When watching a war film about fighting in a forest environment you probably not even think about the skills they need to move forward, keep an eye on the environment, hold their gun and be silent at the same time. However, these are one of the most important skills in woodland environment to survive and engage the enemy. Why? Because you’re not walking on the street but you’re walking through a forest environment with dried leaves and branches and carrying a full combat load. It’s a real challenge to get through this environment without making any noise at all.
So what are the techniques you can apply in woodland to have a better change of surviving?
As and Individual you can apply 2 basic techniques to drastically improve your individual skills: Tactical walking and Tactical scanning.
For most Airsofters it’s unfamiliar to walk on uneven surfaces as we do in woodland Airsofting. Moreover if they look up it’s only a brief moment because they are too busy to avoid a spraining ankle. How to easily overcome this habit? Walk like an horse! Take big steps and lift your feet much higher – just about mid-shin level – than you normal do. This way you are making your footsteps more flat and stable. As your feet comes down, you roll your foot forward from heal-to-toe. That way you creating much less noise than dropping your feet down. it won’t be completely silent you when walk over dry leaves and twigs but it will be quite enough from alerting the enemy.
Don’t look just straight forward but use the ability of your eyes to scan from low to high and from left to right. That way you scan the whole area and your eyes will be drawn to even the slightest movement. while moving forward you keep your weapon at the low ready. As you become alert of possible enemy contact slow your pace and bring your weapon up to high ready so you can let your eyes and your barrel move in unison.
With these two tactics you will be able to quickly open fire with you weapon. But how can you use these tactics in favor of your team?
With these individual movements you built a strong fundament to operate efficient with team members. You will need both skills to be valuable and not being the fifth wheel of a car. With that said, most woodland Airsoft games are team-based so in order to operate as a team, each member has to be aware of both individual and team movements.
To move as a team, you need to know two important basic concepts which are widely known and common used:
- Maintaining proper distance
- Keeping formation
There is no ideal distance between team members. The distance depends on terrain and density of the vegetation but should be around 1o meters. This ensures that all your fields of fire are covered. however, always be sure not to bunched together because when an ambush occurs it’s very easy for the enemy to take everyone out at once. On the other hand you need to stay together close enough to communicate properly.
As moving forward as a team you need to make frequent stops at some solid cover, to look and listen to what’s going on around you. If you just keep walking as a team you walk into the fire zone of your enemy.
If you like to get more feeling with forming formations and movement techniques I recommend to watch the video below:
This video helps me a lot to get a better understanding of formation and movement techniques.
Now you know how to survive in woodland what are the most common Woodland techniques you definitely should know?
Woodland tactics you should know
- Stay on the move:Don’t stay on the same position when the enemy is shooting at you. What most Airsofters like to do is stay at the exact same position. You maybe have a good solid cover, and maybe if you wait long enough you get that perfect shot. It’s better to wait for a break in enemy fire. What you then do is trying to change position without being seen of course. You can do that by putting a suppressive fire causing him to to get his head ducked back into cover. A new position creates new insights like a bigger target to aim at.
- Keep a low profile: That means if you’re stuck behind cover you want to be the smallest possible target. Or you are on the move and you are trying to keep yourself about the same height as the surrounding terrain cover. Always try to keep your head down while you are moving! Ok, that sounds logic but what to do in an open terrain? Well, you shouldn’t go for crouch running. Just try to sprint out there as quick as possible! Of course you will be seen but it’s more important to leave the open space and get as quick as possible to any cover.
- Suppressive fire: Te main goal is to force your enemy behind cover so your teammates can go on a flanking route to take out the opponent or whatever you want you teammates do.
- Beat timing: When you engaging another target you mostly take a few shots and then instantly duck back into cover. Actually what you need to do after those shots is keeping your head out and your gun raised. This is because your opponent will answer with…Fire… The more unexperienced Airsofters will wait 3 seconds and then poke their head out and fire back. That moment you are waiting for! When you opponent poke is head back out you can already put the shot down because you are ready to go and he is not.
- Keep you replica at high ready before popping out: You just want to find out where your target is. Then you get your sight raised so that where you stood up you’d pointing straight at it only then stand up and take the shots. it save you fractions in a second but that can mean the difference between taking them out of the game and not.
- Communicate: In short: let your teammates know what you see and what you plan to do. Don’t just say “hey there is a guy behind that tree if you play in woodland. Try to make it distinctive. Try to let your teammates know any bit of information that is RELEVANT.
- Most Airsofters don’t know the basic military hand signs however, use them if you can because these are really simple seen. By using the basis ones it makes situations so much clearer to explain to you teammates especially when you’re not able to talk!
- Get a good cammo that matches you zone! In a forest environment you always want to tune your cammo more on trees than the actual leaves.
Now you know almost everything you should know to play Airsoft in Woodland. To get you even better prepared here are some common mistakes that you should be avoiding and be aware of.
Avoid these woodland tactics to outstand your opponent
- Showing your gun bow: This one is more the case in CQB but I did mention it because we see it in woodland too. It is when you take cover behind a building or a tree but you let your barrel sticking out of the corner. For advanced players it’s easy to recognize because it happens over and over again. They only have to wait until you raise your barrel – and they know that is going to happen – so they can pre-emptively shooting out that person. So the next time be mindful of where you put your barrel.
- Camouflage doesn’t blend in: Airsofters who are carrying a ghillie suit or another striking BDU make themselves more visible because they don’t blend in the environment. For instance, if you take cover behind a tree or building and you sticking around the side it looks not natural and sometimes even as a humungous growth on the outside so you automatically attract your opponents attention to it. It looks not natural, it looks just out of place. So if you really want to use your ghillie properly you want to be lying low and obscured in long grass or shrubs being in the visual cover where most Airsofters won’t lie. So if you use a ghillie try to stay in the open and avoid the sides of buildings or trees.
- Press yourself against cover: It’s a natural thing to do. hugging cover as much as physically possible. That seems the right way because that way you don’t get seen by your opponent but the opposite is true. If you press yourself against cover it creates a shadow (everything in that shadow is obscured from his view) which will be seen by your opponent. So just take a step back. First you don’t cast a shadow and second you are much more reactionary causing less sluggish in moving around the corner and you’re able to pre-shoulder before popping out and taking shots.
- Giving your plan away: when your team is ready to breach a room it goes very often with a bunch of noise and someone that is giving a sign: ” right guys, one, two, three….BAM! So what do you think if you are inside the room and your opponent is prepping the charge like that? Well, you wait for that sign and begin to spray the door right? So walk through the plan before you attack but don’t give away your plan! Always communicate but try to keep it yourself.
- Peeking the same spot: Sometimes it is necessary to hold down the same location / bit of cover for whatever reason. When you’re doing that and the opponent spot you they stay focused on that one spot where they saw you. If you noticed that then try to avoid peeking the exact same spot of that cover. You can do that by firing from standing crouched or prone. That is how you trick the enemy that is shooting at you because the enemy’s sight is focussed on the last spot where they saw you.
- Don’t enter the area from someone who was shot: If someone was shot and needs a medic don’t sprint out there to help your teammate. Chances are you get shot yourself. Clear the area first, scan for targets and try to take out your opponent and then go there for help. If you were shot don’t shout medic, medic but stay silent because for the other person it’s dangerous to medic. But if you are really hurt and you really need assistance then you have no choice… So at lest consider and ask yourself if you really need a medic.
How to hold your gun properly?
In every situation it’s critical to hold your gun properly. How else would you take out your opponent? I found an information video about it.
Woods provide plenty of visual concealment. Always use the environment in your favor by using all the elements. With an heavy load out it’s not easy to get through woodland without being heard. Use movement and stealth techniques in order to survive in woodland.
Good luck in your next game!