Terrain Part Duex: WTF Are They – The KISS Way.

A lot of folks will look at the map concept and go “You need topo maps”, “you need this”, and “you need that”.  Maybe, I dunno.  I do know what works when your audience is completely ignorant to concepts like “Resection”, “Grid North”, “Polar Coordinates”, and “UTM”.   The concept of this blog is geared towards the rural rancher, farmer, homesteader, and folks that live in the country and have things to do besides conducting deep raids or outsmarting drones.  Not the “commando” types – they’ve got their FMs and buddies to train with for that stand @ Lexington Green.   To try and ingrain those concepts on rural folks that have a billion other personal worries going on when SHTF would be pretty unrealistic.  Like I said before – when all is said and done Bill is still trying to run his ranch and establishing an anti-armor ambush is probably the last thing on his mind.

Taking the idea and what we had from the last Terrain Article we’re going to work it a bit   We established our point defenses (Homesteads), we established what we consider is the perimeter for an Area Defense, We identified possible problem areas and activities, and we planned for some future obstacles if necessary.  Now we have to be able to get John and Sue to be able to orient and possibly move from one point on our AO map to another will as little confusion as possible.

Why the need to go?  Maybe they need to send a couple of guys as a QRF to another homestead.  Maybe there’s been some activity spotted and they need to know where it is.  Maybe we got a little intel that told us a truckload of dirtbags are coming in tonight to try and raid and we do want to set an ambush up.  The ability to send location information in a clear, concise manner without confusion is critical.  Now as I’ve stated most folks just don’t or won’t have enough time for a full blown land nav and mapreading course.  So what do we do?  We simplify.  You ever see those tourist maps of theme parks?  They’re simple for a reason.  Anyone can go to “Goofy Five” and find the pisser with those maps.  You give a tourist a UTM location for the bathroom he’s going to need some help.  So we “cheat a bit here” and dumb it down.  Using the actual UTM 1k grids we develop a matrix of letters and numbers.  Now we still have our grids along the map and can still nav with it the old fashioned way, but we also have simplified it so after about three minutes anyone can find a location on it.   One Klick is still kind of open so we go a step further and break each grid into four sections (i.e. what’s on the bottom right).  That gives us roughly a 250 meter resolution.  Not the greatest but for our work we don’t need 10 meter resolution – not considering the size of our AO (well, unless you’ve squirreled some Mortars away, but I’m not that lucky).

So how do you use the thing?  Simple.  Read it the same as a normal map (right and up).  You get the basic grid location from the outer letters/numbers and then split that grid into 250 meter square blocks numbered one through four (illustrated at the bottom left).   If I tell you to go pick the crossroads out at Fox Four One you’d be able to right?  And if you knew nothing about mapreading it’s still simple enough to figure out.  Now think if I told Bob “I need you to go to the crossroads at 15D22359175”.   You having been formally trained could do it but could Bob?  Get the picture?  Remember – this is an example.  You got a better way?  Hell use it.

There’s an added benefit to this method if you practice a little OPSEC and keep the maps under control.  How many of us have secure comms?  And not that “voice inversion” shit?  That technology can be broken all day long with $50 worth of electronics from Mouser.  Send that grid in the clear vs. sending it shacked up with this simple method and tell me which one the threat will pinpoint first.  Comms is another series unto itself.

Also notice we’ve got some names on the map.  Those are typically family names.  Other places get common names – after all these people have probably grown up and known Burnt Hollow as Burnt Hollow for their entire lives.  If I tell someone I need them at “Briggs” they know where the Briggs family  lives.  If I tell them there’s four armed guys working their way through the woodline at “Fox Three One” they’ll  be able to orient on it.  Keeping it simple, right?

None of this is meant to give us incredible accuracy.  But considering most of the folks in your AO have lived in that area for ages it’ll get them close enough.   One big thing to stress to your folks from the get go – this is not a method to use for tracking placement of traps and mines.  That requires way more fidelity than we have with this method.  That’s when you revert to the good old system and sketch up a minefield record.

I got a couple of emails about the maps asking what I’m using and if you can get topo overlays etc.  Absolutely – it’s all Google Earth with some free plugins and MS Paint.    Those gridlines are actually generated by one of the plugins.  (the numbers are all made up though to protect the innocent).  There’s a few other plugins that will load the newest USGS Topo map of your AO.  And for printing Household 6 prints them up on Inkjet waterproof canvas paper.  Follow the instructions and dry it right and it’ll work for ya.  A little matte spray helps as well.

All in all this ain’t really expensive, terribly time consuming, and doesn’t require a ton of equipment.   And it’s simple – which suits our purposes.

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About Treaded

Semi-retired career and contract troop. I own and maintain my own small ranch out here in beautiful rural America.
This entry was posted in Security Planning, Situational Awareness, Terrain and AO Development. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Terrain Part Duex: WTF Are They – The KISS Way.

  1. rolf says:

    Ha! Excellent!

  2. A. S. says:

    I teach land nav to local CERT teams through NASAR. I’m always looking for sites to forward on to my students from other sources. One of the best sites I’ve found on the net is: http://www.landnavigation.org Those who put this together did an excellent job. Although it is based on using a military lensatic compass one can easily convert over to a good lensatic compass. The information contained is invaluable.

    • A. S. says:

      Sorry… my bad. Should read “… a military lensatic compass one can easily convert over to a good orienteering compass.”

      • Treaded says:

        A good genuine military lensatic compass is almost indispensable but later in my .mil years I switched over to Silvas. MOF the Ranger 3 is what I have stuffed in the pocket nowadays.

      • Rider says:

        Just passed SARTECH II and I personally still prefer the Tritium Lensatic. No adjustments that can go wrong.

  3. A. S. says:

    BTW… the yeoman’s work all of you folks do is invaluable as well. It is very much appreciated.

    • night driver says:

      Mini comment….Light coating of hairspray…or 2 (Heavy hold if yer bein anal) SHOULD work quite well as a fixative…

  4. Pingback: LF: More On Terrain | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  5. A. S. says:

    Treaded,
    Much like the focus of the original article it is very difficult to teach civilians land nav, especially with a lensatic compass. Everyone involved in my civilian classes have been great, eager to learn, and desirous of wanting more information to build upon what they’ve learned. At times though it is much like herding squirrels, especially through the compass course itself. When that “aha” light does come on they will get that sheepish grin on their face and take off like old pro’s. As the article states so eloquently it takes a much different approach, and a boatload of patience, to teach civilians some of the finer arts of martial living but it is well worth the effort.

    Again, thanks to everyone. Though none of us may meet in this life this is what community is about.

  6. Jimmy the Saint says:

    Any suggestions for dealing with more urbanized people? Realistically, most of them would simply be saying stuff like “There’s a tank at 4th and Main!”

    • Treaded says:

      Urban stuff – I’ll defer to Selco every time. http://shtfschool.com/

      But the same method could work for urban areas. Personally what I advise is to move out of the city if at all possible. The “preformed” belligerent tribes that already exist there ain’t going to make surviving fun likely unless you have your own tribe preformed.

    • A. S. says:

      Use something similar to what the .mil uses when planning and executing a mission; TRP’s or target reference points. These can be used to identify, locate and mark road junctions, avenues of approach, choke points, etc. in your particular AO. TRP itself does not have to be used, it can be any combination of alpha/numeric characters, cartoon character names; the list is endless. As long as the tribe utilizes the same maps and all the RP’s are marked at the same location with the same identifier you’ll be good to go.

  7. Most city maps are already in the form you describe: grids with numbers and letters. These work fine, and you can buy them already prepared. For rural areas, you will have to prepare your own.

  8. wasajco says:

    http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/usgs/zInvReductionSearchStart.do
    Sale on Select USGS topo,maps for $1 Just got my AO for about $13 shipped, county, town and closer areas. 1/24K resolution.

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