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Fortifying The Castle
|White76Knight's Survival Plan|
Bugging In and Bugging Out
Digging In for Awhile
Living in the Aftermath
|Page Two B: |
Fortifying The Citadel
|Page Two C: |
The Curtain Wall
|Page Note: |
Many of the images on this page are "clickable", with links that can provide a larger version of the image itself, further information on how the pictured item is supposed to work, or information on where it should be obtained. Should you have any questions, however, or if anything doesn't make sense as written, feel free to browse these links before you ask, to see if that information makes the situation any clearer. Now, on with the show...
On this page I will describe some of the construction methods and defensive features that will be used for the design and building of my Fortified BOL. As many of the defensive features that I have chosen to include in this structure are drawn from medieval designs, this Fortified BOL shall hereafter be referred to as The Castle. Much of the information contained on this page may look familiar to regular readers of this site, and I will start by confessing that some of this information was actually gleaned, almost word for word in a few cases, from a few existing pages that were originally authored by fellow ZSDW Writers*. These pages are as follows:
The Rammed Earth Wall as written by Rocketman
Fortresses as written by Rocketman
Barricade Materials as written by Hazard13 and updated by many
* Authors Note - You're not gonna sue me for plagiarism, right guys... guys? LOL
In any case, once completed, The Castle won't be a BOL per se, rather it is to be our home. The central structure will be built first (see The Citadel further down this page), with all of the multi-layered defenses being added to the central structure over time. Once The Citadel is complete my family and I will move into it on a permanent basis. It is to be a full time, year round residence, thus eliminating both the urgency of reaching it through all the chaos After the Fall and any likelihood of it already being occupied by squatters on our arrival. After the SHTF, of course, The Citadel would be our home still, but also our safe haven, our stronghold against the Zombies, the dangerous people and anything else that wanted us dead. It must therefore be safe, sustainable, and hopefully, should be comfortable to live in for the rest of our lives, should we need to do so. All these must be kept in mind when designing our future home, and respected when we build it.
One important factor to consider when designing our future home is: What are we likely to be fighting? Most likely, we will be pitted against groups (from ones and twos up to dozens or hundreds at once) of infected, and also occasional packs of raiders. All of our defenses, therefore, must be designed to combat aggressive human attackers, as well as hold off a large number of the walking dead. As long as we choose a site that is suitably distant from any larger urban area, I do not believe that the Zeds could attack our compound in overwhelming numbers all at once. As they stumble randomly upon our location in ones and twos, these small groups would attract others, and the ones and twos would soon become fours and fives, then dozens, then scores and so on. The key to avoiding all of this, of course, is for the occupants of the compound to eliminate these ones and twos as soon as possible, thereby denying them opportunity to attract others beyond these first arriving zeds.
With that said, however, should this expectation go awry, and should we actually find ourselves facing greater legions of the walking dead, our defenses must be strong enough and extensive enough that we could still have a reasonable chance of withstanding an assault of this magnitude.
Another factor to consider in our fortress is how many we plan on supporting. A ten person group doesn’t quite justify a ten acre compound. How would ten people protect the entire perimeter at once, let alone on shifts? The size of our compound, while it has some leeway, must be decided with population in mind. For this reason, aside from broader generalities, no specific sizes or dimensions will be given, the actual square footage used to be scaled up or down in size as required by the population of our survivor group.
As Rocketman first pointed out, we have to be realistic in what we will be working with. Flights of fancy aside, there is no benefit in assuming that we would wake up one morning, either Before or After the SHTF, and somehow magically have access to things that we would have no reasonable means of actually acquiring.
To quote Rocketman's Fortresses page, "Let’s discuss our resources. Let’s start off with what we won’t have:
Making these preparations prior to Z-Day would be a surprisingly different situation, as compared to building all of our defenses Post Z-Day. The materials, costs and difficulty would prove to be incredibly burdensome.
The final thing that must be factored in before construction can commence is location. Location is very important, of course, for several reasons.
The location must be able to feed us. Sufficient land would be required, not only to have enough to grow crops, but for extra fields as well, so that crops can be rotated, and the soil is not damaged. Furthermore, we will keep a small amount of livestock (in our case goats, ducks and rabbits). The critters will also require land of their own for grazing, pecking and running. Such requirements have to be kept in mind when laying out the defenses and other fields. I believe that the best way to ensure all of this is to choose some location that is already right in the midst of existing farmland. That way the land has already been cleared for our use, there will likely be farming equipment and machinery right at hand and there should even be some crops in the ground already if you are lucky enough that the SHTF after the seasons planting.
Even if we built on a smaller block of land that is adjacent to or surrounded by land that we don't currently own, there might be very little to prevent us from expanding the boundaries of our own property once a farms current owners are all dead, fled or Zed.
The area will also need to to be able to supply water. Building a massive wall won't help the inhabitants survive if a drought comes around. In our case, a site will be chosen that includes a suitable stream or river, one that flows either into or out of a lake or pond. As an attacker could easily contaminate the river upstream, spreading sickness or disease, or stop the flow altogether, The Citadel can additionally include an underground Rain Cistern fed by run-off from our eaves-troughs, and we will also dig wells beneath The Citadel itself.
Both farming and the provision of potable water are discussed in greater detail in Section D - Living.
Additionally, the site in question should also possess some defensive qualities, depending on one's situation, allowing us to protect ourselves in the event of attack. For example:
Now that we've got all that out of the way, it's time to get building. It should be noted that the following structures have been described in the approximate order in which they would ideally be built, not the order in which an attacker would encounter them. With that said, lets get underway...
If constructed Before the SHTF, as it realistically has to be, this is the part of The Castle that will be undertaken before everything else. As I'd mentioned earlier in this page, this is the central structure that will be our residence, full time and year round, and also a safe haven as well, our stronghold against the undead, the dangerous people and everything else that might want us all dead. Given these threats, The Citadel must be strong. I intend to use a two story building with a basement for the structure, although in this case, aside from a foundation for any load-bearing walls, which must be below the frost line, and a few special exceptions, the rest of our "basement" will be above ground to reduce much of the time or labor involved in its construction. The Citadel will, therefore, be three stories high overall, but can be anything from a four bedroom house to a small office complex, abandoned warehouse or even a multi unit apartment buildings, each dependent on exactly how many survivors I'd expect to end up with in my group. In the layout diagram shown here, The Citadel is the large block structure in the lower right corner.
As pictured in that diagram above, The Citadel has been envisioned as a three sided square or horseshoe shaped structure open to the west, with the fourth side closed by a Sky Bridge, or “Bridge-walk” as shown on the left. This allows access between the two ends of the building and an open courtyard left in the center. In the event that The Citadel ends up being a smaller structure, such a bridgewalk could be used to allow access to any outbuildings without requiring the occupants to go outside. Even if any attacker DID get inside our perimeter and past all our other defenses, this fortified bridge would improve security, as attackers, at least the ones not equipped with firearms, simply can not kill us if they can not REACH us.
The passage beneath the Bridge-walk could be closed by a massive Iron-bound Wooden Gate, such as the one seen to the right. Like the main doors into The Citadel itself, these gates can be equipped with additional security measures like dead bolts between the two gates and at the top and bottom as well. A small window panel will be included just above head height with a steel shutter hinged to open to the inside, to permit outgoing fire. This opening will also have a grill or screen made of chain-link fence. There should also be a scaled up version of angled floor-to-door security bars, plus a horizontal bar across both doors as well.
As previously seen in the layout diagram, the zone immediately inside of the Timber Gate, and below the Bridge-walk itself, would be in the form of an open ended corridor, which would include Archers Slits to allow the defenders to fire on any attackers in the corridor, and will include openings in the ceiling above, through which stones or even Molotov Cocktails can be dropped on those beneath.
This can be facilitated by a set of steel Portcullises such as the one shown to the left. Each portcullis would mounted in grooves in walls so that they could be raised or lowered quickly by means of chains or ropes attached to an internal winch.
There would be two portcullises in the corridor. The inner one will be closed and then, in the event that the Wooden Gates should be breached and attackers enter the corridor, the one on the outside would be closed behind them, leaving any attacker trapped and vulnerable to the defenders behind the Archers Slits and the Murder-Holes above. A portcullis was often just a single solid grate of either wood or steel but, if time and resources permit, it might be possible to create a garage-door-like system, where the portcullis actually rolls up, instead of simply being lifted stiffly out of place.
The overall thickness of The Citadels walls will be determined by our needs, and by the material from which we have built them as well. For example, a one foot thick concrete wall will stop most small caliber rounds, and three feet will stop up to a .50 caliber round. I do not believe that most people will actually have access to .50 caliber rifles After the SHTF, especially not here in Canada where I live (every single .50 caliber weapon in this province could probably be counted on one hand... with fingers left over). One thing that I do see as a threat, though, is an attacker simply trying to crash a vehicle in through the walls, and so our walls must be at least three to four feet thick to withstand this. As vehicles are unlikely to come in through the second story, of course, the walls need only be three to four feet thick on ground level, and can be one to two feet thick once above the ground floor. The foundations, of course, will be strong enough to keep so massive a structure standing.
The greatest drawback to The Citadel is the amount of effort involved in its creation. The manual labor needed to pile bricks thirty feet high, or pour concrete an equal height, would obviously be immense. Traditional structures made from either material would likely require building before an apocalyptic situation, but if you add up the cost of enough concrete blocks or cement to build the structure, you quickly realize that the answer is one of them Fuggedaboudit numbers. So Before the SHTF, when money is still a requirement, such an undertaking quickly becomes prohibitively expensive, and the odds of our sourcing the required materials after our world has been ravaged are far from in our favor.
If you have your heart set on a concrete block or cement fortress, however, BigLoki has written an excellent article on the subject which can be found here.
The rest of us shall now turn our attentions, though, to natural rather than man-made materials. These can often end up being far less expensive, and sometimes even entirely free. My material of choice for The Citadel will be Rammed Earth, which is described on Rocketman's Rammed Earth Wall page.
From that page:
Rammed Earth is an ancient building technique, used in everything from huts in Africa to the Great Wall of China. It is environmentally friendly, just as tough as concrete, and it can be cheap enough to be available to a far broader variety of users.
The principle of this method is to create a form, place soil in it, and then tamp that soil until it has been compacted to the density of solid concrete. Needless to say, this method involves a large amount of physical labor, but may also be one of the overall cheapest building methods available.
It would also be beneficial, however, to have a backhoe here, along with a motorized tamper, both of which would cut down labor and increase effectiveness immensely. Tampers have been spotted online for as low as $25, and though they require a little work, the price cannot be beat. Research on-line has shown the cheapest of bulldozers to cost around $500 - $1000 at cheapest for a backhoe. The best bet, if you have the contacts, is to borrow one. If you can't, then a backhoe would come in handy on Z-Day anyways.
I will begin by assuming, for purposes of discussion, that we are working on a flat piece of land as shown to the left - one that has no elevation or digging issues (i.e. gas lines, water lines, etc), and one that doesn't require building permits.
The first step is to dig. We will excavate a trench of at least five feet deep, as shown below. In Rocketman's version the outer side slopes down at a more gradual incline than the inner side. I will not do this, for reasons which will be explained a bit later. The depth of the trench here is 5 feet, and it extends out about 20 feet to provide separation from the wall. The inner side only extends back about 10 feet, but even this will not to be there for long.
The dirt taken out of the trench will be stacked on the inner side of where the wall will be, for easier replacement later.
The next step is to lay a gravel foundation in the bottom of the trench, not shown, over the location on which you'll be constructing your wall. All the gravel must be tamped as well, and as solid as possible. A strong frame will then need to be built, as shown below in order to hold all of the dirt in place; the strength is necessary in order to withstand the pressures of the tamping process. It can not flex or bow, or this will either A) not allow the dirt to properly compact, B) make the wall an odd shape, or C) result in a weakness in the frame itself, leading to a collapse.
Dirt should be added into the frame layer by layer, as shown below, and the layers should be tamped down as much as possible. The Wikipedia page states that the dirt should be tamped to half its original height.
Once the wall itself is mostly complete, move on back to the dirt. Back fill the area on the inner side of the walls, with a slight slope away from the wall, in order to keep water from pooling as shown below left. The same should also be done on the outside of the wall as well. If this step is not done, the pooling water might eventually result in erosion, possibly even undermining the walls that we have all worked so hard to construct.
If we felt like doing a little extra digging, we could excavate our original trench so that it was five feet deep behind the wall and sloped to six feet deep in the front side. Combined with a slight slope on the foot of the wall itself, as seen in the picture to the left, this would provide a slope for runoff that would direct water away from the foot of the wall entirely.
Notice that there is still a wide trench outside the wall that is left unfilled. This trench serves two purposes. First, it will allow the finished wall to be five feet higher on the outside than it is on the inside, making it easier to reach both during your construction phase and while under attack.
Second, it makes it much more difficult for an attacker to come crashing into the base of the wall with his vehicles. Any vehicle that drove over the edge of the trench would face a five foot drop to the ground below, losing traction and speed in the process and probably sustaining damage as well. With luck, the vehicle might even be overturned or disabled entirely. This, by the way, is the reason why I omitted the sloped trenches used by Rocketman in his designs.
If available, the outer surfaces of the walls would be faced with natural stone or some other material that is resistant to small arms fire. While the Rammed Earth should, in and of itself, withstand almost any bullet, sustained fire from fully automatic weapons would probably chew it apart over time. The addition of some form of resilient surface will serve to hold the walls together, much like the laminated glass used in windshields.
Given the likelihood that massive quantities of wrecked or abandoned motor vehicles will end up lining every highway and street for miles around, one readily available source of resilient material might be old tires. Tires can be stacked two-over-one and one-over-two, like bricks, and thereafter filled in with dirt, sand, rocks and pebbles, etc to increase their strength. An outer layer of old tires, constructed properly, will be more resistant to attack than would Rammed Earth alone as even bullets only tend to make small holes when shot through tires, rather than chewing away large chunks as they'd tend to do when fired into concrete. This might not be feasible, however, as it could require a ridiculously large number of tires.
(ADDENDUM: One alternative to the old tires, as suggested by Shadowmancer in this thread, would be to ignore the vehicles lining the roads and turn our attentions instead to the roads themselves. As he has mentioned in that thread, "Using soft asphalt as filler would make the walls more durable as it would deform rather than fragment, dissipating the energy of say a grenade blast. The use of asphalt in the construction would allow us to rapidly cast and repair walls as well." Now I'd likely use six or eight inches of asphalt to make up the outer surface of a Rammed Earth wall, rather than using it as filler WITHIN the wall, but it could just as easily be done either way, and asphalt will be one of the most readily available resources around after the SHTF, and although it would definitely be a laborious process to collect the quantities required, it will literally be right under our feet, so we needn't go far out of our way to find it.)
For the finished product, grass seed should be planted, both behind the wall and in the trench as well (as seen in the image to the right), to prevent erosion, strengthen the ground that the wall is built on, absorb runoff, etc. The top and back of the wall itself could be coated in order to preserve it even further against the elements. Tar could be used for preservation, as seen here, but for this purpose, paint will probably be just as viable an alternative and, whether constructed Before or After the SHTF, probably easier for any survival group to acquire in greater quantities as well.
Paint will prove more pricey, but it's also longer term, and will probably end up looking nicer anyway. If we are building before the apocalypse, then nicer looking walls may prove slightly more worthwhile with any neighbors and any other onlookers. Paint, if searched for and purchased in slightly off colors, or with manufacturing defect in coloration, could be cheaper than buying some other old paint. In a scenario such as this, a paint sprayer will probably be another very helpful piece of equipment to have. It is possible to apply paint without a sprayer, of course, but it goes without saying that applying so much paint to so many square feet of wall would be very labor intensive.
Before painting, it is also possible to add all of our paints together in a larger container, mixing them together to attain a more even, balanced color, most likely resulting in some shade of gray or brown. It probably won't end up being the most attractive color ever, but come on: Your wall is made of dirt. What do you want?!
Now, in and of itself, a good sturdy wall can be a great thing to have between you and an attacker, but there are other features that can be added to it that will make it even more so. Some of these include...
This is the characteristic notched appearance seen at the top of a castle wall. In defensive architecture, such as that of The Citadel, battlements (as shown here) are comprised of a parapet (ie - a low wall), in which portions have been cut out at intervals to allow the discharge of arrows or, in our own case, gunfire or other missiles. The cut-out parts are called crenels (known also as carnels, wheelers, loops or embrasures). The solid widths that are seen standing in between these open crenels are called merlons (also cops or kneelers), and they are intended to provide cover from return fire from an attacker. Any wall possessed of battlements is said to be crenelated or embattled. These Battlements would, of course, provide no real benefit if an attacker is of the walking dead variety, as zombies will not offer return fire over which we would have to be concerned. If our attackers prove to be raiders, on the other hand, who may be armed just as well or better than those of us within, then battlements will serve their purpose rather well. As most small caliber rounds can be stopped by as little as twelve inches of concrete, our parapet and merlons should only have to be about one to two feet thick to provide acceptable cover to those manning the roof of The Citadel, which will be built flat to allow defenders to assume a position of high ground. For added security, the surface of each merlon may be faced with stone, or steel plate if available, instead of Rammed Earth to prevent them from being slowly pulverized by gunfire.
The trouble with a wall, especially one that is several feet thick, is that it offers something of a blind spot to defenders. If an attacker can make it to the very base of the wall itself, defenders above are no longer able to see them. In order to fire upon such attackers, defenders must then be forced to lean over through their crenels or stand on top of the parapets entirely, in either case exposing themselves to return fire.
As seen in the picture above, the battlements of a medieval castle often protrude a foot or two out over the towers or walls upon which they have been built. To prevent the very circumstance described above, the extra space often included floor opening between the supporting corbels of a battlement, through which rocks or, in our case, gunfire or other objects could be dropped on attackers at the base of the walls. Developed in the Middle Ages when Norman crusaders returned from the Holy Lands, the machicolated battlement, as shown to the right, projects outwards from the supporting walls to facilitate this. For added security, Machicolations will also be covered with screens made from chain-link fencing that will prevent the attacker from lobbing Molotov Cocktails (or other objects) in through the opening while still allowing the defenders clear outgoing fire.
The windows, of course, present vulnerable points in The Citadel through which an attacker could climb to gain entry to the interior and those within. In order to prevent this from occurring, The Citadel includes ABSOLUTELY NO such windows (or other openings large enough to permit the passage of a human body) on the ground floor. Even the main doors will be on the second floor, accessible only by a retractable staircase.
As seen to the left, the windows on the second floor will be in the form of archers slits. The invention of the Archers Slit is attributed to Archimedes during the siege of Syracuse in 214–212 BC. A slit "the height of a man and about a palm's width on the outside" allowed the defender to shoot bows, or in our case, firearms from within the walls of the Citadel. The interior wall behind an Archers Slit is cut away at an oblique angle so that defenders get a wide field of view and field of fire from which to shoot at an attacker.
This thin vertical aperture permits the defender a large degree of freedom to vary the elevation and direction of his shot but makes it difficult for an attacker to harm him in return since there is only a small target at which to aim.
For added security, the outer face of the walls should be faced with stone or steel plate if available, rather than Rammed Earth for two or three feet on both sides of each Archer Slit to prevent it from being slowly pulverized by gunfire. Their vertical apertures will be filled with vertically sliding casement windows, double paned for insulation purposes, with all the outer panes being of laminated or wire reinforced glass so that they will hold together even if broken. Each Archer Slit can also be covered by a heavy screen made of chain-link fencing that is bolted to the wall. This stops an attacker from lobbing Molotov Cocktails (or other objects) in through the opening while still allowing defenders clear outgoing fire.
Windows above the second floor may be of more conventional size, though still relatively small and covered with iron bars to prevent an attacker from climbing through them. These windows should also be double paned, with the outer panes being of laminated or wire reinforced glass so that they hold together even if broken and covered with screens made of chain-link fencing.
As mentioned above, our main doors will be on the second floor, accessible only by retractable staircase. The doors themselves will be solid-cored, outward opening Double Doors like those seen to the right, to allow easier access when moving larger items of furniture or supplies, and will be equipped with dead bolts between the two doors and at the top and bottom as well. The window panels will be replaced with laminated or wire reinforced glass so that they would hold together even if broken and one window panel on each door would be hinged to open from the inside, to permit outgoing fire. This hinged panel can also be covered by a grill or screen made of chain-link fencing. There will also be one big horizontal bar across both doors and an angled floor-to-handle security bar on each.
There will be an escape tunnel leading out of The Citadel from inside The Bunker, so that occupants can still escape should these front doors be overrun. This will be described in greater detail in the following section.
As an additional security measure, there will be fire escape doors on the third floor to the north, south, east and west to prevent any occupants from being trapped in The Citadel should attackers force them up instead of down. The escape doors should be disguised to blend in with the walls from the outside, and designed so that they only open from the inside. Each of our escape doors can also be equipped with a folding escape ladder like those shown to the left so that occupants can safely reach the ground.
In the event that all our other defenses should fail, The Bunker will provide a final fall back point and potentially even a means of escape from The Citadel entirely. An ‘All Hazard Shelter’ must withstand violent earth movement from severe earthquakes; high velocity wind from tornadoes and hurricanes; invasion by raiders or Zeds; heavy overpressure from nuclear blast; all types of radiation; wild fires and air contamination from any fallout and/or chemical-biological gasses in case the Zombie causing virus should prove to be airborne. When designing this 'All Hazard Shelter', it must meet the following criteria:
Just in case nukes or other weapons of mass destruction were used against Zeds, unlikely as that event may be, The Bunker must serve to provide critical properties of radiation attenuation for NBC shelters, like small diameter entrances with both vertical and horizontal components joined with 90-degree turns (assuring the proper attenuation of gamma radiation) and shielding over the shelter itself equivalent to at least 4 feet of dirt cover to block gamma radiation.
The Bunker must be constructed of a material and geometry that provides proper blast and earthquake protection, to include cover for MAXIMUM blast protection (depth of overhead cover equal to diameter of the shelter, assuring blast protection from overpressure to 200 psi and stable and comfortable interior air temperatures during extreme weather conditions) and arched ceilings that provide "Earth Arching" (assuring protection from catastrophic failure associated with soil burdens and high blast overpressure.
The materials used for construction must MOVE and BEND with earth motion (assuring protection from catastrophic failure associated with earthquakes and ground shock from explosions).
Though I do not intend The Bunker to be used as a long term shelter in and of itself, it must include space for interior storage of primary food and water supplies (in fact, this is where we would store the eighteen-month food stockpiles discussed in Section D: Living), and septic systems located well below ground (all sufficient for long term use) that will withstand the same forces as the shelter itself. In the event that all of The Castle's other defenses fall, and all the occupants be forced to fall back to The Bunker, having all of our food and water plus adequate sanitation facilities for long term use, already stored and installed therein would allow us to shelter underground for as long as it took for the immediate threat to pass. To this end, the main entrance to The Bunker will be located and concealed somewhere in our Springhouse (also discussed in Section D), allowing the occupants to grab as many of our perishable foodstuffs as they can carry while they are on their way into The Bunker.
The Bunker can include steel Blast Doors and air pipes (assuring protection from wild fires, explosions, high wind or flying objects), and blast valves for each penetration of the structure (Air vents, Exhaust Pipes, Wiring, Antennas, etc, assuring protection and continual positive air pressure in the event of an airborne virus or a chemical/biological attack on the facility.
The Bunker will serve to provide adequate ventilation and air filtration capability, having both electrical and manual backup functionality (assuring continual air supply during a long term power failure), 4 - 6” diameter air vents (assuring adequate supply of air and temperature control), metered air volumes (to assure sufficient time within the HEPA Filters when processing chemical or biological gasses) with pre-filters installed in line prior to processing any NBC contaminates (assuring protection of the HEPA filter itself from larger contaminants such as smoke, dirt, insects and other hazardous particles).
The Bunker must also be designed to be water tight, and also to provide full protection against localized threats, size, depth of cover, interior furnishings, handicap entrances where required, ample interior space for storage of food, water and other supplies and sufficient volume to 'shut down' air supplies for at least 5 hours during fires.
There would also be a concealed escape tunnel within The Bunker that exits well outside the Curtain Walls, designed to allow the occupants an alternate point of egress if our main entrance tunnel from the Springhouse is blocked, or in case the Bunker itself seems about to be breached. The escape tunnel will be equipped with a steel hatch that will be in some way concealed (perhaps amongst bushes or shrubbery, or in some innocuous outbuilding) so as to preclude its discovery by outsiders, and will have armored protective pocket welded on the outside of the leaf which will protect the external lock from weapons effects and folks with undesirable social skills.
In the unfortunate event that The Citadel still stands incomplete Before the SHTF, the fence is the part of The Castle that must be completed first, as it may have to serve as our line of defense whilst construction proceeds on the remainder of our permanent fortifications. As seen to the right, a simple wooden stockade fence, about eight feet high, may be the easiest to set up absent sufficient quantities of dressed lumber or chain-link fence materials.
We would build a stockade by clearing the spaces around The Citadel of woodland and using the trees whole, or ripped in half if a sawmill or even a chainsaw were available, with one end sharpened on each. We then dig a narrow trench round the area, just outside where the trench of the Curtain Wall would be, standing the sharpened logs side-by-side within it, encircling the perimeter. The logs may be spaced along the stockade fence about two inches apart, thereby allowing openings too narrow for zombies to reach in through while still being wide enough for defenders to shoot or stab through. We would add additional defenses by planting rows of sharpened sticks in a shallow secondary trench outside of this stockade fence. In preparation for the cold months, the stockade fence could receive a coating of clay or mud to make the crude walls wind-proof, but this would then negate the purpose of the spacing. Perhaps the mud could be layered four feet high, on a six to eight foot tall fence, to provide some shelter while still allowing visibility and field of fire openings above the mud.
We can reinforce the stockade fence, if need be, by piling stones or thick layers of mud at the foot of the logs making up the stockade, thus improving its strength. From there we would raise The Citadel and Rammed Earth Wall inside the stockade, creating a more permanent defenses while working protected. If time and resources permit, the logs to be used in the stockade will be treated with tar or some other preservative to prevent rotting and equipped with some sort of sensors that could detect either a breach or an attempt to scale the fence.
Two quicker alternatives, if we are fortunate enough that proper materials are available, may be sandbags or tires recovered off of abandoned vehicles. Either material could be stacked two-over-one and one-over-two, like bricks, and the old tires could thereafter be filled in with dirt, sand, rocks/pebbles, etc to increase their strength. These types of fences, constructed properly, will be more resistant to attack than simple wooden stockade fencing, but that can turn into just as much a curse as a blessing. Upon reaching the fences, tires filled with sand or sandbags would protect the attackers from us just as well as us from them, whereas the wooden stockade posts could be spaced apart just enough to allow outgoing fire. The same could presumably be done with tires, but this could probably make filling them more difficult and might even make the finished tire fence unstable in the process.
In any case, whatever outer fence we end up using can be topped, if available, with barbed wire. As shown to the right, such barbed wire would thereby add an extra foot or two to the height of the fences without further blocking sight lines, whilst also making them a little bit more difficult for a group of attackers to simply climb over them. Persons or animals trying to pass through or over barbed wire will suffer discomfort and possibly injury. Barbed wire fencing requires only fence posts, the wire itself and fixing devices such as staples, and it is simple to construct and quick to erect, even by an unskilled builder.
If we are fortunate enough that the rest of The Castle is completed Before the SHTF, then longer stockade (or tire or sandbag) fences wall be built over time that would surround a greater perimeter to protect such crops and livestock as we might possess. The existing fence, which would now lie just outside the completed trench around the Curtain Wall, would then be dismantled so as not to interfere with the defenders stationed upon the Wall by obstructing their own fields of view of lines of fire.
Between our crops and our Curtain Wall, described hereafter, will be an open area, kept cleared of vegetation and maybe even salted, if necessary, so that no more can grow back later. This killing area should be at least two to three hundred yards wide where modern firearms may be a threat, and also devoid of anything to give an attacker the advantage of cover. It should be separated from our crop field by either a second stockade fence or a barbed wire fence as shown to the left. In either case, this second fence will only be about waist high, as it is meant to slow an attacker down long enough to expose them to defensive fire from our Curtain Walls, again without being substantial enough to provide them cover or concealment to hide behind.
Presupposing that both power and materials are available, a row of Lighting inside the Inner Fence will deny Intruders the Cover of Darkness when crossing the killing area. This lighting could be mounted inside of the Inner Fences, near the ground and facing inward and downward, so that our inner fences, our crops and our outer fences would together prevent the light from being visible to any observers outside of the Compound.
While at first glance crop placement may not seem to be a part of fortification, it must nonetheless be considered, as it has a vital role to play. One cannot simply design where the plants will go, and then forget about them. During each growing season, we will be re-planting, re-harvesting, and re-guarding all of our crops anew. It would, therefore, be an ever changing, ongoing and continuous process.
The idea behind the strategy of where our crops are placed is simple. It would be nice if we could simply keep all our fields inside the Curtain Wall, and thus behind our strongest lines of defense. However, it requires a goodly amount of land to feed each single person for a year, an amount that is quite likely more than we could possibly surround within the Wall, and also more than we could patrol or safeguard as part of our main defenses. Some of those crops would have to be placed, therefore, outside of the wall. It will be beneficial, though, to have an outer perimeter of lesser strength, say, our stockade fence, that need not be patrolled during the night. This would help to keep at bay the occasional zombies and unwanted critters that would feast on your crops.
Now, placing these crops is of vital importance. The locations largely will depend on your patrols. However, it is easy to notice the traits of each type of crop. For example, corn grows tall and will mask any approach, with the attackers hiding among their tall stalks. Crops such as radishes, lettuce, or carrots, however, are small enough that they could not possibly hide any human or zombie attacker. We must keep this in mind as we sow our seeds.
One possibility is to keep a small space between our outer perimeter fence, followed by a layer of tall crops, such as corn, followed by a second layer of medium crops, then small crops. Defending this style should simply require lookouts either in, or at the edges of, the medium height crops. They would be able to see approaching hostiles above the shorter crops, and an attack would call for an immediate retreat to The Castle. A zombie attacker like the one seen here would probably bypass the fields entirely, coming right at our main defenses (where all of those delicious juicy people are), and hopefully making for a quick fight. Against raiders, however, our crops would be vulnerable. It's likely that they'd simply take everything we've grown, if they are able. The solution here is to be sure that the firing points on top of the Curtain Walls and Corner Towers, have enough height to fire on such attackers over the taller crops, thereby forcing them to either fully retreat or commit to full attack, which we would hopefully be well equipped to fight off.
Page Two C: The Curtain Wall
The Citadel and The Bunker should serve us quite well indeed in the event of any attack, but I'd still sleep a little more soundly at night if I knew that the Zeds had still been kept a little further back. For that reason, I have been working on a plan to surround The Castle with still further defenses. The outer defenses of The Castle will be seen, discussed in further detail in Page Two C: The Curtain Wall.
|White76Knight's Survival Plan|
Bugging In and Bugging Out
Digging In for Awhile
Living in the Aftermath
|Page Two B: |
Fortifying The Citadel
|Page Two C: |
The Curtain Wall
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, Dec 8 2012, 6:56 PM EST
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|White76Knight||Fortifying The Castle (page: 1 2)||24||Sep 4 2012, 10:18 PM EDT by White76Knight|
Thread started: Jul 3 2011, 6:46 PM EDT Watch
As it is written, so let it be done...
Okay boys and girls, as I mentioned on the thread concerning my survival plan, "another page will be forthcoming concerning the physical construction of my compound, and the defensive features thereof" that would answer any questions about how I would protect it all if I was attacked. That page ended up being two pages, but they are finally done. The first should be linked at the top of this thread but, for the sake of convenience, it can be found here:
and the second page is here:
So again... What do you think? Any questions or concerns? Now's the time.
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