Condition of Use: The SHTF and WROL scenarios are common place; there is no capability for recognized ‘first responders’ to nullify the threat to your NPA (Neighborhood Protection Area) or keep you and your ‘precious cargo’ safe. You are on your own.
NPT Scenario: So, you’ve been diligent about getting a NPT established and trained before SHTF/WROL occurred (or even after, before things got really dicey with the associated steep learning curve), have been doing extensive reconnaissance, and have determined that a significant (you judge on what ‘significant’ means) number of MZB’s mean to come and raid your small, secure NPA for whatever staples you have. All first response entities that are out there are busy taking care of their own families and won’t respond (think police, fire, and ambulance response during Katrina).
Your reconnaissance team(s) has/have been out several times in the last few days, and they keep coming back with indications that you’ve been being reconned from without. There are definite signs you’re little NPA is being targeted by MZB’s.
You decide to act. You’ve ruled out a GOOD op, because some of the folks in your NPA can’t move very well, if at all, and you’re not going to leave them. That means you have to fight. Waiting for the MZB’s to strike gives them the initiative and advantage. Not a good move, either.
So, you decide to set up an ambush or two along avenues of approach (AA). Problem is, you haven’t done much work on ambush training. That’s what this post is about: The basics of setting an ambush, its purposes, and expected results.
Concepts & Principles: Let’s start with a definition that encompasses all the variations of ambush tactics that are in use, or can be used, today:
Ambushes are nothing more than a surprise attack on a moving or temporarily halted opposing force with the objective of significantly crippling, destroying, or capturing the opposing force. Numerical superiority is not necessarily required for the conduct of a successful ambush.
Don’t confuse an ambush with a raid. While it’s true that both are surprise attacks, the ambush has the significant difference of not taking or holding ground. Raids will typically take and hold a particular location for varying lengths of time to permit the conduct of a task or mission that can best be accomplished after the raid. There’s also a the time/place difference between the two: In the ambush, the target sets the time; the attacker the place. In a raid, it is the opposite: the target sets the place; the attacker the time.
Ambushes of all types have the same common elements:
- The target is always moving or is temporarily stopped while in the process of moving (think, ‘take ten’ break, unscheduled vehicle maintenance (flat tire), chow break, etc)
- Short, intense (read that to mean ‘lots of shooting and supporting device use) actions
- Virtually always include a complete and rapid withdrawal from the site
- Initiated by a simultaneous high volume of fire into the kill zone by the ‘assault’ and ‘base of fire’ (if you have one) element.
- Depend on accurate intelligence to place in the most effective location(s)
- Depend on shock to immobilize the target
- Last no longer than two to three minutes at the outside
- Leave the site quickly when mission is complete
It comes down to this: You are going to attempt to surprise an armed group of people by opening fire on them and trying to kill as many as possible before they can react and return fire. You should have your team well-rehearsed on the actions to take individually and as a team for site occupation, ambush initiations, cease fire, and withdrawal. That means a lot of walk-through training. Depending on your objective, you are going to quickly leave the area by a route that will not be easily followed by any other opposing force teams attempting to come to the aid of the ambushed group.
Next time we’ll look at the various categories of ambushes and some of the skills involved in training for them.