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A discussion on 'Bugging Out'

This topic contains 18 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of RonW farmer 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #46794
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    To be truly dangerous to your enemies, train at MVT.


    Let’s have a discussion today about ‘bugging out.’ This is in fact a huge topic and often discussed across the prepper-sphere. There are many aspects to this and a detailed discussion, including the debate about ‘to stay or to go’ is written up in ‘Contact! A Tactical manual for Post Collapse Survival.‘ The issues, pros, cons and mistakes around this are further illustrated in the collapse-novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises.

    Given the breadth of the topic, my plan today is to focus on the idea of bugging out on foot with a ‘never coming back’ mindset. Much has been discussed before about the problems of trying to survive in the woods, or of becoming a refugee, and I think that there are a number of issues with the idea of trying to bug out from your home base carrying a huge load on your back. So much so that I believe the idea of trying to bug out on foot with a huge load is foolhardy. Let us examine why.

    None of us know what form and extent a collapse, or event, will take. For the purposes of this post, let us assume that something serious has happened that has us staying in place at a location that is our home base, or retreat location. Thus, we have already gone through the decision making process of an initial ‘get home’ or ‘bug out’ to a retreat, or attempt to stay in the suburbs etc. Related to this is the idea of attempting to use whatever vehicles we have available for any sort of move that we make. We still do not know exactly what will befall us but our assumption here is that we are now at our prepared location and we are surviving in place. Thus, something will happen that will force us out of that location, and into a move on foot to escape. Let us assume for the purposes of this article that the threat displacing us is a determined gang of aggressors who are moving through the area cleaning out survivors. We cannot know the reality until we get there, but we can examine why planning to ruck out with a huge load on our backs is not a good idea.

    The basics of a defense of a home base is to attempt to have patrols and observation posts out that will give you early warning of enemy approach. To do this you need a trained team. This is something that many lack. Worst case, you do not have sufficient security in place and thus you will be taken by surprise. In this case, it may already be too late for you, and you may be fixed in place, to die there. If you are defending a house it is best to do so from outside of that house. You need to be able to maneuver on the enemy to disrupt their attack, and you should aim to not be fixed in place. Your ability to do that will depend on a function of whether or not you have a trained team, the element of surprise the enemy has, their tactical skill and numbers, and whether or not you were fixed in place by the initial surprise attack. One thing to seriously consider here is what will happen with your non-combatants. These are your protected personnel such as children and the elderly, and their guardians / close protection, such as (most likely) wives etc (who need to be trained, of course). Given sufficient warning, you could get these people out of the house and move them to an offset location where they could await the results of the fight. If the fight is lost, they could continue the bug out from this rally point ‘in the woods.’ If it is won, they could be collected to return.

    Alternatively, you could have a safe room in the house where you move people to as the fight goes on outside. However, if the fight is lost, they will be captured or killed. If you are taken by surprise, you may have no choice to to centralize non-combatants at a location inside the structure, simply because it is now too late to run. If you are caught unawares asleep in the house, a lot will depend on the skill and proximity of the enemy, and the terrain at and around your house. If the enemy has not set up the attack well, then you may have both time and space to bug out to a nearby rally point. However, you need to be sure that if they move out, for example, of the back door, that the enemy does not have that covered by fire, for example by an assault or support by fire group. Thus, there is a lot to be said for having a rehearsed tactical contingency plan, and to make efforts to not be taken by surprise.

    This raises the next point, that of family and non-combatants. Much is talked about bugging out with huge rucks. To where? You will need resupply at some point anyway, unless you have a specific place to go. And are we all single men doing this? Or a young fit couple? Who is carrying the rucks for the kids? You need to do the planning to move this beyond a survivalist fantasy.

    I have written much on the need to ensure that you do not carry too much gear, that you carry the right gear, to be able to effectively maneuver under enemy fire. You can find the rest of the links in this first link here: ‘Gear: The MVT Lite Fight Concept.‘ If you are bugging out on foot because you have been forced out, this may well be a break contact under enemy fire, then the last thing you want to do is carry too much gear. And, the rest of the group? And what if you have to carry kids at times? This also goes to the level of physical fitness you have, and ties back in to the use of vehicles, maybe UTV/ATV, as written in the linked articles on gear. You may actually have vehicles and gear stashed out at that rally point in case you need to bug out. Be sure that it falls under your security plan, and you have an alternative in case that is where the enemy comes from that day. You cannot assume an enemy will always be dumb and will come up your driveway. Do not underestimate the enemy, and try to think like they would, if they were conducting a raid on your house. For that, of course, you need to be tactically trained, to understand that process.

    Yes, it may simply be worst case time and you have just been forced out. If that happens however, what guarantee do you have that you will even be able to get all that gear? Yes, you must retain the flexibility of mind and option to ensure that you do not die in place, simply because all your eggs are in one basket, that pile of dried food and prepper supplies. But if you do bug out with that ruck, where to, and where is that resupply coming from once you eat the rations you packed?

    So let us look at a few planning options:

    1) It is true that where most of us live, we do not live in a wilderness vacuum. The more of a wilderness you live in, of course the less likely this will be to happen to you anyway. Suffice to say, there are hundreds of buildings and structures out there, and who knows what the situation with habitation will be if this sort of crisis is ongoing. Thus, there are shelter options if you conduct a prudent check / clearance of the place before walking up to it. Of course, this may even consist of a friendly neighbor option, that you planned a mutual bug-to plan with. This will help with the reality of the situation where you are not likely to be wearing 120lbs of gear, and will more likely be dressed in your Lite Fight Concept, having conducted a fighting withdrawal, or at least one in haste with sufficient warning of the approaching threat.

    2) Caches: a few points on these. This is a way of establishing supply on a planned evacuation route. You do of course need to ensure that they are put in places where they will still be there when you need them, and not controlled by others. So on what land? This can be problematic. Another way to look at this is to have close-in caches collocated at your primary and alternate close rally-points. This will allow those bugging out of the house in a hurry to equip, and fighters meeting up with them there before the bug-out to resupply with ammunition, food and water. This will help if the enemy had surprise and a caught you with your pants down. Such a proximity cache needs to be hidden but easily accessible. You could also use neighboring houses at sufficient distance, in a mutual bug-to support agreement if you had good relations with them in the collapse environment.

    3) Consider that you may not bug-out at all. You may simply bug-to a nearby rally point or neighbor, and then re-take the house. How this works exactly depends on the enemy and their intent. If it is a quick raid then they may be ransacking and leaving, or maybe staying a night and moving on. If you are out there at a rally point at sufficient distance to avoid any patrols they may put out, you can get eyes-on via an observation post and move back in. You may also decide to retake the house by force, which could take the form of a counter attack if you have sufficient trained personnel, or simply harassing by fire, depending on the enemy and what you think their reaction might be. You may not want them chasing you into the woods in large numbers. Alternatively, you could set up an ambush on the egress from your house, and kill them as they leave in their vehicles. Many options there. The key thing is what you are planning if you do move back into a ransacked house, maybe even burned down. This is where close-in caches would have utility to ensure the enemy does not get all your supplies. At this time you can assess the situation and decide whether to stay, or collect gear and equipment and then follow a bug-out plan.

    4) Vehicles: It makes sense to use vehicles any time you can, if you are tactically able. Even if you cannot use cars on roads due to the situation, any bug-out plan would be better if you could include some sort of all-terrain vehicles in it. Both for logistics and also the carriage of personnel.

    In summary here:

    • Be tactically trained, physically fit, with a team.
    • Do not plan to carry too much gear.
    • Ensure that you are not taken by surprise.
    • Ensure you are not fixed mentally or physically in place and do not die in place as a result.
    • Defend by maneuver outside of any building you are defending.
    • If you have to bug out, consider your options and plan in advance to avoid ending up in the woods for any more than a short period of time.
    • Consider the use of pre-positioning supplies, including options on all-terrain vehicles,  to support either an extraction, or a temporary stay out at a rally point before moving back into the house.
    • If there is no option other than to continue the bug out, by pre-positioning / caching you will have additional supplies, equipment and vehicles to support a more survivable bug-out.
    • You must plan for non-combatants such as children and the elderly and avoid thinking this is just a mans game with single guys bugging out into the woods to live there indefinitely.
    • If you have network in the areas via community, you may be able to establish a mutual support bug-to plan to temporarily move to the houses of others. This may also work to centralize at one location while an enemy threat is known to be in the area, for better defense of a single location.
    • Most of us do not live in true wilderness and there are many structures and resources out there that can be utilized for shelter and survival.

    One aspect that is not covered here, and is assumed but often overlooked, is the ability to gather information and make decisions under extreme pressure with imperfect knowledge. Prior planning, physical conditioning, and tactical training will help with this. You may well be exhausted and dehydrated after a fight where some of your people were killed or wounded. You need to be able to make rational decisions about the best course of action. Planing and pre-positioning will give you more options and make those decisions easier.

    I wrote about the issues surrounding decision-making here: ‘Making Decisions.


    For questions and discussion: MVT Forum.


    General Info / Links:

    #46795
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    Good read.

    On caching- I’ve tried to keep some things a little more accessible. Everyone wants the classic 6 or 8 inch PVC buried to China weapons cache. Having buried and retrieved a few of those over 30 years I can tell you they are a major PITA and not something you can do quietly or in a HURRY.

    Sometimes you need to get access to weapons and ammo QUICKLY. A pistol with a couple spare mags inside a little Pelican case put in a hole with just enough dirt to cover it can be retrieved quickly and a weapon in your hands in seconds, versus minutes or more likely HOURS.

    Yes conventional caches have their place, but quick retrieval caches have use also. If you’ve seen the movie Apocolypto, think about the young guy that escaped and is E and E’ing back to his village. What if he had a bow and arrows tucked in the hollow of a tree somewhere along the line? He could have turned the fight much faster.

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #46796
    Profile photo of Jake
    Weber
    Participant

    Great follow up to the “Bad Advice” post. You bring up a lot of great points for people to consider. I have a wife and three children that are under the age of 7. I’m not bugging out anywhere on foot unless there is no other option and the circumstance absolutely dictates it, which it may. And if I have to bug out, my primary concern is probably going to revolve around bringing enough comfort items for my children. I’m probably not going to have a lot of room left in my pack for extra supplies. So caching may be important to consider, as long as you’re cache is in the same direction you are bugging out. If I have to bug out my plan A involves a vehicle…until it doesn’t.

    My mom said I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. So I chose to be a man.

    #46807
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Have a friend who has a travel trailer at a locked storage facility ~ 5 miles from the house. Family has the code and for the gate and keys to the trailer, which is stocked with water, food, and shelter supplies. Less than a mile away from the trailer, is a climate-controlled secured storage facility where more food and water can be found along with ammunition and small arms and a family-size first aid kit. All of this is in a suburb of one of the top 20 populated cities is in the US.

    Just because you don’t live in the country or have acreage doesn’t mean caches can’t still be used.

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #46809
    Profile photo of RonW
    farmer
    Participant

    wheelse- your friend has an interesting idea. Hiding in plain sight.
    & they are not super expensive per month depending on size.

    RonW

    #46811
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    We advocated this for people that wanted to be “out of town” around Y2K just in case- put some stuff in a rural rental facility and find a nice place nearby for a family vacay for a few days.

    A lot of storage facilities are fairly well constructed- concrete block, metal roofs, lots of chain link around, clear perimeter for vehicle traffic etc.

    Definitely not a “Plan A” type approach, but a helluva lot better than trying to survive around 500,000 starving people in the city/suburbs.

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #46817
    Profile photo of Lineman
    Lineman
    Participant

    The bugging out needs to happen now instead of waiting until it all falls apart especially if you have a family… Most people are reactive and will always wait until they are forced too and by that time their odds of survival go way down so their bugout bags are just a false hope in my opinion…Now a bug to bag is a whole different matter and definitely should be kept with just enough to get you where you are going…

    #46820
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    The Forest Brothers (Latvia)….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5rQFp7FF9c

    Listen to the old woman (13 at the time), it will take a village…..

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #46834
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)
    hellokitty
    Participant

    Great video and supports what Max is saying.

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

    #46835
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    To be truly prepared requires training, planning, and logistics.

    Training:

    Every course MVT offers some multiple times. How to grow, prepare, and obtain food and water under a variety of conditions. Medical as advanced as you can get yourself. Maintenance of your home, vehicles, and equipment.

    Planning:

    For multiple situations. Stay in place, temporary retreat, permanent retreat.

    I don’t care where you live you need these options available, yes even if you moved to some “Preppers Paradise” where everyone in the County is a dedicated prepper with signed mutual aid agreements and the character to abide by them. You still need bug out options! If you don’t your not prepared.

    Logistics:

    To achieve above you will need supplies. If all of your supplies are sitting on shelves at home your not prepared! The classic “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies.

    A rough guideline if you plan to stay in place, then the bulk of your supplies will be on your property. Note: I said on your property, not in your basement or garage. Something like 25% of this should have easy access. The rest needs to be secured in multiple locations with a variety of methods.

    Think about it. Lets not even talk about “Post-Event,” most so called preppers have everything in one location. A house or outbuilding fire could destroy all their supplies. What if the “Event” happens between this fire and your insurance settlement? Your screwed!

    The rest of your supplies (remember I said bulk before) need to be dispersed to multiple quick cache trails and your secondary retreat (even if just a spot of land).

    All the above is a brief overview. I could write books on the various sections.

    It does demonstrate that very few people are prepared!

    Acknowledging your not ready and working towards it is fine.

    What is completely unacceptable is thinking your prepared when your just blowing smoke up your rear end!

    It’s really a journey vice a destination since there will always be something to add.

    How does this relate to Bugging Out?

    You need above to support a Bug Out attempt, otherwise it isn’t a bug out, it’s a refugee movement.

    …three children that are under the age of 7.

    This is something many don’t realistically prepare for.

    A few thoughts based on my experience.

    Addressing bugging out on foot with small children is a nightmare situation.

    As a survivalist from birth myself and father to boys and girls (fortunately all adults now). Moving small children, much less infant(s) is a difficult logistics endeavor.

    To do right would IMHO require one adult per child (younger more so, older less so) plus a security element.

    Even with active children under twelve years old, they can’t carry much and movement will be a fraction of most peoples guestimates.

    As someone who did “fun day hikes” to get data on realistic capabilities, something everyone should consider. Remember that even this data will not match “Post-Event” numbers, consider too how well behaved your children are to follow any semblance noise movement discipline.

    This limited daily movement will drastically increase the Food and Water requirements.

    Yes we are talking one of a parents worst case scenarios!

    Anyone with specific child preparation questions feel free to bring it up (here or start another Thread), many here have been there done that.

    Not talking “doom and gloom,” just realism.

    #46852
    Profile photo of Rowland
    Rowland
    Participant

    I became a “prepper” by accident. I was looking for books on minimalist camping and found one of Rawles’ books. I have always thought the bugging out was one of the strangest ideas. It sounds like bare bones camping for a few days….AND THEN WHAT? So many folks talk about bugging out, but not their destination. Answers include “national forest”, “place I know”, “cousin’s farm” etc, but no actual plan for when you get there. I have NO plans to bug out on foot with the wife and kids. My 3 are under 4! We do have plans for vehicle movement if needed, but we aren’t walking anywhere. And most “preppers” aren’t either, they (and their packs) weigh too much. Most folks talk about bug out like it’s plan B or C….it needs to be plan Z.

    I think realistically Lineman is right. The “bug out” needs to happen now. Get to a place of safety now. For my family, if we’re not safe where we are….there’s no walking to it.

    Many of us are hunting mice while lions devour the land. -Leonard Ravenhill

    #46877
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    My 3 are under 4!

    I have been in this exact situation and added more before they were much older. Fortunately children are always growing so it isn’t such a vulnerable condition forever.

    This is going to seem harsh, but is not intended to insult.

    I have NO plans to bug out on foot with the wife and kids.

    So under specific circumstances you have decided it is acceptable for your family to die rather than attempting something deemed too difficult?

    We do have plans for vehicle movement if needed, but we aren’t walking anywhere.

    So if the vehicles are rendered immobile or become that way in route there is no redundant plan?

    This was not an acceptable answer for me in regards to my children when they were young.

    I really hope it works out that you never need to leave your primary retreat.

    #46896
    Profile photo of Lineman
    Lineman
    Participant

    Hey Rowland if you aren’t already squared away with a retreat of your own there is always room for good people where I am located…

    #46927
    Profile photo of Rowland
    Rowland
    Participant

    Lineman, I’m fairly good. We have a family retreat to go to. And we spend a fair amount of time there already.

    And, Joe, it is harsh…not your words, but the reality of it. If I’m walking with 3 kids and gear…that’s harsh! I’m not saying I wouldn’t do something in that situation, I would. I also have other plans before that for my limited time/energy/effort/(and especially limited)finances.

    My general point is that bugging out will be a lot different than most are planning for. And while me and my backpack could make quite a living for quite a while…..there’s no doing with the family just yet. Shoot, the littlest guy is only a month old! He ain’t walking no where. I guess I’m saying it’s just so far down the list I haven’t gotten to it very much.

    Many of us are hunting mice while lions devour the land. -Leonard Ravenhill

    #53562
    Profile photo of RobM
    RobM
    Participant

    Definitely some good points brought up here- not to mention humbling. To genuinely consider living in a world like that would suck. But as some others mentioned above, you have to prepare now. Use your gear now…the new in the box (name the item) that you’ve never used, never opened from the box but watched a video on it does not make you an expert on it and you won’t be able to use it and be proficient when the situation arises.

    I mentioned humbled…as some know I am new to the forums and there is indeed great information on here. Over the last year I started to recognize that my preparedness, although good is nowhere close to where it needs to be. The areas that I’m lacking in, to name a few, and way ahead of most (not having children at the moment) is the preparedness of my wife and not having a team.

    Starting with my wife, a truly amazing woman. She is a nurse and so she does bring some medical skills to the table. She also lets me buy what we need to buy, train and encourages the “prepared” mindset; not just with gear but the physical fitness mindset, the tactical mindset, the defensive mindset, etc. The humbling thought is that although I don’t have a great deal of time invested in living without electricity, running water or power I do have more than most. Getting to my point, I was on my way home from work yesterday and very close to my house to receive a call from my wife saying, “we have no power”. I thought that was odd but not terribly uncommon. No sooner than making a turn near the neighborhood did I see police, power company trucks, emergency vehicles and a tow truck…someone hit a pole. Once home, my wife was wondering how she’s going to get ready for her night shift. Not delving deeper into the details of the next couple of hours, she had hot coffee, plenty of light to do her make up, a battery bank charging her cell phone (from simple preparedness items)…I embraced the no power and rather enjoyed it. So I had mentioned no kids, but my wife…in a grid down scenario I think she’s going to have a hard time dealing with that issue. Just like many kids will, just like I will. It’s a hard life style to live in. I think that most of us take for granted flipping that light switch on everyday and don’t realize the vulnerability of living without it. The same goes for heat/AC, refrigeration, the list goes on. No matter how mentally prepared one is it will only add to the stress of the situation.

    I recently took RS+CTT in November and stayed in the bunkhouse. I froze my tail off but used the experience to better myself and test my gear. My buddy and I turned into the joke of the class every morning but I rather enjoyed the experience having only gained more experience in that area.

    In regards to the team aspect, it’s very hard to find like-minded individuals that are willing to put the work in, to actually train and better themselves. It’s also hard to find people that aren’t the crazy, hoarder prepper types that are overweight and think they’ll fight off anyone and every threat imaginable from the comfort of inside of their home. But to find people that are willing to invest in themselves, invest in proper gear, or heck even 30 days of food for your family members is difficult. I’ve been working towards building a small team and vetting like minded individuals. I hate to say that I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. So if something were to happen, after much thought I believe the best thing for me (my family) to do is to lay low, defend the house if necessary and stay home during the initial breakdown and then re-access the plan as a few days pass, again after another few days, re-access again until the decision or lack there of forces me and my wife to go. In the meantime, I try to get 1% better everyday (Kaizen Theory), weather that’s in knowledge, skills, physical fitness, or preparations. Anything that I do today to better myself/house/preparations/plans is better than where I was yesterday. Also, your home should be an ever growing, constantly improving defensible position. Just some thoughts.

    I’m sure that many have already thought about this but wanted to get people’s minds working.

    RS+CTT, HEAT 2

    #53624
    Profile photo of RobRoy
    RobRoy
    Participant

    Most of my baby boomer generation cohort would rather die than go without a hot shower, that includes my wife. Of course the survival instinct might over ride that, hopefully we will not have to see.

    My bugout plan is retirement, we have made some missteps but hopefully have corrected that. We almost bought in a big college town dominated by the college and now the drug gangs that supply the little dears. A little IPB would go a long way. So we corrected and now are looking seriously at a city that is basically Trump country.

    Ideally I want a little farm but in grid down and WROL that means tweakers overrun me within 24hours, so burbs it is I guess.

    #53638
    Profile photo of RonW
    farmer
    Participant

    Robroy wrote-

    “Ideally I want a little farm but in grid down and WROL that means tweakers overrun me within 24hours, so burbs it is I guess.”

    Not necessarily. See Max’s article on securing a single homestead. Also, if you are far enough away from the city, the tweakers may stay in the city where they are comfortable & feel safe. far enough away may be as little as 10-15 miles.

    RonW

    #53651
    Profile photo of RobRoy
    RobRoy
    Participant

    Who knows farmer, we live in fun house mirror times and each of us has a different angle towards what is to be seen.

    #53657
    Profile photo of RonW
    farmer
    Participant

    Who knows farmer, we live in fun house mirror times and each of us has a different angle towards what is to be seen.

    :good:

    RonW

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