The Duchy of Grand Fenwick Special Operations Brigade is an airsoft team that was originally founded in November of 2009.
The concept is based upon a fictitious unit from a ficticious country. Whilst it pays homage to NATO special operations units, the over-arching national context borrows from the books “The Mouse That Roared” and “The Prisoner of Zenda“.
By combining modern camouflage uniforms, individual equipment and authentic modern tactics and procedures within a ficticious (and humorous) setting, we aimed to create a team environment that would be both more relaxed and fun as well as different and unique.
The idea struck an immediate chord among a number of the “old hands” who were all getting a bit bored with the endless British and American SF impressions in the airsoft scene. The attraction of the Fenwick setting was that it enabled us to break the mould and be a bit more creative with our approach and load-outs, and also to be affect a more central European look as well. Most of the current members are also ex-military – so team members find it quite easy to slot in to a certain way of working, and share a certain warped, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour as well.
PURPOSE AND ROLES:
The overall purpose of the Special Operations Brigade (DGFSOB) is to provide the Duchy of Grand Fenwick with a highly-trained, flexible and rapidly-deployable unit capable of being projected over greater distances than conventional defence forces. The brigade is fully trained for insertion by land, by air or by maritime assets (by both overt and covert methods) and is fully trained and equipped to conduct operations from the moment of “boots on the ground”.
In particular, the unit is capable of performing the following roles and missions –
- tactical reconnaissance and observation
- intelligence and counter-intelligence operations
- strikes, raids, search-and-destroy missions
- interdiction and disruption operations
- dynamic recovery operations
- search-and-rescue missions
- stabilisation and evacuation missions
- personal protection operations
UNIFORMS AND INSIGNIA:
The Duchy of Grand Fenwick has had a long history of close relations with Great Britian, Germany and the United States – which has required some very deft diplomacy at times, such as when Great Britain and the United States were at war with each other, or when Great Britain and the United States were at war with Germany, and especially when Grand Fenwick was (technically) at war with the United States!
This diplomatic and military ménage à trois is perhaps most clearly seen in the rank structure of the Duchy’s armed forces. Overall it is similar to the American system, which should be no surprise as the American Continental Army’s rank structure was designed by a nephew of the 3rd Duke during the American War for Independence. The Fenwick rank structure was later slightly modified to be more “British” and in order to be different from the Americans.
The thrifty Fenwickians use German Bundeswehr rank insignia becuase they are easy to buy on the commercial market, and matches their other insignia and uniforms – which also tend to be German in origin. Such as the beret badge for the Special Operations Brigade – which is actually a Bundeswehr Leistungsabzeichen, worn on a Finnish Army OD Green beret.
However, when it comes to unit and individual qualification insignia the Fenwickians have developed their own – including the famous winged, fighting mouse insignia of the Special Operations Brigade.
As for uniforms, in 1995 the Duchy adopted a licensed version of German Flecktarn called FLECKPAT as their standard camouflage pattern for uniforms.
In the years since, the Fenwickians have developed, and adopted a “transitional seasons” version called FLECKPAT-W (“w” for winter). This pattern has been copied by the Chinese and used by their forces as the Type 03 Plateau camouflage – it is also known as Sinotarn or Tibet-tarn.
A ”snow” version of FLECKPAT has also been developed recently, and was commercially licensed to the German company TacGear. The style of combat uniform used by the Special Operations Brigade bears a close resemblance to the German KSK pattern – although the question of who’s came first is still a matter of barrack-room debate.
The most recent addition to the FLECKPAT family is an arid version for use on overseas deployments with international force. This new pattern variation also comes with a new uniform design which resembles the American ACU style.
In late 2010 the Ministry of Defence of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick announced that they have developed a new, advanced digital camouflage pattern called FENPAT that will be adopted as the standard pattern for the Special Operations Brigade in 2011/2012. The new pattern will also be available in “arid” and “snow” versions as well as the “woodland” version shown below. FENPAT camouflage is also being sold commercially by Hyde Definition Ltd. as “PenCott”.
PERSONAL EQUIPMENT AND WEAPONRY:
The Duchy of Grand Fenwick has used a variety of small arms since WWII – beginning with the G3 (FG3) as its first selective-fire battle rifle.
In 2002, at the time of discussions about the formation of the Special Operations Brigade, the US Army sent a consignment of M4 carbines (FM4) and M16 marksman rifles (FM16) as military aid. However, the M4s and M16s have not been popular with the independently-minded Fenwickians, and they have instead now universally adopted the proven, rugged and reliable HK G36 series (known locally as the FG36 series) as their 3rd generation small arms family.
In terms of section support weapons, the Fenwickians have again “played the field” and selected what they consider to be the best – although their FMG3M machine guns are beginning to get a bit long in the tooth…
For Personal Defence Weapons the Fenwickians have opted for the modern and compact B&T MP9 (known as the FS9PW locally) and the H&K P8 (known as the FP8PW locally).
When it comes to Individual Equipment, the Duchy’s Ministry of Defence decided that it would be too expensive and cumbersome to issue every soldier with a complete set of webgear in camouflage to match each of the uniform patterns. So, each soldier is issued with a set of webgear in OD Green only (members of the Special Operations Brigade also get issued a set in Desert Brown (what the Americans borrowed and call Coyote Brown).
Other personal equipment:
Members and Operations
At the present time, the exact number of soldiers in the Special Operations Brigade is a closely guarded secret. However, from the photos that have been released of the SOB on operations and in training, they appear to operate in 4 or 5 man teams at a basic unit level. Details of their recruitment and selection process have also not been publicly released.
The Duchy of Grand Fenwick
Special Operations Brigade
the fighting mice!