Defensive Operations – Critical to Survival

April 6, 2012 8:39 pm

Defensive Operations, – Critical to Survival

Defensive preparations have been studied by the military for centuries. A defensive plan begins with an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as they may be interpreted by an aggressor. Intelligence about prospective attackers and positioning outposts will minimize the potential of a surprise attack. Will you recognize a diversion and lower your guard; plan for the unexpected. Reinforce your strengths and fortify your weaknesses. A defensive response must be strong, bold; demonstrate overwhelming force.

With prior planning and well thought out defenses you can protect your family, your supplies and your ability to survive.

History – Preparations

Defensive preparations are as old a mankind. In the middle ages there were concentric castles with draw bridges and moats. In the Wild West, they built forts with high walls and watch towers. There are two centuries of examples of defensive preparations for us to draw upon for our own protection. Clearly, we do not live in castles or forts but the principles of fortification are important to consider.

If we prepare ourselves to survive for the difficult times that lay ahead we will have organized our food, water and shelter for our protection. We will have the tools for survival which include those necessary for us to build, rebuild and fortify our home, base camp. We will also have our weapons and ammunition to enable us to defend our stores and equipment and family.

We realize few people are prepared, certainly less than 10% of the population. That means 90% will be unprepared. If you live in a community of 10,000 that means 9,000 people will need and want what you have prepared for your family. If you have ‘it’ and they want ‘it’ – they will eventually try to come and take ‘it’.

Our first mission is to defend our home or our defensive base and stored supplies and family. Plan on it, they are coming to take your stuff or your family. Without law enforcement, no 911 response, you and you alone will be required to defend yourself.

Prepare for Defense?

How do you begin to prepare for defensive operations? There are centuries of examples and the military has volumes on the subject

Defense Mission Objectives

  • -Intelligence
  • -Mission Prep
  • -Defense
  • -Offense
  • -Special Missions
  • -General Mission Prep

When a threat puts us in a survival situation your home, fort will be your first line of defense. The military calculates that a strongly defended position provides a 3:1 stronger position. Simply said, if you have 5 people prepared to defend your position, the bad guys will need at least 15 to give them a reasonable opportunity to defeat your position. Although an opponent cannot be defeated with a defense alone, a good defense can cripple an attacker.


Whether it is a defensive or offensive mission having good intelligence is essential; anything less means you are ‘just guessing’. Defining the Mission Objective and understanding the situation is key. Communicating ‘The Plan’ to your survival team is essential. Everyone needs to know how you will defend your home, your family and your possessions. A clear Operations Order communicates your plan and insures a unified defense; it may also be your key to a successful defensive, offensive, recovery or escape operation. This article examines the manner in which we organize the preparation of our mission plans and implement our survival operations.

You know your position, your team and your fire power. You know the best way to access your property, what are the strongest points and what are your weakest points. Evaluate your position as if you were going to attack it.

A Diversion is Inevitable

The bad guys will ALWAYS begin with a diversion. Even in a surprise attack, they will attempt to distract you with something that is intended to draw your fire or expose your position.  It may be a young child or woman begging for help. It could be a ‘friend’ looking for something to trade. Then again, it could be a fire in close proximity that is intended to frighten you or distract you from your defensive posture. They might try to take a hostage; how do you avoid that exposure. But plan on it, there will be a diversion. When you see something unusual, it may be more, much more than it appears.  Think about how you will react to these circumstances and how you will avoid lessening your defense. Prepare your plan such that your aggressive response is a surprise to any attacker.

If you maintain your overall security plan, no one knows what you have; what supplies, what weapons or how prepared your team is to defend your position. Maintain your confidentiality, if you do speak to someone; NEVER tell them the any information that would give an attacker some insight into your preparedness.

By contrast, if you are out and about, you should gain intelligence about those around you. How many, what do they have, what are their strengths, weaknesses? Learn what about their normal, customary practices; who does what, when. Then when there is a change in their normal practices you can evaluate; why, how might it impact your plans?

Unpredictable, Surprise Attack

Defensive operations are always uncertain and unpredictable because you must guess what an attacker might have in mind. Your decision process is complex; you must think about your options and be adaptive. Also understand the bad guys may be adaptive also. You can never absolutely predict the enemy, consequently, you need a primary plan, plan B, plan C, a reserve force and an escape route if all else fails.

Fundamentals of Planning

  • -Leaders focus on planning
  • -Planning is continuous
  • -Planning is time sensitive
  • -Keep plans simple
  • -Build flexible plans
  • -Design bold plans

As you evaluate your strengths and positions consider alternatives an enemy might consider to attack your position. Your knowledge and the ability to avoid a surprise attack begin with a good perimeter defense. Position groups of two, if possible, outside your main position as an OP, observation post. This OP can give you an early warning if they see anything suspicious. A radio, laser light, flashlight, whistle or a warning shot would be a pre- determined communication. You may be able to determine how many, how well armed and their direction of influence. You may also determine what type of diversion is planned.

You may set up an agreement with your neighbors to alarm you and others if they see a potential threat. The greater the size and scope of your intelligence and defensive team, the better your defensive plans can be implemented.

Defensive Perimeter

You can reinforce your weakest positions with barricades, obstacles and trip wires or some sort of alarm to lessen any surprise or confuse the attackers. Cover your windows with plywood, steel plate or black plastic to conceal your actions. You can establish positions that are concealed for observation or defense. Add camouflaged positions in the bushes so an attacker would be seriously surprised to feel the impact of multiple weapons targeting their offensive actions.

At all times maintain one person ‘on the lookout’ at your base position to the sound an alarm if there is any unusual activity or sign from an OP. The ‘lookout’ must know how to alert everyone of any unusual activity. You should be prepared to respond immediately with one or two people then initiate your defensive plan as defined by the threat. You will want to concentrate your firepower on your weakest points. Teams of two or more can provide defensive fire and can overwhelm an attacker.

The primary objective of any defensive operation is to halt the aggressor. This does not mean you defeat the aggressor but it may be sufficient to diffuse the aggression, delay the tactics and weaken the aggressor so they lose momentum to the point they feel their action is just not worth the loss of manpower and ammunition. Make it too hard a fight that is why overwhelming action in the early stages is so important. During this period and until there is a complete withdrawal you must maintain a strong covered position.

Do Not Counter Attack

Do not consider a counter attack unless you can maintain your basic defensive position and swiftly return to your base if the tide turns against you. A perceived withdrawal may be a diversion to cause you to weaken your defenses and disperse your assets in a counter attack. Use any quiet period to rearm, resupply and reorganize your forces. Stay in your defensive position until you are absolutely convinced the attackers have withdrawn; then wait a while longer.

Your plan will be a continuous evolving framework of countering anticipated actions that maximize your opportunities and serve to guide you and your team through each phase of your defense. If you have properly thought out your defensive position you can adjust your plans as the situation demands. By planning in advance and discussing the variables with your team in advance, you all can be prepared to deal with the variables in concert.

There are many factors to consider in your defensive plan. You should have your back up plan and always have a reserve force, even if it is one person with a strong position and considerable firepower. If your defense fails, you should know how to escape and evade capture. Never get into a posture where hand to hand combat will become a possibility. You need to withdraw to a rendezvous point and should have planned ahead with a cache of supplies and weapons to fight another day.  If well prepared, you can consider surprising those who may have taken your supplies.

Analyze, Reinforce, Prepare

When the action is over analyze your response, what worked, what you could have done better, where were your weakest points and how do you reinforce them. Consider that an attacker now knows your defensive plan may return and will expect the same defense. Use your creativity to plan for their return. Prepare and survive and stay strong.

Your leadership and planning are critical to your success. Regardless of all your weapons and ammunition without a defensive plan you will not survive. Be strong, be smart, survive.

Survival Operations: preparation & operational security for threatening times.

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