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As you may know by now, FM 999-6.3 is the premier Counter-Zombie Operations manual for civilians. Now a few pages have been made available for all. They are from the chapter regarding SERT (Situation Environment Resources Training).
All content is subject to change and updates.
Get it HERE!
Communicating by Morse code at night can be tricky. Even with precautions (as stated in the previous article), there are the risks of having your light signals detected. Furthermore, although it is obvious as to how the team in the field will communicate back to the main force, it is not obvious how the main force will send messages to the team in the field without alerting hostile forces or Zombies in the area as well.
In the diagram below, Bravo team is serving as a message relay team for the main force which is out of the line of sight of all hostile forces. Alpha is conducting reconnaissance of the river valley area.
For teams that have night vision capability, which includes night-shot equipped camcorders, the night becomes a surprisingly good time to communicate. Although invisible to the naked eye, infra-red light is visible to night vision equipment. Better yet, no real special device is needed to send the IR signals. A TV remote control works just fine.
Although one can argue that if anyone is using night vision in the area, it can be picked up, there are still some advantages:
- It’s still much less likely than getting picked up by the enemy who most certainly has eyeballs.
- Zombies can’t see it no matter what.
Preset Communication Times
It’s important to set a preset communication time. This would be the agreed upon time in which the team and the main force check in with each other to exchange any updates. To prevent detection, it is essential that “top of the hour” times such as 2200, and 0300 and “bottom of the hour” times such as 2230, and 0330 be avoided. The odds of the enemy scanning through their own night vision equipment at these hours are exponentially higher than at any other times.
Since the dawn of time, fighting units with superior communications have swept past those who would have otherwise been equals on the battlefield. The same holds true to your Zombie combat team.
Take for example a four man team on a recon patrol. Without any communications tools, any new information the team gathers will not make it to the rest of the force until they have returned. Depending on the nature of the mission, this could be days. If the team is lost, so is the information.
Using radios is definitely the most favorable of all options. However, it is not the only option. The knowledge of Morse code provides medium ranged communications options when radios fail. Also, when employed correctly, they can be incredibly difficult to detect. Best of all, it takes no batteries to use during the day time and uses a negligible amount of battery at night.
The Morse Code
Memorizing Morse code is desirable, but it is understandable that since it is not something one uses every day, it can be easily forgotten. Printing out the Morse code chart above, laminating it and keeping it with you at all times is essential.
Using Abbreviations and Acronyms
Because of the nature of the Morse code, the team will probably benefit most from having some kind of abbreviation or acronym system . Ensure that the team is clear on what acronyms are which and having a card with some “less obvious” ones can clear up a lot of potential for confusion.
Basically two different kinds of equipment are required, one for the daytime and one for night time.
During the daytime, a signalling mirror will do.
At night, a powerful flashlight will have to be used. However, the flashlight alone will make too large of a visual signature unless an attachment is made.
The best material for the attachment is a PVC pipe.
The outside should be painted in a subdued color for camouflage purposes.
The inside of the pipe needs to be painted in flat black. A chalkboard spray paint does this job very well. Prevents “light pollution” that gives away the team’s position.
Communications in the Field
Usually the team in the field (referred to Fireteam Alpha below) will not be operating within direct line of sight with the main base (referred to Firebase Alpha below). Even if it is, it is highly advisable to use a second team (Fireteam Bravo) operating out of an OP/LP to serve as a relay station. Refer to the diagram below:
The advantage of using a relay team is twofold. First, it gives alpha team a great deal of flexibility in that they do not necessarily need to be in the line of sight of the main base, and second, it prevents the main base’s location from being compromised.
Even with the lowest level of technology, a sophisticated communications network can be achieved allowing the Zombie combat team unparalleled battlefield flexibility.
UPDATE: A slight update to the previous post regarding solar power. We have now concluded that a source of solar power would boost combat capability by a factor of ten. Having a solar power source is not a “good to have” but is borderline essential.
Since the earliest of times, the night has given a cloak of invisibility to any fighting force. Indeed, during the Korean War, the Chinese forces moved by night exclusively. As a result, they were able to move tens of thousands of soldiers and hit UN forces at the Chosin Reservoir with absolute thunderclap surprise. The ability to operate at night can give your Zombie Combat Team an edge. But by how much? Zombies by their nature have the absolute advantage at night. Not dependent on vision, they hunt by smell and sound. Night is their natural friend. They own the night by default.
NIGHT OPERATIONS DURING COUNTER-ZOMBIE OPERATIONS
Unfortunately, for those who envision conducting night raids in Zombie infested environments, the truth is that in a Zombie infested environment, outside-the-wire operations are a no-go. Even with the best night vision equipment, the effectiveness of the individual Soldier and the team is greatly reduced. The ability to be encircled, trapped, and annihilated is simply too great to risk any offensive operations at night. The only time night operations are feasible are when Zombie threats are currently low to zero and the main source of danger is other groups.
For Civilian Zombie Combat Teams that have no prior experience with working with night vision equipment, it is important to know that they do not work like night vision goggles from video games. The best night vision gear the Zombie Combat Command has ever used (aside from FLIR that obviously cost the government a LOT of money) was in fact a Sony digital camcorder. It provided excellent picture quality and quite a powerful zoom as well. The fact that you can record and it costs only about 10% the price of a Generation III night vision goggle such as the PVS-7 or PVS-14 makes it a great choice for any Zombie Combat Team.
UTILIZING NIGHT VISION EQUIPMENT IN COUNTER-ZOMBIE OPERATIONS
As a result of the fact that facing a Zombie formation at night is practically suicide, a team leader might decide that his Civilian Zombie Combat Team should not invest in any night vision equipment. After all, they are expensive. However, this could not be further from the truth. Night vision equipment makes for situational awareness while on the firebase at night infinitely better than not having one.
A typical night for a team and its non-combat element (often family members and the like) may involve silence, but it will also involve some level of activity. Kicking back and being able to read a book, chatting, playing board games and the like help maintain morale in a time of great uncertainty. Having night vision equipment takes the guess work out of what is going outside the walls of your firebase at night, and allows for a quick transition from normal night activities to complete silence.
Night vision equipment also provides itself as a useful asset in the ability to study Zombie or human behavior at night. It is highly probable that Zombies become much more active at night. Being able to study their movements and tendencies can make the difference between losing the night entirely, and being able to exploit openings to make use of darkness should the need and opportunity arise.
The fact that your team is ready and equipped to survive and thrive during times of great uncertainty can also make you a target. If Zombie activity is low in your area, hostile civilians may launch raids against your position. If they choose to use the cover of night, your ability to see at night will turn their perceived advantage (using the cover of darkness) into a fatal weakness.
Knowledge is survival. Any serious professional warrior and experts in any trade can tell you, there is a lot of knowledge out there to take in and many of them are written in print (like FM 999-3 and FM 999-4).
The list of material to read for the Zombie fighter is long and expansive which include material regarding:
- Conducting training
And that’s just to name a few.
For many, the prospect of reading so much is just too much. Time is a commodity and sometimes leaders and Soldiers alike skimp on the study.
However, there is an app coming out called Spritz which promises to help reading become much faster by moving the words for you. So instead of your eyes scanning the page to read the word, the word is positioned so that you read it far faster. Intriguing to say the least.
Zombie Combat Command will be keeping a close look out for the app.
Typical visions of a world overrun by Zombies (if at least temporarily) would include the loss of all utilities. Running water, electricity, telecommunications, and garbage disposal. However, the ability to keep electronic tools operational will provide your team the edge in every day operations as well as on the battlefield.
Tools such as refrigerators, LED lamps, and a video system can do wonders for force and morale sustainment whereas UAVs, video surveillance, and possibly even electric golf carts can provide key tools that give your team the edge on the battlefield.
So how does one generate electricity? Portable solar panel systems provide a wealth of options for generating power. In parts of the United States where there is reliable sunlight all year round, having a solar power system or not having one will greatly influence your strategy. Solar power can mean the difference between having one person watch a video screen linked to security cameras and having possibly up to eight people at a time on watch duty 24/7.
In addition to installing solar panels in your home, a mobile package can also do wonders. First, if your main firebase in which your team operates out of is not a home owned by a team member, it would be unwise to install expensive equipment that can be stolen before an out break even pretends to occur. Second, having one in your inventory allows for your team to expand. In the event that a strategic location is secured during the event of a Zombie outbreak, that second firebase can also have its own electricity source improving its value as a force multiplier.