The effectiveness of a Spider Hole toward perimeter defense

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Silent Bob

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Mar 20, 2014
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Going to post another one of those home-made PDF's on how to build a Spider Hole. Why do I bring spider holes up to preppers. Simply this, they are cheap to build, economical, can be built effectively in a few hours and provides an indepth ability to frustrate a force intent on entering your perimeter.

Spider holes are not new, often they are confused with the foxhole or fighting pit, the one difference is that the spider hole is literally a very well camouflaged hole, really it is only a few feet deep and is not meant for long-term defense. Now I know that some of you have watched National Geo and saw the prepper who was building a string of spider holes to defeat what he expects as an overwhelming force. You can take it or leave it, but what I will point out is the effectiveness of the spider hole as an offensive weapon used not perfected in Vietnam, but very well used during the Pacific campaign by the Japanese. In fact that are two very good training manuals on the subject of Japanese spider holes and why Japanese soldiers confounded American soldiers both in the central Pacific, but especially on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. I've interviewed two Marine survivors from Iwo, both were in their late 80's and they told me nothing was more fearful that Japanese soldiers exiting a spider hole in the dead of night and doing what they did to their Marine buddies. Having lived on Okinawa twice in my life and exploring in detail Sugar Loaf Hill, I can assure you the use of spider holes and tunnels were so well used in that battle it explains the high casualty rates seen in military records.

So why make a spider hole, first, it is an effective defensive tool in that it provides cover in areas that the enemies route of travel can be controlled by one well placed observer. Spider holes do not have to be used as a offensive tool, but as both as an escape and evasion hide or as an observation post that is linked with a very strong communication system (either by tactical field phones/tactical radios). A very important thing to remember regarding spider holes is that they are not dug deep into the ground, in fact they are so small that the person must sit in a very confined space, granted some spider holes are dug deeper, but as an offensive tool these can be to elaborate to serve as such, in my honest opinion, then these type of well crafted holes can fall more into the foxhole category. As mentioned, previously, spider holes also can be used as an offensive tool, if well placed along routes of travel or suspected ingress/or line of embarkation can be very effective in stymieing the enemies ability to organize and communicate. Even with a typical long rifle, the spider hole could place an OPFOR in serious disadvantage because it would require several hours in delaying their intended plans, thus frustrating or even canceling the OPFOR's operation entirely. Extensive reconnaissance by the OPFOR would be required with a well positioned sniper using the spider hole because the individual could threaten and if not hamper the OPFOR's line of communication.

Additionally, should the prepper, after the SHTF and their is a true break down in government, precluding law enforcement, preppers gaining access to more heavier weapons, such as anti-tank or other like heavy weapon can frustrate any convoys or large patrols.

Two obvious advantages are seen with either a spider hole or foxhole in that they can provide you with a very conservative and cost effective way to defend your BOL. A well defined in-depth strategy of using spider holes in a concentric circle, placed strategically away as possibly your third or outer ring of defense will not only give you an advantage, but will aid the rest of your party to prepare/give early warning. The second advantage is that spider holes built pre-SHTF and placed near a cache site can provide your team with resources that will prolong their time on station without resupply and in that regard become a economic force multiplier.

One obvious disadvantage is that spider holes are not built deep enough to withstand an artillery barrage, granted, I know most of you are thinking that the use of artillery on any BOL will be a sign of destruction/death for all, but in this case, I have to bring it up for those that think a spider hole will provide protection from well placed artillery rounds.

Their are no right or wrong ways to building a spider hole, but what is important is to consider that the best ones ensure survivability through well constructed camouflage emplacements. As learned during my interview, a true spider hole during World War II or Vietnam War were so well developed, experienced rifleman often overlooked them or mistook them as harmless resources or vegetation.

Feel free to comment on this thought as you like.



A True Doomsday Prepper
Aug 15, 2013
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While you can't protect against artillery, a more realistic threat can be grenades, and these CAN be protected against, with grenade sumps to your spider hole.

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