6th May 2013 • Posted in Joseph Cheung
Copyright © 2013 (All Rights Reserved) Joseph Ho-wing Cheung
5th May 2013 • Posted in Activities
For the second time I join a MilSim event with Red 1 Airsoft under Operation Gravity as part of the Special Forces. Looking back, all I can remember is having fun driving around along with a sense of unease when things go awry.
This MilSim event was based at Bramley Camp in Hampshire. A former World War I ammunition depot, it was then closed and then used as an army training area. For the MilSim event we only used the northern part of the training area.
Being sectioned to the Special Forces (SF) team, I was attached to the SAS section of the team which also formed part of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) should any incidence occur at any time then the QRF would be ordered to support any troubled forces out there.
Having arrived at the site early, it was a case of preparing one’s equipment and loading any large bags and extra weapons into the van which would drop it off at the Patrol Base (PB). However once finally arriving at the PB, a quick entry search revealed there was no enemy hiding and that quite conveniently our kit was already there too.
The vehicle patrols were designed to “dominate the ground”, by having a mobile support vehicle, it meant that we could get to the destination quickly and safely while being less fatigued if we were on foot. The other thing was that it was fun too!
In one operation we just went around the area to demonstrate our presence as well as practising how to fight using a vehicle. This involved exiting the vehicle and each member of the team fanning out around the vehicle pointing outwards. For example the front left passenger would exit the vehicle and with the door of the vehicle behind would at front scanning in front of him looking for contacts.
On one separate occasion during a surprise attack (see below) we used the vehicle to hunt down enemy forces after attacking our base. The vehicle was used to scout the area around the base areas and was if need be used in an offensive position.
With the view that there’s something not right about the enemy in the area, one of the snipers in the Friendly Forces decided that it would be a good idea to give the enemy a surprise wake up call using pyrotechnics.
The attack was simple, walk into the back of the enemy’s Patrol Base and throw some pyrotechnics hoping to get them to come out and confront us; which was within the remit of the special forces to attack at any given opportunity against the enemy.
So with Operations given the go ahead, a force consisting of Special Forces, Recce and Sniper sections marched out towards the Patrol Base via a heavily wooded area which would bring us along side the Patrol Base.
Once at the Patrol Base we see there is a large earth embankment which surrounded the Patrol Base and so some of the Sniper and Special Forces clambered up the side of the steep embankment while the rest were positioned at the bottom waiting guard for any retaliation attack.
It was at this point the Section Leader threw a couple of flash bangs and at this point the enemy were so caught off guard that within the area in which it landed some were taken out and as they did not know where the attack they panicked and threw flash bangs. The sniper returned by throwing more and took out even more and it was at this point we started to move back.
The surprise was that the enemy were so caught off guard and were so surprised they did not think to look behind their own base and it was at this point that as we started to retreat thinking that kicking a hornets nest was a good idea.
Surprise Revenge Attack
The enemies are like hornets, once you’ve kicked it you encourage some form of attack from them and it wasn’t long before they did just that. At the same time me and my SF team were on QRF standby and so when the call went out that there was an attack on the PB we immediately were ordered to hunt down and eliminate the enemy.
As we left the Ops Room we formed up as we were about to go find the enemy, but as we were about to get a short brief we were then actioned immediately as we saw the enemy cross the road right in front of us.
It was at this point that we just basically in the end move forwards trying to get into a better position to see if we can fight back but eventually we had decided that with the enemy moving on we then retreated back to the Ops Room before we then headed back out with the Land Rover.
From the Land Rover we then headed out in the general direction of which we though the enemy were hiding or moving. From here it then became a general patrol making sure that we had mobile force as well as a highly reactive force; a show of force.
We circled the southern area of the region and then returned back to the patrol base to find the patrol base in internal lock down with what could be described as a suicide bomber had basically entered the patrol base and as we had just arrived we heard that they were disarming him.
Operations had decided to set up an ambush on the enemy and during an earlier scout there was a fantastic area in which to set up an ambush.
The plan was simple, a large friendly forces group split into three sections, the lead would be a support gunner along with a support gunner assistant (me), a middle section comprising anyone and everyone as the main fire base and a tail section which consisted mainly of operation leaders who would signal when to ambush.
The large friendly forces group would then head towards a track where on either side there was a large earthed embankment on either side of the track. This is where our ambush would be.
The attack order was simple, once everyone was in position, the enemy was allowed to enter the “killing zone” then one of the leaders would signal a flare to commence the ambush. While the middle section of the fire group concentrated in keeping the enemy in the killing zone, me and a support gunner would then pick off any tail stragglers trying to flee.
As we made our way to the ambush area, we then got into our positions and then we waited, and waited, and waited. We waited so long my support gunner had fallen asleep and was about to start snoring!
From my position, being at the point where the enemy were to be entering the killing zone first, I could just about hear something in the distance, a distinct rustling of leaves then the noise dissipated. As it turned out after a long while, the enemy had decided to turn back and go back to base, so Plan B was initiated…
Plan B was very simple, we would enter the enemy base directly and confront them.
Having split the group into two smaller groups the plan was that Group A would go directly into the base while Group B would serve as a diversionary force.
I was in Group A the main attack force and to get to the enemy base we simply walked directly up the main road then waited outside the enemy base and waited for the signal from Group B to commence the diversionary attack. Then once Group B started lighting up the sky and making as much noise as possible our group then attacked the enemy base within.
As we got to the main entrance we barely got in until we found ourselves surrounded as the enemy were in fact waiting outside who then lit us up! It was at this point that our group were unable to mount an effective defence as we were overwhelmed by the over force of the enemy. We soon surrendered or declared ourselves killed in action (KIA).
The Final Attack
After the disastrous ambush attack failed, we had one last mission to complete. The final attack which was to be conducted in the early hours of the morning.
Phase one of the operation was to recover the Friendly Forces enemy spy/informant. Intelligence suggested that he was detained by the enemy and is held in an annexe building next to the enemy base. The mission was to rescue the informant who was expected to be tied to a chair with his captors.
A four man group which included myself was to be the main entry force with the first three utilising flash bangs and then all four would enter the annexe and clear the room. Meanwhile the rest of the special forces would provide perimeter support.
Before commencing with the mission there was a practice run of storming the annexe building which was in this order: The main force would line up next to the entrance of the building, three members would throw in flash bangs in sequential order, all four members would peel off into two going left and right clearing their own section of the room, then a call for “Room Clear” announced.
The practice was important because “practice makes perfect” and it really did help. However on the actual mission there were some noticeable things that did not go quite to plan…
Getting to the enemy base required the entire special forces group to go through a minefield set up by the friendly forces operations and once past it we then formed up and then started the assault.
With a cover of smoke giving us some protection over the entrance to the annexe building we then formed up next to entrance only to find a very large obstruction in the way in the form of thorny bushes, but as we then attacked the annexe building it then became clear that the informant was moved and so we had to then move to the next phase of the operation.
In Phase Two of the operation, the entire friendly forces group was going to attack the main headquarters of the enemy. The plan is to enter the enemy base via the back entrance, use flash bangs and grenades and then pick off any enemy targets at will.
After Phase One we then moved on to the enemy base from behind moving in a stepped attack formation we then secured and ensured the area we were in was secured. We then mounted a force by the entrance and waited to go in, but the enemy had locked the door tight so we had to resort to a back up plan. Go through the front door.
This led to a problem as the Recce group had already positioned themselves near the entrance and was already heavily engaged, while our group was under heavy sustained fire unable to mount an effective attack.
After a while and after a number of casualties we eventually managed to move forward but were slowly running out of ammunition. Me and a few of the special forces team did manage to get to the front entrance but was unable to mount an effective raid due to the large numbers as well as, rather embarrassing for me, being killed outright after an enemy flash bang was tossed and both me and a friend of mine ran away from it. It was at this point that I tripped over my friend damaging my weapon.
It was at this point after heavy mounting casualties that the mission ended and it was the end of operations too.
In the previous MilSim event I was sectioned to the Recce group but this time was specifically requested to be part of the SAS group and that was rather good because there was a variety of different situations which presented itself as and when it happened.
I’d really like the idea of having to do some training before actual deployment and it was refreshing to get a hands on approach to that, something which is fine reading up but is no substitute to the real thing. The other appreciation for the training is because I have had very little prior military experience; far less than my friend, so it was an opportune moment to get up to date and get more used to it.
The only thing I had a problem was preparation. I actually had most of the items I needed for the MilSim event, but did not prepare adequately when closer to the time. I forgot to bring my radio kit as well as making sure that my new head camera had been adequately prepared for the event. To make matters worse I’d forgotten to take some things which would have made the event more enjoyable, like my radio communications.
The head camera was purchased to help show from my perspective what it’s like doing airsofting, it was also used to help from my perspective what volunteering is like. During the event I actually had everything set up for the camera to work but forgot I had issues with a memory card and so this meant that I was fiddling around and forgetting about the capacity of the card was less than I thought. This meant that I actually had less video to edit.
There was a sour note about the event itself. There were moments that the organisers had planned certain missions that were supposed to happen. The ambush and the final attack were moments that were actually planned which went wrong. I wasn’t bothered because for me it was an event I enjoyed, nothing in reality can be planned to perfection and in reality there will be moments when you will have to change and adjust to the situatioin in hand.
Would I do another MilSim event given that sour taste? Sure, why not, my view is that I am with like-minded people who share a common theme surrounded by people who look and act similar where no one is different and I like that.
The event felt better than the last MilSim event I went to, but I do think that there are a few things I think could do better, for example: Ensuring that you take your radio communication kit with you, having ensured that your video camera is properly set up and taking more photos of the event.
From the event side I think it went as well as it did. I like the idea of doing some training before doing some actual missions with Control and I do like the moments of madness as well as the unexpected which meant things felt even more real.
Having not come from a military background, it was at times a little difficult to keep up with the pace, but once settled in and working together, it did not matter if you lacked something because for me it felt everybody instinctively helped each other out and at the end of each mission there was always some sort of feedback.
I really did enjoy myself. I did feel apprehensive but still felt rather positive and happy, especially with the video that I did manage to record. The better part is learning something new and pushing the personal boundaries to something that is fun and entertaining.
21st April 2013 • Posted in Photography
Copyright © 2013 (All Rights Reserved) Joseph Ho-wing Cheung
18th April 2013 • Posted in Photography
© 2010, All Rights Reserved, Joseph Ho-wing Cheung
16th April 2013 • Posted in Activities
In an earlier blog post I talked about The Computer Project, a project about rebuilding my home computer, something I desperately need and with that comes some challenges. The first and most important thing is to plan things carefully.
Planning can sometimes be the most underrated tasks one has to do, but sometimes it can be enjoyable as long as you have a passion and determination or drive to get things done. This is no different because I’m about to spend more money than I would normally do. For my project there are two things I look at:
- Computer components
These two aspects are vitally important because I can go overboard with the component wishlist and face the headache of having to finance it properly.
To pick the computer components I broke it down into these categories along with the preliminary components chosen:
|Processor||Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz|
|Motherboard||Asus Sabertooth Z77|
|Graphics Card||PNY GeForce GTX 660 2GB PCI-Express 3.0 HDMI|
|RAM||8Gb Kingston HyperX Genesis KHX 1866C11D3P1K2/8G|
|Case||SilverStone Raven RV03|
|Sound Card||Asus Xonar DG|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Solid State Drive (SSD)||OCZ vector 256Gb|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 2Tb ST2000DM001|
|Cooling (Processor)||Thermalright True Spirit 120M|
|Card Reader||3.5" Black Internal Multi Memory Card Reader Inc Front USB 3.0|
To help make the decision as to which components to order, I cheated slightly by using a list of components a magazine had drawn up and used that as a template to building a customised personal computer (PC). The template was from Custom PC magazine. And within it there were estimate prices as well as some information about certain components. Even though I am personally knowledgeable about PC components, sometimes with a large amount of components with varying degrees of differences, sometimes you need a place to start first.
I should point out the list above is actually a preliminary list at the time of writing so many of the components can change during the project. That is sometimes a good thing because if there is a product that is better and cheaper, then it’s logical to change it accordingly. Why stay with a piece of technology that is out dated and there’s one that is better which has the same if not cheaper price?
There are a few things that I think are vitally important to discuss.
What’s common between the two for me, an Intel processor and a Canon Camera? I’ve always had one first and always used them and considered them first and foremost. That’s one reason why I have chosen an Intel processor.
In my case I have chosen an Intel Core i7-3770K which is one of the most powerful processors that reasonable money can by and considering what I want to do with my computer it seems prudent to invest in the latest technology so that over time you can use it to the max before you have to replace it.
I like this processor because it is really fast and from researching the reviews and specifications it does look more likely that it is going to be a consistent processor that will meet most everyday tasks as well as some intense uses of the processor in the form of games and multimedia editing.
It’s not cheap, but I’ve had the view that if you buy cheap, you get what you get and you end up replacing it very quickly, invest in something a little bit more expensive and you often find that it can pay itself off as well as having better quality. This is no different and I quite like to stand by this view.
- TechRadar review of the Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz
The motherboard I’ve chosen is the Asus Sabertooth Z77 motherboard. This is interesting because a number of people have used this motherboard in conjunction with the case that I also want to get (see below).
This motherboard is like any, quite powerful, very handy for overclocking and has lots of features, but what stands out is the look. It looks “sexy” with the “Thermal Armour” that is attached to it. The reason for this armour is to first hide the components so that you have that sexy look but the other is to actually cool the components inside when you use the computer.
The theory is that by channelling the air, you cause a sort of wind tunnel effect which would move the air over the components which would cool the components thus increasing the effectiveness of the motherboard itself. One small feature I really like is that they include small fans for the motherboard and when you switch it off it can stay on for a little while so that the hot air can be dispelled.
- The Guru of 3D review of the Asus Sabertooth Z77
The graphics card is going to be the one that will take most of the punishment as I use it mostly for multimedia use. Initially thinking of the Nvidia 650, I then decided to go for the little bit more expensive Nvidia 660. The reason is so that the computer can be future proofed longer than the Nvidia 650 graphics card.
I prefer to spend a little more knowing that I can use a product over a longer time span, this means I would get the most of my graphics card until the time to upgrade it. The other reason is that the Nvidia 660 to me feels better in the computer and that gives me confidence knowing it would work.
- Tech of Tomorrow review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
Most people do very little justice to their computer by buying a computer case that looks like a brick and to make matters worse can do harm to the computer in terms of cooling. I decided on the SilverStone Raven RV03.
This case is very interesting because its focus is to provide cooling, to do that it employs the very basic understanding that heat rises and so to that effect the case is built so that the air flows from bottom to the top of the case.
The other interesting factor is that the case forces the motherboard to be rotated 90-degrees so that what would otherwise the motherboard’s outbound connectors face what would be the back of the case, is now at the top of the case. This is so because some graphics cards move cooling air from inside the case and out, with the motherboard rotated that allows that air to be vented.
- Hexus review of the SilverStone Raven RV03
The toughest part is financing. Building a computer is not cheap, but if done right it can pay off well. But raising the funds given that (at the time of writing) I work part-time in a retail shop with the rate of pay I get, it will take time.
(Without revealing the actual cost estimates) I make it that I would need some 2 months in ideal terms to raise the funds to build the computer but it looks more like three if I was to really take into account some extras as well as looking at unexpected extra personal costs.
In any way I look at doing extra overtime, something I don’t actually like doing, but when you see the writing on the wall and you want something quickly, I look forward to working harder just to earn a little more. Incentive that needs no encouragement.
As part of my financing I look at ways to ensure that I order the cheapest item but ensure that the additional cost of postage as well as stock availability is there. This would mean having to ensure regular research inspections of sites that offer the product and at what cost. This is something that I have done whilst researching on airsoft/military equipment in the past and is something that I’ve learnt has worked and worked well.
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