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 snowing.....you 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 clothes....map....compass....knife.....box 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.