Next Steps: From Dump to Dump
The latest from Habcan:
My Gunny always maintained that the most dangerous thing in the field was a 2nd Lieutenant with a map. I was a 1st, so of course that comment never applied to me! But the comment is germane if you need to find your way.
Oh sure, you are in your home AO, so you don’t need a map, the sun is always to your South, the North Star shines at night, and in the city there are signs on every streetcorner. That approach to navigation will get you DEAD in anything but ideal conditions.
But you have a GPS, you say? Wonderful! Now EVERYONE knows where you are!
Yeah, but you still can call your friend on that neat little two-way radio, describe where you are, and ask directions?
Ri-i-ght. You really aren’t ready for this, are you?
Weather can obscure sun or moon and leave you disoriented. Natural or manmade disasters of any proportion can alter landmarks to be unrecognizable, and those street signs will be GONE. If you are the type who drives to work every day on the same route, you KNOW the way, right? You go along this road until you come to the big tree, hang a left, go on to the big redbrick building, then right to the church, and on to your workplace. Nuthin’ to it!
Well, friend, just suppose those landmarks disappear? How many blocks/kms/miles between turns, EXACTLY? Do you KNOW? If caught at your workplace after an ‘event’, can you find your way back to your family?
Another scenario: It’s Bugout Time! The main roads are of course plugged, so do you have alternates routes to where you want to get to? Have you actually taken the time to check them out, or even just figured it out on the map on the kitchen table?
A map is a wonderful thing. Studying them is a great hobby. Get a map of your AO in as large a scale as possible. The ones the military use are best, and show elevations and contours. Get a soft pencil. Get out doors and check out the map against the terrain. Make notes, both on the map itself, on a plastic overlay sheet, and in a notebook. Check it out in detail.
Note all the culverts under the road. Take pics of the bridges and buildings. Pencil in the little clumps of brush and trees that might be useful to camp in. Is there water? Find out where the RR tracks go. Is there an abandoned rail line in your AO, the rails and ties removed? It’ll go through cuts in the hills and be raised above the swampy spots. It’s a good way to get from A to B, and level. You might even not need a 4X4! You could push a handcart with suitable wheels along it and move a lot of stuff if you had to. Check it out!
As you drive your daily commute (in Condition Yellow!), note the potential hides, bugout holes, steep ditches, EVERYTHING, and keep marking that map!
Hiking across your AO while ‘hunting varmints’? Mark the fences. Where are the gates? Power lines? Telephone lines? Underground pipelines are marked at every road crossing. Learn the signage. Keep adding this sort of intel, and your map will become a goldmine of factual information, much better than ‘anyone else’s’!
Get your family/team involved and you’ll never again hear “Are we there yet?” when going to your ‘location’, or the kids wanting to go home to the TV when you’re just out for a local family drive after supper. Suddenly, you’ll discover that your ‘AO that you are completely familiar with’ got either a lot smaller, or a lot more interesting. DETAILS, man! You want DETAILS!
Now, of course you have a compass. PLEASE have a compass! Not one of those silly little things in the end of your Rambo knife-handle that has a big N on it and a wobbly needle, but a real old-fashioned non-electronic North-pointing prismatic Compass. One you can sight through that is marked in degrees, so you can take bearings on landmarks from where you are. Two or three cross-bearings plotted on your map will establish your position pretty exactly. WRSA will cover this at some time in the future with a Course in Land Navigation, so I won’t say more here.
That position you just plotted may be where you have established a dump of essential equipment and the bearings will allow you to find it again. It might be worthwhile to take/check those bearings at night? Think about it.
Perhaps you and your distant family or team members have established several of these dumps. Plotted on your map(s) it would be helpful if you knew the direct-route bearing from one to the next. An idea is to have all one sort of materiel in each dump, so that if digging is involved, you don’t have to disturb the seals on the ammo crates to get at the toilet paper.
Ah yes, Toilet Paper! Toilet paper and feminine paper and baby paper - the definitive Currency of Worth after TSHTF. The first thing to disappear from the NOLA supermarket shelves!
As I said at the beginning of this: you just have to get from Dump to Dump! Keep thinking about it.