What Happened to Shields?

Shields.  Among the simplest devices in existence, they somehow manage to be unmatched in both offensive and defensive capacities, when both well-made and well-used.   A sufficiently large shield can negate nearly any attack, and then be used to bash in the head of the attacker.

Case in point: the Spartans.  The Spartans were one of the most fearsome warrior cultures of all time.  The key to their success – aside from their lifelong training, of course – was their shield.  A powerful shield that could stop a lance and covered its bearer’s entire body was a formidable tool indeed.  It made the legendary Spartan phalanx nigh invincible.

So my question is: why did shields vanish?  Because really, if you think about it, a shield would be an excellent tool, even today.  It would be made out of stronger, lighter metals and alloys and polymers, making it bullet-proof, fire-proof, shock-proof, explosion-proof…  Basically indestructible.  It would make it much easier for soldiers to move on the battlefield, whether advancing or withdrawing or simply shifting positions, without exposing themselves.  The back of the shield would also make a convenient place to keep extra ammo, grenades, a med kit, or a small radio.

Basically, a shield is a magnificent piece of equipment that should never have been done away with.  I think that casualties would go way, way down if soldiers were issued and required to train with shields large enough to cover them completely.

Agree? Disagree? Want to argue about the price of milk and eggs in Russia? Leave a comment below. I enjoy hearing from my readers.



1 Comment

Filed under Life, Non-Writing Related

One response to “What Happened to Shields?

  1. Demon of the Desert

    Shields are still used today. Ever seen a picture of riot police? Ever?

    They haven’t vanished, the problem is that for all intents and purposes they’re useless in a modern battlefield. This might come as a surprise to you, but the military minds of the world actually do think. In fact, they think a lot.

    It’s sort of their job.

    So why don’t they order their soldier’s to carry shields? Well, it turns out that they’re a lot clever than you think. They do. The shields are worked into the soldier’s uniforms. We call these flack vests. This allows the soldier’s to have two hands open. (Believe it or not, this is important when you’re carrying and aiming an assault rifle)

    So why are casualties still a thing? Well, because millions of dollars are spent every year perfecting the art of killing another human being. Bullets are designed to end life.

    And a shield isn’t going to stop that. But, no. You’ve watched Batman Begins. You know all about these super alloys that the stingy government is unwilling to spend on our soldiers. But how long will it be before you start complaining about the billions of dollars of debt that these sort of super-shields would incur?

    But for a moment let’s pretend that they do buy all these super-light, super powerful, body covering shields. For one think, you have to remember the laws of momentum. When a bullet strikes the shield, it won’t just flick away like they did in Captain America: The First Avenger. The power behind that bullet is going to make the shield shake, no matter how powerful it is.

    So you’ve got an army approaching a machine gun turret and they can’t lay down because they’ve got massive shields strapped to them, and they’re approaching in your turtle formation. Those shield’s are going to be twitching like a leaf in the wind. Now a frag grenade rolls in on them.

    What’s the historical equivalent of a frag? Well, buddy, there isn’t one. But suddenly your turtle is stepping on a bomb and it’s gonna blow a hole in them wide enough to let all that machine gun fire rip them to shreds. Sure, the shields are “explosion proof” (And conveniently light weight too), but the soldiers aren’t. And suddenly the force of that explosion is sending their lightweight shield right into their faces.

    And, the massive thing has nicely announced their location for all to see, so when that hole appears the rest of the team gets torn to shreds by machine gun fire.

    To make matters worse, your soldiers can’t even fight back. Why? Because they’re busy holding massive freaking shields. Assault rifles don’t fire as easy as swords swing, and unlike Rambo, soldier’s can’t fire them with one hand.

    At least, they can’t fire them with one hand if they hope to hit a dang thing.

    Shields died when they ceased to be useful. That’s why their place is now riots, not battlefields, and casualties would SPIKE, not drop, if they were re-implemented on a large scale. No amount of your high-schooler, fantasy-writing logic is going to change that.

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