Comment on Covert Movement

I’ll try and keep this post short. That usually turns out to be harder than you think, as I start getting into the topic. I saw an interesting post on the American Mercenary blog: ‘Moving Groups’. I am moved to comment.
So yes, a lot of this depends on the exact scenario you find yourself in. We are not soldiers on a  foreign battlefield. It really just depends on how the situation pans out when you end up fighting those ‘enemies foreign and domestic’. A few good points have been made out there in the blogosphere lately. Mosby with his ‘Underground Tradecraft’ post (part 1), and other comments about the likelihood of taking off into the woods in camo and a boonie hat (I’m game….).
It may be SHTF and you are able to wear your best camo.
It may be that you are an active member of the Resistance and you are operating out of camps in the forests and deserts.
It may be that you are a member of the auxiliary, still living in the suburbs and aiding and abetting the active resistance members out there freezing/sweating in the forests.
It may be that we have not yet reached a time of full camo-clad SHTF and you are fighting those pesky ‘enemies foreign or domestic’ in a more covert way.
In a situation where you are operating as an unconventional fighting force, you will most likely be adopting light infantry tactics. If that is the situation, and you are a classic resistance force out there in the boonies, then you have choices over how you will tactically move those forces around. A classic decision here would involve a platoon sized force, that you perhaps want to move out on an ambush patrol. To do so, you have the choice of moving the whole platoon together, on a route using the best terrain masking available. Or, you break the platoon down into smaller squads or teams and send them via different routes, to rally up at the ORP (objective rally point).
Each approach has advantages and disadvantages (don’t they all): the platoon moving together is a larger force, better able to look after itself if discovered and bumped by the enemy, but harder to conceal. On the other hand, the smaller teams are easier to conceal, but using multiple routes may increase the likelihood of discovery, depending on the terrain available to you. You make your own decision based on METT-TC, which in plain language means depending on the circumstances.
In the AmMerc article the approach was discussed, if you are utilizing highly competent personnel, of infiltrating in a covert way as per prior instructions so that individuals would coalesce at a target and conduct an operation, without actually meeting up at something like a rally point beforehand. Well, again it depends on the circumstances but I would be very circumspect of conducting an operation without full orders/briefing plus rehearsals preceding it. It may be that you can then disperse and move to the target by a series of covert individual means, moving either via an ORP or perhaps straight into individual support by fire and assault positions, depending on what you are doing. 
Of course, if it is some kind of covert hit onto an enemy target, then it may be able to be conducted more in this manner, with team members either recognizing each other or having recognition signals. It may be that you have an individual or team surveiling the target. Once the conditions are met, they somehow communicate the ‘GO’ to the kinetic team or individual (sniper perhaps) to move into position, to attack if they are already tin position, or whatever. The target is hit and the sniper team or individual moves out on a predesignated route. At this point, he may have a drop point or perhaps an individual to leave the rifle with (or dump it, clean of forensics, if you can afford to lose it). He then moves, covertly in nondescript civilian clothes, to outside the *** store on *** street, where he meets up with the extraction team/individual in a covert builders van, or whatever. He either knows the guy or the van description, or has some other signal that it is the right van. He gets in and is driven off.
You get the picture. The above description is a way that you could organize, even using a cell system perhaps with guys that did not know each other, to accomplish a mission. It still needs to be planned and coordinated. This would assume a more normal times scenario where people are still out and about in the streets unarmed and where vehicles can move in the streets. Hmmmm….perhaps after full gun confiscation laws are enacted, comes to mind….???
It’s not so far fetched; both sides used to get up to stuff like this in Northern Ireland, before everyone hugged and became friends. Let’s look at some techniques:
CMV: this is a ‘civilian military vehicle’. It describes what is basically a civvy van, all decked out to be no different from a builders truck, delivery van or whatever. These can be used for the covert infil or exfil of troops onto a mission, such as a patrol. Sometimes they were used when the weather was too bad to get a chopper in or out, or when the RAF was watching the game back at their cosy base and could not be bothered to come out and get you. The vans are driven by guys in civilian clothes complete with concealed weapons. In the back, you could have anything up to a full uniformed patrol of twelve guys fully decked out in uniform, or you could have some more covertly attired guys perhaps in earth tone clothing or street clothes. 
Because these CMV’s were used by security forces rather than resistance fighters, it therefore allowed them freedom to do various things. Pick up and drop off would be done at some covert place. However, one way to do it would be to wait until the CMV was imminent at the pick up point, throw in a quick fake Vehicle Checkpoint on the road, the CMV would roll up and be stopped, and then the patrol would all pile into the van and drive off when no-one was watching. Obviously a tactic for night time use on deserted country roads. A Resistance team could use these vehicles in a similar way to covertly move personnel around, to infil and exfil them from drop-off points where they could continue the mission either in a ‘uniformed’ or plain clothes manner. Once dropped off, a camo-clad resistance team would then continue to use terrain masking to patrol on foot towards the objective.
In Northern Ireland, the rule of law was very much in evidence. It meant that known ‘players’ could be stopped at a temporary vehicle checkpoint, searched for weapons, and sent on their way. They did not go about armed for this very reason. They may have been let on their way because to continue to surveil them was a clever plan, or simply because without weapons or direct evidence they could not be arrested. It got complicated. However, I do wonder whether in our increasing police/surveillance state there would even be the freedom of movement accorded to known terrorist players in Northern Ireland? I suspect that in a tyrannical United States, merely being recognized as a suspect would result in a beating and arrest or execution. Its just how we are getting ready to roll right now….
If it’s just mass arrests and murders, then that points to a camo-clad resistance based deep in the forests. And, most importantly, hiding families deep in the forests with you, which is going to be the subject of that post on family safety that I need to write. Simply because of reprisals against resistance fighters, you will have to move your families to a hidden and protected location. If that becomes the situation, then all this talk of covert stuff becomes a little irrelevant. It would become camo-clad resistance fighters hiding out in the boonies, supported by an auxiliary who would have to remain ‘clean’ in order for the Regime to continue to allow them freedom of movement. If movement is stopped due to a lock-down by martial law, then it’s just up to the camo-clad guys in the woods to prosecute the campaign.
Back to the Northern Ireland thing: in that situation, the terrorists would not carry weapons except at the specific time that they were going to conduct an attack. That may be different here – you would still likely need to carry a concealed handgun even if you did not pick up your long rifle until just prior to moving into position. Not carrying weapons meant that they could transit on the roads and not get arrested at a traffic stop/search. They would be able to move into the vicinity of the target and be provided the weapon at the last minute, which would then be handed off or dropped as they made their escape.
In Northern Ireland, there was a ‘quartermaster’ logistics chain that would move weapons and equipment into position. Smuggling it across the border etc. For the next courier in the chain to pick up the item, such as a rifle, it would be left in a cache, often PVC pipes dug into the side of a ditch, and a description would be given. Like a pirate treasure map if you like. Example: “Go to the lay-by two miles north of the *** bridge. Walk north to the broken fence post. Cache in the ditch…etc.” It would need a series of recognizable features like a chain to find the cache. The item would be picked up, moved on and eventually be used in an attack.
So, really what is my point? It is to point out a few methods that could be utilized to increase tactical and covert freedom of movement. With a little bit of imagination you can move covertly or you can transport ‘uniformed’ resistance fighters around the place in a covert manner. If you do so, then you need to have a series of SOPs and contact drills for if the CMV runs into a checkpoint.
And of course it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t remind you that I utilized some similar techniques when telling the following story:

And training slots are available HERE

Live Hard, Die Free.