Surviving an Expedient Ambush Roadblock

Surviving an Expedient Ambush Roadblock While Traveling by Vehicle, �
by M.W. �

In the days following a societal collapse, there will be some people who �
will be on the move from where the problems exist to where they hope �
safety lies. There can be many reasons why people are on the move, and �
an equal number of reasons why someone else may wish to stop your �
progress. Getting on the move and out of a hostile area as early as �
possible in the wake of a collapse is a significant key to one’s survival, as �
well has having buddies to cover you during your travel. �

The sooner you get on the road, the less your chances of encountering �
problems. A few people will recognize the early signs of collapse and get �
moving out of town long before traffic becomes a problem. Others will �
recognize the issue within twenty-four hours after the event takes place, �
and will be on the leading edge of the traffic during the exodus. The �
majority will not realize the seriousness until it is too late. These people �
will get caught-up in the traffic jam that will rival the exodus of Houston �
during Hurricane Rita, where I-45 and I-10 were packed full of cars �
stopped on the highway for 100 miles. Many people ran out of gas on the �
side of the road and found themselves without food or water since they �
had only moved a few miles in four hours. �

You may be a well prepared family, but for one reason or another are �
caught on your heals when a collapse occurs. This leads you to stay put �
longer than you would have liked, but you have no better tactical choices �
but to lay low at home or work for a few days before bugging out. You do �
not want to get caught in a highway traffic jam following a collapse. If �
you get stuck, you will have to leave most of what you packed into your �
vehicle(s) and move out on foot amongst the thousands of ill-prepared �
people on the roads doing things they would never have considered �
during normal times. �

Those who are forced to wait out the initial exodus and are moving out of �
urban areas several days or weeks after the collapse will have a higher �
probability of coming in contact with an expedient ambush roadblock, �
both in the city and on rural roads outside of small towns. An expedient �
ambush roadblock is one set-up in haste with readily available materials �
and personnel. There will be plenty of desperate people who were caught �
unprepared for such an event; their lack of morals and innate nature to �
survive will drive them to take from others, with deadly force if necessary. �
It is your job to protect your family and yourself from these threats, �
especially when on the move. �

While traveling in a vehicle on the roads, you may encounter various �
types of roadblocks or ambush points. Some may be fairly elaborate, �
while others may be quite simple. All are equally deadly. The primary �
tactic you will need to thread your way safely through one of these �
expedient ambush roadblocks is what I call R.O.C.S.: Recognition, �
Observation, Covering Fire, and Speed. �

Recognition: �
Recognizing that something you see ahead is a potential ambush site is �
the first key to success. An ambush site can appear as a traffic accident �
(as illustrated in Patriots), a fallen tree near or on the road, �
abandoned/broken down vehicles, anything blocking all or part of the �
road, detours, refugees, high ground on one or both sides of the road, �
bridges, and anything that looks like it does not belong on, or near, a �
road. These are the types of expedient ambush sites that someone may �
quickly create in the days following a societal collapse. It is up to �
whomever is leading, to recognize that a potential exists and to move into �
the observation phase. �

Observation: �
Once you recognize a likely ambush point (LAP), you have two choices: �
divert your course and completely avoid the circumstance, or observe and �
evaluate the site. You can either stop well short of the potential ambush �
point and observe through a scope or binoculars, or have a passenger �
continue to observe while on the move. Observation is a form of Intel. �
Look for signs of movement, or things that seem out of place. Reverse �
what you see and put yourself in the place of the ambusher. Where would �
you hide? How would you set it up? How many people would you need to �
pull off an ambush? What weapons would you use? What tactics would �
you employ? What is your end game? �

At this point, you need to determine if what you see is worth the risk of �
approach or if you need to turn around and find a different route (if �
possible). Anyone traveling with you should also evaluate the situation �
and help with risk assessment. Once a decision is made to approach and �
pass the observed site, cover[ing fire] is needed. �

Covering Fire: �
This is a two or more person/vehicle job. This means that if it is just you, �
your wife and the kids, that you need to move out of town in two vehicles. �
Hopefully you have friends traveling with you to a new location who also �
have a vehicle and weapons. For [overwatching] cover[ing fire] during the �
operation, the lead vehicle stops at a distance from the LAP that is within �
the range of the weapon being employed. For most weapon platforms a �
good distance is 100-300 yards. This ensures accurate shots and plenty �
of ballistic energy. �

The lead vehicle should place their vehicle at a 45-degree angle to the �
direction of travel and the weapon system should then be employed �
across the hood so that the engine block provides a [limited] ballistic �
shield for those person(s) providing cover[ing fire]. �
The trailing vehicles should move past the lead vehicle with Speed. Once �
beyond the LAP, those vehicles stop and provide cover for the other �
vehicle(s) yet to pass through the site. Again, the vehicles that have �
already passed the LAP should stop within range of the weapon(s) being �
employed and turn their vehicles 45-degrees to the road and take �
personal cover behind the engine, covering the passage of the trailing �
vehicles. �

[JWR Adds: The concept of covering fire is actaully better termed �
suppressive fire. The term “cover”, properly, only applies to barriers that �
provide ballistic protection to those behind them. So “covering fire” does �
not provide cover, nor concealment, only supression!] �
Speed: �

Passing through the LAP with adequate speed, and setting up a covering �
position on the far side for the trailing vehicles as fast as possible is key �
to minimizing exposure for all concerned. You do not want to drive so �
fast that you could lose control of your vehicle if you suddenly had to �
swerve or take significant evasive action. �

Having short-range communications for these types of situations is also a �
smart idea. This can be done with CB radios, or inexpensive GMRS/eXRS �
two-way radios. Radios will be especially helpful during nighttime �
operations of this type. When the lead vehicle can communicate to trailing �
vehicle(s) that there is a LAP ahead, this can start a desired chain reaction �
that can significantly increase the odds of surviving one of these �
situations. Communications can also be an aid when the lead vehicle �
passes an unseen ambush point and can radio a warning to following �
vehicles, which can immediately render covering fire and/or take evasive �
actions. �

The following is a fictitious scenario using all of the aforementioned, with �
three families in three vehicles approaching a potential ambush site seen �
from one mile away. The cars are traveling 200 yards apart. (After the �
SHTF, when traveling by foot or vehicle, travel should always be �
conducted in tactical columns, where a specified distance is maintained �
between people or vehicles. Staying too close together and/or tailgating �
are unacceptable risks after SHTF, when traveling.) �
Lead vehicle (vehicle 1): “LAP ahead, one mile” �

Trailing vehicles stop in place, while vehicle 1 moves forward another �
1/2-mile and evaluates the LAP. The lead vehicle stops and uses 10×50 �
binoculars to scan the area. No movement is noticed, but it looks like a �
large tree was dropped across one lane of the highway. The base is �
obviously recently cut, and there are no other dead trees nearby. The �
leaves still have a greenish tint and have not yet browned, but are wilted. �
Lead vehicle radios the trailing vehicles: “No movement seen, there is a �
way past the LAP on the opposite shoulder and grass. Watch the tree line �
on the right side of the road. Lots of dense cover there. We will move �
ahead to 200 yards and set-up.” �

The lead vehicle approaches slowly to within 200 yards while the trailing �
vehicles move to within � mile away. The lead vehicle stops in the road �
and turns to 45-degrees to the direction of travel and both occupants �
exit the drivers side and set up across the hood with their AR-10 rifles �
with ACOG scopes. �
Lead vehicle radios the trailing vehicles: “Go!” �
The first trailing vehicle (vehicle 2) gets up to speed and approaches the �
LAP while the lead vehicle continues to scan the LAP through their scopes, �
ready to fire upon any threat. The vehicle passes the LAP with no �
problems and goes 200 yards beyond and sets up an overwatch position �
on the other side, careful to orient themselves so as not to fire upon the �
vehicles on the other side. They are covering with scoped AR-10s �
scanning the LAP. �
Vehicle 2 radios: “We are through and set up. Go!” �
While vehicles 1 and 2 maintain covering positions, the last vehicle �
(vehicle 3) gets up to speed and starts to pass the LAP. As they do so, �
gunfire erupts from the tree line (in this instance, the ambushers were �
caught unaware by the first vehicle and were alert when the next one �
came through.) Vehicles 1 and 2 open fire on the tree line, while the �
passenger in vehicle 3 opens fire while passing the ambush. Once beyond �
the ambush point, vehicle 3 sets up 220 yards on the other side of the �
ambush to the rear and right of vehicle 2, and provides covering fire �
along with vehicle 2. �
Vehicle 3 radios: “We’re set. Covering. No fire from the trees. Go!” �
Vehicle 1 remounts and charges through the ambush point with no �
gunfire coming from the tree line. They drive beyond the other two �
vehicles and all personnel remount their vehicles and resume their travels. �
At this point, it would be wise to find a secure place to stop and evaluate �
your persons and vehicles. You don’t need to stop all jumbled together, �
especially if there is more than one person per vehicle and everyone has a �
radio. Each vehicle stops a couple hundred yards apart and while one �
person provides cover, the other goes over the vehicle and passengers, �
looking for trouble. �

You would want to check the tires, engine soft points (hoses, belts, etc.) �
and look for leaks (anti-freeze, fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid, etc.) Be sure to �
check each other carefully as adrenaline will be high and a person who �
has been shot or injured may not feel a wound at this point. Address any �
issues as quickly as possible and continue moving. �


Other Considerations �
Stopping to evaluate and/or cover a position may not be advisable in �
some circumstances. You do the best you can at evaluating while on the �
move, radioing your findings to your travel companions, and then �
pushing through. This is where speed comes in to play. The faster you �
can get through the LAP the better your chances of survival. Your �
passenger (if you have one) helps with navigation, assessing threats, and �
provides cover during the encounter. �

Choosing weapons is always a difficult decision, especially if you are �
going to be defending your life with them. For situations such as the one �
presented above, the longer the effective range of the weapon, the �
further away you can stay from the LAP, increasing your chances of �
survival. You must also consider that just because you can easily shoot a �
M1A or even a .50 Barrett, your wife or teenager may not be able to �
adequately handle such a weapon in a life-or-death cover fire situation. �
[So a .223, 5.45×39, or 7.62x39mm rifle may be more apropos.] �
Having a scope on your weapon will also increase your shot accuracy and �
your ability to observe the area for movement while your weapon system �
is employed. �

We all want to be accurate with open sights at long ranges, but if you are �
trying to hit the small exposed body part of a person behind cover at 250 �
meters, it is easier to find the body part to shoot at with a scope. People �
do not always present themselves as a nice squared-up silhouette like at �
a shooting range. When your target has taken cover, you may only get to �
see the top of a head, or part of an arm or leg. Putting a bullet in an �
extremity might not kill them, but it may take them out of the fight. �
For night operations, having some form of night vision technology could �
become critical. �

These systems allow you to see through the darkness and into the �
darkest of shadows. Generation I systems are only adequate to about 50 �
meters and cost under $200. Generation I+ systems have a little more �
clarity and cost $300-500. Generation II and II+ systems can now be had �
for less than $1,000 new, and can be found cheaper from time to time in �
the used marketplace. These go up to $3,500 depending on features and �
manufacturer, and have a range from 100 to 200 meters with quite clear �
optics for the price. Generation III night vision has come down quite a bit �
and can be had for $3,500-$5,500. �

Personally, I cannot see enough difference between quality (with the �
exception of extended recognition range) of the Gen II and Gen III night �
vision to compel me to spend the extra $2,500+. There is also �
“Generation IV” night vision, which �

I know very little about. Prices seem to be in the $4,500-5,500 range. A �
Gen II, III, or IV night vision monocular could be a life saver, especially if �
you can get one that comes with an optional weapons mount. �

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