Monthly Archives: March 2016

And Now, for Something Completely Different….

Dateline Warren, Michigan (North of Detroit by a few miles):  Thieves decide to, “have it their way….”



The story seems to have a couple of loose ends in it, but still, 33 cases of frozen burger patties….1/4 pound each.  Gone.  Under the nose of a sleeping cargo driver.  Typically frozen food distributors will tell you that there are 40 four ounce frozen patties to a 10 pound case.  So, that’s 1,320 burgers stolen…more or less.  Heh…and the local Police Chief figures the ‘evidence’ was consumed.  That’s one hell of a grilling session!

Here’s the story.

SHTF Product Review: Casio GW 7900B1Solar Atomic “Stealth” Watch

casio g-shock stealth

In the search for a “SHTF-Worthy” watch that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and can keep going indefinitely without battery changes (solar powered), is water proof to 200 meters (overkill, but means rain and submersion won’t hurt it), has the ability to track Zulu time (Greenwich Meant Time) and local time, is very accurate (automatic nuclear time adjusted), lightweight, and has a good amount of alternate functions, the Chief Instructor has been using this one.  The only thing it’s vulnerable to is an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) event, and in that case, a good, old fashioned, wind up watch will have to suffice, unless, of course, you keep a spare Stealth in a Faraday Cage.

It was purchased used, on eBay, almost new.  The previous owner didn’t like the way it felt for some reason.  Shipped for $70.  It retails for anywhere from $95 to $300, outlet dependent, and on Amazon, you can get them for about $105.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Here are the specs:

  • Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping (US, UK, Germany, Japan, China)
  • Receives time calibration radio signals which keep the displayed time accurate
  • Auto receive function up to 6 times per day (up to 5 times per day for China)
  • Manual receive function
  • Signal: US WWVB, UK MSF, Germany DCF77, Japan JJY40/JJY60, China BPC
  • Frequency: US 60kHz, UK 60kHz, Germany 77.5kHz, Japan 40/60kHz, BPC 68.5kHz
  • Tough Solar Power
  • Shock Resistant
  • 200M Water Resistant
  • Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow
  • Moon Data (moon age of the specific data, moon phase graph)
  • Tide Graph (tide level for specific date and time)
  • World Time
    • 31 times zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, daylight saving on/off
    • 4 Daily Alarms and 1 Snooze Alarm
    • Hourly Time Signal
    • Countdown Timer
    • Measuring unit: 1 second
    • Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
    • 1/100 second stopwatch
    • Measuring capacity: 23:59’59.99”
    • Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
    • Battery power indicator
    • Power saving function
    • Button operation tone on/off
    • Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
    • 12/24 Hour Formats
    • Accuracy: +/- 15 seconds per month
    • Storage battery: Solar rechargeable battery
    • Approx. battery life: 9 months on full charge (without further exposure to light)
  • Module 3200
    • Size of case/total weight
    • GW7900B 52.4 x 50.0 x 17.7mm / 71g

So far, this is the way it’s being used:

  • UTC/GMT where the day/date would be at the top, right under the solar collector.
  • Local time in DST
  • 24 Hour Format for both
  • All tones muted
  • Automatic Time Adjustment (Standard v Daylight Savings)
  • Backlight time lapse – 3 seconds on
  • Wrist tilt – Watch stays dark in the dark unless you bring your wrist up parallel withe the ground and then tilt it towards you 40 degrees, then the backlight comes on for 3 seconds.
  • Manual light – Pushing the ‘G’ button activates the backlight

Haven’t had the need yet to explore the other functions, but have been impressed with how light it is, and because the face is 50mm or so, it has a couple of ‘wings’ under the base that stabilize the watch so it doesn’t slip.  Nice touch.

This would be a great NPT watch

SHTF Kit Planning: What to Have and Why – Part I


A picture’s worth a thousand words, isn’t it?  Try to imagine ‘bugging out’ with a lot of the crap that various sources tell you that you must have in order to survive, and soon, you’ll be in worse shape than the troop pictured above, God bless him.

We’ve held off on putting together a DTG specific ‘SHTF Kit’ (aka ‘Bug Out,’ Survival, and other names) because a metric crap ton of information on the subject is already available.  However, after reviewing what’s being accepted as ‘conventional wisdom,’ it has become apparent that as we focus on the “Neighborhood Protection Team” and local community aspect of preparedness, it’s time to throw in our two cents.  We’ll start at the very foundation of what should be viewed as survival gear in any kit:

Your Boots:   If your boots are garbage, you’re not walking far.  At all.  If they’re good boots, but aren’t fitted well, ditto.  If they don’t have good insoles or support, double ditto.  This is not the item to go cheap on; this is the item you will want to get the absolute best quality you can afford and have fit like it’s your own skin.  DTG is partial to Danner boots, but there are plenty of other quality brands out there.  Remember, you get what you pay for, so be a picky shopper. Research is key here.  So far, the absolute best Danner we’ve found for long walks with heavy packs is the, ‘Combat Hiker,’ pictured here.

combat hiker

Your Container:  Many sources encourage folks to start out with the container, and it should be a heavy gauge bag or a duffle bag of some sort.  We couldn’t disagree more, and for several reasons:

  • Carrying a full ‘bag’ or duffle, even with shoulder straps, for any distance, is going to get very uncomfortable very quickly.  The lower back and trap muscles are going to take a beating, along with the core, presuming the person carrying it isn’t in the best shape or is a younger child, adolescent, or female.
  • Carrying a well-made ruck sack (back pack) packed with survival items when performing NPT operations, or leaving one’s Neighborhood Protection Area for a safer location takes its toll, even when the individual carrying it has been practicing and is in good shape.


  • It should be proportionately sized for the size and fitness level of the person who’s going to be carrying it.  Further, it should be used as a routine PT (Physical Training) tool.  Otherwise, you’re looking at being a living example of the picture above, especially if you’re ‘mature.’  A good rule of thumb is to have a pack loaded with no more than a third of the body weight of the person carrying it.  That doesn’t sound too bad until you figure that a 180 pound male in decent shape will be carrying 60 pounds in the pack, which doesn’t take into account any other ‘equipment’, which may weigh up to about 30 pounds (more on that later).   If you have kids with you, and they weigh 75 pounds, that means a 25 pound pack, maximum (including anything else they may have to carry), because their bones aren’t fully developed yet, and serious skeletal damage can occur if they carry too much.  So, think about that when you’re putting your SHTF survival kit together.  Look at the picture below.  Think that little man or little lady is going to be able to hoist a pack like that, let alone carry it?  Something to consider is that preppers have a propensity to over pack, especially when they try to adapt the, ‘two is one and one is none’ mindset, which is not applicable here.  In a SHTF kit/pack, especially when you’re moving to a safer location, ‘one is great!’ is the rule with very few exceptions.

kids packs

  • When choosing your pack, try to get a balance between volume, empty pack weight, and durability.  No need to spend hundreds of dollars, either, especially for your wife and kids, with the exception of young men from about 16 years and up.  There’s a lot of good civilian brand packs out there on eBay that folks are selling that fit the bill nicely.  Because of their inherent strength (yes, we’re aware that some women out there can run a lot of men into the ground, but generally speaking, men are better suited physicologically for carrying weight for long distances), men will be carrying the most during a SHTF movement.  Because of this, and balanced against the fact that the men will most likely be the primary protectors for the family/group moving, the men’s packs should have some sort of quick release system built into the shoulder, sternum, and waist straps to be able to drop the pack quickly and do whatever is appropriate to protect the family.  Here’s an example for family members, and is about half the size of the USMC FILBE (without accessory pouches holds about 5100 cubic inches – well over 6K with accessory pouches) that DTG staff members carry.  It’s a Kelty Redwing, 3100 cubic inches/52 Liters.  Sells for about $90 on eBay.

Kelty pack

Now, with these two items, there’s a third leg of the stool that must be attached before you can even begin to think about walking out, and it’s already been alluded to, but we’ll begin beating the dying horse here anyway.  You MUST break in your top quality boots by walking miles and miles and miles in them, finding out where hot spots are, treating your feet for blisters, and then adding gradually increasing weight in your pack on your walks to strengthen your back, core, and legs.  It can be done with consistency in not too long a period of time.  Example:  This year was a mild winter.  The DTG Chief Instructor started his ruck walks in mid February with 30 pounds and just 2 miles, just getting his body used to the exercise again.  It is now 30 March 2016. Yesterday, he was able to 3.75 miles with 65 pounds at a pace of 13.3 minutes per mile.  He’s 60 and weighs 175 pounds.  Sure, he was beat at the end of the exercise, but if he has to ‘bug out’ or move to another NPA with his full load of equipment, self-defense carbine and ammo, and pack, he’s going to be able to go quite a ways before he needs to rest, and then, once rested, he’ll be able to keep going.  The point being that you’re probably much younger and in better shape (or should be).  You can do better and most likely be faster for longer distances.  All you have to do is get started on a consistent program.  Remember the graphic below:


Your Defense System:  Very few resources in the commercial realm tell their readers they should have a defense system included in their SHTF pack/kit.  This is a disservice.  You need a weapon.  If you have the best equipment in the world, with a family that’s in top physical condition, it all comes to nothing if you cannot keep them safe when you’re moving to Point B from Point A.  Without a weapon (or several for a family), you’re just preparing to outfit a feral group of marauders when they come to get what you have.  This addition also adds to the weight of what you’re carrying, especially when it comes to ammunition.  Minimum recommendation for pistol ammo in the ruck is 50 rounds.  This doesn’t count the ammo in the 5 magazines you’re carrying on you.  Minimum recommendation for the Self Defense Carbine/Rifle is 210 rounds (7 thirty round magazines for an AR) in the ruck, and 7 thirty round magazines on your person (one would be in the carbine/rifle).  That adds up.  DTG recommends and uses the simple, ugly, reliable Glock 17/19 and AR’s.  They’re easily controlled and have enough firepower to mount a sustainable defense.  As much as some of us love the .45 and 7.62 NATO rounds, their weight for the same amount of ammunition is about twice that of the 9mm and 5.56 NATO.  But, as always, to each his own.  Remember, however, training is key here.  You must perform dry fire consistently, and hit the range with live fire consistently.  Hopefully, wearing what you’d be wearing if you were ‘bugging out.’  Other firearms are good choices, as well, providing the user practices carrying/shooting them and has enough ammunition.  Some folks might be thinking that their 30-30 is good enough, and it just may be.  However, get yourself a couple hundred rounds and see how the weight affects your pack.  Everything is a trade off.  Everything.

Next installment we’ll continue to build the kit and talk a bit about clothing and tools.

Calls for ‘Rehabilitation’ and Tribunals, post Election 2016


As has been said in the past, DTG doesn’t normally post political pieces except on occasion.  This is one of those, because it has everything to do with constitutionalism, preparedness, and traditional American values that have become an anethma to the ‘liberals’ who call themselves, ‘the left’.

First, I don’t really care what your politics are….until whoever, “you” are, call for ‘de-baathification’ for those who may or may not support one or another ‘constitutional’ candidates…

From, “Stop Shouting”, here.  Read the whole thing.

Here’s a couple important excerpts:

“OK folks, this has gotten serious.  Understand that your class and ideological enemies now are floating the idea that you (and me, brother) are to be subject to some form of political tribunal and “rehabilitation” or adjudication, as the case may be.  If you don’t think this is serious, might I remind you of what happens when your group falls into the hands of our class and ideological foe – as an example of the extreme ends of this ideological dipole, I present to you the Katyn Forest Massacre.  If you have time, review the 400 page list of the dead.  Imagine the format filled in with Americans and you will begin to see where this “progressive” idea has led to in the past.

Back to the title of this article… “De-Baathification” of Iraq.  This process saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers, bureaucrats and politicians cast out into society, with no means to support themselves or their families.  The nascent insurgency found a deep well of talent in that dismissed talent pool. Debaathification of America would be an ideological cleansing to disenfranchise, unemploy and otherwise make opponents to the entrenched progressive Regime untouchable, as in beyond the pale.  Consider it the equivalent of being a resident of Stalingrad and having them take your ration book from you.  It is a death sentence!”


“That the regime and its adherents are floating the idea throughout social media that you can be sent to a camp for the thoughtcrime of supporting Donald Trump is troubling and an indicator of the level of fear felt by the establishment facing a potential political upset.  Even if you are an “independent” voter, or a “liberal” or “progressive”, this should deeply concern you.  One must come to terms with the Rubicon that statements like that make.  It is a statement of intent, an indicator of sentiment… signals are being sent that Trump supporters are to be seen as subhuman by the Regime and its adherents/beneficiaries of the existing political order.  After dehumanization comes the horror of democide, genocide.  If that comes to pass, are Trump supporters to be stripped of legal and Constitutional protections?  The Regime has already taken toe-in-the-water test cases with the weaponization of the courts and the IRS against its ideological foes. LIEberals seem to think so, if this telegraphed intent is anything to go by.  In the Intel world, we would call it an “indicator”.  This one happens to be blinking neon in a dark political night.”

Survival Knives!

Some excellent points; read the whole thing.  I will happily endorse this statement:

“They must-

  • Last under hard use
  • Stay sharp to continue to cut stuff
  • Be easy to resharpen to continue to cut stuff
  • Be inexpensive enough so that you don’t cry if you lose it

When I say last under hard use, I definitely don’t mean abuse. There’s some out there, especially newcomers in the bushcraft/naturist community that seem to believe a knife should double as an axe, a wedge, a prybar, etc. A knife cuts. That’s its purpose. If you need a wedge, learn to fabricate one from your environment, and if you need an axe, carry one. A knife will not serve these needs as well as dedicated tools will.”

In my own day, we carried at least FIVE edged tools/weapons with us:

  • USGI Issue ‘Boy Scout Knife’ – A great tool for opening ‘c’ rations and other small chores.  (We also had a ‘john wayne’ or P-38 strictly for can opening, too.)
  • M-7 Bayonet – Something to sharpen and carry if you didn’t have anything else; a lot of times used for opening ammo and ration cases.
  • Cammilus ‘Combat Knife’ – General purpose blade kept sharp and carried primarily for survival uses.
  • Gerber Mk I ‘Boot Knife’ – Last ditch weapon
  • USGI E-Tool – Filed edge basically for digging in and chopping wood (if the edge was sharp enough)
  • USGI Machete – For clearing areas to bivouac in, typically inside the perimeter.

The reason I stated five, and then listed six, is that not everyone had a boot knife, Cammilus, Machete or E-Tool.  The boot knife and Cammilus were private purchases (tacitly approved for use in the field) and the machete and E-Tool were typically ‘buddy team’ items, with each member of the buddy team carrying one.

Today, teaching survival or any skill within SUT, I typically carry a small e-tool on my ruck, and small tomahawk, a ‘combat knife’ on my LBE, a multi-tool, and sometimes a small folding knife as a back up.  So that’s 5…even today.  For survival, if I had a choice between the ‘combat knife’ and the hatchet/tomahawk, I’d take the hawk, because it’s more versatile in the tool role.


One thing that I’ve found is pretty much universal to all cultures is the love of the knife; aside from Dogs, they’re Man’s best friend. Particularly to Americans, we have a certain myth behind what a knife should be. We all know it too- the Bowie. The reality is, like normal, a little different.

For this reason, we seem to have skewered view of what a “survival” or Field knife is and should be. Most folks, when you ask them what a survival knife is, will give you something like this:

rambo.jpegThe Rambo Knife- a big, thick, clumsy blade with a useless saw and a hollow handle. While it may look nice in the movies, it’s junk in reality. Knives are first a tool, not a symbol of macho manhood. They must-

  • Last under hard use
  • Stay sharp to continue to cut stuff
  • Be easy to resharpen to continue to…

View original post 2,037 more words

Re-Post: Principles of Tactical Defense – Part V: Fully Prepared Positions and Improvements

Originally posted on 5 March 2014.

Now we can get into making your progressively developed hasty position into a fully prepared defensive position, along with some things that will make you more comfortable.  Remember, though, progressive development to the depth described herein is for positions that you will be in for quite some time, so don’t fall into the trap that you don’t have a “worthy” prepared defensive position if you don’t have a log overhead and waterproofed cover; conversely, don’t lull yourself into the dangerous mindset when you’re laying in your hasty position that, “we’ll be leaving any minute now….aaaaaaaany minute… I don’t need to dig any more.”

So, first things first.

How deep do you dig once you have a hasty position dug properly?  Easy answer:  Keep working until you’re armpit deep.  For the entire length of the hole, whether straight or curved, for a two man position.  A field expedient measuring tool is your rifle.  If you have a M-Forgery, extend the stock all the way, and measure four lengths (nice and tight), but no more than six.  Mark it with a stick or something in the ground.

Field Fort 10

Don’t make it two wide; just wide enough to get in and out comfortably.  The text book says ‘the width of two bayonets’.  That makes it about 2 feet wide.  The smaller signature leaves the least amount of space for things that go ‘boom’ to be thrown into where you are at.  If you and your buddy are big guys, with huge, wide shoulders, you may need to make it wider.  If you’re the leprechaun type (small, dark and cocky), you might need it to be less wide.  The key here is customization.  Really.  Make it fit the two of you.

Now when you’re building your front cover with either the spoil or sandbags you’ve gotten from your ruck (you DO carry 2 or 3, right?), build the wall far enough away so that you can dig impressions that your elbows can rest in to lower your profile just a bit more.  (You should have gotten by now that you don’t want to fire over your front cover if you don’t have to, because it silhouettes you and makes it easier for the ‘apocalypse zombie sapper squad’ to shoot you in the face.  Another reason for firing from the oblique and letting a supporting position fire to your front until the shit really gets bad.)  You can also dig impressions for any bipod you may be using to support the firing of a captured zombie belt-fed (remember, the S has HTF, and you’re using a captured weapon.  In times of peace, all NFA rules apply).

Here’s an example of each:

Field Fort 11

Field Fort 12

Ok, now we tackle the problem of not shooting our guys that may be in our line of fire.  We do this with ‘sector of fire stakes.’  Tree limbs about 18 inches long make good stakes. The stakes must be sturdy and must stick out of the ground high enough to keep your rifle from being pointed out of your sector.  Figure about at least an inch in diameter; 2 inches is better.  Sharpen them so they’ll go in the ground easier.  Then, hammer in aiming stakes (about an inch in diameter so you can tell the difference between the two in the dark) to help you fire into dangerous approaches at night and at other times when visibility is poor.  Forked tree limbs about 12 inches long make good stakes. Put one stake near the edge of the hole to rest the stock of your rifle on. Then put another stake forward of the rear (first) stake toward each dangerous approach. The forward stakes are used to hold the rifle barrel. To change the direction of your fire from one approach to another, move the rifle barrel from one forward stake to another. Leave the stock of the rifle on the rear stake.  (The positions to your left and right and front (if you are the ‘in depth’ position) will appreciate your attention to detail if you get into the shit after dark…..just sayin’.)

Field Fort 13

Now we get into making sure that if the ‘apocalypse zombie sapper team’ has hand-launched indirect munitions (grenades) that we have a chance (just a chance) to survive that if it gets into the hole (“hole” is an affectionate term simplifying the phrase, “prepared defensive position” and we (meaning you) can’t get out in time to avoid detonation.

Dig grenade sumps.  Two of them.  In the floor (one on each end). If a zombie throws a grenade into the hole, kick or throw it into one of the sumps. The sump will absorb most of the blast. The rest of the blast will be directed straight up and out of the hole.  You need to be away from the sump you kicked it into.  This may seem obvious, but it’s better to take away all doubt while you’re reading this and not have to address it in the middle of a zombie assault on your prepared defensive position (that if you opened fire first, the ‘apocalypse zombie sapper squad’ will most likely think it’s an ambush if they were trained in standard immediate action drills).

Dig the grenade sumps:

  • As wide as the entrenching tool blade.
  • At least as deep as an entrenching tool.
  • As long as the position floor is wide.

You can also slope the floor of the hole toward the grenade sumps for a pre-rain water drainage improvement that may also help any grenades to roll into the sumps.  If the sumps are filled with water, that can help diffuse the detonation.  Not much, but every bit helps.  Here’s yet another illustration:

Field Fort 14

Overhead cover is next.  You won’t need it for protection from artillery fragments or airbursts (I hope), but it will help keep you dry when resting, and it will provide a barrier against observation from the air (especially if the position is camouflaged properly).  Once you have overhead cover, depending on how you build it, you essentially have a bunker.  This can be good and bad, as it can give you a false sense of security.   A fully developed position sometimes lends itself to the feeling of hiding rather than fighting.  Just keep in mind at all times, a prepared defensive position is something to fight from, not hide in.  The real danger of a fully prepared position is that an enemy can move all around to find the weaknesses of your defense plan; you are stationary.  And any defensive perimeter or position can be penetrated, given enough time.  So, it boils down to being ready to leave the position and move to a more advantageous location to wrest the initiative away from the ‘apocalypse zombie sapper team’ should the situation warrant.  End of digression.

Field Fort 15Field Fort 16

To be sure, there are many more variations of prepared defensive positions that given the time and material, you and your NPT could prepare to include trenches, specialized weapon positions, etc., but that’s not the scope of this series.  You now have the basic requirements necessary to build an effective position from a hasty scraping all the way to a fully developed 2 man position.

Time to get a good e-tool!

Re-Post: Principles of Tactical Defense – Part IV: Sectors and Fields of Fire and Position Types

Originally posted 2 Mar 14.

Last time we finished off with camouflaging your position, especially from the air in this day and age (drones, and all that), and one of the illustrations had some character sitting up half-way in his hole.  Probably for artistic effect, but to be fair, all entrances to prepared positions are in the rear of the position, and therefore, not necessarily under OPFOR observation.

Now we’ll start with Sectors of Fire.

A sector of fire is simply those areas into which you must observe and be able to effectively fire.  When you either choose or are given a position to develop a prepared position, you, or your NPT buddy or NPT leader should help you or flat out give you a primary and secondary sector of fire.  The primary sector of fire will be to the oblique of your position, and the secondary sector of fire is to the front.   A field of fire to the oblique lets you hit the attackers from an unexpected angle. It also lets you support the positions next to you. Having an oblique as a primary sector of fire makes sure that your fire interlocks with the fire of any other positions also developed. That helps create a wall of fire that the ‘apocalypse zombie death squad’ must pass through.  We call it, “mutual support” and “defense in depth,” so while it might sound backwards, it’s not, because your front is covered by someone else’s oblique.  There’s a little psychological advantage to having someone covering your front and you theirs:  Human nature will cause the OPFOR detail to stay keenly focused on the position directly in front of them, should they observe it and decide to attack it.  They might so focused, that they miss the one to your left and right, and then become so much hamburger.  Or so that’s how they taught us way back in the day.   Simple, right?

Here’s another text-book illustration:

Field Fort 6

Now that we’ve got the sector of fire down, we need to look at our ‘field of fire’.  The Field of Fire is simply that area that you will be shooting into, and what obstructions are within that area that would stop you from killing your apocalypse zombie attacker, also known from his ‘undead’ perspective, as ‘cover’.  You must do everything you can to either get rid of any useful cover, or have the ‘dead space’ (area that you can’t shoot into) covered by someone else who can shoot into it, or, if you have it because you took it off other ‘apocalypse zombies’ that you killed, grenades or better yet, mines.   That’s a subject for another time, however.

Here’s some important tips for clearing your field of fire:

  • Do not disclose your position by careless or too much clearing.
  • Leave a thin, natural screen of vegetation to hide your position.
  • Cut off lower branches of large, scattered trees in sparsely wooded areas.
  • Clear underbrush only where it blocks your view.
  • Remove cut brush, limbs, and weeds so the enemy will not spot them.
  • Cover cuts on trees and bushes forward of your position with mud, dirt, or snow.
  • Leave no trails as clues for the dreaded ‘apocalypse zombie’ enemy.

Now, remember a few minutes ago when you read that your secondary sector of fire is to the front?  Well, you need to ensure you have a field of fire that will match the effective range of your platform when balanced against the terrain you’re digging into is cleared also.  Lots of work when you think about it, but as the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.”  Here’s another illustration:

You CAN fire to the front without exposing yourself if you've constructed a good position.

You CAN fire to the front without exposing yourself if you’ve constructed a good position.

Ok, we’ve gone over some of the general principles of digging in, and now we’ll start with my favorite:  The ‘Hasty’ position, from which all progressively developed prepared defensive positions are born.  We’ll also go over a trick that makes them bad for the ‘apocalypse zombie hoard’ if you have to leave in a hurry to avoid being overrun.   After that, we’ll start with the various types of positions and tricks that make you stay alive longer when you’re in them.  Always remember one thing, though, about any position you dig:  It’s a tool to fight from, not hide in.

Ok, when you have little time for preparation, or when you’re not going to be in a position for very long, but could be, or you believe you could possibly be attacked before you move, the smart thing to do is build a hasty fighting position. It should be behind whatever cover is available. It should give frontal cover from enemy direct fire but allow firing to the front and the oblique. The term hasty does not mean that there is no digging by any means. If there is a natural hole or ditch available, use it. If not, dig a prone shelter that will give some protection from incoming rounds. The hole should be about 18 to 20 inches deep. Use the dirt from the hole to build cover around the edge of the position.   When it’s determined you’re going to be in the position for an extended period (24 hours or more), then you ‘progressively develop’ your position into a prepared defensive position as time and the mission allows.

It’s also very, very smart to not dig your hasty like a shallow grave, either.  Don’t do the square sides thing if you have a position to your rear that is elevated to any degree whatsoever or that can seen into your position if the rear ‘wall’ were not there.  The reason is simply this: If you have to fall back to a position to your rear, you don’t want to provide cover for OPFOR, right?  So, you dig it an angle, like the following illustration demonstrates (you’ll notice an arrow with ‘FDP’ in it.  All that means is ‘Final Defensive Position’ aka ‘The Very Last Place You Can Run Before Your Ass Is Overrun’).

Diagram by 'Treaded' at 'The Lizard Farmer'

Diagram by ‘Treaded’ at ‘The Lizard Farmer’

The beauty of this modification is that you are still provided cover against the ‘apocalypse zombie hoard’ trying to kill you, while they are not, should they occupy your position one way or another.

Now we can talk about all the other developments that come from your Hasty Fighting Position.  We’ll start with the One Man Prepared Defensive Position.

In a word, they suck.  Why?  Because you’ve go nobody to back you up.  If you have to leave the position for any reason, unless someone takes your place, it’s wide open and you don’t know what’s happened in front of it while you were away.  It could cause you to be a ‘Sad Panda.’  On the positive side, digging them takes about half the time, because you’re doing it for you and you alone.  “Hey,” you think.  “There weren’t two guys in the Hasty position!”  That’s very true, but your hasty can be re-sited next to one of your group members who dug their hasty in a better location in terms of fields of fire, cover, and concealment, or vice versa.   Point of the matter is, if you have a choice, always site and dig two person positions.  Especially if you’re going to be in the same location for an extended period.  It makes life a lot easier.

The Two Man Position:   When setting up a prepared defense, such as one you would be in if you were using a ‘Reinforced Triangle’ as noted in Part II, you’ll need 8 people for 4 positions.  Remember the following tips:

  • Keep the hole small as possible. The smaller the hole, the less likely it is that rounds, grenades, or airburst fragments will get into it. It should be large enough for you and your buddy in full combat gear.
  • It should extend beyond the edges of the frontal cover enough to let you and your buddy observe and fire to the front.

The hole is usually dug straight, but it may be curved around the frontal cover. Curving the hole around the frontal cover may be necessary in close terrain to allow better observation and fire to the front and to the next flank position. To curve the hole, simply extend one or both ends of it around the frontal cover.Field Fort 9- 2012

Next time we’ll get into the actual construction and various things you can do to provide ‘all the comforts of home’…..well….sort of.

Re-Post: Principles of Tactical Defense – Part III: “Digging In,” Also Known As, “Field Fortifications”

Originally posted 1 Mar 14.

There’s an extremely good reason why each buddy team in a NPT should have a sturdy, collapsible shovel (E-tool) between them (nothing wrong with each member having their own, provided the fitness level balances against the added weight in the ruck).  Simply put, when your security patrol is required by its mission or necessity to stop for over a few hours, prudence dictates the NPT should begin to dig in.  Prepared defensive positions will increase life expectancy of all team members if attacked away from your safe zone.

Digging in will provide both cover and concealment from observation in most situations, even if the NPT digs shallow ‘hasty’ positions.  In such a case, the position becomes part of the ‘micro terrain’ and just a few inches of depth may help make the team member invisible to an observer.  A lot of what follows is rehashed from various field manuals with some additional thoughts thrown in, however, even though you may find it a bit dry, it is sound in principle and works in application.  Let’s start with what your position must do minimally.

In any situation you find yourself, your position must:

  • Protect (cover) you from direct and indirect fire
  • Allow you to effectively fire your weapon
  • Conceal you from observation, and if at all possible, the position itself must be concealed from identification as a prepared position.

COVER – (Cover is always concealment, i.e., you can’t be seen when behind or under cover, but it doesn’t mean that your enemy doesn’t have a good idea where you are!)

The cover your fighting position provides must be strong enough to protect you from small arms fire, indirect fire fragments, and the blast wave of large explosions (nuclear in this instance is not an issue, because you’re dead anyway if you get hit with a tactical or larger nuke), say from a self-propelled gun or other large, indirect fire weapon. The position should have frontal cover to give protection from small arms fire from the front. Natural frontal cover (trees, rocks, logs, and rubble) is best, because it is hard for the enemy to detect a position that is concealed by natural cover. If natural cover is not available, use the dirt taken from the hole you dig to build additional cover. The cover can be improved by putting the dirt in sandbags and then wetting them.

Here’s an example right out of the field manual of what a prepared two person prepared defensive position should offer:

2 Man Position Shown from the Rear

2 Man Position Shown from the Rear

Now, from the front, which is from where you want to fight off the local zombie horde, you need the cover to be very strong.   It needs to be:

  • Thick enough (at least 18 inches of dirt-the more tightly packed or tamped, the better) to stop small arms fire.
  • High enough to protect your head when you fire from behind the cover.
  • Far enough in front of the hole to allow room for elbow holes and aiming stakes so that you can fire to the oblique without danger of shooting into another of your positions.
  • Long enough to give you cover and hide the muzzle blast of your rifle when you fire to the oblique.

Dig and build your position so that when you come under direct fire from your front, you can move behind the frontal cover for protection and still fire to the oblique (angle).  This illustration will give you a good idea of what you just read:

Position Capable of Taking Direct Fire While Allowing Occupants to Fire from the Oblique

Position Capable of Taking Direct Fire While Allowing Occupants to Fire from the Oblique

For all-round protection, to include protection from shrapnel from indirect fire weapons (mortars, rockets, etc), your position should also have overhead, flank, and rear cover. The dirt from the hole can also be used to build that cover, which protects against indirect fire that bursts overhead or to the flanks and rear of the position. Cover also guards against the effects of friendly weapons supporting from the rear, such as small arms fire. You should leave crawl spaces in the rear cover. This lets you enter and leave the position without exposing yourself to the enemy.

To increase your chances of survival from any sort of large detonation, you should insure that your fighting position has rounded walls hold up better against a blast wave than square or rectangular walls, and rounded walls are easier to dig.

Here’s an illustration of a text book prepared defensive position once complete:

Completed Prepared Defensive Position

Completed Prepared Defensive Position

Now let’s look at staying hidden.

CONCEALMENT (Concealment is not always cover…. and cover for lighter projectiles may just be concealment for heavier or penetrator projectiles…think about it.)

If your position can be detected, it can be hit by fire from someone who wants to kill you. If it can be hit, you can be killed in it. Therefore, your position must be so well hidden that the enemy will have a hard time detecting it even after he is in hand-grenade range (that’s pretty close; not many people can throw a grenade farther than 25 or 30 yards…). Think Maneuver Warfare here! Assaults at night are rarely done with weapons fire! Natural, undisturbed concealment is better than man-made concealment because:

It is already prepared.

It usually will not attract the enemy’s attention.

It need not be replaced.

While digging your position, try not to disturb the natural concealment around it. Put the unused dirt from the hole behind the position and camouflage it.  Here’s an example:

Camouflaged...except for the idiot silhouetting himself in the hole opening....

Camouflaged…except for the idiot silhouetting himself in the hole opening….

While digging your position, try not to disturb the natural concealment around it. Put the unused dirt from the hole behind the position and camouflage it.  Camouflage material that does not have to be replaced (rocks, logs, live bushes, and grass) is best. You should not use so much camouflage that your position looks different from its surroundings.  Your position must be concealed from enemy aircraft (think drones here) as well as from ground observation. If the position is under a bush or tree, or in a building, it is less likely to be seen from above. Leaves, straw, or grass placed on the floor of the hole will keep the fresh earth from contrasting with the ground around it. Do not use sticks, as they may stop grenades from rolling into the grenade sumps  (grenade sumps work against improvised zombie IED’s, too).  Remember, if you’re using man-made (burlap, camouflage nets, commercial material, etc.) concealment must blend with its surroundings so that it cannot be detected.  Yeah, that super tactical looking 7X8 sheet of camouflage might be all the rage, but if your position looks like you’ve covered it with a sheet, you’ve just marked yourself as low hanging fruit…ripe for the picking.

Here’s what a drone should see if it were flying over this text-book illustration of a prepared position:

Field Fort 5


In the next installment, we’ll get into determining fire sectors, setting them up, clearing fields of fire, and various types of positions that are all able to be improved by something called, ‘progressive development’.


Re-Post: Principles of Tactical Defense – Part II: All Around Defense

Originally posted 25 Apr 13.

In PTD, Part 1”> we briefly touched on the principle of ‘Vital Ground’ and what its characteristics are.  To review, “…ground vital to the defense of your position includes any position from which your enemy can overlook, bring fire to bear, or mount an attack from upon the area which you are occupying or defending.”

This time we’ll briefly touch on a well-tried method to achieve all around security through mutual support, defense in-depth and interlocking fields of fire with two buddy teams (or a fire team if you prefer). DTG calls it the, “Reinforced Triangle.”

As seen in the illustration below, these two teams merge into one with one person acting as a team leader (TL) who occupies the center position and oversees the defense should things get hot. Distances between the positions are situation and environmentally dependent, but the principles apply in 99.9% of all scenarios.

Key points: Each position has a fall back if necessary, each has interlocking fields of fire, each has defense in-depth, each has mutual support (any attacker should, in principle, and again situation and environment depending) be able to be brought under fire by one to two friendly positions, and each has primary and secondary fields of fire. The TL, due to his/her position, may seem to be overwhelmed with cover responsibilities, but remember that this is the ‘in depth’ position, and as such, the TL can prioritize fields of fire with the current situation. More importantly, for a small team, this is a ‘hide’ or ‘patrol base’ formation. If the position were to be occupied for any length of time, ‘progressive development’ methodology would be initiation (but that’s a subject for a different post!).

It’s simple and adaptable.

Try it. What methods do you favor?