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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shadow living - Part 3 - Planning your operations

The Plan - How to Plan, What to Plan For

Before you can step outside and breathe the night air, you first need a plan. The operation may consist of anything from simple nighttime training to an assassination, but you still need a good plan. Several plans, infact. Plan the hell out of everything as best as you can without confusing yourself or other party members if applicable. Having multiple plans enables you to quickly react during high stress situations without having to whip up an idea on the fly.

In making a plan, try to do so as mentally as possible. If you must print anything out or write something down, be sure and burn the evidence after you and whoever else is in the party has studied it enough. Make sure that nobody besides those directly involved know about your plan. This is for everyone's good. Remember Rule 5 as well.

First of all, we need to decide what kind of plan you are going to create. That is to say, you need to figure out what attribute you are going to use to complete your mission. There are three common attributes used in a plan, your personal plan may consist of one or more of the following:


Stealth means being able to get into an area without being seen and leaving as little evidence as possible. It relies on using specialized gear, your surroundings, and the locations of other people to your advantage. This should always be the method chosen when possible, as it allows you much more time to prepare and act during your operation. Without stealth, you can be easily compromised, forcing you to abort a mission early.


A plan relying on speed relies on being able to accomplish your objectives and exit the area before anyone can do anything about it. Speed is useful when it is simply inefficient to use stealth or strength, but it has many drawbacks. For example, a person cannot gather a decent amount of loot unless they know exact locations. Remaining unidentified is critical when using speed to your advantage.


Plans depending on strength are generally the most expensive and the most violent ones. Brute force is used to destroy any impediments to your goal. Such examples are cutting through a door, blasting a safe, or shooting a combatant. Since there is a good chance of being identified during such a plan, precautions must be taken to conceal your identity. If you have the resources available and aren't afraid of using this kind of tactic, it may be best as you can use all the tools you need to complete your mission.

Once you have decided which attribute fits your objective best, you then need to come up with your plans. These plans you'll need to make are as follows.

Main Plan

The plan that is almost guaranteed to change in the shadows, this is the one you try to follow best to complete your operation. While creating your main plan, you will need to go over some elementary points:

• Area from which you are departing from.

• Method of leaving current area.

• Time at which you are leaving.

• Time at which you are coming back.

• Route taken to operation objective.

• Method of area entry.

• Time taken inside of area.

• Method of area exit.

• Route taken back to area of departure.

• Method of entering departure area.

So, a plan may look as follows on reflection:

• 10:00PM - Departed from Base of Operations - Needed to Return by 11:00PM - Exited via Window

• 10:12PM - Reached Way Point Alpha

• 10:19PM - Reached Way Point Bravo - Mission Objective Sighted

• 10:22PM - Reached Mission Objective - Accessed via Window in Rear - 2 Minute Time Limit

• 10:23PM - Mission Completed - Departed Area via Same Window in Rear, 1 Minute Ahead of Schedule

• 10:30PM - Reached Way Point Bravo

• 10:37PM - Reached Way Point Alpha - Base of Operations Sighted

• 10:40PM - Reached Base of Operations - Entered Via Window

All Objectives Completed

Simple training operations may go as smoothly as this sample one, but should anything else, consider yourself lucky. Keep in mind any roads, rivers, swamps, hill, or other natural obstacles you can use as well. Remember Rule 4, Do Everything the Hard Way. If you have the boots to do it, try going through a swampy area. If there is a hill near your objective, try to get on it if you can so you can observe the area good before moving out. Also mind the houses, roads, and party areas that you need to go past.

Time is also important. Even if it becomes dark at around six o'clock in your area, people will still be awake and active. If you depart at around midnight however, you will notice that most people are asleep, and the police and security guards are less acute.

When making your plans, you should also pay attention to the conditions that night. Is it rainy? Foggy? Bright moonlight or none? What is the temperature out there? These things will all play factors in where you go, when you go, and what you bring along with you.

Auxiliary Plans

Optional, but recommended. You'll probably need a good back-up plan incase something unexpected happens. This can be anything from a large gathering of people in an area, a vehicle collision, a fire, anything. Rule 10 applies here. It should go without saying that these are the same as your main plan as far as procedure layouts are concerned, but you should try to keep that same procedure as close to the original as possible. That makes the plans easier to remember.

Escape Plans

These are NOT optional. Sooner or later, you will be compromised, or be in danger of being compromised, and you will need to exit the area as soon as possible. Try to make as many as you can without confusing yourself. Analyze areas that you are most prone to being spotted first, then work your way to the less hazardous areas.

So how do you get around to making all these plans? You need intelligence of course. If you really need to be clandestine and need photos of specific area, you may need to run an entire operation just to get the information you need. Don't skimp on the details, every little thing counts.

When looking for intel for an operation, look out for the following:

Road Maps

These give a clear view of all the roads in the area. This is important as a car spotting you with it's headlights is not good. These can be found everywhere, including gas stations, Yahoo! Maps, etc.

Topographic Maps

These let you know where all the hills and draws are. Both are important during evasion and recon alike - hills are tiring to cross, but give a good view of areas, and draws offer great cover all around, but are easier to seal off. You might be able to pick one up at a few state offices, or check one online at www.terraserver.com.

Aerial Photographs

These are superb for viewing housing locations, trees, roads, rivers, ditches, just about anything. You get a bird's eye view of the place. Rural area photos are usually grayscale, but are still adequate. These can also be found at www.terraserver.com. Very useful in planning routes.


These tell you every single nook and cranny of a building, but are hard to get these days. You may try to use a telephone to get one from an appropriate service, but only do so if the reward is worth it. Remember to fake all names and addresses.

Fire Exit Map

Easier to get than blueprints, but almost always require a person to enter the target building. From there, a map can be liberated, remembered, or captured by a camera. While these are not as precise as blueprints, they still offer enough to let you formulate a good plan.

Floor Plan

Look for these in newspapers, magazines, and online. Anyone trying to sell a house may have one of these around. Sometimes the plans are attached to signs outside the house, in which case they can probably be picked up at a real estate office as well. Sometimes the house for sale is still occupied by someone, which is good, although just the same sometimes it is empty. These are of the same value as fire exit maps, but are not only useful for routes, but for selecting operations as well! Simply look around for a suitable target and create a plan around it. The vacant houses also make great practice runs as they rarely have decent security.


Human intelligence. You may be able to get information out of someone or get him or her to release documents to you. This may be because you know the person well or because you can trick a stranger. Mind you that if you ask for these documents and they know who you are, you will be suspect number one in the event of anything more than stealthy breaking and entering. That said, try to remain anonymous.


Even simple pictures of the objective can be useful. They may show doorways, windows, cabinets, or a valuable item's location.

Et Cetera

There's no telling what you'll find. You may even get lucky and run into a note giving away important information about something.

By using good common sense and observing The Rules, you should be able to formulate an effective plan and be able to execute it with success. Be sure when making your plan to evaluate your own strengths and weakness. For example, if you cannot swim, don't be stupid and try to swim behind a house on a lake.

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