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Defend the high ground?

I have studied numerous military strategy books, watched even more videos on the subject of the best locations to "hold up". You know, the best defensible locations. It would seem that the overall opinions seem to stress that defending the high ground is the soundest position to give a group the best opportunity to survive an encounter.
I figure there are four type of attacks that are to be expected. I just want some feedback on how full of it I am. I am actively searching for a bug out location and want to make sure it will be defensible. I may be full of it and I hope that you will tell me so if I am.
First: a single attacker
Second: a small group (7-10 persons) using standard weapons, including, but, not limited to firearms, bladed weapons, and bows.
Third: a medium sized group (10-25 persons) using advanced weapons, which would include but not limited to rifles, semi auto rifles, and automatic weapons, explosives, and electronic toys, such as drones and cameras. This group may be well organized and stealthy.
Fourth: this group will have over 25 persons, will move in heavy vehicles, may have heavy artillery, tanks, mortars, etc.. This group will likely be military or organized rejects from military group that they once belonged. They will be supplied and armed to the teeth in most respects.

Ok, what are the likely occurrence of these attacks after SHTF and giving that I may be able to see some of them coming from a distance, what are the chances of a well armed small to medium person defensive group defending a bug out retreat that occupies the high ground. I know this is incomplete and vague, but, I hope you can see a good enough picture to aid me in this mental exercise.


  • NEVER EVER EVER hold a true hill top, you’ll be artillery fodder.

    High ground and funnels give inferior numbers an edge against superior numbers. Specifics will come in to play obviously, but as a general statement and theory, it’s sound. Been there, done that.
  • ^ ur not gonna splain y hilltops r vulnerable to arty?
  • Nope, see if you can piece it together on your own. What about a hilltop and artillery don’t go together?
  • Maybe that hilltops are more exposed and are a clearer target?
  • Bingo!
  • You’re more visible on a true hilltop than anywhere else. Also, many times in an area where the enemy has been for a while, they will have hilltops targeted during training runs. They may not have fired on them, but they most likely have aimed at them and know where to start their bombardment and bracket your ass a LOT faster. If you’re not as visible you’ll have more time to vacate the hillside before they bracket you in with indirect.
  • So, do you figure that the enemy would target the hilltop, but, not immediately surround it until they choose to level it? That would give the defenders a chance to retreat. Is it possible to turn this disadvantage into an advantage. If the aggressors are overconfident, might they be vulnerable?
  • If you have a military type force that you are worried about the best thing you can do is retreat. If you want to research tactics for that scenario look up what the Taliban has been doing.
  • If the enemy has no or severely limited artillery of any type, you still don’t want the true hilltop because you’re too exposed to other types of enemy fire. If indirect is available, it will be called in on the hilltop. It’s SOP for almost every military and guerilla group that understands tactics when indirect or air support is available as it lowers the friendly attrition rate.
  • I understand what you both are saying. Thanks a lot
  • Maybe if you think about it like squirrel hunting, I know you are thinking what the hell. If you've ever been, you'll get it. The critter is safe from most things up there, but then Joebob comes up and he's got a rifle. Well he goes around the tree out sight, thinking he's safe he doesn't see ole Roy come up from that side and shoot him.
  • Nope, more like he goes higher in the tree to avoid Joe Bob/Ol Roy combo, and he’s safe, until a hawk comes down and has him for dinner.
  • If I remember correctly an M203 50% causality radius is about 25M. An average squad/platoon has 3 of them with 15-20 rounds each. Might give a little perspective to how dangerous a military type force can be, not even counting heavy weapons they bring to the table.
  • We All must be 2 manner of Rodents in our Evasion 'n Escape methods and manners:

    Able to rapidly- and decisively-seize and utilize high ground with optimal Cover 'n concealment to ambush the ground elements with Shoot 'n Scoot enfilade.

    Next, when the Opposing Force [OPFOR] "brings the rain", we must have hidey-holes and/ or soft terrain that minimizes the blast damage-radius, ala swamps, marshes and even sand dunes.
  • (my quote button isn't working)
    Bingo, Slug Hunter! Use the "Military Crest" in the SIDE of the hill with Overhead/Side/Frontal cover. Use tunnels/tracks/trenches to scoot to another Location.

    Never be afraid to Displace. You can always return if Conditions change. But never isolate yourself into a corner that you can't abandon if needed.

    Water is another benefit to consider. If I had someone holed up on a hill, I'd use Fire. Not ammo, FIRE! That's Primal. Doesn't require much aiming, etc. Unless they can go deep until the fire passes and air returns, they are neutralized.
  • What great input here, this is great !

    But let's stop and think about this , setting aside the original scenario for a moment.
    We still use Fire Support Bases, FSB , mostly still positioned on hilltops for observation of the surrounding countryside , for ease of defense from ground forces and to add reach for the artillery so that the shells can go farther.

    So lets think about this, Central and South American drug lords are known for among other things building their homes on hilltops for observation and defense for the same purposes as the military and as humans have done in various forms over the course of our history.
    If you planed on just protecting you and yours from masses of refugees and larger bands of brigands that do not posses field artillery, a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) , mortars , trebuchets , catapults , etc. Then so long as it's NOT planned to repel a well organized and supplied military force, and you have a water supply that cannot be compromised then it just might be a very good idea for a trade location/hillfort in my opinion.
    In a post America WROL type of scenario where the chain of logistics and supply for such weapons would be chaotic at best for government troops as can be seen in many foreign nations that undergo a Civil War or Invasion by a Foreign force.
    ISIS undergoes the same thing, as they seize territory with stolen equipment , only to have to retreat as they run low on ammo , fuel and food if they got pushed back from their assault.
    I personally see that is how much of a Baltic-style America would be, groups armed much as foreign terrorist groups/militias are , more Technicals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_(vehicle) of different configurations and stolen/traded/bought military weapons. Ammunition always runs low at some point, and if you can't get more in a timely manner then your advance will stall, whether it is artillery shells or homemade mortar shells to go with the homemade mortar "sling" https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2013/02/diy-weapons-of-the-syrian-rebels/100461/ .

    How many of you out there have enough ammo and the means to transport it readily to press multiple attacks over several years ?
    Certainly not me , and I'm pretty certain that most of you do not. Reloading takes time and materials , and what do you do when those run out ?

    We wind up in a weird setting where those who played their cards right and managed to seize as much territory with the minimal expenditure of the least resources so as to conserve what they had in addition to what they might confiscate, then after all others in their now given Area of Operations and Influence no longer have a real means to resist .

    Just some things to think and talk about. B)

  • So Mike, you are referring to the historically greatest war machines in history, failing because they overextended themselves. The Mongols, the Romans, the British colonization period, the French under Napoleon, The Germans under Hitler, and the Soviets in Afganistan. All were awesome war machines that overextended themselves, causing failures in their campaigns due to stressed supply lines and unreliable military continuity. I know these are extreme, historical cases, but, am I off base?
  • edited February 7
    Straight from my Artillery buddy, FSB’s are not set up on high ground outside of necessity when they are in a forward position as they are too vulnerable to counter by artillery themselves. Keep that in mind as this discussion moves forward.
  • Bangfly...... Those and especially smaller groups, after all that is why I was referencing ISIS.

    Admin..... I was more or less referring to the old Vietnam War hilltop Fire Bases and those that I have seen in footage from Afghanistan .
    My little brother was Army Field Artillery.

    That's also a very good point to be aware of Admin, counter attack is a real probability to keep in mind.
  • Truth! Reverse Slope Batteries and High Ground behind the Front are what's called for.

    Also, never forget to DIG!!!!!! We need Earthen Works to protect our Positions. Front/Side/Top should be our Mantra. Leave the Rear open for rapid displacement.

    Don't forget that Drones w Napalm are a possibility in SHTF. Always protect against FIRE and other Primal Hazards. Projectiles are easy compared with other Hazards that can be brought to bear against us. :o
  • I began to imagine something like this being done with Hesco bastion's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesco_bastion , shipping containers stacked and the insides reinforced with sandbags or such.

    Hill Fort at the Irish National Heritage Park
  • PM, what kind of artillery would be fired at that structure? I remember that in "The Holy Grail" they lofted a cow at the castle.
  • “You this is me. Fire Mission, over.”
  • edited February 8
    I got a Fire Mission fer ya ! Hehehehehehheee
  • edited February 10
    ... And you can't do that if you don't have a HILLTOP FORT ...... see all the fun that you would miss out on ???
  • Right up until 10-30rds of 155mm 88mm HE came crashing down on you. Or a few air burst rounds designed to defeat armor and personnel mixed in.

    On a lighter side, if they send white phosphorus rounds and you haven’t launched the cow yet, you could have BBQ.
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