Counter Tactics SHTF

Counter Tactics How to Avoid Trouble Once the SHTF

People tend to want to go on the offensive when they are scared or are convinced someone or some group is out to get them. If you are in a military unit then offensive and defensive strategies are a part of life. Orders come down to defend your position or to take a position currently occupied by the enemy.

In the civilian world, you are mainly in a defensive position. Your home has alarm systems, fences, walls or other barriers designed to keep people out or to let you know someone is snooping about. You are not roaming the countryside attacking others in their home. No, you are home waiting to defend your family and possessions, essentially waiting for someone to start something so you can counter their attack.

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Security Patrols

Reconnaissance and Security Patrols In an Urban Area When the SHTF

Reconnaissance or Recon patrols are typically sent out to gather information such as enemy numbers, and in the case of a Prepper group, they would also be used to locate resources, and generally keep track of the comings and goings of others that may or may not pose a threat. The patrols would normally range beyond any security patrols. In fact, they may cover many miles in and around a city in a single day.

Security patrols are usually sent out to detect threats that may be directed at the base camp or Command and Control Center. A security patrol would be the first to know of an attack directed at the base camp and they would need the means to provide advanced warning to the camp so they can prepare.

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Prepper Group Movement

Moving As A Group When the SHTF

Previous articles have talked about Prepper groups, and whether you should be a part of one or not, and how to establish one, and who and what to look for when choosing members. This article, however, will assume you will end up traveling with a group of people, whether that was your original intent or not.

We as humans tend to seek out other humans, particularly during a crisis. Your objective during a calamity would be to separate the sheep from the shepherd however, if you end up traveling with a group.

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Firearm Lights

Does Your Home Defense Firearm Have a Light on It?

Does Your Home Defense Firearm Have A Light on It and Do You Even Need One?

If you cannot see, you cannot shoot. Family members have been killed, or injured by other family members shooting in low light, or no light conditions. Someone sees a shadow or senses movement and the trigger is pulled. Lighting up a potential target may reveal it is not a target at all.

If you cannot see what you are shooting at then you have no idea who you are shooting at.

You can of course turn on the room’s lights, but your night vision is gone once this happens and there may be an aggressor (s) in the room with you. If you turn a light on in a room and you are in the same room, then you cannot see into other darkened rooms. A tactical light mounted correctly lights up the target or the area where you suspect a target is, not the entire room, thus preserving your night vision.

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Those with Technology Will Own the Night

Thermal Night Vision

For centuries major battles between armies were fought during daylight hours because darkness meant blindness. Of course small bands of soldiers have always operated at night, gathering Intel, harassing the enemy, and committing acts of sabotage since conflicts began thousands of years ago, but battles for the most part were fought when opposing forces could see each other.

Flaming torches would have been carried in years past to light up pathways and trails, but the torches were a beacon that allowed others to track the progress of their rivals.

To operate at night without artificial lighting meant you needed to know the terrain well, and in most cases armies on the move did not always get to choose the location of battle, and even if they could they did not have the time to map out the area.

Today however, technology allows for unrestricted night operations. Terrain can be lit up without giving away the location of those conducting the operations in the dark. Soldiers, law enforcement and others can now see at night, because of technology.

This means that targets can be engaged at night as well. There are of course limitations and usually Mother Nature has a hand in the limitations. Rain, snow, cloud cover, sand storms, and other acts of nature play a role in the effectiveness of the technology.

Okay So What Has All of This Have to Do With You

The grid goes down and Martial Law or even nighttime curfews are enacted, but its dark and no one can see you right. Well, you can be seen if someone is looking with the right equipment. Drones and manned aircraft can detect heat signatures inside of structures from hundreds of feet in the air. If you are huddled up inside a structure, you may only think you are hidden in the dark. The right technology can determine what room you are in and on what floor.

If you slip outside to do some Intel gathering you can be tracked, and all of your movements recorded. The darkness is no longer cover if technology is used against you.

Things You Can Do

There are no absolutes when it comes employing counter measures against thermal cameras. It is difficult, if not impossible to defeat the technology with what you would have available. There are some that claim there are cloaking devices available or will soon be available. There may be such devices, but do you have one, can you get one, and more importantly how confident are you that it would work if you did have one?

You Can Make Detection More Difficult By Confusing the Operator

You are not trying to confuse the cameras, but instead are trying to confuse the humans analyzing the data. Cloaking devices if they do work would likely leave a black hole against the background however. Whatever cloaks you will cloak the background, as well, and this stands out. To a trained operator this indicates that something is there. They may not be able to tell if it is human or not, but only humans would or could cloak themselves or equipment, so there you have it. A red flag like a black hole may warrant closer inspection. Someone may be sent in to get eyes on the object.

If you have a basement and are worried about drones or other aircraft scanning to see the number of occupants in the home you may be able avoid detection by gathering in the basement as long as the basement is below ground level. However, heat signatures will be all over the home, from electrical devices, to lanterns to candles you may have lighted and then extinguished. If you sat in a chair the chair may still emit enough body heat to show up on a thermal camera.

You can use thermal blankets to contain your heat signature or the signature from appliances, or furniture. The blankets are not foolproof, but they could reflect the heat to the point where it may look like a small rodent, cat, or dog instead of a human or a heat signature that would indicate a human presence. Heat will essentially leak through, but not necessarily enough to determine what the object may be.

If outside you can blend in with warm objects such as steam vents if in an urban area or get close to brick/stone walls that would have absorbed heat during the day. Getting next to generators that are not your own could work as well.

However, keep in mind in certain situations there may be people looking for energy sources such as generators and steam vents, and they would use thermal cameras to find the heat signatures.

Heavy foliage, rain, fog, and snow can reduce your heat signature, so do nighttime maneuvers, if you can in the rain, snow, or fog. When traveling at night stay in the brush, walk along or even in rivers, streams or along bodies of water to help confuse the analysts.

Carry thermal blankets with you, and if at home or in any structure a wool blanket can even help somewhat, but again it is not a guarantee, but anything you can do, you should do, to break up your image and reduce the heat that the cameras see.

Glass is also known to reduce/block thermal imagining. How practical this might be depends on the situation and possibly the glass itself. Nevertheless, the more you know the better off you will be. A typical office building usually has numerous glass windows.

If the grid is down some people will experience darkness like never before, because many are not aware of how much light is available in the world from artificial light that bleeds over. The street light down the block, a neighbors’ porch light and the combined lighting from cities large and small all fight back against the darkness. When cities go dark you are essentially blind at night except for the artificial lighting you may carry, but it may only allow you to see a few feet or a few yards in any direction. You are blind in the darkness but others may not be.

Cameras pick up heat and the data is arranged so the operator can see an image, and then possibly determine what that image is. Human shapes are readily identifiable, so you have to do what you can to make it harder for the analyst.

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Disappearing in a Crowd

Disappearing In a Crowd: Staying Off the Radar Once the SHTF

According to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov it only takes one tenth of a second for people to form an impression when they first meet a stranger. The study also concludes that “longer looks” at a stranger will not sway the first impression (Wargo, 2006).

The first impression can be a lasting impression, and there are no “do over’s”.

Fair or not, like it or not, we all are being judged continually. We all are being sized up, if you will, by strangers, acquaintances and law enforcement as we move about during our daily lives. We are judged by our actions, our looks, and race and by our political and religious affiliations.

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Trip Wires

How To and Where To Set Trip Wires For an Early Warning System

Homes set back in the woods may need an early warning system, a system that alerts you that someone is prowling your property or sneaking up on the home. If you are off grid using alternative power sources, you may not have enough electrical resources that would allow a wired alarm system and/or surveillance cameras, so what is the alternative.

You can make ad hoc systems, and they can be complicated ones that require some electrical skills, or simple ones that essentially use noisemakers to alert you. You can use battery operated wireless sensors, for example, that are activated once an invisible beam is broken. They can be placed virtually anywhere within range of the wireless alarm, which would be on your person or close by, so it can be heard.

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Night Time Patrols: Guarding Your Perimeter

Night Time Patrols

For the sake of this article, it is assumed that you would have a small unit of friends/family helping you guard a Prepper compound, home or complex of some sort. If you are by yourself or are limited on personnel then it is not likely that you would be out patrolling and leave the home or compound unprotected.

Survival is about making decisions based on the reality on the ground. You cannot be everywhere at once, so it would not be wise to try and protect/defend a large structure/compound with limited personnel. It may be better to abandon a larger target, as it were, for one that would be easier to defend.

Being able to identify targets is crucial, and this will be the most important part of guarding your perimeter at night, because if you cannot identify the bad guys then you lose. This means you need the ability to paint any target with light. Flares are one option along with handheld or weapon mounted lights. Lights mounted on poles that can be activated by someone in the compound or by guards using a remote control is another option. All options should be available.

Keep in mind using your handheld or weapon mounted light will give away your location, so use with caution and never remain in place after activating/deactivating any light source.

Next you have to be able to maintain a certain load out and then keep track of gear and equipment in the dark. Loaded magazines, rations, medical supplies, and communication devices must be within reach at all times. This requires organization and the proper pack. You will also have to perform all functions with the pack on your back. Setting the pack down to look for the nearest tree or bush means you may have to activate a light to find your pack again and thus give away your position. Light and noise discipline must be maintained at all times.

Practice carrying your pack around in the dark through heavy brush, across shallow waterways and so on. Practice removing and exchanging magazines in the dark, eating rations without light, and taking a bathroom break with the pack shouldered without light. Know where every piece of gear is located by feel.

Before you can patrol any perimeter effectively you need to have boundaries, in other words, how far to patrol in any one direction. Become as familiar as possible with the terrain. If “booby traps “or other personnel deterrents are activated make sure everyone knows where they are.

Carry a compass at all times. It is easy to get confused in the dark and being able to orientate yourself with a compass is important. You certainly do not want any friendly fire accidents so all roving and static guards must know where the compound is relative to their positions.

Whether in darkness or daylight everyone must be familiar with fields of fire, all cover, and concealment, key terrain features all obstacles and avenues of approach.

Guards must know their direction of fire when they engage the enemy so it is important that everyone carry range cards that depict all fields of fire for all positions. Roving guards of course could be anywhere along the perimeter once contact is made, but each guard should have a designated static position that they can take up if possible.

Roving guards and certain Listening Posts (LP’s) at night act as an early warning system. They must be positioned far enough out, so once a warning is given those in the compound have time to react.

Set up signals or codes so guards can warn the compound without breaking noise discipline. A simple code, for example, could be two keys of the microphone for all is well and three breaks for distress. Set up times when all posts are expected to check in. Do not use a single key break as a code, because of the chance of accidentally keying the microphone. Set up a code so guards do not have to speak except in extreme cases.

Roving guards will need all necessary materials and gear to sustain each guard independently of the compound. This means they need adequate ammunition, rations, water, medical supplies, and communications devices among other things.

Long Range Patrols can extend miles from the base camp and their main mission is typically intelligence gathering, and possible harassment of enemy units. Any person assigned to gather intelligence must be well trained in all manner of survival as well as demonstrating efficiency with any weapons they carry.

In reality you are always in a defensive position when you occupy any territory or structure and this typically puts you at a disadvantage unless you have overwhelming superiority as far as personnel and weaponry.

You need a bug-out plan whenever you occupy any space because if an overwhelming force attempts an offensive against your position, you need to be able to bug-out safely.

Recommended Load Outs For Roving Guards

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Evasion Tactics in a Wilderness Environment

Evasion Tactics Wilderness Environment

The following is informational only, and is intended to be used, when you as a Prepper, have to abandon your home, and are forced to set off in to the wilderness. You may be forced away from your home by marauders, rouge law enforcement or rogue military units and even by other Prepper groups.

Your success or failure depends on the level of training of those tracking you, and your own level of training. Assume those tracking you are skilled and that they may use tracking dogs.

This information is not applicable to those that find themselves running from law enforcement because they have committed a crime. The fact they committed a crime shows their level of training and intelligence, so enough said on that.

Evasion is a survival skill that is instinctive in human and animals alike when danger is present. Animals use it all the time. They use their instincts/skills to prevent detection, so they do not end up as a meal for predators, human or otherwise. Animals cannot control their environment as humans can however.

Animals walk the same trails to water, and they do not have the ability to alter their trail to avoid detection. They seek water and then forage for food in the same areas, year after year, in other words, they cannot associate the consequence with their actions, but humans can.

One of the ways to counter an expert tracker is by knowing how to track. Learn how to track another human being if you expect to be able to avoid being tracked down by others. There is more to tracking than just following footprints. An expert tracker looks for patterns and they will make an educated guess as to probable entry/exit points and ultimately may ascertain your destination.

Practice with a friend. Have them set off as if they are being pursued and this means they will walk faster than normal and may even run in some cases to get ahead of those following. Follow their tracks and make note of where the trail gets harder to see and where it is easier to see. Note the soil, or snow composition and how the tracks look when someone is walking or running. Notice how the grass is trampled and how fast it recovers after someone has trampled it.

Note the conditions where you lost the trail. What type of soils or ground cover makes tracking harder? This is what you will learn when you practice tracking others. Study the tread pattern and length of stride of the person you are tracking and memorize it so as not to get confused when more than one track is present.

When You become the Hunted

Running at first is important to gain distance from those following or from those than might follow you. If you see an armed unit heading toward your house, and escape is the only alternative, then you want to move quickly. It is assumed you have a survival bag packed and ready to go.

It will take time for the aggressors to get organized, so use this to gain distance. Do not head for any obvious landmarks like rivers or lakes or any structures that might be in the area. The trackers in most cases can only guess about your skill level and what survival gear you may have.

To eliminate the obvious they may split the team so one or two can check any water sources and possible shelters in the area. They may put a water source close by under surveillance. They will immediately begin trying to determine a possible destination.

The weather and terrain are calculated into the mix. They know you will need water, so make sure your survival bag has enough water so it is not an immediate concern.

In all likelihood, you will not stop an experienced tracker from eventually finding you if they stay with it. Of course, if you have a destination that is a safe zone, or can find an area where you can successfully launch a counter attack then you can stop the tracker (s).

In most cases, you would need reinforcements to launch an attack to stop a well-armed unit however. Your objective is to confuse and slow the tracker with the hope they give up the hunt.

Use roadways, streams and railroad tracks to your advantage, but realize they will expect you to do this, and you will be exposed while doing this. Enter on blind curves where the view is obstructed from both directions and once on the roadway in the stream or on the tracks reverse direction.

This will slow the tracker, not stop them because they will eventually, if not immediately, realize you changed direction. They will find where you reentered the woods. Do not try to keep landmarks such as roadways, train tracks and waterways in sight by walking parallel to them.

You can change shoes if you have them, to leave a different tread mark. Change once you are on a highway, train tracks or in a river, and do this before reentering the woods. This will slow down and possibly confuse the tracker, but will not stop them.

Do not go near any structures you find, and once you have used a waterway, tracks or roadway  move away from them, and do not walk parallel to them. You do not want to be exposed in the middle of a river or roadway, so use caution when doing so, and make sure you are far enough ahead of your pursuers before exposing yourself.

Can You Evade Tracking Dogs

It is extremely difficult if not impossible once they have your scent. What you can do however, is to confuse the handler. Change direction abruptly, so if you come upon a big tree or rock, circle it and head off in a different direction for example, and then after 50 yards or so abruptly do the same thing. The handler may think the dogs have lost the sent if they keep twisting and turning back and forth, and the handler may then move them off in another direction. At the very least, you have slowed the pursuit.

You can walk in a stream but the dogs of course will track you to the water’s edge and then can find where you left the water. Walking up the middle of a stream leaves you exposed, so in some cases this method may not be worthwhile to try, unless you are convinced you have a substantial lead on your pursuers.

Do not hide in trees, because you are trapped if spotted and in most cases, you will be tracked right to the tree. Do not hide in water, the breathing through a reed trick, only works in the movies. You will be tracked to the body of water and experienced trackers will simply wait you out. You can develop hypothermia even if the water is 72° F, so you cannot hold out for long.

Do not smoke, chew gum or apply insect repellent that has an odor. Bury waste even urine under rocks and make sure you place the rock back so as not to leave any indication you where there. Hold your position so you can listen, you cannot just thrash through the brush, you have to stop periodically to look and listen. You of course want to spot them before they spot you, so use your senses to help you.

Camouflage

If you cannot stay ahead of them, then let them pass you, but to avoid detection you have to use camouflage.  Mud, wood ashes and foliage can all be used. You cannot make yourself look like trees or bushes so do not try, it will only make you stand out.

You want to break up the body and face’s outline by using shadows, leaves, mud and ash/charcoal. Blend in using the colors around you. You do not use green leaves and then crouch near a tan limestone outcropping. Use dust on your skin to reduce shine, along with mud and charcoal.

Grasses and leaves also can be stuck to the mud after it is applied to your skin and clothing. Resist movement because the eyes catch it. Go to ground and stay there until they pass. Of course, if they are using dogs you would not be able to do this.

Ideally as part of your prepping plans, you had planned for this and ultimately have more than one destination in mind. You cannot let your actions, in other words do not develop a pattern, which would allow the tracker to guess where you are headed.

If they realize you are steadily heading in one direction, they may have the capability of getting ahead of you, or they may determine your destination. Reversing course only slows the tracker and if you reverse course, and yet eventually head off in the same general direction you can be tracked right to that destination.

Therefore, you should have planned to have more than one destination, and as things unfold on the ground you can decide, which one is better suited.

Be patient and flexible. Flexibility is one of the most important keys to successful evasion. You are primarily focused on avoiding detection. Remember that people catch people. If you can avoid detection then you will ultimately succeed.

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Night Navigation SHTF

Navigating Effectively and Quietly In the Dark When the SHTF

When the lights go out the looters and other criminals come out to play. Daylight is reserved for resting up after a night of pillaging and plundering. This means that once the SHTF the darkness becomes dangerous.

You may have to navigate at night, and at the same time avoid those that would do you harm, such as marauders or looters. You may also have to avoid groups that have targeted you or your Prepper group specifically, so you will have to be able to move silently and effectively through the darkness.

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