Combat Techniques – First in a Series: Combat – What to expect

Standard Disclaimer: The techniques discussed in this post series should not be used unless and until the SHTF for real and civil order has broken down completely. If you try to pull this stuff off during peacetime and are successful you can pretty much guarantee you will be prosecuted and sent to prison and so you should be. There are enough violent retards in the world who kill people over stupid shit that we preppers don’t need to add to their number. The whole point of prepping is to be prepared, not to terrorize the innocent. We learn these techniques so that if and/or when that time comes we can protect ourselves and others from the jackasses out there with no sense of right and wrong. We want to be the people they want to avoid because if they mess with us all they will get is heartache, pain, and probably an earlier grave. Now that that is clear let’s continue.

If the SHTF expect that you may have to defend yourself from others with less foresight than you and who therefor want to take what you have. At some point you may have to fight. It does not even take a complete societal breakdown for this to happen. During the LA riots in the early 90’s I am pretty sure none of the shopkeepers in Watts and South Central LA thought they would be barricading themselves in their stores to protect them in the week before the riots started. I bet nobody in New Orleans thought looting and violence would be the problem it was in the aftermath of Katrina.

Because of that and because the vast majority of Americans have never served in the military and of that minuscule percentage even fewer have actually been combat arms trigger-pullers I decided to write this series acquainting m readers with combat techniques and methods. I deal with some of this in The Simple Survival Smart Book and the 2nd edition due out next year will cover this in more depth but I will start putting some of it up on here.

The first in this series will talk about combat itself. The mental and physical experience of it. First, my bona-fides. From the Simple Survival About page: I am retired from the military after 23 years in the US Army. I was a 19D4XP5 Armored Cavalry Scout by Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). I spent virtually my entire career in Divisional Cavalry units except for time as a Drill Sergeant, a close combat weapons tester, and three horrible years on staff. I deployed twice in my career, to Bosnia for 11 1/2 months in 1996 and to Iraq for 13 months from 2003-2004.

Combat is probably not what you expect it to be from the movies and TV.  Hell, I had been training for it for 15 years and had even been shot at and stuck in the middle of two factions shooting at each other in Bosnia and it was not what I expected.  There is a huge difference between getting shot at and being one of the shooters.  Bosnia was weird because when we got shot at we could not return fire due to the ROE and essentially just buttoned up and drove towards one of the sides doing the shooting.  This only happened three times in my year there too.  Most of the time it was enough if we just showed up with our Bradleys and loaded for bear and the factions decided to play nice.  Iraq was a whole different ball of wax.  In 2004 the ROE was somewhat relaxed and we could and were expected to actively seek out the enemy.  That could be fun but it could also be scary.  Then again, if I did not think it was going to be fun I would not have went combat arms in the first place.

Back to my original point: Combat is probably not what you expect it to be from the movies and TV.  In fact, combat is significantly different your first time than how Hollywood presents it.  Your first experience being in combat will probably be confusing.  My first firefight, I was so busy I did not have time to be scared until it was over and the real reaction did not set in until I was back in the FOB and had debriefed my platoon leader.  Then I got the shakes something fierce because Mrs. Shrier’s little boy thought for a minute there that he wasn’t coming home.  That was only the first time though.  You don’t get used to getting shot at, you get numb.  Which is both a good and a bad thing.

That being said, there are several things to remember when training to fight and when your first fight happens.

  1. Combat is confusing. There is whole lot of stuff happening all at once and if you are just a trigger puller it is simple. If you are a leader it is more complex.  Not only do leaders have to pay attention to themselves, they have to watch all the trigger pullers and tell them where to go and what to shoot at.  A good leader is generally more at risk than those he is leading.  There is a reason that good armies historically have high losses among combat leaders.  That held true for the Romans and it holds true today.
  2. It is difficult to determine where fire is coming from unless it passes very close, you see the rounds impact the ground, or best of all you can see the rocket coming at you.
  3. Direct fire (rifles & Machine Guns) is easier to deal with than indirect fire (mortars &artillery) because you can generally engage those responsible for direct fire.
  4. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what keeps you alive and on your toes, even when nobody is shooting at you. It is a cliché but the trick is to not let fear rule you.  If you are someone who has no fear in combat I want you as far away from me as possible because you are probably going to do something stupid.  The same is true for those that let their fear rule them.
  5. If you can keep your head, react where necessary, and think when you have the time, you will be ok. Remember, it is not the bullet with your name on it you have to worry about, it is the one labeled “to whom it may concern.”

    The Modern Battlefield.
    The Modern Battlefield – Ad Dawr, Iraq in 2004
  6. The modern battlefield is empty, you may see the guy to your left and right but not much beyond that. Post-collapse, don’t expect people who are going to fight you to suddenly start standing ranks and firing volleys. The battlefield then, whether your backyard or a mall parking lot, will seem pretty empty too and it will be a lonely place for the mentally unprepared.

Lastly, the only way to know how you will act in combat is when it happens.  All the training and simulation in the world may mentally prepare but a 20 year soldier with no combat experience is just as much an emotional virgin in their first firefight as is a private straight out of basic training.  You will know how you react 10 seconds after you realize someone is shooting at you.  I cannot give you any more advice than that.  I know how I reacted, and I know how my fellow soldiers reacted, beyond that circle of comrades, I cannot say.  If you are lucky, you will never have to find out.  If the SHTF, you probably will and the time to start preparing yourself to fight, both mentally and physically, is before it is absolutely necessary.