When less is more.
Let’s face it, we exist
in a SpeedBall world. The game begins with the opposing team in
sight and it is a foot race to see who can claim the most territory
before things bog down. The fields are narrow and long. Maneuvering
room is non-excitant without drawing fire. The guys in the back
lay down the paint so the ones in the middle and front can take
their shots and move up. It becomes a ten minute battle of attrition.
And in a battle of attrition, the side that has the most at the
end wins. Pretty simple.
On your typical SpeedBall field, There are
no reserves. The front players of the other team are usually in
range of the rear players of your team. However, once we move
into the woods, things become much different. So today, we are
going to talk about taking part of your force and leaving it “in
Now, I know what you are thinking, what’s
the point? Simple, by having a force in reserve you make yourself
much more flexible when encountering opposition. If your entire
force comes upon an opposing force and gets pinned down, you might
as well be eliminated because your entire force is now effectively
suppressed and out of the fight for the moment. The longer they
are tied up in this firefight, the more in danger they are of
being eliminated completely and the more they are hindering the
overall effort of their team.
First, for those of you that are not familiar
with the concept, let me define reserves. We are not talking about
reserve units (ie The U.S. Army Reserve units that serve every
other weekend and two weeks a year as opposed to “Regular”
Army units). When a force goes into combat, it usually holds back
some of its forces in reserve. This is done for a number of reasons
but they can be combined into the one lump idea of flexibility.
If your main force breaks through the line, your reserves can
be called in to “pour through the gap” and take advantage
of the break before the opposing force can plug it. In defense,
if a hole is punched in your line you can fill it with reserves
or use your reserves to initiate a counter attack. Having reserves
keeps your options open.
Now let us translate this into paintball. Suppose
we have this scenario. Two teams, Red and Blue, each composed of
10 members. Traditionally, they move out and once they find each
other, they hunker down and try to leap frog forward as they eliminate
the other team. This is a Frontal Assault and, generally, it is a bad idea.
As we have seen, it usually results in the winner taking heavy
casualties for very little, if any, gain other than the complete
elimination of the opposing force. In scenario games this is especially bad because now you have fewer assests to use on your next mission. Perhaps during the firefight
one team will try to break one or two players free to move around
the flank of the other team. If they don’t get taken out
that side is usually the side that takes the field. However, when
this is done after the contact has been made, chances are the
other team will see this and send out assets of its own to stop
So now let’s say that the Blue team takes
3 players and puts them in reserve. They move behind the front
7 by about 15-30 yards and try to just keep the front 7 in view.
Now when the battle erupts in front of them, the Blue team has
much greater flexibility in how the firefight is fought.
THE FLANKING MANEUVER
This is pretty straight forward. Upon the initiation
of the firefight, the Blue team reserves immediately move to a
flank and begin to advance without shooting and as quickly as
possible. The object is to try and get into the Red force's
flank without being detected and before the Red team sends
out its flankers. The front seven players’ job is to keep
the Red team occupied and to try and take out any flankers they
send out. The front seven should HOLD their positions and NOT
try to advance. You are holding the nose of your opponent.
Once the Blue flankers are in position, they will
have clear shots at the Red team hiding behind their bunkers.
The flankers should open fire from behind cover as quickly as
possible but only after they are in a position so that when they
fire, the likelihood of them eliminating a number of Red team
members equal to or greater than their number is high. The flanking team
should communicate which target they will engage in their first
volley so that two shooters are not aiming at the same target.
It is also wise for the flanking reserves to have designated individual
secondary targets as well. Methods for doing this should be decided
upon and rehearsed beforehand. This is the Kick in the Butt part of the operation.
With fire coming from two directions, the Red
team will either be quickly eliminated or forced to pull back.
Either way the Blue team will again be quickly on the move and
will have the superior numbers if they meet up with them again.
PULL AND DRAW
The problem with the above maneuver is that
the flanking force may take a considerable amount of time to get
into position. The Pull and Draw makes up for that with the trade
off that the front seven become more exposed to fire.
The set up for the Pull and Draw is the same
as above. When contact is made, however, the reserve force moves
off to their immediate flank and takes cover to conceal themselves
from view. The front seven will get the Red team's attention
and then begin an organized retreat. An organized retreat is one
where the back lines provide cover while the front lines pull
back. As those in the front lines pass the back line, they find
cover and begin covering the withdraw of the now front line.
The front seven continue to do this as quickly
as possible. The idea here is to give the Red team the illusion
that they are driving you back. This will cause them to do two
things. One, they will not send out flankers because there is
no need. Second, they will spread themselves thin as some of their
number will be quicker to follow than others.
As they get spread out, their combined firepower
will be diminished. The front seven will Pull the Red team apart
and Draw them into the trap the reserve unit has laid. The Blue flankers
want to let the first couple of Red team players get a bit past
their position before they open up. The idea is to get as many
people on the Red team in front of the Blue's flank players as possible. When
the flank players open up, the front seven need to stand their
ground and start pouring fire into the trap. The front players
of the Red team will likely try and get out of the trap by
moving to one side or, if they are smart, turn back onto the flank
of your flankers. The front seven are there to prevent that and
to take out those few players the Blue team flankers let through.
The reserves are not just a flanking force.
Sometimes you may come across a group larger than yours. It is
here where they can be a real asset as well. Like the Pull and
Draw, the reserves can drop to cover in the rear once the fight
begins. The front seven then make an organized withdraw until they are past the
line of the reserve unit. Once past, they try and get out of the area as quickly as possible. As the Red team comes into view,
the reserves fire from cover trying to take out as many of the
opposition's front players as possible. This volley needs to be
a short burst of about 5-6 shots only. This volley is to try and
take out those pursuing forces that have outran the rest of their
group either by eliminating them or causing them to seek cover.
Once the volley is done, the reserves should take off and catch
up with the main force (which should already be long gone) as quickly as possible. The
pursuing Red team should slow down or cut off their pursuit as they
will now be looking for more of the Blue force hiding and waiting
The entire purpose of this is to cause confusion
among the opposing force and thus negating their superior numbers. While there is a chance of loosing
some or all of your reserve force, the idea here is to try and maintain the
majority of your force intact.
These are just three examples of how reserve
units can be employed in paintball when two units are moving to
contact. Reserve units can also be used to help reinforce a line
in a defensive position or to help relive pressure from an attack
by threatening the flank of the attacker. Remember the whole purpose
of having reserves is to be flexible in your options and to keep
your opponent off guard. Be creative but most of all, have fun!