Tracer Rounds: Tactics vs Logistics, the Walking Dead Differential Model

frontier wars 728x90 KS

What do you see when you’re watching TV “operations”? ~

A friend of mine – who might eventually read this column and recognize himself and then furiously email with a string of “that’s not what I meant and you know it”s – was posting on social media about The Walking Dead.  After the episode where they go room-to-room clearing the radar facility where they think Negan is holed up, he proclaimed “TWD is OAF”.TR-TWD

From the point of view of the room-clearing tactics, which our TWD heroes have perfected over several seasons, he’s probably right.  It jives with everything I’ve seen, and the limited amount I was taught. (Remember that I was a tanker back in the ‘90s, before all the MOUT/FISH ops of the past 15 years; if we had to ‘clear’ a house it involved pancaking the place with 55 tons of rolling steel.)  But the whole time I’m watching TWD my mind is usually back to the more practical matters.

Allow me to explain…

Loggie work is soooooooo not sexy.  But you know what’s less sexy?  Running out of ammo.  Being hungry.  Turning your tank into a Maginot-Line-pillbox because you’ve got no fuel.  The Walking Dead has built many, many storylines around their scrounging for fuel, their lack of food and attempts to grow their own, and even the most recent episode wherein Eugene suggests turning a local foundry into a bullet factory.

But while everyone is ooohing and aaahing over the über-hip Delta-ninja-SEAL-SWAT-sniper tactics they whip out every time they have to clear a building, I’m just shaking my head at the fact that they’ve rolled out to a fight with 14 different guns that use 11 different kinds of bullets.  I get that at some point you go to war with the armory you have, not the armory you want, especially in the zombie apocalypse.  But every episode has someone else carrying around another version of an M16/M4 series 5.56 rifle, so there’s got to be a handful of them out there somewhere.  Those AK47s?  How often can you really find 7.65 ammo on the street, much less after the world’s gone to shit?  Shotgun ammo I can totally see being plentiful, and caliber is less of an issue with shotguns than other long rifles.  But when you’re in a firefight, don’t you want to be able to yell at your buddy “hey, I’m out of ammo!” and expect that you’ll get the right stuff tossed to you instead of 8 friends yelling back some variation of “sorry!” “oh well!” “tough shit” or “guess you’re about to fix bayonets!”

GHLogoTextThere’s certainly been some realistic consideration in the TWD universe for some practical logistics, such as the food supply, which has become a major storyline this season, as well as the season at the prison.  Certainly the Termites thought they were solving some food supply issues.  But what about some of the other issues – such as those noted in Jonathan’s Zombie Apocalypse series we’ve been running – like water?  Clean water just hasn’t seemed to be an issue for anyone on the show, despite being an issue for 60% of the planet under ideal conditions, never mind TEOTWAWKI.  Hell, what about non-clean water, which you can at least use to flush a toilet?  Have you ever seen TWD worry about sanitation?  No?  Because it goes back to “non-sexy”.

Kelly’s Heroes?  Those Shermans rolling around behind German lines? On what… fumes?  How many rounds are unloaded in the final 45 minutes or so of Where Eagles Dare, and where are they coming from?  We’re not talking about the implausibility of the 80s-Vietnamrevengefantasies starring the oiled-musclehead-du-jour who never needs to reload.  We’re talking about stories in which at least a reasonable realm of plausibility was expected, and in which people have discussed the ‘realism’ of the movie / story / show.

So while there’s a lot of coolness in TWD, and the open-world-gun-range survival-of-the-fittest scenario appeals to a huge segment of the American population, we all know there are some real-world issues that are being glossed over, because they make for crap television.  And while I’m not a professional anymore, I was for long enough that when I’m watching shootouts like these, I’m not poking holes in how they clear rooms but in the weapons they’re carrying and the load-out they’re schlepping along.  The bag-geek in me is checking out what they’re hauling their crap around in and wondering if that’s the best choice for what they’re carrying.  The loggie in me can’t help but wonder about their fuel stockpiles wonder at what point they start making non-gas-powered contingencies (I gotta imagine that Teslas and Volts would be hugely popular in the zombie apocalypse).

And most of all, I still can’t help but wonder about the practicality having a stockpile of bicycles in the post-apocalyptic world.  Great mileage, low maintenance, self-powered, off-road, and, well, let’s face it…  they look like shit on television, so we’ll never see them.


If you want more cool zombie apocalypse discussions, check out Jonathan’s ZA series we’ve been running for a few months.


This week’s soundtrack:

The older I get, the more I appreciate Van Morrison.  Glass of wine.  Candles.  Curling up with your significant other on the couch.  Van Morrison on the radio.


Game that caught my eye:

Platoon Command from LNLP, which we posted about in our “intel dump” thread about 18 months ago.  Apparently we helped them make the connection to LNLP, too.  Can’t wait for it to hit the table and I hope David brings a copy with him to Origins for us to poke at.


What I’m doing this week when I should be playing games:

I’m working on getting some design work done.  Seriously.  I’m actually trying to get stuff off the table that’s been on the drawing board (and in playtesting) for 5-7 years.


Wouldn’t it be cool if…

We had a better newsdesk for our readers to peruse industry announcements, previews, and events?  Hmmmm…


This week’s poll:


Get hunting, just don’t forget to pack a lunch…   Bayonet 06 – out!

Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>

3 Responses to Tracer Rounds: Tactics vs Logistics, the Walking Dead Differential Model

  1. George says:

    “Kelly’s Heroes? Those Shermans rolling around behind German lines? On what… fumes?”

    Not exactly, Clermont was only “30 miles behind enemy lines” ('s_Heroes), which is well within the 120 mile operational range of a fully fueled Sherman, even if they had to take a detour. And they could also have siphoned off fuel from the disabled Shermans at the river battle to top up the last surviving one if necessary. 😉

    But, overall, I agree with your statement. If you have intimate knowledge on a subject, it’s hard to suspend disbelief when watching something the entertainment industry has fabricated.

  2. Thanks for the mention for Platoon Command. And HUGE thanks for posting the sellsheet so long ago – without that, I may have never hooked up with LnLP.

  3. Brant Guillory says:

    Here’s an even better logistics idea for TEOTWAWKI

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