Ukraine’s Military Mobilizes, Prepares For Combat: Trucks, APCs, SAMs, Howitzers, Tanks Rolling Out

Editor’s Note: Ukrainian forces have, for the most part, made no significant movements in recent weeks as their government re-organized post-revolution. Until now. As the following pictures and videos show, the situation on Russia’s eastern front is not in any sort of de-escalation as some would have us believe. Just the opposite. Military assets on both sides are now reinforcing the border, and the Russians have even gone so far as to start laying land mines (see pictures below). 

No worries though, because as soon as President Obama finishes up the Back 9 at his latest golf outing he’ll jump on the phone (with the Presidential Pen in tow) to hash things out with Vladimir Putin.

Originally published at Zero Hedge and sourced via Info Wars

Did somebody say de-escalation?

Earlier today, photos were distributed showing the latest military convoy reinforcements heading into the Crimea, accompanies by a Police car demonstrating Moscow license plate numbers, most likely providing further support to the pro-Russian forces in the peninsula.

Supposedly the trucks are carrying troops to reinforces the members of the new Crimean army, pictured below:

 

While at the same time along the makeshift border between Crimea and the mainland, the Pro-Russian forces are putting down minefields.

However, the Ukrainians, having already been mobilized for over a week, finally appear set to seize back the offensive:

The first clip below captured the 80th Airborne Regiment out of Lviv moving out, direction mainland, preparing to repel foreign attack.

The next video shows what are allegedly Buk SAM batteries deployed in the Donetsk region, a city in Eastern Ukraine which in the past week has swayed between Ukraine and Russian authority.

The clip below shows the 95th Airborne brigade also moving out of their barracks in Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, heading East, with an impressive deployment of trucks and APCs.

2S19 “Msta-S” 152mm Howitzers on the move to Crimea.

 Finally, 20 T-64 tanks preparing to depart in Bila Tserkva, a city in central Ukraine:

So where again are all those pundits who were so eager to explain away the Ukraine confrontation as one that will promptly be forgotten, and is by now most certainly priced in?


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Building Your SHTF Combat Overwatch Rifle

rifle_primary

After several years in the Liberty Movement working with various survivalists, you begin to realize that there are as many viewpoints and opinions on self defense tactics as there are people.  This is because each individual survivalist’s environmental circumstances are a little different, and unique problems call for unique solutions.  That said, there are certain universal elements that every survivalist should consider, and certain pieces of gear that can aid us greatly regardless of our particular situation.  I believe the concept of the “overwatch rifle” is one of these universal elements, and an often overlooked combat necessity.

Preparing for a fight, in general terms, is about understanding one’s own weaknesses better than one’s opponent.  This means rigorously examining your capabilities and rounding them out as much as possible.  Are you strong in close quarters but terrible at a distance?  Are you able to engage an enemy regardless of his position, or, do you have to risk closing the gap while he waits comfortably for you?  Are you ready mentally and technically for surprises?

The overwatch rifle is not just a tool, it is also a strategy, and when I refer to “overwatch”, I am referring to a guerrilla methodology, not the standard military usage involving sniper support.

This strategy revolves around adaptability, movement, and creative offense.  You have to be physically fit and ready to move quickly from one engagement to the next in a sequence that creates the utmost advantage for you and your team.  You have to be willing to move from a rear supporting role to a forward scouting role at a moments notice.  Sometimes, you have to operate at the very center of it all, coordinating supporting elements and removing obstacles in their path.

Not everyone can serve this role within their team.  The overwatch rifle does not automatically make a survivalist overwatch ready.  It is the man that makes the rifle effective, not the rifle that makes the man effective.

But before I discuss overwatch rifle design ideas, I want to address a question that ALWAYS comes up when I write an article dealing with any defensive measures:

“Who do you plan to fight?”

The question often insinuates that there is “no one” to fight and that such prepping articles are based in “paranoia”, or, that the enemy will be so technologically advanced that it is “foolish” of us to believe that we can fight them.

My answer is simple – I will fight anyone who attempts to undermine my individual freedom and safety, the individual freedom and safety of the people I care about, innocent citizens, and even future generations I will never meet.  Anyone who suggests that such threats do not exist – foreign, domestic, and internationalist – must have been living under a rotting log for the past several years (or they’ve been mesmerized by Facebook and “reality” television, which is very similar).  The superiority of these very real threats is irrelevant.  I’ve been a fighter for most of my life, and I know well that the biggest and most intimidating opponents are often the easiest to topple in the end, as long as you have the will to press forward, and the intelligence to engage them in a way they cannot predict.

If you are an enemy of liberty and the constitutional philosophy of natural law, then you are my enemy, and if you push me, I will push back.  Count on it…

This principle goes for tyrannical political systems as well.  When a society loses its ability to regulate and restrict government, when all authority is derived through backroom brokered deals between the money elite and puppet politicians on both sides of the aisle, when individual liberties are deemed expendable in the name of illusory “collective safety”, and when the establishment proclaims that the only way for the public to be prosperous is for the bureaucracy to be prosperous, a war is soon at hand.

The elites will never walk away quietly and neither will we.  There are Americans who still respect the virtues of freedom, and there are people in this world whose only goal is to dominate and enslave.  We are at a dangerous impasse, and I believe there may be only one way left to fully resolve it…

Of course, when one discusses citizen armament and preparation for combat, the assumption is that every survivalist has already undertaken the correct prerequisite steps to make himself an effective fighter.  Before anyone even considers combat preparedness, they should have already:

1) Stockpiled ample food and water.
2) Stockpiled proper medical and emergency first aid.
3) Stockpiled ample ammunition.
4) Chosen a retreat location and hardened their home for defense.
5) Been diligent in their personal health.
6) Trained their bodies for the most terrible rigors imaginable.
7) Trained their minds to be psychologically ready for combat.
8) Trained to control the jarring fight-or-flight response caused by the influx of adrenaline.
9) Fired hundreds if not thousands of rounds through each of the weapons they intend to use in combat until they know them intimately.
10) Studied the history of combat tactics and war strategy (especially asymmetric warfare).
11) Built up a community of like minded individuals who are also prepared.

If you have not at least begun to pursue all of these goals then you are not ready to pull the trigger.  Period.  If you don’t respect yourself enough to prepare in a practical way, the enemy certainly won’t respect you either, and why should he?  You’ll be the punchline of a sad joke, the bullseye on the target, and just another notch in his rifle stock.

If you have at least initiated preparations in all of the above areas, THEN it is time to take a look at your rifle setup…

The Overwatch Concept In Asymmetric Warfare

The term “overwatch” is most often applied when a sniper team is placed in a supporting role during a major offensive.  However, the concept has expanded into other areas, especially where guerrilla warfare is concerned, and I would like to use the broader definition here.  A person on “overwatch” could be a sniper, or a general team member who is able to place precision fire almost anywhere on the battlefield at vectors difficult for the enemy to spot.  This means being in a central position covering not one sector, but all sectors of fire, and striking the enemy from one angle while he is distracted by another.

Being in an overwatch role would mean a certain freedom of movement.  You are often designating your own targets and your own fields of fire as you go, and as your teammates push forward.  But, it also means you have to be highly adaptable, quick thinking, creative and imaginative in your strategy, and be willing to cause enough damage during a fight to sometimes draw the majority of enemy fire.  You become the fulcrum of your team’s initiative.

Ideally, you would want every person you work with to be able to fill the overwatch position, and be able to think in terms of creative combat.  The overwatch strategy is meant to stall an enemy advance, destroy enemy sniper positions, create openings in enemy lines, and thus, create targets of opportunity for other team members.

Designing Your Overwatch Rifle

The weapons system you use for overwatch will depend greatly on what you find works best for you as an individual.  However, here are some issues you need to take into consideration before building your weapon:

Short Range, Medium Range, Long Range: Your overwatch rifle must be able to engage targets at almost any range (between 0 – 800 yards would be ideal).  You must also be able to shift from medium and long range opponents to close range surprise attacks quickly and efficiently.

Penetration And Distance: The caliber you choose should not only be able to travel long distances, but also maintain strong penetration ability at those distances.

Precision: The rifle should fire consistent groups of less than 1 MOA (at least 1” groups at 100 yards).

Frequency Of Fire: 
The more fire you can put down range quickly and accurately, the better.  This means semi-auto rather than bolt action.

Adaptable To Optics: 
The weapon should have a rail system that accommodates a number of optics, making it adaptable to almost any situation.  Or, at least modifiable for a rail.

Rifle Systems 

I have found that the .308 military caliber tends to be the most practical for overwatch requirements.  The bullet has long range capabilities and far greater penetration than the AR-15’s .223 caliber, or the AK-47’s 7.62 × 39 caliber.  The AR and AK are great for close range, room-to-room fighting, and some medium range targets without cover, but they have many limitations and are not useful for overwatch.  I have also chosen .308 rifles that are semi-automatic, and that can be fitted with comprehensive rail systems.  A common complaint concerning .308 tactical rifles is that they are “too heavy” and slow to aim.  All I can say is, if you can’t wield the weapon effectively, do some push-ups until you can.

Here is a short list of possible rifle platforms:

AR-10
FN FAL
Springfield M1A
FN SCAR
FNAR
Saiga .308
Heckler & Koch PTR-91

I’m sure there are few more that could be added here, and I recommend all readers carefully research and fire the weapon they are interested in before purchasing it (especially at today’s prices).

The above rifle is a Springfield M1A modified with a Troy BattleRail and a variable scope.  To the right is a PVS-14 Night Vision Monocular and an Aimpoint T-1 Red Dot on a LaRue Tactical angle mount.  I found this setup to work best for me, but it is only one of many options. Obviously, in a combat situation this entire weapon would be camouflaged according to the environment.

Optics

Next, you need to devise an optics system that allows you to engage at a distance AND up-close and personal.   There are many ways of setting up a rifle for this, but most involve a combination of a scope and red dot, or a scope and iron sights.  Here are some ideas…

Variable Scope: A variable scope, as opposed to a fixed power, makes it possible to shift your focus from a wider field of view to narrow longer distance shot with a twist of a dial.  But such a scope alone will not enable the kind of speed you will require for overwatch.  Buying a cheap hunting variable is also not advised.  Make sure the glass is good, and the body can take a beating.  Spend the extra cash…

Mini-Red Dot / Variable Scope Combo: Mini-Red Dots are very versatile and new mounting systems make it possible to tie one to your scope at any angle you wish.  Some mounts place the red dot directly above the scope, but this often forces the shooter to sacrifice his cheek weld in order to take aim. I prefer angled mounts to the side of the scope.  A very quick shift of the rifle to the inside and you can immediately fire without ever taking your cheek away from the stock.  Red dots have no magnification, and thus no vision box.  Both eyes can be used to target the enemy, and your peripheral vision can be utilized to acquire the next target before firing at the first.  My favorite mini-red dot sights are made by Trijicon and Aimpoint, because of their proven durability in the field.

Pre-Designed Multi-Mounts: Multi-railed ring systems like the Burris P.E.P.R. Mount create a solid platform for you to attach a scope and red dot package to your rifle quickly and easily.  Many of these systems are meant for AR-15 enthusiasts, but I have seen them adapted for use on .308 caliber rifles.

Short Dot Variable Scope: Short dot scopes (or CQB scopes) usually come in the 1-4 or 1-6 power variety.  The concept was to make a single optics system that combined the speed and wide field view of a red dot with the magnification of a variable scope.  Some of the more affordable short dots are made by Burris, Leupold, Vortex, and SWFA, and even these models can be pricey.  If you have the cash, they are an excellent investment.  Many models include an illuminated reticle that can be used in combination with night vision.  Short dot scopes are popular in 3-gun competitions because of their versatility, and are beginning to see more use in the military.  They can be very effective for overwatch purposes.  I recommend 1-6 scopes in second focal plane, which prevents the red dot reticle from being magnified as power is increased, causing a loss of precision.

Night Vision: Overwatch includes nighttime operations.  The tactical rail on your rifle should be long enough to accommodate a scope and a night vision system.  Or, a red dot and night vision combo.  Quick-detach mounts like those produced by LaRue Tactical are perfect for switching out sights and scopes quickly without losing your zero.

The author training with his overwatch rifle near his retreat somewhere in the wilds of Montana.

In any lopsided contest to the death, the less technologically advanced opponent must inevitably turn to asymmetric warfare; meaning, he must fight smarter, and be more effective with fewer tools at his disposal.  He has to turn his weaknesses into strengths, and make the smallest weapon devastating to his seemingly invincible enemy.  Taking on the role of overwatch rifleman means you must understand all the intricacies of asymmetrics, and be able to apply them in real time in the midst of a battle frenzy.  It is a very ugly mission.

Above all, you have to have the will and the courage to stand against what you know are incredible odds.  You have to be unwavering.  You have to have a clear understanding of why you picked up that rifle in the first place, and maintain a deep belief in your cause despite the seeming impossibility of the task before you.  Otherwise, fear will be your guide, and the fearful can never provide adequate overwatch.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

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SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

The Reality of Combat: “Everything That You Have Prepared and Stored for SHTF Will Be Pushed to the Limit”

Editor’s Note: Do you want to know what it’s really like? If so, then the best place to acquire first hand information about what you’ll experience when the world as we know it collapses is from combat veterans and people who have been through the worst of what humanity has to offer.

In 2011 Selco of SHTF School shared A Survival Q & A: Living Through SHTF In the Middle of A War Zone with our readers and it opened our eyes to how difficult a situation each of us will face when law & order, as well as human decency, break down.

Selco lived it during the Balkan war, which spanned from 1992 to 1995.

In the following article, Selco delves even further, detailing real life scenarios, training tactics and other key information that will undoubtedly help save your life should the streets of America turn into a war zone. Pay attention because this no idealized collapse scenario – it’s reality.


When SHTF nobody told me how hard is gonna be and what things I will have to do to survive, there was no training or simulations, through most of the stuff I was going for the first time in my life, and I was hoping it is only temporary situation, it is not going to last for whole year.

Few events opened my eyes, and somehow make me survivor right at the beginning, and I can say I have luck to understand in very early stage how hard it is, and what it takes.

During one of the first bigger events of killing in the streets, I was out together with my friend who also was medical professional.

Fire from machine guns was on people who were standing in front of the main city bread factory, and people started to scream and run over each other.

My first impulse was to run to nearest cover but my friend got down to help some lady, so I stayed one meter next to him.

I was confused about my decision and not sure to stay with him or run. Bullets from machine gun hit him over his legs, and I saw how his knee cap exploded, it looked like some bad movie special effect.

He just looked at his legs, then at me, in silence. Even that was just seconds moments like this feel very long.

I took him by the hands and drag him some 20 or 30 meters to safety. Only there I saw that he was missing his leg under the knee. It stayed with dead lady on the street.

And only then he started to scream.

I used belt to stop bleeding, ambulance still worked in that period. He went to hospital and then evacuated from the city. He survived but never came back.

Lessons learned?

In moments of chaos always listen to your instincts and do not hesitate. Especially if you are involved in situation when someone is shooting at you with high caliber machine gun. Just accept that people will die, and you have to survive. To help others is great thing, to survive is even better, also I realized that human being is so fragile and easy to destroy.

Later I learned some things about weapons and how to use them, so I realize that more firepower does not necessary mean more dangerous and better chance to kill.

Owning a weapon is just absolutely necessary in preparing for a survival scenario, even more in urban survival. You just need to go and get as close as you can to the real stuff while you are doing the preparing and training for the SHTF, so it makes sense to go out and check your preps, to check your gear and yourself.

For example pair of boots that you bought and store for bad days will not be used for walking only, it will be use for running, squatting, jumping, in mud, junk, blood, guts maybe or just running trough a shallow river.

Everything that you have prepared and stored for SHTF will be pushed to the limits.

One thing is to go out into woods nearby and do recording of your weapon testing on some beer bottles with your friends, and after that concluding that particular gun or rifle is best for SHTF, and that you are dangerous dude because your accuracy rules. Some people gonna put that clip on you tube and go home convinced that they are ready and prepared.

In reality you do not know if you are prepared.

A lot of survival stores that sell things sell idea of buy this and you are safe. No you are not. Also you learn more about real urban survival scenario in my survival course and this helps you to mentally be better prepared but real deal when SHTF always comes as surprise.

When time comes again it gonna hit everyone like a hammer. Good news is that when you know you will get hit like that you can recover fast and use your skills, knowledge and preps to make best out of situation.

Using weapon in real life, in real survival situation is something absolutely different from shooting bear bottles, and if you could do some real training that is realistic that would be maybe going to camping with trash bag as a tent, being on camping for 10 days with 10 small cans of food, and 10 liters of water, walking every day for 10 km.

And then on 11th day run few kilometers and then shoot and see how accurate you are when your body is wasting away.

And still the most important thing is missing. While you are shooting at the beer bottles they do not shoot back at you in order to kill you.

During some of the first battles in city I was moving trough the building behind a guy, we both had rifles. He was sweeping the rooms and shooting, it was the closest urban combat as it can be. In the moment when he run out of ammo he used his rifle as something between spear and bat.

Now someone could say why he did not just switch to pistol? He did not have one, also he did not have time to look for ammo. But there I learned how it is useful to have folded stock of rifle when shooting and moving in very confined spaces.

Also I learned that rifle with pretty sharp parts at the barrel can be very handy. He stabbed guy to the cheek, ripping his face down and finishing him on ground.

One of the biggest misconception at the people who do not have fighting experience is what they need to practice.

It is all about pressure. You need to learn:

1. What your weapon can take

In terms of kicking, throwing, how often and when will it malfunction, and what the most common malfunctions are, and how to fix it, of course how to fix it in middle of fight. If you find yourself in the middle of fighting, and your weapon “jams” do not be as we called “zblesavljen” or in English is probably looking like idiot.

I have seen that: guy is shooting and in the middle of fighting his weapon jammed, and he surprisingly look at the weapon in a “what the f#ck?” state. And of course in two seconds he ends up dead.

You absolutely need to know how to manage small weapon jams without looking at the weapon, you need to look at the target while you are “repairing” weapon (clearing the bullet, switching to other magazine etc.)

Other option would be to MOVE immediately when your weapon jams, move to cover in same second, or to dropping it on ground, or on your back, and switching to your other weapon. But you need to learn to do all of above without thinking. You need to train that this becomes automatic.

Small things like how quickly you can put your rifle on your back and a switch to pistol can be difference between life and death, if you somehow “trip” yourself while you are trying to put rifle on your back in order to take pistol you can end up dead.

2. What you can take

Remember this: while you are shooting at the bad guys, those bad guys will be SHOOTING AT YOU TOO.

So shooting at the beer bottles in the woods with your buddies will not really do all the training you need. I am doing it often, but it just not covering everything.

Fighting and surviving combat means constant moving and outsmarting the guys on the other side, you gonna need to run, squat, throw yourself in the ditch, lay down in all kinds of sh!t and shoot at the same time, and probably fix your rifle from jams, or switch to another weapon.

Do some basic weapon training and learn about line of sight and how to get out off it.

Very great percentage of shooting is done without aiming, just spraying bullets.

It makes sense to do some airsoft or paintball in the woods to check how constant moving change whole game, and what kind of moving makes sense in order to survive gunfight.

For example how often you shoot from your weapon with both hands, dominant and not dominant? In urban fighting you will need switch weapon around very often (moving through the apartments, rooms, around the corners etc.). When you are shooting behind corner, and you are having rifle in your right hand and corner is on your left side it make sense to transfer weapon to left hand. otherwise it is dangerous to stick your left part of body out in order to shoot form right hand.

For all you who have some military experience this all is basic stuff, but I have seen many guys who were killed in stupid ways.

Real gunfight is dynamic thing. Adrenaline is weird thing too, so people can do tremendous things while adrenaline is pumping, but also with lack of training and common sense guy can do tremendously stupid things. I have seen man who was pointing to something and he stood up from the cover, and got shot.

3. How to train yourself

Training is the key. You can not do anything else today except to train very hard.

You can not experience real stuff today of course, but you can take it as close to real stuff as you can. Go out with your friends and think about all possible scenarios. But think about worst case scenarios. SHTF is not gonna wait for nice and sunny weather, you gonna be maybe hungry, dirty. Maybe have to give up your shelter and food storage on second day of SHTF.

Or you gonna be forced to use other weapon that you are not used to. Maybe you gonna be forced to hide for hours hidden under a pile of rubble and then you are gonna be forced to jump out and “kill” ten beer bottles. Sounds like fun? This is why resilience and mental strength is so important.

Maybe you are gonna be cold and thirsty and in the middle of the battle. One thing is sure – very rarely it goes the way that you planned. So just be ready for many options and do not panic when things go other way. Want to get some funny sounding advice?

Get good at suffering while still being able to work towards a goal.

4. What weapon, caliber, stopping power etc?

It is very hard question (that I get asked a lot). But think about fact that everything today is about mainstream and commercial. And somehow it is more about what other people say is good and not necessarily about what you need and what is good for YOU.

You and your hand kill, weapon is only tool. I have seen fight when man with knife is killing the guy with rifle. He had mastered fighting with knife and had will to kill. Other guy had a rifle only, and he ends up dead. I also seen more than once people shot with rifle bullets still fighting, running for good amount of time. Some of them were not even aware that they are wounded before someone else pointed that out to them.

What I am trying to say, do not expect miracles if you own weapon that is at the moment most popular, having great stopping power, cool reviews. It is about practicing , weapon mastering and correct bullets placement.

I said bullets for a reason, I have seen many things, but I did not see someone survive multiple shots in correct place at the body. Have weapon that is best for your case, and achieve perfection in using it. Do not expect that people will fly back if you shoot them with one bullet from some widely popular weapon and caliber (not talking about shotguns).

So I am not gonna tell you what is the best weapon because what works for me maybe does not work for you or others.

Having a weapon that is too rare, too good or too bad does not make too much sense for me. Do not find yourself in situation when you lose your weapon and pick someone else and then find out that you do not have clue about it, because your weapon was special and rare.

Just have what everyone else around you has, because of gun parts, ammo and you look like everyone else.

Your weapon is only tool to survive, be ready to lose it if you need to lose it, and pick some other from ground in the middle of fight.

I knew a guy who did some scary stuff with rusty shortened M48. He was old and poor looking dude, he played that part good, until he would take out this old gun from under his coat and rob and kill people. Simple strategy but it worked for him. So look around and think what works for you.

If you have experienced combat or heard what matters from veterans please share in comments.

About the Author: Surviving one year in a city surrounded by the enemy army and cut off from the rest of the world. I’m Selco and have been through this SHTF school I never wanted to attend during the Balkan wars 1992 – 1995.

Get actionable advice, his current supply list, his story in detail and more when you subscribe to the One Year In Hell Online Course.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You