June 1992 – Michael’s Observations

Urban Combat Planning

I have just finished reading Steven’s account of having fended off some young robbers and I feel a great opportunity in the Crocodile Dundee tradition has been missed.

First off, no one as stable and as well trained as Steven would have “whipped it out” and shot the youngsters on reflex. After all, no shots had been fired at or struck our hero to cause a life-or-death response from adrenalin pumping in his veins. Steven was reasonably calm (as often is the case with stable and well-trained people) and, noticing the clutch-type grip the kid had on the weapon, in the first stages he could have produced his own .45 and said (in the best Crocodile Dundee tradition), “Look, that’s not much of a gun — (drawing his own .45 pistol with a flourish) — but this is a real gun…” or something to that effect. Perhaps he’d even follow up with a few quick discharges at the ground around their feet, followed by a gruff sounding, “Drop the weapon and haul ass, or I’ll blow your m—–f—ing balls off!” or some other suitably colorful expression that today’s young gang members could relate to.

Second, it points out a few other things as well.

  1. Alertness is always your first line of defense.
  2. Doesn’t everyone know that all ATMs are the “danger points” (or prime ambush locations) of the 1990s?
  3. You can survive being surprised — if the troops who surprise you are of a low enough grade; but of course we shouldn’t count on that to save us every time.
  4. Combat and survival are states of mind, not equipment — but we all knew that point, didn’t we?

More Riot Info

I was talking to another member of our group who voiced the following concerns.

  1. His location in Long Beach was not covered by the TV stations’ “air assets” and therefore he was denied, forthe most part, real-time information on the troubles going down right around his neighborhood.
  2. Large apartment buildings across the street and the alley behind him limited his line-of-sight and therefore his ability to detect any approaches, along with restricting his fields-of-fire.

Having your own drone aircraft with a built-in TV camera probably would be ideal, or your own camera-carrying balloon hovering 50 or 100 feet in the air over your house, although the balloon might attract too much attention to where you were located. However, depending on the situation and the type of place you live in, some older, out-dated video cameras and old “portable” TV sets (used and cheap or given to you) hooked up together could make a surveillance system to keep watch on critical areas or approaches to your dwelling.

Another idea I had was an automated “listening post” for his alley-approach area. Recently, RadioShack had a “baby monitor” on sale for $29.95, including a portable walkie-talkie-type receiver you could carry around with you. Of course, you could rig an intercom or any microphone as the listening post and run telephone wire to a speaker in your own CIC (Combat Information Center) inside. You could also have microphones at more than one location, or on all four sides of your dwelling, but you would need to have an on-off switch for each microphone so that you could listen to each one separately, with all of the others turned off, to pinpoint just where the activity was. The same thing could be done with seismic alarms as well.

We also discussed patrolling, which may be particularly useful when your lines-of-sight are limited. It can be as simple as getting in your car and driving around the block once or twice. You could also make a “point reconnaissance” of a specific location such as a street intersection, a shopping mall, or liquor store in your area that might be a gathering place for undesireables. This doesn’t mean that you drive into the parking lot of a store being looted and then jump out firing wildly at everyone (that’s probably better defined as a one-man close-assault). The object of the exercise is to gather information and assess the threat. You don’t do battle until you know more about who you are up against and how well (or poorly) they are armed.

As a rule of thumb, you can usually see human activity half a block away with the naked eye (maybe more if you’re young), and a good, long city block or more with optics — which you should take with you on any recon mission you undertake.

In a vehicle, you should plan your route carefully to approach an area in a manner throughout which you could execute a quick U-turn and get the hell out of there if things get too hot for you. Better, plan your recon to a location where you can first observe from a distance (preferably with optics — and don’t forget your spotting scope, if you have one) the location(s) that you are interested in.

Patrolling on foot calls for different strategies. In daylight, probably a low profile recon (meaning concealed weapons only, and body armor if you have it) done on foot in your neighborhood is all that’s required. You should know your neighborhood, and not take a direct route to and from your home base, because if the situation gets hostile and people start to pursue you, the last thing you want to do is to lead them back in a straight line to where you live! In the interest of covering more area, you should take a different route out from your dwelling than the one you will use to comeback to it. The latter route should be more covered and concealed, to conceal the exact location of where you live from any mob.

At night, if you really know your own turf (and now is the time to learn), playing Ninja is possible. However, you must really know your way around: in-between buildings, where the alleys lead, and where good hiding and observation points are within a two- or three-block radius of your location. You need much greater knowledge than what you’d need to know for just a daylight recon. Also, you must have a fairly good idea of how to play Ninja to begin with. If you do understand that, you may, in fact, choose to carry a long gun if the tactical situation dictates.