Suburban Survival – Space to Secure vs Privacy

I get this question often so I answer it here.

“I would like to be part of a community or family larger than 2 or 3, but my extended family is worthless. My husband’s family is 1000 miles away, and don’t get the advantages of family either. My hope is to stick to our suburban home with a few good neighbors on our block. Is that a fantasy?”

suburban survival

Hello and welcome, fantasy is way too strong word, lot of the things can be turned from fantasy to the real things very easy. I think it is the worst scenario, to be in the suburban when sh!t hit the fan. Worse than even city, and for sure worse than rural.

Because of defense. In most cases people are further away between houses, so there is not too much sense of organizing something as a small group of neighbors. Too hard to keep it secure if you do not have the numbers.

It always depends on the space where you live. Few neighbors in close houses like in city make sense because you have less area to secure, more choke points. Few neighbours is way too little in suburban but of course always depends on your area.

But still if i found myself in the suburban areas, i do not think i can survive without some bigger numbers, and bigger organisation, on street level. The alternative would be to take neighbors in or secure smaller area like 2 houses instead of 6. So families of 6 houses move into 2 houses and secure those. I saw some families survive like this on outskirts of city.

We also moved all people (15) to one house, but we were in city so our defense setup was different anyway.

Problem is people, neighbors will want to keep their space, privacy and all that so most will not come. But as soon as neighbors family lies robbed and dead in the garden people will reconsider and trade privacy for security. Many people had to get hurt first or loved ones get killed before they learned. Learn now, that you and loved ones don’t get hurt.

The Power of Fear

Most of the questions from people who do not know too much about war is about fighting and shooting of course, man to man fighting.

Some of the worst expiriences are from street fighting with stable (more or less) lines of separation between enemy groups. Fighting where there is no real chain of command, real information on positions of enemy, or even real information on positions of your comrades. Not to talk about some kind of support, like logistic, or artillery or air back up.

survival fear

So if man holds position with rifle in basement of abandoned apartment building of some 6 – 8 stores, and enemy is at distance of some 20 meters, same like you, hidden in basement of abandoned and burned building, or even watching trough some small hole in wall from third floor in some destroyed apartment, and every sound is maybe sound of your death, that can change a man.

Some people literally lose their mind in situation like that, watching, scouting, every second alert.

Most of the folks in some period even did not had real sleep, it was more like some kind of half awake state, delirium, like in trance, after some time folks just shoot on any kind of suspicious thing, without too much checking. Being scared for long time does that to humans.

Funny thing that i realize, folks today basing their ammo stock on fact that they calculate possible chances for shooting at enemy, in real life folks shooted all the time, to shoot someone, to relive stress, to make someone aware that they still alive, to scare someone…

Yes you need a lot of ammo because you won’t be only shooting at someone, shooting becomes a sort of communication as well.

In some places and in some locations, people shooted regulary following their own schedule, of course with pattern changing, it was a way to keep people away.

Usually during the night and bad weather all things would become even more confused, so people would just go into the enemy territory because taking stuff from other group, using holes in walls between apartments or even sometimes ropes to climb on some other building and attack some positions, not in order to conquer it, but in order to aquire things like food, ammo, weapon, cigarettes etc.

Like in nature when the night comes predators become active. Hungry man can be evil beast.

At the beginning when most of the folks did not know too much about any weapon it was pretty usual to use some kind of “false” weapon. It is for example when 3-4 men held position in some destroyed house with one rifle and one pistol, they would use some pipe, or even piece of exhaust thing of wood stove, disguise it in window, cover it with something, so when someone look from 100 meters distance it looked like big weapon, sometimes like RPG, sometimes like sniper position, it depends on imagination of looker and ability of folks to decorate and of course also depends on peoples knowledge about weapon.

I know, sounds stupid, but it works (so i guess it is not stupid any more).

When you approach some building and you spot on third floor something that looks like rifle barrel pointed in your direction, you are not going to think about philosophy or agriculture, you are going to switch your survival mode and play safe. You do not want to find out if this thing can blast you to pieces or not the hard way.

It is easy to laugh about man who sought dirty water pipe from 100 meters distance, pointed in his direction, smartly placed on some sand bags and think it is m48 rifle.

In reality it is scary.

So again even “stupid” things work. In a dangerous situation even harmless things can look threatening, use that to your advantage.

Old cans and minefields… how to control enemy movement

People used everything they could for their protection, from most primitive things like throwing rocks to more sophisticated kind of traps made with explosives, usually those kind of traps required knowledge so they were rare. People invented some traps or something like false traps, everything was allowed in order to keep yourself and your group safer.

Home Security Mines

Armies used mines of course, there were whole areas covered with mine fields, some urban areas also were covered with all different kind explosive things, booby traps.

In some areas where soldiers had open terrain in front of them, or terrain with bush, and if they planted mines there, they usually throw all kind of empty cans, like food cans or anything similar. As we understanded at that time they used that in order to confuse enemy if they coming during the night trough the mine field with mine detectors.

So basically if man going with those mine detectors trough bushes during the night and trying to discover mines digged in ground he is going to be confused with lots of false readings from all of the cans and metal garbage, so he is not going to pay good attention after some time.

Pretty soon lots of folks started to throw cans in areas that supposed to be dangerous, or hard to watch all the night.

Sounds stupid and primitive, but in most of the situation it is worked.

Whenewer during the night i was stuck in some area that suspiciously was covered with lot of empty cans, or other small metal garbage usually i tried to find another way, even i was sure in 90 % of situations it was only empty cans.

I would just turn back beliving that somebody set up a trap. When it comes to life or death even very small percentages count.

It was just so basic opinion in that time that in every mine field you gonna find lot of old cans to confuse mine detectors that we all belived in that.

In a SHTF scenario some signs of danger will become common, use them to your advantage.

What are your plans for home defense?

Violent Deaths

I guess when you look all together most common cause of death was from fire weapon, it was a war after all, but on the other side if we talk about civilians in town then i believe in the beginning people died mostly from shelling and firing, then from all kind of diseases and malnutrition.


During a daytime people get killed from snipers on regular basis, i mean if you really have to go out because of something, there were something called snipers alleys, so if you knew where to walk, run actually i guess you had some chance to survive (from snipers).

There was of course open parts on streets or between houses where you had to run and take chances, sometimes just hoped in chance that guy on the other side with sniper had lunch break or something like that.

People get killed from snipers on many ways, woman sneak to river to get some things to wash or to collect water, or just guy who goes out on open to check what is going on.

Guy who i knew got killed on one of the usual ways at that time. First sniper wounded man in legs and make him laying and cant move, guy is calling for help, crying, then someone came to help. The sniper wounded first guy who came to help him, then wounded second guy who came to help them, then nobody else came to help them, then sniper killed them all.

Usually “good” snipers did not killed people with first shots, because nobody gonna come to help dead man. I watch that kind of situations in movies, I ve heard later that is “normal” sniper strategy, but to see that in reality is something different, especially with civilians, it is haunting.

It is real horror to hear grown up man screaming in pain, crying, asking for mercy, some people could not stand that. On the other side, one of my neighbors, chronic alcholic once walked 500 meters openly on street during day time, he was completely drunk, sniper did not shot him, not sure why, but we have sentence here that “God saves fools ” so i guess that is the reason. He survived everything, died few years ago, from alcohol intoxication.

Shelling was other story, it was a constant thing, there was time of peace, time without shelling, but periods like that did not last more than few hours, all kinds of thing fallen on city all the time, i read much later somewhere that in worst period of that SHTF city were devastated with around 500 shells daily. People were torn apart, dismembered with cuttings, sometimes people laterally disappeared in some kind of mist or red fog and small pieces if they were directly hit, I ve seen that.


Sometimes i remember that period like constant rumbling sound and smell of burnt things and flesh. I think nobody was safe anywhere, 125 mm shell from tank hit my house in second month, and just took away big part of second floor, i realize then that some nylon heavy duty tarps can have great use in SHTF situation. That kind of destruction completely change mans opinion of ordinary things, same was first time when people fired on me, when I heard hissing sound of bullets close to my head, it completely changed my priorities in life.

( I ve read a book long time ago, not sure about title or writer, I think it was about soldier in WW2, he was listening about reasons for war, plans and strategies, he thought about good thing to fight for… things like that, but when he s get in his first fight with enemy he realizes whole truth and he shouted: Oh my God, they are trying to kill me! I felt like that guy, when you realize that, lot of things changes)

In the worst period you could see lot of dead people on streets, people that were not killed from snipers, or shelling, people killed from beatings or knife wounds.
In the summer time was bad, we have summer temperatures sometimes 45 C her, so stench was bad, people buried their deads close to houses, usually in nearest park, or any clear ground without too much ceremonial things, sometimes even in mass graves.

dead people

Usually all that graves were exhumated after war ended and then properly buried. People died on all kind of different ways, my relative went out one night alone (yes mistake) to find some things and never come back, he just disappeared, nobody knows anything, but we have river in city, 3-4 meters deep, and very fast so…
Killed and robbed from somebody probably. It was some number of missing people, just missing, nobody knows how, where. They are still missing.

Air bombardments were rare, but that was one of the scariest thing in my life, I remember maybe 10-15 air attacks, all of them during the night. Few attacks were helicopters attacks with rockets , I think it was MI6 or MI8 helicopters, scary. But real horror and in the same time somehow funny situation was airplanes attack with bombs, you see I think they used some old planes (maybe propelled engines, not jets) and I think they just dropped bombs from them.

So imagine, it was a pitch dark, I was going somewhere to get something to eat, and then i heard sound of airplanes, very distant and far sound, but still that sound gets your gut to vibrate (it is a different sound from big “MRE S “ planes) i looked at dark sky trying to realize what a hell? Next thing what i heard is sharp and high whiz or zing of something falling from the sky, then horror started, as far as I remember time from start of that sound to explosion was 5-6 seconds, not sure. In that time I am manically and desperately trying to hide somewhere, and there is actually nowhere to hide too much. All around me are pretty much ruins.

Few seconds can last like few hours. When that thing exploded your whole stomach is just going up from the power. Felling was horrific, you never know where bomb is going to fall, explosion from that bomb usually destroys whole house, completely. Who ever get killed in big explosions, from bombs or shelling, usually stayed buried there, in ruins.

I did not see too much violent deaths prior SHTF so some things just struck me, some things can just move you from normal reality in some other way of thinking. When I see man shot in the head from close distant, from rifle, man that was hard, I was paralyzed.

First thing that came on my mind was that man is so fragile thing, so easy to kill. Funny maybe but all thinking in that situations come to lower scale, like to simple level thinking, very fast you just forget all reasons and higher causes, you just switch to some other mode, a kind of primal mode, hard to explain.