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DIY Military-Grade Bunkers – Survival Prepper

DIY Military-Grade Bunkers

Creating a survival bunker can be a costly project if you want to have all of the modern conveniences available. Some of the higher end shelters are nicer than many apartments, though the fiscal investment in these are often too high for the average prepper to complete on their own. It is possible to create your own shelter with minimal investment by using defensive operations developed by the United States Army. These shelters will not protect from biological, chemical or nuclear threats, though they can be perfect in order to build a shelter to protect against small arms fire and stay hidden in the process. In order to build this project, you will need a shovel, a stable sheet of wood, sandbags (as many as you can get), and area appropriate vegetation.

Before you are able to start working on the shelter itself, you will need to choose a location. The best bunker locations are somewhat hidden within the natural landscape but still offer good visibility to engage opposing threats. Try building your bunker about ten to twenty meters inside of a woodline or inside a thicket of brush. This will be incredibly important when it comes to the concealment part of the building process.

Once you have found your location, use your shovel to mark an area that is about three shovel lengths long. The size of a bunker should be determined by its use, so if you plan on sleeping inside, it might be smart to increase its overall dimensions. For this scenario, we are looking at building a fighting position, as it is the quickest and easiest to complete.

After you have outlined the space, begin digging a hole within your dimensions. Instead of dumping the dirt into a giant pile, use the soil to fill your sandbags and place them in a pile, because they will be used later. Excavating will be a tiring process and will likely take some time. It is important to dig down an entire shovel length in the ground. The walls of the hole should be shear, and in the end, it will look like a rectangular has been cut from the earth. It is imperative that the walls are packed hard enough that they will not collapse while it is waiting to be used.

Image from FM 3-21.8 Infantry Field Manual

Now that you have created a decent sized hole, you should have a huge supply of filled sandbags and probably some extra soil in a pile. Take your sandbags and begin lining the front and sides of your bunker at the surface. The bags should follow an interlocking pattern and be at least two deep, though if you are short one sandbags one is also okay. Make sure to leave openings at the front corners of your bunker, because they will provide the places for you to engage the enemy. You do not want to place your firing hole in the center of the bunker, because most people will aim at the center of a target, and this will greatly increase your chances of being hit in a vulnerable area.

At this point, your bunker should really start to look like it will do its job, but it isn’t complete yet. Take your sheet of wood and rest it on top of your sandbags so it forms a roof over the bunker. If you have access dirt, pile it on top until it looks like a small mound. If you have to shovel extra dirt, make sure to only dig in the area behind your bunker. This will mitigate any signs that you are in the area, and also offers a way in which you can make it easier to access the bunker itself.

Continue shoveling dirt onto your bunker until the sheet is completely covered. Then begin piling it up on the outsides of your sandbags ensuring that you do not cover up your firing holes. Eventually, it will look like a massive pile of dirt sitting where your bunker once was.

At this point, you have completed the structural part of the bunker, so now it is time to conceal it. The goal is to make it as invisible as possible and this is completed by interweaving the surrounding area into the bunker itself. Find vegetation that is natural to your spot and cover the exterior of your shelter with it. Again, do not use anything from in front of your bunker as it is a red flag for any experienced eye. Another tip is dig into the root system of each plant that way they will not die once your transplant them. This will create a natural camouflage that will not wilt in a few days.

By now it should like a grassy hill, so try to take some downed branches and weave the silhouette of the shelter into the surrounding landscape. If done correctly it will be almost impossible to spot your shelter unless you are right on top of it. Make sure to maintain any collapses, and replace dead vegetation in order to maintain its concealment.

My name is Steven Capps, and I have a B.A. in English from the American Military University. My writing has been featured in Fiction, The Bird & Dog, Survival Sullivan, The Cass County Star Gazette, and many others. I currently serve as an Infantry Sergeant in the U.S. Army National Guard.