Gun and Game Forum banner
41 - 45 of 45 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Welcome to the Middle Ages, Witsend. That is exactly how the feudal system evolved. You had a strong leader (the baron) and his family trained to lead (the upper nobility), commanding a military force (the knights, the lower-grade nobility, as officers, the men-at-arms, trained peasants, as the rank & file) that protected the land and the people (the peasants, artisans, merchants, and late in the period, the yeomen, all commoners expected to do what they were told by the baron) as far as the leader could project force - usually a day's horseback ride from the castle (the fortress on the hill). It was the baron's job to protect the people, and to shelter them in time of war, and insure that they did not starve in hard times and the winter.

ncnascarlady and I have discussed her SHTF scenario (lately, it's been zombie oriented because trying to figure out how stupid people react has gotten a little close to home for both of us), which is built around taking over the local high school and fields adjacent to it, then building up the "barony" from there. This includes systematically stripping private residences of useful items, establishing warehouses and dorms first at the school and later at satellite locations, and putting up fencing to extend the area under control. The hardest part may be rigging up barns for the animals early on.

But then again, the medieval castles were not built overnight. Some dedicated historical re-creationists in France have been working at building a motte-and-bailey castle since 2001. After steady work using only hand and and animal power and a workforce a lot smaller than any medieval noble would have had available, 20 years of work has the ring wall complete and most of the bailey tower up. It would not take as long to make the high school over because we would not be bound by authenticity and would be working on grounds of what is expedient and works.

But I have a distinct feeling that many of the clowns who would be expecting to be succored by the people running the circus would not be happy at suddenly being reduced to the peasantry because they have no useful skills that would make them an asset in a SHTF situation where society had reverted to feudalism. See pages 135 to 141 of Max Brooks' classic World War Z. Among other things, Brooks talked about the significant differences between individuals classified as A-1 (possesses important skills vital to the war effort) and those classified as F-6 (possesses no valuable vocational skills). His character talked about having to deal with former entertainment industry executives rated F-6 who had been wheeler-dealers in the Before Time, and were being retrained as custodians for a munitions plant. They didn't like it much. That said, if things reverted to a medieval cultural model, there are options for dealing with them. The historical novelist Frank Yerby had his protagonist in The Saracen Blade, who married a dishonored daughter of the nobility (the twit was a follower of the Children's Crusade who was sold into prostitution and rescued by the protagonist and her elder brother), installed in a small castle and recounted some of his dealings with his peasants. One which stuck in my mind was a loudmouthed villein who thought the protagonist was too softhearted with his peasants and refused to render his service to the lord of the manor. Most nobles would have killed him in public pour encourager les autres, but the protagonist simply expelled him from the manor. Not having the wits to take up a trade, nor the courage to turn bandit, the villein nearly starved. He returned to the manor and begged his lord to take him back, and the lord did, without a word of reproach. The lesson was not lost on the other peasants. The protagonist had no further trouble with his peasants.

Spending some time reading up on The Age of High Chivalry (I would recommend starting with Will and Ariel Durant) might pay dividends for your post-SHTF survival planning. Just an opinion. I have maintained for decades that one reason the British lost the American Revolution was the fact the British leadership, especially the senior officers, thought that the typical Yankee Doodle was merely a more rustic version of the English peasant or at best a yeoman, a beast incapable of independent thought or action, a flesh-covered robot like the rank and file Redcoats they commanded. As we know, they were nothing of the sort. How did Ben Franklin put it in 1776? "We've spawned a new race here, Mr. Dickinson. Rougher, simpler; more violent, more enterprising; less refined." Those are the men and women who will become the nobility in the post-apocalyptic era, not the current plutocrats and upper-class snobs presently running things. How to deal with them is something all people who are making plans to live through the collapse of the interdependent internet ago should think about now, while there is time to research, consider, and develop protocols concerning them.
Hands down the best reply I have ever had in any forum. It's hard to fathom how it would play out in more modern times with modern man in particular. My guess would be that there would be a massive culling prior to anything functional. Lofty egos on lazy fools is gonna be a mighty big stick in the spokes of simple existence.

As far as castles go, that would only require inhabiting things already built. Those who are cunning and capable of self reliance would have, in my opinion, the only shot at survival. Which lends itself to a proper culling anyway.

It would be nice to believe that it wouldn't just go full circle and end up right back here in another five hundred to a thousand years. I imagine that is just wishful thinking. Those who just want to be left to their own devices have little interest in leading, whereas those who step up to lead (in society not so much in battle or strife) tend to be the ones who are controlled by greed and will inevitably bring this back around. I suppose it's why empires rise and fall. It wouldn't take a whole lot of good folk to take the world's population into a beautiful future with few limits. Unfortunately, as is currently readily apparent, it only takes a few evil folk to break it all apart.

Skills I got in spades, but I got a mean stubborn as well and will likely die right here in my home. Maybe as far as my front porch. I have no desire to leave and I won't hand over my sons future to these folks without a fight. The near future should be interesting if nothing else.
 

· Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
·
36,536 Posts
Not to be a naysayer, but a school would have quite a few negatives as a base of operations:
1. Many of them are already disaster shelters, so there may already be people, and a hierarchy there when you arrive,
2. Schools are a Point Of Interest, meaning many others will have the same thought as you, so even if you get control, you will have to fight to keep it,
3. Security would be tight early on because there are a lot of entrances and exits, and a lot of ground to cover. Fortification would be nearly impossible early on unless this is a ghetto school that already has metal grates over the windows, large walls and fences, and heavy chains on most doors. And if it has electric locks, you better hope the grid holds out or getting in and out can be a problem for you as well.
4. Schools are rarely in defensible areas with a line of sight. They are in neighborhoods, or on main roads, or tucked away on city land. What has to be cleared to create a fire zone? What has to be blocked to prevent access?
5. Depending on when your school was built, what are the assets and liabilities? Does it have a tar paper or gravel roof that will need specialized maintenance? Does it have a "hard site" like a storm shelter or fallout shelter? Does it have access to water? Does it have any type of insulation? What will you do for heat and ventilation? Access to water? Does the ground pert for septic/outhouse?


It would almost be easier to find an out-of-the-way field with good visibility, with access to water, and build an earthen-works fortified motte-and-bailey. Two-thirds of your security issues are sorted; it's off the beaten path, its not a POI, you have control of the entrances, and you can position it where you want.

If you want a pre-built building, and some security, you could go for an industrial park and have all the advantages of a school, but with lines of visibility, only one or two points of access, tools and equipment, and easy access for your trucks and containers, and maybe food and supplies. They tend to be largely ignored, and no one mentions them in these discussions. It is always a Big Box Store, a mall or a school that people choose.

What about your local Living History site, or outdoor pioneer museum? We have Heritage Village in Montevallo - a revolutionary war town reconstruction. We have Noccalula Falls with a pioneer village complete with furnished cabins, animals and barns as well as springs and creeks. We have several preserved Civil War sites. We have "Indian" villages. We have Horse Pens 40 - an old native campground with natural "pens" for animals, natural "walls" for defense, cabins, water, fertile land - and since it is practically on top of a mountain - security. We have Tannehill - a Confederate iron works with cabins, clean water, a museum full of tools, a working grist mill, a working blacksmith shop, a working loom, primitive kitchens, room for crops, and surrounded by mountains and farms. We have Homestead Hollow - an active pioneer village complete with small farms, a spring, a blacksmith shop, beehives, a working wood shop, a loom works, and kitchens, accessible only by bridge or by crawling over a mountain. Then we have cave formations that have been used as hideouts, homes, munitions factories and moonshine distilleries at various points in history. There are actual forts scattered around the state that were built by men who had already considered defense, logistics and necessary infrastructure.

Any one of these would be a better capital for a new feudal society than a school, and all the infrastructure is already there. They already have fences and walls, and gates. They already have access to water. They were already deemed suitable as places to conceivably live.

Schools tend to be built on land nobody wanted.
All good points, PHD, but things like Plimoth Plantation, Sturbridge Village, Colonial Williamsburg, the Saugus Iron Works, or places like Steamtown USA and the re-creation sites you cited for that matter are the exceptions. Sites like Fort Ticonderoga, ditto. Those would save a lot of work, but let's consider for a minute rural areas that don't have things like that.

I think your idea of taking over an industrial park is valid, but only up to a point. The problem I have with it comes down to what materials are used to make the buildings.

When I was growing up, there were industrial parks built for World War II that were still in use, though few were at 100% utilization of the buildings. The one I knew best was an annex of the old Fore River Shipyard in Hingham, MA. There was one insurance/salvage company that operated out of what had been, I think, a machine shop during the war. Another was a car restoration outfit in what had obviously been a repair garage for the trucks and tractors used around the shipyard. Both of these were poured concrete. There was another, a steel frame and corrugated steel building with railroad tracks leading into it, that had probably been used to put together either large equipment like generators or perhaps steam engines or marine steam turbines that was still in use. Sometimes the big door on the yard side was open and you could see the moving cranes up in the overhead. Its major failing that I could see was a complete lack of insulation in the walls or the roof.

There were boats the same size as New England lobster boats or ocean fishing boats like the ones you see on Deadliest Catch, all built of wood, none of which had been moved or tended to in years, in cradles along the waterfront fence. That yard might have been viable as a small seaport town/fortress, not least because it had river frontage and an abandoned boatyard.

At the same period, IBM built a manufacturing plant in my home town. All the buildings were steel frame and sheet steel walls, though these were at least insulated. Not too bad to heat or cool in the New England climate, but heaven help anyone trying to use them as a fortress! It was on a plateau at the top of a granite hill, with a layout amenable to beaten fire zones, but those buildings were indefensible. A car could punch through the walls and they would not stop a cartridge even in 5.56 Poodle Shooter. Too many of the modern industrial parks I have seen built in the last 40 years built as factories follow that pattern. Get past whatever outer defenses you could erect in the post-SHTF period, and an attacker would have it all.

If you can find an industrial park built of brick or concrete, you may have something, PHD. But how many of those are there, and how many of them have adjacent land you can use as pasteurage and fields for growing crops? I think that is the question here.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
23,326 Posts
All good points, PHD, but things like Plimoth Plantation, Sturbridge Village, Colonial Williamsburg, the Saugus Iron Works, or places like Steamtown USA and the re-creation sites you cited for that matter are the exceptions. Sites like Fort Ticonderoga, ditto. Those would save a lot of work, but let's consider for a minute rural areas that don't have things like that.

I think your idea of taking over an industrial park is valid, but only up to a point. The problem I have with it comes down to what materials are used to make the buildings.

When I was growing up, there were industrial parks built for World War II that were still in use, though few were at 100% utilization of the buildings. The one I knew best was an annex of the old Fore River Shipyard in Hingham, MA. There was one insurance/salvage company that operated out of what had been, I think, a machine shop during the war. Another was a car restoration outfit in what had obviously been a repair garage for the trucks and tractors used around the shipyard. Both of these were poured concrete. There was another, a steel frame and corrugated steel building with railroad tracks leading into it, that had probably been used to put together either large equipment like generators or perhaps steam engines or marine steam turbines that was still in use. Sometimes the big door on the yard side was open and you could see the moving cranes up in the overhead. Its major failing that I could see was a complete lack of insulation in the walls or the roof.

There were boats the same size as New England lobster boats or ocean fishing boats like the ones you see on Deadliest Catch, all built of wood, none of which had been moved or tended to in years, in cradles along the waterfront fence. That yard might have been viable as a small seaport town/fortress, not least because it had river frontage and an abandoned boatyard.

At the same period, IBM built a manufacturing plant in my home town. All the buildings were steel frame and sheet steel walls, though these were at least insulated. Not too bad to heat or cool in the New England climate, but heaven help anyone trying to use them as a fortress! It was on a plateau at the top of a granite hill, with a layout amenable to beaten fire zones, but those buildings were indefensible. A car could punch through the walls and they would not stop a cartridge even in 5.56 Poodle Shooter. Too many of the modern industrial parks I have seen built in the last 40 years built as factories follow that pattern. Get past whatever outer defenses you could erect in the post-SHTF period, and an attacker would have it all.

If you can find an industrial park built of brick or concrete, you may have something, PHD. But how many of those are there, and how many of them have adjacent land you can use as pasteurage and fields for growing crops? I think that is the question here.

Again, I am perhaps thinking more as a resident of Alabama. Our Industrial parks are often spread-out affairs with meadows or large green spaces between buildings, and acres of parking lot. Those historical sites I specifically named are all within a two hour drive of where I am sitting. with the farthest, Tannehill, being exactly 90 minutes away. I didn't even name all the other possibilities.

We have two different summer camps within a two hour WALK of here. Homestead Hollow is one town over. Horse Pens 40 is the next exit up on the interstate. Noccalula is four towns up. There's a horse farm that rents cabins two intersections north of here.

Alabama was frontier, the home of many of the War of 1812 conflicts, one of the early points of the Indian Wars and the Trail of Tears, a capital of the Confederacy, the base of operations for confederate iron-making (and the Pittsburg of the South - back when that was something to brag about), where Jesse James hit the Huntsville Arsenal and then hung out at a dozen preserved little communites throughout the state, part of the Cold War defensive line against Cuba with small airbases near almost every town south of Birmingham, we were the testing ground for the National Guard system, and at one time had more bases per capita than any other state, we're in a FEMA recognized tornado zone, so every single town has at least one storm shelter. Once you get down to the Black Belt, you start getting hurricane shelters and old fallout shelters, as well as several large FEMA bases.

If I get on I-59 and drive north for 90 minutes I will pass two living history sites, three battlefields, three Indian grounds, three iron works, 15 camp grounds with primitive cabins, four forts, a military base, and at least six old Army depots, and several thousand acres of farm land. If I travel 90 minutes south on 59 you could almost triple any one of those numbers and add in a spur line museum with a working steam train. If you do the same with I-65, it's even better with cave sites and Civil War battlegrounds. Hit 231 from here and it is rural lakes, cabins, parks, and old bases all the way to the Space and Rocket Center. If I travel on I20 Wes, it is old forts, Indian villages, Tannehill, caves and the University of Alabama. 90 minutes on I20 East takes you past military museums, Confederate iron works, the Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes plants, another living history site, a Jascksonville State's campus, the old German POW camp, several campgrounds, and still operating military bases.

In short, you cant swing a cat without hitting an outdoor "museum", a commemorative park, a fort, an old military base, a massive storm shelter, cabins, a pioneer village, summer camps, an Indian site, or a semi-abandoned farm. As far as that goes, I could turn right out of my driveway, walk to the end of the road, and be at a summer camp that was abandoned in the late '90s.
 

· The outer edge of civilization
Joined
·
17,030 Posts
I've scouted out the high school here and it's a lot more defensible than you'd think. The only thing that needs to be done is clearing the woods across the street to improve the sight line. Oddly enough, there's a cell phone tower on campus that would be great to turn into an observation station. It isn't on a main road by any means. It's more on the edge of a neighborhood with older homes, large lots and plenty of open land behind the homes. Beyond there is open farmland that can be annexed very easily.

Here's what the school has...

It has a vo-tech track so it's got a fully stocked wood shop, welding shop, nursing rooms that are set up as hospital rooms, and an auto shop. There's also an FFA (Future Farmers of America) set up including greenhouses and livestock equipment. Unfortunately it doesn't have livestock anymore but there is a barn that can be restored.

The building itself doesn't have tons of windows, and the ones it has don't open. There's a full natural gas appliance kitchen. As far as I know, the heating system for the building is also natural gas. Water is an easy walk to the creek that supplies the town's water system and it should be easy enough to create a pump system to bring water to the school.

There are fields around the building that are already fenced and ready for livestock.

There's more but I'm a bit foggy right now so I can't exactly remember it all...lol
 

· Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
Very interesting thread with a lot of great information. I have a horse and although he is now older and small he would do to ride in a pinch (I ride him now, just not all day long like I probably would when crap hits the fan). Have some chickens too, although I have to get another Great Pyrenees to replace mine that died of old age last year.
 
41 - 45 of 45 Posts
Top