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Op Blue Oak was an intense event which saw the struggle between different factions for the control of the city of Bangui. By incorporating elements such as an amazing site like Catterick OBUA facilities, multiple armoured vehicles including an Alvis Sarracen and some great teams interpreting the roles of TF29 and Azaerian State, Stirling Airsoft were able to produce an event with plenty of action and coordinated missions with stages of preparation, briefing and execution, all based on the previous gathering of workable intel. This is the kind of event which makes every team have to become proficient at all aspects of a mission, it´s not just about combat but everything leading up to that point!

This is just one of the kind of events Stirling Airsoft offer. Thanks to ample experience in organizing Airsoft events in the UK and abroad and feedback from ex special forces instructors, they provide events that manage to balance many of the realities of modern day warfare with direct action missions and a great storyline which immerse the participant into the situation. They have over 14 years of experience under their belts and offer a multitude of services from topic-specific training events to themed events and combat missions such as this one. And let's not forget their yearly selection process, a shortened version of the selection course of the SAS, and possibly one of the toughest challenges you can sign up for outside of the military!


A combat mission is the kind of event that really tests the players, with a more realistic timeline of events, occurring almost in real-time of how a real-life combat situation would unfold. In this case starting on the Friday and playing out until Sunday, it is just one of the increasing number of three-day events that we organise. The storyline progresses in an organic way, meaning that the actions of one side or another are not pre-defined but are generally a reaction to something that has happened within the storyline. In a practical manner, this means that missions aren't pre-planned, so they only occur if there has been an inciting action, gathering of intelligence or as a reaction to something that has happened. Blue Oak is the essence of a FIBUA combat mission.


Ongoing fighting in the capital of the Central African Republic has led to thousands of civilians being displaced and fears of hundreds dead or missing. While Séléka militia group continues to crumble under the pressure of constant strikes by TF29, Azearian State have made significant gains in the north of the country. Azearian State fighters and new recruits from the Séléka militia push south towards Bangui to reinforce their strong-points throughout the city.

SIGINT confirms that several high rankings AS members are present within the city. HUMINT from the Central African Republic suggests that AS may be planning to claim the destabilised country as their long sought-after caliphate, from which they could potentially strike at neighbouring countries including Chad and the Sudan.


Catterick is different to other MOD training facilities in that it is not fully purpose-built but has been modified from an old garrison barracks, so the buildings are more realistic, but still incorporate many challenging obstacles which have been put in place for training army troops. It has approximately 18 buildings, most of which are semi-detached two story buildings with regular doors and windows and added murder holes, crawl spaces and in some cases even fortifications built out of sand bags. There is also a central 4 story tower, a train-yard, and some dilapidated buildings, as well as a number of burnt out tanks and other vehicles. Some of the buildings are even connected by underground tunnels! It´s a site that makes for a great event and makes combat very hard and gruelling, and we love it!


Op Blue Oak was intense. Azaerian State militias had an initial hold on the city and it was TF29's mission to regain control. Through various intel gathering missions, TF29 were able to get a picture of what buildings AS militants were holed up in and started performing direct action strikes to try and take out the commanders of the militant group and find information regarding their plan to meet up with Séléka fighters.

Through this kind of strikes TF29 were able to apprehend Mansur Alkaritha, one of the Council of Three that controls KOA (Knights of Azear) and AS (Azaerian State). Mansur was captured during a large-scale operation after he had been spotted moving between locations, so the intel gathered previously allowed to pinpoint his location and coordinate a mission to grab him. Once captured he was questioned and moved to a secure location for further transport.

On a whole, TF29 were able to secure the city enough to be able to reinstall the Central African Republic President into his residence, though there is still a lot of work to be done to regain complete control of the city and the country.


For this kind of event we have a large material list to employ in game. Op Blue Oak saw the use of a WMIK Land Rover, two armoured Snatch Land Rovers and an Alvis Sarracen APC which we use extensively and allow for troop deployment and extraction into hot areas of the city.

Comms are very important, and it is essential from a Command and control point of view for HQ to be able to collect information from the teams on the ground and send out orders or mission updates. For this reason we use specialist comms equipment, optimised for our use by working closely with comms specialists and manufacturers such as Disco32 Antennas. We have the ability to optimise personal radios the players may have so that they function well in the environment we work in or to issue radios to the teams if needed.

From a command and control point of view in this kind of event it is essential to have a functional Tac-HQ which is manned 24 hours and collates all the information on the ground and allows to plan missions and prepare briefings for the teams going out on the ground, so things like laptops, projectors, large scale maps, whiteboards, and comms equipment are essential.

From the point of view if the troops going out on the ground, one of the things we incorporated into the game was the use of explosive entries in certain direct action missions, something we have used extensively and train with a lot. This turns breaching into a more realistic experience and also forces the use of breaching tools that players are not usually accustomed to, from door charges to bolt cutters and sledgehammers where an explosive breach has failed.


Op Blue Oak was a great game, and played with multiple interlinking factors which made for a complex story with many outcomes. The overall outcome was a partial success by TF29 to regain some control of the city, though they had strong opposition from the militant groups controlling the city. This made for a lot of varied missions of intelligence gathering followed by surgical strikes, which we certainly enjoyed and so did the excellent teams we had with us that weekend! The use of vehicles in this kind of site is always a fun factor and, added to the use of explosive entries, makes for a really immersive experience.

The outcome of this game in relation to the storyline will affect future missions in the region, which is how we plan our next events, so this year we will be going back to Africa with more events of this style! We are already planning the events for 2018 and many dates have already been set and are available to check on.