Inspired by this clip, the question arose what today's warfare would look like if humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) had blood that is so acidic that it eats through all matter. The only exception to this is the human bloodstream (and a metal/stone deep under the earth, which is unknown (sorry but mass murder/suicide does not let the earth collapse)). Everything else is normal. The human being is not restricted in his normal functioning (no injuries, no diseases) with the acidity in the blood.

Only the blood vessels are immune to the acid but it can be assumed that the blood can close smaller wounds fast enough so that the surrounding tissue does not suffer irreparable damage. Skin decomposes in longer contact ( ~5 min) with the blood.

I would equate the strength of the acid with that from the Alien movies.

I learned after my first failed attempt that violence on a person with acidic blood has a lot of nasty side effects, from heat to gases to the danger of explosion.

The technical state of the scenario can be compared to the current state of the art, but it can also play a few years in the future when there are some new fancy weapons.

Now I ask myself and you, what a war today looks like with these conditions.

What I am particularly interested in, is...

how can I use the disadvantages of blood (the blood turns things into gas,i can explode,...) to my advantage

how do I protect myself from it and...

how do I get around that protection

  • $\begingroup$ You would run into some problems becaus the function of blood is to carry nutrients and oxygen to cells. Therefore, every single cell in the body will have to have an acid resistant membrane that will also allow passage of oxygen and nutrients. Something to ponder, anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Feb 24, 2020 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI-MonicacomeHome I know it would never work like this, for a variety of reasons, it's more of a thought experiment $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2020 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ And that's what we are here for! Honestly, I don''t see and answer to this, but we have some really cool folks here who are smarter than me and THEY may see something I'm missing. Best of luck! $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Feb 24, 2020 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Humans with blood like this wouldn't be human any more - or exist for that matter. Either "humans" have almost completely impervious skin everywhere, or they die from exploding the first time they scratch themselves, or have a nosebleed. Even if there were magical impervious skin, as soon as a mother gives birth and the umbilical cord is cut there is blood involved and both mother and infant die. If a species can't reproduce then it can't exist. $\endgroup$ Feb 25, 2020 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ If I can make a suggestion, keep the paraphrasing and irrelevant details to a minimum. Some parts are funny, but distract from the good parts of your question. Also, try to phrase your question as one, rather than three, as it makes it tough to answer if it is extremely multi-faceted. You can always comment later to inquire if there is anything else you need to know. Good luck! $\endgroup$
    – Enthu5ed
    Feb 25, 2020 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


Humans become a grisly Bomb.

At a time well before the discovery of explosives.

Foremost would be aquiring ordinance. Raids conducted on villages and farms would attempt to seize living individuals. Invalids, bastards, and purposely breed individuals would also be used.

Military doctrine would focus on getting your opponent to bunch up, while your side maintained a loose formation. Ordinance would be deployed by forcing people to run at the opponents front-lines. When in range they would be shot. Trenches, pits, and other impediments to movement would be employed frequently. Surprise attacks would have an even better upside, and being surprised an even greater cost.

Melee and close-quarters combat styles would be less preponderant. The chance of self-mutilation during training is simply to high. However ballistic weapons, and ant-piercing armour would be highly sought after.

Some warlords might exsanguinate and flay numerous individuals in order to construct a kind of acid-immune armour. This would be quite expensive, and perhaps only be usable for a few days/months before naturally deteriorating. Perhaps a technique to stabalise the blood vessels could be found, much like leather is stabilised. Alternately the blood vessels might be turned into a form of hand grenade.

Naval doctrine would focus on long range combat, and avoid ramming style attacks. Catapults would be loaded with a person. They would be wounded in such a way as to not cause them to presently explode, and then fired at the enemy. Impact with the enemy ship would almost certainly cause an explosion. Even a near miss could sink the enemy ship.

Ships would also be designed with double hulls, the middle filled with a basic liquid (opposite of acidic) to nullify an acid as soon as the hull was breached.

Siege warfare would also use people munition to breach walls. The besieged would refrain from using people as ordinance. Partly as the besiegers might be able to collect and reuse the munitions, but mostly because those people would be needed to haul basic liquids along the wall to minimise wall damage. It is a risky job after all and no one wants to be scarred by an acid strike. No one cares if the munition is scarred, it won't reduce their effectiveness later.

War is probably impossible

That of course presumes that society could reach a point were war could be conducted. The dangers of close contact are simply to high. People would in general be very aggressive to outsiders preferring to kill at range without question.

Even in-group relations will be strained. Parents might have an interest in staying close enough to protect/keep alive their children, but any other adult would see those same kids as walking bombs liable to explode with no notice.

Society would have to find ways to reduce such threats to be less dangerous than being alone. Not an impossibility, society already has found ways to constrain the damage caused by anti-social behaviour for example such as limiting alcohol to those above a certain age. Perhaps children are literally wrapped in cotton wool?

Market based war

A market would evolve around blood letting. Acid is after all a phenomenally useful chemical. In time this would likely lead to an array of weapons, and other processes based around this liquid. Imagine cleaning the house with Old Ma's Blood.

As society probably does not have enough individuals willing to dispense with their blood, or enough business men willing to pay for it. An industry of raiding, enslaving, and bleeding slaves would develop. This would in turn drive the gears of war first for economic reasons, and second for revenge over the raiding.


Keep your opponents far, far away.

To get around most of the problems you have, you want to keep opponents far, far away. Because any melees will become literal bloodbaths, and no one wants that.


Low tech: You can make use of blood as ammunition, by dipping it on throwing javelins and arrowheads. The corrosiveness would help penetrate most armours and cause severe burns.

In the future, more advanced tech would include ‘blood membrane’, a creative lab-grown material similar to what lines the humans’ blood vessels.

More advanced tech would be biological blood shooters (high power water guns) with chambers lined with blood membrane. The blood in the chambers would shoot be shot at opponents with a high pressure, and allow it to deter and wipe out any opponents hoping to get close.


To protect against this, you would need blood membrane armours, which would deflect the blood and prevent acid burns. You can achieve full body protection with, essentially, hazmat suits lined with the membrane.


Finally, to counteract blood membrane armours, you would just use conventional guns/ballistic weapons (crossbows, bows, etc) because blood membrane armours simply can’t stop bullets, arrows, and bolts.

Though, following this line of thought, eventually all weapons will simply be replaced with conventional ballistic weaponry, because it’s less clunky than water guns and reliably effective against all sorts of armours. You can circumvent this by making them more proficient in biological rather than physical and smelting science, or making gunpowder scarce on the planet, leaving it as a tactical weapon.


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