And so, the Specialists Quadrilogy continues.
I put an identical set of questions to four teams. Four teams who, along with HHK, make up Task Force Exorbitance – or TF EXO – a Norwegian USSOF impressionista super-team.
The second instalment takes up with Andreas, who represents for Trident EOD Group.
Hey Andreas! Welcome to The Reptile House. Tell me about Trident.
It all started about two years ago. We were a small group of members from the local club, a bit more enthusiastic than the others, more dedicated to the hobby you could say.
We wanted more activity and started a new, smaller club for the ones who wanted more action. That said, we live far out on the countryside and the airsoft community here isn’t much to brag about. If we were lucky, around 10-15 players showed up to the local Sunday games, so there wasn’t anything more than small speedball games now and then.
After a while, frustration was apparent between some of the club members, and the first club went dead after some time (that’s another story). Anyhow, since we were only 4-5 dedicated members, we decided to standardise our kit and form some sort of a team, which focused more on realism and coordinated loadouts.
This was the birth of Trident.
We had our first experience of TF EXO last year when we attended our first big event as a team, which was the annual Ghost Zone event – Norway’s biggest airsoft event.
We were waiting for new orders, when TF EXO came by and received an urgent order. By pure coincidence, we were attached to them because some of their members weren’t present. It was during that mission that we really got the taste for milsim.
The day after, we discussed a lot in the car on our way home, already planning for next year’s event. We started to put together a more generic US kit, and got very active on the airsoft forums. The plan was to build a decent US kit, and if we were lucky perhaps the EXO-guys would let us in for one mission if we played our cards right.
During the winter season we spent a lot of time and money on gear and what not. We were really curious about milsim events, so we worked hard on trying to get noticed in the milsim community. We had heard about an event that was set for the spring, called OP: Rudna, which was an invite-only event. We thought this could be a major opportunity for us to try out milsim, so we set a goal to try and get invited to next year’s OP: Rudna.
Eight days before this year’s went down, we received an invite. As we hadn’t done any preparations, we literally threw money at the internet to get the gear we needed to function together with the guys in EXO
A couple of months later we got to roll alongside them for the whole Ghost Zone event. After the first day, they tricked us into believing they had a tradition of having an acapella singing contest. We weren’t quite sure if they just were messing with us, or if they were dead serious about it, but we figured out we would just jump in to it.
Everyone laughed and the whole atmosphere was really good, and then they popped the big question: “If you guys want to, you can join task force exorbitance.”
For the first few seconds we were lost for words, but there was no reason to hesitate, and we were really grateful for this invitation.
Everyone in Trident agrees that this has been a wild year for us as a team. The guys from HHK, Arquebus, Hermes and Sky One are a group of very inclusive – and entertaining – people to hang with. We really want to give them a big thanks for letting us in.
So, our role in EXO is to secure and defuse/destroy any explosives the EXO components might stumble upon. We come well prepared to handle most situations regarding ‘explosive s’ the average milsim event. During downtime we just keep ourselves to the rear, ready to provide support; but we’re working on how to spend our slack time more productively.
Ask any airsofter – everyone wants to be as assaulter. But in the end ‘run and gun’ can only give you so much. It’s when you have a dedicated purpose in the team that you can train specifically and be really good at something.
For example – when we are out on a mission and things go south quickly: several of our team mates take hits and go down. That’s when Hermes steps up and runs the show. They know what to do and how to get you back in the fight!
Meanwhile in the background, Arquebus makes sure the radio traffic is flowing. If we find ourselves in unknown terrain, Sky One takes point and leads the way. And for those tricky situations, HHK packs a hard punch. That’s what different. We are all specialist elements.
No matter the situation, TF EXO has people dedicated to providing solutions within their area of expertise.
Also, it makes the entire event more realistic and fun. Not everyone is an assaulter in the wild.
Is there any specialist training involved with Trident’s role?
We take severe precaution when using pyros. We take safety very seriously, to ensure there is no injury either to people or our surroundings. The pyro is home made, and we test everything in a safe environment before we take it out in the field. We also ensure approval from event managers.
For the non-pyro stuff, we do a lot of research on techniques.
How does Trident’s role change at more casual skirmishes?
That depends. Normally on a casual Sunday skirmish we’d probably show up in a simple recce kit, like chest rigs and boonie hats. Rolling in full Direct Action kit for a few hours can be a little too much.
Some of our plate carriers weigh as much as 14kg, plus our backpacks easily weigh 5kg each. But of course, if the game marshals wish to have an EOD element with pyros or what not in the game, we’d step up!
What guides Trident’s loadout?
What guides our loadout is reference pictures of the US 28th Army EOD, which is the unit we try to replicate as well as we can. This unit is the only EOD unit that the US. Army has, that is capable of airborne operations, and are often attached to Army Rangers and Special Forces.
These were some of the reasons we chose to replicate this unit. We are trying our best to identify gear, pouches, details and what not that they’re using. When it comes to the small thing like screwdrivers, pliers and other tools they use, we often have to be a little bit creative and try to anticipate if this is something EOD personnel would use.
Does Trident standardize on an airsoft weapons platform?
We all use the TM NGRS as standard – currently the HK416. This choice harks back to the days before we went down the EOD-path. We’re going to keep the 416 though, as we use it more for recon type events , where the EOD load out isn’t used.
In the coming season we will start building the correct rifles for our kit, which would be the Block II CQBR. The build will of course be based on the TM NGRS M4 platform.
We all just love the TM next generation rifles due to the reliability, and you can take them straight from the box and right out into a game. And, of course, the recoil engine and the sound it makes is magical.
Another other option would be a GBBR, but since we live in Norway and only g4t like four days of summer, we’re probably better off with the TM NGRS.
Is there any consensus on what is the most useful kit you carry as individuals?
When we started with the plans for an EOD kit, at first we were afraid of just ending up like riflemen with fancy Leathermans. Therefore, the first thing we settled on was a metal detector; so we could sweep for IEDs and other booby-traps.
Then we began to fantasize about constructing electronic detonators and working pyros. From that we made working C4-dummies and breaching charges. We also have a small drill with us, to make small holes in boxes etc., so we can go in with a small probe-cam to check what’s inside; and small tools for defusing and disarming any suspicious objects.
Then we gave each other roles and spread out the gear among us, to give everyone a purpose and a certain task. It’s safe to say that we come well prepared. Still, we’re missing a few small details. There’s always room for improvement. It’s one of the things that makes it much more fun to do impressions and milsim.
When it comes to making props, me and Henrik are kind of ‘the dynamic duo’. I usually come up with all kinds of crazy ideas for pyro and detonation, and since Henrik studies electrical engineering, he actualy makes them work.
Lastly, what makes a great milsim event?
Strict rules for taking hits and medic rules certainly contribute to a great event. Also limited ammo, and the teams getting very limited info before the game, needing to gather the info themselves and plan out from that.
As for ourselves, we don’t need so much shooting to have fun at an event. The key is how much fun you make for yourselves and the other players.
Downtime does not have to be boring ☺
Massive thanks to Andreas for being interviewed and for providing pics 🙂
The third instalment of the Specialists Quadrilogy will be released soon.