Showing posts with label Mountain Guerilla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mountain Guerilla. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

"From the historical perspective, guerrilla warfare is far more conventional than formal armies are."
-John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rucking, Combat Fitness and Realistic Goals

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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Data Dump At Mountain Guerilla

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.

Go forth to read then do

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Patrolling Discusion

John Mosby and Max Velocity are having an interesting discussion on patrolling worth keeping up on. They both made excellent points. You need to know how to conduct patrols. If you do not know this save a few bucks and go learn. Max Velocity is running a 25% off summer discount which will make the hit to your wallet a bit easier.

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.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

"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."
-Rooster Cogburn

Or brought up to current day thought/ language the OODA process as explained by Mountain Guerilla.

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Interesting Discussion on Load Out's Part 1 of 2

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


 







Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tab Clearing

Very interesting info on long term food storage shelf life. May not agree with their religious beliefs but they take food storage seriously and are willing to help heathens like me.

Carteacho reloaded some steel cased Wolf ammo and is going to shoot it then discuss. This could be interesting.

7 Gun Companies tell New York to pound sand. One of those companies is Midway which I recommend solely based on my personal experiences. Time to work on a few more. Hat tip to Mountain Guerrilla for the find.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Since Everybody Else is Talking Shotguns I will also

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.

Negative

 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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Diane Feinstein's AWB Version 2

The much dreaded Assault Weapons bill was presented. I urge you to write your representatives and tell them in a nice polite way that criminals by definition break the laws and this will only hurt law abiding gun owners. If you are lazy like me Ruger makes it super easy by having a nice form letter ready to go and looking up your reps automatically. Seriously if you care about anything I say take the time to let our representatives know that you are against this.

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.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Resistance S4: The Logistics of Successful Re-Supply Cache Planning by John Mosby

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.

Resistance S4: The Logistics of Successful Re-Supply Cache Planning

(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 stupid.
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.
Caching Methods
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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 time.
  3. 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 features.
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 struggles).
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 her attic!
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 concealment.
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.
Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Somewhere in the mountains

(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.)
Packaging
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?).
Determining Factors
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 is undertaken.
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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 forces!).
  3. 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.
  4. Coat with Preservative: A light coat of preservative oil may be applied to weapons, tools, or other unpainted metal surfaces.
  5. 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 waterproof substance.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
Wrapping Materials
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 recommend:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 several years.
Container Criteria
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 conditions.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 compound.
  5. 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 cache functions.
  1. 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 requirements.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 Concepts
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:
  1. Water: again, canteens, bladders, filters or other purification methods.
  2. shelter and clothing: sleep systems, clothing, tarps, tents, etc.
  3. Fire starting methods: matches, lighters, tinder, magnesium strikers.
  4. Food: MREs (the only application I still have for MREs, because I’d have to be dying to eat the fucking things!)
  5. 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.
  6. Communications: GMRS/FRS two-way radios, HAM receiver, or complete radios.
  7. Light Sources: flashlights, candles, lanterns, batteries, fuels.
  8. Tools: knives, hatchets or axes, saws, wire, repair kits, pioneer tools.
  9. 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.
  10. Weapons: Whether complete weapons, critical parts, support supplies (cleaning kits, magazines, load-bearing equipment, etc), these are an obvious cache item (all three cache functions).
-END-







Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Challenge Completion Thoughts

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.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Books Worth Reading: Guerilla War and Insurgencies

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 read Mao 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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Random Thoughts: Inflation, Scotch and my Field Survival Load

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.

So that is what's going on right now.

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