Friday, September 08, 2006

Armor, Part I

The issue of armor while fighting zombies needs to be addressed.

Max Brooks effectively discusses the drawbacks of armor on pages 58-63. Plate Armor is just ridiculous. Ignoring the fact that it is relatively difficult to obtain (unless you raid a museum) and that it is riddled with weak spots, it was next to impossible to wear due to its weight and immobility even in the Middle Ages, when such an outfit was common. While this is the extreme example of armor, most of its detriments are share common weaknesses with contemporary armor, namely, ineffective coverage, added weight, and constriction of movement (all of which Max Brooks discusses more in depth).

Furthermore, armor only becomes an issue when fighting in close quarters. If you are sniping zombies atop a high, impenetrable field, there is no reason to be using armor. However, in close-quarters or hand-to-hand combat, armor may deflect the zombie's primary weapon: its teeth. Unfortunately, it is in this very situation where armor becomes a fatal encumbrance.

Zombies, by their very nature, are slow moving creatures (despite the persistence of the fast-moving zombie myth). A human's greatest asset over their zombie foe is speed and agility. Anything, such as armor, that hinders those advantages is likely to do more harm than good. Even an untrained human will likely be able to circumvent a single zombie or small group of zombies through the ability to run. Of course, this is dependent on terrain, and whether or not the person panics. The same individual with armor will encounter one of two problems: A)He/She will try to run but will tire quickly, allowing the zombies to catch up and eat him/her, or B)He/She will rely on the "protection" of the armor, running headstrong into a fight, utterly unprepared.

In conclusion, Max Brooks' summary "tight clothes and short hair" is apt for the close combat situation.

Tomorrow, I will discuss precautionary measures that can be taken, equipment-wise, to help prevent infection in close-quarters combat.


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