Home > The Zombie Survival Guide(15)

The Zombie Survival Guide(15)
Author: Max Brooks

Weapons and Gear

Arming and equipping a civilian, antizombie team should follow the same pattern as a military unit. Each person should have a standard “kit” in addition to certain items required for the whole team.

Every member should carry:

* Primary firearm (rifle or semiautomatic carbine)

* Fifty rounds of ammunition

* Cleaning kit

* Secondary weapon (preferably a pistol)

* Twenty-five rounds of ammunition

* Hand-to-hand weapon (large or small)

* Knife

* Flashlight

* Two emergency flares

* Signaling mirror

* Two-way radio

* Two ways of making fire (matches, lighter, etc.)

* Full quart canteen

* Daily rations

* Personal mess kit

* Hiking or combat boots

* Two pairs of socks

* Bedroll or pad

Each group (ten people or fewer) should have:

* Two silent weapons (could be carried as secondary weapons)

* Three explosive devices

* Two grappling hooks

* 500 feet of rope (nylon construction,7 /16″ diameter, tensile strength 6,500 lbs., load absorption 1,450 ft./lb.)

* Two pairs of binoculars (minimum 50mm lenses/10X power)

* Two crowbars (could be carried as hand-to-hand weapons)

* Two bolt cutters

* Tool kit (must include: hammer-claw and ball-peen 4 oz., diagonal 4″ pliers with spring, 4?6″ longnose pliers with cutter, Phillips screwdrivers [3″, 4″, and stubby], slot screwdriver [4?5″], jeweler?s screwdrivers set, 12″ ?1 /2″ hacksaw, 3M electrical tape, adjustable wrench, hand drill with 2?5mm bit set)

* Ax or hand hatchet (could be carried as hand-to-hand weapon)

* Medical kit (must include: bandages, cotton rolls/balls, two arm slings, scissors, medical tape, Merthiolate vials, antiseptic swab sticks, antiseptic and cleaning towelettes, bacterial soap, sterile gauze/eye pads, petrolatum, sterile lancets)

* Three gallons extra potable water

* Two maps (immediate zone/surrounding area)

* Two compasses

* Extra batteries for all electronic devices

* Ten extra emergency flares

* Four compact entrenching tools (could be carried as hand-to-hand weapons)


Unlike the scenario described in “On the Run,” the goal of this section is to help you not escape an area but sweep it. The undead are not to be avoided but attracted. Also, unlike the previous chapter, you will not be alone, and the support area should make fueling and servicing a vehicle much easier. With this in mind, using the noise from a car’s engine will act like a lure. (See “Strategies.”) In this instance, removing the rubber from a bicycle’s tires can accomplish the same result. Do not become too dependent on your vehicles. Unless applied to a specific strategy (see below), use them more as a means of getting to and from a battle site. Once in the target area, dismount and search on foot. This will allow for greater flexibility, particularly in urban areas.

Terrain Types

At first, this section might seem redundant. However, unlike “On the Run,” which teaches how to use terrain to escape, this will teach you how to use it to hunt. This time you are not simply passing through your environment as quickly, quietly, and easily as possible. As a hunter, you are here to reclaim this land—hold it, sweep it, cleanse it until every trace of the undead is gone. This section includes only information necessary to do just that.

1. Forest

When hunting, watch for freshly eaten carcasses. Try to determine if the predator was an animal or a zombie. Also, use the trees to extend your visibility: Each one can serve as a lookout post or sniper platform. Set fires only as a last-ditch effort.

2. Plains

Vast, open areas provide great visibility, allowing full use of long-range sharpshooting weapons. One team of five with adequately sighted rifles and plenty of ammunition can clear several square miles in the course of a single day. Of course, great visibility allows the undead to see you as readily as you see them. Hunter groups operating on plains or prairie have reported being sighted and stalked by ghouls from as far as ten miles away. Another slight but still potential danger is posed by the odd zombie who may be lying in the tall grass. Undead who have lost their legs or had their spinal columns severed can remain undetected until it is too late. If your team is traveling through tall grass, travel slowly, watch the ground, and listen for any rustling or moans.

3. Fields

Unsuspecting hunters have chased zombies through a field only to be grabbed by another one lurking inches away! Unless you are ordered to protect the harvest, or the food itself is of vital importance, this is one case in which fire should be used first. Although almost every other word in this book stresses the control of incendiary warfare, common sense dictates that no human life is worth an acre or two of maize.

4. Tundra

One potential danger, not experienced in other environments, is that of a multigenerational outbreak. Because of cold weather’s preservative ability, zombies may remain frozen for decades. When thawed, they will join the ranks of the recently reanimated and, in some cases, can re-infect an entire area. Frozen tundra, more than any other environment, requires not only a tireless search but a heightened alert status during the next year’s spring thaw.

5. Hills

Rolling terrain can be as treacherous and pose as great a threat from zombies as it can from any human enemy. If possible, always take the high ground and hold it. This allows greater visibility for you. As crazy as this sounds, remember that ghouls have limited dexterity. Apply this fact to their climbing skills, and what you have is a mass of zombies struggling unsuccessfully to get up the slope while you pick them off one by one.

6. Desert

The problems discussed in “On the Run” are doubled when operating in a desert. Unlike the escapee, your team of hunters will be out during the brightest, hottest, most excruciating part of the day. Make sure each hunter is well supplied with water and antisunstroke accessories. Combat, unlike travel, will require more energy and therefore increase the risk of dehydration. Do not ignore the signs. One incapacitated member can cripple an entire team, allowing the undead to quickly turn the tables on you. Losing touch with your supply base, becoming isolated even for a day, takes on a whole new meaning in this life-threatening environment.

7. Urban

If the goal were only to kill zombies, an urban area could simply be bombed or burned to the ground. That would “secure” it, but where would the survivors live with their homes a pile of rubble? Urban combat is the most difficult for a variety of reasons. For starters, it takes the longest amount of time because every building, every room, every subway tunnel, every car, every sewer pipe, every nook and cranny of this massive maze must be searched. Chances are, given a city’s importance, your civilian group will be working side by side with government forces. If this is not the case, however, be extremely cautious. Always think conservatively when it comes to team members, time, and resources (food, water, ammo). Cities have a way of swallowing them all up.

8. Jungle

This is a close-combat nightmare. Sniper rifles and other long-range weapons such as crossbows will be next to useless. Equip your team with carbines and/or shotguns. Machetes must be carried by each hunter, both for clearing foliage and for hand-to-hand combat. Use of fire will not be an option because the intense moisture will dampen most attempts to start one. Keep your team together at all times, be hyperalert, and listen carefully to the sounds of nearby wildlife. As with forests and swamps, they will be your only warning system.

9. Swamp

Many of the aspects of jungle warfare can apply to marshes as well. They may not always be as hot or as dense, but this does not mean they are any safer. Pay close attention to the water. All equipment and tactics applied to subaquatic warfare and discussed later will most likely be employed in this scenario as well.


1. Lure and Destroy

Use one or more vehicles, large pickup trucks, or SUVs to enter an infested area. Once inside, make as much noise as possible to draw the undead to you. Exit the area slowly, matching the speed of your pursuers. Like the Pied Piper, you will soon acquire a tail of zombies, a grisly parade slouching after you. At this point, sharpshooters posted at the back of the vehicles can proceed to take them down. The pursuing ghouls will not realize what is happening, as their primitive brains will not notice that their comrades are falling all around them. Continue to lead them from the area, thinning their ranks until none are left. Use this tactic in urban zones (when the roads are clear) or where natural environments allow long vehicular journeys.

2. The Barricade

This tactic works similarly to “Lure and Destroy,” only instead of leading the undead on for miles, your bait will draw them to a fixed position. This position could be constructed of debris, hastily erected barbed wire, wrecked cars, or your own vehicles. From the fixed position, your team will stand its ground, killing the zombies before they can overrun the barricade. In this instance, incendiary devices are ideal. Chances are, that the approaching zombies will be tightly packed by the time they reach your position. Molotovs or (and only in this one case) a flamethrower would utterly destroy their ranks. Barbed wire or other similar obstacles should be used to slow an advance and further concentrate targets. If incineration is not an option, simple marksmanship will accomplish the same task. Make sure your distances are measured and your rounds are expended wisely. Always watch your flanks. If possible, make sure the zone of approach is narrow and contained. Always have your escape route ready, but keep control of the team to avoid a premature retreat. Use the Barricade tactic in urban areas or those that provide great visibility. Specifically exclude jungles, swamps, or thick forests.

3. The Tower

Find an area high above ground (a tree, building, water tower, etc.). Stock this position with enough ammunition and basic supplies for a protracted battle (longer than one full day). Once all these tasks have been accomplished, do everything you can to attract the dead. As they gather around your position, begin the slaughter. Be careful when using incendiaries, as fire may spread to the tower or smoke may become a health risk.

4. Mobile Tower

Drive a garbage truck, semi, or other tall vehicle into the heart of an infested area. Establish a kill zone with good visibility, park, and commence the attack. The advantages of this tactic include never being shackled to an existing tower, already luring the dead with your vehicle’s engine, and (provided your cabin is always clear) a guaranteed means of escape.

5. The Cage

If you don’t believe in cruelty to animals, don’t try this on a sweep. It basically involves placing an animal in a cage, positioning your team within weapons range of that cage, then picking off the zombies that come to devour said animal. Of course, several factors need to be considered for this tactic to work. The live bait must be loud enough to attract

any nearby ghouls. The cage must be strong enough to resist an attack and anchored well enough to resist being pushed. Your team needs to be hidden so as not to attract zombies to its position. They must also take care not to hit and kill the caged animal. Silent, dead bait will quickly foil the cage strategy. Environments least suited to a cage approach are those with little or no cover for your team. Avoid its use in plains, tundra, or open desert.

6. The Tank

Obviously, any civilian group will not have access to a real tank or armored personnel carrier. What might be available is an armored car, the type used to transport valuable commodities. In this case, the commodity will be your team. Using a “tank” is very similar to the cage tactic in that your goal is to attract the zombies to a specific location, then dispose of them with rifle fire. But unlike the cage, your team members within the tank’s cabin are not simply live bait. Firing slits enable them to add another level of firepower to those of the external snipers. Be aware, however, of the possibility that undead may tip your armored car on its side.

7. The Stampede

Of all hunting methods used against the dead, this is perhaps the most theatrical. Basically, the “process” involves dividing your party into teams, boarding a number of motor vehicles, driving through the infested area, and running over every zombie they find. Despite the image of a modern-day stampede, from which this tactic gets its name, it has been all but abandoned by knowledgeable hunting groups. Hitting a ghoul with a vehicle rarely results in a kill. More likely, the animated corpse is left crippled, crawling around with a shattered spinal column and useless legs. Always plan to follow up your “high-speed chase” with hours of mopping up by a team of dismounted hunters. If you do decide on the stampede tactic, use it in plains, desert, tundra, and other wide-open areas. Urban zones present too many obstacles, such as wrecked cars or abandoned barricades. Too often, stampeding hunters have found their paths blocked and their situation radically reversed. Avoid swamps or wetlands entirely.

8. Motorized Sweep

Almost the polar opposite of a Stampede, the Motorized Sweep is a slow, calm, methodical approach. Your hunters, traveling in large, powerful, well-protected vehicles, at speeds no greater than ten miles an hour, patrol the infested area. Sharpshooters pick

off the undead, one shot at a time, until none are left standing. Trucks work best because they offer snipers an easier, safer vantage point from the roof. Although this tactic reduces the mop-up time of a Stampede, each body will still have to be inspected and disposed of. Open areas are ideal for the Motorized Sweep, although the slower speed involved allows limited use of this tactic in urban areas. As with all motorized vehicles, avoid dense and/or tropical areas. Once again, as with the Stampede, you will still need to plan for an extensive mopping-up period. Taking potshots from the roof of your Chevrolet Suburban will not get that last zombie at the bottom of the pond, locked in a closet, wandering the sewers, or lurking in a basement.

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