Archive for September, 2011

Our first run out since GZ, and feeling in decidedly better shape!

Although a crappy weather forecast was in prospect the day proved to be very different. The wind died and a nice autumn crisp morning was in prospect with the last few weeks of foliage meaning it was bolt action time! Also getting a run out for me for the first time was my MP5PDW, which Mick at NSC had sorted thanks to my effort to fit a new spring and lower it’s initial 390 fps….

The guys at NSC have been working hard to get some new structures in place, and combined with the thick covering of green in parts it made the day interesting!

We kicked off with a simple one end versus the other type game to get all the new players involved – and there was plenty of them which is fantastic to see. In fact there were so many it meant the marshalls extended the usual warm up game over a much larger area.

If you go down to the woods today...


Next up one of my favourite types of scenario. A downed pilot to be rescued, two teams determined to get to him, and 3 sniper teams sent out to cause chaos and mayhem. Swampy soon figured out that the snipers nest is no longer as covert as it was!

Swampy slacks off again!


Meanwhile I was having fun sitting in no mans land and taking it in turns to pick one off from each team. Later in the same game came a good chance to try out the MP5PDW properly. Caught between both teams we decided to go out guns blazing and tried to storm the structure the pilot was being held in. With Swampy covering I made the mad dash towards the tower, running the MP5 on an 11.1v LiPo I’ve decided to keep it to semi auto mainly, the trigger response is great and lets you just tap away. With the stock extended the accuracy for such a short barreled weapon isn’t bad either. It fell to the last of the 5 enemy to get me as I managed to clear the first 4. So near and yet so far…

Waiting for me!


The afternoon continued in similar fashion with large ranging games covering the entire site. Its been a while since I’ve had to cover so much ground at NSC and the legs were definitely feeling it by the end of the day!

SAW in action


With the cover so thick in areas, it made movement exciting to say the least as it didn’t take a ghillie suit to lurk succesfully!

Left a bit, right a bit...


All in all, a cracking day again, finished off with a couple of sociable drinks and left me looking forward to the next game day at NSC on the 2nd October!

What? Over where?...Ouch hit....

Well, what a weekend. Plenty of highs and lows, and certainly eventful!


Mrs Swampy put up with us both burbling on for an entire evening the night before as we loaded up everything we could think of taking…

There's a sink in there somewhere...

We set off heading south to our first stop of the tour. Action Hobbies. I’d arranged a pair of MP5PDWs to be waiting, I’d been looking at these for a while now and well, since they were in stock and we were passing!

Gimme da Gunz!


A warm welcome from the guys there, especially considering they were in the middle of building their new shop area and not really open to the public. Should be good when complete, plenty of space and certainly looks like business is booming. Certainly deserves to be, several times this year I’ve found their website to be the only one with decent stock levels as opposed to lots on offer on other websites only to be found to be out of stock and no date for restocking (yes it is a pet hate of mine). Anyway, a brace of full metal (and solid feeling) CYMA MP5PDWs into the car and off we sped across Milton Keynes to our next stop.

Bletchley Park
Home of the codebreaking effort during World War II. I’d wanted to visit here for a while and you know, since we were passing!

The Goose that laid

anyone got a fuse?


As probably befits its clandestine history it’s a fairly discreet turn off into Bletchley. It has a rich history and its origins are fascinating. It became home to some of the most brilliant minds of its day as they battled the Axis cryptographic services including the fabled enigma machine. To even begin to summarise it’s contributions to the allies would be to do a disservice somewhere, far better you have a look at their website, or even better check it out for yourself! (I also recommend a good read such as Station X), you can learn about the men and women that gave us such marvels as the Bombe and recently recreated the world’s first operational computer – The Colossus

Colussus

The dastardly enigma


We had a cracking few hours wandering the hallowed huts and there are plenty of exhibits that until fairly recently were largely forgotten and ignored (The restaurant in Hut 4 also served lovely pasties and ginger beer!). Just looking at the complexity and ingenuity of the code breaking effort is breathtaking. The only proviso is there is obviously a lot of restoration work still underway and a few huts were closed off – all for good causes I am sure!

Bombe's Away!

Of particular interest to me personally was the history of HMS Bulldog and her part in obtaining “The Loot”. I served part of my time on her modern namesake as an RN Officer where we remembered the actions of our predecessors every year. (The cinematic historical travesty U571 is not an accurate portrayal….)

Proud to have served on her namesake...

This inconspicuous little establishment and the men and women who worked there in utter secrecy played a vital role in the Allies eventual victory. it can be argues that without them Britain would have starved as the wolfpacks cuts us off. It seems strange walking around them that the minds at work in these little huts were one of our greatest weapons… Whilst we always must remember that history was not played out with the benefit our current sensibilities and morals, it does seem shameful the way we treated a man who did so much for us.

Thanks largely in part to him you don't speak german

(Footnote to Bletchley Park – Since our visit we have read of the sad death of Tony Sale, one of the founders of the Bletchley Park Trust and the mastermind behind the successful rebuild of Colossus. Without dedicated people like Tony our historical knowledge would be far less complete, and a lot more boring!)

Yes I always look like this driving a ship...

Onwards to Battle
We hooked up with the Misfits at a suitable hostelry just before GZ and landed on site together. Fortunately we managed to get base camp erected before the rains forecast for the Friday turned out to be torrential monsoons!

Basecamp Raptor

The heavens opened and given the camp site is a riding field for much of the year the inevitable Glastonbury conditions soon occurred. The roads were soon requiring the attention of several tons of urgently acquired gravel and with the back breaking efforts of the marshals some semblance of a road was restored.

GZ marshals combat engineering roads


I took the opportunity for a walk round the safe zone, having a stroll round the Zero One Marquee which seem to have plenty on show, and the boot sale, where plenty of players had second hand kit for sale.

If only...


Unfortunately for me at this point I decided on some rigorous testing of the portaloo facilities due to a digestive system failure. In an attempt not to waste the airsofting opportunities I retired very early and felt sorry for myself. I believe that in my absence and despite the conditions a good time was continued to be had by all as they had merry games such as “watch the shop flood”…

Saturday kicked off with better weather and the usual GZ style with a safety brief and then the teams depart to their respective bases. There’s obviously been a lot of wok since I was here last as the structures have become more substantial and more atmospheric. GZ have also increased the gaming area to the west with a serious amount of woodland ideal for creeping about in now in play.

We started up at the well known check point Charlie and spent most of the morning in either setting ambushes or hitting Delta near their base. Hanging out with our old friends the Misfits we managed a couple of fantastic well timed attacks and covered a lot of ground.

I had a slight hiccup when attempting to flank an enemy junction through the thick undergrowth I found myself next the Fort with an unprotected open doorway. I then spent a tense 30 mins sneaking about in the dark ground floor shooting anyone who came in and listening to the Bravo forces upstairs calling for help on their radio as there were “loads of enemy” below. I’ll take it as a compliment lads!

The day gradually wound on to a ferocious firefight over the village for the close of play, with a three way battle and a never ending stream of dead walking out. I estimated at least 100 Others piled in and similar from the other teams all in a small tight area. The noise and charges were epic!

Once we finished for the evening I must admit the dodgy stomach and lack of proper food and fluids took their toll on me, and I made my excuses for a quiet evening again.

Overnight I discovered that because the Others had completed the most tasks and launched the most nuclear strikes we were naturally last in the points stakes. (as always!)

Sunday kicked off slightly later and more humid. This time we started from the very exposed Burrows site and were immediately hit by both teams at once. It was during this battle I experienced what must be acknowledged as one of the problems of GZ. Hit calling. Whether it is the high proportion of younger players, or the fact that people only play there one a year I don’t know. But after realising no-one was going to call a sniper rifle hit I stormed a postion with my pistol. The first 2 guys sportingly called it with a fair degree of surprise, but a younger player laid in a bush with his back to me was a different story. Completely unaware of my approach I got to within 18 inches of him so decided a single shot to the assault vest was sufficient. He turned to face me and started to bring his AEG up so I shot him again in the front. Only to be asked “what I was doing?” Needless to say I shot him again, this time on an unprotected arm whilst explaining “waiting for you to call your hit”. I was told he “wanted to see who it was” shooting him. I tactfully explained it makes no difference if you’re hit and you should call it, and shot him again for good measure.( Somewhere he could definitely feel it). It was obvious he was sure it was friendly fire and he was looking to avoid calling it. Things like that really ruin the event, as you can’t help but think “well if they’re not going to call it…” it takes a real effort to keep yourself honest after something like that.

I should add it’s not a situation limited to GZ and I’ve seen it at other big games with lots of players who don’t know each other, and whilst the marshals do their best,(even catching the guys who decided no hot pyro didn’t apply to them as they rained smokes onto my position!) with 1700 players it’s always going to be tough.

I got stuck into defending our base and before long several hours had passed. During my next spell in the dead zone my radio battery died, and between that and a renewal of my stomach ache I beat an early retreat to the campsite.

Overall, I had a great weekend. It’s always good to get the Raps together and we had some great stops. Fighting alongside friends such as the Misfits is always enjoyable. Personally I could really have done without feeling poorly which hampered my socialising and I missed out on saying hi to so many people. So best wishes to BattleTec, Legion, and anyone else I meant to see!

Finally thanks to H and his merry band. The marshals really do work hard to lay on what is a massive festival of airsoft now. Hopefully they know it’s appreciated! next year with some luck I may be in better condition to enjoy all of it!

Squawks