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Drilling Down on the Concept of Group Defense in a Threat Environment

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    Profile photo of Max VelocityMax

    The purpose of this post is to look deeper into the concept of group defense in a high threat or collapse environment, by beginning the discussion and then throwing it open to cooperation. Many minds are greater than one. I will post here on the blog and copy over the the forum, and the intent is that the greater discussion will take place on the forum, even though comments will be open here on the blog.

    This is a hard one, for a number of reasons. Those reasons are the aspects which tend to be behind people’s assumptions for what they are planning for. I have said before that you cannot truly anticipate what is coming down the pike, but you can prepare for it by training the mind and body in the way of the warrior mindset, added to which you can purchase weapons, equipment and supplies and make preparations in a common sense manner, in order to anticipate likely preparation scenarios. But such is the complexity of this subject that I don’t even know where I am going with this post even as I sit here tapping away at the keyboard. What I am going to do is raise some points for discussion.

    The “collapse” – we literally don’t even know. At various points in time we ‘feel’, or assess (guess), that some things are more likely than others. For example, right now I would tell you that the most likely threat to civil society and the rule of law is the 2020 election, whichever way it goes, and the increasingly revolutionary intent and actions of groups such as the Justice Democrats, and the follow on effects of whichever way the election goes. But none of that may come to pass. It may all be fine just as other potential flash-points have been fine in the past, the country being fairly resilient to civil disorder. Maybe something else will come up. Maybe actual war or cyber attack, or maybe social unrest will lead to one or the other anyway? The point being we just don’t know.

    And this is really the point – that being that we do not know what the collapse will taste like. That leads to my main point – that of defense of group in a collapse situation. Many take the ‘prepper’ route of self-sufficiency and creating a static defensive location, preferably as hidden or remote as possible. That has many merits, but I can tell you that from a tactical standpoint, going static, if your position is identified by an enemy of sufficient threat and determination, will result in your annihilation. Add to that the fact that many people will talk all day about trenches and bunkers and all that, but probably lack the sufficient numbers to mount a defensive operation including the necessary surveillance and observation posts in outlying positions, plus effective security patrolling etc. Just being at a farmhouse with trenches is not going to cut it. Don’t get me wrong – we all have to live somewhere and making defensive preparations and fighting positions at your farmhouse, should the threat reach those sort of levels, is clearly a great idea. But have a plan B.

    Add to that the fact that most people are not in the situation where they can live remotely and have such preparations in place. We have to live our lives in the now, and most people live in closer proximity to others, including suburbia etc. Given that civil unrest can lead to a cascade of increasing threats and more severe circumstances, such as the grid failing, there is nothing necessarily wrong with having the defended farmhouse as an option, but things have to go through a lot of grades of severity before you are going to be hunkered down with a group in such a location. Also recall what I wrote above – if your position is identified, despite hiding in the boonies and using anonymity as much as you can (and I hope it works for you), once your position is discovered and they come for you with sufficient force and determination, you will die there in place.

    If we face a collapse that goes through various graduations of severity, it is not likely to immediately go from the one extreme of where we sit today, to the next where you are hunkered in a bunker. So we have to deal in the meantime with those shades of grey where life gets more risky but we are still trying to pay the bills. Add to that the clear fact that it is the absolute challenge of every warrior citizen to find others who follow the warrior mindset, have effective training and tactical capabilities (real, not imagined) and who can be trusted to form a group with. Most people out there simply do not make the grade of being under consideration for going into a group with. So even where people have the farmhouse, they mostly do not have a realistic defensive force. Yes, people may have ‘tribe’ but the worth of many of these either as a fighter, or even as a productive member of a self-sufficient community, is questionable in this day and age.

    Let us extrapolate my 2020 theory, not because I think it is correct, but as an example of a situation creating many grey areas. What if America still looks like it does today, but political violence is increased dramatically. Perhaps accompanied by all the attendant stupidity such as division by identity politics. You are, until another marker is reached, still going to work. Your wife is going to work in another car having dropped off the kids at school. You are going to the store. This is clearly concealed handgun and situational awareness time. Avoidance of places where the riots and gatherings happen. Will home invasions increase, attacks against identified ‘MAGA’ supporters? This is a very much a ‘South Africa’ situation with high levels of crime and increased home defense and travel security measures. You can add any number or graduations or 1001 scenarios here – the point being not to get bogged down in tactical arguments based off of specific assumptions, which may turn out to be false.

    If that lawlessness extrapolates and becomes more serious (it is of course all ‘serious’ if you are facing an attack in any circumstances) then we may be moving from ‘South Africa’ to ‘Rhodesia.’ Rhodesia is a great example of hardened farmhouses and vehicles, with horrific farm attacks, but still in a situation where you are not hunkered down, but still trying to go about your business in a high threat situation. At this point you are not hunkered in a bunker, but you have to be ready for extreme survival fighting if it comes to you. I use the Rhodesia example in terms of ‘farm net’ where radio communication may be used to call either security forces or neighboring farms to your aid in an attack, but this may also play out in your suburban neighborhood, if targeted for an attack. Maybe we could see ‘flash mobs’ but much more serious where raids are conducted on neighborhoods? Perhaps something along the lines of the troubles in Northern Ireland with sectarian attacks, or even as far as the Balkans?

    All these are situations where you are trying to go about your business and pay the bills. Yes, strategic relocation is going to happen, perhaps another factor that will exaggerate sectarian / political divides, I don’t really know, I’m just throwing it out there, surmising. But what it would mean is that you would need to ensure that you and your people are trained and taking self-defense very seriously. This is where you need to be routinely armed and able to fight your way to your battle gear in order to deal with serious aggression. Most people, suburbanites, those who work, unless retired and wealthy, are not hunkered in a bunker at this point.

    What adds to potential complications is the potential for those who are hell-bent on ‘fundamentally transforming’ America into something other than the Constitutional Republic. This is where we see (more) unconstitutional laws and taxation coming down the pike, this is where the 2A is fatally attacked. This would be the time when Patriots and those who have sworn (and will uphold) their Oaths to the Constitution are pitted against those in Law Enforcement who would follow unlawful orders to attack citizens for such purposes as confiscating weapons, taking unreasonable taxes, etc. This is also a situation where we are not in a ‘lights out’ collapse but the country would be teetering on the edge of total lawlessness. Notice that I don’t say ‘Civil War’ because I have no idea what this even means in modern America. I can see political and social upheavals and an orgy of violence, but I don’t yet see organized / geographical sides fighting each other. A note on this: I constantly get perplexed when I see people talking about shooting people in a civil war, and I wonder: Who? Who are you going to shoot? Obvious aggressors who are attacking your and yours is one thing, but other than that? What are your rules of engagement? Democrats? Crazy Aunt Suzy who voted for Hillary and likes the idea of medicare for all? It’s all a little nuts. (That’s when I want to have that farm to go to and sit in my bunker while the stupidity rages around me).

    What I have essentially said above is that there is a world of grey between right now, and hunkered in a bunker. Those grey situations could throw a serious amount of threat in your direction, not only yours, but other members of your family (wife / kids) who may not be as well trained or ready as you. You are also likely to be, in most cases, an individual with a family, with other trained fighters that you know at varying distances from you. You are not likely to be a formed group at this point, assuming you can even find suitable people. I always tell people that the two hardest things to do in combat are 1) evacuate a casualty under fire, and 2) locate the enemy. Perhaps the biggest challenge for a trained and prepared warrior citizen is finding quality people to team up with? Not far from likely, I think?

    As a prepared individual, you are likely to have some amount of supplies for an emergency situation. We haven’t said yet that the trucks are no longer running to the distribution hubs, but if a chaos situation develops it is likely that at least short term shortages / brown / blackouts are going to occur. Those supplies are a lifeline but also a death sentence of they create too much of a static mentality. They may also be stored in a suburban home or slightly-rural property with a few acres. The ‘so what?’ of this is that you must be capable and prepared to move them. Not to be a refugee in the so often touted ‘bugging out’ scenario, but when you decide to move 20 miles out of suburbia to shack up with your tactical buddy who lives in an area less inclined to anti-MAGA rioting….etc. The implied task of that is being able to move a decent amount of gear and conduct convoy operations to get from A to B. Perhaps you are going to gather a group and fortify a suburban or sub-division neighborhood?

    The next point of this is that you may end up somewhere where you least expected, as the shit-storm blows up and violence rages, and you end up convoying out and shacking up in temporary (vacant) places, setting up temporary rest and defensive positions. This mobile approach, via necessity, means you lose the idea of having that perfect prepper bug-out location, but it also gives you flexibility and you are less likely to be fixed in place and reduced by a determined enemy. For those reading with nothing but assumptions hindering reading comprehension, I am not trying to say that this is a better idea – but it may be reality. I think the idea of a rural retreat has many advantages, one of them being a place to store a lot of supplies and also to perhaps be somewhat self-sufficient if a grey collapse turns into a full grid-down and there is no more food being supplied by truck.

    But the flip side of that same advantage provides a static mentality where you would never want to leave what you have built. American has not suffered domestic war since the 1860’s and thus I think there is a tendency to be a little spoiled in assumptions over what you have and what you think you can keep should the country go up in flames. Property rights will go by-the-by with gangs roaming the place – you can have property rights if you can physically defeat those trying to take it from you. If your rural retreat just happens to be in the path of (insert scenario here) who wants to take it from you, then run or die. Now, you are mobile. The tides of war are remorseless. It’s yours, if you can keep it.

    I have talked before about some of the crutches that people use when trying to justify poor tactical performance / ability. On of those is confusing ability in the performance of target shooting as a sport into a tactical capability. This appears closely tied in with the ‘porch sniper’ approach to home defense. Thus, so long as you have a capable precision shooter covering 360 degrees and all approaches, including dead ground / defilade, day and night, then you will be fine (sarc). Let me flip that: what if the enemy puts one, maybe two, capable sniper teams out in the woods at 1000 yards and starts picking you off, including the shooter you have stationed at the observation point? You have an identifiable position, but the enemy has 360 degrees to plan an approach and assault. Unless you are observing closely all the time, will you pick up that sniper as he stalks in at 1000? As mentioned above, do you have enough of a tactical force to man the required defensive rotation, including observation posts and security patrols? The purpose of those activities is to deter / detect such threats coming in at stand-off distances.

    In a situation where rule of law is degrading at various rates of speed, and you have various dispersed groups of trained friends or group members, there has to be a different approach to group security than simply planning to hunker at a bunker. That may be part of the plan, or an option, with members planning to conduct limited bug-outs when the situation gets serious enough and they decide to not go to work anymore. You may even have a plan where members plan to flexibly go to one or the others houses depending on where threats manifest themselves. In this discussion we have focused purely on defense of family in 1001 potential grey collapse situations. We have not discussed what it would entail should there be an identifiable enemy of the Constitution who we had to go and fight. That is a different story but would probably require removal of families to safe locations. How the fighters organized and functioned would depend purely on the style and type of enemy threat in whatever situation came to pass.

    Thus we have to move the conversation on from one dominated for the longest time by the ‘prepper gold standard bug-out location’ – not because it is wrong, or necessarily a bad idea, but it is likely impractical for many. It is also impractical in anything other than a full grid-down scenario, and does not take account of the necessity of many to be near places of work. A more dispersed standard with options for concentrating force / families at certain locations should it be needed, or alternatively calling for reinforcements / quick reaction force should one of the group be besieged at their home, is probably both more likely and more useful. This does not solve the problem of meeting and forming alliances with suitably trained and capable people, unless you select and go to training with specifically warrior-minded folks from established family / friend groups.

    Such grey scenarios will also mean you will have to be on your tactical game in terms of being able to operate across the tactical spectrum, such as tactical mobility, and various environments such as rural and urban including CQB – you have to get beyond the idea that you can squat in a trench or on your porch to defend to your property line with pure sharpshooting skill. You must be able to operate and fight in complex environments. You may end up fighting in and around homes and structures, conducting tactical movement between locations, conducting patrolling, operating in the woods and deserts, and going so far as to conduct raid and ambush against identified hostile elements threatening your safe areas. In order to pull this off you need trained teams, from buddy pair up to squad plus, you need tactical knowledge, leadership, communication and teamwork skills, and the ability to coordinate and gather information to process intelligence. If you are not prior military combat arms with some real, current training, you have to get that training from somewhere that offers a genuine small unit tactics curriculum. You are going to be both your family’s Personal Protection Detail (PSD) and your own tactical protection force.

    It is time to move the tactical conversation on from the tired cold war prepper / survivalist assumptions of a grid-down collapse and a remote rural self-sufficient retreat, to a more dynamic discussion of how to deal with threats in a grey collapse taking place around where we actually live and work today.

    Profile photo of DanielDaniel

    After stumbling and fumbling plenty I believe the people around us now are the people who will be with us during the “crisis”. No internet tribe, no highly trained like-minded warrior citizens within arms reach with prepped wives and obedient children. I see the same messy neighborhoods we live in now compressed by metric tons of pressure and stress, and that’s the reality I’m trying to figure out working with and in.

    Profile photo of Max VelocityMax

    no highly trained like-minded warrior citizens

    Oh, but all within reach at MVT. There are plenty of serious alumni who are highly trained by any reasonable military standard, more so in many cases, if we focus on the meat of conducting SUT and forget the rest of the extraneous military bullshit.

    It’s what MVT does.

    Profile photo of DanielDaniel

    no highly trained like-minded warrior citizens

    Oh, but all within reach at MVT. There are plenty of serious alumni who are highly trained by any reasonable military standard, more so in many cases, if we focus on the meat of conducting SUT and forget the rest of the extraneous military bullshit.

    It’s what MVT does.

    Truth! The problem goes back to your point of quality folks nearby. The menfolk in my neighborhood admire my weekly rucks while smoking a cigarette on the porch as I go by. My invites for them to join me…well, insert stock bitching here. That’s basic PT – we’re not even discussing the work needed for a competent buddy pair much less more than that. All things you’ve extensively pointed out in the past and what largely got me motivated to get off my duff.

    I wonder about about a crisis timeline “sweet spot” where things look bad but haven’t actually gotten there yet, so crash course learning can happen before the wave hits. Assuming the wives let them. :-)

    Profile photo of Barry Andersongatlinggun

    I used to think along the lines of “bugging out” to some undefined location with unidentified “tactical” companions, all the while dragging my family along for the ride. I guess it was a symptom of reading (and re-reading) to many Rawles’ type survival novels.

    Because no one knows what The Collapse will look like, or what will cause it, we can only react to events. And I think that puts us, initially, at a disadvantage. Sure preps before hand will soften the blow but we will still be reacting to events. In my Rawlesian bug out refugee delusions I used to wonder how I could second-guess events so as to “bug-out” before the golden horde took to the roads. This was an exercise in madness and I’m back to reacting to events as they unfold.

    My view now is that I will be where I am when the big event happens. I will have to use that as a starting point for what happens next.

    I have often thought about how to go about finding trustworthy people to “group-up” with pre-collapse. I think most groups will be formed after the fact, not before.

    For me, Max’s post put into words thoughts in my head that I couldn’t seem to organize. Thanks.

    When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence.

    CTT 08/15

    Profile photo of tangotango

    Add to that the clear fact that it is the absolute challenge RESPONSIBILITY of every warrior citizen to find others who follow the warrior mindset, have effective training and tactical capabilities (real, not imagined) and who can be trusted to form a group with

    Fixed it.

    There are MVT Alumni out here doing this.

    Baptême du feu
    L'appel du vide

    Profile photo of RobertRobert

    Yes none of us will know the timing or extent of SHTF.

    It may very well involve many “phases” each which require different actions.

    One phase it may be best to be hunkered down in an out of the way place.

    Later if the 4th Mongolian Horde is coming over the ridge, it may be worth ditching to survive.

    Sometimes these things may be temporary, have systems in place to help if/when you have to take the place back.

    One thing I can tell you from three decades doing this, very few people that tell you they will be there when the time comes will actually be there. And often the ones you did NOT expect are there. Out of “more than five less than 10” people I trained with regularly and knew most of my life, who were actively training and preparing, who had pre-positioned gear and supplies who stated every intention of “being there”, actually came in the run up to Y2K. Yeah it’s funny now, but no one REALLY knew then.

    What about 9/11? No one knew that morning. Most sat around and watched TV. That was your chance to leave if things were going to get worse, not watching pablum on the idiot box. How many got moving that day? 1 out of those numbers above. One guy was all motivated and said “we will leave once my wife gets home”. Late that night no responses from him- are you coming or not? Nope. Wife got home, told them all to shut up and calm down and they stayed.

    So you need to have multiple options, not just a few random guys you see/train with once or twice a year. The reality is they will most likely let you down.

    Mobile aspect? Not unless absolutely necessary. You expose yourself to more risks traveling around- ambush, disease, etc. How about with little kids? Not the perfect little angels? So they will be loud, wandering around, etc. All the more reason not to be mobile. There is no perfect answer without some disadvantage.

    Skills. Lots of shooters here, no doubt. But the reality is there will be a lot more to do that just shooting. Have some needed skills and be ready to work. If you can only pull a trigger guess what, you’ll be doing a lot of manual labor. Can’t drive the backhoe? Can PM the solar system? Never gardened before? OK, we need this fighting position dug here, here’s a shovel. Very narrow skill sets will get drug into that also- only so many times the cars will need a mechanic, what does the doc do when everyone is healthy? Specialize- yes hell yes, but have a good set of general skills also.

    Most of all, be ready to work and cooperate. This isn’t some BS survival show like “The Colony” where everyone sits around bitching and creating drama. People that aren’t team players need to be weeded out now ideally.

    People skills- do you know how to compromise and settle issues? Do you know how to spot and handle issues before they fester or do you just go along like nothing is wrong and hope for the best? Then later Frank shoots Bob cause he thinks Bob is trying to bang his wife, the reality is Frank knows his wife is a whoua and her just being nice to Bob made her go over the edge. How are your people’s family situations?

    Throw together after the fact with people you don’t know? Yikes… I guess since I’ve experienced groups for over 30 years of my life and know the drama, the issues, the personality conflicts between people who say they are serious about survival preparing AHEAD of time, I can’t even fathom the idea of throwing a kabobolation of ad hoc people together after the fact. It’s like a bad survival fiction story- gives me chills….
    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

    Profile photo of RobRoyRobRoy

    If the event went off today like total grid down and anarchy I literally would expect most baby boomers and older Gen X to literally go tits up, like dead.

    A slow roll with some hope might bring a few more worth saving. I only say that so no one thinks of overestimating the numbers going forward.

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    So Max opened up an outstanding piece for rational discussion in the MVT tradition of squashing fantasy assumptions with cold hard reality.

    Both Max and Robert threw out some points for consideration.

    So let’s discuss some real world solutions we can apply today given our current situation.

    …to a more dynamic discussion of how to deal with threats in a grey collapse taking place around where we actually live and work today.

    So what is the first step we all must do?

    Well? :scratch:


    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    So we all recognize we need Air, Water, Food, and Shelter to survive, I include Security in the Shelter category.

    Availability of these can very greatly depending on location.

    Interruption of one of more of these can be catastrophic, whether caused by man or nature.

    I know everyone has conducted their own IPB! (Stated in the most sarcastic manner possible.)

    A brief review…

    Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is a method for collecting, organizing, and processing intelligence. It is a framework for organizing information to help provide timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence to your group’s decision makers.

    The intent of IPB is to give the group information on the conditions within a area of operations, area of interest, and beyond that could affect the outcome of the group’s goal.

    Conditions to be identified include the relevant characteristics of the weather, terrain, population groups and subgroups, media, and infrastructure. IPB also provides a method of gathering information to describe how each of these relevant characteristics influences the friendly group, enemy groups (if applicable), and the other players in the operational area.

    …for those who have ignored this.

    So what is the first step we all must do?

    Identify the threats to Group survival. B-)

    Remembering that we’re not just talking “bad guys” since a shortage of water (one example) is a threat.

    Obviously everyone will have nuances to their specific circumstance, but we can generalize within Urban, Surburban, and Rural category in which we live.

    …to a more dynamic discussion of how to deal with threats in a grey collapse taking place around where we actually live and work today.

    …beginning the discussion and then throwing it open to cooperation. Many minds are greater than one.


    Profile photo of RobRoyRobRoy

    I’ll try, lead by example and don’t come off as a conspiracy whack adoodle.

    And keep in mind that if millions of Americans do not instantly recognize your genius that what you are up against is a trillion dollar hate machine of propaganda.

    Profile photo of tangotango

    So what is the first step we all must do?



    Yeah, do an IPB. You know what it makes you realize? Holy shit, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there. Holy shit, how am I going to deal with all this?

    The answer is: you’re not. You alone are not capable of fending off any kind of threat from multiple sources at one time.

    We’ve all know when you call someone a “One Man Army” that’s usually a negative thing, right? So you go out and get all kind of cool kit, lots of training, and tons of knowledge all prescribed by “the community”. Good. You’re moving in the right direction but you’re still a “One Man Army”.

    Time to get out and make some friends.

    Here are some networking suggestions:
    Link up with MVT Alumni
    Tactical Games
    Sniper Adventure Competition
    Jiu Jitsu (Google your local gym)

    Focus on meeting high value people while doing activities that are actually active. Meeting people at gun stores, gun shows, prepper shows, etc. generally does not require active participation beyond a credit card so you meet low value people. Discipline can not be bought.

    Baptême du feu
    L'appel du vide

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)Joe (G.W.N.S.)

    Of course you need people, but you can mitigate exposure and weakness even as a solo.

    Ultimately even as a large group it’s about mitigation as there will always be a bigger threat as a possibility.

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