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Aroka
2010-07-22, 06:19 AM
I've mostly seen it done with loops for one-hand axes: a leather loop into which the haft is slid, so the loop rests against the head and the haft hangs down.

I don't imagine you stored poleaxes and similar long-hafted two-hand axes very differently from polearms and spears, i.e. you carried them. Most soldiers and warriors were armed with a spear, which was carried in your hand, just like muskets and rifles later were. A professional soldier would usually be carrying his main weapon in hand.

Karoht
2010-07-22, 07:42 AM
I usually just keep my axe (28 inches) tucked onto my belt when possible. When not, yeah, belt loop or specialized frog I would imagine. Larger axes, (like a two handed axe, anywhere from 36-48 inches) I have no idea.

Maclav
2010-07-22, 08:22 AM
Here is some video of our "armoured charge". Basically a bunch of my friends get in their armour and walk/charge down a field at a group of archers firing duck blunts. There are lots of problems with this, I am not sure the draw weight or abilities of the archers and the video is old and crap.

But.. the ONLY shot they take that has any noticeable effect is when one guy take as shot in the groin and realizes he wasn't wearing his cup. That is through the skirt on a mail hauberk. Every other shot, does... well.. nothing.

http://www.ottawasword.com/videos/OMCW-charge-01.wmv

Mike_G
2010-07-22, 11:27 AM
Here is some video of our "armoured charge". Basically a bunch of my friends get in their armour and walk/charge down a field at a group of archers firing duck blunts. There are lots of problems with this, I am not sure the draw weight or abilities of the archers and the video is old and crap.

But.. the ONLY shot they take that has any noticeable effect is when one guy take as shot in the groin and realizes he wasn't wearing his cup. That is through the skirt on a mail hauberk. Every other shot, does... well.. nothing.

http://www.ottawasword.com/videos/OMCW-charge-01.wmv

Fun to watch, but without knowing the draw weights of the bows, there's no way to draw any kind of conclusions. I have friends who do archery in the SCA, and they tend to shoot puny, underpowered bows, like 30 lbs or so. Fine for scoring hits, but it wouldn't penetrate a well starched t-shirt.

A LARP group I played with years ago allowed bows with padded, almost tennis ball type heads, but still limited the draw weight to 30 lbs for safety.

So, if these are LARP-y bows, I'm not surprised that they had no real effect. If they were big, scary, combat weight bows, then we can draw conclusions.

Maclav
2010-07-22, 12:23 PM
Fun to watch, but without knowing the draw weights of the bows, there's no way to draw any kind of conclusions. I have friends who do archery in the SCA, and they tend to shoot puny, underpowered bows, like 30 lbs or so. Fine for scoring hits, but it wouldn't penetrate a well starched t-shirt.

A LARP group I played with years ago allowed bows with padded, almost tennis ball type heads, but still limited the draw weight to 30 lbs for safety.

So, if these are LARP-y bows, I'm not surprised that they had no real effect. If they were big, scary, combat weight bows, then we can draw conclusions.

Apparently most of the bows were ether 50ish lb target long bows or 50-70lb modern bows. So not quite larp-y, but not nearly combat weights.

Karoht
2010-07-22, 02:09 PM
Went down to the archery range one day. Took one of their 27 pound recurves. I asked permission, and hung up a shirt of butted mail (steel, not galvanized, 16 gauge I think) and fired a few arrows at it. I think only one deflected off. The rest all went right through, both layers, and into the target (compressed cardboard/fiberboard). Only broke about 4 links after at least 2 dozen shots.

That, and I've been shot in both testicles (within 30 seconds of one another) with blunted arrows on a half draw @ 30 lbs as part of a shield wall demo. Yeah that hurt. No, I don't wear a cup and don't care to, nor do I judge those who do. Same blunted arrows also gave me a welt on my leg, worse than the one I got taking a paintball round to the same spot at nearly point blank range some years ago.

So yeah, just a personal thing, when people say they have a 30 pound bow and it's safe, I still get a bit leary. Just saying.

Shademan
2010-07-22, 02:12 PM
Went down to the archery range one day. Took one of their 27 pound recurves. I asked permission, and hung up a shirt of butted mail (steel, not galvanized, 16 gauge I think) and fired a few arrows at it. I think only one deflected off. The rest all went right through, both layers, and into the target (compressed cardboard/fiberboard). Only broke about 4 links after at least 2 dozen shots.

That, and I've been shot in both testicles (within 30 seconds of one another) with blunted arrows on a half draw @ 30 lbs as part of a shield wall demo. Yeah that hurt. No, I don't wear a cup and don't care to, nor do I judge those who do. Same blunted arrows also gave me a welt on my leg, worse than the one I got taking a paintball round to the same spot at nearly point blank range some years ago.

So yeah, just a personal thing, when people say they have a 30 pound bow and it's safe, I still get a bit leary. Just saying.

did you use padding under the mail?

Mike_G
2010-07-22, 02:49 PM
I think the answer is both simpler and more nuanced than people want to believe.

Disclaimer: I am not a SCAdian. I will try to be accurate, but my facts may be off. I went to an SCA archery event as a guest.

Now, we shot at very close range, I want to say 30', 40' and 50'. That's feet not yards, so a 30lb bow will chuck an arrow that far no prob, and you don't get extra credit for overpenetration, so a light bow is a fine choice for that kind of archery.

I brought my 55 lb recurve, since it's the bow I own. While the other archers were hitting the target, I was putting a foot of my arrows out the back of it.
Bows pack a lot of punch.

A heavy bow can punch through a lot of material, cloth, wood, flesh, what have you. We've all seen the disputed armor videos, and the pro longbow guys say it proves what they want, and the pro armor guys say it proves what they want.

I think arrows would have been dangerous to a well armored knight. Even if they couldn't penetrate most of his armor, as we saw in the video, there are gaps, and horse armor has even more gaps. Dropping a charging horse would have been just as good, maybe better, than wounding the knight.

Agincourt and Crecy prove that archery can kill a whole bunch of well equipped men. A handful of other battles proved that without a good position, cavalry could roll over longbowmen.

I don't see the experts reaching a consensus on the question of longbow versus armor, but I don't think we need a definitive one. It's hard to kill a guy in plate armor period. But the longbow, delivering a rapid barrage from trained bowmen, would find enough gaps, drop enough horses, and do enough damage to mess up even the best troops, given a good defensive position. Against lightly armored foes, like the poor Genoese crossbowmen, they could shoot the whole company flat.

Hurlbut
2010-07-22, 02:57 PM
The Victory at Agincourt was not a result of the english's archery skills, but combined muddy and crowding conditions. This is what allowed the yeomen get among them and incapacitated them to point of forcing most to yield. The dead were prisoners simply being executed after the battle.

Spiryt
2010-07-22, 03:01 PM
The Victory at Agincourt was not a result of the english's archery skills, but combined muddy and crowding conditions. This is what allowed the yeomen get among them and incapacitated them to point of forcing most to yield. The dead were prisoners simply being executed after the battle.

As well as with Crecy, Poitiers and many others...

All battles won were the result of good cooperation, efforts of fighters, and, particularly in those cases, horrible mess in French army, tactics and all.

But archery undoubtedly had it's parts in it, it was really foundation of english tactics then.

Galloglaich
2010-07-22, 10:24 PM
did you use padding under the mail?

It doesn't matter.... I'm sure y'all realize this but i just want to repeat for emphasis. BUTTED MAIL IS NOT ARMOR. It's decoration.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-22, 10:25 PM
I think the answer is both simpler and more nuanced than people want to believe.

Disclaimer: I am not a SCAdian. I will try to be accurate, but my facts may be off. I went to an SCA archery event as a guest.

Now, we shot at very close range, I want to say 30', 40' and 50'. That's feet not yards, so a 30lb bow will chuck an arrow that far no prob, and you don't get extra credit for overpenetration, so a light bow is a fine choice for that kind of archery.

I brought my 55 lb recurve, since it's the bow I own. While the other archers were hitting the target, I was putting a foot of my arrows out the back of it.
Bows pack a lot of punch.

A heavy bow can punch through a lot of material, cloth, wood, flesh, what have you. We've all seen the disputed armor videos, and the pro longbow guys say it proves what they want, and the pro armor guys say it proves what they want.

I think arrows would have been dangerous to a well armored knight. Even if they couldn't penetrate most of his armor, as we saw in the video, there are gaps, and horse armor has even more gaps. Dropping a charging horse would have been just as good, maybe better, than wounding the knight.

Agincourt and Crecy prove that archery can kill a whole bunch of well equipped men. A handful of other battles proved that without a good position, cavalry could roll over longbowmen.

I don't see the experts reaching a consensus on the question of longbow versus armor, but I don't think we need a definitive one. It's hard to kill a guy in plate armor period. But the longbow, delivering a rapid barrage from trained bowmen, would find enough gaps, drop enough horses, and do enough damage to mess up even the best troops, given a good defensive position. Against lightly armored foes, like the poor Genoese crossbowmen, they could shoot the whole company flat.

Well put.

I'd also like to point out, the Genoese crossbowmen in those particular battles were very badly positioned by the French Chivalric leadership for exactly the same reasons that they charged right into an obvious trap.

Swiss crossbowmen actually faced longbow archers and routed them.

G.

valadil
2010-07-22, 10:32 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.

Agreed, but for different reasons.

A musket ball hits you once. You absorb its kinetic energy and either fall or rebalance yourself.

A lance is going to be providing a sustained force. It just keeps giving. If you put a rider on a horse and push a lance into his shoulder steadily at very slow speed, you'll eventually push him off. There's not going to be one moment of high kinetic energy, but the displacement that happens over time will be what affects him.

fusilier
2010-07-23, 01:45 AM
Agreed, but for different reasons.

A musket ball hits you once. You absorb its kinetic energy and either fall or rebalance yourself.

A lance is going to be providing a sustained force. It just keeps giving. If you put a rider on a horse and push a lance into his shoulder steadily at very slow speed, you'll eventually push him off. There's not going to be one moment of high kinetic energy, but the displacement that happens over time will be what affects him.

I've been thinking about something else lately, and that's force. We have been very sloppy with our terms, talking about force, energy, and momentum.

Warning:
What follows is a long diatribe, with potentially suspect physics with some wild conjectures thrown in. Read at your own peril! :-)

Energy came up in the discussion in terms of the amount of energy needed to penetrate armor. Somebody did mention momentum, but I would imagine force would be a factor in terms of damage and knocking someone over. If someone could provide clarification that would be nice (I know what all the terms are mathematically, I'm just not sure which we should be focusing on).

The lance example is still pretty good in the sense that the force applied to the target, and the force applied to the lancer must be the same (by Newton's 3rd Law). Now that force can be more concentrated on the target, and more spread out upon the lancer, but the total forces are the same.

This is not the case with the firer of a musket and the target that the ball hits. Consider shooting a musket ball at a brick wall. The ball flattens upon impact. But if the force of the impact was great enough to flatten the ball, (and if we assume the force generated by the action of the burning gunpowder was identical), then the ball would have been "flattened" by the gunpowder, which obviously doesn't happen. Force = mass * acceleration. When the gun is fired, the ball accelerates down the barrel (which on a musket would typically be between 3 and 4 feet, and probably closer to 4 feet during this period). When the ball hits the brick wall, it is accelerating over a much shorter distance to come to a stop, generating more force, which overcomes the structural integrity of the ball.

Now here's where my physics lessons get a little bit hazy. The amount of Work done in both cases is the same (as Work is force * distance). And if my quick check up on wikipedia is correct Work is also measured in Joules and therefore is energy. The amount of energy delivered to both the firer and target are the same (assuming point-blank), but in the case of the firer it is spread out over a greater distance (time), and in the case of the brick wall, it is concentrated in a much shorter distance (time), and some of it is taken up in destroying the structural integrity in the ball.

Therefore, assuming for the moment that the ball's velocity has not dropped significantly below muzzle velocity, in order for someone wearing armor, which completely resists the impact of the musket ball, to feel the same force as the firer the ball would have to be decelerated over a distance of 3-4 feet. In all fairness it would probably be a bit less (I would imagine not much), as some energy is used up by both denting the armor and flattening the ball. This implies that if the target experienced the same amount of force that the firer did, the target would have to be pushed back about 3 feet. Of course the target could be subject to greater force, and not be moved as far back. And in all likelihood, the target would be subject to significantly greater force than the firer, and stop the ball in considerably less distance than the musket barrel. But that could still mean at least several inches of travel, if not around a foot or so.

Now, I'm not talking about a hollywood style, the person is lifted into the air and thrown 20 feet through the bar front window. I did not mean to convey that imagery. But enough energy to wallop somebody and push them back a bit, and likely make them unbalanced. During the Civil War soldiers hit by mini-balls (and they were not wearing armor), tended to report it felt like "being kicked by mule."

100m vs. 50m.

I'm not so sure a round lead ball loses quite so much energy as you might think, but clearly it does lose energy over those distances, and more than a modern jacketed round. The problem with claiming that "maybe at 50 m it would knock someone over", is that most reports say at around 50 yards the musket ball would *penetrate* the armor. So not as much energy is being delivered to the target. Unless it fails to penetrate the back armor (which did happen), but energy is still being used up in tearing up structure.

There's also the fact that all this assumes the ball is hitting squarely, nearly perpendicular to the surface. Armor isn't typically just a big cube either, so a lot rounds may actually be deflected, rather than simply stopped. If that's the case then the wearer will absorb a lot less energy, and the force will be significantly less too. So not every single musket ball that dings an armored man at 100m or so is going to knock him over. But those that hit squarely, probably have a good chance of doing so.

Add to this the observable fact that even in situations where the force hitting both persons in identical (like a joust), it's possible for one person to be pushed over and the other not, and being knocked over by musket ball doesn't seem unreasonable.

More Gunpowder!

The reasons the tests probably haven't been done, is nobody wants to risk blowing up a custom made musket barrel (the tests in the 1970s almost certainly would have used custom made replica). The other issue is that gunpowder, guns, and artillery aren't actually that well understood. Guilmartin points out that even today there isn't really any theory, just empirical evidence. Changes in gun(artillery) design are typically incremental throughout all of history. The metals behave in strange ways that still aren't well understood (the tin in molten bronze "migrates" as it cools - we know this happens, but we still don't know why, or by what mechanism).

Gunpowder is somewhat similar. If you keep adding gunpowder (and I'm referring to black powder) at some point the gunpowder will start to interfere with itself and you will get less energy. Tests with serpentine powder in a cannon, kept resulting in a pathetic amount of pressure being built up, and a ball that barely rolled out of the mouth of the barrel -- that is until they packed the serpentine powder very tightly into the breech! At which point they generated a surprising amount of pressure. (Which is exactly what the old artillery manuals said you had to do).

Throw in some more variables, as to the exact composition of the powder, how large the grains were, etc. And simply calculating the amount of force/energy developed probably becomes intractable. So we have to rely upon what appears to be a reasonably formulated test. Given the circumstantial evidence we can guess that they probably generated a bit more force, but we can't be sure how much.

Psyx
2010-07-23, 04:59 AM
But those that hit squarely, probably have a good chance of doing so.

I completely disagree.

We know that modern firearms certainly don't do so, so why would an older one? You can get shot in the vest with a 7.62mm and barely notice, and that's 2000J right there. Why is physics 400 years ago different? We have a contemporary case, and we know the historical one is similar.

Ok... 1 minute of google later, a high energy shotgun slug has 3200J of energy at the muzzle, dropping to 1250 at 100m. Our ball is going to be worse, because even a slug is aerodynamically better. But lets put it in the same ballpark.
So that's slightly more energy than a 10mm round at close range. People don't get blown off their feet when struck in the vest by such rounds, ergo people don't get blown off their feet in our historical case, either.

Is that chain of logic flawed, or is the conclusion that you're probably not going to get 'blown' anywhere disagreeable. Also note that being 'blown off your feet' is inherently different from 'being hit when off balance and happening to stumble'. Because I'm pretty sure that I can prod someone with a finger and knock them over, so it's not something that need figure into the debate.





I think arrows would have been dangerous to a well armored knight.

Armour is designed to defeat the greatest threats without sacrificing too much practicality. Armour that does not stop most arrows isn't worth wearing. How 'good' armour is against arrows depends on coverage and expense, but top-of-the-line armour was VERY good against them, and coverage was nearly 100%. I would -at 100+ yards- be shocked if more than 1 in 30 arrows did any real damage. As you say though: Killing horses is where it's at.



The reasons the tests probably haven't been done, is nobody wants to risk blowing up a custom made musket barrel

Are you telling me that no gun-nut, explosives fan, or historical buff ever 'wants' to put a ton of gunpowder in a barrel to see if it blows up? Clearly, you don't know enough gun nuts, because this is exactly the kind of destructive-but-fun-and-excusable-because-it's-in-the-name-of-science thing that most people who I know who like explosives would want to try! Or maybe I just know crazy people. Give Mythbusters a call. They'd probably relish the opportunity.

firechicago
2010-07-23, 06:00 AM
The lance example is still pretty good in the sense that the force applied to the target, and the force applied to the lancer must be the same (by Newton's 3rd Law). Now that force can be more concentrated on the target, and more spread out upon the lancer, but the total forces are the same.

This is not the case with the firer of a musket and the target that the ball hits. Consider shooting a musket ball at a brick wall. The ball flattens upon impact. But if the force of the impact was great enough to flatten the ball, (and if we assume the force generated by the action of the burning gunpowder was identical), then the ball would have been "flattened" by the gunpowder, which obviously doesn't happen. Force = mass * acceleration. When the gun is fired, the ball accelerates down the barrel (which on a musket would typically be between 3 and 4 feet, and probably closer to 4 feet during this period). When the ball hits the brick wall, it is accelerating over a much shorter distance to come to a stop, generating more force, which overcomes the structural integrity of the ball.

Now here's where my physics lessons get a little bit hazy. The amount of Work done in both cases is the same (as Work is force * distance). And if my quick check up on wikipedia is correct Work is also measured in Joules and therefore is energy. The amount of energy delivered to both the firer and target are the same (assuming point-blank), but in the case of the firer it is spread out over a greater distance (time), and in the case of the brick wall, it is concentrated in a much shorter distance (time), and some of it is taken up in destroying the structural integrity in the ball.

Folks, it's been said a couple times, but it seems to need saying again: Energy (and hence work, which is a form of change in energy) is irrelevant when we're talking about knocking people down. When it comes to a collision energy is only conserved if you take into account a lot of things like how much the bullet and the target heat up, and how much noise the strike makes, and how much energy goes into breaking the metallic bonds that hold the molecules of the target's armor together (which is why energy is very relevant for penetration). But all of these things are irrelevant to knocking someone down.

Peak force is also very relevant to how much damage a bullet is going to do, but completely irrelevant to knocking someone down. A very high force for a very short amount of time can do nasty things to human tissue, but it can't move it very far.

The quantity you're looking for is something called impulse, which is Force*Time and is equal to change in momentum. And in this case (since we have a bullet starting from rest in the rifle and landing at rest in a target) impulse is going to be conserved between the firer and the target. In fact, the impulse of the rifle on the firer will be greater not only because the bullet slows down in flight, but because the bullet isn't the only thing coming out of the end of the barrel. The firer also has to absorb the impulse of all the propellant gases as well.

So yes, a bullet can knock someone down if it hits them just right, or at a moment and in a way that throws them off balance, or trigger a reflex that sends them over. But I could also say the same thing of a poke with one finger.

Shademan
2010-07-23, 06:50 AM
Folks, it's been said a couple times, but it seems to need saying again: Energy (and hence work, which is a form of change in energy) is irrelevant when we're talking about knocking people down. When it comes to a collision energy is only conserved if you take into account a lot of things like how much the bullet and the target heat up, and how much noise the strike makes, and how much energy goes into breaking the metallic bonds that hold the molecules of the target's armor together (which is why energy is very relevant for penetration). But all of these things are irrelevant to knocking someone down.

Peak force is also very relevant to how much damage a bullet is going to do, but completely irrelevant to knocking someone down. A very high force for a very short amount of time can do nasty things to human tissue, but it can't move it very far.

The quantity you're looking for is something called impulse, which is Force*Time and is equal to change in momentum. And in this case (since we have a bullet starting from rest in the rifle and landing at rest in a target) impulse is going to be conserved between the firer and the target. In fact, the impulse of the rifle on the firer will be greater not only because the bullet slows down in flight, but because the bullet isn't the only thing coming out of the end of the barrel. The firer also has to absorb the impulse of all the propellant gases as well.

So yes, a bullet can knock someone down if it hits them just right, or at a moment and in a way that throws them off balance, or trigger a reflex that sends them over. But I could also say the same thing of a poke with one finger.

that is true. sometimes my friends will come behind and shove a finger up my
ribs. which sometimes sends me right to the floor

Karoht
2010-07-23, 07:32 AM
It doesn't matter.... I'm sure y'all realize this but i just want to repeat for emphasis. BUTTED MAIL IS NOT ARMOR. It's decoration.

G.

I did not use padding, but understand that the arrows went through not one but two layers.

Yes, butted mail is mostly for show and for some reenactors. I saw the light last year when someone brought a riveted flat ring shirt down to practice. It's likely my next armor purchase.

EDIT: My original post was just to point out that even a 30 lb draw bow packs a pretty good punch.

valadil
2010-07-23, 09:59 AM
A heavy bow can punch through a lot of material, cloth, wood, flesh, what have you. We've all seen the disputed armor videos, and the pro longbow guys say it proves what they want, and the pro armor guys say it proves what they want.


Until someone produces a test of arrows being fired at a person in armor, I think I'm done with armor test videos. I have no trouble believing an arrow can puncture armor on a direct hit (by which I mean the arrow strikes perpendicular to the surface of the armor). I also have no trouble believing an arrow would be deflected if it hit the curvature of the armor. No amount of target shooting is going to convince me how many shots are going to be direct hits against a moving target. Yes, a skilled archer should be able to tag the chest of a man at a decent range. But I don't know that he could pick the right spot of the armor to hit or that that bit of armor would still be vulnerable by the time the arrow arrived.

fusilier
2010-07-23, 04:14 PM
I completely disagree.

We know that modern firearms certainly don't do so, so why would an older one?

We do? Please cite some examples of people being hit by something comparable to a musketball. A shotgun slug would be probably be good. Are they braced for the impact? Does it hit them near the center of mass? Does modern armor behave exactly the same as 16th century armor under those circumstances? Or does it absorb more the energy much like crumple zones in a car (I've seen movies of old cars in head on collisions at low speeds, and noticed that they bounce off of each other rather than crumpling and staying stuck together).



So that's slightly more energy than a 10mm round at close range. People don't get blown off their feet when struck in the vest by such rounds, ergo people don't get blown off their feet in our historical case, either.

I never said they were "blown off their feet" I said they were knocked over. What are you talking about, and who is it addressed to? I don't know of single person who has claimed that somebody would be "blown off their feet". I specifically stated that I didn't intend to give that impression in my previous post.



Are you telling me that no gun-nut, explosives fan, or historical buff ever 'wants' to put a ton of gunpowder in a barrel to see if it blows up? Clearly, you don't know enough gun nuts, because this is exactly the kind of destructive-but-fun-and-excusable-because-it's-in-the-name-of-science thing that most people who I know who like explosives would want to try! Or maybe I just know crazy people. Give Mythbusters a call. They'd probably relish the opportunity.

Well, they can certainly try, but I'm not aware of any experiments done to this date. Most of the modern made replicas (which are cheaper), could be suspect. They also tend to be around .75 caliber, which is acceptable but somewhat small for a period musket - they are also significantly lighter. That's why the 1970 test is interesting, and probably generated higher energy than the tests that Galloglaich mentioned. Although I don't know the details of those tests, so I don't actually know what they were using.

On the otherhand, the traditional way of "proofing" a barrel is to double the charge, and the rounds. This is unfortunately rather unscientific, as it doesn't tell us the exact amount of pressure that the barrel sustained. More recently it is common to proof them on a machine. So we might be able to dig up some data on that, but how well that would compare to a 16th century musket could be debatable.

fusilier
2010-07-23, 04:58 PM
The quantity you're looking for is something called impulse, which is Force*Time and is equal to change in momentum. . . .

Yes, although more typically it is stated as the integral of momentum with respect to time.

In the case of the collision that I described previously (and yes it is abstract), the time in which the force is applied to the target is much shorter, but the force must be proportionally greater. So the momentum imparted to both would be the same (in the abstract sense). Although the forces would be different. Correct?

A quick glance at this article about the physics of a collision, has no mention whatsoever of impulse:

http://www.brainycreatures.org/physics/collision.asp

It does of course talk about the conservation of momentum (which is what you seem to be getting at). Although in order to determine final velocities, kinetic energy is used. Admittedly it is simplistic; dealing with abstract masses.


So yes, a bullet can knock someone down if it hits them just right, or at a moment and in a way that throws them off balance, or trigger a reflex that sends them over. But I could also say the same thing of a poke with one finger.

Yes. That's what I've been trying to say. Consider a door. If you throw a ball at a door and hit it near the hinge, does it move as much as if you hit near the free end? Treating a person like a lever isn't entirely bad if you want to study how someone standing falls (not why, but the act of falling itself). It's still too simplistic, but the point is causing an upright board to fall over has less to do with moving the entire board a significant distance than imparting some rotational momentum to it. Causing a person to fall doesn't require pushing their entire mass some significant distance, it requires unbalancing them.

As animate objects people can react to be pushed or struck by some force. If the force is lower, and applied over a greater amount of time, then do we stand a better chance of not being knocked off balance, than a person who is struck by a greater force that is delivered in a short amount of time?

Of course in the case of someone shooting a gun, the amount of time he has to react to the force is probably well below his reaction threshold, but at least he can prepare himself for the blow before hand.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me, that blows from a musket ball would be enough to knock someone off their balance. Perhaps I'm wrong. But it doesn't boil down to: the person shooting the gun wasn't knocked over, so the person being hit by the bullet, can't possibly be knocked over.

Also I would like to reiterate: I'm not talking about someone being "blown off their feet" I'm talking about them being knocked over, that is, knocked off balance.

fusilier
2010-07-23, 05:34 PM
Until someone produces a test of arrows being fired at a person in armor, I think I'm done with armor test videos. I have no trouble believing an arrow can puncture armor on a direct hit (by which I mean the arrow strikes perpendicular to the surface of the armor). I also have no trouble believing an arrow would be deflected if it hit the curvature of the armor. No amount of target shooting is going to convince me how many shots are going to be direct hits against a moving target. Yes, a skilled archer should be able to tag the chest of a man at a decent range. But I don't know that he could pick the right spot of the armor to hit or that that bit of armor would still be vulnerable by the time the arrow arrived.

I think while this is more important to roleplaying games, such weapons were used on mass, and shot at massed targets. I've heard that if somebody knows they were being shot at they would typically turn sideways, making themselves both a smaller target, and potentially putting an arm (or even shield) in between their torso and the arrow.

I think you are right to assume that target shooting, is probably more optimistic than real world conditions.

Galloglaich
2010-07-23, 06:42 PM
I'm sorry I brought the longbow vs. armor debate to this forum :) I guess if we must argue about it lets just remember we don't any of us care enough about it to get mad ... :smallwink:

Regarding musket shots knocking people off of horses, this is what I meant.

Watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdXy0IfsWsE

This is a fairly powerful Hussite style handgonne or hand-culverin, probably about .75 caliber, using corned powder, probably close to 1000 joules, fired against a cheap replica breastplate at a range of about 20'.

I think, very arguably, this test kind of mimics a much more powerful musket being used against much better armor.

On the first shot, it punctures the breastplate, which is interesting but irrelevant to this discussion. The second shot bounces off, but look at the dent it left. I don't know much about kinetic energy, but I can tell you with some confidence, you would notice that impact. It's not like the arrows from the 50 lb bows bouncing off the knightly armor. And I think it could cause you to fall off of a horse.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-23, 06:52 PM
I think while this is more important to roleplaying games, such weapons were used on mass, and shot at massed targets. I've heard that if somebody knows they were being shot at they would typically turn sideways, making themselves both a smaller target, and potentially putting an arm (or even shield) in between their torso and the arrow.

I think you are right to assume that target shooting, is probably more optimistic than real world conditions.

From a gamer point of view, this is a really good point.

Historically on the battlefield firearms, bows, and crossbows were all used en-masse whenever possible. The effectiveness of massed musket fire or longbow volleys against cavalry is a very different question than the efficacy of a single given weapon against an armored warrior. Given the scale of most RPG games, it's actually the latter question most people want answered.

My personal opinion: massed high energy missiles, longbows, recurve composite bows, heavy crossbows and arbalests, and firearms of all types, were fairly effective against heavy cavalry and heavy infantry. They were not automatically effective, which is why gunners and archers and marksmen were protected by pikes, wagons, or fortifications until well into the 17th Century. But under the right circumstances they most certainly could neutralize heavy armored cavalry, that is a matter of historical record.

On an individual level, I have come to the conclusion most of the armor on a higher end plate harness would indeed protect you quite well against most firearms and arrows. Mail will protect against arrows pretty well too with a gambeson worn over it. Good quality armor really did very a good job of protecting knights on the battlefield, there are many historically documented battles where armored combattants suffered casualties in the single and double digits while unarmored combattants on both sides died in the thousands. This made armor cost effective at almost any cost, because it could vastly increase your odds of surviving a battle*.

Cannons literally blew this equation out of the water made armor potentially a waste of money as they became more and more ubiquitous on the battlefield and more and more mobile (especially after Gustavus Adolphus). Massed heavy-musket fire (using armor-piercing steel shot) had much the same effect. That is why pikes were eventually removed from the gunners ranks, the gunners could actually protect themselves against heavy cavalry charges. But this didn't really happen until the late 17th Century.

G.

*In my opinion, armor was much more valuable than it is portrayed in RpGs and in fact it should probably be armor, rather than hit points, which confers longevity to high level characters, at least in a relatively realistic or historical or low-magic type game.

fusilier
2010-07-23, 06:52 PM
Wait, we're supposed to be talking about longbows?!? Wow, did we get off topic! :-) :-)

Cool video. Thanks for sharing.

Galloglaich
2010-07-23, 06:58 PM
I want to add, in case it isn't obvious, I'm not disagreeing with most of the posts people have made on these subjects recently, it's interesting, good points were made and I learned a lot reading through it. The video of the arrows bouncing off the armor is interesting too and makes another good point: those bows may not be top quality 'military grade' by Renaissance standards, but they could certainly kill you and they are strong enough to kill deer, and yet armor makes them almost laughable.

Not all bows in antiquity were as powerful as a 16th Century English longbow or a Mongol Recurve, not by a long shot. No pun intended :)

G

Stephen_E
2010-07-23, 07:45 PM
Just a note:
When I posted about the difficulty of drawing a 120lb Bow I wasn't ntending to say "and thus that is the heaviest they could have been drawing".

My point was that the body damage done to old day archers doesn't require the use of a bow greater than 120lbs.
I did not mean to imply that 150ln bows or greater weren't used, indeed I would say that there is plenty of evidence that some archers drew such bows, but we simply don't and can't know how many.

What I was saying is that the common damage to Archer skeletons can be adequately done by frequent use of a 120lb bow. Thus, that evidence on it's own is insuffient to base a claim of comon use of 150lb bows or greater.

Stephen E

Psyx
2010-07-24, 11:24 AM
We do? Please cite some examples of people being hit by something comparable to a musketball. A shotgun slug would be probably be good.

Yes. We do. To the point where this is so blatantly established that I'm really not going to open up google for it. Instead, google>video>getting shot in bulletproof vest. For 'real world' examples, I'd recommend checking out the video of the bank-robbers in body armour getting the s*** shot out of them literally dozens of times. Each strike barely causes a flinch. I've also seen someone nearby catch a rifle round in the jacket, and he didn't even realise what had even happened, let alone stumbled in any way.

It's physics. It works. Check for yourself.





I never said they were "blown off their feet" I said they were knocked over.

The original comment that kicked it off was a historical quote that implied being blown off their feet. Nobody is debating that someone off-balance can be downed by a shot, but they can also be downed by a poke from a finger, so that's outside scope.



In my opinion, armor was much more valuable than it is portrayed in RpGs and in fact it should probably be armor, rather than hit points, which confers longevity to high level characters, at least in a relatively realistic or historical or low-magic type game.

It depends which RPG. Shield are laughable in D&D, and in many armour is very poor. I run a semi-historical game where the party FEAR being out of armour, because suddenly anything and everything can easily kill you.

Shademan
2010-07-24, 11:27 AM
It doesn't matter.... I'm sure y'all realize this but i just want to repeat for emphasis. BUTTED MAIL IS NOT ARMOR. It's decoration.

G.
just checkin'

Maclav
2010-07-24, 11:32 AM
*In my opinion, armor was much more valuable than it is portrayed in RpGs and in fact it should probably be armor, rather than hit points, which confers longevity to high level characters, at least in a relatively realistic or historical or low-magic type game.


So, so, so true.

Galloglaich
2010-07-24, 02:47 PM
It depends which RPG. Shield are laughable in D&D, and in many armour is very poor. I run a semi-historical game where the party FEAR being out of armour, because suddenly anything and everything can easily kill you.

I not only also do that in my own game, I made an OGL combat system which has this built into it :smalltongue: And it also makes shields into (mostly) defensive weapons rather than marginal type of armor they count as in most RPG systems. In the Codex a shield gives you a "free dice" (roll two dice and tack the highest value) for 'Active Defense" rolls (which are optional) and also confers passive defensive value.

But like historical shields, most of them can also be destroyed fairly easily, and all of them can be hooked by axes, pushed out of the way by another shield, displaced etc.

G.

Autolykos
2010-07-24, 04:33 PM
GURPS also does this quite well. Getting into fights without appropriate armor almost guarantees you'll be hacked to pieces rather sooner than later - whereas you only need to fear the biggest weapons of your period when properly armored (pistols don't do jack against heavy ballistic vests, and you'd better have some serious two-handed weapons if your enemy is in full plate).
EDIT: And the more HP for more experienced characters is pretty much a D&D-only thing anyway (I know no other system that does it to this extent).

fusilier
2010-07-24, 07:16 PM
Yes. We do. To the point where this is so blatantly established that I'm really not going to open up google for it. Instead, google>video>getting shot in bulletproof vest. For 'real world' examples, I'd recommend checking out the video of the bank-robbers in body armour getting the s*** shot out of them literally dozens of times. Each strike barely causes a flinch. I've also seen someone nearby catch a rifle round in the jacket, and he didn't even realise what had even happened, let alone stumbled in any way.

I have seen that video, it was very famous. However, most of the ammo being used against them were pistol ammo as I recall. Not large caliber musketballs. SWAT teams eventually showed up with weapons which could deal with the body armor.

As firechicago pointed out, the issue is one of change in momentum, not energy. (Compared to momentum, energy exaggerates the significance of velocity considerably.) Also, I suspect that 16th century armor and modern body armor behave somewhat differently.



The original comment that kicked it off was a historical quote that implied being blown off their feet. Nobody is debating that someone off-balance can be downed by a shot, but they can also be downed by a poke from a finger, so that's outside scope.

I'm not claiming that if they are already off balance they will be downed by the shot. I'm claiming that the shot can knock them off balance. If momentum is the deciding factor (and I've been given no reason to doubt firechicago), then the mass of the ball will have just as much influence as its velocity. A musket ball is considerably more massive than most rifle ammo.




It's physics. It works. Check for yourself.


Wow, how condescending. Maybe you should actually try to reference some physics, or at the very least some studies that deal with the specifics of the question at hand, rather than point to modern anecdotal evidence which has a completely different set of variables, without demonstrating whatsoever that they are comparable. I've tried to point out the difficulties in applying simple physics that assume abstract masses, and others have pointed out that energy is not the factor to be considered in collisions. I really don't know enough about the details of human structure and the science of falling, to tell you exactly what conditions have to be met to knock an average person off balance. I do know that people can be knocked off balance, I believe that force is related to the issue. Firechicago kindly explained that Impulse is a major factor (which is a force applied over time, or the change in momentum). I know that the momentum of a 2-ounce musket ball will be greater then most rife bullets. I know that the behavior of modern body armor is different than earlier armor. So I can refute your claim that people wearing modern body armor, hit by modern ammo aren't knocked over is proof that people wearing 500 year old armor, being hit by 500 year old ammo will behave identically. I can't claim for certain that I *know* absolutely that they will be knocked over, but to me it seems reasonable -- and I'm sure there is anecdotal evidence to back it up:

Here's a quote from the American Civil War:
http://www.bivouacbooks.com/bbv5i2s6.htm

Spent balls have sometimes produced death. At the Battle of Winchester, in September, 1864, the present writer was knocked down by a musket ball which did not even indent the skin. In some cases of this kind the shock of the nervous system has been sufficient to kill, without drawing a drop of blood.

Aroka
2010-07-24, 10:50 PM
It depends which RPG. Shield are laughable in D&D, and in many armour is very poor. I run a semi-historical game where the party FEAR being out of armour, because suddenly anything and everything can easily kill you.

Totally. D&D is just bad about combat in general; In The Riddle of Steel, shields are amazing (you use them to actively defend, can position them for bonuses to defend certain locations - like your unprotecte head - and you get a passive armor bonus to the location you cover, as well as adjacent locations depending on shield size), and armor literally spells the difference between being killed by an attack or being unaffected. In Artesia: Adventures in the Known World, shields aren't as amazing (no passive bonuses, they're just the best way to defend in melee, especially if you're strong), but armor is just as essential. And in RuneQuest, shields are (in most versions) the best way to parry, and armor determines whether all your limbs get lopped off in combat.

Actually, thinking about it, I can't think of very many fantasy RPGs that treat shields and armor the way D&D does. Pendragon doesn't, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay doesn't, GURPS doesn't...

Mike_G
2010-07-25, 11:26 AM
Shields are lousy in D&D because of its roots in miniatures wargaming.

Armor Class for units in a wargame being based on armor worn, and given a trivial bonus for a shield is consistent with basic miniatures rules.

But it doesn't really work as a way to simulate their usefulness in individual combat.

All D&D combat rules make sense when viewed as wargaming rules adapted for the heroes on the battlefield. The old 1e to hit charts; saving throws; AC as the only defense, combining dodging and resiting the impact; the old weapon vs armor type modifier. None of these is a good rule for one on one combat, but an easy and useful abstraction for my company of pikes facing your squadron of lancers.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-07-25, 02:13 PM
Well put.

I'd also like to point out, the Genoese crossbowmen in those particular battles were very badly positioned by the French Chivalric leadership for exactly the same reasons that they charged right into an obvious trap.

Swiss crossbowmen actually faced longbow archers and routed them.

G.

Even better, the crossbowmen normally carried pavises into battle, here however as the knights pushed on at a forced march pace they had to leave the bagage train with those behind...

A big factor in why they were so easily cut down, unarmoured men or very, very lightly armoured men who were forced to jog for several miles and then thrown into a battle against an entrenched enemy with a powerfull and fast firing ranged attack... not a prospect that gives you much chances of winning a battle.

As for the people who keep saying 'cannot be knocked back' as a reply to my posts, can you please carefully read what I write.
I may not be a native English speaker but I am quite sure I have said knocked down...

There is a tiny detail there that you might want to check, kinda like adding 'not' at random in sentences.
It makes a tad of a difference in the meaning of the sentence.

Psyx
2010-07-26, 07:01 AM
I have seen that video, it was very famous. However, most of the ammo being used against them were pistol ammo as I recall. Not large caliber musketballs. SWAT teams eventually showed up with weapons which could deal with the body armor.

And they still didn't fall over. Until they bled, anyway.


Also, I suspect that 16th century armor and modern body armor behave somewhat differently.

I'm not seeing any great mechanical difference. You are of course aware that modern body armour that stops rifle ammunition relies on solid ablative ceramic plates, rather than kevlar? Both have heavy padding underneath as well. In theory, the area that the ceramic insert plate has to spread the impact over would be smaller than that of a breastplate, too.


then the mass of the ball will have just as much influence as its velocity. A musket ball is considerably more massive than most rifle ammo.
Wow, how condescending. Maybe you should actually try to reference some physics, or at the very least some studies that deal with the specifics of the question at hand, rather than point to modern anecdotal evidence which has a completely different set of variables, without demonstrating whatsoever that they are comparable.


It's condescending because -frankly- your line of logic ignores all the anecdotal evidence then asks me to spend my time finding evidence in contradiction of the obvious flaws. I'm not about to break open the Integration to figure Impulse, but I'll bow to doing the momentum work...


I know that the momentum of a 2-ounce musket ball will be greater then most rife bullets.

p=mv

http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/published_volumes/conventional_warfare/chapter4/Pages1-12.pdf

7.62mm momentum = 8.715 kg m/s
Smoothbore musket = 5.94 kg m/s

Bear in mind that we're at least 100m away, which causes more of a loss in velocity, hence momentum to the musket ball than the 7.62mm. Even if we 'hot shot' our musket, it's -at best- the same momentum.

That's a 33g ball, rather than 58g one, because 58g would require an 8 gauge barrel (.835 calibre). That's a truly massive musket.

But if we use your calibre and the 180m/s muzzle velocity, we arrive at 10.44 kg m/s. Not massively different to 7.62mm, especially not at range.

Are we in agreement, yet? The energies and momentum are not varying by anything close to a significant multiple and the armour is mechanically fairly similar, having the same job to do. We've got anecdotal yet comparable evidence and some physics pointing towards the supposition now. Is there anything else to do?

Psyx
2010-07-26, 07:07 AM
Totally. D&D is just bad about combat in general; In The Riddle of Steel, shields are amazing ....
Actually, thinking about it, I can't think of very many fantasy RPGs that treat shields and armor the way D&D does. Pendragon doesn't, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay doesn't, GURPS doesn't...

I really like how Pendragon and WFRP deal with them: At total armour. Although Pendragon makes a nod towards having to have some skill to get it into place. It's simple and works.
Although a little mean statistically, Dragon Warriors presented a mechanic where a shield gave a 1-in-6 chance of negating any blow.
Ah: Runequest. AKA: Leg Quest. To replace the ones that always get cut off...

I don't understand why systems are so afraid of making shields 'good'. Because they are. It should be the preferential combat option, instead of the weakest.

I'm struggling to think of another system where armour/shield just makes you harder to hit.
*ponder*
Nope...can't think of one!

Aroka
2010-07-26, 07:23 AM
Ah: Runequest. AKA: Leg Quest. To replace the ones that always get cut off...

... my group did literally have an adventure into the Stinking Forest because one PC had lost his leg and the party had heard the elves could replace limbs with living wood.


Question: why did three-quarter and half harness take pieces off the legs? Weren't three-quarter and half harness mostly a cavalry thing, and wouldn't you want to protect your legs because they're easier for infantry to reach? Is it just that the leg/foot is such an unoptimal target when your opponent isn't standing on it?

Maclav
2010-07-26, 07:38 AM
I don't understand why systems are so afraid of making shields 'good'. Because they are. It should be the preferential combat option, instead of the weakest.


It should depend on what, how and where you are fighting and what you are fighting in and with. Great in formation. Great against light missile weapons. Not so great when they leave you mostly ineffective against someone in harness.

Besides, my left vambrace and rebrace make a fantastic shield already. I think most systems -vastly- under power armour in general. The difference between armour and not is incredible. Even a few layers of linen is a big deal.

Aroka
2010-07-26, 07:58 AM
Not so great when they leave you mostly ineffective against someone in harness.

True. Against full harness, you pretty much need to be in full harness yourself and using a two-handed weapon made for the job (poll-axe, poll-hammer, longsword & grappling & poniard). Not surprisingly, The Riddle of Steel models that, too.

Although I've got to imagine warhammer and shield would be pretty effective even against full harness, no?

Maclav
2010-07-26, 08:01 AM
Although I've got to imagine warhammer and shield would be pretty effective even against full harness, no?

Later period, there are examples of horseman's picks/hammers used from horseback - but no shield. I haven't a clue how effective it would be on foot.

Matthew
2010-07-26, 08:18 AM
I think it is important to bear in mind that many games have a much less abstract approach to combat than D&D. A shield as a −5% chance of being "hit" is pretty much in keeping with mail armour providing a −25% chance, and works fairly well at approximating historical "set-ups", which is to say two-handed weapons are better against heavier armour, and shorter weapons better in the close press where room is limited. None of this, of course, was transferred to the D20 system, so there is a disconnect between the mechanisms and their original purpose. That is a long way of saying, picking on shields as particularly unrealistic in D&D is missing the context, as MikeG notes. Certainly, though, there are much more realistic combat simulators out there.

Psyx
2010-07-26, 08:34 AM
Although I've got to imagine warhammer and shield would be pretty effective even against full harness, no?

Less leverage though. which is important not only from the perspective of blows, but also trips, throws, binds and grapples.


Question: why did three-quarter and half harness take pieces off the legs? Weren't three-quarter and half harness mostly a cavalry thing, and wouldn't you want to protect your legs because they're easier for infantry to reach? Is it just that the leg/foot is such an unoptimal target when your opponent isn't standing on it?

I could be *very* wrong here; but I suspect that much of such surviving armour was designed for use in foot lists and joust, rather than actual battle. In joust, the legs weren't really a target, so armour could be stripped off.
In the more formal foot lists, I believe that blows to the legs were discouraged or illegal, as they could very easily cause permanent damage to knees etc. Therefore there'd be no need for leg armour there, either. Again; I could be *very* wrong about this, as it's not a real area of expertise.

WhiteHarness
2010-07-26, 08:38 AM
Those three-quarter harnesses that do away with much of the leg armour possibly do so because they are intended for cavalry who will engage other cavalry (who will be more able to strike at a mounted opponent's upper body than his legs) if they find themselves in close-quarter combat, or maybe fleeing troops, but not organized, massed infantry who might be better able to target their legs in close quarters.

Maclav
2010-07-26, 08:43 AM
In the more formal foot lists, I believe that blows to the legs were discouraged or illegal, as they could very easily cause permanent damage to knees etc. Therefore there'd be no need for leg armour there, either. Again; I could be *very* wrong about this, as it's not a real area of expertise.

Throwing a leg attack against an aware opponent can be suicide. There is one, simple, universal counter. Slip the leg and have your way with them, often to the head or hands. Geometry is a bitch and legs are a long ways away and attacking them leaves you incredibly vulnerable.

Mike_G
2010-07-26, 08:56 AM
Throwing a leg attack against an aware opponent can be suicide. There is one, simple, universal counter. Slip the leg and have your way with them, often to the head or hands. Geometry is a bitch and legs are a long ways away and attacking them leaves you incredibly vulnerable.

But by the same token, if I take your attack on my shield and simultaneously cut your forward leg, where your weight will be as you deliver your attack, I have you. Or if I feint at your head with a thrust of my poleaxe, then strike your leg when you defend high, same thing.

If your leg is unarmored, you're kinda screwed.

The leg is an easy target, particularly if I've got a weapon with some reach, or a weapon to attack with and a shield to defend with.

Psyx
2010-07-26, 10:27 AM
Although any technical reason for shedding leg armour in one-to-one situations bears no real relevance to the shedding of it in a battlefield situation...

The logic also assumes a fair fight where our hypothetical knight can counter by moving a leg. Which may not be at all viable in a press, or against a forest of longer weapons.

Eorran
2010-07-26, 10:35 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a style of fencing that includes strikes to the leg? I seem to remember the rationale being that form was training for first-blood type duels rather than to-the-death, and leg (and arm) strikes were one of the most vulnerable areas, since they were often closer to you than the opponent's head or torso.

Shademan
2010-07-26, 11:02 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a style of fencing that includes strikes to the leg? I seem to remember the rationale being that form was training for first-blood type duels rather than to-the-death, and leg (and arm) strikes were one of the most vulnerable areas, since they were often closer to you than the opponent's head or torso.

I did some fencing in the UK. we were tought to hit each other in the legs when using sabers. stung like heck

Psyx
2010-07-26, 11:56 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a style of fencing that includes strikes to the leg?


Sabreurs target the upper body only. In fencing; only the Épée treats legs as valid targets.

Storm Bringer
2010-07-26, 02:52 PM
as Psyx says, In sport fencing, Sabreurs are taught to strike above the hips. Epee have the whole body as a valid target, for the reasons Eorran listed: the duels were till first blood, and it is easier to cause a scratch to the arms or legs than to the chest.

on lighter armour on legs for 3/4 and 1/2 plate, I am under the impression the reasoning was that the user was going to be sat in a saddle, which would provide a modicum of protection.

Shademan
2010-07-26, 02:53 PM
Sabreurs target the upper body only. In fencing; only the Épée treats legs as valid targets.

ooyeah... thats how it went. Come to think of it, we were never trained in striking the legs. we just did that to be mean to each other. heheheheee

fusilier
2010-07-26, 09:07 PM
p=mv

http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/published_volumes/conventional_warfare/chapter4/Pages1-12.pdf

7.62mm momentum = 8.715 kg m/s
Smoothbore musket = 5.94 kg m/s


Tests of the .85 caliber musket generated a muzzle velocity of ~330 m/s
With a 2 ounce ball (56.7 grams)

Smoothbore musket = 18.71 kg m/s !!!

The "circa 1700 musket" is most likely a .69 caliber musket with an approximately one ounce ball, and being propelled at roughly half the velocity.

As for how much velocity is lost, that is a factor that must be considered. As for the armor, there are several factors that must be considered. If the ball is captured by the armor, the max force delivered to the armor, will be less than if the ball is reflected (perpendicularly of course). I'm sure there are tons of other factors that could weigh in one direction or the other.

Nonetheless we are starting with at least more than 2 times the amount of momentum.

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 08:53 AM
On the half-armor / three quarters harness thing

Lower leg armor in a medieval context (mail chauses initially) arose from knights charging into combat with foot soldiers, the foot was one of the easiest targets from the ground. But pikes put the quietus on knights charging into mobs of infantry like that, cavalry in the Renaissance was being used more like medium or light cavalry, to attack disorganized formations, scattered soldiers etc., more hit and run. By the 16th Century when half armor and three quarters harness begin to become popular you are seeing fewer armored horses and the horse is a much easier target than the rider obviously. So if the horse isn't armored you aren't going to get in a fight with 5 or 6 infantry at close range if you can help it. The armor is there to protect against other riders and against bullets.

On the ground, in a one on one fight, it's hard to hit the legs safely due to the geometry reasons somebody mentioned. I've been doing HEMA for 12 years now with all kinds of weapons ranging from spears to daggers, I've fought with people from all over the world including in Tournaments, and from my experience the lower legs rarely get hit. Not never, but rarely. There are very few strikes to the lower legs in the manuals (some, but very few). This is for the geometry / timing issue. You aim at the legs you tend to expose your head, shoulders, neck etc.

With shields you do indeed see more leg hits (at the Wisby battlefield something like 1/4 of the skeletons had injuries to the lower left leg). But shields were fairly rare among infantry by the 16th Century, and most of the infantry which did use shields were typically in a siege type situation or they were light infantry skirmishers (rotelerro) using steel shields without much if any armor, fighting pikemen. Bucklers were still around but mostly used with more 'stabby' swords and again, you are dealing with geometry quite a bit there.


and works fairly well at approximating historical "set-ups", which is to say two-handed weapons are better against heavier armour, and shorter weapons better in the close press where room is limited.

A minor quibble... One of the big loopholes in DnD is that, actually short weapons are among the best against armor; namely daggers, which were invented for armor piercing and almost universally carried by knights, men-at-arms, gendarmes, reitter etc. Daggers finished more fights between armored men than swords ever did.

TROS dealt with shields reasonably well, I haven't played GURPS since probably 2E or 1E but back then I wasn't impressed with how the shields worked. WHFRPG is ok, not spectacular... I thought the armor was a little silly and quite a few of their weapons are just fantasy cliches, but I liked their combat system overall, at least the players have very few hit points. I was playing a savage worlds game set in a quasi-medieval fantasy context recently and the combat system, while fun, was about as silly as DnD IMHO. I really haven't seen a system other than TROS which deals with reach and range, timing and movement, armor and shields with even close to a realistic feel yet, but of course maybe I'm biased. Jake Norwood who made Riddle of Steel likes Burning Wheel a lot and there are some things I like about it too but I'm not sold on their combat system, it's a little too abstracted for my taste.


G.

Yora
2010-07-27, 09:08 AM
How exactly did Heavy Cavalry work? In fiction they often just charge at a formation of infantry and then miracolously the infantry is dead.
The first impact would of course be devestating to those men standing in the front, but with all those spears the horses should fare as well as in in Braveheart. And even if the horses survive and does not stumble from running over piles of bodies, how do you attack with a sword? And if the the heavy cavalry does not charge right into the spears and it just turns into a brawl, wouldn't it be very easy to just stab the horses?
Flanking archer formations with light cavalry I understand, but how does heavy cavalry work?

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 09:37 AM
How exactly did Heavy Cavalry work? In fiction they often just charge at a formation of infantry and then miracolously the infantry is dead.
The first impact would of course be devestating to those men standing in the front, but with all those spears the horses should fare as well as in in Braveheart. And even if the horses survive and does not stumble from running over piles of bodies, how do you attack with a sword? And if the the heavy cavalry does not charge right into the spears and it just turns into a brawl, wouldn't it be very easy to just stab the horses?
Flanking archer formations with light cavalry I understand, but how does heavy cavalry work?

Well, heavy cavalry had armored horses, that is the most important thing to remember. Heavy cavalry also had really long lances, and charged in groups, so you get say 10 or 20 armored riders on armored horses with 12' - 18' lances charging together this can be pretty intimidating to infantry. They would charge with the lances, which means almost every lance strike is a kill (or even two kills) then wheel around and charge again, until the lances are broken, usually they will have attendants with 3 or more replacement lances. When all the lances are gone (or if they can't wheel around) they revert to swords.

But the lances were very good at breaking up infantry formations. Quite often, historically, heavy cavlary was used this way as 'shock cavlary',the Parthians did this to Roman infatnry, so did the Visigoths. The crusaders made cavalry charges like that both against Turkish and Arab infantry and their light and medium cavalry. The latter in particular were extremely vulnerable. Both the crusader knights and their horses were essentially immune to arrows. Battles during the crusades tended to depend on how much space there was and how good the commanders were; if the arabs had room to disperse and / or could pull of a feigned retreat / ambush they would often win, if they were pinned to an area like in a pass or a valley with no room to get away they would get slaughtered.

Armored horses goes back to 4th or 5th Century BC and the first Cataphracts, like these guys

http://www.armenian-history.com/Nyuter/HISTORY/ArmeniaBC/armenian_cavalry/Armenian_heavy_cavalry.jpg

By the 16th Century you've got armor like this

http://www.arador.com/gallery/15c-3.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Dresden-Zwinger-Armoury-Armor.02.JPG

Which make armored riders tough to kill although the legs of the horse are typically still exposed. Cavalry like this could charge into infantry, but dense / well organized pike formations were still hard to deal with for even this type of cavalry.

So it declined in value somewhat and gradually, was replaced with the demi-lancer, an armored rider on an unarmored horse, and then riders wearing half and three-quarters armor, usualy armed with a combination of swords, lances, and pistols or carbines.

In the late 15th and 16th Century, due to pikes and cannon and massed gunfire, heavy cavalry had to be used more carefully. They could not just charge into organized infantry formations. Cannon, firearms, and crossbows would often be used to break up an infantry formation, then the heavy cavalry could charge in. But more and more, they would avoid the toe to toe shock combat and rely more on lances (or pistols) to do their heaviest damage, and keep moving rather than fight it out. But old fashioned heavy cavalry charges were still used into the late 17th Century, the Polish Hussars were very good at adapting this technique to the dangers of cannons and muskets.


G.

EDIT: added a bit more detail about heavy cavlary tactics

Mike_G
2010-07-27, 09:43 AM
How exactly did Heavy Cavalry work? In fiction they often just charge at a formation of infantry and then miracolously the infantry is dead.
The first impact would of course be devestating to those men standing in the front, but with all those spears the horses should fare as well as in in Braveheart. And even if the horses survive and does not stumble from running over piles of bodies, how do you attack with a sword? And if the the heavy cavalry does not charge right into the spears and it just turns into a brawl, wouldn't it be very easy to just stab the horses?
Flanking archer formations with light cavalry I understand, but how does heavy cavalry work?

Psychological intimidation.

If the infantry break and run, the heavy cavalry rides them down. If the infantry holds their ranks, stays in a block and levels spears/pikes/bayonets etc, the horses will shy away before impact, the cavalry charge will stall and turn into a bunch of horsemen hacking at pikestaves with their swords while the infantry stab at legs and horses.

Heavy horse are scary. The animals are enormous, the riders are armored and have lances. The average lower class footsoldier watches the lance points getting closer, the horses getting bigger as they approach, the ground shaking with the thunder of hooves. It takes a huge amount of discipline to overcome the natural flight reaction. Fairly often, infantry did break.

I cannot recall a single instance of cavalry overwhelming an infantry formation that didn't break first.

Loosely formed infantry are a different matter. If the cavalry can rider among them and cut them down, that's one thing, but shoulder to shoulder with any kind of long, pointy weapon, not so muhc.

Spiryt
2010-07-27, 09:54 AM
How exactly did Heavy Cavalry work? In fiction they often just charge at a formation of infantry and then miracolously the infantry is dead.
The first impact would of course be devestating to those men standing in the front, but with all those spears the horses should fare as well as in in Braveheart. And even if the horses survive and does not stumble from running over piles of bodies, how do you attack with a sword? And if the the heavy cavalry does not charge right into the spears and it just turns into a brawl, wouldn't it be very easy to just stab the horses?
Flanking archer formations with light cavalry I understand, but how does heavy cavalry work?

No, it's not easy to stab the horses.

Like other said, male horse, especially battle trained one, is scary beast, which can punish human in scary ways.

And on the top of the beast sits man who wants to harm you to.

And in many cases, at least medieval/later ones, he's often much better trained and equipped than you.

Moreover, if attack wasn't so effective, fighting with the sword wasn't really necessary, riding back and attacking again with new lance, spear, or even the remains of the broken one (aside that your weapon could remain inact quite often) was standard medieval tactics, see Hastings for quite early example.

You can also easily see Horse Police movies on youtube, to see how easily big horse can trample and break even large aggressive crowds.

I remember few good ones, and I've seen one presentation by myself too...

If horse decides to push you around, you're pushed around, period.

And of course, still disciplined, trained formation of infantry could fight well against cavalry, especially with proper weapons.

Aroka
2010-07-27, 10:10 AM
stuff

That does seem to cover everything. I hadn't thought of the connection to pikes and muskets, or the difficulty of striking at the legs/feet without a shield. It makes sense that armor would evolve as weapons did, and if something was dropped it was because the weapons used meant the location was no longer threatened.


A minor quibble... One of the big loopholes in DnD is that, actually short weapons are among the best against armor; namely daggers, which were invented for armor piercing and almost universally carried by knights, men-at-arms, gendarmes, reitter etc. Daggers finished more fights between armored men than swords ever did.

Poniards, misericordes, and other thin, stabbing daggers (in fact, some had no cutting edge at all, did they? Basically ice-picks) were intended almost exclusively for putting down armored opponents, weren't they?

Bashing your opponent with a longsword wasn't going to be a very successful tactic, and half-swording it like a spear was a pretty limited approach - but a sword held half-sword made an excellent lever for grappling, and once you had your opponent off his feet or bound, you'd pull out a dagger and insert it into a gap in the armor (under the gorget, under the arm, through the visor, etc.). Armored longsword manuals have a big focus on the grappling, don't they?


And yes, TROS is awesome about practically every aspect of combat. Interestingly, Mongoose's 2nd version of RuneQuest seems to have lifted a lot of ideas from TROS - there's reach (simplified; either you can't attack or you can't defend until you manage to change the distance), and the manoeuvres allow you to, say, ignore armor with a dagger-thrust.

Matthew
2010-07-27, 10:43 AM
A minor quibble... One of the big loopholes in DnD is that, actually short weapons are among the best against armor; namely daggers, which were invented for armor piercing and almost universally carried by knights, men-at-arms, gendarmes, reitter etc. Daggers finished more fights between armored men than swords ever did.

There actually is a rule in Chain Mail and Original Dungeons & Dragons dealing with this, where daggers, swords and spears are more effective against "prone" armoured characters (what is envisioned ins a knight knocked off his horse, from the context). For some reason it did not make it into the AD&D PHB, but I am unfamiliar with the grappling rules in first edition, so it could be in there. Attacks against truly helpless opponents are apparently rolled on the assassination table, which may have some bearing on the issue, but in general I agree that whatever its merits there are areas that could be improved without overhauling the entire system.



Both the crusader knights and their horses were essentially immune to arrows.
It depends a bit on period and which sources you read, but certainly at long range armoured horses and men were not suffering heavy casualties, but well into the thirteenth century loss of horses (presumably unarmoured) comes up again and again. Arsuf is a great example of horses being lost to protracted ranged combat, though whether exaggerated for effect (the Itinerarium lays it on pretty thick) it is hard to say.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree with what Galloglaich and Mike are saying. The idea was to break up the enemy formation with missile attacks, and when it shows signs of being vulnerable to launch a cavalry attack, which will hopefully cause the enemy to run away. If you have a strong infantry force yourself and the enemy lacks cavalry, you can do even better by engaging the enemy and then hitting them in the flanks, ala Alexander the Great, Hannibal, etcetera. A great online article for the medieval practice is La Régle du Temple as a Military Manual or How to Deliver a Cavalry Charge (http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/bennett1.htm).

Thane of Fife
2010-07-27, 10:45 AM
I cannot recall a single instance of cavalry overwhelming an infantry formation that didn't break first.

While it didn't quite happen, I believe that, at Legnano, the Lombard infantry, despite initially holding against the Imperial cavalry charge, were subsequently losing when their own cavalry returned to help them out.

HenryHankovitch
2010-07-27, 04:07 PM
Massed heavy-musket fire (using armor-piercing steel shot) had much the same effect.

Where does this steel musket balls idea come from? I can't find anything else on the intertubes that refers to it, and it seems unlikely for all manner of reasons.

Spiryt
2010-07-27, 04:21 PM
I'm also not sure why steel would be "armour piercing" in this case, as it's much less dense, and it's hardness in such case of ball shaped massive bullet wouldn't be really much help.

In fact I've read convicting theory that lead ball were effective against plate just because of their malleableness - deformation of the ball caused bigger area of contact with plate, 'stick' of the flat surfaces, and thus ball wouldn't be deflected, which should occur with round bullet.

Of course, such way of penetration required a lot of energy for all of those processes, but guns bullets had a lot of it.

Energy hadn't any way to go, instead against the plate, so it could punch trough.

While undeformed ball could do many other things, as it's shape isn't penetrating one in any way, especially to push steel aside -so any bullet had to "punch" trough anyway.

Do what you want with it.

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 04:26 PM
Where does this steel musket balls idea come from? I can't find anything else on the intertubes that refers to it, and it seems unlikely for all manner of reasons.

Alan Williams, among other sources. I've actually seen photos of steel musket balls from auction sites. It seems common knowledge on the firearms and history forums I've discussed this stuff on.

Steel bullets are also standard armor piercing ammunition today.

G.

Spiryt
2010-07-27, 04:29 PM
Alan Williams, among other sources. I've actually seen photos of steel musket balls from auctoin shops. It seems common knowledge on the firearms and history forums I've discussed this stuff on.

Steel bullets are also standard armor piercing ammunition today.

G.

I don't claim to know much about it, but I'm pretty sure today's ammo is steel 'jacketed' lead, no pure steel.

As for auction shops, what centuries are those balls from?

I would bet that 95 % are pretty 'recent' ones, from natural reason, but I don't really know.

Psyx
2010-07-27, 05:08 PM
How exactly did Heavy Cavalry work?

Shock and awe.

The tanks of their era. You need a lot of discipline to stand there and repell in an orderly fashion. And even if you do stick the horses on the way in, that's still potentially a ton of wounded, thrashing horse hitting the line and breaking the formation up for exploitation.


Steel bullets are also standard armor piercing ammunition today.

Err... Steel bullets would strip the rifling out of your barrel. Some old AP rounds were full steel, but they were teflon coated to stop the barrel getting destroyed. This is where the myth that teflon-coating rounds to make them AP started.

Dust
2010-07-27, 06:46 PM
I've been working ona homebrewed rpg, and one question keeps coming back and haunting me. In game systems that do NOT use grid-based combat, what benefits could there be to using reached weapons such as say, longspears? Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract. For example, perhaps users of reached weapons get a bonus to their defense against foes who aren't also using Reached weapons - something like that.

Any suggestions? :smallconfused:

Matthew
2010-07-27, 06:59 PM
Always wins initiative? Hard to say without knowing what constitutes the system. The reality is that a guy with a shorter weapon will generally try to get within the reach of an opponent with a longer weapon, given the opportunity (as far as I understand it).

Mike_G
2010-07-27, 07:12 PM
I've been working ona homebrewed rpg, and one question keeps coming back and haunting me. In game systems that do NOT use grid-based combat, what benefits could there be to using reached weapons such as say, longspears? Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract. For example, perhaps users of reached weapons get a bonus to their defense against foes who aren't also using Reached weapons - something like that.

Any suggestions? :smallconfused:

The Riddle of Steel supposedly has really good reach rules. The new RuneQuest game uses easy but effective reach rules. Basically, each weapon has a specific reach, and if you are out of reach you can't attack. if you want to change the distance of the encounter, say, get past the reach of the spearman so you can use your shortsword, you need to make an opposed skill check, closing the distance if you win, and he can mainatin the distance if he wins. Then, once you have closed, he can't attack effectively unless he wins a skill check to change distance. It works well, it's pretty quick and easy and represents the initial advantage of reach, without ignoring the subsequent advantage of a shorter weapon once you get inside
his weapon.

HenryHankovitch
2010-07-27, 07:16 PM
Err... Steel bullets would strip the rifling out of your barrel. Some old AP rounds were full steel, but they were teflon coated to stop the barrel getting destroyed. This is where the myth that teflon-coating rounds to make them AP started.

Modern AP rounds tend to be a a hardened steel or tungsten penetrator inside a softer metal jacket. On impact, the metal jacket deforms and peels away, and the penetrator (hopefully) goes through the armor.

My real skepticism toward Renaissance-era steel shot comes from the expense of forging steel bullets, instead of molding or "dropping" lead. I find it quite difficult to believe that anyone would equip soldiers en masse with steel ammunition. But I don't have any historical sources either way, aside from le wikipedia.

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 08:24 PM
I don't claim to know much about it, but I'm pretty sure today's ammo is steel 'jacketed' lead, no pure steel.

As for auction shops, what centuries are those balls from?

I would bet that 95 % are pretty 'recent' ones, from natural reason, but I don't really know.

No they are copper jacketed steel.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 09:21 PM
Modern AP rounds tend to be a a hardened steel or tungsten penetrator inside a softer metal jacket. On impact, the metal jacket deforms and peels away, and the penetrator (hopefully) goes through the armor.

My real skepticism toward Renaissance-era steel shot comes from the expense of forging steel bullets, instead of molding or "dropping" lead. I find it quite difficult to believe that anyone would equip soldiers en masse with steel ammunition. But I don't have any historical sources either way, aside from le wikipedia.

They forged the steel balls for special armor-piercing gunners. Muskets were originally basically only for armor-piercing, most of the gunners were using arquebuses with ordinary lead shot.

Ok so I was trying to find some data for this... unfortunately the pages in Knight and the Blast furnace which mention this are blacked out right now on google books, I don't know why. There is some mention of steel shot being used for armor piercing with muskets on page 942 IIRC.

Unfortunately Knight and the Blast furnace is out of print, I've been relying on the google books version so I can't scan a page. This level of detail on a subject of this sort is hard to find with a simple internet search, but I gave it a shot.

I found this book which talks about a new enfield rifle being made in the 19th Century which had special rifling made to allow for steel bullets, specifically for armor -piercing (he said it could pierce 1/2" armor plate at long range, whereas the lead bullet could only do so at point - blank range. Which is interesting.

http://books.google.com/books?id=fQz2Hc0NTr0C&pg=PA233&lpg=PA233&dq=musket+%22steel+bullet%22&source=bl&ots=XIcibiWlGl&sig=mSzNK4H6bVNjBgQ-k81rHUYRY9Q&hl=en&ei=p4pPTLGcEob2swO50Oy3Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=musket%20%22steel%20bullet%22&f=false

This is another reference to the same 19th Century weapon
http://www.lrml.org/historical/whitworth/gunsandsteel02.htm

Of course muskets in the 16th and 17th Century were very rarely rifled.

But that is all I could find right now :smallannoyed: I will plunge into this a bit further and find some sources to prove or disprove this assertion (either way I'll post what I find here). I have some other questions I want answered about steel bullets myself like how did they account for the (lower) weight.

I'll get back to you on this I have some queries out to some friends who know more about guns than I do.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-07-27, 09:28 PM
I did find this other quote in KATBF which is interestingly relevant to the discussion we were having earlier about different types of armor (why armor changed from steel to iron and then went away altogether)

From page 948 of KABTF:

" It will be seen that the sort of steel armours that Milanese armourers could offer in the late 14th and 15th centuries would offer a good margin of protection against all likely weapons. Their claims about using the crossbow to test armour are amply justified.

Munition armour offered the bare minimum of protection at close range. On the other hand, armour of knightly quality could well require more than twice as much energy to defeat it, and so offer at least double the protection - at a price, of course.

However, firerarms offer a greater order of magnitude of energy, and very soon offer a real possibility of defeating armour. There are two courses then open to the armourer: make the armor of better metal, or thicker.

The difficulties of heat-treating steel meant that this first solution, although desirable, was expensive.

While a few individual centres of metallurgical excellence continued to make princely armour of great elegance as well as metallurgical ingenuity, the great bulk of production had to be made down to a price, and be effective simply through it's thickness.

The second solution, although crude, was effective. [I]As armies got larger and firepower increased, the demand for armour (even for the infantry) increased; the likelihood of princes paying for large quantities of armour - unless the cheapest solution had been adopted - was very small.

Increasing the thickness from 2 to 3.1 mm will double the resistance, and have a similar effect to the use of hardened steel, at a fraction of the cost.

The problem them was the stamina of the wearers, and indeed as handgunners replaced archers, less skillful troops were needed and wages fell."

This is an interesting perspective. Allen seems to be saying that it was the increased demand for armor which initially led to quality plummeting, armor getting simultaneously much heavier... and ultimately, it got heavy enough that soldiers just started to refuse to wear it even at risk to their lives.

G.

fusilier
2010-07-28, 02:19 AM
The Riddle of Steel supposedly has really good reach rules. The new RuneQuest game uses easy but effective reach rules. Basically, each weapon has a specific reach, and if you are out of reach you can't attack. if you want to change the distance of the encounter, say, get past the reach of the spearman so you can use your shortsword, you need to make an opposed skill check, closing the distance if you win, and he can mainatin the distance if he wins. Then, once you have closed, he can't attack effectively unless he wins a skill check to change distance. It works well, it's pretty quick and easy and represents the initial advantage of reach, without ignoring the subsequent advantage of a shorter weapon once you get inside
his weapon.

I like that idea; it sounds quick and easy, and also something that could be ported to any number of other systems.

fusilier
2010-07-28, 02:33 AM
This is an interesting perspective. Allen seems to be saying that it was the increased demand for armor which initially led to quality plummeting, armor getting simultaneously much heavier... and ultimately, it got heavy enough that soldiers just started to refuse to wear it even at risk to their lives.

G.

Interesting. I guess warfare was getting "bigger" during this time period, and there was an increased demand for effective, but economical, armor.

JaronK
2010-07-28, 02:59 AM
I've been working ona homebrewed rpg, and one question keeps coming back and haunting me. In game systems that do NOT use grid-based combat, what benefits could there be to using reached weapons such as say, longspears? Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract. For example, perhaps users of reached weapons get a bonus to their defense against foes who aren't also using Reached weapons - something like that.

Any suggestions? :smallconfused:

Shadowrun uses a very simple, yet effective, system for this. It's a d6 game where your base target number in melee is 4. All weapons have a reach value from -1 to 2 (bite/head butt attacks to spears and whips). Whoever has more reach can either add the difference in reach to their opponent's target number or decrease their own target number by the same (you can't have both).

For example, a man wielding a Bayonette on his rifle (reach 2) is fighting a man with a katana (reach 1) in melee. Since the rifleman has better reach and their reach difference is 1, he can either force his opponent to need 5s or make himself need 3s.

There is a close combat maneuver that can be learned that allows you to ignore all reach modifiers at a cost of reducing your attack power slightly (it also costs a bit to learn this maneuver, and you can't use other maneuvers when doing this).

This works quite well, and is extremely simple to implement. Since in that game concealability matters a great deal, such weapons are balanced... a pole arm virtually guarantees victory over a dagger, but it's often hard to bring into position.

JaronK

Psyx
2010-07-28, 03:03 AM
"Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract."


Some kind of opposed skill or agility-based check when the shorter-weapon user first tries to attack, resulting in a 'free hack' by the polearm user if it fails, as he fends off the dagger-boy.


I'm aware of the constituency of modern AP rounds; it's just that solid steel shot in rifled barrels is a *bad* idea. Steel is also a lot less dense, which gives a higher velocity, but it falls off faster and suffers more from deflection.

Aroka
2010-07-28, 03:44 AM
I've been working ona homebrewed rpg, and one question keeps coming back and haunting me. In game systems that do NOT use grid-based combat, what benefits could there be to using reached weapons such as say, longspears? Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract. For example, perhaps users of reached weapons get a bonus to their defense against foes who aren't also using Reached weapons - something like that.


The Riddle of Steel supposedly has really good reach rules.

It does, although they're the bit of the rules that's hardest (for me) to remember each time. Every step of difference "against you" (i.e. your opponent is inside your reach, or out of your reach) is a -1 die penalty to your actions (not to your pool, but to each discrete action, meaning it's a huge deal). Once you win an exchange (whether or not you deal damage), you automatically adjust the reach to your advantage.


The new RuneQuest game uses easy but effective reach rules. Basically, each weapon has a specific reach, and if you are out of reach you can't attack. if you want to change the distance of the encounter, say, get past the reach of the spearman so you can use your shortsword, you need to make an opposed skill check, closing the distance if you win, and he can mainatin the distance if he wins. Then, once you have closed, he can't attack effectively unless he wins a skill check to change distance. It works well, it's pretty quick and easy and represents the initial advantage of reach, without ignoring the subsequent advantage of a shorter weapon once you get inside his weapon.

Slight correction: differences in reach only matter if it's more than one step in MRQ2. It's easy enough to make it one steps, but I like this system; you can attack the swordsman with your shield, but you can't punch him, and you can't attack the spearman with your dagger. (Until you close the distance, of course.)

Artesia: Adventures in the Known World also has good and simple reach rules; reach and movement are measured in Steps, you can't attack an opponent you can't reach, you get a penalty to attack someone 1 Step inside your weapon's reach and can't attack someone 2+ Steps inside your weapon's reach. The game is, IMO, in general at least as realistic as MRQ2 rules-wise, with much, much better representation of real weapons and armor. (You can theoretically end up so inhumanly heroic that you can shear clean through full harness with a sword, but it's a world where heroes can defeat dragons the size of castles. There's no hard upper limit to how awesome you can get, and abilities and skills will scale up infinitely - it just get harder and harder to increase them.)

The Riddle of Steel is a game everyone who's interested in RPG mechanics should check out just for the combat system; and Artesia: AKW is a game that everyone interested in fantasy RPGs should check out, for absolutely everything.


Any suggestions? :smallconfused:

None of TROS, Artesia:AKW, or MRQ2 use grids; in fact, TROS doesn't use distance at all, and movement is almost abstracted: to avoid opponents, you make a roll to avoid them, and the only measure of distance in melee combat is whether you're engaged with someone or not.

Depending on the granularity you want, you can just go with "inside/outside" (MRQ2) or actual steps of reach (TROS, A:AKW), and then either apply penalties or make attack (outside) / defense (inside) impossible. It doesn't need to get much more difficult than that. To change reach, require some sort of roll - because the person who currently has the advantage is going to try to keep it (unless you're trying to get out of reach and your opponent takes the opportunity to move away from you).


Edit: I guess I could also elaborate in just how you close the distance.

In MRQ2, you can alter the reach to your advantage by making an Evade check; your opponent can either oppose with an Evade check (moving to keep the advantage) or attack you (in which case you may get wounded, crippled, or killed, but your check is unopposed).

In TROS, as mentioned, you alter distance automatically when you win an exchange (with an offensive maneuver) - that is, when you "hit" your opponent, whether the blow deals damage or not. So if you're using a shorter weapon, you're at a penalty to attack, but if you do land a hit, you move inside your opponent's reach, and the opponent gets a penalty to defend and attack (IIRC).

In Artesia, you can move inside your opponent's reach for free when you're making an attack (free Step with attack), but your opponent can, on the next turn, adjust the reach back; you get to attack (with no bonuses) on your turn, but your opponent suffers no penalty to his attack on his turn. If you try to move "deeper" (against a longer weapon that has more than 2 steps of reach), you have to be using an actual move action, and in that case your opponent gets a free attack on you.

fusilier
2010-07-28, 03:49 AM
They forged the steel balls for special armor-piercing gunners. Muskets were originally basically only for armor-piercing, most of the gunners were using arquebuses with ordinary lead shot.

. . .

Of course muskets in the 16th and 17th Century were very rarely rifled.

But that is all I could find right now :smallannoyed: I will plunge into this a bit further and find some sources to prove or disprove this assertion (either way I'll post what I find here). I have some other questions I want answered about steel bullets myself like how did they account for the (lower) weight.

I'll get back to you on this I have some queries out to some friends who know more about guns than I do.

G.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, muskets and small cannons (swivel pieces) could be very close in terms of bore size. Traditionally a cannon would fire an iron ball*, and a musket, lead. But I believe I've seen references to cannons firing lead balls, and I suspect that they were typically of the smallest calibers. So it may be that there were also muskets firing small iron cannon balls? Could it be that archaeologists have confused small cannon balls for large musket balls? I am very interested to hear what you find out.

Reports from the Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American War often mention the Mexicans using copper musket balls (and I've even seen a reference to a copper cannon ball). So I know that, historically, different materials were used as musket balls. As rifles were very rare during this period, I suspect that iron would be used only in smoothbore muskets.

*Stone cannon balls were also used, but their use was declining during this period.

----
Whitworth rifles had a hexagonal shaped bore, and fired hexagonal shaped ammunition. He made a target rifle on this principle, and also a breechloading cannon. Rifled cannon of the time struggled with the problem of firing an iron bolt or shell out of an iron cannon, resulting in a myriad of different projectile designs. The whitworth was a rather clever way around that issue.

endoperez
2010-07-28, 04:26 AM
Shouldn't you guys be making a new thread? This one is on page 70 already.

I really love this thread, so a big thank-you to you all.

Galloglaich
2010-07-28, 10:35 AM
I like that idea; it sounds quick and easy, and also something that could be ported to any number of other systems.

One of the things I do in the Codex which is pretty simple is the guy with the longer weapon gets to roll two dice for his initiative roll, and keep the higher number.

On a slightly more complex level, we also grant a reach to hit bonus and a speed to hit bonus for each weapon. The reach to hit bonus is used for the opening attack, speed for followup attacks. So a spear has great reach but not as good speed (unless you have certain feats), whereas a dagger has poor reach but excellent speed.

In the Codex, tactical options and combat movement are combined. Each round you get 4 dice*. This is called a "Martial Pool" You can use these dice for individual attacks, you can combine multiple dice for a single attack (to improve your odds and raise the critical threat) or you can use the dice for active defense, or you can use the dice for movement. Each die you expend lets you change range one category (onset to melee to grapple and back) or move your normal movement (30' or whatever).

In TROS we made a change in the reach system when I came out with the new weapons list for The Flower of Battle, it's been a few years I don't remember what it was exactly off the top of my head but it enhanced the value of reach a little bit. I'll have to go find my copy and look it up. This was after a somewhat famous experiment Jake and I did as the ARMA "Southern Knights" event in 2004. I wanted to prove the critical importance of reach so we had a little contest where he had a dagger and I had a sword, he had to try to hit me first one time out of 20. He couldn't, though he managed to get in a few "double kills". He tried every trick including kicking his shoe off and into my face!

G.

* the reason we maxed the pool out at 4 dice was because of something Joachim Meyer says about the number of exchanges you make at close range, and because I wanted on a dice mechanic level to keep the pool smaller than in TROS or Shadowrun or other games with traditional dice pools.

valadil
2010-07-28, 10:43 AM
I've been working ona homebrewed rpg, and one question keeps coming back and haunting me. In game systems that do NOT use grid-based combat, what benefits could there be to using reached weapons such as say, longspears? Tactically, that by itself is enough - stabbing one's foe from a few extra feet away, keeping distance betweern you and him...But I need outside-the-box suggestions to represent the perks of using longer weapons for combat where distance is more abstract. For example, perhaps users of reached weapons get a bonus to their defense against foes who aren't also using Reached weapons - something like that.

Any suggestions? :smallconfused:

I've been thinking about this too. My solution is pretty similar to the TROS one. Basically one combatant will have advantage. That person will get a bonus to attacks and defense since they have the opponent at their ideal reach. The other combatant has the option of trying to move in and take advantage. The bonus is determined by the differences in your reach.

Basically the bonus for having a long spear is that you'd almost always start out in the advantageous position.

The thing I keep getting hung up on is that this model doesn't work so well against multiple opponents. It seems decent for a duel, but I can't figure out what happens if you're being approached from two directions. Maybe you can only have advantage against one guy at a time? Maybe there should be a distinction between combatants who are fighting side by side and those who are surrounding someone (so you could hold two side-by-side fighters at bay with one advantage, but they might be able to defend each other)?

Galloglaich
2010-07-28, 11:06 AM
I've been thinking about this too. My solution is pretty similar to the TROS one. Basically one combatant will have advantage. That person will get a bonus to attacks and defense since they have the opponent at their ideal reach. The other combatant has the option of trying to move in and take advantage. The bonus is determined by the differences in your reach.

Basically the bonus for having a long spear is that you'd almost always start out in the advantageous position.

The thing I keep getting hung up on is that this model doesn't work so well against multiple opponents. It seems decent for a duel, but I can't figure out what happens if you're being approached from two directions. Maybe you can only have advantage against one guy at a time? Maybe there should be a distinction between combatants who are fighting side by side and those who are surrounding someone (so you could hold two side-by-side fighters at bay with one advantage, but they might be able to defend each other)?

When facing two opponents, especially when you have a large weapon, you are supposed to try to line them up by moving around. Of course that isn't always possible. But there are many fighting systems for fighting multiple people all around you.

Portuguese Jogo Do Pau for example, uses Renaissance Montante (longsword or greatsword) techniques from Portugal, adapted to a walking stick, designed to defend against multiple opponents you might run into on a lonely road somewhere:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY5LOGtefAc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2amLRKUXAks&feature=related

Those are obviously extreme examples in exhibitions, but you can kind of see what the technique is, it's pretty simple.

This is the sort of situation (in a skit) that Jogo do Pao is for
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcWROjuNAzw&feature=related

I've done some of the Montante drills this is based on, it's very effective at maintaining range in all directions, so long as your stamina holds out :)

There is also a Montante greatsword manual they recently found from the 16th Century which details how to fight on ships, in two sided alleys, in open squares etc. etc.


Another way to use reach / range without a grid is to grant the guy with the longer weapon an Attack of Opportunity before the guy with the shorter weapon can close the range. This was practiced a lot with rapiers espeically. We allow this in the codex with a special feat. I don't like just outright banning a guy with a shorter weapon from attacking a guy with a longer weapon I don't think that is realistic. A really experienced guy with a dagger can easily rush in on an inexperienced guy with a staff.

G

valadil
2010-07-28, 11:39 AM
When facing two opponents, especially when you have a large weapon, you are supposed to try to line them up by moving around. Of course that isn't always possible. But there are many fighting systems for fighting multiple people all around you.


Makes sense. I was entirely unaware of those fighting systems though.

I'm still struggling with how to model that though. I think there should be a set distance such that if two enemies are in that proximity to each other, you can keep them at bay as you would one enemy. Your goal remains to keep them near each other, while they try to split up and surround you. Maybe training in the systems you suggest could widen the range you can threaten and/or add extra advantage targets? Maybe the distance they have to break would be determined by your own range modifier.

To get back to the not-so-gamey part of this thread, would there be any advantages or techniques for fighting next to someone? Or are you always better off trying to surround a reachier opponent?

Galloglaich
2010-07-28, 12:45 PM
Makes sense. I was entirely unaware of those fighting systems though.

I'm still struggling with how to model that though. I think there should be a set distance such that if two enemies are in that proximity to each other, you can keep them at bay as you would one enemy. Your goal remains to keep them near each other, while they try to split up and surround you.

TROS handles this abstractly by a 'terrain' (maneuver) roll, I think that is not a bad approach though as someone pointed out it works a bit better for one on one than for groups; I just handle it by having a different range relationship between fighters. Onset range means whenever you are coming into striking range, whatever that is. Melee is when you are already in range. This is analagous to "zufechten" (onset) and "krieg (war) ranges in the fechtbuchen. Which is where I got the idea.



Maybe training in the systems you suggest could widen the range you can threaten and/or add extra advantage targets? Maybe the distance they have to break would be determined by your own range modifier.

You can simulate this by allowing certain special feats (or skills) to allow somebody to get better at taking advantage of a reach advantage (like "point control" in CM), or deal with multiple opponents ("Situational Awareness" in CM) or use footwork to maintain distance ("Distance fighting" and "Sidestep" in CM) or rush in past a point to close range ("Graceful Rush in CM). The latter was a well acknowledged historical skill, used by Spanish rotollero (sword and shield men) to get past the points of pikes and slaughter pikemen, which they did successfully in several battles in the 16th Century.




To get back to the not-so-gamey part of this thread, would there be any advantages or techniques for fighting next to someone? Or are you always better off trying to surround a reachier opponent?

I would say yes, if they are trained. This manifests itself two ways, mutual defense, the ideal example being the Greek hoplites whose shields were designed to overlap each other; one guy can see a threat coming that the other guy didn't and block it; and mutual attack, this is common with all spear and pike formations, especially where you have multiple ranks. You may see one guys spear coming but the guy in the second or third rank can easily blindside you. You can see this in some of the big SCA battles like in Pennsic.

The way I simulate this in an RPG is to make a special Feat (or skill or whatever depending on your system) called "Cooperative fighting" and if each combatant has the skill, they get a bonus in attack, and another one called "Formation fighting" which IIRC boosts defense.

G>

Karoht
2010-07-28, 01:54 PM
Makes sense. I was entirely unaware of those fighting systems though.

I'm still struggling with how to model that though. I think there should be a set distance such that if two enemies are in that proximity to each other, you can keep them at bay as you would one enemy. Your goal remains to keep them near each other, while they try to split up and surround you. Maybe training in the systems you suggest could widen the range you can threaten and/or add extra advantage targets? Maybe the distance they have to break would be determined by your own range modifier.

To get back to the not-so-gamey part of this thread, would there be any advantages or techniques for fighting next to someone? Or are you always better off trying to surround a reachier opponent?

In real life, I teach people who are fighting multiple opponents, to attempt to manouver around them, and line them up whenever possible.
The Theory: If only one of you can swing at you, you are effectively keeping the fight one on one, even if only briefly.
Subsequently, I teach people who are teaming up on one person to try and keep a triangle shape (anywhere from 30 degrees to 90 degrees, though 180 is possible as Attacker--Defender--Attacker) between them, like a wedge, to prevent themselves from being lined up as such. Attacking from two angles is always harder to defend against than attacking from the same or close to the same angle. Also helps to make some terrain pieces (IE-A tree) less effective/impeding as well, but only in limited situations.

*Note* This is clearly not formation fighting, in case that needs clarification.

Matthew
2010-07-28, 02:34 PM
Just to follow up on our earlier knights and bows discussion, I noticed this passage in Guibert of Nogent's account of the first crusade, "The Deeds of God through the Franks", with regard to the assault on Jerusalem:



After the outer wall was broken, and a broad passage opened through its rubble, the ladder they did have was extended towards the battlements of the main wall. Some of our knights climbed it quickly and began to fight at long range. And when the arrows ran out, they fought with lances and swords; both the defenders of the city and the besiegers battled hand-to-hand with steel. Many of our men fell, but more of their men.

Of course, without seeing the original text it is hard to vouch for the veracity of the literal translation, but I was reminded of the discussion when I read it, so thought I might as well append it here.

Galloglaich
2010-07-28, 09:18 PM
In real life, I teach people who are fighting multiple opponents, to attempt to manouver around them, and line them up whenever possible.
The Theory: If only one of you can swing at you, you are effectively keeping the fight one on one, even if only briefly.
Subsequently, I teach people who are teaming up on one person to try and keep a triangle shape (anywhere from 30 degrees to 90 degrees, though 180 is possible as Attacker--Defender--Attacker) between them, like a wedge, to prevent themselves from being lined up as such. Attacking from two angles is always harder to defend against than attacking from the same or close to the same angle. Also helps to make some terrain pieces (IE-A tree) less effective/impeding as well, but only in limited situations.

*Note* This is clearly not formation fighting, in case that needs clarification.

What system or type of training do you teach?

G.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2010-07-28, 10:03 PM
I cannot recall a single instance of cavalry overwhelming an infantry formation that didn't break first.


A bit late, but the Battle of Garcia Hernandez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Garcia_Hernandez) may qualify.

British-employed King's German Legion Dragoons, broke a square of French infantry. The Infantry did not break, they merely held their fire for slightly to long, so that when they fired, by freak occurance, one of the wounded horses careened into the square, creating a gap for the rest of the cavalry to fill in and break the square. The second square routed after witnessing a square formation, thought to be impregnable if held true against an enemy charge, broken by cavalry.

WhiteHarness
2010-07-29, 12:00 AM
This thread makes me miss the Riddle of Steel. :(

Why can't someone resurrect and revise that game?

fusilier
2010-07-29, 03:24 AM
A bit late, but the Battle of Garcia Hernandez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Garcia_Hernandez) may qualify.

British-employed King's German Legion Dragoons, broke a square of French infantry. The Infantry did not break, they merely held their fire for slightly to long, so that when they fired, by freak occurance, one of the wounded horses careened into the square, creating a gap for the rest of the cavalry to fill in and break the square. The second square routed after witnessing a square formation, thought to be impregnable if held true against an enemy charge, broken by cavalry.

I had heard that story before, but didn't know the name of the particular battle. In the version that I had heard, the second square broke because the survivors from the first square fled to it, and disrupted its formation attempting to seek refuge within the square.

Thanks for sharing!

Psyx
2010-07-29, 05:31 AM
There's an exception to every rule, and the KGL taking down two squares in a day was certainly one. I believe I cited dying horses earlier.

However, for every period square that fell to cavalry, a hundred repelled the attack. Ney idiotically made repeated charges at Waterloo against British squares and wasted thousands of lives in direct contravention to accepted military practice in the futile hope of them falling. Although frankly that entire battle was a bit of an embarrassment for the French.

Mike_G
2010-07-29, 06:47 AM
So, apart from a few exceptional cases, cavalry didn't simply ride over formed infantry. The plan was to break the infantry first, disrupt the formation and then deliver the knockout punch with a cavalry charge.

Yora
2010-07-29, 07:30 AM
For which you actually need cavalry, because you have to reach them before they can rebuild their formation.

Matthew
2010-07-29, 07:54 AM
For which you actually need cavalry, because you have to reach them before they can rebuild their formation.

Well, you can do it with infantry, which is probably what the Romans did for instance (hurl javelins, charge in), but cavalry gives you more flexibility (which is presumably why they also had cavalry). :smallbiggrin:

Yora
2010-07-29, 08:09 AM
In many ancient battles cavalry seems to have been a decisive factor. There's a lot going on with infantry formations, but once there's an opening the cavalry charges the flank and it turns into a massive slaughter.

Matthew
2010-07-29, 08:23 AM
In many ancient battles cavalry seems to have been a decisive factor. There's a lot going on with infantry formations, but once there's an opening the cavalry charges the flank and it turns into a massive slaughter.

No doubt, and cavalry are a huge advantage in pursuit as well, but at least up until the Punic Wars (c. 200 BC) the Roman army was very light on cavalry as compared to infantry, and relied heavily on its infantry for a long time afterwards. The principle, however, is roughly the same: soften them up, then hit them hard. Something similar could be said of the traditional view of Anglo-Saxon warfare, though they may have relied on tighter formations, and of classical period hoplite armies.

If you can break the morale of the enemy, that is the time when most casualties will be inflicted. Interestingly, early hoplite battles are said to have had very low casualty rates, maybe 10-15% for the losing side, which might have had to do with the rate of pursuit, or perhaps the formal ritualistic aspect of such affairs. The same cannot be said of such affairs as the Athenian invasion of Sicily.

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 08:56 AM
So, apart from a few exceptional cases, cavalry didn't simply ride over formed infantry. The plan was to break the infantry first, disrupt the formation and then deliver the knockout punch with a cavalry charge.

I would say from the 11th - 14th Century there were many actual cases of Heavy cavalry breaking up infantry formations with charges - bit by bit. Also cataphracts did this as in battles between the Parthiaans and the Romans.

From the fall of the Western Roman Emprie to roughly the 11th Century you didn't see much truly heavy cavalry in Europe. After the 14th Century halberd and then pike formations began to appear which made cavalry more vulnerable, so the real shock type attack became rarer but you still did get some charges into unbroken infantry formations. The Polish Hussars were still doing it as late as late as the second siege of Vienna in 1683 when 3000 Polish heavy lancers charged into the Ottoman lines and broke them, turning the tide of the battle.

G.

Psyx
2010-07-29, 09:37 AM
So, apart from a few exceptional cases, cavalry didn't simply ride over formed infantry. The plan was to break the infantry first, disrupt the formation and then deliver the knockout punch with a cavalry charge.

It was a mild digression, in that in this case we're talking Napoleonic period. That means no heavy armour, few lances (only ever carried by a few light cavalry units...called lancers or Uhlans) and lots of muskets. ie: This is quite misleading data and should be disregarded.

Taking it back to medieval conflict; with massive horses, lances, heavy armour and no guns, infantry certainly wasn't invulnerable to cavalry. Not by a long shot. Smash a bunch of knights into the front of infantry lacking missile or polearm support, and you get a lot of dead infantry; assuming they even stood their ground. Heavy cavalry was a shock weapon: The tanks of their day. The reason that the French charged head-first at the English during 100 year war battles was that it generally worked as a tactic, and the general thinking of the day was that a massed heavy cavalry charge WOULD massacre an infantry formation lacking reach.


Also note that we were talking about infantry in square formation repelling cavalry. A fighting line that is enveloped is doomed. It also takes time to get into square, and a lot of training to do it fast enough. Even in the Napolionic period, infantry charged when not in square were considered pretty much dead meat.


Cavalry do the damage in battle, but it's normally after the real fighting is over. A good pursuit turns a tactical victory into a strategic one. I've always figured that dwarf armies would kind suck, because they'd win the battle, then be completely incapable of pursuit.

Spiryt
2010-07-29, 09:41 AM
I would say from the 11th - 14th Century there were many actual cases of Heavy cavalry breaking up infantry formations with charges - bit by bit. Also cataphracts did this as in battles between the Parthiaans and the Romans.

From the fall of the Western Roman Emprie to roughly the 11th Century you didn't see much truly heavy cavalry in Europe. After the 14th Century halberd and then pike formations began to appear which made cavalry more vulnerable, so the real shock type attack became rarer but you still did get some charges into unbroken infantry formations. The Polish Hussars were still doing it as late as late as the second siege of Vienna in 1683 when 3000 Polish heavy lancers charged into the Ottoman lines and broke them, turning the tide of the battle.

G.

Well, polish hussars were also in very basic, supposed to strike into messed up/engaged enemy, for maximized effect.

And of course tactic were more often than not more complicated than that, that base seem to be quite prevalent, partian horse archers were also shooting at Romans before cataphracts were trying to let the hell loose, for example.

Mixed mounted - foot formations of continental Celts around the break of the eras were one of the examples of different approach - infantry attacking along with riders mixed among them.

Matthew
2010-07-29, 09:48 AM
Taking it back to medieval conflict; with massive horses, lances, heavy armour and no guns, infantry certainly wasn't invulnerable to cavalry. Not by a long shot. Smash a bunch of knights into the front of infantry lacking missile or polearm support, and you get a lot of dead infantry; assuming they even stood their ground. Heavy cavalry was a shock weapon: The tanks of their day. The reason that the French charged head-first at the English during 100 year war battles was that it generally worked as a tactic, and the general thinking of the day was that a massed heavy cavalry charge WOULD massacre an infantry formation lacking reach.

The reason they went head on at Crecy was because they expected the enemy to break up and run away. They learnt pretty quickly to dismount and advance on foot, but met with little more success. Knights were no more tanks than long bows were machine guns. To beat infantry they needed the same thing as cavalry in every other age, which is to disrupt the formation and then get in amongst the ranks. It is possible to do that by repeated head on charges, but the cost will be heavy and there is no guarantee of success, as Tancred found to his cost against the militia of Shaizar (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LYdocyxgOd0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Medieval+Knighthood+V&hl=en&ei=45NRTPC2FI714Ab9kPnUAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false). As is often noted as neglected about Hastings, what it did show was that a spear and shield wall could hold all day against cavalry, as long as it maintained order.

Spiryt
2010-07-29, 09:55 AM
The reason they went head on at Crecy was because they expected the enemy to break up and run away. They learnt pretty quickly to dismount and advance on foot, but met with little more success. Knights were no more tanks than long bows were machine guns. To beat infantry they needed the same thing as cavalry in every other age, which is to disrupt the formation and then get in amongst the ranks. It is possible to do that by repeated head on charges, but the cost will be heavy and there is no guarantee of success, as Tancred found to his cost against the militia of Shaizar (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LYdocyxgOd0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Medieval+Knighthood+V&hl=en&ei=45NRTPC2FI714Ab9kPnUAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false). As is often noted as neglected about Hastings, what it did show was that a spear and shield wall could hold all day against cavalry, as long as it maintained order.

Actually at Hasting cavalry was advancing up the hill, so defensive was much easier for shield wall.

And keeping Crusaded as an example, at Montgisard charge completely broken muslim forces, to great victory, even though situation seemed dire.

So broad generalizations, should as always be avoided. :smallwink:

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 10:13 AM
Of course it was better to attack the weak spots in an infantry formation, and of course pursuit of a disorganized enemy is the ideal cavalry role.

But the point is, the reason for real heavy cavalry, with armored horses, was that it could engage other cavalry or infantry under any circumstances, and quite frequently, this was very successful. More often than not in the period from 1100 - 1300, whether aganist other Europeans or foreign armies of Moors or Turks. This is why they went through the extremely high expense and hazard of armoring horse and rider, in fact heavy cavalry isn't as good at exploitation as medium or light cavalry is, because it's not as fast and doesn't have the endurance. But it's capable of both shock breakthrough and high-risk exploitation (close on the heels of a still dangerous enemy).

In fact it's funny you mention tanks. Tanks were not, by doctrine, supposed to be used for shock attacks or breakthrough, they were intended for exploitation and destruction of an enemy whose lines had already broken, but of course hey were also used in the shock / breakthrough role.

It's a mistake to think of Medieval armies as crude feudal levies standing around while knights charged into battle. Most of the time even in the high Middle Ages, on those fairly rare occasions when pitched battles were fought at least the successful armies were combined arms armies, which means archers or crossbowmen (later gunners), artillery of some kind (either torsion or later cannon) light and heavy cavalry, light and heavy infantry, sappers, scouts etc. etc. But heavy cavalry had a specific role and that role was as the 'mike tyson' of the medieval battlefield. They could be used for exploitation and raiding, but their real roles were in slaughtering dangerous opponents in the thick of battle. That is why they had all the heavy armor.

Finally on the horses. Medieval cavalry horses were not huge. They were not clydesdales. They were in fact mostly smaller than modern horse breeds. Medieval horses were of various types (not breeds): amblers, jennets, rouncies, coursers, palfries, destriers. Even the destriers, the chargers which were the most expensive (and more often used for jousting than on the battlefield) were nowhere near the size of something like a clydesdale which is what a lot of people think of. They were built for speed, acceleration, agility, courage and strength. If you look at the surviving horse armor a typical warhorse looks to be about 15 or 16 hands, which is about the size of a regular modern riding horse.

G

Spiryt
2010-07-29, 10:17 AM
I would agree, with notion that even though not so tall and long, battle stallions were probably quite massive.


And by your definition, there were no "true" heavy cavalry in Medieval Europe, as armored horses were extremely rare, if spotted at all up to about 1450 +.

Thick caparison would be closest think to armor then.

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 11:02 AM
I would agree, with notion that even though not so tall and long, battle stallions were probably quite massive.


And by your definition, there were no "true" heavy cavalry in Medieval Europe, as armored horses were extremely rare, if spotted at all up to about 1450 +.

Thick caparison would be closest think to armor then.

A thick textile garment is still armor for both horses and riders as we now understand, and I'm not sure I agree with your assertion, do you have evidence to back that statement up?

Articulated plate armor may have been relatively rare before 1450 but armored horses (armored with metal) goes back to 600 BC

G.

HenryHankovitch
2010-07-29, 11:22 AM
In fact it's funny you mention tanks. Tanks were not, by doctrine, supposed to be used for shock attacks or breakthrough, they were intended for exploitation and destruction of an enemy whose lines had already broken, but of course hey were also used in the shock / breakthrough role.


That's not really true in the general sense.

The first tanks were built with the opposite in mind: they were there to punch through trenches, wire, and machine guns, and provide an opening for infantry (and even cavalry, in some folks' minds) to exploit. Not even the looniest of WWI REMFs would have imagined that those slow-moving monsters could sustain a pursuit role.

And up through WWII, the Russians and Germans both followed a policy of building two separate classes of tank: the heavier, breakthrough tank with a low-velocity, large-bore gun; and a lighter, pursuit tank. The Soviet KV and BT tank lines exemplified that trend.

What WWII solidified was the fact that, once armor and air forces had matured, the "breakthrough tank" and the pursuit tank could be unified in the same Main Battle Tank. Battlefields were not expected to be short-range, low velocity slugfests in which a tank was literally smashing through enemy fortifications, and tank designs gravitated toward mobility.

Spiryt
2010-07-29, 11:24 AM
A thick textile garment is still armor for both horses and riders as we now understand, and I'm not sure I agree with your assertion, do you have evidence to back that statement up?

Articulated plate armor may have been relatively rare before 1450 but armored horses (armored with metal) goes back to 600 BC

G.

The fact that many things date back to very distant times doesn't change the fact that many of them weren't in wide use in certain places and times.

For evidence, well, any discussion or book I've read supported that in general.

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/maciejowski/leaf27/otm27ra&b.gif

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/maciejowski/leaf23/otm23va&b.gif
http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=1958

http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=5091
http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=10827




I think I've seen one something that could look like horse mail in Maciejowski Bible.. Countless other pieces of art show "bare" horses.

I can put more here, there's quite a lot of depictions of horses from medieval in the Net. So maybe later if I will have time.

Psyx
2010-07-29, 11:50 AM
Knights were no more tanks than long bows were machine guns. To beat infantry they needed the same thing as cavalry in every other age, which is to disrupt the formation and then get in amongst the ranks.

...As is often noted as neglected about Hastings, what it did show was that a spear and shield wall could hold all day against cavalry, as long as it maintained order.

Knights were the [heavy/assault] tanks of their day though [Massive shock and awe value, mobile, heavily armoured], and longbows were the machineguns.
A wall of steel and points coming towards you, making the ground shake was historically enough to break many less-ordered or already demoralised infantry formations. If they don't break; just halt the charge and pick on a less disciplined mob. Heavy cavalry kills stuff. Light cavalry pursues.

A long enough lanced formation, put up against infantry not equipped with spears is going to make a mess. Charging an ordered spear-line is obviously a very, very French stupid thing to do.

Additionally, Hastings didn't really feature couched lance charges. The Normans were using hit-and-wheel attacks, thrown spears and repeated probes. A couched lance charge wouldn't have worked either, but it's not a very fair comparison.



In fact it's funny you mention tanks. Tanks were not, by doctrine, supposed to be used for shock attacks or breakthrough, they were intended for exploitation and destruction of an enemy whose lines had already broken, but of course hey were also used in the shock / breakthrough role.

That totally depends on the era and doctrine in use at the time. Someone else has already cited the KV-1. Frontal assault was precisely what the heavies were for.



Finally on the horses. Medieval cavalry horses were not huge.

They weren't small, either. Especially considering the size of the riders. And I obviously didn't mean hobs and rouncies. Put a wounded, thrashing destrier into a dense formation, and there's your gap to exploit, right there.

Matthew
2010-07-29, 12:05 PM
And of course tactic were more often than not more complicated than that, that base seem to be quite prevalent, partian horse archers were also shooting at Romans before cataphracts were trying to let the hell loose, for example.

Quite so.



Mixed mounted - foot formations of continental Celts around the break of the eras were one of the examples of different approach - infantry attacking along with riders mixed among them.

As I understand it, these sort of combinations of light foot and horse was fairly common practice from at least the Punic Wars onwards for a few centuries, and may have been a reaction to a lack of sufficient cavalry.



Actually at Hasting cavalry was advancing up the hill, so defensive was much easier for shield wall.

Yes, indeed, and at Crecy and Agincourt the advantage was similar, in that the English commander chose the proper ground in which to engage. The Romans similarly made good use of defensive works, whether natural or man made, to put their infantry at the best advantage. Caesar has some choice things to say about sending his veterans to attack uphill, I seem to recall. :smallbiggrin:



And keeping Crusaded as an example, at Montgisard charge completely broken Muslim forces, to great victory, even though situation seemed dire.

Definitely; if infantry are caught out in the open and are inclined to run, they may turn and run pretty early on (if not before contact).



So broad generalizations, should as always be avoided. :smallwink:

Well, as far as is usefully possible. :smallwink:



Of course it was better to attack the weak spots in an infantry formation, and of course pursuit of a disorganized enemy is the ideal cavalry role.

But the point is, the reason for real heavy cavalry, with armoured horses, was that it could engage other cavalry or infantry under any circumstances, and quite frequently, this was very successful. More often than not in the period from 1100 - 1300, whether against other Europeans or foreign armies of Moors or Turks. This is why they went through the extremely high expense and hazard of armouring horse and rider, in fact heavy cavalry isn't as good at exploitation as medium or light cavalry is, because it's not as fast and doesn't have the endurance. But it's capable of both shock breakthrough and high-risk exploitation (close on the heels of a still dangerous enemy).

Definitely. Arguably, the appearance of increasingly effective infantry formations may have been further prompted by increasingly effective heavy cavalry. From the twelfth century onwards not only the method of cavalry use, but arms they used was undergoing significant transformation from previous centuries.



It's a mistake to think of Medieval armies as crude feudal levies standing around while knights charged into battle. Most of the time even in the high Middle Ages, on those fairly rare occasions when pitched battles were fought at least the successful armies were combined arms armies, which means archers or crossbowmen (later gunners), artillery of some kind (either torsion or later cannon) light and heavy cavalry, light and heavy infantry, sappers, scouts etc. etc. But heavy cavalry had a specific role and that role was as the 'mike tyson' of the medieval battlefield. They could be used for exploitation and raiding, but their real roles were in slaughtering dangerous opponents in the thick of battle. That is why they had all the heavy armor.

Yes, indeed. And even in the early twelfth century combined arms was the thing. As I mentioned above, I have recently been reading Guibert of Nogent, who mentions "bowmen and lancers, who customarily march in front of the troops of foot-soldiers", suggesting either some sort of bow armed light cavalry (not too likely, but not impossible either) or else light foot. This situation at the beginning of the twelfth century seems to contrast with the organisation of Richard's forces at the end.



Finally on the horses. Medieval cavalry horses were not huge. They were not clydesdales. They were in fact mostly smaller than modern horse breeds. Medieval horses were of various types (not breeds): amblers, jennets, rouncies, coursers, palfries, destriers. Even the destriers, the chargers which were the most expensive (and more often used for jousting than on the battlefield) were nowhere near the size of something like a clydesdale which is what a lot of people think of. They were built for speed, acceleration, agility, courage and strength. If you look at the surviving horse armor a typical warhorse looks to be about 15 or 16 hands, which is about the size of a regular modern riding horse.

Very likely, indeed. The Andalusian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_horse) is thought to be the closest modern analogue, from what I gather. What I have not seen much in the way of commentary regarding is the tendency of crusaders to replace their lost horses with local breeds. Were these the horses bred for the Turkish heavy cavalry, or the more common lighter horses? The crusaders themselves seem to draw no distinction, which is very odd.




A thick textile garment is still armour for both horses and riders as we now understand, and I'm not sure I agree with your assertion, do you have evidence to back that statement up?

Articulated plate armour may have been relatively rare before 1450 but armoured horses (armoured with metal) goes back to 600 BC



The fact that many things date back to very distant times doesn't change the fact that many of them weren't in wide use in certain places and times.

For evidence, well, any discussion or book I've read supported that in general.

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/maciejowski/leaf27/otm27ra&b.gif

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/maciejowski/leaf23/otm23va&b.gif
http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=1958

http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=5091
http://www.freha.pl/index.php?act=attach&type=post&id=10827



I think I've seen one something that could look like horse mail in Maciejowski Bible.. Countless other pieces of art show "bare" horses.

I can put more here, there's quite a lot of depictions of horses from medieval in the Net. So maybe later if I will have time.

Horse armour varies by over time. Prior to the twelfth century in the medieval period it was pretty rare, though it is mentioned as a sort of "standard" gear expected of a knight in late twelfth century poetry (Chrétien de Troyes, I think it was). It gradually increases in use after that, even full mail appearing on some illustrations (usually kings, dukes, et cetera). However, the Byzantine Empire may have preserved the general tendency to some degree, so it probably never completely disappeared. The big disadvantage is tiring the horse out, so armoured horse has to be very carefully used.



Knights were the [heavy/assault] tanks of their day though [Massive shock and awe value, mobile, heavily armoured], and longbows were the machineguns.

These sort of analogies are highly misleading. Tanks and knights are apples and pears. Knights are knights, tanks are tanks. Drawing parallels just muddies the water.



A wall of steel and points coming towards you, making the ground shake was historically enough to break many less-ordered or already demoralised infantry formations. If they don't break; just halt the charge and pick on a less disciplined mob. Heavy cavalry kills stuff. Light cavalry pursues.

It no doubt happened, but when? That is really the issue. Battles were surprisingly rare in the medieval period, and accounts of precisely what occurred very thin on the ground. When there is real fighting to be done, you are as likely to see knights dismounting as charging into the fray (as at the Battle of the Standard).



A long enough lanced formation, put up against infantry not equipped with spears is going to make a mess. Charging an ordered spear-line is obviously a very, very French stupid thing to do.

Of course, but what kind of infantry fights without spears or pole arms of some sort? Bowmen, basically.



Additionally, Hastings didn't really feature couched lance charges. The Normans were using hit-and-wheel attacks, thrown spears and repeated probes. A couched lance charge wouldn't have worked either, but it's not a very fair comparison.

Well, they used a number of tactics in all probability. We certainly see post dated visual evidence for a couched lance on the tapestry, as well as thrown spears. Hastings is a pretty early example, but it hardly stands alone. The bottom line is that heavy cavalry is nowhere near unstoppable, but it has the potential to be devastating if used correctly, and that generally does not mean charging headlong into an equivalent standard of infantry, which is going to vary depending on what sort of knights we are looking at.



They weren't small, either. Especially considering the size of the riders. And I obviously didn't mean hobs and rouncies. Put a wounded, thrashing destrier into a dense formation, and there's your gap to exploit, right there.

Possibly, but again when did that happen? If we look at examples of cavalry being turned away by infantry it seems to involve a lot of dead and wounded horses. More likely these were quickly dispatched, or caused as much trouble to the attackers as the defenders.

Edmund
2010-07-29, 12:05 PM
The reason they went head on at Crecy was because they expected the enemy to break up and run away. They learnt pretty quickly to dismount and advance on foot, but met with little more success. Knights were no more tanks than long bows were machine guns. To beat infantry they needed the same thing as cavalry in every other age, which is to disrupt the formation and then get in amongst the ranks. It is possible to do that by repeated head on charges, but the cost will be heavy and there is no guarantee of success, as Tancred found to his cost against the militia of Shaizar (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LYdocyxgOd0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Medieval+Knighthood+V&hl=en&ei=45NRTPC2FI714Ab9kPnUAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false). As is often noted as neglected about Hastings, what it did show was that a spear and shield wall could hold all day against cavalry, as long as it maintained order.

While I agree with Bennet's assessments by and large he does make some disagreeable claims. First he makes the mistake of thinking that horses will not charge into or over men or a wall of pikes. It is quite possible to train horses to do such suicidal things, and indeed it is impossible to explain how Edward I's knights received so many casualties from the immobile schiltrons at Falkirk unless this is possible. Indeed, at the time of fully armoured horse and rider, in the 16th century, there is one excellent example of horses charging into and through pike squares at Dreux in 1562. There are also impressive, but lesser examples at Ravenna in 1512 and Ceresole in 1544.

Second he makes the throwaway claim that the prime purpose of the couched lance was to dismount an opponent and make him yield to ransom. This is both unverifiable and rather strange, as in instances when killing an opponent was preferable to ransom, on Crusade for example, the lance was still the preferred weapon of the knight, not the sword.

Last he makes another unsupported claim that cavalry was 'often' dismounted for it to fight better. First "often" is not, in fact, very often until the Hundred Years' War, and even after this it is a rarity on the continent. Prior to this it was almost exclusively practiced in Norman-controlled areas, and only until the late 12th century. While he follows this on pointing out that mounted men are more capable of flight, he also does not explain how it makes the knights, fight 'better'.

It is worth mentioning that cavalry had a huge advantage in the much smaller engagements that took place during the ravaging of the countryside in early-high medieval warfare (1000-1200). It was in one of these engagements that Robert of Belleme captured Helias of Maine in a cleverly baited ambush. In these engagements you would have knights and infantry, probably arranged around the conroi and thus less than 100 men total (I would guess around 20 typically), who would operate semi-independently of one another. There would usually be similar parties arranged by the defenders to delay or prevent the ravaging, thus starving the invading force.

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 12:10 PM
Maciejowski Bible is great but it depicts many things we don't find realistic, like swords cutting through helmets.

Until about 1250 AD in Europe, horse armor was mostly textile and cuir boulli. After 1250 mail and brigandine type armor increasingly reinforced the textile (which is itself armor). From this period, both in artwork and surviving artefacts, we see many examples of champrons (head armor for horses), Crinier (neck armor), Croupiere, and Peytrals (chest). By the early 1300s some kind of rigid horse armor was almost universal for knights.

Note images on pages 149-154 for several depictions of European horse armor from 1280s through the 1420s.

http://www.archive.org/stream/recordofeuropean03lakiuoft#page/154/mode/2up

I'll post some more images later.

G.

Psyx
2010-07-29, 12:12 PM
"Second he makes the throwaway claim that the prime purpose of the couched lance was to dismount an opponent and make him yield to ransom. "

I have never heard anything so absurd.

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 12:18 PM
Second he makes the throwaway claim that the prime purpose of the couched lance was to dismount an opponent and make him yield to ransom. This is both unverifiable and rather strange, as in instances when killing an opponent was preferable to ransom, on Crusade for example, the lance was still the preferred weapon of the knight, not the sword.

In support of your point, Usamah Ibn Munqidh points out that he observed that couched lance was necessary to pierce mail, holding the lance any other way would not deliver a sufficiently hard blow to punch through.



Last he makes another unsupported claim that cavalry was 'often' dismounted for it to fight better. First "often" is not, in fact, very often until the Hundred Years' War, and even after this it is a rarity on the continent.

I think this is a classic example that we see over and over and over in English language historical analysis most accessible to American readers (usually from the UK) that conflates conditions in Britain, and to a lesser extent France (though an English lens) with that of Europe in general, whether on a political, military, or cultural level. This is a big mistake with regard to the History of pre industrial Europe particularly during the Renaissance.

Though that said the importance of heavy infantry is often ignored in these discussions, they were not dismounted knights typically but heavy infantry became increasingly important in Europe from the 14th Century.



It is worth mentioning that cavalry had a huge advantage in the much smaller engagements that took place during the ravaging of the countryside in early-high medieval warfare (1000-1200). It was in one of these engagements that Robert of Belleme captured Helias of Maine in a cleverly baited ambush. In these engagements you would have knights and infantry, probably arranged around the conroi and thus less than 100 men total (I would guess around 20 typically), who would operate semi-independently of one another. There would usually be similar parties arranged by the defenders to delay or prevent the ravaging, thus starving the invading force.

Most warfare in Medieval times consisted of small raids and sieges. Like border reiver warfare in Scotland.

G.

Matthew
2010-07-29, 12:36 PM
While I agree with Bennet's assessments by and large he does make some disagreeable claims. First he makes the mistake of thinking that horses will not charge into or over men or a wall of pikes. It is quite possible to train horses to do such suicidal things, and indeed it is impossible to explain how Edward I's knights received so many casualties from the immobile schiltrons at Falkirk unless this is possible. Indeed, at the time of fully armoured horse and rider, in the 16th century, there is one excellent example of horses charging into and through pike squares at Dreux in 1562. There are also impressive, but lesser examples at Ravenna in 1512 and Ceresole in 1544.

I agree with you there, but will also add that its not a cost effective use of such cavalry. Looking at his article, I will point out that what he seems to be driving at is that the war horse will not simply steamroller through infantry crushing everything in its path, but he has probably overstated the case (given we are talking about p. 33). His example of the Muslim militia facing off against cavalry certainly implies considerable hand-to-hand fighting between cavalry and infantry.



Second he makes the throwaway claim that the prime purpose of the couched lance was to dismount an opponent and make him yield to ransom. This is both unverifiable and rather strange, as in instances when killing an opponent was preferable to ransom, on Crusade for example, the lance was still the preferred weapon of the knight, not the sword.

I think you may have misread this line, he refers to jousting, not the battlefield function (p. 36). Presumably he has in mind the tournament, from which swords were barred for use, though he does seem to have conflated his point with a particular battlefield encounter. [edit] Huh, reading it again it does look like he is implying that lances were not used on the battlefield when "serious" fighting was to be done; very strange. If I get the opportunity, I will ask him about it, as I have not heard him say as much elsewhere.



Last he makes another unsupported claim that cavalry was 'often' dismounted for it to fight better. First "often" is not, in fact, very often until the Hundred Years' War, and even after this it is a rarity on the continent. Prior to this it was almost exclusively practiced in Norman-controlled areas, and only until the late 12th century. While he follows this on pointing out that mounted men are more capable of flight, he also does not explain how it makes the knights, fight 'better'.

Well, "often" is certainly subjective, but let us not get caught up on "fight better" as this is clearly circumstantial. Presumably, what is being asserted here is that they will contribute more effectively to the battle by being dismounted, and thus "fight better". Were it felt they would contribute better horsed, then surely they would have remained mounted. I will confess to being ignorant of a great many French battles, but in Germany it was apparently common enough for knights to dismount and fight afoot, even to the point that William of Tyre commented when Conrad III did so outside Damascus that it was the "usual" practice of the Germans in a crisis:

Enraged at this news, Conrad with his knights galloped swiftly forward through the king's lines and reached the fighters who were trying to win the river. Here all leaped down from their horses and became foot soldiers, as is the custom of the Teutons when a desperate crisis occurs. Holding their shields before them, they engaged the enemy in a hand-to-hand fight with swords. The Damascenes at first resisted bravely, but soon, unable to sustain the onslaught, they abandoned the river and fled to the city with all possible haste.




It is worth mentioning that cavalry had a huge advantage in the much smaller engagements that took place during the ravaging of the countryside in early-high medieval warfare (1000-1200). It was in one of these engagements that Robert of Belleme captured Helias of Maine in a cleverly baited ambush. In these engagements you would have knights and infantry, probably arranged around the conroi and thus less than 100 men total (I would guess around 20 typically), who would operate semi-independently of one another. There would usually be similar parties arranged by the defenders to delay or prevent the ravaging, thus starving the invading force.
Certainly.



In support of your point, Usamah Ibn Munqidh points out that he observed that couched lance was necessary to pierce mail, holding the lance any other way would not deliver a sufficiently hard blow to punch through.

Indeed; I do wonder about that paragraph now Edmund has pointed it out. I think it may not convey the author's intent quite exactly (since he cites the exact passage you just did right before it).



I think this is a classic example that we see over and over and over in English language historical analysis most accessible to American readers (usually from the UK) that conflates conditions in Britain, and to a lesser extent France (though an English lens) with that of Europe in general, whether on a political, military, or cultural level. This is a big mistake with regard to the History of pre industrial Europe particularly during the Renaissance.

Generalisation is a problem, but we need not look too far for non-Norman examples of dismounted knights.



Though that said the importance of heavy infantry is often ignored in these discussions, they were not dismounted knights typically but heavy infantry became increasingly important in Europe from the 14th Century.

Not under ideal circumstances, certainly.

JaronK
2010-07-29, 12:55 PM
Okay, here's a question... what materials were the poles of pole arms generally made from in different areas? In China and Japan? In Europe?

JaronK

Karoht
2010-07-29, 02:32 PM
What system or type of training do you teach?

G.European Sword Fighting, 600-1399. We don't do rank and file, because we don't have enough bodies. Most of our fighting stays 1 on 1, the most it ever gets is 4 on 4 or decent melee's. I teach our fighters to use other people as terrain pieces if possible, especially if outnumbered. Subsequently I do my best to teach people to avoid becoming interferances for their team mates unless being a meat shield is their intended strategy, such as when one is carrying a shield and another is not.
Typically shield walls do not form in these particular combats, as it is too easy for someone to slip behind one, or split the focus and strike from multiple angles.

Galloglaich
2010-07-29, 03:49 PM
Rigid horse armor from 1330's (some covered by caprison some uncovered)

http://img1.uplood.fr/free/7bfl_the-romance-of-alexander-circa-1340-showing-knights-wearing-bascinets.jpg

G.

Aroka
2010-07-29, 07:44 PM
Okay, here's a question... what materials were the poles of pole arms generally made from in different areas? In China and Japan? In Europe?

JaronK

I would venture that it was almost universally wood, since an iron haft would be something like 10-20 times as heavy and pretty ridiculously unwieldy (if I recall right that wood densities tend to be less than 1 kilogram/cubic meter), and wood is much easier to come by and work.

fusilier
2010-07-29, 09:21 PM
Okay, here's a question... what materials were the poles of pole arms generally made from in different areas? In China and Japan? In Europe?

JaronK

I think Ash was popular in Europe for the shafts of pole arms, but I'm not certain.

JaronK
2010-07-30, 12:16 AM
I'm looking for something more specific, I'm actually making one.

JaronK

Brainfart
2010-07-30, 03:41 AM
Ash was popular in the European region. It's resilient, elastic and hard, and it's a pretty straight grained wood.

http://www.armor.com/pole118.html

Galloglaich
2010-07-30, 02:04 PM
Some more early depictions of horse armor:

the Holkham Picture Bible of c.1330:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Bannockburn.jpg

Circa 1380
http://www.corbisimages.com/images/67/03436A9E-7E72-4603-8059-72EE5EE75906/IH164099.jpg

Circa 1400
http://www.britishbattles.com/100-years-war/poitiers/battle-poitiers.jpg

G.

Matthew
2010-07-30, 02:42 PM
Here are some others:


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Arms%20and%20Armour/Romance%20of%20Alexander/romp08.jpg

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Arms%20and%20Armour/Romance%20of%20Alexander/romp07.jpg

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/Plle200/Arms%20and%20Armour/Romance%20of%20Alexander/romp06.jpg


But my favourite is actually on the front and back of Medieval Knighthood V (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LYdocyxgOd0C&printsec=frontcover&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false) (scroll down to the bottom for the rear cover). I do not have a copy to hand, but I seem to recall those images of fully mail barded warhorses being from a thirteenth century manuscript.

Tyndmyr
2010-07-31, 01:34 AM
Second he makes the throwaway claim that the prime purpose of the couched lance was to dismount an opponent and make him yield to ransom. This is both unverifiable and rather strange, as in instances when killing an opponent was preferable to ransom, on Crusade for example, the lance was still the preferred weapon of the knight, not the sword.

There is the fact that unhorsing a knight did limit him quite a bit...and as he was rather unlikely to land on his feet, he was at a marked disadvantage. Getting a one hit kill on a well trained, fully armored knight is rather unlikely, but once slammed to the ground, they could get mobbed, trampled, etc. Plenty of knights in battlefield graves bear relatively little injury to their bones, and likely died of a number of soft tissue injuries. Messy, but effective. I suspect that the same reasons a lance was good for collecting ransoms also made it an excellent choice in other situations as well.

Plus, of course, there's the range issue with a lance vs say, a sword.

Galloglaich
2010-07-31, 08:05 AM
There is the fact that unhorsing a knight did limit him quite a bit...and as he was rather unlikely to land on his feet, he was at a marked disadvantage. Getting a one hit kill on a well trained, fully armored knight is rather unlikely, but once slammed to the ground, they could get mobbed, trampled, etc. Plenty of knights in battlefield graves bear relatively little injury to their bones, and likely died of a number of soft tissue injuries. Messy, but effective. I suspect that the same reasons a lance was good for collecting ransoms also made it an excellent choice in other situations as well.

Plus, of course, there's the range issue with a lance vs say, a sword.

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

G.

RE:Insanity
2010-08-01, 07:41 AM
Against an enemy on horseback or foot really, spears were effective. They could cut or stab, could be thrown, could be used with almost no training, and didn't require that you had much strength to use them. A sword required you add the strength of your arm to the blow, the spear required little power and went right in.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-01, 12:01 PM
Against an enemy on horseback or foot really, spears were effective. They could cut or stab, could be thrown, could be used with almost no training, and didn't require that you had much strength to use them. A sword required you add the strength of your arm to the blow, the spear required little power and went right in.

A spear requires just as much strength to push it into someone as a sword does, assuming equivalent blade geometry. A spear with a pointy spike at the tip will pierce as easily as a sword with the same shape (such as an estoc/tuck) and a spear with a flat broad head will pierce and slice like a sword with the same shape. You can't fight physics. A spear just seems easier sometimes because you use two hands and you can get more leverage on the longer haft.

And to clear up some myths from the thread Roland just closed:
A .50 bullet will not hurt you even with a near miss because of the shockwave around the bullet. A bullet will never hurt you without touching you. The lack of destructive shockwave is clear from paper targets. The holes in the paper are the same size as the bullets and there's no additional damage from the disrupted air around the bullet.
http://www.daplane.com/50bmg/asrul50st100a.JPG

Spiryt
2010-08-01, 12:10 PM
A spear requires just as much strength to push it into someone as a sword does, assuming equivalent blade geometry. A spear with a pointy spike at the tip will pierce as easily as a sword with the same shape (such as an estoc/tuck) and a spear with a flat broad head will pierce and slice like a sword with the same shape. You can't fight physics. A spear just seems easier sometimes because you use two hands and you can get more leverage on the longer haft.


But they usually won't have the same geometry, as spear would have much shorter blade than most swords, and in result it would have geometry as a part of the sword blade at most.

They would be much stiffer in majority of causes, as well as more 'dead' harmonically.

All in all I would say that there indeed would be mechanical advantage in case of penetration, with also good leverage of haft, compared to even more heavy, due to length blade mounted as a sword.

Although more importantly it would just behave differently.

Matthew
2010-08-01, 08:22 PM
Referring back to the heavy cavalry question, there is some good discussion as to infantry and cavalry tactics available to read in the Google preview for Adrian Goldsworthy's The Roman Army at War: 100 BC to 200 AD (http://books.google.com/books?id=55KE-nNtTRUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_similarbooks_s&cad=1#v=onepage&q&f=false).

Psyx
2010-08-02, 03:23 AM
We haven't really touched upon the other focus of heavy cavalry of course:

Killing the other side's cavalry.

Calvary is such a useful element that if one can remove a foes' cavalry arm from the battlefield, one has a substantial advantage.



"A .50 bullet will not hurt you even with a near miss because of the shockwave around the bullet."

This is absolutely correct. A bullet which is shedding enough energy to have some limb-ripping shock-wave isn't going to travel anywhere far.

Further to the .50BMG sending people flying back 10 feet idea; check further up on this thread. Gel torsos are not people. Science still says 'no', because of Newton's third law.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-02, 04:50 AM
But they usually won't have the same geometry, as spear would have much shorter blade than most swords, and in result it would have geometry as a part of the sword blade at most.


As long as it's the part of the blade that goes into the other guy, then it's effectively identical. When you stab a 40 cm spearhead and the first 40 cm of a 1m sword blade into someone's chest, it's not important how much sword blade is left outside their body.

Spiryt
2010-08-02, 05:25 AM
As long as it's the part of the blade that goes into the other guy, then it's effectively identical. When you stab a 40 cm spearhead and the first 40 cm of a 1m sword blade into someone's chest, it's not important how much sword blade is left outside their body.

Except that part that doesn't still have obvious meaning in how whole things behaves.

All I'm saying is that 40 cm spear blade won't behave like 1m of sword blade, simply because 1 meter of steel thing will behave differently than 40 cm.

Caustic Soda
2010-08-02, 05:26 AM
One advantages of spears that hasn't been touched upon yet is that you don't need as much room to wield a spear. that can make for much tighter formations, which in turn makes it possible to bring more weapons to bear on the enemy. And of course, spears tend to have more reach than swords :smalltongue:.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-02, 06:01 AM
Except that part that doesn't still have obvious meaning in how whole things behaves.

All I'm saying is that 40 cm spear blade won't behave like 1m of sword blade, simply because 1 meter of steel thing will behave differently than 40 cm.

Go back and look at what we're talking about. The question is about how much effort it takes to push it into the enemy's body, not about using it in general.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-02, 06:06 AM
One advantages of spears that hasn't been touched upon yet is that you don't need as much room to wield a spear. that can make for much tighter formations, which in turn makes it possible to bring more weapons to bear on the enemy. And of course, spears tend to have more reach than swords :smalltongue:.

You can thrust swords in a tight formation just as easily as you can spears. In fact, the sword takes up less room because you don't have to worry about the guy behind you. And if you want to turn around, the sword wins again. Try using a spear in a narrow hallway where you have to go around corners or turn to face something behind you. The spear's advantage is reach. The sword wins when you compare them based on how much elbow room you need to wield it.

Spiryt
2010-08-02, 06:16 AM
Go back and look at what we're talking about. The question is about how much effort it takes to push it into the enemy's body, not about using it in general.

Go look what I'm talking about. :smalltongue:

That's exactly what I'm talking about, stiffness, harmonics, proportions, sectional density mean that way it will behave when pushing into something won't be the same, as 40 cm part of longer blade.

Leaving aside wood, different grip and usage, I'm talking about blade here.

Yora
2010-08-02, 07:28 AM
I think given all factors, like the ability to mass produce great numbers at low cost, without need for highly trained craftsmen, relatively few training required, effectiveness against armor, and damage potential, spears and all their variants are probably the best melee weapon there is.
If you have the money to pay for it, the resources availabable to make it, a weaponsmith who can make it, the time to wait for it, and the time to train with it, a sword might produce better results for a single wealthy, and well trained warrior. But when you consider everything else, spears had a much greater impact on warfare worldwide.
And from the greek phalanxes to the swiss pikemen, it indeed was THE weapon of mass warfare.
This weapon really needs more love for fantasy heroes. :smallbiggrin:

Psyx
2010-08-02, 07:44 AM
It does. They're good in WFRP, as they do the same damage as swords, have a +10 initiative bonus, and can be thrown.

As well as being THE battlefield weapon, the Japanese fighting arts seem to reckon a skilled spearman to be able to defeat an equally trained swordsman. I'm not so sure about Western arts, but certainly in England a good man with a quarterstaff was reckoned to outmatch a swordsman.

Pole weapons also open up the legs as a much more viable target, and hence leg armour becomes more valuable when facing them.

Galloglaich
2010-08-02, 09:14 AM
Not to derail all the spear - love, because I agree with just about everything that has been said about them, but they do have one big flaw compared to swords. A spear, a staff, or any hafted weapon is much easier to grab than a sword blade. That is the achilles heel of any and every hafted weapon and it's the real reason why swords were prestige weapons all over the world for 3000 years. As soon as you get a bind, you grab the haft of their weapon and cut them.

I think a half-trained spearman will defeat a half-trained swordsman 99% of the time.

On the other hand, a trained sword and shield guy is equal or perhaps has a slight edge over a spearman. And a very good longsword fighter can defeat a spearman if he's experienced at dealing with spears. There is spear vs. longsword stuff in the fechtbuchs and there are effective techniques for dealing with spear thrusts. A zweihander can cope with any polearm on an equal or better footing.

There are some famous (heavily propagandized) cases where Englishmen armed with staves defeated Spaniards and Italians armed with rapier and dagger (or sidesword and dagger). But these weapons are arguable not ideal for dealing with a polearm.


In an RPG context, the spear or polearm is generally the best weapon to have if you are out in the open simply becsause of the reach advantage. (Which again, I don't think most RPG combat systems take into account enough.) In a confied space, inside a building etc. you probably have to use a shorter weapon though.

One other thought. The spear does certainly at least equal damage as a sword in a thrust, probably more penetration due to leverage. But ultimately a blade is a blade. The same is also true of a dagger. I find it astounding that in virtually every RPG system I've ever seen, a dagger is essentially a nuisance weapon. A 14" double-edged knife is no joke, and at close range it's far more lethal than either a sword or a spear.

G.

9mm
2010-08-02, 09:24 AM
so recently while going through some books I came across the term "throwing wedge" and all attempts at google lead to pottery techniques, is this an actual weapon or a catch-all term for "bizzare throwing weapon?"

Storm Bringer
2010-08-02, 09:26 AM
thing is, most systems don't think of a 14" double edged knife as being a "dagger". Personally, I'd call it a short sword by DnD reckoning.

when they talk of daggers, I think they mean somthing in closer to 8-10" long. I'd aggree they don't get enough love, though.

Yora
2010-08-02, 09:30 AM
Daggers were certainly no simple pocket knives. Some difinitions put the blade length at up to 40 cm. (Which is probably about as much as 14", I think?).

That was something I was constantly thinking when I read the "real world weapon damage" thread. Wether it's a 9mm bllet, a .45 bullet, a dagger, a spear, or a sword, once you get one in the belly you're pretty much out of the fight. The difference is mostly in you're chance to survive wound if you get proper treatment. Without treatment, you're most certainly dead in either case.

hamishspence
2010-08-02, 10:12 AM
thing is, most systems don't think of a 14" double edged knife as being a "dagger". Personally, I'd call it a short sword by DnD reckoning.

when they talk of daggers, I think they mean somthing in closer to 8-10" long. I'd aggree they don't get enough love, though.

14" blade, or 14" from end of hilt to tip of blade? I see short swords as being maybe 2 ft long including hilt- anything significantly shorter than that is entering dagger (dirk? Stiletto?) territory. At least in D&D.

Here:

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

the shortest gladius blade (not counting hilt) is listed as 45 cm long, or about 18". Quite a bit more than 14".

Yora
2010-08-02, 10:23 AM
Swords were generally quite bigger than they are usually portayed in many fantasy movies and art.
Two-handed swords were often as long as their weilder was tall, sometimes even longer. And at 80 cm blade length, a gladius is closer to what we think of as a "longsword" than a "short sword".
And yes, many daggers would fall in the "fantasy short sword" range.

hamishspence
2010-08-02, 10:59 AM
80 cm blade length? What gladii were that big?

68 cm seems to be the biggest one listed.


Of course, Wikipedia could be wrong here (it sometimes is) but 80 cm seems awfully long for the blade of a gladius.

Matthew
2010-08-02, 11:23 AM
80 cm blade length? What gladii were that big?

68 cm seems to be the biggest one listed.


Of course, Wikipedia could be wrong here (it sometimes is) but 80 cm seems awfully long for the blade of a gladius.

Whilst technically gladius was used by the Romans of swords of various lengths, in modern times we have come to distinguish between gladius (blade c. 12-24") and spatha (blade c. 24-36") as short and long categories of Roman swords (or sword and short-sword). Vegetius distinguished via "semi-spatha" and "spatha", using gladius for both, but the modern usage is prevalent. The total length of a gladius could approach about 31", including hilt, pommel and guard, which might get you close to 80cm (78.74 cm), but that is approaching the upper limit, most seem to have been more like 20" in blade length, or less.

hamishspence
2010-08-02, 01:14 PM
Arms & Equipment Guide has a big list of real sword names for D&D swords.
Spatha is one of the longsword names.
Gladius is one of the short sword names.

Hurlbut
2010-08-02, 01:39 PM
it's the real reason why swords were prestige weapons all over the world for 3000 years. Not to derail your own post, but it was a prestige weapon because 1. it was expensive to make (owning it is a sign of wealth) and 2. it was a very useful back up weapon much like the semiautomatic pistol such as 1911A1 Colt and Mauser/Luger.

Lapak
2010-08-02, 01:57 PM
Not to derail your own post, but it was a prestige weapon because 1. it was expensive to make (owning it is a sign of wealth) and 2. it was a very useful back up weapon much like the semiautomatic pistol such as 1911A1 Colt and Mauser/Luger.Backup weapon or primary, I personally think that one of the really big things that kept swords so popular for so long is that they're one of the few battlefield-effective main weapons that you can carry around relatively easily. The 'sheath+belt' method of storage, keeping it handy yet made safe until you need it, is pretty much superior to the storage possibilities for everything else you'd care to name. Spears, axes, bows, hammers and maces; just about every other battlefield weapon requires you to lug it around in your hand(s) if you want to have it ready to use.

Matthew
2010-08-02, 02:05 PM
Arms & Equipment Guide has a big list of real sword names for D&D swords.
Spatha is one of the longsword names.
Gladius is one of the short sword names.

Yes, although D&D source books are not often accurate at the best of times, gladius as it is used by modern weapon enthusiasts, collectors, and historians usually corresponds to a D&D "short sword", and a spatha in the same context corresponds to a D&D "long sword". At the default level of granularity, it is also perfectly reasonable, though many D&D and D20 supplements subsequently "zoom in" and try to achieve higher levels of precision, with mixed results.

Shademan
2010-08-02, 04:33 PM
do any of you know what arms and armour the scots guard used? the first ones?

Yora
2010-08-02, 07:03 PM
Not to derail your own post, but it was a prestige weapon because 1. it was expensive to make (owning it is a sign of wealth).
In Europe, and I think also Japan, carrying swords was legally restricted to the respective knight castes. Violating these laws as a commoner could be punished very severely. Much like the horse, a sword was an important symbol that identified a person as a knight. And as knights were the elite soldiers of their societies, the sword kept being remembered as a weapon for heroes.
But everyone could carry a spear, an axe, or a club, so there's nothing special about a person carrying one. They were weapons for the hordes of faceless mooks no historian ever cared for.

Matthew
2010-08-02, 09:37 PM
In Europe, and I think also Japan, carrying swords was legally restricted to the respective knight castes. Violating these laws as a commoner could be punished very severely. Much like the horse, a sword was an important symbol that identified a person as a knight. And as knights were the elite soldiers of their societies, the sword kept being remembered as a weapon for heroes.

But everyone could carry a spear, an axe, or a club, so there's nothing special about a person carrying one. They were weapons for the hordes of faceless mooks no historian ever cared for.

In some places this may have been true, but I do not think it was typical of England, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy during the middle ages. Swords were military signifiers, but they were not restricted by social class, except insofar as they were expensive. However, "long swords" are not particularly well suited to fighting in a close press, so you are more likely to see shorter back-up weapons in the hands of foot soldiers.

Brainfart
2010-08-02, 11:17 PM
The Assize of Arms of 1252 (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hdh4Elj-3WEC&pg=PA177&lpg=PA177&dq=assize+of+arms+1252&source=bl&ots=kBq0BbXXuJ&sig=sjjw_y9CNefmwYt10jfzl16u4G0&hl=en&ei=gbBQTKC-ApmX4ga-i6DwBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBkQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=assize of arms 1252&f=false) pretty much disproves the contention that the sword was a purely knightly weapon. In England, at least.

Haruspex_Pariah
2010-08-02, 11:35 PM
How feasible is it to reuse a damaged sword?
If it was chipped, bent, rusted, or snapped is there a way to salvage them or were they simply thrown out. Similarly is it possible to melt down and reforge a blade?

Xuc Xac
2010-08-03, 04:42 AM
How feasible is it to reuse a damaged sword?
If it was chipped, bent, rusted, or snapped is there a way to salvage them or were they simply thrown out. Similarly is it possible to melt down and reforge a blade?

With bronze weapons, it was relatively easy to melt a broken sword and pout it into a new mold to cast a new sword. With steel weapons, the effort involved was significantly harder. If you're going to start over from scratch anyway, you might as well use new iron rather than trying to melt down scrap metal from a broken sword. Considering the work that goes into making steel weapons, I think they would be reluctant to completely scrap it. If your katana broke, you'd set the tip into a handle to make a tanto and re-sharpen the end of the piece still attach to the hilt to make a wakizashi. I imagine that "Big sword --> knife and smaller sword" was standard practice in most places because it's easier than reforging the metal from scratch. No one would just throw metal away. They used to burn down old barns just to get all the nails back.

Psyx
2010-08-03, 05:46 AM
In Europe, and I think also Japan, carrying swords was legally restricted to the respective knight castes.

Most certainly not. The only restriction in Europe was the price, which dropped after the Dark Ages.

In Japan the sword-hunts to disarm the peasantry were a fairly late thing, happening near the end of the Sengoku period (circa C16), as I recall. 20 years later the country was stable and swordsmanship and bushido became the refined concepts that we associate them with, as samurai became tea-sipping duellists. For pretty much the entire span of warfare in Japan there were no such edicts.


"so recently while going through some books I came across the term "throwing wedge" and all attempts at google lead to pottery techniques, is this an actual weapon or a catch-all term for "bizzare throwing weapon?" "

What were they speaking in relation to? Western or Eastern weapons? In Japan, short throwing nails/spikes/blades were far more common than the star-shaped shruiken that we tend to think of. It could refer to those, perhaps?

valadil
2010-08-03, 10:18 AM
thing is, most systems don't think of a 14" double edged knife as being a "dagger". Personally, I'd call it a short sword by DnD reckoning.

when they talk of daggers, I think they mean somthing in closer to 8-10" long. I'd aggree they don't get enough love, though.

I looked into this quite a bit when I bought my first blade and wanted to know if it was a dagger or a knife. Unfortunately that was almost 10 years ago and I have no idea what my sources were. But the conclusion that stuck with me was that a dagger had a blade that was up to 18 inches and was double sided.

<speculation>
Regarding spear thrust vs sword thrust, I imagine the sword would have a chance of bending, while the spear would be more rigid. I don't know how much bending would actually happen, and I'm sure it would vary with the type of sword, but intuitively it seems like could end up with a point that was heading in a direction that wasn't where you were pushing it. If a sword flexed while you were stabbing someone, the blow would therefore be weaker.
</speculation>

String
2010-08-03, 10:28 AM
I may be asking the impossible, but is there anything like a 'standard' time between pulling the trigger on a handgun and the bullet actually firing? However many assumptions need to be made (constant pulling pressure, etc), is there anyway to find out how long the mechanisms on a gun take to fire the bullet?

Mike_G
2010-08-03, 10:28 AM
The thing is, once you get steel into the enemy, it's only the first 3-6 inches that matters. The rest is just overkill.

Now, a rapier has an advantage of reach over a shortsword, but shoving a foot of steel out his back doesn't make him any deader than the first 6 inches already did.

The D&D concept of Bigger=More Damage is seemingly intuitive, but not very realistic. Weapon design is more about reach, speed, ability to get through armor, etc.

As has been said, it should be more about the skill of the user than the size of the weapon.

It's true what they say, guys. It's not how big it is, it's what you do with it.

Spiryt
2010-08-03, 10:39 AM
<speculation>
Regarding spear thrust vs sword thrust, I imagine the sword would have a chance of bending, while the spear would be more rigid. I don't know how much bending would actually happen, and I'm sure it would vary with the type of sword, but intuitively it seems like could end up with a point that was heading in a direction that wasn't where you were pushing it. If a sword flexed while you were stabbing someone, the blow would therefore be weaker.
</speculation>

Of course, it indeed would vary, primarily thrusting swords could be very rigid, while most dark ages cutters were not very stiff at all, with many less extreme designs.

Also, certain parts of sword could vary quite much in rigidity, among other things, due to taper and different shape of the blade along it's length.

Spears won't be so, because there simply cannot be so many differences along much shorter blade.

Sword would have 'better' sectional density, with more steel behind given point, but also would have wood behind which complicates equation.

So without going into "weaker" or " over 9000" stuff, I just stand with point that sword and spear cannot be easily compared, even if their last, pointy 30 cm are similar.

Aroka
2010-08-03, 11:42 AM
In some places this may have been true, but I do not think it was typical of England, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy during the middle ages. Swords were military signifiers, but they were not restricted by social class, except insofar as they were expensive. However, "long swords" are not particularly well suited to fighting in a close press, so you are more likely to see shorter back-up weapons in the hands of foot soldiers.

That, and cheaper. A common soldier isn't going to spend a fortune on an elegant weapon he has no way to learn to use to its fullest potential, when he can just grab an axe or a club that suits his work much better.

Very cool to hear that the sword ban is nonsense; it crops up a lot in supposedly medieval-style games (in fact, I could swear even The Riddle of Steel has some pap about only certain social classes being allowed to own real arms & armor!). Are there really no sources that indicate such bans in Europe in the Dark Ages, the Medieval period, or the Renaissance?

Galloglaich
2010-08-03, 12:36 PM
In Europe, and I think also Japan, carrying swords was legally restricted to the respective knight castes. Violating these laws as a commoner could be punished very severely. Much like the horse, a sword was an important symbol that identified a person as a knight. And as knights were the elite soldiers of their societies, the sword kept being remembered as a weapon for heroes.
But everyone could carry a spear, an axe, or a club, so there's nothing special about a person carrying one. They were weapons for the hordes of faceless mooks no historian ever cared for.

That isn't true, restrictions on commoners carrying swords in Europe were rare and only existed in certain areas (the most backward feudal areas), and even where they did exist the restrictions usually had loopholes for single-edged swords like seaxes, falchions, dussacks or messers which wouild still be considered swords in DnD (and by most laymen and quite a few experts).

There are numerous surviving legal documents which survive from the 8th - 16th Centuries where commoners, notably town dwellers but also pesants such as in the Swedish Leidang law, were required to show up for muster with a sword in the event of trouble.

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

In Japan on the other hand commoners were restricted, particularly rural peasants, from owning the katana or carrying the daishō (tachi or katana with wakizashi short sword together)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daish%C5%8D

Gladius is a short-sword, the Roman dagger was called a pugio. Typical blade length for a Gladius was about 20-24" though as has been pointed out, this did vary quite a bit. Daggers up to 16" were common in Europe from the 13th Century and were defined as such (as daggers). Daggers were somewhat associated with knights and sergeants. Other very similar weapons such as the Hauswehr or , the Baselard, and prior to the Medieval period, the Seax, were more associated with commoners or tribesmen.

In the Codex I define a short sword as 20" or longer.

As for the convenience argument, a hand-axe can just as easily be carried on a belt and does not require a sheath. I simply don't buy the fashion argument since swords existed in too many cultures for too long of a period of time.

G.

Galloglaich
2010-08-03, 12:44 PM
How feasible is it to reuse a damaged sword?
If it was chipped, bent, rusted, or snapped is there a way to salvage them or were they simply thrown out. Similarly is it possible to melt down and reforge a blade?

I think it was very common to reuse and rare to throw away, except sometimes intentionally as a sacrifice or a symbolic gift. The steel blade of a sword was extremely valuable in the early medieval period and before that, by the Renaissance somewhat less so but still quite valuable, it would be like throwing away a silver spoon today.

The Scotts, known for their thrift, famously reused blades through many stages. It has been proven in at least some cases, that large greatswords ("claymores") were rehilted as shorter single-handed basket-hilts, which were then in turn rehilted as large daggers (Dirks) which were then rehilted again as sgian dubh (ceremonial knives), with these blades kept in the family sometimes over a period of centuries.

That said swords could and did break to the point of being useless, and gradually were worn down through sharpening. Ultimately swords are kind of "disposable" if they are being used, in the sense that they had a finite life span as weapons. Often famous men would donate swords to churches after a battle. That is actually why we have certain famous swords today, like Henry V's sword and Edward III's sword.


G.

Spiryt
2010-08-03, 12:49 PM
The length of the gladius would vary depending on period, also.

The earliest 'classical' gladi would be quite long and massive, maybe blade could go as long as 80cm in some Celt Iberian swords, but generally stereotypical gladius was shorter, and since 20 AC, up to decline of gladius, they were getting smaller and shorter.

Galloglaich
2010-08-03, 01:00 PM
That, and cheaper. A common soldier isn't going to spend a fortune on an elegant weapon he has no way to learn to use to its fullest potential, when he can just grab an axe or a club that suits his work much better.

Very cool to hear that the sword ban is nonsense; it crops up a lot in supposedly medieval-style games (in fact, I could swear even The Riddle of Steel has some pap about only certain social classes being allowed to own real arms & armor!). Are there really no sources that indicate such bans in Europe in the Dark Ages, the Medieval period, or the Renaissance?

In the Dark Ages (Migration era) the pagan European tribes were almost universally armed, in fact to have free status meant by definition that you were armed. The tribal assembly in some parts of Northern Europe was called a "waepentake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(assembly))". Only slaves were unarmed, (and when a slave was freed, he was given a weapon). In Roman society arms were restricted by numerous laws however and the lower classes had many restrictions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_(county_subdivision)#Other_terms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(assembly)

In Saxon England, the peasantry had been partially disarmed when the Viking raids started, which was one of the reasons they were so hard to cope with; one of the reforms of Alfred the Great in reinforcing the fyrd was to re-introduce arming the common folk.

By the Medieval period, there were some laws in some areas, not usually for all commoners per say but specifically for peasants. Burghers (city dwellers) had far less restrictions on weapon ownership since most cities had their own effective armies made up of local militia (though there were sometimes restrictions on openly carrying weapons inside the town walls). The areas where there were restrictions of this type were zones where the harshest type of feudalism was in effect, powerful secular lords or Archibishops could force the local peasantry to remain disarmed. But this often didn't always work out as planned. These were usually part of local 'sumptuary laws' which dictated which types of clothing or property people of different social standing could own or wear. These laws originated with the very class conscious Romans and ancient Greeks, and were gradually imposed on the European tribes as they absorbed Roman culture through the Church. Most of them were not established until the 13th Century.

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

There were some parts of Germany and Austria in the later Medieval period were swords were banned for peasants, but the legal definition of the sword at the time was a double edged blade with a pommel. So the 'knife' (messer) which was allowed gradually got bigger and bigger and bigger, but still had a handle like a knife (only lenghened and widened at the base to provide the same counterbalancing effect as a pommel) until eventually you ended up with weapons like this:

http://www.myarmoury.com/images/reviews/cs_mess1_s.jpg

...but by then peasants were being recruited into landsknecht companies and knights were on the decline.

We used to have a joke about this, the Jaegermeister approaches the peasant. "Are you carrying a sword!?" The peasant replies, drawing his messer "but of course herr jaegermeister, this is no sword, this is only my knife, for cutting my cabbage and spreading my butter. Surely you won't begrudge my knife...?"

I think there were some areas in France where peasants were effectively disarmed. And of course those areas of Europe under Ottoman rule were under strict sumptuary laws, as were those parts of Ireland under direct English control.


Now interestingly, in the early-modern era as the Nation State became better established, weapons restrictions became more common and the rights of peasants in many countries were severely restricted, leading to increasing abuses and ultimately, uprisings such as the French Revolution.


G.

Matthew
2010-08-03, 01:01 PM
I think it was very common to reuse and rare to throw away, except sometimes intentionally as a sacrifice or a symbolic gift. The steel blade of a sword was extremely valuable in the early medieval period and before that, by the Renaissance somewhat less so but still quite valuable, it would be like throwing away a silver spoon today.

The Scotts, known for their thrift, famously reused blades through many stages. It has been proven in at least some cases, that large greatswords ("claymores") were rehilted as shorter single-handed basket-hilts, which were then in turn rehilted as large daggers (Dirks) which were then rehilted again as sgian dubh (ceremonial knives), with these blades kept in the family sometimes over a period of centuries.

Apparently, a lot of tachi were cut down to serve as katana as well. So, not just the thrifty. :smallbiggrin:



The length of the gladius would vary depending on period, also.

The earliest 'classical' gladi would be quite long and massive, maybe blade could go as long as 80cm in some Celt Iberian swords, but generally stereotypical gladius was shorter, and since 20 AC, up to decline of gladius, they were getting smaller and shorter.

Indeed; this is why it can be a bit tricky to classify the gladius as a "short sword". The early Gladius Hispaniensi could get up to about 27" in blade length, which is comparable to migration period swords and the like. On the other hand, the Mainz, Fulham and Pompey types all seem to have come in at under 24" in blade length, to judge by extant examples.

Galloglaich
2010-08-03, 01:19 PM
Apparently, a lot of tachi were cut down to serve as katana as well. So, not just the thrifty. :smallbiggrin:

Well the Japanese were thrifty too, I know from my addiction to Kirosawa films :)

G.

Matthew
2010-08-03, 01:38 PM
Well the Japanese were thrifty too, I know from my addiction to Kirosawa films :)

Heh, heh; that reminds me of an anecdote about an open handed knight, and his thrifty wife. He was fortunate to have her, else he would have ruined himself through his generosity. I will have to track the reference down, I believe that I read it in Frances Gies The Knight in History.

HenryHankovitch
2010-08-03, 02:03 PM
I may be asking the impossible, but is there anything like a 'standard' time between pulling the trigger on a handgun and the bullet actually firing? However many assumptions need to be made (constant pulling pressure, etc), is there anyway to find out how long the mechanisms on a gun take to fire the bullet?

Assuming by "pulling the trigger" you mean the point at which the trigger sear actually releases the firing mechanism...

Not really. Though the differences in time would all be so short--a miniscule fraction of a second--as to be trivial in almost all cases. I suspect the largest delay would be the acceleration of the hammer or striker itself, from release to its impact on the firing pin.

Now, I believe the delay was significantly more pronounced in the era before percussion-primed firearms--flintlocks, wheel-locks, and so on. Back then, you had a comparatively much longer series of events (striker creates sparks, sparks ignite powder in the priming pan, powder in the priming pan burns through a port into the breech of the barrel, which ignites the actual powder charge). And the rate at which your priming-powder burned could vary more significantly. So the delay between the striking mechanism being released, and the bullet actually being fired, could be humanly noticeable--I'd guess commonly up to 1/8 or 1/4 of a second, or maybe more. And no doubt influenced by things such as the quality of powder, the condition of your striking mechanism (affecting how many sparks it can throw off), the quality of the lock manufacture itself, even the weather.

Storm Bringer
2010-08-03, 03:08 PM
the only significant difference between trigger actions i know of the the double action/single action difference.

in a single action gun, pulling the trigger releases the hammer, but you need to manually **** the hammer first. a lot of the wild west revolvers were single action, leading to the classic cowboy 'fanning' Technique, where the firer repeatedly 'fanned' his hand over the hammer to quickly recock it.

In a double action gun, pulling the trigger ***** the hammer and releases it, meaning the weapon can be stored 'safe' (un-cocked) and still be ready to fire at short notice. However, the need to **** the weapon means the trigger is significantly stiffer and harder to pull, compared to a single action gun, which means that it might be slower in a 'mexican standoff' situation.

the majority of modern pistols are double action. However, many allow you to manually **** the hammer to ease the frist trigger pull.

once the hammer is realesed, then all guns fire as close to instantaiously as makes no difference.

Did that help?

String
2010-08-03, 03:21 PM
All information helps, but it doesn't bode well for my reasons for asking.

So in modern weapons, the time lapse between trigger pull (or whenever the trigger has been pulled back to actually start the mechanism) and when the bullet is fired is effectively nil? It bears noting that even fractions as small as 1/40th of a second are significant (the idea being that your average person can note and react to a threat in about 1/4th of a second, and for a writing project, the characters superpower is essentially quicker reaction time. The upshot is that the character supposedly notes his attacker begin to pull the trigger and moves out of the line of fire in between that and the time when the bullet would hit his body. I'm aware that this is stupidly impossible; It's magic).

I'm trying to figure out the minimum time, not allowing for hesitance, misfires, etc, that elapses between "okay, I'm shooting now" and "bullet hits target"

Storm Bringer
2010-08-03, 03:50 PM
short answer, without some form of super speed to match his super reflexes, he won't be able to dodge a handgun accuratly aimed at him at pistol ranges.

longer answer: if he cannot move faster than a normal human, then his only hope of doging it would be to move before the trigger pull starts, basing his judgment on other factors (change in body posture suggesting the firer is bracing for the recoil, 'sees it in his eyes', gun being moving slightly as firer adjusts aim, etc).

the time between deciding to shoot and the bullet leaving the gun is not instantainious, but not useable at human movement speeds.

in short, he'd need to be able to move at Flash-like speeds to avoid the shot in the time between 'user starting to pull trigger' and 'bullet entering target stood a few meters away'.

however, at slightly longer ranges, or with more warning, his reaction times would be enough to effectivly dodge the shooters aim, I.E. the firer can't track his movments fast enough to line up a shot.

Yora
2010-08-03, 03:53 PM
however, at slightly longer ranges, or with more warning, his reaction times would be enough to effectivly dodge the shooters aim, I.E. the firer can't track his movments fast enough to line up a shot.
However, you'd hear the gun being fired only after you're allready hit, so you'd need super sight as well.

From what I know (which isn't much), an automatic gun works mostly like a semi-automatic, except that the hammer doesn't lock after the cartridge is ejected and a new round loaded, and it immediately strikes the next round in the chamber.
Automatic riffles shot about 10 rounds per second, which is 1/10th of a second for one full firing circle. And as the bullet leave the gun rather early in the firing circle, the amount of time between releasing the hammer and the bullet leaving the gun would be only a fraction of that.

What might possibly work for a character with super powers, is that he sees the shoter bracing himself for the recoil and estimate where the gun is pointed at at that moment. But he'd need extremely fast reflexes, and very good perception to pull it off repeatedly.
But in think in reality, comperatively few bullets actually hit their target. You frequently read reports about hour long firefights and the western soldiers end up with only one or two men non-critically hit. And there must have been hundreds or even thousands of rounds shot at them.

Raum
2010-08-03, 05:53 PM
So in modern weapons, the time lapse between trigger pull (or whenever the trigger has been pulled back to actually start the mechanism) and when the bullet is fired is effectively nil? I wouldn't phrase it as 'effectively nil', whether or not it matters depends on the type of shooting you're doing. For extreme accuracy at range (snipers, bench rest target shooting, etc) it does matter. Exactly how long that time is will depend on the specific firing mechanism and the temperature.

The M-16 fires about 600-900 rounds per minute or 10-15 rounds per second. In that time, the mechanism ejects the shell, c*cks the hammer, and loads the next round from the magazine before the hammer drops again. The actual firing portion of that is much smaller than the other movements and takes a fraction of the time. So you're probably measuring the delay from trigger pull to pin striking the bullet in hundredths of a second at most...more probably in thousandths.

Stephen_E
2010-08-03, 09:51 PM
short answer, without some form of super speed to match his super reflexes, he won't be able to dodge a handgun accuratly aimed at him at pistol ranges.


I've been given to understand that if a person is to close to there target with a pistol, less than a metre, the target can effectively "dodge the bullet" by dodging before the person pulls the trigger.

The principle been that by the time the shooter reacts to the dodge/closing, the target is out of the target zone and then it becomes a race to try and readjust to the moving target beforethe person is taking action against shooter.
If the shooter has actually put the barrel against the targets body it's even worse because the target can use their body movement to move the gun off target.

Note - this is essentailly a race of reaction times, but if you think the shooter is planning to shoot you anyway, what the hell, maybe your reaction time is faster.

Stephen E

fusilier
2010-08-04, 03:59 AM
I've been given to understand that if a person is to close to there target with a pistol, less than a metre, the target can effectively "dodge the bullet" by dodging before the person pulls the trigger.

The principle been that by the time the shooter reacts to the dodge/closing, the target is out of the target zone and then it becomes a race to try and readjust to the moving target beforethe person is taking action against shooter.
If the shooter has actually put the barrel against the targets body it's even worse because the target can use their body movement to move the gun off target.

Note - this is essentailly a race of reaction times, but if you think the shooter is planning to shoot you anyway, what the hell, maybe your reaction time is faster.

Stephen E

I think the basic idea is to dodge when you realize someone is pointing a gun at you. Even at long ranges this would probably help.

On a related note, skirmishers during the ACW period were sometimes told to walk a few feet sideways when they noticed someone take a long range shot at them (being black powder they could see the smoke). I've always thought given the accuracy of the weapons, and the typical level of training, that you could be potentially walking into the path of the bullet!

Other than the hammer fall, there is the amount of time it takes the primer to spark, and the amount of time it takes for the "burning" primer to ignite the propellant, then the amount of time it takes for the bullet to accelerate down the barrel, and then travel to hit its target. It's all academic in this case, but technically all those actions take "time." :-)

Regarding earlier weapons:
From personal experience, the delay time on something like a flintlock weapon depends upon how fine the priming powder is. If using very fine (4F) powder the action is quite fast. I tend to use musket grade (2F) powder as the primer at reenactments though, as I'm loading from paper cartridges; the delay is significant and well within the reaction time of the slowest. As long as the flint is well knapped, and set properly within the jaws of the ****, it's surprisingly reliable even with the coarse grain powder!

Wow, it automatically blocks the word c-o-c-k? How juvenile. :-(

Storm Bringer
2010-08-04, 04:46 AM
However, you'd hear the gun being fired only after you're allready hit, so you'd need super sight as well.

with a rilfe round, yes, but most pistol rounds are sub-sonic, so youd hear the bang first, if you were far enough away (which would rleally be futher than a pistol can shoot, to be honest).

Also, the muzzle flash of a gun can sometimes be seen, depending on locl lighting, design of the muzzle, etc.


From what I know (which isn't much), an automatic gun works mostly like a semi-automatic, except that the hammer doesn't lock after the cartridge is ejected and a new round loaded, and it immediately strikes the next round in the chamber.
Automatic riffles shot about 10 rounds per second, which is 1/10th of a second for one full firing circle. And as the bullet leave the gun rather early in the firing circle, the amount of time between releasing the hammer and the bullet leaving the gun would be only a fraction of that.

What might possibly work for a character with super powers, is that he sees the shoter bracing himself for the recoil and estimate where the gun is pointed at at that moment. But he'd need extremely fast reflexes, and very good perception to pull it off repeatedly.
But in think in reality, comperatively few bullets actually hit their target. You frequently read reports about hour long firefights and the western soldiers end up with only one or two men non-critically hit. And there must have been hundreds or even thousands of rounds shot at them.

while most shots do miss, my understanding of what was being asked is that the gunman has the target at gunpoint, i.e. his is already aiming at him. the amount of reaction time the target has is between the shooter thinking "pull the trigger" and that bullet hitting him.

Psyx
2010-08-04, 05:44 AM
It all depends on the range. Certainly the time between pulling the trigger and the weapon discharging in modern weapons is effectively nil.

However, within two yards, if the target initiates motion, then it's perfectly viable to be out of arc, inside reach, with a hand on the fire-arm and half-way or more through a disarm before the person with the firearm can even react. I used to practice doing it (obviously not with a loaded weapon, duh!)

At longer ranges you have transit time. Slower rounds are just about sub-sonic, moving up to 1000m/s-ish for some rifle rounds. With a reaction time of 1/40th of a second (Ten times faster than someone already pretty competent); if you saw the muzzle flash you would have 25m reaction time with the rifle, and about 8m with the pistol.

You then have to displace your body by enough of a margin to be missed, though. You'd want to move at least a metre, in case their aim was off. A world class sprinter can accelerate off the blocks at 15m/s (apparently). Let's be fairly generous and call our lateral acceleration a third of that, because we're standing there, with no blocks to push against. So... [maths is a little rusty... bear with me]

s = ut+1/2at^2.

1 = 0x+1/2*5*x^2

1/2.5 = x^2

x = .63 seconds.

Ouch. WAY too slow to dodge a bullet.
With sprinter off the starting block acceleration...

1 = 0x + 1/2*15*x^2

x = .36 seconds.
The pistol round would have gone over 120m in that time. Rifle over 350m.

The problem isn't the reaction time, it seems. The problem is physically accelerating oneself enough to get out of the way in time.

Interesting.

Psyx
2010-08-04, 05:47 AM
"but most pistol rounds are sub-sonic"

Speed of sound is 330m/s as a general rule-of-thumb. Most pistol rounds are certainly not sub-sonic. And those that are are sufficiently close to the speed of sound that there is no way the time differential is going to be enough of a warning.

You need to see the muzzle-flash to stand a chance.

Yora
2010-08-04, 08:33 AM
Wow, it automatically blocks the word c-o-c-k? How juvenile. :-(
It also blocks a lot of japanese names that include the syllable "shi". This forum is extremely strict when it comes to such things.

Aroka
2010-08-04, 08:42 AM
It also blocks a lot of japanese names that include the syllable "shi". This forum is extremely strict when it comes to such things.

There used to be a poster whose name, whenever he was quoted, came out as "Pockefemale genitaliach." Call me crazy, but that seems more offensive than "Pocketwatch."

Oh, is discussion about chinks (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chink) in one's armor allowed by the wordfilter, these days?

/ancient lurker

Storm Bringer
2010-08-04, 08:58 AM
"but most pistol rounds are sub-sonic"

Speed of sound is 330m/s as a general rule-of-thumb. Most pistol rounds are certainly not sub-sonic. And those that are are sufficiently close to the speed of sound that there is no way the time differential is going to be enough of a warning.

You need to see the muzzle-flash to stand a chance.

after having done some more reshearch, I concede the point. Most pistol bullets are in fact faster only just slower than sound.



The problem isn't the reaction time, it seems. The problem is physically accelerating oneself enough to get out of the way in time.


pretty much my read of it as well. you'd need to have much faster than human movement to clear the shot.

Karoht
2010-08-04, 10:08 AM
Heh, heh; that reminds me of an anecdote about an open handed knight, and his thrifty wife. He was fortunate to have her, else he would have ruined himself through his generosity. I will have to track the reference down, I believe that I read it in Frances Gies The Knight in History.

I owned that book for a time, before I passed it off to a child I was mentoring. And I thought "that can't be Sir Marshall or Sir Bertrand, who was the other knight mentioned...
But I believe the Knight in question is Sir John Fastolf.
From wiki: "In the 1950s the Oxford academic K. B. McFarlane showed that Fastolf made large sums of money in France, which he managed to transfer back to England and invest in real property."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_John_Fastolf
His wife was a decent landowner. Lady landowners of the time typically were thrifty, as they had the reality of owning and operating the property upon them, while their husbands or sons were typically off fighting in wars or tourneys or otherwise spending money like it was going out of style. The challenge was putting on the front that you were rich, while being as cheap as possible.

Great book, highly recommended.

String
2010-08-04, 10:16 AM
Thank you all for the insight. It would appear that at any distance where a trained fighter couldn't disarm the shooter, the physical limits of movement are slower than the time it would take a bullet to travel the interim, even if the target started moving as the trigger was pulled.

Brainfart
2010-08-05, 02:01 AM
Assuming that the shooter has good reflexes and doesn't have his aim spoiled by anything.

Karoht
2010-08-05, 09:23 AM
Yeah dodging a bullet doesn't strike me as all that doable once it's left the barrel.
Dodged a paintball once. Admittedly I had reaction time on my side, but that fraction of a second really did seem like slow motion. I read the line of the shot, and only angled slightly, and the paintball whizzed past my face. Then I dove for cover before the next dozen shots could close the distance.
The chain of events was literally as follows:
-See person pop up from cover
-Read line of angle of gun
-Move about the same time as I heard the 'pop' of the gun. I was already moving prior to it.
-Watched paintball move past my face in a blur
-Dive for cover as more 'pop' noises go off

Sure, someone could probably dodge a bullet for real, in similar circumstances. Are they going to dodge the next 3 after that? Likely not I'd imagine.

Now catching a sword with an open hand...
Mythbusters 'busted' it if I recall, though I didn't actually see the episode, I only heard about it. Apparently they consulted Ninjas for this?

Aroka
2010-08-05, 09:32 AM
What exactly is the corrazina armor? Which parts are the actual corrazina (the whole set, or just the coat-looking thing)? What is it composed of? Is corrazina the actual name of the armor or some location where it was found or what?

Karoht
2010-08-05, 09:52 AM
What exactly is the corrazina armor? Which parts are the actual corrazina (the whole set, or just the coat-looking thing)? What is it composed of? Is corrazina the actual name of the armor or some location where it was found or what?

one google search later...
http://www.arador.com/articles/spaulders3.html
http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=186844
any good?

EDIT-Also seem to be getting hits on google in articles for "Segmented Globose" armor. Perhaps look that up.

Psyx
2010-08-05, 10:38 AM
Now catching a sword with an open hand...
Mythbusters 'busted' it if I recall, though I didn't actually see the episode, I only heard about it. Apparently they consulted Ninjas for this?

They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.

Yora
2010-08-05, 10:41 AM
It's something different when you wear gauntlets and it's not a two-handed overhead strike.
But when a katana comes straight at your skull and you try to catch it between your bare palms, you most likely only get your fingers chopped off, if you actually get your hands together before you're hit.

tyckspoon
2010-08-05, 10:47 AM
.
But when a katana comes straight at your skull and you try to catch it between your bare palms, you most likely only get your fingers chopped off, if you actually get your hands together before you're hit.

I believe that's basically the result Mythbusters got, too, when they built a machine to try it- two clapping hands formed of ballistics gel. When they used a stroke that was actually slow enough to be reliably caught, the blade ended up stopped about halfway through the palms on the hands. So.. huzzah, you caught the blade, now you're incapable of fighting anyway.

Maclav
2010-08-05, 10:53 AM
They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.


I refer you to Fiore del Liberi whom shows a number of blade grabs. Mind you this isn't catching the damn thing mid stroke it is picking it up at a dead stop off a bind or such to provide you with a moment to act.

Karoht
2010-08-05, 12:48 PM
They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.

Well yes, naturally. American Ninjas aren't. They just aren't. Irish Ninjas are fine, but American, not so much.
www.drmcninja.com

And yeah, I teach people to grab the hand or wrist.

Galloglaich
2010-08-05, 01:07 PM
You can grab the blade after a bind (after it is stopped) I believe i posed a video upthread from Hammabourg, where they cut a tatami with a sharp and then grabbed it, and played a little tug of war with it before taking it away.

G.

boomwolf
2010-08-05, 03:01 PM
They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.

Yet far less awesome.

And I CAN think of a few things to do after you catch the blade.
None is ESPECIALLY effective, but it will likely work due to the sheer unexpectedness.

Matthew
2010-08-05, 03:31 PM
I owned that book for a time, before I passed it off to a child I was mentoring. And I thought "that can't be Sir Marshall or Sir Bertrand, who was the other knight mentioned...
But I believe the Knight in question is Sir John Fastolf.
From wiki: "In the 1950s the Oxford academic K. B. McFarlane showed that Fastolf made large sums of money in France, which he managed to transfer back to England and invest in real property."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_John_Fastolf
His wife was a decent landowner. Lady landowners of the time typically were thrifty, as they had the reality of owning and operating the property upon them, while their husbands or sons were typically off fighting in wars or tourneys or otherwise spending money like it was going out of style. The challenge was putting on the front that you were rich, while being as cheap as possible.

Great book, highly recommended.

I re-read the book the other day, and could not find the reference, so I think I must have misremembered. Probably it is in Maurice Keen's Chivalry, which I read at about the same time. That said, I agree that the Knight in History is well worth a read; I really enjoyed reading it again for the medieval anecdotes. Bertrand du Guesclin would make an excellent model for a D&D character. :smallbiggrin:

As an aside, I really enjoyed a recent review by Spoony of The Deadliest Warrior X-Box Game (http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/08/04/deadliest-warrior-game-review/).

Psyx
2010-08-06, 04:32 AM
Yet far less awesome.

And I CAN think of a few things to do after you catch the blade.
None is ESPECIALLY effective, but it will likely work due to the sheer unexpectedness.

I defy you to see an unarmed combatant take out a sword-armed foe who is assaulting you, and for it not to be pretty awesome.

How awesome would it be if the bloke trying to catch the sword lost half his hands, then got stabbed in the face?

Brainfart
2010-08-06, 06:30 AM
As an aside, I really enjoyed a recent review by Spoony of The Deadliest Warrior X-Box Game (http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/08/04/deadliest-warrior-game-review/).

Bugger that game, get Mount&Blade: Warband. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2010-08-06, 09:56 AM
Bugger that game, get Mount&Blade: Warband. :smallbiggrin:

Heh, heh; I played the hell out of the original (I forget what version we bought in at, but it was a couple of years back at least). The newest version looks pretty cool, but in the end I have to admit that I do not care for the "waves of enemies and reinforcements" approach, which is a problem I had with the Total War series, as well. I would rather be able to field armies of 30,000 men at a time with Shogun Total War graphics than ten waves of 3,000 guys, no matter how improved the visuals. So, I probably will not buy into Mount & Blade Warbands (at least until its price falls to about £10). :smallbiggrin:

It is definitely one of the more realistic feeling adventure games out there, though. I know a lot of people play using "auto-block", but personally I think that takes away a great deal of the fun and lethality. On the other hand, it is a pain that you have to go to auto resolve (which gives far worse results than actually fighting it out) when "knocked out". I often end up "commanding from the rear" when battles are important, particularly sieges, which is admittedly a bit boring.

Aroka
2010-08-06, 10:19 AM
Bugger that game, get Mount&Blade: Warband. :smallbiggrin:

I can't stop playing it. The mods alone are incredible, although now I'm left waiting for someone to update the Hundred Years' War mo and Song of Taliesin (which totally changed the game's dynamic - no/light armor, rare and poor horses, weak shields, spears and javelins as main weapons)...

Matthew: most of the game's settings are in plain text files that you can change easily, including a setting for letting battles continue after you're knocked out; a program called TweakMB (http://www.mbrepository.com/file.php?id=1751) has an interface for modifying those files easily and handily. And much respect for someone who doesn't auto-block. :smalleek:

Check out the mods at the Mount & Blade repository (http://www.mbrepository.com/) for even greater longevity for the game. You'll have to see which ones actually work, but I can recommend the Hundred Years' War, Song of Taliesin, Calradia at War, and The Eagle and the Radiant Cross (16th-century warfare; there's a giant balance problem with fighting the Imperial State, though, since all their units have firearms and you'll die before you ever reach them!).

Also, Medieval 2: Total War doesn't really have waves of troops/reinforcements unless you drag in multiple smaller armies, in which case it sort of makes sense; my fairly old computer can handle full stacks of units at the huge setting without problems...

Psyx
2010-08-06, 11:02 AM
I don't really ever have time for PC games, but MTW2 is one that I keep going back to. I just reinstalled it for the umpteenth time again last week with the specific goal of winning as Sicily with all the difficulties dialled up. Shame I don't still have my save games, so I'm having to blaze through it all as England to unlock the faction, by way of a 'warm up'.

Brilliant game.

I played the original M&B, but the new one appears to run like a dog on my machine. Or did when I tried it last month, anyway.

Joran
2010-08-06, 12:55 PM
They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.

The ninja they consulted was using hand claws (and with some Google-Fu, apparently called Shuko), and not bare hands. Likewise, not clapping his hands together to catch the blade, but more like using the claws to deflect the sword away.

Britter
2010-08-06, 01:30 PM
For the record, the gentleman who was consulted for the 1st Mythbusters ninja show, which involved sword catching, was Dale Seago. He is a legitimate long-term student of Hatsumi Masaaki, the founder of the Bujinkan. Though there are some questions as to the actual historical accuracy of the Bujinkan's lineage, it is a legitimate organization, and Hatsumi is a legitimate teacher, and by all accounts Dale is a very skilled fellow. He downplayed the mystical and mythical aspects of the ninja, and focused instead of more concrete martial principles.

Now, the fellow they got to do the arrow-catching redux was, as far as I can tell, as much of a posuer as possible. No idea where they dug him up, or what his credentials are, but I doubt he was in any way legitimate.

Matthew
2010-08-06, 08:49 PM
Matthew: most of the game's settings are in plain text files that you can change easily, including a setting for letting battles continue after you're knocked out; a program called TweakMB (http://www.mbrepository.com/file.php?id=1751) has an interface for modifying those files easily and handily. And much respect for someone who doesn't auto-block. :smalleek:

Yeah, the thing about modifying games is that I both suck at it and get involved in it way too much, but I will definitely look into that.



Check out the mods at the Mount & Blade repository (http://www.mbrepository.com/) for even greater longevity for the game. You'll have to see which ones actually work, but I can recommend the Hundred Years' War, Song of Taliesin, Calradia at War, and The Eagle and the Radiant Cross (16th-century warfare; there's a giant balance problem with fighting the Imperial State, though, since all their units have firearms and you'll die before you ever reach them!).

Thanks for the recommendations!



Also, Medieval 2: Total War doesn't really have waves of troops/reinforcements unless you drag in multiple smaller armies, in which case it sort of makes sense; my fairly old computer can handle full stacks of units at the huge setting without problems...

That is interesting. So there is no limit on army size in MTW2? I stopped playing with Rome Total War.

Norsesmithy
2010-08-07, 05:28 PM
With regard to pistol locktime (ie the time between trigger pull and powder ignition), a modern single action auto, like a 1911 variant or most closed bolt semi or full automatic rifles is somewhere between 5 and 15 milliseconds. For a striker fired or double action firearm, like a Glock or lets say a Beretta, you'll see a range of between 10-35. Keep in mind that a double action firearm will most often fire in single action for subsequent shots, at least until the User dec*cks it. Most striker fired firearms will have a consistent lock time from shot to shot.

Now, with regard to making a move when being held at gunpoint, one thing to remember is that the gunman's reaction time starts when he realizes you are doing something (assuming he isn't just killing out of hand because he wants to rob you, arrest you, take you hostage, soliloquy, etc). Action is always faster than reaction, because of this. So assuming a trained reaction time, and the gunman is keeping the pistol at the edge of the sear, about to go off, you generally have ~.4 seconds to act.

Now if his finger is just resting on the trigger, you've got more than that, because he has to pull the trigger. A single action pistol is going to have a much faster trigger pull (my 1911 has about an 1/8th inch of travel, requiring about 3 lbs of force, so trigger pull is very fast), and a double action can have a very slow trigger pull (especially Eastern Block double action firearms like the P64 with 3/4ths of an inch of travel and 24 lbs of force, or a Makarov with a half inch of travel and 18 lbs of force), and a striker fired like a Glock can have a rather short pull, but that is very dependent on model (a Sigma has a much heavier and longer trigger pull than a Glock, but both are striker fired).

This is the genesis of the 21 foot "rule".

Compare that to split times for practical pistol competition, and you can see how a criminal or a policeman who has the drop on a trained pistolero might end up shot dead despite having their gun out at someone who still has his holstered.


And as far as rate of fire goes, don't always assume that a semi auto pistol is the loser against a subgun, a 1911, for instance, has a higher cyclic rate than a Mini Uzi, despite being semi automatic, and a guy named Jerry Miculek has put 100 rounds on target with a 1911 and 10 10 round mags at a cyclic rate of 622 rounds per minute (reload time included, the guy is scary fast).

It's on Youtube, but I can't find it right now.

Yora
2010-08-07, 05:57 PM
There are a couple of videos of that guy on youtube. His shoting skill is just insane, and he looks like a nice old man who could appear on my grandfathers birthday. :smallbiggrin:

Beleriphon
2010-08-08, 12:52 AM
Now, the fellow they got to do the arrow-catching redux was, as far as I can tell, as much of a posuer as possible. No idea where they dug him up, or what his credentials are, but I doubt he was in any way legitimate.

They mention his training in the show, as I recall some kind of multi-event world champion of some martial art or another.

fusilier
2010-08-11, 01:36 PM
And as far as rate of fire goes, don't always assume that a semi auto pistol is the loser against a subgun, a 1911, for instance, has a higher cyclic rate than a Mini Uzi, despite being semi automatic, and a guy named Jerry Miculek has put 100 rounds on target with a 1911 and 10 10 round mags at a cyclic rate of 622 rounds per minute (reload time included, the guy is scary fast).

It's on Youtube, but I can't find it right now.

If I remember the reasoning correctly, semi-automatic pistols have very short recoil distances (i.e. the bolt doesn't travel very far), and if made full-auto could have really high cyclic rates. The unusual villar perosa submachine gun was built around a pistol action, and had something like 1500-2000 rpm out of each barrel (it was a twin barrel design, but each barrel had it's own action and magazine).

Compare that to the Chauchat automatic rifle, which has a very long recoil spring and produces about 250 rpm.

Yora
2010-08-11, 02:03 PM
I've heard about gun manufacturers making changes to prototypes to get RPM down to about 1000. Rates of up to 2000 are possible, but that's really just a waste of ammo at that point.

Psyx
2010-08-12, 05:14 AM
That is interesting. So there is no limit on army size in MTW2? I stopped playing with Rome Total War.

Limit in what way? An army is limited to being 20 units. Which is fair considering logistical considerations. You can of course keep a bunch of armies next to each other for support. If such armies engage in combat, you can either elect to command the 'main' army, and have all your others controlled by AI, or control 'your' army and reinforcements are bought on to replace destroyed, withdrawn or routed units on a one-for-one basis.
When facing the AI, it's perfectly happy to throw multiple armies at you at once. Especially the Mongels. They love it, with their level 9 generals, and uber cavalry and *grumblegrumble*....

Psyx
2010-08-12, 05:20 AM
If I remember the reasoning correctly, semi-automatic pistols have very short recoil distances


They also have very small, light bolts. Many machine pistols use tungsten inserts in the bolts to weight them down and reduce rate of fire. The skorpion uses an 'ingenious' *cough* method which involves having a spring and a weight bouncing up and down in the grip, which does wonders for accuracy...

Shademan
2010-08-12, 06:09 AM
They consulted an American bloke who said he was a ninja. By definition: that's not a ninja! :smallbiggrin:

Catching a sword blade is essentially a stupid and pointless exercise. Either step back out of it's way, or step in and grab their hand. Both are far safer, and far easier.

he was a high ranking practioner of ninjutsu, does he have to be japanese to be a ninja?


I gues technically there are no ninjas anymore as you kinda have to be an assassin to be a ninja, but hey, why spoil their fun?

Psyx
2010-08-12, 06:20 AM
Because it's a little lame?

'Ninja' is a job description, not a martial art. Can I call myself a knight because I can use a sword? Should I call myself a priest if I've committed the bible to memory? If I learn kenjitsu and jujitsu, am I samurai?

The whole black ensemble is also just... a bit lame, too.

That's without bringing the whole 'Oh, really: 100% genuine ninjutsu, you say?' side of things into it.

Shademan
2010-08-12, 06:27 AM
Because it's a little lame?


The whole black ensemble is also just... a bit lame, too.

That's without bringing the whole 'Oh, really: 100% genuine ninjutsu, you say?' side of things into it.

I don't understand that word but i THINK you mean the...uniform...thingie.
and yes. it is black. all over the world. thats just how it is.
and why wouldnt it be genuine ninjutsu? you dont doubt that karate is fake just because a white guy is doing it?
and knight and samurai are not as much jobs are they are social classes. might want to choose other examples but I get your point

Matthew
2010-08-12, 06:28 AM
Limit in what way? An army is limited to being 20 units. Which is fair considering logistical considerations. You can of course keep a bunch of armies next to each other for support. If such armies engage in combat, you can either elect to command the 'main' army, and have all your others controlled by AI, or control 'your' army and reinforcements are bought on to replace destroyed, withdrawn or routed units on a one-for-one basis.
When facing the AI, it's perfectly happy to throw multiple armies at you at once. Especially the Mongels. They love it, with their level 9 generals, and uber cavalry and *grumblegrumble*....

Limit as in the number of combatants fighting on the battlefield at once. Aroka took this subject to private messages to prevent further derailing of the thread. Given the specifications of this thread, we should probably follow his example in further discussion of the Total War series, or else start a new thread in the Other Games subforum.

Psyx
2010-08-12, 07:19 AM
I don't understand that word but i THINK you mean the...uniform...thingie.
and yes. it is black. all over the world. thats just how it is.

My memory is a little hazy, but basically the idea that 'real' ninja wear this ridiculous costume spread form Japanese theatre. Scene-shifters wear black, and are supposed to be ignored and invisible. A play used this, and one of the supposed and 'invisible' scene shifters stepped out from the forth wall and took the role of assassin during a play. This seems to have been the original portrayal of ninja wearing black.
It is the equivalent of 'real' pirates affecting Cornish accents and sporting parrots. There isn't really any historical reference to spies wearing such a daft outfit before this juncture.

Next up: Black is a dumb colour to wear. Not many things are black. It stands out and draws the eye. It's a less than ideal choice of colour for sneaking around in. It's also a solid lump of colour that utterly fails to break up the wearer's outline. And we are wired to be very good at picking out human-shaped blobs with our eyes. The tight-fitting nature also fails to break up shape, which is another classic 'no-no' in camouflage. No self-respecting intruder would be seen in such a costume. It also makes any approach other than pure lack-of-observation totally impossible: No wandering around looking like you belong there will get you past guards, looking like that.



and why wouldnt it be genuine ninjutsu? you dont doubt that karate is fake just because a white guy is doing it?

The thing about it is... that it's supposedly secret. Passed down in secrecy and all that. Which makes it very easy for people to step out of the woodwork and claim that they were taught by ancient masters blah, blah, blah. And be lying. It's safe to say that the vast majority of people making such claims... are lying. Given the massively xenophobic attitude of Japan in general, the chances of a caucasian 'ninja' being genuine are even smaller.

The world of martial arts is thick with false claims. A vast number of schools -both historically and today- completely made up their history for PR purposes, and claimed to hold great secrets. And that's not even the 'secretive' schools. That's the normal ones. Sometimes those made-up histories are self-fulfilling and genuinely believed by later generations of practitioners.

One thing is certain though: It is VERY difficult for arts to be genuinely preserved, especially during times of great social change. Look at our Western arts: We have fencing - which is a sport vastly divorced from the fighting arts of 500 years ago - to base our knowledge on, as well as a few surviving manuscripts and fight manuals. We've had to piece the rest together ourselves via experimentation. Take away all of those manuscripts, take away the sport form, and what have you genuinely got that ties a new art to an old?

If you're REALLY lucky, then nobody lied in the last few hundred years and there might be a genuine link (which can't be proved because professional intelligence operatives aren't keen on recording things for posterity). Then what do you have: An art that's been passed on for a few hundred years, which has probably become watered down beyond all recognition, and completely divorced from the realities of actual combat and the original art itself.

/rant



and knight and samurai are not as much jobs are they are social classes. might want to choose other examples but I get your point

You got the point. That was the important thing. Learning to shoot a Walther PPK does not make one a spy.

A better example might be comparison to claiming to belong to an ancient and secret order, based on performing occultish ceremonies which probably have nothing to do with the actual traditions, and are basically modern derivatives.

crazedloon
2010-08-12, 11:50 AM
indeed the most likely "true" ninja outfit was an outfit which looked like the common folks things. His weapons simple tools used for farming or easily hidden tools weapons, not the fancy impractical weapons which tend to be attributed to them.

Ninja's are particularly unique becuase unlike most "warrior classes" of the age they were not high ranking or rich but peasants in most cases. They used surprise and improvisation more than strict training and technique. However through the years their image has been distorted to make them more "believable" villains. What is more believable or admirable? A well trained, Nobel samurai beating up and killing a peasant look alike who has little actual combat prowls. Or a samurai fighting to the death against a well trained in secret arts and mystical powered fighting monstrosity.

Aroka
2010-08-12, 05:32 PM
indeed the most likely "true" ninja outfit was an outfit which looked like the common folks things. His weapons simple tools used for farming or easily hidden tools weapons, not the fancy impractical weapons which tend to be attributed to them.

This reminds me of L5R/Rokugan, where one of the "truths" about the Scorpion ninjas (if they exist!) is that they make "rookies" wear the black outfits and use ridiculous weapons like breakable ninjato and shuriken (which are completely worthless even against the lightest armor, because the chances of hitting an unprotected location throwing one of those are so tiny) as a form of hazing, and possibly as a distraction: while the guards are busy chasing after the incredibly conspicuous guy in black throwing useless pieces of metal at them, the real assassin brushes past the victim and scratches him with a poisoned needle, or slips into the victim's bedroom, or whatever.

Rokugan is pretty awesome (especially because the books make it very clear that ninjas may not, and need not, even exist - they might be nothing but another long-running Scorpion deception, or maybe the deception everyone in the know knows is a deception is actually a deception and ninjas are real, or...). And then there's the possibility of all the alternative, non-human or once-human ninjas serving horrible inhuman masters...

kyoryu
2010-08-12, 10:12 PM
Thank you all for the insight. It would appear that at any distance where a trained fighter couldn't disarm the shooter, the physical limits of movement are slower than the time it would take a bullet to travel the interim, even if the target started moving as the trigger was pulled.

I know I'm late to the party, but let me bring up another PoV.

I used to play goalie in hockey. Goalies frequently react to shots from players that math says are impossible to react to due to reaction time etc.

The trick is that they don't react to the shot. They react to the shooter - his stick, the way he holds his body, the angle of the stick blade, etc.

So your character might not be able to respond to the gun being fired, but it might make some sense to have him or her respond to miniscule cues in the shooter - a slight tensing of the muscles, a small grimace, arm stiffened to brace for the recoil of the guy, muscle twitches as the finger starts to pull the trigger, etc.

fusilier
2010-08-13, 02:07 AM
They also have very small, light bolts. Many machine pistols use tungsten inserts in the bolts to weight them down and reduce rate of fire. The skorpion uses an 'ingenious' *cough* method which involves having a spring and a weight bouncing up and down in the grip, which does wonders for accuracy...

Yes the weight of the bolt has an influence too, but the bolt recoil distance is sometimes over-looked. When the Villar Perosa action was converted to a more proper sub-machine gun, they managed to retard the firing rate to something around 900 rpm, and I believe that involved using a heavier bolt (and maybe some other tricks).

Brainfart
2010-08-13, 10:51 AM
And having a heavier bolt bouncing back and forth in the gun also does absolute wonders for accuracy. :smalltongue:

Norsesmithy
2010-08-14, 01:18 AM
That depends more on the rest of the gun. I've not heard the people shooting NRA high power complain about the accuracy penalty of their H3 buffers and national match bolt carriers (both of which are tungsten weighted rather heavier than the standard items).

A heavy bolt certainly doesn't help, if your rifle is of a design that does not have a neat and linear action motion.

Spiryt
2010-08-14, 10:42 AM
So, in this discussion (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9141319#post9141319) people are claiming that there's nothing profitable in using crossbow at all....

Only reason to use it is when you can use bow.

I don't agree with it all, and if anyone is interested in discussion it will be better place that poor gaming thread.

Shademan
2010-08-14, 10:57 AM
they are obviously delusional. if there was no point to a crossbow(like, low training time, piercing power) NOBODY would use it.
thats that.

Mike_G
2010-08-14, 09:44 PM
they are obviously delusional. if there was no point to a crossbow(like, low training time, piercing power) NOBODY would use it.
thats that.

A crossbow is a good choice if you want to turn a bunch of recruits into an effective unit quickly. It's easy to use, and easy to get halfway decent accuracy. You can trun a hundred conscripts into crossbowmen much quicker than into good archers.

But if you have men who've put in the years of practice, you're better off with longbow or a recurve. A bow shoots faster. Much, much faster if the crossbow is heavy enough draw to have a better range or more power (a bow delivers more power to an arrow than a crossbow of equal draw weight, since it applies force for a longer period), and in the hands of a trained archer, bows are more accurate at long range. Plunging fire is tough with a crossbow.

So, in a game of individual characters, where you don't have to put effort into a lifetime of training, or outfit a company, if you can use a bow you are better off to take it over a crossbow.

The Duke of Wellington floated the idea of a regiment of Longbowmen in the Napoleonic Wars. If they'd had enough trained archers, they would likely have outperformed musketeers. But a raw recruit could learn how to fire a Brown Bess quicker than he could become a decent archer. Technology didn't make the longbow obsolete, a lack of trained archers did.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-15, 12:26 AM
Another advantage of the crossbow is that it takes zero effort to hold it. If you draw a bow (especially one with a high draw weight) and hold it without releasing, you'll start to shake very quickly. If you just want to fire a lot of arrows quickly without aiming any more than "somewhere over that way", then a bow is great. If you want to line up a shot and aim carefully, the crossbow is much better.

endoperez
2010-08-15, 05:40 AM
Another advantage of the crossbow is that it takes zero effort to hold it. If you draw a bow (especially one with a high draw weight) and hold it without releasing, you'll start to shake very quickly. If you just want to fire a lot of arrows quickly without aiming any more than "somewhere over that way", then a bow is great. If you want to line up a shot and aim carefully, the crossbow is much better.

I assume that archers learn to aim without having to keep the bow under tension for as long as it takes to aim a gun or a crossbow. Not that the latter couldn't aim fast, but archers have incentive to learn to aim faster...

Also, at least English longbowmen were indeed trained to fire a lot of arrows quickly "somewhere over that way". They didn't have to hit a specific man, just the army. I think the modern practice of firing at "clouts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouts)" roots back to this kind of training; I've read better explanations before but I don't remember any details.

Xuc Xac
2010-08-15, 06:35 AM
I assume that archers learn to aim without having to keep the bow under tension for as long as it takes to aim a gun or a crossbow. Not that the latter couldn't aim fast, but archers have incentive to learn to aim faster...

They all operate in an environment where "kill the other guys before they kill us" is the order of the day. How much more incentive do you need?

Shademan
2010-08-15, 07:03 AM
the heaviest crossbows (the one you needed a windlass to load) could punch trough armour. a lonbow could not penetrate a proper breastplate with padding beneath, not even at close range.
go to youtube and search for "weapons that made britain armour" and they'll talk abit about it.
Cant link now. way to...bad

Rion
2010-08-15, 07:14 AM
the heaviest crossbows (the one you needed a windlass to load) could punch trough armour. a lonbow could not penetrate a proper breastplate with padding beneath, not even at close range.
go to youtube and search for "weapons that made britain armour" and they'll talk abit about it.
Cant link now. way to...bad
Actually they proved that longbows could penetrate plate armour at short range. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnPcyGjYZmc&feature=related) Though it depended (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3997HZuWjk&feature=channel) on how it was made (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo72dL7uDuc&feature=channel).

Shademan
2010-08-15, 07:21 AM
I dont think they used padding that test. and i dont think that was a italian plate. Just saw the first link tho

Mike_G
2010-08-15, 07:46 AM
I just watched it, and they did use padding.

No idea how good the breastplate was.

I haven't seen any more convincing tests on crossbows vs plate than longbows.

Nothing wrong with a crossbow, but I think an expert longbowman beats an expert crossbowman. A mediocre crossbowman beats a mediocre archer hands down. That's the advantage in a military setting. If you can train and field more troops more quickly, you have a distinct advantage.

If you told me "Here's young Alfred. He's eight years old, and he's your new apprentice. Turn him into a footsoldier," I'd start him on the longbow and in a decade, I'd have a very good soldier. If you said "These dozen men are the local militia. The Mongols will be here come Spring. Do what you can," I'd rustle up some crossbows.

Brainfart
2010-08-15, 09:31 AM
the heaviest crossbows (the one you needed a windlass to load) could punch trough armour. a lonbow could not penetrate a proper breastplate with padding beneath, not even at close range.
go to youtube and search for "weapons that made britain armour" and they'll talk abit about it.
Cant link now. way to...bad

The heaviest crossbows barely achieved superiority over the heaviest bows. Crossbows have tiny draw lengths, which is almost as important as draw weight for propelling a pointy projectile across a battlefield. The immense draw weights are just compensating for that.

Their advantages have been mentioned though: they're comparatively easy to train on, don't require a lot of skill maintenance, allow shots to be prepared for significant duration in advance, and don't really dictate your firing position. However, they were comparatively expensive since you require mechanical work and costly materials to obtain a good crossbow.

~

If the breastplate that was penetrated was the roughly-finished black one, that's a bit of a strawman. I've seen the documentary in question (though I haven't seen the links since Youtube is not cooperating), and they state fairly clearly that the breastplate was a munitions breastplate. Basically, your garden variety made-in-China crap. Pitting that against the absolute top end of bows strikes me as being moderately unfair. The better quality one with the stop rib fared much better, though they didn't provide any specifics on the materials and construction.

In any case, I don't think any weapon really achieved complete superiority over protective equipment in the medieval era and vice versa.

Galloglaich
2010-08-15, 10:49 AM
I'm going to go against the grain on this one. The idea that longbows and recurves were better than crossbows is basically from Victorian era English propaganda. If you read records from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the people in the know back then considered the crossbow was the weapon everybody wanted. In Italy and Central Europe where all the new technology came from and Renaissance was happening 100 years before it was in England or France, and where they could afford any weapon they wanted, the crossbow was king until replaced by the arquebus and the musket (which were the true 'anybody can use them' weapons).

That is not to say the longbow was ineffective. And it was in fact used in Europe outside of England. But it was not the uberweapon that most people think and it was not miles ahead of the crossbow. If it was, the English would have taken over Europe. My conclusion is that the two weapon systems were about equal, but the crossbow was clearly more in demand and more widely feared.

Some differences.

At long range, the longbow is an indirect shot weapon. Crossbows shoot in a flatter trajectory and were a direct-shot weapon. Crossbows were more accurate, and according to the people in period, were more dangerous on impact. Armor, for example, was proofed against crossbows long before it was proofed against guns, and it was never, as far as I know, proofed against longbows or recurves. Longbows were longer ranged, but only at area targets, and on the battlefield were most often used something like a light mortar. Beyond short range it was difficult (not impossible, but quite difficult) to target an individual human or even a horse). Crossbows can be held in readiness indefinitely, like a gun and within their effective range (something like 150-200 meters for the most powerful) were considered deadly accurate.

The rate of fire issue is largely a myth. The crossbow was deployed behind a pavise and typically two or even three weapons were used. A longbowman might be able to get 10 arrows a minute, whereas a lone crossbowman can only manage 4-6 bolts per minute. But with a second guy loading while the first guy shoots (as was actually done in real life) the rate is much closer, probably about 8 bolts per minute. Nobody is certain because as far as I know, nobody has tested this yet as there aren't a lot of trained teams around (this concept hasn't filtered into re-enactor circles very widely yet). In period however, there was certainly no consensus that longbows were superior.

The 'lack of training' is another BIG myth. Crossbows were not weapons given to raw levies. Crossbowmen were highly paid specialists, often imported from far away. Genoa made a fortune exporting mercenaries across Europe and into the Middle East. Crossbows were expensive, much more expensive than longbows. In fact a cranequin (the most expensive spanning device for the strongest bows) alone was more expensive than a longbow.

On crossbows vs. Recurves. Richard Ceoer de Leon was able to effectively neutralize Turkish and Arab mounted cavalry using recurves with well deployed crossbow infantry. This speaks volumes of the dangerous effectiveness of Crossbows. In fact after encounters with the 'Franj' the Arabs and Turks quickly adopted the 'caws ferengi' (Frankish bow) as they called the crossbow, which they used in large numbers primarily for siege warfare. After the Middle Eastern crusades were over the cranequin lead to widespread use of mounted crossbowmen.

On crossbows vs. longbows. We all know of the famous battles where the longbow defeated the crossbow; Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers. But these were all three cases where the French aristocracy threw caution, wisdom, and strategy to the wind. The genoese crossbowmen were positioned as an afterthought, in the worst possible locations, and used in adverse weather. In other encounters, such as between the Swiss and the Burgundians, the longbow did not fare as well. Saying a crossbow is better than a longbow or vise versa is a bit like saying a machine gun is better than a mortar. The fact is both remain in wide use by modern militaries, because they have different roles.

Of course there were crossbows and crossbows. They ranged from light weapons which could be used by anybody, to very strong weapons which were dangerous to play with unless you knew what you were doing.

In fact, one of the main reasons we don't know for sure about crossbows is that almost nobody can make replicas of the real military grade types from the Renaissance. There are only a handful of people around the world today who can make a 1200 lb draw prod. There aren't many of them floating around, and the antiques are too dangerous (and expensive) to play with. So nobody is really sure yet how these things perform, though I suspect we will find out in the near future because some folks have made some replicas in the 800 lbs range and are starting to do some preliminary tests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdPyohqe7d0

On the longbow vs. armor thing. What you typically see are videos in which a super powerful 130 lb longbow is tried at ten feet against a 1.5mm thick munitions grade iron breastplate, which 'proves' longbows could pierce armor, then another video where an 80 lb longbow is shot at a 3mm thick tempered steel breastplate from 30 feet and the arrows all bounce of or shatter. Thus "proving" longbows couldn't pierce plate armor. Few people who do these tests really want to know the reality, and they generally serve to further muddy the waters. Hence the debate rages on into infinity, like so all our political debates....

G.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2010-08-15, 10:54 AM
- 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.

Used properly, it could be very effective. White oak is strong, and could probably withstand a few blows from a katana, as a katana was made to slice...something that's hard to do to white oak. You'd have better luck breaking it with a heavier European blade made to crush and shatter. So it's not my first choice against someone with an actual sword, but it's not a bad choice, all things considered. If I'm a better swordsman, I'll probably manage to win.

...nevermind. For some reason it loaded a page that wasn't the last page, so this issue is probably finished. My bad. :smallfrown:

Galloglaich
2010-08-15, 11:08 AM
Sorry to nit-pick but European blades were not heavier than katana blades and were not made to crush and shatter. :smallamused:

G.

Shademan
2010-08-15, 11:10 AM
Galloglaich, i think you just put this debate to rest

Spiryt
2010-08-15, 11:16 AM
On the longbow vs. armor thing. What you typically see are videos in which a super powerful 130 lb longbow is tried at ten feet against a 1.5mm thick munitions grade iron breastplate, which 'proves' longbows could pierce armor, then another video where an 80 lb longbow is shot at a 3mm thick tempered steel breastplate from 30 feet and the arrows all bounce of or shatter. Thus "proving" longbows couldn't pierce plate armor. Few people who do these tests really want to know the reality, and they generally serve to further muddy the waters. Hence the debate rages on into infinity, like so all our political debates....

Because "Reality" isn't simple, obviously.

There were different breastplate shapes, material, quality, different arrows, better of worse archers, wind or not...

As for heaviest crossbows being only " barely" more powerful than heaviest bows, I wouldn't agree.

Of course even large crossbow built to combat that trend, would have much smaller draw and prod length compared to bows.

But still, 1200 pounds of draw weight would make up for it, that's the whole point.

As I mentioned, ~1000 pound steel prod crossbow could generate 180 J of initial energy... And shooting 80 g bolt, which means pretty much waste of energy, shooting relatively light bolt from powerful bow.

Not really achievable even with 170 pound of other scary bow that even Mark Stretton or whoever can shoot only two times for show.

With bigger velocity, that decreases slightly less rapidly, so this is quite different shooting, like Galloglaich mentioned.

Spiryt
2010-08-15, 11:19 AM
Sorry to nit-pick but European blades were not heavier than katana blades and were not made to crush and shatter. :smallamused:

G.

They certainly were generally resisting impacts better, as they were vibrating more than more harmonically dead katanas, but they weren't really made for very serious crushing or whatever.... :smallyuk:

But again, it depends on sword - seriously guys, basic fact is that in early 14th century there were already many very varied design of sword in Europe.

And that's before individual qualities.

So obviously one sword could behave drastically different from another.

Mike_G
2010-08-15, 11:52 AM
The 'lack of training' is another BIG myth. Crossbows were not weapons given to raw levies. Crossbowmen were highly paid specialists, often imported from far away. Genoa made a fortune exporting mercenaries across Europe and into the Middle East.



Nobody's saying there weren't veteran, well trained crossbowmen. We're saying that it takes years of practice to get good with a longbow, and less time to get good with a crossbow. The examination of the remains of the archers on the Mary Rose show the strain of years of stress placed on their bodies by that practice. It also requires a strong, well fed man to shoot a longbow. A hungry, tired crossbowman can still sight down the shaft and pull the lever.





Crossbows were expensive, much more expensive than longbows. In fact a cranequin (the most expensive spanning device for the strongest bows) alone was more expensive than a longbow.



A musket was probably more expensive than a longbow, and required smithing and moving parts and so on. The point is that it's easier to learn, since the technology supplies the strength and accuracy for you, rather than years of practice.






On crossbows vs. longbows. We all know of the famous battles where the longbow defeated the crossbow; Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers. But these were all three cases where the French aristocracy threw caution, wisdom, and strategy to the wind. The genoese crossbowmen were positioned as an afterthought, in the worst possible locations, and used in adverse weather. In other encounters, such as between the Swiss and the Burgundians, the longbow did not fare as well.



Would you mind citing a battle or two? I trolled the net, and apart from the Battle of Morat, where the longbows were hastily deployed in defesne of the camp and caught by surprise, I can't find any mention of crossbows defeating longbows. Certainly no mention of a longbow/crossbow shootout.

I'm not denying it happened, but I've never heard of it. The loss of the archers at Morat seems no different from the losses in the Hundred Years War where archers were overrun before they could set up stakes.





Saying a crossbow is better than a longbow or vise versa is a bit like saying a machine gun is better than a mortar. The fact is both remain in wide use by modern militaries, because they have different roles.

Of course there were crossbows and crossbows. They ranged from light weapons which could be used by anybody, to very strong weapons which were dangerous to play with unless you knew what you were doing.

In fact, one of the main reasons we don't know for sure about crossbows is that almost nobody can make replicas of the real military grade types from the Renaissance. There are only a handful of people around the world today who can make a 1200 lb draw prod. There aren't many of them floating around, and the antiques are too dangerous (and expensive) to play with. So nobody is really sure yet how these things perform, though I suspect we will find out in the near future because some folks have made some replicas in the 800 lbs range and are starting to do some preliminary tests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdPyohqe7d0

On the longbow vs. armor thing. What you typically see are videos in which a super powerful 130 lb longbow is tried at ten feet against a 1.5mm thick munitions grade iron breastplate, which 'proves' longbows could pierce armor, then another video where an 80 lb longbow is shot at a 3mm thick tempered steel breastplate from 30 feet and the arrows all bounce of or shatter. Thus "proving" longbows couldn't pierce plate armor. Few people who do these tests really want to know the reality, and they generally serve to further muddy the waters. Hence the debate rages on into infinity, like so all our political debates....

G.

I'm not arguing against the crossbow as a military weapon, and I more or less agree on its strengths, but I think the myth of armor piercing crossbows is as cliched and unrealistic as that of the invincible longbow.

In my own limited experience, it takes a good deal of practice to use a bow with anything like consistent accuracy, and you get tired quickly shooting a heavy bow. The crossbows I've used have been easy to get used to, very consistent, but slower to load.

I make no claim to being an expert with anything that doesn't eject brass when you shoot it, but I can see how one could extrapolate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and I stand by my statement that I'd pick a crossbow for the new recruit, but pick a ten year longbow veteran over a similarly seasoned crossbowman.

Deadmeat.GW
2010-08-15, 07:24 PM
Except that almost every battle where the Longbow was 'superior' to the crossbow we have a bunch of complete incompetents (suposedly) battling a superior defensive position (proven), have the crossbowmen fight on their own (and several times without all the equipment they normally use...which was proven several times, the French generals did not like their mercenary crossbowmen, they did more damage to the Genouese then the English actually in one of the battles...) against a well supported opponent.

All the big battles where the longbow wins against the crossbow are famous because in the end that war was LOST by the English and they had to make sure that for the home moral people did not think the king was a idiot and that he should be deposed.

Any battle where the English lost and they could not get away with claiming that they had a massive disadvantage was conveniently ignored and almost completely excised from histiry books.

Engeland was the first country to use a massive amount of propaganda as a weapon, none of the other countries in Europe did that on anywhere near the same scale (or at all in some cases).

We have 3 major wins, all three of them after carefull checking of the historical records show that if that people killed in said battles according to the English propaganda were actually killed then that France would not have had ANY males of royal blood left alive.
According to 'history' over two dozen princes of France were killed in those three battles... A dozen of them in one battle alone...

However the geanalogical listings of the royal families shows less then 30 male princes in the whole of France, including all the infants in that period...
And way less then the 12 were alive and in that part of France for the battle that claims to have killed 12 of them in one go...

So shall we say that they have a serious amount of exageration going here and leave it at that?

Have you ever read the book from Anne Curry? It is called 'Agincourt: A new History'

Try it and be surprised.

Also...why would the Saracens suddenly start using Crossbows or Frankish Bows as they called them if they were so useless as people seem to be claiming?
The saracens had composite bows, of equal power and range as longbows but after they faced the crusaders who had crossbows they started using these too to the point that crossbows started to be used more then composite bows...

P.s. Just for those who wonder...that Agincourt, a new history puts the numbers of the French at 12000 versus 9000 English...and the English had about 7000 longbowmen versus less then 20% of the French with crossbows...
That quantitative difference alone more then makes up for the differences.
Being outnumbered over 2 to 1 I am sure the crossbowmen had little chance of winning, especially given that they were attacking and the English were in a defended position...

Edit:

As for battles where the Crossbows carried the day, Battle of Yaffa from the crusades against Saladin.
2000 crossbowmen cut the Saracen army to ribbons, and guess who led them?
Richard the Lionheart, from Longbowcountry...
7000 light (i.e. armed with bows mostly) and heavy cavalry was the opposition.

Brainfart
2010-08-15, 09:45 PM
Because "Reality" isn't simple, obviously.

There were different breastplate shapes, material, quality, different arrows, better of worse archers, wind or not...

As for heaviest crossbows being only " barely" more powerful than heaviest bows, I wouldn't agree.

Of course even large crossbow built to combat that trend, would have much smaller draw and prod length compared to bows.

But still, 1200 pounds of draw weight would make up for it, that's the whole point.

As I mentioned, ~1000 pound steel prod crossbow could generate 180 J of initial energy... And shooting 80 g bolt, which means pretty much waste of energy, shooting relatively light bolt from powerful bow.

Not really achievable even with 170 pound of other scary bow that even Mark Stretton or whoever can shoot only two times for show.

With bigger velocity, that decreases slightly less rapidly, so this is quite different shooting, like Galloglaich mentioned.

At range, that's a rather different story. From what I know, the bolt is a less rather less efficient projectile, both from the design of the pointy end and the general aerodynamic properties. So, while the crossbow could theoretically generate more power at the prod, by the time the projectile got there (assuming battlefield ranges) it'd bled off a large portion.


Sorry to nit-pick but European blades were not heavier than katana blades and were not made to crush and shatter. :smallamused:

G.

:smallbiggrin:

/sharpens knives

Arguing with katana plonkers is always fun.

Galloglaich
2010-08-15, 10:31 PM
Nobody's saying there weren't veteran, well trained crossbowmen. We're saying that it takes years of practice to get good with a longbow, and less time to get good with a crossbow.

I think the considerable physical requirements of the longbow are often conflated with the skill / training requirements of both the longbow and the crossbow. Of course, just like there are bows and even longbows, and then there are the really powerful ones like on the Mary Rose that most people are typically talking about (which some people today call the "English Warbow"), with crossbows, there were simple yew prod crossbows which could be spanned by hand (and these, certainly, anyone could use) there were stirrup crossbows (steigreifarmbrust) which had composite bows (knottelholcz) and often required a belt-hook, there were windlass crossbows mostly used for sieges, and the really powerful cranequin type with spring-steel prods which appeared in the 15th Century, which because they didn't use a foot stirrup for spanning could be used from horseback.

Generally in these kinds of discussions we tend to talk about the most powerful longbows and the most powerful crossbows; in the latter case, it apparently took somebody who really knew what they were doing to use them because from the records which survive, soldiers using these weapons were paid double or triple what regular pikemen or spearmen were paid.



A musket was probably more expensive than a longbow, and required smithing and moving parts and so on. The point is that it's easier to learn, since the technology supplies the strength and accuracy for you, rather than years of practice.

Complex locks cost something but the matchlock arquebus of the 15th Century was fairly cheap, could be mass produced with the technology of the time in the sophisticated armsworks in places like Brescia (where the Beretta gun company was founded in 1536 when they sold 185 arquebus barrels to Venice for 296 ducats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beretta#History)), Solingen, Milan, and various other towns in Southern Germany, the Rhineland and Northern Italy.



Would you mind citing a battle or two? I trolled the net, and apart from the Battle of Morat, where the longbows were hastily deployed in defense of the camp and caught by surprise,

Well... doesn't that have a familiar ring? Remind you of Agincourt perhaps? The excuses of terrain, preparedness, or even being run over by French Cavalry didn't matter did they :smallsmile: it was still cited (over and over and over again) as proof of the superiority of the English Longbow over the "Continental" crossbow.

But I can cite some more specific examples. Crossbows and longbows fought on either side throughout the Burgundian wars, the Burgundians had adopted longbows in the early 14th Century and had also hired English longbowmen in small numbers for their battles with the Swiss Confederacy and the cities of Alsace and Lorraine. This is cited by Hans Delbruck in his histories, I don't have a copy handy right now though so I can't cite exact pages. It's also mentioned in the Osprey military books on this subject.


I can't find any mention of crossbows defeating longbows. Certainly no mention of a longbow/crossbow shootout.

I'm not denying it happened, but I've never heard of it. The loss of the archers at Morat seems no different from the losses in the Hundred Years War where archers were overrun before they could set up stakes.

One fairly typical specific example of an actual shootout between Swiss crossbowmen (and a few arquebusiers) and Burgundian longbowmen was at the Battle of Grandson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grandson) in 1476, which was actually the predecessor of the Battle of Morat / Murtren. In fact Morat was really revenge from the Swiss for Charles the Bolds rather cruel massacre of their small garrison at Grandson. It was for that that he lost his life*.

Here is a website (http://www.housedragonor.org/A&S/BattleGrandson.html) I found with a quick google search on the Battle of Grandson. I quote from their site,

As the Burgundians in the castle held of the attack there, an advanced party of gunners and crossbow men ran into a scouting group of Charles army. The fire from the early hand guns and crossbows drove off the Burgundian troops armed with longbows. The Burgundians retreated Westward out of the forest.

In skirmishes like that throughout the Burgundian wars, the Crossbow came out on top. Now this was because of a lot of other reasons; somehow the Swiss "generalship by committee" proved far more efficient than the centralized authority they opposed. One of the unique things about the the Swiss in all their was was they always seemed ready to go before the Hapsburgs or the Burgundians (or whoever) could react. They were tough, always seemed one step ahead and always ready to go to town hard core the second they saw their enemy. But also, and I think this is critical, the landscape where the Burgundian wars took place, mountains and dense forests with patches of rolling hills in between, was not ideal for the longbow which has it's range and rate of fire advantage in open country; but was better for the harder hitting, more accurate crossbows. And the Swiss took advantage of that.



I'm not arguing against the crossbow as a military weapon, and I more or less agree on its strengths, but I think the myth of armor piercing crossbows is as cliched and unrealistic as that of the invincible longbow.

I'm not saying that crossbows necessarily pierced armor all that often, I actually agree with you I think that does tend to get exaggerated just like with the longbows and with the early firearms, none of which seemed to be that good at armor piercing in the day; but I am saying that in the records, letters, and commentaries from this period, it is the crossbow that everyone feared, it was the crossbow (both the 'largo' and 'piccolo' variants) for which the Milanese proofed their armor.



In my own limited experience, it takes a good deal of practice to use a bow with anything like consistent accuracy, and you get tired quickly shooting a heavy bow. The crossbows I've used have been easy to get used to, very consistent, but slower to load.

Yes, but these are (I'm assuming) either modern hunting crossbows or low-power replicas. Or do you have experience with crossbows which you need a jack or a windlass to span?


I make no claim to being an expert with anything that doesn't eject brass when you shoot it, but I can see how one could extrapolate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and I stand by my statement that I'd pick a crossbow for the new recruit, but pick a ten year longbow veteran over a similarly seasoned crossbowman.

I think it depends on the terrain, on the leadership, on the type of troops and a lot of other factors. Kind of like if I were going to choose between 81 mm mortars and FN MAGs as support weapons for my rifle company.

G.


* Charles the Bold thought he was going to get revenge against the Swiss for losing all his cannon and his golden bathtub, but instead he lost his life.

fusilier
2010-08-16, 12:23 AM
Crossbows could be very powerful. The shorter bow also meant that more energy was imparted directly onto the bolt, rather than wasted in accelerating the tips of the bow.

It is often claimed that the crossbow was more accurate, but I've heard good arguments to the opposite. The more powerful draw force was delivered abruptly to the bolt, and the bolt was "slapped" into flight. Whereas the archer with a bow released his arrow with more control and precision. The maximum range of a crossbow bolt was about 400 yards, but it lost most of it's power to aerodynamic drag after about 150 yards. The crossbowman does have the advantage of taking his time aiming, but I don't know how much of an effect that would have in a pitched battle. It was also easier for him to take cover and still use his weapon.

The higher rate of fire on a longbow or composite bow, cannot be sustained indefinitely, due to fatigue - although might be useful if rapid fire is reserved for a critical moment.

The Venetians were impressed enough with recurved composite bows to use them in conjunction with crossbows (at least for a while).

I agree with most of what Galloglaich has to say. However, I would point out that the crossbow didn't displace the bow, and was itself displaced by firearms (the main advantage of an arquebus over a crossbow appears to be robustness). The bow primarily seemed to die out from requiring very experienced personnel to use and make. Nonetheless, crossbows were clearly effective weapons, when fielded appropriately. The *superiority* of one or the other, has probably been exaggerated.

Yora
2010-08-16, 05:38 AM
A crossbow is as accurate as it is built. A bow is only as accurate as the shoters skill.
Which would support the view that bows are better when used by an expert.

Spiryt
2010-08-16, 05:47 AM
From what I know, the bolt is a less rather less efficient projectile, both from the design of the pointy end and the general aerodynamic properties. So, while the crossbow could theoretically generate more power at the prod, by the time the projectile got there (assuming battlefield ranges) it'd bled off a large portion.

Actually, as I pointed out before, shorter, thicker bolt actually loses velocity less rapidly, due to aerodynamics and lesser vibrations in the air.

From what I heard, arrow behaves "better" in terms of steep arch shooting, and it was standard bow tactics.

But generally bolt can be send way further at flat trajectory.


A crossbow is as accurate as it is built. A bow is only as accurate as the shoters skill.

Not sure what you mean - yes, bow needs way more skill and concentration at short moment to be accurate at all, but both bow and crossbow can be less or more accurate, depending on their construction.

Bow also can be only as accurate as it's built... If it generates to much vibration, arms are short, too wide, etc etc, it won't be accurate at all too...

And you can shot from both better of worse, depending on your skill.

Psyx
2010-08-16, 07:08 AM
That is not to say the longbow was ineffective. And it was in fact used in Europe outside of England. But it was not the uberweapon that most people think and it was not miles ahead of the crossbow. If it was, the English would have taken over Europe.


That's not a viable claim. You're mixing sociological and strategic issues with hardware specs. The two have nothing to do with each other.


At long range, the longbow is an indirect shot weapon. Crossbows shoot in a flatter trajectory and were a direct-shot weapon.


Both are subject to gravity. Which shoots more levelly is a matter purely of velocity and any lift generated by the projectile. And whereas a crossbow looses a lot of velocity, shooting in an arc means you have gravity working on your side when it comes to impact velocity.


Crossbows were more accurate

They are? Given the better aerodynamic qualities of a decent arrow, I don't see that there should be much difference, giving good training. After all: We've been hunting small game with bows for a very long time. I'm not an archer, though.



The rate of fire issue is largely a myth. The crossbow was deployed behind a pavise and typically two or even three weapons were used. A longbowman might be able to get 10 arrows a minute, whereas a lone crossbowman can only manage 4-6 bolts per minute.


Battlefield crossbows comparable in power to longbows with a single man using? A shot every 10 seconds using a mechanical assist to arm the bow? Really? How?

Even if the rate of fire is 7 compared to 10; that's enough. Put down twice as much equally (on battlefield scale) accurate ammunition as your foe and you win. Firepower's effectiveness has been shown to be squared, not linear; and that advantage equates to a massive one.


All the big battles where the longbow wins against the crossbow are famous because in the end that war was LOST by the English and they had to make sure that for the home moral people did not think the king was a idiot and that he should be deposed.

Hundred year war - clue is in the name. The great three battles were massive victories long before the French started listening to a mad French teenager and kicked the English out of their own country. It wan't just in England that these battles were famous: They shook Europe.



Try it and be surprised.


It's also very contentious. There are equally well researched books that go far the other way, too. It's quite an extreme view. I guess that helps sell books, though...


P.s. Just for those who wonder...that Agincourt, a new history puts the numbers of the French at 12000 versus 9000 English...

A ratio that would not have resulted in the upset across Europe that it did have, and is the most extreme most English:least French ratio that I've ever seen put forward.

Matthew
2010-08-16, 07:13 AM
The Venetians were impressed enough with recurved composite bows to use them in conjunction with crossbows (at least for a while).

On the same subject, it is worth knowing that in Richard the Lionheart's army there was a mixture of crossbowmen, bowmen, and perhaps most interestingly Welsh long bowmen. There is probably other evidence for the latter, but the passage that springs to mind is the "archery duel" between a Welshman and a Saracen reported in the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi:



One day the slingers and archers of both armies, and all those skilled in hurling missiles, were challenging one another on both sides, and discharged their weapons for exercise. When the rest had departed from the field in their turns, a Parthian and a Welchman began to aim their bows at one another in a hostile manner, and discharge them so as to strike with all their might. But the Welchman, aware of his foe’s intention, repaid like for like; on which the Parthian, making a truce, approached him, and when within hearing, began a parley. ‘Of what country are you,’ said he, ‘and by what name may I be pleased to know you? I see you are a good bowman, and in order that you may be more inclined to tell me, I am a Parthian by nation, brought up from childhood in the art of shooting, and my name is Grammahyr, of good reputation amongst my people for deeds of renown, and well known for my victories.’ The Welchman told his name and nation. ‘Let us prove,’ said the Parthian, ‘which is the best bowman by each taking an arrow, and aiming them against one another from our bows. You shall stand still first and I will aim an arrow at you, and afterwards you shall shoot in a like manner at me.’ The Welchman agreed. The Parthian, having fitted his arrow, and parting his feet as the art required, with his hands stretched asunder, and his eyes fixed on the mark,

‘’Lets fly the arrow, failing of its aim.’’

The Welchman, unhurt, demanded the fulfilment of the aforesaid condition. ‘I will not agree’ said the Parthian; ‘but you must stand another shot, and then have two at me.’ The Welchman replied, ‘You do not stand by your agreement, nor observe the condition you yourself dictated; and if you will not stand, although I may delay it for a time, as I may best be able, God will take revenge on you according to His will, for your treachery; ‘and he had scarced finished speaking, when in a twinkling of an eye he smote the Turk with his arrow in the breast, as he was selecting an arrow from his quiver to suit his purpose, and the weapon, meeting with no obstacle, came out at the back, having pierced the Turk’s body; upon which he said to the Turk, ‘You stood not by your agreement, nor I by my word.’ Animated by these and the like successes, the Christians thought they should preserve themselves for good fortune by bearing all their misfortunes with more cheerful faith and more fervent hope.

The genius of the English long bow was not as a "super weapon", but in the sheer numbers employed and their tactical deployment in combination with other elements. That is not to say the long bow was not a powerful bow with a relatively fast shooting rate, just that it is "horses for courses".