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Showing posts with label Urban Survival Home Defense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Urban Survival Home Defense. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Urban Survival Skills – OP/LP’s and Training your Survival Group

In previous posts on Urban Survival Home Defense and Preparation we briefly discussed Observation Posts/Listening Posts (OP/LPs) and the requirements for these positions to be in a place where they could observe, listen and report on any potential threat moving towards your Urban/Suburban or Safe location. 
Again, OP/LP’s should have a covered and concealed route from the Home or Base Camp to their position.  The OP/LP positions themselves should be covered and concealed positions to avoid detection from advancing threats.   And they should have a means of communications from their position to the home or Base Camp.  In keeping with PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency), multiple means of communications is necessary to ensure OP/LP’s can perform as you need them to, primarily reporting the presence of a Threat.  
A simple reporting format based on the Army SALUTE format will work for most any OP/LP’s in a survival scenario.  The SALUTE report format is:
S – Size (Size of group)
A – Activity (What the Threat is doing)
L – Location (where is the Threat – what direction and distance from the OP/LP)
U – Unit and/or Uniform (this refers to who the Threat is, if that can be determined, and how they are dressed)
T – Time (time of report)
E – Equipment (primarily what weapons and vehicles that the Threat is equipped with).    
The easiest type of OP/LP would be one or more located on or in the home or Base Camp, such as in a second story window or on the roof to enable the height or elevation necessary to view longer distance and see the threat coming at the earliest opportunity.  Communications from an integral OP/LP is much easier than from a remote OP/LP, plus it allows you keep your combat power on site and useable – which may be important for a small Survival Group.  Without any electronic communications means such as radios, landline field phone or electric or battery powered horns, an OP/LP at your home can use a pull string with a bell or even a series of tin cans filled with rocks can be activated for an alert. 
It is not simply a matter of selecting an OP/LP and telling them to report what they see.  You have to train them to use any observation device you have available such as binoculars, spotting scopes, night vision devices, etc. 
One of the best methods to train your Survival Group to perform as a viable member of an OP/LP team is through Observation Exercises. 
All members of the Survival Group should be able to use all common observation devices you have on hand.  Teach them scanning and searching techniques with these devices, both day and night.     
The first step in an Observation drill is to position the OP/LP members in the selected OP/LP position or a like position.  Have them draw a Sector Sketch of the area of responsibility for that post.  This trains them to develop sector sketches and sketching in general but also familiarizes them with the objects in their field of view or area of responsibility. 
Then, send them away from the OP/LP position, and emplace objects in the field of view or area of responsibility.  Such objects can be soda cans, tools, toys or anything else that is small and hard to see, but clearly visible from the OP/LP.
Bring back the OP/LP members and have them use their naked eyes and observation devices to try and find what is the different in their area of responsibility,…what stands out,…what doesn’t belong there.
They should be looking for shine, straight lines or patterns and also movement will help cue to them to the object or threat.   
When defending the Urban Home, you are going to be at a disadvantage already, not to make use of any advantage you can glean.   Knowing the terrain, emplacing OP/LP’s where they detect the threat at the maximum possible distance will all help your Urban Survival Home defense.     
You should have an emergency evacuation plan for the OP/LP, so in case they get compromised they can return safely to the Home or Base Camp.  This plan may include route to use, and, passwords or visual signals (colored or blinking lights) to identify themselves as friendly.   
Comments on Night Time Observation:
At night, especially at remote OP/LP’s, team members may have an enhanced sense of isolation.  This can manifest itself into seeing things that aren’t there or neglecting their duties to detect threats and give early warning.  Being forewarned of this may help you ensure your task organization or OP/LP team makeup can reduce this possibility. 
Also at night, the human eye sees differently.   The eye uses cells on the periphery of the eye, called rods, which creates a type of blind spot in the center of the eye. This can cause someone to stare at one spot and produce images of an object moving when it is not, or even cause the observer to miss the object.  Scanning techniques will help reduce this.  Lateral scanning by systemically, viewing at a slowly moving pace, from left to right, then right to left, or in a vertical “S” shaped pattern of bottom to top, top to bottom, and repeating itself until the observer has completed a scan through the entire area of responsibility.   

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - SF Base Camps Concepts I, for Home Defense

I have been getting e-mails, at, in reference to home defense. When I reply back or otherwise discuss some terminology and verbiage associated with defensive positions and base camp defense it confuses some people. So I thought I would list some selected concepts for Army Special Forces Base Camp Defense and explain what they mean or how we can use these concepts for Urban Survival Planning be it at your Urban home, transitional defense at temporary locations, or, defense at your final safe location.

BASE CAMP DEFENSE. The overall defense posture of a base camp is enhanced by continuous aggressive operations conducted by the base camp personnel. These are: Patrolling; Ambushes; Observation; Area intelligence nets; CA and PSYOP campaign plans; and, Use of ground surveillance radar and night observation devices.

Surviving in your Urban location during a collapse would probably NOT be enhanced by aggressive Patrolling or setting up Ambushes in your area. To do so may draw unwanted attention from well armed gangs. The exception would be if you had predictive information (intelligence) that a armed gang was going to attack your home or neighborhood then a harassing type of ambush on the gang may serve to demoralize them, diminish their fighting power and may make them re-think their attack and call it off.

Observation refers to having the ability to foresee armed gang approaches or other problems and give early warning to the main group. This is accomplished using Observation/Listening Posts (OP/LP’s) to observe, detect and report suspect activity or activity and events that may threaten your safety. You would want to set OP/LP’s as far away from your home or safe location as they can safely be or you can safely support them. Consider line of sight with natural avenues of approach to your home or safe location, consider covered and concealed routes from your home or safe location to the OP/LP’s or multiple OP/LP’s. You have to have a method, or multiple methods to communicate what the OP/LP’s sees or hears to the main camp. This may be simple FRS radios, a landline phone or field telephone system, and/or a horn to sound an alarm.

Area Intelligence Nets would refer to your ability to get information from outside sources. Could be refugees transiting the area, could be people you accept into your survival group or anybody and anything that gives you a picture of your outside environment. Information could and should be obtained from reconnaissance patrols outside and away from the urban/suburban home or safe location. We’ll do a post just on reconnaissance patrols, in the meantime just think how recon patrols can be conducted safely, using terrain and buildings to your advantage, in order to more with minimum chances of detection and safe routes back the main site.

CA and PSYOP pertain to Civil Affairs and Psychological operations. Civil Affairs are operations or actions that support rapport building with people around the area and PSYOPS are themes, ruses and disinformation that are used to your advantage, such as making your urban home or safe location appear a much harder target than it really is in order to deter potential attackers.

Ground Surveillance Radar and Night Observation Devices are probably much past the capabilities and resources of the average Urban Survivalist, unless you are dedicated to being prepared enough that you purchase Night Vision equipment to add to your Urban Survival gear and Equipment kit. A great idea is you can afford it, the cheaper end of the night vision devices (called NOD’s) would be generation II Russian stuff which isn’t really bad, just bad compared to the current U.S. generation III and III+ devices.

We continue this in greater detail with a SF Base Camps Concept II post in the near future. Be safe, be prepared.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Urban Survival Preparation - More on Home Defense

I received another question on face book (see Urban Man on Facebook) regarding my previous post on Home Defense Preparation (view it by clicking here). The question was concerning enhancing interior wall protection, especially around the windows which would be your home’s observation and firing ports, what would be some materials other than sand bags, sheet steel and heavy layers of plywood to enhance this protection.

The diagram I placed on the aforementioned Home Defense Preparation post showed protection on both sides of the window. I failed to note that protection underneath the window is a good idea also. But primarily outside the window frames as people in your survival group assigned to this window should be observing (and firing if need be) from outside the frames of the window. This is actually a concept derived from the Vietnam War called the DePuy fighting position (replaced the old foxhole), providing interlocking fields of observation and/or direct fire with small arms, with protection from frontal fire. The DePuy fighting position diagram is shown below.

The below diagram shows how multiple DePuy fighting positions provide multiple interlocking fields of observation and fire, and being mutually supporting, while providing frontal protection.

So basically, we are just applying the DePuy fighting position concept to your home. We also believe in a Defense in Depth concept. Fences, barriers, cleared fields of observation and fire in order to interdict attackers at the earliest opportunity and to slow any assault on your home. Cut down telephone poles, large rocks, T-posts, etc., driven into the ground at a sufficient distance from your house will help prevent vehicles being driven up to or into your home. This is like the large concrete, dirt filled planters that the government positions in front of their facilities – to deter car bombs.

Anyway, back to what you can do to harden or enhance protection for your interior walls. Sand Bags, are available from multiple sources on the internet, recommends the burlap bags as opposed to the newer nylon bags with rapidly degrade. In any case line these bags with plastic 13 gallon garbage bags to help reduce sand spillage. When filled each sand bag weight about 50 lbs. The advantage of sand bags is the contained and compressed sand provide good protection from small arms fire and are easily used to customize to your needs. The disadvantage is they are hard to stack high and remain stable.

Cut down rail road ties are easily stackable and provide great protection from small arms fire. A thin sheet of plywood can be added in order to nail or screw the railroad ties to to form a stable wall. You would cut down rail road ties to workable lengths. These are available at most landscaping places and some major home improvement stores.

Sheet steel is great, doesn’t take up much room, but is heavy. One quarter (1/4) inch sheet steel is common and easy to move in small packages, say 3 foot by 2 foot pieces, but hard to integrate into your interior protection unless you lean them up against the wall (not a bad idea). However, 5,56x45mm NATO rounds (or .223 Remington) even in the 55 gain ball configuration will penetrate ¼ inch steel. The idea is for the exterior wall of the house to slow the round allowing the sheet steel to stop the round. mentioned plywood because it is an easily available material. Many homeowners in Florida (Hurricane country) has pre-cut sections of ¾ inch plywood ready to be placed over their windows when hurricanes are heading their way. Plywood can be cut to configure around windows frames and can be nailed or screwed together in layers to provide better protection. However wood will just not have the bullet penetrating stopping power that the others materials do.

Even buckets filled with dirt or water and placed on the interior wall will provide some protection. With round buckets you’ll have several weak points where the buckets abut each other. I guess you do what you can do. The whole idea here is to harden your house for an asault from gangs or mobs. A successful defense may make these groups go elsewhere in search for an easier target.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Urban Survival Preparation – Home Defense Preparation Re-Visited

Since we just spent some time using a blackboard at work to illustrate some home defense concepts to Jim, we thought we would develop that impromptu discussion into a post re-visiting home defense.

Even if your plan or your Urban Survival Decision Making Matrix calls for an immediate withdrawal from your Urban home to a Rural Safe Location, you still need to be intimately familiar with your home in case it becomes a defensive position if mobs or organized gangs attempt to attack you and loot your home.

You need to identify what sectors of observation, and therefore sectors that can be covered or engaged with small arms fire that can be accessed from every window (fighting position) in your home. If you make a sketch, like the one below, you can determine what areas cannot be covered from a fighting position. These are called Dead Zones or Dead Areas.

If you have a two story home, you may be able to see past the Dead Zones or Dead Areas, however these areas that you cannot see into and therefore cover with small arms fire are potentially very dangerous to your security as they allow approach and access to your home people very well intended to doing your harm.

Typically, military units cover dead zone with indirect fire (mortars, artillery, etc.), anti-personnel mines and explosives, and obstacles. Sometimes surveillance equipment like seismic, magnetic or light beam breaking sensors are used.

The average Urban Survivalist won’t have those type of assets. And prohibited by law and just good common sense, will not delve into field expedient or home kitchen explosive or fire mixes other than to say there are a multitude of books available on-line where the average person can, at best, learn a little something, and at worst kill themselves and set their house on fire.

By and large the base method to protect these dead areas are going to be either firing positions outside the home to engage these dead zones, either just outside your home or from another home. (Hey, didn’t we talk abut Urban Survival being a team sport and that it’s take a group to survive?). OR, obstacles such as barbed wire, that force movement around the dead zones into areas covered by your fighting positions.

Assigned positions at windows are actually two assigned positions or two assigned areas of responsibility. The defender should be located off to the side of each window assigned to and covering the areas oblique to the window. At best this requires two defenders. The stupid thing to do is sit below the bottom of the window frame and observe/shoot over the top of the window sill. Instead stay off to the sides of the window edges a few feet back from the interior portion of the house’s exterior wall. See diagram below:

Even better if the interior side can be enhanced for protection with sand bags, steel sheeting, multiple layers of thick plywood, etc. The brown rectangles in the diagram below depict added material that enhance protection from direct fire from attackers.

If you are in such a location that provides a lot of open area from your house where you may be engaging armed bandits or organized and armed groups of looters at various distances, say beyond 100 yards, then a Range Card that allows defenders to remember what the distances are at known and recognizable locations could help you and your defending survival group more accurate engage attackers. Of course you need to be a little better trained on ballistic and how adjustment of your scope or iron sights on your firearms are used to ensure accurate engagement at these distances/locations. The diagram below depicts a Range Card.