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Do you prefer slow zombies, fast zombies or a mix of both in a single setting?
I prefer slow zombies.
I prefer fast zombies.
I prefer a mix of both in a single setting.
Other (please explain in the comments)

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South New Jersey

I like when they're mixed, especially how games like the Red Markets RPG handles them.

Zombies in Red Markets are divided between "Casualties" (the classic slow moving, uncoordinated corpses) and "Vectors" (fast moving, hemorrhaging stage that happens when you're initially infected).

Casualties aren't antagonists in Red Markets. They're more like the weather. You can plan around them, learn how to handle them. Sure, sometimes they might do something to surprise you, but that's like finding out that the chilly rain you expected turned into snow. It's a slow dread that's always in the background.

Vectors are the opposite. Just one can turn into thousands in under an hour. It's how the zombie plague spreads in the first place. The Blight (Red Market's version of the zombie plague) turns them into fast, durable killing machines. It's a high pitched terror that would become numbing if it happened all the time.

So yeah. Give me a good mix that helps keeps things interesting.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/10 21:27:23


   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





When it comes to games, things change a bit. Sometimes fast zombies exist because hordes present technical problems or just have limited gameplay applications. That's after all, why special zombies exist as well. They can still obviously be replaced with any other monster as we saw with Vermintide.

The dirty secret behind the love of zombies in media lately is they're a safe form of dehumanized human enemies that can be killed by heroes without raising a lot of questions. That's a big part of why they keep making zombies smarter, which kind of hit the limits of what audience will tolerate with Army of the Dead.
   
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Terrifying Doombull




Zombies are inherently dull, but...
Fast ones are just a cheat to change the rules for the shock value of expectations not working anymore. But thematically, its even more incredibly unsatisfying than zombies already are.

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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:


This is why I’ve always enjoyed The Walking Dead. Pretty quickly, we see the survivors earn their stripes. Circle the wagons. Keep your head. Small to medium sized groups of zombies can be dealt with fairly efficiently. Larger groups require specialist tools (finale of season 10 is a particularly good example) or tactics (see the Whisperers, who blend into and lead colossal hordes of the dead)..


Really - the constant stupidity of the survivors and lack of any kind of a plan or ability to deal with slow zombies made the show less and less enjoyable for me.

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Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon






My perspective is that when they do take losses, they were either somewhat inevitable due to unforeseen issues such failing buildings etc through less experienced folk tagging along, or deliberate sabotage.

I know Alexandria felt somewhat dragged out, but I liked the juxtaposition between Rick & CO’s realistic pragmatism, and the sheltered Alexandrians who never had to Get Good, because their compound was otherwise about as secure as you could hope.

My sole complaint is how little they use the “smell like them and you can walk among them, if your careful” trick. Now all they really needed to do to paint that as an “in case of emergency” tactic is to remind the audience rotting corpses are major disease vectors, and proper medicine is exceptionally rare. They could’ve done that with the second part of the prison arc. Rather than have the flu thing just sort of happen, have it begin from someone doing the guts trick and getting infected with something nasty, and from there the nasty spread amongst the others.

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I know this is ridiculous.. But fast zombies are unrealistic.

Hear me out... I mean IF zombies were a thing, if they were fast (like 28 days later fast) then literally everyone would die in under an hour.. The average person can maybe run 10k/hr for about 5 minutes before they will gass out. No chance against an undead monster with infinite energy..

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AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


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 Da Boss wrote:
I prefer fast zombies in more action orientated movies and stuff. The idea that slow moving zombies could overwhelm a modern country is a bit of a stretch. But in fantasy settings or horror settings the slow zombie is better.


The only time it really makes sense is in those settings where its like "Ahh, it started out as a super deadly disease that killed some huge percentage of the population, and then all the dead people started to come back to life and now that's just a thing that happens!"


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Argive wrote:
I know this is ridiculous.. But fast zombies are unrealistic.

Hear me out... I mean IF zombies were a thing, if they were fast (like 28 days later fast) then literally everyone would die in under an hour.. The average person can maybe run 10k/hr for about 5 minutes before they will gass out. No chance against an undead monster with infinite energy..


....Except also, if the virus really made everyone go irrevocably crazy to the point where they were mindless predatory monsters seeking only to bite humans, then you'd probably more accurately call the film "24-72 hours later" because of the simple fact that a lot of the zombies would get themselves killed (why does no film ever show the fact that when zombies all swarm around mindlessly trying to get at one person hiding in a thing, the zombies would cause massive crowd crush casualties among their own ranks?) and then they'd die of dehydration.

This is assuming, of course, the "28 days later" setup of the zombies still having general human being limits on their metabolism, i.e. you can wait for them to starve. If you can wait for them to starve, you can DEFINITELY DEFINITELY wait for them to dehydrate - muscles just stop functioning altogether at a certain point in desiccation. The reason they film all those muscleman actors at the brink of death from dehydration is because after a couple days your muscles are working much, MUCH harder just to basically exist and move your body around.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/11 12:26:56


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Annandale, VA

 the_scotsman wrote:
The only time it really makes sense is in those settings where its like "Ahh, it started out as a super deadly disease that killed some huge percentage of the population, and then all the dead people started to come back to life and now that's just a thing that happens!"


I remember in World War Z (the book), the Battle of Yonkers bit where the US Army goes up against the zombies and loses was basically all spank. It had to completely downplay the US military logistics network and battlefield capabilities in order to give endless shambling hordes a glimmer of a chance against a modern military.

The 'lethal plague with a side effect of living dead' trope seems a better way to incapacitate armed response early.

   
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Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon






On the decay rate?

The second to last (I think? One of the last episodes anyway) of Walking Dead The World Beyond explains that the Zombies have a greatly reduced decay rate, the reason of which is part of their ongoing research.

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Texas

While I do prefer the slow as much more common, I have reserved the fast movers as a different kind of 'zombie', as this can give you an upgraded zombie for your game being faster, more hit points, etc.

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Axis & Allies Player




Jeez, two pages in and no mention of Return of the Living Dead (1985)?

(That's the movie that invented the cliche that zombies eat brains, if you haven't seen it. And if you haven't seen it, you should fix that right now.)

I used to think fast zombies were stupid. Until I saw that flick. It may be comedy-horror, but there ain't nothing scarier than a Trioxin zombie.

To be fair, they're more like 'people who happen to be dead' than 'mindless horrors'. Which is one of the reasons they're simultaneously hilarious, tragic and terrifying. They can think and outsmart you. They just have... different priorities. "BRAAAINS!"
   
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Mighty Vampire Count






UK

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
My perspective is that when they do take losses, they were either somewhat inevitable due to unforeseen issues such failing buildings etc through less experienced folk tagging along, or deliberate sabotage.

I know Alexandria felt somewhat dragged out, but I liked the juxtaposition between Rick & CO’s realistic pragmatism, and the sheltered Alexandrians who never had to Get Good, because their compound was otherwise about as secure as you could hope.

My sole complaint is how little they use the “smell like them and you can walk among them, if your careful” trick. Now all they really needed to do to paint that as an “in case of emergency” tactic is to remind the audience rotting corpses are major disease vectors, and proper medicine is exceptionally rare. They could’ve done that with the second part of the prison arc. Rather than have the flu thing just sort of happen, have it begin from someone doing the guts trick and getting infected with something nasty, and from there the nasty spread amongst the others.


Having enjoyed the comics - I was really excited for the show but the second season began to kill my interest - chracter changes, plot tedium, stupidity.

The Alexandria/Prison story vs the far superior comic version is chalk and cheese imo - the comic version is just brutal.

Rick and co still wondered about like idiots to give the Z's a chance, no armour, no pole weapons, - nah lets just use a knife so that we have to get close and bullets are rare except when we fight other humans when we have unlimited amounts and everyone prays and sprays....

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"I will admit that some Primachs like Russ or Horus could have a chance against an unarmed 12 year old novice but, a full Battle Sister??!! One to one? In close combat? Perhaps three Primarchs fighting together... but just one Primarch?" da001

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Fixture of Dakka





Honestly, if the show had kept up the 6 episode pacing of the first season it would have gone a LONG way to resolve its problems. I stopped watching mostly because someone had to take care of my daughter during the watch parties and my wife would show me the important parts later which I started to refer to as "the 7 minutes of real content per episode".
   
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I often joke that if there's ever a zombie apocalypse, I'm heading in to work. Since there's no brains to be found there, the zombies will avoid it!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/13 06:51:38


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FOW Player






Some great comments. It is fascinating to see such interest in zombie narratives.

The movie of World War Z is a travesty. The book was quite good. As a former US Infantry NCO I found the Battle of Yonkers quite on point in regards to the plot element of today’s generals being too often fighting yesterday’s war as well as being over-reliant on high tech, high profile weapon systems. Max Brooks has some impressive access to the US military officer corps, having even spoken at West Point and the US Naval War College. Check out some of his presentations on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rgq04T9YOCc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nGG5E04cog

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/13 10:16:06


Rick, the Grumpy Gnome

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Wow I didn't know that about Max Brooks - very interesting!

Hopefully someone will see sense and make a proper series of that book which honours the source material, it needs doing!

Argive wrote:I know this is ridiculous.. But fast zombies are unrealistic.

Hear me out... I mean IF zombies were a thing, if they were fast (like 28 days later fast) then literally everyone would die in under an hour.. The average person can maybe run 10k/hr for about 5 minutes before they will gass out. No chance against an undead monster with infinite energy..


Isn't that how 28 Days Later ended, with them running out of steam? Although at least an attempt was made at a scientific explanation, with the 'rage' virus.

That was actually one of the better attempts, most films don't even bother to try (or the attempt falls flat), as the entire concept completely ignores several fundamental elements about how organisms and energy function.

Really, "when hell is full, the dead will walk the earth" is the best explanation!

Voss wrote:Zombies are inherently dull, but...
Fast ones are just a cheat to change the rules for the shock value of expectations not working anymore. But thematically, its even more incredibly unsatisfying than zombies already are.


I agree - it worked in the first Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later as it had the shock value, but I think the effect of this is lessened each other time it is used.

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One of the things about Max Brooks for me is that he has already said in the halls of power things I had been thinking and has not had a lot of traction. There was a time I used to think, “If only I could get my ideas to the right people maybe we could change things.” Now I can see my ideas would fall on deaf ears too.

Rick, the Grumpy Gnome

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Annandale, VA

There's a hint of truth in there about today's military executing lessons learned from the last war, but the depiction of the Battle of Yonkers is so far removed from reality that it undermines the critique. Brooks thought Land Warrior was the shoulder camera from Aliens, that M109 frags and MLRS kill through overpressure (what's an M77 DPICM, Max?), that AirLand Battle actually means WW1 trenchlines, that nobody at any level of leadership would be briefed on a threat profile that SF had been successfully engaging for months, and that the US logistical network is what it was in 1910.

I love the book, but it would have been better to gloss over why the military lost (since it needs to happen, narratively) rather than try to explain it in detail, because the explanation is pretty bunk. It's like the screenwriter of Predator expecting you to take it seriously as a criticism of US infantry tactics.

In any case re: the movie, I've read that it originally wasn't meant to be World War Z at all, and the branding was added very late in production. The few references to the book were probably late filming. I'd love to see something like a Netflix or HBO series based on the book.

   
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 catbarf wrote:
There's a hint of truth in there about today's military executing lessons learned from the last war, but the depiction of the Battle of Yonkers is so far removed from reality that it undermines the critique. Brooks thought Land Warrior was the shoulder camera from Aliens, that M109 frags and MLRS kill through overpressure (what's an M77 DPICM, Max?), that AirLand Battle actually means WW1 trenchlines, that nobody at any level of leadership would be briefed on a threat profile that SF had been successfully engaging for months, and that the US logistical network is what it was in 1910.

I love the book, but it would have been better to gloss over why the military lost (since it needs to happen, narratively) rather than try to explain it in detail, because the explanation is pretty bunk. It's like the screenwriter of Predator expecting you to take it seriously as a criticism of US infantry tactics.

In any case re: the movie, I've read that it originally wasn't meant to be World War Z at all, and the branding was added very late in production. The few references to the book were probably late filming. I'd love to see something like a Netflix or HBO series based on the book.


“……that nobody at any level of leadership would be briefed on a threat profile that SF had been successfully engaging for months,….”

I can think of various incidents in Afghanistan and Iraq that come to mind… although bearing in mind I got out in 2000 and was never deployed to Middle East personally.

I can think of National Guardsmen deployed to riots in California without ammunition in the 90’s and as a National Guard NCO being issued 5 rounds per soldier during Hurricane Andrew because of it. And how despite that the Louisiana National Guard was not ready for what came during Hurricane Katrina.

The effects of overpressure to cause injuries with hand grenades should not be underestimated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514183/

How exactly does contemporary US military logistics come into play during the Battle of Yonkers? What about logistics did Max Brooks get wrong? I thought the comment about latrines being set up on point regarding US military logistics.

The whole point of the episode is not that METT-T based op orders were not done but rather that they were… and done poorly.

Bear in mind, I was a young soldier in Berlin when the Wall came down. I am very familiar with officers fixated on the Fulda Gap who did not adapt well to Iraq and Afganistan.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/13 19:23:29


Rick, the Grumpy Gnome

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Northumberland

 catbarf wrote:
There's a hint of truth in there about today's military executing lessons learned from the last war, but the depiction of the Battle of Yonkers is so far removed from reality that it undermines the critique. Brooks thought Land Warrior was the shoulder camera from Aliens, that M109 frags and MLRS kill through overpressure (what's an M77 DPICM, Max?), that AirLand Battle actually means WW1 trenchlines, that nobody at any level of leadership would be briefed on a threat profile that SF had been successfully engaging for months, and that the US logistical network is what it was in 1910.

I love the book, but it would have been better to gloss over why the military lost (since it needs to happen, narratively) rather than try to explain it in detail, because the explanation is pretty bunk. It's like the screenwriter of Predator expecting you to take it seriously as a criticism of US infantry tactics.

In any case re: the movie, I've read that it originally wasn't meant to be World War Z at all, and the branding was added very late in production. The few references to the book were probably late filming. I'd love to see something like a Netflix or HBO series based on the book.


Does he though? I mean it's been a wee while since I last re-read it (like 5 years) but I don't think he does actually say overpressure is the reason those weapons do damage. He mentions the tanks carrying sabot rounds which do nothing and the MLRS using steel rain which does nothing against the zombies. The shrapnel effect of those weapons doesn't produce the headshot kill.

The point he gets across from Yonkers is still accurate as all hell to me at least. It's not about just the American army losing, its about the media coverage, it's about the runaway military spending. It's about impractical tech used in the field to the detriment of the soldiers involved.

The only bit I disliked in WWZ was when they get to the Brit guy and he starts beeling because the Queen died. Sod that

Slow zombies are more fun to my mind. That real fear of something slowly but surely chasing you down and devouring you. It'll get you in the end, even if you think it's safe.

And hey, based on how the world is dealing with Covid, a zombie apocalypse would wipe us out.

EDIT: for reference on what actually happened with the film..

In June 2006, Paramount Studios secured the film rights for World War Z for Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment, to produce. The screenplay was written by J. Michael Straczynski, with Marc Forster directing and Pitt starring as the main character, UN employee Gerry Lane.

Despite being the draft that got the film green-lit, Straczynski's script was tossed aside. Production was to begin at the start of 2009, but was delayed while the script was completely re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan to set the film in the present – leaving behind much of the book's premise – to make it more of an action film. In a 2012 interview, Brooks stated the film now had nothing in common with the novel other than the title. Filming commenced mid-2011, and the film was released in June 2013." From wiki.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2022/01/13 21:58:34


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 Pacific wrote:

Isn't that how 28 Days Later ended, with them running out of steam? Although at least an attempt was made at a scientific explanation, with the 'rage' virus.

That was actually one of the better attempts, most films don't even bother to try (or the attempt falls flat), as the entire concept completely ignores several fundamental elements about how organisms and energy function.


The 28 Days zombies aren't in any way dead really. They're just normal people with their minds lost to everything except violent impulses to attack anything they see. In the end they just starve to death because they don't even have the rationality to eat.
   
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Annandale, VA

 Grumpy Gnome wrote:
The effects of overpressure to cause injuries with hand grenades should not be underestimated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514183/


That wasn't my point; I'm keenly aware of the terminal effects of overpressure. My point was that the account of Yonkers in the book greatly downplays the direct kinetic effects of artillery, which is the primary kill mechanism, not overpressure. The book says something to the effect of that those weapons work by overpressure causing bodies to burst like balloons, and since the zombies are dead, it doesn't work. Never mind that a single M864 contains 72 submunitions that each airburst into dozens of lethal fragments raining down from above in a directed cone.

Even when it comes to overpressure, Brooks doesn't seem to appreciate how dangerous it is. It's specifically mentioned that the first wave of artillery is more effective because it's detonating gas tanks in cars, and that it becomes a lot less effective after those are no longer present. That's just ridiculous.

If these zombies can survive fragments from airbursting 155s and blunt trauma from MLRS overpressure, then might as well pack up and head home because bullets and baseball bats aren't going to do squat. Forming a line and blasting Iron Maiden while you shoot them in the head wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell.

 Grumpy Gnome wrote:
How exactly does contemporary US military logistics come into play during the Battle of Yonkers? What about logistics did Max Brooks get wrong?


That it simultaneously invokes the idea that the generals were all idiots because they were prepared for Fulda, not Yonkers, while simultaneously not having the generals act anything like they would at Fulda. The US military was at its logistical peak in the late Cold War, had response plans for moving materiel across the US that could redeploy for a new war front in under a week (the military has a lead time of, what, a couple months in the book?), and that every staff officer at the division+ level was at least tangentially connected to logs in their primary duties. If there was one thing the US excelled at, it was moving manpower, materiel, and vast amounts of munitions to unanticipated hot spots, and that hasn't changed under a two-theater ethos.

This point especially bugs me because as a DOD contractor logs is My Thing. If the brass wanted a shock-and-awe overwhelming victory, they would be pulling out all the stops to ensure maximum firepower, and the S4/G4 has all the tools to make it happen. There'd be cases of shiny M855 pre-loaded into mags on pallets in every FOB, reloads on standby for the MLRSes (fifteen minutes for a reload, give or take), air power (conspicuously absent), and as much ammo for the M1s as they could crate up on the rail network. If the military really wanted a win, they could suborn the interstate transportation system to move entire divisions and all their organic assets in a matter of days. With the timeline given in the book they could have literally the entire Army present and waiting at Yonkers with enough ammunition to kill every single inhabitant of New York five times over if they so desired. I've been present for operations that were intended to 'put on a show', and restricting ammunition is the exact opposite of what I've seen- where the most convenient stepstool up onto a hesco was a crate of M889.

And if the generals in charge were Cold War veterans who insisted on fighting a war in the way they trained, they'd be deploying defense-in-depth with mines and barbed wire to funnel the enemy into kill zones, artillery pre-registered to chokepoints, setting up defensive fortifications, indirect fire targeting the densest clusters (like they trained for when it was the threat of Soviet hordes streaming across the Gap), and calling in every A-10 the USAF could spare for CAS. They'd have napalm, hell, someone would probably have the bright idea to dust off the SADM. Not deploying in a single line with no ammo, sic'ing all the artillery on the first 30-50 zombies to show up, and invoking a vague handwave of 'supply problems' all because the story needs them to be wildly incompetent to justify a loss. That's without even getting into the nonsense about Land Warrior giving every Soldier a camera feed direct accessible to everyone else on the network, along with completely unrestricted comms. Land Warrior had some weird ideas but that was never, ever part of it.

It annoys me (only a little) because it's pretending to be a real critique based on in-depth research, but it's really a chapter-long straw man argument that requires the military to make decisions that are colossally stupid and inexplicable even by Army standards and doesn't seem particularly informed about the technology involved. It'd be completely fine turn-off-your-brain popcorn entertainment serving a narrative purpose if Brooks didn't seem so keen on defending it as realistic. The book's a lot of fun and, like I said, I love it to bits, but there are a fair number of head-scratchers in it.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2022/01/14 00:50:17


   
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That the movie has only the title in common with the book is one of those “Hollywood things” that really frustrates me. It seems like a pure marketing ploy. And it is a real shame because I think the book is brilliant. Perfect? No.

The idea of smaller caliber weapons designed specifically for zombie elimination seems fine but if I remember correctly he talks about .22 LR, which in my opinion may struggle to effectively penetrate skulls often enough to ensure a high enough lethality rate but his points about reduced recoil and ability to carry greater ammunition loads more easily make sense. The 7.62mm and 5.56mm rounds were not designed for consistent head shots per se.

Are exploding cars more effective at killing zombies than submunitions and HE artillery? Probably not extensively but I think mass fires caused by lines of burning cars would cause more zombie fatalities then not having cars on fire. I can not help but think of the Kuwait “Highway of Death.”

Fire, whilst not perfect for stopping zombies does add to the shrapnel and overpressure. As for the lethality of shrapnel, whilst it will cause some brain injuries resulting in zombie fatalities it would largely strike areas that are not lethal to targets requiring destruction of brain tissue for lethality.

It is interesting to consider the now all too forgotten complaints of brain trauma by soldiers serving in Iraq when Iran hit their positions with missiles. Would such trauma be sufficient to stop zombies?

I thought Yonkers had CAS. I must have misremembered that.

As for having pallets of ammunition on standby… I thought they did in the book. And the point was that it was not enough. It was not that the tools were not available, just that they were the wrong ones or right ones applied incorrectly. It was not that the logistics were flawed but the decision makers. I think most folks would find it difficult to fault US military logistical capability, certainly in comparison to other nations. But also consider how reliant US forces are on logistical support. When attached to the British I was surprised by “how much more they got out of less” be it ammunition, food or transport.

How often did patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan go out loaded with too much mission non-essential equipment?

I mean seriously, as you pointed out there was intel on the threat.. Defense in depth makes obvious sense. But the defense in depth makes sense for border control and still so many folks demand a dog and pony show symbolic Wall that will be easily circumvented.

Again that is the whole point of the Battle of Yonkers in my opinion. It is not that Max Brooks does not understand Air Land Battle or Land Warrior. He is trying to warn about some decision makers thinking shoulder mounted cameras are going to win wars.

I have dealt with bosses so wrapped up in technology they forget some of the real issues of the job, be it actually killing people in the army or catching criminals in the police. Bosses who focus so much on police officers having a blackberry to access a database while not considering how taking your eyes off a suspect to fiddle with a blackberry can result in an injured officer or escaped suspect. Or how combat leaders are supposed to manage all the data coming in from so many sources while still remaining grounded in the threat around them.

Hurricane Katrina, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, ISIS, the Syria debacle, the Washington Capitol Insurrection, Covid…. all been a perfect examples of the US military/government not doing its best, underestimating the threat and not coming close to living up to its potential.

Brooks’ zombies are an excellent metaphor for these issues.

Edit: To be fair, I misremembered a bit of the Battle of Yonkers. I did not recall an ammunition shortage. But then when the book is saying there were millions of zombies. Not thousands, not hundreds of thousands but millions… the narrative is supposed to be that even the much lauded US logistical support was overwhelmed in that it just did not imagine needing more than what it provided. Commanders underestimated the threat, and have done so before (Kasserine Pass in North Africa and Task Force Smith in Korea both come to mind), assuming no fall back positions were required.

Air support is mentioned in the book as part of the battle.

The book is a bit dated, Land Warrior has not developed as it was often touted back in the day but the idea of everyone being on a shared comms net may not be great when a disaster starts unfolding and panic sets in. It was a warning about something I as an former Infantry NCO can understand. Radio discipline can be problematic under stress.

In my opinion hubris was as much the enemy as the zombies themselves.


https://zombie.fandom.com/wiki/Battle_of_Yonkers

But I think it is important to remember Brooks has the US military learn from its failures and evolve, as it has done in the past. Consider the Battle of Hope.

https://zombie.fandom.com/wiki/Battle_of_Hope

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2022/01/14 08:31:44


Rick, the Grumpy Gnome

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Super interesting discussion guys - thanks, have enjoyed reading it!

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 Grumpy Gnome wrote:
That the movie has only the title in common with the book is one of those “Hollywood things” that really frustrates me. It seems like a pure marketing ploy. And it is a real shame because I think the book is brilliant. Perfect? No.

The idea of smaller caliber weapons designed specifically for zombie elimination seems fine but if I remember correctly he talks about .22 LR, which in my opinion may struggle to effectively penetrate skulls often enough to ensure a high enough lethality rate but his points about reduced recoil and ability to carry greater ammunition loads more easily make sense. The 7.62mm and 5.56mm rounds were not designed for consistent head shots per se.



As to those two points, of course Hollywood is going to ruin it, he even jokes about that in one of the later interviews in the book right?

And with the .22, I agree that they are possibly too puny. However, he goes into it in a little more detail in the Zombie Survival Guide book. Basically, it's more lightweight, it's easier to find and he talks about the ricochet factor. This is that a .22 round penetrating the skull will likely lose velocity and not exit. However, it will ricochet around the brain pan and do more damage to the tissue. Is that legit? Not a clue! But that was the reason behind it. He talks about the fact that the .22 means you have to get much closer to a zombie to kill it and that means that you might be worse off because you're closer to the horrifying zombie and you might get the shakes.

I'd also point out that he does mention that overpressure harms your nervous system and since zombies don't have one it doesn't impact them as much. I get where @catbarf is coming from, but he does explain the reasons behind why the American army failed at Yonkers.

I think the other point about this is the fact that this is really about defence contractors pushing the inflated American defence budget for their own means when in fact the soldier on the ground gains little benefit. And that's why Land Warrior was mentioned. People were really bigging it up at the time but it has completely fallen off the radar, certainly here in the UK.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/14 10:43:56


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For miniature games, I guess slow zombies are the best choice as they represent a relatively uncommon type of fighter - slow, plodding and not much more dureable than a regular human.

In fiction, zombies have so little real variation (fast or slow) it has been a worn out concept for over a decade for me. They are in themselves quite uninteresting and as a number of people above have noted, they are often dropped into "realistic" circumstances by authors why typically aren't all that good at realism.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2022/01/14 12:53:02


 
   
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 Pacific wrote:
Super interesting discussion guys - thanks, have enjoyed reading it!


This topic has done considerably better than I was expecting.

I find the topic fascinating on so many levels.

Hollywood “getting it wrong”. Real world comparisons. Having to paint big hordes of slow moving zombies in order to make a game challenging enough compared to say a couple of tough, super fast “ragers”.

I did read the Zombie Survival Guide a while back but forgot those points, thanks for reminding me Olthannon.

An interesting point about Land Warrior falling off the radar, I will be the first to admit I am no longer “on the inside”. Most of my military colleagues and contacts have retired. I live in a quiet rural neighborhood far from the halls of power. My views are very much those of a “hasbeen” and likely out of touch with how things are today…. If things really do actually ever change.

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I am pretty conservative on this one. This means doing Romero-Zombies is the only proper way to go. Fast moving corpses don´t honour the franchise.
   
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Grumpy Gnome wrote:Edit: To be fair, I misremembered a bit of the Battle of Yonkers. I did not recall an ammunition shortage. But then when the book is saying there were millions of zombies. Not thousands, not hundreds of thousands but millions… the narrative is supposed to be that even the much lauded US logistical support was overwhelmed in that it just did not imagine needing more than what it provided.


I read your whole post and totally get the points you are making, so I promise I am not singling this quote to nitpick. But the book is clear about things like the MLRS being effective, but completely out of ammo after their first strike, or the M1s carrying just two (or was it three?) rounds of canister apiece. They don't have enough ammunition for the things they expected to work and intended to rely upon, let alone the infantry with just their 6+1.

And that really ties back to the couple of points I'm clumsily trying to make. Basically, I agree with your overall points in terms of the real world. I see over-reliance on unproven technology in Army everyday, and planning related to future conflicts based entirely on experience in low-intensity COIN operations without what I would see as a requisite amount of forward thinking. I don't expect the US military to react to any crisis perfectly, and certainly not in their first major engagement under a new warfare paradigm. If WWZ just said in broad terms that the Army underestimated the zombie threat coming out of NYC and failed to contain it, that would sit fine with me.

It's the explanation, combined with the pretense that this is 100% accurate researched ground truth, that bugs me, and I think I can better articulate it as a couple of specific reasons:

1. The book makes a big deal about the Army preparing as if they were fighting the Cold War, but the way they fight in the book doesn't remotely track with how they actually prepared for fighting the Cold War, and it seems to me like actual Cold War doctrine would have been dramatically more effective. It makes a big deal about how specific technologies contributed to failure, but those technologies don't actually work that way. So while I feel the broad points about preparing for the wrong war and relying on technology are valid IRL, the failures in the book intended to demonstrate those points are wholly fictional.

2. The book makes a big deal about logistical failures and insufficient preparation, without any good reason for why that's the case. Their plan is to rely on artillery to destroy the zombies before they ever reach the front lines, yet they don't bring reloads for the MLRS. They want to carpet bomb the zombies as they approach, but they have no air power. The military's under-equipped because it has to be in order to reach the predetermined conclusion, and it reads like they've been handed the Idiot Ball.

3. The book is inconsistent on its own rules about the zombies. They can be killed with a baseball bat to the head inflicting blunt trauma to the brain, but artillery overpressure turning the brain to slush doesn't do it. They can be killed with dinky .22s, but scything fragmentation doesn't work at all. They can be incapacitated by a round that severs the spinal column or breaks a hip and renders them incapable of normal movement, but center-mass rifle fire and tank sabots do nothing. It reads to me like either lack of research or direct authorial fiat.

So basically, I find it uncompelling as real-world criticism because it's not showing how the real-world US military would fail due to real-world systemic issues; it's showing how a bizarro world rendition of the US military with incompetent doctrine, weird technology, complete command idiocy, and an inexplicable inability to compare Number Of Rockets to Number Of Zombies would fail, and then it breaks my suspension of disbelief by bending its own rules to produce that outcome. It works fine for the narrative, but Brooks seems to want this taken at face value as legitimate criticism.

(Edit: Honestly, I'm not sure if you even can construct a detailed, 'plausible' loss for an unimpeded US military going up against hordes of shambling zombies. They're such little individual threat that standing in a Napoleonic square with nothing more than rifles is sufficient so long as you aim for the head and don't panic, as in the subsequent Battle of Hope. Maybe slow zombies are just the wrong vessel for a critique of US military trends.)

I'm vaguely reminded of Millennium Challenge 2002. Basically, real-world constraints of the exercise forced the CVBG to operate far closer to shore than it would in a real conflict, and software limitations of the exercise meant Aegis was inactive. The opfor commander (Lt. Gen. Van Riper) exploited this, plus a dose of outright cheating the exercise, to summon a fleet of simulated fishing trawlers armed with anti-ship missiles (bigger than the boats carrying them) mere miles from the fleet without warning and proceed to 'sink' the entire CVBG. When the fleet was refloated to finish the exercise and Van Riper told to knock it off, he took this bogus outcome to the media as proof positive that the US Navy was unprepared for asymmetric warfare at sea, and it's now the popular narrative around MC02.

Anyways- I hope this hasn't come across as combative or personal, I really do enjoy this discussion and like I said I completely see where you're coming from.

Olthannon wrote:And with the .22, I agree that they are possibly too puny. However, he goes into it in a little more detail in the Zombie Survival Guide book. Basically, it's more lightweight, it's easier to find and he talks about the ricochet factor. This is that a .22 round penetrating the skull will likely lose velocity and not exit. However, it will ricochet around the brain pan and do more damage to the tissue. Is that legit? Not a clue! But that was the reason behind it.


.22's got more than enough power to pierce the skull and kill at 100yds. But the 'bouncing around the skull' idea is another thing that makes me wonder how much research Brooks actually did, because it's a Hollywood myth. They're light bullets and deflect easily to produce complex injuries, but that doesn't result in greater trauma than a larger caliber. Either way, I wouldn't choose .22 as a zombie-killing cartridge simply because the way rimfire ammunition is manufactured inherently makes it less reliable than centerfire, and on top of that most existing .22 is made to low standards. Malfunctions under stress are bad news.

I'd think something like .22 TCM would be optimal- centerfire, fast and accurate enough to still engage humans as well as zombies, sufficiently low-powered to use a straight blowback mechanism rather than anything more complex to manufacture, will work in both pistols and rifles, and can be made from .223 brass so doesn't require totally new infrastructure. But given just how much materiel there is sitting in armories across the US, I'm not sure the idea of the Army ditching all its current rifles and tooling up with a new Standard Infantry Rifle in a new caliber makes more sense than just retaining the .223 and existing ARs.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Oh yeah, and one thing I find is frequently glossed over in zombie media is just how hard shooting accurately is. I remember watching some of the early episodes of The Walking Dead, where people with no prior gun experience were picking up handguns and scoring headshots left and right. In a real apocalypse that ain't happening.

If I recall correctly, the Battle of Hope in WWZ has the US troops maintaining a cadence of one headshot every second, and pulling guys off the line if they started missing shots or slowing down. It always struck me as an extremely high cadence of sustained aimed fire. I've qualified Expert on Army's qualification course, and I think I'd struggle to score a headshot every second at 50+yds against a mass of moving targets- let alone under stress, or with guys next to me picking off my intended target before I can engage it. Maybe concentrated rifle fire wouldn't actually be a viable way to hold off even the slow Romero zombies, and use of static defenses to slow them down would be outright necessary. But then again, a few years into the apocalypse I assume everyone's got a lot more practice.

Have any of you guys played Arizona Sunshine? I've had some non-gun-familiar friends try it out, and universally they've all been surprised at how hard it is.

This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 2022/01/14 17:50:58


   
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I do not take the debate personal nor combative. It is interesting to debate the points with you given your obvious experience and knowledge. I agree with some of your points but not all of them.

Calm headshots in the face of deadly threat is considerably more difficult than folks realize. Hollywood marksmanship either grossly exaggerates effective fire or grossly underestimated it. Not to mention knock down power or lethality.

During Hurricane Andrew whilst deployed in the National Guard in support of local law enforcement I had to shoot a calf that had been struck by a car. Neither the deputy sheriff nor the two Sergeants with me (mechanics) wanted to do it but the cop felt it should be put down, so it was up to the Infantry Corporal to do it (yes, I know E4s are usually just Specialists rather than Corporals but I always seem to find myself in weird situations). Using my 5.56mm M16a2 I shot at very close range in the forehead. I was aiming for between the eyes but went a bit high. It failed to penetrate the skull. The poor thing was thrashing about in a drainage ditch, at night, the family that had struck the calf were there, the two kids crying, the parents yelling at me, two farmers were there arguing over who owned the calf, they started shouting, the deputy then pulls out his large caliber revolver (I can not recall now, .357 or .44 but it was a silly, long barreled chromed silver beast) and proceeded to unload several rounds into it. I can not recall exactly how many but he did nor reload. Anecdotal evidence I know but because of I am not confident .22 LR would penetrate a human skull at 100 yards consistently. I suppose Brooks thinking about it “rattling around” is that it would enough energy to penetrate but not enough to exit. But then I doubt even experienced, well trained troops could consistently get headshots on moving targets at any but the closest of ranges. Like IPSC close. Have you seen the videos of Keenu Reeves shooting at such ranges? He is a better shot I ever was and I qualified Expert with several different US military weapon systems, took classes from Massad Ayoob and was a civilian law enforcement firearms instructor for a time in Seattle. John Wick lives.

You make a fair point on problems with .22 LR rimfire reliability.

According to the article I linked above Yonkers had air support.

I do not wish to sound combative either but by thinking the US military could not be outfought by slow moving zombies, that there is just no realistic way for it to happen, you are falling for exactly the kind of thinking Brooks is warning about and trying to show with the Yonkers narrative. It sounds to me like commanders did not think they needed more ammunition because hey, they are slow.

Your Napoleonic Square overlooks some points about zombies… like, it lacks defense in depth. A square surrounded is easily overrun if it is breached. A breach can occur as soon as someone gets tired and makes a mistake. Sweat in the eyes, a dropped weapon, freezing in terror. Bam, suddenly a soldier collapses. One mistake is probably not enough realistically. But two, it happens. Three? The rank behind is no longer enough to plug the gap. The line buckles, soldiers either trust their buddies and keep facing forward and get bitten from behind or the start looking around and miss the zombie in front of them

I am suddenly thinking of Isandlwana. I am thinking Little Big Horn.

In relation to artillery/grenades/mines… shrapnel that fatally eviscerates soft tissue of living humans may not hit and penetrate skulls.

Incapacitated to a human is not the same as a zombie… ie crawlers.

I agree that Brooks and his fictional battle report most likely under estimated concussive overpressure brain trauma to zombies but he was likely focusing too much on reports of lung damage and it being irrelevant to zombies.

Brooks needs the US military to fail, of course he does because he is trying to express a warning. Of course he could have written a triumphant invincible US military that wins the day yet again without first having to suffer defeat. The Army of my youth that “Never lost a war…” in George C. Scott Patton speech voice. Having Yonkers then later Hope is an example of the US military taking “the hero’s journey”.

Lack of ammunition is something I have experienced but then I did not deploy to Afghanistan/Iraq. I have also had to on several occasions blast through ridiculous amounts of ammunition pointlessly at end of exercise and fiscal year end dates. Feast or famine was my experience with ammunition but we are talking back in the 20th Century. Maybe it is different now.

My point being is that Yonkers is a realistic failure in my opinion, based on my experience. Your experiences are different. My disbelief being suspended does not help yours to be suspended. Slow zombies being underestimated is to me part of the horror.

Can you elaborate more on what would make for a realistic failure at Yonkers that could lead to the narratively beneficial defeat? Simply glossing over the military being defeated is poor story telling, does not suspend disbelief and is a lazy shortcut taken by far too many zombie storytellers.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2022/01/14 19:04:16


Rick, the Grumpy Gnome

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