31 August 2012

Changing Horses

There's an old adage that I've heard a few times, about not changing horses mid-stream. It's probably good advice if you can't swim, but it could be a good trick if the horse you're riding has been shot out from under you. While that is certainly not the case, I'm going to change horses and follow the exodus away from blogger to wordpress.

I want to do some things to improve the blog that I'm not smart enough to manage on blogger, but am pretty sure I can manage on wordpress.

In case anyone decides they'd just as soon not follow me over there, for whatever reasons, thanks for reading up to this point.

If I ever had any doubts about the importance of what I was sharing with the world, they've been comfortably put to rest. I posted the first article on this blog on 9JAN12. Since that time, I've had just shy of a quarter-million hits on the blog (221,152 as of 2150 MST this evening), have 120 "followers" and have been cross-posted in places I'd never have expected (with the exception of the StormFront link, to my pleasant surprise).

The blog has given me the opportunity to start teaching classes to some genuinely good folks, make friends and contacts nationwide, and even led me to moving TMO, HH6, and myself to a place I've wanted to live for over 20 years, but never managed to figure out how.

So, if you choose to follow, the new address will be http://www.mountainguerrilla.wordpress.com. If you don't, thanks for reading, and good luck to you and yours in the coming tribulations.

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the Mountains

Postscript: I'm going to take my time, but I will be moving all the articles from this site over to the new address. Give me time, as I still intend to continue adding to the knowledge base.

More Classes Coming Up

I have had some people request I come do some classes for them, outside of my normal area of operations (the InterMountain West). This opens up the possibility of me doing classes in a wider range of areas. Some of the organizers have been generous enough to offer to let others into their classes.

I will be conducting a Fundamentals of UW Small Unit-Tactics Class in Central Oklahoma (OKC area) the third weekend in October. There are a very few slots available in this class. Contact me within the week if you want more details.

I was asked, during the last open-enrollment class, about doing a cold-weather/winter patrolling and fieldcraft class. That individual and I have been discussing the option of doing that in November or December in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming. It will be an open-enrollment class that will focus on basic patrolling TTPs and individual fieldcraft in winter environments. Let me know if you have any interest in this class.

If you have an interest in a class in your immediate area, and don't have enough guys to put together a full class, but are willing to open it to others, email me. It's a great way to expand your immediate network, and since I don't discuss anything illegal in my classes, you don't have to worry about some douche from the Fed showing up and ruining your week.

I will also be doing an open-enrollment class in November on the squad-designated marksman/precision rifleman role in UW. This will focus on intermediate-range marksmanship with the fighting rifle, specifically the 200-500 meter range envelope, and all that implies. This will take place in eastern Wyoming's Black Hills.
Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the Mountains

Some notes on PT for the Irregular Force

It's gotta be a man thing. Every guy I know thinks he's in shape. It doesn't matter if he weighs 245, with 27% bodyfat, and the only "athletic" activity in his life is performing 12oz curls while watching NASCAR, motherfucker is convinced he's an Olympic-caliber athlete.
Folks, I'm going to let you in on a secret...unless you have a measurable, quantified assessment in place for your PT standards, just like you do for your marksmanship standards (you DO have marksmanship standards, right?) you're not in shape. How can I say this unequivocally? Because it's the truth. Without standards in place to measure against, you don't have any way of verifying, which is the same thing as saying it's just not the case.
Combat, whether a knock-down, drag-out, stomp on their throats brawl behind the bar, a quick skirmish in the swampy jungle, a firefight in the mountain vastness, or a close-quarters gunfight in an urban area, is one of the single most physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually taxing endeavors you will ever undertake. It doesn't compare to chores, no matter how much farm work you do keeping up with your two dozen chickens and three hogs. It doesn't compare to gym work, no matter how much you bench press. It doesn't compare to running down the street in sneakers and gym shorts. That's not to say those don't matter, because they do (well, except possibly the running part). It's just that, if you don't tailor your PT to your goals, and measure your gains to ensure you're still making gains, you will not be in the type of shape you need to be in when the balloon goes up.
Lots of guys in the liberty/preparedness/survivalist community come up with excuses regarding why they can't do PT. "I'm too tired after work" (I've used that one myself), "I can't afford gym fees," "I can't afford to purchase a home gym set-up," "I've got old injuries that PT only makes hurt too much," "I don't want to get all big and 'swole' like a gay-ass bodybuilder." They're all excuses, and they're all horseshit.

"I'm too tired after work." Think you're NOT going to be tired when surviving in an UW environment? There are professional athletes who built their conditioning program and athletic prowess while working extremely physical, blue-collar, labor jobs. Take a few minutes off from work to relax and unwind, go for a walk to cool off, then hit the fucking weights. Quit being a pussy.

"I can't afford gym fees." Bullshit. You don't need a gym membership, but even if you did, you can afford your six-pack of beer, your cigarettes, your Copenhagen (my sinful habit), and a Big Mac for lunch everyday. You can afford your Starbucks Super-Duper-Extra-Mocha-Chocolatta-Wanna-Be-A-Fat-Ass. Gym fees are not that fucking expensive. But, like I said, you don't need a gym membership, and are probably better off without one.

"I can't afford a home gym set-up." This one is complete, unfettered horseshit. How many fucking guns do you own? If you've got more than a sidearm, a fighting carbine, and a .22LR, you're full of shit. I'm the last guy in the world that's going to insult anyone for owning lots of guns, but if you are sincerely dedicated to fighting and killing your enemies, you need to possess the fundamental attributes necessary in combat, of which physical conditioning is certainly one of the foremost. Sell a gun and buy a home gym. You need a squat rack, an Olympic-style weight bar, a minimum of 300lbs of Olympic-style weight-plates, and a bench...maybe a 100lb heavy bag as well. Not too much, and you can pretty easily find it all for less than the cost of a decent AR15.
"I've got old injuries that PT only makes hurt too much." Again, unmitigated horseshit. I've had a broken back, a broken hip, both knees have been blown out, and both shoulders have severe rotator-cuff damage. I jumped out of airplanes, carrying as much as 200-plus pounds of gear strapped to my body, in the middle of the night, for nearly a decade. I've done serious combat sports like judo and Brazilian ju-jitsu for over twenty years. I know about old injuries, and I'm telling you, right now, a solid PT program will do nothing but help you in this regard. End of story.
"I don't want to get all big and 'swole' like a gay-ass bodybuilder." Good thing, because unless you're juicing, it ain't gonna happen, and even then it probably won't. So, quit being a fag, and start doing PT.

There's a couple different considerations when looking at developing a PT program for tactical applications.

Strength Training
A lot of supposed experts like to brag about their relative strength. This is how strong they are, relative to their own body weight. Gymnasts tend to have extremely high relative strength. Unfortunately, if you're a 120lb stringbean, your 1:1.5 relative strength is completely irrelevant compared to my 210lb 1:1 relative strength. Yes, you have higher relative strength, but I'm still going to put your fucking head through the wall, because my absolute strength is way the fuck higher. Push-ups and burpees are cool. Christ knows, they can be a smoking good exercise. However, they are NOT the end-all, be-all of tactical fitness training. Guys, you need to be lifting iron. The ONLY way you will get stronger, and then continue getting stronger, is to lift progressively heavier shit. I'm not a strength coach, nor do I play one on television, but I've had a lot of experience teaching people to get strong enough to fuck up other people. This is not a book on strength training, so I'll recommend some reading.
1) Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
2) The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football by Bill Starr.
Read them both, and learn the skills they teach. Master them. While Starr's book was originally written specifically for football (he was actually the first strength coach in the NFL), it is all about getting stronger and more athletic. Written in the 70s, it's still relevant. Evolution doesn't work that fast.

Rippetoe is an awesome coach, and an extremely funny motherfucker. I like him particularly well because he may actually be as profane, and irreverent as I am.
Some Rippetoe gems:
"If you can't train and work in a warehouse at the same time, you probably have ovarian cancer. Consult your gynecologist."
On the ethics of meat eating:
"Okay, have you ever been around chickens? They are stupid, uncooperative, inconvenient, ill-tempered creatures. They get what they deserve. Fuck chickens."
"Any idiot can get on a treadmill and watch TV and then take great pride in the fact they've 'exercized'".
"There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you're a pussy."
"Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general."
"The deadlift is more functional in that it’s very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy shit up off the ground. "
If you appreciate the irreverence and profane honesty of my writing, you'll dig Rippetoe's. I promise.
If you're too cheap to buy the books, check out the Stronglifts 5x5 website for an Reader's Digest-condensed version of these types of lifting programs. In the meantime, here's some concepts to consider:
Focus on multiple-joint, compound movement exercises. They allow you to lift more weight, which makes you stronger, and they are more "functional" in the idea that this is how your body actually works. The only time I try to "isolate" a muscle in the real world is when I isolate my trigger finger make my marksmanship more accurate. "Isolation" strength training is fucking gay (and I don't mean gay in the "cool," socially-acceptable, "I like it in the ass" sense of the word. I mean, it's fucking GAY!).
Nature doesn't give two shits how strong you are relative to your body weight. It only cares how strong you are relative to the task at hand. That is referred to as absolute strength. More absolute strength is ALWAYS better than less. That is inarguable, so don't bother trying.
Ignore the bodybuilders in the gym. You should be interested in athletic performance, not aesthetics. That having been said, if you focus on getting stronger, you will LOOK stronger too. Chicks dig that, trust me....even your wife will appreciate it, but more importantly, you will BE stronger, instead of just looking stronger. Focus on complex, multi-joint, compound-movement exercises (didn't I say that already? Remember high school, when the teacher told you to pay special attention to the shit she said repeatedly? It applies). These include the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, power cleans, and shit like that. It most definitely does NOT include leg curls, bicep curls, or other retarded lifts like that.
Look, I grew up in the pre-GWOT Ranger Regiment. That meant we ran. We ran a lot. We ran 6-8 miles a day, at a 6:30-7:00 minute/mile pace. Twice a month, we ran a half-marathon. I consistently ran a sub-12:30 two-miles on my APFT. It was actually kind of cool. I could bench over 300lbs, squat close to 500lbs, and run that fast. I'd go home on leave and run with a high-school buddy who was a college track athlete. It'd drive him bat-shit crazy, because here I was, big, strong, scary dude (who'd been the proverbial 100lb weakling in high school), who could run just as fast as he could (I didn't say he was a particularly GOOD college track athlete). Yeah, it was cool.
The only shitty part was...running for tactical fitness is pointless. It does not, in any way, shape, or form, prepare you for combat effectiveness. Even the Rhodesian light-infantry and Selous Scouts in the 70s that did these ridiculously long runs to escape overwhelmingly enemy forces, did it with their fighting gear on. The reality is, running in shorts and sneakers uses completely different muscle groups and makes different energy systems demands on the body than running and sprinting in your fighting load.
Is there a need and place for long-sustained distance work in tactical fitness? Absolutely, there is. But strapping on your Nikes, a pair of panty-length shorts, and running down the street is NOT the type of cardio you need.
Instead, a couple of times a week, do 2-3 miles with a rucksack on. Load it as heavy as you can safely manage, and go as fast as you can. Build up to doing it with a 60-70lb load, at a 10:00 minute/mile pace. Don't tell me you're too old to do it. In Afghanistan in 2001, Billy Waugh was running circles around young guys in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, and dude was in his fucking 70s at the time!
There are operational SOF guys today who are doing it, with prosthetic legs. So, quit being a pussy. On your non-rucking days, do sprints. Run as fast as you can, for 50, 100, 200, 400, or 800 meters, with your fighting load on, or a similarly weighted load (don't go traipsing through suburbia with your LCE and weapon. It's as stupid as open-carrying to make a political point by scaring soccer moms). Develop a plan to incorporate metabolic conditioning, along the lines of Crossfit, into your PT program. Do bodyweight exercise variants of met-con circuits with your fighting load on.
Try burpees with your plate carrier on. It sucks. Ask me how I know.
Gunfights are short, intensive bursts of high speed activity, interspersed between longer periods of less intensive activity. Are there 20-hour gunfights? Absolutely. Is anyone involved running and gunning for the entire 20 hours? Fuck no. You need the ability to go full-bore, high-speed boogie for a minute or two, and then recover quickly, before doing the full-tilt boogie-woogie for a minute or two again.

On farm work for PT:
Guys, I know that historically, insurgents have come from rural farming backgrounds and the toughness they developed from working in the fields was more than adequate to help them survive in unconventional warfare.
There's a couple problems with using that paradigm for future reference.
On the one hand, you won't be fighting a third-world military. You will be fighting security force personnel who are extremely well-fed, and have ready access to some of the best gyms and fitness science professionals to coach them.
On another hand, I don't care how tough you think your work regimen is, it doesn't compare to some third-world campesinos. Hell, it doesn't compare to what a migrant laborer in this country puts up with. You get done with your chores on your hobby farm, then go inside your nice house and sleep in your nice bed, next to your nice wife. You use all kinds of technology to make your chores easier, and you get plenty of food to eat. You are not a third-world farmworker, fella. It don't compute.
I live in the intermountain West. I know full-time working cowboys on big ranches. These guys are nothing but bone, muscle, and gristle. They spend their days in the saddle, fighting raunchy horses, and raunchier cattle, in nasty, rough, terrain, in all types of mountain and desert weather. They are as tough as any group of men I've ever met, but they also know they aren't going to take on a fucking infantry platoon of professional warfighters and win.
Do your PT, and quit making excuses.

(This is intended as a quick, down and dirty, overview of some of my thoughts on PT for UW. It is not in the vein of most of my articles where I describe specific TTPs to follow to improve your tactical expertise. That's because there is plenty of information out there, easily available, on the relevant subjects. Do the research, and stick with it....but do your PT. A suggestion made during the AAR in the recent open-enrollment class was that I throw out a specific set of PT standards that guys should be able to accomplish as a pre-requisite for attending my classes. I'm not going to do that, for a couple of reasons, but most importantly of all for two reasons.
1) If I gave you my personal standards, you'd either shit yourself and crawl back into bed with the Missus, thinking I'm a fucking nut-case, or,
2) You'd be so discouraged you'd refuse to even consider a class.
Nevertheless, guys, do your fucking PT.)

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere (new) in the Mountains

29 August 2012

Request to Readers

Can any readers in the Palouse Region of Northern Idaho email me through the blog at nousdefionsranger@yahoo.com, post-haste? It would be greatly appreciated.


Comments on IronWill's AAR

(I've taken the liberty of blatantly copying and pasting IronWill's blog post of his AAR from the recent open enrollment SUT class he attended that I conducted early this month. I will add parenthetical notes.--J.M.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend John Mosby's first open enrollment class on TC3 and Small Unit Tactics this last weekend.

First let me preface by saying John Mosby is the real deal. He's been in combat many times. He knows from experience what he's talking about and does an excellent job imparting that information to the class.

I'm not going to repeat details that were covered in a previous AAR on the class as it would be redundant. I will, however, try to point out things not mentioned there and other things learned.

Hint: If you plan to attend a future Mosby class, you better be in VERY good shape. At the end of day one, EVERYONE was hurting, even the guys that were in good shape.

The phrase, "Train like you fight. Fight like you train," took on a whole new meaning.

If you're executing all your PT in sweats and a T-shirt, you're going to regret it. As J.M. would often say, "Ask me how I know."

You NEED to be conducting your PT in your battle gear. Whether that's a LBV, or plate carrier with plates, or battle belt...complete with full mags, filled canteen(s) or CamelBak, knee pads (a must!), AND your battle rifle with a full magazine.

Why? Because that's EXACTLY how you will be training here.
Train like you fight. Fight like you train.
Makes sense?

Also, don't conduct your PT on a flat surface either. You will encounter uneven terrain which takes more effort to get through than flat terrain. So train with that in mind.

(Guys, I can't emphasize the importance of realistic, effective, RELEVANT PT enough. Combat is the single most intense, physically, mentally, and spiritually demanding endeavor in the human experience...with the possible exception of being in the room for the delivery of your first-born. I am working on an article on the subject currently, but am also dealing with some things in real life at the moment. Suffice for the moment to say, you're probably not in as good of shape as you think you are, and no, farm work and ranch work is NOT combat conditioning....)

Day One
After everyone arrived to the class location, J.M. introduced himself and talked about his background and what we were going to be doing in class.

We were introduced to TC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care). Areas covered were:
  • Basic Management Plan for Care Under Fire Phase
  • Basic Management Plan for Tactical Field Care
  • Individual Task List for Tactical Combat Casualty Care
  • Practical Scenario Exercise
We were taught how to properly apply to ourselves and classmates a CAT tourniquet (preferred over others), the TK4 tourniquet (not recommended for lack of a windlass) and the SOF tourniquet.The point is to get that blood loss stopped within 60-90 seconds to prevent unconsciousness. Untreated, you will bleed out in 3 minutes or less. Everyone was able to preform this exercise without any problems.

Then we moved to the casualty extrication under fire exercise in full gear. Basically you drag your buddy to safety by using the drag handle on his chest rig/plate carrier, the shoulder harness on the rig, or by grabbing him under the arms.

We practiced the one man drag and the two man drag while J.M. fired rounds to simulate incoming fire (in a safe direction, to clarify, NOT over the heads of the students. That was an entirely different element in the class....). We had to move the wounded man to safety in under 90 seconds. I'm not a big guy. At 5'-7" and 135 lbs. dragging a 220+ lb. man is not an easy thing to do. Which is why I appreciated the 4 man improvised litter carry method much more. Basically you position a casualty blanket under the wounded man, and each man grabs a corner and carries him off to safety. This makes moving the wounded man much easier but at the cost of reducing your fighting force by 4, plus the wounded man, as they won't be in a position to return fire and kill the enemy. This method is better utilized after the fighting is over (and I generally recommend adding real litters to medic packing lists, even if they are the torture device known as the poleless litters)

The most important lesson we learned about treating combat injuries is this:
The best medicine on the battlefield is fire superiority!
(Fucking GOSPEL!!!!)

Win the fight to prevent the further casualties.

Shortly after this exercise during further TC3 lessons, we had 2 heat casualties that needed to be attended to, one of them being yours truly. My buddy went down first. He ended up vomiting and didn't immediately respond to J.M. who rushed over to asses the situation. My buddy was given an oral I.V. and plenty of water to drink. A wet bandana was placed on the back of his neck and he was kept in the shade. J.M. used this as a teaching moment.

About 5 minutes later, I became overwhelmed with nausea and asked another classmate to help me up as I felt I was going to be sick. He and another classmate helped me to the trees where I thought I was going to hurl, but this didn't happen. (I'm thinking I might have been better off if I had) As was done with my buddy, I was given more water to drink, administered an oral  I.V., and kept in the shade with a wet bandana on my neck. I suspect the culprits to this incident were the Wendy's Chicken sandwiches we both ate the night before class and washed down with a root beer float. This event led to my very poor performance in the assessment test that occurred a little while later. I wasn't back to feeling 100% until later the next day (Honestly? HH6 was convinced IronWill and his buddy had just smoked too much weed the night before. Will assured me this was not the case. Guys, I don't give a shit WHAT you do when you're not in my class, but consider the implications of what you are doing and their impact on your training.....whether it's smoking out, or eating shitty Wendy's food....)
Side Note:
Throughout the day, J.M. was constantly asking me if I was okay. Even though he joked that I probably thought he was an a-hole for constantly asking, I appreciated his concern and completely understand why he kept checking. A leader looks out for the men under him. He did this with other classmates too, some had bad knees, bad backs, or whatever, and his number one concern was always for our safety and health.
(While the goal of training is to replicate reality as closely as possible, few of us are 19-year old studs anymore. Don't fucking cripple yourself in training. I'd rather have every swingin' Richard capable of manning the line for real on the big day, than sitting on the sidelines because he fucked himself up in training.)

After TC3 class, (I think it was after, the order of things is kind of a blur due to the heat exhaustion) we practiced dropping to one knee, using 2 different methods. Then we practiced dropping onto both knees simultaneously while running. Then we practiced dropping into the prone position from the 2 knee drop. Good knee pads are a must for this.

After everyone got that mastered, or close enough, we moved on to the 2 man bounding exercises. First with dry fire while yelling "Bang! Bang!" to simulate gun fire. Then later with live rounds. This was the "I'm up! He sees me! I'm down!" forward advancing exercise. Then we practiced with two 2-man teams moving simultaneously while giving each other cover fire. The key to doing this exercise correctly was communication. You don't move ahead unless your request for cover fire is acknowledged by the other team. If you don't hear the acknowledgement, "Gotcha covered!" then you repeat your request while looking to make sure the team is not dealing with another issue such as a weapons malfunction or changing a magazine. J.M. would fire rounds to simulate incoming fire. This did 3 things:
  1. It signaled us to drop to the prone position to avoid getting shot
  2. Got us used to yelling our communications to be heard
  3. Helped us to get comfortable with gunfire
(The old mantra is "shoot, move, and COMMUNICATE" folks. Too many people spend time training by themselves or one or two close friends and learn each other's habits well enough to get by with piss-poor communications. That's great...except when it's for real, and everyone is shitting themselves and forgetting what they know, or when you are suddenly thrust into a situation where you have to work with guys who you've not trained with as much.)
In short order, everyone was doing pretty well. We then moved on to the assessment test.

Since it wasn't mentioned in the previous AAR, I'll describe it here. The assessment test was simple. Run 1K as fast as you can with your designated Ranger Buddy, while wearing full gear and carrying your battle rifle. This was immediately followed by five rounds in twenty seconds into a target at 200 meters, a sprint to the 100 meter mark and 5 rounds in 15 seconds. Then a sprint to the 50 meter mark and 5 rounds in 10 seconds. Finally a sprint to the 25 meter mark with 5 rounds in 10 seconds.

NOT easy to do after suffering from heat exhaustion earlier that day and J.M. said normally those times are half of what he allotted. He said he was going easy on us (additionally, I didn't impose a time standard on the 1K movement....more on that in the forthcoming article).

Afterwards we took a break for a surprise dinner of delivered pizza. What a guy!

After dinner, it was nearly dark and we moved onto getting accustomed to walking around the woods with no lights. There was no moon but the stars were plentiful and gave off enough light to see a little once the eyes adjusted. Some classmates were fortunate enough to have a Night Optical Device (NODs) with them and J.M. demonstrated that he could run faster through the woods in the dark without NODs than those who had them. He wasn't doing this to show off, he was doing this to show us that NODs are a good tool but not to rely on them alone (additionally, I took the opportunity to demonstrate you can move more quietly in the woods without NODs. While they ARE an inarguably valuable force multiplier, you need to understand HOW to apply them effectively and correctly. It's not a simple matter of putting them on and going off on walkabout.)

It was about 23:30 when we were dismissed and everyone headed for bed, at a slow pace. Everyone was aching somewhere on their body. Day one was a half day and it kicked our ass. I didn't get a good solid night of sleep. Due to all the water I drank for the heat exhaustion, I got up 6 times during the night to relieve my bladder. A new personal record.

Day Two
J.M. started with a discussion on camouflage. He showed us how one could easily blend in the woods with khaki pants and a brown top just as easily as someone in full Multicam. One doesn't have to have the latest and greatest camo to disappear and he proved this. He also discussed the proper application of face camo and some students applied it on, and others used balaclavas, gaiters, shemagh or improvised masks from a shirt (we also discussed and demonstrated the importance of shadows and leveraging them to your advantage, amongst a host of other elements in simply disappearing into the background)

We then headed into the woods to learn how to walk as quietly as possible. Making minimum noise, watching our foot placement, avoid snapping twigs with our weight, and brushing twigs out of the way so they didn't get caught on our gear. J.M. demonstrated how to step with the outside edge of your foot and roll it down slowly to minimize noise. We then practiced this together. Then we were taught how to low crawl quietly. The point was not to rush, but to make deliberate and quiet movements.

After this, we headed off to a heavily wooded area. Half the class would sit at the top of a ridge and try to spot the other half of the class stalking through the woods. A couple of scouts would walk through to try and spot anybody but they were only to observe and not interact. The goal was for the stalking team to get as close to the observing team before being spotted. We applied what we had learned about moving through the woods as quietly as possible. At one point during the stalk, a deer walked obliviously between me and a classmate. I guess we got the quiet part down correctly. After an hour and 20 minutes of slowly moving closer to the ridge, J.M. blew the whistle and called us in. It was time to switch and the observing team became the stalking team and vice versa.

After this exercise we walked back to camp and ate lunch. Then we began with more bounding drills. Then advanced to an outflanking exercise. One four-man team would act as the fire support team while the other four-man team bounded around to act as the assault team. Team work and communication were vital.

We had 2 sets of radios, a set of Motorola's and a set of Cobra's, but each set was not compatible with the other. The fire support team had a radio and the assault team had a radio. The purpose of the radios was for the assault team to notify the fire support team to lift fire (cease fire) immediately before they assaulted the enemy objective to avoid getting shot by friendly fire. In the case of radio failure due to not being heard over the gun fire, or an incompatible set, a whistle was used to signal 'Lift Fire'. This worked better than the radios 100% of the time. Everyone should have a whistle (this goes back to a mantra I've preached since the beginning of this blog, folks: leverage technology to your advantage, but know how to function when the tech goes to shit).
As always, the exercises were conducted dry until everyone was comfortable moving properly and understanding just what the heck we were doing. Teams were working together and having fun, but more importantly, they were learning and understanding the purpose of the exercises. Each exercise was a building block for the next exercise (crawl-walk-run).

Live fire drills were always exciting as they added more realism to the whole exercise. But mainly it also taught us how to conduct a rapid reload, a reload with retention, and how to communicate over gun fire with your team. It also made people more safety conscious and aware of where everyone was, as nobody wanted to be the guy who shot their classmate. Fortunately, this never occurred and J.M. was always aware of what everyone was doing (As a couple of military veterans in the class pointed out..including a former Scout Platoon Leader...this was far above the typical check-the-box training they received on active duty in the conventional force. Sad, but true).

We had some more lessons on the white board and Q&A time. Later we began repeating the exercise, except this time we were going to do it in the dark. I think this made some of us a little nervous. What if we didn't see our assault team, what if we didn't hear the "Lift Fire" command before they began they're assault where we would be shooting? This is why we practiced dry over and over.

By the time it live fire time, it was dark. J.M. had us form a line and go prone. He told us to fire where he did and proceeded to shoot tracers at the target. We all shot where he did. J.M. explained to us that tracers are a tool be used to direct fire by those with NOD's for the others who do not have NOD's. Then he placed 2 glo-sticks on either side of the target and told us to shoot at the space between the the glo-sticks. This was to help us keep our fire directed in one location and prevent anyone from shooting where they should be shooting. It worked out well. That J.M. is a smart guy I tell you (actually, it was a class participant who was shooting the tracers. He had PVS-14s on, and an IR laser on his rifle. As instructed, he'd fire a tracer round, and the rest of the class would aim where his tracer indicated, with a great deal of success....not surprising, since this is a classic technique of using NODs in the tactical leader role).

We then began our live fire flanking exercise in the dark. The fire support team fired at the space between the glo-sticks and the assault team moved into flanking position. What happened was that people moved slower in the dark compared to the day. They were more cautious of where they stepped, where they shot, and how they moved. J.M. would shadow the assault team to make sure they stayed safe and to motivate them to move faster. When it was time to assault the enemy objective after "Lift Fire" was called, we were told to rush into the woods (objective) with our weapon mounted lights momentarily turned on and off as we shouted "Bang! Bang!" instead of actually shooting. This was done more to prevent cutting down the trees than anything. (We also did this during the day) (one request by the land-owner/host was to prevent destroying any more timber than absolutely necessary. Considering his generosity in letting us use his land, it was the least we could do)

After that exercise, we learned how to march in the dark through the woods, as always, in full gear and with rifle. The lead man would use his NODs to move forward and scan. When the coast was clear, he'd signal the man behind him to move up and so on and so forth. This was a little tricky as the lead man was supposed to stay close enough for the man behind him, who didn't have NODs, to still be able to see him in the dark. Sometimes the lead man got too far ahead where his hand signals couldn't be seen. It was a short adjustment period to get the right distance between men.

By the time this exercise was complete, it was 23:30 and time for bed.

Day Three

We began with learning how to patrol in 2 four-man teams. Using what we learned from the previous days, we utilized the quiet walking technique J.M. taught us the day before. When the target was spotted, the person who spotted it would yell, "Enemy contact! 10 o'Clock!" and everyone would begin firing in that direction. As one team directed cover fire, the other team would bound up and provide cover fire for the other team as they bounded up. Once a team was close enough to assault the target, they would yell "Lift Fire!" and as soon as the gunfire stopped from the support fire team, the assault team would rush forward while firing (Will's description is a little confused, but pretty well accurate. This is the basic "react-to-contact" battle drill).

J.M. then taught us how to break contact with the enemy. He taught us the Australian Peel and we practiced it dry and then with live fire. We learned how to create a 360 degree security perimeter once we arrived to the rally point and it's purpose.

Afterwards we had a lesson on the Principles of Patrol. (PRSCC) (Puerto Ricans Suck Cock Constantly)
  • Planning
  • Recon
  • Security
  • Control
  • Common Sense

  • Mission
  • Enemy
  • Time
  • Terrain
  • Civilians
The two types of Patrols:
  • Recon Patrol (with a potential for becoming an ambush)
  • Combat Patrol
    • Raids
    • Ambush
and other topics that I won't bother mentioning. Not because they are not important, but because it's too much information to cover. I'm writing a blog, not a book. All this information can be found in the Ranger Handbook.

During the verbal AAR, everyone agreed that the class met or exceeded their expectations. We also agreed that we needed to modify and increase our PT. <------HINT!!!

As much as this class kicked our asses physically and mentally, (and J.M. said he was going easy on us! LOL) everyone agreed they'd do it again, myself included, sans the Wendy's the night before class.

I want to publicly thank J.M. for taking time out of his private life to conduct these trainings. They are important. They are necessary. And the time may come (hopefully not) when we will have to fall back on what we learned here and utilize them to save lives, be it our our loved ones, our neighbors, or ourselves.

This class wasn't just about learning how to gun fight. There is much more to it. You won't finish the class the same person you were when you started it. I guarantee it.

Was the class worth paying $500 for? No. It was worth MUCH more than that. If J.M. decides to conduct another open enrollment class, I'd jump on it right away. Just be prepared to come home bruised, battered, cut, sore, and possibly unable to get off the toilet due to the aches in your legs (ask me how I know), but more importantly, be prepared to come home changed and educated enough to begin training your friends (ultimately, THAT is the goal of the training I put out, whether it's combative shooting, small-unit tactics, TC3, or any of the other courses I teach...I want you to be able to teach the fundamental skills to others).

13 August 2012

A newly-discovered shortcoming in my gear-planning equation

I'm an open advocate of the three-line method of layering tactical gear and equipment. Slightly less known, but I would assume inferred, is the reality that I don't walk out the front door, even to run out to the truck for something, without tucking my Glock 19, Benchmade folder, and Streamlight light in my pockets. I certainly don't get in the truck to drive anywhere without all of my EDC gear, plus my fighting load and M4 in the truck (seriously, we're at the point where I never leave home without halfway expecting to have to fight my way back), with the occasional exception of a particular tasking at work that precludes it, and even then, I've got my EDC load and a go-bag.

I've recently been using my go-bag as a combination go-bag and "Ah shit, we're going to have to walk our asses out of here" bag. For the most part, when I travel without HH6 and the Morale Officer, this is not a major issue. I keep some basic survival gear in there, and know how to leverage it for comfort and sustenance. Unfortunately, I've gotten into the habit of focusing on the comfort side of the equation when packing it. To begin the trip we are currently on, I dumped most of the sustainment gear out, leaving only a few basic survival necessities in it, in order to pack extra clothes for the trip. HH6, meanwhile, has a go-bag set up as the "walk-out" bag, that she never modifies (and honestly, I'm not sure even knows what's in it, more than an hour after we inspect it or do some specific training with it). This led to a major headache Saturday night, but also opened up some very useful training opportunities for my family (and yes, even myself), as well as some necessary modifications to logistics, that offer the ancillary benefit of allowing us to save money.

I've never been a fan of the concept of "vehicle-specific" bags. I carry my go-bag, know exactly what is in it (more or less), and it's seldom more than a short sprint away from me. Recent regular-life jobs have involved occupations that meant I'm in other people's vehicles as often as I'm in my own. A vehicle-specific bag just never seemed to fit. Until Saturday.
While driving through one of the western mountain states, we stopped around 0300 for the night, to find a hotel room, in a mid-sized city (for the western mountains) with a small state university. We weren't aware that it was "Rush Week" for this college, since it's not the state we've currently been living in. Whoops. There was not a single room available in the entire city. None. Zilch. Nada. Shit. The next place to find a hotel was another two hours of driving away, and I was getting to that point where I was tired enough that I didn't want to drive anymore, with my family in the truck, for safety's sake.

Fortunately, this city was also largely surrounded by National Forest. Being the hard-core former SOF soldier and survivalist that I am, with a wife who is fully on-board our preparations, I decided we'd just stop in the forest somewhere, on a USFS road, toss the sleeping bags we keep in the truck down, and sleep. The Morale Officer could sleep in her car seat, since she was already there, doing that. Then reality (the evil bitch) boot-stomped me in the face.

HH6 you see, grew up camping in the mountains with her avid outdoorsman dad and brother. Unfortunately, while she'd told me numerous times in the past, I'd failed to listen and hear; she'd never camped out without being in a tent. Ever (if you're anything at all like me, your response was something along the lines of, "the fuck you say!"). Folks, outside of FOBs, I've never slept IN a tent...ever. I've used poncho hooches and shit, and lived in GP larges and GP mediums in the military, but a backpacking tent? That shit is GAY (and I'm not referring to the "cool," socially-acceptable, "I take it in the ass" sense of the word. I mean, it's fucking GAY!).

As we drove through the backroads of the nearby mountains in the dark, looking for a cut-off (I only had highway maps of the local area), to "cache" ourselves in for a few hours, HH6 informed me that she and the Morale Officer (hereafter referred to as TMO) were not sleeping outdoors for the fucking bears to eat. They'd sleep in the truck (apparently, she overlooked the fact that I had to bear sprays: one 9mm, the other 5.56, not that I particularly care to get in a gunfight with a bear with either caliber)

My response? "What the fuck are you gonna do when we HAVE to sleep outside, on the run?"

Her response? "I'm sleeping in the truck, or you're buying a tent."

So, I lay in my sleeping bag, under the firs and pines, watching the meteors streak through the sky, thinking about this issue.

As this blog has taken off, following my offer to travel to people and conduct training, at very reasonable cost (after all, our expenses are minimal, since I only charge for fuel, lodging at the local area, and food), we've been on the road a lot; like every weekend or two, a lot. I can use this to my distinct advantage by leveraging our road trips into "bug-out training."

So, as I informed HH6 this morning, after the current trip, from now on, anytime we're on the road traveling, regardless of where we're going, we camp out. No more hotel rooms, except the final night before we show up at a location, so we can be showered and presentable. The rest of the time, we use it as a training opportunity. She was worried about hygiene issues. No sweat. I can teach her canteen cup and Camelback shower hygiene. Food? No prob. We'll fix it on the MSR stove, or we'll get it on the go. Takin' a shit? Let me introduce you to my old friend, Mr. Cat Hole.

I woke up this morning, more refreshed than I've been in a long time, since the only time I ever sleep outside is on training weekends, and those are far too stressful for me as the instructor to really relax and enjoy the quiet time with God. HH6, on the other hand, woke up sore, stiff, and not very refreshed, since she was crammed in the back of an SUV.

Activating this planned CoA however, will require some changes to my load-out structuring (thus the other reason I'm sharing it on this blog...you guys don't read this blog to find out what I ate for lunch, and what movie I saw last week, right?).

Instead of our go-bags, which are really pretty much EDC items (since HH6's doubles as a diaper bag expansion--I carry TMO), we need dedicated truck bags. I will set them up as "backpacking packs," with tactical specific needs met, and leave them in the back of the truck. I'm talking full-on, "we're living out of these bags for the next month" type backpacking bags. After all, ultimately, they are designed for us to live out of if we have to walk cross-country, to get home, or somewhere else, when shit gets hot.

Our go-bags will have extremely limited, basic survival gear in them; two fire-starting methods, two methods to produce shelter, two methods to purify and collect water, and two methods of collecting/harvesting and preparing food, plus some long-term, easily prepared foodstuffs, and a medical trauma kit (basically, a souped-up blow-out kit). The rest of the space in the go-bags is for whatever we personally want/need to carry on any given day, from lunch to a spare rain jacket, to snacks for TMO, or whatever books I'm reading at the time; enough survival gear to get home, in a pinch, and the shit we need to have to accomplish a day's tasks.

In addition to the opportunities this gives me to better train HH6 (including the comfort of sleeping outdoors without a tent, which she has now agreed to learn), it will introduce TMO to the woods and wilderness at a very early age. One thing that occurred to me last night, is the fact that, far more than any town, state, or even building, the woods have always been my safe haven home. When I was growing up, in a very, uhm, physically... uncomfortable...home life, the woods were my escape. To this day, sleeping under the stars puts me at ease like nothing else in the world (with the POSSIBLE--not absolute--exception of good sex).

Further, it provides me leverage to get HH6 to incorporate ruck marches in her personal PT program, instead of just jogging (God, I HATE that term! If you're doing PT, you should be running, not "jogging." It's not a difference of speed, but of intensity and mindset) or walking.

So, while I hate posting too much daily personal bullshit on this blog, as it detracts from the underlying training focus, in this case, it relates. I found, and offered, a way to incorporate further, real-world applicable training into our lives, and determined what modifications were going to have to be made to my family's gear, to effect that training.

Go forth and do likewise, young Padwans!

I do however, have an information request for any readers with kids, who have taken them into the woods, as toddlers...

TMO is at the very beginning of the toddler stage. She doesn't really walk yet, more than a couple of steps, when she really, really, really feels like it, but she's mobile enough now that I can't just put her in her own sleeping bag between us and expect her to stay there, without trying to crawl out of it, and away. If she's lying with either of us within arm's reach, she just won't go to sleep, period. She'd rather 'talk.'

So, does anyone have an experientially-proven solution? I thought about a jungle hammock, where I can zip the mosquito netting closed to hold her in, and I thought about just packing along a "pack-n-play" playpen-type thing that I can fabricate a method of covering with mosquito netting, but surely someone has a better answer.

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
In the Mountains, traveling

A Book Report

A few weeks ago, while on the road, HH6 and I stopped to do some shopping at a local thrift shop (a favorite past time). Amongst the other items she found, HH6 found a couple of books for me. Most notable of these, thus far, is a book I read decades ago, in junior high or high school, on the Vietnam conflict.

"Silence Was A Weapon: The Vietnam War in the Villages," by Stuart A. Herrington, is a study of the author's experience as a young military intelligence Captain in the Phoenix Program. Because of the relevance of this book to the subject of this blog, I'm going to take the time to quote some excerpts, and interject my own commentary on why any specific excerpt is relevant, and how it ties into the resistance side of the spectrum, versus the counter-insurgent's.

As COL. Herrington (as an interesting historical note, now retired Colonel Herrington's audit of Abu Ghraib was one of the primary causes of the public exposure of the abuses that were occurring there. As will be seen below, his experiences and the abuses he witnessed in Vietnam led to a career-long disgust with torture and "enhanced interrogations.") points out in the preface to his book, the views he expressed were "offered with the sincere hope that they will assist in clarifying why the well-intentioned efforts of our country to win the "hearts and minds" of the South Vietnamese people ended with the ignominious departure of our ambassador from the roof of his embassy in an evacuation helicopter."

(Critical Note: This article is not intended to portray myself as an expert on the Vietnam War. While I have, for obvious reasons, studied the shit out of it, I was not there. I can only look at it, through the prism of history, based on the recollections and reports of those who were there. So, as I critique things that occurred, it is not intended to belittle or badmouth the veterans who went, most often poorly trained for the conflict they were entering, and did the best they could under the circumstances, often with Olympian results that belied the piss-poor preparation they were given. While the argument has been made, accurately, that U.S. forces smoked the shit out of PAVN and VC forces every time they faced them on a conventional battlefield, that is not the same thing as saying "we won the battles and the politicians lost the war." In reality, the PAVN and VC learned from battles like the Ia Drang and the Tet Offensive. Yes, the U.S. military can leverage our technological might and monkey-stomp the fuck out of any conventional force on the planet. The difference is, with few exceptions, such as SF, the U.S. military is terribly hide-bound and unable to look back to the Founders and remember the lessons of UW, while the PAVN and VC had no institutional pride to overcome. They adapted to the threat they faced, and mastered UW. We have a lot to learn from them and other irregular forces that the U.S. and other large, conventional militaries of the world have faced over the last four or five decades. That is my goal with book reports like this. Expect more of them. --J.M.)

"Chua shook his head. Terror and the threat of "revolutionary justice" had always played a role, but only a minor one. A more significant role had been played by the Diem government itself, whose policies had actually driven many of the villages into the arms of the VietCong. The relentless Communist propaganda program could not have been effective if the Diem government had not done things to lend credibility to Communist allegations. Hao Chua's recollection of this period illustrates the dilemma faced by President Diem:

First, the government forced many of the people to move to central locations called 'strategic hamlets.' We were told that this was for our protection from the VietCong, but at this time, the people of Hiep Hoa did not yet feel the need for such protection....

...Then the popular village chief was replaced in 1960 by a selfish man. This man was inaccessible to the people, and it was commonly believed that he was dishonest. he looked out for the rich people in the village and no one else. Since the villagers' view of the government was based largely on its local representative, the prestige of the Diem government suffered because of this man, who eventually absconded with the village funds.

Another reason for the decline on the government's popularity was the so-called Decree 10-59. This law stated that all people who had worked for the VietMinh could be imprisoned, or even executed. This law alienated many of the villagers who had fought with the VietMinh against the French, but who were not Communists."

There is not a lot that needs to be said on this, since the parallels between the Diem regime and today can be so easily seen. The important note however is, it wasn't a single issue that drove the people to the insurgency, but a combination of them. There are a lot of people pissed off in this country, rightfully so, about the DoJ claiming returning veterans are "potential domestic terrorists." That's not going to push a non-veteran to put his life and liberty at risk. Most of us are torqued at the premise of a ban on fighting-grade small arms. That's not going to push a non-gun person to take up arms. Lots of people are torqued off about the PATRIOT ACT and NDAA 2012. Not enough to take up arms however. It will be a combination of factors, that impact them directly, in an intolerable way, that will push people across their personal Rubicon (honestly, my belief is, it will take watching their families starving because there's no food on the store shelves).

"At year's end, Hiep Hoa village was firmly in the Communist camp, and the people had begun to pay harvest taxes to the VietCong. 'At the time, it was not necessary to use threats or terror to obtain such support,' Chua remembered. 'It was given willingly because they people were nearly certain that the future lay with the Communists. Once again, I detected the unabashed pragmatism of the peasantry when it came to political loyalties."

This, really, is the key to understanding why "the second American Revolution" hasn't gotten any hotter than it already is. Specialist Joe Snuffy, veteran of OIF, who has come home and can't find a job that pays more than $8.00 an hou, isn't going to stick his head too high, just to let the government play "whack-a-mole" with him. Until the government overplays its hand to the point that large numbers of people find it intolerable, nothing is really going to change.

When it does heat up, the vast majority of people aren't going to suddenly jump up, shouting with joy, and come running into the resistance with arms outstretched in wondrous abandon. It's not that they are opposed to the goals of the resistance. It's that they just don't give two shits. As long as their kids are fed, and have a roof over their heads, that is the most important thing. In a war zone, the non-combatants are only concerned about the safety of their families. The mission of the resistance is to convince them that supporting the resistance is in their best interest, and that the regime cannot win (as I said recently on WRSA, the most important thing for a resistance is the public perception that they are not losing), meaning the resistance can win, eventually. This is critical for one simple reason:

"The most important form of support was not the recruits or even the money. The critical thing was that the people were willing to cover for us at all times. They would not report our activities or locations to the government forces if they came into the village. Sometimes they would even volunteer misleading information about us. Without this form of support, we could not have gotten along."

This could be achieved, not because most of the populace actively supported the resistance, but because they saw the insurgency as a potential winner. Colonel Herrington goes on:

"As for the 30 percent or so who did not support us [in the manner previously described], most of these people were either Catholic or Cao Dai (neither religious group actively supported the Communists, for relatively obvious reasons), or they had relatives serving with the government forces. But even these people lent their support in the sense that they did not reveal information about our movements and activities. They knew that to do so would not be healthy."

It was not actual reprisals that worked to deter informants, in other words, but the very real fear of those reprisals, should the Communists succeed. Otherwise, they would have simply demanded protection from the insurgency. That's not an option when you think there is a chance that they might be the government shortly.

The Chieu Hoi described, Chua, goes on to describe what finally convinced him to turn tail on his comrades in the VietCong. It was not a change in his non-existant ideological commitment to the cause:

"The government troops did not pose too much of a problem at first, but the Americans with their helicopters and artillery changed the face of the war overnight in the Hiep Hoa. I was forced to spend more and more time in hiding, and my wife became increasingly dissatisfied. Casualties among the people of Hiep Hoa monted, as did property damage from the fighting. The people began to draw away from us and to fear our presence, knowing that we would attract government forces and more fighting."

Ultimately, this is one of the problems of the 'suburban resistance' myth, and even, to a lesser degree, the urban resistance reality. While an urban enclave can provide a way to hide among the fishes, so to speak, if the resistance ever amounts to anything beyond a particularly violent criminal enterprise, and becomes a viable threat to the power of the regime in a given area, the regime WILL tear the enclave down, brick-by-brick, around the heads and shoulders of the resistance and the local populace. Up until that moment, the perception of not losing can be maintained, but when the armor rolls into the alleys, and people are relocated or shot, they will turn on the resistance to save their families. While the urban enclave does provide a level of protection against air and artillery support, it does so only until the regime decides the destruction of a resistance safe haven is more critical than maintaining the good will of the locals. The people will do whatever they can do, to protect their families.

Finally, Colonel Herrington points out that the major deciding factor in turning many VietCong over to the non-communist side was the failure of the Tet Offensive to deliver the peace that the Communists had promised to the people. Here's a lesson, in one simple phrase, that is the absolute most critical thing to building and keeping rapport with the non-combatant local civilian populace. It was given to me by a mentor, in my very first days in SF, in a manner that led me to believe he was about to pass on some ultra-secret, levels above TS-classified, morsel of SF lore:


Rapport is based on trust. The locals that support you, whether actively or tacitly, have to trust that you will do everything in your power to protect them, and provide aid to them. If you are not going to be able to do so, let them know up-front. The locals that don't support you have to trust (even if it's based on myth) that if they turn on you, they will have the weight of ten worlds dropped on them (this is NOT saying you need to go murder people in their beds, simply because they voted for a candidate you disagreed with, or once collected unemployment or food stamps. It's about ruining their lives if they actively aid the regime by providing information on you...burn their houses down and turn them out in the street. They will have friends, or even family among the local supporters who will see and understand the need for that, but will be turned off if you murder them). Either way, when you are dealing with the local civilian populace (or fuck, anyone in life, for that matter, if it needs to be said, never make a promise that you don't have the power to ensure it is carried out).

When most people discuss the Tet Offensive, they look at the havoc wreaked by the PAVN and VC on South Vietnamese cities like Saigon, Hue, while absorbing tremendous losses. Colonel Herrington goes on:

"When Hai Chua recalled Tet, he described the unforgettable slaughter of the exposed VietCong light infantry by American and South Vietnamese firepower. As a VietCong cadre in a tiny village near the Cambodian border, Chua could not fathom the psychological forces that the Tet assaults had triggered in the United States. To him, Tet had caused the people to lose faith in the VietCong and precipitated a drop in the 'revolutionary morale' of the insurgents themselves....

....the destruction of their Cambodian sanctuary had been disastrous for the Hiep Hoa VietCong. Overnight, Chua and his comrades had been denied the convenience of their medical facilities, schools, ammunition dumps, and food storage sites. Cambodia had been a place to go to escape the pressures of 'the front.' The denial of those facilities had brought home to Chua and his fellow cadre that there was literally 'no place to hide' from the increasingly lethal war."

I think there are a couple of critical lessons to learn here. First of course, is the fact that small-unit leaders absolutely must impress the moral righteousness of their cause on subordinates, and their eventual success in the long-term, as well as emphasizing the 'long war' nature of resistance fights. They have to ensure that the subordinates understand that just because they don't look to be winning at the local level, doesn't mean they're not, in the long-term, winning (or at least, not losing). If the resistance themselves don't have faith in their ultimate success, there is no way for the local civilian population to develop that faith, which will lead to their supporting the regime. It is the very definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.

The second is the critical importance of having a secure guerrilla base area to act as a safe haven, a subject I've discussed in great detail on this blog in past articles. Urban enclaves, with the warnings noted above and previously, are potential safe havens. Alpine wilderness regions can provide safe havens for paramilitary guerrilla forces who can move out of them to conduct actions, then return to areas that are practicably inaccessible to the regime's security forces, as can thick swamp/jungle and forested regions, to varying degrees.

Third, the resistance can never, no matter how 'secure' their guerrilla base area, put all its eggs in one basket. In the event the security forces decide to invade the safe area, the resistance will need material supplies and shelter elsewhere. Establish caches of supplies, in multiple places, to provide for re-supply of alternate safe havens.

As a closing note (there's a lot more to this book, and I will continue commenting on it over the coming days and weeks) for now, Herrington notes a strategy of the Communists that is extremely relevant for future resistance movement's everywhere:

"The VietCong weren't literally everywhere as their propaganda would have liked people to believe, but their organization was sufficiently developed so that one could never be certain whether or not there was a Communist agent in a given group. The organizational feat enabled the VietCong to accomplish many feats that would have been otherwise impossible--the most significant of which was the control of the country's rural population by a relatively small elite."

Boys and girls, there is NOT a government informant in every preparedness group or militia. Are they out there? Absolutely. Are there non-informants who will turn at the drop of a dime (or a dollar)? Fuck yes. But people, quit being scared shitless by the scary shadow of some potential informant. If you're not planning a specific operation to blow up your local security force outpost, or a sniper attack on a local political dignitary, they've got bigger fish to fry.

Are your convictions so weak that you refuse to train because you are afraid that there might be an informant that might get you arrested? For shooting your guns? Are your convictions so weak that you put your safety before them? The Founding Fathers put their lives, liberty, and sacred honor on the line, knowing they wouldn't go to jail. They'd be hanged by the necks until they were dead.

Are you worried that your family might be hungry and homeless? That's noble, you fucking chickenshit. Read the stories of the Founders and see what they got in return for their convictions. I was recently accused by someone who does not know of the John Mosby persona, of being uncommitted to the cause of Liberty, because I didn't go train with their group at the range on a given day (I was spending time with the family after traveling across nine states and teaching classes back-to-back over the course of a month). I KNOW my level of commitment. I know the risks I put myself and my family under. I pledged my life, my liberty, and my sacred honor to doing everything in my power to defend and restore the Constitution. Am I concerned about informants, or showing up to a training event and finding out it was a set-up? Of course I am, but the alternative to taking that risk is to sit at home, fuming on the internet forums, as I watch my home besieged by the Visigoths. With a young daughter, that's not acceptable to me.

So, without casting aspersions or implications on anyone, what the fuck are you doing?

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
In the Mountains

07 August 2012

UW Small-Unit Tactics, Part One: The Ambush

(In UW operations, ambushes may be directed against foot-mobile infantry elements or vehicle-mounted elements, in rural or built-up areas. Ambushes may be used against a specific enemy element, based on intelligence information that indicates when they will be in a specific location, against aggressor forces discovered in the infiltration phase by reconnaissance security patrols, or as a route interdiction method along probably or likely movement routes. Knowledge of how to plan, initiate, and execute a proper, effective ambush is a basic critical skill for any UW element (and no, it's really not as simple as, "let's hide in the bushes in a line, and shoot the fuck out of anyone who goes past!"). It will, in all likelihood, be the single most used combat patrol operation used by local defense forces in the coming troubles. --J.M.)

Next to the fundamental use of reconnaissance patrols for local area security, one of the most common applications of the patrol for UW elements is, and will be, the use of the ambush. An ambush can specifically be defined as a "surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target."

Ambushes are one of two primary reasons for a small-unit element to conduct a combat patrol. While raids, contrary to the theorization of many "experts" will have limited application in a true grid-down, TSHTF scenario (note I said limited application, not NO application. That's the subject of another article), the ambush, an action conducted as a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted target, has numerous applications. Ambushes are conventionally classified by category (hasty or deliberate), type (point or area), and formation (conventionally, these are limited to linear and l-shaped ambushes. Unconventionally, there are a LOT of different variations). UW leaders should use a combination of these three classifications to shape his planning. Fundamental considerations include:
  1. the entire kill zone MUST be covered by effective, aimed fire.
  2. METT-TC
  3. the use of existing or reinforcing obstacles, including IEDs, should be maximized to keep the enemy in the kill zone of the ambush.
  4. Security elements MUST be utilized to prevent the assault element from being surprised, as well as to isolate the kill zone.
  5. Assault through the kill zone, when applicable.
  6. Time the actions of all elements of the patrol to preclude the loss of surprise. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Categories of Ambushes

  1. The Hasty Ambush. This is probably the most likely type of ambush to be utilized by future UW direct-action elements. Hasty ambushes are are conducted when the element makes visual contact with hostiles, and has time and space to establish the ambush without being compromised. The actions for a hasty ambush MUST be rehearsed so that shooters know what to do on the PL's signal. They must also know how to react to being compromised while getting into their ambush positions (it becomes a react-to-contact battle drill). Effectively, the hasty ambush should become a well-developed battle drill in itself.
    Task Standards: The patrol moves quickly to concealed positions. The ambush must not be initiated until the majority of the hostile force is in the kill zone. The patrol MUST surprise the hostiles through effective application of camouflage and concealment, and must avoid becoming decisively engaged by overwhelming the enemy with extreme violence of action and superior marksmanship. The patrol should focus on killing, or capturing the enemy, with forcing their withdrawal as a secondary, acceptable result (killing or capturing the enemy force will, or course, greatly facilitate the irregular force necessity of battlefield recovery of weapons, equipment, and other classes of resupply). On command from the PL, the patrol withdraws from the ambush position, with all personnel and equipment, until they are no longer subject to enemy observation or fires. The patrol must utilize the principle that "speed and stealth are security" to move quickly away from the ambush site, to avoid becoming decisively engaged by enemy QRF.
    Actions on the Objective for the Hasty Ambush:
    a) Using visual signaling methods (hand and arm signals), and patrol member alerts the patrol that hostile forces are in sight. The patrol member continues to monitor the location and activity of the hostile element until the PL relieves him and directs him to move to his position within the ambush.
    b) The patrol halts instantly on the appropriate hand and arm signal from the patrol member (clenched fist held up is the signal for "freeze"). The patrol remains absolutely motionless until directed otherwise by the PL.
    c) the PL moves to the initiating patrol member and receives guidance on the location of the enemy from the reporting patrol member, until he has identified them visually. The PL gives the signal for "hasty ambush," either visually or through radio contact with the rest of the patrol.
    d) the PL determines the best nearby location for the hasty ambush. The PL directs subordinate leaders and/or the rest of the patrol to move into covered/concealed positions, in accordance with the unit SOP/battle drill.
    e) the PL designates the location and limits of the kill zone (KZ).
    f) subordinate elements of the patrol move silently and quickly to covered and concealed positions, ensuring that said positions are not detected from the KZ, and have adequate fields of observation and fields of fire into the KZ.
    g) assigned security elements move out to the flanks and rear of the patrol's ambush position (third principle of patrolling). The PL, or unit SOP direct the security elements to move out a prescribed distance, set-up, and return to the main element either on command, or when the firing ceases, IAW unit SOP. At small-unit levels, the security elements may be as small as a buddy team. At larger unit levels, these may be as large as fire team or rifle squad-sized elements.
    h) the PL assigns sectors of fire and issues any other commands necessary as control (fourth principle of patrolling) measures.
    i) the PL initiates the ambush, IAW unit SOP (doctrinally, this is accomplished with the most casualty-producing weapon, such as a M249SAW or M240. For irregular force elements, this may simply be rapid-fire, aimed semi-automatic rifle fire, or the use of expedient hand grenade devices), when the largest percentage of the hostile force is in the KZ. Through training and direct control, the PL controls the rate and distribution of fires, IAW unit SOP, utilizes any indirect-fire weapons available and appropriate (knee mortars, grenade launchers, hand grenades, etc...), orders the cease-fire when appropriate, orders the assault element to assault through the KZ.
    j) the PL directs the assigned personnel to conduct a hasty search of enemy casualties and to process any EPWs, IAW unit SOP (don't bother posting any nonsense stupid shit in the comments about, "We're not taking prisoners; we can't deal with them," or any other remotely fucking stupid, war crime bullshit. I don't give two shits. I teach shit the way I KNOW is right, tactically and morally. If you don't like it, quit reading and go give your 1911 a blowjob--J.M.).
    k) the PL directs subordinate leaders to conduct consolidation procedures within the patrol, including LACE reports (liquids, ammunition, casualties, and equipment) and re-organization, care of casualties, etc.
    l) the PL directs the patrol to withdraw from the ambush site along a covered and concealed route
    m) once at least one major terrain feature away from the ambush site, in a suitably covered and concealed position (or a suitable distance to preclude compromise from enemy QRF and/or air support elements), the PL halts the patrol to further consolidate and reorganize, including the tactical field-care phase of casualty care, dispersion of captured enemy equipment across the patrol, and reports the situation to higher, as is appropriate to the situation.
  2. The Deliberate Ambush. A deliberate ambush is a planned, intentional combat operation against an expected hostile element. A deliberate ambush may behe conducted based on intelligence information that indicates the presence of a specific hostile element, or it may be utilized as a route interdiction method. In order to effectively plan a deliberate ambush, a PL should receive intelligence regarding the size and composition of the enemy force, as well as the arms and equipment of the enemy patrol (a far ambush will be far more effective against a squad-sized element that is not augmented with mortars or other indirect-fire weapons, whereas, an ambush of an element reinforced with a sniper element and 60mm mortars will be most effective as a close-ambush).
    Task Standards: The ambush should be emplaced no later than (NLT) the time specified in the operations order, developed during the planning stages. The patrol leverages surprise and violence of action to overwhelm the hostile element's main body. The patrol kills or captures all hostile personnel and destroys or recovers all enemy equipment, IAW the commander's intent, or mission purpose. The patrol obtains all PIR (Priority Intelligence Requirements) from the ambush and continues directed follow-on operations.
    Actions on the Objective for the Deliberate Ambush: The PL conducts final planning considerations, IAW doctrinal TLPs (troop-leading procedures), utilizing planning information derived from his leader's reconnaissance of the objective, from the ORP (Objective Rally Point), located one terrain feature away from the objective (this covers the first and second principles of patrolling). Every great military leader has recognized that reconnaissance conducted from afar is not reconnaissance. You MUST put eyes on the objective in order to fully complete effective planning. In order to conduct an appropriate leader's reconnaissance, the PL must designate the members of the recon element (typically must include himself, the assault team leader, security element leader, and a surveillance element that will be left in a hide site, with eyes on the objective until the patrol moves forward into the ambush position), issues a five-point contingency plan to the APL (assistant PL) or whomever will be left in command of the ORP during the leader's reconnaissance.
    a) the PL conducts his leader's reconnaissance. In doing so, he:
    - ensures the reconnaissance party moves undetected, using stealth as security.
    - confirms the objective location and suitability for the ambush.
    - selects and identifies the KZ.
    - posts the surveillance team at the objective, in a covered, concealed observation position, and issues a five-point contingency plan.
    - confirms the suitability of assault and support positions, and identifies movement routes from the ORP to them, including secondary egress routes.
    - Identifies all offensive control measures to be used.
    b) Upon return to the ORP, the PL adjusts his original plan based on information gathered during his leader's reconnaissance. He assigns positions within the ambush position, and designates the patrol's withdrawal routes from the objective.
    c) the PL confirms the ambush formation (linear, L-shaped, circular, parallel, etc), based on the specific terrain of the objective.
    d) the PL disseminates the revised plan of action to the rest of the patrol, ensuring that every member of the patrol understands the overall plan, as well as his specific role and the role of his immediate leader.
    e) the security elements for the ambush occupy their positions first, securing the flanks of the ambush objective and providing early warning of approaching hostile forces. The security element can also be trusted with the responsibility of canceling the ambush before the hostiles are in the KZ, if they are able to determine that the actual hostile element is too large for the ambush patrol to effectively destroy. The security elements must be in position before the assault element of the ambush moves forward. A security element should also be left in the ORP to secure the patrol's third-line gear (and the rear). In the event of a successful react-to-ambush by the hostile element, the ORP becomes the emergency rally point for escaping/evading patrol members.
    f) the assault element moves to the objective. The PL and/or subordinate leaders guide patrol members into their assigned sectors, leaving the specific positioning of individuals to the individual or team leaders, based on their personal analysis of micro-terrain, IAW training and unit SOP.
    - the SBF leader assigns sectors of fire to the SBF element. He emplaces any obstacles and/or IED devices. He identifies specific sectors of fire to individuals within the SBF element, and oversees the placement of sector stakes to prevent fratricide. Overwatches the movement of the assault element into position (for UW elements, most SBF support will, at least initially, be in the form of precision rifle fire from designated marksmen, armed with magazine-fed, semi-automatic weapons using deliberate, aimed-fire methods. Firing battlefield recovery of heavier weapons, this MAY be reinforced--but never REPLACED--with belt-fed automatic weapons in the form of individual and crew-served machine guns).
    - Once the SBF element is in place, the assault element moves forward and into position. The assault element leader positions his personnel and assigns sectors of fire, including the emplacing of sector stakes to prevent fratricide on the objective. The individual patrol members that comprise the assault element camouflage their personal temporary fighting positions to prevent premature compromise of the ambush.
    g) the security element identifies the approaching hostile element and communicates a SALUTE report to the PL, using radio, visual, or verbal communications methods (if a buddy-team sized element is the security element, verbal communications are precluded by the necessity of maintaining buddy-team integrity. If radio communications are used, the use of low-power FRS/GMRS-type radios may help reduce or prevent the risk of signals intercept, due to their low power and extremely limited transmission power. Visual signaling methods, from semaphore-type methods, and hand-and-arm signals, to signal mirror flashes, MUST be developed into an unit SOP prior to needing them on any particular mission. They MUST be practiced and rehearsed!)The PL alerts the assault and SBF elements, as necessary, of the information from the security elements.
    h) the PL initiates the ambush.
    i) the PL utilizes his control measures to ensure that the assault element and the SBF element deliver fire onto the KZ with the heaviest, ACCURATE volume of fire possible. In limited visibility, key leaders may (MUST!) use IR lasers and/or tracer fire to direct subordinate fire into appropriate targets, based on the availability and use of NVGs by the patrol. All patrol members MUST be trained to aim lower than perceived necessary at night. Studies throughout the last century, including ample anecdotal evidence, indicate that war-fighter not specifically trained in night-firing methods tend to shoot high at night, limiting the effectiveness of fires.
    j) Before releasing the assault element, the PL signals the SBF element to lift fires. In UW environments, this may means simply reducing the SBF element to one or two firing riflemen, specifically targeting hostile personnel only if they present a threat to the assault element AS THEY APPROACH THE KZ (shooting at bad guys on the objective, while friendlies are on the objective, is a great way to end up with blue-on-blue, regardless of how well-trained your designated marksmen are, and how many cool-guy sniper movies you've watched). Once the assault element is ON the objective, the SBF element may only engage hostiles NOT in the KZ.
    k) the assault element assaults through the objective before any surviving hostile personnel can recover their OODA loop enough to respond effectively. Kills or captures (METT-TC dependent....Is the mission to capture a HVT for intelligence exploitation?) surviving hostile personnel on the objective (never, NEVER, NEVER turn back to put "one more, just in case" into a dead or wounded enemy personnel you have already passed on the objective. If you passed him by, that means he was/is not a threat. Shooting him is murder. If you feel the need to "make sure"--which I heartily suggest--tap him with a few rounds as you initially approach his body on the objective). Uses individual movement techniques, buddy-team bounds, and bounds by fire team, to move across the objective. Upon reaching the LOA (limit of advance), stops and establishes a security position, as necessary. All patrol members should reload, by buddy teams, and key leaders perform LACE reports to provide the patrol leader during re-consolidation. Wounded patrol members will perform self-aid, or buddy-aid, if necessary, upon direction of key leaders, and include their status in their LACE report to the key leader.
    l) the PL directs special teams (aid and litter teams, EPW search teams, and equipment recovery teams/demolitions, etc) to perform their assigned tasks, once the assault element reaches it's LOA.
    -Once the KZ has been cleared, collect and secure all EPWs IAW unit SOP, and move them out of the KZ before searching bodies. Search from one side or the other of the KZ, IAW pre-established SOPs, and mark bodies that have already been searched, to ensure that the entire objective is thoroughly searched. Key leaders should firmly prevent "trophy collection" by search teams, instead focusing them on their duties. As bodies are searched, and equipment and PIR requirements are collected, they should be deposited in a central location for the collection teams to bag for transport.
    - search teams should be trained and rehearse the two-man search method. As the search team approaches a dead body, one man guards while the other searches. First, he kicks the enemy weapon away (don't bend over to grab it. Keep your muzzle in his face, and KICK the weapon away. If you need to, you can shoot the motherfucker in the face if he tries to use the weapon). Second, he rolls the body over (if lying on its stomach), by laying on top of it, and when given the okay by the security partner, rolling the body over on top of himself (this is done in case the enemy pulled the pin on a grenade and pinned it under his body before he died). The searchers then conduct a systematic search of the dead hostile from head to toe, removing all papers, weapons, load-bearing equipment, technological equipment, such as NODs and thermal imaging devices, etc. If necessary for re-supply or tactical exploitation, the uniform of the enemy soldier may be removed and secured (if this is done, the bodies should be covered before withdrawing from the objective). Every body on the objective should be searched, rapidly but thoroughly, using this method.
    - identify, collect, and prepare all movement to be carried, or to be destroyed on the objective.
    - Evacuate all friendly wounded first, return them to the ORP for the tactical field-care phase of treatment. If enemy wounded are remain in custody, or are to be left on the objective for recovery by enemy forces, treat their wounds to the TFC level, as time and tactical considerations permit (again, don't bother with dumbshit statements about how you are so bad-ass you won't bother providing aid to the enemy. It's the right thing to do, once they are no longer a threat). Use only the wounded individual's personal aid gear to provide aid.
  3. If the decision is made to destroy any collected equipment on the objective, the demo team should consolidate and pile the equipment, and use thermite or other appropriate incendiary devices to destroy it. This should be the absolute last action taken as the assault element withdraws from the objective, and can be used as a signal to the security elements to withdraw to the ORP.
  4. If an enemy QRF attempts to close with the ambush force, the security elements must engage with precision rifle fire to halt the QRF advance and prevent compromise of the assault element. In this case, whatever remaining actions on the objective remain for the assault element must be abandoned, in the interest of immediate withdrawal, to prevent decisive engagement by the QRF.
  5. The PL directs the withdrawal of all elements from the ambush site, in reverse order of the establishment of emplacement. Elements should return directly to the ORP, and immediately begin actions to abandon the ORP.
  6. The security element must remain alert and assist the returning elements to quickly return to the ORP, counting personnel from each element in, with the key leader of that element. The security element maintains security while the returning elements consolidate and prepare to abandon the ORP.
  7. The PL and APL direct actions in the ORP, to include accountability of all personnel and equipment and recovery of third-line gear and equipment that were left in the ORP during the ambush.
  8. The PL moves the patrol to a safe location, at least one key terrain feature or a suitable distance, before disseminating information to the patrol. The APL counts all personnel out of the ORP, and performs a final search of the ORP to ensure that no equipment or other items were left behind. The UW element must ALWAYS consider the counter-tracking implications of their actions.

Types of Ambushes

  1. The Point Ambush. Shooters deploy to attack a hostile force in a single kill zone.
  2. The Area Ambush. Shooters deploy to attack hostile forces in two or more related point ambushes.

Formations of Ambushes

Conventionally, the only two types of ambushes acceptable by doctrinal standards are the linear ambush and the L-Shaped ambush. This is due, in large part, to piss-poor training on the part of conventional-force infantry elements. For irregular, civic defense groups, these may be the most efficient methods to use, due to limited training opportunities. These formations reduce the chance of fratricide, and are idiot simple to implement. With better, more expert training, and in close terrain, such as urban environments and alpine terrain, other formations may be viable, such as firing positions on both sides of the kill zone using plunging fire downward, circular ambushes, and more. Both the linear ambush and the L-shaped ambush are more than adequately covered in doctrinal publications that I have already emphasized the importance of for small-unit combatants, including SH21-75 The Ranger Handbook, and FM7-8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad, 1992. Other ambush formations may be determined by specific environmental, terrain, and training standards factors.

Planning Considerations for Deliberate Ambush Missions
While hasty ambushes are, in essence, a "battle drill" type of training priority, deliberate ambushes are conducted based on specific intelligence. For irregular forces, the following considerations should be considered when planning deliberate ambushes.

  1. Location:
    - Determine what roads, trails, and routes, enemy personnel are likely to follow, based on their doctrine and witnessed habits in local areas. Do they stop in the same RON/laager positions? Do they tend to patrol the same routes? Especially in urban/built-up areas, are they channelized into certain routes by the daily activities of the local civilian populace?
    - A suitable covered and concealed route of egress must be present to facilitate rapid withdrawal from the ambush site as well as the immediate area.
    Firing positions must allow instant, lethal fire to be brought to bear on the enemy. - If prior enemy compromise can be prevented, it is worthwhile for the patrol to reinforce and further conceal their firing positions to provide adequate protection from return fire, as they enemy performs a react-to-ambush drill.
    - The SBF element should be in a separate position than the assault element, and it should provide adequate firing lanes to allow the SBF element to provide suppressive fire as they assault element moves forward towards the KZ.

  1. Enemy Information
    - Do enemy patrols move on foot, or are they vehicle-borne?
    - What are the typical size of these patrols? How many vehicles? Do they fight mounted in their vehicles, or as dismounts? How are they typically armed? Small arms only, or do they have supporting arms? Do they have counter-IED technology available? How commonly is it deployed?
    - At what time of day/night do they typically patrol your sector of responsibility? Will you need to utilize NVGs, or will star cluster flares be more effective?
    - How refined are their patrolling techniques? Do they tortoise up in en bloc, or do they utilize security elements forward, behind, and on the flanks?
    - How do they summon QRF? Where is the nearest QRF located, and how long is their response time?
    - What typical equipment do these patrols carry that your forces can utilize? If you cannot utilize them, for whatever reason (lack of training/familiarity, inaccessible munitions, too large a signature, etc), how difficult are they to destroy, removing the enemy's ability to recover/repair them?
    -Are they main force security force troops, or local force? How well-trained are they? How disciplined? Will they stand and fight, when confronted, or will they attempt to escape?
Some Additional Notes:
  1. Anti-vehicle ambushes will HAVE to be initiated with something more decisive than small-arms rifle fire. Whether that is anti-material rifle, "requisitioned," command-detonated Claymores, IEDs, or simply impassible obstacles, is irrelevant. Some considerations: a round penetrating an engine block, even a .50BMG API round, may not immediately stop a vehicle, allowing it to escape the KZ. Shoot the driver first, or simultaneous to the engine block. Contrary to some "expert" opinions, a .308 round will NOT instantly disable a vehicle, through penetration of the engine block.
  2. If you use emplaced obstacles to initiate an anti-vehicle ambush, don't use the same ones, and use "dummy" obstacle emplacements without concurrent ambushes to confuse the enemy. If you utilize an ambush with every obstacle placed, pretty soon, that will become a cue for a "react-to-ambush" drill, greatly reducing your element of surprise.
  3. Common historical reasons for ambushes being compromised include:
    - the sound of safety selector switches being moved from safe to fire. This can be done silently, even with the God-awful 'klacking" safety selector on AK-variants, if it is practiced and rehearsed. It should go without saying that chambering a round while on the objective is beyond fucking stupid. Prepare your weapons to fight BEFORE you get into position, and switch the safety selector as you target the enemy to shoot his ass.
    - the tendency to shoot too high, especially at night. Train to shoot low. It's far better to shoot a foot in front of the enemy than a foot over his head; even ricochets can kill.
    - poor counter-tracking practices moving into ambush positions can leave footprints and other indicators that signal your presence before the main body is in the KZ.
    - initiating the ambush when forward security elements are in the kill zone, rather than the main body. This is a really stupid mistake, and a result of poor communication with the security elements. PLs who lose their patrols due to counterattack by the main body of an enemy element they were trying to ambush, should be thoroughly embarrassed at their stupidity, assuming they survive.
    - lack of fire discipline and fire control. Individual fighters MUST be expert marksmen, and must understand how to properly control their rate-of-fire. Further, key leaders MUST guide the rate-of-fire of their subordinates to prevent loss of control due to excitement and/or fear.
    - Leaders must be centrally located where they can provide guidance and control to all elements under their control.
    - Lack of all-around security and observation, including overhead.
    - Lack of a clearly defined drill for withdrawal from the objective can lead to compromise by hostile QRF, leaving critical equipment behind, or worst of all, leaving behind personnel on the objective. Determine your SOPs, practice and master them, then live by them.
  4. Locate ambushes at natural constriction points whenever feasible, that force the enemy to slow his rate of advance. On the other hand, these are likely positions, so don't be afraid to set ambushes in other places, such as open, flat stretches of road, as long as you have a way to STOP the enemy's movement, and reduce his opportunity to escape the KZ (i.e. IEDs to stop lead and rear vehicle, leaving the rest in the KZ).

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the Mountains