Operation Lion Claws XXI

DATES: May 27-29, 2022
LOCATION: George AFB in Victorville, CA

Memorial Day Weekend marked the 21st Operation Lion Claws. Once again held at George AFB in Victorville, CA, over 600 players and a dozen armored vehicles came together for the 3-day MilSim event. Participants were placed into 10-man squads and formed 5 squad platoons that resulted with 2 multi-platoon forces. Squad members could specialize in one of many roles, each with their own weapon limitations. These included a standard rifleman, a support LMG gunner, an explosives specialist, or a sniper. Each side were in good hands as they were led by a decorated Hall-of-Fame Ranger. The NATO Commanding Officer (CO) was retired Master Sergeant “Mad Max” Mullen, while the Russian Commanding Officer was retired Command Sergeant Major Mark Collazos. Between these two are decades of battlefield experience sure to help their team to victory.

Troops Making Progress in the Sweltering Heat

Festivities kicked off Friday night with the recently introduced nighttime Tactical Challenge. This LCTC pitted 8-man squads against a hidden opfor in a story driven battle. After briefing in a mobile transport, the squad is ambushed and must fight their way through enemy invested territory. Racing against the clock, each squad must survive as they escort their HVT (high value target), with the winner taking the title of this year’s Lion Claws XXI LCTC Champs.

Saturday Morning Briefing

As morning broke, it began the long day with over 7 straight hours of play awaiting the players. Hundreds gathered at their respective rally points in the square mile AO that is George AFB. At the strike of 0900 hrs, fighting commenced. Commanders established their base of operations, and executed their battle plans with many tools at their disposal. Unlike normal skirmish games, this weekend operated around the many missions provided and scattered across the map. A successful mission rewarded factions with vital scoring points, but also had the chance to award them with money caches. These crucial parcels could be used in bribing a mobile support howitzer, launching devastating airstrikes that could clear entire buildings, or exchanging for information on hidden intel and objectives. Any of these had the potential to shift the tides at will as well timed usage could provide the opening a squad needs for success.

Complete Map for Lion Claws XXI

Many of the major missions posed persistent obstacles that challenged each side to use cunning and strategy to complete. Below are a summary of the many objectives that could be offered at a moments notice:

  • Nuclear Warhead Acquisition: Russian troops must locate nuclear warhead components, which were hidden near the, what is now, established NATO Headquarters.
  • Diminish Enemy Infrastructure: One force has discovered the locations of strategic structures of the opposing force. They must then secure each location in order for an EOD Specialist to plant timed demo charges to destroy each point.
  • Acquire Buried Intel: Both forces are given the locations of buried black tubes containing the exact location of strategic material. Troops must excavate and return findings to their respective HQ.
  • CIA Station Siege: A Secret CIA facility has been compromised and has been taken by Russian forces. NATO Forces must retake the CIA facility, shred all classified documents, disconnect transmitting equipment, and escort the station chief and equipment to NATO HQ.
  • Prison Break: A high-ranking Russian Official- chained with an unmarked briefcase- has been captured by NATO Forces and is being held in a detention facility. Russian forces must capture the detention facility, free the high-ranking Separatist, and escort them back to Russian HQ.
  • Nuclear Imminence: A separatist leader plans to detonate a nuclear warhead at an annual festival, blaming NATO in the process. Each side must use their assigned EOD specialist to either arm or disarm the warhead.
  • Extra Missions: Throughout the weekend game control would drop various Missions to command, who would need to coordinate their troops accordingly. One of which includes being given a general location of a downed pilot, who needs to be located, secured, and extracted with all important gear from the plane. Another involved transplanting a squad far behind enemy lines, who must hold off enemy forces for an allotted time, or until friendly forces arrive.
Technicals Awaiting Deployment

As fierce at war can be, mother nature can be even more relentless. The weather became a growing factor as winds picked up throughout the weekend, with gusts reaching over 30 MPH. Never for the faint of heart, the most grizzled of players toughed it out to finish the weekend strong and end another great event. When it was all said and done, the Russian forces squeezed out a victory over NATO with one point.

Providing Cover Fire as Friendlies Assault Building

If you find yourself interested in participating in a future Lion Claws event, they occur all year and on both coasts. Be sure to follow Operation Lion Claws on their social media (@oplionclaws on Instagram) or contact them at admin@oplionclaws.com for more information. If you catch the G&G Armament booth, be sure to see what we brought on display and say hi. For more information on the men who led the forces into battle, check out the links below:

NATO CO:  Retired Ranger Master Sergeant "Mad Max" Mullen

RUSSIAN CO:  Retired Ranger Command Sergeant Major/Delta Force Mark Collazos