FORT BENNING, GA – As part of the Army’s efforts to expand its tactics, techniques and procedures for effectively combating and containing an outbreak of the undead, the Army Training and Doctrine Command has published a new field manual: FM 3-21.81, “The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad: Employment in a Zombie-Apocalypse Scenario.”
The field manual covers battle drills that will be familiar to many infantrymen, but with a slight twist. When fighting against hordes of undead opponents, according to current doctrine, there needs to be greater implementation of hand-held melee weapons instead of rifle fire.
“We looked at our existing techniques, tactics, and procedures and realized that when the zombie apocalypse comes, our current way of doing things wasn’t going to be good enough,” said Gen. Robert Cone, TRADOC commanding general. “So we went back to the drawing board and re-evaluated everything from the ground up – so to speak – and we kept what worked and got rid of what didn’t.”
“It was a very collaborative effort,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Owens, commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School, who consulted on the development of the new manual. “Zombie-apocalypse combat techniques are different from anything our soldiers have trained for, so we went to the world’s foremost experts in undead-unconventional warfare and picked their brains to learn everything we could. These are guys who’ve spent thousands upon thousands of hours in combat against the undead, and they really wrote the book on counter-zombie tactics.”
The experts assembled for the consultation panel were culled from the top fifty scorers on the Call of Duty: Black Ops XBOX Live zombie-mode multiplayer boards. “They were doing things we’d never even heard of before, and we were blown away by how good they were at it,” said Owens. “It was a thrill to bring them in on this project.”
Consultant Chad Sinclair, who goes by the gamertag “BloodAxe418,” stated, “We really had to get them to reinvent the wheel when it came to their battle drills. The Army has gotten used to squad- and small-unit-based tactics over the last decade or so of fighting in the Middle East, and those tactics don’t really work in a zombie environment. The undead generally don’t employ coordinated attack strategies, so any large-scale engagement against an undead force inevitably devolves into one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat. It’s the sort of in-your-face combat that the Army hasn’t really used since World War 1, and so a lot of conventional strategies and weapon-employment TTP’s had to be thrown out.”
FM 3-21.81 emphasizes greater employment of the bayonet charge and utilizing the M4/M16 as a melee weapon. In fact, the Army has begun reissuing the M9 bayonet after nearly a decade of disuse, in accordance with the panel’s recommendations.
Additionally, several low-tech weapons are currently being tested before they find their way into the counter-zombie warfighter’s arsenal. One such weapon is the M88 tactical machete, which has a blade length of 24 inches, an ergonomic polymer pistol grip with punch guard, and serrations on the back of the blade. Another is the M141A1 assault bludgeon, which at first glance looks like an ordinary wooden baseball bat, but which has been fitted with razor-sharp tent stakes through the end of the shaft, as well as M1913 accessory rails for mounting advanced optics and additional grips.
“Area weapons are irrelevant to counter-zombie warfare,” said Sinclair. “Support-by-fire tactics are simply not effective against an undead force. They just keep coming. You need to get in their face and stop them with the up-close kill. That’s the way you beat them. That’s the way you win.”
TRADOC officials expect to begin Army-wide training from the new manual early this fall.