This is the Fallout 4 Vanilla version on PC in Survival mode.

This is pretty late in the game so I had lots of resources and could make a lot of stuff. I have a settlement in Kingsport Lighthouse which wasn't necessarily new. I had placed 5 heavy machine gun turrets just outside the house. One on each side and another one facing the entryway. I was near Goodneighbor when an alert was given that the settlement was under attack. So off I went and fast traveled to Kingsport. I went up to the house since the turrets were not firing and wanted to see where the attacks were coming from. Then they came up out of the freaking cliff side just besides the broken truck. These things were relentless and the 3 turrets facing that area fired away like a lot. I knew that ghouls were susceptible to explosive rounds so I used my explosive automatic pipe rifle on them. Good thing I was also in my jet packed power armor because there were over 10 of these things coming at me at the same time so I jumped on top of the house and shot them from there. The only thing that saved me from the last wave was the truck. It exploded when about the last 5 ghouls were coming towards the house. Which meant crippled ghouls and I took my time killing them using a furious baseball bat and of course the turrets were nice enough to finish off those that they could hit. Now the question:

  1. How do you defend a settlement against waves of charred feral ghouls?
  2. How many machine gun turrets would you need to defend against such a number of ghouls?
  3. I don't want to build rockets because my settlers might explode with the enemies, so what is the alternative?
  4. I just want to have my settlement defend themselves without me doing anything, so any suggestions on what to place as defensive structures?
  • Could you defend against waves of enemies by setting up choke points, this could be done by surrounding your settlement up walls and at each entrance have a large number of turrets. In addition to this you can also equip settlers with heavy weapons and as long as they have at least 1 piece of ammo for the weapon you give them they will never run out. For example I give all my settlers upgraded shot guns and 1 shell and they are normally alright
    – Elliott
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 12:40
  • Hey fja3omega, just made a small edit to your title. Cleans things up a bit. :) Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:41
  • Wait, your settlements can get attacked by packs of feral ghouls? Was this added after launch or something? I have never seen this and I have logged literally 400+ hours in the game...
    – Vemonus
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 14:10
  • @Vemonus I've had settlements attacked by Raiders and Super Mutants, but I've also never seen a pack of ghouls, though it could be something new. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 15:34
  • @Vemonus Feral Ghouls can definitely attack settlements. It's happened to me several times. They're leveled, so charred ferals are a real danger at higher levels.
    – Longspeak
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


As noted in the comments, no attacker poses a threat to your settlers lives in vanilla Fallout 4. They can of course still inflict other damage, destroying crops and damaging items.

In general, the best way to prevent damage to your settlement is to get there as soon as possible and engage the enemy before they reach the border of your settlement. This is possible with just about all enemies, but easiest with ferals. The event seems to be timed, and ferals moves the slowest until they have a target to charge.

I have done this several times with all levels of ghouls, though the charred ghouls I did this to were not attacking Greentop Nursery, not Kingsport.

In addition, when fighting ghouls, go for crippling leg shots whenever possible. Cripple a leg and the ghouls loses nearly all of its threat potential. Even the charred ones just lay there.

To address your specific questions...

1) As above, when possible. Carry the fight to them.

1a) Walls. Wall off your settlement. This forces attackers to choke points you can select, where you can make sure you concentrate firepower. Do be careful here, because your settlers will also run out through those choke points to engage enemies, and friendly fire can kill them, whether yours, a turret, or each other.

2) 1 Heavy Machine Gun (preferred) or 2 Machine Guns (if you can't build a Heavy) PER SETTLER. 1 Heavy is preferred because they have superior range and accuracy as well as damage. If you only look at the defense points, 2 regular seems better, but that's just not the case.

2a) If you have walled the settlement with a choke point, set about 50% of the turrets with line of sight on the choke point. Set the remaining around the walls. This lets you determine direction when only one or two turrets fire, giving you time to move into the area and inflict some damage yourself.

2b) Give your settlers decent weapons, but NO EXPLOSIVES. They will blow themselves up. The AI is terrible and I've watched a settler fire a fat man and point blank range on a raider. Funny... but wasteful.

3) Heavy Machine Gun Turrets are my favorite. As noted above, they have superior range and accuracy. In addition, they also have the second lowest chance (lowest is a regular machine gun turret) of accidentally killing a settler. A settler can be killed pretty quick by a laser turret or missile, but it would take some sustained fire to kill one with a machine gun or heavy machine gun. (However, be careful. If you do 2a above, a settler will wither pretty fast if he gets in the way of ten heavy machine guns at a chokepoint).

3a) Missiles are great IF you can set them up so they only have line of sight facing away from the settlement and any choke point you've set up. They have a very long range, so I like to elevate them, and partially enclose them so they can't turn around and fire into the settlement. One way is to build your walls a short distance inside the border, then place the missile turrets outside the wall. To get the needed height, I usually have double-stacked walls in those places.

4) This is not a guarantee, especially in survival mode, but I've found settlements can often defend themselves without intervention when their defense total is more than ten times the number of settlers. This is FAR higher than the number needed to turn the settlement green. I did this in a game by deliberately setting up different settlements with different amounts of defense and then ignoring their calls for help. Those settlements with ten times the number seemed to defend themselves reliably. Those with under five times seems to fail to defend themselves most of the time without my help.

  • The problem was that they climbed up a friggin cliff. If my turrets didn't start firing I would not have even noticed. I just wish that I placed more towers on that side of the house. I actually had to resurrect a ghoul to finish the defense mission because it wouldn't register after I killed them all.
    – fja3omega
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 3:57
  • Okay so per your suggestion. I built a shack bridge wall from cliff to cliff of Kingsport facing the truck then I closed off the end near the lighthouse with a concrete foundation with turrets above. The entrance (hole) was just beside the concrete foundation where it was also walled off and had turrets facing it. The exit was towards the other end of the cliff with turrets at the end. Then I made a wall going around the settlement. The only thing I want now is to see it in action.
    – fja3omega
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 0:00
  • Saw it in action yesterday. Not charred feral ghouls but power armored raiders. It was satisfying to see them march into the crossfire of my 6 machine gun turrets. The only ones I had to go kill myself were the legendary and one raider that got stuck between trees.
    – fja3omega
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 23:19

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