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Keeping Watch

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posted on May, 19 2008 @ 08:00 PM
Keeping Watch / Sentry / Sentinal

Keeping watch for danger while your buddies are sleeping is not to taken lightly. A person sleeps a lot more soundly when he knows he's being protected and will be warned when danger is near.

This is a bit of a grey area to some in the survivalism sense as it's usually associated with the military.
However it's one that has probably existed since people had to live and operate in a dangerous lands from pre-history right up to the wars being fought in the Mid-East.

However in SitX it will may need to be mastered by us while sleeping 'on the move.' It could even become a permanent feature when guarding a stronghold or area.

Keeping watch, sentry duty, being sentinal etc is nothing more at heart as someone looking out for danger while others rest, sleep or are otherwise occupied.
It can be something from a guy unarmed keeping an eye on things, ready to warn others, to an armed man ready to kill anything aproaching his position.
The lone spec ops warrior may be a cool ideal but even he has to sleep sometime.

Here's what might happen in a potential SitX scenario.

A group of ten survivalists/travelers who are armed and supplied on foot have formed up into their group and are making there way to safety. The place in question being a purpose built shelter stocked with supplies beforehand.

It's a long way away they are being tailed at distance by a group of about 15 scavangers on foot, no doubt envious of the goodies they are carrying and curious about where they are going.
Having built a quick set of shelters for a nights rest the leader gathers all to him and, wanting to take no chances, makes a snap decision to post staggered sentries for safety. Calling to his right-hand man to assist him he starts making the preparations.

Going off my British Army experiences (where sentry duty was going on all the time in one form or the other) may differ from US practice.

This really can be as simple or complicated as may be deemed necessary.
Ideally make a rough sketch of the area, position the sentry(s) so that approach angles are covered, you may need to spread them out, depending on the terrain.

The next bit is deciding how many guys you need on sentry, a big decision this. A 1 man sentry will be alone on watch and having to cover a large field of vision, there is the risk of him falling asleep and causing the group to be killed at leisure. The benefit is that the group get's a less interrupted sleep pattern, especially if its 2 hrs per man.

A 2 man sentry team is the opposite. Better for covering the approaches, very little chance of them falling asleep but overall group fatigue will increase, both during the night and into the following morning.

Now, get a time-piece and make out a 'stag' list. A stag list (short for staggered) will list the times for sentries starting and finishing their 'stag' or sentry. After one finishes, he wakes up the next sentry for him to take his turn.
Now making one out takes a bit of work and grey matter but nothing major. After you've finished listing the times note down the wake up time for the final sentry to wake the camp up.

1 hour stag changes - Each sentry does 1 hour on watch, wakes the next guy and he does his 1 hour and so on.
These are best used for large groups otherwise you'll have people pulling double sentry duty/stags.

2 hour stag changes. Each sentry does 2 hours on watch, much better for small groups.

A 2 hour Stag list e.g.

2100 - 2300 = Jones and Wilkes

2300 - 0100 = Johnny and Danny

0100 - 0300 = Fred and Jenny

0300 - 0500 = Jed and Alan

0500 - 0700 = Ricky and Sarah - 1 sentry start fire at dawn etc
Wake-up group at 0700.

A 1 hr stag list would mean each pair would have 1 hr on, 4 hours off, then back on sentry again. In other words, double duty which you don't want, unless you like making your group into walking zombies for the next days trek!

Continued in next post.

[edit on 19-5-2008 by WatchRider]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 08:22 PM
Remember, the sentry will have to leave this post to wake up the next guy on stag (also slang for sentry).
If you're up against guys who know their business like semi-professionals or even regular soldiers you need to be razer sharp now as you are very vulnerable while a changing of the guard/sentry is going on. The body woken from sleep during the hours of 0300 and 0600 (darkest before dawn) will be at its weakest, adrenaline will counter this somewhat but not much. Pre-dawn raids by the police/army are done for this reason and this reason alone.

With a two man sentry watch this is taken care of one can leave his post while the other remains behind watching.
If your sentry teams are spread out annote on the stag list which sentry on the 2 man pair is to wake the next sentry team up. Otherwise you can have a totally unguarded camp if both sentrys decide to wake up the next 2.

Ideally to prevent the relieving sentrys position from becoming a blind spot the covering sentry can try pulling back to try and cover both positions.
If you only have one sentry then you can't really put him far from where you sleep unless you fancy a blind spot in the perimeter so have him at a vantage point if possible but close enough to call out softly, throw small stones, improvise a wake-up system etc

Attach a sketch of the area to the stag list and make sure everyone knows where everyone's sleeping and which person is which.
There's is nothing that can start a fight quicker than waking the wrong guy up for sentry. I've seen it happen, it's not pretty and can make bitter enemies out of friends in repeated cases.

Now being woken up in the twilight hours from cosy sleep after a hard days trek is an alien concept to those unused to it. Unless you've got a seriously hard-core team of ex-army guys and outdoor gurus you may have a big problem with getting your team to do this and running with it.
They might say and do almost anything to get out of sentry, from blagging it's not their turn, going back to sleep or even sleeping while on sentry out of sheer bloodymindedness. Having two sentries at a time keeps this problem at bay.
Don't kick anyone awake either, he may do the same to you when its your turn. A sharp loudish whisper at their ear usually does the trick.

Consider stringing out the route from the sleeping area to the sentry position with twine or a subsitute. That way it's easier to find your way in the dark. try and clear it of heavy debris. You don't want a relieving /commencing sentry to be tripping and stumbling around in the dark like a gimp.
Well, you can but it'll make a heck of racket at nighttime.
Having light to see by is debatable. Generally I'd say no as your a beacon. Having said that, it could be used as a diversion to see who is around the area.

Decide what you're going to do if something/someone approaches, typically this could be yelling and shouting while firing off whatever weapon you're carrying to discouraging them with threats and the like.
You may have a leader who gives out specific orders like wake everyone with a shout or shoot on sight.
You may have someone who loosely advises and plays the Reagan-hands-off-approach of letting you decide the right thing and do what is right.

Well, thats the basics and a few advanced bits thrown in.

This type of thing can be taken above and beyond simple camp watch to military spec ops include roving patrols, trip flares, passwords to come and go from the camp via the sentry points etc etc

[edit on 19-5-2008 by WatchRider]

[edit on 19-5-2008 by WatchRider]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 08:30 PM
Nothing more valuable than K9's. Their smell and visual, audible acuity blows anything else away. Necessary inclusion into any unit. IMO.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 08:42 PM
If you have access to a handheld digicam from someone in your group of 10 you could effectively use the IR 'nightvision' mode that comes with most models of camera as a surveillance tool. perhaps if you could adapt those travel/stick-on LED battery-power lights to emit IR light rather than visible light then they could be scattered around the perimeter to extend the range of, and aid, illumination for the digicam sensors.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 08:58 PM
Thats a brilliant set of points from you guys, I forgot about the night vision part.
I think they are available commercially these days pretty cheaply.
Might look into getting one

Do they rip into battery life??

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 09:01 PM
Hey WatchRider good thread, how much would a sentry detail differ if you walked through the night and rested through the day?
I used to do night shifts not to long ago and I found it suprisingly easy to get to sleep during the day, even with the sun beaming down onto me,
would resting through the day mean you could have 1 sentry at a time or extended times where maybe only 4 people stand sentry during one day then another 4 the day after?
This is something I haven't given a second thought TBH your expierience would be much appreciated.

I've seen night vision goggles that have a battery life of 24 hrs and run off 2xAA, not sure where I seen it though I'll do some digging and find out

[edit on 19-5-2008 by fred3110]

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 09:21 PM
Keep these good points coming guys.

Day night cycle versus night day cycle.

I did a bit of that on excercise, but we were active throughout the night and day, snatching sleep whenever we could.
From my offshore work when I was on night shift I did need only about 4-5 hours and by 1200 hrs from coming off shift at 0700 hrs I'd be up and about again. So yeah there are advantages on it.

Biggest flaw with it is that a daylight attack could overwhelm a sleeping camps sentry defences.

Day watch sentry have some advantages though, namely they can see what's going on more. In hellish climates you can be on the move in the night cool and rest and sleep comfortably without much shelter to worry about apart from sun burn etc.

BUT crucially, although you've now got a team resting in daylight when the'll need to expend more energy and effort if they want to be more hidden in the daylight, at night the natural darkness is a cover of sorts for the sleeping group.

The odds of their being many eyes to spot approaching danger now turned on its head to 1 or 2 sentries means a bunch of scavangers operating on a day/night cycle will be fresh and rested. If they attack with broad daylight to aid them seeing the camp the two sentries may be overwhelmed.

Also night marches/treks are a chancy business unless you've got a very experienced group with good gear. The risk of broken ankles when treking at night time becomes very real, all it takes is a tuft or rabbit hole and CRACK!
I know in the forces we never operated on the night active, day passive system.
But SF guys will, by the very nature of their work work on the system of the night active/day passive.

Speaking of which, my night active groove is on overdrive tonight! I'm off to my bed!
See you later for another saga in ATS Surv. Section

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 09:33 PM
reply to post by WatchRider

Thanks for the info WatchRider! I got the idea from Bravo Two Zero, I doubt in a survival situation I'm gonna be behind enemy lines so I'll stick to travelling through the day.


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 02:20 AM
The old low budget standards too. Perimeter set up with low zip lines and tin cans.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 04:21 AM
Sentry Force Multipliers: ( fixed location )

DOGS. Smell, Hear, See, Alarm, Point and wait further instructions.

12 volt night vision cams with AUDIO. RCA Plugs or RJ 11 phone jacks

12 volt CHEAPO microphones to a listening station. ( phone wire)

12 volt motion detectors from home alarm systems.( phone wire )

Old 12 volt radio shack IR beam entry alarms ( like when you walk into a store and break the lightbeam with your shins, it goes "beep" or 'alarms') Uses reflectors quite a ways away, or even a mirror. Can control an externalindicator light, buzzer, bell, bigger siren or fire strobe light.
Also will accept window magnetic contacts, or ols style foil tape.

Personal Panic alarms for like joggers.. pull the cord, it goes shrill.

hard wired, but remote on/off, 12 volt car headlight bulbs, around your position, 100 + feet out to backlight anyone approaching. Simply flip a switch. Pointed not in your eyes.

12 volt Psy Ops Speaker system.... LOUD Distraction, strobes ( when all hell breaks loose) Force Multiplier. Marylin Manson or Flight Of the Valkyries...Pink Floyd Baby screaming... WWII Sounds...

Now Comes the Night Vision. They do make IR LED's that run on 12 volts, and some will "Strobe" and fit on TOP of a 9 volt battery, run for 3 months.

the 2 lb test fishing line and tin cans idea was great... add pebbles. add Glass.

broken glass may be pleantiful, and its really crunchy when stepped on.

Rubber band, 2 clothes pins, fishing line and a pie plate alarm ( wind up the rubber band around the clothespin when it is released it spins like an airplane prop, hitting the pie tin. 2nd clothes pin is the trip wire holding the 'prop' in place. Louder if its 'semi free hanging', but not 'blowing')

Bucket o pea gravel, with a tin sheet a few feet under it. tips over when fishing line is pulled) Put some glass shards in there too.

Dead Skunk. No one goes near a Dead Skunk.

Raise BEES in Hives if possible. Ever try to "quietly" stop 10,000 bees?
I hate to run a trip wire to a hive, but I think a "manual pull rope " would be good to have too.

Geese and Ducks.... Food and Alarms. Chickens too I bet.

Dry Leaves and twigs spread about 'naturally' Loose tin and sheetmetal spread about if debris is "normal".

Overhead Observation, like a cheapo NV cam in a tree, or 3.

Coffee, No- Doz and Vivarin.

"Hunters Ear" or "Whisper 2000" personal electronic hearing aids.

Variable Pulsing strobe light to shut down 'others' night vision. IR would be preferred and would be invisible.

Ship to ship parachute flares when all hell breaks loose. No more sneaking necessary.


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 04:30 AM
Wow Blitz. Didn't think of half the things you did. You really thought this out. I want you on my side.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 05:52 AM
reply to post by jpm1602

A 'rabbit hole' does not have "sides", its perfectly round

Rabbits Roll with the Flow, and always have an exit.

They arent confrontational.

Trade ya Carrots for Beets.

Best regards,


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 05:56 AM
I hear ya bro. An icon would have said it all. But will try to fulfill t and c. Besides. I love hausenphefer! Bunny goooood withe dumplings and white suace. LOL.

[edit on 5/20/2008 by jpm1602]

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:38 AM
These are all great points and tips dudes, keep em coming

For a 2 man sentry watch, a good idea can be to have one sentry holding the light source (switched off) and the other with a projectile weapon. When they see something approaching -
Lights on by the first sentry dazzling the intruder, the second sentry can now either dispatch the intruder or verbally warn him for password, threaten etc etc.

When about to start sentry, having been woken up, keep a boiled sweet handy in your pocket to suck on immediately. This will help you focus, give you energy and clear away the slumper-effects of sleep. For folk unused to sentry duty this can be the difference between an alert sentry and a dozing one.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:46 AM
Nothing beats a full auto in the direction of tin cans tinkling. I know. Awful isn't it. But if a Stephen King scenario depended on survival...M.O.O.N. that spells lose the clip.

[edit on 5/20/2008 by jpm1602]

posted on May, 22 2008 @ 02:20 AM
I just re- read my Post, and realized that my neighborhood has REALLY gone downhill lately!

Seems like it was'nt this bad 2 or 3 years ago.

A couple more ideas and items:

"Hard wired" Comm system, between "sentrys" and "base camp".
Most FRS radios are easily "scanned for" and intercepted.
Most of us HAVE FRS radios, because they are sooo cheap , and some go up to 18 miles! They ARE NOT Secure!

Single Side Band CB radio may be better, and realtively cheap.
Definately cheaper than HAM, FM or UHF Radios... and those 3 are easily scanned as well. Lets not even go "Trunked", simply from a cost factor.

A set of 12 volt "Brake light bulbs" could be used as an alert as well, from Sentrys to "Base Camp" and I'm not quite sure how to go the other way without giving away your sentrys location, yet...

Something 12 volt that 'vibrates', and is not X

I think its pretty easy to run 24 volts to a regular land line phone, to just make the voice connection. I think you only need the 120 volts to make the phone RING. We dont want it to here we could use the 12 volt brake light bulb, as a "ringer", shielded , of course , at the sentrys location, as to not give the LP/OP away.

Anyone know how to 'rig' a telephone like this? Isnt it 24 volts DC?


EDIT ( Corrected most Spellin' )

[edit on 22-5-2008 by Blitzkreigen]

posted on May, 22 2008 @ 07:31 PM
This is the simplest method I can think of for a night-watch alert...

wooden sping-jaw type clothes peg
square-type 9v battery
bell-wire or other lightweight electrical wire
2X Brass drawing pins/thumb tacks
1cm sq. sheet of plastic or other non-conductive material
old-style camera flashbulbs (or whatever other electrically-triggered device you wish to use)
monofilament fishing line
matt black spraypaint

The trigger mechanism is straightforward: Take the clothes peg and push a small brass drawing pin into the inside surface of each of the jaws so the heads contact when you release pressure on the peg...using lightweight 2-strand bell-wire, or other scavenged wire attach one end of each wire to the drawing-pin contacts

(the easiest way is to fray the ends of the wires out so you have 1-2cm of bare wire and wrap it round the pin bit of the drawing pin before you push it into the peg)

attach one of the free ends of the wire to one terminal of the 9v battery, and the free end of the other wire to one of the terminals of the flashbulb...another length of wire connects the two remaining terminals on the battery and flashbulb creating the circuit

The tripwire: make a small hole in your plastic square and tie on a length of fishing line

spray the whole thing with black paint to camouflage it (ensuring that you scrape off any paint from the drawing pin contact surfaces)

If you place this across an access point thats being guarded, when the tripwire is knocked, it pulls the insulated plastic square out from the jaws of the peg, completing the circuit and firing the flashbulb...if you place and conceal the flash to be directly ahead of the path of an oncoming intruder it will be enough to temporarily stun and night-blind them and give you vital time to take the advantage whilst the intruder regains their bearings
(if you've ever had a camera flash gun go off in your face you'll know what I mean about the 'stun' bit!)

You could scale this up to include a battery-power personal attack alarm wired to go off as well as the flashbulb, or any other simple electrically-triggered device...a vehicle airbag mounted at the base of a tube and filled with pebbles, positioned and concealed in the path of any oncoming intruder for something more lethal perhaps?

posted on May, 22 2008 @ 08:10 PM
Hey citizen smith if I could just add on to your idea

This is more for a stationary base than a temporary camp

Adding a relay instead of a light/alarm would let you switch on a higher voltage system (if you had the power) which could be used to power perimeter floodlamps/alarms etc. Basically the same system on steroids.

again this would only be practical for stationary bases

posted on May, 24 2008 @ 02:34 AM
I'm not knocking your Relay Idea, as a matter of fact I need to think more about using relays for turning on VCRs' when motion sensors are tripped in my alleyway.

BUT... the reason I like 12 volt is that its UNIVERSAL, a car battery will run it, but there are also those small 7 amp hour batteries, like a home alarm backup battery, or a 12 volt rechargable light battery, and somes "kid cars" like the Barbie Jeep for example use the 12 volt batteries in series.

They are SMALL, easy to hide, they are GEL CELLS, and you could even put one on your belt, and use it to power a Q-beam with an IR lens cover if you wanted to.

I'm not sure 110 volt will be available in a sit X unless your running a genset, or your set up on Solar with inverters.

Just a Note.. Not a Bash.

Best Regards,


PS .. One more thing... on the Relays, they will also help with 12 volt systems, because you can run a small diameter wire to the 'coil' a long distance, and the 'heavy gauge wire' can be close to the battey and the "load". That should keep you heavy wires short, and allow even small gauge 'phone wire' to signal the relay to close? I think that will work right?

posted on May, 29 2008 @ 10:09 PM
If we were a group of 10, being followed by a group of 15, I wouldn't be sleeping! Not unless it was 100% safe and defendable. Obvious route is to draw them into an ambush.

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