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Secrets of the Kill House: The True Story Behind the Breach & Clear South Africa Maps

The first drop of the brand-new, GameClub-exclusive expansion for Breach & Clear throws commanders into a whole new set of missions in a completely new location: Johannesburg, South Africa. Soldiers are sent into a challenging new situation: a terrorist training facility that is patterned after real-world military training environments known as ‘kill houses’. The wise leader learns as much as possible about the enemy before rushing in, and we’re here to give you the scoop on kill houses. 

Kill Houses, alternatively known as ‘Shoot Houses’, are specialized training facilities used by the military, law enforcement, and other special forces to practice urban warfare situations. One of the most well-known kill houses is the British SAS’s Killing House. The Killing House is a specially constructed house at the SAS Headquarters in Herefordshire, UK. It’s a two-story structure with four rooms on each floor. At a glance, it looks like a normal house. It’s fully furnished, has pictures on the walls, and even has toilets. 

A closer look reveals some of the tricks that separate this house from your own humble abode. Its walls feature a special rubber coating that allows them to absorb bullets. Exhaust fans have been installed to help circulate the air, which tends to be filled with the smoke from gunfire. Each room features at least one metal target. Video cameras watch every room so that exercises can be monitored and reviewed. These gimmicks and more help the elite SAS forces to practice all kinds of situations from hostage rescues to terrorist elimination. 

The Killing House may not be the most comfortable place to rest your weary bones, but it has had many famous occupants during its decades, however temporarily: Prince Charles, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and even Meghan Markle have participated in training exercises at the storied facility. Indeed, most of the British Royal Family has some experience at the Killing House. It’s invaluable practice for both the soldiers and the “hostages”, even if it is for events no one hopes will ever come to pass. 

Most kill houses or shoot houses use a similar concept to the SAS Killing House. The specific designs vary, but the idea remains the same: to provide practical training for situations where soldiers may have to engage in close-quarters combat in urban locations. Aside from residential house designs, there are also kill houses that take the form of industrial buildings or even commercial properties like shopping malls or stores. They might be very simple and low-cost in their construction or incredibly detailed to the point of being virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. 

Training in kill houses generally seeks to prepare forces for how to gain access to such buildings and deal with threats in an efficient manner. Acting as a sort of indoor shooting range, it allows trainees to make use of full power service weapons in relatively safe conditions. Walls and floors are typically fortified to absorb bullets, and friendly targets are often used to simulate hostage or civilian scenarios. Concrete, ballistic rubber, or even plywood can be used in their construction, and targets are usually mannequins or simple paper silhouettes. These targets can suddenly pop up in unexpected locations, and are sometimes put on makeshift rails to simulate movement.

Kill houses are invaluable tools for training forces around the world, but in recent years they have also started to see use from recreational shooters who want to try their hand at a slightly different experience from the typical shooting range. Virtual kill houses have also started to gain traction. These use projectors and sensors to offer a more interactive experience to users, with more realistic targets capable of more life-like movement. In these kill houses, live ammunition is swapped out for wax bullets.

Though they take on many forms and purposes, kill houses are primarily used to train and prepare forces for dangerous situations where the slightest mistake can have lethal consequences. It goes without saying that any group that makes extensive use of kill houses is going to be much more efficient in close-quarters conflicts. You’ll find out just how much of a difference that makes when you face off against the terrorists in the new Johannesburg missions in the GameClub-exclusive Breach & Clear expansion. 


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