6 Essential Maps to Store Before an EMP

Rich M.
By Rich M. July 17, 2020 07:35

6 Essential Maps to Store Before an EMP

The US Army has a facility in Fort Irwin, California, known as the National Training Center (NTC). There are a number of other “National Training Centers” operated by various departments of the government, but it’s the one run by the Army that’s the most applicable to us. Army units are sent to the NTC to follow a schedule that’s planned out years in advance.

While there are many different lessons that the NTC is trying to impart to the units visiting there, the primary one is about reconnaissance – find the enemy and don’t let him find you. Many of the mock battles they run are all about figuring out where the enemy is and what they are doing.

Information is said to be the most valuable commodity on the face of the Earth. It certainly is at the NTC. Without fail, units that win the reconnaissance battle end up winning the battle that follows.

That same lesson applies to survival as well, even though death is the enemy we are trying to defeat. Information and knowledge are ultimately just as valuable to the prepper who is trying to survive, as it is to the general who is planning his strategy.

Some of that information can be found on maps, either those you buy or maps you should be compiling for yourself. There is a lot of information out there, which isn’t available on any map, but should be. And those maps must be printed, because electronic maps, especially those which are only available online, are going to be totally worthless to you in the wake of an EMP.

When There’s No GPS

We’re all so accustomed to using our GPS to get around now, making the same trips back and forth to the same places, that most of the time we literally have no idea what’s around us. Whereas there was a time when people had an encyclopedic knowledge of routes, roads and locations, most of us have trouble finding anyplace but our normal hangouts without asking Google how to get there.

You can hardly find someone who still has a road map in his glove compartment. When I moved to the city I now live in, I had to order a city map online. Even then, I had trouble finding one. Yet if an EMP were to take out the internet and our phone system, we would need those maps just to get around.

In addition to a road map of the city you live in, you’ll want road maps that cover the entire area you need to pass through from your home to your survival retreat, as well as the area around your retreat. Go for the maps with the most detail possible, so that you have the best information available. If you can find them, those book-type maps they used to print of major cities are ideal.

Topographical Maps

6 Essential Maps to Store Before an EMP

Topographical maps show different things than road maps do. While they will show roads, they do so without most of the name. So they can’t really replace road maps.

But they add a lot of information that you’re not going to find on road maps, such as terrain features, ground water and forests. The terrain features will help you identify mountains, hills, canyons and rivers.

Topographical maps are essential for off-road traveling. They show “jeep trails”, in addition to the terrain features. But it’s really the terrain features which are the most important. You’ll be able to see if there is an insurmountable cliff or riverbank along the route, essential information to avoid getting trapped traveling along a route which doesn’t give you a way out.

Topographical maps will also show you ground water that you might not otherwise know about. While lakes and rivers will usually show up on a road map, streams, ponds and especially canals won’t. So a topographical map will show you critical information that you need to know, in order to survive.

Related: Is It Possible to Make Your Car EMP Proof?

As Far as Food Goes

Many are planning on augmenting their food stockpiles with hunting and fishing; a good idea, if you can do it. But survival hunting isn’t like the sport hunting that many of us do in the fall. With survival hunting, there’s an imperative to bag something and to do so in as little time as possible. That means knowing where to go, so that you have the highest possibility of finding game.

That’s why you want to annotate the best hunting and fishing areas, which are within a reasonable distance of your home and your survival retreat. You’ll also want to note what sorts of game are available in each of those locations and any seasonal information about that game.

Fortunately, a lot of that information is available through your state’s Fish & Game department, as well as hunting and fishing clubs and online groups. What you’re really going to be doing is digging up that information and compiling it into a map that you can use.

Resource Maps

Another map of compiled information that you should put together is a resource map. Now, while things are okay, you’ll want to start seeking out the various resources which are available around where you live. I’m not just talking about the kind of resources you will need to have in order to survive, but also those you’ll need to help rebuild society.

Our cities are filled with warehouses that have essential parts, equipment, tools and supplies. Much of that will just end up sitting there, gathering dust, in the wake of an EMP. But if we are ever going to rebuild society in the wake of an EMP, then we’ll need to know what’s in those various warehouses. We’ll most likely find just about everything we need.

Keep in mind that most of those warehouses are metal buildings. That makes them Faraday Cages. So, even though our electronics will be totally fried by the EMP, there will be working electronics we can use, if we can generate electricity. We’ll just need to know where to find it.

Grab a phone book and keep it with this map as well, even though most of the names of the companies listed in the Yellow Pages will be so innocuous as to be worthwhile. But it might help you find some things that you don’t already have noted on your map.

Your Private Treasure Map

6 Essential Maps to Store Before an EMPIf you have supply caches (and you should), then you need to be sure that you have maps showing where that treasure is stashed.

You can think of this as your own private treasure map, showing where you buried your treasure.

Never build a cache, without annotating its location on your cache map, along with the landmarks you’ll need to find, in order to find your cache again.

Of all your maps, this is the one you want to guard the most, keeping others from seeing it. You never know who will remember what and go looking for it before you do. Better to not let them know it is there.

“Spiderweb” Evacuation Map

We all know that we need to have a bug out plan, including a route from our home to our survival retreat. But I don’t think that’s enough. The Air Force has a concept they use when planning covert insertions and bombing raids, called a spiderweb map.

It contains the planned route for the mission, as well as a number of alternative routes, including connecting legs from each leg of the main route to the alternatives, so that a plan exists to modify the route along the way, if that proves to be necessary.

Considering the high probability of serious traffic problems, as well as natural disasters taking out roads and bridges, it only makes sense to utilize the same sort of system in creating our bug out route.

We need alternatives for each leg of the route, along with ways to get from our planned route to those alternatives and back, should the time come. Each leg should be scouted, with potential dangers and choke points noted on the map.

That’s my list of maps. Are there any you’ve added to your collection, which I missed here? What would you do differently?

You may also like:

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Why You Should Think Like a Navy SEAL Instead of a Doomsday Prepper

How To Cook In A Cactus

15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t

Rich M.
By Rich M. July 17, 2020 07:35
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  1. Doc July 17, 13:53

    Very Good stuff and absolutely important to acquire.

    Reply to this comment
  2. OSUMike1965 July 17, 14:44

    Where can I acquire the 6 maps you reference

    Reply to this comment
    • Jim July 17, 16:31

      hi OSUMike1965, you can get most of the maps he lists at a good sporting goods shop or at a USGS office, also see my comment when it shows up

      Reply to this comment
  3. Survivormann99 July 17, 16:10

    I was with you until I came to “Keep in mind that most of those warehouses are metal buildings. That makes them Faraday Cages.”

    Please provide some factual support for this novel position.

    Reply to this comment
    • Reticent Rogue July 17, 22:23

      Rare, but could happen. Depends on a lot of things–what kind of metal, whether it forms a complete box, floor type and material and other things. One way to test is to take a radio, walk to a clear spot outside and tune in a station, then walk back inside and close the door. If you are still getting reception, it is not a Faraday Cage.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 17, 23:36

      Unfortunately, Rich’s articles are full of half correct statements. He just doesn’t do adequate research. He is good at starting a discussion which elicits the factual information that we all seek in following this list. For example, this article starts the discussion about which maps are good and are available from readers who have first hand or lifetime experience with maps and map reading.

      Rich’s comment is half correct. A metal building will ameliorate the effects of an EMP but spaces in the construction will allow leakage. According to Arthur Bradley, PhD who has done actual hands on testing with measuring instruments to determine how much EMP leaked through what kind of barriers and if the leakage was enough to cause malfunction of the device, it is not necessary for some types of equipment to block ALL EMF, it is sufficient to block enough so that the level of the force falls below the level at which damage is created.

      Of course the devil is in the details. How much blockage is sufficient to protect the equipment? Because we don’t know the answer to that question, we seek total blockage.

      An interesting side note to Dr Bradley’s experiments seems to show that ordinary duct tape actually sealed a garbage can Farady cage better than tape designed and manufactured specifically for that purpose. Oops ! Back to the drawing board, Boys.

      Thanks, Survivorman for raising a very valid question.

      Reply to this comment
      • Survivormann99 July 18, 01:32

        I do not regard myself as being an expert on EMP, but I do know something about the subject. The military goes to extraordinary lengths to build enclosures that are EMP-proof. Simple electrical wiring coming through the walls of the enclosure to power equipment within the enclosure presents special problems.

        Reply to this comment
    • bcrichster July 18, 21:22

      Everything is bonded to ground in metal warehouse building, including metal wall studs and roofing

      Reply to this comment
  4. ST July 17, 16:20

    I’ve been looking for a source for maps, specifically laminated maps, either spiral-bound or folding. I’ve owned a folder, and I’ve seen the spiral-bound, so I know it’s been done in the past. If anyone has any info, I would be grateful.

    Reply to this comment
    • bert July 17, 17:00

      Truckers atlas found at any large truck stop.

      Reply to this comment
      • ST July 18, 16:36

        Haven’t been to a truck stop in half an age. Strangest thing-there’s an LDS store a few towns away and just before reading your reply I was looking up the address. It’s a few blocks from a truck stop. Very handy, as I don’t have one in my city at all. Thank you.

        Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 18, 03:05

      I saw that metsker.com lists laminated road maps in my brief review of their website.

      Reply to this comment
    • Tom July 19, 11:54

      Consider laminating your own maps with laminating material purchased at WM, or an office supply store. There are office supply stores that can put your maps into a spiral bound notebook as well.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck July 19, 21:55

        We offered hot laminating as part of our printing service, so I know a little bit about lamination. The self-adhesive laminating sheets one can purchase at office supply stores are really nothing more than heavy duty plastic with an adhesive on one side. You will find that using a map with that kind of adhesive on it will get gummy using it in the summer sun in almost any climate.

        You can do basically the same thing with clear packing tape at considerably less money.

        If you want real lamination that will maintain its integrity in hot and wet climates you need hot lamination. For maps, unless it for a rigid map that you don’t need to bend, I would recommend no heavier than three mil lamination. Make sure that the laminar film has at least a 3/16 inch border of laminar film all the way around the laminated piece.

        If you flush trim the laminated piece, moisture will into the paper substrate and will cause delamination.

        Hot lamination runs into money because the material is expensive to start with and the bigger the piece, you guessed it, the more expensive the roll of material is.

        It will help a little to trim the unprinted border from the map before taking it to be laminated. A great many shops that have experience in laminating will not guarantee laminating a single piece

        If you understand the process, you know why. When I printed a run of menus that the customer wanted laminated I always printed extras. The customer had to allow five days between printing and laminating to get guaranteed bonding of the lamination. Trying to laminate pieces before the ink has thoroughly dried is an exercise in futility. Some of the pieces will laminate correctly and some of the pieces will delaminate in varying time intervals.

        When you walk in with a single piece that you want laminated the laminating machine operator has no real knowledge about the piece of paper, how long it has been since it was printed, the kind of ink used, how the paper has been stored since it was printed, a whole list of variables that affect the permanency of the laminating process. He doesn’t have any extras that he can test run to see how they stand up to the laminating process.

        There were some pieces that I just would not accept for lamination. If they were one of a kind, irreplaceable items, I would not accept them. I would recommend that the customer get two pieces of plate glass and seal them in the glass with duct tape along the edges. I have had customers come back and tell me they went some place else who accepted the piece for lamination and ruined it. Too soon old — too late smart.

        On any single piece of laminating we accepted for lamination I had the customer sign a release for damage to the piece. A large piece of paper that has been folded has a tendency to start to wrinkle along the folds as it goes into the pinch rollers that apply the laminating film. Once the wrinkle starts, there is nothing that can be done to stop the wrinkling. Part of the piece being laminated is already sealed in the film. If you stop the rollers, the remainder won’t be laminated and with some extra work you might be able to keep the wrinkle from becoming worse and finish laminating the piece with a double layer where the material had already gone into the pinch rollers. Once a wrinkle is laminated into the material it is impossible to get that wrinkle out.

        You can protect maps the same way they were protected before plastic laminating was available. That is with clear shellac. You get a pint of clear shellac if the paint store sells that small a quantity and you just paint the shellac onto the item you want preserved — both sides. I recommend three coats of shellac in order to insure a complete covering. Be sure that the edges of the piece are completely covered because if there is a spot that is uncoated with the shellac you can be sure moisture will find it and start to deteriorate the coating.

        Hope that helps with preserving maps for future use. By the way, it also preserves the map from insects that like to nibble on paper. Somehow they don’t like the taste of shellac and won’t nibble on it. At least that has been my experience to date.

        Reply to this comment
  5. left coast chuck July 17, 16:20

    Delorme offers topo map books for each state. They are not always in stock but can be ordered. It is handy to have them for each of the states you might be passing through to your bug out location. Or just to have them in case your bug-in location becomes untenable.

    You can still obtain state wide maps from each state’s visitor bureau if you write to them and ask them for a copy. Again very handy to have for states adjacent to your own. Also handy to have to avoid major towns. While the rioting in Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis took center stage, I was surprised to learn there was rioting in Reno. Who knew? I never thought of Reno as a hotbed of leftist terrorists. Handy to have a map that would let one take side roads past Reno if there are any, heading east.

    If you have maps from ten or more years ago, they are more valuable than many new maps. I have found that the newer auto club maps are skipping a lot of detail about smaller roads that they used to include.

    Folks are using their GPS on their phones these days for local detail and don’t need (or at least don’t think they need) the fine detail that city maps provide.

    Of course in a world of ever increasing expense, it’s cheaper to print out a map that only shows the main roads. Heck, I don’t need a map to drive I-5 to Oregon or Washington. If you need a map for that your mommy shouldn’t let you outside by yourself. What I really want is a map that shows the little side roads just in case perhaps, maybe I-5 is jammed shut with stalled cars or a dropped overpass — or a National Guard roadblock.

    As has been indicated in stories, GPS oftentimes is wrong. My brother and I were driving on I-10 to Blythe, CA. We were passing through Whitewater which is just west of Palm Springs. Suddenly the GPS said to take the next offramp. Well, early in my career I covered all the justice courts in San Bernardino and Riverside County and spent a lot of time driving to garden spots like Needles, Blythe, Earp, (yes, there really is a wide spot in the road named Earp) Ludlow-Amboy, 29 Palms etc. I knew that was not the way to Blythe. My brother was dubious but followed my directions and we arrived in Blythe.

    Later when I got home I got out my maps and traced out the route that the GPS probably was going to send us, up through Yucca Valley and 29 Palms to bring us back to I-10 near Desert Center. It must have been a route that was a couple miles shorter but certainly wasn’t the quickest way to the junction of I-10 and Desert Center Road. It probably would have taken us at least another hour and a half to go that route as opposed to just following I-10. There really is only one road directly to Blythe and that is I-10. Even the route up through Yucca Valley eventually returned to I-10. There aren’t even any jeep trails to take that go all the way. They mostly deadend in some canyon camping spot or mine shaft.

    It would be a good route to follow if I-10 were blocked between Palm Springs and Indio and one wanted to avoid that blockage but a paper map would reveal that route just as well and also have side roads in case the secondary route was also blocked.

    Especially if your route is going to be taking you through the vast expanses of empty, semi-arid land in the West, a topo map is really important as it shows water courses and water bodies that the auto club map doesn’t show.

    Reply to this comment
    • ST July 20, 17:56

      I’ve found errors with GPS-based navigation many times. If that happens the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area on an ordinary day, I can’t imagine relying solely on GPS in unfamiliar territory, or wilderness, or under duress.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Jim July 17, 16:27

    hi… another great map to have is the USFS resource map…you can get them at the USFS district offices. they have the latest, most current info on them such as logging cuts areas, new roads, basically any new development w/i the last 6 months or less… case in point I used a topo map one year to plan an elk hunt with a buddy. We followed the trail for 2 hours and several miles(mostly uphill) back into our “ideal” hunt spot, only to walk out onto a new road that led right to our hunting spot and half of the area had been just logged!!!! moral to the story, we saw some nice country on our hike, and the walk back down the road was easier and faster…and no, the elk were long gone…

    Reply to this comment
    • Tom July 19, 11:58

      Also maps available from the BLM. NO, NOT THAT BUNCH OF HOOLIGANS, the Bureau of Land Management.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck July 19, 22:00

        A relative of mine always obtains BLM maps for areas where he plans to hunt. That keeps him from accidentally straying onto private property that might not be properly marked or had the signs destroyed by one means or another.

        They are also handy for making public property as opposed to private property. In an EOTW situation, a private property owner might find your presence on his land objectionable.
        Hopefully he won’t be like a few followers on this list and shoot first and ask questions later, but will suggest that you would be better served on public land. Having a BLM maps and following it will limit those types of stressful discussions.

        Reply to this comment
  7. Rick July 17, 16:48

    physical maps are a crucial piece of equipment in times of ugliness. I find the best maps for me are metzger maps. they are waterproof and extremly accurate. sadly they for some reason are no longer printed but are tits up for finding those off road hideouts. main highways down to hiking trails. I fortunatly have one of my complete state and one for every county here in my state. I own a magellan gps for my car and a garmin hand held gps that I have owned for 4 years and have yet to use it and have only used the one for my vehicle twice in the six years I have owned it but I keep them both updated just in case. I grew up with maps {paper} as the only way to get unlost or delostified. seriously, paper, physical maps can always be relied on in a crysis and deserve proper sensible care of. In my opinion they are better than gps, or even a busload of scout leaders! Dont even think about it! they are with and as highly protected as my firearms and ammo. my gps units are mainly decoys to also keep searching eyes from finding my real treasures. and remember one is none, two is one. at 64 I do not own any property or the ability to bug out far from home but there must be a hundred thousand mines here that could be used as bug out shelters for long term or short time hideouts. stay healthy and safe all.

    Reply to this comment
  8. bert July 17, 16:57

    Plat maps detail property lines within a county. Its good to know who is next door. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lea July 17, 17:57

    Maps are pretty worthless unless one knows how to read them. Also, if I am going to use topo maps, I also want to be able to use a compass. So, learning how to read a compass in conjunction with the map is crucial.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Lil July 17, 18:10

    Another kind of map would be one listing utility easements and rail road tracks. If it has seriously hit the fan they may be the best way to avoid the sheeple on the raods.

    Reply to this comment
  11. TNTCrazyLady July 17, 19:25

    Some other maps: Arroyo (found in the southwest open concrete watercourses for channeling rain/runoff/flood waters); open space, state & national parks and wilderness areas; fire road*and fire break) and of course hiking trail maps.
    Someone already mentioned utility right of ways; don’t forget waterway, reservoir and irrigation (many are county irrigation trenches) maps.

    Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck July 17, 23:45

    Just for the heck of it, I searched Metsker Maps. They have a big billboard on their site saying that they are open again. They have an impressive list of maps on their site, including Forest Service maps for some western states and they have quadrangle maps that cover four USGS maps. Handy.

    I would recommend going to metskermaps.com and checking out their inventory.

    They also have foot trail maps for the western states and maybe more, I didn’t spend a lot of time reviewing all of their stock.

    Reply to this comment
  13. left coast chuck July 17, 23:57

    Correction: It’s metskers.com. I originally typed in metskersmaps.com and metskers.com was one of the sites that came up. The OP was correct, Metskers Maps is gone. Amazon has a Metskers Map for counties of the Pacific Coast but it is from January 1950 and is just a tad out of date because in 1950 the freeway system in CA at least was just getting started. In 1955, the 101 Freeway was only complete from Anaheim to downtown LA. I know because every Friday night when I didn’t have watch I was riding with someone from Mainside USMCB Joseph H. Pendleton who had a car on liberty in LA and we could pick up speed once we got north of Anaheim. Up to that point it was two lane road. In fact the stretch of road from San Clemente to Carlsbad was known as Suicide Alley with folks, many of whom had indulged in perception altering beverages driving on the wrong side of the road with horrendous head-ons. It was the deaths of several of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans’ adopted kids who were killed returning from a church outing that lead to the demand that the road be upgraded to a divided highway in that stretch.

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  14. TimthePrepper July 18, 00:38

    Something to add to your maps, and you allude to it, is no-go territory. You may want to annotate areas to avoid, choke points along routes, expected and pre-scouted remain overnight locations. But this was a great list!

    Reply to this comment
    • ST July 20, 18:04

      My area is a choke point full of choke points, which also have some choke points inside their choke points. I hope to be moving soon. In the meantime, I study local maps often, even though I’m a local.

      Reply to this comment
  15. bubblesdlux July 18, 00:56

    I know that most counties in Texas have the county roads mapped out. Just ask at the county clerks office. They used to give them out free, but with a lot of court houses closed these days, call ahead. Usually free if you are a county resident or new to your area. Just ask.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Oldprep July 18, 01:40

    Hardcopy maps, of course, carry all the benefits discussed above. But what if one does not have maps, or even a compass? All those things can be replaced, to a degree, with celestial navigation. Not as accurate as GPS, but with very careful data collecting it can get you within ¼ of a mile of your actual location.
    Problem is; celestial navigation requires a number of items that virtually no one would have since it’s been replaced with GPS. For example; a sighting device like a sextant, a reference book called a Nautical Almanac that lists the position of all the most commonly used celestial bodies for a given year, a mathematical reference book called an HO249 that gives you the answers to all the spherical trig calculation one might need, an accurate chronometer (or even a watch) that knows absolute time to within 1 second, pencil & paper & sight reduction form. + about an hour or two of time, if one knows what they are doing. I list these things to underscore how lucky we are to be living with GPS.
    Since it’s highly unlikely anyone would have all this stuff plus the knowledge to use it, there are a few short cuts one learns along the way.
    • North Star, Polaris (only visible in the northern hemisphere). On a reasonably clear night it can be found off the end of the big dipper. If you’re not familiar with it, look it up now while you still have the internet. While looking at Polaris, draw an imaginary vertical line down to the ground. While looking at that line straight ahead, you can now visualize an imaginary compass around you. Does not tell you where you are, but often times, just knowing which way to go solves half the problem. Polaris is actually ½ degree off true north, but that small error is usually more accuracy than one on foot needs. If one has a way to measure the angle between Polaris and the flat horizon, that number is your latitude. Knowing that, can track your progress moving north or south. One degree of progress is 67 miles, plus or minus 33 miles to account for the 1/2-degree error in Polaris’s location.

    • Sun. This works on a reasonably clear day when the North Star doesn’t. Most of us probably know that it rises in the east, reaches its highest altitude at local high noon, then sets in the west. Therefore, the Sun can be used like a crude compass and clock during the day. Yes, we all know not to look directly at it. If one has a working time piece (watch), it might be good to reset it to your local time, because that’s what really counts in the wild. Being set to your local time zone could have an error of ½ hour or more. To do this, place a stick in the ground a few feet high, in the sun. As local high noon approaches, place a shorter stick in the ground at the tip of the shadow. Then every 5 (or whatever) minutes, place another short stick in the ground at the new shadow tip. Repeating that process, you’ll notice that the location of the sticks plots a curve as time passes through high noon. At the low center of the curve is local high noon – and due south. For best accuracy, your common sense will guide you to the best length of the main stick, which will vary with your latitude and time of year. This will also track the progress of your east or west movements. Leaving your watch set to your local high noon, some days later measure your new local high noon position, and then compare the time difference to your original position. One hour = 1,000 miles, 5 minutes = 83 miles, 1 minute = 17 miles.
    Yes, these are crude measurements compared to what we have now, but if that’s all you’ve got, and you need to know, it could be a life saver.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 18, 03:16

      All of the above is the principal reason when my brother and I owned a boat we never took it out of sight of land. It’s also the reason the navigator on ships before LORAN and RADAR and the other electronic navigations devices was one of the most important people on the bridge.

      There is an old WWII joke about a bombing mission over Germany and the whole flight time from assembly in England, the navigator in the lead bomber was figuring and shooting sightings and figuring and the flight commander was getting impatient as they should be approaching the target area. He snapped at the navigator, “Lieutenant, give me your best estimate of where we are.”

      The navigator replied, “Sir, my best estimate is that we are over Omaha, Nebraska.”

      Reply to this comment
      • IvyMike July 18, 23:18

        My Dad was a B24 gunner, he said their navigation and bombsights were so great they must have crippled German Agriculture because they bombed hay fields about as often as they bombed the actual target.

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        • left coast chuck July 19, 22:52

          IvyMike: In defense of all the WWII navigators, with all the ME109s and The Fock-Wolfes whose numerical designation I forget right now, trying their damndest to knock you out of the sky before reaching your target and with the German 88 gunners on the ground doing the same, I can imagine it might be just a tad difficult to concentrate on the math involved in figuring out just exactly where over Europe you might be at that particular moment.

          It wasn’t until we invented drop tanks for the P-51s that we had fighter coverage all the way to Germany on the bombing missions. That didn’t happen until late in the war.

          “Sir! I’m sure we’re over Germany.”

          “Okay, get rid of the bombs and let’s get the hell out of here.”

          Is a script that more likely than not took place on more than one occasion. It took incredible concentration and more bravery than I think I might be capable of to fly to target through all the German defenses, then assume a direct, non-wavering path to target on the bombing run and hold that course until release of the bombs. The only wonder is that more of those incredible boys and men didn’t come back in worse shape than they did.

          Reply to this comment
          • IvyMike July 20, 00:29

            The Edward Jablonski book “Flying Fortress” is the definitive work on the subject, and one of the best books on war. I think The History Channel stole the format for some of their really good early work from the book, a good dose of technical and historical info and incredible accounts, often 1st person, of the missions. My Dad had me read it when I was in Jr. High, he said everything in it was true except for the claim that high altitude bombing was ever very accurate, the technology wasn’t there yet.
            Everybody serving in the USAAF was a volunteer, just imagine..

            Reply to this comment
            • Survivormann99 July 20, 02:39

              While it is called “The Greatest Generation,” the fact is that 2/3 of those who served in World War II were draftees. In order to avoid the draft, men often enlisted in the Air Force or Navy, rather than find themselves in combat in the Army or Marines. In general, the Army Air Corps offered a much safer way to serve.

              The Air Force has always been able to obtain recruits. It is always funded at the highest levels that are the envy of the other branches, and the Air Force is easy service when compared to the Army or Marines.

              I served in the Marine Corps. In 1971, Marine junior officers were driving 8 miles to Kadena Air Force Base from a dump called Camp Hague in order to stay in a former Air Force Bachelor Officers Quarters that was condemned. Say that slowly: In a former Air Force Bachelor Officers Quarters that was condemned.

              My hat is off to the air crews in the 8th Air Force in World War II, however. It is not commonly known, but the casualty rate of the 8th Air Force in Europe was higher than the casualty rate in the Marine Corps. Of course, the casualty rate in the Army Air Corps overall was much, much lower.

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              • IvyMike July 21, 00:32

                True that, ironically there was a big waiting list by 1944 to get into the AAF, as American infantry casualties exploded from The Bulge and idiotic offensives like Hurtgen. Ike had all the AAF hopefuls transferred to infantry/combat/Europe as replacements. Poorly equipped for winter, with little or no training, they died like flies.
                There were a lot more ground crew in AAF than flight crew, Dad said in the London bars Infantrymen on leave would start off wanting to fight him, when told he was a B24 tail gunner they bought him drinks instead, because he was a fool and doomed.
                Ha, in WW2 even the Marine Corp ended up being replenished by the draft. Most guys of the greatest generation stayed home making good money, which is what Roosevelt wanted as the world destroyed itself and we came out on top.

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                • Survivormann99 July 21, 15:23

                  “with little or no training, they died like flies.” Wouldn’t they have had as much training as any other soldier coming out of basic training?

                  “Most guys of the greatest generation stayed home making good money.” Yes, every time I hear someone saying that their dad, granddad, or whatver did his part by turning a wrench on bombers, I say, “BS.” He was escaping active duty and getting paid well for it.

                  For males, only those who were too old, too young, or who suffered from some sort of disability are entitled to say that they did their part while staying home.

                  I would be more impressed by such a claim if everyone who stayed home worked for military wages at the time, and if corporations were held to a strict profit margin..

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                  • left coast chuck August 4, 05:20

                    I don’t know when the army switched training everyone to be as infantryman, but sometime after WWII, the army gave no infantry training to soldiers who were destined for jobs other than a combat arm. My cousin joined for whatever the army called its financial arm. He was an accounting clerk stationed in Hardy Barracks in Tokyo in June of 1950 when he found himself suddenly in a line drawing infantry gear. It was the first time since he had held up his hand and said I so swear that he had had a weapon in the “New Army”.

                    He soon found himself on an airplane with a bunch of guys he didn’t know heading for Korea. He landed and they were assembled into “an infantry company” and headed toward the north. He had previous firearms experience which is why he had to join the army in the first place, so at least he knew how to load and fire his weapon which many of his fellow “infantrymen” didn’t know.

                    That long preamble is to support my supposition that in the exigencies of wartime, troops slated to the AAF probably didn’t get any infantry training and may not have even handled a firearm in military life before they were thrown into battle as reassigned infantrymen. I don’t know that for a fact. I do know from my reading that towards the end of the war many men went overseas with considerably less training than troops earlier in the war, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if I were to read that AAf recruits, draftees or volunteers received little or no infantry training training before being assigned to a combat unit.

                    It is only the Marine Corps where every man is a rifleman first and your MOS if not 03xx is secondary to your primary role as a rifleman. Every Marine has received rifle instruction before he graduates from boot camp. If he is somewhat deficient, he will receive personal attention from the drill instructors assigned to his platoon as they are graded specifically on how well their platoons do on the rifle range and recruits are rigorously encouraged to, at a minimum, qualify. The old scores used to be 190=marksman; 210=sharpshooter; 230=expert out of a possible of 250.In order to “qualify” one had to at least shoot marksman. I don’t have a clue what scores are necessary for those standards of shooting in the New Corps.

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  17. Govtgirl July 18, 19:41

    Love this article. I have a question. I have used Forest Service maps before for fishing. There have been a lot of articles on bugging in or not, but I don’t recall reading much about how safe forests would be in a SHTF situation. The right location and you’d have fish, game and water. Is it a good idea to load up on those maps and scope out a few places or would the forest be filled with nervous trigger-happy folks? Have read about groups of Jewish folks in Germany and Poland hiding out from the Nazis. What do you think? Thanks.

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    • Survivormann99 July 18, 21:02

      I’ll take a shot at this. To be very upfront, my opinion is mostly conjecture, which is probably about what 75% of the views expressed on the internet are. I haven’t “walked the walk” on this subject.

      If you have decided to bug out, it seems important to ask what specific calamity is involved. If you are leaving your home because Civil War II has broken out and it is too dangerous to remain in your neighborhood, that is one thing.

      If you are bugging out because an EMP has taken down the grid and the urban landscape has turned “all Mad Max,” and it is dangerous to remain in your neighborhood that is an entirely different thing.

      In the first situation, you can expect many more people to have made it as far as you have. You may have even driven to your location in a comfortable RV (as they have, too.)

      In the second situation, although there is wide speculation about the effects of an EMP strike, it is likely that fewer people will have made it to a remote NFS location because they were forced to travel on foot and could only haul so much on their backs, carts, and such.

      What type of geography exists at this NFS location? In Appalachia, there is plentiful water, but the climate, at best, is moderate. In Wyoming, water is plentiful in some places, but the winters are brutal. What sort of shelter will you use? An RV, a tent, a hastily constructed primitive shelter?

      There is plenty of NFS acreage in the Southwest, but there is a dearth of surface water in most places, making that land questionable for very long usage, at best.

      How about the amount of game and fish in the area? Fish need either natural lakes or free-flowing streams in which to survive. Mere seasonal run-off is a non-starter for a fish population.

      As for the game, such things as hunting season and daily limits won’t apply. As a result, the game population will be quickly depleted unless there are very few people in your area.

      Lewis and Clark traveled across the vast American West in the early 1800s. Only American Indians and a few French trappers had left their footprints on this land, and the amount of game spread across the expanse was only minimally impacted by the American Indian population. Yet, the expedition would have starved had it not been for one type of food–dogs. Those in the expedition traded things with the Indians in exchange for dogs. Lewis wouldn’t touch dog meat. Clark and the rest of the men, however, preferred the taste of dog meat to venison.

      In reality, most Plains Indians themselves found themselves in a touch-and-go situation when it came to starvation in even normal winters.

      After the Little Bighorn fiasco, Gen. Sheridan went after the Sioux the next winter. He figured out that all he had to do was to locate their encampments, attack them, and drive them into the forests. He figured out that after a few days, they would come back into camp and surrender because there was insufficient things to eat in the forest in the winter. He was right. (Some of those Sioux who had fought Custer then turned around and scouted for the cavalry in running down the Nex Perce, but that is another story.)

      The point here is that unless you can haul enough food and important supplies to an NFS location, you will probably not be able to live there very long without serious re-supply. IMHO, too many armchair survivalists have an unrealistically rosy view of their outcome if they make this choice.

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      • Govtgirl July 19, 05:48

        Thanks, Survivormann99. That sounds like very down-to-earth reasoning. Left Coast Chuck has given me a couple of practical ideas like trading work on a farm for room and board and that if SHTF there will be many empty places to potentially hole up in. In the meantime, laying in supplies and skill-building is the best we can do.

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        • left coast chuck July 19, 22:27

          GovtGirl: Do you hunt and fish now? If you are an experience hunter and fisher, you might make it in a National Forest. If you are planning on O.J.T. to get you through the first winter, I would say your chances of survival are bleak.

          There are classes for women to teach them how to hunt and fish in the PDRK — whodda guest? The PDRK? Really? Yes, for real. They are sporadic through the year depending on hunting and fishing season. If you would like, the next time I get an e-mail about one, assuming they haven’t stricken me from their e-mail list for non-response, I will post it on this particular map article, so occasionally check back towards the end of the remarks to see if I have posted the info. If you don’t see it, that means they have de-listed me. It might be a couple of months until deer season is looming on the horizon before they offer another class, so it won’t be in the next few days.

          How close the forest is to an urban area also will influence how successful you will be in living off the land. During the Cuban missile crises a colleague of mine told me he was going to head up into the San Gabriel Mountains just outside Los Angeles if we were attacked by atomic missiles. I think I put a touch of realism in his plans when I asked him how many other Angelenos he thought he would encounter in those same mountains. The hills would be alive but it wouldn’t be with the sound of music. There would be an inexperienced “hunter” behind every tree and bush blazing away at anything that moved or made noise.
          I once asked another work colleague if he had any success on his deer hunt. He replied that he hadn’t gotten an animal but he had a couple of good sound shots. Say what? “You know, I heard a deer in the brush and got off a couple of good shots at the sound.”

          Made a mental note to never accompany him on a hunting trip. And to also make sure I wasn’t in the woods any time he was.

          So if you are not Survival Lilly, a German lady who has a series of U-tube survival tips and hints, and are not already skilled at living off the land in a forest, then you need to immediately get busy developing your mountain woman skills, learning which plants are edible and which are poisonous. If you don’t have a hunting license, sign up for hunter training and start hunting everything legal in your state and perhaps adjacent states. If you haven’t ever fished, get a fishing license and hire a guide for your first few fishing trips and get busy fishing everything legal that swims in your state. If there are crayfish and frogs in your state, hunt the legal ones as frequently as you can. Get yourself some game cookbooks, so that you aren’t looking at a dead squirrel and thinking, “Now what?” Or a pot full of crayfish and thinking “Which parts if any are edible?”

          You might also research Survival Lilly on U-tube. The lady has an avocation of building shelters on video and other survival topics, and a whole long library of U-tube features on various survival techniques. They are interesting and they are informative, I recommend viewing her films if you aren’t already a fan of hers.

          Hope this dash of realism and suggestions helps.

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          • Govtgirl July 20, 06:05

            I am a good fisherman. I am not a hunter. Also have very low vision in left eye and very left-handed so sighting in on a target is problematic unless it is really big. I will look up Survival Lilly. Sounds very useful. Perhaps she and the books I have will show me how to make traps which I think if positioned in the right place might catch a critter or two. I agree it is unrealistic to think I could survive in the forest with my current level of knowledge and skills. Also I am really afraid of trying to gather food in the wild. All the berries look alike to me. Even experts collect then die from eating the wrong mushrooms. I look at the identification books then look at the plants and am just not sure and you better be or else. I guess we all watch those survival challenges and after seeing the “Oh, I don’t eat meat” females think we could do better. Another thing is the stress. The current situation with the triple whammy of disease, unrest and an election year is certainly wearing. Imagine not being able to lock a door. Even if we could find a cave, others would know about it. So, all I can do is learn and learn some more. My husband is a solid guy I can depend on in an emergency. All one can do is prep and pray you don’t need it.
            Thanks to Survivormann99 and you for the sensible advice.

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          • ST July 20, 18:01

            I’m in no condition to hunt. I can fish a bit. I mean to learn trapping, but that is all but illegal in my state, so practicing it is going to be difficult. I am still going to get some snares and mess around with them, until I can find a place where I can try them out.

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        • left coast chuck July 19, 22:57

          GovtGirl: PS: I think Survivorman99’s comments are really on point and well taken. I would concur with his evaluation of the two situations. Like they say about retail it’s all about location, location, location. Eastern Mountains, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho mountains, better chances of success.

          Mountains in more urban areas, the PDRK, Oregon, Washington, perhaps not so much due to large nearby urban populations.

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  18. tnandy July 19, 10:53

    I’m still back at “Who is going to be traveling anywhere after an EMP hit” ????

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    • left coast chuck July 19, 22:40

      I think that is a valid question.

      I think there will be a lot of people walking someplace right after an EMP. If you are at work and your workplace is some distance from your home will you attempt to get back home to your loved ones?

      If your Uncle Harry has a farm within a couple hundred miles and you and he have alway gotten along very well, would you try to reach Uncle Harry’s farm with your family after an EMP?

      Remember an EMP doesn’t affect people directly. There is minimal radiation due to the distance from the actual explosion. One doesn’t need a huge megaton atomic device to generate enough electromagnetic force to take out our decrepit, antique electrical grid and all the dependent sub grids.

      There will be lots of people at distant locations from their home making a concerted effort to get back to their loved ones and what they perceive as safety after an EMP.

      Most assuredly most of that travel will be on shank’s mare, but people have walked amazing distances to get back home. A group that comes immediately to mind is a group of German prisoners of war who escaped a Russian gulag and walked across Siberia to safety and eventually got back home to Germany. An epic walk if ever there was one.

      So to answer your question, I think lots of people will be moving about the country for quite a while after an EMP.

      Yes, unfortunately, a great many won’t make it for a variety of reasons, but I think most will try.

      Of course, if there is no one there at what you call home except perhaps the goldfish, then attempting to make it back there might be a waste of effort. On the other hand, if all of your preppier supplies and your main source of armament is there, why not try to make the attempt?

      If you are like so many people in the SoCal area and work in Los Angeles some place but live in the suburbs, bugging in in your place of employment might be akin to bugging in in a foreign country. In fact in some industrial neighborhoods, it might as well be a foreign country. You will be the foreigner there, so it might behoove you to bug home as fast as possible.

      Hope that answers your questions.

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    • ST July 20, 19:13

      One of the secondary effects of a disaster is structure fire. This can displace one person or an entire town. Those people will be traveling, if only to escape the flames and smoke. If the damage is severe, most won’t return anytime soon.

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  19. ST July 20, 19:15

    This is a map of disused rail lines. Some may find this helpful. Some lines cross creeks, ravines, and other obstacles and may still be passable on foot.


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