Airsoft Building Assult Tactics

Sadly due to the evil fun-spoiling spectre of health and safety many of the options that are open to armed forces today are not open to the average air soft player. These include but are not limited to: lock-busting shotgun shells, using a tank round to force a breach, using artillery to force a breach, using explosives to blow a hole in a wall, tear gas, flames throwers and other incendiary devices, air-mobile assaults, robots, dogs (a favourite of homeland security) and even monkeys. Even things like using ladders (think about it, it’s all fun and games until the fat guy in your team lands on you), buddy lifts and upper level entry may not be possible depending on the site.

Assaulting buildings is one of the most difficult and complex thing today’s armed forces have to deal with. They do not know exactly what situation they are going into and short of levelling it with air strikes, artillery or support weapons which is not always feasible depending on the ROE the defender pretty much always have the upper hand, though they lack the mobility of the attacking force. With speed being the key in assaults of this nature this will often mean multiple breaches, which exponentially increases the possibility of a Blue-on-Blue incident (friendly fire or fratricide). Now obviously things are not nearly as serious in a game but more than anything you will need team play and to know what the rest of your team is doing, trust them to do their job and ensure that you do yours.

Below are some dos and don’ts for assaulting buildings, many of them are common sense but bear repeating and perhaps the ones that are second nature to you may help someone else and vice versa. As ever this is not meant to be a comprehensive field manual style guide to urban combat just a few suggestions that will hopefully help your game:

Dos

  • Speed is the key, not just in terms of movement but in terms of observation. Defenders need to be located and dealt with rapidly using discriminating fire. Speed also limits your opponents chance to mount a significant counter attack.
  • Both the assault and the support elements need to be aware that they are threatened from all 360 degrees in three dimensions and often from concealed and reinforced positions. More than on open ground or in wooded areas, urban combat allows your opponents to conceal and dig in.
  • Choice of weapons is important. Shotguns are good (but check your field of fire for friendlies) as are pistols. Often in a house you will be fighting in close quarters and large weapons may prove unwieldy. There is a place for the SAW and that place is outside (see below).
  • Rate of Fire is important. Yes spraying on full auto can be a good, though far from full-proof, way of clearing a room but be very, very aware of were the rest of your assault force is. It is better to use semi-automatic or short burst on targets you have identified. (I know there’s little chance of anyone listening to that peace of advice. In the real world however 5.56mm and 7.62mm will cut through most internal wars killing friendly forces as well as opposing forces in nearby rooms.)
  • Always, always check your targets; make sure you know what your team and any allies look like and where they are likely to be during the assault.
  • If however the first team is taken out then feel free to respond with overwhelming firepower, again checking your field of fire. If you have the opportunity then do not lose the momentum of the assault and breach again or, if not possible, then withdraw under fire.
  • Attacking with multiple teams through multiple entrances is a good idea but you had better know what you and the other teams are doing because it increases the chances of a blue-on-blue incident exponentially. That means the plan has to be solid and each element of the assault has to stick to it as much as possible. Also you need to be familiar with how each member of your, and allied teams look to cut down on cases of violent mistaken identity.
  • If possible recce the target and the surrounding area as thoroughly as possible.
  • If you have the chance then make sure you know the layout of the room and the building you are a assaulting, discuss this with your team. Actually think about the layout and how it is going to affect your plans.
  • During planning/briefing make sure that you know what you are doing and what the rest of your team is doing as well as any supporting allies or friendlies.
  • If possible to do safely and within the rules of the game then assaulting from the top downwards is always preferable (though remember to adjust your supporting fire accordingly). Should you for some bizarre reason find yourself assaulting from the middle floors of a multi floor building then clear the top floors first and then work your way back down. In a situation like this always make sure you have people watching your back.
  • If there is a fire escape then remember it will be heavily defended and probably booby-trapped (I would, wouldn’t you?). If you choose to use it you had better have very good coordination with your support team and (multiple) sniper cover would be useful.
  • When approaching the target make sure you have support from sustained fire and if possible area effects weapons. The support team should engage with the defenders, keep their heads down enough for the assault team/s to close with the target. Obviously the support team should be very careful with its field of fire and this should have been planned before the assault.
  • Support fire can also be used to isolate the target building from other nearby opposing forces.
  • Just before the attack suppressing fire should be increased to mask the assault team/s approach.
  • When they are close the fire should be concentrated on upper levels of the target building.
  • When the assault team breaches supporting fire should switch to adjacent buildings with enemy forces in them to help isolate the target building.
  • Smoke can also be useful in closing with the target building.
  • If the game/site allows for vehicles then they can be used both as cover and to close with the target building.
  • Tracers can be useful in highlighting any especially truculent defenders positions.
  • Sniper/counter sniper cover is also very useful for more precision application of fire.
  • Wherever possible use cover approaching a target building and if possible stealth. Other buildings may also provide cover when approaching the target; they can also supply firing position for the support team. Basically use covered approaches where you have the chance.
  • Use a surprise attack were possible, remember largely all the advantages are with the defender, this is one of the few you can hope for. Bear in mind that any surprise achieved only lasts until the initial breach. (Of course grenades, lots of them, help with surprise.)
  • Minimise the equipment you carry, only take the bear necessities (yes I know it all looks lovely and you look very commando with everything on but…). This is for two reasons. The first is stealth and the second you are going to need to move quickly, often in cramped quarters with other people, the less encumbered you are the better.
  • Cross open areas as rapidly as possible.
  • Ideally you should only attack when covering fire has suppressed defensive fire.
  • Depending on numbers the support team should be assigned a specific areas to cover.
  • Wherever you have the chance use grenades before entering a room. Ball Pea Grenades if there is little chance of hitting friendlies/hostages etc. Thermobarics or Flash Bangs (depending on site rules) if friendlies or hostages are an issue. Yes we do sell these, yes we would like you to buy them however remember most of the time defenders will be ready for an assault, using grenades and similar distraction devices is one of the few ways of buying yourself enough time to get in the room and take out the defenders. Always ensure there are no friendlies in the room before using grenades. It is also military doctrine of both British and American forces. Also it’s fun.
  • Ahem…accepted military doctrine is to throw grenades vigorously into rooms to make it more difficult to grab and get rid of; also increasing it’s chances of defeating internal anti-grenade defences (sandbags, piles of debris etc.). I’m not saying you should do this just making you aware of military doctrine, I’ll leave the decision down to individual site rules, safety and your sense of fair play.
  • Use the least likely/suspected (safe and within the rules of the game and site) mode of entry.
  • The ideal squad size for clearing a room, dependent on the size of the room is four. I can be done with teams of 2-3 but shouldn’t really be tried on your own. More than that and you’ll just start to get in each other’s way and increase the chance of a Blue-on-Blue incident.
  • If the room is too small for a four-man team then send less in with the remaining member of the team acting as support for them.
  • Before entering the room each member of the team should have an area of responsibility (Americans call them PODs or Point of Domination but then they would). A tactic tried and tested in Mogadishu is to have the first man in move to the farthest corner from the door, the second and third move to the two near side corners and the fourth man just inside the doorway. (Remember this is a way of doing it, not the definitive way.)
  • Wherever possible vary your assault plan so the opposition don’t become used to it or become able to counter a set pattern.
  • Whilst in place before the breach it is best to communicate where possible via sign or touch to minimise the chance of giving away your position.
  • Always, where possible, move along the walls; if you move through the centre of the room you obscure your teammates’ field of fire.
  • Make sure your areas of responsibility cover the entire room and overlap. You all should be able to cover the majority of the room what you can’t cover one of you teammates should be able to.
  • However you choose to enter the room the key is to quickly observe the enemy and bring accurate fire to bear on them. Also if you are moving quickly you present a more difficult target and won’t get in the way of the guy or girl behind you.
  • If there is a door there ride it all the way to the wall or else it will just provide cover and concealment for your opponents.
  • Be aware of booby-traps. Look for them in doors, windows, halls, stairs (which are evil) and furniture. Where possible use previously cleared routes.
  • As soon as is practical (and adhering as much as possible the plan) have someone cover the stairs. They are choke points for attackers, excellent positions for defenders to fire down on the attackers and a good way for them to funnel the attackers. Also if the defenders know what they are doing there is a good chance they will be booby-trapped. Other than covering them they should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Make sure as much as possible you stick to the plan. Yes things will go wrong, yes you will have to improvise but remember everyone else in the team is acting on the assumption that you will be doing what was decided on.
  • Stagger teams when the first room is clear the next team is in with the first team providing security for them. When the second room is cleared then either the first team can move onto the third room with the second team providing security or, depending on the size of the force the third team can enter. Speed is the key but do not get in each other ways.
  • Where possible and enthusiasm and time commitments allow train and drill with your team so this sort of thing becomes second nature and you know what your team-mates are going to do in any given situation.
  • Once the building is taken don’t hang around congratulating yourself (you can do that in the pub later or during down time) immediately prepare to defend it against a counter attack. If need be and it’s that kind of game then now is the time to deal with wounded and/or prisoners (by shooting them, sorry too much caffeine).
  • Your support team should either join you in defence of the recently taken building or switch to support another assault.
  • Advise other allied or friendly forces of your situation.

Don’ts

  • Don’t use smoke inside the building. By all means use it to advance to the building but even with NVGs it is dangerous and will hinder you as much as the defenders.
  • If using smoke to approach the target building try not to obscure your support element’s field of fire.
  • If using grenades don’t go into the room until the grenade has detonated. Sound stupid? Watch Band of Brothers again. It’s easy to forget especially in the excitement of a breach. That said you want to be in immediately after the grenade has gone off.
  • Before entry or whilst waiting for the squad before you to clear a room do not bunch up, try not to make yourselves targets, wait in as secure an area as possible, provide suppressing fire or security where appropriate as long as it does not interfere with your job or the support units. Basically make yourself part of the solution not the problem.
  • When approaching the target building do not obscure your covering fields of fire.
  • Avoid as much as possible throwing grenades upwards, either up stairs or through upper windows. If they bounce back on you and your team you tend to become unpopular quite quickly.
  • Avoid standing by doors or windows and standing in halls and other open areas.
  • Ideally booby-traps should just be avoided, warn everyone of their presence but few assault plans have leeway for the amount of time it takes to disable a booby-trap.

There is a lot to take in but if a few of these tips stick they will hopefully make your life a bit easier and you’re a game a bit more successful.


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