Ever since Max's post Realistic Rucking I've known that PT was going to be revisited here. John Mosby's Post Fit for the Fight: A Conceptual Approach to Physical Conditioning for Security Patrolling pretty much sealed the deal. Max's recent post Operational Fitness also touched on some good stuff. tte In no particular order here we go: 1) You get better at a given event and thus more 'fit' by that particular measurement by improving your performance in terms of speed/weight/time. Skipping complex stuff about cardiovascular health, VO2 max and whatever you do not get better at something by simply doing the same thing over and over. You get better by doing it at an increased speed/weight/time. 2) Recognizing #1 the way to improve is progressive and incremental improvement over time. Tracking is pretty important here (this is something I royally suck at). Say the particular even we are talking about is running. Maybe your tempo run is a 3 mile loop around the AO and you do it 3-4x a month. It would be smart to keep track of time, continually pushing yourself to beat the last time. Of course you would not beat it every single time, maybe it's raining and nasty, you're suck, hung over or whatever. That being said unless the general trend is towards that run getting done faster you are not improving.
That being said often, especially in strength, the answer is not to train to failure every time. Form goes to pot and injury rates skyrocket. A more balanced approach would be to train intensely, yet not to failure and continually progress over time. Add 5 pounds here, a rep there or an extra set there depending on the goals involved. The bottom line is to increase difficulty towards your goals over time.
3) There is a balance between accepting the reality of your age/ health/ life situation yet not condemning yourself to be the slow weak animal malingering at the back of the pack just waiting to become lion food. I don't know exactly how to balance as a general rule. The best option I can think of is being brutally honest about your situation then aggressively pursuing fitness goals.
A lot of my stuff is geared toward people pursuing fitness to be able to conduct light infantry operations on an individual basis as a survivalist or in a small unit setting as a guerrilla/ paramilitary type fighter. That goes double for Max Velocity and John Mosby. While I would say the type of martial fitness we talk about translates into a high level of general fitness/ health it is only a viable option for fairly healthy people.
A 72 year old ex rodeo Cowboy who broke his back twice and legs 3x riding then was in a bad car accident in '89 with arthritis everywhere is not going to be a member of a direct action cell. That old Codger might have a lot to offer but he isn't going to be running around in the woods with a rifle shooting people. On the other hand a 45 year old that is 30 pounds overweight with "bad knees" is probably physically capable of doing a lot. His "joint problems" brought on by packing extra weight around and a lifestyle of inactivity will probably reverse themselves pretty quickly if he gets to a healthy weight and exercises in a reasonable way. If that 45 year old wants to reach a high level of fitness he probably can within a reasonable timetable. 4) On the topic of weight training as it relates to combat and realistic training. If you want to be in the best physical condition (for strength) possible then lift heavy weights. Sure the guys who won WWII didn't lift but they did not have the advantages of our more modern understanding of science and biology. Also a couple other factors influenced this. First those brave men didn't have to fight guys who lifted weights. Brute strength built on the weight pile lets one put other peoples heads through walls. Second the creation of viable body armor against small arms and shrapnel has vastly increased the weight of an average fighting load. Rough ball park it went from 20 pounds to 50. Moving ones self in, around and over obstacles got a lot harder. An average guy in OK shape might be able to do a pullup with an extra 20 pounds. Make it 50 and without serious time at the weight pile that's just not happening.
Thankfully in the last few years the big Army has moved towards accepting the usefulness of strength derived from weight training as part of a holistic PT program. Like many good ideas it started out in SOF, largely the Ranger Regiment's Athlete Warrior Program. The bottom line is that strength is a good thing to have for a variety of real world combat related tasks. 5) When it comes to weight lifting there is the inherently oppositional relationship between being big/ strong and fast with lots of endurance. At all but the shortest distances (like under 40m) being heavier makes it harder to move your body around. I think if you lift weights with a goal of building strength (vs body building where the goal is to get bigger/ heavier) size gains are generally negligible. Also if you continue doing good aggressive cardio and eating reasonably the vast majority of people will not grow to the point that their overall fitness falls off the rails. Remember, there is no such thing as being too strong, only too slow. 6) In my mind it is important to be ready to go at all times. This means you are never a discusting fat body who can't run a mile because it's a "bulk phase" or a skinny weakling "cutting/ focusing on endurance". I think there is something to be said for pursuing specific goals in one area or another of fitness but not to such an extent that you let another important part of fitness fall off entirely. Example, you decide to do a 10k race with friends and really want to do well. You run a lot more and accept that weight training is going to take a hit either not progressing or maybe even losing a little ground. That being said you do not stop lifting for 3 months. It is the difference between putting a bit more energy into a goal/ weak area while generally maintaining other core capabilities and radically swapping plans/ goals on the drop of a hat. 7) I believe in big multi joint exercises such as deadlift, squat, bench press, standing press and power clean. These are what you do to become a bigger stronger athlete warrior. Leave all the single joint machine junk for body builders with their huge arms and little chicken legs. 8) For combat based cardio fitness I would split my time between an aggressive rucking program and a sprint/ interval based running program. Probably 4-5x a week between the two events. I would do 2 of each if the goal was rucking based and sprint/ interval work outs. If the goals are a bit more general fitness but you still want some rucking capability 3 hard runs and 1 ruck is a fine option (that is what I'm currently doing). It is significant to note I would only employ various cardio type machines (other than treadmills which let you run in a more climate controlled environment) for active recovery, alternate cardio or as part of some sort of circuit (an idea largely represented as new in crossfit) workout. These are fine for terrible hangover/ cold days or whatever but don't fool yourself into thinking they are a replacement for covering ground. 9) Functional fitness as shown in Crossfit, Man Aerobics P90X, Military Athlete, Mountain Athlete, etc all is a craze these days. That is a good thing. Getting runners into lifting and lifters into running is good. However as John said these folks can get silly sometimes and fail the common sense test. While it may be difficult doing 5 pound single handed kettle bell snatches standing on a balance ball twirling a hula hoop around your hips will not make you a better athlete warrior. 10) Do not disregard the warm up and cool down. As I get older this is becoming much more important. I can perform better, have fewer injuries including strains, etc and recover better. Every time I forget I regret it. While not exactly scientific my personal warm up goes something like this. Static stretching of the whole body with a bit of extra emphasis on the areas to be worked. Walk a little bit to limber up, say 200-400 meters. If it's going to be a run workout I do an easy jog for 400 or so. If it's going to be muscular/ weights I do warm up sets starting with the bar then progressing as needed to the weight of my first working set. Cool down is basically the same as warm up but in reverse order ie maybe jogg, walk then stretch. 11) Nutrition. Read some stuff on diets and nutrition then do something reasonable. Avoid junk or at least minimize it's role in your diet. You wouldn't put nasty old gas with water in it into a race car and expect it to win so don't shovel McDonalds into your face 5x a week and wonder why you aren't doing better at PT. So anyway those are my thoughts on that. As always input is welcome.
John Mosby did a pretty significant data dump today. Some reposts from the old site but multiple new articles. Honestly it's too much for me to read today. Very good stuff. Personally I copy most of John's stuff into word documents then save them in a folder to refer to later. You might want to do the same.
Max's discussion of British patrols in Northern Ireland is interesting. Whatever you or I might think of the politics involved the Brits were in Northern Ireland for a long time during which they learned some hard lessons. These lessons were proven valid in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Presence patrols can be important. One often underestimated consideration is that many patrols are not about the patrol itself. There is a need to move from point A to point B to do something (trade, meet with people, gather intel, see a doctor, gather food, etc) and the patrol is done to support that need. You will need to go places/ do things; hiding in an uuber survivalist retreat is a cute idea but it fails the common sense test.
Learn to conduct patrols NOW before you need it.
As to the challenge yesterday was a fail. Today I lifted and ran. Ate 1,820 calories.
"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to
think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he
might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."
Recently there were some very
useful articles about packing rucks and living in the field by Mountain
Guerrilla HERE, American Mercenary HERE and Max Velocity HERE. I have not written my own to go along with them because the overlap is so significant. It would not really bring much value for you to know I like 5 pair of socks instead of 4, carry lots of baby wipes and make sure to have a fleece watch cap even in the summer. Instead I want to look at it from a different angle. Today I want to look at ways to tailor a load to meet your needs for a particular scenario/ mission. As you see by reading the previously mentioned articles there are more commonalities than differences. The way I think of it is like bread. The differences between one and another are generally smaller than a non baker would suspect. A slightly different type of flour, maybe some cinnamon and butter, you get the idea. The point of this is that if somebody is making bread with 3 pounds of dried beans, pepper and pickles I will not be lining up for a slice.
So we need to look at the reasoning behind different load out's. In the most simple sense we could break variances down into environmental conditions/ mission and personal preference. So let us talk about them both in turn. Environmental Conditions:
Weather is an enormous factor that you cannot ignore. Without the right gear in cold weather you will die. A poncho liner to sleep in is fine for winter in Florida but in Michigan you probably will not make it through the first night. Often a summer load out and a supplementary heavier winter load out makes sense. Local conditions matter significantly. For example it might be hot in both Georgia and Arizona but one has lots of water and the other hardly any. Down here in the Southwest and in the dry parts of the inland west water is a serious consideration. A man on foot will have a very hard time carrying enough in many places. Best case without significant local primitive knowledge a person is stuck to fairly defined routes between reliable sources of water. This was the case for the US Soldiers during the Indian Wars. Folks who are stuck to a clearly defined path are easy to avoid or ambush at ones choosing.
The environment is also a consideration in terms of how much food one could reasonably collect and how easily they could collect it.
Mission: This is definitely where we are going to see our biggest variances (that make sense).
I might be slightly off on the facts here but somewhere after WWI the Brits, French and Germans did independent studies on the load soldiers can sustainably carry while remaining combat effective. They all came to the conclusion that it was 1/3rd of body weigh. Call an average guy 180 pounds and that gives about 60 pounds to work with. (For ladies I think it is more like 1/4 of body weight.) To be candid this is talking about young, healthy military aged men. I doubt half of the folks reading this could walk with 1/3rd of their body weight (1/4 for ladies) all day long then fight afterwords. The point here is to figure out what your fundamental goal is and move from there. If you are going to be fighting people then carry the stuff to do that, if you need to gather enough food to survive then carry the stuff to do that. You get the idea. A rifle, ammo and body armor get heavy in a hurry. At the risk of guessing my fighting load is between 15 and twenty pounds without body armor or 30 and 35 pounds with it.That is a pretty basic setup too: rifle w/ 8 mags, an IFAK, a small utility knife, my Glock and a spare mag or two. A setup with more mags, a day or two worth of food, some snivel gear, a poncho/ liner and whatnot could easily weigh 30+ pounds before armor.
That means if I want to carry a full fighting load there are about 30 pounds left for sustainment. That means for all but the shortest trips in the mildest climates we are looking more towards not starving or freezing to death than full bellies and comfort. Not a bad thing necessarily just something to remember. It sort of sets you up to make the packing easier. On the other hand depending on the scenario you might not need or even want that much fire power. I know it's sacrilegious (and can't see myself doing it but then again I can pack the weight) to even say that but if the overall risk is low and you need the weight for other essential life sustaining stuff that might be worth thinking about. In general short trips tend to favor carrying mostly consumables such as food and water. At some point as trips get longer there is a gradual tipping in favor of tools and things that can produce food vs consumables. Granted we could take a hard look at the practicality of 300 mile trips on foot, let alone playing Batman in the Boondocks but that isn't what we are talking about today.
I've completely lost focus on where this is going so for today we are going to wrap it up. More will come tomorrow or later in the week
Unfortunately I could not find a cheesy obviously photo shopped picture of Joe Biden with a shotgun. So you get assassin Joe. In an case Joe thinks shotguns are better than assault rifles. He also likes washing his Fire Bird in front of the White House.
Population Gun control issues aside I am disinclined to take tactical advice from old Joe for a variety of reasons. In any case since Mountain Guerilla and American Mercenary have talked about them I might as well chime in. The best way I can think to do this is to talk myths about shotguns and then get into pluses and negatives.
Myths: Shotguns do not need to be aimed. The general guideline is that buckshot spreads at about an inch per yard of travel. So at realistic home defense type ranges you are looking at a fist to open hand sized pattern. It cuts you a bit of slack over a single round but you can still definitely miss.
Shot penetrates walls less than other rounds so it is better for home defense. This has been demonstrated false at a variety of places including Box of Truth. Bird Shot does penetrate a bit less however it is designed to kill little birds and thus falls short in terms of deer/ man sized animals. Shotguns are easy to use. This is confusing for a couple reasons. We lack standardization of what constitutes being capable of using a weapon (example: load, cycle, unload, score X in under Y time on El Presidente (or whatever), reduce stoppage, field strip and clean). Without that standardization we cannot say with validity that it is easier to learn to use a shotgun than a rifle. When the issue is dug into folks far too often have the impression that you can can load a shotgun, pump it and pull the trigger you are good to go. Sadly this is just not the case.
More to the point shotguns in an anti personnel role are not ideal and require a lot of manipulation. Most common shotguns must be manipulated before every shot and are reloaded 1 round at a time. This is especially problematic because they hold 5-8 shots. The more a shooter must manipulate a weapon the more chances they have to mess up and make the darn thing not work. In particular for shotguns short choking is an issue.
Now that the myths are set aside we can talk about the shotguns advantages. Positive
Cheap. You can get new Remington 870's and Mossberg 500's for somewhere in the mid- low $300 range. Used guns can be purchased for less depending on their condition as well as how desperate the seller and buyer are.At that price range a solidly decent pump shotgun is something any functional adult can easily purchase with a little bit of planning. For a quality gun that will last you a lifetime this is a bargain.
Legal pretty much everywhere. If you can own guns you can have a shotgun. To the best of my knowledge you can have a pump shotgun anywhere in America. They are also looked at much more favorably abroad if that is a concern for you.
Versatile. Shotguns can harvest all manner of game, defend your home and be used for a variety of recreational pursuits. A Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with a long choked barrel and a short riot barrel can do a lot of things.
Super Common. If a place sells ammo they have 12 gauge shells and probably 20 gauge also. For the common guns (Rem 870/ Moss 500) there is a ton of aftermarket support in terms of different parts.
To be fair shotguns also have some downsides.
Round count. More shots are better and shotguns fall short here. Between 5 and 9 rounds in most common configurations. High recoil. Shotguns recoil more than any standard defensive type rifle. More recoil means a longer time between shots. Slow Reloads. One round at a time in a rather cumbersome fashion. This makes the low round count all the more problematic because you need to be constantly reloading to keep from running empty.
Limited envelope of performance. Shotguns are very lethal up close but if you get past 40 yards (and that is generous) for buck and 100ish for slugs in a standard configuration they aren't much good. Yes rifled barrels with scopes are available that push this envelope but those only exist because of states that only allow shotguns for hunting. If you want this configuration just buy a rifle.
Mediocrity. As we talked above it is true that shotguns can do a lot of things. However like any 'jack of all trades' they are pretty mediocre at all of them.
Bulky/ Heavy ammo. Shotgun shells are big and heavy which means you either carry less of them, less of something else or pack a heavier load.
It is true that more purpose built semi automatic shotguns like the Benelli's and in particular the mag fed Siaga 12 have leveled some of the historic weaknesses of pump shotguns. These are problematic because the high price point cancels out one of the biggest advantages of the shotgun. Even beyond cost these shotguns are are in my opinion still a distant second to a rifle. Like we discussed some time ago I cannot think of a 2 legged predator situation where I would reach into a safe/ closet that held an AR/ AK and a shotgun and pick the shotgun over the rifle.
Anyway those are my .02 cents on that. Guess we can file this under the biannual rehashing of topics. Comments may be fun.
Also if you have not already JOIN THE NRA. They are not perfect but are big enough and strong enough to actually do something. Join some other organization(s) if it makes you happy but send the NRA some love first.
If your personal 2A preparations are not where you want to be I would think about working on it. Do not spend the rent money or max the visa but if you want it and can afford it then think about buying. Yes AR's that cost $650 2 weeks ago are going for 1,400ish BUT THEY ARE AVAILABLE. Cannot say that will be the case in 2 months.
Some folks might want to think about caches. I have heard 6" PVC pipe and end caps as well as PVC glue can sell out in a hurry. Spare parts and manuals (a weak point of mine) are good things to have also. The cleaning stuff to put a greased up gun back into action would be smart also.
This weekends coming purchase binge will take care of most of my lingering accessory needs. Thankfully the stuff we need (vs want) is not targeted thought the overall everything with or around a trigger buying binge is affecting things all the same. Sure there is more stuff I want thankfully these are wants not needs. Some will be purchased when available like ammo and other stuff might be indefinitely postponed depending on how things go.
Honestly I am getting pretty bored of talking about this all the time. Think it is time to talk about other stuff and begin to resume normal operations.
John Mosby who writes the excellent blog Mountain Guerilla was nice enough to let me cross post this article. John reminded me that guns which are in a cache cannot be used to shoot somebody in the face. this is of course a worthwhile point. If you have a basic 4 (rifle, pistol, shotgun, .22) I would not be inclined to cache anything. A gun that you need to defend your home or put food on the table needs to be at home, not buried off in the woods. However if like may folks reading this you happen to have a spare rifle and pistol or 4 that have lived in the safe forever it might be prudent to consider caching these weapons to resupply you later on.
Anyway for those who did not see it at his excellent site Mountain Guerilla here is an article by John Mosby on caches.
(Originally published on the old
site, APR 2012–J.M.)
Of the four major aspects of support in
military and paramilitary operations–personnel, intelligence,
operations, and logistics–the fourth is often the most
misunderstood by aspiring students of resistance theory and history.
As the oft-cited cliche so accurately states, “Amateurs study
tactics. Professionals study logistics.” When Napolean famously
stated that “An army travels on its stomach,” he wasn’t talking
specifically about the quality of the food in the French military,
but about the importance of ensuring that the logistics train managed
to keep pace with the fighting force, in order to keep the men
re-supplied and fed.
For the inexperienced, the amount of
material logistics support necessary to support even a single
twelve-man SF ODA over the course of a six-month long deployment can
be mind-numbingly massive (plane loads, not duffel bags
full). The idea that a resistance cell will grab their
individual rucksacks, LBEs, and weapons, and run off to the woods to
fight it out in some Red Dawn, live-off-the-land scenario is a
fantasy of hubris at its best. At its worst, it’s just fucking
Similarly naive however, is the typical
survivalist/prepper idea that, in a totalitarian regime, ruled by the
force of ninja-clad stormtroopers who kick in doors at 0300, stomp
puppies to death, and jerk citizens from their beds by the hair, a
stockpile of food and supplies in the pantry and basement will be
adequate or secure.
The key to successful logistics support
if a resistance movement is the establishment, by both individual
tactical cells as well as dedicated auxiliary logistics networks, of
widespread, secure, and well-equipped caches of critical supplies
(for the record, it’s pronounced “cash,” “cashes,”
and “cashed,” not “cashay,” “cashayes,” and “cashayed!”).
Caching is the process of hiding equipment or other necessary
logistics materials in secure storage locations with the express
intent to later recover those materials for future use (hiding
them without the intent of later recovery is referred to as “losing
shit.”) In a resistance movement, cached
materials may provide numerous benefits to resistance forces. They
may meet the emergency needs of personnel for items that can no
longer be procured on the open or black markets, due to regime
interference or lack of supply, or they may provide necessary travel
documents and funds for the initiation of escape-and-evasion
corridors by compromised personnel. Most critically perhaps, caching
provides a realistic supply solution for long-term operations
conducted over wide areas, far from secure bases of operations. In
the specific words of the doctrinal literature on caching for UW,
“caching can also provide for anticipated needs of war time
operations in areas likely to be overrun by the enemy.”
Cache Planning Considerations
Selection of the specific contents of
any particular cache requires a thorough analysis, careful
estimation, and more than a little scientific, wild-ass guessing
(technically termed “SWAG”), regarding
the needs of particular resistance elements for particular
operations. Fortunately, we still have the benefit that procurement
of most of the likely candidate items for future re-supply caches
currently pose no significant difficulties. In fact, as has been
repeatedly belabored in this blog previously, the relative ease of
procurement before hostilities become any more heated is the major
benefit in favor of caching logistics materials now (fundamentally,
it goes back to a previously asked question. How serious are you? Is
it real, or are you playing “Gus the Guerrilla” so you can dress
up in multi-cam and shoot guns?)
Planners, whether members of an
individual tactical cell, or a dedicated auxiliary logistics cell,
must determine the purpose and contents of specific caches, since
these basic factors influence the location of the cache and the
necessary methods of concealment. A cache containing liquid assets,
such as silver or similarly small, readily concealable items may be
established in relatively accessible places, since the recovery agent
of the cache can simply conceal the contents on his person with ease.
A cache of rifles and ammunition for a raiding party however, will
require establishment in a less accessible, more remote location,
since hiding the weapons from casual observation will require more
effort than simply shoving them in a pocket (honestly, one of
the few benefits I can see of owning AKMs, other than the fact that
there are hundreds of millions, of not billions of 7.62x39mm
ammunition floating around this country, is the convenience of a
being able to conceal a folding stock AKM under a jacket like a
Carhartt barn jacket).
Further, certain items, such as medical
items like antibiotics, painkillers, IV saline bags, and other
consumables do possess limited shelf-life and may require periodic
rotation or other specific storage considerations. This may require
easy access for the planners to service these caches, as needed.
Ultimately, resistance planners must balance the logistical
objectives of the cache with the actual possibilities when selecting
items and locations for a cache. Realistic options for items included
in re-supply caches may include, but certainly not be limited to:
money, weapons and ammunition, explosives components, medical
supplies, tools, food and water (water purification
methods may be more appropriate in many environmental areas),
batteries (overlooked far too often by amateur guerrillas.
Realistically in modern conflict, even guerrilla warfare, combatant
elements will go through batteries like shit through a goose),
clothing, and spare/replacement load-bearing equipment (I
utilize ALICE load-outs for cached load-bearing equipment, since it’s
cheap and will suffice, even if it’s not as ideal as my current or
future load-outs. If I’m to the point of relying on LBE cached
months or years before, I’m probably not going to be too particular
about how Gucci it is. If it’s gear to outfit new resistance
recruits, they don’t get to be picky).
When planning a resistance supply
cache, planners absolutely must remember that “the enemy gets a
vote.” The successful recovery of a combat re-supply cache will
ultimately depend on how well the planners anticipated the various
obstacles to successful recovery, which will be created,
intentionally or not, by the enemy if he occupies the area of the
cache. Hiding a weapons cache in a small meadow surrounded by brushy
woods because it is near the junction of several major roads may seem
ideal, since it’s hidden and yet readily accessible. Unfortunately,
those same considerations may lead the regime to decide to plant an
encampment of security forces troops there. It might be difficult to
recover a buried barrel of M4s when there are a bunch of guys in blue
helmets with funny accents eating supper over the top of it. Further,
future non-conflict related obstacles may arise (Anyone
remember the incident last year when an arms cache was found buried
under the right-of-way for a highway being constructed? I personally
know of a guy in the northern Rockies who has several cases of
dynamite cached. Unfortunately, it is now buried about eighteen feet
below a road-side DOT weigh station).
In addition to regime security forces
activities, actions of the local civilian populace may interfere with
the security and/or recovery of caches. Planners must project how the
local populace will react to the pressures of occupation/war-time
living. One likely reaction is that many people, even those unaligned
with the resistance, will resort to caching their personal and family
valuables to prevent theft or confiscation by either criminals or the
regime (but then, I repeat myself, right?). In such
an event, ideal cache locations may become too well-traveled for the
security of recovery teams, as well as gaining greater scrutiny by
security force intelligence units looking for such cached materials.
Often overlooked in theoretical
discussions of supply caches is the actual task of transporting the
materials to be cached to the location. The most secure packaging of
cached items is performed in secure areas, rather than in the field
or at the cache location. While it may be simpler to transport a
pre-packaged supply of cache items to the cache site from a safe
house, than to transport the goods and the packaging material, it
will still not be a simple task (consider the weight and
space needs for a cache of six M4s, plus a basic load of 210-330
rounds each, or for food supplies, even in dry staple items like rice
and wheat, for a two-week supply for a four- or six-man element).
Finally, anyone who is involved
directly in the placement of the cache, from planning the location,
to actually placing the cache in its determined location will know
where the cache is located and is thus subject to compromising that
cache location if captured and interrogated (as we will
discuss in a forthcoming article, if you are captured and
interrogated, you WILL talk. Everyone talks. It doesn’t matter how
tough you think you are, a skilled interrogator can break your will
to resist. Unfortunately, it’s even easier if the interrogator is
from the same cultural background and speaks your language than it is
if he’s a foreign invader). The same considerations apply
to recovery personnel. While a cache site that only one person knows
the location and contents of is of little use to the resistance, and
the members of a logistics cell will need to share the information
data on various caches, there must be serious consideration given to
the operational security requirements of doing so. Among these is
limiting the access to information to the actual emplacement
personnel and planning cell until the need for the contents of any
particular cell is required, and spreading the planning and
emplacement duties for various caches to various independent cells
within a network.
The specific methods used to cache materials for future use are as
varied as the people who cache those items. The most obvious (and
probably the most common) method, of burying goods, may be
of limited value in some operational environments (it
would be harder to bury a cache of arms for a platoon-sized element
of resistance fighters, with adequate ammunition, in a large urban
enclave, than to hide them in attics or basements. Burying items in a
swamp is far less efficient than underwater cache methods).
This wide variety of possibilities open to cache planners means there
is little value in laying out general rules, or even too many
specific concepts for caching. Nevertheless, one rule remains
inviolate when developing a network of caches for resistance supply:
Planners must always think in terms of suitability. The method most
suitable for each cache, considering its specific purpose, the actual
and projected situations in the particular location, and the impact
of possible regime courses of action.
Concealment of the cache means
utilizing permanent man-made or natural features to hide or disguise
the cache. Focusing on superb concealment of caches offers several
benefits for planners and installers. Employment and recovery of the
cache can both be accomplished with minimum labor, in a minimal
amount of time. Items concealed in buildings or caves are protected
from the elements and extreme weather, thus requiring less elaborate
packaging (a cache of medical supplies concealed in the
walls of an otherwise abandoned barn or out-building may need little
more than to be placed in a plastic garbage sack before being
concealed). A concealed cache may be more readily accessed
from time to time, in order to replace perishable items that may be
nearing or past their expiration dates. The potential risk of
accidental discovery of concealed caches however, means that this
method is most suitable for extremely secure sites safe from search
by regime security forces (concealing a stockpile of old
Mosin-Nagants in the basement of the president of the local gun club
would be pretty fucking pointless, no?), or situations
where rapid access to the cached items is of high enough priority
that it outweighs the chances that the cache will inadvertently be
discovered. Concealment may range from securing a small pouch of
“junk” silver coins behind a heating vent in the wall, to
building a false wall in a basement to hide a cache of
workshop-manufactured mortars and ammunition.
While burial is not always the
best option for cache establishment, there is a reason that, when
people think of caches, they almost invariably consider it first.
Suitable burial sites can be located damned near anywhere, and if
the cache is properly established, it will be next to impossible to
find, without the utilization of very expensive,
highly-technological equipment, and ample amounts of time. While the
security of a well-placed buried cache is without compare, unlike
simple concealment, burying a cache is an extremely labor-intensive
process, requires severe and thorough packaging of the cache to
protect it from the burial process and the exposure it faces from
dirt, moisture, burrowing fauna, etc.
Burial of caches almost invariably
requires the use of specialized containers and/or special wrapping
to protect the contents from the environment. Emplacement and
recovery of a buried cache often takes so long that it can only be
accomplished during the night, to preclude discovery, unless the
cache site is placed in such a ridiculously remote location as to
completely preclude any effective usefulness whatsoever. It can be
extremely difficult, even for the initial emplacement element, to
successfully locate and recover a buried cache after any length of
One method of cache emplacement that is often overlooked (for
good reason) is the submersion method. If the cache is
properly prepared; and the cache site is genuinely secure; and the
recovery team can actually locate it; and the tides or currents
don’t move the cache in the intervening time between emplacement
and recovery, the submersion method may work. However, submersion
sites that are suitable for secure concealment of a cache of any
size are exceedingly rare, even in swamp/jungle environments.
Further, the container for a submerged cache must be of such high
quality that it almost requires the use of specially-manufactured
containers to ensure adequate water-proofing and protection from
other external pressures. Field expedients are seldom successful.
Selection of Cache Sites
The most thorough, careful study and hypotheses regarding future
operational conditions cannot guarantee that a cache will be readily
accessible when it is needed. It is crucial to remember the
now-overused maxim, “Two is one; one is none.” Establish as many
re-supply caches, in as many widely spaced locations as you can
afford to establish, including duplicate caches of critical items
such as weapons, ammunition, and foodstuffs.
Site selection criteria should center on three basic questions of
absolute importance to the resistance element: a) Can the site be
located by someone who has never been there, through simple,
easily-understood instructions? A site may be absolutely ideal, but
if your hillbilly Cousin Billy-Bob from East Toadfuck, Texas cannot
find it using simple verbal instructions, it’s going to be useless.
It must have multiple (at least two, preferably three or
more, for compass triangulation) distant landmarks, and at
least one suitably near landmark that is not likely to be moved
between emplacement and recovery (don’t use a fucking tree
as a landmark. I always assumed it went without saying, but I’ve
seen cache recovery instructions that included “use the old dead
tree as the near landmark. Take a magnetic bearing of ___ and walk
fifteen meters.” Seriously? Because, you know, old dead trees don’t
get blown the fuck over and rot away?) b)Are there a minimum
of at least two access routes to get to and away from the cache site?
Do both the primary and secondary approach routes offer concealed
movement corridors so that both the emplacement and recovery parties
can access the site without being seen by anyone who normally
transits the area (I’m a big believer in at least tertiary access
routes as well)? c) Can the cache in question be emplaced and
recovered at this site, anytime of the year (A cache located
in the Teton Mountains on the Idaho/Wyoming line might be pretty
tough to recover if it were needed in February or March, since it
would be under five or six feet of snow…assuming you could even
find it, since many landmarks would be buried under snow as well)?
Snow or frozen ground can make recovery impossible, since it is
difficult or impossible to dig in, and snow means it is impossible to
hide the presence of tracks leading to the cache site.
The first step in developing a cache site is the utilization of a
map survey. By carefully scrutinizing the map, planners can decipher
whether a specific area must be ruled out for cache emplacement, due
to the nearness of human activity and facilities. A good
topographical map can be used to determine all the positive features
of a given area for a potential site, including the topography,
proximity of roads, trails, and buildings, natural concealment such
as vegetated terrain and/or rocky outcroppings, and adequate
drainage. A map can also provide the indispensable reference points
that will be necessary for development of a recovery plan for the
cache, such as the geographical coordinates of nearby peaks and
ridges, stream confluences, and deserted man-made structures and
Once several promising possible cache sites have been discerned
through the map survey, someone in the caching element must conduct a
personal surveillance of the potential sites, in order to determine
that the on-the-ground reality matches the theory of the map. The
survey member will need to carry adequate maps, a method of measuring
distance, a compass, and a notebook to record specific coordinates
and directions for potential emplacement sites (I hope it
goes without saying that you should not record GPS way-points for
cache locations). Since this individual will seldom be able
to complete a field survey without being observed by members of the
local civilian populace, even his neighbors, a solid cover story for
his actions of critical. The observer’s story must offer a quick,
concise, but logical reason for his being where he is (the local
couch-potato who everyone knows sits in his mommy’s basement
playing XBox all day claiming he’s always secretly been an avid
outdoorsman and is simply out for a jaunt in the woods, isn’t going
to fool anyone. It’s likely to get the local constabulary called on
you for suspicious behavior). Reference Points
When a planner or member of a dedicated
logistics auxiliary network has located and determined to emplace a
re-supply cache in a given location, he will need to include easily
discernible key reference points in the cache report to help the
follow-on elements to locate it.
The final reference point; the key to
unlock the ultimate lock on locating the useful cache; is referred to
as the FRP, and within the instructions, the FRP must meet four basic
requirements. It must 1) be readily identifiable and at least one
element of the FRP must be useful as a precise reference point (i.e.
the northeastern-most corner of the abandoned church, or the last
headstone on the southern corner of the cemetery, etc).
2) it must be something that will not be moved or disappear as long
as the cache may be in place. 3) It must be near enough to the cache
location to pinpoint the exact location of the cache by using precise
linear directions and measurements from the FRP to the cache location
(a 186-degree magnetic azimuth from the corner of the church
is far more precise than a 186-degree magnetic azimuth from the front
door of the church…). 4) The FRP must be related to any en
route reference points by a simple route description proceeding from
the intermediate reference points to the FRP (follow
the old logging road from the intersection with County Road 99 south
for two kilometers until you see the abandoned cemetery on the left
side of the road). The route descriptions and
reference points should be minimized to the absolutely essential
details while being readily identifiable but still secluded enough to
be functional for the role. Some commonly used reference points
operators have used in the past for reference points include, but are
certainly not limited to: small, infrequently used bridges or dams,
geological boundary markers, mileage markers and culverts along
infrequently used roads, monuments, churches, and other cultural
reference markers with respected, but not commonly voiced local
significance to ensure that they will not be “paved over” in the
interest of development in the immediate area. When all else fails,
it IS possible to use specific geographic coordinates for references,
assuming that both parties involved, emplacement team and recovery
element, will have GPS and the ability to utilize it for the task
without compromise (far from certain in the coming
Using the Final Reference Point
Recovery instructions MUST include
precise details to explain the EXACT location of a cache. These
instructions should describe the location of the cache in relation to
the FRP. For concealed caches, it is generally sufficient to
precisely describe and locate the FRP, with the cache concealed
inside the FRP. For the far more common buried cache however, there
are four basic methods.
The simplest method is for the
emplacement team to simply bury the cache directly next to the FRP.
Pinpointing the cache location is then simply a matter of describing
the precise reference point on the FRP. A second method is sighting
the cache by projection. This is useful if the FRP has a flat side
long enough to allow for precise aiming along the flat side of the
FRP to the cache. The cache is simply buried a precise distance away
from the FRP along the sighted line. The critical key here is to
remember that the slightest deviation error in sighting the line will
be magnified as the distance increases, so the cache should still be
placed as close to the FRP as practical.
The third method of using the FRP is
the use of two or more FRPs within a close proximity (ideally
within a couple of meters at most). This is the
most difficult method of precisely referencing the cache location and
should thus be a last-ditch method (I’ve used this
method on numerous occasions. It HAS always worked, but never well. I
once solo backpacked across the southern half of Utah, from Cedar
City to Moab, without following roads. At one point, crossing a small
two-lane blacktop, I decided my pack was overloaded with extraneous
shit, so I decided to cache a large portion of it. Since I was in the
middle of fucking nowhere, I didn’t even bother to bury the cache.
Instead, I wrapped all the material in a large trash bag, then placed
it in a USGI waterproof bag, and tied the cache in the forks of a
juniper tree. I used a mileage marker on the roadside as my
intermediate reference point, and two nearby mountain peaks as my FRP
to shoot magnetic azimuths from to intersect the exact location of
the cache tree. I dutifully recorded all of it in my ever-present
notebook/journal, and proceeded with the rest of my trip. Three weeks
later, at the end of the overall four week trip, I got my shit back
in order, and the following weekend, jumped in the truck and drove to
the mileage marker. I easily identified the two peaks, shot azimuths,
and walked to the cache tree….which wasn’t fucking there! I shot
another azimuth, realized I was a degree or two off on one of my
bearings, so I fixed it and adjusted. Still no cache tree…I started
a search pattern, walking in increasing spirals, looking for the
tree. Twenty minutes later, I found the tree, recovered the cache,
and got back in the truck, and left. While I’m a HUGE fan of using
azimuth bearings to locate the cache, this is ample evidence of the
difficulties of using intersection/resection of multiple FRPs to
locate a cache. If I had needed to locate the cache in a hurry, under
cover of darkness, with my life and that of my comrades on the line,
we’d have all been fucked.)
The final method of locating a buried cache reliably from the FRP
is sighting with a magnetic azimuth from your compass (if you
don’t know what the fuck a magnetic azimuth is, quit reading, right
now, and Google your local orienteering club. Go join them and learn
how to use a fucking map and compass!). It is utilized by
simply taking a bearing with your compass from the precise reference
point of the FRP to the cache location (this is
generally my favorite method of locating caches. Every time I’ve
ever used it–a lot–over the years, I’ve had no trouble
whatsoever with locating the cache later). The only
potential drawback is the level of ability and precision of the
emplacement team and the recovery team to accurately read a compass
and shoot an azimuth. Like sighting by projecting, any error will be
magnified by distance. In general, either method should locate the
cache within fifty meters of the precise reference point on the FRP. Measuring Distances
While the mythical standard of measuring distances for caches in
paces (walk ten paces from the big rock in the
meadow) sounds simple and effective, if a moment of
thought is put into it, the resistance element will realize what an
incredibly fucking stupid idea it actually is. What are the chances
that the emplacement operative will have the same length of pace as
the recovery operative? Slim to none. Even if they turn out to be the
same person, any number of issues could change the individual’s
stride length from the time of emplacement to the time of recovery.
Instead, use the normal, standard of measurement for linear distance
in your area (for most of us, that’s yards. I
use meters a lot, because of the military, but I still use yards when
describing distances for most Americans.) Concealment Sites
The “ideal” cache concealment site
seldom is, simply because it IS “ideal.” Do not for one moment
think that Sam the Stormtrooper will not check likely concealment
locations for cached contraband when the door-kicking starts. Even in
the event of a warrantless “sneak-and-peak” entry, Ned the Ninja
is going to look for cached goodies. Do not, do not, DO NOT cache
critical items in your home! Instead, seek out good concealment cache
sites in the area, and consider the habits and customs of your
neighbors and other local civilian populace when developing your
cache resupply program.
Seek out abandoned buildings that are
unlikely to be destroyed (or moved into by
refugees!) public buildings (assuming
you can figure out a way to smuggle your cache contents in),
infrequently used facilities like stadiums, or other public venues,
culverts, abandoned mines and quarries, and sewers/septic tanks.
The concealment location must be
equally accessible to both parties. While it might seem feasible for
the logistics cell to emplace a concealed cache in the attic at Aunt
Myrtle’s, since she’s a nice old lady (if a touch daffy),
and a vocal supporter of the regime, if she’s not related to the
recovery team as well, it might be difficult for them to come up with
a legitimate reason to show up and demand to grab some shit out of
Further, in case the cache IS discovered by regime security
forces, it must be in a location that will not compromise individual
network members. If Aunt Myrtle finds the cache of 10,000 rounds of
5.56 M855 in her attic, you better bet your ass she’s going to call
the local constabulary. They’re going to start looking for Nephew
Neil the gun-nut in a hurry. Besides, if Aunt Myrtle passes on or
ends up in a nursing home while Cousin Connie sells the house,
getting in to recover the ammunition is going to be a bitch. Burial Sites
There are six critical considerations
when planning a buried cache, along with the standard concerns about
suitability and accessibility. Drainage considerations include both
the elevation of the cache site and the surrounding ground, and the
type of soil in the area. Clay or swamp muck is going to be far more
difficult to work with than loam soil or an old garden spot. If the
cache is located near a river or stream, the emplacement team must
ensure that it is above the flood-plain to ensure that the cache
doesn’t end up washing away.
Local vegetation is a far more critical
concern than it would first appear. Deciduous forests, while a
perfect choice at first glance, can be a bitch, since the roots of
the trees make digging extremely time-consuming. Coniferous trees on
the other hand have far less extensive root systems, typically
indicate well-drained soil, and have the added benefit of doing a
pretty good job of masking thermal signatures of human beings
(oops…did I just type that?). This of
course, ties into the third consideration of natural concealment on
the location. Not only do you need to hide the personnel who are
placing or recovering the cache, but you have to do something to
conceal the burial site as well. For those who operate in deciduous
forest country (God bless the spruce, pine, and juniper trees
of the Inter-Mountain West!), consider the impact of
seasonal variations in foliage and the resultant changes in natural
For those of us who do reside in high
elevations and cold-weather country, it is critical to consider the
impact of normal snowfall, depth of ground freeze, and the usual
freeze and thaw dates. Since it will be almost impossible to mask the
disturbance to snow cover in winter conditions, cache locations
should take this into account by emplacement in areas that mask the
snow fall and drift to some degree, or where the disturbance to the
snow cover will not seem out-of-place.
Finally, consideration must take into
account the possibility of underground obstacles such as large rocks
or sewer, subway (in urban environments),
or water main lines that can interfere with the ability to dig a
burial site for the cache.
(In the previous installment of
this article, we discussed–well, I discussed, you read–a great
deal of the art and science of locating and hiding caches, in an
overview sort of way. In this installment, I will endeavor to get you
thinking of methods of packaging the materials to be cached, the
contents of the different types of caches, and how to develop a
written cache report format. –J.M.)
In reference to caches, the term
packaging refers not only to whatever container you decide to hide
your goodies in, but also the additional processing needed to protect
those items from adverse storage conditions. Proper packaging is
absolutely crucial, because inadequate packaging, in the face of
those adverse storage conditions (and let’s face it, being
buried in the dirt, or exposed to the elements, is generally adverse
for most manufactured goods), WILL render the cached items
useless in short order (how bad would it suck to be ten days
into a planned four-day foot-mobile patrolling movement, dig up your
food re-supply cache…and find out the cans of Spaghetti-Os had
rusted through, leaking them all over the beef jerky, which had been
gnawed on and shit on by mice?).
All packaging needs to be tailored to
the specific cache. The method of packaging, size, shape, and weight
of the container need to be predicated on what items are to be
included in the cache, as well as how you anticipate it being
recovered (in MY dream world, all my caches would be in 24′
CONEX boxes, would include a generator, refrigerator full of
Coca-Cola, a month’s supply of Copenhagen, a queen sized bed, and
recovery would be accomplished with a Case backhoe…). For
individual-specific caches, intended to be recovered by one person,
the container should generally be no larger than a small suitcase or
backpack, with an upper weight limit of around 30-40 pounds, to
facilitate ease of recovery and the necessity of moving the cached
goods. Obviously some equipment will automatically negate this as a
possibility, but those should be the exception that prove the rule.
If more than one person will be expected to recover the cache (i.e.
a cache of ammunition re-supply for a 4-6 man paramilitary team),
then the packaging should still be divided into separate packages
that are readily portable by the individuals.
When it confronting the specter
of those adverse environmental conditions, the logistics cell must
recognize that any or all of the common threats to caches may be
present: moisture, external pressure, freezing temperatures (in
the northern Rockies? No way….), bacteria and chemical
corrosive agents found in much soil, and even the threat of animals
digging into the cache (insects or rodents…in larger
caches, concealed in exterior sites, larger animals may pose a threat
of damage. There’s a reason Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks
require bear-proof containers for food storage in the backcountry).
The suitability of packaging typically depends on the care taken in
analyzing the site-specific considerations during the planning
process (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor
Performance, remember?). The method of cache to be used
(concealment, burial, submersion), must be
determined in the earliest planning stages, long before any packaging
Even in typical, active UW scenarios,
it is often difficult to know when a specific cache will be needed.
In the case of the modern American resistance, most do not even know
when the active phase of operations will begin, let alone how soon
after that a specific cache will be called on. For these reasons, a
doctrinally sound rule to follow is to design the packaging to
withstand adverse storage conditions for at least the duration of the
normal shelf life of the contents of the cache.
The Packaging Process
The exact process for packaging a
specific cache will depend upon the unique requirements of the cache
and on what packaging material is available. Typically however, there
are certain steps that are almost always necessary:
Inspection: Inspect any items to
be included in the cache for serviceability. It would suck doubly
bad to be running an E&E corridor, recover an arms cache to
re-arm yourself, and discover that the dumb motherfucker who
established the cache didn’t know that the AKM he cached was
missing the firing pin.
Cleaning: All corrodible parts,
such as unfinished metal, must be thoroughly cleaned immediately
prior to packaging, before any final preservative coatings are
applied. Any foreign matter, but especially any known or suspected
corrosive agents, should be removed completely. It is a good idea,
and generally accepted best practice, to handle any items to be
cached, with rubber gloves between the cleaning stage and final
packaging, to prevent corrosion from the salts and acids in human
sweat from your hands (never mind the whole reality that any
fingerprints inadvertently left on the materials would paint a giant
target on your back if the cache was discovered by regime security
Drying: Following the cleaning
process, items should be thoroughly dried. While any one method
might suffice, I suggest a three-fold process. Wipe the contents
down with a dry, highly absorbent towel, then oven-dry or air-dry on
a sunny day, and finally, add a desiccant packet inside the
packaging. To oven-dry items, place them in an oven for at least 3
hours at a temperature of about 110 degrees F.
Coat with Preservative: A light
coat of preservative oil may be applied to weapons, tools, or other
unpainted metal surfaces.
Wrapping: Items should be wrapped
in a suitable material for the added protection offered. The
wrapping material should be as nearly waterproof as possible. Each
item should be waterproofed individually, in order to prevent one
un-noticed perforation exposing all the items in the cache. The
wrapping needs to fit as tightly as possible, with little or no air
remaining, and any seams or openings should be sealed with a
Packing: When final packing of the
cache is conducted, all moisture should be removed from the interior
of the container by heating or applying desiccant (again,
there’s no harm in overkill–do both). Air pockets
should be eliminated, as much as humanly possible, by tight packing
within the container. If nothing else is necessary, or desired in
the cache, use clean, dried clothing, or other soft, dry padding
material that might be useful to the recovery party, whenever
possible, to fill in the extra space, and to provide extra
protection against shock.
Enclose Instructions: If
necessary, or possibly necessary, enclose instructions in how to use
the specific items in the cache to facilitate use or assembly by
recovery party personnel. If a weapons cache, it might even be a
good idea to enclose the technical manual for the particular weapon,
including armorer’s instructions for field-level repairs of the
common shortcomings of the weapon(s) systems in the cache.
Seal and Test: When packing is complete, the lid of the
container must be sealed to make it watertight. Testing should be
conducted to ensure that it is, in fact, waterproof. Testing should
be conducted, if possible, by completely submerging the container in
a hot water bath and watching for escaping water bubbles (hot
water will reveal leaks that might not be revealed by cold-water. I
don’t understand the science behind it, but that’s why I’m not
a fucking scientist).
The single most critical characteristic of wrapping material is
that it is moisture-proof. Additionally, it should be either
self-adhesive, or allow the use of an adhesive sealing agent. The
material should be pliable enough to to wrap tightly, with close
folds and it should be tough enough to resist tears or punctures
during handling. The simplest way to ensure both pliability and
durability, is to combine two layers: an inner, pliable layer, and an
outer, more resilient barrier. The tough outer wrap is absolutely
essential, unless the container and padding is adequate to prevent
items from scraping together inside the cache. There are several
generally recommended wrapping materials that are easy to use and
readily available, and I’ve used everything from aluminum foil and
trashbags wrapped with 100-mph tape, to Zip-Lock baggies, to Tyvek
house-wrap that I taped tightly and then glued the seams shut on. For
my use now, I stick to two methods, both of which I heartily
For items small enough, the best
wrapping available is a FoodSeal-type vacuum sealer. Simply place
the item in the plastic, cut it to size, use the vacuum-sealer, and
you have a waterproof wrapping, with little or no airspace left
inside. It’s idiot-simple.
For larger, bulkier items, I wrap the item tightly in
heavy-duty kitchen-grade aluminum foil (one of the most
highly recommended wrapping materials, doctrinally. It’s
waterproof, unless it gets perforated or torn, self-sealing, and
conforms tightly to the shape of whatever is being wrapped),
then I wrap it in asphalt-type roofing felt, sealing the edges
together with roofing tar. It seems to work like a charm, even for
While many items could theoretically be concealed in just the
inner wrapping materials (especially when using the roofing
felt method), the outer container helps to protect the
contents from shock, pressure, moisture, animal depredations, and
other hazards that the cache may be exposed to, especially when
buried. The ideal container should be completely waterproof and
air-tight after sealing, resistant to shock and abrasions, able to
withstand crushing pressures, lightweight, and equipped with a
sealing device that can be closed and reopened easily and repeatedly,
and capable of withstanding highly alkaline or acidic soil
instrument containers: high-end
containers such as Pelican cases are resilient and waterproof enough
to be used for caches, and they come in various sizes. The biggest
drawback to the Pelican cases is, of course, the expense. A less
expensive alternative would be to scour military surplus stores and
government liquidation auctions to find the steel containers that
aircraft and other precision instruments are shipped in. These have
waterproof seals, for obvious reasons, and range from 1/2 gallon to
10 gallons in size.
Ammunition cans: the standard
favorite of “survivalists” and “militia” types everywhere,
steel ammo cans with the rubber gaskets intact do work remarkably
well, and are relatively inexpensive. The only potential drawback is
the size limitations, which are negligible, since you can find
anything from a small .30-caliber can, all the way up to the larger
cans used for 40-mm grenades, or even rockets.
Steel Drums: the other classic
favorite, the steel 55-gallon drum, actually suffers from a couple
of drawbacks. The obvious one is the sheer size. No recovery team is
going to get that barrel out on a hurry, and depending on what the
cache contents are, they might not even be able to carry all the
shit that will fit inside. Secondly, the most common types available
lack suitable sealing lids. If used, waterproofing sealant must be
used around all openings (seriously, unless you’re planning an
arms cache to resupply a fucking platoon, I recommend staying away
from 55-gallon drums. If you must use them, use the heavy-duty
plastic type, since they will withstand corrosion better.
Paint cans: Often overlooked by
most, these are actually a recommended container in SOF literature
on the subject. They do require a waterproofing seal around the
re-closeable lids, and they are thin metal so they don’t hold up
to corrosion for very long, but they are almost a perfect size for a
one-man pistol and ammunition re-supply, if placed for an evader who
will be using it within a short period of time. It is highly
recommended that you either paint the exterior of the can, or,
better, treat it thoroughly with several coats of roofing tar
Five-Gallon buckets: What survivalist/prepper doesn’t have
a metric shit-ton of plastic, five-gallon buckets with resealable
lids laying around for food-storage. As long as they are not buried
too deep, where crushing from pressure becomes an issue, these are
almost perfect cache containers. One bucket can hold almost an
entire outfit of gear for one man (LC-2 type LBE, a can of
ammunition in magazines, a change of clothes, some boots, and some
food. Even a small carbine or rifle, broken down, can fit. A
shop-built SMG would be a good fit here, after it had been
thoroughly tested for function. I may have a couple of these with AR
lowers, complete, and SBR uppers stashed away somewhere. Or I would,
if it wouldn’t be a violation of BATE fiat regulations…)
Types of Caches
(The following section is
completely non-doctrinal. While it may have existed in SF doctrinal
literature at one time, I am not aware of it. These are strictly my
personnel concepts. –J.M.)
For an underground resistance, I envision three basic types of
The first is the guerrilla re-supply cache we’ve been
discussing. These would be widely dispersed over an organization’s
entire projected area of operations, to facilitate re-supply on the
move in the future. These may also, in the future, be short-term
emplacements made by members of the subversive underground or the
auxiliary, to facilitate operations by the subversive underground or
the paramilitary guerrilla force, based on specific operational
The second is the “storage” cache. This is a method of
dispersing your normal preparedness supplies stockpiles. Instead of
having everything in your basement or “doomsday bunker-retreat”
where it is easy and convenient for regime security forces, foreign
peacekeepers, or roving bands of criminal looters to locate and
steal it, this would allow you to maintain control or possession of
various critical elements of your preparedness items, even if you
had to “bug out” into evasion mode.
The third, and final cache function, as I see it, is the
individual evasion cache. These would be small, one-man re-supplies,
along planned evasion corridors (primary, secondary, and
tertiary, at a minimum). Caches should be placed within one
or two days’ walking distance of each other, to act as en route
waypoints for re-supply as the evader moves. This would allow him to
minimize the load he carried in his “go-bag” evasion kit,
facilitating faster travel during the evasion.
Potential Cache Contents
Caches typically contain certain combinations of items, based on
the mission requirements of the recovery element unit, and the
projected operational needs within the area. An alternative way of
looking at possible cache contents is to consider the “go-bag”
paradigm. What categories of items would you include in a “go-bag?”
Include those categories in your caches, unless it is a specialized
cache (such as an arms cache, or a water or food-resupply
cache). These might include:
Water: again, canteens, bladders,
filters or other purification methods.
shelter and clothing: sleep
systems, clothing, tarps, tents, etc.
Fire starting methods: matches,
lighters, tinder, magnesium strikers.
Food: MREs (the only
application I still have for MREs, because I’d have to be dying to
eat the fucking things!)
Medical supplies: A feasability
study should be conducted to determine the need for caching medical
supplies. While some items, such as CAT-Tourniquets, bandages, and
other non-perishables is self-evident, the expiration dates and the
actual expiration of other medical supplies, from blood-expanding
fluids in IV bags, to anti-biotics (tetracyclines, for
example go toxic after expiration, instead of just losing potency),
must be weighed against the projected time-table of recovery.
Communications: GMRS/FRS two-way
radios, HAM receiver, or complete radios.
Money: silver, gold, or cash,
depending on the projected scenario, and who exactly you expect to
be spending it with. For use in the black-market, any of the above
might be an option. For use with the civilian populace, cash will
generally be the most readily exchangeable, since they will be able
to turn around and spend it as well.
Weapons: Whether complete weapons, critical parts, support
supplies (cleaning kits, magazines, load-bearing equipment,
etc), these are an obvious cache item (all three
Well the August Challenge is pretty much done. I met the run goal. The weight goal I will call a partial completion as I was down 2 pounds at last look but haven't had a scale since. I have learned a few things this month.
[As a disclaimer I am not a physical or in any way by education or certification qualified to give legitimate exercise or fitness advice. Also for background I am a healthy 20 something guy. I have been running on a regular basis for years though with not always with a particularly organized plan. I
probably doubled my mileage this month which nobody advises. That is not necessarily advisable or reasonable.]
The first week or two where I went from a long time of averaging probably 6 miles to 10 or 12 were rough. I adapted quickly and my running capacity and recovery times have improved immensely. What used to be the long run of the week after which I would take a day or two off is now an easy run I can do 2-3 days in a row. Also the increased stamina has really helped me recover on the run after a hill or whatnot and after I need to run faster for whatever reason.
I have heard that you should not add more than 10% distance to a long run (from the last recent, like 2-3 weeks recent, long run) or in total distance a week. Not going to say that is wrong. I ignored that advice in terms of long run distance once and messed my right knee up pretty good. That being said I broke the advice on total distance and it seemed to work OK for me. I did listen to my body on a day to day basis and when a day off was needed I took it.
So this month was a success if not a total one. The next logical question is, what about next month?
Well I am going to keep 50 miles as my goal. I would increase it a bit but as we will do some traveling and I am on leave holding what I've got is a pretty solid goal. I do want to keep working on long runs and do a 10 mile run after some logical progression of 7, 8 and 9 milers.
I need to bring back speed work. It kind of dropped off this month and needs to come back. I want to add it in once a week either by doing sprints or fartleick (sp) type stuff. Speed work is important because actual combat and emergencies require short spurts of full speed and sometimes long term cardio.
John Mosby would probably criticize last month's plan for being seriously lacking in time under a ruck. He would be right. Excuses aside I think I rucked once last month. Not too worried about it because rucking has always come easy to me. I can just grab it and go. However that is not the right answer and while I may be acceptably capable of rucking without training on it I will do better with training.
My broad plan for next month is to do 2 runs and 1 ruck a week. I am thinking a long run, speed work and a ruck that probably is the same distance as the run. If I hit the distances I would like to hit 50 miles will be easy. Anyway that is the goal. We will see what happens.
I was talking to a fellow recently who asked me about potentially putting together some sort of book list. I guess this is the first in the series though if you dig through past book reviews you could get some ideas. Maybe at some point I will make a stand alone page or something.
I really enjoyed On Guerilla Warfare by Che Guevara. Yeah the guy was a Commie but he fought a successful guerilla war. I have nothing in common with his beliefs or goals but I got a lot out of his writing. Now that I have a bit of a sense of the man (assuming he wasn't dead) it would be interesting to sit on a patio with a good bottle of run for an evening and discuss all manner of things. Definitely some lessons to be learned here. It is a quick read and I got a lot out of it. Definitely worth reading.
I also readMao Tse-tung on Guerrilla Warfare. A total pedo and generally a terrible person but he did execure a successful insurgency against the Japanese then took control of China and kept it. This one is relatively long at 128 pages. It has that Oriental way of talking in a circular fashion around subjects. All the same I got some stuff from it.
Over the deployment I read and really enjoyed The Other Side of the Mountain. At some point you will see a review on it (I think it got stashed for a rainy day). The book is a sort of Soviet after action review from the side of the Afghan guerilla fighters. These two Soviet guys tracked down and talked to a bunch of former Afghan guerilla fighters and leaders. It is pretty long, some of the vignettes are redundant or boring and the maps are next to useless (I have absolutely no artistic skills and could make better maps after drinking a half bottle of Whiskey) but it is very worth reading. The insight of highly motivated and poorly equipped guerillas fighting a well equipped mechanized fighting force that has way too much ground to cover and varying motivation is very interesting.
The first book in the "series" The Bear Went Over The Mountain is also worth checking out. The guy I borrowed it from said it was best read while drinking vodka in a smoky bar. It was very interesting to me when I read it prior to deployment to Afghanistan. Maybe less interesting to most folks who read this site than the second book but reading one probably helps to gain understanding of the other.
Anyway that is some of what I have been up to in terms of reading. If you are interested in insurgencies or have been thinking G thoughts then checking some of these out (all PDF and thus FREE!) would be a good idea.
Today I realized that commenting has been a bit light which lead me to look at the main page and realizing I haven't written in a couple days, whoopsy. I have been working through the errands and logistical needs required for us to settle back in here and spending a lot of time with Walker. Really just trying to get settled here so I haven't tried particularly ambitious stuff on any front. Here is some random stuff that has been going on or I have observed.
I filled up our fairly large Earth hating SUV today. It cost about $10 more than I remember. Not a huge deal as we do not drive much but it was interesting.
A bottle of J and B Scotch Whiskey has gone up two bucks in price. This is my house scotch. It is solidly enjoyable but reasonably priced so I don't hesitate to pour a glass on Tuesday if the mood strikes me. I love me some single malts but they start out expensive and go up in a hurry.
Along those lines I picked up a Glenmorangie 10 year and it is quite enjoyable. It is goes down mildly and has a pleasant, slightly spicy aftertaste. I may have to finish the glass and have another to confirm this.
I started putting together my level one survival load. My plan is a small pouch that I can slip into my cargo pocket. Depending on my level of motivation to dig around our stuff to find the right pieces it should be finished in the next few days or so. More to follow on this later. The only piece I am kind of up in the air about is the fire starter. I will go with a Zippo in the short term because I have one lying around (somewhere). However I would like to purchase a Butane lighter, like the kind you can use to weld thin metal or smoke crack underwater. Thoughts or input are appreciated on a specific windproof and or waterproof lighter you have had positive experiences with.