Yesterday, we began this article series on traveling to your safe haven during a without rule of law event. We touched on two major issues. These issues involved how to identify and communicate a WROL event within your group, unite your team’s commitment to its mission through a mission statement as well as agreement upon standard operating procedures and rules of engagement.
Issue 3: Traveling by Vehicle, Standard Operating Procedures
First things first. The suggestions below are just my opinion based on experimentation with several groups over a period of years. Use them as a starting point for your group’s discussions, or don’t use them at all. You may want to handle things differently. That’s fine. Only you and your team know your final location and what you may expect during the trip.
Moving Large Numbers With Least Amount of Casualties
You will be most vulnerable traveling in a vehicle during an WROL event. Unlike a military maneuver, where hardened vehicles and air support are readily available, there will be no resupply or medical evacuation. For these reasons, the discussion below focuses on moving a large number of civilians by road to a safe haven with the least amount of casualties.
When To Travel
When to travel? Experience tells us it’s probably safer for the group to travel at night and to begin traveling late in the evening. If you must leave during the day, drive to a safe location, a group rally point, and wait for other group vehicles. When your allotted group has assembled, begin the drive in earnest at night. This intermediate safe location could be an initial rally point for the group.
The Two Groups You Are Most Likely To Encounter At Night
Most people, except government agents and hostile survival groups, will be slow to change their basic behavioral patterns during the initial phase of a WROL event. Government agents will be better prepared, since they will have the benefit of training and up-to-date information. Likewise, hostile survival groups may well be on the lookout for traveling mutual assistance organizations. These are the two groups you are most likely to encounter.
Fewer people are likely to be on the road at night. In addition, checkpoints and roadblocks are more likely to be either under-manned or the guards inattentive during the late evening and early morning hours. Use the night to your advantage.
Driver Needs Night Vision Device
In order to do so, every driver will need some form of quality night vision device. As a practical matter, every member should be equipped with either night vision or a thermal device. I personally use a Gen 2+ monocular to practice driving in a rural area at night, lights off and cabin lights fully dimmed. I am able to maintain both near and far vision through the glass of the windshield and windows. Note that thermal scopes cannot be used for driving. Window glass will not effectively pass thermal energy.
Non-Drivers Employ Thermal Optics, FLIR Thermal Scopes
Night vision is only required for drivers (because of the glass window issue). In my opinion it’s fine, and maybe even preferable, for non-drivers to employ thermal optics. If a hostile situation arises, and the vehicles are forced to stop, and the team engage with a hostile force, one or more members with thermal scopes can have a significant impact in a night-time encounter. Again, from personal experience, the lower-end 19-25mm objective lens FLIR thermal scopes are just about perfect at identifying and engaging man-sized targets out to 300 yards.
Practice, Behind a Rifle
As with any optic, practice; then, practice more. When you are behind a rifle, under pressure, the one thing that may save your life, as well as the lives of your fellow members, is a firm understanding of your rifle and its ballistics out to range.
Many groups settle on the 62 grain steel tipped 5.56 round as their standard load. While not as accurate as a 69gr or 77gr long range projectiles, the 62gr steel-core projectile is just fine for almost all combat situations and most AR barrel twist rates. Make sure each member can effectively employ their rifle out to at least 200 yards. Frankly, the 5.56 has little drop out to 350 yards. If your team can practice at longer ranges, all the better. For night-time target practice use hand warmers for thermal scopes and IR reflective tape for NV scopes/laser designators.
Encountering Hostiles With Night Vision
Traveling at night while utilizing quality night vision systems will vastly increase your group’s situational awareness compared to potential hostile entities that are unlikely to be equipped with similar devices (especially in quantity). Some hostile individuals may employ night vision. Local and state law enforcement as well as upscale prepper groups are potential examples.
There are a few things to consider when encountering hostiles with night vision. One, are they also employing IR laser designators for pinpoint aiming? Two, are they also equipped with thermal scopes?
IR Laser Designators and Well-Zeroes Thermal Scopes
Most people seem to use night vision as a night-time navigation tool (driving, hiking, scouting, et cetera). Few take the time to mount and zero an IR laser designator. Personally, I find it difficult to connect with targets at night beyond 100 yards with night vision and an IR laser designator. When using a designator, you are no longer using a scoped weapon. Instead the laser dot is used for aiming and the dot is viewed through a night vision device. That’s a few moving parts and each part adds to the chance of your round missing a target at longer ranges. If the other side is not using IR laser designators, you may have a significant advantage.
On the other hand, a well zeroed thermal scope (19-25mm objective lens) is a night-time game changer. Thermal scopes have proven their value when used for night-time hog hunting. Don’t be tricked into buying a larger objective thermal scope. Hunters use the higher magnification to positively identify targets– pigs versus cows, for example.
In a WROL situation, anyone shooting at you is a target of opportunity. If it glows and has a rifle (also glowing), it’s a target. Or course, make sure your team is not interspersed with the enemy. Further, while prices have come down for thermal scopes, quality has remained or even increased. Each vehicle would benefit by having at least one designated marksman (DM) with a thermal scope. The DM should not be the driver.
At a minimum each passenger sitting next to a vehicle door should be armed with an effective rifle. These members should work as an over-watch team for other vehicles, depending on the situation. The DM should lead the over-watch team. It would be helpful if one of the over-watch team acts as a spotter for the DM and directs the fire of other members.
Standard Operating Procedures
The leadership team will set out standard operating procedures (SOPs) for addressing potential situations along your route. With this in mind, what might your group encounter during the duration of your trip? Two situations jump to the top of the list– checkpoints/roadblocks and interceptions/pullovers.
Alternative Routes and Detours Behind Potential Roadblock Locations
If your team has been planning for several years, you may have already identified a few alternative routes to your safe haven. It’s important to drive these routes well before a WROL event and note locations where checkpoints and/or blockades would be most effective. Narrowing roadways, choke points, intersections, areas beyond sharp bends and overpasses are likely locations. Place these locations on your maps and identify the nearest one or two detour roadways behind each potential roadblock location. You may have to move fast and find an alternate route within a few seconds. Be prepared in advance.
How Many Vehicles
How many vehicles should your group take? The old adage is one is none and two is one. So, the answer is, at least two and hopefully more. If members cannot start out with a multi-car caravan, use a rally point to bring the group’s vehicles together. Then, start out late at night in a combat caravan formation. There is strength in numbers as you make your way to your safe haven.
Safe Distance and Identifying Team Vehicles
When traveling with two or more vehicles, each vehicle should maintain a safe distance between vehicles. At night, and at highway speeds, 100 yards is a good starting point, 150-200 yards during the day. You are trying to balance maintaining group cohesion with not appearing to be a coordinated group. Mount ***IR reflective tape***amazon.com/CyberTech-Reflective-Optical-Non-Contact-Tachometers/dp/B00K5ZZ0YQ or 3M Very High Gain Reflective Tape 3000X to predetermined locations on the front and rear of each vehicle to assist is identifying team vehicles with night vision equipment.
Radio Contact With Drivers
At a minimum, each driver should maintain radio contact with all other drivers. This is the only way to effectively pass along information as new situations arise. Best practices would require that every member carry a transceiver. Non-drivers can keep their radios off to conserve battery life until needed. Pack and have access to extra batteries, vehicle power, or both. It may be several days before you arrive at your safe haven.
Roadblocks and Three-point Turns
Another reason for maintaining longer-than-normal distances between vehicles is to more effectively respond to roadblocks and pull overs. If a roadblock is employed the lead vehicle will see it first. The lead vehicle should pull over to the most defensible side of the road, if any, and alert all other vehicles of the immediate situation. If no real defensive position is available the lead vehicle may wish to execute a three-point turn to reverse direction. During such a maneuver, use the pavement and avoid getting stuck in the ditches that line most roads.
Backing Up a Vehicle At Night
Here’s a quick note on backing up a vehicle at night. Install an external lighting disconnect in each vehicle. This will disconnect power from all exterior lights, including backup lights, triggered by the brake pedal or other means. If you are driving with the lights off, backing up without a disconnect will switch on the backup lights and provide a clear indication that a vehicle is within sight of the roadblock. It also makes for a nice target.
Tomorrow, we will conclude with traveling by vehicle to our safe haven during a WROL event.
- Traveling to Your Safe Haven During a WROL Event- Part 1, by E.P.
- Traveling to Your Safe Haven During a WROL Event- Part 3, by E.P. (Active 6/16/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part two of a three part entry for Round 77 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 77 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.