It's been a long time since the last update but you'd be mistaken to think it's all quiet at VCB. Since Christmas we've been on six worldwide campaigns, made significant recruitment and training progress and carried out several optimisation tweaks to the way we run things. Put simply, thanks to the years of hard work from everyone involved in VCB and ArmA2 we're enjoying a period of smooth sailing and consistently great milsim gaming. The Platoon has been running at full strength for several months and we've had to be much more selective about who we recruit as our focus as ever remains on quality rather than quantity.
Highlights from our recent campaigns around the Armaverse include returning to 3 (Morton) Platoon's hometown on the island of Everon to fight rogue elements of the Russian military, including a desperate last stand in The Red Lion pub. Demonstrating the operational versatility of the platoon, we have conducted ops involving airborne assets, setting out in Merlins at approximately zero dark thirty, fought through some intense close quarters action in Reshmaan, carried out hit and run raids in the desert and conducted peace keeping and humanitarian aid operations in Faysh Khabur. In the spring we deployed on Operation SHARPENED MANGO, tasked on a special mission to hunt down missing SCUD missile launchers.
Meanwhile news was coming in of a major escalation on Panthera and it was no great surprised when the Platoon was recalled to deploy on Operation BALLENTINE. In a departure from the traditional approach, this campaign employed elements of Multi Session Operations, Headless Client and an external Company Commander to plan and deliver a fully dynamic and persistent campaign covering a six week period.
Given the recent surge in recruitment and the improving overall standards within 3 Platoon, we have re-rolled our dedicated Manoeuvre Support unit back into a regular rifle section ad stood up a Platoon Sergeant's group. This gives us greater flexibility across the platoon and helps maintain the momentum of our missions so there's less stop-start between objectives. This also opened up a new JNCO position for 3 Section 2IC, for which we ran a Potential JNCO cadre over a period of two weeks to down select potential candidates. Competition was fierce and very close, but congratulations go to L/Cpl Hunter for passing the JNCO Cadre with flying colours and taking one of the coveted and very rare leadership positions in VCB.
The training programme has been reviewed to provide better capability, more often. Driven forward by our resident Royal Marine, we now have a more student intensive Phase 1 Training course for all riflemen to go through and a streamlined pre-operation basic training course so people can get in on the action quickly after joining. We're still evaluating feedback on the system but it appears to be generally well received.
New Game, New Website
We're as excited as everyone about the forthcoming sequel in our favourite franchise. Our transition plans have been outlined by our Platoon Commander, giving everyone plenty of clarity on the who, what, why and how we'll be moving to ArmA 3. It won't be until after release of the full game but we're planning for the future already so expect to hear more about those changes in due course. Given our current activity and recruitment levels are so high, we've also put the finishing touches on a new website design for VOLCBAT.com. Encompassing useful tools such as the teamspeak viewer and picture/video galleries, we've also added more frontpage content and useful information for those looking to find out more about VCB.
If you're interested in milsim in ArmA2 without the risk of being awarded a fake medal or having to shout "Sir, yes Sir!" to someone who's never even held a rifle, take a look at our information pack for further details on how to apply to the Volunteer Commando Battalion.
Early Days In VCB
Phase 1 Training
I joined VCB in early December 2012. Having played ARMA 2 for about 8 months I was searching out an online squad where others were playing this game to its full potential whilst enjoying a relatively relaxed and fun time.
The application process was straight forward and after a short wait I was accepted. A Senior Rifleman (SR) was assigned to look after me for the first few Ops. These guys are experienced members who mentor the the new recruits, help set up the game to the requirements of VCB and shadow them for their first few missions. They also act as trouble shooters for any tactical and technical questions on how VCB operates. Being new to both ACE and ACRE, this was very useful for me and a good few hours were spent on the awesome training grounds designed by our Platoon Sergeant, going through the details of the equipment we use and the basics of what I needed to do on ops. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
Before every mission there is an hour of Pre-Op training, which all new recruits are expected to attend. The SR's took me through what was expected of a rifleman, patrol formations, how to call a sighting or contact report, and basic section battle drills. It was a bit daunting at first but I soon picked it up with help from patient and professional instructors.
In between every major campaign the platoon runs a collective training evening in preparation for the next deployment. This is particularly important to attend as it is where we learn all the tactics and procedures designed to keep us alive and work together as a platoon. One of the key factors with VCB is that we have several members that are currently serving or ex-serving British Armed Forces. This has given us the expert training that really brings milsim to life. We are not simply copying moves out of a Hollywood action film but are putting in to practice tried and tested methods of current military doctrine. This includes AUC (Advanced Urban Combat), OBUA (Operations In Built Up Areas) as well as reconnaissance patrols, fighting patrols and ambushes, to name a few.
Several of our members create the campaigns, which normally span over 3 to 5 evenings and last from 2.5 to 3 hours. The immersion is great, with good background stories and several key objectives along the way. There is always info to read in the forum giving you a military style brief and breakdown of the mission ahead. As always our experienced forces and ex forces advisers are on hand to help out with the planning, which helps provide us some really good, in depth and realistic missions.
My First Mission
My first Op, as to be expected with any new recruit, seemed like confusion and chaos! After a short ride in the back of a Chinook to a hot LZ, we were out the back and in all round defence, rounds pinging off everywhere. The radio was crackling in my ear with orders, arcs and fire control orders being issued in rapid succession. We managed to suppress the enemy in a nearby tree line and made a few bounds forward to close and win the fire fight. I found in game situational awareness quite difficult when I first joined but this soon passes and my SR was always there to offer help. After dealing with the initial contact, we patrolled through forests and open ground to the main town, cleared out a few strong points and called in our Chinook for an immediate ex-fil back to base for tea and medals! I managed not to get hit and dropped an enemy or two along the way. It was exciting and nerve racking but most importantly really good fun!
There's loads of videos on youtube showing off what we do or check out the Joining tab at the top if you want to know more.
Op Avarice Denied
FOB Toto GR 060117
AL WAHABI AIRBASE
OP AVARICE DENIED
Mana Island is a small cresent shaped tropical coral island some 250km off the coast of Molatia. INT indicates that the 1st Airborne Division have been replaced by two platoons of regular PRM Army units supplemented by up to four mobile ZSU AAA guns. En forces have consolidated their defence around the Airstrip and South Beach resort.
3 Cdo Task Force Comd's Intent is to seize off-shore oil installations and conduct raids to destroy en AA threat and reduce en fighting power before conducting a full scale invasion the island.
3 (Morton) Platoon's part in the plan is to conduct a night time raid to eliminate four AAA sites and and weaken en moral by denying high value command, control, communications and logistics targets in order to weaken the en hold on the island prior to the invasion.
Scotia has put together a short video showcasing some of what VCB get up to.