This is a list of subjects that a citizen soldier might need to be familiar with. I have described
their importance and suggested some ways you might acquire the skills.
1) Weapons; Use and Maintenance
2) Sniping (and designated marksman)
3) First Aid
6) Land Navigation
Auto Mechanics and Similar Skills
1) Weapons, use and maintenance
Proficiency with your basic small arms is a prerequisite for being a civilian soldier. It is even more important than
in a professional army. There are several reasons for this. 1) The small arms that we have are currently our primary
weapons system. 2) The weapons you own are yours; you have not drawn them from an armory. 3) If they break, you have to fix
them. 4) Lastly, to be honest, it is the most fun skill to practice, and training is supposed to be fun.
does not mean that small arms should be the only skill you practice. This is far from the truth. Practicing other
skills is primarily what separates the citizen soldier from the gun enthusiast. So what should you be able to do?
You should be able to maintain your primary weapons at a high state of readiness. This will mean cleaning and replacing
any parts that are susceptible to wear. You should be able to engage targets accurately and quickly (speed is nice but
accuracy is final) under a variety of realistic situations. There are a multitude of ways to achieve this. I have
discussed several ways on this site.
I hear this a lot, "when the SHTF I'll just be a sniper."
A lot of people confuse the idea of sniping with simple advanced marksmanship. And a lot of the people who say this
aren't nearly the marksmen they think they are. While advanced marksmanship is certainly a part of sniping there
are a host of other skills involved. One primary skill is the use of camouflage, cover and concealment. This is
important during movement and while in a “shoot position” or hide. The sniper is often alone or isolated
from support and must remain undiscovered. Another skill is observation. What a sniper reports to friendlies can
be as important as any shot they take. Snipers need a keen eye for terrain. This is unique to different terrain
types and you must learn to master it. Patience is a virtue, as apposed to a skill, but will make a sniper more effective
as well as keep him alive.
The designated marksman –vs- the sniper: Another term, often confused with
sniper, is “designated marksman.” The designated marksman is a soldier that operates within a regular infantry
team. His job is to make good shots while the rest of the team might be suppressing the enemy. This is contrary
to the sniper, who operates more or less alone, and who’s shots might be of a greater importance than the engagement
at hand. The equipment, weapons and line gear, of a sniper are geared towards their role. A designated marksman
generally carries the same gear as the infantry team, but might have a longer weapon with a magnifying optic. However,
in militia or guerilla units the roles might overlap a great deal.
Do you fancy yourself a sniper? There
are plenty of books out there that claim to tell you how, but more than anything, you need to practice these skills.
Get to a point where you can make a first round kill at 300 + yards. Whenever you go outside learn to take a moment
to immediately pick a place where you would want to be… and it should never be the obvious place! You should
be able to do this in any terrain you might operate in. Go on two-three day hikes alone or with a “spotter”
and practice land navigation without being seen by anyone else. After this, hide yourself near a road and using binoculars
or a spotting scope record the license plate numbers of all the cars that pass by for three hours, without moving. These
are the kinds of things that a sniper needs to do as second nature.
3) First Aid
There is a minimum skill level that every citizen soldier should have; these are good skills to have even if the S never
hits TF. You should be familiar with administering basic first aid for all common injuries and be able to give CPR.
You should also be adept at applying field dressings and tourniquets. A basic Red Cross manual or Army field manual
is a good place to start. But, like all skills, even more so with this, the moment you need it is not a good place to
be recalling a book. I would suggest a semi-annual renewal of CPR certifications. Other skills practiced should
be using field dressings, applying splits, treating shock and various methods to move wounded.
This is the basic
stuff. If you have a real trained professional you are far ahead of most groups of citizen soldiers. Someone with
real training in advanced first aid is a godsend. The only thing they will need is to read up for the possibility that they
may need to treat beyond first aid (and the supplies to do so.) The American medical system is designed around a “get
them to the hospital ASAP” philosophy. While this is a great idea, it might not always be possible.
As I have said in the gear section, this is an area where many citizen
soldiers, including me, are lacking. However control of forces in the field is an important element to any combat operation.
This is especially true in today’s technological age. 500 years ago combat communications consisted of horn blowers
and flag waving, and over distance by runners and on horseback. Today it is conducted by satellite internet connections,
microwave and UHF transitions on digitally scrambled radio nets. These things are mostly unavailable to the citizen
soldier. Of the things that are available most don’t work well during hard times (i.e. cellular phones).
Things we can use are cellular phones, the internet, HAM radios, FRS radios and field telephones. Cell phones can
be useful communications devices in some circumstance, but their reliability during bad times is questionable. They
can be handy in coordinating planning and disseminating information quickly, especially using the text message feature.
They are useless during any covert operation as they are easily tracked and tapped. The internet, with newsgroups blogs
and e-mail is perhaps the greatest boon to the citizen soldier available. I would suggest that everyone have an internet
connection. However, the internet is primarily a strategic asset as apposed tactical and I will not discuss it further.
HAM radios are effective for short-to-long range communications among groups operating together but separated by distance.
They are also the only reliable method of long range communications during natural disasters. FRS and GMRS radios have
potential in short range (less than a mile) tactical communications within a group. I would suggest you get a set and
play with their limitations. Of course they are easily jammed or tracked by a technologically superior enemy.
Lastly, surplus field telephones are useful in static positions.
It is important that you develop set radio
procedures that will make radio transitions more reliable. Another skill that can be developed in using these things
is the use of individual “brevity” codes. The over riding rule in using any transmitted message is that
it should be kept as short as possible. You can develop and use code sequences that shorted common messages and ideas.
If you are ambitions you could even produce a set of these that are specific to an operation or date.
Explosives are a critical tool in warfare and guerilla warfare in particular. Man portable
devices are likely to be the heaviest weapons we ever have. Of course, the problem here is that any training beyond
the theoretical is most likely illegal. For this reason I suggest a deep investigation only of both explosives manufacture
and use. There are good books available on this subject. There is also a lot of crap out there. I list the
two best I have found on the Reading List page. If you are interested, knowledge can also be gained by the investigation
of what can be legally constructed. Things like low level fireworks and smoke bombs can be constructed by the lowly
civilian in many places.
I can not emphasize enough how important it is to not break any laws. You can not
be a citizen soldier from the penitentiary!
6) Land Navigation
a tendency (as do others) to train in areas that I am familiar with, or in places that have well marked trails that make land
navigation easy. We also have a tendency to over use devices such as GPS. GPS is not as reliable as we have a
tendency to think. I would suggest that you have a set of paper maps for any area you might operate in. You also
need to practice getting “off the beaten path” and doing some old fashion map and compass work.
can be easily done during low key camping trips. You can establish a “patrol base” and take turns shooting
azimuths and traveling box patterns or out and back patrols. If you have access to an old fashion orienteering course
this is better.
I hope I never have to “live off
the land,” but it is a contingency that should be considered by every citizen soldier. Most likely, if it becomes
necessary that we use the other skills, we will be operating outside of a support structure. When I was in the Army
when we ran out of food, a helicopter or truck kindly dropped some off. When I go in to the woods now, I usually stop
by Wal-Mart before hand to pick up essentials. These are not options I should depend on in a real SHTF.
would suggest that every citizen soldier get a copy of the US Army or SAS survival manual and give it some study. Practice
the skills discussed and don’t only practice the fun ones like fire and shelter building. The hardest, and most
important, is the acquisition of food and water. You should be aware of what in your local area can be eaten and what
you need to carry to prepare and supplement it.
8) Mechanics and Similar Skills
I can remember, as a youngster, that my dad would not let me drive until I had learned to change a tire and the oil in my
car, even my sister had to do this. In today’s day and it is much more common for people to depend on specialists…
the mechanic, the plumber and electrician. There is a tendency to call them without even considering how to fix a problem
yourself. To me this is the antithesis of what a free person should be. When faced with any problem you should
first try to solve it yourself, instead most people now look for handouts and wait on the government to show up and solve
their problems. This is a huge problem with our country today. It was clearly evident in the news footage post Katrina,
seriously… there were people waiting for the government to come put a TARP over there roof, like they were incapable
of doing it themselves. But I digress….
As a citizen soldier you should strive to be as self reliant
regarding as many aspects of life as possible.