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Starship drag race, won by a loud blue box

Posted May 28, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

Slate has a great, great interactive doo-dad letting you waste a few minutes racing famous space ship against each other:

It’s a little odd that a genre about science, the field of precision, can be so imprecise. The truth is that spaceships almost always fly at the speed of the plot. But, for those who refuse to accept that, this is a definitive guide to ship speeds, based on highly scientific computer simulations and highly unscientific speculation.

Start your warp engines. Or infinite improbably drives.

19 Responses to ‘Starship drag race, won by a loud blue box’

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 28, 2013

Thanks! Good to know.

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Shifty Tourist has opinions thus...

Posted May 28, 2013

So it seems that if you just need to get somewhere in a hurry, then the Tardis is the way to go... but if getting there is half the fun, but you still need to get back for work the next day then the Millenium Falcon is the way to go.

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TC would have you know...

Posted May 28, 2013

I've never understood why Star Trek ships have so many warp speeds. Sure, you need to go at pedestrian pace to dock with space stations and the like... but if you've got a top speed, why would you go slower when you just want to be somewhere? It's like being in the Northern Territory and only going 180km/h. THE SIGN DOESN'T HAVE A NUMBER IN IT! GO FASTER YOU FUCKING TADPOLE!

And let's not forget that the Tardis can move through time and space. Really that kicks ridiculous ass all over the place.

On a slightly divergent note, I keep seeing a car on the way to work with the numberplate TARD-15. For months I've been wondering why someone would out themselves as the 15th Tard. This morning the penny finally dropped...

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted May 28, 2013

so which number Tard are you?

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted May 28, 2013

TARD-15?
I don't get it.

TC ducks in to say...

Posted May 28, 2013

Insomniac, I've not taken the step to out myself, so I couldn't say.

w (taking you at face value and assuming a general lack of sarcasm), my guess is that it's meant to represent TARDIS. The clue that got me over the line is that it's a royal blue mini with a Union Jack on top.

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted May 28, 2013

Oh. Thanks.

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xenodyssey mutters...

Posted May 28, 2013

Well in the Trek universe the faster you go the more you strain the body of the ship despite the integral fields and wear out those pesky dilithium crystals.

Not to mention the damage to the fabric of the universe, or at least subspace...

The TARDIS is a time and space machine. One problem is that it didn't always arrive at where or when it was supposed to be going. But at least it wasn't as bad at that as the Jupiter 2.

Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted May 28, 2013

I think that the TARDIS took the Doctor places based on Dirk Gently's theory of Zen navigation: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I ended up where I needed to be."

Blindwilly mutters...

Posted May 29, 2013

The Tardis actually said something along those lines in a episode (The Doctor's Wife) where its 'essence' was placed in the body of a woman. The Doctor and the Tardis argued about his navigating skills and it told him it took him where he needed to be, but not where he always wanted to be.

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted May 28, 2013

In the TNG special features they talk about the "recalibraion" so that Warp 10 was occupying all points of the universe simultaneously (sort of like how the Heart of Gold does when using the infinite improbability drive).

The writers hated it because the audience didn't get that Warp 7 was exponentially faster than Warp 6. IIRC Warp 7 was around 1000 LY/Y.

The faster you went, the greater the drain on the dilitium used to channel the antimatter in the warp engines.

http://www.calormen.com/Star_Trek/FAQs/warp_velocities-faq.htm

The ships in Stargate were much faster - with the Prometheus being able to get to the Andromeda galaxy in a couple of weeks. They are probably the most regularly fast (there were episodes where the Enterprise was pushed tens of thousands of light years and one where they went to the end of the universe, but that wasn't when the ship was functioning normally)

UntamedSnark ducks in to say...

Posted May 29, 2013

I have long said that the ships in the Stargate universe would beat those in the Star Trek one, the Odyssey v the Enterprise in an intergalactic cage fight? My Space bucks are on the Odyssey

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted May 28, 2013

What about the Starship Bistromaths? Its more powerful than the Heart of Gold but does have the downside of looking like a small Italian Bistro.

zeniph ducks in to say...

Posted May 29, 2013

and you've reminded me of the other noted FTL Hitchhikers Guide propulsion system - a ship powered by Bad News but you werent welcome when you arrived.

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TeamAmerica swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 29, 2013

JB-Since you made a reference to THHGTTG, what do you think of a comment made on another site that Adam's series is under-rated as literature, and should be judged as being on a par with 'Gulliver's Travels?'

Spanner reckons...

Posted May 29, 2013

TA & Zen sounds like a pair of hoopy froods that knows where their towels are.

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JG mutters...

Posted May 29, 2013

Anyone seen that new Star Trek movie yet? Thought I might give it a go. Last saw the original, oh, about 35 or more years ago.

Suppose I'd better click JB's link, despite his Volvo atrocities.

JG.

Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted May 29, 2013

Yeah it's great JG

Ya better take JB to see it again.

I'll spot ya. He needs it.

JG has opinions thus...

Posted May 29, 2013

Ta, Dino. Will definitely see it then. The shorts look good. I think I've become a bit of an action lover since following CBG and reading JB's books. I seem to go for more edgy, action-filled/thriller type movies now. Never thought I'd like a bit of sci fi either.

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You are all going to die - Joss Whedon

Posted May 27, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

Joss Whedon was invited back to his old university to give the Commencement Address. It is, naturally, lathered in awesome sauce. But it also gives us some insight into his story telling mojo. When he says "identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just who you are. It is a process that you must be active in," he could be talking about any number of the characters from Buffy, Angel, Doll House, The Avengers or Firefly.

I actually sat through many graduations. When I was sitting where you guys were sitting, the speaker was Bill Cosby—funny man Bill Cosby, he was very funny and he was very brief, and I thanked him for that. He gave us a message that I really took with me, that a lot of us never forgot, about changing the world. He said, “you’re not going to change the world, so don’t try.”

That was it. He didn’t buy that back at all. And then he complained about buying his daughter a car and we left. I remember thinking, “I think I can do better. I think I can be a little more inspiring than that.”

And so, what I’d like to say to all of you is that you are all going to die.

"Identity is something that you are constantly earning."

This is a good commencement speech because I’m figuring it’s only going to go up from here. It can only get better, so this is good. It can’t get more depressing. You have, in fact, already begun to die. You look great. Don’t get me wrong. And you are youth and beauty. You are at the physical peak. Your bodies have just gotten off the ski slope on the peak of growth, potential, and now comes the black diamond mogul run to the grave. And the weird thing is your body wants to die. On a cellular level, that’s what it wants. And that’s probably not what you want.

I’m confronted by a great deal of grand and worthy ambition from this student body. You want to be a politician, a social worker. You want to be an artist. Your body’s ambition: Mulch. Your body wants to make some babies and then go in the ground and fertilize things. That’s it. And that seems like a bit of a contradiction. It doesn’t seem fair. For one thing, we’re telling you, “Go out into the world!” exactly when your body is saying, “Hey, let’s bring it down a notch. Let’s take it down.”

And it is a contradiction. And that’s actually what I’d like to talk to you about. The contradiction between your body and your mind, between your mind and itself. I believe these contradictions and these tensions are the greatest gift that we have, and hopefully, I can explain that.

But first let me say when I talk about contradiction, I’m talking about something that is a constant in your life and in your identity, not just in your body but in your own mind, in ways that you may recognize or you may not.

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that two roads diverged in the woods and you took the path less traveled. Part of you is just going, “Look at that path! Over there, it’s much better. Everyone is traveling on it. It’s paved, and there’s like a Starbucks every 40 yards. This is wrong. In this one, there’s nettles and Robert Frost’s body—somebody should have moved that—it just feels weird. And not only does your mind tell you this, it is on that other path, it is behaving as though it is on that path. It is doing the opposite of what you are doing. And for your entire life, you will be doing, on some level, the opposite—not only of what you were doing—but of what you think you are. That is just going to go on. What you do with all your heart, you will do the opposite of. And what you need to do is to honor that, to understand it, to unearth it, to listen to this other voice.

You have, which is a rare thing, that ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself, to at least give it the floor, because it is the key—not only to consciousness-but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity. And identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just who you are. It is a process that you must be active in. It’s not just parroting your parents or the thoughts of your learned teachers. It is now more than ever about understanding yourself so you can become yourself.

"To accept duality is to earn identity"

I talk about this contradiction, and this tension, there’s two things I want to say about it. One, it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.

The other reason is because you are establishing your identities and your beliefs, you need to argue yourself down, because somebody else will. Somebody’s going to come at you, and whatever your belief, your idea, your ambition, somebody’s going to question it. And unless you have first, you won’t be able to answer back, you won’t be able to hold your ground. You don’t believe me, try taking a stand on just one leg. You need to see both sides.

Now, if you do, does this mean that you get to change the world? Well, I’m getting to that, so just chill. All I can say to this point is I think we can all agree that the world could use a little changing. I don’t know if your parents have explained this to you about the world but… we broke it. I’m sorry… it’s a bit of a mess. It’s a hard time to go out in there. And it’s a weird time in our country.

"The thing about our country is—oh, it’s nice, I like it—it’s not long on contradiction or ambiguity"

The thing about our country is—oh, it’s nice, I like it—it’s not long on contradiction or ambiguity. It’s not long on these kinds of things. It likes things to be simple, it likes things to be pigeonholed—good or bad, black or white, blue or red. And we’re not that. We’re more interesting than that. And the way that we go into the world understanding is to have these contradictions in ourselves and see them in other people and not judge them for it. To know that, in a world where debate has kind of fallen away and given way to shouting and bullying, that the best thing is not just the idea of honest debate, the best thing is losing the debate, because it means that you learn something and you changed your position. The only way really to understand your position and its worth is to understand the opposite. That doesn’t mean the crazy guy on the radio who is spewing hate, it means the decent human truths of all the people who feel the need to listen to that guy. You are connected to those people. They’re connected to him. You can’t get away from it.

This connection is part of contradiction. It is the tension I was talking about. This tension isn’t about two opposite points, it’s about the line in between them, and it’s being stretched by them. We need to acknowledge and honor that tension, and the connection that that tension is a part of. Our connection not just to the people we love, but to everybody, including people we can’t stand and wish weren’t around. The connection we have is part of what defines us on such a basic level.

Freedom is not freedom from connection. Serial killing is freedom from connection. Certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection. But we as people never do, and we’re not supposed to, and we shouldn’t want to. We are individuals, obviously, but we are more than that.

So here’s the thing about changing the world. It turns out that’s not even the question, because you don’t have a choice. You are going to change the world, because that is actually what the world is. You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been, and now, it becomes real on a level that it hasn’t been before.

And that’s why I’ve been talking only about you and the tension within you, because you are—not in a clichéd sense, but in a weirdly literal sense—the future. After you walk up here and walk back down, you’re going to be the present. You will be the broken world and the act of changing it, in a way that you haven’t been before. You will be so many things, and the one thing that I wish I’d known and want to say is, don’t just been yourself. Be all of yourselves. Don’t just live. Be that other thing connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun.

25 Responses to ‘You are all going to die - Joss Whedon’

Surtac reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Not bad.

But not as good as the David Foster Wallace one, 'This Is Water', imnsho.

Lobes ducks in to say...

Posted May 27, 2013

tl;dr But i guess better than the shitty Dr Seuss one that ditzy girls always wank about and cry over on Facebook

TC mumbles...

Posted May 28, 2013

If you're talking about "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" then I would like you to please stop reading what ditzy girls write on Facebook and go and read the book from cover to cover. It's an excellent life introductory story that young kids can actually relate to. And adults too, if you have an open mind and can read between the lines.

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Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted May 27, 2013

PNB

Kindly keep your outdated and judgemental opinions to yourself.

Really? I find that quite offensive!

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted May 27, 2013

: ' (

Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted May 27, 2013

PNB

I can now see a Punctuation mark in your comment.

I believe it changes everything.

If that was there before kindly disregard my comment, I spoke too soon.

If however...

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

PNB's comment on Joss Whedon's Commencement address serves as a devastating rebuttal of the U.S. conservatives' world view as expressed by George W. Bush in his comment on Iraq.

“When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” George W. Bush (Sept 2006)

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted May 27, 2013

Better than any address I've heard, of my own or my kids. You could do a hell of a lot worse.

Boylan's effort above for example says nothing to me. It didn't stir or inspire me or provide food for thought. Just . . . nothing.

Bunyip puts forth...

Posted May 27, 2013

Pah. PNB offering was pithy, suscinct, and punctuated. Not to mention the characteristic economy of words for which he is reknowned.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

Thanks.

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Dino not to be confused with swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2013

JB

I liked it.

Can't really argue with the 'terminal velocity' concept.

I know it's cheesy but the 'Carpe Diem' line comes to mind.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 27, 2013

Yeah I liked the David Foster Wallace one too Surtac.

"Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better"

The has resonances with one of the great motivational speeches of all time

"I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may..... You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world" - Tyler Durden.

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JG reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Yes. Embrace your inner conflict and the shitheads around you. We're all going to die, so that's a relief,

Paul, I found your minimalist comment, ".", deeply touching. It sums up the vastness and unknowability of time and our place in the cosmos. We are, as you succinctly point out, mere ants or perhaps atoms or starlight, in the scheme of things. I agree, PNB, history is a continuum. Be the Zen, dear professor.

,

Joanna

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 27, 2013

Far better than the sad fuck who came to Cindy Marie's commencement and told us, among other things, that meaningful relationships can not be formed and maintained via technological means.

I felt an overpowering urge to run down to the podium with a copy of Without Warning and smack the fuck out of him.

Among other things.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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pitpat reckons...

Posted May 27, 2013

Yeah with PNB ,

He didn't say what I couldn't say better than I couldn't have said myself.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted May 27, 2013

Warning : The following message contains amateur psychology

All that stuff about duality, establishing identity, seeing both sides so you can hold your ground.
As a teenager, Whedon was sent to spend a couple of years at an English boarding school, Winchester College no less. Bingo!

I saw film of a Q&A (extras on a DVD of his Firefly film, Serenity). Whedon was talking about his care with language and creating a specific argot for characters. Someone hypothesised about the influence of his boarding school experience (american boy thrown into a bear pit for upper class English boys) as influencing his care with language forms.
Whedon was visibly stopped in his tracks by the observation, paused, agreed, and then complimented the observation. I see a similar influence of his English boarding school experience in his speech quoted above.

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Mothy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 27, 2013

For the tl:dr crew, at least read the two paragraphs commencing with "I talk about this contradiction..." Great advice. Thanks for highlighting JB.

Meanwhile why is a graduation ceremony called a "commencement"?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 27, 2013

I dunno. Commencement ceremonies here tend to be about the start of the academic or legal year.

Murphy asserts...

Posted May 27, 2013

I think the logic is that "commencement" indicates you plan on paying society back for all (very little) they have invested in your education.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Mothy asserts...

Posted May 28, 2013

Ah, the commencement of bonded servitude in the name of repaying student loans?

My wife surses her HECS debt, but honestly, it coud be worse, we could have gone through the US system...

Meanwhile Wikipedia gave me no clarity on it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduation - but did at least make "commencement" seem a less obscure word to use for a graduation ceremony. I mean convocation and invocation? Unless there is a cauldron involved, surely not...

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Disco Stu is gonna tell you...

Posted May 28, 2013

That was a great speech. And I think all the students gathered should thank their lucky stars Whedon didn't turn into a giant snake at the end.

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 28, 2013

Nice one, though that would have been kinda awesome too.

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TC has opinions thus...

Posted May 28, 2013

I think it's an excellent speech for university students. None of them will recall the details, but hopefully a few keep a version of the gist in their minds and critically self-evaluate from time to time.

I was going to swear about how it was too fucking long but I keep my contradictory sociopathic self locked in a 1964 Mini Cooper completely enveloped in duct tape. He aint gettin out anytime soon and I don't wanna see him anyway.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted May 29, 2013

As someone once said the most honest commencement address would contain the following words of wisdom:

Statistics show that at least 2 of you are going to die in a drunk driving accident tonight. And, for a majority of you this will be your peak.

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This is what soft power looks like

Posted May 16, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

A Harley Davidson rally in China. There might be an equivalent in the US. It's a big, chaotic place after all. But I'm not sure what form it would take.

The whole photo-essay is over at The Atlantic, and worth a look. It says something about the modern China, and the cultural power of American imagery. But I don't know what.

Send me your tired, your hungry, your Village People impersonators.

4 Responses to ‘This is what soft power looks like’

Moko reckons...

Posted May 16, 2013

About sums it up really. Whole lot of men with mummy issues running around patting eachother on the back.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted May 16, 2013

I can imagine nothing more wondderful. Thank you.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted May 16, 2013

Goddamnit my thoughtful comment on the motivations for chinese society adopting western cultural markers got eaten FML

Aaargh but to answer your question the USA equivalent is a Kung Fu Dojo

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted May 16, 2013

The Chinese version of Sturgis!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgis_Motorcycle_Rally

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How was this never made into an awesome war movie?

Posted May 14, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

Steve McQueen leading a rag tag band of Sherman tanks, forging an alliance of convenience with, hmm, lets see, Max von Sydow, who's in charge of a beaten but still valiant platoon of old school Wehrmacht, standing together to defend an Austrian castle full of quibbling French diplomats and their sexy sexy girlfriends from the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division.

Seriously.

From The Daily Beast:

The most extraordinary things about this truly incredible tale of World War II are that it hasn’t been told before in English, and that it hasn’t already been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Here are the basic facts: on 5 May 1945—five days after Hitler’s suicide—three Sherman tanks from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the U.S. 12th Armored Division under the command of Capt. John C. ‘Jack’ Lee Jr., liberated an Austrian castle called Schloss Itter in the Tyrol, a special prison that housed various French VIPs, including the ex-prime ministers Paul Reynaud and Eduard Daladier and former commanders-in-chief Generals Maxime Weygand and Paul Gamelin, amongst several others. Yet when the units of the veteran 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division arrived to recapture the castle and execute the prisoners, Lee’s beleaguered and outnumbered men were joined by anti-Nazi German soldiers of the Wehrmacht, as well as some of the extremely feisty wives and girlfriends of the (needless-to-say hitherto bickering) French VIPs, and together they fought off some of the best crack troops of the Third Reich. Steven Spielberg, how did you miss this story?

"I''m gonna get played by fuckin' George C. Scott. Fuck yeah!"

"Und I shall be played by ein Englisher Schweinhund mit ein outrageous ackzent."

25 Responses to ‘How was this never made into an awesome war movie?’

tqft asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

No-one would make it now as there isn't a movie to remake it from.

Excellent story though. Hopefully someone will.

George Clooney as the good German?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

No way. George Clooney as the dashing cavalry colonel who is a dashing cavalry colonel.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers needs another episode

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Big Bad Al has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

"dashing cavalry colonel who is a dashing cavalry colonel." Sounds like a job for Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE...

Stevo6210 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2013

Flashman, Absolutely..

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

The German looks like Hussey comma M. Wonder if Huss has ever acted aside from pretending to be a friend of M. Clarke. But more mportantly Huss would be aces at throwing grenades at a bunch of Hitler's Supermen and hooking incoming rounds over the castle walls.

But yeah, a great fillum to be made.

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Legless reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

How come I'd never heard of this - and I'm a WWII nut.

You'rer right though. Would make an awesome movie. I feel a kickstarter project coming on. Who want's to write the script?

Cheers

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

FKN A, COLONEL fkn HAVOCK at the fkn Controls...ON THAT FKN WALL AGAIN I MIGHT ADD!.. SS PUSSIES!

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Goat of Glory puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013
Can we really put the Hollywood into it? Ex-French PMs wieldng discarded MPs while immaculately dressed in three piece suit float the boat. For bonus points, French generals cowering behind couches.

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Anthony swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Another story that would be eminently filmable was one involving a CIA comunications post on a mountain top on the Laos border during the Vietnam fracas. A small group of civiian technicians and a few local troops fought off a far superior force of NVA regulars.

The story was on the CIA website many years ago but was pulled off after a short time. I believe it took a considerable time to organise a relief force for this "non-existent" unit. I recall that part of the defence included agricutural aircraft dropping grenades and other improvised explosives. All very Hollywood.

There's a lot of fascinating stories in the bywaters of military history.

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ShaneAlpha swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Instead Disney will buy the rights and you'll get Dwayne Johnson.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

Noooooooooo

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Full Nelson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Great story. Can see Tarantino all over that. Get that German bloke he likes to play the lead German bloke. George to play the lead non-German Bloke. Winner.

Matthew K asserts...

Posted May 15, 2013

Til Schweiger. I was an extra in a movie with him in it. Arsehole.

Stevo6210 reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

He's really an arsehole?

Bradley D. reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

No, he's actually an arschloch.

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Naut swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Cool story, time to google.

Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted May 15, 2013

Le Vrai Ballade de Les Daltons.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013
French language made in Spain comedy western from the "Lucky Luke" comics.
Absolute shite.

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Stevo6210 is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

Cast

  • Capt. Jack - Sam Worthington/Chris Pine/Joseph Gordon Levitt
  • 17th Waffen SS Panzergrenadier unit Commander - Rutger Hauer/ ,Christoph Waltz/ Fassbender
  • French cast Incl Marion Cotillard (capt jack love interest)Audrey Tatou and Sophie Dreyfus(alternate) Dudes, Include Mathieu Amalric, and Michael Lonsdale and some other cheese eating surrender monkeys unworthy of their women. and Jean Reno. He is so not a surrender monkey tho.
  • Anti Nazi Wehrmacht - Fassbende/.August Diehl

There, casting is done.Usual SAG/WGA agreement applies in regards my cut LOL

Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

OK, I'm droololling (© Beard Industries 2013)

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted May 15, 2013

I would pay to see that movie. I would pay to see it twice.

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damian would have you know...

Posted May 15, 2013
So how many hopeful screen treatments of this story will be written and send to agents in Hollywood this (northern) summer on the strength of that article? If it's a true story, do they even need to sort out rights with the author of Last Battle? I mean, ethically they would have to, but is that even a word in Hollywood?

It's worth reading the full article - sounds like there are some really nice touches the the story, all the little vaguely progressive moral tale set pieces that made for plot interest in the 60s and 70s.

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Shifty Tourist is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

I think the German looks a bit like Liam Neeson. Not sure about the Yank... Clooney will do I suppose.

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Rob reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

John I'd love to see you write a short history book on it. Be like a Australian Stephen Ambrose. Then you can write the TV script aswell, and get some funding to make an australian drama , but just shoot it indoors on the gold coast. second unit can do the location shooting in Germany. Im sure Screentas will give you money if you promise to put their logo in the credits.

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Which old time army would best confront the Zombie Horde

Posted May 14, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

iO9 asks the wrong question when it asks 'Which Space Army Would Conquer All The Others'. What they should asking is which olden days military force would be best adapted for fighting off a shambling horde of the Undead.

Not these guys, obvs.

This was one of the theories of Heere be Monsters, that zombie/First Fleet mash up we wrote for charity a couple of years ago. (Not a royal we, either. For Burger latecomers, I crowd sourced parts of that story. It was a cool experiment that worked out well. I should run the story here one day).

I didn't foreground the idea, but if you look into the subtext of Heere Be Monsters you will see that the sailors and Marines and even the convicts of 1788 were much better able to cope with the surprising horror of encountering the undead. They were not far removed from the Middle Ages and the idea of the unseen world, of monsters and fallen Angels was more than just the stuff of fairytales to them. The unseen world and the world of real things were as one. That's why, having absorbed the initial shock of sailing through a time rift into a dead city, populated by the risen dead, they were able to respond as they did. They saw themselves doing the Lord's work.

That particular group also had the advantage of being adventurers. They sailed into the unknown and they did so anticipating that they would encounter danger and horror more often than they would ease and good fortune. The fire discipline of the Marines, the unexceptional nature of personal violence, even the Brown Bess musket with its long, wicked bayonet all seem purpose designed for coping with zombies.

It's given me to wonder over the years, if you are going to put an army into the field against the massed ranks of the walking dead, which army do you want out there? There's the great scene in World War Z where the modern, networked high-tech US Army fails epically against the horde shambling out of New York. And then later on the first victories against Zed are won by formations that much more closely resemble the army of George Washington than any modern analog.

Of course the further back you go, the more you give up the advantages of certain war fighting technologies such as gunpowder. Would chain mail, a shield and a sword be a better choice than no armor, but a staunch line of redcoats ramming ball and powder into their flint locks? If it worked in Zulu, why not on Zed?

I'm attracted to the idea that a Greek phalanx or a Roman legion could be drilled into the perfect zombie killing machine, but then they did so much of their fighting within arms length of the enemy that you have to imagine the attrition rate would be too high.

Next time, less trebuchets and skirts. More armor and arrows.

A balance then between orderly ranged combat, the protection of armor, and the sort of discipline required to maintain tactical cohesion against the Horde. Perhaps one of the better medieval European armies from the era when armored knights gave way to armed riflemen.

Or would it simply be a matter of retraining and retooling a modern military along the lines laid out in World War Z? As a baseline for reference I'm thinking of Brooksian slow-zombies. Viral transmission.

93 Responses to ‘Which old time army would best confront the Zombie Horde’

Bunyip is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

How's a mob of Swiss pikemen, backed up with Genoese cross bows...

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damian mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Halberdiers, and perhaps more along your thought line, the combined arms pike formations of the Swiss/German Landsknechts or the Spanish tercios... any of these would have the more-than-arm's-length meat mashing properties you're looking for.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

Yeah, there was a famous Swiss King, Gustav or Adolphus, or so on, I was thinking of. Eric Flint uses hm a lot in the The 1630s series. Seems to be the right sort of chap with exactly the right sort of kit.

damian mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Gustav Adolphus of Sweden I think? Right era, improved the way combined arms could be used, emphasised cross training. Stomped all over North-Eastern Europe on the strength of it.

Remind me to read more of Eric Flint sometime. I started the Belisarius series years ago and got about half way through, I think. I forget what distracted me...

Lobes puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

Switzerland doesn't have Kings, it's a federation.

You probably meant Sweden, in which case Vikings!

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

That's my guy. Armor and firearms. And a brilliant tactician.

Shifty Tourist is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

Definately Halberdiers over bayonets or spears... I started thinking at first Greek hoplites/phalanx would do well, then it occured to me that the front rank would impale Zed... but then be unable to remove their spears, in fact first rank Zed would probably pull them selves futher along on shaft making further use of the spear impossible, the front rank would then wiped out as Zed swarmed over the implaled Zed.... I think it would be messy, quickly. Halberds, I feel would be able to push Zed back, they'd be unable to neutralise the halberdiers by impaling them selves on the spears and Helberds also have the added benefit of being good beheading weapons.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

The armies of the late 16th and early 17th century (basically informing the English Civil War era which was a little bit later on in the 17th) had infantry mostly of pikemen and/or halberdiers, along with teams with muskets (or their tech predecessors, like arquebusses) who patrolled in a defensive role, and also cavalry or knight-like guys who were the children of the elites and probably didn't add that much value, and artillery.

So Gustav Adolphus was cool because he got invovled at all levels to understand the constraints and issues of each, then made everyone learn each others roles and train together, in general to pull together as a team with a common purpose. This is as opposed to generals whose undertanding of what infantry could do being largely theoretical, and a million miles from a knight saying to a pikeman "You, peasant, go and die that I might live".

Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

Pikes will dwefinitely need a cros bar of a good size, that will certainly stop that zombie but his mates pushing him along from behind? Better ground that pike and deal with him with your sword/ax/meelee weapon of choice. I don't think pikes will work, striking pole arms (halberds included) could work but while you're striking down on their heads it's not out in front of you fending off the shuffling foe so your teamwork better be exceptional because you're going to need it.

damian mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Not sure that the risk of a pike getting entangled in a zombie is that much more than with a living enemy. Yes, the zombie keeps moving, but it's part of the drill with a thrusting weapon to learn to do things about that. There are variations of course - and perhaps the true halberd is the wrong example to look at. The bill or billhook was pretty common, and would make an excellent polearm for zombehs.

Even a halberd is still primarily a thrusting weapon, the only difference being that short polearms can be used defensively like a quarterstaff. For this application you want something with the blades are properly angled for thrusting. Golden rule here: the thrust is fast than the cut.

I sort of like the idea that a straight, spearheaded pike could entangle a line of zombehs, which might then be dispatched at leisure by arquebusiers...

damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Oh, also of interest (for reference purposes) is the guisarme.

Bangar puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

More a zombie doesn't care about a pike through the abdomen it keeps coming.

Darth Greybeard mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

There's a halberd in the next room. And a billhook down in the laundry. Just sayin'. . .

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Naut mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Ability to use terrain to advantage seems the key. Slow them down and bunch them up. Even funnel them into oil filled trenches and then use fire.

History shows that a well choosen battlefield can make up for a lack of numbers.

Zombies seem light on for tactics so I think army that is reasonable well drilled and led by competent tacticians is going to do ok.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

As Wellington said of Napoleon's Old Guard at Waterloo, "They came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way."

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Slow or Fast Zombies?

also you should add to the above catagory list and entry for Zombies.

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Lobes mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Nuke them from orbit.

Its the only way to be sure.

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BigWillieStyle swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Resurrect the A-Team. A combination of Hannibal's withering one-liners, Face's dizzying costume changes, Murdoch's unnerving unpredictability, and BA's "Uuurrggghhhhhh!" will be enough to put any zombie horde on the back foot.

Shifty Tourist mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Added benefit being that there would be no collateral civillian damage... sure, the odd car may flip over, or blow up, but the occupants inside will always manage to get out just in time.

Although, I'm a bit concerned that they've never actually managed to shoot anybody... shooting out a cars engine or tyre for garden variety mobsters or dodgy property developers trying to tear down the ophanage.... but won't work as well with Zed.

Shifty Tourist ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

....shooting out car engines or tyres [may work for] garden variety...... etc.

I meant.

Nocturnalist reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

If we're allowed to draft people in off the TV I nominate the Goodies. Just the three of them were able to fight off an all-out American invasion of England even after they'd been turned into clowns by chemically-mutated tomato soup.

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Shifty Tourist mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Salvation Army.... militant wing.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

It would depend on the source of the zombiedom. Is it viral? Is it transmitted by blood contact etc. How safe is to neutralise them at close range?

As we know, it is hard to kill a zombie because they are already dead.
Presumably, you would need to inflict traumatic brain injury to render the zombie safe.

If it is safe to kill at close range, then I would suggest a shield and weapon capable of delivering blunt injury trauma i.e. mace or hammer? Cutting or stabbing weapons would probably be not as effective. Need more room to slash, you have to be quite accurate, the weapon would get dull, it would get stuck etc.
So, a good shield and hammer army for close range killing..

For longer range killing, I like the Boers.
They were all hunters who got their meat via their guns.
This meant they were suburb marksmen, tough as buggery, who used camouflage and were tactically flexible.
And as a self-equiped militia, they out-thought and out-fought the British Army.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

If you encounter any Boers, you really musn't loot 'em,

And if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake don't shoot 'em.

[BTW can I repeat my request for a "cite" formatting option? Not a big deal, but it's another of those nice-to-haves that could easily keep being bumped down the to do list till the the right time and place and all that]

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Peter in the bleaches reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

Along those lines there are really only 3 choices:

1. Wellington’s Army at the end of the Peninsular War (around 1814)

2. Napoleon’s Grand Army at the time of the Battle of Austerlitz

3. Lee’s Army of Virginia (Battle of Gettysburg)

All of these armies have the obligatory mix of gunfire and bayonets, discipline and experience to ensure that a shambling zombie horde would be toast. Chuck in some Polish Winged Hussars, for effect.

For a speedy zombie horde, go with Lobes solution. Just nuke the f’ckers.

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downisthenewup puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

Just need an army with fuckloads of Helicopter gunships.

or...

Kids controlling armies of robots remotely that think they are in a FPS game and they save the world. Maybe a little Orson Scott Card like though?

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Oh hell yes, Drones armed with a hydrolytic spear to punch through the head. All done safely and remotely from an underground bunker or orbiting satellite.

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Luke ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

My first thought was the Roman army from way back in the day. In no way reliant on firearms with limited ammo, but well-versed in much quieter combat with close-quarter weapons like sword, spear and mace. They are also used to moving by foot, marching for days to take the fight to the shambling enemy. Their oft-used formations with shields on the outside and top would mean good (if short-term) defence against a moaning mass of undead. As we have seen from numerous zomnie flicks, the old-school techniquies work the best, and the Roman Army was all about the old-school. Their uniform, however, is lacking in the kind of protection needed (IMHO) for such a battle.

The knights that did jousting and such that wore full-on metal armour and chainmail would be near impregnable, with similar skills to the Roman Army, but without the benefit of being able to move quickly and silently. Any headbanger will tell you; metal is loud, and tough as fuck, and rightly so. It's also heavy, so the energy expense of wearing it would be large.

Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

Also hot and limiting your senses, being mounted would only provide a distraction ... for a while.

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NG mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Would the disciplned firing lines of the detachment at Rorke's Drift slay enough zombies that the Z's would give up the assault and perform the "Thriller" dance (to show that they had earned their respect) before shambling off?

Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

This echoes my first thoughts about Victorian era redcoats being the go. How accurate ws a Henri Martini rifle at any range? It would keep the zombie zulus away from arms length...

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

That's as long as you get the 'Rorke's Drift' British army and not the Battke of Isandlwana version (which turned out much less happily).

NG would have you know...

Posted May 14, 2013

True - the redcoats didn't offer much when surrounded on all sides on an open battlefield. But the zombies lack assegai's and speed I guess.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

Romans? Which ones? Troops in the Western Empire operated against different enemies than the legions in the East. Also the empire went on for a long time.

My pick would be Mongols. They took on cities, field armies, other nomads . . .

Bangar reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

The Mongols are a hard pick to beat, mobile with extremely accurate bow fire on the move (shooting flying birds for example). Perfect for head shots, if you're not killing Z then you're wasting time and effort.

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Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

How about the Japanese armies around the time of the Shogunate? Massed troops with long weapons, accurate long range bowmen, samurai on horseback with big sharp swords, everyone iron disciplined and motivated. And their armour was lighter and quiter than the western equivalent.

Hordes of berserk vikings has a certain visual appeal too.

Guru Bob has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Or a shield wall of Saxon housecarls...

Bunyip mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

I like this one. Back in Greybeard's middle age, and he could bring out the bearded axe...

Problem with knights is their horses will get bit. Knight on a dead horse :-/

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Pfft. A Viking is just a zombie you haven't met yet.

Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

No the Vikings had a very specific name for zombies. they were referred to as draugr (which Skyrim appropriated). The name translates as after-walker.

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Andy has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Genghis Khan and his mobile Mongol tumans would devestate a horde of zombies. Accurate with their nimble bows and willing to get in there and hack away. The only issue will be the looting. Mongols were allowed to loot the corpses and such and I don't think a blood-caked Seiko watch will go down well.

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tqft would have you know...

Posted May 14, 2013

Problem with a large horde of foot soldiers is if they fail they start to turn into the enemy.

Discipline would seem to be the key. Which army could stay most disciplined and in formation? Roman turtles? Wellington's squares?

I think Fuel-Air explosives would be better, but then again I like a good explosion.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

An army of Sharpe's Rifles.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

I am chagrined that no one here suggested the Kiss Army.

(see, i.e. in lieu, to wit, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Army)

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

Someone on twitter did.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

My chagrin transmutes into approval.

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

The best weapon against massed Zombie hordes are air launched flechettes a la 'the angels of mons".

They're cheap, easy to manufacture and can be easily dispersed using choppers or pushed out of cargo planes.

However if we really have to turn back time. I'd go for Byzantium troops or WW1 German or British soldiers (the old SMLE and KAR '98 have good range, a firm bayonet fixing and a nicelt solid frame to use as a club. Also ye olde Maxim '08 and the Vickers were both water coooled so could fire longer.

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SZF is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

The issue with bows, and crossbows in particular, is that even with slow-moving Zack it's bloody difficult to get off a nice clean headshot, except at close (read: hazardous) range. If I didn't have gunpowder, I'd make like Henry V and pick some nice, boggy terrain to slow and bunch 'em up. Have the longbowmen unload at close range, then send in the light and medium men-at-arms with maces and lucern hammers for the stragglers. And of course keep a clear line of retreat handy at all times...

MadMaximus puts forth...

Posted May 15, 2013

What about those 6ft longbows that wiped out cavalry and armoured knights in the late middle ages? They just fired at the direction of the enemy and my understanding is they had incredible range.

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Bangar asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

With practice a bow is quite accurate with a good rate of fire, crossbows are easier to learn, can have a telescopic sight fitted but are slow to fire but can be kept ready.

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Trowzers puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

Why infantry at all? I'd prefer to be in the seat of a nice, heavily armored bulldozer. Lift and squash, lift and squash. Then when you return to base, close the breathing tubes, and let them give the machine a wash down with some flamethrowers, in case of any 'hangers on'. (this is leaving out my plan for my home base at Toowong shopping centre and the armored train with the cowcatcher on the front, and the ladder down the side of the carpark for aerial access and I think about this too much...)

If it really has to be infantry, then I'd prefer something like samurai - lightweight armor built to stop cutting, not projectiles so it's much lighter than European armour, and allowing for as much freedom of movement as feasible, and the technique and razor sharp weapons to quickly cut off heads. Or give them naginata or something if you want reach.
Or firebenders... zombies wouldn't last long against firebenders :)

damian puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

Naginata are similar to some of the polearms referred to in the West as glaives. The bit about SIlver in that article is worthwhile to follow up too.

I'm one who is not that impressed with the warrior mystique from Japanese culture, and I think a lot of modern western perceptions about it play to some deep misconceptions about how things worked in the middle ages through to the modern era in the West. But I guess there's no shortage of nonsensical mystique about some of that stuff too, so it certainly isn't some sort of monopoly :)

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pi is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

What about the spartans? line/phalanx. probably need a bit of work re: spear/sword, but I don't think they'd have a problem with that.

Not sure what the shambling would be able to do about a phalanx.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

in my experience plants appear to be sufficient when versing zombies, and as a last resort, a lawn mower will save the day

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

and in the movie 28 Weeks Later they demonstrated the effectiveness of a helicopter vs zombie so the best unit in that case would be a Vietnam era Air Cavalry unit.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Well, against rage virus infected maybe, but not Solanum infected unless they take the headshot every time.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013
Just received this via an email from Steve Stirling, who probably knows almost as much as Damian about this stuff:

Actually, pre-gunpowder projectile weapons wouldn't be much use -- not enough skull-smashing power.

But an army of plate-armored men-at-arms would do very well. It would be very difficult to injure them; cap-a-pie armor protects nearly everything. As long as there were enough of them vs. a vs. the zombies to protect each other, they could just form a wedge and go back and forth through the undead horde. They'd actually be -better- equipped for it than any later army.

Skull-lopping and beheading... just nuts and cream to those guys, especially if you're talking slow zombies (fast zombies, only effective counter-strategy is to clamp head between knees and kiss arse goodbye).

They've got the right weapons -- longswords, war-hammers, various billhook/glaive/poleax/halbert things.

Samurai would do well too. Katanas and naginatas.

Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Is skull smashing required? Sufficiently disrupting the "brain" should be sufficient. In which case I don't see why an arrow wouldn't do enough damage.

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

Plate armour would seem great if they were attacking you, but not good if you had to hunt and attack. Not that I know much on the topic.

Brian asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

Steve knows his stuff. But armour isn't always the answer. Accounts of the Crusades in Palestine talk about armoured up European nights being turned into porcupines - there is some evidence they may have been wearing soft outer garments to deflect Saracen archery. Hmm . .most of the 'Saracens' were actually Turks IIRC, mounted archers. Mongols were armoured up as well . . .mostly Chinese kit. I reckon a zed ain't going to move fast if he's turned into a porcupine.

Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

I suggested a Zombie-proof suit along the lines of the famous Bear suit in an earlier blog (funny how often zombies come up) but the Rhino slapped it down. According to Rog, they'd pile all over me until I suffocated, at which I'd arise as an armoured zombie. I think he called me a "rat-bastard species traitor" but I've been called worse.

Anthony has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

Armour would be essential, however all that's needed is decently bite proof whole of body armour. Since the troops don't need to stand up to missile or edged weapons (indeed any weapons), plate armour could be made quite light.

In fact, in a pinch for spontaneous use a good set of motorcycle leathers, boots, gloves and a full-face helmet would give significant protection for casual use... Not against a true horde but it would give a reasonable chance against the caual encounter.

The problems the septics had in WWZ were a lack of understanding of what they were up against.

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damian would have you know...

Posted May 14, 2013
I'd have thought the main issue with full plate would be along the lines of the guy in Shaun and the Dead who gets shredded just outside the pub: if there are enough shamblers to render you immobile, they can simply pull you apart, starting with the armour, at their shambly leisure. So like you say, discipline and a tight formation would be key.

I do like the image of a dozen or so Z skewered on a single long pike (I am sure there's something like that in a painting by Bosch). Then someone with a short, heavy sword made for chopping would simply relief the Z of the braaaanes.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

Oh man I can't believe I've only just seen this.

As always with such questions, the answer starts with It Depends. Some how we seem to be on the historic bent. So if New Holland succumed to the virus and a couple of of 10's of thousand 1870's vintage shambles took to the road, I'd chose to be on Crowfoot of the Blackfoot Nation's team. Open plainsmen, with arms & tactical studies from Red Coats in Ottowa. Most importantly a mobile culture with minimum supply chain as pruned by eons of experience.

If you can resupply: 3 RAR as turned out for The Battle of Coral–Balmoral (12 May – 6 June '68) 1st mortar teams with AP rounds break the shambling front. Then armour & artilliary with Splintex deal with any mobs. Finally angry, ugly, underfed diggers in pits with small arms do the intimate work. If multiple divisions of NVA could barely get a look in, Zed's got Buckly's. As I understand it one of the last big battles where everything was under local command. After that rear-echelon convinced themselves that they had a better appreciation of the battle space & Arty fire missions and armour movements were called 2nd hand.

More later.

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

DUDE, they broke the line and got into the mortar area, I spent some time with a gentleman that was there and showed the scars. HOWEVER, Splintex or cannister rounds...>FKN YEAH BABY!

As for military ammo, it needs to be fully jacketed, first catch and first graze people. thats two for the price of one, so trhink belt fed and shooting heads...most zombies seem to average out in height I guess or...maybe the American War for independence, CAV with SWORDS...yeah baby!, armour up der hourse. ME...I'm thinking a VULCAN mini on an APC....COME FKN GET SOME!!!!!

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

Yep, they got through the wire, into the forward positions but they never managed to create an opening. I first heard a little of it from a machine gunner an uncle-in-law who was there, I've since read what I could.

Something of a watershed: from then on the NVA would rarely come out & play divisional games and napalm became an all in one answer to almost anything. Don't get me wrong, napalm is an excellent don't argue, but something had changed: Very rarely since have men spat on their hands and fought like they did there.

NBlob reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

I have been reminded by email of the recent action @ Chernatu & the Battle of Shah Wali Kot.

All local command of theatre assets (air) & as I understand it too far forward for arty.

Full respect & apologies. All of my sources & readings predate that by years.

Stevo 73 mumbles...

Posted May 15, 2013

Yeah they partially over ran the mortar platoon as it was placed forward without protection.

If half of the battery (three guns) had not been rotated 90 degrees just after sunset by the Gun Position Officer things would have been much worse, as it was the forward elements of the NVA captured the foxtrot gun, killed the crew and were in the process of rotating it to fire across the MDP when they were killed (depending on who you talk to) by either direct fire by the M2A2s or grenades and rifle counter attack.

I believe the foxtrot gun is now in the AWM, and was found still firing in an ARES artilley battery in 2005.

Either way you are right on, that was one of the last regimental plus assaults by the NVA

NBlob asserts...

Posted May 15, 2013

I use that date as a kit reference. With re-supply I maintain they'd be, from history or fiction, the baddest Z unit for retaking a fallen continent.

Zed don't do armour, Zed don't feint or exploit tactical opportunity they just keep shambling.

Bivouac: Make a perimeter with convenient crushed & stacked car-bodies, arange to effect funnel Zed into killing zones. Clear surrounding area: poke every hole, clear every building. Probably demolish 3/4 of housing stock. Leap frog after re supply.

A month to do a small town?

Stevo 73 has opinions thus...

Posted May 15, 2013

shhhh we do not say "killing zones" its now "engagement areas" much more politically correct way to slaughter the enemy.

But yes, broad brush strokes I agree, all round defence utilising natural features that you can enhance with use of obstacles, covered by observation and fire. Use of constructs to canalise the enemy, oops, zombies would also be a must agreed.The only thing that would work against it would be a massed attack (NVA style) by the Z's, but (unless they are those fast zombies) this form of zombie wave would be slower and would lend to easier engagement at range.

As for the town defence yes demolish a lot of it to form obstacles and a perimeter, at the same time remember the defence in depth principle if you were planning to defend for a while, utilise the town debris to make successive lines of obstacles.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted May 16, 2013

So we'd need to bodge dozer blades to the front of the APCs, or bring Bobcats. For the piling of debris into berms, barriers and funnels with barbican.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2013

To my unutterable shame I'm yet to read WWZ.

If it was my job to retake a continent thoroughly infested with Zed? I'd draw parallels with The Stan. How can one be confident that countryside taken from the enemy yesterday remains taken today? Remember the dog line @ Port Arthur? Could a nation under siege train hundreds of Zed Sniffing dogs.

Forward positions would need mobile unscalable physical-boundary like Berlin Wall segments. I think 2 strands of Gal barbed wire would be horrificly successfull as a barrier to Zed.

An armoured train has an appeal as a perimeter defence tool. Snow ploughs have a certain inescapable authority on paved surfaces.

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Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

Sure ya Legions and battalions would take on the countryside battles but what about the city streets?

I put forward 1930's Gangsters. Homburg Hats, trenchcoats and splayed shoes with Thommy guns. No hesitation at taking out a restaurant full of zeds then flipping a coin backwards as a 'tip'. Cigars in mouths as they pull out a cut throat razor and ask Jimmy to hold the 'stinkin rat while I giv'him a FKN haircut'.

If the action got 'to hot' they could make their getaway in a dual carb Oldsmobile 'spraying the kerb' for good measure. 9" switchblades for up close and personal use and there's always a baseball bat lying around for 'some exercise'.

They always 'packed heat' and were quick on the draw should some wise guy come at them too quick. I think the Thommy guns though, good in confined spaces and they fit into a violin case.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

Dino makes a fascinating case and I would very much like to subscribe to his pamphlet.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2013

In my unfinished (i.e. unstarted except for sketchy outline) zombie novel, I'm proposing that viral zombies are not in fact dead. Their frontal lobes have been irrevocably scrambled by the virus, turning them into bitey virus-vectors. But for all their insane, beserker-style ferocity, they have only living human bodies to work with. This means that any immediately fatal wound will do the job - once they've noticed - and not just the annoying head-shot. Also means that they can die of infection, blood-loss, starvation etc. Still scary as hell, but maybe a tad more scientific. Also considering fungus as the zombie agent. If you haven't seen what a real live fungus can do when zombifying insects, check it out. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110303-zombie-ants-fungus-new-species-fungi-bugs-science-brazil/ Unbelievably creepy because it actually alters the brain and changes behaviour patterns to enhance its own spread.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted May 14, 2013

The PS3 game Last of Us posits zombies due to fungus. Better get that manuscript finished Toot-Sweet.

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2013

You would call a state of emergency and invoke special powers to deal with the zombie crisis. You would round up your political opponents in the interests of national security during these difficult times. Misinformation would be circulated about their involvement with the zombies. You would stake them out as bait on various killing fields of your choosing. You would observe the zombies satisfy their insatiable needs. When you couldn't laugh anymore, you would kill the entrapped zombies by the most effective means at your disposal.

Ahhhh, politics.

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Vovchara reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

The best Army IMHO would be Dengiz-Chan's Mongol hordes :) They can keep the distance and shoot with a bow resonably precise.

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

Sigh, I worry for the world.

Why chase Z when you comes to you?

1. Find a defensable position with YEARS of food supplies and protected water supply.

2. Kill all the Z that turn up from your safe position.

WIN.

for example. The siege of Harlech Castle. It surrendered after being starved out but was defended by only 16 Officers and 28 Soldiers against an army during the English Civil War. Yes children, fortifications work.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted May 15, 2013

Nah. A trained modern military. With their weapons set to semi auto they can reach out and do headshots at.. what? 100 yards +?

Light (and indeed heavy) aroured vehicles mean they could scout, fight or just drive through large groups of ambulatory corpses. Body armour would need to be light and cover more of the body if they're to outrun the dead and avoid infectious bitiness to the limbs. I reckon a combination of that anti shark chainmail and motorbike protective clothing all done in camo. It'd look cool too!

Also cowboys. Extensive research in Red Dead Redemption has shown me that a team of gunslingers working together can make a dent in them.

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Charlie swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2013

Rifle brigades of the 1913 British Army. They could drill superbly, each rifleman could take a head shot at 300 yards, and he could put 21 rounds of aimed fire downrange in 60 seconds. On a Company frontage, that would be the best part of 2,000 zeds down in the first minute.

Put a Battalion of four companies in two ranks of extended line on sighting them (total frontage 200 yards), and open fire at 300. That should take care of 8,000 or so zeds between 300 and 200 yards, not including the few thousand that would have been brought down by the two Vickers you would have on one Company's frontage. At 100 yards fix bayonets and form hollow square for all round defence.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

Ah, the Lee Enfield .303. There's a story somewhere about a German patrol in Ypres/Somne/whatever-other-mudpit-on-the-Western-front running into some Aussies with 303s, and reporting they'd come across a machine gun.

I've been thinking "headshot" here though means the head is either cut or blown completely off, or at least the brainstem is severed and the parts separated. Maybe 303 rounds would do that, suitably dumdummed or whatever you call it, or via hydrostatic shock. But you'd want bayonets fixed, and for each man to be armed with a last-ditch sabre too.

charlie swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2013

As I understand it, the cerebellum is the key target point for a zombie. A .303" Mk VII ball round somewhere near the centre of seen mass of the head would almost certainly disrupt the cerebellum enough to stop a zed. The round, although technically FMJ, contained a compressed paper filling in the front one third of the. bullet, which meant that it was a dum dum in effect if not name. In fact the SMLE/Mk VII ammunition combination is probably history's definitive zombie dropper.

The only possible improvements would be a bipod for longer distance accuracy and a modern optical sight. Such a combination could easily pop zeds in still air at up to a kilometre. But the bipod would make the weapon heavier, less balanced therefore and less accurate for unsupported mass firing, and first-class mass-produced optics weren't available in 1913.

So all in all, the battalions of the Rifle Brigade as equipped in 1913 would have been perfect for counter-zombie work.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

Having devoted more thought to this question, I would like to suggest Hannibal's army. The Carthaginian, that is - with war elephants. Masses and masses of war elehapnts, which would give a height advantage to the soldiers riding them. Not quite sure what would happen to a zombie-bitten elephant, though.

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shaun_bes mutters...

Posted May 15, 2013

Watkin Tench, a Captain of Marines, and my favourite First Fleeter, was a natural born zombie slayer having written:

"Whether plodding in London; reeking with human blood in Paris; or wandering the solitary wilds of New South Wales - Man is ever an object of interest, curiosity, and reflection." (A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, published 1793)

Although, maybe he just confused zombies with the French.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2013

For values of "the solitary wilds" that are equivalent to "Sutherland Shire"?

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Stevo 73 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2013

Hmmm seems a mix of modern weapons, medieval weapons, knowledge of tactics from said periods and discipline. Loads of discipline. Lose that and you are pretty much screwed, unless you have your own castle.

I was thinking that gen "whine" may not make the best soldiers in this case.

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thetick is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

Roman Legions. We can't assume their tactics wouldn't evolve. I envisage siege style works funnelling the horde and fire pits. I believe that there was a graphic novel that covered Max Brooks Zombies in their previous outbreaks and one was against the Romans. Simply swap picks out for the gladius, leather sleeves and you've got a line of infantry capable of killing Zed at a respectable rate of knots.

Line would need to be mobile, but that kind of warfare was the Romans bread and butter.

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Dirk reckons...

Posted May 15, 2013

Hmm I would go for the Totenkopf Panzer division of the nice boys of the Waffen SS led by either Rommel or Jochen Peiper. Why. the armour if buttoned up keeps zees out. Furthermore a tank kan kill either bij shooting (beehive or canister would be my choice), machine guns (and a panther/mk 4 or Tiger has two of those on the inside) or by running over personel with their tracks.

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Spleen Vent puts forth...

Posted May 27, 2013

It really depends on the nature of the Zombi virus.

If it's Rage virus a la 28 Days Later, spread by any body fluid, then you have serious problems with hand to hand. While you can kill them as easily as humans (i.e. no brain shots required) the amount of blood flying means high risk of your own lines turning mid blood bath. You'd need distance kills, and at high volume when you have packs of the buggers running at you at pace. Ice cold nerves too. I suspect Johnny Redcoat Shaka Zulu style might cope.

If it's bite spread, and slow, like most traditional Z and WWZ or Zombieland, and they're slow, then your average infantry phalanx or bloc could hedghog their way to victory. Only issue would be facing massive herds that might overwhelm you. Pick your battleground and it's 300 Spartans at Thermopylae style meat grinder. Romans would do probably just as well, and you get into a debate about spear vs gladius and shield push techniques.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 27, 2013

These are Solanum virus zombies.

Spleen Vent asserts...

Posted May 30, 2013

The devil is always in the details. And I now note you did say "Brooksian slow-zombies. Viral transmission." My bad.

I'll go with late Roman Empire heavy infantry spearman. Full chain or armour prevents easy bites (those sexy Republican/early Empire skirts just allowed too much nibbling on legs). Spear gives distance head strikes, swords as backup, and shields for protection and shield push. Disciplined approach and phalanx moves. Cavalry and arrow support to assist.

Any firearm units pre 20th century just aren't going to be able to maintain fire rates, and have enough ammo, if they have to deal with a serious Z horde a la Battle of Yonkers in WWZ.

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MordWa asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013

Who needs a whole army? A small, highly trained unit can do the job...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF_Fi7x93PY

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You can be The Shat

Posted May 8, 2013 into Awesome by John Birmingham

I knew there had to be a compelling reason 3D printing was invented. And nothing could be more compelling than turning yourself into a Star Trek figurine, eh Orin?

I would never encourage reckless internet retail behaviour, but if you had a spare seventy bucks you could hit up this link right now and teleport to Cubify.com where they will make you a member of the original Enterprise crew.

I'm already imagining Havoc in the red dress and boots

31 Responses to ‘You can be The Shat’

DrYobbo mutters...

Posted May 8, 2013

The one in the green frock seems to have a bumfluff mo. Not that there's anything wrong with that, erm.

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Adam asserts...

Posted May 8, 2013

Havsy in a red dress? Oh, no no no! It wouldn't suit his colouring at all. He'd look far more fetching in that lime green number. IMHO.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted May 8, 2013

I thought Havsey was an 'autumn'?

HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted May 8, 2013

fkn careful you pair!!!!!

Trashman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 8, 2013

Does he have the legs to get away with the mini skirt?

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 8, 2013

I'm trying to work out if this is a better or a worse idea than a line of "Cheeseburger Gothic" action figures. Though if there were such a line, I'm pretty sure that the Birmo one would come with an Apple Store playset and a Havock one would have if not "kung fu" grip, then "frilly boutique girly beer" grip.

JG puts forth...

Posted May 8, 2013

That would be fab (I suggested that ages ago), but I'd have to meet you all first to know which action CBG figure/s I wanted, Space Lizard.

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted May 8, 2013

heu LIZARDO, ya fkn WISH YA HAD A CHEST LIKE MINE!

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Big Willie Style has opinions thus...

Posted May 8, 2013

I always wanted to be a member of the A-Team. Driving around in a big black van, solving mysteries, cracking wise, cracking heads, calling people "Foooool", playing dress-ups as a means of infiltrating security.....

* wistful sigh *

If some boffin comes up with a way for me to depart with $70 and hang out with BA Barracus, do let me know.

DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted May 8, 2013

Mr T is on Twitter. It's just as awesome as you'd expect it to be. Fools are pitied.

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted May 8, 2013

Love the fashion. Yep. Hav would look sexy in red. I'll be the blue girl.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted May 8, 2013

There was a guy's wedding video I saw on youtube years ago where his groomsmen had hired the A-Team van to drive him to the church because he was such an insane fan of the show, but hadn't told him.

The video starts with these guys standing on the curve and the groom saying "so when's the limo going to turn up". Then all the groomsmen startin singing the A-Team song. The van rounds the corner. The groom sees it. And loses his shit like a 4 year old told that they could have anything in the toyshop.

The video ends with the groom being dragged out of the van into the church with him screaming "just a few more minutes!!!"

Dilph is gonna tell you...

Posted May 8, 2013

Ok, now that is epic.

Double points if the driver was rockin' appropriate threads, and they drove through a fence/over a cliff on the way...

Trashman puts forth...

Posted May 8, 2013

Awesome!

Link please.

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Lulu reckons...

Posted May 8, 2013

"I'm already imagining Havoc in the red dress and boots"

Red? On an 'away' mission?

DrYobbo mutters...

Posted May 8, 2013

Yeah he's fucked

HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted May 8, 2013

yeah, but ya already know its with sooooo much fkn class its really more PUSS n BOOTS and that accent of mine....fk yeah baby!

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DrYobbo has opinions thus...

Posted May 8, 2013

'What happened to Havsy?'

'Erm, he got redskirted'

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Sennafumi is gonna tell you...

Posted May 8, 2013

"I knew there had to be a compelling reason 3D printing was invented".... either this or to print your own undetectable gun via defdist.org.

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Flinthart asserts...

Posted May 8, 2013

Or my wife. I think you've just nailed down this year's anniversary/Christmas/whatever present, Birmo. Nice job!

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Flinthart has opinions thus...

Posted May 8, 2013

...annnnnd nope.

Great idea. And you know, $70 for a plastic, printed figurine isn't over-the-top exorbitant much, given that there will be licensing and copyright and assorted gouging. I can come at that.

What I won't do is pay a further $170 to ship perhaps 100gm of plastic/resin from the USA to Oz. No. You didn't mis-read that. Shipping fee from Cubify to Australia: $170. Thus bringing the entire price of the figurine to $240.

Nice idea. Nat would have liked it, maybe even at half the price. But instead, I think I'll get a half-carton of Kreglinger, and really kick on instead. Thanks, Cubify!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 8, 2013

Fark!

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TC is gonna tell you...

Posted May 8, 2013

that's a shat idea and a shat present

a star wars variant I'd probably lose my shat over though

"TC... I am your figurine!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 8, 2013

Just remember its the gold shirts that had the greatest probability of dying in the star trek universe according to SCIENCE.

Click here for all the math

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 8, 2013

and speaking of Havoc, there is a book about him available on Amazon

Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted May 8, 2013

Barnesm,

I hope that's a Graphic Novel.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 8, 2013

Oh with Havsey you know it has to be graphic.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted May 8, 2013

I must say, the great man was on fire last night, on a variety of platforms.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 8, 2013

Watched this earlier today. Watched it and loved it.

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