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Filed by Michael G. Shanks

Gilroy, CA
AAR: Christmas Hill - The First Trip

Christmas Hill in Gilroy, Ca. is a small square of land bordered by a road along one side and flat farm fields on the other three. Within this geographic postage stamp, the terrain rises into a small knoll. The high ground runs as a low ridge from the right corner of the road frontage and runs diagonally towards the center of the field. Rising slightly to a high point a little more than halfway across with the hillsides falling away gradually around the sides and slightly steep on the backside down to the level of the farm fields.

There’s an old wood and cinderblock building at the right rear corner of the field that looks as though it was bombed, shelled and fought over more than once.

With the exception of a small clump of trees and bushes along the right property border, there is not a great deal of brush cover. There is a scattering of individual trees, some of which are quite large and there are some artificial fortifications constructed out of brush, branches, tree limbs and anything that could be used in a hedgehog type of defense. There are also a number of rocky outcroppings and various dips and rolls in the ground that create some interesting breaks in the lines of sight. There’s even a couple of "fox-holes" here and there. This field is being great for short, fast paced squad action games.

When the Marauders arrived, the weather was pretty bad. The rain was pouring and the wind was freezing .In spite of the foul conditions, we still had a great turnout. The Santa Cruz Paintball Team showed up but decided the pizza shop in Gilroy was a better choice for the day. There was a good showing of independent players as well. In all there was close to thirty players there at one time or the other. Everyone went to work setting up their bivouacs and no sooner was the tarps up and combat gear being assembled than the question of whether Or not to play when such foul weather came up. Some folks were of the opinion that there was really no way to play under the prevailing conditions.

Predator called everyone around to take a vote and see who wanted to stay and play and who wanted to pull out. Amazingly, as we were counting hands, the rain let up and the field became quiet. Suddenly, the game was on!

Splitting the available players into two teams; Marauders Vs Everyone else, (Our favorite!) we prepared to hit the field….


Game 1
In Game One, the opposing force moved out to occupy the bombed out house. The objective of this game was for the Marauders to take the house. The Marauders split into two lines of attack. One assault team went over and around the right side of the hill, while the other assault team, consisting of Predator, Maj.D.Saster and Sandman, fought its way over and around the left side.

As they reached the crest of the hill, Predator came under immediate fire from a defender who was trying to reach the top of the hill. He was completely surprised at the sight of the attack force and was eliminated by combined fire from Sandman and Predator. By the time D.Saster got to the top of the hill, another defender was firing from the bottom of the hill behind a tree. Taking a position in one of the outcroppings of rocks, Predator returned fire. Ignoring some long-range area fire coming from the house, Maj.D.Saster got into another rocky position just above and behind Predator while Sandman moved to the left. When Predator left his position and moved to his flank, the opponent saw them moving down the hill. He tried to head them off by also shifting his position toward the left side of the field. As all this was taking place, Maj.D.Saster moved up to take Predators’ place and eventually charged down the hill to obtain a flank shot on our restless opponent who quickly found himself under fire from three different angles. This assault closed in towards the house where Predator was eliminated. Finally, after a prolonged shoot-out, Maj.D.Saster advanced on the house and quickly circled the building while firing into the doors and openings. This daring assault eliminated a couple of the defenders before Maj.D.Saster was hit and put out of the game. But by then the rest of the Marauder assault squads had moved in and were shooting through the front openings of the building to clear the house and win the game.



Game Two
In Game Two, the Marauders took the walk to occupy the house. Most of us defended from within the house with Wizard and another sniper posted in ambush positions outside. Wizard eliminated the first unsuspecting attacker which turned back the first attack. The rest of attack never appeared to be very well coordinated, and came in as a series of individual sniper actions. At one point, a push on the right flank of the house saw two opposition attackers work their way towards us using the trees to advance. There was a third attacker in the rocks on top of the knoll who was probably trying to provide some support fire for his associates. But the range was so far as to render him ineffective. We kept an eye on him; but where he was, he was not a threat.

A sudden volley of fire from four Marauder defenders eliminated the nearest attacker on the right and persuaded his partner to pull back. Predator was itching for a counter attack but was kept in check by the other team members. Wizard and his wingman saw an opportunity and ran around the side of the hill. Tony Tiger was on the corner of the building and asked Predator if he wanted to go too. With only minutes left in the game, the Marauders swarmed out of the house and counter-attacked up the hill to clear the last of the opposition and win the second game!

Game Three
Game Three was an elimination game. We employed a coin-toss to split everyone into two teams. After game three, several players packed it up and left. It was about twelve-thirty in the afternoon and the weather was showing no signs of improvement. A small handful of players stayed to get in another game.

As I said before, this is a great little field. Any Marauders who were not here should look forward to playing on Christmas Hill in the near future. Preferably when it is a bit warmer and not so wet.

See the photos and diagram   

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