Conducting a Defense – Terrain Analysis for the Homeowner

The AR-15 rifle has become popular as a tool for Home Defense. However, there hasn’t been much discussion about how to use rifles to deal with deadly threats outside and yet threatening one’s home. The escalation of Civil Disorder has heightened our awareness of a broader range of necessary home defense. Conceptually, this might be considered FORWARD Home Defense.

One of the first aspects of preparing for such a Forward Defense is to conduct a terrain analysis of the area outside the home. This analysis should consider both the Area of Influence (where a homeowner could actually disrupt an attack) and the Area of Interest (where a homeowner could detect an attacker’s intent outside of the Area of Influence.) We can use the Terrain component of METT-TC as a structure for our terrain analysis. The 1992 edition of Field Manual 7-8 INFANTRY RIFLE PLATOON AND SQUAD describes the analysis as follows:

(3) Terrain. The leader considers the effect of terrain and weather on enemy and friendly forces using the guidelines below (OCOKA):

(a) Observation and fields of fire. The leader considers ground that allows him observation of the enemy throughout his area of operation. He considers fields of fire in terms of the characteristics of the weapons available to him; for example, maximum effective range, the requirement for grazing fire, and the arming range and time of flight for antiarmor weapons.

(b) Cover and concealment. The leader looks for terrain that will protect him from direct and indirect fires (cover) and from aerial and ground observation (concealment). (Author’s note: Cover and Concealment also applies to what the Enemy might use.)

(c) Obstacles. In the attack, the leader considers the effect of restrictive terrain on his ability to maneuver. In the defense, he considers how he will tie in his obstacles to the terrain to disrupt, turn, fix, or block an enemy force and protect his own forces from enemy assault.

(d) Key terrain. Key terrain is any locality or area whose seizure or retention affords a marked advantage to either combatant. The leader considers key terrain in his selection of objectives, support positions, and routes in the offense, and on the positioning of his unit in the defense.

(e) Avenues of approach. An avenue of approach is an air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or key terrain in its path. In the offense, the leader identifies the avenue of approach that affords him the greatest protection and places him at the enemy’s most vulnerable spot. In the defense, the leader positions his key weapons along the avenue of approach most likely to be used by the enemy.

(f) Weather. In considering the effects of weather, the leader is most interested in visibility and trafficability.

Some aspects of the terrain analysis may surprise you. For instance, Google Maps can be used to measure distances around your home. You might find that the distance from your front porch to the furthest Avenue of Approach and Point of Likely Cover is 236 feet (79 yards).

Doing a terrain analysis gives you an idea of the area you need to defend and also what tools you might use to defend the approaches to your home.

There will be further explanation on my Patreon page but this is worthwhile food for thought to start.

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