Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shadow living - Part 11 - Creating and Regulating a "Crew"

No matter how good you become in the shadows, you still only have two arms, two legs, and cannot be in two places at once. Certain operations will require the presence of other operatives to complete your objective. This section will attempt to describe as accurately as possible how you should go about finding these people, and what jobs to assign them. Keep in mind that some of the previous rules and techniques you have learned may be exempt here, as they are simply impossible when your aren't solo.

When operating in a group, try not to bring the number of people in the actual operations area above four. You may have lookouts near police parking areas, home, where ever, but keep the number of mobile units no higher than four. If you want to risk more people, you might as well wear white and hammer on an airhorn.

Unit Assignments

Here are essential jobs that need to be assigned to people when operating in a group. Obviously, you fill all positions when operating solo, save perhaps overlord.

Squad Commander

Every unit needs a leader, without one it will fall apart in a high stress situation. You, the reader, will be the leader in all likelyhood. Be aware that as squad commander, you will have an enormous responsibility. You must find a crew that is not only trustworthy, but skilled enough to be of assistance. You'll have to ensure them that the operation is worth their time as well.

When you have your unit assembled, you'll then need to assign each person his job. Make sure your skills are fairly interchangable, should something happen to one of your members. Make sure everyone has appropriate gear and attire. If someone refused to operate like you want them to, cut them. There's no good reason why you should be compromised just because somebody wanted to wear white shoes or whatever in the shadows. Also, make sure you've laid down a good plan that everyone understands and agrees with.

While in the field, it is best to lead your crew from the front. "Do as I do" should be your motto here, not "Do as I say". This instills trust and respect with your team, and will ensure you people if you ever need a party again. Be mindful that you also need to look out for the well being of everyone. Should someone fall behind, you should decide if you are going to leave them or circle back and link back up somehow. This decision will probably be based on who the person is, what the risks and rewards are, and the outcome will determine the morale of your crew as a whole.

In summary, the squad commander is the boss. Should you choose to undertake this position, a lot will ride on your performance in the field. The risks are more, but so are the personal rewards.

Equipment to Bring:

• Standard Solo Equipment

• Two-Way Radio (to contact Overlord, Scout, and other units if they have radios)

Point Man

While travelling to and from the mission area, you need someone up front keeping his senses open for people, moving vehicles, targets of opportunity, etc. This should be the position that your squad commander undertakes, as they are probably the best for the job.

Equipment to Bring:

• Standard Solo Equipment

• Mini-Binoculars (Optional)

• GPS Unit (Optional)


As you approach your objective, you'll probably realize that the entire team can't just wander up to the place without someone making sure it's safe to do so first. That someone is your scout.

Unit scouts undertake the responsibility of sweeping the area for security measures, and gaining access to any locked up areas. The squad commander can fill this position if he or she so wishes. Remember to keep the load small, because the scout needs more mobility than anyone else in the group.

Equipment to Bring:

• Standard Solo Equipment

• Specialized B&E Tools (Optional)

• Two-Way Radio (to contact Squad Commander)


If you acquire and carry a good, compact, high quality computer filled with all of the information you needed for an operation, you probably would. But, that's highly doubtful, so the next best thing to use is an overlord. Basically, the job of the overlord is to know everything about the operation, including the crew's position, the security locations, police locations, everything.

The overlord is to be located where they have a good view of the operational area, yet are well out of trouble if possible. They keep in constant contact with the squad commander, notifying him of any changes in his area, and giving him help and advise when needed. Thus, the overlord needs to be someone smart, responsible, and doesn't mind if they miss out on all the action. They also need to be calm, because if they bolt off at the first sign of trouble, he or she could very well leave the rest of the unit in serious trouble.

Equipment to Bring:

• Best Camouflage Possible

• High Powered Binoculars (night vision is optimal)

• Two-Way Radio

• Police Scanner

• Maps

• Objective Information

Pack Horse

A job anyone can undertake. The pack horse's job is to simply carry cargo discretely back to base or to a caching area.

Equipment to Bring:

• Standard Solo Equipment

• Large Rucksack

These are the basic jobs necessary in a well organized operation. You may wish to omit the overlord if you think the unit can fare well without one. Remember to keep your scout light so he can do his job efficiently.

Unit Movement

There are also moving issues that need addressed, since you'll need to move around in a totally different matter.


When walking through fields, yards, etc. you need to know how to avoid looking like an elephant. To do so, you'll need to travel in a single file line, with your point man up front. If you can, try to step in each other's footprints, giving the illusion of only one person should somebody find the tracks later. Stay low, and keep to shadowy areas to try to keep your profile to a minimum.

Crossing Fences

When in a group, you have some big advantages and disadvantages when crossing fences.

You can use people to brace fences or pull apart wires to make it easier for others to pass, then they do the same for you. This makes bypassing fences a much easier and quieter task than when solo. However, you are also forced to stay near fences longer, giving you more time to be seen. Speed is of big importance here.

Crossing Roads

If you need to cross a road, or any place with a decent amount of traffic, the do so one person at a time. Send your scout out first. If something goes sour, he can break away quickest. If he has a radio like he should, the squad commander and overlord can help work out a rendevous point for everyone.

If the scout deems the other side safe to be on, he should wave over another person, and he another, until everyone is across. If everyone were to cross at the safe time, it would create a big scene. I doubt anyone is going to think a midnight marathon is going on.


If it is mandatory that everyone climbs a tree or building, do so in a similar fashion as you would crossing a road. If you have an overlord, see if you can get the status around the building so nobody can see you when you are climbing. Have everyone behind cover while each person is climbing. Once a person is where they need to be, make sure they are out of sight as soon as they wave the next person up. You may wish to have either the best or second best person waiting until last to climb.

Unit Hiding

As a team, you'll have less places to hide than you did when you operated solo. Hiding in light is nearly impossible, and tall grass isn't as good when it's stashing more than one or two people. Still, if done correctly, you should still be able to adequately hide the entire unit from people passing by, or even a small scale search.

Hiding in Terrain

When utilizing terrain, you must make sure there are large enough objects to hide everyone, or enough scatter objects to do so. Good ideas are ditches, large bushes, brush, large patches of dark grass, river banks, parking lots (with cars), anywhere that can hide everyone. The exception is if the place looks too obvious. If there is a search for your team, the police will probably think the same thing and look there first.

Hiding in Shadows

This isn't nearly as easy as when you are solo. You must have people sit in dark corners, and never together, unless you have something breaking up your appearance.

Hiding in Nothing

The best method is still to simply lay down, face down if you are in a field or any large, flat surface. If you want to break up your outline by appearing to be something else, try having everyone stand together and appear to be anything besides humans. This won't work against an active search, but will be good enough to fool anyone that isn't expecting you.

Remember to be careful, more than ever, and more quiet than ever, because while speed was never your asset before, it certainly is less so now. You may wish to equip everyone with radios incase you need to split up. If you have an overlord, he can help link everyone back up. Remember to assign codes to waypoints, you don't want to find the bacon waiting for you at your rendevous points.

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