Letter Re: Road Blocks and “Spider Holes”

Hello James,
I have been thinking back upon your novel Patriots and the importance the “spider holes” played.  That sparked another memory, one of discussion some time ago in the blog about blocking roads, one gentleman even mentioned dropping a tree across his drive if necessary. What would be a good, better, best barricade of the next four,… and what else could you suggest?
1). Dropped Trees/ telephone pole, logs, et cetera
2). Large boulders, (3′ on up)
3). Posts buried but sticking up to random heights
4). Some sort of a berm or trench
In line with my first question, what is a suitable tactical layout, (i.e.- spacing) for “foxholes” [or “spider holes”] and what type of construction would you recommend? – The Wanderer

JWR Replies: I generally recommend mobile roadblocks, in all but the absolute worst case exigent circumstances. (Waves of crazed mutant cannibal zombies.)  In wooded or steep country, a D4 (or larger) Caterpillar tractor parked perpendicular to a road with its blade dropped works just dandy.  Nobody is going to be able to move it unless they have the ability start it up. BTW, a large car or truck with its tires deflated (remove the valve stems) can work nearly as well. Don’t forget that permanent road blocks work both ways. The beauty of a mobile road block is that you can still exit your property on short notice.

As for foxholes and spider holes, their spacing depends on the terrain and vegetation. In open, fairly level country, they should be spaced as much as 20 yards apart.  In densely wooded country, perhaps as little as 5 yards apart.  They should be arrayed in a “Lazy W” pattern, as shown/described in U.S. Army Field Manuals (FMs) such as Chapter 2 of FM 21-75  (See: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/21-75/.) I describe construction techniques fox holes and spider holes (the latter are one man fox holes with camouflaged covers) in my novel Patriots.   They should be lined with plywood. BTW, don’t forget that drainage is crucial for fighting positions in all but the driest of climates.