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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield 101 received this comment which promoted us to talk Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield as a Urban Survival Skill,..."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 (so no incriminating paper) and get a feel for the area..I look for choke points, ambush points (mine & theirs), and resources (such as stores, buildings, unsecured 1000 gal gas tanks, etc). I get the vibe, map mileage and the like...Since I live 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"
UrbanMan replies: PSYOP Soldier. Good points and appreciate your input. Visual Reconnaissance, without drawing attention to yourself, is the best way to familarize oneself with the terrain, rural or urban, and to Prep the Battlefield (IPB - a term I'm sure you'll understand) with information, that is once analyzed and exploited for your use, becomes useful intelligence.

Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefied is a term used in the military that defines the methodology employed to reduce uncertainties concerning the enemy, environment, and terrain for all types of operations. It is a continuous process that is used throughout all planned and executed operations.

IPB would be highly applicable in a collapse. In fact, in the American Apocalyse book series, the main characters assign one of the Survival Group members to be the Intelligence Officer (military acronym is S-2). You greatly incease th chances of failure when planning in an intelligence vaccuum.

Too many Intelligence operations focus on tht enemy (the threat) and will often not develop their information on the environment. The environment includes terrain, people-demographics and specifically for a societal-economic collapse this would mean locations of all commodities or equipment that you may be able to secure. These could include fuel sources, heavy equipment, material such as landscaping timbers (for hardening of defensive positions like stacking them inside your house), this list could be endless.

For Urban IPB, knowing who lived where; what they do for a living or what skills they have, and what resources and assets they may have is a must.

A good start would be to develop a list of things you want to know (a collection plan) based on the factors of terrain which are Observation and Fields of Fire; Key Terrain; Obstacles; Avenues of Approach; and, Cover and Concealment. How are they important? What do they mean to you? What would they mean to the enemy (threat)?

Having maps and imagery greatly enhances your planning and situational awareness. Keeping a set of these hard copy in case your computer and printer kick the bucket are a must. Using butcher block paper, or large cardboard from Office Depot is another good idea...and even laminating these maps and charts so you can write on them using a dry marker or a grease pencil will help greatly.

I use several programs to develop my situational maps of my urban location. Google Maps is a great program most people are familiar with. You can develop imagery and road maps from Google. Google Earth Pro is an enhanced program that is worth the cost to me, but I don't think it is absolutely necessary. Another free program is

However, a topographical map program is a necessity. I use National Geographic Topo and have personal copies of this software for all the States I plan on being in or Bugging Out to. There are other good mapping program, such as De Lorme, Falcon View, Arc GIS and others. But Nat Geo Topo is easy to easy and inexpensive, especially if you only need one State at $49.95 per State.

With Nat Geo Topo you can product 1:500,000 scale to 1:250,000 scale US Geological Service (USGS) maps for general planning.

However, what will be most useful to the Urban Survival Planner would be the 1:100,000 scale and 1:24,000 scale USGS maps that you can toggle to at the click of your mouse. These 1:24,000 scale maps are also called 7.5' Quadrangles by the USGS. Go here to check out National Geographic Maps:

I have several maps and imagery products printed on large format, 36 inch by 36 inch paper, for my Urban Area. I laminated these and can write on these with a Sharpie for permanent annotations or with a grease pencil (China Marker) for temporary information. Basically keeping a Situation Map of my area.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Urban Survival Preparation - Reader Comment on Survival Food received the following comment on Urban Survival Planning – Long Shelf Life Food,...."Anonymous said,…..I have a mix or short, near and long term food stuffs...Costco has a 5 gal bucket of 275 services of freeze dried food for 85.00…...I have a few, and am adding more. In addition, a couple cases of new MRE's, 2 cases of mainstay 3600 cal rations, these are for BOB bags, etc...We also have rice/beans, and are adding to the mix with canned meats, tuna, etc...I can load the car in 60 minutes and be out of Dodge, with approx 3-6 months worth of supplies, depending on how we ration and how generous we feel to others...Not a lot of investment either..."

UrbanMan replies: Roger on your food prep. I think six months is a minimum level to shoot for. In colder climates I would advise at least nine months. I think the idea is to get you through, at least, to the beginning of a growing season. I would never be happy with just six to nine months of food, but it is a reasonable goal for people new to Survival Preparation.

The Costco deal is pretty good. I have not yet gone to Costco, but have a couple of buddies who have. MRE’s are great but expensive. The Mainstay Bars are the ticket for BOB’s. I bought six cases of the 3 day Mainstay Emergency Rations (food bars). There are ten (10) per case. At less than $70 per case you have 10 days worth of food and you can easily extend that to 15 days. I have four of the 3 day Mainstay bars (12 days worth of food) in each of my BOB’s. I also have vacuumed packed nuts, and rice/beef bullion packets in each BOB.

I already did a product review of the Mainstay bars, but to re-cap each daily serving provides the following: 1,200 calories, 9 grams of Protein, 138 grams of Carbohydrates, 69 grams of Fat and a good amount of vitamins based on the RDA.

I like the fact they are compact; come vacuumed packed; don’t weigh much; and, fit well for storage in ammunition cans. Plus they are perfect for BOB’s and situations where you can’t get a stove going to build a cooking fire becuse it is either impractical or un-wise given the security situation. Plus they are not like other granola type bars and do not emit an order than will attract unwanted pests.

Click here for the product review I did on the Mainstay bars.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Urban Survival Preparation - The Death of the Dollar and Slide to Collapse

With the latest news about the Government monetizing the Debt, meaning printing more money to buy our own debt, because overseas creditors (primarily the Chinese) won't buy anymore - they think the U.S. is sliding into a collapse, the "why" to prepare is even more valid right now, than every before. This is a Hyper-Inflation scenario.

This is a long post, but necessary to read to understand the threat. Taken from the American Thinker and Fox News, this should explain the danger we are facing.

Nothing can save our financial system in the long run. It is doomed to collapse. This is inevitable, because our government controls and manages its very foundation -- the dollar.

The federal government began its takeover of the dollar in 1913 when it established the Federal Reserve Banking System. Prior to that, the dollar was a real store of value. In the period from 1783 to 1913, there was a long period of currency stability with virtually no inflation. If you saved one dollar in 1800, your great-grandchild could buy roughly the same amount of goods with the same dollar one century later.

In 1913, five dollars could get you the following:

15 pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of chuck roast, 3 pounds of round steak, 3 pounds of rice, 2 pounds each of cheese and bacon, and a pound each of butter and coffee ... two loaves of bread, 4 quarts of milk and a dozen eggs.

In 2010, five dollars barely gets you two pounds of cut chicken meat.

Since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the dollar has shed more than 90 percent of its value. The loss of value has been especially pronounced since 1971, when Richard Nixon took the dollar off the last vestiges of the gold standard. In that year, the dollar became a pure fiat currency, grounded in nothing but the whims of politicians and technocrats. The consequences have been disastrous. One thousand 1971 dollars would buy only $185 worth of goods today. This represents a loss of some 80 percent in purchasing power.

The dollar has already entered its terminal phase. The word "doom" is written across it for anyone with the eyes to see. Sad to say, there is no way to reverse its downward slide. With more than $13 trillion in public debt and some $100 trillion in unfunded mandates, our federal government has assumed far more obligations than it can ever make good on. Worse still, these figures are growing larger every year.

To put it bluntly, our federal government is flat-out bankrupt. Currency disintegration is always the unavoidable result of government bankruptcy. The dollar -- which has been weakening for many decades -- will at some point go into a sudden death spin.

The only question is when. It may happen six months from now or six years from now. The time frame is impossible to predict, but we can now be certain that happen it will. No one -- not even the federal government -- can escape the numbers. And the numbers are hideous. One hundred trillion-plus is a killer.

Under normal circumstances, the dollar would have collapsed already, given how impossibly indebted our government is. Some people are puzzled by its continued survival. They say this is just another sign that we live in a crazy world. But there is nothing crazy about it. The dollar is still alive because there is no ready alternative.

Doomed though it may be in the long term, big-time holders of U.S. dollars keep desperately hanging on because they have nowhere else to go. Where else could China invest its nearly one-trillion-dollar reserves? There is no easy option. So China keeps propping America's federal debt by purchasing Treasury notes and thus keeping the dollar afloat. It is a bad deal for China and a fortuitous one for the U.S., at least for the time being. But things cannot go on like this forever. Eventually, something will give in, and the whole gargantuan house of debt will come crashing down. When that happens, things will get ugly.

Some people may say this situation has been brought about by reckless fiscal and budgetary policies rather than by the government's management of the currency. But the ability of government to run deficits is directly tied to its power to manage money.

It is very difficult for politicians to run large deficits if the currency is anchored in something intrinsically real and valuable -- let's say gold. This is because when they post large budget shortfalls under a gold standard, people naturally ask them, "Where in the world are you going to get all the gold to pay for all this spending?" And since politicians do not know how to make gold, they are forced to admit: "We are going to get it from you, the people, of course. Where else could it come from?"

As you can imagine, such answers do not usually go well with the voting public. The restrictive quality that real money exerts on the profligacy of politicians is often referred to as "the golden handcuffs."

As it is now, most people do not think that they will have to pay for the spending incurred by their representatives in Congress. They think that deficits are something that does not concern them directly. They somehow assume that if the government needs more money, it can simply issue more bonds. But this way of living is unsustainable, and sooner or later, the inflow from abroad will stop. Then we will all pay for our government's extravagance by the disintegration of the currency.

This ain't just coming from the American Thinker. Fox News presented this news cast on a collapse.

Charles Biderman, Founder and CEO of TrimTabs Invesment Research, appears on Fox Business to give his view on the mounting economic problems that could trigger a collapse of the markets with Fox's Liz Claman

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on M-4/M-16 Ammunition received the following comment on the post Urban Survival Firearms - M4-M16 Tactical Lights: ….. “Anonymous said,…… Excellent post on Weapons lights. Thank you. Do you have some suggestions or recommendations on what type of ammunition I should stock for my Bushmaster M-4 carbine? What about the off brand stuff?”

UrbanMan replies: The bad thing about the .223 Remington round or the 5.56x45mm NATO round, which are not identical but virtually interchangeable, is the lack of stopping power when compared to other previous military calibers such as the .30-06 Springfield and the .308 Winchester (7.62c51mm NATO).

The great thing about the .223 Remington round, or the 5.56x45mm NATO round, is the lesser produced recoil and the lighter weight of the ammunition allowing you to carry more. Not to mention much cheaper when purchased over the counter or by mail order.

The really great thing about the .223 Remington round or the 5.56x45mm NATO round is the availability of that cartridge in various bullet weights and configurations to fine tune the applicability to your needs.

The baseline bullet is the 55 grain Full Metal Jacketed bullet loaded into the standard M193 (military designation), most of us just call it the 55 grain FMJ. Probably the cheapest round and also probably your all around cartridge. This bullet will penetrate ¼ inch mild steel.

The newer military cartridge is the 62 grain FMJ, which as a steel core, surrounded by lead then the copper jacket, called the SS109 by NATO or the M855 by the US Military. This cartridge is marked with a green tip. Sometimes it is called the 62 grain steel core penetrator. This is a good load to keep on hand because it penetrates better through harder substances, like shooting through car fenders or front ends to interdict the engine block.

A lot of agencies use a 64 grain lead tip round, sometimes called a PSP or Power Soft Point. This is a common hunting round for a .223 platform.

I don’t like a lead tip, in high heat the lead sloughs going into the chamber and adds to the dirt and function problems, especially with a non-piston gun.

The military snipers and law enforcement precision marksmen, when using a .223 platform, sometimes use the 77 grain Black Hills round. Probably my third choice in a .223 round.

There are many other bullet weights and configurations available including a Frangible round, with a bullet made from compressed metal that disintegrates upon impact but will penetrate bodies. This round is used for close in training on steel targets or operationally on steel structures like ships and oil platforms.

Surplus military red tip, or Tracer rounds, are normally used to mark positions (so your buddies know what you are shooting at). Tracers mark both ways however, letting the bad guys see where you are shooting from. A lot of boys will load 3 to 5 rounds of tracer in their magazines first, so when they see tracer coming out the barrel, they know they need to re-load.

I think you would be well outfitted with the standard 55 grain FMJ and maybe some 62 grain steel core FMJ. Standard American brands such as Remington, Federal or American Eagle, Winchester , etc.,…..maybe even PMC (which is actually South Korean I think) are your best bet. Commercial and Surplus military ammunition are available through places like Cheaper than Dirt – which is my favorite supplier. You should remember that your zero is going to change as you change from bullet configuration. It wouldn’t hurt to try different brands and see what shoots the best in your gun and, very important, what functions the best.

I have no experience with the off the wall brands, marketed under American or English names, such as Grizzly Bear, etc., that originate from the former Warsaw Pact countries. I’ve seen the big price differences and associate that with a performance and reliability difference as well. I could be wrong, but I stick with American manufacturers. I have used Wolf brand ammunition in AKM’s and other weapons chambered for the 7.62x39mm round and have experienced good results and good reliability. However, have not shot any Wolf brand .223 in my M-4’s.

Hope this helps. Stay safe and stay prepping. UrbanMan.