Testing Yourself

Ragnar the Insurrectionist

I’m a big fan of the Vikings TV Series. Yes, I know it’s not 100% historically accurate, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some Tactical Wisdom in it. In fact, the plot line from Season 1 is very instructive for the moment we find ourselves in and can guide you in getting ready.

Ragnar had defied Earl Haraldson and the Earl ordered surveillance on Ragnar and his war-band (sounds like the government watching a militia group, doesn’t it?). In fact, the Earl went so far as to insert an informant into Ragnar’s crew, Knut. Sounds pretty familiar. Well, the first lesson is that Ragnar assigned people to keep watch on the informant to limit the information he could gather and the damage he could do.

But the part that relates most to this article is that after Ragnar and his band fought off an attack by the Earl’s men, for the sake of argument let’s call them the Feds, Ragnar went into a period of training. He went out into the wilderness with minimal gear and spent days out hiking & camping and sitting solitary on a mountain peak nearby. Ragnar was toughening himself for the hardship to come. He tested himself and his ability to survive.

It served him well, because in short order, his hamlet was attacked by the Feds. Call it a “raid” if you will. A few quick notes here that apply. Bjorn, Ragnar’s son, was looking out and saw the raiding party as it arrived. Everyone should always be engaged in countersurveillance (looking for surveillance) as ANTIFA has been known to target folks, and with even canning is being labeled as extremist activity, watch for your neighbors watching you.

The next point was that as the attack unfolded, Lagertha and the non-combat team members (Aethelstan) armed themselves and protected those who couldn’t fight, like the children and elderly. That should be part of your team’s plan. Now, Lagertha was a warrior in her own right (even in real life), but her ROLE was protection of others. Have assigned roles, including someone to watch over and protect the less able of your group.

In the end, while Ragnar fought a delaying action against the raiders, Lagertha led the family out through a secret exit from their house and into the woods. She then led them to a pre-planned rally point. That’s some vital Tactical Wisdom…have a secret egress and a planned rally point. Clay Martin also recommends this in Concrete Jungle.

The final point is that after fighting a short delaying action, Ragnar himself fled and made his way to the rally point, stopping only to ambush his pursuers and conduct counter-tracking. This should also be a part of your plan. Now, I wouldn’t include the part where Ragnar jumps from a cliff into a fjord 100 feet below, that’s just not smart.

Ideas to implement these things can be found in TW-03, Defensive Operations.

After recovering Ragnar, the family moved to a pre-planned safe house, Floki’s house on the Fjord. Have pre-planned safe havens.


Now, when I sat down to write this, I had intended only to briefly mention Ragnar in passing, so let’s get back on track. Let’s start with Jeremiah’s warning to have a Bug Out Bag ready:

Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege.

Jeremiah 10:17

Why did Jeremiah give this warning? Because the people of Jerusalem had stopped following the right way and morality and were engaged in detestable practices like idolatry, sexual immorality, and perversion. Kind of like where we are today in our current environment. Jeremiah gave the warning because of this:

For this is what the LORD says: β€œAt this time I will hurl out those who live in this land; I will bring distress on them so that they may be captured.”

Jeremiah 10:18

There are consequences for not opposing the nonsense in the world.

So what does all this have to do with preparedness? Glad you asked: Based upon Ragnar’s example and Jeremiahs warnings (you never thought I’d combine Vikings and the Bible, did you?), I decided to run a solo test and training event. I think that sharing it here will help you prepare and test yourself.

Before last weekend, unless I was meeting with a larger group, I had done all my testing on state land in some woods that I have spent time in for my entire life. Woods and fields I know intimately and can find every waterhole and good camping spot from memory. While that was fun, it wasn’t exactly realistic. I may not get to pick the ground. I could be 300 miles away when things go bad.

I decided to do a map study and pick a spot nestled between two peaks along a ridgeline in an area I had never camped or hunted in. The plan was to only take what would fit in my gear, including the ILBE Ruck and Assault pack, and my War Belt. I also packed the ExUmbris war belt for around camp, when I didn’t want to wear the full USMC War Belt.

When I arrived, I put everything on and began the foot movement. My first lesson was that I need to ruck more wearing the full ruck. While I ruck several days a week, I usually train in just my assault pack (Patrol/EDC loadout) or my Get Home Bag. There is a SIGNIFICANT weight difference. Also, I need to do more hills. In Michigan, despite what some folks who don’t live here think, there are significant hills and ridges in what is called the Central Highlands. Well, that’s where I was. After crossing three ridgelines (using good patrol movement techniques), my legs were on fire.

I stopped one terrain feature away from my planned overnight site, as good practices require. I stashed my ruck under a downed pine tree. Lesson two was that I hid it a little too well – it took some searching to find it again. I walked over the final ridge and stopped to observe the site (conducting an SLLS). After watching for a bit, I went down and conducted a quick site check as described in TW-02 Fieldcraft and TW-04 Scouting and Patrolling. I also did a quick clearance patrol 100 meters around the camp while getting my ruck.

After eventually retrieving the bag, I set up my USMC Combat II Tent. It’s similar to the USMC TCOP tent that I reviewed last month, but this one is (allegedly) for two people. The tent has a bit higher profile than TCOP but is still camouflaged and quick to set up. A cool feature of the Combat II is that there are straps that allow you to set up just the rain fly as a very solid camouflage rain-proof and light-blocking cover over an observation post or a fighting position. The rain fly is also reversible from Woodland Camo to Tan.

Tent Front
Tent Rear

I made a quick dinner by boiling some water and pouring it into a pouch (Southern Survival Trail Chili is the BOMB). It got down to 32 degrees, but I was perfectly warm inside the tent with the USMC 3 season bag (I haven’t broken out the winter bag yet) and the ECWCS long johns. I had brought along a poncho liner for extra warmth, just in case, but I didn’t need it.

In the morning, before dawn, I got up, and took down the tent, stowing all gear, just like I would in a real-world situation. I ate my breakfast manning an OP looking towards the nearby motorcycle trail in my camouflage gear, and apparently I did pretty well, because a partridge walked right up to me before taking off in a flurry a feathers.

I spent the day setting up and taking down expedient shelters (hopefully I got enough usable video for YouTube videos) using a technique I learned from our friends at Von Stueben Training called the Royal Marine Rig. Click the link to learn this, I promise you’ll love it and I spent the next two days setting them up on all my gear.

I learned that it was harder than anticipated, so I must train more. Not only that, I must train more realistically.

The point of the report here is to encourage you to get out and train, as well as testing yourself, with the gear you own. It does you no good to own all that gear if you never get out and use it. Also, aside from the cost of gas, it cost me literally nothing to get out in the woods for 48 hours. I used only things I already had and camped on state land (no fees or permits required, no rules).

Don’t just gather gear and books – get out and train with them. Push yourself beyond your comfort level.

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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.

9 thoughts on “Testing Yourself

  1. Joe, thanks much for the post. Learned 2 new things. Lol..

    Just for giggles, when you talk about automotive ops, remind people to identify the fuses for lighting. Head, tail, DASH, interior. I cannot dim the dash for some reason, and it caused problems in the past.

    Uncle Bob’s bees

    Liked by 1 person

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