How to Defend a Retreat Against Wheeled Vehicle Threats, by B.W. in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011

I recently finished JWR's latest novel "Survivors"and have read it predecessor, "Patriots". I have realized that there were some things that the retreat owner could do to better prepare the land to prevent or slow down vehicles from entering your ground. Although the offsetting of obstacles works well in funneling, this does not stop vehicles. I think of my own retreat and how I plan on defending it, I thought back to my former MOS when I was in the service. Although I can block the roads into the farms that sit on the lane, there is a power line cut right through the ground that could be driven on and breech the security of all the homes on the lane. Therefore I will explain a few tip on how to prevent or slow down wheeled vehicles.

I am a former Marine Combat Engineer. I mainly ran heavy equipment; however I did some cross training with explosives. Now leaving the explosives out of the scenario I do have some good ideas to either funnel or in some cases totally keep the vehicles from entering your land and forcing bandits onto foot which gives you the advantage.  Keep in mind that I live in a northeast and I am accustomed to most rural land is at least partially wooded which in most cases will suffice for keeping mobilized bandits off. Now we will go into a few things that you can use to accomplish this task.

The first things I would use we called “Tank Ditches” in the Marine Corps. A tank ditch is a ditch that is dug across a point that you would anticipate the approach of an armored vehicle. The idea of a tank ditch is to expose the belly of the tank or armored vehicle (which is the weakest portion of armor).  Now this concept could be used for any kind of vehicle. It would expose the underbelly of any vehicle. The steps in creating the tank ditch are as follows:

  1. Find the area of likely approach, measure off the ditch; it could be the entire length of road or just a portion.
  2. You dig out the ditch as deep as you want, piling the dirt on the oncoming side of the ditch to create a ramp for the approaching vehicle. If you have the means you can wet the dirt down in order to make the pile heavier.

The vehicle will attempt to drive over the pile and get stuck, get over it and nosedive into the ditch, or expose itself to weakness that the defenders can exploit. Or the vehicle will stop and the bandits will dismount, this will expose the bandits to small fire.

The next thing that I would like to talk about is what we called “Dragon's Teeth". If anyone has ever seen an old Civil War movie the forts would often do this at the peak of the fort to make it harder for the troops to get over the wall. These “teeth” should be sticking out of the ground at least four feet high.  You can use these to block dirt roads, fields, or can be used to funnel things where you want them to go, AKA “killing fields”.

I actually seen an M1 Abrams tank unable to breech a series of four dragon’s teeth in a row (well it could be that they didn’t want to). You should always place three to four in a row, making a partial wall, leave 2-3 foot between each one so you don’t create a log wall for people to hide behind. Make sure that you cannot drive through them.

The next obstacle could be what we called “Ant Hills”; these are exactly what they sound like an ant hill. Picture an ant hill out in the forest, a large mound of dirt. These should be piled high and off set, again to funnel wheeled vehicles where you want them to go. These piles of dirt should be large enough that you would not want to attempt to drive a vehicle through them so one would want to go around them.

Another obstacle does require some fencing wire or barbed wire. We called this tangle foot. It was mainly a deterrent that slows down troops as they move through areas that do not offer any other obstacles. Think of high school football practice when you had to high knee through tire. Well this is the same concept.

  1. Cut wood posts roughly three feet long.
  2. Pound stakes into the ground about 18 inches. Place them in rows about 12-18 inches apart. If you make them to big you can easily navigate between the wires.
  3. Place them in a pattern that is much like a Suduku box; make the area as wide and as long as you want.
  4. Take the wire and begin stringing it from post to post as one continuous wire. Wrap the wire around each post to create a jumble of wire. Most like a square spider web.

Think of the effect that this has on bandits on foot trying to maneuver through this area that you have just pushed them too. No shooting and moving there, they will be too busy trying to navigate the wire and not fall over. Now if someone would enter your tangle foot, think fish in a barrel. Deep breath and slow and steady trigger pull. 

Finally I would like to pull a little from not only your book, and using what you may have on hand to use as road blocks and obstacles and just extra protection. If you have tractor trailer back, old cars, you could flatten the tires, and offset and stagger them on roads and bridges to create any oncoming vehicle from gaining speed and just driving through your roadblocks. These would require a driver to drive in an S-shape to get through the obstacle. You can build planter boxes all around your home or retreat and in a pinch you can use them as fighting positions leave them full of dirt and them become a natural round stopper. You build them roughly three and a half feet high out of brick and fill will dirt, plant flower, spices, vegetables, or anything that you want and you can instantly have a fighting position all around your home. As a bonus you can eat what you plant there. By clearing out natural hides and blind spots around the property in order to have a better view of the ground and any avenues of approach. There are many small things you can do in order to prepare you property prior to the fall.

Remember that these ideas may not be right for your retreat. They can be used in conjunction with anything else that you may have read on the SurvivalBlog or anywhere else. None of these ideas are full proof and remember that nothing can stop a force that is hell bent on getting their hands on what you have short of a well placed 7.62mm NATO round. You and your family’s safety should be the number one priority when the SHTF. Taking the proper steps to defend what you have will prolong everyone’s life. If you are well stocked and ready for anything be ready to defend it because someone else does not have and when people get hungry people will do anything. Mix and match these ideas to create a well defendable avenue of approach. When used together these obstacles can be used to slow down and sometime totally stop an oncoming mobilized unit. I have seen it work when we showed foreign governments what we to stop troop movements. My final two points will be this; draw a diagram of how you want to set up your funnels to best make a defendable position, try out different ways on paper, these positions will become semi-permanent and hard to move once in. Lastly to wrap it all up. Be sure to leave yourself an avenue of escape. Even the best laid plans and retreats can be overrun by sheer numbers and without an escape route you will die!

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