The Ingredients for your Victory: Tactics + Gear

Forest Fighting: The Battle of Hurtgen Forest
October 1, 2013
Expanding on two comments: The Ingredients Post
October 2, 2013
There was a very good response to my recent post ‘Realistic Rucking‘ some of which I want to extract and use to make some points in this post. As I progress with this blog and the training site, things are starting to coalesce. The method  in the madness is becoming more apparent to me. 
What do I mean by that? Well, as I evolve on my journey with this, and I meet more people, train more people, blog more, and see comments, my ideas are evolving. How I want to train people, and how they should best plan to operate, is also evolving.
On a personal/family level, I started off on this journey with a  lot to learn about being a ‘prepper’, in terms of the things to know and to acquire from a food and shelter perspective in order to be able to survive SHTF. I brought my tactical experience to try and help people survive the physical threats that such an SHTF situation will bring. Then, I became more aware of the challenges on the political side, brought by statist authoritarianism and the ongoing attacks on Liberty. 
The conclusion of this is that however ‘SHTF’ specifically pans out, there will most definitely be a tactical threat of some sort, which means people that you will need to fight. This will run the potential spectrum from starving marauders through to actual militarized enemy forces (enemies foreign or domestic). This is where I part ways with many ‘preppers’. 
‘Preppers’ want to hunker down and emerge at the end when it is all OK. They are often pretty delusional. They think they will be left alone. A lot of them miss the need for a tactical approach to defend their AO, and they also situate themselves too much around their stores – their ‘list of lists’ – so that when an upheaval comes, a dislocation of expectations, they will be left fumbling. “What about my stock of Mountain House!” you hear them exclaim as they run naked out the back of their retreat. They also tick the box for defense and think they will be OK by purchasing a few firearms and a stock of ammo. Meanwhile, they are often fat-asses who need an ATV to  move about. Granted, I am not saying you don’t need a supply of food and prepper items; clearly you do need to have something to eat, but it can’t be all about that. 
There was some collectivist libtard who recently made a comment about ‘preppers’ being selfish. Although I disagree with the sentiment behind it, and the REASON for why that was said (i.e. come back to the hive, the State will look after you), I don’t entirely disagree. The point is that you have to take action to dominate your AO, whether that is with a close-in offensive form of defense at your rural retreat, or a more active engagement in a resistance campaign. And how do you think the actual resistance fighters will feel about the fat-asses holed up in their bunkers, not doing any of the heavy lifting? Maybe they will do some redistribution of their own….
The point is that, for many of us, it is not about simply holing up and surviving, it is about going out and fighting to WIN. To defeat the bad guys. Granted, if you engage in combat there is a chance you will be wounded or killed. Most of us are willing to put it on the line because we believe in Liberty, we believe in Freedom, and we will not be oppressed; we will not kneel to tyranny. That is why we train, plan and apply tactics in order to increase our chances of success and mitigate the dangers as much as we can, while having an effect on the enemy 
The purpose of this article is to give you some pointers as to how you can win. I will state here that I am not talking about ‘leaderless resistance’ (LR). Even if you are a small group, you will have a leader, and even though when the hammer falls circumstances may mean that you may find yourself operating without connections to other groups; if you can establish a network, then clearly you will be better off by doing so. Run with what you have, but aspire to alliances and a network.
Firstly, if you are the type of guy referred to in the comment below, then you either need to stop, listen, learn and re-think drastically what you are about, or you are dead already and you should just close this webpage and move on. If your idea of exceptionalism is this:
“As I was watching a “training video” over at “Free North Carolina”; I realized something. Your average 325lb donut eater has no intention of EVER moving his “ruck” any further than the back of his SUV. They PLAN to conduct “opps” by driving around conducting 50 meter or less “firefights” -jumping back in the car and speeding away-and yes they DO plan on having theme music-and beer-and donuts. OMG Its the Homer Simpson militia!—Ray”

….then you need to get a grip.
OK, now onto the tactics. There are some clear pointers that I will put together here, in no particular order:
1) Tactical Team: you are going to need a trained, equipped and functional tactical team, anything from four guys and upwards, preferably a squad of twelve, in order to conduct tactical operations in your AO. Your guys must be well trained in light infantry ‘old school’ basics. Fieldcraft, shooting, small unit tactics, raid, ambush etc. 
2) PT: your guys need to be fit enough to conduct dismounted operations carrying a fighting load for at least three days at a time out in the boonies. This means fit enough to remain alert and not let standards of fieldcraft lapse just because they got tired. 
3) Retreat/Base: you need to move the families of the group to a safe location at a suitable time. Do not be dispersed and living at home when the HIT teams start going house to house. You need to think about being at a secluded rural or semi-rural location.
4) Base protection. You need to have a defense force for the base where the group’s families are located. If the tactical team is there, they can do this, but the vital thing is that if they are to move out and operate, there needs to be a group that will defend the base in their absence.  That could be a mixture of training and arming the women and leaving those who are not physically up to dismounted operations behind in a defensive role. 
5) You need to actively defend the AO around your retreat. This will be with a mixture of static defensive positions at the retreat itself, active ground domination patrols, OP’s and standing patrols. If you can make alliances with neighbors then all the better. Don’t alienate potential allies. The reality of this is that the tactical team, when at the retreat, will be engaged in a rotation of rest, OP/sentry and local patrolling. The ‘B team’ will take over at times when the tactical team, or part of it, goes out on a mission, such as a raid or ambush. 
6) You will need all the basics of prepper supplies such as food and all that stuff on the usual prepper ‘list of lists’. If you don’t have something, make do. If it comes down to it, go out and get it – barter, forage or take it off a selfish fat-ass after he set his killer bees on you, or shot at you from the ridge with his long range sniper rifle. 
7) Don’t operate close to your retreat. Learn to move out using tactical movement and alternative means to vehicles, such as patrolling, using ATVs, mules/horses or whatever. You only want to fight in the vicinity of your retreat if it actually comes under attack. Don’t draw the wrath of the Regime to where your families are hiding. 
8) If you don’t have a widespread network or communications system, you will be reduced to operating against the Regime using locally gathered Intel, word of mouth, your own patrolling and OP’s etc. You will be reduced to observing enemy movement and locations in your AO and picking where you are going to hit. This is where it gets close to Leaderless Resistance, but not intentionally, mainly due to circumstances. Deconfliction and coordination suffer.
9) Be prepared for your retreat to become untenable for whatever reason, and be prepared/plan to move on. Don’t get psychologically wedded to your basement full of mountain house. In a full SHTF situation, like all such upheavals in history, the situation will shift with large migrations and changes. The tides of war. Your retreat location is a short to medium term option and in the end you may end up trekking out to somewhere else. 
10) You are not secret agents. When you conduct operations, it is out in the boonies as a tactical team, with your fighting gear on. Patrol well and be sneaky. Don’t get tied up in urban areas. You need to be able to create stand off around your team using good patrolling skills. You only come in to your target area after trekking through the boonies to the target, hit it and move out. It doesn’t matter what you wear, camo or earth-tone clothing, so long as it is suitable clothing/colors for tactical operations. You are not getting away with it anyway if you are caught, with your gear. Even if you dump your gear, do you think that “Military Ages Males” caught near the scene of an ambush are not going to be detained, arrested or just killed?
11) I saw something on a website talking about how modern operations have moved to the urban areas. Not for you. Stay out in the boonies and operate there. As just mentioned, you only come in towards an urban or semi urban area if that is what you have to do to hit a target. The urban ares are death traps and need to be avoided. If that is where the Regime are concentrated, so what? You hit them when they make moves out into the boonies. If the Regime are confined to the urban areas, and cannot make inroads into the rural areas, then they lose anyway. They have to try and suppress the resistance by moving out and trying to dominate routes and the smaller urban/semi-urban centers.
12) Which leads me on the the following: ‘SP’ has recently started commenting on my posts. He is a BritMil guy with a couple of Helmand tours under his belt. A recent exchange pulled out some real nuggets. It’s something we are all guilty of – in the quest to be ‘tacticool’ we want to emulate either how we used to do things/be equipped or how the goons are doing it – or more realistically, the wannabe goons are emulating how real soldiers used to do things/how they look and then people in turn want to emulate that…… Have a look at this:
SP Comments (on ‘Realistic Rucking‘):
Just to add my £0.02 and a bit long.

Training for my first Afghan tour in ’08, we would carry realistic weight (or so we all thought) in our bergens, usually around 60lb+ excluding weight of weapon/helmet/body armour over 8-10 miles around the Catterick training area (hills galore but not like Wales, thank God). There was no webbing being worn on these tabs either. Just solid weight in a bergen. I was already the wrong side of 30 by that stage and although could easily cruise CFT’s, I admit I found these tabs hard simply due to the sheer amount of weight. A lot of us, senior ranks included, could not understand the benefits of that sort of training as it did not reflect the realities of where we were going to be operating.

The first time we started carrying proper Afghan weight (which was far in excess of what we trained with) was when we arrived at Bastion, where we were issued our (old desert style pre MTP) osprey plate carriers. Whereas I found carrying 60lb+ in a bergen quite hard, I found carrying the higher Afghan weights easier as I was able to evenly spread the loads out around my osprey and my ECM patrol pack. On that tour we were all easily carrying in excess of 110lb+ (plate carrier/weapon/ammunition/ECM. I once weighed all my kit and it topped out at 128lb’s.

I was still blowing out my arse though…….just not as much.

By the time I started training for my second tour 3 years later there had been a big shift by the Army in training with weight. The new OFT (Operational Fitness Test) were in force. During the 9 months pre-deployment training my Battalion only did 3 or 4 CFT’s and I think only 2 PFT’s. Instead we simply concentrated on very long marches at a more realistic patrol pace carrying the exact kit we would be using in theatre, minus the ECM so bergens simply had breeze blocks thrown in! Whilst still hard, it was more realistic and as such, more beneficial.
(****omitted for brevity*****)
To add to the point of weight carrying: Carrying a dead weight on your shoulders is never a good idea, however with a bit of common sense and redistributing of weight, those otherwise heavy loads can become much more manageable. Selection of load bearing equipment is vital to effective carrying of weight.

Max Velocity Replies:

Great input, and the updates on the OFT. Keep stuff like this coming please!

I think your point about the load weight being distributed is great, and something I was trying to convey in a comment above when I was asked about whether the quoted 55lb weight was inclusive of load bearing gear, and of course I was just talking about a simple ruck. Once people move from the suggested hiking/rucking training to wearing their full gear, they will have that spread around the body, and thus distributed as you point out.
Your comment does touch on a related topic though – that of the infantry load and the gross overloading of soldiers. Note that I am saying that people may be carrying 70lbs of gear when they have their full fighting load on plus assault pack they should try and avoid carrying more. Granted, they don’t have ECM to carry. To carry the kind of weight you suggest, 128lb, will slay most if they try and operate tactically – and tell me if I am not wrong, but it also slew you humping that round Helmand right?! And that is despite countless training exercises and tabs carrying it prior to deployment?

So there are some really good points there – 
1) Train realistically in a more patrolling/hiking fashion rather than as a speed march.
2) When you wear your fighting load, the spread if the weight will assist you – and you may not be able to train in tactical vest/PC as a commenter mentioned above – you may just have to wear a ruck or perhaps a weight vest.
3) Don’t carry too much, even if it is spread around your body. Infantry are carrying too much nowadays, which impacts on their agility under fire.

SP Replies: 

Stumbling around the Helmand countryside with extreme weight did mean that operating tactically went right out the window. Just could not be done. You’d get fleeting glances of Taliban running around in trainers whilst your blowing out your hoop just shuffling too and fro. Even getting back on to your feet from the kneeling position was an effort. All of us bods and juniors would have been quite happy to have sacrificed ECM and scaling equipment in return for mobility. I would also say that the extreme loads had a mitigating factor in a lot of lads being killed and wounded over the years. The locals know just how heavy our kit is, so would plan their attacks and IED zones accordingly. Sneaky little bastards. Now with the style of old school Brit infantry style of training you teach, it could lead to a sort of role reversal. If and when the US goes tits up and the Goons are out hunting in force, chances are they will be the ones that will be weighed down with all the gear (and no idea) which could be a major game changer. That will be one of their weak links in their armor.
Ok, so there it is, hitting the nail on the head right there in bold. You need to train to carry an effective fighting load, but without carrying too much weight. Don’t simply try and replicate what guys are carrying/doing on OEF/OIF. And remember the way to victory is to train in old school effective light infantry tactics. Remember survivor bias – a lot of what is going on in Iraq/Afghan is adapted to the situation. A lot of old school basics have been forgotten, and a lot of guys have got away with stuff because the Iraqis/Afghans can mostly not hit shit with their AKs. They may have survived, but it doesn’t mean they were doing it right. 
13) In my post ‘Gear Philosophy Update‘ I talked about realistic gear/weight to carry. Let’s get into that a little. You don’t want to overload yourself, but you will still be carrying a decent amount of weight if you are to be effective. ‘Light Infantry’ does not actually mean ‘light’! But you have to make sure you don’t go too far, and try and carry the kind of weight that SP was talking about. 
In terms of body armor/plates, its great to have., But that comes as a reward for fitness. First put on the required fighting load, and if you are fit enough to also wear plates, then do so. But if you put on plates, in particular those heavy-assed steel Patriot plates, and you are unable to move, then dump them. If you can’t  move you can’t fight. 
So you need a basic fighting load consisting of a battle belt or vest/chest rig/plate carrier (PC). You also need to carry an assault pack, which in my concept is actually more like a ‘three day pack’. The idea here is to carry a small ruck that will allow you to stay out for several days but will still allow you to move and fight. It is the sort of ruck that you would not have to dump at the first sniff of contact. Yes, you will cache it before a raid, but in a contact drill you won’t have to leave it behind. Get where I am going with this….?  It’s a balance of having gear to live out in the field with, without taking it all plus the kitchen sink. Given that I have my first Patrol class coming up in January, and we are going into winter, let’s look at what a winter example might entail. Remember, you have to be vicious in culling gear, and you will ‘travel light freeze at night’. 
So, a three day pack (TDP) will be a little bigger than a standard assault pack but it won’t be a full ruck. These are the sort of things you will want to consider having for a winter load. You may choose some over others and you won’t necessarily take all on this very rapidly thrown together list. Don’t forget a waterproof liner or canoe bag inside your ruck to keep the contents dry. I may also have forgotten items:
Sleeping system: thermal mat (thermarest), goretex bivvy bag, sleeping bag. You will be wearing clothes inside the bag and you won’t take a huge four-season bag. Go for a lighter sleeping bag to save weight/bulk and prepare to be a little chilly. The space required for sleeping gear is primarily why you need a larger pack than a basic assault pack. Stuff the bag, inside the bivvy bag, into the bottom of the TDP.
Tarp/Thermal Shield: yes I haven’t produced it yet but when I do, I suggest you use the thermal shield concept to keep the eyes of aerial thermal surveillance off you. The basic tarp or thermal shield is also used for shelter from rain/snow. Use paracord/bungees pre-attached the the corners and use trees or cut sticks as appropriate to put it up. 
Spare Ammo/magazines (more below): Best to have it in magazines, but you could also go for stripper clips in a bandoleer. Given what I see with guys leaving mags on my ranges, either get good at using a dump pouch/shirt front or take more magazines!
Spare socks/t-shirts
Warm clothing/jacket/thermal underwear/hat/gloves etc.
Goretex waterproof outer layer, jacket/trousers.
Night vision + Batteries.
Weapon cleaning kit/spares/lube: not to do a  full deep clean of your rifle., but to get the worst rust/carbon off it, fix malfunctions, lube it up, keep it running.
Lightweight stretcher/medical gear – to supplement the IFAK on your belt kit. More in depth stuff, like sutures. This is where you start to specialize across the team, with the medic going more in depth on what first aid gear he carries, others making up by carrying other stuff.
Solo  stove or similar: you need to be able to heat water/food. Dig the stove in, clear the area around it, then re cover it once you are done
Rations: either stripped down MRE’s or whatever you replace it with when they run out. In MRE terms, no more than two entree meals a day, snack on the other stuff like pound cake throughout the day/lunch etc. 
Water bladder/filter/purification drops: To supplement any canteens or bladder on your person. Hopefully there is plenty of water around in the winter. This is where you balance summer/winter. This winter list is heavy on ‘snivel’ gear, less heavy on water. In the heat, you can dump most of the snivel gear and load up more on water (but you may add a bug net to sleep in, for example). 
The makings: of hot tea/coffee/hot chocolate. For morale, at least dawn/dusk if you can. Drink hot drinks, heat up your food if you can and as the tactical situation allows. 
ETH – entrenching tool. For taking dumps and digging in as necessary. 
In conclusion, that is a short example list of the kind of thinking behind what you pack in your TDP. Not too much, enough to survive the cold. There are a multitude  of other little items that you can consider if I was gong to do a full list – paracord, wire saw, trash bag etc etc.
Ammunition: I would recommend at minimum 8 thirty round magazines on your person with at least the same again in your pack as a  reserve. Also, amend that depending on your mission. But your only resupply will be what you have with you. 
In the tradition of using statistics to make up examples which bear no semblance to what actually happens in reality here are some statistics for your ammunition (stats nerds: you can really get your teeth into this one!):
8 magazine = 240 rounds. 
Deliberate rate of fire is one round every 6 seconds, or ten rounds per minute. With 240 rounds that gives you 24 minutes of fire.
Rapid rate of fire is one round every two seconds, or thirty rounds a minute. With 240 rounds that gives you 8 minutes of fire. 
Remember that in a panic people tend to go more for the rapid fire, and training them to go more for the deliberate accurate fire is the hard part. 
In conventional military planning, in an assault, you will plan on 15 minutes per every 100 meters of ground that needs to be covered under enemy fire. So, with 8 minutes of rapid fire available  you will only get half way, or 50 meters. Ok, Ok, its not entirely applicable, but I said that at the beginning – I’m using useless stats to make a point….!
Carry as much ammo as you can without being stupid about it!
That is probably enough for now.
Live Hard, Die Free.

UPDATE: in order to address a couple of matters in the comments, I have posted in more detail HERE.


  1. Anonymous says:

    All I will add to this comes from my own personal experiences in the wonderful lands of the mideast. Half the shit in my pack I didn’t use/need or didn’t feel like digging out, setting up, and packing it back. As my experience grew and I became less of “boot” the lighter my pack became. Regardless of Battalion packing lists. You can survive with very little if you’re willing to shiver and be a little hungry.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Reading your list for packing it sounds like you need an ALICE pack without the frame. Patrol pack to me sounds like some grub, some ammo, some tools and a sleep system that is not 8lbs like maybe a poncho and liner. That list sounds like what I could put in a pack I could tactically move in, and yes I am in shape at least for a 50 year old.

  3. QuietMan says:

    The Light Infantry concept was to move an ’80s leg infantry division in fewer than 500 C141 sorties. It had nothing to do with fighting.

    Anon2, take a look at the medium ALICE with frame and the old spaghetti strap sleeping bag carrier. Add a couple of two quart canteen pouches outside and you’ve got a good, modular set up for little money. Untacticool old school, but it works. The new MOLLE with giant assault pack is the expensive answer to this set up and a duffle bag in the truck. I have a MOLLE ruck, or two, but in my defense, I didn’t pay for them….

    • Max Velocity says:

      Pedantic: that is a US Army centric view on light infantry, sounds like its from 80’s policy: the concept has been around since the Napoleonic wars, with the creation of the “Light Infantry” and the Royal Green Jackets – using the rifle rather than the musket and skirmish tactics rather than the ‘thin red line’. History buffs will be able to give more depth on that.
      But yes: your point is solid, that ‘light infantry’ is not ‘light’ – it is really referring to dismounted (or truck mounted) , rather than mechanized or armored infantry – which in reality means that they have to carry more gear because they don’t have vehicles at hand to carry their rucks!

    • QuietMan says:

      There’s a reason it’s a US centric view. 😉 The concept was valid, but the execution was a bit lacking.

      The good news for us is we don’t have the burden of top driven training requirements that took away from combat tasks and sapped the effectiveness of LI training in those days. We should be able to concentrate on physical fitness, SOPs, battle drills, marksmanship, cross training and all the various subtasks that support those.

      The OPTEMPO in our scenarios will be greatly reduced, probably to the guerilla standard of one hit/month. The rest of the time will be spent on recon, refit, recovery, and positioning caches/support/etc. to support the next operation. That’s one weakness we need to address, particularly because of the bad thoughts instilled by a robust support network in theatre.

      Americans aren’t particularly patient, so this requires some mindset change.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah QM I have a ALICE with frame and it doesn’t seem to meet the definition of 3 day pack more like a ruck, but I could be confused.

      As for LI an old acquaintance was a Ranger in the Korean war and their specialty was infil and kill. As an aside I have met three Rangers in my life and IMO they all were killers. I think they meet what I would call the LI standards. Whereas my beloved Corps would be considered shock troops for toe to toe combat the Ranger group being a little more flexible in doctrine, I could be wrong.

    • Max Velocity says:

      I’ll take a little leap here, by using an example of a pack. Here is the link to an image of a Kifaru Navigator:

      Now, this is: 4,000c.i./65.54 liters, which carries an inherent danger – you can cram a whole bunch of stuff into 65 liters! So it is a dangerous example and it is also more expensive than most would consider. It’s an example. It is a pack that has space for a winter sleep system while not being too big – a sleeping system is not heavy but it takes up space. Here is the spiel from the website:

      This is a serious multi-mission patrol pack that is easily capable of carrying a week’s worth of gear, yet still has a narrow, stealthy design. The interior is loaded with PALS front to back, full length. A Kifaru first!

      1,000d Cordura
      6 lbs., 5 oz./2.86kg.
      24″ stays with Precision Lift™
      Access: Panel
      Separate sleeping bag compartment with zip access
      Interior hang loop for water bladders
      4 zipper pulls on front panel provide pinpoint accessibility
      Accepts all MOLLE compatible pockets
      The suspension is amazingly low profile, yet the most comfortable ever offered on a military pack of any size with ANY weight load – exceeded only by our own Duplex Suspensions. Deceptively thin, it is anatomically contoured to eliminate hot spots and spread weight over a large portion of your pelvic area – where you are designed to carry weight. Don’t let it fool you – massive padding is NOT necessary to handle large loads.
      Thin foam encased with 1000d Cordura for durability. All our packs are designed to ride comfortably in your lumbar area, with the weight funneled directly to the waistbelt. This alleviates upper body fatigue and gives you a better range of motion

      So: this serves as a good example, so long as you keep the weight down and don’t try and fill all available space. Having a little bit of space gives you flexibility if you do have to go on a longer mission, or hump more gear into a patrol base, or whatever.

    • Max Velocity says:

      A Medium ALICE would also suit.

  4. Chuck says:

    Re: Light Infantry as a concept. It’s not about the load you carry or the mode of transport, it’s about your mission set. QM is correct about the US Army’s 1980s Light Infantry Division concept basically boiling down to the number of C-141 sorties it took to move a “Light Infantry” Division (LID) from CONUS to Europe. However, there was a concerted effort to start adapting that abortion (one example of the inherent flaws in the LID design: the 11 man rifle squad was reduced to 9 men simply because a) the manpower for creating the new LIDs was taken “out of hide,” i.e., the Army didn’t get any new end strength to create this new force structure, and b) see above re: number of C-141 sorties – combat effectiveness had little or nothing to do with that decision) to classical light infantry missions. Some examples of this included night infiltration attacks, stay behind operations, raids, ambushes, etc. The idea was that once the Soviets rolled across the Fulda Gap and were on their way to Paris, there would be several US and NATO divisions fighting in small groups behind enemy lines. Not sure how it would have worked in practice, but that is what is meant by “light infantry.” To say that a dismounted infantry unit is “light infantry” simply by virtue of being dismounted is something we in the US Army are guilty of probably more than any other Western army.

    Max’s reference to the light infantry concept going back to the Napoleonic era is correct, but it goes back quite a bit further than that. The ancient Greeks, for example, used light troops to augment their heavy infantry (Hoplites) to skirmish, defend flanks, forage and raid. In the British Army during the 18th Century through the Napoleonic era, British infantry battalions were organized into ten companies; one heavy company (Grenadiers) used for assaulting, 8 line companies that provided the bulk of the firepower, and a Light Company that was used for traditional light infantry tasks such as skirmishing. It should be noted that there was little or no difference in the equipment and weapons (the Brown Bess musket and bayonet) of the Grenadier, Light and line companies. It was all about the role they played. There were specialized Rifle Regiments as Max notes, but they were reserved for specialized missions because the slow rate of fire of their Baker rifles made them unsuitable for line infantry work.

    In other words, light infantry is all about the mindset and the mission set. Heavy infantry uses shock and massed firepower to break the enemy line. Light infantry uses infiltration tactics and stealth and avoids the enemy’s strength to attack his weakness. The nature of light infantry tactics, however, demands a high level of skill, discipline and physical endurance. You don’t just ride your Bradley to the trenchline and jump out to clear it while the 25mm chain guns suppress the poor bastards in the trench. Nope, you’ve gotta walk a long way around the trenchline and attack the enemy’s rear areas without ever going near the trenchline. And then you have to get the hell out of there without being killed or captured.

  5. Edheler says:

    This and realistic rucking were great articles Max!

  6. justin says:

    In terms of body armor/plates, its great to have., But that comes as a reward for fitness.

    Very good stuff here. Thanks.

  7. “The point is that, for many of us, it is not about simply holing up and surviving, it is about going out and fighting to WIN. To defeat the bad guys. Granted, if you engage in combat there is a chance you will be wounded or killed. Most of us are willing to put it on the line because we believe in Liberty, we believe in Freedom, and we will not be oppressed; we will not kneel to tyranny. That is why we train, plan and apply tactics in order to increase our chances of success and mitigate the dangers as much as we can, while having an effect on the enemy.”

    If we live the above in our respective AO’s, and become the example, like-minded people will eventually join us, and all else will fall into line. Hell, one or two of us might even make to the other side….

  8. Sarah says:

    Max, your comments about offensive spirit are great; you talk about dominating the ground through patrolling and targeting en mobility routes…but what other offensive ops can a small group achieve? What factors should we be considering? Bearing in mind my aim is to keep my family safe…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Moving the Women and Kids may not be an option. For small children ,pregnant women, the sick and the elderly. Bugging out is a death sentence. Forming a CIDG and holding ground is really the only option to starvation. I am located in the middle of several hundred square miles of prime farmland. Once the insanity has swept past us we are in a good spot. But like villagers in the middle ages we must hold or perish. My problem is to convince the sheep to fight or at least support the effort to grow food and survive. Throwing people out of the lifeboat is NOT an option because we’ll need every hand to work the soil once the fuel runs out. Telling Joe that he has to work but his pregnant wife is on half ration because she can’t, is also out-unless you just lust to keep slaves. My point? There is one hell of a lot more to village CIDG OPPS than patrolling and rucking. Just something to consider if we want to win.—Ray — Hearts and minds guys–hearts and minds

  10. Anonymous says:

    Respectfully, this is bordering on ridiculous.

    Sixteen (16) magazines and 480 rounds of ammo itself is about 18 pounds. Another 9 pounds for your AR rifle with optics. Add on canteens, water, food, compass, NVGs, pack, etc. and your “patrol” is going to be tits up on the ground gasping for a medic. Few of your readers are capable of carrying anything close to the weights that you are suggesting.

    Why do I say that?

    Here is a video with a few of your typical readers…

    There is something else that needs to be remembered. Any patrol is going to be expending more calories than they can carry and more calories than their comrades back at basecamp can PRODUCE! If there really is a SHTF scenario than it is going to be all hands on deck: to tend to the fields, tend to the garden, tend to the nets; and the traps; to check the snares and hunt for game.


    Because the local Piggly Wiggly will be closed for good.

    When it comes to patrols (if necessary) the use of vehicles, ATVs, horses, bicycles, even pack animals make more sense.

    • Max Velocity says:

      You, Sir, have clearly not been listening (‘Respectfully’ LOL). How to answer this in minimum words? Read the blog, read my books.
      1. No-one ever said it was going to be easy. Infantry work takes effort and fitness.
      2. PT
      3. I have not had time to look at the video in full, but the bottom line is that these guys are training, which is likely more than you are doing – so it is not the critic that counts, but the man in the ring with blood on his face.
      4. 7/11 Closed? No shit sherlock, it’s fucking SHTF. Isn’t that the point?
      5. If you read the blog you would see how much I bang on about tactical mobility and options in that realm.
      6. PT
      7. Yes calories will be limited, that’s why we plan for SHTF and have a team (families etc) at the retreat. You can still carry your infantry fighting gear if 7/11 is closed – just look at history.

      Oh no, Sheetz is closed and I can’t order my fat burger on the touch screen computer, so all my SHTF planing is out the window. Fuck, who would have thought it, right….?

      You sir, need to grasp your balls, to check if they are still there, then do some push ups and pack a fighting load.


    • Anonymous says:

      Ammunition – You don’t need to carry 16 magazines. You can effectively carry 4-6 magazines (8 as a maximum if you so desired) and carry the remaining ammunition in a bandolier with a speed loader handy. Now, if you only have the old metal style magazines, then that will be a decent bit of weight when fully bombed up, but certainly not something that is going to break your back. If it does then you’ve got serious stamina problems. However if you had PMAGS ect, then the weight is greatly reduced. If memory serves me correctly, three full PMAG’s of 30 rounds each is roughly equivalent to 1 fully loaded old style metal magazine.

      NVG’s – You only need that kit when you are conducting night time operations. There’s no point carrying it during day light hours unless you know that you are going to be out all day and night, which you won’t be. Even when you are conducting night ops, you’re not going to be moving around much.

      You’re kit will not weigh you down providing you use a bit of forward thinking and common sense when gearing up.

      In Helmand, our “normal” issue of ammunition was 360 rounds of 5.56 – 6 full 30 round PMAG’s (as that is all we were issued) with the remaining 180 rounds kept in stripper clips in a bandolier ready to be loaded with the aid of a speed loader. Even without a speedloader, a soldier is expected to be able to load 30 rounds into a magazine within a set time. It’s not difficult.


    • Chuck says:

      Two points in rebuttal:

      First, I assume you are concerned about the weight of mags because you Brits use steel HK mags. However, USGI aluminum mags weigh virtually nothing. There is little weigh savings in carrying bandoleers of ball on stripper clips instead of loaded mags. It would be an interesting experiment to put all the stripper clips, speed loader, cardboard and cloth bandoleer minus the ammo and do a weight comparison with 6 empty USGI aluminum mags. I’m guessing the weight savings is minimal.

      Second, a set of PVS-14s with rhino mount and a spare set of batteries probably weighs less than two pounds. You put it in one of your canteen pouches (or a dedicated NVG pouch if you’re that high speed) and forget about it until it gets dark. The weight savings is not worth leaving such a critical piece of gear behind. We American infantrymen remember the events portrayed in the movie “Blackhawk Down” to ever make that mistake again. I’m not sure why you say one would never be out all day and night, but I have been on such operations many times, so your advice falls flat in my experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      The ammo comment was as an example of one area where the anon poster can make a difference with weight/set-up. My comment was also to demonstrate that having shitloads of magazines is not always necessary.

      Remember that your “resistance” fighter isn’t going to be conducting ops 24/7 – 365 days, and he/she is sensible, they will also not be engaging in pitched battles with various goons. For the most part they will be geared towards conducting patrols to dominate and defend their AO in a possible SHTF scenario. They’ll not be going out on patrols 10 miles from their safe zone. In fact the average AO will only be a few square miles – not something that is going to require them to constantly carry every peace of kit they have. They’ll not be patrolling around their AO all the time either. Yes, there’ll be times when they’ll need to consider having night vision equipment with them if they plan or expect to be out after dark, but not all the time.

      On the flip side, if they are conducting resistance ops, then that will most likely involve being away from their AO for at least a few days so it that respect having their night vision ect will be advisable.

      It all depends on the situation.


    • Anonymous says:

      Guys not all of us run AR-15 or AKs ,some of us carry older .30 cal. weapons to the fight. I don’t think Maxes point is about how much ammo you carry, but being fit enough to carry a basic load for your patrol without sucking wind. As for NODs. In any SHTF domestic scenario batteries will be problematic . Having one set(of NVGs) for the point man, and a FLIR for the fire team commander may be old school , but it dose work. The fewer batteries you use up at one time the longer you keep that tool in the fight.—Ray

    • Anonymous says:

      Balls, forgot to add something –
      Another aspect to consider ref never carrying so many magazines ect is thus:

      There could be a situation that causes the resistance fighter/AO defender having to ditch their plate carrier or other load bearing equipment. The examples may be a bit strange but I’m sure you’ll get the point.

      Someone doing a patrol to dominate their AO could get into difficulties that result in them having to utilise the quick release mechs on their gear. Maybe they’ve gone through ice ect. In that scenario, they’ll need to (very quickly) release their gear, which means they’ve most likely lost that gear. If all their magazines were in their load bearing, they’re pretty much screwed thereafter. Not to mention they would already have let go of their weapon. I know if I had to choose between ditching kit and saving my arse I know what I’d choose. Live to fight another day, as they say.

      Another scenario could be a resistance fighter may be conducting an op against the regime in an urban environment. Something could go wrong that results in them having to ditch their kit in order to escape. A resistance fighter conducting E+E in an urban setting with all his/her fighting loadout will make them stand out like a sore thumb. They may have no choice but to sacrifice their fighting rifle/gear so as to make them look like every other Joe Bloggs (hopefully they’ll have some means of a small E+E kit and suitable sidearm). This scenario is a more likely reason for doing this. WW2 history is littered with stories of Allied airmen and resistance fighters having to go through similar situations.

      As the saying goes, never have all your eggs in one basket.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “And how do you think the actual resistance fighters will feel about the fat-asses holed up in their bunkers, not doing any of the heavy lifting? Maybe they will do some redistribution of their own….”

    And now your my enemy as much as the Regime. I thought you guys were about freedom, guess not.

    • Max Velocity says:

      Waiting for a comment on that remark. Here’s the thing, if people are actively engaged in the resistance, they should be supported. That is the network, the auxiliary. That goes back to the comments about being selfish. If you are the guy unable or unwilling to fight, but you have ample time to grow food and tend animals, then you should be supporting our local fighters. Read Patriot Dawn for examples of this. That is really the point of that remark, it goes back to the guys exercising their ‘freedom’ to sit pretty and let other due ridding the country of tyranny. Well done, fat-ass preppers!

  12. Anonymous says:

    So, with my bad heart, and my fat ass, I have two choices:

    Do what the Regime wants, turn over my stuff or get my head blown off.

    Do what the Resistance wants, turn over my stuff or get my head blown off.

    Yep, enemies on both sides.

    I love your version of freedom.

    • Max Velocity says:

      Hold on, all is not lost, I am in the process of writing a post dealing with your micconceptions at length….coming up

    • Anonymous says:

      Max , disregard the last poster he is obviously a troll ,
      I have been reading your columns for 6 months as a lurker , your reasoning is sound
      Obviously you have walked the walk and are providing a selfless service to others by posting this information do not get discouraged some people are incapable of learning or listening and will probably pay a steep price. I have read your books and I have learned a lot keep it up this information is more valuable than gold ! Your site is required reading in my book posting your video’s is an excellent way to disseminate information for those of us who cannot attend your training sessions due to distance or time constraints.



      Semper Fi 8541

  13. Sol gardener says:

    I’ve been saying to locals for some time-

    It is the responsibility of every American male to be physically, mentally and spiritually fit to defend this nation. If they are not, then they fail as a man and as an American.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Very informative and thought provoking article. Interesting comment about a second fall back location as I am shopping for a Shangri-la right now. I now see many holes in my first assumptions. Thanks once again for the sobriety test!

  15. Anonymous says:

    first off thank you for your tireless effort to the cause. next, i have a high speed internal backpack, with pals on the belt so i can put mags on the belt. i start off with a chest rig with mags and bok. then i wear the backpack with more mags. this is my house load. do i attach empty web gear to the outside?? backpack, chest rig, web gear. how do i combine them into a system. the pack over the web gear is uncomfortable and hard to get on or off.
    thank you for any suggestions

    • Max Velocity says:

      If I’m getting your right, you are wearing a chest rig and then you have backpack with a waist belt that you put mag pouches on? This backpack is your ‘house load’, so is heavy? That part rings an alarm bell – if the mags are attached to the ruck ,and the ruck itself is a big one, then firstly you are more likely to have to ditch a big ruck, and secondly you lose the magazines attached to the ruck when you do. Also, if you want to cache the ruck for an op, you only have what is on the chest rig. Of course, that may be enough?
      A ruck with a waist belt is usually compatible with a chest rig, but not with a war/battle belt. Usually with a battle belt it is not so important, because you can fold away or take of the waist belt and the ruck will sit on top of the battle belt, so that take some of the weight on your hips/belt anyway.
      I would suggest that if you want more mags on your waist area, then wear a war belt if that fits with your chest rig, then you wear the ruck separately and probably without the waist belt.

    • Anonymous says:

      i have a high speed chest rig and a high speed warbelt with suspenders. my large internal does not work as a ruck, so i need to leave the pack at home and get a suitable ruck to go with my other gear.
      thanks for your reply.
      to all the old guys, get back in shape. i am over 60 and recently i did 50 dips. (no real use in combat). we all need to get in shape and stay there. always trying to do better. the time is fast approaching where it may save your life or that of your loved ones.

  16. “to all the old guys, get back in shape. i am over 60 and recently i did 50 dips.

    Pearls of wisdom…..pearls, I say, with all sincerity.

    Even if you want to hump a 35-40 pound ruck, 20 pound harness/belt (with mags and other crap), a plate carrier and a rifle, and you’re north of 50, you have to work hard to stay in the kind of shape that you can go for a good while. Rest, nutrition, rest, increasingly longer strength exercises (body weight type works best), rest, and consistency. That’s your formula. Even if you don’t want to hump a ruck and you’re doing security in your neighborhood in a SHTF situation, fitness will be a deciding factor in how well we all do……

  17. Anonymous says:

    New to this and not meaning to be snarky or to take things off-topic; but doesn’t this discussion put cart before horse?
    What I mean is that the idea seems to be being in shape for, trained for, and geared-up for “patrol” … to last some brief period and then to re-stock and (maybe) rest. Where will this re-stocking take place? Who will be responsible for it?
    If there is a dramatic, discrete, SHTF event, there must first be a place to patrol, to go on patrol from, and to return from patrol to. Do we not need to worry about that? Assume it will occur without our input or assistance?

    But, what really worries me is if there is NO single, discrete, event. If, as has been the pattern of leftists and tyrants forever, incremental tyranny continues and the brunt is not felt by most (or even many) all at once. Rather, under guise of “law enforcement” individuals, or small communities (but mostly individuals), are targeted one-by-one over time and in a way that targets any coming together of resistance and which cows not merely the unwilling but also the “almost-willing”.
    Assume I have the conditioning and training to go on patrol for 3 weeks with just what’s in my ruck. And assume that FedStateLocal Law Enforcement targets me (for whatever reason) for some unconstitutional act or confiscation and that I am unwilling to comply. I am then faced with a choice of fighting & dying in my home in the presence of family, or of “bugging out”. If, as I proposed above, this is an incremental piecemeal imposition of tyranny; then I am alone … regardless of any plans I may have with family, friends, neighbors, compatriots, etc..

    Even if I can survive nearly anything for the 3 weeks that my ruck supplies; what do I do when those 3 weeks run out?

    Again, I’m not meaning to be contrary. This is what worries me. Has anyone else given consideration to this scenario?

    • Max Velocity says:

      I do think you have it all a little out of context. The sort of patrolling being generally discussed is in protection of your base in SHTF or a more active resistance style mission – either way all pretty short term. The context there is having a base as described in the article.
      I suggest you go back and read through some of the other articles/posts. The one on HIT teams will give you more info on your bug out scenario.
      The scenario you are talking about there is having to go on the run because you are targeted in a current rather than ‘full SHTF already bugged out with family/group scenario’. That would leave you on the run, not so much on patrol, and you would be left to survive and run as you could unless others stood up with you due to the injustice.
      There are previous posts that touch on a lot of this – give them a read….

    • Anonymous says:

      I knew it was O.T.. Thanks for tolerating, and for referring me to prior posts. I’ll check them out.

  18. Will Poe says:

    Redistribution huh? You smell like dead, rotting meat.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Re: Thermal shield

    This is an aspect that’s given far too little thought on the front end/the Imperium finding you & on the back end/you finding the Imperium first. As far as shielding goes, wouldn’t it be prudent (as well as cost effective) to investigate the methods used by various commercial interests (e.g., cold storage/transport, insulation) & expand on/subtract from that theme? That takes care of the front end. For the back end, what’s your/others opinion of the utility of the following items for that purpose.:

    First these

    Or perhaps these

    Points 3 & 4/Families

    Whenever this topic’s brought up I’ve noticed that the worst case scenario (what to do w/ dependents if the base is caught short & its defenses are breached) is rarely if ever discussed. Does one adopt the Old Western method of saving a suicide round for everyone or go the ‘Keyser Soze’ route & kill them then split to revenge later?

    ‘Preppers’, ‘involuntary redistribution’, & P.R.:

    This seems to have engendered a bit of heat w/o much light from both ends of the equation. MV has some good points about how the ‘fat & sassy’ (& militarily ‘aloof’) preppers will be received by those who, as MV so perfectly put it, “did the heavy lifting” of dealing w/ Imperium forces. It would do preppers some good to recall the reaction of people fleeing/surviving natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornados, quakes) to those who have abundant food/water/fuel/etc & seek to benefit from other’s misfortune. Put yourself in the place of those ‘have nots’ for a moment & see how YOU would feel toward someone who did such. I’m NOT saying that you should give all you have to everyone at the expense of you/yours, but that it’s better to be reasonably ‘neighborly’ & thereby avoid making unnecessary enemies. Same goes for those who’d turn ‘forager’ & ‘requisition’ others goods using ‘necessity’ as justification for what they themselves would see as robbery if on the receiving end. MV sensed this by bringing up the point about not producing adversaries, & another aspect of the importance of this is that said people might just decide to give you up to the Imperium as per Anonymous/02Oct@5:00 AM.

    Just some thoughts. BTW, if the links in the thermal shield section of my remarks don’t show up, what I was referring to was items like the Game Finder heat detectors as well as various kinds of hand-held automotive/industrial thermometers.

    Cassandra (of Troy)

  20. QuietMan says:

    Cross posted at WRSA:

    Read about the Bielski Brothers of “Defiance” fame. There are several books about them.

    Once for entertainment, once as an AAR. They struck a good balance on this. Mostly….

  21. […] Now, just to get the blood boiling, I am going to give you an anonymous quote that has relevance to all this, when people start tying in this gear philosophy with some of the thinking on long range marksmanship and how/where they will operate. I am talking about conducting light infantry operations on difficult, compartmentalized terrain. I have mentioned this often. Swamp, woods, hills, mountains, maybe even some urban when it fits. I wrote these posts on it: ‘The Strategy: Rural/Urban‘ and ‘The Ingredients for your Victory: Tactics + Gear.‘ […]