Author Topic: Knowing Your Ground  (Read 1225 times)

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Offline EC

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Knowing Your Ground
« on: December 11, 2012, 01:22:25 AM »
It's a truism that the home team always has an advantage, since they know the ground intimately. In the military, we are taught to negate that advantage or use it ourselves. So, some tips.

General

Do a quick experiment. In the dark, run from your bedroom to the back door. No cheating and walking or feeling your way, run flat out. How far did you make it before you ran face first into a wall or slipped on something and fell?
This is your home turf. You should know it like the back of your hand. You actually do know it that well, if you trust your body. Think of how many times you have come home in the dark, opened the door and hit the light switch accurately without being able to see it. Or the late night walks to the bathroom without bothering to turn on the lights or accidentally peeing in the sink (Males only, women may find peeing in the sink difficult and rather gross).

Nightly, before going to bed, police your escape routes. This is especially important in a household with children, as anyone who has stood on a Lego block with their bare foot can vouch for. There should be nothing on the floor to trip over or slip on.

Know Your Choke Points

In a home invasion scenario there are always choke points - places where the intruder is forced to pass to get at the goodies or to get at your family. These are vitally important to know because they work both ways. Whoever gets there first controls them and thus the outcome.
Although each home is different there are a few common features to look at. In a two story home, the obvious choke point is the top of the stairs. Laying on the floor at the top of the stairs makes you a very difficult target (shooting uphill is notoriously difficult while downhill is easy and the bulk of your body is out of sight and semi protected.) Spring 5 bucks on a thrift store mirror and hang it above the staircase and you have a clear view of anyone coming up the stairs while they can't see you unless they turn their back on you.
In a bungalow there is nearly always a single long corridor that the bedrooms and the bathroom are accessed off. Plan your room layout accordingly - if you might be shooting down that corridor you don't want your child's bed in line with it.

A fun way to find the various choke points around the home is to get a pair of Nerf guns and just play.

Creating Choke Points

Knowing them is all very well, but you'd rather not have an intruder in the first place. That ain't gonna happen unless you fort up. The box you live in has too many possible entrances to handle - at least one door, multiple windows, possibly a skylight or two.
To be blunt, if someone wants to get into your home, they will. All you can do is direct them to enter in the way you prefer. I'll do a separate post on securing your home if there is any interest.

Considering Grounds

If you have a house, the chances are it is surrounded by a bit of land which also needs to be secured. Once more, you should practice until you know every dip, bump and bush in the dark. This is your home turf and you need to know it intimately.
There are three ways of securing your grounds: High Tech, Low Tech and No Tech. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on the high tech end, but it isn't hugely necessary. This is one area where technology is useful (especially motion activated lights) but no substitute for planning.
Firstly, consider sight lines. There should be nothing big enough to conceal a man within 30 feet of the main accesses to your property. That includes bushes growing against the house.
You might be tempted to go for a fence or a wall. If you do - hey, it is your money - get a fence that people can see through. Chain link is your friend here, it keeps casual intruders out and more determined intruders are put off by being visible, but even a picket fence leaves intruders feeling exposed.
Or you could go the no tech route. Plant a hedge of the toughest, thorniest plants you can find. A properly layered hawthorn hedge, for example, will stop a charging bull and people are significantly more fragile.
Again, it is managing expectations and managing choke points.
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gogogodzilla

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Re: Knowing Your Ground
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 05:21:51 PM »
Remember the value of claymore mines.
 :patriot: :patriot:

Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Knowing Your Ground
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 02:32:33 PM »
Not just your home turf, but surrounding areas. I suggest really checking out Google satellite view of your neighborhood and surrounding areas. You may be surprised what you find. I have printed off around ten square miles of satellite views and laminated them. I have discovered streams and wooded trails I didn't know existed. Even an old ghost town on the Sabine River I didn't know about (after checking later I found it isn't lost, just hard to get to but a favorite of fishers to make camp). All of this within a half-day's walk from my home. This kind of topography knowledge is something few have. They know the streets but not much else.

Online Oceander

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Re: Knowing Your Ground
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 03:55:42 PM »
Not just your home turf, but surrounding areas. I suggest really checking out Google satellite view of your neighborhood and surrounding areas. You may be surprised what you find. I have printed off around ten square miles of satellite views and laminated them. I have discovered streams and wooded trails I didn't know existed. Even an old ghost town on the Sabine River I didn't know about (after checking later I found it isn't lost, just hard to get to but a favorite of fishers to make camp). All of this within a half-day's walk from my home. This kind of topography knowledge is something few have. They know the streets but not much else.

Very good point.  I like the bird's eye view maps from Bing as well because the view gives you a mildly 3-D view of the area.  It's also useful to rotate around a point of interest because the images used were taken at different times of the year (and probably different years), so you can get an idea of what a location looks like both in winter/fall as well as in spring/summer.

Offline EC

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Re: Knowing Your Ground
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 10:42:37 PM »
Never thought of either of those options. We have superb high detail maps here which include contour lines, from the Ordinance Survey - I have a collection for both our local area and our three bug out locations. All, as Abaraxis said, laminated against the damp.

We use them on our daily walk, go different places and find odd little nooks and crannies.
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