In The Matrix Revolutions we learn that the Matrix Towers (and presumably Zion) are pretty darned close to the Machine City, seemingly less than a day travel by hovercraft.

Given that the humans have access to fast ships and weaponry that can harm the machines in large numbers (EMPs) as well as having lightning-rifles and ship-mounted heavy weaponry that can destroy dozens of squiddies a minute, is there any evidence that the humans ever mounted a frontal assault on the Machine City? If not, is there any reason given why such a bold strategy wasn't considered?

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    Inspired by this question on another stack.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 18:14
  • I guess my answer over there applies here as well! But I'd be interested to know if there are any slightly canonical answers to the question.
    – Ross
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 18:39
  • @Ross - Feel free to cross-post. It's acceptable to have answers on more than one stack and I'd upvote the points you've made albeit I think you've not made enough distinction between the Machine City and where the Matrix towers are
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 18:59
  • I think that even though they may have had the weaponry, the most likely didn't have the sheer number required. Such is the inherent purpose of the Cycle of the Ones in that as soon as there are too many "freed Zionese", the machines reset the whole system and obliterate Zion.
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


The accepted wisdom is that approaching to even within 100km of the city's outskirts (let alone the city proper) is akin to suicide. It's reasonably clear that there have been at least some efforts to probe the city's defences or Roland wouldn't be able to say, with confidence, that Neo is completely off his gourd.

Neo: I still have to go.

Roland: You'll never make it. In a hundred years no ship has been within a hundred kilometers of it. You'll never make it.

The Matrix Revolutions: Transcript

We can also note that the City itself has what could best be described as a robust (read massive overkill) defence system, albeit one that is relatively easy to defeat if one knows its secret, that it can be bypassed by traveling over it.

So what about them EMPs?

We see the EMPs being used a couple of times. Although they appear to be 100% effective against machines inside their range, their effective range seems to be only be about 2 miles, insufficient to reach the machine army waiting above Zion (which we know to be 2.5 miles under the surface). Once one is inside the Machine City, unless one had literally thousands of ships, and hence thousands of EMPs, the sheer size of the Machine City would defy almost any attack the Zionese could field at the present time.

Now, theoretically, if the Zionese were permitted to breed for another full generation and move up to full industrial-scale production of ships and materiel then Zion might actually prove a serious threat to the Machine City which is presumably why the Machines periodically kill all the free humans, forcing them to start over and over again.

Are the Zionese able to use other weapons?

Actually, yes. In the Animatrix short "Matriculated" we learn that a small group of humans is experimenting with trying to get machines (walkers and runners) to "convert". The end-goal appears to be to use these machines as shock-troops to attack other machines.

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