After the previously mentioned night raid gone awry, I went out with a few other HQ guys supported by the Ferret armored car to conduct some light armored recon. We slid up to the edge of town in the famous Ferret run silent, run deep mode and I dismounted along with the cook to go have a lookie around town. We moved in hard and fast moving from cover to cover and quickly/quietly sweeping all the danger spots in town before signaling the Ferret to move up to a point where it could both provide some fire support if we encountered enemy troops moving up and also a rapid egress if needed.
After the fierce night fight, we had rightly assumed that the Soviets would probably bail out of town and all evidence seemed to indicate that they had peeled out of there prior to dawn. There were mags here and there that had obviously been missed in the dark and the general disarray in the East Germans position seemed to indicate that nobody had particularly cleared that spot before pulling out. The truck that picked the remaining troops up was small and traveling by itself with no dismounted escort so obviously there were not that many troops remaining in town when they lit out of there. We did not venture far tracking where it went, we just knew it went somewhere into East Germany as one would clearly expect.
From there we decided to go have a sneaky peek at several other likely border crossing points and look for signs of recent Soviet activity. This is not as easy as you would think since Oklahoma is mostly made of dust, flaming grass and rocks. None the less, with a little effort, we managed to track down some choke points that were damp and loamy enough to leave tracks and after a little skittering about happened upon what looked like actionable intel.
The above pic shows a section of the border we had code named "Dave". While not a likely avenue of approach, the road marked 25 on the map here did travel directly into NATO territory from somewhere in the deep dark communist forest and therefore could be used by enterprising vehicle drivers to get units moved up to the border. Several of us had long suspected that this was possible but many felt that the extremely steep and rocky hill leading up from the extremely steep and rocky valley 400 meters or so across the border from here would prevent vehicle traffic. When we arrived on scene, the cook and I again skirted the road forward up towards the hill and in a damp spot encountered a very narrow lug treaded tire track. Initially, we assumed it was from a motorbike but a little further down we encountered another spot that was soft enough to see the track width. It was something small, but definitely a 4x4 vehicle. Looking at the patterns of tracks, it had been moving slowly but had wandered a bit on the roadway often clipping some of the vegetation on the sides of the road in spite of it's small size. No signs of dismounted troops at all. The Ferret driver suggested leaving some squares of toilet paper in a few high traffic spots so we could tell when new tracks arrived then we gathered up all of our notes and slipped off to try to put together all the pieces.
Once safely back in camp, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. Small vehicle, traveling erratically, on a rough minor road... We talked a bit about the other roads in the area and how this one was different (other than the obvious parts like the fact it starts, ends and goes to different locations) and the only thing we could come up with out of all of this is that this particular road was one of the few that traveled in an area almost completely bereft of light pollution. Most other roads had some silly ass farmer dusk to dawn light off in the distance flickering at you when you drive on them. Most of the NATO guys drive with Gen 2 night vision so this does not prove to be much of a hassle to them but as far as we knew, most of the Warsaw Pact driver night vision was either Gen 0 (Active IR) or Gen 1. Perhaps the Warsaw Pact was using this route at night to bring in recon teams? From a security standpoint it made very good sense. It would not be considered a likely avenue of approach, it traveled straight where they would want to go, there was little light pollution to interfere with driving, it was mostly in a valley so they could use active IR drive lights and not really be broadcasting to the entire world, and most important of all, the entire approach run to the border was screened so NATO troops directly watching the border would not see them coming from miles away.
We provided our findings to the operations officer and he asked me to provide a portion of the situation brief for the OPORD he would be issuing to US first squad who drew the short straw and got selected to go out on ambush that night to see if our hunch was good.
Some 8 hours later, 1st squad moved up to Point Dave to deploy. 3rd squad screened the route ahead so 1st got to travel in the relative comfort of a deuce arriving just before last light. 1st squad moved down the path to the ambush site selected about 2/3rds of the way up the hill and began setting claymores and trip flares. They had heard the briefing but were quite sure it was bullshit since nobody in their right mind would drive up that road in the daylight much less at night on nods but in true soldier form they set up as ordered.
Let me take a moment from the story here to talk about ambushes. For those of you who have never sat in one, it is hard to explain how pointless and dull they are. 90% of ambushes net nothing and even the ones that do generally do not net you anything real quickly. The ambush site is always too rocky, too muddy, too ant infested or something unpleasant. The weather is almost always balls cold and it's generally at least threatening to rain on you. In short, everyone hates ambushes. In normal airsoft, ambushes are great fun since you know that the way the event is scripted or due to the simple mass of people involved someone will most certainly bumble along any old minute now and you'll be having a jolly old time riddling them with bullets but as we have already mentioned, East Wind is not that way so here sat a tired and dejected 1st squad... The day before had seen them chased out of town by a Warpac attack, the night before their raid had been a disaster and now here they are guarding what might as well have been a cliff as far as they were concerned because some pencil neck things trucks can drive here at night...
Camoed up, they crouched in their shell scrapes taking turns watching the road and dozing off. Of course the next great thing about ambushes is that nothing ever happens till it happens and when IT happens, a whole lot of IT happens all at once. As it happened this time around, nothing went on for hours on end till one guy had to go pee. He quietly got up and wandered off a bit at the same time, an armadillo came trundling on down the road in typical oblivious armadillo form threatening to set off all the trip wires while at exactly the same time the rumbling drone of a truck engine descending the opposite end of the valley hit everyone's ears.
Pants buttoned back up, dive back into the spot, sticks tossed at the armadillo finally ran it off without it setting off the trip wires. Waiting... Waiting... Intel guy said no signs of dismounted troops but everyone is straining in their NVGs looking for them anyhow. The truck groans as it begins it's ascent up the hill, the blacked out headlights play over the kill zone, it drones on... Blam! Blam! two claymores strike the truck followed by a fusilade of rifle fire and 1st squad tastes it's first success at East Wind 4.
As I said, 90% of ambushes net nothing... The other 10% however generally do and when they do, they are typically a pretty good score. In this case, a nice tasty Soviet troop truck loaded with 2 full sections of troops. In another typical yet ironic twist of fate, the truck was supposed to have stopped and dismounted it's load of infantry at the bottom of the hill but the driver was feeling nice and thought he'd drop everyone at the top of the hill to save them some effort. Had that happened, 1st Squad would have had quite a different fight on their hands.