You’re in luck QKLee, it happens that Reforger was exactly what I had in mind when I first came up with the idea for East Wind years ago.
Trigger time is a question that comes up a lot.
We do not go for trigger time pretty much at all. We’re generally working on different goals generally more related to shaping the battle space and figuring things out.
We get theater level intel “from higher” but we do not get any info on our own local situation so if the command staff want to have any idea what is happening in the AO, it pretty much comes from recon and actionable intel gathered in the field by participants. That tends to keep everyone pretty busy doing tasks that are a great deal more interesting that shooting wave after wave of just respawned enemy anyhow.
Here’s a story from East Wind 4 that gives a bit of an idea what “lack of trigger time” is all about:
Night raid on Colleville from the perspective of a single US private:
13:00 hours. With unit sitting on border in peacetime. High Soviet activity level on opposite side of border. Command does not have effective comms with higher.
13:07 hours. Soviets push across border en masse. Your unit, backed up by British armored infantry are holding the line but just barely.
13:15 hours. Local commander decides to commit his armored scout car to the fight. Knowing that by doing so he's potentially loosing his only effective runner to higher HQ.
13:20 Hours. Ratelo finally gets through to higher. Word is reinforcements are coming.
13:35 hours. Your unit is down to 40% You've lost contact with the Brits but things don't sound so good over there. An RPG just took out the Ferret so you're only wheels are now a burning wreck. Ammo is getting critical.
13:37 hours. You hear the familiar roar of a deuce rolling up behind town. Troops dismount and begin to sweep forward.
13:40 hours. The situation is not advantageous, Reinforcements push up to the Brits and get them then everyone hastily withdraws from town. It was a bad fight but managed to break contact pretty well and at least you're not leaving anyone behind.
14:00. You're back at camp and after grabbing a pile of ammo and making good your reloading, you grab some lunch. All the leaders are in the TOC, something is up.
15:00 Two other squads push off to probe the enemies defenses and look things over. Your squad, who's been up since 0:200 hits the rack for some sleep.
20:00 You get up from bed and grab a quick meal. An Opord is being issued at 22:00 and you are told to prepare for a night raid. You check your rig for jingly things and tape over anything that shines then wait...
22:00 Opord is issued. It will be a full company raid on the town we left earlier today. Recon says that the enemy is set up primarily in two main buildings. Estimated 2 full sections of Soviet troops, no vehicles present. One squad's got near security to make sure the doors open to get back out, the Brits have got far security to make sure that no help gets to the towns garrison once we hit. Another squad's got the church, your squad gets the larger of the buildings. You'll be going in hard and fast. Zip in, kill some Ruskies, pick up priority intel, grab any important prisoners and zip out. Mission will kick off at 02:00.
23:00 You draw a set of nods, camo up your face and go through your rehersals with your squad. Who's on our left? Who's on our right? What's the recognition signal when we head back out through our near side security? How far can we advance? What buildings are ours and which ones do the other squads have? What's our rally point if things go haywire? Information is pouring at you and you are working hard to digest it all.
24:00 the entire company gathers for a rehearsal. Mini glow sticks show the layout of the town and you run through each step so you understand how it's all supposed to go down. You're squad leader is concerned about the 75 meters of open ground you'll be crossing to get to your building. If the Soviet's are up and lively that's going to be pure murder. The CO hopes that you'll be across that ground before the Soviets can react. You dearly hope so...
01:00 final checks. Nod batteries are good. Mount is straight right? Have you shot with nods before? No? Crap get with Gallion over there and have him walk you through the basics! You double check your mags, double check your gear, double check your everything. Everything is dark dark dark now, the whole unit is lights out right now so eyes can adjust. Tension is really high. The single German blurts out a quote from the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. "Master Blaster rules bordertown" Morale is high.
01:15 3rd squad pushes out to sweep the road ahead and link up with the recon team that's been keeping eyes on the Soviets for the last 6 hours. You are jamming as much coffee down your throat as you can stand. You're beat, you did not get enough rest and you know you've got a hard night ahead.
02:00 everyones on the trucks for the movement forward. Slowly, the trucks grind their way into the blackness, the moon is not yet up and it is seriously dark out.
02:25 the truck slows to a halt at your drop off point. A member of 3rd squad is there to act as your guide to get your squad up to your assault position. The units break up and disappear into the inky blackness. You move forward adjusting yourself to the green glow of the nods and the feeling that every stick that snaps, every stumble, every breath sounds like the loudest rock concert. How are we supposed to sneak up on this place?
02:50 You're guide got you lost and you're coming up on show time but your unit is not to your assault position yet. If they kick off the attack with us not there, we're screwed! There's no way we'll cover that ground!
02:59 You reach assault position with little to no time to spare. Your SL waits for the signal to move out...
03:07 No signal but you hear a volley of fire from another squad and see in your nods as the race forward. SHIT! You know you're screwed now but your squad leader yells "let's go!" and over the berm you go running forward with all your might watching the distance close to your objective. Almost immediately, you find yourself running into an enemy position. Silhouettes move in the blackness, waking and stirring, grabbing weapons, reloading. You fire as you move killing several but knowing that you cannot afford to get bogged down here. A machine gun opens up from the upper floor of the building you're headed for. Rounds zip through the night you hear some of your squad mates go down. Forward... Forward you run, nothing but death here, you've got to get to that building.
03:08 grenades flash in the night (pea grenades) there's a lot of yelling and violence. You make it to the building and race in finding yourself face to face with a room full of guys. You rifle cracks and you clear them out one by one. About the time you've got the last one down you notice the familiar shadow of a PASGT helmet and realize you just wiped out a good portion of the US squad that was supposed to be taking the church across the street. They had heard the fighting over here and had raced over to help disregarding the plan. You're pissed that this happened but the flash and boom of a grenade just outside the door reminds you that you've not got time to focus on that crap now. The machine gun upstairs starts hammering away again. The one guy left that you did not kill screams in your ear that we need to get up there and get that machine gun or we'll never get out of here. You nod and the pair of you round the corner heading towards the stairs. Suddenly, almost in slow motion a grenade arches down the stair well. You grab the lead guys Y harness and pull him hard back towards the door but just end up pivoting him into the doorway where the grenade detonates right in front of him. In a flash he is gone and you are alone.
Alone... There is firing everywhere rounds are impacting the building and zinging through the windows, the machine gun upstairs hammers away again and some unseen target and all you can think of is two words that seemed so foreign to you when the operations officer mentioned them in training just a few days ago. Combat Isolation....
03:10. This is a mess. You're whole squad is gone, you killed the squad that's supposed to be holding the church across the street and you can see that the squad that supposed to be covering your way out is engaged in a fierce firefight with the guys who are upstairs. It's time to get the F out of here while hopefully everyone is looking another direction. You crouch and peek out the door eyeing the woods that long 75 yards away. You take a breath and sprint for all your worth. Running, running, running... The machine gun hammers and you’re just waiting for the rounds to stitch you the back but they don't come. You bust into the wood line and dive over a low berm.
03:15. You catch your breath and peer over the berm across the battlefield. The firing from the near side security team has ceased and you hear Russians yelling back and forth to each other. The woods crunch and pop with movement and you know you are in serious trouble. You slowly begin to make your way south to the rally point.
03:22. You stop suddenly when you hear the familar "Click-pop" of squelch breaking on a PRC-68 radio. You scan and spot a shadow in the darkness. You challenge the shadow and get the correct reply. It's your squads ratelo. He's working his way back as well. He tells you he thinks there's a sizable Soviet force moving through the woods just north of here and you guys need to make tracks.
03:45. Slowly you ease your way into the rally point. Nothing much to see... Creeping forward slowly, looking. Suddenly a quiet voice with a British accent comes out from the darkness. "Over here mate" You close up meet with the supply sgt who hearing the fracas on the radio decided to move a truck up to help evacuate everyone. He sets you off on the perimeter to pull security for a while till we get everyone gathered up.
04:15. Nobody else comes... The supply sgt gathers up all who are present and loads everyone in the truck. The engine cranks and the truck creeps back home.
04:45. You are back. Tired and dejected. You know that raid was a disaster. The Brit guy next to you in the truck referred to it as a "dick dance".
05:15 More units return on foot. Many tell stories just like yours, darkness, violence, confusion. You are exhausted. You meet up with some other members of your squad including your squad leader who finally tells you to go get some sleep.
05:20 you are fast asleep.
The next morning, a recon team clears the town. The Soviets obviously cleared out in a hurry just before dawn, mags are strewn about here and there as well as the odd bits of East German and Soviet equipment.
Once the event is over you learn the whole story of the disastrous raid. Turns out that most of the NATO force got out ok. In fact your friendly fire rampage killed almost as many NATO guys as enemy action. The guys that were just up that stairwell turned out to be the last remaining Soviet troops in the town. All that crunching and scary noises you heard in the woods was just other NATO troops heading back. All the Russian yelling was just the Soviet guys calling out to see if any of their other positions had survived the attack. (they hadn't). The guy upstairs, a combat veteran of the Russian Army who was wounded in Chechnya says of that battle: "McClane and I were ready to fight to the last BB! That was one of the most memorable moments at EW for me."
So... Out of the 16.3 hours tracked here. 40 minutes involved fighting. The rest was spent doing other activities leading up to the fight or supporting the fight. Our protagonist was lucky that he actually even got to catch some z's even. The point here is that East Wind is not a high action event. We don't just Yosemite Sam charge the enemy without a plan, respawn 5 minutes later and do it again. When you head out on mission, there's a lot involved. All of that "lot" requires attention to detail and interest in what's happening. If this is your thing, you are going to LOVE East Wind. If it's not, than you probably are not. It's important to us to make sure that we convey that to people looking at the event since we want the people to attend to have a great experience and a big part of that is making sure that we are up front and honest about what we are providing so that guys can make the decision as to whether East Wind is something that they are going to enjoy.