Some Thoughts on Bugging Out

 

We at the SHTFSchool are launching our new „Bug out“ course. The first one will be running in Sweden (More details here) so it is perfect time to consider again some things about bugging out.

I written before about it, but it is never ending topic, simply because there is too many variables and small change in your particular scenario can push you toward the plan and action that would not work at all in someone else’s case (and scenario).

Over the years of writing articles and reading other folk articles and comments, and having my own SHTF experience there is clear that people „fixate“ on more or less same topics concerning the bugging out, so I’ll comment some of those topics.

Do I Need to Bug Out, When and How?

I wrote before about timing during the SHTF event when it makes sense to bug out, but what kind of event do you need to experience in order to bug out and how you are you going to do that?

If you expecting that you’re just going to jump in your car and drive to your BOL without problems then you are missing something or you are really good.

There are countless details that may be thrown in equation of bugging out but lets stick to the most important:

Making decision

  • Is event that is happening (or will happen very soon) a serious physical threat you and your family? (dirty bomb attack, serious weather event, civil unrest…)
  • Is staying at your home mean more danger to you than to go out and travel to desired location (bug out) considering all known factors of risk during the trip? (you are expecting that things going to be better out of your current area)
  • Your current resources at your home are clearly going to „run out“ much earlier than at your BOL (you have preps at your home but clearly you have much more in your BOL)

As advice, in a case of some serious event I would choose to move away from the area where there are more people (urban) to the area where there are less people.

It is general rule, but that does not mean that I would blindly run from my home out to the unknown just because I am in the city.

Sometimes bugging in make more sense even if you are preparing your whole life for bugging out, just check factors from above.

Way There

Getting to your BOL location can be simple like driving 100 miles to your location, but that 100 miles may turn out to be 10 days trip on foot.

You never know how it will turns out, but on some things you can be prepared.

I am big advocate of being „grey“, and that is very important especially while you bugging out.

What actually that means?

  • Your decision about using weapon needs to be made based on circumstances in that moment and for that particular situation. Sometimes it make sense to carry weapon openly, sometimes not.

Use common sense, if there are bunch of scared and confused people outside, trying to understand what kind of event is happening do you really want to go outside in full camouflage gear with rifle in your hand? What is the point of that?

If there is obstacle on your route (check point, armed people for example) can you avoid it and take other route?

If you really need to use weapon then use it to completely terminate threat, usually it will not be time to just „show the muscle“  it will rather be time to quickly and efficiently „use the muscle“.

  • Expect that lot of problems on your way you will have to solve by „bargaining“ , for example sometimes you ll be in situation to give money (alcohol, marijuana, bullets, medicine,clothes…) on some check points in order to go through maybe,-as a general rule for that there is this: do not ever give good reason to people to take the chance of attacking and killing you.

What that means?

If you are passing some local militia (neighborhood watch for example) check point (if you can not avoid it) you may offer your wife wedding ring, or your kid’s golden necklace, or your last 50 dollars, or last 25 liters of fuel… but you never offer 10 silver coins from your stash of silver coins, or your 1 pack of antibiotic out of box of 25 packs, or 50 dollars from the pile of 500 dollars.

Use common sense, usually people will avoid trouble if there is no gain from it, if they see good opportunity they might take chance, even if that means some of them might end up dead, it simply worth the risk in that times.

You need to look like ordinary guy, not like experienced prepper with lot of fancy stuff. You need to be grey.

Today,in normal times, people often see something in other people possession and they think „I wish I could have that“, when SHTF lot of people will think „ oh, I can take that“.

Being grey means a lot, and it means different things for different situations, but there is general rule here, and it is very simple: look and act like everybody else around you – do not stick out.

It goes for your vehicle, your equipment, clothes, way how you act, talk…

Examples are numerous, let say it is SHTF and you are bugging out with your pick up truck with 5 steel military canister of fuel clearly visible (among the other equipment) on the back of pick up.

It is great that you thought about extra fuel that you had stored in your garage for bugging out when SHTF.

It is not smart to show that to whole bunch of other people who are also trying to run away from chaos in the city in the middle of fuel shortage.

They were not smart to store that fuel for bugging out like you, but they will kill you for that fuel, because they like their kids more then they hate feeling of killing someone.

After fact that you need to be grey, let’s mention few more basics here:

  • you need to have at least basic knowledge about your vehicle. For example „fixing“ flat tires, radiator leaks, changing belts, ways to unblock cars from compromised roads and you need to have parts and means for that.
  • Your car might be your home for prolonged period of time, maybe your trip is few hours driving, but you do not know on what problems you might stumble and how long it is going to be.
  • You need to be ready to leave (forever) your car in a matter of minutes or even seconds, and continue on foot, so try to organize it on that way that you do not in hurry leave something with your car that is of life importance (for example water, or ammo, or weapon) Load the car with small packages, small containers, things easy to ‘grab and go’ (We DO NOT advocate the use of ‘totes’ in vehicles, unless you have a clear plan and means to empty that tote FAST into an easy to carry bag or similar method of easy to carry equipment.)
  • And in worst case scenario-no matter how good vehicle you have, maybe you’ll be forced to bug out on foot from the start, so have a plan for that too

That means you have to have equipment for long walk, plans for resources on your way, means to spend more nights in the field…

Few more things about planning and mapping your bugging out:

  • Have at least two alternate routes to your BOL
  • Try to understand- recognize, mark on map and avoid possible danger spots on your route (for example gas stations, police stations, malls, bridges,“choking points“…
  • Try to have either secret stashes (fuel, food, water, medicine, ammo…) or help (safe friendly houses, safe places…) on your route
  • Be ready to change plan, change routes, be ready to improvise and adapt, your traveling may look weird (not straight forward) on map, but it is more important to come alive then to stick to the original plan or to come there to fast.
  • Remember when SHTF that means new rules, so you may pose as a policeman, you may have uniform of city services, you may be reporter… all old rules are dead and your task is to get there. Improvise and adapt
  • Check map of your area for natural obstacles (and weather too) but have open mind. That means if for example there are rivers in your area of traveling then no matter that you are planning to drive the car still you need to be prepared for the situation that you gonna swim over the river (what kind of river is, how fast and cold, do you have right bag to put your most valuable items in for that river crossing…) if there is a mountain and winter be ready to spend night outside (have clothes and equipment for that) no matter again that you plan to travel with car

 

Good exercise would be that you go once per year and travel your „bugging out“ route by foot. It would give you some sense of few things. It would be without re-routes, real dangers and problems but still you would notice lot of things and you would get a few good ideas…

These are just a few thoughts on the matter. Those joining us on the physical bug out course, will learn and practice this and much much more…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Selco’

 

End of  the year and start of the new year is usually time for some new decisions, changes in your life and similar.

Usually in this time of the year I write about some expectations in „prepper terms“ about what for and why we should be prepared.

Nothing really changed in what we should expect, the world is going faster in some wrong directions and so there is no need for me to repeat that now.

 

For New Preppers

 

I would like to take this chance to just surmise what we at the SHTFSchool are doing and why, because in last months we have quite number of newbies here, new on my blog but also new in prepping.

Many times I read that Selco is „guy who survived year under siege during war“ and that I talk and write from that perspective.

I should mention however It was a long process. This ‘one year in hell’ is the literal tip of the iceberg.

From the moment when I was an ordinary guy prior to the war who did not have a clue about survival, up to this moment now at the end of 2017, a whole bunch of things happened.

Of course from the survival point of view most important thing was that I was part of the 4 year Balkan war, that includes that 1 year under siege, but also other things like being soldier and being a refugee in that time…

It is a process that lasted many years, before the war, during and after. An important part of it is meeting and talking with other preppers through my courses in ‘real life’ live or online, because I have learned, the hard way, that it is impossible to know everything and that you are actually learning all the time.

 

„The Truth Will Set You Free“?

 

One of the let’s say „sad advantages“ why I know few things about SHTF in such well rounded terms, lies simply in the fact that I’m still living in the middle of it right now, for years, because post war society is exactly that.

War for me was one experience, it was fighting, hunger, air raids, being dirty and sick… complete absence of system.

Post war society is another experience: life now is life in a corrupted system, political homicides, car bombs between different fractions, teenagers being drug addicts and prostitutes because there is no other way to find food…

It is life where ex war lords (or their children) are political party leaders with their own private armies of mercenaries „disguised“ in security companies, it is life where every (decent) home have AK 47 hidden somewhere, and bedtime stories for kids how „they“ just waiting for next chance to start new war, so we need to hate them… (who ever „we“ or „they“ are, really we are all the same)

It is life where I have to have different amounts of money in different pockets all the time, either to bribe the policeman (if I calculate it’s worth it) or to give it to drug addict with knife (if I calculate not to shoot him)… To repeat, this is EVERY DAY life here…

It is life where I need to have a registered and not registered pistol, based on what I am trying to achieve…

In very short, I am living in the middle of collapse, compared to war this is comfortable, but it is STILL SHTF.

So for all newbies here, and for guys who following me for years, you need to understand one thing: Selco is talking and teaching about real things, and to live here and talk openly about truth means that you may end up in deep s..t really fast, so that is the reason why you won’t ever see my face in an interview, or read my real name, I am not gonna show up in a youtube channel.

People from the events that I am writing on my blog are here, alive, and mostly in power, actually they rule here, they give you job and salary just not to be hungry, they and their people will find school for your kid, or simply find medicines for your mother cancer…

Otherwise a drug addict may ‘find’ your kid from the way back to school, you may be labeled as a „traitor“ maybe, or simply you may one morning when you start your car engine end up in Heavens…

You may watch at your dying mother who was told that „she need to wait for the specialist oncologist appointment for 16 months…”

This is EVERY DAY life here

You must be invisible and not interesting, you need to be small all the time.

You need to be gray. Not in the tacticool interpretation of the word, genuinely, completely blended. This ability to go unnoticed goes WAY BEYOND just the clothes that you wear…

Many times I read that I am ‘not real’ or ‘fraud’ or ‘Russian troll’ because I am staying „hidden“, but it’s like this, I share my advice under this assumed name, take it or leave it, but don’t think these comments are going to change it.

For all my new and old readers, Happy New Year!

Selco

 

 

 

SHTF Christmas… What was It Like…?

Just this last week I completed an interview with Daisy from the Organic Prepper Blog. It was on a timely subject with Christmas being here, so thought I’d share it here as well.

 

 

Have you ever thought about what an SHTF Christmas would be like after an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it event? I’m not talking about a minor issue that just affects a few people, but a full-on disaster that changes everything.

Today, we have a first-hand look at what a post-collapse holiday is really like. I interviewed my friend Selco, of SHTF School, and his answers are really food for thought.  I have learned more about long-term survival from Selco than probably anybody else and have based a lot of my own plans on things I’ve learned from him. For most of us who write about preparedness, it’s research and theory. For Selco, it’s real life.

This interview is in his own words.

I read over the answers to his questions at least a dozen times and thought about how fortunate we are. Even our most difficult times here, in our society, would have been the height of luxury during the war in Bosnia.

But will we always be this lucky?

First, give us a little bit of background. What was going on? Please describe the circumstances in Bosnia during this time.

War in the Balkan region (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia…) started during the 1991 and went on until 2000 (if you include war at Kosovo and NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999), but historians mainly narrow it to a period of 1991-1995 if you do not count Kosovo war and NATO bombing. In some literature, you’ll find the name “Yugoslav Wars“ which is same (all above-mentioned Balkan countries used to be states in Federation of Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija or roughly translated to English it is “country of south Slavs“).

…Yugoslavia (as a socialistic-communist country) founded after WW2 in 1945, and stop to exist in 1991 with the start of the wars. Shortly prior the war socialistic system (communistic) fell apart as a part of bigger events (fall of Soviet Union, fall of Berlin wall…) and democracy came, together with democracy, rivalry between states that wanted to stay in the Yugoslavian union and states who wanted independence raised sharply, that resulted in riots and small and isolated fights, leading to full use of Yugoslavian army (JNA) which was 4th largest military force in Europe in that time.

Wars had all features: Independence fights, aggression between states, civil war, genocide, re-alignments, or switching of allegiances as the operational situational changed, backing up from foreign forces (Such as US and NATO)… through periods of it  you could say that it was an ethnic war or even religious in parts, but in the essence it was war for territory and resources between factions who were in power, based on personal gain of wealth and influence only.

I went as a civilian and later as a soldier through the whole period of wars, I was in different regions during that period. Harder period of those wars (because of numerous reasons) happened in Bosnia, and one of the main “feature“ of that period were “sieges“ of a couple of cities that lasted from few months to a couple of years.

I found myself in one of those sieged cities. I lived like that for a year and I survived.

Every day, for almost a year, for me was a constant fight for survival, I was constantly either trying to defend myself or to look for resources, for usable water, food or simply firewood. We scavenged through the destroyed city for usable items because everything was falling apart and we have to “reinvent“ things in order to survive, like the best way to stay warm, to stay clean and safe or simply to make home medicine for diarrhea or high blood pressure.

When Christmas rolled around, it was obviously very different than any other holiday people had ever experienced. Can you tell us the usual Christmas traditions in Bosnia BEFORE this all happened?

As said, I grew up in Yugoslavia, which was socialistic and communistic country. One of the thing in that country and system was that religion was not forbidden, but it was strongly, let’s say “advised“ that religion is way down in the list of life priorities.

On the other side, it was strongly “advised“ that we put aside our differences (we had many different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, and a couple of main religions) in order to build one “ethnicity“ – Yugoslavian. As the result of that all different religions kinda know each other very well, and people from different religions celebrated more or less or know all religions.

Christmas for most of the folks was very much connected to the New year holiday (again something that is connected to the official socialistic system) and it was just like everywhere in the world I guess, holiday of presents and gathering of family. For example, going on midnight mass was matter of being together with family and friends, and meeting each other-not so much matter of religion not too many “real“ religious people).

I was a teenager more or less, but my memories of that holiday prior the war are: peace, good food, family gathering and presents, and of course Santa.  It was huge and “mandatory“ thing that kids gonna get big presents then.

I’m sure that then, everything was very different. What were some of the changes? How did you celebrate?

Everything was different when SHTF, yes. Living was hard, comfort was gone and everything was stripped“\ down to the bare survival. Lot of small commodities that we usually do not think about (we take it for granted) was simply gone because of obvious reasons (the whole system was out) but also because simply life becomes full of hard duties, to finish simple tasks and obtain resources becomes hard, dangerous and time-consuming.

Celebrations become rare and not so happy and big (not even near) but in the same time they become more precious and needed too.

Get-togethers (family) become even more important because people lean much more on each other between group or family, simply because they needed much more support – psychological. too – than in normal times.

A lot of religious people lost their faith when they saw family members dying. On the other side lot of people found God in that desperate times – as an only hope.

Being together with family members for small “time off“ become almost like small rituals, like a ritual of finding inner strength and support in order to push more through hard times.

Yes, religion was a big part of it, but it was not only about religion, it was about finding strength in you and people close to you – family, and sharing it between each other.

Without access to storebought presents, what kinds of gifts did people give?

It could be divided in two groups:

Things that help you in the new reality:

All kind of things that helped you to solve all kind of problems that SHTF brought. For example, people who were skilled in handcrafting used to made cigar holders out of wood and bullets casing, it was very popular for smokers and the reason for that was because cigarettes were rare, and people usually smoked bad tobacco rolled in bad paper and good cigar holder (as a combination of cigar holder and pipe) was essential for smoking that stuff.

It was small thing but really important if you were a smoker in that time.

Another example was small handmade stove. It was made from thin metal, and in some cases it was portable. Point was that kind of stove needed really small amount of wood ( fuel for fire was important and hard and dangerous to get in urban settings) to make it really red hot and cook something quickly or boil water.

So cool and usable kind of inventions.

Things that connect you to normal

In this other group were all kind of things that connect you to the normal (prior SHTF) life. It was not only cool and nice to have those presents, but also it was important psychologically to taste something that actually makes you feel normal again.

For example after living for months through collapse, one simple bottle of beer could make you feel human again, and it would somehow gave you strength.

Sweets (Candy), beer, spice, or even few songs that someone play on guitar for you were precious.

What did you do for the children at Christmas to make it special?

Kids were somewhat “forgotten“ in the SHTF times. Quite simply not many people paid attention to them other then keeping them safe from dangers.

People did not have enough time to take care about their needs.

During the holidays people usually wanted to give some kind of joy for them, or to “keep the spirit“ of holiday alive for them.

In majority of cases it was very poor imitation of holidays in normal times, for example I remember that making pancakes (jam was made out of tomato juice and very expensive sugar) was considered alone like a holiday. Special food, or attempts to make some special food, for kids, were usual holiday presents for kids in that time. Today that kind of food would look ridiculous and not even edible probably, but in that time it was precious.

What did families serve for Christmas dinner in Bosnia during this time?

Traditionally for Christmas and New Year holidays in this region here, we ate huge amounts of meat, and drink wine, so people during the collapse tried to keep that tradition.

Again it was mostly unsuccessful in terms of normal, but in that time having hot stew kind of meal from MRE was considered holiday dinner, and actually it was very very tasty and a “holiday spirit“ dinner considering what we usually ate.

Wine was out of the option most of the time but hard alcohol was there.

In general, were people happy and joyous to find a chance to celebrate, or was it grim and depressing because it was so different?

General picture looked like this: we were cold, more or less hungry, dirty, tired and unsure in future, but yes we appreciate feeling of getting together for holiday and we were trying to keep “spirit alive“.

Truth is that sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

But generally yes, psychologically it was important, it had its place, it had a sense to get together, take some time to try to feel normal again, to remember that we are still humans.

Definitely those moments were not bright and happy, like in normal times but on the other hand those moments were appreciated and were much more real than in peacetime.

Do you have any holiday stories you can share from this time? (Doesn’t matter if they are happy stories or sad – I’d really like to show the reality of post-collapse holidays.)

It is big thing (I guess just like everywhere) to leave presents under the tree for Christmas and New Year here.

It is custom here to buy big bags (kids motifs of cartoons, fairy tales and similar) and fill it with favourite snacks, sweets and toys of each kid and leave that bags under the tree (we did not had custom of socks and similar, we had those bags, to literally translate the name would be “kid package“).

Of course, it was out of the question to have the bags and sweets and toys in the middle of SHTF.

My uncle in that time came into an opportunity to make a deal with local small “warlord“ or gang leader if you like.

The deal was about giving some weapon for food (the guy had a connection with outside world) and my uncle “made a condition“ on the whole deal with the term that he will give a weapon for food but the additional deal was that he also need 3 “kids packages.”

In that time and particular moment, taking into consideration with what kind of people he was making a deal it was like he was asking a serial killer, to his face, to sing a gentle lullaby, and my uncle said that those guys simply could not believe what he asked.

Everybody was looking for or offering weapon, drugs, violent contract deals or even prostitutes from those people but he was looking for “kids packages“.

But they indulge him, and my uncle said that he thought they indulged him simply out of the fun, and out of the fact that it is gonna be a very interesting urban legend that someone could obtain kids packages in that time.

The guy even wrote down the list of sweets and toys that my uncle asked from him.

I think those sweets and toys when they came were one of the most unreal items in that time and place, but they were worth the effort.

It really gives you something to think about.

What a reality check. And how fortunate we are. Our version of “things were really tight this Christmas” is laughable in comparison to what is described above. I can’t thank Selco enough for sharing his stories with us.

I’ve often recommended prepping with things like cake mix, birthday candles, extra Christmas cards, and items that support your family traditions, and after reading what Selco had to say, I believe it’s even more important. You can’t overstate the psychological aspect of being able to provide that sense of normalcy.

More information about Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Read more of Selco’s articles here: https://shtfschool.com/blog/

And take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge and advice by signing up for the outstanding and unrivaled online course. More details here: https://shtfschool.com/survival-boot-camp/

————————————————————–

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com

She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menarie.
You can find Daisy on 
FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Sleep Deprivation and SHTF

 

Image from Häggström, Mikael (2014). “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 2002-4436. Public Domain.

 

 

It is one of those things that lot of people do not see, that when SHTF they will have big problems with and due to sleep deprivation.

Reasons are many, maybe it is going to be too dangerous so you’ll be forced to stay awake for prolonged time, or simply your sleep cycle will be messed up because you’ll be depressed when SHTF, or you will not have enough time for quality sleep…

It is important to understand what you can expect when sleep deprivation gets you…

 

 Your Performance

I use to call that feeling –„being in a bubble“.

It is like being on drugs that makes you feel like you do not care about things around you.

For example you find yourself in situation when you do not care are you going to be shot, you clearly see that you have high chances to be shot from sniper on very dangerous intersection, you see that odds are high for that, but you taking that small chance (of not being shot) and go over that intersection, partly because you do not care and partly because you are feeling invincible.

You are in the „bubble“, in a strange state of feelings and processing information around you and that „bubble“ came, largely, from sleep deprivation.

Your perception of danger situation gets twisted in weird ways, and you react different, sometimes you want to be hero without reasons, or sometimes you become coward – again without reason.

Let’s at least say it moves you out of your „normal“.

 

Once, I was hiding for 3 days in ruined house with my friend, while unit of soldiers were out on the street.

Maybe 50 people with one tank, they were drinking and occasionally entering houses around our house to check for stuff, their tank was broken, something with engine and they kept the engine roaring almost all the time, fixing something with fuel or oil.

We did not sleep for those 3 days, we were ready to jump in a split second if they entered our house. On the third day my friend announced to me that he is writing poem about this situation, and I myself was very close to going out to the guys and tell them that I do not believe in war or something like that, in the belief they’d respond with ‘Okay, well then go from here(!?!)’.

Luckily that day they moved away after they fixed the engine.

 

Weird Things

It is subjective, but based on my personal experience you can expect after 3-4 days of no sleeping during SHTF  to see things that are not there, or on the other hand not to see things that there. (Toby comment: Be aware this can happen MUCH sooner in some people, even in less than 24hrs depending on the stressors around, age of the individual and overall fatigue level, among other influences)

This fact was reason for many deaths, and also it was reason for many scary legends in that time.

Personally I saw couple of times people that are not falling down after clearly being shot several times, dead people walking,  strange lights, sounds, or simply let’s say ‘ghosts’.

I learned over the time to notice and observe things like that, but not to react, otherwise I would probably have gone crazy.

When you hear baby crying 10 meters from you in abandoned and ruined house in the middle of night and you follow the sound and go there, and there is nothing there, but now same sound coming from other room that can give you some weird feelings in your guts.

You observe, but not react-otherwise you go crazy.

Fear and lack of sleep will play with your mind.

 

What Can You Do?

 

Just like with lot of other things connected with SHTF very often you can not do s..t with sleep deprivation because it simply will be there, but there are things that you can consider because they help:

-Stay Healthy

Sleep deprivation when SHTF is always accompanied with other things, so it is good to at least take away that other things. If you are having diarrhea, or you are malnourished, or simply you are out of shape AND you are in the middle of sleep deprivation that makes things a lot worse.

If you are in good shape and having lack of sleep, it is something that you can work with, you can survive.

– Do Not Be Alone

It is good old SHTF advice- do not be alone. Being with someone means that you can have support, someone who can recheck your decisions (or vice versa), someone who can take lead when you are „down“ or simply someone who can be awake while you are taking short sleep.

Be Careful With Stimulants (drugs, alcohol. etc…)

It is maybe not „politically correct“ to say, but again based on personal experience drugs and alcohol are helping in sleep deprivation BUT only in short terms, on longer terms actually they will f..k you up even more, so be VERY careful with that, nothing can beat a short normal nap.

Have Short Naps!

I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had a full night sleep during my SHTF period. But I did have short naps. 20-30 minutes. And they help.

Even in the middle of shelling or fight, somewhere hidden (more or less) I would put sunglasses on and cotton in ears and had short nap. It was very „shallow“ sleep.

At night sunglasses can minimize the effects of flashes around you, and cotton can take away a bit of detonations sound. (yes, good thing to store today is „eye covers” for sleeping and ear plugs)

 

Sleep Deprivation and You

 

I have to point out that my SHTF experience was bit „drastic“, so you may not be found in middle of shelling, but still I can assure you that you will have problems with sleep deprivation when SHTF because of the amount of new situations that SHTF brings, so be prepared for that.

Survival lesson Re-visited: Staying Out Of Trouble

 

This new article is actually a re-post of one of the my old articles that I wrote almost 3 years ago.

The guy that I wrote about in that article died few days ago, and that is the reason why I am re posting this.

I use to knew him very well, the man that he became at the end was almost a stranger to me.

He did not die shooting an AK47 at the politicians who once “pushed” him to war with their “infinite honor” and “our cause” stories, he did not wrote book about his experiences, he did not become hero.

At his funeral there were 9 people, including guys who are paid to finish the job with shovels.

This man was “eaten” by cancer, and I am sure that cancer started in his soul first.

I drunk few gins for his soul and decide to re-post this.

Message of this is same. Stay out of the trouble and simply do not believe everything, especially if the message is coming “packaged” and in “big words” (Students in USA should take special note of this now…)

 

Looking for goods and usable items during the war often meant I got myself in some weird situations and scenarios. I knew lots of guys who risked their lives just to go to some destroyed places because they knew they could find some items that meant a lot for them personally, but actually those items were useless in given situation around us at that time.

But people often act like fools and if you find yourself in a survival situation it is the perfect time to lose your life if you act like fool.

Like a friend who lost his eye, just because he went to his house and searched through a closet full of audio tapes in order to collect some of his favourite punk band titles. Not to mention that electricity in that time was something like faint memory, and he could not do anything with those tapes even if he did find them.

Anyway booby trap exploded, luckily he survived, but he lost one of his eyes.

When you have young people or in general, inexperienced people and fighting around you, it is the perfect combination for some people to act like fools.

There is something in dangerous (and new) situations that makes you want to act like fool, and to do stupid things, young folks do that mostly, but it can happen to anyone, it happened to me too.

Good old „stay out of the trouble“ advice is one of the best survival lessons one can learn.

Whenever I read on survival forums, threads about gangs and how during SHTF people should get organized and simply defeat them, I remember how young and enthusiastic I was about that too, but luckily enthusiasm went away quickly and I survived.

The problem here is holding onto old concepts and not accepting change. One day you have law and order and you can call someone when you see trouble because it is not right, next day suddenly there is no one to call and you might feel you have to jump in to make things right.

You may find it cowardly that man wants to stay put when bad things happen around him but in reality in most of the situations you can not do anything without huge organisation that helps you and a big personal risk.

My relative was outside the country when the war started, he was working for an electrical company in the middle east. Contract was good, and he had a monthly salary there equal to 6 months salaries here at that time.

On first news about fighting and war, he returned to the country to join the army and fight. Blockades and battles already started and his trip back to his town took lot of time and troubles.

He was 26 year old back then and he told me that when he entered the country at a small city where he and few other guys wanted to join the fighting forces, he saw that war is not like in books and movies…

Military unit that welcomed them asked who they are and what they wanted, they said that they wanted to join the fighting forces. He said he expected some kind of questions about their military experience or similar, but instead of that the small unit commander asked them : „Do you want some women?“

They starred at him like idiots so he explained „We have some enemy women in prison close here, so go there first if you want“.

My relative was raised by his grandmother, he was nice kid, no cursing, not too much drinking, he said to me that shock was so big that he could not open his mouth to even say „No man!“

He told me that later he find out that fighting includes doing lots of things in order to win fight and stay alive. He went through lots of fighting, earned the reputation of a tough guy, and one day they got caught up in ambush and he was one of the few who survived.

Machine gun from close distance destroyed his legs and belly. He was removed from the country for rehabilitation, his legs are still there, but only for „pictures“.

He is „glued“ to wheelchair forever, and no kids, no wife either.

He lives today in small apartment that looks at big chimney of a disused factory, elevator is usually not working, and nobody cares to lift him up and down.

Nobody visits him too much, he is no hero, he fought for something that is now considered „ wrong and not needed war“ as they say.

Now and then I visit him in his city and that apartment, and every time I conclude two things:

First how lucky I am. Even with all my issues and traumas from the war compared to him, and second is that every time when I left him in his misery and bitterness I am expecting to see in few days in news something like „old war veteran in wheelchair went crazy and start to shoot from AK47 at people in street from his apartment at 6th floor.“

I asked him once why he returned to the country at the beggining of the war while at the same time thousands fled? I expected to hear something patriotic or similar, but he said „Man, at that time it was something so exciting and new!“

So just listen to first survival and most important survival lesson: Stay out of the trouble. Life is very real and it is easy to forget how brutal “real life” can be. With real life I mean life without our civilized society or just life without all support and help we take for granted.

I hope I will never have to use everything I trained for or any lesson I share with you here ever again.

Do you have examples when staying out of trouble was hard and about consequences of this? Share in the comments below.

Top Tips – Items to Stockpile

 

I’m constantly seeing articles with titles like“ things that gonna disappear when SHTF“ or“ things that you need to stock up when SHTF“, better still, “Top 10/50/100(!) Items to stock before SHTF” or something in that way.

And then, in the article, author goes with huge number of items that will be gone when SHTF.

These articles, like many, are not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, but it can be used more as an reminder what amount and number of things we are dependable on in everyday life, other then a list what to buy for SHTF. Unless of course you just happen to have a spare $20,000 to immediately to buy everything on the list.

It is so obvious that when SHTF, electricity will be most probably gone, but does that really mean that you need to run today and buy a generator and huge amount of fuel?

Maybe there are smarter, cheaper things to store, more usable and more „desirable“ (for trade) when SHTF….

And again you need to think about difference between what you really need and what would be really nice to have. Necessity vs. Comfort.

I am not saying it is wrong to buy a special bug out vehicle, only for when SHTF, I am saying that I want to give advice about what to store and that items anyone of you can store.

I had always opinion that millionaires do not read my blog (if you do, please feel free to click on my ‘donate’ button, over there on the right hand side of this page ;), so my advice is aimed at the people who need to take care about every dollar, and who need to invest in a smart way for future SHTF.

Here I will write about two items only that you can and if possible need to store, and reasons why.

Antibiotics (In inject-able format)

Of course, antibiotics are like „must have“ items for the time when SHTF.

It is not unknown item for preppers storage, but still there is maybe slight misunderstanding about antibiotics.

I know there are thousands of pages about „fish antibiotics“ out there, and I can only say that if you can not buy antibiotic in better forms then buy that one and have it.

But you need to know that sometimes, actually when SHTF very often only real antibiotic is Penicillin in a form of injections.

There are numbers of reason for that, like severity (prolonged time) of infection, needed levels of antibiotic in blood…etc

You really really need to know that very often „attacking“ infection with „fish-mox“ for example or even real Amoxicillin  will be like you are pissing on the forest fire in order to put it out.

It is useless.

 

I just took this photo, it is „one round“ or one dosage of PNC for a fully grown adult, it covers huge spectrum of infections, (of course you would need several shots), it is small, easy to store and easy to carry.

One „full treatment“ of several vials + water for dilution can fit into your jacket pockets and in your pants pocket you can fit needed syringes and needles.

When SHTF, in those pockets you have the means to save somebody’s life, yours, or your own kid, or simply you can trade it for really cool items.

Now imagine that you have big stash of these.

It is hard to get it there where you live probably, I understand that, but simply I do not believe that it is impossible.

You are preparing for end of the world, for chaos, for violence… I just can not believe you can not try to look for the info. where you can get these without prescription and cheap.

Try!

You can store it only for trade, but you can learn how to administer it too.

Procedure for administering PNC (and other injections) can be taught too, and actually it is pretty simple ( I will be teaching this as a module in our new, soon to be released, course).

There are possible complications, possible mistakes of course, and I am aware it is illegal for non medical personnel to administer injections of PNC, but again, you need to think outside the box – it is better to have something and to learn some technique and then never use it, than to not know it and be in dire need of use of it.

Invest in reading about antibiotics; types, allergies and substitution, and ways of applications. Buy a Nursing drug reference book, and find some nurse or medic who is willing to show you how to do it, you do not need to fly to me in Croatia only to learn that particular technique. That said, this and the other things I will be teaching in that course will be worth it…

Condoms

Yes, other item are condoms.

I watched a video about a week ago, about what condoms can be used for in survival situations, and actually I liked the video.

I did not know lot of those uses mentioned.

But here I am talking about best survival use for condoms, and it is what they are meant for actually.

Maybe you think that sex will stop to exsist when SHTF, but actually it is not true.

Sex was there in my SHTF, actually it will be there always, it is natural, and it is in human nature to be there.

Now one more thing will be there when SHTF, and it will be much bigger problem then in normal times –  sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s, especially in prolonged period of collapse, it is simply again thing of human nature, lack of hygiene and medical care etc.

So after some time condoms will be valuable.

And again, they are small, easy to carry and store, and cheap as of right now, today. It is not a huge investment to buy 1000 condoms and store them somewhere.

So as a conclusion, it is not about what things will be gone when SHTF, it is about what of those things make sense for you to have, what you can afford to stock today, what will „pay off“ the most when SHTF…

But most importantly – again it is about thinking out of the box.

Out of interest, what items have you been stockpiling for ‘trade’ and such? Let me know in the comments below. More importantly let me know WHY you are stockpiling these things…?

 

Stuff – Concerns on ‘Over Attachment’

In one comment on my previous article I received an excellent comment (thanks Nick!) about what lessons he learned while going through Hurricane Irma, and how that event change some of his views about prepping.

He got the points that I wrote about for long time ago, and I still repeat it from time to time, it has to be repeated because you see it as my words only, and most of the people will understand it only in the  proper way after they experience some serious event, only then you can put it in correct perspective.

Nothing like real life experience learning.

And there is nothing wrong about changing your (survival) system, I do that too when I figure that something works better then plan (or equipment) that I have.

If you are prepper for years and you did not change your setup and plan from day one of your prepping until now, then usually something is wrong with your philosophy.

„On a Good Day I can…“

 I think it was on some forum or in some blog comments, discussion was about some particular weapon as far as I remember, and some guy said like „ (when SHTF) on a good day I can shoot (kill)…“

In that short statement („on a good day“) is condensed one of the biggest mistakes about prepping in survival movement.

There is not too many good days when SHTF. It is simple like that.

In short people are prepping based on imaginary perspective how SHTF gonna look, and that alone is not problem (you do not necessary have to go through serious SHTF event in order to be good prepper-survivalist), problem is that people stick so hard to their imaginary perspective of how SHTF gonna look like, and what they need for it, that they are simply not willing to change their plans.

They are sure.

Whenever I read that someone change his plans based on his experience and thinking and that he recognize that in my articles or courses where he was wrong I feel great.

By the way, on a good day you can sit down and shoot 6 magazines from AK in 5 minutes and shoot 5 people who wants to break in your home while you are singing „Hey Joe“ without too much problems.

You are fed, secured, comfortable, warm, healthy, probably police gonna come in 10 minutes, you’ll get professional psychological help later, maybe you end up in local newspaper as a hero…

On a ordinary day during real collapse, chances are that you’ll be tired from days and nights of not sleeping well, more or less hungry, maybe you gonna have weird and painful infection in your groin from lack of proper hygiene and serious case of diarrhea, your younger kid having pneumonia and of course doctors are gone, and your friend who is a veterinarian gave you some pills and you are not sure is it working, your wife had nervous breakdown and you do not have clue what to do with her…

You were listening to screams from town for weeks while gangs were killing and raping, and your bones melted from horror.

Several times strange idea of killing your family and then yourself struck your mind, because listening to screams for weeks put pictures of what kind of things are happening there, and you can not cope with that pictures.

And then there are 5 people attacking your home, they even yell that they gonna spare all of you if you give them all your preps, but you’re thinking about screams, but still maybe they spare you…

It is definetly not your „good day“.

You need to hope for good days when SHTF, but you need to be prepared for bad days when SHTF.

„Heat“

It is equation that takes in consideration your skills, preps, event, circumstances… and given heat (SHTF).

If you show me man who can have all prepared perfectly well for any kind of possible scenario I will bow to him, but, in my mind, it is simply impossible.

If you understand that then you’ll understand two things:

-you’ll need constantly to adapt to the given situation

-you’ll have bad days and fails

But you’ll have a good chance to survive. To show that in an example I’ll use very widespread and popular topic: Bug Out Bags

It is something like holy grail of survival, and it is like a minefield to go into that topics against widespread and popular opinions in survival community, but I’ll survive, and you just need to think about it. So here goes…

Bug Out Bag (and equipment)

Bug out bag is something that is considered you „absolutely need to have“ or otherwise you are not a prepper….

So there you have situation where people (family) have bug out bags, each member of family have his own BOB.

Yours might weigh 25 kilos. You have everything there, food for three days, toilet paper, axe and knife, tarp and small stove, extra ammo, first aid kit and lot of antibiotics.

You have maps and radios.

It is heavy duty military grade backpack, waterproof.

All members of your family have BOB with good and usable stuff inside.

And then city erupt in violent protests for whatever reason and you need to bug out immediately.

You all grab your BOBs go out and get shot after 300 meters just because you have such good and cool looking stuff on you (and in huge amounts)

Or simply you drown in the river because your backpack is too big.

I understand that this example is very rudimentary, but you need to stop thinking that you can cover everything for every scenario, otherwise you end up covering nothing.

BOB is become almost burden because we are being bombarded with info „what we really need to have in order to survive and thrive“ or „you must have this or othervise you end up dead for sure“.

BUT it really needs to be about necessity, not comfort.

There is „prepackaged first aid kit for your BOB“ with nonsense inside, there are stoves that are heavy and give your position away to everybody from 2 km distance, there are ways to start your fire that takes like half hour to start fire and require like 1000 calories of your work… does anybody use lighter anymore for starting fire?

„what if lighter fails“?

Can you have 2-3 lighters for that case?

There are powerfull torches that make“ night look like day“ for only such and such amount of money…and if I want to read my map in the middle of nowhere using that torch I’ll be blind for next half hour, but if there anybody within 3 kms of my position they all will know where I am.

Again, all above are examples, and torch lamp and flints are great stuff,and definitely they have its place (I have it) but did you think to include lighters and micro lights too?

Example of solution would be „shelf“ system. You need to have lot of stuff ready to take really quickly, but based on given scenario.

Some things can cover all scenarios, basic things, but why in the name of ‘everything covered’ anybody would drag big heavy bag when you need speed and „blending“.

Is having sport bag for a given scenario not make more sense than a camping backpack or military type backpack?

Is carryng rifle in your hand having more sense then hiding under coat in given moment in scenario?

Maybe simple sleeping mat being visible on your backpack clearly points you as a target in given moment? Maybe moment demand only heavy duty trash bag in your pocket (as a mean for sleeping on a way to your BOL)

These are only examples, but hopefully you get my point.

Sit down, pull all your gear out, and think about 5 possible SHTF scenarios, and that you have 10 minutes to choose only 30 percent of your BOB stuff, see the difference in equipment selection for each scenario.

It is good practice.

It is reality – you cannot have everything.

Find The Balance

You may find that at the end it is about balance how much preps you have in your home (or willing to carry) with you.

Sometimes it affects your mobility and adaptility.

Sometimes you grow huge connection with your stuff and you are not willing to leave everything and run to save your life (because you have valuable things)

Sometimes all your cool preps will save your life!

Metal container with 300 $ worth of preps inside that you took and bury in woods as your secret stash can worth much more then 50 000$ worth of preps inside your home, simply because you maybe had to leave your home in 10 minutes in order to survive…

It is balance that can not be taught, because you need to put it in perspective of your given circumstances.

There is no magical solution to „survive and thrive when SHTF  (for only $99.99)“ there is no „prepackaged perfect solution“ products.

YOU need to pack your solution!

 

In At The Deep End…

 

There is a whole range of situations that look completely different in real life situation than in the survival ‘realm’ on youtube.

It is normal that you can not bring full scale of reality in training situation but still some things needs to be shown more real then they are shown in usual shows over internet.

I watched few days ago couple videos and read some stuff about (safe) river crossing in survival situations, and noticed some things.

I will mention most important:

Common sense (yes, common sense… again)

First majority of those videos and articles describe river crossings in wilderness survival situations, and while some of those are pretty good and gives you good advices about basic stuff like how deep, how wide, what kind of ground (under the water), how fast, safest places to cross etc they are forgetting to mention urban river (survival) crossing.

In urban river crossing there is whole new set of things to think about like polluted water, garbage and different kind of stuff in (like car wreck for example)  in river bed (that can give you lot of troubles).

Also videos usually shows rivers that are up to your waist deep, or rivers not too wide (so you can use fallen log to cross it)…

But just like with all other internet survival one thing in those scenarios is missing – other people.

If your survival situation will include river crossing in the middle of day in peaceful country settings, where there is no single soul (with possible bad intentions to you) except you and only noise is birds singing etc. you are lucky man, but most probably it is not gonna be like that.

Forget about videos of shooting anchor with rope over the river and crossing it like that unless you are SAS (in good condition), in reality most of us can not do that.

Also most of the river in urban settings (and lot of in wilderness settings) can not be crossed by „fallen log“.

Either there is no fallen log, or you do not have time to look for it, or it is pitch dark, or simply river is too wide for fucking „fallen log“.

Instead of looking for a fancy solution of survival rivers crossing immediately I suggest you (just like with all other survival tecniques) go from the start, from the very basic.

Check your survival plans (you bug out route for example) and see what kind of rivers are there.

Do not forget to include area that may be your secondary or tertiary choice for bugging out, remember that plan is only that – plan.

Now see what kind of rivers are there on your way, what kind of river beds, what banks are (remember sometimes what it looks like good aproach to river may be mud hell where you can at least lose your shoes if not even something more important).

There are huge differences between „wild“ rivers and rivers (in urban settings) where river bed is controlled and paved or similar. Walking through those rivers are different, approach too.

Good advice too is to think about bridge as a first and easiest crossing over the river, take that as a start and then check possible pros and cons for crossing particular river over the particular bridge.

In other words do not go and drown yourself because you try to swim over dangerous river just because you felt very „survivalist“ while there is a bridge standing close without any danger of passing over that bridge.

Forget being fancy-use common sense and choose less danger in particular situation.

Internet survival  techniques

Lot of techniques that works beautiful on internet turns out like into shit and mess in real life, and reason for that is simple: most of the internet survival techniques are based on „philosophical“ or fictional scenarios and can not include all possible real life factors.

Simply- reality can throw on you much more factors that you did not think about.

Still it is not reason not to learn and prepare for different situations.

I can share with you  my experiences about „survival river crossings“, my experience is quite different, and actually not smart at all, but i think there is lessons to be learned.

Swimming

It was around 3am and I was in the part of the town where I should not been in that time of the night, simply because I should be home earlier then that.

I would like to say that I was there to trade, find food, scavenge or fight-it would sounds more „survival“ for the sake of this article and blog but truth was that I was there to see a girl that i like a lot.

On my way back I found myself into the one of sudden raids. A 50 man group attacked the street and I run from them through ruined houses and found myself on the bank of the river (Pictured above).

I always kinda hated that river-I liked the river but I hated how cold, fast and treacherous that river can be.

It was pitch dark and I crawled downhill some 20 meters through small willow trees, and bush on huge stones that stands on a bank (no fucking fallen log there, so you know…)

I crawled through something smelly and soft, I felt like all was rotten in that bush.

I could see river, small waves were wetting my shoes, and I was standing on slippery stone holding willow branch with one hand.

River bed is mix of huge stones and sand, and depth is going from 30 cm to 3 meters- depending on size of stones, stones go very „steep“ so you can actually swim under the stone (and probably drown there) or simply strange current and whirlpool will do that for you, roll you and pull you under the stone and drown you there, or simply throw you on the stone and smash your head. It can be dangerous river for experienced swimmer in broad daylight and swimming suit.

I tried to see what is on other bank-some 20-25 meters far, tracer round flashes reflects on my eyes and all I could see is darkness on other bank and something moving in darkness, same willow trees or people with rifles, or maybe is my imagination, in that time and situation seeing a guy selling popcorn on the other side would not be surprising how my imagination worked.

I expected any moment that enemy would shoot me, so adrenaline worked hard .

I had backpack which was almost empty, 22 rifle which was duct taped (two screws that holding steel part together with wooden part were „worn off“ so it was duct taped to hold it together) tobbaco box and some 15 bullets in pockets.

As I heard guy approaching to my place I hesitated for a second or two thinking what to do then I put rifle over my chest and jumped into the river.

And I immediately started to drown.

Shock of freezing river somehow „turned off“ my adrenaline surge, and my thought was „I am gonna die now“.

Next second river „took“ me and roll me all over and I felt my rifle sling is choking me, if I had enough voice and strength I would yell „help“ to the guys that I wanted to run from, but at that time I simply had no ‘voice’.

Crossing that river was not swimming-it was drowning, it took maybe 20 seconds for me to get to the other side, but it was way longer for me, and I ended up some 100 meters downstream.

Several times river throw me on big stones, I was trying to loosen my rifle sling all the time and when I finally managed to grab stone with my hands and stop the crazy movement I was not even sure am I on the same river bank or I actually crossed river onto the other bank.

I was holding the stone for some 10 minutes probably, then slowly crawl from the river.

I was on the other bank, I was frantically holding rifle sling, the rifle was falling apart, steel part was separated from wooden part.

I lost my backpack, my tobacco box too. I did not see from one eye because it was full of blood from big wound on forehead.

Later I figured I broke two fingers and rib too.

But I was alive, and on the other side. I had huge luck.

Point of the story is that sometimes crossing the river may look much more complicated and dangerous then finding fallen log.

And very often crossing river is like lot of situations in real survival-be ready to leave everything and take just your life.

Or things that you like may pull you down and drown you.

Or point of the story is to carry heavy duty trash bag with you all the time so you can use it to put all your stuff inside and try to swim then…?

 

Toby Comment – Without going into to much detail just now, River crossings are one of the subjects we cover in our field based courses. It is surprising for us to consistently see folks have not factored this concept in at all to their plans, and even when doing so, struggle to often acknowledge the ‘time sensitivity’ that, in reality, comes with river crossings.

If it is of interest we can write a full article on this subject, please just comment below with your thoughts on this matter…

 

 

Old Guys…

 

My great uncle was a drinking man, he would drink heavily from the moment when he woke up until the moment he went to bed, but I do not remember ever seeing him stumbling, walking funny or having problems with his speech.

When he was at home his favorite spot was on the couch in the corner of the room, just next to the wood stove which was running always except on really hot days.

He drank from very small glasses (shot glasses), bottle was never visible (he kept bottle behind the couch) on the table there was silver box for cigarettes, with tobacco and papers for cigarette rolling inside, and his shot glass.

Table was old type table with a glass plate on top of it, and under that glass he kept paper that says that government and state recognizes him as a member and organizer  of the early resistance movement against the German and Italian occupation (WW2).

Table, his cigarette box, his rakija and everything else in his room was off limits for us kids. He lived with my grand parents, he never married, no kids.

Actually now when I remember he himself was pretty much off limits for us kids, only person who ever had some influence over him was my grandmother-his sister, she was the only one who could tell him sometimes that he need to do something.

He was one tough and dangerous old dude, sitting in the room. Drinking and staring in the spot where the wall connects with ceiling.

Sometimes we kids sneak in the room, seeking for stories, or money from him, in return we would bring firewood from shed for his never-ending stove fire.

He would gave us money often from his big “veteran warrior” pension, stories were rare.

Often kids just sat there, talking something, he would occasionally say “uhm” or “ahm” and stare in empty.

He did not go out very much, except his regular chess meetings in the local community hall.

It  was something like community hall, war veteran organization and heavy drinking joint place in one.

People call it “half leg” because several handicapped folks who were there all the time.

And I was a kid who often went with him there, my grandmother often would tell me “go with him there and wait for him”, I guess she simply was worried for him.

Place was big hall with old tables with games like chess and checkers on them,  great uncle would sat down usually with same folks there, his old war comrades.

They would play chess, drink heavy booze and over the time they would usually forgot that I am even there.

In that time I was taught in the school that we are living in great socialistic and communistic society, where all people are equal, and that we got to that point through the heroic and noble fighting of working class in WW2.

War and fights were something noble, heroic and full of sacrifice. Our war vets were ‘clean’; they were people who sacrifice themselves for our motherland – for socialistic society.

I was taught like that, in my young mind all was black and white.

Over the time I realized that folks on that table together with my great uncle had a bit different picture about war and fighting and honor.

They talked about everything, but with heavy slang  and in what looked to me in that time in ‘codes’, and lot of “remember the Mora(mountain) and how we eat shoes”? and answer would be “yeah, fuck it, and how many bodies there”

Lot of that was not understandable for me, lot of head nodding,

One of those chess games stayed in my mind over several decades of the time since I heard it on that table:

Man who played chess with my great uncle had a pieces of shell in his body, I think it was not option to remove it so he grow old with that in his body, he had couple of pieces in his arm and fingers, and while he was thinking about his next chess move he would squeeze his fist and fingers and pieces of shell in his fingers were producing the sound like something is chewing inside his hand.

It was fascinating for me in that time.

What I understand from their story was this:

He and my great uncle were find themselves in some heavy fighting during the ww2 .

Their unit was carrying a lot of heavily wounded together with lot of civilians who were running from German forces.

Sudden attack of Germans made chaos and they together with couple of guys got separated from the unit.

They manage to break out from the encirclement, then they hide inside some cave for couple of days.

They ate tree bark.

Days later they went out and wandered through woods trying to go to the safe territory.

And then they stumble members of their unit.

Actually a pile of it.

On one small clear place in the woods, there were hundreds of bodies in a big pile, and man with the “chewing” in his fist said he never before or later saw anything like that.

Soldiers and civilians were shot and put on big pile of bodies in the middle of nowhere, and he said that lot of them were heavily wounded but still alive actually, they were put there intentionally still alive, to suffer more before they die.

They found couple of woman tied to the trees… Dead.

They quickly move away from there, scared.

Later that night while they were resting they heard noises, quietly went to check and find out German soldier sitting down and bandaging wound on his leg, probably lost and separated from his unit.

They killed him with bayonet, and as I understand they killed him slowly.

That story terrified me to the bones, and I think I heard it only because they were pretty drunk and not even realized I was with them.

My great uncle died long time ago, he was heavy drinker too to the last breath.

On his funeral there were flags, and speech about honor and sacrifice, even his medals.

We never found his wartime machine gun “smajser” (mp 40) that he hid somewhere after the war never giving up to no one where it is, and as I am older I feel sorry I did not hear more about his experiences.

I am sure he cared a lot more for that machine gun than for speeches flags and medals.

I do not remember him as an war hero, and I am sure he did not think about himself as an war hero.

He was scared often while he was in survival situation, he often did things that he did not like, he was not invincible, and he was ready for trouble again all the time.

He was a survivalist.

 

Point of this article is (just like lot of my article) is memory of something, in this case memory of my great uncle.

And there is one more point, for you more important:

Talk with old folks, with veterans, old or young, there is nothing like real life experience.

Be patient, best (or worst) stories are hardest to get, but it is precious knowledge.

It is better prepper investment to hear how (and what) tree bark to eat then to buy 10 MREs.

Many years after my great uncle experiences and events I experienced similar things, hunger, fightings, piles of bodies…

It is in human nature, things like this are happening and will happen again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers to Readers Questions (Part One)

question

 

I asked you in one of my previous posts what you would like to see or read here on blog and your answers were great, actually I did not expect so many comments and questions.

There are some comments and demands about topics that I already wrote here yes, and there are some new. Since number of questions is huge, I will every now and then, publish one post with my answers and comments on some of your questions.

Some questions will require an entire post alone.

So here are few:

Selco,

Respectfully, I would ask three questions:

  1. How did people most often arrive at the decision to give up, and stop surviving?
  2. How did others (family, group, squad) etc. handle that when became apparent?
  3. How was it most competently handled by the group when a member did that?

Regards.

Ivan

Thanks Ivan.

When you are thrown into a survival situation, decision to give up is not so much connected with the lack of food, safety, water, services etc.

Usually it is connected to the realization (of the person who is giving up) of the fact that there is no clear clue when all things will come back to normal (when he again gonna have food, water, security etc.)

When you go days into fighting, starving etc- surviving is a process where you push your body and mind more and more, and if you “look too far into distance” and there is no clear evidences that things will get better – your will can be crushed very easily.

You may conclude that “it is not worth it”, and then that’s it.

I know it is generalization but yes, you need not to look too far and to have high hopes, you just need to operate in your small circles and push day by day.

It was bad thing to see, and it happened, often. Good “cure” for it was that you need to find use or task for that person, you need to bring back a sense of purpose to them.

Easier way was to find job for them -taking care for food, watching for the kids, anything  that would make them feel useful.

If member of the group “ gave up” and if the group structure was ‘family’ then usually other members try to give some support or if that failed then just leave him alone in terms of duties and everything, nobody had too much time for psychological help in that days.

If group meant several people “bonded” together by chance or temporary need (no big and strong connections between them) then other, harder, measures were in place.

 

 

Thank you once again Selco for showing us that the positive side of humanity is always capable of returning and surviving.

What I have always wanted to really know is; what is it like to be in a SHTF situation when the UN troops are there?

What are the UN troops REALLY like?

How to best act / behave / handle UN troops?

I ask because I have heard both positive and very negative things about UN troops. I simply ask for the truth here.

Thanks Again !!!

GRA

 

You heard good GRA.

UN troops were patched together from the different Army contingents, so there were British contingents, Spanish contingent, Pakistani,  Portuguese, Dutch etc.

Looking at the big picture they did horrible job because they were under armed, desperately badly coordinated between different contingents and without clear cause and function and political support.

So in reality we had situation where two opposed local units are in the middle of fight and each unit is around 2000-3000 men strong with tanks and artillery and suddenly there is UN unit moving in with 5 APC’s and 50 men in order to make ceasefire, and of course everybody shoot at them or simply take their stuff and make hostages of them.

They did not have clear tasks, political will behind them and firepower.

On the local level, when it come to individual members of those UN forces, I have seen cases where they simply break the clear orders and attack some guys in order to save civilians.

So there were good people there, but horrible organization behind them.

They did save people, evacuate injured civilians or get shot while they tried to bring food in areas where people starved..

They smuggled food sometimes sell it to us for different kind of things (or services)… All different kind of things, but I like to think lot of people among them were trying to do good stuff.

When it comes to fighting capabilities I remember the British army as a tough guys.

Those were UN forces, they failed to make peace, later came International forces (US led) with clear will and duties and we all here were fed up with slaughtering already, and what was most important with huge amount of force, and by the shear amount of force they succeed to bring peace, it was philosophy of : “who ever keeps firing after this date will be leveled by us”.

And it worked.

How to handle UN troops?

Every “UN troops” deployments are doomed unless they are coming with HUGE amount of force and in great numbers, or they coming  into the region where any kind of will for resistance is crushed long time ago.

As an addition to your questions and since I am aware of other comments (and worries) about “UN forces on US soil” I really have to say my opinion- it is kind of fantasy.

Numbers in US, numbers of weapon in US make any kind of “UN troops coming to US to pacify us” simply and clearly impossible.

To “pacify” somebody you need force several times bigger then opponent, and you need it on the ground usually, and you need some kind (to some extent) will to be pacified.

 

I’d like to hear about how you bartered for things you needed.

What were valuable items for barter? Was the local currency still worth something?

Were foreign currencies used? What about gold or silver jewelry or coins?

How were you able to ensure your safety during barter transactions? What did you do if you found out you had been cheated?

Little L

I did write about this topic already, but since it is important topic (and one of the favorite on blogs and with lot of myths too) I will answer it in short.

First and most important is that nothing was pre-set, nothing was constant and that include basic factors like values of items, security of trade, rules of particular trade etc.

As the situation worsened more into the direction of real SHTF situation people started to appreciate (and look for) usable items, and when I say that, I mean items that solve your immediate problems.

So for example if you had precious artistic picture that in normal times is worth around 10 000 Euros you could not do to much with that in terms of trade because simply people did not care for that, they were hungry, wet, cold, dirty, without enough weapons and bullets.

Maybe you could find some war lord who had connections with outside (normal) world and he could maybe give you 20 cans of meat for that art because he know you are starving.

Or in other case he could simply take it from you (and maybe kill you or not) because he is warlord and you are nobody.

Now this is something that can be transferred also in terms of owning precious metals for SHTF.

When SHTF it will worth much less simply because you can not eat it, or you can not shoot from gold coin to someone, yes you can try to buy weapon with gold coins or food (at outrageous price, and with danger of getting killed) but what is the point? Why not store food and weapons in the first place?

Gold and silver jewelry or coins in form of small rings and necklasses as a temporary bribe in some situations works really cool, and as a stash when some kind of society jump back in (when SHTF ends) is good idea too.

But in the middle of SHTF I prefer more usable items.

In my case local currency worked in the beginning stage of SHTF, but it was very short period, then foreign currency jumped in (US dollars and German marks) and as situation worsen prices of things for marks and dollars went up very sharp, and also situations where you could buy something with it become rare-people started to trade.

Ensuring safety during transactions (trade) was problem, but common sense was to never go alone on trades (3 is good number) to trade with known people (returning trades) or to go to trade on confirmed information (you get information about trader from trusted person who already traded with him)

Of course very often you could only go in 3’s, all else was unknown, so you took the risk.

To have rumor (or information) about you that you are bad trader (cheater-you gave bad item to someone) was bad because rumor then goes around and no one want to trade with you.

Also revenges for bad trades were hard and sometimes final.

But for example it was not always about physical punishments, guy cheated me once with some things and I simply “spread” out information on correct places that he mixed plaster and similar things in his wheat (for trade), and soon he was simply “scammer” and nobody wanted to works with him.

By the way it was lie, his stuff was good, but it is an example of how things worked.

 

I hope these answers help? Let me know in the comments below if anything was of specific use or interest to you…?  I’ll be answering more of your questions in future posts!