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  1. - Top - End - #361
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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

    I have a few questions about impalement.

    • How frequently did thrusting weapons get stuck in armor or flesh to the degree that they could not immediately be removed and used?
    • Is the risk of a weapon getting stuck in flesh/armor/shield substantially lower for cutting/hacking weapons than piercing ones?
    • How did different types of armor affect the likelihood of impalement?
    • How advantageous is it to impale an enemy versus having your weapon available in a one on one setting?
    • How difficult would it be to remove a weapon from an active combatant? From a corpse?


    Any advice is appreciated!

  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Well, you're kinda right? It's set in Starfinder, and the character is specifically an alien called a Ferran.
    Spoiler: Picture
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    So, I'm trying to figure out the kinds of weaponry these people might favor or develop given what their bonuses encourage, should one go adventuring with a ragtag crew of spacefarers...less in terms of numbers and more in narrative/physics terms of just how people of this size and shape would likely prefer to fight.
    The blurb says they're a high gravity species, currently living on a moon. How strong they are depends on whether they've been on the moon long enough to lose their high gravity characteristics, but if they have not, they are supposed to be strong, not like Dwarves are strong; much stronger than that, more like minotaur strength.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2021-03-02 at 11:11 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #363
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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

    I mean, you’re in space with casual interstellar travel, so the real answer is autonomous kill bots that have long since surpassed humanoids in the realm of immediate violence and are resource cheap, with those humanoids that have to be in danger riding in suits/pods that are really AI run to hope to have a chance of surviving by escaping in major combat...but if that’s not happening because RPG:

    You’re small and short but have the mass and muscle to handle the heavy stuff. So long as you have G, you can stay in cover easily and crack skulls and armor with high caliber (or equivalent ) weapons. Can probably move around in a lot of crawl spaces and other such areas easier than humans as well, making you a natural tunnel rat. When you lose G you’ll be at a disadvantage - you can explode off a surface easily enough (not sure what the power to weight will be to determine acceleration), but your going to have a harder time converting angular momentum rapidly - stubby little limbs and all. Plus assuming everyone is running weapons with personal fire control (trakcingpoint already makes these, famously having a novice outshooting the NRA rifle champ, including pulling shots from around corners and the like) your size won’t be an issue, but a slow predictable flight path will. If it’s assisted flight, then...who cares?

  4. - Top - End - #364
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    I have a few questions about impalement.

    • How frequently did thrusting weapons get stuck in armor or flesh to the degree that they could not immediately be removed and used?
    • Is the risk of a weapon getting stuck in flesh/armor/shield substantially lower for cutting/hacking weapons than piercing ones?
    • How did different types of armor affect the likelihood of impalement?
    • How advantageous is it to impale an enemy versus having your weapon available in a one on one setting?
    • How difficult would it be to remove a weapon from an active combatant? From a corpse?


    Any advice is appreciated!
    I don't think I've ever actually heard of a weapon getting stuck in a body in a way that makes it impossible to pull it out again. Ribs are really quite flexible, and the shape of blades designed to penetrate easily also helps with them getting back out easily.
    The most likely situation where this happens is for cavalry fighting, where a soldier makes a quick stab at an enemy while riding past him. Because the horse keeps moving forward, you can't really pull your spear or saber back in the direction it went in, and it would be wrenched from your grip. The weapon is of course still sticking inside the enemy, but it's not actually stuck.
    In a sword fight on foot, I could see someone getting run through and then falling sideways, or the body turning sideways as the legs give out, and if the attacker doesn't pull is back fast enough, it could again be pulled from his grip. I've seen sword instructors comment several times on movie sword fights that it's really bad form to just stand there while your sword is burried to the hilt in a defeated enemy. Mostly because he still might have a few seconds to stab you back, but I guess also in part to keep your sword when he does fall down.

    I don't see armor making a big difference. You don't stab through plates, but through the gaps between plates. And those plates have to be flexible, so they can't really grab on to anything stuck between them.

    Soldiers loosing a sword or a spear that ends up left behind in an enemy surely did happen with some frequency. But it you can keep hold of the grip, I don't think getting it pulled out was really a problem.
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  5. - Top - End - #365
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    How frequently did thrusting weapons get stuck in armor or flesh to the degree that they could not immediately be removed and used?
    All the time, if you really mean immediatelly immediatelly. Probably the most common offender is cut to the head that gets wedged a little bit in the skull.

    Then and again, this was something people tended to train for with hunting, and were fairly used to, and most of the time, all you had to do was give the sword a good tug to free it.

    Thrusts get stuck in things all the time, to a point where you're sometimes better off running the offending party through to the hilt and using the sword in them to steer them around, rather than try to extract and recover. This goes doubly so for thrusts delivered from horseback - to a point where some treatises (e.g. Capo Ferro) advise you to prefer cuts on a horse.

    For sticking in armor, any weapon that pierces plate by design (bec de corbin, spike on warhammers) will do it at least a little bit, but again, once that happens, your foe is probably having problems that will stop him from immediately and you're also in armor, so you will have time to tug it out.

    You do occassionally have cases where a weapon gets stuck so badly you can't get it out, but those are pretty rare and usually involve solid plates and blows with counter movement. Or shields, it's not that hard to get a weapon stuck in those, and it may require some wrangling to get it back out. Then and again, most trained fighters will not attack a shield with any kind of force and go around it.

    There is even some evidence that some of the viking duelling shields were made specifically to trap swords.

    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    Is the risk of a weapon getting stuck in flesh/armor/shield substantially lower for cutting/hacking weapons than piercing ones?
    No, because weapons aren't divided along those lines. A machette and an axe are both hacking, but I'll let you decide which one is much, much likelier to get stuck in a shield.

    If we rephrase it to "are some weapons more likely to get stuck", then yeah. The most likely are weapons with narrow business ends that strike with them on a line that isn't directly connecting your centers of mass - so, axes, warpicks, daggers in icepick grip and so on. Thrusts are likely to get stuck, but relatively easy to extract. And so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    How did different types of armor affect the likelihood of impalement?
    In general, they tried to prevent it.

    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    How advantageous is it to impale an enemy versus having your weapon available in a one on one setting?
    Pretty good, because now he's stabbed, as opposed to you just standing around with a weapon in hand. If we're talking impalement with weapon getting stuck versus stabbing and recovering, then it's better to recover, but again, this is something people trained for. One on one, the disadvantage of stuck weapon is smaller than a disadvantage of a weapon through the lung that can be used to steer you.

    Spoiler: Medieval hunting as training for war, Swinney and Crawford
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    Manipulation of the blade after its placement in a vital area is key not only to neutralizing the opponent, but also to remaining uninjured. Understanding how to manipulate the blade to cause maximal injury once on target is tremendously important -- as is the understanding of how to employ the blade to prevent the (often mortally) wounded opponent from returning the favor.


    Quote Originally Posted by adso View Post
    How difficult would it be to remove a weapon from an active combatant? From a corpse?
    As always, it depends, but not that hard in most cases. Also keep in mind that, for most of the history, the weapon likely to get stuck wasn't your only weapon - if the spear gets stuck in someone's shoulderblade, leave it there and draw your sword, that's why you have it. It's once you get to bayonets, revolvers and sabers era that you see some pretty bad problems on account of no sidearms.

    Also consider that, if you are far enough into a fight where your weapon gets stuck in someone, there's good odds of weapons of dead or fled opponents being around, so you can pick up one of those.

    Spoiler: Some quotes from Swordsmen of the British Empire
    Show
    A second received my bayonet in his heart; but whether owing to its not having been greased, or to its having carried along with it some of the fellow’s cotton jacket, it stuck fast for a minute; and before I could withdraw it, the sabre of a third glanced across my eyes, uplifted to cut me down.

    [...]

    The head of Hussein, severed from his body, was stuck on his own spear; and it is, I believe, preserved by his conqueror to this day as a trophy.

    [...]

    “Captain Moorhead [of the 26th Foot] was engaged in single combat with a Tartar soldier [at the storming of Ningpo in 1841]; and his sword having stuck fast in the Tartar’s body, he was twice cut down.” (Maj. H. G. Hart, New Annual Army List, 1851.)

    [...]

    The dragoon on the left of the front rank, going in at the charge, gave point at the Sikh next him; the sword stuck in the lower part of his body, but did not penetrate sufficiently to disable him; so the Sikh cut back, hit the dragoon across the mouth, and took his head clean off.

    [...]

    “The brutes fought till we regularly cut and hacked our way through them with sword and bayonet. Unfortunately, the first thing my sword stuck in was the body of a colour sergeant of mine, just alongside of me on the next ladder, who was shot and fell on my sword. But the next moment it was skivering through a Pandy, and then another. All order and formation was over, and we cut and hacked wherever we could. I never thought of drawing my pistol, but poked, thrusted, and hacked till my arms were tired.”

    [...]

    The shields were very troublesome articles. Made of tough buffalo hide with brass bosses, they were proof against a sword cut; and if you stuck your bayonet into one of them, there was generally some trouble in getting it out again.

    [...]

    Lieutenant Langlands, of the 74th, was close to us in the action, when a powerful Arab [Maratha partisan] threw a spear at him, and drawing his sword, rushed forward to complete his conquest. The spear, having entered the flesh of the leg and cut its way out again, stuck in the ground behind him, when Langlands grasped it, and turning the point, threw it with so true an aim that it went right through his opponent’s body, and transfixed him within three or four yards of his intended victim!

    [...]

    A dragoon of the Third Regiment, charging with his squadron, made a thrust at the Sikh next him; the sword stuck in the lower part of his body, but did not penetrate sufficiently to disable him, when the Sikh cut back, hit the dragoon across the mouth, and took his head clean off.

    [...]

    So he dug his spurs in, rode at him, and stuck him from behind; and that was the end of ‘the gentleman in the blue coat’. The major strained his wrist drawing out his sword. That is always the difficult point. ‘It went in like butter,’ a subaltern of horse told me, describing a similar incident at Barjisiyeh Wood. ‘I didn’t know I’d got him, but I was almost pulled off my horse drawing it out.’

    [...]

    “One tall man, a corporal of the 24th, killed four Zulus with his bayonet [at Isandhlwana in 1879]; but his weapon stuck for an instant in the throat of his last opponent, and then he was assegaied.”
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  6. - Top - End - #366
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    I have a couple of questions which have been eating away at me, so here goes:

    1) I'm aware that guns (particularly cannon) came along well before plate armour. However, the earliest cannon were made from bronze. Since bronze was much more expensive than steel, there was a clear incentive to develop means to make large, reliable pieces of steel. So my question is, did firearm development cause the invention of techniques needed to make plate harness viable?

    Now, that might not be answerable, but my second question should be a little easier.

    2) I've heard of an incident where people died of overheating in the Russian winter, because of fighting in heavy armour. Unfortunately, I don't remember any more than that, so it's hardly a reliable claim. Are there any historical sources which document cold-weather deaths from armour heat?

  7. - Top - End - #367
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Dont work up a sweat in freezing temperatures. Once you cool off, the sweat soaked clothing is going to cause problems. Something I've more heard from survival shows/stories

  8. - Top - End - #368
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    I have a couple of questions which have been eating away at me, so here goes:

    1) I'm aware that guns (particularly cannon) came along well before plate armour. However, the earliest cannon were made from bronze. Since bronze was much more expensive than steel, there was a clear incentive to develop means to make large, reliable pieces of steel. So my question is, did firearm development cause the invention of techniques needed to make plate harness viable?
    Not really. What you need to realize is that, since about WW1 era, we have seen a rise of a pretty targeted and directed research and development in, well, all walks of life. That wasn't the norm at any point before, especially not on national level. Hell, Manhattan project is WW2 and it was somewhat unique even then.

    What you have is a ton of individual people doing their craft and occassionally figuring out a better way, and some of those better ways catch on. For our cannon/plate example, it means there was no "better metallurgy researched" moment, but rather incremental developments in the sciences of making plate and making cannon. There probably was overlap, but of the "I heard the cannon makers put in this weird rock, let's try it as well" kind, rather than anything explicit.

    The one area where there was a common ground between weapon makers and plate makers is in making of steel ingots themselves, which is often an entirely separate profession - advances there benefit both plate and gun side.

    As for incentives, there was always incentive to develop bigger pieces of steel, starting with "let's take the gladius and make it longer" and ending with battleship armor plates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    2) I've heard of an incident where people died of overheating in the Russian winter, because of fighting in heavy armour. Unfortunately, I don't remember any more than that, so it's hardly a reliable claim. Are there any historical sources which document cold-weather deaths from armour heat?
    I can't think of any, but this sort of incident is recorded pretty rarely. It's definitely possible, I'll tell you that much, gambeson alone gives you sufficient thermal insulation for it to happen, epsecially if you don't drink - but it would happen pretty rarely. For starters, you have water literally everywhere around you in a Russian winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vykryl View Post
    Dont work up a sweat in freezing temperatures. Once you cool off, the sweat soaked clothing is going to cause problems. Something I've more heard from survival shows/stories
    This is less of a problem with a gambeson on, since it tends to keep the sweat and warmth inside of it. You could, in theory, sweat it clean through, but that takes a lot of doing, and even then, wool makes for good insulation when it's that thick, even soaked.

    You do get to see a pretty interesting effect when someone in armor approaches fire, though - they start to generate steam from their gambeson bits, it looks pretty cool.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    2) I've heard of an incident where people died of overheating in the Russian winter, because of fighting in heavy armour. Unfortunately, I don't remember any more than that, so it's hardly a reliable claim. Are there any historical sources which document cold-weather deaths from armour heat?
    Taking into account that people fought in gambeson and mail or in gambeson and plate in places like Syria, Palestina, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, southern Italy and Southern Spain, sometimes even during summer (like the First Crusade), and they survived (how come the Crusaders didn't suffer heavy losses due to heatstrokes during the Siege of Nicaea...?), I find hard to believe people could die due to overheating during the Russian winter...

    I guess somebody could suffer some kind of heart condition and die due to a stroke caused by excessive activity, but heat alone? It's hard to believe...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2021-03-05 at 05:54 PM.

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

    I can actually answer this one.

    OK, exertion in the cold is worse for your heart than exertion in the heat. Within reason. I mean you will sweat more and dehydrate faster in the heat.

    But you're more likely to have a heart attack in the cold.

    Cold makes your blood vessels constrict. That why ice packs help reduce swelling. It also happens internally. If you breath heavily while exerting, you pull a lot of cold air into your lungs, which constricts blood vessels nearby, including those in your heart. And since you're exerting yourself, you're asking your heart to work harder, with less blood supply.

    This is a big reason people have heart attacks while shoveling snow.

    So I don't think you can die of overheating in the dead of a Russian winter per se, you can give yourself a heart attack, so you die a sweaty mess while over working and it look like you had heat stroke
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2021-03-04 at 08:16 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    2) I've heard of an incident where people died of overheating in the Russian winter, because of fighting in heavy armour. Unfortunately, I don't remember any more than that, so it's hardly a reliable claim. Are there any historical sources which document cold-weather deaths from armour heat?
    The Battle of Towton 1461 was fought in the snow and although contemporary sources (Jean de Wavrin's Account of the chronicles and old histories of Great Britain primarily) recount soldiers suffering from exposure and later exhaustion, it's not clear whether the exhaustion is from overheating from fighting or the fact that the battle supposedly went on for 10 hours.

    It's definitely possible to overheat while in just a gambeson and mail - on those rare warm summer's days in the UK, we'd have re-enactors having to be taken off the field due to heat exhaustion.

    As Martin Greywolf points out, if you don't drink or don't have the opportunity to drink (because people are busy trying to kill you all day), then it's perfectly possible to get dehydrated which only exacerbates the onset of exhaustion.

    Edit: Mike_G's explanation is far more logical.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2021-03-04 at 08:19 AM.

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

    Re: did guns cause plate.

    Well, “common” firearms use didn’t come around until the renaissance, whereas plate is making itself known during the Hundred Years’ War, so the intuitive answer is no.

    I was under the impression that plate was mostly a response to things breaking your bones in mail, but I’m sure Martin will be by with a more detailed answer.

    2) I’ve personally seen people go down with heat exhaustion in up state NY. Not many, but a handful, all with core temps over 102. Typically the pattern goes:

    It’s really, really cold so Person decides he should wear lots of warm layers, hats, gloves, etc. if I’m going to be standing around outside.

    Person has to wear constricting protective gear on top of that and carry heavy things, but is mostly standing around so leaves all those cold weather layers on.

    Person has to go full out for 15-20 minutes with lots of sprinting, lifting, burpee-esque motions, and sudden strain. He heats up his body in response, but it doesn’t dissipate out into the cold, it gets trapped in all those layers that are meant to trap heat - and it’s worse because he’s wearing constrictive protective gear on top of it.

    Person can’t remove any of his stuff during this period. The ambient temperature doesn’t matter, the temperature near his skin for those few minutes is extreme and his body reacts by pouring out sweat. He becomes a sweat soaked mess and collapses.

    For the double whammy, not only is he overheated now, but is soaked in sweat and clinging layers - and it’s still realllly cold out, so if you don’t get him inside or near a moderate-able source of heat, you’ll plunge from the extremes of heat exhaustion to hypothermia quickly.

    So...could I see some poor Russian dude who wore too much under his armor going through the same? Yep.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Re: did guns cause plate.

    Well, “common” firearms use didn’t come around until the renaissance, whereas plate is making itself known during the Hundred Years’ War, so the intuitive answer is no.

    I was under the impression that plate was mostly a response to things breaking your bones in mail, but I’m sure Martin will be by with a more detailed answer.

    2) I’ve personally seen people go down with heat exhaustion in up state NY. Not many, but a handful, all with core temps over 102.
    1) Hand bombards and other early man portable firearms started making themselves known around about the 100 Year's War (there's records of them being used in the Siege of Calais 1346 and there's a quartermaster's note of a ribauldequin in Edward III's muster lists in 1339). I do agree that their effect on the development of plate harness is very hard to conclusively prove or disprove this early.

    Firearms absolutely did precipitate the importation of all metal breastplates for nanban gusoku samurai armour in the 16th Century in Japan though.

    2) Firefighters?
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2021-03-04 at 11:11 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Re: did guns cause plate.

    Well, “common” firearms use didn’t come around until the renaissance, whereas plate is making itself known during the Hundred Years’ War, so the intuitive answer is no.

    I was under the impression that plate was mostly a response to things breaking your bones in mail, but I’m sure Martin will be by with a more detailed answer.
    The timeline I like to post when guns vs armor, or medieval vs "renaissance", comes up:

    1300s -- firearms start appearing in Europe
    1420s to end of 1600s -- full plate armor
    1430s to 1450s -- Gutenberg's work on printing press
    1452 to 1519 -- da Vinci
    1453 -- fall of Constantinople
    1475 to 1564 -- Michelangelo
    1492 -- Columbus' first voyage
    1529 -- Siege of Vienna

    Firearms initially pushed the development of better armor, not the end of armor.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2021-03-04 at 11:16 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I don't think I've ever actually heard of a weapon getting stuck in a body in a way that makes it impossible to pull it out again. Ribs are really quite flexible, and the shape of blades designed to penetrate easily also helps with them getting back out easily.
    I've heard anecdotes of soldiers getting bayonets stuck between ribs. I think maybe there's a reference to that in All Quiet on the Western Front, but it's been a long time since I read that book.

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

    When I say common firearms, I mean as a predictable and regular feature on the battlefield. As in “there’s a good chance I’ll be shot at with an arquebus, what should I do about that?” as opposed to “I hear there was some new fangled device over there, bit of a novelty, like a cannon but smaller!”

    Generally the early 1500s is about the time you hear about firearms really coming into their own as a battlefield, though the arquebus starts rising in prominence in the late 1400s. Prior to that, sure you can find a gun made in 1398 with no Burt stock? trigger, or what not, but the idea they had permeated the tactical conscience sufficiently to drive a generational upgrade from mail to plate that happens in the late 1300s to early 1400s seems unlikely...though their presence will certainly lead to increasingly “full” plate culminating things like the white harness (although at the same time cheap(er) 3/4 munition plate is becoming more common for everyone thanks to manufacturing).

    2) 10th Mountain.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    I have a couple of questions which have been eating away at me, so here goes:

    1) I'm aware that guns (particularly cannon) came along well before plate armour. However, the earliest cannon were made from bronze. Since bronze was much more expensive than steel, there was a clear incentive to develop means to make large, reliable pieces of steel. So my question is, did firearm development cause the invention of techniques needed to make plate harness viable?

    I may just be reading this wrong, but it feels like you're asking if the desire to use steel for cannon helped proliferate the use of steel plate for armor. If this is the case, then the answer is a simple "no". Cannon didn't start being made out of steel until the 1870s - even the Napoleons and Parrot Guns of the American Civil War were iron. This is true for handgonnes as much as it was the larger artillery cannon.

    Arquebus and musket barrels were made of steel earlier, but that's more of a 30YW era thing IIRC.

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

    Regarding overheating in the cold:

    When I went through USMC Mountain Warfare Training for cold weather I and our Corpsmen were told to specifically to look for heat injuries on our more arduous movements. We did not have any injuries, but overheating was definitely a thing, and we had our guys pumping water constantly.

    For reference our loadout was typically lightweight goretex jackets and ski pants, polypropylene undershirts, a 45 lbs pack, our rifles, and a sled with all our bivouac gear that got dragged by a hip harness and rotated among a fire team. I can see how if you were wearing alot of thick warming layers it could be a problem pretty quick. The location of the training (to compare altitude and climate) was Bridgeport, California MWTC in January.

    I think its worth pointing out that alot of "heat injuries" are essentially the result of dehydration, and in a cold enough environment and without proper prevention your drinking water can freeze, so now if you don't have the time to start a fire or are for some reason prevented from using your body heat to thaw your water DEHYDRATION could be a real threat.

    EDIT: Also, I love reading the amount of knowledge some posters in this thread have.
    Last edited by Garimeth; 2021-03-04 at 05:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    When I say common firearms, I mean as a predictable and regular feature on the battlefield. As in “there’s a good chance I’ll be shot at with an arquebus, what should I do about that?” as opposed to “I hear there was some new fangled device over there, bit of a novelty, like a cannon but smaller!”

    Generally the early 1500s is about the time you hear about firearms really coming into their own as a battlefield, though the arquebus starts rising in prominence in the late 1400s. Prior to that, sure you can find a gun made in 1398 with no Burt stock? trigger, or what not, but the idea they had permeated the tactical conscience sufficiently to drive a generational upgrade from mail to plate that happens in the late 1300s to early 1400s seems unlikely...though their presence will certainly lead to increasingly “full” plate culminating things like the white harness (although at the same time cheap(er) 3/4 munition plate is becoming more common for everyone thanks to manufacturing).
    While mobility with firearms seems to have become possible with the introduction of matchcord (late 14th century?), how quickly they were adopted seems to have varied. The hussites were known for their handgunners, but they were taken up fairly quickly in Italy too, with specialists in the field armies showing up in the 1430s. At the Battle of Caravaggio (1448), there was so much smoke from the hand gunners that they couldn't see each other. The next year the short lived Republic of Milan claimed it could field 20,000 men equipped with hand-guns (certainly an exaggeration). Gunpowder weapons also made siege warfare more deadly; many condottieri of the period were wounded at least once by firearms. They also appear in sieges, and the defense of towns, earlier than they appear in open battle. Clearly it was making a significant impact by the mid-15th century, but it's not clear how much impact they had earlier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Arquebus and musket barrels were made of steel earlier, but that's more of a 30YW era thing IIRC.
    Many were still being made of iron into the 19th century.

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    I really don't know where the dumb idea that firearms somehow magically appeared in renaissance comes from. Hussite wars happen 1419-1434 and have an absolutely massive amount of gunpowder. A war wagon of 18 people had 6 crossbowmen and 2 gunners as its ranged complement, which gets us firearms making up over 10% of an army, and 25% of ranged troops. This isn't counting actual light artillery of which there was one per wagon, so one per 20 people. Assuming Teutonic Order's ratios of knighte and infantrymen, that's as many artillery guns in an army as there are knights.

    This development wasn't a one-off thing either. Black army of Hungary was created a bit after 1450 and had a hefty complement of arquebusiers - partly because a lot of them were the ones from Hussite wars or their enemies who promptly decided to adapt this new weapon.

    So, for chronology, you see some rare guns pre-1400, you start to see guns fairly often in 1400-1425 and after that, they are a standard part of a medieval army. This means that widespread gun use post-dates plate elements on top of chain mail, since we start to see those in about 1350 as a matter of course, with some early examples as far back as 1275. Well, in western Europe, near-steppe areas (Poland, Russia, Hungary, Balkans, Baltic) have had lamellar and scale cuirasses for centuries at this point.

    There in also lies the hint - the cultures around the steppes, with an awful lot of bow use, have some additional armor on top of their chain mail if they can afford it.

    That's right, it's bows. Or rather, it's widespread use of powerful bows, powerful enough to make chain mail alone an uncertain proposition, so about 110+ lbs range. If you have a lot of those, you will want to have some extra protection. You start to see this protection in Europe as a result of crossbows increasing their draw weight - goat's foot lever starts to become popular around 1300, being the first mechanical advantage spanning device. With it, you have crossbows that can match the more powerful nomadic bows and with that, an increased need for protection against them.

    That, of course, means melee weapons want to keep pace, and you start to see developments like warpicks and flanged maces at about the same pace, culminating with leaving shields behind and taking up warhammers in 1400, as seen in Fiore who doesn't even bother to tell you how to use a shield.

    All this means that armor needs to be even more protective, so it gets things like layering three different types of metal in one plate, increased thickness and so on. At this point it gets far too expensive to outfit any but the most elite troops in it and we start to see it gradually decline in use.

    So, rough comparision for western Europe is:

    1220 - first maybe coat of plates depiction I know of, most people who want more armor just use second gambeson or chain mail layer in their surcoat

    1241 - first gunpowder used on European soil in battle, Mongols bring rocket launchers to Sajo, Hungarians not amused

    1250 - first unambiguous coat of plates, the famous Saint Maurice from Magdeburg

    1300 - chain mail honeymoon ends with more powerful crossbows being the norm, William Wallace is introduced to Welsh longbowmen

    1325 - coat of plates is widely popular

    1346 - Crecy happens

    1350 - coat of plates or brigandine is standard, almost no one goes without it

    1400 - plate cuirass is standard, chain mail starts to be removed entirely from bits covered by plate

    1410 - serpentine lock

    1415 - Agincourt happens

    1419 - first mass deployment of gunpowder weaponry on a national level in Europe as part of Hussite wars

    1448 - second battle of Kosovo, Ottomans deploy arquebusier regiments

    1450 - full plate armor as we know it

    1453 - Black army of Hungary begins

    1475 - matchlock

    1520 - heavy arquebus, aka musket, for use against heavy cuirasses at long-ish range

    Ugh, that's it for now, I really need to catch some sleep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    I really don't know where the dumb idea that firearms somehow magically appeared in renaissance comes from. Hussite wars happen 1419-1434 and have an absolutely massive amount of gunpowder. A war wagon of 18 people had 6 crossbowmen and 2 gunners as its ranged complement, which gets us firearms making up over 10% of an army, and 25% of ranged troops. This isn't counting actual light artillery of which there was one per wagon, so one per 20 people. Assuming Teutonic Order's ratios of knighte and infantrymen, that's as many artillery guns in an army as there are knights.

    This development wasn't a one-off thing either. Black army of Hungary was created a bit after 1450 and had a hefty complement of arquebusiers - partly because a lot of them were the ones from Hussite wars or their enemies who promptly decided to adapt this new weapon.

    So, for chronology, you see some rare guns pre-1400, you start to see guns fairly often in 1400-1425 and after that, they are a standard part of a medieval army. This means that widespread gun use post-dates plate elements on top of chain mail, since we start to see those in about 1350 as a matter of course, with some early examples as far back as 1275. Well, in western Europe, near-steppe areas (Poland, Russia, Hungary, Balkans, Baltic) have had lamellar and scale cuirasses for centuries at this point.

    There in also lies the hint - the cultures around the steppes, with an awful lot of bow use, have some additional armor on top of their chain mail if they can afford it.

    That's right, it's bows. Or rather, it's widespread use of powerful bows, powerful enough to make chain mail alone an uncertain proposition, so about 110+ lbs range. If you have a lot of those, you will want to have some extra protection. You start to see this protection in Europe as a result of crossbows increasing their draw weight - goat's foot lever starts to become popular around 1300, being the first mechanical advantage spanning device. With it, you have crossbows that can match the more powerful nomadic bows and with that, an increased need for protection against them.

    That, of course, means melee weapons want to keep pace, and you start to see developments like warpicks and flanged maces at about the same pace, culminating with leaving shields behind and taking up warhammers in 1400, as seen in Fiore who doesn't even bother to tell you how to use a shield.

    All this means that armor needs to be even more protective, so it gets things like layering three different types of metal in one plate, increased thickness and so on. At this point it gets far too expensive to outfit any but the most elite troops in it and we start to see it gradually decline in use.
    And as I understand it in many place the expense issue is compounded by the transition to larger armies equipped and fielded directly by monarchs and other state-level powers. The cheaper mass-produced (sometimes referred to as "munitions grade" IIRC) plate is much less resistant to firearms than the high-end custom suits, and the cost of improving 10s of 1000s of plates to the high-end standard would have been nuts. And the role of the warrior-noble or warrior-aristocrat starts to fade as well. Demand for high-end armor fell, and the highly specialized skills for making it faded.


    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    So, rough comparision for western Europe is:

    1220 - first maybe coat of plates depiction I know of, most people who want more armor just use second gambeson or chain mail layer in their surcoat

    1241 - first gunpowder used on European soil in battle, Mongols bring rocket launchers to Sajo, Hungarians not amused

    1250 - first unambiguous coat of plates, the famous Saint Maurice from Magdeburg

    1300 - chain mail honeymoon ends with more powerful crossbows being the norm, William Wallace is introduced to Welsh longbowmen

    1325 - coat of plates is widely popular

    1346 - Crecy happens

    1350 - coat of plates or brigandine is standard, almost no one goes without it

    1400 - plate cuirass is standard, chain mail starts to be removed entirely from bits covered by plate

    1410 - serpentine lock

    1415 - Agincourt happens

    1419 - first mass deployment of gunpowder weaponry on a national level in Europe as part of Hussite wars

    1448 - second battle of Kosovo, Ottomans deploy arquebusier regiments

    1450 - full plate armor as we know it

    1453 - Black army of Hungary begins

    1475 - matchlock

    1520 - heavy arquebus, aka musket, for use against heavy cuirasses at long-ish range

    Ugh, that's it for now, I really need to catch some sleep.
    Either of the timelines posted should give someone reason to doubt the standard simplified narrative that "firearms ended armor".
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    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Many were still being made of iron into the 19th century.
    It is shockingly hard to find good information on what kind of metal was used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    It is shockingly hard to find good information on what kind of metal was used.
    Indeed. During the Civil War some companies in the Union produced M1861 "Special Contract rifle-muskets," the best known being Colt. The 1861 Colt Special was basically the same as the standard Springfield, but had some different features, many of which would be incorporated into the M1863 rifle. Anyway, the barrels of the Colt rifles were marked "STEEL", which would seem to imply that the standard M1861 (which lacked such a marking) had an iron barrel.

    Digging on the internet, I found this article, which is rather long, but refers to the difficulties faced in mass producing steel at that time, and makes it clear that iron was used in the U.S. for most (not all) gun barrels through the Civil War.

    https://www.muzzleblasts.com/archive.../mbo43-3.shtml

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    Lots of good information here. Looks like I was off the mark to suggest that gun manufacture made plate manufacture feasible. Instead, it's probably more accurate to say that both rely on the same root technology - the ability to produce large quantities of decent iron (and alloys), including large individual pieces. Although the blast furnace is a bit late on to the scene - spreading in Europe in the late 15th century - would it be accurate to say the large scale production of both required much the same technology base? That is, even if the ideas were around much earlier, both technologies required early 15th century iron production capacity to deploy in numbers?

    Plenty of information on the cold weather overheating, too. I find the dehydration point particularly interesting; in hindsight maybe it should have been obvious, since humans can survive high temperatures for a sustained period... as long as we drink lots of water. Horns of Hattin, anyone?
    One thing which hasn't come up yet, I think, is the wind chill factor. I don't think any medieval textile will stop the wind entirely, but steel plates should. I can certainly see the constrained airflow in plate having a huge impact on internal temperature, even as the plate itself would be dangerously cold to the touch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    It is shockingly hard to find good information on what kind of metal was used.
    For pre-industrial revolution, this is even harder to do, because only thing that will give you comprehensive answer is to take the whole artifact and destructively drill through it in several places. Needless to say, this isn't done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    Lots of good information here. Looks like I was off the mark to suggest that gun manufacture made plate manufacture feasible. Instead, it's probably more accurate to say that both rely on the same root technology - the ability to produce large quantities of decent iron (and alloys), including large individual pieces. Although the blast furnace is a bit late on to the scene - spreading in Europe in the late 15th century - would it be accurate to say the large scale production of both required much the same technology base? That is, even if the ideas were around much earlier, both technologies required early 15th century iron production capacity to deploy in numbers?
    Almost. For personal guns, yeah, you need this kind of metallurgy - but artillery can be made with bronze. In theory, a country like China had capability of fielding Ottoman-style large cannons surprisingly early, there just wasn't the incentive to. Europe was unique in the sheer mindboggling number of fortified castles and towns - Hungary had something like 900 castles per 3 million people, not counting fortified towns, churches, monasteries and villages, that's one fortress per 3 000 people. You could quite literally put all of the Europe's population behind a fortified wall of some sort if you had to, and that's a hell of an incentive to develop sophisticated siege weapons.

    Still, you can't go too early, bronze smelting technology also has to be at a certain level to make cannons like these - I think we had a discussion on this point a few pages back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    the ability to produce large quantities of decent iron (and alloys)
    Frankly, it's all about steel. You need to have a reasonably large chunks of it, and it has to be without too many flaws, since we don't want it to fail under blows or pressure. It's also important that the soldiers have a perception of this sort of weapon being reliable, because no one wants to put a pipe bomb next to their face and light it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    One thing which hasn't come up yet, I think, is the wind chill factor. I don't think any medieval textile will stop the wind entirely, but steel plates should. I can certainly see the constrained airflow in plate having a huge impact on internal temperature, even as the plate itself would be dangerously cold to the touch.
    As someone who was in a night forest with waist deep snow at -20 C, wind is not a problem. You really, really underestimate what medieval fabrics can do if you have proper replicas - a linen tunic with upper clothes made of wool and linen already gets you a minimum of 3 layers, and then you add a linen-backed cloak on top. At that point, the only kind of wind that can get through is strong enough to bodily pick you up. If you have a cloak that is made of a single layer of bedsheets, like a proper starting LARPer (I burned that cloak in the dead of night, there were no wtinesses), you'll have problems.

    Armor is even better to have, to a point where you can put your shield on the snow and go to sleep in a gambeson on it using your pack as a pillow. It's not a tremendously comfortable experience, but it's survivable without you getting sick, especially if you also have a cloak and a hood, which you really should.

    What really kills a winter campaign is the wetness. That snow will melt at some point and you will inevitably end up with wet, miserable soldiers, and if you are wet and then a wind picks up, you will get sick quickly. In winter, statistics say this will hit a sizeable portion of your troops eventually, so... just stay home. There's also an issue of roads not... existing under all that snow, really, but I'm off on a tangent here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And as I understand it in many place the expense issue is compounded by the transition to larger armies equipped and fielded directly by monarchs and other state-level powers. The cheaper mass-produced (sometimes referred to as "munitions grade" IIRC) plate is much less resistant to firearms than the high-end custom suits, and the cost of improving 10s of 1000s of plates to the high-end standard would have been nuts. And the role of the warrior-noble or warrior-aristocrat starts to fade as well. Demand for high-end armor fell, and the highly specialized skills for making it faded.
    Let's also not forget that these large armies have also shifted how they acquire equipment for their baseline troops from personal acquisition to state-issued kit. Once a state has to pay for the gear, well, lowest bidder time it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    Lots of good information here. Looks like I was off the mark to suggest that gun manufacture made plate manufacture feasible. Instead, it's probably more accurate to say that both rely on the same root technology - the ability to produce large quantities of decent iron (and alloys), including large individual pieces. Although the blast furnace is a bit late on to the scene - spreading in Europe in the late 15th century - would it be accurate to say the large scale production of both required much the same technology base? That is, even if the ideas were around much earlier, both technologies required early 15th century iron production capacity to deploy in numbers?
    Bret Devereaux has a blog called A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry where he takes a historian's look (He is an ancient historian who currently teaches as a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of History at NC State U) at many pop-culture views of history, or just at elements if ancient and medieval history that are misunderstood. He recently did a 4-part series (in six parts) at pre-modern iron and steel production. I cannot recommend his blog highly enough.

    Pre-modern Iron and Steel Production starts at this post. Today's post is starting a series on textile production.

    DrewID

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewID View Post
    Bret Devereaux has a blog called A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry where he takes a historian's look (He is an ancient historian who currently teaches as a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of History at NC State U) at many pop-culture views of history, or just at elements if ancient and medieval history that are misunderstood. He recently did a 4-part series (in six parts) at pre-modern iron and steel production. I cannot recommend his blog highly enough.

    Pre-modern Iron and Steel Production starts at this post. Today's post is starting a series on textile production.

    DrewID
    That blog is spectacular.

    I highly recommend it.

    He deconstructs the myth of Sparta, the "Fremen Mirage", multiple aspects of GOT/ASOIF, etc.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewID View Post
    a 4-part series (in six parts)
    That's a true mark of distinction.

    Seriously, the Sparta putdown was brutal. I considered myself sophisticated for understanding the brutal oppressiveness and inequality in Sparta but for some reason I had an image of it as a successful long-standing military power. Kind of "I abhor their ideals but admire their results". To know how relatively little it achieved was really weird. And to understand that the source of the problem was demographics which everybody has seen but no one did anything about was even worse/better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    That's a true mark of distinction.

    Seriously, the Sparta putdown was brutal. I considered myself sophisticated for understanding the brutal oppressiveness and inequality in Sparta but for some reason I had an image of it as a successful long-standing military power. Kind of "I abhor their ideals but admire their results". To know how relatively little it achieved was really weird. And to understand that the source of the problem was demographics which everybody has seen but no one did anything about was even worse/better.
    I was pulled in by his analysis of the Siege of Minas Tirith.

    To me, the best thing is that I don't always agree with him. Sometimes I find myself having to adjust my thinking based on his evidence, but sometimes I still disagree with his conclusions, and that's OK. He makes his presentation, backs it up with published sources (especially when he moves further outside his primary specialty, which is the Mediterranean region and the Greco-Roman period), and does it without being rude or offensive. And is frequently entertaining to boot. I think if you have an interest in this thread, you will enjoy his blog.

    DrewID

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