A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post
    Fair point about the feasibility of lower-powered laser weapons. But still, what’s the perceived advantage of using a laser instead of a gun, other than being awesome if you grew up in the 80s?
    Lasers are awesome no matter when you grew up.

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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
    Looking at current or near future tech, there really isn't one. Assuming energy supply gets better and more portable, then it might get better as an option. As far as space weapons go, the fact that lasers are more or less unlimited range, and don't have to deal with bullet drop like traditional guns, which will need to be recalibrated in different gravity, if you take your standard ballistic firearm to another planet or the moon or on a ship in zero G, your earth sights will be way off. So, there's a theoretical advantage, if we assume the tech gets better.
    Eh, without clarketech it's still unlikely to be as good as kinetics in converting power at the originating end to physical damage at receiving end, at least as long as we are talking anything remotely resembling infantry.

    Sights are not a problem at all. 1) there are already sights auto-adjusting for atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed. adding a gravity sensor would be nothing (in fact it's smaller, cheaper and more reliable than atmosphere sensors). 2) Even for iron sights I am not sure what scenario you propose where infantry would not be able to use quick-swappable or quick-adjustable sights calibrated for different gravity strengths.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmogidget View Post
    Lasers are awesome no matter when you grew up.
    Truth.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2020-12-10 at 06:15 PM.

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

    For man-portable weapons, there are only two possible things I can think of as an advantage.

    Item one is stealth. Chemically-driven projectile weapons are generally loud; lasers are relatively quiet and invisible as well (though once you start talking enough energy to instantly disable/kill, both may become less true? As you turn atmosphere to plasma and/or convert water to vapor with enough speed to kinda explode.)

    The other that I can think of being theoretically possible, but I don't have the physics chops to know if it can actually be true - that's the question of mass. If it's theoretically possible to have power generation and/or storage tech such that you can get more shots-on-target than you can by carting physical ammo around, but at the same time you are still dealing with issues of fuel-to-mass ratios in moving your ammunition supply around, then it might be more practical to be issuing lasers to your soldiers. But that's absolutely not the case with current or near-future tech.
    Last edited by Lapak; 2020-12-11 at 09:26 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TheStranger View Post
    Fair point about the feasibility of lower-powered laser weapons. But still, what’s the perceived advantage of using a laser instead of a gun, other than being awesome if you grew up in the 80s?
    It really depends on where and for what you want to use them. Riot control is different than anti-infantry is different to ship-mounted.

    First thing that bears mentioning, and that is the reason we will pretty much never see any sort of laser rifle tech, is atmosphere. Anything that blocks light will block lasers, so mist, rain, sandstorms and so on and so forth drastically reduce your possible range. That means that even if you had a laser rifle that would work ono a clear day, it would stop once that fog rolls in. That makes it unreliable and unusable in global terms, and that in turn makes it an absolute logistical nightmare to even attempt to deploy.

    Which means that, no matter what, lasers will only be used if nothing else can do the job.

    That said, all of these pesky problem disappear if you go into space, and there, lasers are actually a pretty good idea.

    Okay, so, actual advantages. Stealth is not one of them, really, even if the beam itself is silent, the target certainly won't be. Screams aside, burning is bright and loud, and if you have enough power to turn air into plasma, well...

    One potential advantage is ammunition supply. If you have the sort of energy tech necessary for lasers, odds are you can pack quite a few shots into a battery pack. For near future tech, this doesn't apply, because near future tech doesn't have man-portable lasers. However, one thing does apply - all you need to laser is electricity, so there are no pesky issues of right kind of bullet, one battery pack can power any laser weapon it has enough juice for, be it a sniper, SMG or a pistol. That would allow you to standardize quite a lot, and e.g. make HMG batteries made of several pistol batteries duckttaped together. And to top it off, if you are mounted on a vehicle that needs power, you will be able to just plug it into that, so any sort of, say, nuclear sub or carrier will be able to have them without needing space to store ammo. And will also be able to recharge smaller weapons on board - but that will only happen if you can mount lasers on things smaller than a Boeing 737 that can actually launch from carriers.

    The big one is travel time. Lasers travel at just under the speed of light, so there is little need to lead most targets. If you need to shoot a hypersonic target, aim straight at it and pull the trigger. This is why lasers tend to be used in point defence systems - nothing else can really do that, maybe except microwaves.

    Travel time, incidentally, also makes it trivially easy to walk your shots, if you have LoS on the target. That will also allow you to aim several lasers into the same spot fairly easily. There is no bullet deviation to take care of.

    Finally, and this depends on how exactly you are producing the laser, you may not need long barrels or heavy lens to make it work. That could allow you to bring the size of a very powerful laser way, way down. With enough fingaling, you may also be able to make a variable power version, and in this case, the key is to imagine IJN Yamato where every gun on board of it (main, secondary, AA, ...):

    • has main gun capabilities
    • can hit small, fast targets as well
    • is capable of tracking aircraft because of small size, and therefore agility
    • doesn't need ammo storage, just a reactor


    And that is what we call a whole lot of gun.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post

    Okay, so, actual advantages. Stealth is not one of them, really, even if the beam itself is silent, the target certainly won't be. Screams aside, burning is bright and loud, and if you have enough power to turn air into plasma, well...
    I was arguing that lasers are not going to be man-portable weapons, ever, but if they can be made stealth is a (little) advantage, for the same reason there are "silent" (captive piston) grenade launchers and mortars. Keeping the opposition guessing or disoriented for even a short period period of time is worthwhile.

    The big one is travel time. Lasers travel at just under the speed of light, so there is little need to lead most targets.
    I thought lasers travel at the speed of light, because they are, well, light. Are you talking about speed of light in the air being lower than speed of light in vacuum, or I am missing something?

    Finally, and this depends on how exactly you are producing the laser, you may not need long barrels or heavy lens to make it work.
    I cannot quickly find the source but I remember reading that with currently known technologies powerful lasers do not scale quite perfectly, and it would be easier to make a laser for the (Space Battleship) Yamato capable of taking down another Yamato than a laser for a TIE-Fighter capable of taking down another TIE-Fighter.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2020-12-11 at 05:04 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I was arguing that lasers are not going to be man-portable weapons, ever, but if they can be made stealth is a (little) advantage, for the same reason there are "silent" (captive piston) grenade launchers and mortars. Keeping the opposition guessing or disoriented for even a short period period of time is worthwhile.
    Man portable are sort of grenade launcher-like, but if you can't have them replace mortars, because lasers can't fire indirectly. That means they are inferior to just about all of traditional ground artillery in what they can hit from where.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I thought lasers travel at the speed of light, because they are, well, light. Are you talking about speed of light in the air being lower than speed of light in vacuum, or I am missing something?
    There is air vs vacuum, then there is possible rain or fog in the way, and there is also deplay between pulling the trigger and the weapon firing - while circuitry does function at near c speed, there may well be some delay before the necessary light/energy levels build up to fire, and there is also sensor input delay, even if you are aiming using naked eyes. This depends a lot on the details, if you have pulse laser or standard beam, how much time you have from target detection to target no longer being viable and so on.

    In the end, you're not quite lightspeed, but can get pretty close.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I cannot quickly find the source but I remember reading that with currently known technologies powerful lasers do not scale quite perfectly, and it would be easier to make a laser for the (Space Battleship) Yamato capable of taking down another Yamato than a laser for a TIE-Fighter capable of taking down another TIE-Fighter.
    By the time we have lasers capable of taking out armored warships, we're pretty far away in handwave land. Even so, I don't think there is quite as much of a difference between laser pistol and laser naval cannon as there is between a 9mm Glock and Yamato's main guns. Though that may depend on whether you're counting power source of the lasers into the equation.

    Even then, lasers don't seem to need long barrels, which means you can give them a considerably higher rotational speed at lower power requirements when compared to naval guns, even if their weight is the same.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    The continued fascination with them in near future / development circles in their ability to consistently hit fast, fragile, and sometimes quite small given the distances involved, targets at longer ranges than traditional CIWS and at a lower cost per shot than the traditional missile - or at the very least, with ability to store more shots and fire them off rapidly.

    Concepts have ranged from using them to shoot down artillery shells (the original THEL did this for a demo) to more traditional air/ballistic missile defense (a battery of air defense missile launchers might only have 12-24 missiles “loaded” , and long reload times - vulnerable to saturation with TBMs or a gorilla package), and nowadays there is some renewed interest in if it can be used as a cost effective drone counter (missiles like the Patriot or S300 use are millions of dollars a piece; a host of drones that live in the airspace where shorter range missiles would fall short are cheaper).

    But almost all of those rely less on Star Wars esque pew-pew-boom and more on doing “just enough” damage to disable the target platform.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Martin Greywolf's benchmark (boil 1 kg of human tissue, 267 kJ) requires 534 kW
    Except you don't need to boil 1 kg of a person to disable them, you just need to inflict 3rd degree burns to a centimetre or so of depth, which is a lot less flesh.

    Looking at some papers, the specific heat capacity of flesh is 3.5 kJ/kg/K and you need to hit about 80C to cause a severe burn. Assuming a standard 34C for skin temp, that's (80-34)*3.5 = 161 kJ/kg.

    Assuming a 9mm round equivalent to a depth of 2cm and a human flesh density of 1.1g/mL, that's (pi*(0.45^2)*2)*1.1) = 1.4g of flesh to heat, which is (1.4/1000)*161 = 0.2 kJ

    There's a thermal transfer coefficient I haven't figured out yet (duration of laser contact, strength of laser, heat dispersion of human flesh, etc); this paper (link)seems to have the answer, although I need a couple days to recover from the Christmas crunch before I can science that hard in an unfamiliar field.

    That said, one alternate weaponisation of 'burning a hole through things' that's popular, is causing plasma formation by ablating and boiling the outermost layers of the target, causing an explosion. On a human combatants, this is pretty much as effective as burning a hole in them.

    There's also the potentially banned EM field generation by a similar mechanism, causing nerve excitation and extreme pain to humans, or the ever favourite 'microwave' laser (which has much the same effect).

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Except you don't need to boil 1 kg of a person to disable them, you just need to inflict 3rd degree burns to a centimetre or so of depth, which is a lot less flesh.
    Except we need to blast a hole the width of a Star Wars laser through a guy, as per the original question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    That said, one alternate weaponisation of 'burning a hole through things' that's popular, is causing plasma formation by ablating and boiling the outermost layers of the target, causing an explosion.
    If you are turning a point of contact into plasma, I suspect you are also doing something weird to air in the way - sure, we do have real lasers in pettawatt range, but I don't think those send the beam through air. At this point you need to either invest several days of research into finding out, or try to ask a xkcd what if.
    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 Martin Greywolf View Post
    Except we need to blast a hole the width of a Star Wars laser through a guy, as per the original question.



    If you are turning a point of contact into plasma, I suspect you are also doing something weird to air in the way - sure, we do have real lasers in pettawatt range, but I don't think those send the beam through air. At this point you need to either invest several days of research into finding out, or try to ask a xkcd what if.
    Nah it's possible to do that with somewhat practical tech (in an engineering sense). Particularly powerful laser ablation will turn stuff into plasma easy peasy, it just takes way more equipment than a person would want to carry, plus an external power supply.

    Ablation of the target (or the atmosphere) into plasma is actually a major barrier to viable laser weaponry, since typically light that air is transparent to, plasma is not. That's the main appeal of pulse lasers. By using extremely powerful, short pulses, you give enough time for the plasma/vapor "cloud" to dissipate, allowing you to zap it again.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    Except we need to blast a hole the width of a Star Wars laser through a guy, as per the original question.
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    If you are turning a point of contact into plasma, I suspect you are also doing something weird to air in the way - sure, we do have real lasers in pettawatt range, but I don't think those send the beam through air. At this point you need to either invest several days of research into finding out, or try to ask a xkcd what if.
    Explosive boiling by laser ablation is a real thing and doesn't require lasers in the power range you mention: link.

    The US Navy LAWS is a 30kW laser and does a good job of making things explode, although not in the same timeframe as a conventional ballistic weapon after making contact: see approx 0.59 onwards of the US Navy LAWS demonstration.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2020-12-16 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 Brother Oni View Post
    Explosive boiling by laser ablation is a real thing and doesn't require lasers in the power range you mention: link.
    To repeat myself. Can it blast a hole through a person? If not (and the linked paper has ablation depth of micrometers listed, so...), can the results of a particular study be scaled upwards to energy levels that can blast a hole through a person? A tennis ball behaves very differently at mach 1 and mach 20, how sure are we we aren't hitting a similar threshold.

    The linked paper shows that increase from 10^11 to 10^12 in wattage gives us an increase of 12 micrometers. Scaling that up to human torso would get us absurd energies if we tried to ablate in one hit, and if we need repeat hits, we get about 25 000 individual hits before we get through 30 cm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    The US Navy LAWS is a 30kW laser and does a good job of making things explode, although not in the same timeframe as a conventional ballistic weapon after making contact: see approx 0.59 onwards of the US Navy LAWS demonstration.
    No it doesn't. The first target looked like a mortar shell, so the laser is powerful enough to set off other explosives. Once they start to shoot at the drone, there is no explosion, only a fire. It seems to be great at taking out relatively fragile complex things, and at taking out things that explode if overheated enough. Which is why it is a point defense weapon, not a traditional secondary armament.
    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 Martin Greywolf View Post
    To repeat myself. Can it blast a hole through a person?
    Except I wasn't stating it could blast a hole in a person, I was stating it was another way of incapacitating a person, much like my 'third degree burns' estimation.

    Your previous post sounded like it was contesting the science of laser ablation causing boiling, to which I posted that paper. I wasn't trying to use laser ablation causing explosive boiling as an alternate means of blowing a hole through a person - it's overkill, pointless and I simply don't have the energy to crunch the math, so I conceded the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    No it doesn't. The first target looked like a mortar shell, so the laser is powerful enough to set off other explosives. Once they start to shoot at the drone, there is no explosion, only a fire. It seems to be great at taking out relatively fragile complex things, and at taking out things that explode if overheated enough. Which is why it is a point defense weapon, not a traditional secondary armament.
    I didn't say anything about the LAWS being a PD or traditional secondary armament, just whether the practicality of whether the LAWS can trigger explosive boiling. You seem to be setting up strawmen that don't have anything to do with the original post.

    From other papers, 2x1010watts/cm2 (~20 gigawatts/cm2) seems to be the threshold to significantly make things go boom, so I concede the point that the LAWS has the wattage to make things explode like that, using the mechanism presented.

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

    How much of a distant obstacle is required to seriously impair a war arrows flight.
    For example would a tent be enough to keep you basically safe (aside from the obscuring effects) or would it go through it without noticing. What is the minimum you'd need.
    Canvas is obviously enough for 'fairground' archery but they are blunt and weak.

    For the sake of completeness, I'll escalate the question up via guns. Although I know that can go through even things you think ought to protect you.

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

    I can't answer the arrow question, but I can do something with the expanded question.


    Even at terminal ballistics, any military bullet that can still wound you will not balk at any cloth. It is theoretically possible for a bullet to have just enough energy left that punching through cloth will keep it from penetrating the skin, but that's highly unlikely. Hollowpoint bullets are potentially a different story - cloth can jam up the hollow and either keep them from expanding or expand them prematurely. Either would significantly change how the bullet performs.

    To reliably stop any rifle bullet, you need several inches of wood, a significant amount of mild steel, or about a half-inch of hardened steel (or, of course, properly backed ceramics, but the question is more about environment). Nothing less will significantly matter except at very long range. If somebody's using AP ammo, you need significantly more of all such substances. Some light, fast bullets can be deflected by less, but slower and heavier bullets won't be.

    Pistol rounds tend to have about half the penetration or less that rifles do, so about 2 inches of wood, an inch of mild steel, or a quarter-inch of hard stuff. Historical weapons such as muskets or other black powder rounds will perform similarly to pistols because they are in the same velocity range.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    How much of a distant obstacle is required to seriously impair a war arrows flight.
    For example would a tent be enough to keep you basically safe (aside from the obscuring effects) or would it go through it without noticing. What is the minimum you'd need.
    Canvas is obviously enough for 'fairground' archery but they are blunt and weak.

    For the sake of completeness, I'll escalate the question up via guns. Although I know that can go through even things you think ought to protect you.
    I know very little about practical effects of arrows but I want to to ask one clarifying question: what exactly would you mean by "distant obstacle"? I interpret that as "obstacle which projectile passes through, so it will not save you if it's against your skin but which will save you if you are some distance behind it" but I may be wrong.

    Any obstacle which is insufficient to stop a bullet but still can save you will do so by redirection/deflection. There are a lot of situations where material will not stop a bullet will redirect it. One example seen in the firefights in the cities: modern (very sloped) windshields of cars will not stop 9mm Parabellum (typical pistol round) but can (if fired at from the front) significantly change the trajectory. Modern intermediate cartridges are susceptible to that effect to a degree that shooting through the bush can result in bullets being deflected and even keyholing (when the bullet starts to rotate in abnormal direction, so sometimes it flies sideways). It will not save you if you are say 1 meter behind the bush, but it can result in a bullet missing you if you are 10 meters behind the bush, or if you have a body armor it may result in a keyholing bullet failing to penetrate the armor which the same bullet flying normally would penetrate with ease. All of the above says "may": it may or may not, it's pretty random. Heavier and slower are much less affected, I would guess that musketballs are practically not affected.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2020-12-16 at 07:15 PM.

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

    On the subject of obstacles that won’t stop a bullet but will deflect it is widely discussed in what are called “brush guns”. Any hunting forum will have a few threads dedicated to the subject and a significant number of youtube firearms channels have videos showing practical demonstrations.

    Generally speaking high velocity small calibre jacketed bullets are more likely to be deflected and slower heavy lead bullets more likely to stay on target. So even if you have 2 rounds with the same energy both will behave very differently with respect to deflecting from obstacles.

    In WWII in the Pacific and in VietNam there were many reports of soldiers reporting light fast rounds getting deflected by foliage and comparatively slow heavy rounds punching through.

    Now getting back to arrows. Will a canvas tent stop/deflect a war arrow?
    Stop - not unless you are at extreme ranges.
    Deflect - depends a lot on the arrow head. My guess is that bodkin points will deflect more as the smaller hole will leave more canvas in contact with the shaft as it passes through and the initial hole will be a more uneven punch, a broad head will have a larger hole that will be more evenly cut and to my mind that should pass through with less deflection. Tests on penetration show that broadheads pass through gambeson better than bodkin points.

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

    One thing I remember from hunter's safety training was a demonstration using a large coffee can full of sand. It stopped a rifle bullet within the can. The arrow penetrated through the can and into the target behind the can.

    I cant give caliber or grain weights as it was 25 or so years ago.

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

    Re: guns. Some of that will be considered by the yaw dependency of the bullet. Many newer rounds are less yaw dependent and so tend to deliver much higher average penetration despite a theoretical physical equivalency.

    The current generation 5.56mm will go through cinder blocks at 50 yards, or a quarter inch of soft steel (or a 5mm hardened plate - basically double medieval “full plate”) at 400 yards. It will also go through a lot of light construction materials, but be tossed rather off course in the process. Which won’t matter if the guy is using a flipped over table for cover or some such.

    Long 7.62mm (medium machine gun stuff) hasn’t been modernized, so it actually has less effective penetration of thin hard surfaces (read: steel), but tends to deal with thicker softer surfaces better. Still, you can forget the hole movie idea of hiding behind a car door, or for that matter anything other than the engine block - and it’ll go through several interior walls.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I know very little about practical effects of arrows but I want to to ask one clarifying question: what exactly would you mean by "distant obstacle"? I interpret that as "obstacle which projectile passes through, so it will not save you if it's against your skin but which will save you if you are some distance behind it" but I may be wrong.

    Any obstacle which is insufficient to stop a bullet but still can save you will do so by redirection/deflection.
    Yes.

    In the case of arrows I'd assume that would also include cases of significant rotation deflection (so it hits you edge on), however due to the higher parabola course the distances that are interestingly feasible are quite small.

    Interesting to see the numbers, collations of stories. I'd seen the Top Gear where they 'armour' their car and it's utterly ineffective, and similar. So no major surprises.

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

    I don't recall the name right now, but the cloth thing that billows out behind a mounted warrior when moving really will catch arrows and prevent them from penetrating the armor at all.

    So if the cloth of a tent or banner or something has any give and any resistance, it's possible that it would do something similar.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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

    Arrows will shoot through sandbags

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPXL...od%27sWorkshop

    Yeah, it's a crossbow, but it's set up to shoot longbow arrows and mimic the energy. The guy isn't a professional archer but wants to test archery versus stuff. Poke around his channel for more interesting experiments with bows and slings and pila and plumbata and so on

    And I rigged up a backyard archery range (because lockdown) and used an old carpet as a backstop, and my 45 pound recurve sent arrows with target points right through it. No there are no neighbors back there, just forest, so the backstop was more to keep me from losing arrows than endangering the neighborhood.

    So I would say you'd need something substantial, or maybe as Max pointed out, something that has some give to catch them and tangle them up.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2020-12-17 at 06:50 PM.
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  23. - Top - End - #233
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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
    I don't recall the name right now, but the cloth thing that billows out behind a mounted warrior when moving really will catch arrows and prevent them from penetrating the armor at all.

    So if the cloth of a tent or banner or something has any give and any resistance, it's possible that it would do something similar.
    It's called horo (母衣) and while it is surprisingly effective against arrows I doubt any historical tent would be even half as effective at stopping arrows. Now, can some sort of frame or maybe even ropes with stakes attached at specific points provide a comparable resistance? Probably yes, but I doubt it was developed. Normal modus operandi would be not getting shot at by hiding, or by having a standing night watch which would awake you in case of attack.

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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
    Arrows will shoot through sandbags

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPXL...od%27sWorkshop

    Yeah, it's a crossbow, but it's set up to shoot longbow arrows and mimic the energy. The guy sin;t a professional archer but wants to test archery versus stuff. Poke around his channel for more interesting experimanets with bows and slings and pila and plumbata and so on

    And I rigged up a backyard archery range (because lockdown) and used an old carpet as a backstop, and my 45 pound recurve sent arrows with target points right through it. No there are no neighbors back there, just forest, so the backstop was more to keep me from losing arrows than endangering the neighborhood.

    So I would say you'd need something substantial, or maybe as Max pointed out, something that has some give to catch them and tangle them up.
    (I'd seen the channel before, but not the latest). That was a lot more 'obstacle what obstacle'. My prejudice would have expected it to be more akin to the way it stuck out the butt afterwards*, and for cloth to be anywhere somewhere hanging off the fletchings to a fair chance of lethality (partly because of examples like Max gave.)

    *A combination of that and up and over, would have imo been a satisfactory explanation of the inspiration story, if t had been needed.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    On the subject of obstacles that won’t stop a bullet but will deflect it is widely discussed in what are called “brush guns”. Any hunting forum will have a few threads dedicated to the subject and a significant number of youtube firearms channels have videos showing practical demonstrations.

    Generally speaking high velocity small calibre jacketed bullets are more likely to be deflected and slower heavy lead bullets more likely to stay on target. So even if you have 2 rounds with the same energy both will behave very differently with respect to deflecting from obstacles.
    The geometry of the bullet is also a factor. I've heard some hunters like 6.5mm Carcano for use in the brush. It is small caliber, jacketed, but round nose, instead of spitzer. The round nose design is "nose heavy" and less easily deflected than a sptizer round which is base heavy. Older, non-jacketed bullets, are usually round nose too.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    How much of a distant obstacle is required to seriously impair a war arrows flight.
    For example would a tent be enough to keep you basically safe (aside from the obscuring effects) or would it go through it without noticing. What is the minimum you'd need.
    Canvas is obviously enough for 'fairground' archery but they are blunt and weak.

    For the sake of completeness, I'll escalate the question up via guns. Although I know that can go through even things you think ought to protect you.
    Musket balls were known to have a range at which point they were considered "spent." You'll hear reports of someone being hit by a "spent ball" at long range, which bruised them, but often didn't break the skin. You have to consider the amount of lead flying around a Napoleonic or American Civil War battlefield, some of which must have been fired at significant elevations, that this did happen from time to time. I think the standard explanation is energy loss due to aerodynamic drag, but I suspect many were also ricochets. Not sure if there is a study on what ranges this occurred at.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    It's called horo (母衣) and while it is surprisingly effective against arrows I doubt any historical tent would be even half as effective at stopping arrows.
    I believe those would have been made of silk. Which supposedly is much better at resisting arrows than wool, cotton, or hemp. And below that, there would still be a solid iron cuirass and helmet.
    It's not magic, but I can see it sometimes making a difference.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Concerning arrows.

    If you have a tent wall, and the arrow is still in flight, it will probably get through with lethal force. Sandbags as tested by Tod's Stuff have already been mentioned, but keep in mind, those weren't proper, packed sandbags, and were sideways-on to arrow flight, which you shouldn't do when making anything out of sandbags. For what he was testing - a story from a civil war somewhere where arrows did just that - it was enough, since civil wars rarely see properly constructed barricades.

    Now, as for horo and that canvas you see on fairgrounds. It doesn't matter that much what they are made of, what matters is how they are, or rather are not, attached. The idea here is that loose fabric like that will catch the arrow early and then, by virtue of being loosely attached, will flip it a little. That may not seem like much at first glance, changing impact angle by a few degrees, but remember that these aren't bullets.

    An arrow flies in a given direction usually while pointing in said direction, and that means that it will deposit its energy pretty directly into the impact target. Make the arrow fly even a little bit sideways, and that direct energy transfer suddenly becomes vastly less efficient - in extreme case, we can talk about being slapped with side of an arrow rather than being shot with it. Being slapped with a bullet is, well, still being shot (unless we bring vests into the equation), but arrow going sideways will:

    • have very little force and momentum behind its head
    • spend considerably more energy on bending and breaking
    • will deliver this energy over a longer period of time as it rotates and slaps after a hit
    • possibly spend some of that energy by continuing on because of deflection



    Horo has an additional advantage in its billowing, the canvas no longer relies on arrow motion alone to destabilize it, it also adds some movement of its own.

    As for the original question, arrows will behave somewhat counterintuitively. Every obstacle slows them down, obviously, but that slow down depends on how well an obstacle grips the arrow. Thin wooden plank will probably reduce arrow speed a lot more than water, baceuse that wood will apply friction to entire length of arrow shaft. Loose cloth will also tend to destabilize arrows, potentially enough to make them non-lethal - but if you take the same cloth and put it on a tent, or make a roof with it, then it looses its arrow-stopping properties.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    When considering devices to slow/stop arrows we really need to consider what bows were used by the opponenets of the deployers of said devices.

    There is a huge difference in the penetrating power of arrows loosed from the selection of bows used over history.

    For example, in one of the early crusades the English troops marching on their way to Palestine were subjected to harassing archery by the locals whose lands they were marching through. This archery was so ineffective that the English foot (the ordinary soldiers not nobles) were able to completely ignore the arrows - they didn't even bother to pull them out of their kit most of the time! (The main objective of said archery was to get the column to break up and engage them which eventually 'worked' in that the templars who had rearguard were goaded into an attack.) That sort of technique (ignore) would never have worked against longbow arrows, hence the need to consider the type of bow and arrow a defense is supposed to be useful against.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    When considering devices to slow/stop arrows we really need to consider what bows were used by the opponenets of the deployers of said devices.

    There is a huge difference in the penetrating power of arrows loosed from the selection of bows used over history.
    The thing about that is simply that late medieval English warbows are a major anomaly, but are so popular it's what most people keep talking about.

    A good rule of thumb is thus:

    • you want to be using a bow with as little draw weight as possible to be able to shoot quickly or for long periods of time, therefore:
    • a culture with little need to penetrate metal armor will have bows in large game hunting range of 50-90 lbs, stone and most of bronze age archery falls here
    • a culture that needs to penetrate metal armor regularly will have bows in range of 90-120 lbs, this is where almost all archery in iron age belongs
    • only cultures dealing with comparetively high-quality steel plate will have bows in range of 120-160 lbs, this is pretty much a European-only thing
    • an archer can shoot a bow up to about 220 lbs
    • all of these cultures will have legendary heroes and unusually strong bows in a category that is a tier above what they generally use
    • you want to be using a bow with as little draw weight as possible to be able to shoot quickly or for long periods of time


    As far as training goes, these days, you need people to train drawing anything above 50 lbs, but my experience with people who do physical labor for their day job suggests that they can go up to about 100 lbs without specific training. That means you will see effort to train up archers specifically once you hit metal armor in regular use.

    Also note that all you need is having to deal with metal armor, availability of metal armor among your culture is irrelevant - which is the case with, for example, Mongols, who had little metal armor of their own (well, initially, after they capture China, they got), but had to go up against Chinese armies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    For example, in one of the early crusades the English troops marching on their way to Palestine were subjected to harassing archery by the locals whose lands they were marching through. This archery was so ineffective that the English foot (the ordinary soldiers not nobles) were able to completely ignore the arrows - they didn't even bother to pull them out of their kit most of the time! (The main objective of said archery was to get the column to break up and engage them which eventually 'worked' in that the templars who had rearguard were goaded into an attack.) That sort of technique (ignore) would never have worked against longbow arrows, hence the need to consider the type of bow and arrow a defense is supposed to be useful against.
    To put a long story very short, most of those accounts are Crusaders going against Muslim light horse, with support of their own foot archers. There are three factors at play here.

    First factor is that Crusader knights have heavier armor that is usual, using gambeson-mail-gambeson layers, and they pay the price for it as often as they gain the advantage. That much padding and weight plus Outremer sun does not a good combination make, and there are numerous examples of it massively hindering the knights. Hattin is definitely the most famous for it.

    Second factor is Crusader archer support, that discourages Muslim horsemen from getting too close. Hitting a moving target at 50 meters is much harder than doing so at 20. There is significant evidence that shield wall used archers in back rows, hidden behind havily armored troops and their shields, to pop up and shoot anyone who got too close.

    Third factor is that a lot of middle eastern archery was focused on range (one standard in mameluke archery was to hit a 1 meter diameter target at 75 meters). Their sources most often praise people on how far they were able to shoot, rather than on how strong a bow they could draw - compare that with Odysseus or Japanese legends of five-man bows. That seems to suggest the Musilm archery at this time was centered around range, and therefore used lighter arrows. Lighter arrows, even shot from a strong bow (and reproductions suggest pre-Ottoman bows are at about the 90-100 lbs range, post-Ottoman at the 110-160), will have significant difficulty penetrating metal armor.

    And, well, it seems they adapted rather quickly. By the time of Third Crusade, Saladin's archers were able to seriously impede Richard's foot forces on march to Arsuf, to a point where they lost cohesion (this time approaching much closer, to a point where they could hit with javelins as well, so about 20 meters compared to mamelukes' 75), and at Hattin, Saladin's horse archers were able to counter mounted charges by shooting the knight's horses. By the time of Ottomans, there are no records suggesting their archery was less effective than the European standard - which is quite a feat, since European standard at this time includes English warbows and crossbows.
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