by Sam Coffman.
His team had been here for less than a week, and already the town was in vastly better shape to withstand an onslaught of raiders that was certain to arrive before winter.
Farrell's team was composed of himself and three friends who had all served as U.S. Special Forces (aka "green beret") soldiers who had teamed up after the "Collapse" - as it was now called. They had taken nearly 2 months making their way north from Texas to Colorado, enduring several skirmishes and winning or successfully disengaging from most, finally reaching Farrell's home town of Grindelia in August. Communication along the way with anyone, much less anyone from his home town had been negligible and they had all hoped for the best. Fortunately they were not disappointed and aside from a few lone troublemakers, the tiny town of less than 400 residents had been virtually unscathed through the past full year of post-collapse chaos around the country.
Farrell's sister Julie still lived in their family's homestead which was located a short distance north of Grindelia. He had been planning on making the trip alone, but as it turned out, 3 other team members from his Special Forces unit in Texas had nowhere else to go and wanted to travel with him to what would probably be safer haven, as south and central Texas were slowly being overrun by well-trained and well-armed drug-lord armies that were streaming across the border in convoys to hit towns, even medium sized towns, and leaving behind charred ruins and slaughter.
Colorado seemed a relatively safe bet, even if the civil war was undoubtedly affecting it as it was affecting the rest of the country. Farrell had both weapons and supply caches in Grindelia, and the area itself had a good growing season, good soil, plenty of water and a small defensible town with residents that would likely be willing to listen to their direction thanks to Farrell's reputation throughout the area as a superlative survivalist and medic.
The first order of business for Farrell and his team was to convince the residents of Grindelia to abandon their outlying homes and move in to a tighter town perimeter that could be reasonably defended. Farrell was expecting a huge resistance to this idea and was pleasantly surprised when it was accepted immediately. It helped greatly that his sister was one of the people who had to sacrifice a home – their home, no less.
"It's always easier to lead by example," Farrell thought to himself as he saw the decision weighed and agreed upon by all present.
On top of his own family's sacrifice however, it certainly helped his cause that occasional news of the war, the raids and famine had been relayed by people who came into or through town -- some seeking any kind of help or asylum from some of the madness and violence that was occurring everywhere.
Furthermore, Farrell and his team were very clear about all that they had witnessed in their long journey north: Torture, rape, murder, cannibalism, child prostitution, and more.
The descriptions sounded like some kind of science fiction horror story, but the residents of Grindelia were all too familiar with the realities that had changed and knew very well that this was no longer fiction. It was a chilling fact that awaited them if their town were to be raided -- especially by an experienced group -- as many of these groups were thought to be; "combat veterans" included, now in the collapse becoming skilled at the art of sacking and raiding a town much larger in number than their group.
In Grindelia, the relocation of outlying families into the downtown area affected 8 households. The good news for these families was that there were 11 empty homes as well as a couple of empty business and storage buildings in town that had been abandoned during the previous year. The town unanimously voted to temporarily grant use of these abandoned homes and buildings to the families that had to give up their homes for the sake of the security of all.
Farrell even tried to get the relocating families to burn down their houses once they had stripped everything of value out. This would give the impression that the area may have already been raided. While it might not keep raiders from trying to come all the way through town anyway, it would probably put them off their guard and give them a false sense of security if they didn't expect to encounter anyone.
Plus it would remove any possibility of them being able to hole up in a house as cover from counter attack if they were retreating back out the way they came in. However, no matter how much his argument made sense from a purely tactical point of view, burning down their own homes (most of these families had built these homes themselves) was just too much for them to be able to do. They all still wanted to cling to the fact that one day things would change back to the way it used to be and they could live comfortably and peacefully back in their old homes.
Farrell had his own thoughts on this, but he let it be. He knew he was asking a lot of them and didn't want to push it.
John Grady -- Former Weapons NCO (18B) -- worked with those in town who were the best shots. He advised all families to inventory their own handguns and handgun ammo and see him if they had any problems with firing or cleaning them. However, everyone was willing to follow his plan of distributing the rifles and rifle ammunition tactically throughout the town and perimeter. John took an inventory of all rifles and ended up with the following list:
Long Range Rifles:
1) 7 x .308 rifles all with fair to decent optics (scopes)
1) 5 x AR-15 (2 from Farrell's cache)
2) 2 x AK-47
3) 1 x .243 Winchester
4) 1 x Weatherby Vanguard .223
5) 2 x Remington 770 .270
6) 1 x Remington 700 .223
7) 25 x various .22 rifles
18) 18 various pellet rifles
Once a person had high enough marksmanship results with the .22 (consistently shooting 2" groups at 50 yards), they would be moved to a higher caliber rifle for further marksmanship training.
The town of Grindelia was easily defensible in many respects. On the south side, it was necessary to cross the Arkansas River which although slow moving in that section, reached depths of over 5 feet in most areas, and was extremely rocky.
Using the bridge as a choke point and setting up barriers, they would be able to greatly control the movement of any offensive against the town.
The hilltops on either side of the town afforded excellent long range observation, radio communication and of course superb firing positions for up to 1000 yards, based on their firearms.
"It would sure be nice to have a couple of .50 caliber sniper rifles," thought Farrell while looking over the south part of the map.
He felt John looking at him and raised his gaze. John was smiling. "I bet I know what you're thinking right now," John joked. They all laughed. It hardly needed to be said out loud how effective a higher caliber, long-range rifle could be on those hilltops or ridge lines around the town.
"I think we'll do just fine with the .308's, 30'06's and AR-10's though," Farrell noted, with his team nodding in agreement.
They had to re-evaluate some of the points they had pre-determined on the map because as often is the case, things can look a lot different on the ground than on the map.
The primary concerns for their firing positions were cover, concealment and cover moving in and out of those positions, with at least 2 ways into or out of each position. These types of positions were very easy to locate on all hilltops and ridges. Additionally, they wanted to make sure that if there was a need to escape and evade to a rally point, they would have routes they could cover from higher locations while retreating.
They ended up agreeing on their points as made on their map:
He rolled out of the bed, gathering his AR-15, taking a few seconds to step into on a pair of modified, slip-on moccasins he had made, and donning his ammo belt on the run.
Farrell's team had only been in town for a little over 3 weeks. They had barely started tactical training of the town's residents -- working with the most eager and able to learn first and teaching them not only skills but also leadership and teamwork. They still didn't really have a fully functional command and control center. Their LP/OP's were picked out but not fully manned. They had no 24-hour security yet mainly because they couldn't convince the townspeople how important it was.
The gunfire had sounded like handgun and shotgun fire.
He heard someone screaming and another blast from a shotgun as he sprinted out the doorway and nearly ran into Tom, his former Special Forces teammate and Commo NCO (18E). "The bridge" they both said almost in unison. They saw another form running down the road about 100 meters ahead of them that looked like John Grady, their former weapons NCO.
The last house before the bridge belonged to the former mayor of Grindelia, Jason Pate. Farrell had known Mr. Pate very well while growing up. He had learned the finer details of horsemanship from Mr. Pate during his early teenage years, in fact, and Jason always had a kind word or a hand-me-down tack item for Farrell because he enjoyed Farrell's enthusiasm for the equestrian arts and wanted to encourage it any way he could.
Farrell now recognized the hoarse screaming as Jason's voice. They arrived at the front door to a sight of carnage. Jason had shot an intruder from less than 10 feet away with a 12 gauge shotgun, and there was a headless corpse, wearing a biker's leather jacket, still twitching. The dark stain of an exploded skull and blood was sprayed and dripping on the cement walkway and down the side of Jason's house.
Jason was doubled over at the bottom of his porch stairs, now moaning loudly in pain and breathing with unsteady rasps.
"Moving," John yelled from the center as Tom and Jeffry immediately spread further on either side, flanking the muzzle flash and firing toward it with controlled shots...
Continue to Part 2: America in Flames: Defending Your Town Against Hostiles...
"How to Fight and Survive the Coming American Wars" puts real life tactics of U.S. Special Forces to work in an "After the Collapse" scenario. Learn tactics for armed warfare and defensive strategy by following these fictional scenarios. In a dangerous land, you don't have to be a sitting duck. Subscribe to the Crisis Newsletter and we'll let you know when each new article is posted."