After giving it some thought [to post-TEOTWAWKI retreat security], I think we need to study many of the homestead/farmstead
fortifications used during the [late 1970s] Rhodesian Bush War and to a certain extend in rural South Africa in the present day. Of course,
one would need to adjust for legalities so one would not be breaking any laws. - Lame Wolf
[JWR Adds: Lame Wolf also sent
us a great quote from a letter by "Rhodesian" that was first posted at the Small
Wars Journal (SWJ) web site. BTW I recommend the SWJ site--in particular their Reference Library pages--as a research tool for anyone seeking insight on retreat security and
living in turbulent times.]:
Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements
At every farm, defensive arrangements were made up to suit their particular situation
and infrastructure. The following would be a general overview:
1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside
of all windows. Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.
2) Many farmers built thick walls about a meter
in front of bedroom windows to stop bullets, but particularly to deal with RPG-7s. Beds were never placed against the outside
walls of a farmhouse.
3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until
support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside
through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.
Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact
with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which
would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal
rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It
performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers
to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.
all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems
built into them. Some I believe were electrified, if not before the end of the war, certainly afterwards. Within the fence
boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of
the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.”
Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood
lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the
6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military
men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was
also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members
of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully
fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within
immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.
7) Some farmers used mine
protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was
spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.
8) Some farm
gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in
areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions”
for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of
plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large
areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing
a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked
again had they been terrorists.
9) Some farmers also hired soldiers on leave to guard their premises at night. Usually
these were men looking for extra beer money. They were called Bright Lights [referring to the bright lights of Salisbury,
the nation's capitol, since most of these were "city boys"], and often ended up in fire fights with the terrorists, where
they came as a nasty surprise to the terrs when the latter were expecting a nice soft hit and run. Like all farmers in an
area, Bright Lights would participate in the support of other farmers when the situation required.
10) Good relationships
with farm labour, particularly the house staff, very often warned of problems before they occurred. All of us who grew up
in the country have fond memories of those employees who took care of us as kids, and who often placed themselves at great
risk for doing so.