I read an interesting article on patrolling to stop intruders when TEOTWAWKI sort of thing has happened.

From the get go I think patrolling when you are a small unit is truly DAFT.
There are two basic sorts of patrol, Intel gathering / surveillance only and for offensive operations. BOTH OF THEM put you outside your core perimeter and thus vulnerable to ambush.

Patrolling has three distinct disadvantages for a small unit.

  1. It can draw attention to yourself (Never a good thing)
  2. Puts you in the open against an unknown force with them choosing the ground to ambush you.
  3. If your base was under surveillance in the first place (Tactical 101, Only fools rush in) any opposing force will KNOW your manpower at the homestead has just been reduced as you disappear off on patrol and therefore easier to attack.

OK, you may have “skills”.
You may be able to sneak up on a force even though they probably possess equal to if not superior skills to your own and have posted a proper watch.
You may be able to gather Intel and leave without tipping them off, BUT TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE them with your limited firepower, in the open, not knowing the “full story” (they could be part of a larger force), as a small unit, IMHO you’ve got to be either cracked or demented!

It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night or even if you have numerical superiority, you are taking a chance of injury and in an “austere” time, even a minor injury could be fatal.

So looking at the above 3, consider what would happen if you found someone (or they found you) and you actively engaged or were ambushed by them?

  1. What are your plans if you found you had taken on more than you had bargained for?
  2. What if you LOST personnel or (if applicable) your vehicle was disabled?
  3. What about the surveillance team you DIDN’T know about (after all being paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t watching) that saw you leave and watched as your wife and children waved goodbye?


Point 3 First.
That surveillance team could just attack the homestead and clear you out.
Even if you get a call for help, you may have to fight your way BACK INTO YOUR COMPOUND you carefully designed to KEEP PEOPLE OUT.
Shame about your wife and kids BUT someone thought patrolling was a damn good idea.


Point 2. You LOST personnel / vehicle was disabled?
Man down?
Logistically disastrous, you went looking for trouble and it found you.
Apart from treating the injured you have just reduced your effective personnel and your mobility. At worse you end up burying your dead, 

Vehicle down?
Possibly aways from base it has to be recovered or replaced.
Either way you are on foot in the open.

Point 1. You’ve taken on more than you can cope with.
If you unwittingly engage or are engaged by a superior force (or one just better than you are) and need support, who’s going to be coming to save you?
Your main backup would be them left at your homestead.
Are you in radio contact? Even so, it’s going to take time for them to mobilize.
As for your radio? It’s not only walls that have ears.
A simple scanner or D/F set up and they’ll know where you are and what you are doing.

This then opens up a number of scenarios.
Remember the surveillance team you didn’t know about?
Two things could happen.

  • Your support drives / runs out straight into a preset ambush.
  • Your support drives / runs out to help you, the aggressor move in and attacks your base.

In both cases you would be nuts not to break contact and head back to support them.
After all your base is EVERYTHING logistically and probably where your kin are. 

So you, under attack from the force you shouldn’t have been engaging in the first place, now have to break contact. That’s tactically as dangerous as hell!

You then have to get home (probably under fire) or with them quietly following as you lead them to the mother lode. Once there, you then may have to fight your way in through the very defenses you put up to keep someone out.

With your 3+1 magazines (120 rounds) of rifle ammo and what, 3+1 magazines (60 rounds) of close quarter pistol ammo against an unknown force now loading up with your own ammo?

I’d say the advantage was all theirs,

Patrolling only works
IF YOU HAVE A BIG ENOUGH FORCE AT HOME TO WITHSTAND A SUSTAINED ATTACK when you are out and have manpower to spare to provide you with back up.

Thus there is a VERY STRONG ARGUMENT for setting up low-key, covert area surveillance and if possible alarm systems.

Then you just deploy within your well thought out perimeter defenses rather than go out looking for trouble.

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