How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Considerations For Long Term Retreat or Homestead Security

Today’s post is the first of a three part guest post by Max Velocity. Max has an extensive military background, having served in both the British and the U.S. armies and also as a high threat security contractor.

He has served on six military operational deployments, including to Afghanistan immediately post-9/11, and additionally he spent five years serving as a security contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He writes at the blog ‘Max Velocity Tactical‘ … go check out his work!

We cannot predict now exactly what conditions will look like after a collapse and as such I urge you not to make too many assumptions based on your particular idea of what such a post-SHTF situation will look like.

The purpose of this article is to give you the general principles and techniques of defending a location, which you can tailor and apply as necessary and appropriate.

It is best to adopt a mindset of flexibility and gather mental and physical knowledge and ‘tools’ in order to be able to develop your response and put some of these measures in place as you find them necessary and appropriate.

For the article I will assume a broad post-SHTF situation of societal collapse with a general absence of law and order.

As a prepper hunkered down at your home, with food stores, the most likely threat will be from looters and marauders. These could take many forms from a simple beggar, through starving neighbors, mobs, tricks and deceptions, to a tactically organized group with weapons and equipment.

The worst case is some sort of organized paramilitary style force with heavy equipment bent on forced redistribution.

Therefore, remain flexible and have an emergency rally point and extraction route should you be overmatched. Know when you have no alternative but to bug out. You can make this decision if you have the information before the threat arrives and conduct the bug out in good order.

Alternatively, you may be forced to make the decision as the attack progresses and have to ‘break contact’ and withdraw under enemy fire; this is one of the most difficult tactical maneuvers.

Work on your leadership, decision making and decision points so that your response under the pressure of both time and enemy is optimal. Tied in with this is the need for clear rules of engagement and for the use of force appropriate to the threat.

This short article is mainly concerned with defense of a single location and as such will not go into techniques such as mobile and area defense, which could be useful for a larger community.

Remember, the best form of defense is to avoid the fight.

But that may not be possible and you have to always plan and prepare for that fight. You can better avoid the fight by adopting a lower profile at your location, attempting to conceal your supplies and capabilities.

The opposite of this is to have a high profile and try to use threat of force as a deterrent. But remember that a good rifleman could sit out at long range and simply shoot your defenders in their sentry positions.

In my opinion, the best approach for a small survivor group is to adopt a lower profile while maintaining the capability to defeat threats as they are encountered. The following are some principles of defense that you should consider and apply to your location and plan:

  • All Round Defense, in order to anticipate a threat from any direction.
  • Depth, in order to prevent penetration of your defended position.
  • Mutually Supporting Sectors of Fire, in order to increase the strength and flexibility of a defense.
  • Concealment and Deception, in order to deny the adversary the advantages of understanding.
  • Maintenance of a Reserve.
  • Offensive Action (where appropriate), in order to seize or regain the initiative.
  • Administration, to include:
    • Appropriate numbers of trained personnel.
    • Appropriate weapons, ammunition and equipment.
    • A watch system for early warning.

Most modern family homes do not lend themselves to defense. The structure is vulnerable to high velocity rounds which will pass through multiple frame, wood and plasterboard walls, and also simple mechanical breaches are possible with tools and even vehicles used as rams.  They are also very vulnerable to fire.

If you try and defend your house from the windows, then you will not be protected by the walls framing those windows and the room can be filled full of high velocity rounds by an attacking group. There is a real danger of being suppressed by superior firepower.

If you stay back from the windows as you should, then you limit your fields of fire and unless there are enough of you defending then the enemy will be able to take advantage of blind spots to close with and then breach the house.

You need a basement or other ballistic protected safe room for your noncombatant personnel (kids etc.) to shelter in; otherwise they will not be protected from the violence and from the high velocity rounds ripping through the walls.

One of the key things for a prepper defense of a location is to have an appropriate number of trained personnel with appropriate firearms, ammunition and equipment.

You will also have to take measures to harden the building to slow down attempts to breach. You need to consider whether or not you want your property to look derelict; this could be good or bad in the circumstances.

It would be worthwhile to consider boarding up or shuttering at least the ground floor windows and think about putting up door bars or even board up some of the doors. This will also help with light discipline.

External boards can make the place look derelict, but looking derelict could also encourage approach by potential squatters. You could put up the boards internally, or something similar, in order to maintain a low profile and slow any breaches. There a lots of pros and cons each way.

When boarding up doors, ensure that you have at least two independent exits that can be used both for routine tasks but also for egress if you have to escape.

Boarding up your windows and doors does not make them ballistically hardened. You could have sandbags ready to go, and you will need to consider a big pile of dirt to fill them from. Consider the benefits of simple mass of soil in protecting you from high velocity rounds, and for the construction of fighting positions.

Sandbags need to be at least two deep to protect against high velocity rounds. If you try stacking enough of these on a modern upper floor, or even a ground level floor with a basement beneath, then the weight of a constructed fighting position may cause a collapse.

You could stack sandbags externally around designated window fighting positions on the ground floor, but you will need a lot of them.

Other alternatives would include filling a chest of drawers with soil to create firing positions, or maybe even material such as steel plate that will weigh less but will provide ballistic protection.

Stay tuned for parts two and three of this article next week…

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4 Responses to Considerations For Long Term Retreat or Homestead Security

  1. Good article, thanks for the information.
    What is your opinion on common brick siding as a defense? I don’t think it is very effective, but haven’t tried a ballistic test to see how well it might shield from high-velocity bullets.
    Another thing I have often read that is a mis-conception is the idea that armoring a door is effective against breaching the house. Most people who have been in Fire or Police service know it is easier to remove or break the frame than try to break the door or window, so armoring may not be enough. For breaching, a good sledge hammer can easily punch a hole in even brick siding, then gas and flame to follow up.
    So the best place to stop them is far away from the structure. If they get close, you’re in trouble.

    • TB:
      Brick siding is better than the usual wooden type construction for general strength and access denial. It won’t stop high velocity rounds, but it will have some protective effect. But if the bad guys hammer away at it with, for example, a 240, they will tear the walls down.
      You are right about the door. If just the door is armored, it can be knocked right off its frame. But consider that with breaching tools or even a vehicle, any part of your house is vulnerable. Vehicles can ‘ram raid’. Your brick is better than the wood though. Vehicles can also be used to provide elevated access for breaching to upper floors, either on their own or in combination with ladders. This tells yo that you nedd to use obstacles, whcih can be landscaping and vegaetation, to keep vehicls away and utilize ‘stand off’.
      For your door, use large planters or similar to keep vehicles from ramming the door in. Also, use an improved frame and door bars or similar to strengthen the doorway access. Do you have a large piece of furniture or a piano? Put it behind the door! 😉

      You are right about the stand off, particularly in order to keep them away from setting fire to the place. There is more of that in the rest of the article, to follow.

      Max

  2. Any thoughts on strawbale constructed homes as far as a defensible structure? I hope roofing materials will also be mentioned as regards being burnt out.

    Thanks as always for the actionable defense advice instead of chest thumping!

    For those unfamiliar;
    Strawbales are stacked like bricks, frequently with re-bar reinforcement to keep them straight during construction, then plastered over with stucco or something similar. Sometimes chicken wire or hardware cloth is secured to the foundation, wrapped over the bales, and secured on the other side for a smoother plaster finish or structural stability in earthquake areas.

    • Hi, I am not familiar with straw bale construction. It does sound like they may be useful as a counter to breaching techniques, but I am not sure of the ballistic protection. It sounds like it would be hard to break through with a sledghammer though….

      I see where you are going with fire retardancy of the roof, by which I assume you mean steel roof? The drive of the article, with the other segments to follow, is less about how to purpose build a house but more about how to defend what you have. But you are right, the more fire retardant your house is, the better off you will be . The article concentrates more on the use of stand off to prevent firestarters getting close enough to cause a problem. But if they can’t get in, then they may well just want to burn you out, which you have to prevent.

      Thanks.
      Max