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Exercise Shrike After Action Report

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

[Note - This blog post was migrated from our previous website. Originally posted January 25, 2017]

Blackline Simulations hosted Exercise SHRIKE as a surveillance and fieldcraft exercise designed to allow participants to practice their skills in observation and hide construction. This was a 24-hour live-fire exercise held near Guelph, Ontario with a minimum of enemy forces to test the effectiveness of participants’ work.

Blackline Simulations airsoft milsim Ontario Canada exercise shrike participants
Exercise SHRIKE airsoft milisim participants


Callsigns HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE will conduct a training exercise to create an OP and record details of all rail traffic in the vicinity of grid 6810 2960 no later than 1800h 21JAN17 in order to collect information about ongoing enemy resupply efforts.


Hide site identification and construction - SUCCESS

Monitor rail traffic from 1800h 21JAN17 to 1100h 22JAN17 - FAIL


HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE arrived to the FOB prior to 1000h 21JAN17, and the briefing commenced at 1007h. Units were provided with an overview of the AO, METREP, enemy situation, and objectives through an update to the WARNORD. Aside from a shift in weather patterns that included possible precipitation and advisory about thick fog, the orders remained the same.

Blackline Simulations airsoft milsim Ontario Canada planning session maps
Planning underway for Exercise SHRIKE

Command broke down the units to conduct a detailed planning session that saw individuals work through a series of contingency plans, route planning, and actions on the objective. The plans generated by HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE established an infiltration route that took them through three possible OP sites, with the intent of halting at each one to conduct a search for suitable hide locations. They also designated two separate Exfiltration rally points, the use of which would depend on proximity to the final hide site.

Blackline Simulations airsoft milsim Ontario Canada planning notepads maps
Planning session for Exercise SHRIKE milsim

Also highlighted were a set of mission abort criteria. Several were based on real-world scenarios such as injuries requiring medical attention, and other simulation-based criteria such as critical casualties or a compromise of the hide. HANDBRAKE would take the lead of the unit including navigation and danger area crossings, while MAINLINE would conduct the majority of the hide reconnaissance searches.



HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE step off from the infiltration point at 17T NJ 6767 2965. Visibility is compromised due to increased fog and is limited to approximately 400m.


Units arrive at Waypoint 02; their first major obstacle and entry into the AO. MAINLINE establishes security while HANDBRAKE 04 and 03 cross the rail line and investigate the destination. When clear, MAINLINE element was called across, followed by HANDBRAKE 06 and 05. The obstacle was crossed without incident and units were on route to FRV 02 by 1408h.

Blackline Simulations airsoft milsim Ontario Canada participants cross railway multicam
Exercise SHRIKE participants crossing the railway


Units arrive near the vicinity of FRV01 at grid 17T NJ 6822 2961. HANDBRAKE establishes a secure perimeter while MAINLINE detaches from the unit with HANDBRAKE 04 and conducts a search for possible OP sites. MAINLINE returns with negative result and no contact. Units depart for FRV02.


Units arrive near vicinity of FRV02 at grid 17T NJ 6805 2946. Again, HANDBRAKE establishes security while MAINLINE and an individual from HANDBRAKE detach to locate possible hide sites overlooking the objective. The search of the area ends at 1536h with negative results for a hide site and no enemy contact. Elements depart for FRV03.


Units arrive near the vicinity of FRV03 at grid 17T NJ 6805 2910. HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE identify several structures and conduct a search of the area for enemy units that ends with a negative result. HANDBRAKE establishes security and MAINLINE detaches with an individual from HANDBRAKE.

Units return with a possible hide location. HANDBRAKE 06 and MAINLINE 06, along with HANDBRAKE 03 move to the site at 17T NJ 6799 2903. The site consists of a flat wooded area bordering farm field at the top of the rise that slopes back towards the other units and separated from them by a boggy marsh. It overlooks a surface route that crosses the objective. The wooded area is dense and contains the remains of farm fencing which would allow sufficient concealment for an OP and an admin area. However, the fog has continued to increase and the objective is barely visible with magnified optics in daylight. It is determined that the site can not reliably observe the objective in darkness and with increasing fog cover.

HANDBRAKE 06 relays this to HANDBRAKE 05 and informs him to direct the unit to hydrate and eat while maintaining security while 06, 03, and MAINLINE 06 investigate other locations along the edge of the farm field. Within the hour, a suitable location is found and the units are brought to the chosen OP site.


HANDBRAKE reports a hide location has been selected and units have begun to create subsurface hides. Hide location is identified as 17T NJ 67926 29265. At this point, semi-regular check-ins begin while construction continues.


HANDBRAKE and MAINLINE begin their primary objective of rail line observation. A team of two individuals is assigned to conduct monitoring while remaining individuals excavate and distribute spoil in the farm field adjacent to the hides.



Personnel: 4

Activity: Security and Hide Construction

Casualties: 0

Equipment: Full sustainment load and hide building equipment

Supply: 90% food, 90% water, 100% ammunition