This is a discussion on Surviving a close-range car ambush within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Hi
I have just joined this forum.
I am not a soldier, and I need to ask a question about ...
I have just joined this forum.
I am not a soldier, and I need to ask a question about a real-life situation. I hope you can help me.
I describe the scenario:
we are in thirld-world country, where robbers regularly set up random roadblocks to ambush cars and rob them. Often they kill or injure the car's passengers. The robbers are often armed with Kalashnikov, which is easily available in that country. The ambush usually happens at night, or after sunset, in peripheral or rural areas, on roads that connect one town to another.
In my scenario, I would assume that there are at least 3 robbers, and there may be more.
My question is: if I do find myself in such a situation (once it nearly happened, right in front of my eyes, but our driver was clever and avoided it - I guess he had been trained), what should I do?
Is it wise to arm myself in preparation for such an encounter? Or would you advise me to simply give up without fighting and hope to be spared by the robbers?
In case I decide to fight, what kind of weapon would you suggest for me to keep in the car: a combat shotgun or a Kalashnikov?
I was thinking of the combat shot gun because the ambush would most certainly be at close range, and I have heard that combat shotguns are quite good for this.
Since I do not have any experience at all with such matters, I will ask another question: in case I decide to fight back, is it better for me to stay in the car and fire from the car window or should I first get out?
In your replies, please consider that I have no experience in commando tactics and similar skills. Nonetheless I am seriously interested in learning about it, because this scenario is very much a reality that I may encounter (as I mentioned, it nearly happened to me once).
From your description just giving up and surrendering all you have is insufficient to save your life. Forget getting and using a weapon, you are in a thin skinned target and will most likely be dead before you can get it into action.
The only practical solutions are to stay off the roads or build yourself a MRAP.
That is very worrying. Does this mean that there is no defense tactic that a car driver can use, when approaching a rogue roadblock?
Unless you can duck down a side road fast, no. Dont try to just turn around and run, they will probably open fire. You have to get out of line of sight before they can respond.
MRAP... I am not prepared to go that far. I am just a civillian.
So install a roll cage and beef up the suspension. Then replace the glass with 1 lexan, and put armored plate inside the doors, firewall, and front of the trunk. Before installing your armor, borrow an AK and check to make sure it is thick enough.
Or you can build a box that just encloses the driver and let any passengers take their chances. At this point you could consider just plate steel with vision slits, but get them as close to your eyes as you can to maximize the field of view.
And if crime is that bad, why would they object to an unarmed civilian armoring up?
If the situation is that bad then gun laws must be non existent, which means everybody civilians included will be armed.
The thing is,the situation I was describing is not so bad in general, meaning that it's not like being in a warzone. Going around in an armoured vehicle would be ridiculous in such a context. At the same time, armed robberies on the roads do happen.
The scenario I was considering, therefore, is like: everything looks and is normal, until something goes awry (carjackers pop out of their hiding and stop your car).
It's a bit like criminals who suddenly encounter a police roadblock. How do they react? Do they try to reverse and escape or do they react by firing at the police? Criminals, however, often have the advantage of not being immediately identified by the police, who first will ask for documents and maybe search the car. On the other hand, when the roadblock is set up by robbers, they already know exactly that the approaching car is their quarry, so they have a great advantage.
Is anyone aware of any case study of such a situation. I am sure it must be mentioned in many manuals.
Defensive / Evasion driver training tells us to drive through the ambush, if possible, or to back out of it. A last resort is to drive into the ambush, presenting the least vulnerable portion of the vehicle, disrupting the attack and escaping. Sitting in the firezone is the worst of all situations. The point here is to get out of the firezone. As the target vehicle, do not become involved in a shootout unless you are completely immobile. In security situations for the protection of high profile targets, we would have one or two (or more) escort vehicles. These vehicles were responsible for flanking the ambush and/or laying down suppressive fire so that the target vehicle can escape the firezone.
The cars used in training have bullet resistant glass (did not say bullet proof). Also, Kevlar and ceramic panels were installed into the doors, also making them bullet resistant. There is a wheel foam available that will allow you to drive on flat tires for a few miles. You should also reinforce the front and rear bumpers, as ramming your way out may likely be necessary.
The AK-47 round, 7.62*39mm, will punch through a car and into the unarmored passenger areas with ease when engaged from the sides and rear. The engine can be damaged if engaged from the front. The AK-74 fires a much smaller round and has less penetration than even the NATO 5.56mm, but can still pierce normal car body panels as will most serious handgun calibers. Installing armor like I mention above is still expensive but not prohibitively so. It is also light and does not require heavier than standard suspension. It will make strategic portions of the car bullet resistant. These same panels can also be installed in home doors and walls in your home.
Should you arm yourself? Sure, why not? Will it do any good. Probably not, but you might feel better for busting a few caps, especially if this is not a kidnap scenario, but an assassination attempt and your car is immobilized. DO NOT EXIT YOUR VEHICLE! Best bet is to lie down in the floor boards until things quiet down and you are safe, or captured for ransom. If you are driving yourself, take an Defensive / Evasive driving course. I highly recommend it.
It is my opinion that my possesions are not worth my life.
If you the scenario you are decribing is a simple robbery - I'd happily trade my wallet for my life.
There are tactics for dealing with these sorts of situations but they typically involve terrorists or insurgents whose motives are far more sinister than robbing you.
I am not against armed self defense to protect your life or the lives of your loved ones as a last resort - but there are a huge number of variables that must be taken into consideration in these situations - the nature of the threat, local laws on use of force, self defense and firearm ownership, the enviornment (bystanders, etc.), and so on.
Without resorting to the use of firearms (and all of the ramifcations inherent in thier use by a civilian) your best tool to get out of those situations is your vehicle. Stopping and getting in a shootout is probably not going to end well for anyone.
One of my workmates survived a vehicle ambush in Eastern Europe in the 80,s.
He was in an aid convoy. Most of the drivers ambushed were killed, he wasnt,reason why? Dumb luck. His truck was the only right hand drive vehicle in the ambush.
He was however taken hostage, but thats another,more interesting story.
I might suggest wearing some body amour when driving through dodgy areas,keep a ballistic helmet and a hand gun in the car,with easy access.
Dont stop the car. Drive through the ambush at max speed, or directly at the ambushers at max speed. If aroad block is in place, you have problems, put your helmet on, and decide to give in or fight.
The best quick and short answer I could supply is to get in touch with AKE Ltd (or a similar company) and take part in its Hostile Environment Training, which caters for exactly this type of situation.
I can only offer what my response would be.
Without a weapon: Try and drive straight through roadblock if not possible to turn around and floor it.
With weapon: Again as above, but if forced to a stop would want something small and compact ie a pistol, probably something such as a 9mm Browning. Any large weapon is difficult to use in a confined space so is of little use unless outside the vehicle. For that eventuality I probably would use a Kalashnikov if I had to although preference would really be something like a Heckler & Koch MP5.
The best solution is to have a reliable, well trained body guard. If you have no weapons experience then I should keep well away until you are properly trained (and licenced) in their use.
The best protection you can have is an awareness of what is happening around you and the potential for things to go bad.
And make sure your doors are always locked.
I am sure others can give you better advice than this though.
option 1: You see the roadblock and / or they have engaged. You make sure your door is locked, release seat belt so that you are able take cover as much as you can in the vehicle. You instruct the driver to go through the roadblock/ambush and floor it. (very likely taking fire)
option 2: You see the roadblock and / or they have engaged. You lock the door, release seat belt and take cover. You instruct the driver to make a 180 and floor it. (again; taking fire)
option 1: You see the roadblock and / or they have engaged. Release seat belt so as to return fire. You instruct you driver to go straight through. Floor it.
option 2: You see the roadblock and / or they have engaged up close. Release seat belt and engage. Instruct the driver to reverse and floor it. keep laying down suppressive fire (unless properly trained in which case you attempt to neutralize your targets) up until the point you are able to make your 180 and floor it.
Either way; you run! Given that they are the one doing the ambushing, you MUST assume that they have outnumbered and certainly outgunned you. 99% of the times, engaging them would result in defeat and capture/death. The only reason I opted to engage (from withing a moving vehicle is to buy time for my escape and to take potentially car-stopping factors out of the equation.
Oh, and if you have the money for a decent armored car, then you certainly have the money to prevent yourself from taking that road and chartering a helicopter drop or, in some countries even hire an armed escort. Of course; taking courses as mentioned by others in this thread is highly recommended if you know you could find yourself in these situations regularly, or at risk of becoming targeted.