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 Post subject: (AAR) Op: East Wind VI (3/9-17/13) D-Day Adventure Park, OK
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 10:39 pm 
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Praporshik
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Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:02 am
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Location: NY
Each East Wind has been different. Of the three I have attended, this would have to be my third favorite. This year’s East Wind had a lot of promise. My section, 3rd, was going to be the same as the previous year, with the addition of a BTR-40 to do vehicle recon potentially doing 36 hour patrols behind enemy lines. At our base the sections were staying in tents that had windows that actually close and potbelly stoves. I imagine that is how the party elite would camp! That is how the officers had it during previous events. It was also exciting that the field was going to have different positions for our bases, making the game play different.

It turned out a bit different, which should have been expected. Our sergeant was unable to attend at the last minute. At first I was excited, thinking that I’d be promoted to sergeant and maybe get some new blood transferred into our section, or run a super elite three-man section. What ended up happening was that our section was absorbed into first section, led by McLane. One of my comrades, the dedicated BTR-40 driver, got conscripted into the kitchen. So we didn’t see him as often as we liked. The BTR-40 ended up going out of commission, more on that later. The new base position did not change the way we played, more on that later. The tent we were in was slightly askew, so our windows didn’t fully close. All the Soviet missions were a couple of hours length at most. And it seemed like we only had two missions a day at most. Our tempo was much lower, with lots of down time in camp. Which was nice to hang out and talk about stuff, and play chess, get some rest.

The relaxed tempo was due to having only two officers. Sr. Lt. Kuperov and East German Cpt. Taskabe. They had a tremendous amount on their shoulders to burden. They had so much to do, that not even the entire camp was set up. Compared to EW of a year prior, there were only Soviets, so it was more centralized. As well as having a full officer core, with a political officer captain, lieutenants of various levels, and at least one warrant officer. It was very regrettable that due to health reasons comrade Russian was unable to attend.

Due to Coop insisting on traveling to the event unreasonably early, I could not take part in the cross country driving experience. Which is disappointing, because the long journey was part of the experience. Besides trying to arrive extra early to the event, it required leaving prior to International Womens Day. Which is insane for a group that has a bunch of people trying to play the role of Soviets and East Germans, where this holiday is a big deal. Still is, so I wasn’t going to diss my wife by ditching her. Silly timing on the part of the organizers. I flew into St. Louis and linked up with a comrade from that city, and drove the rest of the way to OK.

When we arrived, the command/officer tents were up, as well as the soldier barracks tents, and mess tent. It was already dark and getting darker, but I still pitched in to help 2nd section with their tent trenching. Made myself at home in my tent. We still didn’t know what the fate of 3rd section was going to be. That morning it was raining. Our dirt road had turned into a shitty mudd puddle. Forget about polishing boots! We had finished setting up the last tent, the kitchen, and the command radio antenna (looks like a gigantic dandylion). That afternoon and the next day consisted of training with our ‘Cuban advisor’ and laying down phone lines. Command had a wireless network, as well as wired. The wired net featured army field phones that were spread across the field. One with ‘Battalion,’ one with the East German forward base, and two at East German border posts. The East Germans had wired their posts, while Soviets laid down the wire to ‘Battalion’ and the East German forward base. At this point, our BTR-40 was not in sight, and we had to mesh with a Sgt. we weren’t fond of, and two guys who really felt like real duhi, real FNGs.

The Germans dined with us a couple of times. It was their first fresh meal. They were so grateful to not have to eat Postal Rations again. Many of the Grenzentrupen actually spoke German, and that was awesome. It was a fantastic feeling to be in “East German” and actually have an East German presence that actually spoke at least some German. The previous year there were essentially no Germans, and the year prior there were, but they didn’t speak any German. So this was a tremendous improvement. The idea is to have even more Germans next year, with Soviets becoming the minority force. The idea is to have the BTR-125 full of Motorshutzn.

Our first potentially violent mission was after the BTR-40 finally showed up. The Grenzentrupen had engaged NATO troops on the border. Soviet forces were tasked with showing up to the border to do a show of force. Break up that little spat. Despite the current violent exchange, NATO and Warsaw Pact were still officially in a state of peace. Our dedicated BTR-40 driver was behind that wheel for only the 2nd time, and was messing up. Eventually we started rolling. Must have looked pretty bad-***. We had a PKM ‘mounted’ with a full load of armed Soviets.

While the Soviets were doing stuff around our camp, the Grenzers were deployed at the border. They were doing active patrols and observations along the border. Taking photographs and notes. Doing actual border guard work. NATO forces dodging their observation attempts. Whenever their cameras and binoculars would look into their direction, they would try to hide.

A little about that PKM, this was one of the scratch built PKMs. A real bad-*** long range killer. However, the scratch built box mag was not. DevilDoc was asked to bring an Echo1/A&K box mag which it was compatible with. He neither brought an Echo1/A&K PKM nor it’s box mag. And the BTR-40 didn’t actually have a mount for it, so it was just held in place. This was after all supposed to be a mission to just do a SHOW of force, so no big deal. Right?

1st Section arrived at the tower of the East German airfield with the Grenztrupen Captain. We were under his jurisdiction at the time. He got a quick brief on the situation from the Gernzers at the tower, and then had the passengers deploy. The crew stayed in the vehicle. We got onto a skirmish line with the BTR-40 at the center and marched toward the border crossing with guns at the ready. Doing a great job of showing some potential force. Marching forward, we are totally in exposed terrain. Across the border is the town of Kolvil, and inside that town are NATO troops behind many fortified positions. At this point, all I can think of is “god damn fucking German bastards, what are they getting us into, why are we marching to death?” The Captain loses his rational capacity when we get within 15 meters of the border and he sees his grenzers laying all shot up. He ordered us to attack! From our exposed position into their fortifications. No cover of our APC. No cover fire from our PKM. Just scattered for cover and shot into their fortifications. One of the duhi and I got cover behind a downed U1H1 Huey. We were able to send lead downrange from under the chopper, eventually they figured out where we were and were able to shoot us. A nearby German was able to bandage us up, and we made the mistake of returning fire from the same position. It was a bad move, we ended up getting shot again. We had no order to disengage, and to our right was just barbed wire and clear line of fire for the enemy. Not much better towards the left. We should have pulled back. This was a terrible mission, and it would bother me the rest of the event. This was not the job of a recon unit to do. We marched dead to our camp and got started on our dead time. During our march back to camp, we could hear that the BTR-40 was coming. Catching up to us. But it never did. It was already dark, and the driver was being extra cautious.

Things got more interesting the next day. This cross-border skirmish did not trigger a war. We were still in peacetime. We were tasked with mining the main border crossing area. We had a briefing on placing MON-50, PMN-2, and POM-Z mines. We were then given time to practice setting them. This was the first time in three East Winds that MPL and bayonet were actually used for something, instead of just being there to look pretty as part of our mandatory kit. I conducted the training and preparation of our two duhi in deploying the MON-50 and PMN-2 mines. So, I didn’t actually use my MPL, I used one of theirs. Still, it was the first time I used any MPL. This was the first time I used my bayonet for something other than hanging my helmet or headphones. Our Sgt. was going to handle the very dangerous job of setting the POM-Z mines. Since it is peacetime, Soviets have no business on the interborder German area, we had to have at least a German accompany us. The German assistant cook was conscripted into that service. With the Soviet head cook operating as our BTR-40 driver. 1st Section was a very special force.

When we got to the East German airfield my radio was having issues. The BTR-40 was also having issues. It turned out that we were driving it with the emergency brake on. Had to call in Cpt. Taskabe to come out to sort it out. We went about setting up our minefield. We had set up a perimeter of mine marker flags, and began setting up the MON-50, PMN-2, and POM-Z mines. Tioma and Lioha were providing overwatch, while I made notes as to the mine locations. We were not briefed on specific patterns to lay the mines in. Just spread them across areas where there might be more traffic. As well as setting some areas up to look like they have mines, when they really didn’t. We even set up a MON-50 right in the open, where anyone could see it, and next to it buried a PMN-2, just in case someone tried to disarm it. We had some audio contact, so we had to hurry up and get out of there. As we were finishing up, we moved further away from the border. A British Ferret parked itself on the intersection just across the border. The tension rising, hurrying up the comrades, which caused an unfortunate accident. The German cook had forgotten his rifle when we started pulling back, after running back to get it, and pulling back again, he tripped one of the MON-50 mines. Things got a little scary when things were rumbling and loud. A NATO tracked APC showed up in Kolvil too. The rear hatch was open, and no troops were seen inside the town yet. Soon we spotted the attackers rushing towards us. We pulled back to our waiting BTR-40. Those suicidal NATO maniacs charged into a minefield! Miraculously, not hitting any of the mines. They halted their charge at the end/start of the mine field, and we drove away. Admin had a talking to them about the stupidity and unrealistic charge into a mine field. Either way, we headed home. There may have been some cover fire given as we had pulled back onto the BTR-40, or not, my memory is fuzzy on that. At least this time all Soviets made it out alive. This was one of the most most milsim missions I’ve been involved in at any event. Setting up a real mine field!

Back at camp, we had more milsim stuff to do. For the first time I actually saw guys peeling potatoes. We chopped down wood for our barracks stoves. There was chess to be played. One of the duhi was tasked with sewing up the Sgt’s cot. The other one was sent to work in the armory. The starshina (platoon Sgt?) snuck us some Soviet reading material, a couple of decades old at that point. He also snuck us some more current and much more interesting West German picture magazines... Camp life was very interesting at this East Wind. There was some practice with shooting RPG-26s, and rifle range time.

2nd Section was deployed on night missions, and they elected not to use all the night vision scopes and other devices made available to them. Only taking one NV scope and one set of NV binoculars. They did some engagements at night, but they were hard to discern. I believe that the West Germans were able to make better use of their night vision. Not because it was better, but because they were more bold, and 2nd section was more cautions. 1st Section’s missions were mostly day missions.

The one night mission that 1st Section took part in was a Catastrophic Success. Our BTR-40 driver was tasked to operate with the German Captain. He got to use the vehicle crew night vision. The rest of 1st Section had a different mission, and we elected to only use one night vision scope. While I would have loved to use it, I was already hauling the weight of the radio. Comrade Han was tasked with operating the scope. I was amazed that his little arms managed to handle carrying it the duration of the mission. I had low-light sights on my AK, so at least I always knew where I was aiming, despite not knowing what I was aiming at. To demonstrate to NATO that they are not the only ones who can operate across the border as they pleased, we were supposed to sneak across the border and blow up a bridge. Despite us not being at war, Soviets were bombing targets inside West Germany, and for targets of less critical importance or high difficulty of hitting the target, recon units were used to demolish bridges. Finally, a real recon type of mission! Tioma and the German Captain were going to go create a diversion in a different area, while 1st and 2nd Sections would sneak to Pegasus Bridge, detonate charges, and exfiltrate. 1st Section was going to be the vanguard. We were sent in the back of our truck (a Unimog visually modified to be an East German Rober, calling it a Romer) with our driver using some sort of head mounted NVG. We dismounted and krept our way into the “Valley of Death” where we cleared the way until we got to a small hamlet, took defensive positions and waited to rendezvous with 2nd Section. After very tense moments, we saw some hints of movement, used our light recognition codes to identify each other as friendlies, and linked up. We continued on our way through the VoD until we got to the bridge. The game mechanic to simulate demolition charges were special tape to be put around the support structures of the bridge, and a three TSLFx handgrenades taped together to be tossed onto the bridge. We exfiltrated out of the VoD, and tried to make contact with the camp so they could send a vehicle to collect us. I was unable to reach them on my radio. 2nd Section’s radio operator didn’t even bother turning on his radio to try. So we ended up walking back to camp again. No contact with NATO was made by anyone that night. The objective was destroyed and we had no casualties or wasted ordinance. My radio’s failure to work was blamed on styrofoam in the area I was trying to transmit from, and that we didn’t have line of sight.

We are still at peace, despite multiple violent contacts with NATO. They seem to penetrate into East Germany at their leisure. We had to demonstrate an ability to do likewise. We were to do a mounted/vehicle recon across the border. The way the field was laid out, the positions of the border poles, I disagree with which parts are considered West and East Germany. Regardless, we were sent ‘across the border.’ While traveling on the wooded ridgeline, we were safe. Rolling in an armored box on elevated ground. When we got to a valley, right before a major clearing, I sensed danger. I told that to the vehicle commander. I specifically pointed out where the potential attack would come from. He laughed it off, asking if maybe it was going to be the French that are going to attack from there. As the vehicle crested the hill, we made violent contact. It was Americans that hit is from our right side, the uphill side, from the woods. They had the elevation to be able to shoot into our armored box. The driver buttoned up his port and punched it. The Sergeant and the vehicle commander were hit, because they were in the exposed/elevated observation points of the BTR-40. I and the duhi managed to get low and return fire. Maybe hitting one of the ambushers. We managed to continue on our intended route. When we turned to go up the hill, we took fire from the bottom of the hill, and I caught a shot to my neck since they had the angle of fire as we traveled up the hill. The unharmed comrades managed to bandage myself, the sergeant and Lioha. We got to a hilltop, where set up watch, I called our contact in. We continued on our mission. Moved to another hilltop where we were able to observe vast areas of what we were calling West Germany. We then proceeded to check various roads by driving on them, parking, and doing dismounted scouting. We were behind the West German town of Kayan when I received my last transmission. We decided to double back and exfiltrate the same route we infiltrated, and try to get back to base alive. For about half of the mission the BTR-40 kept going into the red in engine heat. We made it to the third (unpainted) border post. The one border post that had no field phone installed. That was where the BTR-40 broke down. The official story is that an American Cobra chopper spotted our vehicle, opened fire with its gun, but due to misfeeding issues only one round managed a hit on our vehicle, which was very lucky because it hit the engine. We ditched the vehicle and continued our exfiltration. As we approached the area where we were ambushed earlier, tensions were very high. We made audio contact, which turned out to be 2nd Section. We linked up with them, and returned to base. It was official that my radio was completely useless. 2nd Section’s radioman was inches away from me, transmitting and receiving, on the same frequency as me, while I was not able to do either.

I was constantly having radio problems from the start of the event. The first problems with battery contacts was resolved after two missions. But then our Lt. insisted that I was mentally deficient and not knowledgeable in how radio signals work and that the radio faults were entirely with me, after this mission, we finally determined that it was infact the equipment I was issued, not me.

Our vehicle recon mission was full of tension after we punched through that ambush. But otherwise boring. We made no audio or visual contact with anyone until we linked up with 2nd Section. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t interesting stuff happening. Apparently, after we punched through that ambush, 2nd Section was deployed with some Germans to clear up that area, which they did. Sending NATO running for their lives back to West Germany, apparently. Also, while we were rolling around over in West Germany, NATO forces were looking for us. Setting up ambushes that we would not find ourselves in. It was described something along the lines of the old cartoons with lots of doors, like in Scooby Doo, where they are being chased and constantly running in one set of doors, and out the other, and the chased and chasers keep missing their prey.

Our next mission involved a full day dismounted patrol in pretty much the same area we traveled in the BTR-40. The Romer was going to drop us off by where the Gruzers had their HQ, and from there we’d go dismounted along the same path we traveled by BTR-40, with the exception of cutting behind the area where we were ambushed. On the way there, we turned the corner into the treeline on the ridge when I spotted NATO. Everyone from the back of the truck opened fire, as we slowly dismounted. We took down two, one was West German, and the other an American. We saw at least two others from their group that ran for their lives. We did not pursue them. After radioing in the contact, we secured the two we had as POWs, and sent them back to camp in the back of the Romer. We provided some security for the Romer to turn around and go back the way we came. We then continued on our initial route. Instead of going up the hill into the clearing where we rolled through an ambush, we went along the river valley, and then went uphill, coming up behind that area. We made audio contact and got low. Then we made visual contact, and pulled back to higher ground and got cover. It turned out to be a squad of Turkeys. Once the coast was clear, we continued. We broke for lunch and ate our field rations. That included hard boiled eggs, various pattes from Yugoslavia, pilot wafers, and maybe there was some deviled ham or something. At this point our Sergeant gave permission to ditch the helmets in our lunch hide. We continued our patrol. We took a winding path that contours the hilly terrain. A route that would have been difficult for the BTR-40. The path cut into the hill, creating a rise to our left, and a drop to our right. As we were turning around one of the corners we made contact with an American patrol was on top of the hill. They had the momentum, the elevation. We fought back hard. I tried to get cover and return fire from the cover that the path cut out of the hill, but I was hit. One of the guys got me patched up, and then I jumped off the path downhill to get some cover, but it didn’t make a difference because they were closing their pincher on us, I was hit from the side. I bleed out. The Sergeant also bleed out. As did my dooh that patched me up. Comrades Lioha and Han had been patched up and managed to fight back the Americans. Either they were all killed, or the survivors pulled back, but no one tried to get any intel from us. Lioha and Han got the hell out of there just in time. As we left behind the, casually, we passed a British QRF that showed up with a Jeep and Ferret waiting at the intersection to block anyone escaping and/or collect East German POWs (that is how we were reported, East Germans, while wearing the most distinctly Soviet camo, KLMK). After passing that intersection, we saw that Han and Lioha had just passed our lunch hide, so they just missed that QRF! HQ was mad that I wasn’t answering, which I shouldn’t have been because I was dead. Then HQ was upset that I did respond when dead, but this was when we were practically out of the game area and were hoping for a ride back to camp. This was one of the more exciting missions.

Our final mission was to get out of East Germany. The counterrevolutionary elements had infiltrated/infected the party, and the country had become hostile for Soviets. Mind you, there still wasn’t a war going on, but across East Germany, it was starting to feel like civil war with Western instigation. Our exit was via a heliport in the West German airfield. All of Soviet 7th Rota and local Communist Grenzertrupen were to exfiltrate the area via West Germany. Our exit strategies were planned out, and we did a convoy to the far border crossing point in our two GAZ and Romer vehicles. As soon as we crossed the border, we had spotted a Jeep on a hill, thousands of meters away, but the plan was to ditch the vehicles at the first sign of hostiles, so they don’t call in air support and whip us all out in one swoop. Our contingency took us along the exposed ridge that led us towards that damn infamous intersection. Where the BTR-40 was put out of commission, and where that QRF showed up the other day. I was at the end of our column when I saw Americans at the intersection. It is ridiculous when the guy in the back spots what’s in front of us. Quietly, but with great urgency I warned everyone and we dashed downhill. Not sure if they saw us or not, but they didn’t seem to pursue. In the chaotic scramble downhill, our RPG-26 accidentally went off. When we got into the valley, up the hill, approximately where we ran into the American patrol the other day, was a Ferret with British infantry. At least one of them spotted us, and like in a Scooby Doo cartoon looked like he jumped up and down in a startled way. This forced us to pull back, in the valley. So much changing course and scrambling for some sort of safety. Over the radio I heard the Germans engaging the enemy. Also heard one of the groups made it to the helipad. We were going to get over the hill. We hydrated, and carefully made it up the hill, and rushed through the clearing and down on the other slope of the hill. Watched a tracked APC with a turret, patrolling the hill tops with a dismounted screen. With our RPG round already wasted, we definitely didn’t want to tangle with any armor. We watched them move towards the hilltop that we were leaving, and we crossed through the valley. We were in familiar terrain, we had scouted these areas in the BTR-40. We made our way out of the next valley up a steep road to where I had my last transmission the time we had the BTR-40. Once on top of the hill we were in new territory for us. We were at the far side of West German town of Kayan, close to that airfield. Followed our instincts through another valley, and found the airfield. Ran for our lives across the vast exposed terrain. Waiting for an Mi-8 to pick us up. Another NATO tracked APC showed up just outside the airfield, but then we finally got swooped up, and were on our way to Poland. That last mission was the most exciting. And it felt like living out ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ movie stuff.

The next part was our cultural exchange where we toured NATOs camp. They did a better showing this year. Then steaks and potatoes. Them thanking us for the amazing borsh that they got from us (it was mediocre at best). Then back to our camp to finish breaking it down and packing it away. At night, after pizza we watched some interesting slides about some training and some touristy stuff from around East Berlin. Early the next morning, comrade Cardz and I drove back to St. Louis. I had an uneventful flight back to NYC. I was traveling in my Winter Afghanka and panama, and on the way off the plan an older (or middle aged, but definitely older than me) Russian guy said how that all looked familiar.

I missed Sasha. I missed Andruha. The slow tempo and all those motorized transportation translated to this year me not losing any weight inches off my waistline. It may not have been as exciting or as grueling as previous East Wind events. The change in location of our base didn’t effect how we played at all, because we would enter the game play area in practically the same place as previous years. But I’m still glad I got to participate in it. There was less recon stuff, but more camp stuff, and more bonding with great memories and playing with some new toys. I really want us to have a NYC section at an East Wind, so you guys can get to experience this Life Event that is East Wind.

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