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View Full Version : Got a Real-World Weapon or Armor Question? Mk. VI



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Brainfart
2010-04-29, 06:45 AM
For the Tinker swords? None yet.

valadil
2010-04-29, 08:14 AM
Do other weapon have as many forms, stances, and techniques as swords? I imagine staves have their fair share of stances, but I'm having trouble imagining an axe or mace being as versatile as a sword in the hands of someone well trained.

Spiryt
2010-04-29, 08:50 AM
Why not?


Talhoffer (http://www.thearma.org/talhoffer/talhoffer4.htm)

There's pollaxe, unfortunately drawings are not so easily available.

Some interpretations (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTVC25hYJaY).

There were a lot works about ahlberd spears... (http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/HW-Web.htm) you can find quite a lot in Net.

endoperez
2010-04-29, 09:32 AM
Do other weapon have as many forms, stances, and techniques as swords? I imagine staves have their fair share of stances, but I'm having trouble imagining an axe or mace being as versatile as a sword in the hands of someone well trained.

I have no first-hand experience, but I imagine some polearms to be quite complicated. Something like a pollaxe or a halberd that can stab, cut and hook/trap the opponent's limb or weapon would be quite versatile if one knew how to do all of that. Something like how theseumbrellas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfcwUkb7kWI) are used...

A staff can be used in many ways, depending on how it's held and how long it is. It might be used as a long club, as a blunt spear, or held from the middle - and change between them rather freely. George Silver, a Brit from 1600s, claimed the British quarterstaves were more or less the ultimate weapon, but that was probably nationalism speaking.

If you are interested in how rarer weapons might be used, check out AlexTse4's youtube account. There are dozens of videos of kung fu forms with weird weapons and weapon combinations. You only see people swinging the weapons in the air, but the forms can give you some ideas.
Here are a hoe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sROa7lUPYlg) and a huge axe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPBT1YarvU) as examples.

valadil
2010-04-29, 10:20 AM
Why not?


Most of the youtube videos I'd seen posted here focused on sword techniques. I couldn't tell if that was because most techniques were sword based or because most of this thread's interest in various techniques focused on swords. I'm not surprised that there's plenty going on with polearms, but wasn't sure what could be applied to something like a mace.

Spiryt
2010-04-29, 10:24 AM
I've never seen anything with mace.

Anyway most are sword based, because good sword was obviously most common e"street"/dueling weapon.

Mace was war one, and as it was almost always single handed and short, I can imagine that from these reason there's indeed more limited number of things you can do with it.

Still certainly good ways of wielding it would be worth teaching.

They certainly have some bizarre ideas in XVIth century anyway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97neHuFfPLI

If somebody's really stubborn with idea of D&D like war scythe, (s)he certainly should take a look. :smallbiggrin:

imp_fireball
2010-04-29, 01:22 PM
And if that is the case, it's conformist to tell everybody they are trying to be non-conformist ;)


Wait, I don't get that logic.

Not everyone tells everyone else that they're non-conformist.

No one I've seen.

Erroneous!

Galloglaich
2010-04-29, 02:11 PM
Most of the manuals (sometimes known as "fechtbucher") that we are reconstructing Medieval and Rennaissance Martial Arts from deal with Judicial Combat (13th - 16th Century) Tournament fighting, and private dueling (16th -18th Century)

So mostly it involves a certain fairly limited range of weapons which were popular for duels or judicial combat. The latter especially were focused on weapons which had a somewhat limited (at least potentially limited) lethality, because a lot of times a juducial combat would be not be fought to the death. Same with duels actually. A mace is a weapon which is not easy to give a minor wound with, it's pretty much cave in the head or break the thigh, or you missed. Mostly the training is for one guy (or occasionally, woman) with a given weapon facing another person with the same identical weapon.

But I don't think fighting with a mace or a battle-axe is any less sophisticated to be honest, I suspect the martial arts for those weapons were probably as or nearly as sophisticated as what you see with most other weapons. The exceptions are longsword and rapier which seem to have a unusual potential for sophisticated techniques.

There are some exceptions among the fechtbucher, like this newly discovered 16th Century Portuguese Montanto (greatsword) manual which apparently deals with all kinds of interesting situations like fighting on a ship or a corridor, fighting groups of people, fighting people with different weapon combinations etc.

It's also true that we as a community have probably only digested and partially understood maybe something like 40-60% of the manuals, a lot of them remain viritually untouched and it's almost certain that more exist. I know of at least two interesting ones which haven't been made widely publicized yet.

The weapons I know of which are covered include:

Longsword (four foot two-handed sword or 'bastard sword' in D&D)
Sword and buckler roughly three foot long single-handed arming sword roughly equivalent to an RPG "Longsword"
Sword and dagger
Cut-thrust sword with buckler, small shield or dagger (this is like between an arming sword and a rapier)
Greatsword Like a longsword or a DnD greatsword but a bit bigger, about 5 feet long or maybe up to six feet, callled Spada di due mani by the Italians and Montante by the Spanish and Portuguese, 16th Century. Not quite as big as a true Zwiehander.
Zweihander the true giant sized six foot+ two-handed sword. 16th Century.
Rapier this is a bigger weapon than the 'rapier' in most RPG games, typically almost four feet long with a sharp blade, rapier techniques include including case of rapiers, one of the only two-weapon fighting systems I know of in the real world, as well as rapier with dagger and rapier with buckler, and rapier with cloak.
Smallsword Three foot thrusting only weapon similar to a modern fencing foil, basically this is the weapon called a "rapier" in most RPG games and computer games.
Grosse Messer (something like a heavier machete) the manuals show single handed messers but a lot of the surviving ones from 16th century or later are two-handed "kriegsmessers".
Dussack closely related to a messer, but curved and with a knucklebow, something like a primitive cutlass. In the 15th-16th Century, sparring versions of these were made out of leather and wood or whalebone, used for training for any kind of single-edged sword, hanger, or saber.
Saber I think only in 17th - 18th Century military manuals though I could be wrong about that. Also includes backsword etc.
Poll-axe (there is a Burgundian French manual called Jeu Du La Hache which deals exclusively with this weapon, it's also a lot in Talhoffer and many other manuals) and this include halberds and bills
Dueling Club
Scythe
Special dueling shield
Sort of a dueling flail (a rock in a sock, used for women in judicial combat)
Flegel (a real military flail, two-handed)
Dagger
Spear (including Partisan, a spear-like polearm, and the awl-pike)
Unarmed (similar to jujitsu)
Staff of various sizes ranging from bo-staff sized to pike-sized

Of course many other weapons were used on the battlefield and in civilian disputes, more manuals will undoubtedly emerge, but currentlly this is what we got as far as I can remember. Anyone think of any others I missed ...?

G.

Galloglaich
2010-04-29, 02:41 PM
Most of the youtube videos I'd seen posted here focused on sword techniques. I couldn't tell if that was because most techniques were sword based or because most of this thread's interest in various techniques focused on swords. I'm not surprised that there's plenty going on with polearms, but wasn't sure what could be applied to something like a mace.

I've seen some videos of 'flegel' being used, something like a two-handed flail, that is about as close to a mace as I can remember. Poll-axe also includes poll-hammer which is pretty mace-like.

G.

Yora
2010-04-29, 02:43 PM
Flegel is just a regular flail.

I guess practicing with blunt weapons is a lot more dangerous than with blades. There is no edge which you can leave unsharpened and you have less precession. And I think common protective clothing doesn't protect well against blunt trauma either.

Galloglaich
2010-04-29, 02:51 PM
Flegel is just a regular flail.

yes, per our previous disagreemnt on a similar subject, they are using the german term to refer to this two-handed military weapon based on the agricultural flail, invented by the Bohemians and widely used in Central Europe from the early 15th Century.

http://fr.truveo.com/video-detail/lufu-2009-flegel-hofdegen-andi-marcus/2469351042

here you can see some people sparring with flegel simulator against a rapier. I don't think much is known about this weapon yet IIRC there are some plates in Paulus Hector Mair about it.

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n106/blfulton45/Arms%20and%20Armor/DSC00944.jpg

The real ones are quite nasty looking, apparently they were extremely lethal but only the Bohemians (Czechs) seemed to be able to use them effectively on a large scale.



I guess practicing with blunt weapons is a lot more dangerous than with blades. There is no edge which you can leave unsharpened and you have less precession. And I think common protective clothing doesn't protect well against blunt trauma either.

yes that's true, especially with flails. Even padded ones often knock people out in my experience (people wearing helmets). And they break a lot due to the centriptal force.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 01:50 PM
I have no first-hand experience, but I imagine some polearms to be quite complicated. Something like a pollaxe or a halberd that can stab, cut and hook/trap the opponent's limb or weapon would be quite versatile if one knew how to do all of that. Something like how theseumbrellas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfcwUkb7kWI) are used...

A staff can be used in many ways, depending on how it's held and how long it is. It might be used as a long club, as a blunt spear, or held from the middle - and change between them rather freely. George Silver, a Brit from 1600s, claimed the British quarterstaves were more or less the ultimate weapon, but that was probably nationalism speaking.

If you are interested in how rarer weapons might be used, check out AlexTse4's youtube account. There are dozens of videos of kung fu forms with weird weapons and weapon combinations. You only see people swinging the weapons in the air, but the forms can give you some ideas.
Here are a hoe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sROa7lUPYlg) and a huge axe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPBT1YarvU) as examples.

Speaking of which, don't you think it would be nice if RPGs had a way to let you actively defend as well as attack with your weapon, to use it's various ways of attacking (even a staff can thrust quite effectively) or do some of those things a halberd was designed to do like hook an enemies shield or weapon, or pull them off their feet? I never understood why this was so often ignored in RPGs. I mean they even do that stuff in the SCA...

G.

Spiryt
2010-04-30, 01:58 PM
Because people go sufficiently mad with normal "rolls". :smallamused:

The true question is why they won't let you do that stuff in almost any video game, if you have computer/whatever to calculate all the stuff anyway. :smallmad:

Hades
2010-04-30, 02:00 PM
Speaking of which, don't you think it would be nice if RPGs had a way to let you actively defend as well as attack with your weapon, to use it's various ways of attacking (even a staff can thrust quite effectively) or do some of those things a halberd was designed to do like hook an enemies shield or weapon, or pull them off their feet?

This is why some of us love GURPS so much...

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 02:31 PM
Because people go sufficiently mad with normal "rolls". :smallamused:

The true question is why they won't let you do that stuff in almost any video game, if you have computer/whatever to calculate all the stuff anyway. :smallmad:

I used to wonder about that a whole lot.

I think that is because programmers are lazy (I can say this because I am one) and video game combat systems are almost all based on RPG or wargame combat systems. The wargame combat systems for games like say, Advanced Squad Leader*, were much more clever and realistic than RPG combat systems ... so as a result tank games tend to be pretty accurate and therefore, fun to fight in, whereas (to me) fantasy RPG and historical RPG games always disappoint.

One of the reasons I think it's important to reform RPG combat is how much all the cliches and mistakes from RPG's seem to filter out into the broader culture, not just computer games but also films, tv shows, and even historical documentaries and silly shows like the-one-that-will-not-be-named-again-in-this-thread.

G.

*the one big flaw in ASL was being overly complex, whch computer games like Steel Panthers, Close Combat, and Combat Mission were able to hide in the background in a pretty seamless way

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 02:32 PM
This is why some of us love GURPS so much...

How does that work in GURPS? Is that ok to describe in this thread?

G.

Hades
2010-04-30, 02:50 PM
How does that work in GURPS? Is that ok to describe in this thread?

G.
It's fairly off-topic here, but briefly, every action you described can be replicated without house-rules in GURPS: defenses are split into Dodge, Block, and Parry (active defense with weapon). It is perfectly possible to thrust with a staff, though it will tend to do less average damage (not counting hit locations) than a swing with it. Finally, halberds (and other weapons with various projecting bits) allow use of the Hook technique, which allows you to manipulate your opponent, his weapon, or his shield in the ways you note.

The most recent edition (4th) and it's corresponding Martial Arts supplement are very nice in this regard, and the upcoming Low-Tech supplement is written by Dan Howard, who you may be familiar with. I don't want to derail the thread too much, so if you'd like more info, feel free to shoot me a PM or we can start a different thread.

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 03:47 PM
Aiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee! Dan Howard! My ultimate rival on myarmoury :smallyuk::smallwink:

I'll have to check out Gurps 4E and see how it works. Glad to hear you can do the 'hook'.

G.

Hades
2010-04-30, 03:59 PM
Aiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee! Dan Howard! My ultimate rival on myarmoury :smallyuk::smallwink:

Sometimes I think I'm forum-stalking him, myArmoury, SJGames Forums, SFI, heh.


I'll have to check out Gurps 4E and see how it works. Glad to hear you can do the 'hook'.

G.
Yup, all the HEMA/WMA stuff is in the Martial Arts supplement, pretty sweet. Any RPG that has the Codex Wallerstein, Capo Ferro, and Sydney Anglo in the bibliography at the back is heading in the right direction, I think.

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 04:40 PM
So HEMA goes mainstream in RPGs, I wasn't aware of all that, sounds promising.... it's about time. Ah well, I thought of it first :) Or really, Jake Norwood thought of it first and made it work with Riddle of Steel, which proved that it could work. But I helped a little with that too.

Last time I played around with GURPS combat system I thought it was kind of ... "blocky", and didn't feel very realistic, but that was almost ten years ago. Sounds like I need to have another look. What specific book should I get, GURPS 4E Martial Arts?

G.

Hades
2010-04-30, 04:50 PM
So HEMA goes mainstream in RPGs, I wasn't aware of all that, sounds promising.... it's about time. Ah well, I thought of it first :) Or really, Jake Norwood thought of it first and made it work with Riddle of Steel, which proved that it could work. But I helped a little with that too.

Seeing the real thing (HEMA, I mean) start to have an impact on popular culture is pretty nifty.



Last time I played around with GURPS combat system I thought it was kind of ... "blocky", and didn't feel very realistic, but that was almost ten years ago. Sounds like I need to have another look. What specific book should I get, GURPS 4E Martial Arts?

G.
GURPS 4E Martial Arts, yup, but you'll also need the 4E Basic Set (Characters and Campaigns books) to really make sense of it, as Martial Arts is an expansion of additional options rather than a standalone book. Although you might be able to use the free GURPS Lite and Martial Arts to get at least a little bit of an idea how it works.

/thread hijack off

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 05:30 PM
There seem to be a lot of people in this forum who know a bit about HEMA, which is a big change from any RPG forum I saw even two or three years ago.

There seems to be a lot of general interest in real martial arts of all kinds and with skills and techniques of all types from long ago, survival skills back to nature skills, how to make things etc. Maybe we sense something coming ... :) Zompoc...?

/Thread hijack off

G.

HenryHankovitch
2010-04-30, 05:48 PM
There seems to be a lot of general interest in real martial arts of all kinds and with skills and techniques of all types from long ago, survival skills back to nature skills, how to make things etc. Maybe we sense something coming ... :) Zompoc...?


If the zombies ever rise there will be, among the corpses, thousands of dead nerds with swords strapped to their backs.

lsfreak
2010-04-30, 05:55 PM
If the zombies ever rise there will be, among the corpses, thousands of dead nerds with swordskatanas strapped to their backs.

FTFY. After all, katanas are just better :smalltongue:

Let's not forget the nerds with guns. Also dead, because they didn't practice all that much, and couldn't hit the side of a barn with all that adrenaline. I'll probably be one of them.

Eldan
2010-04-30, 06:09 PM
And the swiss nerds (me and the five others hidden somewhere where I can't find them, if they exist), hiding in one of the thousands of bunkers switzerland has.

And they said Cold war scare wasn't useful.

Galloglaich
2010-04-30, 07:44 PM
I don't know about the rest of you nerds, but I can cut some mofos up with a sword. I can even hit the broadside of a barn fair to middlin'. I like adrenaline.

He's right about Switzerland though, they take civil defense for real over there. I remember hearing all about it when I was in the army in Germany in the 80's, we were all pretty jealous considering we were all utter cannon fodder (according to what the Army used to tell us).

G.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-04-30, 10:48 PM
And the swiss nerds (me and the five others hidden somewhere where I can't find them, if they exist), hiding in one of the thousands of bunkers switzerland has.

And they said Cold war scare wasn't useful.

I've always said that anyone (Even zombies. No, especially zombies.) would be unwise to invade Switzerland. A nation with such a tradition of both marksmanship and martial prowess (which other nations had their soldiers banned from warfare due to effectiveness?) is not likely to take **** from anybody.

Oh, and yes, I am also capable of cutting some people with a sword. So that makes at least two of us.

hamishspence
2010-05-01, 02:42 AM
Question is- are these the kind of zombies that can infect you with Zombie Plague with one scratch of the fingernails?

If so, getting that close would be unwise. :smallamused:

Eldan
2010-05-01, 07:16 AM
It's not really the case anymore, honestly. Currently, about 40% of young men get themselves declared unfit for service. Since "civil service", i.e. service without uniform or weapons got allowed, those numbers are skyrocketing as well. So the "one assault rifle per household" policy has been out since at least the eighties. And new houses aren't required anymore to have bomb shelters, as far as I know.

Yora
2010-05-01, 07:24 AM
He's right about Switzerland though, they take civil defense for real over there. I remember hearing all about it when I was in the army in Germany in the 80's, we were all pretty jealous considering we were all utter cannon fodder (according to what the Army used to tell us).
That's the reason why we got into the NATO. Slowing the soviet invasion a bit, to give the others more time to prepare the defenses. :smallbiggrin:

There seems to be a lot of general interest in real martial arts of all kinds and with skills and techniques of all types from long ago, survival skills back to nature skills, how to make things etc. Maybe we sense something coming ... :) Zompoc...?
We allready control all of the worlds electronic infrastructure and have made the common people depend on us for their survival. The next step is acquiring the skills to also be superior during the temporary shutdown phase. :smallwink:

Galloglaich
2010-05-01, 10:43 AM
It's not really the case anymore, honestly. Currently, about 40% of young men get themselves declared unfit for service. Since "civil service", i.e. service without uniform or weapons got allowed, those numbers are skyrocketing as well. So the "one assault rifle per household" policy has been out since at least the eighties. And new houses aren't required anymore to have bomb shelters, as far as I know.

That is depressing to hear. The big mistake i think was leaving the women out of the militia and in many cases, the direct democracy, that put them against the old ways and now the traditional swiss confederacy style independence is fading in favor of becoming just another typical European country with typical European left /right politics... which is a big mistake.

Have to figure out a way to make the militia and the old Swiss style democratic traditions which go hand and hand with it fashionable, and bring the girls back into the fold.

I think it's so cool that in some places (appenzell innerrhoden?) they still have to bring a sword or a dagger (baselard) to vote. Is that still true?

G.

Galloglaich
2010-05-01, 10:48 AM
Question is- are these the kind of zombies that can infect you with Zombie Plague with one scratch of the fingernails?

If so, getting that close would be unwise. :smallamused:

True, good point ;)

If it's the type of zombies which are a euphemism for starving crazed consumers on a panicked rampage after a major economic collapse (which does not look impossible at this point) sword fighting skills are somewhat of a bonus. Incremental anyway, not major. But to be honest, a fortified house in the country, with a basement full of MREs and a couple of solar panels and a well... or better yet a whole lot of friends just about anywhere that you can really trust, is a lot better.

I have a few solid friends around here, a lot of ...tools and the skills to use them, some other survival skills... and a little bit of supplies, we all keep some here for Hurricanes. But I'll probably be swept away by the first wave.

I'm not much for the mumbo jumbo stuff but all these earthquakes and volcanoes are a bit alarming in sync with that 2012 hype. Maybe that is another sign of zompoc.

Anyone seen The Road yet?

G.

Galloglaich
2010-05-01, 10:55 AM
That's the reason why we got into the NATO. Slowing the soviet invasion a bit, to give the others more time to prepare the defenses. :smallbiggrin:

Yeah we definitely had that feeling of a 'speed bump', they used to tell us this unit in Regensberg has a 4 hour life expectancy, that unit in Augsburg has a 2 day life expectancy, that other one near Wildflecken has a 16 minute life expectancy. Not very encouraging...



We allready control all of the worlds electronic infrastructure and have made the common people depend on us for their survival. The next step is acquiring the skills to also be superior during the temporary shutdown phase. :smallwink:

SAP sure has a lot of tentacles everywhere, but there are a lot of folks around the world good with computers, the Finns, the Russians, the Japanese, the Chinese, hell the Nigerians are pretty good hackers. Even us Yanks still have some kind of edge in some areas. But it's fading fast like everything else that was once good in the US.

G.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-05-01, 11:06 AM
...Anyone seen The Road yet?

G.

Yeah, an excellent piece, if a bit dark. Mr. Mortensen's performance was exemplary, I think.

And it is quite sad to hear that the Swiss martial tradition is fading. You (the Swiss) always struck me as having the right sort of idea.

A bit more on topic, I was wondering about what if any resources exist for unarmed combat in HEMA? I've studied Karate for some time, and I suspect that it would be similar to traditional western striking arts, but I was unsure where to go and check.

Galloglaich
2010-05-01, 12:52 PM
Quite a bit, though what I have seen so far is more like Ju Jitsu than Karate. It's called "ringen", meaning wrestling, or "kampfringen" war-wrestling, or "ringen-am-schwert". You also see this mixed in a lot with dagger fighting.

The Italians (well, Fiore) call it "Abrazare" or "Abbraciarre" meaning grips or 'the embrace'.
http://www.hema.freehomepage.com/Arte%20del%20Abbrachiare.htm

There are survivals of this art in traditional Breton, Icelandic, and Swiss wrestling though they have very much become sports.

Many of the ringen masters appeared to be Jewish, Ott Jud and Jud Lew are two of the most famous 15th Century masters. The system involves strikes, throws, kicks, armlocks, and various techniques for disarming and using the sword for leverage.

Here are some throws using the sword
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Pnw-9A8qQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXbZqKnwDbQ

Some 'twirch' ringen which is similar to the Breton and Swiss and Icelandic wrestling, where you start out in a guard / grip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvkPLvoH1vI

This is a Polish group "ringschule wroclow", operating out of Gdansk (formerly Danzig) where they actually still have the old 16th Century Fechtscuhle building (shown in the video) withe reliefs of the fighters grappling on the outside of the building.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfuMYqfmACM&feature=fvw

A lot of the stuff in the manuals is tricky for sparring because it's all still very lethal, without any watering down into a sport.. designed to break arms, dislocate shoulders, fracture hips etc. It's very brutal. But I believe there have already been fighters in Sweden and Poland who trained in ringen who are fighting in MMA leagues.

There are techniques called Murder strikes or murder blows (not to be confused with similarly sounding techniques for attacking with sword qullions) designed to cause crippling or stunning injuries preliminary to throws or locks, but it seems to be mostly the latter.

To be honest though I don't think we have penetrated very far into understanding of the unarmed fighting arts of the Renaissance yet, most people have been concentrating on swords mostly in the last ten years or so, they are just starting to move more into unarmed and other weapons (and things like fighting from horseback, which some young ladies from Austria have recently linked to Dressage in an interesting way)

G.

Galloglaich
2010-05-01, 04:19 PM
Good description of kampfringen here:

http://www.hema.freehomepage.com/Kampfringen.htm

Yora
2010-05-01, 11:02 PM
SAP sure has a lot of tentacles everywhere, but there are a lot of folks around the world good with computers, the Finns, the Russians, the Japanese, the Chinese, hell the Nigerians are pretty good hackers. Even us Yanks still have some kind of edge in some areas. But it's fading fast like everything else that was once good in the US.
I've meant nerds, not Germans. :smallbiggrin:

Galloglaich
2010-05-02, 10:41 AM
Ah, well that explains it :) if nerds want to survive the zompoc though I think LARP is going to have to get a lot more hardcore. They should incorporate paintball, full-contact stick fighting, mma, motorcycles, and extreme survival training, for example. Like camping with no food but just a knife and some rope or something. And costumes should evolve from this

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/larp-8.jpg

...to something more like this.

http://www.kanoa.com/moto/madmax/road_warrior_pic.jpg

G.

Galloglaich
2010-05-02, 09:59 PM
That was a joke, by the way... didn't mean to offend any larpers in the crowd.... :smalleek:

Galloglaich
2010-05-03, 08:06 PM
As a peace offering to all and sundry LARPERS, I present this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tovznQvqVok&feature=fvw

G.

HenryHankovitch
2010-05-04, 11:03 AM
(and things like fighting from horseback, which some young ladies from Austria have recently linked to Dressage in an interesting way)

...I'll be in my bunk.

Galloglaich
2010-05-04, 01:29 PM
It's not that bad... they are just strting to figure things out (from Talhoffer I think) a year or two aggo but they are already making a little progress

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzbCZxdT-_k&feature=related

Faleldir
2010-05-04, 08:14 PM
I want to play a Fighter in 4e, and my projected build has too much DEX to wear heavy armor, but I don't think hide armor would be appropriate for the concept. Does anyone know one of the following?
1. A historical example of someone wearing hide armor who could be described as "fighter" rather than "ranger" or "barbarian".
2. A type of armor that could be refluffed as hide.

Eldan
2010-05-05, 02:41 AM
I think it's so cool that in some places (appenzell innerrhoden?) they still have to bring a sword or a dagger (baselard) to vote. Is that still true?

G.


I'm not getting into military politics here...

Anyway, I haven't heard anything about the voting dagger. I've only seen those direct votes on TV, I must admit, but I never saw any daggers there. Appenzell Innerrhoden is indeed the one canton which is small enough that life votes are still practiced: once per month, they all gather on a square and vote by raising hands.

Mr White
2010-05-05, 05:19 AM
I want to play a Fighter in 4e, and my projected build has too much DEX to wear heavy armor, but I don't think hide armor would be appropriate for the concept. Does anyone know one of the following?
1. A historical example of someone wearing hide armor who could be described as "fighter" rather than "ranger" or "barbarian".
2. A type of armor that could be refluffed as hide.

You probably should be a bit more specific. I'm quite sure everywhere at some period in time 'fighters' wore hide as protection.
Even if you look at the time period that D&D somewhat represents, 'hide armour' should be in use by a mot of people.
Maybe check out some steppe tribes?

KiltedGrappler
2010-05-05, 05:44 AM
A bit more on topic, I was wondering about what if any resources exist for unarmed combat in HEMA? I've studied Karate for some time, and I suspect that it would be similar to traditional western striking arts, but I was unsure where to go and check.

Try boxing or savate (which started to be codified in the early 19th century) for Western striking styles. Savate will be signifigantly more rare, of course, but there's a boxing gym just about everywhere if you look. Boxing is almost always going to be a fair bit less expensive than your standard strip mall McDojo, and typically I've found the actual fighting instruction to be worlds better.

As far as grappling goes, if you're still in high-school, start wrestling. Once you have a decent foundation in it start looking into catch-as-catch-can wrestling books and DVDs. For more information on this, hop on over to www.ScientificWrestling.com

If you're out of high-school it'll be much tougher to learn scholastic (AKA folkstyle) wrestling, but you may be able to ask members of a local college team or grappling gym to help you out.

Once you start either or both of those, the techniques in most (if not all)fechtbucher will make loads more sense, and you'll be able to practice them with a lot more safty and accuracy, even in a live sparring session.

Hope this helps.

Faleldir
2010-05-05, 01:29 PM
You probably should be a bit more specific. I'm quite sure everywhere at some period in time 'fighters' wore hide as protection.
Even if you look at the time period that D&D somewhat represents, 'hide armour' should be in use by a mot of people.
Maybe check out some steppe tribes?
If it's so common, why don't you give me ONE example?

HenryHankovitch
2010-05-05, 01:45 PM
I want to play a Fighter in 4e, and my projected build has too much DEX to wear heavy armor, but I don't think hide armor would be appropriate for the concept. Does anyone know one of the following?
1. A historical example of someone wearing hide armor who could be described as "fighter" rather than "ranger" or "barbarian".
2. A type of armor that could be refluffed as hide.

How about leather armor in the style of a gambeson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambeson) or a buff coat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff_coat)?

Dienekes
2010-05-05, 01:52 PM
Ceremonial Crocodile skin armor (http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/c/crocodile-skin_suit_of_armour.aspx)

Zenos
2010-05-05, 02:41 PM
I believe the mongols used shirt made of raw silk as a defence versus bowfire, although that was apparently coupled with other forms of armour like boiled leather.

imp_fireball
2010-05-05, 04:34 PM
I want to play a Fighter in 4e, and my projected build has too much DEX to wear heavy armor, but I don't think hide armor would be appropriate for the concept. Does anyone know one of the following?
1. A historical example of someone wearing hide armor who could be described as "fighter" rather than "ranger" or "barbarian".
2. A type of armor that could be refluffed as hide.

I don't think anyone historical even wore hide armor except maybe anglo saxons (and I just remember that from the Beowulf maybe).

Also, hide in itself is pretty damn generic - really, it'd have different levels of AC considering all animals have different levels of AC in accordance to their natural armor.

If you want to describe them as fighters, maybe Maui Warrior (which is really barbarian through and through except that they consider it an actual martial art) or Shaka Zulu (who was more of a fighter/war dancer sort).


How about leather armor in the style of a gambeson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambeson) or a buff coat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff_coat)?

That'd be pretty bulky. Either that, or the leather would have to be softer to be made more flexible and open-like, which might even just eliminate any AC bonus unless you combined with some sort of technological innovation circa now (could be 'gnomish engineering' except that might get rid of the barbarian fluff).


I believe the mongols used shirt made of raw silk as a defence versus bowfire, although that was apparently coupled with other forms of armour like boiled leather.

Mongols are the epitome of 'savage tactical' warfare and I don't know why D&D isn't inspired them a bit more.

Some orc interpretations are influenced by mongols a bit except that I imagine they're often insulted in making orcs simple 'always chaotic evil' and without tactics and/or cowardly/stupid/vain (although ugly is warranted; an orc is never attractive or sociable and I frown at anime that makes them the former).
-------

The best hide armor is the ones that have an animal skin head as the head covering or maybe a skull.

Fhaolan
2010-05-05, 05:06 PM
Depends on how you're willing to define as hide armour:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/s/suit_of_hide_armour.aspx

There is a form of Chinese armour known as the 'Kiai' (not to be confused with the martial art shout) that was made of hide. Kai is a generic term for armour, Kiai supposedly was a specific term meaning hide armour.

And there is an Indian armour known as 'Dhenuka' (also easily confused with a Indian demon. The name is somehow related, but I haven't sorted that out).

The problem is that leather is technically hide. In D&D, leather = boiled leather, which was actually a relatively rare form of armour. Multi-layered soft leather/cloth occurs more often, which falls under 'padded' in D&D. Heavy soft leather is really not that much different from quilted armour.

Faleldir
2010-05-05, 06:23 PM
Okay, let's try again from a different angle. What is one type of armor that's better than boiled leather, worse than full-body chainmail, doesn't impair dexterity, and was commonly used in European armies that had the technology to make heavier armor? If it helps, I'll also be using a trident and heavy shield.

Dienekes
2010-05-05, 06:31 PM
I believe the Iliad also makes note of hide armor, I know they discuss a helmet made of hide and leather for sure though.

Edit: at new question, that'd be the gambeson, as already shown above.

Galloglaich
2010-05-05, 09:06 PM
Okay, let's try again from a different angle. What is one type of armor that's better than boiled leather, worse than full-body chainmail, doesn't impair dexterity, and was commonly used in European armies that had the technology to make heavier armor? If it helps, I'll also be using a trident and heavy shield.

Padded armor, aka gambeson, jupon, aketon, arming jacket etc. but it's better in real life than in RPG's.

Or possibly brigandine, or lamellar. But they don't exist in most RPGs.

G.

Acero
2010-05-05, 09:40 PM
Okay, let's try again from a different angle. What is one type of armor that's better than boiled leather, worse than full-body chainmail, doesn't impair dexterity, and was commonly used in European armies that had the technology to make heavier armor? If it helps, I'll also be using a trident and heavy shield.

Breastplate comes to mind. seperate guards on the forearms for flexibility

Fhaolan
2010-05-05, 10:31 PM
Okay, let's try again from a different angle. What is one type of armor that's better than boiled leather, worse than full-body chainmail, doesn't impair dexterity, and was commonly used in European armies that had the technology to make heavier armor? If it helps, I'll also be using a trident and heavy shield.

Let's see... let's first point out that the 'trident' in European medieval terms would be more probably a military fork. The primary difference being that a military fork evolved out of the pitchfork, while the trident evolved from a fishing spear, so one is meant to be thrown while the other is more polearm-ish. This isn't that important, really, but if we're in the mood to be pendantic, there you go.

Lighter/worse protection than maille, better than boiled leather, common in Europe where plate armour exists: Really heavy buff coats and whatnot as already mentioned. If you can allow some middle-eastern influence then ring armour/bezanted armour. This is what happens when you sew bits of non-overlapping metal onto regular weight buff coat/gambleson/whatevers. Ring armour basically being like large-scale maille rings, bezanted armour being disks or coins (which is where the name comes from; Bezants being an old coin). This stuff is usually modeled by 'studded leather' in RPGs. Studded leather doesn't really exist as such as a historical armour, the pictures of it usually being misinterpreted brigandine (the rivets that are visible are actually holding metal plates on the inside of the fabric.) However, ring/bezanted armour would make sense in that RPG niche. They're just a bit 'off' if you want Western Europe-only as a source. As soon as you wander a bit further afield like the Eastern Europe or the Middle East, a lot more options open up.

Faleldir
2010-05-05, 11:14 PM
Now that is what I want to see! You know, I thought this forum was conspiring to intentionally miss the point of my questions and give me nothing but derisive non-answers like "you can't Hide in a cardboard box because cardboard doesn't exist in D&D", but now my faith in you is restored! Thank you all!

HenryHankovitch
2010-05-06, 01:33 PM
Okay, let's try again from a different angle. What is one type of armor that's better than boiled leather, worse than full-body chainmail, doesn't impair dexterity, and was commonly used in European armies that had the technology to make heavier armor? If it helps, I'll also be using a trident and heavy shield.

A gambeson. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambeson) :smallannoyed:

The brigandine, also mentioned above, would fit the role. If one equates D&D "scale armor" with a coat-of-plates, then you could think of it as "chain shirt:chainmail::brigandine:scale armor."

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-05-06, 06:54 PM
Try boxing or savate (which started to be codified in the early 19th century) for Western striking styles. Savate will be signifigantly more rare, of course, but there's a boxing gym just about everywhere if you look. Boxing is almost always going to be a fair bit less expensive than your standard strip mall McDojo, and typically I've found the actual fighting instruction to be worlds better.

As you say, those are much more recent styles (with origins in the 18th-19th century) so those are of less interest to me.

Galloglaich: Thanks for the links on Ringen and Abbraciarre.

fusilier
2010-05-06, 09:01 PM
As you say, those are much more recent styles (with origins in the 18th-19th century) so those are of less interest to me.

Galloglaich: Thanks for the links on Ringen and Abbraciarre.

Don't be too quick to dismiss boxing. It's origins seem to be from classical times, although the term is often used in a generic sense to mean any formalized system of unarmed striking (e.g "The Boxer Rebellion").

The wikipedia entry has some history.

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

Galloglaich
2010-05-06, 10:05 PM
Somebody at the Dijon event last year had done a reconstruction of ancient Greek boxing or pugilism, it looked really cool... I was looking for the video though and I couldn't find it.

EDIT: here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47jmOxzux-8&feature=channel_page

G.

Vitruviansquid
2010-05-06, 10:51 PM
At least to people like me who have no experience or understanding of unarmed martial arts, explanations of how they work usually seem to include a lot of assumptions about the opponent being a human and having a human anatomy.

So my question is, if you were to fight someone like Proteus or Jayna from the Wonder Twins, that is, someone who can take the form of different animals at will, what unarmed martial art would be the most effective?

Can a "martial artist" of any school have an advantage over an untaught person with the same physical prowess in a fight against a non-human opponent?

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-05-06, 11:24 PM
Don't be too quick to dismiss boxing. It's origins seem to be from classical times, although the term is often used in a generic sense to mean any formalized system of unarmed striking (e.g "The Boxer Rebellion").

The wikipedia entry has some history.

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

While it is true that both the Greeks and the Romans (and I'm sure others) had martial arts who are commonly translated as 'Boxing' (πυξ, pux, or πυγμη, pugme, meaning 'fist' or 'of the fist' the origin of pugilism I believe. Also, latin Pugne if I'm not terribly mistaken) their relationship to modern boxing is in their being western striking arts alone. Modern boxing, as I understand it, comes from British bare-knuckle prizefighting, organized in the mid 18th century (though present prior) by Jack Broughton, a heavyweight champion.

fusilier
2010-05-07, 12:29 AM
While it is true that both the Greeks and the Romans (and I'm sure others) had martial arts who are commonly translated as 'Boxing' (πυξ, pux, or πυγμη, pugme, meaning 'fist' or 'of the fist' the origin of pugilism I believe. Also, latin Pugne if I'm not terribly mistaken) their relationship to modern boxing is in their being western striking arts alone. Modern boxing, as I understand it, comes from British bare-knuckle prizefighting, organized in the mid 18th century (though present prior) by Jack Broughton, a heavyweight champion.

Right. So there are two things happening here. 1. When people say boxing, in an historical sense, they don't necessarily mean modern sport boxing. So don't simply shy away from the term boxing in your research. 2. Modern sport boxing has a lineage -- perhaps going all the way back to classical times. I'm not claiming that they are one and the same, but that many of the fundamentals are probably still present thousands of years later. Take a look at the link that Galloglaich posted (thanks by the way). While I'm certainly somebody to have doubts about such reconstructions, it's pretty clear that it has some relation to modern boxing. Such pugilistic activities were probably associated with hoi polloi for centuries and could easily have been transmitted without someone having documented them in detail.

Fhaolan
2010-05-07, 01:47 AM
At least to people like me who have no experience or understanding of unarmed martial arts, explanations of how they work usually seem to include a lot of assumptions about the opponent being a human and having a human anatomy.

So my question is, if you were to fight someone like Proteus or Jayna from the Wonder Twins, that is, someone who can take the form of different animals at will, what unarmed martial art would be the most effective?

Can a "martial artist" of any school have an advantage over an untaught person with the same physical prowess in a fight against a non-human opponent?

Normally, yes.

While a lot of emphasis is put on how to manipulate the opponent through knowledge of human anatomy; the way human joints bend, musculature, pressure points, etc., you have to realize that knowledge also extents to the martial artist themselves. Meaning they have a better understanding, and a higher level of control, over their own abilities. Proper martial arts all include physical conditioning for speed, accuracy, and strength, as well as pain tolerance, how to fall, and how to *take* a hit.

Take a boxer, for instance, which despite a lot of guff is still a martial art. A trained boxer will hit *much* harder and more effectively than a non-martial artist with the same level of strength. Not because he knows where to hit, but because he knows the correct stance and the correct motion to put the most power into that punch. The untrained person will waste power with unnecessary and incorrect motions.

Autolykos
2010-05-07, 02:08 AM
Can a "martial artist" of any school have an advantage over an untaught person with the same physical prowess in a fight against a non-human opponent?
Pretty much what Fhaolan said.
I'd assume that just about everything except most locks (and maybe some throws) works just as well (as long as you don't have really strange enemies, like, with a spiked exoskeleton). All this pressure-point stuff is extremely situational anyway, only somewhat useful in ground fighting (which would be unwise to do with animals), so I'm not even considering it.
So it depends on the style. Something like Aikido would probably be a lot less effective, while for example Kickboxing/Muay Thai would be much less impaired, if at all.
EDIT: With vertebrates, some locks would probably still work quite well. For example, you can pretty much bet that they can't turn their neck more than 180 degrees...

Brainfart
2010-05-07, 03:26 AM
A bloody significant advantage, actually. The martial artist's reactions are ingrained in his muscle memory. He doesn't need to think, he just needs to do it. Any kind of hesitation in combat can be quite fatal, so that's an immense advantage right there. Add to that his greatly amplified combat ability, and the untrained fellow starts looking a bit like a numpty.

Also, on fighting nonhuman opponents, most of the same principles apply. Hit them in the head, bend joints where they're not supposed to go, tend to the lower leg joints and push the upper body about to unbalance them. I can't imagine a throw being any less effective than it is against a human unless you're fighting something really exotic.

KiltedGrappler
2010-05-07, 05:23 AM
While it is true that both the Greeks and the Romans (and I'm sure others) had martial arts who are commonly translated as 'Boxing' (πυξ, pux, or πυγμη, pugme, meaning 'fist' or 'of the fist' the origin of pugilism I believe. Also, latin Pugne if I'm not terribly mistaken) their relationship to modern boxing is in their being western striking arts alone. Modern boxing, as I understand it, comes from British bare-knuckle prizefighting, organized in the mid 18th century (though present prior) by Jack Broughton, a heavyweight champion.

That's one of the "issues" with Western Martial Arts, whether it be striking, grappling, or weapons. They all evolved. They didn't stagnate or use an out-dated style just because it's "traditional".

Like I said, get some serious experience it what those styles evolved into (I.E. boxing, catch wrestling, etc..) then go back and look at the fechtbuchs and you'll not only see how the moves should work, but why, what goals they were moving towards, and sometimes why a move was completly abandoned.

YPU
2010-05-07, 07:55 AM
Here’s one for you guys I have been following blacksmithing lessons for two years now. Mostly more practical small stuff, hand holds candle holders and the likes. My new teacher however also works in historic museum in practice kind of place (you know the sort, everybody dressed up etz) anyhow, he has gotten me working on knives as well. Now I am planning to try my hand at a dagger in the near future. But none of my teachers knows the tricks to this. The younger one has tried it a few times, but says he is sure there is a trick to it he doesn’t know.
So I was wondering if none of you knowledgeable people know something we don’t.

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 08:51 AM
Right. So there are two things happening here. 1. When people say boxing, in an historical sense, they don't necessarily mean modern sport boxing. So don't simply shy away from the term boxing in your research. 2. Modern sport boxing has a lineage -- perhaps going all the way back to classical times. I'm not claiming that they are one and the same, but that many of the fundamentals are probably still present thousands of years later. Take a look at the link that Galloglaich posted (thanks by the way). While I'm certainly somebody to have doubts about such reconstructions, it's pretty clear that it has some relation to modern boxing. Such pugilistic activities were probably associated with hoi polloi for centuries and could easily have been transmitted without someone having documented them in detail.

To back this up, some images of Roman boxing, both from period artwork and modern re-enactors:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/178/435280204_1b87241eff.jpg

http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/10/13410-004-998D1D77.jpg

http://api.ning.com/files/UJlrcZiyMZwNHeIXGnUMZNerVAB5EqNI-MIA8qFT6Pg_/pugilist.jpg

http://artfiles.art.com/5/p/LRG/17/1737/V5I3D00Z/a-forbes-detailed-views-of-a-roman-cestus-a-leather-glove-used-in-ancient-boxing.jpg

http://www.caerleon.net/history/army/gladiators/july06/4921ed.jpg

Fhaolan
2010-05-07, 09:02 AM
That's one of the "issues" with Western Martial Arts, whether it be striking, grappling, or weapons. They all evolved. They didn't stagnate or use an out-dated style just because it's "traditional".

Like I said, get some serious experience it what those styles evolved into (I.E. boxing, catch wrestling, etc..) then go back and look at the fechtbuchs and you'll not only see how the moves should work, but why, what goals they were moving towards, and sometimes why a move was completly abandoned.

There is also the flip side to that, though. Many Martial Arts (both Western, Eastern, and other) evolved towards sport forms that emphasize temporarily disabling and seriously de-emphasize lethal or permanently disabling that are staples for true combat forms. While the 'good stuff' may still be there, it may be hidden pretty deep.

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 10:44 AM
In the case of HEMA, the manuals still around we have are primarily designed for one or more of three purposes

1) judicial combat, which has certain artificial qualities (it's a one-on- one fight, with equal weapons etc.) but in most (though not all) cases it's a real fight to the death with lethal weapons*. If you were sentanced to face a judicial combat (a fairly rare occurance) you would be confined for 3 to 6 months, during which time you would be trained to fight. The trainers were experts in this martial art, sometimes Fencing Masters. In fact under certain circumstancs, some of them would rent their services, these people were called kemphe, it was considered a disreputable passtime but may have even been practiced at one time or another by some of the famous Masters. But the judicial combats in these manuals are a real, harsh, brutal martial art.

2) private duels many of the 16th - 17th Century manuals for rapier are designed for private dueling. This is also a lethal combat, which may have an overlay of some kind of etiquette, but was quite brutal and pragmatic form of fighting, these manuals have a rowdy swashbuckling vibe, fighting with rapier, dagger, cloaks, candlesticks, stools etc. and using every trick in the book. Later in the 18th Century a new more formal type of dueling arose around the use of the smallsword, and these 'Classical Fencing' manuals can be a bit more 'sportified', in fact leading to the modern olympic style sport- fencing we have today.

3) Sport combat In "German" (Central European) fencing, right along side the lethal fighting, there also existed a type of sport fencing called Schulfechten, named after the fechtchules or fencing schools, this goes all the way back to at least the 13th Century though it became more and more prevalent over time. This is not so much like the sport fencing we think of today, and has a much more working class realm than the Aristocratic salons of Classical fencing. It was more like 19th Century English prize fighting. (In fact a lot of people don't know that 19th Centruy English prize fighting typically included fencing matches with broadswords). Winning a fight usually involved cutting the scalp of your opponent. There were high stakes associated with this sport, because clubs whose members were recognized by the government as fencing Masters**, such as the famous brotherhoods like the Marxbruder and their rivals, the Federfechter, who were granted the right to certify soldiers as expert fencers who could recieve double pay (Dopplesoldner), a very lucrative franchise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxbruder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federfechter

Some of the later 16th Century longsword manuals arguably focus on schulefechten, Joachim Meyer for example, but the system is closely linked to the earlier 14th-15th Century judicial combat systems of the Lichtenauer tradition.

In the East, the situattion is more complex. In China Martial Arts were suppressed in the 17th-18th Century, and then Colonialism of the 19th and early 20th century and the Cultural Revolution both wrought their havoc on the surviving culture. The shaolin temple was suppressed, for example, and some of it's members fled to the Peking Opera, which incorporated some of the techniques into their act, this is the legacy that Jackie Chan has. Most of what was left of "Tai-Chi" (Taji), which was originally a fencing system, was reduced to a form of exercize. Today some of the old original systems are being painstakingly reconstructed, both in China and here in the US. There is a network of people fighting with the Jian. They have some literary evidence to work from, I think there is at least one fencing manual survives.

In Japan, martial arts were suppressed by Meiji government in the late 19th century, and then even mroe so by the Americans after WW II, in both cases due to the association with belicose Samurai culture, deemed incompatible with modern society. The old martial arts of Japan were turned into a sport, Kenjustu became Kendo, Jujitsu became Judo and etc. Even most of the katanas were taken away by US occupation soldiers in the late 40's and 1950's.

In other places like the Philippines and Malaysia, I think the tradition is a bit more intact though there has been many disruptions there as well.

Hope that helps!

G.


*There are also a different type of judicial combat which uses some special weapons just for that purpose, like those dueling shields. But for the most part this is sword vs. sword and etc.

** To be recognized as a fencing Master you had to put out your shingle and face all-comers in fight. The early 15th Century Master Fiore Dei Liberi allegedly fought 5 successful duels with rival Masters, possibly for this reason

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 11:07 AM
There is also the flip side to that, though. Many Martial Arts (both Western, Eastern, and other) evolved towards sport forms that emphasize temporarily disabling and seriously de-emphasize lethal or permanently disabling that are staples for true combat forms. While the 'good stuff' may still be there, it may be hidden pretty deep.

Nonlethal / unarmed MA like boxing, graeco-roman wrestling etc. can play out this way, but very generally speaking, the difference between the Western and Eastern fencing systems, is that the former have this corpus of books which were written when the art was still essentially lethal art used for killing, (see above)

Here is a partial list of the manuals which have been discovered so far from the various European traditions:

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


whereas the latter, while benefiting from having a contiguous living tradition, went through that sportification process often forcibly imposed by government forces. Both sides of this fence are learning from each other lately though I think; most HEMA schools (my own small group included) are made up mostly of people with strong backgrounds in Eastern Martial arts of some kind, whereas many Eastern fencing schools are taking a cue from HEMA and updating their systems from available literary evidence from various sources which are increasingly being sought out. Bruce Lee himself famously incorporated elements of English boxing, Graeco-Roman wrestling, and Classical fencing into his syncretic fighting system.

There are some Eastern manuals, for example this 16th Century Korean manual:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muyejebo

And this 18th Century one

http://shiwol-asso.eu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/muyedobotongji.jpg

Which RpG gamers shouild really like since it is one of the very few I know of which includes two-weapon fighting ;)

http://www.muye24ki.com/muye24ki/ssanggum_chongdo.jpg

And there are also some uninterrupted traditions have lived alongside sport versions of fencing for centuries, such as the Sikh Gatka and Filippino Arnis traditions, and quite a few others in South Asia and the Pacific.

G,.

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 11:11 AM
There are also some interesting surviving traditions in Africa like Zulu stick fighting and Nigerian wrestling, there is a guy working on reconstructing Pan-African MA:

http://ejmas.com/jalt/2004jalt/jcsart_green_1104.html

G.

KiltedGrappler
2010-05-07, 11:25 AM
There is also the flip side to that, though. Many Martial Arts (both Western, Eastern, and other) evolved towards sport forms that emphasize temporarily disabling and seriously de-emphasize lethal or permanently disabling that are staples for true combat forms. While the 'good stuff' may still be there, it may be hidden pretty deep.

I agree, on the whole. Anytime you have a competition with rules, you'll have competitors who use those rules to their advantage, which ends up being a slippery slope.

As far as "lethal techniques" are concerned, I rarely ever buy into them, since other than resorting to killing your training partners you'd never be able to pressure test them and see if they actually do work or not.

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 12:29 PM
I agree, on the whole. Anytime you have a competition with rules, you'll have competitors who use those rules to their advantage, which ends up being a slippery slope.

And the more rules there are, the steeper the slope



As far as "lethal techniques" are concerned, I rarely ever buy into them, since other than resorting to killing your training partners you'd never be able to pressure test them and see if they actually do work or not.

Well... the ones written down 500-600 years ago were regularly being put to the test for real in Judicial combat, duels and street fights.

Training for lethal techniques can be problematic, especially for unarmed techniques, but it's not impossible. There is still a pretty a clear dividing line between sport and actual fighting, even in a non lethal environment like a bar-fight.

In my experience, people who do the most realistic training have an edge over those who just do forms etc., but real life experience can trump any level of training. Good training combined withh real life experience makes for a truly dangerous opponent.

G.

KiltedGrappler
2010-05-07, 12:35 PM
In my experience, people who do the most realistic training have an edge over those who just do forms etc., but real life experience can trump any level of training. Good training combined withh real life experience makes for a truly dangerous opponent.

Agreed. In a fight you never rise to your expectations, but fall to the level of your training and experience.

imp_fireball
2010-05-07, 04:14 PM
Anyone wanna stat out full plate that's thicker then humanly possible (in the chest region and areas that don't require fine manipulation)?

Philistine
2010-05-07, 04:41 PM
This is still not the Homebrew Forum (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15).

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-05-07, 05:20 PM
Agreed. In a fight you never rise to your expectations, but fall to the level of your training and experience.

+1 for truth.

Galloglaich: As far as 'two weapon fighting' goes, how prevalent was fighting with the Main Gauche? I was under the impression that is was a rather popular method, as parrying with the dagger freed the sword to act offensively. And I thought that some Italian or possibly Spanish rapier schools taught fencing with two rapiers, as an admittedly advanced technique ('Only after the fencer has mastered the rapier in both hands should he attempt two at once.' to paraphrase from memory, I'll have to go through my books to see if I can find the source). It seems to me that it would require a rather specialized technique to be effective (I have a pair of my epees on hand, and it seems like it would be awkward if anything to wield two full length blades simultaneously, though with practice it might be workable) but not having a fencing partner on hand I can't really say one way or the other.

Galloglaich
2010-05-07, 07:56 PM
+1 for truth.

Galloglaich: As far as 'two weapon fighting' goes, how prevalent was fighting with the Main Gauche? I was under the impression that is was a rather popular method, as parrying with the dagger freed the sword to act offensively. And I thought that some Italian or possibly Spanish rapier schools taught fencing with two rapiers, as an admittedly advanced technique ('Only after the fencer has mastered the rapier in both hands should he attempt two at once.' to paraphrase from memory, I'll have to go through my books to see if I can find the source). It seems to me that it would require a rather specialized technique to be effective (I have a pair of my epees on hand, and it seems like it would be awkward if anything to wield two full length blades simultaneously, though with practice it might be workable) but not having a fencing partner on hand I can't really say one way or the other.

No you are quite right, I am referring to 'dual wielding' ala LARP or the traditional RPG / Computer game / Fantasy film version with two cutting weapons of equal length.

Sword and dagger was a very popular style from the late Medieval period through the 19th Century, it was actually more common to use a rapier with a dagger than to use one alone. Other off-hand devices included bucklers, cloaks or some other cloth like a blanket (which show up in most manuals... and also in modern knife fighting) and your various candelabra etc. The "main gauche" was a specific enhanced type of blocking dagger with a cup-hilt and large sword like quillions which appeared during the Renaissance and remained in use for centuries. There were also even more specialized weapons like sword-breakers, trick daggers which would split with a button push and etc. Off-hand devices were principally to assist in displacing or blocking, but all the daggers also had an important secondary function as a close-range weapons deployed during a bind etc.

The two rapier fighting is called "Case of Rapiers" and was pretty rare apparently, but does appear in some of the Italian and Spanish manuals from the 16th Century onward. It's not easy for most people but some folks take to it, a guy in my fencing group is pretty good at it.

The only place I know that has 'dual wield' in the LARP / RPG sense is certain parts of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, and Korea to name a few) and the Pacific, notably in the Philippines where it is used in some forms of Kali. I think maybe Malaysia as well.

G.

EDIT: more or less representative replica of a sword breaker

http://webzoom.freewebs.com/norstar1/13-HK2087a.jpg

Dervag
2010-05-08, 02:20 AM
Take a boxer, for instance, which despite a lot of guff is still a martial art. A trained boxer will hit *much* harder and more effectively than a non-martial artist with the same level of strength. Not because he knows where to hit, but because he knows the correct stance and the correct motion to put the most power into that punch. The untrained person will waste power with unnecessary and incorrect motions.From what I've heard, boxing also focuses on two very useful skills in a fight with a protean, shapechanging enemy.

Distance control
This is really important in a fight. A boxer has a very short list of moves, each of which is used within a specific distance range. Boxers spend a lot of time practicing to try to bring their opponent into optimal striking range for their most effective moves, and keeping away from the optimal striking range of their enemy's best moves. Whatever form the enemy takes, the boxer is at least partly prepared to adapt to that form and fight in the right distance range to handle it.

Precision
Boxers practice each of those limited number of strikes many times. As a result, they can throw punches much more quickly and automatically than an ordinary person, keeping up a bombardment of strikes that an untrained person could not match. They will also be more likely to hit whatever points they aim at; if they can find a target at all, they'll be able to hit it.

Autolykos
2010-05-08, 04:05 AM
I can't imagine a throw being any less effective than it is against a human unless you're fighting something really exotic.Well, I'd really like to see you perform an Ippon Seoi Nage (just to have a common example - most other judo throws would be equally hard to adapt) on a dog (or any other quadruped for that matter...).
And lock-based throws you'd often see in Aikido (like Kote Gaeshi) would be next to impossible to perform on any non-humanoid (if only because of the lack of hands in this example...).
And while, yes, the general principle of locks remains unchanged, you'd usually have to apply them in an entirely different way, which would make your learned movement patterns next to useless.
And still, kicks and punches require no adaption at all, so you could use all your training to full effect.
(Sorry for the Japanese names, but other than that I only know the German ones - which probably would be even less useful for you..)

Brainfart
2010-05-08, 10:15 AM
You can use the other throws then. There's a reason they give you a large technical repertoire. :smallbiggrin:

Though seriously, I think I was operating under the assumption that said foe would be vaguely humanoid when I made that post. Against a dog or the like, you could always kick the living daylights out of it or just pick it up and slam it about. If it's a larger dog, many of the hip throws would be pretty effective, and dogs suck at grappling when they can't use their mouth.

Also, Gallogliach, weren't many of the manuals used for training men to fight in harness? That implies a more combative (i.e. battlefield) purpose.

Galloglaich
2010-05-08, 05:18 PM
Also, Gallogliach, weren't many of the manuals used for training men to fight in harness? That implies a more combative (i.e. battlefield) purpose.

The fighting in Harness was for a different type of judicial combat, i.e. between members of the aristocracy. In most of the manuals, that is still practiced as a one on one fight, often within the specific bounds of the judicial combat, such as each combatant having a pollaxe or a spear & a longsword together.

But of course this kind of training is beneficial on the battlefield as well. The difference between that and battlefield technique could be compared to the type of firearms training a hostage rescue team does (for a small scale encounter) vs. the basic infantry training a normal recruit gets in boot camp and AIT.

Regarding martial artists against non-humans, I think the point Dervag was making is valid; specific joint locks and throws may not work the same way, but a trained martial artist with at least some experience of sparring or real fighting will have a sense of distance and timing, (called "reach and measure" in fencing).

Plus like Dervag said, the ability to throw a punch, or cut with a sword, use footwork to dodge or void an attack, isn't something the average person knows how to do effectively, a martial artist like a boxer or a kali practitioner will be able to use these to his or her advantage... it gives them another tool in their toolbox.

Just my $.02. [Edited for brevity]

G.

imp_fireball
2010-05-09, 08:16 PM
Here's a humor break (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Katanas_are_Underpowered_in_d20) for the thread.

Brainfart
2010-05-09, 10:47 PM
Pfft, that's so old.

Galloglaich
2010-05-10, 10:18 AM
Some thoughts on helmets, swords, and fighting from horseback:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/4646034-post121.html

G.

PersonMan
2010-05-11, 01:11 PM
What were the usual strategies for Civil War-era armies? Specifically, what strategies and/or equipment did the North and South use, and to what effect?

Also, at this time what were the other armies of the world like?

HenryHankovitch
2010-05-11, 07:23 PM
Broadly speaking, both sides in the US Civil War were dependent on infantry deployed into line, using muzzle-loading rifled muskets. Lines were usually thin, two ranks deep, meant to maximize firepower in line. The Minie ball, which allowed a rifled musket to be loaded as quickly as a smoothbore, was a relatively recent invention. Hand-to-hand combat with bayonets was infrequent, and actual bayonet wounds during the Civil War were extremely rare. Breech-loading or repeating rifles existed, but were rare compared to the total numbers of troops.

Artillery was still predominantly muzzle-loading smoothbore cannon; this caused it to have a drastically reduced role on the offense. Long-range fire with explosive shell tended to be ineffectual for offense; and smoothbore artillery didn't have the significant superiority in range that it had had over smoothbore musketry, so it couldn't be used for direct-fire with shot or canister on the offense. (Essentially, horse-drawn field artillery couldn't deploy to direct-fire range without coming under rifle fire from the infantry.) Conversely, artillery was quite effective on the defense, especially with the advantage of firing from earthworks.

Cavalry was almost completely absent from the battlefield itself, except for those that fought dismounted, as dragoons. Cavalry served primarily for scouting and raiding--which was vitally important. Cavalry was the eyes and ears of a commander.

Both sides tended to use earthworks and fortifications extensively, especially in the mid to late war. Both sides would create field works, parapets, trenches, even entire forts. Again, this benefited the defense.

The overall result of these trends was the primacy of defensive fire over the offense; attacks were almost always meatgrinders. On the other hand, defeated armies in the Civil War were almost never destroyed to the same degree that Napoleonic armies were; they usually retained the ability to retreat in some semblance of order, and fight again later. Yet the preferred strategy of both sides was one of seeking decisive battle in the Napoleonic vein--seeking out your enemy's armies, and engaging them directly in the field. Sherman's raiding strategy--his "March to the Sea"--was revolutionary; his goal wasn't to seek and engage enemy forces, but to destroy the production and transportation infrastructure of the South. This is widely considered the first implementation of a "total war" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_war) strategy.

European armies in general were probably broadly similar, though they likely had a higher percentage of long-term servicemen in their military. (It should be borne in mind that the vast majority of soldiers in the US Civil War were enlisted after the commencement of hostilities; the permanent army was quite small before the war.) The Prussians, in this time, had developed their policy of rotating conscription: they maintained a small permanent army by conscripting troops for short periods of time, then releasing them back into civilian life as reserves. This let them minimize peacetime upkeep, while still giving them a large reservoir of decently-trained manpower in the event of war. The 1860s to 1880s saw drastic changes in equipment everywhere: breech-loading, rifled artillery, repeating rifles, Gatling guns and the like. Though after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 there were basically no significant hostilities between European powers until 1914; nearly all of their fighting was against (or between) the indigenous people of African and Asian colonial territories.

fusilier
2010-05-11, 09:13 PM
Henry covered things pretty well.

Smoothbore muskets were still used in large proportions at the beginning of the war, and in the "Western" Theater (still east of the Mississippi), some regiments were still armed with them as late as 1864. You could generally expect Southern troops to have fewer rifled muskets (and fewer breechloading arms), but in some instances the situation would be reversed.

I'm not convinced that rifled minie-guns resulted in battles being fought at longer ranges. The evidence seems to suggest that the ranges were typically about the same as smoothbore muskets, but the result was greater casualties.

Smoothbore muskets could be loaded a little bit faster, but as troops during this period almost never achieved the prescribed rates of fire, it's probably moot. Smoothbore muskets could, however, effectively fire buckshot, and buck-and-ball. At around 40 yards they could become significantly more lethal.

The basic equipment was the same for both sides. For Infantry: Belt, with cap box, and bayonet scabbard. Cartridge box on sling slung over left shoulder. Canteen and haversack slung over the right shoulder. Although outdated and ersatz equipment could be encountered, along with the occasional imported gear, it was basically the same.

Muzzle-loading rifled artillery existed before the war and became more common as the war progressed, although never completely displaced smoothbore artillery. I think the ideal late war Union battery was typically 4 guns (rifled or smoothbore), and two smoothbore howitzers. Rifle cannons were very poor at firing canister, and ricochet shots were generally impossible with them.

Foreign armies were very similar. If you are interested, Frederick Engels (yes that Engels) wrote about the armies of Europe in 1855. It is very detailed and covers not only equipment and organization, but the character of troops. It's a fascinating read:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1855/armies-europe/index.htm

It's written during the Crimean War.

Minie guns were introduced during the Crimean War, but only the English (who had a significantly smaller army than the French), managed to completely equip their infantry with them.

The French had used rifled artillery to effect during the Franco-Austrian War of 1859, along with general use of minie-guns.

The Prussians were equipping themselves with Needle Guns (breechloaders that use a paper cartridge). When they completed the change over isn't entirely clear, but they seem to have done it by the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The Dreyse Needle Rifle, had poor long range performance (bad gas seal), but its high rate of fire made it effective, especially on the defense. The French Chassepot of 1867 was similar but better (being a more modern design).

Finally breechloading rifled artillery was making its appearance, but it too was rare. The Prussians used it very effectively against the French during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The French had the "mitrailleuse." Technically a volley gun, but in operation worked more like a hand-cranked machine gun. They were seen as a replacement for canister firing smoothbore artillery, and could be effective at surprisingly long ranges.

Mike_G
2010-05-11, 10:04 PM
As Henry Hankovich says, most soldiers carried muzzle loading percussion lock rifled muskets. There were a number of repeating weapons starting to appear in numbers, as far as I know for the first time on any battlefields.

Revolvers were standard sidearms, and most cavalrymen probably would sooner use one from the saddle than try to fire a carbine mounted or swing a sabre. Sharps and Henry rifles were fairly widely used, which allowed much greater volume of fire from a unit.

The Sharps, especially in carbine form, was widely used by cavalry. It was a breechloading rifle, which could be easily fired and reloaded while prone.

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

The Henry was a lever action magazine weapon, which held sixteen rounds. Quite a difference over a muzzle loader.

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

The Spencer was adopted by many Union cavalry regiments, and was another magazine rifle, with seven rounds.

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

The Colt revolving rifle saw service, but was prone to disastrous malfunction where all chamber would fire, sending one round out the barrel and the other five into the shooter's left forearm.

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

Xuc Xac
2010-05-15, 06:27 AM
Hi, long time reader, first time poster. I've got a question for the sword aficionados.

When you get right down to it, a sword is a sword is a sword. It's a sharp thing with a handle that you use to make holes in your enemies. However, they come in a wide variety of shapes and styles and those differences were often made for more than just aesthetic reasons.

I am currently working on a setting that has four major varieties of sword and I would like to think of ways to make them mechanically different but roughly equal. I want to provide pros and cons for each type of sword so that players will actually ponder which weapon to use instead of simply going for the "best" weapon with the highest damage output (i.e. the D20 paradigm).

So, out of the following four weapons, what are some "selling points" that would make a warrior choose each of them over the other three. Note that I'm not asking which of these four is the best, I'm asking what does each one have going for it that the other three don't. Also note that in the setting in question, these swords will all be known by local names and not by the names I'm using here (this is a real-world historical setting so the choice of weapons is not up for debate, so please don't suggest swapping any of them out for something else).

1. Jian. The Chinese double-edge straight sword commonly referred to as a "tai chi sword". Examples include the various swords used by the main characters of the Jet Li movie "Hero", as well as the "Green Destiny", the central Mcguffin in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

2. Dao. The Chinese broadsword: single-edged and curved, primarily one-handed.

3. Katana. The Japanese hand-and-a-half, single-edged, curved sword. Primarily used two-handed. (Trenchcoat not included)

4. European-style, one-handed, single-edged, saber with a D-shaped handguard. I'm not even going to pick a name to call this thing here because I don't want this thread to immediately degrade into arguments about what's a "smallsword" or a "sidesword" or "hanger" or the fallacy of the term "longsword". The names don't matter. What matters is the benefits this weapon has over the other three that would make it an appealing choice.

So, any ideas?

crazedloon
2010-05-15, 06:50 AM
I am no expert but I will say I have read for some time and I play the system quite a bit so hopefully that helps :smalltongue:


1. Jian. The Chinese double-edge straight sword commonly referred to as a "tai chi sword". Examples include the various swords used by the main characters of the Jet Li movie "Hero", as well as the "Green Destiny", the central Mcguffin in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Jian_%28sword%29.jpg

If I am not mistaken this blade is used for more "finesse" fighting with less actual sword blocks (due to much weaker construction vs other weapons of the period such as the Dao) and more voiding. Allow it to be finessed and increase bonus's with dodge and combat expertise.


2. Dao. The Chinese broadsword: single-edged and curved, primarily one-handed.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Chinese_saber.jpg

This is your quintessential cutting blade its used for everything (it was seen as the all purpose blade of the 4 main weapon types) give it a bonus on combat maneuvers (disarm, trip, feint) though the blade may not have actually been used for these things historically you are not going to be able to distinguish it any other way.


3. Katana. The Japanese hand-and-a-half, single-edged, curved sword. Primarily used two-handed. (Trenchcoat not included)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/Katana-Dresden.jpg

give it a bonus when unsheathed with the quick draw feat (very cliche but only because its based in fact)


4. European-style, one-handed, single-edged, saber with a D-shaped handguard. I'm not even going to pick a name to call this thing here because I don't want this thread to immediately degrade into arguments about what's a "smallsword" or a "sidesword" or "hanger" or the fallacy of the term "longsword". The names don't matter. What matters is the benefits this weapon has over the other three that would make it an appealing choice.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Niagara_lodge_2_sword.jpg

this is what I assume you are talking about?

If I am thinking of the correct weapon it would be the best sword for mounted combat so give it a bonus on the charge from a horse, not quite lance damage but perhaps 1.5? or increase the PA bonus to 2:1 on the charge while on a mount

EDIT: I WILL SAY NOW THIS WAS ALL SAID WITH MY LIMITED KNOWLEDGE SO TAKE AT YOUR OWN RISK

Mike_G
2010-05-15, 07:26 PM
Hi, long time reader, first time poster. I've got a question for the sword aficionados.

When you get right down to it, a sword is a sword is a sword. It's a sharp thing with a handle that you use to make holes in your enemies. However, they come in a wide variety of shapes and styles and those differences were often made for more than just aesthetic reasons.

I am currently working on a setting that has four major varieties of sword and I would like to think of ways to make them mechanically different but roughly equal. I want to provide pros and cons for each type of sword so that players will actually ponder which weapon to use instead of simply going for the "best" weapon with the highest damage output (i.e. the D20 paradigm).

So, out of the following four weapons, what are some "selling points" that would make a warrior choose each of them over the other three. Note that I'm not asking which of these four is the best, I'm asking what does each one have going for it that the other three don't. Also note that in the setting in question, these swords will all be known by local names and not by the names I'm using here (this is a real-world historical setting so the choice of weapons is not up for debate, so please don't suggest swapping any of them out for something else).

1. Jian. The Chinese double-edge straight sword commonly referred to as a "tai chi sword". Examples include the various swords used by the main characters of the Jet Li movie "Hero", as well as the "Green Destiny", the central Mcguffin in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

2. Dao. The Chinese broadsword: single-edged and curved, primarily one-handed.

3. Katana. The Japanese hand-and-a-half, single-edged, curved sword. Primarily used two-handed. (Trenchcoat not included)

4. European-style, one-handed, single-edged, saber with a D-shaped handguard. I'm not even going to pick a name to call this thing here because I don't want this thread to immediately degrade into arguments about what's a "smallsword" or a "sidesword" or "hanger" or the fallacy of the term "longsword". The names don't matter. What matters is the benefits this weapon has over the other three that would make it an appealing choice.

So, any ideas?

Not sure how you are thinking of statting stuff, but the "selling points" of each of these weapons goes kinda like:

1. Jian: Light, fast, has a good point. It would be a quick, agile weapon, good for thrusting, but being light and balanced near the hilt, probably wouldn't cut as well as the other weapons you list.

2. Dao: heavier, balanced further down the blade, which makes it better at cutting, but harder to change direction in mid stroke, so harder to feint. Probably not very good at thrusting. This would be a decent infantry sword to use with a shield. The best chopper of the available options.

3. Katana: Aside from being able to cut through a tank, it does draw cut very well. As the only weapon you list which is generally used two handed, it would be faster hit harder than the Dao.

4. Sabre: The best cavalry sword of these options. The curve, and the canted grip work well on a ride by slash. The hand guard it the most protection of these options.

Brainfart
2010-05-16, 12:07 AM
There's a difference between the wen jian and the wu jian as well.

The former, or the scholar's sword, would tend to resemble what crazedloon describes. It's almost like rapier, but with a shorter blade and more substantial cutting edge. Here's a fairly representative clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X254e0JZuuU&feature=related

The latter would be wielded in a manner similar to the dao. Instead of precise slicing attacks to the limbs, there'd be more hewing attacks with the edge of the blade.

The dao would should have the falchion's stats, but in one hand. It's a very good cutter for a one-handed sword.

The katana is two-handed. 'nuff said. If some %#@& player wants to dual-wield it, slap him silly. :smallbiggrin:

I presume that you're referring to a sabre like the 1796 Light Cavalry pattern. The sabre would be pretty similar to the dao, but to differentiate it I'd decrease crit range and increase damage a tad. The guard also allows it to be used as a good pair of brass knuckles.

Xuc Xac
2010-05-16, 02:29 AM
These are kiem, which are based on jian. They have slimmer blades than jian. They are made for slicing and thrusting but not chopping.

http://www.fightingarts.com/content01/graphics/viet_sword02.jpg


These are the single-handed dao and the double-handed dai dao, which is based on the katana.

http://www.fightingarts.com/content01/graphics/viet_sword03.jpg
http://www.fightingarts.com/content01/graphics/viet_sword04.jpg


I can't find a good picture of the sabers I had in mind, but this one is similar.

http://www.trocadero.com/101antiques/items/812363/catphoto.jpg

endoperez
2010-05-16, 04:22 AM
These are the single-handed dao and the double-handed dai dao, which is based on the katana.

http://www.fightingarts.com/content01/graphics/viet_sword03.jpg
http://www.fightingarts.com/content01/graphics/viet_sword04.jpg


I think it'd be safer to say that there are two-handed Chinese sword (dao or not) similar to katana. Chinese and/or Korean swords affected early Japanese swords, from which katanas evolved and I'm sure skills and swords also traveled the other way, but IMO that's more "inspired by" than "based on".

Xuc Xac
2010-05-16, 06:09 AM
I think it'd be safer to say that there are two-handed Chinese sword (dao or not) similar to katana. Chinese and/or Korean swords affected early Japanese swords, from which katanas evolved and I'm sure skills and swords also traveled the other way, but IMO that's more "inspired by" than "based on".

That's a Vietnamese đại đao. It was originally based on Chinese swords, but after extensive contact with Japanese pirates, bandits, and mercenaries, the Viet smiths altered their designs based on katana. Some đại đao actually have blades taken from Japanese katana. Some smiths copied Japanese tsuba so exactly that they duplicated features that serve no purpose on a đại đao. For example, some tsuba have small holes for small knives to fit through that were set in the katana sheaths but didn't exist on the đại đao sheath. It's definitely "based on".

Brainfart
2010-05-16, 10:42 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_1796_light_cavalry_sabre

This sabre? :smallbiggrin:

endoperez
2010-05-16, 02:47 PM
That's a Vietnamese đại đao. It was originally based on Chinese swords, but after extensive contact with Japanese pirates, bandits, and mercenaries, the Viet smiths altered their designs based on katana. Some đại đao actually have blades taken from Japanese katana. Some smiths copied Japanese tsuba so exactly that they duplicated features that serve no purpose on a đại đao. For example, some tsuba have small holes for small knives to fit through that were set in the katana sheaths but didn't exist on the đại đao sheath. It's definitely "based on".

*bows*
Thanks for that. I've looked into big Chinese swords (but only a little), and haven't seen a big Chinese sword that could be considered a katana. I looked at dadao, mingdao, changdao and others I've since forgotten about.

So, đại đao... Did their use differ much from katanas? I gather they were either carried differently or paired with different weapons.

Galloglaich
2010-05-17, 01:47 PM
*bows*
Thanks for that. I've looked into big Chinese swords (but only a little), and haven't seen a big Chinese sword that could be considered a katana. I looked at dadao, mingdao, changdao and others I've since forgotten about.

So, đại đao... Did their use differ much from katanas? I gather they were either carried differently or paired with different weapons.

There are many varieties of Chinese swords from different regions and eras which are in the neo- 'katana' family but most are a bit larger like a no-dachi, some examples: the miao dao
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miao_dao

the Zhanmadao, which shows up in some manuscripts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhanmadao

the Changdao
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changdao_(sword)

The Wodao was supposed to be shorter than these others, just like a katana or a tachi.

Many of these weapons sprang from the close relations between Japanese ronin and Chinese pirates operating along the coasts of the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea and in the Philippines, mostly during the Ming Dynasty.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-05-17, 02:18 PM
Hi, long time reader, first time poster. I've got a question for the sword aficionados.

There were some good answers already, here are my $.02., more from a pragmatic point of view of what effect they would have in a real fight and how that could be modeled in gaming.

(snip)


1. Jian.
Strengths: double-edged, best reach out of this group, probably two-handed (Jian varied a great deal in form and existed back into the Bronze Age, but most Jian used during the period when the katana existed were hand and a half weapons). This is the only double-edged sword in this group and that makes a very big difference in real combat, allowing for false-edge cuts, plunging cuts, twitch-cuts and etc., all of which exist in jian-shu. But two edged vs. single edged is ignored in most games.

Though long, with a good reach, this is also a very quick weapon. It slices almost as well as a katana and can also thrust effectively (real jian were not as wobbly as modern tai chi versions or the ones in Crouching Tiger) but not as good for cleaver-like chopping. It is not an incredibly stiff blade due to the edge geometry though and this is probably one of the least effective against even soft armor. These were really like dueling swords akin to a rapier, a prestige personal defense weapon for important people.

It also has some hand protection, more than the tsuba on the Katana or the roundel on the dao. This allows the blade to be used a bit more 'forward'.

Jian being swords associated with the elite were often well made, with differential hardening techniques etc. Like most two-handed swords, Jian were difficult weapons to master and were generally used by aristocrats and high ranking officials rather than rank and file soldiers.

Jianshu is going through a revival right now similar to HEMA... a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRjvmg4yIWk



2. Dao. The Chinese broadsword: single-edged and curved, primarily one-handed.

You would have to narrow this downa bit further, some Dao (pian dao for example) were almost like a machete, some were very sophisticated; some (most) were sabers for cavalry, others more like falchions for infantry. Some common varieties include the yanmao dao, the liuye dao, the pian dao, and the niuweidao. Google some photos and decide which one you are thinking of, and I could tell you more.



3. Katana.

Katana is a good slicer and a good cutter and with it's wedge like point, good at thrusting too. It's the best cutter of this group, and would even be fairly effective against laced-lamellar and textile armors of the type used in the Far-East. Most of these other weapons would not be effective against armor except possibly with a thrust. Katana is relatively short compared to the Jian and offers little in the way of hand protection; but it's very fast close-in. Though it can be used from horseback like a saber, the individual fencing style associated with this weapon is more reliant upon movement and voiding than blade to blade contact compared to most other sabers, since the blade is somewhat brittle and can be easily damaged by contacting another sharp edge.

For a two-handed weapon it has relatively short reach. It has no partial false-edge, I think the only one of this group which lacks that feature (depending on which dao you mean) so that limits some fencing techniques.

Unlike the dao and the European saber, it does not have a grip made for weapon retention, so the katana may not be as ideal for horseback (it's cousin the tachi was more of a battlefield weapon, being longer with better reach and a more curved hilt).



4. European-style, one-handed, single-edged, saber with a D-shaped handguard.

A single handed weapon, used pretty close-ranged in a one-on-one duel, normally used for single sweeping (long range) cuts in ride-by cavalry attacks.

The hand-guard and the blade shape on this one make it by far the best for defense, though that is a factor not modeled in most RPG systems. With the hand guard you can parry much more aggressively and use guards which would expose the hand on the other swords in this list, (all of which have to be used in a manner which is very conscious of the exposure of the hand). So this weapon can be used more aggressively in general since the weapon itself is good for active protection, with the partial false edge and strong blades most of these sabers had they were good for single-time counters.

The grip is also very good for punching people with.

It's probably the strongest of this list, since it's made of homogeneous steel.

Depending on the type of saber it may be better for draw-cutting (slicing) or for chopping. The 1796 pattern is based on an Indian Tulwar and is a bit of a chopper. The Eastern European szlaba is more of a finesse weapon with an effective partial back-edge. Some European sabers were short, almost cutlass-sized, many were quite long. So these varied a great deal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_1796_light_cavalry_sabre

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

Then you also had various strait single-edged European swords which some people think of as sabers, like a basket-hilt broadsword or a pallasch or a shiavona.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schiavona#Schiavona

G.

Xuc Xac
2010-05-17, 06:17 PM
I posted photos already in post 1598

Delcan
2010-05-17, 09:15 PM
JRPG geek question: In the game Chrono Cross, the protagonist Serge wields a weapon called (in-game anyway) the "swallow." It looks like this:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y171/jiruyan/crono11.jpg

Basically a long pole with a blade on either end, sharpened edges facing in opposite directions. Is this weapon remotely feasible, or should I file it in the same bin as the dire flail?

Galloglaich
2010-05-18, 07:05 AM
I posted photos already in post 1598

Ok that looks like a yuan dynasty Mongol type saber or a "willow leaf" (liuyedao) dao. The goose quill is similar but has a straighter blade and a strait handle.

The liuyedao is a cavalry weapon primarily, which is the purpose for the canted grip (

This is a long gently curved saber developed from the Mongol cavalry saber of the Yuan Dynasty. A popular design used from the 13th Century through the 18th. Some liuyedao were made for high officials and had interesting features like a 'rolling pearl' embedded.

The liuyedao is arguably the most versatile weapon in this group; it slices and cuts well and usually is made well balanced enough for fencing as well as being ideal for ride-by cavalry attacks. It has a fairly good reach, it has a partial false-edge for false-edge cutting and plunging strikes. It's also strong in the forte and can be used for robust parries.

On the other hand, it lacks the reach of the Jian, the cutting power of the Katana, or the defensive / protective value of the European saber.

Here is a good photo of an (antique) Qing dynasty liuyedao made for a high official with a 'rolling pearl' in the weapons spine:

http://www.derech.net/img/swords/thomaschen/sword_05.jpg

Nobody is really sure of the purpose of these, if it's just decorative or used somehow in Taji martial art or fencing. It apparently came from the Persians and Indians (along with the wootz steel which was often used for the higher-end Dao).

G.

Xuc Xac
2010-05-18, 11:35 AM
Basically a long pole with a blade on either end, sharpened edges facing in opposite directions. Is this weapon remotely feasible, or should I file it in the same bin as the dire flail?

It's dumber than a double-ended lightsaber but not as dumb as the dire flail. Still pretty dumb though. It's only advantage (being able to strike to either side) is negated by one of its disadvantages (you can't turn it much, if at all). Like the double-ended lightsaber, you can't move it around without hitting yourself with the end you're not using to hit the enemy. The only sensible way to use it is to hold the handle close to your body and turn your whole body to swing the weapon. You wouldn't be able to swing it very hard and you'll have a hard time parrying most blows. With a lightsaber, you don't need to hit hard but with a physical blade, that lack of swinging power is a real liability.

I can easily imagine someone in the real world making a weapon like this, but they wouldn't use it on a battlefield. It would be carried for show by bodyguards in parades (like giant two-handed swords made of polished brass that make terrible weapons but look cool with the dress uniforms of the king's guard).

Autolykos
2010-05-18, 11:38 AM
Basically a long pole with a blade on either end, sharpened edges facing in opposite directions. Is this weapon remotely feasible, or should I file it in the same bin as the dire flail?
With lighter blades than depicted in the game, this might be a somewhat effective weapon for individual fighting in rather open space. But you'd probably not gain very much from the second blade, and run a serious risk of hitting yourself if you didn't train with it a long time.
However, it is definitely not cost effective (Two blades are twice as expensive as one, but nowhere near twice as useful), or a good battlefield weapon (you'd risk hitting your friends way too often - and just imagine a dozen guys swinging this around in formation...).
I'd take a one-bladed polearm (like a glaive or naginata) over this one any day.
EDIT: Ninja'd, of course.
EDIT2: I remember seeing something like this in one of the Shogun: Total War assassination sequences: click me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gim3Jb8XsLM#t=1m20s)
But this is of course only a cool video and not a solid historical source.

paddyfool
2010-05-18, 11:48 AM
or a good battlefield weapon (you'd risk hitting your friends way too often - and just imagine a dozen guys swinging this around in formation...).


Or slicing/stabbing yourself, which would be a classic problem with double-ended weapons of this kind, even for use in single combat. I'd agree with Xuc Xac that it's less dumb than the dire flail, however.

It's worth noting that although many types of polearm have a weighted or even spiked back end, it's more to act as a counterweight or as an anchor when setting the weapon than it is for whacking people with.

Brainfart
2010-05-18, 01:13 PM
Not necessarily. For example, there are quite a lot of techniques involving the use of the back end of the poleaxe, or queue, against an opponent.

Galloglaich
2010-05-18, 03:16 PM
The queue as he said, was used quite a bit. I think there is a reason though why only one end has a blade on pretty much every polearm I know of.

There probably is an excpetion to this somewhere, maybe India or Africa.

G.

Fortinbras
2010-05-21, 10:10 PM
Couple of Call of Duty induced questions.

How often is it that a carbine or sub machine gun or similar sized weapon is used as a side arm. In the game it is quite common for the main character to go into battle carrying an m1 Garand and an m1 carbine or a lee-enfield and an m1 Thompson. It seems to me that carrying enough ammo for one weapon is hard enough as it is so carry it for two would be way to difficult.

Also how often do soldiers switch back and forth between weapons and how does this work. In the various missions characters start equipped with a very wide variety of weapons depending on the mission.

Norsesmithy
2010-05-22, 03:16 AM
Couple of Call of Duty induced questions.

How often is it that a carbine or sub machine gun or similar sized weapon is used as a side arm. In the game it is quite common for the main character to go into battle carrying an m1 Garand and an m1 carbine or a lee-enfield and an m1 Thompson. It seems to me that carrying enough ammo for one weapon is hard enough as it is so carry it for two would be way to difficult.

Also how often do soldiers switch back and forth between weapons and how does this work. In the various missions characters start equipped with a very wide variety of weapons depending on the mission.

Others can speak with more personal authority than me, but the bottom line is almost never.

Some snipers will carry a carbine with their sniper rifle, in some rare cases, but for the most part, soldiers rely on their comrades instead of carrying more crap.

Like you said, the weight is better used for more ammo, your squad members can cover for you when you need to reload. The average soldier isn't going to be switching weapons hardly ever in combat.

If captured pistols are readily available, soldiers who can get them are likely to carry them, just because, but it isn't doctrine or actually terribly widespread.

Mike_G
2010-05-22, 03:16 PM
Couple of Call of Duty induced questions.

How often is it that a carbine or sub machine gun or similar sized weapon is used as a side arm. In the game it is quite common for the main character to go into battle carrying an m1 Garand and an m1 carbine or a lee-enfield and an m1 Thompson. It seems to me that carrying enough ammo for one weapon is hard enough as it is so carry it for two would be way to difficult.

Also how often do soldiers switch back and forth between weapons and how does this work. In the various missions characters start equipped with a very wide variety of weapons depending on the mission.


A sniper rifle is not a good weapon for close range. It's heavy, long, awkward to maneuver, and the scope actually limits your field of vision, and people move through your scope too fast. Close targets are better engaged over iron sights.

That said, a Thompson is heavy. As heavy as a modern assault rifle. That's a lot of weight for a backup weapon.

If anything, I would expect snipers to carry a pistol in case they get caught up close. The Marines use a two man team, where the spotter carries an assault rifle. I have heard of snipers in Vietnam carrying an M16 as well as the sniper rifle, since there is a lot of chance to run into the enemy at close range in the jungle, and a bolt action scoped rifle is only slightly more help than a musket under those circumstances.

Carbines are usually carried by personnel whose primary job isn't shooting. Officers, truck drivers, mortar crews, anti tank missile gunners, etc. It's shorter and lighter than a real rifle, which is nice when you're already carrying fifty pounds of heavy weapon, and not intended to be used unless the enemy get waaaay too close, so the shorter range inst a big deal.

Games are more fun if the threats change, from sniping to close quarter battle, so I can see packing both for Call of Duty, but I doubt many actual snipers actually did so.

Brainfart
2010-05-23, 10:42 AM
The Thompson is a really heavy gun at 4.8kg unloaded, so that was a terrible example. :smalltongue:

Yora
2010-05-23, 10:44 AM
This small flimsy thing? Did they fill the stock with lead? :smallbiggrin:

Norsesmithy
2010-05-23, 01:12 PM
They aren't exactly small, and they aren't flimsy either, there's a lot of steel on a Thompson.

Yora
2010-05-23, 01:15 PM
But they do look like made of painted cardbox.

Theodoric
2010-05-23, 01:23 PM
But they do look like made of painted cardbox.
Ever seen one in real life? They're quite big; have to be with such a large, heavy round, certainly at that time. Main reason they were also quite expensive. In the war-time produced Thompsons, the very heavy 30-round magazines had a tendency to drop out at unopportune moments. Did make for a fancy club, though.

Norsesmithy
2010-05-23, 01:42 PM
But they do look like made of painted cardbox.

Sure, but instead of paper, they are milled steel.


Ever seen one in real life? They're quite big; have to be with such a large, heavy round, certainly at that time. Main reason they were also quite expensive. In the war-time produced Thompsons, the very heavy 30-round magazines had a tendency to drop out at unopportune moments. Did make for a fancy club, though.

They didn't have to be big, necessarily, to handle the power of the round, plenty of contemporary subguns in the same caliber weren't that much bigger than the sten gun, they were big because that was the design philosophy that it's inventor subscribed to, and because the weight helped the man on the trigger control it during extended bursts.

The problem with the 50 and 100 round drums falling out had more to do with mismatching hand fitted parts than it had to do with their weight. Each drum was made for a specific Thompson, and they were only kinda interchangable. But that didn't stop the Army from mixing them in a pile and distributing them without regard to the proper matchups.

Theodoric
2010-05-23, 01:58 PM
The problem with the 50 and 100 round drums falling out had more to do with mismatching hand fitted parts than it had to do with their weight. Each drum was made for a specific Thompson, and they were only kinda interchangable. But that didn't stop the Army from mixing them in a pile and distributing them without regard to the proper matchups.
I was talking specifically about the 30 round magazines, as I read reports about it in two of Ambrose's books (D-Day and Citizen Soldiers), that the magazine feed (of the later models, at least) simply wasn't able to hold the 30 round magazine with any reliability.

Anyway, you know more about this than I do; I'll recheck my sources to see if I haven't misremembered anything (I do remember something about the 1928 and 1933 (?) models havng different drums). Still, doesn't take away the fact that it was a big lump of metal and wood that was quite properly replaced by the more modern and lighter M3 (which was itself obsolete within months when the assault rifle was invented, but that's an entirely different story).

Norsesmithy
2010-05-23, 02:40 PM
Hmm, while I can't say I've read those particular books, that seems odd to me, because the later marks of Thompson were specifically designed to work with the box style mags, and I had not heard that claim.

I don't know if I'd call the M3 more modern, it is mechanically less sophisticated than the Thompson, lighter, and cheaper to manufacture, but did not, AFAIK, exceed the performance of the Thompson in any measurable way, and wasn't an innovative or new design by any means.

Thiel
2010-05-23, 03:07 PM
Ever seen one in real life? They're quite big; have to be with such a large, heavy round, certainly at that time. Main reason they were also quite expensive. In the war-time produced Thompsons, the very heavy 30-round magazines had a tendency to drop out at unopportune moments. Did make for a fancy club, though.

Is there an opportune time for a magazine to fall out?:smallamused:

Neon Knight
2010-05-23, 03:09 PM
Is there an opportune time for a magazine to fall out?:smallamused:

When you hit the magazine release.

Storm Bringer
2010-05-24, 04:58 AM
I have also heard the tale about the magazine falling out, though form the same scorce (Ambrose's books on D-Day. he was quoting a primary scorce, namely a trooper whoose mag came off while he was storming the beech). IIRC, he claimed that it only happened when the mag was filled to the 30 rounds, and it worked fine with 28 or so rounds in it.

Maclav
2010-05-26, 02:22 PM
I want to play a Fighter in 4e, and my projected build has too much DEX to wear heavy armor, but I don't think hide armor would be appropriate for the concept. Does anyone know one of the following?
1. A historical example of someone wearing hide armor who could be described as "fighter" rather than "ranger" or "barbarian".
2. A type of armor that could be refluffed as hide.


Just to throw a wrench in the mix. Experience from fighting in and out of harness (Italian longsword; http://www.ottawasword.com/) tells me that agility is just as incredibly important an aspect in armour as without. While not reflected well in D&D, just because you are in harness does not obliviate the need for balance, speed, ability to void attacks and other aspects tied to "Dex".

Fiore dei Liberi in fact states quickness of the hand and foot as one of the 4 aspects of a swordsman. Strength, cunning, and daring being the other 3.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-05-26, 03:47 PM
...Experience from fighting in and out of harness...

I've seen this 'harness' referenced in this thread a few times, can anyone explain what it is?


Fiore dei Liberi in fact states quickness of the hand and foot as one of the 4 aspects of a swordsman. Strength, cunning, and daring being the other 3.

I agree with Signor dei Liberi save that he doesn't include knowledge and training. The Maître d'Armes at my fencing club isn't nearly as strong or fast as I am but he is much better trained and much more knowledgeable than I, which allows him to be effectively faster than I am, as he is prepared for whatever I do.

Matthew
2010-05-26, 03:59 PM
I've seen this 'harness' referenced in this thread a few times, can anyone explain what it is?

Usually refers to 14th and 15th century plate armour, or "true" plate armour.

Fhaolan
2010-05-26, 05:09 PM
Usually refers to 14th and 15th century plate armour, or "true" plate armour.

Sometimes extended to mean a 'complete' set of armour, including any optional pieces that are put on or removed for different situations.

Brainfart
2010-05-26, 05:38 PM
I agree with Signor dei Liberi save that he doesn't include knowledge and training. The Maître d'Armes at my fencing club isn't nearly as strong or fast as I am but he is much better trained and much more knowledgeable than I, which allows him to be effectively faster than I am, as he is prepared for whatever I do.

Speed isn't just about the raw, quantified ability to get from point A to B in the shortest time possible, it's also about being in the right place to do the right thing at the right time. Experience, perception and balance contribute a great deal to this.

The part on foot speed is one thing that Drizzt got right. The vast majority of people have faster hands than feet, which is a bit of a problem when you find out that the vast majority of techniques are powered by footwork.

Galloglaich
2010-05-27, 09:00 AM
Footwork is one of the ways a less physically capable but more experienced person can out-time a physically stronger and more agile person. It's sort of a 'force multiplier', along with (not) telegraphing / reading the other guys telegraph, and a sense of reach and measure which largely comes from experience.

G.

Fortinbras
2010-05-29, 01:30 AM
I had a discussion with a friend about the relevance of battleships in modern warfare. I said that they are essentially a relic because the vulnerable to aircraft and don't fill any role that aircraft don't fill. He said that they weren't.

I also used of the sinking of the Bismarck as an example of irrelevance of battleships. I pointed out that the Bismarck was only sunk after its rudder was torpedoed by a swordfish and that several hours of actual ship to ship combat was relatively inconclusive.

What do people think. Are battleships irrelevant in the modern world? How good of an example is the thinking of the Bismarck.

fusilier
2010-05-29, 02:51 AM
I had a discussion with a friend about the relevance of battleships in modern warfare. I said that they are essentially a relic because the vulnerable to aircraft and don't fill any role that aircraft don't fill. He said that they weren't.

I also used of the sinking of the Bismarck as an example of irrelevance of battleships. I pointed out that the Bismarck was only sunk after its rudder was torpedoed by a swordfish and that several hours of actual ship to ship combat was relatively inconclusive.

What do people think. Are battleships irrelevant in the modern world? How good of an example is the thinking of the Bismarck.

The Bismarck could not be steered by its propellers. This was noted by the Germans during trials as a significant flaw. Basically the worst thing that could possibly happen to the Bismarck did, thus sealing its fate.

You are probably right. Air-power has basically superseded cannon armed warships. However, battleships were not without their usefulness after WW2, I think that most navies simply didn't bother to maintain them. They are expensive, and if your choice is between an aircraft carrier that can strike the enemy at much greater ranges, or a battleship that has to get "close" (like 20 miles) to shoot at its enemy then the aircraft carrier is a safer bet. Also remember that the post war environment was the age of the atomic bomb. Aircraft carriers can launch aircraft to deliver such bombs, while no ship has any real defense against such weapons.

The battleship developments leading up to WW2 were all about fighting at longer ranges, and aircraft surprised the designers somewhat. Many battleships had their AA batteries upgraded during the war. Also, as in WW1, the nations seemed unwilling to risk their battleships in a straight-up fight. Why risk expensive battleships when you can throw inexpensive planes at the enemy fleet at long ranges?

http://forums.filefront.com/fh-off-topic/401474-battleships-sunk-ww2.html

That links to some statistics about battleships sunk during ww2. Most of the battleships sunk by aircraft were sunk in port. However, I would take the statistics somewhat lightly. It lists two Greek battleships as being sunk in open waters by German aircraft, but those battleships were pre-dreadnought designs! It also considers the Hood a battleship, which is a common mistake, it was actually a battlecruiser.

I think it comes down to local air-superiority. Whichever side has it, is likely to win. If, for some reason, neither side can establish air-superiority in a naval fight, an enemy battleship among some carriers would wreak havoc. But it would have to get close enough to those carriers first!

Philistine
2010-05-29, 09:54 AM
I had a discussion with a friend about the relevance of battleships in modern warfare. I said that they are essentially a relic because the vulnerable to aircraft and don't fill any role that aircraft don't fill. He said that they weren't.

I also used of the sinking of the Bismarck as an example of irrelevance of battleships. I pointed out that the Bismarck was only sunk after its rudder was torpedoed by a swordfish and that several hours of actual ship to ship combat was relatively inconclusive.

What do people think. Are battleships irrelevant in the modern world? How good of an example is the thinking of the Bismarck.
A question for a question:
How precisely are you and your friend using the term "battleship" here? In casual usage (including many news reports) virtually any armed naval vessel might be referred to as a "battleship;" but strictly speaking the term describes a heavily armored all-big-gun Dreadnought-pattern capital ship. If the latter is what you mean, then yes, you are essentially correct. If the former, not so much.

Heavy-gun-armed battleships still do one thing that no other platform can match: heavy naval gunfire support for troops fighting within about 20 miles of the coast. The problem is, that's very much a niche role, and it doesn't come near justifying the expense of building and maintaining large, manpower-intensive ships which 1) don't really do anything else well, including providing fire support for troops who aren't within 20 miles of the coast and 2) are painfully vulnerable to hostile submarines, aircraft, and even missile-armed surface ships. Meanwhile, combining big guns with missiles and/or sophisticated electronics on one hull is problematic due to shock effects from firing the guns.

As far as examples go, the case of Bismarck is apt but incomplete. Looking at WW2 as a whole, battleships were very rarely used in their intended role: about a dozen different engagements spread over the entire war, about half of which were fought to anything like a decisive result. Too expensive to risk in unfavorable circumstances, and too limited to force an engagement if circumstances were favorable, Allied battleships were primarily used for convoy escort (RN) and/or shore bombardment (USN), while most Axis battleships spent the bulk of the war riding at anchor.

Brainfart
2010-05-29, 11:22 AM
Actually, modern missiles are pretty much incapable of doing any serious harm to WW2 era battleships. Compare the armour belt on an Iowa class to anything else in the fleet. :smallbiggrin:

Mike_G
2010-05-29, 11:35 AM
The ability to park that kind of firepower off any coast in the world is pretty useful.

"Battleships" like the Missouri, probably are a relic, but cruisers, guided missile frigates, aircraft carriers and helicopter assault ships and other big, expensive vessels are useful platforms to project power into most trouble spots.

90% of the worlds populations lives within 100 miles of an ocean. Virtually all international trade floats on or flies over an ocean. A huge chunk of oil wells are in the ocean. Being able to just park the Fleet and control these things is a big advantage that no land based aircraft can really duplicate, given fueling and flying times.

So, are warships a relic? No. Not at all.

Tankadin
2010-05-29, 12:03 PM
Actually, modern missiles are pretty much incapable of doing any serious harm to WW2 era battleships. Compare the armour belt on an Iowa class to anything else in the fleet. :smallbiggrin:

I'm sure those AS-4s with 2,200 pound shaped charge warheads care about how much armor the battleships have relative to the rest of the fleet. Something made to sink an aircraft carrier isn't going to have problems with a 12" armor belt, especially when it can punch a hole at least ten times that deep.

Storm Bringer
2010-05-29, 12:38 PM
thing is, though, a battleship is build to take hits form that level of firepower, in a way that an aircraft carrier can't be.

A carrier, by definition, must be able to carry aircraft, which means that it has large intretior spaces which are open and you can store and move aircraft around in, and protect them form the elements. In battle, with planes taking off and landing all the time and needed to be rearmed\refueled quickly, these hangers are full of stuff like bombs, aiviation fuel and other such flammable things that react badly to explosions.

a battleship, on the other hand, has a heavily compartmented interior, with lots of armoured bulkheads spanning the ship to contain damage. things like shells and fuel are kept concentrated in a few areas, and heavily armoured and with numerous safeguards to prevent a magazine explosion. a direct it on a turret may set off ammo in the turret and barbette, killing everyong in it and putting it out of action. but if the rounds are handled properly, it will not reach the main magazines.

to sink a ship, you need to hole it below the waterline. a missle hitting a foot of solid steel is unlikey to put a hole large enough to reach the waterline.

Tankadin
2010-05-29, 12:55 PM
thing is, though, a battleship is build to take hits form that level of firepower, in a way that an aircraft carrier can't be.

A carrier, by definition, must be able to carry aircraft, which means that it has large intretior spaces which are open and you can store and move aircraft around in, and protect them form the elements. In battle, with planes taking off and landing all the time and needed to be rearmed\refueled quickly, these hangers are full of stuff like bombs, aiviation fuel and other such flammable things that react badly to explosions.

a battleship, on the other hand, has a heavily compartmented interior, with lots of armoured bulkheads spanning the ship to contain damage. things like shells and fuel are kept concentrated in a few areas, and heavily armoured and with numerous safeguards to prevent a magazine explosion. a direct it on a turret may set off ammo in the turret and barbette, killing everyong in it and putting it out of action. but if the rounds are handled properly, it will not reach the main magazines.

to sink a ship, you need to hole it below the waterline. a missle hitting a foot of solid steel is unlikey to put a hole large enough to reach the waterline.

In field testing, the AS-4 blew holes 16 feet wide and 40 feet deep through steel armor. These missiles would break anything smaller than a cruiser in half. I'm sorry, but no ship is built to take that kind of hit and still be effective. The Russians were playing for keeps. Even saying it would only do a fraction of that--let's say 12 feet--is still 10 times more penetration than you'd need to punch the armored belt at the waterline. The most heavily armored part of the ship. Good game, battleship, good game.

You might have an argument that smaller missiles would have less of an effect, but even a Harpoon or Penguin is going to take out a chunk of superstructure. Oh good, there isn't any water in the ship, we have no fire control.

The other issue is that the missiles are a lot cheaper to make and use.

Mike_G
2010-05-29, 02:34 PM
The Brits suffered a lot of ship damage in the Falklands War, against now 30 years old air to surface missiles.

It's always harder to build a tougher ship than a better weapon.

Big ships are an expensive luxury. Carriers are worth it. Cruisers are worth it. Subs with nukes are worth it, since they pretty much eliminate the chances for a first strike victory by your enemy.

But what the battleship was built for, the old surface ship to ship duel with cannons is probably a thing of the past, like the cutlass and boarding pike.

Yora
2010-05-29, 03:06 PM
But what the battleship was built for, the old surface ship to ship duel with cannons is probably a thing of the past
The problem with battleships is, that they never were really good at even that role. A number of smaller vessel for the same cost and resources is always a better choice.
You only need their huge guns if you fight against ships with armor that is too strong to be penetrated by smaller guns. But developing more efficient shells and targeting systems still seems are much better use of resources.

And I think the same reasons also apply for hypothetical combat spacecrafts. Sorry, but the Star Destroyer has been obsolete centuries before its realization could become probable. ;)

hamishspence
2010-05-29, 03:26 PM
Might depend on how many guns you need to be able to fire at once- and what they're for.

A "ground bombardment ship" fitted with mass drivers, might need a lot of them if it is to destroy all the bases and cities in an enemy nation, in one salvo.

Big, dense, heavy projectiles fired from high orbit, might be able to do the same job as nukes (thanks to high kinetic energy), but at a much cheaper cost per projectile.

The huge guns in this case, wouldn't be for fighting other ships, but for fighting planets.

It's been considered as a possibility in real life:

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

Though if you want a gunship capable of surviving the rigors of the more dangerous areas of the Solar System (such as Jupiter's magnetic fields, or the cosmic radiation of the outer system) you'd need armour and lots of it, to keep the radiation out.

crazedloon
2010-05-29, 03:30 PM
And I think the same reasons also apply for hypothetical combat spacecrafts. Sorry, but the Star Destroyer has been obsolete centuries before its realization could become probable. ;)

I realize this is extrapolating a little out of real-word however I couldn't resist.

the Death star and other similar ideas are more of a aircraft carrier capable of moving vast distances which smaller craft can not. It just so happens that the death stat also had a very powerful weapon. Indeed in the expanded universe your point is made clear when smaller vessels able to do more damage are employed however as a fear factor weapon and as a station with more flexibility the DS is unmatched

hamishspence
2010-05-29, 03:48 PM
Might be interesting to imagine how "realistic interplanetary warfare" would take place.

Say, a century or so from now- with most tech following plausible lines (so no gravity control, warp drive, or anything like that) with people exploiting the Asteroid Belt, Mars the Moon, the Kuiper Belt, and so on, for resources- and other people competing with them.

I'd be surprised if we come up with anything like "energy fields" for deflecting radiation, micrometeorites, etc- so chances are we'd have to rely on armour instead.

Same with weapons- lasers are not likely to advance to guns capable of destroying cities with one shot, yet small enough to fit in a space ship, any time soon- chances are, that mass drivers will be the weapon of choice for space to ground attack.

Eorran
2010-05-29, 04:11 PM
As far as battleships and modern naval combat - Even if an antiship missile can't penetrate the armor belt, it's still ridiculously easy for aircraft, guided-missile frigates, or submarines to knock out the radar, fire-control, and damage any exposed surface. I'm willing to bet you could render a battleship useless without having to actually sink the thing.

I had a project management course instructor who had previously been involved with the US's battleship modernization plan in the 80's. At that time, it cost about a billion dollars just to upgrade the ships to be capable of sailing with the fleet.

He explained the reason for doing the battleships was less because they were useful, and more because it allowed the US to build the 600-ship Navy Reagan wanted in the timeframe he asked for. There weren't enough yards to build carriers instead.

crazedloon
2010-05-29, 04:18 PM
stuff

In all truth I would say at that point we would most likely be using astroids as mobile bases. They provide easy to mine and land masses which require only simple engines capable of getting them up to speed and slowing down. Than they could be dropped into an orbit where the actual ships could be launched from. Each asteroid could also have batteries of weapons added without too much trouble. The main advantage is that most of the equipment you might use to defend a land base would be the same for an asteroid base, and the size of the asteroid would provide quite a bit of armor without much investment

hamishspence
2010-05-29, 04:23 PM
Could work. The extra weight from having a lot of material on the "ship" that's not used for anything, might make for inefficiency though.

I wonder what kind of engine would be needed to accelerate the ship at 1G for weeks, then decelerate it (after rotating it) at 1G, once it's reached the halfway mark?

And how much of the ship's mass would need to be fuel.

A ship capable of patrolling the Solar system (making multiple trips to the Kuiper Belt and back on one load of fuel) would need to be really big- and be mostly fuel tank.

Mining the asteroids (mostly the metal ones) to create something that's a ship, rather than a rock with a collection of hollowed out rooms (maybe with some rock plating on the outside) might make for a better ship.

It might need covers for the weapons as well though- to avoid them being damaged by radiation or micrometeorites. Basically- when it needs to fight, the gun covers open up.

crazedloon
2010-05-29, 04:37 PM
Well do remember once in space without an actual body causing gravitational pull (like the asteroids in the asteroid belt) acceleration is much easier and once you get up to speed it is much easier to remain at speed due to a sever lack of much friction. Add in the use of celestial bodies to fling you around and you can essentially use very little fuel even for long trips.

however the rest of you assessment is probably correct.

hamishspence
2010-05-29, 04:43 PM
I was going with shortest times possible (so no coasting- whole trip is accelerating and decelerating all the way)

It means you don't need to spin the ship to get artificial gravity, for most of the time (except while in orbit) And it enables trips to Pluto and back in a very short time frame.

Possibly, such a ship, instead of using orbital bombardment, could fire its guns at the half-way mark (so they benefit from the speed of the ship.)

A projectile that's been accelerated at 1 G, from Pluto to halfway to Earth before being launched, will be moving very very fast (would have to be aimed very accurately though).

For interplanetary travel, if 1 G acceleration isn't possible, then the ship can be spun instead to provide artificial gravity ("centifugal force"). It does increase the time frame a bit- but even 1/100th G, is pretty good for interplanetary travel.

hamishspence
2010-05-29, 05:43 PM
I did some calculations and the original orbital kinetic vehicle concept (20 ft long, 1 ft wide tungsten rods hitting at 10 km per second) corresponds to only about 100 tons of TNT.

Still quite big- but not exactly city-killers.

You'd need to get them a lot faster before they can reach megaton range.

(If accelerated at 1G, halfway from Pluto (maximum distance)to Earth before acceleration stops, you end up with a projectile moving at about 8500 km per second- K.E. of about 70 megatons)

Tam_OConnor
2010-05-29, 10:36 PM
I'm curious about the time it takes to put on armor. How long for...

A gambeson?
http://costumegirl.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/dscn3155.jpg

A mail hauberk?
http://historicenterprises.com/bmz_cache/9/9c96cf74a8af06109c1f499ca32d367d.image.750x529.jpg

Hussar armor?
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y110/Nephtys/Medieval%20European%20Armour/Eastern%20Europe/Hussar_armour_circa_1630_001.jpg

A suit of lamellar armor in the Byzantine style?
http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/byzantium/byzim_12a.jpg

Full Gothic harness?
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y110/Nephtys/Medieval%20European%20Armour/SigismundofTyrol.jpg

I know the D&D figures, but I have no idea how accurate they may or may not be.

Also, while finding the pictures for this, I stumbled across Polish Winged Hussars. Anyone else heard about them? Because that is gorgeous armor.

Philistine
2010-05-29, 11:52 PM
Actually, modern missiles are pretty much incapable of doing any serious harm to WW2 era battleships. Compare the armour belt on an Iowa class to anything else in the fleet. :smallbiggrin:
The giant Soviet-era carrier-killer ASMs have already been mentioned, though I'm not sure how many of those are still around. But there is a serious danger to a battleship's survival from even much smaller weapons such as Penguin, Exocet, or Harpoon: their fuel. The propellant used in their rocket motors burns very hot, and throwing water at a solid rocket fuel fire is generally considered to be a Very Bad Idea. One (possibly apocryphal) account I've heard claimed that to be the reason the warheads in western anti-ship missiles weren't larger - that they really only needed enough HE in the nose to ensure that the propellant got sprayed everywhere.

Brainfart
2010-05-30, 02:18 AM
In field testing, the AS-4 blew holes 16 feet wide and 40 feet deep through steel armor. These missiles would break anything smaller than a cruiser in half. I'm sorry, but no ship is built to take that kind of hit and still be effective. The Russians were playing for keeps. Even saying it would only do a fraction of that--let's say 12 feet--is still 10 times more penetration than you'd need to punch the armored belt at the waterline. The most heavily armored part of the ship. Good game, battleship, good game.

You seem to be forgetting that those ships didn't have similar armour to that on a battleship. APFSDS penetrators can probably punch through several tens of meters worth of modelling clay, but that doesn't tell us anything about their ability to penetrate RHA. It's a specious comparison.

The AS-4 is a bloody relic, but I'll grant you that it'd still give battleships a very bad day. It's an atypical weapon though, most modern missiles don't need warheads like those. Modern warships are very thin-skinned vessels when compared to the battleship, which has armour designed to take hits from other battleship guns.

On the time needed to don armour, a gambeson can take anything from a few seconds to a minute, depending on the presence of buttons. Pulling one on is rather a lot like wearing a T-shirt. A hauberk would add several seconds to that time, more if you're going to have to strap mail onto your legs as well.

You'd need another minute or so to don the hussar armour (over the hauberk), though I'm unsure about how they went about arming themselves for battle in the first place. The time the Gothic armour would take to don would largely depend on the competence of the squire aiding you. I'd hazard a guess at about five (or slightly more) minutes on average if you're already dressed in your arming garment.

fusilier
2010-05-30, 05:10 AM
The problem with battleships is, that they never were really good at even that role. A number of smaller vessel for the same cost and resources is always a better choice.
You only need their huge guns if you fight against ships with armor that is too strong to be penetrated by smaller guns. But developing more efficient shells and targeting systems still seems are much better use of resources.

What do you mean by they were never good at that role? My opinion is that their expense was so great that navies typically didn't want to risk them, so you don't see many battleship battles (Jutland springs to mind). You seem to be implying that smaller ships could/did defeat battleships in surface fights on a regular basis?

Your other point seems to be that battleships are needed to counter battleships. Otherwise, they are generally overkill. I don't totally agree with this. The big guns that battleships have will give them a range advantage over smaller vessels with smaller guns. Battlecruisers can have that same advantage, but can't take the punishment (the Hood is a good example). There are limits. I recently read an article that downplayed the performance of the 16-inch guns on the Iowa-class when compared to contemporary battleship weaponry (and typically slightly smaller calibers).

Modern missiles and aircraft change the situation. Nevertheless, battleships could sustain a lot of damage and keep fighting. It was not an easy task to knock out a battleship. Most that were taken out by aircraft were knocked out while in harbor, and many of them were repaired.

Torpedos were considered the original battleship killers, leading to many nations investing in torpedo boats, which were countered by Torpedo Boat Destroyers (or, later, called Destroyers). Which themselves started carrying torpedos to use in surface engagements. In the pre-WW1 era even battleships would be armed with torpedos. They didn't actually prove that useful in a surface fight, although could occasionally get off spectacular results in an ambush. Battleships were part of a fleet, and incorporated in an envisioned system of warfare that included many different types of ships working in conjunction. Because they were almost never used in that role, very little practical experience with battleships in surface combat could be applied.

Then, nuclear weapons made large surface fleets moot. Any nation that could build up a battleship fleet could reasonably be expected to be capable of building nuclear weapons. So large surface engagements seemed pointless in the postwar era. So now warships were more about projecting power. Aircraft carriers (and missile carriers) can perform that function at greater range than a big-gun warship. Leaving us with carriers and their escorts (primarily to defend against submarines).

The US continued to use battleships with good effect. There were times and places where air-defenses were too good for aircraft to break through. Long range artillery from the Iowa-class battleships proved useful in those situations. But as others have pointed out it was really a niche role. Cruise missiles could start taking over that role. While a barrage of large caliber shells may be cheaper than a cruise missile, the expense of maintaining battleships for that role would probably more than nullify any savings.

fusilier
2010-05-30, 05:12 AM
I'm curious about the time it takes to put on armor. How long for...


In my experience it depends upon how many people you have to help you! :-)

Yora
2010-05-30, 05:38 AM
What do you mean by they were never good at that role? My opinion is that their expense was so great that navies typically didn't want to risk them, so you don't see many battleship battles (Jutland springs to mind). You seem to be implying that smaller ships could/did defeat battleships in surface fights on a regular basis?

Your other point seems to be that battleships are needed to counter battleships. Otherwise, they are generally overkill. I don't totally agree with this. The big guns that battleships have will give them a range advantage over smaller vessels with smaller guns. Battlecruisers can have that same advantage, but can't take the punishment (the Hood is a good example). There are limits. I recently read an article that downplayed the performance of the 16-inch guns on the Iowa-class when compared to contemporary battleship weaponry (and typically slightly smaller calibers).
Okay, they might have their tactical uses, I completely agree with that. When you have one battleship fight against one or maybe two smaller ships, it's clearly at a huge advantage.
But from a strategical standpoint they appear to be redundant. They are so expensive you can afford only a very small number. This also means you can never have them in all places they might be needed, so most battles will still have to be faught by smaller vessels with smaller guns. Also, from what I've read about warships, few seem to have been destroyed by being hit so often they fell apart. Usually it was one lucky hit to one critical point of the construction. The greater armor of a battleship probably helped to lower the chance for that, but their size would make them easier to hit and it would take three such hits to destroy three smaller ships.
Admirals were aware of this, so they tried to get the battleships out of harms way. And a weapon you don't use is useless by the very sense of the word. When you end up using them as floating artillery platforms, you could have build them much less expensive and at much greater number for the same price. I'm not an expert on naval warfar, but at least in hindsight, using the resources to build something different than battleships would have been much more effective on the long run.

LordShotGun
2010-05-30, 05:43 AM
In my experience it depends upon how many people you have to help you! :-)

Well in personal experience for the mail hauberk, I put one on at a renaissance festival for the first time, by myself, in about 10-15 seconds.

With experience and as long as you have a padded shirt underneith (like what most adventurers could wear to sleep with no penalty) then mail armor of most types is pretty easy to put on.

Although different types do have fasteners that could take some time to secure.

fusilier
2010-05-30, 06:13 AM
Okay, they might have their tactical uses, I completely agree with that. When you have one battleship fight against one or maybe two smaller ships, it's clearly at a huge advantage.
But from a strategical standpoint they appear to be redundant. They are so expensive you can afford only a very small number. This also means you can never have them in all places they might be needed, so most battles will still have to be faught by smaller vessels with smaller guns. Also, from what I've read about warships, few seem to have been destroyed by being hit so often they fell apart. Usually it was one lucky hit to one critical point of the construction. The greater armor of a battleship probably helped to lower the chance for that, but their size would make them easier to hit and it would take three such hits to destroy three smaller ships.
Admirals were aware of this, so they tried to get the battleships out of harms way. And a weapon you don't use is useless by the very sense of the word. When you end up using them as floating artillery platforms, you could have build them much less expensive and at much greater number for the same price. I'm not an expert on naval warfar, but at least in hindsight, using the resources to build something different than battleships would have been much more effective on the long run.

Ok, I see what you are saying. There are some issues. Battleships aren't necessarily the biggest ships out there. Ships like battlecruisers can be bigger than battleships! They basically have the armament of a battleship but not its armor -- their advantage being speed. Also battleships could engage smaller ships at longer ranges. While smaller ships would be more difficult to hit, it gave the battleships more time to fire with impunity before they had to worry about incoming fire. You still need fairly big guns to deal damage to a battleship (or get in close to use a torpedo). You can't simply mount big guns on a small ship.

I think the main issue with battleships, as you point out, was a reluctance to risk them. So war-time strategies generally revolved around trying to split your enemy's force so that one side would have a significant preponderance of battleships in a fight. Big battles like Jutland occurred more as accidents. However, battleships didn't have to be spread around. The Germans concentrated their dreadnought force in WW1 to face the British. The British had to spread their ships around a bit more, but generally concentrated them in North Sea to face the Germans.

Prior to WWI the German strategy wasn't to match the British (they knew that they couldn't), but to have enough dreadnoughts that battle would mean the crippling of the British navy -- not its complete destruction. It was a standoff technique. In a sense it worked; the British couldn't run a close blockade, and never dominated the German coast.

More importantly, large naval battles weren't viewed as simply battleships vs. battleships. Cruisers, destroyers, battlecruisers, torpedo boats, etc. all had roles to play in a major fleet action.

Ultimately, you may be right. In hindsight, if everybody had said nuts to battleships, then their resources could have been more effectively applied elsewhere. On the other hand, if your enemy was building battleships, you needed some to counter them.

They were kind of like the nuclear arsenals of their day. They were deterrents. If you use them, they've failed! A very strange role for a "weapon."

Storm Bringer
2010-05-30, 07:13 AM
also, on the occsions were smaller ships took on battleships, they generally ended very badly for the smaller ships. Unless they are mounting battleship calibre guns, they find they cannot really hurt the battleship. I'm trying to think of examples, but none spring instantly to mind (though the Battle of Coronel gives an idea of what happens when overmatchs ships fight)

In modern times, with guided missles, pretty much any small boat could do serious damage to a battleship, but when they were built, the only weapon a small ship could use to successfully attack a battleship with is the torpedo, which required getting within a mile or two to work (and often failed even then), which ment facing a storm of fire form a battleships secondry batteries.

it is true that the majority of battleships sunk bzy gunfire were killed by a critical hit of some sort, but that ignores how many times they were hit and nothing much happened. Plus, at least at jutland, the three british battlecruisers were sunk by poor handling (the gun crews were cutting out safety mesures in order to speed up thier loading). I think the german battlecruiser lost was lost to substained damage, butby the end of jutland the whole german battle cruiser fleet was pretty much combat ineffective form substained damage.

Maclav
2010-05-30, 08:53 AM
I'm curious about the time it takes to put on armor. How long for...


Gambeson;
Over sweaty skin, 5 minutes of struggling, buttoning 20 buttons or lacing it up the front and arms.
Over proper under cloths, 2-3 minutes.

Mail Hauberk:
20-30 seconds to get "on" as the rivets like to eat hair and catch on cloths. Another 2 minutes to lace up since we are talking properly fitted, laced mail, not "one-size fits none" renfair crap.

Hussar:
As mail + gambeson and another 6-8 minutes, with help if you are in a hurry. Virtually impossible alone.

lamellar:
About the same as above.

Full Gothic harness:
30 minutes, with help. Impossible alone. You could possibly do it in 20 if you had a few people helping. You'll want a 5-10 minute break after you get it on before you engage in strenuous activity to avoid overheating.

Brainfart
2010-05-30, 11:12 AM
I'm pretty sure that you're grossly overstating the time needed to don Gothic plate. I've seen it done very quickly and with minimal fuss (and this is munitions plate, which is not known for fitting very well in the first place), the main issue is getting the helpers familiar with the component parts and methods of attachment.

Maclav
2010-05-30, 11:46 AM
I'm pretty sure that you're grossly overstating the time needed to don Gothic plate. I've seen it done very quickly and with minimal fuss (and this is munitions plate, which is not known for fitting very well in the first place), the main issue is getting the helpers familiar with the component parts and methods of attachment.

With so much pointed armour, double couters, as shown, ect? Including peripoint, gambeson, helmet and mail skirt (and not shown in picture, but mail voiders would have been in there too, needing to be pointed to gambeson as well as jousting target and another chunk of armour over on the shoulders)... Not by much. We jut did a demo yesterday and with one squire each. We weren't racing by any stretch but it took 45 minutes from start to ready to fight. Granted we were using 1350'ish transitional plate (splinted plate over mail, coat of plates, ect), not later period gothic jousting harness which would be marginally faster.

I don't think 20 minutes is much of an exaggeration with a few familiar helpers to kit up from braies.

firechicago
2010-05-30, 12:36 PM
I'm not an expert on naval warfar, but at least in hindsight, using the resources to build something different than battleships would have been much more effective on the long run.

This is only true as long as your opponent doesn't have any battleships. It's true that battleships that were sunk in gunnery duels were sunk by "lucky shots" but those were always lucky shots by other battleships. There are two reasons for this: range and power.

Post-Dreadnought battleships simply outranged anything else until the development of naval aviation and certain longer range torpedoes. The difference in range between the guns of a battleship or battlecruiser and of a lighter armored cruiser could be measured in miles. A two mile difference in range means that the battleship has four minutes to disable you before you can even think about firing back, and that's assuming that the battleship is sitting still waiting for you to close.

And then there's power. In order to break through battleship-thickness armor and score those lucky shots you need battleship-power weapons. The disastrous explosions at Jutland were the result of a combination of lucky shots and imprudent propellant handling, but if the Germans hadn't had battleships it's not clear their guns could have penetrated the turrets to cause the explosions in the first place.

So sure, you might be able to build ten cruisers for the price of four battleships, but if your cruisers have to move in packs of three or four in order to have a chance if they stumble up against an opponent's battleship, you're not actually buying any more flexibility.

There are lots of reasons that the Mahanian vision of great battle fleets deciding the fates of nations was too limited a strategic conception, but the weakness of battleships vis a vis other gun-based surface combatants certaintly wasn't one of them.

Or to put it another way, the naval architects and planners of all of the great powers between 1870 and 1939 may have been dumb, but they weren't stupid.

Brainfart
2010-05-30, 03:28 PM
With so much pointed armour, double couters, as shown, ect? Including peripoint, gambeson, helmet and mail skirt (and not shown in picture, but mail voiders would have been in there too, needing to be pointed to gambeson as well as jousting target and another chunk of armour over on the shoulders)... Not by much. We jut did a demo yesterday and with one squire each. We weren't racing by any stretch but it took 45 minutes from start to ready to fight. Granted we were using 1350'ish transitional plate (splinted plate over mail, coat of plates, ect), not later period gothic jousting harness which would be marginally faster.

I don't think 20 minutes is much of an exaggeration with a few familiar helpers to kit up from braies.

Ah, I was counting it from the arming coat. There were some shortcuts as well, since the arms were pretty much in one piece.

fusilier
2010-05-30, 10:51 PM
In modern times, with guided missles, pretty much any small boat could do serious damage to a battleship, but when they were built, the only weapon a small ship could use to successfully attack a battleship with is the torpedo, which required getting within a mile or two to work (and often failed even then), which ment facing a storm of fire form a battleships secondry batteries.

And in a proper fleet action, there would destroyers and cruisers to run interference for the battleships as well.

In WW1, two Italian motor torpedo boats (like a speed boat with a torpedo), managed to penetrate the Austrian dreadnought Szent Istvan's escorts, and torpedoed and sank the dreadnought. Such actions were exceptional though.

Tankadin
2010-05-31, 12:47 AM
You seem to be forgetting that those ships didn't have similar armour to that on a battleship. APFSDS penetrators can probably punch through several tens of meters worth of modelling clay, but that doesn't tell us anything about their ability to penetrate RHA. It's a specious comparison.

The AS-4 is a bloody relic, but I'll grant you that it'd still give battleships a very bad day. It's an atypical weapon though, most modern missiles don't need warheads like those. Modern warships are very thin-skinned vessels when compared to the battleship, which has armour designed to take hits from other battleship guns.

I don't think it is entirely specious to line up a shaped charged warhead against a bunch of armored plate and see how far it can blast a hole. Not too many WW2 battleships with RHA, either...:smallsmile:

If the 3rd generation anti-ship missile is a relic, I'd hate to think of what word you'd use for battleship. But hey, we don't have to talk about the carrier killers. What kind of armor does the superstructure of an Iowa-class have? Or pick a more heavily-armored battleship. Say the Yamato. A Harpoon to the superstructure is going to be at least as crippling if not more. Sure, the boat may not sink, but it isn't going anywhere and shooting anything. And the Harpoon--along with the aircraft, frigate, or submarine that launched it--are all significantly cheaper to produce and operate. I mean, that's why we don't use them anymore.

Spamotron
2010-05-31, 02:15 AM
A semi related tangent to the Battleship disscussion. Why is the Navy bothering to to spend so much developing a Railgun platform when existing cruise missiles have comparable range and are already proven?

Philistine
2010-05-31, 02:19 AM
WW2-era battleships did indeed incorporate rolled homogeneous armor ("Class B armor" in USN terms) alongside face-hardened armor plate ("Class A"). Class A armor was generally considered to be superior for areas which were expected to be hit more-or-less dead on (such as a ship's armored belt) due to its increased chance of stopping an incoming shell cold, while Class B was preferred in areas where many glancing hits were expected (such as on turret sides) as it was more likely to generate ricochets.

Also, most if not all WW2-era battleships featured an armored conning tower, typically protected at or nearly at the same scale as the armored belt. It is true, however, that it is impossible to protect sensor and communications equipment with armor, and also that rendering an enemy vessel blind, deaf, and dumb is just as good as sinking it for most practical purposes. It is also true that modern air arms posess anti-radiation missiles designed and built specifically to "go for the eyes."

Dervag
2010-05-31, 02:26 AM
The US continued to use battleships with good effect. There were times and places where air-defenses were too good for aircraft to break through. Long range artillery from the Iowa-class battleships proved useful in those situations. But as others have pointed out it was really a niche role. Cruise missiles could start taking over that role. While a barrage of large caliber shells may be cheaper than a cruise missile, the expense of maintaining battleships for that role would probably more than nullify any savings.Oh yeah. One point that's forgotten is that battleships have huge crews compared to a missile ship that can hit targets hundreds of miles away just as hard as the battleship can hit targets on the horizon.

Also, modern artillery has gotten accurate enough that the need for really super-heavy shells has declined; putting a 5" shell on a target is as good as missing by a hundred meters with a 16" shell on land. Targets hard enough to take super-heavy artillery to penetrate are few and far between and are best left to missiles and aircraft which, again, can hit them on one shot instead of needing you to pound away all day.


But from a strategical standpoint they appear to be redundant. They are so expensive you can afford only a very small number. This also means you can never have them in all places they might be needed, so most battles will still have to be faught by smaller vessels with smaller guns. Also, from what I've read about warships, few seem to have been destroyed by being hit so often they fell apart. Usually it was one lucky hit to one critical point of the construction. The greater armor of a battleship probably helped to lower the chance for that, but their size would make them easier to hit and it would take three such hits to destroy three smaller ships.Battleship caliber shells would rip the guts out of cruisers and destroyers on any hit, because those ships didn't have the armor protection to mitigate the damage of an incoming 12" to 16" shell. It takes a lucky hit in a duel between comparable-grade ships, you have to use specialized armor piercing shells that do less damage on the inside of the armor, because that's the price of being able to get through it at all.

Also, there's the Lanchester Laws to consider. In a duel between one heavy combatant that can be disabled with one low-probability lucky hit, and three light combatants that can be disabled with comparably probable lucky hits... as soon as you lose one ship, your power to harm the enemy drops to 2/3 of what it was. Lose two, and you might as well send the third home... at which point you've lost 20000 tons of warship and the enemy has lost none. Not good.


Admirals were aware of this, so they tried to get the battleships out of harms way. And a weapon you don't use is useless by the very sense of the word.This is not true at all.

If a weapon, by existing, forces the enemy to do something difficult or expensive that costs them in other areas, it's to your advantage. For example, by building two or three battleships in WWII, the Germans forced the British to keep many battleships in home waters to escort important convoys... because cruisers and destroyers could never have protected the convoy from a battleship attack. That tied down a large fraction of the entire Royal Navy with a relative handful of ships. Ships that could otherwise have been in the Mediterranean, sinking Italian warships, or in the Pacific sinking Japanese warships. Or bombarding the German coast. Or the Italian coast.

This is called "virtual attrition:" the reduction in your enemy's combat effectiveness caused by forcing them to expend resources neutralizing your defenses, instead of on causing you direct harm.


I'm not an expert on naval warfar, but at least in hindsight, using the resources to build something different than battleships would have been much more effective on the long run.That is very much unproven and I don't think the experts agree on it at all.

crazedloon
2010-05-31, 02:31 AM
A semi related tangent to the Battleship disscussion. Why is the Navy bothering to to spend so much developing a Railgun platform when existing cruise missiles have comparable range and are already proven?

railguns have much cheaper ammo i.e. a slug of metal the size of a minivan. Also if need be the ammo can be recovered from the devastated target :smallwink:

Also the assumption is they can be scaled down for close range defense able to take incoming missiles out of the sky well before they hit the ship much like the other current automated systems

Brainfart
2010-05-31, 05:22 AM
I don't think it is entirely specious to line up a shaped charged warhead against a bunch of armored plate and see how far it can blast a hole. Not too many WW2 battleships with RHA, either...:smallsmile:

If the 3rd generation anti-ship missile is a relic, I'd hate to think of what word you'd use for battleship. But hey, we don't have to talk about the carrier killers. What kind of armor does the superstructure of an Iowa-class have? Or pick a more heavily-armored battleship. Say the Yamato. A Harpoon to the superstructure is going to be at least as crippling if not more. Sure, the boat may not sink, but it isn't going anywhere and shooting anything. And the Harpoon--along with the aircraft, frigate, or submarine that launched it--are all significantly cheaper to produce and operate. I mean, that's why we don't use them anymore.

I was referring to the penetration figures for that missile. A ship's internals are to an armour belt what modelling clay is to RHA. I have no idea what ship they tested the missile on, but I'm fairly sure it wasn't a battleship. :smallwink:

According to Wikipedia, the Iowa-class has this amount of armour:
Armor: Belt: 12.1 in (310 mm)
Bulkheads: 11.3 in (290 mm)
Barbettes: 11.6 to 17.3 in (295 to 439 mm)
Turrets: 19.7 in (500 mm)
Decks: 7.5 in (190 mm)

The Yamato class has comparatively heavier armour:
Armor: 650 mm (26 in) on face of main turrets
410 mm (16 in) side armor (400 mm (16 in) on Musashi), inclined 20 degrees
200 mm (8 in) armored deck (75%)
230 mm (9 in) armored deck (25%

Dervag
2010-06-01, 04:36 PM
railguns have much cheaper ammo i.e. a slug of metal the size of a minivan. Also if need be the ammo can be recovered from the devastated target :smallwink:I think you're overestimating their capabilities; no one is talking about minivan-sized slugs. Five inch or so shells are the name of the game for modern naval guns, and if you're using a hypervelocity weapon for extended range you don't need massive caliber.

The day of the superheavy artillery piece, both on land and on sea, is pretty much over for the foreseeable future.

As for the idea of recovering ammo that just plowed into the target at Mach 7... well, no comment.

Railgun ammunition isn't going to be cheap, but it may still be cheaper than Tomahawks. It also has the considerable advantage of being safer to store, because it's not inherently explosive, or need not be. Whereas a Tomahawk is a thin metal skin wrapped around several tons of explosives and jet fuel. This is not a trivial consideration for the survivability of the ship.


Also the assumption is they can be scaled down for close range defense able to take incoming missiles out of the sky well before they hit the ship much like the other current automated systemsThat's what lasers are for, silly!


I was referring to the penetration figures for that missile. A ship's internals are to an armour belt what modelling clay is to RHA. I have no idea what ship they tested the missile on, but I'm fairly sure it wasn't a battleship. :smallwink:

According to Wikipedia, the Iowa-class has this amount of armour:
Armor: Belt: 12.1 in (310 mm)
Bulkheads: 11.3 in (290 mm)
Barbettes: 11.6 to 17.3 in (295 to 439 mm)
Turrets: 19.7 in (500 mm)
Decks: 7.5 in (190 mm)

The Yamato class has comparatively heavier armour:
Armor: 650 mm (26 in) on face of main turrets
410 mm (16 in) side armor (400 mm (16 in) on Musashi), inclined 20 degrees
200 mm (8 in) armored deck (75%)
230 mm (9 in) armored deck (25%Still a joke compared to what antiship missiles can (and do!) crack; they were testing on something comparable to RHA... stacks of plate steel.

Moreover, you still haven't addressed the real threat antiship missiles would pose to a battleship: damage to the superstructure. One hit will start huge fires, destroying radar, communications, and gunsighting equipment. The turrets are still there (assuming burning jet fuel doesn't manage to dribble down to the magazines), and the hull is still there (likewise), but if the superstructure is out of action the ship is mission-killed.

Even assuming the armor belt is immune to antiship missile strikes, which you haven't proved, the superstructure isn't armored to speak of and never has been. Nor can it be.

Subotei
2010-06-01, 04:50 PM
The Brits suffered a lot of ship damage in the Falklands War, against now 30 years old air to surface missiles.


Only one navy ship was hit by an ASM - the Sheffield - far more were damaged and sunk by free-fall bombs. The Glamorgan was also hit by a surface launched Exocet. Atlantic Coveyor - a large commercial container ship - was also hit and sunk eventually. The real eye opener was the return on investment - the Argentinians only had half a dozen missiles.

Subotei
2010-06-01, 05:04 PM
If a weapon, by existing, forces the enemy to do something difficult or expensive that costs them in other areas, it's to your advantage. For example, by building two or three battleships in WWII, the Germans forced the British to keep many battleships in home waters to escort important convoys... because cruisers and destroyers could never have protected the convoy from a battleship attack. That tied down a large fraction of the entire Royal Navy with a relative handful of ships. Ships that could otherwise have been in the Mediterranean, sinking Italian warships, or in the Pacific sinking Japanese warships. Or bombarding the German coast. Or the Italian coast.

This is called "virtual attrition:" the reduction in your enemy's combat effectiveness caused by forcing them to expend resources neutralizing your defenses, instead of on causing you direct harm.

That is very much unproven and I don't think the experts agree on it at all.

I think this is fair comment - to try to protect all the sea lanes vital to survival the British were spread very thin. Its also the justification for maiming the French fleet shortly after the French surrender - no chances could be taken that the Axis would put those ships to their use.

imp_fireball
2010-06-01, 05:55 PM
I think you're overestimating their capabilities; no one is talking about minivan-sized slugs.

Indeed. The round still has to be chambered, and a slab of metal taken from the scrap heap (no money spent on smelting) would fly very irregularly, no matter how fast. Unless we live in an age where computers are so dynamic that they can adapt to millions of variable trajectories and nanotechnology allows guns to adapt to billions of different slug sizes and shapes, this is completely unfeasible.

Brainfart
2010-06-02, 12:08 AM
Still a joke compared to what antiship missiles can (and do!) crack; they were testing on something comparable to RHA... stacks of plate steel.

Got a link or anything of the sort? I'd like to see some concrete figures on the capabilities of an anti-ship missile. I'm willing to wager that they'll fare worse than battleship shells, but I could be wrong.



Moreover, you still haven't addressed the real threat antiship missiles would pose to a battleship: damage to the superstructure. One hit will start huge fires, destroying radar, communications, and gunsighting equipment. The turrets are still there (assuming burning jet fuel doesn't manage to dribble down to the magazines), and the hull is still there (likewise), but if the superstructure is out of action the ship is mission-killed.

Even assuming the armor belt is immune to antiship missile strikes, which you haven't proved, the superstructure isn't armored to speak of and never has been. Nor can it be.

The lack of superstructure armour is a weakness common to every ship, so I'm not seeing why a battleship would be especially vulnerable. And no, the magazines would be contained in the armoured section, so the fuel isn't going to be 'dribbling down'. :smallbiggrin:

I haven't proved that the armour belt is immune to anti-ship missiles because nobody has provided any sort of reliable figures for the capabilities of a an anti-ship missile. While I suspect that the armour may not be able to fully resist the blast (especially with the current state of maintenance), it will mitigate the effects greatly.

fusilier
2010-06-02, 05:02 AM
I haven't proved that the armour belt is immune to anti-ship missiles because nobody has provided any sort of reliable figures for the capabilities of a an anti-ship missile. While I suspect that the armour may not be able to fully resist the blast (especially with the current state of maintenance), it will mitigate the effects greatly.

I think this is going to be a general problem. I don't know much about anti-ship missiles but many of them were probably not designed with battleships in mind. Nevertheless the Italian Battleship Roma was damaged and eventually sunk by a German ASM in 1943. It should be noted that another Italian battleship, the Italia, (formerly the Littorio) was also damaged but not sunk by an ASM during the same attack. Also the first wave of attacks missed altogether.

Very briefly, ASM's have roughly the same benefit as a torpedo -- it attacks from a direction that typically doesn't anticipate artillery fire, and it's a large explosive!!!

Superstructures
Certain components of the superstructure were typically armored, but not as much as the hull or turrets. This is a matter of compromise. A ship that's floating and has its turrets intact can still fight -possibly not as effectively - but it's not a total loss. And that's very important. Battleships can take a bunch of damage, but if they are still floating (or laying in shallow water), they can be repaired for much less cost and time than building a new one.

If you knock out the gunnery control station, another station can be set up (or possibly utilized as I think some ships had multiple gunnery stations). Most ships can be steered from the engine room. Loss of radar will typically make night fighting difficult/inadvisable. Pin-point targeting of control and sensors is going to problem for any ship, not just a battleship. If you're arguing that all surface ships built for surface warfare are anachronistic, then you might have something. But defenses can change, and simply assuming that pin-point accuracy is completely without effective counter measure is potentially short-sighted.

Now, I was the first to point out that in the nuclear age, surface fleets are anachronistic. My point is that many of the decisions concerning the modern use of warships is predicated on the fact that a large fleet can easily be destroyed by a single bomb. This fundamentally changed how military thinkers thought about warships. Ship-to-ship combat has much lower priority in such a schema. Whether or not battleships would still be around if the bomb had never been created is a matter, which I feel, is still open to some debate. Clearly the use of aircraft to knock out ships in WW2 indicated a change. But the whole system of large surface fleets, which the battleships were a part of, is gone! So the questions we are asking are academic, and cannot simply rely upon the current state of warship doctrine. We are talking about the effectiveness of surface warships, in a world that no longer recognizes surface conflict as a role for such vessels.

Clearly, battleships are not useful in their original role. However, I feel, that large caliber artillery is often too easily dismissed. I think effective interception/counter-measures to large missiles are more likely to be found before equivalent measures for artillery shells will be found. Other than the traditional large and expensive ferro-concrete fortresses, or, for naval combat, an armored belt.

Galloglaich
2010-06-02, 08:51 AM
My $.02

Most US anti-ship missiles are not extremely powerful compared to equivalent bombs and torpedos of the WW II era. A harpoon has a 500 lb warhead, a tomahawk has 1000 lb. Battleships in WW II routinely withstood multiple armor piercing bomb and torpedo strikes from weapons of this size and larger (in fact a 500 lb bomb was considered inadequate to cause serious damage to a Battleship or Heavy Cruiser, 1000 lb bombs were preferred). US missles are slow - flying, making them relatively easy to shoot down with modern countermeasures, and have proven vulnerable to such basic protection as chaff in the past. Some Soviet era supersonic cruise-missles are more dangerous due to their speed but also not impossible to defeat.

Warship armor can or could be made with chobbham type ceramic lamination, in which case the HEAT shaped charge warheads on all missiles would have a much harder time piercing the armor. In fact I believe this has already been done.

I agree with some others who have pointed out that while there are good countermeasures in place for defeating missiles, the AEGIS system on many US Warships is quite good protection, but against artillery there is virtually no protection* (other than armor). If railguns extend the range far beyond what conventional naval guns can achieve, into the hundreds of miles say, then I suspect there is a good offensive value for heavy armored warships; their survivability is already an asset IMO.

I think the relevance of battleships (and other armored warships) will depend on the importance of stealth technology for surface vessels in the future. I have my doubts about stealth technology generally but it is hard to predict where this will go going forward. I am more of a believer in the value of armor in general though than not.

G.

* there is also some possibility of lasers being able to knock out artillery rounds, they have proven capable of hitting mortar rounds which move slow, but I think that would be much harder with an inert fast-moving railgun munition.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-02, 05:18 PM
* there is also some possibility of lasers being able to knock out artillery rounds, they have proven capable of hitting mortar rounds which move slow, but I think that would be much harder with an inert fast-moving railgun munition.

Even if they could target and hit a railgun slug, I don't know that it would do any good. Laser ABM systems don't "burn" their targets, but rather the energy imparted by the high order lasing damages the target in a physical manner. For instance the ABL bursts the fuel tanks of a boost-phase liquid fueled rocket, or induces cracks in the propellant of a solid fueled one.

For a shell with a warhead, you might be able to cause it to detonate prematurely, but for a 100 kg slug, what can you damage?

Yora
2010-06-03, 07:00 AM
If railguns extend the range far beyond what conventional naval guns can achieve, into the hundreds of miles say, then I suspect there is a good offensive value for heavy armored warships; their survivability is already an asset IMO.
Supposed you could shot an iron bar over such distances. How would you handle shoting over the horizon? Supposed the gun is mounted 10m above the waterline and your target is as well, you would have a clear line of sight only for up to 30km (if I read this chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:How_far_away_is_the_horizon.png) correctly). Conventional guns just shot in an arc and let gravity do the trick of bending the shells path. But at velocities to carry the projectile ten times and more that distance while still being effective, would gravity be enough to not shot over the target? If you shot it like a mortar, the impact would probably occur at merely terminal velocity and probably not very effective.

Galloglaich
2010-06-03, 08:19 AM
Even if they could target and hit a railgun slug, I don't know that it would do any good. Laser ABM systems don't "burn" their targets, but rather the energy imparted by the high order lasing damages the target in a physical manner. For instance the ABL bursts the fuel tanks of a boost-phase liquid fueled rocket, or induces cracks in the propellant of a solid fueled one.

For a shell with a warhead, you might be able to cause it to detonate prematurely, but for a 100 kg slug, what can you damage?

agreed.


G.

Galloglaich
2010-06-03, 08:24 AM
Supposed you could shot an iron bar over such distances. How would you handle shoting over the horizon? Supposed the gun is mounted 10m above the waterline and your target is as well, you would have a clear line of sight only for up to 30km (if I read this chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:How_far_away_is_the_horizon.png) correctly). Conventional guns just shot in an arc and let gravity do the trick of bending the shells path. But at velocities to carry the projectile ten times and more that distance while still being effective, would gravity be enough to not shot over the target? If you shot it like a mortar, the impact would probably occur at merely terminal velocity and probably not very effective.

I think this is just ballistics, same as with other artillery or ballistic missiles, based on the mass and velocity you get a certain arc, I don't think the speed makes a huge effect on that though perhaps someone can correct me.

G.

Autolykos
2010-06-03, 08:33 AM
But at velocities to carry the projectile ten times and more that distance while still being effective, would gravity be enough to not shot over the target?Yep, until your projectile reaches orbital velocity at sea level, which is the case at slightly above 7900 m/s (v=sqrt(g*r)) - which still gives you more than enough kinetic energy to play with, even with relatively light projectiles.
EDIT: FTR, the kinetic energy is then 31MJ per kg of projectile weight.
(all of this disregards air friction, which is a rather big factor at these speeds...)

hamishspence
2010-06-03, 08:53 AM
Given that a kg of TNT is equivalent to 4.1 MJ, the projectile's energy isn't all that impressive.

A 1 tonne projectile would be equivalent to about 7.6 tons of TNT.

For comparison, the Yamato class battleship's main guns fired projectiles weighing a bit more than a tonne.

SlyGuyMcFly
2010-06-03, 10:20 AM
While it is strictly speaking an measurement of energy, TNT equivalents are generally used as a measurement of explosive force. You can't really compare the destructive potential of a kinetic projectile with a conventional explosive using TNT equivalents, due to rather different delivery mechanisms.

hamishspence
2010-06-03, 10:25 AM
True.

I wonder if kinetic energy is more efficient, destruction-wise, than explosive energy?

Would, for example, a very large, very fast projectile with a K.E of 1 kiloton, do far more damage to a ship, than a 1 kiloton warhead would?

That said, they might work fairly similarly if fired at the ground- a 1 megaton kinetic projectile (such as an asteroid) might (on impact) produce a similar (but not identical) effect to a nuclear 1 megaton warhead exploded at ground level.

Only without the fallout.

Spiryt
2010-06-03, 10:37 AM
Isn't "explosive" energy kinetic energy (of violently expanding air) too anyway?

With some heat, and more kinetic energy of stuff send flying by explosion?

I may be wrong or simplify it too much, of course...

hamishspence
2010-06-03, 10:56 AM
My guess is that if the K.E. of the projectile, combined with the material the projectile is made of, will result in the projectile disintegrating, then the effect of the impacting projectile will be a bit like an explosive.

A bullet doesn't explode on impact- because the velocity is low and the material is tough.

But if the kinetic energy of the "bullet" is high enough- it would disintegrate spectacularly on impact. As would the outer surface of the object it's colliding with.

HenryHankovitch
2010-06-03, 11:17 AM
Isn't "explosive" energy kinetic energy (of violently expanding air) too anyway?

With some heat, and more kinetic energy of stuff send flying by explosion?

I may be wrong or simplify it too much, of course...

Technically speaking, an "explosion" is any reaction, chemical or mechanical, which produces a sudden and significant burst of energy. This energy can be kinetic, thermal, or electromagnetic, and is usually a combination of all three.

What we normally think of as "explosives" are simply chemicals which, when a chemical reaction is initiated, release an extremely large amount of energy. The damage is caused by direct heat from the reaction, plus the sudden outward force caused by the massive increase in pressure at the center of the reaction, and subsequent expansion. Simply speaking, explosions push matter (including air) away from them at high velocity. In munitions, the real damage is usually done by the fragmenting metal case which is deliberately placed around the explosive, and which subsequently turns into tiny pieces of metal flung about at high velocity.

You don't need a chemical reaction to have an explosion, however. The initial Chernobyl accident resulted in a "steam explosion," as the overheating reactor caused the coolant water to suddenly flash-vaporize, producing an explosive burst of expanding steam.

The outward burst of energy released by a kinetic energy impact can definitely be referred to as an explosion. A kinetic-energy weapon hitting its target is going to convert a massive amount of its kinetic energy to heat and sound; this will cause an explosive effect, if the energy is high enough. A medium-to-large meteorite hitting the Earth can be calculated to have the explosive energy of a large nuclear weapon.

imp_fireball
2010-06-03, 04:24 PM
Yep, until your projectile reaches orbital velocity at sea level, which is the case at slightly above 7900 m/s (v=sqrt(g*r)) - which still gives you more than enough kinetic energy to play with, even with relatively light projectiles.
EDIT: FTR, the kinetic energy is then 31MJ per kg of projectile weight.
(all of this disregards air friction, which is a rather big factor at these speeds...)

So even if the projectile doesn't burn up, how will it do damage to a ship? Won't it just make a very tiny hole?

Should it be made to flatten upon the hull? Should it expand due to air resistance (chemically treated round)? Should it just lower velocity once it reaches a certain density in a way that it will bounce around the ship at very high speeds and impose a hazard (without simply perforating the ship)?

Autolykos
2010-06-04, 02:57 AM
Should it be made to flatten upon the hull? Should it expand due to air resistance (chemically treated round)? Should it just lower velocity once it reaches a certain density in a way that it will bounce around the ship at very high speeds and impose a hazard (without simply perforating the ship)?Like you probably just noticed yourself (or are very close to), this problem is very similar to how a proper pistol or rifle bullet should be designed: It should be just soft enough that it gives of most (or ideally all) of its energy inside the target. Since parts of the projectile will probably start melting from air friction, I don't think softness is something one should give too much concern. Depending on how much of the projectile is molten, this will either just cause it to flatten a little on impact, enlarging the entry and exit holes, or it could "weld" itself through the hull like a HEAT projectile (without needing a shaped charge for this trick).
(That's not facts, just hard speculation...)
Besides, you can't really compare the energy given off by a HE shell with the kinetic energy of a solid projectile, since the parts of the HE shell retain their (relatively) low total momentum, causing a lot of the energy to dissipate harmlessly into the air, creating an impressive but totally useless fireball (unless you manage to detonate the HE inside the target, bunker-buster style). OTOH, the solid projectile gives off all its energy concentrated in one point and working in one direction - that's why APFSDS is a lot better at penetrating armor than HEAT.

Subotei
2010-06-04, 03:46 AM
Even if they could target and hit a railgun slug, I don't know that it would do any good. Laser ABM systems don't "burn" their targets, but rather the energy imparted by the high order lasing damages the target in a physical manner. For instance the ABL bursts the fuel tanks of a boost-phase liquid fueled rocket, or induces cracks in the propellant of a solid fueled one.

For a shell with a warhead, you might be able to cause it to detonate prematurely, but for a 100 kg slug, what can you damage?

Its possible that to protect against the slug all you'd have to do is spoil its aerodynamic properties in some way - feasible with the right laser. Quite small amounts of damage could be enough to destroy its accuracy by causing it to wobble, tumble etc.

fusilier
2010-06-04, 04:38 AM
Supposed you could shot an iron bar over such distances. How would you handle shoting over the horizon? Supposed the gun is mounted 10m above the waterline and your target is as well, you would have a clear line of sight only for up to 30km (if I read this chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:How_far_away_is_the_horizon.png) correctly). Conventional guns just shot in an arc and let gravity do the trick of bending the shells path. But at velocities to carry the projectile ten times and more that distance while still being effective, would gravity be enough to not shot over the target? If you shot it like a mortar, the impact would probably occur at merely terminal velocity and probably not very effective.

I think that ballistically speaking shooting at great ranges isn't that difficult -- there's tons of practical problems, but in WW1 the Germans had several "Paris Guns" which shelled Paris from over 70 miles away.

Terminal velocity is tricky, but for dense objects with some aerodynamic qualities it can be pretty high, so I don't think there are many worries there. However, I do see what Yora is getting at: If the object is propelled to very high speeds to avoid detection, it still has to travel slow enough to arc over the horizon and hit its target. I'm not entirely sure how significant of an issue this might be. One other thing to consider, is that shooting to extreme altitudes the projectile will encounter less air resistance. This means it can build up more speed in the upper atmosphere, and while it will be bleeding it off as it falls into the lower atmosphere it may still be above terminal velocity when it hits.

However, this is related to something that I think is being overlooked. Battleships can move and change direction of travel! :-) Early on in WW2 there were attempts to bomb battleships with high-altitude bombers that were typically disappointing for this very reason (battleships had plenty of time to react to the incoming bombs).

Prior to WW2 those paying attention started opting for main guns that had good range, accuracy, and short shell flight times. This gave the opponent ship less time to change course. The original 16" American guns failed at this. While they were accurate, and delivered a big shell, they lacked range and took sometime longer to hit their targets. It was starting to be recognized that it was more important to simply hit the target more often, then deliver a really big shell. Obviously there are limits: you can't go too small and still expect to puncture an enemy's battleship's armor. The Italian 15" guns were highly praised in this regard (accurate with short flight times), and the British at one point considered fitting a larger number of 14" guns rather than 16" guns on some of their battleships for this very reason.

The Americans realized this and extended the length of their 16" guns to compensate, but this resulted in decreased accuracy (for a variety of reasons).

See this website:
http://www.avalanchepress.com/Overrated.php
The information is spread out over a couple of linked articles, and starts with specifics about their board game pieces.

Anyway, artillery firing long range at a moving target has to be pre-planned, because once the shot is in the air there's nothing that can be done to correct its path. Now a large object with a potentially lower terminal velocity, dropping from great range, might be detected early enough that a battleship can take evasive maneuvers. Speed, accuracy, and rapidity of fire are important. If you're shooting at a moving target, you want to get it "straddled" as quickly as possible, then lay on the rapid fire. Once the enemy knows he's taking incoming fire he will attempt evasive maneuvers.

Really big projectiles are one shot weapons, you have to hit the target the first time or its pretty much over. Long range ballistic projectiles have to be very accurate, and undetectable. Otherwise the enemy will start evading.

Galloglaich
2010-06-04, 08:44 AM
Interesting post, I didn't know a lot of that stuff.

One thing I would add though, a huge difference between modern and early / mid 20th Century artillery is that today munitions are usually guided, either by laser, gps, radar or etc. (US warships in WW II used radar-guided aiming for their gunnery, which helped them close the wide gap with the Japanese who had been winning most of the surface engasgements in the first half of the war... but that radar was based on the ship. Today it could be in the munition itself, in a drone, a satelite, etc.)

So maybe your railgun needs some kind of 'smart' munition to be really viable. But I think that is well within the capability of todays technology.

G.

Joran
2010-06-04, 01:41 PM
A semi related tangent to the Battleship disscussion. Why is the Navy bothering to to spend so much developing a Railgun platform when existing cruise missiles have comparable range and are already proven?

Well, the Railgun is supposedly going to be replacing the 5" guns; Vertical Launch Tubes will almost assuredly remain part of design of ships for a long time, so it's in addition to cruise missiles rather than replacing them.

In the new DDX/DDG-1000 series destroyers, the U.S. Navy is moving towards having an integrated power system, so everything runs off of electricity, including the main propulsion engines. This also increases the overall amount of electrical power on the ship. In addition to what everyone else said, cheaper ammo, longer theoretical range, inert ammo, the new Navy ships should have plenty enough electricity to run a rail gun.

Spiryt
2010-06-10, 06:05 PM
Ok, so i didn't know where to put it, so why not here at least:

Something I've seen on MyArmoury :

Take a look (http://www.onesixthwarriors.com/forum/sixth-scale-action-figure-news-reviews-discussion/220191-custom-kerak-defender-xiith-century-crusader-02-20-more-making-pics-page-6-a.html)

And...

It's not so easy to spot itat first, but it's damn MODEL. In 1:6 scale... Can you imagine making mail, even butted representation in 1;6 scale?

Simply amazing, and

It also look quite accurate to me, and to many guys at MyArmoury... What do you think?

Matthew
2010-06-10, 06:09 PM
Very cool looking; best Action Man I have ever seen. :smallbiggrin:

Next the guy has to build a 1:6 scale crossbow and shoot him with it!

Brainfart
2010-06-13, 03:21 AM
It's butted mail, it wouldn't give accurate results. :smallbiggrin:

Maclav
2010-06-13, 06:26 AM
I couldn't even imagine the work involved in riveting 1/6th scale maille. OMG.


It's butted mail, it wouldn't give accurate results. :smallbiggrin:

Galloglaich
2010-06-13, 08:47 PM
Ok I'm going to be a complete and total hyppocrite here and tell the world, I've been watching Deadliest Warriors again and really enjoying it. Yes it's still completely worthless as an historical or academic information source, but it's just cool watching them blow up, slice, stab and smash stuff. I really enjoyed the Rajput warrior episode, first time I'd seen someone use a chakrum against a real target and it looked pretty friggen deadly slicing through that column of meat. The khanda was cool too even though the guy using it looked kind of clumsy with it.

I also enjoyed the Somali pirate episode, their advocate was a really good shot with an Ak hit three manequins in a moving skiff (albiet only 50 and 100 meters away which is pretty close for an assault rifle, but it was still cool...) As was the point blank hit with the mini-uzi by the Columbian guys, 9 rounds right in the head pretty horrific, I always wondered how those machine pistols worked, they seem damn lethal at close range.

The melee combat with the grapnel was pretty absurd and par for the course for this show... but man I wish I had some of those pig carcasses and ballistic gel dummies with skeletons embedded, it's just pure little boy fun destroying those things would be great for a 'test-cutting' party. I hope they have a little BBQ with all that pork when they are done with it.

Anyway there I outed myself I'm a fan of that retarded show in spite of everything that drives me crazy about it. :smalleek: I'm probably contributing to the dumbing down of humanity by watching it but hey, I'm a sucker for simulated violence i guess.

G.

Mike_G
2010-06-14, 06:34 PM
I do enjoy the test cutting, blowing *** up part of the show.

It's like watching The A Team. It's not something you brag about, but it's fun.

Hawriel
2010-06-14, 11:45 PM
I do enjoy the test cutting, blowing *** up part of the show.

It's like watching The A Team. It's not something you brag about, but it's fun.

I brag about watching the A-Team. :smallbiggrin:

Autolykos
2010-06-18, 02:27 AM
I brag about watching the A-Team. :smallbiggrin:You mean, like you can actually take a FULL EPISODE?
SCNR

Karoht
2010-06-18, 11:07 AM
I just saw the A-Team movie last night. Total cheese, but well written and very fun movie. Highly recommended.

Joran
2010-06-18, 03:28 PM
For those snipers out there.

I've been watching Top Shot, a show where marksmen (and one woman) compete in a variety of shooting competitions.

In one episode, they had a long range shooting competition. The guy firing the rifle said he needed to compensate for the wind. He could estimate about how fast the wind was moving based on a flag placed at the target.

How do real-life snipers compensate for wind? Use the surroundings (brush, trees) as a pseudo-wind gauge? Have a spotter tell them how off they are? Actually plant a flag at the target?

Norsesmithy
2010-06-18, 07:42 PM
By judging mirage, mostly.

Get the focus of your spotting scope (or rifle scope, but spotting scope is better) dialed in for the target, and then back it off a touch, so it's focused on the air between you and the target. Assuming the sun is out (and not directly in your face or at your back), you can see how the wind affects the convection currents in the air between you and the target, and this allows for rough wind estimation.

If you can't resolve the mirage, you can judge the wind based on other factors, but they are generally less accurate than mirage is.

Johel
2010-06-19, 04:32 AM
Context :
For a simulation game, each player has to design a nation, taking into account all aspects (politics, security, economy, health, education, justice, transportation, demography, culture, diplomacy...).

I've covered most aspects and I'm down to the military part. Given the cost of acquiring and operating 4th and 5th generation aircrafts, I'm considering a air strike and air defense mainly based on small boats, trucks, infiltration teams and ballistic missiles.

Question :
With ground support for guidance and intelligence, can ballistic missiles currently replace fighter aircrafts (4th and 5th generations) ?
As an offensive weapon (ex : to support an invasion or do tactical strikes)
As a defensive weapon (ex : to provide anti-aircraft defense or to repel a ground invasion).
Please consider the following aspects :

Capital Cost
Maintenance Cost
Manpower requirements
Infrastructure requirements
Flexibility
Firepower (with conventional weapons)


Thank you

Yora
2010-06-19, 04:47 AM
I'm not an expert on these, but I'm pretty sure ballistic missiles can not replace tactical bombers.
I think more often than not, you need a rather small missile or bomb and rarely have to get out the big ones. Smaller missiles just don't have the reach, so you need an aircraft to get them into firing range. A single aircraft can transport several missiles and can be reloaded with new missiles almost infinitely often. A ballistic missile is gone once it strikes. Maintaining a small fleet of tactical fighter-bombers would probably much cheaper.

And somehow you have to get the missile into the target. And I think in tactical situations, it's always much better to have a pilot do the targeting on site, than doing it remotely in a command center hundreds of milles away. If it is even possible at all to target a moving tank without having line of sight.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-19, 10:11 AM
The other problem posed by using ballistic missiles in place of bombers is that an ally, enemy, or unaligned nation cannot tell whether a ballistic missile carries a conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead, until it hits.

And that makes people nervous and prone to aggressive action.

Philistine
2010-06-19, 12:21 PM
Context :
For a simulation game, each player has to design a nation, taking into account all aspects (politics, security, economy, health, education, justice, transportation, demography, culture, diplomacy...).

I've covered most aspects and I'm down to the military part. Given the cost of acquiring and operating 4th and 5th generation aircrafts, I'm considering a air strike and air defense mainly based on small boats, trucks, infiltration teams and ballistic missiles.

Question :
With ground support for guidance and intelligence, can ballistic missiles currently replace fighter aircrafts (4th and 5th generations) ?
As an offensive weapon (ex : to support an invasion or do tactical strikes)
As a defensive weapon (ex : to provide anti-aircraft defense or to repel a ground invasion).
Please consider the following aspects :

Capital Cost
Maintenance Cost
Manpower requirements
Infrastructure requirements
Flexibility
Firepower (with conventional weapons)


Thank you
If missiles could serve as a cost-effective stand-in for a real air force, then the question you need to ask is why haven't they? Note that the UK tried (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1957_Defence_White_Paper) to go the route you suggested at one point; they came back to conventional aircraft.

One thing to remember is that a one-dimensional threat can be countered in one dimension. ABM is a somewhat expensive capability to develop, but the necessary technology has been available since the early 1960s (the big issues are early detection and command and control - ballistic missiles travel along predictable arcs, but you need very fast reaction times to get interceptors up in time to meet them)... and any neighbors with hostile intentions toward you (or who feared your hostile intentions) most certainly would acquire the capability.

Yora also makes an excellent point about the re-usability of aircraft. For reference, the <2000 Coalition aircraft involved in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 flew >100000 sorties, averaging 50+ missions apiece. Granted, some of those were for things like tanker support which wouldn't be relevant to an all-missile force; but on the other hand, tac air sometimes engaged multiple targets per sortie. So you need an awful lot of missiles to replace even a modest air force of say, two dozen fighter-bombers over the course of a single, six-week campaign - is it cheaper to buy and maintain two dozen aircraft, or two dozen missile regiments? Furthermore, remember that you'll probably still need to be able to mount a credible defense after a given campaign, so expending your entire inventory of missiles is usually not conducive to long-term national survival - meaning you need even more missiles to replace the aircraft.

Besides, ballistic missiles aren't all that cheap; that's why they're commonly used to deliver nuclear devices. This ties in to Norsesmithy's point - firing ballistic missiles at your nation's enemies has much more frightening political connotations, and is apt to provoke much stronger reactions, than launching air strikes.

Flexibility is another huge problem for missiles. Ballistic missiles can't hit a moving target other than by pure chance (because, you know, ballistic), making them a poor choice for hitting targets other than fixed centers of defense, industry, or population. Guided missiles are significantly better in this regard, but can still be spoofed and/or evaded - at which point the missile is just gone, whereas an aircraft could potentially reacquire and reengage the target.

UAVs may eventually replace manned aircraft, but missiles? Probably not.

lsfreak
2010-06-19, 03:27 PM
The other problem posed by using ballistic missiles in place of bombers is that an ally, enemy, or unaligned nation cannot tell whether a ballistic missile carries a conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead, until it hits.

And that makes people nervous and prone to aggressive action.

On the other hand, if the nation in question is prone to actually using nuclear weapons, there's also the problem that there's little difference between the look of a B52 loaded with JDAMs and a B52 loaded with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Basically, this point depends on the nations in question within the simulation game.

The biggest thing is going to be cost. A Peacekeeper missile can hold a 10 MIRVS, with a physics package of ~600 pounds; however, nuclear warheads are high-density material, so each warhead will probably have significantly less explosive material thanks to the volume limit (limited knowledge here, but it's reasonable :p). Compare that with the cost of a Tomahawk, to say nothing of guided bombs.

Tam_OConnor
2010-06-19, 10:07 PM
Shield bash time:

I know that sword and buckler combat included strikes with the buckler. This is the start of my ignorance. Punching only, or edge strikes?

What's the practical size limit on shields used for bashing?

I'm disinclined to trust anything in 300 or John Ringo; was there ever such a thing as shield-bashing in formation?

Thanks!

Galloglaich
2010-06-20, 01:14 AM
No idea about shield bashing in formations, maybe somebody more versed in Classical era warfare can chime in on that; but one - on - one it was certainly done with both the boss and the edge, along with all kinds of hooking and binding of the other guys weapon.

All of the above appears in the Renaissance and Medieval fencing manuals both with bucklers and quite large shields (as big as anything they used in the classical period).

I believe you can also see what looks like some shield-strikes in depictions of warriors on ancient Greek vases and in Scythian jewelry, IIRC.

The Viking sagas describe strikes with shields.

The Rotella types in the Renaissance were in fact somewhat similar to a Greek hoplites shield, though probably not as heavy.

G.

Fortinbras
2010-06-20, 01:21 AM
This question is a little off the wall but people on this board seem to have a lot of experience with this stuff so here goes.

Does anyone know of a martial arts technique in which you break someone's neck by grabbing the crown of their head an their chin and simply twisting. It seems like it can't be that easy.

I ask because I was messing around with a friend and we ended up having a bit of wrestling match. I wrestle for my high school and is a Tae Kwan Do black belt. I figured I was doing pretty good when I pinned him on his back but then he reached up grabbed the crown of my head and my chin and said that in a real fight he would have broken my neck.

Is this a realistic boast or is he full of @#$%?

Deth Muncher
2010-06-20, 02:12 AM
Okay, quick question here. I say something today in a weapons shop so hilariously impractical that I'm sure somebody here will know what I'm talking about as soon as I start describing it. As such:

It looked like a hybrid between a sword and a whip. It had the hilt of a sword, and the blade, were it one piece, would have equated to a short sword, but instead it was segmented, and looked like it could be slung around. For some reason, this weapon made me think of Voldo from Soul Calibur, but I think he just wields spiked chains, so that's irrelevant. But. Any idea what I'm talking about?

EDIT: After some Googlification, it seems I meant to say Ivy from SC wields something like it.

EDITEDIT: After more Googlification, it looks pretty much exactly like this:
http://forums.bleachexile.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1916&d=1256270187

Spiryt
2010-06-20, 05:03 AM
This question is a little off the wall but people on this board seem to have a lot of experience with this stuff so here goes.

Does anyone know of a martial arts technique in which you break someone's neck by grabbing the crown of their head an their chin and simply twisting. It seems like it can't be that easy.

I ask because I was messing around with a friend and we ended up having a bit of wrestling match. I wrestle for my high school and is a Tae Kwan Do black belt. I figured I was doing pretty good when I pinned him on his back but then he reached up grabbed the crown of my head and my chin and said that in a real fight he would have broken my neck.

Is this a realistic boast or is he full of @#$%?

He probably cannot face the fact that his Tae Kwan Do is pretty useless on the ground. :smalltongue:

And no, human back and neck muscles aren't so weak that somebody can break necks like that.

Wiki about spinal locks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_lock) - mind you, it's Wiki so carefully, but it's good for general info.

Matthew
2010-06-20, 06:26 AM
Okay, quick question here. I say something today in a weapons shop so hilariously impractical that I'm sure somebody here will know what I'm talking about as soon as I start describing it. As such:

It looked like a hybrid between a sword and a whip. It had the hilt of a sword, and the blade, were it one piece, would have equated to a short sword, but instead it was segmented, and looked like it could be slung around. For some reason, this weapon made me think of Voldo from Soul Calibur, but I think he just wields spiked chains, so that's irrelevant. But. Any idea what I'm talking about?

EDIT: After some Googlification, it seems I meant to say Ivy from SC wields something like it.

EDITEDIT: After more Googlification, it looks pretty much exactly like this:
http://forums.bleachexile.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1916&d=1256270187

Although not exactly the same, there was apparently an Indian "whip sword", which is called the Urumi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urumi). Like many weapons that seem pretty impractical it was probably typically used for duels or to show off martial arts expertise.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-21, 03:20 AM
This question is a little off the wall but people on this board seem to have a lot of experience with this stuff so here goes.

Does anyone know of a martial arts technique in which you break someone's neck by grabbing the crown of their head an their chin and simply twisting. It seems like it can't be that easy.

I ask because I was messing around with a friend and we ended up having a bit of wrestling match. I wrestle for my high school and is a Tae Kwan Do black belt. I figured I was doing pretty good when I pinned him on his back but then he reached up grabbed the crown of my head and my chin and said that in a real fight he would have broken my neck.

Is this a realistic boast or is he full of @#$%?

To break your neck in that manner, he would have to tear your neck muscles first.

To do it without tearing your neck muscles, he would have to push up with a very large amount of force.

Probably not something you can do to a man who has you pinned to the ground. But while it is fun to out wrestle people who think they are skilled at martial arts (esp. Tae Kwan Do), remember that in a real fight, if you take someone to the ground, odds are, his friends are going to stomp the tar out of you.

Dienekes
2010-06-21, 05:04 AM
Shield bash time:

I know that sword and buckler combat included strikes with the buckler. This is the start of my ignorance. Punching only, or edge strikes?

What's the practical size limit on shields used for bashing?

I'm disinclined to trust anything in 300 or John Ringo; was there ever such a thing as shield-bashing in formation?

Thanks!

The general consensus that I've read about for the Hoplite era was that shield strikes with the aspis where utilized though not as effective since the arm was strapped in and couldn't be punched without striking with the edge. It is also believed that striking with the edge was not used since it opened the body for attack and weakened the line.

However, this seems to be theorizing with no actual data for or against given in works at the time.

lesser_minion
2010-06-21, 10:20 AM
A question about tanks:

I remember hearing that modern MBTs were fairly ineffective in virtually anything that wasn't a desert or an open field, and that it may be better to concentrate on lighter vehicles, maybe even going so far as to eschew the MBT's role entirely.

If I understand correctly, advantages of such an approach would include easier transportation, the ability to field greater numbers of such vehicles, and the ability to operate such vehicles in a wider range of theatres.

How far does such an approach seem sensible in a present-day or near-future context?

Yora
2010-06-21, 11:23 AM
When you're fighting in the open, well equiped modern armies would rather fight enemy tanks with bombs and missiles dropped from supporting aircraft, than go through all the trouble of bringing their own tanks and risk them getting shot by ground units.
As seen in Iraq, an enemy who knows he has no chance of winning a field battle will very soon retreat to urban areas. And it's in urban environments where MBTs really aren't that much help. For one thing they are very big and heavy and can drive only on wide open streets. Smaller vehicles are much more mobile (and don't destroy the pavement as larger tanks do.) And most tanks are equiped with a top mounted machine gun, which isn't much better than one a single soldier can carry, and a big cannon. And when you show some concern for civilian casualties, you can't fire a gun inside a city. The heavy armor sounds like a great thing, but the armor is really thick only in the front, and in an urban environment attacks can come from the sides and even from above you. And unlike on an open field, you can't just go full speed and escape, but you easily get stuck when you encounter a road block. Smaller vehicles or even armored cars can much easier get away when they have to.
So what you really have when you take a tank into a city, is a slow and wide armored truck. A role that could be filled much more efficiently by an actual armored truck.

The best thing to do with an MBT is to shot at other MBTs. And there are better ways to do that. There are probably some situations where they might be really useful, so even well funded armies will keep some of them around. But they don't play as much of a role than they used to.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-21, 04:19 PM
That said, a force that eschews MBTs, and finds itself in a fight against a force that doesn't, and is unable to gain air superiority will probably find themselves in a difficult situation. The major tank designs are all built for a large scale conflict with defined battle lines.

They are not well designed for urban conflict.

BUT things like the TUSK program they ran the Abrams tank through can make tanks formidable engines of selective destruction in an urban area, and only a 70 ton MBT can eat a really big IED and continue to fight (sure an MRAP or Buffalo will keep the crew alive for a similar blast, but that's at the cost of the vehicles undercarriage, the Abrams TUSK has a good chance of remaining mobile and combat effective, one commonly circulated video shows an Abrams being lifted 7 or 8 feet into the air, and continuing to drive and scan for targets after landing, that bomb would have killed the crew of an MRAP).

And it isn't a matter of a single machinegun, either, the TUSK Abrams has two M2HBs, an M240, and a Mk 19, all of which can be remotely fired by a buttoned up crew, in addition to the main gun.

I'm sure a person could design a purpose built urban assault vehicle that could protect the crew from just about everything but falling into a river, and that could bring a heavier weight of machinegun and grenade fire to bear, and do it for less money and less weight, BUT that machine would be helpless against an aircraft or tank threat.

Karoht
2010-06-21, 07:36 PM
Shield bash time:
What's the practical size limit on shields used for bashing?If you can hold it with one arm, you can bash with it. On that note, kite shields and norman teardrop shields are startlingly quick, heaters are a bit slower. Bucklers rule in almost every application.


I'm disinclined to trust anything in 300 or John Ringo; was there ever such a thing as shield-bashing in formation?
If/when it was available, it's still viable. However, this could open up a vulnerability in a shield wall. An opportunistic arrow or spear thrust from the guy behind the guy he just bashed would drop him and cause an opening, and if the guy behind didn't step in to fill it fast enough, the line can and will become destabilized.

So while it could be done in a formation, it has to be well timed and judgement has to be spot on, or you're going to probably end up dead, and if you end up dead there is a chance that your buddies will end up dead as well. Training was also very heavily reinforced that you DO NOT open up the shield wall for anything, not even your own mother, bringing all your chaps biscuits and tea.

fusilier
2010-06-22, 09:37 PM
That said, a force that eschews MBTs, and finds itself in a fight against a force that doesn't, and is unable to gain air superiority will probably find themselves in a difficult situation. The major tank designs are all built for a large scale conflict with defined battle lines.

There's also an increased emphasis on asymmetric warfare, which is probably diminishing the role of tanks in military thinking.

Also, the last large tank battles took place in deserts (Israel-Egypt?), and that tends to skew thought patterns. I remember reading something about war games, where a group was asked to design a war game set in Germany. Germany has trees, hedgerows, and hills, which limits the effective range of tank guns. Well the military thinkers minds were full of these reports of very long range tank kills from the recent war in the Sinai, and they insisted that the war game allow for such long range kills. So the designers had to redesign the game, and basically "flattened" the terrain in Germany to allow for long range kills.

Mike_G
2010-06-22, 09:44 PM
Even in close, urban terrain with short fields of fire, it's nice to have a tank available. It's the difference between rescuing a cut-off platoon, forcing them to fight their way out, or using air to level a few city blocks, and that tends to have political consequences.

Armor would have saved lives in Mogadishu in '93. Humvees and trucks just don't give you the protection from light weapons that you want.

Fortinbras
2010-06-23, 12:07 AM
Yeah but armor doesn't have to mean tanks, armor could be Saracens, or Saladins, or Ferret armored cars.

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 03:21 AM
Even in close, urban terrain with short fields of fire, it's nice to have a tank available. It's the difference between rescuing a cut-off platoon, forcing them to fight their way out, or using air to level a few city blocks, and that tends to have political consequences.

Armor would have saved lives in Mogadishu in '93. Humvees and trucks just don't give you the protection from light weapons that you want.

I believe the thinking is that a Warrior or a few Spartans would be able to do that perfectly well.

Autolykos
2010-06-23, 03:32 AM
I'd imagine that some armored FLAK vehicles with autocannons (like Shilka or Gepard) would be quite effective in an urban environment. They can aim their gun in upper stories of buildings and have more than enough firepower to blast through cover or thinner walls - and enough rate of fire to get anyone in range to keep their head down. MBTs are just too big and too slow for jobs like that - and sitting ducks when attacked from above.

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 03:57 AM
It doesn't really make sense to design vehicles with the use of 30 mm rounds on people in mind, since that's not a lawful use.

Subotei
2010-06-23, 06:36 AM
A question about tanks:

I remember hearing that modern MBTs were fairly ineffective in virtually anything that wasn't a desert or an open field, and that it may be better to concentrate on lighter vehicles, maybe even going so far as to eschew the MBT's role entirely.

If I understand correctly, advantages of such an approach would include easier transportation, the ability to field greater numbers of such vehicles, and the ability to operate such vehicles in a wider range of theatres.

How far does such an approach seem sensible in a present-day or near-future context?


It depends who and what you're fighting. Tanks have always been vulnerable in situations where they cannot manouver and where infantry with anti-tank weapons can get near under cover - built up areas are the classic example.

In the initial phases in iraq the Coalition were up against MBTs, though the Iraqi forces weren't able to cope with the overwhelming air power and so tank v tank situations were few. I'm pretty sure though the infantry liked having those Abrams on hand just in case. After that during the insurgency and in Afghanistan there were no AFVs on the opposite side. In the latter situation you want to field AFVs that protect the crew from hand held anti-tank weapons and IEDs, and lay down effective anti-personnel fire, so yes your lighter AFVs would be good in that situation.

However the next war is always an unknown quantity - the danger is that weapons useful for counter-insurgency work won't be suited to the next conflict.

Mike_G
2010-06-23, 06:48 AM
It doesn't really make sense to design vehicles with the use of 30 mm rounds on people in mind, since that's not a lawful use.

BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you the the .50 cal machine guns on the M1 are for anti-aircraft?

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 06:55 AM
BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you [think] the the .50 cal machine guns on the M1 are for anti-aircraft?

30 x 170 mm. It's a much bigger round (just over three times the size), and usually explosive.

People don't respond particularly well to being hit repeatedly by one.

Angelmaker
2010-06-23, 07:04 AM
BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you the the .50 cal machine guns on the M1 are for anti-aircraft?
Isn´t cal.50 something like 12,7mm? While impressive and a commonly used anti-material round, it still is off like 17 mm to 30 mm, if I am not malinformed here. Not an expert at this stuff, just saying...

Erom
2010-06-23, 07:05 AM
However the next war is always an unknown quantity - the danger is that weapons useful for counter-insurgency work won't be suited to the next conflict.

You mean the Uprising in 2054, when Kyoto Nanofoundry #3 goes berserk? :smallsmile:

It's a valid point, because man was infantry useless in that conflict.

I... err... wait, what are we talking about?

Mike_G
2010-06-23, 07:08 AM
30mm. That's a much bigger round (just over three times the size), and usually explosive. Also hard to make in ridiculously fast fire rates.

It's also slight overkill...

I know my calibers. It's just that .50 cal is also an illegal round. It's also 12.7 mm the way the rest pf the world does

The 25 mm gun on many AFV's is used largely as an anti personnel weapon. It's not really overkill if the guys are behind cover launching RPGs at you.

A .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine gun is a fine thing if the enemy infantry are close and not behind cover, in fighting holes, behind heavy trees or brush, hunkered down in a building or behind a sand berm. So, if the enemy RPG gunner is suicidal and out in the open, the .30 cal is fine. If he's smart and chooses to engage your AFV from a decent position, it might take a 25-30 mm round to blast him out. Even the .50 cal will punch through a lot of cover, but the explosives and fragments from a 25 mm autocannon can take out a guy without a direct hit, which is nice since infantry are a small and quick target.

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 07:14 AM
My impression is that there isn't much that will stop sustained machine gun fire at that close a range, although I guess you're right that it's easier to use a 30 mil round and resolve the matter quickly.

In any event, my understanding is that there's no law against using a solid 30mm round against a person -- it's the explosive aspect that causes issues.

Eorran
2010-06-23, 11:33 AM
OK, I understand that there are some weapons which are legal only for certain kinds of use (ie HMG as anti-material weapons, white phosphorus as smoke grenades, etc.)
So what happens when you use it for an illegal purpose? Military tribunal?

It seems ridiculous to expect a soldier under fire to say "wait, we can't shoot them with that gun, it's against the rules." As though the referee would show up and declare the enemy not really dead, and send your tank crew to the penalty box.

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 11:45 AM
OK, I understand that there are some weapons which are legal only for certain kinds of use (ie HMG as anti-material weapons, white phosphorus as smoke grenades, etc.)
So what happens when you use it for an illegal purpose? Military tribunal?

It seems ridiculous to expect a soldier under fire to say "wait, we can't shoot them with that gun, it's against the rules." As though the referee would show up and declare the enemy not really dead, and send your tank crew to the penalty box.

Basically, the enemy is allowed to break the rules in reprisal, and armies are expected to discipline anyone who breaks the rules.

Heavy machine guns aren't actually restricted -- just the ammunition. In particular, explosive rounds shouldn't be used against personnel and incendiary rounds shouldn't be used near civilians.

Most vehicles equipped with 30 mm weapons are equipped with more appropriate weapons anyway.

a_humble_lich
2010-06-23, 12:14 PM
I'm curious. Why are explosive rounds banned against personnel? Are they more likely to cause maiming injuries? Why can't the 30mm auto cannon be used but 30 mm grenade launchers can be?

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 12:28 PM
As far as I'm aware, grenades aren't fired directly at personnel -- they're fired into a room, for example.

A 30mm explosive shell, on the other hand, is fired directly at the target and explodes on (or right after) impact. That's considered a little nasty.

The basic rule seems to be that it's off-limits if it explodes within the human body.

Mike_G
2010-06-23, 05:11 PM
The practical answer is: nothing happens in reprisal. Unless you lose the war and the winner tries you for war crimes.

Shotguns are not supposed to be used anti personnel, nor are .50 cal rounds from the HMG or the Barret sniper rifle, nor the 25 mm autocannons.

But we do it all the time.

I was in the infantry, and if a guy is shooting at me and my best option is a weapon that shoots radioactive anvils doused in the anthrax virus, I'm gonna use it. And I fully expect the enemy to shoot his radioactive anvil gun at me. This isn't the World Cup, it's war, and one wins by killing him before he kills you.

Artillery and airstrikes and drone strikes and grenade launchers get used on enemy soldiers all the time. You think we're targeting Taliban Tanks with out munitions?

This kind of thing is not usually a big deal, as war crimes go. Messing with prisoners or civilians is generally what will get you in trouble. Massacre a village and you can expect a trial. Shoot an enemy sniper with a 105 mm howitzer and expect three rousing cheers from the unit he was pinning down.

lsfreak
2010-06-23, 05:39 PM
And even if it were the case that exploding rounds inside someone was enforceably illegal, there's also the issue that - from what I know of testing and the like - it doesn't actually happen. It comes more down to intentionally designing a bullet to blow up inside someone, versus happenstance occurrences where a round intended to kill by shrapnel happened to lodge in someone's chest before it went off. Something similar happened with the NATO 5.56mm round; it wasn't designed to fragment, it just happens to.

The one that I've heard most about is the Mk.211 .50cal round, since it's actually used in a 'direct-fire' role, which is designated by manufacturer as anti-materiel. It's small enough caliber that there's a slim chance the round might detonate inside a person. Any round larger than that has so much power behind it that it will have entered and exited well before detonation, assuming a human body even provides enough resistance to set off the charge.

lesser_minion
2010-06-23, 05:42 PM
Yes, that's true.

The reality seems to be that the laws dictate what countries tell their soldiers -- for example, "report anyone you see shooting civilians".

They don't -- and can't -- really do much more than that.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-23, 09:17 PM
Any round larger than that has so much power behind it that it will have entered and exited well before detonation, assuming a human body even provides enough resistance to set off the charge.

If they're wearing body armor, I'm told the odds are better than even.

HenryHankovitch
2010-06-23, 09:23 PM
The only actual reference to exploding bullets I found is from the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Petersburg_Declaration_of_1868), to which the United States is not a signatory. Amusingly, the intent seems to be to restrict the use of small-size, exploding munitions because the delegates considered them to be less lethal and more cruel than regular bullets, or larger-sized shells.


The delegates affirmed that the only legitimate object of war should be to weaken the military force of the enemy, which could be sufficiently accomplished by the employment of highly destructive weapons. With that fact established, the delegates agreed to prohibit the use of less deadly explosives that might merely injure the combatants and thereby create prolonged suffering of such combatants.

The Hague Convention disallows the use of expanding or deforming ("hollowpoint") bullets, which is tangentially related.

It's not a big deal, generally. As was mentioned, .50 caliber/12mm size rounds are really the only ones that fall under the banned size. (Maybe those exploding 12-gauge rounds, too.) So a 30mm exploding shell, or anything larger, can be shot at anybody. And I doubt .50 cal exploding rounds are likely to become very commonplace. If you can hit someone with an exploding .50BMG round, then you can hit them with a non-exploding .50 round, and they'll be just as dead. We're shooting squishy humans, after all, not dragons or filthy xenos or something.

And if you want a fragmenting explosive charge for area effect, then you don't really want a tiny little small-arms shell for the purpose.

Fhaolan
2010-06-23, 10:42 PM
my best option is a weapon that shoots radioactive anvils doused in the anthrax virus

I'll quote appropriately here... *cough* *cough* "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

Mike_G
2010-06-23, 11:14 PM
I am proud of that one.

Autolykos
2010-06-24, 03:32 AM
And don't forget that you can always say you intended to use the autocannon (or radioactive anvil gun for that matter - YMMD) only for suppressive/indirect fire, and that stupid guy just got in the way. Not that anyone is ever likely to get you in trouble for this, but even if, there probably wouldn't happen too much.

Galloglaich
2010-06-24, 08:57 AM
Even in close, urban terrain with short fields of fire, it's nice to have a tank available. It's the difference between rescuing a cut-off platoon, forcing them to fight their way out, or using air to level a few city blocks, and that tends to have political consequences.

Armor would have saved lives in Mogadishu in '93. Humvees and trucks just don't give you the protection from light weapons that you want.

Agreed, and the reason you need tanks for this and not IFVs, APCs, anti-aircraft vehicles or armored cars, is that you need a vehicle with chobham armor which can resist at least an RPG.

If you will forgive a digression, here is a brief history of modern armor as I see it:


The relative value of tanks in various environments other has been a see-saw effect based on the cost and effectiveness of anti-tank weapons vs. the cost and effectiveness of armor.

In the very early days of WW II (and the smaller wars leading up to it) tanks were very, very scary and extremely effective because they were starting to be strong enough to defeat all small arms and almost all weapons available to a regular infantry -based army, including the anti-tank guns of the day which were very small and inadequate (37mm). A few tanks could smash through enemy lines and wreak havoc among hundreds of infantry. This kept repeating itself as newer beter protected tanks arrived on the front line, such as in the early appearances of the T-34 and the KV which threw German lines into a panic; or the Tiger tank which had the same effect on the Soviets, the British and (particulalry) the Americans.

This had the practical effect that nations which could afford tanks along with a couple of other key military technologies (airplanes, radios) could project power forcibly onto poorer or smaller nations with lower technology levels, much as had happened 50 years earlier with the maxim machine gun. Hence the Italians conquest of Ethiopia, the Germans and Italians defeat of Republican Spain in the Spanish Civil War, the Japanese conquests of Manchuria etc. And it's a big reason for the early German expansion through Europe.

The disporportionate effect of tanks evened out somewhat when armies started adapting heavy long-rangee anti-aircraft cannon for use as anti-tank weapons, as pioneered by the Germans with the justifiably famous Flak 18 (later Flak 36/37/41) 88 mm gun.

These were extremely effective against tanks in the open, and severely restricted the value of tanks in open environments (like the Sinai) but difficult to move or transport, still relatively useless close-in, for urban environments etc., as well as being vulnerable to infantry and artillery and fast-moving, low-flying fighter-bombers.

The US were using their 155mm howizters in a direct-fire mode in much the same manner in North Africa, but soon upped the ante with the introduction of the Bazooka, a relatively efficient man-portable recoilless rocket powered anti-tank weapon firing a HEAT shaped charge warhead. This was a great idea but initially proved difficult to implement. The Germans captured some in North Africa and used this as the basis of the Panzershreck, a kind of super bazooka, and much more importantly, the Panzerfaust.

The Panzerfaust was a much simpler and more brutal weapon which drastically reduced the lifespan of tank crews. A disposable launcher with a huge shaped-charge warhead capable of piercing any amount of armor, very simple (if somewhat dangerous) to use and very, very effective at close range.

This changed the war and changed the role of armor. No tank had armor thick enough to be safe from a panzerfaust, the only limit of the weapon was it's short range, but it's existence limited the use of tanks in urban environments without infantry protection. Tanks could no longer be used to crash through enemy positions, nor could they safely chase infantry into villages or near the fringes of forests, which greatly reduced their effectivness in the "exploitation" role they also specialized in. The panzerfaust in particular was so effective that by late 1944 the US distributed thousands of captured weapons to units like the 82nd Airborne to the extent that nearly every platoon had one.

After WW II the Soviets further developed the Panzerfaust (with elements borrowed from the Bazooka) into the RPG-2, a simple, easy to use but re-usable anti-tank rocket launcher with a powerful shaped charge and a much better range than the Panzerfaust.

It was this weapon and it's descendants which more than anything else led to the roll-back of Colonialism during the 1950's and 1960's. The RPG and it's cousins like the longer ranged B10 rocket, made it cheap and easy for guerillas and revolutionary or nationalist armies to fight off foreign Colonial powers and neutralize one of their biggest advantages which was the tank.

Depending on the terrain, one infantry guy, no matter how well trained and equipped, can only be so much better than another infantry guy. And training is not necessarily a big advantage over experience (especially when it comes to leadership). This is what we found out in Somalia (due to our lack of heavy armor there). And in the Korean war, and in Vietnam. Tanks for a while had allowed a disporportionate projection of force, since one tank crew might be worth more than 100 or even 1000 infantry, but in the age of the RPG that was no longer true. Other than protecting against small arms and mortars, the tank was almost useless except as a mobile carrier for heavy weapons like heavy-machine guns and autocannon. Hence the rise of lightly armored vehicles like saracens and M-113s and BMPs.

The balance had changed again however starting in the early 80's with the British invention of 'Chobbham' (laminate) armor. This armor incorporated ceramic which could not be burned through by HEAT shaped charge warheads. The reason HEAT is so effective agaisnt armor is that it basically reaches the melting point of steel with this jet of molten copper, and therefore a big enough warhead can melt through any amount of it. But with a layer of ceramic the HEAT charge is foiled and you are back to needing kinetic energy to defeat tanks, which means man-portable weapons couldn't hurt them.

From the 1980s through the early 2000s we therefore saw an small renewall of wealthy nations defeating poorer nations in battle and expanding in political power and dominance a bit.

But the balance may be changing again, and perhaps once again due to the Russians. The new tandem warhead RPG-16 seems to have played a major role in the Israeli defeat by Hezbollah in Lebanon in the so called 'July War' in 2006 by knocking out a dozen or more Chobbham armored Merkava tanks. Much as the stinger missile ended the era of the Attack Helicopter in Afghanistan, new generations of light anti-tank weapons may spell doom for heavy armor, unless some new countermeasure can be developed (and I think they are working on lasers for that right now)

G.