Arguably not as much fun as assaulting buildings it’s important to know how to defend them against the inevitable assault, especially with the ever-increasing population of urban style airsoft sites.
The good thing about defending buildings is that other than loss of mobility things are heavily weighted in your favour. You have the strong defensive position, the command of your surrounding area and you don’t have to run into a hail of enemy fire.
Buildings provide cover, concealment for troops, equipment and other positions of strategic importance; they limit fields of fire and observation and block the movement of troops and vehicles. In short they are a pain in the arse for attackers, the idea behind this article is to try and make them even more of a pain in the arse. Defenders who know what they are doing should be able to seriously hinder, block and inflict heavy losses on a much larger force. As ever this article is not a definitive guide on how to defend a building just some, hopefully, useful hints to help improve your game and make the other team’s lives that little bit more difficult.
- This is something I see done so rarely but it can be very effective. Surprise can be just as much an element of defence as attack. In real terms this means the once you’ve established your defensive positions, fortified as much as time, resources, safety and site/game rules allow, be quiet. Try to limit movement, try not to give away your position or silhouette yourself in a window etc. Even if the other team knows you’re there you can still gain an element of surprise and unnerve them by making the building seem still and/or deserted rather than a bustling hive of activity. It also means your team will present less of a target to their snipers, enemy team members on overwatch and other observant types.
- Try to choose a defensive position that is going to be as difficult as possible to assault and time consuming or somehow difficult to avoid. If the enemy can easily avoid it then it will make for a bit of a quiet game for you.
- The most obvious defensive position may not be the best one. Think laterally especially if the enemy does not know where you are, don’t make it easy for them by doing what they expect.
- As much as possible the defending force should familiarise themselves with the territory so they can see if anything is amiss or has changed. Make sure you know where all the approaches are, the positions of cover and obstacles etc.
- Defenders should take advantage of the abundant cover whilst trying to deny as much cover as possible to the opposing team.
- The terrain should also be used to restrict as much as possible the attacking forces, whilst denying them anymore cover. This can often be a balancing act and there will often be site and safety restrictions as to how much the terrain can be mucked around with. Ideally what you want is a way to funnel the opposing force into your fields of fire.
- Defensive positions should cover all approaches and potential areas of cover to the building. This should include overlapping fields of fire and whilst it is good for the team to have areas of responsibility they should be in a position to support each other.
- If you’re going to be fighting from a static position then have your munitions close and convenient to hand, time and lots of ammunition tend to play a key part in defending a building, having everything squared away on your rigging is less important.
- Grenades are your friends. Grenades can be thrown into recently taken rooms, sent to meet people coming up stairs, thrown out windows. Also breach teams tend bunch up together to the point where you’ve got to throw a grenade at them. Yes I know we sell grenades but this is also military doctrine and common sense. Pea ball grenades are the best but Thermobaric and Flash Bangs are also good but only if you follow them up with fire. If the grenades break them up and force them to scatter then make sure you have someone on hand to fire at them as they scramble for cover.
- Grenades are also the attackers friends, where possible try and take advantage of grenade barriers and also force them to throw upwards to increase the chance of catching them with a bounce-back.
- When initially occupying a building your primary aim should be to establish defensive positions that provide all round security using the available cover. If the time and site rules permit then you can think about improving that cover. However if you do choose to improve the cover make sure that at least some of your force (enough to do the job properly) is defending the building. You may want to rotate the personnel doing the reinforcing and those doing the defending depending on your sense of fair play.
- If mounting a hasty defence then getting your sustained fire and heavy or crew served weapons in place is also a priority.
- Ideally sustained fire weapons and the heavier weapons should be in the upper floors of a building where they have a better command of the terrain and more of a chance to fire into cover. They are among your strongest assets so make sure they well defended and supported.
- The upper floors of a building are the best for observation and tend to be the most difficult for the attackers to fight up to. However they also draw the most fire.
- Listen to your briefing. A particular building may be the attacking team’s objective but unless you have specifically been told otherwise that doesn’t mean you can’t use other buildings either to support the objective building, or even to act as a decoy and draw the enemy teams attention. Two buildings that have mutually supporting fields of fire are better than one and so on but make sure you have the personnel to do this. If using more than one building then it may be a good idea to make one of the buildings look as deserted as possible and wait until the attack is full flow before surprising the attackers through the medium of supporting fire. Again this is another benefit of using surprise whilst defending.
- If you have a bit more time then see about camouflaging your fighting positions. Of course this is especially useful for any snipers on your team.
- Make sure your fighting positions are away from the windows. Ideally they should be set back in the shadows of the room.
- Again site and safety permitting use any available furniture as cover and make use of the available incidental cover of windows, doors, behind walls etc. Also many sites also have built in loopholes between rooms. The military also use the peaks of roofs but this is rarely safe for game purposes. If in doubt check with the site.
- If time allows prepare your own fighting positions as best you can, make sure you have an alternate position and a supplementary one. Know where you are going if you have to fall back and make sure you have an escape route and a place to regroup. All team members should know where everyone else is and what their job is so they do not get in each other’s way.
- Even if the building you are defending is the game’s objective have an escape route and regroup area planned. You can always counter attack and few attackers will expect this if they think they have taken the objective.
- If the game allows vehicles then make sure you have a way to deal with them and any weapons capable of dealing with them are heavily supported. Vehicles are one of the best ways for attackers to close with your building. Also if you are able to then use obstacles to block vehicle approaches.
- Again time and site rules permitting if there is terrain that provides an attacking force with cover booby trap it. There are few things more satisfying than watching someone getting blown up for trying to take cover in what they thought was a safe(ish) place.
- Booby traps are also useful for warning of an enemies approach.
- Booby traps can be useful in the building itself but your team needs to keep their wits around them to avoid setting them off themselves.
- If you have pickets out to warn of an enemies approach make sure you’ve discussed their fall back and alternative fall back routes and make sure the other defenders know who they are and know to expect them. Radio contact is useful if the team can afford it, if not then passwords are good, especially at night.
- Where possible and again depending on site rules you should deny the enemy the use of unused doors. Halls, passages and stairways, where practical, should be blocked, though this should not compromise safety and remember the defenders will still need to move around the building.
- Stairs are your friend. They’re excellent choke points, you can throw grenades down them and you have an elevated firing position. If they trying throwing grenades at you then they have the added danger of bounce-back.
- Securing sheets or ponchos to upper floor windows provides an excellent ad-hoc anti grenade defence. However this will also stop pellets so it may not really be in the spirit of the game, however netting may work better for the airsoft environment allowing the pellets in but keeping grenades out.
- In the unlikely event that the enemy has access to the roof then make sure it is well covered. It is a lot easier to breach a building from the top down than it is to breach it from the bottom up. However be very heedful of safety if you are engaging in roof fighting.
- Where possible utilise snipers. If they have reasonable camouflage and observation skills (which they should have) they can be useful as pickets.
- Depending on how much time you want to spend on this it can be useful to have and rehearse a general plan for building defence for when your team has to mount a hasty defence. At the very least it’s useful to have responsibilities assigned.