We could write volumes on this subject and that wouldn’t be a bad idea. That would have to be done on a situation by situation basis. Before we delve into that let’s do a general overview.
The difference in the level of defense needed between large city and rural area is vast. A rural area has many advantages over a city. The amount of space between you and a potential threat is much larger, for instance. Also, the close knit aspect of rural communities means that you are familiar with those that are either in danger or may be able to come help you out of danger. These communities have almost an extended family type bond. They work together, they play together, they share both joy and crisis together.
Personally if things went south a small, rural type of environment is what I would want to find myself in. The amount of space that would need to be patrolled would be much larger than a city but you’d be doing it with people you’ve already grown to trust. Trust is a part of this equation that can’t be ignored and is more easily found in the rural setting you grew up in.
Patrols would need to be done in pairs and by vehicle. There will be a lot of room to cover for each pair so foot patrols would have to be saved for the small, downtown, areas only. Each farm would have to be ultimately responsible for their own safety but plans would have to be laid out so each home was visited every day and night. A quick scan of the area around the family home would need to be done and probably on foot. Nothing big just visually scanning to make sure noting looks out of place. The home doesn’t look broken into, there are no signs of a struggle, and nothing looks like outside forces destroyed anything (barns, coops, ect). Your biggest worries will be people from other communities, or the cities, raiding for supplies.
I know the temperament of rural people. They won’t be raided without a fight. So if a farm or ranch was raided expect casualties. It would be necessary for every patrol vehicle to be equipped with medical supplies. You’ll never know when they will be needed for either out lying families or themselves. Medical staff in town will need to train those going out on patrol in the use on not just first aid but in their best version of combat medicine. The life of those on patrol, or the life of others, will at some point depend on those skills. Wounded, even enemy wounded, will have to be stabilized until the patrol can get them back to town and in the hands real medical personnel.
Food production can not stop but it may be a good idea, depending on your situation, to have farm families moved into town for the night just to better ensure their safety. They won’t want to come. It’s not in their nature to leave their property for any reason. It may have been passed down through multiple generations. Bottom line is they may never be convinced to leave, even for the night, so you can plan on dealing with that situation.
Another big advantage you have in rural communities is a deeply engrained firearm culture. All of us grew up shooting, weather you hunted or not, firearms are in your blood and we can all hit what we aim at.
Another resource that should never be discounted is any veterans living in any community. I don’t care how young or old they are they will be a wealth of knowledge. Yes even the “crazy old man” may have fought his way across France or Island hopped his way across the Pacific in WWII and will be invaluable to you. Don’t discount anyone.
One thing to keep in mind is that small town Law Enforcement will want to rule the narrative. Yes, it their job to keep the peace and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Let them keep securing the town. That’s their job so why not use them for what they’re trained for. When it comes to patrolling the out lying areas don’t be bullied. They won’t have the manpower to handle it so a smart chief or county sheriff will be glad for the extra help.
Knowing the terrain will be essential. This is another aspect that small town folks already have taken care of. These people know their farm and hunting lands reaching far beyond city limits. Any fighting will likely be using Guerrilla Tactics so superior knowledge of the area is essential. This is another advantage they will have over city dwellers.
You will have to control the access roads into your town. The easiest way to handle it is to cut down traffic flow to one lane. Block any other lanes with whatever you have. If your town has a small junk yard that’s perfect. A couple junked out cars (that still have wheels if they have to be moved) is perfect. You still want to be able to get in and out. Mobility is still important, however, you want to control who is coming in. These should be manned check points and placed where someone can’t simply drive around them. A bridge, next to a rock wall or deep spot in a river, or a canyon are ideal spots to do this at.
There are lots of other rural area defense subjects to cover but I’ll save them for later. This topic isn’t finished so keep an eye open for new sections. The next post will cover the same type of issues in a city atmosphere.
As usual comments are more than welcome. In fact, please do.