I sat there, wearing a full plate carrier and combat belt with an additional M72 LAW airsoft rocket launcher strapped to my back, crammed into the back of an M35 “Deuce and a half” transport truck along with 30 other players of the 2nd platoon, Alpha side QRF. The QRF, or “Quick Reaction Force”, was meant to be the mobile infantry of the Alpha side. Another transport pulled next to us, filling the covered truck bed with the acrid smell of diesel exhaust. With so many of us crammed up next to one another, one could barely see the opening of the canvas cover at the aft section of the truck. If I were claustrophobic, I might have had a panic attack at that moment, which seemed to be made of hours instead of a few minutes. Finally, the truck blasted off towards our objective and began what would be roughly six to seven hours of intense airsoft gameplay over the course of the day.


After disembarking from the transport, we found ourselves at the Alpha side HQ and our unit, 2nd platoon – squad 1 formed up for a quick briefing. Our squad leader conferred with the platoon commander then returned. We were to capture and hold the enemy helipad to gain points for our team. On our maps, it looked like it would be quite the push, so our squad prepared for the worst. “Game On” was called across the referee radios and squads began to deploy. As we were about to move out, the platoon leader came up and spoke with our squad leader – plans changed immediately and, before I knew it, we were running back to the transport and climbing into the cargo bed. As it turned out, we were instead going to use our mobile/mechanized ability for the best and deploy right near the enemy helipad to gain control of it. Our transport rocketed towards the objective and, upon reaching it, slammed on its brakes. We jumped out and took cover at the nearest building. We were accompanied by two or three other squads from the 2nd platoon  and, after a quick huddle, deployed into the helipad area.

The terrain was of the high desert variety, with scrub brush all around. In addition, the buildings comprising the AO are abandoned and rundown, with plenty of dangers lurking about. Broken glass, snakes, holes in multi-level floors, exposed nails. One must be ever-vigilant while at Operation Lionclaws. Our squad began pushing up around the helipad area, clearing the buildings to the West. The other two squads were covering buildings on the opposite side of the pad and the order was given to hold and guard. There was no enemy opposition at all – their helipad completely un-defended. Now we just had to hold the area for 20 minutes to simulate capturing/destroying it.


We started hearing other squads yelling out contacts and picked up our visual scanning. From the North, it looked like three enemy squads had gotten wise to our actions and began coming South to retake the helipad. Sticking to the buildings, getting close enough to fire on them was difficult, as airsoft guns don’t have the greatest range (most get around 100 to 150 feet, semi-accurately). The airsoft battle went on for about ten minutes and it looked like the enemy was no more.

Our squad, still posted up in some buildings, began to hear what sounded like a heavy vehicle drawing near. We took cover to stay out of sight and waited. I pulled out my rocket launcher and loaded up a foam rocket and a CO2 cartridge, which serves as propellant. The sound kept getting louder, but we were going to remain hidden for as long as possible to maintain the element of surprise. I drew up the launcher and aimed it in the direction of the large busted out window. An enemy Humvee crept by, its gunner manning a turret on top and scanning different directions. Then something really amazing happened – it kept driving, right out of the helipad area. They didn’t even know we were in control of it and must not have been on comms with the enemy force we took out. The helipad was ours, and we gained that objective for our team. This was all just in the first hour of play….


Operation Lionclaws XV was a physically demanding, intense, and fun airsoft game with so many ups and downs, plot-twists, etc that I could write for days about it. Joining the game isn’t cheap, with tickets costing $190 for players never having taken part in a Lionclaws event before, but it was well worth it for the amount of enjoyment everyone seemed to be having. Operation Lionclaws hosts a lot of games throughout the year all across the country – you can check them out at the official website of the game series.


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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com