In our world, when the world breaks down because of an influx of mythological creatures(Krakens, giants, etc...) sea travel becomes nigh but impossible because of people dying on their ships and serving as food and the ships sunk to seabeds. Power plants and grids get destroyed beyond easy repair. A total blackout.

So no new oil will be shipped for burning, nor will new coal come from other sources and long distance travel generally comes dangerous because of creatures roaming the countryside. Most ore mines have long since closed or are heavily dependent on a functioning power network for air circulation and water pumps, so they are out of the running soon too.

In a scenario where all public power means have broken down, no more gas is being pumped around, waterworks has broken down and people are being plucked off by an influx of monsters.

How long can the military keep using modern firearms, assuming it has to be used sparingly but daily to ward off monsters, protect convoys and remaining fuel supplies and power generators.

I assume bullets, gunpowder manufacture, replacement parts production, maintenance oil production and cleaning materials production basically stop as soon as the power and the employees stop showing up to deal with the power/water/food/monster crisis. Not to mention the question where to get the raw materials for gun powder, replacement part manufacture in the quantities needed.

The threat of monsters came fast and quickly overwhelmed the entire world collapsing everything in a blackout. All new attempts to restore any sort of power grid will be attacked soon, so only local heavily defended power generation is possible, but even that draws regular attacks on those generators. Day by day local infratructure like powerlines and windmills and solar farms get attacked by creatures rendering them inoperable and scrap.

I assume there are some doomsday scenarios lying around, and that the military can probably crank out a manufacturing division. But how long could the military keep on functioning with modern firearms, and what would a possible next step fallback be for the military? Would they resort to bows or are there other "backups" when supplies run out?


2 Answers 2


The strategic oil reserves of the US holds 727 million barrels of Petroleum.

I don't think numbers on ammonition reserves are public, at least i couldn't find any in a quick google search. Ammo crafting is not very hard though. You can craft your own bullets, people who use a lot of them (e.g. for sports) tend to crafting their own bullets, you don't even need power for that.

The US are a big country, they have all ressources needed for weapon and ammo production inside the country. They can also set up enough power plants to provide the energy needed. Even if all existing plants break, they have spare generators. They might collect solarcells or produce wind turbines in order to keep the vital factories running. Gas and Oil pumps would be repaired.

They probably wouldn't build new tanks or planes, as those require a lot of steel (or aluminium) and maybe wouldn't be worth the trouble. But supplying their troops with guns and ammo should not be a problem at all.

  • $\begingroup$ How about the raw materials for gun powder? And the shell casings and such? And what would happen if it would prove impossible due to monster circumstances to rebuild a reliable power grid and only small local heavily defended powergenerators would be possible? Basically enough to keep basic amnemities running and communications up, but not much else. The threat took over fast and by suprise, and is there to stay and is not easely beaten back. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ Gunpowder is not hard to make. All you need is potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal. A powergrid would not be needed, power would have to be produced where it is consumed. So burn oil to keep oilpumps running. The shell casings would be another story. Basically they are made out of brass. So you would need a site, where you have brass, potassium nitrate, sulfur, led and trees if you want to do all in one place. Or you have heavily armed caravans that connect the different factories $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ "You can craft your own bullets" — not for machine guns you can not. Not unless you are OK with this thing jamming or exploding at you. Unless you mean black powder or assembling bullets from ready made parts, because that's what sportsmen actually do. Gunpowder you described in comment is all but useless in modern firearms. Not enough pressure, burns to slowly, and leaves a lot of residue. You can hardly get past couple dozens of shots without cleaning your gun. How long is that on a full auto? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Mołot Basic shotguns and hunting rifles will work for a long time. But high powered guns that require really specialized chemical fuels will run out at some point, I'm trying to figure out at what point. Not to mention replacement parts. Ammoclips, abandoned guns in fights, straps, slides, etc... And the maintenace parts. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Molot Alright, so what is used instead of gun powder? What is it made of? Is it hard to find? Yes, you need proper shells and sportsmen use to simply buy them. But what does it take to make those? Why would you not be able to supply the factories with the rare materials they need? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 11:14

Straight answer - indefinitely. You go medieval.
You build power plant near energy source. You fortify it.
You establish food sources around. You fortify it. You create production facilities. You fortify it. Resources? You just go gather them and stock in your castle.

And that's only if they can't win and need to establish some kind of stasis. Otherwise all military plans are basically "push back, defeat the enemy, win". For that military have stocks of everything for years. That's why you can buy demobil things. They stocked them for so long it past THEIR "use by" date.
So for example gas mask that is "demobilized" and is 5 years old means that military have stocks of gas masks enough to last 5 years of constant use.

  • $\begingroup$ Well that they go medival that goes without saying really, that's only logical. My question is how long the high powered ammunition can be used and guns before they run out. The things with the fast exploding ammu that is not black powder. And yes, they have long lasting supplies, but how fast would these supplies run out on constant use without much chance of resupplying it because all high precision manufacturing plants are down. Can what the military has, or can salvage, produce enough to supply the military AND supply power for military command,support and comms? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ For decades, IS doctrine was stock for 3 concurrent major fronts for 1 year. I believe that during Iraq they may have reduced that, mostly out of recognition that they were going through socks faster than had been estimated. Look at news articles published early in the occupation phase of the Iraq war. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 11:43

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