Team tactics are a tragically overlooked skillset for most preppers.
You should be planning to survive together in a group, either with suitably trained and equipped family members or like-minded individuals upon whom you can rely to go the distance with you when the skies darken and the mountains rumble.
A lone survivor, no matter how skilled, is too vulnerable to attack, to misadventure, and to plain, old bad luck compared to a group of any size, even a duo working in tandem.
But a mob of individuals with the same objective is not the same as a proper team: teamwork implies a certain amount of familiarity and fluency in performing operations together, with each member of the team working akin to the fingers on a hand to accomplish work.
The only way to attain this level of proficiency is education, and following education practice and refinement of the necessary skills.
This article will focus on team tactics and procedures while moving on foot.
Within this article, we will share with you the fundamentals and principles of coordinating team tactics and movement as well as actual procedures for successfully, efficiently, and safely navigating various situations that you might well have to deal with in a real-life SHTF scenario alongside your mates.
Table of Contents
What Might Your Team Have to Deal With?
If you are very fortunate, all you will have to do is lock the door, pull the blinds, and wait out the apocalypse on top of your mountain of supplies and provisions.
But, assuming you have been prepping any length of time, you will know by now that you cannot depend on luck, and furthermore, hope is never a strategy. Therefore, we have to count on leaving our home, prepared shelter, or bug-out location for any number of reasons.
You might be forced to escape on foot due to a particular threat or the loss of a vehicle. You might be looking for supplies like food, water, and man-made goods among the ruins and detritus of society.
It might be up to you and your team to find someone who has been separated from the group, or is overdue for a rendezvous. You might even have to leave your shelter in order to interdict trouble before it reaches your doorstep.
I could go on for some time, but consider the following scenarios below, and give some thought how much easier it would be to navigate them with a team as opposed to solo:
Long after the onset of the event that saw you and yours bug in, you are forced to head out in search of crucial supplies in what remains of your hometown. Many people have fled, but you have a lot of ground to cover, and many buildings to search.
You have heard rumors that particularly bloodthirsty criminal elements have been preying upon those moving around in town. You need to conduct your search in good order with good security if you want to stay safe.
The long feared and awaited day is finally upon you: it is time to bug out on foot, right this second. There is no time to delay and unfortunately, you must leave in the middle of the night for a lengthy hike through the woods.
You and various members of your group must travel along your appointed bug-out path with spouses and children in tow. You must do this safely while ensuring that no one gets lost or separated.
At the onset of the event, you have been fortunate in that most of your group has been able to reach you in good order and safely. You plan on sheltering in place on the outskirts of a major city along with your neighbors by securing and locking down your small apartment block.
Mass rioting and looting are already well under way, and drawing closer. Scattered reports tell of a brazen band of looters marauding through residential buildings and neighborhoods. You need all capable hands on deck in order to defend your home and keep the scumbags at bay.
You have felt very fortunate in your part of the woods since everyone seems to be behaving themselves in the aftermath of an event that seemed so terrible and unexplainable. But lately, you have heard your neighbors and others moving around the town speak of roadblocks and highwaymen appearing sporadically, shaking people down for goods.
A few people have been shot. There is no cavalry coming; if you’re going to put an end to the threat you need to head out with other capable and like-minded survivors in order to roust the bandits.
These are just a few examples, but even these range in intensity from hair-raising to downright terrifying. Nonetheless, you don’t want to tackle any one of these entirely plausible situations on your own if you have absolutely any other choice.
Having trained, practiced, and capable teammates with you can definitely make all the difference, but before that can happen your teammates need to be trained, practiced, and capable.
The remainder of this article will serve as a primer that can get you and your team on the right track.
The Basics of Team Movement and Tasking
Whether you live in a remote rural setting or right smack-dab in the middle of an urban or suburban sprawl, learning correct teamwork procedures is essential for preppers. No matter how far out you live, or how secure your location, you have no excuse.
Only by learning proper teamwork will you and your group be able to efficiently and safely interact with and control your environment in a post-SHTF situation.
The problems you will encounter and be forced to deal with might be a direct result of whatever natural disaster instigated this scenario in the first place or they might derive directly or indirectly from human activity, or even the lack thereof.
Regardless of what you are dealing with, it is imperative that everyone is on the same “sheet of music” when engaging in work, both for the sake of speed and for the sake of sanity.
If every element of every problem-solving iteration requires a committee meeting and discussion on how best to achieve it, a bad situation will get a whole lot worse.
Broadly, you and your group should be well acquainted and fluid in conducting yourselves during four types of team-related tasking. They are:
There will be no shortage of chores and jobs you’ll need to do in the aftermath of a major SHTF scenario. It might be something as simple as clearing downed trees and branches from your driveway or a road, or something as harrowing and arduous as digging through rubble looking for trapped survivors or even bodies in a collapsed building.
Knowing how to conduct yourselves in order to best accomplish the work rapidly and safely will be essential.
Moving even a small group of people through known or unknown terrain in good order is challenging, and doing it during periods of inclement weather, darkness, or while under stress is hazardous.
Especially when you are moving with people who are less capable, already injured, or very young, the opportunity for people to get lost or get hurt will loom large. If your team knows best how to move while maintaining control over people in the group, you have a much easier time of things.
It is a sad thing to consider but some of the biggest threats during a long-term survival situation will come from your fellow man.
The bottom line is that people will want what you have either out of malice or desperation. They might come for your food, your shelter or your equipment. It just does not matter.
What does matter is knowing how to organize and apply force as part of a unit in order to stall, stop or repel a group of attackers. If you are untrained and unorganized, you will lack efficiency, or even present a bigger danger to yourselves than the bad guys.
Armed patrolling also fits in neatly here when you want to protect your area from possible hostile incursions. Correct patrolling is one of your best potential forms of defense.
Handling a patrol like a bunch of duffers is a great way to get ambushed and killed. Only training and coordination will carry the day here.
You’ll be facing enough risks during an SHTF event, and it will be even worse 2 quart more risk when traveling without properly assessing it. This is where scouting comes into play.
Especially when traveling with vulnerable group or family members, you will want to know what you’re heading into before you commit.
One thing that you must keep in mind is these tasks are not strictly set in stone. Survival is not such an easy thing is that!
You might set out to do a scouting run in order to find a route suitable for later vehicle movement only to be accosted and ambushed, then you and your team will need to either fight for your lives or break contact as quickly as possible, perhaps running off in an unknown direction.
Similarly, simple travel on foot might turn into a work detail if you need to clear a path, make camp, or deal with some other eventuality.
What is important is that you remain flexible, and flexibility is easier to achieve once you understand the principles of working together as a team. Once you understand principles, and consistently apply them, you won’t have to worry quite so much about strictly rehearsed and rigid plans or “plays” for every given situation.
Think of it another way: There is more than one way to skin a cat, but anytime you want to skin a cat the way to begin is with a sharp knife. The “sharp knife” is the principle in this proverb. Focus on the principles of team-based movement in the same way.
We will look at these principles in the next section…
Principles of Team Movement
As preppers, we don’t automatically want to model every single thing we do after military procedure, but in some circumstances much of the intellectual “heavy lifting” has already been done for us, developed through either tedious or costly trial and error or hashed out by people much, much smarter than we are.
When it comes to on-foot movement and other taskings in groups, it is helpful to look at the military’s five principles of patrolling.
Those principles are abbreviated PRSCC, and if you care to search you’ll find plenty of creative, colorful, and downright vulgar mnemonics to help you remember what it stands for! I just prefer to sound it out like “brisk” in shorthand.
Anyway, the acronym contains the five principles of patrolling, standing for Planning, Reconnaissance, Security, Control, and Common-sense. We will delve into each of them in more detail just below.
Make sure to pay attention to the additional essential elements included below each principle; these are things you definitely don’t want to screw up!
Planning to bug out is always important, but it is critically important for any team activity. You need to know where you are going, what you are doing, and how you are going to do it. You also need to plan for likely contingencies and other curveballs.
It is easy to go down to the micro level when planning but this is not always necessary. Focus on the essentials: what route are you going to take to get to where you are heading, and what route will serve as your detour in case the primary is blocked?
Who is going to do what when you get there? How long will it take? Best case scenario? Worst case scenario? What is your emergency plan if things go completely off the rails?
If you think this is overstating the case, remember you will be working without a safety net in the middle of an SHTF situation. There will be no room for error, so plan accordingly!
Setting rally points is absolutely crucial for team-based movement. If anyone gets separated from the group (which during an SHTF situation is a mishap of the highest order) rally points will provide the best means for regrouping, especially in the absence of reliable communications.
Rally points should be interspersed along your routes of travel, not an arbitrary fixed point that is somewhere off the route.
The only exception is if the team is operating or moving through an area that is well and intimately known to all members, or if it has a universally visible landmark (water tower, etc.)
Or recon, for short. This is where you gather information about your route and your activity. Anything at all that will affect your transit for your efforts should be accounted for. You’ll definitely want to look at maps, road atlases, anything that can give you a better understanding of the terrain and the area.
Consider also lived experience and certain knowledge: how will your path be affected by the current circumstances? How about the weather or the season? Is there any man-made infrastructure along the route or in the area that could help or hinder your efforts?
Consider the Source
Older information is not as valuable as new information if the new information comes from a reliable source. The word of a stranger concerning the status of a route, disposition of a group of denizens or the presence/absence of threats might be valuable or it might not.
But if your trusted friend or family member tells you that they saw something with their own two eyes, you probably want to take their word for it.
Reconnaissance isn’t always a matter of sending a lone scout or laying your own eyes on it. Time and circumstances may only allow you to thoroughly study a topographical map, a road atlas, or even just review a hand sketched diagram that all members contribute to.
If television and internet sources are still operational during the event make sure you leverage them to maximum effect as you can gather an awful lot of useful reconnaissance info from both of them.
Higher-quality recon is always preferable, but even if you are using resources aside from physical sight, they are still valuable. The idea is to get some understanding of what you’ll be walking through and heading into.
Security means safety for our purposes, and no we won’t just be worried about human threats in an SHTF situation though they will certainly be more prevalent than ever for most of us who have any profession outside of law enforcement or the military.
You should always strive to maintain and improve security when working as a team. If there is any chance whatsoever that you could be accosted some members of the team must be prepared to provide protection to the ones currently engaged in work, rest or some other activity.
Security must also be provided against physical threats like exposure, getting lost, accidents, and other mishaps.
Operational security is just as important, perhaps even more so, then providing for physical security alone. You want to keep your plans completely impenetrable to outsiders, and you also have to account for outsiders that might be actively observing you or eavesdropping.
That passing stranger with the friendly face that you revealed your destination to might be planning to use that information to lay an ambush, or they might just blab to someone that will then do the same
Remember the maxim “loose lips sink ships”. Loose lips will also sink a small team of preppers, right quick!
Never Let Your Guard Down
Concerning human violence, it never fails that it will often occur when the victim, or mark, least expects it. That is by design, as predators (and that includes human attackers) want to strike when the target has the least possible chance of escaping or defending itself.
No matter what you are doing and where you are going, at least one member of the team should be providing dedicated security, even if it is only serving as a lookout to provide early warning of changing circumstances.
When everybody is nose-down on the grindstone trying to accomplish tasks, that is when you will surely get bushwhacked. This is especially likely when stopping for camp or rest.
Control is the most challenging element to instill and establish when working as a team for most civilian preppers, but it’s familiar or even second-nature to preppers with military, law enforcement, or other similar high-stress, team-oriented backgrounds.
Teamwork will be your group’s greatest strength, but it can only be brought to bear if it is coordinated with all hands working together. That is why control is so important.
Someone must be nominally in charge of every phase of your team’s actions. Which way will you be going? In what formation? Who will be handling what responsibilities when the time comes to put in work? If control is disrupted, either through a mishap, a casualty or just loss of communications it must be reestablished as soon as possible.
Nominate a “patrol leader”
Ideally, everyone in your team will be at least competent in all essential skills and components of the task at hand, but even if that is the case you should still nominate a patrol leader for your outing.
Assuming your group operates more or less on a committee basis or something akin to the Knights of the Round Table, you can think of your patrol leader as something of a conductor; the patrol leader will be the one queuing and directing the orchestra so the symphony plays on perfectly.
In the event that the team has to separate or is split up for any reason, each smaller element, usually a duo or “buddy team”, should have its own leadership element when functioning independently until such time as nominal control is re-established.
The last principle of team-based movement and work is common sense, and unfortunately, common sense is no longer common: it is so rare it might as well be a mythical beast! Common-sense is sort of a catch-all in that it has the possibility to override any other principle we just listed.
Your team should be working together to accomplish your goals and to do that and you want to work on your goal, not adhere in a slavish way to some plan just because it was the agreed-upon plan. Ultimately, use your instincts while also being cautious. Remember: something that seems too good to be true usually is.
It is easy to start hunting on good procedure and getting complacent when you are tired, miserable, or are sure you are home-free.
This is inevitable when disaster strikes one way or another. Make sure you follow proper team movement procedures at all times, and conduct yourself appropriately from the first time to the last time until the job is done!
Now that you have a solid grasp of the principles of team movement and activity, it is time to learn how you should move as a team on foot!
Formations for Team Movement
The default mode of movement for a group of people is what I charitably call a “gaggle”. It is an amorphous blob- maybe tight, maybe loose- that moves more according to vestigial instinct or whim, nothing that be called purpose in a serious sense.
Though it is functional, it is only functional in the most elementary sense: it is a group of people together who are nominally a team, meaning on the same side. When the chips are really down, you don’t want to be moving in a gaggle, letting circumstances dictate your formation.
Instead, you want to dictate your formation based on the circumstances. This will help you both move more efficiently and more safely no matter what kind of Journey you are embarked on.
Chances are you have lots of ideas and visions of a military nature swimming in your head since I use the word formation. You are both correct and wrong.
Correct in that, yes, military forces make constant use of formations. Wrong in that for our purposes formations need not be as complicated as you are imagining.
Think of a formation as simply the particular arrangement of the people on your team based on your objectives, the terrain, and the ambient conditions.
First and foremost your chosen formation should enable better control and maximize security at any given time. I do believe the formation will allow all members to contribute to mutual defense by bringing weapons to bear when attacked, while also minimizing the effect of an attack when it is launched against the group.
The patrol leader that has been selected always operates near the front of the formation to ensure the team gets where they are going and to, hopefully, orient the rest of the team against a threat when it is detected. Aside from this, there are only two golden rules when it comes to utilizing formations:
Golden Rule #1: Every person in the formation must be able to visually see the adjacent person in the formation at all times. Failing to do this makes the team vulnerable.
Golden Rule #2: Formations are not rigid. They will change and flow from state to state depending upon changing terrain, changing conditions, and changing requirements. Failing to do this makes the team vulnerable.
Factors Affecting Choice of Formation
With this in mind, there are a few universal factors that will affect both your choice of formation, which we will get to in a minute, and the spacing between team members in the formation:
Visibility: Members of the formation must be able to see each other, both for verification that they are still present, and to use visual communication methods.
Conditions of darkness, fog, and other sight-impairing impediments will partially dictate which formation you use and the spacing between members.
If there is a high likelihood that members can become separated and subsequently lost, a formation that allows better control and coherency should be chosen if permissible.
Terrain is one of the primary motivators of formation choice. Wide open and easy to navigate terrain will likely see members spreading out. Terrain that is broken, densely foliated or difficult to navigate will probably see the formation tightening up.
Any terrain that provides ample opportunity for ambush means that the team must pay strict attention to the choice of formation and spacing in order to both mitigate damage, and maximize the chances of early detection.
Sometimes you just have to move fast, all other factors be damned. Certain formations maximize the speed at which the team can move while others are slower, everything else being equal.
If you have to move fast in conditions of reduced visibility, team members will necessarily need to be close together to maintain visual continuity.
Other factors abound. Almost any formation is adaptable to a greater number of people where others work better with smaller numbers. Additionally, if you have dependents traveling with you who are not as skilled or as capable a given formation might be chosen to provide them better protection and guidance.
This also applies to team members themselves: Certain formations allow skilled or experienced team members to assist the greenhorns. If a team member is injured, or some other casualty must be transported or protected this will have to be accounted for with formation selection.
With those criteria in mind, have a look at the following list of formations that you are likely to make use of when moving as a small team.
Note that all formations are more or less viable in any given environment, be it a natural setting or an urban one, because it is the quality of the terrain in that setting that dictates which formation you should use, not the setting itself.
Moving single file is simple, very fast and more or less viable in any terrain or setting. Everyone knows how to follow the leader, and that is pretty much all you’ll be doing here.
It is one of the most discreet formations so long as proper spacing is maintained, but it limits the ability of the team to come to the defense of those near the front or rear when attacked from those directions. On the other hand, the entire team can open up on a threat that appears to either side.
This can be a passable formation for protecting dependents and other less capable group members when they are kept near the middle of the formation.
The wedge is another all-purpose formation, and one applicable to a variety all terrains and circumstances.
The wedge is often called a “V” formation by the uninitiated when an actual, military “V” formation is reversed. The wedge formation looks just like the one adopted by geese when they are flying south for the winter.
This formation allows a considerable amount of observation and firepower to be brought to bear to the front, while still allowing considerable Firepower to be directed to either side. Learn it, love it, and use it.
The diamond formation is one of the single best ones for small teams, owing to a combination of excellent control capability and the ability for the majority of the team to fire in any given direction at any time. It also allows the team to shift direction rapidly while maintaining cohesion.
Perhaps the only disadvantage to the diamond formation for smaller teams is that it is not the quickest. This is another good option for using a mixed team of experienced and inexperienced members or the protection of the vulnerable.
Executing Team Movement On Foot
Now that we understand the principles of team movement and what formations we can make use of while engaging in team movement, it’s time that we learn how to successfully, well, move as a team.
Success, in this case, means getting from point A to point B and back again safely, with everyone accounted for while affording the maximum chances of obtaining your objective, whatever that is.
To do this, we will whip out another conveniently pre-concocted military acronym, this one called OCOKA. This acronym stands for Observation/fields of fire, Cover and concealment, Obstacles, Key terrain, and Avenues of approach.
This is where things get complicated, but failing to account for these factors is asking for trouble. As mentioned previously, hope is not a strategy.
There are two things to consider when considering observation in the context of on-foot movement. Will you be able to see where you are going, or see major landmarks that will help you orient yourself visually or for use of a map and compass, and will anybody that potentially wants to hurt you, follow you or in any other sense take advantage of you be able to see you?
This is a delicate balancing act, as many of the routes that will provide you with the easiest travel and the best speed will, naturally, also be heavily traveled by other people or otherwise easy to observe.
It will be up to you and your team to weigh the pros and cons of staying low profile or otherwise difficult to observe against your own need for navigational aids and efficient movement.
Consider if you are moving to a part of a city that was already known for criminality prior to the event and has turned into a veritable bandit kingdom in the aftermath.
You may well need to take the most discreet route possible, moving carefully through buildings at the least, and underground or through maintenance access if it is at all possible.
In a rural setting, you might be able to make tracks going through the woods by following a logging road, but consider the historical precedent that sees such paths often used as “highways” for the movement of illicit goods…
Fields of Fire
It is imperative that you consider the fields of fire of any potential ambushers along your route, and also consider the viability of your return fires should you encounter a looked-for or unlooked-for hostile.
Remember: Anything that can be seen can be shot, so concern yourself with how easy or how difficult the shooting will be in a given context. How far away is your attacker likely to be when they do spot you?
Cover and Concealment
This goes hand-in-hand with observation and fields of fire above. If you can be seen, you can be shot; if that happens will you have any cover from gunfire along your route? If not covered, will you have concealment?
Remember that cover is something that will decisively stop bullets, something that will definitely protect you. Concealment only keeps you from being seen.
If you cannot be seen, you cannot be accurately targeted, but concealment will not stop bullets that are being flung in your general direction.
An obstacle is anything that will have a significant impact on your team’s movement. It could slow you down, stop you entirely or just result in a detour. Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes, flavors, and colors. They could be natural or they could be man-made.
They could be placed with a purpose, accidental, or just happenstance. A river is an obstacle, but the quality of the obstacle in question might depend on its conditions. A river in a certain season might be easily crossable if you are cautious, but in the rainy season or after a thaw it could be near-certain death.
Man-made obstacles like barricades, barbed wire, fencing, and so forth are some of the most taxing, specifically because they were, at some point and for some reason, set with intent. Did someone know you were coming, or did they set it for someone else? When was it set? Should you risk crossing it or give it a wide berth?
Some obstacles simply have a time and exertion cost associated with them. Crossing a range of hills or even mountains might be entirely doable if you are willing to put in the sweat and spend the time to do so.
Context is also important when considering obstacles. If stealth is an absolute imperative for your team accounting for your objectives you might want to avoid human settlements and habitation entirely. If you are already living in a town or city, you might want to avoid a certain part of town or just certain roads.
If there’s any way to account for obstacles ahead of time, do so, and note them in the planning and reconnaissance phases for your outing.
It never fails though that you will run into some obstacles that you could not have predicted or flat did not see coming. These will have to be addressed and either circumnavigated or crossed at the instance.
In the context of military operations, a key terrain is a place or a general area that affords the controlling party a considerable advantage in the context of the ongoing operation.
For instance, this could be a good place to hide snipers, emplace artillery, stage an assault, or something else.
For our purposes, the key terrain is what will afford your team the best possible set of advantages according to the principles that we have already learned. Terrain that allows you to go fast, observe from concealment or cover, or move quieter than you would otherwise be able to should be considered key terrain.
However, if you are worried about protecting against a threat or intercepting a threat key terrain works pretty much identically to the military context.
As a warning, the “high ground” is not always a key terrain feature as is often thought by the uninitiated. Depending on the totality of the circumstances the high ground might make you more vulnerable, not less.
Avenues of Approach
Avenue of approach is a concept more than a pre-selected route, although it can be.
Think of your route as your travel itinerary with various stops along the way. An avenue of approach (or departure) is any path that can allow you or people that want to hurt you to move in or out of any of the various stops.
Understanding avenues of approach and departure helps you to get a handle on where you will be most vulnerable, and also inform your assessment of where bad guys might try to get to you.
The vast majority of people are not like us, however, and want to use the least possible effort to get from point A to point B in any circumstances.
This tells us you should assess both potential avenues of approach/departure at any point along your route and also assess your route selection accordingly; have you been too lazy or too predictable in choosing your route?
What is the potential risk or threat you could be facing? If you have a substantiated human threat in the area and are selecting your route based on ease and speed alone, the time might be ripe for you to get ambushed.
On-Foot Movement Tips
When you are moving as a team on foot, always keep the following in mind:
- When communicating, make as little noise as possible. Ideally, hand signals will be used to convey all but the most complex information. Once again military hand signals are well-known, pre-established and easy to learn, but simple hand signals like halt, forward, listen, come here, go low, and others are intuitively understood, and can be used in the interim among team members.
- The only time you don’t have to worry about making noise if there is no possibility you can be threatened by other humans. This means it will be “rarely” or “never”. Move as quietly as your circumstances and objectives dictate.
- Consider that you could be followed, keeping in mind the observation tenant above. If you are leaving your bug-out location, home or just your base camp try to move across ground that will leave as little sign as possible for trackers. Moving across muddy ground after a rain, fresh snow, and other surfaces make following human beings, even for a very long distance, elementary. It is far more difficult to track people across rocks, hard-packed dirt or pavement.
- Consider that any stop, for any length of time, can provide an enemy gunman an opportunity to draw beat on you. Always maximize your cover or concealment in your immediate area if you can, even when stopping for just a few seconds.
- It might be necessary when preparing to fight or reconnoiter an area to ditch any larger loads that your team might be carrying in a safe and nominally secure location before retrieving them later. Trying to maneuver discreetly or move quietly with a large, clanking pack on your back is a non-starter.
The Basics of Team Movement in a Fight
The fundamentals of conducting a gunfight as a team can (and probably will!) take up an entire article and then some all on their own. That being said, it is imperative that any members of your team who are armed and moving together understand the most essential elements.
This is not just to ensure they can participate in the fight that can and probably will occur the longer a SHTF situation goes on, but also so that they can avoid harming their teammates and innocent bystanders, if present.
Knowing how to move when receiving fire, where to move in order to deliver accurate outgoing fire, and when you should move at any given time during a gunfight is certainly easier said than done but is nonetheless crucial. Only by working toward a state of coordination and synchronization can the chaos of a gunfight be managed.
- Group responses to an attack on the team while in transit or while protecting a fixed location must be practiced so they are second nature. While there is invariably a certain amount of chaos inherent in any life-and-death fight, to say nothing of an actual gun battle, indecision, panic, and frantic movement will only result in more casualties among your team. If caught unawares, you can do a lot worse than grabbing the closest piece of cover before returning accurate fire at the threat and going from there.
- It is imperative you pay attention to your target’s background and the target’s foreground when defending yourself in a team setting. You’re not just worried about you and your assailant (as is almost universally taught in standard civilian self-defense training); people will be moving around all over the place, and it is far more likely now than ever that one of your teammates might move in front of you, or between you and the bad guy. This is especially risky if you are actually down behind the sights of your weapon delivering fire since your peripheral vision will be constrained.
- Accordingly, every effort must be made to avoid moving in front of any of your teammates when moving laterally, advancing or falling back. Always give them a wide berth, especially when you know they are covering a particular sector. Moving into a teammate’s field of fire is a great way to experience friendly fire, and there is nothing “friendly” about it.
- When the fight is on, there is no more need for discretion. If you are going to communicate and be understood you will have to shout. And I do mean shout! You need to be screaming your head off and repeating simple commands to have any chance of being heard and understood over gunfire and the attendant, hopefully temporary, loss of hearing.
- Team members should drill as often as possible until selecting positions that afford cover and good fields of fire is second nature. This is especially important when protecting a fixed location. A position that enables team members to stay safe from incoming fire is great, but if it does not allow them to effectively return fire, or drastically limits their ability to do so it is not much good in a fight.
Moving effectively and deliberately as a team is what separates true survivors from the soon-to-be victims living in the aftermath of an SHTF event.
The skills necessary for efficient and safe movement are not difficult to learn, but they must be learned and then practiced as a group if you are going to implement them in a meaningful way.
Failing to do so means that you and your teammates will only be moving around in a herd from place to place, wasting energy and potentially tipping off anybody with bad intentions in the area.
However, by using correct team movement procedures and tactics, your group will be exponentially more effective than they would be otherwise, even if you are all already individually skillful. By working together with coordination to achieve a common objective, you will stay safe and even prosper when times get tough.
Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.