After last post and the video about Homs in Syria I received some more questions about how it felt in city under siege. So today I share some details about this kind of chaotic urban warfare situation.

When SHTF there might not be army outside shooting at you, but there might be gangs who prey on you to get your supplies. Being under siege feels like someone takes the ground away you walked on.

Nothing is like it was before. When you defend your home you need to have mindset change. Home is not cozy secure place anymore. Home is the place you chose to defend yourself and loved ones. You will feel very different about place you used as defensive base forever.

To stay protected or to try to protect against firing and shelling required some skill, knowledge and in lot of the times good luck.

I can say that at the beginning people acted very brave, but on the other side that was not courage, it was more like lack of knowledge how easily man can be killed. People went out like kids with water pistols only that getting wet might be own blood or blood of friend on you.

So i watched few times how man attacking another guy who is hiding behind some cover. Attacker is just running towards the guy behind cover and constantly shooting. Other guy behind cover just leans forward for second, gets timing right, and kills the foolish attacker.

When you have bunch of civilians with lot of weapons, some strange situations can occur. Remember i am talking about people that most of them did not know too much about war, fighting, tactics and everything else.

We did not had some smart philosophy of street fighting, especially not in the beginning. But as the time goes some of the obvious things get figured, or learned if you like.

If somebody wanted to attack someone who is inside house, most usual way was to use RPG or hand granades on some of the openings to shock people inside and create some shrapnel flying around.

In some other situations (quite often) guys used human shields to get to the house, lot of guys get killed because they thought it is not OK to kill some poor prisoner in order to defend house.

Imagine that three bad guys come towards you and they push two older woman in front of them. Terrible situations. After some time most shot at everything that looked suspicious… no matter what.

Most of the fighting in the city was like shoot and hide, fight while moving, like fighting with shadows, they are everywhere and each shadow can kill you. You often fight people who you do not even see good, so to walk or run lightly was key. Often you do not see enemy and shoot at whatever. Sounds bad but in lot of the situations very good thing was to shoot at anything that looks even close to suspicious, and in most of the situation not even stop later to check.

You never know how well you hit. Just grab your stuff and move. Move… move. I remember that. Always on the run.

Psychology in urban warfare

Fear was one of the greatest ally of fighting, so if one of the group wanted to kill or expel other group from some street, position or building. Usual method was to talk to them for hours over the megaphone device. Maybe from this perspective looks ridiculous but if you listen for hours or days for one and same story how you are gonna be treated good if you surrender yourself, after some time lot of folks are gonna start to belive in that.

Or in other case you may listen for an hours what that guys gonna do to your family and you if you do not surrender youself.

Hard to imagine how wrong things can be

After watching video of Syria and people in Homs some memories came back. It was good that Jay visited me for making the survival boot camp here and ask all those questions. Some dark memories hide deep inside of me. Not easy to get to them. But this is one that came back.

My friend got caught with his comrade in one house, actually two of them are left something like behind enemy lines, in basement of destroyed house. Enemy group, some 150-200 men was doing sweep trough that street, robbing, and killing civilians who had not time to run. He said to me that they spend two days in basement, covered with all kind of junk, watching outside trough small opening, few meters from opening was a corpse of girl, maybe 10 years old.

In order to see if somebody is coming to their basement, one of them needed to be constantly on that small opening, watching. He said he managed to watch atrocities that those people did to civilians and somehow push that deep inside his brain, over the time, to put these memories away. But to stare at dead kid, all the time, with her eyes wide open, blond hair, he almost lost his mind.

One of them had a pistol and few bullets, other one had a rifle , 30 bullets and homemade grenade (made from unexploded tank grenade).

They make agrement, if they see enemy is coming to the basement, they gonna fire everything and blow themselfs with that grenade. Nobody came in basement, burned house was not interesting for other guys. After two days enemy group just pulled back.

They survived war, both of them. One of them became drug addict, lived very fast few years and died from overdose.

Other man is still my friend, he is in mid 40ies, prepared, armed, strong, skilled. He have two kids, boy and girl, teenagers. Both of them know how to shoot, how to defend themselves.

I can only write here but reality is a whole different thing. Once things turn ugly, some things can feel so wrong they can not be understood or processed with normal mind.

Actually there is no way to deal with that, sometimes with friends we can speak about these things, sometimes we laugh, other times some of my friends are quiet for days, I do not know, I have periods like that too. I think none one of us is dealing too good with that, maybe pushing it away from time to time, I have for example some periods when I am too agressive, easy to explode, rarely, but I still have it.

While this site and my course is about urban survival I hope we all never have to go through this (again). But when time comes, I’m ready and you should be too.

This content was originally published here.