TDG 2: Neighborhood Defense

Originally posted on American Partisan on March 16, 2021

I started this series, TDG (Tactical Decision Game) Tuesdays, to get you more in the mindset of how you could potentially handle a given tactical scenario with a limited amount of resources and manpower. My goal is to get you to read these scenarios and think about what resources you have available, what sort of scenarios you might encounter, and what gaps you need to fill in your equipment/training.

I will use the basic 5-paragraph operations order format, or SMEAC, to present the scenario as follows;

  • Situation: Disposition of all friendly, hostile, and adjacent forces.
  • Mission: What we are trying to do.
  • Execution: How we are going to do it.
  • Admin & Logistics: Who/what is getting where and how.
  • Command & Signal: Who is in charge and how they are communicating.

TDG 2: Neighborhood Defense

Partially inspired by the book “Lights Out” by David Crawford.

Situation: Partial collapse/WROL scenario. Your region has been without electricity for two weeks, running water went out one week ago. Law enforcement is ineffective, and certain rogue elements are starting to become more of a threat.

  • OPFOR Situation: Criminal elements are emboldened by the inability of law enforcement to take or respond to 911 calls. Home invasions by looters are becoming more and more common, and nearby gang elements are starting to make their presence known by providing “protection” and demanding tribute payments in certain neighborhoods. Occasional distant gunfire can be heard at night, and it’s been getting closer the last couple of days.
  • BLUFOR Situation: You live in the subdivision pictured in the map above. Although you hadn’t really known many of your neighbors, you’ve mostly all come together since the power went out and forced you all outside to socialize. You’re aware of the situation in the rest of the town, and want to take measures to secure your subdivision. Your neighbors are in agreement, and you are on a committee of your peers making recommendations for how to best set up defenses.
  • Independents Situation: LE has not been seen or heard from in over a week and is assumed to be non-existent or tied up elsewhere. They are not hostile to your group, but cannot be counted on to render assistance. You are unaware if National Guard has been activated, but have not seen any military presence yet. Civilians have started fleeing the city in small groups, walking South along the road outside your subdivision.

Mission: Establish defensive security measures for the subdivision in order to deter looters and repel potential attacks by large groups of armed gang members.

Execution: (Up to you. Remember that not everyone can be on guard 100% of the time, and that none of you have trained together before.)

Admin & Logistics: Your available resources include the following:

  • 50 families
  • 15 men with AR-15s
  • 4 men with AKMs
  • 10 men with scoped hunting rifles
  • 1 .50 cal AMR
  • entrenching tools (shovels & picks)
  • 200 yards of barbed wire
  • a decent supply of lumber and woodworking tools from a house under construction
  • 6 FRS/GMRS Walkie-talkies with a solar charger
  • Assorted vehicles
  • Assorted camping equipment
  • Average 200 rounds per carbine, and 50 rounds per hunting rifle and the AMR.

Command & Signal: (Up to you. Cell towers are down and there is no power. You should still have a PACE plan, even with limited comm options. Remember, there are non-electronic ways of communicating.)

Hint; The acronym for priorities of work in the defense is SAFESOC:

Avenues of Approach
Fields of fire
Supplemental and Alternate Positions

I cover defensive fundamentals in Team Leader I, as well as how to organize and train a group of like-minded individuals into an effective team. Check the training schedule for class openings and get trained.

Feel free to post your answers in the comments and discuss. Stay tuned for the recap in a few days!

Published by vonsteubentraining

Mike is the owner and chief instructor of Von Steuben Training & Consulting (VSTAC). A self-described “Tactical Scholar,” he spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator and small-unit tactics instructor. He has dedicated his life to honing the tactical prowess of himself and his fellow patriots, guided by the wisdom of his commanding officer, Jesus Christ. He can be contacted via email at

3 thoughts on “TDG 2: Neighborhood Defense

  1. I’m going to shoot my shot here despite having no pertinent experience. I’m just a fire/EMS candidate so I have a lot of ideas for finding water and setting up sanitation and stuff, but I’m going to assume we’ve already got that under control because if we didn’t people wouldn’t be thinking about collective defense.

    Okay, first I’m going to deal with the roads at 4700, 4771, and 4770, which are the most obvious avenue of approach, for vehicles anyway. I would use some of our barbed wire, lumber, and take the liberty of assuming some derelict cars to make barricades. I would also try to dig out the dirt on either side of the road so that any larger vehicles that make it through the first barricades can’t turn around easily. (This might be stupid because if it’s hard for them to retreat they might fight harder, so not necessarily committing to that). If possible, there would be multiple barricades, first at the two right corners of the red line in the second picture, then two more with the barbed wire at 71 and 70. I would put hunting rifle guys at each one in concealed positions where they can watch both sets of barricades and have some overlapping fire. They would be in shifts of two to account for sleeping and other tasks, maybe trading off every six hours or so. Each HR guy would be with at least 1 AR guy to provide volume of fire and second set of eyes. The other set of barricades would be at the left corner of 4700 and as far down that road as we can see. I would put the AMR team here at one of these, as this seems like a likely avenue of approach for a narco tank or similar vehicle if the bad guys have one. Not sure about exact positioning of .50, would appreciate input on that. If I were trying to take this neighborhood I would distract them with some trucks and shooting at the eastern side and then blitzkrieg my way up 4700 once they had committed to defending from my eastern attack. The vegetation around the length of 4700 is thick enough that it might give an attacking vehicle or spread out guys on foot some concealment, especially at night. The AK guys will be here in four shifts of one man backing up the AMR team because x39 does better against brush and some cover than 5.56. Muzzle flash from what I’m assuming is a stock AKM might be a problem at night. We have 15 AR guys, so they will be in three shifts of five, divided between the HR/AMR posts and cycling every four hours. At night, each will get eight hours of sleep this way, but in the day they will be available to either patrol the community as outlined later or help with chores.

    I REALLY don’t like all that vegetation to our west. One of the tasks of the men not manning the posts after the initial barricade construction will be to clear as much brush as possible. This will give us clear line of sight and make a deadly open area for bad guys. It will also potentially provide us with fuel and barricade/concealment material.

    Signaling is going to be an issue. I wish we had more radios, but I guess every side of the observation/guard posts will have one, and check in with simple codes at irregular intervals. We will need a way to sound a general alarm that everyone can quickly be aware of. Whistles might have to do, or bullhorns with sound effects assuming we have enough batteries. (Note to self, buy bulk pack of whistles) At night we could potentially use bright flashlights and Morse flashes, but those come with their own sets of problems, namely subjective visibility and “HEY LOOK, those guys have batteries and supplies!”

    One shift of AR guys will be tasked with patrolling around the area and checking for unknown people. I doubt we can fence in the whole area unfortunately. If we have bicycles these might be useful. If we have teenagers they might be used as supplementary eyes on the perimeter or sort of couriers, bringing coffee/food to the guard post guys and maybe relieving them for bathroom breaks and whatnot. If we have enough gun nuts to have 19 black rifles and an AMR, there’s probably some shotguns, pistols, and .22s floating around to potentially arm some of the teenage boys, but I won’t take that for granted. Also depends on the individual teens.

    Following these measures, I would try to make our neighborhood look like it’s already been hit. Smash some windows on the outlying houses, toss some empty brass in the streets, burn some trash/tires in the front yards, maybe leave some dead dogs lying around. There should be some around, I’m not suggesting popping neighbor Jim’s Great Pyrenees just for theatrics. We should try to minimize cooking fires, but some smells and sounds will be inevitable. There will be movement of course, since I assume we’re bearing water and probably cooking communally. Guarding the water collection is another potential task that would need at least a couple armed people.

    That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head on a phone. I know there are definitely problems in my plan. I am probably not allocating my men efficiently or clearly enough, not sure how to make the shifts work also. There are probably other problems that haven’t occurred to me, so input is appreciated.


  2. My primary concern would be vehicles travelling 2657 and 4700. With limited manpower and no potential for reinforcements, avoiding casualties is a nessecity. I would put friendly signage on 2657 requesting drivers reduce speed, turn on interior lights, flashers and prepare to stop. To avoid direct engagement I would put a weak and moveable roadblock 100 yards past that so “friendlies” can be vetted. Deployable spike strips made of hose and nails 100 yards past that to catch vehicles who blow the roadblock. This system would guard 2657 in both directions with the 50 positioned at the slight bend covering both straightaways to disable vehicles as a last resort.

    4700 could be blocked fully with the woods as cover for defenders.

    The frontage along 2657 would need to look as undesireable as possible, as stated previously. Some barbed wire could be used along 2772 as deterrent, but I would use most within the subdivision to create chokepoints in the event of a full assault. Booby traps would be used within the subdivision to further control movement to desired lanes of fire. Beyond hardening existing buildings and some fighting positions within the subdivision I would save much of the lumber for additional projects determined by future events.

    Clearing obstacles around the subdivision would be crucial, I would want open sight lines for my marksmen in all directions. The woods would need patrols, as already described. Booby traps and signage would also be used to discourage tresspassers from approaching through the woods.


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