Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Cornerstone of NPT Building: Legitimacy – Part II

Jefferson1

In establishing and building legitimacy in your local area (your block or close proximity neighbors as a start) for NPT success, the following, from WRSA, posting a Tom Baugh piece on ‘Public Affairs,’ deals with the outcomes of the loss of legitimacy through mishandling of Public Affairs (or, how regular folks are dealt with by ‘the powers that be’ (on any level).  As daily activities indicate, legitimacy is leaking from current levels of governance like water from a sieve.   There will be no vacuum when the loss of legitimacy finally reaches its apex; something (someone) will fill it, and the element that fills it may or may not have your best interests in mind.  Your task, in building legitimacy, is to be genuinely viewed as ‘square shooters’, that is, people who care about the safety and security of their neighbors.  When one considers what is happening at all levels of our society today, if one is truly concerned with keeping one’s local area hospitable, the process must begin now, in earnest.

Consider Baugh’s view, stated in part (emphasis added):

  “…which way the balance tips between overt criminal governance and any form of pleasant alternative will, in my opinion, all come down to the preparatory public affairs efforts (some call it civil affairs but we will discuss the important difference later), including whether your group has perceived legitimacy or the credible capability to back up its claim for public support. The public will either trust you, and turn to you for support and leadership, or they will turn to someone else, including those criminal gangs, official or otherwise.”

gang attack 1

Remember, the overriding reason most people will submit to authority, legitimate or not, is due to their fear of not ‘feeling safe.’  If any group can promise and demonstrate reasonable ‘order,’ even for a price, chances are that the population in question will submit to that authority.

Fear is a strong motivator.

So, what can you do now?

When conducting your assessment of the local neighborhood to see who might be interested in helping with a Neighborhood Protection Plan, employ the following behaviors:

  • Treat everyone you talk to with respect.  Not fawning praise; genuine respect.  Especially if they disagree with you or poke fun at what you’re doing.  Sure, you could ‘light them up’ with statistics, facts, and general knowledge of current events and shut them down, but what of anyone who is watching the exchange?  Is your ego worth the result that the observer makes a judgement that you are prone to be disrespectful of others views?  Letting that happen may have a chilling effect on your attempt to get a NPT going.
  • Focus Your Efforts on Your Neighbors Rather than Yourself.  This means you must cultivate a genuine interest in your neighbors, neighborhood and what goes on daily.  Stay aware.  Help where you can when you can.  Don’t sweat getting credit.  Word will get around.
  • Don’t Try too Hard to Get Your Neighbors to Accept Your Ideas.  Be genuine.  Don’t dominate all the conversations.  Answer their questions, but stay interested in them, in what they are talking about, too.
  • Recognize and Acknowledge the Difference Between Fact and Opinion.  Handle sensitive subjects with grace and aplomb.  Share your opinion in the discussion, but make it clear that’s all it is:  an opinion you happen to hold or agree with.
  • Smile!  Remember, all doom and gloom and no smiles make for a NPT that will have precisely one member:  You.  People read body language that increases meaning of the spoken language, and is taken to be more genuine by the observer than the spoken language.  When you smile when discussing various subjects (not grinning like an idiot), people have a tendency to mirror that behavior and that translates to feeling ‘good’ about the subject.
  • Don’t Be a Slob.  Look clean, neat, and well-groomed (looking fit helps, too).  A month of untrimmed stubble, stained t-shirt, and holey jeans is not the way to impress someone that you’re serious.  The non-verbal statement you’re making indicates the level of attention you’ll be putting into the program to the observer.
  • Be Authentic.  Don’t keep everything about yourself so close to the vest that the people in your area don’t know who you are and how you really feel.  Trust comes from the confidence of your neighbors in your known beliefs evidenced by your consistent behavior.
  • When Problems are Brought Up, Treat Them as Temporary Barriers.  Stay positive; seek alternative work around ideas from everyone you talk to, even those who don’t think the NPT is a good idea.  Remember that most barriers to building your NPT will most likely be overcome by the establishment of your legitimacy through your behavior in your local area.

The quote above from Jefferson really does have sway even when trying to establish your legitimacy to build your NPT.  If your neighbors see that your true objective is their safety and happiness in hard times, they won’t be able to not help, or at the least, they won’t stand in your way.

 

neighborhood association

Weekend Reading: Weapons Man – Mindset and Life

Excellent advice; read and heed.

Deadliest weapon ever devised. Use yours.

Deadliest weapon ever devised. Use yours.

Mindset is life.

Or, sometimes, death.

Faced with a survival situation, some fight. Some flee. Some just freeze and wait to die or be saved by third party intervention. And some are not faced with this situation because they saw it coming and absented themselves. That is, in our opinion, the smartest thing to do if you don’t have to stand and fight. In order, the best outcomes are:

  1. A fight you never have;
  2. A fight you win without fighting;
  3. A fight you win, killing the enemy;
  4. A fight you win, wounding or scaring off the enemy.

The reason (4) is not as good as (3) is that you leave a possibility for revenge out there. Dead guys can’t seek revenge.

Indicators and Warnings

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero at Pearl Harbor. Illustration by Darryl Joyce. (Actually, we think he has the color wrong).

Every time the national security bureaucracy is caught flatfooted, a rather frequent occurrence, reconsideration shows that there were was a sufficiency of Indicators & Warnings, I&W. They just weren’t read right, or interpreted, or they were ignored.

You don’t have to find big screwups like Pearl Harbor, the Chinese entry into the Korean War, or 9/11, to find examples of ignored I&Ws. Consider two individuals whose demise was reported in these pages in the last few months: a young man in Maine who blew his head off with fireworks, and a young man (hmmm… first indication of a pattern?) in coastal Texas whose last words were, reportedly, “F the gator!” Yes, he was warned about a large alligator in his chosen swimming hole, and yes, he ignored the warning, and yes, the gator killed him. Likewise, the Maine decedent’s friends warned him that setting off a large fireworks mortar on his head was A Bad Idea.

They didn’t heed the indicators.

That’s the biggest problem with human beings and I&W, even when the I&W is pretty obvious: “Hey, setting off an explosion on your brain housing group might be a bad idea,” or “There’s a man-eatin’ gator over yonder.” And the I&W is not that obvious, always. People hear hoofbeats and they’re not looking for zebras.

The US is not the only nation to be get caught napping like this. A couple of patrolling Zekes formed up on two B-25s one sunny morning off the coast of Honshu, and, not believing their eyes, convinced themselves they were looking at two experimental Imperial Japanese Army bombers they’d been told about — and let two of Doolittle’s Raiders go on to bomb Tokyo. That was fair payback for the Air Corps lieutenant three and a half months earlier, who, knowing that some B-17s were inbound, told some radar operators not to worry about what looked like a 50-plane raid on Oahu. Didn’t heed the indicators.

Some indicators are transient, some are durable, some are eternal. Obviously the Kaga and Akagi air wings on Pearl Harbor’s radar is a transient indicator. A durable one? Certain neighborhoods’ reputations. There were four fatal opiate ODs in our little county last weekend, in two separate towns. All four of them happened in streets that would have come up in discussion if you asked a town cop, “If someone OD’d here in your town, exactly where would you find the stiff?” If you’re not looking for hard drugs, you probably don’t want to go to those places, even in these very safe (generally speaking) towns.

The character of a neighborhood only changes over time, and with a change of people. When a neighborhood is improved, it’s not because they built shiny new buildings or added street lamps. It’s because they removed (or the cost of living in a shiny new building removed) the people who made the neighborhood bad.

Judgment

“The superior person uses his superior judgment so as not to have to make a vulgar display of his superior skills.” This has long been a saying among pilots, but we’ve torqued it to fit a more general set of superior persons.

In interpersonal conflict, judgment is displayed best by the party that seeks to avoid, evade, and escape the conflict, and only goes to the gun (or lead pipe, or barstool, whatever) when the evasion phase has failed.

In analyzing any conflict, certain inflection points are evident (in hindsight!) where better judgment might have defused the situation or deflected the juggernaut before the collision point. Consider the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin. There’s no question that the evidence shows that George was in the right by any measure of morality or law when he plugged Trayvon (and made one small contribution to the cause of fighting future prison overcrowding in Florida). But if you mentally “walk” the scene with George, you can see some of these inflection points, even if he didn’t, at the time.  Once the fight started, of course, he had no choices except to take the beating and roll the dice on personal death or serious inury on the one hand, or use force to stop it on the other.

And, while we haven’t spoken to the man, we have no doubt that, in retrospect, George Zimmerman would have rather avoided his fight with Trayvon Martin than, as happened, won it; his victory was the very definition of a Pyrrhic one. His life will never be the same again and he will never be free from intrusive, hostile reporters (who continue to report a false narrative and vilify Zimmerman to this day).

And that’s a case of a guy who won an unnecessary but desperate, life-stakes fight. The guys who lost are not available to tell us what they wish they had done.

We recall that instructor John S. Farnam had (and has, he’s still working) several pithy ways of saying this, but the best fight is the one that doesn’t happen. (Farnam is hardly the only one with such a message. It’s as old as Sun Tzu).

Mindset & Judgment Can be Learned

To an extent, anyway. We’re not as confident as the Army is that it can teach anybody pretty much anything, but we do believe that anyone can, by a process of analysis leading to mental and physical drills, improve his mindset and therefore his or her odds of survival.

These odds of survival are improved by training to hone your skills and survive an armed encounter, but they’re improved more by using your superior judgment so as not to have to make a vulgar display of your superior skills. Too few people do the former, and far too few people do the latter. (A lot of cops who are involved in shootings are just unlucky. But there are others, where none of their cop friends are surprised they were in a shooting. Why do you think that is?)

Most of us are not cops, and not soldiers (any more), and therefore, do need to saddle up and go into places where you’re likely to be engaged by gunfire. So here’s our version of some guidelines for fight avoidance:

Carcharodon carcharias: business end of a healthy one.

  1. Don’t swim where the sharks feed. Yes, home invaders can come to suburbia, but most criminals live in poor, lousy neighborhoods and prey on each other as well as the majority of non-criminals who have the bad fortune to live there, too. If you live there, leave. If you go there, stop.
  2. If you must go where the sharks feed — you may have reasons; we had a friend whose elderly mother would not leave her house in South Central LA until the Rodney King riots burned it down and settled the question for her — don’t look like bait. Don’t act timid, walk boldly with your head up, like you belong there — and are the baddest mother in the valley. Also, don’t flash stuff that is irresistibly attractive to the sort of people who have been listening to TV and therefore think they’re entitled to take it from you.
  3. When you have to go into the badlands, take a lesson from the cops and don’t walk alone. If you can’t help looking like prey (maybe you’re small, or elderly person), bring a buddy who looks intimidating if you can.
  4. Don’t get distracted. This is the wrong time to be facebooking, texting or reading WeaponsMan.com on your jeezly phone. In fact, it’s the wrong time to be taking calls. You need to be 100% in the analog world. We don’t know what the percentage of mugging victims in NYFC and San Francisco who had their ear buds in, but we’d take a guess it’s fairly high.
  5. Be conscious of concealment. Don’t give anyone the chance to ambush you.
  6. Manage the Clock. Most criminals stay up late and sleep late, too. If you have unavoidable business in their precincts, do it at seven o’clock in the morning when they’re down for the count, not at midnight when they’re just warming up.
  7. Be conscious of the fact that you may have to be ready, and always be ready to deliver a violent counterstrike.
  8. Work on avoidance, but once avoidance fails you should immediately execute a drilled, conscious plan. Strike hard and decisively. (George Z. got this bit exactly right, and every day’s life he has now, he only has because he did).
  9. If you err, and are attacked, act. Save regrets and recriminations for later.

EMP Myths and Facts. What’s BS and What’s True?

Re-posted from here.

EMP Myths and Facts. What’s BS and What’s True?

By C. Davis September 24, 2015 16:42

EMP Myths and Facts. What’s BS and What’s True?

Most of the questions I receive on my website AskaPrepper.com are about EMP’s and Faraday Cages.

What I realized is that there are a lot of EMP myths generated by movies and even some internet sources. The situation is so bad that the United States Air Force Space Command commissioned Bill Nye to make a video for the Air Force called “Hollywood vs EMP” (which is not available to the public). It seems that the Air Force wanted to make sure that Hollywood fiction would not confuse those who must deal with real EMP events. (Source)

Well… this is exactly the purpose of this article. No bs, no exaggerations.

Myth or Fact? Will an EMP destroy batteries?

Not likely. Batteries are made of relatively thick plates of metal that are unaffected by EMP’s. Some experts claim that they even extra charge a little bit. (Source)

But if the batteries are connected to the power grid, they will take some damage.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter that much, since all of the electronics you run off of that batteries will likely be fried.

I was thinking that if a car dies, why not use the battery? But what to do with it?

Myth or Fact? – Will Cars Really Come to a Halt?

There are a lot of people saying that cars will work just fine. Some say that they’ll stop and all you need to do is to restart them. And some say that all cars made after 1990 will come to a halt because they are totally dependent on their electric parts.

All of this is based on a report made by the EMP Commission. They tested 37 cars in an EMP simulation laboratory (up to 50 kV/m). All cars stopped at approx. 30 kV/m, but only one car was damaged seriously. The other cars just needed to be restarted.

What people don’t know is that this test was made long ago and the 37 cars tested were vintages ranging from 1986 through 2002, which means they depended less on electronics.

The EMP Commission also states that “since 2002, the number of microprocessors in cars and the reliance on microprocessors in all motor vehicles has increased greatly.  Also, the sensitivity of the electronic circuitry to EMP has increased due to the use of smaller electronic components designed to operate on lower voltages.”

Another thing is that an HEMP can produce more than 50 kV/m, which can have even more damaging effects on cars.

The fact is that you don’t need to damage all cars to make the traffic stop. I think it’s enough to permanently damage 40%-60% (some sources say even 15%) of cars to block cities, highways and supply lines.

Read more: How to Build An EMP Car Bag

Myth or Fact?Will Phones/iPads/Electronic Devices be Affected by an EMP?

Well, first you should know that 95% of these devices already have an internal EMI shielding (which is there to protect the components from affecting each other). Plus, these devices are very small (comparing to the power grid) so you have very good chances of using your iPhone immediately after an EMP. But not to make calls or to search stuff on the internet. Telecommunication antennas will be fried so signal (on any kind) will be dead.

But if the phone is connected to the power grid – charging – at the moment when the EMP hits it will be fried. And even so, you have a chance of getting away with only a fried phone charger.

Related: This Free iPhone Application Identifies Plants on the Spot

Myth or Fact? Solar Storms Will Only Affect the Side of the Earth that is Facing the Sun when the Storm Hits.

EMP MythsNot true! Solar storms tend to disturb the entire magnetic field of the Earth and can affect both sides.

Because of a solar storm on 13 March 1989, Hydro-Quebec lost electric power, cutting the supply of electricity to 6 million people for several hours. This happened at 2:44 a.m. in complete darkness, so Quebec was on the side opposed to the Sun.

In the picture: A fried transformer from Hydro-Quebec electric power grid.

Myth or Fact? Will Planes Fall Out of the Sky When an EMP Hits?

Older planes use hydraulics and cables attached to the pilot controls (with manual valve actuation & direct pressurization from the ram air turbine) which means they’ll still have semi-functional flight controls.

Newer planes (almost all airlines) will be extremely difficult to control after all their electronic parts will be fried. But even so, all Airbus and Boing planes are demonstrated to be controllable with complete electrical failure. They would be extremely difficult to land, but it would still be possible.

All planes will be turned into semi-controllable gliders… with newer planes having almost no control and older planes having almost full control over the plane.

And pilots will face a very hard task: to land the plane, with highways being full of broken cars, no emergency services and if it’s night then add no ground lights to this. I’m not an expert, but I guess that if you’re on a plain when an EMP strikes you are pretty much dead or incredibly lucky.

But don’t think that an EMP will cause planes to enter in a spin and pancake into the ground like you’ve probably seen in movies.

Myth or Fact? Will the World as We Know it Come to an end?

A world without electricity is not the world as most of us know it. But if the blackout lasts for 1-3 days then it won’t be a huge problem.

It all depends on the time required to replace the broken pieces:

“The equipment used in the transmission grid is costly, specially produced, and has to be ordered from overseas before replacement in the U.S. Those with the expertise to replace transformers and capacitors are likely to be overwhelmed if much of our infrastructure is damaged, only delaying the replacement of equipment that generally takes two years to be manufactured and delivered.” (Source)

Nobody knows for sure how much it will take to replace all transformers and capacitors if other countries help, but a time-frame of 10-20 months is not far-fetched.

Did you know that New York City had a blackout (in 1977) that lasted for only a day? It was called “The Night of Terror”. The night resulted in widespread looting throughout many New York neighborhoods. The police were outmatched and had no chance of stopping such massive theft, largely having no choice but to stand by watching the looters from a distance. This will be just the first night after an EMP. After a few months it will be total chaos and widespread starvation to say the least.

Myth or Fact? Do Faraday Cages need grounding?

No. Grounding, but it’s not necessary. To be sure that you made an EMP hardened Faraday cage all you need to do is to place a small turned on radio. If it stops… then you have an EMP hardened box.

Related: 10 Faraday Cages You can Make at Home

Myth or Fact? If you test your Faraday Cage with a radio then the electronics inside are 100% protected against an EMP

NO! No protection is 100% certain, but shielding against a 20,000 volts/m EMP will be enough to protect it from known weapons.

Jerry Emanuelson from Futurescience has a very good explanation for this:

“A very efficient 80 db faraday cage would reduce the EMP by a factor of 10,000.  In other words, it would reduce a 20,000 volts per meter EMP field to 2 volts per meter.  This high level of shielding is necessary for some applications, but not for the average consumer (except for the most critical electronics such as an emergency radio receiver).  For many applications, an imperfect shield is quite helpful and may be all that is necessary.  (In some cases, though, such as an expensive solar panel system, it makes sense to try to get as close as possible to military grade protection since a functioning solar power system may determine whether you have electricity or not.)

This myth is analogous to saying that if a coat doesn’t keep you from being cold during a winter blizzard that you might as well just rip your coat off and go shirtless while out in the snowstorm.  Asking how much shielding that you will need is like asking how much of a coat you will need in the winter.   (It depends upon how cold it will get, and upon how sensitive you are to the cold.)”

Related: 7 Things to Do Immediately after an EMP Strike

Myth or Fact? Turning Off Electronics Will Better Protect Them

Yes, it seems that equipment is more vulnerable if it is operating. And this also includes cars. Cars that will be running when an EMP hits have a higher chance of getting broken.

But this of course doesn’t mean that all systems that are turned off will be unaffected.

UPDATE:

Myth or Fact? Will an EMP Destroy Pacemakers?

pacemakerA solar storm won’t destroy a pacemaker. But if you are in an airplane – flying above 30000 ft – then you might be in trouble. Earth’s atmosphere does not provide significant shielding at this altitude. According to NASA, the effects at this altitude are ten times higher than on the ground.

On the other hand, a HEMP (nuclear EMP) generating over 30000 V/m can be a problem. Here is a very good answer:

” I have been a medical scientist working with pacemakers for 36 years, and I think I can give a definitive answer! The hermetically sealed can will indeed be a pretty good Faraday cage so no direct damage from an EMP. A bipolar system with, say, 5mm electrode separation will, with a major high-altitude EMP generating ~25 kV/m in the northern US, deliver a voltage pulse to the circuitry of about 900V – this won’t damage a pacemaker, they are designed to cope with external defibrillator voltages. A UNIPOLAR system, where the electrodes may be 15cm apart, will generate a bigger voltage, maybe 4-5kV, to the generator, and this could be damaging.” (Source)

According to some manufacturers a powerful EMP may just turn the device off.

Essential Skills UPDATE: Establishing A Patrol Base – What to Do and When

PB 1

Originally posted December, 2013.

So, you ask, just what is a “Patrol Base” (PB)?  A fair question if you’ve never had the opportunity to learn patrolling in the military or through a school that teaches basic small unit tactics (SUT).  All  patrol base is just a position that your NPT will occupy when you cannot move or need to stop for an extended period of time, say more than 12 hours.  Normally, it’s not established inside the perimeter of a NPA protected by other NPT members, though it could be (say, for example, you had cause to go to a neighboring NPA to pick up supplies or escort someone to or from), because any time you’re outside of your own NPA, even if you’re in an area of like-minded people, it’s prudent to settle in using the methods described below.

If you’ve been reading this or other blogs for awhile, you already know moving through an area where contact with a MZB group is not an easy thing to do, especially if you have family or friends in tow that might not be in the best physical shape possible, as in the case of moving them to a safe NPA.  It’s going to be hard going.  Especially when you contemplate moving in unfriendly weather conditions (cold, snow, rain, heat, etc).  So, it stands to reason that you may have to find a place to “hole up” for a bit to rest and recuperate while minimizing as much as possible, the chance of discovery.

Now that you have a general understanding of what a PB is, let’s get into some specifics:  The first thing you should understand is that you should plan to have one or more patrol base locations pre-designated as an integral part of your “Get Out Of Dodge” (GOOD) strategy.  The amount of time a patrol base may be occupied depends on the need for secrecy. It should not, however, be occupied for more than 36 to 48 hours at the outside except in an emergency. Remember, a patrol base is occupied only as long as necessary for its purpose.  Here’s something else to keep in mind: Do not, under any circumstances, use the same patrol base more than once if, for example, you are returning from a long security patrol and decide to rest before you get back to your NPA.  Doing so is only asking for trouble!

Here are a few examples of when you might establish a PB when Getting Out Of Dodge or performing a long duration security patrol around your protected area:

If you have a need to:

  • stop all movement to avoid detection
  • hide your group so that a during a long, detailed reconnaissance your objective area can be made
  • eat, clean weapons and equipment, and rest
  • plan to overcome unanticipated or surprise encounters and issue instructions on how to do it
  • reorganize after you’ve moved through an unfriendly area
  • establish a base from which several consecutive or concurrent missions can be launched

So, now that we’ve gone over what a PB is used for, how do we select one?  Quite simply, a PB site is usually picked from a map or aerial reconnaissance photo (if available to you) during your planning. Remember though, any patrol base site you picked by map or aerial photo is tentative.  You have to confirm its suitability, and then, once you arrive, you must secure it before you occupy it.  That means real-world reconnaissance when you get within close proximity of your selected site.  After all, how will you know someone else hasn’t picked the same spot and arrived before you, and if so, is going to be willing to share the PB, or is “friendly” at all?  Best advice if you do find it’s occupied or there are other parties you don’t know in close proximity:  Don’t make contact; abandon that choice and move to another that you’ve included as a contingency location.

Here’s yet another acronym that contains essential criteria for patrol base selection based:  C O O L A N T

C – Cover (stops bullets) and concealment (hides your group).

O – Off natural lines of drift (a path that would naturally be followed by people due to the ease of traversing the topography).

O – Out of sight, sound, and small arms effective range of any objective you may be preparing to observe or engage.

L – Large enough to accommodate the entire team without crowding.

A – Affords viable defense for a short period.

N – Near a source of water.

T – Tough terrain that impedes any maneuver/movement against your team.

In addition, you need to avoid the following:

  • Known or suspected MZB positions.
  • Built up areas.
  • Ridges and hilltops, except as necessary for maintaining communications with the NPADOC.
  • Small valleys.
  • Roads and trails.

So, now you know that your plans to establish a patrol base must include selection of an alternate site for each PB you plan to establish along your route.   Besides discovering your primary location is already occupied, you may use the alternate site if the initial site is unsuitable or if your group is required unexpectedly to evacuate your initial PB for some reason.  If you can, it’s usually best to reconnoiter the alternate site and keep it under watch until occupied or until you move on and no longer need it.  There’s also another advantage of having an alternate site:  If you run into trouble and have to break contact, you can’t go back to your previously occupied PB because you may have been followed and a nasty surprise could be waiting for you.  You can, however, go to your alternate site, especially if you’ve reconnoitered and know it’s unoccupied.

Ok, now we’re ready to occupy our PB!  Remember, before moving into a PB, the area is reconned and secured by having someone is covering the area approaches by field of fire capability (not actual shooting!). Once secured, move your group to the selected site, enters into it quietly as possible and quickly establishes a perimeter defense (suggest using Reinforced Triangle).  To do this properly, you’ll have to have had training for your people and rehearsals on what to do and not do.

Here’s  the “text book” example of how to occupy a PB:

The Initial Approach:  Stop at around 200 meters from the tentative PB site. Put your team/group into small 360 degree security posture.  Security is posted.  The PL and at least one other person move forward to reconnoiter the site.  The drawing below is from military manuals, and they presume you have at least 9 to 13 people, depending.  For our purposes, disregard the positions described unless you have enough people to assign them duties as radio operator, team leaders, and security teams.

Reconnaissance:  If you mentally ‘see’ the PB site as a triangle, it’s easier to designate the point of entry into the PB as 6 o’clock. You move to and designate the center of the base as your “Command Post” or CP.  Then, if there are only a couple of you, you must recon the areas assigned to them for suitability and then return to the CP to discuss or modify your plan. If there are only four of you, the PB will be small and you will have a member at 10, 2 and 6 O’Clock with you occupying the center.  During your training and rehearsals, you should have diagrammed what the sectors are and their size in your GOOD plan that you’ve talked over with your family, team, or group. After the reconnaissance, you end the other person back to bring the rest of the group into the PB.   If you want, you can leave your second person in the CP and go get your group yourself.  Depending on the circumstances, it just might be the better move because of fear and anxiety being experienced by your group members, and you leading them in might assuage their anxiety.  Either way, someone stays in the CP while the group is brought in.  Remember, we’re talking a relatively small NPT/group here:  6 to 9; 12 at the absolute most.  Larger teams/groups have added, ‘must do’s’

PB2

Occupation:   Your group should enter the base in single file and execute a 90 degree turn at the entry point and move to the CP (center of the PB). You or your #2 who’s been trained like you, should any remove signs of your group’s entry into the area for obvious reasons.   You need to check the perimeter by meeting each person in the group that you’ve assigned a position and talk with them to make sure they understand the rules regarding noise and movement.  Reassurance is essential at this point.  If you’ve trained and rehearsed, these conversations will be very short.  If you’re moving around with a “buddy”, it’s best to move clockwise around the perimeter because this is the way you should have planned it and your people will expect you to follow what you’ve trained and rehearsed.  Something to remember on this:  Your group may be 3 people, it may be comprised of several families.  Remember that you fit the PB size to the groups size.  If you have only 3 people, you could, if you needed to, put each person facing out at 10 O’clock, 2 O’clock, and 6 O’clock with their feet touching while laying on their stomachs!  It doesn’t have to be huge, but it can be as big as you need it to be, depending on the terrain you have to work with.  Remember, these illustrations are for large patrols, sometimes platoon strength (36-44 people) or more.

PB3

Once you’re in your PB, take some time and do a reconnaissance forward of the perimeter so you know the avenues of approach and the terrain vulnerabilities.  It doesn’t have to be far, maybe as close as 30 or 40 meters.  Just make sure you let everyone in your group know you’re going out (again, when you do your GOOD plan, you can cover this and remind them again when you “hit the road”).  . When you come back, come back through the 6 O’clock position, remove your signs of entry, and as appropriate, brief everyone on signs of “unfriendly” activity, suitable OP locations, possible rally points, and withdrawal routes should the situation become critical.

Remember, you don’t leave anything to chance!  For emergencies, you should have determined designated withdrawal routes and a rally point outside the PB (could be your alternate PB site) for use in case your group is forced to move unexpectedly.   When you put your sentry or sentries out, make sure you establish some sort of communications between you and they!  The communications link between you and they will provide them a measure of comfort as well as give you a few minutes warning should you get hit with a not-so-nice surprise.

Let’s move on to things you need to do in your PB.  The first thing is to set up security.   It is your first priority! Only one point of entry and exit is used. This point is camouflaged and guarded/covered at all times!  Only necessary movement should be permitted, both inside and outside the patrol base.   Any noisy work, such as cutting branches, is done only at set times. Such work is done as soon as possible after occupation but never at night or in the quiet periods of early morning and late evening.  Noisy work should be done when other noise (sounds of aircraft, train whistles, heavy vehicle traffic, etc) will cover it.  Now, it stands to reason that if you are in very cold weather, or have a situation that someone needs medical treatment or has to get out of the elements (illness, etc), that you address that situation next.  Depending on your location and circumstances, building a fire may or may not be prudent.  You’ll have to make that decision when you’re in the situation.  One suggestion to be able to provide warmth without a fire is to have each person carry several packs of ‘hot hands’ and ‘toe warmers’ that are air activated.  The ‘hot hands’ are great for putting under the armpits for someone showing symptoms of hypothermia.  During your planning, do some ‘wargaming’ and get creative on how you can provide necessary things without giving your position away.

Twice a day, starting before and ending after dawn and dusk, for as long as you’re in your PB (circumstance dependent), a “stand-to” (everyone is awake and those who have one have their weapon ready and watches outside the perimeter, listening for movement or other indicators that you’ve been discovered by the ‘bad people’) is held to insure that every person adjusts to the changing light and noise conditions, and is dressed, equipped, and ready for action, because if you do have a problem, chances are you won’t have very much time at all to prepare!  Remember, a good “stand to” starts before first light in the morning and continue until after light. It should start before dark in the evening and last until dark. Vary your starting and ending times to prevent establishing a pattern, but the stand-to must last long enough to accomplish its purpose.   You can start the “stand to” with a hand signal, a whisper to the person next to you; anything that is quiet, but gets the attention of your group.  One at a time is fine, too, as long as the word goes around in a reasonably short period of time.

Defense:  So what happens if you have to defend your PB?  Well, you do want to do some planning, but remember that a PB is usually only defended when evacuation is not possible. Complete fighting positions are not built.  Hasty ones are improvised.  Look at the micro-terrain in selection.  Depressions in the ground supplemented by dead-fall will work, etc.  Camouflage and concealment are not only encouraged, but the best passive-defense measure you can employ!  The idea is to not have any contact, but be able to make the cost for taking your PB high if necessary, or to provide time to abandon as necessary.

You should have a rudimentary fire plan – that is, an assignment of where to shoot (fields of fire) for those who have weapons.  You can also deploy early warning devices such as a trip-wire tied to a small can with some pebbles in it.  Use your imagination, just make sure the devices you come up with are easily set up and taken down, provide some sort of audible alert, and cover obvious avenues of approach.  Something else:  when you get to your PB and have occupied, analyze where you are and what’s around you.  If you think there’s a good chance your PB can be discovered and the discoverer’s might want to do you harm, it’s best to go reconnoiter your alternate PB and, if it’s better, abandon the current PB and move to the second.  Remember, this is your life and those of your group we’re talking about here!

If, for some reason, you’re forced to leave your PB, have your group leave in the smallest elements possible:  by one’s or two’s; three’s at the absolute most!  The smaller the element, the harder it is to detect!  Then, you should have given everyone information on how to get to either a Rally Point Enroute (RPE) or your alternate PB.  Everyone needs to know where to go to!

Communications:  Well, there’s an old military axiom on communications:  “If you ain’t got comm….you ain’t got jaaaaackkkk!”   It’s pretty much true.   Today, FRS/GMRS radios are in everyone’s financial reach, and you should have at least one for each adult member of your group along with a throat mic if possible.  VHF/UHF is better, but get that Ham Technician license now, and some good Handy Talkies.  A great group that provides information and helps wherever they can is AmRRON.

There’s no getting around the fact that  radios are a good means of communication, but they must be closely controlled because the vulnerability of having your transmissions not only monitored, but  your location pin-pointed through “Radio Direction Finding” (DF’d for short).   You can use tug or pull lines for signaling within the PB.  They are quiet and reduce radio traffic.   Just make sure during training you develop some sort of protocol for what the tugs mean and then rehearse!

Other activities:

  • Weapons maintenance:  If you are in nasty weather, or have been, and your weapons need cleaning or other maintenance, do not do it all at the same time!  Only one weapon down at a time, please, and no detailed disassembly!  Wipe it down, patch the barrel, check your mags, and be done with it!
  • Sanitation and Personal Hygiene:  In daylight, catholes outside the perimeter are used. The user must be guarded.  That means two people move super quiet every time someone has to void or eliminate.   At night, catholes must be inside the perimeter.  Everyone should wash and brush their teeth on a regular basis.  Trash is buried in a concealed site or is carried with the patrol—it is never burned!
  • Eating:  Take turns eating. No more than half of the group should eat at a time so that the other half are alert and ready to fight if needs be.
  • Water: If someone is sent to get water, someone must also be sent to protect them. No more than two trips to the source should be made in a 24-hour period at the absolute most, and make sure all signs of being at the source are removed!
  • Rest: Rest and sleep are permitted in special periods only after all work has been done. As in eating, take turns resting. Security must be maintained.
  • Planning:  You, as the leader, should use the time spent in your PB to continue to plan and prepare for the continued movement to your destination.  Remember, leave nothing to chance!

 

When it’s time to leave:  Before you abandon the PB, the most important thing you can do is to make sure all signs of your group’s presence are removed or concealed so that your group’s presence remains secret for as long as possible and prevents pursuit until such time as it no longer is feasible to gain contact with your group.

And that’s about it.  I’m not going to kid you, I know it sounds like a lot of things to do, but it will be worth every second you spend in planning and practicing (yes, you should have your group practice this) when you get from your humble abode (that you’ve had to abandon because “the day” arrived) to your “safe area” or a friend’s house out of the affected area or wherever it is you’re going.

Essential Skills: Fundamentals of Effective NPT Movement Techniques

Remember, all discussions of the NPT moving outside the NPA perimeter are assumed to be, ‘tactical.’

movement fundamentals1

When the time comes, either by design or by chance, that you make contact with a force of MZB’s, the most basic fundamental common to all movement is:

  • Make that contact with the smallest element of your team possible. 

This could be one man, two, or a four person NPT, depending on the size of the group you have out.  Again, contact does not necessarily mean that there are rounds being expended by either side.  It simply means that you can observe or shoot them (if appropriate).

Now, don’t take that to mean that the element in contact is left there to fend for themselves while the rest of the NPT gets all the time in the world to leave the area, set up a defense, or an attack.  Even if your mission plan calls for you to break contact because the reconnaissance mission you’re on has a higher value than notching the stock of your AR’s, you still need to do the following:

  • Develop your combat power as rapidly as you can as soon as you know you’re in contact.

This simply means to get all your firepower into a position they can bring fire to bear upon the MZB gang if necessary.  It should go without saying that your NPT should be trained to bring deliberate, accurate, and deadly fire onto their targets rather than the ‘hollywood’ popularized ‘spray and pray’ in the general direction of the MZB’s (which really, without effective control, is just a waste of ammunition).  Developing your combat power could be as simple as bringing your people up on line in either a wedge or line formation as discussed in Effective NPT Movement Techniques.  To be clear, make sure you understand that bringing your weapons up on line does not necessarily mean they are all dressed evenly in line.  So long as the weapons can all engage to what your front happens to be, and there is no danger of fratricide (shooting each other up) due to positioning, such as one man being directly in front of one of your other men’s firing position with neither of the men being aware, you’re good to go.  The development of your combat power, especially if no rounds have been expended, and your MZB opponent hasn’t seen you, gives you a distinct edge no matter which way you’re going to go.  The kicker in performing this fundamental is that you also must simultaneously:

  • Provide all around security for your NPT.

Simply, never, ever leave the back door open.  Being taken by surprise will not be good at all.  And don’t use rear security as a ‘punishment post,’, either.  You want someone sharp doing this essential duty.  It might not be as glamorous as other positions or tasks on the mission, but it’s vital to the survival of the NPT.

050627-N-1397H-186

Now, chances are that if you’re ‘outside the wire,’ your job is to perform some sort of security reconnaissance patrol, that is, you’re out there to look for any evidence of MZB activity in your NPAO (Neighborhood Protection Area of Operations) or NPAI (Neighborhood Area of Interest (defined as that area outside the AO, but close enough that any activity by MZB’s would be good information to have).  That means you need to have the capability to:

  • Report all information you’ve found rapidly and accurately, while still attempting to gain and maintain contact with the MZB’s or other group in question (remember, you may not know if the group you’re in contact with are bad guys or just a NPT from another NPAO).

Maintaining contact may mean shadowing or observing from a concealed position the MZB group.  Knowing where they are, plotting their direction and activity will help determine what, if any, actions should be taken back at the NPADOC (Neighborhood Protection Area Defensive Operations Center) to prepare the NPA or its occupants, or a change in your particular mission.  The SALUTE report format comes in really handy here.  To get the information back, good communications equipment, such as a VHF/UHF Hand Held Radio as described in AmRRON’s “Comm 101” is a pretty good set up.  An aside, you can also get throat mics and ear pieces that are fairly robust for not too much money to help in this area, here.

Villagers point security patrol to improvised explosive device

salute-report

The next fundamental is a ‘tattle tale,’ as it were, because if you don’t train together or trust your NPT members, or they don’t trust you, attempting to implement this fundamental will turn your mission to hammered dog shit:

  • Requires decentralized execution.

This means delegation of authority and responsibility to individuals or elements to get their part of the job done, and done effectively.  It’s one thing when you’re training to walk your team through (or get your team walked through with an experienced trainer) the fundamentals, but part of that training has to be the reliance on the team to start ‘getting it’ and picking up where and how they are to do their jobs when cut loose.  During training is when you want things to fall apart, so they can be fixed.  Not after the S has HTF, and it’s real, meaning lives are in the balance.  Your NPT must be taught how to seize the initiative when opportunities present themselves that will help achieve your mission goals.  Micromanagement?  Not so much.  The below illustration shows the difference between centralized and decentralized control.

movement fundamentals5

Not the best of illustrations, but hey, it’s the internet.  The ‘distributed’ diagram could be a model for NPT networking throughout a city or county.  As you can see the difference between the centralized and decentralized diagrams, all actions are taken only upon the direction of the central authority.  Not so good.  Why?  Because the central authority will most likely not be able to see what is happening beyond his line of sight.  The decentralized diagram illustrates delegated authority to element leaders to deal with their teams as situations permit.

When a NPT is moving, however, the NPT PL (Patrol Leader) has the authority and responsibility to:

  • Select the appropriate movement formation based upon the likelihood of MZB contact.

These are also balanced against the need for speed, control, and security.  When enemy contact is not likely, “Traveling” is employed.  Traveling formations provide for more control by the PL than traveling overwatch, and the team has minimum dispersion, but can attain maximum speed while having to endure minimum security.  It’s a trade off.

movement fundamentals6

Traveling Overwatch is basically just an extension of traveling.  Instead of having both elements/fire teams as close as the terrain and situation permits, there’s a distance of 40 to 50 meters between the 2 elements/fire teams.  The PL will place himself with the lead team, but occassionally drop back to the trail team to ensure cohesion and understanding of current situational factors.  Traveling Overwatch is used when speed is desirable but contact is possible (not probable).  The intent of traveling overwatch is to provide depth, flexibility, and maintain the ability to maneuver if contact occurs.

movement fundamentals7

The next movement formation is called, ‘Bounding Overwatch,’ and is used when contact is probable or expected.  It is the most secure but slowest of the three shown.  It’s essentially a ‘leap frog’ exercise in parallel, where one element/fire team goes to ground to provide ‘overwatch’ by scanning sectors of fire with weapons ready to fire on a MZB gang that engages the moving team while the other element/fire team moves to a pre-determined location.  It can be done by employing alternate or successive bounds.  Here’s the kicker:  In a small group with two elements, the PL should be with the moving element.  No rest for the wicked.

movement fundamentals8Once in contact (remember, this isn’t necessarily a fire fight), the last movement fundamental is for the PL to ensure the following:

  • Maintain contact until directed by the NPADOC to do something else.

To employ these movement fundamentals effectively, a lot of practice is required.  What you’ve read above are considered ‘basics,’ and effective NPT’s are thoroughly versed in the basics.  Leave the high-speed hollywood crap for the actors.  You can’t afford that; you’re in this for real.

Essential Skills: Effective NPT Movement Techniques

Patrolling

It should go without saying that any time your NPT is leaving your perimeter, the movement will be tactical in nature.  For the ease of understanding, it’s mentioned once here to ensure everyone reading, both subject matter expert and anyone new to the subject, are on the same page.

Simply put, movement is the active positioning of your team on a potentially or actually contested area in preparation for contact with the opposing force, aka, “Mutant Biker Zombies (MZB),” and is always based upon anticipation of MZB ground contact (which is the observation of or the initiation of or reaction to a firefight.

Movement is not maneuver; movement that which is done in preparation for contact.  Maneuver is movement supported by fire to gain position or advantage over the MZB’s.

When determining formations and techniques to employ during movement, the NPT leader must consider the most effective combinations for each situation using METT-TC as a balance beam, so to speak.  In parallel with METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Troops Available, Terrain – Time , Civilian Considerations) the NPT leader should (if the leader doesn’t do this, get a new leader) select the formation and movement by weighing his selection against the Nine Principles of Tactical Movement that can be quickly learned by memorizing its acronym (most everything these days has an acronym, and military skills are no different!):

M O V E  S E C U R E

Its meaning is:

M – Maintain 360 degree security.

O – Observe team cohesion (buddy team, 4 person NPT, and Squad (if you’ve got that many).

V – Visual contact and communication must be maintained.

E – Enforce mission task required speed and momentum.

S – Screen NPT movement with covered and concealed routes.  Remember, the easy way is always mined or ambushed!

E – Enforce noise and light discipline at all times!  No talking unless life and death depend on it!

C – Contact with MZB’s should always be made with the smallest element forward if at all possible.

U – Used the METT-TC indicated technique/formation.

R – Route selection by METT-TC and covered/concealed routes is critical!

E – Enforce proper dispersion between NPT members, which will change based on time of day, weather, and terrain.

 

patrol formation 2

The above example doesn’t indicate that in this instant, when the photograph was taken, that MOVE SECURE was employed by the leader, does it?  This team is exposed, if only due to a ‘photo op’, so don’t take this as what you should do.  It could also be this team is in training and are exposed because the instructor cadre wants to observe clearly.  As we’re not there, we don’t know.  Point remains, however, don’t let you team be exposed on a halt.

Next up is movement formations.  These included various elements (teams) and individuals that are specifically arranged in an ‘order of movement’ in relation to each element or individual’s particular task.  The purpose of the formation is to provide the NPT leader control of the overall  team based on his METT-TC analysis.  The NPT leader is not constrained to be in any one position, but enjoys the freedom to position himself where he can best provide command and control of the team performing its task.

Leadership by example is key.  The old axiom, “Follow me and do as I do,” fits here perfectly.  If at all possible, all team members should be able to see the team leader.  This can be done when the team is 6 men or less most times.  In larger groups, visual contact with various teams, individuals, or elements must be maintained for effective command and control.

When moving in larger teams, say a NPT comprised of 16 to 24 people, the leader must carefully select the location for any supporting positions, such as ‘designated marksmen’ or ‘heavy riflemen’ in the movement formation.  These positions are flexible in their location, as the leader puts them where they will be able to do the most good if they’re needed.

Remember, formations are selected based upon the METT-TC analysis!

Basic Movement Formations:  There are four that are universally taught in the wide, wide world of tactics:  The Wedge, The File, The Line, and the Diamond (or modified wedge).

The cornerstone of formations for movement is the Fire Team Wedge, and the NPT should master it.  Here’s a good example; remember, in our world, we don’t enjoy grenadiers or automatic riflemen, unless one of your NPT members has a Class III license!

Wedge formation

The interval between team members can vary, but is typically between 5 and 10 meters based on terrain and visibility.

When the wedge isn’t feasible due to terrain or visibility, the file is the next best thing.  In fact, when moving at night, it’s the ‘go to’ formation for ease of control, silent movement, and speed, again terrain, visibility, and weather dependent.  The more wind, rain, fog, cloud cover, or snow that’s around, the more concealed the team will be when it moves.  Interval is the same as the wedge, between 5 and 10 meters (or just a few feet) depending on terrain and visibility.

file formationNext up is the Team Line.  Of the four basic formations, it’s the most difficult to  control, affords slower movement, provides very little security to the flanks, but can afford maximum security to the front and rear.  (Remember, what is important is that all weapons are able to engage to the front of the formation.  In that sense, the wedge is also a line when it comes to engagement capability, as all weapons can be trained directly front if needed.)  As always, interval is between 5 and 10 meters, but can change terrain and visibility dependent.  The more open the terrain, the further the interval should be, but only to a point that the team can respond to the team leader’s instructions, typically hand & arm signals, or, if the NPT all has radios, voice command.

line formationLast, and certainly not least (for this installment), is the Diamond, or Modified Wedge formation.  The team will use this formation when the team leader, based on his METT-TC analysis, believes it necessary to maximize control and security of the team.  Interval is the same as all other formations outlined so far:  5 to 10 meters depending on terrain and visibility.

 

diamond formation

Now, imagine how easy it is to modify the wedge formation into the diamond.  The rifleman, regardless if he’s on the left or right, swings into a trailing position directly behind the team leader.  Again, 5 to 10 meters interval, terrain and visibility dependent.

Now let’s get to the most important part of these formations:  The ability to perform them immediately without talking.  That means practicing with your NPT not only the formations themselves, but the hand and arm signals necessary for them to be initiated.

Next time, we’ll get into the fundamentals of tactical movement by your NPT.  Until then, take care of your buddy; train with each other every chance you can.

buddy team

 

Manvotional: Spartacus to the Gladiators

From, “The Art of Manliness.”

spartacus

Editor’s Note: Spartacus was a Thracian by birth who was taken captive by the Roman army, sold as a slave, and trained to become a gladiator at a school in Capua owned by Lentulus Batiatus.

Tired of risking life and limb and fighting for the entertainment of the Roman masses, in 73 BC, Spartacus and a group of other enslaved gladiators plotted a rebellion and escape.

Not many historical details are known about Spartacus; the speech below was written by a 19th century author, imagining what the night of the uprising felt like, and what Spartacus said to rally his brothers-in-arms. It’s a great piece of thumos-stirring lit.

“Spartacus to the Gladiators”
By Elijah Kellogg
From The Book of Oratory, 1878

It had been a day of triumph in Capua. Lentulus, returning with victorious eagles, had amused the populace with the sports of the amphitheater to an extent hitherto unknown even in that luxurious city. The shouts of revelry had died away; the roar of the lion had ceased; the last loiterer had retired from the banquet, and the lights in the palace of the victor were extinguished.

The moon, piercing the tissue of fleecy clouds, silvered the dewdrop on the corselet of the Roman sentinel, and tipped the dark waters of Volturnus with wavy, tremulous light. It was a night of holy calm, when the zephyr sways the young spring leaves, and whispers among the hollow reeds its dreamy music. No sound was heard but the last sob of some weary wave, telling its story to the smooth pebbles of the beach, and then all was still as the breast when the spirit has departed.

In the deep recesses of the amphitheater a band of gladiators were crowded together—their muscles still knotted with the agony of conflict, the foam upon their lips, and the scowl of battle yet lingering upon their brows—when Spartacus, rising in the midst of that grim assemblage, thus addressed them:

“Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arena every shape of man or beast that the broad Empire of Rome could furnish, and yet never has lowered his arm. And if there be one among you who can say that, ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him step forth and say it. If there be three in all your throng dare face me on the bloody sand, let them come on!

Yet, I was not always thus, a hired butcher, a savage chief of savage men. My father was a reverent man, who feared great Jupiter, and brought to the rural deities his offerings of fruits and flowers. He dwelt among the vine-clad rocks and olive groves at the foot of Helicon. My early life ran quiet as the brook by which I sported. I was taught to prune the vine, to tend the flock; and then, at noon, I gathered my sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd’s flute. I had a friend, the son of our neighbor; we led our flocks to the same pasture, and shared together our rustic meal.

One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were all seated beneath the myrtle that shaded our cottage, my grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon and Leuctra, and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war meant; but my cheeks burned. I knew not why; and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, till my mother, parting the hair from off my brow, kissed my throbbing temples, and bade me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.

That very night the Romans landed on our shore, and the clash of steel was heard within our quiet vale. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the iron hoof of the war-horse; the bleeding body of my father flung amid the blazing rafters of our dwelling.

Today I killed a man in the arena, and when I broke his helmet clasps, behold! He was my friend! He knew me—smiled faintly—gasped—and died; the same sweet smile that I had marked upon his face when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled some lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph.

I told the praetor he was my friend, noble and brave, and I begged his body, that I might burn it upon the funeral-pile, and mourn over him. Ay, on my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that boon, while all the Roman maids and matrons, and those holy virgins they call vestal, and the rabble, shouted in mockery, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome’s fiercest gladiator turn pale, and tremble like a very child, before that piece of bleeding clay; but the praetor drew back as if I were pollution, and sternly said:

‘Let the carrion rot! There are no noble men but Romans!’ And he, deprived of funeral rites, must wander, a hapless ghost, beside the waters of that sluggish river, and look—and look—and look in vain to the bright Elysian Fields where dwell his ancestors and noble kindred. And so must you, and so must I, die like dogs!

O Rome! Rome! Thou hast been a tender nurse to me! Ay, thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd-lad, who never knew a harsher sound than a flute-note, muscles of iron and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through rugged brass and plaited mail, and warm it in the marrow of his foe! To gaze into the glaring eyeballs of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a smooth-cheeked boy upon a laughing girl. And he shall pay thee back till thy yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled!

Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! the strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but tomorrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet odors from his curly locks, shall come, and with his lily fingers pat your brawny shoulders, and bet his sesterces upon your blood! Hark! Hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? ‘Tis three days since he tasted meat; but tomorrow he shall break his fast upon your flesh; and ye shall be a dainty meal for him.

If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen waiting for the butcher’s knife; if ye are men, follow me! Strike down yon sentinel, and gain the mountain passes, and there do bloody work as did your sires at old Thermopylae! Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like baseborn slaves beneath your master’s lash? O comrades! Warriors! Thracians! If we must fight, let us fight for ourselves; if we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors; if we must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle.”

Product Review: Ballistol

Or, what was old becomes new again.  Or even, “old school” is sometimes more kick-a$$ than “new school”.

ballistol

First, as the R&D guy is busy doing other things than R&D right now (last time I talked to him he was mumbling something about, “his creation,” whatever that means), I figured I’d take a crack at reviewing this product.  I’m sure once he finishes whatever it is that is keeping him away his assigned duties, he’ll be all over this.  (But, like many people say, “you get what I pay for….”).  So, on with the review.

 

creation

Have you ever wondered, when viewing captured WWII film or movies using actual German footage from WWII, what those guys did to keep their rifles protected where ever they were?  Or how they kept their barrels from corroding?  After all, they used corrosive ammunition, and anyone who’s ever shot it out of a vintage or modern firearm knows you must not only clean it as soon as practical, you must put a protectant of some sort on the piece to keep it good to go, especially in foul, wet weather.

 

GermanK98

Think about it.   The pristine example of a rebuilt K-98 isn’t too far off the mark from a rifle that was used extensively in the field and was still very, very serviceable at the end of the war.  To this day, people are buying WWII German rifles that have been simply stored in cosmoline, and once cleaned, are like new, in many respects.   How’d they do that and why does that have any bearing on preparedness or long term sustained security task performance by your NPT?

Simply put, they used Ballistol on everything from the steel to the wood, to their leather LBE, boots and belts.  The lubricant preservative, ‘Ballistol’, according to their web site, is:

The world’s most useful and environmentally friendly lubricant since 1904.

For more than a hundred years, consumers have trusted Ballistol to lubricate, penetrate, clean, protect, and preserve their firearms, leather gear, wood, metal surfaces, and more.

With an astonishingly wide range of applications, this environmentally friendly multi-purpose oil has become an essential tool for shooters, hunters, fishermen, and handymen all over the world.

Read more:
Ballistol’s Longevity, Ballistol’s Uses, Frequently Asked Questions

Our mission: Develop an oil that can be used on EVERYTHING.

At the turn of the 20th century, the German Imperial Army began looking for a multipurpose oil that could be used to clean and maintain the metallic parts of a rifle, while also protecting its wooden stock and a soldier’s leather gear.  To develop this oil, the Army contracted with Friedrich Klever and his son Dr. Helmut Klever, a professor of chemistry at the Technical University of Karlsruhe.

In 1904, Dr. Helmut Klever succeeded in producing the special compound, which he named “Ballistol” (from the words “ballistic” and “oleum”, the Latin word for “oil”).  It soon became obvious that this new “ballistic oil” had truly amazing capabilities, and in 1905 the Imperial Army tested and adopted Ballistol, which stayed in use until 1945.  By then, however, word had spread and within a decade, hunters, boaters, hikers, and outdoorsmen in Germany, Austria and Switzerland had converted to using this new “miracle oil.”

 

Pretty good claim, right?  Almost too good to be true, but the product (so far) performs as promised.  I bought a small kit for $22 from Amazon.  In it is an aerosol can and a non-aerosol can with a pump trigger.

 

ballistol1

More than I’ll probably use in a long, long time…..maybe.  The aerosol is in my range kit, and the non-aerosol stays in my work area, and so far, it’s doing exactly what it should.  Yesterday was knife day.  Touching up all the edges on my folders, combat knives, wall hangers, etc.  I use the Edge Pro Apex 4, which is a superb knife sharpening instrument and well worth every penny I paid, but I digress.

After the sharpening (some of which was merely smoothing out any burrs), I procured a nice, soft piece of cloth, applied some Ballistol to it (not a huge amount) and started gently rubbing the blades, hilts and grips of every one I sharpened.  I could not believe the grime and stains that were removed!  From all sorts of finishes:  Stainless steel, phosphate (parkerized), carbon steel, micarta, wood, brass, leather, you name it.  Even used it on my Musso Bowie (long time Bowie buff) and ‘straight from Nepal’ issue Kukri.  My knives haven’t looked this new since they were…well…new.

 

Musso Bowie Legacy Arms

Kukri

(And no, my Musso isn’t for carry; it’s a wall hanger.  The Kukri?  That can fit in a side pocket of my ruck because the damn thing is bomb-proof.  Very inexpensive investment for the ROI of having something that has multiple uses and can take a beating if necessary.)

So, next on the test schedule is to field strip my EDC (Every Day Carry) pistol(s) and wipe them down with it and see how much crap comes out on the cloth (they’re cleaned each time they’re used, so it’ll be interesting).  Same with my rifles; some of which are classic blued steel and wood (hunting instruments) and ‘painted ugly’ to blend NPT personal defense carbines and pistols.

My plans right now are to get myself a 4 to 6 ounce squeeze bottle, fill it up with Ballistol, and replace the CLP Break Free I have in my field cleaning kit.  So long as possible and we remain in a ‘normal’ environment economically and geo-politically (no SHTF/WROL scenario has occurred), I’ll still use my Frog Lube, MPro-7, and other good products, especially until I get a good field test on the weapons (which means living with them in some very inclement weather to see how Ballistol does).

More to follow in the next few months; I’m taking some with me on a hunt around Thanksgiving in some very nasty terrain/weather (from what’s predicted by locals).  I’ll make sure to provide follow up.

For now, though, it’s worth getting even a small bottle (less than $10) to try out on your own weapons and equipment.  My kit with the 16 ounce can of non-aerosol and the 6 ounces aerosol cost $22 from Amazon.  I think it was good money spent.

Make sure you add your experiences with it in the comments!

Dodge: Prioritizing Realistic “Engagement” Training

Source: Prioritizing Realistic “Engagement” Training

JC provides some serious insight on what NPT training should include in a WROL situation.   It’s not going to be ‘kill em all’; there’ll be a lot of people just like you, that is, good people, just trying to make it through the situation.  There’ll also be bad actors.  You’ll have to tell the difference.

jc

Training Priorities

Now-and-Too-Late

This image says quite a bit, doesn’t it?  When discussing preparedness, training, NPT building, and sustained readiness, it rings even more true.  Lately some folks I know who started on the road to getting themselves ready to take care of ‘precious cargo’ have demonstrated where they really are by virtue of their priorities.

ghandi

One example is a young man I know who had been asking quite a lot about a particular firearm and some training to go along with it once he purchased it over the last couple months.  He told me he had specifically ear-marked his growing fund for a good AR, a couple cases of ammo, and magazines.  He was supposed to make a purchase at the end of September.  Today he volunteered that he had to put off the purchase because he needed to buy a new air conditioner, but within a few months, he’d be back on track, so everything was fine.

Pardon me?

Here it is, after mid-September, in what is considered the Northern Tier, with cold weather right around the corner, ie, “winter,” and this person chooses to realign his priorities to take care of ‘next summer’s comfort.’  This same man has sat and asked questions and researched long and hard while on his own coming up with the determination that he needed to re-prioritize his life to include time for training, equipment purchase, and NPT building.

Same with getting oneself into better physical condition.   When conducting classes, I see many participants vow to get in better shape, because the simple act of putting on a fully loaded ruck sack is next to impossible without assistance.  Chance contact some time after class is concluded show’s no difference in appearance or capabilities.  What’s the demonstrated priority?

Check out your own group of  ‘like minded’ folks.  In regards to fitness, how much ‘nutrition deficient’ substances (food) are they eating when you gather?  Have they started a good PT program?  Or have the people/person in question even been to their doctor to get clearance to start?  Or is it too much trouble?  Or will he or she start, “tomorrow?”

In regard to defensive tools and equipment, have your ‘like minded’ associates gotten themselves outfitted with the minimum necessary gear, starting with good quality boots to handle a WROL scenario?  Or are they promising to get busy, ‘tomorrow’?

Tomorrow never gets here.  It’s always today.  Always.

In one of the “Rocky” movies, “Rocky III,” I believe.  Rocky is having a hard time getting off the dime in his training to take on ‘Clubber Lang’, played by Mr. T.  Appollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, is asking Rocky what’s wrong with him, and Rocky says, “Tomorrow….I’ll do better tomorrow….” and Creed says, “There IS no tomorrow!”

Wisdom.  Pearls of wisdom.

So….look deep inside. Analyze and evaluate your priorities.  Start now, not today, NOW.

 

no tomorrow