The purpose of this article is to put another skill (if not a skill, perhaps a seed) in the mental toolkit of preparedness-oriented individuals. Although not an exhaustive study on clandestine operations, this article will give you a glimpse into an advantage seeking two part mindset – sabotaging the enemy’s equipment and keeping your equipment from getting sabotaged! It is assumed the condition under which this article would find use is the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI). Please don’t go do something listed in this article that you don’t have the skill or legal right to do.
You want to ensure the survival of yourself and your loved ones. I’m sure you’ve made preparations to do so, right? You have to keep your equipment preparations running to get a tactical or survival advantage from them. You must learn to see your equipment through the eyes of a saboteur. This will allow you to spot equipment vulnerabilities. Why would anyone want to sabotage your gear? They would do it for the same reasons they would threaten you in the first place. Their lack of morals, planning, and diligence, brought to the surface by a desperate situation, leads them to persecute you for gain. Your equipment stands in their way. The reason could be that they don’t want you to have anything they don’t have!
Some may consider sabotage a little too proactive – too dangerous even. We’re talking nightmarish end-of-the-world stuff here. We’re talking about using any and every tool in the box to keep our loved ones safe. Sabotage is a no-brainer if you are gutsy enough to use recon teams or actually make an armed stand. Once you get past the negative aura of the word “sabotage,” you realize it is indeed a valuable skill. Why would we ever want to sabotage someone’s equipment? It is the same reason that causes us to buy expensive battle rifles and copious quantities of ammunition – to deny the enemy the ability to take our freedom and lives. If you do not maintain or gain the tactical advantage, will not the enemy gain it? What good is a stockpile of all the latest gear or a heap of brain power and courage if you simply refuse to fully use it? Learn to see the enemy’s equipment through the eyes of a saboteur to reap huge tactical rewards. Perhaps the elimination of the enemy’s advantage will spare you from having to take his life. Sabotage can have a large psychological impact. A discovered act of sabotage lets the enemy know that they are not safe. It will throw them “off their game.”
You can hide in your retreat, counting bullets while sporting only your lucky camouflage boxers. However, you wouldn’t need that expensive battle rifle and all that ammunition if no one could ever find you. You will have a confrontation with a hostile organized group. It’s too small a world with too few morals. Ruthlessness is surely a trait that would allow said hostile group to survive in lieu of preparedness. They’ll be roving the wasteland looking for more supplies and victims. Their survival would be evidence of their pillaging proficiency. As we all learned in grade school, bad people don’t fight “fair.” There will most likely be more people in their group than in your group. As we get older, we realize that fighting “fair” really means fighting with a handicap. There must be some pseudo-religious notion in the subconscious mind of upright people that tells them anything remotely perceived as “sneaky” is wrong. When someone threatens the life of you and your loved ones, then you must do whatever it takes to protect yourselves. This is why survivalists who actually survive TEOTWAWKI will use tools like sabotage.
Types of Sabotage
The first type of sabotage is covert. That is, the target does not discover the non-working machine for some time or discovers the non-working machine but does not immediately suspect foul play. This type of sabotage requires the most skill, time, and planning. A lightly armed team of two lookouts and one technician, each fully blacked-out with NVGs and good noise discipline, could accomplish a fantastically effective covert sabotage. One person with nerves of steel, a pile of patience, and the proper motivation can work wonders too! Some of the reasons for covert sabotage are listed below.
1. Keeping the target from knowing there is a hostile force in the area.
2. Attempting to avoid retaliation from target.
3. Extra time for escape and evasion.
4. Attacking the target right before it discovers its equipment doesn’t work (surprise!).
The second type of sabotage is overt. It could be loud, fast, and ugly. It could also be just loud, just fast, or just ugly. If this type of sabotage had a mascot, it’d be a sledgehammer. Once the target gets near the machine, it’s red alert time. The target may even hear or see the sabotage happen. It doesn’t matter; you just want his machine out of the game! Overt sabotage is mostly the stuff of last ditch seat-of-the-pants defenses. Some of the reasons for overt sabotage are listed below.
1. Approaching enemy vehicles.
2. Quickly shutting down enemy communications.
Covert Vehicular Sabotage
Covert vehicular sabotage can range from slowing the target down to keeping them from moving at all. Probably the most cunning covert design is that which leaves a small team stranded some distance from base camp. The designer would have a good opportunity to ambush the stranded team. The following list is a sample of what can be done. It is mostly arranged from mild to wild. Not all items are applicable to all vehicles. Some of these items may require the use of an “improvised” car door key. Some vehicles have the hood release cable located directly behind the grille, which can be manipulated to open the hood without gaining access to the interior of the vehicle. Remember, it is assumed that the perpetrator has put some thought and planning into situations like these:
- Water in the fuel tank. What is more innocuous than this?
- Loosened valve stem on one of the tires – just enough so that the tire will be flat in the morning.
- Replacement of a critical fuse (fuel pump, ignition) with a blown fuse of the same value.
- Cut on bottom (non visible) side of main engine belt deep enough to reach the interior cords. This action removes most of the belt’s tensile strength and creates a stress riser in the belt. The result is no alternator, water pump, power steering, or AC – oh my.
- Loosened or removed lower radiator hose clamp. Coolant will leak out under pressure when the engine gets warm (away from base camp that is). Loosened oil plug or filter. Oil will leak more freely once it is warm (away from base camp that is).
- Loosened battery cable. This could turn into a nasty surprise if the battery is emitting hydrogen when the sparks start.
- Un-plugged vacuum lines.
- Modified ignition timing. Distributor equipped vehicles only.
- Plastic electrical connectors un-plugged from critical sensors – just enough to break electrical contact. A look of authenticity is given when the small connector retainer arm is broken.
- Switched spark plug wires that are similar in length. Not for coil-per-plug vehicles.
- Bleach in the fuel tank. Once cranked, the engine will eventually sputter and stop. (Mythbusters rule!).
Examples of Overt Vehicular Sabotage Here is a partial list of the easy, ugly, quick, and dirty.
- Slashed tires
- Cut fuel lines
- Cut transmission lines
- Cut coolant hoses
- Cut under-hood wires
- Large holes put in the radiator or fuel tank
- High-powered rifle bullets fired into the engine block or transmission of approaching enemy vehicles
- Explosives wired to the ignition switch circuit
Examples of Stationary Equipment Sabotage
- Cut power wires
- Cut control wires
- Cut antenna signal and guy wires
- Loosened electrical connections – done when equipment is de-energized
- Water or dirt placed in bearings
- Removal of chain master link retainers – done while equipment is stopped
Protecting Your Equipment from Sabotage
We have explored some sabotage possibilities. Hopefully you will start examining your equipment for possible vulnerabilities. It is not possible to list every conceivable scenario here like a playbook, therefore, it is important you learn to use your imagination and think like a saboteur. Use the following list as a starting point:
- Know your equipment
- Inspect your equipment often
- Don’t leave equipment where it is visible – if possible
- Always lock every lock (sidearms excluded)
- Mark the head of bolts and the bolted equipment with aligned paint dots for indication of tampering
- Use fasteners with tamper resistant heads (High security bits are uncommon)
- On vehicles, cover the lower engine compartment openings with expanded metal
- Run power and communications wiring underground and have it enter a building through the floor thereby minimizing outside exposure
- Run critical wires in conduit
- Run “dummy” wires in plain sight while hiding the route of the actual critical wires
- Install an alarm with security lights and motion detectors in critical areas
- Use dogs to alert you to suspicious activity
- Use sentries to watch the premises
- Move the equipment to a secure shelter or build a secure shelter around the equipment
Use layered security (combination of all) for the most effective setup. – A. Farm Graduate