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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Urban Survival Planning – Reconnaissance and Security Patrols

If the collapse hit and everything falls apart at the seams, and you are either held up in your Urban Home preparing to move to the your Safe Location, or you are on the move to your Safe Location, or, are at you Safe Location – what in the world does Reconnaissance and Security Patrols have to do with your Urban Survival?

Reconnaissance and Security Patrols are intended to find out what the threat’s capabilities and intentions are. They are used to gather information/intelligence concerning the area around your Urban Location or your Base Camp. It would be nice to know that a 300 person Motorcycle Group created an encampment six blocks from your house. Maybe a patrol to the nearest State highway could determine extent, if any, of motor vehicle traffic such as 18 wheelers on that roadway.

A Reconnaissance and Security Patrol may also be the best mechanism for placing Observation Post/Listening Posts (OP/LP’s) in place. As the Patrol moves throughout the area, the OP/LP team drops off, using the Patrol as cover, to make their way in a covered and concealed manner to their OP/LP.

A Reconnaissance Patrol is usually separate from a Security Patrol. The Reconnaissance Patrol is usually intended to go to observe and report on either a fixed site or a generally area.

Whereas a Security Patrol is intended to detect indicators that the threat has your Urban location or base camp under surveillance; indicators that the threat is preparing for an attack; indicators on refugees transiting the area.

An Urban Survival Group may also send out a patrol for a generally or specific procurement tasks like to collect brake light and backup light bulbs on vehicles; siphon fuel from stalled or dead vehicles; collect glass panes for a green house; or a thousand and one other tasks. No matter what the procurement tasks may be, the patrol should also be observant and collect information on what they see. They should be debriefed in a formal or semi-format process when they return in order to extract information they collected during their patrol.

Especially if you are a small Urban Survival Group, you may be pressing or utilizing women and teenagers into your patrols, not optimum, but it may be necessary.

The Patrol should have a plan; without burdening the reader's on a military style operations or patrol order format, the Urban Survivor would do okay to consider and use the 5 “W’s” as a minimum patrol plan:

Who (who’s in the patrol)

What (what the mission of the patrol is)

When (timeline for the patrol – when leaving, when coming back, when the base camp should consider the patrol compromised, lost, captured or dead

Where (where is the patrol going and what route(s), remember PACE, will the patrol take

Why (why is the patrol important enough to reduce combat power at the Urban Home or Base Camp in order to accomplish the patrol mission)

There should be standard procedures for the patrol that everyone knows well. Patrol inspection prior to the patrol moving out to ensure everyone has the required equipment, knows that day’s mission, is clothed and armed adequately and all shiny objects and noise makers taken off.

Common Arm and Hand signals should also be used to maintain control of the patrol and help maintain noise discipline. There should be an individual interval (distance) maintained between Patrol Members so that no two members present one target. Consider 5 to 20 meters as the high and low side interval suggestions.

Reaction drills for common events during the patrol need to be developed and rehearsed. Reaction drills for a sniper shooting at you, an attack from any direction, etc.

Contingency planning should be conducted to cover all imagined things that can go wrong. Here are common contingencies:

Where will the Urban Survivors go to if the base camp or the Urban home is attacked and over ran while the patrol is out of the base camp? This is called the Emergency Rally Point, should be at least a terrain feature away from the Urban Home or Base Camp, be somewhat defensible, and may be supported by a few small caches.

Where does the patrol exit and re-enter the Urban Home or Base Camp defensive perimeter?

What are the visual signal(s) and verbal challenge(s) and password(s) in order for the Urban Survivors defending the home to recognize the returning patrol as friendly?

Consider a duress word so that the other party will know that the first party is being forced by gun point or threats of death.

If the patrol hears a firefight at the Urban Home while they are on patrol, how should they return to the location and from which avenue or approach?

Running patrols from you Urban Home or Suburban/Rural Base Camp may not be possible if there are only 2 or 3 able bodied Survivor Group members. However, if you are in a Larger Urban Survivor Group, like a gated community or Neighborhood Watch program coming together, conducting Reconnaissance or Security Patrols as well as patrols to search, forage and procurement items will probably be a viable option if you follow the suggestions to have a Patrol Plan (5 W’s), train all members so they know the Standard Procedures and reaction drills.

Hope this helps, be safe.


  1. Urban Man, back in the day, we did 'dry runs," stealthy recons, etc. Our AO was in Eastern Europe, South and Central America's cities, and our recon was done via, foot, as tourists, bus, auto and scooter/motorcycle..Taking that experience, I have applied it to my neighborhood, and surrounding area...I drive around, various times of the day/evening, and at night sometimes, with a digital recorder to make comments(no incriminating paper) and get a feel for the area..I look for choke points, ambush points, (mine & theirs) resources (stores, buildings, etc.. unsecured 1000 gal gas tanks, etc.) I get the vibe, map mileage and the like...Since Ilive in an Urban setting, i need to do this in addition to my normal neighborhood patrols/recons (dog walks)..No one is the wiser and i have lots of data to draw from...just a thought...PSYOP Soldier

    1. dig it. i have always been a fan of know your weaknesses, choke points, an resources. good take to heart know how there Anonymous

  2. I live in Arizona and will be here another three years. If/when SHTF, I plan to be prepared. Got a decent amount of stuff and will be fairly good soon. However, my buddy has family on the east coast which would be a good getaway, but that distance seems rather daunting in most situations. I guess you never know what the situation at hand will be, but I'm trying to figure out do I invest in the more costly items for survival such as a $1,000 generator, etc., or sort of do what I gotta do for 3-6 month span and then take it from there? Living in the city is the worst part. I think that is what my biggest concern is. Aside from gun and ammo, there's not a whole lot else one can do for safety. Any other ideas for safety? Thought about a camera for outside monitoring.