Fighting superior forces

If you watch video please keep in mind I do not take sides here or any religious believes. This is just example video from 5 days ago fighting in Aleppo, Syria.

When tank comes you just feel small. Really small. When you see on video tank is going through ruined streets you can not feel that strange feeling in your gut, that feeling is mixture of tremendous vibration from that death machine, your adrenaline and fast working brain trying to figure what you gonna do in order to live another day, to not get killed by that machine.

When you see tank destroyed on clip, you can not feel heat, smell burn from ruin and bodies. Whole situation can feel very overwhelming.

I had few times close encounter with tanks.

Once I spent horrifying 45 minutes while group of some 60 men, with one tank destroying some buildings with it around the place where I was hiding together with one friend. They just searched buildings using the tank as device for leveling already ruined place.

After that small groups of them searched buildings. We were unable to get away, and unable to defend. So only way was to try to hide and hope that beast will not go after us, or guys notice us.

Tank was probably 30 or 40 years old, for sure not some modern thing, it had all kind of painted messages on it, I remember clearly one „you are f#cked now“ on front of it.

When that thing smashed wall some 50 meters from us and started to roll, changing directions all the time, I felt so small and miserable.

We were hiding under the rubble, my friend was starting to yell at me at that moment, I thought that he remembered something smart, but of course I could not hear him a single word, I just gave him sign to stay down and shut up.

Anyway they passed by us, we survived. Later I asked him what he wanted at that moment and what he yelled. He said that he sang some song. He is not sure why, but I guess he was just scared to death, and it was unintentionally. People do weird things in situations like this. Some laugh, some cry and some sing.

What can we learn from this? I think one of biggest lessons I learned in my life about survival.

Prepare to be overwhelmed.

Lots of people get into survival and preparedness to feel more secure, more prepared of course. Thing is that survival is often fighting superior forces. Probably not a tank but nature can unleash powers that make you feel small and like playball of elements too.

When you see so much power and how random life gets taken, you realize that your life is not special too. It is easy to forget about this but in nature creatures live and die all the time. Nature is cruel and we are still part of this. Becoming more easy with death and dying makes you more relaxed fighter in survival situation too, but more on that in another post.

Anyway, back to tanks. I saw people get killed trying to destroy tank with RPG but not knowing that you need some space behind RPG when you fire it. That happens when civilians pick up weapons they do not know. Others got killed because tank came too close to their hideout and they tried running away in panic.

So how to fight tanks?

Most of the time you could see group of fighters with one armored vehicle going trough part of the town, sweeping it an using the tank as a cover, and smashing device for hard to enter places.

Smartest thing was to stay low and let them pass and hope they did not notice you. And then to run or attack, when they already go with that thing inside the ruins. Not too much space for maneuvering so that gives you you some time to destroy it.

What I learned from that is simple survival knowledge. When you face superior forces, no matter if tanks or storm or other challenge. Stop and think (hardest part because instinct tells you to RUN or react in some automatic way!) – understand that thing and its power – understand its weakness – take advantage of its weakness to get away, overcome or destroy it.

Control your first response to threats and chances of survival increase (that does not mean your first response is always a bad one, just that you should make smart decision and not just do first thing you feel like doing).

Very simple but while you can learn so many things about survival, some very simple things like this can make difference between life and death.

Survival Shelter

1. Everything can be breaked, forced, overwhelmed

“Let them come, I will take down all of them”

Yep, eventually someone will come, and NO sometimes you can not take them down all. You need to accept fact that point of survival is to survive, not to die like hero in big gunfight. I prefer to be living sneaky person who is good at hiding, instead of dead brave hero.

No matter how much time and money you spent in making your shelter inpenetrable, everything can be broken and taken, it is just matter of time and enough force. We are talking here about ordinary people who do not have ex. rocket launch silo for shelter.

2. Your shelter can not look different than anything that surrounds it

No matter what kind of shelter we are talking about, be sure that it looks like anything else around it. What that means? There is no sense of doing things to your house in order to make it more secure and then to look very different from other houses in your neighbourhood.

If you want to improve your house security do it in way that nobody sees it from the outside. In other words if you are living in street where all of the houses are pretty much same in way of looking, same yards, lawns, fences etc. just look like everybody else.

This is like a swarm of fish who all look the same. Chances that you get picked out and eaten are smaller that way.

The first looted houses in your area show up, loot your own house and make it look like it was looted already. You do not want to be first house that looks abandoned and not last.

so:

3. Improve your security the “invisible” way

Of course you need to improve your house security, but doing that with only high fences and alarm alone will not do the job.

Plan now in peaceful and “normal” times. If you have yard, plan and plant plants and trees. Go out with pen and paper, sit down and take some time. Think about planting some stuff in order to help you in some future time. Think about any possible scenario that can happen to you and your neighbourhood. Trees (big or fallen trees…) or some plants (garden) can hide some things, can be obstacles, can offer you some outpost for scouting things. Also some plants carefully planned can hide some emergency exit or entrance in/out out of your house.

Some things, usually bad things can happen (and things like that happened) by pure luck or bad luck, so sometimes just to have house that is not so clearly “visible” from street is great thing.

I mean lot of bad things happened just because something just looked interesting from the street, or something just caught attention.

Be sure to have things ready in your storage to reinforce your house. Things like steel bars, steel plates, plywood, bags (for sand bags). Look now around your living place and think what you could use for reinforcment when SHTF. For example I used steel covers from sewage openings to reinforce our house.

4. First make your self uninteresting

When you think how to make your home the perfect shelter, first think about how to remove any possible reason for somebody to check it, to attack it.

Today in this time be “usual”. Do not give anybody reason to pay you visit when SHTF. That means of course to hide that you are prepper and that you have interesting things inside your house when SHTF. People are acting on one way today, when SHTF yor first neighbor or your colleague from work may remember you that you mention few times that you have good storage and plenty food for any case. Keep low profile.

Think about any possible scenario that can happen in your area. Nuclear plant? Military base? Infectious diseases outbreak? Think in that terms and obtain some signs. Depending what scenario is gonna happen good thing is to have some original signs like: unexploded devices, infectious desease, or chemical hazard or similar.

5. To go in and out

To have one hidden enterance and exit is must have. In SHTF scenario people might not have food, but time to watch surroundings. Prepare for fact that you are not going to use your normal way in house, your door or gate. You must have one exit that is not visible from the outside of the house. Point is that you can go in and out of the house in order to do things, or to evacuate and that people on the street can not see you.

Think what is the best option for your house and for you. For example simple hole from one of the back rooms reinforced inside with bags and hidden outside with plants. For apartment one of the ideas to use windows and neighbourhood apartment to go out and in.

Reasons are multiple: People are gonna scout and check if your house is empty, how many of you are inside, what kind of things you are taking in and out, or simple evacuation.

This all does not mean that you have to now make hole in your wall. But good idea is to think about this now, and have plan where to make this thing when times are here, or to simply plant some trees and plants on correct place now. Or to check now on your neighbouring apartment and figure what is safest route, and what aparment probably gonna be empty. Point is to plan today and take right steps.

6. Have things ready and practice

Think today how you can collect water from roof, try it few times and see how it works because you gonna save time when need really comes. Rainwater is usally also good for your plants you keep so it might not be bad idea to collect some now.

Just try to collect water during the rain with some barels pipes putten in your drainage and filter it. Practice safest, most silent and quickest way.

Have things ready and think about anything possible scenario that can happen to you and your house. Keep in mind you are more vulnerable outside of house than inside, so if you have more inside of house you have to go out less.

Think and try some things today. If you never broke through wall with big hammer you might not have security googles to protect your eyes from flying stones.

7. Out of the sight house

Yes, but again you need to make it out of the sight. Eventually you gonna need to defend it. But as more as you delay that moment it is better for you. I am not finding too much use in term “distant house” from city, or far from the most frequented road in the city. In city everything is close, and to have house in real densly populated area in city can be better than to have it in more peaceful neighbourhood in city. It is matter of attraction again. It is more peaceful in “eye of the storm” then in more rich and nice city neighbourhood when SHTF. Especially if you make yourself not interesting.

A “ghetto” area in which families of gang members live can be more protected and safe than nice suburb that the gangs go in to hunt for resources.

8. Understand your priorities and understand your chances

Your priority is your life. So everything else comes after that. Do not think about your house like about something that cannot be left behind sometimes. If you find your self in situation that you must leave your house, just leave it. Come back again later if you can and continue. Have some place inside your house, safe and hidden where you can put valuable things and run.

I know what I speak about. If I could turn back time I should have left before I was trapped in city.

A guy who I knew left his house several times because people who searched it, and looked for valuable things. His urban survival shelter was just apartment but he had good scouting position right under the roof of his house where he could lay down and look out of small gap under the roof.

Whenever he saw them coming he run and hide in neighboring graveyard. Once he spent two days and nights there while guys drink his alcohol inside his house. He had small hidden chamber under his floor where he kept his small storage. After they left he just came back. He survived. He said he felt really safe in one of the family tombs where he hided. Later he made jokes that guy who saved his life is dead for almost 100 years.

He just did not had chance in fight with the guys who came to his place, but was smart enough to know it.

Conclusion

Shelter in urban environment is about low profile, many ways of hidden exit and entry and also being in the right area of your city. A good urban survival shelter does not have to be strongest fortress, it can be the one with the best overview and escape routes (like the guy who hided on the graveyard), the one that looks least desirable, the one that people do not see as shelter.

Flexible and creative way of thinking and looking like everyone else while thinking different can save your life in finding the right shelter, like in most survival things.

When more chaos helps for surival

chaos survivalI work in medical field and few days ago we got called to transport some guy who broke his back. Nothing special but this guy broke his back while trying to attack woman to maybe rob or rape her.

He attacked her on staircase in house where she lives.

Instead of resisting his attack from behind, woman was just so shocked she fell backwards on the guy and he fell down staircase and broke his back.

That is what some might call happy end. Woman had just few bruises and got away.

This reminded me of something that happened to my cousin during war.

In this region here, western type of culture was always more popular than eastern. Especially for everyday things that young people do. So young folks here always like things that most of the people in west like. Things like music, way of living and all of that.

Few years before war that all became even more popular, I guess thanks to the all political changes and all of that.

Few months before war, my cousin ordered from some small company military ID tags for him. It looked just like originally US ID tags, with those rubber covers.

It was some kind of fashion thing for him. He did not engrave his name on it, he engraved name of metal group he liked, and on other plate he engraved an eagle.

He was all in the music, guitars, concerts, long hair and all that.

Important thing to mention is that army and armies here did not have ID tags, and even if they had, it looked completely different. It was actually one small metal plate, inside that plate were name, unit numbers etc. on one small piece of paper (kind of thin plastic paper, waterproof)

In first month, when everything still was confusing and when all kinds of people were on the street, some tried to run or hide somewhere, others tried to take whatever they can in this chaos. He found himself trying to run from his apartment to a safe place and house. All kinds of different armed groups were on the street, some on barricades, some other running through the city, doing “raids”.

They stopped him and bunch of other guys on one “check point”, and immediately started to beat them and search them for valuable things.

One guy pointed pistol towards him and started to search him by ripping his pockets on shirt. He said later in first moments of that he was scared to death, and went completely numb and paralyzed, and that probably saved his life.

Guy who searched him saw his ID tags. He started to yell at him. The conversation as he can remember went something like this:

Gang member 1: “WTF is this you idiot? Are you belonging to some group?” (slapping him)

Cousin:

Gang member 1: “I will blow your head off if you do not answer me.”

Cousin:

Gang member 2: “What do you have there, White gold? Silver? Just take it from him.”

Gang member 1: “No, it is something else, and he is playing deaf.”

Gang member 2: “Let me see, shit, maybe he is French, I think it is on french.”

On that moment my cousin realized that he needs to keep his mouth closed, not only because of fear.

Gang member 2: “K.R.E.A.T.O.R. ( spelling from the ID tags) IS YOUR NAME KREATOR ?” (yelling in local language)

In background my cousin heard few shots, he did not turn his head to check who was shot or why.

Gang member 2: “Anybody here speak French?” (asking other group members)

Cousin said luckily guys looked like they barely could speak their native language, most of the time they just yell, and grunt, moan, like bunch of apes.

Gang member 1: (yelling) UN? NEWSPAPERS?BBC?SPAIN?REPORTER?

Gang member 2: “OK just leave the idiot, we do not want any troubles.”

Gang member 1: GO GO, YOU CAN GO”” (waving with his hands on my cousin)

Gang member 3: “Maybe he could write story about us, our group”

Gang member 2: “Shut up you idiot!”

My cousin just slowly moved away from them, and after 100 meters started to run. He said one of the guys said to him few times “nice nice” in English, probably trying to say to him that he can go, but probably that words were only English words that he knew.

I asked him why he did not start to speak English, because I knew that he know some basic English. He said : “In that moment I forget how to speak my native language, not to mention English.”

Not to mention that he had in back of his pocket some documents that clearly stated he is local, guys just did not make it to his pocket.

The survival lesson from these stories is that when you are outnumbered or clearly in weaker position often it helps by introducing more chaos and confusion.

The woman did not plan to fall backwards on guy but just was shocked and then because of falling the cards were mixed new. She could have got hurt or attacker but luckily attacker got hurt more.

Same with my cousin. He did not plan for this but by having this ID he made straight forward situation for the gang members more confusing. It is hard to unkill someone so he was let go because they did not know how to react in this situation.

Both, my cousin and the woman, did not do what they did on purpose. They got lucky. But if you ever find yourself in hopeless situation keep in mind that if something nobody expects happens or you make it happen, cards are mixed new and your chance for survival might have increased.

Shuffling cards new is often better than sure death.