Started by Moab, March 27, 2023, 12:09:19 PM

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This was originally posted to ZS in 2016 by member Stercutus. It's an excellent tutorial on how to set up the defense of your BOL.

There is additional discussion in the original thread. It has been removed for the sake of simplicity. The original post can be found here:

Post Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:42 am 
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(Stercutus had been around for awhile. And was very well respected.)



This thread will focus on how to defend your BOL with a small group. A small group will be 10-30 people. Ten is the smallest number you can have with any hope of securing a place of any size at all. By your BOL it is assumed it is something you have rights to and are not trying to lay claim to and swipe. You wish to exercise your rights and prohibit others from entering into the area so this would preclude any public areas like a National Forrest or a State Park.

The laws in your state may forbid any group defensive measures as they may fall under an anti-militia law. Check your state laws carefully. All defensive uses of deadly force apply within whatever your state laws allow and demand.

For reference I used FM 7-8, FM 3-21.8, The Ranger Hand book, Soviet Military Doctrine, and various open source TAC SOPS acquired over some 24 years in the military. Everything is approved for unlimited release, not copyrighted at all or otherwise in the public domain. The emphasis here is keeping it simple so every point in here is relevant.

Our tale will begin with your group deciding that things have gotten untenable wherever you may be and your group, extended family, band of brothers, college room mates or whatever have decided to pack it in. Things are starting to go all Mogadishu.

You all get together and convoy towards that deer lease, primitive cabin in the mountains, private island or whatever. You are getting ready to leave the public highway and want to move to secure that piece of paradise for yourselves and your posterity. Life will be so much better from then on. That site is currently unoccupied by any member of your group.

For our purpose we will assume a 200 acre deer lease site and a 20 person group. To make things easy we will assume everyone is healthy, 18-50 years old and armed with a rifle. Lucky for you, your group elected you leader of the group last year because they heard you did a couple of tours in the 'Stan as a radio operator.

When times were good your group had staked out a campsite on some high ground with good observation and field of fire all around. Your band stops on the drive into the land and determines that someone has recently been on the land. A decision is made to stop at the road entrance to the land and check it out. You think that you should probably do that anyway even if there is no evidence that anyone has been through there. After all if someone is laying in ambush for you then they will try to hide their movements as best as possible.

You decide to go personally and check it out and you take with you your three most trusted friends. You tell everyone where you are going, when you expect to be back, who is going with you, who is in charge while you are gone, what to do if you don't return in a timely manner and what to do if you (or the rest of the group) is attacked. You want everyone to stay on their guard.

You figure moving up the road is dumb so you decide to move through the woods and go up one side of the road and come down the other. Your luck holds and on arrival you can see the site is clear of anyone that should not be there. You call back on your digitally encrypted cell phone and let your #2 person know, who then quietly spreads the word. You are still uneasy so you decide to leave two guys to hide and over watch the area while you and your buddy go back and pick up half of the rest of the group.

For defensive purposes your group has split into three sub groups. This means there are six people in each sub group plus you and whoever is the #2 man. You pickup half the group making sure there is someone from each sub team. You tell them that you have decided to set up a triangular shaped defensive perimeter With six dug in positions. One position in each corner and one on each side. These will eventually be three man dug in positions. Your #2 person and the other half of your group will stay back and bring the vehicles up when everything is secure.

The move into the group position is uneventful. When you return you meet with the two guys you left behind who give you the thumbs up that no one has entered the area since you left. After taking the group and searching around within small arms range you determine that there are no trespassers in the immediate area. You show the appropriate people where the correct positions are for each of the six perimeter positions.

You know that the positions must be within sight and sound of the ones adjacent to each other. They must also be mutually supporting (more on that later). Everyone holds these positions while you then call the rest of the group forward and they move safely in. You count and double count to make sure everyone made it and no equipment was left behind by accident.

Once everyone is inside you have everyone be quiet and wait a few minutes keeping a good look out. If there is someone out there watching your group they might give themselves away. Once you are satisfied the coast is clear you tell everyone what you want them to start working on to make your place more secure. You want at least one third of the group looking out for bad guys and zombies. The most important thing being cover in case your group is attacked.

You decide to start setting up yourself near, but not in the exact, center. This allows you go to each easily side to help if needed. The #2 person will be nearby, but not in the same spot.

Congratulations you just made it through step one.
Stercutus cont. 
Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:41 pm 
You are feverishly working to get your PAW patrol base set up and running to protect your group's deer lease. The reports of factionalized fighting in St. Louis are getting worse as members of the SW side of the arch fight it with the North East faction out over the arch.

You have chosen a triangle to set up in as a triangle is a very strong geometric shape and you have divided your group into three subgroups making it easier to control allowing each subgroup to defend a side. If your group was much larger you could even form the corner of one triangle with your group while two other similar sized groups could form their defensive positions on a corner each. A smaller group could even just have three corners and no middle positions.

Every minute expended improving the place increases the surviviablility of your group by that much more so things are pretty urgent right now. The first thing you want to do is make a contingency plan of where to run off to if the group is suddenly attacked by an overwhelming force. Otherwise nobody will know what to do or where to go if you suddenly have to leave.

Because the road coming into the property is the most likely entry point onto the property and into your area you have oriented the triangle with two corners towards the road and one back. The people in the back corner can swing around to assist in repelling any attackers if needed.

The next thing you want to do is go around to each of the positions and discuss with each person the exact directions and areas that you want them to defend against potential attackers. A commonly misunderstood concept that is portrayed wrongly in movies and other media is that the best way to defend is to get in a foxhole and face towards the onrushing attacker coming from the front of an individual position. This really does not make much sense and would expose the defender to unnecessary risk and direct fire. A much better way is more like the US Army is to angle out from behind cover.

You cannot view this attachment.

This is wonderful as a someone who is an active threat and attempting to kill you or others in your group can be hit with flank shots where they will not be looking for you as the attacker comes rushing towards you. You might think this is cheating but remember they are trying to kill you and pose a deadly threat. A third person can be off to the side or even the rear looking for other threats.

The little logs that you see on the corners serve as safety devices. You have a "Y" stake to the rear where the person rests their rifle and then sticks on either side of the log. The person with the rifle can traverse the rifle back and forth on top of the log, stopping at the end where the sticks are. This is the area that they will be responsible for looking for attackers. If they go to far to one side they may end up shooting the person to their right accidentally. Too far the other way and they could expose themselves to fire.

It is very important since you are in charge to make sure that this ties in with and overlaps with the other positions to the left and right. You may even want to draw a diagram showing where everyone is defending and make sure there are no gaps. A compass and a laser range finder would come in handy here.

You tell everyone to walk out as far as they can safely shoot to look for depressions in the ground or other sources of cover an attacker may try to use. You would want to reduce or eliminate any sources of cover for bad guys. A heavy focus will be to have the road well covered in multiple places. If someone were to attack your group and then try to drive a vehicle into your area you would want to be able to disable it before it got to you.

Once everyone has verified the area that they are going to defend then everyone starts digging a hole like in the picture for two people or with a dog leg off it for three people. A "T" or "Y' shape may work as well. A backhoe is best for this task. It can do the work of 20 men in half the time. If you don't have one then you will need shovels. Just make sure everyone is in the right place, otherwise they will get really pissed off at you when you tell them they need to move after they have been digging half the day (if you can muster up the minerals to tell them).

You want to take the ex-fill dirt and pack it into sandbags that you can stack to the front, sides and rear. If you don't have sandbags then simply pile the dirt with the focus being on the front and sides. Throw some logs on top at least four inches thick using the sandbags or dirt piles to support them. If someone tries to throw an IED at the position than it may keep it from going in the hole. Once the hole is dug it needs to be hidden and someone needs to walk around the outside trying to locate the position and making sure that no one can see it until they are very close.

Some of the guys should be putting some barbed wire out away from the perimeter about 100' away from the positions in all directions to prevent people from entering the area or at least slow them down. The wire of course will be observable by whoever is covering that area.

Special focus should be made to the entry point as well. You don't want that in the front by the road. It should be off to the rear somewhere that is difficult to get to and well covered.

While you have been doing all of this the #2 person has been mapping and setting up a secure wireless router on an internal LAN to link everyone together. The laptop and the router use tiny amounts of electricity and will allow you to silently send messages to individuals or the entire group within range of the router.

Hopefully someone else is fixing dinner and making sure the food and water is straight and readily available for everyone.

If you have done everything correctly you now defend a very small chunk of your land and you have considerable influence over other parts of the land that you can see. So, if for example you wanted to send someone out to meet with some trespassers and to tell them to leave the people remaining inside the perimeter could observe you.

This completes Step 2....

Stercutus cont. 
Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:15 pm. 

A sun rises on a new day and you are dog ass tired. After "being in charge" all day you realized that you had not dug your own hole around 9PM and started working on it digging until about 1AM then pulled a couple of hours of watch. It is 6AM and you are functioning on about 3 hours of sleep in the last two days. Not good sleep either. People have started coming to you with their personal problems that you need to solve like; where can the girls go pee without being leered at? where to put the trash? and how the person at their position snores like a freight train and how they got bit by a spider on their nut sack and mostly how they want to go home.

You tell each of the subgroups to elect their own leader and then if there is a problem that he can't he solve then he or she needs to come find you. Your #2 guy shakes his head left right at you. You change your mind and tell the sub team leaders to go find #2 instead and then if #2 can't fix the problem come find you. You get an up down in return.

Things have gotten worse in St. Louis. The last functioning radio station reports that armed bands are moving house to house pulling people out of their homes and robbing them at gun point. No one has seen a policeman in a week. The bands are starting to move to the countryside. You figure you have a week or so before anyone should be able to walk all the way out in the boonies if ever.

Your PAW patrol base is now looking quite defensible. You are amazed by the amount of barbed wire that fits on four rolls of the the stuff. You decide to dig connecting trenches between the positions to allow people to move back and forth between them by crawling without being seen.

The first thing to focus on is making and practicing contingency plans for contact with people friendly and unfriendly who may stumble upon you. You will need a plan to defend from at least two places that are the most likely to be attacked from as well as a plan to safely run away if the force is too much for your band. You will also need a more detailed security plan, especially who is supposed to be on guard at all times. You may want to put someone outside the wire to hide, look and listen for anyone trying to sneak up on you. Then again you may not, it all depends on what makes the most sense. After you have your plan worked out then you want to practice it. Then practice it again. You want to focus on what to do before, during and after an attack.

Today you want to check out the rest of the 199 acres that you don't currently occupy and make sure it is as safe as it can be. You tell each of the sub team leaders to set up their guys for a patrol and which group will do patrols and at what times. Of course you vary the times and the routes that the patrols will take. You will never leave and come back the same way. You map it out to cover as much of the group's property as possible. A patrol is a bunch of guys walking around looking for shit. There are a million ways to do it and all of them are wrong.

You tell the team leaders what specifically you want them to look for while they are out walking around. You decide to go with each patrol to watch and see how each sub team behaves while walking around. The first team tries to leave right away without talking about anything. This is no good. They should talk about what they are going to do, where they are going to go and a million other details. You stop them and talk about stuff for a good thirty minutes.

Of course if everyone already knew what all the details were this would make it much easier. You decide that as soon as you get some free time you are going to write down some basic instructions that won't change much and then post it on the shared LAN drive for everyone to read.

The most important thing that you want to talk about is what to do if you find someone out on the group's property. They may not even know that they are trespassing. With current events they will probably be armed. The last thing you want is a murder charge hanging on you because someone does something stupid. Eventually you will want to go visit the neighbors as peaceably as possible. Keep in mind they may try to come visit you.

(Comment from member raptor.)

Post subject: Re: How To Defend Your BOL with a Small Group for Dummies
Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:21 pm 

Now not to derail the thread but rather more to the point.

There was a mention of 10 to 30 able bodied people as needed to defend the hypothetical 200 acres. In reality, to a point, the more abled bodies the better off you are.

To that end activities (including dummies and decoys) that give the appearance of a larger group and thus a more difficult target may indeed be useful. If nothing else, disinformation given to an opponent falls in the category of it rarely hurts and is more likely beneficial than not.

Decoys have been used in warfare and hunting forever. There are numerous stories of decoys being successfully deployed as force multipliers, distractions and even target sumps to attract hostile fire.

For instance lighting many campfires over a large area to convey the impression of large numbers of people. Painting logs black to resemble canon barrels at a distance. Playing recordings of a large crowd of people in an area that is not readily visible. These tactics have been use with varying success for centuries. They will likely continue to be useful to some extent.

Then there is camouflage. Many books have been written on the subject by far more knowledgeable people than me. However the combination of camouflage employed with decoys have proven time after time to be a useful (albeit by no means foolproof) combination.

All of these should be considered in such a situation.



I hadn't really considered more installments as we have covered the basics but ok....

The are a number of different ways to control ground. Regardless of how you do it how much territory you control is based upon terrain, weapons and equipment, the number of defenders and how much time you have to get ready. It is more of an art than a science.

Generally for a set defense the ratio of defenders is a 1:3 defender to attacker relative strength ratio. On a good day your group should be able to defend against 60 equal attackers, this is a huge number of people by most standards. By "strength" we mean the potential to apply force. 150 attackers armed with small pistols for example have practically no chance against 30 dug in defenders on open terrain armed with rifles; all else equal.

"All else is equal" is a phrase that is highly subjective as many of the elements to the problem are subjective. Superior training and leadership can allow a group of bowmen to defeat a poorly trained and led group of riflemen. Another aspect is how many people can actually defend an area vs how many attackers are actually attacking. If for example the attackers focus all of their efforts on on particular area in your defense they may achieve a relative superiority of 4 to 1 in one spot even though they only have an overall numerical superiority of 2 to 1. A good leader can counter that, a bad one will have a bad day. If one third of your people are not at your defensive area, incapacitated with cholera or whatever then the odds can shift fast.

One way to control ground is to occupy it and deny anyone entry through the use of force and obstacles. This is what you have done with the area surrounding where your group is located. More people, time or whatever and you could expand the area up to a generous limit. Since you do not have the resources to control 200 acres of woodland another technique will be needed.

You can use other obstacles to control access to areas or even use dummy obstacles, riflemen, fake hazmat signs and or fake landmines to try to direct or limits access to an area. However any obstacle that is not under observation by your group runs the risk of being quickly reduced or eliminated.

Another way to control ground is to occupy adjacent territory and deny access through the threat of force. You don't have to signal hostile intention although it may help to. All you have to do is look dangerous enough and demonstrate the capability to affect the ground through fires. That will be enough for casual travelers and the less determined or lower relative strength potential adversaries to remain out of the protected area.

In order to apply the threat of force you must be seen and show the capability to apply force. Potential trespassers have to determine your actions as a threat to their well being otherwise the threat is seen for what it is, vacant. Short of being very powerful relative to whatever threats you face there is no point in exposing yourself. Protecting adjacent ground through fires is generally inadvisable and illegal for most civilian and police applications. There are very few instances where the use of deadly force is allowed legally to protect against trespassers. These certain exception are for areas such as nuclear facilities or some other property that would prove catastrophic if seized by an interloper.

A third way is to search and clear the area you do not occupy of any threats. This works until the moment you leave that ground. As soon as you leave the area it become open again to whomever tries to claim it. Repeating this task on a regular basis may discourage people from entering into an area if there is no strong incentive to enter the area. The advantages of searching and clearing is that increases security to wherever you are holed up and lets you know if anyone else has been in the area. Setting up a defense and then not searching and clearing the surrounding area is extremely dangerous. It allows anyone nearby the opportunity to plan and prepare a ways and means to attack you. Since we have to do this anyway...

Searching and clearing an area is a very detailed task well beyond the capabilities of anyone who is not thoroughly trained and practiced in doing it. It is a group task and unlike an individual task can not be taught in even a few days. Still, a poor approximation of it is better than nothing at all. For inexperienced people facing experienced intruders they may be laying on the ground next to you and you would never know.

Before you attempt such a thing you must first determine what actions you will take and how you will treat any trespassers that you may find. There will be powerful legal constraints that if you violate could resolve in you being sent to prison or executed.

The next thing you need to do is make a basic plan based upon the map of how you are going to search and clear the area. The plan should be simple and yet do everything you need it to do.

Once you determine that you will then have to reconnoiter the area prior to searching and clearing. These are two vastly different tasks that to the layman can appear near identical on the surface. To do a recon properly you need to make up a list of everything that you need to know about the area. These are the things you will be looking for.

A recon should be conducted with the smallest possible number of people and avoid contact with anyone if at all possible. This an observation, survey and assessment task. A good one requires lots of training and practice. Again, you don't have that. The most important thing aside from that is knowing what you are looking for and answering basic questions about things you don't know about the area you are going in to. If for example you are looking for ATV tracks then ATV tracks needs to be one of the things on the list of things you are looking for and everyone needs to know it. Telling people to look for "anything strange" or other such open ended questions is going to have poor results.

To do a recon you can either go yourself or you can send someone else to do it. A third less effective way is to use technology and maps. A drone, if available might be useful. Keep in mind that the drone's POV, radius of view and perspective are going to be vastly different than yours. A good operator might see something a person would miss and miss something that is obvious to someone on the ground.

The best way is to go yourself as you will be leading the search and clear of the property. So about four people, travel slow, quiet and light. Look for the things that you are looking for. Note terrain that might indicate an ambush or otherwise be used against you (or help your defense). Stay off roads, trails, lines of drift. The list is too long to cover here.

Once you return you should be able to flesh out or modify your plan based upon what you learned. If you did not learn anything than you did it wrong and need to do it again. You are almost ready to begin.

There are additional comments after this in the original thread. But the main information is posted above.

I don't know what happened to Stercutus. He did not follow us over here to ufozs. I do know that he was a retired LEO. And that we disagreed on medical marijuana. Lol. But he was a good dude with a vast amount of knowledge. 

I have tried to find another tutorial on setting up your defense of a BOL. And I have not found one nearly this effective. 

Please feel free to comment further on this subject, about Stercutus, or post additional links and information about defending a BOL. This is an excellent topic. I have not seen discussed. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin


"Hey idiot, you should feel your pulse, not see it."  Echo 83


"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin


Quote from: flybynight on March 28, 2023, 05:42:00 AM
It's still funny :awesome:
It...yeah, it still holds up! Man, I feel like I'm time travelling. 


I asked chatgpt to come up with a plan. The first one was better than this. But it had a network error. This is just an overview. Trying to find something more detailed.

Bug Out Location Defense

Defending a bug out location requires careful planning and preparation to ensure that the area is secure and protected from potential threats. Here's a plan to defend a bug out location:

Conduct a Threat Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive threat assessment to identify potential threats, such as natural disasters, criminal activity, or civil unrest.

Create a Defense Strategy: Based on the threat assessment, create a defense strategy that outlines the steps you need to take to defend your bug out location. This could include setting up barriers, creating an early warning system, and establishing a communication plan.

Establish Perimeter Security: Set up a perimeter security system to keep intruders out of your bug out location. This could include building a fence, installing motion sensors or cameras, and posting guards.

Create a Secure Entry and Exit Point: Create a secure entry and exit point that allows you and your group to enter and exit the location safely. This could include building a gate or door that can only be opened with a code or key.

Stockpile Weapons and Ammunition: Ensure that you have enough weapons and ammunition to defend your location in case of an attack. It's also important to train yourself and your group on how to use these weapons safely and effectively.

Establish a Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan that allows you to communicate with other members of your group and receive updates on potential threats.

Train for Emergencies: Train yourself and your group for emergencies. This includes practicing emergency drills, learning basic first aid skills, and knowing how to respond to different types of threats.

Develop an Evacuation Plan: Develop an evacuation plan that outlines what to do in case of an emergency or if your location is compromised. This should include a designated meeting spot and a plan for how to get there safely.

Stay Informed: Stay informed about potential threats by monitoring news and weather reports, and by staying in communication with other members of your group.

By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive plan to defend your bug out location and keep yourself and your group safe in case of an emergency.


These two publications came recommended on another forum. Check this site for a ton of other great downloads!!
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin


I'm combing these two threads I started and deleting the first one. They both have essentially the same name. 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Uomo Senza Nome

Uomo Senza Nome remembers Stercutus, the self proclaimed god of bullshit. Irony is that of a survival forum, little but his post survives past a Charon type gatekeeper. He remembers that Stercutus said he would never return. But how can one return to a place that no longer exists? Irony within irony, within irony.

The nihilist will tell you that life itself is bullshit. To quote the Stranger (as Camus); "Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter." But without manure it is less likely humans would have developed civilization, a leisure class and become introspective enough to decide that life was pointless. The Romans OTOH believed that shit itself was sacred enough to be deified. They didn't question life itself when they didn't understand it, they embraced it and glorified it, even the lowliest of lows.  All parts of life were sacred in some way. The understanding never changed, the human response to it did. As life became easier, it also became... somehow... less valuable. A puzzle within a puzzle, within a puzzle.

Perhaps instead of life being pointless it is simply ridiculous and unknowable instead? The human drive to survive would therefore be just as ridiculous and as unknowable. Who better to share counsel about how best to survive such a thing but a man with no name?

But Moab? Moab, who like Uomo Senza Nome, now knows beyond any doubt, what it is to be in fear of losing that what he values the most, perhaps even more than his own life. I offer him the prayers of a strong body, a sound mind and a powerful spirit to do whatever he can do to for him and his, as he deals with his personal SHTF moment.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."


"Hey idiot, you should feel your pulse, not see it."  Echo 83

Uomo Senza Nome

At first things are tough. There is a shortage of everything except problems and hunger that seem to shadow your group at every turn, and yet you carry on. Slowly, carefully and with great deliberation your group begins to grow, the ranks swollen with others fleeing the crisis in the large cities. Eventually your group is three times the original size and the occasional successful skirmish that you have had to fight has caused your group to gain a reputation as a spot on the map to avoid. This causes various raiders to give your land a wide berth.

A few months later you are approached by a group of farmers. They ask if you would be willing to protect and patrol their nearby farms and help pick their crop in exchange for a share of their crop.
Even a small share will be more corn, beans and vegetables than your group will be able to eat for many months and your group votes for a team up. Later that year the mayors of the two closest towns, Soft Springs and Little Gulch send delegations that approach your group and request assistance in protection and help setting up a militia and improving defenses for their towns.

You go to Little Gulch first and assist them with what little you know. It's a struggle but the raiders begin to back off. Little Gulch is the county seat and with it better protected the county government begins operating again on a limited basis.

Within a month, most of your group elects to move into Little Gulch or Soft Springs and continue to function as the official militia for the small towns in the area. They name you commander, and everyone starts calling you captain. You didn't really want the job. You think there are others better suited and trained. But after the First Battle of Little Gulch where you sent the reserve to attack into the flank of a large poorly organized mob that was attacking the town; everyone seems to think you are Patton reborn. You seem to be catching the eye of a few of the opposite sex in town as well.

The threats are lessening, and it begins to feel safer and as though things are headed in the right direction. By the following year you are the proud parent of twins and things are really coming along. The State Government has begun operating again and has recognized the militias as integral to reestablishing ROL.

The Adjutant General of the state comes down and swears you and the rest of militia into state service. She offers you and a few others commissions based upon your performance as the elected leaders. You tell her that you don't think you are capable enough and that you already have enough responsibilities with your new family. She asks you who would do a better job protecting the area and your family? She feeds you a few empty platitudes and what you reckon are empty promises and suddenly you are the militia leader of a three-county area.

She then brings in the regional commander, a long retired and since recruited Marine Colonel who tells you he is your new commander. For an older gentleman he seems all there but looks like he could drop dead at any moment from a heart attack. He makes it clear upfront that he won't be around much unless needed. He turns over the local National Guard Armory to you as well. The unit that had been there deployed to the war in Europe before everything came crashing down and never returned.

As you inspect the old commander's office you see a picture of his family on the desk, whom you recognize from Soft Springs. The Regimental Commander goes over to the office book shelf and begins pulling manuals out of it and piling them on the desk.

"You will need to read these", he tells you; "but you will likely have more questions than answers. After you study up a bit I'll be back down, and we can get to work training your battalion for real. You guys have done a great job defending the towns but if we want to get this country working again there is a lot more to it. Up till recently we haven't had enough militia to do anything other than defend against attackers but that is changing. You can never win a fight if you are the punching bag."

There isn't much in the Armory, but it is a good base to run operations out of and muster and marshal when needed. The TAG had brought copious amounts of ammunition for your guys to train with. There are a few vehicles that you can fix and press into service and old supply sergeant that was left to watch the place, who turns out to be an invaluable source of information about logistics.

Not long after the Colonel leaves, the Regiment sends word that the prison about 150 miles North of you was taken over last year by the prisoners and they have been launching raids from it in all directions. Their leader is an ex-Army Infantry Officer who was famously convicted of murdering his wife not long before things went off the rails.

The state sent a company of soldiers to the prison to try to retake it but they were mauled and had to withdraw under fire. There are also dozens of hostages at the prison and now the state is too worried about them being executed to mount another attack. It appears they may be preparing to attack towns in your area. Bounties have been placed on the heads of all of the former prisoners and all the militia in the state are ordered to capture or kill them if needed to force them to stop. However no one wants to leave the safety of their town bases to go after them.

You are told they travel in well organized groups of 30-100. They mass even more for an attack and invade small towns, bleed them dry and leave. For former inmates they are surprisingly well trained, equipped and disciplined. Captain Jack had even turned a few of the guards who helped him seize control of the prison and now are a part of his gang of marauding felons.

You think of your family and wish for the hundredth time you had turned down the job, but in a way are kind of glad you took it. The problem is that everyone is looking to you for answers and you have damn few. If Captain Jack can take down a whole company of real soldiers you feel like you don't have a chance.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."

Uomo Senza Nome

You and your militia have never had to face a large, well-organized and well led force before. You realize that if the Regiment is telling you now that Captain Jack's Marauders are in the area you are probably hopelessly behind. In fact, he is probably looking at your towns right now. You have been sending out patrols every day from every town to check the farms and other remote facilities, but no one has reported anything different.

You pedal over to the armory on your bicycle to check on things. After the militia had split into five smaller groups underneath you, and you had allowed each of the separate leaders to run things as they best saw fit, giving them as much freedom as possible. Unfortunately, you have become a little complacent as things had been going so well and been a little too hands off.

Talking with your #3 guy about how things went last night, he tells you that everything is going great. He has updated the chalk board with where the patrols are going that day and your #4 guy is there to relieve him to take over the day watch. You look at the chalk board with a critical eye and realize that your guys had started sending patrols out at the same time every day sometime after you had established the time for the day watch to relieve the night, about an hour after dawn. The night patrols were 12 hours later. That way everyone would be on the same schedule, damn. To make things worse the patrols were going to mostly the same places and routes every time. You could probably set your watch by the patrols.

You tell your #4 you are going to lead a patrol today and he starts putting one together for you. You decide to take three of the old National Guard HMMWVs and leave your number #2 in charge for the day. You need to find out what else you have been doing "wrong". You decide to visit all of the militia bases and set off towards the one farthest North first, about 25 miles away.

Your suspicions apparently have some foundation. About twenty minutes after you leave, the patrol from the Northern town reports that they are under attack and pinned down by a large force. Your guys throw it into high gear, and you look at the map, it's going to be at least ten minutes to get close enough to help. A lot can happen in ten minutes. The pleas on the radio get more desperate and you can hear steady gunfire in the background. The militia is sending out a relief patrol locally, but they apparently weren't completely ready to go when the call came out. You feel annoyed, angry, guilty and worried all at the same time. It's a lot to process so you focus on what to do when you get there, you push all that aside and to focus.
According to the map they were traveling on a road next to a forested ridge to check some farms in the area. The road makes an "L" right there and would probably be a good place for an ambush. They were almost certainly traveling on the road and therefore it makes sense to approach from the backside of the ridge, crossing a field and then come up from behind the ambushers.
Due to the wide open terrain you can see the patrol pinned down by fire from the hillside with a couple of guys laying on the ground and you swing around to the other side of the hill. As you do so, the fire from the ridge line gradually slows and then ceases. Not sure what to make of this as you come upon an approach you have most of the patrol dismount and approach up the ridge using the vehicles for cover as you move towards the woods.
Moving into the woods you find a single dead man laying near a large electric Mule ATV, that is heavily laden down with supplies, that looks like it can only carry one person. There is a second ATV nearby that must be autonomous as there is nowhere to sit and it is also filled with supplies. You recall that the Marines used to use something similar to support platoons out in the field with an autonomous ATV following the dismounted squads with supplies.
As you move up and over the ridge line you find a fighting position set up pointing down towards the road where the militiamen are still hiding undercover on the opposite side. You send a team of guys to clear it and they find only two dead men inside, the dead ambushers are shot in the back.  You work way across the ridge line quietly and find more fighting positions, filled with more dead men, all shot in the back, ten ambushers in all, 11 counting the one by the ATV.

There is the quiet sound of movement behind you and when you turn to face it you see the two ATV's drifting along the ridge line, traveling unmanned, and then disappearing into the undergrowth, downhill to the North. Curious you follow, only to find that they pick up speed greatly and head down a trail North of the wood line and down the other side of the "L".

When you work through the tree you can see the ATV's are already several hundred yards away and they are stopped next to a rock outcropping. Suddenly a man wearing a camouflage rain poncho stands up out of nowhere and removes the poncho. He is tall and thin. Without the poncho, you can see he is wearing some kind of leather motorcycle vest, a gun belt with two pistols, a long sleeve denim shirt, black pants and a whiskey brown colored felt cowboy hat. He doff's the hat, puts on an ATV helmet and leaves North. You draw a bead on him with your rifle but decide not to shoot. Whatever happened here he doesn't feel like an enemy so you turn to take care of your wounded.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."

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