Yesterday I went to a local airsoft field with a buddy of mine. We train regularly together on a lot of things such as fieldcraft, marksmanship, radio testing, etc. We also occasionally go to airsoft matches as a force-on-force supplement to our normal training. Sure, it’s not the most realistic type of training, but there are some very good benefits that you can get from airsoft events. The most important one is the practice we get communicating with each other.
I cannot over-emphasize how important it is to practice communicating with your team of shooters. A team that communicates and coordinates their actions to fight as a single entity will always have an edge over a group that fights together but doesn’t coordinate their actions. The Romans realized this, and this is how they were so effective with their tightly controlled formations.
Yesterday I had a prime example of this in action. The match we attended was open to the public, with players split into two teams as they arrived. In one of the rounds, my team was defending an objective against the attackers who had unlimited respawns. My buddy and I headed to one side of the map and decided to hold down our right flank together. We got into position, with myself inside a building watching through a window, and my buddy on the right side of the building on the outside wall. We were close enough that we could talk to each other, but far enough apart that we could not both be engaged at the same time. Once in position, we called out different landmarks in our fields of fire so we could use them as target reference points (TRPs), and how far to the left or right each of us could shoot.
Once the round started, we called out to each other every time we saw movement. If an enemy was moving into my buddy’s field of fire, I would let him know so he could engage. He did the same for me, and the effect was brutally effective. We were positioned such that an enemy covered from one of us would be exposed to the other one, and we were not easy to see from as far back as we were. Inevitably, one of us would start taking heavy fire and had to pull back behind our cover. Whoever was getting suppressed would call out the enemy, and the other one of us would shift into a position to take out the enemy shooter. The two of us held down the right flank pretty much alone for the entire game.
The enemy eventually decided that our right flank wasn’t worth attacking, and focused their attention elsewhere. We lost that round, but only after the rest of our team on the left side got overwhelmed. It’s interesting to see how two guys coordinating their efforts did what ten uncoordinated players couldn’t. A testament to just how important it is to practice communicating with your team.
If you want to learn how to organize, train, and lead a team of shooters, come to a Team Leader Class sometime. I don’t have many more classes on my training schedule at the moment, but I’ll be adding more in the coming months after my son is born. In any case, get out there with your guys and train together. You cannot get better at communicating by yourself.