The name Black Six originated as a nickname and started life as "The Black Group", "The Black Lot" and various other names for the persons unnamed within The X Project that specialised in night time observation and attack not forgetting the fact that black was the best colour for most of their operations. As time went on and other specialist units were formed, it was decided that they should all be numbered. The night observation and attack group then were called Black Six.
Clothing consists of commercially available ( army kit tends to have financial restraints put on it so quality suffers) thermals and soft rough outer layers, footwear that is high sided but acts like a trainer for fast running. A strange outcome of this is that a black suede boxer boot came out on top as a favourite. Headgear is wool hats covering the ears, black ski masks and black dull material covered bump helmets. Various types of gloves from wool complete to fingerless.
An observer post kit is normally for two persons although more have been present. A Pelicase with wheels and a pull-out handle will be deployed and taken as close as possible to the observation point. It contains several Project X made exclusive items. Padded, heated bivvi bags and the observation buggy. ( See the "Stingo" projects for more information on these). Naturally, rations and drinks and the means to heat these, cameras and monitors wired and wireless. Wireless cams can be dropped in place by the buggy and picked up for battery changes. Wired are good for non-detectability and long term deployment. Thermal imagers and light intensifiers are changed for the latest on a regular basis. Electronic listening devices wired and wireless.
This is a distraction buggy. It carries two flashbangs to a target and is set off via the remote. This was an early one without a camera so the operator had to be in line of sight.
This buggy has an HD camera and one distraction unit. It can be operated from anywhere the signal is not hampered and so operator can be hidden. It has a Fat Shark 3D goggles system.
Controller for Scout X4 Drone.
Scout X4 commercially available for about 1300.00p.
Weapons are four layer. Sniping rifle for the distance involved, something to "put metal in the air" like a GPMG or Minimi, a personal firearm based on your job in the team. Heavy barreled M16 / M4 for distance with suitable scope (Leupold Mk4 or S+B PMII) and M4 or M4 shortie with ACOG TA31 minimum and LLM 01 / PEQ 15 / PEQ 16 laser light system. A pistol of personal choice. A flare signalling system either Miniflare 10 pack or a 1" pistol. We still have a brass WWI 1" pistol in use and a WWII aluminium short barrelled RAF issue verey pistol !
M4 No3 fitted with AN/PEQ 2a IR laser, TA31 ACOG, Beta C-Mag, our own silencer with rings for M4 and SA80 and the FAB defence stock with raisable cheekpiece.
Another configuration M4 with EoTech 552 sight and grip pod. These are the LE Grip-pod as the M4s were donated by law enforcement.
This is a full ACOG USMC kit.
Our custom kit in stores for each M4. Slowly upgrading to ACOG TA31s from the old EoTech 552s.
We need AN/PEQ 15s or 16s ! This would incorporate the two devices currently on this M4.
FAB Defence stock. Great for our use as it is relatively cheap and has a recoil shock absorber (as many of us are old!) and raisable cheekpiece. Some of us have quick release slings and the stock has the mounting points for these built in.
This silencer is small and can be bought with locking rings for most flash hiders.
Standard ACOG TA31 closeup. Fitted with killflash.
Ordnance is any plastic explosives / No.6 blasting caps / Chinese made cheap wireless coded ignition system because we generally lose these or leave them ! The Project X "All Hell" diversion system. This is a box with a button at the OP, a wire running to a bespoke launcher. The launcher fires off bright lights, heavy maroons and lightweight coke pellets (normally used for office plant pots). The bright lights destroy night vision equipment and ruin the vision of the threat, loud explosions disrupt hearing capabilities and the maroons and the pellets make an intruder think he / she is being shot at but do not act like shrapnel. Can be set off with the wireless system in short term situations. Other variants are directional and can fire anything you like. Other items used have been 6 and 9 bang NICOs set on our own "all grenade" tripwire system. Impact grenades are new and very handy. These can be armed and will not go off until they hit something hard after throwing. Good for buildings etc but not good where theres mud / vegetation etc.
Radio systems vary considerably. If the area has cell coverage, the iPhones have proven best. To go with these we have produced an app that sends our box morse code via bluetooth. The box is a human interface for the app that operates by sending morse code via feel. Because our operatives need to have both ears uncovered and without anything cluttering or reducing the sound entering them, our system is a pocket sized TX / RX device that has a vibrating plunger protruding facing inwards against the body. This punches fast for a dot and hangs for a dash. You feel the code and can place this anywhere in an unused pocket. The outside has a button for sending code. The transmissions are encoded with the use of 55000 different beeps that sound completely different on a normal radio but are recoded as a dot or a dash at the receiver. The team can pre-determine which of the 55000 beeps can be a dot or a dash before the operation and the app must make sure all devices know the setup too. You soon know if it has not been set up as nothing makes sense. So as not to have to get all to learn morse code you just type on your phone the message and the app turns it into morse. The box is needed because constantly looking at an iPhone screen kills night viewing capabilities.
Two member team. One asleep and one observing.
Three member team. One asleep, one operating electronics and one observer.
Four member team. One asleep, one operating electronics one mobile intelligence gatherer and one static observer.
Note : The mobile intelligence gatherers job has been largely taken over with the deployment of observation buggies. So this person is usually shut down (so no light escapes) in a heated bivvi bag watching his screens. The screens are HD at the moment but will be 4K soon. Goggles have been tested and although these give a 3D image (like looking at a 55" HD plasma) tend to hand out eye fatigue after a few hours. So we now have a general passive observer and an active observer. But as most Police / Agency / Army ex or serving will know that no operation is the same / never goes to plan and that the words improvise, improve, adapt ring true.
As all Black Six operatives tend to favour the hours of darkness, OPs are set up mainly at night although a range of "road works" and "BT" tents and other goodies are available for day use. An "air quality" van makes a good OP with a telescopic mast as people do not question the various aerials and devices on the roof. A zoom camera or two (for 3D) has stuffed quite a few targets who just can't comprehend that someone can see into their windows on the 4th floor ! In extreme circumstances, a pistol can be mounted on the camera rig for a bit of target practice.
Targets are observed, photographed and tagged to determine numbers and routines. If at any time all persons leave a house the mode changes to one mobile observer on approaches and the rest go to target premises to gain information. Lock picking equipment issued as standard but only manual picks and no noisy lock guns but these are in the kit as standard in case. When the whole operation is worked out and evidence is good then two things are possible. All information, photos, video etc is handed to the requiring agency or if apprehension of targets is too expensive / dangerous for client agency then Black Six goes in. This takes lots of forms and changes by the minute and is different for all operations. See below for examples.
RELATIONSHIP WITH AUTHORITIES
Naturally, they are suspicious. We are completely independent from any Government backed authority due to the nature of The X Project but run alongside them. We most certainly do not claim to be better than any Government backed person or unit but these tend to be restrained by time and money. We already have the equipment and all our operatives are volunteers. This puts us in the position where we can spend much longer really working out a situation, get the whole picture and whole setup before pouncing and do not have any rules of engagement. Common sense prevails. Not being attached to anything Govt. has led us to a new area of expertise. Collaring bent Policemen, rogue Ministers and Judges, infiltration of "Toff" paedophile rings and even internal agency "hunches" where a colleague thinks his best workmate is doing something he shouldn't. We will also arrange for an operative to "get employed" at a clients business and ferret out the crime ring "E-Baying" his goods. Project X itself has a "liason" in most Govt. departments who warn us of possible trouble which mostly consists of dodgy officials, knowing they may one day be our target, do stuff to make it harder. But as the whole of Project X is cellular, and if they do get to us, the cell shuts down breaking off from Project X, the people disappear and reform making a new cell. 90% of Black Six operatives are Ex "something" or are sent to us to complete the field or practical part of their training. There are around 100 MPs kept informed of Project X activities as a whole, some are numbered associates, and these will be informed of any high profile stuff and can prevent interference from normal authorities. The most problems for us come from the average "Beat Bobby" that would not have been informed of the operation occuring on his patch !
RECENT OPERATION EXAMPLE
Operation "Profit Eater" No. 1062.
The warehouse plant mentioned above. This is where a business owner is suspecting foul play but does not have a clue where it is happening. This particular case is about one main operative named "Graham" for employment purposes. After breifing, he started by going around the pubs in the vicinity and met workers where he made out he was looking for work (long before the Govt. created the recession) where, naturally, they said pop along tomorrow. This he did and was met by the only person who knew his real identity being the boss. He would have been employed anyway but it looks more realistic if he was informed by someone in the pub and word would get around. The Boss was trying to understand why even under tight security, software titles and computers were vanishing. Graham was an East Ender in real life and looked like "Lemmy" from Motorhead. His accent was exactly the same as the Bren gun firer in the film Lock, stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Never thought of as agency material. Graham was shadowed by two other operatives from Black Six for safety purposes. Graham was also selling "fake videos, DVDs and contraband beer and fags from France" and was quickly and clearly seen as a black market salesman by work colleagues. After all this spadework it was not needed because as he was packing boxes destined for retail computer stores with the latest game titles at the time when he saw a chap "accidentally" knock a pile of four titles off his bench. There was no sound of them crashing to the floor and it even fooled Graham into thinking he had done this by accident. A subconscious switch went in Grahams brain of this anomaly which surfaced when Graham went to the loo and on the way back noticed a rubbish bin was placed exactly where the software boxes had fallen off. A few joke packed passes later and he noticed the boxes were still in the bin. At the end of the day the workers on the end bench emptied their bins. Graham noticed the possible target chatting and was the last to empty his bin although there were quite a few people about. Graham exited making sure he was behind the target who emptied his bin in a skip just outside the building but within the secure fence. Graham then went through a security gate into the car park and the target followed and after jovial goodbyes, left in a white Escort to which Graham clocked the registration. This was followed and only a mile down the road was seen parking in a pub car park. Graham drove past doubled around the back and was soon at the warehouse again. He told the boss and the other two Black Six operatives about the day and it was suggested the boxes were left in the skip. Graham was to go to the pub and act "normally" and the other two having been armed with the information that the skip was to be picked up at six in the morning, decided to stay and watch it. The security guards changed and an "old man" seemed to take over. This was "Glen" in the information pack. We had a fixed observer and a mobile observer walking up and down the road which had scattered shops and a KFC. It was quite busy and at about 9:30pm the target appeared at security and spoke to the guard. The guard opened the lorry gate and in came the Mini. The Mini was registered to a barmaid at the pub. The target got out, opened the bonnet and had a plastic bottle in his hand. He went around the skip, filled the bottle with water and from where our op was, looked as if he was filling the radiator with water from the bottle. He took some rubbish looking like paper and plastic bags from the Mini and dumped them in the skip, rummaged for a few seconds and put one of the bags back in the car which didn't look empty. He then reversed back through the lorry gate, talked to Glen for a few seconds and was gone. Two weeks went by and both weeks the skip was "emptied" of software every time there was a new security guard as these were one week on and one week off nights. The target appeared at different times, sometimes in a different car using various excuses. Car trouble, toilet, left something etc. The biggest item was an Atari 1040 STe personal computer worth about £140 at the time. All evidence was collated and given to the boss. Graham was announcing he had been offered a really good job and left the company at the end of a notice period. Subsequent phone calls said the target had been arrested and his house raided and items found.
NOTE : We have a photo of the haul and will post it here when found.
DRUG RELATED OPERATION.
Operation "Hilltop" No. 1981.
Operation "Hilltop" was to do with a drug gang dealing in Liverpool that had rented a small farm in North Wales and had turned a fairly new barn into a Hash growing centre. The lady of the house had died, the husband had gone to a nursing home after selling the dairy herd and the only son was in Afghanistan. His solicitor had arranged for the farm to be let as the dad was not ready to let go of it and was thinking he could go back there one day. The son was telephoned by his childhood friend called Carol who had gone to the farm after returning from a University for a holiday. She had driven up to the farm and was met by an angry "asian" looking boy who obviously could not speak English. She knew what "Go Away" meant in sign language. She said the usual cow smell was replaced by the whiff of hash which she knew well due to living at the University. She mentioned this during the phone conversation. Hash houses were fairly common at this time but nobody was looking for hash farms ! Via a series of contacts, we were tasked with finding out what was going on. We OPd on top of the hill at 4 am and were set up by 4:30 am. The team consisted of three. One MI6 trainee, one ex-SBS and an ex. Met Drugs Squad officer. Three totally different people. One thought he was James Bond, one was complaining about Falklands flashbacks and the other walking about acting like he was on a camping holiday. This nearly cost us the operation. We had two people who could sit tight for a week and one who wanted to go to Mc Donalds every half hour. The thermal imager revealed a very hot barn with heat escaping out of all possible places. The buggy was sent down to take a look and was chased by a dog so had to be switched into fast mode and brought back up the hill. This prompted a small figure to flash a torch around the buildings for 15 mins or so. The yard security light went out and the buggy was sent again but with its "hedgehog" coat on. This was wire spikes sticking out of a plastic shell. The buggy revealed what the Google Earth printout had already told us. One way in and no neighbours. The Operatives had already given themselves nicknames. SBS was "Fish", Drugs man was "Marley" from Bob Marley and MI6 trainee was "Bond". Fish went on patrol to establish boundaries. This was well away from the house and also showed if there were any humans likely to be in range of any stray bullets if there was a firefight and this was likely as Liverpool is quite a gun capital with drug related targets being the main users. Fish had put an HD camera right at the beginning of the approach road but this was far away so had to lay a cable and was slowly walking back up the hill and was so good at his job that he was only visible with the thermal. Cutting out minor events, people came and went, the boy was in and out of the barn and turfed off visitors at least once a day being farm salesmen and a milkman asking if they wanted to reinstate the milk delivery. This was picked up with one of the new solar microphones. On a Sunday, a car with three men in came up the drive and pipped the horn. They were joined by the boy with dog in arms and drove off again. The driveway camera confirmed 4 occupants. Mode B went into operation. Bond stayed on the driveway monitor and was instructed to inform us instantly anyone turned into the drive. Fish and Marley raced down to the house and were inside in seconds. A quick search revealed a S/S shotgun and a 9mm WWII pistol, a scanning radio probably to monitor Police activity, a CCTV monitor with 4 cameras which was still on and it was instantly noted where these were facing. There was no recording method. A swift look outside revealed fixed cameras which were not movable. Fish was establishing secondary hiding places as it was assessed that we would not make it back up the hill without being seen. Marley picked the barn lock and calculated the number of hash plants and how to destroy the lot if required. Marley then measured an amount of special weedkiller and added this to the watering system. This would stop them growing and kill them slowly. At this point a car was heard and was visible before we got the signal. The padlock was replaced and Fish called Marley to the secondary hiding place. This was just in time and would not have been if the occupants had been looking in the right direction. Good old Bond was cooking something and although we could not see anything, we could smell it which was what probably took away his attention for the few seconds it took for the car to get that little bit further up the drive. Luckily, all the new arrivals went into the house and were acting jovially with loud laughter. Fish and Marley then took the long route back to the OP. A second planted microphone revealed their plans. The plants would be harvested in about five days on the Friday and buyers would be ready in Liverpool late Friday night. A normal exchange of information between us had revealled useable materials in the barn. Fish made up a radio detonator with a power lead ending in two crocodile clips and was reminding Marley how to set this. It was then taped to a small block of commercial plastic explosives. Marley had noted petrol in jerrycans, plastic snap shut buckets and vehicle batteries in parallel that were storing power from 9 solar panels on the roof. The next opportunity arose and the two set off down the hill. Marley defeated the lock, filled a snap shut bucket with petrol, closed the lid, fixed the charge behind it and against the wall and applied the croc clips to the end battery. Marley had a battery tester with him but could see by the system that these were full and so armed the device. This did have its own battery but the solar charged batteries gave almost limitless receiver on time. He was out and met the dog face to face. There was no one in the house so the dog barked for a few minutes but was eager to make friends. Marley also had a few dog treats as standard in his kit and gave the dog one to make sure of their friendship. The dog was bored quickly and went inside via a dog flap. This made Fish jump as he was upstairs in the house. Fish had poured the powder out of the 9mm cartridges and rammed some old cloths down the barrels of the shotgun, added some nasty concoctions to the food supply that would make future diners wish they had never seen a toilet, blocked the drains with toilet rolls and an opportunity arose to wire the ballcock in the off position at the main water tank. All the things I used to do at a party except kidnap girls off the dancefloor and dump them into a bath full of cold water. Oh! and some tiles were removed from the roof just above the electricity meters. The two were back at camp and eating when four people returned. Three of them never stayed there during the day and left. The decision was made to "save" the boy and an anonymous call was made to social services to say a boy had been left "home alone" and gave the address. The noise and kicking of the boy being taken to a waiting car was a sight to behold so there was a Police presence also. RSPCA was also called and they duly turned up also and "rescued" the dog. Now it was time to destroy the crop. We dialled 999 and reported whisps of smoke coming from a barn and gave the address. On hearing the sirens coming up the drive, the charge was let off and this blew flaming petrol all over the crop but was not enough to destroy the barn which was put out in a few minutes anyway. The three clustered around the monitors and witnessed the chain of events which consisted of the fire brigade realizing there was hash present, ringing the Police. The Police arrived and the fire engine left. An incident van arrived and tape was put up. Fish had located the radio frequency of the attending Police and announced in a Police manner that the drug gang was approaching. This caused momentary chaos as vehicles were hidden and a call went out for a firearms unit and backup. Our driveway camera revealed the three members of the gang coming up the drive followed by a Police van and we were hoping this was a firearms unit. The firearms unit did not know the car was the gang and Fish responded by transmitting a message over Police airways suggesting he was in a helicopter and had followed the gang to the farm. This caused all hiding Police to look up ! All seemed to go well with a lot of shouting and people laying on the ground and it was over. We collected our gear as the guarding Police car was stationed away at the end of the drive and this made our exit easy and had to be done sharpish as there would probably be a search of the farm the next day when forensics rake the place over.