Survival Guides

Basic Retreat Defensibility

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The first thing you will notice about Krak is where they put it. What stands out most about Krak’s location? If you said that it was located on a hilltop plateau, you’d be 100% correct. The very first consideration in selecting your retreat is to make sure that the retreat has the high ground. Krak is located on extreme high ground – a 2130 foot tall hill. Again, realize that you may not be able to situate your retreat on a hill that tall, but that’s not really the point. The point is to make sure that your home sits on high ground. Here is why, as well as some logic behind this:

  • Even in the age of attack helicopters and airstrikes, the high ground is still militarily important. In fact, it’s unlikely that any technology will ever erase the military importance of holding and keeping the high ground.
  • Holding high ground makes it easy for you to see and engage targets below you. Even building your home on a modest 5 meter (15 foot) mound or hillock allows you to see everything around you, often before you can be seen.
  • Even in the age of tanks and armored vehicles, these vehicles have to work hard to engage a target that is uphill of them.
  • Attackers on foot have to work harder to make their way upwards, while at the same time dealing with a downward volume of fire, which is a really tough and almost unwinnable situation to be in.

The high ground is the first and most important aspect of where you put your retreat. Let’s keep studying the castle, and see what else we can come up with. Notice another feature related to the high ground in the photos of Krak – it is not only on high ground – it is on the highest ground. There are no taller hills or structures in the vicinity of the castle. Essentially, there’s no other spot that an enemy can use to get higher up than the castle itself.

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