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Shademan
2010-01-19, 04:35 AM
When did the earliest kettle-helmets appear?
within medieval times, please. no anciet stuff here (everytime you invented something in the medieval times some prick would go "the ancients did it!") ;P

Eorran
2010-01-19, 03:15 PM
Couple of questions for the eminently knowledgeable people on this thread:

1. I know shield-and-spear is a well-used combination for military formations, going back millenia, it seems. However, in a one-on-one melee match, how well would this work? It seems like dropping the shield to use the spear two-handed would give more benefits than drawbacks.

2. Would a modern assault rifle function in a vacuum? (I just re-watched the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly) Would it be good for one shot? Multiple?

Shademan
2010-01-19, 03:20 PM
The shield lets you block attacks while keeping the enemy at bay, also you get alot of penetration power with a spear.
Being a reenactor fighting with a short sword (large knife) and shield I must say I HATE spearmen :smallamused:
both those with arming spears+shields and those with longer two handed spears. hate em all :smallwink:

Diamondeye
2010-01-19, 03:34 PM
2. Would a modern assault rifle function in a vacuum? (I just re-watched the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly) Would it be good for one shot? Multiple?

If the ammunition had sufficient oxygen content for combustion, or if there were some other way of supplying oxygen to it, then yes it would be good for at least one shot. As to whether the gas-operated recoil system would work I'm less certain. You could still manually **** it after each shot though.

Shademan
2010-01-19, 03:36 PM
If the ammunition had sufficient oxygen content for combustion, or if there were some other way of supplying oxygen to it, then yes it would be good for at least one shot. As to whether the gas-operated recoil system would work I'm less certain. You could still manually **** it after each shot though.

In firefly they put a rifle inside a space suit and shoot out of it IN SPAACEE!
it's only good for one shot tho'

Storm Bringer
2010-01-19, 04:14 PM
2. Would a modern assault rifle function in a vacuum? (I just re-watched the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly) Would it be good for one shot? Multiple?

to my knowledge, the russians were able to get a 20mm cannon to work in space, sucessfuly firing it. however, I don't know how they did and what problems they faced

theoretically, if you provide oxygen for the reaction, it will work. However, the autoloading system may not function properly. I think classic recoil and blowback systems should work more or less as normal, but i can't be sure. Gas-operated......no idea.

systems that use a external loading system, like the electrically loaded Minigun, would likey work fine, assuming they don't encounter any problems with being exposed to vacuum (the most notable being lack of convection leading to overheating problems).

Galloglaich
2010-01-19, 04:40 PM
Couple of questions for the eminently knowledgeable people on this thread:

1. I know shield-and-spear is a well-used combination for military formations, going back millenia, it seems. However, in a one-on-one melee match, how well would this work? It seems like dropping the shield to use the spear two-handed would give more benefits than drawbacks.

Maybe this will give you some idea of spear vs. sword ans shield and spear and shield.... and Sax.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI_yH-8swXQ&feature=related



2. Would a modern assault rifle function in a vacuum? (I just re-watched the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly) Would it be good for one shot? Multiple?

No. You need oxygen to burn gunpowder. If there was still residual O2 in the air, like in an airlock ... maybe?

G.

Fhaolan
2010-01-19, 05:11 PM
When did the earliest kettle-helmets appear?
within medieval times, please. no anciet stuff here (everytime you invented something in the medieval times some prick would go "the ancients did it!") ;P

Kettles show up near the begining of the 11th century, and stayed pretty much unchanged right up to and including WWII.

Shademan
2010-01-19, 05:20 PM
Kettles show up near the begining of the 11th century, and stayed pretty much unchanged right up to and including WWII.

Can you please show me some source? I really want to buy one for my reenactment and we're doing 12th century and the captian can't decide wether she agrees with it or not

fusilier
2010-01-19, 05:23 PM
If the ammunition had sufficient oxygen content for combustion, or if there were some other way of supplying oxygen to it, then yes it would be good for at least one shot. As to whether the gas-operated recoil system would work I'm less certain. You could still manually **** it after each shot though.

Ok, this is one of the silliest things that I've heard, and it just won't die.

Look at a gun some time. Look at it's ammunition. Take, for example, a modern brass case cartridge. Is it full of holes to allow air to be sucked in to it? Are guns built with carburetors or intake manifolds? No!!! All propellants, even old fashioned blackpowder, the oxygen used in the combustion isn't free airborne oxygen. The oxygen is bound up in other molecules (in the case of black powder it's in the potassium nitrate). I don't know enough about smokeless powders but I assume it's a similar situation. Even if there is free space (i.e. air) inside of a brass cartridge, it's hard to believe that it would contain enough oxygen for total combustion of the propellant. At any rate there is little reason to believe that the propellant wouldn't work in a vacuum.

Sorry I don't mean to sound harsh about this, it just bugs me. I've seen a lot of people put a bunch of time and effort into speculating about this "problem."

Now, certain automatic weapons are sensitive to ambient air-pressure and just about anything with moving parts has to consider temperature. Those would be the main technical concerns, although I suspect improvements in machine guns to operate on high-altitude aircraft went a long way to resolving those problems. In gas-operated weapons, the gas comes from the propellant, so I wouldn't immediately discount such weapons from operating in a vacuum.

As Storm Bringer brought up, the russians did have an auto-cannon installed on their manned spy-satellite (can't remember it's name at the moment). I believe it was something like a 30mm auto-cannon. They had no idea what firing it would do to the satellite itself, and only tested it remotely, once, when the crew was off board. It worked perfectly, and the satellite was undamaged.

Fhaolan
2010-01-19, 05:48 PM
Can you please show me some source? I really want to buy one for my reenactment and we're doing 12th century and the captian can't decide wether she agrees with it or not

Sorry, I meant 12th century, not 11th. Mistyped.

The usual source for kettle helms is the Maciejowski Bible, but it was published in 1250 which is a bit late for your purposes. According to the Documentaria Anglo (published 1478), chapel de fer (the french name for kettle hats) were originally made in England in 1011. I've got no references to kettle hats, chapel de fer, or eisenhut (the german name) published before the 13th century, just references in publications that they've been around awhile, like those two I mentioned.

Edit: Just as a note, there were several different 'styles' of kettle hat that are visually distinct. Ones with bands like a spagenhelm, ones with rounded bowls, and ones with pointed bowls. I believe the spagenhelm-like bands were the earliest versions, but I've got nothing to prove that.

Stephen_E
2010-01-19, 06:55 PM
2. Would a modern assault rifle function in a vacuum? (I just re-watched the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" from Firefly) Would it be good for one shot? Multiple?

As noted the cartridge provides it's own oxegen bound into the propellant.

As also noted gas recoil systems may be a bit hinky.

The only remaining problem is that longterm exposure can lead to vacumn welding or cementing. This could render the firing mechanism inoperative.

Of course given that vacumn ussually occurs in a low-G or 0-G situation the recoil could be a serious problem.

Stephen E

fusilier
2010-01-19, 08:48 PM
Of course given that vacumn ussually occurs in a low-G or 0-G situation the recoil could be a serious problem.

Stephen E

Yeah. Although I imagine that being pushed backward wouldn't be too much of problem in most personal firearms. The main problem would lie in being spun around by the recoil! I suppose the weapon would have to be held so that the recoil pushes directly at the center of gravity of the shooter.

Galloglaich
2010-01-20, 09:34 AM
Wow thats news to me... you don't need any air to shoot a gun? So they work underwater? (I know they have some which do but I thought they had a very special design to work around this issue)

G.

Fhaolan
2010-01-20, 09:51 AM
Wow thats news to me... you don't need any air to shoot a gun? So they work underwater? (I know they have some which do but I thought they had a very special design to work around this issue)

G.

There are problems with guns underwater, but it's not due to lack of O2. It's the water itself mucking up stuff.

Mike_G
2010-01-20, 09:54 AM
There are problems with guns underwater, but it's not due to lack of O2. It's the water itself mucking up stuff.

Plus, the bullet overcoming the resistance of water instead of air puts more pressure on the chamber, and increases the chance of a catastrophic failure.

Shademan
2010-01-20, 10:05 AM
Plus, the bullet overcoming the resistance of water instead of air puts more pressure on the chamber, and increases the chance of a catastrophic failure.

if I may derail a little bit, where is your avatar from?

Mike_G
2010-01-20, 10:53 AM
if I may derail a little bit, where is your avatar from?


It's from Chainmail Bikini a webcomic by Shamus Young (of DM of the Rings fame) that ran for a while, but got abandoned.

I can't seem to find it with a quick google search. It must be archived somewhere.

Eorran
2010-01-20, 11:32 AM
Plus, the bullet overcoming the resistance of water instead of air puts more pressure on the chamber, and increases the chance of a catastrophic failure.

I know Mythbusters tested firing guns into water (while the gun itself was dry) and they found that just about every modern rifle round will disintegrate shortly upon hitting the water, so that 2-3' of water cover made a target effectively bullet-proof. (Interestingly, 1850's era weaponry penetrated water better, being slower. Also, I don't think they tested armor-piercing rounds.)

Now, I know water has very high surface tension, but I suspect a rifle round fired underwater would likely disintegrate shortly after leaving the barrel due to the pressure differential. You'd probably need a reduced powder load to fire a useable bullet, and I can't imagine how hard it would be to aim beyond spitting distance.

Dervag
2010-01-20, 11:44 AM
Ok, this is one of the silliest things that I've heard, and it just won't die.

Look at a gun some time. Look at it's ammunition. Take, for example, a modern brass case cartridge. Is it full of holes to allow air to be sucked in to it? Are guns built with carburetors or intake manifolds? No!!! All propellants, even old fashioned blackpowder, the oxygen used in the combustion isn't free airborne oxygen...Dude, Diamondeye was agreeing with you.

lsfreak
2010-01-20, 12:09 PM
The chamber pressures while firing underwater can rupture the chamber, which is dangerous at the very least. Some guns are specially designed to be able to fire underwater, as here (http://world.guns.ru/assault/as100-e.htm), but they never use run-of-the-mill ammunition.

fusilier
2010-01-20, 04:01 PM
Dude, Diamondeye was agreeing with you.

Actually he was merely speculating, that the gunpowder might have enough oxygen in it, or that you would need to supply more oxygen. You do not need to supply oxygen to any gunpowder that I'm a aware of. His post may not have been the best to quote when replying, but it was part of the conversation.


There are problems with guns underwater, but it's not due to lack of O2. It's the water itself mucking up stuff.

My understanding is that water is deleterious to most gunpowders. Probably to some primers too. As pointed out already there are other issues with firing a gun underwater.

bansidhe
2010-01-20, 04:05 PM
So if your going into space,pack a revolver! :)

Fhaolan
2010-01-20, 05:02 PM
My understanding is that water is deleterious to most gunpowders. Probably to some primers too. As pointed out already there are other issues with firing a gun underwater.

Water is involved in one of the ways of making good blackpowder, but I don't feel this is a good place to explain how to make gunpowder in the danger of your own living room, so I'll leave the details at that. :smallsmile:

Let's just say that when blackpowder gets wet, it congeals into a mass. Part of 'good' blackpowder is the fineness of the grains, and now you've got one big lump, so it don't work so well. I believe most modern gunpowders do the same, but I'm not entirely sure as I stopped researching explosive manufacturing after my first year in University (chem eng) as I discovered I knew enough about the subject to be far more dangerous than necessary and that I really didn't want to work in that particular industry*. I'm under the impression that there are some rare and expensive gunpowders that are waterproof, but again I'm not sure.

* No, instead I worked at a cyanide plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for a few years. Can you see that I'm not exactly the best at making life choices? :smallsmile:

lsfreak
2010-01-20, 05:19 PM
Let's just say that when blackpowder gets wet, it congeals into a mass. Part of 'good' blackpowder is the fineness of the grains, and now you've got one big lump, so it don't work so well. I believe most modern gunpowders do the same[snip]

That's basically right. From what little I know of it, you use fine-grain powders in handguns and the like, where the gunpowder needs to burn quickly. For rifles, you can use large-grain powder, which burns slower (but that doesn't matter, because you've got an extra several feet of barrel for the powder to burn in). One of the issues brought up with extremely short-barreled rifles is that the barrels aren't long enough to burn all the gunpowder that a longer barrel can, and are therefore less likely to be lethal (and with 5.56x45 rounds, less likely to fragment, which is a lot of the killing power).

[This is the problem with the so-called .50BMG 'handguns;' you're either missing more than half the barrel for the gunpowder to burn in, or your use finer powder and break your wrist with the recoil.]

EDIT: And of course Theif is right, I should read more carefully for context. The powder itself is unlikely to get wet even when submerged, at least for relatively short periods of time, in modern ammunition. The problem is going to be the huge pressure buildup.

Thiel
2010-01-20, 05:39 PM
Water is involved in one of the ways of making good blackpowder, but I don't feel this is a good place to explain how to make gunpowder in the danger of your own living room, so I'll leave the details at that. :smallsmile:

Let's just say that when blackpowder gets wet, it congeals into a mass. Part of 'good' blackpowder is the fineness of the grains, and now you've got one big lump, so it don't work so well. I believe most modern gunpowders do the same, but I'm not entirely sure as I stopped researching explosive manufacturing after my first year in University (chem eng) as I discovered I knew enough about the subject to be far more dangerous than necessary and that I really didn't want to work in that particular industry*. I'm under the impression that there are some rare and expensive gunpowders that are waterproof, but again I'm not sure.

* No, instead I worked at a cyanide plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for a few years. Can you see that I'm not exactly the best at making life choices? :smallsmile:

It's not water getting into the gunpowder that's the problem in modern guns, it's the pressure the explosion has to overcome to propel the projectile out the barrel. Guns are designed to function with a gaseous "atmospheric" pressure of approx one bar ore less.
Take it underwater and not only does the pressure rise drastically, the atmosphere is suddenly a liquid.

Karoht
2010-01-20, 07:04 PM
So if your going into space,pack a revolver! :)

If you are going into space, pack a railgun.
Baring the availability of a railgun (They seem so difficult to find for some reason, but ammo is surprisingly cheap when I ask for it at gun shops. Course they always laugh and whisper something about roofing nails as I leave and I can never figure out why) pack a shotgun and a melee weapon.
Shotgun shot isn't likely to breach the insides of your ship or damage internal components too badly, where revolver rounds are much more likely. And the melee weapon is for when you are out of rounds, because as awesome as it is to gun butt people with a shotgun, sometimes you need something more direct.

If we ever make it into space (and for whatever reason there is conflict aboard ships and stations and the like) I forsee a rise in popularity of 4 weapons. The cutlass, the axe, the taser, and any form of club.
The taser is pretty obvious as a means of long range stun that is not likely to damage the sensitive components on the inside fo a ship. The cutlass because it was a highly efficient and popular sword of choice for raiding and boarding parties at sea. The axe, because they are useful anywhere you go. And the club because it is already the most commonly used personnel suppression weapon carried by law enforcement. So it stands to reason that the club must be really good at it's intended purpose. Besides, EVERYTHING is a club.

Thiel
2010-01-20, 07:30 PM
If you are going into space, pack a railgun.
Baring the availability of a railgun (They seem so difficult to find for some reason, but ammo is surprisingly cheap when I ask for it at gun shops. Course they always laugh and whisper something about roofing nails as I leave and I can never figure out why) pack a shotgun and a melee weapon.
Shotgun shot isn't likely to breach the insides of your ship or damage internal components too badly, where revolver rounds are much more likely. And the melee weapon is for when you are out of rounds, because as awesome as it is to gun butt people with a shotgun, sometimes you need something more direct.

If we ever make it into space (and for whatever reason there is conflict aboard ships and stations and the like) I forsee a rise in popularity of 4 weapons. The cutlass, the axe, the taser, and any form of club.
The taser is pretty obvious as a means of long range stun that is not likely to damage the sensitive components on the inside fo a ship. The cutlass because it was a highly efficient and popular sword of choice for raiding and boarding parties at sea. The axe, because they are useful anywhere you go. And the club because it is already the most commonly used personnel suppression weapon carried by law enforcement. So it stands to reason that the club must be really good at it's intended purpose. Besides, EVERYTHING is a club.

The problem is, in space there's no gravity* and that means that when you swing your melee weapon, you'll start spinning the other way like a demented yo-yo.

*There is, but you don't feel it.

Karoht
2010-01-20, 08:53 PM
The problem is, in space there's no gravity* and that means that when you swing your melee weapon, you'll start spinning the other way like a demented yo-yo.

*There is, but you don't feel it.
I knew when I posted that I was missing something.

Magnetic boots. While the other guys flounder in zero G, you stand your ground firm. woot.

fusilier
2010-01-20, 09:13 PM
Water is involved in one of the ways of making good blackpowder, but I don't feel this is a good place to explain how to make gunpowder in the danger of your own living room, so I'll leave the details at that. :smallsmile:

Let's just say that when blackpowder gets wet, it congeals into a mass. Part of 'good' blackpowder is the fineness of the grains, and now you've got one big lump, so it don't work so well. I believe most modern gunpowders do the same, but I'm not entirely sure as I stopped researching explosive manufacturing after my first year in University (chem eng) as I discovered I knew enough about the subject to be far more dangerous than necessary and that I really didn't want to work in that particular industry*. I'm under the impression that there are some rare and expensive gunpowders that are waterproof, but again I'm not sure.

* No, instead I worked at a cyanide plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for a few years. Can you see that I'm not exactly the best at making life choices? :smallsmile:

Hehe. I'm no chemist, but I've read a fair share of 19th century ordnance manuals. Basically wetting gunpowder (blackpowder), forms it into cakes, which can then be ground, and the grains passed through sieves. This was a huge improvement over the original blackpowder, which was literally a powder mixture of the ingredients that would annoying separate during transport.

The fineness of the grains is tailored to the particular application. Large cannons would use huge "mammoth" grade powder, with grains over half-an-inch. The finest powder (4F), is very quick-acting, and is typically only used for priming. (Although I use 2F - musket grade - for the priming on my Brown Bess, with no problems).

Anyway, have you ever tried to shoot wet gunpowder? Fizzzzzz! It doesn't really congeal, but it does get pretty runny in a heavy rain. Once granular powder gets wet, about the only thing you can do is lay it out in the sun, and hope it dries. Even then you can't expect good performance. That's what the old manuals say.

@Thiel
Trying to fire a gun under water may result in blown breaches, or ruptured barrels? I suppose some guns (probably those with short barrels), could deal with the extra pressure? However, I was thinking that moving parts might not move properly when under water, and simply not fire?

fusilier
2010-01-20, 09:28 PM
If you are going into space, pack a railgun.
Baring the availability of a railgun (They seem so difficult to find for some reason, but ammo is surprisingly cheap when I ask for it at gun shops. Course they always laugh and whisper something about roofing nails as I leave and I can never figure out why)

Heh. Just kind of an aside . . .

1. Railgun is an interesting term. Historically it referred to massive Naval cannon (Gun), mounted on a Railroad carriage! I was just thinking about how many terms like that have multiple (and usually rather different) meanings. Another one is "needle-gun".

2. Why would you want a railgun (and I assume you are referring to something that propels projectiles using electro-magentism) in space? What benefit would it have?

Raum
2010-01-20, 10:33 PM
There was a short run pistol which fired a self propelled projectile (essentially a rocket) mentioned in one of this threads previous incarnations. I suspect it would see a resurgence (suitably modernized) if infantry combat in space becomes a necessity.

Found it - Gyro Rocket Pistol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoffTmg9bxU) - It has issues as is, but brings up interesting possibilities from a gaming point of view...

@fusilier's #2 - Surely Newton's Laws don't apply in space! :smallwink:

Galloglaich
2010-01-20, 11:56 PM
Speaking of guns in space, anyone here ever see the Sean Connery film Outland?

G.

Thiel
2010-01-21, 12:37 AM
@Thiel
Trying to fire a gun under water may result in blown breaches, or ruptured barrels?
Yes. When you fire a rifle, you don't just move the projectile, but also everything in the barrel. Up here where theres air, that's no problem since it's light and it compresses very well. Under water, the tales entirely different. Now you're trying to move a couple of feet of heavy noncompressing water. Depending on how heavily build the gun is, the water may just present more of an obstacle than the bolt, chamnber and barrel, and so the weakest part either crack or goes flying.


However, I was thinking that moving parts might not move properly when under water, and simply not fire?

In the long term, yeah you'll have problems since the water ruins the oils lubricating abilities.
In the short tems, you might have a problem with whatever reloading system the gun uses, since the water soaks up a lot of power when the parts move through the water.

fusilier
2010-01-21, 01:40 AM
There was a short run pistol which fired a self propelled projectile (essentially a rocket) mentioned in one of this threads previous incarnations. I suspect it would see a resurgence (suitably modernized) if infantry combat in space becomes a necessity.

Yeah, as I recall, if you stuck your finger over the "barrel" you could stop the rocket . . . it just accelerated that slowly.

There are various forms of recoilless guns, they're usually big and/or complicated. I think the typical kind, used in bazooka like weapons, blows a jet of air out of the back. This requires more propellant to be used to get the same velocity. I think there were also designs which had a heavy weight that is propelled backward when the gun is fired. The weight is contained, but would have to be reset (and I imagine that this system would also require more propellant). I'm not sure how well it worked. There is some information on wikipedia about the first type, but I can't find out anything about the second kind . . .


@fusilier's #2 - Surely Newton's Laws don't apply in space! :smallwink:

I think you anticipated where I was going with this question. Yes, a rail gun is accelerating a projectile forwards using an electro-magnetic force . . . at the same time the gun itself is trying propel itself backward, by pushing off the projectile with the same electro-magnetic force. ;-) That's the clearest way I could think of expressing it.

A lot of things in physics actually defy intuition. That's something I learned about Aristotle's physics. He got a lot of stuff wrong, but he was popular because his physics were pretty intuitive (and there wasn't any way to test most of the stuff, and most philosophers never really considered performing experiments).

Stephen_E
2010-01-21, 02:37 AM
2. Why would you want a railgun (and I assume you are referring to something that propels projectiles using electro-magentism) in space? What benefit would it have?

Railguns have huge advantages over chemical propellant guns in space for several reasons.

1) Logistics. The propellant probably has to be shipped up the gravity well.
The railgun needs magnetic projectiles and power. Both fairly easy to acquirre in space.

2) Polution. If u r using the weapon inside your eco-systym burning propellants polutes your airsystem. Unnessasary strain of the airfilter system is a bad idea.

Externally Railguns can produce higher velocities, which is also a major advantage for shooting at range and for delivering greater KE to the target for the same recoil. Minimising recoil been a big deal as noted.

Stephen E

fusilier
2010-01-21, 03:26 AM
Externally Railguns can produce higher velocities, which is also a major advantage for shooting at range and for delivering greater KE to the target for the same recoil.

Why? I'm trying to figure out how they can produce higher velocities with the same amount of recoil? (Which implies that they can produce the same velocity with less recoil). I don't know why the recoil forces would be different, unless, perhaps due to inefficiencies in guns (e.g. powder still burning once the bullet has left the barrel, or windage). Not only can those be engineered around to a certain extent, but how significant would those inefficiencies be in a personal weapon?

As far as everything else goes, as you said you have to supply railguns with an external power source. I can certainly see that working for a very big piece of artillery, but not too likely for a personal weapon in the near future. And lets face it, bullets are relatively cheap and light for the power they pack.

Stephen_E
2010-01-21, 05:49 AM
Recoil is caused by conservation of momentum.

Momentum = M x V

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 M x V(sq)

So if u reduce the mass and increase the velocity the recoil will remain the same, but the kinetic energy will vastly increased.

As a side note in physical combat in 0-gee the velocity of your blows becomes more important. The fast jab is more effective than a slower more powerful blow, due to the effects of inertia.

Stephen E

Zincorium
2010-01-21, 06:16 AM
Railguns do not have a volume of propellant gasses that will need to be dispersed- the same way that most muzzle brakes (some do vent the gas backwards) reduce the recoil of the weapon firing them.

Coilguns are a much more practical idea than railguns for personal use- as you can already assemble on your own a coilgun that is as effective as a pellet gun or even a .22 if you've got good components. Militarizing them is a lot more reasonable than militarizing and then miniaturizing railguns.

As far as I can see, the key advantage is that the ammunition is inert, and does not contain a primer than can be set off or propellant that can detonate when heated. From a security standpoint, it's easier to control access to firearms than bullets, and while it's clear that a single malcontent has the ability to kill everyone onboard a space vessel, the concern of someone simply doing something stupid with a bullet should not be dismissed out of hand.

Edit:
Also, a coilgun with a rifled barrel can properly be called a Gauss rifle. This is reason enough.

fusilier
2010-01-21, 02:02 PM
Recoil is caused by conservation of momentum.

Momentum = M x V

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 M x V(sq)

So if u reduce the mass and increase the velocity the recoil will remain the same, but the kinetic energy will vastly increased.

As a side note in physical combat in 0-gee the velocity of your blows becomes more important. The fast jab is more effective than a slower more powerful blow, due to the effects of inertia.

Stephen E

Ah, I didn't realize you were changing the mass of the projectile. So there are, realistically, limits to gunpowder that will prevent you from simply ramping up the velocity, while decreasing the mass of the projectile. I believe this has to do primarily with burn rates. There are also other considerations, than simply increasing the kinetic energy. In terms of armor penetration, I know that materials and shapes, and other more complicated things can come into play. I don't actually know how all those factors work scientifically. Thanks for the clarification.

@Zincorium
As far as ammunition being inert, I would imagine that you have to keep some pretty serious electric charges hanging around to repeatedly use an electro-magnetic gun. High-voltage or amperage batteries aren't usually the safest things around. (My knowledge of electro-magnetism is a bit rusty: to quickly accelerate some mass, would you need both high amps and volts?) Probably have to charge up a fairly serious capacitor too. I suspect that a lot of this stuff is kind of leaky (e.g. batteries lose charge). Meanwhile, all of this high-powered electrical equipment waiting to discharge at a moment's notice is sitting comfortably on your person. I'm not saying that these dangers couldn't be engineered around. Or that loading yourself with a bunch of explosives (i.e. ammunition) is any safer. However, a lot of the dangers of gunpowder weapons have already been addressed.

Although, with an electro-magnetic gun, you do have the benefit of "powering down"; draining the electricity out of the system, so that it's not longer a threat, unlike a cash of ammunition. On the other hand, you have to charge the entire system up again before use. If you wanted to do so quickly, you would probably need to have some big electrical system that could rapidly charge a battery -- which could be almost as dangerous as a cash of ammunition. Although if significant electric power generation is available (foreseeable on a space ship), then such electrical systems would already be in place.

Norsesmithy
2010-01-21, 02:33 PM
But even for a projectile of the same velocity and mass, the railgun will have marginally less recoil because you need to add the mass of the propellant to the equation for a chemically powered firearm.

My primary question is, though, do the heat production drawbacks of a railgun outweigh its advantages over chemically propelled projectiles (including rockets)?

I am not sure that they don't.

fusilier
2010-01-21, 04:06 PM
But even for a projectile of the same velocity and mass, the railgun will have marginally less recoil because you need to add the mass of the propellant to the equation for a chemically powered firearm.

Ah, good point. However, another question is then presented: Is the added mass significant (you even said it's marginal)? I'm sure that varies depending upon the application, but the point remains that both weapons have significant recoil, which needs to be addressed.


My primary question is, though, do the heat production drawbacks of a railgun outweigh its advantages over chemically propelled projectiles (including rockets)?

I am not sure that they don't.

Certainly if a weapon generates a lot of excess heat (which is wasted energy), that's a concern. Especially if you wish to be able to fire the weapon rapidly. I wonder about power generation and storage too.

I just realized something. Cooling in space can't be too simple. Isn't vacuum a good insulator (e.g. a thermos)? Now I have to do some research . . .

fusilier
2010-01-21, 04:21 PM
I just realized something. Cooling in space can't be too simple. Isn't vacuum a good insulator (e.g. a thermos)? Now I have to do some research . . .

Trying to answer my own question. I knew it would have something to do with thermal radiation . . . I just don't know exactly how quickly such radiation would take place, and I'm pretty sure it's dependent on the materials. In the vacuum of space, it may be possible to cool down something like a rail/coil gun fairly quickly, if the right materials are used.

I guess like most technology, this is all pretty complicated. :-)

Thiel
2010-01-21, 06:27 PM
Trying to answer my own question. I knew it would have something to do with thermal radiation . . . I just don't know exactly how quickly such radiation would take place, and I'm pretty sure it's dependent on the materials. In the vacuum of space, it may be possible to cool down something like a rail/coil gun fairly quickly, if the right materials are used.

I guess like most technology, this is all pretty complicated. :-)

Cooling in space is a very big problem, since there's no medium to transfer it to.
This is going to be a big problem for rail and coil guns since they get hot enough that a fairly small number of shots will wear the barrel (Be it rails or coils) away, when fired in an atmosphere. In vacuum that's only going to get worse.

Stephen_E
2010-01-21, 08:42 PM
I'm not aware of any inherent reason for a Railgun to produce lots of heat.
Putting large currents through wiring can produce heat due to resistance, but if u use superconductors, and why wouldn't you after forking out the money to get all this stuff into space anyway, resistance is negligble and thus heat buildup is low as well.

Railguns will still have recoil of course. Just less for the same effectiveness.
I am making the assumption that u aren't intending them as close range portable firearms, where they have other problems.

Lasers are the way around recoil, having no appreciable recoil unless you get into truly massive power levels. Lasers have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Stephen E

Zincorium
2010-01-21, 10:36 PM
Ah, good point. However, another question is then presented: Is the added mass significant (you even said it's marginal)? I'm sure that varies depending upon the application, but the point remains that both weapons have significant recoil, which needs to be addressed.

Certainly if a weapon generates a lot of excess heat (which is wasted energy), that's a concern. Especially if you wish to be able to fire the weapon rapidly. I wonder about power generation and storage too.

I just realized something. Cooling in space can't be too simple. Isn't vacuum a good insulator (e.g. a thermos)? Now I have to do some research . . .

The used propellant gas is being forced out in a specific direction at high velocity. Not marginal.

Additionally, with a large mass of a gun, combined with a recoiling mount similar to what is already in use for large guns, recoil will not be an issue.

Cooling, in vacuum, is best accomplished by a coolant of some sort that absorbs the heat by expanding. We kinda already know how to do this. Worst case scenario, you can radiate the heat into space with sufficient cooling sinks.


Cooling in space is a very big problem, since there's no medium to transfer it to.
This is going to be a big problem for rail and coil guns since they get hot enough that a fairly small number of shots will wear the barrel (Be it rails or coils) away, when fired in an atmosphere. In vacuum that's only going to get worse.

Rail guns get hot due to friction- this is a problem even in atmosphere, because we haven't figured out how to propel it without contact (which will be 100% necessary for military use). Coil guns do not allow the coils to touch the projectile- it may touch a barrel for increased control, but as there is no hot propellant gas and the barrel to projectile fit isn't as tight, it will not heat up to anywhere near what a conventional gun will.

Power density is still an issue to be considered, but we can use the operating current of the space shuttle to recharge supercapacitors that then provide the needed electricity for several shots. Very safe, and only a few years off.


TL; DR:
We have, or will have, solutions to all these problems.

For orbital weapons, we won't use any of these things anyway. Simply sending a piece of solid steel at orbital velocities towards the target is actually overkill.

Dervag
2010-01-21, 10:43 PM
The problem is, in space there's no gravity* and that means that when you swing your melee weapon, you'll start spinning the other way like a demented yo-yo.

*There is, but you don't feel it.Yeah. Melee in microgravity is just not on. You'd need very special training to do it properly, and even then there'd be a lot of weird risks involved.


I knew when I posted that I was missing something.

Magnetic boots. While the other guys flounder in zero G, you stand your ground firm. woot.Yes, but you've just nailed your feet to the floor. Not good if the other guy has any kind of ranged weapon. Or if they can strike up with enough force to overcome the attraction of your magnetic boots.


A lot of things in physics actually defy intuition. That's something I learned about Aristotle's physics. He got a lot of stuff wrong, but he was popular because his physics were pretty intuitive (and there wasn't any way to test most of the stuff, and most philosophers never really considered performing experiments).I find his expectations wildly counterintuitive, but then I've spent the last eight years or so beating my intuitive sense of how the world works into submission and rebuilding it on sounder lines. Otherwise, I'd never have passed the GRE...


Why? I'm trying to figure out how they can produce higher velocities with the same amount of recoil? (Which implies that they can produce the same velocity with less recoil).As mentioned, for a projectile of a given mass, a higher muzzle velocity means more energy per unit momentum, and therefore more kinetic energy in the weapon per unit of recoil you feel. Ideally you want to fire extremely fast, very light projectiles; preferably a laser or a particle beam. If you can't manage megajoule-range particle beam shots, or are worried about dispersion at long range, a mass driver is your next best bet.

Also, higher shot velocity means longer effective range. The range at which you can hit a target in space with an unguided weapon is determined by how far they can dodge in the time it takes your shot to reach them; if they can move several times their own length before your bullet/laser/proton stream arrives, you miss. A lot.

The faster your shot moves, the greater the distance it can reach before the enemy has time to get out of the way. But that's a ship-to-ship issue, not a small arms issue.


Coilguns are a much more practical idea than railguns for personal use- as you can already assemble on your own a coilgun that is as effective as a pellet gun or even a .22 if you've got good components. Militarizing them is a lot more reasonable than militarizing and then miniaturizing railguns.I would muchly like to see an example of this.

fusilier
2010-01-22, 09:38 PM
The used propellant gas is being forced out in a specific direction at high velocity. Not marginal.

I think the argument was that the difference in recoil between a rail gun and a traditional gunpowder weapon would be marginal. This depends upon how much propellant is being used, relative to the mass of the projectile.


Additionally, with a large mass of a gun, combined with a recoiling mount similar to what is already in use for large guns, recoil will not be an issue.

The recoil mounts in large guns wouldn't help much in zero-g. I'm trying to think of a good way to explain it. Basically a spring compresses because it has a force acting on one end, and something at the other end to prevent it from moving (e.g. the planet). So in space, you would need a lot of mass.


Cooling, in vacuum, is best accomplished by a coolant of some sort that absorbs the heat by expanding. We kinda already know how to do this. Worst case scenario, you can radiate the heat into space with sufficient cooling sinks.

If you jetted the coolant you could probably use it to counter the recoil when the weapon is fired. Although this could be visible.


Rail guns get hot due to friction- this is a problem even in atmosphere, because we haven't figured out how to propel it without contact (which will be 100% necessary for military use). Coil guns do not allow the coils to touch the projectile- it may touch a barrel for increased control, but as there is no hot propellant gas and the barrel to projectile fit isn't as tight, it will not heat up to anywhere near what a conventional gun will.

According to the wikipedia entries for both the railgun and coilgun they generate massive amounts of heat due to the electrical discharge. Superconductors could be used in vacuum, but currently they don't operate at room temperature.


Power density is still an issue to be considered, but we can use the operating current of the space shuttle to recharge supercapacitors that then provide the needed electricity for several shots. Very safe, and only a few years off.

Very safe weapons are something of an oxymoron. Concerning a personal weapon: I'm still wary about carrying around a charged up supercapacitor on my person. A few years off:
http://www.xkcd.com/678/
:-)

fusilier
2010-01-22, 09:48 PM
Aristotle's Physics:

I find his expectations wildly counterintuitive, but then I've spent the last eight years or so beating my intuitive sense of how the world works into submission and rebuilding it on sounder lines. Otherwise, I'd never have passed the GRE...

After three semesters of physics that's exactly the way that I felt. :-) Then I took a class on the history of science. In the second or third class the professor showed the results of an interesting experiment. If you ask people how a bullet travels (not directly, but in a clever way that reveals their intuition), even people who should really know better, will indicate that they expect the bullet to travel in straight line after it leaves the barrel! It was really enlightening, and gave me greater respect for Aristotle.

MickJay
2010-01-23, 06:51 AM
And really, we all know that lighter objects fall slower than heavier ones, because of the "love" between the Earth and everything else. The bigger, and heavier, the object is, the more "lovable" it is, so it speeds more to meet the Earth. If you drop a big rock, it will fall faster than a small rock. Why bother with dropping rocks, it's just so obvious it's true, because it stands to reason. :smalltongue:

Apparently, calling a physicist an Aristotelian is considered the gravest insult in some places.

fusilier
2010-01-24, 04:44 AM
And really, we all know that lighter objects fall slower than heavier ones, because of the "love" between the Earth and everything else. The bigger, and heavier, the object is, the more "lovable" it is, so it speeds more to meet the Earth. If you drop a big rock, it will fall faster than a small rock. Why bother with dropping rocks, it's just so obvious it's true, because it stands to reason. :smalltongue:

Apparently, calling a physicist an Aristotelian is considered the gravest insult in some places.

Hehe. I'm sure that's a good way to ingratiate yourself among physicists! ;-)

Actually, I think what your describing is Keplerian. If I recall correctly, the Ancient Greeks believed that "heavy" things fell because their natural place was at the center of the universe (and for similar reasons "light" things rose). I believe the word was "Telos"(?) which kind of means goal/purpose. Bigger things would have more Telos I suppose . . .

huttj509
2010-01-24, 07:04 AM
Aristotle's Physics:


After three semesters of physics that's exactly the way that I felt. :-) Then I took a class on the history of science. In the second or third class the professor showed the results of an interesting experiment. If you ask people how a bullet travels (not directly, but in a clever way that reveals their intuition), even people who should really know better, will indicate that they expect the bullet to travel in straight line after it leaves the barrel! It was really enlightening, and gave me greater respect for Aristotle.

The question of the monkey and the hunter:

A hunter aims his gun at a monkey in a tree. At the same instant the gun is fired, the monkey lets go of the branch he was hanging from.

How fast does the bullet need to go to hit the monkey, assuming no air resistance, friction, blah blah.

It doesn't matter (assuming the bullet reaches the monkey, and does not hit the ground first). If the bullet travels very fast, both it and the monkey have fallen very little, and the monkey is hit. If it goes much more slowly, both it and the monkey fall the same distance from the straight line trajectory, and the bullet still hits the monkey, even if the monkey was almost to the ground.

An example of how that sort of thing can be counterintuitive.

Edit:

Aristotle was a philosopher. Or if you want to be generous, a theorist. You do need experimentalists to see if the theorists are actually right.

MickJay
2010-01-24, 07:38 AM
Hehe. I'm sure that's a good way to ingratiate yourself among physicists! ;-)

Actually, I think what your describing is Keplerian. If I recall correctly, the Ancient Greeks believed that "heavy" things fell because their natural place was at the center of the universe (and for similar reasons "light" things rose). I believe the word was "Telos"(?) which kind of means goal/purpose. Bigger things would have more Telos I suppose . . .

Greeks had lots of systems, I was fairly sure that what I described was essentially Aristotelian (though it's been some time since I was looking at that stuff, so I might have got it somewhat mixed up). Certainly they recognized the universal attractive force, generally referred to as "love" (in some respects, superficially similar to gravity, but extended to all manner of phenomena). "Telos" is indeed the purpose, but it's more along the lines of "what is the purpose of the sun?" "It's to provide light and heat for living beings", etc. From modern scientific perspective, that was one of the main failures of ancient philosophy, the interest in "why?" rather than "how?" (the "how?" was still studied by craftsmen and engineers).

Dervag
2010-01-24, 02:04 PM
The recoil mounts in large guns wouldn't help much in zero-g. I'm trying to think of a good way to explain it. Basically a spring compresses because it has a force acting on one end, and something at the other end to prevent it from moving (e.g. the planet). So in space, you would need a lot of mass.The recoil spring will do exactly what it does on Earth: spread out the force of the recoil so that you experience a smaller force over a longer time. In practice, this was introduced because it made for more stable gun mounts that were less likely to be damaged by the shock of firing.

In microgravity, the recoil springs (or hydraulics) will kill problems with accuracy. The real problem is the backwards drift you pick up from firing. But that's actually a very small force; one bullet does not have the momentum to send a ~100 kg object (like a man in a space suit) flying backwards, on either end of the gun.


Very safe weapons are something of an oxymoron. Concerning a personal weapon: I'm still wary about carrying around a charged up supercapacitor on my person. A few years off:
http://www.xkcd.com/678/
:-)Why are supercapacitors worse in this respect than the miniature explosive charges of a conventional firearm?


And really, we all know that lighter objects fall slower than heavier ones, because of the "love" between the Earth and everything else. The bigger, and heavier, the object is, the more "lovable" it is, so it speeds more to meet the Earth. If you drop a big rock, it will fall faster than a small rock. Why bother with dropping rocks, it's just so obvious it's true, because it stands to reason. :smalltongue:

Apparently, calling a physicist an Aristotelian is considered the gravest insult in some places.And rightly so; it means you either didn't get a physics education, or are both bloody-minded and too stupid to interpret the evidence in front of your eyes properly.

The real problem is that Aristotelean "physics" was not the same kind of animal as what we call "physics" today. Aristotle wasn't really trying to explain the physical mechanisms of motion and the nature of matter. He was trying to explain "why stuff moves" in the philosophical sense. Not "how do rocks fall," but "why do rocks fall?" And "rocks love to be closer to the ground" is as good an explanation for the philosophical-why of falling rocks as anything else.

This can be a surprise to physicists trying to read Aristotle's book Physics.
_______

Unfortunately, this was a problem with the ancient Greeks; they did not distinguish between subjects where "why" questions can be answered without regard to "how" questions and subjects where they can't. So they wound up with a whole array of notions about nature that make no sense at all. It's as if they'd asked "why are babies born?" and said it was all due to an elaborate stork conspiracy, because they thought the stork brings babies.

It's not just that the ancient Greek cosmology is wrong; it's that it's complete nonsense, based on unexamined assumptions and invoking whole categories of ideas and properties that have no basis in reality. To use a modern expression; it isn't even wrong; it's just gibberish.

This is why I reject the idea of people like Epictetus and Aristotle as early proto-physicists; I credit that to Archimedes, who actually bothered to do his homework before pronouncing that he'd unlocked secrets of the universe.
_______


The question of the monkey and the hunter:

A hunter aims his gun at a monkey in a tree. At the same instant the gun is fired, the monkey lets go of the branch he was hanging from.

How fast does the bullet need to go to hit the monkey, assuming no air resistance, friction, blah blah.

It doesn't matter (assuming the bullet reaches the monkey, and does not hit the ground first). If the bullet travels very fast, both it and the monkey have fallen very little, and the monkey is hit. If it goes much more slowly, both it and the monkey fall the same distance from the straight line trajectory, and the bullet still hits the monkey, even if the monkey was almost to the ground...Of course, this question bugs me, because it assumes the hunter is a lousy shot and neglected to allow for projectile drop. In the scenario as described, the monkey might have been just fine staying right where he was.

Someone needs to start a collection to buy that hunter a set of adjustable ladder sights.

Norsesmithy
2010-01-24, 03:31 PM
Why are supercapacitors worse in this respect than the miniature explosive charges of a conventional firearm? Because it is much easier to contain explosive force than raw electrical energy, when you can't just make a ground path (IE you aren't a fixed installation, planet-side. {deleted} Similar joules of explosives are much easier to use and safer to store, than that capacitor bank.



Of course, this question bugs me, because it assumes the hunter is a lousy shot and neglected to allow for projectile drop. In the scenario as described, the monkey might have been just fine staying right where he was.

Someone needs to start a collection to buy that hunter a set of adjustable ladder sights.

I've always felt the same way, and have even asked that question in class.

Grey Paladin
2010-01-24, 03:37 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right board but what the heck. I'm trying to write up a system to simulate more-or-less realistic modern firefights but my inability to find any solid data on anything but civilian firing ranges (all at very short distances, no less) blocks me at every turn. If anyone can link or direct me towards reliable sources I'll be very thankful.

Information on rifles and their ilk, accuracy at actually common engagement ranges, and military and/or commando grade firing range statistics is especially valuable.

P.S.: I'm not an US citizen and so cannot buy and download declassified Pentagon files (and I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to have them, too).

deuxhero
2010-01-24, 03:43 PM
Here (http://www.12tomidnight.com/d20modernsrd/Home.php)

>_> <_<.

edit: Oh, noticed a lack of 3.5 in the title. The gun stats (http://www.12tomidnight.com/d20modernsrd/EquipmentWeapons.php) for range Range Increments may be helpful though

Grey Paladin
2010-01-24, 03:47 PM
I'm writing something from scratch, not modifying a system. d20 Modern has very little to do with reality but thanks anyway.

deuxhero
2010-01-24, 03:48 PM
I think that if you are willing to dive the depths it is located in, /k/ might be a better place to ask, just don't say I didn't warn ya.

9mm
2010-01-24, 03:51 PM
I think that if you are willing to dive the depths it is located in, /k/ might be a better place to ask, just don't say I didn't warn ya.

LOL 4chan...

Grey Paladin
2010-01-24, 03:54 PM
Actually, I came here as a last resort :smalltongue: I already tried 4chan for a long while. For all the bravado /k/ puts on they know absolutely nothing.

SurlySeraph
2010-01-24, 03:56 PM
I consider Operatorchan (http://www.operatorchan.org/) slightly more trustworthy than /k/, though neither are the most reliable thing on the Internet.

Have you tried gun manufacturer's web sites? Or writing to them to ask if they'd be willing to send you information? You could also try emailing one of the numerous gun nuts that are easy to find online.

Grey Paladin
2010-01-24, 04:02 PM
Haven't thought of emailing the manufacturers - good idea, although I doubt the military ones will reply. Gun nuts tend to be rather . . . 'unstable'; if you know where I can find some of the more reliable ones, do tell.

Yora
2010-01-24, 05:00 PM
I worked on this very same issue some days ago. I have not kept any of my notes, but apparently the ranges in d20 modern seem to be quite accurate.

Due to air friction, a bullet slows down all the time it travels before it hits something and finally reaches terminal velocity, which is the same speed and energy it has when droped from a couple of meters height. Usually it would probably have collided with the ground long before that, but after some distance it lost enough power to be unable to cause any serious injuries when it hits a person. I found some numbers for that distance and it seems not too different from the maximum ranges for firearms in d20 modern, which is 10 range increments.
Of course, accuracy becomes increasingly worse at long distances, as the target appears much smaller and there's more chance that sidewinds will change the bullets path a bit. When using a d20 system, the d20 modern firearms seem to be a very good approximation of the real thing.

Another problem is that there are many different ways of measuring maximum distance. Often each company has its own system which can be very different from that of others.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-01-24, 05:02 PM
The realism fetish rears its ugly head again . . .

lsfreak
2010-01-24, 05:25 PM
This (http://world.guns.ru/main-e.htm) has some fairly useful information. It has an effective range listed for most weapons, though rarely says exactly what that means. Specific questions can likely be asked in the Realistic Weapons thread on this forum.

Grey Paladin
2010-01-24, 07:18 PM
Stuff
Thanks for the info. My own research up to this point seems to contradict the d20 measurements being in any way or form accurate but other than that it confirms what I know.


Stop having fun guys!
Nah.


This (http://world.guns.ru/main-e.htm) has some fairly useful information. It has an effective range listed for most weapons, though rarely says exactly what that means. Specific questions can likely be asked in the Realistic Weapons thread on this forum.
Will give it a look. thanks.

erikun
2010-01-24, 10:53 PM
Have you visited the Real-World Weapon or Armor Question (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124683) thread? I found it hiding down on page 2.

Beyond that, I've heard (not actually studied myself) that most modern firearms are more accurate than their users, at least at close/moderate ranges. That is, a gun is going to fire at whatever you point it at, with the reasons for missing being bad aim, bad timing, or misaligned sights. I would assume that extreme sniper range would be more affected by gravity and winds, although I would take that range to be measured in miles.

But seriously, I'm sure the people in the weapons thread would be more help than I am.

Roog
2010-01-24, 11:23 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right board but what the heck. I'm trying to write up a system to simulate more-or-less realistic modern firefights but my inability to find any solid data on anything but civilian firing ranges (all at very short distances, no less) blocks me at every turn. If anyone can link or direct me towards reliable sources I'll be very thankful.

Big Bang (http://www.bakabanashi.com/arp/bigbang.php) and Compendium of Modern Firearms (Edge of the Sword Vol. 1) both seem have the sort of information you seem to be looking for.

#Edit
Although its mainly weapon performance, rather than operator performance that they are focused on.

RS14
2010-01-24, 11:50 PM
Remember that bench-rest accuracy is very different from accuracy under fire. For the former, you'll have plenty of luck at any firearms board--I'm also a member of The High Road, and many of the rifle shooters there should be able to give you a rough idea of what typical accuracy means. I'm sure there must be some who shoot competitively out to 1000m or more. Ask what a good/average group is at various ranges. Remember that .223 slows faster than heavier rounds, and most military assault rifles aren't shooting platforms of the same quality as dedicated competition rifles.

Accuracy under fire is more difficult. I don't know where you'd get that, though I imagine there are various reports floating around about wartime accuracy.

Why wouldn't you be able to possess declassified documents? I would assume that such documents could be possessed by anyone, without restriction.

You can probably work out the effectiveness of suppressive fire by figuring the typical cross-sectional area exposed, the duration of exposure, and using a normal distribution of shots across the targeted position.

Cthulubot
2010-01-24, 11:52 PM
GURPS High-Tech has a fairly extensive chart of firearms in the back. Also somewhere in there is their system for givings GURPS stats to real guns; you may be able to reverse-engineer the stats for the weapons listed therein.

They also have some suggestions as to how much stress may affect one's accuracy. It's a bit different shooting at a deer, or a man rushing at you with a knife, than at targets.

Darrin
2010-01-24, 11:53 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right board but what the heck. I'm trying to write up a system to simulate more-or-less realistic modern firefights

Didn't Phoenix Command (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Command) already do this?

Never played it myself, but I've heard horror stories about the first three seconds of combat taking 6+ hours to resolve.

RS14
2010-01-25, 12:03 AM
Also, if you look at casualty/round expended figures, you probably want to look to very small conflicts--individual firefights. Ignore e.g. vietnam wide figures, and look for accounts where individuals recount a) their unit size (squad? platoon?) b) clips/magazines/rounds they personally fired and c) total enemy casualties. Pick small engagements with little or no suppressive fire, to isolate the effects of aimed fire. Yes, such data should be rare. Sorry I can't help more.

Also, at typical engagement ranges, I suspect training and mental state will have more effect on accuracy than the individual weapon. Sure, a Garand is more accurate than a M4, but in medium range shooting while under fire, the theoretical differences seem unlikely to be apparent.

Edit:

Haven't thought of emailing the manufacturers - good idea, although I doubt the military ones will reply. Gun nuts tend to be rather . . . 'unstable'; if you know where I can find some of the more reliable ones, do tell.

In my experience, public ranges tend to have more morons than private ones, if you want to get your hands dirty doing research.
Forums with a base of older shooters, particularly those with competitive and/or legal sections, tend to be better than those that are all hardware and general discussion. Real shooters also tend to be more responsible than those who only play video-games.
A purely technical discussion should also avoid most of the politically enthusiastic.

Zincorium
2010-01-25, 02:30 AM
Considering no one is going to be verifying the figures, Wikipedia should really be sufficient for examples of rounds and their velocity/weight for a given barrel length. They've got figures for anything outside really old or obscure guns.

Realism is something that should only be determined down to a certain fuzziness. You can shoot someone with a 30.06 out of a 24" barrel bolt action at 50 yards, or a .308 in a 26" barrel semiautomatic at the same range, and while the guns may differ drastically in appearance, weight, handling, cartridge selection, rate of fire, and so forth, no forensic ballistician is going to bet their job on determining which one was used.

IMO, focus more on how the gun is used- does it have a stock, are the sights properly adjusted for the range, is it braced with a sling or a bipod, and similar- because all of that added up has a *major* effect on the one thing that really makes a difference: hitting the target in a vital area. Split hairs on hydrostatic shock and weight retention after you've got a good system for separating a shot between the eyes and one in the meat of the arm.

Stephen_E
2010-01-25, 05:25 AM
The question of the monkey and the hunter:

A hunter aims his gun at a monkey in a tree. At the same instant the gun is fired, the monkey lets go of the branch he was hanging from.

How fast does the bullet need to go to hit the monkey, assuming no air resistance, friction, blah blah.


That ones deceptive because aiming at something with a gun generally means allowing for gravity/range. At which point the monkey letting go DOES matter.

Stephen E

edit. I should have kept reading to see others had noted the srious flaw of the question.

Grey Paladin
2010-01-25, 06:26 AM
Aside from more authentic sources, thats all I need. Thanks for the assistance.

Storm Bringer
2010-01-25, 08:07 AM
speaking as a soldier, I can say that, in regards to the standards of shooting I am expected to meet, how you hold the firearm is much more important that what firearm you are holding. That is, vairation in body position, point of aim, and other 'human' factors have a much greater affect on accuracy than the shot-by-shot variations of the rilfe.

the L85, to name the example i am most familar with, if placed in a vice or braced in some smillar manner, will happily shoot with a spread of around an 25mm/1 inch or so at 100 meters. However, when shot by the average squaddie. the group size typically sits around 100mm, or 4 inches (when we bother to mesure group size). I'm sure that, for pretty much every assualt rilfe out thier, the bullet spread of the rifle is unlikey to factor into the users accuracy, in that it[s effect is swamped by other factors


In terms of game mechanics, what i mean is that the skill of the user with the weapon matters far more than the weapon itself, at least for 'line' infantry weapons and such. The difference between someone who has never fired a rifle and someone whos had a week or two of intensive training is considerable. however, it is very unlikey that a person can shoot well enough that he reaches the proformance limits of his rifle, to my knowledge.

fusilier
2010-01-25, 03:50 PM
Greeks had lots of systems, I was fairly sure that what I described was essentially Aristotelian (though it's been some time since I was looking at that stuff, so I might have got it somewhat mixed up). Certainly they recognized the universal attractive force, generally referred to as "love" (in some respects, superficially similar to gravity, but extended to all manner of phenomena). "Telos" is indeed the purpose, but it's more along the lines of "what is the purpose of the sun?" "It's to provide light and heat for living beings", etc. From modern scientific perspective, that was one of the main failures of ancient philosophy, the interest in "why?" rather than "how?" (the "how?" was still studied by craftsmen and engineers).

It wouldn't surprise me if both are correct. I think they had a tendency to use many arguments to describe the same thing. Totally agree about the why/how issue. One of the things about Aristotle's "physics" was that it tied everything together, often one couldn't refute one part of it without having to overturn the rest.

fusilier
2010-01-25, 04:22 PM
In microgravity, the recoil springs (or hydraulics) will kill problems with accuracy. The real problem is the backwards drift you pick up from firing. But that's actually a very small force; one bullet does not have the momentum to send a ~100 kg object (like a man in a space suit) flying backwards, on either end of the gun.

Part of the problem here is that we're not really make it clear when we are talking about personal weapons, or artillery. I agree that on an individual the recoil from firing a bullet won't be too much. For a large artillery piece . . .




The real problem is that Aristotelean "physics" was not the same kind of animal as what we call "physics" today. Aristotle wasn't really trying to explain the physical mechanisms of motion and the nature of matter. He was trying to explain "why stuff moves" in the philosophical sense. Not "how do rocks fall," but "why do rocks fall?" And "rocks love to be closer to the ground" is as good an explanation for the philosophical-why of falling rocks as anything else.

This can be a surprise to physicists trying to read Aristotle's book Physics.


Yes, he was a philosopher (they all were) and he only hit science in a kind of tangential way. I found that bits and pieces of Plato's "science" are scattered throughout a bunch of philosophical works -- they clearly didn't make the distinction between philosophy and science as we do now. The ancient greek philosophers didn't do anything that we could call an experiment, but they did observe phenomena . . . although not too closely. Aristotle was by no means mathematically rigorous, in fact attempting to express some of his physics in mathematics would probably have been rejected by him (and usually when you do see an "expression" representing some aspect of Aristotle's physics it's misleading).

Nevertheless, his ideas had a huge impact on what could be called "science" in the western world for millennia! He may have been wrong, but he was so convincingly wrong that it was not until people like Galileo that his ideas started to be seriously challenged. On the other hand, Galileo is probably the first "scientist" in the modern sense.

fusilier
2010-01-25, 04:33 PM
speaking as a soldier, I can say that, in regards to the standards of shooting I am expected to meet, how you hold the firearm is much more important that what firearm you are holding. That is, vairation in body position, point of aim, and other 'human' factors have a much greater affect on accuracy than the shot-by-shot variations of the rilfe.

the L85, to name the example i am most familar with, if placed in a vice or braced in some smillar manner, will happily shoot with a spread of around an 25mm/1 inch or so at 100 meters. However, when shot by the average squaddie. the group size typically sits around 100mm, or 4 inches (when we bother to mesure group size). I'm sure that, for pretty much every assualt rilfe out thier, the bullet spread of the rifle is unlikey to factor into the users accuracy, in that it[s effect is swamped by other factors


In terms of game mechanics, what i mean is that the skill of the user with the weapon matters far more than the weapon itself, at least for 'line' infantry weapons and such. The difference between someone who has never fired a rifle and someone whos had a week or two of intensive training is considerable. however, it is very unlikey that a person can shoot well enough that he reaches the proformance limits of his rifle, to my knowledge.

I suppose if you are comparing the accuracy of different weapons, benchrest tests will probably give you some factor that you can quantize. But I think that Storm Bringer is basically right in that it's the skill of the user that will make the big difference. Other factors like how well laid out the sights are, and general ergonomics could also make a difference, but all of those are hard to quantize. One of the things that GURPS has is "familiarity penalties," which is a concept that I like. If you aren't used to firing a specific gun, you may find it difficult/awkward when you first pick it up.

Norsesmithy
2010-01-25, 08:31 PM
I suppose if you are comparing the accuracy of different weapons, benchrest tests will probably give you some factor that you can quantize. But I think that Storm Bringer is basically right in that it's the skill of the user that will make the big difference. Other factors like how well laid out the sights are, and general ergonomics could also make a difference, but all of those are hard to quantize. One of the things that GURPS has is "familiarity penalties," which is a concept that I like. If you aren't used to firing a specific gun, you may find it difficult/awkward when you first pick it up.

I think that Storm Bringer's point is a very valid one, especially at controlled ranges. However, the rifle and cartridge (and bullet selection, IE 55 grain vs 69 grain etc) is going to have a great effect at targets at unknown ranges, or between two different weapons chambered in different cartridges.

To take the infamous AK as an example, a high quality (Russian, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, or American manufactured) example can generally print 2-3 MOA groups at 100 meters (eg, 60-100mm), but, compared to the L85 or M16, its bullet travels at much lower velocity, so at longer ranges, the drop can mean that being 10 meters off in your range estimation can be the difference between hitting your target and hitting dirt. Seriously, 7,62x39 drops almost a meter between 300 and 400 meters (and its shooting nearly a meter low at 300).

When shooting at known ranges, I can hit dinnerplate sized steel gongs out to 150 meters with my handgun, but at 100 meters, I hold ~70cm high, and at 150 meters, its almost 160cm, so if it were an unknown distance, and I guessed the distance wrong, I'd be in a lot of trouble.

The rule of thumb I'd always heard was that when people are shooting back, you can expect your groups to be quadruple the size they are when you are shooting briskly at the range.

Despite that, after the Battle for Fallujah, the United Nations sent investigators to the city to determine whether or not the Marines had been executing people, because so many of the opposing force had been shot in the head.

Mike_G
2010-01-25, 10:36 PM
Despite that, after the Battle for Fallujah, the United Nations sent investigators to the city to determine whether or not the Marines had been executing people, because so many of the opposing force had been shot in the head.

Oooh.

Rah.

Norsesmithy
2010-01-25, 10:49 PM
I can't find the reference to make sure I am remembering this right, but back in like, '06, a Marine Corps General called the ACOG the greatest advancement in individual rifleman effectiveness since the (either brass cartridge or M1 Garand).

Apparently they are more durable than iron sights too, because the percentage of ACOGs that have to be looked at by an armorer is smaller than the percentage of detachable carry handles.

Wind d8/d12
2010-01-25, 11:30 PM
I love ACOGS, they're a perfect accessory, the thick rubber guards protects against all but the most serious bumps, and even if they lose their zero after a big shock, they hold a point of aim without any parallax! And I wish I could smack around some people complaining about "Jesus Guns" Trijicon is a private supplier that doesn't receive government funding. They can put whatever they want on it.

In my D20M games an Acog increased range increment by X1.5 and added HP to the weapon (not hardness though) but I used a weapon degradation homebrew.

fusilier
2010-01-26, 03:48 AM
I think that Storm Bringer's point is a very valid one, especially at controlled ranges. However, the rifle and cartridge (and bullet selection, IE 55 grain vs 69 grain etc) is going to have a great effect at targets at unknown ranges, or between two different weapons chambered in different cartridges.

To take the infamous AK as an example, a high quality (Russian, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian, or American manufactured) example can generally print 2-3 MOA groups at 100 meters (eg, 60-100mm), but, compared to the L85 or M16, its bullet travels at much lower velocity, so at longer ranges, the drop can mean that being 10 meters off in your range estimation can be the difference between hitting your target and hitting dirt. Seriously, 7,62x39 drops almost a meter between 300 and 400 meters (and its shooting nearly a meter low at 300).

When shooting at known ranges, I can hit dinnerplate sized steel gongs out to 150 meters with my handgun, but at 100 meters, I hold ~70cm high, and at 150 meters, its almost 160cm, so if it were an unknown distance, and I guessed the distance wrong, I'd be in a lot of trouble. [. . .]

This was the logic behind the 7.35mm M1938 Carcano rifle. Experience had shown that most rifle fire was being done at around 200 meters or less, with machine guns being used for longer ranges. So the M1938 has sights fixed at 200 meters: at 100 meters the bullet will be approximately 6 inches high. If the soldiers aim for the torso (and their aim is true), then they should get a hit out to around 220-230 meters.

A lot of head shots could also be the nature of the fighting. Hiding behind walls or poking out of windows, the head will be exposed while the rest of the body is protected. Helmets were (re)introduced in WW1 because trench warfare resulted in a large number of head injuries.

Stephen_E
2010-01-26, 06:23 AM
Yes, I can see it been a bit hard to hit people anywhere but the head and arms because those are the bits they have to expose, and the hands, lower arms get partly shielded by the gun.

Stephen E

Dervag
2010-01-26, 12:06 PM
P.S.: I'm not an US citizen and so cannot buy and download declassified Pentagon files (and I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to have them, too).I thought the whole point of declassification was that it is now safe for foreigners to look at the declassified information...

You could look for similar information on your own country.


Haven't thought of emailing the manufacturers - good idea, although I doubt the military ones will reply. Gun nuts tend to be rather . . . 'unstable'; if you know where I can find some of the more reliable ones, do tell.You could seek out half a dozen of them and average out their wilder claims.


I worked on this very same issue some days ago. I have not kept any of my notes, but apparently the ranges in d20 modern seem to be quite accurate.

Due to air friction, a bullet slows down all the time it travels before it hits something and finally reaches terminal velocity, which is the same speed and energy it has when droped from a couple of meters height.Nitpick: a few meters isn't enough to bring anything to terminal velocity, unless it's already deployed its own parachute...


Have you visited the Real-World Weapon or Armor Question (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124683) thread? I found it hiding down on page 2.Yeah. Now that it's been de-stickied, it's less visible; people who don't already know it's there are more likely to miss it.


Beyond that, I've heard (not actually studied myself) that most modern firearms are more accurate than their users, at least at close/moderate ranges. That is, a gun is going to fire at whatever you point it at, with the reasons for missing being bad aim, bad timing, or misaligned sights. I would assume that extreme sniper range would be more affected by gravity and winds, although I would take that range to be measured in miles.The record is something over 2000 meters, though that's generally only possible for very good marksmen firing high-velocity rifles (typically chambered in .50 BMG).


Part of the problem here is that we're not really make it clear when we are talking about personal weapons, or artillery. I agree that on an individual the recoil from firing a bullet won't be too much. For a large artillery piece . . .A large artillery piece in space will be braced to a large platform, which moves less in response to a given recoil. Also, the large platform will typically have engines, which can be used to cancel out the recoil over time.


Nevertheless, his ideas had a huge impact on what could be called "science" in the western world for millennia! He may have been wrong, but he was so convincingly wrong that it was not until people like Galileo that his ideas started to be seriously challenged. On the other hand, Galileo is probably the first "scientist" in the modern sense.Me, I disagree, I say Archimedes, but I'm weird that way.

Also, Galileo was very much part of the scholar-tradition of his era. He had many of the bad habits of the medieval scholar: treating his results as proprietary rather than publicizing them, being strongly influenced by political patronage, dabbling in philosophical and theological implications of his work (which is part of how he got in trouble with the Church)...

If we talk about science as a practice, we really need to look at the generation after Galileo to see that intellectual tradition start to emerge in northwestern Europe.

fusilier
2010-01-26, 03:10 PM
A large artillery piece in space will be braced to a large platform, which moves less in response to a given recoil. Also, the large platform will typically have engines, which can be used to cancel out the recoil over time.

Exactly. Which is why I said it would need a lot of mass, and not some kind of recoil buffer.


Me, I disagree, I say Archimedes, but I'm weird that way.

Also, Galileo was very much part of the scholar-tradition of his era. He had many of the bad habits of the medieval scholar: treating his results as proprietary rather than publicizing them, being strongly influenced by political patronage, dabbling in philosophical and theological implications of his work (which is part of how he got in trouble with the Church)...

If we talk about science as a practice, we really need to look at the generation after Galileo to see that intellectual tradition start to emerge in northwestern Europe.

I'll admit that I'm not that familiar with Archimedes, although I would give him credit in that he was a first rate mathematician and he applied math to practical problems.

I disagree about Galileo. Yes, he was definitely part of the patronage system, and this did require keeping some things secret, or obfuscating his techniques, so it wasn't too easy to replicate. A consequence of the patronage system, he needed to be able to convince those in power of his discoveries, but at the same time prevent other "philosophers" from copying his results, and maybe discovering something new. This was mainly, however, applied to technology, and not to science. And that's where Galileo differs from his predecessors. He applied mathematics to natural phenomena (like things falling), and conducted detailed experiments to validate theories. He had to take on religion, because the church, which had widely accepted Aristotle, attacked his discoveries. If he made his discoveries known, he would have to deal with the church. There was no way around that issue. He also popularized science in a way that had never been done before. His dialogues were designed so that any educated person (in Italy, originally) could read them, and not just philosophers. To be sure, he would cast the occasional horoscope when asked; that was part of his job as an astronomer, but there's little evidence that he actually believed in it (unlike Kepler). He's probably more responsible for launching modern science than anybody else, if it's fair to point to a single person.

Stephen_E
2010-01-26, 06:19 PM
Nitpick: a few meters isn't enough to bring anything to terminal velocity, unless it's already deployed its own parachute...


I'm pretty sure a few metres is enough for a mouse to reach terminal velocity.
Not sure about a bullet, but suspect terminal velocity is pretty low on a bullet. Without spin they aren't particuly aerodynamic, and are pretty light.



Me, I disagree, I say Archimedes, but I'm weird that way.



I'll go with you on that.
Hell, I'd put Leonardo before Galileo. He didn't just invent contraptions, he worked out the principles for those inventions to operate.

None of them had a scientific community to be part of, although the stirings of scientfic comunities were starting during Galileos time.
And really it's the concept of a scientific community that's important, rather than any 1 scientist, no matter how brilliant (and both Archimedes and Leonardo had brilliance in spades, moreso than Galileo).

Stephen E

Mike_G
2010-01-26, 10:45 PM
A lot of head shots could also be the nature of the fighting. Hiding behind walls or poking out of windows, the head will be exposed while the rest of the body is protected. Helmets were (re)introduced in WW1 because trench warfare resulted in a large number of head injuries.


Kinda.

If you are firing out a window, most modern rifles will put a round through the wall you're hiding behind with little trouble. It's easier to aim a few inches below the sill at where center mass has to be than hit a head shot.


Buildings really aren't the protection people think they are.

A trench will protect you, sandbags or a decent berm will, but wood, brick or cinder block really doesn't do a very good job.

Helmets were designed to prevent shrapnel injuries, and fragments dropping into a trench. Most will not stop a rifle or machine gun bullet. They were a reaction to shelling, not sniping.

The nice thing about head shots is they make the guy fall down now. That's why you take one. Put a hole in a guy's torso and he will bleed out, but he may empty his magazine at you first.

Dervag
2010-01-27, 12:50 PM
Note: I shouldn't have called Archimedes the first scientist in any case. I should have called him the first physicist (not the same thing; a physicist whose scientific methods are poor may still make useful discoveries, in principle). Archimedes was, so far as I know, the first to apply mathematical models to physical phenomena and come up with useful insight about how they operate by doing so.


He had to take on religion, because the church, which had widely accepted Aristotle, attacked his discoveries. If he made his discoveries known, he would have to deal with the church. There was no way around that issue....It's not that simple. Galileo didn't restrict himself to addressing matters of fact; he got personal. As in, he insulted the Pope.

One of the things that got him painted into a corner and brought to trial was his tactless and tone-deaf handling of potential allies within the Church, including Pope Urban VIII himself. It wasn't just the faith versus science debate it's classically presented as; after all, Catholic clergy could use a telescope as well as anyone else.

Of course, the Aristotelean-Scriptural aspect was important, and it was one of the mian reasons there was any trouble for Galileo to get into; it's just that setting Galileo up as the Hero of Science battling the Demons of Superstition is a poorly supported game.


He also popularized science in a way that had never been done before. His dialogues were designed so that any educated person (in Italy, originally) could read them, and not just philosophers. To be sure, he would cast the occasional horoscope when asked; that was part of his job as an astronomer, but there's little evidence that he actually believed in it (unlike Kepler).I don't think that's fair to Kepler; he's also known for making the best defense of astrology I've ever heard:
"Ye otherwise philosophers, ye censure this daughter of astronomy beyond her deserts! Know ye not that she must support her mother by her charms?"

(translated from Latin into 1840s-vintage English, hence the strange phrasing)


He's probably more responsible for launching modern science than anybody else, if it's fair to point to a single person.I'd really have to think that over. I also submit that the biggest booster of a given field is not necessarily the first person to work in it.

fusilier
2010-01-27, 05:19 PM
Buildings really aren't the protection people think they are.

A trench will protect you, sandbags or a decent berm will, but wood, brick or cinder block really doesn't do a very good job.

I would think that even a building faced in brick would have a decent chance of stopping M16 rounds? Let alone one actually made from brick. Likewise, while I'm not too familiar with construction techniques in Iraq, something like an adobe wall will probably do a pretty good job of stopping a rifle round. Then's the question of where are the soldiers going to aim? Probably at the exposed part of the target. You can't be certain that they haven't fortified that house on the inside with sandbags, etc.


Helmets were designed to prevent shrapnel injuries, and fragments dropping into a trench. Most will not stop a rifle or machine gun bullet. They were a reaction to shelling, not sniping.

Right . . . mostly . . . The German Stalhelm of WW1 had big lugs on the side of it to take an extra piece of armor called the "stirnpanzer." It sat on the front, and was enough to stop a rifle bullet. It was heavy and awkward, an not well liked, although it may be used by a sniper or sentry. But yes, the introduction of helmets was primarily to reduce head wounds caused by shrapnel.

fusilier
2010-01-27, 06:25 PM
Note: I shouldn't have called Archimedes the first scientist in any case. I should have called him the first physicist (not the same thing; a physicist whose scientific methods are poor may still make useful discoveries, in principle). Archimedes was, so far as I know, the first to apply mathematical models to physical phenomena and come up with useful insight about how they operate by doing so.

A physicist is a scientist. So why wouldn't you call him a scientist? While Archimedes was a good mathematician, and he "invented" some very clever devices, that doesn't make him a scientist. Same thing for Leonardo Da Vinci . . . an inventor, certainly, but he doesn't figure as a scientist. There's a distinction between science and technology.


...It's not that simple. Galileo didn't restrict himself to addressing matters of fact; he got personal. As in, he insulted the Pope.

Galileo's insult of the pope was probably unintentional. When it came down to it, he could be brash, and probably wasn't as tactful as he thought he was.


One of the things that got him painted into a corner and brought to trial was his tactless and tone-deaf handling of potential allies within the Church, including Pope Urban VIII himself. It wasn't just the faith versus science debate it's classically presented as; after all, Catholic clergy could use a telescope as well as anyone else.

Of course, the Aristotelean-Scriptural aspect was important, and it was one of the mian reasons there was any trouble for Galileo to get into; it's just that setting Galileo up as the Hero of Science battling the Demons of Superstition is a poorly supported game.

I absolutely agree. It's a lot more complicated than most people realize; the Church has never been the monolithic organization it is often portrayed as.


I don't think that's fair to Kepler; he's also known for making the best defense of astrology I've ever heard:
"Ye otherwise philosophers, ye censure this daughter of astronomy beyond her deserts! Know ye not that she must support her mother by her charms?"

(translated from Latin into 1840s-vintage English, hence the strange phrasing)

Kepler was actually a pretty sad person. He had a bad marriage, and Tycho Brahe essentially teased him, by only giving away only tidbits of his data. He was brilliant in that he was able to take all that data (after Tycho's death), and figure out the actual paths of the planets. But he had a strong mystical bent. After figuring out the elliptical nature of the motion of the planets, he then put together a theory of the planets based on concentric crystals shaped like platonic solids that ignored the elliptical paths. He would also calculate the time of his conception, to cast horoscopes showing what a lousy life he would have . . . He wrote what could be called the first work of science fiction, and it led to his mother being tried as a witch! Maybe he took some sort of solace in his mysticism? I don't know. On the other hand Galileo was so disdainful of mysticism that he came up with a wrong-minded theory of the tides, that ignored the moon.


I'd really have to think that over. I also submit that the biggest booster of a given field is not necessarily the first person to work in it.

Thanks for the consideration. I was thinking over what you said, and I can certainly see how the next generation of "scientists" can really be considered the first "modern" scientists. But I think that people like Galileo and Descartes provided a transition, and helped lay the frame work that scientists like Newton were able to operate in. I call Galileo the first modern "scientist" more in terms of his attitudes towards science, than necessarily the conditions under which he operated. He performed detailed experiments in controlled circumstances (like using ramps to study the motion of falling objects). He clearly felt that he needed to defend science, and this probably took him down paths that would seem weird for a modern scientist. If you put Descartes' philosophy about the mind-body problem in the same context you can see the same situation.

I've studied a fair amount about Galileo, and even wrote a secondary sources graduate paper about Galileo and the Telescope, which I should probably publish somewhere: it's the only paper I wrote for school, that *I* like to re-read from time-to-time. :-)

Stephen_E
2010-01-27, 07:44 PM
A physicist is a scientist. So why wouldn't you call him a scientist? While Archimedes was a good mathematician, and he "invented" some very clever devices, that doesn't make him a scientist. Same thing for Leonardo Da Vinci . . . an inventor, certainly, but he doesn't figure as a scientist. There's a distinction between science and technology.


What do you define as a scientist?

Stephen E

fusilier
2010-01-27, 09:15 PM
What do you define as a scientist?

Stephen E

Uh oh. :-) Now I have to try to answer a difficult question . . . Science is the understanding and formulating of natural phenomena. Technology is the application of science, but doesn't necessarily require the understanding and formulating of nature as a starting point. Watch makers didn't have to have a mathematical expression for springs, to be able to use them.

However, even I would admit that this is just one distinction. And things that wouldn't necessarily meet modern definitions of science (like performing detailed experiments in a controlled environment), could still be called science, or at the very least science-like. A broader definition for science could involve attempting to describe or understand natural phenomena.

What I meant to say, is that Galileo can arguably be called the first "modern scientist." In the way in which he conducted experiments, etc.

Stephen_E
2010-01-28, 01:29 AM
Uh oh. :-) Now I have to try to answer a difficult question . . . Science is the understanding and formulating of natural phenomena. Technology is the application of science, but doesn't necessarily require the understanding and formulating of nature as a starting point. Watch makers didn't have to have a mathematical expression for springs, to be able to use them.


I think it's fairly clear that both Archimedes and DaVinci were into understand and formulating natural phenomana, but they also went further and then applied that science. They couldn't have done what they did without having the understanding, because they sure as hell couldn't get the principles off anyone else.

Galileo was a theorectical scientist. That's because he could afford to be. People would pay him for his theorectical ideas. No one was paying Archimedes or DaVinci simply to come up with interesting theories.
U could indeed call Galaleo 1 of the 1st modern scientists becuase he was paid simply to think. :smallwink:


Stephen E

Dervag
2010-01-28, 12:40 PM
A physicist is a scientist. So why wouldn't you call him a scientist? While Archimedes was a good mathematician, and he "invented" some very clever devices, that doesn't make him a scientist. Same thing for Leonardo Da Vinci . . . an inventor, certainly, but he doesn't figure as a scientist. There's a distinction between science and technology.I have a somewhat different definition; I consider "physicist" to be a separate category from "scientist." Being a scientist makes a physicist enormously more effective, to the point where it is now impossible to be a competent physicist without being a scientist.

But you can try to derive mathematical natural laws based on observation and derive results with testable consequences without being a scientist, apparently; because that's what Archimedes did and surely he was not a scientist...:smallconfused: Anyway, given that Science! had not been invented yet, Archimedes had to make do with the intellectual toolkit he had at hand. And he did, managing to do a physicist's job.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who does a physicist's job is a physicist, even if they double as an engineer. Now, I'll freely concede that Galileo was the first of the theoretical physicists, though I'm not familiar enough with his work to be sure of this. But that's a different story.


Kepler... had a strong mystical bent. After figuring out the elliptical nature of the motion of the planets, he then put together a theory of the planets based on concentric crystals shaped like platonic solids that ignored the elliptical paths. He would also calculate the time of his conception, to cast horoscopes showing what a lousy life he would have . . . He wrote what could be called the first work of science fiction, and it led to his mother being tried as a witch! Maybe he took some sort of solace in his mysticism? I don't know.In the early 1600s, the dividing line between what we now call mysticism and what we now call science was very, very hazy. Up until that time, practically all efforts to apply math to the natural world wound up falling into the territory of mysticism (geometry-based cosmology, trig applied to astrology, that sort of thing). There simply wasn't enough known to separate the truth from the wild fancies.

So I give people of that era a free pass on mysticism (Kepler's astrology, Newton's alchemy), because they couldn't reasonably be expected to dismiss it out of hand the way we would on the evidence available. Even given rigorous methods of testing, they would still have been the first people to do the testing, after all.


I've studied a fair amount about Galileo, and even wrote a secondary sources graduate paper about Galileo and the Telescope, which I should probably publish somewhere: it's the only paper I wrote for school, that *I* like to re-read from time-to-time. :-)I have a similar one on the history of optics pre-Maxwell. :smallbiggrin:

fusilier
2010-01-28, 01:53 PM
But you can try to derive mathematical natural laws based on observation and derive results with testable consequences without being a scientist, apparently; because that's what Archimedes did and surely he was not a scientist...:smallconfused: Anyway, given that Science! had not been invented yet, Archimedes had to make do with the intellectual toolkit he had at hand. And he did, managing to do a physicist's job.

This is why I backed off from calling him not a scientist altogether. He wouldn't necessarily meet the modern definition of a scientist, although that's clearly debatable. I didn't mean to/shouldn't have said, that Archimedes wasn't a scientist, but that I don't consider him to be a scientist in the modern sense.


In the early 1600s, the dividing line between what we now call mysticism and what we now call science was very, very hazy. Up until that time, practically all efforts to apply math to the natural world wound up falling into the territory of mysticism (geometry-based cosmology, trig applied to astrology, that sort of thing). There simply wasn't enough known to separate the truth from the wild fancies.

So I give people of that era a free pass on mysticism (Kepler's astrology, Newton's alchemy), because they couldn't reasonably be expected to dismiss it out of hand the way we would on the evidence available. Even given rigorous methods of testing, they would still have been the first people to do the testing, after all.

I mostly agree with you, but it's another thing that makes Galileo appear more modern, than even people like Newton that came after him. Galileo did reject mysticism, (and I honestly don't know where he lies on alchemy, I don't think it interested him much). I think that Kepler may be considered to have an unusually strong attraction to mysticism, even more so than many of contemporaries. That's not meant to diminish his accomplishments.


I have a similar one on the history of optics pre-Maxwell. :smallbiggrin:

Cool. Optics is clearly a field that had been studied for a long time, although I'm not sure when good rules about refraction and reflection were understood. That's something that appears to be debated too.

fusilier
2010-01-28, 02:11 PM
I think it's fairly clear that both Archimedes and DaVinci were into understand and formulating natural phenomana, but they also went further and then applied that science. They couldn't have done what they did without having the understanding, because they sure as hell couldn't get the principles off anyone else.

Galileo was a theorectical scientist. That's because he could afford to be. People would pay him for his theorectical ideas. No one was paying Archimedes or DaVinci simply to come up with interesting theories.
U could indeed call Galaleo 1 of the 1st modern scientists becuase he was paid simply to think. :smallwink:


Stephen E

I'm not so sure about Da Vinci, and the only reason I say that is because he seems to have had more of the "watchmaker's" understanding of how things worked. Much more intuitive than theoretical -- not sure if that's the right way to express it. Also, he didn't really communicate his ideas. Although I think he's actually quite important, as he appears at the beginning of a time where observation (not yet experimentation) was starting to gain more weight. There seems to be a line between Da Vinci and Galileo with the studies of Mechanics in 16th century Italy, through people like Tartaglia. It is speculated that Cardano may actually have seen Da Vinci's manuscripts.

Of course, we are applying the term "scientist" to people who lived hundreds of years before the term was ever coined! :-) So arguing about whether or not person X is a scientist but not a theoretical scientist, I suppose can get pretty arbitrary.

Galileo really had to play the system to get into a position where he was merely paid to think, and once there he had to work very hard to stay there.

Ellye
2010-01-28, 05:44 PM
I've got a weapon/armor related question.
I've been doing some research for a setting of mine loosely based on the late 17th Century, and so far I managed to find good information about the non-gunpowder based weapons that were still used and about the Arquebus and its variants.
But, unless I'm mistaken, one-handed single-shot firearms already existed around that time, but I can't seem to find information regarding them. Anyone have some info on what a 1650~1700 pistol was like?

Also, what type of armor or protection was used during that period? I see that chainmail was still used, but I'm not sure if it sill was common.

fusilier
2010-01-28, 06:12 PM
I've got a weapon/armor related question.
I've been doing some research for a setting of mine loosely based on the late 17th Century, and so far I managed to find good information about the non-gunpowder based weapons that were still used and about the Arquebus and its variants.
But, unless I'm mistaken, one-handed single-shot firearms already existed around that time, but I can't seem to find information regarding them. Anyone have some info on what a 1650~1700 pistol was like?

Also, what type of armor or protection was used during that period? I see that chainmail was still used, but I'm not sure if it sill was common.

Things changed a bit during this time, but as far as armor is concerned, breastplate (some kind of cuirass), tassets, and a helmet were still common for pikemen, at least in the front ranks. 3/4 plate could be found in 1650, but would have been really unlikely by 1700. Heavy cavalry could also be well armored. Basically, armor use was in decline during the period.

As for firearms. The true "arquebus" was being replaced by the updated "caliver", although some languages continued to use the equivalent of "arquebus" to describe the weapon. Muskets also existed, and by 1700 matchlocks were just about gone in Europe (although the transition date is typically given as 1700). Flintlocks were becoming more common. There were also other weapons that were more like carbines, they tend to come under a variety of names. And then there "light muskets" like fusils, hunting rifles, etc.

Single-shot pistols (no revolvers), would have been typical. Probably most would be wheellock in 1650, but flintlock by 1700.

Ellye
2010-01-28, 06:36 PM
Thanks, that clear some things up!

Mike_G
2010-01-28, 07:31 PM
I would think that even a building faced in brick would have a decent chance of stopping M16 rounds? Let alone one actually made from brick. Likewise, while I'm not too familiar with construction techniques in Iraq, something like an adobe wall will probably do a pretty good job of stopping a rifle round. Then's the question of where are the soldiers going to aim? Probably at the exposed part of the target. You can't be certain that they haven't fortified that house on the inside with sandbags, etc.


Bricks will crumble after one or two rounds. High velocity bullets have a ton of energy. Most city buildings in the Middle East, if you look at bomb damage, are cinder block. Cinder block fares very poorly against bullets.

Some guys did a fun ammo penetration test which can be found here:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/

Concrete blocks specifically:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot6_2.htm

The Marine Corps trained me to aim center mass, even if the center of mass was behind concealment. Now, if you have a good firing position, and time to aim, and nobody is shooting directly at you, wrecking your focus, sure, take that head shot. Chances are, in a city, your target isn't that far away. But quickly returning fire coming from a window, I'd aim below the sill and use a few short bursts. Chances are you won't hit a head shot under pressure. Rushed shots are usually high, so aiming low improves your odds.



Right . . . mostly . . . The German Stalhelm of WW1 had big lugs on the side of it to take an extra piece of armor called the "stirnpanzer." It sat on the front, and was enough to stop a rifle bullet. It was heavy and awkward, an not well liked, although it may be used by a sniper or sentry. But yes, the introduction of helmets was primarily to reduce head wounds caused by shrapnel.


I didn't know that.

Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing those lugs on WWI helmets. I didn't know what they were for.

I've seen a lot of helmets with bullet holes in them. I didn't know any WWI era helmsts were able to stop a rifle round.

Spamotron
2010-01-28, 07:57 PM
A while back on this thread series there was talk about the U.S. Navy's Railgun program. Curious I tried looking for recent updates. I found this http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/18/bae_railgun_deal_inked/ but that was almost a year ago. I was wondering if anyone knew of anything more recent?

Stephen_E
2010-01-28, 08:43 PM
Galileo really had to play the system to get into a position where he was merely paid to think, and once there he had to work very hard to stay there.

The same could be said of scientists today. :smallwink:

Galileo was a successful example of this, but he wasn't entirely on his own.
Mypoint is that various scoieties were coing into been where people gathered to look at and discuss/critique what could loosely be called scientific ideas, and weathy people would fund to some degree the more sucessful/impressive of these.

While I think it would not be entirely unfair to call Galileo the 1st modern scientist, I think it would be more accurate to say that he is the most renowned member of the early proto-scientific communities, that became the scientific community that we now commonally call science.

This is an important point because modern science isn't an individual; activity. We give out individula awards ect, but modern scince isn't about individuals. That famous line "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." sums up modern science very well.

Before that each scientist type person had to start almost from scratch because it was often in the practical interests of previous thinkers to hide critical section, if not entire books, of their works. Also with little if any critical review what previous works that came down had to be rigoursly tested to find out if it was based on reality or airy flights of fantasy.


Stephen E

randomhero00
2010-01-28, 08:47 PM
So shields- I'm pretty sure they could only take a few hits before being destroyed, since the common shield was made of wood with a thin layer of brass or copper, ya? For weight reasons I'm guessing. Were there any nearly indestructible shields, something more expensive and heavy a knight might carry?

How quickly would plate armor be destroyed after taking direct hits from a good mace?

Dienekes
2010-01-28, 08:57 PM
So shields- I'm pretty sure they could only take a few hits before being destroyed, since the common shield was made of wood with a thin layer of brass or copper, ya? For weight reasons I'm guessing. Were there any nearly indestructible shields, something more expensive and heavy a knight might carry?

How quickly would plate armor be destroyed after taking direct hits from a good mace?

Don't be too quick there. While sure many shields would be broken wooden shields were also used to get weapons like swords caught in them.

As to indestructible shields, not really. Most shields I know of were wooden. For its time the Greek aspis was very strong as it was largely bronze in an era of bronze weaponry (well the more expensive kind were anyway, most hoplites used wood as well)

fusilier
2010-01-28, 09:21 PM
Bricks will crumble after one or two rounds. High velocity bullets have a ton of energy. Most city buildings in the Middle East, if you look at bomb damage, are cinder block. Cinder block fares very poorly against bullets.

Some guys did a fun ammo penetration test which can be found here:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/

Concrete blocks specifically:
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/buickot6_2.htm

The Marine Corps trained me to aim center mass, even if the center of mass was behind concealment. Now, if you have a good firing position, and time to aim, and nobody is shooting directly at you, wrecking your focus, sure, take that head shot. Chances are, in a city, your target isn't that far away. But quickly returning fire coming from a window, I'd aim below the sill and use a few short bursts. Chances are you won't hit a head shot under pressure. Rushed shots are usually high, so aiming low improves your odds.

Thanks for the clarification. I know that cinder block typically does very little to stop rounds, I figured brick would do better, especially if it's a real brick wall, and not simply brick facing. I know that stuff like .50 AP could even make short work of that though. On the other hand, I know a friend of mine put an 8mm Lebel round clean through 3" of concrete, and then they had to find the bullet . . . which was "kinda" deformed. For some reason the French used a solid lathe-turned brass bullet!

--EDIT--
That was solid concrete, and not something like a cinder block. None of the other military rounds (30-06, 8mm mauser) could go through it.
---------


I didn't know that.

Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing those lugs on WWI helmets. I didn't know what they were for.

I've seen a lot of helmets with bullet holes in them. I didn't know any WWI era helmsts were able to stop a rifle round.

Google "stirnpanzer" and you can find plenty of pictures of it. It was part of a general body armor issue. I don't know if it could stop a rifle bullet at close range. Such body armor was typically only given to soldiers who weren't expected to be moving as much. Like sentries or machine gunners. The Italians used Farina armor for wire cutting parties, but even they eventually abandoned it because it slowed them down.

Fhaolan
2010-01-28, 10:01 PM
So shields- I'm pretty sure they could only take a few hits before being destroyed, since the common shield was made of wood with a thin layer of brass or copper, ya? For weight reasons I'm guessing. Were there any nearly indestructible shields, something more expensive and heavy a knight might carry?

How quickly would plate armor be destroyed after taking direct hits from a good mace?

Wood is actually quite tough, if the shield is constructed properly. Many shields were made of very strong (but not necessarily hard) wood, and was made of laminating thin sheets on the bias so that the grain didn't all run the same way. Basically tough plywood. Also the edges of many shields had rawhide or metal on them to make it easier to damage or trap weapons that struck those edges. While you can punch through a sheild like that with heavy crossbow bolts, or the pick of a poleweapon, it's not trivial. Most shields were made to last through an entire battle (they may need to be replaced afterwards, of course.)

Heavy metal shields were common during the early 'Jousting' periods where it wasn't expected to need to move the shield very much because it's not like you can vary the targets much in a tilting run. :smallsmile: These sheilds eventually got just bolted to the arm and to the side, and mutated into a fixed piece of armour on later jousting harnesses.

As to how quickly plate will get destroyed by a mace, there are a lot of variables. It depends on how well the mace hits, and where, and the quality and style of the plate armour. The joints are always a bad place to take a hit, which is why they tend to have extra armour flanges and thicker and better tempered plates on those areas. If the armour is of poor quality, or has been repaired too many times, it can simply crack under impact. I've seen tests where they've taken a period-quality helmet and struck it with a two-handed high-power strike with a mace, and it dented it enough to give the wearer serious problems, but not necesarily kill them. I've also seen breastplates shatter when struck by a blunted break-apart lance because the armourer used really poor metal that had crystalized during the shaping process.

Armour, even full plate harnesses, can be very variable in the level of protection depending on the types of combat the wearer was predicted to be in. If they were a horseman doing a lot of jousting, but not full-on battle, the armour would be designed a specific way. If they were a footman who commonly fought against mixed archer and pike, their armour would be designed differently. While armour tends to follow styles and forms, only some were made to generic patterns, and those were usually for export to nations with less skilled armourers that you really didn't want to have the 'good stuff' in case they showed up on the other side of the battlefield. Nothing like the stuff the rich elite were wearing.

sircarp
2010-01-28, 10:39 PM
Metals are, by their nature, crystalline materials. The breastplate you saw shatter likely did so due to either composition or construction. If it was an iron or steel breastplate too much phosphorus or sulfur is the likely material culprit, small amounts can make an alloy very brittle, and they're a pain to remove from the metal too. Another possible explanation is that the plate was formed with too much cold work. If it was shaped cold without annealing it's possible that the material would become brittle enough to shatter with impact.

Fhaolan
2010-01-28, 11:38 PM
Like a lot of the snapped sword blades I've seen, the breaks showed obvious large granularities in the metal due to poor (or lack of) annealing, as you said.

While metals are a crystal matrix, the nondirectional metalic bonding due to delocalized electrons give metals ductility. Grain growth like this promotes crystal fragmentation by reducing the points of contact between grains instead of the normal homogonious mass. The blacksmiths I deal with call this 'crystalization' because to them, that's what it behaves like at a macroscopic level. It's possible this is a local trade term though. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2010-01-29, 06:49 AM
As to indestructible shields, not really. Most shields I know of were wooden. For its time the Greek aspis was very strong as it was largely bronze in an era of bronze weaponry (well the more expensive kind were anyway, most hoplites used wood as well)

Apparently, the aspis was mainly wood with a thin sheet of bronze fronting; however, it was quite a heavy and sturdy shield.

Galloglaich
2010-01-29, 07:27 AM
During the late Renaissance they were making small steel shields called rotella in Europe, which became quite popular for certain light infantry called rotella men. The Ottomans even had bullet-proof shields in this period.

The earlier wooden type shields while tough, could be easily damaged. In the viking sagas, they are frequently described as being hacked to pieces with one or two blows, it was common to issue three shields to each combatant in a duel.

That said, a shield was an active thing, not like you see in SCA fighting or movies, you would displace with a shield and not just meet a blow statically. This video can convey some kind of idea perhaps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI_yH-8swXQ&feature=related

G.

Dienekes
2010-01-29, 09:21 AM
Apparently, the aspis was mainly wood with a thin sheet of bronze fronting; however, it was quite a heavy and sturdy shield.

Really? I always heard it a pretty large metal to wood ratio when compared to most shields.

I'll take your word for it, I am by no means an expert.

Fhaolan
2010-01-29, 09:48 AM
The earlier wooden type shields while tough, could be easily damaged. In the viking sagas, they are frequently described as being hacked to pieces with one or two blows, it was common to issue three shields to each combatant in a duel.

A lot of the early Norse, Celtic, and African shields were a lot thinner and lighter than shields from other periods and areas, as they were pretty much giant bucklers. These kinds were center-punch, meaning they were held purely by a handle in the center of the shield and depended a lot on the wrist and arm strength to be held out from the body with an even more active defense than other shields. It's possible that the sagas refer to this specific form of shield when they describe those duels.

When the shield is basically hung on the arm with a strapping system, the way most people think of when they imagine shields, the strength and weight can be much higher. As you say, the defense is still more active than it's given credit for, but less so than the buckler/center-punch style.

Then there's the bizarre two-handed dueling shield that showed up in Europe at one point. It had hooks built into it's shape and was meant for judicial duels. I've never seen one of these in RL, let alone seen how you actually use it, but it must be fascinating.

Dervag
2010-01-29, 10:29 AM
So shields- I'm pretty sure they could only take a few hits before being destroyed, since the common shield was made of wood with a thin layer of brass or copper, ya? For weight reasons I'm guessing. Were there any nearly indestructible shields, something more expensive and heavy a knight might carry?Wood isn't actually all that easy to break apart with muscle-powered weapons, you know; it's not as if people were normally fighting with giant mauls or other demolition tools.


Like a lot of the snapped sword blades I've seen, the breaks showed obvious large granularities in the metal due to poor (or lack of) annealing, as you said.

While metals are a crystal matrix, the nondirectional metalic bonding due to delocalized electrons give metals ductility. Grain growth like this promotes crystal fragmentation by reducing the points of contact between grains instead of the normal homogonious mass. The blacksmiths I deal with call this 'crystalization' because to them, that's what it behaves like at a macroscopic level. It's possible this is a local trade term though. :smallbiggrin:Hmm. Solid state physics isn't my bailiwick, but it seems like a good name for the process to me. Since you're working with mostly-iron, the individual 'grains' are what I think the real solid-state guys would call "domains," but it amounts to the same thing since we don't actually care about the magnetization of the iron, except as it affects the material properties.

I am going to guess, tentatively, purely from the physics, that the way to avoid this has something to do with the cooling rate of the piece you're working on as it passes the Curie temperature at 770 degrees Celsius. Am I right?

Fhaolan
2010-01-29, 11:16 AM
I am going to guess, tentatively, purely from the physics, that the way to avoid this has something to do with the cooling rate of the piece you're working on as it passes the Curie temperature at 770 degrees Celsius. Am I right?

Pretty much. That's why one of the tricks of blacksmithing involves natural magnets. While heating and cooling the steel, you use magnets to determine the exact point when the metal gain/loses magnetic adhesion, rather than going off of colour which can vary enough by exact alloy composition to throw you off.

Subotei
2010-01-29, 02:59 PM
I recently read up on the Zulu Wars, and the source stated that the Zulus learned to attack with their shields (basically stiff hide) held at an angle, as they were then capable of deflecting musket rounds at longish range - 100m or so. Useful against muskets, but not so much use in the 1879 war when they came up against the Martini Henry rifle.

Made me think about the possible effectiveness of the ECW buff coat type armour against similar musket rounds - may have been effective at long-ish ranges, or a least against the stray balls flying around a battlefield.

Also on another recent topic here - range of accurate fire - a study by the British after 1879 campaign showed that though the Martini Henry was accurate up to 600+ metres, very few Zulu casulties from rifle fire were noted beyond 200m, and this was fire from experienced trained infantry capable (in some regiments) of 15+ rounds/minute volley fire.

Dervag
2010-01-29, 04:48 PM
Pretty much. That's why one of the tricks of blacksmithing involves natural magnets. While heating and cooling the steel, you use magnets to determine the exact point when the metal gain/loses magnetic adhesion, rather than going off of colour which can vary enough by exact alloy composition to throw you off.And which, come to think of it, wouldn't give a very precise measure unless you're a really good judge of color. The peak frequency of blackbody radiation doesn't vary that much around the Curie temperature.

Which is not to say that practiced people couldn't do it, but if I were inventing from scratch, God knows I'd rather use a magnet.

Ogremindes
2010-01-29, 05:43 PM
When the shield is basically hung on the arm with a strapping system, the way most people think of when they imagine shields, the strength and weight can be much higher. As you say, the defense is still more active than it's given credit for, but less so than the buckler/center-punch style.

Then there's the bizarre two-handed dueling shield that showed up in Europe at one point. It had hooks built into it's shape and was meant for judicial duels. I've never seen one of these in RL, let alone seen how you actually use it, but it must be fascinating.

Based on what I've seen and read, 'centre-punch' shields were very much the norm, even with large shields, with strapped shields only used for very specific fighting styles, rather than melee in general. The aspis used in the Greek phalanx formations is the only strapped shield that comes to mind.

The duelling shield was covered briefly by Weapons That Made Britain, including a demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7dsFIlPj8#t=2m10s.

a_humble_lich
2010-01-29, 07:55 PM
And which, come to think of it, wouldn't give a very precise measure unless you're a really good judge of color. The peak frequency of blackbody radiation doesn't vary that much around the Curie temperature.

I don't think it is blackbody radiation you are looking for, but rather color changes due to changes in oxidation. The peak wavelength at the Curie temperature is only about 2.8 microns, which is not yet visible.

As an aside, a blacksmith friend of mine has said the magnet you use to test when it has reach the Curie temperature is important. If you use a cheap kitchen magnet, instead of falling off when the steel is no longer ferro-magnetic, it will melt to the steel :smallsmile:

fusilier
2010-01-30, 03:22 AM
I recently read up on the Zulu Wars, and the source stated that the Zulus learned to attack with their shields (basically stiff hide) held at an angle, as they were then capable of deflecting musket rounds at longish range - 100m or so. Useful against muskets, but not so much use in the 1879 war when they came up against the Martini Henry rifle.

Made me think about the possible effectiveness of the ECW buff coat type armour against similar musket rounds - may have been effective at long-ish ranges, or a least against the stray balls flying around a battlefield.

Also on another recent topic here - range of accurate fire - a study by the British after 1879 campaign showed that though the Martini Henry was accurate up to 600+ metres, very few Zulu casulties from rifle fire were noted beyond 200m, and this was fire from experienced trained infantry capable (in some regiments) of 15+ rounds/minute volley fire.

I think it's unlikely, that a buff coat is going to stop a musket ball, except at very long range. Muskets were a response to heavier metal armor. Against pistols and lighter weapons like carbines, the buff coat might have a chance, but it's a fairly soft and flexible leather. I've heard Comanche shields (very thick hardened hide stuffed with paper), could stop a "spent" musket ball.

Long range "volley" fire is a tricky subject, but was a popular military theory up until WW1. Many old rifles from that period are equipped with what are called "volley sights." Although as far as I can tell the tactics didn't necessarily call for well timed volleys. Instead the officer would determine the range, tell his troops what to set the sights to, and then order them to blast away. At such long ranges they were just shooting at "blobs" of soldiers and not individuals. Especially if they are firing true volleys, as they aren't expected to take a lot of time aiming. A lower velocity black-powder weapon shooting out to 600 meters or more, the bullet will dropping fairly steeply. Although, I'm not certain of the ballistics of .45 Martini-Henry. If the range is off shots could easily be going long or short (i.e. over the heads, or striking the ground in front of the enemy), and if the enemy formation is loose enough hits could be rare. 200 meters for effective rifle fire mostly conforms to the opinions formed after WW1.

As an interesting note, when the French adopted the minie-ball and general issue of rifles, they actually adopted two different kinds of mine-ball. One was very accurate, and was basically identical the one adopted by the US. This one was issued to chasseurs. The line infantry, however, used one that was flatter shooting, but had greater horizontal deviation. The idea being that chasseurs would be skirmishing, but line infantry would usually only being shooting at linear formations.

Edmund
2010-01-30, 06:32 PM
Based on what I've seen and read, 'centre-punch' shields were very much the norm, even with large shields, with strapped shields only used for very specific fighting styles, rather than melee in general. The aspis used in the Greek phalanx formations is the only strapped shield that comes to mind.

Do you mean that in a wide historical context? Because basically every cavalry shield and many infantry shields in the high-late middle ages was strapped. Let's also not forget rotellas and targes.

Ogremindes
2010-01-30, 07:25 PM
Do you mean that in a wide historical context? Because basically every cavalry shield and many infantry shields in the high-late middle ages was strapped. Let's also not forget rotellas and targes.

Yes I do, but my knowledge is only a few steps above "of course shields are strapped to the arm, that's what they always show in the movies!".

I couldn't find any information about what rotellas were used for in a hurry, but what I found about targes seems to support my assessment that you use a centre-punch unless you have something very specific in mind.

Fhaolan
2010-01-31, 01:46 AM
I couldn't find any information about what rotellas were used for in a hurry, but what I found about targes seems to support my assessment that you use a centre-punch unless you have something very specific in mind.

From what I've seen in museums... not the most accurate because you tend to get the unused armours in musuems as they are in the best shape, I realize... targes came in both center-punch and strapped versions, in and around the same time periods. It was probably a time of highly varied individual fighting styles.

sircarp
2010-01-31, 02:19 AM
Like a lot of the snapped sword blades I've seen, the breaks showed obvious large granularities in the metal due to poor (or lack of) annealing, as you said.

While metals are a crystal matrix, the nondirectional metalic bonding due to delocalized electrons give metals ductility. Grain growth like this promotes crystal fragmentation by reducing the points of contact between grains instead of the normal homogonious mass. The blacksmiths I deal with call this 'crystalization' because to them, that's what it behaves like at a macroscopic level. It's possible this is a local trade term though. :smallbiggrin:

Actually the opposite tends to be true; metallic objects tend to break around grain boundaries for a number of reasons.. Excessive grain growth is usually caused by over-annealing the material to the point where you reset all of the dislocations in the lattice structure, reset all of the grains in the microstructure and finally get to the point where those grains start growing. The resulting material is usually ductile and is difficult to strengthen.

The fracturing of a material that was poorly annealed is due to the buildup of defects within the crystal lattice called dislocations. These are basically areas where the lattice planes have become misaligned. Wikipedia explains it much better than I can at this hour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dislocation). When you cold work an item you get loads and loads of these defects within your crystal structure, and they gel all tangled up. This makes the material harder because the interaction between these defects makes it much harder for any one of them to slip and cause failure. Think of it as trying to flatten out lumps in a carpet; you can move one in a wavelike motion easily across the floor, but if you try to move two that intersect with one another they won't budge. As you get more and more of these interactions the strain energy within the lattice increases and the material gets harder, but something has to give. Eventually the metal will move in the only way it can, fracture, and since all of these dislocations have banded together at grain boundaries, they tend to fracture there.

RandomLunatic
2010-02-01, 02:26 AM
Does anybody at all know how the German Tauchpanzers were meant to be deployed during Operation Sealion? Most of the sources I can find only focus on the details of the actual conversions, with one source boldly stating "The Tauchpanzer were to be carried to the English Isles by specially converted ships and lowered into the water".

I will let Jack Sparrow sum that tidbit up for me.

That's maddeningly un-useful.

MickJay
2010-02-01, 05:58 AM
It would be easier to lower them into the water and let them ride up those last hundred metres than get "normal" tanks off at the shore itself, I guess. Though I still don't see how useful would it be - if you can leave your ship close enough to the shore for it to unload amphibious tanks, then you probably don't really need to get there with tanks first anyway... I can see some advantages it would bring, but probably not enough to justify the effort.

Philistine
2010-02-01, 01:20 PM
Does anybody at all know how the German Tauchpanzers were meant to be deployed during Operation Sealion? Most of the sources I can find only focus on the details of the actual conversions, with one source boldly stating "The Tauchpanzer were to be carried to the English Isles by specially converted ships and lowered into the water".

It's possible that nobody ever got around to fully working that out - the "planning" for Seelowe was sketchy at best, and a number of inconvenient details were simply glossed over.

From the looks of it, I'd guess the launching vessel would drop anchor, then use an onboard crane to pick up the tanks off the deck, lift them over the side, and lower them into the water (or better yet, all the way to the bottom - you wouldn't want your tanks to tumble around and land belly-up).

I have no idea how steeply the bottom of the Channel slopes in the area where the Tauchpanzers were supposed to be employed - meaning I have no idea how closely the launching vessels would have to approach the shore. It the bottom features a long, gentle slope, they can stand off a lot farther; and have to, to avoid running aground. The other point here is that sailing up to the beach and driving the tanks off onto the sand wasn't really an option available to the Germans - you want purpose-designed tank landing craft for that, shallow of draft and flat of bottom, with a bow ramp and a specialized ballasting system to allow your LCT to run up practically out of the water, and then unstick itself again to get out of the way of follow-on forces. The Wehrmacht didn't have anything remotely like that, so their choices were 1) develop "swimming" or "wading" tanks, or 2) the all-infantry invasion force would have to do without armor support until they could capture a port with docking and cargo handling facilities intact.

Dervag
2010-02-01, 01:43 PM
I don't think it is blackbody radiation you are looking for, but rather color changes due to changes in oxidation. The peak wavelength at the Curie temperature is only about 2.8 microns, which is not yet visible.The peak wavelength isn't visible, but that doesn't mean the iron hasn't started to glow noticeably, though it also doesn't mean it has. Maybe I'm just underestimating how hot "red hot" is, since my practical experience with laboratory temperatures caps out at around 200 degrees Celsius/~400 Fahrenheit.


Long range "volley" fire is a tricky subject, but was a popular military theory up until WW1. Many old rifles from that period are equipped with what are called "volley sights." Although as far as I can tell the tactics didn't necessarily call for well timed volleys. Instead the officer would determine the range, tell his troops what to set the sights to, and then order them to blast away. At such long ranges they were just shooting at "blobs" of soldiers and not individuals.That works really well against large groups of primitive enemies who are used to having to fight in close formation for reasons of command coordination (the officers are tribal leaders and need to keep their men close under their eye), or because they spend most of their time fighting melee-heavy enemies and aren't used to dealing with a large force of long range rifle-users.

Great for fighting the Dervishes at Omdurman, not so great in World War One.

Incidentally, the war along the Nile in the Sudan in the late 1890s was a perfect illustration of the techniques and tactics of Victorian-era pre-World War One military thinking, and of how those methods really did work quite well against the enemies they were adapted to fight.


It's possible that nobody ever got around to fully working that out - the "planning" for Seelowe was sketchy at best, and a number of inconvenient details were simply glossed over.Yeah. I've heard that the closest they came to a real tank-landing plan was to use expendable craft, run them aground, and have the tanks blow the bows off so they could drive off the ship that way.

Brainfart
2010-02-02, 03:14 AM
No, Yes, No, possibly, No.

Maille can't help you much against impact. All it's really good for is cuts, and a limited amount against chops and stabs by spreading the impact a bit, basically turning the edged attack into a blunt-force attack. Usually you've got padded or quilted cloth or something similar underneath to spread impacts further.

As long as the force of the blow against you would break bones/kill, it still will. It just reduces or eliminates penetration, providing the blow isn't geared specifically for penetrating maille. Bodkin arrows and bodkin stilletos, for instance, can be small enough to go right through some rings, or spread the rings so that the attack can get through.

It's the same basic principle as modern kevlar vests and the like. Its still a bad thing to get shot even when wearing a vest, because you still get the full impact of the bullet. It's spread over a somewhat larger area so that it reduces the penetration, but a good chunk of the power still transmits through. People have died from being shot even when the bullet hit the vest, because the *impact* killed them despite there being no effective penetration.

Just to add on to this, broadheads are absolute and utter piss against mail. The original poster's query lumped broadheads in with bodkins, so I thought I'd respond. :P

EDIT: A random youtube video I stumbled across.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hy_A9vjp_s

Thought you guys might get a kick out of seeing the test at 5:30. Eat that, katana plonkers. :smallbiggrin:

Dervag
2010-02-02, 08:33 AM
Now if only my German were better...

Storm Bringer
2010-02-02, 11:49 AM
i;m kinda suprised at how welll that longsword weathered the blow, actaully, expically compared to the katana. I didn't think the difference would have been so marked.

Britter
2010-02-02, 12:24 PM
Given how katana are forged, that is pretty much exactly what I would expect to happen in that circumstance. The edge is a much more brittle steel than the back, and that type of shock would be disasterous to the weapon. Heck, there are techniques in many kenjutsu schools that are designed to break the blade of your opponents weapon by striking it on the back. The guys who used the katana in life-or-death struggles were well aware of the limitations of the weapon, and trained, planned and fought accordingly.

Edit - I should point out that I am not in the "katana-uber-alles" camp. I find European longsword technique fascinating and every bit as much a martial art as anything the Asian cultures came up with. My experience, however, lies solely in the Japanese martial arts. Most every teacher I have had has stressed the relative weakness of the katana, in terms of absorbing impact. There are very specific methods of blocking and parrying designed to minimize direct impact to the sides and back of the sword, because of the inherent weakness created by the method of forging.

Autolykos
2010-02-02, 12:26 PM
Now if only my German were better...
My English isn't perfect, but perhaps I can help (I'm trying to be as accurate as possible, so the style might suffer somewhat...)

[0:00]-[1:00]
The samurai sword is an absolutely deadly weapon. Whoever masters this super-sword can defeat his enemies in a matter of seconds. But swordsman Roth also studies european weapons and combat techniques. His trust lies in a German sword: "In a fight about life and death I'd always choose the German longsword." In contrast to the Japanese Katana the German longsword is a little longer and has two sharp edges. This allows techniques with the longsword that don't exist for the samurai sword. Stefan Roth and his partner Colin Richards show us the European School: "In this technique we're in the 'Enge Mensur' (short distance) and I'm holding the blade, which is easily possible with European swords because they're not really sharp in this section, and I'm using a lock to disarm the enemy." A crossguard is missing in a samurai sword and has various uses: "It can be used for a strike to the face in the 'Enge Mensur', ..."
[1:00]-[2:00]
"... it can be used to crush the larynge, and it can be used for ripping or as a hammer." Whereas the samurai sword is admired all around the world for it's abilities, German and European swords are regarded as inaccurate, brute and heavy. We want to know if this bad reputation is justified and how it fares in comparison against the Japanese Katana. First test: The swords' sharpness. How well do these deadly weapons cut in combat? Test object: Bamboo mats, as thick as a human thigh. The samurai sword begins in the test-cutting. The original of this weapon dates back to the 15th century, it's weight is 1100 grams.
[2:00]-[3:00]
It's length: 105 cm. It is used with both hands and is single-edged (has only one sharp side). For such a test perfect control of the weapon is necessary. You can see Stefan Roth's concentration. If he misses, he could suffer life-threatening cuts. The test-cutting shows: The samurai blade is razor-sharp. The Katana glides through the mats like through butter. It is unclear if an European sword can be that sharp.
[3:00]-[4:00]
The original German longsword is also from the 15th century. It weighs 300g more and is 15cm longer than the Katana. It is also used with both hands, but it's blade is double-edged. Stefan Roth is concentrating for the test with the longsword. The result: The longsword also easily cuts the bamboo mats. It has the same deadly sharpness as the Katana. Through constant warfare and cultural exchange the European swords were perfected very early. This picture from the 13th century demonstrates this sharpness: A sword strike cuts the enemy in two. But the samurai sword not only excels in sharpness.
[4:00]-[5:00]
It also allows extremely fast and accurate cuts. To make such fast cuts visible we are using a high-speed camera for this test. It can record 2000 images per second, 80 times more than a regular TV camera. Stefan Roth has to split a tomato in this test. It is small, soft and has little weight, so the blade has little resistance. Does the Katana here also live up to it's reputation? These images speak for themselves. The slow-motion reveals the blade's scalpel-like sharpness and precision. How will this test end with the German longsword?
[5:00]-[6:00]
The surprising result: The German longsword, too, is capable of surgical precision. But there is an extreme discipline in which the samurai sword is regarded as unique: It's outstandingly hard edge. It is said to be able of cutting a sword blade. Even experts confirm this: "The Japanese sword easily cuts through iron plates or even other sword blades without being damaged." We want to test this for ourselves. The Japanese Katana has to cut a sword blade. According to the expert this should be easy. But the experiment is extremely dangerous. Metal shards could fly out of the blades and injure Stefan Roth, so he's wearing special protective clothing for this test.
[6:00]-[7:00]
Sparks fly, but the clamped sword stays whole. It is only dented. The samurai sword is heavily bent and has a chipped blade. Obviously nobody tried what they claimed. How will the German longsword do in this test? Can this blade hack through a sword? The German longsword splits the other blade and shows itself as the true super-sword. Stefan Roth feels confirmed: The longsword only shows a small dent: "I didn't expect anything else, this is exactly what I assumed. As you can see, one could immediately continue fighting with this sword, which woldn't be possible with the Japanese sword."
[7:00]-end
It is clearly a legend that the samurai sword could cut a steel blade. On the contrary: The soft back causes it to bend easily in combat, and it's hard edge shows dents after a duel as you can see in this historical picture. Sword expert Roth knows other reasons why the Japanese smiths were'nt necessarily better than the Europeans: "In Europe they started about 1000 years earlier to create qualitatively good blades than in Japan." And there are clues that the Japanese knew of the European quality: "Starting with the end of the 16th century the Japanese also used European steel, and they preferred it because it was of better quality than their own." Today, Japanese and Europeans still forge their swords traditionally. The Japanese samurai sword is a masterpiece, but not absolutely better than an European sword. Both cultures perfected their art of metal-working to create a very outstanding weapon. Today, we can only admire the work of the old masters.

fusilier
2010-02-02, 03:08 PM
My (very limited) understanding is that European swords around this time, and of this kind, tended to be a bit more springy (they say a fine toledo rapier could be bent in a half-circle and return to it's original shape). So after watching the movie, it makes sense to me that the longsword was able to withstand the shock, but the katana bent.

Eorran
2010-02-03, 11:53 AM
I've got a couple of questions that came to mind while playing the (admittedly not realistic) Call of Duty - Modern Warfare.

How believable is it that an infantryman would take a weapon from a downed enemy? Three specific cases:
1. His own weapon (let's say an M-16) is out of ammo, and there are plenty of AK-47's available to him, with some spare mags. He know he's likely to be involved in fighting before the cavalry comes to his rescue.

2. He's got an M-4 carbine, and comes across a Dragunov sniper rifle. There's several places with really long sight lines where the scoped sniper rifle would be significantly useful.

3. He has a backup pistol, his M-16, but comes across a SPAS-12 shotgun, and is about to do some room-by-room work where a shotgun might give him an advantage.

I know nothing about military doctrine or training in these sort of cases. My guess would be 1. any gun is better than no gun, 2. a gun you haven't sighted or calibrated is next to useless, 3. probably not.

Dervag
2010-02-03, 12:45 PM
My English isn't perfect, but perhaps I can help (I'm trying to be as accurate as possible, so the style might suffer somewhat...)Your English is quite good, especially since you were trying to make the translation faithful at the expense of beauty, instead of the other way around. Maybe I'll read this and listen to the clip sometime; I need to brush up on German if I want to keep even limited ability.


I've got a couple of questions that came to mind while playing the (admittedly not realistic) Call of Duty - Modern Warfare.

How believable is it that an infantryman would take a weapon from a downed enemy?WARNING: I am not an expert, only a relatively informed amateur:
In general, not very. First of all, infantry usually carry a lot of ammo for their basic automatic rifle; that's one of the reasons so many countries have gone to 5.56mm rounds in the first place. The ammo is easy to carry in large amounts.

Second of all, if you start using a foreign weapon on the battlefield, your gunshots will sound the same as the enemy's. This is bad for a lot of reasons; it increases the risk that people will get confused and call in an artillery strike on your position or something.

Third of all, a lot of the time there won't be enemy bodies to take weapons off of ready to hand. If you're on the offensive, you can usually slow down and wait for more ammo to catch up; if you're on defensive, most of the enemy weapons will be scattered around in places you can't get to without getting shot at.

Though in any case, if it's that or die, they'll take what they can get... not likely though.


Three specific cases:
1. His own weapon (let's say an M-16) is out of ammo, and there are plenty of AK-47's available to him, with some spare mags. He know he's likely to be involved in fighting before the cavalry comes to his rescue.The AKs (more likely AK-74's, the updated version) will probably be gathered together in a central location by commanding officers, and passed out to the troops if and when their ammo for their primary weapon runs dry.


2. He's got an M-4 carbine, and comes across a Dragunov sniper rifle. There's several places with really long sight lines where the scoped sniper rifle would be significantly useful.The average soldier is not especially well trained for sniper work at extreme ranges where a scope is truly necessary. Rifles (including carbines) can shoot surprisingly far using non-magnifying sights, and machine guns like the M-249 can shoot even farther.

Moreover, as a general rule, if you're so far away that you can't hit the enemy using non-scoped sights, they aren't going to hit you often, either. Positions with a long line of sight are best used for soldiers with their own dedicated sniper rifles, for spotters for artillery and airstrikes, or for support weapons (again, like machine guns). You, with your M-4, will probably be assigned to cover one of those positions from close attacks by enemies who manage to sneak into range of your weapon.


3. He has a backup pistol, his M-16, but comes across a SPAS-12 shotgun, and is about to do some room-by-room work where a shotgun might give him an advantage.Since the M-16 is fairly suitable for room by room combat, he's almost certainly going to keep the rifle. Especially since there's a real risk of getting royally chewed out for abandoning it, unlike in Call of Duty, where you can scatter your expensive military hardware all over the battlefield in the middle of nowhere guilt-free.

Stephen_E
2010-02-03, 05:50 PM
I have read that in WW2 allied troopers did grab and used M42's when they had ammo for them.
This was noted primarily because normally troops don't grab the enemies weapons. The combination of unreliableness of ammo resupply, unfamiliraity with weapon, and as Dervag noted, identification of enemy bu weapon sound, make it a poor option, unless the weapon is a truly superior (or seen as superior) weapon.

Stephen E

Mike_G
2010-02-03, 06:13 PM
It happens. At the Battle of Dong Ha in Vietnam, the Marines had a lot of malfunctions with recently issued M16's, and many of them rearmed themselves with captured NVA weapons.

This was an exception, as others have said, but soldiers in combat are a practical lot. If they can get their hands on a superior weapon, like one that actually works, instead of the jamtastic first issue M16, they will use it.

There is no real 'doctrine' on using captured weapons. It's seldom a planned thing, but there is ample precedent. Troops who are expected to spend time cut off from the main supply, such as special forces, tend to be trained to at least some level in enemy weapons.

Galloglaich
2010-02-03, 11:12 PM
here is a pretty nice test cutting with a real nice sword, Albions Brescia Spadona

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2ahRiSHi0E&feature=related

Galloglaich
2010-02-04, 09:41 AM
I have read that in WW2 allied troopers did grab and used M42's when they had ammo for them.
This was noted primarily because normally troops don't grab the enemies weapons. The combination of unreliableness of ammo resupply, unfamiliraity with weapon, and as Dervag noted, identification of enemy bu weapon sound, make it a poor option, unless the weapon is a truly superior (or seen as superior) weapon.

Stephen E

I know paratroopers in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division were systematically issued captured panzerfausts to knock out German tanks with them. There were enough around (in some battallions 2 or more per platoon) that they are often factored into simulations of the war in video games etc., I think Combat Mission had them.

The reason being that a Panzerfaust could knock out basically any tank if you were close enough, whereas the bazooka couldn't punch through frontal armor of the heavy German tanks like the Tiger, King Tiger, Panther etc., and the infantry usually didn't have any other weapons which could either including anti-tank guns.

G

fusilier
2010-02-04, 03:13 PM
I just wanted to add a little to the discussion on using captured weapons.

Picking up an enemy weapon in the middle of battle, and using it, without anytime to become familiar with the weapon, could be problematic. Some weapons just don't work like others. Carcanos, for example, use a different sight-picture. French bolt action rifles don't have a safety, and the M1886 has a magazine cut-off. While my knowledge of modern sniper rifles is scant, many rifles have their own peculiarities in their dispersion, even if identical models. And I would expect that the scopes and sights for sniper rifles are probably tuned to the individual that is expected to be shooting the rifle.

Not all weapons will be this different, but this is why GURPS has the option of assigning familiarity penalties, which are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Fhaolan
2010-02-04, 05:00 PM
Disclaimer: I'm not in any Armed Forces as such. As always, take everything you read from me with a grain of salt.

I've done a quick survey of the people I know who are or were in the Armed Forces from Canada, England, and the 'States, many of which are/were in Special Forces or equivalents. This survey pool covers a large range of time periods as well, from WWII on, and the response can be boiled down to this: You do what you have to.

Usually, however, if you've got the time to get sufficiently familiar with, and confirm the proper maintenance has been done on, the 'liberated' weapon for it to be considered reliable; you've probably got time to get back to supply for reloads for the weapons you normally carry.

I have been told that it was part of the standard doctrine at one point to remove/destroy enemy weapons from the scene if at all possible, to reduce the amount of material available for recovery *by* the enemy later. But that was an 'after-the'fact' thing, not a 'during the firefight' thing.

Stephen_E
2010-02-04, 07:55 PM
The reason being that a Panzerfaust could knock out basically any tank if you were close enough, whereas the bazooka couldn't punch through frontal armor of the heavy German tanks like the Tiger, King Tiger, Panther etc., and the infantry usually didn't have any other weapons which could either including anti-tank guns.

G

I did a little bit of looking at ww2 anti-tank weapons a few times in the past and the thing that most struck me was that militaries seemed to build there AT weapons to take out their own tanks. With the result that the Germans having the toughest top-line tanks, their AT weapons were the most effective.

I would note that nothing I've ever read on the doctrine of infantry AT weapon use advocated using them against the frontal armour of tanks. Rear by choice, side, because it's the best you can ussually hope for, but if you are reduced to trying for front armour penetration you are in deep crap.:smallwink:

Stephen E

Fortinbras
2010-02-04, 08:08 PM
I sort of asked this before but never got a very clear response.

Were there very many swords designed to be used in two hands or in conjunction with a shield, in other words were there any real weapons like the D&D bastard sword?

Fhaolan
2010-02-04, 08:46 PM
I sort of asked this before but never got a very clear response.

Were there very many swords designed to be used in two hands or in conjunction with a shield, in other words were there any real weapons like the D&D bastard sword?

Yep. http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_spotxiii.html The subtype of XIIIa is, I believe, the closest historical match to the D&D Bastard Sword, as these are depicted as being used single-handed from horseback, and two-handed on the ground.

fusilier
2010-02-04, 08:55 PM
I did a little bit of looking at ww2 anti-tank weapons a few times in the past and the thing that most struck me was that militaries seemed to build there AT weapons to take out their own tanks. With the result that the Germans having the toughest top-line tanks, their AT weapons were the most effective.

Stephen E

For a while there, the Germans painted their tanks in an anti-magnetic paint (zimmerit?) that prevented infantry from attaching magnetic charges to sides of the tank, of course nobody but the Germans were actually using magnetic AT charges. :-) (Note it's not actually anti-magnetic paint, it's just a cement that provides texture and distance to prevent magnets from attaching)

Mike_G
2010-02-04, 09:44 PM
I would note that nothing I've ever read on the doctrine of infantry AT weapon use advocated using them against the frontal armour of tanks. Rear by choice, side, because it's the best you can ussually hope for, but if you are reduced to trying for front armour penetration you are in deep crap.:smallwink:

Stephen E


Yeah, you want to target the weaker rear armor, but that's a tough shot to get, since the tank will try to put it's front toward danger, and tanks work best with infantry who will generally notice and shoot any errant AT gunners who try to infiltrate around to the vulnerable points.

Doctrine does advise targeting the rear armor, even more recently, when I was trained on the now obsolete Dragon, but that's like saying doctrine advises you to try to pick up only hot women. A full on armored assault with supporting infantry is a bit like two minutes to closing time. You take any shot you can get, and hope for the best.

Fhaolan
2010-02-04, 11:42 PM
Doctrine does advise targeting the rear armor, even more recently, when I was trained on the now obsolete Dragon, but that's like saying doctrine advises you to try to pick up only hot women. A full on armored assault with supporting infantry is a bit like two minutes to closing time. You take any shot you can get, and hope for the best.

If I was the type to sig other people's quotes... this would be pretty high on the list. Well done. :smallsmile:

Galloglaich
2010-02-05, 09:25 AM
Yep. http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_spotxiii.html The subtype of XIIIa is, I believe, the closest historical match to the D&D Bastard Sword, as these are depicted as being used single-handed from horseback, and two-handed on the ground.

Basically, most longswords (two handed swords analagous to the D&D bastard sword) could be used either one handed or two handed and were used on horseback one - handed and also sometimes on foot in conjunction with a buckler or rotella (small shield). You can see this in a lot of period art. Primarily they were two handed weapons though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longsword

In the fechtbuchs (fencing manuals) of the Middle Ages and Renaissance you use the longsword with two hands most of the time, but you can switch to single handed in the middle of a fight, to do sling cuts, sieze the other guys sword- arm or his weapon, etc.

So in terms of the functionality you are describing, almost all longswords were "Hand and a Half" weapons, designed to be usable one handed or two handed, but much more effective in two-hands.

The historical Bastard sword is a sub-type of the longsword which appeared in the 14th-15th Century, basically pointier and a little more thrusting oriented. An Oakeshott XVa is pretty typical example.

http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_spotxv.html

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-05, 09:56 AM
Yeah, you want to target the weaker rear armor, but that's a tough shot to get, since the tank will try to put it's front toward danger, and tanks work best with infantry who will generally notice and shoot any errant AT gunners who try to infiltrate around to the vulnerable points.

Doctrine does advise targeting the rear armor, even more recently, when I was trained on the now obsolete Dragon, but that's like saying doctrine advises you to try to pick up only hot women. A full on armored assault with supporting infantry is a bit like two minutes to closing time. You take any shot you can get, and hope for the best.

It's always better to hit a tank on the side and rear, that is also true with other tanks. It's not as hard generally speaking with a personal anti-tank weapon since they are tpically used in ambush. You don't want to open fire on a tank from long range with personal anti-tank weapon because a tank can shoot you miles away.

However there is always a sort of see-saw between anti-tank weapons and tank armor, and doctrine changes accordingly. When the anti-tank weapons could punch through frontal armor the armies which had them took advantage of that because it means the weapons are more effective by a couple of orders of magnitude - it means tanks can't get close to infantry.

In WW II, when the Bazooka first appeared it could consistently penetrate the frontal armor of the best Geman tanks from it's maximum effective range (not very far). By contrast, the primary US anti-tank gun at the time the 37mm could not even pentrate side armor except at very close range. After sad experiences in North Africa they called it the "door knocker". The British 6 pounder (57mm) was a little better but also basically had to attack from ambush.

When the heavy German tanks came out the Bazooka was only suitible for short range and even then, a rear shot or side shot was the only way for it to have any effect. The Tiger tank was almost invulnerable to the Bazooka from any direction. That is why the 82nd Airborne made it a priority to distribute panzerfausts to their troops.

The Germans had a similar problem on the Russian front. The T-34 and KV were essentially immune to the German 50mm gun, and had pretty effective armor even on the sides. The PaK 40 (75mm) improved the situation but only marginally. The Germans always had their PaK 43 (88 mm) but this was a huge weapon with very limited mobility not very useful at close range (very effective at long range though). But the Russians came out with their formidable Joseph Stalin Tank, the much heavier T-34 / 85 and Kv / 85 and Isu - 153 Tank Destroyer, Is-122, Su-100 etc. these very tough AFVs were all but invulnerable and could even endure the 88 mm, which made them a major problem. The German answer was the panzerfaust for short range, something like a primitive RPG with a huge warhead, and the panzershiek, a much improved copy of the American bazooka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerfaust
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerschreck

Both the panzkerfaust and the panzershriek could easily penetrate the frontal armor of Soviet vehicles.

The nature of the fight on the Russian front meant that on the Western front the Germans had a relatively easy time dealing with US and British armor which did not include heavy tanks until the very end of the war when the Pershing finally arrived. Fortunately for US troops a big advantage in air power and artillery helped even the score somewhat.

And the bazooka was no slouch either, it was improved through the war and always posed a threat for ambush, it was also supplemented with 57mm and later 75 and 105mm recoilless rifles.

Interestingly during the war the Soviets had no personal anti-tank weapon and had to rely on molatov cocktails and anti-tank mines and the like.

After WW II the Soviets adopted the Panzerfaust as the RPG 2. By The Vietnam era, RPG 7s and B-10 rockets were easily knocking out US heavy tanks from the front, as the HEAT warheads were powerful enough to cut through almost any thickness of steel armor. It wasn't until the new type of Chobbham armor (laminated with Ceramic layers) was invented by the British in the 1970's that the problem of HEAT warheads was solved, pushing the see-saw back heavily in the direction of the new generation of tanks like the M-1, Leopard II, Challenger II, LeClerk, Merkava etc. etc..

But very recently the Russians seem to have posssibly changed the alchemy again with their tandem warhead RPGs, which is apparently what gave the Israelis so much trouble during their last invasion of Lebanon.

G.

Boci
2010-02-05, 10:23 AM
To the best of my knowledge, a katana was crafted using the folding steel technique out of necessity due to the low quality of Japanese iron. So what would be the result if European iron was used to construct a katana?

Galloglaich
2010-02-05, 10:29 AM
Some examples of longswords being used one-handed in Medieval art:

Here with a shield (note the length of the grip of the sword, clearly a Hand and a Half weapon)

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=6617

Note the guys on the bridge

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=6602

In a knightly judicial combat

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=11942

Galloglaich
2010-02-05, 10:36 AM
To the best of my knowledge, a katana was crafted using the folding steel technique out of necessity due to the low quality of Japanese iron. So what would be the result if European iron was used to construct a katana?

Katanas were mae from steel of a variety of different qualities. Katanas were neither inferior nor superior to European swords, there was a huge variety in quality from one sword to another. Some katanas were actually made with Indian wootz steel which is better than European homogenius steel... some European swords were made of the same material.

The katana was made for a specific purpose and a specific type of fighting, single edged with a focus on slicing / draw-cuts, it is essentially a two-handed saber. The Europeans had very similar weapons called kriegsmessers, schwiesersabels, grossabels etc. which were also very popular, just not well known to gamers.

Japanese combat, especially in the period after the Island was "closed" to foriegn influence, (post 16th Century) became somewhat ritualized / specialized and a more narrow range of weapons were used, but the quality of the weapons was very high and definiately compared well with the best European kit. European arms from the same period were more varied and more oriented to dealing with heavier armor and missile weapons, but weren't necessarily better or worse. Both Japan and places like Italy and Germany were among the worlds top producers of hand weapons like swords (among many other regions which are less famous, such as India, the Philippines, and Thailand).

But I think it's a mistake to assume that the katana was better or worse than the longsword, it's like saying a screwdriver is better than a hammer. Depends if you are driving a nail or screwing in a screw...

G.

Britter
2010-02-05, 11:26 AM
Modern smiths using modern steel have forged some pretty impressive katana. I have seen examples forged from L6 that can be bent to a 180 degree angle and return to true, while retaining their ability to cut. Of course, you will pay through the nose for such a blade. Modern steel helps eliminate some of the weakness of the traditional method, mainly brittleness along the cutting edge and weakness against lateral impact. Modern steels tend to be more forgiving while cutting as well, allowing a sword to survive poorly executed techniques that would bend or break more traditonally made katana.

I would guess that similar results would be found with forging European-style blades using modern steels.

Btw, those are some great cutting vids. I have never seen some of those methods for long sword before. Good stuff.

valadil
2010-02-05, 03:10 PM
So what do you gun folk think about this (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Armatix-Gun-Wristwatch-.22,news-5677.html)? It's a hand gun that needs to be within certain proximity of a wristwatch that's electronically bound to it. The idea is that it makes it so that only you can fire the gun, not the guy who takes it from you, or the small child who finds it in your closet.

Not being a gun owner or enthusiast, my thoughts are pretty simple. I like the idea in theory. The price is prohibitive, but should drop if it catches on. Including an extra point of failure could be deadly, especially an electronic one that's more of a system of failure than a single point. If I were to buy a gun and had kids, I'd probably want something like this.

boomwolf
2010-02-05, 03:29 PM
But very recently the Russians seem to have posssibly changed the alchemy again with their tandem warhead RPGs, which is apparently what gave the Israelis so much trouble during their last invasion of Lebanon.

Not that much actually, the Merkava mk. 4 is still nigh-impenetrable, abd under constant upgrades.

The main problem was terrorists hiding between civilians, so they kept attacking you from "cleared" areas, giving no actual "front line" to the war.

Stephen_E
2010-02-05, 04:26 PM
The main problem was terrorists hiding between civilians, so they kept attacking you from "cleared" areas, giving no actual "front line" to the war.

Currently there is no single general accepted definition of terrorism, but none of the ones I've read that come close to be accepted would call the act you decribe as terrorism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition_of_terrorism
Wiki does a good job of covering the problems with the use of this term and makes the point that it is genarally used as a perjorative, which would probably be the most accurate description of your use above.

Stephen E

Norsesmithy
2010-02-05, 08:57 PM
So what do you gun folk think about this (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Armatix-Gun-Wristwatch-.22,news-5677.html)? It's a hand gun that needs to be within certain proximity of a wristwatch that's electronically bound to it. The idea is that it makes it so that only you can fire the gun, not the guy who takes it from you, or the small child who finds it in your closet.

Not being a gun owner or enthusiast, my thoughts are pretty simple. I like the idea in theory. The price is prohibitive, but should drop if it catches on. Including an extra point of failure could be deadly, especially an electronic one that's more of a system of failure than a single point. If I were to buy a gun and had kids, I'd probably want something like this.
These kinds of ideas are always bad ones, because gunfights are messy places where things happen that make "smart ideas" very dangerous.

A gunshot which hits a bone in your arm basically turns your limb into a wet noodle. With that sort of system, if you were to pick up your sidearm with your off hand, and try to keep fighting, you'd find that your gun didn't work. Further, you'd have to worry about batteries in both the gun and the wristwatch, and give your pistol an additional place to break (and I've never seen anything electronic that could stand up to the punishment a well made pistol can, so it'd break more than the other things that can also break).

The concept was basically created to prevent police officers from being shot with their own weapons (80% of officers shot to death in the line of duty were shot to death with their firearm or the firearm belonging to a brother officer that was in the hands of criminals), but all a bad guy would have to do is keep the handgun close to the policeman's arm to make it keep working (and believe me, word would get out).

And as far as keeping children safe around firearms, the best way to do that is to introduce them to firearms at a young age and teach them to handle them safely.

I mean, if you were a holophobe, and wanted a gun for plinking that would be dangerous to use for just about anything else, it'd fit the bill, but if you are afraid of guns, you shouldn't own them.

Fhaolan
2010-02-06, 12:30 AM
So what do you gun folk think about this (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Armatix-Gun-Wristwatch-.22,news-5677.html)? It's a hand gun that needs to be within certain proximity of a wristwatch that's electronically bound to it. The idea is that it makes it so that only you can fire the gun, not the guy who takes it from you, or the small child who finds it in your closet.

Not being a gun owner or enthusiast, my thoughts are pretty simple. I like the idea in theory. The price is prohibitive, but should drop if it catches on. Including an extra point of failure could be deadly, especially an electronic one that's more of a system of failure than a single point. If I were to buy a gun and had kids, I'd probably want something like this.

I work with those kinds of devices all the time (but not on guns), and I can honestly say I wouldn't trust them to 'unlock' the gun when it was needed. They're too fiddly. Either both gun and watch have to have batteries (which go weak at exactly the wrong time), or it's an induction device which are easily mucked up by background magnetic fields.

Autolykos
2010-02-06, 09:24 AM
or it's an induction device which are easily mucked up by background magnetic fields.
That was actually my first thought about police use. Just use some radio jamming, and the cops are reduced to moving targets. Bad idea.
Besides, I have to agree with Norsesmithy. Complicated things pretty much guarantee disaster.
The only possible use would be as a sports weapon for someone with young kids (too young to understand the concept of "weapon"), but it shouldn't be too difficult to keep the gun away from them (especially if you keep the ammunition somewhere else, which is a good idea anyway - in Germany, you're legally required to do so if you own a weapon for sports/hunting, and as a "normal person" you won't get one for protection purposes, period.)

Myou
2010-02-06, 09:30 AM
Wikipedia says that arbalests had a strength of up to 22kN, but that seems far too high. Is that a mistake, or am I missing something?

Matthew
2010-02-06, 10:45 AM
Wikipedia says that arbalests had a strength of up to 22kN, but that seems far too high. Is that a mistake, or am I missing something?

I have always found that particular Wikipedia article to be somewhat questionable, but that is true of all the Longbow/Arbalest/Katana type entries. That said, late period crossbows could be very powerful, so maybe 22kN is possible. That does not tell you how effective the crossbow is, though, since what you need to know is how much energy is being imparted to the target at various ranges, which it not indicate (increasing my suspicions that the number has been included only because it sounds impressive). That is in no way representative of thirteenth century crossbows and the like, of course. There was an interesting study done at Reading University by Alan Williams in the wake of the Knight and the Blast Furnace", that might be of interest to you: The Archaeometallurgy of Armour (http://www.srs.ac.uk/scienceandheritage/presentations/Williams-Tate-Poster1.pdf).

Edmund
2010-02-06, 11:49 AM
I have always found that particular Wikipedia article to be somewhat questionable, but that is true of all the Longbow/Arbalest/Katana type entries. That said, late period crossbows could be very powerful, so maybe 22kN is possible. That does not tell you how effective the crossbow is, though, since what you need to know is how much energy is being imparted to the target at various ranges, which it not indicate (increasing my suspicions that the number has been included only because it sounds impressive). That is in no way representative of thirteenth century crossbows and the like, of course. There was an interesting study done at Reading University by Alan Williams in the wake of the Knight and the Blast Furnace", that might be of interest to you: The Archaeometallurgy of Armour (http://www.srs.ac.uk/scienceandheritage/presentations/Williams-Tate-Poster1.pdf).

Williams suggests 200 joules, but his figures are based on speculation and are approximate. Strickland and Hardy's 'The Great Warbow' is probably a better source for figures, but I haven't got that on hand and I'm not going to scour the library to get it at the moment. :smallsmile:

That said, 22kN is laughably huge for anything man-portable, though I wouldn't be surprised if siege weapons could produce that kind of force.

Fhaolan
2010-02-06, 12:15 PM
Wikipedia says that arbalests had a strength of up to 22kN, but that seems far too high. Is that a mistake, or am I missing something?

I think the article is getting confused by changing terminology and is reporting inaccurate data because of it. The term 'Crossbow' has at various times meant any weapon with a bow attached cross-wise to a body, said weapon but specifically dealing with spring-style prods ('bow'), said weapon but only when it's wood or composite prods. Arbalest was at one point just another word for crossbow, a crossbow pulled by a crank, or a crossbow with metal prods. Balista was also another word for crossbow, a cranked crossbow large enough to require a stand or mount, or a torsion-style crossbow (rather than a spring-style). And there are tons of sub-types and name variants due to different languages and dialects.

The metal-prod style arbalest could pass 1,000 lb-pull strength levels supposedly (I've never seen on myself, but I've been told by specialists that it happened really late in period), but in order to reach 5,000 lb-pull strengths it's probably dealing with the torsion-style balistas instead.

Mike_G
2010-02-06, 12:41 PM
If I was the type to sig other people's quotes... this would be pretty high on the list. Well done. :smallsmile:

Thanks.

I spent some time in the Marines, and now I'm a Paramedic, and I've always considered protocols and doctrine to be suggestions. Often good, solid suggestions, but subject to broad interpretation in practice.

Stuff happens in the field that the book just doesn't cover, so you do your best.

Galloglaich
2010-02-06, 02:16 PM
The metal-prod style arbalest could pass 1,000 lb-pull strength levels supposedly (I've never seen on myself, but I've been told by specialists that it happened really late in period), but in order to reach 5,000 lb-pull strengths it's probably dealing with the torsion-style balistas instead.

I just did a bunch of research on this for a book so I hope nobody minds a small dissertation on European crossbows here :)

From what I understand, European crossbows gradually improved in drawing power from around the 8th-9th Century through the 16th, when they reached their peak of efficiency. By the 12th Century they began to incorporate composite prods, possibly influenced by the technology of Recurve bows which were encountered in the early Crusades. They seemed to have reached a level of power that was threatening both to horse-archers and heavy cavalry, and requried foot -stirrups to span

At the battle of Assouf in 1191, Richard I was able to defeat a large force of "Saracen" horse archers by deploying heavy crossbowmen who were apparently able to out-range the composite recurve bows of the Arabs. At the battle of Legnano in 1176 the powerful army of Holy Roman Emperor Barbarosa was defeated by a league of Italian cities, in one of the first major defeats of heavy cavalry by infantry in Medieval Europe. Again, (according to Hans Delbruck) the crossbow was apparently one of the key factors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Legnano
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_arsuf

In the 13th Century crossbows became more powerful still, probably spurred on by pressure from the East and more powerful recurve bows. During the famous Mongol Invasion of Europe in 1241 AD the Mongols reported in their own records that the European heavy crossbow caused severe casualties with both men and horses. During their subsequent invasions in the 1280s the Mongols were defeated repeatedly across Eastern Europe and again credited the crossbow as a major problem, which was now apparently on equal terms with their formidable recurves. These crossbows were now powerful enough that a foot stirrup was no longer sufficient to span them, they requried a belt hook, or other devices such as a goats-foot, or even a windlass.

Here is a photo of a goats-foot spanner from the 16th Century:
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/citi/images/standard/WebMedium/WebImg_000066/108095_578360.jpg

In the beginning of the 14th Century there were another series of major defeats of knightly armies in Switzerland, Flanders, and Italy, and again, the crossbow was a major factor. Crossbows had become so powerful now that most required a special reduction gear device called a cranequin, similar to the jack you use to raise up a car. The cult of the crossbow spawned the William Tell legends in Switzerland and initiated festivals in Italian cities like Genoa, which had become centers of their use.

This is a cranequin
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/citi/images/standard/WebMedium/WebImg_000112/156058_1118663.jpg

In the 15th Century the steel prods began to appear, the foot-stirrup goes away and the most powerful weapons could only be spanned with the cranequin. We call the most powerful 14th-15th century crossbows arbalests out of convenience, to differentiate them from the less powerful types, much the same way as we may say 'cuir bouilli' instead of "boiled leather".

Ironically the most powerful arbalests were actually smaller, and the elimination of the foot-stirrup spanning method in favor of the cranequin made them more suitable for cavalry. These were indeed very powerful weapons, much more so than crossbows you see for hunting today. Draw weights up to 1,500 lbs were not extremely unusual, around 1,200 was probably more common, though of course with a smaller prod and a shorter spanning distance the increase in power was not quite as dramatic as that sounds. Still the very, very rare reproductions weapons of this type are tested on rifle ranges rather than archery ranges, if that tells you anything.

Precisely how powerful they are though has not been really exhaustively proven yet, there have been some informal studies done but data has not been made available yet at least not in English. I'm hoping we'll see some published academic studies and good tests showing up on video soon as interest is growing in these weapons. I suspect when we do see these it will be a surprise for a lot of people.

They were replaced on the battlefield by firearms in the 16th Century, largely because they had become so expensive to make and required more training to use than an arquebus, but they were considered to have a longer effective range and better penetration than the firearms at that time.

Fortunately for posterity, they remained popular for aristocrats as hunting weapons through the 18th Century and quite a few very nice quality examples still remain, I don't know if any are safe to try shooting or not.

http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/5371005/346005-main_Full.jpg

G.

Stephen_E
2010-02-06, 08:45 PM
Thanks.

I spent some time in the Marines, and now I'm a Paramedic, and I've always considered protocols and doctrine to be suggestions. Often good, solid suggestions, but subject to broad interpretation in practice.

Stuff happens in the field that the book just doesn't cover, so you do your best.

I should have clarified. The relevance of doctrine for the AT weapons isn't that this would always be how they were used, but that they were designed on the precept that they would only have to penetrate side and rear armour.
Thus penetrating frontal armour, while something the WW2 infantry man might like, was uncertain because it simply hadn't been designed with that in mind.

Much like WW2 US doctrine was that tanks didn't fight tanks, so they didn't design tanks to do that. That's what the tank destroyers were susposed to do. :smallwink:

Stephen E

Dervag
2010-02-06, 09:23 PM
There were, frankly, other much better reasons why they didn't design heavy tanks that could kill the German heavies; I can go into those in considerable depth.

Stephen_E
2010-02-06, 10:06 PM
There were, frankly, other much better reasons why they didn't design heavy tanks that could kill the German heavies; I can go into those in considerable depth.

I'm not talking about why they didn't design heavy tanks, I'm talking about choice made regarding the weapons put on the tanks they did produce.
It was a few years ago now, but IIRC they didn't want the 76mm that they put on the Wolverine on the Sherman because that was a AT gun and that wasn't what the Sherman was going to be doing. The stuck the slightly smaller and significantly inferior for anti-armour purposes gun on instead.

The British were even worse at deciding that this tank was for that use, and equiping it so that it really was only good for the specific purpose. Crap flexibility.

Stephen E

Mike_G
2010-02-07, 12:25 PM
I should have clarified. The relevance of doctrine for the AT weapons isn't that this would always be how they were used, but that they were designed on the precept that they would only have to penetrate side and rear armour.
Thus penetrating frontal armour, while something the WW2 infantry man might like, was uncertain because it simply hadn't been designed with that in mind.

Much like WW2 US doctrine was that tanks didn't fight tanks, so they didn't design tanks to do that. That's what the tank destroyers were susposed to do. :smallwink:

Stephen E

I think design drives doctrine as often as the other way around.

I'm pretty sure that if they could have, they'd have designed an infantry portable AT weapon that could kill a Tiger from any angle. That just wasn't possible, but they could build a bazooka that could give the infantryman some capability against armor, even if only the weaker rear armor.

It was adopted as "better than nothing." If it couldn't kill any German tank, the big, heavy thing would have been "misplaced" by the crews, who would have carried a weapon that could at least kill something, like German infantry.

I'm sure that when the first AT gunner was issued his bazooka, and told that doctrine was to fire only at the rear of the tank, so he had to infiltrate around or wait for it to pass him, taking his shot while surrounded by Panzergrenadieren, his thought was "@#$% that. You sneak around behind the tank!"

Dervag
2010-02-07, 08:52 PM
I'm not talking about why they didn't design heavy tanks, I'm talking about choice made regarding the weapons put on the tanks they did produce.
It was a few years ago now, but IIRC they didn't want the 76mm that they put on the Wolverine on the Sherman because that was a AT gun and that wasn't what the Sherman was going to be doing. The stuck the slightly smaller and significantly inferior for anti-armour purposes gun on instead.

The British were even worse at deciding that this tank was for that use, and equiping it so that it really was only good for the specific purpose. Crap flexibility.The 76mm had some disadvantages of its own. One that comes to mind is the inferior HE shells, which are bad from the point of view of infantry who want a tank that can motor up and blast the crud out of the bunkers pinning them down before the enemy mortars zero in on their position.

Also, they did put the 76mm into the Sherman; they just needed some time to get to it. Since 75mm gun designs were a long-standing, mature technology with a history dating back to before World War One, while the 76 was a new design with some bugs to be worked out... good enough for me.

Fortinbras
2010-02-07, 09:28 PM
What sort of MOS's do Navy SEALs have before they become SEALs. I know some are Marine Infrantry but who else gets to be a SEAL?

Zincorium
2010-02-08, 03:14 AM
What sort of MOS's do Navy SEALs have before they become SEALs. I know some are Marine Infrantry but who else gets to be a SEAL?

Er, I'm a Navy petty officer who looked into the SEAL program (and decided I have no chance of making it), and this is gonna take a bit of explaining.

SEALs are Navy only, the other services have their own special warfare programs (even the Air Force) that have a different focus. Marines would have to leave the Corps, join the Navy, and then go through BUDS (the training program), and that's not going to occur very often.

You can join the SEAL program from any rating (there are no MOS's in the Navy) as enlisted, and there's a specific officer program for special warfare that, like pilots, you apply for and are accepted into as part of your commission- you're not a Line Officer, and will never command a ship. Enlisted gain the SO rating, although that didn't exist a few years ago and they were technically yeoman or gunner's mates and such.

Hope this helps.

Fortinbras
2010-02-08, 08:39 PM
I have a friend who was planning to try to get into the SEALs through the Marines.

Anyway what sorts of jobs do sailors who want to be SEALs get before they go through the program? Does the Navy have its own infantry?

fusilier
2010-02-08, 08:41 PM
Hi, I was just reading an excerpt from "Galleys and Gunpowder" which can be found online here:

http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/guilmartin.com/Weapons.html

In it the author claims that crossbows are intrinsically inaccurate (I think compared to bows, not arquebuses). However his explanation seems somewhat lacking to me. Any input?

That link is to a full chapter, so here's the main paragraph:


But there were two great disadvantages to this system: it was intrinsically inaccurate and the winding operation took a great deal of time and attention. The reasons for the crossbow’s inaccuracy are somewhat involved. They begin with the mechanics of the release mechanism (see Fig. 4). Where an archer, by precisely controlling his release, could ensure that the energy in his bowstring was smoothly transmitted to the arrow, the crossbow release mechanism released the cord abruptly and somewhat erratically. Instead of being smoothly accelerated in a carefully controlled direction, the crossbow bolt began its voyage lying loosely in its trough, and was then ‘slapped’ into flight with enormous force. Crossbow bolts had to be made short and thick with a flat base in order to prevent the tremendous impact of the cord from reducing them to splinters.12 In view of the need for strength and the basic inaccuracy of the crossbow, war bolts were often very crudely made, having a single leather fin set into a slot sawed across the base of the bolt. The aerodynamic inefficiency of the resultant shape sharply increased drag and therefore reduced the maximum range. This was aggravated by the considerable and unpredictable vibration which the impact of the cord imparted to the bolt. By further and inconsistently increasing the aerodynamic drag of the bolt this vibration additionally reduced both range and accuracy.

12 Payne-Gallwey, The Crossbow, pp. 14-15, describes shooting an ordinary arrow from a heavy steel crossbow with just that result.

fusilier
2010-02-08, 08:43 PM
I have a friend who was planning to try to get into the SEALs through the Marines.

Anyway what sorts of jobs do sailors who want to be SEALs get before they go through the program? Does the Navy have its own infantry?

I thought the Marine Corps was a branch of the Navy?

Crow
2010-02-08, 08:48 PM
I have a friend who was planning to try to get into the SEALs through the Marines.

Anyway what sorts of jobs do sailors who want to be SEALs get before they go through the program? Does the Navy have its own infantry?

Your friend is going to have a tough time doing that. Good luck.

In response to a way earlier question about operators training to take headshots all the time, I spoke to my bosses (3 ex-delta, 2 ex-rangers), and the delta guys said that they trained to take headshots for situations in which a normal center-mass hit was ineffective, or they knew it would be (such as a guy wearing heavy body armor, and you're down to a pistol). They never trained to just take head shots all the time Tom Clancy style. As with everybody else, center mass, center mass, (no effect?) head.

This echoes the other responses to the question, but as I promised to get an answer direct from the source, there it is.

Mando Knight
2010-02-08, 08:50 PM
I thought the Marine Corps was a branch of the Navy?

Not the US Marine Corps. It's also not really a good idea to try to get into the US Navy SEALS by joining the Marines. It's kinda-really hard to get promoted into the elite corps of a different military branch.

Raum
2010-02-08, 09:48 PM
Yes, the US Marine Corps is a branch of the Navy. Even so, they have their own special forces - Recon. I think you're more likely to get into the Seals as a Seaman rather than as a Marine. however, Marines can be Seals - they pull from all over. For that matter, the organization originally included Army personnel.

Mike_G
2010-02-08, 10:03 PM
I thought the Marine Corps was a branch of the Navy?

Not quite.

The US Marine Corps comes under the Department of the Navy. Marines serve on most large Navy ships, traditionally guard the Captain's quarters, and provide a landing force for the Fleet. The Marines have no medics or chaplains, we get them from the Navy. Any Marine unit has Naval personnel assigned, at least as Hospital Corpsmen, and any large Naval base or ship has Marines on it.

The Navy and Marines work very closely together, but each is a separate branch of the service, with funding, administration and so on of its own. The rank structure of the USMC is closer (though not identical) to the Army than the Navy. Marines have Corporals and Sergeants, the Navy has Petty Officers and so on.

The Navy has no infantry specialty, so a sailor out of boot camp will train in a naval specialty, like gunnery or signals or engines or whatever before requesting SEAL training. Part of SEAL training is basic infantry skills, although their specialized training goes far beyond that.

And even though the SEALs are highly trained combat specialists, they still have bell bottoms on their dress uniforms, and have to wear the white Good Humor uniforms in the summer.

Fortinbras
2010-02-08, 11:21 PM
In that case wouldn't Marine Infantrymen who re-enlisted in the Navy have a better shot at being a SEAL, since they already have more infantry training than regular seamen?

Zincorium
2010-02-09, 03:41 AM
Fortinbras, you seem to be under the impression that SEALs are some sort of 'super-infantry'. Actually do some research on what the mission types SEALS are given, you'll probably be surprised.

SEALs used to be what was known as frogmen- their core skill set remains centered around diving, stealth, and demolition of assets. They do have snipers attached for some missions, and they're highly trained in combat, but they aren't Rambo types.

Frankly, joining as a Marine and then trying to join the Navy to be a SEAL sends all the wrong messages- SEAL training mostly focuses on perseverance and dedication to a single goal.

Mike_G
2010-02-09, 07:31 AM
Fortinbras, you seem to be under the impression that SEALs are some sort of 'super-infantry'. Actually do some research on what the mission types SEALS are given, you'll probably be surprised.

SEALs used to be what was known as frogmen- their core skill set remains centered around diving, stealth, and demolition of assets. They do have snipers attached for some missions, and they're highly trained in combat, but they aren't Rambo types.

Frankly, joining as a Marine and then trying to join the Navy to be a SEAL sends all the wrong messages- SEAL training mostly focuses on perseverance and dedication to a single goal.


In fairness, the original underwater demolitions mission has been expanded to include a lot more combat missions, for which infantry training is necessarily a foundation. SEAL training does a lot of laying the groundwork of infantry combat.

Whatever the sailor may have picked up in his Naval specialty school will be of less use in a commando raid than what he'd have learned at Infantry Combat Regiment at Camp Lejeune.

You are correct that the quickest route to SEAL training is to joining the right service, but it's easier to make an Infantryman into a special forces operator than it is to make a Carpenter's Mate into one.

GM.Casper
2010-02-13, 04:04 PM
Repeating crossbows. How do they compare to a musket? Rate of fire is clearly superior. Could one equip a large force with repeating crossbows and employ them as Napoleon era musketeers?

Storm Bringer
2010-02-13, 04:17 PM
don't know.

what i do know is that the chinese, who had repeated crossbows, switched to the matchlock muskets when they had the chance.

Spiryt
2010-02-13, 04:26 PM
Here is some info (http://www.atarn.org/chinese/rept_xbow.htm)

Obviously, with short draw lenght, bolts without feathers, and string drawn with movements of such lever, it was propably more of a harrasing weapon, as pointed out. And probably rather tiring to hands, anyway.

As for the second question...

Well, such silly speculations are not what I like, but I can certainly say : NO.

Regardless of how "effective" such could potentially be, it certainly won't work in similar way to musketeers.

Shademan
2010-02-13, 04:27 PM
Repeating crossbows. How do they compare to a musket? Rate of fire is clearly superior. Could one equip a large force with repeating crossbows and employ them as Napoleon era musketeers?

the chinese repeating crossbow had lower power, range etc than other crossbows but was great for spraying bolts all over the place. great for city defence. but you would not have a army focused on the repeater, maybe a regiment or two.

redlock
2010-02-13, 06:56 PM
How effective is medevil plate mail (including the inner leather and chain mail layers) against fragmentation weapons. I'm dizcounting the concussive force here. I need to know for both grenades and mortars. The mail in question is late medevil period, if that matters.

Mike_G
2010-02-13, 09:52 PM
How effective is medevil plate mail (including the inner leather and chain mail layers) against fragmentation weapons. I'm dizcounting the concussive force here. I need to know for both grenades and mortars. The mail in question is late medevil period, if that matters.

I'd say very.

Fragments are fairly slow moving, non aerodynamically shaped, and not so dense, compared to bullets. Modern body armor, and even WWI era simple steel helmets would stop shrapnel but not rifle or machine gun rounds.

Full, 15th century cap a pie plate should stop the fragments from grenades pretty well, and even the larger, heavier fragments from a mortar bomb if you are any real distance from the burst.

I doubt that any given fragment would hit with as much force as the spike on the back of a warhammer swung by a strong man, which is how you want to defeat plate.

Galloglaich
2010-02-14, 01:08 AM
I agree with mike, very. I think they even tested this on that stupid deadliest warrior show. Also agree on that Chinese repeating crossbow, it's a very light powered weapon, to make it more effective they poisoned the darts.

That said it was used through the 19th Century so it had it's little niche.

G.

JaronK
2010-02-14, 01:30 AM
How effective is medevil plate mail (including the inner leather and chain mail layers) against fragmentation weapons. I'm dizcounting the concussive force here. I need to know for both grenades and mortars. The mail in question is late medevil period, if that matters.

Plate would be quite effective. The actual plate part can take a serious beating and distributes the hit, and the leather provides some padding. You'd still get knocked down as the plate won't help much from that, but damage would be severely reduced... especially with late medieval plate, where they were pumping up the armor to deal with heavier duty bows and early guns.

Chainmail would be worthless, and likely result in bits of chain being imbedded in the wearer. But plate would be very handy.

JaronK

fusilier
2010-02-14, 05:29 PM
Fragments are fairly slow moving, non aerodynamically shaped, and not so dense, compared to bullets. Modern body armor, and even WWI era simple steel helmets would stop shrapnel but not rifle or machine gun rounds.

I'm not so sure about this. WWI era helmets *could* stop shrapnel, but I'm not sure how reliably, and what the conditions are. I think the British tested the French Adrian helmet and claimed it would stop 3 out of 4 shrapnel balls. Which would indicate they were using proper shrapnel, which was mostly replaced by simple high-explosive shells as the war went on. Certainly armor would provide a layer of increased protection, but we are also dealing with battlefield conditions where shrapnel can be thrown well over a hundred yards. A defensive grenade exploding in close proximity to a WWI tank could potentially puncture the armor (hence grenade nets on the early marks), but it was generally impervious to machine-gun/rifle ammo. (I say generally, because machine-gun and rifle ammo tended to create spalling of the armor on the inside of the tank).

The lack of mobility of full plate armor (and I mean in the sense of being able to dive for cover, and get up quickly), would probably make it very poor for modern warfare. All nations in WW1 had fairly complete armor that could stop even rifle bullets at around 100 yards. They might be issued to sentries and machine gunners (people who weren't expected to move a lot), maybe even sappers in the 19th century style. The Italians issued armor to wire cutting parties, but even they gradually abandoned it in favor of increased mobility.

So, yes, full plate armor would be "effective", but it wouldn't make the wearer impervious to shrapnel.

Mike_G
2010-02-17, 09:43 AM
I'm not so sure about this. WWI era helmets *could* stop shrapnel, but I'm not sure how reliably, and what the conditions are. I think the British tested the French Adrian helmet and claimed it would stop 3 out of 4 shrapnel balls. Which would indicate they were using proper shrapnel, which was mostly replaced by simple high-explosive shells as the war went on. Certainly armor would provide a layer of increased protection, but we are also dealing with battlefield conditions where shrapnel can be thrown well over a hundred yards. A defensive grenade exploding in close proximity to a WWI tank could potentially puncture the armor (hence grenade nets on the early marks), but it was generally impervious to machine-gun/rifle ammo. (I say generally, because machine-gun and rifle ammo tended to create spalling of the armor on the inside of the tank).

The lack of mobility of full plate armor (and I mean in the sense of being able to dive for cover, and get up quickly), would probably make it very poor for modern warfare. All nations in WW1 had fairly complete armor that could stop even rifle bullets at around 100 yards. They might be issued to sentries and machine gunners (people who weren't expected to move a lot), maybe even sappers in the 19th century style. The Italians issued armor to wire cutting parties, but even they gradually abandoned it in favor of increased mobility.

So, yes, full plate armor would be "effective", but it wouldn't make the wearer impervious to shrapnel.

I don't think anybody is arguing for "impervious," but modern armor works better against fragments than against rifle rounds, so it's reasonable to assume that medieval armor that can stop hard blows from heavby weapons would stop fragments.

That said, there are fragments and fragments. If you catch the base plate from a 105 mm shell, I don't think the best body armor in the world would save you, but the small, irregular fragments from a 25mm gun would probably not penetrate plate.

fusilier
2010-02-17, 04:06 PM
That said, there are fragments and fragments. If you catch the base plate from a 105 mm shell, I don't think the best body armor in the world would save you, but the small, irregular fragments from a 25mm gun would probably not penetrate plate.

Exactly. A lot of these "fragmentation" weapons don't fragment very evenly (although my knowledge is of older WW1/2-era weapons), with an awkward combination of large and small splinters. Even a defensive grenade can throw fragments with deadly force for something like a 100 yards. Which is why troops throwing defensive grenades are supposed to be behind some kind of cover. Such fragments, even from a grenade, *could* be fairly big, and probably have sufficient force to puncture most armor. Typically, there are complaints about irregular dispersion of such fragments, and it seems to be preferable to have a regular dispersion of smaller splinters. But it also seems to have been difficult (at least historically) to get that dispersion.

Mike_G
2010-02-17, 08:40 PM
The original question was "how effective would late medieval plate be against fragmentation weapons, like grenades and mortars."

I still say "very."

Full plate armor covers most of the body, and is as good at keeping sharp metal edges out of the body. And fragments aren't all that deadly, in the scale of bad things that we throw at one another. Fragments generally wound, whereas bullets often kill.

To give a fairly scientific example of fragmentation damage, in the south Pacific in WWII, fragments, mostly from grenades or mortars, caused 50% of allied casualties, but less than 20% of fatalities. Bullets accounted for about 50% of casualties, but better than 80% of fatalities. The numbers work best in this theater, since there was little heavy artillery or aerial bombing by the Japanese after the very early stages, as compared to other theaters.

A teacher of mine had a Japanese grenade explode close to him on Saipan, and he was back on the lines the next day. He suffered no lasting harm beyond picking bits of metal out of his skin for the next 50 years. Had he been in full plate, he'd likely have shrugged it off. Although, he'd have drowned before hitting the beach, but that's another story

fusilier
2010-02-18, 02:03 PM
The original question was "how effective would late medieval plate be against fragmentation weapons, like grenades and mortars."

I still say "very."

Full plate armor covers most of the body, and is as good at keeping sharp metal edges out of the body. And fragments aren't all that deadly, in the scale of bad things that we throw at one another. Fragments generally wound, whereas bullets often kill.

To give a fairly scientific example of fragmentation damage, in the south Pacific in WWII, fragments, mostly from grenades or mortars, caused 50% of allied casualties, but less than 20% of fatalities. Bullets accounted for about 50% of casualties, but better than 80% of fatalities. The numbers work best in this theater, since there was little heavy artillery or aerial bombing by the Japanese after the very early stages, as compared to other theaters.

A teacher of mine had a Japanese grenade explode close to him on Saipan, and he was back on the lines the next day. He suffered no lasting harm beyond picking bits of metal out of his skin for the next 50 years. Had he been in full plate, he'd likely have shrugged it off. Although, he'd have drowned before hitting the beach, but that's another story

Modern fragmentation grenades have a casualty radius of around 15 yards, and seem to have gone a long way to getting a good dispersion (been checking out wikipedia). Older grenades could easily have a casualty radius of 2 to 3 times that amount. That radius is supposed to be the radius in which troops wounded by the grenade will be of no immediate threat. In this context the story about your teacher reinforces my statement about the irregular nature that the fragments can have. Even in modern grenades, they can still send the occasional big fragment a good distance (as I understand it, on a lot of grenade designs the fuse assembly can be projected mostly intact). If you're hit by one of those, armor probably isn't going to help very much. That's all I'm saying. I recognize that the probability of being hit by a big fragment is lower than being hit by some small ones. I've never actually seen an RPG that accounts for the fact that splinters from most fragmentation devices can be of various sizes, and it's something I've puzzled over.

Daosus
2010-02-18, 11:18 PM
Well, consider an analogy to how armor was used in the medieval period. It won't stop ALL attacks, but it'll let you shrug off little cuts that would have disabled you. A gentle tap on the shoulder with a sword, and you could very well lose the use of that arm for several minutes due to shock. With armor, that hit doesn't do anything. A massive mordschlag is going to take you out of the fight if it connects, armor or not, but the armor might turn it into a concussion rather than a caved skull.

Same thing when you're considering plate vs. fragments. Smaller fragments suddenly become much less dangerous. They can still hurt, can still penetrate the unarmored parts, etc, but much of the body is protected so you barely feel them. Large fragments will still penetrate plate armor, just like a musket ball can, but they are much more rare.

Hurlbut
2010-02-19, 02:46 AM
Modern fragmentation grenades have a casualty radius of around 15 yards, and seem to have gone a long way to getting a good dispersion (been checking out wikipedia). Older grenades could easily have a casualty radius of 2 to 3 times that amount. That radius is supposed to be the radius in which troops wounded by the grenade will be of no immediate threat. In this context the story about your teacher reinforces my statement about the irregular nature that the fragments can have. Even in modern grenades, they can still send the occasional big fragment a good distance (as I understand it, on a lot of grenade designs the fuse assembly can be projected mostly intact). If you're hit by one of those, armor probably isn't going to help very much. That's all I'm saying. I recognize that the probability of being hit by a big fragment is lower than being hit by some small ones. I've never actually seen an RPG that accounts for the fact that splinters from most fragmentation devices can be of various sizes, and it's something I've puzzled over.Isn't that the reason the airmen of the bombers in WWII worn flak jackets against fragments of flak? Then again those protection can be a bit heavier or bulkier than the typical full plate.

fusilier
2010-02-19, 03:59 AM
Isn't that the reason the airmen of the bombers in WWII worn flak jackets against fragments of flak? Then again those protection can be a bit heavier or bulkier than the typical full plate.

Also they protected less area. I'm not so certain about the nature of flak, and I think flak jackets were issued to the crew members in un-armored or lightly armored portions of the planes?

Storm Bringer
2010-02-19, 05:20 AM
Speaking what i can remeber form my grenade lessons:

15m is the radius agianst an unarmoured target. agianst someone wearing modern combat armour, we are told to reckon 5m. this figure is the 'effective' raduis, which i assume matchs up to to fusilier line that those hit would be out of combat.

However, Modern combat armour leaves a lot more of the body exposed than full plate does. I'd imagine that full plate would be at least as good, if not slightly better, than current gen armour agianst grenade blasts.

Hawriel
2010-02-19, 05:57 AM
Also they protected less area. I'm not so certain about the nature of flak, and I think flak jackets were issued to the crew members in un-armored or lightly armored portions of the planes?

The planes had no armor.

Galloglaich
2010-02-19, 09:12 AM
The planes had no armor.

They had armor mate.

G.

Thiel
2010-02-19, 09:31 AM
They had armor mate.

G.

Wasn't it the Lightning that had an armoured plate behind the pilot seat, or was it the Thunderbolt*?
I also remember something about belly plates. Can't remember if it was on a bomber or a transport.

*Aka the manliest plane of all time

Galloglaich
2010-02-19, 09:32 AM
One major thing to consider re; grenades etc., is modern high explosives are much more efficient than primitive black powder which was used back in pre-industrial times.

Grenades of one type or another go back to the 8th or 9th Century AD, in the form of naptha or quicklime or Greek Fire etc.. Osama Ibn Muniqh described grenades being used against the "Franks" during the Crusades in a passage I think I quoted on this thread. Anyone who looked up the wiki has probably already seen this image:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c5/Liquid_fire_granades_Chania.jpg/180px-Liquid_fire_granades_Chania.jpg

By the 13th -14th Century when Gunpowder first arrives in Europe, hand-thrown bombs quickly became a widespread weapon, popular with commanders if not soldiers (since they were so dangerous to use) and what we would recognize as hand-grenades appeared no later than the 15th Century. Actual grenade launchers by the 16th, and pretty modern cast-iron grenades by the 17th. So in other words, the advent of grenades coincided with armor and the armor would have been designed with knowledge of the effects of grenades.

The grenades, mortars etc. we have today are much smaller and much more powerful than the ones even used 50 years ago in WW II, which are in turn much more powerful than the ones used by Grenadiers in the 19th Century.... which were much more powerful than the type used in the 16th and 17th Century. Modern high explosives like nitro glycerin, TNT, RDX, composition B, composition C (c-4),, Sentec etc. are very powerful compared to black powder! A much smaller amount will send fragments moving much faster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composition_B
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RDX

But the bottom line is, the lethality of fragments from an explosion will always depend on many factors: the size and power of the explosive, and where it blows up, what is around it when it explodes, and what it is made of etc. A mortar shell dropped in a hard stone crevase will be much more dangerous than a grenade going off in thick mud.

But a full armored panoply featuring tempered steel armor like a Renaissance era maximilian harness, (which was much more sophisticated than any steel body armor made in WW II or modern times) would have been good protection I think, I suspect much better than modern body armor, but it all depends on the explosive device in question.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-19, 09:38 AM
Wasn't it the Lightning that had an armoured plate behind the pilot seat?
I also remember something about belly plates. Can't remember if it was on a bomber or a transport.

Both the Lightning and the Thunderbolt had armor plates behind the pilot, all American fighters in WW II did. They also had bullet proof wind screens and self sealing fuel tanks.

Most WW II combat aircraft were armored to some extent or another. The minimum was armor plates behind and / or in front of the crew.

Some of the very early-war aircraft didn't have armor, which turned out to be a major liability. But almost any military aircraft produced after 1941 or 1942 had at least some. By the middle of the war substantial armor protection for the crew, the engines and the other critical components of aircraft were standard on most combat aircraft. Even the Japanese were putting a lot of steel armor in their fighters and bombers by 1944 - 1945. The other major forms of protection were (rubber lined) self-sealing fuel tanks and bullet-proof windscreens.

G.

Thiel
2010-02-19, 09:49 AM
Both the Lightning and the Thunderbolt had armor plates behind the pilot, all American fighters in WW II did. They also had bullet proof wind screens and self sealing fuel tanks.

Most WW II combat aircraft were armored to some extent or another. The minimum was armor plates behind and / or in front of the crew.

Some of the very early-war aircraft didn't have armor, which turned out to be a major liability. But almost any military aircraft produced after 1941 or 1942 had at least some. By the middle of the war substantial armor protection for the crew, the engines and the other critical components of aircraft were standard on most combat aircraft. Even the Japanese were putting a lot of steel armor in their fighters and bombers by 1944 - 1945. The other major forms of protection were (rubber lined) self-sealing fuel tanks and bullet-proof windscreens.

G.

It was the Thunderbolt I was thinking about. Turns out that the cockpit was well enough armoured to the point where they became practically immune to 7mm gunfire from behind. A number of anecdotes mentions Bf 109's running out of ammo without downing it or wounding the pilot.

Dervag
2010-02-19, 10:02 AM
I've never actually seen an RPG that accounts for the fact that splinters from most fragmentation devices can be of various sizes, and it's something I've puzzled over.Don't most of them roll for damage? Wouldn't that cover it? If the damage from a grenade "hit" is random, part of that randomness could easily be taken to model different fragment sizes.

Neon Knight
2010-02-19, 10:20 AM
A quick question: How does the 7.62x54mmR round stack up against the 7.62x51mm NATO? I've often heard that the 7.62x54mmR is in the same general class as the .30-06, and the .30-06 usually seems to be somewhat comparable to the 7.62x51mm.

Eldan
2010-02-19, 04:23 PM
I'm here with yet another question which came to me while painting miniatures: how common were spiked pieces of armour? At least in fantasy art, long and probably sharp spikes on greaves, gauntlets, spaulders and so on seem pretty common, but I can't remember ever seeing them in a museum. It also seems, well, impractical for several reasons. So, was that ever really done, or is that yet another fantasy invention?

Spiryt
2010-02-19, 04:40 PM
I have never seen one either.

They certainly could occur once or twice, especially in some more ceremonial XVIth century pieces, but certainly weren't used in most kinds battle armours in history.

hamishspence
2010-02-19, 04:43 PM
I think the idea may derive from the Lambton Worm legend- a snakelike creature which crushed its prey- so the knight who beat it put spikes on his armour before going out to face it.

Yora
2010-02-19, 05:15 PM
I looked into spikes on real armor some months ago and at the end came to the conclusion, that it was never done on any significant scale.
Sounds also pretty dangerous to me. Spikes anywhere on your arms and shoulders will most likely end up in your own face once you raise a hand above shoulder level or you fall down.

Fhaolan
2010-02-19, 06:05 PM
The only historical armour spikes I've ever found were in three places:

There's the single upright helmet spike sometimes called a Pickelhaube. The simple versions were really just a shaft used to attach a horsetail plume to, or some other kind of helmet decoration, though they got quite elaborate in their own right in the 19th/20th century German helmets. Supposedly they helped with deflecting sabre blows, but unless the blow is coming down straight on the top of their heads, I'm not seeing it.

There's also the elaborate helms in Japan with spikes, rings, and whatnot. These were pretty much decorative as they were made to break off in most cases. If they were really solid, there's a good chance they would actually guide an incoming weapon in, rather than deflect it off.

And finally there's the grotesque armours. Much like the Japanese helms, these things were decorative, but these things extended to the entire armour with odd spikes and twisty bits. As far as I can tell, these were really never meant for combat at all, because they're just too.... awkward. They're parade peices, really.

In none of these cases were the spikes actually intended to be used offensively.

Philistine
2010-02-19, 07:51 PM
Actually, Hawriel was correct - he was responding to the exchange between Hurlbut and fusilier about bomber crewmen, most of whom were protected only by the thin (enough so that you could punch holes in it with your bare hands) aluminum skin of the aircraft. Thus the issuing of flak jackets.

In general, it is more correct to say that parts of WW2 aircraft were protected. Self-sealing fuel tanks, a bulletproof windscreen, and (in single-engined types) a thin armor plate directly behind the pilot were typically all that was provided, though some dedicated close-support types such as the Fw190G or Il-2 did feature more comprehensive protection. The legendary durability of USAAF (and USN/USMC) aircraft in WW2 was due mostly to "overly" tough requirements for structural strength compared to European or Japanese standards. Of course sheer size played a part as well, particularly for the big four-engined bombers.

Galloglaich
2010-02-20, 12:08 PM
I'm here with yet another question which came to me while painting miniatures: how common were spiked pieces of armour? At least in fantasy art, long and probably sharp spikes on greaves, gauntlets, spaulders and so on seem pretty common, but I can't remember ever seeing them in a museum. It also seems, well, impractical for several reasons. So, was that ever really done, or is that yet another fantasy invention?

it's a fantasy invention.

In fifteen years of researching armor, I found one photo of a panoply which had spikes like in DnD or fantasy art, from somewhere in the pacific Islands I think:

http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/98/l_2a8a49cdf4a5ae4fbd796b9c9fc62ba0.jpg

A friend of mine also found an account of a duel in Renaissance Italy where a guy insisted on wearing daggers welded to his helmet so his opponent, who was a good wrestler, wouldn't grapple with him (it didn't work).

But unless you are playing the chieftain of micronesia I would say, it's a-historical nonesense.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-20, 12:16 PM
Actually, Hawriel was correct - he was responding to the exchange between Hurlbut and fusilier about bomber crewmen, most of whom were protected only by the thin (enough so that you could punch holes in it with your bare hands) aluminum skin of the aircraft. Thus the issuing of flak jackets.

In general, it is more correct to say that parts of WW2 aircraft were protected. Self-sealing fuel tanks, a bulletproof windscreen, and (in single-engined types) a thin armor plate directly behind the pilot were typically all that was provided, though some dedicated close-support types such as the Fw190G or Il-2 did feature more comprehensive protection. The legendary durability of USAAF (and USN/USMC) aircraft in WW2 was due mostly to "overly" tough requirements for structural strength compared to European or Japanese standards. Of course sheer size played a part as well, particularly for the big four-engined bombers.

I don't mean to be pedantic, but I disagree. WW II aviation is a hobby of mine. Bombers, including medium and heavy bombers in WW II had significant armor plate. The problem was that it often wasn't enough to cover every part of the plane particularly against flak bursts. But if you try shooting down a bomber from the six o'clock position in a realistic flight Sim like Il2 you will notice it's very hard to do.

Here is a diagram of the armor in a B-25 Mitchel.

http://www.b25.net/images/b25armourprotection.JPG

3/8" steel plate may seem thin, but is pretty good protection against bullets and fragments, incidentally.

Some early Japanese medium bombers lacked armor, but it was added to subsequent versions and eventually became quite substantial, such as on the G4M3 version of the "Betty" bomber.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-21, 10:04 AM
I should add though to be fair, the armor protection on a bomber is of limited value since many of the crew will be exposed from many directions, as you can see in that chart. The navigator / nose gunner has no protection from the front, none of the crew have protection from above or below etc. And both heavy (12.7 mm or bigger) machine guns (especially with AP ammo) and heavy AAA (88 mm or 90 mm and etc.) were powerful enough to punch through that armor.

The flak jackets helped a little, but not enough. Waist gunners who wore them had one of the highest KIA rates. Being a bomber crewman was very, very dangerous. That is why the 8th Air Force alone lost 47,000 casualties and 26,000 dead in World War II. (and a total of over 10,000 aircraft shot down.) They were also very, very dangerous to attack, especially US heavy and medium bombers. The luftwaffe had it's back broken by the 8th AF. It was attrition warfare... almost like trench warfare in the skies.

http://www.taphilo.com/history/8thaf/8aflosses.shtml
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usaf/8af.htm

G.

Philistine
2010-02-21, 12:38 PM
I'm sorry, you don't mean to be pedantic? In that case, I think you may be confused about the purpose of this thread. :smallbiggrin:

I concede that these aircraft carried more armor than I had thought; but as you point out, the armor diagram presented shows very limited protection versus fighter attack, and virtually none against ground fire. I wouldn't say that's enough to be described as "significant armor plate," but YMMV. Certainly no aircraft was protected anywhere near as comprehensively, much less on anything like the same scale, as contemporary AFVs or warships. Talk of "armored aircraft" or "flying tanks" tends to give people entirely the wrong impression, in my experience.

Nitpicking, I'd also note that many of the plates shown appear to be labeled as "Dural," which would make them copper-aluminum alloy rather than steel.

Galloglaich
2010-02-21, 02:55 PM
Well, it's different with aircraft though, because guns are often shot from further away than their best effective range, relatively few rounds and on target since the target is often moving a 200 to 300 + miles per hour (double that in a head to head convergence) and precious few aircraft had weapons anywhere near as powerful as the main-gun on a tank, say anything bigger than 40mm. (those that did used them for ground -attack, though some German bomber-killers used big cannon against US heavies)

The heaviest Flak was as heavy as a (heavy) tank gun but was fired in air bursts which created shrapnel, direct hits were rare. They could be very hard to shoot down even from heavy ground weapons, there is a reason the Germans called the Sturomovik the "concrete bomber".

But I agree 'fying tank' does give people the wrong idea. Bottom line, from all the historical accounts I read aircraft armor seemed to work, which is why they added more and more of it to military aircraft as the war went on, in spite of the extra weight and consequent performance hit.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-21, 03:02 PM
Anyway not to change the subject but ... did anyone ever wonder what would happen if an English Pirate fought a Samurai?

No I'm not going to go down some ridiculous speculative road, instead,
I found an interesting historical account of just such an encounter in 1602 in the East Indies. I wrote it up in my little blog on Enworld, in case anyone is interested:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/242110-history-mythology-art-rpgs-15.html#post5093363

G.

Zincorium
2010-02-21, 03:04 PM
Certainly no aircraft was protected anywhere near as comprehensively, much less on anything like the same scale, as contemporary AFVs or warships.

To nitpick: modern warships don't have armor, the hull may be somewhat resistant to penetration from small arms, but that's it. With the type of missiles that would be used in any current conflict, the strategy is to either shoot them down or simply run damage control after a hit.

Galloglaich
2010-02-21, 03:06 PM
To nitpick: modern warships don't have armor, the hull may be somewhat resistant to penetration from small arms, but that's it. With the type of missiles that would be used in any current conflict, the strategy is to either shoot them down or simply run damage control after a hit.

Are you sure about that? I thought that changed since the 60's...?

G.

Thiel
2010-02-21, 05:56 PM
Are you sure about that? I thought that changed since the 60's...?

G.

Splinter protection around key areas and bulletproof glass and spall liners is standard on most modern warships, but that's about it.
The reason for this is that, with a few exceptions, modern AShMs aren't designed to sink their target, but to render it incapable of fighting, ie Mission Kills. With a modern warship, that means taking out the radars. Without radars, it doesn't matter how big and bad your ship is, because you can't see your enemy and thus you can't retaliate.
Since no amount of armour is going to protect your radars, and most missiles won't sink you anyway, it makes more sense to drop it and use the saved tonnage to increase performance in other areas.

There are a few exceptions. Some inshore and riverine patrolboats are armoured to withstand light artillery and RPGs, since they're likely to be engaged by those weapons, and they rarely carry more sensors than a commercial X-band radar and sometimes a FLIR. They are also small enough, and engagements typically occurs at short enough ranges that attacking the crew directly becomes an option.

As a rule of thumb, if a ship is capable of carrying out operations without sensors, they can be armoured. The Nimitz class, for instance, is supposed to be armoured to some degree since it's theoretically possible to continue to operate aircraft even after a complete sensor loss, though I can't imagine a scenario where all sensors are taken out, but the flight deck is left unharmed.

Philistine
2010-02-21, 09:29 PM
Well, it's different with aircraft though, because guns are often shot from further away than their best effective range, relatively few rounds and on target since the target is often moving a 200 to 300 + miles per hour (double that in a head to head convergence) and precious few aircraft had weapons anywhere near as powerful as the main-gun on a tank, say anything bigger than 40mm. (those that did used them for ground -attack, though some German bomber-killers used big cannon against US heavies)

The heaviest Flak was as heavy as a (heavy) tank gun but was fired in air bursts which created shrapnel, direct hits were rare. They could be very hard to shoot down even from heavy ground weapons, there is a reason the Germans called the Sturomovik the "concrete bomber".

But I agree 'fying tank' does give people the wrong idea. Bottom line, from all the historical accounts I read aircraft armor seemed to work, which is why they added more and more of it to military aircraft as the war went on, in spite of the extra weight and consequent performance hit.

G.
Certainly, but even in relative terms aircraft armor was both much less extensive and significantly lighter than that sported by land or sea units. The citadel of a modern (Treaty or Post-Treaty) battleship protected its vital systems - primarily engines, main armament, and command - as well as sufficient volume to preserve buoyancy with a thickness of armor which was supposed to defeat own-caliber weaponry. Comparable armor for an aircraft would have meant protection sufficient to withstand at least .50" BMG (and preferably 20mm cannon) from any angle for its engines and flight control surfaces in addition to the pilot and crew. Even the Il-2, the usual suspect when people start talking about "flying tanks," did not feature anywhere near that scale or scope of protection.

There was also very definitely a point of diminishing returns with aircraft armor - witness the abortive attempts to build an "escort bomber" on the B-17 and B-24 airframes. Though of course you could push that point farther and farther out by adding ever more power.
_____

To nitpick: modern warships don't have armor, the hull may be somewhat resistant to penetration from small arms, but that's it. With the type of missiles that would be used in any current conflict, the strategy is to either shoot them down or simply run damage control after a hit.
Their contemporaries, not ours. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

fusilier
2010-02-21, 11:52 PM
Don't most of them roll for damage? Wouldn't that cover it? If the damage from a grenade "hit" is random, part of that randomness could easily be taken to model different fragment sizes.

So in GURPS, a defensive grenade might have 2d6 fragmentation damage, whereas a 75mm HE round might have 5 or 6d6. While I would expect a fragment from a 75mm round to be likely to break through light armor (i.e. the armor of a light tank), I would also expect the round to generate a lot of small splinters (I'm thinking of stories of WW1 wounded). I don't feel that the dice represent that aspect.


One major thing to consider re; grenades etc., is modern high explosives are much more efficient than primitive black powder which was used back in pre-industrial times. . . .

This is certainly the case, but I'm not terribly sure how relevant it is. WW1 defensive grenades typically had a larger "danger radius" (or whatever you want to call it) than modern grenades, and they were filled with all sorts of weird explosives. I tried to research the fillings of WW1 grenades to stat some out in GURPS, and found it was no easy task. The grenades were often filled with odd sounding explosives, and even then they were often mixed with other explosives, including black powder. Some even used 100% black powder. I eventually just gave up.



Speaking what i can remeber form my grenade lessons:

15m is the radius agianst an unarmoured target. agianst someone wearing modern combat armour, we are told to reckon 5m. this figure is the 'effective' raduis, which i assume matchs up to to fusilier line that those hit would be out of combat.

According to the wikipedia entry, the M67 grenade has a "casualty radius" of 15 m, and a "fatality radius" of 5 m. However they don't mention body armor. I would suspect that around 5 m, concussion damage may become significant? And therefore armor becomes irrelevant?

fusilier
2010-02-22, 12:26 AM
There was also very definitely a point of diminishing returns with aircraft armor - witness the abortive attempts to build an "escort bomber" on the B-17 and B-24 airframes. Though of course you could push that point farther and farther out by adding ever more power.


As already pointed out most aircraft in WW2 had some degree of armor plating somewhere. It's usually internal (except for armored cockpit glass) and you don't really notice it by simply looking.

The escort bombers, like the YB-40, ran into problems with their speed. Loaded down with armor, armament and lots of extra ammunition, they could still keep up with the normal bombers on the outward run. But once the normal bombers dropped their bombs (which the escort "bombers" didn't carry) they became lighter and faster. As a result, the whole formation was forced to slow down so that the escorts could keep up with them. Apparently the crews didn't like that.

Now returning to the subject of armor in aircraft. Armor started showing up on aircraft during WW1. I was under the impression that there may have been some scant armor protection on fighters by the end of that war, but can't find any data. However, ground attack aircraft started to have critical areas armored, and aircraft like the Junkers J.I (not to be confused with the J 1) had the engine and crew compartments surprisingly well armored. Unsurprisingly, the plane flew like a ton of bricks, but it did fly. :-)


Even the Il-2, the usual suspect when people start talking about "flying tanks," did not feature anywhere near that scale or scope of protection.

Yeah, and that so called "Flying Fortress" couldn't stand up to even half the punishment that a contemporary underground ferro-concrete fortress could take! ;-) Yes, planes like the Il-2 had no where near the armor of a real tank, and people should be made aware of that fact . . . but compared to other airplanes they were very well armored. Also, I suspect that the flying characteristics of such an over-armored aircraft encouraged the pilots to refer to it as a "flying tank."

fusilier
2010-02-22, 12:38 AM
Anyway not to change the subject but ... did anyone ever wonder what would happen if an English Pirate fought a Samurai?

No I'm not going to go down some ridiculous speculative road, instead,
I found an interesting historical account of just such an encounter in 1602 in the East Indies. I wrote it up in my little blog on Enworld, in case anyone is interested:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/242110-history-mythology-art-rpgs-15.html#post5093363

G.

Thanks for sharing that. I've heard of instances around that time of similar actions, like the Amboyna massacre, but never with that amount of detail. Interestingly, right around this time the Japanese seem to have been a bit more active on an "international" level, and honestly, with the limited information I've seen, they don't seem to have done very well.

Galloglaich
2010-02-22, 09:44 AM
They seem to have made very good troops. They were sought out as mercenaries by the Europeans and the Chinese pirates.

I think they didn't expand much into the indies because few Japanese warlords were interested in doing that, most of the Japanese soliders who were out there were leaderless ronin. essentially cast-off by the Japanese system.

I know they did try expanding into Korea in the late 16th Century with plans to take on China and India, but they probably picked a bad place to start since the Koreans are really tough and had a good navy (wheras the Japanese had great soldiers but not much of a navy), and ultimately in spite of great military successes initially on the ground it got bogged down into a brutal land and naval war between Japan and Korea and the Ming Chinese that the Japanese eventually lost.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_invasions_of_Korea_(1592%E2%80%931598)

After the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603 Japan pretty much closed up.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-22, 09:52 AM
By the way if you are interested in the Japanese / European interractions in this period I highly reccomend Giles Miltons other book Samurai William.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-02-22, 11:51 AM
There was also very definitely a point of diminishing returns with aircraft armor - witness the abortive attempts to build an "escort bomber" on the B-17 and B-24 airframes. Though of course you could push that point farther and farther out by adding ever more power.

The escort bomber had more to do with a lot of extra ammunition so they could keep shooting their guns, and the diminishing returns had to do with their performance falling below that of the other bombers.

I think y'all are missing the point. Concrete fortresses and tanks don't fly 250 miles per hour in all directions ... and when you are shooting at them you are not going 250 miles per hour yourself.

Il-2 Sturmoviks were very hard to shoot down.

On paper if you look at an aircraft with just a few mm of armor and 23mm guns, you would have to assume that a tank with a 75mm gun and 4 or 5 inches of armor would have a big advantage. Yes if you parked them on the ground 500 feet apart the tank or concrete bunker will blow the plane apart. But planes don't sit on the ground.

In reality, Sturmoviks slaughtered German Panzers. Tanks don't have very thick top armor, light cannon, rockets and bombs proved very effective at wrecking them. Aircraft, meanwhile are hard to hit, if you are lucky you can get a few rounds into them, but the armor on a sturmovik made that unlikely to work.

The armor on a tank needs to protect against continual, unlimited small arms and machine gun fire, as well as multiple medium caliber artillery and mortar bursts, and even direct-fire from heavy-caliber tank rounds. The armor on an aircraft only needs to protect against a handful of rounds of 7 - 12 mm rifle caliber or one or two nearby airbursts of 20mm - 37 mm cannon shells from destroying them, and aircraft like the P-47, the Fw 190, the B-25, the B-17, Sturmovik etc. actually did very good with that.

The 'flying fortress' were so-called primarily due to the ten .50 cal machine guns they carried not so much for their armor, though both factors were significant. attacking US heavy bombers was extremely dangerous, they really were like a fortress especially when 10 or 20 off them were flying in formation. The Luftwaffe became ingenious at solving this particular puzzle but they still lost basically all of their pilots trying to defend their own families cities from being blasted to pieces and incinerated by the Allied bombers... ultimately without success.

You should either read up on WW II air combat in first-hand accounts, of which there are a near infinity, or try a realistic flight Sim like Il2, you'll notice how hard it is to shoot down an aircraft like a B-17 or a Sturomovik. Or even a G4M or an He 111. It takes very good flying, good marksmanship and not a little bit of luck to get through it unscathed.

G.

Dervag
2010-02-22, 12:53 PM
I'm sorry, you don't mean to be pedantic? In that case, I think you may be confused about the purpose of this thread. :smallbiggrin:

I concede that these aircraft carried more armor than I had thought; but as you point out, the armor diagram presented shows very limited protection versus fighter attack, and virtually none against ground fire.Remember that for high-altitude four engine bombers, ground fire takes the form of exploding shrapnel shells that can go off anywhere relative to the aircraft. Thus, ground fire will not necessarily hit the plane from below.


To nitpick: modern warships don't have armor, the hull may be somewhat resistant to penetration from small arms, but that's it. With the type of missiles that would be used in any current conflict, the strategy is to either shoot them down or simply run damage control after a hit.Though ideally you at least want the ship to be tough enough to limit the scope of damage, I'd think.

It's practically impossible to armor a ship heavily enough to make it immune to antiship missiles, but there could be a big difference between a ship that gets a 50m hole blown in the side by the missile and one that gets a 10m hole blown in the side. Armor as damage limitation may be worthwhile where "absolute" armor is not.


So in GURPS, a defensive grenade might have 2d6 fragmentation damage, whereas a 75mm HE round might have 5 or 6d6. While I would expect a fragment from a 75mm round to be likely to break through light armor (i.e. the armor of a light tank)...I'd be skeptical, except at close range. Half the purpose of tanks in the first place was to make them shrapnel-proof as well as bullet-proof. A direct hit is another story, of course.

fusilier
2010-02-22, 04:37 PM
The 'flying fortress' were so-called primarily due to the ten .50 cal machine guns they carried not so much for their armor, though both factors were significant. . . .

I was trying to be sarcastic. ;-) Although I guess I failed. My point was that these monikers have to be looked at in their proper context (flying tank, or flying fortress). That context is aircraft, not tanks or fortresses. I do think that philistine has a point, the Il-2 doesn't have "all-round" armor protection like a "tank" and calling it a "flying tank" may be misleading to some. Nevertheless, it was a very well armored aircraft. Just like the B-17 was a well armed bomber.

However, another thing to consider is the utility of armoring an airplane. The wings and fuselage are usually lightly skinned in aluminum sheets or fabric. Most bullets would simply put neat holes in these structures and do very little to effect the flying characteristics. However, a hole in the radiator or the pilot could easily knock the aircraft out of action. So armoring the whole plane isn't really necessary. It is possible to do structural damage to the fuselage and wings (this is where ball ammo and non-armor-piercing exploding ammo is useful), or to perhaps disable some control surfaces, but it's not as easy to accomplish.

Unless flying very low, most WW2 fighter aircraft had little to worry about AA. Bombers flying in formation might have more problems, but the statistics for most flak weapons were appalling low [as usual I can't put my fingers on such statistics at the moment]. Also in the mid 1930s there was a brief period where bombers were typically faster than fighters. This lead to several designs which minimized defensive armament, in favor of speed, just before WW2 broke out.

Ultimately, it's a matter of compromises. The Zero sacrificed armor for speed, maneuverability and range.

fusilier
2010-02-22, 04:53 PM
They seem to have made very good troops. They were sought out as mercenaries by the Europeans and the Chinese pirates.

I think they didn't expand much into the indies because few Japanese warlords were interested in doing that, most of the Japanese soliders who were out there were leaderless ronin. essentially cast-off by the Japanese system.

I know they did try expanding into Korea in the late 16th Century with plans to take on China and India, but they probably picked a bad place to start since the Koreans are really tough and had a good navy (wheras the Japanese had great soldiers but not much of a navy), and ultimately in spite of great military successes initially on the ground it got bogged down into a brutal land and naval war between Japan and Korea and the Ming Chinese that the Japanese eventually lost.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_invasions_of_Korea_(1592%E2%80%931598)

After the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603 Japan pretty much closed up.

G.

My understanding is that Japanese soldiers of the period were usually very experienced (due to recent fighting in the homeland). But in the Korean invasions in the 1590s the Japanese don't seem to have done very well. In the first invasion they were beaten back by the Chinese, and in the second, after reforms, the Korean army itself was able to bottle up the Japanese. Although in both wars, the Korean navy had a significant part to play. At an abstract level this is basically what I would expect. The Japanese were so isolated that they never had to fight anybody with new ideas, which can lead to an over-specialized fighting style that might fail when faced with external opponents.

Yora
2010-02-22, 05:38 PM
Question: How long did an experienced, but common weaponsmith work in his forge to make a sword. I assume he would make more than one at a time and don't do all the work himself, but how many man hours went into the creation of an average soldiers sword?

Assuming skilled craftsmen get paid 2 sp per day, which is fair because they created 2 sp of value added with their work; and a sword that sells for 150 sp requires 50sp of raw materials, a smith would have to work 50 days on just one sword. The cost of maintaining a forge are ignored here.
Even a master smith who works for 10 sp per day would take a year to make a single masterwork weapon.

It gets worse for a longbow, which would take 250 days of work. Even a very simple hatchet would take 20 days. And I more suspect them to take 12 hours of work or less.

lsfreak
2010-02-22, 06:20 PM
-snip-

I can't answer any of those very well. But what I can say is that D&D was not made with anything but adventuring in mind, and the crafting and economic rules presented in the books are utterly useless for simulating any kind of reality.

If it's really important that these things work in your campaign world, you'll have to redo a lot of things. Possibly remake the entire wealth system, since even low-level adventurers are the equivalent of millionaires. As someone pointed out in the 'your wealth in chickens' thread a while ago, it costs something like 2,000 chickens just to get the simple kind of lock you'd want to keep your chickens safe.

Karoht
2010-02-22, 10:27 PM
Question: How long did an experienced, but common weaponsmith work in his forge to make a sword. I assume he would make more than one at a time and don't do all the work himself, but how many man hours went into the creation of an average soldiers sword?

Assuming skilled craftsmen get paid 2 sp per day, which is fair because they created 2 sp of value added with their work; and a sword that sells for 150 sp requires 50sp of raw materials, a smith would have to work 50 days on just one sword. The cost of maintaining a forge are ignored here.
Even a master smith who works for 10 sp per day would take a year to make a single masterwork weapon.

It gets worse for a longbow, which would take 250 days of work. Even a very simple hatchet would take 20 days. And I more suspect them to take 12 hours of work or less.

A friend of mine works in the knife sharpening business, and got into old school swordsmithing as a hobby, so not using modern tools beyond a modern forge. I guarantee it would take an experienced person no more than a day. In general, the old school steps are...
Heat metal, pour into mould, let cool into rough shape. Reheat that piece of metal, pound it into correct shape, temper. Grind to achieve edge on a grinding wheel, do details such as hilt, pommel, handle, grip, etc.
This is assuming that the smith is starting with decent steel or processed iron to begin with, not just iron ore. If the smith is starting with ore, the ore must be processed first, I'm not sure how long that took in the old days. As for mastercraft, it might be a pet project of the smiths, taking as long as a week. People also forget that detailing is a part of the mastercraft description, and not all the time has to do with the weapon directly. Mastercraft weapons are prettier than regular.

A bow is very easy to make, takes no more than a day or three of whittling, once you have selected the correct piece of wood. Masterwork, I would say would take someone a week, painstakingly selecting out the perfect piece of wood, and being extremely careful and frugal with the triming of that piece of wood. They would cut, analyze, cut, analyse, etc. VS whittle whittle whittle whittle, check. Whittle whittle whittle whittle, check.

So why does a sword cost 150sp in game? Markup. Profit. Etc. Otherwise the guy (the smith or the shop owner) would not be in business.

Stephen_E
2010-02-22, 11:39 PM
So why does a sword cost 150sp in game? Markup. Profit. Etc. Otherwise the guy (the smith or the shop owner) would not be in business.

Raw material costs, plant costs, taxes.....
Time making is only part of the item cost.

Stephen E

Philistine
2010-02-23, 01:15 AM
The escort bomber had more to do with a lot of extra ammunition so they could keep shooting their guns, and the diminishing returns had to do with their performance falling below that of the other bombers.
Because the weight of additional guns and armor was negligible compared to the weight of the ammunition (which was being used up in the course of the mission, thus presumably restoring the aircraft's performance to better match its unladen bomber brethren), I take it?

Adding weight - whether armor, fuel, or whatever - decreased performance. Add enough weight of armor, and the performance drop makes you so much easier to hit that it doesn't matter how many hits you can take. That's assuming you still can still squeeze out enough range/payload to perform the mission at all at that point - because if not, you might as well have been shot down for all the damage you're doing to the enemy.


I think y'all are missing the point. Concrete fortresses and tanks don't fly 250 miles per hour in all directions ... and when you are shooting at them you are not going 250 miles per hour yourself.

Il-2 Sturmoviks were very hard to shoot down.

On paper if you look at an aircraft with just a few mm of armor and 23mm guns, you would have to assume that a tank with a 75mm gun and 4 or 5 inches of armor would have a big advantage. Yes if you parked them on the ground 500 feet apart the tank or concrete bunker will blow the plane apart. But planes don't sit on the ground....
With all due respect, I think it's you that's missing the point. Where did I say, or even suggest, that aircraft should be armored against tank weapons? What do you think I meant by "own-caliber"? Why do you think I specifically mentioned protecting against fifty-cal and twenty mike-mike, which by 1942 were the predominant weapons of fighter aircraft?

My point was, and is, that the term "armored" is misapplied to aircraft. Aircraft armor was both very light - not compared to tank armor and weapons, but compared to common aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons - and very sparse - in that it offered protection of only a very small part of the aircraft, and even that only from very limited angles. Furthermore, as you've so helpfully pointed out, an airplane's primary defense is not armor but motion - being difficult to hit or to hit squarely. Beyond that, even aircraft that were hit and survived did so not because of their armor, which most hits never impinged upon, but because of other factors - most notably strength of airframe, but also size.

Meanwhile, you seem to be basing your argument on the Il-2; but the Il-2 is a) hardly representative of the general case, b) still vulnerable - especially to engine, radiator, and pilot hits, but also to general airframe damage, and c) seem to have been primarily opposed by Bf109s, the most common marks of which were significantly under-gunned.


You should either read up on WW II air combat in first-hand accounts, of which there are a near infinity, or try a realistic flight Sim like Il2, you'll notice how hard it is to shoot down an aircraft like a B-17 or a Sturomovik. Or even a G4M or an He 111. It takes very good flying, good marksmanship and not a little bit of luck to get through it unscathed.

G.
Apparently this is going to come as a shock to you, but I actually do have some slight familiarity with this topic myself. I have indeed read some number (I haven't lost count because I've never tried to keep count) of first-hand accounts of WW2 air combat. And sure, any number of those have credited their aircraft's armor plate with saving their butts on at least one occasion... any number of fighter pilots' accounts, anyway. Bomber crews, not so much. Bomber crews are the ones who stare incredulously at interviewers who naively suggest that "all that armor" must have been a comfort, then retort that the aluminum skin of a B-17's or B-24's fuselage was thin enough to poke a finger through.

Lastly: flight sims, even "realistic" ones, inevitably reflect the prejudices of the games' designers rather than reality. While fun, they are not exactly reliable reference works. (This can be generalized to apply to all wargaming, in fact, including that carried out by military professionals. It can be a useful tool, but one wrong assumption can skew your results enough to render them worse than useless.)
___

Remember that for high-altitude four engine bombers, ground fire takes the form of exploding shrapnel shells that can go off anywhere relative to the aircraft. Thus, ground fire will not necessarily hit the plane from below.
By the same token, the fragments also will not necessarily hit the aircraft from behind - which is the only direction from which most of the crew received any armor protection at all.

Brainfart
2010-02-23, 02:20 AM
A friend of mine works in the knife sharpening business, and got into old school swordsmithing as a hobby, so not using modern tools beyond a modern forge. I guarantee it would take an experienced person no more than a day. In general, the old school steps are...
Heat metal, pour into mould, let cool into rough shape. Reheat that piece of metal, pound it into correct shape, temper. Grind to achieve edge on a grinding wheel, do details such as hilt, pommel, handle, grip, etc.
This is assuming that the smith is starting with decent steel or processed iron to begin with, not just iron ore. If the smith is starting with ore, the ore must be processed first, I'm not sure how long that took in the old days. As for mastercraft, it might be a pet project of the smiths, taking as long as a week. People also forget that detailing is a part of the mastercraft description, and not all the time has to do with the weapon directly. Mastercraft weapons are prettier than regular.


Wait, what? Casting a sword? I call bull****.

Swordmaking was a fairly labour intensive process, but it's made a lot simpler by employing an assembly line approach. Each craftsman would have his own speciality e.g. tempering, sharpening, and this sped up the process while maintaining quality. Master swordsmiths that ran one-person outfits would have been run out of business pretty damn quick.

There was a fair amount of trade between established cities as well. We know of at least one surviving example of a sword that had the blade smithed in a known manufacturing centre in Germany (Passau, IIRC) and had the fittings installed based on the customer's specifications in Italy.

fusilier
2010-02-23, 02:45 AM
Wait, what? Casting a sword? I call bull****.

Hehe. "The sword in the stone"

Apparently bronze swords were cast in stone molds. I really don't know anything more than that. I'm waiting for the more knowledgeable people to speak up. I'm interested to hear how many man hours it might take to make a sword, and I'm sure that varied by the technology employed.

fusilier
2010-02-23, 03:29 AM
Because the weight of additional guns and armor was negligible compared to the weight of the ammunition (which was being used up in the course of the mission, thus presumably restoring the aircraft's performance to better match its unladen bomber brethren), I take it?

What I remember reading about the YB-40 was that the ammunition was the main culprit that was weighing them down. You can count on a bomber to drop it's entire payload, but the expenditure of small arms ammunition was probably erratic. Also, even if they did expend most of the ammunition, it would be "parceled out" over the course of the mission, and not dumped all at once.



. . . c) seem to have been primarily opposed by Bf109s, the most common marks of which were significantly under-gunned.

I believe that most E-variants had a pair of 20mm cannon, and most later variants had a single nose mounted one (although I think sometimes 15mm and 30mm could be used). I'm not sure if I would call that under-gunned. Also later variants were sometimes fitted with a pair of extra cannons under the wings.


Lastly: flight sims, even "realistic" ones, inevitably reflect the prejudices of the games' designers rather than reality. While fun, they are not exactly reliable reference works. (This can be generalized to apply to all wargaming, in fact, including that carried out by military professionals. It can be a useful tool, but one wrong assumption can skew your results enough to render them worse than useless.)

There is a flight sim called Targetware that I used to play. It was interesting because the community developed all the modules for it. I did a little bit of scenario design and some skins, but I did get to see some interesting "behind the scenes" look at how the flight models were put together. The problem with prejudices isn't just the game designers', it's their sources. They can be biased and unreliable. Some of the designers simply gathered all the possible technical information they could (weight distribution, the weight of individual components, wing plan, engine horsepower), threw that into the model and hoped that the performance matched their data. Usually, they had to tweak aspects so that the planes were flyable. The flight engine, invariably, had it's limitations. Then there were tons of complaints about the damage model in the Mediterranean theater. Strangely, it wasn't a problem in the Pacific theater mod -- all the lightly built, cannon armed aircraft, were going up against the heavily built mg-only armed aircraft (usually), and it all worked out. However the biggest problem I had was the "abuse" of flaps in the game. It turned out there was a bug in the code and flaps generated more lift at high deflections than they should, and much less drag. Combined with a fairly wide over-speeding margin, many of the Allied planes could totally abuse this bug. I remember being out-turned in an Italian bi-plane by a P-40! I was really disappointed because prior to that the successful pilots typically had to resort to real world tactics, and I was learning from them . . . :-( The system had other good aspects too, depending upon your point of view. Proper engine management was necessary to prevent your engine from overheating in combat (realistic, yes, do most game players care . . .?).

At any rate, I think Philistine is right to be wary of flight sims, although the designers typically take authenticity very seriously, there's just no real way to ensure it. People will remember stories, and depending upon where you live those stories will typically paint a different picture of the relative performance of these aircraft. When data from both sides of an aerial fight is available, it's often amazing how wrong the eye-witness accounts can be!

Brainfart
2010-02-23, 04:23 AM
Ach, should have clarified. I was referring to steel swords.

I'm not even sure that bronze swords can be tempered and worked in the same way as steel blades though.

Subotei
2010-02-23, 05:52 AM
I should add though to be fair, the armor protection on a bomber is of limited value since many of the crew will be exposed from many directions, as you can see in that chart. The navigator / nose gunner has no protection from the front, none of the crew have protection from above or below etc. And both heavy (12.7 mm or bigger) machine guns (especially with AP ammo) and heavy AAA (88 mm or 90 mm and etc.) were powerful enough to punch through that armor.

The flak jackets helped a little, but not enough. Waist gunners who wore them had one of the highest KIA rates. Being a bomber crewman was very, very dangerous. That is why the 8th Air Force alone lost 47,000 casualties and 26,000 dead in World War II. (and a total of over 10,000 aircraft shot down.) They were also very, very dangerous to attack, especially US heavy and medium bombers. The luftwaffe had it's back broken by the 8th AF. It was attrition warfare... almost like trench warfare in the skies.

The impact of german flak during WWII was questionable - fighters were much more effective. Heavy concentrations could defend a few key points, but the effect was more psychological - it put air crews off rather than preventing the attack, and for morale of the people on the ground. I read somewhere (Heinz Maenheimer I think) that a German report at the time showed they shot down approximately 1 bomber per 16,000 88mm rounds fired with the Flak 36. After 1943 the improved Flak 41 model brought this down to 1 per 8,000 rounds. I would argue those 88mm rounds would've been better expended on battlefields than shot into the air.

The Germans never invented the proximity fuse - a key invention for AA. A study after the V1 bombardment showed that the British, with proximity fuzing and radar guided guns, which the germans did use, brought down V1's (a much harder target to hit than a bomber formation) with an average of 77 rounds (Dr RV Jones). Thats was finally effective flak.

The point of armouring bombers was not to protect the crew, but to ensure the aircraft could complete the mission - armouring key components and the pilots so that the plane could make it to the target and back with a reasonable chance of success and a decent bomb load: more armour = less bombs. The high kill rate of waist gunners can probably be explained by the fact they weren't in an area of the plane that needed armour.

Unescorted bombers on daylight raids were very vulnerable despite their defensive weapons - it wasn't until the Mustang was introduced to escort the formations that they made any inroad into the German fighter defences. It would be interesting to study what would've been the impact of flying with fewer defensive weapons (and therefore crew) on aircraft loss rates and casualty rates.

Yora
2010-02-23, 07:44 AM
I can't answer any of those very well. But what I can say is that D&D was not made with anything but adventuring in mind, and the crafting and economic rules presented in the books are utterly useless for simulating any kind of reality.

If it's really important that these things work in your campaign world, you'll have to redo a lot of things. Possibly remake the entire wealth system, since even low-level adventurers are the equivalent of millionaires. As someone pointed out in the 'your wealth in chickens' thread a while ago, it costs something like 2,000 chickens just to get the simple kind of lock you'd want to keep your chickens safe.
My real problem was, that the 1sp per day wage seems rediculously low. But as 10g coin of solid gold does not sound quite right either, I thought about changing all the item prices into sp while keeping the amounts the same. Which I know think I'll really do.
15 days wages for a simple laborer to buy a sword doesn't sound that far off, and 32 gold pieces for a masterwork weapon is also rather okay. Of course still not realistically accurate, but much better than having a 15 year old 1st level rogue start with a bag of gold coins for which he would need to work for 3 years without spending anything. :smallbiggrin:

Eldan
2010-02-23, 08:36 AM
I just converted that to how much money the worker has to spare after paying for food and housing. Items are still too expensive, though.

Zom B
2010-02-23, 09:57 AM
How popular was what I call the "reverse grip" (holding the weapon by the handle, but with the blade end coming out of the bottom of the grip, such as wielding a knife for stabbing) for larger-than-knife weapons? I've seen it in movies (oh yeah, great source of historical accuracy there), and while it seems awfully handy for stabbing or defending against an opponent that is beside you, it seems unwieldy. I mean, to block a blow coming at your head or neck (as a lot of blows tried to come), you'd have to either raise the sword way over your head to get the blade in line for the strike or at an awkard position in general.

Britter
2010-02-23, 10:14 AM
How popular was what I call the "reverse grip" (holding the weapon by the handle, but with the blade end coming out of the bottom of the grip, such as wielding a knife for stabbing) for larger-than-knife weapons? I've seen it in movies (oh yeah, great source of historical accuracy there), and while it seems awfully handy for stabbing or defending against an opponent that is beside you, it seems unwieldy. I mean, to block a blow coming at your head or neck (as a lot of blows tried to come), you'd have to either raise the sword way over your head to get the blade in line for the strike or at an awkard position in general.

Over the course of 15 years of studying kenjutsu and iaido, I have only seen that grip used on a few specific draws designed to be used in situations where the opponent is too close for you to draw in a more conventional manner. In my expirience the reverse grip is almost immediately shifted to a conventional grip. I don't think any school uses it as a primary method, because you negate your reach advantage and don't gain any signifigant mechanical cutting advantage or defensive advantage. In fact, I would argue that you lose considerable mechanical advantage with the configuration.

I would never attempt to fight using such a grip, on the off chance I am ever in a sword fight:smallwink:.

With a knife things are different, and the reverse grip is a very effective tool in the knife-fighters aresenal.

Brainfart
2010-02-23, 12:11 PM
In my (admittedly limited) experience with European swordsmanship, it doesn't make an appearance in any major manuscript.

It's actually an incredibly crappy way of using a sword. You're not making use of its full length and cutting ability, and you have next to no ability to generate power.