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Three man teams in a survival scenario:

August 20, 2015

Let’s pretend for speculative purposes only, that the ‘end of the world as we know it’ has just blown up in our faces two weeks ago. The cities of any size across the country are in ruin, decimated by looting, riots and general inner city mayhem that we see on the news more often every day as the welfare system collapses and the unfortunate people who have been chained to the democrat party plantation for generations have wised up and ‘left the farm’. All the flat screen TV’s and designer shoes are long gone, and what food, water and useful supplies that didn’t get taken in the last few days may be scattered all over the ruined stores and businesses.

Your pretend group was more prepared than some, but now those who have less than the rest of you must either start begging for spare food or the group has to ‘go shopping’. So, what to do and how would we think of replenishing or gathering supplies now that the world is a really nasty and hostile place?

From my book Surviving Urban Crisis, I’m going to expand and detail some points on traveling and gathering supplies in such bad times, if they existed. In the book, I illustrated a few ways to do vehicle convoys and such. Now, let’s go over teams on foot.

My best theory in this fictional situation, is to make up three man teams or squads if you will. The ‘best’ version would be three people, not necessarily always men, who know each other and have some understanding of working together. Each ‘ideal’ team member will be counting on each other, truly up to trusting their lives to the other members. In my opinion the three man team would be the best and most efficient use of manpower in such times and / or missions. Those with actual military experience, especially urban warfare, SWAT teams or whatever, could be priceless in training members of the group to work in such environments, and should volunteer to lead a squad each. An ideal scenario would be that all three are buddies, have some urban military experience or at least military of some kind, all three have the same weapons platform or at least shoot the same ammo. Each man should have a generous backpack, but only equipped with the absolute basics for a short term mission, such as a couple bottles of water, some rations for 24 hours, dress for the weather and 3 or 4 magazines of ammo. Each weapon, ideally, should be equipped with an ‘aim-point’ style optic and a mounted, very bright LED flashlight with a switch that can be operated momentarily or steady on as the situation needs. Any battery operated device should ideally be operated with common, readily available types, like AA or AAA . Sights I prefer use ambient daylight to ‘power’ the sighting dot, like THIS ONE. Works well in a very wide range of lighting, and has battery operation for pretty near dark situations. Got some body armor? By all means, wear it.

Now, assuming the team has had transportation to or near to the destination where some supplies may be had, we’ll discuss movement through the landscape, then up to, alongside of and into buildings.

In the illustration below, I’m showing the strength of the 3 man concept, in that properly done, the crew has all angles of defense and attack covered as they navigate overland. Assuming the direction of travel, shown with the bold arrow, is ‘ahead’, then the point man (#1) has that covered, obviously, as he sweeps his field of view, 180° from his left to his right. But also the left (#2) and right (#3) man, keeping a pace or so back from the point man, sweeping constantly also, in 180° segments of their field of view, help the general direction forward, while watching the left and right flanks and rear at the same time.

3 man tactics 1

Be advised that this tactic, working in some situations, should be adaptable to the situation, in that sometimes we may want a tight group like this, and other times we may want a dozen people strung out 100 yards apart, if line of sight permitted, if there were suspected ambush situations possible. In that kind of travel, the point man would signal to the group of spotted trouble ahead, before the whole group stumbled into a mess. It is absolutely essential that the crew should be wearing, at the best choice, electronic ear muffs, in case of having to fire weapons for whatever reasons require so. The beauty of these type muffs is that you can hear normal volume sound, such as soft talking among the crew or some sound that would cause an alert. A high powered weapon going off near your head will put you out of useful activity PDQ, even sometimes while wearing hearing protection. If no fancy muffs are available, then use regular ear plugs. Discuss with your crew members how each man is to respond, position wise, should firing weapons be necessary, while making it to concealment or cover. As in man #1 remains standing or crouching slightly while #2 and #3 take a knee if firing in the same direction, remembering that dangerous muzzle blast. Hearing protection also brings up a point of communicating quietly on patrol. Use hand signals, exaggerated ‘lip reading’ or whatever it takes with your crew members to communicate, so there’s no ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ just before you go to breach an unlocked door! Practice this stuff before you need it and have it down before you go into the field.

So, our pretend group has now navigated to the vicinity of a typical urban situation. Now the trio must shift formation somewhat, in that the point man stays ahead, the #2 man becomes the middle and the #3 man brings up the rear as they pass between buildings. Pick a side of the street, and hug the walls of the building you pass. As they go along, the whole trio and especially the #2 man, shifts their attention to the windows and rooftops of the building on the opposite side of the street they’re traveling on as they progress ahead. Should you encounter a window or door on your side of the street or alleyway, go under the windows and scout the doorways very carefully before you pass, or perhaps use that opportunity to enter the building you’re walking past.

3 man tactics alley

In this fashion, the trio can move forward, backward, through a doorway or window very efficiently, however the moment dictates.

Now, as far as entering buildings….this is where it gets frisky. Regardless of time of day, in a power down situation, it will be darker inside the building or room than outside. When you go rushing into such a place, you’ll be blinded for some moments because your eyes must adjust to this darker environment. My way to cope with this problem is as follows….IF you have time to plan ahead for a few minutes, there’s a simple solution to coping with going from outdoor sunlight, into a typically dark indoor room or space. What you merely need to do is close your primary eye (the one you aim with) for a couple minutes before you go rushing into whatever is waiting for you in there. Everyone on the team must do this. This gives you as much advantage as possible as you pull this operation, for if you can see, you can shoot, assess the situation or whatever has to happen in the next minute. It’s not possible to ‘quietly’ knock down a door, so you might as well bust on in there if the door is locked, if the crew agrees that this entry may prove useful. On the other hand, checking to see if it’s locked will save some wear and tear on the crew should you luck up and find it unlocked. In either case, keep that primary eye shut until you’re inside. Speaking of eyes, the crew should be wearing clear eye protection when on patrol and going into buildings. Sunglasses types are OK for in the field action, but you need to switch when going indoors.

OK, now our fictitious situation has our crew inside the building, the place is a mess, stuff busted all over the place and it’s pretty dark way back from the windows. Some places may have a few skylights, but many don’t. There are few places that may not yield something of use with a thorough search, even if it’s been looted of the usual crap they take first. Look in back rooms, under counters, all over the floors in darker areas. Batteries, tools, ammo maybe….consider everything you run across, for your groups needs or for possible barter. Generally speaking, your priority will be food and medicines. During the early days of the end of the world, cans you find with a dent will still be safe, but if this is months after doomsday, dented cans may be suspect. And if it’s a rusty or swollen up can, don’t even bother, a bulging can is a sure sign of serious botulism contamination. I suggest avoiding glass jars of stuff because of the possibility of it being broken by rough treatment on the way back to your stronghold. If it’s worth the gamble, of course go for it, just try to secure it from breakage if you can, maybe in a side pocket of your pack. See the illustration below to study moving in a sweep, maintaining security while gathering.

The team approaches an isle, maintaining the fire path sweeping as they move, just like when outside, lights on if necessary. Searching inside dark buildings would also be enhanced by using LED headlamps to free up your hands to the task. Now as below, the team moves down the row, with #1 and #3 covering the ends with #2 gathers whatever may be of use. Don’t turn your nose up at dog and cat food if that’s all you can find. It’s the same basic food groups as humans eat….just the quality of meat or fish cuts ain’t up to par, and some tell me that cat food, for instance, is ‘OK’ but very salty. It’ll keep you alive.

3 man tactics 2

Now if it’s slim pickings on this isle, the crew moves on around to the next, using the same sweep method.

3 man tactics 3

Should you be lucky enough to fill up #2 backpack, swap members like #1 becomes the middle man, #2 takes point, etc, keep moving and rotating until everyone is as loaded up as they can manage.

3 man tactics 4

Make your way out with your triangle pattern, alleyway movement, and so forth until back to base or your transportation, which should have been guarded if possible, by the way. If you have a trio of QUIET dirt bikes or motorcycles, you could possibly cut overland. If your bike has gutted, loud pipes that can be heard a mile away, don’t bother unless you want to give away your position to anybody that’s a good shot who can hear your coming from that far off.

Another idea, if gas and vehicle availability allow, a good thing could be a crew-cab pickup truck, preferably with a cover over the bed and a 5 man crew. This would allow a very short trip turn around time from found supplies to a stash dump in the back of the truck and back in for continued harvesting, while 2 men stand guard at the truck to keep it covered, one man at opposite corners of the truck, front and rear. While traveling in this truck, assumed in a small convoy if possible, the crew positioning inside the truck could be done as I describe in my book for maximum firepower coverage while on the move.

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