Episode 221: Have Enough Seatbelts?

Zombié Cliche Lookout: Logistics

It is often said that “Amateurs think strategy, generals think logistics.” When people talk about surviving the zombie apocalypse, they’re generally talking about things like killing zombies, finding places to hide, defending against hostile survivors, etc. But there are a lot of other things at play. Sometimes, you have to move, and when you move, odds are you’re going to want to bring your supplies and equipment with you. But how?

In zombie movies, people generally just hotwire a car and call it a day. But that’s Hollywood where everyone knows how to hotwire a car for some damn reason. In real life, we’d need to consider these things far in advance, unless we wanted to end up as either zombie chow, or safe but starving.

There’s also the notion of securing a source of food and potable water. And if this source should be some distance away, how do you get the food to your plate? Why, logistics, my friend!

Although you could use some strategy to protect your supply chain.

About this Episode:

One thing that drives me nuts about LEGO®’s official vehicles, is that they’re ludicrously undersized. Almost all of them have room for one, or maybe two passengers. Not terribly realistic. So I figured I would lampshade it a bit by just pretending the vehicle could house a reasonable number of adult occupants (five).

Hanging onto the roof doesn’t sounds like a whole lot of fun, but it beats the hell out of being left in the middle of a city full of a zombies.

Discussion Question: On the Move

In a lot of discussion question answers, many of you indicate that you want to be in groups. Ten to fifteen people seems to be a popular number for most. Assuming that you’re not going to lone wolf it, what is your plan to get your group from place to place? Is everyone hoofing it? Are you going to setup a convoy? How are you moving your other supplies.

81 Comments

Phantom

My plan is moving in a bus for survivors and two men in a pick-up truck behind us. There we would have food and engine essentials in case one of them cars break down. My grandfather owns a pony tail farm( http://www.plant-care.com/pony-tail-palm.html )15-25 min. out of town. Would try to reach that area, just luck it has a river nearby.

Dave

Yeah, they occasionally refer to Stewart as “Stew”. so: “Stew, you and I […]”

Phantom

Thanks for explaining that bit, I had thought that the period was a comma.

Dave

In this font, the periods and commas are really hard to tell apart. I love the font, but I’m not crazy about that aspect of it.

guy

Convoy. Does anybody know what pistol Rick uses in the walking dead?

Digihuman

I’d try to keep us in convoy. That way we can ditch the useless as sacrifices to our zombie overlords when the going gets tough.

…Yeah, I have so many different versions of my zombie escape I can’t take myself seriously anymore. Sometimes I’m kind in these discussion questions, and as seen here sometimes i’m just a heartless monster seeking self-preservation.

legomiles

But as you see, that epic ambulance just tipped over for no reason and fell apart like it was made of Mega Bloks!

Dave

Hey, the cars in Bricks of the Dead use movie physics. That means they can roll and fall apart easily should the situation call for it 🙂

Dave

“I can’t take myself seriously anymore.” This made me smile.

Digihuman

am I the only one who went scrolling back trying to find another Bonus Features that explains why they’re all getting in a van anyway?

l3m0nm4n

maybe it’s a van like the one my family has, our van is pretty much a pick-up truck with a van on it instead of a truck bed.

Yatkuu

I have 5 years of experience as Logistics Coordinator on my resume! Unfortunately… now that I think of it I’m afraid it won’t help me in the event of a ZA. Unless of course if planes still fly, trucks still deliver goods and DHL still operates… damned, for once I thought I had an edge here!

Dave

Yeah, the just in time shipping model might not work out in the zombie apocalypse.

Gumbyfingers

I like how Cheryl just volunteers herself and Stew for the roof. Heck, I’d do the same thing. Beats getting left behind.
As to the discussion question. One word… Rickshaws! I don’t want to worry about where I’m gonna scrounge up more gas, or how my bad driving could hurt the group. If zeds hit while we’re on the move, we can ditch them and come back for them later.

Dave

Yeah, that is Cheryl stepping up and taking charge.

Everytime I heard the word “rickshaw”, I can’t help of thinking of Kramer and Newman with their homeless people rickshaws.

Gumbyfingers

Yeh, I usually picture Scooby and Shaggy pulling around the villain while dressed in terribly stereotyped Chinese outfits. Still, they are practical. Easy to build and maintain.

Bo

Yes! Kramer and Newman’s rickshaw!

Using a person as a pack animal is a tradition with about 10,000 years of proven history (but still not my ideal).

BrickVoid

@Dave: Typo alert in discussion “loan wolf” – you want the “lone” wolf! 😀

Dave

Are you sure I’m not talking about a wolf who works in finance?

Thanks; I’ll fix that now.

BrickVoid

When was the last time you found out that your accountant howls at the moon? 😀

I was going to flag potable water but I’ve actually heard of the stuff! 😉 It’s rather safe. 🙂

Calicade

What ever gets us there. Driving is preferred, bicycling is most probable, and walking is acceptable. Lazy fools don’t live long.

Steven

As I said in an earlier comment, bicycles are the post-apocalyptic way to travel. Lightweight, a good mountain bike can go all sorts of places without being restricted to the (crammed with stalled and wrecked vehicles) roads, can carry a surprising amount of supplies on the back with the proper setup, and don’t run out of gas. Also, bikes scale well, so you can take as many as you need for your group. And they don’t require as much maintenance as motorized vehicles. And they’re quiet.

Pretty much, you should always take a bike.

Bo

I’m not in favor of large groups, generally- too libertarian for that noise. At the first sign of squabble I’d be gone. Frankly, you can’t trust folks not to cut your throat in your sleep and take your gear. You do need someone to watch when you sleep, to be sure; but it has to be someone with a similar background and preparedness level, to mitigate jealousy. Additionally, you should have had some kind of relationship before the collapse, someone you worked with, preferably someone you trained with.

As for moving, walking sucks. Period. Try walking out of town with a three ear-old. If I’m going anywhere, it’s by convoy. Realistically, you need three people per vehicle, a driver, co-driver, and gunner. The driver only drives. He does not look at the map, talk on the radio, or shoot (unless the bad guy is right on his door). The driver does not leave the wheel unless he has relief. That is, someone is behind the wheel as long as the vehicle is between objectives. The co-driver is the vehicle commander. He runs the radio, does the navigating, and keeps an eye out for potential choke-points and ambush sites. The gunner shoots anyone that threatens the solidarity of the convoy.

You also need a QRF (a “quick reaction force” for you, Dave). The QRF runs security for the convoy, and moves cargo and passengers in the event of a disabled vehicle. Redundancy is key. Spread your passengers and gear evenly, if possible. Put the convoy commander in the number two car, because the lead car tends to be a shit magnet.

There is a lot of good information available on running a convoy. I’ve barely scratched the surface. Start reading here: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/55-65/ch5.htm

If you can get heavy-duty vehicles, like commercial snow plows and dump trucks, so much the better, for clearing obstacles. Just remember the go-juice, whether mogas or diesel, won’t last. Better know where you’re going, and have three routes to get there.

Dave

Really, really good stuff here Bo.

I just took my three year-old hiking last weekend. We didn’t make it far.

Bo

Hell, I had a hard time getting a five and three year-old through Disneyland.. If I had to get them out of Dodge on foot, bugging in sounds better and better.

The secret to running a convoy is to practice. I can run a car under extreme duress, threat, and compulsion; but running one car like you stole it, and running it in tandem with half a dozen others are worlds apart. The best bet would be to hook up with some vets of the recent troubles in Mesopotamia. Running convoys down there is as everyday as sunshine. The problem, again, is the human element, trying to get along with people that don’t get along. Who’s in charge? What kind of authority do they command? Is it legitimate power, referent power, or coercive power? Without a cohesive chain of command (i.e. job description) there is no legitimate power. Referent power implies respect and influence. There isn’t time to cultivate that kind of relationship. I don’t respond well to coercion, so…

Groups are hard under the best of circumstances. Running a successful convoy depends on a stable group, with good inter and intra-vehicular communication. The best thing to do, I think, would be to get your vehicle ready now. Then start networking with your group (for they that prefer them). Practice the three roles now, while it’s easy (gunners, please don’t shoot actually shoot anyone).

Calicade

TL:DR, jk jk of course.. I haven’t read the whole thing yet.. But ahem.. You also a Libertarian?

Dave

I suspect that most people into preparing for the worst and self-sufficiency tend toward Libertarianism.

Bo

Except for some religious fundamentalists (born-agains that support a post-tribulation rapture, segments of the LDS community, maybe some Scientologists), I suspect you’re right. Like anything else, libertarianism is a spectrum and not a monolithic movement.

Calicade

Spectrum being undersold.. More like a supernatural happening since 1963. People that don’t force their ideas on other people? It’s abnormal!

Bo

The roots of libertarianism are older. I’m thinking about the anti-Federalists, Hell, go back to Cicero for examples of libertarian thinking.

This one’s my favorite: “Have you heard about the vast libertarian conspiracy? They want to take over your government, and then leave you alone!”

Calicade

Yeah I knew they went deeper, but I’m speaking of when the party was established, and the libertarian views were finally made a bit more public.

Sadly not everyone likes freedom :(.

Bo

Most so-called “patriots” don’t really like liberty, because they can’t stomach responsibility.

Calicade

People do enjoy their government taking care of everything for them.

Bo

Even the “Tea Party” activists love their Social Security benefits…

Calicade

Some times I wonder if people think people such as you and I, are full of ourselves.

Dead Coat

I would create some kind of floating city in the middle of the sea. No need to run away ever again!

Bo

How about S.H.I.E.L.D’s helicarrier, while we’re at it.

I’d love a unicorn that eats rainbows and farts skittles; but I’d be lucky to have a a pickup and an Airstream.

l3m0nm4n

floating city = oil tankers and cargo ships held together with boards, ropes, sheets of metal, really anything strong enough to withstand a couple smacks with a sledgehammer would be good.

Bo

You’d have to be way out there, to keep from running aground. Of course, a lot of us are also land-locked.

A boat as a survival sanctuary has always interested me, especially as a novelty. One advantage is that one can R-U-N-N-O-F-T if there’s trouble. They are not sustainable, long term, that I can see. On the other hand, I don’t know if anyone’s ever really tried. Could one take a sufficiently large vessel (like the aforementioned tanker) and make it into a floating farm, a Noah’s ark with a garden on the deck. You’d need large solar stills to supply fresh water; and I have this idea for a rudimentary solar-powered steam engine I would like to try (it could not generate the power to move the vessel, but maybe to charge batteries and such). There’s also an abundance of wind to harvest (I am not enamored with photovoltaic cells; their lifespan is too short).

To get this idea even to the Mad Max stage would require a lot of manpower; but it does interest me. Tell me more.

l3m0nm4n

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Oil_tanker_(side_view).PNG

http://www.juventudrebelde.co.cu/img/info/venezuela-cuba-inaugurate-new-oil-tanker-2009-05-14.jpg

to start with, I decided to show a couple pictures, the first is essentially the layout of the inside of an oil tanker(bride includes the living arrangements for crewmen). I also wanted to show the shear size of one(the windows on the bridge are fairly large).

For starters, you would want to make certain that those oil tanks are completely empty so you could use those to create your base, except for one, one would need to be emptied and used to store water(in containers of course), also, the top should probably be covered in tubs and boxes without tops, and filled with dirt for farming, you would also want a tower/bunker constructed in the front, and a snipers roost on top of the bridge, then, depending on what you consider most important(won’t tell you how to think, you would want to have the extra tanks converted to things such as armory, living quarters, workshop, hospital, and maybe, if you want too, A rec room. I would also suggest having a few smaller, but still large, boats/ships sailing nearby it, also, try to get into the pacific ocean(it is much larger). Real quick, I would suggest having a secondary base constructed on like, an oil refinery, or somewhere like Ellis island or another location(maybe a prison). And as a last note, something other people I’ve talked to about this sort of plan, suggest having a prison/quarantine, I feel that could be kept on another boat though.

Bo

One thing to consider is that tankers are meant to run full. They don’t draw a whole lot of water empty.

The idea intrigues me. I just don’t think that folks would have the resources to convert a tanker into a modern Noah’s ark in the aftermath of an EOTWAWKI event (e.g. the zombie apocalypse). They’re certainly huge; and if you kept the bottom of the tanker killed with fuel oil for its own use, one could run it under power for a good long time.

I wonder if anyone has pursued the idea, aside from last night’s episode of Fringe, that is.

Dave

You could always live on that giant garbage island that’s floating around the pacific.

l3m0nm4n

It isn’t an actual island made of garbage, most news agencies, in order to drum up business, mislead people into thinking it is a massive island made of garbage, but really it is just enough garbage that if you put it all together, it would be twice the size of Texas. If there was actually a massive island made of garbage, it would be inhabited by boat hobos and whatnot.

PJ

I would have 2 armored buses an armored ambulance and armored S.U.V and an armored 4 door truck

l3m0nm4n

mayhaps by armored, he means boarded up windows .

Nikolai

Depending on my preparedness, I’d prefer to go lone wolf. Large groups are bound to fight (Like in the Colony), and I can’t stand fighting between friends. And if I’m all alone, People would see me less as an angry mob of people with bats, but more of a loner; hopefully making them more welcoming. Also, who is that girl with the sledgehammer?

AmdBrick

Honestly, i would go with ten or less people, due to my prepared-ness group being about seven of eight people already, and plus, im not even sure if they even have cars.
Those are high school students for you.

Dave

Yeah, high schoolers are at a disadvantage when it comes to prepping, what with the lack of consistent income and all.

Sir Cheese

I think that the only way to go is to stay on the move, in which case Cars when available, but supplies in backpacks when necesary. Find an easily defendable location, (Prison, fort, or maybe even a treehouse built in a forest) fortify it, start a garden, find supplies for ammo and such, make it a permament spot by fortifing it further and finding methods for permament supplies. Later begin to eradicate zombies in an ajoining buildiing, eventually reclaim that one too, and try to gather as many survivors as possible and repeat the process, and essentially build a city!

Bo

Wait, are we talking about zombies specifically, or any societal collapse?

For zombies, barricading yourself against them would be easy-peasy mac-n-cheesy. It’s the other survivors that scare me the most. Anyone clever, cunning, and tough enough to survive zombies will soon be after my little slice of heaven. My hope is that with a sufficiently depleted population, competition for limited resources will be easier. There would be plenty of places to live; but cans of pork and beans would get scarce in a hurry.

l3m0nm4n

really, the only thing you would have to do to keep people out of your place that aren’t welcome, would be to crucify like 50 or more zombies near the entrances of your shelter(I would suggest dead ones BTW). Also, decapitate some zombies and put there heads in like animal cages hanging from poles, that way, it is even creepier and scarier to go to your shelter.

Bo

That’s an interesting point. There are two arguments. The first is to become the “grey man”. Become invisible. No one knows you’re living well, because you still look like Joe the rag-man. Heavy blackout curtains on the windows, no loud generators, tall fences around the garden, etc. The other is the overwhelming show of force. Band with your neighbors, gear up, and start random patrols, with visible arms. Dare anyone to mess with you. They both have their place, with advantages and disadvantages. Organization and support is the obvious drawback to going large, and having the ability to act upon parties that will call your bets.

What do you think?

l3m0nm4n

I like both ideas, I personally would go mostly invisible(I would force people to do stuff that I absolutely required), and then after A while, I would have constructed enough of a defensive layer on the inside of my house(s), that I could construct a sniper’s roost on top of the building and take out zombies and crazys from up there.

Bo

Two jumps back I was part of a preparedness group that leased warehouse space with nearby billboards. The plan was that in the event of a breakdown, and moving into the warehouse, we would set up LP/OP’s (that’s “listening posts/observation posts” for you, Dave) on the billboards, with sharpshooters as necessary.

Where you stand depends upon where you sit. In a short-term event (e.g hurricane or earthquake), a show of force might be better. A strong neighborhood watch can deter looters and tell the beggars to move on down the road. People can generally get along for about thirty days. After thirty days, all bets are off. Group dynamics become too strained at that point.

For a societal collapse situation, I would be inclined to go grey, unless I had an organization behind me. I’m talking hard men with relatively uncommon skillsets. I’m handy with a rifle; but there’s only one of me, with too much to lose.

Another thing zombie movies don’t consider is medical needs. In a grid-down scenario, relatively minor wounds can kill you. Consider that before penicillin one of the most common cause of accidental deaths was scalding. One bad household burn, and it’s death by infection.

l3m0nm4n

another thing they don’t take into consideration is that gasoline is only usable for about 1-2 years depending on how fresh it was when you got it.

Bo

Even diesel needs a shot of Pri-D to keep it stabilized; and getting the go juice out of the ground without electricity is a bitch, on the best day.

Use the gas to get where you’re going, and hole-up.

Calicade

Before this go off to the next comic, I would like to remind everyone of topics that will be brought up in the attempt to revive Zombie Survival Plans area.

l3m0nm4n

yes people, come join us there, become one of us, we have a chant.

One of us, One of us, Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, one of us(repeat)

the dude person

I hear you on the size issue with Lego cars, Dave. Heck, I built my own police car for Zombie Outbrick, and because I was trying to keep it consistent in terms of scale, I’m going to have to fake it when the group piles into it. (Whoops – did I just let loose a spoiler?)

WJS

Riding on the roof doesn’t sound like too much fun, no. Still, it’s not like they need to go fast or anything. Just faster than the zombies, who are notoriously slow. I do wonder why, I mean, if you can’t fit 7 people into a five-seater you’re not trying hard enough.

Question:
I wouldn’t want to be on the move any longer than I had to be. Gather people, and find somewhere to dig in. Once you’ve found a good place, your main movement is going to be heading out to collect things you need. You’d want to get your scavengers mobile fairly soon, and you’re going to want to start patrols at some point too.
While I’d prefer to stay put, it’s definitely worth planning for evacuation, even if you don’t plan to, if you know what I mean. Any motor vehicle you can get running is an asset, although cars are pretty low down the list. Busses seem like a good idea for moving lots of civilians, but they can’t handle terrain nearly as well, limiting you to the roads. Big trucks might be better, certainly easier to load with materiel than a bus designed for people.

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