This teaching file is designed to introduce homesteaders to some basic concepts and considerations that need to be understood and addressed in maintaining ownership of their homestead in unstable times. This is a primer only; it will *NOT* turn you into insta-SEAL. It is not a militia training manual - unless you go way back for the definition of a militia as a community defense force and not a highly-trained professional-level military combat unit. Please keep these caveats in mind as you consider the following information.
Certain military manuals were useful in preparing this document and may or may not be available to the general populace. These books are:
Perimeter Defense - A defense without an exposed flank consisting of forces deployed along the perimeter of the defended area. (Guidebook For Marines)
You've worked hard to establish your homestead. It is your home, your general store and your grocery store all in one. During times of "systemic upheaval," others may suddenly find themselves forced to do without things they expect to have in their daily routines. Should these people discover that you are well-provided for, they may decide in their stress-addled state that they deserve the fruits of your labors - with or without your consent. At such a time, you no doubt will want to protect your homestead from these Mutant Looters.
[Note: Once upon a time, this category of people was referred to as the 5th Dismounted Bikers. So as to avoid offending any honest bikers who read this, I will refer to these marauders as Mutant Looters, or 5thML.]SECTION ONE - Defining the layers
The first step in a good defense is to avoid a fight. If you are concerned with maintaining what you have, the best method is to be situated someplace that no one will accidentally stumble onto you. This is not always possible, especially if you already have your "place" set up. For those who are "still looking," do not buy property that fronts on a major traffic artery. Avoid property on roads that lead directly to town. Stay away from property that is easily visible from such a road or from some other place where the 5thML are likely to "bunch up."
The next layer of defense is a planned "passive deterrent." If the 5thML are given a reason to keep going, they will. Washed out or blown bridges between the road and your house make travel up to you difficult. A thorny rambling hedge may offer too much trouble to mess with if no one knows what is on the other side. Inhospitable terrain like swamps work as tireless guards.
The "active deterrent" layer is the first layer where intruders *know* someone is taking steps to keep them out. Fences are a prime example. Anyone who runs a fence has something they want to keep. Another example is a guard animal. These are obvious indicators that someone is there. At this point, the scouts from the 5thML have to take stock of what they can see and judge your strength without alerting you to their presence. (boobytraps qualify as "active deterrents," but I heartily recommend you don't set anything like this)
If a property is remotely-located and difficult to get to via restricted travelways, the scouts may decide that it isn't worth the trouble of investigating. On the other hand, if they can get to you easily, they may decide to take a shot at you. The appearance you project via your "active deterrent" measures will also factor in here. A simple barbed-wire fence may indicate you have little of interest and therefore aren't worth the trouble. Then again, it may mark you as a push-over. A heavier presence may make marauders think twice about attempting to take what you have, although anyone willing to make extensive measures to keep others out likely has plenty of interest inside. In a remote area, I'd opt for the lesser measures, relying on other factors to discourage unwelcome visitors. Closer to "accidental traffic" areas, I'd beef up my defensive "posture," relying on this projection of strength to dissuade the 5thML from visiting me, applying the "path of least resistance" principle.
Along with "active deterrence," you have "alarm systems" that let you know someone is prowling around. Dogs are commonly used in this task. Other noisy animals that may fill this role are geese (highly territorial and aggressive) and guinea fowl (easily startled). Mechanical systems from tin cans on a string to blackpowder noisemakers to cyalume tripflares to seismic sensors are available.
If you have the manpower to actually assign a watchroster, the next line of defense is the "sentry" - an actual pair of human eyes watching for things out of the ordinary. This can be a fixed location within the boundary of the homestead or it may be a roving patrol that looks for anything out of the ordinary in the surrounding area. The sentry should have some sort of an alarm, as well, to signal an incursion. The military idea of established fighting positions may be employed by creating "foxholes" at strategic locations around your homestead, both on the perimeter and within it.
As you can see, a perimeter system has multiple layers, like an onion, all wrapped around a central core - be it a single house or a small village. The interaction of these multiple layers of defense is what offers you safety.SECTION TWO - Establishing your perimeter [coming soon]