Friday, November 15, 2013

December Training Dates

I am going to go ahead and open up December 6-8 for classes in the NW. I have had requests for T3C/Off-Grid Medicine, Combat Pistol, SUT and E&E. I won't be able to do them all this time so if you are interested in one, email me so I can lock down the appropriate subject and locale.

Pick your poison and push the go button....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Things that make you go Hmmmm...

Thought I would post these items up as their relevance, I believe, could be important...

Chinese Troops in US - Not A Conspiracy Theory

This is to coincide with the upcoming GridEx2 exercise being spearheaded by the fine folks over at DHS/FEMA.

Also worth noting....

Communications Down

Might want to spend some time on your commo plan.

Maybe get familiar with these items as well.....

The QBZ-95 and variants (top picture) is the standard issue assault rifle for the PLA. Manufactured by Norinco (remember, all those cheap import AK and M1A clones back in the 90's?) it fires the 5.8x42mm cartridge.....they also have a variant that fires the 5.56 NATO cartridge, the QBZ-97. Below that is the M99 anti-material rifle which fires a 12.7x108mm cartridge.....this also has a variant that fires the US .50BMG cartridge.

See a pattern here?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Understanding the Intelligence Cycle


A good read on understanding the Intelligence building cycle. The questions you need to ask yourself as you read this are:

1) How can an enemy use this process against me?

2) How can I use this process against an enemy?

3) How would I need to modify the process to make it a useful tool in my unit's current configuration?


 "The enemy has a reserve which can be used to counterattack into either Objective BOB or Objective JOHN.   The initial CCIR was "Where will the enemy counterattack with his reserve?".    During your IPB you might identify the details about that reserve (it's the 1-23 Tank Battalion, etc), but you won't know WHERE it will attack until it actually starts to move.  During the wargame the staff realizes that the effect of this enemy action is significant enough that it will require the commander to make a decision on the use of attack helicopters.   This  becomes a Decision Point, and the CCIR is transformed into the more specific PIR: "Will the 1-23 Tank Battalion counterattack into Objective BOB or JOHN (between 0830 and 1330 hours)?"  Note that in order to qualify as a PIR you need three items: 1) A Single Question concerning an enemy status;  2) A link to a Decision Point (High Payoff Targets are just specialized Decision Points);  3) A specific time interval that the Question is related to the Decision."


To focus
Which drives
Which produces
DPs and HPTs
Each requiring
Which become essential tasks for
Collectors and Analysts



CCIR= Commander's Critical Information Requirements
CUB= Common Understanding of the Battlefield
PIR= Priority Intelligence Requirements
FFIR= Friendly Force Information Requirements
EEFI= Essential Elements of Friendly Information
HPT= High Payoff Target
HVT= High Value Target
IPB= Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield
DP= Decision Point
IR= Intelligence Requirements
BDA= Battle Damage Assessment

 (H/T Neil Garra & S2Company)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Auxiliary Blues...

Continuation (part 3) of the ongoing "learning through fiction" series.

Part 1      Part 2

John shifted uncomfortably as he pulled the scratchy, surplus wool blanket to his side to plug an annoying draft. He forced his eyes closed and tried to focus on the vibrations the big locomotive was producing....anything to quiet his mind from replaying the events of the last twelve hours. The adrenaline had finally subsided, but while his endocrine system may have adjusted to his current situation, his brain refused to be so accommodating. He started to stand from his curled up position in the corner of the cab behind the engineer. He was not quite erect before the engineer growled at him to keep out of sight or he would kick him out right here and now. John sunk back down, not wishing to be ejected into a pine tree at 50 some odd miles an hour.

The events from hours earlier began their mental replay again - after he had squeezed out of the tiny cafĂ© bathroom window and found no storm-trooper waiting to engage him in the alley, he knew he could not go home again and was officially on the run. He dashed to the opposite end of the alley, took a deep breath and stepped casually into the midday shopping crowd crawling the downtown sidewalks. He knew he had little time to create distance before they cordoned off the whole area for blocks in each direction. The general public had grown all too accustomed to the “snap checkpoints” and “safety inspections” that used to only exist in some abstract faraway combat zone. Remembering his training, he hunched down in the crowd as he slipped on the sock hat and glasses he had in his pocket. His heart sank as he approached the end of the block and an MRAP squealed to a halt, troopers jumping out and beginning to erect barricades. His mind raced.....he side stepped into a drugstore to try to compose a plan. He headed into the back employee area as if seeking the bathroom. Looking around he spotted a makeshift break area and some lockers. There were a couple employee smocks hanging near the lockers, the type with the store logo and plastic name tag. John grabbed one and slipped it on without skipping a beat. At that moment the back service door opened and an employee pushed a hand-truck through overflowing with sundry items. John nodded at the preoccupied worker and stepped out the door finding the delivery truck still running.....could he really be this lucky? he thought. He pulled the cargo door shut, jumped in and stepped on the gas. His disguise may not have been great, but it was good enough to get him through the chaotic checkpoint still being established.

He knew he was on borrowed time driving the delivery truck, as it was surely being reported stolen at this very moment. That, coupled with the fact that all vehicles were mandated by the regime to contain a “black box” which included GPS tracking and, rumor had it, a remote kill switch. He took the next exit off the freeway and pulled into the long term parking at the regional airport. He navigated the truck into a space in the middle of the sea of parked vehicles, locked the keys inside and struck out for the adjacent road that bordered the airport. He managed to flag down a cab leaving the terminal area and directed the driver to his next stop. John had chose the airport for a couple reasons. First, he hoped it would cause confusion as to where he was headed next and how he was getting there. Second, regime helicopters and drones would have to arrange airspace deconfliction with the airport which would buy him some more precious time. The cab drivers were technically required by law to scan a passenger's ID before leaving the curb, but luckily, few actually bothered with it. A short fifteen minutes later, the cab dropped John off in front of a school playground just as the sun disappeared to the west. John handed him the last 20 from his pocket and headed north away from the cab. Once the cab was out of site John spun around and ran back to the south. A couple blocks later and his destination came into view. He pulled himself over the fence and started towards the back of the poorly lit cemetery. By the time he had located his cache point and dug it up with the aid of a jagged rock, it had grown quite dark out. A condition he was grateful for as he noticed the red and blue light reflecting off the tombstones and trees around him.....

John thought back to his first assignment as an auxiliary member. He had been tasked with mapping the location of every surveillance camera in a particular section of the city. It seemed at first a rather menial task, but he soon realized, the more he looked - the more cameras he found. He had no idea just how prevalent the devices had become. He was to make a note of each camera's location followed by a simple description.....
Covert or overt?
Fixed or motorized?
Did it depend on a supporting light source?
Suspected field of view and angle?
Private, commercial or government?
If he could not make an accurate assessment on one of the requested items, he would indicate as such. It was his duty to supply raw information. The resistance Intel folks would further assess and develop it into useful intelligence. If he was able to do so without compromising himself, he was to take a close up photo as well. Once he compiled the data, he would create an overlay on a city map that had been provided to him.
About a week after turning in his assignment via dead drop, he received new instructions. He was to take the newly compiled city-wide overlay, find the surveillance gaps and plot as many routes in, out and through the city as he could. He was to do this for vehicles as well as for foot traffic.

That evening, in the cold cemetery, as he pulled the map from his cache, he sincerely hoped he had done a thorough job. 

.....Don't underestimate the relevance of the Auxiliary....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rhodesians, Masada, von Trapp and ham-hocks...

In the last piece we read about the conditions the Rhodesian farmers had to exist under and some of the techniques they used to try and mitigate the dangers they faced. I would now like to look at another aspect of the homestead security problem, specifically, avoiding the siege scenario.

History has shown that sieges rarely end well for the people tucked inside the walls. From the stone fortress of Masada, to the massively fortified city of Sevastopol, to the wood framed building at Waco – history begs us to take note of the lessons.....and have a viable exit strategy on hand.

Dealing with small groups of bandits, looters and marauders in a SHTF scenario could in fact be a manageable problem dependent on your manpower, level of combat expertise and fortifications, but dealing with an antagonistic state level group (or even a well funded/equipped private entity) is a whole different animal as demonstrated in the three afore mentioned examples. What can make this especially difficult for us in the western culture (and the preparedness community in particular) is the psychological filter called normalcy bias that has been heavily institutionalized into us from childhood and endlessly reinforced via the media, our workplace and our social lives. Add to this situation your average prepper type, who has spent years and a small fortune accumulating all the gear and supplies they think they could ever need in their home or retreat. Getting this individual to leave their “stash” behind is going to be like trying to take a ham hock from a starving dog. They will convince themselves that somehow things will magically work out and they won't have to abandon their fortress....all evidence to the contrary. Concerned parties need to establish an escape and evade plan now, long before it is actually needed and accept the potentiality of a hasty exfil. The following can serve as a rough guideline:

1. Develop an early warning system.

This could vary from neighbors with FRS/GMRS/HAM radios, to remote CCTV cameras positioned on main avenues of approach. (You do know all the likely avenues of approach to your home don't you?). If you have early warning, then you can prepare accordingly – deciding on the proper defense or evasion plan based on the incoming threat and your current defensive capability. It goes without saying, the more standoff or distance you have between you and the first alert point the more time it buys you to make an assessment and execute your plan, but even standoff can be a double edged sword depending on where you live. If you live in an urban or suburban area with homes all around, you may not have any assurance that it is you or even anyone in your “tribe” that is being targeted. Leaving you waiting until the last minute to determine if you need to exit or not. This is a factor that should be addressed in your plan – which could equate to periodic false alarm/dry runs for your family, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

2. Don't have everything important in one place.

If you have a dozen firearms and 3000 pounds of food storage, there is no good reason to have it all consolidated at your house just begging to be collected by the local warlord or apparatchik . Establish safe houses and cache points off your immediate property with at least some basic essentials in them to keep you alive and kicking. At it's most rudimentary level a cache should be able to support you according to the rule-of-three's...

You can go - 3 minutes without air
                     3 hours without shelter
                     3 days without water
                     3 weeks without food
(I suppose we could add, 3 seconds without ammo in a gunfight)

A good mental exercise to help in this process is to visualize going for a jog. It is winter and lightly are wearing a jogging suit and running shoes, you have nothing else. You round the corner to your property only to see the local gestapo standing around your home as it burns to the ground. Your mind is immediately plunged into chaos.....what do you do? Having a plan at this point is the difference between positive action towards a predetermined LUP with cache or mentally freezing and doing something stupid and full of life ending bravado. Once you get to your LUP, you dig up your cache and check the inventory. Change of of shells....poncho liner....Max Velocity thermal shield.....collapsible flask....canteen cup......small pair of cheap binos....some mainstay bars.....iodine.....IFAK.....USB Linux disk...small flashlight...100 bucks in small bills.......pre made OTP and pencil. You examine your map under your camouflaged thermal shelter and plot a route to a safe house where you have some other items stored.....but first you sit tight and wait for the eye in the sky to finish it's survey.

3. Establish safe houses (think Auxillary).

This doesn't have to be as elaborate as hollyweird makes it out to be. Having a sympathetic acquaintance (or friend of a friend) who will store a bag for you and shelter you for a short period is not unrealistic for most people. Beware of using immediate family and well established friends for this purpose, as they will most likely be under surveillance if the "gov-gone-wild" folks are even remotely interested in catching you.

4. Establish cache points (as implied above).

Having a huge cache in your backyard doesn't do you a whole lot of good. You won't be able to get to it in a crisis and the badguys WILL find it. Do a map study (followed by walking the ground) and determine at least four avenues of escape. Once that is established, using good terrain analysis, pick some Laying Up Positions and/or cache points. How far you can safely move undetected after OPFOR knocks down your door is going to largely be a matter of your head start, your unique terrain and what air assets OPFOR is likely to bring to bear.....and what said air assets response time is (find out now). You and your family going “von Trapp” over the rolling South Dakota hills 30 minutes after contact is a sure way to get caught by the eye of Mordor. Get to know your terrain.

I recommend a tiered approach to caching:
Level One – Basic keep you alive items (think coffee can size)
Level Two – Basic plus, escape and evasion items, more ammo
Level Three- Basic plus, sustainment items & tools

Level one should be fairly universal for all folks, while two and three will vary depending on a focus of survival or resistance (though they don't have to be mutually exclusive of course).

In essence, this concept has much in common with the battle-drills practiced by any light infantry soldier. Trying to make a crucial decision at the moment of contact is a losing proposition, just as thinking you can win a siege from the inside is.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Home hardening in a real SHTF scenario...

Found via a commenter at Max's place ( original post HERE )

"After discussing in another thread the problems with the wooden building that are so often used elsewhere in the world I thought I would post my 2 cents on how its done in Africa at many farms I have visited and read about over the years.

Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

The following is a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows and Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick sand bag walls in front and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls and providing secured firing arc's. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.
South Africa also had such a system Called MARNET.

5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them.
There were usually 2 fences were placed about 50 m apart with a ditch dig close to the inner one - the inner fence was usually very high 10 feet with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4 meters away, the outer fence was lower and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs if there were disturbed.

the reason for the 2 fences and ditch was much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that you guys use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there causing little damage. and an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the mail house

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

the flood lighting often included hardened lighting, usually behind sand bags , reflectors were used to provide light from lights shining vertically upwards because lights are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked ... albeit with a few holes

6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.

9)Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood the provide false cover to intruders who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of buildings but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through there cover."

Those farmers learned some hard lessons....take notes.

(H/T to Max Velocity, Tea Party Guy and xizero)