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  1. - Top - End - #1411
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Aren't warrant officers between enlisted and commissioned officers, and typically technical experts of some kind?

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

    Yes. Ish.

    While warrant officers are between the two and have technical specialties, those specialties are often comparatively narrow compared to what a typical audience might think of as a technical specialist.

    The guy who manages the computer program that accounts for where everybodyís property is and is the master of property accountability rules, procedures, and regulatory requirements, yet retains no inherent authority in the command structure other than that which is provided to him, thatís a warrant. A civil engineer who specializes in on base construction and has no inherent command authority is none the less an officer.

    Or you could have a warrant who has a leading role in the ever expanding complexity of the procedures and computer issues for integrating long range fires, but has very limited authority in comparison to his officer equivalent who probably doesnít know the hardware or technical side as well but hopefully understands deep battle better.

    In contrast, it is entirely possible to have a warrant officer be a flight lead for attack helicopters with a role in the chain of command, and an officer to do the same.

    So...very Ish.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    A civil engineer who specializes in on base construction and has no inherent command authority is none the less an officer.
    Unless he's a civilian working for the military, in which case he will still be in the officer pay scale locked to a specific rank as if he had it, but he will not have any command authority or an actual official rank. As a civilian he probably doesn't even salute or use other "you have to be a cool military person to do this" customs.

    Granted, that would be a bit of a weird position for an on base civil engineer. But for IT specialists and such, people who might never need to operate from inside an active warzone but who are nontheless vital to the military's operation, it's certainly not an uncommon construction these days.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Aren't warrant officers between enlisted and commissioned officers, and typically technical experts of some kind?
    I think this one depends on the country. In the UK Warrant Officers are very senior NCOs (and thus enlisted men) - they form the top two ranks of the NCO hierarchy and tend to be very skilled at whatever their particular job is and also excellent leaders.
    I have worked with a few and they were all very competent people and someone to look up to.

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

    Ah L2E, youíve hit upon one of the hot topics of modern law of war quibbling there.

    But for the sake of uniformed military only, the engineer in question would be an officer. The fact that his civilian counterpart might be providing the same service to the military, at a military location, under the same final boss, and even be retired military continuing in a job he was performing in uniform a week ago...well, hence the debate over at what point are you allowed to kill a ďcivilianĒ or ďcontractorĒ whoís purpose is fundamentally military in nature.

  6. - Top - End - #1416
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Ah L2E, youíve hit upon one of the hot topics of modern law of war quibbling there.

    But for the sake of uniformed military only, the engineer in question would be an officer. The fact that his civilian counterpart might be providing the same service to the military, at a military location, under the same final boss, and even be retired military continuing in a job he was performing in uniform a week ago...well, hence the debate over at what point are you allowed to kill a ďcivilianĒ or ďcontractorĒ whoís purpose is fundamentally military in nature.
    Considering how most countries consider civilian infrastructure to be an acceptable target so long as it has military value, I don't think anyone has much of a leg to stand on if they decided to make a fuss about civilian contractors being exposed to enemy fire. The immediate response would probably be "well why did you put them right next to acceptable targets, then?"
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Well, given LOAC is actually a hash of various conventions, standards, IHL, and domestic codes, it actually does become a question...with all the usual caveats about international law, and law during wartime in general. If you were to flip through the congressional LOAC deskbook, you would find an absolute muddle telling you that the initial '49 Geneva Conventions never strictly defined who receives article 4 protection as a civilian, that the 1979 AP I does define civilian but the US disagrees with it and acknowledges the potential for unprivileged combatants and deviations form those definitions, and that not really enshrined in law but by US internal executive regulation contractors may be exposed/targeted by incidental action but are not supposed to be inherently governmental in nature, which is what preserves their GC IV status as a civilian...but at the same time the US definition of inherently governmental isn't everyone else's. And at some point if you're believed to have exceeded that mandate, you get declared an unlawful combatant.

    But that same logic lets any state decide that a civilian anywhere on the spectrum is an unlawful combatant if they are supporting the war. Which is of course mostly nebulous and really only defined by who's court you're in.

  8. - Top - End - #1418
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    So I've been brainstorming so setting ides for a story recently (Apocalyptic Gothic Fantasy if you're curious) and I was thinking about the guns in the story. Now, for a rough (and I mean very rough) analogue on tech level it'd be in somewhere around the early 1600s so firmly in the Pike and Shot era with the common guns being primitive flintlocks with wheellocks still hanging around and old matchlocks still in use.

    Now, the singular exception to this is the Dwarves who have made a Feguson breechloader rifle (and yes, they do have their's be rifled) and so far they are the only ones who have this technology. And to make it all more complicated (because why not, it's fun) I was thinking that the rifling of the gun was done in the style of the Whitworth rifle just to make it that much harder to replicate.

    Now, the really simple question is, how much of an advantage does this lend the dwarves? The rifles are rather expensive, but they are also really good, which fits general dwarven demeanor on equipment. However, logistics would be a big deal as they can shoot a lot more and thus use more ammo.

    Basically, how big of an advantage is this really?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Basically, how big of an advantage is this really?
    During the Napoleonic Wars (so better technology than most, but not as good as the dwarves) the main considerations for Wellington (potentially the best general and certainly the one who eventually won) when training troops were:

    1. Rate of Fire
    2. Rate of Fire
    3. Rate of Fire

    With early muskets the gunner doesn't really aim the gun - they point it in approximately the right direction and fire it.
    With the fergusson rifles the shooter has the option of aiming.
    When you factor in the fact that officers were usualy quite distictively dressed and this gives the dwarves the ability to render most armies sent against them into leaderless mobs.
    (This was one of the roles of skirmishers during the Napoleonic wars.)

    So, I would say that this would give the dwaves a huge advantage.

  10. - Top - End - #1420
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    So I've been brainstorming so setting ides for a story recently (Apocalyptic Gothic Fantasy if you're curious) and I was thinking about the guns in the story. Now, for a rough (and I mean very rough) analogue on tech level it'd be in somewhere around the early 1600s so firmly in the Pike and Shot era with the common guns being primitive flintlocks with wheellocks still hanging around and old matchlocks still in use.

    Now, the singular exception to this is the Dwarves who have made a Feguson breechloader rifle (and yes, they do have their's be rifled) and so far they are the only ones who have this technology. And to make it all more complicated (because why not, it's fun) I was thinking that the rifling of the gun was done in the style of the Whitworth rifle just to make it that much harder to replicate.

    Now, the really simple question is, how much of an advantage does this lend the dwarves? The rifles are rather expensive, but they are also really good, which fits general dwarven demeanor on equipment. However, logistics would be a big deal as they can shoot a lot more and thus use more ammo.

    Basically, how big of an advantage is this really?
    Firstly whitworth rifling requires cutting edge late 19th century technology, which puts it some 250 years ahead of your setting. ItĒs the equivalent of putting an L96 sniper rifle into a Napoleonic setting. The degree of accuracy and the complexity of manufacture is beyond the technology of the time.


    As for how big an advantage?
    - Well for the first half dozen or so shots itís an advantage, then black powder fouling will kick in. The weapon will need to be thoroughly cleaned to be accurate again. Whitworth riffling was rejected for British service because of excessive fouling compared to the Enfield rifle.
    - Sniper rifles are issued to snipers, not issued en masse for a reason. Most soldiers arenít good enough shots for it to be worthwhile. Over about 100 meters or so most of the shots fired will be going over or dropping short of the target.
    - the cost of production and time of production will be exponentially higher than their opponents. The Fergusson rifle was 4 times the cost of a Brown Bess and were only able to be produced at 1/30th of the rate of Brown Bess because only a select few gunsmiths had the skills tp make it. The Whitworth rifle was something like 5 times the price of competing muskets. Youíre looking at a weapon that will cost at least 20 times per unit and can be manufactured, at best, at 1/50th of the speed.
    - Field maintenance. The Girondi air rifle, which is probably the best analogy for what you are trying to achieve, was dropped from Austrian service because it was too complex to keep working in the field. Even then the Girondi was only issued to the best shots of Jaeger units, in other words the most competent weapon handlers in the entire army.

    Edit to add-
    Itís the equivalent of Tiger Tank Syndrome.
    IF you can make one, and
    IF you can get it the battlefield, and
    IF you can find a good crew, and
    IF you can fuel and arm it, and
    IF it works on the day you need it
    THEN you have a war winning weapon.
    Last edited by Pauly; 2020-09-20 at 03:52 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #1421
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Firstly whitworth rifling requires cutting edge late 19th century technology, which puts it some 250 years ahead of your setting. ItĒs the equivalent of putting an L96 sniper rifle into a Napoleonic setting. The degree of accuracy and the complexity of manufacture is beyond the technology of the time.


    As for how big an advantage?
    - Well for the first half dozen or so shots itís an advantage, then black powder fouling will kick in. The weapon will need to be thoroughly cleaned to be accurate again. Whitworth riffling was rejected for British service because of excessive fouling compared to the Enfield rifle.
    - Sniper rifles are issued to snipers, not issued en masse for a reason. Most soldiers arenít good enough shots for it to be worthwhile. Over about 100 meters or so most of the shots fired will be going over or dropping short of the target.
    - the cost of production and time of production will be exponentially higher than their opponents. The Fergusson rifle was 4 times the cost of a Brown Bess and were only able to be produced at 1/30th of the rate of Brown Bess because only a select few gunsmiths had the skills tp make it. The Whitworth rifle was something like 5 times the price of competing muskets. Youíre looking at a weapon that will cost at least 20 times per unit and can be manufactured, at best, at 1/50th of the speed.
    - Field maintenance. The Girondi air rifle, which is probably the best analogy for what you are trying to achieve, was dropped from Austrian service because it was too complex to keep working in the field. Even then the Girondi was only issued to the best shots of Jaeger units, in other words the most competent weapon handlers in the entire army.

    Edit to add-
    Itís the equivalent of Tiger Tank Syndrome.
    IF you can make one, and
    IF you can get it the battlefield, and
    IF you can find a good crew, and
    IF you can fuel and arm it, and
    IF it works on the day you need it
    THEN you have a war winning weapon.
    Ah, I was under the impression that the Whitworth rifle was more of just a new application of an old idea, that seems to be incorrect upon further investigation, so that part will get dropped.

    As for the individual cost, yes this is true, but Dwarves are frequently lower on numbers so wouldn't it make more sense for them to go with something like the Ferguson in order to maximize their limited troops?
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  12. - Top - End - #1422
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Ah, I was under the impression that the Whitworth rifle was more of just a new application of an old idea, that seems to be incorrect upon further investigation, so that part will get dropped.

    As for the individual cost, yes this is true, but Dwarves are frequently lower on numbers so wouldn't it make more sense for them to go with something like the Ferguson in order to maximize their limited troops?
    The Ferguson has the advantage of higher rate of fire, greater accuracy and therefore effective range, and the ability to reload from a prone position, so better able to take advantage of cover.

    For skirmishers and light infantry, it's a far better weapon. Even as a general issue rifle it has advantages in that you can use slow fire at greater range, or quick fire if things get close. The fouling is less of an issue because 18th century armies seldom fought extended musketry duels. It was usually a few volleys and a charge with the bayonet. In that kind of situation, six rounds of accurate rapid fire would be a game changer.

    The biggest downside is cost. But for a small army of a technical race, I say they make a lot of sense
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Ah, I was under the impression that the Whitworth rifle was more of just a new application of an old idea, that seems to be incorrect upon further investigation, so that part will get dropped.

    As for the individual cost, yes this is true, but Dwarves are frequently lower on numbers so wouldn't it make more sense for them to go with something like the Ferguson in order to maximize their limited troops?
    The Whitworth wasnít a new idea per se. Itís just that the ability to manufacture it at the required degree of precision required huge leaps in manufacturing and machining technology. No one has replicated it in the years since basically because the extra benefits it provides doesnít justify the extra time and effort to manufacture the guns and ammunition

    Going back to breechloaders. Itís good for specialists, but the problem with black powder fouling doesnít go away. Once the users have fired more than 5 or 6 shots fouling causes problems. A smoothbore breechloader will give you the increase in rate of fire, with much less problems with fouling. So Iíd only keep the rifled versions for specialist sharpshooters, but keep smoothbores for sustained battlefield fire.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    The Whitworth wasnít a new idea per se. Itís just that the ability to manufacture it at the required degree of precision required huge leaps in manufacturing and machining technology. No one has replicated it in the years since basically because the extra benefits it provides doesnít justify the extra time and effort to manufacture the guns and ammunition

    Going back to breechloaders. Itís good for specialists, but the problem with black powder fouling doesnít go away. Once the users have fired more than 5 or 6 shots fouling causes problems. A smoothbore breechloader will give you the increase in rate of fire, with much less problems with fouling. So Iíd only keep the rifled versions for specialist sharpshooters, but keep smoothbores for sustained battlefield fire.
    Couldn't the powder fouling be mitigated by using the US Cleaner Bullet? (I know that isn't it's real name I just can't recall what it's actually called) It's the bullet that spreads out to more fully fill the barrel and contains the fouling to the bottommost part of the gun, or would that not work well in a breechloader or is it to complex for the period?
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  15. - Top - End - #1425
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Couldn't the powder fouling be mitigated by using the US Cleaner Bullet? (I know that isn't it's real name I just can't recall what it's actually called) It's the bullet that spreads out to more fully fill the barrel and contains the fouling to the bottommost part of the gun, or would that not work well in a breechloader or is it to complex for the period?
    The Williams bullet was a Minie Ball bullet (NB called a cleaner bullet because it wasíít as dirty as the old type, not because it cleaned the gun https://youtu.be/wUhAxfeTrUk).

    Again the problem is that it is something developed in the mid 1800s Itís a really big technological step to go from a spherical projectile to a conical shaped projectile with a hollow base. Itís not intuitive and needs a really good understanding of the sciences involved.

    Think of it this way. The standard firearm in your world is a muzzle loaded smoothbore, and the flintlock is the brand new bleeding edge technology. Giving dwarves access to reliable breech loading riifles with cleaner bullets is 3 generations of technological improvements over their foesí best technology. Itís the difference between a Kar 98-K and an AR-15.

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    Also give some thought to why the dwarves would selectively have this one mid 19th century rifle. There are a lot of gun based innovations that come into wide use around 1850. Revolvers, percussion caps, cartridges inserted as a whole, metallic cartridges, functional breech loading, bolt-action (rifles), high explosives, miniť balls, boxlock (shotguns), all examples from between roughly 1808 and 1875 (or so, I took the dates from a small list I made years back). If you walk into a modern day American gun store and remove all of the automatic and semi-automatic weapons what you have left looks a lot like what armies had available during the second half of the 1800's. I think you will agree with me that if the dwarves get all of that you've got a pretty asymmetrical situation. The other armies just can't compete in gunfire. I won't go as far to say they get slaughtered anytime they get close, but they definitely can't have their men charge straight up to them and expect them to have much of a fight left when they get there. It's "this is not quite World War One" levels of bad (due to the lack of machine guns and airplanes, though the artillery is decent enough that you might not notice that difference right away). The British Zulu wars might be another decent point of comparison. There's just only so much that numbers, morale, terrain knowledge and being friggin awesome can do when you for one reason or another are using weapons that far behind on the other side's curve.

    With one specifically selected specialist weapon type, sure, I think you can make the setting work. It has enough drawbacks. If you allow revolvers the dwarves get lots and lots of shots off at close range but both engaging them from afar and charging with heavily armored troops can do relatively well. With good sniper rifles keeping your distance is suicide, but if the cavalry can distract the dwarven formation long enough or if you can tempt them into fighting in an area with lots of obstructions and line of sight breaks you might be able to get your numerically superior infantry close. But then the question becomes: why only that weapon? How has the rest of their military gear not benefited from the same kinds of technologies? If you have proper modern cartridges and breech loading, how hard could it be to make shotguns and pistols and accurate artillery? It may not matter to your setting, because the setting is supposed to be a nice setting first and serious about being completely consistent second, but it is going to come up.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2020-09-21 at 04:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    The Williams bullet was a Minie Ball bullet (NB called a cleaner bullet because it wasíít as dirty as the old type, not because it cleaned the gun https://youtu.be/wUhAxfeTrUk).

    Again the problem is that it is something developed in the mid 1800s Itís a really big technological step to go from a spherical projectile to a conical shaped projectile with a hollow base. Itís not intuitive and needs a really good understanding of the sciences involved.

    Think of it this way. The standard firearm in your world is a muzzle loaded smoothbore, and the flintlock is the brand new bleeding edge technology. Giving dwarves access to reliable breech loading riifles with cleaner bullets is 3 generations of technological improvements over their foesí best technology. Itís the difference between a Kar 98-K and an AR-15.
    Had a feeling it would be something like that. It seems so simple from where I'm sitting, but from where I'm sitting I have a magical box that lets me talk to people, so I like to bounce stuff back and forth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    Also give some thought to why the dwarves would selectively have this one mid 19th century rifle. There are a lot of gun based innovations that come into wide use around 1850. Revolvers, percussion caps, cartridges inserted as a whole, metallic cartridges, functional breech loading, bolt-action (rifles), high explosives, miniť balls, boxlock (shotguns), all examples from between roughly 1808 and 1875 (or so, I took the dates from a small list I made years back). If you walk into a modern day American gun store and remove all of the automatic and semi-automatic weapons what you have left looks a lot like what armies had available during the second half of the 1800's. I think you will agree with me that if the dwarves get all of that you've got a pretty asymmetrical situation. The other armies just can't compete in gunfire. I won't go as far to say they get slaughtered anytime they get close, but they definitely can't have their men charge straight up to them and expect them to have much of a fight left when they get there. It's "this is not quite World War One" levels of bad (due to the lack of machine guns and airplanes, though the artillery is decent enough that you might not notice that difference right away). The British Zulu wars might be another decent point of comparison. There's just only so much that numbers, morale, terrain knowledge and being friggin awesome can do when you for one reason or another are using weapons that far behind on the other side's curve.

    With one specifically selected specialist weapon type, sure, I think you can make the setting work. It has enough drawbacks. If you allow revolvers the dwarves get lots and lots of shots off at close range but both engaging them from afar and charging with heavily armored troops can do relatively well. With good sniper rifles keeping your distance is suicide, but if the cavalry can distract the dwarven formation long enough or if you can tempt them into fighting in an area with lots of obstructions and line of sight breaks you might be able to get your numerically superior infantry close. But then the question becomes: why only that weapon? How has the rest of their military gear not benefited from the same kinds of technologies? If you have proper modern cartridges and breech loading, how hard could it be to make shotguns and pistols and accurate artillery? It may not matter to your setting, because the setting is supposed to be a nice setting first and serious about being completely consistent second, but it is going to come up.
    The Fergusson rifle is a mid 18th century invention and I picked it because it's a breechloader that requires you to make a rather unique screw to make it operate and I rather like it as a gun. I didn't feel like it was too much of a technological jump from other flintlocks (as it's still a flintlock it just has a unique loading mechanism) I just wound up wanting to put too much into it
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    The Fergusson rifle is a mid 18th century invention and I picked it because it's a breechloader that requires you to make a rather unique screw to make it operate and I rather like it as a gun. I didn't feel like it was too much of a technological jump from other flintlocks (as it's still a flintlock it just has a unique loading mechanism) I just wound up wanting to put too much into it
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Esrly musketry, where medieval absolutemess of an organization meets early modern mass production. Fun times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    common guns being primitive flintlocks with wheellocks still hanging around and old matchlocks still in use
    Wheellocks are not something that is still hanging around, they are objectively better lock for a firearm than anything until you get to percussion locks. Their problem is, however, quite massive - they have so many fine gears in them. So many. So small. That, for a period before mechanized manufacture, before you can make a series of machines that use hand/steam/electric power to machine a cog to within few fractions of a millimeter precission, means only one thing.

    All wheellocks are custom, hand-crafted pieces of intricate machinery, in a world where you may need to parry a halberd or a greatsword with them. THey will break, and once they do, it doesn't take much for them to break so badly you need to deliver them to an experienced craftsman to fix.

    This is why anyone who doesn't have to use them doesn't in war. They are fairly popular for aristocratic hunts, and you see them in use for cavalry, where mucking around with powder ppoured into a pan is a really bad disadvantage, but there is no widespread use. Even rich dwarves would avoid them because of durability use.

    That said, they give you superior firepower, weather resistance and utility. The costs and drawbacks are just too great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    With early muskets the gunner doesn't really aim the gun - they point it in approximately the right direction and fire it.
    Not entirely. The issue is that with line infantry, you need that rate of fire you mention, so you take bullets that are slightly under barrell diameter, just so they can be reloaded quickly. With hunting muskets, you load bullets that are exaclty barrell diameter, and are sometimes hexagonal, or have other features that slow down rate of fire, but increase accuracy.

    While your line infantry won't be armed with those, skirmishers likely will, especially since they are called Hunters in several languages, e.g. German Jaegers. Hunters are what is usually recruited into them, since they already have good marksmanship. The first unit of these was created in about 1631, so they do fall into our period.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    As for the individual cost, yes this is true, but Dwarves are frequently lower on numbers so wouldn't it make more sense for them to go with something like the Ferguson in order to maximize their limited troops?
    That is a very complicated question. In theory, best equipment is what you want everyone to have, no matter the army size. Problem is, that costs a lot, and best isn't always clear cut - the greatest rifle in te world won't do you much good if it breaks regularly in field conditions, and you often can't train your soldiers for as long as you'd like for a host of reasons.

    Medieval elites had the best possible equipment because they were 1) realtively rich and 2) obligated to fight no matter what. If you have a wealthy lord who knows he needs to serve in battle, he will not only outfit himself, he will invest into gear of his personal troops that will be with him. This works because medieval farms mean that only about 1/20 of total population can be in military service, and medieval logistics mean you can only field an army of about 30 000. Terms and conditions may apply, this is another complicated topic.

    So. If your dwarves have Napoleonic tech, that means farm and rail and road systems of that era, and they can afford to field armies that are Napoleonic in terms of how many percent of their population is fighting. However, that also means that barring fantasy elements (e.g. unreasonable amounts of cash from mithril/dragon hoards), they can't afford to equip everyone with the best stuff, because that army is simply too large a portion of their population, and their economy can't quite handle it.

    If you have dwarves still on medieval army system with Napoleonic era tech, they yeah, they can absolutely afford to arm their army with top of the line stuff - after it gets tested for reliability. In this case, a question of why don't they employ more of their population as troops in times of war comes into play, and you should answer it somehow. One plausible way is that they use their wealth to buy mercenaries to act as bulk of their forces, and have only a few true dwarven regiments.
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    In terms of best use, assuming that this isnít something the dwarves can mass manufacture and outfit legions with, youíve got a few options.

    1. Donít bother. How many work hours and materials go into each gun? If you instead invested those resources into other weapons, would you get more use? If not, youíll probably want to go with this one.

    2. Make some compromises. If your theoretical Ferguson rifle is too expensive, or fouls too easily, take some shortcuts. Use smoothbore barrels instead of rifled, or issue lots of undersized musket balls that your troops can still load once the rifle gets gunked up.

    3. Take your super weapons and isolate them to people and units that can make best use of them. Get your best shots and ensure that they can get to good firing positions protected by your other troops. With Ferguson rifles and the tactics of the time, theyíll work wonders in the initial stages of the battle, striking at priority targets from a safe distance, messing with the enemy by hurting them while they canít fight back effectvely, and potentially baiting the enemy into making bad moves. Then withdraw them before their guns foul too much and the enemy bumrushes them.
    Last edited by AdAstra; 2020-09-21 at 10:21 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post

    Wheellocks are not something that is still hanging around, they are objectively better lock for a firearm than anything until you get to percussion locks. Their problem is, however, quite massive - they have so many fine gears in them. So many. So small. That, for a period before mechanized manufacture, before you can make a series of machines that use hand/steam/electric power to machine a cog to within few fractions of a millimeter precission, means only one thing.

    All wheellocks are custom, hand-crafted pieces of intricate machinery, in a world where you may need to parry a halberd or a greatsword with them. THey will break, and once they do, it doesn't take much for them to break so badly you need to deliver them to an experienced craftsman to fix.

    This is why anyone who doesn't have to use them doesn't in war. They are fairly popular for aristocratic hunts, and you see them in use for cavalry, where mucking around with powder ppoured into a pan is a really bad disadvantage, but there is no widespread use. Even rich dwarves would avoid them because of durability use.
    This isn't accurate. Wheellock, snaplock, and flintlock are all just methods of throwing a spark into a pan of fine powder to set off the gun. Tje wheellock was the first such system, and had huge advantages over the matchlock. The kater snaplocks and flintlocks had almost every advantage the wheellock had, but were simpler and more robust.

    The modern analogy would be exposed hammers versus an internal striker for a combat pistol.





    On the original question, the issue is that the Fergusson system genuinely requires a great deal of precision manufacture (the Hall system would be a bit better). This is not fundamentally out of place for Dwarves, but the ability to do it would have implications about what else they can do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    This isn't accurate. Wheellock, snaplock, and flintlock are all just methods of throwing a spark into a pan of fine powder to set off the gun. Tje wheellock was the first such system, and had huge advantages over the matchlock. The kater snaplocks and flintlocks had almost every advantage the wheellock had, but were simpler and more robust.

    The modern analogy would be exposed hammers versus an internal striker for a combat pistol.
    I'm under the same impression Martin Greywolf is -- that wheellocks were superior in every way that was not "simplicity, durability, maintainability, and cost". For starters, the pan can be kept entirely shut for however long is needed, the powder thus kept dry in more weather conditions, and there's much less release of spark and smoke from the firing mechanism into the face of the user. A wheellock could be carried fully ready to fire for some time, and fired from a greater range of positions and angles without misfiring.
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    The automatic pan opening was the onky real advantage, and of limited use. It only had one shot (like all such systems), and slowed reloading. So you had a marginally faster first shot, but every later shot was slower. A flintlock with a covered pan took sligtly longer to fire the first time, but could be rapidly fired after.

    The "wider variety of angles" is wrong. A flintlock had to be vertical to get the sparks to hit, but the wheellock had to be held at an angle for the sparks to make it into the main charge reliably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    This isn't accurate. Wheellock, snaplock, and flintlock are all just methods of throwing a spark into a pan of fine powder to set off the gun.
    Yeah, and any musket is just a device to make lead go fast. Statement like this adds nothing of value to any discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The kater snaplocks and flintlocks had almost every advantage the wheellock had, but were simpler and more robust.
    That's... not correct. I don't know what to tell you, honestly. We could talk about the very early flintlocks, and how snaplock is a subcategory of those, where the idea was to replace burning match with something that wouldn't explode a barrel of powder if you dropped it, but let's say we're talking only about locks with a frizzen - the actual part that stops powder from falling out.

    The main issue a frizzen has is that the very action of firing the gun opens it up, and there's nothing stopping the powder to fall out. This is not a problem if you are firing horizontally or in close angles, but once your angles get more extreme, the powder can fall out of the pan before the fire reaches the barrell. If all your things are set up properly, stone is positioned just so and the angles are all correct, that may not happen, but the lock isn't reliable.

    Second problem is that your striking surfaces are exposed, and if the lock gets rained on, it probably won't fire - this was enough of an issue that cow's knee, a cover for the lock, was standard issue for militaries.

    Wheellock doesn't have any of those problems, except when it does. Thing is, are we talking about this:

    Spoiler: Metropolitan Museum wheellock
    Show


    or are we talking about this:

    Spoiler: Royal Armouries
    Show



    Because that second one has its firing pan enclosed when it's cocked - fire it uspide down, fire it in the rain, it doesn't care. As the first image shows, people didn't always bother to put that cover on wheellocks, but the point is that you can easily modify that wheellock to have it, all it takes is more precision in manufacture. If you want/need it, you can have it. Flintlocks, not so much.

    As for speed of ingition, that's not much of a factor, both locks fire at about the same time, wheellock just doesn't first go off next to your face, so it's easier not to flinch. That can be trained out of people easily - enough so that Jaegers wouldn't flinch at that point, and line infantry doesn't care about accuracy that much in the first place.

    And in the end, all of that is still not worth the increased cost, mechanical complexity and fragility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    This isn't accurate. Wheellock, snaplock, and flintlock are all just methods of throwing a spark into a pan of fine powder to set off the gun. Tje wheellock was the first such system, and had huge advantages over the matchlock. The kater snaplocks and flintlocks had almost every advantage the wheellock had, but were simpler and more robust.
    There's arguments on both sides of this. Wheellocks absolutely were mass produced. But a mass produced wheellock would not last as long as a custom one. They were, however, the fastest ignition system until percussion weapons were developed. And I believe there were special ones designed that could be fired under water. But their expense (even a poorly made, mass produced wheellock was expensive) and their complexity, means that flintlocks eventually pushed them out.

    I know somebody who had a flintlock musket, and he had a gunsmith carefully tune the lock. With a good flint, he could fire it upside down (note: this was a military musket). Now, I'm not saying that it was typical, but it was probably cheaper to tune a flintlock to fire upside down, than to buy a wheellock. However, how often are you firing your gun while holding it upside down? (Are you part of some sort of equestrian acrobatic troop that specializes in crazy trick shots?) All these ignition types suffer during loading and priming in rough conditions (like riding a trotting horse, or on a bouncing carriage).

    In the general sense, the wheellock's advantages, weren't justified by the expense and complications that it involved. But they did have those advantages, and maybe in very specialized situations they would come into play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    The Fergusson rifle is a mid 18th century invention and I picked it because it's a breechloader that requires you to make a rather unique screw to make it operate and I rather like it as a gun. I didn't feel like it was too much of a technological jump from other flintlocks (as it's still a flintlock it just has a unique loading mechanism) I just wound up wanting to put too much into it
    A couple of points.
    1) Technology advances always seems obvious when you look back in hindsight and know what works.
    2) The ideas behind the Fergusson and Whitworth rifles werenít new ideas. What was new was the manufacturing technology that enabled them to be manufactured at the degree of precision needed to make them viable.
    3) Both the Fergusson and Whitworth rifles (and Iíll throw in the Girondi air rifle as well) were either not adopted for full use or dropped from use because of the slow expensive production and the poor field reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    On the original question, the issue is that the Fergusson system genuinely requires a great deal of precision manufacture (the Hall system would be a bit better). This is not fundamentally out of place for Dwarves, but the ability to do it would have implications about what else they can do.
    But the Fergusson does make a better gas seal than a Hall rifle . . . which didn't really even bother. The poor gas seal of the Hall rifles/carbines did lower their effective range.

    Concerning fouling:

    Gunpowder fouling of the barrel is not that big of an issue with a breechloader -- the ball can be made (and should be made) a little larger than the caliber of the barrel. It will be squeezed down to size when fired, ensuring a tight fight with the rifling, and scraping the gunpowder residue from the previous shot out of the barrel. This can result in "lead" fouling though.

    However, the bigger concern with a Ferguson breechloader is the gunpowder residue fouling the screw breech. I'm going off of memory, and I'm not entirely sure about what I'm about to say, so bear with me. I know people who either have reproductions of Ferguson's or they know people who have them. Apparently, when the first reproductions were made, they got some things wrong about the threading of the breech, and they fouled easily. Later this mistake was corrected, and the threading was more similar to the originals, they found that the threads tended to push the fouling out of the way (or something to the effect that the fouling wasn't as serious an issue). As people were reluctant to fire originals, our knowledge of how they operated was informed by the reproductions. However, I'm going off memory, so I could be wrong about that. Generally speaking, fouling of the breech mechanism is a potential issue with breechloaders.

    Also I think that rifled breechloaders existed in the 1500s. So the technology to make one, certainly existed at the time. Whether or not it was reliable, sufficiently robust, and capable of sustained firing to make a good military weapon, is a separate question.

    Rifled Breechloaders in combat:

    What advantages would these weapons have, when most everyone else is equipped with a smoothbore muzzleloader? I recently saw a lecture by an American Civil War historian about tactics used during the war. He spent a considerable amount of time talking about the "Old rifle-musket theory." This is the claim that rifle-muskets marked a revolutionary change in tactics: 1. Soldiers fought at longer ranges, 2. Artillery was subsequently pushed further back, 3. because old mass tactics were still in use, casualties were proportionally higher than in previous wars.

    This theory held sway until the 1980s when it was challenged. And gradually more and more historians are rejecting the theory. The studies begun in the 1980s actually tried to verify the claims of the old "rifle-musket theory," by compiling descriptions of battles, and looking at casualties, etc. They found that: 1. The soldiers fought at the same ranges as they had done with smoothbore muskets, 2. Artillery had rarely been used at close ranges in earlier wars, and 3. Casualties as a percentage of soldiers in engaged were just as high in older wars.

    This actually makes sense to me. Rifle-muskets were introduced as a general infantry weapon, but the general infantry were not trained to use them. Many infantry in the civil war practiced by going through the motions of loading and firing, but rarely actually fired their weapons outside of combat. If I remember correctly, most probably fired their muskets once or twice, some fired their muskets for the first time only in combat. Some soldiers during the war even concluded a smoothbore was better:

    "It is now thought that the musket with buck and ball is after all the best arm in the service." -- Colonel Robert McAllister, 11th New Jersey Vol. Inf. Regt., 1862

    Certain elite units did receive extra training, and some soldiers would have had civilian experience or natural talent. But the evidence suggests that this did not dramatically change the outcome of the combat.

    ---Sorry, that's a very long way of saying, the rifling really only makes a difference if your soldiers are trained to use it! They would probably be more focused on skirmish tactics, although they should be trained in both.

    The increased rate of fire of breechloaders is a different story, however, which clearly had an effect on tactics.
    Last edited by fusilier; 2020-09-21 at 08:34 PM. Reason: fixing typo

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

    here's some neat 1680s tech:



    Regarding snaphaunces, flintlocks, miquelet locks, scandinavian snaplocks, etc. keep in mind that these are generally victorian/modern collector categories based on the design of the lock mechanism and really have little to do with their quality or how they function. Period sources seem to consider them more or less the same thing with the only real difference being that up to some point in the early 1600s it would be more likely to refer to any flint-striking firearm as a "snaphaunce" (even long after "actual" snaphances had widely fallen out of use) and that then by the later 1600s it instead became more common to call them "flint-locks."

    Secondly remember that we aren't talking about uniform factory parts here so much as tons of individual gunsmiths throughout europe and elsewhere each making individual gunlocks for different guns and different customers. The expense, quality, durability, reliability, etc. depends far more on the skill, experience, and familiarity with getting the temper of springs and other parts just right than anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    here's some neat 1680s tech:
    Okay, that Ūs cool.

    It looks like one of those things that if it had worked just a little better could have become a major change in history.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post

    or are we talking about this:

    Spoiler: Royal Armouries
    Show



    Because that second one has its firing pan enclosed when it's cocked - fire it uspide down, fire it in the rain, it doesn't care. As the first image shows, people didn't always bother to put that cover on wheellocks, but the point is that you can easily modify that wheellock to have it, all it takes is more precision in manufacture. If you want/need it, you can have it. Flintlocks, not so much.

    As for speed of ingition, that's not much of a factor, both locks fire at about the same time, wheellock just doesn't first go off next to your face, so it's easier not to flinch. That can be trained out of people easily - enough so that Jaegers wouldn't flinch at that point, and line infantry doesn't care about accuracy that much in the first place.

    And in the end, all of that is still not worth the increased cost, mechanical complexity and fragility.
    That second one is what I picture when someone says "wheellock" -- an enclosed mechanism that doesn't flip the pan open at all in its sequence, allowing the firearm to be carried loaded and ready, with no concern for the powder falling out or getting wet as long as you're kinda careful.
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