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Old December 28, 2007, 01:56 PM   #1
ISC
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breaking contact

It's a familiar term to most folks here, even those that don't have any military training, but lets discuss it.

For a small unit breaking contact is always an option. The degree to which it's the best option will depend on alot of factors.

Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops available, Time available, Civilian considerations.

For civilians things are obviously different, but the basic tenets are similar enough that those factors can and should come into consideration when your making a choice to stand and fight, break contact, or attack.

I would suggest that in all but a few circumstances, advancing toward a threat is pretty inadvisable. Unless a loved one is directly threatened or help is not available in the foreseeable future, attacking is pretty much not an option I'd choose.

So the real choice comes down between defend or retreat. Of course there are a hundred different scenarios that could be discussed, but I wanted to hear some thoughts on methods of breaking contact to get away from a threat. Obviously laying down suppresive fire from a covered position while another team retreats to their new covered position to lay down suppressive fire for your team isn't a real option.

What are the considerations that you personally keep in mind when formulating a plan of action?
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Old December 30, 2007, 11:10 AM   #2
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Run!



No, seriously, like you said there are hundreds of possible scenarios. Depends if the threat has seen you, the terrain, your method of travel and the threats method of travel.

If you have been seen, get out of there fast, preferably while putting cover between you and the threat. Then I'd call in air support from my private AC-130 (It was expensive, but ultimately worth the money.)

If you haven't been seen keep it that way. That might mean retreating, or it might mean staying put behind cover and letting the threat pass. I would say staying put would be better if you are confident you won't be detected because it doesn't take you off the path to completing the mission.

If anyone has more specific suggestions I would also be interested in hearing them.

Disclaimer:
That is not experience speaking (unless you count video games as experience)
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Old December 30, 2007, 12:33 PM   #3
Lurper
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IC
You should be more specific in your definition of "contact". As in the military, avoiding contact is better and often easier than breaking contact. Depending on where you measure contact beginning from, as a civilian there is really no way to break contact once the fight is on. So for civilians, avoiding contact is much better than figuring out how to break it.
Do you measure from the time a threat is realized?
Or, from the time some type of altercation (verbal or physical) starts?
Or, from the time bullets start flying?

Each would be different.
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Old December 30, 2007, 02:16 PM   #4
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Yes, . . . awakened in the middle of the night, . . . sound of door kicked in or glass breaking: call 911, huddle in bedroom waiting for LEO's to arrive, . . . let perp(s) know my bedroom is a death trap for them, . . . and defend as needed.

Something happens in the Walmart parking lot that does not concern me, . . . I am one good witness, . . . probably nothing more, . . . especially if I do not know enough about the situation to 100% define the bad guys vs good guys. Yeah, . . . don't even make contact.

Get stuffed into a situation where my life is in danger, . . . the survival rule is simple: the winning dog is the one that gets the biggest, . . . the baddest, . . . the meanest, . . . the quickest. Advance? Absolutely! Anyone who causes me to unholster with the intent to do them serious bodily harm, . . . will get serious bodily harm, . . . as close as I can get, . . . and as many rounds as necessary to stop the threat. I have no qualms about answering the judge who asks me why I shot the perp 17 times: "I ran out of ammo."

"Contact" in the civilian world as often as not is every bit as serious as it is in Bhagdad, . . . therefore, . . . it needs to be answered like we are in Bhagdad or anywhere else bg's congregate.

The folks who don't have their head screwed on with the mindset to be bad, to be mean, to be deadly, . . . will be the ones carried out in the body bags. Therfore if "contact" comes, . . . meet it head on or run like the devil, . . .

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Old December 30, 2007, 03:26 PM   #5
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I definitely vote for avoiding contact with a bad guy. Obviously though, that's not always an option, or we wouldn't need CCWs.

The term "breaking contact" gives me a picture of a team technique. You would provide heavy (and hopefully accurate) covering fire to keep an attacker down(and not firing, or at least not accurately) while your partner withdraws. Then he provides covering fire while you withdraw, leap frogging him to repeat.

Failure to do this correctly could result in your attacker chasing you and shooting you in the back.

I don't see how that would work in a civilian world for three reasons. Danger to bystanders, limited ammunition, and the unlikeliness that you would have a trained and armed partner to coordinate this technique (these things require practice and teamwork).


It seems to me that a civilian has only two options:

1) Avoid getting involved in a confrontation, or diffuse it before it gets violent (again may not be possible, but it is certainly the best solution when it is a choice).

2) Once you are in an unavoidable violent confrontation, focus on an immediate counter attack with all available resources until the threat is no longer dangerous.
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Old December 30, 2007, 03:35 PM   #6
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If you think you may have to break contact be sure you carry PLENTY of spare ammunition organized for rapid reloading.
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Old December 30, 2007, 07:07 PM   #7
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scenario

I was a sprinter in high school and I'm still pretty quick for short distances, that's my first choice.
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Old January 5, 2008, 01:49 AM   #8
pfch1977
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The most politically correct answer here might be to huddle in the locked bedroom and call the police.

However, what sounds like the best answer on a message board is not always the best answer.

Lets say you are in your bedroom...there are a thousand what-ifs. First, would you be in reach of a phone and would it work? How far are the police in your area? How fast is the intruder moving?

Someone who has the courage to break into a home might not retreat easily. Even if they do retreat, there is still a great chance they will return at a later date. There have been many criminals who burglarize the same houses again and again.

I say that in some situations you might have to be aggressive and breaking contact is not a solution. In life, sometimes you have to face the threat. It is true that many officers are gunned down while they are hiding behind what they believe to be "cover".

So I say, depending upon the situation, hiding is not a good idea. Sometimes you have to step out and face the unknown. I feel a lot better facing the unknown with a loaded reliable pistol though.
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Old January 5, 2008, 01:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Yes, . . . awakened in the middle of the night, . . . sound of door kicked in or glass breaking: call 911, huddle in bedroom waiting for LEO's to arrive, . . . let perp(s) know my bedroom is a death trap for them, . . . and defend as needed
Probably a good plan of action if you get caught off guard.
but if you have multiple "dog alarms" like i do, the best plan is confront the threat early, before they establish a stronghold.
some times the best defense is a strong offense. scare em off before they gain confidence.
of course, if they "breach the perimeter" they are subject to the wrath of god......
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Old January 5, 2008, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Lets say you are in your bedroom...there are a thousand what-ifs.
Some of those what-ifs (like a phone or phoneline)are within one's control, many of the others (like police response) should be considered when a person puts together their home defense plan.
Quote:
So I say, depending upon the situation, hiding is not a good idea.
There are certainly circumstances in which a person is forced to take a less than ideal approach for one reason or another. But taking a less than ideal approach (while it may be necessary at times) is still taking a less than ideal approach.
Quote:
It is true that many officers are gunned down while they are hiding behind what they believe to be "cover".
First. I have never seen any data that supports such an assertion but I would love to. If you have some, please post it.

Second, confusing cover with concealment is a tactical error. Something that won't happen to an informed person within their own house since they have enough a priori information to determine what is cover and what is just concealment.
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Old January 5, 2008, 05:38 PM   #11
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Something that won't happen to an informed person within their own house since they have enough a priori information to determine what is cover and what is just concealment.

Made me think. I cant come up with any true cover positions on the main level of my house!
everything is just sheetrock.
Am i missing any?
tom
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Old January 5, 2008, 05:56 PM   #12
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In most homes with today's construction, . . . very little can be used for real cover.

A rock or brick face fireplace will stop most handgun rounds if you are behind it, . . . and as well, most of the heavier wood burning stoves. I am not sure there is a handgun that could shoot through both the doors and the back of my wood burning stove, . . . or through both sides.

A chest type freezer full of frozen food should do well, . . . but the side by side refrigerator/freezer would be iffy at the very best. Forget the range, the island, and the washer/dryer. They may deflect a round away from you, . . . but they could just as easy deflect one to you.

Doors, walls, closets, stairwells, are fine for concealment, . . . but they don't get any stars for cover. :barf:

I have only one secure cover area in my 2600 sq foot house, . . . and that would be if I were defending from the kitchen towards the outside doors. I would have concealment in all directions, . . . a field of fire towards the three most likely avenues of entry, . . . but it is only big enough for one. Yeah, . . . it's behind my big old wood stove.

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Old January 5, 2008, 06:06 PM   #13
JohnKSa
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Quote:
I cant come up with any true cover positions on the main level of my house!
Bookcases, mattresses, heavy wood furniture, especially if it is container type furniture and filled with substantial objects. Full Closets (LOTS of layers of cloth inside). Gun safes. Full file cabinets. Heavy doors. Some of the older style bathtubs.

You can also use geometry for cover. Things that can be easily penetrated with a direct shot will often easily deflect a shot fired at an oblique angle to the surface.
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Old January 5, 2008, 10:03 PM   #14
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Everything in the common household is made of something that a bullet will penetrate. I guess, almost everything. A burglar with a high-capacity 9mm will be able to shoot forever while you are hiding behind what you believe to be bullet-proof.

Hiding behind anything is better then nothing, I suppose. However, I believe being quick can be the best approach. Many times you hear about the soldier who dashes from behind a position on the battlefield which, at first, seems a little crazy. However, it would be crazier to pretend your position is bullet-proof and better to make the quick run to safety.

What is the moral here? I still dont believe that hiding and being scared of the threat is the best answer. It can be the best answer, but not all the time.

Of course, you want to play it safe, retreat and call the police. However, there are times when you have to do what you have to do...
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Old January 6, 2008, 08:11 AM   #15
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I covered the wall between the common room and master bedroom with slate a few years back for asthetics, never really considered that it acts as protection. Beside it is the kitchen - about the best cover in the house and floorplan-wise the spot to defend from.
The OP however asks about breaking contact. In civilian life, I'd say ASARP - As Soon As Reasonably Possible.
At home:
Political; Here in RI, I have little choice anyhow. We're not a Castle Doctrine state, so if my family is already out, I have to fly like a pair of panties at an Elvis concert or I could be in trouble.
Tactical; The home invasion reports I see around here usually indicate two or so perps. I'd rather be protecting my family than wondering if the BG has a buddy with an AK or shotgun.
Out of the house:
It's not worth it politically or tactically to do any more than defend and run. I could have been a cop, but chose a career where the pay was commensurate with sacrifice (or so I thought).
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