So now I’ve officially setup my blog I’m wanting to reinvigorate a couple of my favourite pieces, in this case a joint article I did with Andy from S23. This’ll cover the Kickstarter for the focus on my Counter Terror kit, and my thoughts on participating in such an immersive event.
So last year I was invited to take part in an ITAS Mock CT Exercise carrying out the role of a Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officer, something truth be told I didn’t really know much about. I’d spotted very few images from previous exercises floating around the internet, and ever since I’d been massively interested in joining in on one, I just didn’t have the necessary gear to pull it off.
Until now! For this particular event they were looking for participants from the Airsoft/MilSim scene to enact the role of Armed Response Police Officers and Counter Terror Officers, and by this point my kit was shaping up nicely.Fast forward a month or two, and we’re being briefed on a developing siege situation in a school where terrorists had taken hostages. Being placed on the Police team we were at the forefront of all activity in the initial confrontations with the gunmen, so I was given a number of different taskings from Close Protection of a negotiation team, hostage handovers and manning an Urban OP on the perimeter of the target building.There was one instance when I was overlooking the building when a number of shots rang out, the rural OPs had been compromised and started taking fire. Running to get your rig and helmet on as a precaution is something I guess I’m not too used to in an average Airsoft game, and especially when those shots were from simulated blanks, it certainly lends itself to giving you a sense of urgency and added to the suspension of disbelief.After nightfall we decided to egress from the OP as we couldn’t get any more information regarding enemy activity, and I called it a day. After a remarkably good amount of sleep I awoke and was attached to Green Team, one of two ‘UKSF’ groups that had been on rotation as a QRF since the start of the event. I was briefed on the final assault plan and then went over to the hangar with the rest of the CT teams.There were plenty of occasions where we were put on immediate standby, such as when a media team went to interview the gunmen, or when tensions were rising in the target building. The call to go eventually came when boiling point was hit. To be honest I’m not perfectly sure what happened myself, there seemed to be a lot of screaming over the radio and supposedly a body had been seen outside the target building and we were in the vehicles before I could hear more.I’m going to gloss over the final assault I’m some respect, unfortunately I didn’t see much due to the section of the building I was in responsible for. One thing I can say is that an IED suspended off the ceiling in the entranceway to the building tends to put a halt on proceedings.Going into the building was rather painstaking as you could tell that the team wanted to push as much as possible to save the hostages so to start the room clearance was quite soggy. The pace picked up and the training kicked in though and the movements became much more fluid.As this was our Emergency Response, the organisers decided to run the assault again but utilising our deliberate plan, what we’d been planning for since the start of the exercise. Our half of the team came in from the same angle as last time but took it much slower and quieter than the initial run, to the point where the enemy didn’t actually know we were in their building until we’d cleared the ground floor, and started using flashbangs on the second floor. In your usual skirmish you get used to the shouts of other players and the occasional use of profanity from getting hit. However going into a room with screaming hostages makes everything so much more urgent.As the apprehension of the raid had worn off from the first assault there were no worries when taking down rooms this time. The mantra of ‘Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast’ was ingrained into people’s minds and we moved in as a force effortlessly, making good use of Blank Firing Grenades, GR20s and GR60s. X-Rays were dealt with according to how much threat they displayed, and hostages were most definitely not let out of sight.Pressing on with the assault I was hit in the leg, after some quick use of a Tourniquet I was back to it, and began to check hostages. After cuffing and patting them down, I began to move them to the triage point. All those captured were then laid down and checked for injuries, and once all were stabilised EndEx was called.It’s extremely rewarding to get to the end of a weekend with such a successful outcome after so much effort has been put in by all participants. Between the first assault and the second assault, we managed to slash the time down from 9 minutes to 7 minutes, our skills seemed to improve tenfold on the rerun.To finish off, it’s the most immersive event I’ve ever attended. So many assets were utilised from vehicles to crisis actors, and it lead to a prosperous ending for everyone. I’m most definitely due to attend more events like this, and people who’ve also attended them will be the same. I overheard some members of the CT team say they were moving away from MilSims as this is where it’s at.
Many thanks goes to Gaz and ITAS for running the the event, E27, Grey Fox and the other CT/Police members for making it such a brilliant weekend.