Zombie apocalypse and swords

1 Jan

So I’ve been watching the Walking Dead episodes and rediscovering my love for the zombie genre, but one thing has always bugged me in every zombie movie: Why not swords? Now I know, I know, the films are always about the average person using mundane things found around the house to defend themselves from the hordes of zombies, but they rely so heavily on guns that always run out of ammo at the critical moment.

We have been killing one another for millennia, yet it is only recently that we have started using guns. There are plenty of other ways to kill someone without using a gun. You see melee in zombie movies quite frequently, but it is usually with some object not designed for that purpose, like a baseball bat or the lid of a toilet.

Ideally, if you were going to engage in melee combat with zombies, would it not be wise to use am instrument perfected for the task? An instrument that was at its height right before firearms made it obsolete?

It never runs out of ammo and can remove zombie heads and limbs with ease. Much faster and less unwieldy than a fire ax, and guaranteed to get the job done the first time, unlike a baseball bat that might require a second swing.

I know, I know, not many people have longswords just lying around the house, hence why they don’t show up in zombie movies.

“But GP! Melee is a last resort because that means the zombie horde is on top of you! You need to keep your distance! It doesn’t matter if you have a sword and they swarm you from all sides, you’ll still get bitten!”

True, but that’s why if you have the sword, you should also have the second bit of the equation:

Again, not your average household item, but man would you be set if you had it. (Mine’s not as shiny or nice looking as this one, but it would do the job) The human mouth cannot bite through steel. Zombies also wouldn’t have the fine motor skills needed to undo the straps. While it’s best not to get completely swamped by the horde, wearing a suit of armor would make you a walking tank. Wrap yourself up in some plastic trash bags underneath to prevent the infected blood from seeping in and oozing on you and you’re good to go.

I know this is just begging to get some nerd hatemail, but their is no way the zombies could hurt you if you were wearing a suit of armor. Deal with it. And don’t even bring up the idea that it would make it too hard for you to move or escape because that just shows how little you know about armor. I can move perfectly fine in mine. I can run, roll, fall down and get back up in a heartbeak; so no, it would not be a problem.

I would love to see a zombie movie where somebody in the full gear just waded through the horde in the street. They’re zombies, soft flesh and bone, not rhinoceri. It would be a piece of cake, though probably not as entertaining or heart-pounding as a bunch of people trying to defend themselves from zombies with the useless crap they found in the mall.

20 Responses to “Zombie apocalypse and swords”

  1. humanitarikim January 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    You’ve got a good point! 🙂

    Lately, we have been in a bit of a zombie trend. Have you seen “The Walking Dead?” If not, I highly recommend it. It is a series on AMC that just wrapped up it’s first season. It’s great.


  2. godlesspaladin January 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Yeah, just finished the third episode. 3 more to go. So far I love it. 🙂

  3. theblackjester January 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    Plus, if you REALLY want to “keep your distance”, use a pole arm. A good Halberd would do the trick nicely. Then keep the sword for when they get inside the Halberd range. Any Pole-ax, really, would do.

  4. godlesspaladin January 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Haha, yeah, a halberd would be nice as well.

  5. ashleyfmiller January 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I always thought the stuff they wear when people go freediving with sharks would be what you should wear during a zombie attack.

  6. godlesspaladin January 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    The special diving chainmaile? That would work too. 🙂

  7. Puddingpie January 26, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    The Zombie Survival Guide disagrees. 🙂 It’s not like I keep this book on hand at every occasion, so from what I remember: I think they pointed out something like… armor was designed for dealing with weapons, but not for constantly being tugged or pulled on or crushed by an unnaturally persistent opponent in great numbers that’s literally piled onto you. You’re better off than some poor schmuck at the Wal-Mart with a baseball bat, but it’s a bad idea to think that because you’re armored, your invincible.

    Also they point out that you need training to know how to move in full armor, it has to be fitted to you, it’s exhausting for extended periods of time, and hard to see or hear. Knowing how to use the sword right would require extended training that you might not have time to learn when the zombie apocalypse arrives. (The conceit of the Zombie Survival Guide is that it’s just Average Joe the Reader trying to survive, so of course it depends on how your fictional zombie setting operates. ZSG doesn’t assume you’re like a Navy Seal or Shaolin monk either.)

    It’s not like getting slashed with a sword stops zombies instantly either. You could cut off their limbs or spill their guts or break their bones, and they’d still keep coming. You’d probably HAVE to decapitate them pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long even a trained armored knight would last before being overwhelmed/fatigued just by the sheer… meat.. coming at him. D&D paladins have things like turn undead and smite to help them out.

    If you *had* to fight off zombies at a close range and you had no firearms, it’s as good an option as any. If you’re doing something like sneaking through an abandoned city looking for canned food, or trying to cross twenty miles of blighted suburbia looking for a safe zone, or climb to the top of the building where the helicopter will pick you up, armor’s not going to be your friend.

    Like that stupid longsword vs. katana argument… in warfare both for the living and the undead, there’s no such thing as what’s “superior,” it’s what works for each situation.

    Though the gauntlets and vambraces are really not a bad idea. Chain mail too. I’m such a nerd. 🙂

    • Elly August 22, 2014 at 12:17 am #

      Me and this article, sitting in a tree, L-R-G-E-N-I-N-A!

  8. godlesspaladin January 26, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    Hey Puddingpie, long time no see! 🙂 I of course don’t think you’d be able to forever hold out against a football stadium worth of zombies coming at you, but for just trying to go down a street with maybe 20-30 zombies on it you should be fine. Like you pointed out, it would really depend on the situation. Trying to sneak around and get food or escape up a ladder and it would not be a good idea to wear armor. However, if you were acting as an escort for a group that was just trying to move through an area it would be useful. Ideally the best tactic would be a combination of guys in armor and people with guns.

    Cortes, when he invaded central America, paired his soldiers up into groups of two. One had a gun, the other had a sword and shield. The gunman would take down enemies at range, and the swordsman would cover him while he reloaded. This is how I see guys in armor as being the most useful.

    I would also disagree with the book on the point that medieval armor would somehow be at a detriment because it was designed to protect against weapons and not people. Weapons are merely an extension and magnification of human force. I can punch you with 50 joules of energy, or I can use a gun to magnify that to something like 17,000. (Of course there are a lot of variables there, but you get the idea) A human body is all the more ineffectual against armor for lacking this force magnification.

    But like you said, depends on the situation. ~_^

  9. Puddingpie January 27, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    Good to see you too!

    The gun and armor combo is real nice. Totally didn’t think of that.

    The point about weapons vs humans isn’t how much force a human can apply, but that humans can apply force differently. Like a punch may be weaker, force-wise, than a sword or a gun, but a sword or gun can’t grasp or unbuckle or untie things the way that human (or undead) fingers can.

    It seems feasible that a persistent zombie, while it couldn’t bite *through* the armor, could say, pull, cuisses free of their lacings or straps (especially if they were already frayed or damaged). I don’t wear armor at all, so I’m curious if you think this doable. I guess you’re set, if you have chain under all that.

    The general problem is that some dude sees a suit of armor and thinks he’s a badass and wades through an army of zombies thinking nothing can kill him, and he’s so wrong. The mentality of constant discipline and preparedness are for the true knight more important than steel, and if you lose those, no amount of armor will save you. (Like the drunk guy who picks up a chainsaw and walks into a wall of zombies is also likely to die.)

    More to the point though, the zombie genre is all about people who think they’re invincible not being so tough, and vulnerable people showing strength. So I doubt you’re gonna see any armored badasses, unless it comes after a period of long character development. They have to have earned it.

    The Zombie Survival Guide universe (“World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” I shit you not) is full of ridiculous lucky calls anyway. A dude survives because a zombie bites his wheelchair where an able-bodied person would’ve had his leg been bitten. Mentally retarded kids survive and crack military units get wiped out. People hiding out in an old castle survive the zombies but fall to pneumonia. Blind elderly gardeners become zombie hunting masters with a simple gardening trowel.

    I think part of the thematic appeal of the zombie apocalypse is that no person is too safe, but that anyone can survive. It levels the playing field.

    So that more than anything is why you’re not going to see well disciplined warriors pwning in plate. It’s funner this way.

  10. godlesspaladin January 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    I can tell you that a persistent zombie won’t be able to get the straps off. Trust me, sometimes it was super hot and all I wanted was to get out of it and jump in a pool, but it took my fellow re-enactors a good 3-5 minutes to undo everything, and they were fully alert not-undead humans with fine motor skills. One of the problems was how after twisting and pulling on the leather straps, they tighten up like a knot in your shoelaces and make it hard to undo. One time I just went ahead and cut my straps. (It was an emergency since the heat in the Virginia summer was about 90 degrees)

    Speaking of castles, there is one zombie movie, Doomsday, which has a castle bit in it. A group of people in Scotland take over an old medieval castle as their stronghold against the zombies and hold out there. It’s kind of funny. :p

  11. Revo October 21, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    What about a sword and shield combo with studded leather armor. Metal armor seems like a bit of overkill just for bite protection……….Shield could deflect or knock down the undead……..

    of course if you had a wish list custom made kevlar armor would be awesome……….

    Always wondered “what if ” the zombies apocalypse happened at my home…..I would pull the deck off the back and the stairs off the front….. Zombies can’t climb that high….lol…….

  12. Zach October 7, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    True, I was just thinking this, hence the reason I googled it, but I mean, I’ve seen armor and swords at the mall before, maybe not high grade equipment, but I’d rather have some mid level grade armor and weaponry than some piece of shit baseball bat. To be honest though, I would much prefer a mace over a sword. A sword may have the tendency to get stuck when dull, same with an axe, hopefully I’d take better care of my equipment, but during a zombie apocalypse you never know, and with a mace you are assured on the fact that your either crushing clean through a skull, or if you do get stuck, you get stuck in the goop that was once a zombie skull. I think my ranged weapon of choice would be a bow, and not some expensive compound bow, I’d use the simple homemade bow I have downstairs, that costs a complete 5 dollars, and one good day of work to create. Not to mention it has retrievable ammunition. You can bet, first place I go when a zombie apocalypse happens, is a sporting warehouse though. Pick up all kinds of bows, and ammo.

  13. Zach October 7, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    You know, us armored knights need to band together if this shit ever goes down, I’d recommend picking up a shield as well, we could get a little shield wall action going on. Have the halberds and spearman in the back row, shield bearers in the front. You know how easy it would be to train for fighting zombies.

  14. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    first off, spearmen and halberds go in the front rows then the knights and calvalry are next, then the swordsmen, then the commander.

  15. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Sword and shield is an excellent combo. If your town is small and secluded then you will have some time before the virus gets there. And one more thing, the “Zombies” that we would face most likely would just be people that are extremely sick and their only drive would be to consume and kill, and here is my plan: Since my town is secluded and it will take a few days I can gather the residents of my community and organize them into a makeshift army and fend off whatever comes our way. Once we defeat that enemy we would start to build a wall around our town and one around the high school as the high school is laid out like a fortress. We would use it as our command center and essentially create a walled city and start to retake land. I have planned this out thoroughly and well, my plan is to use the melee weapons in combination with any and all ranged. I would even have training spots where people can specialize in a specific combat technique.

  16. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I am extremely prepared. I know that there are only a little over 7,000 people in my town so once they are all accounted for and checked for the virus we would start to train and would be an army that would never give up, never give in, and would fight to the death. Because if this happened there would only be two outcomes for Humanity. Victory, or Extinction.

  17. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Also, I have designed a generator that would only need one gallon of fuel and it would run forever. Yeah… It IS possible. Nasa and the U.S. Scientists are retarded, they search for an unlimited energy source that is RIGHT UNDER their noses! Hehe, scientists… Well, my town will have electricity and the rest of the world won’t unless they join us and help to rid the world of the virus that at that time would be roaming freely, and no doubt the US Government already has such a desease in one their secret bunkers that they no doubt have. So really it is only a matter of time before a retard scientist screws up and gets infected then says it’s nothing and unintentionally spreads it to the next person then so on and so forth until it is too late and we are in deep shit.

  18. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    And no, I ain’t sharing my design! So dont even ask how it works!

  19. Alex Wyntre September 22, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    And if a scientist wants to try to figure it out, then I say this: one is two, two is one, time is still, and yet it flies, when one is all, and all is infinite, you will see, for all you shall be.

    Figure out it’s meaning and you shall have your answer. Here is a hint: If a preacher says that god created all in seven days, and a scientist proves it was made in 13.4 billion years, who is correct? (The answer is another question and if you get that correct you will be on the path to finding the answer you seek)

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