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



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Galloglaich
2016-02-13, 10:37 AM
Well, I feel those training swords are being given a harsh rap. They may not match the flex of real swords, but they don't over flex like nylon blades tend to. Maybe the ones in the sabre match weren't the best quality, but a couple of straight blocks were ignored by the blades, they slipped through and hit with what seemed full force. The Cold Steel demonstration makes them look pretty promising (they have a fine sparring match at the start):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5lIKkNMRIA

A friend of mine used these for a sort of medieval fight club he ran, and they seemed to work out pretty well for him.

Ok now I know you are trolling...

Mr. Mask
2016-02-13, 10:38 AM
Handles have been a concern commonly expressed with Cold Steel. They go rather cheap with those. I would like to express that a slower blade is arguably a good point, as many practice blades are faster than the real counterparts and so it makes it hard to practice defence and parrying. That might also be why it feels heavier, possibly?


Cats: I wish I could say it was because we lived in a peaceful age.



Question for Fusilier: I might've asked this before, and if so I apologize for my memory. I was wondering how much worse slave rowers perform than professional ones, and why it is. I see rowing isn't as simple as you think, and the poor conditions and motivation would really harm their performance. Just wondered why there's a considerable difference, when the Japanese seemed to be able to get the American PoWs in WW2 to build bridges even under very harsh conditions (not sure how their work ethic compared to professional builders). The fact of being able to have your rowers fight with you if you're under attack makes a big difference in favour of professionals.

Thanks.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-13, 10:39 AM
Ok now I know you are trolling... :smallconfused:

Brother Oni
2016-02-13, 11:21 AM
Excellent post Brother Oni; full of treasures there. Bookmarked.

Thank you! That's very enlightening.

You're both welcome. Please bear in mind that was a bit of a whistle stop tour and there was significant variation in each period.


Yeah, I think the most graceful man I ever saw was this very heavy and tall man doing tai-chi at my first martial arts tournament.

From my experience, most internal style martial arts are very easy to look graceful in - all you need to do is to keep moving constantly and smoothly.


Not entirely my fault as I've been sickly for years now, but I hope to get into archery some day to help strengthen my back/shoulders. It seems to be less likely to flare up my tendentious and other shoulder/arm problems anyway. Not to mention I've always been interested in shooty type things...but guns make me really uncomfortable.

Archery with proper form is almost exclusively using your back muscles - if your shoulders start hurting, then your form is wrong (it's actually one of my guides that I'm messing something up if my shoulder is twinging while drawing). As long as you don't over-bow yourself (get a too high poundage bow), it's generally quite gentle on your muscles and limbs, although the release can potentially be troublesome depending on the severity of your condition (you're going from full tension to no tension in a fraction of a second).


The second is a sort of 'what if' question. If you could, for short bursts, more with superhuman speed, would a sort of 'ultimate feint' in which you change the angle/type of attack you're making while the opponent is going into a parry or dodge be a sensible tactic?

Suppose your attacks can go faster than human reaction speed (ie the time it takes for the light from the attack to travel to the eye, trigger the optic nerve, travel to the brain, the reflex arc fires a signal back down to the body and the body to start moving and responding to the instructions), then you may as well not bother feinting. This is ~200-250 milliseconds, depending on the person and the conditions - someone with their guard already up may be able to move just enough to deflect a blow in comparison to someone not expecting it coming.

Depending on how silly you want it to get, throwing a punch at Mach 1 say, would bypass any defences, make mess of their face (and your fist if you also don't also have superhuman toughness) and make a nice sonic boom at the same time, probably bursting their eardrums as well. The ultimate silliness of course would be a 0.9c punch (https://what-if.xkcd.com/1/).


It's around the size of badgers and baboons that you have to start running for your life.

Baboons scare off lions, both due to their numbers and their absolutely terrifying fangs.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/CsO_hGQVwiQ/maxresdefault.jpg

An adult Gelada baboon only weighs ~20kg. Even without natural weapons, it depends on the animal's physiology. The common chimpanzee hits between 40-60kg full size and I really wouldn't want to fight one of those because of their significantly higher strength (adult chimps have been known to pull people's arms out of their sockets).

Galloglaich
2016-02-13, 12:03 PM
I have checked the sites and must say that the nylon ones seem like a good way to go for the moment. I'll see who I get for sparring and then I will see if he is willing to invest in feders and at least a mask for full-contact drills. I'll keep these bookmarked.

Nylons are definitely a good way to go to start with. Feders too, in my opinion. Masks you will have to get eventually regardless, and gloves, but masks are pretty cheap. Gloves for tournaments are the most expensive thing in this, but for light sparring you can start with used lacrosse gloves or the equivalent, or make your own out of leather pieces and etc.



I'll have to take a look at the books, but my first guess would be the "combat tactics" in Companion and the weapon list from Flower of Battle.

You are right on the second part. I think I wrote some stuff in the Companion too, but I can't remember what exactly I'd have to go and look.



Thank you - however, I should have specified it more.

Let's say we have a ragtag group of mercenaries (from 30 to 60), who assume to stay at the location for 1-3 months, with no real knowledge about the time of engagement ("ready to be packed within a day").

No enemy armies of real size, but there could be more such groups in the area.

What would be necessary? What non-combatant professions would they bring with them - or even better - what would the camp consist of (including non-combatants)?

Or is it too wide question?


Well, so first of all I'd take a look at that list of images of blockhouses I posted. Most of those are 18th or 19th Century ones but if you look at the woodcuts at the bottom you can see two (destroyed ones) from the early 16th Century. Blockhouses and other small forts like that would be very common types of fortification, often built in a matter of days. Keep in mind 40 or 50 guys working hard can get a lot done pretty quickly.

Given more than a week or two in the same place, you'd probably see them put together a temporary wooden stockade, like this:

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/emhouk2/wv/tygart/prickett1.jpg

In the medieval period it would also be very common to dig a ditch of some kind around the fort, or even build the fort itself on an artificial mound. Again, keep in mind, 40 or 50 guys working hard, knowing their life depends on it, can get a surprising amount done in a short time.

A larger army than the one you mentioned would often make a wagonberg when they stopped

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ce/ee/b7/ceeeb7732b34ec67b2476a00c24c20af.jpg

As I mentioned Roman military units, even very small ones, would make a small fortified camp. IIRC the Roman legionaires had to carry little spikes to put around them in their perimeter, and they would dig ditches around their camp every night.

http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Ancient-Rome%E2%80%99s-Military-Marching-Camps-2.jpg

Medieval military units tended to follow a very similar pattern. You can read up a bit about the Roman Castra here:

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

http://blog.damowords.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/romanmobilefort.jpg

As far as people, camp followers and specialists and so on, there would usually be some, but you have to keep in mind, in the medieval world people typically wore many hats. Most of the mercenaries would be artisans or peasants with a variety of skills.

I've posted this a few times, but a muster for Regensburg in 1431 is a pretty good example of what stuff, and people, would be brought on campaign. This was a group of 248 men so you could divide these numbers by five. The force included 73 horsemen, 71 crossbowmen, 16 handgunners, and a mixed group of 88 specialists (probably wouldn't call these people non-combatants, since basically everybody in a group that small is a combatant, but they would not necessarily be the front line people) the specialists included smiths, leatherworkers, a chaplain, pike-makers, tailors, cooks, and butchers, for 248 men in total.

So for your group of about 50 soldiers that might be about 17 specialists, though the ratio might be less, I think this group from Regensburg was meant to harden and support a larger group of infantry that they joined up with later.. Of that group, the smiths are very important, not just for making and repairing armor and weapons but also for making metal parts that are used in putting together structures. From other lists of this type, in addition to blacksmiths, masons, carpenters, scouts or 'fringemen', artillery specialists (buschenmeister), miners, and a variety of other artisans might be present.



I have a cold-steel bokken (a gift) and a longsword (second-hand buy) from the video at home. No idea about the bokken, but the longsword feels heavier than a steel sword and the handling is worse.

Also, dunno if it's usual, but it bounces off quite a lot.

...also, it leaves black marks on walls, while the steel sword just leaves scratches :smallsmile:. Yeah, my wife is a woman of great patience :smallsmile:.

All that is very common. Those Cold Steel plastic things are utter crap, in my opinion. I gather that doesn't matter around here much with some folks, but for what it's worth. I'm willing to bet a months pay that if you go on just about any HEMA forum and ask about them you will get the same answer 99 times out of 100.

The patient wife is a very important ingredient of getting into HEMA! I'll never forget when I got my first sharp and waved it around a bit, not noticing that I'd put a few delicate tip-slices into my wife's new silk curtains. Yikes :smalleek:

G

cobaltstarfire
2016-02-13, 12:21 PM
Oni which back muscles does archery use the most? Cause a lot of them connect to and stabilize the shoulder, and those are the ones that I have the most problems with. I did something to my shoulder a few years ago, we don't know what or how, but since then I've had chronic problems. I got the tendentious from the physical therapy trying to fix it, so I have to be really extra careful about how I try to exercise the entire area because if one thing doesn't flare up, something else will.

I definitely won't overload on draw weight, I baby that part of me so much I'd probably ask to start as low as I can possibly go for my own comfort and safety. It sounds like the perfect thing for my shoulder needs either way.




The first is about reality - how common is it, in fencing and similar, to attack someone's weapon or attack them in an easily-blocked way for the purpose of opening them up to another attack? Getting their weapon too far to one side, then hitting them before they can bring it back?


Well it is a technique in fencing, called beating. Though I don't know how commonly it is really done. It's a strike done on the "weak" of the blade to test your opponent basically.

I'd usually push a little just to see what's up rather than strike at the blade. But I'm also an extreme novice sooo who knows if it's something one should do. :smallsmile:


I agree that a cat can give you a nasty bite, that's a product of treating it in a half-hearted way. So if I found a cat, that's probably someone's pet, on my lawn and wanted to move it, yeah I might get myself bitten badly because I'm approaching it as something I don't want to hurt.


A nasty bite is right, you could end up with blood poisoning really easy from one.

That happened to my uncle, the cat didn't mean to bite him (she was gunning for the vet) and she let go immediately after she realized who she bit, but she had gotten the meat of his thumb. He didn't think much of it but a few days later he had an angry red line going up his arm, went to his doctor and they were like "Sir, you need to go to the ER immediately."

He could have lost the arm or died had he been any slower about it, he's pretty lucky.

warty goblin
2016-02-13, 01:24 PM
Well, I feel those training swords are being given a harsh rap. They may not match the flex of real swords, but they don't over flex like nylon blades tend to. Maybe the ones in the sabre match weren't the best quality, but a couple of straight blocks were ignored by the blades, they slipped through and hit with what seemed full force. The Cold Steel demonstration makes them look pretty promising (they have a fine sparring match at the start):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5lIKkNMRIA

A friend of mine used these for a sort of medieval fight club he ran, and they seemed to work out pretty well for him.

I have one of those. It has the dynamic handling of a 2x4, and I hate it. Their medieval arming sword is - if possible - even worse. It's so imbalanced it's almost more controllable if you hold the damn thing by the point.

Mike_G
2016-02-13, 03:38 PM
I've got a couple questions.

The first is about reality - how common is it, in fencing and similar, to attack someone's weapon or attack them in an easily-blocked way for the purpose of opening them up to another attack? Getting their weapon too far to one side, then hitting them before they can bring it back?


In foil fencing we do it a lot. If you beat the opponent's blade, you knock it out of line and buy yourself a bit bigger window in time and space to land your touch.

The "weak" of a blade is the third or so closest to the point, the "strong" is the part close to the hilt. It's a leverage thing. force applied to the weak of his blade moves it much further than the same force applied to the strong.

The idea is to beat with about the middle of your blade on the weak of his, and making an immediate attack you more or less make the beat part of the extension of your attack, and lunge right after blade contact.

The other reason to beat is to provoke a reaction. he will probably move back quickly. If, for example, you beat his blade to the outside, then he'll expect a quick attack to the inside and try to come back very fast to parry. if you then disengage under the frantic parry and finish your attack to the outside, you can often hit.




The second is a sort of 'what if' question. If you could, for short bursts, more with superhuman speed, would a sort of 'ultimate feint' in which you change the angle/type of attack you're making while the opponent is going into a parry or dodge be a sensible tactic?

Super speed would negate the need for a feint. You feign an attack to get him to make an opening for your real attack, to buy more time to hit. If you're fast enough, just hit before he can react.

Tobtor
2016-02-13, 04:22 PM
In earlier times than that, (say somewhere around Viking times) you might have seen something more like this Slavic Gorod


We think the Vikings themselves constructed this "Ring Fort", complete with ship shaped houses for each unit of the army, which we think was made in preparation for one of their major invasions of England.


I am in total agreement about most of what you say. However, the reason for the construction of the ring-fortresses is a bit obscure, but recent reasearch suggest they were not part of the England invasion.

Several factors point to them being earlier, and build during the time of Harold Bluetooth (who had no English aspirations). This is based on several pieces of evidence (c14, construction similarity with Danevirke, etc). Now Harold could have had several reasons to build such strongholds, these includes (but are not limited to):
1. His wars with Otto the German. Otto fought Harold and invaded Jutland, while Harold and his Slavic (and Norweigean) allies fought back. Harold was maried to a Slavic princess and had slavs in his army, some scholars suggest a link with this fact and some construction elements.

2. Harold is generally attributed the leding system and the organisation of shires etc. The ringforts could be part of his attempt to make a more stable administrative system.

3. They could be part of his wars with his rebellious son, Sweyn Forkbeard.

4. Harold is the first Christian king and had various non-christian subjects disliking this, thus a need for strong internal defence. One ringfort (Aggersborg, the largest), is build on an earlier village with a chieftains hall, which seem destroyed, thus indicating a violent pre-phase to the building of the fortress. The cross-shapes structure is sometimes interpreted within the Christian context.

I am not a ringfort specialist and wouldn't venture a guess which factors was the most important, but the structures seem semi-permanent and not very militarized. I Guess they are not temporary camps, but an attempt to establish permanent footholds for his power (to control taxes, military movements, trade, religion etc)

fusilier
2016-02-13, 05:52 PM
Question for Fusilier: I might've asked this before, and if so I apologize for my memory. I was wondering how much worse slave rowers perform than professional ones, and why it is. I see rowing isn't as simple as you think, and the poor conditions and motivation would really harm their performance. Just wondered why there's a considerable difference, when the Japanese seemed to be able to get the American PoWs in WW2 to build bridges even under very harsh conditions (not sure how their work ethic compared to professional builders). The fact of being able to have your rowers fight with you if you're under attack makes a big difference in favour of professionals.

Thanks.

As a rough guide -- an ordinary galley rowed alla sensile had three men per bench (each with their own oar), and an ordinary galley rowed alla scaloccio had four men per bench (all pulling the same oar) to maintain the same dash speed.

That could be considered as a rough equivalency in the 16th century. Although the details could vary as the systems evolved.

The main point is that rowing alla sensile required careful attention by the outboard oarsmen, as their motions were constrained by the inboard oarsmen. If their timing was bad their hands would be smashed by the inboard oars (and I assume that would disrupt the whole tempo of the bench). However, the system gained dominance as it was more efficient. Whether or not it was possible for slaves/convicts to pick it up quickly enough is, theoretically, open to debate. The historical record shows that as slaves started to dominate among the rowing crews (ciurma) the system switched to the "simpler" alla scaloccio style of rowing.

In alla scaloccio the skill is mostly limited to the inboard oarsman -- he sets the tempo and is responsible for "feathering" the oar. The rest of the men on the bench provide muscle power. So the number of "skilled" oarsmen needed is now reduced to just one per bench. Also, the skill needed by that man is, we can reasonably argue, less than the outboard oarsmen on a galley being rowed alla sensile (because those men had to carefully time their motions to the inboard oarsman). One of the benefits of this system is that it's easy to add more men to each oar, and this allows a certain amount of flexibility with commanders able to add more oarsmen as the tactical situation requires.

What effect "motivation" has on these systems is hard to judge. We would expect it to have some, but rowing a galley, especially at "dash speed", would be something rarely done, and only for a few minutes at a time. I'm speculating, but in those situations you could probably work the oarsmen up enough to get reasonably good performance out of them regardless of personal motivation. I think health is a bigger factor. It was common for galleys to stock up on high protein food prior to a major action (intended as a "medicine" for the "sick"), and sometimes actions were delayed to improve the general health of the oarsmen (illness could easily spread among the crews who were packed onto an exposed deck). Concerning food, records from the 16th century show a decline in the quality of food: over time there was less protein and more biscuit as part of the standard ration. Ship biscuit was a huge logistical component with bases established around the Mediterranean that were required to stockpile biscuit for emergency galley actions.

Returning to the question of slaves, there's another issue with using them and the alla scaloccio method -- increasing the number of men on the galley increases its weight, which will slow it down a bit. This can be offset by increasing the number of oarsmen. Which increases the weight of the galley . . . Furthermore, more slaves means more men needed to guard the slaves -- also increasing weight. Also, in the 16th century the weight of ordnance on galleys was increasing, providing another factor for increasing the oarsmen. Venetian experiments in the 1520s had shown that a 50% increase in displacement required a 100% increase in power (i.e. oarsmen) to maintain dash speed. One result of the increasing size of galleys is the decreasing range, as they couldn't carry the same amount of supplies per man (water being a very important one).

It's a self-regenerative feedback loop. Ordinary galleys got progressively larger during the 16th century, but they really took off in size during the 17th century. So you start seeing 5 or 6 men per bench on most galleys by the early 17th century (larger galleys like "lanternas" or "capitanas" would have had that many men per bench at an earlier date). A consequence of galleys getting larger, was galley fleets becoming smaller, as the operating costs of a galley are closely linked to the size of the crew.

Finally, there was often some mix of slave and professional oarsmen on a galley using "forced labor". I've seen a list of the crew for a Spanish galley operating in the Caribbean at the end of the 1500s and it still had a handful of professional oarsmen -- although it was less than one per bench. As the Spanish went to slaves earlier and more completely than their Mediterranean counterparts, it is significant that at that late of a date they were still using some professionals.

Galloglaich
2016-02-13, 07:05 PM
I am in total agreement about most of what you say. However, the reason for the construction of the ring-fortresses is a bit obscure, but recent reasearch suggest they were not part of the England invasion.

Several factors point to them being earlier, and build during the time of Harold Bluetooth (who had no English aspirations). This is based on several pieces of evidence (c14, construction similarity with Danevirke, etc). Now Harold could have had several reasons to build such strongholds, these includes (but are not limited to):
1. His wars with Otto the German. Otto fought Harold and invaded Jutland, while Harold and his Slavic (and Norweigean) allies fought back. Harold was maried to a Slavic princess and had slavs in his army, some scholars suggest a link with this fact and some construction elements.

2. Harold is generally attributed the leding system and the organisation of shires etc. The ringforts could be part of his attempt to make a more stable administrative system.

3. They could be part of his wars with his rebellious son, Sweyn Forkbeard.

4. Harold is the first Christian king and had various non-christian subjects disliking this, thus a need for strong internal defence. One ringfort (Aggersborg, the largest), is build on an earlier village with a chieftains hall, which seem destroyed, thus indicating a violent pre-phase to the building of the fortress. The cross-shapes structure is sometimes interpreted within the Christian context.

I am not a ringfort specialist and wouldn't venture a guess which factors was the most important, but the structures seem semi-permanent and not very militarized. I Guess they are not temporary camps, but an attempt to establish permanent footholds for his power (to control taxes, military movements, trade, religion etc)

Thanks Tobtor, very interesting. I defer to your specialist knowledge on this area of course. It sounds like maybe, like the Danevirke, this may have been a site which was used more than once for a fortification, and revisited during times of danger many times?

G

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-02-13, 07:54 PM
Baboons scare off lions, both due to their numbers and their absolutely terrifying fangs.

An adult Gelada baboon only weighs ~20kg. Even without natural weapons, it depends on the animal's physiology. The common chimpanzee hits between 40-60kg full size and I really wouldn't want to fight one of those because of their significantly higher strength (adult chimps have been known to pull people's arms out of their sockets).

Which is why I went for a baboon as an example, and not a chimpanzee. One on one unarmed a fully grown male baboon will absolutely **** up almost any human. I'm willing to make an exception for say well trained MMA types and soldiers who have seen enough combat, the kind of people who have similar amounts of experience to the monkey in keeping going in a fight, but that's about it. With the core fighting mindset about equal the humans can compensate for their relative weakness and lack of natural weapons with size, trained skill and intelligent fighting. Hell, one of those guys might even stand a chance against a female (or small male) chimpanzee, on a good day. The rest of us should try to not get in the way of the face eating apes.

And it's not even just humans. If a fight happens between say a large guard dog and a wolf, or even one of those wolf-dog crossbreeds, the dog loses badly 9 times out of 10, and even fights between a dog and a badger were historically only popular to bet on if the badger got wounded beforehand. Even with no fight training the wolf, badger, baboon etc has much more of a natural instinct for being mean in a fight, and being it early enough in the conflict for it to matter. Humans are a lot like dogs in some ways. Maybe we're sort of self-domesticated through civilization (murder rates even back in medieval times were way higher than they are today), maybe we're just apes being apes, none of our closest relatives kill that much. Our history might at first glance suggest otherwise, but we're not an extremely violent species. Soldiers need to be drilled to be able to effectively kill enemies. If you don't a lot of them die without firing a single bullet at the other guys. I don't think that's really a common problem among lions, who'll gladly take a page or two from Exodus and kill all the babies in a group when they take over as its leader. Even without our physical relative weakness, we're a bunch of *******. (Or maybe rabbits, seeing as we apparently manage to lose fights to *******.) Overall though, in every other situation than when fighting a wild animal, this behavior is serving us pretty well.

EDIT: The twice censored word near the end there is of course kittens.

VoxRationis
2016-02-13, 09:11 PM
Anyone know how much a Roman scorpion weighs? Would a large chariot be enough to hold one, or would one need a heavier cart?

Mr. Mask
2016-02-13, 10:41 PM
Vox: I remember reading that the Romans did apparently put the Scorpio in a wagon of some kind which they used as a platform to support the infantry. Afraid I don't know the size of the wagon involved.



I have one of those. It has the dynamic handling of a 2x4, and I hate it. Their medieval arming sword is - if possible - even worse. It's so imbalanced it's almost more controllable if you hold the damn thing by the point. Ah, that's a lot worse than I expected. My friend didn't mention any major balance issues, so I assumed it couldn't be too bad.


On the note of practice swords, anyone tried simulated sharps like these ones? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlIUwwfCMcg

I've heard some good words on them, but have yet to see them used in sparring.



As a rough guide -- an ordinary galley rowed alla sensile had three men per bench (each with their own oar), and an ordinary galley rowed alla scaloccio had four men per bench (all pulling the same oar) to maintain the same dash speed.

That could be considered as a rough equivalency in the 16th century. Although the details could vary as the systems evolved.

The main point is that rowing alla sensile required careful attention by the outboard oarsmen, as their motions were constrained by the inboard oarsmen. If their timing was bad their hands would be smashed by the inboard oars (and I assume that would disrupt the whole tempo of the bench). However, the system gained dominance as it was more efficient. Whether or not it was possible for slaves/convicts to pick it up quickly enough is, theoretically, open to debate. The historical record shows that as slaves started to dominate among the rowing crews (ciurma) the system switched to the "simpler" alla scaloccio style of rowing.

In alla scaloccio the skill is mostly limited to the inboard oarsman -- he sets the tempo and is responsible for "feathering" the oar. The rest of the men on the bench provide muscle power. So the number of "skilled" oarsmen needed is now reduced to just one per bench. Also, the skill needed by that man is, we can reasonably argue, less than the outboard oarsmen on a galley being rowed alla sensile (because those men had to carefully time their motions to the inboard oarsman). One of the benefits of this system is that it's easy to add more men to each oar, and this allows a certain amount of flexibility with commanders able to add more oarsmen as the tactical situation requires.

What effect "motivation" has on these systems is hard to judge. We would expect it to have some, but rowing a galley, especially at "dash speed", would be something rarely done, and only for a few minutes at a time. I'm speculating, but in those situations you could probably work the oarsmen up enough to get reasonably good performance out of them regardless of personal motivation. I think health is a bigger factor. It was common for galleys to stock up on high protein food prior to a major action (intended as a "medicine" for the "sick"), and sometimes actions were delayed to improve the general health of the oarsmen (illness could easily spread among the crews who were packed onto an exposed deck). Concerning food, records from the 16th century show a decline in the quality of food: over time there was less protein and more biscuit as part of the standard ration. Ship biscuit was a huge logistical component with bases established around the Mediterranean that were required to stockpile biscuit for emergency galley actions.

Returning to the question of slaves, there's another issue with using them and the alla scaloccio method -- increasing the number of men on the galley increases its weight, which will slow it down a bit. This can be offset by increasing the number of oarsmen. Which increases the weight of the galley . . . Furthermore, more slaves means more men needed to guard the slaves -- also increasing weight. Also, in the 16th century the weight of ordnance on galleys was increasing, providing another factor for increasing the oarsmen. Venetian experiments in the 1520s had shown that a 50% increase in displacement required a 100% increase in power (i.e. oarsmen) to maintain dash speed. One result of the increasing size of galleys is the decreasing range, as they couldn't carry the same amount of supplies per man (water being a very important one).

It's a self-regenerative feedback loop. Ordinary galleys got progressively larger during the 16th century, but they really took off in size during the 17th century. So you start seeing 5 or 6 men per bench on most galleys by the early 17th century (larger galleys like "lanternas" or "capitanas" would have had that many men per bench at an earlier date). A consequence of galleys getting larger, was galley fleets becoming smaller, as the operating costs of a galley are closely linked to the size of the crew.

Finally, there was often some mix of slave and professional oarsmen on a galley using "forced labor". I've seen a list of the crew for a Spanish galley operating in the Caribbean at the end of the 1500s and it still had a handful of professional oarsmen -- although it was less than one per bench. As the Spanish went to slaves earlier and more completely than their Mediterranean counterparts, it is significant that at that late of a date they were still using some professionals. Thanks Fusilier, this is summed up very well. In fact, it's made the subject very interesting to me.

One thing I have wondered, is whether the slaves received proper training in some cases, or if they were just always thrown onto a galley and threatened and whipped till they got the hang of copying the others. That system would certainly be workable, so there mightn't be enough impetus to change it (professional rowers were the obvious option if you wanted higher quality rowers). The idea of a slave training ship that is trying to train them into professional rowers before they're sent out seems interesting for fiction, with the possibility of the best performers being elevated in status and comfort. Of course, even with improved treatment, the dependability of slave rowers seems dubious. You're dealing with a bunch of convicts and PoWs who might have a chance to join the other side in battle, or take the ship over and sail off to a port that will accept them (and in their situation, they have reason to be committed in a fight).

The idea of offering freedom to rowers who perform good service sounds like it could improve matter, but not necessarily by a lot. It could work as an incentive to keep them loyal in battle, if rowing well would get some of them their freedom if they didn't make attempts at rebellion. Similarly, the idea of ex-slave rowers going on to work as paid ones seems interesting.


Do we know much how the two forms compared economically? If you don't have enough professional rowers, then slave rowers is an easy way to man all your ships, certainly. Similarly, if you have a lot of slaves and or criminals, you need to do something with them. But with the choice of either, it makes me wonder how the two have compared. Your description seems to imply that

All in all, this makes me wish there was a game about managing a rowing crew.


PS: Strange question. Do you know if there were any galleys that used a mixture of alla sensile and alla scaloccio? Some benches of each? Thanks again for answering my question.

VoxRationis
2016-02-13, 11:22 PM
Vox: I remember reading that the Romans did apparently put the Scorpio in a wagon of some kind which they used as a platform to support the infantry. Afraid I don't know the size of the wagon involved.


Yeah, I've heard about the carroballista, but I was wondering if a downsized version of it with a scorpion could be mounted on a vehicle light enough to be used in the fashion of a chariot. I was wondering this largely because I'm wondering if there's any way that chariots could be relevant past the breeding of horses large enough to ride (and the development of proper tack for them, obviously). Mounting heavy antipersonnel weapons would give the punch that cavalry archers usually lack, but they're obviously too large for horseback.



PS: Strange question. Do you know if there were any galleys that used a mixture of alla sensile and alla scaloccio? Some benches of each? Thanks again for answering my question.

I could see someone trying that as an experiment, but I can't see it being particularly effective. The two rowing styles end up being rather different (alla scaloccio rowing requires that the oar team at the distal end of the oar step back and forth, like people managing a heavy crate, while alla sensile is more normal), and it'd be easy for the oars to end up tangled. As a rower myself, I can tell you that getting the oar movements to copy each other as much as they possibly can is important, and mixing different rowing styles on the same deck would probably lead to a lot of confusion.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-13, 11:34 PM
Well, that ought to be technically possible at least. You could ride in a chariot with a heavy crossbow, and a larger chariot with a larger crossbow is possible. The question is whether you can get an efficient combination. How big a chariot and crossbow till you can effectively hurt the enemy without losing too much mobility.

I'll be surprised if no one has tried something like this before. I agree with your point on the inefficiency of mixing the two systems, just wondered if anyone tried it.


G, do you know of any comparable cases with War Wagons? There were a few that had cannon in them, being more comparable to tanks with broadsides.

fusilier
2016-02-14, 12:40 AM
Thanks Fusilier, this is summed up very well. In fact, it's made the subject very interesting to me.

One thing I have wondered, is whether the slaves received proper training in some cases, or if they were just always thrown onto a galley and threatened and whipped till they got the hang of copying the others.

No problem. Try to find a copy of Gunpowder and Galleys by Guilmartin which is basically the definitive work on the subject. There's also a lighter treatment of it in his Galleons and Galleys, which is easier to find (at least it's usually much cheaper). The Osprey book on Renaissance galleys is good, but there's not enough space to properly explain these concepts.

Concerning training -- professionals weren't trained like modern soldiers/sailors. They learned their "trades" pretty much the way anybody else in that period learned their trades, by something like an apprenticeship and experience. My suspicion is that they typically tried to keep the number of novices on a ship low. Think of untrained oarsmen as replacements/reinforcements being incorporated into a crew that's already experienced. I imagine slaves would be in a similar situation. They might try to have them gain some experience on routine patrols, or on merchant galleys (less common by the 16th century).

This is why losing a major battle was a really significant problem -- the vessel itself was fairly easy to replace, but the loss of the experienced crews could be seriously crippling. Even if the ciurma could be replaced by slaves (who would probably still be less experienced), the other officials of the ship (and master gunners) could be very hard to replace. The Spanish suffered this at Djerba in 1562, and while they had replaced the ships and crews, they were very cautious about risking them in a fleet battle during the siege of Malta in 1565 -- as the crews lacked experience. Same thing for the Ottoman fleet after Lepanto -- they never really recovered from that although it's not entirely obvious.


The idea of offering freedom to rowers who perform good service sounds like it could improve matter, but not necessarily by a lot. It could work as an incentive to keep them loyal in battle, if rowing well would get some of them their freedom if they didn't make attempts at rebellion. Similarly, the idea of ex-slave rowers going on to work as paid ones seems interesting.

They did sometimes offer freedom to slave oarsmen, it was usually done before a battle, and only if the rowing crew were co-religionists. Oarsmen aren't really a good substitution for proper soldiers, but they're still better than slaves chained to the deck.



Do we know much how the two forms compared economically? If you don't have enough professional rowers, then slave rowers is an easy way to man all your ships, certainly. Similarly, if you have a lot of slaves and or criminals, you need to do something with them. But with the choice of either, it makes me wonder how the two have compared. Your description seems to imply that

Guilmartin traces a period of wage inflation in the 16th century, that encouraged the switch to slaves. Before then, it may have been just as viable to use professionals. I think there was also an increase to the cost of victuals -- keeping the crews properly supplied was a major expense on it's own. Venice was able to avoid switching to slaves for longer than others for a variety of reasons, Spain had to go over sooner, and the Ottomans were in between (at Lepanto they used professionals, conscripts, and slaves in roughly equal proportions).



PS: Strange question. Do you know if there were any galleys that used a mixture of alla sensile and alla scaloccio? Some benches of each? Thanks again for answering my question.

I can't really see that working on Renaissance style galleys as they were all on the same deck. I don't know of any instances where it was done, and I suspect that the rowing styles may have been different enough that they wouldn't mesh together well -- although I'm only speculating. Note, while they may have professionals on a ship with slaves, I think it was typically a majority of slaves with some professionals (probably not much more than one per oar). Conscripts were probably mixed into either system. Venetian conscripts appear to have used the alla sensile method, my guess is that they were spread around among the professional oarsmen.

Perhaps on some older style galleys where the oarsmen sat on different levels that would be possible?

fusilier
2016-02-14, 01:04 AM
One thing I have wondered, is whether the slaves received proper training in some cases, or if they were just always thrown onto a galley and threatened and whipped till they got the hang of copying the others.

Another interesting fact about the rowing crews, is that they were basically "convertible" -- during amphibious operations they would be unloaded and used as laborers during sieges. This is why the Ottoman Fleet was basically useless towards the end of the Siege of Malta in 1565 -- their rowing crews were exhausted by the siege (low on food, and disease was spreading).

Also, only part of the year consisted of the "campaigning season" and even during the campaigning season, if you didn't need the crew you would dismiss them to save money. So even "galley slaves" wouldn't have spent all their time on the galleys. So, if you put into a port that had slaves, some of those slaves probably had experience on galleys. I think there's a story in Don Quixote about that, where a merchant ship needing oarsmen put into a port in North Africa where there were Christian slaves and some of them had experience as oarsmen. Also, prisoners of war became galley slaves, so it's possible oarsmen were simply traded around by being captured at sea.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-14, 02:39 AM
I think someone might've mentioned that here before, that a lot of people ended up rowing for one side or the other as they kept being captured.

It's sort of surprising to me that the crew was valuable compared to the ship. A good war or merchant ship seemed to be terribly expensive. This makes me wonder if convincing the experts aboard an enemy ship to turn-coat was a valuable thing.

Thanks Fusilier. Will have to look into those books (will be useful if I do anything with the subject matter).

Tobtor
2016-02-14, 02:53 AM
Thanks Tobtor, very interesting. I defer to your specialist knowledge on this area of course. It sounds like maybe, like the Danevirke, this may have been a site which was used more than once for a fortification, and revisited during times of danger many times?

G

Possibly but unlikely. There are many refugee fortifications preserved in Sweden, and also several on Bornholms as well as some in Denmark, and they do not have the systematic layout.

Gamleborg from Bornholm (slightly later, but rebuilt many times.):
http://www.aerenlund.dk/bornholm/images/gamleborg_kort.jpg
http://bornholm.info/sites/default/files/styles/slide_688x337/public/Gamleborg_1.jpg?itok=xpwAbAGq

The ringfortresses differ from these: first the houses, they seem to indicate a different use. You wouldn't build large houses in that way for temporary refugees. The houses was never rebuild, and such houses maybe only last for 40-50 years, thus the use time of the fortresses is relativity short. Second there are burials attached to the fortresses, both some indicating wars (mass burial at Trelleborg), but also normal burial sites such as at Fyrkat, indicating a permanent use.

Overall they seem abandoned before year 1.000AD, but functioning like settlement while they existed. Perhaps Harold had some grand scheme that his son Sweyn didnt want to continue when he conqured the land from his father. Its noteworthy that towns such as Aarhus had its dyke reinforced several times during the reign of Gorm and Harold (with similar construction), perhaps Harold intended the ringfortresses as trading centres/workshops controlled by him.

Danevirke on the other hand was rebuilt many times (from smaller fortifications in the early 9th century up untill the 1864 wars, so it have been a defensive border for a 1.000years).

fusilier
2016-02-14, 03:12 AM
I think someone might've mentioned that here before, that a lot of people ended up rowing for one side or the other as they kept being captured.

It's sort of surprising to me that the crew was valuable compared to the ship. A good war or merchant ship seemed to be terribly expensive. This makes me wonder if convincing the experts aboard an enemy ship to turn-coat was a valuable thing.

Yes -- typically it involved a religious conversion though. After Lepanto, the Venetians and Spanish executed the captured experts. They actually held them as prisoners for several months, and I believe some agreed to switch sides, but in the end, they weren't willing to release such experts for fear that they would end up back in the Ottoman fleet. Even making them slaves, there was always the chance that they could escape, or be recaptured.

Keep in mind the nature of military training -- a large number of experienced soldiers/sailors lost in combat might be virtually irreplaceable. There wasn't the formalized training as we know it; there were no institutions that could simply churn out well trained soldiers/sailors. It might take years, or even generations to replace such losses. The Ottoman composite bowmen lost at Lepanto (and the casualties at Lepanto were really huge for the time) had still not been replaced a generation later.

Military manuals existed in 16th century, but they weren't complete systems of instruction. They were typically written for the benefit of officers with at least some experience. They weren't instructions for training soldiers from the ground up.

lacco36
2016-02-14, 05:24 AM
Handles have been a concern commonly expressed with Cold Steel. They go rather cheap with those. I would like to express that a slower blade is arguably a good point, as many practice blades are faster than the real counterparts and so it makes it hard to practice defence and parrying. That might also be why it feels heavier, possibly?

Cats: I wish I could say it was because we lived in a peaceful age.


As for the cats... I'm not joining in :smallsmile:.

As for the CS sword - yes, if you want to get your arms stronger, it could be a positive. However, to get a feeling how the real sword handles, it's not very good - and even I as beginner can say that - I switch between the real counterpart and this one sometimes just to get the correct feeling. For sparring I would go for a feder - I already had a discussion with the friend who fences and he recommended it because if you get hit with a feder in a mask, you feel it (check the video from Trnava presented by Galloglaich - in one part one of the fencers gets hit on his head - and he definitely felt it), but if you get hit with CS, you can get knocked out.

@Galloglaich: Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIKMPIFJkzk) is something out of their kitchen :smallsmile:. He originally proposed that he will be my instructor (he travelled to my city quite often), but then he switched jobs and he lives even further than Trnava.


Nylons are definitely a good way to go to start with. Feders too, in my opinion. Masks you will have to get eventually regardless, and gloves, but masks are pretty cheap. Gloves for tournaments are the most expensive thing in this, but for light sparring you can start with used lacrosse gloves or the equivalent, or make your own out of leather pieces and etc.

Yeah. I already have the money for the mask, but I told myself that if I can't find the sparring partner/instructor and if I can't keep up this hobby for at least few months, I won't invest more. That way madness lies (and empty wallet).


You are right on the second part. I think I wrote some stuff in the Companion too, but I can't remember what exactly I'd have to go and look.

Ok :smallsmile:. I think I know now.
If you don't mind me asking - what do you think about the mass combat rules from FoB?


Well, so first of all I'd take a look at that list of images of blockhouses I posted. Most of those are 18th or 19th Century ones but if you look at the woodcuts at the bottom you can see two (destroyed ones) from the early 16th Century. Blockhouses and other small forts like that would be very common types of fortification, often built in a matter of days. Keep in mind 40 or 50 guys working hard can get a lot done pretty quickly.

Given more than a week or two in the same place, you'd probably see them put together a temporary wooden stockade, like this:

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/emhouk2/wv/tygart/prickett1.jpg

In the medieval period it would also be very common to dig a ditch of some kind around the fort, or even build the fort itself on an artificial mound. Again, keep in mind, 40 or 50 guys working hard, knowing their life depends on it, can get a surprising amount done in a short time.

A larger army than the one you mentioned would often make a wagonberg when they stopped

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ce/ee/b7/ceeeb7732b34ec67b2476a00c24c20af.jpg

As I mentioned Roman military units, even very small ones, would make a small fortified camp. IIRC the Roman legionaires had to carry little spikes to put around them in their perimeter, and they would dig ditches around their camp every night.

http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/Ancient-Rome%E2%80%99s-Military-Marching-Camps-2.jpg

Medieval military units tended to follow a very similar pattern. You can read up a bit about the Roman Castra here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castra
http://blog.damowords.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/romanmobilefort.jpg

As far as people, camp followers and specialists and so on, there would usually be some, but you have to keep in mind, in the medieval world people typically wore many hats. Most of the mercenaries would be artisans or peasants with a variety of skills.
I've posted this a few times, but a muster for Regensburg in 1431 is a pretty good example of what stuff, and people, would be brought on campaign. This was a group of 248 men so you could divide these numbers by five. The force included 73 horsemen, 71 crossbowmen, 16 handgunners, and a mixed group of 88 specialists (probably wouldn't call these people non-combatants, since basically everybody in a group that small is a combatant, but they would not necessarily be the front line people) the specialists included smiths, leatherworkers, a chaplain, pike-makers, tailors, cooks, and butchers, for 248 men in total.

So for your group of about 50 soldiers that might be about 17 specialists, though the ratio might be less, I think this group from Regensburg was meant to harden and support a larger group of infantry that they joined up with later.. Of that group, the smiths are very important, not just for making and repairing armor and weapons but also for making metal parts that are used in putting together structures. From other lists of this type, in addition to blacksmiths, masons, carpenters, scouts or 'fringemen', artillery specialists (buschenmeister), miners, and a variety of other artisans might be present.

Ok, I can work with this information and on these assumptions. Thank you for the data, I will see what comes out of it.
What would you recommend as a good reading/source of info on medieval construction (mainly military)?


All that is very common. Those Cold Steel plastic things are utter crap, in my opinion. I gather that doesn't matter around here much with some folks, but for what it's worth. I'm willing to bet a months pay that if you go on just about any HEMA forum and ask about them you will get the same answer 99 times out of 100.

No need to ask – I consider it my personal barbell :smallsmile:. When we tried some sparring (one or two „stücke“ from Meyer’s work), both of us immediately got the idea that we’ll need something else if we want to go for free assault in the future.


The patient wife is a very important ingredient of getting into HEMA! I'll never forget when I got my first sharp and waved it around a bit, not noticing that I'd put a few delicate tip-slices into my wife's new silk curtains. Yikes :smalleek:
G

Ouch! :smallsmile: Lucky for us that they are so supporting!

Brother Oni
2016-02-14, 05:31 AM
Oni which back muscles does archery use the most? Cause a lot of them connect to and stabilize the shoulder, and those are the ones that I have the most problems with. I did something to my shoulder a few years ago, we don't know what or how, but since then I've had chronic problems. I got the tendentious from the physical therapy trying to fix it, so I have to be really extra careful about how I try to exercise the entire area because if one thing doesn't flare up, something else will.

I definitely won't overload on draw weight, I baby that part of me so much I'd probably ask to start as low as I can possibly go for my own comfort and safety. It sounds like the perfect thing for my shoulder needs either way.


According to some digging, archery uses the muscles that stabilise your upper arm (supraspinatus, infraspinatus and the subscapularis, ie the rotator cuff complex) and the anterior deltoids, trapezeius, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids. I only vaguely know where those muscles are, so here's a set of more helpful videos: drawing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5BYtDLFcKM), dynamic posture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X49xdu1wGdo).

Bear in mind that how you draw the bow and where you draw it to, can affect some of this - using a release aid changes the forearm/hand alignment and shoulder position for example:

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/oGmc-SK9zd8/hqdefault.jpg
https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/hunter-education/online-course/images-primative/cmpddrawHE29_20120229_0018.png

Even if you don't use a release aid, there are different drawing methods which can affect where and how you draw: bow drawing techniques (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_draw). Most western and middle eastern archery uses points on the face as references to how far back to draw the bow to; I use the corner of my jawbone and I've read modern and historical manuals that use other places, like the tragus, corner of the mouth, edge of the beard/moustache, etc - it doesn't matter where, as long as you can do it consistently and that you're comfortable with it. Kyudo (Japanese archery) uses a thumb draw that ends up somewhere behind the ear (I haven't quite figured out how they get consistency with that method).

An older gentleman at my club has mild scoliosis and he draws his bow to the centre of his chin as he can't/finds it uncomfortable to draw it back further - this is fine as a bow can be fine tuned to your individual body shape and personal form.

In your case, I highly recommend finding a good beginner's course at a club and make it known to your instructor that you have these physical problems so that they can work with you on it, but it sounds like you have it covered.


Even without our physical relative weakness, we're a bunch of *******. (Or maybe rabbits, seeing as we apparently manage to lose fights to *******.) Overall though, in every other situation than when fighting a wild animal, this behavior is serving us pretty well.

If you hobble any animal, of course it's not going to fare as well (see your badger example). In our case, it's restricting our tool use; I fully agree that naked and unarmed we're not going to do well against any decently sized animal with fangs and claws - give us some sharp sticks and fire however and we end up dominating the world. :smalltongue:

Clistenes
2016-02-14, 06:21 AM
If you hobble any animal, of course it's not going to fare as well (see your badger example). In our case, it's restricting our tool use; I fully agree that naked and unarmed we're not going to do well against any decently sized animal with fangs and claws - give us some sharp sticks and fire however and we end up dominating the world. :smalltongue:

I you look at this video of a leopard attacking several people, it doesn't look like humans are helpless. Even terrorized and unarmed, they manage to fight back. I any of those men had a spear, pickaxe, axe or sword instead of merely kicking and punching it, that leopard would probably have received a lethal hit before managing to kill anybody.


https://youtu.be/9EZvI19Lorw

The poet Francisco de Quevedo once bumped on a Jaguar. He had lost his glasses and it was a dark night, so he was blind as a bat, but he unsheathed his rapier and killed the jaguar using his sense of hearing alone.

A 56 years old indian woman, Kamla Devi, fought and killed a leopard using a sickle and a hoe. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/27/leopard-killed-indian-woman-kamla-devi)

I think that while humans can't overpower most animals using our hands alone, if we have a weapon and fight back most animals smaller than say a lion or a bear will receive a lethal wound even if they mess us badly during the fight.

snowblizz
2016-02-14, 08:18 AM
A good war or merchant ship seemed to be terribly expensive.

That'd be a function of it's size and difficulty to build. I'm guessing like me you think of "ships" as the more substantial cogs, galleons, carracks and so on. Which usually are individually built from bits and pieces as they go. (It's a bit more complicated than that but in principle)

Galleys were the Ikea furniture of shipbuilding. They were built to template specs from pre-manufactured parts assembled during "off-time" and stored for future needs. Galleys weren't particularly longlived machines so were designed and built around the knowledge that they'd not last that many campaigning seasons.

Broadly speaking of course, probably many exceptions.

Clistenes
2016-02-14, 09:59 AM
I think someone might've mentioned that here before, that a lot of people ended up rowing for one side or the other as they kept being captured.

This makes me wonder if convincing the experts aboard an enemy ship to turn-coat was a valuable thing.

Well, all sides tried to demand a ransom for their captives, and only enslaved them if they weren't paid (relatives tend to pay more for you than strangers would). Children and young women, on the other hand, were rarely ransomed, since it was more profitable to sell them to rich people as slaves.

Captive/slave rowers were usually released when the galley was captured in turn, so long as they were the same religion as the winner. There were a few cases in which they were forced to keep rowing for a time due to lack of manpower, but it was seen as horrible, since those men were prisioners of war released from the enemy.

The corsairs of Barbary were mostly European turncoats and their descendants during the Renaissance. They tried very hard to convert competent captives to Islam so they would join their side. Those who refused and wouldn't be ransomed would be made galley slaves.

Other muslims, on the other hand, wouldn't try to convert their prisioners, since they didn't need to recruit foreigners (they had a big enough recruiting pool at home). All prisioners were ransomed or enslaved.

Christians systematically forced muslim prisioners who weren't ransomed to convert, but they didn't recruit them as part of their crews, since they didn't trust them. They forced muslim captives to row in their galleys, but they didn't like to have too many muslims aboard even as chained rowers, so they used a lot of criminals sentenced to forced labor as rowers.


It's sort of surprising to me that the crew was valuable compared to the ship.

Finding enough rowers was a problem. Only desperate people who didn't have nowhere to go rowed for money. Most often they were former convicts sentenced to the galleys who got used to that lifestyle and took the job after serving their sentence.


A good war or merchant ship seemed to be terribly expensive.

Pound by pound, a galley was the most expensive ship. A war galley of moderate size could be more expensive than a big carrack.


Galleys were the Ikea furniture of shipbuilding. They were built to template specs from pre-manufactured parts assembled during "off-time" and stored for future needs. Galleys weren't particularly longlived machines so were designed and built around the knowledge that they'd not last that many campaigning seasons.

As far as I know, the Arsenal of Venice was the only shipwright that did that kind of modular building. Other countries commisioned their galleys to small shipwrights that could only build one galley at a time, and worked like artisans rather than technicians.

warty goblin
2016-02-14, 10:07 AM
Ah, that's a lot worse than I expected. My friend didn't mention any major balance issues, so I assumed it couldn't be too bad.

Mine has a 34 inch blade. The center of mass is nine inches from the guard. This is because the thing seems massively overbuilt, and there's no effort to upweight the hilt. So it's an entirely standard longsword hilt (with a somewhat uncomfortable pommel) cast out of PVC or whatever it is, and then this enormously thick blade made out of the same stuff. Thing's an inch and a quarter at the guard, and only tapers down to an inch thick just at the base of the point - which is too sharp and the blade too rigid for safe sparing anyway.

The arming sword is somewhat less terrible than I remember. 32 inch blade, center of mass is about 8 and a half from the guard. The shorter blade and slightly better center of mass mean it actually doesn't feel too bad in two hands, except for the huge wheel pommel, which is not a particularly comfortable grip. Again, the thing is massively overbuilt, comes with an unacceptably keen point, and has a very stiff blade.

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-02-14, 10:30 AM
Anyone know how much a Roman scorpion weighs? Would a large chariot be enough to hold one, or would one need a heavier cart?

That definitely wouldn't work for the Romans, you'd need the Mongol siege unit speed upgrade.

(So much for the real-world part of the title.):smallbiggrin:

Clistenes
2016-02-14, 10:39 AM
Anyone know how much a Roman scorpion weighs? Would a large chariot be enough to hold one, or would one need a heavier cart?

The big ass balistae that shoot 40 kg rocks couldn't be carried on any vehicle, but smaller scorpions could be carried in four-wheeled carts. There was a chinese invention that was a heavy crossbow connected to the wheels of the chariot; it basically was a machine-crossbow that shoot bolts very fast. Not very useful in battle due to poor aim, but impressive to look at.

MrZJunior
2016-02-14, 11:37 AM
How would one keep a matchlock operational in a wet environment like South East Asia? Would a plus sized conical straw hat serve to keep the powder dry and the match lit?

Lvl 2 Expert
2016-02-14, 12:01 PM
How would one keep a matchlock operational in a wet environment like South East Asia? Would a plus sized conical straw hat serve to keep the powder dry and the match lit?

I don't know about the effect of extreme air humidity, but there were definitely covers (although I don't know how if that's the right name to refer to them by) to protect a match from rain. I've seen examples from both Europe and Japan.

Carl
2016-02-14, 02:24 PM
Just going to repost this as it got buried fast:


Another question inspired by some thinking of background details with my EFGT setting. I know in the past roman and greek slavery has come up in how it's different from the traditional image with slaves being valued property subject to surprising amounts of protection, doing sometimes skilled work, and able to earn their freedom. But what hasn't been touched on is whatever organisations underpinned this. How, (beyond conquests in war which are a short term thing), did they acquire slaves, sell them, pick out the ones who were going to do skilled work, (and train them). Was there some sort of guild of slave traders or whatever. I can come up with my own system of course but understanding how a historical version worked would provide some handy reference points.

Also another question or rather two.


1. After thinking on what gnomon said about the 35mm grenade machine guns providing good suppression on their own i think i can get away with dropping the 12.7mm GPMG's from the lineup of standard infantry equipment, but in light of the 35mm's presence does that also mean a heavier version of the 12.7mm designed for much more sustained firing from a tripod at standard or better RoF's wouldn't make sense as a crew served weapon?

2. Does anyone have any info on typical heights of various calibres of mortar shells at various ranges? As you can probably tell from the prior question i'm working on the cultists crew served weapon setups, (and revising the EFGT's at the same time), but whilst both would have use for mortar's, the range of calibres their going to be using is going to be heavily dependent on how vulnerable to the typical tactical level, (as in several km+ effective range), CIWS system both sides are deploying which is a factor of peak height. But the two sides have quite different systems with very different strengths and weaknesses so, yeah whats good varies.

snowblizz
2016-02-14, 03:45 PM
Just going to repost this as it got buried fast:


No such thing as a "guild" of slavers really I'd say. Problem is you are almost outright locking out the main historical source of slaves, ie warfare. Do you think the Romans kept expanding the Empire just for laughs? The Ottoman Empire sees to have run into a similar problem as their ability to reward soldiers declined as conquests in Europe dried up. As did the Aztecs and others in South America. IIRC the Aztecs even kept some rival nations unconquered so they had someone to war against on a regular basis.

The world was still a big place and both Empires weren't running out of peoples to conquer and enslave.

Secondly, other people's military conquests. That is, you might have reached a certain extent but you can always buy slaves off your neighbours. That's how the "western" slave trade did for most of it's existence, they went to the coast of africa and bought up what local powers were selling. And the slave markets of the Crimean.

Slave raiding. Both militaries (less so probably) and slave trades would just go out and capture anyone they could.

Ottomans and Aztecs (iirc) also worked with a tribute system. Ottoman's levied a tax in slaves and Aztecs would demand tribute to sacrifice from their empire.

Criminal punishment. And indebtedness. A Roman Pater familias could actually sell their dependants into slavery (children, wife etc etc etc) but it was considered socially a faux pas to sell one's kids...
If you were in debt e.g. you could sign up as a gladiator.

The Ottomans are the only ones I know that had a system for "recognizing talent", but they had a system for the slaving, education and placement of said salves to their appropriate places.


Now in general, back when, you didn't exactly have any proper systems for recognizing people who were good at something (more often than not, what you were good at was what your father was good at), so really it'd probably be down to the slave or owner to recognize said talent. Quite often though the whole working your self up stories as rather few in comparison with the large number of slaves... again with exceptions the norm was after all the "unskilled labour" angle.

MrZJunior
2016-02-14, 04:22 PM
No such thing as a "guild" of slavers really I'd say. Problem is you are almost outright locking out the main historical source of slaves, ie warfare. Do you think the Romans kept expanding the Empire just for laughs? The Ottoman Empire sees to have run into a similar problem as their ability to reward soldiers declined as conquests in Europe dried up. As did the Aztecs and others in South America. IIRC the Aztecs even kept some rival nations unconquered so they had someone to war against on a regular basis.

The world was still a big place and both Empires weren't running out of peoples to conquer and enslave.

Secondly, other people's military conquests. That is, you might have reached a certain extent but you can always buy slaves off your neighbours. That's how the "western" slave trade did for most of it's existence, they went to the coast of africa and bought up what local powers were selling. And the slave markets of the Crimean.

Slave raiding. Both militaries (less so probably) and slave trades would just go out and capture anyone they could.

Ottomans and Aztecs (iirc) also worked with a tribute system. Ottoman's levied a tax in slaves and Aztecs would demand tribute to sacrifice from their empire.

Criminal punishment. And indebtedness. A Roman Pater familias could actually sell their dependants into slavery (children, wife etc etc etc) but it was considered socially a faux pas to sell one's kids...
If you were in debt e.g. you could sign up as a gladiator.

The Ottomans are the only ones I know that had a system for "recognizing talent", but they had a system for the slaving, education and placement of said salves to their appropriate places.


Now in general, back when, you didn't exactly have any proper systems for recognizing people who were good at something (more often than not, what you were good at was what your father was good at), so really it'd probably be down to the slave or owner to recognize said talent. Quite often though the whole working your self up stories as rather few in comparison with the large number of slaves... again with exceptions the norm was after all the "unskilled labour" angle.

So where did all those educated Greek slaves the Romans used to educate their children come from? Were they prisoners of war? If so, did the supply of tutors dry up over time?

fusilier
2016-02-14, 04:32 PM
As far as I know, the Arsenal of Venice was the only shipwright that did that kind of modular building. Other countries commisioned their galleys to small shipwrights that could only build one galley at a time, and worked like artisans rather than technicians.

I was going to say something similar. The Arsenal of Venice could produce an entirely outfitted galley in a day! This was accomplished through good organization, standardization, and the stockpiling of major parts.

Spain and the Ottoman empire had their own "arsenals" (Barcelona and Constantinople if I remember correctly), and while they weren't as efficient as the Venetian's, they could both produce galleys quickly. My understanding is that the maintenance costs of war galleys was the main burden (even if being crewed by slaves, they had big crews that had to be supplied). Sailing ships were much more economical to operate.

I'm not quickly finding information on the building cost of a galley versus a galleon -- but the main point I was making was they could replace galleys easier than they could replace experienced crews.

--EDIT-- I took a look in the Osprey book on Renaissance galleys, and it looks like all the Mediterranean powers adopted a system similar to the Venetians (although I don't think any were as good at it). Genoa, Barcelona, Constantinople, and Salonika all stockpiled pre-fabricated parts --EDIT--

snowblizz
2016-02-14, 04:38 PM
So where did all those educated Greek slaves the Romans used to educate their children come from? Were they prisoners of war? If so, did the supply of tutors dry up over time?

Odds are they were, yes (citizen soldiers and all that). And that was I doubt something that was shall we say universal. Besides, could always *hire* learned Greek if needed. Not like you'll need a Greek tutor fir life either.

Also one thing I forgot to mention, if not war there's always a rebellion or two to put down. Pax Romana or no, there was generally someone, somewhere, causing trouble. When there wasn't a civil war going on of course.

Tiktakkat
2016-02-14, 05:09 PM
So where did all those educated Greek slaves the Romans used to educate their children come from? Were they prisoners of war? If so, did the supply of tutors dry up over time?

One thing to remember when it comes to "Greeks" at that time is that they weren't confined to Greece.
There were Greek colonies on the coast of Spain and France. Sicily and Southern Italy were Greek rather than Italian. Most of Turkey was Greek, and there were Greek colonies all around the Black Sea coast. Most critically, as a result of Alexander the Great, Egypt and Syria had Greek rulers and a Greek upper-class.
The wars to incorporate them took a considerable amount of time to wind down, starting with the rise of the Republic and only winding down after the Principate had replaced it - around 400 years. By that time there was a pretty stable pool of tutors and their descendants to go around.
And, as has been mentioned, there were still debtors and rebellions to provide fresh options from time to time.

Clistenes
2016-02-14, 05:24 PM
I was going to say something similar. The Arsenal of Venice could produce an entirely outfitted galley in a day! This was accomplished through good organization, standardization, and the stockpiling of major parts.

Spain and the Ottoman empire had their own "arsenals" (Barcelona and Constantinople if I remember correctly), and while they weren't as efficient as the Venetian's, they could both produce galleys quickly. My understanding is that the maintenance costs of war galleys was the main burden (even if being crewed by slaves, they had big crews that had to be supplied). Sailing ships were much more economical to operate.

I'm not quickly finding information on the building cost of a galley versus a galleon -- but the main point I was making was they could replace galleys easier than they could replace experienced crews.

--EDIT-- I took a look in the Osprey book on Renaissance galleys, and it looks like all the Mediterranean powers adopted a system similar to the Venetians (although I don't think any were as good at it). Genoa, Barcelona, Constantinople, and Salonika all stockpiled pre-fabricated parts --EDIT--

I don't think Spain had huge state shipwrights like Venice. The Spanish Empire relied a lot in private contractors. As a matter of fact, the crown sometimes even hired wealthy aristocrats so they would patrol the coasts with their private galley fleets in exchange of money, honors and privileges.


Odds are they were, yes (citizen soldiers and all that). And that was I doubt something that was shall we say universal. Besides, could always *hire* learned Greek if needed. Not like you'll need a Greek tutor fir life either.

Also one thing I forgot to mention, if not war there's always a rebellion or two to put down. Pax Romana or no, there was generally someone, somewhere, causing trouble. When there wasn't a civil war going on of course.

One thing to remember when it comes to "Greeks" at that time is that they weren't confined to Greece.
There were Greek colonies on the coast of Spain and France. Sicily and Southern Italy were Greek rather than Italian. Most of Turkey was Greek, and there were Greek colonies all around the Black Sea coast. Most critically, as a result of Alexander the Great, Egypt and Syria had Greek rulers and a Greek upper-class.
The wars to incorporate them took a considerable amount of time to wind down, starting with the rise of the Republic and only winding down after the Principate had replaced it - around 400 years. By that time there was a pretty stable pool of tutors and their descendants to go around.
And, as has been mentioned, there were still debtors and rebellions to provide fresh options from time to time.

The matter of where they got more educated slaves after they had conquered all the Mediterranean basin alwasy bugged me badly. I have sought answers, and I haven't found them. Debtors, criminals and rebels wouldn't be enough; many Greek cities had laws against enslaving their own citizens, criminals would rarely be educated people (and if they were, you didn't want then near your children) and the Greek rarely rebelled...

I guess the only reasonable answer is that there were people somewhere in the Empire who bought children and trained them to be teachers, stewards, musicians and physicians...

Carl
2016-02-14, 05:53 PM
Do you think the Romans kept expanding the Empire just for laughs?

Well no, but my understanding is they weren't at war literally constantly and had enough peace they should have started running into issues if that was their only real massive source of slaves. To be fair i did/do expect that slaves mostly came from warfare. I was more wondering where both the shortfall and the more skilled would come from.

As i said i can create from whole cloth if needed, i was just hoping for something to help form a basis, both out of universe and in universe, (since i can have the original individual who set it all up be a history buff).

cobaltstarfire
2016-02-14, 06:03 PM
bows ect!

Thankyou for all the info, I'll keep these things in mind once I go looking to learn to shoot a bow and things.

Apparently whatever is in those youtube videos isn't available in the US, it wouldn't let me watch those unfortunately. :(

fusilier
2016-02-14, 06:14 PM
I don't think Spain had huge state shipwrights like Venice. The Spanish Empire relied a lot in private contractors. As a matter of fact, the crown sometimes even hired wealthy aristocrats so they would patrol the coasts with their private galley fleets in exchange of money, honors and privileges.

The shipyards at Barcelona started stocking prefabricated galley components in 1546.

Gian Andrea Doria is probably the most famous of the private galley operators hired by Spain -- although even that was strange, because of his relationship with the government of Genoa. It was, however, more common that the state owned the vessel, although its operation was contracted out privately.

The Spanish were in almost constant warfare with the Barbary coast in the Western Mediterranean during the 16th century, as a result they were required to maintain a large galley fleet pretty much all the time.

Clistenes
2016-02-14, 06:46 PM
The shipyards at Barcelona started stocking prefabricated galley components in 1546.

Gian Andrea Doria is probably the most famous of the private galley operators hired by Spain -- although even that was strange, because of his relationship with the government of Genoa. It was, however, more common that the state owned the vessel, although its operation was contracted out privately.

The Spanish were in almost constant warfare with the Barbary coast in the Western Mediterranean during the 16th century, as a result they were required to maintain a large galley fleet pretty much all the time.

Around 1565, only 30 out of 111 galleys fighting for Spain were property of the crown, and those 30 were in the hands of private contractors. (https://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwic6aqFtfjKAhWKCBoKHV-mBtgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.raco.cat%2Findex.php%2FManusc rits%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F86866%2F111880&usg=AFQjCNENgAFysN3qS9X-RA_qqjLOYB-ULw&cad=rja) It is true that Felipe II tried to change that, and by 1574 the number of galleys owned by the crown rose to around 300, but from that point if went down again 102 by 1576, to 73 by 1598 and to 65 by 1613.


I don't know how galleys were built in Barcelona's shipyards, but I have never read that they used the Venetian modular style of construction. They had a reputation of making awful galleys in Barcelona during the XVI century. (https://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwic6aqFtfjKAhWKCBoKHV-mBtgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.raco.cat%2Findex.php%2FManusc rits%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F86866%2F111880&usg=AFQjCNENgAFysN3qS9X-RA_qqjLOYB-ULw&cad=rja)

Brother Oni
2016-02-14, 07:49 PM
Thankyou for all the info, I'll keep these things in mind once I go looking to learn to shoot a bow and things.

Apparently whatever is in those youtube videos isn't available in the US, it wouldn't let me watch those unfortunately. :(

Try these two then: Drawing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIC7OD792iQ), dynamic posture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm5bAe3Tlow).

The drawing one isn't as good in my opnion, but you get an idea of the proper form so you can practise the motions and get an idea of the muscles involved.

fusilier
2016-02-14, 08:01 PM
Around 1565, only 30 out of 111 galleys fighting for Spain were property of the crown, and those 30 were in the hands of private contractors. (https://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwic6aqFtfjKAhWKCBoKHV-mBtgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.raco.cat%2Findex.php%2FManusc rits%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F86866%2F111880&usg=AFQjCNENgAFysN3qS9X-RA_qqjLOYB-ULw&cad=rja) It is true that Felipe II tried to change that, and by 1574 the number of galleys owned by the crown rose to around 300, but from that point if went down again 102 by 1576, to 73 by 1598 and to 65 by 1613.


I don't know how galleys were built in Barcelona's shipyards, but I have never read that they used the Venetian modular style of construction. They had a reputation of making awful galleys in Barcelona during the XVI century. (https://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwic6aqFtfjKAhWKCBoKHV-mBtgQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.raco.cat%2Findex.php%2FManusc rits%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F86866%2F111880&usg=AFQjCNENgAFysN3qS9X-RA_qqjLOYB-ULw&cad=rja)


That's a cool source -- my Spanish is pretty limited, but note the paragraph on pg. 121, that mentions between 1560 and 1565, 600-700 men were employed in Barcelona building galleys. Which would seem to imply a large facility there. Although the same paragraph mentions that in the same period slightly more money was spent in Naples and Sicily building galleys, so perhaps they did prefer galleys constructed in their Italian holdings? According to the same paragraph the monarchy(?) spent 400,000 ducats constructing galleys in Barcelona, and 500,000 ducats in Naples and Sicily.

The statistic you list is actually for 1561 -- shortly after the disastrous defeat at Djerba:

It was Felipe II who led Spain as one of the greatest naval powers of the Mediterranean. At his accession, Philip II was found dependent on others almost entirely to maintain its naval position in the Mediterranean. A list of galleries dated 1561 gave the total of 111. Of these, only 30 belonged to the crown. The rest was up to 22 different owners. In fact, even those belonging to the crown worked under contract with their masters and were in a miserable condition due to lack of funds caused by the wars with France. Only at the end of the war in Europe was Felipe II concentrate on increasing its naval power and this until conflicts on land returned to not hog resources again. France and Flanders always had priority over the Mediterranean. (translated by google)

Given the context of the large loss of vessels at Djerba, combined with the lack of immediate funds to replace them due to the war in France, led to a situation where most galleys were privately owned.

Perhaps more importantly, we should be cautious about making blanket statements ;-) -- as the numbers show there was a considerable amount of variation.

Thanks for the detailed information. I'll try to get through that article as it looks interesting. Perhaps they could quickly ramp up the number of state-owned vessels in times of crisis (like Malta-Lepanto), then let the numbers fall when the crisis was over, and put more reliance upon private owners? Makes sense given the expense of maintaining galleys.

Tiktakkat
2016-02-14, 09:41 PM
The matter of where they got more educated slaves after they had conquered all the Mediterranean basin alwasy bugged me badly. I have sought answers, and I haven't found them. Debtors, criminals and rebels wouldn't be enough; many Greek cities had laws against enslaving their own citizens, criminals would rarely be educated people (and if they were, you didn't want then near your children) and the Greek rarely rebelled...

I guess the only reasonable answer is that there were people somewhere in the Empire who bought children and trained them to be teachers, stewards, musicians and physicians...

I never really contemplated it on that long a term basis. Off the top of my head:
1. The Greeks didn't rebel, but their colonies and members of their diaspora were in regions that did. Those people could wind up enslaved.
2. I would sort of expect that somehow who owned a well-trained Greek tutor would probably have that tutor train one or more of the tutor's children along with his own so he could pass on a Greek tutor to his descendants.
3. IIRC, Cato the Elder wrote a treatise that included notes on buying slaves, training them, then selling them for a profit. (As well as selling old slaves before they were a drain.) Indeed I wouldn't be surprised if there was a market in "fake" Greek "scholars" and such.
4. To some extent the Roman economy began to suffer when it stopped expanding because of the lack of a constant influx of fresh slaves. I don't know if there is any data, but it could be that as the Empire continued, tutors were more often freedmen or even citizens, as there just weren't as many educated slaves outside the imperial bureaucracy.
5. Also, particularly in the Western Empire, mastery of "classical" Latin became more important than Greek, which would also have reduced the need for tutors.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-14, 09:59 PM
Thanks for answering my thoughts, guys.


Carl: I may've missed this being mentioned. One of the major forms of a continuous slave populace is children of your slaves. As long as you have some slaves having kids, you'll have slaves for the next generation, and you can even grow your slave population over time.

Carl
2016-02-15, 02:31 AM
@Mask: Oh i know that, but that of course raises the question of who the slave belongs to then, and who then raises it, who trains it if needed, and who sells it on and so on and so forth. It wasn't so much a question of alternate sources, (well it was but that was the secondary part of the question), as about how any slaves coming into the system would be handled, who'd train them, sell them on, transport them, e.t.c.

TBH the whole thing is a way (oddly enough given what where talking about), to backdoor in a move away from the more evil overlady elements of the cultist's, their less savoury stuff is a big part of the first cultist war, but the second doesn't start for 3 centuries so there's a lot of time for change, and earth has changed a lot in that time frame, i'm now working on a more detailed picture of cultist society and want something a little less "Generic Evil Inc". Which isn't to say they can't be brutally pragmatic, but theres a lot less for the evulz. Especially after the old head of the inner circle who was responsible for the bulk of it got killed by Alice at the abortive attack on earth that started the second cultist war, (since he was the biggest driving force behind a lot of it).

Mr. Mask
2016-02-15, 03:05 AM
Well, the owner of the slave would be the owner of the child, in every system I'm aware of. Generally, the child would just be raised by the slave parents unless the owner wanted to do something different. The owner could sell the children off after they're weaned, raise them into the household, give them their freedom, try to sell off the parents when they get too old to be useful and keep the children instead (that'd be remarkably cruel), and the owner could have the slaves schooled however the owner wished. Could have them tutored or sent to a good school so they'd be valuable when they grow up.

As for who transports or sells them, the household that owns them would probably be expected to take them to the slave market, or you might be able to get the slave market to come over with some heavies to take the slave for you, maybe do the deal at home. The slave traders then would handle the slaves in more or less the same way, but it may be more streamlined for the numbers they're handling. There are probably some slave traders who specialize in training intelligent slaves into more complex roles. They have all the infrastructure set up for housing and transport of slaves typically, or at least know who will handle it for them.

fusilier
2016-02-15, 04:13 AM
How would one keep a matchlock operational in a wet environment like South East Asia? Would a plus sized conical straw hat serve to keep the powder dry and the match lit?

Sorry I missed this -- living in a dry desert, I don't have much experience with matchlocks in the rain. :-) Rain was always a problem for matchlocks. A burning match will be a bit resistant to moisture (the oxygen for the match comes from saltpeter not the air), however, in a downpour it would be tricky.

A large brim hat would probably help when priming the pan, but it would have to be very big when firing. Also if the wind is driving the rain at an angle, it won't be of much help. A mild rain might be ok. Even using a percussion lock muzzle-loading rifle in the rain can get difficult.

If it's a light rain, or it's humid, firing the weapon will help dry it out. Might have a few weak shots, and the fouling will probably be worse, but as you shoot it, and it warms up, it will dry. That's been my experience. While carrying the weapon in the rain, the muzzle is pointed down, and the lock is tucked under the arm. I've seen pictures of 16th century English soldiers doing this with matchlocks, and it was part of standard drill well into the 19th century.

Best advice -- avoid fighting in the rain, and keep your powder dry.

(During the Siege of Malta the Knights of St. John kept crossbows in readiness and used them when it rained)

Storm Bringer
2016-02-15, 05:42 AM
bear in mind, it was possible to emplace cannon on the top decks of warships, which were open air and almost certainly damp most of the time. we know these ships operated in south America and south east Asia, so it was clearly possible to keep the powder dry enough to fire in those climates. that said, we also know it was standard for overnight sentries to fire off their muskets when they came off duty in the morning, to clear out the "old" powder, so their ciearly was at least some concern that the powder would "go off" if left too long (though it may also just have been a simple safety precaution to clear a loaded weapon)


also, note that bows and crossbows were not immune to weather effects either. Their was heavy rain during the build up to the battle of Crecy, and while the English were able to unstring and protect their bows, the merc crossbowmen in the French army either could not or did not protect their crossbows, so when the battle started, the crossbowmen found their bows weren't working properly and lacked power and range, leading to a slaughter by the English archers.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-15, 05:58 AM
With cannon, doesn't the amount of powder and the size of the cannon help to lessen problems of misfire and fouling?

Brother Oni
2016-02-15, 07:29 AM
With cannon, doesn't the amount of powder and the size of the cannon help to lessen problems of misfire and fouling?

Depends on the penetration of moisture into the powder charge. While indeed it could make it easier to clear a spoiled charge if you can get the ignition source to penetrate deep into the dry powder part, it could also make things more dangerous due to the randomness of when smouldering damp powder might reach a dry part (typically when trying to work out if to risk the manual clearance of non-firing cannon).

cobaltstarfire
2016-02-15, 12:03 PM
Try these two then: Drawing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIC7OD792iQ), dynamic posture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm5bAe3Tlow).

The drawing one isn't as good in my opnion, but you get an idea of the proper form so you can practise the motions and get an idea of the muscles involved.

Those ones worked!

It does look like it'll be good exercise for the muscles I need to work on, and a large challenge too, because even just picking up or pulling things, I tend not to use my back muscles...probably what's wrong with them in the first place. I have to really concentrate to get those muscles to engage and pull.

They're also really instructional for drawing someone firing a bow, it's always a little awkward...and the dynamic posture one gives several different angles and a good explanation of the underlying structure and mechanics. Which is very helpful for reference. (also nice cause I know that they're correct coming from here)

Thankyou very much for these videos. :smallbiggrin:

Gnoman
2016-02-15, 05:07 PM
2. Does anyone have any info on typical heights of various calibres of mortar shells at various ranges? As you can probably tell from the prior question i'm working on the cultists crew served weapon setups, (and revising the EFGT's at the same time), but whilst both would have use for mortar's, the range of calibres their going to be using is going to be heavily dependent on how vulnerable to the typical tactical level, (as in several km+ effective range), CIWS system both sides are deploying which is a factor of peak height. But the two sides have quite different systems with very different strengths and weaknesses so, yeah whats good varies.

Are you referring to the trajectory or the physical size of the round? In the former case, you can extrapolate it with the equations here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_of_a_projectile), while the latter is easy enough to look up.

In any case, given the level of tech you've described in this setting, I don't think a mortar is going to be viable - weapon systems capable of downing mortar bombs are already in late development, and the physical makeup of the bomb (because launch energies are so low, it doesn't need a strong construction, so it is essentially just thin sheet metal over explosives) is extremely vulnerable to damage. You'd be better off with some form of howitzer. The old 75mm mountain guns were already pretty portable, and you'd be able to make them even more so with the sort of materials you've already been discussing. Further, using the cargo-hauling drone mechs or super-soldiers that you were talking about would help with the burden of carrying the gun and the ammo. That sort of round has to be much tougher to survive the stress of being fired, so you'd need to put much more energy into it to take it out, so a much heavier CIWS system would be needed than would be the case for a missile or mortar bomb.

fusilier
2016-02-15, 05:31 PM
With cannon, doesn't the amount of powder and the size of the cannon help to lessen problems of misfire and fouling?

You also typically have a crew, swabbing out the bore after each shot, and cleaning the vent (on a muzzle-loading cannon). The main problem with firing a muzzle-loading cannon in the rain would be the kind of ignition system used. Friction primers would probably be fine.

The traditional way of firing one though, was to pour a little bit of powder down the vent (you don't want to fill the vent hole, you just want some priming powder on top of the main charge), pile some powder around the vent hole, and then touch it off with the linstock (matchcord). The idea being to "flash" some powder through the vent. I imagine it would be difficult in heavy rain. As the little experience I had with that method, it certainly took practice in dry conditions to get it right. Too much powder in the vent, and it would be turned into fuze, which means you would have to wait for it to burn down to the main charge.

A quill can also be used -- it's a tube (sometimes literally a quill) with black powder glued around the inside of it, that's inserted into the vent.

Portfire came along in the late 18th century (I think?) -- one artillerist told me it's like using a truck flare to fire a cannon.

The British navy adopted a flintlock system in the 18th century to help reduce the number of misfires at sea, due to the wet conditions and spray.

Galloglaich
2016-02-16, 12:47 AM
You also typically have a crew, swabbing out the bore after each shot, and cleaning the vent (on a muzzle-loading cannon). The main problem with firing a muzzle-loading cannon in the rain would be the kind of ignition system used. Friction primers would probably be fine.

The traditional way of firing one though, was to pour a little bit of powder down the vent (you don't want to fill the vent hole, you just want some priming powder on top of the main charge), pile some powder around the vent hole, and then touch it off with the linstock (matchcord). The idea being to "flash" some powder through the vent. I imagine it would be difficult in heavy rain. As the little experience I had with that method, it certainly took practice in dry conditions to get it right. Too much powder in the vent, and it would be turned into fuze, which means you would have to wait for it to burn down to the main charge.

A quill can also be used -- it's a tube (sometimes literally a quill) with black powder glued around the inside of it, that's inserted into the vent.

Portfire came along in the late 18th century (I think?) -- one artillerist told me it's like using a truck flare to fire a cannon.

The British navy adopted a flintlock system in the 18th century to help reduce the number of misfires at sea, due to the wet conditions and spray.

In medieval paintings of cannons, particularly the feldschlange type, (serpentine, basilisk, or 'field serpent') often portray a kind of wooden shield or cover, which could be raised or lowered. I always wondered what the purpose was, it looked a little too narrow to be a defense against enemy shots and arrows though it could be that too. I wonder if it might help with rain.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/44/f8/c7/44f8c71cdfd8631a9ca4adaa47ac4b60.jpg

You also see some with sort of boxes on them, like this one. Or is it the same thing? Maybe to keep the powder and fuse cord in?

http://www.burgfestivals.de/kronach2008/images/feldlager_cac1.jpg

They also used to deploy smaller cannons on gunwagons or mobile gun-mantlets like this one, which obviously provided protection against the rain as well as enemy marksmen

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/7c/69/d5/7c69d58cb9a7b8c2c96c97ffd45c9d08.jpg

G

fusilier
2016-02-16, 01:01 AM
You also see some with sort of boxes on them, like this one. Or is it the same thing? Maybe to keep the powder and fuse cord in?

That's an ammunition chest (used to keep the powder, any saboted rounds, tools, matchcord, etc.) -- the gun I crewed had one.

I'm guessing the Swiss cannons have a kind of attached mantlet, which might also have helped against the weather. At the very least it looks like it served that function when folded down -- which would help protect the weapon from the weather when not in use (that's actually pretty important too).

Thinking about it, something like a heavy bombard, which isn't going to recoil, you could put up some canvas or a shield of some sort to keep the priming powder dry while firing. However, I get the feeling that they typically just waited for better weather. In a siege that's an option.

Carl
2016-02-16, 07:25 AM
Are you referring to the trajectory or the physical size of the round? In the former case, you can extrapolate it with the equations here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_of_a_projectile), while the latter is easy enough to look up.

In any case, given the level of tech you've described in this setting, I don't think a mortar is going to be viable - weapon systems capable of downing mortar bombs are already in late development, and the physical makeup of the bomb (because launch energies are so low, it doesn't need a strong construction, so it is essentially just thin sheet metal over explosives) is extremely vulnerable to damage. You'd be better off with some form of howitzer. The old 75mm mountain guns were already pretty portable, and you'd be able to make them even more so with the sort of materials you've already been discussing. Further, using the cargo-hauling drone mechs or super-soldiers that you were talking about would help with the burden of carrying the gun and the ammo. That sort of round has to be much tougher to survive the stress of being fired, so you'd need to put much more energy into it to take it out, so a much heavier CIWS system would be needed than would be the case for a missile or mortar bomb.

Thanks for the link, it was projectile height i was interested in, thats going to take some time to work through though, a lot of those sums are giving me headaches just glancing at :p. I'll manage though, it's like any new formulae, gives you headaches till you've used it enough to become familiar.

As for the rest, well both sides field CIWS systems able to handle tube artillery fire just fine, but the need to keep them back where the enemy can't easily spot them to take shots at with missiles means that depending on terrain specifics the horizon for them over the main battle area is going to be between 1200 and 1800 meters up. Anything that does not clear that for very long will never fall into their intercept zone. Thats kinda what i was trying to figure out

Also bear in mind the degree of "super soldiers" running around and the cargo drones aren't quite that ambitious. The Cultists self mobile ammo pouches are mainly volume rather than weight limited, (hence why they keep ammo in them mostly), and they prefer to use the fallen as front line troops because whilst they're stronger than a normal human, their enhanced durability is much more of an advantage. The Cargo MULE's that the EFGT uses would certainly be up to the task of shifting something like that around, but you'd either need to let the MULE carry the ammo and split the howitzer amongst more than 4 men, or use 2 MULE's but then have to bring more men to handle them both since whilst their good for most types of terrain, (4 independently steerable caterpillar tracks plus variable ride height), sometimes their detachable winch, pulleys, and A-Frame are needed. And doing that for 2 of them with 4 men whilst maintaining someone watching your back would be tricky.

That's not to say mountain guns were not considered, (and the EFGT's 90mm design is probably straddling the line anyway), i just felt that given relevant doctrines they didn't offer much.

Anyway i'm going to go mess with those equations after i've had a bath, if you want more details on both sides anti-artillery CIWS capabilities and artillery doctrines just say.

MrZJunior
2016-02-16, 03:16 PM
How accurate were old times war rockets like the Congreve? Could a warship peg another warship at long range?

VoxRationis
2016-02-16, 03:59 PM
Not very accurate at all (though their accuracy improved somewhat over time). A warship hitting another warship... I guess it would depend on the range. A warship, particularly a ship of the line, is a pretty big target, but the maximum range of a Congreve outstrips its accurate range pretty heavily.

Mike_G
2016-02-16, 04:00 PM
How accurate were old times war rockets like the Congreve? Could a warship peg another warship at long range?

Not very accurate at all. They tended to be erratic in flight. The advantage was that they could be easily transported and deployed, much quicker than cannon. But they were usually fired at towns or fortifications or ships at anchor or large static formations.

A warship would do better with guns. A flotilla of longboats with rockets would be a much better use of them. They could give a Marine landing force some portable artillery much easier than lugging a cannon.

But they were individually much less accurate than cannon.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-16, 04:12 PM
How accurate were old times war rockets like the Congreve? Could a warship peg another warship at long range?

in a word, random.


they were, to my knowledge, not able to reliably hit something the size of a French infantry column, which was this big, almost square formation that covered the better part of a football field.

Carl
2016-02-16, 04:16 PM
A bit of reading up suggests they weren't super accurate, but they where mounted in large numbers so that would offset things. Exactly how much i can't say.

Also my mortar trajectory attempts are going poorly :(.

OK got my spreadsheet working, number of schoolboy errors in it. Mostly because excel's method of handling angles gives me fits, so in spent all my time checking for errors there, i was taught to use degrees not radians. Plugged some number in for velocity, hells size and shell weight that i grabbed from wikipedia and a non-specific coefficient of drag for a mortar shell i pulled from google and got a maximum range pretty close, (3.1km vs 3.6), angle of attack lift effect probably account for the missing amount and ceiling was only 800 and odd meters so looks very workable. Typical light battlefield mortars aren't going to clear the interception horizon. Even going upto a much heavier shell with a better ballistic coefficient only produced a 1400m ceiling tied to a 5.4km range.

VoxRationis
2016-02-16, 05:28 PM
So I've often heard that casualties in war are much lower than are frequently depicted in the media. There's a thread in the world-building segment where people have cited that 10% attrition over a campaign is catastrophic.
I'm wondering how this can be, considering the lethality of a battlefield. Even so technologically unsophisticated a conflict as a "push of pike" would seem to me to be difficult to escape from with one's person intact. When archers are firing masses of arrows and battlefield artillery is lobbing projectiles at unsafe speeds into groups of infantry, it would seem to me to be more difficult to survive than to not, but it seems as though historically, soldiering was not in fact that lethal a profession. What gives?

Mr Beer
2016-02-16, 05:34 PM
Casualty rates were often higher than 10% over a campaign, hell sometimes higher than that over a battle. Historically most casualties over an extended war were caused by disease and other campaign risks like weather.

There's a distinction between 'casualty' and 'kill' BTW. Maybe they mean > 10% death rate is really bad? You would very much notice such a death rate in a generation of young men back home.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-16, 06:09 PM
So I've often heard that casualties in war are much lower than are frequently depicted in the media. There's a thread in the world-building segment where people have cited that 10% attrition over a campaign is catastrophic.
I'm wondering how this can be, considering the lethality of a battlefield. Even so technologically unsophisticated a conflict as a "push of pike" would seem to me to be difficult to escape from with one's person intact. When archers are firing masses of arrows and battlefield artillery is lobbing projectiles at unsafe speeds into groups of infantry, it would seem to me to be more difficult to survive than to not, but it seems as though historically, soldiering was not in fact that lethal a profession. What gives?

first off, remember that commanders did not leave their troops exposed to incoming fire if they could avoid it. while battles might last all day, most of the time a large part of both armies would not be fighting, shooting or being shot at. it was (and still is) quite possible to be present at a major battle without either trying to kill an enemy or having the enemy try and kill you.

second, on post gunpowder battlefields, you have to remember that the whole place is literally covered in gun smoke. aiming guns with any degree of certainty is a near impossibility, meaning most fire is blind or area fire into roughly where the foe is.

third, "being a casualty" and "dying" are not the same. a arm wound that hurts like hell and ruins your golf swing may not kill you, but it would make you a causality. also, casualty figures don't always report the same thing. WW1 German casualty figures did not include those wounded who could return to duty in a few days (on the logic the High Command did not need to know that Hans in 3rd company tripped over some barbed wire and needs bandages on his right leg for the next week), so their casualty reports for WW1 battles were lower than the English and French reports, which did include minor wounded.

fourth, get the Hollywood "three square miles of bar room brawling" image of historical combat out of your head. the troops fought in formation, and if you were hurt, you could rely on your friends around you to pull you back form the front and get to you the rear for treatment.


that said, their are plenty of battles where a lot of people died. just remember that bad hygiene and everyday attrition have killed more troops then guns ever have (The leading cause of death in British troops over the period 2000-2015? car crashes), which killed more troops than all operational reasons combined.

Berenger
2016-02-16, 09:33 PM
"10% attrition over a campaign" can be catastrophic or negligible, depending on context.

First, you need to specify how big that force suffering a 10% casualty rate is compared to your overall population (or the part of your population fit for military service). Losing 10% of a large citizen army is different from losing 10% of a small professional army that made up a tiny portion of the overall population in the first place. The latter case will have a much lower impact on society as a whole.

Second, you need to specify what counts as as being "on campaign". In some cases, only a small percentage of troops is expected to carry out the actual fighting, the rest specializes in logistics, support, guard duty etc. In this case, losing 10% of the entire force could translate to losing 100% of all frontline troops.

Third, you need to specify what counts as "catastrophic". Human tragedy? Being unable to reach the immediate strategic goal? A major setback in the war effort? Losing the entire war?

Also, you need to consider what you gain for the loss of these 10%. Around 1800, the european forces occupying St. Domingue during the Haitian Revolution suffered losses of up to 10-22% dead per month between April and October, just because of malaria and yellow fever, with a few combat casualties sprinkled on top. Yet the British and the French kept sending in reinforcements for years because St. Domingue happened to produce half the sugar and coffee in the world.

fusilier
2016-02-16, 10:15 PM
How accurate were old times war rockets like the Congreve? Could a warship peg another warship at long range?

One of the first wargames I ever played was for the American Civil War. It had an appendix at the back which covered unusual weapons including rocket batteries. The text included a first person description which, if I recall correctly, went something like this: the rockets would usually go in roughly the direction they were fired in; that is until they hit the ground, at which point they usually bounced, and could go flying away in any direction -- sometimes right back at those who fired the rockets!

The rules for using a rocket battery were interesting: the player controlling the battery turned his back to the game table, and threw a single d6 over his shoulder. To determine which direction the rockets travelled in, a line was drawn from the battery to the die. The number on the die determined how many feet the rockets travelled in that direction before exploding. :-)

Gnoman
2016-02-17, 08:32 AM
So I've often heard that casualties in war are much lower than are frequently depicted in the media. There's a thread in the world-building segment where people have cited that 10% attrition over a campaign is catastrophic.
I'm wondering how this can be, considering the lethality of a battlefield. Even so technologically unsophisticated a conflict as a "push of pike" would seem to me to be difficult to escape from with one's person intact. When archers are firing masses of arrows and battlefield artillery is lobbing projectiles at unsafe speeds into groups of infantry, it would seem to me to be more difficult to survive than to not, but it seems as though historically, soldiering was not in fact that lethal a profession. What gives?

Once replacements are concerned, it was not that uncommon for a unit to have %300+ losses (an 80 man formation that took 256 casualties over the course of the fight as it kept getting more men supplied to it, for example). The great battlefields of the past were often described as being carpeted with corpses, and there are reliable accounts even before industrial warfare of battles where it took days to count the slain. That said, popular history does greatly exaggerate the lethality of combat. "Hometowner" injuries (wounds that ensure that you can't fight but will heal cleanly in the end) have always been common, digging fast enough will protect you from artillery unless you're absurdly lucky (something like 90% of artillery casualties are inflictied within the first four minutes of a barrage, after that only a direct hit on a foxhole is likely to kill), and -most inportantly-, battles were rare. WWI, where months-long pitched battles over the same ground were a major fixture, is a huge outlier - in other wars such things happened once or twice a year, with most fighting being a couple hours every week or so. Thus, at an army level casualties over an extended period of time will be a lot lower than what one might expect.

snowblizz
2016-02-17, 10:54 AM
So I've often heard that casualties in war are much lower than are frequently depicted in the media. There's a thread in the world-building segment where people have cited that 10% attrition over a campaign is catastrophic.
I'm wondering how this can be, considering the lethality of a battlefield. Even so technologically unsophisticated a conflict as a "push of pike" would seem to me to be difficult to escape from with one's person intact. When archers are firing masses of arrows and battlefield artillery is lobbing projectiles at unsafe speeds into groups of infantry, it would seem to me to be more difficult to survive than to not, but it seems as though historically, soldiering was not in fact that lethal a profession. What gives?
Anyone suggesting soldiering was not in fact a lethal profession is delusional or have been watching Saturday morning live action Robin Hood were no blood is shown.

Hard to say since that's about as broad and generic a statement as one can go. What war, what media, what campaign. Any historical campaign you lost only 10% would have been a miracle of survival and probably entailed 1 day of forced marching from muster grounds to the review where everyone was summarily despatched home because peace broke out.

I get the feeling it is a very broad knee-jerk reaction to other broadly made knee-jerk claims.

I was reading a series of books exploring the development of the Swedish nation from 1000-1720 and almost through the entire period every season they were creating a new army, and not because the previous one was chilling in the warm South living of their plunder in retirement. Many a documented case in Sweden have maybe a 10% survival rate (that particular number is just made up mind), for men conscripted into the army in the wars of the 1600s-1700s. Church books have some places literally emptied of men for the wars, people would run away and take their chances in the wilderness rather than betting on surviving armylife. The main killer was of course disease and privation and not usually battle itself.

That actually leads to something I wanted to talk about here, because at some point, didn't anyone think "gee, would be nice if the guys lived till next year, because we are literally running short of men"?

Granted, given the impressive bouts of incompetence e.g. in the Swedish wars with Russia in the 1500s-1700s I can't entirely discount that everyone in charge were completely delusional but still. Every rational fibre of my body just screams, they must have seen some connections there between disease and campaigning, but why didn't they ever try to do something?

MrZJunior
2016-02-17, 10:58 AM
The rules for using a rocket battery were interesting: the player controlling the battery turned his back to the game table, and threw a single d6 over his shoulder. To determine which direction the rockets travelled in, a line was drawn from the battery to the die. The number on the die determined how many feet the rockets travelled in that direction before exploding. :-)

Sounds like a fun game, doesn't take itself too seriously.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-17, 11:40 AM
Anyone suggesting soldiering was not in fact a lethal profession is delusional or have been watching Saturday morning live action Robin Hood were no blood is shown.

Hard to say since that's about as broad and generic a statement as one can go. What war, what media, what campaign. Any historical campaign you lost only 10% would have been a miracle of survival and probably entailed 1 day of forced marching from muster grounds to the review where everyone was summarily despatched home because peace broke out.

I get the feeling it is a very broad knee-jerk reaction to other broadly made knee-jerk claims.

I was reading a series of books exploring the development of the Swedish nation from 1000-1720 and almost through the entire period every season they were creating a new army, and not because the previous one was chilling in the warm South living of their plunder in retirement. Many a documented case in Sweden have maybe a 10% survival rate (that particular number is just made up mind), for men conscripted into the army in the wars of the 1600s-1700s. Church books have some places literally emptied of men for the wars, people would run away and take their chances in the wilderness rather than betting on surviving armylife. The main killer was of course disease and privation and not usually battle itself.

That actually leads to something I wanted to talk about here, because at some point, didn't anyone think "gee, would be nice if the guys lived till next year, because we are literally running short of men"?

Granted, given the impressive bouts of incompetence e.g. in the Swedish wars with Russia in the 1500s-1700s I can't entirely discount that everyone in charge were completely delusional but still. Every rational fibre of my body just screams, they must have seen some connections there between disease and campaigning, but why didn't they ever try to do something?


first off, no one in that time period actually knew what caused the diseases, which kinda makes it hard to counter (the leading theory was "bad air", which lead people off down the wrong track). As soon as germ theory and modern medicine started spreading, the military were most interested and took note, and made efforts to look after their troops, with resulting increases in troop survival rates.

secondly, the general morality rate was higher, as disease spreading though a city was nearly as common as disease spreading though an army. I'm sure that book series you are reading has plenty of mentions of cholera outbreaks in cities. while in winter quarters, armies generally lived in conditions very similar to civilians, (often, they lived in civilian housing, with a few troops in each house). while in the field, they tried there best, but a lot of the time it was seen as the soldiers job to look after himself, so they tended to have only what they could afford. that, combined with military necessity ("i know that ground is quite swampy, but we need that fortress, so we have to siege it!"), is the most likey reason for troops in poor locations.

third, desertion was rife for most non volunteer armies. while an army may have lost (say) a third of this strength, I bet you a lot of that was soldiers just plain running away.

Carl
2016-02-17, 12:13 PM
first off, no one in that time period actually knew what caused the diseases, which kinda makes it hard to counter (the leading theory was "bad air", which lead people off down the wrong track). As soon as germ theory and modern medicine started spreading, the military were most interested and took note, and made efforts to look after their troops, with resulting increases in troop survival rates.

This so much. Had to cover it in high school history and the degree of lack of knowledge is massive, I forget the exact year it came along but surgeons, doctor's, nurses, e.t.c. didn;t introduce cleansing the hands with anti-bacterials, (well it was some caustic chemical initially that i forget the name of), till very recently. There was no understanding that cleanliness lead to less disease. It was only as early germ theory started to take off that a doctor working a maternity ward that was suffering a serious problem with post birth lethal infections, (the exact disease escapes my memory), he insisted everyone wash their hands in this caustic stuff and despite massive complaints from staff because of what it did to their hands infection and death rates plummeted.

There was also no antibiotics till the development of penicillin in the late 1930's and vaccines are only a couple of centuries old.

For a long time there was no effective understanding of the causes of disease, no method or preemptively preventing catching a disease, and no useful method of treating it once you got infected. Even moderatly serious desieses today like nemonia that are ushually only lethal if your allready weakened where major killers a few centuries ago. the first test of penicillin was on a pneumonia patient.

Mr Beer
2016-02-17, 01:53 PM
Pneumonia was in fact the symptom that killed the 20 million+ victims of the 1918/19 flu pandemic. Back in the day, yeah that would take you out.

Clistenes
2016-02-17, 02:31 PM
This so much. Had to cover it in high school history and the degree of lack of knowledge is massive, I forget the exact year it came along but surgeons, doctor's, nurses, e.t.c. didn;t introduce cleansing the hands with anti-bacterials, (well it was some caustic chemical initially that i forget the name of), till very recently. There was no understanding that cleanliness lead to less disease. It was only as early germ theory started to take off that a doctor working a maternity ward that was suffering a serious problem with post birth lethal infections, (the exact disease escapes my memory), he insisted everyone wash their hands in this caustic stuff and despite massive complaints from staff because of what it did to their hands infection and death rates plummeted.

There was also no antibiotics till the development of penicillin in the late 1930's and vaccines are only a couple of centuries old.

For a long time there was no effective understanding of the causes of disease, no method or preemptively preventing catching a disease, and no useful method of treating it once you got infected. Even moderatly serious desieses today like nemonia that are ushually only lethal if your allready weakened where major killers a few centuries ago. the first test of penicillin was on a pneumonia patient.

The obstetrician you are speaking about was Ignaz Semmelweis, from Austria. It seems Ignaz was a great doctor, but also kind of a jerk, or at least unpolite and caustic, so people disliked him and refused to listen to him. The english doctor Lord Lister was more successful because he was more diplomatic.

I know that during the XVI-XVII centuries surgeons had empirical knowledge of antiseptics; there was a mineral powder they used on bleeding wounds to prevent infections, and a an ointment to use on the skin around bullet wounds. However, people didn't know why those worked, just that they worked. Lacking a systematic, scientific study (no statistics applied to medicine), the adoption of treatments depended on the reputation of individual doctors: If some famous doctor who was known to have saved many patients recommended a remedy, it was adopted. If some poor barber-surgeon who performed bloodlettings discovered a powder that prevented wound infection, nobody heard him.

Hippocrates already recommended to wash your hands before examining a patient or performing surgery. Muslim surgeons used to wash their hands with herbal essences before performing too. It was recommended to wash hands before touching a patient in a medical book published in 1560, in France, so it seems that some doctors were aware that higiene had an effect on survival rates. Most western doctors and surgeons, however, didn't take it seriously until the middle of the XIX century, when microorganisms could be observed and their presence be correlated to that of diseases.

fusilier
2016-02-17, 08:27 PM
Hippocrates already recommended to wash your hands before examining a patient or performing surgery. Muslim surgeons used to wash their hands with herbal essences before performing too. It was recommended to wash hands before touching a patient in a medical book published in 1560, in France, so it seems that some doctors were aware that higiene had an effect on survival rates. Most western doctors and surgeons, however, didn't take it seriously until the middle of the XIX century, when microorganisms could be observed and their presence be correlated to that of diseased.

A fellow reenactor who was a surgeon, and portrays a Civil War surgeon, likes to use the term "surgically clean" -- which he explains as "it looks clean." If it didn't look clean, a quick wiping on the (bloody) apron was usually all that was required . . .

Concerning casualty numbers. A lot of Civil War regiments, by the time they reached front lines, were often down to about half-strength. This was mainly due to disease. Now, it's not necessarily *deaths*, but casualties in general. (Plenty of units in WW1 took tremendous casualties in battles).

fusilier
2016-02-17, 09:22 PM
Sounds like a fun game, doesn't take itself too seriously.

The game was fairly serious, it used lots of tables, three levels of morale, all sorts of detailed modifiers; attempting to take into account good information about the conflict.

I think it was more a question of not taking rocket batteries too seriously! :-)

Templarkommando
2016-02-17, 11:42 PM
Just curious for any input, but what would you say is the bounds of ring diameter in chainmail? I ask because I'm looking at maybe making some in the near future.

Brother Oni
2016-02-18, 03:59 AM
Just curious for any input, but what would you say is the bounds of ring diameter in chainmail? I ask because I'm looking at maybe making some in the near future.

Could I ask what you're making? A mail shirt, hauberk, gloves, jewellery?
Is it intended for show, light contact combat or full contact combat? Is historical authenticity a must?
Are you planning to make riveted or butted mail?

The above will determine what gauge wire (thickness of the links) you’ll need, and an idea of the size of the links.

Too thin a gauge makes the links too weak for contact sparring, but on the other hand, too large a gauge makes it more tiring to close the link and increases the weight.
The smaller the link diameter, the more you need for coverage and the heavier it's going to be. This can be an issue if you’re planning to fight in it all day, especially when it’s hot and sunny (more metal to absorb heat). However, too large a link diameter means you have gaps that weapon point can get through, thus less protection.

If you're after historical authenticity then the standard western style is a 4 in 1 weave, although there are some variations. The Japanese loved mail and there are quite a few different styles that you can use. (they even had two variants of the 4 in 1, their style, so gusari, and the western 4 in 1, nanban gusari). Again, the weave pattern will affect the number and size of links to achieve coverage, although I haven't seen any data on whether different weave patterns offered different levels of protection.
Japanese mail is also the only historical style to use butted/split links along with riveted ones. In the west, riveted was the only historical method of closing links.

There’s also the comfort issue – if making something for jewellery or a bikini (I’m not judging, just saying) that’s going to be worn next to skin rather than over a gambeson or other clothing, you’d want thin gauge wire, made of some light non-allogenic material with a fairly small link diameter.
If you’re making something for combat then you’d basically want steel for strength as that's going to be worn over a gambeson or other padding – anything else, you can diversify into other materials.

Actual link sizes depended a bit on the period. In Saxon to Norman periods, generally mail was about 6 - 12 mm diameter with 1.3 - 2.88 mm gauge wire but I've seen sizes ranging from 16mm with 14 gauge wire all the way down to 3mm with 24 gauge wire. For a mail shirt, depending on the size of the links and the desired coverage, you'll need somewhere in the region of about 10 thousand links and I've seen values as high as 45 thousand for small links and a full hauberk down to the knees.
The most ridiculous one I've heard of is a haubergon in a museum in Vienna with links so small that you couldn't get a pin through with an estimated 200,000 links.

Edit: Regardless of what you make and how you make it, for the love of all that is holy, please take the time to close your links properly and remove all burrs, especially if you're making jewellery or worse, a bikini.

Galloglaich
2016-02-18, 10:28 AM
The obstetrician you are speaking about was Ignaz Semmelweis, from Austria. It seems Ignaz was a great doctor, but also kind of a jerk, or at least unpolite and caustic, so people disliked him and refused to listen to him. The english doctor Lord Lister was more successful because he was more diplomatic.

I know that during the XVI-XVII centuries surgeons had empirical knowledge of antiseptics; there was a mineral powder they used on bleeding wounds to prevent infections, and a an ointment to use on the skin around bullet wounds. However, people didn't know why those worked, just that they worked. Lacking a systematic, scientific study (no statistics applied to medicine), the adoption of treatments depended on the reputation of individual doctors: If some famous doctor who was know to have saved many patients recommended a remedy, it was adopted. If some poor barber-surgeon who performed bloodlettings discovered a powder that prevented wound infection, nobody heard him.

Hippocrates already recommended to wash your hands before examining a patient or performing surgery. Muslim surgeons used to wash their hands with herbal essences before performing too. It was recommended to wash hands before touching a patient in a medical book published in 1560, in France, so it seems that some doctors were aware that higiene had an effect on survival rates. Most western doctors and surgeons, however, didn't take it seriously until the middle of the XIX century, when microorganisms could be observed and their presence be correlated to that of diseased.

Not only Hippocrates, but also Galen and Avicenna, the two other authorities ('auctores') that all medical students studied, also recommended washing, using strong vinegar to clean things, and boiling bandages and surgical instruments before use. This was taught in Universities in Europe since the 11th Century. They didn't know about germ theory but they were not stupid.

They also definitely did associate with with disease. The 'bad air' thing that gets bandied about as proof of medieval superstition was simply their theory (via Aristotle) that things that smelled rotten were rotten, and rotten things could make you sick - which is true. This is why they had public water systems in the cities (except certain ones like Paris and London), sewerage systems and garbage pickup. And why they relegated smelly industries like abbatoir's, dye works and paper mills to outside the city walls.

The Muslim soldier and diarist Usamah Ibn Munqidh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usama_ibn_Munqidh) made note in his memoirs a couple of times that "Franks" used to wash wounds with strong vinegar, and he said this helped with healing.


I think death rates for armies started to soar with conscription and the greater use of unskilled serfs starting in the 16th Century. In medieval period, it was well known that a siege that lasted too long would bring outbreaks of disease. Usually once that started the siege would end via either mass desertion or the soldiers forcing the leadership to withdraw. Happened hundreds of times.

G

Gnoman
2016-02-18, 11:40 AM
There was also no antibiotics till the development of penicillin in the late 1930's and vaccines are only a couple of centuries old.


Sulfonamides were discovered few years later than penicillin (Sulfa was introduced for medical use around 1934, while penicillin was patented in 1928), but were in widespread use in WWII while penicillin wasn't mass produced until 1944, and the first drug to directly target the cause of an infection was Arsphenamine, an antipsyphilis drug introduced in 1911.

Tobtor
2016-02-18, 11:47 AM
Not only Hippocrates, but also Galen and Avicenna, the two other authorities ('auctores') that all medical students studied, also recommended washing, using strong vinegar to clean things, and boiling bandages and surgical instruments before use. This was taught in Universities in Europe since the 11th Century. They didn't know about germ theory but they were not stupid.

They also definitely did associate with with disease. The 'bad air' thing that gets bandied about as proof of medieval superstition was simply their theory (via Aristotle) that things that smelled rotten were rotten, and rotten things could make you sick - which is true. This is why they had public water systems in the cities (except certain ones like Paris and London), sewerage systems and garbage pickup. And why they relegated smelly industries like abbatoir's, dye works and paper mills to outside the city walls.

The Muslim soldier and diarist Usamah Ibn Munqidh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usama_ibn_Munqidh) made note in his memoirs a couple of times that "Franks" used to wash wounds with strong vinegar, and he said this helped with healing.


I think death rates for armies started to soar with conscription and the greater use of unskilled serfs starting in the 16th Century. In medieval period, it was well known that a siege that lasted too long would bring outbreaks of disease. Usually once that started the siege would end via either mass desertion or the soldiers forcing the leadership to withdraw. Happened hundreds of times.

G

I agree, cleanlyness is not new. Bathhouses was widespread in medieval Europe (before fundamentalistic "reforms" in Northern Europe banned the practise). And as he says it was common to keep medical gear clean for doctors (and monks before that). However, there are also many authentich stories of barber surgeons, and most of them was not educated at Universities. Some were good, some were horrible, most was adequate and better than nothing (aparently the oldest traceable ancestor I have was a barber surgeon in a danish town in the end of the 15th century).

However, there is also plenty of really weird stuff they did in the medieval period (and long afterwards). There are many, many examples of bleeding (by leeches or otherwise) of people who definitely did not benefit (I have even seen cases were people with battle wounds were forcefully bled....). Similar they had a believe that consuming blood of young people was beneficial, and at executions in Germany and Denmark people flocked to get their hands on human blood... The theory of the four "fluids" and "tembers" had some really weird consequences.

Also, while many towns had water supply (even some provincial Danish towns), it was rather patchy and mainly for major merchants/upper class. Wells was still the primary water source in towns like Lübeck etc.

Carl
2016-02-18, 12:28 PM
@Gnoman:

Heh shows the gaps in my education there ;p.

Since you seem to be the main person willing to answer stuff about my EFGT questions i was wondering if you could give me an idea of how something like a 60mm mortar round compares to something like a 40mm grenade, (40x51 or similar). I can dig out kill radius data on this sort of thing quite easily, (and have done so), but that doesn't really give any clear idea of how much more destructive a near miss or direct hit would be.

I'm mainly asking because in the process of giving the EFGT itself a thorough overhaul at the crew served weapons level i decided to sanity check some assumptions i made when doing the initial work before i pinned a lot of cultist capabilities down in more than general terms and that in combination with a recent video i saw of a 40mm multi-shot, (the one's with the revolver setup that are hand carried and fired, not full grenade machine guns), grenade launcher IRL that was firing much faster than i assumed they where. I originally went with such a huge grenade launcher, (with attendant low velocity, range, and heavy weight and recoil), on the assumption that the realistic rate of fire wouldn't be that much lower due to both having to pause for a second or two after each shot. But if the smaller calibre can fire a half a dozen rounds to the 60mm's 1 or 2 rounds in a given time frame with a lighter weapon and lighter ammo the big launcher looks a lot less impressive.

Naturally i'm mostly interested in figuring the kind of effects they'd have on Fallen which as noted previously are really really tough to put down and keep down. The general thinking was that the 60mm would offer greater damage on target if it missed, (with more multi-hit potential), and much greater damage on anything it did directly hit. But with the RoF difference 40mm is looking good again and some more filling in of backstory info makes it a round the EFGT could have gone for more easily than when i first worked through their gear.

Though to clarify a point that i think might have been unclear, their, (fallen), ability to survive massively powerful hits isn;t so much down to the hit "bouncing off" in most cases, but rather a combination of an ability to continue functioning despite massive injuries that would be instantly lethal to a normal human, an ability to regenerate damage taken in a very short space of time, and an actual ability to take little or rarely no damage from somthing. There's no typical combination for any fallen, (it varies from individual to individual), but only the most extreme examples in the typical power level range, (extreme power level examples like Alice and the other members of the old inner circle do exist however), are able to shrug off most attacks that would seriously hurt a human with no damage. As such whilst you'd need some kind of weird minigun to get enough rounds out in a reasonable, (i.e. non-multi-hour), time frame you could kill most fallen with 9mm pistol ammo if you wanted to.

Gnoman
2016-02-18, 02:46 PM
@Gnoman:

Heh shows the gaps in my education there ;p.

Since you seem to be the main person willing to answer stuff about my EFGT questions i was wondering if you could give me an idea of how something like a 60mm mortar round compares to something like a 40mm grenade, (40x51 or similar). I can dig out kill radius data on this sort of thing quite easily, (and have done so), but that doesn't really give any clear idea of how much more destructive a near miss or direct hit would be.


A US GRENADE, 40MM, HE, M381 contains 32 grams of Composition B explosive. A US MORTAR, 60MM, HE, M720 contains 190 grams of Composition B. Since they use the same explosive, it is simply a matter of ratios, so the mortar round is roughly equal to six grenades in explosive force. Since the mortar round has a much heaver case and will produce more shrapnel, the shrapnel effect will probably be much more than six times greater, but that is harder to quantify.

snowblizz
2016-02-18, 02:49 PM
I'm sure that book series you are reading has plenty of mentions of cholera outbreaks in cities.
Actually no. Cholera did not come to Europe until the 1800s.

Normally they talk about "field diseases" or "army sickness" (because as noted they did not have the knowledge we have today) which can't always today even be accurately identified based on the sketchy descriptions. It's just that better hygiene and quarters did eventually come. It's constantly repeating the same bad idea year after year that puzzles me. They weren't totally ignorant after all. I'm mostly using Swedish examples as I'm familiar with them and in these cases cannot be accused of "picking on" someone else. ;P

The Swedish took almost 200 years of constant warfare against the Danish before they finally relocated their main naval operations base to the south of the country instead of giving the Danish fleet 2-3 months of free reign in the Baltic, ignoring the fact that trying to get large warships into the Stockholm archipelago is challenging even in perfect weather. One would think after the first

During the 25 Year War, year after year armies were sent to the east, badly equipped (if at all), trying to capture strong castles. Unsurprisingly the only result was needing a new army next year.

During the early 1800s when the Russian empire invaded the eastern part of Sweden (aka Finland) one reason the Swedish army couldn't defend it was because for some reason the idea of shipping stores over the Bothnian gulf didn't occur to anyone until it was too late.

Similarly really it is surprising it took so long for logistics to actually be considered important. IIRC the French armies of Ludvig XIV had a distinct advantage for some years because they created military depots on the Flanders front. While everyone else were mustering armies and trying to buy cloth for uniforms or whatever the French were marching out and laying siege to fortresses.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-18, 02:49 PM
I agree, cleanlyness is not new. Bathhouses was widespread in medieval Europe (before fundamentalistic "reforms" in Northern Europe banned the practise). And as he says it was common to keep medical gear clean for doctors (and monks before that). However, there are also many authentich stories of barber surgeons, and most of them was not educated at Universities. Some were good, some were horrible, most was adequate and better than nothing (aparently the oldest traceable ancestor I have was a barber surgeon in a danish town in the end of the 15th century).

However, there is also plenty of really weird stuff they did in the medieval period (and long afterwards). There are many, many examples of bleeding (by leeches or otherwise) of people who definitely did not benefit (I have even seen cases were people with battle wounds were forcefully bled....). Similar they had a believe that consuming blood of young people was beneficial, and at executions in Germany and Denmark people flocked to get their hands on human blood... The theory of the four "fluids" and "tembers" had some really weird consequences.

Also, while many towns had water supply (even some provincial Danish towns), it was rather patchy and mainly for major merchants/upper class. Wells was still the primary water source in towns like Lübeck etc.

it is also worth pointing out that a their was a substantial body of folk medicine that had practical and empirically tested remedies for a wide range of problems, which included a lot of herbal medicine. the farmers might not understand the mechanisms that were in play, but they knew that if you boiled the leaves of plant X and drank the tea that made, your pain was lessened.

also, it was understood that certain breeds of maggots only ate dead flesh, which was a useful method of "cleaning" a wound of potential infection sources (as seen in Galdiator)

they had methods of treating wide range of problems. A lot of these treatments were less effective than contemporary methods, but some basically were as good (thiers only so many ways you can set a bone, for example). people tend to forget this because these methods were recorded orally ("well, grandma always said a shot of vodka mixed with pepper could clear up a cold...."*), and when modern, recorded medical methods came along, these folk remedies were either co-opted into the mainstream, or forgotten in preference for what the Smart Men in London said was good.



*real folk trick, by the way. tried it, it tastes horrid, but it does actually help. or make you not care so much, eithers good. :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Templarkommando
2016-02-18, 03:43 PM
Could I ask what you're making? A mail shirt, hauberk, gloves, jewellery?
Is it intended for show, light contact combat or full contact combat? Is historical authenticity a must?
Are you planning to make riveted or butted mail?

The above will determine what gauge wire (thickness of the links) you’ll need, and an idea of the size of the links.

Too thin a gauge makes the links too weak for contact sparring, but on the other hand, too large a gauge makes it more tiring to close the link and increases the weight.
The smaller the link diameter, the more you need for coverage and the heavier it's going to be. This can be an issue if you’re planning to fight in it all day, especially when it’s hot and sunny (more metal to absorb heat). However, too large a link diameter means you have gaps that weapon point can get through, thus less protection.

If you're after historical authenticity then the standard western style is a 4 in 1 weave, although there are some variations. The Japanese loved mail and there are quite a few different styles that you can use. (they even had two variants of the 4 in 1, their style, so gusari, and the western 4 in 1, nanban gusari). Again, the weave pattern will affect the number and size of links to achieve coverage, although I haven't seen any data on whether different weave patterns offered different levels of protection.
Japanese mail is also the only historical style to use butted/split links along with riveted ones. In the west, riveted was the only historical method of closing links.

There’s also the comfort issue – if making something for jewellery or a bikini (I’m not judging, just saying) that’s going to be worn next to skin rather than over a gambeson or other clothing, you’d want thin gauge wire, made of some light non-allogenic material with a fairly small link diameter.
If you’re making something for combat then you’d basically want steel for strength as that's going to be worn over a gambeson or other padding – anything else, you can diversify into other materials.

Actual link sizes depended a bit on the period. In Saxon to Norman periods, generally mail was about 6 - 12 mm diameter with 1.3 - 2.88 mm gauge wire but I've seen sizes ranging from 16mm with 14 gauge wire all the way down to 3mm with 24 gauge wire. For a mail shirt, depending on the size of the links and the desired coverage, you'll need somewhere in the region of about 10 thousand links and I've seen values as high as 45 thousand for small links and a full hauberk down to the knees.
The most ridiculous one I've heard of is a haubergon in a museum in Vienna with links so small that you couldn't get a pin through with an estimated 200,000 links.

Edit: Regardless of what you make and how you make it, for the love of all that is holy, please take the time to close your links properly and remove all burrs, especially if you're making jewellery or worse, a bikini.

My plan at this point is to make butted chainmail shirt. At this point I don't have any plans to use it for an SCA or LARP-style recreation fight, but I would like it to be at least marginally functional. Right now the only wire that I have handy is a 17 gauge galvanized steel wire, but I was looking at getting something closer to a 14 gauge.

Carl
2016-02-18, 04:38 PM
Cheers gnoman. I think i will step it down to 40mm. Whilst the 60mm will probably be somewhat more destructive, it's not my some large multiplier but by more modest amounts. Never thought to look up the explosive payload "Doh!". And for all the extra punch your giving up some area coverage versus standard troops, probably 2/3 of the engagement range, (even with recoil compensation getting a velocity able to give more than a couple of hundred meters range is going to be nigh impossible), and adding a lot of weapon weight, (which reduces ammo carry capacity a fair ways), whilst reducing margin of error on a single shot. Sure you can certainly fire a second and even probably third shot before the 40mm can get another set of 6 off, but that always struck me as optimistic from a weapon handling weight PoV. Besides switching to 40mm makes doubling up on launchers a lot more realistic since it gives the squad so much more ammo carriage capacity back.

I'll sit down and go through things again with that assumption now. Expect me to post some revised EFGT and Cultist Company level organisations for basic sanity checking in the next day or three.

Carl
2016-02-18, 05:05 PM
Minor question for the military types out there. What's considered "heavy" for the force required to **** the bolt of a weapon after you've reloaded it?

Storm Bringer
2016-02-18, 05:29 PM
To me, If you have to reposition yourself form the firing posture to get sufficient leverage to re-**** the weapon, its got a "heavy" pull.

if you can do it while keeping the weapon in the firing posture and aimed at the target, its light.

Galloglaich
2016-02-19, 01:45 AM
I agree, cleanlyness is not new. Bathhouses was widespread in medieval Europe (before fundamentalistic "reforms" in Northern Europe banned the practise). And as he says it was common to keep medical gear clean for doctors (and monks before that). However, there are also many authentich stories of barber surgeons, and most of them was not educated at Universities. Some were good, some were horrible, most was adequate and better than nothing (aparently the oldest traceable ancestor I have was a barber surgeon in a danish town in the end of the 15th century).

I've been doing a lot of research on forensic data and records of incidents of violence, published a couple of academic papers on it, and the recovery rate from moderate wounds was very high. I'm not sure how precisely (they don't often give a lot of details of how this was done) but basic barber-surgeons seem to have been able to heal sword wounds. People seemed to also be able to tell if the barber surgeon knew what they were doing. For example, Bartholomew Sastrow noted that when his brother was injured by a sword cut from a highway robber (slicing a piece of his skull the size of a coin) the first surgeon they took him to stabilized him and another guy with a throat wound, but didn't seem to know what he was doing so they brought him to a second guy in another town who healed both of them.

People did have some odd beliefs as you note below, and sometimes certain treatments (bleeding, as you noted) were done even when not effective, but they weren't stupid. Surgeons who killed all their patients got a bad reputation really quickly.

One thing that seems to come up with healing sword wounds is the use of salt and fat. Sometimes beaver fat, bear fat, or goose fat. In Bernal Diaz diaries of the Conquistador invasion of Mexico they actually used human fat on a couple of occasions (other types being hard to find). Probably a great way to get a really bad disease.



However, there is also plenty of really weird stuff they did in the medieval period (and long afterwards). There are many, many examples of bleeding (by leeches or otherwise) of people who definitely did not benefit (I have even seen cases were people with battle wounds were forcefully bled....). Similar they had a believe that consuming blood of young people was beneficial, and at executions in Germany and Denmark people flocked to get their hands on human blood... The theory of the four "fluids" and "tembers" had some really weird consequences.

I think we could get a lot more insight into how they did healing, since there are tons of these books they call something like 'krautbooks', it was a type of housebook specifically to do with healing, they had a lot of alchemy, herbal stuff (including pressings from leaves of different plants to show you what they looked like) and recipes for medicines. I've seen a few from the 16th Century first hand. About half of it is basically just moonshining recipes but the other stuff looks like there is a bunch of useful information in there. There are hundreds, probably thousands of these books in German alone, sitting on University library shelves and in private collections, which haven't been translated yet let alone deciphered so to speak. We could probably learn a lot about the medicine they used. Already even from some backwater areas they have already found recipes that effectively kill MRSA (http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/07/anglo-saxon-mrsa/) and intestinal parasites.



Also, while many towns had water supply (even some provincial Danish towns), it was rather patchy and mainly for major merchants/upper class. Wells was still the primary water source in towns like Lübeck etc.

I think you are confusing two different things on that last part though, one is the town water supply, the other is water supply connections into private homes. The latter was indeed rare and limited to the wealthiest families (as well as some abbeys and also a few guild halls and so on). But the former seems to have been pretty ubiquitous.

Every large Central or Northern European town I've investigated closely so far, including Gdansk / Danzig, Elbing, Torun, Prague, Wroclaw / Breslau, Augsburg, Strasbourg, Bruges, and Zurich - even Dublin had a fairly sophisticated public water system with pipes made out of hollowed out wooden logs. I've even found drawings showing how they hollowed out the logs with a waterwheel driven drill. In some cases they were still using the wooden pipes until the 19th Century. They still dig them up from time to time

http://static.bangordailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/10075461_H15578023-600x380.jpg?strip=all

There are maps of these from 4 towns that I've found so far and they cover pretty much the whole town. Most of the pipes lead to public fountains, roughly one on each street intersection. So people would go outside their house and collect water from the fountain. As you noted, wealthier people had water diverted directly into their house and some had running taps, even heated water. But that was something limited to the rich people.

But even smaller towns usually had a clean water supply. Unlike in genre fiction and TV and so on, people didn't live on muddy water, you die pretty quickly that way.

This is one of the two large public water fountains in Dubrovnik, Croatia, built by an Italian mason named Onofrio Giordano della Cava in 1438. Dubrovnik didn't have a large local water supply so the aqueduct which fed it was 7 miles long.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/Onofrio%27s_Fountain%2C_Dubrovnik%2C_Croatia.JPG/640px-Onofrio%27s_Fountain%2C_Dubrovnik%2C_Croatia.JPG

This is a smaller one also from Dubrovnik, more typical of the neighborhood fountain you would find in other towns and villages. You still find these in operation in several medieval villages I've been to in France.

http://images.travelpod.com/tw_slides/ta00/d39/0e8/fountain-dubrovnik.jpg

All of these towns had strict laws and regulations controlling their water supply, usually one or two springs that either originated near the town walls or nearby. They also had wells and cisterns but that was for water used for things other than drinking (like bathing, washing the streets and various industrial uses)

I'd be surprised if Lubeck didn't have a system like this but I don't have sources for them yet. I'm sure they exist. Maybe I can find something.

The public water system in Augsburg had 4 towers into which water was elevated by waterwheels and from there distributed under pressure.

The need for water distributed throughout the town was two fold - one for drinking and to prevent disease (which they did grasp at that time, connecting filth to disease was fundamental to their outlook), but the other maybe even more important, was to put out fires. It was sort of their early version of a fire hydrant.

G

Brother Oni
2016-02-19, 05:47 AM
My plan at this point is to make butted chainmail shirt. At this point I don't have any plans to use it for an SCA or LARP-style recreation fight, but I would like it to be at least marginally functional. Right now the only wire that I have handy is a 17 gauge galvanized steel wire, but I was looking at getting something closer to a 14 gauge.

In which case, some suggestions:

When measuring yourself for the shirt, make sure you're wearing whatever padding you plan to have under it, or at least a decent thickness winter coat/jumper. Be a bit generous in your measurements - it's far less demoralising to remove links than it is to weave more and it makes it easier to get in and out of.

Set aside a lot of time: This short t-shirt sized lorica hamata took 40 hours to make over 4 months. It consists of ~24,000 links, only half of which were riveted (the Romans had a method for punching out whole links, which essentially halved the amount of work). While butted mail is much quicker to make than riveted, (somewhere from half to a tenth of the time depending on the toughness of the wire and experience of the maker), it's a lot harder on your hands.

http://www.legionxxiv.org/loricapage/mailecrean2.jpg

Get two pairs of decent or good quality needle nose pliers with comfortable handles. Your hands will thank you for it.

You may will want a stand or something to show off the piece of kit that you've spent hours working on. Make sure it's sturdy as the shirt will weigh a decent amount and is made of metal.

If or when you're making a longer shirt (down to your thighs), get a good belt to wear on the outside of the shirt and slightly hang the shirt over it. This will help distribute the weight onto your hips and off your shoulders:

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/pix/t_mail.jpg

warty goblin
2016-02-19, 11:36 AM
Get two pairs of decent or good quality needle nose pliers with comfortable handles. Your hands will thank you for it.


This cannot be overstated. I've also found it useful to have one large pair and one small pair of pliers. I'm right handed, so I keep the small pair in my right hand for picking up links and so forth, and the large is in my left to hold the new link in place and provide better leverage. This may not work for riveted mail, but it's a substantial help for butted. It also pays to think very carefully about how you prepare the links, and how to reduce the number of steps per link. Half the links in 4 in 1 mesh don't need to ever be opened, so close them before you add them to the mail. The other half can, if you do it right, only be opened and closed once. I like to pre-open these links so I can add them very quickly to the main piece, stick the appropriate number of pre-closed links through them, the close them and move on.

Carl
2016-02-19, 11:43 AM
To me, If you have to reposition yourself form the firing posture to get sufficient leverage to re-**** the weapon, its got a "heavy" pull.

if you can do it while keeping the weapon in the firing posture and aimed at the target, its light.

Not really very helpful tbh ;p. But the original question was asked late at night with my brain half out of gear.

A better question, if a weapon is light enough to easily heft in the manner of an assault rifle or carbine and the cocking force required is about the same as the weight of the weapon, is that light, heavy, or completely unreasonable.


Background: In the process of setting up EFGT crew served weapons stuff i decided to check my calculator math on their micro-grenade chucker, (think somthing like the XM307, but with a much better RoF, and smoothbore with fin-stabilized ammo), via excel, (one of the advantages of an API blowback operation is you can more or less math the thing out, there's some drift potential both ways, but that should tend to cancel out i expect), and realised my initial sums had given a totally bogus cocking force. For the crew served version thats not an issue, using blank rifle cartridges in a pyrotechnic cocking system given they need to take all that time to assemble and disassemble shouldn't be a huge issue i imagine. But power armoured SOAS troops use a version with a top feed mag as opposed to side belt feed as an assault rifle and i was/am wondering about their ability to manually **** the thing, since if pyrotechnics jams thats really gonna slow them down, and their primary mission demands extreme rapid advances, (10-12 miles in 40-50 minutes, they can do double or more that unopposed depending on terrain), so they really can't afford that, they need assault rifle like behaviour out of their guns.

Gnoman
2016-02-19, 03:49 PM
As long as it's semi-automatic, if you can operate it without breaking it you'll probably be OK - you're only going to be manually working the action before you fire the first shot in a day, or if you're clearing a jam.

Carl
2016-02-19, 04:02 PM
As long as it's semi-automatic, if you can operate it without breaking it you'll probably be OK - you're only going to be manually working the action before you fire the first shot in a day, or if you're clearing a jam.

Well in this case it's very much an automatic, hence the comparison to the xm307 instead of the xm109, (which i'm guessing you got confused with :p). To be fair given the action, (API Blowback requires firing from an open bolt), there no reason the feed system couldn't be set to cut off the firing cycle once the feed became empty though which would equate to the same since that would leave the bolt in the rearward position after the last round was expended. Cheers.

Brother Oni
2016-02-20, 04:05 AM
This cannot be overstated. I've also found it useful to have one large pair and one small pair of pliers. I'm right handed, so I keep the small pair in my right hand for picking up links and so forth, and the large is in my left to hold the new link in place and provide better leverage. This may not work for riveted mail, but it's a substantial help for butted. It also pays to think very carefully about how you prepare the links, and how to reduce the number of steps per link. Half the links in 4 in 1 mesh don't need to ever be opened, so close them before you add them to the mail. The other half can, if you do it right, only be opened and closed once. I like to pre-open these links so I can add them very quickly to the main piece, stick the appropriate number of pre-closed links through them, the close them and move on.

I've been shown two slightly different ways of making butted 4 in 1 mail:

The first one I was taught was making mini-units of 5 links, consisting of 4 closed links inside one then weaving that into your existing shirt. One issue with this method is that you have to get the alignment of the links right when you're threading them in, but it does let you proceed quite rapidly as you can bring a bag of links and pliers almost anywhere and bang out a couple of these smaller units whenever you have a few spare minutes.

The other method is the one you've mentioned where you weave the links directly into the shirt. As you've said, ideally you want to close half the links properly first then slot them in before closing and moving on and this is also the method used by a blacksmith I know.

Gnoman
2016-02-20, 07:33 PM
Well in this case it's very much an automatic, hence the comparison to the xm307 instead of the xm109, (which i'm guessing you got confused with :p). To be fair given the action, (API Blowback requires firing from an open bolt), there no reason the feed system couldn't be set to cut off the firing cycle once the feed became empty though which would equate to the same since that would leave the bolt in the rearward position after the last round was expended. Cheers.

I left out the "at least" before semi-automatic, with my point being that heavy cocking force is only an issue if you have to do it constantly.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-21, 05:49 AM
If the Germans and Americans had developed nuclear weapons five years earlier than they appeared, what would WW2 look like? Hydrogen bombs are still a ways off unless the war accelerates their development, and ICBMs should still be in their infancy.

Gnoman
2016-02-21, 06:15 AM
If the Germans and Americans had developed nuclear weapons five years earlier than they appeared, what would WW2 look like? Hydrogen bombs are still a ways off unless the war accelerates their development, and ICBMs should still be in their infancy.

By themselves, they would be of limited use. Germany was literally incapable (as in, it could not be done with their industrial base) of building a bomber that could carry the bomb while the only Allied aircraft that could do it was the B-29, which was rushed into service as fast as humanly possible. With no way to deliver the bomb by air, the only option would be to do it by land (good luck stealthily moving a ten-ton crate anywhere close to what you want to blow up) or by sea (the only practical choice, as you could theoretically sneak it in on a freighter or a U-boat, although in either case the most you could do is blow up a harbor.

As to the effect of doing so, it would be less impressive than you would expect. If detonated directly at the center of the Brooklyn Bridge (for a convienent reference point) the fireball would (on a modern map, this is intended for scale) extend almost to either end of the bridge, while the overpressure wave would extend just past New York City Hall in one direction and just past St. James Cathedral in the other direction. This would, in Modern New York, kill about 82,000 people and injure about 200,00 more. Of course, detonation at water level would greatly reduce this. This is badly damaging, but wouldn't cripple the war effort - the most likely effect would be a full-scale chemical-weapons exchange.

Now, if you assume that they got the bomber and rocket tech 5 years ahead of schedule as well, Germany loses the war by the end of 1940, as Ploesti would have simply ceased to exist, followed by the obliteration of one major transport hub per month. Germany would be unable to reply to this as they never had the capability to build a nuclear armed bomber, and giving them V1s and V2s in 1939 wouldn't change the fact that you'd need another 5 years to scale them up to carry a bomb.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-21, 06:44 AM
On the subject, Gnoman, have you seen what early Cold War nuclear plans were like? That is, when it was primarily bombers and not ICBMs.

Tobtor
2016-02-21, 07:01 AM
People did have some odd beliefs as you note below, and sometimes certain treatments (bleeding, as you noted) were done even when not effective, but they weren't stupid.

Lets agree that bleeding is NEVER "effective" at solving medical problems (yes, I know a few rare diseases require bleeding, but NOT the way practised in the classical period, the medieval period or 19th century). Neither is giving mercury as medicine (also routinely practised). Bleeding was for more than two millennia one of the most widespread "cures" for a widespread range of illnesses, it was routinely practised to the point of the patient feinting (and sometimes beyond).

While some of the herbal lore have been shown to be effective, most of it is crab. Mercury is a clear example, but many poisonousness plants were also used regularly (in situations were they would no have any positive effects).

But I agree that (most) barber-surgeons was better tan nothing (and I think I stated as such).


I think you are confusing two different things on that last part though, one is the town water supply, the other is water supply connections into private homes. The latter was indeed rare and limited to the wealthiest families (as well as some abbeys and also a few guild halls and so on). But the former seems to have been pretty ubiquitous.

Every large Central or Northern European town I've investigated closely so far, including Gdansk / Danzig, Elbing, Torun, Prague, Wroclaw / Breslau, Augsburg, Strasbourg, Bruges, and Zurich - even Dublin had a fairly sophisticated public water system with pipes made out of hollowed out wooden logs. I've even found drawings showing how they hollowed out the logs with a waterwheel driven drill. In some cases they were still using the wooden pipes until the 19th Century. They still dig them up from time to time


I know. Even provincial Danish towns have had wooden pipes from time to time. However, the water demand of a town is huge, and wells also provided a lot of water, event for those with well developed pipe systems. Of course it is also geographical dependant (in general some areas well wasn't effective enough, and then pipes/aqueducts was installed). And ff course many of the fountains are from the 15th and 16th century, and town infrastructure was different in the 12th and 13th century (and these centuries is ALSO medieval).

Note: I am not saying they didn't have fountains, just that they got more toward the late period.


But even smaller towns usually had a clean water supply. Unlike in genre fiction and TV and so on, people didn't live on muddy water, you die pretty quickly that way.


On this I agree. Though its known that the majority of people did have a series of water carried illnesses (such as intestine worms/parasites and so on). Similar recent investigations show that almost all skeletons from town cemeteries have sign of weak blood-poisoning (from lead in the aqueducts/pipes, and in the lead glazed pottery). So much lead that it would reduce inteligence in children born in the towns (rural districts was less afflicted).

So while I hate the portrayed "medieval" from movies/tv, we cant go in the opposite direction and paint a pretty picture either.

Clistenes
2016-02-21, 07:09 AM
By themselves, they would be of limited use. Germany was literally incapable (as in, it could not be done with their industrial base) of building a bomber that could carry the bomb while the only Allied aircraft that could do it was the B-29, which was rushed into service as fast as humanly possible. With no way to deliver the bomb by air, the only option would be to do it by land (good luck stealthily moving a ten-ton crate anywhere close to what you want to blow up) or by sea (the only practical choice, as you could theoretically sneak it in on a freighter or a U-boat, although in either case the most you could do is blow up a harbor.

As to the effect of doing so, it would be less impressive than you would expect. If detonated directly at the center of the Brooklyn Bridge (for a convienent reference point) the fireball would (on a modern map, this is intended for scale) extend almost to either end of the bridge, while the overpressure wave would extend just past New York City Hall in one direction and just past St. James Cathedral in the other direction. This would, in Modern New York, kill about 82,000 people and injure about 200,00 more. Of course, detonation at water level would greatly reduce this. This is badly damaging, but wouldn't cripple the war effort - the most likely effect would be a full-scale chemical-weapons exchange.

Now, if you assume that they got the bomber and rocket tech 5 years ahead of schedule as well, Germany loses the war by the end of 1940, as Ploesti would have simply ceased to exist, followed by the obliteration of one major transport hub per month. Germany would be unable to reply to this as they never had the capability to build a nuclear armed bomber, and giving them V1s and V2s in 1939 wouldn't change the fact that you'd need another 5 years to scale them up to carry a bomb.

They could have fitted an U-Boot with a rocket launcher that, once at New York's harbor, could lift the bomb in the air so the damage would be maximized. It would have required a lot of work, but not that much compared to building an atomic bomb.

Gnoman
2016-02-21, 07:23 AM
They could have fitted an U-2 with a rocket launcher that, once at New York's harbor, could lift the bomb in the air so the damage would be maximized. It would have required a lot of work, but not that much compared to building an atomic bomb.

No, they could not. Rockets with the lift capacity needed were not built until the 50s.


On the subject, Gnoman, have you seen what early Cold War nuclear plans were like? That is, when it was primarily bombers and not ICBMs.

For the RAF, they used slightly updated WWII Bomber Command "dehousing" targeting plans. US SAC war plans called for targeting and destroying 1100 key airfields, with the destruction of around 1200 key industrial sites as a second strike if needed. The Russians have not declassified their exact targeting plans, but leaks and rumors suggest a similar priority, with the caveat that the USSR rushed to get ICBMs and SLBMs into service due to the effective invulnerability that most of the CONUS possessed due to the lack of nearby bomber bases.

Carl
2016-02-21, 07:29 AM
*headesk* So obvious in hindsight.

Working through the writeup for sanity check now.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-21, 07:37 AM
Interesting. Thanks Gnoman.


I think the Germans had finished the plans for the V3 rocket by the end of the war?

Gnoman
2016-02-21, 07:41 AM
Interesting. Thanks Gnoman.


I think the Germans had finished the plans for the V3 rocket by the end of the war?

The V3 was a massive cannon intended to shell London from Northern France. No advancement in missiles beyond the V2 happened until after the war. There were some basic sketches, and some of the features were tested on V2s (which were unsuccessful as the prototypes exploded) to attempt range extension, but anything beyond that is in the Ratte level of plausibility.

Khedrac
2016-02-21, 09:34 AM
the only Allied aircraft that could do it was the B-29, which was rushed into service as fast as humanly possible
Umm, how certain are you that no allied aircraft (as opposed to no US aircraft) other than the B-29 could carry it?
The AVRO Lancaster was dropping 10 ton bombs from 19,000 ft for the latter part of the war (though they did need an engine upgrade to carry them). Now they might not have been able to go high enough to get clear after releasing the bomb (cue parachutes or suicide missions) but they certainly had the weight capacity covered.
As for size, well that could have been a serious problem - the 10 ton bomb hung under the aircraft iirc, as did the original bouncing bomb.
Range - range probably was a problem for attacking Japan (plus aircraft availability - the B29s were flown over the Himalayas to get them into the theatre of war, something I don't think the Lancaster could do) but the Lancaster had the range to carry the 10 ton bombs to Germany.

Note: Little Boy: 8900 lb, Fat Man: 10200 lb, Grand Slam: 22000 lb. Weight-wise the Lancaster could carry two atomic bombs at the same time.

Carl
2016-02-21, 09:37 AM
The V3 was a massive cannon intended to shell London from Northern France.

it was a giant complex full of them in fact. Never became operational before 617 flattened it.

EDIT:

@Khedrac: Note that for grand slams they had to strip a lot of the armour, defensive weaponry, and some of the self sealing fuel tanks and it stressed the aircraft to the limits even then. Apparently it bent the wings into a pronounced U shape in flight.

Also note that Barnes Wallace actually sketched out the basics of a bomber that could carry a grand slam to Germany back when the 4 engines bomber programs where just getting started. But since the RAF didn't see the need for a 10 ton bomb at the time they weren't interested. But if the need had been there they could have pursued it and likely had a suitable aircraft in service before 1945.

Gnoman
2016-02-21, 09:48 AM
Umm, how certain are you that no allied aircraft (as opposed to no US aircraft) other than the B-29 could carry it?
The AVRO Lancaster was dropping 10 ton bombs from 19,000 ft for the latter part of the war (though they did need an engine upgrade to carry them). Now they might not have been able to go high enough to get clear after releasing the bomb (cue parachutes or suicide missions) but they certainly had the weight capacity covered.
As for size, well that could have been a serious problem - the 10 ton bomb hung under the aircraft iirc, as did the original bouncing bomb.
Range - range probably was a problem for attacking Japan (plus aircraft availability - the B29s were flown over the Himalayas to get them into the theatre of war, something I don't think the Lancaster could do) but the Lancaster had the range to carry the 10 ton bombs to Germany.

Note: Little Boy: 8900 lb, Fat Man: 10200 lb, Grand Slam: 22000 lb. Weight-wise the Lancaster could carry two atomic bombs at the same time.

The Lancaster would probably have been too narrow - The Grand Slam and Tallboy bombs were very heavy (which required stretching the Lancaster to the very limit), but narrower in diameter than Fat Man. It also couldn't fly as high, and would have had difficulty surviving the bomb run. Most importantly, we're speculating on the effects of having atomic bombs in 1940, and the Lancaster didn't become operational until 1942, and the modified ones that could handle earthquake bombs came later. The B-29 was available starting in late 1943 (didn't actually see combat until '44, because it took time to figure out how to base them), so the Lancaster provides an extra year at best.

EDIT: Wallis was a genius, but it takes a long time to go from "sketch" to "operational warplane". Both the B-29 and Lancaster existed in sketch form (about as detailed as Wallis's super-bomber) at about the same time, if not a little earlier. It took Wallis an entire year from the proposal of the bouncing bomb to a combat ready weapon, for example, and that's a much simpler project.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-21, 11:43 AM
If find the idea of the Allies and Axis having nuclear bombs, but no effective means of deploying them pretty amusing. Where they're in a headlong rush to build bombers or intermediate rocket systems.

I was wondering if it'd be worth extrapolating into a fictional story, probably with fictional nations that would be better suited for emphasizing the conflict. The idea of suddenly having a super weapon, needing to be able to deploy it so as to gain a massive(?) edge against your enemy, needing to keep it secret, and needing both the uranium and the intact infrastructure to produce the bombs.

One of the twists could be the adversary cutting off the supply of uranium and/or bombing factories so that it is difficult to produce enough of the nukes to be effective. Followed by the enemy later also developing their own nuclear bombs, so it becomes an early nuclear exchange. There may be other developments of nuclear technology which might be able to be fit into the conflict.

Khedrac
2016-02-21, 12:53 PM
@Khedrac: Note that for grand slams they had to strip a lot of the armour, defensive weaponry, and some of the self sealing fuel tanks and it stressed the aircraft to the limits even then. Apparently it bent the wings into a pronounced U shape in flight.Something I had forgotten but does not invalidate my point.


Also note that Barnes Wallace actually sketched out the basics of a bomber that could carry a grand slam to Germany back when the 4 engines bomber programs where just getting started. But since the RAF didn't see the need for a 10 ton bomb at the time they weren't interested. But if the need had been there they could have pursued it and likely had a suitable aircraft in service before 1945.Yes - his "Victory Bomber" as he called it. The other point here is that the Tallboy and Grand Slam was designed to be dropped from 40,000 ft and the Lancaster only got them up to 19,000. It might have been interesting to find out how they would have performed from 40k...


The Lancaster would probably have been too narrow Now that's a valid reason - I did wonder about size.


EDIT: Wallis was a genius, but it takes a long time to go from "sketch" to "operational warplane". Both the B-29 and Lancaster existed in sketch form (about as detailed as Wallis's super-bomber) at about the same time, if not a little earlier. It took Wallis an entire year from the proposal of the bouncing bomb to a combat ready weapon, for example, and that's a much simpler project.The Bouncing Bomb was actually more complex that it should have been. The original plan was to drop a conventional bomb as Barnes' idea was simply to breach the dams. When the question arose of how much explosive thy needed how close to the wall he worked out that for it to be a bomb they could carry it had to be touching the dam. The entire "bouncing" idea came from working out how to achieve the that task - not his original idea at all.

While we are on bouncing bombs - here's an odd fact from Project Highball (the mosquito-dropped anti ship variant that was never used operationally).
Interestingly one of the test drops of a dummy highball against an old British warship put quite a large hole in the armour plate when the dummy bomb hit the side of the ship. (My great uncle's face is just about visible looking out of the hole on the blown-up recce photo taken of the hole that his son showed me last visit.) Now, have the bomb real and the explosion go off in the ship and it would have been really effective!

(I believe said great uncle was project manager for Highball. Was was somewhat worrying at Christmas when his son brought a whole load of them to show us was how many of them were stamped "Most Secret" - why on earth had they not been handed in at the end of his time in the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development? Most of the papers have been given to the National Records Office, but there were still a nice stack of originals...)

Khedrac
2016-02-21, 12:58 PM
One of the twists could be the adversary cutting off the supply of uranium and/or bombing factories so that it is difficult to produce enough of the nukes to be effective.
Well you do know about the Telemark raid on the German Heavy Water production plant in Norway?
(Apparently at the end they had no way to breach the transport tanks and had to just sink the ship and hope the water was deep enough that the pressure would do the job for them...)

Also there are strong indications that the scientist leading the German project chose the most complex version of the bomb so that it would take long enough for the Allies to stop them.

Clistenes
2016-02-21, 02:02 PM
No, they could not. Rockets with the lift capacity needed were not built until the 50s.

It wouldn't need to fly from one country to another, just lift the bomb 600 meters above sea level, just like the Hiroshima bomb did.

snowblizz
2016-02-21, 02:08 PM
Well you do know about the Telemark raid on the German Heavy Water production plant in Norway?
(Apparently at the end they had no way to breach the transport tanks and had to just sink the ship and hope the water was deep enough that the pressure would do the job for them...)

May want to read up on the 3 operations it took... the third was successful, just that the Germans were able to continue after fixing the damage. Bombers finally managed to damage and threaten the factory enough that the Germans decided to take what they could and leave the facility.

The incident you talk about was an adhoc plan from alter on by a trained resistance fighter to make sure the German's didn't get the last shipment out. And the guy did not ahve to hope anyhitng, he knew exactly how deep (very, which it usually is in fjords) the water was at that point. Being a local and all.

Mathis
2016-02-21, 02:11 PM
I think you misspoke Clistenes. The Hiroshima bomb was dropped from a plane, not flown in with a rocket. The power of a rocket to lift the weight of an atomic bomb of the era is what is in question. Here is a good suggestion for further reading, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTV-A-2_Hiroc

Clistenes
2016-02-21, 02:24 PM
I think you misspoke Clistenes. The Hiroshima bomb was dropped from a plane, not flown in with a rocket. The power of a rocket to lift the weight of an atomic bomb of the era is what is in question. Here is a good suggestion for further reading, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTV-A-2_Hiroc

I know the Hiroshima bomb was dropped from a B-29 plane, but it detonated when it was at 600 meters from the ground. That height was calculated to maximize damage on buildings.

If an hypothetical german atomic bomb were to be carried to New York in a submarine, on the other hand, they would need some way to lift the bomb up to that optimal height. "Little Boy" had a weight of 4,400 kg vs the 910 kg load of an V2 rocket, but the atomic bomb wouldn't need to be lifted up to 80 km and across the English Channel, it would need to be lifted just 600 m above sea level for a moment. I think it was pretty workable for the germans.

MrZJunior
2016-02-21, 03:51 PM
I know the Hiroshima bomb was dropped from a B-29 plane, but it detonated when it was at 600 meters from the ground. That height was calculated to maximize damage on buildings.

If an hypothetical german atomic bomb were to be carried to New York in a submarine, on the other hand, they would need some way to lift the bomb up to that optimal height. "Little Boy" had a weight of 4,400 kg vs the 910 kg load of an V2 rocket, but the atomic bomb wouldn't need to be lifted up to 80 km and across the English Channel, it would need to be lifted just 600 m above sea level for a moment. I think it was pretty workable for the germans.

Could you use a balloon?

Carl
2016-02-21, 03:53 PM
The germans might well have been able to build a rocket that could do that, but i doubt they could fit it to any sub they possessed.


Could you use a balloon?

In theory yes, but realistically a few people with rifles and it's all over.

snowblizz
2016-02-21, 04:52 PM
The germans might well have been able to build a rocket that could do that, but i doubt they could fit it to any sub they possessed.



In theory yes, but realistically a few people with rifles and it's all over.

Strictly speaking an atomic bomb in the middle of New York harbour is never going to be "all over" (ie no matter where it blows it gonna do some pretty significant damage). Do it in the middle of night? Be a blackout, be hard to notice.

How about an airship? It's not like radar was a huge thing in 1940. So they wouldn't exactly be looking for one.

Mike_G
2016-02-21, 05:18 PM
Practically, the Continental US is pretty hard for either Japan or Germany to hit with anything. England or Russia, or China, not so much.

Is there any reason that Germany couldn't have developed a smaller atomic bomb? Light enough to put in a Heinkel and drop on London?

Maybe it wouldn't have done as much damage as the Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombs, but enough to ruin Churchill's day.

Khedrac
2016-02-21, 05:19 PM
In theory yes, but realistically a few people with rifles and it's all over. Zepplins were very hard to shoot down. The RAF had to put a lot of work into special guns in incendiary ammunition in WW1 to be able to shoot them down - and that's with Hydrogen as the gas!
(Apparently one had to first hole the bag and then ignite the gas after giving it time to mix with the oxygen. They used vertically firing guns - being WW1 the zepplins had a much higher ceiling - and it still wasn't exactly reliable.)
For WW2 I suspect they would have been able to shoot them down much more easily, but for zepplins, neither a machine gun nor a rifle will normally do. You need explosives or special ammo (and no, tracers are not sufficient either).


It's not like radar was a huge thing in 1940. So they wouldn't exactly be looking for one.And then we have one of the best funny stories from just pre-WW2.
The UK build some huge metal pylon towers on the South coast and the Germans, wondering what they were for, correctly suspected radar and set the Graf Zepplin over to check.
After hanging around for a bit and completely failing to detect anything (we were using frequencies the Germans did not think practical) the GZ moved off and transmitted (in clear) their position and that there was no sign of anything.
The British commander of the radar post managed to stop his operators (who had been looking at the biggest radar contact they had ever seen) from cutting in to point out that the GZ had got its position wrong...

Clistenes
2016-02-21, 05:22 PM
The germans might well have been able to build a rocket that could do that, but i doubt they could fit it to any sub they possessed.

It would have to be a custom submarine. The U-Boot XIV could carry 400 tons of diesel for other subs (it was a sub-tanker of sorts) plus four torpedos (650 kg each). Replace that for a 400,600 kg rocket, of which 4,400 kg would belong to the nuke and 398,200 kg to the fuselage and fuel. Taking into account that a V2 had a weight of 12,500 kg only (of which 910 kg belonged to the explosive charge), I think that rocket would be more than able to lift the nuke 600 m above New York if it were launched from the Bay.

Mathis
2016-02-21, 05:30 PM
In 10th century Europe how common were completely wooden crossbows? I know there aren't any remaining examples from the archaeology but has anyone read about them? 500 years later in the 15th century how common would they have been then? Essentially, do we know when metal parts started replacing wooden parts in crossbows, was there ever a time when completely wooden crossbows were common?

Spiryt
2016-02-21, 05:49 PM
With 10th century we are probably damned to 'I guess' unfortunately.

But I think that 18th-19th century whaling crossbows were mostly wooden.

And there are apparently authentic items like this:

http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/starobject.html?oid=242808&img=2

Storm Bringer
2016-02-21, 05:54 PM
Practically, the Continental US is pretty hard for either Japan or Germany to hit with anything. England or Russia, or China, not so much.

Is there any reason that Germany couldn't have developed a smaller atomic bomb? Light enough to put in a Heinkel and drop on London?


As far as I know, shrinking the bomb would require significantly more sophistication, and practical knowledge of nuclear weapons design that can only really be gained by an extensive testing program (the US did not spend all that time blowing up pacific islands to intimidate the Russians). I think the Fat Man and Little Boy type bombs were as small as was practical until the science caught up and advanced.

I don't think any of the nations that have run a Nuclear weapons program have created a first bomb much smaller than a Fat Man type bomb, and all only really got smaller bombers either by cribbing off US or Russian test experience or doing their own tests.

Carl
2016-02-21, 07:43 PM
Zepplins were very hard to shoot down. The RAF had to put a lot of work into special guns in incendiary ammunition in WW1 to be able to shoot them down - and that's with Hydrogen as the gas!

Balloon does not = Zepplin.


As far as I know, shrinking the bomb would require significantly more sophistication

Not really. A HUGE chunk of the weight of early nukes was the really heavy casing which was believed essential to the explosive lensing effect but ultimately proved unnecessary. I can;t find an exact value but had they known or discovered that then they could have seriously reduced the all up mass. it would still have been terribly heavy, but much more reasonable.

Gnoman
2016-02-21, 10:14 PM
Not really. A HUGE chunk of the weight of early nukes was the really heavy casing which was believed essential to the explosive lensing effect but ultimately proved unnecessary. I can;t find an exact value but had they known or discovered that then they could have seriously reduced the all up mass. it would still have been terribly heavy, but much more reasonable.

Little Boy didn't have any sort of explosive lensing, being a gun-type device that simply smashed a large chunk of uranium into a smaller chunk. Miniaturizing the bomb required years of testing postwar, and we're already assuming an absurdly fast development to get the bomb this early.

fusilier
2016-02-21, 10:38 PM
Zepplins were very hard to shoot down. The RAF had to put a lot of work into special guns in incendiary ammunition in WW1 to be able to shoot them down - and that's with Hydrogen as the gas!
(Apparently one had to first hole the bag and then ignite the gas after giving it time to mix with the oxygen. They used vertically firing guns - being WW1 the zepplins had a much higher ceiling - and it still wasn't exactly reliable.)

This was true early in the war -- by 1917(?), fighter aircraft could fly higher than the Zeppelins.

lacco36
2016-02-22, 02:15 AM
Gentlemen - there is a thread with a gaming question, which I think you could answer better:

Shouldn't bludgeoning weapons like warhammers and maces have advantages over armor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?479126-Shouldn-t-bludgeoning-weapons-like-warhammers-and-maces-have-advantages-over-armor&p=20452294#post20452294)

Storm Bringer
2016-02-22, 05:22 AM
Balloon does not = Zepplin.



Not really. A HUGE chunk of the weight of early nukes was the really heavy casing which was believed essential to the explosive lensing effect but ultimately proved unnecessary. I can;t find an exact value but had they known or discovered that then they could have seriously reduced the all up mass. it would still have been terribly heavy, but much more reasonable.

like I said, they needed to test their designs and improve their understanding of what was going on in order to shrink the bombs. even if all nations started an all out atom bomb plan on the scale of the Manhattan Project and started them in 1935, the only way they could have created a smaller bomb is if someone came back in time and handed them the blueprints.

Carl
2016-02-22, 07:55 AM
like I said, they needed to test their designs and improve their understanding of what was going on in order to shrink the bombs. even if all nations started an all out atom bomb plan on the scale of the Manhattan Project and started them in 1935, the only way they could have created a smaller bomb is if someone came back in time and handed them the blueprints.

I'm not up on the specific science that made them think it's necessary, (i don't think anyone is who would be allowed to talk here about it here), but i don't see any reason why the combined science and engineering teams needed to get nukes that much earlier couldn't have worked out the theory. More to the point if they were desperately looking to get the weight down for easier carriage, the case would have been an obvious thing to look into lightning which could have led them in the right direction. (From what i understand it was attempts to develop smaller lighter warhead for use on things like missiles and artillery shells that resulted in them discovering that).

I'm not saying they absolutely could have discovered it without an extensive test program, but i wouldn't assume they couldn't either.

Gnoman
2016-02-22, 08:54 AM
I'm not up on the specific science that made them think it's necessary, (i don't think anyone is who would be allowed to talk here about it here), but i don't see any reason why the combined science and engineering teams needed to get nukes that much earlier couldn't have worked out the theory. More to the point if they were desperately looking to get the weight down for easier carriage, the case would have been an obvious thing to look into lightning which could have led them in the right direction. (From what i understand it was attempts to develop smaller lighter warhead for use on things like missiles and artillery shells that resulted in them discovering that).

I'm not saying they absolutely could have discovered it without an extensive test program, but i wouldn't assume they couldn't either.

The first bomb that could be carried by anything smaller than a strategic bomber was the Mark VII in 1952. Fat Man was the Mark III. Mark IV was was essentially the same as the III but reengineerd for mass production and easier handling, V was the first miniaturization attempt (down to 39 inches in diameter from 60) in 1950, and VI identical to the Mark III in dimensions but had a much higher yield. Miniaturization was initially accomplished by an improved (but much more complicated) implosion design and then further reduced by injection of 3H and 2H into the pit at the point of detonation, increasing neutron flow and speeding up the fission process. These ideas were thought of during and immediately after the Manhattan Project, but developing them took 5+ years with virtually unlimited funding and no need to spend the fissionables they were accumulating on building weapons to be used.

In the proposed scenario, where both the German and Anglo-American projects got going 5 years ahead of historical schedule, the immediate response to getting the bomb would not be "Cool. Now use the enough-for-one-bomb-a-month fissionable output to build test bombs for miniaturization research so we can carry them" but "Cool. Now build bombs at the fastest rate you can so that we have plenty of ammunition once we get the B-29 in action."

Mike_G
2016-02-22, 09:38 AM
Gentlemen - there is a thread with a gaming question, which I think you could answer better:

Shouldn't bludgeoning weapons like warhammers and maces have advantages over armor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?479126-Shouldn-t-bludgeoning-weapons-like-warhammers-and-maces-have-advantages-over-armor&p=20452294#post20452294)

Broadly, yes. Hammers and maces were better for fighting heavily armored people. You could dent the armor, deliver more knockdown, etc. The simple physics of swinging a heavy weight on the end of a lever produces a lot of force at the point of impact. Sharp edges can hurt you with much less force, but armor tends to prevent the sharp edge from getting through, so getting hit in the armor with a flanged mace would be more dangerous than getting slashed in the armor with a sword.

And broadly, swords were generally quicker, better balanced and had more reach than maces or hammers. With a blunt impact weapon, you want the weight in the head, which make it less nimble than a sword where the point of balance is close to the hilt. A sword also allows for thrusting through gaps or an open faced helm which a mace does not.

So, in very general terms, I think a sword has the advantage against lightly armored people because of reach and quickness, and a mace has the advantage against better armored people.

For gaming purposes, how you represent that depends on the specific game mechanics.

Galloglaich
2016-02-22, 10:05 AM
Lets agree that bleeding is NEVER "effective" at solving medical problems (yes, I know a few rare diseases require bleeding, but NOT the way practised in the classical period, the medieval period or 19th century). Neither is giving mercury as medicine (also routinely practised). Bleeding was for more than two millennia one of the most widespread "cures" for a widespread range of illnesses, it was routinely practised to the point of the patient feinting (and sometimes beyond).

Well I both agree and disagree. Certainly medicine was very crude historically and bleeding was used far too often and it was not unusual for it to cause harm. But it did work to drain swelling and remove puss and etc. in infections, much in the way a drain is used in modern medicine, so I would not agree that it was never useful. In fact they still use leeches today (http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/blog/leeches-in-modern-medicine/). Many if not most medicines are poisons just administered in low doses. Mercury, though highly toxic and dangerous to use, apparently did work as a last ditch cure for syphilis and some other dangerous infections. They knew it was a dangerous treatment but syphilis was a death sentence without some kind of treatment.. When I was a medic in the army I once saw a very strange x-ray of the legs of a Colonels wife. She had what appeared to be bullets in her legs, three in one leg and four in the other. These turned out to be 'silver bullets' - mercury embedded as part of a cure for syphilis, which apparently worked as she was 82 and showed no signs of the disease. In the long run the cure for syphilis (prior to antibiotics) turned out to be arsenic, another poison (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsphenamine).



While some of the herbal lore have been shown to be effective, most of it is crap. Mercury is a clear example, but many poisonousness plants were also used regularly (in situations were they would no have any positive effects).

We can agree to disagree about herbal medicine. I think a lot of it actually works or worked, given the proper context. Many modern medicines are actually based on herbal cures - aspirin is willow bark essentially.



I know. Even provincial Danish towns have had wooden pipes from time to time. However, the water demand of a town is huge, and wells also provided a lot of water, event for those with well developed pipe systems. Of course it is also geographical dependant (in general some areas well wasn't effective enough, and then pipes/aqueducts was installed). And ff course many of the fountains are from the 15th and 16th century, and town infrastructure was different in the 12th and 13th century (and these centuries is ALSO medieval).

Note: I am not saying they didn't have fountains, just that they got more toward the late period.

Of course, agreed, though they seem to have started building these systems in the High Medieval period (12th and 13th Centuries) in the largest and most sophisticated towns (Florence, for example, and Bruges)




On this I agree. Though its known that the majority of people did have a series of water carried illnesses (such as intestine worms/parasites and so on). Similar recent investigations show that almost all skeletons from town cemeteries have sign of weak blood-poisoning (from lead in the aqueducts/pipes, and in the lead glazed pottery). So much lead that it would reduce inteligence in children born in the towns (rural districts was less afflicted).

So while I hate the portrayed "medieval" from movies/tv, we cant go in the opposite direction and paint a pretty picture either.

Considering the amount of genius level painters, architects, writers etc. to come out of what are by todays standards tiny towns like Florence or Bruges, I'd say they must have had some other factor helping them out a little bit. They seem to have done much better, overall, in the towns than the countryside, probably due to better diet and much lessened effects of famine, though plague was obviously an exception to that.

Looking at the forensic evidence, i.e. skeletons, people were taller, generally speaking, in the 15th Century than they were in the 18th.

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/medimen.htm

For more detail look at the chart "figure 2" in this pdf

http://sirguillaume.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Old_Age-Height-Nutrition.pdf

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-22, 10:13 AM
In 10th century Europe how common were completely wooden crossbows? I know there aren't any remaining examples from the archaeology but has anyone read about them? 500 years later in the 15th century how common would they have been then? Essentially, do we know when metal parts started replacing wooden parts in crossbows, was there ever a time when completely wooden crossbows were common?

Crossbows were pretty common in what are now France, Germany and Italy already by the 10th Century according to surviving Carolingian records. We also discussed earlier in this incarnation of this very thread a few pages back the evidence of use of crossbows by the Picts around the 10th Century. We know they were also in use in Scandinavia. By the 11th Century crossbows were standard equipment for militias recruited from towns and appear in Frankish capitularies as required equipment. In the 11th Century the Genoese town militia also made their name as crossbowmen by supporting several Crusader sieges in the Levant. At this time these would be almost all or mostly wooden crossbows, as composite prods don't seem to have appeared until the 13th Century and steel until the 14th. I think it was common for the 'nut' to be bone or ivory and sometimes the tiller was metal though it could also be wood.

I've posted this article here before a few times (http://deremilitari.org/2014/03/horses-and-crossbows-two-important-warfare-advantages-of-the-teutonic-order-in-prussia/) which is a very good summary of records from the Teutonic Order in the 15th Century as related specifically to horses and crossbows. At that time all-wooden crossbows (which the Order called 'knottlearmbruste' or something like that), these were the cheapest and most ubiquitous grade of crossbows in use at that time. Apparently the prods were made of thick yew.

So the short answer is wooden crossbows were common in Latin Europe both in the 10th Century and the 15th and the entire time in between.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-22, 10:21 AM
Broadly, yes. Hammers and maces were better for fighting heavily armored people. You could dent the armor, deliver more knockdown, etc. The simple physics of swinging a heavy weight on the end of a lever produces a lot of force at the point of impact. Sharp edges can hurt you with much less force, but armor tends to prevent the sharp edge from getting through, so getting hit in the armor with a flanged mace would be more dangerous than getting slashed in the armor with a sword.

And broadly, swords were generally quicker, better balanced and had more reach than maces or hammers. With a blunt impact weapon, you want the weight in the head, which make it less nimble than a sword where the point of balance is close to the hilt. A sword also allows for thrusting through gaps or an open faced helm which a mace does not.

So, in very general terms, I think a sword has the advantage against lightly armored people because of reach and quickness, and a mace has the advantage against better armored people.

For gaming purposes, how you represent that depends on the specific game mechanics.

Agreed, hammers, flails maces etc. were basically made to deal with armor.

Swords also have the advantage of not being hafted, the sharp blade going all the way down making them harder (more perilous) to grab and take away from people.


G

Carl
2016-02-22, 10:25 AM
@Gnoman: Yes all thats good, but has nothing to do with the fact that the early bombs had this hugely thick hugely heavy casings that they didn't actually need but nobody realised for absolutely ages. You could significantly reduce the mass of the original designs just by stripping that off, and since it was eventually figured out that you could do that there's no reason a sufficiently brilliant design team couldn't have come up with it at the time of initial design instead.

You have to remember when they were developing the bomb they weren't 100% sure detonating the device wouldn't create an uncontrolled chain reaction in the atmosphere that would set it on fire and basically torching the entire planet. (AFAIK they had calculated it as a very unlikely chance however).

Practically speaking a bomb program that produced a bomb that early would certainly have had to have begun much earlier, (as in pre-war), however and the whole nature of development without the pressure of a war would almost certainly look very different.

Mathis
2016-02-22, 11:06 AM
Thanks for all the well thought out answers from everyone that covered a lot more ground than I initially sought to uncover, I appreciate it immensely.

Gnoman
2016-02-22, 11:14 AM
@Gnoman: Yes all thats good, but has nothing to do with the fact that the early bombs had this hugely thick hugely heavy casings that they didn't actually need but nobody realised for absolutely ages. You could significantly reduce the mass of the original designs just by stripping that off, and since it was eventually figured out that you could do that there's no reason a sufficiently brilliant design team couldn't have come up with it at the time of initial design instead.


If they could have reduced the size of the bomb just by taking off a "heavy casing that they didn't really need", they wouldn't have made the first mass production model almost exactly the same weight and dimensions as the first hand-made model.

Many US nuclear bombs had "warhead" versions, which was just the physics package and fusing sans the aerodynamic casing, intended to be fitted into missiles. Let's see how they compare to the first generation.

The W4 Warhead (fundamentally identical to the Fat Man design, just refined a bit for mass production resulting in almost the same dimensions and weight), based on the Mark IV mass-production bomb, weighed 37% less. By comparison, a W5 (1952, smaller than the mark IV but still requiring a bomber) weighs 17% less than a Mark V, a W7 (1952, the first "small" nuke) weighs 37% less than a Mark VII bomb, a W12 (1954) weighs 25% less than a Mark XII, and a W13 (1954, the last of the fission warheads) weighs 13% less than a XIII,

From this we can infer that the case couldn't simply be lightened, as the casing for the early bomb isn't all that out of line with the later ones, and is identical to one developed 7 years of peacetime development later.

More importantly, the biggest difficulty in bomb carriage isn't the weight, but the diameter. The physics package in Fat Man was 57" in diameter, with the final bomb being 60", giving a maximum reduction (if you're willing to just expose this incredibly sensitive physics assembly to gale force winds and don't care if you manage to hit the city you're aiming at) of only 3", not enough to change what planes could carry it.

Peacetime or wartime, you can not make smaller bombs without improving the design of the physics package, and you have to set off a lot of bombs to make that possible. Quite apart from the fact that getting the material to build a bomb takes a long time unless you build a great many reactors and/or giant centrifuges, hiding one bomb test from enemy spies is easy. Hiding dozens is impossible.

Tobtor
2016-02-22, 11:31 AM
Well I both agree and disagree. Certainly medicine was very crude historically and bleeding was used far too often and it was not unusual for it to cause harm. But it did work to drain swelling and remove puss and etc. in infections, much in the way a drain is used in modern medicine, so I would not agree that it was never useful. In fact they still use leeches today (http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/health-sciences/blog/leeches-in-modern-medicine/).

Generally no. Bleeding was used very wrong, as I said, several handbooks on medicine state that the patient should be bled to the point of feinting - causing harm. The reason for swellings can be many, and often the traditional bleeding was not located at the swelling but elsewhere, thus not helping - that why I said the way it was practised didnt help. I heard a radio feature a few months back by I guy who had written a Ph.d. about it, and he estimated that it was helpfull in less than 1% of the time. Looking at the medical handbooks, theories etc, I think it sound about right.


We can agree to disagree about herbal medicine. I think a lot of it actually works or worked, given the proper context. Many modern medicines are actually based on herbal cures - aspirin is willow bark essentially.

I saw one case were a traditional "medical" practise was for the midwife to chew some food and give it to the new born child - under the assumption that nurishment was good for the child. Child mortality rates was 25%, while neighbouring area (both in rural Denmark in the 18th century), hd a mortality rate of "only" 7%. You should think they quickly learned, but no, for generations it went on. The issue with saying "they weren't stupid" is that human mind invent causes, but without statistics and proper surveillance its hard to figure out if they are correct.


Of course, agreed, though they seem to have started building these systems in the High Medieval period (12th and 13th Centuries) in the largest and most sophisticated towns (Florence, for example, and Bruges)


Yes, I made a note saying that they did exist before, but became only "normal" later.


Considering the amount of genius level painters, architects, writers etc. to come out of what are by todays standards tiny towns like Florence or Bruges, I'd say they must have had some other factor helping them out a little bit. They seem to have done much better, overall, in the towns than the countryside, probably due to better diet and much lessened effects of famine, though plague was obviously an exception to that.

Well like the US through the last 200 years the towns had the advantage of a constant influx of talent from the outside. As the money was in the towns, that were the talent went.


Looking at the forensic evidence, i.e. skeletons, people were taller, generally speaking, in the 15th Century than they were in the 18th.

For more detail look at the chart "figure 2" in this pdf

Ohh I agree. Here is a quote from the post: "Average height declined slightly during the 12th through 16th centuries, and hit an all-time low during the 17th and 18th centuries." Thus from the early Medieaval (mainly rural population) was taller than the later city oriented one... or? If you look at the figure 2 they were even taller in the earliest part (850-1066). And they were thus already declining in the medieval period.
Anyway, they were slightly lower than today throughout history (with ups and downs) from the late medieval the people got shorter (north European perspective here, statistics for southern Europe might differ), and also gradually became class defined (starting actually in the medieval period in some studies).

Of course various migrations might affect the table then AND now (people from English colonies in India today, and French mixed Normans compared to Anglo-Saxons and Vikings). Of course they are still rather short in England... (Danish/Swedish mean is around 6 feet (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in acording to wikipedia)).

But that the 18th century was bad (still had the same medical system as in the medieval period, with added poverty), doesn't mean it was great in the medieval period.

Carl
2016-02-22, 11:42 AM
Again Gnoman the physics package as you call it on those early bombs included a hugely heavy casing that surrounded the whole thing that wasn't necessary to the functioning of the weapon, but they didn't discover this till many, many design iterations later. For a long time it was believed a heavy case was required or the bomb wouldn;t function. I forget the specifics about it and i'm having trouble digging it up again, (it was on an article about theoretical weight to yield limits), but those early bombs included a lot of completely unnecessary weight in the bomb design.

Wikipedia actually has some info on the weight of some of the components, specifically the explosive lensing which runs to a total of just 2500lb's on fat man. Even adding in the fissile material core, neutron generation material and various other bits and pieces that had to go inside that explosive combination you can't get the mass to add upto much more than 3000lb's. Which is a lot more than the 7000 odd pounds of the production MKIV weapon according to the numbers you provided.

See this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fat_Man_Internal_Components.png) image, note item J and that the drawing is to scale. They found in the end that shell could be built much lighter than it was.

Gnoman
2016-02-22, 12:28 PM
Again Gnoman the physics package as you call it on those early bombs included a hugely heavy casing that surrounded the whole thing that wasn't necessary to the functioning of the weapon, but they didn't discover this till many, many design iterations later. For a long time it was believed a heavy case was required or the bomb wouldn;t function. I forget the specifics about it and i'm having trouble digging it up again, (it was on an article about theoretical weight to yield limits), but those early bombs included a lot of completely unnecessary weight in the bomb design.

Wikipedia actually has some info on the weight of some of the components, specifically the explosive lensing which runs to a total of just 2500lb's on fat man. Even adding in the fissile material core, neutron generation material and various other bits and pieces that had to go inside that explosive combination you can't get the mass to add upto much more than 3000lb's. Which is a lot more than the 7000 odd pounds of the production MKIV weapon according to the numbers you provided.

See this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fat_Man_Internal_Components.png) image, note item J and that the drawing is to scale. They found in the end that shell could be built much lighter than it was.

This is probably your source, but it doesn't quite support your claim. I suspect you're having a kilogram to pounds mixup.
http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2013/12/23/kilotons-per-kilogram/

This source claims (he gives it in kilograms, I've converted to pounds)

5280 pounds of conventional explosives
1142 pounds of duralumin framing
3080 pounds of bomb casing
260 pounds of uranium tamper

This adds up to 9762 pounds, before you add in the actual fission core, the power system for the detonators (the capacitor bank alone weighed 400 pounds), and other miscellaneous bits. That just makes hitting the actual bomb's weight of 10,300 pounds possible. The weight of the casing roughly matches the 37% figure from earlier, so that's a point in his favor for accuracy. Note that the aluminum shell you're so fixated on makes up just under ten percent of the physics package and is already made of a fairly light material, so it is unlikely that altering it would have that significant a change on the final weight.

Carl
2016-02-22, 01:19 PM
This is probably your source

No my source is wikipedia's article on the manhattan project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project) which lists the explosive as 32 lens each of aproximetly 80 pounds.

Gnoman
2016-02-22, 02:29 PM
No my source is wikipedia's article on the manhattan project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project) which lists the explosive as 32 lens each of aproximetly 80 pounds.

That appears to be wrong.
http://www.atomicheritage.org/history/little-boy-and-fat-man


Plutonium core surrounded by 5,300 lbs of high explosives; plutonium core reduced to size of tennis ball

http://www.atomicbombmuseum.org/2_firstbombs.shtml


Its plutonium core was surrounded by 64 explosive charges arranged in an inner and outer shell. The explosive charges were fabricated in geometrical shapes in a configuration similar to a soccer ball—an extremely difficult and demanding procedure.

Tiktakkat
2016-02-22, 02:35 PM
Agreed, hammers, flails maces etc. were basically made to deal with armor.

Swords also have the advantage of not being hafted, the sharp blade going all the way down making them harder (more perilous) to grab and take away from people.


G

Swords also have the advantage of being much easier to carry around than crushing weapons; or cleaving weapons like axes.

That is compounded when you hit the gunpowder era and armor starts to disappear, making armor defeating weapons less necessary.

The perception of weapons is then affected by a cultural feedback loop where writers see people dueling with swords then write stories where "everyone" in every period always uses a sword so as to be more easily identifiable with.

Galloglaich
2016-02-22, 02:49 PM
I saw one case were a traditional "medical" practise was for the midwife to chew some food and give it to the new born child - under the assumption that nurishment was good for the child. Child mortality rates was 25%, while neighbouring area (both in rural Denmark in the 18th century), hd a mortality rate of "only" 7%. You should think they quickly learned, but no, for generations it went on. The issue with saying "they weren't stupid" is that human mind invent causes, but without statistics and proper surveillance its hard to figure out if they are correct.

Well, there always were, and still are, backwater areas where people are a half a step, or many steps behind. I would make a joke about certain US States but I don't want to offend anybody. And certainly the data has enough wiggle room (and huge gaps) that you can interpret it different ways, but I guess I keep seeing evidence more or less the opposite of what you are talking about. Opposite of a lot of the clichés about medieval filth and backwardness and stupidity, and maybe that is because I'm more focused on certain towns - the towns that were the origin of the fencing manuals for the most part, whereas you seem to know more about rural Denmark which was, if you forgive my saying so, something of a backwater during the middle ages as was for example most of Ireland during that period (where most of my ancestors come from.)



Well like the US through the last 200 years the towns had the advantage of a constant influx of talent from the outside. As the money was in the towns, that were the talent went.

I see the analogy you are making of course, but when you have a town of 30 or 50 thousand people producing more world class art, architecture and literature than cities of 5 and 10 million people I think there is more going on there than just a few people filtering in from the countryside, and I think we can draw the conclusion that the social, economic and political systems which saw the birth of what we call the "Renaissance" was not the "muddy cavemen in pastel colors and recorder music" that is portrayed typically in RPG's, genre fiction and film. I certainly wouldn't call it a great place to live compared to today in many respects, but it wasn't as dismal as we have been led to believe.



Ohh I agree. Here is a quote from the post: "Average height declined slightly during the 12th through 16th centuries, and hit an all-time low during the 17th and 18th centuries." Thus from the early Medieaval (mainly rural population) was taller than the later city oriented one... or? If you look at the figure 2 they were even taller in the earliest part (850-1066). And they were thus already declining in the medieval period.
...(snip)....

But that the 18th century was bad (still had the same medical system as in the medieval period, with added poverty), doesn't mean it was great in the medieval period.

http://www.science-skeptical.de/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/lambh23.jpg

The decline in height in the late medieval period was slight, and there were other factors at work - the late medieval period as you probably know was a cooling trend. But average height declined precipitously from the 17th Century through the early 19th, by a factor of something like 4 centimeters for men in Europe as a whole (though as you noted the average height in a particular region could vary enormously.) This is not accounted for by the climate because even as the climate as starting to warm again, living conditions (based on forensic as well as literary evidence) continued to get worse. Bodies in medieval graveyards of several towns I've looked into and seen dissertations on, including Danzig / Gdansk, Breslau / Wroclaw, Augsburg and Strasbourg, were tall and in surprisingly good health, except in the poorest neighborhoods. Even in the poorest parts of Gdansk there was little evidence of the kind of chronic diseases we see today in the Third World like intestinal parasites and malaria and so on. They even had good teeth (probably due to no sugar, but they did eat bread..) We have records incidentally of midwives put in the city payroll in several German and Czech towns in the 15th Century and they were closely monitored for outcomes, since hiring them was somewhat controversial to begin with and the towns were usually pretty ruthlessly meticulous about expenses. I've only read some overviews but from what I gather outcomes were fairly good, at least notably better than when they weren't available.


I am noticing studies a lot of the time presenting revisionist data on everything from the medieval diet (surprisingly good) to alchemical texts and medical books that you are referring to - (again, sometimes quite sophisticated) but maybe I have a perception bias, as I have certainly not done a systematic study. What I have done is a lot of research on fencing masters, certain chroniclers, mercenary captains, burgomeisters and various other characters in the late medieval period from the towns. And I notice that these people seem to survive encounters with the doctor, they lived, often, into their 70's, survived numerous battle and dueling wounds, and often had kids who survived to adulthood too (though infant mortality was certainly a big problem).

When I compare this with similar literature (records) from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries that I've read from the American colonies the reality seems to have been far more dismal. Terrible nutrition, incompetent medicine, high mortality from all causes. In Europe in the same period, social conditions changed very much for the worse. People became poorer and their diets less varied and more limited. Living conditions got more dire.


I suspect that back in Europe, the medicine worked well enough in the proper context, but the proper context was fragile because it was based on a combination of ancient Greek and Latin and Persian sources, with contemporaneous empirical evidence, but they didn't really know the actual mechanisms behind the carefully worked out practices so it was easy for it to go off the rails. In a city where there was competition, libraries, widespread literacy and aggregation of knowledge, they probably did better than in the countryside. But I think a lot of this broke down in the Early Modern period due to a variety of factors, but chief among them social and cultural changes associated with the Reformation and Counter-Reformation that made it harder to reconcile data from so many disparate (and increasingly, unfashionable) cultural sources - including the indigenous pre-Christian traditions of Europe, which could make you subject to being burned in the 17th Century.

G

ExLibrisMortis
2016-02-22, 06:12 PM
No my source is wikipedia's article on the manhattan project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project) which lists the explosive as 32 lens each of aproximetly 80 pounds.
That appears to be wrong.
Is it possible that there are 32 lenses, each composed of two layers, one of fast explosive, and one of slow explosive, together making up 64 pieces? That's what the wiki page on Fat Man suggests.

Carl
2016-02-22, 07:45 PM
That might explain it though thats not how it read to me. Unless i can find the original article though i'd say explaining what was meant regarding inefficiencies is probably beyond me as i didn't understand it too well when i read it.

Tobtor
2016-02-23, 02:29 AM
Well, there always were, and still are, backwater areas where people are a half a step, or many steps behind. I would make a joke about certain US States but I don't want to offend anybody. And certainly the data has enough wiggle room (and huge gaps) that you can interpret it different ways, but I guess I keep seeing evidence more or less the opposite of what you are talking about. Opposite of a lot of the clichés about medieval filth and backwardness and stupidity, and maybe that is because I'm more focused on certain towns - the towns that were the origin of the fencing manuals for the most part, whereas you seem to know more about rural Denmark which was, if you forgive my saying so, something of a backwater during the middle ages as was for example most of Ireland during that period (where most of my ancestors come from.)

I agree that Denmark was a backwater area. But your point was "they werent stupid", and the refered to herb lore. The herb lore was widespread in the rural areas, while university doctors more in the towns (whith a great overlap, of course). Both systems had horrendous ideas about how it worked.


I see the analogy you are making of course, but when you have a town of 30 or 50 thousand people producing more world class art, architecture and literature than cities of 5 and 10 million people I think there is more going on there than just a few people filtering in from the countryside, and I think we can draw the conclusion that the social, economic and political systems which saw the birth of what we call the "Renaissance" was not the "muddy cavemen in pastel colors and recorder music" that is portrayed typically in RPG's, genre fiction and film. I certainly wouldn't call it a great place to live compared to today in many respects, but it wasn't as dismal as we have been led to believe.

Today Iceland is the country that produces the most literature per capita. In the medieval period they produced hundreds of Sagas, translations of Saints Lifes, french hsitories. In spite of poor preservation in "mud huts", hundreds of manuscripts survived. If Denmark was backwater, Iceland was nowhere, had a small isolated population, who needed to import wood for fireing, build their houes small and of turf (single room houses, were the whole family slept together).

Why Am I saying this? Because many other factors than economic wealth is part of producing art. I agree (and have said so many times in this thread), that the portrayal in media (some RPG) of the medieval is silly and stupid.

It is also difficult to estimate whether or not they produced more art than today in those towns, what we see today is a culmination of many works, some is today considered fine art, but was just part of a cultural sphere then. Paintings and fencingmanuals etc, could perhaps be viewed as standard as movies and computergames today. If you take Hollywood in isolation, they produces hundreds (if not thousands) of films every year. Is it great art? Most of it not (by my personal standards), but if viewed from 500years ahead, who knows. The production of "art/culture" is very high today, whether or not it will stand the test of time is more difficult to answer, but already in the medieval period there were such debates.



The decline in height in the late medieval period was slight, and there were other factors at work - the late medieval period as you probably know was a cooling trend.

I have a hard time seing the cooling trend being a decisive factor for decreased height, that would entail Swedes being shorter than Italians...


But average height declined precipitously from the 17th Century through the early 19th, by a factor of something like 4 centimeters for men in Europe as a whole (though as you noted the average height in a particular region could vary enormously.)

The article you posted states it happened between 1400 and the 17th century..... See the text below figure 2.

Spiryt
2016-02-23, 03:59 AM
I have a hard time seing the cooling trend being a decisive factor for decreased height, that would entail Swedes being shorter than Italians...



Of course, but the point is that cooling would be lead to worse crops in some years, and generally harder conditions.

And period of hunger and cold in say, few months of growth in one's teen years easily lead to decreased height.

Tobtor
2016-02-23, 08:19 AM
Of course, but the point is that cooling would be lead to worse crops in some years, and generally harder conditions.

And period of hunger and cold in say, few months of growth in one's teen years easily lead to decreased height.

But there is no direct link between slightly colder weather and less crops (its a hotly debated subject). Colder whether can mean more rain, which in Denmark is synonymous with faster growing grass and thus more animal fodder... thus traditional sayings prefer cold to hot May-months (Når maj er kold, bliver ladden fuld -When May is cold, the barn will be full). Of course changes of any kind can affect crops, if the population doesn't adopt. In Denmark (and much of Northern Europe) the crops fail in the 16th century, and this might be part of the explanation. But I think G is right when he also point to worse conditions for peasants due to social conditions.

Besides the curve indicate that the warm period started after the Viking age, and the maximum wasn't reached before the population in England had begun "shrinking".


And I notice that these people seem to survive encounters with the doctor, they lived, often, into their 70's, survived numerous battle and dueling wounds, and often had kids who survived to adulthood too (though infant mortality was certainly a big problem).

Statistical investigations of cemeteries show a high diversion in population age in the medieval (and indeed any period). I don't think the medieval average age is much higher (or lower) than many other periods (though the article you posted seem to indicate that 1250-1450 male landowners lived shorter than the Hungary 900-1200 and other populations studied, but I am sceptical on historical sources and would prefer sceletal material even if age after 50 is difficult to determine accurately). Did individuals live to 70? Sure, just like my grandmother lived to 104 and her sister is till alive at 110. Anecdotes is not good to use for wider claims. The article is very thorough, and does kill some myths (though not much new for me), such as average mariatal age for woman was in the mid 20'ies and NOT early teens as many depictions have it. But it does also make clear that even if you survive to 20, your life expectancy is about to live to 50 (averages in the high 40'ies).

The article also suggest a 25% infant mortality rate for England - as high as the "bad" example I posted before. Though I think that might be a bit high, as its very difficult to confirm numbers from back then.

Importantly many medieval sceletons show signs of disease (leprosy, and later tuberculoses, being dominant (as much as 90% in some cases having dorman leprosy), but also various other kinds including sign of malnutrition).

Clistenes
2016-02-23, 09:48 AM
Importantly many medieval sceletons show signs of disease (leprosy, and later tuberculoses, being dominant (as much as 90% in some cases having dorman leprosy), but also various other kinds including sign of malnutrition).

Fun fact: Leprosy only ended as an epidemic because of natural evolution. Europeans developed natural resistance to it (well, most of them, there still are pockets of leprosy in Europe), but when the disease arrived to places where it was unknown, it became epidemic again.

Galloglaich
2016-02-23, 05:43 PM
But there is no direct link between slightly colder weather and less crops (its a hotly debated subject). Colder whether can mean more rain, which in Denmark is synonymous with faster growing grass and thus more animal fodder... thus traditional sayings prefer cold to hot May-months (Når maj er kold, bliver ladden fuld -When May is cold, the barn will be full). Of course changes of any kind can affect crops, if the population doesn't adopt. In Denmark (and much of Northern Europe) the crops fail in the 16th century, and this might be part of the explanation. But I think G is right when he also point to worse conditions for peasants due to social conditions.

It is indeed complicated but we have a pretty close correlation between famines and cooling trends, including in the early 14th Century when there was a terrible famine across Europe. All things being equal, cooling (to a point) seems to lead to increased crop failures, at least in Europe. Rain at the wrong time can actually be part of the problem. But from studies I have seen (and if I have time I'll find and link a better one on this, but it's hard to find them without real JSTOR access) the average height stayed pretty close to modern standards until the 16th Century, then declined sharply in the 17th and 18th, before beginning to rebound in the 19th.



but I am sceptical on historical sources and would prefer sceletal material even if age after 50 is difficult to determine accurately).

They have done a lot of these forensic studies in urban cemeteries, but unfortunately I don't know of any big aggregated studies. It's the nature of academia today, people specialize but few are brave enough to aggregate and draw conclusions any more. 'Multidisciplinary' is even a bad word in some circles.

As for the marriage age, it was around 25 for both sexes in Northern Europe, but closer to 30 for men and 18 for women in Southern Europe (also apparently a lot more same sex relationships before marriage in Southern Europe, usually older men with younger)

Women were also more likely (or anyway, it was more insisted upon) to be virgins in Southern Europe, whereas in Northern Europe more pre-marital sexual activity was normal. Parents even let young people who were courting have 'night visits'


All sexual behavior changed a lot after the onset of Syphilis in the late 15th Century though, and that in combination with the reformation and counter-reformation ended the wilder times of the medieval period.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-23, 05:53 PM
Or forced things to go a bit more underground anyway...

Galloglaich
2016-02-23, 06:39 PM
I agree that Denmark was a backwater area. But your point was "they werent stupid", and the refered to herb lore. The herb lore was widespread in the rural areas, while university doctors more in the towns (whith a great overlap, of course). Both systems had horrendous ideas about how it worked.

I don't think you actually know enough about either to say that definitively. I know for a fact that the vast majority of period literary sources for this stuff have not even been transcribed let alone translated, interpreted, or tested.



Today Iceland is the country that produces the most literature per capita. In the medieval period they produced hundreds of Sagas, translations of Saints Lifes, french hsitories. In spite of poor preservation in "mud huts", hundreds of manuscripts survived. If Denmark was backwater, Iceland was nowhere, had a small isolated population, who needed to import wood for fireing, build their houes small and of turf (single room houses, were the whole family slept together).

Iceland did go through a boom period of manuscript production in the High medieval period, but they were by no means anywhere near unique in this, and the output of manuscripts for all of Iceland utterly pales in comparison to towns like Bruges, Nuremberg, Strasbourg or Venice. The epicenter of manuscript production was in the urban areas, both for scriptoria and once it became available, the printing press.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/59/Printing_towns_incunabula.svg/443px-Printing_towns_incunabula.svg.png

They estimate that up to 20,000,000 copies (http://www.utm.edu/staff/bobp/vlibrary/incunabula.shtml) of printed books and documents were created in the short period between the invention of the Printing press around 1450 and the year 1500. Books made in this period are called "incunabula". Over 30,000 unique printed publications survive from that period to this day, five centuries later, with over 125,000 surviving copies in Germany alone. That is considerably more than the total population of Iceland in the middle ages.

Iceland today has all the advantages of a city- the population is very affluent by world standards, highly educated, has access to everything in the world via the internet and can easily and instantly communicate with each other and everyone else in the world (within the limits of language, but lets say they can certainly communicate with around a billion English speakers)



Why Am I saying this? Because many other factors than economic wealth is part of producing art. I agree (and have said so many times in this thread), that the portrayal in media (some RPG) of the medieval is silly and stupid.

It is also difficult to estimate whether or not they produced more art than today in those towns, what we see today is a culmination of many works, some is today considered fine art, but was just part of a cultural sphere then. Paintings and fencingmanuals etc, could perhaps be viewed as standard as movies and computergames today. If you take Hollywood in isolation, they produces hundreds (if not thousands) of films every year. Is it great art? Most of it not (by my personal standards), but if viewed from 500years ahead, who knows. The production of "art/culture" is very high today, whether or not it will stand the test of time is more difficult to answer, but already in the medieval period there were such debates.

Yeah, but I am not talking about the length and breadth of medieval history. You can take any 50 year stretch of time in Florence from around 1300 to 1350, or 1400 to 1450, and compare the number of writers and artists people whose work still sells, is still regarded at the highest level today, and it dwarfs what is produced by most cities in most other eras. Same for Bruges, or Augsburg, or a couple of dozen other towns. How many Dante's do we have today? How many Michelangelos? How many Memlings or Van Eyks? Sure today we build giant skyscrapers, but how many will last as long as the Strasbourg Cathedral has? How many are even 1% as beautiful?

http://www.uffizi.org/img/artworks/botticelli-birth-venus.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d9/Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_%28detail%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/361px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_%28detail%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/10/Strasbourg_Cathedral_inside.jpg/640px-Strasbourg_Cathedral_inside.jpg

Will the combined works of Adam Sandler or Lady Gaga astound people in centuries to come? Well it is possible of course, since we don't know what the future will be like (https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/idiocracy.jpg?w=738), but we know that people in a very short span of time in what are very, very small towns by todays standards, produced art and literature and architecture and other marvels that people have admired for 5 or 6 centuries so far.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-23, 06:45 PM
In a way though I think Iceland is kind of an example of the same thing - cultural, political and / or economic conditions that are conducive to creativity and innovation. And the Icelandic Sagas written down in the 13th and 14th Centuries will always hold a place in my heart and are still as popular today as Dante's Inferno or Boccaccio's Decameron or Petrarch's translations of Cicero. If you look at say, Florence in 1300, they had many of the same factors as Iceland does today: a considerable degree of political freedom, high social mobility, good public education at all levels, relatively high prosperity, and so on.

There is no doubt that Iceland is full of some unique and interesting people who are very creative. Bjork alone is more creative possibly than the entire State of Kansas*. Certainly more dangerous!

* I kid.... I kid Kansas...

Mr Beer
2016-02-23, 08:37 PM
Will the combined works of Adam Sandler or Lady Gaga astound people in centuries to come?

Perhaps in the sense of 'lol people in century 21 lol'.

Tobtor
2016-02-24, 02:46 AM
It is indeed complicated but we have a pretty close correlation between famines and cooling trends, including in the early 14th Century when there was a terrible famine across Europe. All things being equal, cooling (to a point) seems to lead to increased crop failures, at least in Europe. Rain at the wrong time can actually be part of the problem. But from studies I have seen (and if I have time I'll find and link a better one on this, but it's hard to find them without real JSTOR access) the average height stayed pretty close to modern standards until the 16th Century, then declined sharply in the 17th and 18th, before beginning to rebound in the 19th.


Please do find that link. The link you provided suggest (as well as the research from Scandinavia that I know of), that height declined slightly from the viking period to the warmer medieval, the fell further both through the small ice age, but that it continued to fall through the 18th centurys recovery...

However the period 16th-17th century is typically weakly investigated (much have been done in medieval sceletons/books etc, and from 18th century onwards more historic sources with good (easily accessible data) data is available

Note: I said the colder climate -> famine was a hotly debated subject, and I doubt we will find the solution here.



They have done a lot of these forensic studies in urban cemeteries, but unfortunately I don't know of any big aggregated studies. It's the nature of academia today, people specialize but few are brave enough to aggregate and draw conclusions any more. 'Multidisciplinary' is even a bad word in some circles.

I know. It is really bad. I have also seen forensic studies (mostly at conferences). Mostly working with leprosy (a co-worker of mine works with leprosy DNA from the medieval period... and tuberculoses which replaces leprosy), but also scurvy seem to have been a regular thing.


As for the marriage age, it was around 25 for both sexes in Northern Europe, but closer to 30 for men and 18 for women in Southern Europe (also apparently a lot more same sex relationships before marriage in Southern Europe, usually older men with younger)

I have also seen studies suggesting that among "normal people" (rural and towns), it was also above 20 for women in southern France etc (don't know about Spain or Italy etc). The studies reaching very "low" averages uses marital contracts and is dominated by nobles families (and some times higher up peasants and merchants etc), were the economic of the situation is very different. In Northern Europe the age remain steadily above 20 (often 25-28) until the industrial revolution.


Women were also more likely (or anyway, it was more insisted upon) to be virgins in Southern Europe, whereas in Northern Europe more pre-marital sexual activity was normal. Parents even let young people who were courting have 'night visits'

All sexual behavior changed a lot after the onset of Syphilis in the late 15th Century though, and that in combination with the reformation and counter-reformation ended the wilder times of the medieval period.

I am sure you are right. But after a few centuries of 15th/16th religious fever, Scandinavia at least reverted to being rather liberal minded. I saw a source of a preacher in Denmark in the 18th century musing if he only had a coin for every virginity lost at the chrismas parties. (and not in a condemning way).

Interestingly the concept of "virginity" does not even exist in the Icelandic sagas... But the word (and much of the concept behind it) only developed during the medieval period. Interestingly the concept is very flawed (but a long discussion about the hymen might be a bit out of place here)


Yeah, but I am not talking about the length and breadth of medieval history. You can take any 50 year stretch of time in Florence from around 1300 to 1350, or 1400 to 1450, and compare the number of writers and artists people whose work still sells, is still regarded at the highest level today, and it dwarfs what is produced by most cities in most other eras. Same for Bruges, or Augsburg, or a couple of dozen other towns. How many Dante's do we have today? How many Michelangelos? How many Memlings or Van Eyks? Sure today we build giant skyscrapers, but how many will last as long as the Strasbourg Cathedral has? How many are even 1% as beautiful?

I think it is really difficult to compare different epochs cultural production. How do you compare a film-maker with a medieval painter? Remember that

Dante was born in 1265, van Eyk in 1395, and Memlings in 1430, and Michelangelo in 1475. Thats quite a span (200 years), and ranging from Italy to the Netherlands. Lets mention Tolstoj, Tolkien, Dostojefski, the Beattles, Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Satre, instead of Gaga and Adam Sandler (of course unless you consider them the finest of modern artist). I am sure there were may "gagas" and "Sandlers" in the medieval. I recently read a book "Courts of love, castles of hate" about troubadours of Provance (high medieval), a handful is still known today, but many existed - most were mediocre and forgotten.


Iceland did go through a boom period of manuscript production in the High medieval period, but they were by no means anywhere near unique in this, and the output of manuscripts for all of Iceland utterly pales in comparison to towns like Bruges, Nuremberg, Strasbourg or Venice. The epicenter of manuscript production was in the urban areas, both for scriptoria and once it became available, the printing press.

I don't know the scale of comparison. How many manuscripts (pre-printing press) exist from any one of those towns? Remember that each of those towns had a population the size of Iceland (or higher), especially if the surrounding "close rural" area was included. Michelangelo for instance was born outside the major towns?


If you look at say, Florence in 1300, they had many of the same factors as Iceland does today: a considerable degree of political freedom, high social mobility, good public education at all levels, relatively high prosperity, and so on.

Some of that, I agree. The epicentres of breakthrough tend to create explosion of creativity (such as 14th century Italy, and slightly later Flanders). "relatively high prosperity" however is not Iceland in the 12-15th century! Soil erosion had became a huge problem (over grasing), the forests was gone, though couldnt produce their own ships and was reliant on first Norweigean and later Hansa traders. They were likely the poorest in Scandinavia (in contrast to the 10th and 11th century, were still not wealthy they had more internal power). Interestingly most manuscripts are produced post 1265, where Iceland had succumb to civil war and been taken over by Norway. The manuscripts then look back on the golden days of the republic. Iceland was really, really poor....

Reading out loud Sagas was interestingly enough preserved as an Icelandic tradition up until modern time (the invention of the radio finished it of). There was nothing else to do I suppose.... But it created a tradition of poetry, literacy

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-24, 04:44 AM
Dante was born in 1265, van Eyk in 1395, and Memlings in 1430, and Michelangelo in 1475. Thats quite a span (200 years), and ranging from Italy to the Netherlands. Lets mention Tolstoj, Tolkien, Dostojefski, the Beattles, Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Satre, instead of Gaga and Adam Sandler (of course unless you consider them the finest of modern artist). I am sure there were may "gagas" and "Sandlers" in the medieval. I recently read a book "Courts of love, castles of hate" about troubadours of Provance (high medieval), a handful is still known today, but many existed - most were mediocre and forgotten.

And how many of them have compositions that have survived through the ages, even though the only references we have to their origin are words like "Traditional"?

Plus, even with things being stored as they are today, there's no guarantee people will be able to access that information in the future - for instance, in 1986, the UK had the Domesday Project to celebrate 900 years since William the Conqueror had the Domesday Book produced. A few years ago, a team at Leeds University had to devise a way of reading it so that it could be put on line, because the output of the Domesday Project was put on laserdisc, and no one had one anymore.

Tobtor
2016-02-24, 07:54 AM
Quite right... runestones are the way to go - they last way longer than either paper and digital formats (though they need to be taken indoors or protected due to acid rain these days). modern paper is of poorer quality than tradtional paper when it comes to preservation.

It is really impossible to compare numbers and genres with the present (also because the media landscape today is very different with genres such as movies blurring the picture, many "artistic" minded people turn to movies rather than painting or books these days).

While 20 million printed book from 1450-1500 is alot, and more than many people would think, it is still ALOT less than today - even compared to population size. Wikipedia have the 1450-1500 population of Europe at 80-90millions (and 10-13millions in Italy). That is 1 book pr 4 people pr 50 years.

In Denmark roughly 3.000 -new- literary titles are publsihed every year in Danish (including translations), and a total of 10.000 titles in Danish put into press (re-published books and scholarly books included, but not magazines, ebooks etc). This (http://www.statistikbanken.dk/BOG03) page make the statistics available by year genre etc. for the years 2007-2014 - in danish and english. In addition to English and other foreign language books.

I dont have statistics of how many of each is published, but if we assume an average of just 500 pr. title, we have 5 million books pr. year - the danish population is roughly 5.5million and thus it is one book pr. person pr. year. 200 times more than in the medieval period - this in spite of people also reading e-books, english books, german books etc, and watching movies and so on. And this is BOOKs, the medieval estimate include documents...
This is in spite of the millions of accesible books already printed....

Even if we assumed that only those 10 million Italians read the medieval books the medieval period is far behind. The printing press really did cause an explosion of books, but 1450-1500 is also (surely) on the egde of the medieval period (not counted medieval in Italy for example).

Similarly the icelandic sagas are hand written (even after the printing press as the church owned the only printing press in Iceland and wouldnt let anyone use it for sagas - talk about freedom) and thus numbers dont compare to the later printed books, making the comparison difficult.

Of quantity is not comparable to quality, but many of those medieval books where short pamphlets or the bible... (not written in the late medieval period)

Qute from G regarding medicine: "I don't think you actually know enough about either to say that definitively.", that is why I refereed to the guy I heard on the radio who had done a ph.d. in medical history. I am sorry I cant get you the quote as it was on live radio and and in danish.

Galloglaich
2016-02-24, 03:48 PM
Dante was born in 1265, van Eyk in 1395, and Memlings in 1430, and Michelangelo in 1475. Thats quite a span (200 years), and ranging from Italy to the Netherlands. Lets mention Tolstoj, Tolkien, Dostojefski, the Beattles, Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Satre, instead of Gaga and Adam Sandler (of course unless you consider them the finest of modern artist). I am sure there were may "gagas" and "Sandlers" in the medieval. I recently read a book "Courts of love, castles of hate" about troubadours of Provance (high medieval), a handful is still known today, but many existed - most were mediocre and forgotten.

You are conflating two different things, I didn't list a group of people from the same town, I just suggested the possibility of doing so. But a 50 year span in any one of several of these towns, Florence, Augsburg, Bruges - take your pick, and they will compare very well to an equivalent town in a 50 year span in the 20th or today and go back 50 years.

Dante is part of a cluster of writers and artists in and around Florence in the early 14th Century - his closest peers being Boccaccio and Petrarch. Eyk and Memling were part of another really impressive cluster in and around Bruges in the early 15th Century (though Memling came from Germany). In the post you were responding to I just listed a few familiar names since I thought the point I was making was pretty obvious. I wasn't making a city for city comparison, which is I guess what you are implying that I was doing - I wasn't. What you are doing in fact, is taking people across 200 years and the entire planet - which is not apples to apples.

If you really want to make this city for city comparison I'll make the effort, you pick your 20th / 21st Century town and generation, and I'll pick mine. Should be pretty easy to figure out since they have lists of these things already compiled.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-24, 05:54 PM
While 20 million printed book from 1450-1500 is alot, and more than many people would think, it is still ALOT less than today - even compared to population size. Wikipedia have the 1450-1500 population of Europe at 80-90millions (and 10-13millions in Italy). That is 1 book pr 4 people pr 50 years.

Yes, but what you don't seem to grasp here, is that in the beginning of that period, around 1452, there was only one printing press. By ten years later, there were three: one in Strasbourg, one in Bamberg and the original on in Mainz. The first printing press in Venice was set up in 1469, operated by one professional printer and his two apprentices. By 1500 there were were 417 printers. In 1471 the first printing press ever was set up in 6 Italian towns: Florence, Genoa, Ferrara, Bologna, Padua, and Treviso. The first one in Flanders was set up in 1473. By the halfway point of that era, there were maybe 30 movable type printing presses in the world.

If you look at this map of the original printing presses:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_spread_of_the_printing_press#/media/File:Printing_towns_incunabula.svg

... only the ones in Blue or Black were around before 1470.

So if you compare that with the number of printers in Denmark today the medieval people were actually doing pretty well.

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

My point was about how quickly the technology spread and was exploited in this era. The production of books quickly shot up to more than 200 million in the 16th Century, and never stopped exploding after that.



Even if we assumed that only those 10 million Italians read the medieval books the medieval period is far behind. The printing press really did cause an explosion of books, but 1450-1500 is also (surely) on the egde of the medieval period (not counted medieval in Italy for example).

Typically the medieval period is considered up until 1500. The Renaissance isn't actually a different period, academically they talk about medieval and Early Modern - early modern is usually considered to start in 1500, sometimes 1520 (some claim 1450 though to be fair). Renaissance is a term of convenience invented by the (excellent) historian Jacob Burkhardt, but it's not by definition a really precise term.



Similarly the icelandic sagas are hand written (even after the printing press as the church owned the only printing press in Iceland and wouldnt let anyone use it for sagas - talk about freedom) and thus numbers dont compare to the later printed books, making the comparison difficult.

In the Late Medieval era, most books were still hand written. Almost all of the 15th Century fencing manuals were for example. The number of written manuscripts still far exceeded the number of printed manuals well into the 16th Century. Gutenberg built the printing press to make money because there was already a thriving market for books, documents, and written material that he wanted to cash in on. There were scriptoria all over the place. One of the things you'll notice on the map I posted earlier of where all the incunabula come from, they are almost all the same towns where they had watermill powered paper mills. Paper was really more of a revolution than the printing press, or you could say, the two of them dovetailed together (like the Steam Engine with the Railroad say, or the microchip and the computer) and the paper revolution was already running flat out for two centuries .

As far as I know, in Iceland they still had to use animal hide for writing material for the most part, which is another major limitation they had to deal with.


Of quantity is not comparable to quality, but many of those medieval books where short pamphlets or the bible... (not written in the late medieval period)

Having seen a lot of them, I can tell you that quite a few (both printed and hand-copied) were very interesting. The alchemy of Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Pseudo Geber, or the math of Fibonnacci, or the literature of Dante or Boccaccio, Machiavelli etc. the translations of the extremely important Persian and Arab alchemists like Al Jabir, Al Kindi, Al Razi etc., the original uncensored* translations of Classical auctores like Epicurus, Lucretius, Pythagorus, Aristotle, Aristophenes, Plato, Seutonius, Tacitus etc., as well as the medieval glosses on them. The black magic grimoires, of which unlike the post medieval ones, very few have been published today. The war books like Bellifortis, the cannon books, the books on armor and weapons, and the fencing manuals...



Qute from G regarding medicine: "I don't think you actually know enough about either to say that definitively.", that is why I refereed to the guy I heard on the radio who had done a ph.d. in medical history. I am sorry I cant get you the quote as it was on live radio and and in danish.

I know a lot of PhD's. I'd refer you to what I said earlier about over-specialization.

snowblizz
2016-02-24, 06:40 PM
So I was musing a bit, as I do when reading books, in this case about Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

I think I recall in this thread, probably an earlier incarnation, someone posted about the "armouredness" of such capital ships (well links to some diagrams). Which, I had never really considered, was a fairly limited shell and not confirming to the dimensions of the ships so to speak. Anyways...

The story of these battleships/cruisers (depending a bit on definition) is one of constantly being bombed or taking a few hits and being withdrawn for repairs, were inevitably they are bombed again. There was a lot of pictures in the book, and I started thinking, such capital ships have a lot of "stuff" that can get hurt during combats, while not outright disabling it probably meaning it has to be taken out of action anyway. Having stuff like radar and facilities for reconnaissance planes destroyed might make you vulnerable in further combats. A portion of your AA capabilities are probably also liable to get ruined (most of it did not seem to be very protected on the ships in question).

So you are building a weapon of war that ends up vulnerable despite it's supposed protection. I get the feeling much of it is for when you aren't strictly in combats but then what's your purpose? Modern warships in comparison seem much "slicker" in appearance with less "clutter", obviously technological improvements mean they work in a somewhat different way and you can more easily internalise things. OH yes it was these 2 bulbous "anti-aircraft fire control centres" that just looks like they are waiting to be blown apart that got me thinking.

I think there was a class of US cruisers built on the idea of saturation damage? Atlanta or Philadelphia class?

Thoughts? How much of that "stuff" is really necessary and when was it decided that maybe not "having it out there" was a good idea. It's late and I am not entirely sure what I am asking about.:smalltongue:

Galloglaich
2016-02-24, 11:24 PM
Thoughts? How much of that "stuff" is really necessary and when was it decided that maybe not "having it out there" was a good idea. It's late and I am not entirely sure what I am asking about.:smalltongue:

I'm not sure what you are asking either, but modern warships are generally speaking much more vulnerable to physical battle damage than ships from the WW I or WW II era. Most of the protection for modern warships is from self-defense missiles and electronics, and sometimes CIWS (phalanx etc.) guns.

There was a big worry during the Falklands war that the Argentine ship, the General Belgrano, which I think was a refitted US CL (light cruiser) and therefore comparatively heavily armored and equipped with powerful guns, was going to suddenly show up and wipe out the lightly armed English fleet. But apparently the US gave the UK Satelite data on the whereabouts of the Belgrano and the Royal Navy sunk it with a Submarine, for great loss of life.

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



One reason why WW II ships have a lot of 'clutter' is that they simply had more guns. Modern guns theoretically can shoot down much more incoming ordinance than guns on WW II ships, which are basically aimed by crew directly, as opposed to radar and / or laser guided and computer controlled. Most modern ships only have one or two main guns, of small (around 7-15 cm) caliber, typically, which are also supposed to have a substantial AA capability.


However I wonder how many incoming rockets the guns on a modern ship could handle. The vulnerability of them is that once they expend their SAM missiles (and they don't carry an infinite amount of them, in fact many modern ship classes carry surprisingly few) then they are left pretty defenseless. A ship like the Atlanta has a lot of AAA power but was of course, vulnerable to the heavy guns of battleships.


One of the reasons the US kept some of their old Iowa class battleships in the fleet for a while was that they were considered so well armored and strongly made that they could handle multiple hits from cruise missiles, and they also had room for a lot of missiles themselves. But due to the analog nature of a lot of the systems on those ships and lack of automation, they required a much larger crew to operate and therefore were very expensive to keep in active service in the fleet. Probably useful to have though if WW III comes to life out of the Middle East or something.

I think some of the Russian heavy missile cruiser class vessels have some armor on them.

Carl
2016-02-25, 01:16 AM
@snowbliz: All that armour was designed to defend against naval gunfire, not bombs for the most part. Later designs did factor them in, but they were still secondary to stopping the massive 14"+ shells these ships typically slung at each other. Each of which was basically an armour piercing bomb of between 1,500lb's and 3,000lb's in weight thrown in numbers ranging from 8 to 12 shells per salvo at 1-2 salvo's a minute typically. The whole reason the US Marines loved the Iowa's and the whole reason the Zumwalt's get so much flak is that the Iowa's could throw more shells in every salvo than a pair of carrier aircraft could drop 2,000lb bombs, and each shell hit harder than the bombs, and the Iowa's would still be dropping yet more salvo's long after the carrier had used up all her planes and was still waiting for them to get back aboard to be rearmed.

A lot of the time the ships weren't withdrawn for repairs alone, but more in an attempt to move them out of range of bombers. The bomb's only rarely did so much damage they needed repairs to be considered combat effective, the germans just didn't want to lose the ships.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-25, 03:58 AM
... that the Argentine ship, the General Belgrano, which I think was a refitted US CL (light cruiser) ...
Yes, she was originally the USS Phoenix, was gifted to Argentina in the early 50s, and survived the attack on Pearl Harbour undamaged.

Gnoman
2016-02-25, 08:14 AM
Thoughts? How much of that "stuff" is really necessary and when was it decided that maybe not "having it out there" was a good idea. It's late and I am not entirely sure what I am asking about.:smalltongue:

There are no "Unnecessary" components on a ship of war, where designers have to struggle just to cram everything in. Armored ship developed after the American "superdreadnoughts" just before WWI use the "All Or Nothing" protection scheme, where the designers only put armor over the most vital areas - machinery, ammunition, fuel bunkers, etc and left the remaining areas completely unprotected. This was because doing so allowed these vitals to have much more armor (the two ships you're discussing could stand up to 16" guns at combat ranges) for their tonnage, and losing unoccupied crew quarters or machine shops doesn't hurt your fighting ability too much

Clistenes
2016-02-25, 04:52 PM
A question for HEMA fans: I have seen that many historical pollaxes have a rondel, but many of the techniques in contemporary manuals and used by HEMA fighters seem like would be obstructed by that rondel (they switch from blocking with an end to the pollaxe to hitting with the other end, and the slide their had along the handle while doing so... ). As a matter of fact, they don't have rondels in most videos that show people fighting with pollaxes...

Am I wrong? If I am right and the rondel really obstructs the use of those techniques... does that mean that the men-at-arms who used those pollaxes used a different style of fighting?

Thank you in advance.

Roxxy
2016-02-25, 04:53 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupes_de_marine) sense, in order to explain the existance of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or wouild that be too inobvious and clashing withnthe overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be incharge of spacebound warships and infantry?

Mr Beer
2016-02-25, 05:15 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupes_de_marine) sense, in order to explain the existance of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or wouild that be too inobvious and clashing withnthe overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be incharge of spacebound warships and infantry?

If I had a list of problems with a game setting, ranked in order of importance, this would be unlikely to make item 100.

Worry about everything else first.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-25, 05:32 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupes_de_marine) sense, in order to explain the existance of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or wouild that be too inobvious and clashing withnthe overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be incharge of spacebound warships and infantry?

if they have any sort of orbit-to-ground capability, then they could claim the marine title (since marines, historically, were used in assault landings and such).

other options:

the RAF has its own infantry force, the RAF Regiment. you could have the "RSC Regt" (aka the "Really Special Corps", the "Regiment of Space Cadets", ect. think of a few good insulting nicknames, its good flavour)

Astronaut infantry, or some variant.

Mike_G
2016-02-25, 06:05 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupes_de_marine) sense, in order to explain the existance of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or wouild that be too inobvious and clashing withnthe overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be incharge of spacebound warships and infantry?

Spacefaring warships make a lot more sense using a Naval model, rather than an Air Force one.

The Navy has ships that have a crew of hundreds, have living space, perform boarding actions, patrol shipping lanes and act as forward deployed, fairly autonomous bases from which to project power. Much like a space ship would do.

Launching fighters or Marines from a mother ship works much more like a carrier group does today than a strategic air wing.

Of course, I'm a bit biased. No Chair Force guy in a postman's uniform without an anchor on it gets to call himself "Marine" in my book.

Carl
2016-02-25, 07:09 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army sense, in order to explain the existence of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or would that be too inobvious and clashing with the overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be in charge of spacebound warships and infantry?

As others have said it's probably a low priority point and not too important. Take a look at david weber's honorverse. Manticore is clearly loosely based on napoleonic era britain but IN SPACE! and despite countless details that are undoubtedly a little off it works because it's all internally consistent and enough of the british elements remain to be very obvious all the same.

If your worried if it makes sense in universe, then e need a lot more historical info for that.

Roxxy
2016-02-25, 08:25 PM
Spacefaring warships make a lot more sense using a Naval model, rather than an Air Force one.

The Navy has ships that have a crew of hundreds, have living space, perform boarding actions, patrol shipping lanes and act as forward deployed, fairly autonomous bases from which to project power. Much like a space ship would do.

Launching fighters or Marines from a mother ship works much more like a carrier group does today than a strategic air wing.At the same time, isn't the job of space exploration given more to Air Forces than to Navies these days? I was thinking the Air Force may well be the originating branch simply because of that.


Of course, I'm a bit biased. No Chair Force guy in a postman's uniform without an anchor on it gets to call himself "Marine" in my book.
I don't think being a sailor is much more dangerous or less technical than being in the Air Force these days.

Roxxy
2016-02-25, 08:26 PM
the RAF has its own infantry force, the RAF Regiment. you could have the "RSC Regt" (aka the "Really Special Corps", the "Regiment of Space Cadets", ect. think of a few good insulting nicknames, its good flavour)

Astronaut infantry, or some variant.I love Really Special Corps and Regiment of Space Cadets (as well as a more crass version probably not allowed on this forum). That is a pretty good chunk of flavour.

cobaltstarfire
2016-02-25, 08:37 PM
I don't think being a sailor is much more dangerous or less technical than being in the Air Force these days.

The Air Force is traditionally stereotyped as the "paper pusher" branch of the armed forces, in the US at least. I don't think it has anything to do with how technical or dangerous any particular job is in the Air Force is vs other branches, and more to do with the ratio of people who are doing desk jobs rather than more active sorts of things that put one into harms way. (that's my suspicion anyway, I grew up military with family members in several different branches, but I don't really know much about the origin of many of the stereotypes)

Mike_G
2016-02-25, 09:33 PM
At the same time, isn't the job of space exploration given more to Air Forces than to Navies these days? I was thinking the Air Force may well be the originating branch simply because of that.


Not really.

Plenty of astronauts are pilots, but not exclusively Air Force pilots. John Glenn was a Marine, Wally Shirra was a Navy Captain, Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, Charles Conrad and James Lovell were all Naval Aviators. The Apollo program astronauts were about half Navy men.

As far as mission types, a large spaceship would act much more like a cruiser or carrier than a B-52.

Exploration was undertaken by ships, landing parties land from ships, small fighters launch from ships.

What experience does the Air Force have in operating a large vessel with a crew of hundreds that goes on a voyage of months or years at a time?

I know space isn't technically an ocean, but the mission is much more akin to Navy stuff than Air Force stuff. A spaceship would probably be very much like a submarine, actually.



I don't think being a sailor is much more dangerous or less technical than being in the Air Force these days.

Not talking about sailors.

I was a Marine, and the Marine Corps has been training for amphibious landings and occupation duty for a few centuries longer than the Air Force has existed.

I will admit we fall under the Department of the Navy.

fusilier
2016-02-25, 09:36 PM
How much would you guys object to a largely British colonial inspired nation using the term Marines in a very French Army (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troupes_de_marine) sense, in order to explain the existance of Space Marines when Space isn't an ocean? Essentially, Marine refers to far off colonial service in this context, not service in connection to a Navy. Or wouild that be too inobvious and clashing withnthe overall Britishness? What might the British call spacebound infantry if the Royal Space Corps, which emerged from the Royal Air Force, were to be incharge of spacebound warships and infantry?

There's an analogy between naval forces and fictional space forces -- borrowing terms from one to the other is fine (in my opinion anyway).

How the French Colonial Marines got the name Marine is not a straightforward development of traditional marines (which were intended to provide shipboard security).

Roxxy
2016-02-25, 10:15 PM
Hmm. I guess one issue is that oceangoing navies are still vital forces in my world, so I wanted the space forces to be noticeably different in tradition. Which is probably a strike against space marines, now that I think about it.

I suppose I actually haven't given much information. My setting starts with 1960s + low magic + D&D races, but a lot of my setting borrows from retrofuturism, or what peoplemfrom the 30s to the 60s thought the future would look like. What this means is that space travel is pretty advanced compared to modern Earth, but is primitive compared to most space based science fiction. Large habitable space stations, planetary and moon settler colonies, and isolated research stations at the edge of the star system exist, asteroid mining is a big activity, and space tourism is a thing, but at the same time it is currently impossible to travel outside the star system the setting takes place in, and most people haven't been in space. It's very much the beginning of space settlement and exploitation.

What this means is that space warfare is still a new thing, and space warships aren't big. We don't have space fighters. No use for such craft. I'm sure sure crews in the hundreds are necessary or logistically desirable. May well be that anything more that a few dozen crew and a platoon of infantry is just too big to easily supply. Haven't quite decided. International treaties allow the claiming and defense of objects in space, but not of space itself, so patrolling means watching the boundary around a specific place such as a resource valuable asteroid or a space station. A conflict would mean an attempt to seize or defend that object, and blowing up an enemy ship means lots of uncontrolled debris that can damage or destroy what you want to capture (or make it too dangerous to approach), making boarding parties very, very valuable. Ships have missiles and rayguns, but often restrict themselves to infantry support fire to avoid creating too much debris. Infantry typically use EVA suits for the immediate approach instead of dropships. It is not unheard of for two groups of infantry to duke it out in the vacuum of space, though the defender would typically prefer to set up inside a ship or station where they have more cover from enemy fire. Especially with the enemy ship's rayguns ready to throw out anti-infantry covering fire if necessary.

Naturally, being sixties based, blue water navies are vitally important. Especially with most trade still coming by ocean, not through space.

Does that change the Navy versus Air Force perspective any?

Mike_G
2016-02-25, 10:31 PM
That does explain it a bit better. The traditional sci-fi "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" kind of fleet is pretty clearly much more like a Navy than an Air Force, but what you describe is more or less its own thing, not really as naval as I was thinking.

I still don't like the term "marine" applied to non-naval tradition troops. I'd go with a special term like the Royal Space Commando or something.

But that's just me getting all Marine-grumpy and yelling "you lubbers get off my quarterdeck!" so feel free to take my complaints with a grain of salt.

Mr Beer
2016-02-25, 11:02 PM
But that's just me getting all Marine-grumpy and yelling "you lubbers get off my quarterdeck!" so feel free to take my complaints with a grain of salt.

I'm now firmly convinced that all ex-Marines shout this when they see damn kids on their lawn.

Mathis
2016-02-25, 11:24 PM
I'll suggest naming them the Royal Expeditionary Forces as their own branch, sets them apart from both naval and air forces. Possibly Royal Colonials. If you want to keep up the campy Britishness then Very Special Forces is the only answer you'll need.

lsfreak
2016-02-25, 11:42 PM
Two questions, a bit tangential to actual arms and armor but things less related have come up before, so...

First is, basically, any information on the demographics of dogs, especially in the Late Middle Ages into the very early Early Modern in Europe, and bonus points for East/Southeast Asia. Would almost every peasant family typically have had one because of how useful they were for protection and companionship? Would sheperds typically have several? Professional soldiers/mercenaries? Beyond Roman-era times were they ever really used in raids or battles, whether in campaigns or in low-intensity conflict, or had they been relegated to "civilian" life?

The second is how life actually would have looked day-by-day and generation-by-generation for migratory peoples. I mean here groups like Vandals and Alans, that traveled long distances, as a fairly unified group, i.e. not Romanis or Jews, and not Mongols that conquered and formed an empire connected to their homeland (possibly, though, Turkic peoples during the Turkic expansion and pre-settlement Hungarians). Was this actual family units moving en mass through areas, or was it large groups of raiders that captured food, wives, and artisans as they moved through the area? Were settlements the settlement of families once they found/conquered a suitable area, or the warriors imposing themselves as a ruling class on people that were already present, assimilating some of the population, and setting out again? Were they always on the move, or did they tend to slowly filter through an area over the course of several years, or did they go between a generation of agriculture or pastrorialism before setting out for a generation of migration to a new area?

fusilier
2016-02-26, 12:41 AM
Naturally, being sixties based, blue water navies are vitally important. Especially with most trade still coming by ocean, not through space.

Does that change the Navy versus Air Force perspective any?

If you want to keep a retro feel, use whichever terms you wish, and add "Space" (or "Star") in front of them. :-)

If you really want to avoid the term marines, plenty of nations don't use the term. Historically many (including the US on occasion) simply armed sailors and put them ashore. Other nations have used the term "naval infantry." You could also use a title: Italy's Navy marines belong to the San Marco Brigade -- and their Army's Marines are the Lagunari Regiment.

I like the term "Expeditionary Forces", but unless they actually are expeditionary forces I would feel uncomfortable using the term. The BEF and AEF were "expeditions" to France. In that sense they were transitory in nature, and not permanent establishments.


What this means is that space warfare is still a new thing, and space warships aren't big. We don't have space fighters. No use for such craft. I'm sure sure crews in the hundreds are necessary or logistically desirable. May well be that anything more that a few dozen crew and a platoon of infantry is just too big to easily supply. Haven't quite decided. International treaties allow the claiming and defense of objects in space, but not of space itself, so patrolling means watching the boundary around a specific place such as a resource valuable asteroid or a space station. A conflict would mean an attempt to seize or defend that object, and blowing up an enemy ship means lots of uncontrolled debris that can damage or destroy what you want to capture (or make it too dangerous to approach), making boarding parties very, very valuable. Ships have missiles and rayguns, but often restrict themselves to infantry support fire to avoid creating too much debris. Infantry typically use EVA suits for the immediate approach instead of dropships. It is not unheard of for two groups of infantry to duke it out in the vacuum of space, though the defender would typically prefer to set up inside a ship or station where they have more cover from enemy fire. Especially with the enemy ship's rayguns ready to throw out anti-infantry covering fire if necessary.

If space exploration is still pretty primitive, and the sizes of the forces available are small -- then perhaps these forces should be looked at more as militarized police/security forces?

Roxxy
2016-02-26, 01:33 AM
If space exploration is still pretty primitive, and the sizes of the forces available are small -- then perhaps these forces should be looked at more as militarized police/security forces?That's it. You just handed out exactly the idea I needed.

A mobile paramilitary frontier police force? Sounds like the post-Civil War US Cavalry in space. And I actually REALLY, REALLY like the idea of our space warriors styling themselves like dashing cavalry instead of marines, with their rocket assisted EVA spacesuits serving as their noble steeds. Naturally, their dress uniforms are flashy and cool and sport riding boots and gloves, while their unit symbols sport bugles and sabers and stuff.

And my setting is British colonial, not just British. The Commonwealth is just as involved in this as the British Isles. And it just so happens that the Commonwealth boasts a very famous counterpart to the US Cavalry. I think you all know exactly where this is going, and I embrace it wholeheartedly. This is going to be so much cooler than space marines. Just for the fun of it, though, I'm gonna say it.

Mounties. In. Space.

fusilier
2016-02-26, 02:10 AM
That's it. You just handed out exactly the idea I needed.

A mobile paramilitary frontier police force? Sounds like the post-Civil War US Cavalry in space. And I actually REALLY, REALLY like the idea of our space warriors styling themselves like dashing cavalry instead of marines, with their rocket assisted EVA spacesuits serving as their noble steeds. Naturally, their dress uniforms sport riding boots and gloves, and their unit symbols sport bugles and sabers and stuff.

And my setting is British colonial, not just British. The Commonwealth is just as involved in this as the British Isles. And it just so happens that the Commonwealth boasts a very famous counterpart to the US Cavalry. I think you all know exactly where this is going, and I embrace it wholeheartedly. This is going to be so much cooler than space marines. Just for the fun of it, though, I'm gonna say it.

Mounties. In. Space.

:-) Glad to be of service.

Roxxy
2016-02-26, 02:19 AM
Since they're cavalry, they're organized into regiments. I am going to say that these regiments are four battalions of about 650, so a regiment is around 2600, plus regimental command staff. A battalion is three line companies plus support and command personnel, and a company is four platoons. Most combat ships carry one platoon (in fact, they could be called a combination of dropship and gunship), with larger logistical ships carrying full companies (these ships avoid battle). So if you send a battalion to take a colony somewhere, you're talking about sending a dozen combat ships, plus command and support vessels that will hang banck from the battle. Sounds good to me.

I think we need five regiments, assuming we keep three at home (one standing by for immediate deployment if necessary), one deployed in close space, and one in deeper space. Battalions operate individually, and are very far flung from each other. Naturally, the regiments rotate these deployments. It takes a while to recuperate after a year or more in space, which is part of why less than half the space cavalry are actually in space at any given time.

EDIT: Also I looked up troop on Wikipedia. Says a cavalry troop is a company to Americans but a platoon to the British. So from here on out, platoons of space cavalry are to be called troops. Also, companies are squadrons. Being British, sections are used, not squads.

Also, we need something a bit more retro than space cavalry. From here on out, they are the Astrocavalry, the combat EVA and planetary assault arm of the Royal Astronaut Corps (An organization responsible for military, police, scientific, and engineering works. Like if the paramilitary era of the US Cavalry met the Army Corps of Engineers and NASA, and they all banded together under one organization.).

Brother Oni
2016-02-26, 03:12 AM
I love Really Special Corps and Regiment of Space Cadets (as well as a more crass version probably not allowed on this forum). That is a pretty good chunk of flavour.

There's very board inappropriate Army Rumour Service that many British Army types tend to sound off on (much like Terminal Lance for the USMC) and they have plenty of nicknames for various existing regiments that you could draw inspiration from (much like the Really Special Corps).

My favourite is the M4 Rifles for the former Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. :smallbiggrin:


I will admit we fall under the Department of the Navy.

I heard an initialisation of marines that reflects this :smalltongue: :

My
Ass
Rides
In
Navy
Equipment
Sir


I'm now firmly convinced that all ex-Marines shout this when they see damn kids on their lawn.

Or pirates. Maybe both if they're marine raiders. :smallbiggrin:

I remember reading a news story about how some claymores (as in the AP mines) went missing from an armoury on a base in the US and quite a few suggestions were that some really salty SSGT was sick of damn kids running on his lawn and had taken some final measures.

Roxxy
2016-02-26, 03:32 AM
So, I'm estimating a total of 52,000 military personnel in the RAC, with 13,000 of those being cavalry, but not all of those being combat troops. Roughly 2/5 of the RAC's armed forces are in space at any given time. Compare this with an IRL 1968 Royal Navy of over 100,000, especially with the RAC being a Commonwealth wide force, not a purely British force.

Naturally, the RAC has unarmed science and engineering personnel way outnumbering armed personnel. The more I think about that, the more it sounds like Starfleet. Except the unarmed personnel don't go on warships, and there is a clear divide between scientific and combat vessels.

GraaEminense
2016-02-26, 04:08 AM
I'm just popping in to say that I really love the space colonies-ideas and I'm considering wholesale larceny.

Also, to plug "Space 1889", if you haven´t stolen ideas from that game already.

PersonMan
2016-02-26, 04:23 AM
The second is how life actually would have looked day-by-day and generation-by-generation for migratory peoples. I mean here groups like Vandals and Alans, that traveled long distances, as a fairly unified group, i.e. not Romanis or Jews, and not Mongols that conquered and formed an empire connected to their homeland (possibly, though, Turkic peoples during the Turkic expansion and pre-settlement Hungarians). Was this actual family units moving en mass through areas, or was it large groups of raiders that captured food, wives, and artisans as they moved through the area? Were settlements the settlement of families once they found/conquered a suitable area, or the warriors imposing themselves as a ruling class on people that were already present, assimilating some of the population, and setting out again? Were they always on the move, or did they tend to slowly filter through an area over the course of several years, or did they go between a generation of agriculture or pastrorialism before setting out for a generation of migration to a new area?

They generally moved with their families, in part because they were in many cases running from someone else (quite a few tribes around the Black Sea decided they'd rather flee into the Roman Empire than face the eastern invaders, for example) and they didn't want to leave their women and children undefended.

The way it went varies - the Goths, for example, started as refugees who rose up when the Eastern Roman Empire's treatment of them got too bad for them to accept, and were eventually given land in the region. Often they would pledge their service to the Emperor in return, so even when they wanted to stay peaceful and farm, they'd be pulled into politics (and their leaders would sometimes decide that they liked politics and wanted more) which were rather unstable at the time. The Goths ended up fighting the Western Roman Empire for something like 20+ years before they were eventually given land to settle in, and some years later another tribal army was given the job of getting rid of them.

From what I've read it seems like they moved as a single, massive group (which caused them trouble because it sort of forced them to loot and pillage in order to sustain 20,000 people in a small area like that) and generally fought until they or their leader at least were satisfied with whatever they were offered as a peace deal. After that they were generally peaceful and content to cultivate their lands until something shook things up, which could lead to lengthy gaps between periods when they were "active".

In general, the Roman policy was to accept barbarian "immigrants" and give them small bits of land, spaced far apart, and then draw upon them for use as soldiers in the legions, but as tribal leaders found themselves in positions of greater power they couldn't impose this on them. The result was that a tribal army would have a power base and home region to return to or fight to expand, rather than being tied to Rome itself.

Carl
2016-02-26, 06:08 AM
@Roxxy: My biggest concern here is how your making your boarding actions make sense. Any ship capable of carrying a significant payload of troops could also trivially carry weapons powerful enough to punch through any kind of personal body armor built into a space suit. They'd never even reach the hull before the weapons fire cut them down. It's the equivelent of age of sail warships trying to board each other with rowboats whilst still having all those cannon, it just won't work.

Brother Oni
2016-02-26, 07:08 AM
So, I'm estimating a total of 52,000 military personnel in the RAC, with 13,000 of those being cavalry, but not all of those being combat troops. Roughly 2/5 of the RAC's armed forces are in space at any given time. Compare this with an IRL 1968 Royal Navy of over 100,000, especially with the RAC being a Commonwealth wide force, not a purely British force.

Naturally, the RAC has unarmed science and engineering personnel way outnumbering armed personnel. The more I think about that, the more it sounds like Starfleet. Except the unarmed personnel don't go on warships, and there is a clear divide between scientific and combat vessels.

During the Vietnam War, the US Army had a T3R (tooth to tail ratio, or the ratio of combat troops to support troops) of about 2:1 to 3:1 (2/3 support staff per front line soldier): PDF link (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/mcgrath_op23.pdf).* Depending on the exact service and role, this could drop to 1:1.3 for light infantry or rise to 12:1 for an aircraft squadron.

The problem is, the T3R can't really be used for ships since during a general quarters situation, nearly everybody aboard ship becomes a combatant. Assuming that your RAC (incidentally, you may want to change the name as that initialisation is already in use for the Royal Armoured Corp) is a combined arms service, if you took a ship as a whole and combined both the marine contingent (the people who get off the boat to kill the enemy) and the ship crew (people who stay on the boat to kill the enemy and people who help all the other people kill the enemy), a good rule of thumb may be about an 8:1 ratio in keeping with most NATO forces.
If your ships have a flight wing (fancy people who ride off the boat to kill the enemy), then this higher value would be more likely.

Your current numbers indicate a T3R of 3:1 for the cavalry detachment only - are there no infantry/marines/combat pilots/ship crew that assist them?

*The numbers in this study seem very low to me in comparison to other analyses I've looked at (eg. the IDF was regarded as having a very high T3R for a modern force at about a 5:1 and they basically never deploy abroad) and I suspect the author may be being somewhat selective in his numbers. Without access to the data myself, I can only say take his numbers with a pinch of salt.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-26, 08:10 AM
@Roxxy: My biggest concern here is how your making your boarding actions make sense. Any ship capable of carrying a significant payload of troops could also trivially carry weapons powerful enough to punch through any kind of personal body armor built into a space suit. They'd never even reach the hull before the weapons fire cut them down. It's the equivelent of age of sail warships trying to board each other with rowboats whilst still having all those cannon, it just won't work.
Which is why you'd need to disable the guns sufficiently to allow for boarding, whether that's by sneaking up under minimal power until you're close enough that you can get your troops across before they've noticed you and started shooting, infiltrating saboteurs onto the enemy vessel, counter-battery fire on part of the enemy vessel to give you a hole to launch boarding craft or EVA troops into (which could mean one vessel fires on the target, which rolls to turn the damaged area away and present undamaged guns, and a second vessel comes into position and launches the boarding action), bringing your vessel in to dock to allow the boarding troops across, all the while trading broadsides at point blank range (which means you'd need incredibly heavy armour) or just blasting lumps out of the entire ship until it stops shooting back and hoping there's enough left to make it worth trying to board.

Or maybe the guns aren't accurate enough to effectively track small craft or EVA troops, and "rowing boats" are thus a valid tactic, you just have to launch a number so that if one or two get taken out by lucky hits from the main guns, there's still enough to carry the assault. Of course, some vessels may carry canister/grapeshot as defence against such things, but they're easier to stop with armour (especially that fitted to a boarding craft).

Storm Bringer
2016-02-26, 08:56 AM
a few options for that extra british feel (form a serving brit soldier)

Duke of Tranquillity's Regt (or other suitable noble with a space connection)

Olympus Mons Guards Regt (again, titled for a major colony, AKA the Oh My God regt)

instead of just cavalry, why not bring out some of the older cavalry specialty types? maybe the current active duty regt is the 4th Astro-Hussars (the Masters of Mars!), or the 12th Space Dragoons?

Tobtor
2016-02-26, 10:59 AM
My point was about how quickly the technology spread and was exploited in this era. The production of books quickly shot up to more than 200 million in the 16th Century, and never stopped exploding after that.

I agree that it was one of the most important inventions in history, and more influential than the present day internet development.




Typically the medieval period is considered up until 1500. The Renaissance isn't actually a different period, academically they talk about medieval and Early Modern - early modern is usually considered to start in 1500, sometimes 1520 (some claim 1450 though to be fair). Renaissance is a term of convenience invented by the (excellent) historian Jacob Burkhardt, but it's not by definition a really precise term.


Rigth, thus "on the edge of", not: "after the". The border of the medieval period is placed differently depending on who you ask. Some include the Renaissance, some don't. Some include it and ends the whole thin at 1450, other at 1500, some at a slightly later date (reformation is sometimes used in Denmark). However even the term Renaissance is debated and wikipedia have the following definition: "The Renaissance is a period in Europe, from the 14th to the 17th century, considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe, marking the beginning of the Early Modern Age." Thus as I said it can be used for the period after the medieval period (unless you want to extend the medieval until the 17th century).

In either case 1450-1500 is not equal the medieval period, it might be equal the end of the period, or the beginning of the next depending on who you ask.


As far as I know, in Iceland they still had to use animal hide for writing material for the most part, which is another major limitation they had to deal with.

Yes they wrote on vellum. If it is a limitation I dont know. It was more expensive than paper, and part of the succes of paper was that it was easier to mass produce.


Having seen a lot of them, I can tell you that quite a few (both printed and hand-copied) were very interesting. The alchemy of Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Pseudo Geber, or the math of Fibonnacci, or the literature of Dante or Boccaccio, Machiavelli etc. the translations of the extremely important Persian and Arab alchemists like Al Jabir, Al Kindi, Al Razi etc., the original uncensored* translations of Classical auctores like Epicurus, Lucretius, Pythagorus, Aristotle, Aristophenes, Plato, Seutonius, Tacitus etc., as well as the medieval glosses on them. The black magic grimoires, of which unlike the post medieval ones, very few have been published today. The war books like Bellifortis, the cannon books, the books on armor and weapons, and the fencing manuals...

Sure there are many hugely interesting books from the period. Still the majority of the copies printed in those 20millions was not these works (the bible and smaller pamplhets make out the majority).


If you really want to make this city for city comparison I'll make the effort, you pick your 20th / 21st Century town and generation, and I'll pick mine. Should be pretty easy to figure out since they have lists of these things already compiled.


Sort of silly as my point is that its hard to compare cultural output from different periods (and especially your own to the past, as it have always been popular to look back at the glorious past). However, I will venture a go, but choose a period not our own (for the above reason):

Hollywood 1910-1960. I don't think I want to name all the screenwriters, actors, movie-photographersm and directors during this period who made a large contribution (technical, creative etc) to a cultural product. How do they compare to Dante? Impossible to say really, depend if you like poetry or Hitchcock-movies.

If you want literature with more intelectual "prestige", what about Satre, de Beauvoir, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty? They were contemporary, and have been hugely influential (whether you agree with their viewpoints or not). Dada (surrealism) also practise in Paris in the same half a century. If the period is defined as 1915-1965 you could also include Becket and contemporaries.

If you go to the 19th century Paris is also good for a couple of names (Fleubert, Dumas, Hugo - all active 1825-1875).

Roughly contemporary with the above french guys (slightly later) in Russia (split between two cities and moving back and forth, so cheating a bit here), you have some of my favourites Tolstoj and Dostojefski (as well as Chekhov and Gogol).

So who is greater Dante or Satre? Boccacio or Dostojefski?

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-26, 12:06 PM
or the 12th Space Dragoons?
Bonus points on the name if they're not volunteers (as to dragoon someone is to force them into doing something).

Tobtor
2016-02-26, 12:09 PM
First is, basically, any information on the demographics of dogs, especially in the Late Middle Ages into the very early Early Modern in Europe, and bonus points for East/Southeast Asia. Would almost every peasant family typically have had one because of how useful they were for protection and companionship? Would sheperds typically have several? Professional soldiers/mercenaries? Beyond Roman-era times were they ever really used in raids or battles, whether in campaigns or in low-intensity conflict, or had they been relegated to "civilian" life?

Wide region and period.... I dont actually have numbers. I think there typically would be many dogs in any village, doing all sorts of jobs (guard jobs, herding, hunting, catching rats, etc). Dogs are common throughout history from the stone age onwards (we have dog burials from the megalithic in Denmark). In early modern times dogs was at least a normal composition of any Danish farm, but dogs are widely different.

In Denmark the dogs were quite small in the 17th century onwards, likely predesesser of this dog:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/DanishFarmDog.jpg

They are small, give noise when strangers approach and can catch rats... but in term of scaring people of or used in combat that are less usefull (though they can be used for tracking during hunting).

In other areas (like Iceland and norway) a slightly larger dog was used for herding sheep, and everyone would own more than one.

Most traditional dog breeds used at farms seem rather small, while larger dogs are later breeds or in some case related to the nobility. But the Sagas have the irish having large dogs.

Probably predecessors of this:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Giaccomo.jpg

They are known back to the 14/15th century, but are probably older. So you can have someone using larger dogs.


The second is how life actually would have looked day-by-day and generation-by-generation for migratory peoples. I mean here groups like Vandals and Alans, that traveled long distances, as a fairly unified group, i.e. not Romanis or Jews, and not Mongols that conquered and formed an empire connected to their homeland (possibly, though, Turkic peoples during the Turkic expansion and pre-settlement Hungarians). Was this actual family units moving en mass through areas, or was it large groups of raiders that captured food, wives, and artisans as they moved through the area? Were settlements the settlement of families once they found/conquered a suitable area, or the warriors imposing themselves as a ruling class on people that were already present, assimilating some of the population, and setting out again? Were they always on the move, or did they tend to slowly filter through an area over the course of several years, or did they go between a generation of agriculture or pastrorialism before setting out for a generation of migration to a new area?

How do day to day life look to sendentary people?

The Vandals are likely not originally "migratory" in the same way Huns or Mongols were. Many people broke up and migrated to a new place to settle, while others are permanently semi-migratory within an area.

In many cases the brought their family, that is at least the norm in migrations during the migratory period. However, there is also a large part of "comming along" of young men looking for adventure etc, and these would likely be on the lookout for wives. Most migretaion era populations (such as Goths, Vandals etc) would also make semi-permanent camps, some times just for the winter other times for a couple of years, and during these period probably have scouting parties and smaller raiding campaigns etc.

Mostly these people had originally been settled and looked for new land to settle, so they are not "migratory" as steppe nomads are. This is true of most European people, including Cimbri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbri), vandals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals), and Goths (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goths). All of these have originally been placed in Scandinavia (Denmark and Southern Sweden) by earlier Scholarship, this has to some extend been rejected (except for the Cimbri), but on the other hand there clear links between Goths living in black Sea area to Scandinavian burials in the 2nd century, so there were clearly some sort of contact. However according to traditional scholarship basically all migrations came from Scandinavia (including Burgundians etc). Largely in part due to their own origin myths about one or more Islands to the north. There does seem to have happened some sort of migration in the centuries BC, and the myth likely comes from this and then being adopted by other tribes (unless the Scandinavians had a explosive birth rate).

Roxxy
2016-02-26, 12:09 PM
Which is why you'd need to disable the guns sufficiently to allow for boarding, whether that's by sneaking up under minimal power until you're close enough that you can get your troops across before they've noticed you and started shooting, infiltrating saboteurs onto the enemy vessel, counter-battery fire on part of the enemy vessel to give you a hole to launch boarding craft or EVA troops into (which could mean one vessel fires on the target, which rolls to turn the damaged area away and present undamaged guns, and a second vessel comes into position and launches the boarding action), bringing your vessel in to dock to allow the boarding troops across, all the while trading broadsides at point blank range (which means you'd need incredibly heavy armour) or just blasting lumps out of the entire ship until it stops shooting back and hoping there's enough left to make it worth trying to board.

Or maybe the guns aren't accurate enough to effectively track small craft or EVA troops, and "rowing boats" are thus a valid tactic, you just have to launch a number so that if one or two get taken out by lucky hits from the main guns, there's still enough to carry the assault. Of course, some vessels may carry canister/grapeshot as defence against such things, but they're easier to stop with armour (especially that fitted to a boarding craft).It's the first. You don't want to blow the enemy ship into debris, but you can afford to cripple a few guns with heat rays to open up a path for the infantry. Especially if you have multiple ships, as you mention.

Also, while shipboard rays certainly can penetrate EVA suits, those suits were designed to keep the soldier alive during a lot of horrid space weather. They are pretty resilient. A hit dead center to the chest will burn right through, but [redacted- applies better to infantry weapons than shipboard weapons]. One thing about ray wounds is that they aren't large, don't bleed much (In fact, ray guns are largely a space weapon do to their lack of recoil or moving parts, the fact that they don't spit out all sorts of debris, and their near total reliability in hostile conditions. Planetside, firearms are preferred because they inflict worse wounds.), and EVA suits are self sealing (I was reading about how bleeding in space can seal a breach in your suit. If blood can do it, a gel-like system could be creatred to do it in case a wound is cauterized by heat or something). Then again, if you did use a bullet, you'd just see that the gel that expands to seal suit ruptures also expands into wounds (Very much an intentional and beneficial feature). In fact, soldiers in space are a mite harder to kill that soldiers planetside. Lots of effective life support systems on EVA suits to counteract the hazards of space. Too bad they are way too bulky, heavy, and constricting for use in normal gravity.

Galloglaich
2016-02-26, 03:13 PM
Two questions, a bit tangential to actual arms and armor but things less related have come up before, so...

First is, basically, any information on the demographics of dogs, especially in the Late Middle Ages into the very early Early Modern in Europe, and bonus points for East/Southeast Asia. Would almost every peasant family typically have had one because of how useful they were for protection and companionship? Would sheperds typically have several? Professional soldiers/mercenaries? Beyond Roman-era times were they ever really used in raids or battles, whether in campaigns or in low-intensity conflict, or had they been relegated to "civilian" life?

The answer to the last question is "yes", but the whole thing is very complex and it's quite a can of worms.

This video by Mike Loades is an excellent and fascinating introduction to medieval hunting, and it shows you how they used several different breeds of dogs to do different tasks as part of a hunting expedition. Hunting was serious business in this period and could be perilous. You can see the same variety of dogs, of all different sizes, that Mike Loades talks about in the (excellent) video linked here:

http://www.history.co.uk/shows/going-medieval/videos/going-medieval-hunting

http://i1075.photobucket.com/albums/w431/cranbourne1/greatpark/10ba.jpg

http://myra.hem.nu/costume/images/HousebookMaster/LL(FiledtKoko1985)/MH.Hunt(LLcat72).jpg

http://forum.kingdomcomerpg.com/uploads/default/3933/8f142db02e61fd1d.jpg

https://themedievalhunt.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/1412-cropped.png

You also see a lot of pet dogs, including small lapdogs, even though the latter types that are around today are mostly from breeds created in the 19th Century.

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/40667/file-14174987-jpg/images/van_eyck_arnolfini_large-resized-600.jpg


As for war, no time for a thorough overview, but a few quick tidbits:

Atilla the Hun used some kind of war dogs on campaign
Dogs were apparently in wide use by conquistadors, and the Indians in Central and South America were apparently very scared of them. They were apparently used for guarding in early medieval Ireland and show up in the literature (Ulster Cycle, Fenian Cycle etc.). The famous heroes name "Cú Chulainn" got his name from slaying a great beast of a guard dog owned by some Chieftain he was visiting, and then agreeing to be that Cheftain's guard dog in it's stead for a certain period of time.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Cuslayshound.jpg

Some dogs in that place and time, and also from much later literary references in medieval Poland, seem to have been sometimes of breeds that were at best semi-tame and were quite dangerous to be around.

I call myself Galloglaich around here, that is an old term for Irish-Norse warriors from the Islands around Ireland and Scotland who used to fight as mercenaries all around the British Isles and also in Continental Europe from the high medieval period through the 17th or 18th Cenutry.

Here is a relief depicting some of them in armor with their dogs.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c5/56/34/c5563404d65c0d9810b54e41a3b1dfec.jpg



The second is how life actually would have looked day-by-day and generation-by-generation for migratory peoples. I mean here groups like Vandals and Alans, that traveled long distances, as a fairly unified group, i.e. not Romanis or Jews, and not Mongols that conquered and formed an empire connected to their homeland (possibly, though, Turkic peoples during the Turkic expansion and pre-settlement Hungarians). Was this actual family units moving en mass through areas, or was it large groups of raiders that captured food, wives, and artisans as they moved through the area? Were settlements the settlement of families once they found/conquered a suitable area, or the warriors imposing themselves as a ruling class on people that were already present, assimilating some of the population, and setting out again? Were they always on the move, or did they tend to slowly filter through an area over the course of several years, or did they go between a generation of agriculture or pastrorialism before setting out for a generation of migration to a new area?

In addition to what others said, a few quick comments.


The Mongols and dozens of other Turkish and other nomadic tribes who ran with them, seemed to move around a lot, which was necessary due to the large herds of horses and cattle they kept with them. This seemed to go on and on for centuries, with most of them remaining truly nomadic, though some would peel off and settle down for certain periods.


The European barbarians like the Goths or Vandals, as others said already would do both roaming and settling down, and sometimes roaming again, but usually roaming was for a reason. The other thing worth noting is that they actually were not tribes, per se, but like the Mongols they would make amalgam tribes made up of elements of many different cultural and ethnic groups. Often they would seek out groups from very different cultural backgrounds who had different types of military skills that could augment their army. For example the Franks - whose tribal name just meant "Free men", included Iranian Alans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alans) and Taifals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taifals) who acted as heavy cavalry (and later settled down in France as nobility)

The Allemani (from which the French word for Germany comes, but whose name really just means "All men") at one point apparently included horsemen who were Celts and proto-Slavs, and the Vandals included Numidian cavalry in their ranks at one point.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-26, 03:15 PM
Another dog in a quasi military setting... little guy at the bottom of the picture. Doesn't look like a 'war dog' but who knows? :smallsmile:

http://uploads6.wikiart.org/images/albrecht-durer/the-knight-and-the-landsknecht.jpg

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-26, 03:40 PM
Mostly these people had originally been settled and looked for new land to settle, so they are not "migratory" as steppe nomads are. This is true of most European people, including Cimbri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbri), vandals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals), and Goths (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goths). All of these have originally been placed in Scandinavia (Denmark and Southern Sweden) by earlier Scholarship, this has to some extend been rejected (except for the Cimbri), but on the other hand there clear links between Goths living in black Sea area to Scandinavian burials in the 2nd century, so there were clearly some sort of contact. However according to traditional scholarship basically all migrations came from Scandinavia (including Burgundians etc). Largely in part due to their own origin myths about one or more Islands to the north. There does seem to have happened some sort of migration in the centuries BC, and the myth likely comes from this and then being adopted by other tribes (unless the Scandinavians had a explosive birth rate).

I think this is actually explained by the whole "tribal federation" vs. tribe thing. Probably a lot of these tribes had members from Gothland or wherever. The Cimbri and Teutones have been alleged to have originated in or near Denmark, but also may have had some Celtic or Gallic tribes with them.

Also I have seen some evidence of population booms in Scandinavia every 400 years or so, corresponding with barbarian movements around BC 400, AD 0, AD 400, and the Vikings in AD 800. Seems to have been a pretty well documented boom throughout Europe around 1200.

After all, they ate pretty well in Scandinavia. Limited growing season but plenty of fish and a reasonable amount of game too.

G

snowblizz
2016-02-26, 05:50 PM
After all, they ate pretty well in Scandinavia. Limited growing season but plenty of fish and a reasonable amount of game too.

G
Really? Because all(*) history I was ever taught in school was a long litany of famine in the area of Sweden (and Finland) up until 1800s really.

I wonder if it could coincide with the access to herring, which in some periods have been abundant, others not so much. Eg in the heyday of the Hansa the herring was plentiful, and again in the 1800s for a while.

* well not literally all, but if some king wasn't doing something there was probably famine, usually both

Carl
2016-02-26, 06:17 PM
It's the first. You don't want to blow the enemy ship into debris, but you can afford to cripple a few guns with heat rays to open up a path for the infantry. Especially if you have multiple ships, as you mention.

Also, while shipboard rays certainly can penetrate EVA suits, those suits were designed to keep the soldier alive during a lot of horrid space weather. They are pretty resilient. A hit dead center to the chest will burn right through, but [redacted- applies better to infantry weapons than shipboard weapons]. One thing about ray wounds is that they aren't large, don't bleed much (In fact, ray guns are largely a space weapon do to their lack of recoil or moving parts, the fact that they don't spit out all sorts of debris, and their near total reliability in hostile conditions. Planetside, firearms are preferred because they inflict worse wounds.), and EVA suits are self sealing (I was reading about how bleeding in space can seal a breach in your suit. If blood can do it, a gel-like system could be creatred to do it in case a wound is cauterized by heat or something). Then again, if you did use a bullet, you'd just see that the gel that expands to seal suit ruptures also expands into wounds (Very much an intentional and beneficial feature). In fact, soldiers in space are a mite harder to kill that soldiers planetside. Lots of effective life support systems on EVA suits to counteract the hazards of space. Too bad they are way too bulky, heavy, and constricting for use in normal gravity.

There's only one problem with this. There's no reason to sue some half assed heat ray that can't do it's job as well as a 20mm chain gun with APDS ammo when you can just use the chain gun.

I'm guessing your worried about the debris potential. And under certain very specific circumstances it could be one. But most of the time it's going to fall into the same general category as all the stuff your raw rock and asteroid haulers are kicking out for propulsion, (viable fuels are far too rare in space to be used for such purposes, there just isn't enough, so mass driver propulsion is the likeliest solution), and those aren't an issue. I suggest reading this (http://www.nss.org/settlement/ColoniesInSpace/colonies_chap12.html) for some analysis, the bit you want is a few paragraphs in.

In fact ray guns (along with missiles), represent an issue because they can potentially kill a ship on a transplanetary trajectory before it performs it's orbit burn, killing it then would in most circumstances again render the debris non-threatening, (and you can work out the danger before you fire to boot). Debris of the kind your worried about are generally only an issue if the target is allready in a low orbit, because then it could create a real mess across key parts of the relevant orbits. But even then as several ASAT tests down the years show, stuff of modest size reduced to shrapnel in low earth orbit does not create mega-sized death fields. Space is Big. As a final point on weaponry, two specific types of weaponry that would also present issues. Large calibre kinetics and Particles Beams. Large calibre Kinetics, even if they're spinally mounted and deplorably low velocity represent a serious issue because nukes in space have much shorter destructive radi, but a direct hit from even a modest one will vaporise smaller craft completely eliminating the debris issue entirely. Particle beams of the type you could mount on a small ship should not represent an issue to another ship, but against troops i suits. Unless your invoking magic or micro-fission+room temperature superconductors, (well ahead of 60's tech), you aren't protecting against those. The link from earlier has some info on this in it's later half since a solar flare is in all important respects just a giant natural particle gun effects wise.

Still if you really want the whole boarding thing stick to light kinetics, anything heavier or of a different type brings issues of various kinds with it. But with that stuff you'll either have to use some kind of specially armoured boarding pod or completely wipe out all weapons before you go in because even one aimed badly on manual would obliterate an infantry force. That said your ships should be routinely carrying modest scale nukes that can be hauled about. If an asteroid hauler goes rogue and sets a collision course for earth before wreaking everything onboard blowing the whole asteroid and ship to piece may be the only way to stop it and i'd expect ships to be equipped for that scenario.

PersonMan
2016-02-27, 02:18 AM
Perhaps a situation in which ships are expensive or difficult to produce, to the extent that capturing enemy vessels is worth sustaining losses that would be saved by just blowing it up?

Tobtor
2016-02-27, 05:25 AM
Really? Because all(*) history I was ever taught in school was a long litany of famine in the area of Sweden (and Finland) up until 1800s really.

I wonder if it could coincide with the access to herring, which in some periods have been abundant, others not so much. Eg in the heyday of the Hansa the herring was plentiful, and again in the 1800s for a while.

* well not literally all, but if some king wasn't doing something there was probably famine, usually both

The you have been misinformed...

There are many periods with famine (in many countries), mostly related to overuse of the land (or absolutely maximum usage of land, resulting in unflexible societies in times of crisis). Notably one in the early 16th century (due to alot of factors, economic breakdown etc). But generally famines are not the rule, but the exception. But yes herring trade was important, but also other resources (for instance cattle was a major export from Jutland - feeding Hamburg is no small task-, fur from Finland etc).


After all, they ate pretty well in Scandinavia. Limited growing season but plenty of fish and a reasonable amount of game too.

This might be partly true for Central Sweden and Norway, but game is a very limited factor in the population rich areas (southern Sweden, Denmark and the Stockholm-Uppsala area). In the Iron age fish is also only of marginally importance (when the growth of towns it grows in the medieval period, particular herring). It was always there, but not as an important basis of the population at large.

There was not really a very limited growing season in Denmark, the weather might not favour some plants, but grass etc grows very well. Denmark is favoured with sea currents and coastal climate that offer mild winters and rainy summers, thus not "warm", but very stable. Droughts are historically (and still) a bigger problem than rain and "mild" weather. Even in Denmark the harvest is more likely to fail due to drought than too much rain (though today the farmers can artificially water the plants).


I think this is actually explained by the whole "tribal federation" vs. tribe thing. Probably a lot of these tribes had members from Gothland or wherever. The Cimbri and Teutones have been alleged to have originated in or near Denmark, but also may have had some Celtic or Gallic tribes with them.

Yes I agree. Though tribal federation is not the best word, as it is used for groupsof tribes closely related, and is a historical thing. Both tribes (like the Cimbri) and tribal federations (like the Allemans) could rise up and start migrating, but as they moved it is likely that completely different groups joined in, especially as the whole thing gained momentum.

In older research there is a huge debate weather the Goths originally came from Götaland in Sweden or Jutland in Denmark (funnily enough Danes prefered danish origin and Swedes Swedish origin). G in Swedish is the same as J in Danish (the name George in english become Göran in Swedish, and Jørgen in Danish - the pronunciation is very similar, thus linguistically the Juteland and Gutheland would be the same. Similar linguistic arguments were used for the other tribes (Cimbri would in modern Danish have developed to Himme, and we have a region called Himmerland, thus it would in the Iron age be Cimbriland etc). The arguments about the Goths also included archaological "proofs", for instance a group of face urns are found in the northern polish area (near the Vistula river) were the Goths should be living in the early Iron age - before moving south east. Similar pots are found in Jutland and northern Germany (but are rarer in Zealand and Sweden). While some grave monuments in Götaland also have parallels in the same Vistula river area... today these link is not considered credible evidence of mass migration. However it is likely that some people left Scandinavia in the pre-roman iron age, some seem to have acted as mercenaries in central Europe. Some of these groups might have settled and mixed with locals and some of the migrations likely come from descendants from these. But there are many theories and few facts.


Also I have seen some evidence of population booms in Scandinavia every 400 years or so, corresponding with barbarian movements around BC 400, AD 0, AD 400, and the Vikings in AD 800. Seems to have been a pretty well documented boom throughout Europe around 1200.

I know of no such evidence. Though I have seen the theory before. What is known is that at 200AD there is a large shift in Settlment structure in both Denmark and Southern Sweden with many abandoned villages. Similar there are evidence of something happening some centuries BC. But a regular evenly spaced boom-cycle have no credible evidence in the material.

Wardog
2016-02-27, 07:01 AM
The other thing worth noting is that they actually were not tribes, per se, but like the Mongols they would make amalgam tribes made up of elements of many different cultural and ethnic groups.

What actually is a tribe? For pretty much every group of people that has traditionally been called a tribe, in any era, I've also heard people state that they weren't actually a tribe.

Does "tribe" have a specific meaning (which doesn't apply to many of the people so described)? Or is it a meaning less term? (Or is this a case of "we don't use that word any more, even when it's accurate"?)

Tiktakkat
2016-02-27, 09:38 AM
What actually is a tribe? For pretty much every group of people that has traditionally been called a tribe, in any era, I've also heard people state that they weren't actually a tribe.

Does "tribe" have a specific meaning (which doesn't apply to many of the people so described)? Or is it a meaning less term? (Or is this a case of "we don't use that word any more, even when it's accurate"?)

It depends?

One of the key problems with social anthropology is observer effect. That is aggravated by second hand observer effect. And it is then magnified when coupled with the almost de rigeur combination of appeal to authority and appeal to the masses that characterizes social sciences.
That is:
What do "you" think is a tribe?
What did "their neighbors" think is a tribe?
What did some "expert" say is a tribe and how many people still believe him?

"Technically", a tribe is a related group of clans, which are a related group of families.
Functionally, more than a few groups managed an adoption breakthrough, allowing their "tribes" to be composed less-related or unrelated people of a similar ethnicity, a few managed to get all the way to people of completely different ethnicity, and primarily one managed to extend it to anyone willing to adopt their cultural standard.

Germanic barbarians tended to form what might be better classified as "federations" of village-based clans, that had a strong tendency to evolve over time as leaders rose and fell.
Internally, they identified on the village level, each "electing" a greater "tribal" chieftain who proved himself worthy from generation to generation.
Externally, they looked like "tribes" that go "displaced" by other "tribes".
Due to this "displacement", plus real displacement caused by migration off of the Asian tundra (the Huns then the Mongols), plus displacements from the Persian plateau, a significant amount of mixing within the Germanic linguistic group occurred, along with some ethnic mixing. Despite these differences, most of the groups apparently preferred the "rule by proven warleader (usually with "divine" heritage)" system, resulting in later era "tribes" (again, better classified as "federations") having a multi-ethnic composition, as Galloglaich noted.

Were they "really" "tribes?
To the Romans through medieval and renaissance chroniclers to early modern historians, absolutely.
To middle modern ethnographers, technically not.
To post modern analysts, close enough for casual reference, but the details are critical.
(As in, "Yes, there were Goths, but the Visigoths were a federation composed of several Gothic clans plus some non-Gothic Germanic clans and a few non-Germanic clans as allies and subdued competitors.")

Of course, that's just my view.
See above for the problems inherent to social anthropology as for whether I'm right.

Clistenes
2016-02-27, 10:01 AM
What actually is a tribe? For pretty much every group of people that has traditionally been called a tribe, in any era, I've also heard people state that they weren't actually a tribe.

Does "tribe" have a specific meaning (which doesn't apply to many of the people so described)? Or is it a meaning less term? (Or is this a case of "we don't use that word any more, even when it's accurate"?)

Typically it is applied to a form of organization bigger than a clan but smaller than a nation. It is usually made up of several clans descended from a common ancestor, each clan being a group of extended families related to each other by blood.

The term comes from the roman world. Rome's population was divided into tribes, each of which was formed by several gens or clans, and had a separate origin (many of the tribes had the name of a founding ancestor or founding family). The tribes were thought to originally be self-governing ethnically different groups that joined together to found Rome (and gens or clans were in turn autonomous mini-states within the tribes). Those three original tribes split into several ones as some gens or clans grew enough to become tribes, or when more foreigners came to live to Rome. The tribes were used to articulate Rome's political system. Eventually new artificial "tribes" were created that were associated to a neighbourhood or Rome each, eschewing the old meaning of "tribe".

They had somethig similar in Athens, the "phylia". There were four original phylia that were quite self-governing, but my namesake, Cleisthenes, broke those four tribes and created ten new artificial ones, each including people of diferent origin and social class.

The problem to define a group as a tribe or not, is that it was used by Contemporary Age explorers to define almost any kind of group or organization of "primitive" people. It was applied to whole ethnic groups, to nations, to clans, to villages...etc.

Galloglaich
2016-02-27, 12:02 PM
Typically it is applied to a form of organization bigger than a clan but smaller than a nation. It is usually made up of several clans descended from a common ancestor, each clan being a group of extended families related to each other by blood.

The term comes from the roman world. Rome's population was divided into tribes, each of which was formed by several gens or clans, and had a separate origin (snip)

They had somethig similar in Athens, the "phylia". There were four original phylia that were quite self-governing, but my namesake, Cleisthenes, broke those four tribes and created ten new artificial ones, each including people of diferent origin and social class.

The problem to define a group as a tribe or not, is that it was used by Contemporary Age explorers to define almost any kind of group or organization of "primitive" people. It was applied to whole ethnic groups, to nations, to clans, to villages...etc.

Great posts, everybody. Just wanted to say. Tobtor I'll bow to your greater knowledge of the periods and area about the 'boom' periods prior to 1200, though there definitely was one at that time. But more on that in a second.

Yes this is one of the fascinating aspects of the nature of tribes and clans in the Classical era, how they would move into towns (castrum and polis and so on) and retain their tribal and / or clan structures, which would then subsequently be tinkered with and re-arranged by the authorities.


Often, tribal or clan structures, which usually had some kind of nominally democratic aspects to their organization (though this remains controversial, and the precise nature of Celtic or Germanic "warrior democracy" is hotly debated to this day, it does seem that they often elected leaders) and this was sometimes layered over by feudalism or some other more formal type or Republican government or a dictatorship (despotism) in the Classical and medieval periods.

Unless the underlying tribal system was broken up it continued to persist beneath whatever other governments were in place, sometimes for centuries. For example in Sweden, there seems to have been a period with strong monarchs (maybe Tobtor can correct me here though) during the Vendel period, late Iron Age. By the Viking era, most places seem to have been ruled by their tribal assemblies, called "Thing" in Scandinavia. Then after some chieftains converted to Christianity and adopted Latin ways, they started trying to become kings, famously Harold Bluetooth in Denmark was one of the first, then infamously Harold Finehair in Norway (leading to the exodus that ultimately populated Iceland, as well as a lot of Ireland, Britain, Scotland and lot of the lesser British isles like the Hebrides and Okrneys etc.)

They had trouble imposing Latin style monarchy in Scandinavia though and this caused considerable instability. Ultimately feudal Kings were having to travel to assembly points and gain approval from the old clan assemblies, like at Uppsala etc., and this seems to have gone on at least into the 16th Century.

This was also the case in Poland, even more so. After a period of strong but harsh kings of the Piast dynasty in the early medieval period (around the time of conversion to Christianity) there followed a really ugly and nasty "Game of Thrones" interregnum with vicious and destructive infighting from all the Piast offspring, after which the tribal system of the old clans took various steps to dramatically weaken the monarchy and elevate themselves to the status of nobility, so they would have a say in the new feudal system which basically came with Christianity at that time. Nearly 1/5 of the population of Poland were technically nobles.

They started electing kings from foreign nations (initially and most successfully, from their pagan neighbors in Lithuania) but the king was just a sort of executive officer over a very strong tribal democracy, and he was increasingly subject to the will of the Sejm (the grand assembly, like the all-thing in Iceland) and the Sejmics, the smaller assemblies throughout Poland. In reading the famous Polish 15th Century historian Jan Dlugosz (sort of the medieval Herodotus), these "kings" spent their careers traveling around Poland getting yelled at by all the nobles, who claimed to be of a separate tribe from other Poles, under the theory that they all descended from the ancient Sarmatians.

The nature of tribes was sometimes persistent, but it could also be very fluid.
I think when it comes to "ethnic" groups we also have to be careful since ethnicity was not viewed precisely the same way as today. The main dividing lines back then would be language or dialect, and then especially once you get into the Christian era, religion. Not all ethnic groups could get along - Greeks for example remained largely separate from Egyptians in Alexandria for centuries. But if they did get along they often merged together. Tribal federations could in fact become tribes. New dialects would form, based on regional barriers.

Like the Swedes and the Slavs in Russia. Or the Slavs and the Germans in Mecklenburg - after being defeated by the Carolingians the local Slavs just became part of the Holy Roman Empire and started speaking German. Again, Tobtor could correct me here but from what I've read it sounds like the Danish, Saxon and Wendish (Slavic) nobility mixed quite a bit in the early to high medieval period as well.


And in some areas in spite of a lot of superficial affinity the clans never mixed - or at least not enough, but remained at odds with one another leading to centuries of vendettas such as you can see in Sicily or Naples or Sardania, or Corsica.


As for the population boom thing with the Germanic tribes, this is basically what the Classical auctores said, like Tacitus - their narrative was that there would be a period of growth, followed by some excess population, at which point the elders would tell a lot of the young men to "go forth and conquer or perish", find a new land to live in and settle. The other cycle I've read about in a more modern context is the periodic drying out of the Gobi desert in East / Central Asia causing massive droughts and leading to friction and movement of Steppe nomads into China and into Europe.

G

Galloglaich
2016-02-27, 12:14 PM
You can see how the same kind of tribal thing existed just under the surface in Iraq right up to the present day, and after the dictator fell, under military and economic pressure, the various tribes, each having their own religious bent, have turned on each other in a vicious ethnic sectarian civil war.

The same kind of thing happened in earlier periods, and you can see for example in the Hussite revolution in Czech, where basically the Czechs preferred a slightly different version of Christianity than the Germans and Italians did, and didn't want the other imposed on them from outside. Then after Luther sparked the reformation 100 years later, long simmering cultural disputes over religious practices broke out all across Europe into vicious ethnic-sectarian warfare in the wars of religion.

Centuries earlier you can see kind of a similar pattern with the Germanic tribes falling under the Arian heresy, and the Central Asian Christians adopting the Nestorian "error", neither of which was acceptable to the Latin's or the Greeks, who themselves were severely at odds over religious disputes which really just masked cultural differences.


Oh and one other comment I wanted to make, as to famines in Scandinavia. Of course there were. Periodic famines occurred all over Europe. There were some terrible ones in the early 14th Century. In the later periods 17th, 18th Century, there were a lot of famines throughout Europe which may not have been due to weather or other natural effects. There were very severe famines in France and Ireland in the 17th, 18th and 19th Century for example, and these are two of the greenest, most temperate places on Earth. But I think these famines had more to do largely with political, economic and social organization which had simply gotten very bad during those periods.

Part of the political system which coalesced in Europe in the wake of the end of the religious sectarian wars in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, was that 'excess' people who couldn't be fed due to economic mismanagement of the new autocratic governments could be shipped off to the New World or Asia or Australia or somewhere else. This lasted right up into the early 20th Century.

Then after the Colonies either filled up or would no longer accept massive refugee / economic migrant flows, they started having massive wars...

G

PersonMan
2016-02-27, 04:16 PM
Question: What were the primary advantages and disadvantages of early 14th century firearms, relative to other ranged weapons? Primarily looking at hand cannons and similar weapons that people could carry with them. Were they especially good at piercing armor and, if so, how long did it take for armor to be made that could withstand them?

Roxxy
2016-02-27, 06:14 PM
There's only one problem with this. There's no reason to sue some half assed heat ray that can't do it's job as well as a 20mm chain gun with APDS ammo when you can just use the chain gun.

I'm guessing your worried about the debris potential. And under certain very specific circumstances it could be one. But most of the time it's going to fall into the same general category as all the stuff your raw rock and asteroid haulers are kicking out for propulsion, (viable fuels are far too rare in space to be used for such purposes, there just isn't enough, so mass driver propulsion is the likeliest solution), and those aren't an issue. I suggest reading this (http://www.nss.org/settlement/ColoniesInSpace/colonies_chap12.html) for some analysis, the bit you want is a few paragraphs in.

In fact ray guns (along with missiles), represent an issue because they can potentially kill a ship on a transplanetary trajectory before it performs it's orbit burn, killing it then would in most circumstances again render the debris non-threatening, (and you can work out the danger before you fire to boot). Debris of the kind your worried about are generally only an issue if the target is allready in a low orbit, because then it could create a real mess across key parts of the relevant orbits. But even then as several ASAT tests down the years show, stuff of modest size reduced to shrapnel in low earth orbit does not create mega-sized death fields. Space is Big. As a final point on weaponry, two specific types of weaponry that would also present issues. Large calibre kinetics and Particles Beams. Large calibre Kinetics, even if they're spinally mounted and deplorably low velocity represent a serious issue because nukes in space have much shorter destructive radi, but a direct hit from even a modest one will vaporise smaller craft completely eliminating the debris issue entirely. Particle beams of the type you could mount on a small ship should not represent an issue to another ship, but against troops i suits. Unless your invoking magic or micro-fission+room temperature superconductors, (well ahead of 60's tech), you aren't protecting against those. The link from earlier has some info on this in it's later half since a solar flare is in all important respects just a giant natural particle gun effects wise.

Still if you really want the whole boarding thing stick to light kinetics, anything heavier or of a different type brings issues of various kinds with it. But with that stuff you'll either have to use some kind of specially armoured boarding pod or completely wipe out all weapons before you go in because even one aimed badly on manual would obliterate an infantry force. That said your ships should be routinely carrying modest scale nukes that can be hauled about. If an asteroid hauler goes rogue and sets a collision course for earth before wreaking everything onboard blowing the whole asteroid and ship to piece may be the only way to stop it and i'd expect ships to be equipped for that scenario.Maybe this just falls into the shared trope between D&D/Pathfinder and retrofuturism that if you actually dig beyond the surface justifications, it doesn't actually make sense.

Roxxy
2016-02-27, 06:50 PM
During the Vietnam War, the US Army had a T3R (tooth to tail ratio, or the ratio of combat troops to support troops) of about 2:1 to 3:1 (2/3 support staff per front line soldier): PDF link (http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/mcgrath_op23.pdf).* Depending on the exact service and role, this could drop to 1:1.3 for light infantry or rise to 12:1 for an aircraft squadron.

The problem is, the T3R can't really be used for ships since during a general quarters situation, nearly everybody aboard ship becomes a combatant. Assuming that your RAC (incidentally, you may want to change the name as that initialisation is already in use for the Royal Armoured Corp) is a combined arms service, if you took a ship as a whole and combined both the marine contingent (the people who get off the boat to kill the enemy) and the ship crew (people who stay on the boat to kill the enemy and people who help all the other people kill the enemy), a good rule of thumb may be about an 8:1 ratio in keeping with most NATO forces.
If your ships have a flight wing (fancy people who ride off the boat to kill the enemy), then this higher value would be more likely.

Your current numbers indicate a T3R of 3:1 for the cavalry detachment only - are there no infantry/marines/combat pilots/ship crew that assist them?3:1 presumes the infantry and their mechanical support (maintaining EVA suits and weapons and command staff, largely). The rest of the tail is handled by the RAC but not cavalry, which skews the T3R. Most logistics and medical care falls to non-cavalry fleet personnel, and most of those people don't board the vessels taking part in an assault.

Gnoman
2016-02-27, 10:43 PM
Question: What were the primary advantages and disadvantages of early 14th century firearms, relative to other ranged weapons? Primarily looking at hand cannons and similar weapons that people could carry with them. Were they especially good at piercing armor and, if so, how long did it take for armor to be made that could withstand them?

While anybody could make a bow or crossbow with simple tools, doing so was not only a labor intensive process but the necessary materials for a military grade weapon weren't always easy to get in quantity. This meant that a ruler had to pay a significant sum to arm their forces, and yet they still had to worry about a Robin Hood scenario where a malcontent was able to easily arm himself. Meanwhile, a handgonne just required relatively cheap metal to make, but had to be cast - it couldn't be done without significant initial investment. Thus, the primary advantage of the handgonne was that it required specialty production equipment but was also very cheap to make once you had that equipment, allowing a central power structure (be it a kingdom, a guild, or the local noble) to simultaneously have total control of the supply and have plenty of them.

A secondary advantage was that, since the inaccuracy of the weapon limited how much skill could help, issuing handgonnes as a secondary weapon or raising a dedicated unit of gunners wasn't too difficult.

Finally, guns are scary, so troops broke faster under gunfire than they did the more-familiar bow and crossbow fire.

Carl
2016-02-27, 11:18 PM
Maybe this just falls into the shared trope between D&D/Pathfinder and retrofuturism that if you actually dig beyond the surface justifications, it doesn't actually make sense.

Oh thats certainly a way to look at it; you may not have noticed but i can be a bit anal retentive about tiny details. I'm the sort of person to look for anything that doesn't quite work and then try and come up with ways to cover it.

A great example here would be if you have some magically provided improved stealth tech. Contrary to what sites like atomic rockets claim detecting stuff, particularly with 1960's tech i9sn't anywhere near simple, (resolution is the main problem, too little and the target just disappears into the background noise). Thus with some tech to delay detection till after the de-orbit burn, (they could still detect you at that range no problem even with the above issues), and keep sensors aimed at specific places, (like a fleet depot), from detecting ships leaving known locations, (again if you know roughly where to look it's much easier to detect somthing), hen the playing field changes. If the same magic applied to spacesuits can make them difficult to detect or throw out dozens of false signatures that are constantly shifting making most of the fire hit false targets.

As someone else suggested, if your willing to bring in ceramic composites a few decades early somehow a boarding pod would offer the necessary protection, you'd still lose some if they have a heavier gun or two, but if i gather the scale right there shouldn't be many of those. Tough do bear i n mind physical size of even a small ship of the type your envisaging is going to be large. The ISS has a total internal volume around twice that of a normal house, only about a third of which is area's that are habitable, (i'd assume the rest is where equipment goes), and it dosen't have to move or carry armour and it's still 420 tons.

Roxxy
2016-02-28, 02:33 AM
Oh thats certainly a way to look at it; you may not have noticed but i can be a bit anal retentive about tiny details. I'm the sort of person to look for anything that doesn't quite work and then try and come up with ways to cover it.

A great example here would be if you have some magically provided improved stealth tech. Contrary to what sites like atomic rockets claim detecting stuff, particularly with 1960's tech i9sn't anywhere near simple, (resolution is the main problem, too little and the target just disappears into the background noise). Thus with some tech to delay detection till after the de-orbit burn, (they could still detect you at that range no problem even with the above issues), and keep sensors aimed at specific places, (like a fleet depot), from detecting ships leaving known locations, (again if you know roughly where to look it's much easier to detect somthing), hen the playing field changes. If the same magic applied to spacesuits can make them difficult to detect or throw out dozens of false signatures that are constantly shifting making most of the fire hit false targets.That's it. Spam Ghost Image and similar spella. Like you say, throw out images of so many ships and soldiers that it drives targeting systems crazy trying to engage them all.


Tough do bear i n mind physical size of even a small ship of the type your envisaging is going to be large. The ISS has a total internal volume around twice that of a normal house, only about a third of which is area's that are habitable, (i'd assume the rest is where equipment goes), and it dosen't have to move or carry armour and it's still 420 tons.Well, we have an asteroid mining industry. Why not construct ships in space using metal mined there, and use a planetside cannon or shuttles to move the rest of the ship's materials (a space elevator would be too realistic, and I need SOME frivolity)?

Mr. Mask
2016-02-28, 04:29 AM
Question about the requirements and regulations of Combat Medics.

I want a medic who isn't normally allowed to participate in combat operations, who due to an extreme situation and great personal willingness is allowed to join a limited combat mission. I wondered if there was some health condition that could allow for this, say if he was diabetic. I was wanting him to be a US navy medic.

Thanks for any insights into this.

Tobtor
2016-02-28, 06:04 AM
Often, tribal or clan structures, which usually had some kind of nominally democratic aspects to their organization (though this remains controversial, and the precise nature of Celtic or Germanic "warrior democracy" is hotly debated to this day, it does seem that they often elected leaders) and this was sometimes layered over by feudalism or some other more formal type or Republican government or a dictatorship (despotism) in the Classical and medieval periods.

While it is debated there can be little doubt that some form of electoral and decision-making body existed in the Germanic tribes. Te issue being that we only have Roman and/or greek sources, and they used the picture of Barbarians for their own purpose. Jordanes (clasical/early medieval historian with Gothic ancestry writing in the 6th century) have been influensual for the debate of both the ancestry of Goths (he mentions Scanza - which have been suggested as Scania), and another influencial work is Passio Sancti Sabae Gothi, which describes a social order compared to what G proposed above: Six Visigotich tribes each had a "king" (rieks/rex), elected by a tribal counsel and could only do the task this counsil aproved (wars etc). In times of trouble a "Kindis" could be be elected as head of command in defensive wars only (the kindis might also have had ritual functions), and as negotiator towards other people (Romans etc). Tacitus also describes the germanic tribal democracy (though slightly differently).


Unless the underlying tribal system was broken up it continued to persist beneath whatever other governments were in place, sometimes for centuries. For example in Sweden, there seems to have been a period with strong monarchs (maybe Tobtor can correct me here though) during the Vendel period, late Iron Age. By the Viking era, most places seem to have been ruled by their tribal assemblies, called "Thing" in Scandinavia. Then after some chieftains converted to Christianity and adopted Latin ways, they started trying to become kings, famously Harold Bluetooth in Denmark was one of the first, then infamously Harold Finehair in Norway (leading to the exodus that ultimately populated Iceland, as well as a lot of Ireland, Britain, Scotland and lot of the lesser British isles like the Hebrides and Okrneys etc.)

Yes at Vendel there definitely was a series of strong rulers. Similar later we have the Valsgerda dynasty, being gradually shifting to the Uppsala dynasti. The question is how much power they actually had and what structure was below them. Likely their direct "ruled over area" was rather small, but that nearby tribes payed homage to them in some way. Perhaps they were merely the first among equals in a confederation etc.

Similar dynasties of wealthy people crop up from time to time (a series of rich graves are found in southern Zealand at Himlingøje at 200-400AD (lots of gold, Gothic glass from the Black sea area, roman imports etc). Interestingly during the 1-4rd century, weapon burial does not appear in Sealand, fitting with a description in Tacitus describing a tribe living on an Island, and being so strong at sea (with ships with no sails), and that wweapons wasnt carried around like in the other germanic tribes, but that the leader(s) had control over them. However they are describes as "svionians", that could be Swedes, but it could also just be a subgroups of Scandinavian Germanic-tribes including both Swedes and whoever lived on Zealand. In any case it suggest some level of variation among different tribes, ranging from very weak rulers, with no more power than say the american president, to more "king" -like figures, were the choice of the next King was made among his children, to completely democratic structures with no firm rulership.


They had trouble imposing Latin style monarchy in Scandinavia though and this caused considerable instability. Ultimately feudal Kings were having to travel to assembly points and gain approval from the old clan assemblies, like at Uppsala etc., and this seems to have gone on at least into the 16th Century.

I don't think they actually tried to impose any other type of monarchy in the early medieval. The thing was always expected to elect the king. It became a tradition (likely already in the iron age) to select candidates among the "princes" (brothers, sons and cousins of the last king). Sweden being a special case as it developed out of a formation of three petty kingdoms (East and Vest Götaland, and Svear-riki, with separate ruling families creating several shifts between different royal lines). The first attempts to change this happens in the 13rth century in Denmark, where the kings begin to have their sons elected as co-kings before they die, thus securing the election and choice of successor. As the the 14th-15th century goes, the thing gradually looses power and goes from the lawmaking body in the 11-12thcentury, over a law approving body, to merely a court system in the late period. Instead a counsil of "leading men" and the bishops begin making/deciding the the laws in co-oporation with the King. In this late period the "danecourt" elects kings in Denmark, thus it goes from a relatively including "democracy" to a more limited one. In the late period the King signs a contract of rights with the growing nobility (and the church and as time goes on the towns), stipulating his rights and limitations, thus some Kings where strong, others weak.

The early thing is very including and any free peasant is allowed to participate (likely they formed into groups supporting a spokesperson, like the Icelandic Godi system, but its a bit uncertain and definitely less formal). As the majority of peasants (bondi) was at this time landowners with no or few feudal contracts (military service to the king, and support of the king as he traveled around being the main ones) they formed a very strong class, during the 12th and especially the 13-14th century this changes as the kings wanted more focus on cavalry after a European model, and more peasants shifted into the the levy class (fæsti), they were granted some tax reductions and relieved of some military obligations (which in time transferred into a tax, in the beginning it was a fine for not shwing up, but as time when on the king prefered the fine as it gave him money to hire mercenaries - the tax continued on landowning peasant into the 18th century though inflation reduced its toil it was still a part of keeping the richer bondi class from the poorer fæsti class by having a admittens tax to the former)

They also seem to have had a development of a thing in Anlgo-Saxon England: Witenagemot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witenagemot)

However its importance is discussed and it was a more limited affair, including only the clergy, the thegn's, and the eoldermen. But at least it decided who was King, the assemblys power after this time is more debatable. This institution is important in relation to William the Conqueror's claim that Edward had promised him the kigdom: Edward had no such right according to the law. What he did or did not pormise is irrelevant, as he was not the deciding institution.



As for the population boom thing with the Germanic tribes, this is basically what the Classical auctores said, like Tacitus - their narrative was that there would be a period of growth, followed by some excess population, at which point the elders would tell a lot of the young men to "go forth and conquer or perish", find a new land to live in and settle. The other cycle I've read about in a more modern context is the periodic drying out of the Gobi desert in East / Central Asia causing massive droughts and leading to friction and movement of Steppe nomads into China and into Europe.

Well the elders probably told the young men that every generation or so... much shorter timeframes than the 400 years cycles. There seem to be continual wars, radis etc thrououhg the period. In some periods these gained momentum and became more than local raid, sometimes with centuries between them, sometimes much shorter timeframes. Massive wars happend at both 1st century AD, the beginning of the 3rd, in the 4/5th (horizons of major bog deposits), in the 5/6th Anglo-Saxon-Jutish immigration, and in several waves from 750-1050 Viking age (raids toward Frisia and Germany started before Lindisfarne, the english kings at this time also began setting om coastal defense against "pirates"). The major factor in the Viking age is the sailing ship, which gave them tremendous speed, and foreign conquest/plunder became so easy that internal conflict was less appealing. Who wants to fight for scraps against seasoned warriors, when you can steal gold from monks?



Oh and one other comment I wanted to make, as to famines in Scandinavia. Of course there were. Periodic famines occurred all over Europe. There were some terrible ones in the early 14th Century. In the later periods 17th, 18th Century, there were a lot of famines throughout Europe which may not have been due to weather or other natural effects. There were very severe famines in France and Ireland in the 17th, 18th and 19th Century for example, and these are two of the greenest, most temperate places on Earth. But I think these famines had more to do largely with political, economic and social organization which had simply gotten very bad during those periods.

I agree about the mix of different factors in explaining the famines. Political as well as climate (and just wider economic) factors are important. If the price on your product goes down (lets say fish or cattle prices) it can cause you to loose your only "export" income as a farmer, but you still have to pay the same tax and the same prise for "imports" such as salt, metal etc, causing a downward spiral. Another major factor is population density/land use structure. The more fixed it becomes the less ability to use different landscapes available. There are some indications that in wet periods sandy soils in Denmark was preferred (better drainage), but in dry ones lower lying field or clay soils were preferred. As the density got higher during the medieval/early moodern period as well as a much more regulated ownership of the lands, this possibility disappeared. When we reach the 17-19th centuries the poverty and tax level had reduced the margin of error in the harvest income to a degree where any bad year could turn catastrophic.

Carl
2016-02-28, 09:12 AM
@Roxy: Bear in mind target spam won't work for before the two ships are close enough to send people over. Things happen slowly in space, really slowly, even if you did a shot with a fusion torch from moon to earth transit time would be 3 hours. Given a fusion torch is way beyond your tech and your looking at more like the 3 days of the apollo missions. A mars trip is a multi-year job, anything beyond that is best measured in whole years. It would be entirely possible to have a base commander out on saturn see an attack mission launch from earth orbit, then have to tell his replacement as CO to tell his replacement as CO about it because it won't get close enough to engage until his replacement replacement time in charge.

Things happen really godammed slowly in space.

Also i wasn't saying it would be tough to build, if you look up the chapters on the "moon miners" and the "shack" from my previous link you'll get a ton of info on large scale mining and processing in space. Also yes an elevator would be way beyond the tech levels your talking about.

Galloglaich
2016-02-28, 09:26 AM
While anybody could make a bow or crossbow with simple tools, doing so was not only a labor intensive process but the necessary materials for a military grade weapon weren't always easy to get in quantity. This meant that a ruler had to pay a significant sum to arm their forces, and yet they still had to worry about a Robin Hood scenario where a malcontent was able to easily arm himself. Meanwhile, a handgonne just required relatively cheap metal to make, but had to be cast - it couldn't be done without significant initial investment. Thus, the primary advantage of the handgonne was that it required specialty production equipment but was also very cheap to make once you had that equipment, allowing a central power structure (be it a kingdom, a guild, or the local noble) to simultaneously have total control of the supply and have plenty of them.

A secondary advantage was that, since the inaccuracy of the weapon limited how much skill could help, issuing handgonnes as a secondary weapon or raising a dedicated unit of gunners wasn't too difficult.

Finally, guns are scary, so troops broke faster under gunfire than they did the more-familiar bow and crossbow fire.


Also... boom with slayer!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkbSTyT1COE

G

Blackhawk748
2016-02-28, 11:32 AM
Got a question about battles in Feudal Japan. I've often heard it said that while Japanese soldiers marched in formation once battle was joined it just turned into a mess of single man duels, is this true?

Vitruviansquid
2016-02-28, 12:09 PM
Got a question about battles in Feudal Japan. I've often heard it said that while Japanese soldiers marched in formation once battle was joined it just turned into a mess of single man duels, is this true?

My first reaction to this is extreme doubt.

I learned in a fairly introductory Japanese history course that the extreme and ridiculous honor of Japanese samurai did not really exist until the Samurai became more administrators than warriors in the Tokugawa Shogunate. Samurai writers exaggerated the honor of samurai from days past out of nostalgia and the feeling that they've lost their warrior roots. During times when Japan was actually embroiled in war, Samurai tended of necessity to be far more practical because that's how you survive and that's how you win wars. At least in the Sengoku Jidai, there were also large numbers of non-Samurai troops, who I'm sure would've been glad to gang up on anyone and fight in formation as long as it won them the fight.

My second reaction is also extreme doubt.

The tactics that were recorded as being used during the Sengoku Jidai and previous wars did not seem like generals or soldiers expected fighting to turn into 1-on-1 duels. The arquebus that carried the day would've been a horrible weapon if you didn't have your buddies covering you, and so would the cavalry charge that the Takeda forces were famous for. Previous Japanese wars were mainly fought with bows and spears, as well. While I know a sort of bow-jousting existed as a format of duel, I think that was probably a lot more rare than seeing a bunch of the enemy and shooting into their formation.

My third reaction is also extreme doubt.

Why would your forces have marched in formation if they didn't fight in formation as well?

Mike_G
2016-02-28, 12:10 PM
Question about the requirements and regulations of Combat Medics.

I want a medic who isn't normally allowed to participate in combat operations, who due to an extreme situation and great personal willingness is allowed to join a limited combat mission. I wondered if there was some health condition that could allow for this, say if he was diabetic. I was wanting him to be a US navy medic.

Thanks for any insights into this.

Navy Hospital Corpsmen routinely accompany Marine units into combat. The ones assigned to the Marines go through more combat training than those who aren't.

Diabetes would be horrible for a combat mission. It's bad enough trying to keep your sugar under control at home, let alone in the field where you might easily miss a meal or miss your meds or be in a stressful situation and burn off your sugar faster than expected.

We do a ton of ambulance calls to people with low blood sugar and they don't have to endure combat. I assume diabetes is automatic disqualification for combat arms.

Vitruviansquid
2016-02-28, 12:25 PM
Come to think of it, I have another (few) questions about warfare in feudal Japan.

Who were the Ashigaru? What was it like being an Ashigaru?

The understanding that feudal European non-noble soldiers were usually not peasant farmers taken off their farms makes me question my assumption that the ashigaru were conscripted farmers. Whether they were or not, how was being an Ashigaru viewed in Japanese society? Was it considered dreadful to be a foot soldier in the lower class? Was it seen as a way to socially advance through getting plunder, earning respect, whatever? Did the samurai see them as credible and reliable, or as merely "helpers" to bring along to a fight that would ultimately be carried by the Samurai? Why did the Ashigaru wear different helmets than the Samurai? Was it a cost thing? Was it a status marker? Was it a utility thing (you could cook your rice in the ashigaru helmet, but not the Samurai helmet)?

Blackhawk748
2016-02-28, 12:31 PM
My third reaction is also extreme doubt.

Why would your forces have marched in formation if they didn't fight in formation as well?

This is what i was thinking. I mean i know medieval fights had a tendency to turn into a brawl at times, especially if you are using a non-polearm-two handed weapon. But Ashigaru not fighting in formation seemed kinda goofy to me. I mean, they had mediocre to bad armor and no shields, so unless you're ganging up on people it sounds like a bad time.

Also poking around a bit more i found that a few sources mention that pre-Sengoku period battles where "single combat" and afterwards geared towards "mass battles" though this could simply be a matter of scale as how they got armies changed a lot during that period with the rise of the Ashigaru.


Who were the Ashigaru? What was it like being an Ashigaru?

The understanding that feudal European non-noble soldiers were usually not peasant farmers taken off their farms makes me question my assumption that the ashigaru were conscripted farmers. Whether they were or not, how was being an Ashigaru viewed in Japanese society? Was it considered dreadful to be a foot soldier in the lower class? Was it seen as a way to socially advance through getting plunder, earning respect, whatever? Did the samurai see them as credible and reliable, or as merely "helpers" to bring along to a fight that would ultimately be carried by the Samurai? Why did the Ashigaru wear different helmets than the Samurai? Was it a cost thing? Was it a status marker? Was it a utility thing (you could cook your rice in the ashigaru helmet, but not the Samurai helmet)?

Well, from what i understand they had a reputation for being unreliable and this started cuz apparently a bunch of them once burned down what is now Kyoto. Also from what we can tell they were largely conscripted peasants which didnt help the poorly trained bit at all, though as the Sengoku period went on they became far better trained and turned into what most would consider typical soldiers.

I would assume it was a cost thing, though some Samurai did wear those same kind of helmets, though that may have just been a personal preference on their part

Roxxy
2016-02-28, 12:53 PM
@Roxy: Bear in mind target spam won't work for before the two ships are close enough to send people over. Things happen slowly in space, really slowly, even if you did a shot with a fusion torch from moon to earth transit time would be 3 hours. Given a fusion torch is way beyond your tech and your looking at more like the 3 days of the apollo missions. A mars trip is a multi-year job, anything beyond that is best measured in whole years. It would be entirely possible to have a base commander out on saturn see an attack mission launch from earth orbit, then have to tell his replacement as CO to tell his replacement as CO about it because it won't get close enough to engage until his replacement replacement time in charge.

Things happen really godammed slowly in space.With sneak attacks out of the question, finding some way to impede targeting is the next best thing. That's where I'm thinking about spam. If enemy rayguns depend on ladar for pinpoint targeting, and you can mirror image or outright spam the returning beam, you could end up in a situation where they can see you coming, but can't lock on well enough to hit, forcing a closer engagement. Could be that precision sensor jamming is just game changingly effective, like machine guns and quick firing artillery in WW1.


Also i wasn't saying it would be tough to build, if you look up the chapters on the "moon miners" and the "shack" from my previous link you'll get a ton of info on large scale mining and processing in space. Also yes an elevator would be way beyond the tech levels your talking about.
I've been short of time this weekend. Maybe after work.

Carl
2016-02-28, 01:27 PM
With sneak attacks out of the question, finding some way to impede targeting is the next best thing. That's where I'm thinking about spam. If enemy rayguns depend on ladar for pinpoint targeting, and you can mirror image or outright spam the returning beam, you could end up in a situation where they can see you coming, but can't lock on well enough to hit, forcing a closer engagement. Could be that precision sensor jamming is just game changingly effective, like machine guns and quick firing artillery in WW1.

The thing is unless you can completely hide your own signature they've got more than enough time to throw a shot at every target even if you project a million false ones, and once they hit you once they will know which one is real. The only way to not get blown out of space by ray guns and missile before you get into a low orbit area is to just not be seen until your within a few thousand km of where you want to be. At that point orbital velocities and everything else will take over quickly enough target spam works. The thing about stealth in space is it relies on getting your signature size below the resolution of the scanner, (which will almost certainly be passive IR, it's much simpler than LIDAR/Radar and does not give your position away), or your visable, period. Even with your tech level non-magical measures couldn;t get the signature down to the point that you couldn't reliably detect a target at several light seconds, (the moon is roughly 1 LS away from earth). You've got to really shrink the signature to get it small enough that you can almost be in orbit before your picked up.

Mr. Mask
2016-02-28, 02:11 PM
Navy Hospital Corpsmen routinely accompany Marine units into combat. The ones assigned to the Marines go through more combat training than those who aren't.

Diabetes would be horrible for a combat mission. It's bad enough trying to keep your sugar under control at home, let alone in the field where you might easily miss a meal or miss your meds or be in a stressful situation and burn off your sugar faster than expected.

We do a ton of ambulance calls to people with low blood sugar and they don't have to endure combat. I assume diabetes is automatic disqualification for combat arms. Yeah, that's why I picked Navy medic. I figured his back story was aiming to support the USMC in combat missions, but he had to settle for a non-combat medical role.

There is apparently at least one diabetic (http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/a-mixed-military-bag-for-people-with-diabetes#3) openly serving, and more secretly, but I'm not sure that qualifies it as a wise idea. However, it appears that even for non-combat roles like a behind the lines medic, diabetics aren't being recruited, so it doesn't seem a great avenue to explore.

I wanted to make an interesting character, so I thought some condition that normally disqualifies serving in combat operations could be a good angle. But it has to be somewhat plausible they'd send them out on a limited combat mission in desperate circumstances.

Storm Bringer
2016-02-28, 04:03 PM
here's a few ideas:

the character is a military medic, but not a combat medic. His normal job is as a pharmacist in a role 3 hospital (role 3 = "big, rear area hospital". A major nodal hostpital deals with severely wounded troops form all over theatre. their were R3 sites at Bagram airbase, or Camp bastion, when that was open.). However, as a military medic, he has done the same basic first aid training that any soldier does, and he took a few evening classes in the more advanced stuff (if only so he can brag to his civvie mates he can do all that cool stuff they see on TV as well). he's managed to acquire most of the combat medic/EMT quals, but obviously is a bit short of practice. However, in the current emergency, the need for a combat medic is that bad that they have pressed him into service as such.


variant on the above: the character has some secondary skill or talent happens to be in really short supply right now, Maybe he is only one of 7 people the theatre who is fluent in some native language, and they need him to act as a translator after one of the other 6 was injured. Maybe he is actually a mechanic who took medic lessons, but they need his ability to fix a Humvee with nothing more than a hammer and two balls of twine to make the mission work. either way, he is on the team as a "medic" but he's mainly on the team for some other vital skill he can provide.

fusilier
2016-02-28, 04:51 PM
Yeah, that's why I picked Navy medic. I figured his back story was aiming to support the USMC in combat missions, but he had to settle for a non-combat medical role.

There is apparently at least one diabetic (http://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/a-mixed-military-bag-for-people-with-diabetes#3) openly serving, and more secretly, but I'm not sure that qualifies it as a wise idea. However, it appears that even for non-combat roles like a behind the lines medic, diabetics aren't being recruited, so it doesn't seem a great avenue to explore.

I wanted to make an interesting character, so I thought some condition that normally disqualifies serving in combat operations could be a good angle. But it has to be somewhat plausible they'd send them out on a limited combat mission in desperate circumstances.

What type of diabetes was the character expected to have? My understanding is that diabetes can be broadly divided into two categories Type-I and Type-II. Type-II can often be controlled with diet and exercise. Type-I requires regular insulin shots. I've known people with type-I that can manage their diabetes quite well (especially nowadays with fast-acting insulin and home glucose meters). They can usually sense when their blood sugar level is getting low, and take a sugar tablet if necessary. Although it would be good if at least some team members were aware of the condition and can look out for warning signs. It would be a more serious disadvantage if it was a secret.

Mike_G
2016-02-28, 10:58 PM
OK.

Type I diabetics do not produce insulin. They need to take supplemental insulin or their cells cannot use sugar, so it stays in the blood stream causing vascular damage while the cells starve. This is a condition that can be managed, but it takes a lot of time and effort, and conscientious monitoring of your sugar and insulin dose..

If you miss a dose of insulin, your sugar gets too high, your cells starve and can't function. Brain cells are among the first to suffer. Diabetics are often mistaken for being drunk. If you take your insulin but can't eat, you drop your sugar, and the cells starve, and you have all the same results. People with low blood sugar can become irrational, violent and eventually comatose.

Type II diabetics produce insulin, but the receptors on the cells don't react to it like they should, often because they have been desensitized by too much sugar. Some Type II people can control it with diet and exercise, some need oral meds to help the body use sugar and some do take insulin.

Again, if they can't get their meds, or they can't eat when they have to, their sugars get out of whack and they can become irrational, or comatose.

Now, in civilian life, you can usually find food, or carry food with you, even if it's just some hard candy or granola bars so if your sugar gets low you can eat something. And civilian employers more or less have to let you eat or take your insulin. And we still get called out all the time for patients who have had their sugars bottom out and they are unconscious or acting drunk and can't help themselves.

Now, imagine how much worse this would be if you were in a combat unit where you were pinned down or had to hole up away from base for a day longer than expected. Or if your pack got lost in combat or your insulin (which has to be refrigerated) went bad or caught a round.

Being hungry, being overworked, missing chow, this all happens all the damn time in the infantry.

Now imagine instead of just getting grumpy like the rest of the squad, you start acting drunk. Wandering into minefields or outside the wire. Forgetting your weapon. Forgetting how to properly (and safely) set the claymore mines. Passing out while on watch.

Who thinks that guy is a good battle buddy?

I'm not trying to crap on people with disabilities, I just want you to understand why I wouldn't pick that guy for my long range patrol.

Brother Oni
2016-02-29, 03:50 AM
Got a question about battles in Feudal Japan. I've often heard it said that while Japanese soldiers marched in formation once battle was joined it just turned into a mess of single man duels, is this true?
While what Vitruviansquid is true, there is also an element of single combat. Samurai won glory and recognition by killing enemies of renown – as proof they had to take then display the heads of the samurai they killed for inspection by their daimyo or general.

In battles, this often resulted in combat degenerating into one on one duels as samurai sought to find opponents of note by shouting out names. Prior to the first Mongol invasion in the 13th Century, this was helped by the pre-battle ‘warm up’ where samurai used to ride out to boast of their achievements (the Mongols, not speaking Japanese, just shot them as they rode out, which broke the samurai of that habit pretty quickly).
Slain enemies were then dragged back to the rear areas by the samurai’s seconds (most of them were essentially noblemen thus had retainers) for later decapitation and clean up for display.

This only applies to the samurai though – ashigaru during the Sengoku and earlier periods were of a lower caste and couldn’t earn renown in the same way except in exceptional circumstances (Toyotomi Hideyoshi being the primary granter of these exceptions).


Who were the Ashigaru? What was it like being an Ashigaru?

Depends on the period in question. Note that Japanese society at the time was caste based, which added a religious element.

Ashigaru were essentially conscript soldiers of the peasant caste. They were the backbone of most clan armies due to their greater numbers but they were regarded as unruly troops (during the Onin war just before the Sengoku Jidai, ashigaru burned and looted Kyoto). Their initial lack of formal education in weapons also made for poorer quality troops in comparison to the samurai (veteran ashigaru were often very good from extreme natural selection).

During the Sengoku a number of ashigaru commanders, promoted their ashigaru up to the samurai caste, Toyotomi Hideyoshi being famous for this as mentioned earlier. One former-ashigaru now-samurai later became a daimyo in his own right (Yamauchi Katsutoyo).

During the Edo period, ashigaru were promoted up to samurai status and the Ji-samurai caste (essentially poorer samurai who also worked as farmers while not fighting) was abolished, creating a sharp divide between those who fight and those who farm. This was later reinforced by various edits and purges, such as the Great Taiko sword hunt to remove the possession of weaponry by the peasant caste.
This also had the effect of cementing the caste system, making upwards social mobility almost impossible.

Life as an ashigaru was much the same as any conscript soldier and with the exception of being in major wars, wasn’t generally regarded as a good way getting plunder and earning renown (chances were better in times of war, but so was the chance of getting killed).

As I mentioned earlier, they generally weren’t seen as reliable or good quality troops until the introduction of Portugese/Dutch matchlocks and later their homegrown tanegashima and blocks of musket infantry appeared during the later Sengoku. The Oda clan armies (and their descendants, the Tokugawa) were renown for their musket ashigaru, their reputation being cemented during the Battle of Nagashino where the previously invincible Takeda cavalry was shattered by musket fire from fortified positions.

Like in European warfare, armour and weapons were expensive, thus the ashigaru were equipped with mass produced weapons and armour for the rapid militarisation required, thus their comparatively uniform and basic look in contrast to samurai, who often were wearing their own custom made armour.
The ashigaru helmet, the jingasa, doubled as a rice cooker for logistical reasons and also functioned to keep the rain off (Japan has a rainy season which can be near monsoon levels in volume of water dumped) and the sun off (it can hit 40C during the summer). Samurai meanwhile typically had retainers who did their cooking for them, along with other helpers with fans or parasols, so didn’t have to resort to using their more impractical decorated helmets for culinary needs.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-02-29, 04:05 AM
The thing is unless you can completely hide your own signature they've got more than enough time to throw a shot at every target even if you project a million false ones, and once they hit you once they will know which one is real. The only way to not get blown out of space by ray guns and missile before you get into a low orbit area is to just not be seen until your within a few thousand km of where you want to be. At that point orbital velocities and everything else will take over quickly enough target spam works. The thing about stealth in space is it relies on getting your signature size below the resolution of the scanner, (which will almost certainly be passive IR, it's much simpler than LIDAR/Radar and does not give your position away), or your visable, period. Even with your tech level non-magical measures couldn;t get the signature down to the point that you couldn't reliably detect a target at several light seconds, (the moon is roughly 1 LS away from earth). You've got to really shrink the signature to get it small enough that you can almost be in orbit before your picked up.
IMO, it'd be a combination of containing and/or directing your regular emissions away from the target vessel to reduce your passive signature as much as possible, absorbing any EMR so you don't reflect anything back from active sensors, and being able to emit the same frequencies of EMR that hit one side of your vessel (starlight, cosmic background radiation and so on) from the opposite side, so that you don't block everything that should be detected.

Brother Oni
2016-02-29, 07:21 AM
Page 50, new thread is up. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?480058-Got-a-Real-World-Weapon-Armor-or-Tactics-Question-Mk-XX)