A reply to a series of videos from a YouTube user by the name of StankMouthCharlie.
Stank Mouth posted a quartet of videos with the title “Why Most Doomsday Preppers Will Die.” They can be found here:
In Charlie’s series, he covers a number of issues relating to the foolishness of prepper stockpiling, training, bugging in or out, marksmanship, manliness, shelters and retreats – all in the face of predatory “gangs” or “posses” with skills and experience. He states that without numbers, without a good sized group on your side, you’re screwed. Because the posse will wait you out, pick you off, trick you or just plain massacre you. You need numbers to hold down your retreat, to post guard, to work its resources. Without them, all that stuff you piled up on shelves and packed in buckets is going to end up in the hands of a gang, an extended family, some large group of like-thinking people intent on making your stuff, and your women – theirs. All your planning, prepping and practicing will come to nothing when faced with determined numbers from the gang.
Chuck mentions in his videos that his own posse of 100+ would not be engaging in the practices he outlines. He wants to help preppers understand the realities of the world, and how it works. Basically, the strong make and break the rules, and the weak either submit or die. His stated intent is to encourage preppers to come to their senses and modify their plans to include their own posse, gang, tribe or whatever you might call it. His family is ready to “assemble”, and to maintain a presence large enough to discourage attack and predation. He has 19 acres (or is it 17, as in the first video?) upon which he can set up camp, complete with tents, dudes and guns. He contrasts that with the generic 4 man prepper retreat, and a description of how a match-up would turn out. He uses his “gang” in his examples of how one might work its will upon a retreat.
For those preppers that will be “retreating” to a BOL away from town, with no one else to hole up, he has good points. A small group – family size – will have a hard time keeping watch, doing chores, gardening, washing, conducting maintenance, etc., AND resisting a determined group that outnumbers them 5 or 25 to 1. More guns pointed inward equals a smaller chance of survival, right? Pretty much. Especially for preppers who do not include anything beyond hard core camping in their mindset.
Where I part ways with Stanky is when he begins to talk about rednecks, and small groups of country folk. He assumes that most preppers (with ideas beyond the day dream stage) will match the description above. Maybe they will. But the practicing preppers have more incommon with what I describe below, than what he caps on above.
In his discussion of possible SHTF initiating events, he lists among the possibilities financial collapse, solar flares and EMP. My focus lately has been on an EMP strike, and forms the basis of what I consider to be the most likely grid-down scenario via an outside actor, though for our discussion here, anything that does the job will work. Stank Mouth describes a scenario that produces the following results:
- An event drops the grid
- People hang out at home for several days, and then bug out
- The retreat is established
- Back in the burbs or outerlands, a posse forms, and goes down the street looking to take what it needs
- Eventually the gang makes its way out of the burbs and to “your retreat”, setting up a siege
His logical outcome from all this is that the siege is a success, the retreat falls, and stuff and women are added to the gangs’ property rolls. It is simply a question of attrition. His side has more numbers, and might possibly absorb the loss of “ten uncles” to the effects of booby traps in one of the first probes. Since there would be no time outs for the retreat group to reset traps, their initial advantage is finished. (Or is it?) The group has long range shooters? So does the Gang. Again, greater numbers, and the fact that the gang has many more hides from which to snipe along a perimeter, guarantees a victory by attrition.
And if all goes as he expects, the retreat will fall.
Rednecks ain’t much like average city dwellers, and retreat owners from the burbs following commonly accepted ideas on overall preparation (material, skills, mindset, local interaction and community building, community contribution), aren’t sheep. The two can come together. They find points of mutual interest and understanding.
The prepared transplant prepper shares in common with the backwoods hick, the redneck, the bumpkin, several traits and some experience that will prove significant benefits to him. He may also enjoy the advantages certain technological countermeasures make available. Above all, he owns something that the redneck owns, if he’s done his homework and isn’t just playing games.
Considering the state of the prepper-turned-retreater as one which is similar to the full time redneck, I shall label them both as rednecks, and their property as homesteads, since in a dead-grid scenario (or heck, even some of the other biggies), both camps will need to engage in subsistence living and some form of agriculture tying them to the land.
Stank Mouth Charlie and his Gang’s March
Chuck and his posse will make the move toward the retreat /homestead. They are in search of supplies. He has available to him several ideas he believes will help him in taking said supplies. He might send in 4 people, 2 of them women, to basically beg. He can send in a larger group to make an insistence, with the implied threat of even more posse members nearby. He will have, of course, already scouted the area and the homestead, to determine numbers, habits, material, supplies, defenses and weaknesses. He might simple try to snipe the group into submission. However he choses to conduct the operation, his numbers will allow for multiple tasks, losses, feints and, he says, time.
Stank’s people are armed and can shoot very well. They aren’t stupid. (If you watch his videos, you’ll see this. The man has a head.) They have tight relations, experience in the field, and want stuff. He makes the point that one bullet can kill a man, and that a small group can ill afford any losses. He shows that a fixed location provides a dense target area into which heavy fire can be effective, while it also renders the enemy secure in that the retreat’s target area may be a 360 degree arc, with snipers hidden anywhere along its path.
His progress, though, will be aided or hindered by various factors.
Available transportation — Car /truck? Has EMP damaged vehicles? Is their fuel available for non-prepping gangs that didn’t stock ahead of time? Motor or bicycle? By foot? They will only move as fast as their slowest component, except perhaps for scouts.
Food and water. More on that later.
Interference — Will other gangs force him to react, or alter plans and routes? Significant encounters will consume supplies, including ammunition.
His First Mistake
Charlie’s first mistake when he describes action against a prepper hold-out is in how he frames the fight. He makes assumptions that may not be true, and leaves out some important facts that may weigh heavily on his shoulders at some point. He makes the mistake of framing the fight independent of its physical world setting. It is true, that in the burbs or the hood, a small group of average preppers (without previous training) will fall prey to gangs with organizational experience. Movement through the city or town is an everyday thing for gangs, with the need for constant watch against incursion from rivals hanging over their heads. They are used to being on edge. But this all takes place within suburbia or the urban area proper. He fails to consider that this engagement is on different turf – different enough to operationally affect a sizable portion of his gang, if not an absolute majority.
This fight is in the country. It is against a force, large or small, that is familiar with the lay of the land, its rises and falls, its channels, waterways, vegetation and natural cover. They know where the trails are, even the game trails. The prepper rednecks have taken the time to become familiar with the local game, the local people, the natural choke points and special cover. The rednecks and transplants know how far it is from one place to another, and don’t need range cards. No scouting is needed to identify key points on a map for special consideration. In short, the knowledge they possess gives them the Home Team Advantage.
Chuck and the Gang have no such advantage, though they may have some familiarity from outings and such to his plot. They will need to do their recon, and do it without being discovered by the locals, who in a dead-grid situation will naturally be on the watch for refugees and outsiders.
The gangs will first consume supplies locally, and will move out as need dictates. Even with the world going to pieces around them (with their help, of course), familiar surroundings will have a psychological hold on some of them – namely, the women and children – and they will move into the country with some degree of reluctance. Their appearance will be noticed, and a response will be mounted. 20 people on foot, motor bike or truck will make noise and leave tracks. 100 will be no easier to hide. As the Gang makes its way carefully forward, splitting into smaller groups to scout, it will be noted and studied by locals using their knowledge of the terrain to their advantage.
He has little hope of surprise, and locals will chose each other over outsiders. They will chose the transplant prepper that has worked with them in the past. They will close ranks as country folk do in times of trouble. When was the last time you saw country people burning down their places in a disaster or riotous rage? Even when losing all to flood or tornado, they band together. Stank Mouth will be discovered, evaluated and trailed by men and boys that know their land and what they are about. It is only natural for people to be jealous over their land.
His Second Mistake
Charlie assumes that his posse will arrive at the land of decision in the same state it was in when it broke camp and set out on the road for real. As his gang, his posse, his army moves out, it will be subject to the rules and laws that work against all such mobile forces. It will find no exemption from the trials of logistical stress.
Armies move on their stomachs, and win wars with logistics. Without a proper supply train or mobile pantry, the force will arrive less fit than when it pulled camp. A few days on the move with a reduced calorie count will reduce the posse’s reaction times, situational awareness, physical condition and body stores of energy for physical activity and conflict. Ok, so he brings with him his boxes of MREs, or some bagged food and candy bars. Will the new diet – different from the one he enjoyed back home – work for or against him? Being mobile, he will always have a need to replenish his supplies through coercion or force. Underway replenishment is an iffy thing without foreknowledge regarding available resources. Without a large pantry, his logistical wiggle room will be small. His rate of consumption will certainly outstrips his ability to source from the environment, with so many mouths to feed. Charlie’s troops are not the American Indian, running from the US Army. In fact, when he made that comparison in his video, he was in error. The redneck is the Indian, and he has the benefit of local knowledge and sourcing. The logistical advantage falls to the redneck /homesteader who has thought this through and lived it.
The posse will be under some kind of pressure to maintain a reasonable level of supplies. Each day, that army of 100, be it all in on the move, or detached and dispersed – has to eat. Each member must consume. Each of the men, women and children will demand food, and some satisfaction from it. They will want assurances against an uncomfortable depletion – yet that depletion will continue with each meal. Food is heavy, and it takes space. Will the posse have sufficient supplies to move to targets of opportunity regularly? Will little pockets of delicacies magically pop up when and where needed? Will he and his buds have the ability to transport everything with minimal stress? The gang better hope that it scores big, and early.
Three days without adequate food will be uncomfortable. Concerns over water supplies will be even worse. He’ll need to resupply, and treat the supply his takes on. Will SMC’s gang have the means to store enough water for 100+ people, dispersed, and thirsty? What about resupply to the various points of interest? Three days with limited hydration will further cloud the judgment of his posse.
At rest, the average adult will need something around 1,200 calories per day to maintain basic health. He’s going to need time and an increased food routine to return to his best health. To move about and perform work, that requirement jumps up to around 2,500 calories. If his daily routine is mostly manual labor, he might need 3,300 calories. Check your stored food nutritional labels and see how many calories are within each serving, can, package and bag. Yes, there are the high calorie food preparations preppers make, but will the posses know this? Can they deal with the radical change to their diet without loss of mental and physical condition? The big question – will the “prep” for these operations in advance? I tend to think not. This is much more than a tail gate party at the stadium.
His Third Mistake
The Germans walked into their own prison death camp when they advanced toward Moscow. Held fast at Stalingrad, winter came upon them and made clear their short future. German winter clothing wasn’t as effective at keeping out the chilling cold as the Russian peasant coats. The cold brought on weapon malfunctions, sickness and mental stress. While the logistical tail of the Whermacht was a wondrous thing, it wasn’t up to the task of steadily reaching that far in those conditions. The Germans failed for very much the same reason as the French when Napoleon made his famous march on Moscow – underestimating the resolve of a people in their own land, and the particulars of the land itself.
The invaders suffered from a degradation of morale. In their case, it was the hopelessness of being held up by the weather and the enemy, far from home, with little resupply. In Charlie’s case, it will be the random picking-off of his people, and the frustration of his expectations and beliefs. His posse is out for supplies. The redneck is fighting for his life. The motivations one brings to the conflict will determine his resolve, his strategy and his staying power. When Chuck’s women are screaming at him because their men died within ear shot of the base camp, when the kids demand daddy come home, when the families refuse to allow more of their men to be killed – how much longer will the posse ride?
Morale is an absolute necessity for the continuance of effective offensive operations. Defenders suffering losses view them one way. Part-time campers looking for a score look at them entirely differently. Conflict within the posse’s base camp degrades efficiency – often in a deadly way expressed in battlefield attrition.
Making the Case for Successful Defense
SMC assumes that homesteaders will not make use of their prepping mentality to its full extent. These people tend to look at problems and develop creative ways to overcome them. They day dream. They war game. They “fantasize”. Such exercises serve to critically treat “what if” scenarios and develop coping methods. Prepper mentality leads to adaptation. (Sometimes, though, it leads to a Disneyland fabrication that shatters at the first true difficulty.)
For instance, the military concept of “force multiplication” readily finds a home in the head of a prepper. Technology provides great leverage when used creatively. Faced with the prospect of a superior force on the edge of the retreat, he might wish to study it without going outside. The FLIR PathFindr camera allows for target location and evaluation day or night, and has great flexibility when mounted in a PTZ base. There are many useful cameras and ways to hide and camouflage them either at the main building, or off in the scrub. NVDs are useful, too, and to make them more effective, IR flood lights can be setup near logical snipe and observation positions. Standard optics placed behind glare coated glass make for safe observation from within a building. A personal “drone” quadcopter, fitted with IR camera and torch, makes for a spectacularly effective recon alternative to boots in the bush. Operating at night, impossible to see, the drone can provide live images of an invading force and its posture. Remote microphones, or even speakers? The variations and equipment available are too numerous to list. Again, creative thinking is the key.
Now, I understand that gangs can be very rough, mean and violent. I also know that a man in charge of his family, and with a plan, can be just as ruthless in defense of his own. There is no guarantee for Stanky that his prey will be locked down in his home. Remember what I said about the near impossibility of the posse’s secret movement within the homesteader’s area? He will be noticed, and the local boys, however few, will make use of their home turf familiarity to do all kinds of things. Like what, LP? Hmm, quickly, off the top of my aching head…
- Establish the invaders’ operational boundaries.
- Determine his size and location, capability, morale and possibly logistical situation.
- Set up snipe hides, or man those already in place.
- Maybe build a few of Charlie’s booby traps.
- Maintain a roving presence. The home team are the Indians, remember? If anyone will live off the land as supplement to his rations, it will be the boys that know where to scrounge and harvest.
- Select targets based on maximum impact to enemy morale.
What will the Home Team do when faced with life or death?
One effective method for dealing with outsiders is to destroy their sense of security early on, before they are settled and familiar with their new area of operations. The more ruthless destruction, the better. Once the gang’s intentions are clear, or heck, even if they are only vaguely determined to be hostile, the game is set for the kick off. Stank Mouth and his gang have weaknesses. His supplies can be attacked. His outposts can be hit before they are ready. The natives will hit from the sides, the back and from a distance. They may disappear, or stay in place in well hidden nests. Before Stank can get his feet set, his advance teams and base camp will be hit. What will he do when his women and children are targeted? Not for killing, but injury? How will he deal with screaming little ones, and women yelling and demanding that he take them away from such a horrible place and people? Dealing with the dead is easy, if you have no problem leaving them where they fall. But treating the wounded takes manpower and medical supplies. It will be a huge drain on Chuck’s logistics and morale. The internal dissension will be great, and something he hadn’t planned for. How will he deal with the fall of his best lieutenants? He may chose to attack a known “target” in one direction, and lose his nerve when he is hit from both flanks. The steady resolve of the homestead defender makes for a dangerous offense. He will do what it takes.
One little method that will test Charlie’s resolve is to down one of his men, but not fatally. Leave him there, and leave Charlie with the dilemma of whether to attempt a rescue and recovery, to abandon the man as a loss. Try to get to him, and another is injured. Let him lie, calling for help, and morale takes yet another hit from an unexpected direction. Remember, there are no rules, except for those the homesteaders write up. Part of their strategy is to continually rewrite and enforce them. Act before the enemy can orient himself, and act again. Stay ahead.
It would be a mistake to let missing teeth and a sun-burned red neck beneath and hat and beard fool one into believing that there is also the lack of a powerful brain, experience and superior drive to protect one’s land and family. The man with the home team advantage and a like-minded team used to operating in the wild will reject the demands from SMC’s Raiders. The rules Charlie supposes will be in play, will not. The field will be different. The opposing team won’t conform to expectations. There will be no referee, no time-outs, no locker room regroup. The cheerleaders will be unwillingly sucked into play, and while he is seeking to determine the limits of the playing field, the home team will be scoring hits on everyone and everything. It’s okay to toss bricks from the stands.
The homestead isn’t the holy grail of possession that Chuck believes it is. It is something that can be abandoned, and then targeted and retaken, by people that know its strengths and weaknesses. That might actually be part of some plans.
- Burn the homesteading redneck out? Chuck needs to get close enough.
- Assume that the main house has all stores needed for survival? He might chose to, but he’d be wrong.
- Assume he can retain the mental and psychological discipline to press the assault, after his advance team has been butchered and set up on poles, and on a fence, as a display and a warning?
- Assume that his prey will act according to his expectations? He limits his own chances for adaptation and success.
- Where is it written that a small group of people, looking to live in peace, will not resort to carefully controlled fury when threatened? That they are disallowed from making examples of the most precious members of an attacking force set against them and their own lives? What will Charlie do with the bodies? Leave them out there? With his women crying for burial and revenge?
How will he manage the anger of his troops, who just had their heads (and other precious body parts) handed to them? How will he rally them outside of the desire for revenge, and guard against the mistakes such rage creates? Discipline? Maybe in veterans, but even they are human – and will not feel the duty to obey a commander whose actions cost lives in a pursuit for matériel more easily acquired elsewhere.
The redneck prepper homesteader transplant, with his prepositioned supplies and community ties, will write his own rules. He will play outside the boxes of expectation, and use his stereotype to his advantage. He will move at will, do much as he pleases, and draw from the few resources, human and otherwise, in his fight against an invader. He will win. Not because the stats say he will, but because he has to, and has prepared to do so. He will write the final chapter in the story of Stank Mouth Charlie and his posse. When the smoke has cleared, the cries faded away, and the accounting and spoiling are finished, he will close Charlie’s book, after writing these last words.
=== RESOURCES ===
Ron Collins answer to SMC
Want an eye opening reaction to a youtube search? Eye opening because of the number and types of results, not necessarily the content. In YouTube, enter this simple search — preppers die –. And get a look. Some good. Some bad. You decide. You plan. You be the largest actor.
MainePrepper’s video: Prepper WROL Threats from Gangs Good man. Thoughtful commentary and advice.