Some thoughts about defending your retreat

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Grand58742, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    Just some personal thoughts about our planning when it comes to preparing retreat defenses. Some will work, others maybe not as much, but just some thinking and possibly some motivation for the remainder of the folks on here to start thinking about as well. This is mainly from a TEOTWAWKI standpoint and not your typical short term SHTF idea. But some of the thoughts can work in both.

    #1: The location myth.

    More often than not, our retreats are in a somewhat secluded location. Rural areas are typically the norm and the further away from built up urban areas the better. But in a TEOTWAWKI situation, the lines between the two will become blurred as people will escape from urban areas and seek out refuge in rural areas. Sometimes it will take a couple of days; others will take weeks and maybe even months. But as supplies start to dwindle in urban areas, you can guarantee people will start looking towards the countryside for additional supplies and places to live. And suddenly your secluded remote area becomes less likely to stay hidden and on the radar so to speak.
    Unless one is staying on a deserted island where there is little chance of unwanted visitors, everyone’s retreat is at risk of being discovered. And in that discovery means interest will be placed. Some may be good, some may be bad, but rest assured, your location will become an area of interest before long no matter where it happens to be. Some less than others, but your secret will never be entirely safe.

    So the myth is about the idea that a retreat is completely secluded and will not be found. Everything will be found in due time and explored. As stated before, some will take interest in the location, others will ignore it. OPSEC plays a key in this (and in #5) about how well your location might be hidden away, but it will never be entirely concealed. And in knowing this, you can plan around the limitations.

    Knowing the limitations of location can be a powerful factor in deciding to buy land for a retreat or actually building the structure itself. Things to look for:

    How far away from the nearest City is this area?

    Are there sufficient avenues of escape as well as avenues of approach?

    Is the area likely to be developed in the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

    Do you have neighbors and how close are they?

    How far off the main lines of “drift” is the location? (Drift is defined as the natural path one would take from point A to point B. Knowing this, will people inadvertently stumble onto your property because you sit in a valley between two mountains?)

    And also, how often is your retreat checked before you bug out? Is it in an area where theft can and will occur for valuable (or invaluable as people will steal anything) items and long term food storage? Just because your retreat is away from most populated areas doesn’t mean it cannot be discovered and used without your knowledge. And also squatters might very well be occupying your retreat before you get there. How would you deal with that?

    I’ve asked some questions, but the overall point is the fact no location (save our imaginary island in the middle of the ocean) is completely out of the way and can be discovered despite our best efforts. So the myth of a particular location being safer than others is not necessarily true.
    ED GEiN, chelloveck, srchdawg and 5 others like this.
  2. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    #2: The manpower assumption

    “I have XX amount of bodies in which to plan my defenses.” Okay, good idea in theory, but is that taking into account what you actually have right then and there? For example, you know for a fact you have five families coming to your retreat (let’s just say for argument’s sake it’s a really nice retreat that can sustain all those folks) in the event of TEOTWAWKI. Now are you certain all five families are going to make it? So let’s assume they do for a moment and you plan your defenses. Are you taking into account the sick, lame and injured? The “I have a migraine and cannot perform today” types? The injuries that can and will happen? Can your defensive plans handle the loss of one or two? Or maybe half in the event of a cold/flu outbreak that affects most of the group?

    Now let’s assume only three out of the five families made it and add to your manpower. Are your plans in depth enough to account for the sudden loss of X amount of bodies? Let’s face it, things can and will happen during a TEOTWAWKI situation that prohibits groups from arriving as they should. And knowing this, one should take into account the decrease in manpower that will come. And in preparedness, proper planning is king.

    How do you attack these problems? By basing your estimates on knowing who actually will show up. Start at one family and move up to your maximum number. Your defenses should take into account a ten percent rule (ten percent of the manpower will be unavailable for duty due to sick/lame/injured) and still be able to function. In this percentage, round up to the next ten for your real number. I.E. Sixteen people capable of performing defensive duties and five are out. That’s 31%, so round up to 40%. It’s not an exact science, but should work okay in your situation.

    Plan on removing a selected number of people from the equation and plan your defenses that way instead of going on the assumption everyone will be available for duty as needed. Plus shift work as you will have to post sentries at night. Do your plans take this into account? Nighttime is the enemy and the friend. It is a friend since a lot of folks will not be using higher technology to plan attacks and gives you a time for rest. But it is an enemy as it does provide concealment for attackers and confusion on the part of the defenders. If you are looking at a somewhat well trained adversary (let’s assume they are military trained) and has access to night vision or thermal technology, you are already on the bad side of the equation.

    So before you make plans for the maximum number of bodies available for duty, make plans to remove a selected portion of that number just in case. As life happens, so will accidents and bodies not show up like they are supposed to.
    ED GEiN, chelloveck, srchdawg and 2 others like this.
  3. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    #3: The good neighbor myth

    “I can depend on my neighbors for help. They are good people.”

    One had to be careful when approaching neighbors in a post TEOTWAWKI situation as they may have become very wary in those times and may have a shoot first identify later mentality. Also, those planning on making contact with neighbors and forming a militia in the aftermath of a TEOTWAWKI situation can be in for a surprise as well. Some folks just won’t go along with the program no matter how well you sell it. They just don’t want to get involved no matter what. So in forming a defensive plan for your retreat and even the local area, several factors need to be taken into consideration.

    Don’t plan on outside help. You cannot make defensive arrangements based on the fact X number of families live in the local area and will go along with what you planned for. Sure some will come along, but others will pretty much ignore you and tell you where to get off. We live in a world of opinionated people and some just feel they will be safer on their own rather than in a group. Some neighbors cannot be trusted either. They could have a farm out in the country because they like horses and are your typical sheeple that come around with their hand out. There are several types one should be wary of and it’s best to get to know them beforehand.

    Be careful who you bargain/trade with. Even bargaining only goes so far in a post TEOTWAWKI situation. So you are a good neighbor and recognize the fact Family X doesn’t have sufficient arms or ammunition to defend their property. And in knowing more numbers are better than less, you decide to help out. So you give family X a number of Mosin-Nagant rifles and X amount of ammunition in exchange for being your "sentries" on the outer perimeter. However, when someone comes along and offers them the same deal but with better weapons along with partitioning your land, assets and food storage, which one is harder to choose between? Loyalty among neighbors only goes as far as the next meal. Sure you provide neighbors with enough food for a week. They know it’s coming from somewhere and you have it. They want it and what you think are loyal friends suddenly become your adversaries because someone offered them a better deal.

    Some will become friends for life, but human nature means some will be jealous of what you have. They envy you because you were prepared and they won't. They despise you because you have what they don't. They see you in a position of regent because you require certain actions in exchange for whatever your barter is. And suddenly it gets lonely at the top. Just because you are generous enough to give them items to survive doesn't mean they won't turn on you at the drop of a hat. Human nature cannot be changed or predicted.

    Be wary of making retreat plans with neighbors in mind until it is absolutely certain they will be the best choice to depend on.
    ED GEiN, chelloveck, srchdawg and 4 others like this.
  4. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    #4: The critical thinking in defense

    “I don’t need to defend this or that area” or “I have to defend everything” train of thought. Based on manpower (or the lack thereof) one must consider what is critical and needs defending and what can be sacrificed before mounting a counterattack or successful defense. In looking over your defenses, think like the opposition. What areas are critical for my continued survival and have to be defended? What areas are not so critical and need to be defended as manpower dictates? What areas are not important enough and I should plan on covering them as a last resort without stretching my manpower out too thin?

    The military calls it the CARVER Matrix. CARVER matrix - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia They use it to determine what areas are vulnerable and which ones can be lost without losing mission effectiveness. The acronym stands for Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability. It uses a numbering system that will aid in the highest level of survival to the lowest. So let’s look at a makeshift CARVER Matrix and apply is against a long term survival retreat. I’ll use a well as an example.

    Criticality: Highly critical as survival is dependent on a consistent water source
    Accessibility: The wellhead itself is somewhat easily accessed depending on type
    Recuperability: The well cannot be replaced easily if it is destroyed
    Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable as errant gunfire can damage components
    Effect: High impact on mission accomplishment as one cannot go long without water
    Recognizability: Not as recognizable as other structures

    And in using the CARVER Matrix to determine defensive priorities, we can include the water well and nine other items. These are just ten randomly selected items I grabbed off the top of my head and are not an inclusive list.


    And in sorting the data, we have highest defensive priority to the lowest.


    Going highest to lowest in terms of survival, the highest number is defended first and the lowest is last. So our well would be first priority and the avenues of approach the last. Again, this is something I threw together and is by no means gospel. But one can see the idea behind the CARVER Matrix and how important it can be in planning defenses of a retreat. These numbers will change as location changes at your retreat as water is far more valuable in the Southwest than say the Southeast. Only you can determine what can be lived with or lived without, but at the same time, look at it from the opposition standpoint. Normally hungry people will ignore a well and go straight for the food. Or ignore the generator and go for your weapons. Is electrical power highly critical to your survival or are you off the grid enough to survive without it? And will that generator run without fuel? So what is more important? The generator or the fuel that runs it?

    The spreadsheet I put together is assuming the water and ammo supplies will be inside your housing structure which would be defended. And this is why they are lower on the matrix than the crops in the fields. Fields are highly accessible which makes them a larger priority. Lots of folks plan on defending avenues of approach, but forget about the house behind them. Maintaining a watch on avenues of approach is one thing. Providing defensive forces to cover an avenue of approach is different.

    I would say use the CARVER Matrix as a guide when determining your defenses. It’s generic enough for anyone to use, but specific enough for individual needs. But you have to determine what you can and cannot live without before applying it to a retreat setting.
  5. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    #5: The hiding in plain sight myth

    Which more or less goes with the location myth but in reality is its own portion. However, some plan on being low key enough to avoid detection. But this is a myth as signs of civilization are always apparent to those who look close enough. Take your bug out cabin in the mountains for example. You have your cabin and enough land to grow enough crops to live comfortably, water from a well, game animals in the local area that can be harvested, etc. Nice location, but you want to keep is a secret. So you go to great extents to conceal the fact it’s being “lived in.” But there are always telltales of occupation. Take this for example…

    You move into your cabin and the first thing you do is clean the cobwebs from the windows so you can see better. Maybe sweep the porch, grab that plastic bag that blew in from Lord only knows where and put it in your garbage or bury it, update your woodpile and replace the old tarp on top. Now what signs have you left?

    Clean windows are a sign of occupation as is a swept porch. Minor debris and whatnot in a yard is to be expected in an unoccupied location. The hole you dug up will leave signs for a couple of weeks until the soil settles back down and the minor remains are washed away. Your newly cut woodpile will leave sawdust and the wood is a different color as it hasn’t been weathered. Plus there is a distinctive smell of freshly cut wood that lingers. The tarp is new and not frayed as an unoccupied location might be. You are also creating a path in the grass and nearby forest pointing to signs of recent activity.

    The point is, no matter what we do to try and hide in plain sight, there is nothing we ever do that cannot hide the fact our retreat is occupied. You can limit the amount of activity, but there is nothing that can be done to “hide in plain sight.”
    ED GEiN, chelloveck, srchdawg and 4 others like this.
  6. Grand58742

    Grand58742 Monkey+++

    #6: The technological and armament superiority myth

    “I have this doodad that is the best on the market and will always work!” or “My gun is better than your gun because it’s superior!”

    Glock lovers unite as this will be the only weapon still firing at D+15 post TEOTWAWKI! Or so the myth goes and the owners will claim. “Yeah, my pistol will last forever because it’s a Glock!” or insert firearm of choice here. Whether it’s a 1911, Glock, Springfield M1A, AKM, tacticool M-4, Remington 870 doesn’t matter. Far too often the reasoning is given for buying said firearm(s) because of the longevity of the design and the parts not breaking. Now I will give Gaston Glock his due when he created a seriously durable pistol, but it is not the “end all be all” of the pistol world as some will claim. Same goes for 1911s, Berettas, Sig-Sauers, CZ, Hi-Points or any other pistols that have been or are manufactured today. Some will last longer than others, but let’s face it; nobody has ever made an unbreakable firearm. How does this translate into a retreat environment? Simple, technology and high speed doodads are not going to keep you alive. They will enhance your efforts to survive, but alone they cannot keep you from getting killed by the ranging hordes.

    And in turn, it doesn’t matter about the superiority of your pistol/rifle/shotgun design if you fail to defend your retreat properly and/or do not place the emphasis in the right areas. You can have 100,000 rounds of Black Hills match ammo for your Springfield M25 White Feather and it does you little good when your retreat is overrun. The armament superiority myth comes in full force when the discussion of AK vs. AR15 vs. M1A vs. FAL vs. SKS vs. HK91 vs. Mini-14 comes out. “My gun is better than your gun, my gun’s better than yours!” (And I bet none of you can read that without having the Ken-L-Ration Song stuck in your head for at least 10 minutes)

    But anyway, people have a comfortable feeling because they have placed their faith in the ability of their firearms. The death dealing, super rifle concept still has limitations and we often get wrapped up in the debate of how great it is to ignore the limitations of the system itself. And ignoring those simple rules of the limitations of the system itself can be disastrous when we need it the most. In all, firearms are a mechanical device which falls under the following principles:

    It can break
    It will break
    Fixing it will not be easy
    These things will happen when Murphy decides it’s best and this is typically when you need it the most

    Not to say firearms are not a vital tool in the defense of a retreat, but the lesson to be learned is “don’t get complacent with your system and ignore the limitations of same.”

    The same can be said of any technology we use, no matter how primitive it might be. Now I’m not one of those that thinks we should be back to basics on everything, but we often rely on technology to make our retreats run. And in that reliance, we have no backups to the critical systems. Or we lack the knowledge to repair the systems and/or they are too complex to be repaired easily. We end up placing too much faith in technology and not enough in our brainpower and understanding of the systems needed to survive. Sure enough, we may know how to fix things, but can we do without them and go back to basics at our retreat? Do we have the capability to get water when our well breaks? Is our retreat packed away with the spare parts needed to repair our technology if and when it breaks? Do we have secondary and alternate systems in place if and when our items break? Do I need to preposition critical repair items and risk their theft or do I bring them in when I bug out?

    In a retreat setting and in a defensive situation, be wary to not be too reliant on technology to survive. When planning defenses and security, take technology out of the equation and see how your plans may change. Technology should enhance your defenses, not replace them.

    Just a few rambling thoughts I’ve had on my mind.
    jim2, chelloveck, Garand69 and 6 others like this.
  7. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I'll read it and get back to you...give me a week or so to read, and digest the whole.
    Meanwhile, I have a place that is in nowhere Arizona, it is in the high desert. No water, no food, and the trees are only small 12-14 ft. Juniper types,( what is known as landscaping trees!)
    Nearest town: 15 miles, population 400.
    Nearest "city" is over 35 miles.
    No roads into my area. 1 way in and 1 way out ( that I'll ever reveal anyway!). No foods grown anywhere up there, no water that can be seen, and maybe 12 people in an area of some 25+ square miles. I am the only one in a 1 square mile area. The area was started as a "development" in 1965. In 1985 the "plans" were dropped, and the original plots were removed via the county and state, and the land was sold off. It is "barren" as descriptions go, and I have few to no concerns about anyone coming in the area with anything less than a "lifted" 4 wheel drive, and even those people will be faced with a myriad of hundreds of dirt trails, some of which were put in by locals to take you in large circles. It's like a giant spiderweb and what road signs were there have been removed and the very few left are not correct! They have been changed to screw up anyone trying to negotiate by map. Even the 2 local sheriff's offices cannot find you via their GPS systems up there. This area was chosen years ago as a retreat area by many Y2K people and those areas have long been abandoned.
    Zimmy and jimLE like this.
  8. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Very good points to chew on!!! Defense of your AO is not easy, it requires preparation, and thoughtful consideration of the various areas as noted by @Grand58742 !!!!
    chelloveck and Tully Mars like this.
  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    @dragonfly, I hope there is some fudged numbers and mix information in that description, or someone might work the numbers and dates just for the fun of it. That will reveal location.
    Rocky Road Lerp and NotSoSneaky like this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Just about 4 years old -
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yeah, I saw the date. But I think he is still active, isn't he?
    Active for 7 years, last seen 2014, June 1.
  12. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Necro-thread goodness [coo]
    STGThndr, chelloveck and Dunerunner like this.
  13. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Thinking he is doing way too much "thunkin". Common sense will quickly prevail and survival skills will come into play. Survivalibility will prove to be brutal and some cannot deal--they probably will become the "pawns" and expendable.
    Dunerunner and Mike like this.
  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Actually a good thread.
  15. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    I saw sandbags. us old soldiers love sandbags and concealment coupled with good fields of fire. makes our hearts go pitty-patter
    Kingfish, chelloveck, laurin and 5 others like this.
  16. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Potting pots filled with heavy clay work also and do not look "tactical". Landscaping timbers w/steel plate behind do not pose a threat and look nice. Like being "grey" as possible--gives one an edge.
  17. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    Nice ideas. It's just the old GI in me that loves the sight of a good sandbag bunker. But you are definitely correct, better to present an unassuming front that serves a tactical purpose. That is why I come here. Weans me away from nostalgia and to a better understanding. Thanks
    chelloveck and kellory like this.
  18. madmax

    madmax Far right. Bipolar. Veteran. Don't push me.

    Pretty sure the former marine behind me can handle a weapon. We've been through several hurricanes. Still here. Coupla blocks away is my best bud. He's a Battallian Chief On the Fire Department. Nothing like the whole fire department showing up at yer house in the middle of a hurricane. Nice to have friends.
    Dunerunner and Mike like this.
  19. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    It is nice, indeed. Looks like you're set.
  20. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    LOL, Mike--I do have a few bags stored. Also have corn bags that hunters give away that will work also. Planning for the worst and praying for the best. Been cutting out small/medium trees/undergrowth to increase our "view".
    Mike, john316 and Dunerunner like this.
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