The Great Outdoors => Urban Prepping => Topic started by: Mountainman on August 11, 2013, 03:33:19 PM

Title: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on August 11, 2013, 03:33:19 PM

To keep the ball rolling/bouncing along; let's explore the one topic that everyone thinks is so sexy and cool -- Urban Defence.

First things first. Let's crush this myth about it being sexy and cool. Anytime the situation gets so bad you have to consider barricading and defending yourself and those you love, with the use of lethal or near lethal force; it surely, cannot be good. This is not to be taken lightly, and it most certainly isn't sexy or cool.

History lesson, homework assignment:

First assignment: Review the Canadians in WW2, at a little place called Ortona, Italy. Post what urban combat technique was pioneered by the Canadians in Ortona. Military members please let the non-military members have a chance to answer.

Second assignment: Review the Battle of Stalingrad. It was on the Eastern Front during WW2. Who was involved in the battle? When did it occur? Who did not win? What was one of the deciding factors in the outcome of the battle? Hint, it had nothing to do with bullets, guns or tanks. Was this a sexy and cool battle? Why or Why not?

In a few days we will continue. Good studying.

Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: JustABear on August 11, 2013, 04:01:10 PM
Nice one MM. I am looking forward to the answers and discussion on this one.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: NObshere on August 12, 2013, 11:30:26 PM
Urban warfare is not cool, during exercises in ft lewis using the old miles gear, 4 guys holding one house took down an entire platoon before running out of ammo and thunder flashes. Far too many variances and luck plays a large part.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on August 13, 2013, 01:11:41 PM

That was a very impressive urban warfare training area. I liked how they had the segment of a passenger train in the middle of the village.

Another neat training area was the FIBUA site at Camp Pendleton. The USMC did a great job there. The multi-story apartment building was interesting to clear by day and even more interesting at night with NVG's.

Ah, T flashes. Who would let their children play with a 1/2 stick of dynamite and think it was just fun and games...........those were the days.

Remember, never, ever set off a signal smoke grenade in a confined space, like a small house. 50,000 cu ft of smoke fills it too much, too fast.

I will post some answers tomorrow.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: NObshere on August 15, 2013, 11:31:58 AM
Yes urban fighting is a nasty business, even if you had a private army at your disposal complete with arty, armour, and air support. The germans learned in stalingrad that reducing buildings and streets to rubble, gave the russians cover and concealment, as well as making their (German) armor almost useless.Booby traps abounded and troops were funnelled into those zones, hunger, thirst, and constant stress, were huge factors in their defeat. Just repeating in condensed form of what I've read over the years.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on August 15, 2013, 07:23:42 PM
Howdy All,

Yesterday I was busy, so today we will fill in some of the blanks. Nobs get full points for participation and not letting the cat of the bag early. Your last point is full of excellent observations about urban warfare and Stalingrad.

In Ortona, Italy; due to oppressive MG (machinegun) use by the Nazi's, making travel down the streets - suicide. The brave soldiers of the Canadian Army devised and perfected "Mouse-holing". A technique of using explosives to blast holes through walls and ceilings and roofs. Since in old European towns/cities the blocks we constructed of building that touched or joined each other. So by going through the buildings you had cover to approach your enemy and take-out the MG's and Tanks. It was also learned that the "mouse-holes" did not want to line up as that also provided too many casualties due to MG fire, snipers, SMG's etc. Like shooting into a funnel.

Stalingrad Q's
#1 The Battle of Stalingrad involved the Russian Army defending against the invading Nazi's and German Army.

#2 According to The battle went from 17 July 1942 until 02 Feb 1943.

#3 Who did not win. People did not win. This one battle consumed some 2 million soldiers and civilians. That is everybody in the city of Calgary, twice. And of those, most who died where civilians = non-combatants.

#4 WINTER!! Winter was a major deciding factor in this battle. Once the supply-lines to the Nazi's were severed, Winter quickly sucked the life and will to fight from them. In the same respect, being on home turf, the locals fared a little better as they were conditioned to the seasons, even though they, the civilians, were denied exit from the city.

#5 I do not think, IMHO, that this was a sexy and cool battle. It was a plunge into a man-made hell for the soldiers on both sides and even worse for the civilians caught in the cross-fire. The barbaric conditions and the sheer scale, 2 MILLION DEAD, definitely removes this from the cool category. Unless, the frozen humans statues are your reference point for cool......stone cold.

In the coming days we will try to explore more considerations for urban prepping, during mundane emergencies - like power outages; and work our way to SHTF scenarios. But we better get the mundane stuff in order first.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Ranger2012 on August 17, 2013, 01:28:47 PM
Anyone who goes into battle is changed for life. The first act of taking some ones life is traumatic event, the second act starts the scaring of ones soul, and seeing your buddies die one by one, hardens it.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on August 17, 2013, 03:29:57 PM

Good points, once you enter - there is no going back, ever. What is done cannot be undone.

The best advice is to never enter. Use all other methods to resolve problems before committing the troops to do what politicians lack the backbone for. In the end, after countless lives have been lost or forever destroyed, the political ones eventually sitdown and find a solution. If they had a backbone they would do that before, and we would not have to sacrifice our best.

But, as this is Urban Defence; we are working on the assumption of being attacked. I started this section with a history lesson, because if you find yourself in an urban environment and have to defend your home, it would be best to learn the lessons learned by those who have been there before. If you are in a multi-plex structure, remember, "mouse-holing" it may open up options for defending your location and give you multiple escape routes. Of course, routes are two way. Remember that.

M.O.U.T. - Military Operations in Urban Terrain
F.I.B.U.A. - Fighting In Built Up Areas
CQB - Close Quarters Battle

Just a few acronyms you may run across in your research.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: JustABear on August 17, 2013, 06:01:32 PM
Urban Defence ... It conjures up many different ideas for many poeple. I believe the first thing to do is to define your AO ( area of operations). What urban area are you defending? Is it your home? A block or neighborhood with your neighbors? The village you live in? The second thing to decide will be your strategy. Are you looking to fight to deny ground? Are you looking to redirect people away from your location? What or who.... are you willing to sacrifice to retain your stuff or your location? The biggest question... CAN YOU WIN????
Define your AO. Once you do this it is time to examine it with a fine tooth comb. Routes of ingress and egress for both you and your"enemy".  Defensive fire positions. Fallback positions. Cover VS concealment... for both sides. Area denial tactics.

Develop your partners. Who in the neighborhood is there to assist you? What is their level of experience? What is their willingness to fight? Will they truly 'have your back'? Are they willing to train together? Even if it is a few days of the year.

Training. You need to develop a sense of how your partners will act and react. IA ..(immediate action) drills for the firearms you will be using.  How will you communicate? Radios? Hand signals? Flares? Do you have a plan? First aid... both training and supplies.

 Urban Defence... I believe the majority of people look at this scenario as one where they will hole up and hold off the attacker. I see this as a death sentence. You are in a fixed position. Your house is NOT bullet proof. Far from it. You will need to go ourside sometime, be it for water, to dispose of waste etc. The amount of time you are held down will depend solely on the motivation of the attacking force. If they are not desperate they can wait as long as they like. They can move around. They can sleep. They can keep you awake with harrassing fire 24/7. The only real way to defend in an urban setting is to make the prosecution of their attack too expensive in terms of time, blood and pain.  The only real way to do that is to take the offense and go after them. This is why you need networking  and at least some commonality with the people around you. Otherwise to put it simply Urban "defence" is a non starter.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on August 21, 2013, 03:40:07 PM

Defence, to defend, to stay and not runaway.

For a defence to be effective, it has to keep the opponents away from key areas and channel them into areas that are easier to defend.
Many times you will hear defence referred to like a has to have layers. Similarly, commercial security operates with layered defence of their client's property. So, let's start their. How to protect a commercial property.

1) The property has to be defined. Perimeter fencing and signage to declare ownership and no trespassing. This can be the outer most layer.
2) A cleared space. With no objects to offer concealment or cover. This area should have illumination, ground lighting to create shadows.
3) Inner fence. With signage to declare no unauthorized entry. This fence may be electrified or have sensors connected to an alarm system.
4) Overhead lighting. Behind this inner fence should be strong overhead lighting, that focuses the light outwards. Thus blinding the intruder and illuminating them to the defender.
5) Parking is usually inside this second fence system. Ensure it is well lit by flood lights - overhead or wall mounted.
6) Compartmentize the operational areas of the commercial property. Use fence and gates to control access to certain areas. Locker-rooms  and lunchrooms will want to be accessed through a control point from the staff parking area. Visitor parking areas should be kept separate. Highly sensitive areas should be inside another layer of fencing, lighting and gates with security staff.
7) The outer most gate should be manned, to verify ID and clear entry to the facility. Visitors, depending on the site should be escorted to the visitor parking area and then to the main reception area to meet the appropriate staff member. Many inner gates can be card or key access controlled. If the area inside is sensitive, it should have a manned gate/checkpoint to control access, this may also have a card reader to prevent accidental entry by employees from different work units.
8) Protection/Security force. This force should have fixed control points and have exterior and interior patrol duties. The better trained and skilled your protection force the safer and smoother your operation will run. Protection personnel are not thugs, they are valuable resources, who shine when there is a crisis or an attempted breach of security. Ensure they are equipped with the tools to do their jobs properly.
9) CCTV and alarm systems. These electronic tools give your protection force eye and ears to more locations, more often. Also, they help to concentrate resources during an incident, say a fire, to have more helping hands to assist. These electronic systems do not replace a protective force, they augment the forces ability to respond in a timely manner.
10) Company policy & procedure. This provide the legal frame work for management, employees, contractors and security to do their jobs. The better written, in clear easy to understand language; the smoother the operation - at all levels. Clearly define expectations and consequences and employees know what to expect. Have solid rules in black & white, that do not change every week and you get a stable worksite.
11) Leadership and Management. Things need to be managed, people need leaders.

On day I will try to convert that to a more tactical position for renters and home owners in an urban environment.

Other security operators or military folk, please dissect that and point out what I missed. Like I said at the beginning we are starting by examining a commercial security operation and the layers it would need. I feel I have forgotten a point or two.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: tazweiss on November 15, 2013, 02:12:10 PM

Another neat training area was the FIBUA site at Camp Pendleton. The USMC did a great job there. The multi-story apartment building was interesting to clear by day and even more interesting at night with NVG's.


Aaahh, the MOUT site at Pendleton.  I lived there for three weeks back in the early '90s.
Good times.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on January 26, 2014, 06:01:51 PM

It has been awhile. Any thoughts to the urban environment??

Lets work on the mundane today. Power outages. Water outages. Garbage Strikes. Central Heating Failure.

Loss of electrical power in a modern urban centre for more than 3 days is a death sentence. And if it is Winter, it is even worse.

Modern urban citizens live in structures that require electric power to maintain a harmony of heating & cooling, lighting & darkness, movement of people & vehicles, and water delivery & sewage removal. When the power stops, every system shuts down, even if you have generator back-up power.

But the necessities of life remain the same - oxygen, water, shelter, food. How do we achieve these without electricity??
If you live on the 28th floor of an apartment building you sure don't want to have to carry a 5 gallon water jerry up all them stairs everyday or worse for every meal. You need to be able to store and collect water. If a power outage is imminent, fill the bathtub full of water. If the power outage is avoided, empty the tub.

Sorry lost my train of thought. I will have to continue on another day.

Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Henry on January 26, 2014, 08:39:41 PM
If you live  on a 28 th floor you can maybe talk of days but definitely not wks.  If you venture out into the hallways or stairways there will always be somebody that think you have stuff that he needs. You are in danger. Building by itself to me is already big trap, to get out you have to pass by so many doors and who knows what`s behind.
If you make it to ground floor after few days in your apartment can you imagine the chaos , disorder and danger around every corner? Just listen the news from Toronto in the morning now.
Than just imagine walking with your bag to your bug out location. For sure it would be impossible to drive after waiting for few days.
I am talking living in a big city.
Only way I see it to organize big group and act together. There is always power in numbers.
That is my thinking.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: livingpower on March 04, 2014, 09:21:44 AM
I am into all information on urban prepping, because for now, I am an urban prepper.  I live in a house, but I still rent, which means I do not have the freedom to make changes to the property for reasons of defense.  I can garden, which is nice, but with living on a corner and having my garden easily accessible from the sidewalk, not sure how I would defend my property and my food.  I can't install high fences.  I cant install permanent window coverings, such as those that roll down.  I can't modify the structure.  This diminishes my options.  Any thoughts/advice?
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on January 26, 2015, 07:45:06 PM

I will try to shake some ideas out of my head. Hopefully, something will be of some help.....

Let's start with garden defence:

Corner lot, has lots of area; which is good for gardening but a bit harder to defend. Check. No high fences. Check.

Do you have any fence to mark your property (rented or otherwise)?? Even a low chain-link fence or picket fence can create a boundry. To add a layer to this, consider altering the landscaping by planting blackberries, roses or hawthorne just inside the fence line. No, this will not keep garden raiders out, but it may deter some. The next thought would be to install an electric fence, like the ones used to keep cattle away from stuff that breaks when a 1200 lbs beast rubs against it. These systems are 12V and many use a battery with solar panel recharging system. No with an electric encourager that could have a master switch inside the dwelling, you could set it up to only work during the night-time hours. Or manually turn it on and off.

As for obstructing view of your garden, what about using lattice frames to grow scarlett runners or similar creeping greenery. The lattice would not be perminent, but perminent enough to block the view from the street.

Another device, a low wire entanglement, could be constructed between the fence and the lattice. It would require some stakes, after being pounded into the ground, of various heights from 6" to 18". Then you string some wire between the stakes creating a spider's web. This does not prevent entry but it will slow progress.

Other devices could include automatic sprinklers that are on a motion sensor, like the ones used to keep deer and cats out of gardens. Again, this is not perfect, but the less determined will leave your garden alone, for a while.

As for window coverings.....are you interested on interior mounted or exterior mounted???

One idea for an interior mounted shutter would be to cut a piece of 3/4" plywood so it just fits inside the window frame. Reinforce this with a frame made from 2x4's. Place the plywood structure inside the window frame next to the glass. Behind this use one of them expander bars, like a screw expanding shower curtain rod, only sized to fit the inside of your window frame. Expand a turn or so and this should keep your shutter in place, without using permanent attachments like lag screws. If you use felt pads between the window frame and the expander bar, there may not even be any marks left on the frame. Just remember, covering your windows will slow down egress in the event of a fire.

Another layer you might add would be 3M security window film. The stuff is expensive, and once applied you do not notice it is there. You cannot remove it, to the best of my knowledge. So, if you move you will be leaving that investment behind. But, once applied it protects your windows when anything tries smashing them in. The glass sticks together and slows progress.

Another device to add security to your doors is this: (

This will slow down forced entries. And is portable.

I will have to think about more options for renters. Back when I can.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Malark21 on January 26, 2015, 09:03:56 PM
Not sure if it would be effective or not but how about psychological deterrents. For example, (thinking old school) spray painting a red "X" on your own doors if event is caused by plague. Biohazard warnings? Depending on the situation you could do something to your entrances that would make people want to avoid and find something easier in the first place. Food for thought...
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on January 28, 2015, 10:19:41 PM

You could go that route. Maybe go to an industrial supply warehouse and get a roll of biohazard tape and make some official looking notices to post on the edge of the property. Biological accident do not enter without propper PPE (personal pretective equipment). It may work......

What do others think?? Would this type of mock disaster scene work or not?? Why??

Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Zed on January 30, 2015, 10:34:02 PM
It could have a chance of working, as long as the deterrent is both relevant and recognizable. Too many people don't read and may not recognize older symbols.
Over time, this effectiveness would diminish, but while there are lots of other places to raid, I suspect you could easily redirect people with an Ebola quarantine sticker or similar piece of obnoxiousness. I wouldn't go near it.
Throw in some particularly good set dressings or an oozing, Walking Dead style 'corpse' on the porch (not too close to curious eyes), and you're probably all set.
Also, invest in some good doors (

In a much more simple approach, it is amazing how many city-born are absolutely terrified of dogs in excess of 30kg. Get a mid to big dog and teach it to bark and/or snarl on command. You have to feed them, but they'll keep your toes warm at night... and in theory, make for a self toting emergency food ration...

Looking at the apartment idea... If you can convince your neighbours of co-operation, the security of a single floor shouldn't be too hard. Building code requires very nice steel doors on the stairwells and most floors only have one at each end of the hall. Remove the handles and they're nearly impossible to get open from the outside when wedged. Fire rated crash bars can not be dogged. Electricity should take care of the elevator, but even they have thick doors that can be jammed (and locked in many cases, with a special key). The trouble would be securing the exit route, when you reach the eventual necessity to leave. Stairwells have lots of blind spots at the best of times, let alone in a power failure. Blow out your candle and suddenly you're invisible, but now your community becomes a liability. Abseiling could cause just as much issue; you may have a lot of windows to pass. You are quite literally at the mercy of the lower levels of the building, much as they are to the upper levels' poorly handled outgoing waste. Risk stink bombs in the hallway announcing your presence? Take your chances? Secure by force? Fumigation?
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Jensen on April 05, 2015, 12:41:57 PM
A very interesting read for sure this post.

I personally believe that Urban Defence in shtf is unrealistic. As a NATO FUBUA instructor it I my experience that the amount of people and supplies (food/ammo/medical) that you will need to sustain an Urban Defence is beyond civilian capabilities in a shtf situation.

Having said that there is a lot to be learned from hardening objectives and positions and to conduct a fighting retreat where the objective is to surrender ground and not get caught up in situation where overwhelming resources could be used against you with the objective to make it too costly to carry on the attacking operation. That could effectively be used against larger groups of people pursuing your submission or your supplies/resources.

It is a tough discipline to learn and it will take a lot of training and knowledge to enable preppers to conduct such operations successfully in a shtf situation. My advice would be NOT to look back too far in history as warfare systems and experiences change too drastically. Look at recent examples such as Syria, Iraq and Ukraine to get an realistic and up to date view. Watch and ask questions why are they doing it like this ?, what is dictated by the environment they operate in and what can I take away from this learning ?, and so forth.

There are a few Prepper books out there on the subject of hardening and defending structures/compounds but to my knowledge Urban Defence as in larger areas would suggest that you are fighting an enemy with superior resources who can undertake such an operation with chances of success has not been advocated or covered by preppers before. In my view it falls outside of the scope of your average prepper. The books I have on the subject from a preppers perspective advocate blending in or making your location appear destroyed/ransacked. But again they deal with small areas not larger Urban Areas.

So if your objective is to "Defend" a few buildings in an Urban Setting my advice would be to:

Channel the enemy's approach. Do this as far out as possible to have more ground to work on.
Turn the approach routes available into deadly ambush sites.
Operate with an "elastic defence" (taken from German WW2 defence against Russia) so first line fights then withdraws. Second line od defence fights then withdraws etc. 3-5 defensive rings depending on terrain/opportunities. NEVER stay in place to allow the enemy to bring down reinforcements or direct operations against your known positions - you surrender the initiative then.
Have an force ready to react to the enemy changes in approach - they WILL change.
Employ traps, IED's, obstacles, anything to slow down and whittle down the enemy force - objective is for them to give up.
Do NOT operate an obstacle without eyes on it. An obstacle is only truly an obstacle as long as you can defend it.
Employ sniper teams.
NEVER go on the counterattack in an URBAN area. Stay in control as the defender. You have the preparations in place why waste the good work. In a shtf situation time will work in your favour as casualties, difficulties and stress will make an attacker second guess and doubt success.
Be prepared to give up your location if an determined enemy breaks through.
My focus is/would be on how to conduct the fight in an Urban setting. It is great to know details now about how to do this and that. But in a shtf situation where peoples families are at risk they will have lots of great ideas for what to do specifically if you can just give them the overall plan.

Not saying it cannot be done but it is not easy. Knowledge and experience are the two key ingredients to do this successfully.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Henry on April 06, 2015, 03:19:38 PM
To me being in the city would be the worst place to be in case of catastrophic disaster. Most people in the city the only food have is what they have in the fridge and even that is useless without hydro. So within day or two everybody will be looking and fighting for food.
On the other hand very  small community would be the safest place, where people know each other and look out for each other.
It is wrong to compere disaster to war torn countries (SYRIA,IRAQ). In wars people kill each other for beliefs,dominion or hatred.
In disasters people kill for survival it is call animal instinct .
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Jensen on April 06, 2015, 05:56:08 PM
I agree that a city may be a bad place to be in a shtf situation. But these are the conditions that many preppers are prepping under. Many people do not have the option to move up north and live on a homestead.

I may have read too much into this subject given my background and experience in war torn countries. I kinda looked at this through the objective of having to fend off organised or somewhat organised groups of people in an Urban setting. Not established Military or Police units as a premise for a shtf is the absence or abolishment of said units (law and order maintainers). I am not looking at looters or hungry neighbours but one step further when organised groups establish themselves whether it is a religious cult, a political faction, a criminal gang or a group of people grouping together bent on taking resources from other people.  and

So assuming you are right a small community is the best place to be you would still need the skills to defend that place. If it a location that would qualify as an Urban setting you need to know today how you would defend that tomorrow. So I am not arguing for why people kill each other (hunger, political beliefs etc) just saying that in the situations where they do today and years back you can learn skills for tomorrow. The only changing parameters are size of attackers/defenders, skills of attackers/defenders and environment you need to defend. Therefore look to how this is employed today in the world. This does include Iraq, Syria and Ukraine in my opinion.

Animal instinct may be why we kill Henry no matter what our motivations or reasons are. Psychologists would disagree and label it something else but I can live with animal instinct.
Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Mountainman on April 11, 2015, 11:56:29 AM

Many thanks for weighing in on this topic. The more experience and knowledge that is shared now, will hopefully help save lives in the future.

Having re-read the thread there are certainly some common themes:

Desperate people do desperate things. Yes, even kill each other.

A strong community has a better chance at survival than clusters of individuals, urban or rural settings. Make a community now, so you can depend on each other and work together.

Will have to finish this another time.



Keep the bad guys as far away as possible.

Channel bad guys into areas that can be controlled and observed.

Use traps and delay devices.

If you cannot hold your position, a fighting withdrawl is the safest method of moving from one location to another.

For many, the option to live outside an urban environment is not an option.

I would like to believe that by sharing what we know now, will make a difference later when we need it to work.

Just my two cents.



I appreciate your observations and noting the differences between pure animal instinct and faith/hate driven killing madness. In the end, there may be very little difference in the outcome of a situation - even if you know the "why" they are doing it. Being shot at because of hate or love of a god or because I am hungry, the situation is still the same for the person being shot at........flee and avoid being hit, duck and return fire, or get hit.

I always enjoy your knowledge that you share.


Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Henry on April 11, 2015, 12:54:17 PM
I was watching last night  movie how it would look like if a big one hit LA. The city has all kinds of preparations and ways of readiness, but one think really surprising is that they know there will be thousands of looters that will be just looting and killing .
I believe that is the same scenario for every big city.
Nothing like that would be in a small community.

Title: Re: Urban Operations - Defence
Post by: Jensen on April 12, 2015, 02:29:49 PM
Nothing like that would be in a small community.

That is a guess. But I think that guess is affected by a wide range of factors such as proximity to a larger Urban Area, population composition etc. I fail to see why small communities are totally immune to a societal breakdown. Some will fare better than others but it is so dependent on a wide range of factors that a sweeping statement such "small communities are safe" is misleading and in no way promoting Preparedness. We should be careful in that way. Anyway I believe this is also a whole different discussion not directly related to the topic.

The topic is Urban Operations. As in if you find yourself living in an Urban Area what do you do before and after ?.