Operation Rising Phoenix

Wow what a weekend..

It all started for me last year by being approached by Ian of TA Events to shoot 250 players @ Copehill Down on Sailsbury Plain (can see shots from that on my website).

Ian contacted me again for an event in Wales at Cilieni Village (just outside Sennybridge), a similar set up to Copehill, just smaller..

It was a 4 hour drive (good old Friday traffic..) ok a little more than that as i got 30 mins into my trip only to realise that i’d left my JT Goggles in the garage! so 30 min trip back, to find that i needed to find some photos of the kids to print for a present for my grandmothers 90th..

So an hour later and i was back on the road toward Wales, i’m sure my Satnav had it in for me as well, took me a very strange route through the back roads up to the M4, then over the Seven Bridge (i was £5.50 lighter after going over that!). I was in Wales!! and everyone was driving like a nutter! but i finally made it through the amazing countryside and tipped up to the Village at approx 20:00 to a hive of activity from players from all over Europe (well not quite all over, but there were quite a few from Holland etc.).

I said hi to the guys, and Brett one of the marshalls showed me the observation post in the church, there were cameras dotted all around the village and could be seen via a bank of TV’s which were hooked up to a controller (never did get them working). There was also a pro looking sound system setup with I think 4 minidisc players and a bunch of minidiscs laying around, speaking of laying around there were 1,000’s of dead flies on the floor and windowsills (eeegh!). Brett showed me up 1 level to a room of dead and living flies!! the tin roof was a great magnet for the flies when it got warm and they must have decided it was a great place to spend the winter..

So after the settling in period, more players were arriving way into the night (some turning up as late as 01:00. With all the preparation still happening I stayed awake until 02:30ish to gain as much intel as I could about the weekends events.

I followed Brett around as we went from one place to another checking everything was in order, even checked out the burger van to make sure the food was up to scratch.. The guys from Skirmish were also at the event selling supplies and helping out people with gun trouble etc.

At approx 04:50 all hell broke loose outside! The Royal Marines had started a small skirmish in 1/2 of the village on Saturday morning, don’t these guys realise that its the weekend!? anyway explosions, gunfire from assault rifles and machine guns rattled the village until approx 08:30 they weren’t so bad, the huge parachute flares where a problem though, so damn bright, even with my eyes closed!

Anyway I rocked up out of bed at approx 09:00 did the usual morning stuff, got something to eat and drink and made sure all my gear was ready to go, I stayed in on the USA briefing to try and get the gist of what they were doing so I could try and position myself for key moments during the days ahead.

During the Event, Land Rovers were driven around the village, this one was just so cool! 50 cal mounted on top..

Players were allowed to shoot the people in the back, but not the drivers or anyone else in the cab.

Ian gave the main briefing and safety talk at approx 10:30 for game start at 11:00 (at least that was the plan anyway)

After a rocky start (things not going as planned) everyone got stuck in and had a great weekend. I’m sure each side will tell their story on who won the weekend, but I think everyone who enjoyed themselves is the winner on this weekend!

More photos..

Oh yeah how could I have forgotten the insane raffle that they had going in support of Bamako Bampots who are trying to raise money to send 2 fully functional ambulances equipped for the harsh African terrain to Kalaban Coro.

What is the raffle prize? well for just £5.00 a ticket you get a chance to win this!

£7,000.00 worth of minigun! 4,000 shots a minute!!