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    Default Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Real World Weapon, Armour and Tactics Thread XXIX


    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 and tactics). 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.
    • A few additional comments following the premature demise of thread XXVI: Words from Roland St. Jude.

    With that done, have at and enjoy yourselves!


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

    Previously in this thread: discussion of muskets, rifles, rifle-muskets and the transitional period thereof.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    The examples in question are illustrative of trends, not proof entire. And just as individual examples may be misleading, so too can any number of mathematical arguments.
    Yes. But, the only studies to actually look at and analyze large numbers of battles in a systematic way, did not find those trends. That's the strength of Griffith's et al's argument. It's not based upon reasoning from a series of assumptions, it's based upon reasoning from the battlefield evidence. Is that potentially flawed? -- of course, but I'm not aware of any other theories that have been able to work from the evidence and come to radically different conclusions for the actual battlefield effectiveness.

    3. Artillery is drawn substantially further back, even when using the same cannon as you’d find in Napoleonics.
    What is the evidence for this? Is this based upon actual battlefield reports, or an assumption about the increased range of rifle-muskets? (I'm not trying to pick on you, I know these theories don't originate with you). There were cases in the Civil War where artillery was rushed forward to decisively fill a gap, while at Waterloo the French artillery bombarded the allied lines at long range. Theory may have stated that artillery should be sent forward to support the infantry and cavalry -- but how often did it happen in practice? Did Civil War commanders fail to live up to the theory more than their predecessors? [Griffith and Hess say no they didn't]

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

    I can't remember the details, but I know I've read several accounts of officers detailing picked men to push forward a bit and harass enemy artillery with accurate rifle fire. Which could easily lead to the guns being pulled further back.


    That said, the assertion that the cannon of the ACW were fundamentally the same as those used by Napoleon is correct - if you are talking about Napoleon III. They were far, far more capable than those used by Bonaparte.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    I can't remember the details, but I know I've read several accounts of officers detailing picked men to push forward a bit and harass enemy artillery with accurate rifle fire. Which could easily lead to the guns being pulled further back.
    I've read accounts from the Napoleonic Wars of the same thing, although with smoothbore muskets (some of them at surprisingly long ranges). Skirmishers can absolutely harass artillery, but they can be driven off by cavalry or other infantry. That's why the theory states you should support your artillery. Again, theory and practice aren't always the same.

    I don't know if my point is being lost. Griffith's and Hess's works are based on looking at the battle reports of many battles, and seeing if they confirm or dispute claims made about the effect of rifle-muskets on battle tactics. Griffith started it, and others who have tried to add more datapoints, found those datapoints only reinforced Griffith's position. I can't remember whether or not they provide alternate theories. For example the terrain of American Civil War battlefields is often listed as a reason why they didn't use the same tactics as Europeans, although I'm not entirely convinced of that.

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

    Well I have an easy explination for why cavalry was used the way it was in the ACW. Because most American Commanders considered the European Lancer (they aren't real lancers but I'm not gonna keep saying Charge with Sabers Drawn) was kinda dumb. And it made a lot of sense from where they were sitting.

    Cavalry was for Scouting, Harrassing, Raiding, and maybe being Dragoons and that's about it, because in all the wars they fought that's mostly what cavalry really could do. There wasn't a whole lot of large units in the Seminole wars, and so the cavalry being much closer to Dragoons makes sense.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    So, looking for Paddy Griffith. I can find his napoleonic stuff, his WWI stuff, and some desert WWII. Does he have an off-brand name for the ACW study?

    Concerning artillery, napoleonic manuals dictated employing artillery 100-150m in front of the infantry on the defense, and the French tactics often relied on moving their guns into short range on the offense. (Kiley, artillery of the napoleonic wars). In many cases artillery was deliberately brought less than 250 meters from the enemy on the offense, with some examples bringing attacking batteries as into 50-60m, or within the typical range of musket vollies.

    While the ACW sees several cases where a defending battery ends up under 100 meters from attacking infantry by dint of misfortune or desperation, I cannot easily find examples where even light-medium smoothbore napoleons are brought forward under fire to deliver canister offensively.

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

    I'm not entirely sure what point we're arguing here.

    Were rifled muskets better than smoothbores? Yes, in just about any measurable way, with the exception of the use of buck and ball, which was useful at close range only. Rifles with Minie bullets let you have rifle accuracy and range with the a rate of fire of a smoothbore

    Did they make much difference on the battlefield? Probably not really.

    But this is simply because the full value of the new technology wasn't going to be realized without a new doctrine that took advantage of those improvements. An accurate rifle or an inaccurate musket that a raw recruit points through the smoke in that vague direction of the enemy is probably gonna miss, either way. So both weapons require many, many rounds to produce a casualty.

    Much like tanks in WWI. They probably could have been a game changer, but they weren't deployed in large enough numbers and the doctrine hadn't evolved to take advantage of the new weapon. So they made a modest difference ion a few battles, but probably didn't change very much. A massive tank breakthrough followed closely by infantry, and even cavalry might have blown the front wide open, but the commanders were learning how to use a new weapon, and probably didn't want to risk the whole tank corps in one push if things went badly.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2020-10-01 at 04:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    So, looking for Paddy Griffith. I can find his napoleonic stuff, his WWI stuff, and some desert WWII. Does he have an off-brand name for the ACW study?

    Concerning artillery, napoleonic manuals dictated employing artillery 100-150m in front of the infantry on the defense, and the French tactics often relied on moving their guns into short range on the offense. (Kiley, artillery of the napoleonic wars). In many cases artillery was deliberately brought less than 250 meters from the enemy on the offense, with some examples bringing attacking batteries as into 50-60m, or within the typical range of musket vollies.

    While the ACW sees several cases where a defending battery ends up under 100 meters from attacking infantry by dint of misfortune or desperation, I cannot easily find examples where even light-medium smoothbore napoleons are brought forward under fire to deliver canister offensively.
    The book by Paddy Griffith is called Battle Tactics of the Civil War. Although, you might want to check up something by Hess as it would be more recent.

    As mentioned before, there's a difference between theory and practice. For clarification, for artillery on the defensive, are they talking about placing their artillery 100-150m in front of their own infantry? (i.e. infantry should support the artillery at that distance).

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

    Earl Hess's more recent work is Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness
    EDIT -- an earlier work of his, which probably covers this issue directly, is The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth -- EDIT

    I haven't read it, but there's a lecture about it here:
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?416997...actics-weapons

    I have some issues with the comments on tactics (I think mainly his terminology is a bit off for a reenactor who's familiar with the details), but I think it's generally ok. He gets to weapons around minute 25.

    EDIT 2 -- at 57:30 he answers a question about artillery (and cavalry). Hess admits that he's not sure of it, but is currently working on a book about the subject. He points out that some European historians have claimed that it was very rare in the Napoleonic Wars for artillery to be used at close range. Similar musings about cavalry.
    Last edited by fusilier; 2020-10-01 at 08:32 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post

    Much like tanks in WWI. They probably could have been a game changer, but they weren't deployed in large enough numbers and the doctrine hadn't evolved to take advantage of the new weapon. So they made a modest difference ion a few battles, but probably didn't change very much. A massive tank breakthrough followed closely by infantry, and even cavalry might have blown the front wide open, but the commanders were learning how to use a new weapon, and probably didn't want to risk the whole tank corps in one push if things went badly.
    Probably not. Defensive firepower was only one of the major reasons breakthroughs were so hard to come by in WW1. The other (and far larger) one was logistics. Not only was a huge amount of supply transport still horse-drawn (after leaving the trains), but the attacker's supply lines would be crossing what had just previously been No Man's Land, and was barely crossable. Worst of all, the supply lines would be getting longer and longer. Meanwhile the defenders would be bringing up their supplies on much better ground (out of range of most of the guns, and aerial bombing was too new and light to make a real impact), and getting steadily shorter.

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

    As in the guns were placed in front of their own infantry.

    Anyhow, I grabbed the newer Hess book on Kindle and am reading, but from the intro it looks like his argument is fundamentally:

    A: The rifle musket did not actually get used beyond 100m effectively
    B: Battles had similar casualty rates

    Therefore

    C: The rifle musket did not actually have a dramatic effect

    On top of which:

    D: linear tactics had many other valuable facets (this actually goes on, but isn’t central to our discussion)

    Therefore

    E: The tactics of line and column were appropriate until the introduction of the breech loader.

    BUT

    E: American techno-fetishism and ingrained disdain for linear tactics which seem culturally repulsive to an individualistic society blinds us to this.

    ———

    So, basically the foundational argument that we’ve been going for/against for the last few posts.

    I’m not sure that logic holds as a whole - most small arms fire in Berlin was under 100m, and the casualties were roughly proportional to Gettysburg, I wouldn’t say that means that clearly the weapons had no dramatic change in effect on the battlefield.

    But I’ll give it a read and check back in in a week or so.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    The other (and far larger) one was logistics. Not only was a huge amount of supply transport still horse-drawn (after leaving the trains), but the attacker's supply lines would be crossing what had just previously been No Man's Land, and was barely crossable. Worst of all, the supply lines would be getting longer and longer. Meanwhile the defenders would be bringing up their supplies on much better ground (out of range of most of the guns, and aerial bombing was too new and light to make a real impact), and getting steadily shorter.
    Well, yes and no. The real reason is that there is no single reason. WW1 was what is best called a paradigm shift in warfare on literally every possible level. It's not that you can't overcome the logistical problems enough to get a breakthrough and exploit it, the problem is that there was no one around who knew that.

    Breakthrough of a frontline was achieved somewhat routinely on western front, the trouble was, no one knew to make proper followup plans, or even what they are. People like to say that's because the high command was rigid and aristocratic, but that's only partly true. In older battles, breakthroughs were exploited by the same people who broke through, but now you had dozens of kilometers of battlefield over several weeks, as opposed a few kilometers over maybe a few days.

    That means all your planning and army organization needs to change completely. Add to that the little issue of being at war, and the pressure of if you screw up once, you're out, and if you screw up really badly, you'll cist us the war, and you can see why there was considerable reluctance to make any large changes and moving away from "old and proven" things. Especially since new things very, very often didn't work - French were actually the first to use chemical weapons in the war, but the Germans didn't even notice it.

    This war is one of those that would change completely if you managed to get one guy with proper know-how into the past and have him be listened to. Which he probably wouldn't be, because switching an entire army from essentially Napoleonic organization to combined arms takes time. Most armies (most notably British) weren't done until mid-WW2.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    That said, the assertion that the cannon of the ACW were fundamentally the same as those used by Napoleon is correct - if you are talking about Napoleon III. They were far, far more capable than those used by Bonaparte.
    That's actually in the American moniker for the cannon: 12-pounder Napoleon, after Napoleon III.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    As in the guns were placed in front of their own infantry.

    Anyhow, I grabbed the newer Hess book on Kindle and am reading, but from the intro it looks like his argument is fundamentally:

    A: The rifle musket did not actually get used beyond 100m effectively
    B: Battles had similar casualty rates

    . . .
    Which book are you reading? I think the one about infantry tactics only references those points, and doesn't really lay out the case.

    There is a third point to take into account: the tactics didn't fundamentally change either. If we accept the evidence for these points, then it's hard to conclude that rifle-muskets effected a revolutionary change in warfare.

    It's good to be skeptical, the data is invariably incomplete, and the analysis could be flawed. But I don't think it's useful to reject data because it doesn't fit the expected conclusion. We know that on the range the rifle clearly shows more accuracy (this was well tested at the time). But that alone is not enough to reject the data. If we can't find a flaw within the data itself, then we have to ask if there was something else on the battlefield that negated the superiority of the rifle musket. A couple obvious candidates arise almost immediately: 1. a complete absence of marksmanship training, and 2. volley tactics that didn't give any time to actually "aim" the weapon.

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

    Regarding ACW artillery.

    There was a unit from near where I grew up, a Union light artillery battery that had been a volunteer militia unit before the war, equipped with six 10-lb Parrot rifles once the war started.

    They were more than once positioned to hold the end of the Union line, and in at least one instance the Confederate dead were said to have literally been piled up within 100 yards of the their muzzles. They were assigned to knock out Confederate artillery batteries at long range more than once, and are said to have routinely put the first or second shot on target from well over a mile away, including one time that took the Confederates completely by surprise as they had assumed they were out of effective artillery range at that moment.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Regarding ACW artillery.

    There was a unit from near where I grew up, a Union light artillery battery that had been a volunteer militia unit before the war, equipped with six 10-lb Parrot rifles once the war started.

    They were more than once positioned to hold the end of the Union line, and in at least one instance the Confederate dead were said to have literally been piled up within 100 yards of the their muzzles. They were assigned to knock out Confederate artillery batteries at long range more than once, and are said to have routinely put the first or second shot on target from well over a mile away, including one time that took the Confederates completely by surprise as they had assumed they were out of effective artillery range at that moment.
    I'm kind of amazed by how accurate cannon fire could be. The Civil War artillery reenactors I know, who have lived fired their cannons, tell some impressive stories. Even with little mountain howitzers, they can expect to hit something the size of a tent at 600 yards (over half of its effective range). I know historically, they trained a lot, learned to judge distances, etc. I've been told that a smoothbore piece wears in, from the cannonball bouncing down the barrel. After so many shots, the wear will be established, and the gun will fire consistently -- the ball is still bouncing down the barrel, but, as long as the cannon is loaded consistently, it bounces consistently each time. So the artillerists learn how the gun shoots. (Eventually the gun wears out, and the fire becomes inconsistent again).

    There's a story from the Battle of Fredericksburg, on the Union left, not the attack on Marye's Heights, about a union battery commander. He was seated on his horse talking to another officer, when a confederate shell flew by their heads and exploded a limber behind them. Responding "that was unkind," the battery commander dismounted, walked over to a nearby gun that had just been loaded (I think it was a 3" ordnance rifle), took charge of the gun, very carefully aimed it, then stepped back and instructed the gunner to fire. A few seconds later a Confederate artillery caisson(!) exploded in a huge fireball. Troops fighting on the battlefield felt this huge explosion, and the fighting in that section of the battlefield kind of petered out.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    That's actually in the American moniker for the cannon: 12-pounder Napoleon, after Napoleon III.
    Right, but a lot of people think it refers to Napoleon I of the Napoleonic Wars. Mostly because the later Napoleons are much less famous.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    If we can't find a flaw within the data itself, then we have to ask if there was something else on the battlefield that negated the superiority of the rifle musket. A couple obvious candidates arise almost immediately: 1. a complete absence of marksmanship training, and 2. volley tactics that didn't give any time to actually "aim" the weapon.
    I think those two factors are plenty.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Does anyone have examples of words describing arms and armor having changed over time?
    Example: "Harness" originally meant something worn on the body. During the middle ages, it described a complete set of armor. Today it describes gear worn by types of domestic animals.


    Besides that, I would just like to add my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this amazing series of threads.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Misereor View Post
    Does anyone have examples of words describing arms and armor having changed over time?
    Example: "Harness" originally meant something worn on the body. During the middle ages, it described a complete set of armor. Today it describes gear worn by types of domestic animals.


    Besides that, I would just like to add my appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this amazing series of threads.
    Alrighty! here's some of the stuff that I think i've sorted out when it comes to ~16th century english:

    Starting with "arms and armor" - "arms" could refer to both weapons and armor but back then tended to lean more towards meaning armor in usage. i.e. you more often read "armed and weaponed" than "armed and armored", or you might see soldiers in an army categorized as "armed men" or "unarmed men" referring to respectively armored soldiers and unarmored soldiers.

    - "Men-at-arms" in the 1500s treatises use to refer to a specific type of noble/professional heavy cavalry soldier, see the french ordinance gendarmes of the previous century, who were supposed to wear complete plate armor head to toe, carry a lance, sword, and mace, and also have armored barding for their horse. Though increasingly in practice even soldiers who were nominally men-at-arms seem to have been preferring to go into battle with less complete arming even when horse armor was available somewhere in their baggage train.

    - On that note "barbed horses" or "barbed lances" = cavalry on horses with armored barding, not actual barbs.

    - "Javelin" seems to have more often referred to a type of long, lightweight spear with a point at each end sometimes used from horseback, while dedicated throwing spears were just called "darts". Usually spelled "Iavelin" because the letter j wasn't invented yet, and other possible names may have included "punching staves", "lancegays", "zagayas", or "spears".

    - infantry spears were called "half-pikes"

    - a "corselet" referred to a complete infantryman's armor including the curiass, tasses, pauldrons, vambraces, gorget, burgonet, and sometimes gauntlets.

    - "curiassiers" were cavalry who wore 3/4ths armor, not just a curiass

    - "lancers" and "demilancers" Sir Roger Williams says are the same thing, were generally armed the same as the men-at-arms but with no horse barding, no greaves/foot armor, more likely to have a pistol or two instead of the mace, and typically has far fewer spare horses and servants with him. Sometimes, especially in translations of french and spanish sources, this type of cavalry continued to be referred with just the title "light horsemen", even at times when they had be come the most heavily-armed type of cavalry still in use.

    - Conversely in Elizabethan english armies, "light horse" might be more likely to refer to cavalry drawn from the anglo-scottish "boarder reivers" an even lighter, usually mail-clad cavalry armed with light lances or spears, also known as "boarderers", "spear men" or "northern spears". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:T..._-_plate09.jpg

    - "musket" originally referred specifically to infantry firearms so large and heavy they required a forked rest to fire. The lighter guns were just called "arquebuses" using many different spellings, or for a time in the late 1500s "calivers" after a series of wacky misunderstandings.

    - As the musket and caliver became the more common infantry weapons the different spellings of "arquebusier"/"harquebusier" came to refer specifically to a type of light cavalry who carried a wheellock or flint-striking arquebus that could be used from horseback. It should be noted that this cavalry would usually be differentiated from "dragoons", who initially were not true cavalry but mounted infantry.

    - "short swords" were swords roughly around 3 feet long

    - "long swords" were this thing everyone writing military treatises seems to have hated and said no one should ever use

    - a "battle" often referred to to a large formation of soldiers, a large pike square, or sometimes an echelon made up of small "battalions"

    - a "spontoon" according to Robert Barret was "a small long instrument of iron, sharpe at the ende, to thrust thorough anie loade of haie, straw, or such like, to proue if any souldiers lie hidden within the same." here are some of his other definitions: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A0...;view=fulltext

    I can probably come up with more later but hopefully that's a start

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    - a "corselet" referred to a complete infantryman's armor including the curiass, tasses, pauldrons, vambraces, gorget, burgonet, and sometimes gauntlets.
    It could also refer to the person who wore such armor (at least in some Spanish sources -- they were paid more than the unarmored pikemen). That list is a good start.

    I'll add another one:

    Captain was more of a title than a rank. Anybody in charge of a "company" of soldiers was a captain (although before the late 1400s, purely infantry companies, a lower status, were commanded by "constables"). A mercenary company could be 50 men, or a 1,000 lances (3-4 men) and a few hundred infantry. It was basically anything the Captain could raise and get paid for. The captain in charge of an army, was called a "Captain-General."

    In the Spanish tercios of the 1500s, the companies had become more standardized, but Captain was still kind of a title. The commander of a tercio (approximately 10-12 companies) was the captain of the 1st company, and was also called a "coronel". The captain of the 2nd company was also the "Sergeant-Major", who was responsible for organizing the tercio on the battlefield.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    It could also refer to the person who wore such armor (at least in some Spanish sources -- they were paid more than the unarmored pikemen). That list is a good start.

    I'll add another one:

    Captain was more of a title than a rank. Anybody in charge of a "company" of soldiers was a captain (although before the late 1400s, purely infantry companies, a lower status, were commanded by "constables"). A mercenary company could be 50 men, or a 1,000 lances (3-4 men) and a few hundred infantry. It was basically anything the Captain could raise and get paid for. The captain in charge of an army, was called a "Captain-General."

    In the Spanish tercios of the 1500s, the companies had become more standardized, but Captain was still kind of a title. The commander of a tercio (approximately 10-12 companies) was the captain of the 1st company, and was also called a "coronel". The captain of the 2nd company was also the "Sergeant-Major", who was responsible for organizing the tercio on the battlefield.
    Actually, the commander of a Tercio was a "Maestre"; coronels would command other units, like German and Walloon regiments...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2020-10-06 at 04:15 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Captain was more of a title than a rank. Anybody in charge of a "company" of soldiers was a captain (although before the late 1400s, purely infantry companies, a lower status, were commanded by "constables"). A mercenary company could be 50 men, or a 1,000 lances (3-4 men) and a few hundred infantry. It was basically anything the Captain could raise and get paid for. The captain in charge of an army, was called a "Captain-General."

    In the Spanish tercios of the 1500s, the companies had become more standardized, but Captain was still kind of a title. The commander of a tercio (approximately 10-12 companies) was the captain of the 1st company, and was also called a "coronel". The captain of the 2nd company was also the "Sergeant-Major", who was responsible for organizing the tercio on the battlefield.
    This can be seen a few times in the LotR trilogy, when characters are referred to as "captains", or references more generally to "the captains" are made.

    E: Also, slightly outdated "captains of industry". Or a "team captain".
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-10-06 at 07:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    That's still kind of a thing in the Navy. The captain of a ship is just the person in charge. A Lieutenant Commander who is in in command of the ship is addressed as Captain.

    Of course, there's an actual rank of Captain in the Navy, which is confusingly equivalent to a Colonel in the Army or Marines
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    Actually, the commander of a Tercio was a "Maestre"; coronels would command other units, like German and Walloon regiments...
    Yeah, the "Maestre del Campo" is what Williams and Barret said the spanish coronels were called. Somewhat confusingly though in english the "Camp-master" or "Master of the camp" would instead usually refer to something like a regimental-level or army-level quartermaster.

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    It could also refer to the person who wore such armor (at least in some Spanish sources -- they were paid more than the unarmored pikemen). That list is a good start.

    I'll add another one:

    Captain was more of a title than a rank. Anybody in charge of a "company" of soldiers was a captain (although before the late 1400s, purely infantry companies, a lower status, were commanded by "constables"). A mercenary company could be 50 men, or a 1,000 lances (3-4 men) and a few hundred infantry. It was basically anything the Captain could raise and get paid for. The captain in charge of an army, was called a "Captain-General."

    In the Spanish tercios of the 1500s, the companies had become more standardized, but Captain was still kind of a title. The commander of a tercio (approximately 10-12 companies) was the captain of the 1st company, and was also called a "coronel". The captain of the 2nd company was also the "Sergeant-Major", who was responsible for organizing the tercio on the battlefield.
    That's true, the spanish would use "corselets" for what the english listed as "armed men" or "armed pikes." I think Melzo's cavalry manual also uses "corselets" as the name for pistoliers/curiassers.

    Regarding the captain thing, I think the comparison to ships like Mike_G points out kind of makes sense. You might have many different sizes of ships, some with several hundred men and some with only a couple dozen, but each one has its own captain. The difference is that when preparing for a battle on land you might frequently do the equivalent of lashing a bunch of smaller ships together to create one really big ship, or lashing a couple of very different ships together to balance out their strengths and weaknesses. When this happens you would then have to elect one of the captains to be the head captain overall who steers the entire mass of ships at once, likely based on seniority, ability, or social status.

    You'd then usually assign things for all the other captains to do temporarily so they don't get bored. For instance you could assign them roles that might normally be done by a lesser officer such as putting one captain in charge of all the cannons on one side of the ship and another captain in charge of the other side's cannons, you might have some of the captains serving as advisors or relaying orders, or you might just mix a bunch of the extra captains into the front rank of the boarding party since they all have good weapons and armor as well as good motivation.

    Once the battle is over though you then have to split everything back up into all the original ships each with their original captains and crews so that they can each sail back home to their individual home ports.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    Actually, the commander of a Tercio was a "Maestre"; coronels would command other units, like German and Walloon regiments...
    I stand corrected. Coronels also commanded an earlier, smaller unit, a coronelia.

    The other thing about captains, is that their status depended upon multiple factors, usually the bigger the company they commanded (in the mercenary structures) the higher status they were granted. So they weren't viewed as being "equal" in rank.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    That's still kind of a thing in the Navy. The captain of a ship is just the person in charge. A Lieutenant Commander who is in in command of the ship is addressed as Captain.

    Of course, there's an actual rank of Captain in the Navy, which is confusingly equivalent to a Colonel in the Army or Marines
    Equally confusing, if you are a captain in the Marines, then while on board a navy ship you are socially promoted to Major purely to avoid the confusion of there being more than one Captain on the ship. This promotion does not last once you get to shore.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by VonKaiserstein View Post
    Equally confusing, if you are a captain in the Marines, then while on board a navy ship you are socially promoted to Major purely to avoid the confusion of there being more than one Captain on the ship. This promotion does not last once you get to shore.
    Naval tradition is really odd sometimes.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    Naval tradition is really odd sometimes.
    And sometimes very politically incorrect and cool. For example, it's still a standing tradition that UK submarines fly the Jolly Roger (yes, the pirate flag) when returning to port from successful missions.

    The flags were often altered to reflect the crew's accomplishments, for example ship silhouettes for each ship sunk. In true British style, sometimes the additions are self-deprecating; HMS Sickle (P224) had an ace of spaces on their flag, reflecting the time near Monte Carlo when one of their torpedos missed a target, struck a cliff and the explosion subsequently shattered all the windows in a nearby casino.
    HMS Proteus (N29) had a can opener on theirs, reflecting the time the submarine survived an attempted ram by an Italian destroyer after damaging it with the sub's hydroplanes.

    Modern subs have modernised features these days to recognise their achievements, for example tomahawk axes when returning from a mission where they fired Tomahawk missiles at targets.

    I also remember seeing a documentary of an Allied exercise with an Australian submarine playing OPFOR against an American fleet. The Australians snuck up on one of the USN ships, scored a 'kill' with a torpedo and got away scot free. They celebrated by playing Men at Work's Down Under over the radio.

    In short, Navy traditions are weird and bubbleheads are even weirder.

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