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Galloglaich
2016-01-08, 11:40 PM
So there is an example of an army, or a castle garrison at any rate, being allowed to march out of their garrison with their stuff - and their chieftain. I forget who was asking about that. I think it was pretty routine though.

G

PersonMan
2016-01-09, 05:41 AM
I read that, during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870/71, a large portion of the French army was surrounded and eventually released to a fortress somewhere in southern France, swearing to not take part in the war and basically take their gear and sit on their hands. Did captured/besieged forces do stuff like this earlier in history?

I imagine it emerged much earlier, and eventually fell out of favor around the 20th century, but I don't know for sure whether this was the case.

I was also curious about what a 'civil war' would look like, assuming a relatively low-development region like England in the 1200s or so. There are three primary factions at play, spread out over a number of islands, and I wanted to know if the vision I have is anything like what it'd actually be like. From what I've gathered, it would generally be a good idea to avoid battle especially in a multi-group conflict, so there would be a lot of maneuvering, pillaging villages and besieging fortified towns/castles. When would it make sense to meet for a decisive battle, apart from when you're forced to by superior maneuvering on the part of the enemy?

Tobtor
2016-01-09, 06:18 AM
I was also curious about what a 'civil war' would look like, assuming a relatively low-development region like England in the 1200s or so. There are three primary factions at play, spread out over a number of islands, and I wanted to know if the vision I have is anything like what it'd actually be like. From what I've gathered, it would generally be a good idea to avoid battle especially in a multi-group conflict, so there would be a lot of maneuvering, pillaging villages and besieging fortified towns/castles. When would it make sense to meet for a decisive battle, apart from when you're forced to by superior maneuvering on the part of the enemy?

Well your describing the civil war in Denmark in the 12th century. Three candidates fighting for the throne, Denmark being a series of islands and peninsula, and the timeframe is the same. Look up Grathe Heath on Wikipedia for the final battle: it happened when one candidate lost moral support due to behavior.

Berenger
2016-01-09, 08:32 AM
I would hazard a guess that "bleuen" is a cognate of "bleiben" (= "to remain"), since the letters u, v, and b commonly swap around. So that would make it something like "Forty men remained (i.e. were thrown/drowned/whatever) in the sea."

This sounds about right. "Im Feld bleiben" (literal translation: "to stay on the (battle-)field") is a german euphemism for MIA / KIA and the sea replaces the field in naval warfare.

snowblizz
2016-01-09, 09:34 AM
There was one Landsknecht Company, the Black Band, who famously fought against the other Landsknechts in Italy. This led to their being wiped out at the Battle of Pavia


Landsknecht were forbidden to fight without the Emperor's permission, especially contracting out to others. IIRC there were laws about it. Which means the Landsknechts in French employ were effectively traitors, hence the black uniforms (which probably weren't at that) as they had no colours, and why they gave and received no quarter. They lost they were effectively dead men.

As to the surrendering thing. I just happened on a description of the Battle of Klusjino in 1610 between a Swedish-Russian army and Polish. Swedish general De la Gardie after his successful "taking" of Moscow was going out to defeat a new Polish threat. The army was essentially of mercenray character as even national troops were nominally in pay of the Russian Tsar the Swedihs king was supporting. As always pay had been spotty so most had not been paid. They had recently bene given funds butdecided to wait until after battle vs the Poles (probably to save paying those dead) which turned out to be a mistake. The Swedish-Russian army was larger than the Polish but moving into the open Polsih cavalry was able to do what they do best. The foreign enlisted troops following one colonel Konrad Link were passive and negoatiated with the Polish, eventually effectively surrendering on terms.
The Polish also offered terms to de la Gardie who was able to negotiate his withdrawal with banners and weapons and his forces back to Sweden, promising to no longer support the Russian Tsar. He was even able to secure payment for his soldiers as part of the deal. Disputes about pay among the enlisted soldiers still broke out and there's wasn't much of an army when they returned.

So yes, clearly it happened. It's not the only instance of "terms", though usually they are given in sieges and such situations.

Been reading a series of books describing the emergence of Sweden in the Baltic from about 1000 onwards (am on part 1521-1611 now).

It wasn't uncommon either for the enlisted soldiers and mercenaries who were captured to be reinlisted by the victors. The Swedes did so after Nördlingen 1 for example. During the 30YW many soldiers drifted around from army to army and paymaster to paymaster. Often in the face of punishments for doing so. Valuable troops being valuable troops. I think we may have the biggest mercenary examples here, Wallenstein was essentially a private mercenary "military industrial complex", and one reason he was eventually killed was that he was about to more or less switch sides. The Swedish forces after Gustav 2 Adolf died were eventually hired wholesale by the French led by Bernhard of someplaceorother, IIRC. Although in that case it was an allies to allies transaction.

Yora
2016-01-09, 09:45 AM
This sounds about right. "Im Feld bleiben" (literal translation: "to stay on the (battle-)field") is a german euphemism for MIA / KIA and the sea replaces the field in naval warfare.

Another very likely explanation. It's not even a semi-obscure term, it used to be almost the default phrase until quite recently. And it also doesn't sound wrong phonetically.

snowblizz
2016-01-09, 09:56 AM
I read that, during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870/71, a large portion of the French army was surrounded and eventually released to a fortress somewhere in southern France, swearing to not take part in the war and basically take their gear and sit on their hands. Did captured/besieged forces do stuff like this earlier in history?

I imagine it emerged much earlier, and eventually fell out of favor around the 20th century, but I don't know for sure whether this was the case.

Routinely.

I think it was during one Jacobite uprising where York was being garrisoned by a force of Dutch who had been paroled by the French. As the French were supporting the Jacobites the Dutch soldiers refused to participate and the English had to conscript new troops from the South of England.

As I mentioned this was what the Swedes did after Klusjino 1610 as per my post above.

Galloglaich
2016-01-09, 10:03 AM
Landsknecht were forbidden to fight without the Emperor's permission, especially contracting out to others. IIRC there were laws about it. Which means the Landsknechts in French employ were effectively traitors, hence the black uniforms (which probably weren't at that) as they had no colours, and why they gave and received no quarter. They lost they were effectively dead men.


That may have been true in theory but in practice it only mattered when there was a very strong Emperor like Charles V. Not only were they dealing with strong Emperor at Pavia, but they were fighting directly against Imperial forces and fighting other Landsknechts, so that was a bridge too far.

Normally landsknecht companies fought for just about anybody and on all sides of many conflicts, and they also often went 'rogue' and just started robbing the countryside especially when they weren't paid.

The 'black' in the name is from their blackened armor. The armor would frequently be blackened in the forge, and / or painted or lacquered black, mainly as proof against rust. It was a particularly common practice for infantry. So you get a lot of mercenary groups and armies with 'black' in the name in the 15th and 16th centuries for this reason, including the Hungarian Black Army, the Black Company which was a Landsknecht company that went rogue and fought on the side of the peasants in the Great Peasant Uprising, and many others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Company

G

snowblizz
2016-01-09, 10:16 AM
That may have been true in theory but in practice it only mattered when there was a very strong Emperor like Charles V. Not only were they dealing with strong Emperor at Pavia, but they were fighting directly against Imperial forces and fighting other Landsknechts, so that was a bridge too far.

Obviously. Your ability to actually enforce something is fairly important. I was trying to convey the circumstances. Anyone part of the back bands would know they were marked men from the start.

Interestingly enough black seems rather popular for those "outside the law" from mercenaries to pirates and from ye olden time up until today. I doubt it's just due the colour of blackened plate. I'd bet it's also due to the whole "having no colours" idea as well.

Hoosigander
2016-01-09, 11:22 AM
I was also curious about what a 'civil war' would look like, assuming a relatively low-development region like England in the 1200s or so. There are three primary factions at play, spread out over a number of islands, and I wanted to know if the vision I have is anything like what it'd actually be like. From what I've gathered, it would generally be a good idea to avoid battle especially in a multi-group conflict, so there would be a lot of maneuvering, pillaging villages and besieging fortified towns/castles. When would it make sense to meet for a decisive battle, apart from when you're forced to by superior maneuvering on the part of the enemy?

A historical example that I believe would be relevant to your question is the Second Battle of Lincoln fought in 1217 during the First Baron's War. During their revolt against the famous King John, the rebelling English Barons invited Prince Louis of France to be their king. Even after John died of dysentery Louis remained in England and retained support for his claim to the throne. The Battle of Lincoln was fought between forces loyal to John's heir Henry III (who was around 10 at the time of the battle) and Louis' army. Henry's regent William Marshal had done some necessary groundwork to reconcile many of the rebellious barons to the Crown by promising that Henry would abide by the Magna Carta.

To answer the question, the battle came about because Louis's army, commanded by Thomas, Count of Perche, had besieged Lincoln and Marshal decided to attack them in order to relieve the city. Thomas and his commanders were unsure of how strong Marshal's army was and decided to fight a rearguard action at the city walls at same time as assaulting the castle (the citizens of Lincoln supported Louis, but the garrison of the castle at the center of the city was for Henry). I can't post links yet, but you can read Roger of Wendover's account of the battle on the De Re Militari website, just search for the Battle of Lincoln (1217).

Another factor to consider is naval warfare; an important contributing factor to the end of the war was the Battle of Sandwich. The battle was fought in the English channel between fleets supporting the two claimants, at the time Louis' army was running out of supplies. The defeat of his fleet, which was bringing him provisions, was decisive in ending the war. If you can find a copy of Charles D. Staunton's Medieval Maritime Warfare , that has a good discussion of the battle. Again, I can't post links, but you can find the whole of Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History with a quick google search (beware, there is another medieval history by the same title), the Battle of Sandwich and its context is on pages 398-400. I hope this helps.
Edit: the pagination I gave is for the out-of-copyright J.A. Giles Translation.

Khedrac
2016-01-09, 12:03 PM
I was also curious about what a 'civil war' would look like, assuming a relatively low-development region like England in the 1200s or so. There are three primary factions at play, spread out over a number of islands, and I wanted to know if the vision I have is anything like what it'd actually be like. From what I've gathered, it would generally be a good idea to avoid battle especially in a multi-group conflict, so there would be a lot of maneuvering, pillaging villages and besieging fortified towns/castles. When would it make sense to meet for a decisive battle, apart from when you're forced to by superior maneuvering on the part of the enemy?
Interesting the way everybody has suggested later examples.

You might also do well to look up The Anarchy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchy) - the civil war that happened in England from 1135 to 1154... (Yes, we have had two, but most people don't seem to have heard of this one).

If you have come across the Brother Cadfael detective novels by Ellis Peters - they are set during the Anarchy and a useful look at what life might have been like for some.

PersonMan
2016-01-09, 01:31 PM
the civil war in Denmark in the 12th century


A historical example


You might also do well to look up The Anarchy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchy)

Thanks, this is giving me a lot of stuff to go through and use for reference / as a basis.

fusilier
2016-01-09, 04:10 PM
I read that, during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870/71, a large portion of the French army was surrounded and eventually released to a fortress somewhere in southern France, swearing to not take part in the war and basically take their gear and sit on their hands. Did captured/besieged forces do stuff like this earlier in history?

During the American Civil War it was customary that when prisoners were released (often referred to as "parole"), they took an oath not to take up arms again. If they were captured again, they could be executed -- but it was basically unenforceable. These releases were different from prisoner exchanges.

I'm sure things like that happened in earlier times. Prisoner of war camps didn't really have any place in medieval/renaissance warfare (I only know of few examples). Also, a siege could be as hard on the besiegers as it was on the besieged (or even worse) -- so often very generous terms would be granted to end a siege. Traditionally, the sooner the defenders gave up the better the terms, but if a protracted siege's prospects are starting to look unfavorable to the besiegers, they might be willing to offer generous terms.

*I put "parole" in quotes because historically it could differ in details -- during the 18th century officers that were paroled weren't necessarily released, but were given a certain amount of freedom after swearing an oath to not try to escape. However, they share the same basic principle.

fusilier
2016-01-09, 04:14 PM
If you have come across the Brother Cadfael detective novels by Ellis Peters - they are set during the Anarchy and a useful look at what life might have been like for some.

I haven't read the books, but I've seen the TV series with Derek Jacobi, and I certainly enjoyed it. The anarchy is really just the back drop, but some episodes revolve around political intrigues and shifting alliances.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2016-01-09, 06:48 PM
It happens in modern days too, that besieged troops are allowed to leave, although I'm not sure if with weapons. I can think of two occasions where this has happened in the last year and a half. I don't think I can go too much in detail, for forum rule reasons, but in one of the two cases there were two mirrored sieges. The besiegers let the besieged leave in return for the same to happen in their favour in the other siege.

Galloglaich
2016-01-09, 07:11 PM
During the American Civil War it was customary that when prisoners were released (often referred to as "parole"), they took an oath not to take up arms again. If they were captured again, they could be executed -- but it was basically unenforceable. These releases were different from prisoner exchanges.


It was common in the early days of the American Civil War but it ran up against the logic of conscription and was over and done with by the end of the war. The problem was that many guys conscripted to fight in that war with it's very high casualty rates, didn't particularly mind getting captured if it meant they could go home and return to their lives. Both North and South (particularly the South) were also scrambling for manpower. So they started rounding up 'paroled' troops, sometimes charging them with desertion and hanging them, most often re-conscripting them back into the battle line. This put an end to the practice of parole, which required the establishment of some of the earliest POW camps, very badly managed ones for the most part, which are now infamous (Andersonville and Camp Douglas were both little more than concentration camps)



I'm sure things like that happened in earlier times. Prisoner of war camps didn't really have any place in medieval/renaissance warfare (I only know of few examples). Also, a siege could be as hard on the besiegers as it was on the besieged (or even worse) -- so often very generous terms would be granted to end a siege. Traditionally, the sooner the defenders gave up the better the terms, but if a protracted siege's prospects are starting to look unfavorable to the besiegers, they might be willing to offer generous terms.

Having something to trade helped a lot with what terms you could get.

When people were captured in the medieval period, they could do one of 7 things:

1) Kill them
2) Maim them so they couldn't keep fighting or as a disincentive for others to fight
3) Ransom them
4) Release them without their arms
5) Release them with their arms
6) Recruit them

or

7) Enslave them

Most common in Latin Europe very generally were #3 and #4. #1 and #2 weren't unusual either, but they could sometimes backfire. There was a battle between the Czechs and Hungarians in the 1470's in which the Czechs, holding out after a long siege in a castle, trusted their commander to come rescue them, while they knew that the Hungarian commander would cut off their noses and otherwise maim them if they surrendered. They held out against very long odds and were rescued, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

#3 was only worth it if the cost of the ransom exceeded the cost of feeding and guarding the prisoner.

Nobles and knights were sometimes captured but given freedom of movement, even on the battlefield. There was an interesting case of this in the 13 Years War, during a battle the Condottiero Bernard von Zinnenburg (fighting for the Teutoninc Knights) was captured, and surrendered to the Polish King. But then the tide of the battle turned, and he escaped. He helped direct the counter attack but did no more fighting, because he had given his word. After the battle (a sharp defeat for the Poles) he turned himself back over to the Polish king, who held him in comfortable captivity for about 3 years. After he was released (probably due to a ransom being paid) he caused a lot of trouble for the Poles again.

This is the wiki on the guy, he was quite a character

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Szumborski

#7 was practiced routinely by the Mongols and the Ottomans literally as an industry (they called it 'harvesting the steppe'), and also by Latin Europeans, notably the Venetians and Genoese, but there was a general rule among Christians that you couldn't enslave fellow Christians, and the Muslims had the same rule. People enslaved and put to work rowing galleys for example (which, though I know Fusilier will passionately disagree with me, was the principal method of rowing those galleys in the med for centuries, with a few specific exceptions) were often ransomed back to the other side of the religious divide.

Pagans in the Baltic, not being in one of these religious groups, had no such protection which is why they were one of the most popular people to enslave. Of course it went both ways, the Lithuanians enslaved many Germans and Poles and Swedes and so on, when they didn't sacrifice them to their pagan gods in giant bonfires. Even after conversion to Christianity, people in Eastern Europe still got enslaved because as 'schismatics' (I..e Orthodox / Greek Christians instead of Catholic / Latin), they were not technically considered Christians by the law, (except when they were). This is why a lot of Ukranians were enslaved or enserfed by both Christian and Muslim neighbors, and in turn they escaped to join bandit gangs who eventually became the Cossacks. The Cossacks were a lot harder to enslave, being pretty tough and ornery. They proved particularly troublesome for the Ottomans and the Mongols over the long term.

here they are replying to a letter sent to them by the mighty Ottoman sultan:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaporizhian_Sich

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Ilja_Jefimowitsch_Repin_-_Reply_of_the_Zaporozhian_Cossacks_-_Yorck.jpg/640px-Ilja_Jefimowitsch_Repin_-_Reply_of_the_Zaporozhian_Cossacks_-_Yorck.jpg

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-09, 07:12 PM
It happens in modern days too, that besieged troops are allowed to leave, although I'm not sure if with weapons. I can think of two occasions where this has happened in the last year and a half. I don't think I can go too much in detail, for forum rule reasons, but in one of the two cases there were two mirrored sieges. The besiegers let the besieged leave in return for the same to happen in their favour in the other siege.

I think exchanges of prisoners are also very common going back to the Bronze Age

Mr. Mask
2016-01-09, 09:46 PM
Come to think of it, do we know if all cases of galley slaves were treated so badly? If the only thing keeping them rowing is lashes and threats, and many are worked to death, or die of disease from being chained to their places for too long, then it's understandable they'd be unmotivated, wouldn't be paying enough attention to learn their jobs, and be inefficient rowers at best. If, however, they were treated more reasonably as some slaves were (by the harsh standards of naval life of the day), they should eventually become skilled rowers and be given incentives to do well in their jobs (in the case of attackers, to avoid the chance of being sunk).

Just wondering if anyone has heard about such cases.

Hoosigander
2016-01-09, 10:25 PM
Come to think of it, do we know if all cases of galley slaves were treated so badly? If the only thing keeping them rowing is lashes and threats, and many are worked to death, or die of disease from being chained to their places for too long, then it's understandable they'd be unmotivated, wouldn't be paying enough attention to learn their jobs, and be inefficient rowers at best. If, however, they were treated more reasonably as some slaves were (by the harsh standards of naval life of the day), they should eventually become skilled rowers and be given incentives to do well in their jobs (in the case of attackers, to avoid the chance of being sunk).

Just wondering if anyone has heard about such cases.
Generally the rowers in the Ancient Mediterranean were paid professionals and slaves were only used in emergencies. From what I've read it seems that in the 16th century the size of the average galley increased and therefore slave labor was employed. The old method of rowing was for one man to each oar, but multiple men/oars per bench. This system required skill, with the shift to slave labor in the 16th century Mediterranean fleets switched to a single large oar which was operated by multiple men all on the same bench. So essentially the fleets changed their rowing techniques to match the lower skill of their oarsmen rather than trying to incentivize their slaves to improve their skill

fusilier
2016-01-10, 12:37 AM
Generally the rowers in the Ancient Mediterranean were paid professionals and slaves were only used in emergencies. From what I've read it seems that in the 16th century the size of the average galley increased and therefore slave labor was employed. The old method of rowing was for one man to each oar, but multiple men/oars per bench. This system required skill, with the shift to slave labor in the 16th century Mediterranean fleets switched to a single large oar which was operated by multiple men all on the same bench. So essentially the fleets changed their rowing techniques to match the lower skill of their oarsmen rather than trying to incentivize their slaves to improve their skill

Just to clarify -- my understanding is that it was the adoption of slavery that caused a change in the rowing system, which meant more rowers were needed to keep up the same speed. Slavery was adopted because of wage inflation during the 16th century (Guilmartin covers this in detail in Gunpowder and Galleys). However, once the change in rowing was made, it was a simple matter to add more people to an oar, which led to a kind evolutionary feedback, with galleys getting bigger and bigger.

Nevertheless, your galley slaves can't be treated too badly --> they do need a certain level of physical fitness to be effective. Major operations were sometimes delayed to bring up the health of the oarsmen.

Galloglaich
2016-01-10, 11:24 AM
Just to clarify -- my understanding is that it was the adoption of slavery that caused a change in the rowing system, which meant more rowers were needed to keep up the same speed. Slavery was adopted because of wage inflation during the 16th century (Guilmartin covers this in detail in Gunpowder and Galleys). However, once the change in rowing was made, it was a simple matter to add more people to an oar, which led to a kind evolutionary feedback, with galleys getting bigger and bigger.

Nevertheless, your galley slaves can't be treated too badly --> they do need a certain level of physical fitness to be effective. Major operations were sometimes delayed to bring up the health of the oarsmen.

The Mamluks were using slave labor from the 13th Century on their galleys, the Ottomans did the same starting in the 15th. French and Spanish galleys were typically worked by convicts and Muslim slaves. In all cases they were routinely worked to death and had a short life span.

The Spanish author Cervantes (of Don Quixote fame) was captured by Barbary Corsairs and had to work as a galley slave for a while, he described his experiences in some letters. He was literally chained to the oar of a galley.

http://www.lookandlearn.com/blog/13446/from-galley-slave-to-renowned-novelist-cervantes/

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/lookandlearn-preview/B/B002/B002674.jpg

They did of course pause sometimes to rest their crews when they were on the brink of dying en-masse, but that is about the only consideration they got. It was easy to catch more. The Barbary Corsairs were still capturing slaves from Southern Europe, and even as far north as England, well in to the 19th Century. They even captured about 700 Americans causing the nascent American military to intervene, that is why the Marine Corps hymn includes that verse about the '..shores of Tripoli'

From the wiki:

Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800 (Palgrave Macmillan). Davis estimates that 1 million to 1.25 million white Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people which were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[1] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[2] 16th- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul's additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totaled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700.[3] The markets declined after the loss of the Barbary Wars and finally ended in the 1830s, when the region was conquered by France.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_slave_trade

Of course by no means all of those were galley slaves, only a tiny fraction were, most were enslaved for sexual purposes or for menial work in quarries and salt mines and other dangerous jobs.

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-10, 11:29 AM
The wiki also mentions that Roman and Carthaginian navies also relied on slave labor to row their galleys during the Punic Wars:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galley_slave#Roman_and_Carthaginian_navies

It goes on to describe the French use of galley slaves and conditions on the ships:

A vivid account of the life of galley-slaves in France appears in Jean Marteilhes's Memoirs of a Protestant, translated by Oliver Goldsmith, which describes the experiences of one of the Huguenots who suffered after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

A short account of his 10 years as a galley-slave is given by the character Farrabesche in "The Village Rector" by Honoré de Balzac. He is sentenced to the galleys as a result of his life as a "chauffeur" (in this case the word refers to a brigand who threatened landowners by roasting them).

Galley-slaves lived in unsavoury conditions, so even though some sentences prescribed a restricted number of years, most rowers would eventually die, even if they survived the conditions, shipwreck and slaughter or torture at the hands of enemies or of pirates. Additionally, nobody ensured that prisoners were freed after completing their sentences. As a result, imprisonment for 10 years could in reality mean imprisonment for life because nobody except the prisoner would either notice or care.

The Barbary pirates of the 16th to 19th centuries used galley slaves, often captured Europeans from Italy or Spain. The Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul used galley slaves also.

Spiryt
2016-01-10, 11:43 AM
Interesting story on topic:

Marek Jakimowski

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marek_Jakimowski

Polish nobleman who ended up on Turkish galley after crushing defeat at Cecora in 1620.

I will only translate Wiki for now, hopefully sources are OK, and not very imagined. :P

On the ship of Bey of Alexandria, he met 2 other Poles, and among 221 slaves " 3 Greeks, 2 Englishmen, 1 Italian, and all other from Rus, either Ukraine or Moscow.

On 12th November 1627 , when ship had been anchored on Lesbos, captain and part of the crew left the deck.

Jakimowski and two other Poles fortunately weren't chained to the deck, because they had been chosen for 'various services' on the deck.

They apparently had stormed the kitchen, killed the guards with improvised weapons, broke trough to the magazine and started unchained slaves and handing them weapons.

After killing and throwing remaining guards to water, they oared away to the full sea.

Three Turkish galleys were chasing them, but they had to stop due to storm.

Fugitives apparently managed to reach Rome, where they were obviously greeted warmly.

http://www.docblog.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2014/04/a-polish-slaves-escape-from-ottoman.html



There are quite a few episodes of such fantastic escapes, among thousands of sad stories of rowing till the end of awful life, of course. I will try to dig them.

Hoosigander
2016-01-10, 04:29 PM
Just to clarify -- my understanding is that it was the adoption of slavery that caused a change in the rowing system, which meant more rowers were needed to keep up the same speed. Slavery was adopted because of wage inflation during the 16th century (Guilmartin covers this in detail in Gunpowder and Galleys). However, once the change in rowing was made, it was a simple matter to add more people to an oar, which led to a kind evolutionary feedback, with galleys getting bigger and bigger.

Yes, I was unclear on the order of causation. The relative savings to be had from using slaves rather than professional oarsman was the initial factor. Although I believe Venice continued to use professionals and the single man to an oar method for a while after other Mediterranean powers were relying mainly on slave/convict labor.

Galloglaich
2016-01-10, 04:58 PM
Interesting story on topic:

Marek Jakimowski

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marek_Jakimowski

Polish nobleman who ended up on Turkish galley after crushing defeat at Cecora in 1620.

I will only translate Wiki for now, hopefully sources are OK, and not very imagined. :P

On the ship of Bey of Alexandria, he met 2 other Poles, and among 221 slaves " 3 Greeks, 2 Englishmen, 1 Italian, and all other from Rus, either Ukraine or Moscow.

On 12th November 1627 , when ship had been anchored on Lesbos, captain and part of the crew left the deck.

Jakimowski and two other Poles fortunately weren't chained to the deck, because they had been chosen for 'various services' on the deck.

They apparently had stormed the kitchen, killed the guards with improvised weapons, broke trough to the magazine and started unchained slaves and handing them weapons.

After killing and throwing remaining guards to water, they oared away to the full sea.

Three Turkish galleys were chasing them, but they had to stop due to storm.

Fugitives apparently managed to reach Rome, where they were obviously greeted warmly.

http://www.docblog.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2014/04/a-polish-slaves-escape-from-ottoman.html



There are quite a few episodes of such fantastic escapes, among thousands of sad stories of rowing till the end of awful life, of course. I will try to dig them.

Fascinating. Look forward to reading more of those.

G

fusilier
2016-01-10, 09:28 PM
Yes, I was unclear on the order of causation. The relative savings to be had from using slaves rather than professional oarsman was the initial factor. Although I believe Venice continued to use professionals and the single man to an oar method for a while after other Mediterranean powers were relying mainly on slave/convict labor.

Yes, Venice was a hold out; the Spanish were early adopters. The Ottomans by the time of Lepanto used a mix of slave, conscript, and professionals. I think generally separated, although it was usually good to have a few professional oarsmen on a ship.

Being an oarsmen on a Medieval/Renaissance galley was tough -- they sat on the upper deck exposed to the elements not below decks like on an ancient galley (the exception being a galleass). However, if they weren't healthy their effectiveness would decrease and potentially become a liability. Carrying extra oarsmen (spares) could help overcome this, but further burden the ship requiring more oarsmen to keep up speed (part of the evolutionary feedback that made galleys larger but shorter ranged).

Gnoman
2016-01-10, 10:13 PM
On a different subject, I was rereading some of my Stephen King books recently, and at one point during It, the "present-day" version of the kids remember deciding that they needed to use silver bullets to kill the monster they're afraid of, at which point someone points out that it is impossible to make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar (one of the old ones that's actually silver), which leads to a memory of making silver slugs for a slingshot instead. Is this yet another case of the research-hating King getting something wrong, or is it actually correct?

Hoosigander
2016-01-10, 10:30 PM
Yes, Venice was a hold out; the Spanish were early adopters. The Ottomans by the time of Lepanto used a mix of slave, conscript, and professionals. I think generally separated, although it was usually good to have a few professional oarsmen on a ship.

Do you know why the Venetians continued with the old system? I’d imagine that polities with larger population bases would have more convicted criminals to draw from and thus more of an incentive to switch. But that doesn’t explain why the Venetians stuck with a system that limited the possible size of their vessels, once other states started building bigger galleys. Was the longer range of the old-style vessels enough to compensate? Or is there some other factor I’m not aware of?

Galloglaich
2016-01-10, 11:39 PM
Do you know why the Venetians continued with the old system? I’d imagine that polities with larger population bases would have more convicted criminals to draw from and thus more of an incentive to switch. But that doesn’t explain why the Venetians stuck with a system that limited the possible size of their vessels, once other states started building bigger galleys. Was the longer range of the old-style vessels enough to compensate? Or is there some other factor I’m not aware of?

The Venetians were a republic which still had craft guilds well into the 17th Century, Spain and France (and England) were strong monarchies which were making a fortune from Slave labor in sugar and indigo plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas.


The tradeoff between slave galleys and professionally crewed galleys was you could afford to have more slave galleys, but they were slower and only part of the crew could fight, obviously. One of the big problems for the Ottomans at Malta, Lepanto etc. was that the Venetian, Hospitaler and many of the Spanish galleys were much faster... due partly to the free rowers I think. But also better designs.

The expense was made up for by the extremely lucrative trade empire they had, and their incredibly efficient shipyard at the Arsenal. They were able to fabricate a whole galley in one day at the peak I believe, plus a huge number of guns etc. Venetian galleys did double duty as cash earning civilian trading ships. They had a 3,000 ship navy! Hard to imagine. One little city.

They did dabble in the slave trade themselves in the Crimea though I think that was over by the 15th Century. They didn't rely on huge slave plantations like the French and Spanish and English did for their wealth, they didn't even really have reliable access to the Atlantic etc. But they still managed to compete for a long time, stuck between the Ottomans and the Western slave states.

G

Mr Beer
2016-01-11, 12:16 AM
On a different subject, I was rereading some of my Stephen King books recently, and at one point during It, the "present-day" version of the kids remember deciding that they needed to use silver bullets to kill the monster they're afraid of, at which point someone points out that it is impossible to make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar (one of the old ones that's actually silver), which leads to a memory of making silver slugs for a slingshot instead. Is this yet another case of the research-hating King getting something wrong, or is it actually correct?

Sounds like BS to me, I don't see why you can't use silver for bullets. My friend Wikipedia references tests done by Mythbusters so there you go.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_bullet

All that said, I imagine that it would be far easier for a bunch of tweens (even Kingian hypercompetent tweens) to make slingshot ammo than it would be for them to machine bullets that wouldn't kill them or be completely ineffective. I think you'd need proper bullet moulds for example, and then you have to mess around with live ammunition to replace the lead with silver. If one of their parents was a home ammunition loader (which they were not), they might have the relevant skills and access to the required equipment, otherwise it sounds dicey to me.

If I had to make silver ammunition, given my lack of any relevant skills, I would probably try to make silver balls and then carefully unpick 12 gauge shells, remove the lead and pack the silver balls in. If I was going to fight a supernatural monster that was vulnerable to silver, I would take my improvised silver buckshot over a slingshot as well. Point is, shotguns are more forgiving of inexact sized ammunition and shotgun shells are reasonably easy to peel open and repack, I believe bullets would be trickier although I don't know.

fusilier
2016-01-11, 01:47 AM
Do you know why the Venetians continued with the old system? I’d imagine that polities with larger population bases would have more convicted criminals to draw from and thus more of an incentive to switch. But that doesn’t explain why the Venetians stuck with a system that limited the possible size of their vessels, once other states started building bigger galleys. Was the longer range of the old-style vessels enough to compensate? Or is there some other factor I’m not aware of?

The primary cost in maintaining a galley is the crew -- even if oarsmen are unpaid they have to be supplied. So as galleys became bigger the crews became larger and those states couldn't afford to field as many galleys. As galleys became larger, galley fleets became smaller. Using forced labor perhaps provided a brief delay in the reduction of galley fleets, from a financial point of view, but ultimately it encouraged the evolution of bigger vessels and smaller fleets.

The old system (each man with one oar -- alla sensile) was more efficient for the size of the standard galley that still made up the bulk of many fleets in the 16th century. It also resulted in better tactical maneuverability, which is why the Venetian squadron was placed close to the coast during Lepanto. The alla sensile method used fewer people, although they had to have more skill. It also saved in terms of men to guard the oarsmen, which also helped keep the vessels lighter, and faster, and longer ranged (as you noted).

While differences between basic galley designs among different nations in the 16th century were small in terms of overall design, they do reveal varying emphasis. Venetian galleys have been described as "strategic assault craft", designed for maximum speed under oars, to quickly reinforce ports and seaside fortresses. Range and speed were important factors for the maintenance of those ports/fortresses necessary to support galley fleets, more so for a nation like Venice that lacked a large land presence.

This does not mean that they favored smaller galleys exclusively -- it was the Venetians that pioneered the use of Galleasses which were used very effectively at Lepanto (they were probably rowed by forzati). The Venetians did use forced labor as oarsmen, they just preferred not to. When they did, they usually preferred to use Venetian prisoners or debtors, who could work off their sentences/debts on the galleys, rather than Muslim prisoners of war.

I suspect that ultimately Venice clung to the old system longer, partly because it fit her needs better, and partly because she had the ability to do so: financially, but also in terms of having access to more trained oarsmen.

wobner
2016-01-11, 02:51 AM
On a different subject, I was rereading some of my Stephen King books recently, and at one point during It, the "present-day" version of the kids remember deciding that they needed to use silver bullets to kill the monster they're afraid of, at which point someone points out that it is impossible to make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar (one of the old ones that's actually silver), which leads to a memory of making silver slugs for a slingshot instead. Is this yet another case of the research-hating King getting something wrong, or is it actually correct?

A silver dollar, like silver jewelry, isn't pure silver, my internet search says 90 percent silver with 10 percent copper on average for the dollars. This alloy, i'm told(correct me if i'm wrong), is significantly harder than pure silver(makes sense), and so while pure silver can(obviously, they've done it) make an acceptable bullet(every attempt i've heard about shows its less accurate and has less power, but its properties are comparable to modern bullet materials), reshaping a silver dollar, if my information is right, wouldn't work. Atleast every attempt i've seen was pure silver and not coins, earings, etc.

infact, i found this a pleasant read.( i havent finished the whole thing yet, actually)
http://www.patriciabriggs.com/articles/silver/silverbullets.shtml
specificly part 5, hardness, on why a coin wouldn't work

but a few kids getting the neccessary 1700 degrees to melt silver, and being able to properly cast it after all the horror stories i've heard of people attempting it(it cools almost immediately, before it fills the mold, and rebounds, resulting in pitting, deformities, improper weight and size) is going to be impossible anyway. ofcourse, that kinda applies to the slingshot slugs too, so oops!

mr. beers' shotgun pellets might work, but you still have the melting and shaping problem. infact, that article talks about them.

While I haven't read the book, I did a quick internet search, and couldn't find a passage in the book saying it couldn't be done, only that one of them was worried about a missfire, which may well mean shaping it correctly, not that it was insuitable as a material. Moreover, if this was just one kid talking to another, as the passage i found suggests, I've heard it said alot that silver won't work. by people who supposedly know and were definitely wrong(atleast in regards to pure silver). so a kid believing this, if that is indeed the context, is perfectly acceptable anyway

Gnoman
2016-01-11, 07:51 AM
While I haven't read the book, I did a quick internet search, and couldn't find a passage in the book saying it couldn't be done, only that one of them was worried about a missfire, which may well mean shaping it correctly, not that it was insuitable as a material. Moreover, if this was just one kid talking to another, as the passage i found suggests, I've heard it said alot that silver won't work. by people who supposedly know and were definitely wrong(atleast in regards to pure silver). so a kid believing this, if that is indeed the context, is perfectly acceptable anyway

They don't actually show the kids figuring it out, although the librarian mentions them researching bullets. The explicit statement is made by a know-it-all bystander in the "present day" portion (the book is divided into memories of them fighting the monster as 10 year olds in the fifties and them coming back to fight it again in 1985 as adults) as a main character is wandering around mumbling as he starts to remember the fight in the past - the exact quote is "Can't make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar. Common misconception. Bullet would tumble." They use a welding rig one of the kids' parents has in the garage to make the slugs in secret, and it is suggested that they are surreptitiously guided by destiny or a deity.

Like I said, I was mostly wondering if King genuinely knew something I hadn't thought about, or he just wrote it in.

Beleriphon
2016-01-11, 08:22 AM
They don't actually show the kids figuring it out, although the librarian mentions them researching bullets. The explicit statement is made by a know-it-all bystander in the "present day" portion (the book is divided into memories of them fighting the monster as 10 year olds in the fifties and them coming back to fight it again in 1985 as adults) as a main character is wandering around mumbling as he starts to remember the fight in the past - the exact quote is "Can't make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar. Common misconception. Bullet would tumble." They use a welding rig one of the kids' parents has in the garage to make the slugs in secret, and it is suggested that they are surreptitiously guided by destiny or a deity.

Like I said, I was mostly wondering if King genuinely knew something I hadn't thought about, or he just wrote it in.

I think he got it right by accident. Its a logical accident, and Stephen King isn't a slouch in the knowledge department by any means, but I can't see it being intentional research.

snowblizz
2016-01-11, 08:24 AM
The way silver "bullets" are normally used though (fictionally) are in flintlock (usually) weapons in various Ye Olde Faketh variants. Various vampire/werewolf stuff, comics and the movies based on the former.

Hoosigander
2016-01-11, 09:23 AM
Thank you, Fusilier and Galloglaich. That answers my question very nicely.

wobner
2016-01-11, 09:59 AM
They don't actually show the kids figuring it out, although the librarian mentions them researching bullets. The explicit statement is made by a know-it-all bystander in the "present day" portion (the book is divided into memories of them fighting the monster as 10 year olds in the fifties and them coming back to fight it again in 1985 as adults) as a main character is wandering around mumbling as he starts to remember the fight in the past - the exact quote is "Can't make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar. Common misconception. Bullet would tumble." They use a welding rig one of the kids' parents has in the garage to make the slugs in secret, and it is suggested that they are surreptitiously guided by destiny or a deity.

Like I said, I was mostly wondering if King genuinely knew something I hadn't thought about, or he just wrote it in.

I only saw the mini-series where i believe they used earrings without bothering to melt them down(been awhile, forgive me if i'm wrong). Thank you for clarifying. I suspected i was being an idiot.

If the stories i read were true, its a good thing they were aided by destiny. It seems everyone who has tried it, that i've come across, has destroyed atleast one of their tools in the process. its especially amusing since iron takes a higher temp, and gold and copper are comparable, and you'd expect they worked with atleast one of these things, as professionals.
i'd expect 10 year olds to "secretly" burn that garage down.

On a similiar note, in the movie "Posse" Mario Van Peebles character used bullets made of solid gold to kill his "demons", which i understand is like shooting pure lead, just you know, insanely more expensive.(yes, it seems someone has tried it)

Beleriphon
2016-01-11, 10:31 AM
On a similiar note, in the movie "Posse" Mario Van Peebles character used bullets made of solid gold to kill his "demons", which i understand is like shooting pure lead, just you know, insanely more expensive.(yes, it seems someone has tried it)

That's actually not that surprising gold is ridiculously ductile. I mean there was a bill board the Vancouver Science Center covered in one ounce of gold hammered to less than a millimeter thick spread over something like 30 square meters. Gold would actually make a pretty good projectile material, if it weren't so damn rare.

Galloglaich
2016-01-11, 11:11 AM
Thank you, Fusilier and Galloglaich. That answers my question very nicely.

Another way I would put it, especially in macro-economic / geopolitical terms, is that Europe in general, and the Atlantic facing Western nations in particular, were shifting from an economy oriented toward skilled labor, in which Italy and Flanders were kind of the center of the world, and the production of the skill artisan class was creating what we now call the Renaissance; to a world of bitter religious sectarianism, slavery and serfdom. This was reflected both in the economic sphere and in the military sphere as you entered the 17th Century.

Militaries in the 17th Century were larger, lower paid and much less well-trained than militaries in the 14th or 15th Century. They used simpler weapons with simpler tactics.

For example pikemen in the 15th Century fought in moving columns, executed flanking maneuvers and so on. Pikemen in the 17th Century typically remained static during battles, positioned to protect cannon or VIP's. The quality of personal body armor plummeted. Firearms technology accelerated very rapidly in the middle ages. Rifled barrels and breech loading firearms had become available in the 15th Century and wheel locks by the early 16th.

This, for example is a breach loading firearm from Nuremberg, made in 1485

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=50984&stc=1

This is a design for such a weapon from a book published in Italy in 1455, made by this gunsmith Lorenzo Ghiberti

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo_Ghiberti

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=50987&stc=1

Here is kind of the early peak of the technology, from the mid-16th Century

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=33732&stc=1

These weapons and guns with rifled barrels etc. came out of the culture of shooting contests sponsored by the towns (in fact rifled barrels were being confiscated in Augsburg as early as 1400 for 'cheating' in these contests... but the confiscated weapons were kept in the town armories) as part of the efforts to train their militias.

http://home.mysoul.com.au/graemecook/Renaissance/03_Matchlock.jpg
A hundred years later in the 17th Century armies were using very simple, often crudely made muzzle-loading matchlock firearms with smooth barrels, and barely able to hit targets at 50 meters.

it was similar with armor. This is a precise replica of armor from the 15th Century (formerly owned by Toby Capwell), made of tempered steel, thin and extremely strong. This is on the higher end of quality but a harness like this was affordable by a minor knight or even a burgher.

http://www.hermann-historica-archiv.de/auktion/images51_gr/52592.jpg

This is the armor of King James II in the 17th Century

http://i.imgur.com/x2Dkz4j.jpg

Antique helmet, from 1495

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/HJRK_A_110_-_Sallet_combination_of_Maximilian_I,_c._1495.jpg

This is a helmet from the 17th, made of iron, much thicker.

http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/13959/14160208_4.jpg?v=8CF752FDCC8F740

15th and early 16th Century swords:


http://www.zornhau.de/source/schwertexkursion/Zornhau-ZEF-6-gross.jpg
http://www.zornhau.de/wordpress/wp-content/gallery/zef-waffen/zornhau-zef-15-gross.jpg



http://www.thepirateslair.com/images/naval-nautical-antiques/17thcentury-solingen-cutlass-2.jpg

http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/8347/9753123_1.jpg?v=8CD1F0C00EC6930

This isn't to say they didn't have skilled artisanship and beautiful weapons - they did, in fact sometimes even slave artisans were very good. But these were all luxury items at that time. The industries, for example of armor, had shrunk down from the large scale they had achieved in the late medieval period. It's a major shift in how everything worked. It didn't change again until the re-emergence of a middle class and a more skill based economy toward the end of the industrial revolution.

G

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-01-11, 11:38 AM
That's actually not that surprising gold is ridiculously ductile. I mean there was a bill board the Vancouver Science Center covered in one ounce of gold hammered to less than a millimeter thick spread over something like 30 square meters. Gold would actually make a pretty good projectile material, if it weren't so damn rare.

It also has an even higher density than lead, by a comfortable margin (http://www.coolmagnetman.com/magconda.htm). (The melting point (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/melting-temperature-metals-d_860.html) is a bit higher than with silver though, so there's that...



On the post above this one: Armor also got a lot simpler because it needed to be thicker to work against the increasingly powerful firearms. From what I've read the muskets of 1600 were still very heavy, and were used with a unipod to support the barrel during firing. By 1650 they had gotten both lighter and more powerful. The use of armor declined a lot during this time, in 1650 you might find that only the soldiers on the front line even wear a breastplate anymore, and the rest just has a helmet. Cavalry would often still have leg plating, but only on the front of the legs. If you made a full harness using the plate thickness needed to stop a musket ball of that time (and there isn't that much you can do to reduce thickness through clever design) it would seriously hamper your performance in other areas.

I can see that military leaders were often slow on picking up new technology. In 1700 there were still plenty of forces using matchlocks (outdated for about a century for all uses except as a backup mechanism) and plug bayonets (outdated by only 4 decades, but horribly outclassed by every single alternative). But were they really going backwards that much?

Galloglaich
2016-01-11, 12:10 PM
On the post above this one: Armor also got a lot simpler because it needed to be thicker to work against the increasingly powerful firearms. From what I've read the muskets of 1600 were still very heavy, and were used with a unipod to support the barrel during firing. By 1650 they had gotten both lighter and more powerful. The use of armor declined a lot during this time, in 1650 you might find that only the soldiers on the front line even wear a breastplate anymore, and the rest just has a helmet. Cavalry would often still have leg plating, but only on the front of the legs. If you made a full harness using the plate thickness needed to stop a musket ball of that time (and there isn't that much you can do to reduce thickness through clever design) it would seriously hamper your performance in other areas.

Couple of points. Armor couldn't really stop muskets first of all, at least not the original ones which were specifically designed as armor-piercing weapons. Good OR heavy armor could stop arquebus and caliver (etc.) bullets at longer ranges, and (more important for cavalry) pistol balls at almost any range.

But there are two ways to make armor good enough to stop a bullet. One, which you mentioned, is thickness. This also has the advantage of being relatively easier to make. The other is quality.

Late medieval armor was often made of tempered steel. This was the best and most expensive armor but it wasn't out of reach in terms of cost, due to the scale and high efficiency of the armor making industry in places like Augsburg and Nuremberg and Milan (though Milan, a pioneer in making steel armor, was slow to adopt the use of the more sophisticated heat treatments)

I forget the precise ratios in Knight and the Blast Furnace (you can look them up) but very roughly, 3mm of tempered steel is as effective as 6mm of iron. Needless to say it's also much easier to get around wearing armor that is 3mm thick (and much less on the sides and back) vs. 6mm thick.

In fact in the 17th Century they actually returned to crude version of the tempered steel, inserted as a square plate within the iron, as a sort of secret bullet proofing method. Apparently both the English and the French arrived at this independently.




I can see that military leaders were often slow on picking up new technology. In 1700 there were still plenty of forces using matchlocks (outdated for about a century for all uses except as a backup mechanism) and plug bayonets (outdated by only 4 decades, but horribly outclassed by every single alternative). But were they really going backwards that much?

We are taught to think that the way things went are due to the inevitable march of progress and were in fact the most logical way to go about things, but I'm personally not convinced. I think the 17th and 18th Century were a time of repression and corruption in the old order in Europe, ultimately leading to the (largely catastrophic) French Revolution, which was also a military revolution.

G

Brother Oni
2016-01-11, 04:59 PM
In fact in the 17th Century they actually returned to crude version of the tempered steel, inserted as a square plate within the iron, as a sort of secret bullet proofing method. Apparently both the English and the French arrived at this independently.

So kinda like modern ballistic vests with plate carriers?

I think you missed another way of increasing armour protection - sloping it. A prow design where it's thickest at the front then tapering down in thickness as it gets to the more extreme angles from the front seems to have been fairly popular.

https://p2.liveauctioneers.com/1022/23100/8136409_1_l.jpg

I concede it's basically a subsection of thickness, but you're increasing effective thickness for the same weight, so is sort of unique enough not to be lumped in with the other two.

Hoosigander
2016-01-11, 07:18 PM
http://www.thepirateslair.com/images/naval-nautical-antiques/17thcentury-solingen-cutlass-2.jpg
http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/8347/9753123_1.jpg?v=8CD1F0C00EC6930

I'm curious about these images; the first is definitely 17th century in appearance, but the first two of the second set look like nineteenth century swords to me. The first of the second set resembles a foot officer's sword of French or French inspired design, but I haven't been able to identify its model. The second of that set is, to my eye at least, a 19th century artillery sword. If so, they may well be of lesser quality (particularly the artillery sword) as 19th century armies would be even larger (mass produced swords) and have little expectation of using it in combat (except perhaps in colonial wars).

Galloglaich
2016-01-11, 07:24 PM
So kinda like modern ballistic vests with plate carriers?

Yes almost exactly like that, except even heavier as you were embedding steel inside iron. A lot of that 17th Century armor was appallingly heavy, I have heard of 50 lbs breast plates. Can't imagine walking around with that one. Needless to say the troops hated it and often ditched it as soon as they could. They could save your life though.

https://assets.rareburg.com/0000/img/article/csMilitaria3Prussianbreastplate.jpg

The earlier, usually much lighter Late Medieval armor was sometimes also made in layers but much more elegantly, so you might have the lower piece of a breast plate overlapping with the upper at just the point where you get hit most often by lances, where the combined thickness might be as much as 4mm. This is far more effective against a bullet than iron mixed with steel. Some Gothic harness for the whole body weighed as little as 35 lbs.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c0/3d/c8/c03dc80c4e9dc5477de5101bdcea00e7.jpg



I think you missed another way of increasing armour protection - sloping it. A prow design where it's thickest at the front then tapering down in thickness as it gets to the more extreme angles from the front seems to have been fairly popular.

https://p2.liveauctioneers.com/1022/23100/8136409_1_l.jpg

I concede it's basically a subsection of thickness, but you're increasing effective thickness for the same weight, so is sort of unique enough not to be lumped in with the other two.

No you are absolutely right, very good point, that particular type called a 'peascod' shape, was invented in the 16th Century to help proof against bullets, though those kinds of ridges in the middle and generally rounded and sloped shapes like that go back to the 15th Century, particularly as part of Gothic Harness or the slightly later Maximilian harness, as they were useful against lances and crossbows as well as guns.

G

Incanur
2016-01-11, 07:31 PM
While the narrative of post-Renaissance decline is compelling and useful, it's important to remember that a significant amount of 15th/16th-century and earlier equipment was likewise low-quality. Additionally note that you can't tell metal quality from an armor's appearance: various pretty and seemly well-designed suits were made of soft, slaggy iron.

Armor quality really did drop dramatically according to The Knight and the Blast Furnace. Fully hardening armor wasn't easy; it took the English crown years to establish a workshop capable for creating the best sort of armor. And even armor from elite workshops like Innsbruck or Greenwich wasn't 100% tempered steel. Producing the hardened armor required a high level of skill and good metal.

I'm skeptical that gun quality overall declined in the 17th century and on. Were munitions-grade muskets less visually impressive than the unique 15th-century masterpieces? Sure. But 15th-century firearms on the whole weren't necessarily that impressive. During the War of the Roses, non-cannon gunpowder weapons accomplished little or nothing in the British Isles; Gregory's Chronicle describes how soldiers scorned gunpowder weapons at the Saint Albans 1461 and instead fought with lead mallets, bows, swords, glaives, and axes. By the late 18th-century you have the Girandoni repeating air rifle. While probably mediocre weapons because of low power and high maintenance requirements, Girandoni rifles demonstrate technological innovation and masterful skill.

I do see merit in challenging the assumption of progress. In the Chinese region, some evidence indicates that crossbow technology and bronze-casting skill declined after the Mongol conquest. Ancient Han crossbows apparently were more reliable and accurate that Ming-era crossbows.

Galloglaich
2016-01-11, 07:31 PM
I'm curious about these images; the first is definitely 17th century in appearance, but the first two of the second set look like nineteenth century swords to me. The first of the second set resembles a foot officer's sword of French or French inspired design, but I haven't been able to identify its model. The second of that set is, to my eye at least, a 19th century artillery sword. If so, they may well be of lesser quality (particularly the artillery sword) as 19th century armies would be even larger (mass produced swords) and have little expectation of using it in combat (except perhaps in colonial wars).

Those are late 18th Century. Pre-Napoleonic

Galloglaich
2016-01-11, 07:48 PM
While the narrative of post-Renaissance decline is compelling and useful, it's important to remember that a significant amount of 15th/16th-century and earlier equipment was likewise low-quality. Additionally note that you can't tell metal quality from an armor's appearance: various pretty and seemly well-designed suits were made of soft, slaggy iron.

I grant you some 15th Century firearms and cannon in particular look pretty rough, the early 15th Century guns are particularly crude sometimes. But when it came to armor and swords and so on, there are literally thousands of surviving examples of very high quality, and this is due to the quality controls put in place by the guilds.

Once the production centers like Nuremberg and Venice started figuring guns out and standardizing firearms they were making them of very high quality quite early, in large numbers, and not too expensive. That is the unique, and frankly amazing quality of the medieval craft system.

This is an image of the Nuremberg armoury in the early 16th Century. Note some of the guns already have serpentines attached.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=121595&stc=


Armor quality really did drop dramatically according to The Knight and the Blast Furnace. Fully hardening armor wasn't easy; it took the English crown years to establish a workshop capable for creating the best sort of armor. And even armor from elite workshops like Innsbruck or Greenwich wasn't 100% tempered steel. Producing the hardened armor required a high level of skill and good metal.

keep in mind, Innsbruck derived from the original industy out of Augsburg, which is where they got most of the artisans. I believe Greenwich also had Augsburg or Nuremberg artisans, maybe via Innsbruck.



I'm skeptical that gun quality overall declined in the 17th century and on. Were munitions-grade muskets less visually impressive than the unique 15th-century masterpieces? Sure. But 15th-century firearms on the whole weren't necessarily that impressive. During the War of the Roses, non-cannon gunpowder weapons accomplished little or nothing in the British Isles; Gregory's Chronicle describes how soldiers scorned gunpowder weapons at the Saint Albans 1461 and instead fought with lead mallets, bows, swords, glaives, and axes.

When you try to look at medieval things through the lens of England you tend to get confused. Medieval firearms were awfully impressive to the thousands that died in the Hussite Crusades trying to rush Hussite war-wagons. There were literally scores of other battles in which they played a decisive role in the 15th Century alone. The English may not have had much luck with them that early, neither did the Iroqouis, but I don't think that really means much.


By the late 18th-century you have the Girandoni repeating air rifle. While probably mediocre weapons because of low power and high maintenance requirements, Girandoni rifles demonstrate technological innovation and masterful skill.

I think by the late 18th Century the decline was staring to reverse itself in many areas. But even in the bleakest periods of the 17th Century there were still very skilled master artisans around - but most of them were making luxury goods. The industries just weren't geared any more toward making nice stuff

G

Incanur
2016-01-11, 10:03 PM
I grant you some 15th Century firearms and cannon in particular look pretty rough, the early 15th Century guns are particularly crude sometimes. But when it came to armor and swords and so on, there are literally thousands of surviving examples of very high quality, and this is due to the quality controls put in place by the guilds.

See The Knight and the Blast Furnace and The Sword and the Crucible for examples of how visually appealing armor and swords weren't necessarily made from the best metal. 15th/16th-century infantry armor wasn't necessarily dramatically better than 17th-century infantry armor. Granted, 15th-century infantry armor does seem somewhat superior to 16th-century on average, but you still have 15th-century pieces like Churgburg 34 (pg. 128) that are soft, slaggy iron. A few infantry forces 1450-1575 might have had partially hardened armor of decent steel, which is indeed amazing, but it wasn't the norm, especially beyond South-German region (Augsburg/Innsbruck/etc.). Some 15th- and especially 16th-century infantry armor was wrought iron just like nearly all 17th-century infantry armor.


keep in mind, Innsbruck derived from the original industy out of Augsburg, which is where they got most of the artisans. I believe Greenwich also had Augsburg or Nuremberg artisans, maybe via Innsbruck.

Yes, it was very specific. Henry VIII setup Greenwich to try to produce armor equal to the best South German quality. Artisans from Landshut went to England as early as 1518, but it still took Greenwich decades to starting producing fully hardened harness. Pietro Monte wrote how armor was improving in the 1490s and how Innsbruck was a center for innovation. Fully hardened armor wasn't something every 15th/16th-century men-at-arms had; only the folks who afford a suit from Innsbruck or some such would have that level of protection, and even then it was a 100% sure thing because some Innsbruck/Greenwich/Augsburg pieces weren't fully hardened.


Medieval firearms were awfully impressive to the thousands that died in the Hussite Crusades trying to rush Hussite war-wagons. There were literally scores of other battles in which they played a decisive role in the 15th Century alone.

The Hussites used more crossbows than handheld guns. I wager they'd have killed for circa-1650 English muskets and powder. Personal firearms weren't nearly as important in the 15th century as in the 16th century or 17th century. Gunpowder artillery of course mattered a lot in the 15th century, though it improved significantly on average in the 16th century.


The English may not have had much luck with them that early, neither did the Iroqouis, but I don't think that really means much.

The Iroquois didn't have access to gunpowder weapons of any sort in the 15th century. When they eventually got personal firearms, they made quite good use of them. By contrast, smaller Continental gunpowder weapons went to the British Isles in the 15th century and they didn't do much then.

In sum, I largely agree with you. However, I think you overestimate 15th-century gunpowder weapons and underestimate their 17th- and 18th-century counterparts. Tactics changed in part because of social and economic dynamics, but additionally because of the effectiveness of massed firearms and firearms plus fortifications. More static pike formations make sense from after Bicocca 1522 (of course it was a gradual transition).

Mr. Mask
2016-01-12, 10:20 AM
I was considering the idea of shuffling mermaids. Essentially, they can move about on land... slowly. Similar to seals, although their tails are fairly flexible. Using just their tail, then can sort of inch-worm and push themselves around.

My question is, how done for are you if you have very sluggish footwork in battle? Let's give an optimistic estimate that they're half as quick/agile as a human. Because of their lower centre of gravity, and heavy tail, they might have decent footing (they might also be ready to topple over under a light breeze, but I'm being optimistic still).


I was thinking something like a spear might be good. They can't back-pedal, but in real-world conditions I wonder if back-pedalling too much is dangerous anyway. Crossbows would be good, though a goat's foot wouldn't work. Bows wouldn't be too bad.

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 11:01 AM
See The Knight and the Blast Furnace and The Sword and the Crucible for examples of how visually appealing armor and swords weren't necessarily made from the best metal. 15th/16th-century infantry armor wasn't necessarily dramatically better than 17th-century infantry armor. Granted, 15th-century infantry armor does seem somewhat superior to 16th-century on average, but you still have 15th-century pieces like Churgburg 34 (pg. 128) that are soft, slaggy iron. A few infantry forces 1450-1575 might have had partially hardened armor of decent steel, which is indeed amazing, but it wasn't the norm, especially beyond South-German region (Augsburg/Innsbruck/etc.). Some 15th- and especially 16th-century infantry armor was wrought iron just like nearly all 17th-century infantry armor.

I think you are somewhat misunderstanding how the economics of this worked. There were different grades of armor under the old craft guild systems. By the mid 15th Century, you basically had the following I'm aware of:

1) Munitions grade - made by unregulated blacksmiths etc., very cheap. Usually just breast plates and simple cap like helmets. Affordable by a peasant.
2) Infantry grade - made by craft guilds in a few dozen continental cities, and even some in England and France. Cheap, usually just torso and head protection, but well-made. Made of relatively thin iron. Protects against hand weapons but not guns or the most powerful crossbows. Often blackened. This is the type of armor is what poorer burghers would buy, journeymen etc., as purchasing armor was one of the largest expenses associated with getting citizenship.
3) Cavalry grade - Also called 'lancers' armor, but they also made foot panoplies and half armor for infantry. Made of 2-3mm tempered steel. Mostly made in Augsburg and Nuremberg, some in Brescia and Venice. Moderately expensive. Equivalent from Milan was steel but not tempered, and cost slightly less. Protects against guns and the most powerful crossbows.
4) Parade grade - Also tournament armor. Made of 2-3 mm untempered steel. Mostly made in Milan and Brescia. Popular with nobles. Fancy engraving etc. were often featured. Could be very expensive. Could be heavier than type 3. Good protection against any hand weapon but not as much against guns etc.
5) Princely grade - Parade grade but often made of tempered steel. For battlefield use by rich people. Also often featured gilding, silver scrollwork etc. Very expensive. Mostly made in Augsburg and later Innsbruck etc. (into the 16th Century)

Grades 3 on up were mostly exported from a handful of cities. Tax records in Poland specify armor from Augsburg or Milan for example as necessary for equipping lancers. Wealthier mercenary infantry would also buy this quality of armor as it could save their lives and was also usually lighter.

Venetian guild law actually specified proofing tests for the two types of armor they made (basically 2 and 3), the first was tested by the 'small crossbow', the second was tested by the 'large crossbow'.



Yes, it was very specific. Henry VIII setup Greenwich to try to produce armor equal to the best South German quality. Artisans from Landshut went to England as early as 1518, but it still took Greenwich decades to starting producing fully hardened harness. Pietro Monte wrote how armor was improving in the 1490s and how Innsbruck was a center for innovation. Fully hardened armor wasn't something every 15th/16th-century men-at-arms had; only the folks who afford a suit from Innsbruck or some such would have that level of protection, and even then it was a 100% sure thing because some Innsbruck/Greenwich/Augsburg pieces weren't fully hardened.

This is because they also made what I call "infantry grade" and parade grade armor, per above.



The Hussites used more crossbows than handheld guns. I wager they'd have killed for circa-1650 English muskets and powder. Personal firearms weren't nearly as important in the 15th century as in the 16th century or 17th century. Gunpowder artillery of course mattered a lot in the 15th century, though it improved significantly on average in the 16th century.



You would be right they would definitely have killed for 17th Century English muskets, I agree 100%! But the much simpler guns they had were apparently very important on the battlefield, and from that point in the 1420's, they were making more and more , and better and better handguns. By the time they were fighting the Hungarians in the 1470's the hand gun was apparently very important (and much more sophisticated). Judging from the images from the Bern chronicle, handguns were more important for the various Swiss victories than we have been led to believe by modern military histories.

But I'm not arguing that most 15th Century guns are better than 17th Century necessarily, for the most part there are much better gun designs available in the 17th Century, what I meant is that the workmanship of the 15th and 16th Century was much better, generally, and some of the early innovative design features like rifling, the wheellock, breach loading, better tolerances etc. which were invented in the 15th or early 16th Century were basically abandoned for widespread use by the 17th (though a few were used by cavalry, like the wheellock for pistols).

I know from records of the shooting contests in Germany, Bohemia and Poland etc., that the effective range and accuracy of firearms from roughly 1450-1520 was much better, at least among the competitive shooters, than what the typical accuracy of firearms was expected to be in the period roughly 1550-1650, although you do hear of a few expert sharpshooters among the Ottomans and Spanish and so on in various battles, as well as individuals like the goldsmith and sculptor Benvenutto Cellini who seems to have taken particular care to buy the best available weapons and kind of fine tune them.

Firearms tech and cannon tech seem to have reached an early peak around 1520-1530, then started declining into the 17th Century, along with almost everything else. it's not like the highest level of these went away, they just as I said became luxury items.



The Iroquois didn't have access to gunpowder weapons of any sort in the 15th century. When they eventually got personal firearms, they made quite good use of them. By contrast, smaller Continental gunpowder weapons went to the British Isles in the 15th century and they didn't do much then.

My point was that because the British didn't do much with them by that point, didn't mean that somebody wasn't. By the late 15th Century, even by the second half, hand held firearms had become very important on the battlefields of Europe. As early as 1380 they were already playing a decisive role in some battles, at that point though only in siege warfare. By the 1420's the Czechs had brought them into the open battlefield, and by the 1450's they had spread throughout Central, Northern, and Southern Europe. It's something people have a hard time getting their head around because we are so used to thinking of the 'knights in plate armor' ala Gondor etc. as being part of a pre-firearms "dark age" but it's just a nonsense trope.



In sum, I largely agree with you. However, I think you overestimate 15th-century gunpowder weapons and underestimate their 17th- and 18th-century counterparts. Tactics changed in part because of social and economic dynamics, but additionally because of the effectiveness of massed firearms and firearms plus fortifications. More static pike formations make sense from after Bicocca 1522 (of course it was a gradual transition).

I think we basically agree, which is somewhat amazing.

G

Brother Oni
2016-01-12, 12:24 PM
I was considering the idea of shuffling mermaids. Essentially, they can move about on land... slowly. Similar to seals, although their tails are fairly flexible. Using just their tail, then can sort of inch-worm and push themselves around.

My question is, how done for are you if you have very sluggish footwork in battle? Let's give an optimistic estimate that they're half as quick/agile as a human. Because of their lower centre of gravity, and heavy tail, they might have decent footing (they might also be ready to topple over under a light breeze, but I'm being optimistic still).


I was thinking something like a spear might be good. They can't back-pedal, but in real-world conditions I wonder if back-pedalling too much is dangerous anyway. Crossbows would be good, though a goat's foot wouldn't work. Bows wouldn't be too bad.

Haven't you asked this question before?

Anyway, ignoring the biomechanics for now, how high and upright off the ground can your mermaids raise themselves? This would affect the size of the bow they could draw (unless you went for the off centre yumi approach), assuming that they had the culture and training of using them (bows aren't usable underwater and warbows really aren't something you can just pick up and use without prior training due to their high poundage).
I see no reason why a goat's foot spanner wouldn't work (link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIkxyjVu9gc)) - I think you mean a belt hook or stirrup spanning method. A windlass would likewise be potentially problematic.

As for agility, this would be a major issue since I presume lunging and other sudden movements involving gaining/losing ground would be a problem. At half the speed of a human, I'd get pikes or other long polearms, sit outside their range then poke them to death as presumably they wouldn't have really heavy armour to compensate for their low manoeuvrability (or just pepper them with arrows/bolts).

Alternately, just use everybody's favourite low tech solution and drop/roll heavy rocks at them as the merfolk won't have the leverage to throw them back effectively.

Incanur
2016-01-12, 12:41 PM
This is because they also made what I call "infantry grade" and parade grade armor, per above.

You've read the The Knight and Blast Furnace. Just browse through the extant pieces that Alan Williams describes. It's not as simple as grades and marks because quality wasn't uniform. As mentioned above, some mass-produced infantry armor was partially or even fully hardened. Some armor for kings and princes (like Henry VIII) was made of mediocre metal (see pg. 732). Some armor for Spanish kings was low-carbon steel (820). On page 409 you have a circa-1540 "plain infantry armour" with an Augsburg mark that's fully hardened. The point is, armor quality varied even within grades and regardless of marks. Some plain infantry armor provide more protection that royal suits. Why? Because assessing metal quality and hardening armor were both difficult, and because some level of fraud was profitable.


I know from records of the shooting contests in Germany, Bohemia and Poland etc., that the effective range and accuracy of firearms from roughly 1450-1520 was much better, at least among the competitive shooters, than what the typical accuracy of firearms was expected to be in the period roughly 1550-1650, although you do hear of a few expert sharpshooters among the Ottomans and Spanish and so on in various battles, as well as individuals like the goldsmith and sculptor Benvenutto Cellini who seems to have taken particular care to buy the best available weapons and kind of fine tune them.

Shooting contests differ dramatically from battlefield conditions. I'm not sure, but I suspect shooting contestants had plenty of time to carefully load their pieces. That's not practical for military service except perhaps at sieges and so on.


Firearms tech and cannon tech seem to have reached an early peak around 1520-1530, then started declining into the 17th Century, along with almost everything else.

They made lots of high-quality armor and edged weapons after 1520-1530. Greenwich did the best roughly 1560-1590, though that is of course England. Given the social/political/economic/religious conflicts in the 17th century, such as the devastating Thirty Years' War and the English Civil War, it's hardly surprising military tactics and equipment production changed. In England, even relatively cheap armor wasn't considered worth the expense and encumbrance, and it quickly fell out of favor in the English Civil War. In many ways this was a bleak period in Europe. Military affairs certainly lacked the romance of the 15th and 16th centuries: no more knights in shining armor (except in Poland), fewer grand melees.


By the late 15th Century, even by the second half, hand held firearms had become very important on the battlefields of Europe. As early as 1380 they were already playing a decisive role in some battles, at that point though only in siege warfare. By the 1420's the Czechs had brought them into the open battlefield, and by the 1450's they had spread throughout Central, Northern, and Southern Europe. It's something people have a hard time getting their head around because we are so used to thinking of the 'knights in plate armor' ala Gondor etc. as being part of a pre-firearms "dark age" but it's just a nonsense trope.

Handheld firearms were important in the second half of the 15th century, sure, but as one weapon among many. It wasn't until the first quarter of 16th century that they definitively replaced crossbows on the Continent.

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 03:52 PM
You've read the The Knight and Blast Furnace. Just browse through the extant pieces that Alan Williams describes. It's not as simple as grades and marks because quality wasn't uniform. As mentioned above, some mass-produced infantry armor was partially or even fully hardened. Some armor for kings and princes (like Henry VIII) was made of mediocre metal (see pg. 732). Some armor for Spanish kings was low-carbon steel (820). On page 409 you have a circa-1540 "plain infantry armour" with an Augsburg mark that's fully hardened. The point is, armor quality varied even within grades and regardless of marks. Some plain infantry armor provide more protection that royal suits. Why? Because assessing metal quality and hardening armor were both difficult, and because some level of fraud was profitable.

Yeah, but look again at the categories I described, this fits the pattern.

Simplifying to the 15th Century -

Augsburg specialized in tempered steel armor for soldiers
Milan specialized in untempered steel armor for nobles - this is what I was calling 'parade armor'. It's real armor but the emphasis is more on looks than function.

The Milanese harness is almost all untempered. Good quality, but not tempered. I asked a friend of mine who is an armorer about this and he suggested that it might be because it's hard to temper armor after you gild it, and hard to gild it after you temper it. So the fancy armor with all the scroll work, silver, gilding and etc. was often not tempered. It was still very good armor, but not quite 'battlefield ready'.

The higher quality Augsburg armor is mostly tempered steel (though they also made other quality types) and this is true both for infantry harness and half-armors as well as cavalry armor.

Both Augsburg and Milan basically mass-produced armor in every category. I forget the specific battle but there was a famous incident in Italy where on Condottiero defeated his rival (but also friend), then paroled all the soldiers, outraging his client (who I think was Florence? I can't remember). It was like 15,000 guys. The Condottiero pointedout that the had all their armor so they shouldn't expect any more trouble, but Milan managed to make enough armor to re-equip all of them in like two months.



Shooting contests differ dramatically from battlefield conditions. I'm not sure, but I suspect shooting contestants had plenty of time to carefully load their pieces. That's not practical for military service except perhaps at sieges and so on.

Actually they apparently timed the shots with a special clock, this was done with crossbows too. But a shooting contest is much easier than a battlefield situation regardless.




They made lots of high-quality armor and edged weapons after 1520-1530. Greenwich did the best roughly 1560-1590, though that is of course England. Given the social/political/economic/religious conflicts in the 17th century, such as the devastating Thirty Years' War and the English Civil War, it's hardly surprising military tactics and equipment production changed. In England, even relatively cheap armor wasn't considered worth the expense and encumbrance, and it quickly fell out of favor in the English Civil War. In many ways this was a bleak period in Europe. Military affairs certainly lacked the romance of the 15th and 16th centuries: no more knights in shining armor (except in Poland), fewer grand melees.

Also mass religious persecution, new disease outbreaks like the syphilis epidemic, end of political freedom for almost all of Europe, religious sectarianism, ethnic cleansing and fanaticism and etc. It was a dismal time indeed.



Handheld firearms were important in the second half of the 15th century, sure, but as one weapon among many. It wasn't until the first quarter of 16th century that they definitively replaced crossbows on the Continent.

They seem to have had a special and very important niche, notably for example the Black Army used as many hand-held firearms as they could get, by the express order of Matthias Corvinus, I forget what ratio he was going for but it was very high especially considering how much pay gunners got back then. But it seemed to contribute to their victories against the Turks and Tartars in particular, in other words it seemed to be kind of an antidote to horse-archers.

Massed guns (and the top quality crossbows of that day) would probably be tough for English longbowmen too I suspect, they certainly didn't do well at the siege of Nuess and other battles in the Burgundian wars.

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 03:58 PM
And obviously, the main niche for firearms going into the 16th Century as the first muskets appeared, was that they could punch through armor. So they were the antidote to the European heavy cavalry too, as the Ottomans noted, leading them to convert their Janissary corps almost totally to heavy handguns, proto -muskets etc.

And the Spanish noticed and capitalized on this as well.

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 04:07 PM
Speaking of the Augsburg armor industry, their armorers craft shared a guild with the painters guild. One of the painters apparently found a sketchbook the armorers had made of pieces they were working on, and illustrated it, put people in some of them etc. This was made in the late 15th Century I believe

I've posted some of these before but they are worth a look

(these images are from Pintrest so if the links die, do a google image search with the search terms "Thun Sketchbook Helmschmied"

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1b/73/cc/1b73cc5944f72dbc665ae495c1578a39.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/70/9e/09/709e095a4c16c069d7021ccda6ec03c8.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/df/c8/e4/dfc8e47d055c3f0b407d4265ca56fd19.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/38/41/3f/38413f0e499312f1e5d4a1580b548a21.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/dd/2e/ae/dd2eaea87b0eaa22ccfead224c804204.jpg


The craft guild was very efficient in production by making a network of dozens of crafts linked together in complex subcontracting systems that had been slowly developed over centuries. They could do mass production or luxury production or both, depending how they were configured.

Durkoala
2016-01-12, 06:11 PM
Hi, I have a weapon question that isn't actually for a game, but this seemed like the best place to ask.

I was thinking about unusual weapon designs and I was wondering if it would be possible to make a "blade" out of a taut wire supported on a frame. For the time being, assume that it can be made of sufficent materials to keep it from breaking or wearing down midfight. How well would such a blade cut, what would be the ideal dimensions of the wire and what kind of weapons would it work best with?


It's intended for close combat with other warriors and/or dangerous beasts. My original concept was for a polearm or scythe*, but I would like to hear about other weapons.

*yes, scythes aren't the best weapons in the world. I am happy to just invoke Rule of Cool if need be about the whole thing, but I'm curious as to how (im)practical this design would be.

My thanks in advance.

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 06:35 PM
Hi, I have a weapon question that isn't actually for a game, but this seemed like the best place to ask.

I was thinking about unusual weapon designs and I was wondering if it would be possible to make a "blade" out of a taut wire supported on a frame. For the time being, assume that it can be made of sufficent materials to keep it from breaking or wearing down midfight. How well would such a blade cut, what would be the ideal dimensions of the wire and what kind of weapons would it work best with?


It's intended for close combat with other warriors and/or dangerous beasts. My original concept was for a polearm or scythe*, but I would like to hear about other weapons.

*yes, scythes aren't the best weapons in the world. I am happy to just invoke Rule of Cool if need be about the whole thing, but I'm curious as to how (im)practical this design would be.

My thanks in advance.

You need a 'stasis' field around it and you need to read Larry Niven

http://larryniven.wikia.com/wiki/Variable_sword

http://news.larryniven.net/concordance/graphix/VariableKnifeJC.jpg

cobaltstarfire
2016-01-12, 06:37 PM
I was thinking about unusual weapon designs and I was wondering if it would be possible to make a "blade" out of a taut wire supported on a frame. For the time being, assume that it can be made of sufficent materials to keep it from breaking or wearing down midfight.
[/B]


My thanks in advance.

Are the enemies made of cheese?

(sorry couldn't resist, the description sounds like a giant cheese cutter to me is all :smallbiggrin:)

My gut feeling is it'd be bouncy and annoying to use. No idea on it cutting, seems like it'd need a significant amount of force to really "cut" even on bare skin to me, it might depend on how thin the wire is?

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-01-12, 07:04 PM
One problem I can see is that the frame is probably going to be heavier than a normal sword with comparable cutting power, as it can't be straight and has to bear the continuous force of the wire pulling its ends together.

I also don't think a wire is ideal for the kind of cutting you do in combat. For a saw it can work brilliantly, but as a cleaver? And if you want to stab with this weapon you're going to have to turn the frame into a sort of sword anyway by adding a point.

The main benefit I can see ones you decide that the problems with the design can be handwaved, magic'd or scienced away is that a thin yet incredibly strong wire can cut on all sides. Even a strike with what normally would be the flat of the blade is an attack with a sharp wire.

Wardog
2016-01-12, 07:17 PM
the exact quote is "Can't make a silver bullet out of a silver dollar. Common misconception. Bullet would tumble."

That sounds like it's talking about firing silver dollars out of a gun, rather than melting down a silver dollar and moulding it into a proper bullet.

Alternatively, I suppose it could be due to silver and lead having different densities, so if you replaced a lead bullet with an identically-sized silver one, without altering the twist of the rifling or the amount of propellant, then it might not behave as expected.

Mr Beer
2016-01-12, 07:46 PM
I was considering the idea of shuffling mermaids. Essentially, they can move about on land... slowly. Similar to seals, although their tails are fairly flexible. Using just their tail, then can sort of inch-worm and push themselves around.

My question is, how done for are you if you have very sluggish footwork in battle? Let's give an optimistic estimate that they're half as quick/agile as a human. Because of their lower centre of gravity, and heavy tail, they might have decent footing (they might also be ready to topple over under a light breeze, but I'm being optimistic still).

They sound like they'd be pretty done for. I think you could take them with long brooms to push them over and any kind of hand weapon to finish off the prone 'maid.

Brother Oni
2016-01-12, 07:47 PM
That sounds like it's talking about firing silver dollars out of a gun, rather than melting down a silver dollar and moulding it into a proper bullet.

Alternatively, I suppose it could be due to silver and lead having different densities, so if you replaced a lead bullet with an identically-sized silver one, without altering the twist of the rifling or the amount of propellant, then it might not behave as expected.

One of the issues is silver's high melting point, making it hard to pour into a bullet mould without specialised equipment - the article linked by wobner indicates that it's possible with high-grade graphite, a well-stocked machine shop with the appropriate expertise and a silver foundry due to the significant heat required to melt silver (~960C compared to ~320C for lead).

Attempting to hammer silver into a bullet shape also sounds like a recipe for a catastrophic misfire, so mr beer's shotgun method seems optimal as you can get away with irregularly shaped silver bits without too much issue there.

As for the tumbling, it would depend on the quality and design of the bullet. The bullet of a M16 round tumbles on impact due to the back end being heavier than the front (it can't tumble in air, else the accuracy/precision would go to hell) in addition to the twist and weight (incidentally this has the side effect of causing fragmentation of the bullet as it enters the body, increasing damage and hence lethality).

Incanur
2016-01-12, 07:49 PM
Yeah, but look again at the categories I described, this fits the pattern.

It doesn't it explain why Spanish kings had low-carbon-steel armor or why Henry VIII had a helmet with a failed attempt at heat treatment. Etc. At least according to Alan Williams, 15th/16th-century armorers didn't always know what they were doing and at times got it wrong even when they did. Metallurgy ain't easy.


Actually they apparently timed the shots with a special clock, this was done with crossbows too. But a shooting contest is much easier than a battlefield situation regardless.

How much time were gunners given?


Also mass religious persecution, new disease outbreaks like the syphilis epidemic, end of political freedom for almost all of Europe, religious sectarianism, ethnic cleansing and fanaticism and etc. It was a dismal time indeed.

To be fair, the 15th/16th centuries also had their fair share of religious persecution, sectarianism, fanaticism, and epidemics.


Massed guns (and the top quality crossbows of that day) would probably be tough for English longbowmen too I suspect, they certainly didn't do well at the siege of Nuess and other battles in the Burgundian wars.

Guns (and crossbows) have some obvious advantages over bows at sieges and that matter at various times in the 15th century and much more later on. In the field, however, it's a different story. 15th-century person firearms weren't reliable. There's physical evidence Burgundian handgonnes actually exploded early in the War of the Roses, injuring or killing their wielders. At Stoke Field 1487, personal firearms didn't save the German and Swiss mercenaries on the Yorkist side.

fusilier
2016-01-12, 08:48 PM
Guns (and crossbows) have some obvious advantages over bows at sieges and that matter at various times in the 15th century and much more later on. In the field, however, it's a different story. 15th-century person firearms weren't reliable. There's physical evidence Burgundian handgonnes actually exploded early in the War of the Roses, injuring or killing their wielders. At Stoke Field 1487, personal firearms didn't save the German and Swiss mercenaries on the Yorkist side.

Throughout most of the 15th century firearms were employed alongside traditional projectile weapons, although in the early 16th century firearms quickly became dominate.

In terms of quality, late 15th century and 16th century firearms often had very heavy barrels by later standards. Very thick walls, and heavily tapered or "swamped" barrels seem common. By the 17th century the barrels were usually thinner and didn't have as much taper. Part of that may have been charge, they were certainly overcharging them (by modern standards) in the 16th century, but developments in metallurgy and increasing confidence may also be a factor in making gun barrels lighter (a similar trend can be detected among cannon during the 16th century).

Concerning technological development, I was looking through Lavin's old book "A History of Spanish Firearms" and saw a nice photograph of a mid 17th century flintlock revolver carbine. His book is also loaded with plenty of fancy 16th century firearms, including some carbine like weapons with telescoping butt-stocks. I wouldn't be confident saying that technological innovation of firearms declined in the 17th century. A variety of flintlock mechanisms were developed and matured in that period, and certainly there was continued experimentation with breechloading and multi-shot weapons. Perhaps there wasn't as much experimentation and variation as seen in the 16th century, but that could be attributed to a maturation of the technology.

Concerning the decline in armor quality (if decline is appropriate), I was reminded of what I brought up concerning the switch from paid oarsmen to slaves on galleys -- wage inflation during the 16th century. This is also cited as one of the reasons that stone-firing cannons fell out of favor -- the labor costs in making stone cannonballs became uneconomical in Europe (stone firing cannons were often preferred except when attacking masonry). If the superior armor required significantly more labor to produce, it too may have become uneconomical especially when combined with the increasing size of armies.

Galloglaich
2016-01-12, 10:32 PM
Concerning the decline in armor quality (if decline is appropriate), I was reminded of what I brought up concerning the switch from paid oarsmen to slaves on galleys -- wage inflation during the 16th century. This is also cited as one of the reasons that stone-firing cannons fell out of favor -- the labor costs in making stone cannonballs became uneconomical in Europe (stone firing cannons were often preferred except when attacking masonry). If the superior armor required significantly more labor to produce, it too may have become uneconomical especially when combined with the increasing size of armies.

I think a more realistic way to describe this change, is that there after the discovery of the New World and the new sea-routes to the Pacific rim, was a shift in the power center of Europe to the West and the Atlantic nations. Their economies were based on the use of unskilled labor and 'putting out systems', with increasing reliance on slaves and serfs. They made all their money in fact from giant slave plantations growing indigo and cotton, nutmeg and sugar and so on.

The older pre-Columbus economy still centered in the middle of Europe, was based on skilled craft-artisans, who obviously cost much more to pay than slaves, but amazingly, this economy still persisted. In fact you can see the legacy of that to this very day in Central Europe and Northern Italy, which are where the most sought after luxury items in the world are found. The Germans, Czechs, Swiss and so on still rely on elements of the old craft guild system, such as the serious use of apprenticeships.

A few of them still even go on the journeyman waltz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journeyman_years

I also think the supposed increase in pay is very exaggerated, since the currency had devalued considerably.

G

Mr. Mask
2016-01-12, 11:20 PM
Haven't you asked this question before?

Anyway, ignoring the biomechanics for now, how high and upright off the ground can your mermaids raise themselves? This would affect the size of the bow they could draw (unless you went for the off centre yumi approach), assuming that they had the culture and training of using them (bows aren't usable underwater and warbows really aren't something you can just pick up and use without prior training due to their high poundage).
I see no reason why a goat's foot spanner wouldn't work (link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIkxyjVu9gc)) - I think you mean a belt hook or stirrup spanning method. A windlass would likewise be potentially problematic.

As for agility, this would be a major issue since I presume lunging and other sudden movements involving gaining/losing ground would be a problem. At half the speed of a human, I'd get pikes or other long polearms, sit outside their range then poke them to death as presumably they wouldn't have really heavy armour to compensate for their low manoeuvrability (or just pepper them with arrows/bolts).

Alternately, just use everybody's favourite low tech solution and drop/roll heavy rocks at them as the merfolk won't have the leverage to throw them back effectively. Oh, I asked if you could use a spear or otherwise fight while lying down, earlier.

As a party trick, they might be able to raise themselves up to about six feet, but they'd have terrible balance. More tolerably, they could probably raise themselves so their head was about five feet high. Of course, it will be harder to move and balance from that position. Normally, they'd probably only have their heads four feet high, for the mentioned low centre of gravity and more tail length to move with. Of course, some amount of bobbing height may be possible. If they get bows made for themselves, they could easily incorporate a yumi design to make it easier for their odd posture.

That's why I figure long spears, as gaining ground will be tricky for them. They could wear armour, but since moving on land is slow and awkward they probably wouldn't want to. If they were doing something like moving an unit of mermaid soldiers across a stretch of land to the ocean/water on the other side, they'd probably be better armed and armoured, and worried about raiders. I guess their only chance when against someone with a longer spear would be to try and catch it, play defence until their opponent gets impatient and over-lunges, or throw themselves forward in a desperate bid to get through your defences.

I didn't mention this before, but the mermaids can probably jump or lunge pretty decently. Might be a bit faster/further than a human hopping/leaping from a still-standing position.

With rocks, they can probably throw them reasonably well. They can't really do a proper javelin toss as they can't run, but they can "stand" in a stable enough position to throw with their upper body. Mermaid slingers could be a thing, but obviously they can't have practised that underwater. On that note, they'd probably want to carry some throwing darts, to try and help their range problem.



They sound like they'd be pretty done for. I think you could take them with long brooms to push them over and any kind of hand weapon to finish off the prone 'maid. Well, being prone won't really inconvenience them that much. They have a low centre of gravity, and basically only need to roll over and bend their tails to be "standing" again. Interestingly, I hadn't thought of this as it wouldn't be useful against blades, but with a broom they might be able to thwack it with their tails instead of shuffling a step, essentially giving them a third limb. Again, I'm not sure what use this'd be for them, unless they somehow armoured the end of their tail with a buckler or something (that'd be pretty interesting). I think you might as well use a spear rather than a broom, as if you can push them over you can skewer them. I'm not sure it wouldn't be a tense affair, as they'd know they have the disadvantage and will be fighting for their lives.

I guess in some ways their situation is comparable to a human against someone riding a pony.



You know, there's something appealing about this idea. A desperate creature unable to defend itself, trying to work out some technique or method that will allow it to defend itself. The buckler tail just seems very interesting to me as some desperate means to even the odds. On that note, this'd make lying down and hitting people with your tail a lot more viable, if you have a buckler attached to it (still totally desperate, if they have weapons).

Mr Beer
2016-01-13, 03:08 AM
I can't think of any way that they could effectively fight an opposing human force without markedly superior missile weapons.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-13, 05:56 AM
Ironically, mermaids might have less trouble in skirmishes than as travellers being ambushed on the road. With good crossbows, their range is about the same. Mobility still sucks, but if they keep formation then that isn't too bad. Makes me wonder if the mermaids could ride horses side-saddle (without stirrups, they're certainly not going to be shock-cav).

In pike formations, I'm not sure if their lack of foot agility will hurt them too much. They can still take a quick "step" one way or the other, just that it takes them a while to curl their tail around to prepare the next step after. And the guys who try to go under the forest of pikes will be in for a problem, as the mermaids centre of gravity is so low, and can easily be lowered, that they can swap between fending off low and high. Being used to crawling, they'll be on more-even terms with other people crawling around under the forest of pikes. Pikemen would have to get used to some mermaid tricks, such as being able to lunge at their legs and feet with quite some reach. Helmets will be important for mermaids, as their heads are what is most exposed when they lean forward, next being their arms, back and chest.

With their low centre of gravity, they might actually manage to have another rank of pikes presented. The first almost lying down, the second more upright, the third upright, and the fourth as tall as they can manage. This probably won't be a massive advantage, but take what you can get. If they're not careful, they'll end up disrupting each other's ability to move and operate, which wouldn't be good.

Interestingly, their disadvantage of mobility would also be a morale booster. That is, they cannot expect to get away if they run, so they would almost never break unless there was water nearby. They could probably make some speed if they were fleeing for their lives, but any human set on pursuing them would run them down shortly.


Of course, that's in a skirmish. Campaigning on land would be horrible. They would have fairly easy travel when water was involved, but that's their only advantage.

And even with the skirmishes, while their disadvantages as lessened than a straight duel, the disadvantage should still be quite evident. It's not a situation where you can expect to cut the mermaids down 10 to 1, but it would be pretty embarrassing if you couldn't beat them with even odds.

In a duel, the importance of not having swift footwork is much, much more considerable. With single persons, dodging ranged fire is a bit more agility based than if you make a shield wall with a formation.

Carl
2016-01-13, 06:16 AM
@Mask: The problem is that opponents could develop and employ specialised tactics against mermaids. Your right IMO that trying to go toe to toe with mermaids in a traditional scenario probably wouldn't be as disadvantageous, but their low mobility means weaponry that would otherwise be impractical for a human because of it's effects on mobility would be much more detrimental vs a human.

The easiest way to make mermaids mroe viable would be to up scale them to larger than human sizes. At that point sheer height/length and sheer muscle power would give them a lot of compensating factors.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-13, 06:41 AM
To clarify, I'm not hoping to make them equal with humans in land combat. I guess you could say I felt sorry for them and wanted to work out if there was some way mermaid pilgrims weren't totally defenceless, and if large groups of mermaids could fend off bandits if they were going to cross narrow land bridges. I expect there would be a number of specialized tactics mermaids would have difficulty or inability to counter (for one thing, slow marching speed is a pretty bad campaigning disadvantage, as is small carrying capacity).

That being said, making them larger is a good point. Being marine life, large mermaids would be fitting. The largest ones probably wouldn't be much good on land, but you might still have 400 pound mermaids who handle it.



Oh, off land and onto sea, would mermaids be able to throw nets into a longship and pull sailors into the water? This would require they catch up to the ship to begin with, of course, which is not easy (maybe on a day with bad wind).

How about climbing into the longship and fighting? The ones that come to mind, I think a dolphin could leap into those. Not sure if there's any other fun tactics they could try, aside from something like getting a whale to sink the ship. These tactics evidently won't work so well on taller ships.

Thiel
2016-01-13, 06:43 AM
Unless the mermaids are half eels or sea snakes I don't see how they could have the kind of mobility you're assuming. Seals etc. are entirely reliant on their front flippers to move about. Without them they're about as mobile as a sack of wet flour.

PersonMan
2016-01-13, 07:57 AM
If you have large formations of troops, would there be a large difference between those in the front and those in the back? Assuming a tech level around the 1100s and no specific region - I'm wondering if doing a large scale 'feint', where your force is able to swing around the entire enemy formation and attack them from behind, would give you a large advantage, once the moment of surprise is over. If the enemy force is still advancing (say, into a camp you abandoned, trying to find you) and you hit the rear, could you cause a lot of chaos / begin a rout by driving the enemy into the backs of the advancing forces?

Brother Oni
2016-01-13, 08:24 AM
As a party trick, they might be able to raise themselves up to about six feet, but they'd have terrible balance. More tolerably, they could probably raise themselves so their head was about five feet high. Of course, it will be harder to move and balance from that position. Normally, they'd probably only have their heads four feet high, for the mentioned low centre of gravity and more tail length to move with. Of course, some amount of bobbing height may be possible. If they get bows made for themselves, they could easily incorporate a yumi design to make it easier for their odd posture.


It sounds like your mermaids can raise themselves up much like a naga, which necessitates a very long tail part length for the balance required. This would also increase their body weight as their mass increases.

I think it would be more fruitful (both for this thread and your other one) if you defined what your mermaids looked like. As Carl said, if you scaled them up to above human sizes (eg the ~17m long Shirahoshi-hime from One Piece), then you eliminate many of the concerns with competing with humans.



That's why I figure long spears, as gaining ground will be tricky for them. They could wear armour, but since moving on land is slow and awkward they probably wouldn't want to.


As I understand your current descriptions, the tail is a massive target which needs to be protected, thus not wearing armour can be potentially fatal. There's also the issue of their body weight scraping against the ground, damaging the scales, thus some form of protective gear would be desirable (maybe a tail 'sleeve' so they can travel across land in comfort, much like people wearing shoes).

Long spears require the use of both arms, which means that they would be unavailable for locomotion. As Thiel said, achieving decent mobility would require that they could move along the ground like a snake (even an eel can't shuffle along the ground, only barely controlled jumps), which makes them more like snake people rather than fish people.

Beleriphon
2016-01-13, 08:33 AM
Unless the mermaids are half eels or sea snakes I don't see how they could have the kind of mobility you're assuming. Seals etc. are entirely reliant on their front flippers to move about. Without them they're about as mobile as a sack of wet flour.

Might be thinking more along the longs of sea lions or walruses which can flip their rear limbs under their bodies and using a sort push/pull motion with the front limbs to move surprisingly quickly on land.

So if it were up to me I'd model merperson movement more on modelling a sea lion or walrus.

Given that the pinnipeds limbs are actually the equivalent to a human foot or hand it would be rather like us flailing our hands around while holding our arms to our bodies and then pushing without our toes. Also, as a point of comparison sea lions using their front flippers to swim and the back ones steer, while true seals ans walruses use the back flippers to provide power and the front flippers steer. So in a way merpeople are going to be more like a walrus or seal than a sea lion, but need to be able to move by pushing with the tail which makes them more like a walrus than a true seal. That said sea lions can get up a flight stairs when pressed.

At any rate there a lots of ways to go with movement on land for a marine "mammal" than being wet sacks of flour.

Wiki link for pinniped general article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinniped

Carl
2016-01-13, 11:27 AM
Locomotion wise i assumed Mask meant something like what i see in most depictions of mermaids in visual medium, there i'd generally say their tails have about the same range of motion a human would have if you bound their knees and ankles together but with slightly less forward hip movement and correspondingly greater rearward hip movment.

A human can absolutely shuffle along on both knees if they have to and a mermaid with similar movement could do the same. Inelegant as hell but if we assume an articulated tail of sufficient strength and width not especially unbalanced, (ther tail could control their side tip i effect). If we assume that equates to a 6ft long mermaid standing 4ft vertical then i'd say anything in the 16-20ft length range would work fairly well.

Tiktakkat
2016-01-13, 01:39 PM
If you have large formations of troops, would there be a large difference between those in the front and those in the back? Assuming a tech level around the 1100s and no specific region - I'm wondering if doing a large scale 'feint', where your force is able to swing around the entire enemy formation and attack them from behind, would give you a large advantage, once the moment of surprise is over. If the enemy force is still advancing (say, into a camp you abandoned, trying to find you) and you hit the rear, could you cause a lot of chaos / begin a rout by driving the enemy into the backs of the advancing forces?

The degree of difference is pretty dependent on the time and region.
The Roman Republic kept the richer, older, more experienced, better armed troops in the rear ranks to provide stability when the poorer, younger, less experienced, worse equipped troops in the front would retreat.
As troop formations developed, rear ranks of pike formations would wear lighter armor, and thus be more vulnerable in addition to the problems of turning a pike square.

Overall, there is always an advantage in taking an enemy from the flank or rear, and that advantage is almost always compounded when the enemy uses a strong infantry formation that has a distinct "facing" on the field. Their weapons are pointed the wrong way, they have more support troops and less melee troops, their commanders who could adjust the formation to respond are exposed, and similar factors.
About the only factor working in favor of the enemy at such a point is that his camp may be open and your troops will decide to enhance their pay rather than kill the field troops while they have the chance.

Brother Oni
2016-01-13, 02:06 PM
If you have large formations of troops, would there be a large difference between those in the front and those in the back? Assuming a tech level around the 1100s and no specific region - I'm wondering if doing a large scale 'feint', where your force is able to swing around the entire enemy formation and attack them from behind, would give you a large advantage, once the moment of surprise is over. If the enemy force is still advancing (say, into a camp you abandoned, trying to find you) and you hit the rear, could you cause a lot of chaos / begin a rout by driving the enemy into the backs of the advancing forces?

Further to Tiktakkat's post, in the later Medieval period, spear/pike infantry formations mixed in halberdiers in the front rank (so they could use their shorter weapons more effectively) or armoured the front rank more heavily (due to the higher casualty rate).

Later on in the Early Modern/Renaissance period shields became briefly popular again, as evidenced by the rotella, but I don't know whether they skirmished against enemy pike blocks or were mixed in with friendly troops.

I think the most clearly directional infantry formation would either be the Greek hoplite sarissa blocks or the shot and pike era pike blocks:

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/images/Army1.jpg

http://www.colbirch.org.uk/scene.jpg

Try turning either of those to the flank or rear in a hurry. :smalltongue:


Locomotion wise i assumed Mask meant something like what i see in most depictions of mermaids in visual medium, there i'd generally say their tails have about the same range of motion a human would have if you bound their knees and ankles together but with slightly less forward hip movement and correspondingly greater rearward hip movment.

The problem with that assessment is that the movement is obviously based on a human bound at the knees and ankles. If the biology was closer to a finned mammal like a cetacean, then their spine extends down to the end of their tail with everything from the pelvis downwards is atrophied. In order to raise themselves up like a snake with this sort of physiology, then they would have to be much more like a snake, thus a much longer tail length is required to provide the strength and the counter balance.

Digging into how high snakes can rise up, cobras can raise themselves to about a 1/3 of their body length, so a mermaid rising to 4ft would be approximately 12ft long, so a bit more shorter than your estimate.

Looking into the biomechanics and anatomy, the body proportions throws up a problem however. Using the body proportions from MIL-STD-1472D, a 5'9" man has a torso length (top of head to crotch) of 36". Using the 4ft raise height, you essentially have a full human torso only a foot off the ground, so essentially your mermaid isn't too far off a person who's lost their legs at the knee, only with ~8ft of broad muscular tail out behind them. Using an equivalent length dolphin as a rough guide (the bottlenose dolphin gets to about 4 m long, so ~half a metre longer than our mermaid) you're looking at somewhere in the region of ~550kg.

Given that a human torso is less 'chunky' than a dolphin's front end, you could probably knock a significant portion off that estimate, but I wouldn't say more than 50%, leaving us with a 3.6m long mermaid weighing 225kg, with a normal human proportion part of 1.2m (head to ~crotch). This interpretation does make a mermaid's tail incredibly powerful though, so more than enough to push themselves across land but does make body weight damage and scraping to the tail portion across rough ground an issue though and we haven't even started factoring in weapons, armour or other kit yet.

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 02:32 PM
Sorry to interrupt the mermaids, but speaking of armorers, found a real nice woodcut of some

http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/jbksak1888/0139?sid=2b36eefa6f37cca89ebb23714a89d447

there are tons of cool images in there, it's a book about or by Maximillian I, hundreds of woodcuts or engravings or whatever they are.

As for the mermaid, I kept thinking of this guy:

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/thecabininthewoods/images/d/d0/Merman.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/253?cb=20120901071949

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/thecabininthewoods/images/c/c8/Citw74a.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20121216205113

https://monsterlegacy.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/mermanapproach.jpg

http://www.propstore.com/product-images/2139/187505.jpg


(sorry)

G

Brother Oni
2016-01-13, 02:47 PM
As for the mermaid, I kept thinking of this guy: [snip]


It could be worse - it could be ningyo (Japanese 'mermaids'):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/SekienNingyo.jpg

http://pinktentacle.com/images/vintage_mermaid_4_large.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~oldphoto9/images/Japanese%20Mermaid%20wm.jpg

It puts 'Kiss the Girl (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axZ6mG__ZqU)' in a whole different light. :smallbiggrin:

Carl
2016-01-13, 03:36 PM
The problem with that assessment is that the movement is obviously based on a human bound at the knees and ankles.

Well duh, that's the range of movement mermaids are often depicted with, their tails move nothing like say a dolphins, or at least they don't when they do anything but swim in a straight line. Most clearly have a range of movement that requires a completely different anatomy to say a dolphin. Hence my estimate, i don't imagine them standing on more than the bottom third to half of their tail and i'm assuming the bottom half and the fin are both jointed independently of the upper half and each other. Thats the kind of jointing they'd need. TBH Disney probably is to blame as the earliest depiction i can remember of such is from them many moons ago, though i don;t doubt it existed before then, they seem to have popularised it.

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-01-13, 04:30 PM
If it's ugly it's a mermidon right? Mermaids as a species are always pretty. And if it's closer to a wereseal it's a selkie. But shape changing to function on land is cheating...

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 05:02 PM
It could be worse - it could be ningyo (Japanese 'mermaids'):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/SekienNingyo.jpg

http://pinktentacle.com/images/vintage_mermaid_4_large.jpg

http://home.earthlink.net/~oldphoto9/images/Japanese%20Mermaid%20wm.jpg

It puts 'Kiss the Girl (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axZ6mG__ZqU)' in a whole different light. :smallbiggrin:

Those are badass! Awesome! Love that print!

Mermiads were big in Europe too, particularly in the rivers. And they were also kind of creepy. Basically they were river spirits with the personality of the river, sometimes it gives fish, sometimes it freezes, sometimes it floods and so on. Some very quick examples as I'm unusually pressed for time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melusine

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Melusinediscovered.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorelei

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid_of_Warsaw

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/AGAD_Herb_Warszawy_1652.png/435px-AGAD_Herb_Warszawy_1652.png



G

daremetoidareyo
2016-01-13, 05:25 PM
I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art last week and in one of the exhibits there was a sword called a tuck. it was claimed that it was an armor piercer. it had a triangular blade shape like an ice pick. it also had a long handle for more thrust. was this actually effective in combat?

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 05:47 PM
I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art last week and in one of the exhibits there was a sword called a tuck. it was claimed that it was an armor piercer. it had a triangular blade shape like an ice pick. it also had a long handle for more thrust. was this actually effective in combat?

Yes, it was indeed used for armor piercing. You see many variations of these. They were often used with two-handed thrusts (choking up on the 'blade'). Similar weapons were also used to stab with sort of like short, unbreakable backup lances.

G

Mr. Mask
2016-01-13, 06:15 PM
Is that mermaid part duck?



There are some interesting details that are coming to light now. Oni's recent speculation is similar to what I figured. The upper human half is probably much less muscled and heavy than the tail portion, so I figured the strong tail with the light torso would make it fairly easy for the mermaids to raise themselves. When I mentioned the six feet, I was picturing a ballerina mermaid who had practised for a year to strengthen her tail muscles, so she can stand straight as a pole. That's what I meant by it being a party trick. They might be able to draw a bow from that position, or just use it to get a higher view of things. I was thinking mermaids might be six feet long, for a small female mermaid (typical little mermaid), and the largest of that species might be eight feet long. They might be a

Then of course you might get the giant subspecies who range much larger in size. One named species Poseidon might get as ridiculous as 30 feet in length, but they wouldn't be able to leave the shore (not effectively). The 20-foot ones would have trouble, but still be ferocious on land. The larger species might also be man-eaters (or even mermaid eaters). They may have traits more similar to the mermaids pictured, such as claws and tougher hides, making them suitable to just scramble towards unwary humans and gobble them up (they may still want weapons and armour for dealing with armed humans).

As Carl has pointed out, Memaids have come to be depicted as more flexible than dolphins, and I think their tails might be more prehensile than human legs bound together (probably less flexible in a couple of respects, as mentioned). This might make them more comparable to snakes and eels, though their appearance is fish. I was considering the possibility they were part sea-dragon, so that while they look like fish, they have some ties to (sea)serpents.



I'm beginning to be interested in the idea of mermaid-raiders (mermaiders? Merraiders? Mermauders?). While disadvantaged on land, they could appear out of nowhere in large numbers on the shore, and take whatever can't be swiftly carried away, taking it back into the sea. If they can be well-armed with crossbows and the like, they might even trouble small human forces. In the early technology eras, the sea-dwelling mermaids might have quite a population advantage over humans, particularly if they have a monopoly on fishing.

Interestingly, the mermaids might normally be at odds with their larger cousins, but may consent to joint-raiding parties on the surface for loot and to prevent surfacers overfishing. This might be seen as similar to if humans decided to ally with the trolls and giants to go and raid the sea. There'd have to be systems of taking surface-equipment with them without it getting rusted, either by a boat they drag along, or in water-proof containers, or they have caches on land they pick up before hitting their target.

This practice might've developed as a result of a war between surfacers, where one side paid and equipped the mermaids to go raiding.

fusilier
2016-01-13, 08:08 PM
I think a more realistic way to describe this change, is that there after the discovery of the New World and the new sea-routes to the Pacific rim, was a shift in the power center of Europe to the West and the Atlantic nations. Their economies were based on the use of unskilled labor and 'putting out systems', with increasing reliance on slaves and serfs. They made all their money in fact from giant slave plantations growing indigo and cotton, nutmeg and sugar and so on.

The older pre-Columbus economy still centered in the middle of Europe, was based on skilled craft-artisans, who obviously cost much more to pay than slaves, but amazingly, this economy still persisted. In fact you can see the legacy of that to this very day in Central Europe and Northern Italy, which are where the most sought after luxury items in the world are found. The Germans, Czechs, Swiss and so on still rely on elements of the old craft guild system, such as the serious use of apprenticeships.

You might want to do some research into the nature of the guilds in Central Europe during the 16th century. I recall reading that they became more restrictive -- fewer apprentices becoming journeymen and masters, with the result that many shops took on a proto-factory or workshop-like structure. The masters taking on more apprentices, who never advanced, and ended up working as unskilled or semi-skilled laborers. I know the source was about Germany, but I can't remember where I read it.

AMFV
2016-01-13, 08:13 PM
I've got another question. What sort of weapons do you think fantasy races would develop. I mean if we're using the standard D&D type ones. The weapons they would develop would probably play to their strengths, but we don't usually see conflicting cultures that are quite as disparate as fantasy races.

I mean take Dwarves, they're massively muscled and strong, but also tend to be short, and stocky. Halflings are the size of children, typically. Could fantasy races threaten Human folks without magical stuff? If so, how?

gtwucla
2016-01-13, 09:12 PM
I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art last week and in one of the exhibits there was a sword called a tuck. it was claimed that it was an armor piercer. it had a triangular blade shape like an ice pick. it also had a long handle for more thrust. was this actually effective in combat?

Just to clarify, when you say effective in combat, the important thing is to remember there are many different aspects of combat. There were many knives used to pierce mail or through slits in plate armor, like a rondel dagger, this one in particular seems designed to pierce through plate armor. None of these knives however would be used like a knife fighter. They wouldn't be the second, third, or even fourth option. These weapons were more like tools, used when the enemy knight was already down, either pinned, disarmed and knocked down, or otherwise immobilized (at least partially) and vulnerable. Especially in the later periods when knightly armor was in its last true stage, it completely covered the body with no way of getting through to the soft flesh underneath, except the eye slits. SO as far effective in combat, I'd say yes and no. In a sense of fighting, no it was not. In a sense of used as a tool in war, yes.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-13, 09:23 PM
I've got another question. What sort of weapons do you think fantasy races would develop. I mean if we're using the standard D&D type ones. The weapons they would develop would probably play to their strengths, but we don't usually see conflicting cultures that are quite as disparate as fantasy races.

I mean take Dwarves, they're massively muscled and strong, but also tend to be short, and stocky. Halflings are the size of children, typically. Could fantasy races threaten Human folks without magical stuff? If so, how? Well, the cultural aspects are arguably more important. Dwarves are good craftsmen and technicians, so you can probably expect them to have some nice weapons and vehicles in modern times. Regardless of era, they have defensible mountain homes, so as long as they can get enough food to survive then they'll probably do quite well as their short stature is fine inside their mountains. I have sometimes wondered if the short, strong stature of dwarves would say, make them able to wield longer pikes or such, or whether the reduced leverage they have would be a problem for using large pikes.

Halflings have a size issue. Their weapons are less powerful and their armour is thinner. This encourages them to stick to less head-on forms of battle, so they'll probably prefer stuff like guerilla warfare. Something notably specific to halflings, is little halfling tunnels are probably can't be entered by larger races.


As an example of working out unique weapons, I suggested mermaids might throw nets onto longships and try to pull the sailors into the water. This is unique to them, as their situation doesn't really come up for anyone else.

gtwucla
2016-01-13, 09:26 PM
I've got another question. What sort of weapons do you think fantasy races would develop. I mean if we're using the standard D&D type ones. The weapons they would develop would probably play to their strengths, but we don't usually see conflicting cultures that are quite as disparate as fantasy races.

I mean take Dwarves, they're massively muscled and strong, but also tend to be short, and stocky. Halflings are the size of children, typically. Could fantasy races threaten Human folks without magical stuff? If so, how?

Every race would have polearms and ranged weapons, probably crossbow-like weapons, since races like dwarves and halflings would be too short for traditional war bows- or they would use composite recurve bows, which can be shorter, but very powerful, or A-symmetrical bows like the japanese yumi. Personally I like the idea of dwarves using arbalest. It seems fitting for the standard description of dwarves.

The rest would depend on their proximity to other cultures and who they run into conflict with most often. Weapons are almost never created in a vacuum, and if they are, they stay there- like the lantern shield. The Chinese came up with a huge variety of weapons used for specific purposes to counter the armies of rival states. Something I always found funny in history, because they were absolutely useless against invading armies, which (in a short answer) came too seldom to develop effective weapons against, so they more or less were mowed down every time one came (unless they had fortifications to hide behind). But I digress. Nations that are more isolated should have more unique weapons, like the Japanese. While nations prone to periodic invasion should have a theme of innovative weapons, like Korea (the turtle ship comes to mind). And lastly places in constant conflict, like medieval europe should have a variety of weapons with a major theme of efficiency. All should have polearms, because no matter how you cut it, polearms are the primary weapon of war and usually swords secondary. Not unless technology has advanced enough that ranged weapons (like guns) are an efficient replacement should that be different (and again weapons like swords and knives are secondary). In the second case, then for civilians, swords and knives become primary weapons (thus the dawn of dueling cultures).

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 09:41 PM
You might want to do some research into the nature of the guilds in Central Europe during the 16th century. I recall reading that they became more restrictive -- fewer apprentices becoming journeymen and masters, with the result that many shops took on a proto-factory or workshop-like structure. The masters taking on more apprentices, who never advanced, and ended up working as unskilled or semi-skilled laborers. I know the source was about Germany, but I can't remember where I read it.

You are probably referring to a famous study by Shielagh Ogilvie on a cluster of rural guilds which made worsted, a kind of yarn, in a poor, heavily forested part of Swabia, and actually mostly dealt with the 17th Century. She tried to extrapolate her study to encompass all guilds everywhere. Later on she wrote another book about Mercantile corporations like the East India Companies and tried to say they were guilds, and that therefore guilds were bad.

But that has been thoroughly debunked mainly by several books by academics following the lead of a guy from the London School of Economics named Stephen Epstein. Since he first debunked the old myths about guilds in a book published back in the 90's, there have been several more books published, various large academic conferences, and a hurricane of papers. I have read very detailed studies of craft guilds in Venice, in the Netherlands, several German towns, and even in France and the Ottoman Empire, all the way up to the 18th Century, and they had women in them, they still had social mobility and so on, and they still seemed to be thriving and functional right up to "the end" when they were at least temporarily banned by the French Revolutionary armies.

I could go into some detail but it would be off topic for this forum. In a nutshell, craft guilds weren't always good or bad, but they did tend to support their members in particular and skilled labor in general. Some crafts in moribund economies withered away (like the yarn makers Ogilvie studied) but the journeyman system was one of the ways that craft guilds managed to adapt to changing economies, since journeymen could travel all over the world as they still do to this day - in fact they were forced to travel for a fixed number of years from place to place learning their craft.

The Germans still use guild based apprenticeship systems even in advanced industries, and it's something other countries are trying to figure out how to emulate (without much success, as the cultural framework for this is not simple or easy to copy).

http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21601247-attempts-build-snazzy-german-style-apprenticeship-system-crash-cultural-and-economic

http://www.marketplace.org/2015/04/07/education/learning-curve/blue-collar-aristocrats-thrive-german-economy

That is why the London school of economics was studying the matter. Their economists, and others in the Netherlands and Italy and elsewhere, have concluded that contrary to the Victorian trope, popular with everyone from Adam Smith to Karl Marx (and still perpetuated by people like Ogilvie) that excoriated guilds as "rent seeking", craft guilds in particular were actually "cost sharing" enterprises which helped their constituents, and often the cities where they resided.

Rural guilds, well it depended a lot on the industry. Rural mining guilds were apparently terrific. The worsted producers in Swabia, apparently not so much.

However bringing it back to forum topic, the shooting guilds and fencing guilds, and various other martial arts guilds of the medieval world seem to have been quite effective in turning citizens into skillful part-time warriors and soldiers.

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 09:43 PM
Just to clarify, when you say effective in combat, the important thing is to remember there are many different aspects of combat. There were many knives used to pierce mail or through slits in plate armor, like a rondel dagger, this one in particular seems designed to pierce through plate armor. None of these knives however would be used like a knife fighter. They wouldn't be the second, third, or even fourth option. These weapons were more like tools, used when the enemy knight was already down, either pinned, disarmed and knocked down, or otherwise immobilized (at least partially) and vulnerable. Especially in the later periods when knightly armor was in its last true stage, it completely covered the body with no way of getting through to the soft flesh underneath, except the eye slits. SO as far effective in combat, I'd say yes and no. In a sense of fighting, no it was not. In a sense of used as a tool in war, yes.

A tuck isn't a knife though it's more like a sword. Another word for it is 'estoc'. And also 'kanzer'.

http://i.imgur.com/jadkgVP.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc

G

Haruspex_Pariah
2016-01-13, 10:48 PM
Maybe someone who better understands weapon design can explain to me why you'd make a two handed thrusting sword instead of a much simpler and cheaper spear. From the linked article, it doesn't seem to work well with chopping or slashing motions because it has no edge. I guess a sword design is easier to defend with? But yeah, I'm curious.

fusilier
2016-01-13, 10:55 PM
You are probably referring to a famous study by Shielagh Ogilvie on a cluster of rural guilds which made worsted, a kind of yarn, in a poor, heavily forested part of Swabia, and actually mostly dealt with the 17th Century. She tried to extrapolate her study to encompass all guilds everywhere. Later on she wrote another book about Mercantile corporations like the East India Companies and tried to say they were guilds, and that therefore guilds were bad.

I found the reference in William Eamon's work Science and the Secrets of Nature, and it looks like I combined a couple of factors -- he discusses the development of the Verlagsystem in Germany in the 16th century. It was a "putting out" system that merchants increasingly turned to. The merchant would hire artisans directly, provide them with raw-materials, a part wage, and then give them a final payment when the work was completed. The system existed in the 15th century, and was usually associated with the textile industry, but by the 16th century in Nuremburg it had been introduced to many industries. Increasingly the merchant had more control over the system and the artisans, which lead to proto-factories. The increasing use of the Verlagsystem put pressure on the guilds, which became more restrictive, and held on to their secrets more tightly (as they were being used by non-guild artisans). His source is a study by Christopher Friedrichs. (There's no reference to Shielagh Ogilvie).

I don't know if it affected the armor industry, although he does explicitly state that in Nuremberg the verlagsystem had been introduced into the "metal industries" by the early 16th century.

In theory the guilds should have been able to prevent competition in their industries, and Eamon doesn't address that. My guess is perhaps the merchants had garnered enough clout by that period?

AMFV
2016-01-13, 11:11 PM
Well, the cultural aspects are arguably more important. Dwarves are good craftsmen and technicians, so you can probably expect them to have some nice weapons and vehicles in modern times. Regardless of era, they have defensible mountain homes, so as long as they can get enough food to survive then they'll probably do quite well as their short stature is fine inside their mountains. I have sometimes wondered if the short, strong stature of dwarves would say, make them able to wield longer pikes or such, or whether the reduced leverage they have would be a problem for using large pikes.


That's true, although we don't have quite as disparate a physique as we do here. I think supposing that we go for traditional Dwarves we would probably have a focus on fairly close range weapons and low hanging tunnels, after all if you're all under five foot there's no reason to have tunnels tall enough your enemy can stand up comfortably in. I'm just not sure what weapons those would wind up being. The traditional ax-wielding dwarf doesn't make quite as much sense in that context (at least I'd assume not), my knowledge isn't very good on medieval weapons.



Halflings have a size issue. Their weapons are less powerful and their armour is thinner. This encourages them to stick to less head-on forms of battle, so they'll probably prefer stuff like guerilla warfare. Something notably specific to halflings, is little halfling tunnels are probably can't be entered by larger races.


Well one of the great equalizers in this case might be poisoned weapons or that sort of thing. Halflings might not see dirty tricks quite as negatively as the other races might, since they'd only be leveling the playing field.



As an example of working out unique weapons, I suggested mermaids might throw nets onto longships and try to pull the sailors into the water. This is unique to them, as their situation doesn't really come up for anyone else.

Lassos might be more effective, although potentially more difficult to aim. Harpoons would work well also.


Every race would have polearms and ranged weapons, probably crossbow-like weapons, since races like dwarves and halflings would be too short for traditional war bows- or they would use composite recurve bows, which can be shorter, but very powerful, or A-symmetrical bows like the japanese yumi. Personally I like the idea of dwarves using arbalest. It seems fitting for the standard description of dwarves.

The rest would depend on their proximity to other cultures and who they run into conflict with most often. Weapons are almost never created in a vacuum, and if they are, they stay there- like the lantern shield. The Chinese came up with a huge variety of weapons used for specific purposes to counter the armies of rival states. Something I always found funny in history, because they were absolutely useless against invading armies, which (in a short answer) came too seldom to develop effective weapons against, so they more or less were mowed down every time one came (unless they had fortifications to hide behind). But I digress. Nations that are more isolated should have more unique weapons, like the Japanese. While nations prone to periodic invasion should have a theme of innovative weapons, like Korea (the turtle ship comes to mind). And lastly places in constant conflict, like medieval europe should have a variety of weapons with a major theme of efficiency. All should have polearms, because no matter how you cut it, polearms are the primary weapon of war and usually swords secondary. Not unless technology has advanced enough that ranged weapons (like guns) are an efficient replacement should that be different (and again weapons like swords and knives are secondary). In the second case, then for civilians, swords and knives become primary weapons (thus the dawn of dueling cultures).

Well part of my interest is based on the fact that we don't really have as much physical difference between human ethnic groups as one does between fantasy species.

Galloglaich
2016-01-13, 11:17 PM
I found the reference in William Eamon's work Science and the Secrets of Nature, and it looks like I combined a couple of factors -- he discusses the development of the Verlagsystem in Germany in the 16th century. It was a "putting out" system that merchants increasingly turned to. The merchant would hire artisans directly, provide them with raw-materials, a part wage, and then give them a final payment when the work was completed. The system existed in the 15th century, and was usually associated with the textile industry, but by the 16th century in Nuremburg it had been introduced to many industries. Increasingly the merchant had more control over the system and the artisans, which lead to proto-factories. The increasing use of the Verlagsystem put pressure on the guilds, which became more restrictive, and held on to their secrets more tightly (as they were being used by non-guild artisans). His source is a study by Christopher Friedrichs. (There's no reference to Shielagh Ogilvie).

I don't know if it affected the armor industry, although he does explicitly state that in Nuremberg the verlagsystem had been introduced into the "metal industries" by the early 16th century.

In theory the guilds should have been able to prevent competition in their industries, and Eamon doesn't address that. My guess is perhaps the merchants had garnered enough clout by that period?

The craft guild sodalities, (which are called guilds by European academics) were broken up in Nuremberg in the late 14th Century after a failed guild revolt. All except the butchers who had sided with the patricians in the revolt (and probably saved the day for them). But what the Americans call guilds were still in effect there for centuries, they just lacked the political power that they had in other cities.

The verlag system was a perennial rival of the craft guilds, and was probably around going all the way back to the 11th Century, basically just as long as the craft guilds were. They had certain advantages but according to Epstein, et al, the craft guilds were much more agile over time and tended to adapt to economic changes swiftly whereas verlags, which often depended on expensive machines, could thrive in a 'moment' but often fell apart under economic pressures. The verlag's could thrive under a good manager though, not just merchants but also nobles and especially the Church had some success with them. There were quite a few powerful prelates who ran some successful ones in Flanders for a while, for example. But they tended to fall apart (only to spring up again somewhere else). Verlags usually focused on the lower quality goods for mass production, whereas the craft guilds typically dominated the export market.

The craft guilds formed proto-factories too (usually through networks of subcontractors) and there was great variation in the prestige and power of the crafts, and of the masters within each craft. Some crafts were dominated by a few families for example. However they seem to have tended to be self correcting, if they didn't, a new craft industry would spring up in some other town and take all the business away. And the young artisans could follow it there through the journeyman system - they went wherever the economy was strong.

Sometimes guilds would attack verlags and destroy them, but usually they were sort of complimentary and were tolerated by the guilds, since the verlags made stuff the guilds didn't want to make. If there was real money in it the guilds would take over since they controlled some of the most powerful urban governments (with a few notable exceptions like Nuremberg, which was a very powerful city).

Interestingly, Milan was another merchant-dominated city where the craft guilds did not have political power, though their rival Augsburg was a guild town after a successful guild revolt there in 1368. I think Florence was a guild town too, as was Bolgona. Most of the Rhineland towns were (Cologne, Strasbourg) and almost all the significant Flemish cities like Bruges and Ghent were guild towns. Venice had strong guilds but they were locked out of the political leadership and the council of 10, along with everyone outside of a few key families. They still wielded power though because of their role in the economy and the militia. And because the Venetian ruling class apparently wanted them to have sufficient autonomy to operate like real guilds.

Vitruviansquid
2016-01-14, 02:06 AM
I've got another question. What sort of weapons do you think fantasy races would develop. I mean if we're using the standard D&D type ones. The weapons they would develop would probably play to their strengths, but we don't usually see conflicting cultures that are quite as disparate as fantasy races.

I mean take Dwarves, they're massively muscled and strong, but also tend to be short, and stocky. Halflings are the size of children, typically. Could fantasy races threaten Human folks without magical stuff? If so, how?

I imagine dwarves would go for a sword and a large shield, like how the Roman legionnaires fought, or a short stabbing spear and large shield like how a Zulu warrior fought. A shield that adequately covers a human would be very covering for a dwarf, and a dwarf is tough enough and strong enough to carry a shield even bigger than that which a human might carry. Dwarves lack reach and leverage, so I imagine they don't favor swinging weapons like axes and hammers, and they will probably find pole weapons difficult to maneuver around. Instead, a dwarf will use his enormous shield and armor to come right up to an enemy and stab him in the torso, legs, or up under his helmet. Even if the dwarf gets hit on his way in, he may not be altogether stopped because he is so tough and probably armored. This close combat approach might be weak against very large creatures like ogres and trolls who are difficult to wound and could probably kill a dwarf through his armor with a club or thrown boulder, so dwarves may also have troops whose job is to specifically hunt large foes - maybe cavalry mounted on a charging animal like a boar whose job it is to kill large enemies outright with a single charge, or crossbowdwarves who try to kill the thing at range, or a healthy number of small scale siege weapons like Scorpions to shoot stones and spears into large, tough enemies.

I imagine elves favor individual combat where they have space to use superior agility and skill to overcome the foe. Any amount of greater strength is negated by the elf moving to avoid being hit, which rules out formation fighting for the elves. To break up enemy formations and force individual combat, elves would wear light armor to outmaneuver the enemy and carry plenty of missile weapons. Javelins like Roman pila would be effective to break up enemy formations by inflicting casualties and sticking into shields. Ironically, I imagine it is elves who would make the best use of very heavy crossbows, because their keen sight lets them make each extremely powerful shot count, while their agility means they could pop out of cover quickly to shoot, and then quickly avoid the enemy to reload. Once the enemy is forced into breaking up formation by the shower of missile weapons, elves would close in for the kill using just about any kind of melee weapon that is not designed specifically for formation fighting (ruling out pikes and probably large, heavy shields). I imagine if a Roman gladiator with a sica was considered a tricky opponent who could bypass enemy shields, an elf with a sica would seem outright impossible to defend against at all. Their litheness and reluctance to stay in close formation might also mean elves could favor wide swinging weapons like the Falx, naginata, two handed battle axe, and such - not that he'd have difficulty killing a non-elven enemy with an arming sword. Elves might even disdain mounts, because they have greater foot speed so being on horseback is like pointlessly hobbling yourself to a slow and lumbering creature. I imagine elves and dwarves have long feuded bitterly yet ineffectually because dwarves are stubborn enough and tough enough to refuse to open their formations against elven missile showers while elves are too agile for the dwarves to catch. Each is pretty much the least ideal enemy for the other to fight.

I imagine orcs would greatly favor the spear and pike. Military culture and inborn aggression mean orcs do not mind modes of combat that seem unthinkably dangerous for humans. We speculate that Greek hoplites did not press themselves to death up against each other, but for orcs that might just seem sensible as long as it wins battles. We know historical pikemen dreaded the "bad war" where colliding pike formations guaranteed horrible casualties for the men in front, but orcs may simply consider all that death the mark of a glorious fight (infinite prestige if you survive being a front ranker!). Beside the spear and pike, orcs would also, of course, enjoy carrying arming swords and short swords as sidearms, specifically for when they find themselves in close enough quarters that their polearms are encumbering. Orcs would make extremely tough opponents for any kind of cavalrymen because they would be unlikely to break formation and flee from the cavalry charge (how can you gain prestige for rank and mates if you don't fight the enemy?). The average orc fighter would probably be fairly poorly armed and armored, because a larger percentage of orc society would want to take the field as professional warriors specialized to combat and a smaller percentage would be craftsmen who would manufacture tools of war. Most orc warriors might even use crude homespun arms and armor because of the difficulty in of finding another orc to make that gear. However, more than many other races, orcs would enjoy armor because the more armor an orc is wearing, the less he actually has to concern himself with personal safety while in combat. An orc fully armored in looted armor or orc-made armor would take the biggest two-handed axe, sword, or hammer available and charge recklessly into the enemy as nigh unstoppable shock troops. The highest tier of orc society, its most successful, wealthy, and prestigious warriors, would also likely be mounted and operate as heavy cavalry. A brave massed charge on horseback will dishearten and disorder the enemy, allowing the orc cause as much bloodshed and death as he desires.

Ogres, trolls, and other large monstrous races would naturally use weaponry from nature that are easily obtained and intuitive to use. Tree branch clubs let an ogre kill large numbers of smaller enemies from distances where they cannot even fight back. A well-aimed, head-sized stone thrown by hand or a simple sling could break up enemy formations and kill them outright no matter their armor. Ogres and trolls are, however, at their most dangerous when armed by other races. If a human commander recruits an ogre somehow, he could armor the ogre in armor that is thick and heavy enough it would be unthinkable for a human, elf, orc, or dwarf to pierce without a significant war machine (like having a ballista). The ogre could be armed with a large and heavy blade or blunt weapon (kanabo/tetsubo come to mind) to swing recklessly into the enemy. An ogre with throwing spears might as well be a very fast firing siege machine, though possibly inaccurate.

Dark elves would probably be armed like elves and attempt to fight in similar manners, but an utter lack of ethics means dark elves favor unorthodox and cruel weapons such as pots of burning oil, poisonous projectiles, and such.

gtwucla
2016-01-14, 02:38 AM
A tuck isn't a knife though it's more like a sword. Another word for it is 'estoc'. And also 'kanzer'.

http://i.imgur.com/jadkgVP.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc

G

Oh ha, yeah I was thinking of a tile and grout tool that looks like a knife. Still though idea remains that this was a specialized era when plate mail was more and more complex, basically making slashing weapons useless against a mounted knight- and since knights usually engaged other knights, swords like this became more popular just as war hammers and flanged maces became more popular.




Well part of my interest is based on the fact that we don't really have as much physical difference between human ethnic groups as one does between fantasy species.

So the underpinning idea though is that they wouldn't be much different, because weapon design relies more on who your fighting than anything else. Being short of stature would probably lead to a heavier reliance on polearms and ranged weapons with bowstrings that have high tensile strength. Maybe for dwarves this translates into a crossbow or recurve bow with a heavier arrow that a dwarf could pull back more easily than a man or a crossbow that could be pulled back without a crank, but still have enough strength to pierce mail. Instead the handle, weight, and balance of the weapons may be adjusted for these species' shorter stature, but otherwise I think they would be the same. I mean having only one species that creates complex weapons on this planet has lead to the creation of thousands of different designs. I think the more interesting question is what sort of weapons would a nation neighboring these dwarves wield (especially if they are the standard cave living dwarves)? I predict there'd be a lot of smoking out the dwarves if underground and a lot of hit and run tactics above ground.

Brother Oni
2016-01-14, 03:29 AM
TBH Disney probably is to blame as the earliest depiction i can remember of such is from them many moons ago, though i don;t doubt it existed before then, they seem to have popularised it.

Given it's a speculative biology question, I see no need to restrict it to what the Disney animators had to work with for their reference models (human actors in fancy dress).
Try sketching out their underlying skeletal structural to give them the commonly depicted tail 'knees' and you end up with a human endoskeleton, which while capable of swimming like a dolphin (see monofin swimmers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjdHVyPYb0Y)), is not as efficient and effective.

It's also harder to see how that physiology developed, but that's probably me being overly picky due to my scientific background.


One named species Poseidon might get as ridiculous as 30 feet in length, but they wouldn't be able to leave the shore (not effectively).

Princess Shirahoshi would disagree with you there. :smallbiggrin:

https://cctokyo.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/img_1230.jpg



Well one of the great equalizers in this case might be poisoned weapons or that sort of thing. Halflings might not see dirty tricks quite as negatively as the other races might, since they'd only be leveling the playing field.


Poisoned weapons are great for hit and fade away attacks, not so good for killing an opponent within seconds of you stabbing them - you'd need a neurotoxin or respiratory inhibitor for that and the only ones capable of acting that fast are either awkward to administer (cyanide/arsenic powder) or need industrial era technology to synthesise (nerve gas).

While poison gas attacks have been known since early times (the Persians apparently used a poisonous gas of bitumen and sulphur crystals at the siege of Dura Europos in the 3rd century AD), prior to about WW1 they weren't easily deployable and even then they had to wait until the wind was blowing in the right direction.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-14, 03:32 AM
Viruv: With modern snipers, you seem to be able to cause enough chaos in a large force that often they end up sending lone snipers to deal with you rather than wander around into ambushes. Of course, this is more about ambushing groups of bumbling enemies, and leading them into ambush after ambush, inflicting losses then running away, than it is about single combat. Not sure you can really force a formation to fight you in single combat.


Maybe someone who better understands weapon design can explain to me why you'd make a two handed thrusting sword instead of a much simpler and cheaper spear. From the linked article, it doesn't seem to work well with chopping or slashing motions because it has no edge. I guess a sword design is easier to defend with? But yeah, I'm curious. Depends how common the weapons were. They may in some ways be curiosity or experimentation. I will say for them, that you can get reasonable penetration in a light package. Steel is denser and stronger than wood, so this will be quicker than a spear of the same penetration quality. If it has any edge to it, it'll also be able to inflict a nastier wound.

That isn't to say it's better than a spear.


That's true, although we don't have quite as disparate a physique as we do here. I think supposing that we go for traditional Dwarves we would probably have a focus on fairly close range weapons and low hanging tunnels, after all if you're all under five foot there's no reason to have tunnels tall enough your enemy can stand up comfortably in. I'm just not sure what weapons those would wind up being. The traditional ax-wielding dwarf doesn't make quite as much sense in that context (at least I'd assume not), my knowledge isn't very good on medieval weapons. Axes, interestingly, are good close range weapons (not the best at grappling range, but still). Picks and shovels might also be favourites of dwarves. Other short, headed weapons like maces and hammers are fairly similar.

As you allude to, making your shorter reach an advantage instead of a disadvantage is a valid option for dwarves. Particularly in their close tunnels.


Well one of the great equalizers in this case might be poisoned weapons or that sort of thing. Halflings might not see dirty tricks quite as negatively as the other races might, since they'd only be leveling the playing field. Poisoned weapons would help, though they have their limitations. Most of the casualties they create die long after the fact, so they won't improve stopping power that much. If the halflings go to trouble to keep the poison from drying out rather than mass manufacturing the stuff, then the effects improve.


Lassos might be more effective, although potentially more difficult to aim. Harpoons would work well also. Yeah, the mermaids would need to practice with the lassos. The advantage of nets is that they can burst out of the water by surprise and toss them on the boat immediately, then use sticks(spears) and ropes to try and pull and push the sailors overboard. Harpoons mixed in would be good, as it'd confuse and thwart some attempts at resistance and inflict casualties who may've resisted. The mermaids might be able to use some trick where they build up speed while swimming and throw the harpoon as they surface, to make it more powerful.


Well part of my interest is based on the fact that we don't really have as much physical difference between human ethnic groups as one does between fantasy species. I've also been much interested in that for the same reason. Generally, I haven't managed to find any really alien results. Even though humans are physically similar, the cultural approaches to warfare through history do cover an astounding number of possibilities, so that fantasy species normally are similar to one of those cases.

If you have harpies, they may develop a kind of heavy knife they can drop from high up that'll fall point-down and inflict a nasty wound. There are similar weapons like caltrops, but none used quite like that. Early bombs from planes are similar, but are bombs.

Spiryt
2016-01-14, 04:50 AM
Maybe someone who better understands weapon design can explain to me why you'd make a two handed thrusting sword instead of a much simpler and cheaper spear. From the linked article, it doesn't seem to work well with chopping or slashing motions because it has no edge. I guess a sword design is easier to defend with? But yeah, I'm curious.

Well, for the same reason you make a cutting/hacking sword instead of just 'simpler and cheaper' axe or something.

You have thing that handles roughly like a longsword, and you can do the same stuff with it, but is mostly stabbing.

You can't use it as a spear, because it's not a spear, but similarly you can't use a spear like this sword.

Completely different length, balance, harmonics, and generally movements.

Carl
2016-01-14, 07:40 AM
Given it's a speculative biology question, I see no need to restrict it to what the Disney animators had to work with for their reference models (human actors in fancy dress).
Try sketching out their underlying skeletal structural to give them the commonly depicted tail 'knees' and you end up with a human endoskeleton, which while capable of swimming like a dolphin (see monofin swimmers), is not as efficient and effective.

It's also harder to see how that physiology developed, but that's probably me being overly picky due to my scientific background.

My point was if you say mermaid to someone their concepts of what they can do are going to be determined by common imagery and disney is more or less the root source for all of it, they either created it, or someone created it based on their imagery.

Also if they're amphibious it's actually a very natural evolution precisely because it greatly improves on land mobility whilst providing nearly the same in water capability. It's sort of the ultimate in between adoption for a tool using amphibian.

Vitruviansquid
2016-01-14, 09:17 AM
Viruv: With modern snipers, you seem to be able to cause enough chaos in a large force that often they end up sending lone snipers to deal with you rather than wander around into ambushes. Of course, this is more about ambushing groups of bumbling enemies, and leading them into ambush after ambush, inflicting losses then running away, than it is about single combat. Not sure you can really force a formation to fight you in single combat.



The elves are not "sniping," they are shooting at the enemy formation wholesale with javelins, bows, and powerful crossbows.

Sure they are not literally "forcing" enemies to break up formation, but armies apparently tended to find sustained missile attack fairly intolerable, as the Romans at Carrhae experienced, and may do something rash or split their forces, as the Romans at Carrhae did.

MrZJunior
2016-01-14, 12:58 PM
Viruv: If you have harpies, they may develop a kind of heavy knife they can drop from high up that'll fall point-down and inflict a nasty wound. There are similar weapons like caltrops, but none used quite like that. Early bombs from planes are similar, but are bombs.

There is such a thing, it's called a flechette.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flechette

Poisoned weapons could have a powerful psychological effect out of proportion to their effect on the battlefield. It would only take a few stories of once mighty warriors dying slowly and painfully over the course of days or weeks to undermine the morale and effectiveness of an invading army.

cobaltstarfire
2016-01-14, 01:05 PM
There is such a thing, it's called a flechette.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flechette


I am taking this thing and having my heron/eagle riders drop them on people!

MrZJunior
2016-01-14, 02:35 PM
I am taking this thing and having my heron/eagle riders drop them on people!

Be warned they were notoriously inaccurate, but when they hit rumor was they would go straight through a cavalry man and his horse.

Brother Oni
2016-01-14, 04:42 PM
It would only take a few stories of once mighty warriors dying slowly and painfully over the course of days or weeks to undermine the morale and effectiveness of an invading army.

Alternately, it could harden their resolve to kill the dirty little halfers, promoting atrocities (why should we treat them with respect if they don't do the same to us) on their non-combatants, eventually leading to their genocide.

In modern psychology, de-humanising the enemy was often used to galvanise and unite your side against them - see the propaganda against the Jews just before WW2 for example.

cobaltstarfire
2016-01-14, 05:42 PM
Be warned they were notoriously inaccurate, but when they hit rumor was they would go straight through a cavalry man and his horse.

That's ok, they're supposed to be on the losing side of a war until someone does a terrible thing anyway.

Things based on them seem to have been pretty nasty when dropped in packages that open on a fuse and drop hundreds at once. They sound really super terrible that's for sure... I may only mention them in passing cause I don't think I could stomach trying to draw the consequences of dropping or launching something like that on someone.

Tiktakkat
2016-01-14, 11:02 PM
Maybe someone who better understands weapon design can explain to me why you'd make a two handed thrusting sword instead of a much simpler and cheaper spear. From the linked article, it doesn't seem to work well with chopping or slashing motions because it has no edge. I guess a sword design is easier to defend with? But yeah, I'm curious.

For the same reason you'd make a pistol and not just a rifle - you want a sidearm that you can fall back on and not just a polearm.
And then for the same reason you make the pistol in a rifle or support weapon caliber that will break the wrist of most people firing it - prestige.

The development of armor had reached a point where you needed a spike to get through the gaps to have any effect.
Support spikes on warhammers and such were okay, but they were too short for killing penetration.
Spears were either pikes or halberds by then.
Stillettos were nice, but you might not have the time to switch to one in the middle of battle just for a coup de grace.
A full-sized sword covers the middle area, where you need a weapon long enough for general fighting that can also finish off someone in full plate. And it comes with the prestige of being a sword.

Incanur
2016-01-15, 12:18 AM
Tucks/estocs were primarily used on horseback from what I've read. Juan Quijada de Reayo's mid-16th-century instructions for cavalry combat recommends estoc as the first shorter weapon to wield after breaking the lance. His order goes lance, estoc, sword, hammer, dagger. He advised striking (presumably thrusting) for the visor, belly, and armpits with the estoc.

MrZJunior
2016-01-15, 11:57 AM
Tucks/estocs were primarily used on horseback from what I've read. Juan Quijada de Reayo's mid-16th-century instructions for cavalry combat recommends estoc as the first shorter weapon to wield after breaking the lance. His order goes lance, estoc, sword, hammer, dagger. He advised striking (presumably thrusting) for the visor, belly, and armpits with the estoc.

That sounds like an awful lot of stuff to be hauling around with you. Were most cavalry troops equipped so heavily?

Beleriphon
2016-01-15, 12:04 PM
That sounds like an awful lot of stuff to be hauling around with you. Were most cavalry troops equipped so heavily?

In battle, most of it should be carried as a side arm, or slung to the horse's saddle within reach. A dagger is easily carried in a belt sheath, while the estoc in a saddle harness, same for the sword, and the hammer just needs to be slung on the saddle. The lance is going to break eventually, or the melee will close and the rider can't charge, so that's a write off after the initial charges. Your dagger is the last thing to pull since you can't use it mounted and you can only fight with it on foot, and even then you don't want to get caught with only a dagger since you've resorted to wrestling and trying stab the other guy at the same time.

Mike_G
2016-01-15, 02:27 PM
Google images for "Polish Winged Hussar." You can generally see the estoc hung on the right side of the saddle, fairly horizontally, the lance carried, and a sabre on the rider's belt.

If you look at their armor, it's easy to see how it would be hard to hurt them with a sabre, but you may be able to get the point of the estoc through a gap.

Galloglaich
2016-01-15, 02:27 PM
In battle, most of it should be carried as a side arm, or slung to the horse's saddle within reach. A dagger is easily carried in a belt sheath, while the estoc in a saddle harness, same for the sword, and the hammer just needs to be slung on the saddle. The lance is going to break eventually, or the melee will close and the rider can't charge, so that's a write off after the initial charges. Your dagger is the last thing to pull since you can't use it mounted and you can only fight with it on foot, and even then you don't want to get caught with only a dagger since you've resorted to wrestling and trying stab the other guy at the same time.

One of the advantages of being on a horse is you could carry a lot of stuff.

http://genghiskhan.fieldmuseum.org/files/genghiskhan.fieldmuseum.org/styles/large/public/Warriors.JPG?itok=OdqPYQGf
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/90/15/0590155c5a5f63d9f38decdf9132afe4.jpg

It was normal even for light cavalry from the steppes (Mongols, Ottomans, and their friends) to carry two bows with large numbers of arrows (in special cases called 'gorytos'), a saber, a light mace (which could also be thrown) a lasso, and a knife. Some also carried a lance or spear and a small shield.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-1firEZFSjI/S_7hYgBTpWI/AAAAAAAAAAs/eNYwyZ84iJo/s1600/Picture+235.jpg

Late Medieval knights were often armed as Beleriphon described, but also frequently with lance, longsword (on the saddle), a mace or a hammer (also on the saddle), a crossbow for backup on the saddle, an arming sword on the hip, and a dagger on the other side of the hip (or in the small of the back).


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Polish_Hussar_half-armour_Winged_Riders.jpg
At one point in the 16th Century Polish Winged Hussars were carrying a huge 18' lance, up to 6 pistols on the saddle, a pallash (large cutting sword) on the saddle*, a saber on the hip, a dagger or knife on the other side, and sometimes also a mace.


Of course there were also other light cavalry who carried a much lighter and simpler load of stuff.

G

* sometimes they carried the kanzer, their version of the estoc, instead of the pallash, but I think the pallash was more popular, it varied on the time period

Here is an image with the kanzer

http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/382/39833531.jpg

and with a hammer

http://getasword.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/polish-hussar-equipment.jpg

Incanur
2016-01-16, 12:28 AM
Yes, at times mounted soldiers carried an impressive array of weapons. Consider this passage from Sir John Smythe 1594 manual:


But because their so many weapons, as are before mentioned for one horseman to vse may seeme strange to such of this time as do not loue to trouble themselues but with very few weapons, I say it is no strange matter, considering that such as doo meane to fight wel, do like to haue store of weapons, that incase one or two should faile, they may presentlie betake themselues to the choise and vse of others, according to the time and occasion: But such as would thinke those weapons by me before mentioned to be too many for one man to vse, woulde thinke it a great deale more strange, to see a Turky horsman that trauelling by the way doth besides his Cemeterie, and his crooked dagger, voluntarily carrie his Launce, his harquebuze, and his Turkie bowe, with his sheafe of arrowes, with another weapon which now I haue forgot, and all those weapons they doo weare and carie so conuenientlie, and aptlie, as they may vse euery one of them in his most conuenient time and place.

The Turkish warrior Smythe described carried a bow, arquebus, lance, sword, dagger, and another forgotten arm (quite possibly a impact weapon like a mace or axe). It was fairly common, though not universal, for cavalry to carry a whole bunch of weapons. 16th-century men-at-arms didn't always carry both an estoc and an arming sword, though Quijada de Reayo apparently considered that arrangement standard and/or recommended. Raimond de Fourquevaux and other French sources described lance, sword, and mace as the iconic weapons of the man-at-arms (most/all French men-at-arms probably also wore a dagger or two). Then the pistol rose to prominence and eventually supplanted both lance and mace in France.

Brother Oni
2016-01-16, 03:57 AM
If you include their non-weaponry kit, soldier loadouts get pretty ridiculous, for example:

http://thomatkinson.com/media/portfolio/78/image/873_3.jpg


Gonfanon – a banner displayed on the end of a spear or flag pole
Kettle helmet
Helmet with a curved face plate, which came into use after the Siege of Antioch, which took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098
Sword belt
Shield with a flat top
Necklace
White cloth with a snip for cutting small items, a leather box of needles and a roll of thread fire steel a flint and tinder for starting a fire
Wooden bowl and cup, ceramic cup and a wooden spoon
Knife and sheaf for cutting food.
Water bottle made of leather and soaked in pitch
Script bag
Leather boots– finished just below the calf with the laces wrapped around boots
Gauntlet – leather gloves
Linen Shirt
Socks – made using the technique nålebinding, where long lengths of wool are woven into long thin braids, starting at toe
Battle dress – red tunic worn next to the body; linen canvus padded jacket, maille and blue and yellow surcoat
Belt – made using the technique of tablet weaving, a very archaic form of weaving
Rosary beads
Belt
Woollen cloak shaped like semi circle - waterproof and wind proof and used for travelling
Glaive - a new invention for the time, the weapon was originally made from a broken sword with a new piece of wood welded on
Sword
Dagger
Crescent-shaped axe
Flanged mace
Thigh-length, sleeveless leather vest, which buckled down back and had metal plates inside. This was top of the range body armour for the period
Maille to cover the legs and linen covering that went to the mid thigh - in this time period trousers don’t yet exist so the pieces of material covering the leg and groin are two different pieces
Straps to attach maille legs



Even foot soldiers didn't get off lightly:

http://thomatkinson.com/media/portfolio/78/image/872_3.jpg

http://thomatkinson.com/media/portfolio/78/image/874_3.jpg


http://thomatkinson.com/media/portfolio/78/image/875_3.jpg

Long boots
Hat with a pewter badge for civilian wear
Sallet helmet
Gorget
Pauldrons – to protect the shoulder; the left one is bigger because the left side was the defensive side
Bevor
Pouch
Belt
Coist – worn underneath the hat to absorb sweat and keep hair back
Left arm armour – this was heavier as it was the defensive side.
Black cloak – worn over civilian clothing
Hourglass gauntlet to protect the hand
Ring
Rosary beads
Money pouch
Sabatons – to go over long boots and protect the foot; first piece of armour to go on
Tassets – hang from the breast plate to protect upper part of leg
Back plate, covered in Duke of Norfolk’s colours
Breast plate
Cuisse covers the upper part of the leg and greave on the lower. Big wing shaped section covered the back of the joint to stop soldiers being cut behind the knees
Right arm made of three pieces - the upper cannon, lower cannon and coulter for the elbow; right hourglass gauntlet
Belt for sword scabbard
Hand and heart sword with a fishtail pummel – can use it with one or two hands; the sword would have a maker’s mark on the blade
Dagger
Scabbard for dagger
Arming jack with maille sleeves
Belt
Wooden comb
White linen shirt
Doublet with folds, indicated a high status; civilian wear. The black garment is hose with a codpiece
Pewter spoon, silver handled knife, pewter goblet, wooden bowl and plate
Case for knife
Scabbard for sword
Poleaxe



With the last one, you can see why infantry soldiers started complaining of the weight of their kit (lower leg armour was rarely worn for example) and things are only worse modern day:

http://thomatkinson.com/media/portfolio/78/image/884_3.jpg

Beleriphon
2016-01-16, 09:25 AM
You know what I find hilarious about all of the soldier's kits 1) the number of knives these men traveled with and 2) they all had dice.

On the modern soldier's kit, what is that thing that appears to be a piece of lumber under the metal detector? Is it some kind of anti-vehicle rocket launcher?

Gnoman
2016-01-16, 10:02 AM
I think it's a L9 mine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L9_Bar_Mine).

Brother Oni
2016-01-16, 02:00 PM
... 2) they all had dice.

Of course! Gambling as a means passing the time for soldiers has a long and illustrious history through pretty much all cultures. :smallbiggrin:

The oldest dice I know of, is this Roman glass D20: link (http://gizmodo.com/5016562/the-ancient-romans-were-gamers-2nd-century-glass-d20-sold-for-17925).

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ab/d9/9d/abd99d393d4111b4c44c6c901a2f0487.jpg

Telok
2016-01-16, 03:12 PM
The oldest dice I know of, is this Roman glass D20

I may be able to do you one better. This picture is from the Lourve, Egyptian gaming peices from around 2500 to 3000 BCE including dice.

http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo198/jcc_telok/aDice_zpsapr2lxwp.jpg

Incanur
2016-01-16, 08:48 PM
Going back to the question of English bows against 15th-century continental handgonnes, I'll add that the Henry VIII's archer-heavy forces in France in the early 16th-century repeated defeated French and German forces equipped with personal firearms and pikes. Edward Hall described archers specifically as repulsing German pike-&-shot troops at a 1513 siege. These were all relatively small engagements, but they at least undermine the notion that personal firearms constituted any great advantage over English bows - even in the context of a siege. The English forces did have some personal firearms and of course good artillery. Over a hundred years later on the other side of the world, Ming-loyalist archers under Koxinga performed impressively against the Dutch in siege warfare in Taiwan, nearly eclipsing Dutch rifles according to a Dutch source. Bows fell out of favor in England at the end of the 16th century and in the Middle East in the 17th century, but in China bows persisted alongside guns even into the early 20th century. (In some cases Qing infantry carried both muskets and bows.) Through at least the 18th century, Qing bows performed solid military service.

fusilier
2016-01-16, 10:33 PM
Going back to the question of English bows against 15th-century continental handgonnes, I'll add that the Henry VIII's archer-heavy forces in France in the early 16th-century repeated defeated French and German forces equipped with personal firearms and pikes. Edward Hall described archers specifically as repulsing German pike-&-shot troops at a 1513 siege. These were all relatively small engagements, but they at least undermine the notion that personal firearms constituted any great advantage over English bows - even in the context of a siege. The English forces did have some personal firearms and of course good artillery. Over a hundred years later on the other side of the world, Ming-loyalist archers under Koxinga performed impressively against the Dutch in siege warfare in Taiwan, nearly eclipsing Dutch rifles according to a Dutch source. Bows fell out of favor in England at the end of the 16th century and in the Middle East in the 17th century, but in China bows persisted alongside guns even into the early 20th century. (In some cases Qing infantry carried both muskets and bows.) Through at least the 18th century, Qing bows performed solid military service.

In the 16th century North African sharpshooters on galleys are reported to be equipped with both arquebus and bow.

Brother Oni
2016-01-17, 04:53 AM
Through at least the 18th century, Qing bows performed solid military service.

I know that in 1776, Benjamin Franklin sent a letter to General Charles Lee, saying that longbows were the better weapon over muskets and advocating the introduction of pikes. I can't find the actual text except as filleted for quotes, but he did say that they were 'good weapons, not wisely laid aside'.

His reasons for introducing bows were:

*The bow was often more accurate.
*A man could shoot four arrows in the time it takes to fire and reload a musket.
*No gunsmoke, thus no problems in field vision.
*An incoming flight of arrows is rather disconcerting to the enemy.
*An arrow stuck to a man essentially immobilizes him, until extracted.
*Bows and arrows are more easily provided than muskets and ammunition.

Leaving aside the question of an untrained civilian trying to tell an experienced military commander how to do his job and the prevailing negative cultural opinions of a bow wielding savages, there was some merit to his idea. Against unarmoured targets, you wouldn't need the heavy draw of later medieval bows - 30-60lbs would be sufficient and this could be trained quite rapidly. This however would have likely led to the reintroduction of armour and an escalating arms race of increasing poundage and thicker armour until we get back to firearms defeating plate and we're back to square 1.

Supply of bows and arrows (bowyering and fletching are quite technical jobs) would have been an issue though.

I do know that George Washington introduced adhoc pikes for sentries during a siege (I want to say the Siege of Boston, but I'm not sure) to stave off marauding cavalry, but that's as far as it went.

JustSomeGuy
2016-01-17, 09:30 AM
Well, for the same reason you make a cutting/hacking sword instead of just 'simpler and cheaper' axe or something.

You have thing that handles roughly like a longsword, and you can do the same stuff with it, but is mostly stabbing.

You can't use it as a spear, because it's not a spear, but similarly you can't use a spear like this sword.

Completely different length, balance, harmonics, and generally movements.

What do you mean by "harmonics"?

The Great Wyrm
2016-01-17, 11:11 AM
Swords vibrate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_of_percussion#Application_to_swordmaking

Raunchel
2016-01-17, 04:09 PM
In the train I started thinking a bit about games and reality. In games you can often take a suit of playe armor from a dead enemy and wear it. Of course, it would be downright impossible to just put on a suit sized for someone else unless this person happens to have exactly the same measurements, but then I started thinking about resizing. Was this possible? And is there any evidence that it was at all done?

spineyrequiem
2016-01-17, 05:47 PM
In the train I started thinking a bit about games and reality. In games you can often take a suit of playe armor from a dead enemy and wear it. Of course, it would be downright impossible to just put on a suit sized for someone else unless this person happens to have exactly the same measurements, but then I started thinking about resizing. Was this possible? And is there any evidence that it was at all done?

Why would it be impossible? I mean, sure, it won't fit well, and some parts might not fit at all, but you can still wear it. I know a load of 15th Century reenactors who pass around bits of plate armour constantly, it restricts their movements a bit but they can still wear it and not have too much trouble. In fact, I don't think I know anyone who has custom-fitted plate, the most they'll do is try and find the right standard size and design. So long as you're the same basic shape as the guy you're nicking it off you can usually wear someone else's armour.

Thiel
2016-01-17, 05:51 PM
Munitions grade ammunition worked much the same way as clothes of the rack

Carl
2016-01-17, 08:29 PM
Ok as i do my brains bouncing around various setting concepts i have in my head and i bounced back to my EFGT setting, the comms issue is something i more or less gave up on for now, (cultists could easily solve it, doing it for EFGT without messing some other stuff up is a headscratcher), short of limited magic there's no really way to solve it but this time my bounce back decided to focus on Cultist forces. The general concept with them is that their focused around much smaller squad/fireteam organisations. The EFGT in the face of Fallen Shock trooper formations needs individual groups of men to have serious firepower, conversely the cultists face a lot less of that and a lot more heavy frag explosives whilst needing to deploy a certain kinds of items the EFGT doesn't, (i can talk more about the strategic considerations driving things if you want). In light of that i was wondering what you all though of the idea of 3 man teams with 2 men having rifles and the third either an MG, or other special purpose weapon, (grenade launcher or light recoilless rifle are the other two they'd use at the normal infantry level), plus standard rifle too. Subject to the point that they have a magical construct that holds the ammo for said weapon, (thing a more limited capacity bag of holding that can float along behind and is fairly resilient if hit). With ammo carry capacity not a concern can you see any issues that would make it unworkable, or any other specific thoughts?

Obviously crew served weapons would need a slightly different, probably 4 man fireteam size to lug the multi-part weapon around and allen use a wholly different setup as well being shock troops.

Brother Oni
2016-01-18, 07:17 AM
I may be able to do you one better. This picture is from the Lourve, Egyptian gaming peices from around 2500 to 3000 BCE including dice.

http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo198/jcc_telok/aDice_zpsapr2lxwp.jpg

Excellent, thank you for that. I guess the D6 is the grandfather of all dice then. :smallbiggrin:


Munitions grade ammunition worked much the same way as clothes of the rack

Only instead of a tailor with a needle and thread to tailor it precisely to your shape, you need an armourer with a hammer and anvil. :smallbiggrin:

I'm fairly sure looting armour off the dead was a common thing and there are some systems which have rules for this piecemeal armour design (WFRPG springs to mind).

It should also be borne in mind that padding (an aketon or gambeson for example) is normally worn under plate harness, so even custom plate is usually slightly oversized and the padding can expand or compress to allow for smaller/larger wearers.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-01-18, 08:21 AM
Might be a bit more difficult to cope with if you're a different height (eg, Gimli's chainmail in The Two Towers), body type (say a mesomorph trying to fit into armour made for someone who's ectomorphic) or gender (not just the breastplate, but around the hips as well) to the original owner. :smallamused:

Although I guess the main thing is it would protect you to an extent when you've the immediate need for it (although you probably wouldn't be used to wearing it), then you get back to somewhere that can make adjustments for you, have it properly fitted and train to get accustomed to your new armour.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2016-01-18, 08:50 AM
There are reports of bodied being looted for their armour going back ages. As the others said, it might not fit well but in all likelihood you could still put it on without modification

Brother Oni
2016-01-18, 09:25 AM
Might be a bit more difficult to cope with if you're a different height (eg, Gimli's chainmail in The Two Towers), body type (say a mesomorph trying to fit into armour made for someone who's ectomorphic) or gender (not just the breastplate, but around the hips as well) to the original owner. :smallamused:

Gender differences for armour fitting aren't exactly what you expect. While there does need to be some adjustment for the bust, the outside is pretty much indistinguishable, but armour also needs to be narrower at the shoulders and waist and broader at the hips. A woman's torso is also shorter than an equivalent height man, but their legs are longer.

That's not to say women can't wear men's armour, but it's uncomfortable to do so for extended periods and can leave coverage gaps along with flexibility restrictions.

Galloglaich
2016-01-18, 03:18 PM
Going back to the question of English bows against 15th-century continental handgonnes, I'll add that the Henry VIII's archer-heavy forces in France in the early 16th-century repeated defeated French and German forces equipped with personal firearms and pikes. Edward Hall described archers specifically as repulsing German pike-&-shot troops at a 1513 siege. These were all relatively small engagements, but they at least undermine the notion that personal firearms constituted any great advantage over English bows - even in the context of a siege. The English forces did have some personal firearms and of course good artillery. Over a hundred years later on the other side of the world, Ming-loyalist archers under Koxinga performed impressively against the Dutch in siege warfare in Taiwan, nearly eclipsing Dutch rifles according to a Dutch source. Bows fell out of favor in England at the end of the 16th century and in the Middle East in the 17th century, but in China bows persisted alongside guns even into the early 20th century. (In some cases Qing infantry carried both muskets and bows.) Through at least the 18th century, Qing bows performed solid military service.

And yet the English longbowmen didn't make a dent in the Lithuanian Crusades (despite being praised by the Teutonic Knights) in the 1390's, they were defeated by Strasbourg in the Ecourchiers wars in 1444, they failed miserably at the siege of Nuess in 1474-5 when faced with urban militia armed with guns and crossbows, and in subsequent battles, and were wiped out in all three of Charles the Bolds battles against the Swiss Confederation in the 1470s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Neuss

English archers on ships were also repeatedly defeated by Hanseatic vessels (mostly armed with crossbows and what you call "personal firearms") in the Anglo - Hanseatic War also 1469-1474, resulting in a humiliating defeat for England.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Hanseatic_War

I'm not sure there is a definitive way to prove it one way or the other, but there is certainly as much evidence for the failure of the longbow against Continental armies as the reverse.

G

Mr Beer
2016-01-18, 06:37 PM
Excellent, thank you for that. I guess the D6 is the grandfather of all dice then. :smallbiggrin:

You'd think the Egyptians at least would have started with the d4.

Mike_G
2016-01-18, 07:31 PM
And yet the English longbowmen didn't make a dent in the Lithuanian Crusades (despite being praised by the Teutonic Knights) in the 1390's, they were defeated by Strasbourg in the Ecourchiers wars in 1444, they failed miserably at the siege of Nuess in 1474-5 when faced with urban militia armed with guns and crossbows, and in subsequent battles, and were wiped out in all three of Charles the Bolds battles against the Swiss Confederation in the 1470s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Neuss

English archers on ships were also repeatedly defeated by Hanseatic vessels (mostly armed with crossbows and what you call "personal firearms") in the Anglo - Hanseatic War also 1469-1474, resulting in a humiliating defeat for England.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Hanseatic_War

I'm not sure there is a definitive way to prove it one way or the other, but there is certainly as much evidence for the failure of the longbow against Continental armies as the reverse.

G


There are very few conclusively proven "superweapon" victories, especially when that weapon is a personal one.

The M1 is a far better rifle than the Mauser 98 bolt action, for example, but that didn't give the American forces that big an advantage in WWII. It was an advantage that was overshadowed by larger tactics and other weapons.

For a really shocking comparison, look at the battles that the Martini-Henry armed British lost against the largely spear armed Zulu. That clearly isn't proof that assegais are better than breechloaders , just that if you put your mind to it and make enough bad decisions, you can still lose to spears even if you bring rapid firing rifles, artillery and rockets.

I'm not saying the longbow was superior to the crossbow or vice versa. I'm just saying it's hard to look at any on battle and say that the victory was the result of a single weapon.

I tend to feel that the better commander won. If you switched out the longbows for crossbows, I don't think it would have changed all that many battles.

PersonMan
2016-01-18, 08:10 PM
I was recently reading a big on how melee fighting in films often contain a lot of motion that doesn't give real benefit (acrobatic moves, spins, etc.) but that would exhaust someone in a very short timeframe, which made me wonder - if you're fighting someone else in a duel type battle, both using melee weapons, and you do have superhuman fortitude, what sort of style would you use, to capitalize on it the most? Would you pick something very defensive, to just wait until your opponent gets tired and finish them, or pick something absurdly aggressive that would exhaust a normal person in minutes, but you can continue until your opponent breaks under the pressure?

Related: Were there any fighting styles based around some kind of hyper-aggression, or constant attack to gain control of a fight and force the opponent into constant defense?

Mr Beer
2016-01-18, 09:40 PM
Not an expert, but I would think a breakneck, frantic speed attack that a normal person could only sustain for a short period of time would be a good idea for a duel if you never get tired. Assuming you are not sacrificing your own defences in the process, of course. But yeah, relentless aggression.

On the same subject, picking a longer/heavier/stronger weapon than one would typically select might also be useful.

Mike_G
2016-01-18, 10:35 PM
I was recently reading a big on how melee fighting in films often contain a lot of motion that doesn't give real benefit (acrobatic moves, spins, etc.) but that would exhaust someone in a very short timeframe, which made me wonder - if you're fighting someone else in a duel type battle, both using melee weapons, and you do have superhuman fortitude, what sort of style would you use, to capitalize on it the most? Would you pick something very defensive, to just wait until your opponent gets tired and finish them, or pick something absurdly aggressive that would exhaust a normal person in minutes, but you can continue until your opponent breaks under the pressure?

Related: Were there any fighting styles based around some kind of hyper-aggression, or constant attack to gain control of a fight and force the opponent into constant defense?

If you look at combat sports, often you see people use the smallest movement possible to achieve what they are after. It doesn't look like much, but a small parry that still moves the attack off target is better than a big one. It takes less time, keeps your weapon more in line to make your riposte, and is less tiring.

Big is easy to see coming, easy to anticipate so you can parry or dodge it, and often leaves you vulnerable or off balance if you miss.

But big, theatrical moves look exciting. I teach normal Olympic style fencing, and stage fencing, and I make the stage fencing big for two reasons. it looks good for the guy in the back row who doesn't know anything about fencing, and it helps the actors see the big move coming, so even if they forget a sequence, they can see the attack and safely avoid it.

But those very things make big moves really bad for actually hitting somebody.

Incanur
2016-01-18, 11:51 PM
For a really shocking comparison, look at the battles that the Martini-Henry armed British lost against the largely spear armed Zulu. That clearly isn't proof that assegais are better than breechloaders , just that if you put your mind to it and make enough bad decisions, you can still lose to spears even if you bring rapid firing rifles, artillery and rockets.

From what I recall - and it's been a while since I've looked - Zulu victories depended on both numbers and tactics/positioning. Various sources claim that British bayonets held their own or better in close combat.


I'm not saying the longbow was superior to the crossbow or vice versa. I'm just saying it's hard to look at any on battle and say that the victory was the result of a single weapon.

I tend to feel that the better commander won. If you switched out the longbows for crossbows, I don't think it would have changed all that many battles.

Certainly so many things go into deciding a battle: command, luck, morale, training/skill, logistics, numbers, equipment, etc. It's indeed hard to pick apart these factors. Still, weapons and armor did and do matter.

I tend to think of bows, crossbows, and handgonnes as roughly matched in the European context until approximately 1550. Crossbowers at times got the best of English archers even before handgonne support, as you can read in El Victorial. Crossbows and handgonnes generally did better at defending walls, skirmishing in rough terrain, and defend/assaulting ships, while bows generally did better in pitched battles and maybe skirmishing in the open. Later (1550 and on) handheld guns like the arquebus, caliver, and musket likely shifted the balance more decisively toward firepower, though at least in China and surrounding regions bows apparently remained competitive with guns as part of a mixed bow/gun army. Maybe that was because 17th/18th-century Chinese region guns weren't as good as their European counterparts, though the example of Koxinga's archers against the Dutch in the middle of the 17th century suggests Chinese archers could compete with European guns well enough.

Galloglaich
2016-01-19, 10:40 AM
Certainly the weapons alone rarely account for success or failure. It's always some combination of the qualities of the troops, (fitness, health, the training and morale, discipline, aggression), the tactics, the leadership and the weapons.

But the longbow, and to a lesser extent the Mongol and Ottoman (etc.) bows tend to get exaggerated as 'super weapons' in the English language literature and the crossbow and early-firearms tend to almost always get discounted, but I'm pretty sure that if you look at all the battles the latter were actually more effective very generally speaking.

Part of the reason for this are the 3 spectacular defeats of the French by the English, (Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt) largely by English longbowmen, while the French had hired Genoese crossbowmen. But the context is lacking, what English-speakers don't realize is that the French had half a dozen other catastrophic defeats by a wide variety of troop types in various other parts of the world across something like four centuries: in the Levant on Crusade, in Flanders against Ghent and Bruges, in Spain, in Italy, and in Hungary against the Turks perhaps most dramatically. I think four French Kings were defeated in battle and personally captured. French contingents, (along with all the others), also failed miserably in the Hussite Crusades.

The reason was that the French had terrific heavy cavalry, but favored the aristocracy and so hated all other classes that they couldn't properly use infantry. In at least 5 battles that I can think of, they literally ran over their own infantry at some point in the battle. They could never grasp how to use combined arms tactics, while nearly every other army in Europe, including the British had figured it out.

But since we all speak English, and thanks to the writing skill of Shakespeare, we really only know about the English victories, which are presented as being due to the remarkable qualities of the English, and their favorite weapon, rather than some chronic cultural / tactical problem of the French.


I agree that the four main ranged-weapon types: longbow, recurve composite bow, crossbow, and hand-gun were roughly equivalent in the late medieval period. Each weapon type did have it's own niche, but this too gets distorted in our perception because of the poor general understanding of Continental warfare and more generally, continental social context during the medieval period.

Bows actually seemed to be useful for siege warfare because of the effects of plunging shots which could hit people behind cover. The Ottomans relied on archers heavily until Lepanto and some military historians believe their decline started after that battle because they lost so many who had the skill there.

http://i76.servimg.com/u/f76/18/54/81/23/with_b10.jpg
Skane lockbow: for hunting rabbits at close range.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/32/25/f6/3225f63d41d4ff685f8fa637042c5773.jpg
Scary crossbow - can kill a horse with one shot from 400 meters

Due to English propaganda the crossbow has a terrible reputation as a slow, ungainly weapon that was suitable for untrained cannon-fodder, but the reality is that it was used by some of the most highly-paid soldiers and mercenaries, was the Latin weapon feared most by the Mongols and the Ottomans according to their own records, and was equally effective on the open battlefield as in sieges or on ships and boats (though it was well suited for the latter). I suspect one of the main points of confusion is that there were so many completely different grades of crossbow but they all look more or less the same to the untrained eye. The crossbow was probably the longest ranged and most accurate weapon of the four, and thanks to certain mechanical innovations which became available in the early 1400's, was arguably second best on horseback (though longbows were used on horseback too). It's main defects was that it was expensive and, in the more powerful versions, not that easy to use.

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87/rocklockI/hgupplstbildmrk.jpg

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87/rocklockI/fd515b8ef023__1272899790000.jpg
http://www.musketeer.ch/Bilder/SP_bild/DanzigerBuchse500.JPG
Two early bronze handguns, 14th Century from Gdansk

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=121855&stc=1
Late 15th Century matchlock arquebus from Nuremberg, with Bronze barrel

The handgun was more or less restricted to siege warfare until the 1420's when the Czechs showed how to use it with spectacular success in the open field. From that point onward the handgun was widely used in the open field with a variety of different schemes, ultimately war wagons became the main method to protect gunners in Northern and Eastern Europe and Pikes in Central to Western Europe. I think their primary niche was armor-piercing, which they gradually replaced crossbows,

http://i.imgur.com/Q9u12pl.jpg?1

Recurve composite bows were ideal for horse-cavalry warfare (it wasn't easy to use a gun on horseback, other than a pistol, until metal cartridges became available) and had the niche of both the carbine and the pistol for a long, long time, especially in Central Asia and the Middle East.

http://www.englandsmedievalfestival.com/medieval/images/23.jdw.8.30.jpg

The longbow was extremely powerful when deployed in large formations that were suitably protected. But it proved to be a lot easier to protect such formations from impetuous French Knights than from pragmatic, cunning Swiss or Czech mercenaries or Landsknechts, or Spanish tercio's and so on.

G

Dienekes
2016-01-19, 12:33 PM
I was recently reading a big on how melee fighting in films often contain a lot of motion that doesn't give real benefit (acrobatic moves, spins, etc.) but that would exhaust someone in a very short timeframe, which made me wonder - if you're fighting someone else in a duel type battle, both using melee weapons, and you do have superhuman fortitude, what sort of style would you use, to capitalize on it the most? Would you pick something very defensive, to just wait until your opponent gets tired and finish them, or pick something absurdly aggressive that would exhaust a normal person in minutes, but you can continue until your opponent breaks under the pressure?

Related: Were there any fighting styles based around some kind of hyper-aggression, or constant attack to gain control of a fight and force the opponent into constant defense?

The thing is, from my understanding and practice if the fight is unarmored and it goes on for longer than a minute anyway it's already unrealistic. Honestly, if I had super human fortitude to not tire I'd just buy the heaviest armor that doesn't effect my movement too much and then just fight normally. Unless I also was supernaturally fast or resistant to being cut I would not do flourishes and whatnot.

And while I wouldn't call it hyper-aggression, exactly, one of the core tenets of the German school of fencing was the best defense is a good offense, though that was listed after things like don't try to be fancy and perfect your footwork.

Incanur
2016-01-19, 04:11 PM
The thing is, from my understanding and practice if the fight is unarmored and it goes on for longer than a minute anyway it's already unrealistic. Honestly, if I had super human fortitude to not tire I'd just buy the heaviest armor that doesn't effect my movement too much and then just fight normally. Unless I also was supernaturally fast or resistant to being cut I would not do flourishes and whatnot.

And while I wouldn't call it hyper-aggression, exactly, one of the core tenets of the German school of fencing was the best defense is a good offense, though that was listed after things like don't try to be fancy and perfect your footwork.

While the German school or at least some versions of it may encourage minute-or-less unarmored duels - Lance Chan's videos support this from what I've seen - that's definitely not true for other styles. George Silver thought two masters fighting with "perfect" weapons shouldn't be able to hurt each at all. Records of bouts by masters of defense and the like from the 16th and 17th centuries indicate duels could take some time, though these weren't usually lethal contests. (People got serious hurt and maybe killed sometimes, but that wasn't the point.) Accounts of various unarmored duels and street fights indicate these encourage could last much longer than a minute, though I don't recall any with specific times at the moment. People who practice Silver's style often bout for over a minute without any hits.

As far as English archers and English warriors in general go, it's notable that their high reputation isn't strictly because of British nationalist nostalgia. You can find high praise for the English by various Western European observers, from Spain/Portugal, France, Italy (http://historytavern.blogspot.com/2012/04/english-archers.html), etc. (I can't think of any from Germany off the top of my head.) These accounts typically emphasize the strength of English warriors and/or English bows, English bellicosity, and the high maintenance requirements of English soldiers (they liked their comforts). Some of these observers were English allies while some were enemies who considered the English weirdos and jerks, but they agreed on English prowess. They weren't any better than other well-regarded troops - notably the Swiss - but putting them alongside the Swiss as folks often do isn't unreasonable, even if the Swiss certainly had far more influence on warfare in the Continent.

Also, saying the French could never manage combined arms tactics goes too far: Marignano 1515 says they could. There gendarmes, artillery, pikers, and crossbowers/gunners all worked together to defeat the Swiss in an epic battle. While French armies had various spectacular defeats, they had spectacular victories as well, so it was a decidedly mixed back.

Another tidbit about English archers: supposedly the most recent Mary Rose replicas using Italian yew come out to be even heavier than previous Pacific yew replicas. None of this has been published, but if accurate then bows over 160lbs may have been fairly common in English armies. Joe Gibbs recently made two bows in the middle of Mary Rose dimensions and they came out [email protected]" and [email protected]". See this thread (http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32982&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20). A 182lb bow shooting a heavy arrow could plausibly manage some of the armor-penetration feats ascribed to English arrows in the 14th century and early 15th century, assuming low-quality metal.

Carl
2016-01-19, 05:46 PM
So gave it a couple of day's. Any comments on my post at the end of the last page, guessing it got buried?

Also to some degree before this thread and especially since as you educated me on certain things i got the impression longbows were good because they represented a good balance, whilst you can field missile weapons that are better in one respect or another, it's very hard to find one that universally beats it, handgonnes trade range for power, and crossbows run the whole gauntlet usually giving up rate of fire for increased power or vice versa. I would question the accuracy point, as i understand it quarrels are quite short with relatively short fletchings relative to weight, that means they'd yaw easier. Sufficiently higher draw weights could probably alleviate that, but again tradeoff.

I suspect the point about the complete package mattering is a key one, in particular other than some talk about english halberdiers i can't really remember a time pre-napoleonic where any of the other aspects of the english forces are talked about particularly positively. Makes me wonder if the rest were upto snuff so to speak. Could easily be a case of pushing the longbow too hard.

Incanur
2016-01-19, 06:48 PM
English men-at-arms, typically though not always fighting on foot, were essential to most if not all the famous English victories, as were halberdiers/billmen in many. That's one thing focusing on the archers so much overlooks. 16th-century English artillery and ships could be quite good as well; see of course the defeat of the Spanish Armada for the easiest example of that. English light cavalry, such as the famous border horse, was excellent.

I suspect crossbows were more accurate than bows and all but the best, most carefully loaded handgonnes/arqubuses/muskets/etc. Raimond de Fourquevaux had a high opinion of the crossbow's accuracy, citing a crossbower at the siege of Turin 1536 who killed and wounded more foes in various skirmishes than the best five or six gunners. Humphrey Barwick claimed guns were more accurate than crossbows, which were in turn more accurate than bows.

Carl
2016-01-19, 06:53 PM
I suspect crossbows were more accurate than bows and all but the best, most carefully loaded handgonnes/arqubuses/muskets/etc. Raimond de Fourquevaux had a high opinion of the crossbow's accuracy, citing a crossbower at the siege of Turin 1536 who killed and wounded more foes in various skirmishes than the best five or six gunners. Humphrey Barwick claimed guns were more accurate than crossbows, which were in turn more accurate than bows.

At the same poundage there's no way based on my understanding crossbows could be as accurate, that's kinda why i mentioned it. Basic physics says the quarrel will yaw easier. Like i said though a high enough poundage will raise quarrel momentum enough to compensate.

Incanur
2016-01-19, 09:54 PM
That's only one element among many that go into practical accuracy, and it's speculation rather than based on any tests or period sources. In any case, crossbows are fundamentally easier to aim because you don't have to worry about holding 100+lbs.

We do know some specific accuracy numbers from shooting contests, though it's unclear exactly what they mean. The best shooter at a contest in the early 16th century in I believe Zurich hit a 15cm(5.9in)-diameter target at 70 meters (76.55 yards) 13 times out of 24 shots. 15cm is only slight larger that the 12.2cm-diameter 10-ring typical in contemporary recurve target archery. Hitting the bullseye over 50% of the time seems pretty good, but I don't much about target archery. In one 1458 event in Nuremberg, contestants shot at a similarly sized target at a distance of nearly 300 feet (91 m). The winner hit 11 times out of 50 shots. 22% accuracy hitting a target roughly the size of somebody's face at 91 meters isn't bad.

As an aside, I agree with Galloglaich that crossbows could be just as effective weapons as English bows, but you have to admit crossbowers didn't always perform too well in practice, especially against English archers. At Agincourt French crossbowers got off only one volley that killed or wounded very few. At Brouwershaven 1426, a volley from over a thousand Dutch crossbows "did about as much harm to [the English] as a shower of rotten apples (https://books.google.com/books?id=H7VFJAK8LSUC&pg=PA44&dq=shower+of+rotten+apples&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiU1YTXsrfKAhUsk4MKHTpcA5EQ6AEIKzAA#v=on epage&q=shower%20of%20rotten%20apples&f=false)." (Burgundian men-at-arms, nearly immune to arrows, proceeded to route the English.)

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 12:35 AM
This has been pointed out millions of times, though it will be my first I think: it had just rained heavily before Agincourt, which damaged the strings of the Genoese crossbowmen. They couldn't unstring their crossbows, whereas the English archers could unstring their bows. The French hadn't helped the Genoese deal with this in any way (by providing carts or tarps to shelter the weapons from the rain) and deployed the crosbsowmen like idiots.

No matter what though, the myth is more fun than the reality like with most things medieval. When the English longbowmen were deployed against Swiss or German militia and got slaughtered, there are all kinds of excuses, when they get beaten by Poles and Lithuanians, you hear mumbles... but the poor Genoese always get the shaft, so to speak.

Yes, it's been very well established that the crossbows were much more accurate than any bow, longbow, Mongol recurve, Ottoman recurve, any of them. Their effective range for shooting individual targets was more than double for several different 'grades' of crossbow'. The bows were still effective at long range though mainly through clout shooting or volley shooting (more like artillery - shooting into an area or a circle). Crossbows were used this way too but were not as effective at it because of the lower rate of shots.

For shooting individual targets like a sniper, it was the crossbow and later the wall gun. If you wanted to do that with a bow you had to get close. In addition to just an inherently superior accuracy, crossbows (and guns) could benefit from the support of a wall (or a cart, gunwhale of a boat, tree branch etc.) and could held in readiness indefinitely. This is what made them so deadly in sieges.

I don't know why I keep pointing this out, we might as well be arguing about King Arthur vs. the Green Knight.


The bottom line though is that contrary to English mythology, the longbow was available all over Europe and was used all over Europe - just not as much as other weapons. The Burgundians used it a lot, though only as part of a range of options. You can see it in period artwork from Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, and it does show up in armory inspection rosters and muster lists and so forth. But the crossbow and later the gun were preferred over it by people who had the option to choose anything they wanted. The English frankly couldn't usually afford to equip an army with crossbows, not real state of the art military grade ones, because England was a relatively poor country in the medieval period. Their economy was almost entirely agricultural, in stark contrast to Burgundy, the Rhineland, or Northern Italy. And longbows were cheap even when made of imported yew.

All that changed in the 16th Century though and Incanur is right, the English navy got very good, very quickly. Really I think after the English finished fighting each other in the War of the Roses they started to modernize. English soldiers seem to have gotten better in general and the English military was well respected in the Early Modern Era.


G

Mr. Mask
2016-01-20, 01:09 AM
G: What are your thoughts on the Samurai preferring the bow over the crossbow?

Incanur
2016-01-20, 01:55 AM
This has been pointed out millions of times, though it will be my first I think: it had just rained heavily before Agincourt, which damaged the strings of the Genoese crossbowmen. They couldn't unstring their crossbows, whereas the English archers could unstring their bows. The French hadn't helped the Genoese deal with this in any way (by providing carts or tarps to shelter the weapons from the rain) and deployed the crosbsowmen like idiots.

Are you confusing Agincourt and Crécy? I don't recall reading anything about wet strings for Agincourt, and the whole wet-strings thing is somewhat dubious to begin with. (I believe only Jean de Venette (https://books.google.com/books?id=tTjWBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA318&dq=crecy+wet+strings&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-1LLO2LfKAhUI2WMKHXNFB144ChDoAQgkMAA#v=onepage&q=crecy%20wet%20strings&f=false) makes the wet-strings claim. There is some other evidence the wet conditions did hinder the crossbowers at Crécy, though.) Idiotic French deployment of crossbowers in both battles? Yes, though at Agincourt some of that may have been because the crossbowers in question felt outclassed by English archers. The Gesta (https://books.google.com/books?id=CsWQCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR32&lpg=PR32&dq=gesta+agincourt+%2B+%22very+few%22+%2B+volley&source=bl&ots=ZZjLtP5YCZ&sig=tEwoO_m2TXPit4C6IgvviAkNni8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj35rTD17fKAhUCyWMKHXVjBJ4Q6AEIIjAB#v=on epage&q=gesta%20agincourt%20%2B%20%22very%20few%22%20%2B %20volley&f=false) claims the French crossbowers gave a single over-hasty volley that injured very few, then retreated out of fear of English bows. (Other Agincourt sources don't mention this, so it's possible the French crossbowers and archers didn't shoot at all. The Gesta is a pretty good source, though.)

In any case, we still have a clear period source (https://books.google.com/books?id=H7VFJAK8LSUC&pg=PA44&dq=shower+of+rotten+apples&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiU1YTXsrfKAhUsk4MKHTpcA5EQ6AEIKzAA#v=on epage&q=shower%20of%20rotten%20apples&f=false) that a crossbow volley did about as much harm as a shower of rotten apples. That one's hard to live down. :smallwink:


For shooting individual targets like a sniper, it was the crossbow and later the wall gun. If you wanted to do that with a bow you had to get close. In addition to just an inherently superior accuracy, crossbows (and guns) could benefit from the support of a wall (or a cart, gunwhale of a boat, tree branch etc.) and could held in readiness indefinitely. This is what made them so deadly in sieges.

Yep.


The bottom line though is that contrary to English mythology, the longbow was available all over Europe and was used all over Europe - just not as much as other weapons. The Burgundians used it a lot, though only as part of a range of options. You can see it in period artwork from Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, and it does show up in armory inspection rosters and muster lists and so forth. But the crossbow and later the gun were preferred over it by people who had the option to choose anything they wanted. The English frankly couldn't usually afford to equip an army with crossbows, not real state of the art military grade ones, because England was a relatively poor country in the medieval period. Their economy was almost entirely agricultural, in stark contrast to Burgundy, the Rhineland, or Northern Italy. And longbows were cheap even when made of imported yew.

This ignores how it's not just about having yew bows available, it's about having strong archers and lots of them. England had much more of a tradition of mass archery than anywhere else in Europe, maintained with some difficulty. It wasn't just that they couldn't afford anything else. English armies actually did use fair numbers of crossbows at various points before the 15th century, though mainly for castle defense and so on. Many period sources attest to the particular English penchant for archery; this shouldn't be controversial stuff. As I mentioned earlier, the physical evidence likewise support the idea that the English draw mighty strong bows. Joe Gibbs is making Alpine-yew replicas with dimensions smack in the middle of the Mary Rose bows and they're drawing 170-180 (which he can shoot)! Honestly, unless Alpine yew performs significantly better than Pacific yew, it's not surprising some/many were so heavy, because the yew bow ain't the most efficient design. But still, arrows from those monsters would have packed a punch.


All that changed in the 16th Century though and Incanur is right, the English navy got very good, very quickly. Really I think after the English finished fighting each other in the War of the Roses they started to modernize. English soldiers seem to have gotten better in general and the English military was well respected in the Early Modern Era.

The English military was respected well before the 16th century, even by people who disliked the English as a people and fought against them and beat them: read El Victorial. Whatever you think about Pero Niño's great feats of arms, the descriptions crossbow-vs.-longbow combat strike me as hard to dismiss. The French were certainly tactically inept quite often in the Hundred Years' War, but English victories there are still impressive and they didn't just defeat French armies. Consider for example Nájera 1367, where English archers defeated crossbowers deployed in conjunction with slingers and other missile troops. Consider John Hawkwood in Italy in the 14th century. Etc. Folks in at least Italy, Spain, and France (I'm using these regions for convenience, of course they were different back then) respected and feared English archers and men-at-arms as good soldiers: not unbeatable or anything, but good soldiers.

The whole narrative of English military backwardness doesn't hold up much better than the longbow-as-superweapon mythology. Archery was an valuable military skill that required some commitment, even if bows were cheaper than high-quality crossbows and guns. The particular social, economic, and historical circumstances of the English came together to encourage development of large numbers of strong archers. Many English archers performed solid service and impressed much of Europe, even if their bows weren't that great technologically and they still at times lost to or failed against cavalry charges, crossbows, handgonnes, heavily armored infantry, etc.

The English military had plenty of problems in the 15th and 16th centuries, but incorporated artillery reasonably well and in the 16th century mixed the arquebus/caliver/musket alongside the bow and the pike alongside the bill. I'm not convinced the bow eventually fell out of use in the English military entirely because it was a worse weapon than the guns, though I'm confident it was poorly suited to conflict in the Low Countries and to attacking 16th-century armor. In part I think social and economic dynamics made it challenging and undesirable to continue to train powerful archers. As Galloglaich has noted, things didn't simply advance in the 17th century: 17th-century guns were unquestionably powerful and effective, but they additionally facilitated mass recruitment and shifting martial culture. Just because a weapon or unit type disappeared didn't mean what replaced it was strictly better, as we know hardened steel armor mostly vanished in the 17th century.

Carl
2016-01-20, 06:07 AM
That's only one element among many that go into practical accuracy, and it's speculation rather than based on any tests or period sources. In any case, crossbows are fundamentally easier to aim because you don't have to worry about holding 100+lbs.

No, it's based on physics not period accounts, one can be fallible, the other within the limits of our knowledge and the limits of the set problem can't.

Like i said there's enough unknowns that crossbows could achieve better accuracy in practise, but most of them boil down to "have a higher poundage". From my understanding a crossbow quarrel relative to an arrow is shorter and fatter for the same weight. Also from the few images i've seen they don;t have longer fletchings, in fact they look smaller to me so i'd expect less aerodynamic stability too. The point is unless the quarrel is much heavier, (with the lower velocity that implies), it's going to yaw easier, and depending on weight vs fletching size specifics and the average density of the material it will be less well aerodynamically stabilized too by the fletching.

@Gallioch: Unless there something seriously screwy going on with the average densities a flatter trajectory requires a lighter bolt or a higher poundage and your suddenly dealing with two entirely different classes of weapon. When you say more accurate i assume you mean an equivalent crossbow would be more accurate. I even pointed out higher poundages can compensate for the yaw and other differences. Not only does the higher velocity stabilize the bolt better if the mass is equivalent or higher than the arrow but as you noted you get a flatter trajectory making the weapon more point and shoot.

Hjolnai
2016-01-20, 06:30 AM
No, it's based on physics not period accounts, one can be fallible, the other within the limits of our knowledge and the limits of the set problem can't.

Like i said there's enough unknowns that crossbows could achieve better accuracy in practise, but most of them boil down to "have a higher poundage". From my understanding a crossbow quarrel relative to an arrow is shorter and fatter for the same weight. Also from the few images i've seen they don;t have longer fletchings, in fact they look smaller to me so i'd expect less aerodynamic stability too. The point is unless the quarrel is much heavier, (with the lower velocity that implies), it's going to yaw easier, and depending on weight vs fletching size specifics and the average density of the material it will be less well aerodynamically stabilized too by the fletching.

(Quote truncated)

You have considered only one element of the physics, not the entire physical picture. Consider this: an arrow is not perfectly rigid and tends to bend in flight (since all the force is being applied to the back end, the arrow has to flex until the front end gets up to speed). A crossbow bolt, being shorter and thicker, is more rigid and will not flex as much. There may also be other physical effects advantaging one or the other.

As such, you can't just say the physics supports one over the other - you'd have to do numerical calculations (or collect experimental data) to determine which effect is stronger. I would expect that the difference is minimal, while ease of use makes much more difference in practice.

Carl
2016-01-20, 08:18 AM
You have considered only one element of the physics, not the entire physical picture. Consider this: an arrow is not perfectly rigid and tends to bend in flight (since all the force is being applied to the back end, the arrow has to flex until the front end gets up to speed). A crossbow bolt, being shorter and thicker, is more rigid and will not flex as much. There may also be other physical effects advantaging one or the other.

As such, you can't just say the physics supports one over the other - you'd have to do numerical calculations (or collect experimental data) to determine which effect is stronger. I would expect that the difference is minimal, while ease of use makes much more difference in practice.

I have a fair physics knowledge level, (college education), i'm not going to claim i can account for every little detail, no, (i'm pretty sure i noted that point in passing), but short of some major factor the basics are pretty clear. The flexing for example, since it takes the form from what i've seen of a standing wave within the arrow shaft would tend to counteract yawing and driftin as they'd require the arrow to bend in a different way which would disrupt the wave and the wave would tend to resist that.

I'd agree ease of use makes a big difference BTW, but again we're talking about which weapon is more accurate, so which is easier to point isn't especially relevant to that. If i was to test it i'd want a longbow and a comparable power crossbow set up on stands with automatic releases and their angles fixed and then measure the dispersion down range at the chosen target.

I was never disputing that historical crossbows for various reasons might be experiencing higher real world accuracies, but that this wasn't necessarily down to the fact that crossbows are more innately accurate than longbows. In practise i'd expect the real world difference to favour the longbow, but by an amount small enough it probably wouldn't matter on a battlefield.

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 09:22 AM
Are you confusing Agincourt and Crécy? I don't recall reading anything about wet strings for Agincourt, and the whole wet-strings thing is somewhat dubious to begin with.

Ah, no Incanur. Go back and look. It rained heavily the night before Agincourt. This was why the ground was so muddy and that was the whole reason the French charge failed. None of this is new or remotely revisionist or anything. The problem is the French didn't give their Genoese mercenaries what they needed to protect the crossbow strings. It happened at Crecy too.



In any case, we still have that a crossbow volley did about as much harm as a shower of rotten apples. That one's hard to live down. :smallwink:

Only if you really want to think so! :smallsmile: Otherwise you would look at all the battles in which crossbows slaughtered the enemy. If they worked like rotten apples why would they make and buy millions of them?



This ignores how it's not just about having yew bows available, it's about having strong archers and lots of them.

We know that longbows, and their use, were widespread beyond the British isles, and date back to the Neolothic.

The 160 -- 180 lbs bows are ridiculous- wild claims by longbow fanboys. There probably were some that powerful, same for Recurves by the way, there were some outliers. There were also crossbows with 1500 and 2000 lb draws. But they were outliers. Experts from the English warbow society etc. have basically figured out that the 'sweet spot' for longbows was around 120 lbs. Which is plenty powerful for a bow. We know at one point there were a lot of longbow archers in Scandinavia, and we know that the Burgundians developed a whole culture of them. They do show up in art from Germany quite a bit as well, Der Weisskunig for example shows a lot of them, you also see them in the illustrated Swiss chronicles (often in the hands of their Burgundian enemies, but also used by the Swiss themselves). They show in art in Italy, and were one of the weapons studied by many soldiers and knights. They had a niche they just weren't an uber weapon. And the supposedly unique English culture of developing bowmen wasn't unique to England or to longbows. All the weapons and troop types of that period had a 'culture' that went with them which is why the mercenaries that specialized in each type tended to come from certain regions or estates.



Consider for example Nájera 1367, where English archers defeated crossbowers deployed in conjunction with slingers and other missile troops. Consider John Hawkwood in Italy in the 14th century. Etc. Folks in at least Italy, Spain, and France (I'm using these regions for convenience, of course they were different back then) respected and feared English archers and men-at-arms as good soldiers: not unbeatable or anything, but good soldiers.

English were good enough soldiers, but they weren't the elite portrayed by superficial Anglo-American histories. They also lost the 100 Years War which is routinely forgotten in every BBC and History Channel documentary I've ever seen about it. The English themselves acknowledged that their cavalry wasn't as good as the French in most cases, which is one of the reasons they often fought as infantry (quite bravely) to reinforce their archers.



The whole narrative of English military backwardness doesn't hold up much better than the longbow-as-superweapon mythology. Archery was an valuable military skill that required some commitment, even if bows were cheaper than high-quality crossbows and guns. The particular social, economic, and historical circumstances of the English came together to encourage development of large numbers of strong archers. Many English archers performed solid service and impressed much of Europe, even if their bows weren't that great technologically and they still at times lost to or failed against cavalry charges, crossbows, handgonnes, heavily armored infantry, etc.

That's all fine, I'm just pointing out that they weren't the super soldiers you would assume from a typical BBC history documentary. I'm not sure John Hawkwood was using longbowmen either though I could be wrong.

Generally speaking Scottish mercenaries were more widely used in the Continent than English ones, by the way. Mostly as heavy infantry. English longbowmen were available if you wanted to hire them, and the Burgundians were pretty impressed with them due to their victories over the French, but they did not turn out to be the panacea that Charles The Bold had hoped, and their popularity was limited in the most intense battlefields such as Italy, .


I'm confident it was poorly suited to conflict in the Low Countries and to attacking 16th-century armor. .

The people in the low countries could afford any kind of weapon, could hire any kind of mercenaries, and knew how to use combined arms. With all due respect to my French ancestors, while their prowess was remarkable, their battlefield acumen was often lacking. Even in Italy where (mostly with the help of Swiss infantry) they managed to almost get their head around combined arms warfare, they managed to get their King captured.

Haruspex_Pariah
2016-01-20, 09:24 AM
I was never disputing that historical crossbows for various reasons might be experiencing higher real world accuracies, but that this wasn't necessarily down to the fact that crossbows are more innately accurate than longbows. In practise i'd expect the real world difference to favour the longbow, but by an amount small enough it probably wouldn't matter on a battlefield.

So...

You're saying that if a person could hold and aim a longbow as easily as they did a crossbow, with identical draw weight between the two weapons, they'd be more accurate with the longbow. That about right?

Hjolnai
2016-01-20, 09:34 AM
I have a fair physics knowledge level, (college education), i'm not going to claim i can account for every little detail, no, (i'm pretty sure i noted that point in passing), but short of some major factor the basics are pretty clear. The flexing for example, since it takes the form from what i've seen of a standing wave within the arrow shaft would tend to counteract yawing and driftin as they'd require the arrow to bend in a different way which would disrupt the wave and the wave would tend to resist that.

I'd agree ease of use makes a big difference BTW, but again we're talking about which weapon is more accurate, so which is easier to point isn't especially relevant to that. If i was to test it i'd want a longbow and a comparable power crossbow set up on stands with automatic releases and their angles fixed and then measure the dispersion down range at the chosen target.

I was never disputing that historical crossbows for various reasons might be experiencing higher real world accuracies, but that this wasn't necessarily down to the fact that crossbows are more innately accurate than longbows. In practise i'd expect the real world difference to favour the longbow, but by an amount small enough it probably wouldn't matter on a battlefield.

Sorry, I should have noted that you'd already acknowledged ease of use as the greater effect. Also, I agree with your hypothetical experiment (not that we're actually going to test it, but still...)

I also agree that the arrow's flexing will form a standing wave, but since air resistance is proportional to the square of the velocity, the first oscillation has the strongest effect - if the middle of the arrow flexes right first, air resistance should push the arrow to rotate left slightly, and the change in angle will not be completely corrected when the flex moves to the left (there's less air resistance since the arrow is slower). Of course, after the first left-flex, the second right-flex will be weaker again, and so on, but the arrow won't return to its original direction. Aerodynamics is not my field, so I may be missing something here, but I don't see how the larger flex can be ignored. Of course, if you could guarantee the flex always started in the same direction, that would fix the problem, since consistently having the same offset is sufficient for accuracy.

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 09:51 AM
I was never disputing that historical crossbows for various reasons might be experiencing higher real world accuracies, but that this wasn't necessarily down to the fact that crossbows are more innately accurate than longbows. In practise i'd expect the real world difference to favour the longbow, but by an amount small enough it probably wouldn't matter on a battlefield.

I don't really understand the physics myself. A bullet is smaller than an arrow though and it doesn't oscillate enough to suffer in comparative accuracy (even a shotgun slug).

Ease of use was not the reason for the widespread adoption of the crossbow, that is another very persistent myth spread by the BBC and the History Channel (back when they still even nominally had "history" instead of reality shows.). The more powerful crossbows weren't easy (or particularly safe) to use, which is why people who could use them were paid so much - often twice or three times the rate of regular infantry. And almost always more than archers by the way.

The physics are complex. Crossbows did have a much higher draw weight, typically, but that is by no means the only factor. If longbows were 80-130 lbs, (or even 160 lbs if you believe Incannur) crossbows came in 3 basic categories, the most powerful personal weapons (weapons you could carry around as opposed to siege weapons) were around 1000 - 1200 lbs draw. But the draw weight is only one factor. The width of the bow (the bow part is called a prod on a crossbow) matters, the stroke matters (how fare the string is pulled back and travels before stopping) the string itself matters and the size, weight, and shape of the projectile being shot matters. I say projectile because some crossbows shot bullets rather than bolts, though those were mostly for hunting.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b7/83/f7/b783f7788c0b216ae4baa197a09684a3.jpg
Special incendiary bolts - these were widely used to start fires in sieges and enemy military camps.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3e/92/76/3e92768891025057746d7ff76a71a140.jpg

Medieval crossbow bolts were shorter, fatter, and much heavier than longbow arrows. I am not going to look it up because I don't have the time, but just off the top of my head, but if I remember correctly, Eastern / Steppe recurve arrows were the lightest, ranging from 20 grams for flight arrows to 40 for war arrows, I think the longbow arrows were around 50-60 grams depending on the specific type, and "Latin" crossbow bolts probably averaged around 80 grams though they could be up to 120.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e9/86/6e/e9866e8cf2612b5abdb91ac1c3687d7c.jpg
medium powered crossbow, with a 'goats foot' or a 'wippe' spanner. These could be used on horseback pretty easily.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/67/53/52/675352fb79ecacf33c7cd34eab9677f3.jpg
Cranequins, these were the most popular spanners used for the more powerful crossbows. They could also apparently be used on horseback but you had to be much more skilled at both use of the crossbow and as a rider.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=117335&stc=1

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=5232&stc=1
Very powerful composite-prod crossbow, this would be like a 1200 lbs draw weapon. The very thick prod (one I saw in a museum was thicker than my forearm) is characteristic of the composite prods.

The truth is though while we understand the basic idea, the details of the physics of medieval crossbows are still something of a mystery. We know that some of the surviving antiques remain very powerful. One was able to shoot a bolt over 400 meters in a famous test in the early 20th Century. We still do have hundreds of examples of antiques, some of which can be shot, though it's very risky both to the (extremely expensive) antique weapon itself, and to the shooter. Medieval style crossbows were still being made for hunting into the 18th Century so we have some that aren't 5 centuries old, but even a 200 year old weapon of that type is potentially dangerous to play with.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/dc/1d/f1/dc1df1f3cc98246a042aae2b8d6249c9.jpg
medieval

http://www.archerytargets.com/images/image/Armageddon_Iso2a_small.png
Modern

Medieval type crossbows are very different from modern ones. Modern crossbows shoot a very light arrow which is relatively long, and has a very long powerstroke. They use compound bow prods with pullies etc. I don't think any modern hunting crossbow can shoot 400 yards though. Almost a completely different design. Medieval type crossbows have a very short power stroke. We don't really know why. The prods are very hard to make. A handful of top level artisans can make the steel ones which are functional up to 1200 lb draw, but not up to the standards of the medieval period (and they are reluctant to push the performance envelope for safety reasons). The composite / horn prods have so far eluded the abilities of modern investigators to recreate. One major study attempted to make 5 of them for an experiment but they failed after 2 or 3 shots. Interest is growing but it will probably be a while yet before we have something like a realistic weapon of the period that can be tested.


But there is no doubt about their relative performance at all. We have records from shooting contests for both bows and crossbows (and guns as well) which give us the size of the targets (in many cases we have the actual target which was part of the invitation that was sent out), the distance of the targets, the amount of time allowed to shoot etc. Crossbows were hitting targets two or three times the distance as bows, everywhere in Europe. We also have military records such as from the Teutonic Knights. They had used English soldiers in Crusade against the Lithuanians, and they liked the longbow, but they noted that even the mid-grade crossbow (the one you could span with a belt hook or a goats-foot) outranged the longbow in effective range for individual shots by almost double (80 yards vs. 40 yards) and the really heavy crossbow (cranequin or windlass span) was considered able to hit individual targets up to 200 yards.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-20, 10:14 AM
I don't buy this idea that every weapon is as hard to learn as any other. Handgun, you can shoot reasonably with an hour's practice, and most of that is learning safety procedures. Sling? You're going to be practising for days without hitting much of anything.

Incanur
2016-01-20, 11:09 AM
Ah, no Incanur. Go back and look. It rained heavily the night before Agincourt. This was why the ground was so muddy and that was the whole reason the French charge failed. None of this is new or remotely revisionist or anything. The problem is the French didn't give their Genoese mercenaries what they needed to protect the crossbow strings. It happened at Crecy too.

Everyone knows it rained before Agincourt, but I don't know of any period sources that describe wet strings hindering crossbower performance there. Again, as far as I know only Jean de Venette made the claim about wet strings decreasing crossbow performance at Crécy, and some historians are skeptical (https://books.google.com/books?id=tTjWBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA318&lpg=PA318&dq=crecy+jean+de+venette+wet+strings&source=bl&ots=D_CiRFIADw&sig=1U-zdLSJEM66rZgO0sUAXUCCKaE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi5m_-x1rjKAhVDmYMKHR4PCZMQ6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q=crecy%20jean%20de%20venette%20wet%20strings&f=false). (Another Crécy source claims the soft, wet ground made hard/impossible for crossbowers to span their bows.) What's your source that this happened at Agincourt? From what I've read, only the Gesta mentions that French crossbowers shot at all, and only once.


Only if you really want to think so! :smallsmile: Otherwise you would look at all the battles in which crossbows slaughtered the enemy. If they worked like rotten apples why would they make and buy millions of them?

Well, 12th-century European crossbows (https://books.google.com/books?id=jdcrsCOB-VcC&pg=PA134&dq=anna+comnena+crossbow+%2B+wall&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXxZzN47jKAhWplIMKHYB2DsQQ6AEIJTAA#v=on epage&q=anna%20comnena%20crossbow%20%2B%20wall&f=false) could pierce any armor and continue, shoot through a bronze statue, and sink completely into a town wall. Maybe they were hoping for that level of performance, but got rotten apples instead. :smallamused:


The 160 -- 180 lbs bows are ridiculous- wild claims by longbow fanboys. There probably were some that powerful, same for Recurves by the way, there were some outliers.

This (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-2KLuAH4GY) is Joe Gibbs. This (http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32982&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20) is the recent thread. I was incredulous at first, but building replicas out of the actual period materials does strike me as the proper approach for assessing the capabilities of historical artifacts. Hopefully somebody will write up Alpine-yew-replica results soon, complete with new speed tests.


Experts from the English warbow society etc. have basically figured out that the 'sweet spot' for longbows was around 120 lbs.

See the linked thread above. This is strongly contested, a matter of perhaps eternal controversy, but The Great Warbow says 150-160lbs was the Mary Rose average, and the book uses Pacific yew replicas rather than Alpine yew. Based on performance numbers in the same book, 120lb yew bows are honestly pretty meh. And apparently lots of folks these days can shoot more than that. I'm sure some English bows were in 120lb range, but the evidence, especially these most recent replicas, indicates 150+lbs was the Mary Rose average. 170-180lbs may even have been fairly common.


We know at one point there were a lot of longbow archers in Scandinavia, and we know that the Burgundians developed a whole culture of them.

Apparently a few Scandinavian bows have also replicas pulling around 150lbs (according to Will S (http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32982&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=40) in myArmoury thread).


And the supposedly unique English culture of developing bowmen wasn't unique to England or to longbows.

The English were famous for having lots of archers and a culture that emphasized the bow. According to Garcilaso de la Vegas account of Hernando de Soto's Florida expedition, an Englishman and Spaniard raised in England both used bows, while none of the other Europeans involved did. (Their bows supposedly did impressive service.) Various places of course specialized in unit types, in part because having enough quality soldiers of whatever variety required social and physical infrastructure. In part people also fought with what they fought because of tradition and sticking with what they knew. Humphrey Barwick criticized English affection for the bow as being the same as Irish affinity for darts and so on, and he had a point. As another example, it's unlikely the Manchus would have retained military archery for as long as they did without its cultural importance, because they kept it into the age of repeating rifles. (In the 17th and 18th centuries, however, it seems to have served them reasonably well.)


English were good enough soldiers, but they weren't the elite portrayed by superficial Anglo-American histories. They also lost the 100 Years War which is routinely forgotten in every BBC and History Channel documentary I've ever seen about it.

They were more or less just raiders in France, despite the grand ambitions of conquest: a pillaging horde that came and went. Henry VIII continued this pattern, though with only small victories for various reasons.


The English themselves acknowledged that their cavalry wasn't as good as the French in most cases, which is one of the reasons they often fought as infantry (quite bravely) to reinforce their archers.

French heavy cavalry tended to be the best in Western Europe, at least by the late 15th century and through the 16th century. Maybe also the most idiotic in Western Europe, but they typically defeating their opposing counterparts as at Ravenna 1512. I'm not sure this was true in the 14th century and earlier 15th century.


I'm not sure John Hawkwood was using longbowmen either though I could be wrong.

He apparently used some English archers and some Hungarian archers as well, in conjunction with other troop types.


English longbowmen were available if you wanted to hire them, and the Burgundians were pretty impressed with them due to their victories over the French, but they did not turn out to be the panacea that Charles The Bold had hoped, and their popularity was limited in the most intense battlefields such as Italy, .

Yeah, English archers lost some encounters with Swiss gunners and crossbowers in Charles the Bold's service. Of course, that was the era when the Swiss were beating everybody, and the Burgundian army - as brilliant as it looked on paper - definitely had some issues.


With all due respect to my French ancestors, while their prowess was remarkable, their battlefield acumen was often lacking. Even in Italy where (mostly with the help of Swiss infantry) they managed to almost get their head around combined arms warfare, they managed to get their King captured.

Swiss or German pikers were a key part of the French combined system in the Italian Wars, but the Swiss themselves only kind of did combined armies, if pikers, halberdiers, and shot count. The Swiss victory over Charles the Bold was a victory for heavy-infantry-focused armies over combined arms. And Pavia 1525 was indeed an example of tactical blunders by the French, as well as of Imperial skill.

As far as crossbows go, this collection (https://books.google.com/books?id=svxfAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+deadly+art+crossbow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid2oug5rjKAhXrvIMKHaWoBakQ6AEIJTAA#v=on epage&q=15th%20century&f=false) of four 15th-century war bolts is as follows: 68g, 74g, 75g, 177g. I'd love to see to proper reconstructions of 15th/16th-century European crossbows, but as mentioned it seems difficult. Also note that many types of crossbows required great strength to span. Up into at least the early 15th century these were still quite common. Crossbows spanned by cranequins and windlasses may not have required much strength to span, but they were complicated and expensive. I think the ease-of-use argument is somewhat true but that it's point in favor of the crossbow. Some crossbows were easier to use than bows, and that made them more accurate except at perhaps the highest level of level (probably there too). The crossbows that required great might to span probably weren't any easier to train with than bows, though more accurate.

For all the endless bow-vs.-crossbow debate, note that Raimond de Fourquevaux wrote about crossbows and bows together. He was mainly talking about and experienced with crossbows, but he probably had some familiarity with bows as well, and he didn't consider them different enough to make a big deal about. He wrote that both could potentially outperform guns in 1548, though he acknowledged that guns had become dominant and his practical suggestion was to include modest numbers of crossbows or bows for when weather made guns even less reliable.

Carl
2016-01-20, 11:32 AM
I don't really understand the physics myself. A bullet is smaller than an arrow though and it doesn't oscillate enough to suffer in comparative accuracy (even a shotgun slug).

Shotgun slugs travel much faster however. MUCH faster. Speeds also a factor in how much deviation you actually experience from a given amount of force, (say wind) acting on the target. the fact that Shotgun slugs are denser than arrows and quarrels also plays a part.

It's all about momentum. An arrow or bolt in flight has high momentum in the direction it's traveling, but to yaw in flight it has to effectively turn unless it bends. As a result that means it's rotational momentum comes into play.

Linear momentum is simply mass*velocity. Rotational momentum is mass*r^2 where r=to the distance the mass is from the pivot point.

Basically given it's length a longbow arrow has much more momentum to overcome for a given weight than a short and fatter crossbow bolt of the same mass.



Also i'm aware draw weight isn't everything, in a perfectly efficient system energy is = force*distance. No system is perfectly efficient however. I simply used draw weight as a simpler stand in for "develops more energy".

Given what you've said about flatter trajectories previously and what your saying now about heavier bolts, (what i thought allready BTW), it's pretty clear the crossbows were developing more energy at release. Which again was about what i expected.


@Haruspex_Pariah: More or less. My original comment was made on the assertion that crossbows are more accurate than longbows with the insulation that this is because crossbows are more innately accurate rather than because of various human factors and/or design factors with tradeoffs attached. Personally at the sharp end of the professionals i'd be surprised if ease of pointing was as big a concern, a sufficiently capable soldier i would expect to be able to compensate for it, it would however make it easier at a guess to train someone to a given standard with a crossbow. (Yes i know professional crossbowers and all that gallioch, i'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that it's easier to train someone to that standard, not that it isn't hard or does not require a lot of effort, e.t.c.).

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 12:15 PM
I don't buy this idea that every weapon is as hard to learn as any other. Handgun, you can shoot reasonably with an hour's practice, and most of that is learning safety procedures. Sling? You're going to be practising for days without hitting much of anything.

That is because you don't have an image of what the medieval world looks like in your head. When you think handgun, you are thinking of this:

http://cdn.theboxotruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/e88-5.jpg

Not this:

http://www.geocities.ws/wolfram_von_taus/Research/Research_images/HGlgehumble_1400.jpg

Handling gunpowder, especially in the era when it had to be mixed in the field, but even well after, is not simple or safe. Shooting guns with touch-holes or even match-locks while under threat of immediate death isn't easy.

All this is academic though, there is no point in debating any of it. I don't mind explaining it but the facts are out there, if you spend about half an hour googling you'll find that out.


G

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 12:33 PM
@Haruspex_Pariah: More or less. My original comment was made on the assertion that crossbows are more accurate than longbows with the insulation that this is because crossbows are more innately accurate rather than because of various human factors and/or design factors with tradeoffs attached.

I think I understand part of your confusion. You are essentially saying that a 120 lb draw weight bow compared to a 120 lb draw weight crossbow, the bow would be more accurate? That may or may not be true today, but there was no such equivalency n historically. 120 draw crossbows weren't used on the battlefield (at least that I know of). A weapon of that strength would only be for hunting small game like rabbits or birds.

The entry-level military crossbow pre 17th Century was more like 300 lbs draw weight, and that was probably roughly equivalent in terms of energy at the point of release of a 80 lb draw longbow or a 40 lb draw recurve (recurves are a little more efficient).. Then you have the 500, 800, and 1200 lb draw weapons which were normal on the late medieval battlefield. The 500 or 800 lb draw weapon is probably equivalent to a heavier 120 -140 lb longbow. There is really no bow equivalent to a 1200 lb weapon.



Personally at the sharp end of the professionals i'd be surprised if ease of pointing was as big a concern, a sufficiently capable soldier i would expect to be able to compensate for it, it would however make it easier at a guess to train someone to a given standard with a crossbow. (Yes i know professional crossbowers and all that gallioch, i'm not arguing that. I'm arguing that it's easier to train someone to that standard, not that it isn't hard or does not require a lot of effort, e.t.c.).

No, it doesn't work like that. it's not just aiming and pulling the tiller. You have to be able to maintain the weapon. You have to be able to span the weapon under duress (and actually, the heavier ones required physical strength to span). You have to know how to shoot it without making a mistake - a mistake can cut off your hand for example quite easily with a 1200 lb draw crossbow.

The gear is expensive, middle-end crossbow plus cranequin was like 4 marks. Equivalent to maybe $2000 or $3000. A top quality setup might be equivalent to like $5000 or $10000

Notice how nervous he his when spanning the heavier ones

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEOeZTV9wiA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjYQEyC4m10

As for training - NO No no no no. It was very challenging and expensive to train crossbowmen. The towns known for having good ones: Genoa, Venice, Augsburg, Danzig, Prague, Bern, etc. etc., spent the equivalent of millions of dollars on shooting contests and shooting societies to train up their militia. The militia from these towns are the ones who were recruited as mercenaries.

Forgive me if I come across snarky. These issues seem to come up over and over and over. I don't know why the myths are so stubborn, it's frankly confusing.

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 12:40 PM
As you noted, the debate about the precise power or stiffness of the Mary Rose bows is one of those things that goes on and on and on and on. I'm sticking with the Warbow society on their numbers, and guys like Matt Easton who I know. When the consensus changes I'll go with that, since I don't own a longbow myself.




As far as crossbows go, this collection (https://books.google.com/books?id=svxfAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+deadly+art+crossbow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid2oug5rjKAhXrvIMKHaWoBakQ6AEIJTAA#v=on epage&q=15th%20century&f=false) of four 15th-century war bolts is as follows: 68g, 74g, 75g, 177g.

Thanks for posting that, it's rare to see numbers on even the weight of bolts. Always nice to have more.

And that matches my numbers, about 80 grams (just slightly less in this case) for the typical bolt, more for special ones. Longbow arrows were about 50-60 grams. Recurve bow arrows were 20-40 grams (flight vs. war).

So the crossbow bolts were substantially heavier as well as being shorter. Which gives them more energy I think for the same velocity, though they might also slow down quicker. Not sure how they stack up in terms of aerodynamics. Whether or not they flex like longbow arrows is another thing I don't know- maybe being short and thicker they don't, but I guess that would depend on the wood used.


They seem to have been able to shoot those very heavy incendiary bolts long distances, and they show up in collections all over the place as well as in the artwork (including even a series on how they were made, I think from the Bern chronicle, which I posted way back in some prior version of this thread once)

G

Incanur
2016-01-20, 01:19 PM
Longbow arrow weights are also a matter of continual debate. Will S in that thread argues that Weapons of Warre underestimate Mary Rose arrow weights, and The Great Warbow tests many arrows above 50-60g, though that was almost certainly a period weight for at least lighter arrows. I tend to think English bows did often shoot very heavy arrows, as that's how yew bows perform best. Shooting only 50-60g arrows from a 150-160lb yew bow is far from optimized, to use a gaming term. I guess that's a fine general-purpose arrow, but it doesn't do anything particularly well. Heavy arrow from heavy yew bows at least provide a lot of kinetic energy, though probably significantly less than from Manchu bows of the same draw weight.

Also, it's specifically Turkish arrows that were 20-40g. Other archers who used similar bows, such as the Koreans, used heavier arrows at times (maybe Turkish archers did too, but if so only rarely). And larger composite bows used much heavier arrows: Manchu war arrows (http://www.manchuarchery.org/manchu-war-arrows) were 80-122g, though presumably some were also lighter.

From available evidence, yew bows don't look that great compared with other bows.

Short composite bows (Turkish, Korean, etc.): high velocity with light arrows, easiest to shoot rapid, still able to hit hard with heavy arrows if desired, somewhat tricky to maintain.

Medium composite bow (some Mongol, Chinese, etc.): slower velocity than short composite with light arrows, similar performance with heavy arrows, somewhat easier to maintain.

Long composite bow (Manchu): stores the most energy of any design because of long draw and big ears, shoot heavy arrows with the most kinetic energy, doesn't do well with lighter arrows, probably hardest design to draw for any given draw weight.

Self bow (English, etc.): less efficient than composites, even with heavier arrows, maybe easier to draw, certainly easier to maintain than composite, particularly in humid environments.

Asymmetrical bamboo composite (Japanese): probably similar to self bow though the longer bows of this variety perhaps store more energy, apparently optimized for shooting heavy arrows at close range, probably easier to use while mounted than self bow.

Steel bows (Indian): probably the least efficient of all but easiest to maintain, can be stored strung and ready to go so potentially useful for defending forts and so on.

(That's all assuming good quality. Poorly made composite can perform worse than well-made self bows. Some high-end contemporary self bows can perform extremely well also, but as far as I know that isn't historical and I've only seen it from rather light bows.)

Mr. Mask
2016-01-20, 02:03 PM
G: I was referring to handguns, not handgonnes. Even with the example of a handgun, much easier to learn than a sling, you stand a fair chance of being useless with it when faced with combat. That doesn't prove modern handguns are difficult and unwieldy weapons in combat, but that combat tests you harshly.

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 02:06 PM
For recurves, I'm only referring to the West Asian steppe archers that the Europeans had to contend with (with medieval Europe as the very vague stand-in for most though by no means all default gamer fantasy universes) so Western mongols (Golden Horde, Crimean Horde), Ottomans, Cumans, Kipchak, Pecheneg, Mamluk and various Middle Eastern armies.

I'll defer to you on the Chinese and Korean stuff because I really haven't researched it enough.

On the Longbow, well you seem to be enamoured of some outlier positions but you do recognize they are outlier positions right?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/3f/38/2b/3f382b775aa6ddee40769f483963b872.jpg

The steel bows from South Asia are a whole 'nother can of worms, and it is very controversial. As with the longbow stuff, I think wherever we sharply disagree we should just leave it alone since that's better for both us and for the thread. If we argue beyond one or two posts all we are doing is aggravating everybody and you are sophisticated enough now as a researcher to know what are outlier and what are mainstream positions on these things.

http://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in/images/products/Inscribed-1.jpg

But in a nutshell, there were apparently several different sizes, types and grades of steel bows in India, Persia and and surrounding regions, ranging from tiny 'cupid bows' to huge war bows. Only some of them seem to be inefficient and cheap as you are describing. Being able to leave them strung by the way isn't really that big of a deal, certainly not for even marginally experienced archers. I mean I learned how to string a bow in summer camp when I was ten.

http://c0728562.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/MI22324_HR.jpg

http://www.oriental-arms.com/photos/items/29/002429/ph-3.jpg

http://www.swordforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=2330&d=1027800197

Many were expensive and very fancy, and apparently they had some kind of important battlefield role as the Mughals (Indian-ized Mongols) apparently adopted the weapons in large numbers. Not much is available about the whole thing in English. Some apparently had extremely sophisticated metallurgy - as you probably know, South Asia was arguably the world epicenter of the most advanced ferrous metallurgy in the world. It's where wootz (i.e. "Damascus", "Toledo") steel comes from etc., it's where you have the famous iron pillar of Delhi and other seeming miracles.

The Mughlas, interestingly, seemed to use some kind of crossbows as well though I think this may be more of a South Asian design

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/55/c4/0a/55c40a1c9e5aa1ff85937930d9d54d5d.jpg

Incanur
2016-01-20, 02:25 PM
Indian steel bows are another chase where it'd be great to have more research and especially tests. I find the maintenance argument plausible, given the difficulty of maintaining horn-and-sinew composites in a humid climate. One Chinese text recommends self bows for military service in humid regions because of maintenance issues. Some steel bows were made in multiple sections (https://books.google.com/books?id=QwmWp4hSOMIC&pg=PA73&dq=indian+steel+bow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7hI7ljbnKAhVDxGMKHV4iCooQ6AEIMDAA#v=on epage&q=indian%20steel%20bow&f=false) and could be taken apart. I wonder sometimes wonder if the inferiority of steel limbs to wood and composite limbs has been exaggerated, given the popularity of steel crossbows in Europe for a time. Of course, reliability matters; it isn't just about efficiency.

As far "outlier" positions go, to some extent that's where I want to be when it comes to historical arms and armor. Supposed experts - academic and otherwise - often make dubious if not downright wrong claims. This has improved somewhat as of late, but it's still fairly common. (I can't tell you how many times I've read that pikes were/are useless for single combat and fighting in loose formation. To believe that you have to either be unfamiliar with or discount so many period texts. And all the claims about armor penetration, etc.) I care most about period sources, archaeological finds, and replicas, though some recent historical narratives are great too. Everything has to be taken with caution, of course.

Here (https://books.google.com/books?id=kNiAAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118&dq=mughal+steel+bow&source=bl&ots=hUM_seUP3T&sig=70btnnjQEbiyihQZ4PkWA792_Bs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi88on8kLnKAhUD12MKHXDoDfkQ6AEISzAJ#v=on epage&q=mughal%20steel%20bow&f=false) is a secondary source on steel bows I just stumbled across that both provides support for maintenance concerns and makes a claim about armor penetration that's probably wrong. Many types of mail should stop an arrow from a 30kg(66lb) bow at 100m(109 yards), and probably 10m!

Galloglaich
2016-01-20, 03:06 PM
Indian steel bows are another chase where it'd be great to have more research and especially tests. I find the maintenance argument plausible,

My information is that the cheap low maintenance munitions type steel bow is a true thing, but it was only one of four types, 2 elite fighting type (one for rapid shooting, one for armor penetration) and one real small 'cupid' bow that I think they really don't know what to make of (I'm not sure if there are any surviving examples, but they show up in the art)




that's where I want to be when it comes to historical arms and armor. Supposed experts - academic and otherwise - often make dubious if not downright wrong claims.

This is very true, and I think you know I also avoid the tertiary literature and am well aware of the problems in academia in this kind of research. When I say consensus I mean in the 'hip' HEMA and collector community with their amateur researchers (myself included) and the academics associated with it, people like Doctors Sydney Anglo, Fabrice Cognot, Bert Gevaert, Jurg Gassman, Daniel Jaquet, and so on.

Fora like Myarmoury and Ethnographic weapons and various HEMA groups are good places to find the real consensus. But it's slippery to define.


When it comes to the longbow stuff ... well yeah lets just drop it. Pointless to argue even what the consensus is I guess.

G

Incanur
2016-01-20, 03:20 PM
People will probably never stop arguing about English bows. Even the 16th-century English argued bitterly about English bows, disagreeing about their capabilities and martial merits. :smallamused:

Steel bows presumably could have heavy draws and shoot heavy arrows, but steel just isn't as efficient as wood or horn-&-sinew composites according to standard materials-science assessments. That might wrong, and if so I'd love to see numbers. It's also possible that heavy steel bows were considered worth it because of lower maintenance even if they shot a little slower than equally heavy composites would under ideal conditions. As I said, one Chinese source recommends self bows over composites for humid climates. (On the other hand, I believe the Manchu just put in the effort to keep their bows dry and so on when fighting in humid places.) Some of the Indian steel bows were surely sporting weapons.

Carl
2016-01-20, 04:13 PM
@Gallioch:

Sorry for splitting this with two quotes but two threads so to speak.


I think I understand part of your confusion. You are essentially saying that a 120 lb draw weight bow compared to a 120 lb draw weight crossbow, the bow would be more accurate? That may or may not be true today, but there was no such equivalency n historically. 120 draw crossbows weren't used on the battlefield (at least that I know of). A weapon of that strength would only be for hunting small game like rabbits or birds.

The entry-level military crossbow pre 17th Century was more like 300 lbs draw weight, and that was probably roughly equivalent in terms of energy at the point of release of a 80 lb draw longbow or a 40 lb draw recurve (recurves are a little more efficient).. Then you have the 500, 800, and 1200 lb draw weapons which were normal on the late medieval battlefield. The 500 or 800 lb draw weapon is probably equivalent to a heavier 120 -140 lb longbow. There is really no bow equivalent to a 1200 lb weapon.

No what i was saying is that if you took a crossbow of the same power as a bow firing bolts of comparable weights to the arrows you wouldn't see any accuracy difference. I used draw weight as a stand in for that but as you pointed out in the second paragraph they're not strictly comparable.

As for the heavy bolt side of things. Yes and no. It would tend to help it maintain velocity though this would be offset by the probable higher drag of the shorter fatter design. or the same power a heavier bolt will travel slower meaning the trajectory will be more arced. A light bolter will be flatter for a moderate distance but suffers from drag more and will start to arc more at extreme ranges. Simply put unless typical ranges for bows fell within certain ballistic constraint's, (i doubt it but i won't rule it out), the only way for a crossbow to fire flatter is for it to develop more energy at release, (at the muzzle in modern gun terms).



No, it doesn't work like that. it's not just aiming and pulling the tiller. You have to be able to maintain the weapon. You have to be able to span the weapon under duress (and actually, the heavier ones required physical strength to span). You have to know how to shoot it without making a mistake - a mistake can cut off your hand for example quite easily with a 1200 lb draw crossbow.


No your completely misunderstanding me. None of that factors into the accuracy end of the discussion. (Actually i'm not sure why you drifted that way with your line of thinking tbh). The accuracy is down to three factors, (in broad terms), on the human end.

Your ability to properly estimate required super elevation at a given range, your ability to properly estimate the range, and your ability to properly achieve the desired superelevation.

As noted Bows have lower innate pointing ease which makes the last of those 3 a little harder and probably requires a technique or two on the part of the firer the crossbowman dosen't need. It's also something else when he's starting out a bow user needs to learn, he's trying to learn 3 skills, the crossbowman only has to learn 2. That makes life easier for the crossbowman who's learning. ut at the pro end i'd expect inaccuracies in the first two to eclipse the third so it would be less relevant.

The rest of the stuff you covered is important for a professional soldier to know, but they don't play into the discussion where having.

Incanur
2016-01-20, 04:29 PM
If anybody understands modern recurve archery better than I do, they could see how it compares to that circa-1500 record of hitting a 15cm target 13/24 at 70m. The 10 ring of recurve targets is typically 12.2cm and they also shoot at 70m. Do recurve archers manage a 50+% hit rate on the 10 ring?

Brother Oni
2016-01-20, 05:45 PM
No your completely misunderstanding me. None of that factors into the accuracy end of the discussion. (Actually i'm not sure why you drifted that way with your line of thinking tbh). The accuracy is down to three factors, (in broad terms), on the human end.

Your ability to properly estimate required super elevation at a given range, your ability to properly estimate the range, and your ability to properly achieve the desired superelevation.


I can tell you don't shoot as there are a number of additional human factors that affect this. Off the top of my head:

Same draw distance - if you vary the power output of your bow, you will affect your accuracy and precision. Getting the same physical points of reference every time when drawing can be tough, especially when you start getting tired. Crossbows don't have this issue as the draw distance is mechanically set as part of the crossbow's construction.

Clean release - if you let the string slide off your fingers, you introduce torque to the string, which transmits itself into the arrow and results in it veering off to the left. Similarly, you have to not move after you release until the arrow has cleared the bow, else you can nudge it. Again, crossbows don't have this issue.



As noted Bows have lower innate pointing ease which makes the last of those 3 a little harder and probably requires a technique or two on the part of the firer the crossbowman dosen't need. It's also something else when he's starting out a bow user needs to learn, he's trying to learn 3 skills, the crossbowman only has to learn 2. That makes life easier for the crossbowman who's learning. ut at the pro end i'd expect inaccuracies in the first two to eclipse the third so it would be less relevant.


The last of the three isn't that hard actually as you can modify your draw technique so you can aim correctly (you use the tip of your arrow as a sight). The Japanese yumi drawing technique bypasses this entirely as they sight down the arrow with a thumb draw.

http://i.imgur.com/4SAjbko.png

Sighting down a crossbow is trickier however and I've read that some crossbowmen put their thumb on the fletching of the bolt to work like a rear sight of a modern firearm (and to hold it in place while shooting mounted).


If anybody understands modern recurve archery better than I do, they could see how it compares to that circa-1500 record of hitting a 15cm target 13/24 at 70m. The 10 ring of recurve targets is typically 12.2cm and they also shoot at 70m. Do recurve archers manage a 50+% hit rate on the 10 ring?

Depends on the quality of the archer. :smalltongue:

Some clarification, the 10 ring of a 122cm FITA archery face is 12.2cm, which is intended for 70m+ distances (the face sizes are different depending on which distance you're shooting at and you don't want to get into the weirdness of GNAS Imperial rounds).

Looking at the men's individual score for the 2012 Olympics (link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archery_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men' s_individual)), the highest number of 10s* is 51/72 (71%) , so a higher percentage than your record of 13/24 (54%). 3 out of the 64 male competitors achieved better than 54%, so it's not a unique record. The minimum qualification score for men is 630 out of 720 points at 70m, meaning an average score of 8.75 per arrow is required (they shoot 6 dozen arrows).

Bear in mind that this is with recurve bows - compound bows are even more accurate.

*Olympic archery has an inner X ring inside the 10 ring for the purposes of tiebreaks and is 6.1cm. The highest number of these achieved is 27 at the 2012 Olympics.

Carl
2016-01-20, 05:52 PM
I can tell you don't shoot as there are a number of additional human factors that affect this. Off the top of my head:

Same draw distance - if you vary the power output of your bow, you will affect your accuracy and precision. Getting the same physical points of reference every time when drawing can be tough, especially when you start getting tired. Crossbows don't have this issue as the draw distance is mechanically set as part of the crossbow's construction.

Clean release - if you let the string slide off your fingers, you introduce torque to the string, which transmits itself into the arrow and results in it veering off to the left. Similarly, you have to not move after you release until the arrow has cleared the bow, else you can nudge it. Again, crossbows don't have this issue.

Those are both unstated assumptions. They're factors not shared with the crossbow however. I'm talking shared skills. Though my very limited bow experience led me to believe proper draw distance is set by your arrow length. lean release is obviously a factor but i've never heard it indicated to be difficult to learn, (gah spellcheker stop changing words ;p).

Deadmeat.GW
2016-01-20, 11:58 PM
Just for your information, the episode with the 'thousand of crossbows fired by the Dutch at the English doing less then rotten apples' is NOT accepted nor confirmed in Dutch historical documents...

The Burgundians said a lot about how poorly the Dutch performed over and over....as long as they were NOT talking to the Dutch or anywhere near the Dutch they wished to have on their side.
The Flemish however did not say the same thing.

Secondly the vast majority of crossbows in the hands of Dutch militia at this time was of pretty poor quality in general compared to the Genoese crossbows and others and in both Flemish and Dutch documents they were said to be fairly low powered crossbows 300 pound pull or so merely)

The clearest indication that the amount of crossbows fired was quite likely severely exaggerated is the size of the battle field...and the number of Dutch (and the breakdown of these numbers) present.

The troops send by the city states / merchant cities have been documented and the weapons they carried.
Unless they were dual wielding crossbows it would been unlikely that they would have fired over a thousand crossbows when Philip had less personal troops there then in a later battle when he got reinforcements and his numbers still barely broke 2000 troops...

Pretty much all of the local militias had about a quarter ranged and three quarter melee troops, except for some very specific named companies.
At this battle his 'knights' broke the English longbowmen by pretty much walking up to them and engaging them in melee combat.

And Philip did not have all that many knights there.

The Dutch documents claim three thousand English killed...which is pretty certainly double what actually was killed and two hundred captured.
( the English numbered less then 1700 troops but they had 1500 allies approximately from Zeeuwland and only 500 of these English troops were longbowmen)

The Arbalasts of the Dutch did seem to be effective but the English longbowmen were more disciplined and returned fire causing the Dutch to acted in a disoriented manner.
The reason why is speculated to be that the commanders of the Dutch local militia were injured or killed in the English volley fire.

After which the Bourgundiers decided to go for melee combat and they pushed the enemy back.

Philip almost died in the melee but he had to participate himself....
That there is biggest indication how few armoured melee combatants Philip had himself at his disposition.
Philip supposedly had only several hundred heavily armoured men at arms at his disposition there and a few dozen knights of whom one died which became a big thing as he was the person that pretty much dragged Philip into the fighting.

The English side ended up trapped at the foot of a dyke and were hemmed in where they got slaughtered wich sounds to me as if they tried to retreat and got themselves trapped in a dead end instead.

Official figures claim 4000 troops on Philip's side and 3500 on the other side (keep in mind that at least 500 of them never got involved into the fighting as they were the crew of the ships that brought the English troops over).
The 4000 on Philip's side consisted for the vast majority of Dutch farmers and city folk (burgers), the contingents from Dordrecht (with 8000 people at the time the biggest city in Holland...), Delft (6500 people) and Den Haag (did not make it into the top ten cities in Holland at this time...) were all together barely 1000 strong (and that may include non-combatants actually).
These militias which Philip raised himself were well equipped with armour which makes them unlikely to have a large amount of crossbowmen and did not have specific mentions of large amounts of crossbowmen.

Net result is that the arbalasts used by this army were mostly wielded by the burgers from the region and unlikely to be possessed by farmers which formed about half of their numbers at least.
So, out 4000 troops 1200 were brought up by Philip and had only a few ranged weapons, roughly 1400 were farmers and 1400 were burgers.
Given that arbalasts were fairly expensive having over a thousand would have been unlikely since the burgers were the ones most likely to be able to afford them.

It was more likely that superior skill was outperforming the arbalest armed Dutch local militia from a region that did not have a great reputation for soldiers and not the superiority of the Longbow itself.

Holland has never had a great reputation for crossbowmen, the local conditions were not very conductive for having large amounts of trained crossbowmen near the coastal regions.

Flanders is substantially different in behaviour of militias, equipment and training.

Tobtor
2016-01-21, 03:52 AM
Incanur: dont believe evyrthing in an internet forum


The discussion of Viking age bows is definitely off. Every reconstruction and attempt of a Hedeby bow I have seen is below 100lb. My information primaryly come from German/Scandinavian researchers and archers (Dan Høj, Harm Paulsen; Ribe bue laug (bow guild of Ribe) etc). They give a draw weight of 80-100lbs. It is by far the strongest iron age or Viking bow made. The around 50-60 bows from the iron ages usually draw 60lb (not yew, but mainly elm, ash and other). Some lower. The Oldenburg fragments (10th/11th century) have been reconstructed and had a draw weigh of 45-55lb (the yew had imperfections as well, knots etc).
Thearrows isnt nearly as heavy as others, neither medieval nor other "stone age" arrows.

I have seen people use a 45-50lb stone age bow. With a flint tanged arrowheads (both Palaeolithic and Neolithic - heavyer points than Otsis) they penetrated a deer (different kinds; roe, reindeer etc), when out on the back side, and only the arrows fetching prevented the arrows moving on. This at a distance of 40-50m, a likely shooting distance for both hunting and Neolithic feuds (based on ethnography). 60lb bows will do the same to humans if well made.

There is a problem with some of the reconstructions of very heavy bows I have seen: the length of the bow. They all seem rather short. The very strong Hedeby bow is roughly 190cm tall, while many English longbows are longer. And Viking age average height of adult males is something like 175cm (this link (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-457506/Myth-debunked-Our-medieval-ancestors-just-tall-says-new-study.html) suggestslightly lower for England). Thus even when strung, the bow is as heigh as the person wielding it.

"I've just finished one myself from English ash based on Mary Rose dimensions but slightly smaller, which came out at 140lb before final heat treating."
Will S in the thread you referenced. The question is: does he scale properly?

If he is just making it shorter but keep roughly the same thickness, its going to come out with a higher draw weight, due to the physics of bow making. If you take a piece of wood (what a self bow in effect is) and bend it, the more length of wood you have, the easier it is to bend it to a 32" draw length. I have personally had a lot of trouble when making bows (elm and ash) to my children, if I make them "proportional" to their size they cant really pull them back (unless i make them so thin that they break with anything resembling a real arrow and not bamboo), while if I make bows that seem oversized (small adult), they can much easier pull them back and shoot arrows. Even when I shoot both bows, I get much more stable arches (when the arrow leave the bow) when shooting whit the longer bow.

Another issue is draw weight: they typically use 32" draw length for calculations, but many arrows are shorter (thus reducing the draw weight). If you match the shorter arrows with the more powerfull bows, and the longer arrow with the not some powerful bows, you end up with a much smaller spand of "draw"-weights, thus making your archers shoot more evenly distances - usefull when cloud shooting. Another reason to not use the full potential of the draw weight in shorter bows is that it makes them prone to break - the are stressed so to speak. When using bows as a hobby you take them outside in sunny weather. When using bows on a ship you are duing it in wet saline environment, and even well preserved and caredfor wooden objects will get more "tender" in that environment.

Another issue I have is the obsessiveness of high draw weights among the longbow "fanboys" (as G has it). Its really not the only important thing when making a bow, release power is much more important, not to mention accuracy, stability etc. There are several issues beside draw weight that affect bows power and usefulness. A longer bow might have smaller draw weights but can potentially send a more smooth flight of the arrow and with almost as much impact force.

Finallly it should be remembered that the Mary Rose is the flagship of the English navy, the nation must renown for their archers. Perhaps the bows are not the average in the entire army? Or in the world in general? We dont have many medieval bows outside england, but we have a failed bow from Elmendorf (12thcentury I thinK), which seem to have broken during manufactyring due to knots etc, so it is clear that perfect wood wasn't always used. The bow is also only 162.5 cm long, and look like the Danish Iron age bows (except that some of the Iron age one has metalk tips, so they can double as short spears), so a draw weight of 60-90lb can perhaps be expected? I havent seen a reconstruction.

Brother Oni
2016-01-21, 07:58 AM
Those are both unstated assumptions. They're factors not shared with the crossbow however. I'm talking shared skills. Though my very limited bow experience led me to believe proper draw distance is set by your arrow length. lean release is obviously a factor but i've never heard it indicated to be difficult to learn, (gah spellcheker stop changing words ;p).

They are factors shared with the crossbow, just that the crossbow's design minimises or eliminates them. You can't talk about accuracy differences then gloss over problems that one weapon system was designed to fix.
For example, I've been told that inconsistent spanning can be an issue with crossbows, thus the string isn't quite central when secured by the nut, which gives a similar effect to a non-clean release for bows when firing (the bolt flies off to the left or right).

Draw length is set by your body shape (primarily your arm length), strength, style and technique. You then buy/make your arrow length to your draw length - too long and the arrow doesn't flex properly to get around the riser; too short and this can potentially happen:

http://www.archeryblog.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Arrow_hand4.jpg

If you're using mass produced arrows, then you would normally adjust your draw length to avoid accidents, but this affects your performance until you can adjust (and in the case of too short arrows, a sub par performance from your bow). Generally archers have their own customised arrows to go with their personal bow (especially for target archery), which is another advantage crossbows have over bows (they're much more generic with limited customisation options).

A clean release can be hard to learn, so much so that there are probably hundreds of mechanical release aids on the market to ensure that an archer achieves it: example (http://www.merlinarchery.co.uk/accessories-for-the-archer/release-aids.html).

Mr Beer
2016-01-21, 05:22 PM
Spoiler: Ouch



Just walk it off, IMO.

fusilier
2016-01-22, 12:19 AM
He apparently used some English archers and some Hungarian archers as well, in conjunction with other troop types.

I seem to recall that English Longbowmen persisted in Italy for a few decades after Hawkwood. They were paid better than average infantry, but that's probably because they were still mounted (mounted infantry of all sorts was actually pretty common in Italy -- it doesn't mean they were expected to fight on horseback, it was for strategic mobility).

Also Eastern style, composite recurve bows did have a presence in Italy. Venice even made the effort to train a force of archers to use them in the late 15th century (although they didn't maintain it for very long).

Haruspex_Pariah
2016-01-22, 11:48 AM
I've been googling for some historical fightan stuff (specifically, Paulus Hector Mair's scythe fighting instructions) and came across this odd phrase.

"...then leap in a triangle and set his cut off..."
"...step in there out of triangle with your left leg..."

Emphasis mine.

I'm unfamiliar with the use of "triangle" in this context. I'm guessing it's some kind of fighting terminology?

Brother Oni
2016-01-22, 12:06 PM
I'm unfamiliar with the use of "triangle" in this context. I'm guessing it's some kind of fighting terminology?

From my martial arts experience, it's a reference to stance/foot work.

I've found this reference off the ARMA website:



First and foremost, correct footwork is absolutely crucial. Assuming a right handed swordsman, all five techniques should be executed from the right side (usually from over the right shoulder, Vom Tag) with a forward traversing step to the right with the right foot (moving you toward your opponent’s left flank), followed by a slight pivot of the left foot back-and-to-the-right. This pattern is referred to as a “Triangle Step” in Joachim Meyer’s teachings, as well as those of Hans Lebkommer a century earlier, among others.

The proper fencers (Galloglaich, Mike_G among others) will be able to clarify better.

Galloglaich
2016-01-22, 03:45 PM
I've been googling for some historical fightan stuff (specifically, Paulus Hector Mair's scythe fighting instructions) and came across this odd phrase.

"...then leap in a triangle and set his cut off..."
"...step in there out of triangle with your left leg..."

Emphasis mine.

I'm unfamiliar with the use of "triangle" in this context. I'm guessing it's some kind of fighting terminology?


It's just a particular type of step. Pretty simple. Helps you sort of flank your enemy and not be where expected when he or she strikes back at you. It's very common, almost standard in longsword fencing particularly for the opening cuts and master cuts.

http://www.freifechter.com/training/meyer-footwork

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBMJTQ-Y3-g&feature=youtu.be

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-22, 03:57 PM
Just for your information, the episode with the 'thousand of crossbows fired by the Dutch at the English doing less then rotten apples' is NOT accepted nor confirmed in Dutch historical documents...

The Burgundians said a lot about how poorly the Dutch performed over and over....as long as they were NOT talking to the Dutch or anywhere near the Dutch they wished to have on their side.
The Flemish however did not say the same thing.

Secondly the vast majority of crossbows in the hands of Dutch militia at this time was of pretty poor quality in general compared to the Genoese crossbows and others and in both Flemish and Dutch documents they were said to be fairly low powered crossbows 300 pound pull or so merely)

The clearest indication that the amount of crossbows fired was quite likely severely exaggerated is the size of the battle field...and the number of Dutch (and the breakdown of these numbers) present.

The troops send by the city states / merchant cities have been documented and the weapons they carried.
Unless they were dual wielding crossbows it would been unlikely that they would have fired over a thousand crossbows when Philip had less personal troops there then in a later battle when he got reinforcements and his numbers still barely broke 2000 troops...

Pretty much all of the local militias had about a quarter ranged and three quarter melee troops, except for some very specific named companies.
At this battle his 'knights' broke the English longbowmen by pretty much walking up to them and engaging them in melee combat.

And Philip did not have all that many knights there.

The Dutch documents claim three thousand English killed...which is pretty certainly double what actually was killed and two hundred captured.
( the English numbered less then 1700 troops but they had 1500 allies approximately from Zeeuwland and only 500 of these English troops were longbowmen)

The Arbalasts of the Dutch did seem to be effective but the English longbowmen were more disciplined and returned fire causing the Dutch to acted in a disoriented manner.
The reason why is speculated to be that the commanders of the Dutch local militia were injured or killed in the English volley fire.

After which the Bourgundiers decided to go for melee combat and they pushed the enemy back.

Philip almost died in the melee but he had to participate himself....
That there is biggest indication how few armoured melee combatants Philip had himself at his disposition.
Philip supposedly had only several hundred heavily armoured men at arms at his disposition there and a few dozen knights of whom one died which became a big thing as he was the person that pretty much dragged Philip into the fighting.

The English side ended up trapped at the foot of a dyke and were hemmed in where they got slaughtered wich sounds to me as if they tried to retreat and got themselves trapped in a dead end instead.

Official figures claim 4000 troops on Philip's side and 3500 on the other side (keep in mind that at least 500 of them never got involved into the fighting as they were the crew of the ships that brought the English troops over).
The 4000 on Philip's side consisted for the vast majority of Dutch farmers and city folk (burgers), the contingents from Dordrecht (with 8000 people at the time the biggest city in Holland...), Delft (6500 people) and Den Haag (did not make it into the top ten cities in Holland at this time...) were all together barely 1000 strong (and that may include non-combatants actually).
These militias which Philip raised himself were well equipped with armour which makes them unlikely to have a large amount of crossbowmen and did not have specific mentions of large amounts of crossbowmen.

Net result is that the arbalasts used by this army were mostly wielded by the burgers from the region and unlikely to be possessed by farmers which formed about half of their numbers at least.
So, out 4000 troops 1200 were brought up by Philip and had only a few ranged weapons, roughly 1400 were farmers and 1400 were burgers.
Given that arbalasts were fairly expensive having over a thousand would have been unlikely since the burgers were the ones most likely to be able to afford them.

It was more likely that superior skill was outperforming the arbalest armed Dutch local militia from a region that did not have a great reputation for soldiers and not the superiority of the Longbow itself.

Holland has never had a great reputation for crossbowmen, the local conditions were not very conductive for having large amounts of trained crossbowmen near the coastal regions.

Flanders is substantially different in behaviour of militias, equipment and training.

Thanks for posting that, very interesting description of the battle.


I believe Philip the Good and Charles the Bold both got into several serious battles (as well as some rather weird, chaotic skirmishes) with Flemish town militias on several occasions, and both Phillip and Charles were employing longbowmen at the time (English, Burgundian, or Walloon mercenaries mostly). Sometimes those battles went one way, sometimes the other, but you can find the records in some detail if you want to.

There are a couple of very good biographies of the two Dukes in English, by a guy named Richard Vaughan. I remember in some detail a skirmish the Philip the Good got into in Bruges in which he and his bodyguard were almost massacred after the latter started shooting Bruges citizens with longbows, possibly in an attempt at taking over the town. The town citizens had left their arms at home as part of a pre-arranged agreement, as Philip and his army were travelling through the area to go attack the Dutch. In that case they were driven out by guns and crossbows hastily gathered from the guild halls and some private homes by the burghers. I happened to read that particular passage in detail for a paper I was working on but I haven't read the whole book yet.

https://books.google.com/books?id=H7VFJAK8LSUC&hl=en


https://books.google.com/books/about/Charles_the_Bold.html?id=GsKuCHXRuPMC

There was also a 14th Century Crusade by the English against the Low Countries (which reminds me of my theory that most of the Crusades, and most of the damage done by the Crusades, were by Europeans and against Europeans... one day I'll write a book about this subject)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Despenser%27s_Crusade

I don't know much about that particular Crusade but I know the fighting got pretty nasty and I'd bet my last paycheck there was some longbow vs. crossbow fighting going on in that one. From what little I know about it, it sounds like the Crusade was a disaster.


G

Galloglaich
2016-01-22, 04:12 PM
accuracy[/I] end of the discussion. (Actually i'm not sure why you drifted that way with your line of thinking tbh). The accuracy is down to three factors, (in broad terms), on the human end.

Your ability to properly estimate required super elevation at a given range, your ability to properly estimate the range, and your ability to properly achieve the desired superelevation.

As noted Bows have lower innate pointing ease which makes the last of those 3 a little harder and probably requires a technique or two on the part of the firer the crossbowman dosen't need. It's also something else when he's starting out a bow user needs to learn, he's trying to learn 3 skills, the crossbowman only has to learn 2. That makes life easier for the crossbowman who's learning. ut at the pro end i'd expect inaccuracies in the first two to eclipse the third so it would be less relevant.

The rest of the stuff you covered is important for a professional soldier to know, but they don't play into the discussion where having.

What you aren't understanding here, well, one of the things, is that all this stuff like reloading, not accidentally severing your hand, etc., are part of accuracy in battlefield conditions. And also for that matter, in shooting tournament conditions since the shots were timed.

If in your experimental world, power of both weapons are equal, and all they have to do is point and aim one shot, and one shot only ... ever, then these things wouldn't matter. But they do.

The problem is none of that relates in any way to the real world. Crossbows, at least, a good number of them, on the actual battlefield were much more powerful than longbows in terms of the velocity and mass of the projectile at the point of release. That is the advantage of using an expensive mechanical weapon instead of something simpler like a bow - you can make a much more powerful bow that you span with something like a jack that you lift a car up with today to change the tire, and you can wait as long as you want to to aim, over and over and over again without wearing yourself out.

In the real world effective accuracy is a factor of an aggregate number of shots over a certain span of time. The challenges associated with spanning a crossbow negatively effected it's effective accuracy (unless used by an expert - which is why they usually were). The advantages, such as being to ready the weapon and aim it without straining your muscles, the built in predictability of the crossbow in several respects that Brother Oni and others mentioned like how long the power-stroke and the release, the ability to rest it on the ground or a wall or some other support, also contributed to the accuracy.

I think the main factor is the use of an aiming stock or tiller, and the higher initial velocity.

But the bottom line is it doesn't matter that much, it's nice to figure out the physics but we know that the crossbows were more accurate from the records. It's really just that simple.

That didn't necessarily make them better mind you, because shooting a volley of arrows into a specific area at long range could have a devastating effect, and that is also well documented.

G

Carl
2016-01-22, 05:25 PM
But the bottom line is it doesn't matter that much, it's nice to figure out the physics but we know that the crossbows were more accurate from the records. It's really just that simple.

Except it's not that simple. If you say something is more accurate then you have to be able to put it in a scientific test environment and produce a higher accuracy. As you've pointed out crossbows where typical firing higher velocity heavier bolts. That creates an inherent difference that could skew the results that goes beyond the inherent accuracy of the weapon.

This was always about the fact that one weapon was claimed to be more accurate. For that to be scientifically true it requires comparisons of weapons with roughly equivalent characteristics. You'd basically need a crossbow firing bolts of similar weight at similar release velocities.

A rough modern reverse-analogy would be like putting a shotgun in the hands of a pro marksmen up against a rifle in novice hands and claiming the novice is a better shot based on the results. Unless the range is very short, (relatively speaking), the pro is never going to out-shoot the novice because the characteristics of the weapons are so inherently different that they make comparisons of shooting skill irellevent. Their obscured by everything else.

Basically you can't put a crossbow that fires a bolt twice as heavy as the longbow at 30 meters per second higher release velocity and claim there's any scientific validity between the two because your introducing too many variables that could and would incidentally affect the accuracy.

@Oni: You missed the point or maybe i'm really bad at explaining it. Where talking initially about the difficulty or ease of training someone to a specific standard. That require competency in certain basics necessary to use the weapon at all. Now fair's fair i honestly hadn't realised the release issue was such a big issue comparative to the rest, (important), i assumed the various help things where to make it so people didn't have to work on it as opposed to because it was super hard. A bit like handling recoil with a gun, anyone can learn to do it to the level required for effective shooting, (as demonstrated by countless private gun owners world wide), but it isn't necessarily trivial to pick up so a lot of people who don't need big power go for low recoil options to minimise the time and effort.

TBH i'd also expect the first two factors i named to be the real hard to learn skills and the eventual limit on accuracy, to the point flaws in the rest that weren't serious would be entirely covered up, by inaccuracies in the first two. Which was why i called them the major factors. As opposed to the sole factors.

ExLibrisMortis
2016-01-22, 08:23 PM
For that to be scientifically true it requires comparisons of weapons with roughly equivalent characteristics.
Well, yes. But not, in the way you seem to be suggesting, of roughly equivalent energy release or projectile weight, because those are ultimately irrelevant stats (they are a means to an end, the end being 'efficiently killing' or somesuch). If you want to compare longbows to crossbows, you have to test a range of 'typical' longbows and crossbows, and all tested weapons should be roughly equivalent in how typical they are. Testing a hypothetical crossbow with a never-seen-before low energy release is going to tell you exactly nothing about crossbows versus longbows. The whole point of the crossbow design is that you're getting higher release energy with a heavier projectile.

It's like comparing a gas turbine to an ion thruster, but insisting that the two be of the same weight and size.

Edit: instead, make that the same thrust.

Haruspex_Pariah
2016-01-22, 10:35 PM
Except it's not that simple. If you say something is more accurate then you have to be able to put it in a scientific test environment and produce a higher accuracy. As you've pointed out crossbows where typical firing higher velocity heavier bolts. That creates an inherent difference that could skew the results that goes beyond the inherent accuracy of the weapon.

This was always about the fact that one weapon was claimed to be more accurate. For that to be scientifically true it requires comparisons of weapons with roughly equivalent characteristics. You'd basically need a crossbow firing bolts of similar weight at similar release velocities.


There is no reason to equalize the characteristics in such a study. If doing so would result in weapons with characteristics that would not be seen in reality, it would actually have a negative effect on the applicability of the results.

Imagine a study where the hypothesis is that there is a significant difference between the accuracy of longbows and crossbows. From this point we will take a number of crossbows, a number of longbows, and have a number of competently trained users fire them at various targets at various ranges. Then it's data collection and analysis.

After that we can try to find correlations between the variables and accuracy. Draw weight, release velocity, bow/crossbow construction, arrow/bolt design, archery techniques, era of manufacture and use, etc.

Constructing one experimental crossbow and one experimental longbow, so that they both have equivalent characteristics, only yields data with respect to those two specific weapons. If that's what you want, that's fine, but conclusions derived from that data cannot then be applied to longbows and crossbows in general.

Deadmeat.GW
2016-01-23, 01:23 AM
G. the incident in Bruges according to the stories started as some of his 'Bodyguard' liked some of the women they saw a bit too much...

Their husbands sort of disagreed at giving their wives to a bunch of mercenaries effectively and things went down hill from there.
The first few men killed were completely unarmed and had no chance, some of them were killed while they ran for their lives by being shot in the back.

This then ended up in causing a big uproar and a substantial part of the city went into a spontaneous revolt...

Given that Bruges at this time was a massive city with between 125000 and 200000 people in the 1400's...

And the Duke had less then 500 men with him...

You can easily imagine how this was going to work out.
The Duke fled, the bodyguard died or got captured and the prisoners got pretty much tortured to death.

From the stories it seems that the Duke may not have actually fled as much as that he was escorted to safety by some of the local Militia as the names of the people in charge of his entourage when he 'fled' were members of some of the guilds in the city.

Carl
2016-01-23, 08:50 AM
@ExLibrisMortis & Haruspex_Pariah: No, no, no, no.

A scientific test that is testing a hypothesis has to actually test the hypothesis.

If you use typical crossbows and typical longbows your not doing that. With differences in launch velocity, and projectile mass, and overall projectile energy, you've zero way of telling which of the factors is producing the final result. You can analyse the results with a microscope and you still can't prove or disprove your hypothesis definitively until you take all the variables besides accuracy out of the equation.

Of course to be 100% fair given the sheer number of differences between a crossbow and a longbow that's probably impossible. But if you want a valid result you have to eliminate all possible variables besides the one your testing for, or you have no idea if it's because your hypothesis is correct or if those variables are skewing the result.

snowblizz
2016-01-23, 09:51 AM
@ExLibrisMortis & Haruspex_Pariah: No, no, no, no.

A scientific test that is testing a hypothesis has to actually test the hypothesis.

If you use typical crossbows and typical longbows your not doing that. With differences in launch velocity, and projectile mass, and overall projectile energy, you've zero way of telling which of the factors is producing the final result. You can analyse the results with a microscope and you still can't prove or disprove your hypothesis definitively until you take all the variables besides accuracy out of the equation.

Of course to be 100% fair given the sheer number of differences between a crossbow and a longbow that's probably impossible. But if you want a valid result you have to eliminate all possible variables besides the one your testing for, or you have no idea if it's because your hypothesis is correct or if those variables are skewing the result.
You are thinking as a physicist. There are other valid ways of doing science too. No matter what the "natural" scientist like to say about that. Some phenomena are too complex to boil down to just one independent variable. A contentious issue in science, since especially anything involving humans that are not directly physical and chemical. Also no hypothesis can be definitely proven. At least something like that is what my teachers in philosophy of science insisted.

Yaktan
2016-01-23, 02:59 PM
Carl, the problem is you are trying to use a different hypothesis from everyone else.

You are trying to test "A longbow will be more accurate than a crossbow that releases a projectile with equal energy."

The more relevant hypothesis would be "A typical longbow used in the 1400's is more accurate than a typical crossbow used in the 1400's." Where typical means what you would see a whole army using. The problem with the first is that you are prejudicing your test by pre-selecting a specific attribute that does not necessarily convert to accuracy the same for longbows and crossbows.

Carl
2016-01-23, 05:51 PM
Except that wasn't what was claimed Yaktan.

What Is claimed is that crossbows are more accurate than longbows. Period. There was no "typical" in the statement. It was a statement that crossbows in general are more accurate than longbows. Which for the mechanical side means you need to get the variables down.

I've allready pointed out that a crossbow with more release energy is nearly certain to have better accuracy than any bow. It's inherent in the shorter flight time that results unless there's a very serious projectile accuracy element. But that's not representative of which is more accurate by nature.


@Snowbliz: Well we're talking a mechanical variable which IS physics. Which i will admit is where all my science and engineering background is focused for the most part.

Your right of course that many things are too complex to get down to one variable. hence why i said you probably couldn't test it properly. Any result you produce is going to be highly questionable because it will have too many variables.

Also maybe it's a local colloquial difference. But saying something is "definitely proven" simply means it's proven to the point where unless serious and ireffutable evidance to the cntrary is found it will be aceppted as fact.

I've allready pointed out in the past that there's no such thing as hard facts in science ;).

Galloglaich
2016-01-23, 06:11 PM
Except that wasn't what was claimed Yaktan.

What Is claimed is that crossbows are more accurate than longbows. Period. There was no "typical" in the statement. It was a statement that crossbows in general are more accurate than longbows. Which for the mechanical side means you need to get the variables down.

I suspect that is actually the case, just based on modern hunting laws and so on. For the record, I do think that all things being equal, a crossbow is more accurate than a bow. But I have little to base that theory on really. I'ts just my opinon.

And that was not what I was saying: obviously I was talking about medieval crossbows. You have been around this thread long enough (more than a couple of generations of it I think) that you know when I'm talking about something like crossbows I'm talking about the area I'm reasonably well schooled on: late medieval Europe. Even if you forgot that, it's what we had been talking about in the discussion you were responding to. The time of longbows...



I've allready pointed out that a crossbow with more release energy is nearly certain to have better accuracy than any bow.

When you are talking about the medieval period, this was often, if by no means always the case. But I am not sure it fully accounts for the accuracy advantages of the crossbows because not even heavy bows seemed to have that long effective range (say, over 100 meters) for shooting individual human targets that even the medium powered crossbows seemed to do.

But if it's true that there are no absolutes in science, that is doubly the case for medieval history. There are definitely no absolutes in those days, even if we did have a time machine, it's a fiendishly complex time. I'm sure there were some gifted geniuses at the longbow who could shoot the leg off of a mosquito at that distance. Just as there are stories like William Tell of a guy who could shoot an apple off of a kids head with a crossbow. Who knows. I'm just going by what the records tell us. And there are a lot of records.

G

fusilier
2016-01-23, 08:01 PM
I've allready pointed out that a crossbow with more release energy is nearly certain to have better accuracy than any bow. It's inherent in the shorter flight time that results unless there's a very serious projectile accuracy element. But that's not representative of which is more accurate by nature.

While not the scientific proof you are looking for (and I'm sure we would all like to have), I have read a rather well developed argument that crossbows were inherently less accurate than bows.

The reasons had to do with the manner in which a crossbow bolt is launched. The crossbow bolt when ready to fire is not in contact with the drawstring -- there's the nut in between them. When the drawstring is released it hits the bolt after building up speed. The result is that a crossbow bolt is awkwardly "slapped" into flight by the drawstring, compared to the controlled release of an arrow from a bow. Or so the argument goes.

You can read a more detailed version of it in the Weapons chapter of Guilmartin's book Gunpowder and Galleys. Which is available online here:
http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/guilmartin.com/Weapons.html

(Unfortunately it's not paginated, but the discussion of crossbows starts about 4 paragraphs above the figure of a crossbow).

It's an older work, and I think most Guilmartin's information comes from Payne-Galloway's work, although it's not clear if that's where his opinion of accuracy is from. Perhaps, ideally, we should survey historical attitudes about accuracy but I suspect that even then there would be debate. I know the Spanish were often impressed by the accuracy of the bows of their American Indian opponents (and allies).

Carl
2016-01-23, 08:31 PM
And that was not what I was saying: obviously I was talking about medieval crossbows. You have been around this thread long enough (more than a couple of generations of it I think) that you know when I'm talking about something like crossbows I'm talking about the area I'm reasonably well schooled on: late medieval Europe. Even if you forgot that, it's what we had been talking about in the discussion you were responding to. The time of longbows...

@Gallioch: I read it as a comment on the "class" of weapon ;). Not that you were trying to make any kind of scientific factual argument. TBh i think the discussion got a little more "serious" than either of us intended it to. Sorry about that, it's easy to get invested in a fun argument and go overboard.

TBH despite all my comments i can't really say my own opinion is more than a strong feeling, as i've indicated there are some variables i lack the ability to properly account for, so whilst everything i know say's longbows should have the mechanical edge, that doesn't mean i can't be wrong, i just don't feel it's a strong possibility i am. But i've never claimed it as definitive irrefutable fact, merely highly probable based on the science.


Also since it's been roughly a week i'll restate a past question that got buried in our little discussion. Not really gallioch's department so maybe there's no one active atm with the necessary knowledge *shrug*.


Ok as i do my brains bouncing around various setting concepts i have in my head and i bounced back to my EFGT setting, the comms issue is something i more or less gave up on for now, (cultists could easily solve it, doing it for EFGT without messing some other stuff up is a headscratcher), short of limited magic there's no really way to solve it but this time my bounce back decided to focus on Cultist forces. The general concept with them is that their focused around much smaller squad/fireteam organisations. The EFGT in the face of Fallen Shock trooper formations needs individual groups of men to have serious firepower, conversely the cultists face a lot less of that and a lot more heavy frag explosives whilst needing to deploy a certain kinds of items the EFGT doesn't, (i can talk more about the strategic considerations driving things if you want). In light of that i was wondering what you all though of the idea of 3 man teams with 2 men having rifles and the third either an MG, or other special purpose weapon, (grenade launcher or light recoilless rifle are the other two they'd use at the normal infantry level), plus standard rifle too. Subject to the point that they have a magical construct that holds the ammo for said weapon, (thing a more limited capacity bag of holding that can float along behind and is fairly resilient if hit). With ammo carry capacity not a concern can you see any issues that would make it unworkable, or any other specific thoughts?

Obviously crew served weapons would need a slightly different, probably 4 man fireteam size to lug the multi-part weapon around and allen use a wholly different setup as well being shock troops.

fusilier
2016-01-23, 11:38 PM
Also since it's been roughly a week i'll restate a past question that got buried in our little discussion. Not really gallioch's department so maybe there's no one active atm with the necessary knowledge *shrug*.

The only *potential* concern I can think of is the handiness of the special weapon. Even a light machine gun with a bipod is really designed to be used from a prone position. They're just not as wieldy as a typical rifle or assault rifle. Something like a BAR might be a bit more wieldy but it is heavy.

A submachine gun would work very well, but is better suited for short-range fighting. So the conditions under which they will be fighting would dictate what's better. Submachine guns are good for very fluid conditions at close ranges (like fighting in a city), a heavy machine gun will be better at longer ranges and more static positions, a light machine gun is also good at longer ranges and better suited to more fluid conditions than a heavy machine gun, but not as mobile as a submachine gun. A light machine gun can be repositioned easier than a heavy one, and they can be fired on the move, but they're more effective when static.

The basic rifle is kind of the best "all-round" fighting weapon. A ww2 squad might have a light machine gun, a submachine gun, and the rest with rifles. Finding the right ratio would probably depend upon a lot of factors.

I don't really *know* what's better: increased firepower usually comes at a cost, but alleviating the ammo burden would remove a good chunk, but perhaps not all of the extra cost. I don't think there's anything really wrong with your suggestion. However I do believe that there are others much better qualified to answer your questions.

Carl
2016-01-24, 12:15 AM
Well all members of the squads are issued with their standard short carbine", (probably something like a 12" barrel), chambered in 5.8mm, (heavily adapted form of chinese 5.8mm calibre). That's standard so they've got the close in firepower if they need it. The fireteam special purpose weapon is either a GMPG, (12.7mm calibre, very low weight due to advanced materials science but requires a bipod even at it's limited 300rpm cyclic RoF due to that low weight), 70mm low backblast recoilless, (reloadable), or a 35mm low pressure grenade machine gun, (again limited 200rpm rate of fire and requires bipod due to low weight to manage recoil in auto, single shot is manageable from shoulder and single shot underslung launchers are standard issue). Haven't set out full platoon or company layout but ratios are probably around 2/2/1 of GMPG's/Recoilless/GMG's. Represents a compromise between what they'd like, (fully varying loadouts for specific encounters), and what they can actually do. Again, as noted previously, the choice of specific weapons and capabilities is a tradeoff on specific strategic and tactical considerations.

Mr Beer
2016-01-24, 01:26 AM
If ammo is no issue, machine gun barrels can overheat with continuous use, right? I remember reading about this happening in WWII, I think with US positions gunning down Japanese banzai attacks. Is that still an issue with your advanced materials and choked upper rate of fire?

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 07:16 AM
G. the incident in Bruges according to the stories started as some of his 'Bodyguard' liked some of the women they saw a bit too much...

Their husbands sort of disagreed at giving their wives to a bunch of mercenaries effectively and things went down hill from there.
The first few men killed were completely unarmed and had no chance, some of them were killed while they ran for their lives by being shot in the back.

This then ended up in causing a big uproar and a substantial part of the city went into a spontaneous revolt...

Given that Bruges at this time was a massive city with between 125000 and 200000 people in the 1400's...

And the Duke had less then 500 men with him...

You can easily imagine how this was going to work out.
The Duke fled, the bodyguard died or got captured and the prisoners got pretty much tortured to death.

From the stories it seems that the Duke may not have actually fled as much as that he was escorted to safety by some of the local Militia as the names of the people in charge of his entourage when he 'fled' were members of some of the guilds in the city.

The account in Vaughan's biography of Philip the Good is told a little differently. The Duke had 4,000 soldiers with him, who were on their way to join more troops before invading Holland, of whom 1,400 were in the town, and the rest of the army was trying to get in when the burghers closed the town gates in alarm. As I mentioned before, the burghers were disarmed and not even carrying sidearms (swords) at the explicit request of the Duke.

This is the period account, from a Flemish chronicler, which he quotes in the book. I'll repost the whole thing since it is an interesting account of an urban conflict and it does involve bows. We know from the records that a large proportion of his army was armed with longbows.

The 'guild master' you noted who left with the Duke were actually a burgomeister and the faction in the city council who supported the Duke, and were implicated in what the Bruge citizens believed was a 'putsch'.

Passage follows:

On Wednesday 22 May [1437] the burgomaster Ludowic van den Walle went to the duke of Burgundy at Lille, and received a letter from the prince for the officers and deans of the craft guilds in Bruges, mentioning that the duke planned to go to Holland with 3000 Picard soldiers who, following the shortest route from Sluis, would go through Male, rather than Bruges. But the duke himself would stay in Bruges for three or four days with his household retinue and up to 500 nobles, in order to see that justice was done for the deaths of the burgomaster Morissis van Varsenare and his brother Jacop.

So it was agreed that 3,000 Picards would go to… Male that day and have their meal there, supplies of bread and butter, 4,000 eggs, eight tuns of beer and a vat of wine would be sent out from Bruges. But none of the Picards arrived at Male. Instead, they accompanied the prince to the Boeveriepoort [southwestern gate of Bruges] where, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, all the guilds and societies of Bruges were in procession to meet him… He was held up there for a good two hours by the burgomaster Lodweic van den Walle during which time he sent a knight, the bastard of Dampierre, with eleven companions, into the Boeveriepoort to jam the porticullis so that it could not be lowered before the prince and all his people got into Bruges.

The Brugeois [i.e. citizens of Bruges] noticed with considerable distrust and suspicion that the prince, who was armed, had six or seven battle pennons and some 4,000 people, some wearing battle tunics [i.e. armor], with him… At about 5 p.m. when at least 1,400 men had been allowed in, the prince entered and rode to the Fridaymarket, assuming that those who were still outside the Boeveriepoort would follow him into town. But the magistrates and the deans [leaders of the craft guilds] managed with great difficulty to close the Boeveriepoort, so that some 2,500 armed men, mostly on horseback, remained outside. They went to the Smedenpoort, but this was shut in time to keep them out. If they had got in, Bruges would have been lost, for the Brugeois were unarmed, since in every guild they had been ordered that morning to turn out in the afternoon to meet the prince unarmed and in their best clothes.

When the prince reached the Fridaymarket with his people, he sent Sir Josse de Heule to the market-place to see if the town authorities had stationed any troops there. When he arrived there, Sir Josse turned to his companions and said: ‘We can go straight back to back to my lord of Burgundy. The market-place is his and Bruges is won. We’ll kill these rebel Brugeois!’

He rode toward the prince’s palace past the mint, and came across the prince with his nobles in the Dweersstraat. As the prince still wasn’t certain if the market-place was his, the bastard of St. Pol called out that they should return to the Fridaymarket, and though this was full of common people, unarmed, he shouted ‘Haubourdin! Haubourdin! Draw our bows! Draw your bows!’ [the bastard of St. Pol was Jehan de Luxembourg, lord of Haubourdin].

The archers shot at the people up the street, they shot at the houses, and they shot at the people who were looking, bareheaded, out of windows to welcome the prince. Numbers were wounded, and some 300 arrows remained stuck in the dormers gables and tiles of the houses all along the Dweersstraat as far as the Zuidzandbrugge, on either side of the street. The prince stationed himself on the higher ground of the Fridaymarket, at the cattle market. There he was with his nobles, armed, holding a drawn sword in his hand, sitting up on his horse while his men either shot at the common people of Bruges or laid about them with their swords, and wounded many. A master baker, Race Ywens, was shot dead as he stood in front of the porcine, doffing his hat in welcome. .. .Thus at the cattle market, the prince’s people did battle… and they yelled ‘The town is won! Town won! Kill them all!’ so loud that their companions outside the Boeveriepoort heard them and some of them tried to swim on horseback across the moat into Bruges…

When the common people of Bruges saw that people were being killed and heard the cry ‘Kill them all! Town won!’, they rushed back to their houses to arm themselves, and some of the guilds brought small cannons to the Noordzandbrugge and Zuidzandbrugge, and fired wooden missiles at the Frenchmen and the prince’s people, who turned and fled back toward the Boevriepoort. But they found it closed. And at St. Julian’s a horrible battle was fought. The bastard of St. Pol slew Jan van der Hoghe’s son, and two Brugeois were killed by the moat.

The other Brugeois saw this and spared no-one. Sonn seventy two Picards had been killed between St. Julian’s and the fountain in Boeveriestraat, including the lord of L’Isle Adam, who was struck down dead in front of St. Julian’s chapel. The prince, realizing that his people were being killed, rode with a good many of them through the Andgewercstraat toward the moat and the Boeveriepoort. Jacop van Hardoye, the lead night watchman, had in his house a hammer, and pair of pincers and a chisel and, with these, the Boeveriepoort was broken open and, at about 7 pm, the prince rode out of Bruges toward Lille, with his company. The Burgomeister Lodweic van den Walle, Sir Roland d’Uutkerke, Sir Colard de Commynes the sovereign baliff, and many burgesses… left with him.”

G

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 07:22 AM
People will probably never stop arguing about English bows. Even the 16th-century English argued bitterly about English bows, disagreeing about their capabilities and martial merits. :smallamused:

Steel bows presumably could have heavy draws and shoot heavy arrows, but steel just isn't as efficient as wood or horn-&-sinew composites according to standard materials-science assessments. That might wrong, and if so I'd love to see numbers. It's also possible that heavy steel bows were considered worth it because of lower maintenance even if they shot a little slower than equally heavy composites would under ideal conditions. As I said, one Chinese source recommends self bows over composites for humid climates. (On the other hand, I believe the Manchu just put in the effort to keep their bows dry and so on when fighting in humid places.) Some of the Indian steel bows were surely sporting weapons.

I'm no physicist, but I have to wonder: If steel bows are so inherently inefficient for bows, how come they worked so well for crossbows?

G

Spiryt
2016-01-24, 08:07 AM
I'm no physicist, but I have to wonder: If steel bows are so inherently inefficient for bows, how come they worked so well for crossbows?

G

Well, the shortness of the limbs probably offers better draw weigh/steel mass ratio, if I would have to guess.

If one had to make long, fully drawn bow exhibiting a lot of bend, the steel arms would devour huge portion of stored energy.

On the other hand one could theoretically make a steel bow with only a small potion of arm moving - the rest being simply kind of a stative... The question is if that short working portion would survive being drawn at say, ~28 inches.


It also seems that steel crossbow prods were indeed very inefficient, with Harmuth stating that they generally were transferring at most ~45% of stored energy to bolt.

The catch being that thanks to steel's engineering advantages, one could make a bow of huge draw weight and storing lots of energy in general, so even with low efficiency due to steel mass, it was still delivering worthwhile amounts of energy.

The same may not work for the bow.

That's my take at least.

For what it's worth, people in Europe had never tried making steel bows. Then again, they hadn't tried much composite bows either, despite the fact that composite crossbows were very common.

Carl
2016-01-24, 08:07 AM
If ammo is no issue, machine gun barrels can overheat with continuous use, right? I remember reading about this happening in WWII, I think with US positions gunning down Japanese banzai attacks. Is that still an issue with your advanced materials and choked upper rate of fire?

Yes and no.

First ammo isn't unlimited, whilst most fireteams probably violate procedure and dump some extra clips for their rifles in their it's more or less strictly for their fireteam weapon, and whilst it can carry more than 4 people could normally carry, it's not extreme to the point of stupidity. You'd still be talking sub 1k 12.7mm rounds. I haven't really pinned it down any tighter that that.

However yes the ultra light weight does create some overheating issues. For the rifles it's not a big deal as they're not significantly lightened and the composites they use produce barrels that are more wear resistant and combine lower heat absorption with better dissipation. For all intents and purposes insufficient ammo is carried to overheat them. Their GMPG however can be overheated quite easily, though it's still harder than my understanding of modern weapons. Couple of hundred rounds roughly for their's, I believe IRL it's usually 100-150 to overheat today. Vehicle mounted forms are universally built to a heavier design with an unthrottled RoF and may have ram air or even water jacket cooling, depending on weather the barrel exterior is exposed to potential fire.

Mr. Mask
2016-01-24, 10:00 AM
Speaking of units, I've a bit of a dilemma. Someone insisted that you cannot have tactics with fewer than 30 people. I had hoped to make an interesting game based around single squad tactics.

I figured you'd get situations like say: Your squad is spotted and comes under fire suddenly. Your MG crew, however, seems to have not been spotted. The rest of the squad takes cover, and peels away as the enemy advances on their position, luring them in. When they get close, the MG opens up on their flank, then the rest of the squad hits it from the front while they're in confusion. Alternatively, you could've gotten the MG to open up immediately to suppress the enemy and help your squad deal with the confusion of the sudden attack, or do something different again.

Or, take another example: There are enemies patrolling twenty yards away. They haven't seen you. Do you wait for your buddies to get in position? Shoot them now before they spot you? Or do you try to toss a grenade their way? If you happen to be carrying the MG, RPG, or grenade-launcher, then you can consider using those, too.


Does this seem like it could make for an interesting, tactical experience?

Haruspex_Pariah
2016-01-24, 10:17 AM
@ExLibrisMortis & Haruspex_Pariah: No, no, no, no.

A scientific test that is testing a hypothesis has to actually test the hypothesis.

If you use typical crossbows and typical longbows your not doing that. With differences in launch velocity, and projectile mass, and overall projectile energy, you've zero way of telling which of the factors is producing the final result. You can analyse the results with a microscope and you still can't prove or disprove your hypothesis definitively until you take all the variables besides accuracy out of the equation.

Of course to be 100% fair given the sheer number of differences between a crossbow and a longbow that's probably impossible. But if you want a valid result you have to eliminate all possible variables besides the one your testing for, or you have no idea if it's because your hypothesis is correct or if those variables are skewing the result.

You seem to have moved on, and I agree that this discussion appears to have become rather "serious" but I still need to reply to this. Because Internet.

First of all, the extremely general question of "crossbow vs longbow accuracy" is not one I was ever interested in. It's too general, and I believe it cannot be answered. It may be confusing because I quote you, and you seem to be focused on the question phrased in that specific way. So pardon me for that.

In addition, my proposal was a study. It's not meant to be the textbook revelatory experiment that puts a question to rest once and for all. It's meant to provide data. It's meant to build up the overall sum of knowledge. It's meant to be a starting point for future research. As you've mentioned, it's not possible to construct an experiment that answers your question of longbow accuracy vs crossbow accuracy because of how general the question is.

I did a bit of physics in high school, and I know little about weapons. But I do know a thing or two about research design, hence my approach in all this.

Mike_G
2016-01-24, 11:14 AM
Speaking of units, I've a bit of a dilemma. Someone insisted that you cannot have tactics with fewer than 30 people. I had hoped to make an interesting game based around single squad tactics.


Whoever said that is wrong. Squad level tactics are a thing.

Marine infantry squads have three fireteams, not sure if the Army has three in a squad, but you can use the fireteams as tactical maneuver units. One team provides covering fire while the other moves, keep the third in reserve to exploit or plug a gap or turn a flank etc. Add in a support weapon and you have plenty of tactical flexibility.





I figured you'd get situations like say: Your squad is spotted and comes under fire suddenly. Your MG crew, however, seems to have not been spotted. The rest of the squad takes cover, and peels away as the enemy advances on their position, luring them in. When they get close, the MG opens up on their flank, then the rest of the squad hits it from the front while they're in confusion. Alternatively, you could've gotten the MG to open up immediately to suppress the enemy and help your squad deal with the confusion of the sudden attack, or do something different again.


If you have several fire teams, they can break away by team, one covering the others



Or, take another example: There are enemies patrolling twenty yards away. They haven't seen you. Do you wait for your buddies to get in position? Shoot them now before they spot you? Or do you try to toss a grenade their way? If you happen to be carrying the MG, RPG, or grenade-launcher, then you can consider using those, too.


You generally want to get more of your people in position if you can. If you start shooting, the fight is on. Your best shot will be the first one, better to have your whole squads get that shot in.

At least you want to signal your own guys so they aren't as surprised by the shooting as the enemy. then they are trying to deploy and join the fight just as the enemy are.

That said, 20 yards is really close, and you may not have a lot of time to get your people into position, or to signal without being noticed.

If you have the MG or grenade launcher, you shouldn't be within 20 yards without supporting riflemen. That's a good way to get overrun and lose your support weapon.



Does this seem like it could make for an interesting, tactical experience?

Sure. I'm sure you can google books on squad level tactics. They teach this stuff so that even Lance Corporals can understand it.

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 11:26 AM
Whoever said that is wrong. Squad level tactics are a thing.

Marine infantry squads have three fireteams, not sure if the Army has three in a squad, but you can use the fireteams as tactical maneuver units. One team provides covering fire while the other moves, keep the third in reserve to exploit or plug a gap or turn a flank etc. Add in a support weapon and you have plenty of tactical flexibility.

If you have several fire teams, they can break away by team, one covering the others

You generally want to get more of your people in position if you can. If you start shooting, the fight is on. Your best shot will be the first one, better to have your whole squads get that shot in.

At least you want to signal your own guys so they aren't as surprised by the shooting as the enemy. then they are trying to deploy and join the fight just as the enemy are.

That said, 20 yards is really close, and you may not have a lot of time to get your people into position, or to signal without being noticed.

If you have the MG or grenade launcher, you shouldn't be within 20 yards without supporting riflemen. That's a good way to get overrun and lose your support weapon.



Sure. I'm sure you can google books on squad level tactics. They teach this stuff so that even Lance Corporals can understand it.

You can even do this in paintball with groups of 2 or 3 guys...

Gnoman
2016-01-24, 11:34 AM
Speaking of units, I've a bit of a dilemma. Someone insisted that you cannot have tactics with fewer than 30 people.

Nonsense. The classic three-man fire and move strategy is a perfect example of tactics, you only need two men to be able to attempt to outflank or similar, and deception can make your numbers irrelevant. For that matter, consider chess - this is a game of pure tactics and has only sixteen men on a side at the start, a number that rapidly dwindles.


Yes and no.

First ammo isn't unlimited, whilst most fireteams probably violate procedure and dump some extra clips for their rifles in their it's more or less strictly for their fireteam weapon, and whilst it can carry more than 4 people could normally carry, it's not extreme to the point of stupidity. You'd still be talking sub 1k 12.7mm rounds. I haven't really pinned it down any tighter that that.

However yes the ultra light weight does create some overheating issues. For the rifles it's not a big deal as they're not significantly lightened and the composites they use produce barrels that are more wear resistant and combine lower heat absorption with better dissipation. For all intents and purposes insufficient ammo is carried to overheat them. Their GMPG however can be overheated quite easily, though it's still harder than my understanding of modern weapons. Couple of hundred rounds roughly for their's, I believe IRL it's usually 100-150 to overheat today. Vehicle mounted forms are universally built to a heavier design with an unthrottled RoF and may have ram air or even water jacket cooling, depending on weather the barrel exterior is exposed to potential fire.

Quick question: Are your machine-gunners strong enough to make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Steve Urkel? If not, firing a 12.7mm machine gun at 300 rounds a minute, especially an extra-light model, from a bipod will require recoil-compensation tech that can be best described as "magic". The most advanced system that we can build today allows particularly strong soldiers to fire single shots from such a weapon without too much trouble, but full-auto would be a major problem. You'd need a tripod mount for anything within the realm of probability, and the utility of such a heavy weapon seems limited when your main round is a modified chinese 5.8×42mm and one of your other heavy weapons is a 70mm recoilless rifle (which is going to have similar performance to an m72 LAW or equivalent due to similar warhead diameter (the LAW is bigger, but improved explosives will compensate - good enough to handle APCs and bunkers, but of very limited use against tank-level armor). Moreover, for a weapon that you need to keep ready, you'll be pushing the limit of what one person can carry for hours of marching.


You'd be better off with a rifle-caliber weapon along the lines of an M240 - your improved materials tech will get this down to light machine gun or even rifle weight, rate of fire will be far higher, you can carry much more ammo, and anything it can't deal with (remember, a full-rifle round is still significantly more powerful than an assault rifle round) would be better dealt with via the 70mm.

I can't comment on your proposed 35mm grenade machine gun, as no direct real-world equivalent exists to extrapolate. The closest RW comes to matching it is a two-man 25mm weapon (the XM307), with a maximum range of 3.6 km and a rate of fire of 250 rounds per minute. If you sacrifice range (you did specify that it is a "low pressure" weapon) to reduce recoil and allow for significant reduction in weight due to your super-light material science, your proposed design sounds quite feasible. Honestly, it would be better to make this your "go-to" heavy weapon due to much greater versatility (you can use frag grenades for AOE attacks, incindaries to destroy cover and flush out the enemy, HEAT rounds for light vehicles, smoke to give you concealment, etc.), using the GMPC for longer-range area suppression and the RCL for knocking out hardpoints or medium-armored vehicles.

As for the tactical organization, how mutually-supporting are your three-man squads? Any given squad is going to be fairly easy to spot once they start shooting, and small enough to be outflanked without too much trouble (each man can only shoot in one direction at a time, and they need both of the riflemen to put out anything close to what the MG or AGL can do, so you can only threaten 2 fairly narrow cones at any given time) but if you have 4 or 5 in the same general area you'd have a very potent 12-15 man platoon with horribly outsized firepower.

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 11:39 AM
Well, the shortness of the limbs probably offers better draw weigh/steel mass ratio, if I would have to guess.

If one had to make long, fully drawn bow exhibiting a lot of bend, the steel arms would devour huge portion of stored energy.

On the other hand one could theoretically make a steel bow with only a small potion of arm moving - the rest being simply kind of a stative... The question is if that short working portion would survive being drawn at say, ~28 inches.


It also seems that steel crossbow prods were indeed very inefficient, with Harmuth stating that they generally were transferring at most ~45% of stored energy to bolt.

The catch being that thanks to steel's engineering advantages, one could make a bow of huge draw weight and storing lots of energy in general, so even with low efficiency due to steel mass, it was still delivering worthwhile amounts of energy.

The same may not work for the bow.

That's my take at least.

For what it's worth, people in Europe had never tried making steel bows. Then again, they hadn't tried much composite bows either, despite the fact that composite crossbows were very common.

Yes sounds reasonable, but as we know, the people in South Asia seemed to be further along with ferrous metallurgy than anywhere else in the world. Nobody else knew how to make true wootz for example.

http://margo.student.utwente.nl/sagi/artikel/steelbow/steelbow.html

Maybe this is a hint of the type of design you are talking about:

"The bow never had the extreme recurvature that the composite had in its original state, but rather takes the shape of a composite that has "opened out" to some extent. Also, the recurvature is mostly of a design which could not be reproduced in a wood/horn/sinew combination. "

My main question on this was that the steel bow was apparently widely adopted by the Mughals from 1536-1650. Being Mongols, the Mughal essentially had the best (or among the best) composite bows in the world - yet they apparently adopted the steel bow.

With the crossbow in Europe, perhaps steel was heavier and therefore technically more inefficient gram for gram than composite, but having seen a lot of them, the steel prods are actually much thinner than the horn composites, and the entire bow could actually be made significantly smaller for similar power. And thus probably lighter as well and definitely more efficient. Weapons with the power of what used to be siege bows were now small enough to use on horseback. This is apparently one of the (complex suite of) reasons why steel began to be widely adopted for prods starting in the 1400's, though they definitely also had some disadvantages (cold weather performance, for example).

G

Carl
2016-01-24, 12:04 PM
Regarding the weapons. Ok the Machine gun and grenade launcher are both based loosely on existing chinese weapons, (much of the cultists weaponry is developments thereof, though like the EFGT the last several centuries have seen little serious military development, long story short they got separated and both had sort of forgotten about each other whilst the original war kinda unified the political boundaries so militaires steadily became less and less necessary), they're not direct copies, more distant descendants however that merely trace their own lineage and that of their equally evolved ammo to chinese weaponry. The GMPG is based on a lightened and RoF limited Type 89 (http://world.guns.ru/machine/ch/type-9-hmg-e.html), and the grenade machinegun on a RoF limited, (and probably lower pressure somewhat reduced range), QLZ87 (http://world.guns.ru/grenade/ch/qlz-7-w7-e.html). I'd expect both to have some nasty recoil TBH despite the work to reduce it, and it's a significant point that both are designed to reduce it as much as possible.#

Certainly there's room to switch to a different calibre but in some respects pre-war they'd have had even more reason to favour the 12.7mm in their paramilitary operations than the EFGT did 14.5mm.

The recoilless BTW is more of a mid range HE-frag chucker, HEAT is used but it's more for SOAS power armoured troopers, (the latter is the real reason they even field them, SOAS only really turn up in numbers during planetary landing zone secure op's, but stopping those is a priority, and 70mm HEAT is the minimum for getting through their armour with any reliability). It does have uses against AFV's, but it's generally much less costly in manpower and more efficient in general to use called in missile strikes, and beyond the lightest class of EFGT vehicle it's not going to do more than damage exterior components.



As for the tactical organization, how mutually-supporting are your three-man squads? Any given squad is going to be fairly easy to spot once they start shooting, and small enough to be outflanked without too much trouble (each man can only shoot in one direction at a time, and they need both of the riflemen to put out anything close to what the MG or AGL can do, so you can only threaten 2 fairly narrow cones at any given time) but if you have 4 or 5 in the same general area you'd have a very potent 12-15 man platoon with horribly outsized firepower.

The latter is very much the intent, though probably with a more outsized platoon. I haven't pinned specifics down however.

Gnoman
2016-01-24, 12:53 PM
Regarding the weapons. Ok the Machine gun and grenade launcher are both based loosely on existing chinese weapons, (much of the cultists weaponry is developments thereof, though like the EFGT the last several centuries have seen little serious military development, long story short they got separated and both had sort of forgotten about each other whilst the original war kinda unified the political boundaries so militaires steadily became less and less necessary), they're not direct copies, more distant descendants however that merely trace their own lineage and that of their equally evolved ammo to chinese weaponry. The GMPG is based on a lightened and RoF limited Type 89 (http://world.guns.ru/machine/ch/type-9-hmg-e.html), and the grenade machinegun on a RoF limited, (and probably lower pressure somewhat reduced range), QLZ87 (http://world.guns.ru/grenade/ch/qlz-7-w7-e.html). I'd expect both to have some nasty recoil TBH despite the work to reduce it, and it's a significant point that both are designed to reduce it as much as possible.#

Certainly there's room to switch to a different calibre but in some respects pre-war they'd have had even more reason to favour the 12.7mm in their paramilitary operations than the EFGT did 14.5mm.

The recoilless BTW is more of a mid range HE-frag chucker, HEAT is used but it's more for SOAS power armoured troopers, (the latter is the real reason they even field them, SOAS only really turn up in numbers during planetary landing zone secure op's, but stopping those is a priority, and 70mm HEAT is the minimum for getting through their armour with any reliability). It does have uses against AFV's, but it's generally much less costly in manpower and more efficient in general to use called in missile strikes, and beyond the lightest class of EFGT vehicle it's not going to do more than damage exterior components.


I've never heard of that Chinese grenade launcher before, so I was mistaken about the 25mm weapon being the closest match. It sounds like an improved version would be an excellent support weapon, although sustained firepower will be fairly low due to the small clip. As for the machine gun, anything you NEED a gun that big for turns the assault rifle into useless weight, and I can't think of any tactical situation outside of "immune to anything smaller" where a 200 RPM 12.7mm will be better than an 800 RPM 7.62mm.

Delegating your anti-armor work to called-in strikes makes a lot of sense (combat reports from the Ukraine suggest that modern MBTs are all-but-invulnerable to any man-portable weapon), but there's a huge range of possible targets that meet the "can tear through your squad in minutes" but not the "you can't carry a gun big enough to hurt this" (the modern example of this would be a BMP-2 IFV - unless you have a LAW or light ATGM available, it will tear through an infantry formation with ease) categories, and even if you can get a strike within 30 seconds, you're better off if you can take such a lighter target down in the three seconds it takes to aim and fire a fire-and-forget ATGM or dumb rocket. Meanwhile, your AGL is going to more than adequately cover the "medium range HE chucker" requirement - according to Wikipedia the Type-87 has a range of 1.75 km, and even if your modified version drops to ~.75 that's still a huge range for an infantry action (otherwise the assault rifle would never have become so ubiquitous). With short and medium range anti-infantry more than adequately covered by the machine gun and AGL, what is missing is an accurate long-range weapon for obliterating hardened point targets - besides vehicles and powered armor, this could include bunkers, improvised fortifications, extra-sturdy civilian buildings being used as a strongpoint, observation platforms, etc. I'd suggest replacing the RCL with a 120mm ATGM along the lines of the American Javelin missile.

snowblizz
2016-01-24, 01:15 PM
My main question on this was that the steel bow was apparently widely adopted by the Mughals from 1536-1650. Being Mongols, the Mughal essentially had the best (or among the best) composite bows in the world - yet they apparently adopted the steel bow.


If as I understand it composites don't like the wet and humid climates then India must surely the one of the worst places. Hot, humid when it's not outright monsoon...

Should be just about the most ideal weather imaginable to loosen composite bows glues I'd think?

Similarly, try to use steel bows in a Nordic climate... my flexible bike lock thingy becomes stiff after a less than 20 min bike ride to the store, and it's around -15. And it should be made of steel wires twisted together and is intended to be flexible And once walking home from the harbour in -20C I broke the clasp of my laptop bag due to repetitive yanking against my walking motion.

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 02:01 PM
If as I understand it composites don't like the wet and humid climates then India must surely the one of the worst places. Hot, humid when it's not outright monsoon...

Should be just about the most ideal weather imaginable to loosen composite bows glues I'd think?

Similarly, try to use steel bows in a Nordic climate... my flexible bike lock thingy becomes stiff after a less than 20 min bike ride to the store, and it's around -15. And it should be made of steel wires twisted together and is intended to be flexible And once walking home from the harbour in -20C I broke the clasp of my laptop bag due to repetitive yanking against my walking motion.

Both really good points. You are definitely right about the steel prod crossbows in the cold - that was one of the problems with them. The composite prod ones actually seemed to get better in the cold. It's one of the reasons the Swiss never switched to steel prod (or did so more slowly).

You might be right about damp conditions possibly being the reason for using the steel bows- it's definitely quite possible. But I would assume that would mean they still performed better than the other alternative (solid wood bows) - otherwise, why not just switch to that? Much cheaper!

G

Spiryt
2016-01-24, 02:13 PM
You might be right about damp conditions possibly being the reason for using the steel bows- it's definitely quite possible. But I would assume that would mean they still performed better than the other alternative (solid wood bows) - otherwise, why not just switch to that? Much cheaper!

G

Well, solid wood bows aren't exactly fool proof as far as temperature, humidity, etc. goes.

Just more resistant than natural composites, or so the most common theory goes, at least.

So perhaps steel bows kept mostly dry and oiled was deemed to perform better there.

Although without rather specific knowledge about usage, transporting etc. of bows in India of old it's probably hard to answer.:smallbiggrin:

Galloglaich
2016-01-24, 03:14 PM
Well, solid wood bows aren't exactly fool proof as far as temperature, humidity, etc. goes.

Just more resistant than natural composites, or so the most common theory goes, at least.

So perhaps steel bows kept mostly dry and oiled was deemed to perform better there.

Although without rather specific knowledge about usage, transporting etc. of bows in India of old it's probably hard to answer.:smallbiggrin:

Of course. We are just guessing at this point.

As you noted, oiled and kept dry steel is ok, but normally steel is hardly ideal for wet and hot conditions either.

It sounds like one of these things made it to the Wild West at some point

http://trib.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/historic-wyoming-steel-bow-s-origins-confound-researchers/article_31118e0d-a2f7-5dfb-b2cd-64c08399ff4b.html

Carl
2016-01-24, 03:23 PM
To come at things in reverse order. The main thing to bear in mind is that what the cultists want, (to vary equipment to suit the situation), and what they can actually achieve on their industry capabilities don't match up. For planetary landing fights they flat out need the recoilless, and would prefer nothing but them because AFV and artillery support is out of the question, (it's actually a fight to delay things long enough for the AFV to get their and finish the job, but they can move infantry in a lot faster since it's all via portal at the strategic level, but AFV sized portals take 40-50 minutes to open compared to 1-2 minutes for infantry sized ones). On the other hand for standard fights they'd much rather dump the recoilless for pure AGL + MG setups. he mix is a compromise they generally accept in service if they don't, (as is normally the case)m, have the ability to totally swap out.

At the same time given the combined active intercept and ECM and energy shield capabilities of IFV's they aren't much use vs them because you need to coordinate lots of shots in a short space of time, call in strikes are much better at that, particularly for anything that needs warheads of a greater diameter than 100mm range. The thing to remember is their materials tech has a few centuries on us but their explosives, KEP, and HEAT tech probably only has a few decades, as such they're capable of building Humvee equivalents with armour equivalency on the level of an up armoured bradley, and a bradley that's as tough or tougher than an abrams. That said the ability to rapidly call in large scale missile strikes on multiple targets makes pushing up like that with an IFV very dangerous. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but AFV's see more use via hit and run tactics, and as use in halting or exploiting breakthroughs, as well as in the artillery interdiction, and mechanisation. They also cart around the bulk of the distributed comm net and computing power as well as a good number of missiles.


As far as the GPMG. The thing is when i'm designing them i have to think about what kind of rounds they'd have had available when they ran into one another again. Both sides through they were free of the other, (well the cultists expected to run into earth again someday, but not as soon as they did), so what it comes down to is what kind of rounds would be maintained by private groups. Which have very different requirements between the two civilisations.

EFGT are basically a continuation of the modern world, and with a low percentage of fallen and specialised amgi developed to deal with them on top of some modification to police kit and later the appearance of the purifiers they've got little need for a serious infantry style gun armaments so they kept cartridges based more on civil ownership.

The cultists however got a more mafia style arrangement with a high proportion of both fallen and magi. That said the higher up's quick passed down an edict that basically said, "shoot up your rival base all you want, but leave the suburb it's located in and it's people alone". Since all the collateral damage was causing issues for efficient running of society. Naturally all the collateral causing stuff, (i..e explosive stuff), was limited to situations where someone was powerful enough to have a large enough HQ that they could have effectively a kill zone around it where they didn't have to worry about collateral. Equally only those mid and high tier people who could afford such a base would be able to support the logistics for such weaponry. The majority, (in raw numbers and resources used terms), would undoubtedly be more limited. In theory pistols, SMG's, and especially assault rifles would be fine at their level and realistically common. And if normal humans where all they faced it might be reasonable that the 12.7mm would be the dead calibre. The problem is Fallen make up a much larger percentage of the population of the cultists. And since Fallen are humans transformed by magic and the bosses are usually Magi, (and certainly have Magi working for them), they're going to be present in modest but useful numbers.

Fallen are simply a LOT tougher than a normal human, (it varies by individual but the majority fall into the lowest classification which i will discuss, it's usually a variable combination of regeneration and resistance to suffering damage in the first place), the standard i set was a 14.5mm incendiary round deliberately designed to fragment and ignite on impact would take out half of all lowest grade fallen with 1 head or 2 body shots, increase to 80-90% wit 2 head or 3 body. All vs targets with no armour, (common till the recent war). Thus 12.7mm struck me as the calibre that whilst using low overpenetration non-explosive/incendiary ammo would be best able to deal with such targets. I figure it would have been used in heavy form as a crew served or technical weapon in the internal strife however. Probably 8-12 round bursts center mass for typical fallen, though thats a complete guess TBH.



Also question, is RoF really that important, i got the impression from the video's i think stormbringer linked last time we talked about MG's that short 2-3 round bursts where normal, i got the impression from that most of the RoF of modern automatics is a bit of a waste hence why i went with the idea of a cutdown RoF.

Gnoman
2016-01-24, 04:26 PM
Fallen are simply a LOT tougher than a normal human, (it varies by individual but the majority fall into the lowest classification which i will discuss, it's usually a variable combination of regeneration and resistance to suffering damage in the first place), the standard i set was a 14.5mm incendiary round deliberately designed to fragment and ignite on impact would take out half of all lowest grade fallen with 1 head or 2 body shots, increase to 80-90% wit 2 head or 3 body. All vs targets with no armour, (common till the recent war). Thus 12.7mm struck me as the calibre that whilst using low overpenetration non-explosive/incendiary ammo would be best able to deal with such targets. I figure it would have been used in heavy form as a crew served or technical weapon in the internal strife however. Probably 8-12 round bursts center mass for typical fallen, though thats a complete guess TBH.

Also question, is RoF really that important, i got the impression from the video's i think stormbringer linked last time we talked about MG's that short 2-3 round bursts where normal, i got the impression from that most of the RoF of modern automatics is a bit of a waste hence why i went with the idea of a cutdown RoF.

In that case, ditch the assault rifles -anything that can survive a 14.5mm round (designed to, and capable of, taking out most WWII German tanks from at least one angle) is just going to laugh at a couple of guys firing intermediate rounds at it. For targets like that, your three-man platoon should be two machine-gunners and one carrying either the AGL or the RCL. Since you'll need quite a few hits either way (a 12.7mm is quite a bit weaker than a 14.5mm) I still think that you'd be better off dropping the MGs down to rifle-caliber unless the bullets just bounce off of a Fallen's skin - you'll get more rounds on target (with the added benefit of having a higher chance of scoring a disabling hit) and be able to carry more ammo, while the concentrated firepower of the two gunners should be sufficient.

From what I'm gathering, you're looking at a situation along the lines of the battlefields of Korea or Vietnam than those of today. Most of the well-publicized modern fighting isn't high-intensity pitched battle, but low-intensity skirmishing - that's why it seems like high rate of fire is useless, because you're not trying to stop an assault by hundreds of men with vehicle and artillery support, but are worried about infiltrators pulling up in a couple of technicals or working their way into a sniping position - a few quick bursts on targets and you go back to waiting for the next attack (at least, that's how vets have described it to me). Pitched battle is different. Machine gunners in that sort of fight are trying to put out a solid wall of bullets - the most common means of doing so (starting in WWI) was the "two inch tap", where the gunner taps the butt of the weapon while it is firing to traverse it about two inches, then moves it back and taps again.

Carl
2016-01-24, 04:46 PM
In that case, ditch the assault rifles -anything that can survive a 14.5mm round (designed to, and capable of, taking out most WWII German tanks from at least one angle) is just going to laugh at a couple of guys firing intermediate rounds at it. For targets like that, your three-man platoon should be two machine-gunners and one carrying either the AGL or the RCL. Since you'll need quite a few hits either way (a 12.7mm is quite a bit weaker than a 14.5mm) I still think that you'd be better off dropping the MGs down to rifle-caliber unless the bullets just bounce off of a Fallen's skin - you'll get more rounds on target (with the added benefit of having a higher chance of scoring a disabling hit) and be able to carry more ammo, while the concentrated firepower of the two gunners should be sufficient.

Sorry i guess i wasn't clear.

I was describing their the situation at home for the cultists that led to the 12.7mm still being a common round and thus a round they'd go to for creating a GPMG. But that doesn't mean fallen where/are a dime a dozen ethier. Domestic conflicts a magi with a 100 normal men might have 3 or 4 fallen under his command tops, and the ratio tends to fall off as the organisation gets bigger. The EFGT doesn't have anywhere near enough fallen to field proper formations of them. The 12.7mm just represents something they'd have lying around and a lot of weapons and familiarity and logistics chains setup for. A similar thing goes for the EFGT for their initial calibres, (8.6 Lapua Magnum, 14.5mm HMG, and a 4mm rifle round from the last cultist war back on old earth, the EFGT eventually added a fair few, but they had more calibres in private use to draw from too, the cultists selections are more winnowed by darwinian factors on the domestic end).

The Cultists do but we're still talking them fielding 1 platoon of fallen for every couple of company's or normal troops. But that's also why the EFGT is big on 60mm grenade launchers, (very low velocity, their more about bang than range, within the need to get the weapon outside the blast range), and 14.5mm HMG's, plus will have SOAS squads and specialised magi deployments available. Also Purifiers. A single one of those will eat a platoon for breakfast in typical sustained combat, if they get reckless thinking they can just overrun ordinary infantry that climbs astronomically. And of course once the AFV's get stuck in if needs be even that kind of durability won't hack it. But that last one's a last resort as it pretty much writes of the AFV's doing it and they're hard for the EFGT to replace. Cultists have an easier time but the limiting factors means the EFGt can mostly compensate with larger more capable ones and that fits their logistics and strategic transport chain better too.

Gnoman
2016-01-25, 08:33 AM
The Cultists do but we're still talking them fielding 1 platoon of fallen for every couple of company's or normal troops.

How many are in a platoon? Are we talking a 40-man infantry platoon or a 5-unit tank platoon? In the former case, you're going to need two heavy weapons in each three-man squad just to kill them fast enough, while the latter would fit better with your original proposal.

In either case, your basic tactical concept is sound, the rest is just nitpicking over the details.

Carl
2016-01-25, 09:29 AM
How many are in a platoon? Are we talking a 40-man infantry platoon or a 5-unit tank platoon? In the former case, you're going to need two heavy weapons in each three-man squad just to kill them fast enough, while the latter would fit better with your original proposal.

Well the EFGT, (who are the ones on the receiving end) use a completely different setup anyway built around 8 man squads as their basic minimum size unit of maneuver, that allows them to concentrate enough firepower in one squad to deal with fallen, though obviously not in equal numbers. Thats why the cultists use Fallen formations as shock troops, they're the perfect sledgehammer to breakthrough standard infantry formations. But the EFGT do have options to respond to such things to blunt them. Still the EFGT's basic infantry formations are a lot less flexible in maneuver than their cultist counterparts, they compensate with better crew served weapons for dealing with infantry and a focus on punching out cultist fireteams rapidly with their greater firepower.

Generally a standard infantry fight between the two sides can be characterised as down to the respective abilities of the company commanders. The cultists have the advantage in maneuver and overall firepower at the basic infantry level, but the EFGT has the better crew served weapons and greatest maneuver unit firepower. The cultists have to be very careful about their timing, get it off and they risk their standard infantry suffering defeat in detail. Overall the cultists probably have a slight edge on average but it's compensated for in other factors elsewhere.


In either case, your basic tactical concept is sound, the rest is just nitpicking over the details.

That's basically all i wanted to know. The rest is just a fun discussion, (and informative in it's own way).

Spiryt
2016-01-25, 01:34 PM
Similarly, try to use steel bows in a Nordic climate... my flexible bike lock thingy becomes stiff after a less than 20 min bike ride to the store, and it's around -15. And it should be made of steel wires twisted together and is intended to be flexible And once walking home from the harbour in -20C I broke the clasp of my laptop bag due to repetitive yanking against my walking motion.

Well, I guess it's debatable how much of serious fighting would be done at such temperatures though - since spearheads and swords can't be done with horn and wood, and they have to resists pretty significant stresses too. :smallwink:

Tobtor
2016-01-25, 03:18 PM
Well, I guess it's debatable how much of serious fighting would be done at such temperatures though - since spearheads and swords can't be done with horn and wood, and they have to resists pretty significant stresses too. :smallwink:

Well the Swedish did cross a frozen sea (saltwater), in 1657.... If the sea freezes, its pretty cold for a long time. There wasn't any major battles but many skirmishes, they used guns, canons, and sabers etc. In Scandinavia you have to be prepared to fight in frost.

By the way, sami bows and inuit bows are often composite, and work in frost.

ddude987
2016-01-25, 06:01 PM
Not sure if this has been asked but my googlefu is failing so...

How much would a days rations weigh for a soldier in say roman times? what about medieval times?
How much would cooking supplies weigh?

For the purpose of the question I am wondering if one had to carry food by themselves, not a supply caravan carrying food for a bunch of soldiers. Mostly wondering because the dnd rules of 1lb of food per day seems way to light.

AMFV
2016-01-25, 07:00 PM
Not sure if this has been asked but my googlefu is failing so...

How much would a days rations weigh for a soldier in say roman times? what about medieval times?
How much would cooking supplies weigh?

For the purpose of the question I am wondering if one had to carry food by themselves, not a supply caravan carrying food for a bunch of soldiers. Mostly wondering because the dnd rules of 1lb of food per day seems way to light.

It depends on what you have them doing... If they're doing continuous forced marching over difficult terrain, you'll have to feed them more. If they're doing leisurely marching with not a lot of gear on flat terrain, you won't have to feed them as much. It's also important to note that malnutrition was rampant in Armies as recent as the Civil War.

Edit: Another important consideration is the amount of time you have to stretch your supplies.

ddude987
2016-01-25, 10:56 PM
Let's say I wanted to have players that were marching through wilderness scouting out terrain. I want a good idea of how much food weighs to gauge how much they could hold and how many days they could scout before requiring to forage.

AMFV
2016-01-25, 11:47 PM
Let's say I wanted to have players that were marching through wilderness scouting out terrain. I want a good idea of how much food weighs to gauge how much they could hold and how many days they could scout before requiring to forage.

They can hold a lot... military pack weights often approach 100+ lbs for multiple day hikes. So that's what you're looking at. A great deal depends on the type of food, a stick of butter will last you a long time, calorie-wise. But really it's not possible to make any judgements on this without knowing a lot more information than we have. I would guess that they're probably going to underpack, rather than simply be unable to carry enough food, I mean arctic explorers could carry enough food to last potentially weeks (although they weren't fighting). Hard-tack is light and requires no cooking equipment, and that can last a long time. Also you have starvation... that takes weeks to around a month (or more if you have a lot of body-fat). Food is almost never as big a problem as water is in terms of logistics.

Brother Oni
2016-01-26, 04:01 AM
Let's say I wanted to have players that were marching through wilderness scouting out terrain. I want a good idea of how much food weighs to gauge how much they could hold and how many days they could scout before requiring to forage.

Using modern examples, a British Army 24 hour ration pack provides 4000 calories in the form of 2 meals, snacks and self heating equipment, which is expected to be enough for one soldier for 24 hours, weighs ~1kg.

This does not include water and the recommendation is 2.5 litres for men, 70-80% of that coming from liquid, 20-30% from food. Obviously in hotter climates and more strenuous work, this water requirement would be higher, but at full rations (ie no malnutrition issues), ~1kg food/day and ~2kg of water/day is a good ballpark.

As for cooking supplies, kindling and firewood is often located on the march (ie whenever they stop for a meal), while cooking supplies are fairly light - a plate/bowl, cup, knife and spoon is often all soldiers carried on them (see the soldier's kits photographs I posted up thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20305532&postcount=866)).

Any proper cooking gear like cooking pots would be carried by the baggage train and run by the army's cooks - scouts out in the field would most likely use impromptu spits from tree branches for roasting small animals they're lucky enough to catch, or just eat any fruit/berries they find. As AMFV said, malnutrition was a very common problem with armies - the adage 'An army marches on its stomach' is truer than you think.

As an example, Richard the Lionheart led his army during the journey to the Holy Land by a roundabout way following the coast during the Third Crusade, solely so he could keep his army provisioned by ships.

snowblizz
2016-01-26, 06:22 AM
Let's say I wanted to have players that were marching through wilderness scouting out terrain. I want a good idea of how much food weighs to gauge how much they could hold and how many days they could scout before requiring to forage.

In this case they should be able to supplement whatever they bring with game. While not necessarily exactly the same, scouting the terrain and hunting is something you can sorta do at the same time. I'd imagine they'd want to find a good spot to camp and could set up traps for small game clooe by and any hero worth his salt should be able to take out a deer or something they might run into.

But a lot if this depends on various properties of the set-up, I guess.

Doesn't D&D also run a lot on iron rations (or something like lembas), at least that's what I recall from playing computer games.

Mike_G
2016-01-26, 08:27 AM
In this case they should be able to supplement whatever they bring with game. While not necessarily exactly the same, scouting the terrain and hunting is something you can sorta do at the same time. I'd imagine they'd want to find a good spot to camp and could set up traps for small game clooe by and any hero worth his salt should be able to take out a deer or something they might run into.

But a lot if this depends on various properties of the set-up, I guess.

Doesn't D&D also run a lot on iron rations (or something like lembas), at least that's what I recall from playing computer games.

Hunting or foraging will slow them down a lot.

Yes, you might get lucky and spot a deer while you are scouting, but you can't count on it. Hunters might spend hours waiting in a blind for one to come by, scouts can't do that. Then, it takes time to dress it, butcher it, and cook it, and all of that leaves a big mess that tells enemy scouts somebody was there.

If you have a big, slow moving force, then you might send scouts out to hunt while the main army with wagons and baggage makes a few miles a day. Burgoyne's army did this on the way to Saratoga, using Indian allies to scout and hunt while the artillery and wagons crawled along. But this makes it easy for the enemy to engage your scouts, and if they are allies, drive them off and leave you blind. Again, see Burgoyne's march.

Thing got so bad, he almost didn't make it to Saratoga on time to surrender his army.

cucchulainnn
2016-01-26, 10:29 AM
i would say a D&D party would be more akin to rogers rangers during the french and indian war.

"Given the nature of their operations, the Rangers had to be particularly disciplined with their rations. On a winter trek in 1759, Ranger sutler James Gordon wrote, “I had a pound or two of bread, a dozen crackers, about two [pounds of] fresh pork and a quart of brandy.” Henry Pringle survived his post-battle ordeal in the forest by subsisting on “a small Bologna sausage, and a little ginger … water, & the bark & berries of trees.” Also eaten was the Indians’ favorite trail food, parched corn – corn that had been parched and then pounded into flour. It was in effect an appetite suppressant: a spoonful of it, followed by a drink of water, expanded in the stomach, making the traveler feel as though he had consumed a large meal.

Obtaining food from the enemy helped sustain Rangers on their return home. Slaughtered cattle herds at Ticonderoga and Crown Point provided tongues (“a very great refreshment,” noted Rogers). David Perry and several other Rangers of Captain Moses Hazen’s company raided a French house near Quebec in 1759, finding “plenty of pickled Salmon, which was quite a rarity to most of us.” In another house they dined on “hasty-pudding.” At St Francis, Rogers’ men packed corn for the long march back, but after eight days, he wrote, their “provisions grew scarce.” For some reason game was also scarce in the northern New England wilderness during the fall of 1759, and the Rangers’ survival skills underwent severe tests even as they were being pursued by a vengeful enemy. Now and then they found an owl, partridge, or muskrat to shoot, but much of the time they dined on amphibians, mushrooms, beech leaves, and tree bark. Volunteer Robert Kirk of the 77th Highland Regiment wrote that “we were obliged to scrape under the snow for acorns, and even to eat our shoes and belts, and broil our powder-horns and thought it delicious eating.”"

http://www.thehistoryreader.com/modern-history/robert-rogers-early-ranger-warriors/

Most of Rogers’ activities during the war consisted not of battles and skirmishes but of lightning raids, pursuits, and other special operations. As General Shirley’s 1756 orders stated, Rogers was “to use my best endeavors to distress the French and their allies, by sacking, burning, and destroying their houses, barns, barracks, canoes, battoes, &c.”The “&c” included slaughtering the enemy’s herds of cattle and horses, ambushing and destroying his provision sleighs, setting fire to his fields of grain and piles of cordwood, sneaking into the ditches of his forts to make observations, and seizing prisoners for interrogation.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-01-26, 12:21 PM
Environment will matter a lot as well - butter in a hot climate would need a sealed pot to stop it just dribbling away or going rancid (thus adding weight and bulk), while in a cold one you could potentially just leave it wrapped in greaseproof paper in your backpack.

Another issue would be psychology - if all you've got to look forward to at the end of the day is exactly what you had for dinner last night, and the night before, and the night before that, and that was one of the the least palatable meals you've ever had, you're not going to be as well motivated. Any variety you can build in from the outset would be a massive bonus.

Depending on the situation (not in enemy territory, for example), it might be worthwhile having pack animals carrying extra supplies that can be slaughtered and butchered on the way (say a couple of oxen), or something like a travois, handcart or sled that can carry the extra supplies and be disposed of without leaving too much evidence (possibly broken down into components, maybe hidden somewhere to be picked up at a later date, more likely used as firewood).

ddude987
2016-01-26, 01:21 PM
Thanks for all the help everyone :)

Deadmeat.GW
2016-01-26, 06:10 PM
The account in Vaughan's biography of Philip the Good is told a little differently. The Duke had 4,000 soldiers with him, who were on their way to join more troops before invading Holland, of whom 1,400 were in the town, and the rest of the army was trying to get in when the burghers closed the town gates in alarm. As I mentioned before, the burghers were disarmed and not even carrying sidearms (swords) at the explicit request of the Duke.

This is the period account, from a Flemish chronicler, which he quotes in the book. I'll repost the whole thing since it is an interesting account of an urban conflict and it does involve bows. We know from the records that a large proportion of his army was armed with longbows.

The 'guild master' you noted who left with the Duke were actually a burgomeister and the faction in the city council who supported the Duke, and were implicated in what the Bruge citizens believed was a 'putsch'.

Passage follows:

On Wednesday 22 May [1437] the burgomaster Ludowic van den Walle went to the duke of Burgundy at Lille, and received a letter from the prince for the officers and deans of the craft guilds in Bruges, mentioning that the duke planned to go to Holland with 3000 Picard soldiers who, following the shortest route from Sluis, would go through Male, rather than Bruges. But the duke himself would stay in Bruges for three or four days with his household retinue and up to 500 nobles, in order to see that justice was done for the deaths of the burgomaster Morissis van Varsenare and his brother Jacop.

So it was agreed that 3,000 Picards would go to… Male that day and have their meal there, supplies of bread and butter, 4,000 eggs, eight tuns of beer and a vat of wine would be sent out from Bruges. But none of the Picards arrived at Male. Instead, they accompanied the prince to the Boeveriepoort [southwestern gate of Bruges] where, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, all the guilds and societies of Bruges were in procession to meet him… He was held up there for a good two hours by the burgomaster Lodweic van den Walle during which time he sent a knight, the bastard of Dampierre, with eleven companions, into the Boeveriepoort to jam the porticullis so that it could not be lowered before the prince and all his people got into Bruges.

The Brugeois [i.e. citizens of Bruges] noticed with considerable distrust and suspicion that the prince, who was armed, had six or seven battle pennons and some 4,000 people, some wearing battle tunics [i.e. armor], with him… At about 5 p.m. when at least 1,400 men had been allowed in, the prince entered and rode to the Fridaymarket, assuming that those who were still outside the Boeveriepoort would follow him into town. But the magistrates and the deans [leaders of the craft guilds] managed with great difficulty to close the Boeveriepoort, so that some 2,500 armed men, mostly on horseback, remained outside. They went to the Smedenpoort, but this was shut in time to keep them out. If they had got in, Bruges would have been lost, for the Brugeois were unarmed, since in every guild they had been ordered that morning to turn out in the afternoon to meet the prince unarmed and in their best clothes.

When the prince reached the Fridaymarket with his people, he sent Sir Josse de Heule to the market-place to see if the town authorities had stationed any troops there. When he arrived there, Sir Josse turned to his companions and said: ‘We can go straight back to back to my lord of Burgundy. The market-place is his and Bruges is won. We’ll kill these rebel Brugeois!’

He rode toward the prince’s palace past the mint, and came across the prince with his nobles in the Dweersstraat. As the prince still wasn’t certain if the market-place was his, the bastard of St. Pol called out that they should return to the Fridaymarket, and though this was full of common people, unarmed, he shouted ‘Haubourdin! Haubourdin! Draw our bows! Draw your bows!’ [the bastard of St. Pol was Jehan de Luxembourg, lord of Haubourdin].

The archers shot at the people up the street, they shot at the houses, and they shot at the people who were looking, bareheaded, out of windows to welcome the prince. Numbers were wounded, and some 300 arrows remained stuck in the dormers gables and tiles of the houses all along the Dweersstraat as far as the Zuidzandbrugge, on either side of the street. The prince stationed himself on the higher ground of the Fridaymarket, at the cattle market. There he was with his nobles, armed, holding a drawn sword in his hand, sitting up on his horse while his men either shot at the common people of Bruges or laid about them with their swords, and wounded many. A master baker, Race Ywens, was shot dead as he stood in front of the porcine, doffing his hat in welcome. .. .Thus at the cattle market, the prince’s people did battle… and they yelled ‘The town is won! Town won! Kill them all!’ so loud that their companions outside the Boeveriepoort heard them and some of them tried to swim on horseback across the moat into Bruges…

When the common people of Bruges saw that people were being killed and heard the cry ‘Kill them all! Town won!’, they rushed back to their houses to arm themselves, and some of the guilds brought small cannons to the Noordzandbrugge and Zuidzandbrugge, and fired wooden missiles at the Frenchmen and the prince’s people, who turned and fled back toward the Boevriepoort. But they found it closed. And at St. Julian’s a horrible battle was fought. The bastard of St. Pol slew Jan van der Hoghe’s son, and two Brugeois were killed by the moat.

The other Brugeois saw this and spared no-one. Sonn seventy two Picards had been killed between St. Julian’s and the fountain in Boeveriestraat, including the lord of L’Isle Adam, who was struck down dead in front of St. Julian’s chapel. The prince, realizing that his people were being killed, rode with a good many of them through the Andgewercstraat toward the moat and the Boeveriepoort. Jacop van Hardoye, the lead night watchman, had in his house a hammer, and pair of pincers and a chisel and, with these, the Boeveriepoort was broken open and, at about 7 pm, the prince rode out of Bruges toward Lille, with his company. The Burgomeister Lodweic van den Walle, Sir Roland d’Uutkerke, Sir Colard de Commynes the sovereign baliff, and many burgesses… left with him.”

G

The stories told from said there was a lot less people with the Duke then this part of this chronicle seems to indicate.

And if you look at the amount of people killed, given that they were fighting unarmed and unarmoured people makes me wonder if the numbers have not been ...tweaked a wee bit upwards.

On the Brugeois side it seems we are talking a dozen or so dead and hundreds injured.

On the duke's side we are talking less then a hundred dead and they were in 'And at St. Julian’s a horrible battle was fought.'

All this out of 1400 men who were trapped inside the city and which started fighting unarmed and unarmoured people?

That the Duke had an army at Male and that the Brugeois were feeding this army seems to be beyond a doubt but the rest of the story does seem rather suspect when you read the descriptions and the numbers supposedly involved in it.

At the moment a lot of the Dukes of Burgundy adventures in the Netherlands and Flanders are...shall we say looked at somewhat suspiciously.

When you end up with very different descriptions of the same battles or like above battles with suspiciously low casualty numbers given that they were calling 'Kill them all!' on the side of the Brugeois...

Keep in mind that even though the people of Bruges were divided about this Duke as he did hold court in Bruges...

De Boeveriestraat is 300 meters long now and a lot wider then in the medieval city, the fighting was restricted to a section that was about 150 meters long and probably about 15 meters wide, tops 20 meters.

An army of 1400 men would have packed that pretty much solidly, there would have been no room to even swing a weapon.

All of this adds up to people taking a lot of the Duke's chronicles with a pinch or two of salt.

Edit: I personally think that the theory that the Bastard of St Pol started a fight with his personal guards against some people (a named person's son is flagged up so the theory goes that the two of them had a history and it was this that started things) and almost got himself killed and the Duke wisely decided to leave when a member of his court created a riot makes more sense.

Lets be honest 300 arrows stuck in a building and the roof of a building, just one specific building, makes it sound like someone went after a specific person

Brother Oni
2016-01-27, 03:06 AM
Doesn't D&D also run a lot on iron rations (or something like lembas), at least that's what I recall from playing computer games.

Iron rations are D&D's catchall term for the long lasting trail rations that others have mentioned (hardtack, parched corn powder, twice baked bread, etc) and generally aren't that palatable when there's better quality food available. This is only compounded if that's all you have to look forward to as Storm_Of_Snow said (I believe Bilbo was getting sick of lembas in The Hobbit towards the end).

I suppose a modern example would be finding a MRE in the back of a cupboard about 3 years after you've EAS/discharged out and try it again 'for old time's sake'.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-01-27, 05:18 AM
Iron rations, IMO, is stuff like jerky, salted or smoked meat/fish, dried fruits/berries, nuts, dried oats for porridge, a block of a hard cheese and so on, plus some salt and a few dried herbs for flavouring, and even that might have stuff that people have to eat before anything else (the cheese for instance). And adventurers live for the day their mage can cast polymorph any object - imagine your brand new party is at their first adventurers moot/convention, have just set up camp and are busily trying to gnaw your way through something that's tougher than the pegs you used to hold your tent up, and all you've got to drink is the ale the organisers brought with them, which is poor quality and hasn't had chance to settle down after it's journey to the site, when you look over at the much more experienced party camping next to you and watch their mage put something on the floor, cast dispel magic, reach into the large picnic basket that's just appeared, and pull out a nice juicy roast chicken leg, followed by an ice bucket with a perfectly chilled bottle of wine.

(Actually, that's an interesting thought, would the polymorph keep the temperature of the items, so the chicken leg would still be like it just come out of the oven?)

Flour, corn powder and so on can become infested with lice, weevils and the like - although some people might see that as a little extra protein and variation in their diet. There's also the potential of explosions if there's suitable conditions, so people might be a little wary of including stuff like that in their rations.

Galloglaich
2016-01-27, 12:18 PM
The stories told from said there was a lot less people with the Duke then this part of this chronicle seems to indicate.

And if you look at the amount of people killed, given that they were fighting unarmed and unarmoured people makes me wonder if the numbers have not been ...tweaked a wee bit upwards.

On the Brugeois side it seems we are talking a dozen or so dead and hundreds injured.

On the duke's side we are talking less then a hundred dead and they were in 'And at St. Julian’s a horrible battle was fought.'

All this out of 1400 men who were trapped inside the city and which started fighting unarmed and unarmoured people?

That the Duke had an army at Male and that the Brugeois were feeding this army seems to be beyond a doubt but the rest of the story does seem rather suspect when you read the descriptions and the numbers supposedly involved in it.

At the moment a lot of the Dukes of Burgundy adventures in the Netherlands and Flanders are...shall we say looked at somewhat suspiciously.

When you end up with very different descriptions of the same battles or like above battles with suspiciously low casualty numbers given that they were calling 'Kill them all!' on the side of the Brugeois...

Keep in mind that even though the people of Bruges were divided about this Duke as he did hold court in Bruges...

De Boeveriestraat is 300 meters long now and a lot wider then in the medieval city, the fighting was restricted to a section that was about 150 meters long and probably about 15 meters wide, tops 20 meters.

An army of 1400 men would have packed that pretty much solidly, there would have been no room to even swing a weapon.

All of this adds up to people taking a lot of the Duke's chronicles with a pinch or two of salt.

Edit: I personally think that the theory that the Bastard of St Pol started a fight with his personal guards against some people (a named person's son is flagged up so the theory goes that the two of them had a history and it was this that started things) and almost got himself killed and the Duke wisely decided to leave when a member of his court created a riot makes more sense.

Lets be honest 300 arrows stuck in a building and the roof of a building, just one specific building, makes it sound like someone went after a specific person


Reasonable, and it sounds like you are familiar with Bruges, while I have never been there, so I concede you have an understanding of the whole thing that is probably better than mine in many respects. But you made a few mistakes there.


That account is not from the Duke's Chronicle, it's from a Flemish Chronicle (I think from a monastery outside of Bruges) recorded at the time of the event. It was reprinted in the modern biography of Philip the Good by mr. Vaughn, which I think I linked upthread.



They noted in the chronicle that the Duke's army was not at Male where the food had been sent, but was instead right outside (and partially inside of) Bruges itself. Contrary to the agreement. The army was in the process of entering Bruges when the town and guild aldermen managed to close the gates "with great difficulty".



The account mentions that many of the Dukes men were wearing "battle tunics" which I assume means armor. The townfolk, initially unarmed, were apparently able to arm and equip themselves, and also to seek cover. So I don't think the relatively low casualties are that surprising. For that matter, there are records of dozens of other urban fights with relatively low casualties with or without armor, I can cite several contemporaneous examples if needed. In this case most of the fighting seems to have been with missiles, both sides were able to use cover, the Duke and his men seem to have been armored and I'm sure at least some of the townfolk were at least partly armored too since they had recovered kit from their homes and guildhalls. I suspect though I don't know that both the townfolk and the Dukes forces were showing some restraint, though this is hard for modern readers to understand, it seems to have been common in such situations. Killing the Duke or say, setting fire to the town would have been a catastrophe for either side in the dispute.




It also didn't say 300 arrows in one building, it said 300 arrows were stuck in buildings and roofs all up and down the De Boeveriestraat (street).




Basically in a nutshell, I think the account is pretty reliable and see no reason to disbelieve it. It sounds like the Duke was hoping to gain more control over Bruges, to support the rather weak pro-Burgundian administration that was currently in power. Probably the plan was to unseat (and probably execute) a few city-councilors, guild aldermen and magistrates who were opposing the Burgundian agenda (which included invading Holland) and maybe disarm some of the guilds. The attempt clearly backfired.

Bruges kind of needed the Duke basically as protection from other Kings and Princes who wanted to take over Flanders (this became obvious after Charles the Bold died), the Duke needed Bruges (and Ghent and Ypres and Liege and the other powerful free cities in Flanders) since they supplied so much of his money, weapons, high technology, art, and culture and so on that made the Burgundian Court so famous and important. They were the geese that laid the golden eggs, but they were very difficult geese.

Bruges (and Ghent etc.) didn't want to be under the thumb of the Duke, they didn't want him to drain away all their money. They didn't really want to be his army either. And he was constantly trying to force them to help him with all his Game of Thrones schemes that they really had no interest in. So there was constant conflict between the Duke and the Flemish towns, sometimes pitched battles (which were very risky), sometimes more careful gradations of escalating force on both sides.

I think just a few weeks before that incident in Bruges the Duke had been held hostage briefly in Ghent. And of course he defeated Ghent in battle at Gavere in 1453 and killed 16000 of their militia.

G

NRSASD
2016-01-27, 01:54 PM
Question for everyone: Pictish Crossbows. I keep hearing that the Picts (a remote and little-known group that predate the Scots in Scotland) had crossbows, but that's at odds with my understanding of what a crossbow is. I was under the impression that crossbows require a fair amount of precise machining to be any good, which is something I thought the Picts were incapable of. Is the Pictish crossbow a different weapon that superficially resembles a crossbow (like a ballista...?) or were the Picts more advanced than I thought? Any and all info is appreciated, thanks!

Galloglaich
2016-01-27, 02:16 PM
Question for everyone: Pictish Crossbows. I keep hearing that the Picts (a remote and little-known group that predate the Scots in Scotland) had crossbows, but that's at odds with my understanding of what a crossbow is. I was under the impression that crossbows require a fair amount of precise machining to be any good, which is something I thought the Picts were incapable of. Is the Pictish crossbow a different weapon that superficially resembles a crossbow (like a ballista...?) or were the Picts more advanced than I thought? Any and all info is appreciated, thanks!

There were much simpler versions of crossbows alongside the more advanced types.

For example the Skane Lockbow which was a type commonly used in the later Viking Era, probably mostly for hunting. You could kill somebody with one though, and they are basically all-wood.

https://atramus.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/kuse2.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sk%C3%A5ne_lockbow

The Gastropheres was a very ancient type of crossbow used by the Greeks. A bit more complex than the lockbow

http://landofmachines.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Gastraphetes.jpg

I don't know much about the Picts but I do know that they were capable of some engineering, they left fairly impressive forts called Brochs

http://www.braemoray.com/images/Broch1.jpg

http://www.ancestraljourneys.org/images/broch.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch

and they were capable of fairly sophisticated metallurgy as well

http://www.nms.ac.uk/explore/collections-stories/scottish-history-and-archaeology/st-ninians-isle-treasure/

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/St_Ninian's_Isle_TreasureDSCF6209.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b9/St_Ninian's_Isle_TreasureDSCF6199.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/St_Ninian's_Isle_TreasureDSCF6208.jpg

So they could probably make some metal parts for crossbows if they needed to.

Spiryt
2016-01-27, 02:18 PM
Question for everyone: Pictish Crossbows. I keep hearing that the Picts (a remote and little-known group that predate the Scots in Scotland) had crossbows, but that's at odds with my understanding of what a crossbow is. I was under the impression that crossbows require a fair amount of precise machining to be any good, which is something I thought the Picts were incapable of. Is the Pictish crossbow a different weapon that superficially resembles a crossbow (like a ballista...?) or were the Picts more advanced than I thought? Any and all info is appreciated, thanks!

Crossbow is a bow on a stick.

With mechanism to keep the bow spanned, and to release the string when necessary.

Nothing has to be particularly precise about it.

Simple cut in the wood to hook a string in would work too. One had to let it go with a finger, but it worked.

Now 'to be any good' is obviously harder part, it's very subjective.

What is certain is that some remote cultures cultivating the use of crossbow to hunt had survived pretty much up till today.

Largely, if not only, in South Eastern Asia, as far as I understand.

You can see some here:

http://www.atarn.org/chinese/yn_xbow/yn_xbow.htm

http://www.atarn.org/letters/ltr_jun99.htm

http://www.freha.pl/index.php?showtopic=5649


As you can see, those are indeed rather simple things, no metal to minimal amount of one.

Yet those people obviously deemed it worthwhile to make and use.

Galloglaich
2016-01-27, 02:25 PM
This image includes a crossbow, from the Osprey book "Pictish Warriors". I gather it is derived from an image on a stone carving.

http://tinyurl.com/glayj6c

https://books.google.com/books/about/Pictish_Warrior_AD_297_841.html?id=bigyl5T7C5oC


Looks a lot like the Skane lockbow and the other Asian crossbows Spiryt posted

G

cobaltstarfire
2016-01-27, 08:45 PM
There's also the potential of explosions if there's suitable conditions, so people might be a little wary of including stuff like that in their rations.

I find it really doubtful that a bag of travel rations in the form of dusted[plant] are a significant risk of explosion that anyone would worry about. The needed conditions can't be met without bursting the container, having enough flour go into the air, and a source of ignition to set it off before the particles have dispersed very much.

Brother Oni
2016-01-28, 03:12 AM
I find it really doubtful that a bag of travel rations in the form of dusted[plant] are a significant risk of explosion that anyone would worry about. The needed conditions can't be met without bursting the container, having enough flour go into the air, and a source of ignition to set it off before the particles have dispersed very much.

In the form of trail rations, I also find it highly doubtful that an accidental explosion can occur. Throwing a bag of parched corn dust so that it sprays everywhere before hitting a flame source would likely result in one, but that's almost certainly intentional (or an 'accident' of Final Destination levels).

Reading up on the physics, you need a minimum concentration of 25% particles in the air before it becomes a risk and at the amounts in a typical ration pack, it's more a fireball than an actual explosion.

GraaEminense
2016-01-28, 07:09 AM
The problem with the Picts is that they merged into the Scots relatively early, and didn't leave a lot of their own texts. They've become semi-mythic (thanks, Howard!) as the lost barbarian tribes as a result.

However, they were still a separate group until around the 10th Century, and the material remains (including jewelry and stonework) of the later Pictish culture show a level of sophistication that is not at all incompatible with early crossbows (Like the Scandinavian Lockbow Galloglaich showed). At this point they had also become Christianized, and were hardly an isolated tribe of highlander-barbarians.

Tobtor
2016-01-28, 09:02 AM
This image includes a crossbow, from the Osprey book "Pictish Warriors". I gather it is derived from an image on a stone carving.

I am sometimes impressed with Ospreys ability to present such beatifull artwork of something we know hardly anything about....

To me that poster looks like a great mix of various items from a range of cultures that was deem "close enough".
The helmets are Anglo-Saxon (to the best of my knowledge anyway, the top one could be late Roman).

This is a picture of Picts fighting Anglo-Saxons:
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/aberlemnopictishstoneL_tcm4-553715.jpg

Note the Picts are not wearing helmets. Nor crossbows (well the bows could be crossbows with some imagination).

In fact I don't think any Pictish helmets are actually ever found. But sure Osprey can make beautiful artwork.

snowblizz
2016-01-28, 09:27 AM
This is a picture of Picts fighting Anglo-Saxons:
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/aberlemnopictishstoneL_tcm4-553715.jpg

Note the Picts are not wearing helmets. Nor crossbows (well the bows could be crossbows with some imagination).

In fact I don't think any Pictish helmets are actually ever found. But sure Osprey can make beautiful artwork.

Bows? I only see a guy with sword and shield and a guy with spear and shield.

Tobtor
2016-01-28, 09:36 AM
Bows? I only see a guy with sword and shield and a guy with spear and shield.

Yeah, you might be right.

GraaEminense
2016-01-28, 09:51 AM
Probably a crossbow:
http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff2/juvenal_aar/Miscellaneous/DrostenStoneXBow.jpg

snowblizz
2016-01-28, 09:54 AM
Yeah, you might be right.

Seeing how the sword guy holds it and how it's sorta depicted attached to the upper arm on the spear guy with a two-handed grip I'm fairly certain. As one can be in such images.


Probably a crossbow:
http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff2/juvenal_aar/Miscellaneous/DrostenStoneXBow.jpg
Now that's a crossbow no doubts.

Galloglaich
2016-01-28, 10:54 AM
Seeing how the sword guy holds it and how it's sorta depicted attached to the upper arm on the spear guy with a two-handed grip I'm fairly certain. As one can be in such images.


Now that's a crossbow no doubts.

Yeah Osprey takes liberties but they are usually at least in the ball-park. I think they are probably the single best way for gamers to get up to speed on a given time and place or troop type (Roman Legionairre, Viking, Landsknecht, Mongol whatever)

G

Essence_of_War
2016-01-28, 11:11 AM
Hi!

Largely on the back of seeing it mentioned and recommended here so often, I managed to find The Knight and the Blast Furnace available on inter-library loan. I'm only a few chapters in but it is incredibly interesting.

Keep up the fun threads! :smallsmile:

Straybow
2016-01-28, 11:33 AM
...And adventurers live for the day their mage can cast polymorph any object... Tsk, tsk, what a waste of an eighth level spell.
What you want is the far more accessible shrink item (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shrinkItem.htm) (3rd level), which does preserve everything including the temperature, given that one example is, "Even a burning fire and its fuel can be shrunk by this spell."

PersonMan
2016-01-28, 11:36 AM
I'm back with another question!

Namely, when looking at something like fencing or dueling, if the intent is to showcase the difference between someone who learned to fight as something like an art, focusing on looking good, having flawless technique, etc. in the strict environment of a one-on-one fight and someone who learned to just kill or incapacitate their enemy as quickly and efficiently / safely as possible, what would you show? What sort of difference in strategy would you see, or would it mostly be differences in the details of how they fight?

Finally: Am I right in thinking that the 'veteran of a hundred battles with formal training from a grizzled veteran back when they were green' archetype would be at a large advantage against the one who learned dueling as a hobby or art form?