT VERY EFFECTIVE AND Owen through a gate into a separate SHED LOADS OF FUN, WITH parking area (most of the cars were BBS COMING FROM EVERY parked on the road), where we parked up and started to get our kit out. At ANGLE.” this point I heard the dulcet tones of no other than Ricky himself, who greeted us all with a huge smile and “man-hugs” all round. Without doubt the warmest welcome we have ever received at a site. Ricky then showed us the way to the get ready area, which was a series of wood and Perspex shelters with tables and places to sit and which was in a small clearing. Next step was a very short walk up to the sign area where breakfast sandwiches were being served - bacon, black pudding and the famous square sausage (which confused Dan no end). After breakfast the safety brief began which was direct and to the point but covered all the necessary points and took place 50
Snapshot SECTION 8
from a raised podium in the middle of the ready area (good idea). Safety brief done and we were split into two teams. Now one thing I noticed at this point was neither of the two teams were given arm bands to wear, which is the normal way you would identify the opposition. My initial thought on this was that it was going to be very difﬁcult to identify targets but what I found myself doing was looking at the other team, trying my best to remember faces and loadouts. I personally think this added a different dimension to the gameplay and was another good idea.
GAMEPLAY So we made our way to the ﬁrst area to play a couple of quickﬁre “attack and defend the bridge” games, which is always a good way to get the blood and adrenaline pumping. From game-on it was a full-on, all-out scrap, which kind of set the tone for the day. Game two was a “Bomb the Base” game, where bombs were placed in the site that had to be located then hidden to prevent the other team getting them, or escorted to the opposition base for detonation. For this game we were paired up with a local team, called the “Sons of Anarchy”, which was a massive help as they knew the site. This was a timed game and we were given one hour to complete the tasks set. Within 20 minutes we had captured two of the bombs, so myself and Rab (who were commanding the two factions) headed towards the frontline to offer support to the task force. The ﬁghting was very intense through by far the best woodland terrain I have ever played in. Dense woodland that led to clearings of downed trees and deep rutted ground. This was interspersed with small bog areas, which inevitably attracts the little biting things but are easily kept at bay with some decent bug repellent. Full-on war the likes I personally have never played in a woodland area before. It was hot and humid but the atmosphere was absolutely perfect for a good jungle scrap. Time for lunch which was either burgers with or without bacon, sausage or cheese and a good selection of drinks, chocolate and crisps. During the lunch break rafﬂe tickets were being sold in support of a local Scout group with by far the
best prizes I’ve ever seen. Brand new ICS riﬂe, KJ Works pistol, action camera and a host of other goodies. Over £600.00 was raised so a huge pat on the back for that. So it was time to crack on with the afternoon play which was a series of seek, attack and defend games with varying twists and rules. One thing I really liked was the strip of white cloth given to each player for medic purposes; you get shot, you wave your strip in the air. Then someone comes to medic you whilst tying the strip around your arm which also indicated you had been shot once. Now I’m not saying other sites don’t do this but it’s the ﬁrst time I’ve been in a game using it and I really liked it. The ﬁnal games of the day were my favourite, very simple format but I loved it. Basically there was a building at the top of a short rise maybe 400-500 yards long and the objective was very simple. One team in the building defending it and the other coming up the hill to wipe everyone in the building out. Very simple but very effective and shed loads of fun, with bbs coming from every angle. That brought the game play to a close and what was quite simply the best day of woodland airsoft I’ve ever played.
SUMMARY I have always been a person who can observe many things but not necessarily comment on what I’m seeing. At Section 8 my biggest observation was how customer-driven this set up is; it’s all about YOU, the paying customer. I lost count of how many times I saw Ricky and other members of staff going round to players new and old, making sure they were enjoying their day and asking if there were there any issues. Service with a smile all round and the warmest welcome to an airsoft site we have ever experienced. I simply can’t say any more. Go and try it for yourself and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Full on game play from a bunch of guys who love to play airsoft the way it should be… with honour! Massive thanks to Ricky Cairns, Neil Hogan, Owen Wilson and the rest of the staff and of course ScoutTheDoggie. You have something very special there so keep the faith. We don’t do ratings at Airsoft Action but if we did, Section 8 would deﬁnitely be a “10” in my book!
These shorts (8,5’’ inseam) are based on our Outdoor Tactical Pants® design. Feature new, highly stretchable fabric that performs very well in outdoor activities.
Loaded or Unloaded FIRST TIME IN ‘NAM?
THIS MONTH JERRY NOONE DELVES INTO THE WORLD OF VIETNAM AIRSOFT AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK. IF THIS YEAR IS YOUR “FIRST YEAR IN THE ‘NAM” IT’S ACTUALLY CHEAPER AND EASIER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK TO KIT UP! ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I really love about our wide world of airsoft is just how many periods it encompasses; if you imagine yourself as a D-Day “Screaming Eagle” or a “Jarhead” in the Philippines you can make it happen. If you want to get involved with a Cold war scenario it’s absolutely doable as Gadge so ﬁnely shows us month by month; pick up an SLR or an AK with the appropriate uniform and you’re set. My particular area of historical airsoft interest though is the Vietnam War; all airsofters of a “certain age” will remember the television show “Tour of Duty” and probably own the DVD box sets of all three seasons as I do. I remember tuning in late at night to watch the exploits of “Bravo Company” as they progressed through the war, starting out as “green grunts” and ending up as part of Special Forces “Team Viking”; the wisdom of Sgt “Zeke” Anderson, the patriotism of Lt Myron Goldman and the tenacity shown by all the young infantrymen just won you over. Not only that but in general the weapons and equipment were pretty spot on too; whether it was the basic M16 or the more esoteric “Carl Gustav” SMG used by Cpl Danny Purcell in Season 3, the ﬁrearms were pretty much spot on. Uniforms and equipment, from the basic olive green 3rd Pattern fatigues and M56 Load Bearing Equipment through to “Tigerstripes” were all nailed. Yes, the acting was at some points dubious and the storylines increasingly sensational but you really got the feeling that “Bravo” were usually in country and in the mire! Fairly early on in my time playing airsoft I discovered the world of “’Namsoft” and what a world it was. I remember that I already had a pair of VN-style jungle boots and then quickly bought some repro OD fatigues and a boonie hat online; initially I made do with some old ALICE gear and just used one of my M4s with all the modern stuff removed. Soon though the
bug bit hard; a Classic Army M16A1 was quickly followed by an XM177 from the same brand and I found myself scouring online and at the shows for genuine period clothing, footwear, and equipment. I became part of a Vietnam era Living History group which meant having everything totally up to scratch but being involved opened other doors for me in relation to kit acquisition, as the more seasoned guys knew exactly where to buy. I also researched like you wouldn’t believe, reading books, watching DVDs and trawling online forums for information. I joined the international Vietnam Airsoft Forum and when one was created for the UK I was on that like a ﬂash. To say that “Namsoft” became a passion would be an understatement and I’ve now been collecting genuine period and good quality reproduction items for a considerable time. I have loadouts from early war “Adviser” through to post-war MACV-SOG with everything in between and even a couple of sets of “Aussie” kit; I even have clothing and equipment for VC and NVA just in case… The point I’m making here is that if, as with any highly accurate loadout you might think of, you want to head “in country” then do your research well; decide if you want to be a “grunt” as part of a larger team or whether you want to be a Ranger “running recon”, research thoroughly and then buy accordingly.
THE MEN WITH GREEN FACES I’ve always been highly intrigued by the role played by the USN SEAL teams in Vietnam. Shortly after being established in January 1962 from the old Underwater Dive Teams (UDTs), members of SEAL Team One were sent to take initial surveys and make preparations for training indigenous South
Vietnamese in the tactics, techniques, and procedures of maritime commandos. By the late 1960s the SEAL Teams were deploying twelveman platoons, each comprising two squads of six men each. Four or ﬁve platoons at any given time were deployed to South Vietnam; SEAL platoons were never assigned permanently to Vietnam, but were sent on temporary duty assignments generally for period of about six months. Many of the men made several tours.
While the majority of SEAL operations were conducted after inserting from boats, it was in Vietnam that SEALs ﬁrst began developing hit-and-run air-assault tactics using Army and Navy helicopters. SEAL platoons carried out day and night ambushes (but much preferred night operations), hit-and-run raids, reconnaissance patrols and special intelligence collection operations. Calling them the “men with green faces” because of the facial camo cream they used, the VC feared SEALs and often put bounties on their heads. After about six years of heavy involvement in Vietnam, the tiny group of SEALs accounted for 600 conﬁrmed VC killed and hundreds of tons of weapons, equipment and food stocks destroyed. No real tally can be placed on the effects of the intelligence gathered by SEALs but there is no question that they made a contribution to the war out of all proportion to their numbers. In the psychological war, too, they were extraordinary, striking fear into the VC and NVA regulars alike; once the VC ruled the night but in the areas where they operated the SEALs soon put paid to that! The last SEAL platoon left Vietnam on December 7th 1971 and the last SEAL advisers left the country in March 1973. They left with complete honour and a raft of decorations including three Medals of Honor, two Navy Crosses, forty-two Silver Stars, four hundred and two Bronze Stars and literally hundreds of Purple Hearts. They also left with the satisfaction of a job well done and returned home just as quietly as they had left. A new special unit had proved itself in one of the most vicious wars ever, and the way forward was set for the SEALs.
FIELD EXPEDIENT Although they were not unique in this respect the SEAL teams were early adopters not only of specialist weapons systems like the Stoner LMG but also of camouﬂage uniforms. Many special units regularly wore the indigenous “Tigerstripe” uniforms but the SEALs were amongst the ﬁrst to pick up on the new ERDL Patterns coming available. “Tigers” were often hard to come by in western sizes and it was not unusual to see the different special forces units wearing a mish-mash of different “Tiger” hues; with ERDL though, this all changed. First developed by the Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratory (ERDL) at Fort Belvoir in 1948, the ERDL camouﬂage consisted of four distinct colours; light green, dark green, brown, and black. In May 1962 it was tested alongside British olive green, OG-107, Marine Corps Mitchell camouﬂage pattern and khaki uniforms and the testers all agreed that the ERDL and Mitchell pattern camouﬂaged uniforms were superior to the solid coloured ones, with the majority preferring ERDL. The 1948 ERDL pattern was originally designed for verdant terrains in temperate climates and not the jungles of South East Asia but the test report stated that it did still have advantages over the solid coloured OG-107 uniform that was standard issue at the time. In December 1965 the US Army Vietnam (USARV) requested that Natick Labs produce 300 ERDL uniforms for evaluation by specialised units. Reconnaissance platoons from the 101st and 173rd Airborne tested the uniforms during 1966 and reported that there was a deﬁnite need for such clothing. As a result, in February 1967 USARV set up a procurement programme for 18,373 sets of ERDL camouﬂage uniforms and numerous clothing manufacturers across the USA rose to the challenge. The SEALs jumped at the chance and were one of the ﬁrst units “in country” to receive the new camouﬂage uniforms and ERDL very soon became one of the parts of their “look”; they would continue to wear it even when the new “woodland” uniforms were introduced and it became a bit of a statement pattern for them. Now although I do own a lovely mint–condition set of green dominant 1968 dated ERDLs, I’m afraid there is no way that I’d be taking that uniform to an airsoft game! Luckily for us there are now very good reproductions available that won’t break the bank. Soldier of Fortune do a cracking ERDL repro set for around £75.00 which is very close to the original and even cut in the correct pattern. They are made like the early original
Loaded or Unloaded FIRST TIME IN ‘NAM?
which a replica MK-13 smoke/ﬂare should be attached with either green tape or elastic bands. The other item to hunt out is an olive green nylon Medical Instrument and Supply Set Case which just screams “teams”.
COUNTING THE COST Now of course it may be the case that you’ll only want to attend the odd Vietnam Airsoft game now and again, so laying out a lot of money on a full set of period correct kit will no doubt put you off. If that’s the case then never fear, I have a solution for you! One of the reasons that I speciﬁcally chose the SEALs for this article is that it’s actually very, very easy to put together a set of gear that looks correct and gives a nod to Juliett Platoon who served in the Mekong Delta, along the Bassac River to be precise, in 1970. If you want a real overview and some ﬁne detail on kit and operating procedures then “The Element of
versions from cotton poplin and the colours are correct; dark green army shade 355, yellow green army shade 354, brown army shade 356 and black army shade 357 and once washed look great. They are also made slightly oversized to allow for any shrinkage so bear this in mind if you order online. SOF also does a nice range of ERDL accessories including a beret or boonie which are ideal for a SEAL loadout and even a helmet cover. Period jungle boots believe it or not are still being discovered in US warehouses, so it is possible to pick up a dated pair but do be prepared to drop some serious cash on these for popular sizes! Once again, reasonable repros are easily obtained these days and indeed some of the US footwear manufacturers such as Altama still have “Jungles” in their ranges. M49 black leather Shell Gloves or cut-down Nomex pilots gloves were often worn to contend with the harsh environment and vicious undergrowth and repros of these are easily and cheaply sourced. Olive green bandanas are also to be found cheaply online and will help to protect the neck from BBs! As with the majority of ground forces in Vietnam the SEALs used the M16A1 so load bearing gear (LBE) should reﬂect this; once again SOF do a cracking repro basic set of M56 Pattern LBE. This was the most popular type of webbing worn in Vietnam by the US troops and for £85.00 you’ll be pretty much set. This new M56 web set includes the universal ammo pouch that will hold an assortment of magazines including four 20rd M16 mags, two 20rd M14 mags, two hand grenades or three M79 (M203) grenade launcher rounds. The whole set comprises of two universal ammo pouches, suspenders, belt (regular size up to 42” waist), canteen and canteen cover and a butt pack. If you don’t want the whole set then all the items are available individually so you can tailor make your own setup. A Claymore bag by the way makes a ﬁne dump pouch! A couple of little additional items though will really give your loadout a real “SEAL” ﬂavour and are well worth searching out. The ﬁrst is a black leather sheath for a K-Bar knife (a plastic or rubber training knife can be placed inside) to www.airsoft-action.co.uk
Loaded or Unloaded FIRST TIME IN ‘NAM?
Surprise” by Darryl Young is a paperback worth its weight in gold. On page 32 of the book Darryl Young gives us the lowdown: “As we walked down the streets of Can Tho, we always drew a lot of hard stares and suspicious looks from military personnel and Vietnamese alike. Our hair was longer than military specs, some of us had beards, which were not then authorized, and we wore a mix of civilian and military clothing. Levi’s jeans, cammo top, protective coral booties or tennis shoes. And occasionally we packed Stoners. Even most military personnel didn’t recognise the Stoner. After taking a look at us, normal GIs would say “Who or what the f##k are you?” This simple paragraph gives you an idea of where you can take things and where you can make everything affordable. First off you can save on the footwear by buying something like a pair of black converse style boots which work well and of course can be worn every day, although I’ve stuck with my jungle boots. Blue jeans; ﬁve quid from the supermarket! The ERDL pockets sewn onto these came from a trashed pair of pants I found online again for £5.00; this was not a regular thing that you’d see although reference pictures do sometimes show the modiﬁcation. Trousers (either camo or non) should be left unbloused so as not to hold water. I picked up an old
WHERE TO BUY and RESOURCES www.sofmilitary.co.uk Based in Wales Soldier of Fortune can also be found at most good military and living history shows. They carry probably the most complete line of real and reproduction Vietnam War uniforms, footwear, equipment in Europe and you don’t even have to worry about import duty!
www.mooremilitaria.com When it comes to all things “’Nam” then Moore Militaria in Texas are just superb. Trey Moore is an excellent guy to deal with and as an avid collector himself really understands what re-enactors are looking for. All of his gear be it genuine or repro, is absolutely ﬁrst rate and you can often ﬁnd some extra-special items in the “one offs” sections of his website.
www.vietnamgear.com If you want to ﬁnd out more about the Vietnam War or any of the gear used the vietnamgear.com is the place to go. Everything is concisely listed and catalogued with individual descriptions of just about anything and everything ‘Nam related.
www.vietnam-airsoft.com The international Vietnam Airsoft Forum is an absolute goldmine of information and has some ﬁrst rate sections detailing how to nail your loadout. There are sections for gear, guns, and even rations and listings of games worldwide. Tread carefully though, these guys are serious about what they do!
http://s6.zetaboards.com/vietnamairsoft/ index/ The UK Vietnam Airsoft Forum is a much more relaxed place to visit and has some equally fabulous loadout ideas. You’ll also ﬁnd listings of games within the UK which are updated regularly.
Vietnam War Collectibles: Identiﬁcation and Price Guide
ERDL shirt from a friend for £10.00 and once again, a couple of green bandanas cost £2 from the market. With the LBE you can make things really simple too; I’m lucky enough to have picked up one of the excellent Stoner replicas from G&P so I just run an M56 belt with the nylon ﬁrst aid pouch, two canteens, a magazine pouch to carry grenades, a black leather K-Bar sheath and a leather holster for my “hush puppy”; this is a customised suppressed Ruger and the holster was made for me by a fellow ‘Namsofter for the price of materials and postage. If you’re going to run an M16 with this loadout you can simply add a couple of Universal Magazine Pouches and you’re good to go. So, there you have it. If you’re of a mind to give ‘Namsoft a go this year, then either of these loadouts will set you in good stead. You really don’t need to pay out silly amounts of money on your gear but whichever way you decide to go, do your research and make sure that you’re doing the best job that you possibly can. Historical airsoft honours the participants of horriﬁc conﬂicts so do bear in mind you do carry the weight and responsibility of that with you. As always, research is your friend, and in this case really do make sure you do your homework! 56
This excellent full-colour book by David Doyle (ISBN 978-0-89689-6048) is an absolute “must have” if you’re looking to get into ‘Namsoft as it details every tiny item that a GI might have carried. The prices quoted are now out of date sadly, but the sheer volume of information and pictorial reference makes this worth having.
The Element Of Surprise As mentioned earlier Darryl Young’s account of SEAL Team One operations in the Mekong Delta is a cracking read (ISBN 978-0-8041-0581-1). Not only does it take you right into “the belly of the beast” but there are numerous sections which clearly and succinctly outline their gear and how it was used. You’ll also, after having read it, know all about the “Banana Raid”! “Zeke” Hair courtesy of the local golf shop and a little imagination!
ANOTHER FINE MESH! GADGE LOOKS INTO THE PROS AND CONS OF AIRSOFT EYE AND FACE PROTECTION IN 15 YEARS OF PLAYING AIRSOFT I’ve always been a “shooting glasses” player. To me full face masks, ski goggle type eye pro and mesh masks have always seemed the “soft option” but recently I’ve been drawn to the merits of mesh! Perhaps its ex-squaddie bravado or a desire for “realism” but I’ve always seen full face masks as a bit of a “wusses” option. Maybe years of playing paintball with restrictive and fogging “JT”-type masks put me off, or maybe it’s a reluctance to “water “HIGH HUMIDITY AND down” my MilSim loadout with a facemask more suited to a Star Wars DRIZZLING RAIN (WOULD Stormtrooper… I don’t know exactly, NORMALLY HAVE RUINED all I do know is you wouldn’t catch MY DAY AS “COMPOUND me dead in one… until recently - and quite frankly that’s stupid! VISION” FROM RAIN SPOTS As an ambassador for the sport WOULD BE COMPETING I really should have been paying WITH “FOGGING” ON MY attention to all those safety briefs that I’ve attended, I should have taken GLASSES IN A BATTLE TO note when I’ve seen the odd player SEE WHICH COULD HACK lose a tooth after opting to play in “just glasses” and the time I saw a ME OFF MORE – BUT guy at a cold war game lose all his WITH MESH PROTECTION front teeth from a point blank burst I EXPERIENCED NONE OF of full auto… Well I really should have got it that time. But what made me THESE PROBLEMS.” “see the light” you ask, well it’s quite frankly my preference these days for “up close and personal” Close Quarter Battle sites. Over the last year I’ve probably reviewed half a dozen brilliant urban battlezones for Airsoft Action and if I’m honest, I’ve had some near misses with bleeding lips, grazed cheeks
and a particularly painful shot to the end of my nose! Luckily I avoided losing a tooth each time but the writing was on the wall, wrapping a shemagh around my lower face wasn’t going to cut it when a BB was potentially doing 360FPS from a few feet away and met up with my gnashers. And so the next time I popped into my local store (the brilliant JD Airsoft) I decided to buy a few less Gucci gun accessories and few more fundamental face protecting ones. I opted for an ASG “Strike Systems” lower face mesh, intending to wear my normal Revision glasses with it but while I was there, I thought I’d break the habit of a lifetime and try out some mesh goggles too and chose a pair by Nuprol. Now for years I’ve been put off mesh goggles for one major and one minor reason. Largely it’s because I’ve found in the past that they’ve been sub optimal in low light conditions (and most urban games are dimly lit) but also I’d heard worrying stories of BBs fragmenting on the mesh and micro debris hitting the eye. But, as I approach 40 and get less and less in shape I’m starting to sweat and steam up around my glasses more than ever and decided that reduced low light visibility had the edge over zero visibility from fogged glasses. As an aside, my concern over the micro debris was reassured as I reasoned that, as a contact lens wearer, in the highly unlikely event a tiny fragment did penetrate the mesh it was unlikely to go through my lens as well! Still not wholly convinced it was time to try out the mesh “two piece” at a game and see if my hopes and fears were justiﬁed. I took mesh protection out to two very different open days in different weather conditions to put my theories to the test, leaving my beloved Revision glasses in my kit bag. My ﬁrst outing really hammered home the advantages of mesh upper and lower face protection. Even before we got in
Feature EYE AND FACE PROTECTION
the car the weather was awful and once in game it got worse. High humidity and drizzling rain (later becoming a downpour) would normally have ruined my day as “compound vision” from rain spots would be competing with “fogging” on my glasses in a battle to see which could hack me off more - but with mesh protection I experienced none of these problems. On the ﬂipside however, I was constantly aware I was wearing the Nuprol mesh goggles as they are quite close ﬁtting and it almost felt like I could feel my eyelashes brushing against them. My lower face didn’t fare much better as the protective mask pressed against my cheeks and while I could live with a little discomfort, I did ﬁnd it almost impossible to get a proper “spot weld” of my cheek against my riﬂe stock with the lower protection on and sniping with mesh goggles played havoc with the eye relief of the scope. However I don’t feel these issues are unique to the two items I chose. Chatting to other mesh wearers of differing brands at both open days, I found out that others felt their masks pushed against their face uncomfortably at times but (so far) the pros of actually being able to see at all far outweighed the cons of a little discomfort. Time for round two. On my second open day out I took along the same combination of protective mesh and I was hoping that by now my eyes would have learned to see “around” the mesh and my brain would ﬁlter the screens image out – no such luck! As before, I was acutely aware I was wearing both and this time it was a glorious sunny day and I felt for a while that I
might switch back to “glasses” uppers - until I realised that the mesh lens was actually ﬁltering out a little of the bright light… Another fringe beneﬁt but one I imagine will have its downside on darker days and night games. While most of the day was quite sunny, by the end of the event the heavens had opened up and once again I was glad of eye protection that wasn’t compromised by heavy rain fall. Clearly the mesh had shown itself to be more versatile in a changeable UK climate. While I’d purchased the lower face guard because I was taking a lot of hits to the face in CQB, I miraculously managed to avoid any hits to the mouth or nose on both events but I’m sure that if I were to play another CQB site it would be a different matter entirely! So in conclusion I think the jury is still out for me. While I can see the obvious protective beneﬁts and on hot or wet (or both) days mesh wins hands down, I just can’t get used to the “close” feeling of having both items press on my face all day. I may well get used to the mesh eventually and not notice it’s there but I think I might have to invest in a pair of deeper goggles that don’t feel quite so close to my eyes and possibly a lighter colour mesh might help? While I’ll deﬁnitely use mesh lower face for CQB I think I’ll be reserving the goggles for extreme weather days and reverting back to my Revisions for eye protection… if only because when I looked back at pics from the day my perfectly recreated historical loadouts are ruined by the “fencing mask” on my face!
Solid full face ‘JT’ Style mask with lens Pros: Great protection. Cons: Limited peripheral vision, prone to fogging, reduced “realism”.
Solid full face ‘JT’ style mask with mesh Pros: Great protection, no fogging. Cons: Limited peripheral vision, poor in low light areas, reduced “realism”.
Solid ‘face sculpt’ mask with mesh or lens Pros: ideal for milsims/historical, great protection. Cons: Prone to overheating, limited vision.
Shooting Glasses Pros: Variable lens, low proﬁle for “FilmSim” events. Cons: Slight chance of fogging, zero dental protection.
Mesh Goggles Pros: No fogging, can be low proﬁle in ﬂesh tones. Cons: Zero dental protection, poor in low light conditions.
Mesh Lower Face Protection Pros: Excellent “breathable” lower face protection. Cons: Requires the addition of mesh of lens goggles, reduced “realism”.
Scarf/Shemagh Lower Face Protection Pros: Versatile, high “realism”, can double as warm clothing or sniper veil. Cons: Warm in summer, low levels of dental protection.
debate WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE PROFESSIONALS?
LEARNING FROM THE ARMY FOLLOWING NIGE’S RECENT REPORT FROM WEST MIDLANDS AIRSOFT, WHERE A GROUP OF AIRSOFTERS HAD A DAY’S TRAINING FROM MEMBERS OF 126 FIELD COMPANY REME, GADGE ASKS “WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE PROFESSIONALS?”
A COMMON SITE ON A SKIRMISH FIELD is to hear someone shout “I know how to take this, I was in the SAS/Marines/ Underwaterhorseartillery Regiment! Follow me!”… before they trudge back to the safe zone, hand in the air. But can we actually learn something from the professionals? Those with military experience and those with actual battleﬁeld experience or is the game just that, a game too far removed from reality to make any real world tactic work? Given that the “military” feel of airsoft propagates an entire culture where players strive to get the most up to date kit and accurate loadouts, is there any point if the only similarity we have with modern warfare is wearing camo in the woods? Does it matter what sort of game you’re playing? A woodland skirmish at 50 metres with BB-stopping branches is a far cry away from the 500-800 metre section engagements I was trained to do as a lad… but, if you play CQB then the range issue (and to a lesser degree the “generosity” of cover) evens out. Some agencies use airsoft for training so surely it has some value to a military application but in a nutshell the question is... Can we learn more effective gaming skills from the professionals, or are we misleading ourselves over what is (essentially) “playing army in the woods”? Over to you…
Martin Garrett: “I am former military and playing helps keep the skills and drills good. We could all learn different aspects of military training but it depends on how serious you want to be.” Milsim Tim Cleverly: “In a standard Skirmish, I feel that a lot of tactics just won’t work, as you have 40+ people on each side and most of those are going to want to do whatever they want to do and attempting to organise them usually gets met with replies of “Get lost, I’ll do my own thing”. In a Milsim I reckon you could employ tactics to a degree but it’s airsoft after all and our weapons are very limited and you’d end up getting seen long before you were in range.” Rab Johnstone: “Try to work with one rule. Talk to each other ﬁrst and work the objective together. Players that do the “lone wolf” thing tend to get lit up ﬁrst. But hey, that’s just my opinion.” Rob Campbell: “Of course you can learn something from the professionals; you can learn something from everyone. Certain military skills are instantly transferable: good communication, team work, training, drills etc. etc... “That being said, there’s a lot that doesn’t apply due to the limitations of the hobby: range, ﬁrepower, and the ability to level buildings with air support!”
John Wilson: “Single shot games with limited ammo/low caps require a much more tactical approach than a high cap hoser of a skirmish day.”
have attended and before the game started we had a quick run through of these tactics and practice of them before going into the game zone.”
Tom Naa: “CQB skills are almost completely transferable I ﬁnd. I attend fairly regular training sessions held by a group of ex-military guys called Combat Airsoft Group and have come on leaps and bounds under their mentoring. This improves my enjoyment of the game considerably. Let’s be honest, pulling of successful room clearing feels immensely badass! Some of their other sessions have covered reconnaissance and medical care under ﬁre. These have no relevance to skirmishing, but are proper good fun!”
Billy Gumbrell: “You can only use what the professionals do within the realms of airsoft physics. “A gun group on top of high ground at distance or a lone sniper concealed only works to a degree because the “weapon” is not up to the task. Anything up close is immediately transferable. “The real reason military tactics don’t always work is because of re-spawns, medics and ammo capacities. 2500 rounds in a M4 box ma…. One man couldn’t carry 2500 rounds, let alone in one mag. “If airsoft was limited to realistic ammo limits the realistic tactics would play a bigger part. If there was a genuine threat of death or severe injury then airsoft “suicide charges” would cease.”
Brendan Robb: “Having been to some training days run by Combat Action Group, I would say that training and practice does pay off and improve your game but working as a team and understanding what is happening is the key to winning.” Andrew Lane: “You often ﬁnd home teams and regular player groups work well because they communicate with each other during the game. A lot of Military tactics would work really well if applied to Airsoft. However as it’s more of a fun game it’s often hard to get people to follow orders but then why should they? They paid to play and it’s up to them if they want to win with the team or have fun. Sometimes team members gel and when you get like-minded strangers together a winning team emerges but I once had an ex-army guy shouting at us to run forward, only he didn’t know I was 50 years old and 15 stone and my mate had had a knee op!” Jason Ferguson: “Organising a bunch of airsofters is like trying to herd cats – only food or a laser pointer will keep their attention. “Some aspects work though. Things like keeping your gun up and pointing in the direction you are looking at will always give you a few seconds advantage in a chance encounter.” Paul ‘Paul S’ Scarlett: “Personally I think on the normal skirmish ﬁeld, military tactics could be useful. But the main problem is with all the pray and sprays and just for fun players who will not be interested in using proper section attacks. But for a properly run milsim, then then whether they are in an urban or rural situation. Then yes, they will work to great effect. I have personally seen this happen at milsim games I
Paul Waters: “Tactics only tend to work if you have a command element but trying to get civilian players to follow basic tactical orders is like trying to herd cats. Unless they’re keen and have practiced. I have found that once it comes to crunchy time. Every team member has a task to perform (cover arcs/suppressive ﬁre/etc.)... but it tends to turn to sh*t and everyone does as they please.” Mike Templar: “Absolutely you can learn from “real world” tactics. The hard part is implementing it within the airsoft environment. The real world rarely involves one man death machines and team work is critical to mission objectives. Unfortunately within airsoft you have people from all walks of life which don’t always gel well enough to make the basics effective. Some people take offence to being shouted at, some just don’t listen and some listen but stay quiet. Then you have the guys who just want to do their own thing, rather than work as one whole team for the greater good so to speak (which is ﬁne, they’ve paid their money like everyone else). And that’s where a lot of real world tactics fall down: the basic implementation of them.” Shaun Clark: “It’s a game, it’s fun but we all like to win so yes, you can lean from ex-army guys and real-world tactics. I play and am ex-army and the guys like to learn the real stuff like
“ABSOLUTELY YOU CAN LEARN FROM “REAL WORLD” TACTICS. THE HARD PART IS IMPLEMENTING IT WITHIN THE AIRSOFT ENVIRONMENT.”
debate WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE PROFESSIONALS?
section attacks, they work well in airsoft and some of the CQB stuff.” Ian Ireland: “Watch the American Military… That’s how NOT to do it!” Andrew Knowles-Jones: “Training, with more training topped off with a bit more training.” Alistair Crighton Corstorphine: “Fieldcraft and camouﬂage are key, also using your ears as well as your eyes and black bbs also help!” Richard ‘Jimmy’ Lowton: “Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of situations where military training is beneﬁcial, like CQB, room clearance etc. But a lot times it is the suicidal charges, or diving through the air ﬁring two guns at once that win the games.”
Dean Goodall: “An interesting, thought-provoking topic, close to many airsofters hearts! “I agree with pretty much all of what’s been said, especially CQB and the limitations of range, hi cap = poor skills and the need for good comms. At an individual level you also need to learn to use the ground, in any environment and develop an eye for what will work. At a team level, being able to still continue the mission through “the fog of war” when chaos is reigning and your “headless cats” need herding is the real challenge! Meeeeow!” Dave Clark: Ex paintballer here. I know most people hate paintballers but airsoft is just a game/hobby and I do ﬁnd that paintball tactics work extremely well in an airsoft environment! Things like snap shooting, running and gunning and also mugging is fantastic. I have been in the RAF, admittedly I didn’t do much ﬁeld tactics but the ones I did would hardly work in the game of airsoft. In real life yeah but not in the woods with a toy that ﬁres small bits of plastic!” www.airsoft-action.co.uk
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
Geno Gunner: “Airsoft is now being use by many military around the world as it’s so real to the military ethos. I saw ﬁrsthand in a CQB where the airsoft players here in Ireland were teaching the guards how to enter and clear rooms with ﬂash bangs and even some of the military lads have learned a lot from airsoft players. I know, I was ex-military for many a year and I can tell you some of them airsoft players are much ﬁtter and faster than some of our own trained military! It would be very interesting to see a full airsoft team put up against a trained military team, very interesting indeed!”
GADGE TAKES A SPECIAL LOOK AT A FEW NEW TITLES THAT WILL NOT ONLY BE OF GENERAL INTEREST TO MOST OF OUR READERS BUT ALSO PRETTY HANDY WHEN PERFECTING A NEW AIRSOFT “IMPRESSION” TO TAKE ONTO THE SKIRMISH FIELD
Images of War –The Waffen SS in Combat – Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives Bob Caruthers Pen & Sword Books ISBN: 1473 833 531 WITHOUT A DOUBT, DESPITE THEIR controversial nature, the Waffen (or “ﬁghting” SS as opposed to the black clad political SS) are an ever popular choice of loadout on the WWII airsoft scene. While some people can’t see the appeal of these ferocious but notorious formations, many others ﬁnd the mix of martial prowess, cutting edge kit and revolutionary tactics
intriguing. It’s safe to say that at any WWII event you’ll ﬁnd a fair few of the “axis forces” in blotchy camo and ﬁeld grey. Whether it’s done well (or not) usually depends on how much reference material the wearer has in their collection at the time and it’s safe to say that this title could quite easily enter the “essential” category of reference material for a quality impression. Cataloguing the Waffen SS in combat from their earliest operations to the end of the Third Reich, The Waffen SS in Combat is a treasure trove of archive photographs, candid in-combat snaps and ofﬁcial propaganda shots covering six years of total war. In each of the three sections Bob Caruthers provides a short overview of each campaign undertaken by these WWII German elite infantry and armoured troops and also provides insightful captions to many of the photographs, providing for the airsofter looking for the devil in the detail – or perhaps the detail of the devils – everything he needs. While some of the photographs are well known and iconic images of WWII, many of these are indeed quite rare glimpses into the lives of ﬁghting men; nearly every item of kit and clothing is seen from every angle in over 200 black and white photographs. Personally, I ﬁnd the “candid” shots taken on pocket cameras of the troops at rest, cleaning weapons or taking cover “IN ADDITION TO behind a burned out PICTURES OF THE tank to be the most SOLDIERS AT REST interesting and revealing, as they often show the AND IN COMBAT THERE “super soldier” of the ARE FANTASTIC SHOTS Waffen SS to be as tired, OF THEIR SUPPORTING terriﬁed and dirty as any other frontline soldier TANKS, VEHICLES AND in history, removing the CREWED WEAPONS “gloss” of the staged propaganda photograph. MAKING THIS BOOK A In addition to pictures GREAT ADDITION TO of the soldiers at rest THE COLLECTION OF and in combat there are fantastic shots of MILITARY MODELLERS their supporting tanks, AS WELL AS vehicles and crewed AIRSOFTERS.” weapons making this book a great addition to the collection of military modellers as well as airsofters. Whether a you’re a student of military history, a re-enactor/WWII airsofter looking for detailed images, or you just have an interest in the 2nd World War, this book is (while mainly photography) a fascinating study of one of the most feared and notorious elite combat formations in modern history.
Book Reviews NEW TITLES
The British Army in Afghanistan 2006-14 – Task Force Helmand Leigh Neville Osprey Publishing ISBN: 978-1-4728-0675-8 Price: £11.99
Spetsnaz – Russia’s Special Forces Mark Galeotti ISBN: 978-1-4728-0722-9 Osprey Publishing Price £11.99 RUSSIA’S “SPETSNAZ” FORCES ARE perhaps both the most mysterious and misunderstood of the World’s “high speed” special forces. Galeotti’s latest title from Osprey goes a large way to dispelling many of the myths and misconceptions of the Soviet (and later Russian) formations assembled under the banner of “Spetsnaz”. From the more western “special forces” of the Military intelligence of the GRU, to the special purpose troops of the interior army, through to the agencies of the KGB/FSB, Galeotti explains the different (and occasionally overlapping) roles of these clandestine departments, their training and equipment. A concise history of the many varied Spetsnaz units is undertaken, from their humble beginning as WWII raiding forces, post war deployment in Hungary and Prague, through to more overt operations in Afghanistan and ﬁnally more recent deployments in internal conﬂicts such as the Moscow coup and the Chechnyan wars. Johnny Shumate’s excellent colour plates detailing uniform and insignia complement the dozens of rare archive pictures of Russia’s elusive shadow warriors and help provide a fantastic reference for those looking to recreate a “spetsnaz” airsoft impression and many units featured will be familiar to those who follow our Cold War Warriors feature. For those into more modern Russian Federation kit there is a wealth of source material detailing elite formations following the breakup of the USSR and some interesting insights into more modern and up to date equipment used by GRU and FSB units, including the “ratnik” uniform system, AK 12 assault riﬂe and the OTs 14-4 as seen on recent operations in Georgia, Damascus and the Crimea. Overall an excellent title up to Osprey’s usual slick standards that helps dispel many of the urban myths surrounding the term “spetsnaz” and outline the facts about the most mysterious of Soviet and Russian Federation units from snipers to combat frogmen to counter terrorist squads – it’s all here!
FOR ALMOST 15 YEARS an overstretched and under equipped British Army fought a savage war to prevent the Taliban from taking control of the mountainous country of Afghanistan, Leigh Neville’s book catalogues the operations in the most brutal period of this conﬂict, the years 2006-2014. For many of us a British presence in Afghanistan has become almost an excepted fact of life until recently, a seemingly endless war against and elusive foe in a country that neither the Soviet Union nor the British Empire could pacify at the height of their power. This excellent book focuses on the operations of “Task Force Helmand” on “Operation Herrick. Based at various times around 16 Air Assault, 3 Commando Brigade and 12 Mech Brigade among others , Task Force Helmand were thrown into the crucible of guerrilla war and forced to adapt their strategies and tactics to defeat the insurgent forces. Through a series of maps, colour photographs and artists reconstructions, Neville charts the successes and setbacks of the task force in a ferocious battle where no quarter was given by the enemy! Ever a popular look with airsofters, a visit to any site’s open day is sure to show you at least half a dozen “Afghanistan impressions” and even those with no interest in the military campaigns themselves will ﬁnd this title a fantastic assistance in nailing a “spot on” British Army impression. Individual uniforms, insignia and small arms are illustrated and discussed and well as the support weapons and services available to the Task Force. For those interested in the broader military campaign this book is a delight, while light on detail given the huge scope it covers it is an essential “starting point” to understand the British Army’s role, objectives and operations over this critical period. The war in Afghanistan may appear to be winding down and an end may well be in sight but for a snapshot of “Operation Herrick” at its most brutal and deadly you should really take a look at this fantastic book.
Player Proﬁle MATT WIDDOWSON
FF: “So Matt, tell us about your Airsoft background! How long have you been Airsofting? What got you into Airsoft and what do you love about the sport?” MTM: “I am relatively new to airsoft to be really honest! I have been playing since around June 2014 when I had begun to move away from PC gaming on YouTube and was looking for a new competitive hobby to take up. I am a big military nut, loving all my Battleﬁeld games and really liked the idea of building a load out. I love looking at real military gear and trying to ﬁnd ways to incorporate or design it into my style. The chance to try and take my background as a full time Battleﬁeld player and incorporate into real life MilSim sport was something I really wanted to try out.” FF: “Describe to us your playing style.” MTM: “Since I have been playing airsoft my style of play has evolved, I like to try and play fast and aggressive, advancing quickly before enemy teams get chance to organise or regroup. I get very bored of “face to face” ﬁreﬁghts very quickly and often try and ﬁnd a way to out ﬂank and get behind the enemy.” FF: “What’s your weapon of choice and what load out do you normally run?” MTM: “My favourite weapon is my WE HK416 AEG. I have been running it for around 12 months and had no faults, I made a small upgrade to a Maple leaf hop rubber and that’s about it! I usually run it with a T-1 RDS, an angled foregrip and a M600C Sureﬁre. I’m currently running an ATAC FG load out with a Warrior Assault Systems RICAS Plate Carrier and the Warrior Assault Systems Battle Belt.” FF: “Tell us about your YouTube channel. Why did you set it up? What was your vision for MattTheMusketeer and what are your plans for your channel in the future?”
MATT THE MUSKETEER
KELLY “FEMME FATALE” HARDWICK INTERVIEWS THE YOUTUBER BEHIND ONE OF THE UK’S MOST POPULAR AIRSOFT CHANNELS, MATT “THE MUSKETEER” WIDDOWSON Photography by Scarlet Whysall
MTM: “I began “MattTheMusketeer” at the end of 2012, when a channel I had been doing with two friends (“TheThreeMusketeers”) couldn’t be partnered. The channel took off pretty quick with Battleﬁeld 3, I just wanted to make videos of my gameplay and show people and they seemed to love it! “My vision for the channel was to try and reach 5,000 subs. With “TheThreeMusketeers” it took a year to reach 1,000 subs, so when I hit 10,000 with “MattTheMusketeer” in 6 months it was just crazy and I never thought I would have nearly 50,000 subs! It’s pretty awesome getting to create content that people want to watch and I only ever started because I love video editing. “The future? I am unsure, as YouTube is a crazy game! If someone told me 6 months ago I would now be the biggest airsoft channel in England, I would never have believed them. So I just want to keep chugging away and see where it goes.” FF: “Is there anything you would like to say to other players out there and is there any advice you would like to give for fellow content creators?” MTM: “My advice to anyone in the YouTube game is to be different. If someone else is doing what you are, do something different or a lot better than them! Try and ﬁnd a different angle make something new.” FF: “Thanks Matt.”
Find Matt on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MattTheMusketeer On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattthemusketeer On Twitter: https://twitter.com/matthemusketeer On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MattTheMusketeer
AIRSOFT SURGEON PRACTICAL AIRSOFT SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
NIGE PREVIEWS THE 3rd AIRSOFT SURGEON EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP, WHICH TAKES PLACE FROM THE 11th – 13th SEPTEMBER
BACK IN MARCH 2013 I had the pleasure of visiting IWA for the ﬁrst time and to say I was staggered by the amount of interest shown in airsoft, by shooters from just about every section of the shooting “fraternity”, would be an understatement almost as big as the title of this article! All the major airsoft manufacturers had a presence there, as did a fair number of distributors and retailers, including RedWolf Airsoft, who were not only showcasing their own products but also those of Airsoft Surgeon, Clarence Lai. I had met Clarence the previous year at the Airsoft Arms Fair, held at The Grange and we were soon deep in conversation about practical shooting and whether there might be a demand for it in the UK. By the end of that conversation Clarence had decided to create a UK-based European airsoft practical pistol championship (it was originally going to be just a UK Championship but, as Clarence said, “if you are going to do something, make sure you do it properly”) and the ﬁrst event ran later that year. For those of you that are wondering what “Practical Shooting” is, it is a discipline that tests your ability to shoot both rapidly and accurately with a handgun, riﬂe or shotgun. Practical shooting can trace its roots back to “quick draw” competitions in the USA, where contestants would emulate “wild west” gunslingers and eventually lead to the formation of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) in 1984. Since then practical shooting has become a worldwide phenomenon (except in the UK, of course) and many believe it to be the fastest growing international target shooting discipline. The 1997 Firearms (Amendment)(N0.2) Act banned the private ownership of pistols (almost) completely in the UK and effectively destroyed a very active part of our shooting heritage – that of competitive pistol shooting – but it hasn’t stopped an ever-growing number of shooters using airsoft pistols instead. My ﬁrst taste of practical pistol was when I was invited down to the East Barnet Shooting Club and watched Championship shooter Mark Hurding (who is now an Airsoft Action contributor) draw, aim and hit ﬁve individual targets in just a smidgeon over 2 seconds – and be upset as he normally did it in about 1.8! In practical shooting matches the majority of targets are normally IPSC-type “Action Air Targets”, with three scoring
Event Preview AIRSOFT SURGEON EURO CHAMPIONSHIP
zones (A, C and D) surrounded by a 3mm wide non-scoring zone. Just in case you were wondering why there is no “B” scoring zone, this zone was used to represent the “head” of a ﬁgure and is not deemed appropriate for use by the IPSC. Other targets may include metal “Poppers”, which fall backwards when shot, or more complex targets that require shooter interaction to open doors, release swinging targets or even (as in a recent match) a “rollercoaster car” in which the shooter was sitting! As with all sports, not everyone wants (or can afford) to compete at the top level and the different Divisions of the sport reﬂect that. In “Open Division”, apart from a relaxed limit on the amount of rounds per magazine, pretty much anything else can be added to the gun, including sights, compensators, suppressors etc. These are the “Race Guns”, fully tricked up, looking awesome and with the ability to knock a large hole in your Bank balance. Open Division is considered to be the Formula One of Practical Airsoft Shooting. In “Standard Division” the guns are much more controlled, in that they must conform to certain size constraints, cannot have sights and other additions, have restricted magazine capacity and must be holstered completely behind the hip line. Using the motorsports analogy, I guess this would be the equivalent of the British Touring Car Championship. Talking to shooters about the variations between these two divisions, some feel that the Standard Division provided a greater level of competition, as the guns were all of an
equivalent nature and capability. Their point being that with similarly performing guns, success would come from the shooter’s skill, not their ability to spend money. However, they also conceded that a superb gun in the hands of an average Open Division shooter wouldn’t necessarily make them a good shooter. It is also interesting to note that, according to IPSC Rules, a Standard shooter who breaches certain rules would be “relegated to Open Division”. The third of the main Divisions is “Classic” and, as it sounds, this division is purely for guns based on a classic design, namely the 1911-genre. With constraints on size, 10-round, single stack magazines and modiﬁcations prohibited this is the smallest division but also one that tests the shooter’s skill to the limit. All of these Divisions will be contested at this year’s Euro Championship, along with two others for Lady shooters and Juniors and that’s not all. For the ﬁrst time two additional categories have been added, to bring the Championship in line with “real steel” events; “Senior” (for shooters aged over 50) and “Super Senior” (for those over 60). Mike Cripps, of Elite Shooting Centre, has kindly donated the 1st Place Prizes for both the Open and Standard Divisions in each of these categories, so the winners will be taking home prizes well worth winning.
A NEW HOME For the last two years, the championship has been held at The Grange, in The Midlands and a huge amount of credit and thanks must be given to Jim Sephton and his seemingly tireless team. Without the support he has provided over the last couple of years, along with his deep knowledge and understanding of practical shooting, the event may well not have been as successful as it has been. However, there was one thing that not even Jim could control… the weather! Both the 2013 and 2014 events were, to some extent, effected by (how should I put this…) “changeable climatic conditions”, with both wind and raid trying in equal measure to make the shooter’s and organiser’s lives difﬁcult. By its very nature, Practical Shooting uses some quite sensitive targets, particularly those known as “Poppers”. These small, metal “knock down” targets have to be strong enough to stand repeated bb strikes, yet ﬁnely balanced so that they fall when hit – perfect for even a fairly weak breeze to play havoc with. The larger targets are made of high quality cardboard, which is excellent for being able to see where a bb has struck (for scoring purposes) and are easily “patched” after each run. However, rain is deﬁnitely not their friend and they soon
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Event Preview AIRSOFT SURGEON EURO CHAMPIONSHIP
start to curl and become almost impossible to patch when wet and so after the 2014 event, the decision was made to seek an alternative venue – one where you could build sixteen “Courses of Fire” and accommodate 100+ shooters indoors! As luck would have it, a suitable venue was found (almost quite literally) on RedWolf Airsoft’s doorstep: “StrikeForce”, in Gloucester, not much more than 20 minutes away from RedWolf. If you haven’t heard of StrikeForce (where have you been?), it is 52,000 square feet of open indoor space, that has been converted by the guys from Swindon Airsoft into an awesome (and very challenging) CQB environment but, more importantly, it is dry and wind-free (except when you get trapped in a corner and you know there’s 10 guys gunning for you, but that’s a different matter entirely)! From the 11th – 13th of September, the entire area will become the new home of the Airsoft Surgeon Practical Airsoft Shooting Championship 2015, as shooters from all over the UK, Europe and as far away as Hong Kong, pit themselves against each other. Actually, that is not entirely correct. Yes, they are trying to gain a higher score then the other competitors, that goes without saying but, in reality, the only person they are competing with is themselves. Allow me to explain… Practical Shooting is competitive but as in many, many other sports, it is an individual’s performance that determines the ﬁnal result and in this sport individual shooters are competing against two things: the clock and their own ability to shoot accurately. In order to do that they must train and practice just as any other sportsperson does, it’s no good having the fastest “draw” if you can’t hit a barn door from 10 paces and
in Practical Shooting it is the combination of time and accuracy that determines your score (and it requires a computer program to do the maths!) However, what this does mean, is that you have to be on top of your game right to the ﬁnal pull of the trigger – no cruising from half-time because you’re 4 goals up. Even at the very last moment, if you mess things up (or worse, commit an offence that results in disqualiﬁcation, such as an accidental “muzzle sweep”), you’ll quickly ﬁnd yourself out of contention. I have had a “sneak preview” of the sixteen stages that Clarence has designed and I can tell you that they are some of the most challenging I have seen to date. Not too much in the way of “Roller-Coasters” or “Wheels of Death”, just lots of angles and movement that will mean every shooter will have to think on their feet to get the best out of them – and that is one of the huge attractions of the Practical Shooting. In some target sports, for example Clay Shooting, the targets always come from the same place and are shot (so far as I am aware) in pretty much the same order – well they were when I had a go. In Practical Shooting the targets obviously don’t move but it is down to each shooter to work out how he, or she, is going to move round the stage. There are no hard and fast rules as to how any stage should be “shot”, other than those involving safety and procedures and it is down to the shooter to ﬁgure out how they are going to get through, in the fastest possible time, while hitting every target on the way.
Next time you are out on site, get some friends together, pin a few targets up and give it a go – you’ll be surprised just how difﬁcult it is to accurately shoot while on the move, against the clock and with limited ammo in each mag!
UPDATE If you are into Practical Pistol there is a name that you will surely recognise: Saul Kirsch – the founder and director of Double-Alpha Academy who is consistently ranked as one of the top International IPSC shooters in the world today. Saul will be attending the Championship, where he will be not only be promoting AIPSC in general but also his new target system. Saul was at last year’s Championship and noticed the problems with falling “Poppers”, so has developed a new “SelfSetting” target that is motor-driven, so wind will not blow it down but even the gentlest of bb strikes will be detected and it will fall. (Ed’s note: Saul demonstrated these to me at IWA this year and they are a brilliant idea that works – and works well!) RedWolf’s Chris Kong has told us that a “Fun Stage” will be set up where shooters can try these new targets for themselves. As of today (14th August), there are nearly 80 conﬁrmed shooters attending the Championship and with nearly a month still to go this could well rise to 100+, such is the growing popularity of both the sport in general and this event in particular. Watch out for a full report of the Airsoft Surgeon Practical Airsoft Shooting Championship 2015 (I really am going to have to talk to Mr. Lai about that title!) in the Airsoft Action that goes on sale on the 22nd October. Hope to see you there!
TACTICAL CARBINE PART 2 – THE BASICS IN THE SECOND PART OF HIS SERIES, ANDY NIGHTINGALE OF PRO-TACT SHOOTING RUNS THROUGH SOME OF THE BASIC FUNCTIONS AND DRILLS IN LAST MONTH’S Airsoft Action we looked at conﬁguring the carbine to suit our personal shooting style. In this article I want to press on with basic understanding of the weapon’s functions and start practicing some basic drills but, before we can start to “Run the Gun” we must ﬁrst acquaint ourselves with the basic rules of safe gun handling: 1. Treat all guns as loaded. 2. Never point a gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy. 3. Keep your ﬁnger off the trigger until you intend to shoot. 4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond. These rules were developed by the late Col Jeff Cooper and can be found on almost every range in the world. They are the most important set of commands that you will ever need during your shooting sessions and also on the skirmish battle ﬁeld. Once you have grasped the safe gun handling rules you can start to practice shooting of the carbine and the ﬁrst thing we have to get right, is the hold. Anyone can pick up a gun and point it at the target but to successfully hit the target depends on how you hold it and ﬁrst off we need to know which hand is your “strong hand”. This
“SIMPLE DRILLS LIKE THESE HELP GAIN CONFIDENCE AND CONSISTENCY IN MARKSMANSHIP; NEVER BE AFRAID OF GOING BACK TO BASICS.” 72
is the hand that you pull the trigger with and is usually your “dominant” hand - probably (but not always) the one you write with. For this article we will presume that your right hand is the dominant (left-handed players can just reverse the process). You will need to hold the carbine grip with a ﬁrm grip but do not squeeze the hell out of it. Your weak hand, or the hand that is going to support the front of the carbine, will need to be placed out to the front of the weapon. There are many ways in which this can be done. The “traditional” grip will cause stress in the wrist which will result in fatigue over long periods of time, as it is not a natural position in which to hold the gun. The use of a vertical fore grip will allow the wrist to relax and give better support to the weapon. The further forwards the grip is on the weapon will also cause fatigue in the arm, so the further back towards the magazine well the better, as you can tuck in the elbows and pull a tighter grip into the shoulder. The butt plate on the stock should be positioned deep into the well of the shoulder. Here lies a problem with body armour. The body armour will not provide that natural pocket for the stock to ride in. The need to customize the BA is up to you but be aware that BA will make a difference to the hold and you may ﬁnd the stock of your weapon “walking away” from its correct position. The side of the stock itself provides a smooth surface for your cheek and this is known as the “cheek weld”. The head should be kept as upright as possible and tight to the stock. The eye should be approximately 25mm away from your sights (on tube sights), known as “sight relief”.
Skills TACTICAL CARBINE
Gain a comfortable hold and cheek weld then have someone adjust your sight relief if it needs moving and that’s pretty much about it on actually holding and aiming the carbine, it’s not rocket science at this stage. Next up is the position; this is how we stand whilst taking the shot. There are a multitude of different positions but as we are only at the basic stage of running the gun we will look at the “traditional” standing position for now. First off, place both feet approximately shoulder width apart. The weak side foot needs to be slightly forwards of the strong side foot, around one step. This will turn the left hip slightly towards your intended target. Slightly bend the left knee whilst keeping your back upright and stable (if you take the carbine away and keep in this position you will notice that you are in a similar stance to a boxer). The right leg should be straight, with the foot slightly turned out to the side. Once completed the body should stand about 45 degrees angle to the target. To aid in recoil management the shoulders can be brought forwards slightly but not too far as to over balance past the right knee. When you bring the carbine up into the aim you will notice that the weapon is laying slightly across your body to the left. This is a more natural position to stand and aim the weapon at the target without any undue physical effort. The less physical, or muscle, energy you exert during the ﬁring process the less tired you will become during the aim, thus greatly increasing you chances of accurately hitting the target. This is the traditional “off hand stance”. Now it’s time to run the gun. We will presume that the weapon’s sighting system is zeroed at this stage, as I want to get you into some shooting drills (at the end of this article I will show you how to set up a simple range at home in your garden). Stand on your ﬁring point and load and make ready your carbine in the way that suits your particular gun (AEG, GBB). Remembering all of the 4 safety rules we looked at earlier, take careful aim at your target and release the safety catch and ﬁre one round at the target. Apply the safety catch and bring the weapon down into a resting position, then relax. Once you are ready perform the same drill. Remembering the safety rules at all times and remembering to reset the gun’s safety catch after each shot. This drill, although slow and simple, will get you familiar with the carbine’s operation and feel. The second drill I want you to do is have a small table next to the ﬁring point with the carbine set on it, along with the magazine. This drill will start by you picking up the carbine (remember the safety rules) load the weapon and ﬁre one round into the target. Apply the safety catch and fully unload the weapon before setting it back down on the table. Repeat this drill until you are conﬁdent in your actions. This second drill will get you familiar with gaining a correct stance, correct hold and grip and also help familiarise you with the loading and unloading possess.
I know what you are thinking here; “I can already do that!” Well yes, so can I but these drills help you keep on top of your game. How many times have you returned ﬁre and had to readjust your stance and grip? Simple drills like these help gain conﬁdence and consistency in marksmanship; never be afraid of going back to basics. If you have a garden to set up your own in then that’s great, however you can still set this range up in your garage or home if you don’t. Set up the round catcher (any receptacle that will catch BBs) at around chest height and measure back up range 3 meters, 6 meters, and 9 meters. Use cones or ﬂags to mark these distances. A door mat can be placed at these points for you to stand on. Make sure that you load and make ready the carbine only when you are on the mat. Use a Bull clip on the round catcher to secure the target to the catcher. The use of A5 size paper in the landscape orientation is a good targets size that matches the thoracic cavity (the target size of the chest). Run the drills slowly and get used to the feel of the carbine. In next month’s issue we will look at more complex shooting drills using the same range setup. Stay safe and happy shooting. Pro-Tact run tactical training programs for the airsoft community. If you would like to train with Pro-Tact or would like more information on their training programs contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07788501184.
kit KIT & KABOODLE
KIT & KABOODLE
RICHARD BELL SERVES UP ANOTHER PLATTER OF ITEMS THAT HAVE CAUGHT HIS EYE RECENTLY
Helikon-Tex UTP Trousers High Speed Gear ‘Pistol TACO’ Pouches High Speed Gear recently launched their new “Pistol TACO” models, which are now available from HSGi stockists. The new conﬁgurations come in both Double and Triple pistol magazine pouches. These are then supported by two alternative attachment systems. Belt lined attachment is via x2 industrial Velcro tabs and although best suited for “loop” lined belts, they can easily be used with regular belts (up to a 2” width). The 2nd attachment system is the MOLLE which uses the “pouch clip” that has replaced the MALICE clip for HSGi pouches. You can ﬁt items ranging from a vast majority of all pistol magazine(s both double and single stack), multitools, torches, knives and other pieces of similar sized equipment. Both of these models are available in Multicam, Black, Coyote Brown and Olive Drab.
This is the second pair of Helikon-Tex “UTP” (Urban Tactical Pant) Trousers I own. The ﬁrst pair (that are still going strong) I picked up in March 2014 and have been used for skirmishes and events as well as everyday use. The design and construction is absolutely solid and with a wide variety of pockets the load carry is extensive. They are both comfortable and lightweight and the low proﬁle design means they do not look out place in any environment. They are available in a wide range of solid colours. The ones pictured are the second pair in “Mud Brown” utilising a Rip-stop fabric and TBH it was the colour that got my attention. The manufacturer is HelikonTex but the biggest selection available in the UK is from Military1st.
Mean Gene Leather Belt This may seem a little off the path compared to most kit normally featured but Mean Gene Leather has a pedigree based in the Tactical kit world that is second to none! Mean Gene Leather specialises in hand-crafted leather belts aimed at those that require a solid, non-tactical, low signature everyday use system. The belt pictured is the “Barbarian” and is in a Saddle Oil Finish. The belts can be customised with a variety of buckles, ﬁnishes and sizes and you can see them being used by many people for IWB & OWB carry. I have had mine since February 2015 and all I can say is that it is one of the best investments I have made in a long time. Manufacturer: www.meangeneleather.com 74
SURVIVAL SPECIALIST, PAUL YELLAND, OPENS “MOTHER NATURE’S SNACK SHOP” AND TELLS US WHAT WE CAN EAT WHILE WE ARE SKIRMISHING IN THE WOODLANDS OF THE UK I AM IN MY ELEMENT when skirmishing in woodland and generally surrounded by greenery. The distant sounds of automatic weapon ﬁre and pyrotechnic explosions going off as I advance through the treeline whilst looking for a ﬁght, really does gets my adrenaline ﬂowing. As I move slowly and carefully across the ground, I very often become absorbed in my surroundings. The sounds of the leaves rustling in the wind, or the dazzling rays of sunlight which are beaming through the tree canopy can, in contrast to the noise of the simulated warfare, also make the skirmish site a peaceful place to be. As I make my way past hedgerows and trees, I often take advantage of the wild food that is growing and have a wayside snack. So, when you next stop for a rest during a skirmish, take some time to look at what is growing around you and by following this guide, you may well ﬁnd that you are standing in
the middle of Mother Nature’s Snack Shop. The subject of how to identify wild growing food is taught to military personnel who could ﬁnd themselves in a survival situation, or operating in areas where the resupply of rations is just not possible. It is best to learn a few of the common wild edible plants and stick to them. This is important as on some plants only certain parts are edible and there are many poisonous plants that look similar to safe ones. So, before you start to eat anything that you ﬁnd growing in the wild, the food needs to be positively identiﬁed as safe. This is where prelearning (and this article) becomes relevant. The time of year is also an important factor, as the months of late summer and early autumn will provide a larger selection of wild foods then compared to what will be available during winter and early spring.
“IT IS BEST TO LEARN A FEW OF THE COMMON WILD EDIBLE PLANTS AND STICK TO THEM. THIS IS IMPORTANT AS ON SOME PLANTS ONLY CERTAIN PARTS ARE EDIBLE AND THERE ARE MANY POISONOUS PLANTS THAT LOOK SIMILAR TO SAFE ONES.” 76
Survival WILD FOOD
HAZEL NUTS The hazel tree is one of my favourites. It is quite small in size and sometimes referred to as a shrub. It grows in clumps of straight stems and has toothed oval shaped leaves. It can be found in woodlands, underneath the canopy of larger trees and also in hedgerows. Hazel nuts grow in clusters on the tree and they are ready to eat between late August and October
A typical thicket of brambles
BLACKBERRY (BRAMBLES) Probably one of the most iconic wild shrubs, best known for its sharp thorns. It grows in an untidy twisted fashion in all kinds of places such as waste land, woodland and hedges. The stems arch over and are covered in thorns and groups of green leaves. During the period between August and October, the shrub produces an edible berry which turns from green, to red, then black in colour when ripe and these black ones are extremely juicy. Only eat the black coloured berries that look shiny and fresh â€“ not the ones which look dull and shrivelled, or the berries that have mould on them. Once picked, the blackberry should be cleaned and eaten straight away, as they will go off very quickly. The berries are a source of vitamin C.
A cluster of hazel nuts in early August
with ripe hazel nuts turning brown in colour. The nut is ovoid in shape and is surrounded by a protective husk which will need to be cracked open. Sometimes however, the husk is empty but there is no way of telling if it contains a nut until you break into it. There is substantial evidence which suggests that these nuts were an important part of our ancestorâ€™s diet due to being a source of protein and carbohydrates.
The husk cracked open to reveal the hazel nut
BEECH NUT The beech tree is a tall, broadleaf tree that is commonly found in woodlands within the UK. It can grow up to 40 metres in height and has a smooth grey coloured bark. The leaves are oval in shape with a pointed tip, are glossy green and grow in an alternate pattern along the branch. Beech nuts which are still slightly green
Blackberries in the different stages of growth. The black ones are ripe and ready for picking
Survival WILD FOOD
The leaves of the beech tree
The husk, shell and beech nut
Once ripe, the husk opens up to reveal the beech nut
When the tree reaches around forty years of age, it will start to produce beech nuts. The nuts are protected in a small spikey husk which hangs from the branches. During the months of September and October the husk will open up to reveal the ripened nut and will fall from the tree. The beech nut itself is three-sided and further contained in a thin protective shell, which can be easily peeled away. Although small in size, the nut is a good source of oil, fat and protein so it makes a good survival food. The only downside is that the beech tree will only produce nuts every three to four years. Take this into consideration with the fact that only mature beech trees actually starts to form nuts and it can turn into a hit and miss exercise whether or not you ﬁnd a beech nut inside the husk, or just an empty shell. If you are lucky enough to ﬁnd a nut, then it can be eaten raw.
Hawthorn in fruit during mid-August
The Hawthorn is a small tree/shrub which can grow pretty much anywhere. The branches have short thorns along them and the leaves are small, oval in shape and have deep lobes. The young leaves can be eaten during early spring. An edible ﬂower grows on the hawthorn between May and June. The ﬂower is white in colour and has ﬁve petals. The red berry (known as the Haw) is present between August and late November. The berry grows between the thorns on the branches which makes picking them ﬁddly. The berry can be eaten raw, with the ﬂesh tasting quite nice. Unfortunately, there is a large stone in the middle of the berry which is not edible so the ﬂesh needs to be peeled away and the stone discarded. Care should be taken when eating red berries as some are poisonous, so it is important to correctly identify that what you are eating is safe. The berries of the hawthorn remain on the tree long after the leaves have fallen in late autumn and winter. The leaves are a good identiﬁcation feature and without them extra care should be taken to ensure that you have positively identiﬁed what you are about to eat. The selection of berries and nuts that I have described here are all commonly found in the UK and are edible raw (apart from the haw stone), so they can be eaten on the
move without the need for cooking or boiling. I want to reinforce the importance of positively identifying the wild food which you are about to eat. “If in doubt – leave it out” is a good phrase to remember. As I have already said, it is best to learn a few edible plants, nuts and berries well, rather than trying to memorise a vast array of The edible May ﬂower of wild foods and risk getting Hawthorn it wrong. It is a good idea to clean the food that you have picked before eating it. Don’t eat old and wilting leaves and fruit as they could have built up toxins and try to avoid collecting the wild food from areas of possible contamination, such as industrial areas and busy roadsides. Also be aware of areas that could have been sprayed with chemicals such as weed killers. I have spent quite a Hawthorn leaves are few years learning about small and deep lobed wild plants and their uses as a food source. I would advise anyone who is planning to go foraging for wild foods to purchase some good ﬁeld guides on the subject. Hedgerow, written by John Wright as part The haw which contains of the River Cottage a large UN EDIBLE stone Handbook series, is very informative and does have some good quality photographs of both edible and poisonous plants which help with safe identiﬁcation. Also, Food for Free, written by Richard Mabey is well illustrated and a very descriptive book on the subject. Both books have proved invaluable to me. When skirmishing you can get very close to nature as you move around on your hands and knees whilst trying not to get shot, so you tend to get a close up view of what is growing out of the ground. I always see this as an added bonus to a day’s airsofting, as I get a chance to test my knowledge – and have some food for free!
Two good sources for further reference
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DAN MILLS GREW UP IN MIDDLESEX becoming streetwise in West London before joining the British Army in 1984 aged sixteen, as a Junior Soldier. Having enlisted into the Queen’s Division of Infantry he was sent for training to Bassingbourn Barracks in Cambridgeshire, where he attended a year-long course speciﬁcally designed for young soldiers, this included schooling again in all the major subjects. After passing out Dan was posted to the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment, based (at that time) in Gibraltar, a ceremonial posting for British Infantry units of the line. The ﬁrst taste of operations brieﬂy touched young Dan as the unit was put on high alert during the American bombing of Libya. Threats had been made by way of retaliation against British interests and call out practice against a viable threat occurred. News came through of an operational tour to Northern Ireland mid-1987, the ﬁrst of six tours for Dan and his comrades. The unit was rotated to Tidworth Garrison on
AFTER A SERIES LASTING NEARLY TWO YEARS, SNIPER ONE, DAN MILLS, CLOSES HIS COLUMN BY WRITING ABOUT A SNIPER HE KNOWS INTIMATELY
SERGEANT DAN MILLS: SNIPER ONE 80
Salisbury Plain where it conducted training for operations against the IRA. Shortly after leaving Gib the threat became very real and the SAS had to deal with an active IRA cell who had been targeting soldiers whilst on ceremonial duties. Dan went on to serve many tours of operations over the years and served in several battalions before some serious war ﬁghting in Iraq during 2004. During a tour in Colchester as part of the Air Mobile Force, Dan was selected for sniper training and duly attended and passed the sniper instructor course in Warminster before leaving qualiﬁed as both Sniper Instructor and Sniper, able to return to his unit and select and train army snipers. Before the battalion was fallen out for Christmas leave at the end of 2003, they were all gathered and briefed for a forthcoming tour of operations in Iraq. Once again having been disappointed to have missed out on the war ﬁghting stage, watching the build-up on television and the war ﬁll the news
sniper DAN MILLS
Early foot patrols were uneventful, though as soon as the platoon started heading deeper into the city by vehicle that all changed. Over the following weeks and months Dan commanded the snipers in battles from the streets to the rooftops and when ﬁghting through urban housing estates. Often bewildered by the actions of those ﬁghting the British, nothing surprised him anymore. On one occasion whilst in a rooftop ﬁring position, Dan and his number two could not believe it when a bungling enemy pulled up directly opposite their position, screeching to a halt where they then decided to hand-wind an aged window down so they could ﬁre their riﬂes out of it! Through scopes they watched the driver and passenger crank the window open then line up their AK47s out the gap towards CIMIC and once they watched the rounds impacting against the house they returned ﬁre, killing the occupants. Complete madness!
screens daily, Dan was frustrated at not getting a chance to go but news of a deployment to help keep the peace so soon after the conﬂict’s end was welcome. After a period of three months training, the battle group was put through its paces culminating in a ﬁnal test exercise in Canada and Dan and his platoon of Snipers performed very well, which was just as well because the coming tour would prove anything but peaceful! The battle group arrived in theatre late March, early April 04 and had a week’s acclimatisation “DAN AND HIS NUMBER TWO COULD NOT BELIEVE IT WHEN A BUNGLING and skills package based in Shaiba ENEMY PULLED UP DIRECTLY OPPOSITE THEIR POSITION, SCREECHING TO Logistics Base, including the zeroing of their sniper riﬂes. At A HALT WHERE THEY THEN DECIDED TO HAND-WIND AN AGED WINDOW Shaiba they became accustomed to DOWN SO THEY COULD FIRE THEIR RIFLES OUT OF IT!” the penetrating heat and learnt to use weapons and equipment that they would only ever get to see on operations issued as “UOR” Dan also got the opportunity to ﬁre the AW .50 Cal sniper (Urgent Operational Requirement). riﬂe in Iraq too, using AP amongst other rounds to smash the On arrival things were already not as they seemed to be enemy. One shot, at approx. 900m, Dan hit a gunman wildly back in the UK, trouble had reared its ugly head in response to ﬁring off his weapon in the sprawling urban estates; the bullet a lack of any coherent plan to police the war’s aftermath and travelled through the AK the insurgent was holding, knocking rebuild infrastructure. Unhappiness led to angry crowds, this him down in a messy heap. As the round struck the ﬂash tip led to riots then shootings and ended up with an insurgency sparked as it went through the riﬂe, doubling the shocked ﬁghting for control. The Battalion then deployed out into enemy over in half, to the ﬂoor. Amazingly he was still alive and its area of responsibility, separating into its constituent parts was shot again putting him out of action. readying for operations. After sporadic contacts in the early days of the tour things Dan led his platoon into CIMIC House in Al Amarah, ramped up into full-on war ﬁghting, the battle group in Iraq alongside 1 PWRR’s Y Company, by now coming under sporadic soon passed the ammo levels ﬁred over the whole Gulf War mortar ﬁre several times a week. Welcome to Iraq! and this was supposed to be peace keeping! An uprising was Dan and his men had the use of several weapons between led by a local militia man who seized the opportunity provided them, each was issued with the 5.56mm SA80 Riﬂe as by the lack of a coherent plan on behalf of the Allies. standard, several 5.56mm Minimi Light Machine Guns and Sniping-wise, targets could appear anywhere, the urban
7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns were spread through the platoon, a 51mm light Mortar, 9mm Browning pistol and each “Number One” had the use of his personal 7.62mm AI Sniper Riﬂe, along with a splattering of UGL “Under Grenade Launchers”. CIMIC House was supposed to be organising and overseeing local infrastructure projects from implementation through to completion, bribing the public if you like, to stay on side. Meaning Civilian Military Co-operation it was housed in the former Governor’s residence for the province of Maysan and was protected by an infantry company. Local patrols were soon sent out to secure the area whilst getting a feel for the ground and as soon as they arrived the sniper platoon dominated the high ground from the roof tops.
environment provided many hiding places in which enemy combatants would patrol and hide, plenty of short range opportunity targets occurred and snap-shooting happened all the time. There was also some scope for longer range work within Amarah, notably up high on the rooftops, the L96 was good to about 1000m but after that shots were harassing only. Much of the battle would be fought up-close, leading to all weapons being used… often! Snipers would resort to their riﬂes placed close by to defeat an enemy surge. All of the early contacts were against a not so tactically aware enemy but once they had all been killed off though, the replacements were much better, with many coming from elsewhere as Jihadi’s with former battle experience, these would also be better equipped with body armour, helmets and communications. During the six months operational tour, in between ceaseﬁres and negotiations the ﬁghting lasted about four and a half months with contacts daily and the Battle Group had several killed as well as over ﬁfty injured in battle. After so much ﬁghting it was only fair that the Battalion was well represented in the awards list, along with a Victoria Cross being issued to the 1st, Dan was “Mentioned in Despatches” for bravery for his conduct during the tour. Dan left the regular army as a Warrant Ofﬁcer Class 2 in mid-2010 and continues to write as well as soldier part time. Should Dan one day need it, his riﬂe is only an arms distance away!! For further stories about Dan sniping in Iraq, read the full story in his non-ﬁction best-selling book “Sniper One”, published by Penguin in 2007. Sniper One out…
Competition WIN A G&G CM16
WIN A G&G CM16 SRL Picture One
IN THE LAST ISSUE of Airsoft Action, Scott Allen said of this gun “The SRL is not the only one in the range of the new CM16s but it is probably the most “all round”... The design of this riﬂe is almost second to none and the trigger system is one of the best G&G has ever produced.” Retailing at around £200 the G&G CM16 SRL represents excellent value for money and now, thanks to our good friends at Guay Guay, we are giving a lucky reader the chance to win one. To win this brilliant AEG, all you have to do is compare the two pictures, tell us what is different about PICTURE TWO and send your answers in before the closing date. (Hint: There are FIVE differences.) Post your entries to: G&G CM16 SRL Competition, Airsoft Action, Calibre Publishing, Wyche Innovation Centre, Walwyn Road, Malvern, Worcs, WR13 6PL, or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “G&G CM16 SRL Competition” in the subject line. You can also enter online, via the Airsoft Action website (www.airsoft-action. co.uk). Entries received after 23rd September 2015 will not be valid. One entry per household. The winner will be the correct entry pulled from the Ed’s hat.
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BATTLE OF ST. JULIEN DAN MILLS CONTINUES HIS JOURNEY THROUGH WORLD WAR 1 WITH THE 2ND BATTLE OF YPRES, WHERE GAS WAS FREQUENTLY DEPLOYED BY THE GERMANS PRIOR TO AN ATTACK NO MORE A COMFORTABLE LOCATION in the rear of the ﬁghting, a short hop from Ypres, the town of St Julien found itself smack bang on the front lines and the centre of attention after the gas attack on the Ridge at Gravenstafel. After a quick reorg the Canadians prepared to receive the next attack from the Germans, who continued to move towards them. The enemy advanced on April 24thand the Canadian force was insufﬁcient to stop them, though it certainly gave a good ﬁght. It was insufﬁcient mainly because, once more the Germans released gas in front of their advancing infantry and followed on behind up and into the village. The word had spread to cover the airways as before, this time with handkerchiefs but these proved insufﬁcient and quickly, within a day, St Julien fell. One notable thorn in the German side was Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher, of the CEF’s 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders)
Machine Guns. On several occasions, along with a small band of men and one gun, he went out to plug a gap that the advancing Germans were pushing through in order to get behind the Canadians rear and amongst the artillery batteries. The Germans having released gas poured into the gap vacated by the ﬂeeing soldiers trying to escape. As they Lance Corporal smashed into the CEF’s 14th Battalion Frederick Fisher VC Fisher, with six others, went forward and covered the withdrawal of a battery of 18 pounders about to be overrun. Under heavy ﬁre he was instrumental in their escape, though four of the six were killed. He returned to collect more men and went back into the thick of it, taking on the advancing Grey swarm. This time, after plenty of ﬁghting only Fisher was to survive. The following day, this time seeing the threat to his own battalion he went back out again to do what he could, also under very heavy ﬁre, unfortunately this time he was killed. Lance Corporal Fisher’s body was never discovered on the battleﬁeld and he is named on the Menin Gate to the missing. His citation reads: “On 23rd April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of St. Julien, he went forward with the machine gun, of which he was in charge, under heavy ﬁre, and most gallantly assisted in covering the retreat of a battery, losing four men of his gun team. Later, after obtaining four more men, he went forward again to the ﬁring line and was himself killed while bringing his machine gun into action under very heavy ﬁre, in order to cover the advance of supports.” So why was the hankie insufﬁcient? Whether it was because the material was thinner than the Mark 1 Sock is unknown, it
WW1 2ND YPRES
was however not good enough and those that did not run for their lives were quickly overcome. Luckily for the Allies, German soldiers were wary about the use and effects of the gas and were not so keen to get close up behind it, preferring to let it dissipate. This gave the British and Canadians enough time to send in units to ﬁll the gaps, which were fast approaching two kilometres wide. A proper method of dealing with the gas was needed but in the meantime, troops would soon be issued with masks of cotton, though these were not much better. Men would stuff socks and hankies under them and lace them with urine and ammonia and this would last until the goggle-type masks were issued. Either way, ﬁghting with the airway blocked by cotton and the eyes covered was not conducive to good soldiering and soldiers struggled to ﬁght and keep the mask on - it was certainly not pleasant! The task of ﬁlling the gap fell to the Northumberland Division, who advanced steadily into the village but were then beaten back. Throughout the period the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers fought on but by the end of May they had all but been wiped out. They had suffered hundreds of casualties during St Julien, without respite though they soldiered on straight into Frezenberg then Bellewaarde, suffering vast casualties having again being gassed. The Brigade itself lost some 1,940 casualties to 2nd Ypres in a matter of days. The 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been in it from the start, as part of the BEF they had landed and taken part in all the early battles, including the retreat from Mons, Le Cateau and the Battle of the Marne. It is a shame that many of the men whom were “Old Contemptibles” met their fate at 2nd Ypres.
“MEN WOULD STUFF SOCKS AND HANKIES UNDER THEM AND LACE THEM WITH URINE AND AMMONIA AND THIS WOULD LAST UNTIL THE GOGGLE-TYPE MASKS WERE ISSUED.”
BATTLE OF FREZENBERG A few days passed, welcome days that allowed the soldiers to rest and eat but by the 8th they were ready to attack again and having moved up their ﬁeld artillery, the Germans massed for the attack on Frezenberg Ridge. The attack opened with artillery ﬁre smashing the defenders clinging to life in their trenches on the forward slopes of the hillside. After the bombardment came the infantry advance, this was repelled stubbornly by the defenders, then again but the third time something gave and the Germans were in amongst the trenches to a distance of two miles. Neighbouring units helped stem the tide but a gap had formed. Quickly, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry moved in to block the advance and it was halted there, at great cost. After the battle had ﬁnished on the 13th, of 700 hundred men who had plugged the gap now only 150 lived.
BATTLE OF BELLEWAARDE The ﬁnal throws of the 2nd Battle of Ypres happened at Bellewaarde and Hooge. German advances slowly shrunk the Ypres Salient and the situation was critical; the Germans had advanced to within 3 miles of Ypres. Following up their successful use of gas to gain ground a further larger release was ordered on May 24th, covering a much larger area of seven kilometres. Again the British troops were forced back after several skirmishes along the frontage, giving ground of about one kilometre. Another push and it looked like they would be in the Cathedral City. Now well within the range of German artillery the city was pounded to ruins, anything that moved or stood out was ﬁred at. Movement was a giveaway and caused probing shells to be ﬁred until it moved no more. Hessian screens were erected around important obstacles and road junctions, troops moving up to the front would get to a certain point where they would then have to book in with the Redcaps before donning their running shoes and sprinting across “Hellﬁre Junction” as fast as they could. Horses were spurred across
before they too could be bracketed and lost. The Second Battle of Ypres had encompassed April and May and the odd small attack into July. It had claimed many lives and by the end of this period of ﬁghting the Salient had shrunk drastically - but the Brits had held. For some reason the use of gas had caught them out, even after earlier warnings and use with the main problem being an ineffective defence against it. The British would use gas at Loos in September and that battle will be covered in my next article. Casualty-wise, it had been costly for both sides. German losses were put at almost 35 thousand men, Canadians at just under 6 thousand, the British at over 59 thousand and French at almost 22 thousand – that makes a total of approximately 122 thousand men in a few short months... Today, on a cross roads near St Julien there is a memorial erected by the Canadians to honour the sacriﬁce made during the ﬁghting of 2nd Ypres. The memorial is in the form of a Canadian soldier looking down at the hard fought-over ground, titled the “Brooding Soldier”. In his hands he holds the butt of an upturned riﬂe and dominates the area. The plants and trees in the surrounding ﬂower beds are said to represent the upward explosion of earth shattered by shell and the green and yellow foliage the gas that took so many lives. www.airsoft-action.co.uk
BOOK REVIEW WE FOUGHT AT ARNHEM
WE FOUGHT AT ARNHEM BY MIKE ROSSITER
“The armoured cars and half-tracks piled up on the road, blasted open and burning. A wheel ﬂew high into the air, followed by pieces of doors and wooden panelling. Desperate to escape death, the soldiers threw themselves out through the doors and over the sides, into the storm of small-arms ﬁre that poured from every window. Grenades were lobbed into the open tops of the troop carriers, whose unprotected inhabitants Tom described as dead meat. It was utter carnage.”
Content Part of the infamous Operation Market Garden, the Battle of Arnhem has become a symbol of dogged determination and British courage in the face of overwhelming odds. The grand plan, designed by Field Marshal Montgomery, was to pursue the retreating German Army back over the Rhine River and punch a hole towards the industrial heartland of Germany. The key element of the operation was the capture of several strategic bridges that connected the road running from the Belgium/Dutch border to the town of Arnhem. Divided into two parts, Operation Market would see the largest Airborne assault in history lay a carpet of British and American Para and Glider troops at each of the bridges, while Operation Garden would see an armoured thrust break through the German defences at the Meuse-Escaut canal and race north to link up with the Airborne forces. With the southern towns of Nijmegen and Eindhoven left in the care of the American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, it was left to the British 1st Airborne with support from the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade to secure the prize at the furthest point of advance – Arnhem Bridge. “We fought at Arnhem” follows the stories of three British Paratroopers, Ron Jordan, Pat Gorman and Tom Carpenter, as they faced the deadly challenges of what has been marked in history as a glorious defeat.
Impressions The battle for Arnhem and the overall events of Operation Market Garden had such a profound impact on the Second World War, not just in military terms but in the public psyche, that it has been picked apart by analysts and historians for the last seventy years and will undoubtedly continue to be so for years to come. A complex operation with a huge deal riding on precision placement and timing seems destined for failure with the beneﬁts of hindsight but the brave young men climbing aboard their aircraft ready to ﬂy into battle had full conﬁdence in another Allied victory.
The personal stories of such men have great appeal for readers of military history and the author’s promise of three differing takes on the battle were quick to whet the appetite. Sadly these tales only make for half of the book, with a huge proportion of the pages being dedicated to the telling of the overall picture and senior ofﬁcer’s decisions. For newcomers to the story of Arnhem this can serve as a useful tool in giving perspective to the scale of the battle and the fragility of its outcome but there are a staggering amount of books available to cover this angle and for those who are already familiar with the tale there is a deﬁnite sense of a missed opportunity to give further enrichment to the story of these three men. That’s not to say that this book should be overlooked. It has some quality moments and truly emotional scenes that are well worth reading. It delivers were it should on adding a personal touch to a battle that is far too often focussed on for its strategic failings rather than its human cost. “(Pat) realized that they had been kept in position deliberately as an involuntary rearguard. It was what he had come to expect. The glider pilot was concerned about what to do. “We can’t defend this place. I don’t know what the hell we can do” They had been sitting in the bottom of the trench while they talked. There was nothing to guard any more. It was getting lighter, and Pat looked up as a shadow seemed to cross the trench. “You don’t have to worry anymore.’ he told the glider pilot. Looking down into the trench were six German soldiers, their guns pointing at Pat and his companion.”
INFORMATION “We Fought at Arnhem” by Mike Rossiter RRP £7.99 Paperback Published by Corgi
OPERATION THUNDERBOLT – THE RAID ON ENTEBBE AIRFIELD BILLY CONTINUES HIS SERIES OF FAMOUS RAIDS THAT COULD MAKE GOOD SCENARIOS FOR AIRSOFT, WITH A LOOK AT ONE OF THE MOST AUDACIOUS HOSTAGE RESCUES EVER “OPERATION THUNDERBOLT” WAS A COUNTER-TERRORIST hostage-rescue mission carried out by Commandos of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, on 4 July 1976. I was only 7 years old at the time and it’s really strange to think that whilst my Dad was busily trying to raise a business and my Mum rear two kids, somewhere in Athens a group of young Palestinian and German “Idealists” (their words not mine) were hatching a violent plan to free their comrades languishing in prison, as well as to line their pockets with loot. A plan that was new, the like of which had not been seen before and yet one that we’re painfully familiar with today, almost 40 years later. It’s also strange to think that all those years ago when everything looked and felt very different to today, with the vast leaps in technology and computing power, that there were still young men who felt so disconnected, disenfranchised and at
odds with everything else that normal folk were doing, that they were willing to threaten others and to throw away their own lives for their young naïve ideals. There would have been no radicalising on the internet for these guys and girls, this was through good old fashioned TV, radio, newspapers, discussion and contact with refugees and political refugees. On 27th June, a week before the raid, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLPEO). The ﬂight had taken off from Tel Aviv bound for Paris and had stopped in Athens which was where the hijackers boarded. As the Air France jet had lumbered away from the baking tarmac and into the balmy afternoon sky above Athens before turning towards Paris and a normal crossing of the Adriatic, the young German and Palestinian hotheads had made their move that would lead to their deaths. As well as sealing the fate of over 35 Ugandan soldiers. The hijackers ordered the Air France crew to turn towards Libya and several hours later touched down on Libyan soil at Benghazi Airport, where they would sit tight for 7 hours while they refuelled. You can only imagine the terror on board; screams of the petriﬁed passengers, mothers clutching their beloved children close to them, able bodied men averting their gazes from the hijackers and wondering if the opportunity came if they’d have the courage to try and disarm one of them. Then the long hours of uncertainty as the passengers, who were a mixture of Israelis and other nationals, wondered what would be their fate. One British-born Israeli citizen, Patricia Martell, came to the conclusion after some thought that her fate was probably best decided by her. She pretended to have a miscarriage whilst sitting on the tarmac at Benghazi and was released. Within
Billy Basics FAMOUS RAIDS
hours of her release she was bound for Paris and an interview with agents from Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence service. Mossad now had a starting point, the ﬁrst puzzle piece and Operation Thunderbolt had begun. Next stop for the Air France plane was the Ugandan airport of Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria. The nutty President of Uganda, Idi Amin, welcomed the hijackers and visited them every day (as well as the hostages, who he assured he was doing everything is his power to assure their release) of the week long stalemate. Arriving in a black limo with two Land Rovers full of guards, he would relish receiving delegations in Kampala begging him to help, wallowing in the limelight before dismissing them and returning to the airﬁeld. The Israeli Commandoes were wasting no time in preparing for the rescue bid, several options were considered; one of which was to parachute men and boats into Lake Victoria, get to shore, assault the airﬁeld and then attempt to ﬂy out. Someone pointed out that the lake was likely to be full of crocodiles and it was swiftly dropped as an option! Back at Entebbe tempers were fraying in the heat as one deadline after another came and went. The Israelis had negotiated an extension while their government agonised over what to do; do they submit to the demands or do they go in and make an example of the terrorists who had dared to snatch their citizens? Little surprise then, that they decided to teach them a lesson but they had one problem to overcome which would require some careful handling. The 100-odd Israelis were starting to be separated now from the rest of the party and in what must have seemed an ominous development to the planners back in Tel Aviv, most of the non-Israelis were released. This turned out to be a huge advantage for the planners, as soon as they were released the hostages were interviewed by Mossad in Paris and a picture of the airport, as well as the disposition of the enemy was beginning to emerge.
By a stroke of luck an Israeli ﬁrm had built the airport and craftsmen from the ﬁrm set to building a mock-up in a warehouse, so that the commandoes could rehearse and practice their assault. To get two C130s laden with men and vehicles to mount the assault and rescue onto the tarmac at Entebbe and back again, they would need to set down somewhere in East Africa and refuel (don’t forget that the ﬁrst mid-air refuelling was not to take place until the 1980s) and there were few countries in Africa that would want to take sides against Amin. Kenya however, agreed to help and the two aircraft were given
“SEVERAL OPTIONS WERE CONSIDERED; ONE OF WHICH WAS TO PARACHUTE MEN AND BOATS INTO LAKE VICTORIA, GET TO SHORE, ASSAULT THE AIRFIELD AND THEN ATTEMPT TO FLY OUT. SOMEONE POINTED OUT THAT THE LAKE WAS LIKELY TO BE FULL OF CROCODILES AND IT WAS SWIFTLY DROPPED AS AN OPTION!” www.airsoft-action.co.uk
Billy Basics FAMOUS RAIDS
permission to enter the Kenyan’s airspace and to land and refuel. Thunderbolt was now achievable. Taking off from a Forward base in the south of Israel, the task force ﬂew down the Red Sea skimming the waves at 100 feet to avoid radar detection from Egypt, Sudan and Saudi before turning inland and heading to Kenya where, after refuelling, they set off for Entebbe. At 23:00 on July 4th 1976 after a silent ﬂight, with each man no doubt relishing the opportunity to land a blow on their enemies but also weighing up the outcome in his head, they landed the two C130s with the ramps already down. The screech of the wheels on the tarmac and the judder of the landing jolting the soldiers back into the moment. Before the aircraft had stopped, out of the bellies and into darkness rolled two Land Rovers and a black limo (the same models that Idi Amin used to visit the terrorists each day) stuffed with IDF soldiers hoping to fool the guards and get to the terminal before the alarm was sounded. Unfortunately, one switched on guard knew that only days before Amin had turned up in a brand new white Limo and he stopped the entourage. The Israelis opened up, going “noisy” earlier than they’d intended and raced to the airport building. The entire operation was to last only 53 minutes and the
release of the hostages 30 minutes. Surrounding the terminal building the commandoes could feel the panic spreading through the air within. Blinded and scared the terrorists were ﬁring in the air trying to get the hostages to move so they could use them as cover. Outside the soldiers couldn’t get a clear shot at the bad guys and wanted to avoid killing innocents. A quick-witted commando screamed through the door in Hebrew “Get down! Get down!” and the Israelis nearby dropped to their bellies. The soldiers then had a clear view of a man with an AK47 and took him out. One down, sadly several hostages were also killed in the action. While the terminal was a deafening smoke-ﬁlled inferno of bullets, screams, confusion and shouting further back on the tarmac the second C130 was disgorging it’s load of two armoured cars ﬁtted with canons that were there to inﬂict some damage on the airﬁeld, as well as to deter any involvement by a Ugandan QRF. They drove off the aircraft and went in search of stuff to destroy. What they found was a nice neat line of MiG 17, Russian ﬁghter aircraft of the Ugandan Air Force. They made short work of them, leaving the burning wreckage blazing on the tarmac before getting in position to support the withdrawal of the assault team and the rescued civilians and to tackle the expected Ugandan response. In total over the course of the 53 minutes, 35 Ugandan soldiers died in the action. The C130s ﬁnally lifted off into the night sky at a few minutes to midnight with the leader of the assault Jonathon Netanyahu (the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu) dying in the back. He had been struck by gunﬁre from the control tower as they were withdrawing to the planes, he was the only IDF fatality that night, though several others were badly wounded. The commandoes returned to Israel to a rapturous welcome.
AIRSOFT VERSION While it is obviously not possible to entirely recreate this raid in airsoft (not too many C130s around), the basis of the inﬁl and assault, where the lives of a group of hostages has to be taken into consideration along with all the many other factors, adds a brilliant twist to the “normal” building assault. With a little imagination, Operation Thunderbolt can be used as both a standalone mission, or as part of a much larger scenario.
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CERBERUS AIRSOFT – RIVOCK EDGE Keighley, BD20 0LS 07891 469492 www.cerberusairsoft.co.uk
CORNWALLS ELITE AIRSOFT
Truro, Cornwall, TR2 07863 240153 www.cornwallseliteairsoft.co.uk
Bourton Woods On the B4479, Blockley Near Bourton-on-the-hill www.cotswoldairsoft.co.uk Tel: 07724629140
Grasscroft Wood, Barlow Lees Lane, Dronﬁeld, S18 7UR www.blackdagger-airsoft.co.uk
Westcott Venture Park, Westcott, Aylesbury, HP18 0XB 01296 658600 www.bluestreak-airsoft.co.uk
CERBERUS AIRSOFT – SHEFFIELD WOODLAND Shefﬁeld, S6 6JE 07891 469492 www.cerberusairsoft.co.uk
CHESTERFIELD IMPERIAL AIRSOFT
Brimington, Chesterﬁeld, S43 1DQ www.cia-airsoft.co.uk
Dumfries, DG12 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cumbria-airsoft.com
DANGER CLOSE AIRSOFT Ellough Lark Raceway, Benacre Road, Ellough, Norfolk 07455 906132
51 Green Road, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim Northern Ireland, BT39 9PH 028 9303 7030 or 07729219341 www.borderlinecombat.com
BRAVO 2-2 AIRSOFT Leisure Lakes, Mere Brow, Southport. PR46JX 07790 715059 www.bravo22airsoft.com
Bexley, Greater London, DA5 1NX 07968 448475 www.elitebattlezone.co.uk
Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 0AN 01380 728982 www.experienceairsoft.co.uk
FIREFIGHT COMBAT SIMULATIONS Lewisham, SE13 5SU 07973 240177 www.ﬁreﬁght.co.uk
St Andrews, KY10 3XL info@ﬁfewargames.co.uk www.ﬁfewargames.com
FINMERE AIRSOFT CLOSE ACTION AIRSOFT Corby, NN17 3BB 07740 165787 www.close-action.co.uk
DARKWATER AIRSOFT Hythe, Kent CT21 5SL 07947 558433 www.darkwaterairsoft.co.uk
Buckingham, MK18 4JT 07976 184897 www.ﬁnmereairsoft.com
FIREBALL SQUADRON COMBAT ACTION GAMES
Maryland, Norfolk, NR10 4 07748 023832 www.facebook.com/combatactiongames
DELTA TEAM 3
Skelmersdale, Lancs WN8 8UT 07986 053076 www.deltateam3.co.uk
Sutton Coldﬁeld, B75 5SA 07582 684533 www.ﬁreballsquadron.com
FIRST & ONLY: ANZIO CAMP BRISTOL AIRSOFT Bristol, BS1 2HQ 07776 288826 www.bristolairsoft.com
BRIT-TAC AIRSOFT Shefﬁeld, S2 5TR 07795 631331 www.brittacairsoft.com
Just off the A11 outside Thetford Norfolk follow signs for Combat Paintball 07703 045849 www.combatairsoftgames.co.uk
COMBAT SOUTH URBAN Portsmouth, PO6 3LS 02392 655636 www.combatsouth.co.uk
DOGS OF WAR
Houston, Renfrewshire, PA6 7BP 07853 195290 www.dow-airsoft.co.uk
Brentwood, Essex, CM15 0LA 07703 530189 www.dragonslairairsoft.co.uk
Leek, ST13 8 0161 727 8863 www.ﬁrstandonlyairsoft.com
FIRST & ONLY: BUNKER WOOD
Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 5SA 0161 727 8863 www.ﬁrstandonlyairsoft.com
DRAGON VALLEY AIRSOFT
Fareham, PO17 5ND 02392 655636 www.combatsouth.co.uk
Caerwent Training Area, South Wales, NP26 5XL 07921 336360 www.dragonvalley.co.uk
FIRST & ONLY: KHE SANH WOODS
Longhope, Gloucestershire, GL17 0PH 07597 938011 www.c3tactical.co.uk
CONTACT! FIGHT SCHOOL
DOG TAG AIRSOFT
FIRST & ONLY: MANCHESTER WOODLAND
CERBERUS AIRSOFT – THE COMPLEX
COOL UNDER FIRE
ELITE ACTION GAMES – WORTHING
FIRST & ONLY: THE HIVE
Charlton, SE7 8NJ 0870 7549653 www.wolfarmouries.co.uk
Horsforth, Leeds LS18 4RP 07891 469492 www.cerberusairsoft.co.uk
COMBAT SOUTH WOODLAND
Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, CM14 5 01438 368177 www.theﬁghtschool.demon.co.uk
Doddington, Kent, ME9 0JS 07960 532613 www.coolunderﬁre.co.uk
Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4SE TEL 01293 852 314 www.holmbushpaintball.co.uk/airsoft
Worthing, BN13 01784 433023 www.eliteactiongames.com
Otley, West Yorkshire LS21 2NA 0161 727 8863 www.ﬁrstandonlyairsoft.com
Bolton, BL7 9TS 0161 727 8863 www.ﬁrstandonlyairsoft.com
Middleton, Manchester, M24 1AZ 0161 727 8863
FIRST & ONLY: THE ARMOURY Wrexham, Denbighshire, LL13 9RG 0161 727 8863
FIRST & ONLY: THE ACADEMY Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 6QF 0161 727 8863
GUN HO AIRSOFT
LAC SITE 2
Guisborough, TS7 0PG 07525 435696 www.gunhoairsoft.co.uk
Gainsborough, North Lincs, DN21 4JH 07775 877057 www.lincolnshireairsoftclub.co.uk
GUNMAN AIRSOFT – CAMBRIDGE
NORTHERN ALLIANCE AIRSOFT
Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 3LQ 01845 565465 www.northernallianceairsoft.co.uk
LAC SITE 3
Saxillby, LN1 2JW 07775 877057 www.lincolnshireairsoftclub.co.uk
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 07854 277264 www.gunmanairsoft.co.uk
GUNMAN AIRSOFT – MIDLANDS
LAC SITE 5
Northﬂeet, Kent, DA11 9AA 07968 448475 www.elitebattlezone.co.uk
FIRST & ONLY: THE ASYLUM Kidderminster, DY10 3PT 0161 727 8863
FIRST & ONLY: THE OUTPOST Kidderminster, DY11 5SA 0161 727 8863
FIRST & ONLY: SLEEPY HOLLOW
Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 5LS 0161 727 8863
RAF Honiley/The Grange Frogmore Grange, Frog Lane, Balsall Common, West Mids CV7 7FP 01676 532 384 email@example.com www.shop. suspensionofdisbelief.co.uk
GUNMAN AIRSOFT – NORWICH
Norwich, Norfolk, NR10 07854 277264 www.gunmanairsoft.co.uk
GROUND ZERO WOODLAND Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 2DF www.groundzerowoodland.com
FREE FIRE ZONE
Farcet, Peterborough, PE7 3DH 01733 247171 www.freeﬁrezone.co.uk
Annacloy, Downpatrick, BT30 8JJ 07730 586926 www.frvairsoft.com
HILTON PARK AIRSOFT Wolverhampton, WV10 7HU 08000 354490 www.paintballuk.com
HOMELAND TACTICAL AIRSOFT
Spanby, Lincs, NG34 0AT 07971 560249 facebook.com/HomelandTacticalAirsoft
HUMBER AIRSOFT GASS AIRSOFT – PENN Penn Bottom, Bucks, HP10 07907 788970 www.gassairsoft.co.uk
GASS AIRSOFT – PIDDINGTON Piddington, Oxfordshire, OX25 1 07907 788970 www.gassairsoft.co.uk
GRANGE FARM AIRSOFT
North Lincolnshire, DN21 www.humberairsoft.co.uk 07792 680297
ISLAND RECON AIRSOFT COMBAT
Near Shorwell, Isle of Wight, PO30 07964 751047 www.islandrecon.co.uk
LAND WARRIOR AIRSOFT
Leicester, LE9 9FP www.gingerliberationfront.com
Gorebridge, Midlothian, EH23 4LG 0131 654 2452 www.airsoftedinburgh.co.uk
LAC SITE 1
Co. Armagh, BT60 1NE 07772 919974 www.greenzonecombat.com
Gainsborough, North Lincs, DN21 4JH 07775 877057 www.lincolnshireairsoftclub.co.uk
Kirton Rd, North Lincs, DN16 www.lincolnshireairsoftclub.co.uk
Manby, Lincolnshire, LN11 8HE 07955 487983 www.lindsey-airsoft.co.uk
MATLOCK COMBAT GAMES Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5FW 07974 507166 www.matlockcombatgames.com
Hetton, Sunderland, DH5 0 07983 333521 www.nscairsoft.co.uk
Durham, DL4 2ER 01642 281220 www.ntac.co.uk
OBAN AIRSOFT – HILL ARGYLL
Argyll and Bute, PA37 1 07967 710185 www.argyllsurplus.com
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 07793 404346 firstname.lastname@example.org
OP-TACTICAL UK – TEAN-OPS Tean, Staffordshire, ST10 4JT 07964 990831 www.op-tac.co.uk
Cornwall, EX23 9JL 01288 331748 www.airsoftsouthwest.co.uk
MILITARY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Wrightington, WN6 9PL 01942 514724 www.militaryoutdooradventure.co.uk
OVER THE TOP AIRSOFT CLUB Anglesey, LL71 www.ottairsoft.co.uk 07731 744471
PATHFINDER GROUP AIRSOFT MILITARY SIMULATION Former RAF Camp Sopley/Merryﬁeld Park, Hants, BH23 02380 899369
Checkley, Staffordshire, ST10 4NS 07523 916607 www.milsimuk.co.uk
Edinburgh, EH14 4 email@example.com www.ncis-airsoft.co.uk
Fenwick, Ayrshire, KA3 6AY 07904 998250 www.nomadairsoft.com
Welbeck Airsoft, Academy, Budby Road, Notts NG20 9JX 07956 587213/01623 812483 www.phoenix-airsoft.co.uk
Rochester, Kent, ME1 1 HQ 01634 829063 www.ptt-1hq.co.uk
PLAYERS OF WAR
High Bonnybridge, FK1 3AD 07767 203979 www.playersofwar.co.uk
Huge thanks to our friends at Airbana (www.airsoftmap.net) for supplying data
SITE DIRECTORY FIND SOMEWHERE TO BE THIS WEEKEND…
PREDATOR COMBAT GAMES Ballynahinch, BT24 8NF 02897565651 / 07825169631 www.predatorcombat.com
Suffolk, IP8 4 01473 831563 www.ravensairsoft.co.uk
RAW WAR AIRSOFT CUMBRIA Wigton, Cumbria CA7 3SZ 01900 85645 www.airsoftcumbria.co.uk
Chislehurst, Bromley BR7 6SD 07956 522691/01727846069 www.red1airsoft.co.uk
Red1 CQB. Kings Langley, WD4 8RN 07956 522691/01727846069 www.red1airsoft.co.uk
RIFT AIRSOFT COM’S SITE 3 Chipping Warden, OX17 1LZ 07751 586781 www.riftairsoft.com
RIFT AIRSOFT (COTTENHAM) Cambridge, CB24 8RL 07751 586781 www.riftairsoft.com
SECTION 8 AIRSOFT
Shotts, North Lanarkshire, ML7 5AB 07974 026517 www.s8airsoft.com
SG1 COMBAT GAMES Co. Londonderry, BT45 8NA 07713 273102 www.sg1combatgames.co.uk
SKIRMISH AIRSOFT BILLERICAY
Billericay, Essex, CM11 2TX 01277 657777 www.airsoft-billericay.co.uk
SKIRMISH EXETER Exeter, Devon, EX4 5 01548 580025 www.airsoftexeter.co.uk
TASK FORCE SKIRMISH
SPEC OPS AIRSOFT – BLOXWORTH
ULTIMATE WARGAMES – FAWKHAM
Petworth, West Sussex, GU28 0LR 07766 770830 www.southdownairsoft.com
Wareham, Dorset, BH20 7EU 07984 656947 www.specopsairsoft.co.uk
SPEC OPS AIRSOFT – THE ROCK
Portland, Dorset, DT5 2EG 07984 656947 www.specopsairsoft.co.uk
Cowbridge, S Glamorgan, CF71 02920 593900 www.taskforcepaintball.co.uk
Aberystwyth www.aberairsoft.co.uk 07841 462806
Glasgow, G45 9SB 0161 727 8863 www.thedepotglasgow.com
THE DESERTERS AIRSOFT STIRLING AIRSOFT Coventry, CV3 6NX 07831 429407 www.stirlingairsoft.com
Redford, DD11 07751 878175 www.thedeserters.co.uk
THE EX SITE STORMFORCE AIRSOFT
Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 4LD 07515 937633 www.stormforcepaintball.co.uk
Mold, CH7 4 07840 001975 www.theexsitewales.co.uk
Bean, Kent, DA2 8 07590 818881 www.ucap.co.uk
Fawkham, Kent, DA3 8NY 01268 796130 www.ultimatewargames.co.uk
ULTIMATE WARGAMES – LIMPSFIELD Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0RH www.ultimatewargames.co.uk
URBAN6AIRSOFT – ZONE 13 Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0QN 07432 291729 www.urban6airsoft.com
URBAN6AIRSOFT – THE BLOCK
Wood Street, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 3AB www.urban6airsoft.com
THE WARGAMES CENTRE SUSSEX AIRSOFT
Slinfold, RH12 020 8150 9284 www.sussexairsoft.co.uk
Boathouse lane, South Wirral, Cheshire, CH64 3TB www.swatairsoft.eu 07703 177756
Hemel Hemstead, Herts, HP2 7QB 07894 059794 www.ta-events.co.uk
TACTICAL WALES AIRSOFT Reynoldston, Swansea SA3 1AS 01792 473336 www.tacticalwales.co.uk
Lundholm Road, Stevenston, Ayrshire, KA20 3LN www.thewargamescentre.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Macclesﬁeld, SK10 4SZ 07428 024874 www.trojan-airsoft.com
TROJAN AIRSOFT – OLYMPUS CQB
Weir Mill, Viaduct Street, Chestergate, Stockport, Cheshire, SK5 7JP 07428 024874 www.trojan-airsoft.com
UCAP GREEN OPS
Newgate Street, Hertfordshire. SG13 8NH 07841 713356 www.techbrigade.org
Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, PE26 1 01733 247171 www.urbanassault.org.uk
Co Tyrone, BT71 4DY 07922 377131 Facebook: search ‘Torrent Warfare’
TACTICAL WARFARE AIRSOFT Warlingham, Surrey, CR6 9PL 020 8665 1299 www.tacticalwarfare.co.uk
Welwyn, Hertfordshire, AL6 0UN www.vikingairsoft.co.uk
Warminster, BA12 7RZ www.warminsterairsoft.co.uk
XSITE AIRSOFT OUTPOST Dunstable, LU6 2EE 01494 881430 www.xsiteairsoft.co.uk
XSITE AIRSOFT – LANE END High Wycombe, HP14 3NP 01494 881430
Portsmouth, Hants, PO17 6AR 07590 818881 www.ucap.co.uk
Linch, West Sussex, GU30 7 07590 818881 www.ucap.co.uk
Land Warrior Airsoft RedWolf Airsoft Airsoft Zone JD Airsoft WE Airsoft Europe Airsoft World ActionSportGames
3 + 29 + 79 7 + 60 9 + 45 + 75 15 19 + 100 23
26 + 27
Crawley Surplus Supplies
49 + 57
Pro Airsoft Supplies
Airsoft Surgeon Euro Championship
Airsoft Action Digital Subscriptions
Airsoft Action Subscriptions
Welcome to Issue 53 of the UK's BIGGEST Airsoft magazine! In this issue we review three very different weapons; G&G's GEC36, Ares' VZ.58 and...
Published on Aug 27, 2015
Welcome to Issue 53 of the UK's BIGGEST Airsoft magazine! In this issue we review three very different weapons; G&G's GEC36, Ares' VZ.58 and...