Pictures speak a thousand words so here are a few photos from past East Wind events to give you guys an idea what we do out at East Wind. *
UK Infantry moves out with a FV-701 Ferret armored car on patrol. *One US squad holds a key intersection they will be passing through, another US squad has their right of line once they begin moving towards contact, a US M114 armored scout will accompany the Ferret as they screen ahead, while a West German unit stands ready to react if they hit contact they cannot handle. * Missions are in depth, planned well, and long duration. *
A West German Jager light infantryman prepares to step off at an East Wind training event. * He's carrying not only his ruck with the gear to sustain him for the next 24 hours at this winter event but also a SEM-52a radio (slung across his chest) and a Zeiss Orion 80-1 night vision unit (slung below the radio). *
Soviet motor recon troops make use of their BTR-40 to scan NATO rear areas on an offensive recon patrol. *The area they are overlooking is a 210 acre valley that is the primary infiltration route for NATO troops heading towards the border. * Figuring out the routes being used is the first step in being able to take action to disrupt NATO activities in the border region. * *
An NVA (National Volks Army) patrol moves out on a snowy muddy morning during East Wind 3. *This was just the start for the days weather, by the end of the day there was an additional 4 inches of the white stuff on the ground. * They are cold, they are muddy, they are tired, but they are prepared. *We stay tactical 24/7 regardless of weather. *When you look at our PCI lists and wonder why we require so many things, this picture shows why... *
A US squad leader on duty in the TOC managing incoming radio traffic using period correct US comms gear. *He has his notepad out and is copying traffic as it comes in. *Once the message is copied, he'll decrypt it using the SOI cards hanging in front of him then either reply or take action as needed. *
takes you to a vid of Soviet troops using their R-159 radio to call their allies the East Germans after a successful assault to take a town. *Notice how the guy has a hard time with the map? *That's because the maps are not garden variety generic maps, they are exact replicas of the proper Soviet pattern maps and are different than the US maps he worked with in his US Army service. *
Soviet and East German troops load up in a pair of UAZ-469 utility vehicles for trip forward. *These little trucks are the workhorses of the Warsaw Pact motor pool delivering troops and supplies 24/7 regardless of weather.
A Canadian Forces soldier carefully removes a PNM-2 mine (Made from a Madbull Powdershot mine) from a section of the border. *The night before, his unit discovered this Warsaw Pact minefield the hard way, now they are back to get these things cleared out so that nobody else has to learn the same lesson. * *You can see that he has carefully cleared out around the mine and probed under it to try to mitigate the risk of anti-handling devices. *This is nerve racking work. *
A US Squad Leader, exhausted from an all night patrol contemplates the fact he has to push on to assault a key town towards the end of East Wind 5. *6 hours later, he was one of the last troops to die of radiation poisoning, having clung hard to his little toe hold. *Here are vids of both Warpac
troops expiring from radiation:
A small section of Soviet HQ troops man a radio retranmit station which provides a critical link between troops operating in a distant valley and the HQ. *Not every mission is door kicking exciting, some of them are routine, all are important and none are being done without a reason. *There's no collecting rubber chickens, no patrolling down a set route so the enemy can ambush you, no scripted battles. * If you are sent to do something it is because it is important. *These troops know this mission is important, that is why they are here doing it. *The last thing they want right now is "trigger time" but if it comes you can bet that they will fight very hard to keep this station on the air. *
A Soviet patrol prepares to move out on a night recon mission. * East Wind runs 24 hours a day.
A Soviet soldier looks out into the failing light of the day from the ruined building his section holds. *He fought hard for the town he's in right now and he's got a long night ahead of him making sure he keeps it. * He know's NATO will come tonight, he know's there will be blood sweat and tears before the night is through, it's just a matter of when. * When the next dawn broke over an even more battle scarred town this soldier was one of a pitiful few live Soviet troops that pulled out of town. *They had held the line.
A Soviet Soldier during the last battle of East Wind 5 races along the edge of a burning forest to get himself into an assault position for the final push. * The final battle was set in the closing stages of a large scale nuclear exchange so we worked with the local volunteer fire department to do a controlled burn of the site the same day. * The effect was staggering. *
A US Army soldier at a OP prior to the beginning of hostilities takes notes on the activities of the East German border guards posted on the opposite side of the border from him. *Do they have any routines? *How often are they fed? *Do they have a supply cache nearby? *Are they avoiding any particular areas on their side of the border? * What are they using to communicate with higher? * Do they appear to be well organised? *How does their morale look? * Less than 24 hours later anyone who did not know why this sort of thing matters probably wasn't alive to know it. *
East German Grenstruppen, growing progressively more bold and provocative walk literally right up to the border and examine NATO positions with binoculars. *A Canadian Forces trooper moves up opposite of them just outside the concertina wire on the NATO side of the border zone matching them move for move. *The rest of his section is positioned, watching and waiting. *As the afternoon wore on, tensions continued to rise until a NATO officer who had grown a little too accustomed to walking up to the border and yelling at the East Germans took a 7.62 round to the chest. *Moments later, the two border guards seen here were riddled with 5.56 and the Soviet troops who were driving up to the border in their APC to show the flag suddenly had an entirely different mission. *
A US soldier takes a moment to brush his teeth after a mission. * You're out there for 9 days... *That means eating, sleeping, pooping, washing and shaving in a combat environment. *
Canadian Forces patrol members on a night patrol. *The far trooper has a correct Canadian Forces issued PVS-502 mounted to his C7A1 rifle, while the trooper in the foreground just has the Elcan daylight optic on his. * 50% of East Wind happens at night so you soon grow used to trying to pick out what the blurry images in your night vision are.
Warpac Camp at East Wind I. *A lot has changed in the time since we began working on East Wind now nearly a decade ago. *The sport of airsoft has a broader base but in many ways lacks the same focus it used to have in years long past. *On top of all of that, none of us are the spring chickens we were a decade ago so things eventually reach a point where they must change. *We are at that point now. *East Wind 8 will be the last East Wind. * While we have been successful and we have always met goal for both quantity and quality of attendees, we feel that the writing is on the wall and we are better to end this chapter in our lives on a high note rather than continue down a path we do not believe will sustain the quality we expect from this event that to so many of us has been a singular obsession for so much of our lives. * *Things change, people change, memories are forever. *Come on out and join us for one last hurrah. *