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We are at war with the Clegg, a fearsome tribe of warriors. Both sides have typical medieval weaponry but explosives have not been invented yet. We are fighting over an area of fertile land that lies between our territories.

When passing through a small village we discovered the beginning of a small outbreak of zombie-ism. Our commander - a very intelligent fellow - discovered from the villagers how this worked - it is passed on by biting. He captured all the zombies and has brought them along. They are kept in secure zombie-proof steel cages that are transported on wheels. The commander can create new zombies by forcing prisoners against the bars to be bitten. There is a limit to how many cages he can transport.

The other side has no zombies - yet. Nor would they know what they were or how to use them - yet.

The commander wants to use zombies as war weapons.

Advantages

  1. A zombie army would be terrifying even to the most hardened opposition.

  2. They would keep going until sufficient body parts had been hacked off to stop them moving forward.

  3. By 'converting' enemy soldiers to zombies, they would increase their own numbers.

  4. Unlike human solders, they need no food or supplies of any kind.

Question

What method could our commander use to control the zombies enough to send them against the foes rather than attacking his own soldiers?

The Clegg have no knowledge of zombies. How can our commander ensure that the Clegg don't learn how to create and control their own zombies and mount a counter-attack?

Is there any point in our commander even trying? Should he just give up, destroy the zombies and carry on with conventional fighting?

Note

Zombies will not attempt to bite or attack other zombies. They are only attracted towards live humans who they detect by sound and movement. They can walk or break into a shambling run.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a bit of a maths problem here. If your zombie army is powerful enough to overcome the Clegg army, then it may be more difficult for you to defeat them afterwards than it would have been just for you to fight the Cleggs yourself, especially since every victory for the zombies adds even more to their ranks $\endgroup$ – colmde Jul 31 '15 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @colmde - Yes, that's what's worrying me. That's why the commander may have to give up the idea and just fight conventionally. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jul 31 '15 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ It depends on how the Clegg works a a society ? is that a lot of little villages ? or is there a castle that can wistand sieges (and as other have stated, will en being their prison) ? how dense are those village or castles ? $\endgroup$ – Asoub Aug 26 '16 at 14:38
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The key here would be to limiting exposure with the zombies of your own soldiers, while maximizing exposure with the enemy.

To me it seems keeping a large amount of zombies would be impractical because:

  • You'd need a lot of cages.
  • The risk of them escaping increases with the more zombies you have

Infiltrate Zombies into Villages

I would suggest sending small groups of them against the enemy during night raids. Have a few soldiers pretend to be fleeing refugees, have them go into enemy villages with a disguised zombie cart, fling open the doors and have them ride off at full speed on horses. This is dangerous for your own soldiers, but maybe you'd offer them a promotion? If caught unawares, the village would be quickly infected and overrun, increasing the number of zombies and cutting off valuable supply lines from the enemy. If possible do this to enemy villages far from your borders, so you don't have to clean up after this. If this plan fails, all you've lost is a wagon full of zombies and a few soldiers.

Alternative idea: Launch zombies with catapults or trebuchets.

It was common practice during medieval times to launch the bodies of dead animals into enemy castles and forts to spread disease. If zombies could survive being launched (and still run or crawl around) this would be devastating to castle's defense, especially if they've had no prior contact with zombies.

For even more fun, light the zombies on fire right before launch, so they: bite enemies, set everything ablaze and then burn themselves out, thus ending the zombie threat so your own troops don't have to clean up later.

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    $\begingroup$ Haha! I love the idea of launching them! Problem is, what's to stop the enemy launching them back? $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jul 30 '15 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe set the zombies on fire right before launching them? The only thing more terrifying than projectile zombies is flaming projectile zombies! $\endgroup$ – DeeCeptor Jul 31 '15 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this is definitely getting good. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Aug 2 '15 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK how do you put them on the catapult without, you know, getting bitten? My guess is that it's not easy to capture them, especially so if you're not prepared for it. $\endgroup$ – ANeves Aug 3 '15 at 9:43
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These zombies strike me as very similar to a fire or biological weapons attack. Sun Tzu offers a lot of guidance on the employment of fire attacks.

  • Employ zombies at night as a fear weapon.
  • Contaminate the enemy stores with whatever makes zombies into zombies.
  • attack the supply trains.
  • if there is a large camp of non-combatants surrounding the Clegg warriors, then infect the non-combatants. If warfare has never been practiced this way then it may galvanize the Clegg because you've killed their wives, children, cooks, armorers, and favorite attendants
  • throw zombies into the enemy camp with trebuchets.

During long sieges, some generals would order diseased or plague bearing corpses to be thrown over the walls of a castle. Throwing a collection of zombies into the enemy camp is a similar technique though damage in mobility to the zombie when landing may limit their effectiveness.

The scary thing about this kind of attack is that the population of zombies may rapidly grow beyond your ability to control. Training your troops on the most effective anti-zombie tactics will be crucial.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note: With this type of zombie, the only way to be infected is to be bitten by one. It's rather like rabies. Hmm... That gives me a thought! $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jul 30 '15 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JonofAllTrades an army without support doesn't stay an army for long. Without hot food then morale may plummet. $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 31 '15 at 20:28
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Since you're a medieval army, you probably have no qualms with anti-civilian attacks. I imagine the zombies would be best used against the enemy civilian population and sources of reinforcements, well away from the disputed territory or your territory (hopefully on a different island). The idea is to sow chaos amongst the Cleggs without affecting your own side.

This way they may have to recall some of their own army to help deal with the problem, or at the very least, not be able to send reinforcements to help the army that faces you, and also you won't have to try and clean up a problem that has grown bigger than the one you originally faced, because, well, it's far away!

Sneak them in at night so that the problem becomes too big for the Cleggs to try and use the same tactic as you against you before they realise what's going on.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, infecting helpless civilians is a good suggestion. They won't have access to steel for cages and they probably won't even have any suitable weapons. A pitchfork won't stop a zombie. As you say, the Clegg will have to divert resources to deal with the problem. Not only that but the Clegg may not realise that they are being attacked by our side. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jul 31 '15 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ You don't bother killing the peasants, as you need them to work the land when you take it over. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Aug 5 '15 at 21:07
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i think that its a really interesting idea and u should definitely try it but it might take some work. to answer your first question a method they could use is maybe open the cages and have the rest of the army a safe distance away. To answer the second question the commander can write the way to make zombies on paper and hide it away from the Clegg. and my answer to the third question is yes there is a point. Who knows maybe this will be a turning point in your world that could start a scientific revolution. Overall this is a really creative idea and you should defiantly keep it in mind.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well the problem is that the way to make them is easy. They just bite someone. The enemy would soon find this out for themselves. That is why it's difficult for our commander to keep the advantage! $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Jul 30 '15 at 21:47
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You would need to start the zombie outbreak in the centrer of their population, not on the front lines of the conflict, or else both sides would be exposed.

But also, you need your enemy to win the conflict over the zombies, or else you have just replaced one enemy with another. (although, ideally, you want it to be as costly for them as possible.)

You need to create some simulations or develop some applied maths equations that take into account things like the rate of infection, and how quickly your enemy will learn and implement plans. Mathematicians and scientists need to come up with some number as to how many people to infect in the enemies capital in order that the zombie and enemy forces more or less annul each other.

They would then need to keep this process on course by either spreading or limiting infection as the scenario plays out in reality.

The real problem with this plan is that it could backfire. As soon as the enemy encounters zombies, they may devise a plan to infect you. You need to be way ahead of them in terms of zombie vacation.

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Well, building on ideas from others, I now have my own thoughts.

New zombies are made by being bitten. Presumably this because of something in the zombies' saliva.

The commander could collect zombie saliva (I'm not quite sure how yet) and give buckets of it to his archers. Before firing they dip their arrow heads into it.

When the enemy soldiers become infected they are near their own side so they attack them first.

The only problem, as has been pointed out, is that this will result in huge numbers of zombies wandering about even if our side wins. They may be worse than the original enemy.

Therefore we have to devise a zombie trap. This could be a deep pit. There is a pole in the middle to which is tied a live enemy. The zombies are attracted to him but then fall into the pit.

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It's not worth it unless you have some way to suppress the zombies yourself. After all, if you create a zombie army strong enough to destroy the Cleggs, well, it'd be easier to fight the Cleggs.

But let's say you have a shaman who can put the zombies to rest. Here's what you do...

Dress the zombies (carefully!) in Clegg clan garb, or armor, or whatever they wear. Keep them in the cage. Stage a fighting retreat and let the Cleggs overrun your "POW camp" and free the prisoners... ;D

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