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Wednesday March 1, 2023


From October 14th to 16th, the last Operation Black Sky Event 2022 took place under the title "Monitoring" in Mahlwinkel in East Germany. This time we were there in person and had the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of what is still the biggest, toughest and most action-packed 24-hour MagFed event on German soil.

After a long break we are finally reporting on an OBS event again. The third and last Operation Black Sky event of 2022 took place last October under the title "Monitoring". For all those who do not know what exactly the OBS is, we would like to throw a few key data into the room at this point. The Operation Black Sky Events are among the toughest MagFed scenario games that can be experienced on German soil. There are usually two events per year, both of which are held in the eastern German town of Mahlwinkel. A 24-hour operational scenario is then run through on site without any breaks. There is a continuous storyline with many individual missions, side quests and always new challenges that should lead the participants to their personal limits. The OBS is really not for beginners and the run-of-the-mill weekend warrior. The organizers attach great importance to the fact that the event is always a real challenge even for experienced players and they always live up to their reputation. It is not without reason that the failure rate within 24 hours is sometimes 30% or more. This should not deter anyone from participating, but the organizers consciously point out these facts again and again and take great care in maintaining their image as one of the toughest paintball MagFed events. Hence the hint at this point, so that there is no disappointment among the newcomers in the end.

So much for our brief introduction to the OBS. But now we want to focus on last year's event. As the title "Monitoring" already suggests, this time the focus was on observation, collecting data and fast, targeted communication between the individual units. The two factions RED and BLUE each had a headquarters and a somewhat remote outpost from which they operated. Of course, while they were in the field completing the numerous mission objectives that arose throughout the day, the headquarters and outpost also had to be guarded and defended. Not an easy task, because the generals of the two teams had to pull together their forces at the scene of the action and at the same time have enough men in reserve to defend their own positions. The key to success here was the fast and precise transfer of information.

What may sound “simple” at first is in fact a real mammoth task when it comes to coordinating up to 200 men per team, which repeatedly pushed the generals and squad leaders to the limit. This time we even had the opportunity to follow parts of the game live ourselves. Like reporters in a war zone, we hiked through the forest behind the units with protective masks, high-vis vests and camera equipment and were thus right where the action was. Sometimes we were even a bit too close, because when RED team attacked BLUE team's headquarters late Saturday afternoon with a well-coordinated pincer movement, smoke bombs, hand grenades and paint balls ended up flying in our faces. Being so close to the action, we were not only able to capture extremely cool images for this post, but we now understand why active hearing protection has to be worn on the entire site for the 24 hours of the event. It was a rumble and we really didn't want to swap places with the guys in the blue HQ when they were overrun by a majority of red attackers. In order to get a better overview of the playing area, Martin, one of the organizers of the OBS, took us with him in his organization vehicle and we drove with him to the most important parts of the area, as well as the two HQs of the teams. This resulted in really interesting insights behind the scenes, which you usually don't get to see much as a player. For example, we were able to take a look at the BLUE team's command post. In a large military tent, several people in camouflage uniforms sat at screens and, bent over terrain maps, discussed further tactics and the procedure for the coming missions. Particularly interesting, each team has an interactive monitor with a terrain map of the field in their headquarters. All the information gathered by the individual squads on the field converges there. Not only are your own positions noted on the resulting map, but enemy movements are also analyzed in real time and the best routes and attack paths for future missions are planned in detail. The platoon commanders are then informed about the new situation and the mission objectives in the so-called “mission briefing”, so that they can then pass this on to their squads before they move out for the next mission. The entire process of the teams is very professional and every move is spot on, that's very impressive. So the game ran from Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. all day and all night. When the last attack squads formed for the big final mission the next morning, this time almost everything was already over. Team RED started a rapid race to catch up overnight and was able to win numerous important missions. At the start of the final mission on Sunday morning, they were already in the lead, which took some of the breath out of the “end game”. One or the other participant was already so exhausted from the exertion of the night that he was not sad that this OBS only lasted 23:30 hours instead of the whole 24 hours. Finally, all players met on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. for the traditional morning roll call to announce the winner of the “OBS 13 – Monitoring”. Congratulations to the winning team RED

It was a pleasure to be part of it again and we are already looking forward to the next Operation Black Sky event, which has already been announced and will take place in April 2023. The OBS 14 is titled "Lost". As usual, the organizers are shrouded in icy silence about the exact storyline, but this is the only way it will be a surprise and a challenging event again this time. Registration is already open. So if you feel like it and want to experience MagFed Paintball from its coolest, but also hardest side, you should not miss the OBS 14. Have fun and see you in Mahlwinkel…

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