By S23gearmonkey75

TRH feat. S23? Nothing new in the two blogs crossing over; they are pretty much siblings, after all.

However, we’ve gone a bit more experimental with today’s article. It’s written by none other than S23, but it’s been ‘mixed’ by TRH.

It was S23’s idea. He handed over the ‘demo’ version – the raw mix of words, with all the levels set at ‘eleven’. The result is his punk aesthetic, put through the mixing desk of The Reptile House.

S23 thinks the result is smooth, but now I don’t think it sounds noisy enough 😉

Enjoy! 🙂

A few months back I was invited to be a part of Operation Dark Water. With the event fast approaching, it only seems like yesterday. So, I’ve been forced into thinking things through – from a loadout perspective – on an accelerated timeline. There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to help inform brutal kit decisions.


The Challenge

Let me tell you about the scale and vision of what is, potentially, this year’s most contemporary and immersive of milsims. This is a very different mission to what I usually prepare for. And, to push my loadout habits of old to one side, proved to be a little harder than expected…

The Event

The event will be hosted at the epically expansive UCAP Sandpit. Along with other guests, I’ve been assigned to conduct joint operations with Task Force Voodoo, who are a well known UK platoon-sized element. We’ll conduct operations against a Russian Opfor, numbering over eighty troops in full strength. They’ll be replete with a mass of hardware, including two Russian Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty (BMP) tracked amphibious infantry fighting vehicles.


TF Voodoo and co will be conducting short DA raids, patrols, SRR and reconnaissance tasks, and this – together with a knowledge of The Sandpit’s topography and climate – really influenced my decision making process; shifting me from my usual loadout doctrine, to a faster, lighter, more creative kit list.


The Sandpit’s microclimate is intriguing. During daylight hours in spring, summer and autumn, it’s quite agreeable. However, at night its proximity to the River Thames and its own vast expanse of water make it a fresher affair from dusk until dawn. So, additional heavier clothing is a requirement. For inclement weather, I’d gladly take a plethora of items. However, I’ve opted to take a soft shell, a light weight PCU, and for general down time the venerable USMC Peckham ‘grid fleece’.

The Soft Shell and/or PCU will be carried in my day sack, giving me the opportunity to scale-up my uniform to without increasing the weight or bulk of kit carried.

Water, food and spare ancillary equipment (including sleeping systems) is to be carried and subsequently dropped off at an established LUP. Additional items for more immediate use would be carried in my day sack, whilst conducting specific taskings.


I chose my LV-MBAV plate carrier to form the basis for my Op Dark Water loadout. It’ll be set up in a fairly minimalist way, carrying comms (TRI 152 PRCs) and two magazines for my primary. With this, I can conduct light patrols and low risk DA tasks. Or, I can ditch other LBE and assault pack at an LUP and have enough ‘beer and dope’ (ammo/munitions) to punch my way out of any contact with the Opfor. Naturally, the LV-MBAV is supported by my belt load, which carries my secondary, admin load, and with an additional four primary magazines.


Functional TRI radios allow me and my and very good buddy ‘Blurry Out of Focus’ to have reliable, ranged, crystal clear comms. Despite an initially prohibitive outlay, I’ve been using these for just over a year. Comms are really important to this sort of event. They allow coordination and a slew of tactical options, simply from the ability to relay information in real time – position, movements, observations – all free and secure.


When ‘jocking up’, my Haley Strategic Disruptive Environments Chest Rig (D3CR) will come into play. This really steps up my LBE capability in the form of SOFLCS IFAK, NVG pouch and Flash Bangs; another four primary and two secondary magazines. All in all a fairly comprehensive combat load, totalling ten primary magazines and four secondary. In my mind, I’m confident that with the addition of a day sack, I can not only sustain, feed, hydrate and operate at night, but also flex up to a full DA assault when the time arises.


The addition of NODs (ACT in BLACK’s LUNOX) gives the Task Force the added ability to prosecute roles and objectives under the cover of darkness. Darkness will also will give me an opportunity to employ my newly acquired Element LA5.

Air Frame

My NODs will be run off my Air Frame. Using a helmet, regardless of AO or tempo, has never proved problematic for me. When compared to previous helmets in my inventory (MICH, ACH, Ops Core or even LWH variants), the Air Frame has proved to be a balanced, breathable affair; one that doesn’t restrict peripheral vision either. It provides a stable platform from which to operate my night vision, without being cumbersome. It also serves as a platform for the obligatory Contour HD to capture all the action…


Camouflage here is, as per briefing, Multicam. Drawn from my locker is a pair of Crye Gen 2 AC pants and combat shirt. Pockets invariably get stuffed with a wide variety of consumables. I’ve a penchant for raiding my local store’s world foods aisle for Stateside candy and chocolate. One or two bottles of water, gloves and a small torch.


Without a decent pair of boots, all of the above would rapidly become redundant. I’m a huge fan of Salomon’s 4D GTX – lightweight and waterproof. These give me the comfort and speed you’d expect from a high end training shoe, but also the torque, grip and ankle support that you’d expect from a reputable combat boot.



Last but not least, blasters !!!

As my primary I’ll be carrying the venerable ’08 model PTW, outfitted with an ACOG – just to have that magnification when observing Opfor movements. For work in the dark, the previously mentioned Element LA5 and a Surefire M951 with IR filter are bolted on.

My secondary, as it stands, is the Marui Gen 3 Glock 17. Aside from the slide and Guarder traded sights, it’s otherwise pretty much stock but no less reliable.


I’ll be back later in the month with a full review, an AAR from the field and hopefully a few other surprises – S23

Massive thanks to S23 for words and pics. Really looking forward to hearing how the event goes 🙂