One day in the not-too-distant future, a mindless horde of cannibalistic killing machines will come shambling through the streets of America. And when that day comes, the U.S. Army will be on it faster than you can scream "BRAAIIIINNSS!"
Lucky for us, the Army Zombie Combat Command has put together a nifty manual on how to identify, fight, and kill those murderous mobs of the undead. Soldiers can now add the FM 999-3 Counter-Zombie Operations at the Fireteam Level to their arsenal – "the primary doctrinal reference on conducting fire team sized infantry operations in a Zombie infested environment in the United States."
And as far as we know, this is the only (non) arm of the service that "guarantees the survival of the United States in the event of any Zombie emergency."
Danger Room has already provided the civilian guide for the next zombie apocalypse. We're glad to see such a forward-thinking authority prepare our nation's troops to counter the next non-existent threat. It's "based on intelligence collected from various Zombie outbreaks around the world," so you know it's reliable.
So how should our enlisted men and women fight the troves of Zombies who threaten to eradicate our species? Well, since every Zombie outbreak is slightly different, this guide is a handy how-to for dealing with unexpected developments.
First, identifying these flesh-eating monsters. Unfortunately, only "qualified medical personnel" can identify Type A infections (the weaker version that only starts the zombie-conversion process upon death). But never fear, the manual has precise instructions for identifying zombies at any stage of their rotten existence. Stage 1, Infection: See someone shivering, vomiting, and whose pupils don't respond to light or darkness? Quick, kill them immediately. Don't forget to destroy their brains. Stage 2, Recently Reanimated: Things get slightly trickier in this stage. Key movements to note are staggered walking, arms extended, slight groans. The manual advises immediate neutralization. Stage 3, Active Zombie: This should be the easiest to identify. No body fat, mostly gray, clothing is probably damaged or missing. You know what to do.
SNext up, fighting equipment. While your standard M4 is the weapon of choice for counter-Zombie operations, there are multiple think-outside-the-box options. Try a spear (highly recommended, aim for the head), aluminum baseball bat (the shortest melee weapon practical for use against Zombies) or sword (Attention! Decapitated heads can still bite you). But stay away from chainsaws (waste of fuel), pitchforks (not sturdy enough to penetrate the skull) or axes (they have the unfortunate habit of getting lodged in the target).
Next are elaborate instructions on how to regain order and control in a zombie-infested battlefield (this is crucial to due anticipated chaos and separation). Officers can choose from diamond, triangle, trident or file formations. Roof tops, very steep mountains or large trees are ideal defensive points in urban settings. Avoid islands, if possible – zombies will just walk under water and emerge on the other side.
Of course, no manual is complete without a thorough review of terrain and weather. Unfortunately, this section is short – zombies can operate in almost any condition, although they slow down once it dips below zero degrees Celsius. But remember, a frozen Zombie is still dangerous, once it thaws.
Now, this manual is intended for trained soldiers of the United States Army – so don't rush home to try any of these anti-undead tactics yourself. Unless, of course, your living room has been invaded by a bunch of corpses who want to eat you alive. Then, all we can say is, best of luck.
Lena is a science journalist fascinated by any and all combinations of biology, philosophy and design. She lives in New York City.
Follow @lenagroeger on Twitter.