As I sit here sipping some good ole Jim Beam on the rocks, I am reflecting on the past two days of CQB training with American Partisan’s own NC Scout. I want to get my thoughts on paper before the hustle and bustle of the week throw them out of my head.
The class was held in New Jersey and had a total of 9 students attending. Luckily no live weapons were needed, so I did not have to worry about being “doubleplusungood” when I crossed the border. The progression of the class, which was two days long, was very methodical. It started with some basic discussions of situational awareness when operating in non-permissive environments (being New Jersey, this was particularly relevant to those students who were residents). It quickly progressed into Get Home/bug Out Bags – and by that, I mean that we talked about it in a real world context and not the 70lb “gonna ruck this like a champ” bags that internet commandos discuss. After all of this, we moved to the CQB portion. We discussed different types of rooms and how to enter them. We practiced these entries in teams of 2,3,4, or more. We went from basic rooms to more complex layouts. We discussed tourniquet usage. We discussed passive and active alert systems. We then discussed defending the space and how best to orient ourselves in a situation both in a standard home defense scenario and a “security team inbound” context. Finally, we moved to Force on Force engagements using Airsoft. After each scenario, we discussed what we did well and where we failed, with our failures being the most important piece of the discussion because that is how we learned.
There are several key takeaways from the class that I want to highlight.
- CQB absolutely sucks, particularly if you are the Number One man. If it is at all possible, avoid CQB altogether. Ignore what Hollywood shows you – being a door kicker is exceptionally dangerous. Remember that in this context, we are talking about potential grid-down scenarios where higher levels of medical care may be difficult to come by as a guerilla or partisan fighter, let alone a quick CASEVAC method.
- It is not a matter of IF you will take casualties, but rather WHEN you will take casualties. You need to balance that against whatever – or whoever – is in the building. It better be worth it.
- If you are planning on a CQB operation, then you must PLAN. Planning does not just mean who is in what order, what door will be hit, etc. It also means having a recovery team in place for extract. If you do not have a recovery team, then scratch any prepper fantasy you have of kicking down doors after the SHTF. If you have very few trigger pullers, then you should not ever be thinking of going down this path unless it is vital to survival.
- Once you are executing a CQB operation, KEEP MOVING. Hesitation – particularly in a fatal funnel – will get you and your team killed. However, “keep moving” does NOT mean “sprint through the house”. Move slow and methodical and never clear a room alone. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. If you are rushing, you will either get yourself killed by missing an enemy combatant or hurt the operation but injuring or killing a civilian/NPC. This does not bode well for a guerilla force that depends on the support of a local population.
- When you are moving, move aggressively and with attitude. The violence of action will catch your opponent off guard and will give you the advantage.
- Avoid splitting the team and moving into a house or structure from two different sides. Unlike in movies, bullets go through things and if you breach from opposite sides you have as much of a chance of Blue on Blue fire as you do eliminating the enemy. We made this mistake once and, while great in theory, it was painfully obvious once we breached that it was a horrible idea.
- Communication is key. Calling out doors, alleyways, windows, etc make your team aware of threats where enemies could be looking. This seems straightforward and obvious, but you would be surprised at how communication sometimes goes out the window when executing a CQB operation.
- Sometimes, less is more when it comes to people assaulting a location. When we got into groups larger than 5, it became a jumbled mess of who goes through the door, hesitation happened, etc. In one scenario, we broke into teams of three and two, and while the three man team assaulted the two man team watched the exterior for Squirters or Runners. This operation went far better than the previous one, where in the same scenario we assault with 5 and got most of the team killed because there was confusion.
- It helps to train with individuals who both want to be there and also set all egos aside and are willing to be taught. My classmates were excellent and, by the end of the class, we could mix and match both the personnel involved and the number assault and be able to pull off the operation. This was remarkable and a testament to NC Scout’s ability to teach.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend filled with great fun and a lot of learning. Despite a high of maybe 44 degrees, the class never complained and we all become more lethal as a result. I want to end with this rhetorical question. As the year comes to a close, what have you spent more money on this year?
- Eating Out?
Something to think about. I encourage my fellow classmates to add their thoughts in the comments on what I left out and what your takeaways were.