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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Real World Weapon, Armour and Tactics Thread XIX

    This thread is a resource for getting information about real life weapons, armour and tactics. The concept has always been that the information is for RPG players and DMs so they can use it to make their games better, thus it's here rather than in Friendly Banter.

    A few rules for this thread:

    • This thread is for asking questions about how weapons, armour and tactics really work. As such, it's not going to include game rule statistics. If you have such a question, especially if it stems from an answer or question in this thread, feel free to start a new thread and include a link back to here. If you do ask a rule question here, you'll be asked to move it elsewhere, and then we'll be happy to help out with it.
    • Any weapon or time period is open for questions. Medieval and ancient warfare questions seem to predominate, but since there are many games set in other periods as well, feel free to ask about any weapon. This includes futuristic ones - but be aware that these will be likely assessed according to their real life feasibility. Thus, phasers, for example, will be talked about in real-world science and physics terms rather than the Star Trek canon. If you want to discuss a fictional weapon from a particular source according to the canonical explanation, please start a new thread for it.
    • Please try to cite your claims if possible. If you know of a citation for a particular piece of information, please include it. However, everyone should be aware that sometimes even the experts don't agree, so it's quite possible to have two conflicting answers to the same question. This isn't a problem; the asker of the question can examine the information and decide which side to go with. The purpose of the thread is to provide as much information as possible. Debates are fine, but be sure to keep it a friendly debate (even if the experts can't!).
    • No modern real-world political discussion. As the great Carl von Clausevitz once said, "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means," so politics and war are heavily intertwined. However, politics are a big hot-button issue and one banned on these boards, so avoid political analysis if at all possible (this thread is primarily about military hardware). There's more leeway on this for anything prior to about 1800, but be very careful with all of it, and anything past 1900 is surely not open for analysis (These are arbitrary dates but any dates would be, and these are felt to be reasonable).
    • No graphic descriptions. War is violent, dirty, and horrific, and anyone discussing it should be keenly aware of that. However, on this board graphic descriptions of violence (or sexuality) are not allowed, so please avoid them.


    With that done, have at and enjoy yourselves!
    Last edited by Mr. Mask; 2015-10-29 at 09:13 PM.
    "Dying", a WAG Game Jam game, and my first video game. A narrative platformer with a hidden mystery, where you progress through dying: http://mask.itch.io/dying

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by tgva8889 View Post
    Thanks for correcting my misconception. It's an interesting discussion nonetheless. I always knew polearms had tactical advantage, but it's hard to estimate exactly how much without some discussion like this.
    Heck, even WITH discussions like this. People have been arguing about just how good polearms are against swords since the dawn of time. Though general opinion is polearms have the advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Incanur View Post
    A short impact weapon might be better against full mail plus helm, but it's notable how rarely infantry used short impact weapons in 15th-16th-century Western Europe. Instead they used a variety of swords. Cavalry definitely carried short impact weapons, but again according to Quijada de Reayo's mid-16th-century text the hammer was only used after losing/breaking the estoc and then the arming sword. His progression was lance/estoc/sword/hammer/dagger.
    Well, by the 15th and 16th century, you're talking about some of the most serious armour in history. Anything less than a two-handed weapon, polearm or crossbow wasn't generally going to cut it. Swords are very versatile, so they make great backup weapons. Plus, not everyone was well armoured from head to toe, so they were still effective in those situations. So, I'd say that's more a case that your anti armour capabilities were focused in your main weapon, and so weren't necessary for your sidearm.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    By the Carolingian period (8th-11th Centuries, roughly) iron had gotten cheaper, and therefore swords too, though they were still quite expensive. Wealthier and more important people had swords, and warriors were often equipped with them, they were definitely not unusual, but still pretty valuable. Maybe like a sniper rifle today or a light machine gun.
    Much more expensive than a sniper rifle.... (without knowing the exact average price of a sniper rifle)

    From archaeology and history combined it is clear that in the period 8-11th century swords were not common. This goes both for Scandinavia, Germany and England which is the areas I know about (due to language mainly, I am really not proficient in french or polish etc). Though it seem to go for normandy as well. Warriors were not "often equipped" with them, a very small minority of weapon graves have swords, and the sagas etc is clear about swords being rare (elite) weapons. Even when looking at slightly later law texts (12-13th century) swords are not "often" used. Even within the warrior class the sword is a mark of honour at this time (unless short saxes are counted, but most are more like knives than swords both in technique and size, they might be comparable to sniper rifles).

    Its hard to compare to modern weapons, since so much more people today are living comfortable lives, were saving up money does not hurt your food consumption the next year etc. But as mentioned earlier a sword is priced perhaps as much as 8+ cows as much as a normal peasant would own. So its more like your entire fortune, than half a years salary (if you were a peasant).

    I wont contend with G about the late medieval stuff, since he knows more about that. But I think comparing to what an average peasant or similar owns are relevant, at at least by the High Middle Ages (12th-13th Centuries) real swords in most parts were an elite weapon, mainly used by the knight class and above. Swords is perhaps not as much as a village, but definitely more than what a commoner (understood as 75% of the lower earning population) could earn in a year.

    We could go back to those law records from Norway and England stipulating what a soldier needed (they were from the 12th-13th century), swords were not among the basic weapons.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Speaking of swords vs. other weapons, this little 10 seconds or so scene from that new HEMA documentary is a really interesting clip showing just a brief hint of how a Montante (big two-handed sword) was used to defend a VIP from a crowd of hostile enemies. This kind of stuff is in most of the fencing manuals from Spain and Portugal from the 15th-17th Centuries, I think this one might be from Giodinho. I would love to see something like that in a movie

    https://youtu.be/mmTi-NGQNh8?t=433


    Quote Originally Posted by Tobtor View Post
    Much more expensive than a sniper rifle.... (without knowing the exact average price of a sniper rifle)

    From archaeology and history combined it is clear that in the period 8-11th century swords were not common. This goes both for Scandinavia, Germany and England which is the areas I know about (due to language mainly, I am really not proficient in french or polish etc). Though it seem to go for normandy as well. Warriors were not "often equipped" with them, a very small minority of weapon graves have swords, and the sagas etc is clear about swords being rare (elite) weapons. Even when looking at slightly later law texts (12-13th century) swords are not "often" used. Even within the warrior class the sword is a mark of honour at this time (unless short saxes are counted, but most are more like knives than swords both in technique and size, they might be comparable to sniper rifles).

    Its hard to compare to modern weapons, since so much more people today are living comfortable lives, were saving up money does not hurt your food consumption the next year etc. But as mentioned earlier a sword is priced perhaps as much as 8+ cows as much as a normal peasant would own. So its more like your entire fortune, than half a years salary (if you were a peasant).

    I wont contend with G about the late medieval stuff, since he knows more about that. But I think comparing to what an average peasant or similar owns are relevant, at at least by the High Middle Ages (12th-13th Centuries) real swords in most parts were an elite weapon, mainly used by the knight class and above. Swords is perhaps not as much as a village, but definitely more than what a commoner (understood as 75% of the lower earning population) could earn in a year.

    We could go back to those law records from Norway and England stipulating what a soldier needed (they were from the 12th-13th century), swords were not among the basic weapons.
    Swords were starting to be produced in northern Germany (for example in the region around what is now Sollingen, still a knife making center) as early as the 8th Century, and were a major export item by the 9th. We have all debated this before but by the 10th Century both swords and metal armor show up routinely.

    yes it's true that Leidang etc. didn't stipulate swords that early for the lowest ranking guys, though metal (mail) armor does show up and I know that you are better informed about the archeology than I am but am I wrong to say that by the 12th Century you do see a pretty large numbers of swords (or their remnants) starting to show up? Swords and metal armor are mentioned frequently in the Konungs skuggsjá and not just as arms for kings. For example this is how they describe arms for a cavalryman:

    https://archive.org/stream/kingsmirr...uuoft_djvu.txt

    From the "Kings Mirror", Norway circa 1250:

    The rider himself should be equipped in this wise:
    he should wear good soft breeches made of soft and
    thoroughly blackened linen cloth, which should reach
    up to the belt; outside these, good mail hose* which
    should come up high enough to be girded on with a
    double strap; over these he must have good trousers
    made of linen cloth of the sort that I have already
    described ; finally, over these he should have good knee-
    pieces made of thick iron and rivets hard as steel
    . f Above
    and next to the body he should wear a soft gambison,
    which need not come lower than to the middle of the
    thigh. Over this he must have a strong breastplate {
    made of good iron covering the body from the nipples to
    the trousers belt ; outside this, a well-made hauberk and
    over the hauberk
    a firm gambison made in the manner
    which I have already described but without sleeves. He
    must have a dirk and two swords, one girded on and
    another hanging from the pommel of the saddle. On his
    head he must have a dependable helmet made of good
    steel and provided with a visor. |
    | He must also have a
    strong, thick shield fastened to a durable shoulder belt
    and, in addition, a good sharp spear with a firm shaft
    and pointed with fine steel.
    Now it seems needless to
    speak further about the equipment of men who fight
    on horseback; there are, however, other weapons which
    a mounted warrior may use, if he wishes; among these
    are the " horn bow " * and the weaker crossbow, which
    a man can easily draw even when on horseback, and
    certain other weapons, too, if he should want them.

    Even if a sword costs close to your annual income or even more than it, so does a car today and most people in the US buy one anyway, one way or another.

    Certainly by the 13th Century a sword was already mandated as a militia requirement in records from towns in Flanders, the Rhineland, and Italy among other places, including for ordinary craftsmen, so they obviously were not that expensive.

    i picked a sniper rifle as an analogy because in a modern army it might be one out of 100 or more guys who would have one depending on the army (I know that some squads now have designated riflemen etc. in places like Afghanistan, but I mean a real trained sniper) and I think the ratio, if not necessarily the price, is probably somewhere in that ballpark for that 8th-11th Century period.


    By the 12th -13th Century I think swords were ubiquitous. In some places the peasantry were so poor that they could barely afford clothes, but that was by no means universal. Certainly in the towns many commoners owned swords.



    And as i said by the 1400's it was already possible to get arrested or fined for not owning a sword in many towns and the districts surrounding them. And half a mark was not out of range of most peasants even, let alone artisans. The wealthiest class of peasants in Poland in the 15th Century could have as much as 30 gulden / zloty per year above their rent obligations. Still makes a sword expensive in the sense that it wouldn't be a casual purchase (and peasants typically had many other pressing needs running a farm etc.) but a sword was also important for living and prestige, like say a musket in the old frontier days in the US. Though many would use various sword-like knives instead, seax in the older period, later hauswehr, baurnwehr, rugger, dussack, messer etc.

    A few generations of this thread back someone posted two excellent spreadsheet tables showing wages, costs and prices for many things in about a dozen cities around Europe across a period of roughly 1300's through the 1600's, and I believe the sword was listed in that (roughly 1/2 mark) range, though I'd have to double check.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Swords were starting to be produced in northern Germany (for example in the region around what is now Sollingen, still a knife making center) as early as the 8th Century, and were a major export item by the 9th. We have all debated this before but by the 10th Century both swords and metal armor show up routinely.
    Rutinely, yes. In chieftains graves or in the graves of the proto-knight class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    yes it's true that Leidang etc. didn't stipulate swords that early for the lowest ranking guys
    "the lowest ranking guys, being all the oarsmenn in the ships. Only the steerman was required to have sword and mail. Whether others had it is a more difficult to argue. But the law texts are from the 12th-13th century, so in your "second" period, where weapons got even cheaper, and still 1/40 (roughly) was required to have a sword.

    "but am I wrong to say that by the 12th Century you do see a pretty large numbers of swords (or their remnants) starting to show up?"

    Yes, sword do show up in rather "large" numbers by that time. We see a change in military structure towards a more "knight"-oriented cavalry class, whcih were required to have a sword. This was promoted by free peasant from leidgang if they instead formed ties to a "knight" in a levy structure (mostly in the 13th century), this is advanced in the 14th century, when you see a very classic "knight"-class.

    swords and metal armor are mentioned frequently in the Konungs skuggsjá and not just as arms for kings. For example this is how they describe arms for a cavalryman
    The poem is 13th century, doesnt really prove anything about the 8-10th century. But it is supported by the achaeology. From the 10th century Scandinavia we see "horsemans" graves with full weapon kits (sword, spear, and sometimes an axe). These are a minority among weapon graves and also contain other fine furnishes, such as gold. It belongs to the proto knight class. Swords for the kings "men" are definitely a thing. This is true in Saxony, in the Frankish areas and England. The elite, the kings chieftains and "retainers" had sowrds. From the sagas it is clear that even in the "housecarl" group, some didn't have swords until some time in their career (when profit had been gained by plundering).

    Even if a sword costs close to your annual income or even more than it, so does a car today and most people in the US buy one anyway, one way or another.
    Today we have a well functioning bank system, and most have a loan on their car, and the car is a "tool" to go to your work place. Beside 8 cows is way beyond the average annual income. By the 8-10thcentury a sword could perhaps be compared in value to a house today.

    Certainly by the 13th Century a sword was already mandated as a militia requirement in records from towns in Flanders, the Rhineland, and Italy among other places, including for ordinary craftsmen, so they obviously were not that expensive.
    I agree that from the 13th onwards, in richer areas (we do agree that Flanders and Italy are among the wealthy parts right?) swords could perhaps be compared to a (good) car in prize. Or perhaps your sniper riffle. Everyone in middle class today could afford a sniper if it was required of you for citizenship etc.

    And as i said by the 1400's it was already possible to get arrested or fined for not owning a sword in many towns and the districts surrounding them. And half a mark was not out of range of most peasants even, let alone artisans.
    As I said toward the end of the period and regarding towns I bow to your knowledge. And i agree that likely all members of a guild in the towns (master artisans and most journeymen) could comfortably afford a sword (perhaps not the apprentices etc, which would also make up part of the "commoner class")

    Though many would use various sword-like knives instead, seax in the older period, later hauswehr, baurnwehr, rugger, dussack, messer etc.
    I agree. Cheaper "swords" such as messers etc would be common/standard from around "middle class" in the late period (14-15th century).

    A few generations of this thread back someone posted two excellent spreadsheet tables showing wages, costs and prices for many things in about a dozen cities around Europe across a period of roughly 1300's through the 1600's, and I believe the sword was listed in that (roughly 1/2 mark) range, though I'd have to double check.
    Hmm cant remember that, but I would be interested.
    Last edited by Tobtor; 2015-10-30 at 02:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    The "kings mirror" reference was for that same 13th Century period.

    I agree on most of that though I would skew the prices you are talking about to a bit earlier. 8-11th Century is a wide range of time, and I think some of the Carolingian muster rules (whatever they wee called, capitularies?) did stipulate a sword within that period. I also seem to remember Knut the Greats armies had a lot of men armed with swords though I don't remember the source.

    Outside of Scandinavia and the British Isles though much of Europe was a lot wealthier by say, the 11th Century. Even in England at that point they had something like 5600 watermills in the Norman domesday book IIRC in the 11th Century.


    Of course we are speaking in generalizations and for Europe in any period, that is a mistake. Today in 2015 buying a nice sword (say a top-end Albion) is well within the budget of the average German even for a hobby, whereas I would think but the average person in Portugal, Buglaria, or Albania probably wouldn't even consider it. Things varied even more in the medieval period.

    There were various forms of proto-banking of course as early as the 11th Century and something like a mortgage also existed in the form of annuities, the "Morning Gift" given to a bride in Central Europe in that period was basically a type of reverse mortgage on some property typically.

    I have those spreadsheets somewhere can you attach a file to a post in this forum?

    G

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    For a peasant though "banking" in this earlier period is more like signing an agreement to the local abbot or the cutlers guild in the nearby town or market-village give half his honey and butter and two of his calves for the next year in exchange for the sword (or the wedding party for his daughter or the lumber for his new barn)

    G

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Two questions about entirely different things:

    1. In a modern setting, how would one go about creating a defensible position out of a pretty much random spot on a glacier? The idea is that there's something inside the glacial ice that's incredibly valuable - to the extent that it's worth building a base around. What sort of things would you do to make something capable of repulsing or at least slowing the attacks of another modernized force?

    2. Again, in a modern setting: What sort of technique would work best for someone wielding a sword* as far as self-defense is concerned? Mainly thinking in terms of ways to deal with firearms, multiple opponents, etc. in a setting where no one is armored and all parties are likely close together.

    *Currently indeterminate type. Something more like a two-hander than a rapier.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Two questions about entirely different things:

    1. In a modern setting, how would one go about creating a defensible position out of a pretty much random spot on a glacier? The idea is that there's something inside the glacial ice that's incredibly valuable - to the extent that it's worth building a base around. What sort of things would you do to make something capable of repulsing or at least slowing the attacks of another modernized force?
    Defending a wide-open, mostly flat area with massive sightlines against modern weapons? That is a very tall order, since air support will spot you very easily (particularly since you'll stand out massively on thermal), and have no cover from aerial attack. All an enemy would have to do is get within 25 miles of you and start lobbing cluster shells at you, or send in the air force to drop cluster bombs or incendiaries (particularly effective on ice, since the heat will melt the ice and trap your troops) en masse. While both can be defended against to some extent, you really aren't going to have a chance.

    2. Again, in a modern setting: What sort of technique would work best for someone wielding a sword* as far as self-defense is concerned?
    If you're talking in a military sense, your only option is to try to get shot in a non-lethal place. Sword beats gun at very close range, but your chances of getting to that range (unless you're busting down a closet door or something) are almost nonexistent. In a civilian setting, a sword is more useful as most people don't have a gun out and ready at all times.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Defending a wide-open, mostly flat area with massive sightlines against modern weapons? That is a very tall order, since air support will spot you very easily (particularly since you'll stand out massively on thermal), and have no cover from aerial attack. All an enemy would have to do is get within 25 miles of you and start lobbing cluster shells at you, or send in the air force to drop cluster bombs or incendiaries (particularly effective on ice, since the heat will melt the ice and trap your troops) en masse. While both can be defended against to some extent, you really aren't going to have a chance.
    If you can ensure that you have enough air power to keep yourself from being destroyed from the air, and have some sort of defense against long-range bombardment, will you be in a better position or will there just be some other method of wiping you out?

    If you're talking in a military sense, your only option is to try to get shot in a non-lethal place. Sword beats gun at very close range, but your chances of getting to that range (unless you're busting down a closet door or something) are almost nonexistent. In a civilian setting, a sword is more useful as most people don't have a gun out and ready at all times.
    Ah, my bad - I meant in a latter sense. An individual in a dangerous neighborhood, for example, with your typical 'attack important character so said character can display their combat prowess' thugs showing up.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    To help break in the new thread, I have a vague, not-exactly fighting-related, but relevant question. I've heard of a bunch of different names given to eras in history, but I'm not 100% sure when or sometimes even what those eras are. Can I get a quick primer on some common names for time periods? I know not everyone in the world calls the same bits of time the same thing, so names for eras from diverse locations would be especially helpful.

    I just want to be able to get my "bronze age", "Ming Dynasty", "Early Modern Era", and "before agriculture" straight.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    I find this page helpful, when I forget which period goes where: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_time_periods


    Person, Gnoman: I'm thinking that in a place with glaciers, will air-forces be able to operate if the weather gets bad? You could try and dig trenches in the ice, but incendiaries would make that a questionable proposition.

    Swords: It depends on the scenario. If there's heavy gun control but swords are issued, that's helpful if the thugs haven't acquired illegal firearms. If the character's sword is visible, that's a problem when being mugged, as the attackers should operate on that basis. If the sword is hidden, then thugs intending to knife you might be in for a nasty shock.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    If you can ensure that you have enough air power to keep yourself from being destroyed from the air, and have some sort of defense against long-range bombardment, will you be in a better position or will there just be some other method of wiping you out?
    If you've got a big enough airforce to be immune to air attack and you've got such open terrain around the base you don't need much more than a good dose of infantry and some emplaced crew served weapons, (i.e. enough to hold off a sudden unexpected commando raid or the like), because your air force can flatten any serious army scale attack before it ever gets anywhere near the base.

    The closest you could get to making the base rely on it's own fortifications is to combined elements of what israel has been doing in the west bank to deal with artillery and air dropped ordnance, and use modern long range missile defences vs the aircraft themselves. Basically the same system carrier battle groups have been using for decades to make even other battlegroups irellevent. But the system work so well on sea because getting enough launch platforms in range to overwhelm the defences is pretty much impossible if the carriers stay out of range of land based attacks. Air attacks might still have an issue as few nations will have enough aircraft to overwhelm and likely none can afford the losses involved. But at the same time ground based self propelled artillery can much more easily overwhelm you. You can get round that by emplacing artillery pieces of such size that they outrange anything lesser than themselves whilst being too massive to be self propelled, but to get a usable base wide RoF, (given how RoF tends to drop with increasing calibre), your going to need a lot of pieces which will be a killer in terms of setup. The time to get the base setup will probably even for an emergency crash program be over a year and it will be expensive to the point it would have to be protecting something akin to a manhattan project to be worth it.

    This isn't the medieval period where building a war machine that can knock down a wall is hard. Defensive positions by their nature just don't work very well because it's very hard to stop modern weapon system, very cheap to build them in overwhelming quantities, and not getting hit is the only way to survive.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    In addition, the supply line, field evac and morale will be an issue. Wide open on a glacier, this will get to be a siege situation.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    this will get to be a siege situation.
    I think thats what he actually wants, but in the modern world that's very hard to do.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    1. In a modern setting, how would one go about creating a defensible position out of a pretty much random spot on a glacier? The idea is that there's something inside the glacial ice that's incredibly valuable - to the extent that it's worth building a base around. What sort of things would you do to make something capable of repulsing or at least slowing the attacks of another modernized force?
    Around here we wouldn't bother defending the point on the glacier. Having troops operatin gon a glacier is asking for the glacier to eat as many of your men as the enemy can kill. See, glaciers have one massive issue when it comes to constructing things on them or transversing them. They move, it's slow but steady. This means that the glacier is not solid. Over time crevasses will open and close, sections will collapse into hollow spots, etc. etc. Waht's even worse is the parts of the glacier don't move at the same speed, the sides move more slowly than the center and the top moves differently from the bottom.

    What you'll probably see is a couple of temporary structures above where your interesting thing is and your access path exists this week. These will be for the researchers, engineers, and a few guards. You'll see any permanent installations on or in the sides of the mountains that border the glacier. It will also depend on if your glacier is straight or crooked, coastal or inland, and how deep in the mountain range it is. Those factors also affect the places available to station troops.

    For the best bet of figuring out what you want try to find a picture of a glacier similar to the area you have in mind and link us to that.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mask View Post
    Person, Gnoman: I'm thinking that in a place with glaciers, will air-forces be able to operate if the weather gets bad? You could try and dig trenches in the ice, but incendiaries would make that a questionable proposition.
    I was thinking of using intense snowstorms / blizzard conditions to lessen the issues coming from air power, but I don't know if any mundane storms like that would have an impact on ground-based artillery.

    Swords: It depends on the scenario. If there's heavy gun control but swords are issued, that's helpful if the thugs haven't acquired illegal firearms. If the character's sword is visible, that's a problem when being mugged, as the attackers should operate on that basis. If the sword is hidden, then thugs intending to knife you might be in for a nasty shock.
    I had a situation in mind where the sword would either be disguised as something else (or just wrapped up to be unrecognizable as such) or have the attackers not expect it to be useful - if one's only experience with an actual sword is depictions of incredibly slow sweeping strikes, one might think 'pah there's no way they can do anything with that before I get 'em' and be surprised.

    As for firearms, I was thinking the encounter would be fairly close, with the thugs expecting to just need to flash their weapons rather than having one or more stay at a distance to open fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    I think thats what he actually wants, but in the modern world that's very hard to do.
    Not exactly - the idea is that the defenses hold long enough for things to get desperate but not just be obliterated in a hail of missiles and shells from over the horizon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Around here we wouldn't bother defending the point on the glacier. Having troops operatin gon a glacier is asking for the glacier to eat as many of your men as the enemy can kill. See, glaciers have one massive issue when it comes to constructing things on them or transversing them. They move, it's slow but steady. This means that the glacier is not solid. Over time crevasses will open and close, sections will collapse into hollow spots, etc. etc. Waht's even worse is the parts of the glacier don't move at the same speed, the sides move more slowly than the center and the top moves differently from the bottom.

    What you'll probably see is a couple of temporary structures above where your interesting thing is and your access path exists this week. These will be for the researchers, engineers, and a few guards. You'll see any permanent installations on or in the sides of the mountains that border the glacier. It will also depend on if your glacier is straight or crooked, coastal or inland, and how deep in the mountain range it is. Those factors also affect the places available to station troops.

    For the best bet of figuring out what you want try to find a picture of a glacier similar to the area you have in mind and link us to that.
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    Somewhere far north - no coast or glacier edge for at least a few hundred miles.

    Would there still be said issues with building permanent structures if what you're looking at is this kind of massive area of ice, or will this still be an important factor?

    One of the factors involved will be the disconnect between the official reasoning behind the base (in theory it's there as part of a network of small supply bases to keep watch / defend supply lines for another front) and the amount of resources being poured into it, as well as the issues that come from...well, building a base of any kind in the middle of ice sheets this large. I was thinking that the other faction would be aware enough to want [special thing], and go after it, which could potentially also solve* some of the issues regarding 'just bomb it until it's a morass of craters, melting ice and dead guys'.

    *While obviously causing in-world issues, I'd imagine. After all, soldiers would start wondering why they need to go in and capture a nigh-meaningless base in the middle of the arctic ice, won't they?
    Last edited by PersonMan; 2015-10-31 at 05:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Again storms won't cut it. Any storm nasty enough to cut off airpower would also pretty much make ground transit to and from the base supremely difficult. It would effectively be cut off, and storms that bad are both rare and non-permanent. heir not a reliable defence.

    Even if for some reason you could cold stop air and artillery, if the enemy's armoured vehicles make it into range in notable numbers they too can demolish the base in minutes. Hell, even infantry using man portable mortars and shoulder fired missiles could do it in less than a day.


    The only way to defend a base, (assuming an attacker with greater raw combat power), against modern weaponry without invoking energy shields or super armour material is to ensure the enemy never makes it into firing range, which either requires large amounts of super heavy artillery, heavy duty air power, or a sufficiently well equipped, trained, and commanded mobile army to fight the enemy conventionally short of the base.

    That's not to say a defensive position can't be useful and even a force multiplier, but the degree of multiplier it provides is very dependent on a lot of factors and generally nowhere near as great as it was in past era's. City fighting is one of the last few genuine true examples of a supremely advantageous defensive position. And thats very much down to a combination of factors that boils down to their being so much stuff there that it's impossible to effectively level the whole thing sufficiently to remove all possible cover and/or kill all possible inhabitants short of employing nuclear weaponry.
    Last edited by Carl; 2015-10-31 at 06:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    @PersonaMan:

    Please do give some more detail on the factions involved and the apparent and immediate worth of the goal.
    To clarify this request: I'd wager a guess that most people involved in this kind of conversation hail from a first world country and act on first world knowledge and sensibilities. Those tend to not hold true for second or third world countries even if totalitarian states are not involved.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Person: Potentially, you could make the glacier war on an ice planet where aircraft barely work (high gravity, thin atmosphere, common storms). Of course, with space travel, aircraft also get a lot more effective, to the extent where you might expect some kind of rocket-based aeroplane which could operate in ghastly weather. Plus orbital warfare. Of course, it might be possible to have a glacier war with plenty of aircraft. If they need to secure the mining zones, you have to put infantry there at some point. Aircraft can't hold ground.

    With your sword-guy, if he notices he's being ambushed, he'll either head to open areas where they'll be scared to attack, or tight areas where they're forced to get close to him. Often, muggers are forced to get pretty close, to control their mark and extract money from them. You could have the muggers get a little anxious because he's going to exit the optimal zone and hurry after him, he then meeting them around a corner where it's tight.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Well if you invoke scfi simple energy shielding can completely alter the way things play out quite a bit, but that's fairly firmly outside "modern".

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Somewhere far north - no coast or glacier edge for at least a few hundred miles.

    Would there still be said issues with building permanent structures if what you're looking at is this kind of massive area of ice, or will this still be an important factor?
    Yes there will be. There's no evenly solid icesheet in existence. And it will always be moving somewhere. Even during the Iceage when what 1/4 1/3? of the world was covered in up to something like 2kms of "solid" ice it kept moving and had numerous variances in it's composition.

    There's no such thing as a permanent building built on ice. There's only a building that at some point isn't going to be where you are. If you are lucky it will be decades or hundreds of years though.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    I also seem to remember Knut the Greats armies had a lot of men armed with swords though I don't remember the source.
    Not as standard weapons, but sure during times of conquest, the amount swords would likely go up (influx of silver and weapons from defeated enemies).

    Outside of Scandinavia and the British Isles though much of Europe was a lot wealthier by say, the 11th Century. Even in England at that point they had something like 5600 watermills in the Norman domesday book IIRC in the 11th Century.
    I do not think "much of Europe" was that much more wealthy. At least by gold/silver found, Scandinavia is above most of Germany/Eastern Europe. France was a mess at the time. Southern Europe was likely wealthier, yes, and thus have more swords.

    Of course we are speaking in generalizations and for Europe in any period, that is a mistake.
    I totally agree.

    Today in 2015 buying a nice sword (say a top-end Albion) is well within the budget of the average German even for a hobby, whereas I would think but the average person in Portugal, Buglaria, or Albania probably wouldn't even consider it.
    I think you underestimate Portugal (don't know too much about Bulgaria or Albania), if averagely waged people really wanted they could buy good swords today. Disposable income is far greater today than in the medieval period.

    Things varied even more in the medieval period.
    Yes and no. I think there were more country-town difference and larger class differences. I do don't know about average peasant profit (amount of money not directly going to food/housing).
    There were various forms of proto-banking of course as early as the 11th Century and something like a mortgage also existed in the form of annuities, the "Morning Gift" given to a bride in Central Europe in that period was basically a type of reverse mortgage on some property typically.
    Yes I have also looked at local farming accounts from the medieval period Denmark (though I believe they were 14th century). It was a "self-owner" peasant borrowing money for calfs to levy-peasants for a profit returned when the cattle was sold in the fall (in Hamburg). I don't doubt the existence of banking, just the attainability for something like a sword. Any banker (either local magnate or city based merchant), would insist that a loan was directed at something "useful", which swords for lower class people wasn't.

    To help break in the new thread, I have a vague, not-exactly fighting-related, but relevant question. I've heard of a bunch of different names given to eras in history, but I'm not 100% sure when or sometimes even what those eras are. Can I get a quick primer on some common names for time periods? I know not everyone in the world calls the same bits of time the same thing, so names for eras from diverse locations would be especially helpful.

    I just want to be able to get my "bronze age", "Ming Dynasty", "Early Modern Era", and "before agriculture" straight.
    This is an impossible question. No one agrees on anything, and the dates vary between scholars and regions. "neolithic" is something like 9.000BC in the near east, but something like 4.000BC in Britain/Northern Europe. Some count the "medieval" period to go until roughly 1450, others (especially in northern Europe) use some dates in the early 16th century (the reformation). The Renaissance was "invendted in mid 14th century Italy, so that's another possibility. In Greece the "bronze age" starts roughly 3.000BC and ends 1.100BC, while in Scandinavia the bronze age is dated 1.800-500BC. Thus when the bronze age ends in Scandinavia the Iron age is 600 years old in Greece.

    This is one of the issues with "bronze is better than iron, and iron increased due to availability/price", since from 1100-500BC vast amounts of bronze travelled to Scandinavia from the Carpathians even though the wealthier Greece was closer at hand (Bronze swords are numerous in the period 1200-500BC in DK, so is bronze shavers, ornaments, axes etc).

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
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    Somewhere far north - no coast or glacier edge for at least a few hundred miles.
    Ok, that's not a glacier. That's an ice field. Look to the Antartic stations for information, try to dig up some Cold War stuff. The big question now is if the station is on ice that's on top of bedrock, or on an ice sheet over water.

    What you're looking at there is a cue ball world scenario with high winds and low temperatures. Decide how high the winds are and how low the temperatures are by figuring out how far north/south it is. Or you can decide the latitude by how nasty you want the weather to be.

    At that point you're just doing google searches for weather data and what Cold War stations looked like at the latitude you want. Add more huts and men with guns but short of high altitude air power you're pretty much looking at a complete infantry ops with supplies by air drop and snow cat, weather permitting.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    To help break in the new thread, I have a vague, not-exactly fighting-related, but relevant question. I've heard of a bunch of different names given to eras in history, but I'm not 100% sure when or sometimes even what those eras are. Can I get a quick primer on some common names for time periods? I know not everyone in the world calls the same bits of time the same thing, so names for eras from diverse locations would be especially helpful.

    I just want to be able to get my "bronze age", "Ming Dynasty", "Early Modern Era", and "before agriculture" straight.
    "Dynasty" at least, refers specifically to the years when a particular family was reigning over an empire or kingdom. The time of the "Ming Dynasty" therefore should not be in dispute by historians unless there was a lot of shenanigans with claims on the throne that historians can't decide who was in charge of the empire at some time.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    During WW1 Italians and Austrians in Alps made shelters by burrowing into the glaciers. I don't know much else about them, but I've seen some photos.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    During WW1 Italians and Austrians in Alps made shelters by burrowing into the glaciers. I don't know much else about them, but I've seen some photos.
    Somehting they don't do now, because of slight changes in technology over some 100 years?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Somehting they don't do now, because of slight changes in technology over some 100 years?
    Here's a video about one of the Italian "cities" built into a glacier. It's in Italian, but starting at about 1:30 they have a lot of photos of the interior.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJO2rWBfz4

    I don't seem to have much luck finding information in English about the practice, except this review of a fictional book --
    https://cmacauley.wordpress.com/cate...itary-history/

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    Again storms won't cut it. Any storm nasty enough to cut off airpower would also pretty much make ground transit to and from the base supremely difficult.
    I was under the impression that if the visibility was low enough (less than 75m), it could also ground aircraft as it wouldn't be safe for them to take off and land. That doesn't require a storm, just simple fog and/or low level cloud.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I was under the impression that if the visibility was low enough (less than 75m), it could also ground aircraft as it wouldn't be safe for them to take off and land. That doesn't require a storm, just simple fog and/or low level cloud.
    Like mentioned before, the crux is that we don't know the factions involved and the worth of the target.

    That's pretty much important because we tend to think and talk about the armies we know and that have high visibility in our societies and these tend to be "modern" armies with "modern" sensibilities on how to conduct war.
    Among other things, that means absurdely high equipment prices, the unability to conduct a total war or the unwillingness to conduct a war of attrition or engage in a meatgrinder situation.

    So, for example, that situation practically cries out for indiscrikinate high altitude carped bombing, something that modern armies not really engage in. (to my knowledge)

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