During my government service (civilian & military) I read a number of "doomsday" scenarios. These scenarios could be anything from the total collapse of the financial system to the destruction of the power grid. Most of these documents state it will take ninety days for the food supply to be exhausted & the violence to end. By the end I mean two hundred million dead (two thirds of the U.S. population) from everything (burned, hung, shot, stabbed, starved. etc). This will be mostly in the major cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Vegas, Miami, New York, San Diego, Saint Louis) where the population is over a hundred thousand & depend completely on the corner market. Where people live in a virtual cage & depend on the daily supply convoys for everything, such as lab rats depend on their keepers. Government reports state the average family has at most a week of stored food available in their home & no real means or knowledge of how to purify & store water. Within a week of a complete national breakdown (remember Katrina) there will be looting of grocery stores, food riots & mass murder. This will not be one group on another such as the Nazis genocide; but an out & out brawl of thousands if not millions fighting it out in the streets with whatever is in their hands. The people in hospitals, elderly in nursing homes, & children in foster care as in Katrina will go first; their caretakers having abandoned them. After two weeks, people, if not whole families will be Butchered for a can of cat food, the body builder down the hall will break down your door for the mere thought of a slice of bread. After a month & a hundred million dead of disease, rats, wild dogs (once pets) & zoo animals (if they have not been eaten) will decimate another hundred million.
Most survivors at this point will be vicious hordes of thugs (Darwin) doing anything & everything they please no matter how brutal & savage such as the barbarians of the dark ages. These hordes could number from a few hundred to a few thousand of experienced & viscous fighters. Their barbaric activities will be everything from cannibalism, mass rape of men, women & children to routine lynching & burning for entertainment. Each member will have survived not only the barbarity immediately following the disaster, but also the enumerable street brawls as the various hordes clashed over diminishing resources. On average the warlords & members of these hordes will not be intelligent, will have very limited knowledge of anything outside twenty miles of their immediate pre disaster habitat. Although the warlords may be armed with modern firearms the vast majority of horde members will simply carry clubs, knives, spears & the like. As horde members will have limited access to modern firearms & transportation because most of ammunition & gasoline have been depleted or wasted during the numerous street brawls. While the horde may ride in automobiles using what little gasoline is left, they will probably ride in carts or wagons pulled by those slaves who have survived up to this point. According to U.S. Military documents & records; well fed, equipped, rested & trained personnel can walk over a roadbed at five miles an hour. Being these slaves have been mal treated, sick, & starving for months & are pulling heavy loads they will probably make less than two miles an hour. Some of these loads will be towed artillery from National Guard Armories & as the slaves die or are killed off the horde will diminish to a walking mob with in thirty miles of their original location.
Some dissent & civilized people will survive this carnage by hiding or by some stroke of fate getting free from their captors & escaping to rural areas fifty miles outside the cities. These will more than likely be children who have learned to hide well or whose parents &/or older siblings have given their lives getting them to safety. These “lucky” survivors will carry information about & warning of the hordes planning to leave the cities in search of better food & entertainment.
Rural communities have renewable resources, will not suffered the slaughter of the cities & are relatively stable with suitable warning they will be able to destroy the hordes with little effort. Unlike the hordes, rural communities are armed to the teeth, people hunt, know the landscape & most of the men & some of the women are combat veterans, which will develop into one very effective fighting force. These communities will not only maintain overt sentries (Drones) posted on bridges, intersections & roads, but also covert & forward outposts in the wood lands. These sentries & outposts will provide early warning of the horde, but also prohibit the unwelcome mobs from the cities from overwhelming community resources. There will be a triage system where family members of the community & valued individuals will be allowed to enter, but unnecessary individuals will not. Valued individuals are veterans, scientists, medical, craftspeople etc. Unnecessary individuals would be accounts, artists, bankers, musicians, insurance & real-estate agents, etc. Individual communities will not be on their own either, as soon as the collapse is realized interlocking protective zones, reaction & recon forces between communities will develop. The battles will develop something like this; a survivor alerts the first community the horde will leave the city in two or three days, meaning the horde will attack the community in four or five days (using fuzzy math). The communities deploy recon units to locate & track the horde. After the horde is located & direction, size & speed are determined, an ambush/battle site is prepared with traps & other low tech surprises. While the site is being prepared, the horde is carefully watched & the route to the site is bated with small stocks of food & other commodities (beer & other alcoholic beverages). Remember; warlords are greedy, selfish, undisciplined thugs & have no tactical experience other then street brawls. As the last of the horde walks into the “L shaped kill zone” a signal is given, several hundred community members open fire from the front & side. Those not killed or badly wounded flee from the “fire” & into the traps. Those able to make it through the traps are either picked off by snipers or run into a secondary ambush. The handful who survives this are hunted down & killed along with wounded from the previous events, remember these are savages who have committed innumerable acts of brutality.