Defensive Arrangements for Homestead’s


All windows and doors, usually had expanded steel mesh, used for barbeque’s fitted to them in an angle iron frame.

Most had a designated safe room, with the Radio, within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows.
it was common to build sand bag walls in front of sleeping areas and under bedroom windows to stop bullets passing through walls as single brick walls will not stop 7.62×39 mm rounds, , sandbags were stacked in front of doors, to provide secured firing arc’s, about a meter away from the main building,
fox holes were sometimes dug to provide fire positions, and occasionally escape tunnels were also dug,
Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

Every farmhouse was assigned a call sign and linked by a radio system and they were often issued thousand foot flares, as a backup, This network of radios allowed contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, which could react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. The system required for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.
One South Africa system called MARNET , was sponsored by the commandos,
MARNET included a panic button on the front of the radio – and each radio had a unique packet radio serial code that it would broadcast when the button was pressed, this was recognised by the other radios in the same net and would alert those in the same commando team to check in to find out who raised the alarm, and then dispatch a team to go relieve the defenders.

the basic setup was, at the very furthest perimeter, ( about 200 m away from the farm house ) a “fence” is placed , this is simply a coil of wire  (about 60 cm loops that are hard to avoid, and impossible to see at night )  placed at random each day, the coiled wire is designed to move when disturbed and  rattle the soda cans with stones in, that are attached to it , to wake the dogs, forming an effective trip wire alarm.

wire alarm

a ditch of about 60 cm deep and 1m wide was dug around the outer fence a few meters away to stop vehicles battering through the fences. The  fence was about 40m or more  away from the main house (out of throwing distance for petrol bombs and grenades but within accurate rifle fire range),  the outer fence was lower ( mainly due to cost )  and topped and bottomed with barb wire and alarmed with simple soda cans with stones inside that would rattle and wake the dogs, if they were disturbed, this fence would often enclose all the outbuildings, a well or dam,  and a veggie garden.

Around the farmhouse were erected security fences with barbed wire coils  (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them, or were electrified. This inner fence was usually very high 10 feet or more and strong welded mesh, topped with barb wire and close to the main house, about 4-10 meters away from the sand bags, with a ditch about 1 meter deep and about 2 meters away from the inner fence.

The reason for the inner fence and ditch was, much like todays BAR Armour on Hummers that  the American’s  use .. the inner fence would catch grenades and they would then roll into the ditch and explode there, causing little damage, also an RPG fired at the house would also be caught by the fence and do little damage to the main house, exploding or getting tangled in the fence maybe even before it armed.

Within the inner fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. False cover is erected at the corner of each building outside of the main building

The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse. The flood lighting often included hardened lighting, with either basic bullet proofing or reflectors . If the light is placed behind sand bags ,polished stainless steel sheet reflectors were used to provide light from the  lights shining vertically upwards . lights were/are the first targets and if the reflectors were shot they still worked … albeit with a few holes.

All occupants were armed with weapons. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, and assigned a weapon,  including the children – usually a .22 rifle from age 10 -12 , then a full powered 303, if younger then 10 they can bring ammo and messages from other parts of the house , stand guard and bring water and food to other defenders. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night, some had bullet-proof vests with all  they needed attached i.e magazines, medical trauma packs, high powdered torches etc .

Each weapons would have ammo stored in magazines : 300-500 rounds for assault rifles, 50-100 ssg for shotguns, and 50-100 rounds per hand gun

As it was a favourite of terrorists was to land-mine the driveway outside the fence, Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, A great deal of time was spent inspecting the dirt roads for freshly dug earth.

home-made claymore like devices were used extensively and strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth the strike patterns are aimed low to strike the legs and crawling attackers.

Out buildings were often fitted which screens of thin steel or wood. they provide false cover to intruders, who would have to stand behind the sheets to fire around the corners of building,s but could easily be picked off if they did, by firing through the false cover.

Ref “Small arms shooting and ballistic”s by WA Hundt, 1989, isbn-0-620-13558-1

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