When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

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When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:32 am

Had this idea for a while, but was too busy lurking.

More than a few of you may recognize the title as a quote from <i>Serenity</i>. Thought I'd start a discussion on how legit a tactic it is.

When zombies, or some other similar horde-type threat, are pouring in, we start blasting. Specifically aim so that they fall in the narrowest pass between two solid barriers. It makes a choke point or bottleneck. Eventually, the bodies will pile up and fill the gap, right? Right?
Well, that's what I'm wondering and here to discuss.

Just going to put up a few scenarios where we try to make this work.
I'll mostly stick to zombies, but if not, it'll usually be some sort of inhuman, or non-retreating, deadly threat to justify lethal self-defense.
And should we just ignore the hygienic issues?

Like if Zombies are coming up the stairs toward you, should you let a few of them up the first three or four steps before shooting in hopes that it'll clog the stairwell, or fell them at the floor so the next ones will stumble over?
How about if a zombie falls right on the threshold of your ordinary hinged door? Would you rather risk getting close to push or pull it out of the way to close the door?

I'll post most scenarios as time allows.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:59 am

SCENARIO #1: Corridor firefight from Joss Whedon's movie Serenity. Mild spoilers.
Enemy: the Reavers - human, hyper-aggressive rapists and cannibals. They're the result of a failed experiment, so they won't retreat or be bargained with.

The scene that inspired this thread.

With their spaceship shot down and Reavers in pursuit, the ragtag crew is running on foot with whatever weapons they could gather at the time. Finding some sort of room where a loading dock meets the hallway to an elevator, the crew decides to make a stand while the main character goes on to complete the mission.

Line-up is as follows:
Zoe, the 1st Mate, has a pump-action shotgun and mare's leg (lever-action pistol)
Jayne, the mercenary, has two or more assault rifles, a SMG strapped to his chest, and probably more pistols on himself.
Inara, love interest uses a futuristic archery weapon.
Then there's two inexperienced shooters each with an SMG that seems to share mags with Jayne.

They set in front of blast doors leading to the elevator hallway. Moving crates for cover in front of their sliding doors, the crew intends to 'thin the herd' before falling back.
Zoe and Jayne set up directly across from the door the Reavers will be coming through, while across from the noobs is some sort of maintenance hatch on an upper floor.

Code: Select all

        |        crates
	-  Noob	[]			=Maintenance
Fall-back  Noob	[]			=Hatch
blast		[]			=(upper floor)
door	  Archer[]			=
	-	[]			|
to	|	[]			|
elevator|				|------------------------
	|  1st- []			|
	|  Mate []	
		[]	         []   \
	  Merc	[]		 []    \Main Door
					\		Hallway of Reavers

					-------------------------

"Jayne and I take the first wave. No one else shoots unless they get past us." -Zoe


So things I'm wondering:
Do you agree with the placement of the shooters?
With the different guns and ammo types in play, would you have started with the common ammo guns instead?
I feel like there were pros and cons of leading with the shotgun. Sure, she definitely hit the first enemy to breach, but would saving shotshells for crowds have been better? Maybe let the archer or merc using semi-auto get the first enemy?

Had it not been for a grief-stricken someone breaking ranks, could they have held out more successfully? But then a certain epic melee fight wouldn't have happened.
Last edited by Abuhin on Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by MacWa77ace » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am

Nice out of the box use of the code function in BB Code. :clap:

I think that tactic should work when you're dealing with unarmed Zombies or Dungeon crawlers. But I've seen to many movie scenarios where they just keep coming until you run out of ammo. Its best to exfil and not be trapped, choose your battlefield.

I used to play an ASCII D&D video game and if you've ever opened a door to a room with 20 orcs in it, you'd know the best strategy was to back out the doorway slightly because the orcs could only come thru one at a time. One time I had a dead cockatrice, a monster that if you look at it, it turns you to stone. I had killed it but was carrying it around and ended up using against a bunch of orcs in this exact situation, [I accidentally 'wielded' the cockatrice in my panic instead of my sword] so when I hit them with it I had a good chance of turning them to stone. After all the orcs were dead I moved back into the doorway to pick up their dropped loot and there were probably 20 piled up right in the doorway.

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That tactic won't work against an armed and tactically savvy foe. You see, they'd just throw in a bunch of flashbangs, gas, Molotov's, or grenades and...

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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by CrossCut » Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:04 am

MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am

I used to play an ASCII D&D video game and if you've ever opened a door to a room with 20 orcs in it, you'd know the best strategy was to back out the doorway slightly because the orcs could only come thru one at a time. One time I had a dead cockatrice, a monster that if you look at it, it turns you to stone. I had killed it but was carrying it around and ended up using against a bunch of orcs in this exact situation, [I accidentally 'wielded' the cockatrice in my panic instead of my sword] so when I hit them with it I had a good chance of turning them to stone. After all the orcs were dead I moved back into the doorway to pick up their dropped loot and there were probably 20 piled up right in the doorway.
Hack - I played that first on the original Sun Sparc system back in 1988, on midwatches mostly while in the Navy. Also how I learned to use the vi editor. Addictive as hell. Had a copy for my home Amiga 2000 too. Sorry for the thread drift.

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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Fri Dec 25, 2020 8:04 pm

MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am
Nice out of the box use of the code function in BB Code. :clap:
Thanks. I actually tried copy/paste in the forum itself, but the spacing didn't have the same proportions.
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am
I think that tactic should work when you're dealing with unarmed Zombies or Dungeon crawlers. But I've seen to many movie scenarios where they just keep coming until you run out of ammo. Its best to exfil and not be trapped, choose your battlefield.
The idea was to thin the heard before falling back behind the blast doors. Stalling tactic for Captain Mal to do his thing, otherwise the Reavers might've swarmed the complex and found a way around. They actually discuss in-story if they should close the doors right away and stay together, or not. Zoe insists they need to buy time for Mal.
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am
That tactic won't work against an armed and tactically savvy foe. You see, they'd just throw in a bunch of flashbangs, gas, Molotov's, or grenades and...
I knew I was forgetting something - a little bit on Reaver intelligence and tactics. While they have the capacity to operate spaceships and use weapons, they wouldn't choose grenades and the like. They get in a frenzy, and prefer capturing their victims alive, if wounded, for sadistic and ahem non-consensual reasons.

A lot of their weaponry is makeshift or scavenged. Meanwhile the crew did make use of grenades at the start of each new wave.

So I find myself wondering how I'd do this hold-out scenario with my own weapons. Currently, my only long gun is a 12G pump, but I also have a crossbow. I could shoot an arrow as the door starts to budge open, drop the bow, and shotgun the rest. Then again, I could just give the bow to someone else, load a slug/bullet in the chamber for the 1st enemy, and use buckshot on every one else.


Also, cool sounding game experience.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:37 pm

SCENARIO #2: The Apartment Balcony shooters
Enemy: Zombies. Generic media types, like Romero or TWD. Some runners, most walkers. Headshots necessary.

Please don't bother with responses along the lines of "Oh, this will never happen to me because I live in a well-fortified home with enough guns & ammo to hold off a legion of zombies!" This is a thought exercise. And the scenario could happen to someone. Like me.

You, family and friends are holed up in an 3-story apartment building as the Zombie Outbreak has reached your city. Let's say you have about 7 or 8 adults, 5 or 6 kids. The complex is surrounded by a sturdy brick & wrought-iron fence, but the gate is about to collapse.
Fortunately, the apartment's small balcony directly faces the gate, across a 50ft lawn, and has ample room for two shooters.
Unfortunately, you only have two rifles. More bad news - And one of them is manual action.
Again, it's a thought exercise for challenge. Just go with it, please.

So put your shooters on the balcony, and a 3rd person in the doorway for mag reloading or other support roles. On the inside, how about two guys with pistols to guard the staircase/hallway leading up to your apartment? Just so we don't feel like everything's riding completely on the rifle shooters. As for ammo, 500 rounds per rifle, 60 per pistol shooter. and 5 magazines per gun if it takes them.
So what's your strategy?

First issue I'd like us to consider is how make, model and caliber affect your plan. Is the ideal platform for the rifles really to share ammo and magazines? AR-15 + Mossberg MVP, or Ruger Mini-30 + Ruger American Ranch, for example. Would you do things differently with different mags or different calibers? M1A + Gunsite Scout Rifle would give you same caliber, but different magazines. And then there's different calibers, and whether the rifles have internal or detachable magazines. If you do think it would change your tactic, please come up with just two examples of combinations.

Now then, what should be the shooter priorities be? Focus completely on the gate so that the zombie bodies pile up and let the hallway guys take care of those who slip by, or follow-up on zombies as they walk or run across the yard? Perhaps split the difference. My first thought was that the manual action shooter focuses on the gate, while semi-auto takes the breachers with quicker follow-up shots. But then, some State of Decay gameplay made me realize something. Even if zombies don't die from non-headshots, they should still stumble or fall. I'm now wondering if I should have the auto-shooter rapid fire on the gate, while the manual shooter finishes them off with slow, precise hits.

Watcha think?
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by MacWa77ace » Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm

If you have enough time to pre-plan that scenario like that, I think I'd preplan a way to block all those entrances in the first place with more sturdy barricades.

Noise usually attracts them right? So less shooting is better.


So maybe block the gate before they notice your in there with sofas and other obstacles. Block the stairs, block the hallway. those are three fall back positions. And then keep inside and quiet so they just walk past.

Granted there's going to be some other NPC in the building that will make noise and then the hoard will rush the building.

So make a zip line that takes you to the next building over as an escape/entrance exit to you building. [secret tunnel?] Or go to the roof and parachute to safety.

anyhow, I would only have what I have as far as rifles and pistols, what if this isn't day one but year two? you may not even have your purchased loadout and ammo supply by then, so you're using ground loot scavs and such.

Interesting scenario, keep 'em coming.

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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:17 pm

MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
If you have enough time to pre-plan that scenario like that, I think I'd preplan a way to block all those entrances in the first place with more sturdy barricades.

Noise usually attracts them right? So less shooting is better.


So maybe block the gate before they notice your in there with sofas and other obstacles. Block the stairs, block the hallway. those are three fall back positions. And then keep inside and quiet so they just walk past.
Good point! I mean, before the Z-outbreak is publicly known, the manager and other residents wouldn't like me blocking passages, but when the hordes are visible let's move those shelves and easy-chairs, guys!
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
Granted there's going to be some other NPC in the building that will make noise and then the hoard will rush the building.
Exactly. I got to be ready for someone else screwing up my plan. :lol:
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
So make a zip line that takes you to the next building over as an escape/entrance exit to you building. [secret tunnel?] Or go to the roof and parachute to safety.
I meant to include more, like how we would disable the elevators and use rope ladders in the shafts and over the balconies so we no longer need the staircase, but thought it would get too wordy. Thanks for reminding me to look up buying those ladders.
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
Interesting scenario, keep 'em coming.
Thank you. Next one's non-gun, medieval fantasy, though.
And cool gif. Very appropriate.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by CrossCut » Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:20 pm

Well I didn't read the whole second scenario, but this will never happen to me because I live in a well-fortified home with enough guns & ammo to hold off a legion of zombies! :)

JK. Agree with Mac on the barricade, is the vehicle parking lot for the residents inside the fence? Or any heavy equipment in a maintenance shed maybe? A vehicle parked against the gate will strengthen it and slow them down if you have time to get it in position, and the combustible fluid in it's tank may prove useful if they start breaking through. You would have overwatch protection from the shooters on the balcony too while fortifying the gate.

Don't want to run afoul of the rules, but barricade the gate and have a means to apply fire (as in flames) there if/when they start breaking though would be my first thoughts. Zombies hate fire.

*edited for clarity on the "fire" part

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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by sheddi » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:04 am

Abuhin wrote:
Fri Dec 25, 2020 8:04 pm
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:45 am
That tactic won't work against an armed and tactically savvy foe. You see, they'd just throw in a bunch of flashbangs, gas, Molotov's, or grenades and...
I knew I was forgetting something - a little bit on Reaver intelligence and tactics. While they have the capacity to operate spaceships and use weapons, they wouldn't choose grenades and the like. They get in a frenzy, and prefer capturing their victims alive, if wounded, for sadistic and ahem non-consensual reasons.
Ah yes, Reavers.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by MacWa77ace » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:29 am

Abuhin wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:17 pm
MacWa77ace wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
If you have enough time to pre-plan that scenario like that, I think I'd preplan a way to block all those entrances in the first place with more sturdy barricades.

Noise usually attracts them right? So less shooting is better.


So maybe block the gate before they notice your in there with sofas and other obstacles. Block the stairs, block the hallway. those are three fall back positions. And then keep inside and quiet so they just walk past.
Good point! I mean, before the Z-outbreak is publicly known, the manager and other residents wouldn't like me blocking passages, but when the hordes are visible let's move those shelves and easy-chairs, guys!

OK, initially I pictured that the building was 'mostly' empty, because you [must have] had time to collect the perfect 'team' and loadout for the team to defend it from that balcony, which I figured was appropriated for its overwatch of the gate.

I would not expect any headshots from the people with pistols, they'd have to be security of last resort. Maybe at the barricades but again, noise from gunfire. Use pikes or sharpened mop handles at the barricades. Depending on the type of Zed of course.

Randomly day one; what if the apartment you lived in was in the back and you couldn't see anything but the next building and the alley, and the power went out two hours ago, and you just heard on your phone alert [cells are still up] to shelter in place? AND you don't really know any of your neighbors and what they have in the way of capabilities, supplies, and equipment. It's night and most of the apartment buildings residents are home. Scenario 2B?
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by Abuhin » Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:11 pm

Yeah, I 'm trying to consider that there are other's in the building who aren't working with me yet. Like, maybe people fleeing are why the gate is damaged in the first place. Or I might get accused of trying to trap them in with me. After the horde is dead or kept out, I'll try to make nice with the neighbors.
CrossCut wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:20 pm
Well I didn't read the whole second scenario, but this will never happen to me because I live in a well-fortified home with enough guns & ammo to hold off a legion of zombies! :)
Oh, ha ha. :|
CrossCut wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:20 pm
Agree with Mac on the barricade, is the vehicle parking lot for the residents inside the fence? Or any heavy equipment in a maintenance shed maybe? A vehicle parked against the gate will strengthen it and slow them down if you have time to get it in position, and the combustible fluid in it's tank may prove useful if they start breaking through. You would have overwatch protection from the shooters on the balcony too while fortifying the gate.

Don't want to run afoul of the rules, but barricade the gate and have a means to apply fire (as in flames) there if/when they start breaking though would be my first thoughts. Zombies hate fire.

*edited for clarity on the "fire" part
How did I miss that? Using vehicles for barriers is my go-to for Besieged missions in State of Decay.
Yeah, there's some parking inside the fence, but for the higher priced units. Everyone else gets a half-underground garage. I suppose if I knew those car owners I could ask permission to move their cars in the way. Shift into neutral and push to keep noise down, right?

My hope is to eventually reclaim the yard. Not just for living and BBQ space. I might be able to use a dumpster to cremate zombies. I guess those could be pushed in the way, too.
MacWa77ace wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:29 am
I would not expect any headshots from the people with pistols, they'd have to be security of last resort. Maybe at the barricades but again, noise from gunfire. Use pikes or sharpened mop handles at the barricades. Depending on the type of Zed of course.

Randomly day one; what if the apartment you lived in was in the back and you couldn't see anything but the next building and the alley, and the power went out two hours ago, and you just heard on your phone alert [cells are still up] to shelter in place? AND you don't really know any of your neighbors and what they have in the way of capabilities, supplies, and equipment. It's night and most of the apartment buildings residents are home. Scenario 2B?
So would a shotgun for the hallway be better? And I know a place I can get a discount on Kung Fu spears. They don't come sharp, but my dad has one of those spinning grinder things.

I have a stockpile of candles, mostly tealights, that I'm willing to share with my neighbors. I was actually considering if a (real world) power outage happened, I'd go door to door. Pandemic put a slowdown on getting to know everyone. But the Texas blackout could be a way to encourage us to do a little group prep. Maybe for a start I'll buy a bunch of cheap tealight lanterns from Michael's, put them in sanitized boxes, and drop them off in front of everyone in my floor. Or I could put a flyer in the elevators saying I'll leave care packages in the yard. It's not only being nice & generous, it makes it a little less likely they'll accidentally set the buildings on fire.
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Re: When they come, try to plug the hole with them - Zombie chokepoint & bottleneck scenarios

Post by MacWa77ace » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:25 am

Abuhin wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:11 pm

MacWa77ace wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:29 am
I would not expect any headshots from the people with pistols, they'd have to be security of last resort. Maybe at the barricades but again, noise from gunfire. Use pikes or sharpened mop handles at the barricades. Depending on the type of Zed of course.

Randomly day one; what if the apartment you lived in was in the back and you couldn't see anything but the next building and the alley, and the power went out two hours ago, and you just heard on your phone alert [cells are still up] to shelter in place? AND you don't really know any of your neighbors and what they have in the way of capabilities, supplies, and equipment. It's night and most of the apartment buildings residents are home. Scenario 2B?
So would a shotgun for the hallway be better? And I know a place I can get a discount on Kung Fu spears. They don't come sharp, but my dad has one of those spinning grinder things.

I have a stockpile of candles, mostly tealights, that I'm willing to share with my neighbors. I was actually considering if a (real world) power outage happened, I'd go door to door. Pandemic put a slowdown on getting to know everyone. But the Texas blackout could be a way to encourage us to do a little group prep. Maybe for a start I'll buy a bunch of cheap tealight lanterns from Michael's, put them in sanitized boxes, and drop them off in front of everyone in my floor. Or I could put a flyer in the elevators saying I'll leave care packages in the yard. It's not only being nice & generous, it makes it a little less likely they'll accidentally set the buildings on fire.
You'd still have to do headshots with the shotguns. Those spears don't have to be sharp, just pointy. And go in and out smoothly, no barbs.

I like your idea of creating a community, but you should do it before an emergency. people might not open their door to an unexpected knock during something scary.

the con's to a bunch of little fires being lit by NPC's in your apartment building...
the building burns down. :?
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