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Norsesmithy
2010-06-24, 03:50 PM
Pretty much, but the Merkerva is not the only tank to be exposed to newer generation RPGs. Both the Abrams and the Challenger II have been exposed to high levels of tandem warhead late model RPGs (16s and 29s), and their record is somewhat more impressive than the Merkerva's (only natural, because both are heavier tanks than the Merkerva)

The Abrams has shown that, short of a hit to the turret ring, it can take a withering fire from late model RPGs without hull compromise, though running gear and hydraulic line hits can be disabling (though the crew will remain safe, and the Abrams dangerous), and the Challenger II has had a similar record, EXCEPT for two incidents where glacis strikes by RPG29s wounded the driver and forced a bail out. This is about what one should expect, because the Abrams is probably the only tank in the world with heavier armor than a Challenger II, and even incorporates depleted uranium in it's armor structure, a wonderful absorber of heat and physical force (so much so that Uranium is used for the heat shield and third stage of most ICBM warheads). Add in the reactive armor and slat armor that was part of the TUSK program, and you've got a tank that is as resistant to shaped charges as is possible short of an active defense system (and they're working on that one).

Eorran
2010-06-24, 04:12 PM
I know this is pretty subjective, nad I imagine I'd get different answers from an American, a Brit, and a German, but how does the Leopard 2 compare with Challenger 2 and Abrams in terms of firepower, mobility, and armour?

Theodoric
2010-06-24, 05:42 PM
I know this is pretty subjective, nad I imagine I'd get different answers from an American, a Brit, and a German, but how does the Leopard 2 compare with Challenger 2 and Abrams in terms of firepower, mobility, and armour?
The Leopard 2A6's got a slightly longer, bigger gun (mostly longer, Abrams has the previous version of it, while the Challenger is actually upgrading to the same standard). Don't really know about mobiliy but armour quality is slightly lower than the two others IIRC. The Leopard 2A6 does edge out on reliablity, efficiency and self-reliance; it doesn't need such a large amount of back-up logistics as the Abrams, and can work in harsher conditions. The Germans are really good engineers.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-25, 12:04 AM
The additional barrel length advantage that the Leo has is somewhat mitigated by the unwillingness of the Germans to use DU penetrators, which are quantitatively superior than Tungsten. So a "Silver Bullet" out of an Abrams actually has superior RHA penetration than the tungsten penetrator out of a Leo.

And with the introduction of the M1111 assisted penetrator, (which the Germans will not adapt due to DU content), the Abrams will be getting yet another performance and range boost that the Leo will not.

I'm also told that the Abrams has superior fire control, but I don't know of any real quantitative data for that. The Abrams has, by far, the heaviest secondary armament.

Galloglaich
2010-06-25, 08:46 AM
I don't know but I have heard the Leopard 2A6 is considered the best modern MBT by Janes. I would check to confirm that but they don't give out 'free' information any more. I've heard good things about the French LeClerc as well but don't know much about it's performance in battle, I think it was used in Gulf War I.

The M1A1 is battle tested though and indeed, has proven to be tough as nails in Iraq (though they have knocked a few out). Personally I wouldn't want to sit in a vehicle made with DPU armor but that's another issue.

G.

Norsesmithy
2010-06-25, 04:39 PM
DU is poisonous, same as tungsten, same as lead. It's really not any more dangerous than those metals. It is radioactive on a very low level, but you are going to see far more serious health problems far sooner from simple poisoning than you will from any radiological action.

Given that comparable materials carry comparable health risks, and that DU is more effective than they are, I don't really see any reason to worry about it.

After all, if you are exposed to the DU mesh in the armor of your tank, it's because your tank's hull has been compromised by enemy fire, and you've probably got other things to worry about, health and safety wise.

Philistine
2010-06-26, 07:49 AM
It's called depleted uranium for a reason: it's what's left over after the refining process has siphoned off as much of the radioactive U-235 isotope as is humanly possible (to a very near approximation, this is all of it) into enriched uranium - suitable for use as reactor fuel or in radiological weapons. You wouldn't want to eat or breathe the stuff, but then the same is true of any heavy metal; the danger is chemical toxicity, not radioactivity.

Stephen_E
2010-06-26, 08:47 AM
The problem with DU isn't having it a tank or shell so much as when fired or when the armour is breeched it burns, turns into micro fragment and enters the envioriment as a toxic material that can easily be absorbed by the body, which the body accumaltes, and which doesn't breakdown into a non-toxic substance naturally.

Those other substances, such as tungsten, are harder to turn into something the body can basorb, and breaks down or is converted to a non-toxic, or a non-absorable compound in the envioriment relatively easy.

And I'd point out that the M1A1 has quite a high rate of crews getting out of wrecked tanks, that are generally burning, of are shortly set on fire.
So while the crew may appear to be in more danger from the disabling of the tank, I'm not sure that it is really the greater danger.

Stephen E

Fax Celestis
2010-06-26, 04:49 PM
Just posted the weapons list for d20r, and I figured this is the best place to ask about weapon weights, properties, and potentially any missing items. I'd prefer if you posted on that thread rather than this one, since it'd expedite the process of amending the weapons themselves. Thanks.

String
2010-06-28, 03:59 AM
Arright, some ancient weaponry/armor questions, ranging from the Persian Empire through mid-1600's Japan. It's for a webseries I'm in the process of writing, and I hate not knowing my stuff. If I could get some basic information, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.


Lets get down to it!

1) Ok. one of the characters in this webseries is Darius the Great himself, the ruler of the Achaemaeeaad (I don't remember the spelling; It's 5am, cut me some slack) Empire, circa 500BC. Now I'm obviously using a fictionalized version, not having personality files of the man to go off of and not really wanting them to begin with, but the important part is: What sorts of armor would be used by a man of his importance on the occassions where he insisted on going into battle? My preliminary research says scale armor wouldn't be out of place, while padded armors similar to a gambeson would be the standard for the footsoldiers. If scale armor wouldn't be too far out there for a high-ranking persian warrior, what are the drawbacks and benefits of said armor?

1a. In a similar vein, weapons of the era? What would be appropriate, and what are the pros and cons of them? Once again, prelim research says a curved shamshir(?) would be used, possibly from horseback, although mounted combat is beyond my scope. I was told by a friend that the Kukhri dagger wouldn't be out of place, either.

2) 1066, Battle Of Hastings. William the Conqueror. Mainly same questions as before: Armor and weapon. Am I right in assuming that a ruler would be in a jerkin, a chainmail outfit of some kind, and a sword and shield? what type of shield would be appropriate? Helmets?

2a Same time period, same year even, but the Viking forces led by Harald something-or-other. What type of loadout would they be carrying?

2b I lump this here, even though it's about 50 years prior and a few hundred miles west, but Ireland, 1014, Irish warriors. Do these qualify as "Celts" or "Picts" or what (it occurs to me that this may be beyond the scope of the thread)? What weaponry would be hauled around, and what armor? I hear of a warclub the irish used, but I'm not sure...

3) 1600's Japan. The two particular personages are Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyu Mitsuyoshi Jubei. The samurai armor (onmyo-o? Is that right?); what exactly is it's composition? How does it stand up to methods of attack? Is there any possible way to fight off a man with a real sword if you're armed with a wooden katana, as Musashi is rumoured to have done?

4)Last one, I swear: How would the above armors fare against 18th century flintlock ballistics?


Thanks once again.

Attilargh
2010-06-28, 04:38 AM
The samurai armor (onmyo-o? Is that right?); what exactly is it's composition? How does it stand up to methods of attack?
You're thinking of o-yoroi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-yoroi), onmyo-do (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onmy%C5%8Dd%C5%8D) is something different.

Like armour in the west, Japanese armour went through a lot of evolution as new tactics and weapons were introduced. Generally, most Japanese armour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_armour) was made of mail and plates, scales or lamelles of metal or leather, often lacquered to make them last longer. I would presume they worked as well as western armour made with the same techniques, although Japanese iron has a reputation for being rather shoddy.


Is there any possible way to fight off a man with a real sword if you're armed with a wooden katana, as Musashi is rumoured to have done?
Sure. Of course you'd be in a disadvantage since you can't cut, but getting hit with a bokken is no laughing matter. Many basic strikes in Japanese fencing are aimed at the head and the neck, and work just fine with a big stick.

If you're wondering how the wooden sword would last, I don't have hands-on experience, but I would imagine it is rather difficult to actually cut through a hard piece of wood held by someone. Especially if it was something like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suburito).

Storm Bringer
2010-06-28, 06:07 AM
Arright, some ancient weaponry/armor questions, ranging from the Persian Empire through mid-1600's Japan. It's for a webseries I'm in the process of writing, and I hate not knowing my stuff. If I could get some basic information, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.


Lets get down to it!

1) Ok. one of the characters in this webseries is Darius the Great himself, the ruler of the Achaemaeeaad (I don't remember the spelling; It's 5am, cut me some slack) Empire, circa 500BC. Now I'm obviously using a fictionalized version, not having personality files of the man to go off of and not really wanting them to begin with, but the important part is: What sorts of armor would be used by a man of his importance on the occassions where he insisted on going into battle? My preliminary research says scale armor wouldn't be out of place, while padded armors similar to a gambeson would be the standard for the footsoldiers. If scale armor wouldn't be too far out there for a high-ranking persian warrior, what are the drawbacks and benefits of said armor?



1a. In a similar vein, weapons of the era? What would be appropriate, and what are the pros and cons of them? Once again, prelim research says a curved shamshir(?) would be used, possibly from horseback, although mounted combat is beyond my scope. I was told by a friend that the Kukhri dagger wouldn't be out of place, either.

as far as i know, that would be roughly right. the only image of a persian emperor i've seen is the one of Darius fleeing before Alexander the great at Gulamela, in which he appears to be in farily normal persian clothes. however, scale armours were not unknown at that time. I don't know how curved the bronze swords of the time were. He would be quite likey to carry a spear as well.





2) 1066, Battle Of Hastings. William the Conqueror. Mainly same questions as before: Armor and weapon. Am I right in assuming that a ruler would be in a jerkin, a chainmail outfit of some kind, and a sword and shield? what type of shield would be appropriate? Helmets?

2a Same time period, same year even, but the Viking forces led by Harald something-or-other. What type of loadout would they be carrying?

2b I lump this here, even though it's about 50 years prior and a few hundred miles west, but Ireland, 1014, Irish warriors. Do these qualify as "Celts" or "Picts" or what (it occurs to me that this may be beyond the scope of the thread)? What weaponry would be hauled around, and what armor? I hear of a warclub the irish used, but I'm not sure...


while differences exsist, a fully equipped warrior of the day would be wearing a knee- to ankle-length mail halberk (spelling?), with a solid helmet and a large round shield. he'd carry a spear as his first weapon and longsword (in the dnd useage of the name) or axe as a backup.





3) 1600's Japan. The two particular personages are Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyu Mitsuyoshi Jubei. The samurai armor (onmyo-o? Is that right?); what exactly is it's composition? How does it stand up to methods of attack? Is there any possible way to fight off a man with a real sword if you're armed with a wooden katana, as Musashi is rumoured to have done?

4)Last one, I swear: How would the above armors fare against 18th century flintlock ballistics?


Thanks once again.

not sure about 3, but the answer to 4 is badly. anything short of heavy, solid plate would fail to stop a musket round, and even then its not a given.

Maclav
2010-06-28, 08:36 AM
He would be quite likey to carry a spear as well.

The spear would likely be his primary weapon.




while differences exsist, a fully equipped warrior of the day would be wearing a knee- to ankle-length mail halberk (spelling?), with a solid helmet and a large round shield. he'd carry a spear as his first weapon and longsword (in the dnd useage of the name) or axe as a backup.


William would have also had mail chausses (leg), mail foot covering, mail sewn onto leather mits and a mail coif with ventail under the helm. Essentially covering from head to toe in mail. Under the hauberk and helm would be padding. His shield would not be round, but would be a kite shield (long teardrop shape) to protect the leg, especially from horseback.

Harrold would have been similarly dressed.

String
2010-06-28, 05:01 PM
Thanks to all.

Spiryt
2010-06-28, 05:11 PM
Some pretty fair reconstructions to add some visualization.


http://img171.imageshack.us/f/130fc6b114c2bi0.jpg/

http://img294.imageshack.us/i/bfc157448401dk6.jpg/
http://img360.imageshack.us/f/c0153c0702b2mr6.jpg/


2b I lump this here, even though it's about 50 years prior and a few hundred miles west, but Ireland, 1014, Irish warriors. Do these qualify as "Celts" or "Picts" or what (it occurs to me that this may be beyond the scope of the thread)? What weaponry would be hauled around, and what armor? I hear of a warclub the irish used, but I'm not sure...

To best of my knowledge, there won't be many really distinct differences.

By this time "Picts" faded from history, incorporating themselves in Scottish, Irish et cetera culture, and save some regional quirks there won't be much so much difference.

Galloglaich
2010-06-29, 12:15 PM
Wow... quite a range of questions.



My preliminary research says scale armor wouldn't be out of place, while padded armors similar to a gambeson would be the standard for the footsoldiers. If scale armor wouldn't be too far out there for a high-ranking persian warrior, what are the drawbacks and benefits of said armor?

Lamellar is more likely than scale armor, though both existed.



1a. In a similar vein, weapons of the era? What would be appropriate, and what are the pros and cons of them? Once again, prelim research says a curved shamshir(?) would be used, possibly from horseback, although mounted combat is beyond my scope. I was told by a friend that the Kukhri dagger wouldn't be out of place, either.

The shamshir doesn't appear until about 2000 years after your time period. The Chinese Dao, which is a type of saber, would have been known to them probably, but the Persians in this era would have mostly used straight swords, the most closely associated type is the Akinakes, a short, broad bladed stabbing sword somewhat similar to a Roman Gladius.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~ancientpersia/images/akinakes1.gif

Here is a nice reproduction
http://skifs.xost.ru/files/images/akinak1.jpg

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

In fact here is an image of Darius himself holding an Akinakes

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/ba/Darius-Vase.jpg/200px-Darius-Vase.jpg

The Persian armies in this time period were mostly archers and spearmen, very lightly equipped, wicker shields and robes. There was also heavier infantry, aka the "Immortals" though we don't know whether they were actually called that by the Persians (it's a Greek concept).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Archers_frieze_Louvre_AOD488.jpg

From the period artwork, vases mosaics etc., we know these guys were kitted out with bows and spears featuring a counterbalance / striking head on the base shaped like an apple or a pomegranate, made of gold or silver. These made the spear a versatile cutting / thrusting / smashing weapon.

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

The Medes and the Sarmatians also had among the worlds first heavy cavalry called 'cataphracts', though this was just getting started in this era and remained somewhat rare in 500 BC. These would be mounted on Nisean chargers, both horse and rider would be armored with scale or lamellar armor and armed with a kontos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontos_%28weapon%29)(lance), almost similar to Medieval European knights (in fact they were the direct predecessor of the European knight).

Here is a relief of a Parthian Cataphract fighting a lion circa 200 BC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ParthianCataphract.JPG

here is a modern reconstruction of a Median or Persian Cataphract

http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/2108/achaemenidhorsemanzd5.jpg

It's important to remember of course that a Persian army consisted of hundreds of other tribal groups which would all be equipped in their own traditional manner so I'm only really referring here to the Persians themselves and the similarly equipped Medes.

As far as I know Kurkri knives did not exist that far back, in fact some people think that type of blade was introduced to India by the armies of Alexander the Great. But you did have the Kopis / Falacata / Macheria family of weapons which existed around the Mediterranean at this time.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_pajTPOgv1Zc/RmPw2EdhRMI/AAAAAAAAALg/u49zdihZjN4/s400/Kopis.jpg

Another interesting and very common weapon used in Persia over a long period of time was the bronze 'devil headed' and 'bull headed' mace, used by cavalry. These were so ubiquitous you see them in antique shops and auction houses all over.

http://www.antiques-arms.com/catalog/images/suc78.jpg
http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos/items/60/001960/ph-0.jpg

They also used battle-axes quite a bit.



2) 1066, Battle Of Hastings. William the Conqueror. Mainly same questions as before: Armor and weapon. Am I right in assuming that a ruler would be in a jerkin, a chainmail outfit of some kind, and a sword and shield? what type of shield would be appropriate? Helmets?

Armor is correct, a mail hauberk. You can see plenty of all this on the Bayeux tapestery.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry

Conical, spangenhelm, or nasaled helm would be right. Kyte shield was most common for the Normans at that point, followed by the 'Viking' style roundshield. Both would commonly be center-grip at this stage.



2a Same time period, same year even, but the Viking forces led by Harald something-or-other. What type of loadout would they be carrying?
About the same but you would see some larger (two handed) axes, seax knives, more roundshields.



2b I lump this here, even though it's about 50 years prior and a few hundred miles west, but Ireland, 1014, Irish warriors. Do these qualify as "Celts" or "Picts" or what (it occurs to me that this may be beyond the scope of the thread)? What weaponry would be hauled around, and what armor? I hear of a warclub the irish used, but I'm not sure...

... I'm a little stunned by this. Are you getting this from old Conan comic books or something? :P Irish were not cavemen. Picts were in Scotland not Ireland and they weren't cavemen either.

Irish had 'kern', light infantry armed with javelins, slings and other light missile weapons; light cavalry 'hobilars' armed with javelins and lances , and heavy infantry which would be equipped almost identically to Vikings since by this period they were heavily intertwined with the Norse.

Picts had mostly been assimilated or wiped out by the Vikings by the 11th Century.



3) 1600's Japan. The two particular personages are Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyu Mitsuyoshi Jubei. The samurai armor (onmyo-o? Is that right?); what exactly is it's composition? How does it stand up to methods of attack? Is there any possible way to fight off a man with a real sword if you're armed with a wooden katana, as Musashi is rumoured to have done?

Samurai armor existed in so many different types it's beyond my ability to begin to describe here. Here is a good article on Japanese armor.

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

Musashi apparently did fight his last duel (possibly his last several duels) using a Bokken, which is a hardwood sword simulator. Bokken could definitely kill you and there are cases too numerous to list here of people being killed by them in duels and practice sessions.



4)Last one, I swear: How would the above armors fare against 18th century flintlock ballistics?

Some Japanese armor by the 16th Century was made from European 'proofed' tempered steel armor purchased from the Spanish or Portuguese and / or was made in direct imitation of it (namban-do gusoku) some of this would have been bullet proof at least at medium to long range.


G.

Britter
2010-06-29, 12:19 PM
Re: Mushashi using bokken in duels.

Many duels were fought with bokken, because katana are notoriously easy to chip, bend or break. If no armor is involved, using a hardwood club to fight with makes a lot of sense, given that by doing so you will save yourself a repair bill if you do damage your sword. You can kill or cripple a man with a bokken, just as you could with any other 3-foot length of wood. It was a fairly common practice.

Galloglaich
2010-06-29, 12:28 PM
Plus... it's not a broomstick a bokken is a very hard piece of wood. Harder than a baseball bat.

G.

Britter
2010-06-29, 01:21 PM
Dunno if they are harder then a baseball bat - it depends on the wood used, I would imagine. The default for bokken has traditionaly been kashi, or white oak, though modern ones are made using a really wide variety of woods. I have only ever trained with the white oak versions.

However, they are definitely leathal. After over a decade of training in different schools of kenjutsu, I have no doubt that you could very easily hurt someone quite badly with one.

For the record, someone posted a link earlier to a suburi-to, indicating that it would be very hard to cut through such a thing. although I am sure there is an exception somewhere, a suburi-to is used as a practice tool, essentialy in the same manner one might use a weighted bat to strengthen one's swing. They were not used as weapons to the best of my knowledge. The way they are weighted actually would make them quite clumsy in combat. The first blow would be devastating if it connected, but defense and followup strikes with such a poorly balanced tool would be almost ineffectual. Some schools did use heavier or lighter bokken than others, but a bokken is actualy designed to simulate the weight and balance of a sword, whereas a suburi-to is really not.

It is my opinion that the Wiki article on suburi-to is pretty much categorically incorrect. In my experience, a suburi-to is more akin to this, used near the beginning of the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlyTVTXa8Ng

although that particular specimen is definitely near the high-end of suburi-to size and weight.

String
2010-06-29, 06:54 PM
Thanks to all:

- I am familiar with the musashi story of bokken, and my questions regarding bokken were largely to ascertain whether the general consensus was that the stories were more fanciful than not. I realize a bokken could kill, but my worries were it's effectiveness against weapons with blades, like axes, swords and the like.

- In regards to the Irish: I'm unsure what you're astounded by. I've never read Conan. Is it my "warclub" comment, or is it my ignorance of the historical periods dominated by the celts and the picts?

- Persian : What materials were most often used in this Persian lamellar? Leather, wood, metal? Thanks on the short-sword info.

Britter
2010-06-29, 08:57 PM
String, a sufficiently skilled swordsman could use a bokken to defeat a man armed with a sword. He would have to be very good, but it could be done.

The stories of Mushashi defeating armed opponents using only bokken occur in the records of more than one martial tradition, Niten Ichi Ryu being one, Shinto Muso Ryu Jo being another. It is fair to assume that, though the story itself may be somewhat mythologized, that an armed man was defeated by a man wielding a bokken at least once.

Comet
2010-06-30, 11:48 AM
Bolas, two or more balls attached to a set of rope. Used to tangle the targets by wrapping the thing around them.

How do I use the name in text? Can I say "a bola", or is it always in plural? Is there a better name for the weapon? Cookies for anyone who can answer!

Ozymandias9
2010-06-30, 12:51 PM
Bolas, two or more balls attached to a set of rope. Used to tangle the targets by wrapping the thing around them.

How do I use the name in text? Can I say "a bola", or is it always in plural? Is there a better name for the weapon? Cookies for anyone who can answer!

"Bola" alone simply means "ball," and should probably be regarded as incorrect. There are, however, specific names depending on the number of weights:
1)Perdida
2)If made with one smaller weight and one dominant weight (the tradition of the Patagonia region of South America), this is a ńanducera.
2)If the weights are more even, this is an avestrucera (though in reality, the the distinction is more of a time period and location one).
3)A boleadora has 3 weights, 2 heavy ones with short lines and one lighter one with a longer line.

imp_fireball
2010-06-30, 02:01 PM
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.

Engineers could probably create an effective fall off point. Maybe extend the range up to 45km or so. Still better then any sniper rifle. Rail guns may be most effective as accurate automatic artillery barrages.

JaronK
2010-07-01, 03:29 AM
This question is for a Mage: The Ascension game where the character is capable of generating any material in pure form (so, not alloys, but natural materials such as wood are fine due to the nature of magic). He wants to make the most awesome medieval style swords and armor possible, and can use magic to shape the material in any way he wants (so workability is not an issue). Given this, what materials would be best to use, assuming real world characteristics for these materials?

On a related note, how good would titanium be as an armor/weapon material, assuming workability and price were effectively non issues?

Eventually, alloys will also be a possibility. With this thrown in, what are the best options?

JaronK

Theodoric
2010-07-01, 03:55 AM
On a related note, how good would titanium be as an armor/weapon material, assuming workability and price were effectively non issues?
Well, Titanium is rather light without alloying, so I shouldn't try to build an axe or hammer or some such weapon out of it. Armour would be fine though, although something non-metallic might be slightly more useful. Why not make a gun? :smallwink:

Ossian
2010-07-01, 04:32 AM
Well, Titanium is rather light without alloying, so I shouldn't try to build an axe or hammer or some such weapon out of it. Armour would be fine though, although something non-metallic might be slightly more useful. Why not make a gun? :smallwink:

I like the aluminium +ceramic+titanium used in tanks. Light (well, relatively) tough, resists well to piercing, slashing, torsion, heat and concussion.
I am not sure if it is an alloy, but you might argue that you are just doing a very clever "layering" like in a cake, and not binding the elements together. On ceramic I am not so sure either.

O.

endoperez
2010-07-01, 04:34 AM
Iron that's heated and cools down has a different composition than iron that's heated, hammered and then cooled down. Different tempering processes also alter the composition. In addition, the heating and hammering process affect the amount of impurities in the iron. This is all second-hand knowledge form a book about forging, so pardon me if I got details or terminology wrong.

So while it's possibly to copy the shape of a weapon, and weight of a weapon, that doesn't necessarily mean it'd have the right kind of flexibility in the right places and the hard edge in the right places etc.

There's much, much more to it than just the materials. He can enhance the sharpness, durability, flexibility, balance, speed, control, reach... Would metallurgy and/or smithing skills be out of place? There's lots of things that could be done with this concept.

Spiryt
2010-07-01, 04:37 AM
Exactly, material doesn't nearly matter as much as what you do with it.

And without alloys, it kinda sucks AFAIK. Most pure metals are not really good for weapons, and certainly way worse than good steel.

Some are too ductile, soft, malleable, some to light.

Armor from titanium or something may be more possible.

Brainfart
2010-07-01, 06:17 AM
Steel might be out of the question, seeing as it's iron + carbon + trace alloying elements. :smallbiggrin:

If it was up to me though, I'd go for steel with reinforcing lattices of carbon nanotubes in them. Damasus steel ain't got nothing on that.

Maclav
2010-07-01, 07:56 AM
Given this, what materials would be best to use, assuming real world characteristics for these materials?

JaronK


You really don't have much to work with without alloys for traditional weaponry. You can't even make bronze weapons. Non-traditional weponry ideas are however, impressive. There are a lot of highly radioactive or highly poisonous naturally occurring substances. Iron, titanium and a number of other metals and non-metals could make some decent armour.

One other thing to think about is what exactly you mean by "naturally occurring". Wood isn't a pure element. "Pure Iron" or "pure titanium" doesn't really exist in nature.

Galloglaich
2010-07-01, 08:47 AM
Steel might be out of the question, seeing as it's iron + carbon + trace alloying elements. :smallbiggrin:

If it was up to me though, I'd go for steel with reinforcing lattices of carbon nanotubes in them. Damasus steel ain't got nothing on that.

Actually wootz (aka "Damascus") steel does have carbon naontubes in it.

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061113/full/news061113-11.html

G.

Brainfart
2010-07-01, 04:24 PM
Actually wootz (aka "Damascus") steel does have carbon naontubes in it.

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061113/full/news061113-11.html

G.

That was the point. Wootz steel has carbon nanotubes in it, but it's not a deliberately created lattice designed for maximum strength. It was more of a happy accident than anything, and they lost the ability to make wootz along with the original forges.

EDIT: Also, I spelled 'Damascus' wrong. Dammit.

Raum
2010-07-01, 07:05 PM
Given this, what materials would be best to use, assuming real world characteristics for these materials?Carbon.
In other words, diamond. As a weapon it can be extremely hard and very sharp, your main issue is it's lack of flexibility. Diamonds can shatter, though usually along impurities. It'd be interesting to combine the properties of diamond and carbon nanotubes...perhaps that would result in a more resilient, and possibly weapon-grade, material. Just speculating. :)

That said, they are already working on creating armor from carbon nanotubes.

Eorran
2010-07-02, 01:47 AM
Carbon.
In other words, diamond. As a weapon it can be extremely hard and very sharp, your main issue is it's lack of flexibility. Diamonds can shatter, though usually along impurities. It'd be interesting to combine the properties of diamond and carbon nanotubes...perhaps that would result in a more resilient, and possibly weapon-grade, material. Just speculating. :)

That said, they are already working on creating armor from carbon nanotubes.

There's an idea... a diamond macuahuitl! Make the diamonds, then fix them into the wood yourself. Flexibililty issue solved, mostly.

Not sure how much of an improvement over obsidian it would be, but it's probably more durable that way, at least.

Xuc Xac
2010-07-02, 07:31 AM
Diamonds have an extremely rigid crystalline structure. That's why they're so hard. Obsidian is a glass so it has no crystalline structure. That's why it can be so sharp.

Making a blade from glass is like making it with clay: the grains are so fine and smooth that you can get a really narrow edge. By comparison, making a blade from diamond is like making it from Lego bricks.

Psyx
2010-07-02, 07:54 AM
"I like the aluminium +ceramic+titanium used in tanks."

Not very viable for the PC though, because Chobam's exact composition is the key to its strength, and that composition is classified. It's not actually very light, either. Titanium armour is probably a better bet.

hamishspence
2010-07-02, 07:56 AM
Hardness is important though. It doesn't matter how sharp your weapon is, if it won't cut through your target.

Still, this wouldn't come into play much. A saw blade with diamond dust embedded in the blade will saw through things an obsidian blade won't, but these things are few, and in a fight, you won't be sawing anyway.

Xuc Xac
2010-07-02, 09:44 AM
Hardness is important though. It doesn't matter how sharp your weapon is, if it won't cut through your target.

Still, this wouldn't come into play much. A saw blade with diamond dust embedded in the blade will saw through things an obsidian blade won't, but these things are few, and in a fight, you won't be sawing anyway.

You're comparing apples and oranges. A steel saw blade will saw through things that a steel slicing blade won't. That has nothing to do with the material. Saws don't slice.

Obsidian and diamond both have the same problem when it comes to using them as a blade. They are hard. Hard = brittle. They can't flex without breaking. If you run a blade along an opponent's flesh, the obsidian blade will slice more easily than the diamond one. If you hit a bone or armor, they'll break. The obsidian will shed flakes and chips while the diamond will likely split into chunks. Neither one will be able to absorb the impact without breaking.

hamishspence
2010-07-02, 10:06 AM
A steel saw blade will saw through things that a steel slicing blade won't. That has nothing to do with the material. Saws don't slice.

I did say that "in a fight, you won't be sawing anyway"

If the armour is massively slice-resistant, maybe the ideal weapon for that kind of fight is something heavy and almost unbreakable- relying on impact damage rather than armour penetration.

Yora
2010-07-02, 10:26 AM
Or go piercing. A spiked blunt weapon like a morningstar should not have too much of a problem to pierce plate armor. I once read something about warhammers being used as can openers.

JaronK
2010-07-02, 11:20 AM
Just to be clear, Mage rules have always been a little funny, but I'm allowed to make anything in its pure form... but in Mage, that means the pure idea of it. So pure Titanium is fine, but so is "pure" wood. Basically, if it occurs in nature or it's made of a single actual element, I can generate it, but I can't generate something like steel that requires processing (yet).

I do have access to basic smithing tools and actually have great metalurgy skills (nearly maxed out Craft and Intelligence with a specialization in metal working) so I can work a bit on the materials, but I don't have access to a full forge.

As to why I'm not making a gun, first off the character concept doesn't work with it, and second of all internal functioning parts isn't really an option.

JaronK

Crow
2010-07-02, 12:57 PM
Sweet jesus, everyone please remember that titanium is not some sort of supermetal. Titanium, much like aluminum requires a great deal of alloying to make it worthwhile, and even then is only strong for it's weight.

Titanium alloy weapons and armor would still need to be at least 3 times thicker to match the strength of steel weaponry and armor.

JaronK
2010-07-02, 06:19 PM
Sweet jesus, everyone please remember that titanium is not some sort of supermetal. Titanium, much like aluminum requires a great deal of alloying to make it worthwhile, and even then is only strong for it's weight.

Titanium alloy weapons and armor would still need to be at least 3 times thicker to match the strength of steel weaponry and armor.

See, now that's why I'm asking. Is pure titanium a bad idea? Would it be a good idea once I can alloy it? Once I can make complex stuff, would Carbon Fiber and other materials be better?

JaronK

Crow
2010-07-02, 06:31 PM
See, now that's why I'm asking. Is pure titanium a bad idea? Would it be a good idea once I can alloy it? Once I can make complex stuff, would Carbon Fiber and other materials be better?

JaronK

Yes, pure titanium would be a spectactular failure. As would titanium alloys. Even with our awesome advanced technology nowadays, steel (which is also an alloy) is still the best material around for swords and spears and such. Bar None.

As for armor, I doubt it would be all that effective for that either. Unfortunately, when guns took over the battlefield, we turned our attention to stopping those, rather than swords and such, so my knowledge there is limited. I know a kevlar vest is slightly resistant to slashing, and that while it will generally stop most stabbing knives, a double-edged knife (like a spearpoint) will blow right through it.

As for other materials...again our technology has focused more on stopping bullets, so who knows how well advanced materials would stand up to a claymore.

Since you are playing a fantasy game, you could always just create a "new" material. Just because titanium is no super-metal in real life doesn't mean there can't be some as-yet undiscovered super-metal in your setting.

lesser_minion
2010-07-02, 06:34 PM
See, now that's why I'm asking. Is pure titanium a bad idea? Would it be a good idea once I can alloy it? Once I can make complex stuff, would Carbon Fiber and other materials be better?

JaronK

Among other things, the weapon would be much less resistant to corrosion than steel.

Titanium resists corrosion in the same sort of way that wood resists burning -- by forming a layer of oxidised material that prevents the oxidation proceeding further.

If you used such a weapon in a fight, then I doubt that protective layer would last very long.

JaronK
2010-07-02, 06:50 PM
Since you are playing a fantasy game, you could always just create a "new" material. Just because titanium is no super-metal in real life doesn't mean there can't be some as-yet undiscovered super-metal in your setting.

In Mage, making non existant metals is actually FAR harder to do, so hard that my character will never be able to do it. So I do have to stick with real materials... it's just that cost and workability are not issues, so I can pick very expensive materials that are normally hard to work with.

JaronK

Galloglaich
2010-07-03, 12:31 AM
You are better off with iron, even wrought iron makes pretty good armor.

G.

lsfreak
2010-07-03, 01:43 AM
I've a few rather complex questions, to help me get an idea of what pre-modern soldiery was actually like. I like realism, but don't know enough to incorporate it into my games and such.

First, very broad-stroke (up through, say, 1700's), how many different weapons would a soldier be trained in? I assume this would change based on the person, like conscript versus knight, and possibly by role, like skirmisher versus bowman versus heavy cavalry. For example, being trained in unarmed, arming sword with and without shield, longsword, axe, spear, and dagger. Would such a repertoire be common, and if so, would someone be particularly trained in one or two forms, or trained more equally in all? I also assume that soldiers would also have been trained in hand-to-hand, unlike D&D has us believe?

For someone who is a professional soldier, how fast could they pick up the basics of a new weapon? Like if they were used to a gladius and ended up with a falcata. What about something much more different, like dagger and rapier, and suddenly all they have is a zweihaender - or since it's similar enough time period, would a professional probably know the basics of both? Differences based on conscript versus common soldier versus professional?

Finally, can someone point me in the direction of a source for what kind of weapons and armor were used in particular periods/regions (I feel like this is complex enough, and that asking someone to type it out is a bit much:smalltongue:)? Something like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_weapons), but extending up through about the 1700's, covering different roles and ranks, and covering at least Europe and the Middle East, if possible. Bonus points if it also points out why things evolved the way they did :smallsmile:

Yora
2010-07-03, 04:53 AM
Finally, can someone point me in the direction of a source for what kind of weapons and armor were used in particular periods/regions (I feel like this is complex enough, and that asking someone to type it out is a bit much:smalltongue:)? Something like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_weapons), but extending up through about the 1700's, covering different roles and ranks, and covering at least Europe and the Middle East, if possible. Bonus points if it also points out why things evolved the way they did :smallsmile:
I suppose you could enroll in a university and study medieval history for the next 6 years. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2010-07-03, 06:35 AM
Or go piercing. A spiked blunt weapon like a morningstar should not have too much of a problem to pierce plate armour. I once read something about warhammers being used as can openers.

That analogy drives me crazy, much like the "Feudal Society = Mafia" stuff. If a guy is standing still long enough for you to try and lever off his armour or cut it open (somehow) then you have much better options available for easy dispatch. A hammer was used to strike, the idea of it functioning like a can opener (though perhaps a bind may superficially give that impression) is a literary one, which is to say metaphorical.



First, very broad-stroke (up through, say, 1700's), how many different weapons would a soldier be trained in? I assume this would change based on the person, like conscript versus knight, and possibly by role, like skirmisher versus bowman versus heavy cavalry. For example, being trained in unarmed, arming sword with and without shield, longsword, axe, spear, and dagger. Would such a repertoire be common, and if so, would someone be particularly trained in one or two forms, or trained more equally in all? I also assume that soldiers would also have been trained in hand-to-hand, unlike D&D has us believe?

Professional (and semi-professional) soldiers would have been trained in all the forms of warfare they were expected to perform. In the case of a knight, it would mean training in multiple different weapons, both from horseback and on foot. Even Vegetius has Roman soldiers training with the bow in addition to the more normal training we would expect. However, it is also contested that specialised skills, such as shooting from horseback or serving as a lancer, cannot be effectively instilled in every individual of a given unit to the same standard. So, in mixed formations like Byzantine lancers it is likely that those with greater aptitude with the bow would have performed that function distinct from those with the lance. That is somewhat theoretical, though, as both arts were highly praised and a warrior was expected to show skill in both (Anna Comnena is clear enough about that, if I recall). That is not to say an individual would not have been skilled in multiple forms of combat, just that they would tend naturally towards the ones in which they were best suited.

Guy Halsall has made some really interesting points about this in the context of early medieval warfare, which he contrasts with the more specific functions of the Imperial Roman army sections. In particular he contends that there was only a nominal division between cavalry and infantry in the period, as most soldiers were expected to own a horse as a sign of military status, which is an idea he even extends to Anglo-Saxon England. This fits well with eleventh century ideas of the difference between pedites (footmen) and equites (horseman) or milites (soldiers), as well as somewhat contrasting with the more specialised soldiers of later periods, such as long bowmen and pikemen. Even those, though, are perhaps not as specialised as we might imagine.



For someone who is a professional soldier, how fast could they pick up the basics of a new weapon? Like if they were used to a gladius and ended up with a falcata. What about something much more different, like dagger and rapier, and suddenly all they have is a zweihaender - or since it's similar enough time period, would a professional probably know the basics of both? Differences based on conscript versus common soldier versus professional?

Quite quickly, but they might never learn the finer points of the use of unfamiliar weapons unless they were open to doing so and an instructor was on hand. Using X as if it is Y would be a very common reaction, in my opinion, especially if the soldier was prejudiced towards his own traditional panoply and demonstrating its superiority (a common sort of martial pride).



Finally, can someone point me in the direction of a source for what kind of weapons and armour were used in particular periods/regions (I feel like this is complex enough, and that asking someone to type it out is a bit much:smalltongue:)? Something like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_weapons), but extending up through about the 1700's, covering different roles and ranks, and covering at least Europe and the Middle East, if possible. Bonus points if it also points out why things evolved the way they did :smallsmile:

You are probably going to need a few books for that, and also have to accept that there are periods and areas where it is all quite speculative. I am not aware of anywhere outside of something like Wikipedia that presents a detailed break down by period and region. We can speak broadly about it, but Osprey is probably your best bet as an introduction. Here are a bunch of titles, most can be previewed via Google Books:

Warrior Series

English Long Bowman (1330-1515)
Anglo Saxon Thegn (449-1066)
Knight of Outremer (1187-1344)
Knight Templar (1120-1312)
Knight Hospitaller (1100-1306)
Knight Hospitaller (1306-1565)
Norman Knight (950-1204)
English Medieval Knight (1200-1300)
English Medieval Knight (1300-1400)
English Medieval Knight (1400-1500)
Teutonic Knight 1190-1561)
Byzantine Infantryman (900-1204)
Saracen Faris (1050-1250) [(1994), David Nicolle, Christa Hook)

Man at Arms Series

Medieval European Armies
French Medieval Armies (1000-1300)
German Medieval Armies (1000-1300)
Medieval Scandanavian Armies (1100-1300)
Medieval Scandanavian Armies (1300-1500)
Medieval Polish Armies (966-1500)
French Armies of The Hundred Years War (1337-1453)
German Medieval Armies (1300-1500)
Italian Medieval Armies (1300-1500)
Armies of Medieval Russia (750-1250)
Medieval Russian Armies (1250-1500)
Armies of the Muslim Conquest (1993)
Byzantine Armies (1118-1461) [(1995) Ian Heath]
Armies of the Caliphates (862-1098)
Armies of the Crusades [(1978)]
Byzantine Armies (886-1118) [(1979) Ian Heath]
Romano Byzantine Armies (4th-9th Centuries) [(1992) David Nicolle]
The Knights of Christ (1984)
Armies of the Ottoman Turks (1300-1774) (1983)
Hungary and the Fall of Eastern Europe (1000-1568) (1988)
Saxon, Viking, and Norman (1979)
Saladin and the Saracens [(1986, David Nicolle)]

Elite Series

The Normans (1987)
The Vikings (1985)

Brainfart
2010-07-03, 07:07 AM
I feel like this is complex enough, and that asking someone to type it out is a bit much:smalltongue:

No ****, you're asking me to summarize about two-thirds of my reference library. :smallconfused:

In addition to the resources suggested above, might I also recommend myArmoury.com? It's an excellent and very reliable resource as far as Internet-based ones come, since that's where a lot of knowledgeable collectors and experts in their respective fields congregate. Reading a good thread there can get you a lot of information, ranging from very general stuff that's extremely broad in scope to miscellaneous esoterica. Everyone there has to put up or shut up, so you're not going to get silly unsubstantiated claims about slicing through pillars or gun barrels. :smallbiggrin:

Examples:
http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=11131
http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=2817

Galloglaich
2010-07-04, 12:58 AM
We'll... my $.02.

I'd say there were some weapons most soldiers from pre-industrial times would have some familiarity with, like clubs, maces, staves, daggers, spears, javelins, rocks. Yeah, rocks, far more commonly used in warfare from the Bronze Age through the Enlightenment than most people would want to admit to. They aint very glamorous :)

The other guys pointed out already this is a very broad range you are asking to cover here, but maybe such data should exist in a single source if it already doesn't. There might be some RpG book out there... I think the book "stone to steel" has some of that kind of data, panoplies for different types of soldiers. For a closer look in a particular region and era I agree the Osprey books are a good source.

My one major point would be that I think "soldiers" in pre-industrial times were more specialized than soldiers in the industrial age, and a lot of them wouldn't necessarily be systematically trained with weapons at all.

I think the motto of the pre-industrial warrior was "Do one thing, and do it well."*

In many cases just showing up with weapons meant you were assumed to know how to use them. How you had figured that out was up to you, but I think it was typically more a matter of hard bitten experience than formal training, at least earlier on. Going further back to tribal societies in the Migration era and before, of course the tribes had their own training culture. But in the early Medieval period I think it was pretty haphazard except for the miles / equites (early knightly class).

Urban militias drilled a lot but that was mainly for battlefield movement of units, and signals etc. Knights on the other hand trained with all kinds of weapons but it was mostly individual hand to hand warfare and tended toward a very rough type of combat sport: jousting, duking it out at the lists etc.

We know of course that there were also martial arts that were initially associated (in surviving records) primarily with judicial combat and later with fencing guilds, but this was not universal by any means. It's more akin to martial arts today I think, for example MMA and eventually, something like military combatives which was being incorporated into some military training by the 15th Century, often by the fencing guilds themselves who would certify soldiers as fencers (which would rate them double pay, incidentally).

One thing which differs from DnD to historical reality I think is that most soldiers who knew how to use a hand-to-hand weapon did not know how to use high-energy missile weapons (other than the simple ones like javelins, darts and rocks) and archers, gunners, crossbowmen etc. usually didn't know much about hand to hand combat. At least based on the descriptions of the battles in period documents.

Also many weapons seemed to require more than just training, but an actual life-long culture to make effective use of them.

Archery seems to have at least initially required a culture that you had to grow up in. Archers tended to be recruited from certain areas, in antiquity this would be Rhodes or Crete for example for the Romans. The English eventually managed to spread the archery culture of Wales throughout England but that took a lot of time and a huge amount of effort, and not a little social transformation. Of course it paid big dividends.

Slings seems require a culture... most slingers were also recruited from specific places, in antiquity from the Baeleric isles for example.

Cavalry warfare seems to be a culture that you had to grow up in. Cavalry was either something trained from childhood (i.e. knights) or associated with certain cultures. The Romans recruited Gauls and Numidians for light cavalry, Saromatians and Medes for heavy cavalry (they were sort of the early predecessor of knights).

Mounted archery seems to require a culture you had to grow up in. That was why it was never really developed in Europe except on the fringes of Eastern Europe. In Outramer (the Crusader Kingdoms in the Middle East) the knights kind of created a new class of half-breed archers in order to have their own light mounted cavalry corps, called Turcopoles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turcopole

Contrary to the popular myth you usually hear on longbow documentaries, crossbows seem to be a culture that you had to grow up in. Most crossbow marksmen in the Medieval and early Renaissance periods were recruited or hired from towns like Genoa, Pisa, and Berne, where the culture of crossbow archery was drilled as part of the town militia training. These troops were imported to battlefields across Europe at great expense and paid twice or three times what the ordinary infantry was paid. Must have been a reason.

Even firearms, at least until the 16th Century, seemed to be specialist weapons with gunners recruited from certain areas like Bohemia and Northern Italy. As with the others, these were highly paid specialists.

Knights did not typically use bows at least until the cult of the Longbow began to spread in England. The only heavy cavalry that I know of before 1500 AD which used both bows and lances in combat were the Russian / Norse Drhuzhina, and that was because they had to be able to face both German heavy cavalry and Tartar (Mongolian) Steppe cavalry who were mounted archers. The DnD trope of the knightly fighter clad in plate harness with a greatsword and a longbow, (and a half dozen other weapons) is pretty much a myth as far as I can tell. Knights were heavy shock cavalry, they often rode around with mounted crossbowmen or gunners for protection, but they didn't carry bows or crossbows themselves typically.

Eventually I think it was firearms which broke this trend, once developed to the point that they did not require you to be a pyrotechnics expert to use them safely (by the era of the flintlock, say) that high energy missiles began to be used by all types of troops including heavy cavalry, who often carried pistols after 1550 AD. (To a more limited extent this also became true with cranequin spanned crossbows in the late 15th Century, but only in certain parts of Central Europe at least as far as I've been able to acertain).

Eventually industrial society learned to train soldiers for various specialized types of fighting, but the specialization continued even up to the 19th Century.

Matttew, I think riding on a horse as transportation and actually fighting on horseback are two completely different things. They are also two completely different horses typically..

G.


*With some exceptions of course. Knights learned how to use many weapons but most of them were for hand to hand combat...

Xuc Xac
2010-07-04, 01:33 AM
Among other things, the weapon would be much less resistant to corrosion than steel.

Titanium resists corrosion in the same sort of way that wood resists burning -- by forming a layer of oxidised material that prevents the oxidation proceeding further.


How is that worse than steel, which doesn't form any protective layer at all? Aluminium and titanium form a thin layer of corrosion, which is air-tight and prevents further corrosion until the surface is scratched. Steel forms a layer of corrosion that splits and flakes apart to create cracks and openings leading deeper into the body of the steel. Aluminium and titanium start to corrode then stop, but the more steel corrodes, the faster it corrodes.

Brainfart
2010-07-04, 03:31 AM
This is why there's something called weapon maintenance.

If you're choosing materials for your bladed weapons and implements based on corrosion resistance and you aren't a deep-sea diver, you're doing it wrong.

lesser_minion
2010-07-04, 05:29 AM
How is that worse than steel, which doesn't form any protective layer at all? Aluminium and titanium form a thin layer of corrosion, which is air-tight and prevents further corrosion until the surface is scratched. Steel forms a layer of corrosion that splits and flakes apart to create cracks and openings leading deeper into the body of the steel. Aluminium and titanium start to corrode then stop, but the more steel corrodes, the faster it corrodes.

Iron won't corrode enough to ever be a problem. It certainly won't rust merely on contact with air, and if maintained properly, it will never be wet long enough for rust to form.

Or, in other words, iron isn't reactive enough to corrode on contact with the air.

Aluminium and titanium weapons will get scratched repeatedly whenever used, so your layer of oxidised material won't necessarily last that long.

Xuc Xac
2010-07-04, 07:10 AM
Iron won't corrode enough to ever be a problem. It certainly won't rust merely on contact with air, and if maintained properly, it will never be wet long enough for rust to form.

Or, in other words, iron isn't reactive enough to corrode on contact with the air.


:smallconfused: You have no idea what you're talking about. Iron does rust on contact with air. I've seen it. That's why you can't find any native iron lying around in nature. It rusts away unless it's protected in a reducing environment like a wetland bog. I've seen steel sword blades that were used for training and then sheathed without being oiled. After being used on a Monday then put on a weapon rack until the following Wednesday, the blades developed patches of brown rust just from being touched by sweaty hands. Stainless steel doesn't have that problem, but you can't make weapons with it either.

You can keep iron and steel in good condition with regular maintenance, but that doesn't change the fact that it corrodes faster than any other metal that you're likely to see outside of a laboratory. I've got a degree and lot of experience with this stuff, but even a quick search on Wikipedia can tell you this.

lesser_minion
2010-07-04, 08:45 AM
:smallconfused: You have no idea what you're talking about.

I said very clearly that it wouldn't be a problem if the weapon was well-maintained.

I know that a sweaty handprint can cause corrosion. I know that you should keep the weapon reasonably well-oiled and polished.

Air alone -- as long as it's dry -- will not magically turn a sword into a lump of rust. You of all people should understand that.

Perhaps you are better off using titanium if you're worried about corrosion. As I said, corrosion resistance might suffer if you use the weapon a lot, because it will repeatedly get scratched, oxidised, scratched, oxidised, and so on.

In any event, no, I don't have a degree in this, and I don't have years of experience in the field. Yes, I might be wrong. No matter what, there is no need to be rude, however.

Aroka
2010-07-04, 09:04 AM
I said very clearly that it wouldn't be a problem if the weapon was well-maintained.

Not very clearly:


Iron won't corrode enough to ever be a problem.

That's a very strong statement, and it's clearly not true.


It certainly won't rust merely on contact with air, and if maintained properly, it will never be wet long enough for rust to form.

That's two separate clauses; the "maintained properly" appears to pertain to "be[ing] wet". The sentence certainly gave me a different impression than what you were apparently trying to communicate.


Air alone -- as long as it's dry -- will not magically turn a sword into a lump of rust. You of all people should understand that.

That seems like an odd stipulation. Unless we're talking about very arid regions, you're going to have moisture in the air. That'll certainly rust iron.


Or, in other words, iron isn't reactive enough to corrode on contact with the air.

With oxygen, sure; the air, which will tend to contain moisture (water), will cause oxidization.

Matthew
2010-07-04, 09:18 AM
Knights did not typically use bows at least until the cult of the Longbow began to spread in England. The only heavy cavalry that I know of before 1500 AD which used both bows and lances in combat were the Russian / Norse Drhuzhina, and that was because they had to be able to face both German heavy cavalry and Tartar (Mongolian) Steppe cavalry who were mounted archers. The DnD trope of the knightly fighter clad in plate harness with a greatsword and a longbow, (and a half dozen other weapons) is pretty much a myth as far as I can tell. Knights were heavy shock cavalry, they often rode around with mounted crossbowmen or gunners for protection, but they didn't carry bows or crossbows themselves typically.

There are some good examples of even kings using crossbows at sieges (particularly Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus), so it would be surprising indeed if knights were not trained to use bows or crossbows for sieges. On the battlefield it is pretty unlikely they are going to use them, particularly whilst mounted, but knights certainly frequently dismounted and fought on foot, again especially at sieges.

Charlemagne famously directed all of his soldiers of a certain wealth level to be equipped with both lance and bow, though the latter seems to have been unsuccessful and in any case such mounted soldiers are more proto-knights. A possibly related episode from Lazamon's Brut (twelfth century Middle English fantastical history) depicts King Morpidus, riding out with what the author considers to be a full compliment of arms: a sword, a quiver full of arrows, a bow (very strong), a spear (very long), at his saddle an axe and on the other side a hondseax (probably a knife). He shoots arrows from horseback before finally coming to blows.

In short, I disagree with the notion of "do one thing and do it well", as I think it overstates the evidence, such as it is, but I agree that warriors must have had "primary roles" for which they were best suited and trained.



Matthew, I think riding on a horse as transportation and actually fighting on horseback are two completely different things. They are also two completely different horses typically.

Quite so, though the distinction is more clearly applied to later periods than earlier ones. What I am saying above is that what you have in an early medieval army are soldiers who can fight on horseback because they own horses and are trained to do so, and soldiers who cannot because they lack the means and knowledge (they may campaign on horseback and own a horse unsuitable for battle). The former group is not excluded from being able to fight on foot, but the latter group is excluded from being able to fight on horse. The extent to which this is true shifts with degrees of specialisation. The infamous passage in the continuation of William of Tyre about the unsuitability of thirteenth century knightly armour for fighting on foot as compared to that worn in the twelfth century is a good example.

Xuc Xac
2010-07-04, 09:25 AM
I said very clearly that it wouldn't be a problem if the weapon was well-maintained.
...
Air alone -- as long as it's dry -- will not magically turn a sword into a lump of rust.


Now you're moving goalposts. Proper maintenance applies for any weapon. That doesn't change the fact that iron (and steels appropriate for use in weapons) are more susceptible to corrosion than other metals that form an airtight layer of oxide. Stating otherwise, as you did, is flat out wrong.

And air--specifically the oxygen or sulfur compounds in it--is what causes corrosion. It doesn't need magic to do it. It will happen very slowly in a really dry environment, but that lack of humidity is remarkably rare in combat. Unless you only use the weapon to fight mummies and skeletons in a desert, you will eventually hit something moist and salty even if you avoid touching the blade with your own sweaty body (good luck managing that with anything longer than a short sword). Even in a desert environment, condensation will form on the blade when the temperature plummets at night unless you keep it close to your campfire.

Every weapon needs proper maintenance. "Proper maintenance" for steel and iron weapons just happens to be a lot more involved than most other materials. Iron is actually worse than bronze (it has worse performance and needs a lot more maintenance) but people put up with it in history because bronze became rarer and more expensive. Once they figured out how to produce steel reliably (instead of accidentally), they had no reason to go back to bronze weapons when the supply of bronze increased again because steel is better than bronze. People put up with the extra maintenance for iron weapons because bronze was too expensive (in the early iron age, rank and file soldiers used iron but officers and nobles still used bronze). People put up with it for steel because steel weapons had the best performance and were worth the extra effort to clean and protect them.

Aroka
2010-07-04, 09:33 AM
Are there medieval or ancient records, or good modern estimates, of the effects of war on population counts? I know later wars (like the Thirty Years' War) could be absolutely devastating to civilian populations, but what sort of population reduction (per year) would we be talking about in the Hundred Years' War, for instance? I'm thinking wars of occupation specifically.

Relatedly, what speed of population growth would have been typical for Medieval or Dark Ages societies?

Dienekes
2010-07-04, 10:17 AM
Are there medieval or ancient records, or good modern estimates, of the effects of war on population counts? I know later wars (like the Thirty Years' War) could be absolutely devastating to civilian populations, but what sort of population reduction (per year) would we be talking about in the Hundred Years' War, for instance? I'm thinking wars of occupation specifically.

Relatedly, what speed of population growth would have been typical for Medieval or Dark Ages societies?

Exact numbers I do not know. Though, what I was told was that war wasn't really all that deciding a factor when compared to agriculture levels and disease.

The trend seemed to be growing crops and gaining population, until maximum potential was reached, followed by a bout of disease that brought it back down again and repeat. Despite this populations did grow, more through expanding than in rural centers (though emerging cities got a boost). Then we had the good old Black Death and other plagues that knocked it back down to near starting Medieval level, though it grew quicker than before.

Actual cities could be devastated by occupation, though this opened jobs so it didn't take too long to get back up once the violence was over.

Total growth I've heard conflicting reports if it was steady or not. Either way it's thought that there were roughly 30 million individuals in Europe at the start and before the Black Death there was around 90 million, around 800 years later.

Likely someone else could answer this more completely.

Brainfart
2010-07-04, 11:03 AM
Maintenance is part and parcel of owning a weapon. I'm not seeing why you need to do it a lot more just because your weapon is made of steel. You clean and sharpen a bronze sword and check it for nicks and burrs to polish out after use as well, this would not be an alien concept to people in that transitional period.

Crow
2010-07-04, 01:29 PM
Maintenance is part and parcel of owning a weapon. I'm not seeing why you need to do it a lot more just because your weapon is made of steel. You clean and sharpen a bronze sword and check it for nicks and burrs to polish out after use as well, this would not be an alien concept to people in that transitional period.

Good point.

Really this whole corrosion argument is pointless anyways since aluminum and titanium swords would be basically worthless in comparison to steel weaponry. "Corrosion-resistant" isn't worth the trade-off of "Too-weak-for-use-as-weaponry".

A titanium alloy weapon would weigh much less than a steel weapon of similar dimension. However, in order to be as strong as a steel weapon, the titanium alloy one would need to be *many* times thicker than the steel weapon, thereby negating any weight savings, and likely leaving the weapon quite unwieldy due to it's size alone. Not to mention that in the case of bladed weapons, they wouldn't hold an edge nearly as well as a steel weapon.

Galloglaich
2010-07-04, 03:04 PM
Yeah titanium might be ok for armor (I'm not sure actually) but it's definitely not hard enough or springy enough (certainly not in it's pure form) to be made into a useful sword. If you had a sword like "blade" made of titanium a steel sword could probably cut right through it.

Regarding iron and rust... cast iron and wrought iron are both pretty rust proof, we have both kinds of iron balconies here in New Orleans all over the place and they never rust. Steel is very prone to rust.

it's also true though that iron found in nature becomes iron oxide when exposed to air or water (i.e. all of it).

G.

lsfreak
2010-07-04, 03:11 PM
Thanks all, that's a great help. I expected for the last question to need a trip to the library, I just wasn't sure if there were exceptionally good books I should be on the lookout for.

JaronK
2010-07-04, 03:47 PM
Okay, so having that out of the way, what materials (alloys and such included, but not impossible materials such as Mithral or whatever) would be the absolute best for making midsized swords, lightweight armor (medieval inspired, but with modern techniques), and other such things assuming you could create and shape the materials magically? Assume corrosion isn't much of an issue, because spells that magically fix it are available.

JaronK

Brainfart
2010-07-04, 04:35 PM
With current materials knowledge, I'd stick with my answer earlier i.e. steel with carbon nanotubes embedded within, preferably in some kind of load-bearing lattice structure. Apparently carbon nanotubes are the reason for the qualities of the fabled Damascene blades, and researchers have found quite a lot of interesting and potentially useful information about them.

And yes, that includes armour. Plate armour can be surprisingly light, I've heard of suits that were quoted at being approx 40 pounds. The other alternative for really lightweight armour would be boiled or waxed leather of some sort, though obviously that offers considerably less protection.

Maclav
2010-07-04, 06:40 PM
And yes, that includes armour. Plate armour can be surprisingly light, I've heard of suits that were quoted at being approx 40 pounds. The other alternative for really lightweight armour would be boiled or waxed leather of some sort, though obviously that offers considerably less protection.

You would be better with tempered stainless steel for the armour. There are some places where mass is a good thing mind you. I am positive some modern composites would be orders of magnitude better again.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-04, 08:26 PM
Stainless is much less resilient than non-stainless steel. The only reason to choose it for anything much larger than a pocket knife (where it's edge holding properties are great, and it's excessive hardness and brittleness is acceptable) is corrosion resistance.

Titanium does make a suitable alloying metal for making armor plates (that are still a majority iron/steel), and is used in several kinds of steel ballistic plate armor, though we are still talking about smaller portions of titanium than other alloying elements.

Iron is still pretty much king when it comes to things that need to be strong against every kind of stress, but raw/elemental iron is not as good as alloyed iron.

Now if you had access to a foundry, you could create some pretty awesome alloys, but if you don't, you can still probably introduce carbon to the iron, and make something with usable properties that way (like a 1040 or 1050 steel). Make the thing out of elemental iron, and then heat it in a box full of charcoal dust, or boil oil, and introduce the cherry hot work object to the pot.

You'll probably end up with good steel on the outside, and raw iron in the center, so the blade won't be as springy or set resistant as a proper steel, but it will be better than a stick in the eye.

On the same vein as the issue with the idea of titanium being a supermetal, my pet peeve is the concept that Carbon Nanotubes are good at everything.

Nanotubes are only strong in one direction, that is to say, Tensile strength. They have very poor compression strength, and only fair to middling shear strength. There isn't much a "carbon nanotube lattice" can do, in terms of materials properties, for a steel blade. But they do make a garrote par excellence.

Galloglaich
2010-07-05, 12:09 AM
With current materials knowledge, I'd stick with my answer earlier i.e. steel with carbon nanotubes embedded within, preferably in some kind of load-bearing lattice structure. Apparently carbon nanotubes are the reason for the qualities of the fabled Damascene blades, and researchers have found quite a lot of interesting and potentially useful information about them.

And yes, that includes armour. Plate armour can be surprisingly light, I've heard of suits that were quoted at being approx 40 pounds. The other alternative for really lightweight armour would be boiled or waxed leather of some sort, though obviously that offers considerably less protection.

Agreed except for the leather. There is very little evidence of leather armor being used in Europe. But textile armor on the other hand, you have some potential there. Especially something like silk, which was used for prestige gambesons etc. "back in the day" and was apparently at least twice as effective as linen or fustian, which modern tests have shown is actually very good protection against blades or arrows if you have enough layers (say 20 or more). Silk makes for much thinner layers than linen of course.

And with a lot of layers, made with modern techniques, I bet Silk would be as good as kevlar if not better.

Expensive, but if money is no object (i.e. you can make the materials magically).

Other forms of "light" armor would include brigandine, and lamellar made of various materials. And mail. Very fine mail made from a really good titanium alloy might be good (worn with your silk gambeson, or sandwiched inside one like in an Arab Khazaghand) . Brigandine is sort of a composite armor which would probably lend itself well to modern materials ... in fact it's very similar to the type of body armor they use in Iraq / Afghanistan today with the plate inserts.

Look at modern stab proof armor that is quite interesting. Almost all of it incorporates some form of mail (I.e. "chainmail") and other modern materials.




G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-05, 12:14 AM
There are some good examples of even kings using crossbows at sieges (particularly Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus), so it would be surprising indeed if knights were not trained to use bows or crossbows for sieges. On the battlefield it is pretty unlikely they are going to use them, particularly whilst mounted, but knights certainly frequently dismounted and fought on foot, again especially at sieges.

I'm sure some of them could, especially very well trained (i.e. rich) or very experienced knights. But I don't know any case where knights were used as archers or gunners before say 1500 AD.



Charlemagne famously directed all of his soldiers of a certain wealth level to be equipped with both lance and bow,

yes but this is back into the end of the Migration era, knights didn't even exist yet.



at his saddle an axe and on the other side a hondseax (probably a knife).

Almost certainly a sax, right?



In short, I disagree with the notion of "do one thing and do it well", as I think it overstates the evidence, such as it is, but I agree that warriors must have had "primary roles" for which they were best suited and trained.

Our disagreement is one of emphasis; I certainly wouldn't argue it was a universal standard (there were no universal standards in the Middle Ages) but I think it was clearly a trend. Heavy cavalry were used for lance charges, crossbowmen were used as marksmen. I'm unaware of large numbers of troops in Western Europe which acted as both heavy cavalry (or heavy infantry) and simultaneously as archers or gunners or crossbowmen. Of course there probably were some. But it wasn't until the 17th Century, as far as I know that you start to routinely see knights carrying high energy missile weapons, and these were pistols or calivers etc.



Quite so, though the distinction is more clearly applied to later periods than earlier ones. What I am saying above is that what you have in an early medieval army are soldiers who can fight on horseback because they own horses and are trained to do so, and soldiers who cannot because they lack the means and knowledge (they may campaign on horseback and own a horse unsuitable for battle). The former group is not excluded from being able to fight on foot, but the latter group is excluded from being able to fight on horse. The extent to which this is true shifts with degrees of specialisation. The infamous passage in the continuation of William of Tyre about the unsuitability of thirteenth century knightly armour for fighting on foot as compared to that worn in the twelfth century is a good example.

True good point.

G.

Brainfart
2010-07-05, 12:17 AM
On the same vein as the issue with the idea of titanium being a supermetal, my pet peeve is the concept that Carbon Nanotubes are good at everything.

Nanotubes are only strong in one direction, that is to say, Tensile strength. They have very poor compression strength, and only fair to middling shear strength. There isn't much a "carbon nanotube lattice" can do, in terms of materials properties, for a steel blade. But they do make a garrote par excellence.

Sounds a bit like rebar, doesn't it? :smallbiggrin:

Galloglaich
2010-07-05, 12:20 AM
That is exactly what it is ... molecular scale rebar.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-05, 02:28 AM
Which is great, except steel isn't concrete. If anything, you need a shear strength enhancer if you want to reinforce steel to grant it superior physical properties.

And Carbon Nanotubes aren't going to do that.

Brainfart
2010-07-05, 04:59 AM
Argue with the fellows who analyzed them, I'm only relaying the message.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7117/abs/444286a.html

fusilier
2010-07-05, 06:02 AM
Cavalry warfare seems to be a culture that you had to grow up in. Cavalry was either something trained from childhood (i.e. knights) or associated with certain cultures. The Romans recruited Gauls and Numidians for light cavalry, Saromatians and Medes for heavy cavalry (they were sort of the early predecessor of knights).

I'm just kind of jumping in here (haven't been checking the boards as often as I should).

What about Mercenaries in Italy around the 14th-15th centuries? In the earlier period they were mostly cavalry. But I don't know if they would be knights (certainly the captains came from families with social standing). Also they were often purposefully dismounted -- leading to a weird technique where two dismounted men would wield a single lance as though it was a pike.


Even firearms, at least until the 16th Century, seemed to be specialist weapons with gunners recruited from certain areas like Bohemia and Northern Italy. As with the others, these were highly paid specialists.

This is absolutely true of artillery, probably until the early 18th century. Gunnery was a craft, and it was learned over a lifetime through experience. Guilmartin in Gunpowder and Galleys makes an argument that a master gunner of the 16th century was probably significantly more adept at his trade than his average equivalent from the Napoleonic Wars.



For someone who is a professional soldier, how fast could they pick up the basics of a new weapon?

In case you are curious, GURPS assesses familiarity penalties. The penalty can even be applied to wielding the same kind of sword, but a particular one that you are not used to. Although it's intended for characters who have had no practice with the weapon.

Psyx
2010-07-05, 07:00 AM
"would Carbon Fiber and other materials be better?"

Heck no. Carbon fibre splinters and shatters. It's very light and strong, but only in the right circumstances.

I think what the topic has illustrated quite well though is the vast difference between a person's ability to create 'anything' and their ability to both recreate the correct structure for the job and to pick the best materials. The best mage in the world is ultimately going to magic up something that's inferior to the work of a village blacksmith unless he knows a lot more than just the magical side of things.

Was this a fantasy game? If so; why is the concept of carbon fibre even cropping up in the character's mind?


***

"how many different weapons would a soldier be trained in?"

As many as he would be using. You don't train men to fight with weapons that they aren't going to be actually using, because it then means that they are less well trained in the area that you want them to be good in. In contemporary terms; British infantry aren't trained to use M-16s, because it's a pointless exercise. Obviously the professional hereditary class [ie knights, samurai, whatever] tends to have a spectrum of fighting techniques and will learn a lot more than -say- a pikeman. Such wealthy combatants also were bought up amid hobbies that encouraged martially-applicable skills: boar hunting, hunting with both bows and fowling crossbows, horseback riding, wrestling...

As regards the longbow; one cannot simply pick up a 100lb+ draw bow and learn how to shoot in a week, any more than I could be expected to lift 500lb after a week of weight training - the limitation is that of the human body, rather than technique.

"For someone who is a professional soldier, how fast could they pick up the basics of a new weapon?"

Fighting is fighting, and a lot of it has nothing to do with the weapon. The elements of distance, timing and reading a foe are easily transferable. Specific techniques require more work, but similar weapons aren't too hard to pick up and even if you have to learn a totally new weapon, you can bet that everything you have ever learned about what the other guy is doing will probably still be useful.

A sling isn't too hard to pick up [go on: give it a go!], but takes practice to master. There's a big difference between battlefield use (hitting 300 people) and picking off single moving targets.

One thing that's avoided mention is drill. Most of a soldier's training is in this area, as fighting as a cohesive unit and maintaining discipline is FAR more critical than any individual soldier's skill. In the 18th century a soldier would have shockingly little practice in handling their firearm, but heck of a lot more training in drill. This even goes for cavalry - Napoleonic cavalry was trained to manoeuvre stirrup-to-stirrup with each other.

"In short, I disagree with the notion of "do one thing and do it well" "

For the average man-on-the-battlefield it's very much the norm. The exception is the highly trained hereditary warrior.

***

"what materials (alloys and such included, but not impossible materials such as Mithral or whatever) would be the absolute best for making midsized swords, lightweight armor (medieval inspired, but with modern techniques), and other such things assuming you could create and shape the materials magically?"

Composite steel, of the type manufactured by the finest smiths, who traditionally and in the days before thermometers were very secretive about the temperatures that they used and when to quench; normally gauging it by the colour of the metal, and not telling anyone except bound apprentices. Basically; being a mage who can magic up stuff is of no real use in this situation - just hire a good swordsmith.

Modern alloying might well be better, but I'm not an expert metallurgist; which is what the character would need to be. Also remember that three quarters of the Periodic Table was unknown in the period. Aluminium and many other elements are simply not found in nature and the knowledge to liberate them from compound state wasn't there. Thus: Titanium, Uranium and a whole swathe of other materials are off the menu.

Storm Bringer
2010-07-05, 09:41 AM
Was this a fantasy game? If so; why is the concept of carbon fibre even cropping up in the character's mind?


as i understand it, he was playing Mage: the Acension, a World of Darkness based game set in a 'Urban fantasy' (eg, modern day with fanasty creatures) type setting (if I'm thinking of the right game).


What about Mercenaries in Italy around the 14th-15th centuries? In the earlier period they were mostly cavalry. But I don't know if they would be knights (certainly the captains came from families with social standing). Also they were often purposefully dismounted -- leading to a weird technique where two dismounted men would wield a single lance as though it was a pike.

I think 'knight' was being used in the sense of "heavy armoured cavalry", rather than "noble rank". that said, a lot of knights were the lesser sons of nobility. I think the techincal term for nobn-noble 'knights' was "men-at-arms".

as to fighting dismounted, know it happened during the hundred years war, notably in seiges (though it happened in several of the major feild battles, notably on the english side)

Matthew
2010-07-05, 11:48 AM
I'm sure some of them could, especially very well trained (i.e. rich) or very experienced knights. But I don't know any case where knights were used as archers or gunners before say 1500 AD.

It sounds like something worth looking into. I can think of at least one thirteenth century manuscript that is supposed to portray knights shooting crossbows up at defenders on a castle wall. And one of my favourite depictions is the one below, though admittedly it does not depict contemporary events and so is just as likely artistic invention as anything:

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Arms%20and%20Armour/Hague/ThebattlebetweenAlexanderandKingPor.jpg

Still, it is suggestive, and the 14th century Roman de Godfrey de Bouillon et Saladin depicts what appear to be knights shooting bows during the siege and capture of Jerusalem (you can see a similar image from the same manuscript here (http://www.scalarchives.com/web/dettaglio_immagine.asp?idImmagine=H513132&posizione=44&numImmagini=81&prmset=on&SC_PROV=COLL&IdCollection=80394&SC_Lang=eng&Sort=9)). Now sure, it is possible that the warriors mounting the ladders belong to a discrete body of soldiery from the warriors shooting the bows, and even moreso the guys on the horses, but they are far from the only examples of their kind. I have even seen one illumination where the archers were wearing "great helms" of the early style (preposterous, I tend to think). That, of course, leads us back to the fact that illuminations are not photographs, and can be quite fanciful in their depictions. Still, it seems to me that sieges are precisely the sort of place one might see a knight using a bow or crossbow to get at his enemies, and we know for certain of kings and counts who did. None of this is unequivocal, though, further research is required!



Yes but this is back into the end of the Migration era, knights didn't even exist yet.

Quite so, as I noted these are more "proto-knights", what is interesting to me is that they seem imitative of Byzantine practice, but also that it is expected that men able to handle a lance can also handle a bow. One theory Halsell has put forward as a possibility is that bows were chiefly employed in skirmishes, rather than in the more "serious" business of battle.



Almost certainly a sax, right?

Definitely; the text distinguishes between "langseax", "sax" and "hondseax". I think this is one of the few occasions were "hondseax" is used (though I could not swear to it, as the whole is thousands and thousands of lines long and I am just going off memory), which suggests some sort of particularly short seax.



Our disagreement is one of emphasis; I certainly wouldn't argue it was a universal standard (there were no universal standards in the Middle Ages) but I think it was clearly a trend. Heavy cavalry were used for lance charges, crossbowmen were used as marksmen. I'm unaware of large numbers of troops in Western Europe which acted as both heavy cavalry (or heavy infantry) and simultaneously as archers or gunners or crossbowmen. Of course there probably were some. But it wasn't until the 17th Century, as far as I know that you start to routinely see knights carrying high energy missile weapons, and these were pistols or calivers etc.

I think that is probably true, but it is important to bear in mind the relative infrequency of open battle in the high medieval period, meaning that heavy cavalry will not often be called upon to fulfil its role. That being the case, they must have some other function during the raiding and sieges that made up the majority of warfare.



For the average man-on-the-battlefield it's very much the norm. The exception is the highly trained hereditary warrior.

Well, there I think we are talking about the difference between regulars and irregulars, or degree of training and professionalism. In armies made up chiefly of irregulars it would likely be true that their training did not extend beyond their basic function.

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-07-05, 12:37 PM
...Other forms of "light" armor would include brigandine, and lamellar made of various materials. And mail. Very fine mail made from a really good titanium alloy might be good (worn with your silk gambeson, or sandwiched inside one like in an Arab Khazaghand)...



G.

I'd be interested in learning more about these armors (lamellar, brigandine, and the Arab Khazaghand), if you wouldn't mind telling.

JaronK
2010-07-05, 01:49 PM
"would Carbon Fiber and other materials be better?"

Heck no. Carbon fibre splinters and shatters. It's very light and strong, but only in the right circumstances.

I think what the topic has illustrated quite well though is the vast difference between a person's ability to create 'anything' and their ability to both recreate the correct structure for the job and to pick the best materials. The best mage in the world is ultimately going to magic up something that's inferior to the work of a village blacksmith unless he knows a lot more than just the magical side of things.

Was this a fantasy game? If so; why is the concept of carbon fibre even cropping up in the character's mind?

Mage the Ascension is set in modern times, but has magic users, and the character in question is able to just generate materials and shape them very easily (magically). The character in question IS a smith... specifically, he's got a very high craft skill with a specialization in metalworking, combined with a very high Int stat with a specialization in inventiveness. However, it's a character obsessed with medieval technology, and thus would use his abilities to create awesome versions of medieval stuff. So yes, he should know a lot more than the magical side of things, it's his specialty. But it's not MY specialty, so I'm asking here.


Composite steel, of the type manufactured by the finest smiths, who traditionally and in the days before thermometers were very secretive about the temperatures that they used and when to quench; normally gauging it by the colour of the metal, and not telling anyone except bound apprentices. Basically; being a mage who can magic up stuff is of no real use in this situation - just hire a good swordsmith.

Modern alloying might well be better, but I'm not an expert metallurgist; which is what the character would need to be. Also remember that three quarters of the Periodic Table was unknown in the period. Aluminium and many other elements are simply not found in nature and the knowledge to liberate them from compound state wasn't there. Thus: Titanium, Uranium and a whole swathe of other materials are off the menu.

Right, I never said it was period. It's modern day (specifically, 1998), hence my asking about carbon fibers and titanium and stuff. Thus, those are all on the menu, which is why I asked about them.

The question, in the end, is this: if a modern day smith who was obsessed with ancient weapons and armor wanted to create the best ancient weapons and armor he could using modern materials combined with magical techniques for obtaining and shaping said materials, what would he do?

JaronK

Eorran
2010-07-05, 03:16 PM
I don't know this for sure, but I remember hearing that spider silk (especially the non-sticky strands they use to anchor their webs) was tougher than either silk or Kevlar.

Obviously, it's not a practically harvestable material, but if you can magically fabricate it, spider-silk armor might be quite effective.

Doesn't the modern body-armour issued to US troops incorporate ceramic plates as well?

JaronK
2010-07-05, 03:21 PM
I actually knew about Spider Silk, and yeah, the strong strands (as opposed to the sticky ones) are indeed better than Kevlar, and are not used due to difficulty in harvesting them (though Spoats might change that). So I plan to use that already.

I'm familiar with the idea of ceramic plates, but I think those are intended to break on impact, so they only work for a few hits (multiple hits to the same location would be bad, but the shattering of the plate stops a LOT of momentum). So I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

JaronK

Norsesmithy
2010-07-05, 05:23 PM
Argue with the fellows who analyzed them, I'm only relaying the message.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7117/abs/444286a.html

Note that no claims of material advantages are made, only speculation on the origin of the watered silk look. The fact is, wootz steel was renowned as a very consistently high quality homogeneous ingot steel, and was available hundreds of years earlier than any other source of high quality homogeneous ingot steel. It was also aesthetically appealing. It was not superior in strength or performance to other homogeneous ingot steels of similar quality (esp. those made in Spain or Sweden), it was just available much earlier and was particularly pretty.

Since the source of the ore has dried up, and the steel is therefore no longer available, it has assumed a mythic reputation as being some lost art (which it is) that let the ancients do things that the "moderns" (being renaissance and imperial age Europeans) could not (which it isn't).

The origin of this reputation is probably the steel's performance against pattern welded blades made from non-homogeneous lumps instead of homogeneous ingots, where it was clearly superior steel, combined with the trope of the dangerous and powerful orient.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-05, 05:41 PM
The question, in the end, is this: if a modern day smith who was obsessed with ancient weapons and armor wanted to create the best ancient weapons and armor he could using modern materials combined with magical techniques for obtaining and shaping said materials, what would he do?

JaronK

A big question then becomes, can he magically shape materials he can purchase, in addition to the limited and crappy selection of materials he can magic into existence?

I mean there are exceptions, like Spider Silk, where naturally occurring substances are superior to most alternatives, but not utilized in modern times due to difficulty in harvesting or working them, where magic would be an asset, but when it comes to many other materials or functions, the limitation imposed by the requirement that the material be elementally pure or something that occurs naturally is an onerous one.

If you cannot, said smith would probably take some of the more exotic alloy steels to a very well equipped industrial machine shop, and then to a very well equipped industrial heat and cryo treatment facility, and not really use magic at all in the working of the material, except maybe to help guide his hand so he doesn't waste very expensive raw material.


Doesn't the modern body-armour issued to US troops incorporate ceramic plates as well?They are colloquial called ceramic, but are actually pressure and heat formed boron carbide granules. It's got the best lightness to effectiveness trade off, but functions in a rather ablative manner, so it cannot effectively resist multiple coterminous strikes. Even the muti-hit rated ESAPI don't like being shot in the exact same place.

If you are willing to carry more weight, titanium/steel alloy plates exist that are not ablative in function, and that will resist coterminous impacts.

JaronK
2010-07-06, 01:12 AM
A big question then becomes, can he magically shape materials he can purchase, in addition to the limited and crappy selection of materials he can magic into existence?

Actually, it looks like I'll be able to create any possible material by changing any one material into any other. This makes shaping them easy... for example, I could make a sword out of clay, then transform it into high carbon steel. So both shaping and creation are pretty easy. It looks like the earlier limitation (pure or natural) isn't an issue anymore.


If you are willing to carry more weight, titanium/steel alloy plates exist that are not ablative in function, and that will resist coterminous impacts.

Let's assume with the previous restraints removed (so it can be any material at all, so long as it's possible for the material to exist in the real world, and shaping it isn't an issue, furthermore the mage is very knowledgeable in the areas of metal smithing and medieval technology) that the goal is to make the absolute best version of medieval inspired weapons and armor possible. We should also assume that some form of lightness and manueverability is desirable, but being able to be hidden under heavy boots and a trenchcoat is concealable enough. Ablative armor is an option, but I imagine shining plate mail best fits what he's trying to create (since he sees his party mate much like a D&D Paladin, and wants to make the right armor for him).

I was under the impression from previous posts that titanium steel alloys were too weak for armor. Is that not the case?

JaronK

Skorj
2010-07-06, 02:41 AM
A note on Kevlar vs silk: a material's properties when impacted by a supersonic bullet are almost unrelated to thier properties when cut with a slow-moving sharp blade. Kevlar is good at the former.

It's only recently that woven Kevlar was even possible. Most Kevlar is just layered like plywood, not woven, so a knife would just move aside the strands with minimal resistance. More serious Kevlar armor was made by setting the layered Kevlar in epoxy, but that made it no longer flexible. Boron Carbide was used to face-harden that: it's not the best armor by itself, but it's very hard, so it shatters sharp points on bullets allowing the Kevlar to work as intended.

Silk has extremely high tensile strength for its weight, so it makes good rope. Its value as armor is that it can be woven very tightly, forcing a blade to cut through rather than push aside strands. It also helps a bit vs bullets, but if you don't want a silk-wrapped bullet in your chest you need to do something to spread the impact. Very thick silk vests showed up historically and were presumably effective against low-speed bullets, but must have been quite expensive. I'd imagine they were very effective against early musket shot at 50+ yeards (when the ball would have flattened into a small frisbee).

JaronK
2010-07-06, 03:27 AM
Interestingly enough the "silk wrapped bullet" thing was intended. You could just pull the bullet back out by pulling the silk out. Not perfect armor though... I was imagining spider silk over steel or titanium plates, or something like that.

JaronK

Brainfart
2010-07-06, 03:38 AM
Note that no claims of material advantages are made, only speculation on the origin of the watered silk look. The fact is, wootz steel was renowned as a very consistently high quality homogeneous ingot steel, and was available hundreds of years earlier than any other source of high quality homogeneous ingot steel. It was also aesthetically appealing. It was not superior in strength or performance to other homogeneous ingot steels of similar quality (esp. those made in Spain or Sweden), it was just available much earlier and was particularly pretty.

Since the source of the ore has dried up, and the steel is therefore no longer available, it has assumed a mythic reputation as being some lost art (which it is) that let the ancients do things that the "moderns" (being renaissance and imperial age Europeans) could not (which it isn't).

The origin of this reputation is probably the steel's performance against pattern welded blades made from non-homogeneous lumps instead of homogeneous ingots, where it was clearly superior steel, combined with the trope of the dangerous and powerful orient.

Good points there. People (me included :smallbiggrin:) are always willing to accept that something shiny and aesthetically appealing performs better than its counterparts. Still, while I don't subscribe wholesale to the hype about Damascene blades, the fact that the possibility that they were in fact mechanically superior can't really be discounted, especially as we've found out that there might be a basis for those claims. I don't think we'll find out for a while though, not very many people are willing to destroy an antique to find out if it was indeed better than its counterparts.


Let's assume with the previous restraints removed (so it can be any material at all, so long as it's possible for the material to exist in the real world, and shaping it isn't an issue, furthermore the mage is very knowledgeable in the areas of metal smithing and medieval technology) that the goal is to make the absolute best version of medieval inspired weapons and armor possible. We should also assume that some form of lightness and manueverability is desirable, but being able to be hidden under heavy boots and a trenchcoat is concealable enough. Ablative armor is an option, but I imagine shining plate mail best fits what he's trying to create (since he sees his party mate much like a D&D Paladin, and wants to make the right armor for him).

I was under the impression from previous posts that titanium steel alloys were too weak for armor. Is that not the case?

JaronK

Absolute best? Still steel. You could get an exotic fabric aketon or something of the sort under it for extra protective value though, a bunch of really densely woven fabric will stop the vast majority of medieval handheld projectile weapons.

As for more exotic materials, I don't think the guy really wants to be lugging around a suit of armour that resembles Astartes power armour without the power. Ceramics and ablatives would add a considerable amount of bulk and weight, and they can't provide the same coverage and mobility as steel. The degree of articulation in some of the later suits of plate is nothing short of astounding.

The problem with plate armour is that he'll sound like a whole bunch of rattling pots when he gets knocked down or hit. Not an issue if stealth isn't a priority, but you shouldn't be expecting the heavy boots and trenchcoat to fool anyone who gets close. If the suit's not really properly fitted, expect it to happen even when he's walking around as well. Fit is absolutely crucial: one fellow on another forum said that Tobias Capwell's black English harness went 'snikt snikt' when he was walking about instead of sounding like the aforementioned pots.

I'm not sure if titanium is used as an alloying element for steel, though I think you might have misunderstood. The point that most of the posters were making was that titanium is strong for its weight. Any sort of advantage that you achieve from making weapons or armour out of titanium will be nullified by its volume since you have to push a lot more material aside to cut or poke holes in things or walk around in a WoW-esque suit of plate.

JaronK
2010-07-06, 03:42 AM
Absolute best? Still steel. You could get an exotic fabric aketon or something of the sort under it for extra protective value though, a bunch of really densely woven fabric will stop the vast majority of medieval handheld projectile weapons.

Note this is a modern setting, so it's modern weapons he's likely to deal with (bullets are quite likely, but so are switchblades, improvised clubs, and even maybe grenades). The Mage is obsessed with medieval stuff, but his enemies likely won't be.


I'm not sure if titanium is used as an alloying element for steel, though I think you might have misunderstood. The point that most of the posters were making was that titanium is strong for its weight. Any sort of advantage that you achieve from making weapons or armour out of titanium will be nullified by its volume since you have to push a lot more material aside to cut or poke holes in things or walk around in a WoW-esque suit of plate.

Okay, so titanium is not a good idea due to the overall weakness then? I guess steel it is then.

JaronK

Psyx
2010-07-06, 04:39 AM
"The question, in the end, is this: if a modern day smith who was obsessed with ancient weapons and armor wanted to create the best ancient weapons and armor he could using modern materials combined with magical techniques for obtaining and shaping said materials, what would he do?"

Use a steel alloy, but likely a modern-day tungsten steel alloy or similar that's superior to medieval lat. Maybe make a pattern welded blade using something as flexible yet harder than weapon-grade iron for the core and something better than composite steel for the edge.
Face-harden the armour, rather than use homogeneous plate and again use an alloy of steel that's simply a bit better than medieval. Although you can forget wearing plate armour under a trenchcoat. Wear a mail shirt instead.

It won't stop bullets well, though, except for shrapnel. and mail won't offer any protection from blunt trauma, even if it does stop a bullet. That's what ballistic vests are for. There are already materials better than kevlar available, but they tend to be used to make the armour thinner and more wearable, rather than more protective.

Why not just say to the GM: I want old weapons made with new materials, neither of us are material scientists, but my character is, so just give me armour that's a bit better than normal. It doesn't matter about nailing the precise details down OOC, because you don't know as much as your PC does anyway. Call it Blagonium.

The plates in modern body armour aren't immediately ablative, as the plates need to withstand multiple escalating strikes in order to meet NIJ certification levels. But they aren't flexible and are very heavy.

Stephen_E
2010-07-06, 07:37 AM
Plate armour tradionally is worn over a arming jack or padded doublet IIRC.
Replace said item with a light kevlar vest.
The breastplate of Tungsten Steel alloy might not stop a bullet if it hits square and has sufficient mass and velocity, but it will slow it down, at which point the vest will stop it.

Stephen E

Galloglaich
2010-07-06, 11:28 AM
Note that no claims of material advantages are made, only speculation on the origin of the watered silk look. The fact is, wootz steel was renowned as a very consistently high quality homogeneous ingot steel, and was available hundreds of years earlier than any other source of high quality homogeneous ingot steel. It was also aesthetically appealing. It was not superior in strength or performance to other homogeneous ingot steels of similar quality (esp. those made in Spain or Sweden), it was just available much earlier and was particularly pretty.

Since the source of the ore has dried up, and the steel is therefore no longer available, it has assumed a mythic reputation as being some lost art (which it is) that let the ancients do things that the "moderns" (being renaissance and imperial age Europeans) could not (which it isn't).

The origin of this reputation is probably the steel's performance against pattern welded blades made from non-homogeneous lumps instead of homogeneous ingots, where it was clearly superior steel, combined with the trope of the dangerous and powerful orient.

I'm not sure I agree with that. Plenty of places in the world (including Scandinavia and Spain as well as Persia, China, and Japan) were importing wootz steel even after they had homogeneous steel billets widely available.

From the research I've done on this in the last few yearss, I don't think steel quality is a strait line continuum from poor quality to great quality. Different steels seem to have had different qualities and of course as you know more than one type of steel was used in the same weapon quite frequently.

Woots is a sort of composite material with built-in pattern welded structuere. What makes it unusual on a chemical level is that it is 'ultra-high-carbon' steel, up to 2.25 carbon content. That should not normally be possible, it should be too brittle. Modern analysis has demonstrated the key role of rare metals as impurities which reinforces the chemical structure allowing more carbon diffusion. The key impurities were vanadium and molybdenum, and they apparently came from the clay used to make the crucible.

Here is an article about this:

http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/9809/verhoeven-9809.htmlv

On a side note, the material used to make early blommery forges and crucibles was often as important as the iron itself, the rise of steel production in Sweden apparently was linked to the increasingly sophisticated use of asbestos laden clay for firing pottery.


Anyway as far as I've been able to determine, wootz is significantly more flexible or springy than most medium or high carbon steels available anywhere else up until the Renaissance. That is to say, most, not all.

What I have heard anecdotally is that wootz steel blades can be bent very far out of true, almost 90 degrees, and come right back to true. But the same has been observed of some 1000 year old Viking pattern welded swords which are supposed to be inferior to wootz. (It probably depends on the sword smith). Allegedly the micro-nano-structure of wootz blades also makes them potentially stronger, i.e. less likely to break. But this has not been tested to my knowledge and any superiority over another good quality homogenious high carbon steel blade would be marginal and again, would probably come down to the smith.

Finally some people are now saying that the carbon nano-wires create a microscopic serration on the blade which you also see in some Japanese swords which would make them better for draw-cutting. The conclusion I came to is that wootz steel billets are better, maybe the best material for making sabers. Due to their higher springiness maybe not the best for making a European sword like an Oakeshott type XVa or XVIIIa

http://www.albion-swords.com/images/swords/albion/nextGen/munich/munich-xviiia.jpg

I agree with Northsmithy that crucible steels including wootz were basically just a very early way to create something like homogenious high carbon steel before they knew how to do that (apparently wootz in particular goes back to around 300 BC in Sri Lanka) and clearly the legends about saladin cutting through stone or whatever are completely silly, but the material does seem to have some unique properties which is why it remained so sought after for so long.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-06, 11:31 AM
"The question, in the end, is this: if a modern day smith who was obsessed with ancient weapons and armor wanted to create the best ancient weapons and armor he could using modern materials combined with magical techniques for obtaining and shaping said materials, what would he do?"

Use a steel alloy, but likely a modern-day tungsten steel alloy or similar that's superior to medieval lat. Maybe make a pattern welded blade using something as flexible yet harder than weapon-grade iron for the core and something better than composite steel for the edge.
Face-harden the armour, rather than use homogeneous plate and again use an alloy of steel that's simply a bit better than medieval. Although you can forget wearing plate armour under a trenchcoat. Wear a mail shirt instead.

It won't stop bullets well, though, except for shrapnel. and mail won't offer any protection from blunt trauma, even if it does stop a bullet. That's what ballistic vests are for. There are already materials better than kevlar available, but they tend to be used to make the armour thinner and more wearable, rather than more protective.

Why not just say to the GM: I want old weapons made with new materials, neither of us are material scientists, but my character is, so just give me armour that's a bit better than normal. It doesn't matter about nailing the precise details down OOC, because you don't know as much as your PC does anyway. Call it Blagonium.

The plates in modern body armour aren't immediately ablative, as the plates need to withstand multiple escalating strikes in order to meet NIJ certification levels. But they aren't flexible and are very heavy.

I'd say look to armors used in the late Renaissance and enlightenment period: they were bullet proof at least to a certain distance, they were typically 'prooed' by shooting a musket or pistol all at them.

Read "Knight and the Blast Furnace" for a very in depth analysis:

http://books.google.com/books?id=GpVbnsqAzxIC&dq=knight+and+the+blast+furnace&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=GVozTJvAB823ngeNuJ2YAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false


Modern alloys could probably help a lot but you'd probably have to experiment quite a bit to improve on what they were making.

G.

Psyx
2010-07-06, 11:58 AM
"I'd say look to armors used in the late Renaissance and enlightenment period: they were bullet proof at least to a certain distance, they were typically 'prooed' by shooting a musket or pistol all at them."

Some breastplates were proofed, but they were very heavy. Armour elsewhere (apart from perhaps the faceplate, which was also very thick and sloped. Japan also made munitions kabuto [helmets]) couldn't be made thick enough to stop a musket ball and still be wearable.

Remember that a modern high velocity round is a very different creature from a .5 to .75 calibre lead musket ball and the velocities aren't comparable. Bulletproof 400 years ago is very different from bulletproof today.

Someone earlier mentioned silk body armour. As well as being effective against stabby stuff, it's also good against bullets to some degree. In the 1930s bulletproof jackets made from many layers from silk were sold and the .357 magnum round was actually developed to penetrate such body armour, because it stopped other small-arms ammunition and the police and FBI got fed up with it!

Aroka
2010-07-06, 12:11 PM
I thought "munitions armor" referred to mass-produced armor for common soldiers, rather than proofed armor?

Yora
2010-07-06, 12:11 PM
Also, a big ball has very poor penetration ability.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-06, 12:36 PM
I was under the impression from previous posts that titanium steel alloys were too weak for armor. Is that not the case?

JaronK

Pure titanium was too weak, alloys, not so much. As far as what alloys are desireable, Scandium and Titanium can be added in small portions to help reduced density without sacrificing significant strength. Weight savings are not huge, because percentages of alloy must remain relatively small, but they are far from simply nominal. Vanadium, Molybdenum, and Chromium will increase hardness and durability (but don't let the Chromium get too high, or it will start to cause brittleness), without changing density too much, while Nickel and Tungsten can increase hardness durability, and heat resistance, but will increase density significantly, especially tungsten. A layered plate with a very tough outer laminate (like say, Chromium, Vanadium, Nickel steel alloy), a very hard second laminate (Something Carbide, Boron is light, but not very resilient, Tungsten is resilient but very heavy, perhaps a blend of Cementite, Chromium Carbide, Tungsten Carbide, Titanium Carbide, and Boron carbide, with a binder to prevent material loss/extensive fracturing), a second layer of tough steel, second layer of hard steel, and a backing of a lighter, high tensile material, like a high portion Titanium/Scandium/steel alloy. Cover both sides of the armor with some sort of fiber armor, be it spider silk or simply synthetic aramid fibers, to protect against jacket fragments bouncing off of the front of the armor, and to protect against spalling off the back of the armor. Basically, it's a Chobham plate for a person.

As far as what steels to choose for a weapon, it becomes a question of what properties you are seeking. Probably the best mix would be to make a bonded steel sword (ie the layers of steel are hot swagged, to make them bleed into one another, and bond molecularly) with something like S30V for edges, bonded to a 41 or a 43 series steel (I think that 4150 would probably best).
__________________________________________________ ___________________


I'm not sure I agree with that. Plenty of places in the world (including Scandinavia and Spain as well as Persia, China, and Japan) were importing wootz steel even after they had homogeneous steel billets widely available.

From the research I've done on this in the last few yearss, I don't think steel quality is a strait line continuum from poor quality to great quality. Different steels seem to have had different qualities and of course as you know more than one type of steel was used in the same weapon quite frequently. Again, one of the reasons why Wootz was desirable was its aesthetic qualities. It only follows that a good quality steel that was very pretty was more sought after than a good quality steel that was plain looking, especially by the very rich. And yes, the physical properties of steel vary in ways that defy a simple "this is better than that, for every purpose" sort of classification, but since Wootz was almost solely a sword steel, we can debate it's merits as a sword steel against other sword steels.


Woots is a sort of composite material with built-in pattern welded structuere. What makes it unusual on a chemical level is that it is 'ultra-high-carbon' steel, up to 2.25 carbon content. That should not normally be possible, it should be too brittle. Modern analysis has demonstrated the key role of rare metals as impurities which reinforces the chemical structure allowing more carbon diffusion. The key impurities were vanadium and molybdenum, and they apparently came from the clay used to make the crucible.
I know that it's physical makeup allows it to have similar carbon content to wrought iron with out being so brittle. What remains to be determined is whether or not it's physical makeup makes it superior to other high quality sword steels. I have found no evidence that it does.


On a side note, the material used to make early blommery forges and crucibles was often as important as the iron itself, the rise of steel production in Sweden apparently was linked to the increasingly sophisticated use of asbestos laden clay for firing pottery.I love the little gems of knowledge that shine from the bedrock of this thread. The impurities of the clay used in the pot work having a significant effect on the production of steel is not something most people even suspect. Everything is connected.


Anyway as far as I've been able to determine, wootz is significantly more flexible or springy than most medium or high carbon steels available anywhere else up until the Renaissance. That is to say, most, not all.

What I have heard anecdotally is that wootz steel blades can be bent very far out of true, almost 90 degrees, and come right back to true. But the same has been observed of some 1000 year old Viking pattern welded swords which are supposed to be inferior to wootz. (It probably depends on the sword smith). Allegedly the micro-nano-structure of wootz blades also makes them potentially stronger, i.e. less likely to break. But this has not been tested to my knowledge and any superiority over another good quality homogeneous high carbon steel blade would be marginal and again, would probably come down to the smith.Springiness and ability to return to true is largely a function of the heat treat, assuming you've got a certain quality of base steel. I have not found evidence that Toledo blades or Swedish blades built in the same profiles as example wootz blades were less springy, set resistant, or resilient. In the same vein, for swords of profiles and usage that demanded stiffness, there is no evidence that wootz was too springy, and therefore inferior.


Finally some people are now saying that the carbon nano-wires create a microscopic serration on the blade which you also see in some Japanese swords which would make them better for draw-cutting. The conclusion I came to is that wootz steel billets are better, maybe the best material for making sabers. Due to their higher springiness maybe not the best for making a European sword like an Oakeshott type XVa or XVIIIa

I agree with Northsmithy that crucible steels including wootz were basically just a very early way to create something like homogenious high carbon steel before they knew how to do that (apparently wootz in particular goes back to around 300 BC in Sri Lanka) and clearly the legends about saladin cutting through stone or whatever are completely silly, but the material does seem to have some unique properties which is why it remained so sought after for so long.

G.
I do not know if "carbon nanowires" would create micro serrartions, only that pretty much ANY blade that is sharpened with anything other than a laser is going to have "microserrations" due to the fact that even an 8000 grit stone still has grit, and that grit is going to remove more material from the blade at the "peaks" of each grain than it will in the "valleys" between grains. This will be obvious on any blade subjected to a scanning electron microscope, or even simply a very potent optical one. I just think that people are looking for them on curved blades much more than on straight ones.


__________________________________________________ _____________________


The plates in modern body armour aren't immediately ablative, as the plates need to withstand multiple escalating strikes in order to meet NIJ certification levels. But they aren't flexible and are very heavy.

They are, it's how they work. Formed Boron Carbide shatters when hit, but is ultra abrasive, it tears the bullet to pieces, consuming the energy of the bullet to do so. Then, the boron carbide and bullet fragments that have been pounded to dust by this action fall out of the conical hole in the armor plate, leaving a void in the armor plate that a second strike can exploit (assuming a stationary target or preternatural skill). Multi Hit Rated plates simply contain a bonding agent mixed with the boron carbide to prevent cracks and other defects from spreading from the impact site, so that the armor is still good where it wasn't already hit.

Crow
2010-07-06, 01:17 PM
I thought AISI 4150 was a stainless steel?

Norsesmithy
2010-07-06, 01:48 PM
Nope. Technically S30V is though (but it isn't as corrosion resistant as many others, and it's physical properties are more defined by Vanadium Carbides than Chromium Carbides).

Karoht
2010-07-06, 01:58 PM
It also helps a bit vs bullets, but if you don't want a silk-wrapped bullet in your chest you need to do something to spread the impact. Very thick silk vests showed up historically and were presumably effective against low-speed bullets, but must have been quite expensive. I'd imagine they were very effective against early musket shot at 50+ yeards (when the ball would have flattened into a small frisbee).

Point of interest: If you get silk into a bullet wound, odds are you aren't getting it out without having to cut pretty deep. It's rather difficult to remove, especially when blood soaked, and embedded in muscle tissue. Word from my grandmother who was a nurse, and my fiance who is a vet. Even modern medicine has difficulty removing silk, even a large wad of it.

EDIT: This goes for the majority of cloth in any bullet/arrow wound, depending of course on the size of the piece of cloth and material in question. Silk and Polyester are THE WORST to remove though.

crazedloon
2010-07-06, 02:15 PM
I am going to throw my .02 in on the modern material body armor and say plate mail with kevlar undercoat would be a good idea however should a bullet (which can not pierce both layers) enter your suit from a low trajectory or lucky shot it would ricochet wildly inside the suit turning it into a blender.

Brainfart
2010-07-06, 03:48 PM
Point of interest: If you get silk into a bullet wound, odds are you aren't getting it out without having to cut pretty deep. It's rather difficult to remove, especially when blood soaked, and embedded in muscle tissue. Word from my grandmother who was a nurse, and my fiance who is a vet. Even modern medicine has difficulty removing silk, even a large wad of it.

EDIT: This goes for the majority of cloth in any bullet/arrow wound, depending of course on the size of the piece of cloth and material in question. Silk and Polyester are THE WORST to remove though.

I think the idea was that the silk would remain whole, though I can see how removing fabric fragments would be a massive pain.

By the way, Norsesmithy, are you a metallurgist of some sort? :smalltongue:

Galloglaich
2010-07-06, 04:39 PM
I'm just kind of jumping in here (haven't been checking the boards as often as I should).

What about Mercenaries in Italy around the 14th-15th centuries? In the earlier period they were mostly cavalry. But I don't know if they would be knights (certainly the captains came from families with social standing). Also they were often purposefully dismounted -- leading to a weird technique where two dismounted men would wield a single lance as though it was a pike.

Knights often fought dismounted like that, the English started doing it by preference in the 15th Century. But heavy cavalry, whether knights or 'men-at'arms' or sergeants or chevaliers, were typically not armed with bows or crossbows. Though I'll concede to Matthew that may have been different during seiges.

From the accounts and records I've seen, the Italian 'Condottieri' mercenaries, and their German, Swiss, and Bohemian equivalents, were subdivided like other medieval armies, into heavy and "light" cavalry (usually meaning a still pretty heavily armored rider on an unarmored horse in this period) heavy and light infantry (which would be mostly pikemen, halberdiers, two-handed swordsmen, and sappers) skirmishers (sword and rotella men, javelin throwers) and various missile troops; rock throwers, arquebusiers (both mounted and on foot, the former getting more pay), crossbomen (both mounted and on foot) longbowmen, and eventually, grenediers.



This is absolutely true of artillery, probably until the early 18th century. Gunnery was a craft, and it was learned over a lifetime through experience. Guilmartin in Gunpowder and Galleys makes an argument that a master gunner of the 16th century was probably significantly more adept at his trade than his average equivalent from the Napoleonic Wars.

I would agree with that. These guys during the Renissance were extremely skilled.... at a whole lot of things. Look at art and architecture.



In case you are curious, GURPS assesses familiarity penalties. The penalty can even be applied to wielding the same kind of sword, but a particular one that you are not used to. Although it's intended for characters who have had no practice with the weapon.

TROS has something like that too.

G.

Mike_G
2010-07-06, 06:59 PM
TROS has something like that too.

G.


I have heard of TROS and am intrigued, but I can't find any concrete stuff online.

Do you have a link, or even just a decent critique of the system?

Galloglaich
2010-07-06, 08:35 PM
I have heard of TROS and am intrigued, but I can't find any concrete stuff online.

Do you have a link, or even just a decent critique of the system?

I did some work for them so I'm not unbiased. I wrote the weapon encyclopedia for the ... I think 2nd book of the game called "Flower of battle", and some other stuff for their 3rd book called the "TROS Companion".

But here is my critique: I think the original game was terrific for a one on one duel, and it had a really cool system for inserting player motivation into the story which linked combat and role playing in a really compelling way. I had a chance to try the game with it's inventor, Jake Norwood who is also the head of the HEMA Alliance (http://hemaalliance.com/), currently I think the largest historical fencing association in the US. He's a damn good fencer and a personal friend. Playing TROS with him was a real blast and gave me good insight into the games true potential.

Anyway it uses a big dice pool system, it's very, very grim and gritty, hard to get out of a fight unscathed. It's fast paced. They eventually added a lot of optional rules which could make it a bit more complex, but the core system is fast and brutal.

I never did really get the magic system which was very "free form" inspired by Forge concepts, and I don't think I was the only one. Jake sold the game when he joined the army about 3 or 4 years ago but the people who bought it never did much with it.... there was a redesign of the magic system in the works but it was never finished, I think the new owners basically disappeared or something.

The fan base for this game was extremely loyal, even fanatical. There is a fan run website here:

http://www.trosfans.com/forum/

And I know there has been some activity around this of late, I can't say much about it and I'm not directly involved, but you might see something happening in the near future.

In the meantime, I know Jake himself likes Burning Wheel (2nd edition) a whole lot, I think that is his main RPG game when he gets to play these days.

G.

imp_fireball
2010-07-06, 11:46 PM
I wonder if it is feasible to have a martial art that focuses on wielding ridiculously heavy weapons and/or wearing very heavy armor (60 pounds+)? Concerning reality of course.

Wearers of the armor would do a lot of cardio training, heavy strength training, might be required to sleep in it, etc. A lot of wielding a heavy weapon would involve placing their bodies in a position that compromises the enemy and then attacking while the enemy is off their footing so that the attack is harder to avoid (and with a heavy enough weapon, one hit is enough to incapacitate someone, adrenaline or no)? Weapon may weigh 20 pounds or more, typically two handed and bludgeoning. Maybe decent versus cavalry too (the weapon is a friggin' hazard).

Norsesmithy
2010-07-07, 12:06 AM
I wonder if it is feasible to have a martial art that focuses on wielding ridiculously heavy weapons and/or wearing very heavy armor (60 pounds+)? Concerning reality of course.

Wearers of the armor would do a lot of cardio training, heavy strength training, might be required to sleep in it, etc. A lot of wielding a heavy weapon would involve placing their bodies in a position that compromises the enemy and then attacking while the enemy is off their footing so that the attack is harder to avoid (and with a heavy enough weapon, one hit is enough to incapacitate someone, adrenaline or no)? Weapon may weigh 20 pounds or more, typically two handed and bludgeoning. Maybe decent versus cavalry too (the weapon is a friggin' hazard).

In a word?

No.


By the way, Norsesmithy, are you a metallurgist of some sort? :smalltongue:
I've got some hobbies/interests that are much more fun if you've got a little bit of materials background knowledge, and like to learn for the sake of learning.

Autolykos
2010-07-07, 03:30 AM
I wonder if it is feasible to have a martial art that focuses on wielding ridiculously heavy weapons and/or wearing very heavy armor (60 pounds+)? Concerning reality of course.

Wearers of the armor would do a lot of cardio training, heavy strength training, might be required to sleep in it, etc. A lot of wielding a heavy weapon would involve placing their bodies in a position that compromises the enemy and then attacking while the enemy is off their footing so that the attack is harder to avoid (and with a heavy enough weapon, one hit is enough to incapacitate someone, adrenaline or no)? Weapon may weigh 20 pounds or more, typically two handed and bludgeoning. Maybe decent versus cavalry too (the weapon is a friggin' hazard).
In general, it's a bad idea to make weapons "extra" heavy. Being stronger of course means that your optimal weight and size for a weapon is slightly higher - which could be an advantage, but the difference shouldn't be that big, maybe 50% more, but not a factor of 10.
If your weapon gets too heavy (20 pounds - or even 10 pounds - is way too heavy for a weapon any imaginable human being can effectively use), you will become slow and have to telegraph your strikes a lot - which can and will be exploited by any capable enemy with a faster weapon. Also reduced speed would mean that you sacrifice energy for momentum - which is generally a bad idea because energy is what does damage to your enemies. Momentum just knocks them back.
And with armor: If it is durable enough to survive about 95% of the hits it will probably receive, there is not much use in making it even thicker. But the drawbacks will be pretty severe.

Psyx
2010-07-07, 04:59 AM
"They are, it's how they work. Formed Boron Carbide shatters when hit, but is ultra abrasive, it tears the bullet to pieces, consuming the energy of the bullet to do so."

But the plates aren't immediately ablative in a way that decreases practical effectiveness. NIJ testing starts with the small ammunition and works up, with plates needing to stop escalatingly-powered ammunition in a fairly small area.


"If you get silk into a bullet wound, odds are you aren't getting it out without having to cut pretty deep."

On the other hand it's not as germ-ridden as other cloths and stands less chance of rotting and causing infection. Additionally, sometimes it will get dragged into arrow wounds intact, and can be used to help pull out the arrow. It's excellent as regards armour-use.


"plate mail with kevlar undercoat would be a good idea"

Apart from the heat and fatigue. Also; Kevlar is uncomfortable and it's also not itself padded. There's trauma padding behind it, but not padding that's designed as an arming coat.


"the English started doing it by preference in the 15th Century."

For tactical reasons. It allowed support of the bowmen. They were still competent cavarlymen.


"I wonder if it is feasible to have a martial art that focuses on wielding ridiculously heavy weapons and/or wearing very heavy armor (60 pounds+)? Concerning reality of course."

No. Well yes: They're called knights and they wore plate armour and fought with greatswords and poleaxes.

Weapons and armour are the weight that they are for a reason. Anything heavier is too slow and tiring to use. In thousands of years of warfare, we have evolved the tools we have for good reasons. If stuff isn't used, it's because that stuff doesn't actually work.


"Wearers of the armor would do a lot of cardio training, heavy strength training, might be required to sleep in it, etc."

They did. They were called knights. You don't fight in plate armour unless you are trained for it for a very long while. Plate armour is a compromise between mobility and protection. Too heavy a harness and you will be on the floor with exhaustion before the fight is over, or unable to avoid blows aimed at weak points. Armour is as heavy as it realistically can be.

"A lot of wielding a heavy weapon would involve placing their bodies in a position that compromises the enemy and then attacking while the enemy is off their footing so that the attack is harder to avoid (and with a heavy enough weapon, one hit is enough to incapacitate someone, adrenaline or no)?"

A heavy enough weapon takes too long to swing. You can't attack a foe off-beat if you can't move your weapon fast enough. And there is no need to parry a blow from a ridiculous weapon, because you can just step back, let it pass, then step in while your partner is trying to control the widely swinging monstrosity. Greatswords don't actually weigh 15lb because you can't use a weapon that heavy, and would drop dead of exhaustion inside 5 minutes. Fighting with armour and keeping a high guard up for even ten minutes is utterly murderous. Doing the same with a 15lb weapon and even heavier armour is not viable.


"Weapon may weigh 20 pounds or more, typically two handed and bludgeoning. Maybe decent versus cavalry too (the weapon is a friggin' hazard)."

Not practical to carry to the battlefield, fight with for hours, use in the press of men, or use one-on-one.

Brainfart
2010-07-07, 07:56 AM
60 pounds isn't very heavy for full plate, though it depends on regional flavours and subtypes as well. Milanese plate will be considerably heavier than average because they wear a haubergeon under the plate and have a mail skirt as well.

The weapons, on the other hand... Let's just say that there's a reason why nobody made that concept work, shall we? Even the parade weapons didn't come close to that weight, and those were pretty much solid pieces of bling.


In a word?

No.

I've got some hobbies/interests that are much more fun if you've got a little bit of materials background knowledge, and like to learn for the sake of learning.

Ah, cool. I'm operating on a student's budget, so most of my resources are Internet-based. I need to start saving up for some reference books that I have on my reading list, the libraries here aren't terribly well-stocked on the subject.

Eorran
2010-07-07, 03:30 PM
Got some questions about grenades:

How do modern grenades stack up in terms of weight, kill-zone, and injure-zone against grenades from:
WW2
WW1
17th century?


Am I correct in assuming the ideal grenade will kill anyone inside a certain circle, but do little to no damage outside that circle?

Is the steel body of a modern grenade pre-stressed in order to get more small fragments rather than fewer large ones?

Thanks guys, I love this thread.

Brainfart
2010-07-07, 05:13 PM
Am I correct in assuming the ideal grenade will kill anyone inside a certain circle, but do little to no damage outside that circle?


No, you're very optimistic. :smalltongue:

Fragmentation grenades can still kill or maim at ranges waaay beyond what's stated on the tin, it's all a matter of luck. Combine that with the limitations of the human arm and its inability to hurl heavy spheroid metal objects any good distance and you see why the standard procedure is to take cover after lobbing out one of those.

The dispersion of fragments isn't usually very consistent either. A little dip in the ground can redirect a lot of the blast in an entirely unexpected direction.

Eorran
2010-07-07, 07:47 PM
No, you're very optimistic. :smalltongue:

Fragmentation grenades can still kill or maim at ranges waaay beyond what's stated on the tin, it's all a matter of luck. Combine that with the limitations of the human arm and its inability to hurl heavy spheroid metal objects any good distance and you see why the standard procedure is to take cover after lobbing out one of those.

The dispersion of fragments isn't usually very consistent either. A little dip in the ground can redirect a lot of the blast in an entirely unexpected direction.

Right, sorry, I meant the theoretical optimum, or the unrealistically perfect grenade. :smallwink:

Karoht
2010-07-07, 08:57 PM
I wonder if it is feasible to have a martial art that focuses on wielding ridiculously heavy weapons and/or wearing very heavy armor (60 pounds+)? Concerning reality of course.

Wearers of the armor would do a lot of cardio training, heavy strength training, might be required to sleep in it, etc. A lot of wielding a heavy weapon would involve placing their bodies in a position that compromises the enemy and then attacking while the enemy is off their footing so that the attack is harder to avoid (and with a heavy enough weapon, one hit is enough to incapacitate someone, adrenaline or no)? Weapon may weigh 20 pounds or more, typically two handed and bludgeoning. Maybe decent versus cavalry too (the weapon is a friggin' hazard).

Real life story.
The guy who used to run our medieval production company used to own a custom sword someone made for him. It was oversized in almost every dimension. I never weighed it, but the owner claimed it weighed 13 lbs. I held it a few times, my arms got tired just holding it, and I'm in decent shape. Balanced well for it's weight though.

So this guy fought with this weapon for quite a while, some 6+ years to my knowledge. And every season he would fight less and less. He wasn't out of shape, he was an oil rig worker most of the year.

Sure enough, he literally destroyed his shoulder using that weapon.

Now I'm pretty sure he exaggerated the weight, as he was the kind of person who was famous for exaggeration. But even if we took that down to 10 lbs, half the weight you are suggesting, it destroyed his shoulder to the point where he couldn't fight anymore, he couldn't even swing a baseball bat properly.

As for his fighting, he was amazing with that sword. To his credit, he had flawless control over that weapon. He could pull the blow remarkably well, he never caused an injury in his entire career. Could have easily killed someone just by misjudging the swing distance or ark by no more than half an inch.

So, is it feasable? Maybe, but not for long. 6 years and he HAD to stop. This was with a very fit and powerful body, he'd been fighting longer than that prior, to my understanding, for at least a decade.
Is it effective? His heavy weapon didn't grant him any kind of specific advantage, and he likely could have been vastly more effective with a lighter weapon. In other words, no real advantage and a massive impediment.

And if you want something to mess up Cavalry, a basic spear is going to give you far more advantage with less training and specialization, and requires less room to use effectively.


Draw you're own conclusion there Imp.

fusilier
2010-07-07, 10:09 PM
Got some questions about grenades:

How do modern grenades stack up in terms of weight, kill-zone, and injure-zone against grenades from:
WW2
WW1
17th century?


Am I correct in assuming the ideal grenade will kill anyone inside a certain circle, but do little to no damage outside that circle?

Is the steel body of a modern grenade pre-stressed in order to get more small fragments rather than fewer large ones?

Thanks guys, I love this thread.

Adding to what brainfart said, grenades typically fall into two categories: offensive and defensive (I think they're also known as concussion and fragmentation).

WWI grenades were incredibly varied, but the basic forms developed during the war. A strange feature of WWI grenades is the bewildering array of explosives used. Often times different kinds of explosives were mixed, and even black powder was used. Nevertheless, many WWI grenades could launch fragments just as far, if not farther, than modern defensive grenades. This meant that defensive grenades typically had to be thrown from a position of cover, because it couldn't be thrown far enough.

WW2 grenades were mostly similar to late WWI designs, although were more likely to be packed with High explosives.

17th century grenades would fairly straight forward. Typically an iron shell filled with black powder, fuzed and lit with matchcord. Their fragmentation pattern tended to be irregular, although probably not much worse than WWI designs. Heavy pottery or glass could also be used. For the most part, grenade design changed very little until the early twentieth century.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-08, 12:21 AM
But the plates aren't immediately ablative in a way that decreases practical effectiveness. NIJ testing starts with the small ammunition and works up, with plates needing to stop escalatingly-powered ammunition in a fairly small area.


Who told you that? It isn't true.

NIJ testing is built on benchmark calibers/loads.

You take the item to be tested (or preferably dozens of them), and you test them against a benchmark load for the standard you hope to certify under. Each individual body armor piece is tested once, but they test dozens of pieces.

If the armor performs much better than expected, you might use another example to test against the NEXT benchmark standard.

Oh, and SAPI and ESAPI plates are not NIJ certified for anything in particular, because they were designed to resist foreign, non benchmark, calibers, and they don't fall neatly into the NIJ continuum, falling somewhere between level III and level IV.

Dervag
2010-07-08, 01:40 AM
So this guy fought with this weapon for quite a while, some 6+ years to my knowledge. And every season he would fight less and less. He wasn't out of shape, he was an oil rig worker most of the year.

Sure enough, he literally destroyed his shoulder using that weapon.

Now I'm pretty sure he exaggerated the weight, as he was the kind of person who was famous for exaggeration. But even if we took that down to 10 lbs, half the weight you are suggesting, it destroyed his shoulder to the point where he couldn't fight anymore, he couldn't even swing a baseball bat properly.Beyond the point of recovery? Wow.

Well, that's an applicable lesson. Lots of people have the strength to handle incredibly large weights. Even to hit someone with them. But nobody can swing them like weapons, not unless they're Superman.


WWI grenades were incredibly varied, but the basic forms developed during the war. A strange feature of WWI grenades is the bewildering array of explosives used. Often times different kinds of explosives were mixed, and even black powder was used.At a guess... probably because grenades were a sideline item, not seen as part of normal military equipment, and so were filled with whatever explosive was left over after the necessary allotments for shells, rifle cartridges, and such.

Galloglaich
2010-07-08, 08:38 AM
After throwing live grenades in boot camp, I had a hard time imagining ever using one in combat. If I was in combat, I'd have wanted to get rid of the ones I was issued. They were too dangerous, I'd much rather use the 203. Scared the crap out of me anyway, way more powerful than they look like on TV.

Still, I've heard of people surviving by being on the ground facing away from the blast. Effectviness also seems to vary depending on where they are thrown: much more dangerous inside a concrete bunker or a vehicle or a stony hillside than say, in a muddy field or a sand dune.

G.

Fhaolan
2010-07-08, 11:27 AM
After throwing live grenades in boot camp, I had a hard time imagining ever using one in combat. If I was in combat, I'd have wanted to get rid of the ones I was issued. They were too dangerous, I'd much rather use the 203. Scared the crap out of me anyway, way more powerful than they look like on TV.

This matches my personal experience with grenades. The casual way that movies and like portray grenade use puts my teeth on edge. "When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend." BS. Those things aren't your friend when the pin is *in*.

Galloglaich
2010-07-08, 03:01 PM
To underscore the point

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_VA_mcq80k

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

and my personal favorite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhKKJ4UQ3_A

G.

Crow
2010-07-08, 04:45 PM
This matches my personal experience with grenades. The casual way that movies and like portray grenade use puts my teeth on edge. "When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend." BS. Those things aren't your friend when the pin is *in*.

This why we almost always used flashbangs instead.

Brainfart
2010-07-08, 05:17 PM
This is my favourite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EgSkm9GLaU

Mike_G
2010-07-08, 05:31 PM
Grenades are awesome.

They are without equal in clearing buildings, bunkers and caves, and you can toss one without muzzle flash giving you away.

That said, they are dangerous for much more distance than you can throw, so unless you have cover, don't do it.

But I looooves me some hand grenades.

Galloglaich
2010-07-08, 10:37 PM
I don't know this for sure, but I remember hearing that spider silk (especially the non-sticky strands they use to anchor their webs) was tougher than either silk or Kevlar.

Obviously, it's not a practically harvestable material, but if you can magically fabricate it, spider-silk armor might be quite effective.

Doesn't the modern body-armour issued to US troops incorporate ceramic plates as well?

check it out

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/spidersilk/

Interesting quote:

"For its weight, spider silk is stronger than steel, but—unlike steel—it can stretch up to 40% of its normal length. Scientists are trying to produce this intriguing material artificially on a large scale for possible uses on the battlefield, in surgery, for space exploration, and elsewhere. Since raising spiders has proven difficult, researchers are investigating ways to replicate spider silk to avoid harvesting. However, spider silk is difficult to mimic in a lab because the silk begins as a liquid in the spider's gland, becoming a remarkably strong, water-resistant solid after following a complicated course through the spider's interior."

G.

Crow
2010-07-08, 10:57 PM
Grenades are awesome.

They are without equal in clearing buildings...

Yeah just be sure you're careful what buildings your throwing them into. Another team had to continue their mission with calves and ankles full of shrapnel because they threw a grenade into a room with walls of drywall...

Hence the use of flashbangs most times. I love those little mini-grenades though! You can run up a mountain path with a gas-mask pouch FULL of those things, throwing the whole way!

Kalaska'Agathas
2010-07-08, 11:26 PM
Galloglaich mentioned the Arab Khazaghand earlier, anyone have information on these? I googled it and came up with 'Final Fantasy Wikia' which is little help.

Brainfart
2010-07-09, 12:50 AM
Just another term for a padded coat. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cassock)

Psyx
2010-07-09, 05:14 AM
Who told you that? It isn't true.

Looks like I've been mislead. However, each piece of armour most certainly is shot multiple times. The entire piece needs to withstand multiple strikes, so the entire panel cannot ablate to a level where it is no longer effective on the first or even second shot.

***


Got some questions about grenades:
How do modern grenades stack up in terms of weight, kill-zone, and injure-zone against grenades from:
WW2
WW1
17th century?

Am I correct in assuming the ideal grenade will kill anyone inside a certain circle, but do little to no damage outside that circle?

Is the steel body of a modern grenade pre-stressed in order to get more small fragments rather than fewer large ones?

Thanks guys, I love this thread.

I'm not an expert on old grenades, but the main difference is reliability. Both in terms of actual reliability and the evenness of fragmentation. I would also imagine that as C17 grenades used gunpowder rather than high explosive, their effect would be a lot more limited.

The steel body of most modern grenades is often simply a case. The fragments are formed when the wrapping of notched steel wire inside the case is blown apart. The 'pineapple' look of grenades is more for grip than effect, as it doesn't actually help fragmentation.

Fragmentation [defensive] grenades most certainly don't leave everything outside the lethal radius untouched. Anyone throwing a grenade with themselves or allies exposed to the blast, even at a 'safe' distance is a fool. Grenades kill or maim within their lethal radius, but can easily injure and perhaps kill outside that area. Sometimes WAY outside that area [100m+], if a piece of large fragment decides to fly that way! These things aren't predictable and it's possible to survive being in a lethal radius, or be killed way outside the casualty radius.

Concussion [offensive] grenades are a little more predictable and friendly, as they kill by over-pressure. However, outside the lethal radius there is still an unsafe area, as the blast can still kick up a bit of fragment from somewhere, which can still severely wound.

Few, larger fragments have a larger area of effect, but lots of smaller ones are more likely to hit something. Additionally, smaller fragments are more easily stopped by incidental armour, and they shed velocity a lot more quickly.

Other points worth a comment:

You can't pull the pin out with your teeth.

Grenades don't bounce. You can't bounce them around corners, and if you try, they pretty much just drop to the ground, leaving you thinking 'Shiiiiiiiiii....'. Get a really big ballbearing, and see how well you can bounce it off the wall.

As someone else said: Environment is an issue. A stone room where the blast is contained and fragments bounce is a far more lethal place to use a grenade than a peat bog. Soft sodden soil really dampens and absorbs a lot of the blast.

As regards safety concerns: When you think about using one, your first thought is always to think what you are going to do/where you are going to run if something goes horribly wrong!


At a guess... probably because grenades were a sideline item, not seen as part of normal military equipment, and so were filled with whatever explosive was left over after the necessary allotments for shells, rifle cartridges, and such.

Grenades were an ideal weapon for trench warfare and very heavily used. The reason for the varying qualities of explosives was expediency and the fact that it didn't overly matter what you used. Rifle cartridges don't use high explosives as propellants.

Galloglaich
2010-07-09, 08:26 AM
Galloglaich mentioned the Arab Khazaghand earlier, anyone have information on these? I googled it and came up with 'Final Fantasy Wikia' which is little help.

Not just a padded coat, it's a type of armor consisting of a layer of quilted textile, a mail (i.e. "chainmail") coat, and then anther layer of quilted textile. Like a mail shirt sandwiched inside a built-in gambeson both on top and below, all as one garment.

Having the gambeson on top of the mail apparenty helps a lot with arrows. This was also a popular technique in Europe but usually done with separate garments. Khazaghand (also known as Jazeraint to the Europeans, who borrowed the idea) are also typically made with slk, allowing the textile component to be thinner than typical European textile armors which were usually made of linen or fustian.

Other period terms I've found for Khazagand include: Khazaghand, khuzagand, jazerant, jazerain jazeranq, jazeran, gazerant, gazeranc, gazeran. It is hard to find images of this type of armor due to all the video game references online and frankly because it is not well known in the West, but it was widely used in the Middle East, Central Asia and also in Southern and Eastern Euope. I have a photo of an antique Khazaghand in my armor and missile weapons book but I don't have it uploaded anywhere to link. If I have time I'll u/l it somewhere later so I can link it here. It's pretty cool looking, it's sort of orange red color, you can just make out the mail under the cloth.

Here is a description of a Jazzeraint from the 12th Century, from the memoirs of Usamah Ibn Munqidh, who used two mail coats, one frankish one arabic:


“Salah Al din (Saladin) stood in his place until a part of the army joined him. He then said, "Put on your armor". The majority of those did so while I remained standing by his side. After a while he said again, 'How many times do I have to say "Put on your Armor?'' I said 'Oh my Lord, surely thou does not mean me?' 'Surely' said he. I replied 'By Allah, surely I cannot put on anything more. We are in the early part of the night, and my quilted jerkin (kuzaghand) is furnished with two coats of mail, one on top of the other. As soon as I see the enemy I shall put it on.' Salah al Din did not reply, and we set off. ‘

In the morning we found ourselves near Dumayr. Salah-al Din (Saladin) said to me 'Shall we not dismount and eat something? I am hungry and have been up all night.' I replied 'I shall do what thou orderest.' So we dismounted, and no sooner than we had set foot on the ground, when he said 'Where is thy jerkin?' Upon my order, my attendant produced it. Taking it out from it's leather bag, I took my knife and ripped it at the breast and disclosed the side of the two coats of mail. The jerkin enclosed a Frankish coat of mail extending to the bottom of it, with another coat on top reaching as far as the middle. Both were equipped with the proper linings, felt pads, rough silk, and rabbits hair.'

Usama ibn Munqidh- Kitab al-I'tibar circa 1190 AD (note this description with two coats of mail represents and exceptionally heavy khazaghand, the normal version would only have on coat of mail)

G.

Yora
2010-07-09, 08:51 AM
Khazaghand (also known as Jazeraint to the Europeans, who borrowed the idea) are also typically made with slk, allowing the textile component to be thinner than typical European textile armors which were usually made of linen or fustian..
I've read that silk is almost "arrow proof". An arrow would still cause a painful wound, but the silk wouldn't tear and prevent the arrow from penetrating deeper. You'd still be out of the fight, but have a much better chance to survive the injury. In combination with maile, it probably makes very good protection against arrows.

Psyx
2010-07-09, 08:56 AM
That's not a single sheet of silk though. It's lots and lots of layers. Stab a kitchen knife at even half a dozen layers of silk and it'll still go through easily enough.

Mail is not particularly great against arrows, as bodkin points can burst the links apart. It's essentially a suit made of holes.

Galloglaich
2010-07-09, 09:58 AM
Modern tests with medieval type linen armor (usually consisting of 10-20 layers) have shown that it works pretty well against arrows; linen armor over mail works very well. Same with Greek style linothorax (hardened laminated linen). I'm not sure of any tests with silk yet.

Here for example bodkin, broadhead and swallowtail arrows fired from an 80 lb longbow at mail with gambesons on top from 15 yards, one was a 25 layer gamebson, the other was 15 layers gambeson over mail:

http://www.replications.com/greys/Image%20Gallery/2006/MichaelmasChuck/Full/IMGP1813.jpg

http://www.replications.com/greys/Image%20Gallery/2006/MichaelmasChuck/Full/IMGP1816.jpg

http://www.replications.com/greys/Image%20Gallery/2006/MichaelmasChuck/Full/IMGP1818.jpg

None of the arrows completely penetrated, the bodkins stuck in the linen but did not get through.

This is corroborated by eyewitnesses like Ibn Muniqidh and Ana Comnena during the 1st Crusade, who described 'Frankish' knights with dozens of arrows stuck in their armor, still fighting completely unphased.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-09, 09:59 AM
I've read that silk is almost "arrow proof". An arrow would still cause a painful wound, but the silk wouldn't tear and prevent the arrow from penetrating deeper. You'd still be out of the fight, but have a much better chance to survive the injury. In combination with maile, it probably makes very good protection against arrows.

I think the first part of that is basically a myth which evolved from an attempt to explain the efficacy of silk armor; the second part is true.

G.

Brainfart
2010-07-09, 04:24 PM
Hmm, I'll blame the source for the inaccuracy of the description. :smallmad:

Also, Gallogliach, IIRC the 'Frankish' knights were also described as having a garment of dense felt over their mail. I'd imagine that it'd be a pain to wear in the Middle East in the daytime, though.

The fabric-mail-padding combination also works well because there's no conceivable arrowhead that can go through. Broadheads with a cutting edge will go through the fabric, but they will skate off the mail. Bodkins that will go through the mail (or at least draw blood, even without penetration) will be defeated by the fabric because they can't bull through that many layers. Piercing mail is a matter of geometry.

Norsesmithy
2010-07-09, 11:47 PM
Looks like I've been mislead. However, each piece of armour most certainly is shot multiple times. The entire piece needs to withstand multiple strikes, so the entire panel cannot ablate to a level where it is no longer effective on the first or even second shot.


It seems you missed the inclusion of the qualifier Coterminous. You've got to hit it in precisely the same place to gain any benefit from having fired at it before.

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

Galloglaich, do you know what range that test took place at?

Galloglaich
2010-07-10, 12:24 AM
Hmm, I'll blame the source for the inaccuracy of the description. :smallmad:

Don't feel too bad most modern sources confuse all of these technical terms real badly, and even in period documents they tended not to be very precise and tended to spell everything differntly every time. All these terms are pretty confusing. I'm sure actually 'khazaghand' was probably used to refer to textile only armor sometimes as well. They tended to use terms pretty loosely.



Also, Gallogliach, IIRC the 'Frankish' knights were also described as having a garment of dense felt over their mail. I'd imagine that it'd be a pain to wear in the Middle East in the daytime, though.

Yes but having cloth over the mail also prevents the mail itself from heating up too much, (in addition to being good against arrows) so the 'Franj' seem to have adopted wearing things over their armor around this time.

But several battles were lost during the crusades due to thirst and heat stroke so I'd say you have a point.



The fabric-mail-padding combination also works well because there's no conceivable arrowhead that can go through. Broadheads with a cutting edge will go through the fabric, but they will skate off the mail. Bodkins that will go through the mail (or at least draw blood, even without penetration) will be defeated by the fabric because they can't bull through that many layers. Piercing mail is a matter of geometry.

Yeah, pretty much. That is why in 13th - 14th century artwork you start to see so many knights who look like the michelin tire man, all wearing gambesons over mail. Until they started putting metal plates in the gambesons and then that led to coats of plates and eventually plate harness...

G.

Brainfart
2010-07-10, 04:10 AM
Good point. I'd forgotten how quickly mail heats up under direct sunlight.

fusilier
2010-07-10, 04:57 AM
I'm not an expert on old grenades, but the main difference is reliability. Both in terms of actual reliability and the evenness of fragmentation. I would also imagine that as C17 grenades used gunpowder rather than high explosive, their effect would be a lot more limited.

This is often over stated. Black powder is not a wimpy explosive, and while it would be more limited than a high explosive, it would not be "a lot more" limited.


The steel body of most modern grenades is often simply a case. The fragments are formed when the wrapping of notched steel wire inside the case is blown apart. The 'pineapple' look of grenades is more for grip than effect, as it doesn't actually help fragmentation.

This is something I would like to see explained better. I've heard both, although typically referring to different grenades. The Mills Bomb had a lightly scored exterior, which was good for grip, but doesn't aid much to fragmentation (which in the case of Mills Bomb, isn't helped by its off center fuze assembly). Whereas something like an American Mk2, or its French equivalent, has much deeper grooves in the exterior, which were claimed to aid in fragmentation. I don't doubt that modern systems are typically better though.



Concussion [offensive] grenades are a little more predictable and friendly, as they kill by over-pressure. However, outside the lethal radius there is still an unsafe area, as the blast can still kick up a bit of fragment from somewhere, which can still severely wound.

Some offensive grenades were used almost like flash-bangs, the Thevenot of WW1 is a good example. It used an all-ways fuze (a kind of impact fuze). The fuze could be blown a good distance when the grenade exploded, however, and could be lethal. I think its "kill" radius was 5-10 meters, but I would have to double check.




Grenades were an ideal weapon for trench warfare and very heavily used. The reason for the varying qualities of explosives was expediency and the fact that it didn't overly matter what you used. Rifle cartridges don't use high explosives as propellants.

Yes, they were always useful during sieges, and that was their primary use (along with being useful in naval boarding actions). Even today their main use is to take out some fortified point (or the occupants there of).

I once tried to stat out some WW1 grenades in GURPS (as there are lists of various explosives detailed in High-Tech). Anyway, I gave up on that pretty quickly. Some very strange and obscure explosives were used, of which I could find out almost nothing.

Psyx
2010-07-10, 07:39 AM
This is often over stated. Black powder is not a wimpy explosive, and while it would be more limited than a high explosive, it would not be "a lot more" limited.

The limitation is partly a design one. Grenadiers used their weapons in open battle, and grenades of the time were large and heavy. So you needed something you could throw far enough without much in the way of defensive cover without maiming yourself. A fragmenting grenade anywhere near as lethal as defensive fragmenting grenades 100 years later would be too hazardous to use in open battle.



Whereas something like an American Mk2, or its French equivalent, has much deeper grooves in the exterior, which were claimed to aid in fragmentation. I don't doubt that modern systems are typically better though.

From what I understand, you need the surface on the inside to be scored to really aid fragmentation. I'm not an explosives expert, though.




I once tried to stat out some WW1 grenades in GURPS (as there are lists of various explosives detailed in High-Tech). Anyway, I gave up on that pretty quickly. Some very strange and obscure explosives were used, of which I could find out almost nothing.

I'd have just settled for statting fairly roughly. After all; close DOES count with both horseshoes and hand grenades...

:smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2010-07-10, 07:40 AM
Yes but having cloth over the mail also prevents the mail itself from heating up too much, (in addition to being good against arrows) so the 'Franj' seem to have adopted wearing things over their armour around this time.

One interesting aspect of surcoats and the like protecting against heat, is that they do not seem to have been extended to the extremities, nor does anything similar appear to have been done with regards to head gear (and great helms must have been horrific to wear in the heat of Palestine, even for the short periods that we might suppose them to have been worn).

There is an interesting passage in Fulcher of Chartres where he indicates that the first party of crusaders to encounter the Turks was not used to the fighting against bows. I take this to mean that they were not used to the degree to which their opponents employed the bow and their hit and run tactics, which would be contrasted with the Italio-Normans and others already experienced in fighting in Asia Minor through employment as mercenaries or whatever else.

It reminds me of something I read in the Just War in the Middle Ages, where apparently priests in the Holy Land were given special dispensation to wear armour because of the circumstances. It is hard to know quite what the issues were, but presumably ambushes and bandits in moving between settlements were the primary concern, the early dangers reflected in the original purpose of the military orders. That style of low-level conflict might encourage the wearing of armour for longer periods and also increase concern for protecting against arrows.

It is also noticeable that there is something of a correlation between the adoption of surcoats and the reduction in size of the knightly shield. Given that one of the chief purposes of the latter was to protect against projectiles, there might be some significance.

fusilier
2010-07-10, 09:31 PM
The limitation is partly a design one. Grenadiers used their weapons in open battle, and grenades of the time were large and heavy. So you needed something you could throw far enough without much in the way of defensive cover without maiming yourself. A fragmenting grenade anywhere near as lethal as defensive fragmenting grenades 100 years later would be too hazardous to use in open battle.

Yeah, I would agree. Fairly rough cast iron shells, etc. I've read about the use of grenades in open battle, but never a specific battle. More typically naval boarding actions and sieges, but sieges were a big part of 17th century warfare, so "grenadoes" would probably be carried by most armies.



From what I understand, you need the surface on the inside to be scored to really aid fragmentation. I'm not an explosives expert, though.

I have seen cutaway grenades like that, but I don't know why it would necessarily matter if the grooves are on the outside, or the inside.



I'd have just settled for statting fairly roughly. After all; close DOES count with both horseshoes and hand grenades...

:smallbiggrin:

That's basically what I would do. Look at similar grenades that are already present in the game and make small modifications. :-)

Psyx
2010-07-11, 03:51 AM
"grenadoes" would probably be carried by most armies.

Traditionally by the biggest, strongest troops, so they could throw the things far enough. In a typical regiment, some troops (the good shots) would be earmarked as skirmishers, and the big chaps become designated grenadiers.


I have seen cutaway grenades like that, but I don't know why it would necessarily matter if the grooves are on the outside, or the inside.

Nor I, without guessing. But apparently it does.

Autolykos
2010-07-11, 07:29 AM
I have seen cutaway grenades like that, but I don't know why it would necessarily matter if the grooves are on the outside, or the inside.

Nor I, without guessing. But apparently it does.
I'd imagine that it makes a difference when the grooves on the inside also contain some of the explosive, which could help tearing the hull apart in this places. And even if the grooves on the inside were empty, pressure would probably widen the cracks there (since it always applies a force perpendicular to the surface...). But this is not confirmed facts, just hard speculation :smallcool:

Raum
2010-07-11, 07:42 AM
Yes - same principle as a shaped charge. Packing the explosives in the grooves will help it cut the metal and give the grenade more efficient fragmentation.

Yora
2010-07-11, 09:16 AM
I've read that groves on the outside are mostly to get a better grip, but don't do anything regarding fragmentation. I have no firsthand knowledge about explosives, though.

Yora
2010-07-17, 01:54 PM
I got a new question for you people here:

How much were shields used outside of Europe and not in combination with spears?
I've seen pictures of spearmen carrying shields from Persia and Africa, but never anything compareable to shields being used in combination with a sword or mace as in Europe.

Spiryt
2010-07-17, 02:04 PM
Arabs, Turks, and general muslim world wasn't European in most of the cases, and definitely used some other weapons with shields.

But be it some well equipped infantrymen or cavalry, spear would off course be main weapon in most cases, sword, axe or mace would be more secondary.

http://www.historycy.org/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=8442

link (http://s8.chomikuj.pl/ChomikImage.aspx?k=1256877&t=634150007811082645&id=487622&vid=487622)

Xuc Xac
2010-07-18, 12:32 AM
How much were shields used outside of Europe and not in combination with spears?

The Chinese used sword and shield together since at least the Qin dynasty as far as I know (and I wouldn't be surprised if they started long before then).

Caustic Soda
2010-07-18, 04:08 AM
Hello everyone, I was wondering when plate armor emerged and started spreading across Europe. The usual timeframe I've heard is the renaissance, but that's rather imprecise. As I understand it, the renaissance began in Italy sometime in the 14th century, and didn't reach some of the more outlying regions of Europe, such as Scandinavia, until about the early 16th century.

Did the use of plate originate in one (or several) region of Europe and spread from there? If so, how long approximately did the process take?

JaronK
2010-07-18, 04:27 AM
The Aztec Jaguar Warriors used spiked club like weapons with shields as well. The shield concept was pretty much universal. Spear and shield is very common because a sharp pointy stick was one of the most efficient and effective of weapons (spears were dominant for a long time, and eventually pikes were king. Halberds and other modified sharp pointy sticks were quite popular. Eventually we had guns with pointy sticks on the end, and that worked well too).

JaronK

Spiryt
2010-07-18, 04:35 AM
Hello everyone, I was wondering when plate armor emerged and started spreading across Europe. The usual timeframe I've heard is the renaissance, but that's rather imprecise. As I understand it, the renaissance began in Italy sometime in the 14th century, and didn't reach some of the more outlying regions of Europe, such as Scandinavia, until about the early 16th century.

Did the use of plate originate in one (or several) region of Europe and spread from there? If so, how long approximately did the process take?

That's material for many books, of course, with whole Europe in question, but generally people agree that first plate defenses of legs started appearing as soon as ~1300, and people debate about some art pieces that show such stuff even much earlier.

First plate defenses, still covered in some kind of textile, started appearing in second half of the 14th century.

With all elements present at the end of 14th century, many combinations of different plate, mail, textile defenses all over the body were of course occurring.

Here is analysis you may find helpful (http://talbotsfineaccessories.com/armour/effigy/All-Effigies.htm)

As far as "full plate" goes, something like full suite of bare plate defenses, without vital textile elements (save padding of course) could easily appear around 1400, still won't be very popular though.

Psyx
2010-07-18, 05:05 AM
I got a new question for you people here:

How much were shields used outside of Europe and not in combination with spears?
I've seen pictures of spearmen carrying shields from Persia and Africa, but never anything compareable to shields being used in combination with a sword or mace as in Europe.

Lots. Shields are about the most effective defensive piece of armour ever invented. They were developed in parallel all over the world, and pretty much every society has used them at some point. Shame they utterly suck in D&D.

Spears are also amazingly popular and ubiquitous. They are effective (you can kill a swordsman before he gets close, easy to use, and can be used in formations effectively. They're also cheap and the perfect weapon for the battlefield. That's why most infantry fought with spears. Even samurai generally used them in preference to swords on the battlefield. Swords and maces are more of back-up weapons, generally.

If you can think of a culture; they probably used sword and hand weapon, but normally as a back-up to spears.




Hello everyone, I was wondering when plate armor emerged and started spreading across Europe... Did the use of plate originate in one (or several) region of Europe and spread from there? If so, how long approximately did the process take?

Plate armour evolved over a long period of time, at a time of conflict. It didn't just pop into being, and there were several hundred years of evolution between adding a few plates to the chest and full Maximillian-style plate armour. A lot of Europe was busy kicking the crap out of the rest of Europe in varying scaled conflicts, for fun and pleasure. In that situation, military technology gets seized pretty quickly.

super dark33
2010-07-18, 08:18 AM
in dnd, every kind of armor have is own name, but truly, the armors always develop to be better than the wepones. better sword? the chain mail was update. long-bow? more steel plate. guns? even heavier armor, with more steel and chains. understand?

Spiryt
2010-07-18, 08:25 AM
in dnd, every kind of armor have is own name, but truly, the armors always develop to be better than the wepones. better sword? the chain mail was update. long-bow? more steel plate. guns? even heavier armor, with more steel and chains. understand?

From the lack of better world, I will say : your conception is wrong, sir. :smalltongue:

And no one was hanging chains on himself.:smalltongue:

super dark33
2010-07-18, 08:27 AM
mace, axes and other wepones was very common by the simple folk and the none-knight soliders. in bulgaria, the most common wepone by the "knight" was the Flail . the sword was the symbol of the knight, cuz it cross shape

Bharg
2010-07-18, 08:28 AM
AFAIK longbows, crossbows and later guns made armor pretty useless...

super dark33
2010-07-18, 08:29 AM
its chainmail. search.

Spiryt
2010-07-18, 08:31 AM
AFAIK longbows, crossbows and later guns made armor pretty useless...

Later guns - certainly among other things. And still not "useless", even pretty.

Longbows and crossbows - no way, Otzi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi_the_Iceman) had a longbow, so it's not some super invention. :smallwink:

Despite popular myth, arrows and bolts from heavy bows aren't really so fantastic at defeating armors.

Psyx
2010-07-18, 08:39 AM
the sword was the symbol of the knight, cuz it cross shape

Err... urban myth. The sword has always been the symbol of the ruling classes because they're expensive. They're a status weapon. And they are also convenient for carrying around in 'normal' life.


AFAIK longbows, crossbows and later guns made armor pretty useless...

Prevalence of firearms did. Not crossbows. Crossbow bolts bounce off decent armour. And even after firearms became more common, armour was still worn for several hundred years. It just became lighter and sacrificed less mobility. Buff coats, breastplates and helms were still a sensible thing to wear.

Fhaolan
2010-07-18, 10:05 AM
Prevalence of firearms did. Not crossbows. Crossbow bolts bounce off decent armour. And even after firearms became more common, armour was still worn for several hundred years. It just became lighter and sacrificed less mobility. Buff coats, breastplates and helms were still a sensible thing to wear.

The amusing thing is that people honestly beleive that the gun made armour obsolete. Despite the fact that modern soldiers are wearing kevlar with ceramic plates on a regular basis. Armour and weapons develop in lockstep with each other, as weapons *change* so does armour, as armour changes, so do weapons. And I do mean *change*, because just because one armour was used in the 18th century doesn't mean it can protect against all weapons from the 17th century and back. There really hasn't been a time when there was no armour worn in serious battle, unless you go *really* far back before hunter/gatherer societies. Fear tactics of 'going naked into battle' aside. That's not to say that the armour was perfect, of course. No armour really protects 100%. There are times when armour wasn't very good compared to the weapons, but it was there and it was used.

Armour protects against the weapons common at the time. Weapons are chosen to defeat the armour common at the time. Time moves on, and the dance continues. Five hundred years from now people will, if anyone's still around, be marvelling about the armour soldiers are wearing now, and making up all sorts of silly stories about how they needed cranes to be getting into their Jeeps because of their equipment loads, their 50lb machine guns used as personal weapons, and how they used hand grenades as jump boosters.

Aroka
2010-07-18, 10:14 AM
Armor is pretty much always a cost-effectiveness calculation, isn't it? In the 18th century, it wasn't cost-effective to equip troops with armor - it was much faster and cheaper to train a great number of men to use a musket than it had been to train men to use a longbow, which made the firearm the main weapon. While bayonet charges were still common, protecting men from them with a great deal of armor just wasn't cost effective, yes? But cuirassiers, for instance, didn't just wear armor for show - it was still an advantage, and for small units the cost/benefit was still acceptable.

Modern troops could be equipped with much better armor, too, but not only would it be heavy and cumbersome, the cost would be outrageous, and the advantage (while great to the individual) is not considered worth it strategically. (The % improvement to your individual chance of survival when shot doesn't translate directly to a % reduction in casualties.) It's the same reason the US military has been using basically the same weapons for decades, despite all those development programs and competitions - outfitting a military that size with new main weapons would have incredible costs, and changing the caliber of the main weapon is just not possible because of the amount of ammunition stores they'd have to dump.


they used hand grenades as jump boosters.

You mean rocket launchers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_jumping).

Brainfart
2010-07-18, 10:26 AM
That's material for many books, of course, with whole Europe in question, but generally people agree that first plate defenses of legs started appearing as soon as ~1300, and people debate about some art pieces that show such stuff even much earlier.

It depends on what you consider to be plate armour as well. A coat of plates or splinted greaves could technically count, and that would bring the date forward by a couple of decades.

I also seem to recall reading an interesting theory for the transition to plate from mail. The massive death tolls in caused by the plague greatly reduced the availability of labour, and mail has always been a huge pain in the ass to make in quantity simply because it's so labour-intensive. Plate, on the other hand, requires small amounts of skilled workers instead of large numbers of people toiling in sweatshops. The corresponding changes in price and availability probably had a great deal to do with relegating mail to the role of a secondary defense.


Err... urban myth. The sword has always been the symbol of the ruling classes because they're expensive. They're a status weapon. And they are also convenient for carrying around in 'normal' life.

That, and they're a dedicated weapon. A sword is an expensive investment and owning one basically means that beating up other people is (or was) a significant portion of your livelihood.

Fhaolan
2010-07-18, 10:33 AM
Armor is pretty much always a cost-effectiveness calculation, isn't it?

Absolutely. And wealthier people will always have more protective armour than poor people as the higher cost is less prohibitive to them.

For that matter, 'home-built' armours are still popular due to cost. People stitching salvaged iron plates into their coats, like an ancient coat-of-plate. I have a friend who returned from the Gulf War and brought back what was originally a standard-issue military jacket which has what appears to be small, flattish, car parts attached to the inside and a t-shirt stiched in as a lining. He said that jacket was the reason why he returned as an injured vet rather than in a bag.


You mean rocket launchers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_jumping).

LOL. Yeah, I like that better.

Galloglaich
2010-07-18, 10:59 AM
Hello everyone, I was wondering when plate armor emerged and started spreading across Europe. The usual timeframe I've heard is the renaissance, but that's rather imprecise. As I understand it, the renaissance began in Italy sometime in the 14th century, and didn't reach some of the more outlying regions of Europe, such as Scandinavia, until about the early 16th century.

Or France and England :P



Did the use of plate originate in one (or several) region of Europe and spread from there? If so, how long approximately did the process take?

Other people have answered this pretty well already but I'll chime in.

Plate armor production was centered in two places, Southern Germany, and Northern Italy, especially the town of Milan which was a huge armor producer.

Combination plate / textile armours (coat of plates, brigandine) appeared by the early 1300s. 'Transitional' plate armor appeared by the 1350s, and full plate harness was showing up in the 1380's. The really good quality 'Milanese' and 'Gothic' head to toe armor panoplies arrived by the 1420's or thereabouts, and the technology arguably peaked circa 1500 with the arrival of 'Maximillian' harness. By the 1550s armor was somewhat on the decline, and you started seeing the full harness replaced by three quarters harness and half-armors which only covered the torso head and arms.

Though the Renaissance indeed started in Florence Italy in 1380 and spread to the German cities in the 1400s, and didn't reach France or England until the 16th Century, they were able to purchase their armor from the places where the Renaissance was thriving until that time.

It's worth noting that plate armor did not appear until after guns had already showed up on European battlefields and plate armor actually reached it's heydey just as guns were really spreading across Europe (from the East, where they had become standardized weapons in the 1400s). The same is also true of such common DnD weapons as halberds two handed greatswords and rapiers. Something to keep in perspective since this is usually a little off in almost all RPGs.

The musket originated as a special armor-piercing firearm used alongside the much more common arquebus. (more on that in a minute though).

I think Fhaolan is right about the decline of armor being due to a cost-effectiveness thing. Armies were becoming less professional and much, much larger, and it was no longer possible to equip all the troops with body armor. Armor quality in the 1600s was in rapid decline, what was produced was actually mostly munitions grade which was heavier and not as effective against guns as the earlier tempered steel harness.

And despite all that you still did see cuirasser heavy cavalry (wearing breast plates and steel helemts) until WW II.

But I suspect it was really cannon as opposed to guns which changed the cost effectiveness ratio of armor.

G.

Fhaolan
2010-07-18, 11:28 AM
I think Fhaolan is right about the decline of armor being due to a cost-effectiveness thing.

That was actually Aroka's point, I believe. I was merely agreeing. :smallsmile:

Galloglaich
2010-07-18, 11:30 AM
That was actually Aroka's point, I believe. I was merely agreeing. :smallsmile:

Both of y'all are right :)

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-18, 01:01 PM
Some further comments on firearms and armor (clipped from another thread I post on)

What I was trying to figure out was how well armor protected against the firearms of the 15th Centruy, in the 16th Century, and afterword in the 17th and 18th Century.

My primary source for armor is an excellent and in HEMA circles somewhat famous book called The Knight and the Blast Furnace (http://www.amazon.com/Knight-Blast-Furnace-History-Metallurgy/dp/9004124985/). Unfortunately for me a copy of this book runs about $300 (if you can find it). But fortunately for me, a partial transcription of the book is now available on google books.

Here is the google books for Knight and the Blast Furnace
http://books.google.com/books?id=GpVbnsqAzxIC&dq=knight+and+the+blast+furnace&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=3rQPTKqyJML98AaAhZXrCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

What makes this book so remarkable and valuable to researchers like me is that the author, Alan Williams, spent 30 years travelling to Museums around the world with a microscope and durometer and a variety of other tools, and measured the thickness, hardness, metalurgy, and chemical composition of over 600 pieces of antique European armor. He is to armor kind of what Ewart Oakeshott was to swords.

So he is a terrific resource if you want to know the reality of armor. As a baseline for Williams wor, to start with, I wanted to look at some modern armor. This modern commercially available armored plate:

http://www.mtlgrp.com/pdf/Armox-Armour.pdf

...can, according to the trade lit linked above, stop a .357 magnum at 5 meters with 3mm thickness, or an M-16 5.56 / FN-FAL .308 at 10 meters with 6mm thickness (almost half an inch).

This is a medium tempered steel alloy with .3% carbon, and trace amounts of molybdenum, nickel, chromium, and mangenese which they say gives an 'equivalent carbon content' of 0.67%. The steel has a hardness of 480 - 540 HB.

I wanted to compare that hardness to the numbers quoted in Knight and the Blast Furnace. Alan Williams uses the VPH scale. So for example on page 379 of Knight and the Blast Furnace there is a 15th Century Tempered German breastplate listed with an average hardness of 405 VPH which translates to about 380 HB, if I'm reading that right, which seems to be in the ballpark (76%) of the average hardness for the modern armor cited above. Unfortunately Alan doesn't list the thickness of the specific plate, but in the 15th Century it ranged from about 1.8 to 3mm depending on where on the armor it was.

So it seems to me that this 15th Century armor was probably sufficient to protect against a .357 magnum at medium range, which is somewhat surprising

On page 409 there is another similar half-armor, tempered steel at 0.5% carbon with an average hardness of 408 VPH

Another similar tempered steel three quarters anime harness on page 414 has an average VPH of 407 and a carbon content of 0.5%

I was using this table for conversion:
http://www.steelstrip.co.uk/hardnessconv.htm


17th Century Armor

On Firearms

Here is some more information from 'Knight and the Blast Furnace':
from Chapter 9 of Williams' book, p. 942 - 948
1.9mm wrought iron plate requires 900J from a steel ball or 1500J from a lead ball to defeat it.
2mm of Good quality tempered steel armor can resist about 1800J from a steel bullet or 3000J from a lead bullet.
An average quality 4mm iron cuirassier's breastplate (17th century) would need 2000J to defeat it.
There were also up to 6mm thick iron cuirasses in the 17th Century and special laminate cuirasses made from 2mm of steel and 3mm of iron. These were apparently very effective but I don't have any data on them yet.

From p. 945
a Hussite 15th C handgun with serpentine powder produces 500-1000J at the muzzle.
early 16th C arquebus with serpentine powder produces 1300J at the muzzle
the same weapon with corned powder produces 1750J
later 16th C musket with serpentine powder produces 2300J
the same weapon with corned powder produces 3000 J

Bringing in modern firearms* based on this wiki on Muzzle Energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_energy),
.357 Magnum revolver with a 6" barrel 750 Joules
.44 Magnum 1400 Joules
Ak-47 (7.62 x 39mm) 2070 Joules
FN-FAL / M-60 (7.62 x 51mm) 3799 Joules
.50 Cal BMG 15000 Joules

*Of course this is all potentially different depending on the ammunition and the barrel length.

One of the interesting things about all this to me (if it is correct) is how powerful 16th Century muskets got, they were comparable in muzzle energy to an Ak-47! Of course bullets from modern firearms also retain their energy much longer than Musket or Arquebus balls do and modern bullets probably penetrate better. The stats on the armor make me wonder if a good 15th Century harness could stop an Ak-47 bullet... I wish I had some tempered steel armor that I could shoot at with an Ak-47 or a .357. (I wish I lived on my own island with Scarlet Johansson too.) Also, I wish I had a .50 caliber machine gun I shot one once in the army those things are bad ass.

But this does seems to support the opinion of Charles Ffoulkes (http://www.amazon.com/Armourer-His-Craft-XVIth-Century/dp/0486258513/) that plate armor is capable of resisting the firearms of the 15th and early 16th Century. It's only in the latter half of the 16th century that armor is seriously threatened by firearms. This is why Muskets were originally considered special armor-piercing weapons, used alongside smaller arquebus for a long time before the two weapons kind of merged together (the musket got smaller and gradually replaced the arquebus).

http://www.nysun.com/pics/4363.jpg

Of course even if your armor made you relatively safe from firearms, there was no armor in existence which protected you from cannon fire, and horses could only be partially armored at best (never on their legs for example) so the value of armor was in decline.

Bows vs. Armor

Bows are different in terms of energy requried due to the shape and hardness of the projectiles but there are applicable correlations.

I want to stipulate though, that the issue of longbows vs. armor specifically has been an internet fault line for close to a decade and is still an unresolved argument. I don't really care that much about this argument, though I do have my own opinion (which I'm going to share) but I don't claim to know anything definitively, all I can do is share the data I have available and my own $.02.

There have been many tests which have been done with longbows and armor, and none of them satisfy everybody in the debates; people claim different things about the armor used in the test (based on thickness, metalurgy, or tempering if any), or the padding under or over the armor (esp. important with mail), or the bow (estimates of English longbow strength go from 90 lbs to 200 lbs draw, though a consensus is emerging that 110 - 120 was about average during the heyday of what many people are now calling the English Warbow) or the arrows (whether needle-point bodkins or broadheads work best is another point of contention) are correct.

Anyway my current personal OPINION** is that a longbow could not penetrate good quality plate armor*, but it could penetrate mail at most distances (depending on some other factors like how thick the aketon or gambeson is) and could penetrate thinner or more poorly made munitions-grade armor, and go around armor espc. on horses. Obviously massed archery was effective against armored heavy cavalry that couldn't get out of the way just as massed gunfire was well before the era when firearms were capable of directly defeating the best plate armor at long range.

According to Alan Williams the longbow could generate around 80 Joules, but he was testing with a pretty weak bow (I think 70 lbs). If you extrapolate from the power of the weapon he was testing with to more like the ones found on the (16th Century) wreck of the Mary Rose, you could double or even triple that to perhaps 250-300 Joules, but that is still not sufficient to defeat the best quality plate armor and the penetration falls off rapidly with distance. Add in steel armor piercing arrow heads you might get close enough to cross the threshold into penetration for a typical iron (if not a tempered steel) breastplate, but probably only at very short (point blank) range. In my opinion anyway.

Williams estimates that it takes about 1500 Joules to penetrate Medieval Iron armor of 1.9 mm thickness with a lead ball, 900 Joules to penetrate with a steel ball. Tempered steel roughly doubles this to 3000 / 1800 Joules.

*Crossbows may be another story, but more about that later.
** This could change subject to new data becoming available

On Crossbows.

Here there is a big blank spot. There have been a lot of studies and amateur testing done on pretty authentic longbows in the last ten years or so, there has been a ton of testing done on armor most notably by Mr. Williams but there have also been several other studies.

There have also been some studies done recently with firearms and armor directly.

But with crossbows there is a blank, mainly because we don't have very many crossbows equivalent to those used in the 14th-16th Centuries available for testing today. Alan Williams mentions one semi-formal test of a 1200 lb draw antique but detail was scant other than it shot a bolt 450 yards. Most of the antiques which still survive may be too dangerous to test with after 500 - 600 years, and there are only a handful of people around today who have the sufficient knowledge and skill to forge prods capable of the 800 - 1200 lb draw weight of a Renaissance heavy arbalest.

However I have been advised by a smith in the UK that he has a client who recently ordered a 950 lb crossbow specifically for testing, hopefully they will do a good well documented test on some realistic armor and then we will know something further. At this point I don't even know what the energy of a 950 lb crossbow is or how it compares with a longbow or a musket.

http://www.aiacrossbow.com/crossbow/exomax/

I know modern hunting crossbows of between 150 and 220 lb draw generate between 120 - 150 joules depending on the quarrel used. I assume a 1,200 lb draw arbalest would be significantly more powerful than that but various other factors like the span distance (short on most antique crossbows) and size of the prod all factor into the power of the weapon. Crossbows do shoot a bolt about twice as heavy as the arrow shot by a longbow. How powerful were Renaissance crossbows? We really don't know at this point. In the heydey of plate armor in the 15th Century, they apparently considered crossbows a significant but not insuperable threat. Italian armor of this period was proofed at two levels, for the 'little crossbow' and for the 'big crossbow'. The latter was a higher grade of armor (the top grade).

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-18, 01:15 PM
I have a friend who returned from the Gulf War and brought back what was originally a standard-issue military jacket which has what appears to be small, flattish, car parts attached to the inside and a t-shirt stiched in as a lining. He said that jacket was the reason why he returned as an injured vet rather than in a bag.


That is real interesting I'd like to hear more about that. I'd heard of them doing similar with vehicles in the early years of the Iraq war but I hadn't heard of making 'brigandine' personal body armor that way as you describe here, though it makes sense. This is actually exactly how body armor evolved in the Middle Ages. I wonder what kind of metal he used and where did he get it? I imagine you'd need to find really good steel to be of any use...?

G.

JaronK
2010-07-18, 01:15 PM
Just to echo the issue with armor being one of cost effectiveness, I've actually seen a picture of Italian full plate from WWII. It was used by shock troops, but rarely, because it was just so expensive. It actually looks similar to a modern flack jacket except for the fact that there are steel plates underneath and it covers a very large section of the body (but only in the front). Theoretically, it was pretty effective... but I haven't seen tests. The main issue is how much cheaper it was to just send out a few men with guns instead of one man with guns and armor. With that said, American soldiers today cost a LOT to field, so it's far more worth while to armor them up. If it costs you $10,000 to armor a soldier effectively and $5000 to train and arm a soldier, it's not worth armoring them. But if that same soldier costs $50k to get into the field and you have to pay for his medical expenses later, it may be well worth it to give him decent armor.

Also, we have the example of that LA shoot out that the History channel loves to show so much, where one of the men in the bank robbery had used home made full body kevlar armor. He took a LOT of fire before going down.

JaronK

Spiryt
2010-07-18, 01:30 PM
There's no way to get 250 Joules with a longbow...

Here (http://www.atarn.org/islamic/akarpowicz/turkish_bow_tests.htm) dude is getting 150 J at most with some really marvelous 136 pound turkish war bow.

Granted, it "only'' 30 inches of draw length, but even getting it to some scary 34' or so with 160 pounds DW it won't surpass 200 J, especially that with getting harder and harder, bow has to be less and less efficient.


As for mail, really few sensible test like one here (Test Cottas) (http://www.cotasdemalla.es/ma1.htm) suggest that mail couldn't be really pierced by arrows at "most distances".

Quality mail was used as quality armor trough more than thousand years, it certainly couldn't be easily defeated by even older idea of heavy draw simple bow. :smallwink:

Matthew
2010-07-18, 02:18 PM
There's no way to get 250 Joules with a longbow...

Here (http://www.atarn.org/islamic/akarpowicz/turkish_bow_tests.htm) dude is getting 150 J at most with some really marvelous 136 pound turkish war bow.

The "top range" long bows are supposed to be about 180 lbs in draw weight with a 30" draw. Maybe 250 joules is overreaching, but I reckon 200 is at least doable. A 150 lb long bow is recorded at releasing at about 50+ metres per second and about 42 metres after about 800 milliseconds.

Spiryt
2010-07-18, 02:25 PM
The "top range" long bows are supposed to be about 180 lbs in draw weight with a 30" draw. Maybe 250 joules is overreaching, but I reckon 200 is at least doable. A 150 lb long bow is recorded at releasing at about 50+ metres per second and about 42 metres after about 800 milliseconds.

At 52 m/s it would require 150 gram lil spear to achieve 200 J though.

And no such arrows were found. (No arrows heavier than 90 g were found AFAIH, but not many were in general).

People who tested self made longbows told me that with 120g arrows around 45 m/s are possible.

Some test on the net say the same AFAIH, though they're not free material. :smallyuk:

So reaching those 200 J could be quite hard, and not worth the effort even considering that Robin would know that Joul in not some bloody Norman.

Fhaolan
2010-07-18, 02:46 PM
That is real interesting I'd like to hear more about that. I'd heard of them doing similar with vehicles in the early years of the Iraq war but I hadn't heard of making 'brigandine' personal body armor that way as you describe here, though it makes sense. This is actually exactly how body armor evolved in the Middle Ages. I wonder what kind of metal he used and where did he get it? I imagine you'd need to find really good steel to be of any use...?

G.

From what he told me at the time (I can't get ahold of him now as he's currently in a military hospital for various reasons), the jacket was from the early days just like the 'hillbilly armour' bit you mention. Remember this is all hearsay on my part, as I wasn't there. (Too old, wrong citizenship, etc.)

According to him, there was a lot of soldiers going over and equipment didn't seem to be showing up fast enough, or getting distributed fast enough, to have enough to go around. He was a driver of some kind, and he was told that as he was surrounded by a vehicle all the time he was therefor lower priority than other people in his unit when it came to the optional ceramic plates for the kevlar armour because they would be more exposed more often.

Another fellow in his unit didn't like this idea, I guess because he wanted the guy driving the truck to be alive to get them out of there... he had a spare jacket and was a couple of sizes bigger than my friend. They came across a burned-out car, probably an old Mercedes from when they were still made of steel by the look of the parts, and hammered out some of the fragments into vaguely flattish bits, and sewed it alltogether with fishing line.

He was wearing the jacket overtop his regular kevlar (still without plates) when they were ambushed. There was an explosion, and he doesn't remember much else of what happened. He doesn't think it was a landmine, because it didn't come up through the floor, but from one side. He lost his left arm, but still feels like the jacket is what kept him alive. I have my doubts as to how effective it really was, and how much was actually due to the vehicle's body and the kevlar he was wearing, but he was there and I wasn't.

Caustic Soda
2010-07-18, 03:26 PM
I love this thread. Anyone can ask a more-or-less informed question, and after a few hours... BOOM! tons of detailed information, and possibly informed debate, too :smallbiggrin:. the Internet at its best, really.


That's material for many books, of course, with whole Europe in question, but generally people agree that first plate defenses of legs started appearing as soon as ~1300, and people debate about some art pieces that show such stuff even much earlier.

Here is analysis you may find helpful (http://talbotsfineaccessories.com/armour/effigy/All-Effigies.htm)



My question was rather broad wasn't it? I should probably have said that I only meant a broad overview. but eh, you guys went and poured out information anyways.

As for the analysis, it seems to show that the transition from mail only to mail and plate primarily took place in the middle of the 14th century.That fits my own intuition, but I notice that the countries involved in the analysis are not mentioned. Do you know if the site in questino has such a list somewhere?



A lot of Europe was busy kicking the crap out of the rest of Europe in varying scaled conflicts, for fun and pleasure. In that situation, military technology gets seized pretty quickly.

Very true. I would imagine that innovations in warfare were some of the renaissance technologies that spread the fastest. It also corresponds with what Galloglaich posted later in the thread.



I also seem to recall reading an interesting theory for the transition to plate from mail. The massive death tolls in caused by the plague greatly reduced the availability of labour, and mail has always been a huge pain in the ass to make in quantity simply because it's so labour-intensive. Plate, on the other hand, requires small amounts of skilled workers instead of large numbers of people toiling in sweatshops. The corresponding changes in price and availability probably had a great deal to do with relegating mail to the role of a secondary defense.

That does sound believable , but even if it is true, it is probably only one of several factors, I would imagine. the world is a complex place, after all :smallbiggrin::smalltongue:.



A veritable Great Wall of Interesting Information


I can't say that it surprises me all that much that the renaissance came late to France and England. They were probably too busy fighting to spend money on art and wartime isn't all that conductive to philosophy AFAIK.

With respect to renaissance arms & armor, I actually knew in advance that palte, halberds etc.came after the medieval period. In fact, I learned a good deal of my knowledge of such weapons form lurking this very thread :smallsmile::smallwink:.

Regarding the decline in personal armor, the explanation regarding the cost-effectiveness of armor(which Aroka, Fhaolan and yourself have put forward) sounds very plausible.

As I understand this explanation, the decline was due partly to the expanding armies of the Early Modern period, and partially due to the introduction of artillery, since a direct hit from a cannon is hard to protect against. Is this a correct interpretation? Can you think of other factors that could have (nearly) as important effects?

It doesn't really surprise me that well-made plate mail might be able to stand up to modern handguns. A Magnum wasn't made to be able to take out a Cuirassier, after all :smallwink:. On the other hand, the impressive amount of enery involved with arquebuses and the like might be a contributing factor to the (supposed?) tendency to explode if handled improperly. what do you think?

Regarding the use of longbows versus plate armor, is there any data for how long into the Early Modern period the longbow was used in warfare? Longbows made before the advent of plate obviously wouldn't have been designed to break through it. It seems likely to me that if longbows continued to be used after plate came into widespread use, that would impact their design. Unless they were already able to pierce plate, but that's at the heart of the controversy, isn't it?

******

You've provided some tasty food for though so far, everyone. Thanks!

Based on what you've written, I've got a new, tangentially related question:

What factors caused personal armor to become more widespread in the latter half of the 20th century?

As has been pointed out, armor never entirely disappeared. Based on my (admittedly limited) knowledge, however it would seem that personal armor (as opposed to tanks/APCs) was used only on a relatively small scale from the last decades of the 19th century and until sometime after WW2 and the introduction of kevlar.

What made personal armor popular again?

My initial guess would be that a) Kevlar and the like were relatively cost-efficient b)Such wars as the Vietnam war and the Gulf Wars featured comparatively close-range combat in jungles/cities, respectively.

Even if this is partially true, it probably isn't the entire story, though.

Yora
2010-07-18, 03:47 PM
One thing is money. Another is probably a changed view on how much a single soldier is "expandable".
In World War One the Generals seem to have been willing to lose massive numbers of men, if it helped preventing the enemy from getting an advantage. Today, both officers and society at large seem to consider protecting a soldiers life woth much more effort and money. I have no military experience or training, but these days you read so much about close air support and how much it helps the soldiers from getting killed in an ambush. And at least here in Germany, when one or two men get killed, it's a big news story (and gets people started if it's actually a good idea to keep fighting in a war where some of our men can be harmed, but thats a different story about German logic :smallwink: ).

Matthew
2010-07-18, 05:15 PM
At 52 m/s it would require 150 gram lil spear to achieve 200 J though.

And no such arrows were found. (No arrows heavier than 90 g were found AFAIH, but not many were in general).

As far as I know, 3-4 ounces are the typical weight shot, so about 85-112.5 grams or so. I am no scientist, though, so will just have to take your word for the conversion rates. :smallwink:

Galloglaich
2010-07-18, 09:22 PM
I think armor has come back in the last 30 years for 3 reasons.

1) Because rich nations have been fighting poor nations more, which means our troops have been facing more low tech weapons: rifles, i.e.d.'s, grenades, rpgs.

Less say, cluster bombs, heavy artillery concentrations, laser guided bombs, tank rounds, fuel air explosives and that sort of thing which makes personal body armor kind of pointless.... all of which we would face if fighting another 1st World nation.

2) Because (partly for the above reasons) we have moved to smaller, better trained and better equipped armies than we had in WW II, far more so than we had in WW I. I think you see a waxing and waning of army sizes over the years which corresponds to a waxing and waning of the skill level required to be an effective solider. Heavy cavalry, cavalry archers, sword and buckler men, longbowmen, arbalestiers, early hand-gunners required almost a lifetime of training to achieve competence. Armies were therefore small. Pikemen, musketeers, vastly less. Armies got bigger. So when somebody you can train in 6 months (or 5 weeks by late WW II era) can actually kill highly trained soldiers, the size of the armies go up up up up. Then you get skilled experts who learn to really make the most of the current weapons (or new high tech weapons) and it goes down again.

Now days with the technological edge we rely on, we have a correspondingly higher training requirement, more expensive gear, and more of an investment in our soldiers. I think this waxes and wanes over the decades.

3) Because somebody invented kevlar which made it relatively easy to mass produce pretty effective textile armor. And chobbham armor which makes our armored vehicles much less vulnerable. And now we are following the old evolutionary cycle toward adding rigid plates to personal body armor. Articulated powered body armor may be next, if they can solve the technical problems.... either that or somebody invents a very deadly superweapon that a near imbecile can use, and we are back to huge armies full of cannon-fodder.

If history follows cycles, we are post US Civil War (huge armies with muskets) and ending the period of the Maxim machine gun and the slaughter of the Third World which it allowed (small high tech armies wiping out huge numbers of poorly armed rebels and guerrillas)... nationalism is on the rise, economic problems are rife, and perhaps we are headed toward our next WW I or WW II. We seem to get these huge wars now in 50 or 60 year cycles. I hope not.

G.

Crow
2010-07-19, 03:38 AM
And at least here in Germany, when one or two men get killed, it's a big news story (and gets people started if it's actually a good idea to keep fighting in a war where some of our men can be harmed, but thats a different story about German logic :smallwink: ).

They make a point of talking about it when soldiers die over here in the U.S. too. Partly for politically-motivated reasons, and partly because it is becoming more and more rare for U.S. soldiers to actually die.

Medical technology has come so far since the days of WWI and WWII, that many wounds encountered on the battlefield are pretty survivable (though by no means do I intend to belittle the wounds our soldiers must still endure). It would take a clash of superpowers before we see a war with casualty rates like WWII or Vietnam ever again.

Caustic Soda
2010-07-19, 04:04 AM
One thing is money. Another is probably a changed view on how much a single soldier is "expandable".
-snip-
And at least here in Germany, when one or two men get killed, it's a big news story (and gets people started if it's actually a good idea to keep fighting in a war where some of our men can be harmed, but thats a different story about German logic :smallwink: ).

Very true. We get this kind of thing in Denmark, too. It seems kinda weird to me how people moan and cry when people die. I mean, it's war, people do die. Although I suppose it may discourage large-scale wars. Possibly. Hopefully.


I think armor has come back in the last 30 years for 3 reasons.

1) Because rich nations have been fighting poor nations more, which means our troops have been facing more low tech weapons [so armor actually makes a difference]

2) Because (partly for the above reasons) we have moved to smaller, better trained and better equipped armies than we had in WW II, far more so than we had in WW I. -snip-

Now days with the technological edge we rely on, we have a correspondingly higher training requirement, more expensive gear, and more of an investment in our soldiers. I think this waxes and wanes over the decades.

3) Because somebody invented kevlar which made it relatively easy to mass produce pretty effective textile armor. And chobbham armor which makes our armored vehicles much less vulnerable.

-research into powered armor-

G.

that seems like a very plausible set of explanations. It also helps explain why it has become a big issue whenever even a single soldier from a rich country dies in combat or accidents.

Is there really serious research into the development of powered armor? That seems like it would be very expensive compared to current armor. Even if they can solve the technical issues, do you think the expense (assuming it is expensive) could be justified?

Psyx
2010-07-19, 05:49 AM
The amusing thing is that people honestly beleive that the gun made armour obsolete.

That's not what was stated. I feel I've been slightly misquoted. You'd have to be blisteringly stupid to notice that people wear body armour in combat today.



There really hasn't been a time when there was no armour worn in serious battle, unless you go *really* far back before hunter/gatherer societies.

There have been plenty of primitive societies that didn't really use armour and many of them are still around, but if we're talking 'cutting edge' societies for the time, then I'd probably have to cite the second half of the 19th century. After the cuirassiers fell out of vogue for all but practically ceremonial purposes (yes they did still wear armour, but a couple of cavalry regiments per nation doesn't really count as serious military use) I'm struggling to think of any substantial armour that was worn in conflict from 1815 until helmets started seeing wide-scale issue.



Plate, on the other hand, requires small amounts of skilled workers instead of large numbers of people toiling in sweatshops.

As much as a pain to make as mail is, plate armour was also produced in workshops. Master armourers would have dozens of people employed under them. It was still a very labour intensive industry. The blast furnaces also used a LOT of materials. It was a massive industry, which was why it was partly centralised, and nobility from all over Europe would send measurements to Milan etc. Basically: I'm not very convinced that it was a manpower thing.



Here is the google books for Knight and the Blast Furnace

Thank-you for a truly excellent link.



modern bullets probably penetrate better.

One would really hope that a military FMJ would out-perform a half-inch ball of lead! :) Which parts of the armour are you citing as proofed against musket-fire? I'd not debate that breastplates and visors could defeat the threat, but lower limbs?


though a consensus is emerging that 110 - 120 was about average during the heyday of what many people are now calling the English Warbow

Really? That doesn't seem to make much sense at all to me based on the biggest archaeological find made of such bows. Nor does it tally with the massively distorted shoulder bones found in Yeoman's graves. Seems low, based on the data available. what's caused the shift in opinion?

I personally don't doubt that decent plate armour, struck on any reasonably thick piece at an angle would defeat any longbow at anything but point blank range. In reality, I imagine it was very much the thing that you wanted to be wearing when faced with longbows. Professional soldiers simply do not use equipment that doesn't work. Especially if it's heavy and a pain in the backside! The problem came with those lucky shots, or horses being shot.


With that said, American soldiers today cost a LOT to field, so it's far more worth while to armor them up.

More than that, it's now political. The mass media has changed everything, and every soldier coming home in a body bag builds political pressure in favour of ending the conflict.


Can you think of other factors that could have (nearly) as important effects?

It's been pretty much covered. It was massed volley musketry that really did for personal armour of the age (except for heavy cavalry, whose job was close quarter fighting), rather than cannon though, in my opinion. In the pike and shot era, armour still saw considerable use. It was only when 95% rather than 25% or whatever of combatants carried a firearm that armour became very niche.


A Magnum wasn't made to be able to take out a Cuirassier, after all

Actually, the .357 magnum was specifically designed to defeat body armour...



What factors caused personal armor to become more widespread in the latter half of the 20th century?

Cost effectiveness. It costs a lot less to buy body armour than to train the PBI. There's also the political 'cost' of loosing men in battle.

It's in the best interests of Western nations to reduce casualties.

Finally, we have the technology! Sometimes in warfare, the weapons of the day are so much better than the defensive technology that armour falls by the wayside. We're in a period where we have the ability to make effective, portable armour.


Less say, cluster bombs, heavy artillery concentrations, laser guided bombs, tank rounds, fuel air explosives and that sort of thing which makes personal body armor kind of pointless.... all of which we would face if fighting another 1st World nation.

I'll disagree with that. Shrapnel typically kills FAR more people than firearms in conflict, and the primary purpose of body armour is really to defeat that threat, rather than smallarms. It's more effective against shrapnel than bullets.


and partly because it is becoming more and more rare for U.S. soldiers to actually die.

Or is it just less newsworthy?



Is there really serious research into the development of powered armor?

The US military is currently testing an exoskeleton (legs and torso only). It's designed to help infantry carry heavy loads rather than for armour to be bolted on. However, that step will eventually come. The problem is the poor battery life and ruggedisation.

Shademan
2010-07-19, 06:34 AM
Just to echo the issue with armor being one of cost effectiveness, I've actually seen a picture of Italian full plate from WWII. It was used by shock troops, but rarely, because it was just so expensive. It actually looks similar to a modern flack jacket except for the fact that there are steel plates underneath and it covers a very large section of the body (but only in the front). Theoretically, it was pretty effective... but I haven't seen tests. The main issue is how much cheaper it was to just send out a few men with guns instead of one man with guns and armor. With that said, American soldiers today cost a LOT to field, so it's far more worth while to armor them up. If it costs you $10,000 to armor a soldier effectively and $5000 to train and arm a soldier, it's not worth armoring them. But if that same soldier costs $50k to get into the field and you have to pay for his medical expenses later, it may be well worth it to give him decent armor.

Also, we have the example of that LA shoot out that the History channel loves to show so much, where one of the men in the bank robbery had used home made full body kevlar armor. He took a LOT of fire before going down.

JaronK

WWII fullplate? I'd like to see that

Brainfart
2010-07-19, 07:26 AM
As much as a pain to make as mail is, plate armour was also produced in workshops. Master armourers would have dozens of people employed under them. It was still a very labour intensive industry. The blast furnaces also used a LOT of materials. It was a massive industry, which was why it was partly centralised, and nobility from all over Europe would send measurements to Milan etc. Basically: I'm not very convinced that it was a manpower thing.

Didn't say that it wasn't labour intensive, I said it was considerably less so than mail. :smalltongue:

Forging and forming plate takes considerably less time than making a mail piece that covers a similar area, simply because of the tedious process of riveting the links. If we're going to bring in the production of the raw metal product and the subsequent refinement, mail will take even longer. You have to draw wire or punch rings out of sheets. Considering the number of rings that go into the average hauberk, that is a heck of a lot of work.

Psyx
2010-07-19, 08:25 AM
Mail is a massive pain to make, but once it's made, it's made. Repairs are simple, and mail can easily be re-sized for new hopefully-more-lucky owners. A mail shirt could be handed down a lot of times and isn't going to ever really 'wear out'.

Like I say - I'm not convinced on the manpower issue at all, really. Less population meant less people needing armour: It works both ways. I think it's far more a case of plate armour simply being better.



Edit: I've not heard of Italian WW2 plate (although I'd like to see some pics), but other nations certainly used breastplates in the war.

Spiryt
2010-07-19, 08:40 AM
Actually, I've read in many places that indeed after Black Death prices of mail could go up even five times.

Labor would be much more valuable.

I saw some data about breastplate being of comparable cost to mail hauberk in the middle of XVth century.

That was one of the reasons that mail was less and less used as main armor of course.


Less population meant less people needing armour

Most people that died would be ones that most probably couldn't afford/need/use armour anyway, but on the other hands, the ones who would make it in most cases (townfolk).


Mail is a massive pain to make, but once it's made, it's made

Actually period mail could be quite easy to damage - a lot of torn links, and * good * riveting won't be really something so easy to do.

Many modern mails are comparatively less susceptible to damage than period ones, who were designed to sustain trauma themselves instead of letting it hurt the wearer.

It was mainly softer that many people thought AFAIK. Harder steel isn't always better, naturally, and early mails were probably best thing one could make out of bloomery iron, and worked well.

Spiryt
2010-07-19, 08:51 AM
As far as I know, 3-4 ounces are the typical weight shot, so about 85-112.5 grams or so. I am no scientist, though, so will just have to take your word for the conversion rates. :smallwink:

I'm not sure what you're referring to, but KE is pretty easy:

52 squared (velocity in m/s) gives us 2704, times 0.15 (mass of moving object in kg) gives 405.6.

And half of that is 202,8 J, KE of our 150 g arrow moving at 52 m/s.

Matthew
2010-07-19, 09:23 AM
I'm not sure what you're referring to, but KE is pretty easy:

52 squared (velocity in m/s) gives us 2704, times 0.15 (mass of moving object in kg) gives 405.6.

And half of that is 202,8 J, KE of our 150 g arrow moving at 52 m/s.

I can follow the maths, but I am not familiar with the formulae, as I have not had to calculate the joules of anything for about ten years. :smallwink:

A question, though, mass is not the same as weight. I know the arrows shot by long bows are supposed to have been around 3-4 ounces in weight, but what would the mass be, or would it be the same?

Brainfart
2010-07-19, 12:26 PM
As Spiryt said, mail gets damaged comparatively easily, and any damage compromises protective value in that area. Mail will wear out pretty damn quickly if abused or neglected too. #@!* corrosion... :smallannoyed:

He also brings up another good point about mail. Softer and more malleable alloys make better mail than harder ones, simply because they deform instead of breaking. Broken rings leave a breach that permits weapons to circumvent the mail, whereas bent or deformed rings will still retain a significant portion of their protective capability.

JaronK
2010-07-19, 12:50 PM
WWII fullplate? I'd like to see that

It was in a book I don't own (in a crafting store, interestingly enough), so I can't show it, but it looked like a cross between full plate and modern bomb squad armor, for what it's worth. I remember the helmet looked really funny.

JaronK

Galloglaich
2010-07-19, 01:10 PM
Actually period mail could be quite easy to damage - a lot of torn links, and * good * riveting won't be really something so easy to do.

This is why aketons and jupons were so often worn over mail. Which is in turn why knights in the 13th Century so often look like the michelin tire man.



Many modern mails are comparatively less susceptible to damage than period ones, who were designed to sustain trauma themselves instead of letting it hurt the wearer.

It was mainly softer that many people thought AFAIK. Harder steel isn't always better, naturally, and early mails were probably best thing one could make out of bloomery iron, and worked well.

I agree iron mail was common in the Medieval period and back into the Iron Age, and could be effective, but I'm not sure I agree it's better. As you pointed out they were still actually making mail in the Renaissance, among other things it became popular for personal (civilian) body armor and was also still being used for soldiers, both as a component of plate armor and as stand-alone protection (with the inevitable textile component). This mail was steel and frequently tempered.

There are many accounts from this period of entire mail shirts being heated and tempered. I've also seen some Italian tempered mail (on a pourpoint) and it was fantastic, very small links, extremely tough. We had an opportunity to do some testing against a small piece of replica tempered mail at an ARMA event in 2004, it was virtually indestructable, much much tougher than the modern mass produced Indian mail which is so widespread today. We were unable to break any links with roundel daggers, swords, even an axe. Draw what conclusions you will from that limited example.

G.

Fhaolan
2010-07-19, 01:22 PM
That's not what was stated. I feel I've been slightly misquoted. You'd have to be blisteringly stupid to notice that people wear body armour in combat today.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to rebut your point, I was attempting to add to it.

I do a lot of educational shows at libraries and schools, and I have to say that 'blisteringly stupid' isn't as uncommon as might be hoped. :smallsmile:

The phrase 'guns killed armour' is a very common one that gets misinterpreted a lot, mainly because it appears that to most people the term 'armour' applies only to knights on horseback. I've actually had a parent argue with me that kevlar jackets are not armour.

Then again, I've also had a random person charge and head-butt me when I was in full 15th century Itallian harness when doing a school presentation. There are a *lot* of not-bright people out there.

Maclav
2010-07-19, 01:54 PM
Labor would be much more valuable.

A trend that continues today. It is possible to get a custom, hand made, tempered steel plate armour for a couple thousand dollars. Getting hand made, tailored, riveted mail.. well, I don't know how many years Eric Shmits (sp?) waiting list is, but the cost is measured in 10's of thousands. The labor is incredible.

Galloglaich
2010-07-19, 03:38 PM
I'm not disagreeing with your basic premise, I know how expensive Erc Schmidts mail is... but where can you get tempered steel plate harness for a couple of grand? You mean SCA style armor or the real deal?

G.

Tyndmyr
2010-07-19, 04:03 PM
Aright...lets set a few things straight.

1. The guns that "killed" armor did not shoot a ball of lead. They fired steel balls. Lead is much better when armor isn't a factor, and thus, lead became popular after armor faded for a wide variety of reasons.

2. Modern mail is not necessarily better than historical stuff. In particular, much modern mail is merely butted, while european historical mail was invariably either rivetted, forged, welded, or some combination thereof. As such, mail was proof against even bodkins to a very close range.

3. Mail was superior to plate in some areas. For instance, the popular image of a roman includes a metal breastplate, but this wasn't actually common in the Imperial period. Plate was second best at the time, but was a great deal easier to crank out, and thus, was used for reasons of speed and economy.

4. The idea that longbows could penetrate plate or mail is mostly false, and a modern one. Certain areas, at certain ranges and angles(ie, mostly very close, direct shots) could be penetrated, but this was relatively rare. However, a great many historical fights included a large number of unarmored, or lightly armored warriors, and mounts often were vulnerable as well.

5. The quality of steel matters less than you'd think for armor. It helps, sure, but a great deal of armor's protective value is derived from it's weight. This brings me to my next point...

6. Tempering does not make steel harder. It makes steel less hard, but tougher. You don't get both something amazingly hard and something really tough. Quenching and tempering hasn't really changed all that much in a great many years, with the exception of modern alloys.

HenryHankovitch
2010-07-19, 04:20 PM
He was wearing the jacket overtop his regular kevlar (still without plates) when they were ambushed. There was an explosion, and he doesn't remember much else of what happened. He doesn't think it was a landmine, because it didn't come up through the floor, but from one side. He lost his left arm, but still feels like the jacket is what kept him alive. I have my doubts as to how effective it really was, and how much was actually due to the vehicle's body and the kevlar he was wearing, but he was there and I wasn't.
For reasons which become immediately self-evident, you will never talk to a soldier whose lucky charm failed to keep him alive.

Maclav
2010-07-19, 05:20 PM
I'm not disagreeing with your basic premise, I know how expensive Erc Schmidts mail is... but where can you get tempered steel plate harness for a couple of grand? You mean SCA style armor or the real deal?

G.

You can get "off the shelf" stuff that is nicely made for ~4 grand from places like Historic Enterprises. Cheaper "SCA" grade stuff can be had from Stonekeep. But comparing apples to apples since Eric Schmidts makes some really, really, good mail, one of my friends of a quote for everything but a helmet, late 14th c, custom for ~$6k in tempered steel. The armourers name escapes me at the moment, but he was mentioned as a candidate for the "top 10 armourers in the world" thread over on AA a while back.

Stephen_E
2010-07-19, 08:40 PM
Quote:
though a consensus is emerging that 110 - 120 was about average during the heyday of what many people are now calling the English Warbow




Really? That doesn't seem to make much sense at all to me based on the biggest archaeological find made of such bows. Nor does it tally with the massively distorted shoulder bones found in Yeoman's graves. Seems low, based on the data available. what's caused the shift in opinion?


I'm no archer, but from what Archers here, and those I've spoken to persoanally say, I think you underestimate just how hard it is to pull a 120lb bow.
May not sound like much but apparently it takes serious muscle. Toss in that those skeletons with over developed shoulders ectre were probably using heavy bows from a younger age, and more frequently, then I don't think you need to go with super weights to get such physical developement.

Stephen E

fusilier
2010-07-19, 09:16 PM
It was in a book I don't own (in a crafting store, interestingly enough), so I can't show it, but it looked like a cross between full plate and modern bomb squad armor, for what it's worth. I remember the helmet looked really funny.

JaronK

The only Italian armor I'm familiar with is Farina Armor from WWI. It was designed for use by the wire cutting companies (aka companies of death), but was eventually abandoned. It would stop a rifle bullet, but ultimately the soldiers preferred mobility. The real solution to the problem of wire was large caliber trench mortars. The Belgians apparently trialed the armor during the war as well.

links to pictures of the armor (taken from: http://www.landships.freeservers.com/italian_uniforms.htm)

--EDIT--
OK, they don't allow remote linking to their pictures. So look on that webpage, and scroll down towards the bottom. You should see a trio of images showing the armor. It typically consists of a heavy helmet, a breast plate and pauldrons(? Shoulder protection). Although one picture shows a different version with only the breast plate.
--EDIT--

However, in the movie Uomini Contro, which is one of the best known movies about Italy in WWI, they use a weird armor that seems to be inspired by Brewster Armor. To my knowledge it was never used in combat.


http://un-certaintimes.blogspot.com/2008/08/brewster-body-armor-c-1917.html

Brainfart
2010-07-20, 12:55 AM
5. The quality of steel matters less than you'd think for armor. It helps, sure, but a great deal of armor's protective value is derived from it's weight. This brings me to my next point...

Errr, no. You only say this because you've been exposed to modern steels, which are bloody consistent. Getting a billet of homogeneous steel from a forge without modern equipment is considerably tougher. An examination of some of the pieces around would reveal the importance of the quality of steel in armour. Some possess very uniform hardness, and other have elongated slag deposits forged into the armour.

Also, what? How exactly does the weight of armour provide a significant amount of protective value? :smallconfused:



6. Tempering does not make steel harder. It makes steel less hard, but tougher. You don't get both something amazingly hard and something really tough. Quenching and tempering hasn't really changed all that much in a great many years, with the exception of modern alloys.

Which is the point. You don't want something incredibly hard that will shatter when struck, you want a balance of resilience and hardness. The katana fanboys love to yap on and on about their razor sharp, high carbon cutting edge, but this is what tends to happen in reality when said edge gets abused:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hy_A9vjp_s#t=5m55s

Psyx
2010-07-20, 04:00 AM
I'm no archer, but from what Archers here, and those I've spoken to persoanally say, I think you underestimate just how hard it is to pull a 120lb bow.

Not at all. It's very hard by our standards. That's why they took the strongest men for archers, who trained from such an early age. That's why the skeletons are massively distorted and show signs of repeated ligament damage. That's why the bows on the Mary Rose has such high draws. All our evidence points towards >120lb, so I'm wondering what new evidence is now going the other way?

We are talking about a nation that banned darts and football to build better archers here.

fusilier
2010-07-20, 05:16 AM
Some further comments on firearms and armor (clipped from another thread I post on) . . .
. . .

Thanks for that detailed and instructive post. I would like to add a few comments.

First of all, if you have the time, try to track down a copy of Gunpowder and Galleys, by John F. Guilmartin. It's an expensive book, even used, but I borrowed a copy from my local University library. It's very technical, although possibly a bit dated, I've seen nothing that comes anywhere close to it. It's from 1974, although there's apparently an updated version from 2004.

Luckily, Guilmartin has kindly posted the chapter on weapons (everything from composite bows to cannons), online:
http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/guilmartin.com/Weapons.html


Firearms:

Corned powder was pretty common by the time muskets came along, also it was typical at that time to overcharge gunpowder weapons (cannons were usually charged to the point that any more gunpowder would have resulted in a decrease in muzzle velocity).

A note from guilmartin reads:

Robert Held, The Age of Firearms (New York, 1957), p. 39, estimates that the Spanish musket could penetrate armor handily up to 125 yards and ‘stop in his tracks by sheer impact what ever man or beast it might hit at ranges well over 200 yards’, an estimate which seems quite reasonable.

There is something that must be considered here. Even if the armor protects the wearer, if the blow is strong enough to knock him over (perhaps off of his horse), it could still be very effective. Yes, the wearer may be able to stand back up -- but the formation had been disrupted, and that's very important in this time period.


In tests conducted at the H. P. White Laboratory, Eel Aire, Maryland, on 1 July 1970, an 85 caliber lead ball of 890 grains (about 2.3 ounces), driven by 215 grains of black powder (0.49 ounces), typically produced a muzzle velocity of about 1,100 feet per second. Sixteenth century Spanish musketeers almost certainly used a considerably larger powder charge, as heavy as the weight of the ball according to Jorge Vigon, Historia de la Artilleria Espańola (Madrid, 1947), Vol. I, p. 236

By my calculations (and I would appreciate it if somebody double checked them) the tests were delivering >3600 J of energy at the muzzle. And that may be low compared to what was attained during the 16th century.

Crossbows:
Guilmartin does tackle the issue of crossbows, but his primary source dates from 1903. While Guilmartin was writing in the 1970s, I think it shows that there really hasn't been much attention given to crossbows over the past century. Nonetheless here are some interest notes:


The main variables were the size of the enemy force and the degree to which the hostile troops were protected by bulwarks, armor, etc. Payne-Gallwey, The Crossbow, p. 20, gives 370-80 yards as his estimate of the extreme range attainable with ‘the ordinary military crossbow of the fourteenth century’. This estimate applies only to normal field weapons. On p. 14 he describes shooting a heavy bolt to a range of 460 yards with a large, specialized, siege crossbow. This crossbow, however, was a monster weighing 18 pounds and still having a draw force of 1,200 pounds after four centuries of deterioration.

Yes, he was performing tests with an original crossbow from circa 1500!

Guilmartin describes how crossbows developed, becoming more powerful in response to plate armor, but they were intrinsically inaccurate,


From the point of view of the sixteenth-century fighting man aboard ship, the steel crossbow was a murderously effective short-range weapon. Armed with a good stout crossbow, he need fear neither man, devil nor armored knight — if he could hit him. But to be sure of getting a solid hit, the crossbowman had to wait until his target was quite close: about 75 yards at most and even less if he were armored.13 This was well and good if the crossbowman were shooting from a secure place where he could reload at will. But in a boarding fight he had to make his first shot tell: it was the only one he was likely to get off. Drawing, cocking, and loading a crossbow was a lengthy process.

However, there is a note, concerning the accuracy of crossbows--

Sporting crossbows made for noble owners were a completely different proposition from the ordinary military crossbow and the best of them were undoubtedly more accurate. Some powerful sporting crossbows were fitted with cranequins, an expensive gear and ratchet arrangement which could be used on horseback. But the occasions on which finely made weapons of this type appeared in the field were so few and the numbers in which they were used so small as to justify omitting all mention of them from the text. The use of cranequin crossbows by Francis I’s mounted bodyguard of 200 men at Marignano in 1515 (mentioned by Payne-Gallwey, The Crossbow, p. 134) is the only example which comes to mind and a very late one at that.

Psyx
2010-07-20, 05:34 AM
"Even if the armor protects the wearer, if the blow is strong enough to knock him over (perhaps off of his horse), it could still be very effective. "

Newton says 'no'.

A man being pitched over backwards from being hit by a round at 100 yards is going to result in a firearm user being in a far worse situation. Firearms do not blow people off their feet.

Aroka
2010-07-20, 05:50 AM
A man being pitched over backwards from being hit by a round at 100 yards is going to result in a firearm user being in a far worse situation. Firearms do not blow people off their feet.

I guess the myth of bullets throwing people off their feet is pretty old, huh?

But it's not quite that simple - you can knock someone off their feet with a kick or punch without going flying in the opposite direction. You're not actually doing it with sheer force, but by unbalancing them (the force is applied to you in a direction in which you resist it perfectly, but to the other person in a direction that they don't resist well, that puts them off balance, and causes them to fall). Would a ball-shaped round be more capable of that than a modern pointed round?

JaronK
2010-07-20, 06:15 AM
People being blown off their feet by firearms is more a flinch reaction resulting from either fear or damage than the impact actually blowing them away. It's like how a taser can sometimes knock someone back... it's not that there was force coming from the taser, it's that their muscles spasmed.

So yeah, personal firearms don't knock people back by sheer force. They may stumble back because they had the wind knocked out of them, but generally speaking if the armor stops the bullet the person isn't going anywhere... especially if we're talking about heavy steel plate armor. It's just going to make a loud clang unless it penetrates or at least dents the armor enough to cause a problem.

Cannons, of course, will knock people off their feet quite readily. The feet may even remain behind after they've been knocked off of them.

JaronK

Psyx
2010-07-20, 06:22 AM
It depends what kind of 'modern pointed round'.

It's all about energy transfer.

Military FMJ rounds are designed to deal with lightly armoured threats. New rounds designed to penetrate body armour, even moreso. They punch straight through people. As a result, not all of the energy they have is transferred to the target - some is still possessed by the bullet emerging from the other side. On the other hand, frangible ammunition and 'black talon' style stuff is designed to transfer *all* of the energy to a target (doing more damage, so long as they maintain enough penetration to reach vital areas).

A bullet that transfers more energy has more energy to push someone back.
I'm not too sure how well musket balls penetrate, but I suspect that they possibly lay between frangible ammunition and more penetrating types. So 'it depends' is the answer.

Anyone know the energy of a decent punch off-hand? I'm guessing 300J for a reasonable swing, from someone half-competent, without being a hardened heavy-weight. How about a musket ball's energy at 100m?

Spiryt
2010-07-20, 06:26 AM
Mythbusters shot a reasonably weighting pig with Barrett.

With very thick steel plate than stopped bullet inside.

The pig/mannequin (can't recall well) moved back few centimeters, and coudn't really fell of the hinges it was laying on.

So no, even powerful bullets with immense momentum use it in such way that cannot knock people back. It pushes back encountered matter on smaller scale.

fusilier
2010-07-20, 06:38 AM
"Even if the armor protects the wearer, if the blow is strong enough to knock him over (perhaps off of his horse), it could still be very effective. "

Newton says 'no'.

A man being pitched over backwards from being hit by a round at 100 yards is going to result in a firearm user being in a far worse situation. Firearms do not blow people off their feet.

I think that Aroka started to answer that question for you. Being suddenly, and unexpectedly hit by a force of a musket ball which is completely resisted by armor (ok, so it dents, but it's not spreading the impact over much area) could conceivably be enough to knock one off balance. Certainly a blow to either of the legs, would be enough to cause one to fall. A blow to the helmet could easily cause a concussion. In any situation, I would find it difficult to assume that the armored target doesn't take some amount of damage from the blow.

It would not surprise me, if, from time to time, an armored soldier was able to shrug off the occasional musket ball, but that doesn't make it a rule that all shot being resisted by armor is effectively ignored by the target.

@Aroka-
The main difference between a ball and a pointed round (specifically a metal jacketed round), is that a lead ball will deform more easily, and transfer more energy to whatever it hits. That's assuming penetration. If it doesn't penetrate, than a harder bullet that ricochets (at a relatively perpendicular angle) of the same mass/velocity will transfer more energy than one that deforms (because energy is used to deform it).

Tyndmyr
2010-07-20, 06:46 AM
Errr, no. You only say this because you've been exposed to modern steels, which are bloody consistent. Getting a billet of homogeneous steel from a forge without modern equipment is considerably tougher. An examination of some of the pieces around would reveal the importance of the quality of steel in armour. Some possess very uniform hardness, and other have elongated slag deposits forged into the armour.

Well yes, there's a certain point at which extremely poor quality will affect the outcome, yes, as we see with the generally poor quality of steel in japan, the exact type of steel, provided it's not so brittle it instantly shatters, doesn't matter all that much. Plenty of very good armor was made out of iron. Almost any steel is a step up from that.


Also, what? How exactly does the weight of armour provide a significant amount of protective value? :smallconfused:

This is most important with mail, but it comes up with plate as well. Much armor is either hanging off the body(most mail is supported by the shoulders, though sometimes a belt is used for longer pieces. In the case of mail protecting the neck, it's suspended from a helmet in an aventail.) or worn over padding/suspension. Almost nobody historically wore armor directly against their body.

Thus, the heavier the armor, the greater the blow required to overcome the weight and deliver force to the wearer. Grab some mail, and try it yourself. It's the biggest weakness of titanium mail(though overcoming it with quantity does work, if you don't mind spending piles of money).


Which is the point. You don't want something incredibly hard that will shatter when struck, you want a balance of resilience and hardness. The katana fanboys love to yap on and on about their razor sharp, high carbon cutting edge, but this is what tends to happen in reality when said edge gets abused:

Yup. If I had to fight someone with a katana in melee, I'd take a good longsword over another katana any day. It's tough enough to actually block, and still plenty sharp to kill people.

fusilier
2010-07-20, 06:47 AM
The stance of musketeers of the 16th century was pretty aggressive, probably an indicator that they had to deal with fairly strong recoil.

You're really missing the point with this discussion. People often fall over after being hit by a bullet. That's the point. Being hit by a heavy musket ball, is at the very least a potentially "destabilizing" event. This can be incredibly useful in breaking up a formation during a charge.

In fact properly aimed cannister shot (from cannons) was supposed to do just that -- wound a bunch of people -- even if it is just a minor wound that trips them up temporarily, it will break the formation of the charging unit and cause the charge to lose its momentum.

valadil
2010-07-20, 08:59 AM
I'm no archer, but from what Archers here, and those I've spoken to persoanally say, I think you underestimate just how hard it is to pull a 120lb bow.
May not sound like much but apparently it takes serious muscle. Toss in that those skeletons with over developed shoulders ectre were probably using heavy bows from a younger age, and more frequently, then I don't think you need to go with super weights to get such physical developement.

Stephen E

I've done quite a bit of modern olympic style archery. Never saw someone shooting above 80 lbs. Anything used above 60/65 lbs was compound. However my father in law has a 90 lbs longbow in his attic. I tried it out once. I can draw it, but I wouldn't attempt more than a couple shots with it at a time. It's really hard to have any stability or finesse while pulling something at the upper bounds of your strength.

However I'd have to problem believing that a professional archer could work his way up to this weight. If I can draw it once, I can do that every day until I build up some strength. I have no reason to believe I'm stronger than the average professional medieval bowman. 120 lbs doesn't seem that much higher than 90.

Yora
2010-07-20, 09:19 AM
Mythbusters shot a reasonably weighting pig with Barrett.

With very thick steel plate than stopped bullet inside.

The pig/mannequin (can't recall well) moved back few centimeters, and coudn't really fell of the hinges it was laying on.

So no, even powerful bullets with immense momentum use it in such way that cannot knock people back. It pushes back encountered matter on smaller scale.
The impact force on the target is the same as the impact force on the shoters arm and shoulder. The different effect comes from the shoter absorbing the force through the entire grip and stock, while the target gets all that force concentrated on the small impact point of the bullet.
The impact experienced by the entire body is the same, so any gun that can kick back the target will also kick back the shoter.

Psyx
2010-07-20, 09:26 AM
I think it's generally better to knock people down by blowing a massive hole in them so they die than by sheer kinetic energy transfer...

That's how bullets knock people down (by wounding them), although psychology comes into play a bit as well (people expect to fall over... so sometimes they just do). Although possibly less so if you're pumped full of adrenaline and running at someone...



"while the target gets all that force concentrated on the small impact point of the bullet."

Stabbing someone with a pointy stick for 200J of energy isn't going to knock back the target any more than hitting them with a big bat for 200J of energy. The area over which the blow is distributed makes no difference. The DAMAGE done by that energy is dependant on the area it's spread over, but knock-back... no.

And a bullet that ricochets off armour or blows straight through is delivering substantially less energy to the target than the firer.

Mike_G
2010-07-20, 10:19 AM
I've done quite a bit of modern olympic style archery. Never saw someone shooting above 80 lbs. Anything used above 60/65 lbs was compound. However my father in law has a 90 lbs longbow in his attic. I tried it out once. I can draw it, but I wouldn't attempt more than a couple shots with it at a time. It's really hard to have any stability or finesse while pulling something at the upper bounds of your strength.

However I'd have to problem believing that a professional archer could work his way up to this weight. If I can draw it once, I can do that every day until I build up some strength. I have no reason to believe I'm stronger than the average professional medieval bowman. 120 lbs doesn't seem that much higher than 90.

I agree. The professional longbowman had been training since youth to pull a bow, so I can believe they could pull bows that an amateur modern archer couldn't approach. Look at what an Olympic gymnast who has trained from childhood can do. I don't think it's reasonable to extrapolate the performance of Henry V's archers by what we can do today.

Nobody is a "professional" archer today. Even competitive archery is hitting targets, not trying to punch through mail, so a bow with 120 pounds of pull would offer no advantage, and be harder to draw and hold on target.

Yora
2010-07-20, 10:24 AM
"while the target gets all that force concentrated on the small impact point of the bullet."

Stabbing someone with a pointy stick for 2000J of energy isn't going to knock back the target any more than hitting them with a big bat for 200J of energy. The area over which the blow is distributed makes no difference. The DAMAGE done by that energy is dependant on the area it's spread over, but knock-back... no.
It's not the force of the bullet that injures you, but the fact that it is concentrated on such a small area, which makes the bullet penetrate into the body and pierce blood vessels and organs.
Same as being stabbed by a knifes blade or getting hit by the grip.

Psyx
2010-07-20, 10:31 AM
It's not the force of the bullet that injures you, but the fact that it is concentrated on such a small area, which makes the bullet penetrate into the body and pierce blood vessels and organs.
Same as being stabbed by a knifes blade or getting hit by the grip.

Err... that was completely my point. I was refuting the fact that knocking someone off their feet is not dependant on the pointyness of the stick.

[And if we're being really picky, then in addition to actual piercing damage, there's temporary wound cavity / shock wave stuff...]

Deadmeat.GW
2010-07-20, 11:29 AM
Hum, actually, I can see especially mounted knights being knocked off a horse.

If you get hit in the upper part of the torso, especially the shoulders you have to be carefull or you will tip over backwards.

Same principal as in the joust.
Push the other guys center off balance just enough out of center so that he starts having to fight gravity also.

Not the same as being knocked back but knocked over, that I can see happening.
Given that most volleys were fired at surprisingly enough shoulder height I can see people being knocked over.

Of course nothing as dramatic as a Hollywood scene were you go flying backwards but still the target hit will topple over backwards quite visibly as the result of the hit.

Psyx
2010-07-20, 11:33 AM
Two words on that one: War Saddle.

Specifically designed to stop you falling out of the saddle when you got belted by some loon swinging a weapon at you, so certainly capable of keeping you in the saddle from a lower energy missile strike.

Tyndmyr
2010-07-20, 11:38 AM
I've done quite a bit of modern olympic style archery. Never saw someone shooting above 80 lbs. Anything used above 60/65 lbs was compound. However my father in law has a 90 lbs longbow in his attic. I tried it out once. I can draw it, but I wouldn't attempt more than a couple shots with it at a time. It's really hard to have any stability or finesse while pulling something at the upper bounds of your strength.

However I'd have to problem believing that a professional archer could work his way up to this weight. If I can draw it once, I can do that every day until I build up some strength. I have no reason to believe I'm stronger than the average professional medieval bowman. 120 lbs doesn't seem that much higher than 90.


The endurance aspect is significant. Historical combat groups encourage their members to train for endurance, despite typically using around 35 lb bows for safety reasons. There's a huge difference between managing to pull something back once, and drawing(and often holding) a bow all day long. You need to draw and hold it smoothly, without shaking, etc.

120 lbs is pretty impressive. Especially considering general health and nutrition available is much better nowadays then then. I wouldn't expect that draw weights significantly above that were at all frequent.

Galloglaich
2010-07-20, 11:41 AM
Not at all. It's very hard by our standards. That's why they took the strongest men for archers, who trained from such an early age. That's why the skeletons are massively distorted and show signs of repeated ligament damage. That's why the bows on the Mary Rose has such high draws. All our evidence points towards >120lb, so I'm wondering what new evidence is now going the other way?

We are talking about a nation that banned darts and football to build better archers here.

In answer to this question, this was just a ball park estimate from a friend in the HEMA wrld who has a longbow and is part of a 'scene' of longbow archers in the UK. His suggestion has since been corroborated by other people, though I've heard other versions; that 120 lbs is about the 'sweet spot' for range (after that you get much less dramatic increases in range) but a heavier bow would still be better for armor piercing at close range.

I know for a fact there are some people claiming that 150-180 lbs draw was more normal. There is a great deal of debate about the actual draw weight of the bows found on the Mary Rose because they sat in the water for so long and nobody is sure what the effect of that was.

A 120 lbs bow is very hard to draw and requires not only strength, and some reshaping of your muscles and tendons, but also very specific technique.

Anyway feel free to take all of that with a grain of salt I am not an expert on longbows, the heaviest draw bow I ever used was 60 lbs and that was in Summer camp when I was 12*. I gather there is some room for different interpretations of the data.

I've also learned, just to throw another factor in, that the draw weight off longbows works differently on a number of levels from the draw weight on recurves.


G.

* though I'd like to correct that by getting a longbow of around 80 or 90 lbs that I could practice with.

Psyx
2010-07-20, 11:42 AM
"You need to draw and hold it smoothly, without shaking, etc."


Yeoman archers? If they're holding their shots long enough to be shaking, they aren't firing fast enough. The point was to put down massive swathes of arrows at long range, not single 'sniper' shots at medium range.

Endurance is critical though, as they were required to be able to put down a staggering number of arrows per minute.


"A 120 lbs bow is very hard to draw and requires not only strength, and some reshaping of your muscles and tendons, but also very specific technique."

Hence the phrase 'put your back into the bow' :smallsmile:

Spiryt
2010-07-20, 11:49 AM
Yeoman archers? If they're holding their shots long enough to be shaking, they aren't firing fast enough.

And if they are firing that fast, shaking will occur naturally, as well with decreased accuracy... shooting really fast is hard to do, tires down, and makes even basic aiming difficult.

It off course depends on personal abilities, but I would be always careful about shooting really heavy bows in battle.


Endurance is critical though, as they were required to be able to put down a staggering number of arrows per minute

And still do it again few times, still with good accuracy... "sniper" or not, even hitting quite large group of men from say, 200 meters is not easy task.

Galloglaich
2010-07-20, 11:50 AM
Thanks for that detailed and instructive post. I would like to add a few comments.

First of all, if you have the time, try to track down a copy of Gunpowder and Galleys, by John F. Guilmartin. It's an expensive book, even used, but I borrowed a copy from my local University library. It's very technical, although possibly a bit dated, I've seen nothing that comes anywhere close to it. It's from 1974, although there's apparently an updated version from 2004.

Luckily, Guilmartin has kindly posted the chapter on weapons (everything from composite bows to cannons), online:
http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/guilmartin.com/Weapons.html



Thanks this is a great source, I really appreciate it I can use this for my book..



Yes, he was performing tests with an original crossbow from circa 1500!

I think this is the same test Alan Williams mentions.



Guilmartin describes how crossbows developed, becoming more powerful in response to plate armor, but they were intrinsically inaccurate,

This was interesting because my data was that the cranequin crossbow became relatively common in the late 14th Century, enough that it allowed the Swiss to deploy a lot of mounted arbalestiers (crossbowmen)

On the whole gun knockdown thing, I agree the KE isn't enough to knock a man down, but I've seen the dents caused by shooting armor, and I suspect a 3600 joule musket would put a thump on you that could very likely knock you down (in reaction) especially if you were on horseback.


G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-20, 11:53 AM
Here is a video about shooting longbws somebody recently posted to another forum I'm on. (I can't remember if I posted it on this thread or not yet if I did my apologies)

http://sebastianarchers.blogspot.com/?spref=fb

The guy is definitely on the upper end theory of longbowmens skills, I don't agree with him on that part but he probably knows more than me. It's a good demonstration of how you actually have to draw and shoot a bow that powerful.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-20, 01:01 PM
The only Italian armor I'm familiar with is Farina Armor from WWI. It was designed for use by the wire cutting companies (aka companies of death), but was eventually abandoned. It would stop a rifle bullet, but ultimately the soldiers preferred mobility. The real solution to the problem of wire was large caliber trench mortars. The Belgians apparently trialed the armor during the war as well.

links to pictures of the armor (taken from: http://www.landships.freeservers.com/italian_uniforms.htm)

--EDIT--
OK, they don't allow remote linking to their pictures. So look on that webpage, and scroll down towards the bottom. You should see a trio of images showing the armor. It typically consists of a heavy helmet, a breast plate and pauldrons(? Shoulder protection). Although one picture shows a different version with only the breast plate.
--EDIT--

However, in the movie Uomini Contro, which is one of the best known movies about Italy in WWI, they use a weird armor that seems to be inspired by Brewster Armor. To my knowledge it was never used in combat.


http://un-certaintimes.blogspot.com/2008/08/brewster-body-armor-c-1917.html

This is great stuff thanks for posting.

G.

Brainfart
2010-07-20, 02:01 PM
This is most important with mail, but it comes up with plate as well. Much armor is either hanging off the body(most mail is supported by the shoulders, though sometimes a belt is used for longer pieces. In the case of mail protecting the neck, it's suspended from a helmet in an aventail.) or worn over padding/suspension. Almost nobody historically wore armor directly against their body.

Thus, the heavier the armor, the greater the blow required to overcome the weight and deliver force to the wearer. Grab some mail, and try it yourself. It's the biggest weakness of titanium mail(though overcoming it with quantity does work, if you don't mind spending piles of money).


Right, I was thinking of plate when I wrote the response. Yes, I have seen it in action. It's almost like trying to punch through a very heavy curtain.



Anyone know the energy of a decent punch off-hand? I'm guessing 300J for a reasonable swing, from someone half-competent, without being a hardened heavy-weight. How about a musket ball's energy at 100m?

You'd be hard pressed to find data on half-competent punchers. I do recall a few 'tests' conducted on the MMA episode of Fight Science, and the numbers were pretty staggering. They also varied quite a bit between fighters of similar size and build, so that further complicates matters.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-07-20, 07:39 PM
Two words on that one: War Saddle.

Specifically designed to stop you falling out of the saddle when you got belted by some loon swinging a weapon at you, so certainly capable of keeping you in the saddle from a lower energy missile strike.

And you are going to claim unhorsing is impossible?

Let me see, a swing with a sword versus a impact of a slug on a smaller surface...

The effect would be about even.
Remember that since you are quoting a loon SWINGING a weapon you end up with something rather different then an impact on a small surface.

Or are you talking a lance or spear strike versus an impact from a shot?
Those you definately do not swing, that would an excellent way to break an arm or to dislocate a shoulder.

Perhaps you should before making a statement that is as categorical about saddles, check what happens to people in the saddle on a joust and there you are bracing for it btw (unless you are playing a scenario in which you are supposed to fall, those are very harsh also on the person falling if not done correctly).

Again, for the record, ex-jouster HERE!

I know well enough that a clipping hit on the shoulder, slightly below the collarbone, can cause you to loose balance.
A solid impact there, that does not glance off can be really dificult to resist so as to keep your balance.

The saddle pushing against your lower back does not stop your body from bending over backwards with the impact.
If you are unfortunate enough to get hit in the sweet spot the saddle actually makes it more difficult to stay on as you are now using that as a lever to top you over, if you don't take the hit in a fashion that allows you to deflect it away from your center of mass.

Check out warsaddles and jousting saddles.
The saddle rim tends to be just above your hipbone and pelvis to give you added support if you are braced correctly.
However this bracing works in a specific direction, if the impact comes from a slightly off angle you are going to have less of an advantage for having the saddle.

Shots from ranged weapons tend to impact differently then strikes from melee weapons, except maybe for lance strikes in a traditional ride-by joust.

In jousts this sweet spot to knock someone over is quite often expressily forbidden to be used and we get trained to aim for center of mass or center of shield to ensure less chances of accidental injuries happen.
(No going for the head shot or the off-hand shoulder pit, the armpit as any of these can lead to serious injuries with a bit of bad luck. Those shots are for specific and well rehearsed jousts where both sides quite often pre-determine whom will win, kinda like in wrestling in the WWE)

In martial arts you will also notice that a lot of martial arts tell you that the body will go where the head leads it to.
Clipping someone in the head is one way of directing the head to off-balance someone, shoulders are another.
With good armour neither are common but if they are hit (and versus a volley of shots the odds are someone is going to get hit in the right fashion to cause them to loose balance) retaining balance is going to be an awfull lot more difficult then people seem to assume.

The warsaddle is not a magic item that stops you from being able to be unhorsed with shots to such positions.
It is designed to ensure your balance is better (and without it you would have far more issues trying to stay on your horse if you get hit) and to ensure you are on a stable platform with the ability to make use of the horsepower underneath you when you strike.
It does not make you incapable of falling out of your saddle, it merely gives you an edge to ensure you have a shot at staying in the saddle.
And in warfare small edges like that can make the difference.

Keep in mind that when I was a measly 10 stone I could successfully unhorse people weighing over 60% more then me if I struck them on the shoulder in a fashion that the lance did not just glide past the shoulder.
I got a serious reprimand for doing so when the intention was to just do center of shield strikes but at a trot versus someone weighing 16 stone plus a clipping hit on the shoulder could be enough to unhorse people since the movement of the shoulder makes you slide sideways and backwards in your saddle.
The result being you are having to fight to keep your feet in your stirrups to retain balance, the lance you carry suddenly swings wide and up (which almost whacked me on the side of the head), your back is twisted and pressed hard against the upper rim of your saddle while your body movement pushes you over the top of the saddle in sort of semi twisting motion.
If you do not adjust really fast your footing and slump the opposite shoulder forward your own bodyweight will start pulling you over the edge of your own saddle as you center of mass has gone from forward over the neck of your mount to suddenly over the top of your saddle.

As I said, it would be possible to knock somebody down, on foot or on horse back with a hit that does not penetrate but it would be a knockdown and not a knockback.
It may look like a knockback to the uninformed because your mount or the people alongside you would still be moving forward, therefore giving the impression that you were knocked backwards, while the actuality is that you got fooled by the movement of the mount or the movement of the rest of the people on foot.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-07-20, 07:57 PM
Here is a video about shooting longbws somebody recently posted to another forum I'm on. (I can't remember if I posted it on this thread or not yet if I did my apologies)

http://sebastianarchers.blogspot.com/?spref=fb

The guy is definitely on the upper end theory of longbowmens skills, I don't agree with him on that part but he probably knows more than me. It's a good demonstration of how you actually have to draw and shoot a bow that powerful.

G.

Well, he does claim in that video that you would knock a knight clean of his horse with a single shot, given historical records don't show this to be true I would say he is being rather (over-)enthousiastic about the effect of a longbow.

And that would be knocking off, not knocking down, so the rather Hollywoodian way of the guy goes flying off his horse when hit image is being brought up there.

Crow
2010-07-21, 01:53 AM
Well, he does claim in that video that you would knock a knight clean of his horse with a single shot, given historical records don't show this to be true I would say he is being rather (over-)enthousiastic about the effect of a longbow.

I think he is meaning "knock him clean off his horse", as in "kill him". Not literally making him fly off of his horse.

Psyx
2010-07-21, 04:04 AM
"And you are going to claim unhorsing is impossible?
Remember that since you are quoting a loon SWINGING a weapon you end up with something rather different then an impact on a small surface..."

Massive froth cut.

No: I'm saying it's probably not particularly easy.


"Let me see, a swing with a sword versus a impact of a slug on a smaller surface... The effect would be about even."

Unless we know the energy of the shot at range, you can't actually say that with any certainty.
A strike with a lance carries FAR more energy than a shot, I suspect. FAR more. Basic physics tells me that.

Weight of horse + rider + spear at whatever mph = FAR greater kinetic energy than a musket ball. If a lance struck a stationary person in the shoulder, would they be knocked back less or more than the shoulder of someone firing a musket?

So given that, how much easier would it be to stay in the saddle after a musket strike?

Come to think of it; Uxbridge got his leg taken off by a cannonball at Waterloo while in the saddle...

Aroka
2010-07-21, 04:53 AM
A 3 ounce musket ball would be 85 grams, compared to a 80 kilogram (175 lbs.) man in 25 kilograms (55 lbs.) of arms and armor on a, say, 700 kilogram horse (1,500 lbs.), with equipment included... that's 805 kilograms, or 9470 times the weight of the musket ball.

So for the musket ball to have equal kinetic energy to the charging horse and rider, the velocity squared of the musket ball would have to be 9470 times that of the velocity squared of the rider.

Now, this does not take into account how much energy the rider actually delivers through the lance, since this is apparently a tricky subject related to skill, strength, and the fact that a lance might shiver (break) before delivering nearly the energy is might, but with a factor of difference that huge we can have a pretty large margin of error and the rider still comes out way ahead.

For instance, if the horse were going 30 km/h (18.5 mph; a slow gallop, since the horse is weighed down and possibly tired by now) or 8.333 m/s, the square is about 69.5... the bullet would have to be going around 811 m/s (that's Mach 2.4, 2,920 km/h or 1,815 mph) for equal energy. That's modern assault round speeds (but 7.62x51mmN rounds only weigh 10 grams, less than an 8th that musket ball's weight).

I think it's safe to say a horse and rider will deliver higher energies by some orders of magnitude when compared to a musket, even given all the variables that take the number down.

Edit: Mind, this was very quick math and a very quick look-up on the musket ball weight, but it should be a decent indication of the difference in energies unless I made some colossal mistake.

Galloglaich
2010-07-21, 08:49 AM
Well, he does claim in that video that you would knock a knight clean of his horse with a single shot, given historical records don't show this to be true I would say he is being rather (over-)enthousiastic about the effect of a longbow.

And that would be knocking off, not knocking down, so the rather Hollywoodian way of the guy goes flying off his horse when hit image is being brought up there.

Yeah the guy is a bit of a longbow 'enthusiast', I don't agree with his assertions of 180 lbs bows being widespread or of longbows piercing plate armor at long range, but it's useful in showing you what it takes to draw one of those bows, how they are made etc.

G.

Daosus
2010-07-21, 01:19 PM
I found it interesting that when he draws the bow, he looks less like a normal archer, and more like the pictures of archers from the Middle Ages.

Battle of Crecy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cr%C3%A9cy)

crazedloon
2010-07-21, 01:25 PM
or of longbows piercing plate armor at long range

well he never said it would pierce the armor just that the impact could break your spine.... I don't know which is a worse exaggeration

Spiryt
2010-07-21, 01:33 PM
well he never said it would pierce the armor just that the impact could break your spine.... I don't know which is a worse exaggeration

If it hit spine centrally, with a bit of luck I can see some cracks....

No one said that you can only be shooting opponent who is facing you. In fact opposite would certainly be preferred, if only could be acquired. :smallwink:

Galloglaich
2010-07-21, 02:50 PM
I found it interesting that when he draws the bow, he looks less like a normal archer, and more like the pictures of archers from the Middle Ages.

Battle of Crecy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cr%C3%A9cy)

Yep.

You'll see this with all the longbow people.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-21, 02:51 PM
well he never said it would pierce the armor just that the impact could break your spine.... I don't know which is a worse exaggeration

Yeah, exxagerated I suspect, but from what I have seen a longbow arrow can put a hell of a dent on armor, especially iron armor.

Tempered steel seems somewhat invulnnerable but not totally.

G.

Spiryt
2010-07-21, 02:55 PM
dent on armor, especially iron armor.

Well, bigger dent, lesser penetration generally, so it can be not that bad.

If energy is used to dent, actual fracturing of surface will be diminished greatly.

Yora
2010-07-21, 03:22 PM
Denting is good, because it means a blow is somewhat cushioned.
Though I don't know how much of a difference it makes compared to something breaking through.

imp_fireball
2010-07-21, 06:36 PM
So given that, how much easier would it be to stay in the saddle after a musket strike?


There's several factors involved here. The shock of the bullet might make it hard to stay aloft - you could end up instinctively leaning so far backwards that you actually fall off. There's also the matter of whether or not your saddle has decent footholds, or any at all.

Also, wooden lances generally break when against a knight in full plate. If the knight falls off the horse, they may end up getting dragged by the horse, as their foot gets caught in one of the saddle's footholds (something seen many times on TV).

fusilier
2010-07-21, 07:48 PM
Musket, Knockdown, and Horses

First of all, I don't think you are going to be able to prove anything with a simple mathematical analysis of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy was originally mentioned in this discussion in the context of the amount of energy needed to pierce armor -- which is fine, it's a fairly straightforward proposition, and it sounds like it is derived from empirical studies.

The question of whether or not somebody will be knocked over after being hit by a musket ball that is resisted by armor, is based upon too many variables. People *are* knocked over by far more mundane and less energetic events. People aren't abstract cubes of mass ;-), they must remained balanced to prevent from falling over.

The issue isn't one of total force applied, by how and where it is applied, and the current configuration of the person's body. (I'm sure somebody here who knows martial arts, understands this much better than I do)

** I think the best way to explain this is the joust (which Deadmeat describes well using first hand knowledge). The amount of force impacting the rider that is unhorsed, is identical to the amount of force impacting his opponent who stays on his horse. So it's obviously not a simple matter of force/energy delivered.

------
A 16th century musketball probably generated even more energy than what has been calculated, as it is known that they used considerably more powder than is used in modern tests (they probably also had more burst barrels).

The stance of a musketeer of the period is very aggressive. Legs planted far apart and the body leaning into musket (unlike later styles where the body was upright and legs were kept together).

The musketeer is configuring his body to be able to handle the recoil. The target (typically) is doing no such thing, and whether or not he is knocked over will depend upon his stance and where the ball hits.
------
I've seen experience riders fall off horses, without being hit by anything. :-) No they weren't riding war-saddles, but the point is, it's possible to become unbalanced all on your own.

a_humble_lich
2010-07-22, 12:39 AM
I agree that trying to calculate knockdown would be very difficult. In addition, energy means almost nothing in this case. Really you want to be looking at the momentum of the projectiles. (Where momentum is mass X velocity, while kinetic energy is half mass X velocity squared)

Compared to modern rounds, muskets have much heavier rounds, but move slower, thus they will have less energy. However, it is quite possible they would have equal or even greater momentum. This would mean both greater recoil and knockback.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-07-22, 01:38 AM
[QUOTE=Psyx;8970302]"And you are going to claim unhorsing is impossible?
Remember that since you are quoting a loon SWINGING a weapon you end up with something rather different then an impact on a small surface..."

Massive froth cut.

No: I'm saying it's probably not particularly easy.


"Let me see, a swing with a sword versus a impact of a slug on a smaller surface... The effect would be about even."

Unless we know the energy of the shot at range, you can't actually say that with any certainty.
A strike with a lance carries FAR more energy than a shot, I suspect. FAR more. Basic physics tells me that.

Weight of horse + rider + spear at whatever mph = FAR greater kinetic energy than a musket ball. If a lance struck a stationary person in the shoulder, would they be knocked back less or more than the shoulder of someone firing a musket?

So given that, how much easier would it be to stay in the saddle after a musket strike?

QUOTE]

I did point out that a lance strike would be in a similar field for the effect on riders.
However in the joust you are bracing for that impact, when you are riding you cannot keep bracing the whole distance or you will have trouble directing your mount and you will disorder the formation while riding.

We only rarely did formation riding but when we did it was staying together and keeping a line abreast that was the first thing on our minds untill we struck the targets to get a simultanous charge.

Imagine 12 knights in full plate and tourney plate abreast charging a set of 12 manikins with shields and light armour...
The impact and sound of twelve lances shattering on the shields is really impressive and quite scary to be near when it happens.
But we were all staying together, all constantly controlling our mounts and reigning in or pushing on the mounts to keep the smooth formation.

I am sure that knights who train a lot more could do so far better but they probably did not charge at enemies from less then 50 yards away.
Untill just before impact you are to busy to just brace continously so you are not going to be as stable as a jouster who knows when he will be impacted and who can see at what angle this impact is coming.

Surprise alone can more then make up for the force differential between a lance strike and a musket ball.

The vast majority of people who get unhorsed due to impacts do so because they loose their center of balance.
Check out dressage riders when they fall, you can ussually see it starting, the slight slip in balance and then the faster and faster decay of the posture before gravity takes you down.
And they ussually get an impact through the horse, not a direct impact.

I do not doubt that modern firearms could do more damage, likely generate more raw power to a specific point then most ancient firearms, but you only need to clip a shoulder or head at just the wrong moment to unhorse someone.
Even if the shot does not cause any harm directly you can go down badly because of it.
And given that we are talking massed volley fire the odds of someone getting hit in this way is probable.

As for the last bit, I do not know for sure but I know that I had less trouble resisting a good hit in the joust from a man on a mount with a lance then from the practice dummies that swing at you when you miss the exact center of the target to get them to swing in that perfect predictable circle where you have gone past it before you are at risk.
The unexpected angle, the slight sideways swipe/push that they give was a lot harder to resist then the straight at me force of a lance strike.
As I said if we went for proper jousting where we are going for a win by unhorsing the opponent we do not aim for the center of the shield, we go for the shoulder, the arm pit if your opponent is foolishly exposing it (only did that ONCE myself and I was black and blue for a week or two on that side of my ribcage) or the head.
If you can cleanly knock off the crest of your opponent and stay in the saddle yourself that also was a good way of scoring points (but risky if you hit the head, head shots are really, really nasty and even with proper jousting helmets with sloped armour and throat guards you are going to feel your neck for weeks afterwards).

I did not have proper full on jousting armour, I merely had full plate so I had to joust with a shield which meant I had less chances of hits just sliding off.
Just for your information.
Full on jousting armour is more slooped and angled away from the body center then regular armour and scoring a straight on hit (or catching something on a hit) is a lot more difficult.

Psyx
2010-07-22, 04:05 AM
well he never said it would pierce the armor just that the impact could break your spine.... I don't know which is a worse exaggeration

They're both pretty bad. I'm failing how to see how a few hundred J hitting a steel plate with padding behind it could break a spine as anything more than a one in a million thing.



ifs, buts, maybes, no real science

I'm not seeing that this is really adding much. Yes: A musket ball can knock you off a horse. It's more or less likely depending on a bunch of widely ranging circumstances. It's GENERALLY less likely to knock you off because it simply doesn't have the energy or momentum of other things that are battlefield threats.


But we were all staying together, all constantly controlling our mounts and reigning in or pushing on the mounts to keep the smooth formation.

With the greatest respect: You are not a professional horseman. This harkens back to the 'longbows must only have been 120lb pull because amateur archers today can't pull any more very well' thing. Cavalry charges and wheels were performed with the horsemen so close as to be literally knee-to-knee. We're not talking about people who rode for an hour or two at the weekend here. This was their job and their hobby.

A professional rider who practices every day and falls off most of the time when encountering less energy than being struck with about any other blow that he's likely to encounter is a poor warrior. There was mention of jousting... and yes; I'm actually fully aware of these details. But the energy is far less than that amount, and it's safe to assume that a rider with missile weapons levelled at him will probably not be very surprised if he gets hit by one.


A 16th century musketball probably generated even more energy than what has been calculated, as it is known that they used considerably more powder than is used in modern tests (they probably also had more burst barrels).

That makes no sense at all. If we know they used more powder than in contemporary tests, then we know that and can estimate the actual energy amount upwards in order to bear that in mind. If it's a known-unknown then it's taken into consideration.
And they also fired big lumps of metal that lost energy quickly. Which is why I pondered the energy at 100m. 50m may be fairer.

I'm not sure what people are even debating any more, to be honest. It seems like a lot of 'but...' and postulated special cases. Does anyone actually disagree with the following:

'A musket ball that has lost so much energy as to bounce harmlessly off armour could knock a professional rider on the battlefield off a horse, but it's not going to be blowing people out of the saddle on anything like a routine basis.'

Aroka
2010-07-22, 05:18 AM
I agree that trying to calculate knockdown would be very difficult. In addition, energy means almost nothing in this case. Really you want to be looking at the momentum of the projectiles. (Where momentum is mass X velocity, while kinetic energy is half mass X velocity squared)

In the case of momentum, if the ratio of the masses is ~1:10 000, the velocity of the musket ball would have to be 10,000 greater than the velocity of the rider for the same momentum (after having already reached the target, losing momentum/velocity the whole way). That's just insane. It seems obvious that the musket ball will not even remotely approach the lance in power, no matter what measure you use.

Again, even if lance strikes actually deliver orders of magnitude less force/momentum into the target, the difference is still more orders of magnitude...

Certainly it is possible to unhorse someone with almost any force - you could probably unhorse someone by slapping them on their armored shoulder, if it caught them just right and surprised them just right and they completely failed at using all the things (saddle, reins, stirrups) that would keep them mounted.

But there is no way musket balls regularly knocked armored cavalrymen out of the saddle when striking the armor and failing to penetrate (i.e., by means other than shock of injury) - no more than modern firearms send people flying backwards Hollywood style.

Psyx
2010-07-22, 05:26 AM
But there is no way musket balls regularly knocked armored cavalrymen out of the saddle when striking the armor and failing to penetrate (i.e., by means other than shock of injury) - no more than modern firearms send people flying backwards Hollywood style.

^This. A thousand times.

Matthew
2010-07-22, 05:43 AM
With the greatest respect: You are not a professional horseman. This harkens back to the 'longbows must only have been 120lb pull because amateur archers today can't pull any more very well' thing.

That is not why 120 lbs is estimated to be the likely 14th century weight of long bows. Even the fairly generous estimates of the Mary Rose bows put the weight range at 100-180 lbs, with a majority of bows coming in at around 140 lbs, but that is 200 years after Crecy and a royal ship, presumably manned by top grade personnel, and 300 years after Henry II's Assize of Arms required the practice of the long bow. Is it possible that in 1350 the English crown was able to muster 6,000 long bowmen pulling 150 lb bows? Sure, it is possible, and it is also possible that they were all pulling 180 lb bows or 120 lb bows. The Mary Rose bows apparently averaged at 78 inches in length, but apparently in 1388 Gaston Phoebus wrote that the long bow should be 70 inches, so we have evidence that the normative state of the art did not remain static between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. To put it another way, 120 lbs is the conservative estimate that has been appearing in the last ten years, and has no more to do with what modern long bowmen are able to pull than estimates of 150 lbs or 180 lbs, bearing in mind that many historical long bowmen were themselves part time militia, practising on a Sunday (Edward I having to ban other sports on that day, indicating a perceived unwillingness to practice with the bow), and only in regular service for limited periods.

Psyx
2010-07-22, 05:55 AM
I was simply commenting that too often we hear 'those people hundred of years ago can't have done X, because I've been doing it for four years for two hours a week, and I can't do it!'. It's very aggravating.

Also: People who tell us that 'the ancients' can't possibly have lifted X boulder, or built Y masonry with such accuracy and needed outside help or advanced technology need a slap. I digress.

Vitruviansquid
2010-07-22, 06:15 AM
I feel stupid asking this, but

How would an axe for war, both those meant to be used in one hand and those meant to be used with two hands, be stored when the fighter wasn't killing someone with it?

I assume the fighter in question wouldn't want to be holding the axe all the time, in case he had to use his hands for something else. I also don't think anyone would like having loose sharp edges being waved around, and the fighter on his part wouldn't want the edge to be damaged, as when he would sheathe his sword to protect its edge.