The following is intended to be a multi-part series dealing with selecting the better equipment options and skills for preppers who may be pressed into a partisan role. I’ll state bluntly that my theory on small unit warfare is different than what many prepper-oriented readers are accustomed to. “Skill over Gear” is not only a personal mantra, but the more one can accomplish with less, the more sustainable our model in the long run. This attitude is based on my experience across three combat deployments; northern Iraq, central urban Iraq, and Afghanistan. Across all those, careful attention was paid to the commonality between not just our opposing forces in those respective areas but also our local national partners; what worked for them, and more importantly, what didn’t. Setting aside certain cultural differences and beliefs, what separates most of you from them is only geography and material access. Their experience will in no doubt be similar to ours in the future amid the threat of economic collapse, EMP, or inherent political instability. For the farmer turned trigger puller in northern Iraq, what you may call being a prepper they call simply existing. The reader must recognize that people in this part of the world don’t live completely independent of the grid; it’s viewed as a convenience and little else. The reliability is ispotty at best and blackouts at regular intervals are common. Energy is rationed and in all, its not that big of a deal. Compare that notion to the eerie silence many westerners get from the silence of no power for just a day. It is a term my friend and fellow writer Sparks31 coined as “down-grid” and an appropriate observation of a society in decline. Aside from that, the basic level life skills among those in more primitive parts of the world have been fostered and groomed over a long period in lieu of high tech and expensive solutions, which we take for granted everyday. In that down-grid world, those skills over technology and convenience will serve one far better. It was this way just two generations ago. Taking this context into account, basic survivalism pairs well with the idea of reverting back to a simpler, less complex life. Having tools not designed around planned obsolescence and aimed at consumerism can go along way to prepping in the generational sense, the same way we did just two generations ago. The burdening question thus becomes, “how do we protect it?”
When someone thinks about equipping themselves for defensive combat, usually they’ll default to emulating what they see in the media or what they used while serving- in both cases, this is a pitfall. Contemporary western forces, as pointed out above, rely on technological superiority and a vast supply line to circumvent small unit skills that are present elsewhere; namely quiet movement and deception which have favored fighters of other cultures for a long time now. One might argue to the points of our alleged battlefield dominance as many beltway talking heads will do; their job is to sell equipment and rarely can they point to direct experience on their part. Who replaces the ammo expended on “fire superiority”? How is broken equipment repaired? How do you replace the men lost in armed combat? The answer, quite simply, is you can’t. For this reason the prepper and would-be partisan must look to a better model. Your job is to fight to live.
At the small unit level, force on force, stripping away all of the enablers, we lack a certain level of awareness present among our foes and sometime allies that can only be recouped by basic level training. For example, due to the overburdening of equipment, American scheme of maneuver relies upon vehicles to deliver us close to our targets. The Taliban know what to look and listen for; a pattern becomes set, and they know when and where to move safely. Neither deception nor surprise exist. And since we set a pattern, they adopt a pattern as to how they watch and interpret. This is a cycle we exploited to great effect through breaking the mold, moving very long distances on foot and striking due to maintaining a low signature. It is a far higher level of small unit strategy that goes beyond learning simple battle drills. It requires thinking and planning. Tactics are not shooting fast at stationary targets, nor are they “reacting” to contact- both cases are a tactical failure and are taught by those preparing groups for a miserable end whether they know it or not. While most units do not experience that aforementioned level of autonomy, I can only imagine how effective we could have been should we simply have fought in the same manner as our enemy- stripped down, working as hunters rather than prey. It is a point of view several well versed authors such as William Lind and H. John Poole have worked tirelessly to propagate, and it is not totally in vain. Their lessons should also be yours. A small group doesn’t have to be hampered by a set doctrine, and definitely don’t need to behave like soldiers to be effective. They do however require a better model for training and equipping their people.
The following series will comprise several parts focused on equipping the potential partisan for an uncertain future. Long term skills and basic equipment are a better model than emulating a door kicker. Localism is the hinge upon which it all rests- what’s common sense and can be locally sourced is a better path. It may not be fancy and may not sell ads in the check out line, but it is functional and is going to keep you and your group in the fight far longer than what’s favored by gun game crowd. Amateurs talk tactics, professionals address logistics; with this in mind we’ll be considering the latter while underscoring a more sustainable strategy.