Military vs Zombies

If there were to be a zombie infestation, would the military be able to stop it? I notice how in most zombie flicks the military is implied to be wiped out from the get-go.

You should read World War Z. It’s fiction (but written as if it were non-fiction), and I think it adequately addresses how the military would actually handle a zombie invasion.

Don’t want to spoil the book though so…

At first they don’t do so well. They find out that most explosives and such don’t have much of an effect on the zombies, and get overwhelmed. Eventually they find out that the zombies are slow and can be picked off one at a time with a well placed shot to the head. So they figure out tactics on how best to carry this out, without getting overwhelmed and without running out of ammo.

The problem I have with the whole ‘zombies take over the world’ scenario is that people would notice that head shots take them down permanently on the very first day of the outbreak, and it would be over well before it got anywhere.

About 30 seconds into any Army Unit vs Zombie Horde scenario, someone would be screaming “shoot them in the head!”

Yeah, much as I loved World War Z, I don’t think the Army would have that much trouble with Zed. He’s slow, he’s dumb and he stands up so you can shoot him in the head.

Forget about even needing to use headshots, there are plenty of weapons in the US arsenal that can reduce a person (or crowds of people) into mulch in milliseconds. The zombie hordes don’t stand a chance.

The worst part of World War Z was when the tanks were having problems due to a lack of high explosive shells for the main gun. Quick tip: you’re in 70 tons of steel with a 1,500hp engine and fully sealed from anything outside getting in. If you can’t figure out how to kill zombies from that information, you deserve to be eaten. That’s not even mentioning the 9,700 machine gun bullets you have in the tank.

Not to mention canister rounds… 120mm canister would cut a cone-shaped path through zombies for sure.

Actually, based on the book’s info, old-school shrapnel rounds might be worth investigating again; zombies aren’t going to have steel helmets, and I imagine a 2012-version shrapnel shell with proximity fusing, etc… could be significantly better than a 1914 era one.

So is it a generally accepted consensus, in zombie lore, that you can kill a zombie by physically dismantling the body (the more thoroughly the better)? It always seemed to me (and disclaimer: I don’t read or view a whole lot of zombie genre stuff) that a fundamental premise of zombie lore is that you simply cannot kill a zombie because they are already dead. Then of course there are the special ways, like driving a stake through the heart (works for vampires, why not zombies too?)

Maybe I’m just in need of some serious zombie ignorance de-infestation here?

It’s become somewhat of a ‘rule’ that destroying the head ‘kills’ the zombie. There seems to have been a shift over the last decade or so away from ‘magic’ zombies to ‘pseudo-science’ zombies, which try to explain the cause as a virus usually. So a lot of shows/movies using science zombies now presume that if you destroy the brain it stops the zombie.

Let me play devil’s (or zombies’) advocate here. Of course a cohesive military unit can adequately respond to an attack from zombies on a fixed position, I’m not disputing that. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about hordes of regular citizens in the US (not out somewhere while the army is on an operation) all of a sudden becoming zombies. An army base in the US is much like any other office/light industrial campus. They aren’t just sitting there with guns all the time like it’s Nam around Tet or something.

Just a couple of guy would need to get on the base in the early stages after being bit for the zombies to be all over the base. It takes time to disburse weapons and get shit organized, all the while zombies are chomping and people are trying to figure out just what the hell is going on. Many people would probably be trying to restrain the zombies so they could be treated–it takes a lot to just start shooting your friends and family in the head. And the army personnel would be worried about their own families on base or off base, so some may defect, making it difficult to rally the troops.

I still agree that the army eventually wins, but it wouldn’t be the easy victory some are making it out to be.

Which is why the original Night of the Living Dead featured the end of the zombie menace in one day. The movie ended with a local militia walking around doing cleanup on the last remnants of the horde.

If they were fast, and especially if they were crafty, I might agree.

As typically represented, though, they are slow and shambling, and their behavior is stereotyped to the degree of tropism. They simply move directly toward the nearest source of living meat. That makes the absolute suckers for the most trivial kind of enfilade – and if there is anything that modern militaries adore, it is enfilade.

(From WWI trench warfare, to the horror of the Dieppe landing, to the Highway of Death.)

I’ve had the joy of fighting zombies in Live-Action Role-Playing-Gaming, and the difference between the slow and stupid ones, and the fast and cagey ones, is goddamn night and day! The slow ones are bowling pins, just aching to be knocked down, but the fast, clever ones are SCARY!

And the other thing is that, in the movies, no one has ever seen a zombie movie. Assuming they actually pop up in our world, it’s going to take about a day for people to start putting a prophylactic bullet in the head of any dead person they come in contact with.

Again, I don’t follow the zombie entertainment genre much, so help fight my ignorance some more.

What would be so bad if the zombies win, and we all end up becoming zombies? Is it said or implied anywhere that there’s anything so wrong with being a zombie? Is it much different than being absorbed by the Borg?

Well it would mean the end of humanity, for one thing, since zombies can’t exactly reproduce. After a few decades, when the last zombie rots away, the earth will be left for the squirrels.

For that matter, could a zombie be assimilated?

Remember how hard we fought against being assimilated by Nazis and Communists? We were ready to incinerate human civilization, rather than give in?

And yet, under the Nazis or Communists, some vestiges of civilization remained. People still fell in love and had babies, made lunch, drew pictures and wrote music, played chess and cheered on their favorite sports teams.

Under the zombies, none of that. Nothing.

(“Ghastly’s Ghastly Comic,” an online comic strip of…dubious character, suggested that zombies are in a constant state of orgasm. That’s why they moan and drool and their eyes roll. Hm… Okay, I can change my mind…)

I vaguely recall an ancient tome of wisdom* that said, “Thou canst not kill that which doth not live…but you can blow it into chunky kibbles.”

*I think maybe it was the original Quake manual.

True, but as we found out later that wasn’t the end of the zombie menace.

This is because George Romero basically invented what we call zombies. They don’t have the folkoric history vampires or ghosts do. Return of the Living Dead plays around with this. In that universe NotLD was made, but Romero got the idea for it from seeing an Army experiment gone wrong and had to change a few key details so the government would allow him to make the film.

And of course RotLD operage very differently from most other zombies. A major plot point of Return is had headshots don’t kill zombies, severed limbs remain moble, they only eat brains & not other flesh, and even long dead corpses reanimate if exposed to Trioxin. Oh, and some zombies are still capable of speech and rational thought/planning.

Yes, the desire to make sequels will trump all. But the end of Night was pretty clear, the menace was over and we had won (except for Ben, that is).