Introduction to the Tactical Corner

Posted on: February 27, 2010

I’ve spent considerable time contemplating what I should write about here. The term tactical has some obvious meanings. But to me the term suggests a wider range of sub-topics, such as the tactics for dealing with a biological threat, Pandemic Flu as an example. Over time I will address as many tactical considerations and issues as I can manage here. I welcome your comments, your questions, and requests for specific topics to discuss.

I’ll start with what I consider the foundation of tactical considerations for the survival minded. It is a simple concept when one first looks at it, but there are often nuances which are overlooked. I will endeavor to help you develop an understanding of the topic, and then to delve into those nuances.

The foundation of any tactical consideration is commonly known as “keeping a low profile”. This basically means doing everything you can to avoid attracting attention. Some will say that such isn’t a tactical consideration, but to me this is the key tactical consideration. It all boils down to what you are preparing for and what resources you have available to you during a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event. If you’re part of a group that numbers in the hundreds, is well armed, is well organized, and has a secure location then keeping a low profile might not be a major issue for you. If you’re a small nuclear family with a husband, wife, and 2 young children I’ll suggest that keeping a very low profile is your only hope of survival in any disaster situation.

What does the term “keeping a low profile” really mean? To me it’s like an onion, the topic has layers upon layers. My first consideration is what the military calls “need to know”. Which means that no one should know about your plans and preps unless there is a definite need for them to know such details. This is also part of what the military calls “operational security”, meaning that no details should be shared that might compromise your plans or the security of your retreat. The fewer people who know about your plans, the fewer risks you take that critical information will be lost, stolen, or coerced during a SHTF situation.

But there are more considerations to this. How much info do you give away when you’re trying to recruit additional members? Might those who didn’t work out learn enough to show up during an event, and thus threaten your security? Might your discussion(s) be overheard leading unwanted people to show up at your door? With these considerations in mind recruiting should be approached with considerable caution. Care must be exercised prior to opening discussions with prospects. Topics to be discussed should avoid anything that threatens your security.

Beyond the Human issues there are also many physical considerations to be aware of. The military calls these light and noise discipline during the hours of darkness. The focus here being the avoidance of giving away your presence/location by making easily heard noises at night (when sound often travels better than during the day) or allowing light (from lamps, the interior of buildings, fires, etc.) to be seen outside of your retreat area. Even a lit cigarette can be seen for a long way at night; especially in areas where man-made light is absent, so you can imagine how much a large bonfire or high candle-power lamps will stand out and give you away. Similar concerns exist during daylight hours. Noise can still be an issue, with metal on metal, horns, animal sounds, and children playing creating sound that can travel for a long way. Smoke from cooking fires, blacksmithing, smoking of meats, etc. can be seen for many miles on clear days. Wearing of bright colors, or even colors that stand out from your environment, can attract attention from as much as a couple of miles. This is especially true if the viewer can observe your retreat area from a higher elevation.

We must also consider things related to trying to carry on after a SHTF event can compromise your “low profile”. If you travel to a local town (for trade, medical attention, news…) you might be followed home. If you patrol your immediate vicinity others might be able to localize your retreat based on multiple sightings of your patrols. If you utilize LP/OP (Listening Post/Observation Post) points others might spot the movement of your personnel to and from these positions, especially if they always use the same path(s).

Other considerations include how you handle things like hunting, realizing that a bow is much less noisy than a gun but that many find it harder to use effectively. How can you reduce the noise of your livestock? How do you slaughter an animal quietly? How do you handle noisy chores like blacksmithing? One possibility for many of these is to only perform them during inclement weather; sound doesn’t travel well during hard rains for example. But that could severely limit your opportunities to perform such work.

How you deal with all of these is largely determined by your specific situation, location, terrain, etc. But you have to think about them now, when your life isn’t immediately threatened, rather than during a SHTF situation. While you may need to adapt to meet the specific nature of the event, it is far easier to do so than to start from scratch during an event.

I hope this has helped you understand the importance of keeping a low profile, safeguarding your plans, and the tactical aspects of the topic. I look forward to your comments, questions, etc. and I’m looking forward to sharing many more tactical considerations here at the Tactical Corner.

2 thoughts on “Introduction to the Tactical Corner

  1. Rick, what you very comprehensively cover here is a complete change in mindset and living for the vase majority of us who have never been in the military, and had to live our daily lives in constant defensive posture of possible attack. Such is a likely possiblity in TEOTWAWKI, where any mistake can kill you. We take so much for granted, and do things without thinking of consequences. You lay out your points very well.

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