Tactical History – Ziklag

This is an epic battle story and a classic study of tactics that directly applies to us as people interested in preparedness. It highlights some pieces of Tactical Wisdom that are vital to our plans for a WROL situation, and happens to be a pretty cool story.

If anyone wants to follow along, the full tale can be found in 1 Samuel 27-30.

For a little historical context, before he became King of Israel, David was much like us. He joined his Nation’s army and fought for them, killing one of it’s great enemies. But, much like the purge we are seeing in our military and the targeting of our veteran’s, as soon as the war was over, the King turned on David, labeled him an extremist and hunted him down.

In fact, drawing yet another parallel to today, the King invited him into the palace, then tried to kill him, and sent agents to raid his house, but he escaped out a window.

David was then branded as a rebel, a resistance fighter. He eventually formed his own militia and they spent their avoiding the government agents, while still protecting their country. Does that sound familiar?

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Today’s story begins when David has founded a private military company with his 600 men. They are called “mercenaries” in 1 Samuel 27, but their job was securing the borders for the Phillistine King. King Achish named David his “bodyguard for life”.

King Achish decides to go to war against Israel, and David accompanies him. Here, we see some parallels to today that we have to face. David does NOT want to fight against his own country, but he feels he needs to be near the fighting to try and slow down the decline. David loved his Nation, but the leader had turned from the path of the country and was imposing his own will on the people, rather than following tradition. Does that sound familiar?

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At this point, David knew that the leadership had to go, but he didn’t want to destroy the Nation. Here are the truths we know and need to consider:

  1. It’s possible to love your Nation, but know that the leadership is leading it to destruction.
  2. When that happens, you have to consider what is worse….the short term pain of action, or the long term consequence of doing nothing.
  3. Readiness is key – David kept his 600 men ready by training and engaging in operations that didn’t directly oppose his nation, but kept his Warriors on the edge they needed.
  4. Avoiding conflict can help, but it won’t solve it – David and his force spent 3-4 years before these events evading and avoiding contact with government forces. Nothing improved.

Back to the tale at hand…

As the Phillistine (Palestinian) forces began to invade Israel (a lot of that going on even today), they brought their entire army out, leaving no one behind. The other generals were freaked out by an Israelite private military company in their midst, and they were so worried that they demanded the King send David home.

So the King went to David and said “Listen, I know you’ve served me well, fighting a counter-insurgency on my borders, but I can’t have a radical like you around.” And he sent David home. David and his Warriors were livid. They had fought in two different wars successfully, and were now being branded as extremists, and a security risk. They turned around and headed home.

Lessons here:

  1. Alienating trained and effective warriors who have served you well is DANGEROUS.
  2. If David and his men weren’t radicalized yet, their treatment by the new government certainly did radicalize them. (Hmm….)

As the men neared their compound, they found it burning. Everything they had left behind was stolen, including their wives and children. A few more towns nearby had also been sacked and they received information that it was the people they had been fighting before. David and his men took off in pursuit. Of course, David first asked God for guidance, and God told him to go, essentially saying “What are you waiting for?”

  1. Leaving your rear area unguarded and your base of operations undefended will lead to disaster EVERY SINGLE TIME.
  2. The way of life at the time is how we envision WROL life to be. Our base of operations will be where our food is produced, our livestock will be, and where are our families will be. It must be guarded.
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David and his men gave pursuit, but carrying their supplies was wearing them out and slowing them down. David detailed 200 of his men to stay with the supplies, while the other 400 rushed ahead.

Soon, they found a straggler from the enemy force wandering in the desert. They fed him and asked for information. It turned out that he was a slave who had escaped. In exchange for protection and food, the slave led them to the enemy camp.

David and his men assaulted the camp and after a 2 day battle, they had destroyed most of the enemy force, and the rest was fleeing headlong back to Egypt. They had rescued all their family members, and gained not only their own property back, but the raiding force’s extra supplies and plunder from other towns.

On the way back, they met up with the logistical tail, and David’s 400 didn’t want to share to any of the plunder or extra supplies with the 200 that guarded the supply trains. David pointed out that the entire chain of events was a lesson. That lesson was that guarding your supply chain was every bit as vital as winning the battle against the enemy and he ordered that the security troops be given a full share.

Lessons in the end:

  1. You cannot succeed without securing your logistics.
  2. Supplies need to be guarded by a substantial force.
  3. Security is the most important task.
  4. Never leave your base (and food and families) undefended by an effective force.
  5. Attempt to gather intelligence from everyone you meet (the wandering slave).

I hope this history lesson and the few lessons from it help you prepare and put you on the right path. Stories like this are where the entire idea of Tactical Wisdom was born.

The most important lesson here is that Warriors who love their Nation and fought for it should never be neglected or treated as extremists. They can love their Nation and hate it’s leadership. That never leads to a good place.

The other lesson is that we need to focus on securing our families and supplies first, then worry about other objectives, which is a concept I mention in both of the Tactical Wisdom books.

We are down to only 2 chapters left to write in Volume 2, Fieldcraft. As always, if you’d like to help us finish production, please donate below.

Donation – June 2021

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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