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.

28 responses to “Fighting superior forces”

  1. Marcos Ronald Roman Gonçalves says:

    Very good, brother. Discusses bitter and undesirable situations, but increasingly possible. Unfortunately.
    I’ve shared your texts in Google+ and I hope they are useful to more people, as they have been for me. Thank You. Always!

  2. Larry says:

    Yes, they are fearsome monsters, indeed. I served in an ordnance company, that was attached to an armored battalion. The closest we came to battle was in ’61, The “Kennedy missile crisis” We were on the Czechlovakian border, in Germany. Sitting there, amid about 6 armored divisions, with their guns all loaded,
    pointing across “no man’s land” waiting for somebody to make a false move. Staring at some 36 divisions of Russian armor, and knowing that if we got the signal, that “our side’s only defense would be nuclear. Not good. Finally we got the word to pack up and go home. No war today.

  3. Harry says:

    Being a chess player all my life, I’m a natural tactician. Seeing that tank roll by, I was thinking of a half dozen ways to kill it. Mind you, I’m no hero, and your advise to “control your first response” is sage advise. Like on the chess board, there are times to withdraw and times to attack. Survival being the key. Anyway, seeing that tank without ground support, it was begging to be taken out.

  4. Mike says:

    I served in the U.S. Army and seeing large armored vehicles was an every-day experience. But one day after I got out of the Army, I saw an Abrams tank rolling down my city street. Not normal in the U.S. Just a random tank, coming out of a neighborhood side-street, onto a main thoroughfare. It scared the crap out of me. Not only because I knew what the thing was capable of, but I also had no idea why it was there or what its intention was. The sun was shining, birds singing and children playing… next to a virtually invulnerable death machine. I tried a few times to relate the story and how it made me feel, to other people my age, but they didn’t get it. To them a tank is something you see in a video game and throw fake grenades at until it dies. In reality when you encounter a modern tank you hide as best you can and you pray. Be prepared for the psychological impact of armored vehicles.

    • That was insightful… thanks Mike. I’ve just signed up for California State Military Reserve and will get a chance to train in these beasts and other machines built for war. I signed up in order to make myself familiar with the weapons the military uses, to network with men and women who are warriors and to learn about the infrastructure that California has in place that will help people survive WIAGS (when it all goes sideways).

  5. Clint C says:

    Another good post. Simple. Something about the psychology of war…death…overwhelms. I don’t fear whether or not I’ll starve in the coming years. It’s the fear of screams and blood. I freeze up whenever I hear or see either. Freezing and not reacting properly equals death in war. How can anyone possibly prepare themselves for something like this? It’s crazy. Anyways. Thx for the posts, brother. These actually make me think. Not like some of the American Rambo BS I continue to hear in the US. Peace, brother.

  6. Ron M says:

    As a former M1A1 Abrams tanker I can tell you there are a number of ways infantry (or individuals) can stop a tank. I won’t go into them in specific detail while there are friends still in harms way, but let me say that tanks are very finicky and delicate in many ways. The front end is the tough stuff and all of the turret is bad, The rest just looks tough. There is plenty of information out there in Army TM’s on the tank that reveal its weaknesses. Even some plastic models have enough detail. An M1A1 or even a Bradley fighting vehicle can be stopped by a single person! Good luck!

  7. Michael says:

    The best prep you can do, is to gain knowledge. That you can do while watching TV, or eating at a restaurant, or even on your lunch break.

    When people go beyond their level of training (knowledge base), they panic.

  8. J says:

    Well said; it is indeed vital to try to calm oneself. The sight of a tank or an armored personnel carrier need not overwhelm a person, but must still be respected. Some of us recall watching films of Hungarian freedom fighters throwing Molotov firebombs onto the open turrets or observation slits of tanks, people creating obstacles from deep but camouflaged ditches and so on. And old Polish man was once asked how his small group of resisters had managed to fight against tanks, and his reply was simple. He said, ‘sooner or later, driver must get out, take piss. We shoot in head then.”
    Keep up the good work,

  9. Julio Cheda says:

    Thank you for this valuable information Selco. Its something that we hope to never face it, but if the time comes, i will be more prepared because of your advices.

  10. wheelsee says:

    I spent some time on a counter-sniper team (1990s). “first man moves, dies” stays in my head…….motion/movement attracts the eye……it’s having the composure to remain still……even had a situation where an instructor was looking for sign, stepped across my arm, but didn’t see/hear anything and kept searching……I was sure he was going to hear my heartbeat as I plainly HEARD it…….

  11. pete says:

    Eliminate or pin down the infantry support then toss a nice Molotov cocktail on top of the back of the tank. Flaming liquid drips into the engine and BOOM no more tank. I realize there is a whole slew of problems with this scenario, but if you have some numbers for support and the tank is going to be a constant menace to your home base then something has to be done. A decent Molotov cocktail should have gasoline as a base, then add motor oil, dry laundry detergent, styrofoam, etc, for thickening it up so it works like napalm. You might even chuck one at the front of tank, if feasible, to blind the driver and crew, then go for the kill on the back. Or even start a fire for the smoke to cover your retreat. Just some thoughts…

  12. grower says:

    Good advice, Selco. Some food for thought. I would like to hear how the people in the video destroyed the tank, as it’s not obvious from what is shown.

  13. David says:

    Thanks Selco, I am not worried about tanks.. but your general comments about “expect to feel overwhelmed” are the kind of things that only experience teaches. Others say.. once the shooting starts.. all plans are forgotten. I hope not to experience this.. but it is good to have it in my mind… oh yes.. I was told about this.

    And as you say .. this could be from Nature.. and not from war. As always.. I thank you for your valuable insights.. keep up the good work.

    I was talking about SHTF with a single female friend.. she said.. I have no worry.. people around here are nice. I thought… good luck with that.. I think Selco learned differently…

    • Selco says:

      Most of the people are like your female friend, they expecting that “someone will take care for things” and that “people are nice”.
      Thing is at the end nobody will take care for things except you, and people mostly are not gonna be nice when SHTF.

      • David says:

        People are “nice” now because there is law and order. There is big trouble if you are violent and take property. What you experienced.. and the speed at which it happened.. is a real eye opener to me. As soon as law enforcement breaks down..I will be prepared for the worst.

        • Selco says:

          I mention that many times. It is very important. Again , we can not plan our preparing basing on human behavior in normal times. I mean big mistake is to believe that if we are living in street with nice neighbors, nice people, friendly, and if we are have some friends that all gonna stay same when SHTF. People are mostly “nice” when times are “nice”.
          Pull the man from the normal life and put him in trouble, real troubles and then you gonna see his real nature.
          Majority of people live their life on a way that society dictate it. When forces that hold society go away, most of the folks show their real nature. In some cases very bad one.

  14. Susan says:

    Selco – thank you again for your generousity in sharing your pain with us. I also have that feeling of “quiet before the storm”. We are all benefitting from your experiences and some of us are going to survive because of you – you have made a difference.

  15. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    I used to cross the Mexican border to do some light shopping in Mexico. Drug cartel violence has given their government more reason to ‘militarize’ the border region on their side, and armored personnel carriers are often seen along roads and in the cities. Nothing like being within feet of a vehicle mounted grenade launcher and sand bagged machine guns at street corners to reconsider ‘jaywalking’, lol. Soldiers in combat gear, carrying HK 91s walking on the sidewalks too.

    All kidding aside, facing those in real life must be very scary indeed.

  16. klaus486 says:

    Seems pretty clear that someone dropped a a gas/fuel bomb on that tank. You can see the thick black smoke and the trail of burning fuel left behind as the tank passes out of view.

    • klaus486 says:

      Interesting also that the commander of the first tank that goes by appears to have his hatch open and his head/upper body exposed as is normal for tankers. I can’t understand why these guys didn’t put some fire on him…….maybe because they know there is more than one tank?

  17. Allen says:

    Good post, Selco.

    Those old T-72’s are still a beast to be reckoned with. The TC standing in his cupola isn’t SOP for Western/NATO tankers. In combat conditions they’re buttoned up.

    As far as Molotov’s or other fuel bombs, it’s useless against a tank. Most engine compartments are armored and if you do manage to obtain a mobility kill, you still have a 60-ton death machine with a crew that is going to fight tooth and nail to make it out alive.

    Nearly all Western/NATO tanks are either designed to deal with Molotov’s, Gas Bombs, ect… or have Urbanization Kits that provide protection against them.

    On the M1, the engine is finicky and delicate, but it’s fairly well protected and M1’s in MOUT are usually uparmored with TUSK or a similar variation of Urbanization Armor.

    Western/NATO doctrine also has Armor and Infantry in Combined Maneuver to
    support one another.

  18. Rusty says:

    Wow….just reading your reply’s is teaching me a lot. Thanks to everyone. I can see where a tank will be over whelming to a civilian. Lets hope we never have to try to destroy one…it would me the shtf has already occurred.

  19. Serial says:

    What would it take to cause the barrel to explode upon discharge? A bullet or buckshot or birdshot shot into the barrel and the round(s) wedged in there somewhere under the nose of the artillery round, a key thrown in, a rock, a steel rod, a stick? Do the soldiers inspect the barrel after ever shot?

    Can anyone tell how you see from out of a tank? Is there a scope, digital screen, ballistic glass porthole or what? Can you see 360?

    Bueller?

    • Dad Was Right says:

      In older tanks at least , I have heard they have a fixed height sort of periscope they look into. Modern tanks are electrical, so probably cameras. I recall them saying the tank commander has his independent device, as does the driver, seems to me the gunner needs to see if his is slaved or not i do not recall.

  20. bosko says:

    forget molotov cocktails and selfmade fuel bombs….unless you do not have a serious RPG or Semtex/C4….just run when you see a tank..even the noise when it shoots can kill you…not to mention the machineguns and flamers operated by the crew….just run and take cover!

  21. Hillbilly says:

    In the good old U.S.A. I have a greater fear of helicopters. I live in a steep wooded area, Tanks aren’t likely to venture to far off the logging roads. Besides can you imagine a tank battle in northern Cal mountains in say july? Fires alone would be unsustainable in any armoured vehicle. I might be able to evade a tank, I don’t know, but ain’t no-one who can outrun a forest fire.
    The worlds a big place, SHTF is different depending on where you live. Lot’s of blogs about bugging out and urban survival scenarios, not to much out there bout how us mountain folk, I guess they ain’t wrote the book on Hillbilly tactical survival , or tacky hillbilly’s,hea,hea. Thank you again Selco, always much to give thought to.

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