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Author Topic: WARPAC Commander's AAR EW7  (Read 15774 times)
Stagg
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« on: March 25, 2014, 08:20:58 am »

This will be a multiple part posting process.  Feel free to chime in at anytime.  Feedback, error correction, or just humorous stories are always appreciated.

Following the AAR Format.  I will start with our Plan for this year.
The overall scheme for WARPAC this year was high Operations Tempo.  

In order to accomplish this we needed soldiers on the field doing the missions as event unfolded.  I knew that we would be hurting for numbers, and I knew we had a lot of new players.
I intended to send sections on missions based on company needs.  If the members of that section were unqualified to accomplish the mission then it might fail, but that that would not stop me from sending them.

We wanted to start missions immediately on Saturday.  
To facilitate this I planned to setup the entire WARPAC camp weeks out.  Having 2 months of paid vacation before EW should have been very productive, and relaxing.

With the camp setup before people arrived, we would start missions and training immediately.  I knew we needed it especially for drivers.  So we planned to get new drivers several hours in the hot-seat with either me or Brett. That way turning them loose on the field would not be dangerous to trucks or occupants.
 
Planning for each of our three groups this year was worked out on the phone with the leader of each group.

-Grenzers were recon assets.  I planned long before the event, that they would be used constantly, and hence be spent physically.  They were not going to be a combat effective force without restructuring our force.  The restructuring was going to be put off for as long as possible, provided the intel kept flowing in.

-MotShutzen were planned to be a large strike force.  Divided in half for smaller missions.  They were intended to move about the battlefield, down routes secured by other units, and respond rapidly to events as they unfolded.
Their secondary planned duty was route clearing.  Moving down a road/path, so that other units could pass and perform second Echelon missions.

Soviet Recon troops were planned for long term missions.  I wanted them to see and report NATO patrol patterns, and I wanted them to do it early.
In the first days I intended for them to plan, train, and prepare for at least one 24hr mission deep into the enemy rear.

Staff work was planned to operate without my direct/constant guidance.
-Cardz was operations, and would plan missions.
-Cullen was intell, and would build a picture of what was going on.
-Coop was Commo, and would do radio stuff so we could all talk effectively
-Tascabe, was supply and would ensure we had enough toys, electricity, food, and water to keep going.
-I planned to come up with different ways to killing NATO so that they would have to think about what we were doing.  I planned to catch NATO off guard, IF they assumed our methods/time hacks were the same as previous years of EW.
 
Here ends the plan made before EW started.

Before I go on.  I would like to know how much of this got to your level.

Many factors wrecked this plan early.  That is not what I am asking.  I need to know. 
"Did you know and understand the plan."

I spend hours on the phone, passing the plan down to my section leaders.
-Section leaders did you understand the plan as I have written it (did it miss something as I type?)
-Soldiers did your section leaders convey this plan to you?  At least the part regarding your group?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 08:26:54 am by Stagg » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 11:25:32 am »

I understood the plan as you described it. It was helpful to get information (orders) before the event so personal plans could be made accordingly. I even asked around a bit to see how others felt about the plan so we could share any thoughts or concerns. It seemed like everyone was down for it and had an optimistic tone about it, as well.


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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 12:05:12 pm »

The plan made perfect sense, and as anticipated, no plan survives contact, intact.  Knowing this, and your expectations beforehand, allowed us to adapt and overcome.

Quote
-Coop was Commo, and would do radio stuff so we could all talk effectively

I certainly did, and even moreso as the week went on, our comms got even more solid, and that got gears grinding for improvements next year.

Some of my taskings before the event this year were to:

- Determine our operating frequencies, knowing both types of radios and their frequency ranges.
- Come up with a brand new SOI that isn't SOI at all.
- Draft Combat Orders for all WARPAC troops, using official verbage, to indicate our upcoming deployment to, and mutual work within East Germany, and use this as a medium to get everyone to sign the waiver and acknowledge the rules.

Keeps on pre-event commo taskings:

- CP Sheets.  Lighter weight than SOI, and promoted a standard set of "nicknames" so that WARPAC forces from different nations would understand and acknowledge what each other was talking about, even if these sections had not seen each other prior to mission jump offs.  These allowed us to keep with the spirit of "Real Russians don't use SOI... just in the clear nicknames for everything" and "that doesn't make any fucking sense whatsoever... how does squad 2 know where squad 1's 'piss tree' is?"  *cricket cricket*

Improvements on pre-event commo taskings:

- I could have certainly picked more frequencies.  I did not realize that every time we changed CP, we would also change freqs, but that's just smart and I should have known to have a Primary and Alt established and even pre-printed in the available spots on the CP sheet.  This would automate the frequency change, save us from having to make a guess in the field about the next frequency, and we could even take advantage of both established frequencies just by encoding a word to temp switch to alt for clarification, etc.

- Speaking of CP, would have preferred a single sit down session, say, Saturday after lunch, with all RTO's, and done one single commo crash course, equipment familiarity training, and CP usage brief, instead of the 4 or 5 I ended up doing over the course of the first weekend, as each section spooled up and went out on their missions.  What we did worked, but was by no means smooth.  Re-reading this, this is more for the mid-event portion of the AAR.

- CP Sheet 1, Number Encryption featured a duplicate letter... really screwed us on some grid coords, to the point where I ended up transmitting in the clear, the number 2, after it, hoping that forward deployed units knew I meant the second one, not the first.  It was, to my knowledge, the only error in the entire stack of CP sheets, and fortunately was cycled out due to suspected compromisation early.  Either way, more checking and reviewing required.  I probably missed it because I had made 10 of them, and all the words started blurring together.

- Town names were the old ones.  I had printed 70 CP cards, 7 of each of the 10 sets.  The next day or so the new maps were released.  I was not re-printing them on my personal inkjet printer, lol.  Town Names and a few common roads will be updated on Revision 2.

- Teach people Authenticate.  I tried it several times, and mostly got no response, despite there being a cheat sheet on how to authenticate right on the CP sheet.  Even got Stagg using yesterday's callsigns and I made every effort to force authentication.  Also, the authentication pre-determined shift needs to be written in on the card before all sections depart camp, so everyone knows.  This is more of a mid/after event entry, or at least should have worked it into our plans for things we needed to do on Saturday.

- Lastly, and probably an after the fact thing, and not a pre-event thing.  In the last year or two, we broke WARPAC members of calling it the TOC (a very American/NATO name).  We call it the Shtab, a very Russian name.  Finding the German Equivalent would be acceptable.  "HQ" was also used and acceptable.  The same will happen for CP/SOI.  This year was the transition year.  Next year, it shall be CP, which if you havn't caught on by now, stands for Communications Protocol.  I picked it because it is distinctly different from SOI, but for all intensive purposes, works the same.  Just like many things between the WARPAC and NATO nations, the end goal is typically the same, but if we can each take the most circular and confusing route that is different from each other to get there, then mission accomplished! Wink

As a semi related note, damn appreciative of having the shitters on site, and promptly cleaned once we had water in camp.  With a chronic illness and a dependence on them, this small creature comfort made the week very bearable.  Perhaps though, over the course of the next year, I should see how quickly I can dig a cat hole, or make plans to do that the second I make it to where I'm going, if I'm going to be stationary, since doing so when I need to go is practically impossible.  We will get me back in the saddle for proper 24-36 hour patrols... even if it's running a relay site again.  It felt good to "stretch my legs" as it were, in the cramped passenger seat of a GAZ, or laying prone under the beating mid-day sun.  In fact, I may splurge on a few extra Plash's, Camo Netting, poles, ropes, stakes, a mallet, and put together a crate for a forward relay station that we can just kick out the back of a vehicle, along with me, and our apparently most reliable 159 in inventory, so I can keep our signal strong!  I may have to pull an Abica and change out my collar pins to Signals!

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OP: EW-VI - Sr. Lt. - CO
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OP: EW-VIII - Capt. - Dacha in Urals
OP: EW-VIIII - Maj. - Desk in Moscow
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 12:51:27 pm »

- Lastly, and probably an after the fact thing, and not a pre-event thing.  In the last year or two, we broke WARPAC members of calling it the TOC (a very American/NATO name).  We call it the Shtab, a very Russian name.  Finding the German Equivalent would be acceptable.  "HQ" was also used and acceptable. 
"Stab" (pronounced Shtab) is a German term for staff and has been in use to mean the headquarters since before the great war (It's even in my 1944 dated english-german military dictionary). Shtab as we've been using it it a Russian loanword from that usage.

That bit aside, The plan was disseminated to me in it's entirety and I understood it before the event.
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 01:09:03 pm »



Did not know (obviously)!  Thanks!

I actually thought of a few more improves on my end:

- Stop forgetting that the Grenztruppen aren't multiple 2 man teams... only had 1 provision for Grenztruppen on the CP sheet.  We improvised callsigns using CALLSIGN-X-Y, with Y being an addon for each team.

- Since the CP Sheets are a classified controlled item, I was instructed to print out exactly 1 per section, plus 1 for HQ, but I noticed between each Grenztruppen patrol, and a need for one in the commo shack or map table, a few additional ones should be accounted for:

1 per section
1 per Grenztruppen team
1 for HQ Officers listening to traffic.
1 for Commo Shelter
(Optional) 1 for the Radio Relay.  At times, it benefited me not having one, as if I were captured, all you would have are pages and pages of random words, since I was blindly relaying from one section to HQ and back.  When we established a forward HQ, I needed one, since I was taking Stagg's orders, coding it, and sending it wherever it needed to go.

So, will keep these in mind for future CP needs at East Wind - The Ocho.

- Phone wire.  We need more of it, or we need to do better at recovering it all (or as much as possible) at the end of the event.  I had found those 5 spools of 2 pair on my local GL, and while the price did exceed the "ballpark guestimate of good price", plus 10% buyers fee, we obviously needed it when NATO came to borrow cable, and we hardly made any of the runs we wanted to, including a run out to Pegasus Bridge that was ran about 75% of the way and never finished.

An observation:  Swedish Crimp Tool - The Bee's Knees.  I only fucked up 1 crimp out of the 24 total I fired off... and while 24 sounds like a ton of crimps, consider it was evenly split across 4 wires... which does exceed established norms (in both US and Russian Armies) for the permissible number of crimps in a single run... however, we had crystal clear voice to Admin, and we received clearly every fax, and had no reports of issues (minus that one colored sheet of paper) of faxes sent higher... so if cabling will be an issue in the future, we may then have to forego the "ratty cables should be disposed of" SOP, if the line is tested as good.  At the end of the event, I traded my personally purchased crimp tool back to Tascabe for the one hanging from my hip for damn near half the event, because I put some serious miles on it, and we've grown attached.
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OP: EW-V - Jr. Lt. - XO
OP: EW-VI - Sr. Lt. - CO
OP: EW-VII - Sr. Lt. - HQ RTO
OP: EW-VIII - Capt. - Dacha in Urals
OP: EW-VIIII - Maj. - Desk in Moscow
OP: EW-VIIIII - Lt. Col. - CO Space Forces
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 04:41:51 pm »

All plans understood
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 09:35:36 pm »

To answer Stagg's question, yes I feel (at least personally) that our mission orders were very clear and understandable. I wasn't actually formally briefed more than once during the event, but each mission, I had a good grasp of the objective, and our orders.

A few random nitpicks...

Occasionally words on the SOI sheet turned out to be identical to words from the phonetic alphabet (eg Echo & Uniform both being code words). There was also no code word for Pegasus/Remagen.

The border was abbreviated on the Western German side 'FRG' (Federal Republic of Germany), the English abbreviation, but was 'DDR' (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), the German abbreviation on the East German side. Consistency would be nice, either DDR/BRD, or FRG/GDR.

The NATO version of the map was released as a PDF several weeks before the event. I believe one US squad even printed up a big map for their tent, which must have made squad briefings easier. I don't remember ever seeing a WARPAC public version.

I think it would nice to see both Russian and German nameplates on the Kantine and Штаб/Stab.
Stab is, as Chef said, a very German term. I especially like it because it is the same in both of our official languages.

Finally, something that I feel is/was needed- we had a decent daytime visual recognition system in place, but there was never any talk about a 'code word' for accidental friendly contact during a night mission. I myself engaged in a skirmish with friendly forces, though we fortunately both broke contact without any injuries. I'd like to see a daily call-and-response code word set, which would easily allow our guys to determine if they are shooting friendlies.

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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 09:48:13 pm »

@vrakos http://operationeastwind.com/maps/EventFields/DDAP-WARPAC-18x25.5.pdf
i remember seeing it a week or two before the event.  
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 04:47:26 am »

Yep

http://www.operationeastwind.com/forum/index.php?topic=3939.0

WARPAC map up one day after NATO....

So plenty of time to print them up if you wanted - or just look them over at least
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 11:41:08 am »


I intended to send sections on missions based on company needs.  If the members of that section were unqualified to accomplish the mission then it might fail, but that that would not stop me from sending them.

I think that this is a very important concept at East Wind and I am glad that it is something that Stagg thought about.  I think that leaders can fall into the "win at all cost" mentality and then start to favor one squad above others in the field.  

I am sure that in a real military situation one would want only supersquads full of perfect soldiers that decimate, but at East Wind it is not about winning.
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2014, 11:59:12 am »


I intended to send sections on missions based on company needs.  If the members of that section were unqualified to accomplish the mission then it might fail, but that that would not stop me from sending them.

I think that this is a very important concept at East Wind and I am glad that it is something that Stagg thought about.  I think that leaders can fall into the "win at all cost" mentality and then start to favor one squad above others in the field.  

I am sure that in a real military situation one would want only supersquads full of perfect soldiers that decimate, but at East Wind it is not about winning.

I like this idea as Dan put it. I found NATO was fairly competent with all squads. I think regardless all squads need to build the skills needed and sometimes being out of the comfort zone is what will do it.
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2014, 12:56:23 pm »

While it's important to give squads missions that challenge them with a rotational assignment system in place we sometime end up giving milk runs to squads that would like more challenge and impossible missions to green troops.  I'm pretty sure that's what EW is all about, getting folks doing stuff they never thought they would or could do.
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2014, 04:06:15 pm »

Exactly.
Operations are the cornerstone of what we do.  Without operations at all there would be no point to EW.  It would just be an exclusive reenactor event.

Without the detailed equipment, and our attempt at correct tactics.  Then the operations would be come a "Blue on Blue" battle.  Where everyone uses the same battle drills, and commands Roll Eyes

Eastwind is not for everyone... especially those who think they are ready AND stop learning/improving.  I have been doing EW for years now, and have not stopped learning (mostly because I never stop forgetting Tongue the details)


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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2014, 04:39:28 pm »

OK, now back to the Commander's AAR.
I have laid out the plan as it existed before EW.  We have gotten feedback from the people who were supposed DO the planned tasks.  Those people knew their job.

Now lets talk about what actually happened.  Any difference from the plan will be identified, and if possible a reason for the difference will be Identified.
Being "better" than the plan, is just as important as not accomplishing the plan.  Because any difference means the plan needs work!

In a nut shell: Performance on the ground varied wildly from the plan.

For starters the camp was not established until the weekend of EW.  In turn this pushed our missions back by several days, and burned a lot of midnight oil out of Tascabe and Stagg (not to mention everyone else doing the labor).  So driver's training did not happen.  Some training was accomplished, at a rate that only allowed a few people to learn how to shift the transmission.  Not enough experience or maintenance was a massed to allow high operations tempo with the trucks.

Weather set us back several hours the first weekend as well.
Coupled with electricity not being a quick job, meant that the Shtab tent had to operate on batteries, and was not fully capable for several days afterward, simple because its personnel were still catching up.

Net result was a 1-2 day delay from the planned start of operations.  Note, in previous years this was how we actually setup camp.  So we can made it work, but there was no serious improvement from last year.

Our Staff work got off to a terrible start when the intel guy got delayed (until Tues/Wed) this left we trying to cover that position while working on the camp, and training technical tasks.  Lets work through each job.

-Operations.  This year Card got tasked with operations.  my expectations were for him to work with the intel guy, to create missions for the sections.  I would provide guidance but not get involved in the gritty details.   
Instead I picked up the slack from the open Intelligence Officer spot, and as a result got pulled directly into working on the Company Mission Orders.   A second part of the performance was due to Cardz lack of experience doing this job.  He stuck to his job, though, and kept working.  I used him heavily, and he always came back for more.

Intel.  Turns out that I am decent at the job.  More importantly, while I was sitting there pondering the imponderable details of Enemy movements, I was NOT doing the Commander's job!
However hunterM16A2 is MUCH MUCH MUCH better at it than me and likes doing it.  Cullen showed up, and worked at it with Hunter, but his heart wasn't in it.    He was sent to the field, as part of our reorganization midweek.
It was a good switch, because hunter was hurting, and could no longer lead his Mot Shutzen troops.  Cullen filled that position to good effect.

Communcations, is always a hard position to fill, because it requires somebody to actually KNOW the freaking radios, and equally important KNOW radio theory.
Coop got to the commo class this year, and thank God for it.  I tasked him with radio security; wire runs; antennas; and a commo plan.  All to be done before EW even started.
Once on the ground he was to install it all and get it working.
Excellent performance!  Our communications had some issues early, and over time they were worked out. Considering Coop is new on the job, and had a lot of practical application details to learn, I feel he did an outstanding job.  We can go into more details in another place, as communications are a constant learning curve.

Supply.  Brett is as usual stuck with supply.  Some day he will find is own "Trucker" to take over the job. Until that day comes, he continues to bring his huge amounts of equipment to the field, and then run around trying to find it all at once as 17 people ask for things simultaneously.
Performance wise, the storage shelter helped out immensely.  The boxes outside were a good system, but were under utilized.  And the mostly secure storage yard was continuously pilliaged by people who just walked in and grabbed what they needed.  This year it was not a problem, because people put things back in place!  Having extra storage capacity really helped, because everything was not stored in one huge pile, inside the supply tent.
Again, we can discuss this more later.  Suffice it say the performance for supply this year was solid, and should be sustained with minor alterations. 

The Commander was an asshole!  He kept making me get up between 0200 and 0300 all the time. 


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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2014, 04:52:48 pm »

GRENZTRUPPEN:  (Border Guard Troops)

The grenzers operated as two man teams, in a continuous operation that kept at least one 2-man team out 24 hours a day.
Their patrolling methods were often crude. Their boldness was always obvious.  And they never told me they could not do a mission.
If there is a standard for EB-operations at EastWind they blew it out of the water, and set a new one!

The information they brought back built a picture of enemy movement for me and my Staff.  Often times their radios did not work which made the information old. Not useless, but definitely needs to be better next year.
Runners were often the only way to get the info back to camp, and run they did.
As the commander I was going to combine the Grenzers into sections and use them as light infantry if a war started.  However the information they were bringing back was so useful I kept them at it, and wished I could have twice the number of teams.

Grenztruppen are a sustain on several levels.  Their issues were radio, and small size.  Without radio cards I could only put so many units in the field at once.  With only two people GT could not do anything on the battlefield other than observe.  If a response section is not available quickly than the enemy moved unimpeded.  In the future larger GrenzenTruppen teams must be used, if a shooting war starts.
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The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some cool ideas!

Always carry two trauma kits.
One to induce trauma, and one to reduce trauma.
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