Letter Re: Small Unit Tactics in a Post Collapse Environment

Captain Rawles,
In addition to the points you made in reference to stealth and scarce ammunition supplies post collapse, in your commentary on the named article, I would make a second point:

While the squad level tactics described have proven to be rather effective for active duty military in offense;  the average Joe and his family unit will most likely not have those kinds of numbers.  The average familial size seems to be right around four, these days.  So unless one is lucky enough to have found/joined/founded a group for this purpose, when it gets to be Schumer time the average Joe will find themselves with a fire team at best, in most cases.  Do not mistake me, here, if you got a thirteen man squad, or more, great.  But most won’t, so other tactics are perhaps more appropriate.

I would frankly be more inclined, speaking as a veteran myself, to highly recommend the average family/small group employ an adaptation of ST:A (Scout Team: Advanced), fire team recon, or LRRP doctrines.  Which is to say concentrate on detection over engagement, stealth over owning ground, and strict employment of the sound/light/motion/trace “disciplines”.  For those who aren’t familiar, trace discipline can also be called trash discipline or “policing your line of advance”.  It simply means don’t leave any trace that you were there; burn, bury, or carry with you any trash or spent brass.  In short, get in-do your business-get out, preferably without having to engage, especially if the other side is physically entrenched.  If you must engage at assault ranges, then somebody goofed and goofed badly, in my experience. Of course, if one must engage, do so authoritatively, and with prejudice; in other words don’t just hit your target, drop them, so they don’t get back up. Then break off the engagement as quickly as is possible.  Obviously, further adaptation will be needed for such things as movement connected with resource gathering, and so forth.  Cutting firewood in quantity leaves a lot of trace and will have a huge sound signature, for example.

I would also very highly advise these small groups to train all their members as designated marksmen, on top of whatever other skills are possessed, in order to foster the habit of observation at distance.  This allows for long range engagement from behind cover, followed by a break contact movement while starting from that same cover. (Assuming there’s cover to be had.)   This is in keeping with what I’ve written previously concerning keeping a low profile.  Simply put, the average family unit will just not possess, most likely, the numerical assets to engage at squad level or higher, with much degree of success.  Huge families and so forth are more an exception these days than they were when I was a child.

When it comes to family, there’s no such animal as “acceptable losses.”

Just my two cents, here.  And Easter blessings to all. – J.H.