Filed by Michael G. Shanks
Fort San Miguel - August 29, 1998
AAR: This was a Marauder against Marauder game.

Sunday August 29, 1998 was a slow day at Fort San Miguel compared to our average combat day. The turnout of players was light and even many of the Marauders were absent. Most notably absent was Wizard and the 4th Squad regulars such as Brain and the recently returned Doc.

Wizard usually brings a stock of paintballs from the supply depot. When the question of ammo came up for a few people, Commander McBragg resolved the problem by jumping into his truck and going on a supply mission to J&S Surplus.

The Opposition Force for the day was made up of Brutal-Bob's stepson Steven, Brain's "pinch-hitter" Joe and Aaron, who is from Washington and started coming out to our field during the summer. Bob and his son Bob arrived and a few of the guys from the paintball team, S.C. DoggPound showed up. Other arrivals were Bruce and a handful of local players who know where they can find a good game every other Sunday!

The first game of the day had the Marauders occupying the Fort. Their mission would be to defend the fort against better than two-to-one odds. It would be a forty-minute game. The objective for the Opposition-Force was simple, all they had to do was to Take Fort San Miguel!

The Marauders had agreed to deploy within the fortress area rather than out around the field as snipers or pickets. They would not leave the fortress area until they were fired on by the attacking Op-Force. After that, the Marauders would be free to maneuver. They could conduct a static defense or initiate roving defensive patrols as they saw fit.

They deployed in among the bunker-pits and the connecting trenches that make up Fort San Miguel and watched the Op-Force units maneuver in the field.

A two or three man team worked their way uphill through the trees to get on the ridge overlooking the lower end of the fort. From the ridge they could fire down on some of the positions with what really amounts to harassing fire, though it can make you keep your head down! Others worked around in the field but never seemed to get close enough to do more than lob in the long-balls. Long range shots can be fun to watch and occasionally you can pick off a target or two, but if you really want to take a fortified position, you can't just sit out in a field and use up all your ammo! Sooner or later you have to close with the target and go in to take it!

After-action reports mentioned a four-man Op-Force team who had worked their way up onto the wooded hill above the upper end of the fortress where the Marauder's defense was light, but they never came down to attack.

Apparently, after checking out the situation the Op-Force team pulled back and withdrew from the area without taking advantage of a perfect opportunity launch an attach through the backdoor to the fort!

The two Marauders who were defending the upper end of the main trench-line were nearly dumfounded! "I don't understand it," said Pacman. "They had us! They had our flank, they had us outnumbered and they had the high ground and then they left!"

Meanwhile, down at the lower end of the fortress area, a sudden volley of fire from several guns came in on the out-post bunker at the edge of the ditch. At least two rounds managed to find their target eliminating Maj.D.Saster, who as fate would have it, was the only Marauder to be eliminated, (recreational fatality)?

After that it was a matter of the remaining Marauders holding their positions until the clock ran out.

In game two, the Opposition Force took the walk to defend the fort. They were not subject to any rules about remaining in the fort until being fired upon and could start their defense anywhere in or around the fortress area.

The Marauders moved out from the bivouac to begin their assault and take the fort. They advanced across the field, cutting across the fortress area's front and just flirting with the extreme range of their opponent's guns.

As the skirmish-line turned left and moved in towards the fortress ridge, Maj.D.Saster found himself at the outside end of the line. He paused for a moment before crossing a drainage ditch and looked around. To his left he could hear Predator, Pacman and Cmdr.McBragg crossing the ditch and advancing towards the embankment. He was about to move out when he heard a dull metallic click to his right! Maj.D Saster knew he was the end of the line, there should not be anyone to his right! Advancing with his gun up he spotted a man in the ditch just a few short yards away and opened fire! "OK, OK! I'm Out! My gun's down!" Was the prompt response from his opponent, who wanted to fix his malfunctioning hardware and continue the fight, but Maj.D.Saster said, "Nope! We engaged and you called yourself out! Sorry, but your dead!"

Because he had just eliminated Bob, he knew that Bob's son had to be somewhere nearby. Rather than search for him, D.Saster moved out to keep up with the advance.

As he moved from one position of concealment to the next, he would stop and watch to their rear for any pesky sniper types that might have some funny ideas about following along and trying to shoot them in the back.

Eventually he got up on the embankment and could hear Pacman and Predator and the others making their assault on the fortress. Taking advantage of the embankments higher elevation, Maj.D paused once more to check the field for snipers. Not seeing any immediate threats and at the same time hearing a sudden increase in the sounds of guns firing and guys yelling, he rolled over the top of the embankment and into an erosion ditch. From there he could see down the slope to the upper end of the main trench where there were at least two men with their backs to him. Thinking he had gotten himself into a position behind the opposition, he came up ready to fire at what he thought were Op-Force fighters around the trenches. Luckily, he recognized Pacman and realized he was about to shoot Cmdr.McBragg in the back!

Cmdr.McBragg was advancing along the right side of the trenchline. Pacman and Predator were across from him advancing down the left side between the main trench-line and the big ditch. Brutal Bob was the outside man of this skirmish-line. His patrol went down in the big ditch, which put him in a good position to cover the left flank of his own team from sniper-types that may be out in the field, or to attack into the right of the Op-Force team in the fort!

D.Saster ran down the hill and jumped into the large bunker-pit. He advanced down the main trench-line, passing between Cmdr McBragg and Pacman, in order to occupy the main bunker pits and connecting trench. As he moved forward, he could see the oppositions guns raise up above the dirt bastions of the fort to fire, only to be quickly smothered by volleys of paintballs coming in on them from several different angles.

As the Marauder's skirmish-line rolled up the defense, Opposition-Force units were calling themselves out and the final trench and bunker were being cleared.

Once they were in the main bunker, Cmdr McBragg and Maj.D.Saster could see Sandman across from them on the sniper-trail signaling that he was a Marauder and that there were possible Op-Force elements in the trees along the forward slope of the ridge above the fort. The entire line opened up with all guns on what looked like the ammo-hopper on a paintball gun, but it turned out to be an old coffee can.

After the short but decisive firefight, the potential threat of the hostile coffee can was neutralized! The Marauders immediately declared the fortress as occupied and blew the whistle to signal "game-over"!

Predator, Maj.D.Saster, Pacman, Cmdr.McBragg, Brutal-Bob and Sandman! This small force of six, (The Dirty Half-Dozen?) managed to take Fort San Miguel from an occupation force of more than twice their strength and did not loose a single man! What a team!