Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Contact by Max Velocity

Today we will be reviewing Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival by Max Velocity. Max has a background in both the British and American armies and has deployed multiple times. Certainly he seems to know what he's talking about. The basic premise of this book is just what the title says a tactical manual for post collapse survival. In this regard I would say it is an overall success.

The Good: If I had to give someone a single book to train them to fight and survive this would be a really good candidate. I appreciate that this book sticks to it's purpose not trying to be another everything in one book type survival manual and also hit on food storage, lighting, sanitation, etc all. The guy knows his strengths and sticks to them instead of getting over his head in different subjects. I sure appreciated that.

The basic concept of distilling military manuals and tactics into plain and simple language for a militia or survivalist audience is not particularly new. Max does it better than most and all in one place. The resulting book is a solid resource. Most folks would get bogged down in FM 7-8 and lost with acronym's and considerations for non applicable threats like attack aviation or technology typical civilians do not posses.

I particularly liked the chapter on vehicle movement which is available more or less in it's entirety at WRSA. It is definitely worth taking a hard look at potentially with some action to follow. Many chapters have interesting little pieces based on likely survivalist scenarios that relates them to military tactics. Seriously good stuff.

The Bad: The book gets a bit excessive in terms of 'translating' terms and acronyms into plain English. At times it seemed this was being done just for the sake of itself without really relating them to anything survivalists would need to do. Probably 7-10% of the book could be removed by cutting this unnecessary  stuff out.

Additionally while the book stays out of having the obligatory food storage, sanitation, communication and maintenance chapters that are almost totally generic it slips into firearms training, medical and some other areas. The piece on shooting which is 2-3 pages without pictures or diagrams (we will revisit this) is awkward and not helpful. The piece on casualties aka medical is a confusing mix of explaining US Army trauma care, partial lists of components for various kits and brief description of how to treat various injuries that is particularly painful. I am not entirely sure what the answer is. Maybe more space could have been put to these areas if other parts (like explaining needless acronyms) were omitted. Maybe fewer such areas could be covered at more length. 

The Ugly: This book is sorely in need of pictures. The parts on mounted and dismounted movement were explained with some basic sketches. The usual dot people and vehicles moving with arrow type stuff. The rest of the book would have really benefited from pictures.

Overall Assessment: If you want a book that breaks down a lot of useful Army type stuff into civilian this is a good option. In fact it is the best I have seen to date. I can't think of a better single book for a survivalist without a military background to use to train and plan from. That being said it probably isn't for everybody. Folks with a solid combat arms background probably don't need this book for their own purposes. They would be better off referring directly to applicable FM's or TM's. For twenty bucks one could have a good hard copy reference that translates basic military tactics into civilian which could come in handy some day.

Anyway if this book interests you it can be purchased here.



3 comments:

RegT said...

Attack aviation may well be a significant threat to us here in America if/when we face government troops. More and more police and sheriff's departments are buying drones, and there are already drones available which can (and will, for certain) mount weapons.

If NorthCom or other military units do respond to suppress armed resistance against government in this country, helicopters and military drones will indeed be utilized as well. Many state - and some local - police departments own and operate helicopters now (Sacramento PD received some UH-1s from the Feds a while back, though I don't know if they are still using them).

Ryan said...

OK, It is true that if things go all Red Dawn or Brackenesque normal folks could face attack aviation. Unlikely but possible.

Aside from that the issue would be that TM's and FM's do not discuss the issue from a guerrilla perspective.

RegT said...

Ryan,

Sorry, I didn't check back sooner for your response. This isn't specifically from a guerrilla perspective, but useful for that purpose anyway:

FM 44-8 Combined Arms for Air Defense
Chapter 5-2

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