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Camp Skeletor 2010: The After Action Report. Alt title: Pretty Pictures from Camp!
After four days in the grueling heat of a Snake Mountain summer, Lord Skeletor's "Bullshido Gundown: Camp Skeletor 2010" has come to a glorious conclusion.
A dozen of Bullshido's finest dove head first into 45+ hours of tactical CQB training administered by Lord Skeleter and his awesome, anonymous band of henchmen, who for anonymity's sake shall remain anonymously unnamed.
There were scuffles. There were tussles. There was hustle and bustle. No stone was unturned in the quest for close quarter battle supremacy!
Beginning with the basics and working his way up, Lord Skeletor set
out to shape the malleable minds of the dozen Bully volunteers at his
dispossal, and he shaped the crap out of them!
The first day saw class room lecture on safety, use of force, the
geometry of gun fights, cover and concealment, shooting stances, the
OODA loop, an overview of the wide world of modern weapons, the fact
that flashlights help humans see things in the dark and how to apply
that to shooting bad guys, and much, much more!
The action wasn't all cerebral though, Skeletor took his cadre of crack
Bullies outside to play in the dirt. Campers got to experience the nefarious Tueller Drill, and so- through judicious use of a 7,500 volt shock knife- came to understand just how quickly someone can reach out and touch them in a highly inappropriate manner! Bullshido members being what they are, this drill saw some truly epic applications of acrobatic martial arts escapes such as the cart-wheel, somersault and the much feared and respected running-away-from-the-crazy-man-with-a-shock-knife.
Stick, in an attempt to distract his attacker, actually dropped his weapon. It was humiliating and he swore he wouldn't tell anyone, but he's really quite terrible at keeping promises to himself.
Stick also counts talking about himself in the third person amongst his many vices.
Other strenuous activities included but were not limited to:
- Individual movement and shooting
- Team movement
- The Stack
- Flanking and cutting off the enemy's angle of cover
- Retrieving a weapon at a distance after a minute under a dog pile
and hitting two advancing attackers- a stress test
- The importance of gripping the slide firmly with the meat of the
hand and not "sling shotting" it, thi was accomplished through the
liberal application of lube to the trainee's hands
- Challenging and subduing an enemy at gun point with minimal risk
and minimal force
- Clearing malfunctions on handguns
- Clearing malfunctions on AR-15s
- Combat loading a shotgun
- How to defeat He-Man
JNP comes out on top in the scramble and brings his weapon to bear on the second, oncoming attacker.
On the second day of camp, Lord Skeletor brought his would-be CQC squadies to his underground lair and there put them into the very bowels of Stick's worst nightmare from when he was 7- seriously, it was a recurring dream involving Count Chocula, Frankenberry and a paint chisel and it required therapy.
Lord Skeletor explains that at no point should any camper attempt to engage the facility's old janitor, a grisly burn victim in a striped sweater and tattered hat.
The campers were split into groups of five and six and run through various tactics in the dungeon pictured above- and worse the sub levels below- and on the fairly well lit, but not all together comfy ground floor replete with locker rooms and cafeterias and the office of bacon goodness- not kidding, the office of bacon goodness.
Trainees learned to "slice the pie", to "quick peek"- a technique which oddly enough involves peeking quickly-, and how to otherwise control a room by getting guns through the door quickly, quietly- assuming they aren't clumsy- and most importantly while maintaining as much cover as possible.
After getting to the door, the trainees had to learn to storm through and take control of the room. Executing button hooks, fanning out, learning the concept of "areas of responsibility"- trickier than it seems-, and searching high and low and anywhere else a small child might fit, Bullshido Squad trainees learned the essentials of storming, searching and controling rooms.
Teams of Bullies learned to assault hallways, flowing the stack from room to room and staying out of the dreaded fatal funnel while always maintaining at least one gun down the hall. After some drilling and a few botched goes, this was actually somehwat smooth to see in action; granted it was action down empty hallways into empty rooms with no threat of hostile fire, but it was still hellasweet to see and do.
Somewhat less smooth, hapless Bullies learned to ascend and descend stairways of varying kinds and under varying light. This proved tricky and taxing for some trainees- Stick- who on one or two ocassions slipped though no one tumbled to their death or serious injury.
Some points to remember from day two's instruction at Camp Skeletor:
- Do not stay in hallways
- Do not hug the wall in hallways, bullets have a tendency to skip along them like stones on a pond
- Keep your elbows in when slicing your pie- chicken wings get seen first and get shot off
- Do not back light your team mates, ever- a back lit human being is an easy mark for even the worst shots
- Get comfy with your buddies in the stack, stay close to them, squeeze to let the man in front of you know you're ready to rock
- Slow is smooth, smooth is fast; move together when entering a room or you may as well enter alone
- Orko is frakking annoying
- Search anywhere a small child could hide
After some review and righteous eats at a nearby sandwhich and burger joint- Eternia has those too- the small three and four man teams of Bullshido trainees were joined together in glorious awesomeness to form the full sized BULL SQUAD!
The second day was topped off with a few hours of a large group exercises in the bowels of Snake Mountain. A dozen dauntless Bullies mustered their courage, loaded up their airsoft training weapons and descending into the dark, dank depths of hell to engage the much feared OpFor. Operating on the edge of madness, THE BULL SQUAD, explored the many cavernous rooms, halls, stairwells, walk in refrigerators, elevator shafts, meat lockers, shower rooms, work shops, broom closets, maintenence stations, warehouses, chemical storage units, bath rooms and telephone boothes therein.
With a taste of the action that awaited them on day three of Camp Skeletor, THE BULL SQUAD tucked themselves in after finding this human head and a bloody machete.
No, no one brought this from the outside, we seriously found this very anatomically correct dummy head down there... in the darkness... with our nightmares.
Day three of Camp Skeletor was all force on force tactical scenarios utilizing half or all of THE BULL SQUAD at a time. The OpFor showed no mercy and operated on a level typically only seen in Sho Kusugi flicks; THE BULL SQUAD had its work cut out for it indeed!
Shifting leadership from scenario to scenario, each Bully in turn got to command a team in bloodless battle against a determined foe in a high stakes game of hide and sneak.
One lesson reinforced over and over again was that you must search anywhere a small child can hide. This lesson was taught most forcefully by the shadow assassins, chainpunch and Wezuri.
The instructors and trainees lost count of the times chainpunch was over looked while clearing a room- he was often laying on top of ventilation shafts and piping in the ceiling- only to come up behind the unfortunate rear guard left to cover an as yet unentered room or hallway and slaughter him as he looked determinedly in the opposite direction, trusting that his team mates were correct when they'd shouted "CLEAR!"
To give you an idea of just what chainpunch looked like in action, well, it was something like this.
Wezuri proved equally menacing as he opted to use only the shock knife in spite of the vast array of projectile weapons set against him. The startling TICK-TICK-TICK of his weapon at their backs was often the first sign a Bully noted that clued them into their mistake.
But perhaps the most stunning ambush of all came from the advanced grappling forum moderator, JNP.
Look at this setup and ask your self how he got up there.
He Jackie Chan'd his way up the pipes, that's how! With a little bait at the end of a long ramp, JNP massacred half of THE BULL SQUAD before they knew what had happened.
Watch out for those recessed walls and blind corners, and never, ever forget to look up or JNP, chainpunch and Wezuri will pretend kill you and you will feel silly.
Another obstacle to over come was that of communication. Tensions ran hot at some points as Bullies locked horns on how best to proceed, but ultimatly the squad came together and muscled through.
THE BULL SQUAD threw itself into the fight and routed out OpFor throughout Lord Skeletor's domain. Perhaps stumbling at times, but never falling- the trainees killed or captured everything and struck fear into the hearts of LARPers everywhere while learning some very valuable lessons about CQB.
By the end of day three, every trainee came away with many lessons learned, such as:
- Take action; a piss poor plan vigorously executed will often succeed
- Don't stop and chat; this is combat, not a tea party
- Communicate clearly what you see to your team mates when you are the point man, if there is confusion about what waits ahead it can all get very Three Stooges
- Look everywhere a small child can hide; up down, left & right, inside, outside behind and inside (yes, look inside twice)- if you declare a room clear and it is not, you will get your team killed and you will feel like an idiot
- The best you can hope for when entering a room is a 50/50 shot
- Ride the door in as you enter, if there's someone behind it you may be able to tell by simply shoving the door on your way through
- Be aggressive. B. E. Aggressive.
- Clear your area responsibility, do it first, do not be distracted- that distraction is probably a trap
- Keep your plan simple
- If you are covering a hallway, do not look away even for a moment- you will lose control of that space and may end up in a world of hurt... and get Stick's flash light stolen... NWP
- Be very careful when you think you're aiming over or around the man in front of you in your stack, you don't know how he will move and may end up shooting him in the back- especially if a tactical genius startled you with a clever trap employing remotely triggered flashes
After three 13+ hour days of training, it was time for a break.
The fourth and final day at Camp Skeletor was spent out on the range shooting live steel at card board that deserved to die!
Between the instructors' and the Bullies' collected firearms, the available arsenal impressed everyone, and thanks to the sharing of ammunition, everyone who wanted to shoot got to shoot what they wanted.
Apart from blasting thousands of rounds of ammo down range, THE BULL SQUAD engaged in various live fire exercises closely administered by the instructors.
Firing under stress- having to hit a target after doing some running and jumping and push ups- and performing a tactical reload proved challenging enough for some and old hat for others. Engaging targets from cover was fun, and gave Stick an opportunity to employ the prefered weapon of the visually impaired world-wide, the shotgun.
Finally, the instructors set up The Gauntlet and walked their charges down a short alley of menacing card board targets and a line of steel targets at the end. Stick particularly enjoyed using the silenced 9mm carbine for this exercise.
Yeah, you read that right.
In conclusion, Camp Skeletor was flipping sweet and totally far out. Lord Skeletor and his volunteer staff provided Bullshido staff and members 4 days of amazing instruction at a rate unheard of in the CQB training community- free.
I'm sure I speak for all the students in attendence when I say thank you, Lord Skeletor. You have set the bar high for Bullshido CQB training and redefined the previously ill-defined Bullshido Gundown. Bullshido.net owes you a debt of gratitude for this service, and it shall not be forgotten!
Click here for all 156 photos taken by Stick during Camp Skeletor 2010.
Click here for all 77 photos taken by Wezuri during Camp Skeletor 2010.
PS: and if any of us ever runs into that jerk, He-Man, we will totally kick him in the teeth for you.